“Who doesn’t like sticky date pudding?! It’s one of the top desserts on many menus around the world and a regular recipe in my own kitchen. I’ve been testing a vegan recipe for catering and have realised this is better than the version I used to make. With the addition of banana to replace the eggs you do get and extra flavour in the mix but it compliments the traditional flavours so well. Enjoy!”
“Who doesn’t like a spotted dick. (Insert giggling here). This traditional English steamed pudding is delicious on a cold night and very moorish. I’ve omitted the suet and added some sour cream and boozed-up the sultanas. You can use other dried fruit or nuts if you want and I’ve changed out the traditional custard for a French style Sabayon. Enjoy!”
Spotted dick ingredients
1 cup muscat
250g frozen butter
400g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon salt
150g white sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
Place your sultanas and muscat in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer an cook for 15 minutes. Allow them to cool in the liquid.
Grate 250g of frozen butter into a bowl. Add 400g of self-raising flour and gently mix through with your fingers so the butter is coated in flour.
Add 1 teaspoon of salt, 150g of white sugar and the zest from 1 lemon and mix to combine.
Drain the sultanas and add to the mix. Keep the soaking liquid for the sabayon.
Whisk 6 eggs with 1/4 cup of sour cream and 1/4 cup milk. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix to combine.
Butter the inside of your steaming tin then put in 1 tablespoon of plain flour and shake so it coats the butter.
Transfer the batter to the tin and smooth the top.
Cut a piece of baking paper to fit over the batter and cut a few slits in the top. Smooth this over the batter and put the lid on the tin.
In a large pot place a small ramekin or heatproof bowl inside and pour in boiling water to just cover it.
Place the steaming tin inside on top of the ramekin and put a lid on the pot.
Bring your water to a simmer and let the pudding steam for 90 to 120 minutes. Every half hour check the water level and add more boiling water if necessary.
Carefully remove the steaming tin and test to see if the pudding is cooked by putting a knife or skewer in. If it doesn’t come out clean then put the tin back to steam for another 10 or 20 minutes. (In the size tin I have this took 2 hours)
3 eggs (or 6 yolks)
150ml muscat (from soaking sultanas)
120g white sugar
Mix all ingredients together until completely combined.
Transfer to a saucepan and continuously stir on Â medium heat until the sabayon has thickened.
Serve a slice of spotted dick with the sabayon and a dollop of thick cream. Enjoy!
“These corn, cheese and herb muffins were one of the earliest things I remember baking (once I left home). Â They’re incredibly moorish and fabulous warmed up with a bit of butter. Â They also freeze really well so you can throw one in your bag straight from the freezer for morning tea. You can use whatever fresh or dried herbs you have to hand, so I used a combination of sage and parsley. Â Good luck eating only one! Enjoy!”
You can find the video on my Musical Menus YouTube page.
“This recipe came from necessity. Â I needed a dessert for a catering job that was Christmas themed and gluten free, so I adapted my mud-cake recipe to include some Christmas flavours. Â The result was a super moist cake that works brilliantly as a warm dessert served with ice cream or custard and a hearty cake for your Christmas celebrations. Â If you don’t need it gluten free thenÂ substitute regular flour. Â For the dessert cake I slightly undercook it so it is still fudge and moist inside. Enjoy”
375g dark chocolate
600ml water (or red wine)
300g almond meal
200g gluten free self raising flour
400g dark sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
150 chopped walnuts or almonds
1kg Christmas mince (Recipe on “Christmas Mince Pies” post)
Place chocolate, butter and water (or red wine) in a saucepan and bring to a medium heat, stirring occasionally until all ingredients are melted and combined. Â Allow to cool.
Combine in a mixing bowl the almond meal, GF flour, sugar and spices.
Beat the eggs and mix into the cooled chocolate mixture.
Add the Christmas mince to the chocolate mixture and stir through.
