Monday, May 11, 2020

Recipe: Country Gravy (Sausage Gravy)

This is one of those American staples that I really like; usually found in Southern restaurants and breakfast places. I discovered it's incredibly easy to make at home, great for isolation brunch. Best served over warm plain biscuits but goes great with chicken fried steak or meatloaf too.


1 lb (450g) breakfast sausage
1/3 cup flour
2 cups milk
1 cup water
1 tbspn freshly ground black pepper


If you can find breakfast sausage in packs or plastic tubes this is best, if not cut open the casings on fresh pork sausages. 

Add the sausage to a saucepan and fry until brown, you might need to break up the meat into small chunks. You don't need oil to fry as there's plenty in the sausage itself. Once browned add the pepper and fry to distribute. Add the flour and stir until all the meat is well coated. 

Combine the water and milk in a pourable container like a measuring jug (pitcher). Add in small amounts and stir heavily to combine. 

The flour and meat fat will form a thick white sauce, keep adding till all the liquid is gone then taste. You can add more milk or pepper to taste if desired but this amount gives the consistency I like. Continue to stir on a medium heat until the desired consistency is reached. 

For serving suggestion pour over freshly baked biscuits, being careful to understand portion control.  1 biscuit with gravy can be quite heavy, decide if you want more *after* you've eaten the first. 

The gravy goes well with Southern comfort classics like meatloaf and fried chicken. Comfort food yum!

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Recipe: Keto Lemon Bars

Keto Lemon Bars

Shortbread crust:

2 1/2 cups almond flour
1/3 cup powdered erythritol (Swerve)
Pinch salt
1/4 cup Coconut oil (melted)
1 large Egg
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract

Lemon filling:

1/2 cup powdered erythritol (Swerve)
1/4 cup almond flour
4 large eggs
3/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Line a square 9 inch pan with baking paper
  • Make the filling first, because it must be ready to go immediately when the crust comes out of the oven. In a medium bowl, stir together almond flour and powdered sweetener.
  • Whisk in the eggs, lemon juice, and lemon zest, until smooth. Set aside.
  • To make the crust, combine the almond flour, erythritol and sea salt in a large bowl.
  • Stir in the melted oil, egg and vanilla, a loose dough will be formed.
  • Press the dough into the lined pan. Bake for about 15 mins, until firm and golden.
  • Remove the crust from oven, and immediately pour the filling over the crust.
  • Return to the oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until filling is set, but still soft.
  • Let cool to room temperature then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before slicing.
  • Top with a dusting of powdered erythritol after slicing and store in an airtight container in the fridge

Friday, August 16, 2019

Recipe: Australian Sausage Rolls



2 cloves garlic
1 brown onion
1 celery stalk
5 oz / 150g bacon
1 lb / 500g pork mince (ground pork)
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
pinch black pepper


3 sheets puff pastry
1 egg
1 oz / 30 ml milk
Sesame seeds (black and natural)
Ketchup / tomato sauce


  • Heat oil in a non stick fry pan over medium high heat. Fry onion and celery until the onion is transparent
  • Add diced bacon to the pan and fry until the bacon is browned, then add garlic and fry until all vegetables are cooked. 
  • Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and allow to cool while you  prepare the other filling ingredients. If necessary cool the bowl in the freezer while you prepare the meat

  • Preheat oven to 350F / 180C while you prepare the sausage rolls 
  • Add meat, egg, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper to a mixing bowl and combine
  • Once the vegetables are cool add to the bowl and then need the ingredients until well mixed
  • Lay out the pastry and cut in half, allow to thaw until pliable 
  • Whisk the egg and milk in a bowl and place a pastry brush in the egg wash mix
  • Brush one edge of the pastry with the egg wash, taking up around 1/3 of the pastry
  • Then create a log of pork filling that takes up around another 1/3 of the pastry
  • Stretch out the unwashed piece of pastry and then roll over the meat, then place the egg washed section over the unwashed pastry acting like a glue

  • You should have rolled up sausage logs ready for cutting, I like to make these small bites by cutting the log into 6 pieces so that you can control portions
  • If you have a baker's blade use this, otherwise a sharp knife will do. Cut the log in half and then cut each half into 1/3s
  • Place the pieces well spaced on a baking tray lined with a silicon mat or baking paper 

  • Brush the top of each pastry with more egg wash and then sprinkle with sesame seeds
  • This recipe should fill 3 sheets of pastry and make around 36 snack sized sausage rolls
  • Bake for 30 mins (or until the pastry is golden brown), turning the tray around minute 18

  • Let cool on baking racks before serving so that they are warm but not painful to touch
  • Serve on a party tray with a bowl of tomato sauce and enjoy!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Mozzarella making class at Murray's Cheese, Bleecker St

When we go on vacation we like to do local cooking classes and there seemed to be no reason to keep this just to travel time! NYC is filled with cooking classes, especially one shot items designed for couples and friends to have a fun  night out. 

