Steamed Syrup Sponge Pudding

Theme 13: Dessert

Cookbook: The Hairy Biker’s Best Loved Recipes. Mum’s still know best.

Recipe: Steamed Syrup Sponge Pudding

I love puddings.  Especially if it’s home made and eaten on a cold, wet, Winter night.  I love to pour extra syrup and large dollops of home made custard on top.  Not only delicious but also warming and comforting.

The original recipe called for lemon zest but at the time I wanted to make it, I only had mandarins.  It was a great substitute.  I think you can use any citrus fruit you like.


(serves 6)

  • 100g golden syrup plus an extra 4-5 tbs for serving
  • 175g softened butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 125g golden caster sugar
  • grated zest of 1 mandarin
  • 3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
  • 175g self-raising flour
  1. Butter the inside of a 1.2 litre pudding basin.
  2. Place the basin on a set of scales ad spoon 50g of the golden syrup into the base. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add the remaining 50g of golden syrup, butter, sugar and mandarin zest. Beat with an electric whisk until light and fluffy.
  4. Whisk in half of the beaten eggs then half of the flour. Then whisk in the remaining eggs and then finally the rest of the flour.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the pudding basin and cover with the lid.  If your basin doesn’t have a lid, use a baking paper with a pleat in the middle.  Then cover with foil with a pleat also. Tie in place with string. You can create a handle by tying excess string across the top of the basin. This will make it easier to lift the pudding once it is cooked.
  6. Place an upturned heatproof sauce in the large, deep saucepan and add enough hot water to come halfway up the basin. Cover the saucepan with a tight lid and place over a low heat.
  7. Steam in gently simmering water for about 1hour and 45minutes, adding more water, if needed.
  8. When the pudding is cooked, turn off the heat and carefully lift the basin from the water and leave to stand for 5minutes
  9. Remove the lid and loosen the sides of the pudding with a knife and invert onto a serving plate.
  10. Spoon over extra syrup and serve generous servings with custard.


You can check out my previous posts for the Cook Book Challenge this year here.

Bon Appetite,


Slow Cooker Beef and Vegetable Casserole

Theme 14: Hearty

Cookbook: Australian Women’s Weekly, Slow Cooker

Recipe: Simple beef and vegetable casserole

I have only recently bought my first slow cooker.  I was quite excited as I’ve heard friends say they love it and cook their dinners in it on busy days.

Because this dish takes so long to cook, it’s best to quickly brown the meat and sauté the vegetables before throwing into the slow cooker in the morning before heading out for the day.

I, too have come to love my slow cooker.  I have used it for my daughter’s birthday family dinner.  It was one less dish I had to fiddle and fuss over during the day.

I have read that desserts and cakes can be made in the slow cooker too.  I am curious.  I will definitely give those a try.


  • 1.2kg beef chuck  steak, cubed
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 2 medium onions cut into thick wedges
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped coarsely
  • 2 sticks of celery, trimmed and chopped coarsely
  • 3 cloves  garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 400g can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef  stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  1. Coat the beef in flour, shake off excess and fry in batches in a large frying pan.
  2. When browned, transfer to a slow cooker
  3. Heat the remaining oil in the same pan, cook the onion, carrot, celery and potatoes.  Keep stirring until the onions soften
  4. Add the tomato paste and cook for a further minute.  Transfer to the slow cooker
  5. To the slow cooker, add the bay leaves, canned tomatoes and stock.  Stir.
  6. Cook, covered for 8 hours on low.
  7. For comfort, best served with mashed potatoes and steam vegetables.

You can check out my previous post for the Cook Book Challenge this year here.

Bon Appetite,


Indian Rubbed Pork Chops

Theme 12: Spicy

Cookbook: Nigella Lawson, Kitchen

Recipe: Indian rubbed pork chops

I never used to like food with a lot of spice or heat until I met hubby.  He grew up with Indian grandparents so he was exposed to spices and curries at a young age. I began appreciating the complexities of the different spices as I was exposed to them more and more.  I now love all curries and all the spices that go in them.

This recipe originally is for lamp chops but it goes very well with pork.  I’ll try lamb next time.

Recipe: (serves 4 )

  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tsp sea salt
  • 4 pork chops
  • oil for frying
  1. Add the spices to a small shallow dish and mix well to combine.
  2. Dip the pork chops into the spice mixture and make sure it’s coated well on all sides.
  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan, then fry the chosp for about 5-6 minutes a side depending on how thick it is.
  4. Serve with steamed vegetables or steamed rice

You can check out my previous post for the Cook Book Challenge this year here.

Bon Appetite,


Crème Brulee

Theme 11: Cup

Cookbook: Australian Women’s Weekly, Bake

Recipe: Crème Brulee

I wanted to make a crème brulee just so I can use my blow torch 🙂 When I first got it many years ago, I used it all the time but somehow, as time went by, the excitment dropped a little, then I eventually forgot that I had it.  I have rekindled my love for it after discovering it in the back of my cupboard. The best thing about this dish is the lovely crunchy burnt sugar on top.  The texture and flavour breaks up all that  creamy and silkiness of the custard.


