Lemon Cupcake-in-a-Mug

Sometimes you just need cake.  Sometimes you just need cake but are well aware that baking an entire cake could prove dangerous.  Because you will eat it all yourself and fall into a pit of self-loathing so deep that there would be no ladder long enough to reach you.  So that’s where little cheats come in.  Cupcake cheats.  Lemony delicious soul-soothing cupcake cheats that make very little washing up and can be eaten quickly so there is no evidence of your adulting failures.  This recipe is super easy and the taste is yummo-licious.  Nice and tangy and citrussy (is that a word?) and very satisfying.  PLus it takes about 5 minutes to make and cook.  I’ll go back on my diet on Monday (I’ve been ill this week and so everything diet-and-exercise-wise went out the window).

Lemon Cupcake-in-a-Mug


3 tablespoons caster sugar
3 tablespoons plain flour
pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg
2 tablespoons sunflower oil (or vegetable oil of your choice)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


In a 16oz mug, mix together the dry ingredients.  Add the wet ingredients and combine until you have a nice smooth batter.

Microwave on high for approx 1 1/2 minutes.  Check cake and microwave for another 10-20 seconds if need be.  Don’t overcook.  Cake should be moist and springy to touch.  Let cool for 5 minutes and sprinkle with a little icing sugar if desired.  Then eat!  Yummo!


Ricotta and Kale Gnudi

Ricotta and Kale Gnudi

This is an easy and delicious dish you can make when you want something pasta-ish (cheesy, saucy) but don’t want pasta.  I don’t eat pasta at all so this recipe is a great substitute when I’m hanging out for some comfort food that won’t give me a tummy ache afterwards.  It’s fairly light, especially if you use low-fat ricotta, and really tasty.

The original recipe called for spinach, but I can’t eat that so I use chopped, cooked kale instead – works exactly the same in this dish.

Ricotta and Kale Gnudi


3/4 cup ricotta, drained
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 Teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup cooked kale, drained and chopped very finely
Extra flour for rolling


Couldn’t be easier – just mix all the ingredients together until combined, roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls (this is the messy, fiddly bit), roll them in a little flour to prevent sticking, and then drop them into boiling water.  The gnudie will float to the surface when done (approximately 5 minutes or so).

Serve with some tomato sauce and an extra sprinkle of parmesan if you like.  I like a little side salad to go with it (but then I have a little side salad with everything. Here,  I have used rocket because I am obsessed with the stuff) but you could pair it with anything you fancy.

This recipe serves two piggly-wigglies.

Voila!  🙂


Polenta Chips

Polenta Chips

So, as I mentioned in my last post, I tried a new recipe for dinner last night – Polenta Chips!  Ok, so it’s not a new recipe – every trendy restaurant and pub is making them these days – but I haven’t made them before, not being a polenta fan usually ( I think I just have had some so-so ones in the past).  Anyway, I am always looking for something I can have other than chips as I am not supposed to have a lot of potato (including sweet potato – ahh! So unfair!) because of my renal issues.  I don’t have chips very often, obviously, but it would be nice to have another alternative that is tasty and not too unhealthy.

I found this recipe in a free magazine (you know the ones you get at the supermarket when you’re at the checkout?) and thought I would give it a go.  Seemed simple enough and didn’t have any difficult-to-get ingredients.  The results were delicious and moreish and I will definitely make them again.  In fact, I have a gathering at my house in a couple of weeks (a video night with friends), so I might make these again then.  Share the love! 🙂 Basic Polenta Chips (serves 4 as a side dish)

2 cups stock (I used vegetable)
1 Cup instant polenta
20g butter
1/3 cup grated parmesan

Method : Bring the stock to the boil in a medium saucepan then add polenta, stirring briskly to prevent lumps.  Take off the heat, add butter and cheese – stir until smooth.  Mixture will thicken and be quite firm.  Turn out into a 20cm square baking pan lined with baking paper.  Smooth top down to make it nice and even and flat if possible.  Chill in fridge for 30 minutes.

When cold and firm, cut polenta into “chips”.  Season with salt and pepper if you like (the stock I used had plenty of flavour so I didn’t need any extra seasoning). Fry in a pan with a little oil until golden on all sides.  Serve!

I don’t fry anything if I can help it so I actually did mine in the oven – baked at about 200 c for 40 minutes or so – which of course takes longer but gives a nice crispy finish and less guilt ha ha.

