Tag Archives: dessert

How gateway drugs caused my addiction & a dessert better than crack

22 Feb coconut white chocolate pannacotta with raspberry coulis

coconut white chocolate pannacotta with raspberry coulis ingredients I imagine by now you believe I have told you every last little secret I have in Pandora’s box.

I assure you I am a multilayered onion of a creature and I could never write all the juice even if I tried. That said, I would like to make a confession to you all today.

I am an addict.

I am not a recovering addict.

I am still in the clutches of addiction and I use daily.

I recently saw a TedEd fingering my drug of choice as ‘the original gateway drug’, complete with diagrams of my brain and how it is affected by my weakness.

Instead of being ashamed I snorted, spraying dulce de leche studded brownie onto my screen.

I have tried finding substitutes, and I’ve had even had minor success but after a while my old friend calls to me.

The monkey on my back gently strokes my neck and whispers for me to return to its sweet embrace.

I never could say no to a monkey.

I’m not proud.

Especially not in this day and age when there is so much information on the evils of substance abuse. There are entire blogs devoted to saying no and recovering from my love and people who shudder at the very mention of her name.

She takes many forms, as the most conniving paramours do…. white powder, chunks of brown that leave sticky residue on your fingers, some forms more natural than others but whatever form it takes, a drug, is a drug, is a drug.

After so many years I’ve learned to manage my addiction and walk around unnoticed in society as a fully functioning addict. These days I use less than ever, but it’s still a big part of my life, in fact I spend a lot of time fighting the urge to use.

This unfashionable addiction I refer to is sugar, and as loath as I am to encourage such foul behaviour, or enable other addicts, this coconut and white chocolate pannacotta with raspberry coulis is totes worth a stint in rehab.

coconut white chocolate pannacotta with raspberry coulis

Coconut and White Chocolate Panncotta with Raspberry Coulis

Yield : 5 or 6 depending on portion sizes – oink

What you will need :

For pannacotta – 

  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 cups coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate buds, or chopped white choc
  • 1-2 tablespoon castor sugar, depending on your taste
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon gelatine

For coulis – 

  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water

What you will need to do :

Pop your cream, sugar and chocolate into a saucepan over medium heat, stirring continuously so the chocolate doesn’t burn. When it’s all melted, dissolve your gelatine into the hot water stirring well to get out any lumps and chuck her on into the mix.

Whisk into your cream and then stir in your coconut cream.

Place into moulds or glasses and stick them in the fridge for a good 2-3 hours.

Meanwhile to make the coulis pop your ingredients into a saucepan and cook on a medium heat until it turns into a mushy, yummy coulis.

This is piss easy and fancy enough for a dinner party. Winning.

NB : Addiction is not a laughing matter. Unless you have the giggles….. but really, drugs are bad, mmmkay?

coconut white chocolate with raspberry coulis

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All  head to the Holsby Shop right now.

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Keep it together, don’t crumble… Unless it’s Rhubarb Crumble.

27 Nov pear and rhubarb crumble

rhubarb and pear crumble ingredientsToday is day 11 of the 12 Days of Awesome. Tomorrow is the big launch day.

Holy fuck balls. (Sorry Nana, but nothing else quite captured the sentiment)

I’ve had an awesome Awesome so far. Posting every day has been an interesting experiment.

I’ve made new friends, reconnected with old, sold heaps of books and had heaps of feedback and I’m feeling good…. unless you count chronically sleep deprived, butterflies the size of pterodactyls in my tummy, and up to my armpits in canapés for the launch.

I’ve been thrilled to write for some peeps that I admire so a mega thanks to Fox in Flats, My Little Sunshine House, and Life, Love and Hiccups for having me over to play. The sense of support and love I’ve felt from my online community has been both uplifting and humbling.

It’s nice to feel love when you’re doing something that feels so big. It’s imperative to your success, because doing it alone is scheisse.

Someone recently asked me why I put so much pressure on myself and it’s actually quite a hard question to answer.

This whole process has made me feel slightly nude.

Not like that dream where you dream you went to school and you forgot your clothes and everyone laughs at you, but more like I’m at a day spa and no one really cares that I’m nuding but I’m slightly self conscious none the less.

I reckon that’s a good type of naked.

Expanding boundaries. Baring your all.

