Sesame Seed Dinner Rolls

There is a true beauty to baking in general, yet nothing surpasses the aroma of freshly baked bread penetrating into every corner of your home. The aroma likened to a warm hug or a heartfelt smile from a loved one you have been longing to see. For myself its been the longing to walk past the village bakery in Greece to relive a moment that has lasted a life time.


Now I know that you might be looking at these pictures thinking …..”she’s made rings, as well as rolls”, true I took the opportunity to make the Turkish “Simit” a bread ring that is heavily crusted with sesame seeds (which I was totally obsessed with eating at all hours of the day while in Turkey a few years ago).     I uses the same method of baking as the rolls. So be brave and try something different …ps they make the perfect edible napkin rings 🙂


Sesame Seed Dinner Rolls

1 Tbs milk powder
250ml water
40g Rice Bran Oil
40g Unsalted Butter melted
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
500g Bakers flour

Honey Wash:
2 teaspoon honey
2 Tablespoons water

Topping: Sesame seeds

Place in a bowl the flour, milk powder, dry yeast, sugar and salt mix well to combine all. Add the water, oil, melted butter, egg and mix. Using a standard mixer with a dough hook attachment knead till the dough looks smooth and elastic – on medium speed for approximately 6-8 minutes.

Cover the dough with cling film  to prevent forming a skin and leave to rest about 15 -20 minutes.

Divide the dough into 60g portion sized pieces. Shape each into a ball and allow to rest again for a further 10 minutes. Take each individual dough ball and press with your hand to open the dough to form a circle about the size of a teacup saucer. Then roll back again to the dinner roll shape.

Dissolve the honey and water. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on a small baking tray or flat dish.

Brush the tops of each dinner roll with the honey wash then roll the wet side in the sesame seeds.

Place on baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper.

Allow the dough rolls a further 30 – 35 minutes to rise.

Preheated oven at least 15 minutes prior to use at 200 degrees Celsius. 

Just before baking, use a water filled spray bottle to spray a fine mist of water over all the dough rolls. Reduce the oven temperature at 170 degrees and bake the bread rolls until golden brown approximate baking time 12 – 18minute. (All depends how big you make to rolls)

Once baked place the rolls on cooling racks.

The only thing let to do is head to the fridge reach out for the butter, rip one of those freshly backed beauties apart and lay on the butter.

Pure Joy!






My Best Ever “Banana and Walnut Cake”




Banana and Walnut Cake

85g butter (room temperature)

150g Sri Lankan Rapadura Sugar


1 egg


200g ripe bananas, mashed (approximately 2 ripe bananas)


125g natural Greek yoghurt

30ml rice bran oil


220g flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate powder

1/4 teaspoon salt


60g walnuts, chopped

1: Preheat oven to 180°C, or if it’s fan-forced, 170°C.

2: Prepare a loaf pan by lining it with baking paper. Set aside for the moment.

3: Combine the butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat for 3 to 4 minutes then add the egg. Don’t forget to scrap down the sides.

4: Mix together the mashed banana, yoghurt and oil. With the mixer on low speed, add to the batter. Beat for a further 4 to 6 minutes or until the batter is light and fluffy.

5: Still on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the batter and then the chopped walnuts. Pour the batter into the loaf pan. Give the bottom of the pan a tap to even out the batter and release any large air bubbles. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

6: Leave on a cooling rack for 5 to 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

Make like Maria and try these sugars in your favourite recipes. Discover the new Sugars of the World range in Coles, Woolworths and Independent retailers nationally.




Aromatic Braised Beef Pie




Aromatic Braised Beef Pie
For the filling
2 tablespoons olive oil
1.5kg gravy beef, roughly chopped
salt and pepper
300g speck, rind removed and cut into thick strips
1 brown onion, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
125ml sherry
125ml port
250ml liquid beef stock
1 cup broad beans, peeled (use frozen if fresh unavailable)
1 herb bouquet consisting of 8 parsley sprigs, 1 large bay leaf, 3 sprigs of thyme, 2 whole cloves or allspice berries, 1 strip orange peel, wrapped and tied in cheesecloth
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons plain flour
250g Swiss brown mushrooms, sliced

For the pastry
2½ cups plain flour, sifted
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
300g butter, chilled and diced
200ml sour cream
1 free-range egg yolk and 1 tablespoon milk, beaten, for the egg wash


To serve

2–3 teaspoons sesame seeds
25cm pie dish
Serves 8–10

Preparation Method

Heat the oil in a pressure cooker pan. Season the chopped beef with salt and pepper, then add to the pan with the speck, onion and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add the sherry, port, beef stock, broad beans and herb bouquet. Cook in the pressure cooker for approximately 25 minutes. Remove the herb bouquet and discard.

