Saturday, 26 November 2016

Christmas Cake!

Hey hey!  I hope you've had a fantastic weekend!  Mine has been super busy, but a lot of fun :)

Today, I have something a little different for you.  I made some Christmas cakes for presents this week and I attempted some fancy decorations on top, so I thought I would share these with you.
A few weeks ago there was a Christmas evening held in town, and there was a lady demonstrating some techniques for cake toppings.  This is what hers looked like:

Pretty impressive, huh?  Now, mine doesn't look quite as spectacular, but it's certainly not for the nailed it file either.  In fact, I'm pretty darn proud of how they turned out :)

I'll start off with a brief look at a Christmas cake recipe, and then go on to the decorations.

Christmas Cake

1kg fruit - I use a mix of raisins, sultanas, dried cranberries, dates and currants.
350ml alcohol of your choice - rum, bourbon, brandy - or if you'd prefer not to use alcohol, you can use ginger beer/ale
300g butter, softened
180g brown sugar
4 eggs
lemon zest
2Tbsp golden syrup
1tsp vanilla

70g ground almonds (not necessity but it makes the cake moist)
3000g flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp ginger
1/4tsp ground cloves

Put the fruit and alcohol in a saucepan and heat until just boiling.  Take off the heat and cover overnight.
The next day, preheat your oven to 150C
Cream butter and sugar with lemon zest
Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition
Add golden syrup and vanilla.
Sift the dry ingredients (except for the ground almonds) and set aside.
Gradually begin to alternate adding the dry ingredients and the fruit mix to the butter mix until well combined.
Spoon into a tin lined with baking paper.  This will do a 20cm square tin or two loaf tins.
Bake for approximately 2 3/4 hrs - 3 1/4 hrs depending on cake tin and oven.  I sometimes rotate my tins half way through, just to make sure it is evenly baked.
To check if the cake is ready, insert a skewer into the centre, if it comes out clean, it's done.
Once removed from the oven, cover it with tin foil and then wrap in a tea towel to hold in the moisture.  Leave cake like this until it has cooled completely.
Once cooled you can either leave it as is, or ice it, and then keep it wrapped in tin foil and stored in an airtight container.  

Right, so that's the recipe done.  Now for the icing!  
I started off with a light spread of raspberry jam on the cakes and then covered it with a layer of white fondant rolled thinly.

Next up, I started on the polar bears.  These guys weren't as hard as I thought they'd be!  Basically, a larger oval shape of fondant for the body, four sausage type pieces for the arms and legs, then position them on the cake.
The head was made of a ball with a smaller ball flattened for the mouth and nose.  I used a skewer to poke a hole for the eyes and nose, then filled them with some edible black paint.  If you have black fondant, then you could use that too.  I also used my skewer to add in some details on the face.
You can form two ears by making two small balls and flattening them, then pushing onto the top of the head.
The hard part, is getting the head to stick to the body.  I know you can use an edible paste, but I didn't have any of that, and wasn't sure how to make it, so I pushed a dent into the body where I wanted to place the head, then dabbed a little water in the dent.  I sat the head on top and gave a gentle push, and propped it up with a glass just in front of the bears head.  I left it there until it had dried and I was able to move it away without the head falling off.

The tree in the picture was made with rounds of green fondant cut out, and the edges pushed down to create a crinkled effect.  I, however, used star shapes.
I cut several different size stars, and layered them on top of each other, with a blob of fondant in between to give it a bit of depth.  I then topped the points with coloured balls.

As you can see, mine isn't as big or impressive, but I was running low on fondant and I think they're quite cute :)

Next up, I made some little parcels out of coloured fondant, then using edible paints, I drew some ribbons on the parcels.  These were stacked beside the tree.

I finished it off by sprinkling a little edible dust over top to give the impression of shiny snow.

This is my finished product:-

So I know it isn't perfect, but I think it's a pretty good first attempt :) I hope I have inspired you to give it a go!  I'd love to see what you guys can come up with :)
Anyways, enjoy your week and Happy Cooking!

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Halloween Treats!


We had a Halloween party in the weekend, and I thought I would share some of my treats with you!  I made some horror cupcakes and a hot cheesy pumpkin dip.

Now I just used my usual chocolate cupcake and red velvet cupcake mixtures to make the cupcakes.  It is the decorating I wanted to share with you.

First up, I made a horror scene with broken glass and blood.  These were actually quite simple, though I did have a bit of trouble with my first batch of toffee!  It is very important to keep your eye on the mix as it's cooking - I took my eyes off it for a few minutes and it had already started to burn.  It still tasted okay, but not quite what I was after, and of course, it was a darker colour, so not what I wanted.

