Banana Fudge Cupcakes, Cream cheese icing. Just because.

The cupcake craze has well and truly hit town, cupcakes are almost passe, but I am only just getting on board. I thought that cupcakes were all dry with overly sweet bland icing. Oh, how wrong I was.

Luckily I have the Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook to get be back on the cupcake lovin’ straight and narrow.

Banana Fudge Cupcakes
Makes 12
adapted from the Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook

1 3/4 Cup plain flour
1t bicarb soda
1t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg
125g softened butter
1 1/4 cup castor sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup yoghurt
1 cup mashed banana (or more, I used 1.5 cups)

For icing:
1/4 cup icing sugar
150g cream cheese,
1t vanilla essence.
Preheat oven to 170C and grease a large muffin tray.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy and the sugar has almost dissolved. Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each. Add vanilla and combine.

In a separate bowl sift the dry ingredients.
Add a third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Add half the yoghurt and half the banana and beat until combined. Repeat. Fold in remaining flour gently, taking care not to overbeat.

Spoon into prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

When cooled, ice with cream cheese icing. These cakes will keep well in the fridge for a few days.

For Icing:
Cream sugar and cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla and beat for a further minute.

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Blood Orange Jelly with Cardamom Mousse

Surely these are the last blood oranges of the season, and potentially the least blood orangey of the offerings that I’ve seen, but here in Sydney the colour is all just the luck of the draw.

Yes, the last of the season, but the strawberries have finished the mangoes aren’t here in full force yet, so there is still time for blood oranges. Especially in jelly. Tart but mellow, with a beautiful lush orange blushed pink. Don’t make it too sweet, but make it middle eastern with a cardamom mousse, like I did.

Moreish jelly is a perfect foil for rich and creamy mousse with an underlying tinge or gently cardamom. Or you could add rosewater, or orange blossom water.

Who doesn’t love grown up, homemade jelly?

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Asparagus and Ricotta Tart

I know, I know. Another asparagus recipe. Another idea for a vegetable which hardly requires more than a quick blanch. The best though, is enjoying them straight from the plant, with no adulteration at all.

So why so so many recipes? Well, the asparagus that we buy here is too old and tough to eat unadorned. Also, the season is so short that I buy it every chance I get (except when its imported, or too expensive – the local, cheap asparagus season is considerably shorter).

Raw Asparagus Tart

Raw Asparagus Tart

The final reason for so much asparagus is that I have only recently discovered it. A few years ago I thought that those limp, grey stalks from the tin were asparagus in all its glory. How quickly it was moved from the despised list to the desired one when I finally realised!

Ricotta and flavours for Asparagus Tart

So, for now, it is another asparagus recipe – a simple, quick and tasty tart. But don’t worry, soon asparagus will disappear and it will be post after post about stone fruit.

Asparagus Tart fresh from the oven

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A contrary Spring, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Biscuits.

Spring is not behaving. I mentioned it before, when a sticky date decadence appeared earlier in October, but this is just out of control.  Miserable rain, blustery conditions have seen Sydneysiders unpack their recently mothballed winter clothes and grudgingly pull their heavy jackets back into service. Only to be followed mere days later by midsummer temperatures.

I am sick of it, and hearby announce my intention to switch up the seasons, to turn the hemispheres, to declare this Spring, Autumn. Ok, ignore the new flowers, the scent of jasmine wafting on the breeze, the light in the evening, the warm mornings… Ok, Spring, you’re welcome when you decide to appear, but until then, I’m eating for Autumn, too.

Eating Autumn means pumpkin and warming, earthy spices. My RSS reader has been full of pumpkin + chocolate desserts of late, thanks to the reality of Autumn, so here is my favourite: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Biscuits. And really other than some sunshine, what more could you want?

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Pasta Primavera


Springtime means new blooms, hayfever, the end of stewing for another season (and the start of salads) and new vegetables.

How better to celebrate Spring (and the onset of actual Spring weather, here in Sydney) than with a Pasta Primavera. Fresh, lightly cooked asparagus, colourful shards of juicy capsicum, underpinned with a classic soffritto and spiked with toasted pinenuts and slivers of sharp parmesan.

No recipe today, just a suggestion.

Fry some onion and garlic in olive oil. Loosen with a little water, then add sliced vegetables (I used asparagus, red and yellow capsicum). Fry until tender. Then mix through just cooked, still warm linguine (or other long pasta), loosen with a little more olive oil and or butter. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Serve topped with parmesan and toasted pine nuts. Enjoy!

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