Pulled Pork Baked Beans

Pulled Pork Baked Beans

Ahhh Baked Beans. I think almost everyone has some memory or association with them, whether it was an after school snack or a favourite on the buffet breakfast… but not me. I was a fussy kid and the list of things I didn’t like was probably longer than what I would eat. I’ve grown out of a lot of my food fussiness but unless there is a literal apocalypse, I don’t think I’ll ever willingly reach for a can of baked beans. 

It was completely surreal walking around the supermarket in mid-March, during the height of pandemic panic buying. Toilet paper was the first to go, then pasta and baked beans soon followed. As with most things, the homemade version is a million times better and that is what I want to share with you today!

Pulled Pork Baked Beans

Pulled pork baked beans.

Perfect on toast with a little crumbled fetta, but you could also serve alongside poached eggs and roasted tomato if you’re missing cafe style brunches. If you want to get technical, my version is actually not baked. It’s simmered in a slightly sweet, slightly spicy tomato sauce, thanks to flavour-packed ingredients like golden syrup, smoky paprika and cayenne pepper.

I had all of these ingredients already in my pantry so I think it’s great for times like these. However feel free to make substitutions if you don’t have everything on hand. I always like to make recipes that are flexible because I never cook something the same way twice! Just make it work with what you have, taste along the way and make it your own.

Pulled Pork Baked Beans

I like the big fat butter beans but cannellini, navy or pinto beans are all great options too. You may need to adjust the cooking time to 15 minutes since these beans are smaller. You could probably even try this with chickpeas in a pinch. If you are using dried beans, prepare as you normally would by soaking first and pre-cooking until almost tender before adding to the sauce in this recipe.

Some other substitutions for you. Golden syrup can be switched out with maple syrup, honey or even a little brown sugar. If you like it really smoky you could add some treacle or blackstrap molasses. I used malt vinegar but you could try apple cider vinegar or even balsamic. No fresh herbs? Dried thyme or rosemary are totally good too. If you like it spicy, add chipotle in adobo, a splash of your favourite hot sauce or as much cayenne as you can handle!

Let me preface this by saying, I almost always have pre-cooked pulled pork in the freezer. I’m not sharing the recipe for that today, but please comment if you would like me to post in the future. Instead of pulled pork you could fry up some diced bacon or speck with the onions in Step 1. You could also substitute with any other kind of shredded slow cooked meat (chicken or brisket would be good). If you are vegan, try using pulled jackfruit. Failing everything else, the beans in this delicious tomato sauce are still a winner! 

Pulled Pork Baked Beans

Not only is this recipe really quick and easy to prepare, but it makes a generous 4-5 servings. So you can #mealprep this in advance and heat it up for a super quick breakfast, brunch or even breakfast for dinner! If you are home-schooling your kids this recipe could make a great easy lunch too. These pulled pork baked beans are hearty and comforting and keep you satisfied for a really long time. I would recommend heating it on the stove not the microwave because I did not realise that beans can explode… Let’s just say I learned that one the hard way and had a huge mess to clean!

I hope you enjoy this recipe and that you’re keeping safe at home during these uncertain times. Please leave me a comment below if you have any specific recipe requests. Tag me on Instagram @spicyicecream if you give this one a try!

Related Post: Carrot Cake Ricotta Pancake

Pulled Pork Baked Beans

Pulled Pork Baked Beans are a hearty and comforting meal for any time of day, using ingredients you probably have in your pantry!

Course Breakfast, Brunch
Keyword Australian, Breakfast, Simple Dinners
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cans butter beans
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons golden syrup or maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoky paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne or chilli flakes, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons malt vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup pulled pork

To serve

  • Sourdough bread
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Fetta cheese, crumbled
  • Fresh thyme leaves, extra (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a medium frypan, add the onion and cook until translucent. Drain and rinse the beans and add to the pan with the thyme leaves.
  2. Add the can of tomatoes, golden syrup, paprika, garam masala, cayenne if using, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, tomato paste and salt and pepper. Simmer for 10-15 minutes and then taste for seasoning. Add the pulled pork and heat for a further 5 minutes. Add a little water or stock if the sauce becomes too thick.
  3. To serve, brush slices of sourdough with olive oil and toast in a frypan or in the oven until golden brown. Pile the toast high with a generous spoonful of baked beans. Drizzle with a little olive oil and scatter with crumbled fetta and fresh thyme.

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake (Gluten Free)

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake

At this time of year I would usually be elbow deep in cinnamon roll dough with warm spice aromas coming from the oven and filling my apartment. But you may have noticed that 2020 is not like other years. There is the biggest worldwide crisis in a century happening affecting almost everything about day to day life. My heart goes out to all those who are suffering with illness and unemployment among all the other stresses right now. 

I have been keeping a daily gratitude journal for years and have continued to do so in these crazy times. Some days I write three things and other days I write three pages. These days I am especially grateful for the little things that are easy to take for granted. If you are feeling stressed and anxious, I would recommend grabbing a notebook giving this a try. Even though this situation is scary with so many unknowns, shifting your brain into a feeling of gratitude for even a short time can really help.