Place the butter in a separate pan, add the flour and cook it through (approximately 3 minutes). Begin adding some of the beef sauce from the pressure cooker, a little at a time, to form a rich, thick sauce. Add the beef and vegetable mixture and the mushrooms.

Simmer for a further 5 minutes, then remove from the heat. Allow to cool completely in the fridge.

Place the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and butter into a food processor bowl and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sour cream through the feed tube and process until combined, adding a little water if necessary. Place the dough onto a floured board and knead lightly until smooth. Cut off one-third of the pastry and roll into a ball. Shape the remaining pastry into another ball. Wrap both balls then flatter out slightly wrap in cling wrap and rest the pastry for 20 minutes in the fridge.
Roll out the larger pastry ball. Line the pie tin with the pastry and place back in the fridge to rest. (A hint for rolling out pastry: spray your worktop with oil. Place a large piece of cling wrap on top and roll the pastry out onto it. This will make it easier to pick up.) Roll out the smaller piece of pastry onto baking paper, making it just a little wider to fit the top of the pie and allowing for enough pastry to be crimped around the edge. Place on a tray, cover with cling wrap and rest in the fridge until the filling is cold.
Preheat the oven to 190°C. Fill the pie case with the completely cold beef mixture. Top with the prepared lid. Crimp the edges. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes from any remaining pieces of pastry and decorate the lid. Make a few slits with a knife for the steam to escape. Brush the top of the pie with egg wash. Sprinkle the crimped edges with a generous amount of sesame seeds. Bake for 40—45 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before removing from the dish and serving.



Zucchini, Feta and Spinach Muffins


There are a few recipes that can remind me of a time and a place and these Zucchini Muffins do exactly that!

Many of my childhood memories are also tied to the smell of fresh herbs, stories from grand parents and memories of traveling, music and family both near and far. When I look at the cuisine that I have grown up with I cant help but think how fortunate I have been.

Versions of this recipe mostly appear in Middle Eastern recipe books as fritters and although my grandmother made them that way as well, I think she would have been happy with my muffin version too. Its less time consuming without losing any of the taste.


Zucchini, Feta, and Spinach Muffins:

2 medium zucchini, grated

200g Frozen Spinach, thawed

½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

2 Tablespoon fresh dill (chopped)

2 Tablespoon fresh Mint (chopped)

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 Spring onions sliced fine

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

½ cup Self Raising Flour

Salt and black pepper, to taste

3 Tablespoons Olive oil (plus a little extra for the cupcake Pan)


Preheat the oven 180 Degrees

Place the grated zucchini and spinach in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. Sprinkle with a little salt and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Then, wring all of the liquid and discard. Place the grated zucchini and spinach in a large bowl.

Combine the zucchini, spinach, feta, herbs, eggs, spring onions, garlic and oil. Stir to mix well.

Sprinkle in the flour and fold through until it all is incorporated and holding together.

Using a nonstick cupcake pan, add ½ teaspoon of olive oil to the base of each cupcake section and divide the batter between the 12 spots on the cupcake pan.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes.

Note: For a Gluten Free option use Gluten Free SR Flour 🙂


Artful is the new Rustic!

If the thought of a recipe described as RUSTIC sends shivers down your spine consider this!

“Artful is the new Rustic!


Bread can be described as wholesome, earthy, crusty and rustic. Countries live and breath by the bread they make and have further developed a measure of quality by which a baker is referred to as, most popular being “Artisan Bread” or “Artisan Bakers”!

Why is it that a recipe handed down from Great Grand-mother to granddaughter not warrant the same respect , the feeling of deep admiration for a carefully crafted recipe measured not by grams but handfuls and the feel of the dough being carefully nurtured through every step.

“Don’t get me wrong I love the careful precision and craftsmanship produced in modern patisserie”

My point is we need to recognise that there is true art to be seen, valued and admired if only we looked closer with a child like wonder and used our sense of smell and our curiosity to enjoy the amazing baked spectacle that has been crafted together to produced a canvas of colour and long lasting memories.For all the recipes handed down for us to enjoy and to all the  “Artful Bakers”


Home made Apricot Jam
Home made Apricot Jam
Mixed Sultanas, Currants, Orange Peal
Mixed Sultanas, Currants, Orange Peal & Mixed Spices
Egg wash and a sprinkle of Demerara Sugar


160g Self-Raising Flour

2 Tablespoons Icing sugar

1 Tablespoon Custard Powder

100g Butter – Unsalted

1 Egg

65g Light Sour Cream


1 cup mixed dry fruit (Sultana, Currant, Mixed Peal)

Apricot Jam (optional Raspberry is lovely too!)

