Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Baking Time: Reminiscing on some classics

I can't believe Christmas is here again!  I have just finished making my 300 or so alfajores and 100ish mince pies for the wonderful little baking gifts I love to give friends and family as a start to the festive season!  I thought I might just reminisce on a few recipes I have written about that always made Christmas so wonderfully special... as always Christmas is a time of wonderful memories that were always created by the many treats and traditions that my mum would make every year...

It is priceless the memories she has left my brother and I, who have always retained the magical moment that is Christmas... I miss you mum... In my own little way - with every Alfajor I make... I hope to carry a small measure of who you were... and a memory of all the smiles that you brought to my every day and culminated with such amazing times at Christmas every year...Merry Christmas!

Alfajores are still the most sought after delight every Christmas... don't let another one go by without making a batch!

Classic Fruit Mince Pies... need I say more?

Bizcochuela Blancaflor... the lovely cake which is the perfect antidote to chocolate bathed, creamed filled treats of Christmas days...

Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tronco de Navidad - Christmas Log

One of the the things I remember most vividly about childhood Christmas is the...waiting!  Waiting for Santa, waiting for food, waiting for all the visitors to pop by, waiting for presents!!  My brother and I used to sit quietly hoping that if we were really really good... waiting time would quicken!  But Mum was always there with a little fruit mince pie or an alfajor to make the time pass in absolute joy!

Our journey through Christmas treats continues - and what Christmas isn't complete without a chocolate dish!

Tronco de Navidad - Christmas Log

  • 6 eggs
  • 4 level tablespoons of plain flour
  • 300g of dulce de leche
  • 300g of  icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 4 bars of chocolate
Beat the eggs for about 4 minutes, adding 4 spoonfuls of sugar and continue beating until light and frothy.  Add the vanilla essence and the flour.  Fold through until mixed well.

On a flat rectangular tray (lined with baking paper)  tip the mixture and flatten.  Place in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees.  After 8-10 minutes remove from the tray and place on a damp tea towel.  Sprinkle with some sugar and spread the dulce de leche.  Proceed to roll.

Cut one slice off the end.  Cut the slice in half and place on top of the roll like knots on a tree trunk.

In a bain marie melt the chocolate.  Once melted place over the roll - simulating a pattern like a tree trunk (fork works well!) .

Cocinar, comer y sey feliz!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bizcocho de Naranja - Orange Cake

Christmas is coming!
My mum used to make Christmas one of the most magical times of the year - and to this day I can close my eyes and remember her bustling in the kitchen preparing all the amazing food that would be either baked for presents for people or made so we could eat for weeks!!  She would start thinking about what to make at least a month in advance so she could always prepare a magical Christmas Eve surrounded by her small family in Australia..remembering the rest of the family afar in Argentina... somehow the food was always a connection to a far away land that was never that far from our thoughts and hearts...

I'm going to publish some Christmas favourites over the next few weeks to give you some ideas of great Christmas dishes you can make!

 Bizcocho de Naranja - Orange Cake

  • 4 eggs
  • 200 grams of sugar
  • 100 grams of plain flour
  • 125 grams of cornflour
  • 200 grams of butter (melted)
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 250 grams of apricot marmalade
  • 3 oranges
  • 200 grams of powdered sugar
 In a bowl place the flour, cornflour and baking powder.  In a separate bowl place the eggs and sugar and bet until frothy.  Scrape the rind of one orange.  Place all these ingredients together and mix well with the melted butter.

Place in square mould which has been well lined and place in a pre-heated oven (180 degrees).  Bake for approximately 40 minutes - until a knife comes out clean.

Whilst the cake is baking place the apricot jam through a sieve. Take the juice and place a teaspoon of sugar and mix through.  In a pan heat up the jam and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and leave it to cool.

Cut the cake in half.  Place the juice of one orange on one half of the cake.  With the rest of the jam which was left in the sieve spread over the other half of the cake.

To make the glaze:
Take the powdered sugar, the juice of half an orange, two tablespoons of water.  On a soft heat without boiling, stir the mixture.  Once stirred through place the mixture over the cake with a spatula.  Take a few slices of orange and place as decoration on top.  Leave the cake to settle overnight.

Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pancitos de Leche - Little Milk Rolls

Pancitos de Leche - Little Milk Rolls

Whenever I travel to Argentina I have the utter delight of being greeted at my Mum's aunt house with a large mug of milky coffee and little hot breads which warm up the heart as much as the stomach! It is such a lovely ritual and such a lovely welcoming moment...and always makes me feel like I've finally come home...They are a great breakfast bread with lashings of jam or butter, or a nice afternoon tea treat.


  • 1/2 kilo plain flour
  • 150g of butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of warm milk
  • 25 g of beer yeast
  • 50g of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Take 1/4 of the flour and place in a bowl.  Take the yeast and mix with half of the warm milk.  Mix with the flour and and make a loose dough.  Leave to rise doubling it's volume (placing the bowl over warm water or near a warm stove)

Place the rest of the flour in a bowl, make a hole in the centre and mix in the salt, sugar and eggs.  Mix well and add to the other dough once risen.  Fold the dough and stretch out letting it absorb air until it easily comes off your hands.

Add the butter bit by bit until the dough absorbs it all.

When the dough is smooth and soft put it in a bowl and cover it with a cloth until it rises.  Once it rises knead quickly and stretch out.

