February 2012

Of all the pictures in the Cooking Class there were two that stayed with me. The first was the brandy snaps. I still have a soft spot for them despite knowing they’re basically just cream wrapped in sugar (what’s not to like, right?). The other was the waffles. The shot is a waffle being smothered in what looks like a caramel sauce.

So, after a little hunting about on TradeMe I snaffled a waffle iron, and set to! (more…)


Well, I think the title about says it all.

All countries have their food specialities. But this beef dish from those commies in Russia has become famous on an international scale. It is excellent food to include in your menu if you’re giving a party: noodles or rice are usual accompaniments.

To be honest I was holding out hope for this one.

Here’s what you need:

  • 750g fillet steak (I used some weiner schnitzel)
  • 125g butter
  • 1 medium onion
  • 500g small (button) mushrooms
  • salt, pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 beef stock cubes (I swapped this and the water for 1/2 cup beef stock)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 300ml sour cream
  • 1tsp cornflour

And that’s all she wrote. This recipe is a doddle, so let’s get into it. (more…)

The Vanilla Slice, also known more commonly as the custard square or the “snot block” is a tuck shop classic here in good old New Zealand. A conversation with a workmate the other day revealled that her mum used to substitute the traditional puff pastry with Huntley and Palmers cream crackers. The luck coincidence of my having to partially cater a morning tea, and this being a recipe in the Cooking Class Cookbook meant I had the opportunity to share this wonderful recipe with you, dear readers.

With a delicious filling of rich vanilla custard, these are the most popular of all slices. The slices are made with packaged puff pastry and topped with passionfruit-flavoured icing.

Actually… I didn’t have and passionfruit. Also, these were indeed extremely popular, with some people coming back for a second slice. Unfortunately though the recipe is made with a boatload of starches, so half the floor had to go out for a walk at lunch to wake themselves up! I was therefore responsible for a marked decline in productivity…

For the slice you will need:

  • 1 packet of Huntley and Palmers cream crackers
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornflour
  • 1/2 cup custard powder
  • 1 litre milk
  • 60g butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

For the icing you’ll need:

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon of jam, or, a passionfruit
  • 1 tsp of water

This is a straightforward recipe, with the only real trick being the mixing of the custard – it needs to be as stiff as possible to stop the squares from schmooshing everywhere when you try to eat it. (more…)