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Food, general thoughts, food…

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Custard Powder Biscuits

So, I am driving down the road yesterday and there is a sign, with an arrow, that says ‘Toddler Jam’. Just that nothing else, nothing to indicate what toddler jam might be for those of us who are uninitiated. I make a note to look around more carefully on the trip back…

On the trip back I see 2 more signs, identical to the first, an arrow with ‘Toddler Jam’ printed above it. I look around, trying in vain to see an event that might be construed as a toddler jam or a vending van selling jam specifically formulated for toddlers. Nothing, nothing except the unfortunate(?) placement of an industrial tree mulcher in a layby across the road from the signs with the arrows pointing directly at it…

I am left with an uncomfortable feeling that I had not fully considered the ramifications of the phrase ‘Toddler Jam’ and the feeling (or at least the hope) that the universe was playing tricks on me just for the hell of it.

Custard Powder Biscuits
Makes about 80

3 cups self-raising flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup custard powder
3 eggs, beaten
250 g butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 160C.
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, make a well.
Add beaten eggs and vanilla.
Pour in melted butter and mix well.
Knead into a ball until all flour and custard is absorbed.
Add a little milk if dry and dough isn’t coming together.
Roll teaspoonfuls of mixture into balls and press down lightly with a fingers on a greased biscuit tray.
Bake at 160°C for 15 minutes or until golden.
Cool on wire rack before storing in airtight container.


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Vanilla Slice

I am not a huge fan of Vanilla Slice from the bakery, not because it isn’t nice, indeed it is very nice. It is also difficult to eat, that is what makes me choose something else every time. I have never met a vanilla slice that is easy to eat, it always squishes its custard filling out all over the place making you look like you have been eating by yourself for about 9 minutes…unsuccessfully. This one is no exception, its saving grace was that I could eat it at home and not worry about the impression I was making on those around me. I was happy that it tasted as good as its bakery counterparts although I would use less icing in future, I will make it again as long as I can eat it quietly at home without others.

I let mine sit for a good 24 hours prior to consuming. I thought this might make the pastry a little easier to deal with but not really…


Vanilla Slice

2 sheets puff pastry
½ cup caster sugar
½ cup custard powder
1½ cups cream
2-2½ cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Hot water

Place puff pastry on lined oven tray. Prick with a fork and bake for 10-15 minutes at 220°C.
Put sugar, custard powder and cream into a saucepan and stir over a medium heat until it starts to thicken.
Add milk ½ a cup at a time and whisk continuously until the custard is thick.
Let everything cool slightly.
Place in a 22 cm square tin, pastry, custard, pastry then icing.
Icing: Place icing sugar, butter and vanilla in a bowl and add enough hot water to make
thin to medium textured icing.

Recipe notes
Best after 12-24 hours in the refrigerator but can be eaten in as little as 3 hours.

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Honey Iced Coffee Cake

This is my favourite cake ever. This one was kindly made by my daughter while the whole of the rest of the household suffered from one malady or another. This was a very bright moment in an otherwise dull and miserable day.

This is one of those tried and true recipes that I have used for years. It’s easy and quick and probably the best tasting cake I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. I often decorate it with whole coffee beans, the crunch and bitterness of the beans is complimented by the sweet and creamy honey icing.

Honey Iced Coffee Cake

3 tsps dry instant coffee
1 Tbls hot water
125g butter
2 tsp vanilla essence
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup self raising flour
1/4 cup custard powder
1/3 cup milk

Honey Icing
30g butter
1 tsp instant dry coffee
1 Tbls hot water
1 tsp honey
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup icing sugar, approx

Grease a 20cm ring pan. Dissolve coffee in water, combine in a large bowl with butter, essence, sugar, eggs, flour, custard powder and milk.
Beat on low speed with electric mixer until combined and increase speed to medium and beat for about 3 mins, or until it is smooth and changes colour.
Spread mix into pan and bake in moderate oven for about 40mins.
Stand 5 for 5mins before turning on to a wire rack to cool.
Spread cold cake with icing.

Melt butter in a saucepan and remove from heat. Stir in combined coffee and water.
Add honey, essence and half the sifted icing sugar.
Gradually add more icing sugar to make a spreadable mix.