Pre-heat the over to 180 degrees.  On a well buttered flat baking tray place strips of the dough (7cm long and 3 cm thick) on the pan leaving space between each strip.  Place in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Beat the egg and brush over the strips before they are fully cooked and cut small gashes into the top and return to the oven until done.

Cocinar, comer y ser feliz,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Alfajor Provinciano - Provincial Alfajor

Alfajor Provinciano - Provincial Alfajor

This has to be one of my absolute favourites!  I can't at the best of times resist dulce de leche in any dessert but this one is particularly yummy!!!  I remember one day being at the family home in Rosario and my mum's aunty Llemy brought a treat for my dad... the Alfajor Provinciano - I have never looked back since!!


  • 400g of plain flour
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 50g of butter
  • 1 shot glass of port
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1/2 kilo dulce de leche (click on link on how to make dulce de leche)

In a bowl place the flour, egg yolks, egg, sugar, butter, port, and water and mix well.  Let the mixture rest for 40mins.

Make 8 or 10 balls of dough keeping them the same size.  Stretch out and cut into large discs (use a dinner plate or a saucer to make the same shapes (depending if you want a bigger or smaller version!)

In an oven pre heated to 180 degrees place the discs onto a baking tray and pinch the top with a fork.  As soon as it is cooked through take the discs, place on a plate and place a thick amount of the dulce de leche on each layer, layering one over the other until the discs are all used.  The top layer should be covered in Dulce de leche.  Leave to cool.

You can place pavlova around the outside or some powdered sugar or a layering of nuts- but I can honestly say- the simple version is the best!  Enjoy!

You can see the live recipe at Cocina de Mama's YouTube channel.

Cocinar, comer y ser feliz,

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bizcocho de Saboya - Argentinean Sponge

Bizcocho de Saboya - Argentinean Sponge

The next few recipes are a lovely group that always come to mind as perfect tea time or visitor treats.  Eaten whilst you drink some mate or tea, or a nice big mug of milky coffee they are always in the homes of all Argentineans ready to be scoffed at the site of a visitor or a tea cup!

This lovely Bizcocho recipe is for a light sponge like cake which can be eaten plainly or have some jam/cream added to it.  Traditionally such afternoon time treats are kept simple so as not to spoil the up and coming dinner!


  • 7 eggs
  • 150g of cornflour
  • 50g of plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon of butter
  • 250g of ground sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla sugar (see below for how to make this)
  • Pinch of salt

Vanilla Sugar:

Put sugar into a glass bowl. Place the vanilla bean (found in the spice section of large supermarkets and some greengrocers, usually there are 2 pods in each package) into the bowl with the sugar . Stir well, cover and leave for a few a day (original recipe you can leave mixture to sit for a week so the sugar really gets the vanilla flavour - if you have time I recommend this!

Separate the whites and the egg yolk.  Place the egg yolks in a bowl with sugar and beat until they take on a whitish tinge.  Mix the cornflour and the four and add little by little to the mixture mixing through - try not to develop lumps and keep the mixture smooth.  Beat the egg whites until firm and they form peaks and add the salt and vanilla sugar.  Add to the mixture and fold through.

Place in a bowl of about 24cm in diameter.  Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees.

Place in the oven.  Don't open the oven for at least 20mins to allow the sponge to rise uninterrupted.  You don't want the sponge to take colour - about 50mins should do it - or as soon as a knife comes out clean.    

When ready - open the oven door and leave for 10mins so it doesn't fall.   Remove from the mold and place on a wire rack.  

Cocinar, comer y ser feliz,

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tortitas de Azucar Negra - Black Sugar Cakes

There is nothing more reminiscent of an Argentinean moment than to be gathered with family and friends having a mate (Yerba mate is a tea like drink).  When you drink mate, you normally have a little plate (or big!) of pastries or small cakes, salty and sweet depending if you have your mate with sugar or bitter!  I'll share some favourite mate food companions over the next few blogs - they can easily be eaten with a cup of tea of coffee - but if you can get your hands on some mate - give it a go for an authentic experience!

Tortitas de Azucar Negra

  • 4 cups of plain flour
  • 100grams of butter
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • black sugar*
 *You can usually buy black sugar at Asian supermarkets where it is more commonly used.  Unlike processed sugar, black sugar contains molasses, plus potassium, iron, calcium and other minerals.  It is not the same as brown sugar... you can also buy it online.  If you find it impossible to buy black sugar you can replace with brown - but it doesn't have the same flavour...

Place the flour in a bowl and add the butter breaking it down with a fork.  Add the milk and mix with your hands until you have a soft dough.

Stretch out the dough into a 1/2cm thickness and cut out little round discs.  Place in a well lined tray.  Brush with water and sprinkle a good layer of black sugar over the discs of dough.

Place in a pre-heated oven at 180-200 degrees for 10-15 minutes until cooked through.

Eat as is - or add some butter for some delicious bite sized treats!

Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Borrachitos! Wine Syrup Cakes...

One of the fun discoveries as you grow up is to discover little hidden adult only treats full of alcohol!  The cakes that were always just out of reach when you were little.  One of the elusive treats which my grandfather Antonio loved that used to grace the parties was borrachitos made with white wine and wine syrup! 


  • 125grams of butter
  • 275 grams of sugar
  • ½ cup of white wine
  • 10 egg yolks
  • 210 grams of plain flour
  • 3 tea spoons of baking powder
Wine Syrup:
  • 440 grams of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of white wine
Place the egg in a bowl and mix adding the sugar in small amounts.  Add the egg yolks one by one alternating with the wine, plain flour and baking powder.  Mix well.

