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!”


  • 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
  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
  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
  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
  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)


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
  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





Apple Chai Pumpkin Pie

“Whoops! I seem to have missed thanksgiving or halloween for this post. (Not that we really celebrate them here much)  But who says pumpkin pie should only be served on those days? For this recipe I’ve combined the silky softness of the pumpkin custard with the spiciness of chai tea to make a slightly different version of this American classic. Like all good tarts, it’s slightly complicated and has several stages but the finished product is well worth the effort.  Enjoy!”

(Photo by Gary Donald Corbett)


For the cinnamon pastry

  • 140g butter
  • 300g plain flour
  • 140g castor sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
For the spiced apples
  • 3 granny smith apples
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 tbsp chai tea
  • 2 tbsn raw sugar

For the pumpkin filling

  • 600g pumpkin
  • 2 cups cream
  • 2 tbsn chai tea
  • 180g brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 3 eggs


  1. For the cinnamon apples: In a cup pour the boiling water over the chai tea and sugar and leave to sit.
  2. For the pumpkin custard: In a small saucepan bring the cream to a light simmer then add the chai tea.  Allow this to sit and infuse while it cools down.
  3. Cut the pumpkin into 2 cm square pieces and steam until soft.  Set aside to cool.  (If you’re in America you can buy pumpkin pie mix in a can. Shame on you!)
  4. For the cinnamon pastry: In a food processor combine the butter sugar, flour and cinnamon.  Pulse until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.  Add the egg and process until pastry comes into a ball.
  5. Tip out onto a piece of cling wrap and form into a disc.  Place in refrigerator.
  6. For the cinnamon apples: Peel the apples and cut each one into 16 wedges. Place apples in a small saucepan.
  7. Drain the chai tea and add the tea leaves to the cream. (Every little bit of flavour helps)
  8. Pour the chai tea mixture over the apples and bring to a simmer.  Cook the apples until they’re soft but still holding their shape.  Transfer the apples and liquid to a bowl and refrigerate, letting them cool in the remaining liquid.
  9. For the cinnamon pastry: Remove the pastry from the fridge and on a well-floured surface, roll out until it’s about 5mm thick.
  10. Carefully transfer this into a greased 30cm tart dish (I use the sort with the removable bottom), filling any gaps and neatening up the edges.
  11. Transfer the tart dish to the freezer for 15 minutes.
  12. For the pumpkin custard: Drain the infused cream of the tea leaves and put in a food processor.  Add the cooled pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and eggs and process until smooth.
  13. For the cinnamon pastry: Remove the tart dish from the freezer and using a fork, prick the bottom of the pastry evenly (about 20 times).
  14. Line the pastry with grease-proof paper and fill with baking beads or rice.  Transfer to a 180 degree celsius oven and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove the beads/rice and baking paper and cook for another 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 150 degrees.
  15. Remove the tart shell from the oven and let it cool slightly.  Drain the apples of any remaining liquid and put a layer of 2/3 of the cooled apples into the bottom of the tart. (The remaining apples are reserved for serving)
  16. Pour the pumpkin custard over the apples and transfer to the oven for 30-35 minutes.  The cooked pie should be uniformly cooked but still a bit wobbly.
  17. Allow to cool and serve with whipped cream and some of the remaining spiced apples and a sprinkle of icing sugar.






Decadent Chocolate Orange Cake

“Confession time.  I’m addicted to chocolate!  Okay, not such a world-changing declaration but it does mean I’m constantly looking for the perfect chocolate cake recipe.  This one is one of the most decadent and rich recipes I’ve made so far.  The addition of the sugared orange rind and juice add a great flavour and texture to the cake and the hit of chocolate ganache and butter-cream leaves me in chocoholic heaven.  One piece is never enough so make sure it’s a big one then hit the gym.  Enjoy!”

Chocolate Orange Cake

  • Rind from 3 oranges
  • 100g castor sugar
  • 225g Butter
  • 350g dark chocolate
  • 600ml orange juice
  • 400g dark brown sugar
  • 3 tbs vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 400g self raising flour
  • 1/4 cup dutch cocoa powder
  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees and butter and line a 23cm cake tin.
  2. Peel the rind off the oranges, cover with water and bring to the boil.
  3. Drain and repeat another two times.  On the fourth time add 100g of castor sugar to the rinds and boil until most of the water is gone leaving the rinds in a sugar syrup.  Place rinds in a food processor and blitz into small pieces.  Set aside.
  4. Put butter and chocolate in a saucepan and heat while stirring on medium until both have melted.
  5. Juice the oranges and add bottled juice to 600ml.  Mix into chocolate mixture with sugar, vanilla and orange rinds.
  6. Let the mixture cool then add eggs and whisk well.
  7. Add flour and cocoa and stir until combined.
  8. Pour mixture into prepared tin and bake for 45 – 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Orange Butter-cream

  • 200g icing sugar
  • Grated rind from 1 orange
  • 125g butter
  • 125g cream cheese
  1. Process icing sugar in a food processor until all the lumps are gone.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and beat for 2 minutes.

Chocoalte Ganache

  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup Cointreau
  • 375g dark chocolate
  • 75g butter (at room temperature)
  1. Bring cream and Cointreau almost to the boil and remove from the heat.
  2. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and add to the hot cream.  Leave to sit for 1 minute.
  3. Stir the mixture until combined.  Chop the butter into small pieces and stir into chocolate until melted.
  4. Pour into a bowl and leave to cool on the bench (Don’t refrigerate or it will become too hard to work with).

Putting The Cake Together

  1. Cut the cake in half and spread the butter-cream on the bottom half.  Place the other half on top.
  2. Spread 3/4 of the ganache over the top and sides of the cake.
  3. Fill a piping bag with the remainder of the ganache and pipe swirls onto the cake.
  4. EAT!