Tag Archives: Australia

Lime & Coconut Exfoliating Sugar Scrub



I know. I know, I’m slack. I’ve cooked a hundred things since the last time I posted on here but haven’t loaded them up. It’s crazy busy all the time!! haha.

I hate waste, so when I make almond milk, I like to use the pulp after straining to make sugar scrubs. They are so easy to do and are so lovely on the skin. It’s 40 degrees here right now and hot sugar ferments in a few days, so I recommend storing this in this fridge and just having a small amount in a covered container on the side of your bath or shower.

P.s. it’s edible. lol.

Lime & Coconut Exfoliating Scrub

  • Servings: n/a
  • Difficulty: easy
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1/4 c almond meal pulp or 1/4 c YIAH key lime dukkah (optional)*

1 cup sugar – any type but I use 1/4 c raw plus 3/4 c white granulated

1/4 c coconut oil

1/4 c YIAH wild lime evoo (if you don’t have this, double the quantity of coconut oil and add 1 tbsp lime juice)

1/4 c coconut

drop or two of green food colouring (to the colour you want)


Mix it all together and put in a jar. If its too dry add more oil, too sloppy add more sugar. If you have some YIAH key lime dukkah on hand sprinkle it over the top, but its only cosmetic so no drama if you don’t have it

Note* if not using the almond meal or dukkah, add additional 1/4c raw sugar

To use, take a golf ball sized amount and rub it in to your skin to slough off dead skin. Rinse and dry. Try not to eat it while you are having a shower lol



15 minute dinner – be prepared :)


Most of us are time poor, I think it’s fair to say. As much as I like cooking and creating, there are times when I just want to flake out in front of the tv shortly after arriving home from work, and the thought of cooking dinner just makes me cringe.

Here are my tips for short-cutting meals. I am using this meal I cooked tonight for my husband as an example but really you can use these tips when preparing any main.

1) Have some quick options defrosted in your fridge a few days in advance. I always keep some chicken, mince or rissoles and a bit of steak defrosted in my fridge so I can cook quickly.

2) Have par boiled potatoes in your fridge at all times to make home made wedges/ chips / potato salad. Use a potato that is meant for frying or an all rounder. In Australia, you should always be able to get golden delights, colibans or royal blues – all good choices. Boil them on a gentle simmer IN THE SKINS and whole until you can pierce them with a sharp knife all the way through, 95-98% cooked. Store in a sealed container in the fridge and use peeled or unpeeled.

3) Have some veggies prepped up at all times. I usually have broccoli, peas and green beans topped, tailed and in florets and ready to go. Store in fridge in ziploc bags and they will last a week or more.

ok so now for this meal, it took 15 minutes from start to finish,. because I had stuff in my fridge.

1) Chuck the rissoles on a medium heat bbq. Turn them around every 5 minutes. If they are over cooking, turn the bbq down or move them to a cooler part of the grill

2) Heat your oil (or oven for oven fries) Peel (optional) your spuds with a sharp knife and cut in chunky quarters. lay on paper towel to dry off any moisture.

3) Put a saucepan on the stove with 1/2 c water and 1 beef stock cube. Bring to boil. Mix 1 heaped tbsp. gravy powder with 1/4 cup water and mix to smooth paste. Add to boiling stock water, stir quickly to thicken and turn down to low. Remove your rissoles from the bbq and chuck them in the pot with the gravy to keep hot and moist.

4) Get a little container and put your broccoli mix in it. add about 1tbsp water. Lay a piece of cling film over the top loosely. Cook for 1 min for crunchy, 1 min 30 tops (cook to your own preference), I like crisp and crunchy veg) Take out and set aside.

All that remains now is to drop your chips into the hot oil, they will take approximately 1.5 minutes. Plate your rissoles, gravy and veg up while the chips are cooking. Season your chips with a flavoured salt or spice (I like  aussie roast seasoning or garlic and herb (available here) Add the chips to the plate, with the rissoles and veg..and you are done 🙂

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Serena x

Puritans Vanilla Cake (Thermomix) by Serena

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Puritans Vanilla Cake (Thermomix) - by Serena

  • Servings: 2 x 20cm round cakes or 12 x cupcakes and 1 x 20cm round cake
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Notes: A moist fluffy vanilla cake sturdy enough to shape for birthday cakes. Stays moist for days.