Make the Wine syrup by putting all the ingredients into a  pot and stirring over a low heat to boil until syrupy texture is achieved.

In a well lined rectangular bowl place the cake mixture (about 2.5cm depth).  Place in 180 degree pre-heated over for 25mins until cooked through.  Once cooked through take out of the oven and leave to cool down.  Cut into squares and pour the wine syrup over the cakes and allow to dry (soak up) the syrup.  Serve and enjoy!

Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Marj's Sponge Cake

There is a very special lady named Marj who cooks one of the most amazing cakes I have had the pleasure of devouring.  She made it recently for her daughter's wedding and I chased the flower girls who were handing out the pieces all night!  So delicious!  Marj recently was gracious enough to share her fabulous recipe with me - a classic sponge from a classic dame.

Thanks Marj ...

(pictured is the fancy sponge cake from the wedding as well as the classic sponge!)

  • 3 eggs separated
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 2/3 cup of cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon of plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
Pre-heat oven to 190 degrees celsius (375F) gas or electric.  Beat egg whites with salt until soft peaks form.  Gradually beat in the sugar, a little at a time, then continue beating until stiff.

Add egg yolks and vanilla essence, beat until combined.

Sift together 3 times - cornflour, plain flour and baking powder, then add the egg mixture.  Carefully and lightly fold the mixture together using a wooden spoon or spatula.  Do not stir.

Divide batter evenly between two 20cm round sandwich pans (grease pans well - don't use baking paper) and bake for 18-20 mins. Until cooked through.

Take from the oven and allow to cool on a cake rack.  When ready spread some fresh cream in between the round and place together.  Sprinkle some icing sugar on the top.


Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Postre de Vainilla - Caramel Lady finger Dessert!

It's my dad's birthday today!  I remember on his birthday every year mum would make him one of the most delicious, rich, sinful desserts that was ever made - and we couldn't get enough!!  Postre de Vainilla is certainly one for those with a sweet tooth - dripping with dulce de leche we'd fight over the last spoonful.  We couldn't wait for his birthday to come around every year!!  Happy Birthday Dad!


  • Packet Lady Fingers (also known as savoiardi)
  • Butter - 200 grams
  • 1 teacup of icing sugar
  • 2 cans of dulce de leche
Mix butter and icing sugar in a bowl until creamy.  Add the cooked dulce de leche (see recipe here) and mix well.  This mixture should remain creamy and thick.  If your dulce de leche is a little runny stiffen with a little more icing sugar.

In another bowl pour some port and a dash of water.  Dip the lady fingers quickly into the port (so they are not soggy) and place in a flat bowl.  Spoon the cream mixture over the layer of lady fingers.  Then place another layer on top repeating until mixture is gone!  I like to put a good thick lashing between layers.  It's almost like a tiramisu but blows that way out of the water!!

Place the mixture in the fridge for 20mins so it will settle nicely. 

You can sprinkle crushed nuts on top or leave plain - to taste.

Simple - but DIVINE!  Do try it one day!

You can watch the live recipe on Cocina de Mama's YouTube channel.

Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mothers Day Special - Lemon Delicious

Continuing with our Mothers Day celebration!

Annie from Sydney shares her mums 'Lemon Delicious' recipe.  Annie is originally from New Zealand and her mum Bernadette still lives in Auckland.  One of the nicest things to do when your family is far away is to share a food memory and bring back the wonderful days when you were all together!

Annie writes:
I bet my Mum would say she wasn't a great cook, or that at best she doesn't really like cooking, but for all that she protests, my memory of growing up is full of delicious puddings on cold winter nights ... and this is one of my ABSOLUTE favourites.  Generally served as the six of us sat around in the living room with a roaring fire, watching The Princess Bride for the 75th time.  Love you Mum!

Lemon Delicious
[Serves 6]


  • 125 grams melted butter, cooled
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 330 grams caster sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 75 grams self-raising flour, sifted
  • 80mls lemon juice
  • 330mls milk
  • 3 egg whites

Pour the butter into a bowl and stir in the lemon zest followed by the sugar. Once incorporated, stir in the egg yolks.

Sprinkle over the sifted flour and lemon juice and stir until combined. Slowly add the milk a little at a time to ensure you get a smooth batter - the mixture will be quite runny so don't be alarmed.

In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Slacken the batter with a spoonful of egg white and then fold in the rest.

Pour the mixture evenly into a  large baking dish.

Place the dishes on a baking tray and pour in enough water so that it comes halfway up the sides.

Bake in a preheated 180°C/350°F for about 35 - 45 minutes, depending on the size of the dishes used. The surface should be golden brown and puffed and beginning to pull away from the sides of the dish.

Thanks so much Annie for sharing your mums Lemon Delicious!  Hooray for Mums! :)

Cocinar, comer y ser feliz,

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mothers Day Special - Derby Pie

In Australia this Sunday is one of the  most important days of all!  Mothers Day!

For the next few days leading up to Mothers Day I will be showcasing some of the best recipes sent in by sons and daughters ...

Jason, originally from Kentucky has sent in his Mum's (Rita) famous 'Derby Pie' recipe.  You can find a great history on the Derby pie here.  But more importantly Jason now makes his mum's famous pie on Derby weekend... a little taste of home when he is so far from it!


