Hot Cross Bun Pull Apart Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze

Hot Cross Bun Pull Apart Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze

I’ve said it before, but something about autumn and Easter time just makes me want to turn on the oven and get my hands into a bowl of dough. I love the smell of yeast, sweet spices, and delicious aromas coming from my oven. I love the whole process – mixing, kneading, waiting, rolling, baking. It’s totally therapeutic, one of my favourite ways to relax. It’s somehow way more satisfying to the soul than just making a cake.

I love a warm toasted Hot Cross Bun with melted butter or whipped ricotta and honey. This recipe is 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. All very delicious things.

Hot Cross Bun Pull Apart Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze

I also added some ground roasted wattleseed to the filling. It is a native Australian spice that can be used in both sweet and savoury recipes. To me, the taste is halfway between coffee and freshly baked biscuits. It works really nicely with the other spices in the filling. I have written this as optional in the recipe below because I know it’s not easy to find, especially outside of Australia. You could add ground coffee if you want a similar vibe or just omit it.

Hot Cross Bun Pull Apart Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze

The cream cheese glaze was also a delicious addition. Cream cheese icing is hands down my favourite kind of icing on any cake – sorry to buttercream or ganache! This glaze is basically a cream cheese icing made into a pourable glaze consistency with a little bit of milk. Adding the spices was a last minute decision and I’m very glad I did. The cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg perfectly accentuated the spices in the filling.

Hot Cross Bun Pull Apart Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze

The dough was lovely and easy to work with. It would be a great recipe to start with if you want to try working with a risen yeasted dough for the first time. It’s also simple enough to get the kids involved! I made mine in a loaf pan but you could also use a round cake tin. It will make your kitchen smell incredible as it’s baking.

This kind of “pull apart” or “tear and share” loaf is a great option for a long weekend brunch, autumn picnic or potluck. It’s perfect to share with a group of your family or friends – just rip off a piece and pass it around! I’ve also been enjoying it as a snack with a warm cup of tea over the last few days.

Hot Cross Bun Pull Apart Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze

I am really looking forward to Easter and the long weekend this year. I’m hosting a small lunch at my place and really looking forward to a nice chill few days of cooking delicious food and catching up with my favourite people.

If you are in need of any Easter recipe inspiration, make sure to check out my Favourite Recipes that I rounded up in my last post. There’s lots of delicious ideas in there!

Related Post: Sticky Date Rolls with Salted Caramel Sauce

Hot Cross Bun Pull Apart Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze

Hot Cross Bun Pull Apart Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze

This recipe is 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. 

Course Breakfast, Brunch
Keyword Bread & Yeast, Breakfast, Brunch
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Rising Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk, warmed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 packet (7g) dry yeast
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 60 g butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon ground wattle seed (optional)
  • 1 cup sultanas

Cream Cheese Glaze

  • 120 g cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4-6 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  1. Place the warmed milk, oil and sugar into a bowl. Sprinkle over the yeast and 1 cup of flour. Fold in carefully, cover and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour.
  2. In the meantime, make the filling. Place the brown sugar, cinnamon, mixed spice, nutmeg, vanilla, orange zest, wattleseed (if using) and sultanas into a bowl and mix to combine. Set aside.
  3. Add the remaining flour, plus baking soda and baking powder to the yeast mixture. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to form a 30cm x 40cm rectangle.
  4. Brush dough with half the melted butter, sprinkle evenly with the spiced filling mixture. Roll lenghwise to enclose, trim and cut into 10-12 pieces. Arrange pieces in a well-greased and lined 9cm x 22cm loaf tin. Set aside for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Brush with remaining butter and bake for 30 minutes or until golden and puffed. Allow to cool in the tin for 15-20 minutes.
  6. To make the cream cheese glaze, place the cream cheese and icing sugar in a bowl and mix with electric beaters until light and fluffy. Add the spices and beat to combine. Add the milk a little at a time until the glaze reaches a nice pourable consistency.
  7. To serve, pour the glaze over the loaf, with any leftover on the side for additional drizzling.

My Favourite Easter Recipes

Spicyicecream Easter Recipes

To me, Easter is a special time of year. I always feel the transition of seasons strongly in April. Summer is transitioning into shorter, cooler autumn days. Mangoes and peaches are out, but apples and pears are now in season. This new season coziness just makes me want to get in the kitchen and bake. I have a crazy urge to make yeasted doughs this time every single year – buns, rolls, loaves and scrolls!

I also love Easter as a time for family to get together over good food. When I lived at home, we would always have a decadent brunch – pancakes, cinnamon rolls or french toast. I always brought a dessert to share at our big Easter Sunday lunch – usually heavy on the chocolate. So I thought I would scroll back through my archives and share some of my favourite Easter recipes all in the one place!

Spicyicecream Easter Recipes - Hot Cross Doughnuts

1. Hot Cross Doughnuts

I made a batch of my usual go-to doughnut recipe, and then filled them with a spiced custard and brandy-soaked currants before finally dipping the tops in dark chocolate and piping the signature cross in white chocolate. Delicious and fun!

