Saturday, 26 January 2013

Mango and coconut cakes

I am down to the last few mangoes from the huge box load that travelled home with us from the north coast.

We have been feasting on them for brekkie, tossing slices through salads and blitzing them with banana, yoghurt, honey and ice-cold milk in smoothies.

As a nod to Australia Day, I made a mango and coconut version of my apple tea cakes for a couple of the cafes I supply.

The few I had left over didn't last long around here!

I hope you like them too.

Happy Strayla Day!

Larissa x

Mango and Coconut Cakes

180g butter
1 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
2 cups self-raising flour
300ml (1 small carton) sour cream
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup shredded coconut plus extra for the tops
1 large ripe mango, flesh cut into even slices

Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper muffin cases or large patty pans.
Cream butter, sugar and vanilla in bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Add eggs and beat until just combined.
Add half the flour and sour cream and beat until just combined.
Repeat with remaining flour and sour cream and the milk, then stir through the coconut.
Spoon the mixture into prepared cases, filling to 3/4 mark.
Place 3-4 slices of mango across each cake and then scatter coconut evenly on top.
Bake for 25 mins or until golden.
Serve warm with honey yoghurt or double cream.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Green mango salad

I am in cruise mode, having snuck in a couple of weeks away with my Mum and baby boy while my generous hubby mans the Little Pudding ovens for me at home. I've said it before - I am a lucky lady!

My January holiday formula goes something like this: lots of swimming, sandcastles and reading plus the occasional massage and pedicure, a cocktail or two (usually many but not this year) and loads of good food. Food that heals and undoes the havoc wreaked in December.

It's so nice when the toughest decisions you'll face all day are beach vs pool, or what to throw on the barbecue for dinner!

My uncle lives locally on the north coast and he dropped in the other day with a bag full of mangoes, some green, some not, from a tree in his yard.

We decided a green mango salad would be perfect with barbecued snapper that night.

The next night, we made a sort of asian fish taco by flaking more barbecued snapper on top of salad greens and sliced shallots (scallions) on wraps. 

I would have used tortillas if they were at hand, but mountain bread did the trick. 

We spooned the mango salad on top of the fish, added a squeeze of lime and voila, we had a simple, delicious and healthy dinner.

Mum and Master N
We leave tomorrow and head back to reality and a busy year ahead with a new baby due for Mr LP and I in just under three months. Bring it 2013!
Larissa x

Green Mango Salad

2 green mangoes, julienned
1 fresh long red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
Handful of coriander leaves, roughly torn
Handful of mint leaves, roughly torn
Handful of basil leaves (preferably Holy basil if you can get it) roughly torn
Small piece of fresh ginger, finely grated
1 tablespoon crushed roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons fish sauce,
2 tablespoons lime juice,
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (or white wine vinegar is fine)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 small fresh red chilli, finely diced
1 clove garlic, crushed

Mix the sliced mango in a bowl with the long red chilli, coriander, mint, basil and ginger.
In a smaller bowl, mix together the fish sauce, lime juice, vinegar, brown sugar, small red chilli and garlic.
Combine the sauce and the mango mixture and gently stir.
Spoon over barbecued fish or chicken and scatter roasted peanuts on top.
Pairs brilliantly with a glass of crisp dry white or rose.

Thursday, 10 January 2013


I am heading north on the Pacific Highway as I type, humming to my Mum's choice of Bruce Springsteen and loving that these IPad thingys let me blog anywhere, anytime. There's nothing like a bit of Dancing in the Dark on the highway!

We are due to stop soon for a roadie. In pregnant lady speak, that means a coffee and a piece of this muesli slice I baked for the trip.

It's from Donna Hay's latest book, Fresh and Light, which I got for Christmas from Mr LP along with my sexy new IPad.

Donna calls them breakfast bars but I think they're an anytime alternative to commercial muesli bars. They're perfect for morning tea with a creamy latte. Yum.

Donna is going through a bit of a healthy phase in this book and her original recipe uses some ingredients I didn't have at hand like quinoa flakes, sunflower seeds and wheat germ, so I used natural muesli instead and have added a bit more fruit and some coconut.

We have broken our road trip into two, stopping in Port Macquarie for a couple of nights before this second leg to Salt in Kingscliff on the NSW far north coast.

I think this is the best way to tackle a long drive with a toddler.

We do this trip each year and I look forward to it for months. Two weeks of beach, sun, books, well-earned rest and nothing more to do than play with my boy. He is growing up so fast. They're precious, these times.

