Parmesan Twists

May 28, 2020

These savoury bites are so moreish, especially when you make your own flaky pastry.

Makes 30-40


225g flour

1/4 tsp salt

175g butter

1 tsp lemon juice

cold water to mix into dough


3/4 c ground or finely grated parmesan

1 tsp curry powder

salt and pepper

1 egg

1 tsp water

In a bowl sift flour and salt. Chop in the butter using 2 knives. Slowly add lemon juice and enough water to mix into a stiff dough.

Roll out into a square to about 5mm thick. Fold the pastry by bringing in the side edges to the middle, then the top and bottom edges to the middle. Fold in half and press the edges together.

Give the pastry a half turn and roll out again, and repeat folding process. Wrap dough and chill in fridge for 1 hour.

Mix the parmesan and curry powder together in a small bowl.

Whisk the egg and water in another small bowl.

Preheat oven to 200C. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.

Roll out the pastry into a 30cm square, about 3-4mm thick. 

Brush over with egg wash the evenly sprinkle over the cheese mixture. Season with salt and pepper. 

Place a piece of cling film over the dough and gently roll the rolling pin over it to press in the filling.

Use a pastry cutter or knife to cut in half to make 2 rectangles. Cut each rectangle on the short side into strips of about 12mm thick.

Twist each strip 2 or 3 times, ending with the cheese side at the ends and place on your baking sheet about 2cm apart.

Bake one sheet at a time for 11-13 min until golden brown. Let cool on the sheet for about 10 min on a wire rack.

Best served on the same day. But they can be warmed up in the oven at 150C if you need.


Gingerbread bundt cake

May 26, 2020

I got myself a new tin! A silicone bundt actually. The cake slipped out the mould very nicely. It pays to still grease and flour silicone moulds, just to make sure. I decided to add a little surprise in the middle - stewed prunes. They contrast quite well with the gingery cake. They're completely optional, though. You can replace the butter with more oil if you like. This recipe browns the butter first for extra flavour.

Stewed prunes:

1 c prunes
1 c water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

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Swiss meringue buttercream

May 23, 2020

8 is such a cool cake shape to make! Just 2 round cakes with a slice off each end and pushed together. I made a sugar-free and dairy-free vegan chocolate ganache cake and vegan lemon cake and contrasted them with a decadent swiss meringue buttercream for our daughter's birthday. She couldn't resist licking the bowl.

This is a standard way to make swiss meringue buttercream. I've also read a reverse method where you cream the butter then add cooled egg white/sugar meringue. Maybe I'll try that ...

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Honey & cardamom biscuits

May 21, 2020

First time I've iced cookies before I put them in the oven, but it works!

Makes about 60

125g butter or non-dairy spread, softened

1/2 c brown sugar or coconut sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 c honey

2 c flour

1 c wholemeal flour


1/4 c butter or non-dairy spread, softened

1/4 c flour

2 tsp water

In a bowl beat the butter for 30 seconds. ADd the brown sugar, baking powder and cardamom and beat until combined. Beat in egg and honey. Sift in flours and mix un...

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Chocolate wheaten cookies

May 18, 2020

Just like the ones you can buy in the shops but better cos they're homemade! Very similar to chocolate digestives or the vegan digestives.

Makes 20-30

125 g butter, softened

1/2 c brown sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 c wholemeal flour

1/3 c self-raising flour

1/4 c wheatgerm or bran, optional

1/4 c desiccated coconut

60g dark chocolate, finely chopped

1/4 c milk of choice


100g dark chocolate

1 tbsp butter or vegetable shortening

In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Mix in egg. Sift i...

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Dried fruit cookies

May 18, 2020

This batch makes so many cookies! You can freeze some of the dough for later use.

Makes about 50

185g butter, softened

1/2 c granulated sugar (I used organic golden but coconut sugar would work well)

1/2 c brown sugar

2 eggs

2 or 3 mashed bananas

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 c flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp all spice (or a combo of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger)

1 1/2 c oats

1 c mixed dried fruit, chopped

3/4 c desiccated or shredded coconut

3/4 c chopped nuts (I used walnuts and almonds)


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Coconut panna cotta & berry coulis

May 15, 2020

I make jellies often for our daughter with just fruit juice and agar -  panna cotta is pretty much the same thing. Berry coulis is the perfect accompaniment for this dessert. Thanks to Heidi Swanson in Super Natural Cooking (Celestial Arts, 2007) for this easy recipe. 

1 can coconut milk or cream

1 1/4 c milk (I used rice milk)

1/3 c cane sugar

3/4 tsp agar powder (or 1 1/2 tbsp agar flakes)


2 c berries, fresh or frozen (I used raspberries and blueberries)

1/4 c honey or rice syrup

juice half...

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Butterscotch macarons

May 13, 2020

If anything turns out a bit rough in your baking, you can just call them 'rustic'! My butterscotch macarons are rather rustic but delicious too.Soft brown sugar gives the butterscotch flavour.

Makes about 15 sandwiched macarons

2 eggs whites

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

100g icing sugar

30g soft brown sugar

100g ground almonds

For the filling:

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp coconut cream, or cream or milk

1 c icing sugar

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.

In a large bowl wh...

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May 6, 2020

I made my own dulce de leche for these banoffee cupcakes - dairy and refined sugar-free! I used the rest in these classic Spanish/South American sandwich cookies.

Makes about 15 sandwiched cookies

1 c cornflour

3/4 c flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

110 g butter at room temperature

1/3 c granulated sugar

2 egg yolks

1 tbsp brandy (or pisco, cognac or sherry)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

180g melted chocolate for dipping

1/2 c desiccated coconut

1 c dulce de leche at room temperature


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Banoffee cupcakes with dulce de leche and salted caramel

May 3, 2020

These are surely the most decadent cupcakes I've ever made. It's from Marian Keyes' book (yes, the author is also a baker). The final result is a soft bananary bite with a burst of silky dulce de leche in the middle and a crunchy caramel topping. My husband's birthday cupcakes - may the fourth be with you! You can use store-bought dulce de leche but if you're in lockdown, just make your own.

dulce de leche:

4 c milk (I used rice)

1 1/2 c sugar (I used coconut sugar)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Bring the...

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EST. 2010

Frances Chan loves to bake. She's also a freelance editor and has written a couple of children's books. She shares some of her adventures, culinary or otherwise, on Instagram.

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