Mum’s sago plum pudding

“For as long as I can remember Mum has made a sago plum pudding for our Christmas meal.  I thought it was about time that she taught me how to make it! You may notice there doesn’t seem to be any plums in the recipe, but I assume the original version did. Sago is an ingredient made from the starchy centre of a tropical palm. In this recipe it acts as the binding agent in place of eggs. As there is no flour, the gluten comes from bread crumbs making the pudding incredibly moist!  We’ve always eaten it with lashings of custard and whipped cream. Flaming the pudding is an optional but exciting addition, just make sure there is a fire extinguisher handy. Enjoy!”

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons sago
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon soft butter
  • 85g sugar
  • 1 teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 250g sultanas
  • 60g currents
  • 60g glacé cherries
  • 60g chopped dried apricots
  • 90g breadcrumbs
Method
  1. Put sago and milk in a saucepan over medium heat and cook while stirring for 10-15 minutes. The mixture will go quite gluey and the sago will plump up and become slightly translucent.
  2. Stir in the butter, sugar and bicarb. Set aside to cool slightly
  3. Mix together the remaining ingredients.
  4. Add the sago mixture to the dry ingredients and mix together.
  5. Butter a steamed pudding tin and place a round of baking paper at the bottom.
  6. Transfer the pudding batter into the tin and smooth the top. Put on the lid.
  7. Bring about 5cm of water to the boil in a large stock pot, then carefully place the steaming tin inside with the pot lid on. Simmer for 4 hours. You may need to top up the water level as it cooks. I check every 30 minutes.
  8. Turn the pudding onto a serving plate.
  9. To flame the pudding bring 1/4 cup of vodka, brandy or any other clear alcohol to the boil in a small saucepan. Carefully light the alcohol and pour over the pudding. (This is best done with the lights dimmed for best effect.)
  10. Serve slices of the pudding with custard and whipped cream.

French toast 3 ways

Photos by Gary Corbett

“You can’t beat French toast for an indulgent breakfast, brunch or even dessert. I’ll be making this with my nieces on a Facebook live this Mother’s Day. I’ve given you three recipes to choose from but you can get your creative juices going with many different culinary alternatives. I’ve also given a vegan alternative for the custard and you can use a non-dairy spread instead of butter. Enjoy!” 

Ingredients for egg custard

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 1/3 cup milk
Ingredients for vegan custard
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Version 1 – with mixed berries
  • Thick cut fruit toast
  • Mixed berries
  • Maple syrup
  • Thick cream or coconut yoghurt
Method
  1. Put berries in a container and pour over some maple syrup. Set aside.
  2. Mix custard ingredients together until they are well combined. Put in a shallow bowl good for dipping.
  3. Put a tablespoon of butter or non-dairy spread in a frying pan and heat up until it’s melted.
  4. Cut your fruit toast in half, dip in the custard on both sides and put in the frying pan. Let one side go golden (about 1 minute) before turning over.
  5. Place on a plate, top with a dollop of cream or coconut yoghurt, some berries and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Version 2 – with coconut bananas

  • Thick cut fruit toast
  • Bananas
  • Desiccated coconut
  • Thick cream or coconut yoghurt
  • Toasted almonds
Method
  1. Mix custard ingredients together until they are well combined. Put in a shallow bowl good for dipping.
  2. Cut your bananas in half then slice them lengthwise so you get a flat side.
  3. Put some coconut on a flat plate. Dip the flat side of the banana in the custard then place in the coconut.
  4. Put a tablespoon of butter or non-dairy spread in a frying pan and heat up until it’s melted.
  5. Place the banana flat side down in the frying pan and cook until the coconut has gone golden. Remove and set aside.
  6. Clean the pan of coconut then put a tablespoon of butter or non-dairy spread in a frying pan and heat up until it’s melted.
  7. Cut your fruit toast in half, dip in the custard on both sides and put in the frying pan. Let one side go golden (about 1 minute) before turning over.
  8. Place on a plate, top with a dollop of cream or coconut yoghurt, the coconut bananas, some toasted almonds and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Version 3 – with figs and spiced yoghurt
  • Thick cut fruit toast
  • Fresh figs
  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Toasted almonds
  • Honey
Method
  1. Mix custard ingredients together until they are well combined. Put in a shallow bowl good for dipping.
  2. Put yoghurt and spices in a bowl and mix together.
  3. Cut your figs into quarters.
  4. Put a tablespoon of butter or non-dairy spread in a frying pan and heat up until it’s melted.
  5. Cut your fruit toast in half, dip in the custard on both sides and put in the frying pan. Let one side go golden (about 1 minute) before turning over.
  6. Place on a plate, top with a dollop of spiced yoghurt ,fresh figs, some toasted almonds and a drizzle of honey.

 

 


Caramel Sweet Potato Cake

“This is one of the most popular cakes I’ve made in ages.  The recipe I adapted seemed too weird not to try it, but the combination of soft sweet potato and white chocolate makes for an amazing texture.  I also love the rustic drizzle of the warm ganache flavoured with apricot jam.  Very Moorish! Enjoy”

(Photo by Gary Donald Corbett)

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 400g peeled sweet potato
  • 300g white chocolate
  • 230g butter
  • 300g dark brown sugar
  • 100g golden syrup or molasses
  • 3 eggs
  • 100g Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 375g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
For the ganache
  • 100g cream
  • 150g white chocolate
  • 70g apricot jam
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Peel the sweet potato and cut into 2cm cubes.  Place in a steamer for 15 minutes or until the sweet potato is soft.  Remove from steamer and allow to cool.
  3. Melt the butter and white chocolate over a low heat, stirring regularly until combined.  Allow to cool.
  4. In a mixer beat the eggs, sugar and golden syrup until combined.
  5. Add the yoghurt and vanilla and beat until combined.
  6. Mash the sweet potato or process in a food processor until no lumps remain.
  7. Add sweet potato to wet ingredients and beat until combined.
  8. Add the flour and baking powder to wet ingredients and stir through until combined.
  9. Grease and line a 25-30cm springform pan.  Pour in cake batter and bake for 40-50 minutes.  I found I needed to cover the cake with aluminium foil for the last 15 minutes to prevent burning the top.
  10. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the cake tin.
For the ganache
  1. Bring the cream to a light simmer and add the jam.  Stir or whisk until the jam has dissolved into the cream.  Add the white chocolate and stir until smooth.  You may need to put the pan back on a low heat if the cream has cooled down too much.
  2. Allow the ganache to cool slightly.  While the ganache is still runny our slowly over the cake.  I applied a thin layer first and allowed it to cool on the cake before drizzling the rest over.
  3. Serve with whipped cream or Greek yoghurt