White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Cookies

Maria over at The Goddess's Kitchen first made these sumptuous cookies and I knew I had to make them too.

Buttery smooth macadamia nuts and creamy white chocolate chips in a blonde cookie, mmmmmmmm! They lived up to my expectations and were handed around to much applause.

I doubled the recipe and changed it into cup sizes. You can find the original recipe here.

Thanks for the recipe Maria, it is fab!

If you love white chocolate try white chocolate and peppermint truffles.

White Chocolate and Macadamia Cookies

250g butter, softened
½ cup demerara sugar
½ cup caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks
2 ½ cups plain flour
½ cup white chocolate chips
1⁄3 cup macadamia nuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 180ºC, fan 160ºC, gas mark 4.

Beat together the butter and sugar until it is pale and creamy.

Beat in the vanilla extract and egg yolks.

Add the flour, white chocolate chips and chopped nuts. Mix until you have a smooth dough, with the only lumps being the chocolate and nuts.

Using your hands, roll the dough into golf sized ball and lightly press each one flat on to a greased baking sheet, making sure they are spread slightly apart.

Bake for 12 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool for a couple of minutes before either eating or cooling completely on a wire rack.

Makes 24

Jammie Doughnut Muffins

I saw these scrumptious muffins over at Katiecakes and just couldn't resist!

Katie made these little wonders for the Sweet and Simple Bakes monthly event. I made them for us to scoff!

The only thing I would say about these muffins is eat them while they are still warm to enjoy them at their best.

I have included the recipe changed into cup measures, but you can find the original recipe here.

Jammie Doughnut Muffins


2 ½ cups plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
¾ cup caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
75g/3 oz/¾ stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 tsp strawberry jam

For The Topping

melted butter
granulated sugar
ground cinnamon

You will need 12 hole muffin tin lined with paper cases.


Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl, and stir through the sugar. In a large jug, lightly beat the eggs then add the milk, cooled butter and vanilla extract and beat together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients stir gently until just combined. (Do not over mix, its fine to have a few lumps in the mixture.) Spoon half the muffin mixture into the base of each paper case. Top each muffin with a teaspoon of jam. Now equally between each paper case, top with the remaining muffin mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes until well risen, golden and firm to the touch.

For The Topping: melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Spread the granulated sugar in a wide, shallow bowl with the cinnamon if using. When the muffins are baked, leave in the tin for 5 minutes. Dip the tops of the muffins in the melted butter and then roll in the sugar.

Makes 12

Thanks for the recipe Katie!

Warming Red Lentil & Chickpea Soup

Warming Red Lentil & Chickpea Soup


1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
4 large carrots, grated
2 tsp ground cumin
5 cups / 2 ½ pints vegetable stock
1 cup red lentils
2 x 400g tins chickpeas
freshly ground black pepper


Saute the garlic and onion in the olive oil until the onion is soft and translucent.

Add the grated carrot and cook gently for a few minutes.

Stir in the cumin and the pour in the vegetable stock. Stir well.

Add the red lentils and allow to simmer gently for 20-30 minutes.

Lastly add the chickpeas and cook until warmed through.

Season with freshly ground black pepper.

Serves 6 - 8

I cannot believe I never tried a simple lentil soup before. It is really flavoursome and the spicy flavour of the cumin really shows through, but doesn't overpower the soup. I am looking forward to my next bowlful.


Conchiglioni Al Forno - Baked pasta shells recipe

I had to search for the name of this pasta dish. I knew the dish, I hadn't tried it, but it was hovering there in my mind, ready to be pulled forth and thrown together.

I can't resist trying different pasta shapes, so when I saw these giant shells, my hand reached for them even before my brain had clicked into gear. I had no clear idea of what I would use them for, I just had to have them. A bit like shoes in that respect. No snidey comments please Graham, oh husband of mine!

So these gorgeous giant shells sat in the cupboard looking pretty until one evening, when my brother-in-law was coming for dinner. I wanted to make something different, but didn't want to do a big shop (hey I have a baby now, shopping isn't such a pleasure any more).

I had ricotta in the fridge, left over from making cheesecake brownies, spinach in the salad drawer, waiting to be made into soup and I always have ingredients to hand for making a basic tomato sauce. So Conchiglioni Al Forno (baked pasta) seemed like a good option. Of course at that point it was giant shells, stuffed with spinach and ricotta and topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella.