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake

There have been several weeks of grocery shortages and supply issues here in Australia, as I’m sure there have been all over the world. Toilet paper was the first to go, followed by pasta, cleaning products, canned and frozen food. It was crazy to see the grocery shelves stripped bare. I’ve managed to find everything I needed except flour for over a month, but I still wanted to bake something special.

Enter this delicious Flourless Orange and Almond Cake. This is a lovely cake for Easter, Mother’s Day, a birthday celebration or even just a weekend cooking project. I adapted the recipe from a Donna Hay recipe that I’ve been making for years. The original recipe does require a small amount of flour and I’ve made it this way many times with great success. But I wanted to see if it would work completely flourless too, and it turned out great. I will link to the original and share the changes I made in the recipe below.

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake

When I first made the cake I was intrigued because whole oranges are cooked, deseeded and then pureed whole. Then the rest of the cake ingredients are added to the same food processor, so it’s ridiculously easy to make. If you are stuck indoors and new to baking, cakes rarely get simpler than this, so it’s perfect for newbie bakers. As I mentioned, I made this one totally flourless so it becomes gluten free. The almond meal gives the cake a beautiful crumb while keeping it nice and moist. 

The original cake is served warm with a sweet orange syrup but I decided to go all out on decorating! Firstly I baked it in two layers, which I think it pretty but optional. Then I made a super easy whipped mascarpone icing and topped the cake with fresh figs, raspberries, pomegranate, chopped pistachios and rose petals to make it really special. I’m not that great at cake decorating but I truly love how this turned out. 

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake

If you want to experiment further you could try this with other citrus fruit or other nut meals. I think a combination of almond and pistachio would be really nice! You could also halve the recipe if you are isolating solo, or make this as individual mini cakes. You could try a chocolate ganache icing for a jaffa cake vibe or maybe an orange blossom buttercream. The options are endless!

Update – I did find flour last night, and practically did a happy dance in Coles. Maybe there will be cinnamon rolls afterall! 

Related Post: Blueberry Crumble Cake

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake

This delicious Flourless Orange and Almond Cake is perfect for Easter, Mother's Day or birthday celebrations. It's also gluten free!

Course Cake, Dessert
Keyword Cake, Dessert
Prep Time 1 day 45 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 day 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 2 oranges, washed well
  • 125 g butter
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups ground almonds, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mascarpone Icing

  • 250 g mascarpone
  • 1 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon rose water or orange blossom water (optional)

Decorations

  • Fresh figs, cut into quarters or eighths
  • Fresh raspberries
  • Pomegranate arils
  • Finely chopped pistachios
  • Edible dried rose petals

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Line the base of two 20cm cake tins with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Place the oranges in a saucepan of water, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until soft. Remove from the water and chop roughly, removing any seeds.
  3. Process the orange, butter, sugar, eggs, ground almonds, flour and baking powder in a food processor until smooth. I have a small food processor so I had to process the oranges first and transfer to a large bowl, and then process the remaining cake ingredients separately and mix them together.
  4. Spoon the mixture evenly into the prepared cake tins and bake for 45 minutes-1 hour or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Set aside to cool in the tins for 20 minutes and then remove and cool completely.
  5. To make the icing, beat the mascarpone, sifted icing sugar, vanilla and rose/orange blossom water if using until combined.
  6. Place one cake upside down on a plate and spread 1/3 of the icing over the top with a flat spatula. Top with the second cake and then spread a thin layer of icing over the sides for a “naked cake” effect.
  7. Spread the remaining icing over the top and then decorate with figs, raspberries, pomegranate, pistachios and rose petals.

Chai, Fig and Almond Biscotti

What weird times we suddenly find ourselves living in. The Coronavirus situation is changing rapidly. Each day brings updates, new rules and guidelines. Where I live in Sydney Australia all non-essential businesses close today and there are talks of stricter lockdowns being enforced. The supermarket shelves are pretty much empty. I never thought I’d see the day when flour and pasta would be hard to find. It took me four days to find a bag of sugar, and I am one of the lucky ones who is still healthy and able to visit the supermarket, at least for the moment.

On the work front, you may or may not know that all of my clients are in the hospitality industry. Bars, cafes and restaurants have been hit really hard so all upcoming work has been cancelled. Things are uncertain and a little bit scary. But to keep sane, I am looking at this as an opportunity to keep busy working my own projects right now.

Chai, Fig and Almond Biscotti

I would also love to help YOU and share heaps of new content here. I have been wanting to make recipe videos, update older content and definitely be more consistent on this platform.

Do you need easy recipes with pantry staples?

Do you want to know how to make more from scratch? 

That is what I love to do and I feel like I’ve been preaching about cooking from scratch for years. I have been wanting to share more content like this and it seems like this is the time it could really help my community the most.

Chai, Fig and Almond Biscotti

If you want any specific recipes or tips, please leave me a comment below or send me a message on my Instagram @spicyiceream. I really want to help the people who may be new to cooking from scratch navigate this new challenge and help more people feel confident in the kitchen. Most of all, I know we are all in this together and will come out the other side. Hopefully with some new kitchen skills that will serve us well for the rest of our lives!

And now onto today’s recipe. I made this Chai, Fig and Almond Biscotti a couple of weeks ago, which feels like another lifetime at this point. I’m sharing this recipe now because if you’re anything like me, baking calms me down. It helps my stress and anxiety levels like nothing else.