The second batch went much better!  I poured it onto a lightly buttered cookie tray so it could spread thin, then once it was cooled, I shattered it into shards.
I rolled fondant onto the top of each cupcake, and a dollop of raspberry jam (strained through a sieve first to remove seeds) then pushed a toffee shard through the blood.

The next batch I made, I used a special nozzle in my icing bag - you can get them from specialty stores and they look like they have lots of tiny holes in them.  These nozzles are great for creating grass or fur :)
I made some bright green buttercream and covered each cupcake in green grass, followed by a tombstone made of fondant.  I added extra icing to help prop them up.

The last thing I made, was my hot cheesy pumpkin dip!  My cheesy bread dip always goes down a treat, so I thought I'd put a twist on it and do it in a pumpkin!
I had hubby carve the top off for me and then hollowed out the seeds.

I made my dip using:

1 1/2 tubs of cream cheese
1 heaped Tablespoon of mayo
1/2 orange capsicum, diced
1/2 onion, diced
100g ham, diced (bacon works too)
a little lemon zest
season with garlic pepper and salt

Mix all of the above ingredients together and then spoon into your prepared pumpkin (or hollowed out bread)

Place the lid back on.
If you feel so inclined, you can carve a face or design into the front too.

Wrap in tinfoil and bake at 200C for 2 hours.
Serve with crackers and carrot sticks.

There you have it!  Some Halloween treats to share with your family and friends :)  Have a great week and Happy Cooking!

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Mini Meatloaves

Hey hey my lovelies!

How are we all on this fantastic long weekend?  I've been meaning to post this recipe for a few days now, and I've finally found a few spare moments to share it with you.
I was helping a friend out with some meals and this is one of the recipes she gave me - though I've altered it a smidge.  So delicious!  

Mini meatloaves

2Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 small onion, diced
1 small cauliflower
500g pork mince
2 eggs
2tsp chinese five spice
1tsp mustard (whatever your preference)

Heat oil in a large frying pan and cook onion and garlic until softened - approx 3-5mins
Place cauli florets in a food processor to make cauliflower rice then add to the pan, cooking for a further 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Season with salt and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine mince with eggs, mustard and spice.  Add the cauli mix and fold together.

Spoon into muffin trays or if you have those mini loaf trays you could use those.
Bake at 180C for 20-25 minutes.

Serve with some sweet chilli sauce and salad.
*These are great to freeze for later too

If you aren't a fan of pork mince, you can use beef mince, with a bit of marsala or paprika in place of the five spice.  You can also use coconut oil in place of olive oil.

So yummy and really simple to make!

Anywho, I hope you enjoy what's left of your weekend and Happy Cooking!

Friday, 7 October 2016

Bacon and Onion Bombs!

Hey hey!

A couple of nights ago, my husband showed me a video he had found on FB with a recipe for these interesting looking meatballs wrapped in onion and bacon, so I thought I would re-create these with my own recipe :) 

I will admit, it wasn't a hit with the girls - one ate the bacon from the outside and refused to eat the rest because it was onion, and the other only ate the centre.  Hubby, my son and I all thought it was delicious, though!  It was a little like eating a burger without the bun.

Here's what I did:

Bacon and Onion Bombs

500g mince
1/3C breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1Tbsp wholegrain mustard
2-3Tbsp BBQ sauce
1/4C grated cheese

Combine the above ingredients, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Grab one or two large onions, cut the ends off and slice halfway through so you can peel off layers.  this does take a bit of patience and a steady hand!
Roll a portion of mince into a ball and slide into each onion layer.

Secure two strips of streaky bacon around each ball - make sure the seam is at the bottom so it sits on the tray.

Bake in the oven at 200C for around 45mins.  Bacon should be crispy, onions softened and mince cooked through.

As you can see from the pic, a lot oozed out while cooking - but this will be a combination of melted cheese and fat from the meat.  You could omit the cheese if you prefer.

We dipped ours into sweet chilli sauce and it was divine!

This is definitely a make-again recipe for us and I hope you enjoy it too!  Have a great weekend, and Happy Cooking!

Thursday, 6 October 2016


It's the school holidays and my girls and I decided to bake some cookies today.  We had been out shopping and happened to peruse the local store, Kitchen Kapers, where you can get all kinds of fancy baking products.  It certainly inspired us!

When we got home, I jumped online and went straight to Pinterest to see if I could find a new recipe to try.  