Pour the chocolate mixture and the nuts into the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
Pour into a large flat lined dish or several smaller ones. Â I use one that is 35cm by 24cm. Â If you try to use a traditional cake pan it will take ages to cook and burn around the edges. Â You want the cake to be about 4cm tall (It won’t rise much at all)
Bake in a 180 degree C oven for 45 minutes or until just set. Â As long as there’s no movement in the cake when you move it and a skewer comes out relatively clean it should be fine.
Allow to cool in the pan in the fridge before turning out and cutting.
“I’m always looking for quick and easy recipes to make for Christmas parties and presents. Â These biscuits are based on a Mexican recipe I found that I deleted the chilli and spices and added Christmas mince. Â They turned out so well I’ve had requests to make more. (Mainly from my husband) Â I love the texture of the crinkle and on the outside which is achieved by rolling them in icing sugar. Â Enjoy!”
(Photos by Gary Corbett)
450g plain flour
80g dutch cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
300g Christmas mince (Recipe on “Christmas Mince Pies” post)
Icing sugar to roll balls in
Combine flour, cocoa, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder and salt in a bowl and mix well.
Beat the eggs with the oil, then stir in the Christmas mince.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and beat until combined.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes (this makes them easier to roll)
Put icing sugar into a small bowl.
Roll golf ball sized balls in your hand then roll then in the icing sugar until covered. Â shake off the excess and place on a parchment lined baking tray. Â (You can press them down slightly so they won’t roll around but don’t flatten them out. Â They will keep their ball-shape once they’re cooked.)
Bake in a 180 degree C oven for 10-12 minutes or until the crackle patten has emerged.
“Every year I make Christmas mince pies. Â Mum’s been doing making them for years but I’m sure mine are better! Â She will disagree with this. Â Anyway, this version is very tasty and vegan friendly. Â Of course, you can make them with a traditional shortcrust pastry but I love the texture of this pastry and it’s really easy to make and work with. This recipe makes enough pastry for about 3 dozen mince pies, so halve it if you don’t need that many. I make the Christmas mince in bulk every year and use it to make Christmas cakes, biscuits and other delicacies. I haven’t given weights for the dried fruit because with this method you can make as much or as little as you like and use a combination of fruits that you like best. Â I would also suggest you use less expensive cooking port or it can get expensive. Enjoy!”
(Photos by Gary Corbett)
Ingredients for Christmas mince
Method for Christmas mince
Cut up the dried fruit into small pieces or use a food processor.
Place fruit in a large saucepan pour over enough port to saturate the fruit.
Bring the heat up to medium and keep stirring until the port has been incorporated and the fruit has softened. There should be no liquid left in the mixture and the fruit should be glossy and sticky. Â (When doing 2kg of dried fruit this takes up to 20 minutes) You can always add more port and keep the mixture on the heat if you want cook it for longer.
Let the Christmas mince cool completely in the saucepan then transfer to a plastic container and refrigerate. Â Because of the high amount of natural sugars the Christmas mince will last for ages!
Ingredients for Vegan shortcrust pastry
190g Nutilex (or non-dairy margarine)
190g icing sugar
400g plain flour
1 tbsp cinnamon
Method for Vegan shortcrust pastry
Put all ingredients in a food processor and combine until it comes into a ball. Â If you mixture is crumbly add a small amount of cold water. If it’s to soft put some more flour in.
Empty mixture onto some plastic wrap and knead into a disc. (This will make it easier to roll out later)
Wrap disc in the plastic wrap and place in the fridge until needed.
Method for Christmas mince pies
Roll out the pastry until it’s about 5mm thick.
Cut out circles of pastry to fit your pans. Â (I have specialty pans that are shallow with a fluted edge that are perfect for these pies)
Press the pastry into the base of each mould so it comes a few centimetres up the side. (Or as deep as you want if you want bigger pies!)
Fill the moulds with the cooled Christmas mince and smooth the top.