Chai, Fig and Almond Biscotti

I love a weekend baking project because I get so much satisfaction from the process AND the result. And conveniently, this recipe is also made with pretty much all pantry staples, so if you still have access to those, then I hope you will give this delicious biscotti recipe a try!

Almond Biscotti was one of the first few recipes I ever published on my blog and a treat that I will always love. It means “twice baked” because of the two step process. First the dough is formed into a log shape and baked for the first time. Then it is cooled, sliced with a serrated knife into thin biscuits and baked again until golden and crisp.

Chai, Fig and Almond Biscotti

Another reason I love this recipe is that it is super adaptable. While I loved the flavour combination of warming chai spices with almonds and figs, I also love recipes that still work perfectly even if you have to substitute out an ingredient here and there. Almond biscotti is a classic but you might not have almonds in your pantry right now! You can substitute hazelnuts or pistachios instead.

I think cranberries, sour cherries or apricots would work nicely in place of dried figs. And feel free to experiment with the spices too. I used ground chai tea with a little extra cinnamon in my version. The dark chocolate drizzle is not strictly necessary, but it is very delicious. I think they are the perfect afternoon treat. A little sweet, nice and crunchy and perfect with a cup of tea.

Stay safe out there, remember to wash your hands and please leave a comment below if there is any specific content you would like me to create.

Related Post: Earl Grey Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chai, Fig and Almond Biscotti

These delicious and crunchy Chai, Fig and Almond Biscotti are made with pantry staple ingredients and are perfect with a cup of tea or coffee.

Course Cookies
Keyword Cookies
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 40 biscuits

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup almonds
  • ¼ cup dried figs, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chai tea, finely ground and sifted
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 100 g dark chocolate, melted, for drizzling

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (320°F).
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder together in a bowl. Add sugar, almonds, figs, ground tea and cinnamon, and stir together. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well to form a dough. Divide the dough in two. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead each piece until smooth. Shape into logs and flatten slightly.
  3. Place the logs on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool completely. If not completely cool, it will be crumbly when you slice it. Cut the logs into 5mm thick slices with a serrated knife and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the biscotti are crisp. Cool completely.
  4. When biscuits are cooled, drizzle with the melted chocolate on a baking paper lined tray until set. If the weather is warm, you may need to refrigerate them briefly. Store in an airtight container and serve with a cup of tea or coffee.

Peach Crumble Cake

Peach Crumble Cake

Can you still say Happy New Year when it’s almost the end of January? I think it’s ok since this is my first post of the year. I took an (unexpected) extended break from my blog and social media after the holidays. It was actually really nice to recharge my creativity and cook for fun without thinking about recipe testing! But now I have so many ideas for new recipes and we’re starting off on a high note with this delicious Peach Crumble Cake!

If you have been reading for a while, you’ll know that cooking with summer fruit is my favourite. I could talk about stone fruit all day, just don’t ask me to pick a favourite. For me, the summer is split up in terms of seasonal fruit. December is all about cherries and berries, January is peaches and nectarines. February is about mangoes and tropical fruit and then late summer usually has the most beautiful figs and plums. We’re definitely spoiled for choice and I’m here for it all!

Peach Crumble Cake

Today’s recipe is a variation on my favourite Blueberry Crumble Cake. There are three delicious layers here – the soft cake layer that comes together so easily from things you probably already have in your pantry. This time I doubled the cinnamon and added some ginger because it’s so delicious with peaches.

Next I layered ripe fresh peach slices over the cake batter. They soften and bubble as they bake in the oven to almost a jammy consistency. Don’t be shy with the fruit – the more the better! You could even double the amount if you really like peaches! I hope you’ll give it a try before peach season (and picnic season) are over, but really, this cake is great any time of year with whatever fruit is in season. Or maybe try a combination – peach AND blueberry next time??

Peach Crumble Cake

The top layer is a delicious crunchy crumble – with some pistachios added in this time around. It is also generously spiced with ginger and cinnamon and bakes up beautiful and golden in the oven.

I opted to bake it in a round tin instead of a square this time for something different. But in essence, this cake has everything I love about the original and more. It’s perfect for taking to summer picnics or as a treat with a nice cup of tea. It’s a great snacking cake.

Peach Crumble Cake

As I said in my last post, I love how versatile and easy this cake is. I love to change up the spices a little depending what fruit I’m using. Rhubarb with ginger. Pear and cardamom. Star anise and pineapple. And almost anything goes with cinnamon! Serve the crumble cake warm or at room temperature, plain or with a scoop of ice cream or dollop of whipped cream. 

If you try this recipe, I’d love if you could leave me a comment and a rating below, or tag me on Instagram @spicyicecream! It seriously makes my day to see you guys trying my recipes out!

Related Post: Pear and Pistachio Crumble with White Chocolate

Peach Crumble Cake

Peach Crumble Cake

This Peach Crumble Cake is perfect for summer picnics. It's simple to make and super delicious with a hint of cinnamon and ginger.