This is what I found:

It definitely made a large batch of cookies, which you would expect when you are using that quantity of flour, however, I don't feel like they have enough flavour.  My girls love them, but they're a bit bland for me.  We made some raspberry icing to give them just that little bit more, and it seemed to do the trick.

As you can see from the pics, the cookies raised quite a lot, again, this is to be expected with that quantity of baking powder.  I rolled the dough out to around 6mm thickness, so I would probably try for even thinner next time.

Busy icing their gingerbread men :)

In my opinion, this recipe is a little too doughy tasting, but as I said earlier, the girls were quite pleased with them.  A good fun treat for the kids to make over the holidays :)

After searching recipes on Pinterest for the first time in probably a year, I have decided that I'm going to go back to trialing interesting recipes that I find online so I can share my triumphs and failures with you!

That's all I have for you now.  Enjoy the rest of your week, and Happy Cooking!

Thursday, 15 September 2016


Hey y'all!

Sorry I've been absent again.  It's been one crazy busy year!
I just thought I'd drop in and let you all know that I've gone and added labels to most of my posts so that recipes are a bit easier to find now :) You're welcome!
I will try really hard to get a new recipe up for you this weekend.

Also, I wanted to share the news that Calamity Jayne Kindle ebook is going to be FREE on Amazon over the weekend!  (For all you New Zealanders reading this, it will be Sunday/Monday).  So make sure you jump on and grab yourself a copy if you haven't already, and please take a minute or two to write a quick review too please!  Even just one line will do :)
Thanks lovelies!

With the holiday season fast approaching, I have food on my mind, and I'm hoping to get a chance to rustle up some new holiday recipes and even get some pics of the actual Christmas Feast this year.  
If you have any requests of meals you'd like me to try, then please contact me on my FB page here!

I hope you have a fantastic weekend!  I'm off to get organised for my 1950's style book club/clothes swap!  Fun times ahead!

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Dinner and Dessert

Hey hey!

As promised, I have that kickass burger recipe for you - a word of warning, it is in no way a healthy burger, it involves deep frying!
I also have the slow cooker golden dumplings recipe for you too.

Now, we are big fans of the show Man vs Food and happened to be watching an episode with burgers.  He had all manner of things added to his burger, but the one thing that we both sat there, mouths agape over, was the addition of deep fried bacon.  Oh My God!  It had never occurred to me to do that before, but I am so glad I did!  Freakin amazing burgers!

Here's what I did.

Beef mince, salt and pepper 

Form into a flat pattie.  Heat your pan - I like to use cast iron with a griddle plate - up to medium high temperature.  Add a splash of oil and then pop the patties in the pan to cook.  Give them a few minutes to brown up nicely before flipping over.
Once flipped, add slices of cheese to the top of the pattie so that it can melt in.  I used a smokey manuka cheese, however, you can use a plain cheese or whichever kind you like.

While that is cooking, heat up your deep frier.

In a bowl mix a good dollop of mayo with about 1tsp of wholegrain mustard, 1tsp BBQ sauce, and a few drops of hot sauce.  Give it a good mix and then dollop onto the bottom of your burger buns.  I find that brioche buns are really good.  Top with a little lettuce and then set aside.

Snip your streaky bacon into small pieces, approx 8-10cm and carefully drop four or so pieces into the frier.  They only need about a minute or two to cook so you need to keep an eye on them.  Drain them and then place on top of the cheese covered patties.

Once cooked, carefully place a pattie on each bun, top with tomato slices and then drizzle a little BBQ sauce on the top half of the bun before adding.

Seriously flavoursome burgers!

As for the dessert.  I wanted to make something that would be ready by the time we finished our dinner, without having to muck about with too much prep.  A slow cooker dessert is the perfect solution!

Heat your slow cooker on high and add the following directly to the pan.
50g butter
2C hot water
3/4C brown sugar
1/4C golden syrup
1tsp vanilla essence

Leave it to heat up until it is starting to bubble on the sides.

Soften another 50g butter in a bowl, and add 1 1/2C flour and 1tsp baking powder to the bowl.  Using a fork, combine the ingredients so it resembles a crumb.
Mix in 1/2C milk and another dollop of golden syrup, with 1tsp vanilla.  It should form a wet dough.

Drop heaped teaspoonfuls into the syrup.  Cover (no need for a tea towel) and leave to cook for approx 30-45 mins.

Serve with icecream.

So there you have it, a lovely dinner and dessert combination for you!  Happy cooking!
Don't forget you can purchase my Calamity Jayne cookbook from Amazon, and you can follow my page on FB :)

Monday, 4 July 2016

Chicken Burgers

Hey hey!