Murray's Cheese is a legendary cheese monger in Manhattan's Greenwich Village that seemse to stock just about every cheese I could think of to order and every accoutrement one could see fit to add to a cheeese board. They also offer high end food products like small batch meat and dairy, imported pastas and charcuterie and a lot more. 

We were here for the class though! Now we expected a cheese making adventure but what I wasn't expecting was a tasting and drinks before hand. This turned out to be a really excellent deal with bottomless Prosecco and Red Wine and a table full of nuts, pickles, dried fruit and bread. 

Here you can see my tasting board with a variety of mozzarella products - plain curds, fresh mozzarella, buffalo mozzarella, burrata and smoked mozarrella. 

The teacher walked us through tasting notes of each item provided while everyone sipped wine. Then there was as small break while the cheese making portion of the event came up. 

Here you can see the cheese curds and hot water that form the basis of the Mozzarella; the process is surprisingly simple and easy to do at home. It mostly involves pulling hot salted cheese curds and then forming into a ball of cheese. If you want to try it at home then Epicurious has a great guide to the process. 

Here's my completed Mozzarella balls, to be honest I wish I'd ignored the instructor and made one large ball of cheese instead of two but the results were still delicious.

This class was the gift that kept on giving! First of all we had 4 balls of fressh Mozarrella to use up so we made home made pizza and caprese salad later in the week. Hmmm!

They also sent us home with an extra box of cheese curds, now... we were meant to use these to practice making more cheese but husband requested poutine instead. Honestly New York is filled with high quality fresh mozzarella and no poutine so I felt like this was a great choice!

The class was fun and an easy event to fit in after work since it only added up to a couple of hours and included both nibbles and drinks. They offered a discount voucher for the cheese shop that we abused thoroughly. All in all an excellent night out and a memorable date night; the store offers a large range of classes for tasting and making and we'll definitely be back.

Murray's Cheese Making Classes

Foodie mecca offering an array of fine cheeses plus breads, cured meats, olives & other deli items.

254 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10014
Phone: (212) 243-3289

Monday, January 7, 2019

Recipe: Edmond's Rich Christmas Cake (with added decoration instructions)

Growing up in a Commonwealth country means that Christmas is filled with warm, rich, stodgy desserts that make no sense in the Summer time but are delicious anyway. Upon moving to the US I discovered to my horror that my beloved Christmas fruitcakes were despised by many. This is my favourite Christmas Cake recipe from the Edmond's Cookbook a New Zealand kitchen staple. Hopefully it will change your mind about this rich and impressive dessert!

Rich Christmas Cake

1¾ cups orange juice
¾ cup dark rum or brandy
2 Tbsp finely grated orange zest
500g raisins
2 cups sultanas
2 cups chopped dates
150g crystallised ginger, chopped
150g mixed peel
150g glacé cherries, halved
½ tsp vanilla essence
¼ tsp almond essence
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 cup blanched almonds
500g currants
2½ cups cake flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
½ tsp ground nutmeg
250g butter
1½ cups brown sugar
2 Tbsp treacle or golden syrup
5 eggs, beaten

To decorate:

1 yield of my marzipan recipe (or 500g storebought)
500g fondant icing
2 tbspns apricot jam


(Original copy)

Place the orange juice, rum and orange zest in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the dried fruit. Cover and leave the fruit to soak overnight.

The next day stir the essences, lemon rind and almonds into the fruit mixture. Sift the flour, soda and spices into a bowl.

Preheat the oven to 150ºC. Line a deep 23cm square tin with baking paper and tie a double layer of brown paper around the outside of the tin.

Cream the butter, sugar and treacle until light and fluffy and add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition.

Fold in the sifted ingredients alternately with the fruit mixture.
Scoop the mixture into the prepared tin then wet your hand under the cold tap and smooth the surface.
Bake for 4 hours or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin on a wire rack, covered with a clean cloth

Wrap in tinfoil and a cloth and store in a cool place.

If you want a more flavoursome cake pour 2–3 tablespoons of brandy or sherry over the cake after it has cooled and before storing it. If the top is crusty, make little holes with a skewer or toothpick to help the alcohol soak in. 