Larissa x

Muesli Slice
(Recipe adapted from "Breakfast Bars" in Fresh and Light by Donna Hay, 2012)

1 1/2 cups natural muesli - no fruit (I used Macro brand)
1/2 cups flaked almonds
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup sultanas
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup plain wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 160C.
Place the muesli and almonds on a baking tray lined with non stick baking paper and bake for 10 mins until light golden. Allow to cool.
Place the flour, baking powder, brown sugar, coconut, raisins, sultanas, cranberries and cinnamon in a bowl and stir to combine. Add the oil, egg and vanilla and stir until smooth.
Add the muesli and almonds and stir to combine.
Spoon mixture into a 20cm x 30cm slice tin lined with non stick baking paper.
Bake for 20-25 mins or until golden brown. Cool in tin.
Turn out slice onto a chopping board and cut into bars to serve. Makes 12-16 bars.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

White nectarine and strawberry tart

Happy New Year!

You won't find too many new year's resolutions that involve baking, but mine does. 

In 2013, I'm resolving to be more adventurous in the kitchen. To push the boundaries a little, challenge myself and learn more.

At least, that's the plan before our second baby arrives somewhere between mid April and May :) After this, I can promise nothing. If the first one is anything to go by, I'll be struggling to find time to order take away!

To kick off 2013, here is a tart that smacks of summer. It's full of juicy white nectarines and fat strawberries that pair beautifully with sweet frangipane.

We had friends and family over for lunch on New Year's Day so I had an excuse to make it.  

Lazy summer lunches are the best, don't you agree??

Have you made a new year's/kitchen resolution?

Larissa x

White Nectarine and Strawberry Tart
(Recipe adapted from Karen Martini's Peach Crostata published in Sunday Life Magazine, 2011)

250g plain flour
50g icing sugar
125g cold butter, cut into cubes
1 egg
dash of milk

3 White nectarines (or peaches)
1 tbsp caster sugar
4-5 large strawberries, sliced
2 tbsp apricot jam, warmed

125g butter
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
325g almond meal
1 tbsp self-raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp (20mls) brandy

For pastry: 
Preheat oven to 180C.

Place flour and icing sugar in a food processor. Blitz until combined.
Add butter and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Lightly whisk together the egg and milk. Add to the processor and pulse until the mixture just comes together as dough.
Place dough on a lightly floured surface and shape it gently into a thick disk (do not knead).
Cover in cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 mins. 
Roll pastry dough out on a lightly floured surface to even 1.5mm thickness. 
Gently place pastry into a 28cm round tart tin (I do this by rolling the pastry onto my rolling pin, placing the tart tin beneath, and unrolling the pastry over the tin to fit). Trim excess edges and place tart tin in the freezer for 8-10 mins for pastry to firm up. 
Blind bake the tart shell using baking paper and baking weights or rice for 10 mins.
Remove from oven and spread the base and inside sides of tart with warmed apricot jam.

For nectarines:
Cut nectarines into 5mm slices, place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and sprinkle with caster sugar. Roast for 8 minutes in 180C oven. Remove from oven and cool.

For frangipane:
Cream butter and sugar in food processor until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, beat until combined, then add almond meal, flour, vanilla and brandy. Mix until all combined.
Place frangipane in a piping bag fitted with a star shaped nozzle.

To assemble:
Place a ring of overlapping white nectarines around the rim of the empty tart shell.
Pipe a circle of frangipane around the nectarines, then place a ring of strawberry slices inside the frangipane. Repeat with circles of nectarines and frangipane until all mixture is used.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
Brush with remaining apricot jam while tart is still warm. 
Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream.

A Christmas Wrap

It's that lazy time of Christmas Day when everyone is fat and sleepy. I am no exception, curled up on the couch playing with my new present - a flash new IPad from Mr LP. Very spoilt!

I was aiming to post more recipes this festive season but my crazy business has been frantic. It's so lovely to stop for a while and take a breath!

I do, however, have a little something up my sleeve for anyone with leftover pudding to use up.

I gave these cute cherry brandy truffles to my lovely cafe customers as a sweet thank you for their support this year.

For anyone with New Year's catering coming up, they're a quick and delish treat to serve with coffee or liqueur after dinner.

Wishing you all a safe and happy Christmas,

Larissa x

Cherry Brandy Truffles
(Recipe based on Nigella's Christmas Pudding Puddini Bon Bons in her book, "Nigella's Christmas.")

200g dark chocolate, melted
2 1/2 cups crumbled cooked and cooled Christmas Pudding
1/4 cup brandy
1 tablespoon golden syrup
100g white chocolate, melted
100g or 1/2 cup dried sour cherries, snipped into small slivers
Silver balls to decorate

Mix the melted dark chocolate together with the pudding, brandy and golden syrup.
Roll the mix into small balls and place on a baking tray lined with non-stick paper.
Place in the fridge to firm up.
For topping, gently spoon a small amount of white chocolate over each truffle and top with a silver ball and two slices of cherry.
Store in fridge until ready to serve.
Truffles will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.