Anyway, one more sleep. Or no sleep as the case may be.

Today I pick up the books. Nothing like cutting it fine, eh? I do work well under pressure…. but I won’t crumble. I’m too damned excited.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

pear and rhubarb crumbleRhubarb and Pear Crumble

What you will need :

For the fruity bit – 

  • 1 bunch of rhubarb, washed and cut into 2cm chunks
  • 2 pears, cored and chopped
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup of water

For the crumble topping – 

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 desiccated coconut
  • 1/4 cup flour (I used coconut flour, you use whatever you like)
  • 1/2 ground linseed, sunflower and almond (LSA)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil or butter (I used half & half)

Preheat oven to 180C.

Place all of your fruit ingredients into a heavy based pot with a lid over a medium heat.Cook for 10-15 minutes until soft, but not mushy.

Rhubarb and pear crumbleTip it into an over proof dish. I reckon shallow and bigger is better so the covering of crumble is lighter and all gets toasty and yum. Mine was too deep in this instance.

Place all of your crumble ingredients into a bowl and rub with your fingers until it resemble coarse breadcrumbs. You may need a little more butter (fat is flavour, don’t be scared).

Spread your crumble mix over your fruit mix and pop into the oven until it’s golden brown and delicious.

Serve with cream or ice cream for dessert, or I love it for breakfast with yoghurt.

pear and rhubarb crumble

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow. It’s only a day awaaaaaaaaay.

Cook Once Feed All launches tomorrow. Today is the last day to get your three book deal so get in quick if you’re keen.

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lrCook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. This book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

If you subscribe now to the Keeping Up With The Holsbys mailing list you will automatically receive my new mini-eBook ‘A Bit On The Side’  – A collection of fabulous summer salads and side dishes.

To pre-order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All ($35) head to the Holsby Shop right now and you will be the first to receive the hard copy book after it launches on the 28th. You will also receive the Cook Once Feed All eBook (worth $15), plus the new eBook ‘A Bit on the Side’ (worth $5) as a bonus gift in your inbox today.

Three for the price of one, and you save $20.

Winning :-)

If you like what you’re reading why not like my Facebook page now or subscribe via email, to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.


When life gives you lemons, make gluten- free Lemon Meringue Pie

6 Oct lemons

lemon meringue pie ingredients

I can remember standing in our kitchen in Coffs Harbour when I was just a wee girl. At that time our kitchen was orange laminate and fake brown woodgrain linoleum on the floor. Interior design 1970’s Oz style.

I was standing in front of the wall mounted oven, on my tippy toes, (probably salivating onto the floor) trying to peer through the murky glass to see the mountain of cloud-white meringue that was inside. I knew that in just mere minutes, my mum would pull out a pie bursting with lemon curd and crumbly pastry topped with the soft, and crunchy meringue that I so adored.

I loved me some lemon meringue pie as a girl. It was my all time favorite.

lemonsAs I got into the full swing of my food nazism, that was the kind of stuff that was the first go. Too much sugar, too much butter, too much joy on a plate. It couldn’t have been good. I’ve learned as I got older that one piece of pie is not the undoing of the human body. It’s an accumulation of things over a day, day after day, after day.

Who ate all the pies?

Have you noticed heaps of wholefood treats out there lately? You no longer need to mindlessly reach for a packet of Tim Tams. You can make your own from raw and organic ingredients.

Except it’s never really quite the same. Let’s be honest.

Although reducing sugar and wheat is important, we also need to remember that substitution treats, are still not exactly salad. We’re reducing the intake of the shitty things, otherwise known as processed stuff and hidden numbers, and that’s awesome.

We are creatures geared towards hedonism enjoyment, and sweet food ticks all our boxes, and makes our brains go all pokie-machine-jackpot bells and whistles. We can substitute till the cows come home, but really sweet yummies are sweet yummies.

The body breaks down different sugars in different ways so some are ‘better’ than others, but if you eat a whole pie, it’s still a whole pie.

I read this great post yesterday, by the gorgeous Alexx Stuart, about mindful eating, which really resonated with me. I’m totally guilty of eating at my computer, and offering the kids food while they’re playing. Are you?

Food rant aside, I wanted to mess with my dear old friend, Lemon Meringue Pie, and mindfully scoff  savour as much of it as possible in one sitting.

