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Tag: cinnamon

Chilli and Garlic Crisp

I’ve made this a million times and each time it’s a little different, depending on how garlic heavy I’m feeling that day (usually very). It doesn’t tend to last very long at ours, as one of us can usually be found picking out a crisp slice of garlic to gluttonously chomp on on our way past. Yes, we are monsters. I like to make this to accompany a bowl of ramen, but really, this will work with anything. The original recipe calls for soy sauce instead of vegemite, however, I’ve found that the water in the soy sauce will make the garlic lose its crispness a lot faster. If you hate vegemite, by all means replace it by 1-2 Tbsp of soy sauce. The goal is for it to have a slightly funky salty bite, along with the heat and the crispy textures.

Recipe slightly adapted from here.

Chilli and garlic crisp

Makes one jar

100ml sunflower oil

1 cinnamon stick

2 star anise

1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and sliced thinly

1-2 shallot, peeled and halved, sliced thinly

5cm ginger, peeled, cut into tiny cubes

2 slightly heaped Tbsp chilli flakes

1 tsp vegemite or marmite

½ tsp honey

Combine the oil, cinnamon, star anise, garlic and shallot in a small pan over low to medium heat and let it bubble gently. You don’t want it to cook too quickly, otherwise the garlic will start browning at the edges while the centre is still soft, and that’s not what we want – we want evenly crisped golden garlic, so keep your eye on it.  

In a bowl, combine the chilli flakes, the vegemite and the honey. It will be a little clumpy, but that’s okay.

Once the garlic just begins to take on a golden hue – this can take any time between 10-20 minutes, add the ginger. Continue frying on a low heat until everything is a nice golden hue but isn’t starting to brown – the garlic will get bitter if it does. Remove from the heat and carefully pour the hot oil over the chilli, making sure to keep back the garlic and shallot in the saucepan – not combining everything at once gives the garlic and shallot the time crisp up. Give the chilli flake and oil mixture a good stir and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Once it has cooled down, stir in the now very crispy garlic and shallot. Transfer to a glass jar and use at your own discretion.

This will stay crisp for about a week, but will still be good a few weeks after that, albeit not as crispy.


Cinnamon Old Fashioned


The third cocktail in a row – am I on a roll or what? Look – nah, I won’t even. You don’t need convincing anyway. Drinks are always front page news in these parts. I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for a few years now, but only a few months ago did I discover the ultimate version of the Old Fashion by adding cinnamon syrup. The cinnamon doesn’t punch you in the face, which is what I like and need in my life. The world is way too oversaturated with cinnamon-spiced things as it is.

This is one of the easiest and quickest drinks to have around – everyone should have bitters at home anyway, and a jar of maraschino cherries doesn’t take up much room in the fridge either. All you need to do is go out and buy a juicy (and preferably organic – you’re getting a bit of the rind smooshed into the drink, kay?) orange and make that cinnamon syrup. YAHM.


Cinnamon Old Fashioned

Makes 1 glass

1/2 slice of orange, plus another half for decoration

1 maraschino cherry, plus another for decoration

3 shakes of Angostura Bitters

2 tsp (10ml) cinnamon syrup (recipe below)


60ml whiskey (I used Red Label)


In a jug, combine the orange slice, the cherry, the bitters and the syrup. With a muddler or even a spoon, mash everything together until you feel certain that the orange oils and cherry juices have done the best they can. Add about 3 ice cubes and the whiskey, and give it all a good stir. Fill a pretty tumbler with a few more cubes of ice (or a fancy big one if you have it) and sieve the delicious golden liquid right over the top of it. Add the additional orange slice and cherry to garnish. Done.

When I feel lazy (which is mostly) I skip the sieving and the additional cherry and orange slice and just pour that into my glass. Do whatever your level of lazy requires of you.


Cinnamon Syrup

Makes about 130ml

110g raw sugar

125ml water

1 big pinch salt

1 cinnamon stick, or 1/2 big chunky one


Combine everything in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened and darkened in colour. Remove from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. Remove the cinnamon by sieving the syrup into a glass jar.

Keep it in a jar in the fridge – it’ll last quite a long time there.