  • Unbaked Pie Shell
  • 3/4 cup of chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup of Pecans
  • 1/2 cup of melted butter
  • 1 jigger of bourbon (Jigger is a shot glass)

One unbaked pie shell. I use the deep dish.
Sprinkle 3/4 cup of chocolate chips in the bottom of the pie shell.
Beat 2 eggs, add 1 cup of sugar,  (can use one splenda), 1/2 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of pecans,
1/2 cup of melted butter and 1 jigger of bourbon. Mix all and pour into pie shell.
Preheat the oven and bake at 180 celsius for 35-40 minutes. Until brown on the top and pie is set.

Serve with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream!  YUM!

Thanks Rita for sharing the secret recipe and Jason for sending it in...

Hip Hip Hooray for all Mum's everywhere whose baking and cooking has brought years of joy and memories to sons and daughters everywhere!

Do you have a recipe to share?  Write in to

Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cañoncitos de Crema - Cream Canons!

One of the most wonderful pleasures in an Argentine house is when the pastries are placed on the table...whether it's freshly made and warm for breakfast...or as a lovely dessert, the sweet breads or dulce de leche filled desserts are divine!  This is a favourite that was always at gatherings when I was growing up.

Cañoncitos de Crema - Cream Canons

Ingredients for Pastry
  • 300g of plain flour
  • 200g butter
  • 1/2 cup cold water

Ingredients for Whipped Cream
  • 200g cream milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Making the pastry:

Cut the butter into cubes about 1.5 cm and mix with the flour in a bowl.  Add the ice cold water and mix with a butter knife until you have a heavy dough.

Place the dough on a cold surface (marble is best) sprinkled with flour. Roll out the dough until thin.  Sprinkle some flour and fold into three.  Roll out again.  Repeat this  three times.  And roll out the dough to 1/2cm thickness.

Cut strips of 2cm wide and 2cm long.  Place the tube molds in cold water and wrap the pastry around the molds in a spiral pattern.  Brush with egg and place them on trays that have been sprinkled with cold water.  For 12-15min bake in an oven of 190-200 degrees - keep an eye on them so they don't burn (different ovens may cook pastry faster).

Once removed from the oven let them cool down and take them from the molds.  Cut the tubes of pastry into the desired size. 

Making the cream:

Take all the ingredients and and place in a bowl.  Beat with a hand held egg beater until peaks are formed.

Place the cream into the pastry tubes and you're all done!  I have used dulce de leche as an alternative filling - which is wickedly delicious!

You can watch the live recipe on Cocina de Mama's YouTube channel.

Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!

    Thursday, April 15, 2010

    Dumpsie Dearie Jam

    Dumpsie Dearie Jam is a recipe which was given to me by an old neighbour... from memory I believe she said it was an old Gloucestershire recipe! I love the name - and the taste!!  Lovely with freshly buttered fresh bread out of the oven!

    Dumpsie Dearie Jam

    • 2lbs pears
    • 2lbs cooking apples
    • 2lbs plums
    • 5lbs sugar
    • Pinch ground cloves
    • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
    • 1/2 oz fresh ginger root
    Take the plums and cut them in halve and remove the stone.  Core the apples and pears and peel the skin.

    Take a large pan and and put all the fruit into it. Add the lemon zest and juice, cloves (ground) and ginger root (bruised).  On a genle heat simmer until the fruit become soft.   (If the fruit starts to stick to the pan add some water - just a little).  Add the sugar and stir in until it is dissolved and bring to the boil.

    Boil rapidly for 15-20 minutes until it reaches setting point.

    Pour into jars (sterilised) and seal. 

    Spread over fresh bread and enjoy!

    Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!

    Thursday, April 8, 2010

    Uncooked Raspberry Jam

    One of the most wonderful spectacles in a kitchen is a row of sterilised jars awaiting freshly made jam!  They make amazing gifts and such a wonderful addition to any pantry.  In the next few posts I will pass on some very traditional jam recipes that are super easy to make...starting with one of the simplest - uncooked raspberry jam!

    Uncooked Raspberry Jam

    • 2lbs raspberries
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 1lb of sugar with pectin (jam sugar)

    Place the raspberries in a non-metallic bowl and crush them with a wooden spoon.

    Stir in the sugar and cover the bowl.  Put in the oven at the lowest setting until warm - don't allow it to get hot!

    Take out of the oven and leave to stand for 1 hour.  Stir intermittently unil the sugar is dissolved.  Stir in the lemon juice.  Take some freezerproof containers and fill with the mixture - don't forget to leave room for expansion - so don't fill to the top!

    Close the containers and leave at room temperature for  6 hours.  Place the containers in the refrigerator to chill for 1-2 days until it is jellied.  Store in the freezer and thaw for about 1 hour when you're ready to serve.  Once you have thawed the jam it will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days...

    Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!

    Friday, April 2, 2010

    Torta de Pasqua - Easter Cake

    There was a time when Easter was associated with more than just chocolate!  We stil have the lovely tradition of hot cross buns...and here's another one to add to the day which will leave your guests asking for seconds!  This is a traditional Simnel Cake...originally cooked for Mothers Day they are now traditional associated with Easter!  My grandmother (left)  had a great classic recipe which I found in a faded part of my mums cook book.

    Happy Easter!

    Torta de Pasqua - Easter Cake

    • 9oz butter, softened
    • 9oz soft brown sugar
    • grated rind of 1 lemon
    • 5 large egss, beaten
    • 12oz flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 3/4 teaspoon ground mixed spice
    • 3/4 ground cinnamon
    • 6 oz raisins
    • 4 oz sultanas
    • 4 oz currants
    • 3 oz glace cherries, halved
    • 3 oz chopped mixed peel
    • 2 oz chopped almonds
    • Milk to mix
    • 2 tablespoons apricot jam
    • 10oz almond paste

    Set oven to 180 degrees.  Grease and line a 9 inch cake tin.

