High Tea at home – a great idea for a large group


If you have a cupboard of inherited, mixed not matched, china and perhaps some interesting table cloths, ( or even if you don’t) then hosting a high tea can be a great way to bring people together.


It’s relatively easy, because everything can be made ahead (much even frozen) and set out on tables before guests arrive. You can choose to serve savoury options as canapés first with a glass of bubbles, before everyone sits down for tea and sweets delicacies.

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By creating a high tea at home you have lots of flexibility with the food, drinks and seating arrangements. You can cater easily for dietary preferences and plan the event so that everyone can chat and get to know more people. Also more people  can afford to join in than when you book a $50 per person set menu, and where you only get to talk to those directly next to you.

Good ideas for savoury canapés in include cheese chorizo and corn muffins…..


….smoked salmon on cucumber or 1/2 scones…


Asian style frittata….


pinwheel sandwiches with smoked oyster, cumin, lemon juice and cream cheese dip ( ask the bakery to slice the bread length wise)


Pikelets with blue cheese/cream cheese dip and caramelised pear with date and walnuts.


It’s also easy to make these options gluten free is required.


Sweet options that can be made ahead include chocolate dipped strawberries….

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….scones with jam and cream ( less preparation if served halved with whipped cream and jam separately)..


…mini cup cakes decorated (e.g. Lemon curd centred muffins, with lemon icing and candied lemon…


…pancake swirls with cinnamon and brown sugar and cream cheese and walnuts..

…chocolate rum balls..


…meringues with chocolate…


…chocolate caramel slice…


Mini trifles in shot glasses ( available from Home Base, Woden Westfield).

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You can also accept offers of help with food preparation if you choose as things are easy to add to the table as they arrive.

Cups and saucers can be matching or miss matching. It works well with mugs and small plates too. Look out for inexpensive three tier stands at Aldi or use cardboard versions available from Home Base or Reject shops.

Trestle tables are about $34 and folding chairs about $8 each from Bunnings.

Hot Chocolate Cake – a Quick, yummy, easy dessert


The idea of a cake in a mug is not new but nevertheless, ingenious!

It’s a great almost instant dessert if you need one on the spot for friends.

It’s also beautifully portioned – no leftovers to tempt you!

And it’s very delicious, a bit like a cross between a brownie and a flourless chocolate cake.

First mix the dry ingredients in a cup well:


2 Tbsp plain flour

1 1/2 Tbsp caster sugar (or 2 Tbsp if you like it sweeter)

1 Tbsp cocoa

Then add the wet ingredients:


1 Tbsp oil

1 Tbsp water

Stir well and wipe down the sides of the cup.


Microwave on HIGH for one minute.


Dust with icing sugar.

Serve with a scoop of ice-cream or cream!


(Looks good on a saucer!)


Add a few drops of vanilla extract and a pinch of cinnamon and cayenne pepper.

Would also be good with a bit of liqueur!

and check out Not Quite Nigella’s version too!

And her 5 min cheesecake

and 5 min quiche in a mug



Tasting Dessert Plate – a great idea for sharing food with friends at home


It’s always a treat to find a dessert tasting plate on a menu because it’s an excellent opportunity to taste a range of dishes, but stay comfortable.

So why not try the same idea at home…


Dark chocolate and peanut butter brownie with peanut butter parfait, chocolate and peanut butter sand and Reese’s peanut butter cup, Mini blueberrry trifle


Orange, date and almond syrup cake with moroccan orange cinnamon cream, Pear and raspberry crumble with cinnamon ricotta cream, Mini blueberry trifle, Dark chocolate Tim Tam icecream with fruit mince pie, Baklava

Best shared between two, it’s good to combine different textures and style and to complement each dishes with matching accompaniments. The freezer is your friend to help throw this together at the last minute, rather than spend the day preparing so many separate items.

Stick with easy options and add to your freezer collection when the inspiration takes you. Restaurant menus are a great source of ideas on good ways to combine tastes and textures.

Black Rice Coconut Pudding with Caramelised Bananas





Black Rice Coconut Pudding with Caramelised Bananas

The Grains and Legumes Council says:

Black Rice is the New Black

When to use it?
Often served as a dessert, like black rice pudding, most people are unaware of how else to use the ancient grain. Its vibrant colour makes black rice the ideal accompaniment to salads, sushi recipes or a nutritious addition to any grain based dish.
How to cook it?
Black rice can be cooked in the same way as brown rice. Simply add 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water or stock over a medium heat. Bring the water or stock to the boil and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
Where to buy it?
This ancient delicacy is becoming more readily available and Black rice can now be found in supermarkets (e.g. Coles Woden).
Black rice

Poached Pears Dessert Recipe


This is a delicious easy recipe using the Beurre Bosc pears that are in season and lovely now. It’s ideal to make ahead for friends or a special family meal.

To reduce the kilo joules considerably use no added sugar lemonade instead of the water and skip the sugar. And it’s always amazing how small a serve of cream or ice-cream it needs to finish it perfectly.

Source Canberra Times Food and Wine magazine 9/4/14.

Poaching pears
This is a wonderful way to cook pears on the stove. It is quite a simple dish but the slow cooking in the syrup enhances all the natural flavours of the pear. Select firm but ripe pears.

4-6 beurre bosc pears

1 litre water

1½ cups raw sugar

1 cinnamon stick

6 whole cloves

2 tbsp lemon juice

Pour the water and sugar into a heavy duty saucepan and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Then add the cinnamon stick, the cloves and the lemon juice.

Peel the pears and slice in half. Remove the cores. If they are large, quarter them. Carefully place the pears into the saucepan and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pears are well cooked. Remove from heat and allow the pears to cool in the syrup.

The pears can then be served as a dessert with rich ice-cream or King Island cream.

The poached pears in syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four days.