Thursday, April 2, 2020

My Favourite Apple Crumble (Crisp) Recipe

Apple Crumble has to be one of the most classic, most used desserts that Kiwis make. It's so easy, so quick and feeds a lot of mouths, and is very comforting on a chilly Autumn evening during lockdown.

With bags of apples going for $2 at the grocery store I picked up one yesterday and in spite of it not being a gorgeous, tart Granny Smith or cooking apple, but rather a sweet, soft Pacific Rose, by adding a handful of early, tart Feijoas, the apple crumble came out with the perfect combination of sweet and tart. (If you peel the Feijoas and slice them, you get more out of them than cutting them in half and scooping out the flesh).

This fed my family of five with enough left over for dessert the next night (or breakfast - like I used to do when I was a child and would sneak down to the kitchen in the wee small hours of the early morning while everyone was asleep and help myself - cold Apple Crumble is amazing too)! 

Here's my favourite recipe to use.

My Favourite Apple Crumble Recipe

7 large Apples 
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup coconut
1 TBSP cinnamon
2 tsp ground nutmeg
150gms butter (2/3 cup)
2 tsp vanilla essence

Set oven to 180 deg C.

Peel and core apples and slice. Place into a large pot with water and simmer gently until softened slightly (only about 5 minutes). Drain water off. If you are adding Feijoas, don't cook these, just add them raw into the apples after you have drained the water.

Combine first measure of sugar and cinnamon and mix well. Pour over apples and stir to disperse evenly through apples. Pour into the bottom of a baking dish.

Melt butter in a pot and add essence once butter is melted.
Combine the rest of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Flour, brown sugar, rolled oats, coconut, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Pour butter and vanilla into dry ingredients and mix together well - a fork is best to mix this.

I prefer to grate my own nutmeg.
You can buy it whole at the grocery store and then use a
microplane grater to grate fresh into your dessert.

Spread crumble over the top of the apples evenly and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the crumble is golden brown and the apples are bubbling.

Serve with whipped cream, custard or ice cream.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Nana Spencer's Chocolate Button Biscuits

My Nana - Eleanor Spencer - was a great cook and she believed in preserving family recipes. So many of our favourites were her mother's or grandmother's or Aunt's recipes brought down through the generations.

This one is one that we loved as children. My mother makes them a lot for her grandchildren and this week I taught Alice how to make them. It makes heaps (up to 50) and very simple.

Nana Spencer's Chocolate Button Biscuits

4 ounces butter
4 ounces sugar
5 ounces flour
2 good teaspoons coffee essence (or dissolve instant coffee in a tablespoon of boiling water)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch Salt
Dark Chocolate buttons

Preheat oven at 160 deg C.

Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy and creamy.
Mix in coffee essence and vanilla.
Add dry ingredients. Mix well.
Form small spoonfuls of mixture and roll into balls. Press one button into the centre, pushing dough flat.
Place in oven and cook for 10 -15 minutes. Watch as they burn easily.

Alice made this batch on Day 4 or Covid19 Quarantine.

Store in a clean, dry container. This is my favourite cookie container. It's so kiwi!

Friday, March 27, 2020

An American Amaretto Sour

I came late in life to the delights of alcoholic drinks. Because of that, I am yet to acquire a taste for wine - unless it's a really expensive Marlborough Pinot Gris.

I do however love Cocktails - I fell in love with them instantly, and have a lot of fun trying new ones.

We recently had some American friends visiting, just before Covid19 took over the world, and they introduced us to the delights of an Amaretto Sour. That's why I've called it an American Amaretto, but of course, it's probably universal! That first sip will have you swooning. It's a beautiful summer drink.

Amaretto Sour Recipe

(to make one)

2 ounces of Amaretto
1 ounce simple syrup
1 ounce lemon juice
Maraschino Cherries (one or two)

Sorry it's empty now, 😇 but it's usually a golden brown colour.

Late summer on Mt Maunganui beach. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Basic Waffle Recipe

Basic Waffle Recipe

2 cups flour
Pinch salt
4 eggs, separated
1 1/4 cups milk
Oil to spray waffle irons

Beat egg whites until stiff. Set aside.
Mix flour and salt, and then whisk egg yolks into flour gradually, finally adding milk gradually until you have a nice thick, smooth consistency.

Spray waffle irons with oil, and pour mixture in.
Cook as directed, according to your waffle iron instructions.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cranberry and Spinach Salad

Cranberry and Spinach Salad


1 TBSP butter
3/4 cup blanched and slivered almonds
1 pound spinach (or silver beet)
1 cup dried cranberries
2 TBSP toasted sesame seeds
1 TBSP poppy seeds

1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsps minced onion
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil


In a medium pot, melt butter. Cook and stir almonds in butter until toasted. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, toss the spinach with the toasted almonds and cranberries.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar and oil. Toss with spinach just before serving.

It's usually at it's best 24 hours later.

*Can also substitute cranberries with blueberries for variation.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Pisang Goreng (Fried Banana)

When I was living in Indonesia Pisang Goreng was one of my favourite treats.
I was so thrilled when a friend sent me the recipe. I tried it out and it's perfect. It takes a little bother but if you have a wok, it should be easier.

Pisang Goreng

1 1/4 cups flour
2 TBSP sugar
1/4 TBSP Vanilla powder
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
2 TBSP butter, melted
1 tsp rum flavouring
4 ripe bananas
2 cups oil for frying

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and vanilla.
Make a well in the center, and pour in milk, egg, melted buter and rum flavouring.
Mix until smooth. Fold in banana slices until evenly coated.
Heat oil in a wok or deep-fryer to 190 degC.
Drop banana mixture by tablespoon into hot oil. Fry until golden brown and crispy, 10-15 minutes.
Remove bananas from oil, and drain on paper towels. Serve hot.

Moroccan Roast Vegetables

Moroccan Roast Vegetables with Lemon Pepper and Mint Dressing


1 tsp Select Seasoning lemon and pepper, 60g
2 red capsicums, desseded and ccut into wedges
500g pumpkin, peeled and cut into chunks
1 red onion, cut into wedges
1 Eggplant, cut into chunks
3 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP Select Moroccan Seasoning
2 Courgettes, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed

Lemon Pepper and Mint Dressing

1 cup Greek yoghurt
1 tsp Select Mint Flakes
1 tsp honey

Preheat the oven to 200degC.
To prepare the dressing, combine all the ingredients and set aside.
Place the capsicums, pumpkin, onion and eggplant in a roasting dish. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with the Select Moroccan seasoning. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes.

Add the courgett slices and asparagus and cook for a further 15 minutes, or until the vegtables are tender and golden brown.

Drizzle over the Lemon Pepper and Mint Dressing and serve warm or as a salad.