Ottolenghi Apple, olive oil & maple cake recipe

Ottolenghi Apple, olive oil & maple cake recipe


  • 1/2 cup sultanas
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 3/8-inch / 1-cm dice
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 free-range egg whites
  • confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)

Maple Icing:

  • 100 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup light muscovado sugar
  • 85 ml maple syrup
  • 220 g cream cheese, at room temperature


  1. Grease an 8-inch / 20-cm springform cake pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper. Place the raisins and water in a medium saucepan and simmer over low heat until all of the water has been absorbed. Leave to cool.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°F / 170°C. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and set aside.
  3. Put the oil and superfine sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a whisk if you don’t have a mixer). Slit the vanilla bean lengthwise in half and, using a sharp knife, scrape the seeds out into the bowl. Beat the oil, sugar, and vanilla together, then gradually add the eggs. The mix should be smooth and thick at this stage. Mix in the diced apples, raisins, and lemon zest, then lightly fold in the sifted dry ingredients.
  4. Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl, either by hand or with a mixer, until they have a soft meringue consistency. Fold them into the batter in 2 additions, trying to maintain as much air as possible.
  5. Pour the batter into the lined pan, level it with an icing spatula, and place in the oven. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the plan.
  6. Once the cake is completely cold, you can assemble it. Remove from the pan and use a large serrated knife to cut it in half horizontally. You should end up with 2 similar disks. If the cake is very domed, you might need to shave a bit off the top half to level it.
  7. To make the icing, beat together the butter, muscovado sugar, and maple syrup until light and airy. You can do this by hand, or preferably, in a mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the cream cheese and beat until the icing is totally smooth.
  8. Using the icing spatula, spread a layer of icing 3/8 inch / 1 cm thick over the bottom half of the cake. Carefully place the top half on it. Spoon the rest of the icing on top and use the icing spatula to create a wavelike or any other pattern. Dust it with confectioners’ sugar, if you like.
School is well & truly back in session for 2016

School is well & truly back in session for 2016

School is officially back for 2016, and perhaps you are rejoicing or even shedding a few tears letting go of your baby boy or girl. Either way, one of the biggest hurdles for busy Mums and Dads is the (often dreaded) prepping and packing of the school lunch box, as well as the challenge of delivering a healthy meal to the dinner table to fuel their bodies after a long day of learning.

Whilst some have the time to whip up an elaborate themed offering, let’s face it, the majority of us would be happy to land somewhere in the vicinity of healthy, filling and perhaps with a bit of variety to alleviate boredom.

There are a number of websites out there offering lunch box filler ideas but Kidspot has a few killer ideas to beat lunchbox boredom, many of which you can freeze and roll out when the ham & cheese sandwich rotation starts raising too many complaints. www.kidspot.com.au/kitchen/galleries/lunch-box-ideas

When it comes to dinner, we can take off some pressure with our ready made meals range. They have been rigorously tested by our kids and pass with flying colours! Favourites in our house are the beef lasagne, cottage pie and meatballs. Visit www.thehungersolution.com.au to view our current menu, rotated weekly to keep life fresh!

The Vietnamese fish tacos that will blow your taste bud’s minds!

The Vietnamese fish tacos that will blow your taste bud’s minds!

Vietnamese fish tacos w/quick pickled carrot & daikon*

*Japanese radish

Fish: To serve:
450gm firm white fish (such as cod) Warmed tortillas
2 tsp. fish sauce Extra herbs, roughly chopped
2 tsp. sugar Lime wedges
1 tsp. ground pepper Diced red onion (optional)
1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
2 cloves garlic, minced Quick Pickled Carrots and Daikon:
1 tsp. oil 1 large carrot, julienned
1 tbsp. fresh coriander, chopped 2” piece of daikon, julienned
1 tbsp. fresh mint, chopped 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 tbsp. sliced shallots 2 teaspoon sugar
1 tbsp. roughly chopped dill
1/2 cup diced tomato
Juice of 1/2 lime
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)


Cut the cod into 1 1/2 inch pieces and place in a bowl with the fish sauce, sugar, pepper, garlic, and oil. Mix well and let sit for 10 minutes.

Heat up a non-stick pan over medium high heat. Add a touch of oil to the pan, and when hot, add the fish, being careful not to crowd. When the bottoms are browned and caramelized, about 2 minutes, flip and let cook for another 2 minutes or so, or until cooked through.

Remove from the heat and toss in a bowl with the chopped herbs, tomatoes, and lime juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Serve on charred or warmed tortillas with extra herbs, pickled carrot & daikon, lime wedges, and diced red onions, if desired.

To make quick pickled carrots & daikon:

Put the carrots and daikon into a bowl and sprinkle on the salt and sugar. After 15 minutes, rinse off the pickles, drain well and place in the fridge until required.

~ Recipe & photo sourced from http://iamafoodblog.com/ ~

The best Spiderman party the world will ever see

The best Spiderman party the world will ever see

Our eldest will soon be 4 (where does the time go?!) and he has requested not just any party but a SPIDERMAN party…

Enter Pinterest!

Punch “Spiderman party” into Pinterest and you’ll be greeted with a plethora of Spidey-related food and decor inspo. So much so that my head now feels like its full of the webs that Spidey is so fond of. Do I go with the spider webs made from black garbage bags? The Green Goblin punch? The lifesize Spiderman pinata?

There really are so many choices available now when planning a kids party. We have been to a reptile party with real live snakes & lizards, a Wiggles party, parties with face painting, kindy farm, ball pits, Elsa & Anna from Frozen painting faces and belting out the “Let It Go” song repeatedly to the delight of their pre-school audience. You name it.

When it comes to food the options are endless too. From mini spider web pizzas to red & blue layered jellies, strawberries with hand drawn Spidey eyes and of course a Spiderman cake. Plus some of our yummy finger food to keep the parents happy too. I probably will pass on the “spider eggs” (pictured below) at the risk of sending my 4 year old audience running to the hills.

On second thoughts maybe I’ll just hire another caterer and let the kids loose in the backyard with some silly string. Watch this space!