Zumbo Chocolate Mirror Cake Mix

ImageYes, I use cake mixes sometimes!

Really they are not much easier than making a cake from scratch, but some are pretty good!

In Australia, over the last couple of years two ‘celebrity chefs’ Adriano Zumbo and Donna Hay have released their own ‘premium’ cake, biscuit and slice recipes.

This is one of Zumbo’s. He is a pâtissier and is known for ‘out there’ creations and providing Australian Master Chef with some outrageous challenges.

He provides videos that are good for the recipe instructions, at http://zumbobaking.com.au/


I cake was relatively easy to make. You have to use a water bath, which may be a little intimating for an inexperienced cook.

My cake stuck in the corners to the pan, but I think I was lazy with the greasing!


So the chunks missing ruined the mirror effect somewhat, but as you can see the glaze is super shiny and luscious looking.


I served the cake as part of a dessert spread at a party, soon after applying the glaze. I left it on the board, as in the picture above. However, to make it look like the box, you are supposed to let it sit  awhile and then remove to another serving plate to, get rid of the excess at the sides. It was very popular, I think because the glaze was still warm!



Spaghetti Aglio E Olio – spaghetti with garlic and olive oil


This is as simple, easy and cheap as a recipe can get!

It is also one of my favorites, a real  Italian comfort food!

It great when I’m cooking for myself, or have to come up with a late dinner.

But as it uses so few ingredients you really have to use good quality pasta and olive oil (and cheese if using).

It can be as basic as, pasta, oil, garlic and salt, however can be customized to your taste and to what you have in the pantry.https://teagzteagz.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=309&action=edit

  • I like to add chilli (I use a fresh chilli, though I read that dry chilli flakes are traditional)
  • I like to add chopped parsley at the end (but you can leave it out, or use another herb).
  • I like to add Parmesan to serve (apparently traditionally cheese should NOT be used)
  • I sometimes use some crisp fried prosciutto to serve, as I’ve done here.
  • At other times I have added tuna, crispy croutons or crumbs, rocket, spinach, baby kale etc, the choice is yours!



Ingredients: (4 t0 6 serves)

500g of pasta (I used Barilla Spagettini)

1/2 a cup of good olive oil

5 garlic cloves, finely chopped (or to your taste)

1 red chilli , finely sliced

1/2 cup finely chopped parsley

6 slices of prosciutto


Parmesan to serve

  1. Fill a large pot with cold water, add salt and bring to the boil
  2. Meanwhile, add garlic, chilli and oil to a fry pan. Put on lowest  heat (allow to cook until pasta is ready, if garlic begins to brown take pan off heat).
  3. When water is boiling, add pasta and cook according to packet directions or until ‘al dente’.
  4. While pasta is cooking, fry prosciutto in a fry pan, until crisp. Drain on paper towel, and crumble.
  5.  When cooked, drain pasta, reserving 1/2 a cup of the paste water.
  6. Return pasta to hot pot, add oil mixture and parsley, stir to combine well, making sure all pasta is coated with oil.
  7. To serve, add paste to bowl, top with a piece of crumbled prosciutto and Parmesan to taste.



Mexican Pickled Onions – Cebolla en escabeche


These really jazz up your Mexican meal, they are easy and last a while in the fridge and the color is AMAZING!!

They are adapted from this recipe (the pork was also amazing, but I lost the photos I took 😦 ).




6 red onions, thinly sliced

juice of a pink grapefruit

juice of an orange

juice of  a lime

1 tsp of sea salt

  1. Place onions in a  heat proof bowl, cover with boiling water and set aside for 1 -2 minutes.
  2. Drain, and refresh under cold water, return to bowl.
  3. Combine juice and salt, stir to dissolve salt. Add to onions.
  4. Refrigerate for at least an hour, the flavor and color will deepen.

These will keep in the refrigerator for at least a few days.


Marcianos Cakes

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We ordered a birthday cake from here, it was fantastic! Really good value.

The man serving us, told us the Marciano’s delight was the most popular flavor of cake.

It consists of traditional millefeuille (puff pastry) with layers of dulce de leche  and vanilla custard for the bottom half and  Vanilla sponge layered with dulce de leche(caramel), crème Chantilly and fruit for the top, them it is covered with meringue.


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I love this cake shop. It offers South American style cakes. On the day we ordered the birthday cake we got there around 2:30 and were starving. Unfortunately they had run out of the traditional Chilean beef empandas, so we went for a sausage roll and cheese empanada. The pastry of both was soo flaky and buttery. The sausage mixture was sweeter with a little spice compared to a standard Aussie version.

They have a large range of  sweet pastries, many filled with dulce de  leche. I’m not sure what these are called, but one that we shared cake was like a Swiss roll filled with dulce de leche instead of jam and coated with icing sugar. The other was  a sponge ball with dulce de leche in the middle, and also used as a coating and ducted with coconut. They are moreish and big, you will need to share!

Marciano's Cakes on Urbanspoon

Homemade chocolate pudding or yogo or blancmange….