Mulled Winey Goodness

mulled wine‘Tis the season my friends. Time for mulled everything. Everyone is trying to top everyone else in winging about how cold it is, but secretly they love it, because who doesn’t love a steaming mug of something spiked warming up their frozen nose hair. Warmed nose hair for everyone! We’ve had hot buttered rum before, which went down a treat – but now it’s time for the antioxidant-rich grape to take centre stage and charm our socks off.

mulled cloves

This recipe calls for the creation of a complexly spiced syrup, to which later you add some red and a few splashes of ginger wine. That way you can either store it in the fridge for a few weeks, use half, or have it all straight away. This method also ensures that most of the alcohol is still present by the time of serving. None of this boiling-wine-for-two-hours business. And honestly? Most bars, no matter how craft and boutique and amazing they are, their mulled wine won’t be as good as this. Promise.

mulled orange

Delicious Mulled Wine

via the Guardian

This will make about 12 servings. If you aren’t up for cracking open two bottles of red because you’re a smallish group, make the syrup and only use half, combined with half of the rest of the ingredients. The syrup will last for a few weeks in a jar in the fridge.

2 oranges, washed
1 lemon, peel only
150g raw sugar
5 cloves, plus extra for garnish
5 cardamom pods, bruised
1 cinnamon stick
A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 bottles of fruity full-bodied red wine – Shiraz-Cabernet for me please
150ml ginger wine

Remove the peel from one orange using a vegetable peeler, then squeeze out the juice. Add both to a big saucepan along with the lemon peel, the sugar and the spices. Add a few small glugs of wine, enough to cover the sugar, and let it simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. You should be left with a thick syrup. If I have the time I like to let it sit for a bit to let the flavours meld.

If you’re keen on doing some shmancy decorating, get the remaining orange and the remaining cloves, and make a few (as many guests as you have)vertical clove lines down the side of the orange. slice it into segments  and voilà,  your garnish is complete.

Once you’re ready to serve, add the rest of the red wine as well as the ginger wine, and gently heat the mixture until hot. Ladle into cups and squeeze an orange segment onto the edge of each. Yum!




Hot Buttered Rum

hot buttered rumIt’s time, guys. Spring’s here. Jasmine bushes are exploding all over the place, sunscreen is taking the place of cologne and we can finally leave the house without a scarf. Oh how I love spring. To bid my farewell to winter, and helping you lovelies on the other side of the world ease into the realization the cold is going to come get you, I present to thee: Hot buttered rum.


The inspiration for this recipe came from a visit to this charming little bar down the road called Little Mess. If you’re ever in Brunswick, give it a go. They won’t be doing hot buttered rum till winter though. A few months back, when I asked about the ingredients that made up the delicious steaming beverage I was holding between my frozen paws, I was expecting something along the lines of “Ah, sorry. Secret recipe.” Which I did. But my disappointment must have guilt-tripped the friendly barman, so he ended up giving me a tiny insight into a short and incredibly vague list of ingredients make up the magic of which is hot buttered rum. So eagerly I went on home and over the following months taste-tested my own interpretation of it until I was certain that it had well and truly ticked all the boxes. May I present to you, a caramelly, buttery, spiced cup of sweet boozy goodness.


Hot Buttered Rum

Serves 1


60ml butterscotch sauce (recipe below)

30ml water

1 cardamom pod

1 clove

1 small piece of cinnamon bark

60ml Sailor Jerry’s or other spiced rum


Now ideally, try and get this first step done at least 15 minutes before you serve your drink. That way, the spices have a chance to develop and let themselves be noticed. Combine the butterscotch, water and spices in a heatproof mug and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. If you hate microwaves, or just don’t have one, warm the mixture in a small pan until hot, but not boiling. Set aside for 15 minutes.

When ready to serve, add the rum to the cup and heat for a further 30 seconds in the microwave, until nice and hot, but again, not boiling. You, my sweet, are now ready to drink.


Butterscotch sauce

Makes enough for at least 5 drinks


160ml / 2/3 cup cream

155g / ¾ cup light brown sugar

75g butter, cubed

2 tsp vanilla essence

1/3 tsp salt


Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and stirring, bring to the boil. Let it bubble away for about 5 more minutes until thickened slightly. Take from the heat and let it cool.

Can be sored for at least one week in the fridge.

Apple Crumble.

apple crumble

Oh hi. Fancy meeting you here. Yes, it’s been a while, I know. I’ll cut a long story short by saying that being busy is a completely overused excuse, so I won’t even go there.

Study and procrastination have been true companions along the way, although I’d be lying if I didn’t say that out of the two, the latter was definitely given more time, love and attention. Yes I do have favourites.

However, I am not sorry to say that this apple crumble, or crisp, this heaven on a spoon, was part of the collaboration. You will love it. Nay, worship it.

I’m not the first and certainly won’t be the last to tell you how beautifully nutty and irresistible browned butter is, and how it will change your life, and that you should go and make some right now. Here it adds another dimension to the already delicious tango of caramelized apple goodness.

Adapted from this pretty place.