    Cream together the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy.  Add the lemon rind and beat in the eggs one at a time. Sieve the flour, salt and spices and fold in the fruit and enough milk (a little a time) to to produce a mixture with a droopy consistency. 

    Put in half the mixtureinto your tin and spread out.  Take half the almond paste and spread across the mixture in the tin.  Spoon in the rest of the mixture on top. 

    Place in the oven for 30mins.  Reduce the oven to 150 degrees and bake for a further 21/4 hours or until skewer comes out clean.  Take out of the oven and let it cool for 15mins or so then turn out on a wire rack.

    Brush the cake with the jam.  Roll out the remaining almond paste and cut into strips, plait and place on the jam on top of the cake.

    Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!

    Tuesday, February 23, 2010

    MUFFINS MANTECADOS AL COGNAC - Buttered Cognac Muffins

    Our muffin tasting continues!

    I stumbled across this easy to make adults only muffin in mum's recipe book... it used to be a favourite snack at party's and brought out when the kids went off to sleep (I knew we were missing out on something!) I always remember how sad it was when bed time was called and the laughter and chatter where still swirling around us!  But Mum's good night kisses always made it better...

    MUFFINS MANTECADOS AL COGNAC - Buttered Cognac Muffins

    Makes 8 Muffins

    • 180g of butter
    • 130g of brown sugar
    • 3 egg
    • 1/4 cup of cognac
    • 1/4 cup of milk
    • 1 teaspoon of  vanilla essence
    • 300g of self raising flour
    • 1 tablespoon of baking powder

    Beat the egg whites into a fluffy peaks and set aside for the moment.

    Beat the butter until creamy.  Add the sugar in small amounts and mix through the butter.  Add the egg yolks and keep mixing. Add the cognac and vanilla essence.  Add the flour and baking powder and alternate with the milk mixing well together.  Add the egg whites and mix through.

    Place the mixture in a well lined muffin tins and place in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 15-20mins or until cooked through.

    Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!

    Friday, February 19, 2010

    Paximathia - Orange Sesame Biscotti

    Mary from Sydney recently wrote in with her Mother's Paximathia recipe.  A favourite of the family, these Greek biscotti's will add delicousness to any table! 

    Do you have a recipe you want to share?  Email

    Orange Sesame Biscotti – (Paximathia)

    (makes approximately 4-5 dozen)




    • 1 cup olive oil
    • 1 cup sesame seeds
    • 1 cup sugar (brown/raw)
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 sachet (8g) vanilla flavoured sugar
    • 1 sachet (12g) baking powder
    •  1 cup fresh orang juice
    • 2 kgs self raising flour


      In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients by hand (or whisk until thoroughly blended) and gradually add flour and knead with hands in the bowl until the dough holds together. Then turn out on a floured surface (sprinkle sesame seeds on this surface if desired) and knead well for 10mins adding flour as needed until the dough is smooth and soft. (Dough may be slightly softer and oilier than regular cookie doughs)

    Divide the dough into 4-5 parts to make 4-5 smaller loaves.

      Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius (390 degrees F)


     For each loaf:

    • Knead the dough until dense (holding together tightly) forming it into a loaf shape. Pinch the seam together and form it into a loaf that is approximately 12 inches long, 4cms wide and ½ to ¾ inches high. Place the seam side down. Using a floured knife (not serrated), slice the almost all the way through into ½ to ¾ inch slices.

    Place the loaves on a large rectangular baking tray lightly oiled (or non-stick) lined with cookie sheet /baking paper. Bake for 15 degrees at 200 degrees Celsius ensuring the tray is at least 3-4 inches from the bottom of the oven. When the bottom is golden brown and the top just starting to brown, remove the loaves from the oven and cut all the way through the slices. Allow to cool completely.

    Preheat oven to 160-180 degrees Celsius

    When biscuits thoroughly cooled, place all biscuits back on (non-stick) baking tray or roasting pan facing flat and bake for a further 15-20 mins or until browned. Lower oven temperature to 100 degrees Celsius for a further 15-20 mins until biscuit dries out.

    Note: The recipe is for a large quantity, and they keep well, but to make fewer, just divide the recipe. Because they contain no butter or eggs, they can be stored in airtight plastic containers (not refrigerated) for several months and frozen for longer storage. Allow to cool completely before storing.

    Thank you Mary!

    Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010

    MUFFINS DE ZANAHORIA - Carrot Muffins

    Continuing with the yumminess of muffins...

    My dad is one of the best handy men around!  In Argentina he was a carpentry teacher and he makes all our furniture and sniffs about the house mending, enhancing and just generally improving - in that way dad's know how!

    Some of my earliest memories are of him always tinkering with some piece of furniture - and mum would be at the ready with a treat when all the hard work was done!  Nothing was easier than whipping up a few muffins for  a nice afternoon coffee.


    Makes 10 muffins

    • 200g of puréed carrot
    • 4 eggs
    • 50g of white sugar
    • 50g of brown sugar
    • 1/2 lemon rind
    • 1/2 cup of self-raising flour
    • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
    • 100g of crushed hazelnuts
    • 50g of chopped hazelnuts
    • 50g of shredded coconut
    Place the eggs, sugars and 100g of the crushed hazelnut in a bowl and mix well.  Place the carrots, lemon rind and finally the flour with salt and baking powder and mix through.  Put in the chooped hazelnuts and mix through.