Cinnamon Sugar (optional)



1 Egg yolk

1/2 Tablespoon Milk

You will Need:

1 Baking sheet lined with baking paper

1 pastry brush

Rolling Pin


Pre-heat oven 180 Degrees

1: In a food processor add Self-Raising Flour, Icing sugar, Custard Powder and Butter process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. If you don’t have a food processor rub the ingredients together using your fingertips.

2: Add the egg and sourcream, bring the mixture together to form a dough ball. Do not over work the pastry.

3: On a floured surface use a rolling pin to roll out the pastry 4 – 5 mm thickness.

4: Brush the apricot jam over the pastry surface, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and lastly sprinkle over the mixed fruit. Gently roll the pastry. Place it on the baking tray brush with the egg wash and sprinkle the demerara sugar on top.


4: Bake till golden 25 – 30 minutes.

I hope you and your family enjoy this “Artful bake” 🙂

Happy Baking


Good Bye 2013…..Hello 2014

It would be difficult not to look back at all the events of 2013 and wonder…..WOW how did all that happen?

Though the filming of “The Great Australian bake Off” was over a year ago now, 2013 truly was an amazing year, but it all started in 2012. No sooner did the new year begin when I received notification to be part of a taste test team for the “Australian Good Taste Magazine” in January, March and April. Not having ever entered any type of competition before June and July “Cook The Issue” was advertised, now I was cooking with gusto, writing up my take on recipes and taking photos of the food I had cooked. Posting photos on line and reading the amazing comments and meeting extraordinary home cooks along the way. I loved every minute of it. I was home cooking in my own kitchen over two months and 90 recipes later also equated to many cold dinners because unfortunately as I attempted to take the all important picture just before serving diner every time. I began a new facebook page and then my blog “Food from Home Blog” social media was all around me twitter was next.

The day of the cooking competition finals held in Sydney, I received a phone call. An invitation to my application to audition for “The Great Australian Bake Off”. I have to tell you all that I applied to be on the show as a favour to my dear cousin in law Patricia and now Im so glad I took her advice. After two auditions and a nervous wait filming began in November 2012. I feel like Ive entered the twilight zone Im going backwards just to go forwards….Hmmmm! After waiting almost seven months the show finally went to air in 2013, my phone went into meltdown as I didn’t tell any family or friends what I had been up to and the first commercial, which went to air on my birthday, caught everyone by surprise (and me) which I admit was fun listening and reading text of their reactions. With my nearest and dearest we all gathered at a local pub/restaurant to watch the first episode. The owners of the premisses had no idea why a large group of people were cheering and clapping while all gathered around watching a Baking Show! Now football they could understand, but this was cupcakes. Oh the confusion it must have caused. I even received messages that my home town in country South Australia was watching the show with fingers crossed.

As the weeks went by, I watched the person on TV, the other me! I felt the heartbreak and the joy all over again along with a few little anomalies which as time goes by you understand as “Some things make for good TV” little moments that Im sure never happened or did they? I was and always will be proud of every moment end every recipe I baked on the show. My three goals were met firstly 1: Don’t burn down he kitchen 2: Beat the clock and always have something lovely to present to the judges and 3: Get to the final three.  Getting into the final three was the pinnacle moment I could have walked away at that moment because I was happy. To everyone that wished I had won all I can say is thank you from the depth of my heart. I have always vowed not to over use this word but it has been a “JOURNEY” and I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people.

During 2013 I have judged at competitions, given talks, and answered your wonderful questions. I have demonstrated some of my slightly unorthodox baking methods and drawn amazing crowds at the Royal Melbourne Show and Cake Expos. Meeting Julie Goodwin, Marion Grasby and Anna- Maria from Planet Cakes and filming with Paul Mercurio and listened to their very valuable advice, were a few of the highlights, but the best is still yet to come. I was asked to make cakes for special charity events like “Red Cake Day” and support kids with cancer “Camp Quality”. I have even managed to enter a cake decorating competition and my prize is a meet and greet with one of Melbourne’s best pastry chefs Pierrick Bower at “Le Petit Gateau”.  I am teaching my very own baking classes, and baking at the local Cafe and loving every minute of it. Im on a quest with the “Band of Bakers Australia” to rediscover recipes and uncover flavour sensations from amazing home bakers, bringing together the baking community in the city and the country. Promoting the benefits of home economics taught as a subject at schools not just an elective a valuable life lesson not to be underestimated. Im looking forward to 2014 and looking forward to catching up with you all again. Cheers and Happy New Year to all the Home Bakers, Cooks and household restaurants Chefs everywhere. 🙂

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A Show-stopping PEAR!

