Coconut pie with an easy berry sauce

Given the latest season of My Kitchen Rules starts tonight in Australia, it seems like a good time to share one of my standby dessert recipes that was inspired by  the show. This, for me, is another great recipe for entertaining. Most of it can be made ahead, and even easier you just throw all the ingredients together in the food processor. The most effort you have to make is toasting the coconut. What could be easier? The original recipe was served with mangos, but I like to serve (and eat) this with a quick and easy berry sauce made from frozen mixed berries which I always have in my freezer.

This dessert is more of a slice than a pie, and is quite moist and dense. Any leftovers are great the next day as a treat with a cup of tea.  The recipe is best made at least a few hours before you want to serve it to allow time to chill.

It has been a few seasons since any of the dishes on My Kitchen Rules have become a favourite of mine, but maybe this year will provide me with some more inspiration. I have to admit though that I always record MKR, rather than watch it as it airs, so I can fast forward when the added ‘drama’ (it is reality TV after all) becomes too much.

coconut pie

Click here for the recipe


Cherry Jam with Lemonade Scones

It was quite hot here in Perth over Christmas. I had to go back to work two days after Christmas, and it was a very warm 41C that day. On top of that the air conditioner at work wasn’t working, resulting in a very unpleasant day. After a very warm day at work, of course it made perfect sense to me to come home and make Cherry Jam. In my defence, I did have what I think is a valid reason for putting myself through a session in front of the stove top in that heat.

On Christmas day my parents gave me a 2kg box of cherries (thanks Mum and Dad). Now I love cherries, but there is no way I can get through 2kg and I really didn’t want to waste them. So, I decided to try making a batch of cherry jam. I’ve never made jam before, though I’ve made lemon butter quite a bit. I found a recipe on-line, bought a cherry pitter and some jam sugar and I was ready to go as I’d already been saving jam jars for a while. I then decided that I needed to make something for the jam to go with, so I made a batch of Lemonade Scones that I had recently learnt from Sarah at babyCakes. I had all the ingredients already at home, although my lemonade was a bit flat which I think resulted in less of a rise than usual. But they still tasted great.

I have to say in the end the heat got to me a bit. The jam probably needed another 5 minutes on the stove to make it thicker, but I stopped as soon as I had any kind of set as it was getting very warm by then. I was still very happy with the result. It tastes great on scones. I’ve even spooned it on top of yoghurt for a quick and simple after dinner snack.

Jam and scones

Click here for the recipes

Peter Gilmore’s Quay restuarant

In November of last year I went to Sydney for a weekend with a friend. We were lucky enough to get a two for one deal on our flights earlier in the year and I suggested that we splurge and go to Peter Gilmore’s Quay restaurant for lunch while we were there.

View from our table
View from our table

In 2012 Quay was voted Number 29 on the S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurant’s list (the highest ranked Australian restaurant) and has been named the best restaurant in Australasia for the last three years. The restaurant has also had 3 Hats and 3 Stars in The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide and Australian Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide for 11 years. I had of course also seen Peter Gilmore and some of his amazing food on Masterchef Australia over the years.  I was thrilled that we got a reservation (we did book 6 months in advance) and couldn’t wait to try the food.

My amuse bouche
My amuse bouche
My friend’s seafood free amuse bouche

Click here to read more…

Crème brulee

This has got to be the most popular dessert that I make. I first tried it at Jerome’s request a few years ago. In return, Jerome bought me a kitchen blowtorch to make it. It is amazing how four basic ingredients turns into this rich and creamy dish. If you don’t have a blowtorch, you can still get the brulee effect by using the grill in your oven.

I got this recipe from Masterchef Australia and I haven’t altered it (I have just replicated it in my own words here). I’ve toyed with the idea of adding some poached rhubarb at the bottom, or adding some lemon zest…but in this instance I have resisted my usual urge to adapt and change the recipe. It just doesn’t need it.

This recipe is best started the day before you need it, or at least several hours before to allow the custard sufficient time to cool and set in the fridge. Which makes it a perfect dinner party dish. All you need to do on the night just before you serve it is blowtorch the sugar to create the brulee, which is a great party trick.

Creme brulee Click here for the recipe

The Hairy Bikers – Pork belly with apple and sage

This Hairy Bikers recipe has got to be my favourite dinner party recipe. It tastes amazing, has wow factor and most importantly, is very easy to make with the oven doing most of the work for you. Which I think is important when you are entertaining. The point is to spend time with your family and/or friends, not to spend the whole time in the kitchen.

Even though we normally have a ‘cold’ Christmas lunch (due to the Perth summer heat at Christmas), I couldn’t resist making this for our family lunch this year. The pork just melts in your mouth, with the wonderful contrast of super crackly crackling. And the apple cider sauce is just beautiful with it.

Pork belly

Click here for the recipe