Monday, July 11, 2016

Raspberry Lemonade

If life gives you lemon's, make lemonade! 

Lemonade in America is different to lemonade in Australia. In Australia we generalise 7UP, Kirks Schweppes, Sprite and Woodroofe as Lemonade. In America Lemonade is different to these, if you want lemonade that we are used to in Australia you need to specifically ask for 7UP or Sprite - Does that make sense? Lemonade in America is much like a cordial to Aussie. It is not fizzy or carbonated, it is very pleasant to drink and very refreshing on a hot day (not that we get many of those here in Seattle).  One of the things I like about making Lemonade from scratch is that you can add any other flavours you want to it. Below is my recipe I have tweaked with to the taste my family likes, if you want to leave it as a natural lemonade just leave out the raspberries. 

    Raspberry Lemonade

Raspberry syrup

1 cup Raspberries
½ cup sugar

Sprinkle sugar over the top of the raspberries and lightly squash with a fork, just to break them up a little bit. Set aside.

Lemonade (syrup)
1 cup Lemon Juice
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Water

To serve
6-8 cups Cold Water/Soda Water

Place all 1 cup water, the lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan and boil on stove top for approx 15-20 min. Mixture will reduce slightly and become a syrup. This is when it is ready. Let cool slightly

In a jug, place the lemon syrup, and add 6-8 cups of cold water or soda water (adjust to your taste) stir in the Raspberry syrup mix – I add one table spoon at a time until I get the desired taste I want. Add ice, sprigs of mint and thin slices of lemon and serve. Great on a hot summer day and very refreshing! 

Drink up!

Steak and Beer Pie

“Fat gives things flavor.” - Julia Child. 

Being an Aussie and living in America has you craving for certain foods that you took for granted. You also realise how deprived people have been by not being able to experience the foods as Aussie we grew up with.  One of the things we crave is a meat pie. You really do miss the simplicity of being able to jump into the car and run down to the local bakery and grab a meat pie, sausage rolls and a loaf of fresh bread. They do have bakeries here, but they different to back home. The bakeries are filled with a lot of "breakfast" pastries such as Cinnamon Scrolls, Danishes (sweet and savoury), Scones (which are slightly different to what we are used to) Biscuits - noooo not an Aussie biscuit/cookie a biscuit here is more like a scone to us and of course Cookies (which I will talk about later).  So what do you when you are not able to get foods that you love/crave/want? Well you make your own! There are various recipes for making meat pies and each one can be tailored to you. After playing around with various recipes this is the one we enjoy the most.  So onto Meat Pie making 101!

Firstly we start with making the Shortcrust Pastry as the base. I like to use shortcrust pastry for my base and Puff Pastry for the lid. Now my shortcrust pastry recipe for this pie is slightly different to a normal shortcrust pastry because I add mustard powder and cheese to it, I find this adds to the flavour of the pie. 

Shortcrust Pastry 

2 cups All Purpose Flour (Plain Flour)
1 teaspoon Salt
¾ teaspoon Mustard Powder
½ cup grated Cheese
170 grams Butter (6 ounces)
Ice cold water

Sift plain flour, baking powder and salt, mustard powder and cheese (or in the bowl of the food processor).
Rub in the butter with finger tips (or use pulse button on the food processor) until mixture resembles course breadcrumbs.
Gradually add water until dough becomes a ball.
Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes before using. Set oven temperature to 360F (180C)

Roll out pastry and line greased pie dish, prick bottom with a fork, brush with egg wash and bake in oven to par cook for approx 20min. 

1 egg beaten - whisked (for egg wash)
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed (for top of the pie) 

Meat Pie 
2 lbs (approx 1kg) Chuck or Skirt steak – cubed (stewing meat)
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
½ Onion (diced finely)
½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
½ teaspoon Onion Powder
1½ cups Beer
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
1 cup Beef Stock
1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
½ cup Water
½ teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper
1-2 tablespoons Cornstarch (cornflour)
1-2 tablespoons Water

In a large pan heat the olive oil, place in the meat and onion and brown slightly. Then add in the garlic powder, onion powder, and beer. Use the beer to de-glaze the bottom of your pan and make sure you scrape all the bits off the bottom (they hold a lot of flavour). Next stir in the worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, beef stock, vinegar, water and brown sugar. Add salt and pepper to season. Allow mixture to simmer and stew for approx 1hour. Mix the cornflour and water into a paste and stir into the meat mixture. You want it to become thick and smooth. While stirring continue to cook the mixture for approx 3-5min until it is all combined well. Pour into pie dish that you prepared earlier, egg wash around the top and place the puff pastry on top. Brush with egg wash mixture all over and place in oven (360F) and cook until golden brown on top.

You can make individual meat pies which is what I tend to do. They are easy to freeze and can be re-heated easily. Serve with mashed potatoes and vegetables if having as a meal.

The finished Product.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Gran's Soup

"You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces - just good food from fresh ingredients." (Julia Child)

Never have truer words been spoken when creating with food. Every style of food has a place. When I think of styles of food, I don't necessarily think of where it originated from, if it is traditional or not. It more what I see, then what I taste. Just because a recipe calls for a list of ingredients that reads like a war and peace novel, doesn't mean it is going to actually be better or taste better. Sometimes the easiest recipes are the yummiest (well in my opinion anyway). The basis of all good food is using fresh ingredients. As adults we all make a connection with food in some way, for me it is often remembering recipes my Grandmother taught me, these recipes have been handed down time and time through the generations. These recipes give me that wonderful feeling of comfort, not only cooking it, but eating it as well. The recipes that have been handed down and shared amongst my family are what would be considered very basic. Not complicated, easy to assemble, and often very few ingredients. Back in the days of our grandparents and great parents they didn't have the luxuries or the convince of ingredients that we have today. 