Spicyicecream Easter Recipes - Chocolate Espresso Mousse

2. Chocolate Espresso Mousse with Peanut & Pretzel Bark

This Chocolate Peanut & Pretzel Bark would make a lovely last minute homemade Easter gift for your friends. Or do as I’ve done and use it as a garnish for some rich Chocolate Espresso Mousse pots.

Spicyicecream Easter Recipes - Sticky Date Rolls

3. Sticky Date Rolls with Salted Caramel Sauce

If there is one thing I am certain of in this life, it is that I make a damn good Cinnamon Roll! This version includes delicious tea-steeped dates in the spiced filling and a salted caramel sauce. I love serving these for brunch during the whole Easter long weekend!

Spicyicecream Easter Recipes - Mini Choc Malt Bundt Cakes

4. Mini Chocolate Malt Marbled Bundt Cakes

Chocolate and Malt are two of my favourite flavours. When I’m feeling daring, I test the limits of my lactose intolerance with a Choc Malt Milkshake. I’ve used those delicious flavours marbled together in these lovely mini bundt cakes, drizzled with homemade chocolate sauce and topped with yet more crushed up Maltesers.

5. Double Chocolate Brownie Skillet

Double Chocolate = perfect Easter Recipes! I might only ever bake brownies in skillets from now on. I love how the edges get crispy while the middle remains gooey and molten. Under-baking slightly is encouraged with brownies like this, especially when you can just pile ice cream and fudge sauce on top and dig straight in with a spoon.

Spicyicecream Easter Recipes - Apple Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns

6. Apple & Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns

I am not one of those people who buys Hot Cross Buns in January. I like to enjoy them for a week or two, and then not think about them again until next year. I’ve tried making them from scratch a couple of times, and this was definitely my best attempt. It has lots of dried fruit, spices and stewed apple in the mix. Sooo good.

7. Carrot Cake Ricotta Pancake

This Easter Bunny approved Carrot Cake Pancake would make the perfect Easter Brunch. These single large pancakes are so light and fluffy, and can be topped with all your favourite fruits.

Spicyicecream Easter Recipes - Choc Malt Speckled Ice Cream Bombe

8. Choc Malt Speckled Ice Cream Bombe

This No Churn Ice Cream Bombe goes on the list of last minute Easter recipes and is a total crowd pleaser. My boyfriend still asks me to make this ice cream all the time – it’s his favourite of my many, many ice cream experiments! It would also make an epic milkshake flavour.

Spicyicecream Easter Recipes - Italian Ricotta Cake

9. Italian Ricotta Cake

This cake has become one of our family’s favourites and we make it for many special occasions throughout the year – Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas and birthdays. Everyone loves it, so I just had to include it in this roundup!

Chocolate and Pear Tart with Cardamom Creme Anglaise

10. Chocolate and Pear Tart with Cardamom Creme Anglaise

While we’re on the subject of crowd-pleasing Easter recipes, this chocolate tart has new season pears and a fudgy chocolate almond filling inside a chocolate tart. The subtle cardamom spiced creme anglaise is a perfect accompaniment. This is such an elegant dessert that would be the perfect sweet ending to Easter lunch.

11. Chai Spiced Rolls with Cinnamon Glaze

I mentioned before that this time of year makes me want to get my hands into a bowl of dough, kneading, rolling and baking it. To me it’s kind of like a meditation and really helps me de-stress. Prepare for maximum coziness when you make these. The chai spiced filling is a really nice alternative to the normal cinnamon rolls.

Raspberry and Ricotta Baked French Toast

12. Raspberry & Ricotta Baked French Toast

Baked French Toast is awesome, because you can prep everything the night before and make bake it while your morning coffee brews. I used a fruit challah loaf in this recipe, but brioche would be perfect too, or even hot cross buns would be a really fun Easter twist!

Spicyicecream Easter Recipes - Chocolate Whisky Pudding

13. Chocolate Whisky Pudding with Passionfruit Ice Cream

I am in love with the combination of Chocolate and Passionfruit, and I am here to spread the word. This grown-up take on a baked chocolate pudding, has a hit of whisky and a homemade passionfruit ice cream. I am definitely making it again this Winter!

Brownie Cookies with Maple Bourbon Buttercream

14. Brownie Cookies with Maple Bourbon Buttercream

When a cookie and a brownie really love each other and make a baby, this is the result. These rich and chewy chocolate cookies sandwiched with a sweet filling is one of my favourite Easter recipes. You can also adapt the filling – anything that goes with chocolate would work beautifully here.

If you do make any of these Easter recipes, I would love to see! Please tag me on Instagram @spicyicecream or #spicyicecreamphoto.

Simple Dinners 24 / Creamy Chicken Pesto with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Creamy Chicken Pesto with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

This Chicken Pesto is one of my all-time favourite recipes. I don’t say that lightly, but I’ve made it so many times, I don’t even need the recipe anymore! I originally shared it back in 2007 and estimate that I’ve made this pesto once a month since then. That means I have probably made it close to 150 times (!)