    Place in well lined muffin trays and bake for 15-20mins (or until cooked) in a pre-heated oven (180 degrees). 

    You can eat as is - or if you like when they are warm out of the oven - sprinkle some shredded coconut over the top for a little extra flavour!

    Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!

    Tuesday, February 9, 2010

    Muffin de Chocolate - Chocolate Muffin

    Muffins come in all shapes and sizes... everyone has a favouite flavour!  They are the perfect run away treat or afternoon tea snack.  My aunt in Argentina always has a bowl of muffins at the ready for her ravenous children and grand children!  Over the next few days I'll post four of the top favourites as voted by the speed at which they disappear!  Mum used to make these little treats for our lunch box snacks they are so easy to make you can whip a batch pretty quickly!

    I'll start with the classic - Chocolate Muffin!


    Makes 8 muffins

    • 200g of wheatflour
    • 30g sweet cocoa powder
    • Salt
    • 90g of sugar
    • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
    • 100g of drinking chocolate
    • 50g of butter (melted)
    • 1 egg
    • 3/4 cup of milk
    Sift in a bowl the flour and cocoa, pinch of salt and baking powder.  Melt the drinking chocolate with a few spoonfulls of warm milk to help liquify and unite and pour into the mixture.  Add in the melted butter and mix with the egg, milk and mix well until a dense paste is formed.
    Place in muffin moulds and cook for 15-20mins in a pre-heated oven (180degrees).  Eat warm fresh out of the oven or as a snack for later!
    Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!

    Tuesday, February 2, 2010

    Torta Marmolada - Marble Cake

    When I was in Argentina last year one of my cousins made a delicious marble cake ... for her own birthday!  There were so many dishes on the table, everyone brought a plate of their favourites or their special cullinary masterpeice.  Sylvana made the marble cake as it is her daughter Catarina's favourite - and very quickly became mine!  Definitely one to add to the recipe book - it is super easy and super scrumptious!

    Torta Marmolada


    • 240g of plain flour
    • 1 egg
    • 3/4 cup of milk
    • 100g of butter
    • 150g of sugar
    • 3 tablespoons of cocoa powdered

    Place in a bowl the butter,  egg and sugar and mix well. 

    Add the flour and milk alternating between the two and mix through.  Leave a small amount of milk to dilute the cocoa powder.
    In a well lined cake tin place half the mixture in (a spoonful at a time).

    With the small amount of milk left add to the cocoa powder and mix well.  Add this to half of the cake mixture which is still left in the bowl.  Add some flour if the mixture becomes to runny.  Make sure it has the same consistency as the mixture you have already poured in the cake tin.

    Pour over the rest of the mixture into the cake tin - do not mix through.

    Cook for 45-55minutes in a pre-heated oven at 180degrees or until cooked through.

    Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!

    Wednesday, January 27, 2010

    Tortas Frita

    This recipe is one of those delicious magical recipes that  are so simple - and yet so delicious.  I remember there was always foods that only appeared on South American tables of families we would visit, so they were always 'festive' foods that you enjoyed and had that essence of traditionalism that surrounded the cacophony of passionate political discussions, crazy argentine soap operas, foot tapping music and futball!  Me... I was always in the kitchen eating...I mean... 'helping' out ;)  One of my favourite treats in these gatherings was Torta Frita, so delicious! I always remember that no matter how over indulgent these recipes look - for an every now and again treat - everything can be enjoyed in moderation!  I like to think of it as special treat Sundays whether once a week or once a month ...creating a moment where you have enough time to bake, and a great family day to enjoy a special treat or take on visits to other people's homes :) 

    Tortas Fritas


    • 2 cups of plain flour
    • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon of salt
    • 40g of lard or butter
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 cup of cold water
    • Lard or oil for frying
    • Sugar

    In a bowl mix plain flour, baking powder and salt.  With a fork mix the lard or butter into the mixture.  In the centre of themixture place the egg, and water.  Knead the mixture until dough like. 

    Roll the dough out until approx. 1/2 cm thick.  With a round mold or a glass cut out circles in the dough and place to the side.  Torta Fritas don't have to be perfect - so you can even cut out free hand circular shapes or roll the dough in smaller balls and roll out in circular shapes 1/2cm thick.

    Heat up the lard in  pan (or oil if you choose to use this) and once ready place the circles and fry.  Take out when fried (don't over fry them, just until the dough is golden brown).  Blot on paper to remove excess oil and leave to cool.

    You can eat as is, some people like to sprinkle sugar on top.  A real treat!

    You can see the live recipe at Cocina-de-Mama's YouTube channel!

    Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    Cooking with Reine Summit! Aubergines a la Parmesan, Risotto au Pistou, Bitter Chocolate Tart

    I had the thrill of attending a masterclass with the Queen of Provencal cooking - French Chef Reine Summit (twice awarded France's Best Female Chef).   Reine was a bundle of energy as she jumped around the kitchen and infused the room with excitement for her French dishes and traditional methods of cooking!  Here are the wonderful recipes Reine taught us to make - these delicious - but easy to make dishes -  will definitely make it into the recipe book! 



    Aubergines a la Parmesan Facon Crumble


     "Only use extra virgin my place I have olive trees and I produce my own..."






