Date Loaf

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Hullo!

I have a recipe* for you, and it’s a good ‘un! And – round of applause please – I even remembered to take a photo of the end result. Huzzah! I bring to you on this balmy Sunday afternoon some Date Loaf. This doesn’t last very long in our house and I wanted something for lunchboxes for more than a day, so I made a double mix. Mmm, get in my belly already…

INGREDIENTS

* 1 cup dates, chopped    * 1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed    * 2 tabs butter    * 1 tsp baking soda    * 1 cup boiling water    * 1 egg, beaten    * 3/4 cup SR flour    * 3/4 cup plain flour

METHOD

Set oven to 180 degrees.

Into a mixing bowl place the dates, sugar, butter and baking soda. Pour boiling water over and mix well. Allow to stand until almost cold.

Add the egg, then sift the flours in, and mix well.

Pour into a greased and floured (or use baking paper) loaf tin and cook for 40-45 minutes.

Best served with a lather of butter on each slice.

* Original recipe found in Day to Day Cookery

Self-crusting zucchini quiche

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This is something that our whole family enjoys and for those that have fussy eaters, the grated zucchini makes for a hidden veggie (well, fruit actually) that they don’t realise is in there.

INGREDIENTS

* 200g grated zucchini     * 1 finely chopped onion     * 1/2 cup grated tasty cheese     * 1/2 cup SR flour     * 1/4 cup vegetable oil     * 3 lightly beaten eggs     * pepper to taste

METHOD

Set oven to 180 degrees.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Put into a greased 23cm pie dish and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until set.

NOTE: This can be enjoyed hot or cold. You can also add in extras such as halved cherry tomatoes, chopped capsicum, corn kernels and so on.

This recipe is originally from Day to Day Cookery.

{Linking up to the Weekend Rewind with Maxabella Loves, Life, Love and Hiccups, Kelly Exeter & A Quirky Bird }

Favourite everyday cookbooks

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I love My Kitchen Rules. Certain people get on my nerves (can I say quietly, that I was not unhappy that Drasko and Bianca were kicked out) and I wonder if they sit back and watch the episodes thinking to themselves, “Wow. I was an unbelievably rotten person…”

Contestants are never going to get any love points from their competitors if they are nasty or score strategically. Just bloody score according to the food for goodness sake!

And you know what else? Cook what you know! If you know you are going on a cooking show, that is all you should do in the lead-up to it: cook, cook, cook. New things, old things, hard things, easy things. Sounding a bit Dr Seuss’ish here, aren’t I? It’s all well and good to cook something experimental for your abilities, but honestly? There is a good chance you’ll feck it up, get a low score and get kicked out.

Which brings me to what this post is actually about today! I do have quite a few recipes up my sleeves that I do not need an actual recipe in front of me for, but generally, my life is much easier if I can have a recipe to tell me exactly how much of everything I need to add etc. And so – cookbooks. Which are your favourites? I’m going to list what I have in my cupboard that get used on a regular basis:

Day to Day Cookery (fourth edition), I.M. Downes & Elaine Grant

We used an earlier edition at school for our home economics class. The recipes are simple to follow and cover many a dish! It was first published in 1980, so I think it is safe to say that this one is a keeper. You can find it online at Booktopia but I grabbed my copy at the local Newsagency. I think this is a perfect gift for a child moving out of home and who hasn’t really cooked a lot as yet. Although some of the recipes could quite possibly be rated as a bit bland, once you become more adept at using herbs, spices and so on, they can all be given a bit of an extra kick along to make them great.

Simple Chinese Cooking, Kylie Kwong

Who doesn’t eat Chinese? Get outta here if you don’t! Nah, just kidding {kinda 😉 } Anyway, back to business. Kylie’s recipes are super easy to make and absolutely scrumptious. Keep a variety of staple Asian ingredients in your fridge/cupboard and you’ll be whipping up some yummy Chinese at least once a week, if not more often. Can also be found at Booktopia.

The Instant Cook, Donna Hay

I mainly use the sweets section of this cookbook, but have definitely used the rest of inspiration on occasion. Yet again, simple recipes that are bound to please your taste buds. Buy here: Booktopia.

The Australian Women’s Weekly Kid’s Party Cakes

Surely everyone knows this one? Your mum probably had the version with a train on the front, and it was called Children’s Birthday Cake Book. My own mum made us a ‘fancy’ cake every year until we turned 10, and then we had to decorate a round cake by ourselves. I am doing this with my own kids now, and even if I do stay up until midnight cutting cakes to shape and adding more and more colour to make it PURPLE not BLUE, they think it is fantastic. I would much rather do this than pay between $50-$150 for a cake that none of them will eat because it has mock cream. Yeesh. It can be bought on the AWW Cookbook website.

Other cookbooks that I use on a less regular basis, but still often enough are:

* Jamie Oliver’s The Return of the Naked Chef AND 30 Minute Meals

* The Essential Pasta Cookbook, Murdoch Books

* The Pressure Cooker Recipe Book, Suzanne Gibbs

* Sauces Salsas & Dressings, The Australian Women’s Weekly

My family could quite easily eat Chinese or Italian food most nights without complaint. Now, I do have other cookbooks, but they should probably be put in the Vinnies bin. I was recently in the book section of Big Dub (AKA: Big W) and found myself Margaret Fulton’s Baking Classics for Mother’s Day, after seeing this recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake. I am salivating here…

Oh and we can’t forget the online sites. Taste.com.au probably uses a fair amount of our Internet data up each month.

Which brings it to your turn!

What are your favourite cookbooks? And any particular recipes within these books? Favourite online cooking site? Tell me in the comments 🙂

Five minute chocolate cake

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This recipe is super simple and literally takes five minutes to make (well, the putting together bit anyway!). I have no idea where it originally came from before Mum, but I am fairly certain I’m not giving away a great family secret.

Mum taught both of my brothers and I how to make this, and even the boys can still rattle off the ingredients as a cooking mantra: “Butter, sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla, cocoa, flour.”

I cook this with my kids now too, and I always go through the ingredients with them once they are in the bowl, “Ok, got the butter?” “Yep!” “Got the sugar?” “Yep!” And at the end I pop something different on: “Got the coconut?” “Ye – NO!!” They think it is the funniest thing ever…

INGREDIENTS

* 3 tab soft butter   * 1 cup sugar   *2 eggs   * 3/4 cup milk   * 1 tsp vanilla   * 2 & 1/2 tabs cocoa   * 1 & 1/4 cups SR flour

METHOD

Chuck it all in a food mixer for 3 minutes. If you have used raw sugar, it won’t hurt to beat for an extra couple of minutes to make sure it dissolves. Bake in oven at 180 degrees.

If cooking in a cake pan (the round 20.5cm pans work well), it will take around 25-30 minutes. If making as cupcakes, it is around 15-20 minutes – check with your skewer, if it comes out clean it’s ready!

Top with your favourite chocolate icing and you’re good to go.

Enjoy!