Bringing real baking into your home with deliciously simple recipes.
Prep 25minBake 45minMakes 4-6 serves
If you’re not a big fan of fennel then you may just have to reconsider your standing once you have tried this dish. Baked fennel – particularly when teamed with the saltiness of anchovies, the crunch of crisp breadcrumbs and the savouriness of fresh thyme – is one of the best side dishes winter has to offer.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the anchovies and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or until the anchovies dissolve. Add 30g of the butter and the breadcrumbs and toss until the breadcrumbs are lightly toasted. Transfer to a bowl, toss through the parsley and set aside.
Add the remaining oil and butter to the frying pan and heat over medium-high heat until the butter is foaming. Add the fennel in a single layer and cook for 3 minutes each side or until golden and starting to soften.
Transfer the fennel, in a single layer, to a 2 litre (8 cup) capacity dish, and pour any pan juices over the top. Scatter with the thyme leaves and pour the chicken stock over. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and bake for a further 20-25 minutes or until the fennel is tender when pierced with a skewer and the breadcrumbs are golden and crisp.
This dish is best eaten straight from the oven, while the fennel is warm and the bread chunks still crisp, however it will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Serve at room temperature or reheat at 180°C (160°C fan-forced) for 10 minutes or until heated through.
The simplicity of these roasted winter root vegetables allows their true flavours to shine – especially when finished with fresh herbs, lemon and ricotta salata.
1 bunch baby beetroot, scrubbed, trimmed and halved if large
1 bunch baby (Dutch) carrots, scrubbed, trimmed and halved
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into 8 wedges
3 small parsnips, scrubbed, trimmed and quartered
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
40g ricotta salata (see Baker's Tips) or sheep's milk feta, crumbled or coarsely grated
1½ tablespoons oregano leaves
1½ tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 lemon, zest finely grated
lemon wedges or cheeks, to serve
Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan-forced)
Toss the beetroot, carrots, fennel and parsnip with the oil to coat. Spread over the base of a roasting dish and bake for 40 minutes, tossing once halfway through baking, or until the beetroot is tender when pierced with a skewer.
Remove the vegetables from the oven and transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle with a little more oil. Combine the ricotta salata, oregano, parsley and lemon zest and scatter over the vegetables. Serve warm or at room temperature with lemon wedges.
Ricotta salata is an Italian ricotta cheese that has been pressed, salted and aged for at least 90 days. It has a wonderfully salty flavour and firm texture which is perfect for crumbling, slicing or grating.
The secret to a silky smooth baked custard is the balance of eggs to milk and cream and gentle baking. This velvety one is teamed with macerated prunes for a memorable dessert.
Baked custard 500ml (2 cups) milk 500ml (2 cups) pouring cream 1 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped 5 eggs, at room temperature 110g (½ cup) caster sugar
Macerated prunes 250ml (1 cup) port 400g prunes, pitted and halved
To make the macerated prunes, heat the port in a small saucepan over medium heat until hot but not simmering. Pour over the prunes in a heatproof bowl, cover and set aside to macerate for 1 day.
Preheat oven to 160°C (140°C fan-forced). Brush a shallow 2-litre (8-cup) ovenproof dish with the melted butter to lightly grease and place in a large roasting pan or ovenproof dish.
Combine the milk, cream and vanilla bean and seeds in a medium saucepan and heat over low heat until almost simmering. Use a balloon whisk to whisk the eggs and sugar until well combined. Gradually whisk in the hot milk mixture. Strain the custard into a large jug and then pour into the greased dish. Add enough boiling water to the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the dish.
Bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes (see Baker’s tips) or until set on top but the custard still wobbles slightly when the dish is shaken gently. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes. Place the custard in the fridge for 1-2 hours or until cooled completely.
Serve the custard in spoonfuls accompanied by the macerated prunes with some of the port.
The baking time will depend on the depth of your dish – the deeper the dish the longer the baking time will be. Always check your custard after 40 minutes though and return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes if it’s not ready.
This custard will keep covered in the fridge for up to 2 days. Stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
Indulgent is the one word (and possibly the only) that comes to mind when describing this dessert. Custardy bread, pecans, bananas and a rich caramel sauce combine to make this one very decent over-the-top offering.
Melted butter, to grease 600g day-old sourdough or crusty loaf, cut into 1cm-thick slices, crusts partially removed 60g butter, softened 3 ripe medium bananas (about 200 g each), thinly sliced 100g pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped 4 eggs 110g (½ cup) caster sugar 500ml (2 cups) milk 375ml (1½ cups) pouring cream 2 teaspoons natural vanilla essence or extract Vanilla ice-cream, to serve
Preheat oven to 170°C (150°C fan-forced). Brush a deep 2-litre (8-cup) ovenproof dish with melted butter to grease.
