Pumpkin Cupcakes

On Monday mornings, I have a group of women and one man who have moderate intellectual disabilities. One of their favourite activities is cooking, this week we made Pumpkin Cupcakes for Halloween. I adapted a recipe I found hereThe recipe made about two dozen cupcakes and was delicious. We decorated the cakes with orange coloured cream cheese frosting, eyes made of a sliced up liquorice stick and nose and mouth of choc chips. We got rather sticky, not all the face decorations made it on to the cakes, much laughter was caused by the spooky faces,  it was highly enjoyed by all.


1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 cup raw sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups cooked and pureed pumpkin
1 1/4 cup olive oil

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, pinch of nutmeg, pinch of ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips


1. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar, pumpkin, vanilla and oil until smooth.

2. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Fold in chips.

3. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three quarters full.

4. Bake at 180 C for 15 to 20 minutes.

5. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

6. Add a heaped tablespoon of orange coloured cream cheese frosting to the top of each cupcake.

7. Decorate with choc chips for nose and mouth and sliced liquorice for eyes.

2013-10-20 20.11.37 2013-10-20 20.10.42


The big Easter Egg disaster

When my brother and I were little, my Hungarian grandmother would hide the most beautiful dyed eggs in the garden for us to find. They were perfect; royal blue, emerald green, ruby red, and were a particular favourite of my brother. Last night we had my brother and his family for dinner. We don’t get to see them much as they live in Connecticut and I thought I’d surprise him with Grandma’s eggs. I didn’t have the proper egg dye but I googled how to dye eggs using food dye, water and vinegar. I also saw some wonderful polka dot eggs somewhere (sorry I can’t remember where) and thought I’d pop on some small stickers, which would be a breeze to peel off to reveal the polka dots. It all sounded very simple….. The green eggs looked so revolting I thought I couldn’t possibly serve them at all. The red and blue eggs looked quite pretty until I attempted to peel off the stickers which left a yucky sticky residue on the eggs. They looked so awful I decided I would peel them all and cut them in half to serve.  As I peeled the eggs I could see that the dye had gone through the shells and dyed the egg white as well (very unattractive). One of my teenage boys said “Who’s going to eat blue eggs”? Who indeed? They look quite pretty in the photos, but disappointingly they didn’t live up to Grandma’s eggs. Thank goodness I peeled them and didn’t persist with serving them up shelled; can you imagine the comments at the table as people revealed their green, red and blue veined eggs?

eggs 3

Not quite like I had imagined….

egg 1

I quite like the speckled effect though.

eggs 2

Not even a rose can distract from the poor eggs terrible makeover…

Grandma’s cake

Tea time for my Hungarian grandmother was an opportunity to socialise and serve her delicious baking which she would urge you to eat. It was how she showed her love, “But Jenny, you’ve only had two pieces”. She often served variations of this cake depending on what was in season. Grandma would make it with fresh apricots, plums or cherries, but I imagine you could substitute lots of other fresh fruits too. It’s a very easy moist cake, go on, make it!


4 whole eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup self-raising flour

1 cup plain flour

250 grams melted butter or margarine

Fresh apricots, plums or cherries

I used 8 apricots and then cut them in half. You could use more if you wanted to place them more tightly.


Preheat oven to 200 C or 180 C for fan forced oven.

Grease and line a square baking dish (approximately 24 x 24 cm or 9 x 9 inches).

Beat eggs and sugar until frothy and then add cooled melted butter and flour and mix until combined.

Pour into the baking dish and put plums, apricots or cherries on top.

Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until lightly golden on top.

Let cool and then dust with icing sugar if desired.

Enjoy with plenty of tea or coffee and chat.

weighed watermarked

You don’t need to weigh your fruit, I just wanted to show off my scales again!

bowl of apricots watermarked

Organic apricots

apricot watermarked

Slice large fruit in half and remove the stone.

pre bakinge watermarked

Place the fruit on top (you could pack it more tightly if you wanted to).

baked watermarked

Dust the cooled cake with icing sugar if desired.

cake and tea watermarked

Owl about some cake and a nice cup of tea

Christmas lemons

My Dad says he has everything he needs so he likes to receive edible gifts. For his birthday I made him some lemon butter. My elder son watched longingly as the mixture filled the jar perfectly. So sad, nothing left for him to eat. I promised I would make more soon, so today I fulfilled my promise.

Christmas Day will consist of a large lunch with family, so it will be nice to start the day with a light breakfast of crunchy toast spread with lemon butter and a cup of tea. My lemons have been unusually large this year, I don’t know why, it’s a mystery. A friend described them as radioactive lemons. I hope not!

One of these lemons provided 100 ml of juice, just enough to make a large jar of lemon butter. If you would like to make some you will need:

1 large or 2 small sterilised jars ( I used a recycled jam jar with a pretty lid)

100 ml of lemon juice

1 tablespoon of finely grated lemon zest

4 egg yolks

2/3 cup castor sugar

60 gm butter

Combine the egg yolks and sugar with a whisk and pour into a non-reactive saucepan. Add the lemon zest, juice and butter. Over a medium heat, bring the mixture just to a simmer whilst stirring constantly and then remove from heat. Let cool and spoon into one large or two small sterilised jars. Keep in the fridge for up to one month.

Tip: make sure you don’t  add any of the egg white to the mixture or your lemon butter will have white streaks like mine did the first time I made it (a bit like scrambled eggs)!


When life gives you lemons


Radioactive lemons?


Keep stirring!


Use a jar with a pretty lid




Or make a pretty cover ( I cheated, I found a pretty vintage piece of linen)

Lemon tea

Tea with lemon

Gran's cup

Gran’s cup