More than anything this was a science experiment and this baby worked. It was everything a lemon meringue pie should be.

gluten free, sugar free pie crustThe issues I struggled with was getting the curd thick enough. The extra liquid from the maple syrup, and the lack of sugar messed with the chemistry, but I got there in the end. Also, it needs to be eaten immediately, because the meringue can’t hold the weight of the maple for too long and it weeps a little.

That said, it was still damned tasty the next day, just a little moist with maple goodness around the edges.

gluten free, sugar free lemon meringue pieWhat you will need :

For the base -

  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/3 cup sesame, sunflower, linseed and pine nut mix
  • 120g dates, pitted
  • 3 teaspoons coconut oil, or butter

For the lemon curd – 

  • 3 lemons, juice and finely grated rind only
  • 8 tablespoons cornflour
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 80 g unsalted butter

For the meringue – 

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • a pinch salt

What you will need to do :

Lightly grease a 30cm tart dish with removable base with butter or coconut oil.

Chuck all of your base ingredients into a food processor, and blitz until it forms a sticky paste. Press into your tart dish with wet hands, ensuring it goes up the sides a little.

Pop a saucepan with water onto the stove and place a heatproof bowl over the water creating a bain marie. Add your lemon zest and juice to bowl.

In a seperate bowl, add three tablespoons water to your corn flour and stir to combine. If it solidifies too much add another tablespoon of water until you can make it into a paste. Add to lemon juice and whisk well to combine.

Add one cup of water. This is where things got a little crazy for me. I stirred and stirred and stirred and it didn’t get thick enough, but after four years (prone to exaggeration) of stirring I added more corn flour. You guys should be fine with this quantity as I did the hard yards for you – You’re welcome.

So, stir until quite thick, it will need to be quite hot, and then add your egg yolks and you butter and keep stirring like  mo’fo to ensure your curd comes together smoothly. Keep on stirring until it’s quite thick, ie when you spoon a blob out it sits on top for a minute before joining the rest.

Put into the fridge to cool.

gluten free lemon meringue pie fillingWhen it’s cool, spoon into your pie base and spread evenly. In a clean, dry bowl, beat your egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form little peaks. Slowly, slowly add your maple syrup ensuring it’s well combined. Do not over beat or they will flop like, well, a floppy thing.

Spoon on top, using the back of your spoon to create peaks. You could pipe it on if you could be arsed, but I like it a little more rustic.

trusty blowtorchTo brown the top, I used my trusty blow torch, which I recommend everyone owns, but if not you could pop it under a grill for a few minutes to brown. The grill will melt your base, however, so you’ll need to pop it back in the fridge for a minute.

I recommend you eat immediately to stop any maple weepage. Eat it all. Eat the whole pie.

Just be sure to savour it.

gluten free lemon meringue pie






I’m hooking this recipe up as part of this month’s Our Growing Edge monthly blogging food extravaganza with Bunny Eats Design and Nom Nom Cat. Check out more about Our Growing Edge here.

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Hello Sunshine, and Hello Coconut Banana Maple Froyo

28 Sep coconut banana maple froyo

Coconut banana maple froyo ingredientsHello, sunshine.

Hello, longer days.

Hello, kids waking too early due to DayLight Savings not in place yet.

Hello, nudie bums in the garden, with grass stuck in the bum cracks.

Hello spring, keeping up with the holsbys

Hello, water play with raucous laughter.

Hello, late afternoon swims in the bay.

hello, spring - Keeping Up With The Holsbys

Hello, sand in the bed.

Hello, smell of sunscreen and shiny skin.

Hello, sandals.

Hello, vege garden going nuts.

Hello, weekend BBQs outdoors with friends.

Hello, drinking too much in the afternoon.

Hello, sleeping naked.

Hello, new million dollar aircon in the car so the kids don’t spontaneously combust in the back.

Hello, training season and husband trying to keep fat down.

Hello, Spring. I love you.

Hello, banana, coconut, maple FroYo. I love you too.

coconut banana maple froyo

Yield : plenty

What you will need :

  • 2 large very ripe, frozen bananas
  • 2/3 cup natural yoghurt
  • 30 mls good quality maple syrup, or more to taste
  • 45 mls coconut cream
  • a little toasted coconut to serve if you’re feeling zany

What you will need to do :

Chuck your lot into a food processor and whizz the crap out of it until it’s smooth. Eat immediately as soft serve, or freeze.