Using Christmas cutters make tops for the pies. Â I use stars, Santas, Christmas trees or baubles for mine. Â You can also enclose the top completely if you like.
Before you put them in the oven you can use an egg-wash, milk or any vegan milks to paint over the pastry tops. Â Or you can sprinkle a bit of sugar over them.
Bake in a 180 degree C oven for 10-15 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and starting to brown.
Give to all your family and friends and everyone will love you!
“I recently made a delicious fruit and nut loaf from one of Bill Grainger’s beautiful cookbooks. Â It was light and fragrant with nice chunky pieces of dried fruit and crunchy nuts. Â Because it didn’t have a lot of butter or eggs in it I decided to try and convert it to a vegan version. Â After a few attempts I got the right balance that doesn’t lack any of the flavours or textures of the original. Â It also works great toasted after a few daysÂ and freezes well. Of course I do have it smothered with butter, but you can always find a vegan alternative. Enjoy!”
“This is one of the most popular cakes I’ve made in ages. Â The recipe I adapted seemed tooÂ weird not to try it, but the combination of soft sweet potato and white chocolate makes for an amazing texture. Â I also love the rustic drizzle of the warm ganache flavoured with apricot jam. Â Very Moorish! Enjoy”
(Photo by Gary Donald Corbett)
For the cake
400g peeled sweet potato
300g white chocolate
300g dark brown sugar
100g golden syrup or molasses
100g Greek yoghurt
2 tsp vanilla essence
375g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
For the ganache
150g white chocolate
70g apricot jam
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
Peel the sweet potato and cut into 2cm cubes. Â Place in a steamer for 15 minutes or until the sweet potato is soft. Â Remove from steamer and allow to cool.
Melt the butter and white chocolate over a low heat, stirring regularly until combined. Â Allow to cool.
In a mixer beat the eggs, sugar and golden syrup until combined.
Add the yoghurt and vanilla and beat until combined.
Mash the sweet potato or process in a food processor until no lumps remain.
Add sweet potato to wet ingredients and beat until combined.
Add the flour and baking powder to wet ingredients and stir through until combined.
Grease and line a 25-30cm springform pan. Â Pour in cake batter and bake for 40-50 minutes. Â I found I needed to cover the cake with aluminium foil for the last 15 minutes to prevent burning the top.
Remove cake from oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the cake tin.
For the ganache
Bring the cream to a light simmer and add the jam. Â Stir or whisk until the jam has dissolved into the cream. Â Add the white chocolate and stir until smooth. Â You may need to put the pan back on a low heat if the cream has cooled down too much.
Allow the ganache to cool slightly. Â While the ganache is still runny our slowly over the cake. Â I applied a thin layer first and allowed it to cool on the cake before drizzling the rest over.
“Whoops! I seem to have missed thanksgiving or halloween for this post. (Not that we really celebrate them here much) Â But who says pumpkin pie should only be served on those days? For this recipe I’veÂ combined the silky softness of the pumpkin custard with theÂ 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. Â Enjoy!”
(Photo by Gary Donald Corbett)
For the cinnamon pastry
300g plain flour
140g castor sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
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
2 cups cream
2 tbsn chai tea
180g brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
For the cinnamon apples: In a cup pour the boiling water over the chai tea and sugar and leave to sit.
For the pumpkin custard: In a small saucepan bring the cream to a light simmer then add the chai tea. Â Allow this to sit and infuse while it cools down.
Cut the pumpkin into 2 cm square pieces and steam until soft. Â Set aside to cool. Â (If you’re in America you can buy pumpkin pie mix in a can. Shame on you!)
For the cinnamon pastry: In a food processor combine the butter sugar, flour and cinnamon. Â Pulse until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Â Add the egg and process until pastry comes into a ball.
Tip out onto a piece of cling wrap and form into a disc. Â Place in refrigerator.