  • 1 tsp of vanilla paste
  • 750ml thickened cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 55g caster sugar
  • 40g raw caster sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 180degC (or 160degC fanforced)
  2. Grease six 1/2 cup capacity cups
  3. In a small saucepan, add the vanilla paste to the cream, simmer on a low heat. Do not boil.
  4. In a bowl, combine the egg yolks and caster sugar.
  5. Gradually, whisk in the hot cream.
  6. Set the bowl over a pot of simmer water and stir for 10minutes or until it thickens (coats the back of a spoon)
  7. Pour the custard in the prepared dishes and bake in a bain marie for 20minutes
  8. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  9. When ready to serve, sprinkle some of the raw caster sugar on the top of the custard and use a blow torch to melt.  If you don’t have a blow torch, you can place under a grill.

Do you have a blowtorch?

Bon Appetite,


Double Chocolate Blueberry Cupcake

Theme 10: Blue

Cookbook:  Australian Women’s Weekly, Cupcakes

Recipe: Double chocolate Blueberry Cake

I love cupcakes.  I especially love baking them and sharing them with family.  I chose to make this recipe for the blue theme.  The original recipe calls for raspberries but I think any berry can be used.

As usual, I changed the recipe slightly.  Not too much though as baking requires exact measurements.  I think the addition of any fruit to a cake batter makes it moist so be creative and add any fruit you like.  Just be sure to add the same quantity as the recipe.

  • 60g dark chocolate, chopped coarsely
  • 125ml water
  • 90g butter, softened
  • 220g firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder
  • 40g almond meal
  • 100g frozen blueberries (or any berry you like)
  1. Preheat oven to 170degC.  Line a 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases
  2. Combine the chocolate and water in a small saucepan, stir over low heat until smooth
  3. Beat butter, sugar and eggs in a small bowl with an electric mixer until just combined
  4. Stir in sifted flour, cocoa and almond meal. Then add the warm chocolate mixture.  Fold in blueberries
  5. Using a 1/4 cup measurement, divide mixture among cases and bake for about 30-35 minutes.  Turn cakes onto wire rack to cool.
  6. Decorate with dollops of whipped cream and extra blueberries.
Bon Appetite,

Cook Book Challenge : Hush Puppies

Theme 9 : Crunchy
Cook Book : Jamie Oliver.  Jamie’s America
Recipe : Hush Puppies
I love this cook book.  I’ve made a few things from it already.  I was keen on making hush puppies because I’ve heard of it many times but didn’t actually know what it was or what it tasted like.
It’s very crunchy and it’s moorish.  It’s quite easy and takes no time to make. This would go really well with a nice cold beer.  We had it as a side for dinner.  Even though there is beer in the batter, it’s not too strong in it.  It’s perfect for children as all children love crunchy finger food.
recipe: (makes 25-30)
300g fine cornmeal or polenta
100g self-raising flour
300ml bottle of beer
100g of sweetcorn (I used frozen)
4 spring onions, sliced finely
120g grated cheese
salt and pepper
vegetable oil for deep frying
1.  Put the cornmeal and flour into a bowl, add your beer and leave to sit for a few minutes.  Add the corn, spring onions, cheese and pinch of salt and pepper.
2.  Using a fork, mix well.
3.  Heat the oil in a large pot or pan on a high heat until it reaches 180degC
4.  Using a tablespoon, carefully drop spoonfuls of the batter mixture into the oil.
5.  Let them fry for about 3-4 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon, and drain on kitchen paper towel.
6.  Serve with a sprinkling of a little sea salt.  Best eaten while hot.

You can check out previous posts on my 2011 cook book challenge here.

Bon Appetite,

Cook Book Challenge : Egg Pin Wheels for an Afternoon Tea Dinner

Theme 8 : Eggs
CookBook : The Dairy Book of Home Cookery by Sonia Allison
for the Milk Marketing Board of England and Wales
Recipe : Pin Wheel Sandwiches
With my Hubby and his family originally from England, we were all excited for the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.  My mother in law came over for dinner but instead of eating dinner I prepared an afternoon tea affair.  The cookbook I used actually belong to Hubby’s Nan in England.  She let me keep it during our holiday there a few years back.  This version was published in 1978 and as you can see it’s been well used.  To this day, my mother in law still cooks dishes that she got from it.
Pin wheel sandwiches shows up regularly in afternoon teas, alongside other fabulous finger foods, sweet and savoury.  It can be filled with any filling you like.  I chose Egg.

Tea is, of course, compulsory though coffee can also make an appearance.  I even took out our special Harrods tea towel just for the occasion.

Other dishes I also prepared for the Afternoon Tea Dinner :

My Afternoon tea table
Salmon sandwiches and cheese and cucumber sandwiches
Victoria Sponge Cake
After dinner, Hubby made Pimm’s Deuce.
Recipe :
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
2 tbs mayonnaise or salad cream
1/2 tsp English mustard powder
salt and pepper
6 white or brown bread slices, crusts removed
alfa alfa
1.  In a bowl, place the eggs, mayonnaise or salad cream, English mustard powder salt and pepper.  Set aside
2.  Using a rolling pin, roll over a slice of bread to flatten.
3.  Spread with butter and 1 – 2 tablespoons of the egg mixture.
4. Sprinkle alfa alfa over the egg mixture.
5.  Roll tightly to enclose the filling.  Place on place, seam side down.
6.  Repeat with the remaining of the egg mixture.
7.  Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes to firm up a little
8.  Cut into 3 or 4 even slices.  (as you can see, I didn’t cut them evenly hehe)

Check out my previous posts on this year’s cookbook challenge.

Bon Appetite,