Apple Coconut Flan by Edmonds


How do you like them apples?  That’s how I feel I should be addressing you, because we really have had a lot of apply recipes by this point in the Edmonds A section.  But I love a good flan and this little number is easy and satisfying, so it’s worth a try if you like the sound of it.  d


It all beings with a packet of Edmonds butter cake mix.  I haven’t bought cake mix for years. It gives me a little guilty pang and I feel like I should be making my own from scratch.  One of the last times I used cake mix was a formative baking experience back in the mists of time.  I had to produce a cake for Girls Brigade and Mum, sick with the flu and no doubt not feeling up to chaperoning a junior baker in the kitchen, bought me an orange cake mix.  I proudly presented the finished product to the family table and Mum, who probably wanted to eat anything else in the world apart from a vivid orange pile of stodge crafted by a 10 year old, gallantly rose from bed and forced down a bowlful.  Being the anxious kid I was, I decided then and there if anything happened to Mum I would always remember that moment.  Probably a little hysterical on my part (I always was a worrier) but it was a very touching moment nonetheless and I still appreciate her sucking it up for the sake of my feelings.

IMG_3652If you want to make this Apple Coconut Flan, you will need:

  • 1 packet Edmonds Butter Cake Mix
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 125g butter
  • 2 cups stewed apple
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

Set the oven to 180 degrees celsius.  Combine the coconut and cake mix in a bowl.  Edmonds offers you the choice of doing this by hand or with a food processor.  I don’t think you need a food processor, I did this by hand very easily.

Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  In another bowl, combine the stewed apple and lemon rind and put in the bottom of a greased, oven-proof baking dish.  Spoon the cake mixture over the apples, and then combine the water and lemon juice and pour this over the top.  Bake for 55 minutes or until pale golden and firm to touch.  You can serve this hot or cold.

The apple in my version caramelised rather charmingly at the corners of the dish and the coconut toasted up a little in the topping.  We had ours semi-warmed with some yoghurt and it went down a treat, I hope particularly for my Mum.


Weekend brunch with feta scrambled eggs


It started a sunny beautiful Saturday and how nice to spend it having brunch chez nous with old friends.  The majority of today’s spread was very traditional British breakfast fare….bacon, sausages from our excellent Ngaio butcher, some croissants and jam for a sweet, and a token green salad as I felt we’d best eat something from a plant.  I made sure we had a generous assortment of appropriate condiments, including my Mum’s excellent relishes and some H&P sauce in a nod to those at the table hailing from Old Blighty.


I had eggs on the menu too, and to juice them up a bit, did my favourite feta scrambled eggs.  I’ve been inspired by the delicious feta scrambled eggs served up in mouth-watering perfection every time by the Ministry of Food.  I can’t promise my version to be as perfect as theirs, but I can promise it’s pleasingly reliable when you are looking for a little pep with your eggs.

You will need:

  • One egg per person, plus one extra for the pot
  • A splash of milk
  • About 1 tablespoon of butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chilli flakes
  • Approximately 10 grams of feta per person but don’t hold back if you feel you need more cheese
  • Fresh chopped herbs if you have them

Put a frying pan over moderately high heat and melt the butter.  Meanwhile, whisk your eggs with a dash of milk, salt, pepper and chilli flakes.


When the butter is runny and bubbling, add the egg mixture.  There is a wide divergence in how one should scramble one’s eggs; my preferred method is to run a spatula or wooden spoon through the mixture, turning up sections as they cook and letting the uncooked mixture flow into the gaps.

When you have been doing this for a few minutes and the whole pan is starting to cook and solidify into chunks, add the feta.  I choose this point in proceedings for the feta, as this way it doesn’t melt entirely and you get pleasing, half-gooey chunks throughout the eggs.

This may be against the egg-scrambling rules; however at this point I turn up the heat and toss the eggs through the pan so they finish off cooking and are not too soggy.

Serve immediately and sprinkle with chopped herbs if you wish…the eggs picture are covered with my sister’s most lustrous fresh parsley, which she kindly gave me as part of the lovely big bunch of herbs pictured, as we are in our new house now and I have yet to return my parsley plot to past glories.


Enjoy and happy eating!

Edmonds Apple Bread


You may be a bit tired of my Winter and Autumn range of stodgy, warming things that include root crops and apples, and trust me, I’m just tired of Winter, but this is quite a pleasing little loaf and really easy to make.  Don’t be put off by the ‘bread’ in the title, it doesn’t involve any of that pesky rising or kneading and no yeast goes near it, it’s really more of a cakey loaf in a bread shape.