“Pear & Almond Cake”

This dessert tastes as good as it looks and did I mention

“Gluten Free”



Ive used Brown pears for this lovely cake. They have been simmered sill tender then the stem and seeds removed and pureed.


Ive used a gorgeous stencil, and dusted the top of the cake with icing sugar. Giving a delicious cake a beautiful finish!

Shhhhhhh! An American Classic…………Bottomless.

“This bottomless fruit pie is simply indulgent”.


Make life easy, bake and serve straight from the oven to the table. The beauty of this pie is that you can bake it in a fry pan or your favourite oven proof individual serving bowls, I have even baked it in colourful tea cups.  Yes its a little rustic and homely looking but thats its charm!


“A lovely pastry thats easy to make, quick to bake”

The filling is entirely up to you, use your own poached fruit or use caned fruit it all works a treat. My personal favourite Apple & Rhubarb or Pear & Raspberry, oh let me not forget Peaches! Ok I think you understand me now when I say I love fruit but this pastry is a perfect marriage! Its become my favourite quick dessert and everyone always thinks I’ve been working on it for hours! “Lets keep that a secret”.  




1 cup SelfRaising Flour

2 Tablespoons Icing-sugar

1 Tablespoon Custard Powder

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste

Zest of 1 Lime

100g Butter (cold and cubed)

1 Egg

1/4 cup Sour Cream                                                                                                                  *************************************************

4 cups of your favourite poached fruit ( discard extra liquid)                                                          *************************************************                                                                                                                 

1 Egg lightly whisked to brush pastry

1 Tablespoon Demerara or Raw sugar to sprinkle over pastry                                                             ************************************************

Double cream or Ice-cream to serve



1: Place cold poached fruit into the baking dish (remove excess liquid only fill 3/4 of the pan)

2: Pre Heat Oven 180 Degrees

3: Process the flour, icing sugar, custard powder and butter till it resembles a course crumb. Add the egg, sour cream vanilla and zest and process until the dough almost comes together.

4: Turn the pastry onto a lightly floured surface and push together to form a round disk (don’t kneed). Cover with plastic and allow to rest for 10 minutes in the fridge.

5: Roll out the pastry slightly larger than the dish you are using. Place pastry over the fruit mixture. Its ok if the pastry overlaps the dish. Brush the pastry with the whisked egg and sprinkle over with the Demerara sugar. Bake for 30-40 minutes till the pastry is golden and crisp. Allow to cool and serve with a light sprinkle of icing sugar.

6: Serve with Cream or Ice-cream………….Enjoy!      

I first saw this pastry published in The Australian Good Taste magazine and its been a favourite ever since. Yes, I have changed it a little but it never lets me down nor those that enjoy it.

*Just a note if you are rolling out the pastry and its a little soft place it back in the fridge for 5-10 minutes then continue again.   


What a TART!

Chocolate Tart with a hint of gold leaf
Chocolate Tart with a hint of gold leaf

There are a multitude of beautiful tarts being created everyday by equally amazing pastry chefs. I consider these real works of art. Sometimes to stunning to eat, well you pause take a deep breath admire the craftsmanship and the next thing you know you have just taken your first bite. Pure joy!


The pastry is fine light and buttery, flaky with hints of chocolate, almond or hazelnut meal and a hint of sweetness as to compliment the finished product and not overpower it. Shortcrust pastry like the more delicate Pate brisee a delicate pastry perfect for savoury tarts. Then there is Pate sucree and Pate sablee both contain a higher amount of butter and sugar making this pastry even more delicate and giving you a wonderful melt in the mouth.


The filling are equally divine, salted caramel delicious chocolate, nuts, fruit, curds and creme patissiere are only a drop in the ocean of the delights used to make perfect tarts in different shapes and forms. The smell is intoxicating and the individual elements are unique spellbinding so you can be forgiven for giving in to moments when you can’t hardly wait until they are cooked to enjoy one.