(Goth Gourmande's additions)
  • I like to bake 1-2 single serve cakes as a test of the mixture, using single serve bundt tins these should take ~45 mins to cook
  • This cake is huge and it is hard to find Christmas cake tins this large in the US, consider halving the mix and using a 9 inch spring form pan or splitting into two cakes. In the above picture this recipe has yielded a 9 inch cake, a 7 inch cake and 3 single serve bundt cakes
  • Leave the cake to cool in its entirety before attempting to remove from the tin, preferably overnight
  • I recommend cooking the cake at least a month before serving and pouring brandy or whiskey on to the cake each week to make it moist and let the flavours develop

To ice and decorate

You can choose to use more glazed dried fruit to top the cake but I prefer traditional marzipan and fondant icing and it lets you create a really festive look! 

Start by making (or buying) marzipan, I've provided a recipe for you that I use regularly. Need into a smooth consistency and then cut into portions that match the division of the cake batter. 

We want to glaze the cake with the jam to get the marzipan to adhere to the cake. If you don't like apricot then grape or peach is also suitable but avoid berry jams which clash with the dried fruit. Heat 2tbspns of jam with 1 tbspn of water in the microwave or stove, enough to be malleable.

Set your cake on a cake circle for easy transport, this allows you to carry the cake using the support instead of having to touch the cake itself and makes for easy transfer to a decoratoring wheel or cake tin. Then using a pastry brush glaze the cake all over with the warm jam mixture. 

For a smooth finish you may want to fill any air pockets and round edges on the cake with small pieces of marzipan after glazing. This allows the final fondant coat to appear smoother like a crumbcoat when using butter cream. 

Roll out the marzipan to 2mm thickness, you want lots of overflow for an easy placement. I use the bottom of the cake pan to measure if I have rolled out the marzipan enough. 

Place the marzipan squarely over the cake and begin to smooth down the sides with your hands, then cut off the excess around the bottom of the cake with a pizza cutter.

If you are making a cake of more than half the batter then you may wish to create the top and sides separately. Use the cake tin as a template and then pinch the marzipan to join the edges.

Leave the marzipan to dry over night before icing with the fondant. 

The marzipan should have settled into any pockets and adhered to the cake. We need to get the marzipan to adhere to the fondant, instead of jam we only need to brush the marzipan with hot water.

I find fondant a nightmare to make so I buy Wilton Decorator Preferred fondant which can be bought in most large supermarkets in the US. Knead the fondant until it is malleable and then roll out with a pastry roller dusted with confectioner's sugar. 

Flip over the cake, smooth and trim just as we did with the marzipan. Sadly my fondant smoother went missing during our last move so this isn't my tidiest work but it's easy enough to cover the lumps with decoration!

I am very fond of using these Christmas Embossing rollers which imprint a festive design into the fondant, be careful though it makes it harder to smooth the edges without disrupting the design.

For the final decorations I like to colour some of the fondant by kneading in egg colouring dyes and using cookie and pastry cutters for festive designs. 

Cut out the coloured pieces and then brush lightly with water to stick to the cake. If you've messed up the fondant this is a nice easy way to cover your mistakes!

Try a variety of cookie cutter designs and use cinnamon candy to make your holly berries.

It's fun to do a different design for every cake and they make a special table centerpiece or fancy home made gift. 

And if all of that seems like too much bother then skip the marzipan and fondant and make a good stiff lemon icing; it works great topped with halved glace cherries! 

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Recipe: Low carb bacon quiche

When eating low carb there's one thing I miss terribly and that's pastry. I had heard of people using the infamous fathead pizza dough as a low carb pastry alternative and boy howdy is it good. 

It's very versatile and handles like any wheat based pastry would. This opens a whole world of low carb cooking options that I didn't have before!

Pie Crust:

2 cups pre shredded mozzarella
3/4 cup almond meal/flour
2 tbspn cream cheese
1 egg
1/2 tspn dried rosemary
1/2 tspn garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste


  • Mix the shredded/grated cheese and almond flour/meal in a microwaveable bowl. Add the cream cheese. Microwave on HIGH for 1 minute.
  • Stir then microwave on HIGH for another 30 seconds
  • Add the egg, salt and any herbs or seasonings then mix gently
  • Place in between 2 pieces of baking parchment/paper and roll into a circular pizza shape 
  • Remove the top baking paper/parchment. 
  • If the mixture hardens and becomes difficult to work with, pop it back in the microwave for 10-20 seconds to soften again but not too long or you will cook the egg.
  • Make fork holes all over the base to ensure it cooks evenly.
  • Slide the baking paper/parchment with the pie crust, into the pie tin
  • Back on 425 for 6-10 minutes or until the top has browned. 
  • The base Doesn’t need to cook through but seal the top so the base doesn’t become soggy when the mixture is added. Put aside and let cool.