    Serves 4

    •  500ml of Olive oil
    • 2 eggplants
    • 500ml of tomato sauce

     To make the crumble
    • 50g of flour
    • 25g of parmesan cheese
    • 25g of butter


    For the Tomato Sauce
    • 200ml of olive oil
    • 1 chopped onion
    • 2 chopped cloves of garlic
    • 1 sprig of thyme
    • 15g of basil
    • 1kg of Roma tomatoes
    • Salt (to taste)
    • Pepper and sugar (pinch)


    Saute the garlic and onion in olive oil then add the tomatoes, thyme, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Cook for 30mins, push through a strainer (chinois) add chopped basil.

    Was, peel  and dry the egg plants, then cut them into round peices about 1/2cm thick.  Fry in olive oil then place the cooked peices on an absorbent paper towel.

    Put the crumble ingredients in a bowl and mix them together by hand.

    Prepare small individual serving plates.  Place one slice of fried egg plant on the plate, cover with tomato sauce then parmesan.  Repeat this twice.  To finish cover with crumble mic and bake in the oven at 200 degrees for 10 minutes.


    Risotto au Pistou











    Serves 4


    • 200g of Arborio rice
    • 200ml of white wine
    • 50g of eschalots
    • 250ml of olive oil
    • 50g of butter
    • 1 litre of fresh tomato juice (place tomatoes in a blender and put through strainer)
    • 100g of grated Parmesan cheese
    • 30g of pine nuts
    • 1 bunch of basil
    • 1 small clove of garlic

    Remove the leaves of the basil and chop finely with a clove of garlic, add 150ml of olive oil and put aside.

    Soften the sliced eschaloyts in the remainder of the olive oil, add the rice and stir for 3 minutes until all the grains are covered and then moisten with the white wine.  Stir overa medium flame.

    After the liqud has been absorbed by the rice, use a ladle to add the tomato juice, one spoonful at a time (wait until the liquid is absorbed before adding next spoonful).  Repeat this process until the rice is done (approx 20mins). Then add the grated Parmesan, butter and roast pine nuts.

    Spoon the basil oil over the risotto once  plated.


    Bitter Chocolate Tart




     " Keep the pastry thin...not so good to eat so much pastry - better to eat more chocolate!!!"




    Serves 8


    For the Tart:
    • 150g of butter
    • 95g of icing sugar
    • 30g of powdered almonds
    • 1 egg
    • 250g plain flour
    • 1 pinch of salt

     For the chocolate mousse:
    • 50g single cream
    • 250g of dark chocolat (70% cocoa)
    • 60g of butter
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 6 egg whites
    • 50g of sugar

    To make the tart:

     Mix by hand the softened butter with the icing sugar and the salt. Add the powdered almonds then the egg and finally the flour. Once it has joined into a dough leave to rest for an hour in the fridge.

    Roll out the dough into a thin pastry.  Stretch into your tart trays.  Prick the pastry once in the tray with a fork.

    In a pre-heated oven bake the tart cases for 10minutes until golden brown.  Once cooked remove from oven and let them cool.  Leave in the tray ready to our the chocolate in!

    To make chocolate mousse:
    Melt the chocolate in a bain marie.  Add butter and cream and mix well.

    Once the chocolate has cooled down a little add the egg yolks into the mixture.

    In another bowl whip the egg whites int ostiff peaks.  Add a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar.

    Add the stiffened egg whites into the mixture and fold gently into the chocolate.

    Pour the chocolate inside each tart tray leaving at least 1cm from the top.   Place in the oven at 200 degrees.  The chocolate should remain runny and not stiffen - so 5mins should be enough.  If you over cook it though - not a problem at all - you'll still have an amazing chocolate tart - just with a less runny filling!

    Cocinar, comer y ser feliz,

    Tuesday, January 19, 2010

    Churros - Argentinean Doughnut like Treat

    In Argentina on any given day you can be sitting in your home or walking the streets and suddenly you will hear a weird wailing followed by a kazoo type sound!  As it gets closer you hear the familiar cry of 'Churrrrrrrrrrrosssssssss'... usually a man with a bike rides through the streets or at festivals and events, sits at a special booth to sell one of the most delicious treats in Argentine cooking!  They are something akin to a doughnut treat in our culture... not something you want to be munching on all day - but as a great treat now and again or for a party it is a delicious addition.



    • 3 cups of plain flour
    • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon of salt
    • 3 cups of water
    • Lard for frying (great article on why Lard is so misunderstood as an ingredient don't be frightened to use in moderation for certain foods)
    • Sugar
    In a bowl mix flour, salt and baking powder.  Boil the water on the stove and just when it starts to boil throw in the mixture from the bowl.  For 10 minutes stir with a wooden spoon.  Take off the heat and keep stirring until the dough starts to cool down. 

    Once cool enough to touch place the mixture in a piping bag (there are special churro machines you can buy if you really get a taste for them!) other wise a piping bag does the trick.  Use an end with a straight line pattern and make about 5 cm long.  Place straight into lard which has been on heat ready to fry.  Once golden brown remove and blot on paper to remove excess oil.

    The classic Churro can also be dipped in chocolate (simply melt some chocolate or use Churros with a chocolate fondue set!) divine!

    Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!

    Monday, January 18, 2010


    We are lucky enough to have Christine from Sydney who has sent in a wonderfully traditional Australian recipe in time for Australia day next week!  This is a true classic... thanks Christine!  Do you have a special traditonal recipe you'd like to share? Send your recipe with your story to:

    Christine wrote:

    My mum has always been famous among her friends and family for her delicious pavlova. Growing up I would look forward to special occassions when she would whip up a pav for our guests. Now as an adult, we make them together.