Course Dessert
Keyword Cake, Dessert
Servings 8 people

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 55 g butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup pouring cream
  • 1 ½ cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3-4 fresh peaches, sliced into eighths

Crumble

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 55 g butter softened
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease a 20 x 20cm (8 x 8 inch) pan. Cream together the sugar, butter, egg and vanilla extract.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger in a medium bowl. In another bowl or jug, combine milk and cream. Add flour mixture to the butter in thirds, alternating with milk, starting and ending with flour. Pour batter into the pan. Top with a layer of sliced peaches.

  3. To make the crumble topping, combine the sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter. Rub butter into the mixture with your fingertips, and then add the pistachios and combine. Sprinkle evenly over the peaches.

  4. Bake for 30-40 minutes until crumble is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool in the baking tin for 10 minutes before cutting into slices.

Best Recipes of 2019

Spicyicecream Best Recipes 2019

I’m not sure what day it is and I’ve definitely eaten too many fruit mince pies, but I love the time between Christmas and New Years. It just feels so relaxed, the perfect time to do some reflection, journalling and goal setting for the year ahead. I honestly can’t believe that I’ve been writing this little blog since 2007 and we’re now heading into 2020! My little baby blog turns 13 in July!

I am really proud of the recipes I shared – 25 posts in total this year. There were breakfast ideas, drinks, jam, pickles and some delicious simple dinners. I am always seeking to improve my cooking, baking, preserving, styling and photography skills and share what I’ve learned here.

I just want to say THANK YOU for reading my new posts, trying my recipes, tagging me in your photos on Instagram and supporting me here for so many years. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. I hope you have a lovely start to your New Year, and without further ado, here are my best recipes of 2019!

Raspberry and Ricotta Baked French Toast

1. Raspberry and Ricotta Baked French Toast

When I still lived at home we had a tradition for Easter, Christmas, Mother’s Day and birthday breakfasts to make something special and different from the day to day. I had these memories in mind when I made this recipe. I love that this French Toast can be assembled the night before and just popped into the oven while the coffee brews. The addition of raspberry jam and ricotta was so delicious. I just know I will be making this again over and over.

My Favourite Homemade Zucchini Pickles

2. My Favourite Homemade Zucchini Pickles

Pickling and preserving has become a massive passion of mine over the years. I can’t believe it took me this long to share my absolute favourite pickle recipe! This uses zucchini instead of cucumber and it’s perfect on burgers, toasties, sandwiches and cheese boards. Making things from scratch is so satisfying. You definitely don’t need to live on a farm or even grow your own veggies to be into preserving. I really encourage you to give homemade pickles a try in 2020!

Pimms Cup Spider Ice Cream Float

3. Pimm’s Cup ‘Spider’ Ice Cream Float

Now this is a fun little drink. One of my best recipes of 2019 was this Pimm’s Cup Ice Cream Float. Here in Australia, we call it a ‘Spider’ and I grew up drinking them as a kid. This boozy version is a grown up take and made me feel all kinds of nostalgia. It’s a cocktail and a dessert all in the one glass! I love boozy desserts and dessert inspired cocktails, so this ticks all the boxes for me.

Sticky Date Smoothie Bowl

4. Sticky Date Smoothie Bowl

A Smoothie Bowl is a great way to get in some nutrients first thing in the morning and this one is like eating dessert for breakfast! Sticky Date Pudding is my favourite dessert ever. It’s the most delicious smoothie I’ve ever made! But what’s a smoothie bowl without toppings? You want taste as well as texture in every spoonful so I topped it with fresh figs, homemade granola, almonds and a drizzling of rice malt syrup.

Hot Cross Bun Pull Apart Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze

5. Hot Cross Bun Pull Apart Bread

This was a fun Easter recipe – like a Hot Cross Bun and a cinnamon roll had a baby. The filling tastes exactly like a hot cross bun with brown sugar, spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and mixed spice, fresh orange zest and plump sultanas. There’s something about the beginning of autumn that makes me want to get in the kitchen and bake. And this will definitely make your kitchen smell amazing as it cooks!

Creamy Chicken Pesto with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

6. Creamy Chicken Pesto

I decided to re-photograph and republish one of my earliest recipes and I’m so glad I did. I can easily say I’ve made this recipe more than 150 times over the last decade! It’s one of my favourite quick weeknight dishes that has definitely stood the test of time. The pesto sauce comes together in less time than it takes to boil water and cook pasta. This one has also been very popular on Pinterest, so I hope you have tried it too!

Pear and Pistachio Crumble with White Chocolate

7. Pear and Pistachio Crumble with White Chocolate

Every winter, crumble seems to be my go-to dessert because it’s endlessly adaptable, always delicious and super comforting. This Pear and Pistachio Crumble is something special. I love the in-season fruit cooked with dessert wine and a hint of cardamom and rosewater. The crumble topping is perfectly buttery and crisp with the addition of pistachios and coconut. Plus, it’s easy, which is a big tick in my book!

Fruit Mince Crumble Pies

8. Fruit Mince Crumble Pies

My most recent favourite recipe, I ended up making FIVE batches of these babies over the Christmas season. Literally everyone said they were the best fruit mince pies they’d ever tried. What an incredible compliment! I loved the boozy, spiced fruit filling with fresh lemon zest and ginger and the crunchy crumble topping that turns golden brown in the oven. I know I am going to get requests to make these for years to come!