I just truly love to cook this dish. It is such a quick and delicious weeknight meal. You can make the pesto, cook the chicken and make the sauce in the time it takes to cook your pasta. I really wanted to update it because my photography has improved quiiiiite a bit in the last decade or so. The badly composed, poorly lit photo seriously made me cringe.

Lately I have enjoyed revisiting some old favourite recipes and re-reading the words I wrote years ago. Re-shooting the dishes with the photography and food styling know-how I have accumulated throughout the last decade has been great fun for me too.

These are the recipes in my archive that have truly stood to test of time. I make them over and over and I know they will always work. While I can be a recipe-following rebel and always want to change something, I made this Chicken Pesto exactly as I had written it in my original post 12 years ago, and it turned out absolutely perfectly.

This recipe is totally adaptable. If I don’t have the exact ingredients, I just wing it. I like knowing that I can turn pretty much anything in my fridge into some sort of meal. It makes me feel like I’m on a Masterchef challenge!!

Sometimes I substitute different herbs, spinach or kale for the basil. If I don’t have pine nuts on hand, I use cashews or even sunflower seeds with great success.

When I can get a huge bunch of basil at the farmers market, I like to make a double batch and freeze it. That means I always have a super quick weeknight meal option in the freezer for busy days. Just transfer to an airtight container and drizzle a little olive oil over the top to ensure it doesn’t discolour. 

You could also make this recipe with leftover roast chicken – homemade or store bought are both good. Prawns, hot smoked salmon or sautéed mushrooms would be good options too. You can also use any shape or size of pasta you have on hand. I’ve seriously made it with everything from penne to spirals to orecchiette and more. It even made a lasagne filling that was the bomb.

Creamy Chicken Pesto with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

This time I decided to serve my Chicken Pesto with some roasted cherry tomatoes, which added a little extra cooking time to the final dish. It was delicious but 100% optional. I know I don’t always have time to roast tomatoes when I’ve come home late on a weeknight! Sun-dried tomatoes stirred into the sauce can give you an intense pop of flavour or just simply slice fresh cherry tomatoes in half and serve alongside.

I hope you give this recipe a try and that it becomes part of your weeknight repertoire like it has for me. I know I will continue to make it (and of course, variations of it) for many more years to come.

Related Post: Pumpkin Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

Creamy Chicken Pesto with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Creamy Chicken Pesto with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

This Creamy Chicken Pesto has been a staple recipe in my repertoire of Simple Dinners since 2007! I have made it well over 100 times over the years and it’s one of my favourite quick and easy weeknight meals.

Course Dinner
Keyword Pasta, Simple Dinners
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

  • 400 g mixed coloured cherry tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Black Pepper

Pesto

  • 1 cup basil leaves, rinsed, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup parsley leaves, rinsed, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

Sauce

  • olive oil
  • 3 small chicken breasts, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1/2 cup thickened cream
  • Salt & Black Pepper

To serve

  • 500 g dry weight spaghetti, cooked
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Basil leaves

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Cut cherry tomatoes in half and spread on a non-stick baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and add salt and black pepper. Roast for about 30-40 minutes, or until soft.
  2. In the meantime, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water.
  3. To make the pesto, place ingredients into a food processor and pulse until combined to taste.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a fry pan. Add the chicken, cooking until cooked through. Remove from the pan, and set aside.
  5. Over low heat, add the pesto to the frypan with the cream and cook for 5 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan and stir until chicken is coated.
  6. Drain the pasta and then return it to the pot. Stir the pesto sauce into the pasta and serve, garnishing with roasted cherry tomatoes, basil leaves and parmesan.

Coconut Panna Cotta (Dairy Free)

Dairy Free Coconut Panna Cotta

How do we all feel about dessert for breakfast? I think you can tell that I’m kind of a fan. I just posted my new favourite breakfast – Baked French Toast. It is kind of on the decadent side and perfect for special occasion brunches. Most days I am having a smoothie (or a smoothie bowl when I feel fancy), a chia pudding or I fast until lunch time.

But today’s recipe for Coconut Panna Cotta is completely dairy free. They are  actually one of the simplest desserts I’ve ever made. They would be perfect for a dinner party or even a summer BBQ. But they are healthy enough that you could have them for breakfast!

Dairy Free Coconut Panna Cotta

I decided to serve them in my new coconut bowls from Tropeaka. I usually make my smoothie bowls in them because #instagramlife. The coconut panna cotta looked so cute served in the coconut bowl! I decorated the top with sliced white peaches, berries, coconut flakes and edible flowers.

Coconut is one of my favourite ingredients because it is so versatile. It goes with so many flavours, like chocolate, coffee or spices. Coconut is best friends with practically every fruit I can think of.

You can buy coconut in so many different forms. Hydrating coconut water makes a great fresh drink. Coconut milk and cream are great in both sweet and savoury cooking, from smoothies to soups! Coconut sugar is a great refined sugar substitute. You already know that coconut oil can be used in a million and one different ways, from frying to skincare. Fresh coconut flesh is full of nutrients, and then there is also shredded, desiccated and flaked versions that are great in baking and desserts. Phew!