If freezing, pull it out of the freezer after an hour or so, and blitz it again to break up any ice crystals, and pop it back in the freezer.

This little baby freezes pretty solid, and without additives there is only two ways you can deal with this -

1) pull it out of the freezer 15 minutes before you want to eat it.

2) whack a shot of vodka in it as it changes the freeze temperature.

I leave it up to you.

coconut banana maple froyo

What do you love about Spring?

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Homemade Ricotta, turned into Pineapple Curd Cake……Sunshine on a plate.

2 Nov

When my friend Genie, at Bunny Eats Design made haloumi recently, I was pretty impressed…..and then she made mozzarella to put on her home made pizzas.
Show off.

I had said this Spring I was going to make some ricotta so when I got around to it, I simply had to pop over to her and brag about.

I used to think a tuffet was your bum.  That’s what Little Miss Muffet was sitting on, right? Her butt?
Alas, no, a tuffet is a pouffe, but I think that ‘Little Miss Muffet sat on her pouffe’ just doesn’t rhyme, and is a bit weird all-round.

 In fact, I think the entire nursery rhyme is a bit weird all-round.

Little Miss Muffet

Sat on her tuffet (big pouffe)

Eating her curds and whey…

Curds and what?

What the hell are curds and whey?

Is that yoghurt? Cheese? Cheesy yoghurt?


To read about my adventures with curds and whey and the resulting cake that has been handed down three generations in my family, read this….

Strawberry Mini-Cheesecakes…….sadly, not delivered by my neighbour.

17 Oct cheesecake fini

When we were cool, before ‘burbs, we lived in apartment block called The Wroxton. It doesn’t quite have the same ring as Melrose Place, but that was kind of the vibe.

I had friends on the ground floor, and friends on the third floor, and my dear, dear friend Mrs Wilson on the fourth floor…..and of course, Anthony, the delightfully OCD, strata enforcer was on her floor also. I’ll get to Anthony another day but suffice to say that I had a great big soft spot for him, but not everyone in the building did.

Anyway, I’m not talking about strata enforcement, I’m talking about dessert delivery.

Every now and then after dinner, at about 8.30, there would be a little knock on my door, and the divine Mrs Wilson would be making a delivery.

‘I just thought you’d like a little Dark Chocolate Tart?’


‘I just thought you might like  little Creme Caramel?’


‘I just thought you might little a couple of little Cheesecakes?’

I love our new house, and I love the space it provides for my family, and the garden with the vegetable patch and beautiful big South Australian Honey Myrtle that offers such gorgeous, dappled, shade. No, I don’t miss much about our old life, but I really, really bloody miss Mrs Wilson’s cheesecakes , my friend, Mrs Wilson.

Seeing as my new neighbours are not the cooking kind, nor would I socialise with them even if they were (hate to be a snob but they are bogans in every sense of the word), I was simply forced to provide me with my own mini-cheesecakes. Mrs Wilson has since moved to Melbourne and the chances of her making a trip to give me some of that sweet, cheesy, biscuity joy is pretty damned slim-ola, so I had nowhere left to turn.

Yield : 20

What you will need :

For the base – 

  • Melted butter, for greasing
  • 1 250g pkt plain sweet biscuits (like Arnott’s Nice)
  • 125g butter, melted, cooled Icing sugar,to serve

For the filling – 

  • 2 x 250g pkts cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 lemon, rind finely grated, juiced
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup thin cream
  • 1/4 cup strawberry or raspberry sugar-free jam (I like St Balfour, although this time I used my home-made strawberries left over from my Strawberry Yoghurt)

Preheat oven to 180C

Place cupcake patties into your muffin tins. You will need two tins.

Place the biscuits in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely crushed. Add the butter and process until well combined.

Use the back of a teaspoon to press the biscuit mixture into the bottom of your cases. Place in the fridge while making the filling.

To make the filling, use your electric beaters to beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a bowl until the mixture is light and creamy. Add the lemon rind, lemon juice, egg yolks and cream. Beat until well combined and the mixture is light and fluffy.