This is an American style chocolate pudding, however my Nana calls it a blancmange and it’s similar to chilled dairy desserts available here in Australia, such as Yogo.

This is a low cal version  (1% milk, sugar alternative), that will give you a chocolate, creamy sweet hit!

However, feel free to play with it. For Yogo, leave out the dark chocolate, and use a little less cocoa to get a lighter color.  Use real sugar, and add more chocolate! Or ever better make a decant dessert by replacing some milk with cream and melting Nutella through it!

For Aussie’s with kids, replace the cocoa with Milo, and make a homemade version of those Milo dairy snacks at the supermarket.

You could also add more vanilla for a vanilla flavor, or some other flavored powdered drinks for strawberry, caramel etc.


Ingredients for 4 small serves

2 cups of 1% milk (or milk of your choice)

3 tbs of cornflour

3 tbs of cocoa (this makes it very chocolatey, use less if you like)

4 squares of 70% cocoa dark chocolate

half a tsp of vanilla essence

2 tbs of powered steevia (use sweetener of you choice and adjust to taste)

Nuts or toasted coconut to top if you like

  1. Put milk and chocolate in a saucepan on low heat, stir until chocolate is melted.
  2. Once melted shift in flour and cocoa, while stirring to prevent lumps, add vanilla.
  3. Increase heat to medium and stir continually, until thick. Be careful it does not catch on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Pour into containers, add any toppings.
  5. Refrigerate until cold, or eat hot like a custard.


What to cook when you really don’t want to cook??

It’s rare but there are times when I’m to tired or just can’t be bothered cooking. The other night I really didn’t want to cook.

I went to the supermarket and walked around not knowing what to get, I decided to get a hot chicken. Then thought I felt like pasta. I remembered I found a jar of red pesto when i clean out the pantry the other week. So I thought I would get some mushroom, and toss everything together for an easy meal.

But when I got home the pesto was gone!

I don’t know what happened to it, but now I had to make some. Luckily, I also found a packet of sun dried tomatoes in the pantry.


Honestly, the hardest part of this was cleaning the food processor, but as you can tell by the quality of the last photo I was over cooking and photo taking, but the dish was tasty in the end!

Also the pesto could be used as a dip, or spread for sandwiches or bruschetta.

(I had no Parmesan in the fridge, added some to the pesto is traditional, but it was nice without)


Ingredients (serves 6)


200gs of sun dried tomatoes (I used fat free, but tomatoes packed in oil would be fine, you will just need less oil later)

about 150gs of black olives pitted

large handful of parsley (basil would also work)

3 cloves of garlic (use less or more to taste)

handful of  nuts (pine nuts are traditional, I used Brazil because that what I’s had, but any nut would work )

Good olive oil


500gs pasta of your choice (I used penne)

250 grams Swiss brown mushrooms sliced

1 red onion finely chopped

200gs frozen baby peas

1 breast of a roasted chicken shredded


  1. Fill a large put of water, add a few tbsp of salt and heat on high until boiling
  2. Put pesto ingredients (except oil) in a food processor
  3. Process on high for a few pulses, and then start to drizzle in oil as you possess until you get a consistency you are happy with, remember you can add some pasta water at the end to thin it out  a little.
  4. When water is boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente.
  5. Meanwhile, saute onion until translucent, and mushrooms and cook until soft, add peas and turn off heat, stir to combine. The residual heat will cook the peas.
  6. Drain pasta when done, reserving half a cup of the water. Combine pasta, water, chicken, pesto and onion mixture back in the hot cooking pot. Season and serve.


Using the Breville – Chicken and Pecan Jaffle

Lately we have been making Jaffles quite a lot. Once we take the maker out we use it, but once it gets put away in the cupboard, we forget about for a few months!

It makes a toasted sandwich a little bit special and allows you use some interesting ingredients. Most often we have bacon and egg or classic ham and cheese, but the other day I used left over grilled chicken, sweet potato mash, a few green bean beans and some cheese -left over chicken dinner jaffle, pretty yummy!

It seems jaffles are getting trendy, I saw a segment on the TV show (Everyday Gourmet, Channel 10 in Australia), that featured an owner of a jaffle food truck in Sydney (Jafe Jaffles), he made a sweet jaffle using pastry and then a poached chicken, almond and basil Jaffle,which has inspired the following:


Ingredients for 2 Jaffles

quarter of finely diced red onion

about 8 pecans coarsely chopped

1 breast of a roasted chicken (or poached)

1 – 2 tbsp  finely chopped parsley (or herb of your choice)

1 tbsp of good whole egg mayonnaise

4 slices of bread of your choice

butter or fat of your choice

  1. Turn on Breville.
  2. Combine onion, pecans, chicken parsley and mayonnaise in a bowl, season.
  3. Butter all slices of bread on one side.
  4. When Breville is ready, place bread buttered side down, evenly spread chicken mixture over bread and top with remaining slices.
  5. Close Breville and toast until done!

It was a yummy sandwich, better than cheese and ham. You could go without the butter, but it  creates a nice brown crust on the outside of the sandwich.