Dairy Free Coconut Panna Cotta

Gelatine is also another interesting ingredient. I’ve used gelatine in cooking for years and I had no idea it had a lot of health benefits! Grass fed gelatine is a great source of protein and collagen, which may help with skin, hair, gut health, mental performance, plus joint and bone strength, and more.. Lately, I have also been adding a teaspoon of gelatine to hot blended drinks – my own version of a Bulletproof coffee or tea. It has no taste but makes the drinks SUPER frothy.

You can top your Coconut Panna Cotta with whatever you like – as I said, coconut goes with almost  everything! If you are having them for breakfast, you can try a scattering of homemade granola or top your favourite fruit and nuts. I think the contrast in textures from crunchy to smooth would be great. If you want to dress them up for dessert, try making a healthier chocolate sauce substituting coconut milk instead of cream, or a coulis with your favourite fruit. 

Related Post: Salted Coconut & Mango No Churn Ice Cream Cake

Dairy Free Coconut Panna Cotta

Coconut Panna Cotta

This dairy free Coconut Panna Cotta is a fantastic make-ahead dessert, but also healthy enough to eat for breakfast!

Course Breakfast, Dessert
Keyword Breakfast, Coconut, Dessert
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Refrigerate at least 3 hours
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 400 ml can coconut milk or cream
  • 2 teaspoons grass fed gelatine
  • 1/4 cup honey, maple syrup or rice malt syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract, optional

To serve

  • Fresh fruit (I used strawberries, raspberries and white peach)
  • Coconut flakes
  • Edible flowers, optional

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, sprinkle the gelatine over 1 cup of coconut milk. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  2. Place the saucepan over low heat and whisk in the honey, vanilla and coconut extract if using. Remove from the heat just before it comes to the boil.
  3. Whisk in the remaining coconut milk. Divide the mixture between 2-4 bowls or ramekins and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

  4. When panna cotta is set, serve with sliced white peaches, berries, coconut and edible flowers.

Raspberry and Ricotta Baked French Toast

Raspberry and Ricotta Baked French Toast

On Monday I burned my sweet potato fries to a blackened crisp. On Tuesday, my laptop just wouldn’t start up and much freaking out ensued. On Wednesday, I was caught in a freak downpour walking home – soaked right down to my underwear. Can I just say that things have not gone to plan lately.

I could blame Mercury in retrograde and think ‘this sucks!’ – in fact for the first couple of days I did. But I have been trying to dig deeper and explore the possibility that there are big and small lessons to learn.

I was really sick last week and had no choice but to rest. I had work deadlines and a million things to do. I didn’t have time to be sick! Why is this happening to me?! But after fighting my body and trying to push on I just felt worse and worse. This has actually happened to me quite a few times in the last year, as if the universe is done sending me hints and has resorted to big blaring neon signs. The lesson here? I had to stop and rest. Was it easy? Heck no. But it was necessary.

Raspberry and Ricotta Baked French Toast

I had a completely different recipe planned to go up this week – something really fresh and summery. But with the drizzly weather we’re having, all I want to eat is warm and cozy comfort food. I think I needed to learn to go with the flow and that it’s ok to sometimes abandon your plans when something doesn’t feel right. Enter this delicious breakfast.

Have you ever tried a Baked French Toast?

I used to be a strictly pancake only girl for years, but french toast and waffles have started to make an appearance on special occasions. However, I had never thought to make French Toast in the oven until now. I suppose it is similar to a bread and butter pudding, except better.

Raspberry and Ricotta Baked French Toast

Today’s recipe was 100% inspired by the blog Half Baked Harvest. I have been reading this fantastic blog in bed while I was sick! I absolutely love Tieghan’s beautiful food photography and her flavour combinations speak to my soul. I also recently bought her stunning cookbook and bookmarked a casual 20 or so recipes to try! Her Baked French Toast used blackberries but I wanted to make the most of in-season raspberries before they disappear.

I used a fruit challah loaf that I cut into slices, spread with raspberry jam and sandwiched together as the base of the french toast. You can use whatever bread you like – brioche would be perfect, or even hot cross buns would be a really fun Easter twist!

Raspberry and Ricotta Baked French Toast

The ricotta in the egg mix was a really great addition, making it very light and creamy. I also really enjoyed the leftovers! I reheated the slices in a frypan with melted butter, gently browning each side so they got warm and a little crispy.

I really loved how simple it was! You could even assemble this the night before, then all you need to do is bake it while your morning coffee brews. Perfect for a special Easter or Mother’s Day breakfast.

Related Post: Carrot Cake Ricotta Pancake

Raspberry and Ricotta Baked French Toast

Raspberry and Ricotta Baked French Toast

Raspberry and Ricotta Baked French Toast, a delicious breakfast for special occasions like Easter or Mother’s Day. The flavours are delicious and you can even assemble it the night before!