Pandan Crinkle Cookies

Pandan Crinkle Cookies

There’s something about the festive season that just screams cookies! From gingerbread and speculoos to shortbread and linzer cookies and everything in between. But one particular kind of festive cookie has always caught my eye, and yet I had never tried…

Crinkle cookies!

I wanted to do something different to chocolate or red velvet crinkle cookies that you often see this time of year and immediately thought of Pandan with it’s lovely green colour and soft floral taste.

Is Pandan really a Christmas flavour? I say why not?! The lovely green colour seems pretty festive to me. Here in Australia, tropical fruits like mango and passionfruit are just as much Christmas as cranberries and cherries. This beautiful South-East Asian ingredient is often described as “Asian vanilla”.

Pandan Crinkle Cookies

I like to keep some pandan leaves in the freezer to add when cooking rice or infusing into coconut cream, but in baking I prefer to use pandan extract. It’s the easiest way to get both colour and flavour into my dish. The extract is also easier to find than the fresh leaves. I have always been able to find it in my local Asian grocery.

In my research for the best way to make these cookies, there was several differing opinions. Some recipes needed an overnight rest in the fridge and others said to bake straight away. Some bloggers preferred to use vegetable oil instead of butter and many more still were just adapting a packet cake mix. We like to make things from scratch around here, so when I found Queen of Cookies Broma Bakery, I knew I could trust her! She definitely knows her stuff when it comes to all things cookie related.

Pandan Crinkle Cookies

It’s a really simple recipe that comes together super quickly for those #lastminutechristmas vibes. You could definitely get away with making a big batch of these on Christmas Eve! I really liked the double dip of caster sugar and THEN icing sugar which helped to get an extra snow-white crinkle appearance. You can’t really use too much icing sugar here! If you don’t use enough, it will dissolve into the cookie itself, so you want a thick, even layer to get those distinct beautiful crackles in the surface.

The original recipe says not to chill the dough but I found a short 10-15 minute rest in the fridge gave me the perfect size cookie that spread a little in the oven but not too much. However it is summer here, so room temperature is on the warm side right now. I would also reduce the oven temperature to 160°C and cook them for a few minutes longer to avoid the slight browning at the edges (which wouldn’t be noticeable on a chocolate cookie).

Pandan Crinkle Cookies

You may have figured out that I’m very into homemade Christmas gifts and cookies are just perfect for sharing. I also love the idea of sharing new flavours with your friends who may have never tried Pandan before! Served warm from the oven they were super gooey and soft, but got a nice chewy texture and slightly crisp exterior when cooled completely. The flavour was also more pronounced when the cookies had cooled.

For a special treat why not make my Pandan version AND Broma Bakery’s Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies? They would look so festive when stacked together or packaged in a tin, alternating green and red cookies!

Related Post: Candy Cane & Gingerbread Stuffed Cheesecake Cookies

Pandan Crinkle Cookies

Pandan Crinkle Cookies

Classic Christmas Cookies with a twist! These Pandan Crinkle Cookies use a delicious South-East Asian ingredient that has a floral taste and beautiful, festive green colour.

Course Cookies
Keyword Christmas, Cookies
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 112 g butter softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pandan extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 2 1/3 cups plain all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar powdered sugar/confectioner’s sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F). Line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and caster sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl and beating well to fully combine.
  3. Add the pandan extract and coconut extract and mix to combine.
  4. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and then mix again until combined.
  5. Fill two smaller bowls with caster sugar in one and icing sugar in the other. Use an ice cream scoop or tablespoon to scoop cookie dough. Roll the balls in caster sugar first and then into the icing sugar to coat generously. You can’t really use too much icing sugar here. Place on the baking tray, leaving at least 3-4 cm gap between them for cookies to spread in the oven.
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes until cookies have a crackled top but are still a little soft in the center. Allow to cool completely. Repeat with remaining mixture until all cookies are baked.

Fruit Mince Crumble Pies

The first time I made fruit mince pies was nine years ago. It’s amazing how this blog is kind of like the story book of my life over the last decade. I had forgotten that I made them at my Mum’s request (aka blatant hinting) and that the recipe had estimated a yield of 24 pies but ended up being closer to 60! That meant I had plenty to bring to the annual Sydney Food Bloggers Picnic, where I offered one to Denéa and she became one of my best friends to this day. The original recipe is still up in the archives! The photos are a little cringe-worthy, but the trip down memory lane was so worth it.

Before making them from scratch, I didn’t even like fruit mince pies. But that all changed when I stirred together dried fruit, spices and booze. I was surprised that I couldn’t keep my spoon out of the bowl! I ate one warm from the oven and never looked back.

This year, I think I have done even better! Everyone who has tried one so far has said they are the best fruit mince pies they have ever had – me included! They are much better than any store-bought version and I had so much fun making them.

Fruit Mince Crumble Pies

Now lets talk about the filling. I wanted to use the dried fruit that I already had on hand. I rummaged through the pantry and found sultanas, cranberries, dates and dried apricots. A good start. The thing I like about recipes like this is that you can definitely adapt it to use your favourite fruit or what you have in the cupboard. Dried cherries, figs or plums would be great too! As long as the combined total weight is about the same, you can use any ratio of fruit.