I hope you've all had a great weekend!  Did you get a chance to check out my cookbook on Amazon yet?  Here's the link for those of you who haven't seen it - 

Anywho, I have a new recipe for y'all!  I was watching Rachael Ray the other day, and she made these amazing looking chicken burgers, so I thought I would recreate them with my own flavour for you :)

Chicken Burgers

Two burger buns
One chicken breast
Two rashers of streaky bacon
One apple, peeled, cored and sliced
maple syrup
Camembert cheese

Firstly, slice your chicken breast in half - vertically - so you end up with two burger size pieces
Season with salt and pepper and herbs if you want, then pop in a grill press to cook.
Meanwhile, cook your bacon rashers on a flat griddle plate.
Heat a frying pan with a little butter.  Add the apples, a pinch of cinnamon and a drizzle of maple syrup.  Cook until softened, but not stewed - still with a little crunch.
Slice the Camembert.

Make an onion jam -
Thinly slice a red onion and cook in a saucepan with a little butter.
When softened, add a splash of raspberry vinegar or red wine vinegar, a Tbsp of brown sugar, a Tbsp of wholegrain mustard and I added a dollop of homemade apricot jam too.
Simmer until it is a jammy consistency.

Slice your buns in half, layer some apple on each base, followed by the chicken and bacon.  Top with a few slices of Camembert and pop under the grill to melt.

Add onion jam and place the lid of the buns on.

Enjoy with a side salad.

There you go, another tasty meal for you to enjoy!  Have a great week!

Thursday, 30 June 2016

It's live!


Guess what?

It's live!

It took a lot of hard work over the last few days to get this reformatted to be available for y'all, but I'm so glad I did it!

For those of you who are knew to me, I wrote this cookbook (at the request of a few friends) about two years ago.  I had a limited number printed and they all sold out!  I never even got a copy for myself!
So as soon as I got Photoshop, I began to work on getting it ready to re-release and this time, it's available on Amazon, so all you International followers can be a part of it too :)

This is my first time formatting a book with photos in it, so I really hope I've done it justice.

Thanks again for all of your support!
Let me know on FB if you would like me to make it available on kindle too!

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Spaghetti Squash!


I meant to post this last night, but then things got away on me, and well, here I am, doing it now.  It's probably a good thing too, because I have an announcement!
As you know, I wrote a Calamity Jayne cookbook a few years back and I am, as we speak, working on the reformat of that same book so I can get it on Amazon!  Fingers crossed it goes to plan, and then in the next few days, it should be available :)

Now, those of you who follow my FB page will have seen my post last night saying that I was experimenting with Spaghetti Squash.  I am delighted to say it was a huge success!  Hubby has requested it as a regular meal :)  Now I just kinda made it up as I went, so I'm calling it a Spaghetti Squash Lasagne.

Spaghetti Squash Lasagne

1 spaghetti squash, halved and seeds removed
Olive oil, salt and pepper

1 onion
1 large carrot
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 pack good quality sausages
1 tin tomato puree

mozzarella cheese

First up, preheat your oven to 200C.  Oil both halves of your squash and season with salt and pepper. Place upside down on a baking dish and pop in the oven for approximately 45 minutes or until the flesh is soft.

Meanwhile, heat a pan with a splash of oil.  Peel the skin from the sausages and break into pieces, adding to the pan.  I tried to make it into a mince consistency.  Brown.
Add diced onions and garlic to the pan and continue to cook through.
Add diced carrots.
If you are using frozen spinach, give it a squeeze first to remove excess liquid, and then add to the pan.  Heat through.
Add tomato puree and then fill can to half way with water, swirl it and tip into the pan as well.
Let it come up to the boil, and then turn it off.

Once squash is cooked, remove from oven and flip back over so the flesh is facing you.  Using a fork, run it along the flesh to make "spaghetti"

In a large ovenproof dish, place a few spoonfuls of the sauce, followed by a sprinkle of mozzarella, and a few dollops of squash.  Repeat the layers until all is used.
Top with more mozzarella and pop in the oven to cook for 15-20 minutes.
Serve with some buttered bread.

So, there you have it!  A lovely winter warmer meal using spaghetti squash.  Remember to keep your eye on my FB page for more info about the cookbook!
Have a great week!

Saturday, 4 June 2016


Ok, so if you follow my FB page, you will have seen that I shared a link to a recipe for a salted caramel and chocolate tart.  My husband so kindly tagged me in the post and requested it be made tonight, so after perusing the recipe and seeing that I actually only needed five ingredients, I thought, sure!  Why not?!