Course Breakfast, Brunch
Keyword Breakfast, Brunch, French Toast
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf challah or brioche, cut into 2cm slices
  • 1 jar raspberry or strawberry jam
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 20 g butter, melted
  • 250 g raspberries
  • Icing sugar, to serve
  • Extra honey or maple syrup, to serve
  • Pouring cream, to serve

Instructions

  1. Grease a ceramic baking dish with butter. I used an oval one about 25 x 18cm.

  2. Slice the bread in half, spread with raspberry jam and sandwich the halves back together. Arrange the bread in the prepared baking dish, overlapping slightly.
  3. In a bowl or jug, whisk together the eggs, milk, ricotta, honey, vanilla, cinnamon and melted butter. Pour over the top of the bread, making sure to cover every piece. Allow to sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
  4. Preheat your oven to 180°C (375°F) and sprinkle half of the raspberries over the bread. Bake for 40 minutes, checking on it at the half way point. If the top is browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil.
  5. Serve warm with the remaining fresh raspberries, a dusting of icing sugar and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup and pouring cream.

Pimm’s Cup ‘Spider’ Ice Cream Float

Pimms Cup Spider Ice Cream Float

You guys! This is an idea that I’ve had in my head for months and I’m so excited to finally share it – my Pimms Cup Ice Cream Float! Here in Australia we call this kind of drink a ‘Spider’, but no matter what you call it, it’s delicious. I even re-shot the photos this weekend because the first attempt didn’t do justice to how fun this drink is. And maybe I just wanted to test it again, to make sure it was really good.

Spoiler alert, it is.

Pimms Cup Spider Ice Cream Float

The main components are a fizzy, carbonated soda or soft drink and a big scoop of ice cream. Two ingredients, it couldn’t be easier! There is definitely an element of childhood nostalgia with this drink. I used to love drinking spiders with creaming soda and vanilla ice cream. This version is grown up with a boozy twist!

Pimms Cup Spider Ice Cream Float

It’s no secret that I love Pimm’s in any form – from drinks to pies. It’s a deliciously drinkable gin-based aperitif created in 1841. Pimm’s is typically served as a pitcher cocktail with sliced cucumber, strawberries, lemon and lemonade or ginger ale.

Pimms Cup Spider Ice Cream Float

But I went one step further and added a big scoop of ice cream. It fizzes up theatrically and creates a creamy foam on top. The result is kind of like a creamy, boozy milkshake. 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.

Pimms Cup Spider Ice Cream Float

Traditionally vanilla ice cream is the most common flavour used in spiders and floats. I used salted caramel flavour for my version. It worked really well with the flavour of the ginger beer and turned out delicious. You could try a strawberry or peach gelato. Or if you prefer a dairy-free version, any kind of sorbet would also work – lemon would be yum!

Pimms Cup Spider Ice Cream Float

Feel free to add your favourite Pimm’s fruit fixings to the glass before you add the ice cream. I used the traditional sliced strawberries and cucumbers, but I’ve also seen versions with apple or orange slices, pomegranate and other berries. If you were feeling really fancy you could make this a ‘Royal’ Pimms Float using champagne instead of ginger beer. A sparkling Rosé could also be nice! Or maybe even a kombucha?

Pimms Cup Spider Ice Cream Float

This Pimm’s Ice Cream Float is the perfect drink for a warm afternoon. It would be great to share with friends or serve at a BBQ, pool party or boozy brunch before the warm weather ends. Drinking Pimm’s always reminds me of my best girl friends and good times and I will definitely keep experimenting with it in drinks and desserts for many years to come.

Related Post: The Garden Party Cocktail

Pimms Cup Spider Ice Cream Float

Pimm’s Cup ‘Spider’ Ice Cream Float

This is my boozy, grown up take on a nostalgic childhood favourite. My Pimm’s Cup ‘Spider’ Ice Cream Float is like dessert in a glass and perfect for warm summer days.

Course Cocktails
Keyword Cocktails, Summer
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 6 strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced thinly
  • 120 ml Pimm’s
  • ginger beer (I like Bundaberg)
  • 2 scoops ice cream (I used salted caramel)
  • Fresh mint & edible flowers (optional, to serve)

Instructions

  1. Add the sliced strawberries and cucumbers to the bottom of 2 tall glasses. Add 60ml Pimm’s to each glass.

  2. Top glasses up to three quarters full with ginger beer. Add a scoop of ice cream and top up a little more with extra ginger beer. 

  3. Serve immediately with a straw and optional fresh mint and flowers.

Peach and Raspberry Lattice Pie with Cream Cheese Pastry

Peach and Raspberry Lattice Pie

I couldn’t let the summer slip by without making a pie. So last week, I sliced some fragrant peaches and carefully weaved homemade pastry into a lattice pattern. It smelled delicious as it was baking and tasted even better with a big scoop of ice cream. The End. 

Just kidding, I could talk about pie all day. Some people think they are more of a winter dessert – they’re warm and comforting, I totally get it. But I absolutely love summer fruit encased in a golden flaky pastry. I especially love a good lattice pie, with a generous scattering of raw sugar on top. 