Wash and dry your electric beaters or a hand whisk to whisk the egg whites in a medium mixing bowl until stiff peaks form. Add to the cream cheese mixture and use a large metal spoon to gently fold until just combined.

Spoon mixture into prepared patty cases.

Heat your jam a little until it loosens and you place three dollops on each cheesecake. Use a skewer to swirl it through cheese mixture.

Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden and just set in the centre. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight to firm. Remove from the fridge 10 minutes before serving.

An Anniversary and A Marriage Made in Heaven…..Strawberry Frozen Yoghurt

30 Sep strawb yoghurt 2

Tomorrow is Mister H and my second wedding anniversary.

If I had a hat, I would surely have been clinging onto it because we’ve had one hell of a ride, if you think about it. Life is really quite an adventure, huh?

International jaunts in the guise of honeymoons, a seriously grown-up mortgage, a move from the urban cool, to the suburban un-so, watching our delightful little man grow from a baby into a boy, and of course, our darling baby girl joined us and three became four.

One hell of a couple of years, indeed.

In fact, if we continued this trajectory, with this speed, our heads may well implode by our tenth anniversary, which would be a shame as I’m looking forward to making it to the tin gift, as I’ve always wanted a genuine billy can.

Mister H and I broke up for a time in our early dating period….. Or to be more precise, Mister H broke up with me.
What an idiot.

When he realised he’d made a terrible fuck up faux pas, one of his wooing techniques was to whisk me away to Port Douglas for a weekend of romance. I was making him work pretty hard for the honey, but I relented in the case of a tropical, all-expenses paid, weekend away in Far North Queensland.

One morning, we were walking along the romantic, crocodile infested, waterfront when we happened across a stunning little, white weatherboard chapel amongst the palm trees.
It had stained glass windows, and housed maybe 50 people at a push, and I fell in love…..With the chapel, not Mister H. I was still cranky as hell at him.

I’m going to get married there one day, I murmured, all glassy eyed, but not thinking him.

Just someone special.

Anyhoo, fast forward 12 months or so and he did propose to marry…. And as you may have guessed I said -

‘Sure thing, Sugar Lips, let’s get hitched’

Sorta. That’s what I wished I said. That would have been cool, huh?
What I actually said was along the lines of -

‘You’re not just saying that because I’m up the duff, are you?’

I’d pushed that chapel incident far to the reaches of my mind, so imagine my surprise when I asked my Dutch husband-to-be, with friends and family all over the world, where he would like to get married?

Port Douglas. In a little chapel.

Someone special, indeed.

Strawberry is the fruit of love and they’re damned cheap and delicious at the moment. Each tasty, little, red gem is like pure sunshine on your tongue.
I can truly see why they’re the fruit of love…..and the food of love? Ice cream, of course.

‘Tis surely a marriage made in heaven?

I wanted to make a creamy, yummy, strawberry frozen yoghurt but every time I’ve used fruit in an ice cream it’s gone icy and poo.

I realised my favorite fruit ices were often delicious swirls of fruit that actually tasted more like jam than pureed fruit, so after a couple of experiments, I came up with this.
It’s easy, it’s healthy, and it tastes like love in a bowl.
This can be made either with an ice cream machine or without….something for everyone.

Yield – about a litre

You will need -

  • 300g fresh strawberries, hulled, and chopped
  • 150g castor sugar
  • 700g good quality Greek yoghurt

Throw your strawberries and sugar into a heavy based pan over a low heat on the stove. Cook down, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes or so until it’s quite jammy and strawberries look kind of clear and gummy.

Icecream machine -
Chuck your yoghurt into the machine and turn it on, stirring in all but 2 tablespoons of your strawberry mixture. Churn as per machine directions (about 15-20 minutes), then transfer into your freezer container. Dot your remaining strawberry mixture on the top and then swirl it through gently with a spoon.
Freeze for 3-4 hours until firm.

In freezer without machine -
Mix your yoghurt and all but 2 tablespoons of strawberry mixture in a bowl and place in the freezer. Every half an hour, remove from freezer and stir vigorously breaking up all of the ice around the edges and making it smooth again.
Repeat about 4 times until it’s almost a soft serve consistency.
Dollop your remaining strawberry mix around the top and then swirl through.
Freeze for a further 3-4 hours until firm.