Quiche Filling:

5 eggs
2 medium brown onions or leeks
6 rashers bacon
2 tbspn butter
1 cup half and half
1 cup grated cheese - ½ cup mozzarella, ½ cup sharp cheddar


  • Preheat oven to 400F and warm while you prepare the filling
  • You can use onions or leeks depending on your carb needs, leeks are lower in carb and give a milder flavour
  • Slice the onions and put in a pan with the butter on a very low heat to sweat
  • Cut the bacon while the vegetables cook
  • Once translucent add the bacon and fry until the bacon is chewy but not crisp
  • Set asside the vegetable bacon mix while you prepare the egg batter
  • In a bowl mix half and half, eggs, salt and pepper until well combined; add the onion, bacon and cheese and fold carefully
  • Pour the mixture into the pastry shell, making sure to move the solid ingredients around to be even in the pan
  • Cover the dish with foil to avoid over burning the mixture
  • Cook with the foil on for 35 minutes then remove the foil and cook for another 5-10 minutes until the top is a golden brown. 
  • Take out of oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the egg to set properly.
  • Once cooled cut into slices and server with vegetables or a salad.
  • Due to the high fat content in the base and mixture be careful with serving size, this dish should serve 6 - 8 comfortably or 4 heartily

Monday, February 19, 2018

Recipe: Low carb (sugar / gluten free) baked cheesecake

This is a recipe inspired by the classic Junior's Cheesecake recipe but tooled slightly to add a low carb base and remove the sugar. The result is a creamy and delicious cake with a lot less guilt. Remember to be sensible though this is not a low calorie recipe - don't fool yourself that you can have a bigger slice even if you want to!

Low Carb Baked Cheesecake 


1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup walnuts
1/2 tspn pumpkin pie spice
20g butter


4 packages of cream cheese (8 oz or 225g each)
1.5 cups Splenda granulated sweetener (or equivalent low carb sweetener)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tbspn pure vanilla extract
2 extra large eggs
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream


  • To prepare the base place the nuts, butter and spice in a food processor 

  • Pulse until the nuts have crumbled and the butter is distributed evenly, you should be left with a moist dough like consistency

  • Line a 7 or 9 inch spring form pan with baking paper, making sure to leave enough slack to fill the bottom of the pan
  • Even out the base using the back of a spoon to leave an even thin layer of the nut mixture

  • Preheat the oven to 165C (325F) and set the pan asside while you prepare the batter
  • Room temperature cream cheese works best for this recipe - cold cheese will be harder to beat
  • Where possible use a paddle attachment rather than a whisk, this helps with the creamy texture 
  • You can use other sweeteners if you prefer (like Stevia or Erythritol) but the baking Splenda holds the best taste after baking. 
  • Make sure to use the "spoon for spoon" granulated Splenda powder that measures like sugar and not coffee packets of Splenda which is highly concentrated
  • Add 1 pack of the cream cheese, 1/2 cup of Splenda and the corn flour to the mixer and beat until well combined

  • Scrape down the sides and then add 1 more pack of cream cheese and 1/2 cup Splenda, then repeat with the remaining cheese and sweetener
  • Add the vanilla essence and one egg, beat on slow until well combined then add the remaining egg
  • Turn off the machine and add the cream, again beating on slow to avoid liquid splashes

  • Once all ingredients are in the bowl turn the mixer to medium and beat for 2-3 minutes or until the mixture takes on a billowy texture
  • Pour the batter into your tin with the nut base then jiggle the tin slightly to flatten the top, be careful not to tap the tin too hard or you will lose air from the cake
  • This cake requires a water bath - place the tin into a roasting tray or casserole dish and fill with water to about halfway up the spring form tin

  • Bake until the top is golden and no longer wobbles, about 1 hour. For best results turn the cake half way through
  • Once baked remove the roasting tray from the oven and then remove the tin from the water. Set asside to cool leaving it in the tin for 2 hours
  • After 2 hours cover the cake and refrigerate until cold or preferably the next day. Release and remove the springform pan after cooling, if possible just before serving
  • Serves 8 people - on its own or topped with cream or nuts for a low carb option or any other cheesecake topping if you prefer