sizzling salad Saturday

Saturday was a slightly bigger day that I anticipated, as the little grandnephew and two grandnieces arrived unexpectedly as well. They are lovely children, but they did exhaust us today, or maybe we are just getting older!

Grandma Flamingo Dancer is now 84 and BIL told me that during the week she became quite worried as she couldn’t remember the name of two of our children – Daughter2 and Son. We have noticed for some time that her mental capabilities are not as strong as they once were, but we had hoped that things would not progress too rapidly. We lived through dementia with our Dad and so are very aware of the process. Still, she is having more good days than bad, so we will value that while we can.

We were just going to have a very simple sausage sizzle (a sausage wrapped in a slice of bread, with sauce and onions) but I decided to add a couple salads.

Roast pumpkin and avocado salad


Gluten free, dairy free., vegetarian, tuna less Nicoise!

followed by

Butterscotch surprise cake - with chocolate icing!

So, tonight, I am feeling well fed, but tired. I may give myself an early night. Being a hostess with the mostest is rewarding, but exhausting!

Sleep tight!

Recipes for those inclined…

Roast pumpkin and avocado salad

Roast pumpkin and avocado salad

Serves 6

400g peeled butternut pumpkin, chunky

2 ripe, firm avocados, chunky

Juice of ½ lemon

1 small red onion, sliced

1 bunch of rocket leaves or watercress

100g cherry tomatoes, cut in halves

60g each pepitas and sunflower seeds

1 tbsp each ground cumin and coriander

1 tsp sea salt

Cracked pepper

¼ cup (60ml) balsamic vinegar

¼ cup (60 ml) pumpkin seed oil

6 springs Italian parsley


Season pumpkin with sea salt, pepper, cumin and coriander and roast on baking paper in a hot over 230C for approximately 10 minutes, or until cooked but still firm. Cool slightly. Gently mix with remaining ingredients and serve on rocket leaves, with pepitas, sunflower seeds and sprigs of parsley.

Gluten free, dairy free., vegetarian, tuna less Nicoise!


Gluten free and dairy free. Vegetarian.


Serves 2 ( I obviously quadrupled the recipe!)

4-5 large leaves fresh basil, finely sliced

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove

¼ teaspoon wholegrain mustard

15 ml apple cider vinegar

¼- ½ tsp apple juice concentrate

Pinch sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

150g potato, scrubber and clean (smaller potatoes are best)

120g green beans (runner preferable to stringless) topped and tailed, string removed and cut into manageable lengths, then cut in half widthways.

70-80g salad green (rocket and cos makes a nice mix)

8 cherry tomatoes, cut into half

4 baby beetroot

8-10 pitted olives.

2 hard boiled eggs, each cut into quarters


1.Place the beetroot in an overproof dish and with a little water- about ¼ cup for 4 or 5 beetroot.

2. Bake in a moderate oven until tender when pierced with a knife tip.

3. Removing the skin is bet done when they are warm.

4. Combine the basil, garlic, olive oil, mustard, apple juice concentrate, salt and pepper in a jar. Screw the lid shut, shake and adjust to taste.

5. Put the potatoes in a pot of water and bring to the boil. Cook until tender.

6. Rinse under cold water, pat dry with a towel and cut into halves or quarters. Set aside to cool.

7. Top and tail the beans and remove any string. Bring water to boil, add the beans and cook until crisp-tender, about 1 minute.

8. Tip into colander and run cold water over to stop cooking, and dry and place in the fridge.


9. If the beetroot are large, cut into wedges

10. Arrange the greens in the dish and place potato and beetroot as desired. Top with green beans, sprinkle with cherry tomatoes and olives.