This would work with almost any fruit by my guess. I can’t wait to try nectarine, and peach….oh, and mango.
I don’t generally give D Man store bought ice-cream yet, but he loves this and I have very little guilt giving it to him. There’s a bit of sugar, but whatevs…..no preservatives, no hidden nasties and sweet, sweet fruit of love.

Because Chocolate is a Health Food, I Give You Triple Chocolate Semifreddo….. Get Healthy.

6 Aug semifreddo2

I just sat down to do some photos and stuff and stuff from my trip and then discovered that some bozo left their photo cable on their mother’s dining table…….doh.
Never fear though, sweet readers, as I made a delight a few weeks ago and took pictures. I promise I’ll get back to some down home family meals in a minute…..

We all know that eating chocolate is good for us, right? ‘Tis not just wishful thinking, it’s actually true.
Dark chocolate is in the same category as a blueberries and green tea in the antioxidant department and is also known to aid cardio-vascular health. I don’t know about you but I can kid myself, no problem, that an entire block of Lindt Intense Orange is practically a run around the block. My three Lindt favourites are the Intense Orange (dark chocolate with dried orange pieces and flaked almonds), Touch of Salt (as the name suggests) and their new Intense Strawberry (pieces of freeze-dried strawberry  – hello, can I kiss the dude that came up with that gem???).
Perhaps I could put on a unitard and bike helmet, eat a block of all three and call myself a triathlete.
(Ha, a triathlon joke. I must tell Mister H, he’ll think I’m positively hilarious. His training is going well though, thanks for asking. Only 12 weeks until the half-iron man. Nut job.)

I think if the Mayans and the Aztecs could see how far we’ve come with the cacao bean they’d have extended their calendar for shizz, or at least added some dedicated chocolate munching days.
From the humble beginnings of what, in hindsight, would have been a fairly ordinary drink (a far cry from Max Brenner’s thick, syrupy and rich death-by-chocolate hot chocolate), we now have all manner of chocolate goodness with which to stave of our PMT and stop us murdering our partners. I have been known, mid-toddler-tanty to walk straight to the cupboard and eat a piece of chocolate. I have to actually stand inside the pantry so he can’t see though as that would no doubt make everything worse because I ain’t sharing with no screaming kid.

(NB if you look closely at this photo you can see the reflection of my flouro track pants. That’s pure art!).

It is proven that eating chocolate releases happy-hormones, and it must be so because today’s recipes made me really, really (two reallys) happy. Then, when Mister H said it was the best ice-cream I’d ever made, I was extra really happy.
I’ve told you a couple of times that ice-cream takes me to my happy place so think about it. Three Chocolate Semifreddo.
Shut. The. Front. Door.
(I still can’t bring myself to drop the F bomb here cos I know my Nana reads it and she doesn’t know I have a filthy truckers vocabulary under my belt)

This is not my recipe, this is courtesy of one of Australia’s finest chefs, Neil Perry. This is in his ‘The Food I Love’ book which I adore. It’s simple food, and he talks about cooking principles too, not just recipes. It’s a really mix and match book which is so indicative of his passion for food.
The fine thing about semifreddo (fancy Italian for half-cold, which is weird because it’s totally frozen, but those Euros are a little odd) is you don’t need an ice-cream machine. Any old iced confectionary lover can make it.

Yield :

6-8 portions. Depends who’s serving!

You will need :

  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons castor sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 70g good quality milk chocolate
  • 375ml pure whipping cream
  • 200g good quality white chocolate
  • 60g good quality dark chocolate

Take a rectangular loaf dish measuring about 20 x 10 x 7 cm and line the inside of it with a few layers of plastic wrap allowing some excess to hang over the edges. This will give you something to help you to get it out once it’s frozen.

Whisk the egg yolks in a medium stainless steel bowl with half of the sugar and the salt. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.