Peach and Raspberry Lattice Pie

It just looks so classic, and allows the fruit to bubble up and cook inside the pie. The plaited dough border on the pie was a simple, special touch that made it look super cute. Mine are always on the rustic side, but I’m all about it. Imperfections in baking can be beautiful. I love that you can tell it’s been made from scratch.

This time I decided to experiment with a new-to-me cream cheese pastry recipe, which is unlike anything I’ve ever tried in the pastry realm. Cream cheese, butter, and sour cream are whizzed up with flour and a touch of sugar. It would also be fantastic for savoury pies if you just omit the sugar.

Peach and Raspberry Lattice Pie

It came together easily in the food processor and rolled out beautifully. I made this on quite a warm day, so I had to put the dough back into the fridge between making the lattice and the plaited border.

I think it would be a great recipe for the beginner baker to start with. The cream cheese pastry didn’t shrink at all – one of my pastry pet peeves. The top pastry baked beautifully and I loved the sugar on top. The bottom layer had an almost cake-like texture when it was warm. I wasn’t a fan of the texture of the pastry when it was cold from the fridge but it was great warm or at room temperature.

Peach and Raspberry Lattice Pie

The filling was also next level. Think seasonal fresh peaches, ripe raspberries, vanilla seeds and cinnamon with a good swig of bourbon. I love adding booze to fruit desserts. Chambord with berries, spiced rum with banana and of course, bourbon with peaches.  

Lattice Pie craving = satisfied. I always like my pie with ice cream – the contrast of hot pie and cold ice cream is my favourite. My housemate Kay prefers “lashings of cream”. Either way, we were both happy girls. I was super happy with the new pastry recipe and I can see myself using it again and again for future pies.

Related Post: Fig Crumble Tart with Honey Whipped Ricotta

Peach and Raspberry Lattice Pie

Peach and Raspberry Lattice Pie with Cream Cheese Pastry

A delicious Peach and Raspberry Pie with a Lattice Cream Cheese Pastry Crust. The pastry is a dream to work with and the filling is perfect for end of summer days. Serve with a massive scoop of ice cream.

Course Dessert
Keyword Pies & Tarts, Summer
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Chilling Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

Cream Cheese Pastry

  • 160 g butter, cold, chopped into 3cm cubes
  • 125 g cream cheese
  • 1 2/3 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

Peach and Raspberry Filling

  • 4 ripe peaches, thinly sliced
  • 100 g raspberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour or cornflour

To Bake

  • 1 egg, whisked
  • Raw sugar, to sprinkle on top

Instructions

  1. To make the cream cheese pastry, place the butter, cream cheese, flour and sugar into a food processor and blitz until the mixture starts to form clumps. Add the sour cream and blitz again until the mixture comes together. Divide the mixture in half and flatten into a disc. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, make the pie filling. Place the peaches, raspberries, cinnamon, vanilla, bourbon and flour into a bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F). Sprinkle some extra flour onto a work surface and roll out one of the pastry discs. Line the bottom of an 18cm pie dish. Spoon filling into the pie dish.
  4. Divide the remaining pastry disc into Roll out the remaining pastry and cut into even strips. Weave the pastry into a lattice pattern.
  5. For the plaited border, take 3 x 2cm strips of pastry and plait them together. To make things a little more manageable, I did mine in two smaller plaits. Carefully arrange the pastry plaits around the border of the cake.
  6. Brush the top of the pie with the egg and scatter with raw sugar. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the filling is bubbling. Serve warm with ice cream.

Simple Dinners 23 / Grilled Peach, Corn and Tomato Panzanella Salad

Grilled Peach, Corn and Tomato Panzanella Salad

I am always looking for recipes that I feel really embody a season. For me it’s a combination of utilising seasonal ingredients when they are at their most delicious, and also a sense of time and place. There’s nothing better than a spiced pumpkin soup on a chilly winter night or a fresh strawberry pie in the springtime.

If I ever write a cookbook, I would love to organise it in seasonal chapters and share my favourite recipes, memories and milestones for each time of year. Summer hasn’t truly started for me until I’m eating a juicy mango over the kitchen sink. I look forward to fig season all year, when my Nanna usually gifts me a big plate of figs from her tree and I make a batch of homemade jam. The first glimpse of blueberries at the market after a long winter. These moments throughout the year are special to me.

Grilled Peach, Corn and Tomato Panzanella Salad

Having access to a fantastic weekly farmers market has really shown me the beauty of seasonal produce. Including the imperfections you’d never see in a supermarket! I absolutely love the Saturday Bondi Market and I go as often as I can. If it’s not in season, you can’t buy it. Simple as that.

There’s no apples coming out of cold storage or grapes imported from halfway around the world. I always feel inspired to cook whenever I come home from the markets with a great haul of produce.

Grilled Peach, Corn and Tomato Panzanella Salad

But back to today’s recipe! This salad just sings out SUMMER. A traditional Tomato Panzanella is Tuscan dish that uses leftover stale bread and fresh tomatoes. My version uses a combination of fresh cherry tomatoes, grilled peaches and corn, and herbs from my garden. Some of my favourite summer ingredients.

