Tag Archives: spice


Gingerbread cookies

Ingredients (for gingerbread):

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup golden syrup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 egg
  • 125g butter

Ingredients (for icing):

  • 1 egg, separated
  • 150g (1 cup) pure icing sugar, sifted


  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar.
  2. Add the golden syrup and 1 egg and mix until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together all dry ingredients. Add to the wet ingredients.
  4. Mix well, then refrigerate the dough for 1 hour.
  5. Place refrigerated dough on a floured surface and knead lightly.
  6. Roll out to 5mm thickness and then cut into shapes using cookie cutters.
  7. Bake in 170 degree celcius oven for 15 minutes or until browned nicely.
  8. Leave to cool on tray for 5 minutes then transfer to cooling racks.
  9. Place egg white in a clean, dry bowl. Beat with an electric beater to form soft peaks. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
  10. When the gingerbread is cool, pipe icing over the shapes to decorate.

(photo credit: Żywe Muzeum Piernika via photopin | license)

DIY magnetic spice jars

Recently I bought this magnetic spice rack from Aldi:

Magnetic spice rack
Magnetic spice rack – BEFORE

Cute, huh? Unfortunately, when I opened it the package the magnets immediately fell off the board they were attached to, before I’d even placed the jars on there.

I decided to do a little hack and attach the magnets to the spice jars instead. This way, I can stick the jars directly on my fridge without the need for the stand. Problem solved – with the added bonus of saving some counter space! Although I did this using a pack from Aldi, you could easily make something similar using any small container, some strong magnets and glue. Here’s how:

  1. Wash and dry the spice jars thoroughly.
  2. Pry off the remaining magnets from the bamboo stand with a knife.
    Magnetic spice rack
    Magnetic spice rack – broken stand


  3. Stick one magnet to the bottom of each jar. While the magnet adhesive wasn’t strong enough to stick to the bamboo stand, it is more than strong enough to stick directly to the jars (though you could always use super glue for extra durability).
    Magnetic spice jars
    Adding the magnets to the jars


  4. Fill with spices and voilà – magnetic spice jars you can put straight on your fridge!
    Magnetic spice jars
    End result – cute magnetic spice jars!


Hot cross buns

Hot cross buns

Ingredients (buns):

  • 4¼ cups bread flour, sifted
  • 1 tab active dry yeast
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 1½ cups lukewarm milk
  • 2 tsps ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsps mixed spice
  • 1½ cups sultanas
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • ⅓ cup water
  • Butter, to serve
  • Golden syrup, to serve

Ingredients (glaze):

  • 1 tab water
  • 2 tsps gelatine powder
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • ¼ cup water, extra


  1. Lightly grease a 22cm square cake tin and line it with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Place the yeast and the milk in a large bowl. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the sugar and set aside for 5 minutes. The mixture will start to foam, indicating that the yeast is active.
  3. Add the remaining sugar, flour, cinnamon, mixed spice, sultanas, butter and egg to the yeast mixture and mix until a sticky dough forms. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for 8 minutes or until elastic. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean, damp cloth and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  4. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and roll into balls. Arrange the dough balls in the cake tin, then cover with a damp cloth and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes or until risen. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  5. For the crosses, place the extra flour and the water in a bowl and stir to combine. Put the mix in a piping bag, and pipe crosses on the buns.
  6. Bake for 30–35 minutes or until golden and springy to touch.
  7. While the hot cross buns are baking, make the glaze. Add the water to a small bowl and sprinkle over the gelatine. Stir for 1–2 minutes or until the gelatine is dissolved, then set aside.
  8. Place the sugar and extra water in a small saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Use a wet pastry brush to remove any sugar crystals on the side of the pan. Add the gelatin mixture and cook for 1–2 minutes or until the gelatin is fully dissolved. While the buns are still hot, brush them with the warm glaze.
  9. Serve buns warm with butter and golden syrup. Makes 12.

Gingerbread men

I love gingerbread men! These ones are designed not to spread while cooking, and have just the right amount of spice. My son loves helping to decorate them too.

EDIT: My mother-in-law made some delicious gingerbread cookies last Christmas – they were so good! Try the new gingerbread recipe to see which you prefer.

Gingerbread men


  • 125g butter, at room temperature
  • Extra butter, to grease
  • 110g (1/2 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
  • 2 tabs caster sugar
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) golden syrup
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 300g (2 1/3 cups) plain flour
  • 2 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 150g (1 cup) pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 8-10 drops red liquid food colouring
  • 8-10 drops green liquid food colouring
  • Smarties, to decorate (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (or 150°C fan-forced).
  2. Grease two flat baking trays with butter.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Add the egg yolk and golden syrup and beat until combined.
  4. Stir in the flour, ginger and mixed spice.
  5. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Press dough into a disc, and place it between two sheets of baking paper and roll out until about 5mm thick. Use a gingerbread man cutter to cut out shapes, but do not separate shapes from the dough yet. Place the rolled dough in the freezer for 30 minutes to harden.
  6. After 30 minutes, remove from freezer separate the cut-out men, placing them on trays about 2cm apart.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 with the leftover dough.
  8. Bake in oven for 7-10 minutes or until brown. Remove gingerbread from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  9. Place egg white in a clean, dry bowl. Use an electric beater to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Divide icing evenly among 3 bowls. Add red colouring to 1 bowl and stir until combined. Add green colouring to another bowl and stir until combined.
  10. Place each of the prepared icings in small plastic bags (sandwich bags work well). Cut a small hole in a corner of each bag. Pipe icing over gingerbread men to decorate.
  11. If desired, add Smarties while the icing is still wet.

Chocolate chilli cheesecake (no-bake)

Chocolate chilli cheesecake


  • 1¼ cups chocolate biscuit crumbs
  • 80g butter, melted
  • 500g Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
  • 400g can sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ¼ cup boiling water
  • 2 tabs instant coffee
  • 1 tsp powdered gelatine
  • 100g milk chocolate melts, melted and cooled slightly
  • 100g milk Lindt Excellence dark chocolate with chilli, melted and cooled slightly
  • ½ cup thickened cream, softly whipped
  • Extra chocolate or cocoa powder, to decorate


  1. Grease a 20cm springform pan.
  2. Combine biscuit crumbs and butter; then press mixture into the base of the pan and refrigerate.
  3. Beat the cream cheese, condensed milk and spices with an electric mixer until just combined.
  4. Dissolve the coffee in the water, followed by the gelatine powder. Stir until completely dissolved.
  5. Add the melted chocolate and gelatine/coffee to the cream cheese mixture; beat until smooth.
  6. Gently fold through the cream.
  7. Pour the mixture over the prepared base. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until set.
  8. Grate chocolate over the top to decorate, or dust with cocoa powder. Slice and serve.
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