Fill a saucepan one-third full of water and bring to a simmer. In a heavy based saucepan, heat your milk to just below boiling over a medium high heat but do not let it boil. Whisk the milk slowly into the egg yolks and sugar mixture. Set the bowl over the saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the bowl fits snugly as you don’t want it to touch the water. The bowl mustn’t be too deep or the water level too high (I had to piss about with bowls here cos I got it all kinds of wrong. May I suggest you test the bowl to saucepan ratio before you begin?). Cook the mixture for about 4 minutes, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the bowl (you don’t want scrambled eggs forming) until it has thickened slightly.
Stir in vanilla extract.
Neil strains his through  sieve at this point but I just transfer into a bowl and stick it straight into the fridge and refrigerate until cold.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over hot water. Melt over low heat. Whisk until smooth. Slowly mix one-third of your custard base into the chocolate and allow to cool.
In a small bowl whip 125 ml of the cream with 1 tablespoon of the remaining sugar until soft peaks form. Fold the cream into the chocolate mixture and pour into your prepared loaf tin. Place in freezer.

Prepare your white and dark chocolate mousses in the same way and put them into the fridge. When your milk chocolate layer is firm to touch spread on your white chocolate and stick it back in the freezer, waiting a further 50 mins or so until that layer is firm to touch before adding your third and final layer of chocolatey goodness.
Freeze for at least 4 hours until hard.
To serve, unmold the semifreddo and remove plastic wrap. Slice and eat. You’ll note that I was a little eager to layer up as my layers are not super distinct. Patience, Grasshopper.

So worth the effort……so worth the effort. (two times)

Mountain Meet Mohammad – Salt Butter Caramel Ice Cream

25 Jun ice cream

Once upon a time Mister H and I had a life.
Of course, we still have a life, but in the words of a great philosopher, ‘It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it’.

Our old life was situated in a cool inner city suburb with cracking views. We had friends that we met out a couple of times a week for dinners and cocktails and I’d laugh at my own jokes for hours. We could pop out for dinner any night of the week, and pick up milk (and a hooker or some crack) on a street corner 24 hours a day.

Of all the things that have fallen by the wayside, I don’t miss the bars, not at all. Nor do I miss the restaurants, well, not really. Ok, maybe a little bit. I look back fondly at the people left behind and I feel a hint of nostalgia, but I don’t miss our old neighbourhood……except when it comes to Messina.
Messina is an ice cream shop in Darlinghurst. We used to live a 15 minute walk away, and I used that walk as an excuse to get a big ass double scoop.
My very first experience with Messina was the Pear and Rhubarb Gelato. It really tasted just as the name suggested and I fell head over heels in love with the autumnal flavours of the summery ice cream. It was the beginning of a passionate affair. Initially, I couldn’t go beyond that one flavour but the specials board, changed weekly, enticed me to stray from my first love…. There was ‘Elvis, The Fat Years’ – Banana Cake in a Peanut Butter Ice cream with Strawberry jelly swirl. That shit would give you a heart attack on the toilet fo’ shizz.
Coconut and Pandan, Rose Water and Pistachio, Passionfruit Pavlova, Poached Figs in Marsala, the mouth watering list goes on and on……and then, one day, they made Salt Caramel and White Chocolate Chip.

Anyway, this got me to fantasising about flavours that I would concoct and I decided I needed to get me an ice cream machine. Pronto.
Raspberry White Chocolate was a fail….Lemon and Elderberry Sorbet? Ballsed it….then I cracked it.
Chai was a roaring success, as was Liquorice. Turkish Delight was indeed delightful, Apricot Coconut was a garden party in your mouth….then I put my ice cream machine away on a shelf and forgot about it.

Until now. That Salt Caramel Ice cream has been on my mind, so I thought the only way to get my hands on it, was make it. I thought winter was as good a time as any to get cracking and make some seriously bad-for-you goodness. I based this on a David Lebovitz recipe….. next time I would use only half the praline as it all melted and created a caramel sauce in the bottom that is SERIOUS! Not bad, just SERIOUS!

 Yield (did anyone other than my mum notice I’ve been misspelling yield?)  : 1 litre

Because of the caramel content in this ice cream, it’ll remain softer than usual. To make it firmer, crank up your freezer a bit or store it in a shallow container.