  • 150g shortening (see my blog post HERE about where to buy)
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla
  • 0.5 teaspoon salt
  • 3.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 325g plain flour
  • 400g milk


Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (160 if fan forced)

Place your oven rack in the cooler part of the oven, generally the middle

Grease & flour 2 x 20cm round cake pans. *Note – I do this the old fashioned way, with real butter and then lightly flour the pan. You can use liners (but make sure you grease first).. but the crumb is much better the old fashioned way.

For this recipe, I like to pre weigh the ingredients and place in bowls as there are so many steps and I get side tracked easily! You don’t have to do that though and can ignore the Prep section If you don’t get sidetracked like me!!


Set out 7 small bowls;

1st bowl – 300g sugar

2nd bowl – crack three large eggs in and 1.5 tsp vanilla – lightly beat with a fork

3rd bowl – 130g plain flour + 3.5 tsp baking powder + 0.5 tsp salt

4th bowl – 200g milk

5th bowl – 130g plain flour

6th bowl – 200g milk (yes, a second lot as you add it at separate times)

7th bowl – 65 g plain flour

Now you can begin the recipe:

Insert butterfly and leave in for entire recipe. MC off for entire recipe

  1. Add 150g room temperature shortening to bowl
  2. Mix 10 sec/ Spd 4
  3. Scrape Down
  4. Mix 10 sec/ Spd 4
  5. Scrape down

Set timer for 2 min/ Spd 3 and turn on

  1. Add your bowl of 300g sugar steadily over the first 1 minute 30 then leave to blend for final 30 sec.
  2. Scrape down

Add the bowl of 3 lightly beaten eggs and 1.5tsp vanilla

  1. Mix for 1 min/ Spd 3
  2. Scrape down
  3. Mix 30 sec/ Spd 3
  4. Scrape down

Add the bowl of 130g flour, 3.5tsp baking powder and 0.5 tsp salt

  1. Mix 30 sec/ Spd 2
  2. Scrape down really well
  3. Add 200g milk
  4. Mix 30 sec/ Spd 2
  5. Scrape down really well

Add your second bowl of 130g flour

  1. Mix 30 sec/ Spd 2
  2. Scrape down really well
  3. Add 200g milk
  4. Scrape down really well
  5. Add final bowl of 65g flour
  6. Mix 15 sec/ Spd 2

Turn off machine. Remove bowl and scrape down well with spatula and give a final couple of mixes by hand to ensure all flour is incorporated.

Pour/scrape batter which is very thick into your two 20cm pans. I always weigh my pans to ensure the batter is evenly divided. Bake for approx. 35 minutes. Set your times for 30 minutes and check every 5-8 minutes. The cake should be golden in colour and begin to pull away from the sides. If you touch the top it should spring back. To be absolutely sure, insert a toothpick or skewer in the top right down to the bottom and withdraw. It should have no batter stuck to it.

Some notes*

The batter is very thick and may appear to be slightly separated or curdled. That is from the shortening mixing with the milk/butter. Do not be tempted to mix the cake further to correct, it will bake just fine.

Butter can be substituted for the shortening but it will make the cake heavier and IMO is not nearly as nice. The shortening in this cakes keeps it moist and light. Do not be concerned about using up your shortening, you can substitute it in pretty much any cake and it should be a staple in your house for pastry and baking

Cool the cake for 10-15 minutes in the pan before attempting to remove it. If you rush this the cake will break on you.

Baking is very fickle, be careful before you change ingredients or alter amounts, unlike savoury cooking there is very little margin for error in baking.

If you like this recipe, let me know in the comments. If you have tweaked it and it’s been a success – let us know. If you have tweaked it and it’s failed miserably, you are welcome to keep that to yourself. 🙂

In the pictures below, the pink cake has a white chocolate sorbet icing. I used white chocolate sorbet powder – 3 tbsps. added with the icing sugar in my White Chocolate Mr Whippy Icing. If you would like to purchase the powder, click HERE (Please note I am a consultant for YIAH – Your Inspiration at Home and I would love to help you use your powders/ spice blends etc – feel free to pm me for ideas)

The yellow cake has white chocolate lemon myrtle icing – the white chocolate lemon myrtle powder is one of my favourites – I add it to mayonnaise for my chicken burgers – to buy it, click HERE follow the menus to access all the great YIAH products on offer – you will be amazed!

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Chocolate Devils Food Cake (Thermomix)

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Chocolate Devils Food Cake (Thermomix) - by Serena

  • Servings: 2 x 20cm round cakes or 12 x cupcakes and 1 x 20cm round cake
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Notes: Big Giant Tick of Yum for this Cake. The ONLY chocolate cake recipe you will need from now on.