I also added a little feta because I thought the creamy, salty cheese would work well here. Since most of the ingredients are sweeter, the savoury note helped to balance the flavours. It’s definitely not a traditional Panaznella ingredient, but I loved the way it tied all together. The dressing is so simple – a little oil and red wine vinegar.

Grilled Peach, Corn and Tomato Panzanella Salad

Grilling the sliced peaches and corn takes it to another level. You can make this recipe on the barbecue or on the stove with a char-grill pan. If it’s a hot day and you don’t want to turn on the oven, you could even crisp the bread in a frypan instead.

Either way, it comes together super easily to make a fantastic quick weeknight dinner for one. Or you could serve this as a side dish with some grilled chicken or salmon. I hope you’ll give this recipe a try before the summer is over!

Related Post: Roasted Vegetable Salad with Quinoa

Grilled Peach, Corn and Tomato Panzanella Salad

Grilled Peach, Corn and Tomato Panzanella Salad

A delicious salad that just screams out SUMMER. This Grilled Peach, Corn and Tomato Panzanella is perfect on its own or as a side dish for grilled chicken or salmon.

Course Dinner, Salad, Side Dish
Keyword Salad, Summer, Vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups crusty bread, roughly torn into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 200 g cherry tomatoes, mixed colours if available
  • 2 ripe peaches
  • 1 corn cob, husk removed
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • Basil & mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp feta, crumbled
  • Olive oil and red wine vinegar, for dressing
  • Salt & black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F). Drizzle the bread with the olive oil and toss to coat. Toast in the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until crispy.
  2. Roughly chop the cherry tomatoes into halves or quarters depending on their size and place into your salad bowl.
  3. Slice the peach into eighths and brush with a little bit of olive oil. Place slices onto a BBQ grill or char-grill pan and cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side until char marks appear.
  4. Brush the corn cob with a little olive oil and grill for 10-15 minutes, turning frequently until slightly coloured on all sides. Carefully remove the corn from the cob with a knife.
  5. To assemble the salad, layer the toasted bread with grilled peaches, corn and tomatoes in a large salad bowl. Add the red onion, herbs and feta. Dress with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine. Serve immediately as a main meal or a side dish.

My Favourite Zucchini Pickles

My Favourite Homemade Zucchini Pickles

I have been making my own pickles for a couple of years now, but I’ve never shared my go to recipe! Homemade pickles are a game-changer for me. My favourite pickles (that I keep coming back to over and over) are based on the famous Zuni Cafe Zucchini Pickles via Gourmet Traveller magazine.

I was intrigued that the recipe used zucchinis instead of cucumbers, but I was an immediate convert. I love them on burgers, toasties and sandwiches, or even thrown into a salad for a sour-sweet kick. They are also delicious on a cheeseboard. I’ve even used the leftover brine to flavour my slow cooked meats!

I love browsing the jars of artisan pickles in the gourmet food shops, but they can be upwards of $15 sometimes! The zucchinis cost about $3 – they are in season right now, abundant and cheap! All the other ingredients were already in my pantry.

But it’s not just about saving money. I love the satisfaction of making things from scratch. But you definitely don’t need to live on a farm or grow your own vegetables to preserve things. I’m a busy girl living in a major city, and I truly think everyone should learn to do this!

You can make jams (sweet or savoury), pickles, shrubs, sauces and more with your leftover produce that completely transform the ingredients and extend their life. I am really excited about bringing you more recipes and ideas like this in 2019. 

One of my goals this year is to also be way more mindful of waste, both in terms of food waste and excess plastic. I want to start buying all of my staples – grains, nuts, pasta, spices – from a bulk foods store to avoid packaging, and store them in glass jars in my pantry. I have a collection of jars ready to be reused for storage or homemade jams and pickles.

My Favourite Homemade Zucchini Pickles

I love to shop at the Bondi Farmers Market… with a reusable shopping bag, of course! Another option is the ‘Imperfect Picks’ at Harris Farm. It is fantastic that we have the option to buy fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to landfill. And they are cheaper too!

I think preserving is a fantastic way to help reduce food waste and excess packaging in your own kitchen. It’s a great way to use up fruit and veggies that may be on their last legs in your crisper. All that is to say that I truly encourage you to try making your own pickles!

My Favourite Homemade Zucchini Pickles

This recipe has a couple of steps, but it’s actually very easy. Don’t skip soaking the zucchini in ice cold water, and allowing the brine to cool. These steps help keep that fresh crunch of the zucchini. No one wants a limp pickle! You can enjoy these straight away, but they are even better after a couple of days in the fridge.

Related Post: Homemade Tomato & Chilli Jam (use both for the ultimate burger!)

My Favourite Homemade Zucchini Pickles

My Favourite Zucchini Pickles

This is my absolute favourite homemade pickle recipe, adapted from Zuni Cafe in San Francisco. These Zucchini Pickles are perfect on burgers, sandwiches, salads or cheeseboards and the perfect introduction to preserving at home. If possible, begin this recipe 2 days ahead. 