One of my all time favourite recipes given to me by my Gran is her Pea & Ham Soup recipe. I love this soup in winter (actually I love it at anytime) but in winter there is something very satisfying about a yummy bowel of soup served with a side of crusty bread. 

Now most of you who have tried pea & ham soup will associate it as being green. This is because a vast majority of pea & ham soup recipe uses a base of green peas - fresh and frozen. My Gran's recipe is different, she used Yellow Split Peas which give it a completely different flavour and texture. Just like most soup recipes this one is super simple, but it is a little time consuming, due to the long cooking time, but trust me it is worth it. Since moving to Seattle it has taken some time to adjust ingrdeients and also find the exact item I am looking for or finding something that is suitable to substitute it.  One item I had this problem with was yellow split peas and finally I found them at the go to store for unusual, organic, hard to find, essentials - whole Foods of course (

Pea & Ham Soup

1 Ham Hock (or approx 1.2kg or 2 pounds) 
500 grams Yellow Split Peas (1 pound or just over) 
1 Onion (diced)
4 Litres of Water (1 Gallon) 
1 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper 
1 Tablespoon Salt 


Place all the ingredients into a large soup pot and start on a medium heat. Stirring the soup occasionally, after approx 2 hours you will start to notice the texture of the split peas changing. Turn the soup down to a low simmer and let it bubble away for a few hours, give it an odd stir to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom. When the split peas have completely broken up and have turned to mush, Remove the ham hock and start to remove the meat from the bone. I pull it off in chunks then shred it using two forks. Once shredded add back to the pot of soup.  Let it simmer for approx another hour, the soup will reduce and thicken. Taste it at this point, I know 1 tablespoon of salt at the start sounds like a lot (no I didn't make a mistake) but split peas soak up salt and water so you might actually need to re-season to your own taste.  

Bubbling away on the stove, you can skim the foam off, or leave it. 

The finished product! 

If you want to know more about split peas, visit

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


If you have come this far, why not go a little further down the rabbit hole. I am an Australian living in Seattle. I'm also known to be a bit of a bogan, and I'm a woman, hence the name Boganella. Living in Seattle has been an amazing experience, but also a bit of a cultural shock. Our taste buds are a funny thing, new food can be exciting and also intimidating. I honestly didn't think American food would be very different to Australian food - how wrong was I? Certain foods were a big adjustment, and at times when I couldn't adjust or got homesick, it was a simple decision of make my own. You will stumble across many Australian recipes, but don't let that stop you, all Australian recipes have been converted and adapted to US  so you wont have any problems working out names of ingredients, or measurements. 

First up I would like to introduce you all to an Australian classic - Lamingtons.

A lamington is a dessert/snack it consists of vanilla sponge cake, cut into squares, dipped in chocolate sauce like mixture, rolled in coconut. I can guarantee you super easy to make and even yummier to eat. Here is a quick tip that I learnt a long time ago, sponge cake (or any cake for that matter) tends to be very crumbly when cut, so stick it in the freezer for approx 1-2 hours. Trust me this will save you a major headache. Icing frozen cake is so much easier, because you are less likely to get crumbs in your icing.  Now onto the recipe. 

1 1/2 cups (200 grams) All Purpose Flour 
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
8 Eggs
1 cup Bakers sugar (or fine sugar)
100 grams Unsalted Butter Melted (this is approx 1 stick of butter) 
3 cups Confectioners Sugar (powdered sugar) 
3/4 cup Cocoa Powder 
1 cup Boiling Water 
1/4 cup Milk 
60 grams Butter Melted (for the icing) 


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Sift the flour and baking powder. Set aside. Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 8–10 minutes or until thick, pale and tripled in volume. Sift the flour over the egg and sugar mixture and gently fold through using a metal spoon. Fold through the melted butter.

Grease 2 x 20 cm square tin and line the bases with non-stick baking paper. Divide the mixture into tins and bake for  approx 25 minutes.The cakes are ready when they are springy to touch and come away from the sides of the tins. Cool on a wire rack. Cut the sponges into 6 cm squares. After cooling on a rack for approx 45 min place in the freezer for approx 1-2 hours.

Remove cake from the freezer. Mix together the icing sugar, cocoa, water, milk and extra butter in a large bowl. Place the coconut in another bowl. Roll the sponge squares in the icing and then in the desiccated coconut. Place on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and refrigerate until set. It normally takes about 30 min for them to set.  Makes about 18.


 "I think every woman should have a blowtorch." 

These words were famously spoken by Julia Child. Now some of you might ask "Who?" She was an opinionated woman who spoke her mind and had a great love affair with food.  I'm sure there will be future nuggets of wisdom from dear Julia throughout this blog. 

This blog is going to be about food (mostly) and full of recipes, some that have been handed down from family and friends and some are my own creations.  I love to cook, I love to feed people, and I love to share recipes. A good meal doesn't have to be fancy, or have 20 ingredients in it, I personally believe simple food is good food. There is a time and a place for all styles of cooking - but if good ingredients, family and friends are involved your meal will always be outstanding.  There will be a variety of recipes found here, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.