The Best Apple Crisp

Serves 6

250g butter

For the topping:

1 cup / 150g plain flour

1 cup / 80g quick oats

1 cup / 220g dark brown sugar

½ cup / 80g chopped almonds

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp salt

For the filling:

2 tsp vanilla essence

6 medium-sized Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and very thinly sliced

1/2 cup / 110g dark brown sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

Lets start with the browned butter, shall we? You’ll need to prepare it a little in advance because you want it to firm up again for the crumble. Place butter in a medium saucepan, and turn heat on medium. After a couple of minutes the butter will begin to crackle and foam—make sure you whisk consistently during this process. After a couple of minutes you’ll notice the butter turning a slight brown (caramel) color on the bottom of the saucepan; continue to whisk and remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to give off a nutty aroma. Immediately transfer the butter to a bowl to prevent it from burning. Very carefully pour into a container and let it cool. Because I’m impatient, I let it have a go in freezer to firm up. Once the butter’s firm, divide it into two equal halves.

Preheat oven to 180°C and grease a 25x25cm baking pan.

To make the topping combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and almonds in a large bowl. Cut half of the butter into pieces and using your hands, squeeze and rub into the oat mixture until it becomes crumbly and resembles wet sand. Keep it in the fridge while you get on with the rest.

Now, too make the filling, place the sliced apples, the brown sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Gently reheat the brown butter and stir into the apple mixture. Take a heaping ½ cup of the topping mixture and toss with the apple mixture. Spread the apple mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with the topping. It will seem like a lot of topping, but the apples will cook down and the topping will turn beautifully crunchy, and really, there is no such thing as too much topping anyway.

Bake the crumble on a baking sheet – in case the filling bubbles over – for 55-60 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Remove from the oven and cool 10 minutes if you can wait that long. Serve warm with sour cream, yoghurt or vanilla ice cream.


roasted caramel pears

Dylan Moran once said “You can get addicted to anything, except for fruit.” I wholeheartedly agree. Fruit’s alright. But I never crave it. There are no wistful daydreams about ruby red apples, no heated discussions on when to buy the ripest mangoes, and certainly no long and lonely nights of clutching the doona tightly, thinking naughty thoughts about sliced watermelon. It just isn’t like that. I will just briefly not that I have been forcing myself to up my fruit intake, just so that my conscience will shut up and let me have an extra chocolate, after I’ve eaten my nectarine. Fruit is alright. Just don’t get me started on fruit salad again, because we all know that it turns me into an irritated opinionated brat, and that’s not what we want now, is it.

One way to make fruit desirable is to disguise it. I’m not talking about the spinach and beetroot brownies or the avocado chocolate mousse here. I’m talking about obvious disguises, namely sugar. Sexy delicious sugar. Give me some pears and some caramelised sugar and let them tango in the oven for a few hours. Now that’s what I call natural beauty. Gleaming little globes of almost translucent auburn-coloured pears, enrobed in rich layers of cinnamony caramel, which upon contact with the cold creamy ice cream (which you will hopefully eat it with) turns the experience into a chewy mouthful of wonderfulness.

Roasted Caramel Pears

Serves about 6

6 firm, ripe pears

1 lemon

440g caster sugar

250ml water

¼ tsp salt

1 cinnamon stick

2 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp vanilla essence

Preheat your oven to 160°C. Peel the pears and cut them in half lengthways, keeping the stems intact. Don’t remove the core and seeds.

Place the pear halves in a large bowl and squeeze over the lemon. Toss the pears and cover with cold water. This will keep them from browning.

In a large heavy saucepan, combine the water, sugar and salt and stir over a high heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the cinnamon stick and bring to the boil. Let it boil, untouched, until the colour starts to take on a light golden hue. Watch closely please, okay? We all know how quickly sugar can turn on us. So after about 8 minutes of staring at the pot, which feels like an eternity, but be patient, you should have a lovely golden caramel, smelling deliciously of cinnamon. Quickly remove from the heat and stir in the butter and the vanilla.

Remove the pears from their lemon bath and place them cut-side-down on a large baking tray. Pour over the caramel. It will have thickened again, but don’t worry, this will change again shortly. And also, add the cinnamon stick to the pan. The longer it hangs out with the caramel, the better. Put the pan in the oven and as soon as the caramel starts to melt again, spoon over the pears. Repeat this every half hour for the next 4 hours. The pears are ready when they are an even colour all the way through and have become slightly transparent. They will also have shrunk quite a bit, which is great – an excuse to eat more of them then. Serve them warm with the caramel drizzled over the top, with cream or ice cream.

You can refrigerate them in their sauce for up to 4 days and just reheat them in a warm oven, but seriously, who keeps desserts for that long?

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