Chocolate, cherry and coconut lava cake




I can’t tell you how wonderful Brisbane is in Autumn and Winter. Really, it could hardly be called a “winter” we are blessed with sunny days and cool nights. Still warm enough to brave a swim and cool enough to feel hungry and wear a jumper every now and then. This time of year also inspires me to cook and bake more.

We were having some friends over for coffee and cake and I whipped this one up the night before. It really is that easy. If you don’t fancy it being so soft and melty in the middle, just leave it in the oven for a little longer. I used frozen cherries but you could use the real thing if they are in season or canned. Don’t substitute with glac√© cherries they are too sweet. This cake is great with ice cream and you can serve it slightly warm if you like.


250g unsalted butter

400 g dark chocolate (the best you can afford) with the highest cocoa percentage

2/3 cup of castor sugar

6 eggs

1 cup of almond meal

1 cup of gluten free flour (or normal flour if you’re not following a gluten free diet)

1 1/2 cups of cherries chopped





Turn the oven on at 170 degrees.

Prepare your spring form cake tin with baking paper and grease the sides.

Melt the butter and chocolate over a pot of steaming water. Being careful not to let any water touch the chocolate.

Chop up the cherries into smaller pieces and leave to drain.

Beat the eggs and sugar until light in colour and fluffy, approx 5 mins.

When the chocolate and butter are melted, stir until cooled and then add to the egg and sugar mixture. Mix together while adding the almond meal and flour. Finally add the cherries.

Pour all of this into the pan and bake for 30 mins, longer if you would like the centre to be firmer. Another 10 mins should do it.

Let cool and then dust with icing sugar and top with a couple of spare cherries.


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Chickpea fritters with corn, zucchini and lemon zest.

IMG_3137Meatless Monday has become a popular addition to our weekly meals. In fact we are quite happy to go meatless three or four times a week. The great advantage to this kind of eating is you are consuming more vegetables and it also saves money if you are trying to budget. Then there are the health and enviromental benefits. I know that there was a time when it wasn’t considered a meal unless it included meat of some kind but those days are over.

This recipe is so simple and delicious. It is great for children and can be packed into lunch boxes the next day. They taste great hot or cold.



1/2 cup of chopped spring onions
1 zucchini grated.
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon of cumin
zest from one lemon
To serve add a wedge of lemon and some tzatziki
Drain your can of chickpeas in a colander and then blitz in your blender with the clove of garlic and set aside.
In a bowl whisk eggs, oil and flour together with corn from the can and grated zucchini. Add cumin, salt and pepper, lemon zest and spring onions and mix together well.
Heat a non-stick fry pan with a little olive oil and drop large spoonfuls onto hot surface. Leave for a minute or so and then turn over. The heat must be warm enough to give a lovely brown colour but also the fritter needs to stay in the pan for around two minutes a side so that they are cooked all the way through.
Serve with a wedge of lemon and some hummus or tzatziki.
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Potato crusted lentil bake

IMG_8513This dish had a big response on social media. I simply took a photo and said this is the meal I make when I have run out of ingredients, haven’t been food shopping or I am trying to save money. All these statements are true. I have been serving this meal for almost thirty years. It has improved in taste over the years.

I used the orange lentils but I’m sure it would work with any colour lentils but it’s important for the lentil mix not to be to liquidy. It is great with a big green salad and works well for leftovers the next day. The original recipe came from a Woman’s Weekly cookbook and this is my version.


1 1/2cup of red lentils

5 medium potatoes

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 chopped onion

3 celery sticks chopped

2 medium carrots diced

2 cloves of garlic diced

I can of diced tomatoes

1 cup vegetable stock (maybe more, just add while cooking)

Spices, cumin, tumeric, dried coriander, chilli, salt and pepper

And some Ajvar (I have written about this before, it’s a roasted pepper and eggplant relish available everywhere. Here is a link to a home made version).


Fry chopped onion, and garlic in a deep saucepan with olive oil.

Add diced carrot and celery and cook until just coloured a little.

Now add the lentils and make sure they are covered in oil. Add a little more oil if necessary.

Now add all the spices. Be creative if you feel like it and add a little more of something.

Pour vegetable stock over and stir.

Then add canned tomatoes and stir again. Let simmer and keep an eye on the mixture so it doesn’t get too dry. Top up with water or more stock as it thickens.

Meanwhile in the microwave place your potatoes with their skin pricked (this way they don’t explode!) Microwave until tender. Let cool and then slice into equal size pieces about 2cm thick.

Prepare an oven proof dish with a little olive oil so that the meal doesn’t stick to the sides.

When the lentil mixture is thick and tender, add a tablespoon of the Ajvar mix and stir, then pour into the dish. Place the potatoes on top in a layer. Now brush the top of potatoes with more Ajvar and oil.

Bake in a moderate oven for around 45 minutes and slightly browned on the top.


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