Preheat oven to 160c

1 and 1/2 cups packed brown sugar (dark brown is even better)

2 squares of 70% dark Lindt chocolate 

125g salted butter, melted

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 and 1/2 cups self raising flour 

1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

200g milk choclate drops

200g dark chocolate drops

In a heat proof bowl – place over a saucepan of boiling water. 

Melt butter, sugar, vanilla, 2 squares of Lindt chocolate. 

Allow to cool to room temperature. 

Fold through all other ingredients. 

Pour in to a brownie pan, lined with baking paper. 

Bake for 18 minutes. Turn oven off. Leave to rest in the oven for 10 minutes before leaving to cool on the bench for an hour or two. 

Turkey, barley, leek soup

A great way to use left over Xmas turkey.


 1kg left over turkey in bite sized chunks

 1 brown onion, finely chopped

 1 leek, halved lengthways, thinly sliced

2 spring onions, chopped

 1 large carrot, peeled, finely chopped

 1 small fennel bulb, finely chopped (including fronds)

 2 celery sticks, finely chopped

 2 garlic cloves, crushed

 4 fresh flat-leaf parsley stems

 2 fresh thyme sprigs

 1 dried bay leaf

 1 teaspoon dried black peppercorns

 1/2 cup (100g) pearl barley

Massel chicken style stock

 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped for serving

*optional, add a punnet of Swiss brown mushrooms. Sliced. 

Put the turkey aside.

Add all other ingredients to a large pot. Cover with boiling water and add the appropriate amount of stock.

Boil for 30 minutes.

Add the turkey.

Summer until the barley is tender and the turkey is succulent.

Serve with the freshly chopped parsley.


Brined Turkey Breast

This year I thought I’d try brining my turkey for Christmas lunch. 

I used a 3kg turkey breast fillet. 

The brine:

1 cup of kosher salt 

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons of treacle

7 fresh sage leaves

2 large bay leaves 

1 tablespoon of – peppercorns, cloves, all spice, juniper berries

The zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon (I used a vegetable peeler, avoiding any of the white pith) – save the fruit for later. 

I dissolved the salt and sugar in 2 cups of boiling water. I took the pot off the heat and added all the other ingredients (aside from the turkey), I then added 3 litres of cold water. I submerged the turkey in the brining liquid and put it in the fridge. 

*if the turkey floats,  you can weigh it down with a dinner plate

Ideally it should sit in the brining liquid for at least 12 hours. 

Rinse under clear cool water for 5 minutes, drain well and pat dry with paper towels. 

*For a crisp skin, air dry in the fridge for 6-12 hours before stuffing and roasting. 
Roasting instructions:

Preheat oven to 180c

*option 1 Add two cups of stock to your baking tray to keep the turkey moist while it’s roasting. 

*option 2 – what I do at Christmas! I fill the pocket under the skin with butter and other yummy things. At Christmas it’s usually 1/2 cup chopped craisins, 2 tbsp minced garlic, 1/3 cup fresh thyme leaves, salt, pepper, and the zest of 1 lemon. Mixed with butter to make a paste then stuffed under the skin. 

When you place it in the dish, surround with the quartered lemons and oranges, some generous sprigs of thyme. 

Cover with foil! Completely wrap the dish with foil. Allow none of the moisture to escape. 

Cook for 1 hour for the first kilo. Then 40 minutes for each kilo thereafter. My 3kg turkey breast will roast for 2 hours and 20 minutes. 

*When there is 30 minutes to go, remove the foil. Roast until the skin is golden brown. 

*If you’re unsure, the turkey is fully cooked when the juices run clear if you poke the thickest part of the meat with a skewer. 

Allow the turkey to rest for 15 minutes before carving to ensure it stays juicy. 



Zucchini Fritters

This is my take on Bill Granger’s zucchini fritters
Making them this way is much easier than frying a boat load of these – not to mention that is is much healthier than frying.
You will need:

700g of grated zucchini

1 tsp of maldon sea salt flakes

1 tsp of freshly ground black pepper

6 spring onions

3/4 cup fresh mint

250g of fetta (any kind – greek, bulgarian, low fat, whatever you like)

4 eggs

90g plain flour (normal or gluten free)

preheat oven to 170degrees cellcius

Line a large baking tray with baking paper

Place all the herbs in a food processor to finely chop (not a blender which will liquify them) – otherwise finely chop by hand

Grate the zucchini into a large bowl

Add the herbs

Crumble or finely chop the fetta and add to the bowl

Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl so that you avoid the ‘scrambled egg’ effect