Dry Ingredients:

  • 280g Plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda (bicarb)
  • 105g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 400g white sugar


Wet Ingredients:

  • 210g Vegetable Oil
  • 1 c hot coffee – 2 x heaped tsps. instant coffee or a shot of regular coffee plus 250ml boiling water)
  • 250g milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla


Preheat oven to 170 d for fan forced oven, or 180 d. Place your oven rack in the middle to lower half of the oven. Grease and line with baking paper 2 x 20cm (9 inch) round cake pans. Using butter to grease your pans gives a much better result with cakes. Set aside. If making cupcakes, use cupcake liners (do not grease)

Make up 1 cup of hot coffee by placing 2 heaped teaspoons or a shot of espresso in a measuring jug and adding 1 x 250ml measuring cup of boiling water. Set aside.

Add all dry ingredients to tmx bowl:

  • 280g Plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda (bicarb)
  • 105g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 400g white sugar

Turbo 5 times to sift.

Add all wet ingredients to the bowl:

  • 210g Vegetable Oil
  • 220g hot coffee (250ml or 1 c)
  • 250g milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Mix for 1 Minutes, Speed 4. Scrape down. Mix for a further minute Speed 4. Scrape down. Mix for 2 minutes Speed 6. Batter is quite thin.

Divide between two cake pans. Cook for 50-55 minutes. (35 minutes for cup cakes) Check using skewer method after 50 minutes, and each 5 minutes until skewer comes out clean (ensure you wipe skewer clean between checks) * Note, every oven is different. Get to know your oven. Check your cakes often and get a feel for how hot your oven runs. This is a slow cooked cake but too long and your cake sides and top will be too crunchy.

Leave cakes to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Place a wire cooking rack over the cake pan and gently turn over so the cake releases. leave on wire racks to cool completely before icing. I recommend either a ganache icing for this cake or a mock cream icing.

Here are the cupcakes I made today. Iced with my mock cream bakery icing, tinted pearl pink and decorated with fondant hearts and beads.


Love Me Some Icing! (It’s all in the shortening)

I love me some icing! (I totally spoke that in a white trailer trash drawl)

Icing can get pretty sickly sweet after awhile. There is a “hack” for that though. You know when you go to the bakery and the icing you get on your cupcake has a slightly different texture to the icing your Mum makes? Its kinda silky, not as sweet – slips off the tongue like a bold faced lie… oh maybe that’s just me then. 😉

Anyway, that bakery icing is different – its made with shortening. I’m from Canada, apart from being awesome at everything, we use shortening in all our baking, and it gives a superb result (of course it does, we are awesome). It makes the flakiest pastry, gives a richness to cakes and that velvety soft finish to icing. In Australia its a little harder to come by, but I highly suggest if you are going to be trying my recipes, you get some and leave it in the cupboard, you will be using it a lot! It doesn’t need to refrigerated and it has a year long date on the stuff, just get it already!

So, where to get it. Well, You can buy Crisco (not the oil) shortening in Australia in 3 places online, USA foods by clicking here, O’Canada shop by clicking here or Ebay by clicking here. Crisco is a superior product but the postage can be exxy, if you don’t mind that, I would get it over the others. There is a Australian product called Solite available in cake shops. Its very expensive as they only sell it in 250g containers normally. If you have access to a cash and carry, they would carry a shortening, but it would be under a different brand name – Pilot Crème shortening is the one my cash and carry in Kalgoorlie sells. Its only 70 dollars for 15kg so if you have a co – op or a group of friends to share with, even better. You can freeze it too, in fact I use it from frozen for pastry – so no excuses not to stock up on this stuff! Its 50% less saturated fat than butter too. But butters good for you, so that’s a moot point.

There is also a readily available bargain basement shortening available from Coles, IGA’s and even my local store!. It’s called Frymasta Edible Vegetable Shortening. It’s the YELLOW wrapper one, not the RED wrapper one. The only issue is its not quite as snow white as whipped shortening so if you are wanting a super white icing, you might not want to use this. I always have some on hand as I use it for pastry and cakes where the colour doesn’t matter. Its available by clicking here.

Do not use Copha. Its not the same and its hard work to get it to a useable state.

So check out my recipe for Mock Cream Icing (link here).  Its fantastic for piping. Its stable, so can sit out on that picnic table or bench while the party is going, even on warm days. It’s silky and glossy, everything icing should be. You can make it and have it sit in your fridge for weeks in an airtight container, just ready to chuck on some last minute cupcakes. You can tint it, flavour it – the possibilities are endless. You can also use it to fill eclairs and jam donuts – its just so versatile, you will love it!