Sunday, September 3

Father's Day Mango, Lime and Coconut Muffins

I picked up an entire tray of plump, golden and green tinged mangoes from Harris Farm - warm weather results in the most succulent fruit varieties in Australia and Mangos are at the top of my family's list! Since I really love to eat and cook, I immediately started thinking of ways to incorporate these juicy edible orbs into beautiful baked goods. 

These Father's Day Mango, Lime and Coconut Muffins are bursting with pieces of fresh mango, zesty lime and coconut for texture. I've topped them with additional slices of mango and a sprinkle of coconut blossom sugar. 

Try them yourself, or if you are short of time, order a batch of 12 from me by sending an email to or via my Instagram account magdalenatomasevic

About to go into the oven...

Father's Day Mango, Lime and Coconut Muffins
Makes 12 abundant muffins

2 eggs, preferable organic
100ml olive oil (I use Lomondo)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200ml cream with the juice of half a lime squeezed in and stirred through
3 ripe fresh mangos, flesh diced into bite sized pieces
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
3/4 cup raw caster sugar
2 cups self raising flour
6 teaspoons coconut blossom sugar or brown sugar

Place all of the WET ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth and combined. 

Add two of the DICED MANGOS and stir though gently.

Add all of the DRY ingredients and stir through with a fork until just combined. *Do not over-mix or your muffins will be hard. Once baked, the muffins should have a moist, soft, pull-apart texture. 

Slice the third mango into short lengths and press into the top of each muffin. Sprinkle each one with half a teaspoon of sugar. 

Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees fan forced for 20 minutes.

Serve warm with a side offering of butter or enjoy as is. 

Wednesday, August 23

Must Make Chocolate Chunk Cookies

My children had a discussion over breakfast about chocolate eclairs, jammy filled chocolate hearts and chocolate chip cookies. I decided to make the latter as an afternoon tea treat. I actually enjoyed a couple dunked into my tea too! 

Must Make Chocolate Chunk Cookies

150g unsalted butter, cut into cubes at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence/extract
2 large eggs
1 cup plain flour
1 cup self raising flour
1 cup desiccated coconut
200g dark chocolate roughly chopped (either in a blender or by hand)

Place all of the ingredients in a deep mixing bowl. Beat together using an electric mixer, starting slowly at first and then increasing the speed to medium. 

Continue to beat together until the mixture combines into a a dark brown coloured ball of dough. 

Simply scoop out tablespoonfuls, roll into balls and place on baking trays. Gently flatten the top of each cookie ball. TIP: Leave enough space between the cookies to allow for expansion during cooking. I used two trays with 15 cookies on each. 

Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees fan-forced for 12 minutes. NO MORE than 12 minutes! The heat generated by the chocolate and brown sugar will continue to cook these chewy morsels once they are out of the oven. 

Place on a rack to cool slightly and gobble down with your favourite afternoon beverage - creamy milk for the kids and a cup of strong tea for me!

If family and friends don't devour these in one afternoon, store in an airtight container for up to four days. 

Sunday, August 6

Best Ever Broccoli Soup

My children audibly cheer when I make broccoli soup. Seriously. It is the same reaction when I say we are going out for wood-fired pizza. That's how much they love slurping bowlfuls of this vitamin rich, glorious green soupy goodness. 

Packed with vitamins that include C, A, and B-group along with essential iron and magnesium, this is a tasty way of helping to ward off winter bugs. I guess you could say, my broccoli soup is a vitamin pill in a single bowl. 

Plus this is one of those easy weekend or last minute mid-week meals that I can have cooked and on the table in a little over 30 minutes. Add a warm baguette and a selection of cheeses and you have the dairy, protein and carbohydrate food groups covered too. 

Best Ever Broccoli Soup 
To generously serve 6 adults.

50g unsalted butter
1 TBL olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 white onion
1 leek (white and light green parts only)
250g zucchini (2 medium zucchinis)
1.2kg fresh broccoli (3 large heads of broccoli)
1 overflowing cup of fresh basil leaves 
1.5 litres chicken stock
1 heaped teaspoon sea salt
good grind of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
20 ml double cream
To garnish - extra basil and Greek yoghurt

In a large, deep pot (about 3-4 litres in volume) add the olive oil and butter and melt. 
Finely chop the garlic, onion, leek and zucchini and saute in this pot over a medium heat for 10 minutes. 

Add the broccoli which has been cut into florets. Saute for another 5 minutes until the broccoli turns a bright green colour. 

Add the basil, chicken stock, salt and pepper and bring briefly to the boil. Reduce the heat to LOW and simmer for 15 minutes. 

Add the nutmeg and cream and blend using either a stick blender or in batches in a KitchenAid style jug blender. 

Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. 

Serve in deep bowls with a dollop of Greek yoghurt and a scattering of basil leaves. 

Tangy Tomato Salad

This winter in Sydney has been unseasonably warm, and so I've found myself making far more salads at this time of year than usual. Not that sweltering temperatures are a requirement for scrumptious salads, but the tastebuds tend to lean towards those comforting "stick to your ribs" style of dishes that manage to fill you up and ward off the chills. I've combined the best of both edible worlds in my family meals, by serving up favourite soups, such as roasted pumpkin and rosemary, broccoli and basil, classic chicken vegetable, or bold flavoured pasta ragu, hearty goulash, coconut curries or home made pizzas and of course...a big beautiful salad like this tangy tomato version. 

Inspired by a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe, the thinly sliced rounds of Roma tomatoes are drizzled with a zesty lemon and ginger dressing and scattered with aromatic mint and spring onions. A fabulous punchy mouthful of flavour with each forkful. How can something so simple taste so superb? It all comes down to great quality Australian produce and the magic of mixing together the right ingredients. Bliss from the first bite. 