Spread the bread slices with the butter. Top half of the slices with the banana and then cover with the remaining bread slices. Cut each ‘sandwich’ diagonally into half. Arrange the layered bread in the ovenproof dish, allowing it the stick up a little, and then sprinkle with the pecans.
Use a balloon whisk to whisk together the eggs, sugar, milk, cream and vanilla until well combined. Pour evenly over the bread in the dish and set aside for 30-60 minutes or until the bread has absorbed all the custard.
Meanwhile, to make the caramel sauce, combine the sugar, golden syrup and butter in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until thickened slightly.
Sprinkle the pudding with the remaining pecans, pour over half the caramel sauce (reserve the remaining sauce) and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the top is golden and the custard is set.
Meanwhile, add the cream to the remaining caramel sauce and stir over medium heat until well combined and heated through.
Remove the pudding from the oven and stand for 5 minutes before serving with the warm Caramel sauce and ice cream.
This bread and butter pudding will keep covered in the fridge for up to 2 days. Serve at room temperature or cover with foil and warm gently in an oven preheated to 150°C (130°C fan-forced for 10-20 minutes (depending on the portion size).
Rice pudding is the ultimate in comfort food. Coconut milk gives this version a contemporary twist and when topped with vanilla-baked rhubarb, it is a winter pudding you will want to make time and time again.
melted butter, to grease 110g (½ cup) Arborio rice 375ml (1½ cup) milk 270ml can coconut milk 2 tablespoons caster sugar 10g (2 teaspoons) butter toasted flaked coconut or roasted coconut chips (see Baker’s Tips), to serve (optional)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways 75g (⅓ cup) caster sugar 1 bunch rhubarb, trimmed, washed and cut into 7cm lengths (you will have about 550g trimmed weight)
To make the Baked rhubarb, preheat oven to 200°C. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean, place into a medium bowl with the sugar, and toss to evenly combine. Add the rhubarb and toss to coat in the vanilla sugar. Transfer the rhubarb and vanilla bean to an ovenproof dish just large enough to arrange the rhubarb in a single layer. Sprinkle with any remaining vanilla sugar left in the bowl. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, give the dish a shake and bake for a further 5-10 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender when tested with a skewer. Remove from the oven and set aside while baking the rice pudding.
Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C. Combine the rice, milk, coconut milk and caster sugar in a bowl. Stir with a fork until well combined. Transfer to a 1-litre (4-cup) ovenproof dish and dot with the butter. Bake, uncovered, in preheated oven for 1 hour–1 hour 10 minutes, whisking occasionally with a fork so the rice cooks evenly, or until the rice is just tender and the pudding is the consistency of a wet risotto.
Serve the warm rice pudding immediately, topped with the rhubarb. Drizzle with rhubarb syrup and sprinkle with the coconut, if desired.
Roasted coconut chips are available from the dried fruit and nuts section of selected supermarkets.
Hailing from the 70s and reaching peak popularity in the 90s, sticky toffee pudding now sits alongside the likes of lemon delicious, rice pudding and chocolate fondants as a classic. Sweet, sticky and completely addictive, it is always a crowd pleaser.
200g fresh dates, pitted and chopped 250ml (1 cup) water 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature 150g (¾ cup, firmly packed) brown sugar 2 eggs 150g (1 cup) self-raising flour Cream or vanilla ice cream, to serve
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 18 x 28cm shallow cake tin with melted butter and line the base and two long sides with one piece of baking paper, allowing the paper to overhang the sides.
Place the dates and water in a small saucepan, bring to the boil over medium heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes or until pulpy. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda and then set aside for 20 minutes or until cooled to room temperature.
Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar in a medium bowl until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Use a large metal spoon or spatula to fold in the cooled date mixture and then the flour until just combined.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
Meanwhile, to make the toffee sauce, put the butter, sugar and cream in a medium saucepan and stir over medium heat until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer for 3 minutes.
Remove the pudding from the oven and pour a quarter of the hot toffee sauce over. Set aside for 5 minutes. Remove the warm pudding from the tin, cut into portions and serve drizzled with the remaining warm toffee sauce and accompanied by cream or ice-cream.
Any leftover pudding and sauce will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat both separately in the microwave on medium in 1-minute bursts until warmed through.