In addition to the usual spice suspects – cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg – I also added Chinese five spice which contains star anise, cloves, fennel, pepper and yet more cinnamon. I also used freshly grated ginger for a zing that really worked nicely. Instead of dried mixed peel, I added fresh lemon zest.

I used my favourite vanilla pastry, which has never failed me for fruit pies and tarts. The biscuity texture was just perfect with these pies. If nothing else, save this post for the pastry recipe. It is a dream to work with – even for delicate lattice crusts. It comes together in minutes in the food processor and bakes up golden brown and beautiful every time.

Fruit Mince Crumble Pies

You can definitely make the fruit mince mixture a few days ahead and leave it in the fridge to infuse. But in keeping with the theme of Last Minute Christmas Recipes, I only let it sit for an hour, and it was still absolutely delicious. 

I feel like booze can make or break a Christmas dessert. I never liked the brandy-laden traditional Christmas fruitcake. I think the most important thing is to use what you like! In the original recipe I used port but this time I went with a nice spiced rum that I love to drink. You can also use whisky, dessert wine, stout or muscat. If you prefer not to use alcohol, you can use orange juice or even black tea!

You know how much I love a good crumble topping on cakes or pies and it’s no different here. I loved the hint of cinnamon and their slightly rustic appearance. I made them in a muffin tray and got nine extra large pies, piled high with fruit mince and crumble. Depending on the size of your tray you could get 12 or 24. They’re also delicious warm from the oven with a scoop of ice cream, or at room temperature. They would make seriously excellent homemade Christmas gifts!

Related Post: No Churn Christmas Pudding Bombe Alaska

Fruit Mince Crumble Pies

Fruit Mince Crumble Pies

These Fruit Mince Crumble Pies are filled with fruit, spices and booze with with a crunchy crumble topping. They are the best fruit mince pies I've ever made!

Course Dessert
Keyword Christmas, Pies & Tarts
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes

Ingredients

Vanilla Pastry

  • 225 g plain flour
  • 60 g pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 112 g cold butter, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 3-4 tablespoons iced water

Fruit Mince Filling

  • 200 g sultanas
  • 100 g dried cranberries
  • 80 g dates, de-seeded and chopped
  • 80 g dried apricots or peaches, finely chopped
  • 150 g brown sugar
  • 1 apple, grated
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice (or mixed spice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger, fresh
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 50 g butter, melted
  • 30 ml spiced rum (see note)

Crumble Topping

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 55 g butter, softened

Instructions

  1. To make the vanilla pastry, combine flour, icing sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add 3-4 tablespoons iced water and vanilla extract and pulse until mixture just combines. Turn onto a lightly floured surface, form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. To make the fruit mince filling mixture, place all ingredients into a bowl and mix well to fully combine. Set aside for at least 30 minutes to infuse. You can make this days ahead and keep covered in the fridge if you like!

  3. Roll out the pastry to about 3mm thick and cut out circles. I used 9cm circles for my large muffin tin. Repeat until you have used all the pastry. This pastry re-rolls very nicely. Just place it back in the fridge for a few minutes if it becomes too warm. Place the tray in the fridge until ready to use.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Divide the fruit mince mixture evenly between the pastry cases.
  5. To make the crumble, combine the sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter. Rub butter into the mixture with your fingertips. Spread evenly over top of the fruit mince pies.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating at the halfway point, until pastry and crumble are golden brown. Allow to cool completely in the tray and then remove. Store in an air-tight container for up to 1 week.

Recipe Notes

You can use whisky, dessert wine or muscat in place of rum. If you prefer not to use alcohol, you can use orange juice or black tea!

Almost No Bake Christmas Cheesecake with Biscoff Crust

Almost No Bake Christmas Cheesecake

I feel that the holiday season brings out two very different kinds of personalities. There are those who get right into the festivities, putting the decorations up really early, have Christmas music playing, shopping and wrapping done by early December and always have some kind of seasonal snack on hand.

Then there are the people who bemoan the presence of Christmas stuff in the shops in September, get their tree up the week before Christmas (if at all) and are shopping on Christmas Eve. And don’t even start with the Christmas music and movies! I’m usually the latter, but for some reason this year I’m kinda getting into the festive sprit! I’d love to know, which one are you??

Almost No Bake Christmas Cheesecake

Last minute Christmas peeps, I’ve totally got you. This festive cheesecake topped with raspberries and cherries is the perfect last minute dessert. It comes together so quickly and easily, with barely any baking. The crust only needs about 15 minutes in the oven and then the simple cheesecake filling just has to chill out in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. This is the kind of dessert you can make on Christmas Eve and still steal the show! 

Almost No Bake Christmas Cheesecake

The Biscoff crust is a revelation. Lotus Biscoff cookies and the much hyped cookie butter have become very popular lately. Cookie butter. Don’t those two words just make your mouth water?! It is super on trend right now thanks to Instagram. I’ve seen cookie butter used in all kinds of creative dessert recipes lately!

The spiced biscuits are like Dutch speculoos cookies, which are made around St Nicholas’ Day in early December. Traditional speculoos cookies contain a lot of the spices I’ve come to think of as festive like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and black pepper. I just knew the biscuits would make an excellent Christmas Cheesecake base.