Tangy Tomato Salad 

To serve 4 adults as a side dish, or 2 people as a light meal with warm bread like my home made wholemeal loaves ( or silky Nigellan flat bread rolls ( to mop up those salad juices. 

600 grams ripe Roma tomatoes (about 4 - 5 tomatoes)
1 tablespoon olive oil - I prefer the Mudgee based Lomondo brand for its fresh, herby taste
juice of half a lemon
2 x long green spring onions (white and green sections of the spring onions)
handful of fresh mint leaves
1 heaped teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
good grind of sea salt to taste

You will need to use a round platter about 28cm in diameter. 

Using a super sharp knife, thinly slice the tomatoes into rounds, discarding the pieces at either end. 

Arrange the slices in your platter in a single layer, overlapping slightly. Drizzle with half the olive oil, and lemon and sprinkle over half the ginger (this is the dressing). 

Add the second layer of tomatoes and dress again. 

Finely slice the spring onions into tiny rounds. Scatter with the whole mint leaves across the top of the dressed tomatoes. Grind over sea salt to taste. 

Leave at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving to allow for the flavours to infuse. 

Tuesday, June 20

Apple Crumble Cookies with Vanilla - egg free

Gosh, I really felt like eating a cookie this evening! Something with texture, and taste and warmth. Something to munch on with a cup of tea at the end of the evening and then add to lunchboxes for the next day...SO, I revised a recipe of mine published a couple of years ago on Cabinet of Cookery and you know what? These cookies are exactly what I was after. They certainly beat the supermarket packet varieties! 

Apple Crumble Cookies with Vanilla

Look forward to pulling 32 medium sized morsels measuring 6cm in diametre out of the oven. Expect the outside of the cookies to have a desireable "crunch" factor, whilst remaining softly textured on the inside. Not a chance of breaking a tooth or dislodging teenage braces eating these. Only smiles all around. Most will disappear off the cooling rack quick smart!

250 g unsalted butter
3/4 cup raw caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 apples, peeled and roughly grated
1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract/essence

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees on a fan forced setting. Prepare two baking trays with baking paper and set aside. 

Melt the butter in the microwave in a large mixing bowl. 

Remove from the microwave and add all of the ingredients. 

Use a mixing spoon to combine into a pliable dough. The mixture should be soft, but easy to roll into balls. Do not be tempted to add any liquid. The moisture from the grated apples and melted butter is sufficient to bind all of the dry ingredients.  

Take small amounts in your hands - about a tablespoon - and roll into a ball the size of an apricot for a decent medium sized cookie. Space the balls evenly on your two baking trays (16 on each). Flatten slightly with the back of a fork or your fingertips. 

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. 

Transfer the cookies to cooling racks to prevent them from steaming. Now, stand guard when the children stream into the kitchen following the wafting aroma of freshly baked cookies. They need to leave a few for later, too! These cookies are delicious wolfed down whilst warm with a glass of milk, but they are also immensely satisfying tucked into school and work lunch boxes the next day. 

Wednesday, June 14

Three Blue Ducks Chicken and Pumpkin Curry

I adore eating curry. So much, that I will even find myself craving the aromatic spices, golden sauces, scented rice and assorted textured side dishes during the heat of summer. Of course simmering a curry to quell the crisp winter weather makes even more sense. The house smells amazing, everyone's belly ends up full and there's a feeling of warmth and nurturing around the dinner table.   

Although I do have my own special curry mix that I have concocted after trailing and testing recipes from published sources and eating out, the recipe below is straight out of one of my favourite cookbooks, from the team at Three Blue Ducks restaurant in Bronte, Sydney. I never tire of eating there. Food, service, fit-out, vibe... it is by far my favourite restaurant in Sydney. 

I made three changes only to the original recipe: 

I omitted the cashews as I am allergic to nuts ( I have  accidentally tasted cashews previously and so I can understand how delicious their creaminess would be in this curry). Instead I sprinkled pumpkin and sunflower seeds over each person's serving. 

I added two whole star anise at the simmering stage. I swoon over the aniseed flavour, especially as it combines with chicken. 

Finally, I scattered a few whole curry leaves over the top of the dish just before serving to release their distinct aroma. 

This is a rich curry, so using a plump 1.6kg chook will feed 6 adults especially with side dishes of fragrant rice or a saffron pilaf, steamed greens, yoghurt and flatbread for mopping up the yummy sauce. 

It is worth making this saffron pilaf as an accompaniment. Leftover rice can be tossed though with finely diced tomatoes, cucumber, capsicum, mushrooms and even feta cheese the next day and piled into food safe thermoses for school lunches. 

Saffron Citrus Pilaf to serve 8 people

100 g unsalted butter
10 cardamom pods, split
finely grated rind of half an orange
3 cups long grain rice or basmati rice
3 good pinches of saffron soaked in a couple of tablespoons of boiling water prior to commencing the pilaf in order to release the flavour and colour.
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
good grind of sea salt to taste
4 1/2 cups cold water

In a large pot, melt the butter over a medium heat and add the cardamom pods and orange rind. When you can smell the sweet aroma, add the rice and stir until it starts to turn opaque. Take care not to let it burn!

Add the saffron and the liquid in which it has been soaking, along with the dried cranberries, salt and cold water. Cover the rice with a piece of baking paper so that the paper sits right against the mixture. This helps the rice to steam and prevents it from drying out. Cover with the lid of the pot. 

Bring to the boil, then immediately reduce the heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes or until the rice is just done. You don't want mushy rice, rather a slight bite to the grains. 

Gently scrape the rice out of the pot and into a serving dish and fluff up with a fork.