Course Pickles
Keyword Pickles
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings 3 cups

Ingredients

  • 500 g zucchini
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

Instructions

  1. Use a mandolin or sharp knife to thinly slice the zucchini and onion. 

  2. Place zucchini and onion with salt in a large bowl and add ice water to cover. Stir to dissolve the salt and stand for at least 1 hour or until zucchini slices are tender.

  3. In the meantime, combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard powder and seeds and turmeric in a saucepan. Stir to dissolve and simmer over medium heat for a few minutes. Cool to room temperature.
  4. Sterilise your jars by washing them in hot soapy water, rinse and then place in a 120°C (250°F) oven until completely dry. 

  5. Drain zucchini and onion and pat dry with paper towel. Divide zucchini between the jars and add the brine, ensuring all zucchini is covered. 

  6. Seal and refrigerate for 2 days to pickle. Pickles will keep refrigerated for at least 3 weeks.

Best Recipes of 2018

Papaya Boats with Grain Free Granola

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with lots of great food, family and friends. I just wanted to pop in here one last time before the end of the year and share a little recap of the recipes I have loved the most this year. 2018 was a wild ride. This year I dealt with a period of burn out, which threw me for a loop. I felt my creativity tap turned off and felt a lot of stress and anxiety.

Cooking was something that really helped during this time. I even read an article about the rise of anxiety baking last week – so I’m glad I’m not alone! PS, it’s a great article, give it a read. Baking (especially anything that involves kneading dough) has always been a way that I relax and unwind. I really want to take this rediscovered passion into 2019 and share a lot more content here. I published 17 recipes this year, and I loved them all, but these 8 (+1 bonus recipe) below were my very favourites.

Papaya Boats with Grain Free Granola

1. Papaya Fruit Boats with Grain Free Granola

You know how much I love to make homemade granola, but this recipe took it to the next level. I really loved this textured nut and seed based ‘grain free’ granola as one of the toppings on a papaya boat, along with coconut yoghurt and a lot of fresh fruit. Seriously, this was a really delicious and healthy brunch that I would love to eat every day.

Berry and Rose Wagon Wheel Slice

2. Berry and Rose Wagon Wheel Slice

This recipe just had to make my Best of 2018 list. I loved every single layer seperately – the coconutty base, the raspberry and chia jam, the vanilla and rosewater marshmallow and the chocolate topping. But when you took a bite and tried them all together the result was sublime. A delicious and nostalgic treat.

Blueberry Acai Smoothie & Chia Parfait

3. Blueberry Acai Smoothie & Chia Parfait

While the Papaya Boats are a little more extravagant, this recipe looks a little more like the breakfast I would eat on a day to day basis. I will usually have a smoothie OR a chia pudding, but this time I decided to combine them together and the result was absolutely delicious.

Pork Meatball Banh Mi Salad Bowl

4. Pork Meatball Vietnamese Salad Bowls

I eat a salad most days, but they are usually not as pretty as this one! This Vietnamese inspired salad has been one of my absolute favourite recipes this year. It’s the perfect balance of flavours and textures. I even made my own carrot and daikon pickles, which really transformed this salad into something special. 2018 was also the year I discovered that I love radishes.

Earl Grey Chocolate Chip Cookies

5. Earl Grey Chocolate Chip Cookies

I would say this was the most crowd pleasing recipe of the year! Making this recipe was pure comfort baking for me, exactly what I needed when I was dealing with a lot of anxiety. The ground French Earl Grey tea was such a beautiful addition. I made a big batch of these cookies and ended up giving most of them away to friends, who absolutely loved them.

Blueberry Crumble Cake

6. Blueberry Crumble Cake

I made this cake for the first time back in 2010, but it is one of my favourite afternoon tea or picnic cakes. I decided to republish it this year, as the original pictures made me cringe a little and my photography skills have come a long way since then! I’ve made many versions of this cake over the years using different fruit for the filling, and I know I’ll continue to make it for a long time to come.

Roasted Strawberry Paloma

7. Roasted Strawberry Paloma

This drink was a surprise, because I thought I didn’t really like grapefruit or tequila but I loved them together with roasted strawberries in this Paloma! It was a super refreshing cocktail that I can’t wait to experiment with more over this summer. I am already imagining other delicious flavour combinations, but this was definitely a winner.

Fig Crumble Tart with Honey Whipped Ricotta

8. Fig Crumble Tart with Honey Whipped Ricotta

This Fig Galette was another recipe that came from my archives that I was compelled to update and re-photograph and I was so pleased with how this version came out. Baked fruit desserts have always been my favourite, especially when I can showcase seasonal ingredients.

Spicy Pork and Tahini Noodles

9. BONUS Spicy Pork and Tahini Noodles

Okay okay, this recipe was not published this year, but it is seriously one of my favourite dishes. My housemate taught me this recipe, and we seriously make it at least once a month. It is such a delicious and easy dinner that is packed with flavour. I hope you’ll give it a try in 2019!