Chocolate Tart

Lemon Tart

Caramel Pecan Tart

If I have wet your creative baking appetite then look to buy a book like Pastry Savoury & Sweet by Michel Roux or Baking with Passion by Dan Lepard & Richard Whittington. Still not feeling completely confident take the bull by the horns and follow your passion enrol in a course at Savour Chocolate & Patisserie School here in Melbourne student enrol from all corners of the earth.  The pastry chefs Robyn and Paul will hold your hands while you amaze yourself and might I add enjoy the fruits or rather the tarts of your labour!

Ever since I moved to Melbourne I haven’t been able to find a good old fashion Custard Tart with a light sprinkling of nutmeg.

Recipe coming soon!

ANZAC DAY and the ANZAC Biscuit

In my pursuit to have everyone enjoy a day of baking ANZAC biscuits I was asked a question by an overseas friend of my facebook page Food From Home “What is ANZAC what does it mean”?

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, originally commemorated by both countries on 25 April every year to honour the members ofthe Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in the Ottoman Empire during World War I. It now more broadly commemorates all those who served and died in military operations for their countries. Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the first campaign that led to major casualties for Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.


According to Wikipedia – The ANZAC Biscuit is a sweet biscuit popular in Australia and New Zealand made using rolled oats, flour, desiccated coconut, sugar, butter, golden syrupbaking soda and boiling water. It has been claimed the biscuits were sent by wives to soldiers abroad because the ingredients do not spoil easily and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation. 

ANZAC biscuits have always been a favourite bake in my home as Im sure they will be in yours. Plus they’re so easy to make and a wonderful way to commemorate the day. 



Merle Parrish’s Anzac biscuit recipe
Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 6-7 mins per batch
Makes: 45
1 cup plain flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup white sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
2 tbsp boiling water
1 tsp bicarb soda
160g butter, melted
1 Preheat oven to moderate (170C) and grease two large baking trays.
2 Sift the flour and ground ginger into a mixing bowl, and add the oats, coconut and sugar. Make a well in the centre.
3 Stir the golden syrup, boiling water and bicarb in a small bowl until combined. Add to the dry ingredients, along with the melted butter. Mix well.
4 Take heaped teaspoons of mixture and roll into balls. Place onto trays, and flatten gently. Bake for 6–7 minutes, until lightly golden.
5 Cool on the trays for 10 minutes, until they firm up slightly, then lift onto wire racks to cool completely.
From Merle’s Kitchen, published by Ebury Press, $39.95.
Road testing the biscuits


Chocolate Anzacs by Bakers Corner


  • 100g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup (60mL) boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 cup (150g) NESTLÉ Dark Melts, melted
  • 1 cup (150g) plain flour
  • 3/4 cup (165g) brown sugar
  • 1 cup (90g) UNCLE TOBYS Traditional Oats
  • 1 cup (80g) desiccated coconut


A great way to enjoy an old favourite – Anzac biscuits with rich chocolate flavour.

How to Make

1. Preheat oven to 180ºC/160ºC fan forced. Grease and line two large baking trays.

2. In a small bowl combine butter, boiling water, bicarbonate of soda, golden syrup and NESTLÉ Dark Melts; reserve.
3. In large bowl combine flour, sugar, UNCLE TOBYS Traditional Oats, and coconut, add reserved mixture and stir until well combined.
4. Roll tablespoons of mixture into balls, place on prepared trays; using fingertips gently flatten; bake 15-20 minutes; cool on trays.
Kerry Vincent
Tomorrow is Anzac Day revered for those Australian and New Zealanders who respect the military, understand what they have done for us and the heavy price they paid. My grand parents and father served in three wars, Boer War, World War I & II. The biscuits (cookies) that were sent to veterans serving abroad were called Anzacs and I am going to share Karina Jones recipe which is made as follows. I will add a comment for those who like crispie biscuits (cookies) bake them a couple of minutes longer — if you like soft (as Karina does) then bake as is. 160ºC = 325ºF, bet you all love them as much as the soldiers, sailors and pilots did. They last long, so were well suited to the trip by sea to the front.ANZAC Biscuit Recipe : I’m Making Some For Nan And Pop 🙂
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup desiccated coconut
125g butter, chopped
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Preheat oven to 160°C/140°C fan-forced. Line 3 baking trays with baking paper.

Combine oats, flour, sugar and coconut in a bowl. Place butter, syrup and 2 tablespoons cold water in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir for 2 minutes or until butter has melted. Stir in bicarbonate of soda. Stir butter mixture into oat mixture.
Step 3

Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls. Place on trays, 5cm apart. Flatten slightly. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden. Stand on trays for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve.