Monthly Archives: July 2012

Lemon and Coconut “Brownies”

Clearly, I’m using the term “brownies” loosely in this context. I love brownies because of the chocolate.

But do I still love them without any chocolate? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. :)

I found this recipe from These lemon and coconut brownies have all the attributes of why I love brownies, minus the chocolate factor. It is easy to bake and tastes moist and rich. But not too rich that you stop eating after one piece. ;)  For this recipe, it has a refreshing factor.  Yes I used the word refreshing because of the lemons. And the desiccated coconut in the recipe brings out the flavour of the lemon perfectly. Not to mention in the last 10 minutes of baking, it made my kitchen smelled like vacation. :) (Maybe a sign of me craving for one? hehe…)

Lemon and Coconut “Brownies”

(Recipe from

Makes about 15, depending how you cut it

What you’ll need:-

  • 250g butter
  • 430g (2 cups) caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 225g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour (I mixed between plain and wholemeal flour as I ran out of the plain one)
  • 85g (1 cup) desiccated coconut
  • 3 tsp finely grated lemon rind ( I used the rind of 3 small lemons)
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) fresh lemon juice (I used 2.5 small lemons)
  • Icing sugar, to dust

(1) Preheat oven to 180ºC. Line a 20 x 30cm (base measurement) slab pan with non-stick baking paper and grease the sides which aren’t covered with  baking paper – see note 1. (2) Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and stir until mixture is thick and glossy. (3) Sift (I did mine without sifting) the flour over the egg mixture and stir until well combined. Stir in coconut, lemon rind and lemon juice ( I think it is important to add lemon juice towards the end to avoid splitting the batter). Spread over base of prepared pan. (4) Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside in the pan to cool completely – see Note 2. Cut into pieces. Dust with icing sugar.

Note 1 – As I don’t have the specified pan size, I used a square pan instead. Hence the end result seemed a little thicker than the photo shown on the original recipe.

Note 2 – It is important to let is cool completely before removing it from the pan and cutting it.  It was quite fluffy and easily broken into pieces when it was removed from the oven after finished baking. As it cools its texture will become dense and firm.

Carrot & Sundried Tomato Meatballs (Rissoles) with Cheese Sauce

Some people may like their meatballs to be…well meaty.

Okay I’m stating the obvious here. But as for me, I like my meatballs loaded with vegetables especially if I want to have them on their own. Not with pasta nor flat bread nor rice. Just meatballs or what we would call rissoles and a side salad.

This makes a nice departure from my usual pasta or rice or noodles routine. A good accompaniment to the kale tabouli which I have just made. And a perfect vessel for me to drizzle cheese sauce over! :P

Carrot & Sundried Tomato Meatballs (Rissoles) with Cheese Sauce

Makes 6 fairly large meatballs

What you’ll need for the meatballs:-

  • 500g/17.6 ounces mince beef
  • 1 medium sized carrot, peeled and roughly cut into smaller pieces
  • 1/2 medium sized brown onion
  • A handful flat leave parsley
  • 1/2 cup semi sundried tomatoes, roughly cut into smaller pieces
  • A slice of bread
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, about 5 rounds of grinding
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika

Equipment required: a food processor

Cheese Sauce (recipe from

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 cup milk ( I used low fat)
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese
  • Salt  *omitted as I used salted butter*
  • Pepper * I forgot to add*

If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the carrot ( if you finely grate it, you may need to squeeze the grated carrot to remove excess liquid), finely chopped onion, parsley and sundried tomatoes.

 (1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 392 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line baking tray with baking paper. Grease the baking paper with some oil spray or pour some oil and spread it on the baking paper using a spoon. Set aside. (2) Place mince beef in a large mixing bowl. Process a slice of bread until resembles fine breadcrumbs. Transfer the breadcrumbs to the mixing bowl. Then process, carrot, onion, semi sundried tomatoes and parsley until resembles finely chopped and transfer to the mixing bowl. Add salt, paprika and black pepper. (3) Using your hand, mix everything together until a meat dough is form. Shape the meat dough into 6 meatballs and place them onto baking tray and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the meatballs are thoroughly cooked (i.e the liquid runs clear when you prick into the heart of the meatball using a satay stick.). (4) When the meatballs are baking, make the cheese sauce. Melt butter in a small sauce pan. Add flour and whisk using a fork for a minute. Remove from the heat and whisk in the milk. Return the saucepan to the heat and cook until it thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in grated cheese until it is melted and amalgamates with the sauce. (5) Transfer cooked meatballs to a serving dish and drape hot cheese sauce over them just before serving. Sprinkle with paprika if you wish. Serve with salad as a side i.e. kale tabouli.

Kale Tabouli

I first fell in love with tabouli when I ate at a Mediterranean cafe called the Little Salama Cafe, Hobart  Tasmania years ago. I enjoyed the freshness it brought to my kofta wrap and the much needed vegetable side for my grilled lamb lunch box with rice and hummus and tahini sauce. Since I have moved away from Hobart 5 years ago, I have been replicating the meals I had from the cafe whenever I had an episode of Little-Salama-lunch-box-cravings ha! (You can witness my replication from my old post here, which I was also talking about Little Salama. Pathetic much?)

Sometimes, with replication comes innovation variation (just realise there’re kale tabouli recipes on the net already). I often stick to the conventional tabouli with parsley, fresh tomatoes etc… Since I have found love in kale and quinoa which I have them stocked quite frequently, I decided to incorprate them into my tabouli. So here’s my take on kale tabouli. Enjoy! :)

Kale Tabouli

(Makes about 2 cups)

What you’ll need:-

  • 1/4 cup of uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • A bunch of kale (Cavelo Nero) – about 11 leaves, finely sliced
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Olive oil
  • A handful of flat parsley
  • 1/2 cup semi- sundried tomatoes, diced

(1) Cook quinoa according to the packet instructions – see Note 1. (2) Add a tbsp of olive oil in a pan and heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add kale and a pinch of salt. Saute until the kale turns bright green and transfer to a large salad bowl to cool – see Note 2. (3) Juice a lemon and add diced onion to macerate a little. In the meantime, finely slice a handful of parsley and dice semi-sundried tomatoes. (4) Combine quinoa, parsley and sundried tomatoes with the kale in the salad bowl.  Add olive oil to diced onion macerated in lemon juice (olive oil to lemon juice ratio about 2:1). Whisk to mix and pour dressing into the kale mixture. Toss to combine all the ingredients. Drizzle more olive oil if necessary. Serve immediately.

Note 1 – To cook quinoa, the water to uncooked quinoa ratio is 2:1. I cook quinoa in boiling water, covered. When the water is ALMOST absorbed by the quinoa, I turn off the flame and allow to quinoa to sit for a couple of minutes (covered) until all water is being obsorbed.

Note 2 – Do not saute the kale for too long. I don’t want to wilt the kale…but just to get rid of the “raw taste” of kale. :)

Note 3 – The lemon juice will discolour the kale after some time. Hence if you were to make this ahead, I suggest you dress the tabouli just before serving.