I would really love to bring you an interesting little history on Apple Bread, but truth is, I can’t find much (so anyone who can fill us all in would be most appreciated, comments below please).  Recipes for Apple Bread appear on a number of US-based sites for home-style or pioneer baking and sometimes it is referred to as Dutch, so perhaps this is where it has its origins.  I suspect its inclusion in the Edmonds book is because it makes good use of something that grows well in this neck of the woods  and is easy to whip up quickly, should you be caught unawares when Doris from over the fence pops over for a cuppa.


I decided to bake this on a Monday night when I was in a bit of a frump (a cross between grumpy and frazzled) and it met the requirements of providing soothing sifting and mixing activities and a nice smell of baking throughout the house.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I find baking transforms a bad mood into a feeling of satisfaction and peace very quickly.

It only calls for a few ingredients, and all things you are likely to have to hand:

  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup grated apple
  • 1 to 1+1/2 cups milk, approximately

Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees celsius and grease a 22cm loaf tin.  Sift flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl.  Stir in sugar and add the apple and enough milk to make a smooth, soft dough, mixing it together quickly.

Place into the tin and bake for 1 hour or until the base of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.  You are instructed to wrap it up in a tea towel until cold.


This makes a sturdy little loaf with flecks of apple throughout.  It’s very satisfying for breakfast, and particularly nice with a little butter or jam.  I suspect it would nicely with a little cheese or chutney too.

Happy eating ’til next time.


Duck fat roast potatoes


Well, we are winding through the bitter bones of Winter and it seems like Spring is trying to be sprung.  It may even have managed it in some corners of the hemisphere.

In my little neck of the woods, there is an undeniable lightening of the evenings and some lovely little blossoms bravely raising their heads to see if we’re there yet.  But the wind is, as ever, persistent and rather cold, and that’s excuse enough for me to keep making roast potatoes to see us through.

You may know a few years the lovely Nigella Lawson nearly caused a mass sell-out of goose fat across the UK with her promise that goose fat makes for the best roast.  She’s not far wrong I should think; I make my roast potatoes with duck fat, not goose, but trusted authorities on such matters treat the two interchangeably which makes me feel safe in this decision.


I’ve had these on a number of occasions recently and they go very well with roast lamb, beef and pork but frankly, I could eat an entire plate of just duck fat roast potatoes and not feel shortchanged.


Start with the potatoes: I really like the lovely Agrias for their yellow flesh and agreeableness with roasting.  As you know, they need washing, peeling and cutting in to chunks.

Put them in a large pot of water and get them boiling on the hob.

You’ll want to make sure your oven is nice and hot now.  This can be a bit of a juggle if you are also roasting other things, but works well if you get any meat out to rest and then crank your oven up to at least 220 degrees.

Let the potatoes boil for about five minutes, and definitely no more than ten, until they are starting to soften a little on the outside.  Drain them, put them back into the pot and, with the lid on, give them a shake around, roughing up their edges.


Prepare your roasting pan by placing a couple of spoonfuls of duck fat along the bottom of your roasting tray.  This may sound odd, but I find it a good way to ensure the fat is distributed evenly over all parts of the spuds.

Tip the potatoes into the roasting tray.  Dot more duck fat over the tops and sprinkle heartily with salt.  Use a spatula and / or some tongs to coat the potatoes in the duck fat and salt.


Roast these in the oven for about 45 minutes, until they have crisped up and turned golden.  I find the only need to be turned once, if at all.

Enjoy them with other goodies but don’t feel guilty if you just want a big plate of these all by themselves!  My only warning is take care not to burn your tongue.

Lemon yoghurt cake


You know something’s a winner, don’t you, when you’ve adapted from our national treasure, Dame Alison Holst.  As you’ll all know, I have a bit of a thing for old-school cook books and recipes.  So you can imagine I could not leave Alison Holst’s Simply Delicious cookbook, circa 1975, behind when I found it for three dollars at a Star Boating Club book sale.


I don’t mean to imply, of course, that you need or want to be adapting Alison’s recipes.  It’s just that the original of this one, Lemon Cream Cake, calls for a cup of cream.  I like my cholesterol as much as anyone, but these days you’re just much more likely to have yoghurt in the fridge.

