Archive of ‘Festive food’ category

Shortbread slice – three ways (chocolate icing, passionfruit icing, jaffa style)

Traditional scottish shortbread slice

This buttery, crumbly, melt-in-your mouth slice is a favourite in my family. This like the traditional scottish shortbread sold in pretty tins at Christmas time. In fact, I often make this as a Christmas gift.

The custard powder in the ingredients is the real secret. Sure, it’s not “traditional”. But traditional shortbread in the 16th century only had three ingredients (sugar, butter and oatmeal), and back in the 16th century they also believed that bread would not rise if there was a corpse (as in dead body) in the vicinity. And I mean, how did they even judge that? So, it’s time we all modernised a bit.

Shortbread slice with optional chocolate icing



  1. Chocolate shortbread slice: I highly recommend making it with chocolate topping (use the chocolate icing recipe for hedgehog slice).
  2. Jaffa shortbread slice: (This is kinda exciting.) Add the rind from one orange into the dough and substitute the water for orange juice, then top with chocolate icing as above.
  3. Traditional shortbread: Lovely as a gift, key difference is you slice the shortbread BEFORE cooking it, and prick the top of each slice with the tines of a fork. You can also sprinkle sugar on top before cooking too for a professional finish! I’ve added in these instructions below.

Good times.


250 grams butter
½ cup icing sugar
½ cup caster sugar
½ cup custard powder
2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
1 ½ tablespoons of water

Passionfruit icing

2 passionfruit
1 tablespoon of butter
Approx 2 cups of icing sugar – have more on hand.

Optional – chocolate icing

Follow the ingredients and method used in the hedgehog slice recipe, sans the white chocolate on top.


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line a rectangular 20x30cm (ish) baking tin with baking paper.
  2. Beat the butter and sugars together (Kitchen Aid or beaters).
  3. Add custard powder, flour, vanilla essence and water, mix well. The dough will be hold-it’s-own-shape thick.
  4. Squish your dough into your prepared tray, I use a spatula or my hands to get it even, it won’t move much in the oven so what you make is what you’ll get. OR, if you’re leaving as a slice, squish into tin as above, then cut it into pieces and prick the top of each with a fork.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until shortbread is lightly browned all over..
  6. Cool in tin and ice once completely cool. OR, if leaving as a slice, recut into slices while still in tin, then once completely cool, place in airtight container.
  7. To make icing: scoop passionfruit insides into a bowl, add a tablespoon of margarine. Add enough icing sugar so it’s as thick as honey.
  8. To ice, use a spatula and place big dollops on the slice, then spread out until even. I then use boiling water and this handy metal cake icing tool to smooth the top (see below)

Passionfruit icing on shortbread

Note: I did end up with a bit of left over icing, which suits me fine as it freezes well. It’s hard to get the quantities just right.

Quantity: Makes 32 squares.

Healthy? 150 calories per melty goodness slice.

Storage: No eggs, so they will last. Store in airtight container.

Chocolate chip hot cross buns

Four chocolate chip hot cross buns

Welcome to part two of my hot cross bun Easter super-special! Part one was traditional hot cross buns if that’s what you’re after.

I’ve been surprised to learn since my first post that hot cross buns are somewhat local to the UK, Australia and NZ. So, for my lovely American readers, these are an Easter bun (historically Christian – hence the cross) traditionally eaten hot or toasted during Easter. (more…)

How to make hot cross buns

A loaf of hot cross buns, two rippled off

Look what I did! Look look! So proud. Don’t worry, I’ve got step by step instructions for you too.

And yes, they do taste better than store bought. Promise.

Half a hot cross bun with butter

I did lots of research on this one. Combined three different recipes, checked what my favourite baker puts in his. Then, I made them again tweaking the things I thought could have been improved from the first batch. I’ve got your back on this one. AND, I’ve got a chocolate chip version I’ll put up in a few days. (more…)

Double chocolate lamingtons

Double chocolate lamingtons

Here is a blog post Lord Lamington himself could get behind! Seriously. There was such a guy. And you guessed it, this chocolate covered sponge cake rolled in coconut is named after his lordship.

Double chocolate lamingtons

Lord Lammo, as I shall affectionately refer to him (for all Australians take proper words and then add an ‘o’ to the end, as in the case of lamington to lammo), was Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901.


Red velvet monster cake with cream cheese frosting

A round cake with red icing piped in lines with silver balls

With Valentine’s Day around the corner there a lot of amazing recipes springing up. I have had this red velvet cake waiting in the wings for a while now. Unsure when it would be appropriate to share it and all its quirkiness.

Now I see it’s a perfect contrast to the other more typical Valentine Day recipes around.

A round cake with red icing piped in lines with silver balls

And of course, what you bake for your loved one will say a lot about you, and your relationship. Actually, in this bloggers opinion, that’s a load of bollocks. If pizza, a bottle of bubbles and a DVD is your thing – then you rock that. If you love fancy restaurants, degustation menus and shiny jewellery – then own that (and book ahead!).

In this case if you like clowning around. May I suggest red velvet MONSTER cake! (more…)

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