For the cinnamon apples: Peel the apples and cut each one into 16 wedges. Place apples in a small saucepan.
Drain the chai tea and add the tea leaves to the cream. (Every little bit of flavour helps)
Pour the chai tea mixture over the apples and bring to a simmer. Â Cook the apples until they’re soft but still holding their shape. Â Transfer the apples and liquid to a bowl and refrigerate, letting them cool in the remaining liquid.
For the cinnamon pastry:Â Remove the pastry from the fridge and on a well-floured surface, roll out until it’s about 5mm thick.
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.
Transfer the tart dish to the freezer for 15 minutes.
For the pumpkin custard: Drain the infused cream of the tea leaves and put in a food processor. Â Add the cooled pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and eggs and process until smooth.
For the cinnamon pastry:Â Remove the tart dish from the freezer and using a fork, prick the bottom of the pastry evenly (about 20 times).
Line the pastry with grease-proof paper and fill with baking beads or rice. Â Transfer to a 180 degree celsius oven and cook for 15 minutes. Â Remove the beads/rice and baking paper and cook for another 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 150 degrees.
Remove the tart shell from the oven and let it cool slightly. Â 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)
Pour the pumpkin custard over the apples and transfer to the oven for 30-35 minutes. Â The cooked pie should be uniformly cooked but still a bit wobbly.
Allow to cool and serve with whipped cream and some of the remaining spiced apples and a sprinkle of icing sugar.
“Who doesn’t like chocolate brownies? Â Well, from the speed these flew off the plate, I’d say no-one! Â I’ve made so many different versions of the humble brownie: date, white chocolate, GF with almonds, the list goes on. Â This was one of those fortuotous moments when I had a container of diced dried figs sitting on the bench from a previous recipe and only a short amount of time to cook something. Â So my brownies got a healthy dose of figs at the last minute. Â I love the extra texture and flavour they impart. Â I’ve also found thatÂ grinding my own almond and hazelnut meal gives me more control over theÂ texture. I like to process the nuts with the skins on and mill to a slightly bigger grain than the store boughtÂ versions. Finally, the trick in getting a really good brownie is having the courage to take them out of the oven before they feel totally cooked. Â You just have to trust your own judgement and get used to your oven. Â But even if they’re slightly underdone they’ll still taste amazing. Enjoy!”Â
(Photo by Gary Donald Corbett)
300g dark chocolate
1/4 tsp flaked salt
150g dark sugar
150g white sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
175g Self raising flour
130g almond or hazelnut meal
25g cocoa powder
150g chopped dried figs
Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees C.
In a medium saucepan on medium heat melt the chocolate and butter, stirring regularly. Â Once melted stir through the salt. Â Leave to cool slightly.
Mix together the sugars with the eggs and vanilla until combined.
Add the flour, almond/hazelnut meal and cocoa and mix until combined.
Pour in the chocolate mixture and figs and stir to combine.
Spray a 20cm square baking dish with baking spray and line with baking paper.
Transfer the brownie mixture to the pan and bake for 40-50 or until the brownie stops wobbling in the pan and a seeker comes out with a few crumbs on it.
Allow to cool to room temperature or eat warm with ice-cream. Â Brownies also freeze really well, so make another batch to keep for later!
Hello, my name is Craig.
Craig Allister Young is a cellist, orchestrator, arranger, singer and song-writer who works with the QLD Symphony Orchestra in Brisbane.
Over the past 20 years he has orchestrated music for most of the major orchestras in Australia, composed music for the Sydney 2000 Olympics,
toured a cabaret ensemble around QLD and for the past three years has been a musical director and cellist for the QLD ballet. His passion for cooking
saw him embark on his latest adventure as a top 24 contestant in the hugely popular TV sensation Australian Masterchef 2011. It is from this that the idea of
"Musical Menus" materialised as a way of combining his love for music with his passion for creating imaginative culinary dishes. Bon Appetite!