Pan de Queso


I have not been able to visit South America yet but I’m planning to one day. Meanwhile there are lots of students here from Colombia and Brazil and other areas. I like to ask them about what they think of Brisbane. One of these encounters ended up with a new recipe being given to me for Pan de Queso. It is a cheese bread from Columbia that you would eat with your meal or as a snack. I thought I would give the recipe a whirl and it worked out well.

They end up being hard on the outside and airy on the inside. Because I could not find the correct cheese, I replaced it with a light crumbly Persian type feta.



(About 12 pan de quesos)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup warm milk
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup of Persian feta (this is meant to be the queso fresco)
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 beaten egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
Salt to your taste


1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C.

2. Dissolve the baking powder in 1/2 cup of the warm milk, add 1 tablespoon flour and the sugar. Stir until well combined. Set aside for 5 minutes.

3. In a medium bowl, add the rest of the milk and butter and stir well. Add the egg, flour, salt, cheeses and using your hands mix well. Cover with plastic and let it sit at room temperature for about 40 to 50 minutes.

3. Divide the mixture into 12 equal size portions, shaping them into balls or doughnut shape. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

4. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until golden on top.

Serve warm.



Sometimes this bread is made with yuca flour or tapioca flour in which case it would be gluten free. It can be eaten for breakfast time too. If left to go cold after baking they will go hard but can be reheated in the microwave. I can’t wait to go to South America one day and try the real thing.


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Vegan Date and Dark Chocolate Loaf

World Vegan Day was on November 1st. This is the 68th year. I won’t delve to deeply into what Vegan’s believe however when they cook they don’t use any animal products. Now this is quite a challenge for me when it comes to baking. For all my years in the kitchen, I have had a big basket of eggs sitting on the side and loads of the best butter I can buy sits in the fridge waiting for my next creative baking moment.

I thought it would do me good to break my habits and try a new way. I had a look at a few recipes and thought this one looked good and it turned out very moist and sweet. I don’t think most people would taste that there are no animal products used. I hope you enjoy trying a vegan recipe too. If you want to learn more about being a Vegan here is the link

I used the recipe from Cake Duchess and thank her for sharing it with me. I replaced the molasses with golden syrup. Also the dark chocolate must be 70 percent or higher in cocoa value.

Sticky Chocolate Date Loaf
30 pitted dates, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon golden syrup
1 ripe banana, mashed
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips, melted and cooled
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (to stir in the batter right before baking)

Preheat oven at 350 F and line a loaf pan with parchment or non stick baking paper. (or you can make them
in muffin tins)

In a small pan, combine dates and water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 3 minutes or until dates are soft and liquid has reduced. Lower the heat and stir in baking soda. Stir well once the mixture foams up; set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flours, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In another large mixing bowl, whisk the oil, sugar, golden syrup, banana, and vanilla until fluffy. Stir in the cooled melted chocolate.

Gently fold in half the flour mixture then fold in all the date mixture. Gently fold in the remaining flour and the rest of the chocolate chips.

Transfer batter to tin and tilt tin gently from side to side to level batter. Bake for 1 hour or until a fine skewer comes out almost clean from centre of loaf and loaf begins to pull away from the sides of tin.
Remove from oven and turn loaf out on to a cooling rack. Enjoy!

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Wattleseed and dark chocolate buns

You know there are plenty of things to eat in Australia other than Kangaroos and Crocodiles!  Native fruit and seeds are a wonderful source of nutrition. When I was at Herbies in Sydney not long ago and I picked up some Wattleseed. This seed comes from up to 120 different varieties of Acacia. The Aborigines ate these either green or cooked or milled and used as a flour. They add a roasted earthy aroma to food and can be paired with chocolate or savouries. I think we could use more Australian native produce. It has the advantage of being suited to our climate and therefore does not need the amount of water that European produce does.  It would be lovely if one day people overseas associated the taste of Wattleseed and other native edible plants with Australia. To give you an idea of some of the plants that are edible in Australia here is a link for you to explore

I decided to pair the Wattleseed with dark chocolate this time and make the buns to share with my family. The Wattleseed is not very strong so you could add more if you wanted the flavor to be more noticeable.


I made this recipe up.

Makes 16
For the buns

  • 2 tablespoons instant dried yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1.5 cups lukewarm milk
  • 4.5 cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 50g butter melted
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 3 teaspoons of Wattleseed
  • 2.5 cups of dark chocolate chips, the best quality you can find.

For glaze:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon gelatine or 1/2 gelatine leaf soaked in cold water

1. Mix yeast, sugar and warm milk in a bowl and stir to remove any lumps. Set aside for 15 minutes until it becomes frothy.

2. In a large bowl, or the bowl of your mixer, sift flour and salt. Make a well in the center and mix in the yeast mixture, butter, egg, Wattleseed and one third of the chocolate chips.

3. Knead dough for 5 minutes until elastic and place in a greased bowl covered with cling wrap in a warm area. Leave for 1 to 1.5 hours until tripled in size.

4. Using your fist, punch down the dough and add the remaining chocolate chips. Knead lightly and divide into 16 balls. Place close together on a lined or greased baking tray. Cover with cling wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.

5. Bake for 20-30 minutes until done. While it is baking, get the glaze ready. For the glaze, simply mix all three ingredients together shortly before the time is up on the buns.

6. When buns are ready, brush with glaze. I like to do this quite generously and glaze the sides too but this does make them quite sticky to handle.




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