Now, in true Calamity Jayne styles, I didn't quite read the recipe properly and thought I had it down.  However, my caramel wasn't thick like it should have been.  Mine is more of a gooey caramel chocolate tart.

This is mine:

and this is what it was meant to look like:
Quite a difference!

Anywho, it was still super tasty (and super sweet!  I could only eat a tiny slice).

So, here is what you need:

1 double pack of oreos
200g butter
2/3C brown sugar
300ml cream
350g dark chocolate
1tsp vanilla

Blitz up the oreos until they are a fine crumb.  Add 75g melted butter and blitz again.
Press into a tart tin - I used a silicone mould or if you have a loose-bottom tin, use one of those.

Pop it in the freezer to set.
Put the brown sugar and remaining 125g butter into a saucepan and heat until melted.  Now, here is the important part.  You need to keep whisking it until it starts to bubble.  I didn't do this.  If you want it gooey, then by all means, just whisk until it has thickened.
Remove from heat and continue whisking, while slowly adding 1/4C cream.  I would also add 1tsp vanilla here, I think that would bring the flavour out more.
Set that aside to cool for a further ten minutes before pouring into the base and returning to the freezer.

Put the chocolate into a bowl.  Gently heat the cream on the stove and when warm, pour over the chocolate and stir to combine.  If the chocolate isn't melting enough, you can pop it in the microwave for 15 second bursts until it is a smooth consistency.

Pour over the top of the caramel and pop back in the freezer to set.
If you have the flaky salt, by all means sprinkle over top before serving.  I didn't have any of this, so didn't use it.

Be warned, you will only need a small slice, this is very sweet!


Saturday, 21 May 2016



As promised, I have a few new recipes for you today :)
Hubby had control of the remote this afternoon, and he switched it over to Martha Bakes.  I think he was hinting!  I have to admit, though, it did give me some inspiration.

I made two batches of cupcakes today.  A lemon meringue cupcake (yes I've done this before, but this is a new recipe), and a red velvet cupcake.
At first glance, my lemon meringue cupcakes looked to be an epic fail - this is what happens when you haven't completely dried your bowl before whisking eggs, and when you get a smidge of egg yolk in there.  But!  They were amazing!  Or in the words of my daughter, "these are the goodest cupcakes ever!"
As for the red velvet, I may have overdone the cocoa, so they're not quite as red as they should have been, I have adjusted my quantity, so you should be okay with this one.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

100g butter
1/2C brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2C flour
2Tbsp cocoa
1tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda, dissolved in 1tsp cider vinegar
2/3C milk
1tsp red colouring paste

Beat butter with sugar and vanilla.  Add egg and beat well.
Sift flour and baking powder with cocoa and add this, start beating slowly, while adding the milk and soda/vinegar mix.
Add colouring and give one last beat.
Scoop tablespoonfuls into cupcake cases and bake at 200C for 15 minutes
Allow to cool.

Cream cheese and raspberry icing - I borrowed this idea from Martha

125g cream cheese at room temperature
50g butter, softened
approx 1 1/2C icing sugar
1 1/2Tbsp raspberry jam - pushed through a sieve to get rid of seeds.

Beat cream cheese and butter, slowly add icing sugar until combined.  Beat vigorously for a minute of two.
Swirl jam into the icing and using a knife, spread on top of the cupcakes.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

100g butter
1/2C sugar
1 egg
1tsp vanilla
1Tbsp lemon curd
1 1/2C flour
1tsp baking powder
2/3C milk

Beat butter, sugar, and vanilla together.  Add egg and beat again.  Add lemon curd, and give it a quick fold through.
Sift flour and baking powder into the mix and slowly start to combine, while adding milk.
Spoon tablespoonfuls into cupcake cases and bake at 180C for approx 20 minutes
Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Meringue topping

3 egg whites
1C sugar
1tsp vanilla
1tsp cornflour
1tsp malt vinegar

Beat egg whites in a clean, dry bowl :) until thick.
Slowly add sugar while beating continuously.
Mix vanilla, cornflour and vinegar together and pour into mix.
It should be glossy.

make a small hole in the top of each cupcake, and place a dollop of lemon curd on top - some in the hole, and the rest on top.  I placed a blob, though if you had runny meringue like me, maybe spread the curd across.
Pipe (or spread/pour) your meringue over top of each cupcake.
If you have a fancy blow torch thing, by all means use one of those, otherwise, put cupcakes under the grill for a minute, or until just starting to brown.

*Those lumps in the centre are the lemon curd*

There you go!  Two yummy cupcake recipes that I guarantee your family will love!