Almost No Bake Christmas Cheesecake

The filling could not be simpler – I just mixed softened cream cheese with some cream and sour cream (you can also use creme fraiche), icing sugar and lots of vanilla. The sour cream cuts the richness and sweetness, which I really liked. There’s no eggs and no baking required! I refrigerated it for about 3 hours (really last minute here!) but chilling overnight would be better to ensure that the filling is nicely set and cuts into beautiful slices.

I topped this Christmas Cheesecake with some beautiful seasonal raspberries and cherries. A dusting of icing sugar made it look extra festive. There’s just something about cherries that screams celebration to me. If you’re in Aus like me, there are so many beautiful fruits in season right now. Mangoes, peaches, strawberries and blueberries, just to name a few, would all be delicious toppings. For my friends in the northern hemisphere, you could make a compote out of frozen berries that would taste delicious with this cheesecake!

Related Post: Gingerbread French Toast

Almost No Bake Christmas Cheesecake

Almost No Bake Christmas Cheesecake

This Almost No Bake Christmas Cheesecake topped with raspberries and cherries is the perfect last minute festive dessert.

Course Dessert
Keyword Christmas, Dessert, Summer
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes
Refrigerate 4 hours
Total Time 5 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

Crust

  • 250 g Lotus Biscoff biscuits
  • 100 g butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar

Filling

  • 250 g cream cheese, softened
  • 200 ml sour cream or creme fraiche
  • 100 ml pouring cream
  • 40 g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

To serve

  • Fresh raspberries
  • Fresh cherries
  • Icing sugar, for dusting

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. To make the crust, place the Biscoff cookies into a food processor and blitz until they form crumbs. Add the melted butter and sugar and blitz again until the mixture has the consistency of wet sand. Press into the bottom and sides of a 24cm/9 inch removable bottom tart tin, using the back of a spoon to press down evenly. You might have a little bit leftover.

  3. Bake crust for 10-15 minutes, until the crust looks just slightly darker in colour. Set aside to cool.
  4. To make the cheesecake filling, place the cream cheese, cream and sour cream into a large bowl. Beat with electric beaters (or stand mixeuntil smooth and creamy. Sift in the icing sugar and add the vanilla and mix again until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary to ensure everything is well mixed.
  5. Dollop the cheesecake mixture into the cookie crust and place into the fridge for at least 3-4 hours but preferably overnight.
  6. When ready to serve, top with fresh raspberries and cherries and dust with icing sugar.

Pulled Pork Loaded Sweet Potatoes

Pulled Pork Loaded Sweet Potatoes

I’ve made pulled pork so many times that it has sort of become my signature dish. My friends and family love it and I get requests to make it for picnics and parties. When cooking for a crowd of people, y’all know I love my slow cooker. I wrote a whole blog post about all the many reasons why over here. I love that it takes a few minutes of prep and then you can set it to cook overnight or all day while you do other things. Also, as a bonus making it in the slow cooker or Instant Pot will free up your oven space to cook side dishes or desserts! 

I’ve done pulled pork dozens of different ways over the years. I’ve used a black vinegar and star anise based braising liquid for a Chinese style pork dish. I’ve made it heavy on the rosemary and wine for a ragu pasta sauce. I’m very partial to adding ginger beer, cola, or even a bottle of Corona in there – whatever I have in the fridge. My sister likes to make it with pear cider, which is also super yummy. It’s the perfect recipe to experiment with and almost impossible to muck up.

Pulled Pork Loaded Sweet Potatoes

I never measure any ingredients when I slow cook, and somehow it always turns out delicious. However this time I wrote everything down so I could share the recipe with you! You’re welcome 😉

Next time it will probably taste a little different, but that’s totally ok! Don’t worry too much because you will have an opportunity after it’s been cooking away for hours to taste and adjust the seasoning. After the meat is cooked and falling apart, I like to remove it and then reduce the liquid a little bit to intensify the flavours. You might need to add some salt or a little vinegar or sweetness. 

Once it’s shredded and added back into the liquid, it’s ready to go! Pulled pork is so delicious and versatile. You can make so many different dishes. I often freeze some in small containers, because you never know when it will come in handy.

Pulled Pork Loaded Sweet Potatoes

Some of my favourite ways to use pulled pork are… 

The recipe I’m sharing today is for Loaded Sweet Potatoes topped with pulled pork (of course), black beans, cheese and your favourite fresh toppings. I used cherry tomatoes, avocado, crunchy radish and coriander with a big dollop of yoghurt and a squeeze of fresh lime. Hot sauce is optional but highly recommended.

I love the idea of using sweet potatoes as the base for this dish because it’s a much healthier choice than nachos or fries but still packed with flavour. The flavour combination was super delicious. I could honestly eat this any night of the week!

Pulled Pork Loaded Sweet Potatoes

Pulled Pork Loaded Sweet Potatoes

These Pulled Pork Loaded Sweet Potatoes are a delicious simple lunch or dinner idea and a great way to use leftover pulled pork in a new and tasty way!