For the caramel praline – 

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt, such as Maldon Sea Salt

For the ice cream custard – 

2 cups whole milk, divided
1½ cups sugar
4 tablespoons (60 gr) salted butter
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup  heavy cream
5 large egg yolks, 0r 6 medium
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the caramel praline, put ½ cup of sugar in an even layer in a medium-sized, heavy duty saucepan.
Put some baking paper on a flat baking tray. Heat the sugar over a medium heat until the edges begin to melt. Gently stir the edges to the middle until it has all dissolved. Continue to cook stirring infrequently until the caramel starts smoking and begins to smell like it’s just about to burn.
You need to take it a little further than you think to ensure a rich caramel flavour. It won’t take long.
Without hesitation, sprinkle in the ¾ teaspoon salt without stirring, then pour the caramel onto the prepared baking sheet and lift up the baking sheet immediately, tilting and swirling it to get a nice, thin layer.

ACHTUNG!! Be careful – I spilt a wad of it, and tried to catch it. It’s hot and it sticks. Set aside to harden and cool.

To make your ice cream custard, make an ice bath by filling a large bowl about a third full with ice cubes and adding a cup or so of water so they’re floating. Nest a smaller metal bowl (at least 1.5 litres) over the ice, pour 1 cup of the milk into the inner bowl to chill.
Spread ½ cup sugar in the saucepan in an even layer. Cook over moderate heat, until caramelized, using the same method as before. Once it’s started melting, add the rest of the sugar bit by bit. Once caramelized, remove from heat and stir in the butter and salt, until butter is melted, then gradually whisk in the cream, stirring as you go.
The caramel may get a bit chunky and sticky, but return it to the heat and continue to stir over low heat until any hard caramel is melted.
Stir in 1 cup of the milk.
Whisk the yolks in a small bowl and gradually pour some of the warm caramel mixture over the yolks, stirring constantly. Scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan and cook the custard using a heatproof utensil, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom as you stir) until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
Pour the custard into the milk set over the ice bath, add the vanilla, then stir frequently until the mixture is cooled down. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Pop into your ice cream machine and churn as per directions.

While the ice cream is churning, break the hardened caramel praline into millions of little bits. Once your caramel ice cream is churned, quickly stir in the crushed caramel, then chill in the freezer until firm.

Note: As the ice cream sits, the little bits of caramel may liquefy and get runny and gooey, which is what they’re intended to do – unless you’re me and they all sink to the bottom and create a bed of goo.

 ‘We dare not trust our wit for making our house pleasant to our friend, so we buy ice cream’
Ralph Waldo Emerson

5 Ingredients, 5 Minutes – Hello, Lime Pie

23 Apr lime pie larger

I had two dinner parties this weekend. There was a moment, naturally, where I thought I was completely insane, but I must admit one of them we all agreed that Thai takeaway was the call of the day. I thought the very least I could do was whip up a little dessert.

Now, I do love me some dessert. I make my own ice-cream when the flavour begs to be created (I do like some wacky ones – liquorice ice-cream anyone? It was awesome!), and I’m also fond of a creme caramel and I dream of whipping up a soufflé, but just at this stage of my pregnancy, I wanted something EASY. Easy peasy, in fact. I called my Mama, my ‘Go-To Gal’, and posed the question. Delicious, fail safe, fast and simple….with not a second’s hesitation she replied ‘Lime Pie. 5 ingredients, 5 minutes. Any idiot can do it’.

Not sure what she meant by that, by I chose to let it slide in my haste for her to get off the phone and text me the necessary ingredients.

Everyone who’s lips this little, no cook, beauty touched this weekend asked if I would be blogging about it, so I figure it’s only fair to share. This is not low fat, no Siree Bob. Not one for the calorifically shy, but it certainly promised everything my Mum said it would. This idiot had no problem at all and done in time to put my feet up and have a cup of tea!

5 minutes, gang. No word of a lie….your time starts now.

Yield : Enough tarty goodness for 8 piggy sized serves (i.e. big enough for me to stretch to both nights – WIN!)

You will need :

  • 1 cup thickened cream
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1 can condensed milk (oink)
  • 150g gingernut biscuits (wizzed in the processor to a fine crumb)
  • 85g melted butter

Stir your butter in with your ginger nut crumb and mix well. Press firmly into a pie dish, or tart dish. I used a ‘pop base’ quiche tin. You could use springform too.

In a bowl, beat condensed milk and lime juice until well combined. Add cream and stir through lime zest. Give it a beat for a minute, but it will not thicken at this stage. Somehow the lime thickens it in the fridge. Pour into prepared base and pop it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. I popped a little extra zest and a lime round on it to pretty it up, but that’s up to you.

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Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.


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