It’s a great cake for this time of year, when although the dark of winter is lifting a bit, you still want something moreish and warming.  And, just to be helpful, lemons happen to be in season, so the rest is common sense.  I whipped this up recently to go with a cup of tea following a family roast lunch; it’s so easy that you can get it in and out of the oven before you need to worry about getting any mains cooked.


I generously slathered this one with lemon icing and passionfruit pulp, but it also works very pleasingly with a little stewed fruit.  It’s another of my lazy all-in-one bowl baking jobs, and perhaps this is what I like about it most of all.


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup plain yoghurt
  • Grated rind of one lemon
  • 2 cups self-raising flour, sifted


Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.  Grease a 23cm round cake tin and line the bottom.

Put the eggs, sugar and yoghurt into a medium-sized bowl.  Beat them together until thick and creamy.

Sprinkle the lemon rind over the top and fold in the self-raising flour.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the centre springs back when pressed.

When it is cold, ice it if you fancy.


Spiced bean and tomato soup


Who doesn’t welcome a splash of colour for lunch at this grey and freezing time of year?  I know I do.  This spiced bean and tomato soup is on high rotation in my kitchen at the moment.  When it gets to Sunday night and I need to think about making lunch for the working week, my main thought is ‘get me to the sofa with some chocolate.’

So you can understand the appeal of a hearty, warming soup that is quick to prepare and does not involve leaving the house to fetch fancy-pants ingredients. If you have tinned tomatoes and tinned beans, you are halfway there, my friends.  Don’t be put off by what looks like a long ingredients list…I promise most of this will already be in your cupboard.  I enjoy the cayenne and turmeric in this as I find it gives it a nice, comforting heat without assaulting one’s delicate winter-tinged senses.  However the brave amongst you may wish to add a little more.

To make this soup, which yields 4-5 serves, you will need:


  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 t ground coriander
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1/2 t tumeric
  • 1/4 t cayenne pepper
  • 3 tins tomatoes
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 2 cups water or chicken stock
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 tin kidney beans
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh coriander if you have it

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the garlic, celery and carrot and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add all the spices and stir to combine with the oil.  Add the tomatoes, tomato past, stock or water and sugar.  Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes.

Drain and rinse the beans and add half to the pot, reserving the other half.  Simmer the soup another 5 minutes then remove from the heat and blend until as smooth as suits your fancy, if you wish to blend at all (I like a smooth soup, but appreciate that preferences vary widely).


Add the remaining half tin of beans and season as fit, including the chopped fresh coriander if you have it to hand.  Return soup to the heat and bring to a simmer again.

It’s lovely served with a pita or tortilla heated in a fry pan with a little olive oil.  I also recommend it with a dollop of plain yoghurt or a generous sprinkle of my beloved tasty cheese.

This soup freezes well and keeps well for a good 5 days.  Stay warm, readers!


Tamarillo pudding


I am so happy it is tamarilo season once more.  I love tamarillos.  Not just for their cheek-sucking tartness, but also because I think they are one of the most beautiful fruits, with their plump, ruby skins and yellow flesh.

Tamarillos, which were once known as the very cute name ‘tree tomatoes’ in New Zealand, are considered by some to be the lost fruit of the incas.  How exotic!  These gorgeous little fruits spring from the Andes, and are now found in countries including India, USA, China, Malaysia and of course New Zealand.

And it’s not only me who loves them…one half of our recent two-cat addition to the family spent the best part of the afternoon pestering the tamarillos too.


My inspiration for this recipe comes from the New York Times plum torte.  I was introduced to this delight by my good friend Sondra who, as it happens, also introduced me to our new cats the same night.  I love the story behind this plum torte. It was published every Autumn for seven years until the editors decided that was plenty long enough.  However, this was met with outrage and a slew of angry letters, and so now it is published every year, just in time for Autumn.

So, with many thanks to the New York Times and its plum torte-loving readers, here is my take on their classic, with my beloved tamarillos.


  • 10-12 ripe tamarillosIMG_3099
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup four
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 eggs

Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees celsius.

Halve the tamarillos and scoop out the flesh into a bowl.  Add the vanilla essence, sugar and cinnamon.  Combine and set aside.


In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the flour, baking powder, salt and eggs, and beat well.

Spoon the batter into a springform cake tin, between 20 – 25cm diameter.  Place the tamarillos over the top of the batter and drizzle with the remaining liquid.

Bake until the torte is cooked through and springs back to the touch, approximately one hour.

This is quite lovely served warm with some yoghurt, or even better, cream.