    • 6 egg whites
    • 2 cups caster sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla essence
    • 1 cup whipped cream
    • strawberries/ passionfruit pulp/ kiwi fruit
    Note: If using a gas range set the oven at hot (450 deg F / 230 deg C) immediately you start to beat the egg whites.

    Step 1: Beat egg whites until they stand in stiff peaks. Add sugar gradually, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating at high speed if using an electric mixer.

    Step 2: When all the sugar has been thoroughly incorporated and a stiff glossy meringue has formed, fold in the vinegar and vanilla essence.

    Step 3:

    • Grease some aluminium foil and cover a baking sheet. Heap the Pavlova mixture on to the foil. Mould up the sides with a spatula and make a slight depression on top. OR

    • Pile the mixture into a 20cm (8 inch) greased springform tin and lightly smooth the top. OR

     • Pile the mixture into a greased 20 cm (8 inch) china flan dish.
    If using a gas range turn the heat to the lowest temperature just before putting the Pavlova in to cook for 1 1/2 hours.

    If using an electric oven cook the Pavlova at a low temperature (300 deg F / 150 deg C) for 45 minutes and then turn off heat and leave for 1 hour.

    When cooked, remove from the oven and cool completely. Pile cream on to Pavlova and decorate with seasonal fruit.


    Thanks so much Christine - will be making it for Australia Day this year - looks delicious!

    Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!

    Thursday, January 14, 2010

    Cooking with Tetsuya! Japanese Cuisine Scampi, Spatchcock and Kingfish.

    I had the amazing experience yesterday of being in the prescence of one of the world's top Chefs and I wanted to share some of his recipes, tips and philosophy on cooking! 

    Tetsuya is originally from Japan and came to Australia over twenty years ago to start a stellar career and end up being a three hat chef!  You can find out more about Tetsuya here.  Like most immigrants Tetsuya found success with his cooking by using traditional recipes and over time combining them with new flavours of his adopted country, whilst remaining true to the simplicity and flavours of the ingredients he uses. 

    I'll share with you a few of the dishes he made on the day!

    New Zealand Scamp Tail, Witlof and Citrus

    What Tetsuya said:

    "This dish is simple tasting but easy to do at home".
    "Cook Scampi on low heat (65degrees in oven) so as not to make it mushy - slow cook is better."


    Serves 6

    • 6 Scampi tails
    • 2 witlof cooked in olive oil and orange
    • 1 orange
    • 100ml of olive oil
    • 1 lemon
    • 2 limes
    • 2g of choped fresh tarragon
    • Herb oil (2ml grape seed oil, chopped tarragon, chopped ginger)
    • Sat,
    • White pepper
    • Brown Sugar
    • Wakame
    Mix the juice of lemon and lime with tarragon and brown sugar to taste.
    Stir in olive oil.  Cut the witlof into quarters amd grill on both sides and arrange on top of wakame.
    Brush the scampi tails with herb oil, season and roast on a very low heat without any colour intil just cooked (almost translucent - you don't want it white)
    Place on top of the witlof and pour over a little citrus dressing.

    "You can add and create dishes - not that hard - okay to experiment."
    "Every Chef has a passion to cook but first a passion for eating - if you don't like eating why cook?!"

    Braised Spatchcock with Olives and capers

    Serves 4


    • 2 Size No. 5 spatchcock, cut into halves
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Paprika
    • Dry white wine
    • Water
    • 2 tablespoons salted packed capers, rinsed
    • 20 black olives (use juice/brine that comes with them)
    • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
    • 1/2 tablespoon of oregano, chopped
    • 100ml of olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped

    Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.
    Place spatchcock halves into a deep baking dish. skin side up.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook with the bones, it will add amazing flavour to the dish.
    Pour the wine over each of the spatchcocks until the liquid reaches half way up the sides of each spatchcock.  Add water if more liquid is required.  Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of paprika.
    Add the capers, olives, garlic and oregano to the iquid.  Let the juice or brine from the olives fall into the mixture too.
    Drizzle the olive oil over each spatchcock halve and place in the pre-heated oven to cook for 45mins, or until the skin is golden and spatchcock is cooked through.
    To serve, place in the centre of serving plates and spoon over a little of the liquid.

    With the liquid - if you have some left over, Tetsuya recommends mopping up with crusty bread!  Another tip if you have enough juice is to cook up some pasta and serve fresh with some parsley to garnish.

    Salad of Kingfish, Black Bean and Orange

    Serves 6


    • 1 x 400g fillet king fish
    • 6 orange segments sliced
    • 10g chopped black beans
    • 5g baby shiso leaves
    • 2g chilli flakes
    • 3g Julienne garlic and ginger
    • 2g baby coriander leaves
    • 10ml grape seed oil
    • 3g leek batons
    • 2g chive batons
    • 10ml soy, mirin and sake
    • 5g washed wakame
    • 2g sliced scallions
    • salt

    Skin the king fish and cut on an angle into 4/5mm slices
    Arrange the wakame onto a large plate, place the kingfish on top
    Season the fish with soy marinade.  Place all the herbs, black beans, citrus, leeks and scallions on and around the kingfish.  Heat up the grape seed oil and carefully pour over the fish.  Finish with a little olive and a little salt oil and serve.

    Cocinar, comer y ser feliz!
    Leticia (with a little help from Tetsuya!)
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