It is a great dish, but I somewhat spoiled mine. I only made one portion of tomato sauce and so when it came to layering the dish, I soon ran out and resorted to opening a carton of passata. The passata was slightly bitter and cannot be compared to a fresh tomato sauce, so I will be writing out the recipe for you with double the quantity of my normal sauce and I beg of you, do not use passata in this dish as a shortcut. Take the extra time and make a fresh sauce that will make your toes curl in pleasure (we are back to the shoes again!). Extra mozzarella on top would be nice too, but only for cheese-fiends like us.

Conchiglioni Al Forno


350g Conchiglioni

Cook in plenty of water according to the packet instructions until al dente. Rinse in cold water and set aside until you are ready to put the dish together.

Basic Tomato Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped,
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 x 400g/14oz tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 handful freshly torn basil
Salt & pepper to taste

Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil, until the onion is translucent. Pour in both tins of tomatoes and cook for 20 minutes, until reduced and thickened. Season to taste, then add the basil at the last minute.


160g baby spinach
500g ricotta cheese
a good grating of nutmeg
salt and pepper

Place the spinach in a colander and pour over boiling water. The spinach doesn't need cooked, this softening is enough. Pour some cold water over the spinach and squeeze out as much of the water as you can before dabbing in a tea towel. Roughly chop the spinach and place in a bowl. Add the ricotta cheese and mix thoroughly. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.


2 balls mozzarella, grated
fresh basil leaves

Assembling The Dish

  1. Spread approximately one third of the tomato sauce across the base of a large ovenproof dish.
  2. Fill each pasta shell with the ricotta mix and place on top of the sauce until you have covered the base of the dish. Place the pasta open side up.
  3. Drizzle tomato sauce over the filled pasta and sprinkle with some fresh basil.
  4. Build another layer of filled pasta, cover with the remaining sauce and more basil.
  5. Top the finished dish with grated mozzarella.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese has melted and turned golden.
  7. Serve with garlic bread and a green salad. Try not to serve as much on each plate as I did, it is far too much. This pasta is very filling.

Serves 4-6

A bowl of Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce

If you like my baked pasta dish, you may also like my Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce for Spaghetti.

Easy Moist Lemon Cake

I am drooling over library cookbooks again.

This particular droolworthy book was chosen by my good friend Tanya, who grabs any new cookbooks that she thinks I might like as they arrive and puts them under the counter for me. It is always such a treat to be presented with a shiny new cookbook.

This recipe is a particularly easy one, but the resulting cake is delicious. The combination of a moist lemon sponge, with creamy lemon frosting and a snowfall of shredded coconut is a taste sensation I will be enjoying again soon and one I urge you to try.

My only advice is to set the oven temperature yourself and do not, I repeat, do not ask your husband to preheat the oven while you see to the baby, because although there are lemons and coconut standing in front of him, beside the cookbook, he still manages to read the oven temperature for the Pear and White Chocolate Cake! If you do insist on asking for his help, then do check the temperature before you put your cake in or it will be ever so slightly underdone in the centre like mine.

Easy Moist Lemon Cake
Cakes by Rachel Lane & Carla Bardi


1 ½ cups (225g) plain flour
¾ cup (150g) sugar
3 large eggs
½ cup (125g) butter, softened
1⁄3 cup (90ml) milk
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt

Lemon frosting

1 ½ cups (225g) icing sugar
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp desiccated coconut

1. Preheat the oven to 350f/180c/gas mark 4. Lightly grease a 9-inch/23 cm square pan.

2. To prepare the cake, beat the flour, sugar, eggs, butter, milk, lemon zest, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer at low speed until well blended. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until pale and thick, 3-4 minutes. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

3. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cake completely in the pan on a rack.

4. To prepare the frosting, beat the icing sugar and butter in a medium bowl. Beat in enough lemon juice to make a spreadable frosting. Spread the cake with the frosting, and sprinkle with the coconut.

Serves 8 - 10

Here are a few more lemon recipes you may like to try:

* Extreme Lemon Tart - The Caked Crusader
* Lemon Curd with Nutmeg - Tinned Tomatoes
* Lemon and Lime Meringue-Less Pie - Munchkin Mail
* Triple Lemon Slice - Katiecakes
* Lemon Lust Cake - Eat Me Delicious
* Lemon Verbeba Ice Cream - David Lebovitz
* Lemon and Almond Shortcakes - David Hall
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