Course Dinner
Keyword Healthy Recipes, Simple Dinners
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 9 hours
Total Time 9 hours 30 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Pulled Pork (you will have some leftover)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 kg pork shoulder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons jerk seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (or maple syrup also works)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper

Loaded Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 small sweet potatoes, washed
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 Avocado, thinly sliced
  • Radish
  • Fresh Coriander
  • Yoghurt or sour cream
  • Hot sauce
  • Lime Juice

Instructions

  1. I used a Multi Cooker similar to an Instant Pot to make my Pulled Pork. You can also make this in a stand alone slow cooker or the oven. If you don’t have one, just do the first step in a fry pan and transfer everything to your cooking vessel afterwards.
  2. To make the pulled pork, put the olive oil, onion and garlic into the bowl of your Multi Cooker on the Sauté setting or a frypan, until they start to soften. Add the pork and start to brown on all sides. Add the onion, garlic and pork to your preferred cooking vessel and then add the rest of the ingredients.

  3. Use the Slow Cook setting on the Multi Cooker for up to 9 hours. Or, if using the oven, cover tightly with foil and place into a very low oven (140°C / 285°F) for at least 4-5 hours or until the meat is falling apart.

  4. When the meat is cooked, I like to remove it from the pot and reduce the liquid down by at least 1 third in volume and keep tasting for seasoning. You may need to add salt, pepper and a little more vinegar. In the meantime, shred the pork with two forks and then return it to the cooking liquid. Keep it warm until ready to serve.
  5. To make the Loaded Sweet Potatoes, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Pierce the sweet potatoes all over with a fork, place on a flat baking tray and roast for 1 hour.
  6. Carefully slice in half lengthwise and top each half generously with pulled pork, black beans and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for another 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
  7. Add your favourite fresh toppings – I like cherry tomatoes, avocado, radish and fresh coriander, but this is totally up to you. To serve, top with a dollop of yoghurt or sour cream, a squeeze of lime and hot sauce, if you like it spicy!

Lavender Lemonade

Lavender Lemonade

I have been wanting to share this recipe for Lavender Lemonade with you guys for such a long time! I made it earlier this year but I didn’t manage to take any photos – disaster! It’s the perfect drink for spring, so the timing worked out perfectly. It is a super lovely mocktail – floral, sweet and tart… but it is also very delicious with a shot of gin or vodka, if you’re so inclined! 

Although edible flowers have been all the rage for the last few years, lavender is the OG. I won’t lie, I do love edible flowers – big fan of violet and chamomile. Lavender has been used for cooking, bathing, herbal medicine and aromatherapy for over 2500 years! It is said to help with insomnia, and pain relief. I’m personally interested in lavender’s effect on anxiety and promoting a sense of relaxation and calm!

Lavender Lemonade

I used to really dislike the smell of lavender. It just reminded me of old lady perfume and was often really overpowering. It took me a few years of baking with it to really appreciate it, and learn that a little goes a looooong way. Now I love the floral taste, and diffusing lavender essential oil at night puts me straight to sleep.

Culinary lavender can be used in so many ways – to infuse sugar, milk or cream for cakes, ice creams and panna cotta. If you want to mix it into a batter or dough, it can also be ground. I have a great roundup of ideas here on this post.

Lavender Lemonade

You should be able to find culinary grade lavender at gourmet food shops or tea and spice shops, or online. It also goes great with flavours like lemon, honey or herbs like rosemary, thyme and oregano in a blend called Herbes de Provence.

But let’s get back to my Lavender Lemonade. I made a lavender infused simple syrup, which turned a beautiful natural purple-blush colour. It’s so pretty. What is a simple syrup, you ask? A 1:1 ratio of sugar and water, heated until the sugar dissolves and the syrup has slightly thickened. You can infuse the syrup with anything you like – in this case lavender – and then strain out the blossoms.

Lavender Lemonade

The simple syrup is combined with freshly squeezed lemon juice and topped up with soda water (also homemade in our new Soda Stream!). This is such a lovely refreshing and calming drink. It is just perfect for the warmer weather. My housemate K has become a huge fan! We always have lemons in the fruit bowl and the syrup lasts for weeks in the fridge, so this drink is easy to throw together. I have already had requests to make a second batch of lavender syrup. This will definitely be our fave spring drink!

The recipe below makes 2 servings but you can easily double it to serve in a pitcher for a crowd. It would be perfect for any kind of spring or summer gathering (with or without booze!).

Related Post: Boozy Lemonade

Lavender Lemonade

Lavender Lemonade

Lavender Lemonade is the perfect drink for any spring party! A homemade lavender simple syrup is delicious and refreshing with fresh lemon juice and soda.

Course Drinks
Keyword Cocktails, Drinks, Spring
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

Lavender Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2-3 tablespoons culinary grade lavender

Lavender Lemonade

  • 4 lemons, juiced
  • 1 shot gin or vodka, optional
  • Sparkling water
  • Ice Cubes
  • Lemon slices, to serve

Instructions

  1. To make the simple syrup, place sugar, water and lavender into a saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Lower the heat and boil until slightly thickened and syrupy. Cool to room temperature, which allows the lavender to infuse into the syrup. Strain out the lavender and store in an airtight bottle. You can make this in advance and keep it in the fridge.
  2. To make the lavender lemonade, add the squeezed lemon juice to a tall glass. Add the gin or vodka (if using) plus lavender simple syrup to taste then top up with ice cubes and sparkling water. Garnish with lemon slice.