11. Arrange egg pieces throughout the salad.

12. Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Butterscotch Surprise Cake

125 g margarine

¾ cup of caster sugar

2 eggs

¾ cup plain gluten free flour

½ cup self raising gluten free flour

¼ cup soy milk

1 teaspoon vanilla


1. Combine margarine,  sugar, eggs, sifted flours, soy milk and vanilla in a bowl. Beat until smooth.

2. Spread half the mixture into a greased 20cm ring tin.

3. Pour butterscotch filling evenly over the cake mixture.

4. Spread mixture with remaining cake mix.


Butterscotch Filling

½ cup of brown sugar firmly packed

2 tablespoons of custard powder

½ cup of soy milk

2 teaspoons margarine

1 egg


1. Combine brown sugar and custard powder in saucepan.

2. Gradually stir in soy milk.

3. Stir constantly over heat until mixture boils and thickens.

4. Stir in margarine

5. Allow to cool for 5 minutes

6. Stir in beaten egg and use mixture while still warm.

Bake in a moderate over (200C) for approximately 35-40 minutes. Longer if in a bundt tin (50-55 minutes). Allow to cool in tin or ten minutes before turning out onto rack or plate. Sprinkle with icing sugar before serving.

To make in a bundt tin, double cake mixture and use one mix as base and one as top of cake, with butterscotch filling in between.  I iced the pictured cake with chocolate butter icing.

Vintage Cakes

Mrs Isabella Beeton - challenge one!

When I am depressed or stressed I love to bake – cakes, cookies, I have even tried my hand at bread. Lying in bed recovering from the flu I have found that my mood has become very black, and so I have decided to give myself a challenge. A challenge other that cleaning my filthy bedroom after two weeks of Mr FD and I living in our bed that is.

So falling back on my best loved cure for the blues I have decided to bake cakes, not just any cakes, but vintage cakes, from recipes provided by the likes of Mrs Isabella Beeton and other classic bakers such as Marguerite Patten, whom I had never heard of until I started Googling “world’s most famous cake bakers” and up she popped.

Margurite was a British Cook who launched  television show just after the war and wrote a number of cook books such as  ‘Soup Basics’, ‘The Spam Cookbook’ and ‘We’ll Eat Again’ under her belt. “We’ll Eat Again”! I feel like Margurite and I are old friends already.

I googled further for Mrs Beeton’s lemon cake and there I hit my first hurdle. Orange Blossom Water. Have you ever heard of it? I have never, in my life. I could only guess that it is akin to rosewater.

Further research tells me I need to boil orange blossoms. No problem, I’ll just go and pick some shall I? Better still, maybe I can buy some at the supermarket? Any suggestions? I guess I could choose another Mrs Beeton cake recipe, but it sort of defeats the challenge doesn’t it, if I give in on the first cake?

I am going to have to research this a little more, but I don’t intend quitting that easily. In the meantime, check out the original recipe:

Lemon Cake Recipe

This classic English lemon cake recipe is taken from “The Book of Household Management” by Mrs. Isabella Beeton, published by S. O. Beeton, London, in 1861. Victorian England was noted for having delicious lemon cakes which were often served at tea time.

Ingredients: 10 eggs,

3 tablespoonfuls of orange-flower water,

3/4 lb of pounded loaf sugar,

1 lemon,

3/4 lb of flour. Method: Separate the whites from the yolks of the eggs, whisk the former to a stiff froth; add the orange-flower water, the sugar, grated lemon rind, and mix these ingredients well together. Then beat the yolks of the eggs, and add them, with the lemon juice, to the whites, etc; dredge in the flour gradually; keep beating the mixture well; put it into a buttered mold, and bake the cake about an hour, or rather longer. The addition of a little butter, beaten to a cream, we think, would improve this cake. Seasonable at any time.

A little butter? Martha Stewart to whom cooking is a science would be imploding. The addition of a little butter, beaten to a cream, we think, would improve this cake.

And before you ask, back in the Victorian era, sugar were sold in loaves. The loaf would be cut into cubes for tea, or pounded it to a specific amount for a recipe. See, we both learnt a new thing today!
Seasonable at any time….we shall see, Mrs Beeton, we shall see.