Give them a go – really easy, very delicious and not expensive either.  Next time I am going to add some herbs and maybe a little paprika or chilli to the basic mixture, just to add some extra flavour and oomph.  But you can dress them up or down in any way you like 🙂

PS As per usual, I took bad photos in the equally bad light of the kitchen.  This one is the best of the bunch.


A Dining Experience

A Dining Experience

On Thursday night, hubby and I, with a group of friends, had a beautiful dining experience at The Loose Box , in Mundaring, about 30 minutes from Perth.  The night was chilly and we braved the cold night air in our best frocks and hoped and prayed that the restaurant would be heated.  Thank Goodness for log fires (environmentally unsound but hey, we were freezing!) and cosy restaurants!  We had been looking forward to dining at this wonderful establishment for several months and so nothing but a blizzard would have kept us away.

The Loose Box has been operated and headed by Chef Alain Fabregues for over thirty years and has gained a reputation for being THE place to dine at least once in your life (it’s one of those bucket-list type of places).  The restaurant is, sadly, being sold soon as Alain and his wife are moving on to pastures new (luckily for us, another eatery in Perth) and so the Loose Box will become something else and people will not have the opportunity that we were all too happy to experience last night.

At $160 a head, it’s not the cheapest meal around and I, being the tight wad that I am, did hesitate when first invited to come along.  But I am oh-so-very-glad I decided to loosen the purse strings and plunge head first into foodie heaven.  We had the “Degustation” experience – seven (count ‘em!) courses (vegetarian for us, a mixed bag for everyone else) as well as crusty bread, complimentary tea and coffee and the most delightful selection of mini-desserts (I guess they’d be petit fours but they were really like tiny dessert masterpieces – lemon meringue tartlets, profiteroles and the most divine salted caramel macaroons).  Each dish was so beautifully presented, it seemed a shame to eat it.  A shame, but not an impossibility   Each bite was full of flavour and I found myself taking smaller and smaller forkfuls just so I could make the dish last longer.  The first course, a “Snow Pea Cappuccino” soup was oh-so-yummy.  The flavour was amazing and I could have happily just eaten that all night.  A beautiful bright green, with a lettuce foam on top and a sprig of mint.  Heaven!

I swapped my vegetarian option for a seafood one in the second course (I know, I know, bad vegetarian!).  So glad I did (sorry fishies!).  It was a tiny tower of seafood and smoked trout with dill, lemon and celeriac.  Oh. My. God.  So delicious!  I love dill and it flavoured the dish magnificently.  The following offerings were equally delicious (although hubby and I both agreed the main dish of Moroccan Vegetable Tagine was a bit of a letdown and neither of us finished it) and by the time the amazing apple sorbet palate-cleanser came around, I was starting to be very glad I was wearing tights – they were the only thing stopping my stomach from expanding in a very unattractive manner.

The final course – dessert, yay! – was so pretty and beautifully presented.  I opted for the “Majestic Swan” which was comprised of a vanilla bean icecream, tuille biscuit and a raspberry coulis (all made to look like the most wonderful swan on a scarlet lake).  Gorgeous!  My hubby had the “Beehive” which I believe consisted of honey cream in a tiny tuille beehive with an even tinier meringue bee on top.  Also on offer were chocolate frangelico crepes (complete with a delicate little meringue bird perched on a scoop of vanilla bean icecream) and a cheeseboard of fine French cheeses, fruits and walnut bread.


The petit fours that arrived at the end of the evening were so lovely we all forced ourselves to try at least one, despite our groaning bellies and the possibility that we might not fit back in the car on the way home.  The salted caramel macaron – sigh – was a-maz-ing.  I could have died happily eating that little sucker.  It was better than chocolate and that’s saying something (especially for someone who dearly misses chocolate and thinks nothing compares).  I ended up taking my lemon meringue tartlet and profiterole home in a little box the restaurant provided.  Dessert for tonight!

All in all, a wonderful experience.  I am so glad I went.  If you’re in Western Australia, and can get in before the restaurant closes its doors, I thoroughly recommend saving up your pennies and booking in for an evening of dining.  The staff were warm and welcoming and the hefty price tag was so worth it for a once-in-a-lifetime-experience.  Two thumbs up (and a definite need to wear elastic-waist pants) from me.  Beautiful.

PS I wish I had photos but we were all too busy eating and enjoying ourselves to take photos, plus the room was quite dark (for ambience doncha know) so any pics we attempted to take turned out a bit iffy.  Check out the Loose Box website while you still can.