Lemon Slice

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A slice like this was a regular at home and in school lunches when I was growing up (thanks Mum!).

It’s great with a cup of afternoon tea- the crunchy biscuit base contrasts perfectly with the sweet lemony icing spread on top.

A plus, as we head into summer, is that there is no actual baking required- you use the stove briefly but most of the work is done by the fridge.

Another easy recipe with a supremely satisfying result. Yum.

The recipe below is adapted from the Lime & Coconut slice in my favourite book of sweet treats, Macaroons and Biscuits by The Australian Womens’ Weekly

You’ll need:

Base 

  • 240g plain sweet biscuits (my favourites are Marie)
  • 90g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp lemon rind
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

Icing

  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 15g butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp lemon rind
  • Water

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Method

1. Grease and line a 20x30cm slice tin, extending paper 5cm over long sides, to make it easy to lift the finished slice.

2. If you have a food processor: Process 3/4 of the biscuits until fine, and roughly chop the remaining biscuits.

If you don’t (like me): place the biscuits (having eaten one or two to get the required weight) – still in their packet- in a ziplock bag or two, and have fun smashing them with a rolling pin or mallet to get them as fine as possible. This is never going to achieve exactly the same result as a processor but I’ve come to like a nice chunky biscuit base, and you can keep smashing them with a wooden spoon once you’ve put them into a large bowl.

The Beatles judging me for using a dessert spoon on the stove.
The Beatles judging me for using a dessert spoon on the stove.

3. Stir condensed milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until the butter has melted.

4. Add the butter mixture to your biscuits, lemon juice and rind, and coconut and stir well to combine.  Press the (amazing smelling!) mixture into your prepared slice tin and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.

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5. To make your lemon icing, combine sifted icing sugar with the melted butter, juice and rind, and add enough water to make a thick paste. To make it spreadable, you can place it over a small saucepan of simmering water and stir until spreadable OR 1/3 fill another bowl with boiling water and carefully place icing bowl on top, stirring until you achieve the right consistency.

6. Spread icing over your base and pop in the fridge for another 30 minutes, then cut into about 24 pieces and enjoy that sweet lemony, biscuity goodness.

Let me know how you go with it!

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Banana, Date, Apricot and Macadamia Tea Loaf

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Hi everyone!

For my first recipe I thought I’d post something that has gone down so well at our place that I’ve made it four out of the last five weekends.

I was looking for a recipe in which to use a couple of overripe bananas and I came across this post on Delicious Delicious Delicious. It was perfect for me because I had everything I needed in the house and I didn’t feel like walking to the shops.

I substituted macadamias for the walnuts of the original recipe because that’s what I had in the cupboard- they are equally well suited to the loaf. I whacked the macadamias in the oven to brown while it was preheating – this is totally optional though!

The first time I tried the recipe I used gluten free flour + baking powder and substituted half of the butter with some natural yoghurt that I needed to use. It was really tasty (my taste testers Bec and Jackie agreed it was nice warmed up), and the most dense and moist of all the versions I’ve made, more puddingy than loafy.

Subsequent versions have been closer to the original recipe, using the full amount of butter with ordinary flour, and I have played around with the fruit measurements a little (because I loooove apricots). Feel free to interpret the recipe differently, just be aware that changing ingredients around can change the cooking time 🙂

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You will need:

  • 100g  dried apricots ,chopped
  • 150g pitted dates, chopped
  • 150ml boiling water
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 90g softened butter or alternative
  • 1 egg (optional- the mixture is usually wet enough without one)
  • 100g macadamias, lightly toasted and chopped (or walnuts, untoasted)
  • 2 overripe bananas, 1 and 1/2 mashed, 1/2 sliced

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 180° celsius and grease and line astandard size loaf tin. (Brown macadamias now if you are doing so)

2. Pop your chopped apricots and dates in a small bowl with the boiling water and soak for 15 minutes.

3. Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl and add the sugar, butter and the egg, if you’re using it. If your butter isn’t nice and soft you’ll have a hard time combining the ingredients properly at this stage.

4. Spoon the soaked fruit into the large bowl, leaving the liquid in the small bowl for now. If you’ve used an egg, your mixture may be moist enough without adding the water you’ve soaked the fruit in.

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5. Add the nuts (keeping a couple aside for the top) and banana and stir until well combined. At this stage you should be able to tell whether you need to add the rest of the water used to soak the fruit.

6. When you think your mixture looks good, double check that it’s all stirred through and add it to the lined tin.

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7. Sprinkle the extra nuts on top (I sometimes sprinkle a bit of nutmeg or cardamom on, too) and pop the tin into the oven for around an hour or until a metal skewer inserted into the loaf comes out clean.

8. Allow to cool in the tin for a short time and then remove to a wire rack until cool (if you can wait that long before having a slice!)

The loaf freezes really really well and can be eaten cold, warm or toasted with a little bit of butter. It’s so yum and, as you’ve read, super easy to make on a lazy Sunday.

Dad and I have been loving this cake at all times of day, and we’ve been cutting it into around 8 slices and freezing the majority of them to take for lunch during the week. And of course, it’s beautiful with a cup of tea in the afternoon (my favourite is the French Earl Grey from T2).

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and I’d love to hear how you go trying the recipe.

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I stopped procrastinating and finally made my blog!

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Cooking in a home made apron and blowing out the candles at my fourth birthday party.

I grew up with a love of cooking inspired and fostered by my Mum, Vicki, who was always making delicious dishes, whether they were thrown together ‘surprise chef’ style, or took all day.

We are lucky to have a Mum, who (among other virtues too numerous to mention here) is so good in the kitchen. It meant that we always had awesome birthday cakes and party food, and that we got to spend hours making biscuits, cupcakes and (very occasionally, I must admit) dinners with her.

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Me and my sister Zoe in our kitchen in Auburn.

My home cooking odyssey has been punctuated by many tantrums. Lots of my solo cooking ventures have ended in success only after I angrily refused and then tearfully begged for Mum’s assistance. Now that we live apart, she gets texts and calls for advice on a regular basis.

Through high school my interest in cooking increased and I decided to take food technology and hospitality, as well as experimenting with different recipes at home.

The flexible timetable and self direction of my five years at uni meant that I could cook more often. It and reading were excellent forms of procrastination.

Baking became my main interest in the kitchen. I love to consume baked goods, so I suppose it’s only natural that I wanted to be able to produce them whenever I had a craving or get together. I love floral flavours and colourful presentation, but some of my least attractive creations are my favourite to eat.I enjoy being creative beyond the kitchen, and this year I’ve had a renewed interest in sewing and making beaded sun-catchers.

I have spent more time baking this year than any other time in my life, having graduated uni and working to save up for a big overseas adventure with my best friend, Jackie.

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With my budgie Ronald after a Masterchef TV cook along c.2010, and at our housewarming last year.

On our return  I decided to start this blog to record my baking so that I can write more than a photo caption about the things I bake.

I am proud and pedantic and don’t like to admit to mistakes, but I also like to experiment in the kitchen. I’m happy to say that these days my experiments are usually successful, and I try to treat failures as lessons on what not to do next time.

I look forward to adding pictures and recipes whenever I can and hope that visitors will enjoy becma bakes!