Add the eggs to the main bowl

Season with salt and pepper

add the flour and thoroughly mix through

Dollop mixture on to the lined baking tray, make the fritters the size you desire 

Bake for 20 minutes until it is evenly golden brown on the surface

Allow to cool and set before serving 
Dipping sauce:

the juice of 1/2 a good lime

3/4 cup plain greek yoghurt

1/2 a small clove of freshly minced garlic

1 tbsp of finely chopped fresh mint

1/4 tsp of olive oil

salt and pepper to taste
You can also top with fresh salsa salad – finely chopped tomato, diced avocado, lime, salt & pepper, coriander/basil (depending on your taste)

And even bacon and a poached egg for a festive brunch!


La’s version of Emplesalad (with added Emple tweaks)
1 zucchini

2 bunches asparagus

Carlic infused olive oil

100g toasted pepitas

Generous handful each of mint and flat leaf parsley

100g Danish feta

Splash of olive oil

Dash of lemon juice

(I also added a punnet of halved cherry tomatoes that had been oven roasted in garlic infused olive oil and then added these to the salad with 1/2 a tin of butter beans)

Slice zucchini, asparagus, place in bowl. Drizzle with garlic infused olive oil and leave to sit for a few minutes. Grill zucchini and asparagus. Once cool, add remaining ingredients and mix well. Try not to eat it all in one go…. try!

My cousin made this decadent chocolate mud cake for her daughter’s 4th birthday. It was ridiculously delicious!

It was perfect – she made x3 quantity for a big sheet cake, decorated with Nutella and smarties. (Use a simple chocolate ganache if there are people with nut allergies)

200g dark chocolate, chopped

250g unsalted butter, chopped

1 tbs instant coffee

100ml milk

1 2/3 cups (250g) self-raising flour

40g Cocoa

250g caster sugar

4 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

150ml sour cream

Step 1

Preheat oven to 160C. Grease a deep 23cm springform cake pan and line with baking paper.

Step 2

Place the chocolate, butter, coffee and milk in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water) and stir until smooth and melted. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.

Step 3

Sift flour and cocoa powder into a bowl, then add sugar. Fold into the chocolate mixture with eggs, vanilla extract and sour cream.

Step 4

Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake in the oven for 60-70 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out with some moist crumbs sticking to it but no raw cake batter. Set aside to cool completely in the pan.

Step 5

Remove the cooled cake from the pan and spread with the Nutella/ganache,  and decorate. 

In the words of Edina Monsoon from AbFab – “Health Health Health Sweetie!”
There’s a few steps involved – but it’s worth it.
Image result for pear butter cake
The pears

1kg of pears – peeled

In a large saucepan bring 6 cups of water to the boil.
1 tablespoon of honey
1 stick of cinnamon/casia bark
8 juniper berries
8 cloves
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground nutmeg
1 split vanilla bean

Bring to the boil for 2 minutes.
Add the pears.
Bring to the boil then lower to a simmer.
Simmer until the pears are tender, 30-45 minutes depending on the size of the pears.
Remove the pears.
Strain the spices from the poaching liquid.
Bring to the boil and reduce the liquid to 3/4 cup.

Cool the pears (ideally overnight)

Slice and remove core


The Butter-cake Mix
125g butter, melted (room temperature)1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup caster sugar (or 3/4 cup of reduced pear juice)

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour, sifted (I used fine self raising spelt flour)

1/2 cup milk (you may need to add more or less depending on the texture of the cake)

the zest of 1/2 a large lemon (or a whole small lemon)



With and electric mixer beat butter, sugar/pear juice, eggs.

When smooth add the milk, vanilla, and lemon zest, then slowly incorporate the flour.

Stop as soon as the mixture is smooth.



Preheat oven to 160 degrees

Line your cake tin, Pour in HALF the cake mix

Lay HALF the pears on the top of the batter

Pour remaining cake mix over and smooth it out, lay the remaining pears on the top.

Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes

TURN OFF THE OVEN – Leave in the oven for 20 minutes

Remove from the oven

Sit IN THE TIN for 20 minutes

Allow to cool. (When it comes out of the oven, it almost has a crust. If you store it overnight it becomes lovely and fluffy)

* it is a nice touch to glaze it with maple syrup, warm 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and brush over the cake. *

Store in a Tupperware.

Serve after popping in the microwave for 30 seconds – it’s so soft, warm, and fluffy. It is nice on it’s own or with a dollop of custard.