Monday, July 28, 2014

Que Sera, Sera ...Wat-al-appan will happen...

Watalappan (Sri Lankan style creme caramel)- cheats version, cooked in a microwave!

Traditionally watalappan is steamed in a oven on a low temp for a much longer period of time.. this version cuts the cooking time down to less than half.  Some people like to add crushed cashews or sultanas to theirs, but I personally prefer it without all the extras. Simple creamy syrupy custardy goodness.


500g jaggery  (Palm sugar)

½ cup water

8 Eggs – thoroughly beaten

1  & 1/2 can coconut cream. (600ml) 

The seeds from 1 vanilla pod  or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 - 6 cardamom pods to taste– opened, seeds taken out and ground into a powder (Don't add outer pods to the mixture)

1 tsp ground nutmeg


1.      Melt jaggery in water on a very low heat in a pan into a syrupy constancy. You've got to be careful at this stage as it can burn easily. If you are worried about it burning you can use a bain marie method to melt it down into a syrup.  Set aside to cool down a little.
Cutting up the jaggery makes it easier to melt.

2.      Into another mixing bowl add the eggs, coconut cream, vanilla and ground spices.  Beat until combined.  Then gradually pour in the jaggery syrup while constantly beating. Pouring needs to be gradually or the warn syrup will turn your mixture into scrambled eggs.

3.     Once all combined pour it all into a microwave safe dish and place that dish into another dish, filling it with water to come 1/3 to 1/2 way up the outside. Microwave on high for between 15-25 min. Its best to check it every 5 min once you hit the 15 min mark as cooking times can vary depending on your microwave.  Allow dish to cool down fully for a few hours or overnight in the fridge before tucking in. 

The end result -  delicious sweet custard with little pockets of caramel throughout. 


*Make sure spices are ground super fine as they tend to settle at the bottom of the dish once cooked and if ground fine enough you'll avoid any gritty texture.

*There are various varieties of jaggery. I prefer the dark molassesy richness of pure palm sugar.  Make sure to check the list of ingredients on palm sugar you purchase as some palm sugars are blended with varied amounts of cane sugar etc, which to me anyway, is an inferior tasting product.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

My growing obsession…

They say ‘People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones’, but what about those who live in polycarbonate houses on the other hand? They can throw stones to their hearts content right? Well maybe not, but ok let me explain. I received my birthday pressie a few months early this year and that present is something I have long dreamed about having. My very own greenhouse! Woot-woot! The reason for the earliness of the gift is that my birthday isn’t until September (or the beginning of spring, as it where in the southern hemisphere) and my main reason for wanting a greenhouse is to allow me to garden and protect my existing plants over winter. Aaaah see it all makes sense now does is not? Yes is does not…Wait what? You know what I mean, early gift equals plants safe and happy over winter. So anyway I am now the rather content owner of an aluminum framed greenhouse that has poly-whatchamacallit-thing-a-ma-bob paneling. Yay! I must say it has been a godsend over the winter months. No more running around, moving & covering plants every time we have severe frost warning. Nope, I simply moved all my most frost sensitive or juvenile plants into the greenhouse where they can overwinter without fear of the elements. It also allows me to get a head start on my veggie seedlings and I’ll probably just permanently grow things like my tomatoes, chilies, capsicums and eggplants in there to extend the growing season.  Also want to try my hand and growing a mango tree in a large container in the greenhouse as well. The possibilities seem endless… 

For anyone wanting information about the type of greenhouse I purchased, here's the link:

Saturday, March 30, 2013

'Only a ginger can call another ginger, ginger' ...Tim Minchin

I have been asked many times in the past by several individuals for my recipe for  'Steamed Ginger pudding'.  I've been making it since my teens and it's my Mum's favourite dessert, and so it's the recipe that I have become famous for (or possibly infamous for)  at family gatherings.  Seeing that it is Easter Sunday tomorrow I was once again asked to make it and thought I'd better stop procrastinating and finally blog my recipe too. So here goes nothing...

My Steamed Ginger pudding recipe…
The finished product..Yum!

3 cups self-raising flour

1 heaped teaspoon baking powder

175 grams unsalted butter

2/3 cup sugar

400g Jar of Stem ginger in Syrup (I like Hong Kong ‘Tung chun’ brand usually available from Chinese supermarkets or Sri Lankan Spice shops.)

4 eggs
1/2 cup lukewarm milk.


1.       Preheat oven to 180 ºC (350 ºF)

2.       Sift flour and baking powder into a bowl and set aside.

3.       In another mixing bowl cream butter and sugar and beat well. Add eggs one a time mixing thoroughly.

4.       Remove stem ginger from the jar carefully with a fork, saving he remaining syrup left in the jar for a later step. Either chop up ginger with a knife or pulse in a food processor until chopped. Pulsing is necessary otherwise you will end up with a paste, which is ok but you lose any texture.  Add chopped ginger to the butter/sugar/egg mixture.

5.       Add sifted flour/baking powder that you set aside earlier and warm milk to the mixture and mix until combined. The mixture should be a soft dropping consistency. If the mix is too dry you can always add a little more milk if needed.

6.       Pour the ginger syrup that was left in jar into the bottom of a well-buttered baking dish (I find a 20cm square tin cooks the most evenly) and then carefully spoon your batter mixture over the top.  Cover the baking dish with foil.

7.       Place baking dish into another larger baking tray and then pour enough water into that tray to come halfway up the sides of the dish.

8.       Bake for about  1 ½ to 2 hours at around 180ºc (maybe 170ºc if fan forced, depending on your oven) until the pudding feels firm and springy to touch in the centre and has loosened from the sides of the tin.

9.       Carefully turn out into a plate and serve hot with cream or custard or vanilla ice cream.

Note: if there is any syrupy cake (after baking) stuck to the bottom of tin I just scrape that off and spread back over the top of the steamed cake, as per the image below. 

*Variation: If you are real ginger lover like me add a heaped teaspoon of powdered ginger when sifting the flour for an extra ginger kick!.
Close up shot of steamed gingery goodness.
My preferred brand of 'Stem ginger in Syrup'. 

I like this brand because they use young ginger in their product.  I have tried other brands in the past and was not pleased with the results as old ginger was used which made for a hotter-too spicy flavour.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Constant (chocolate) cravings...

Had a bit of chocolate craving yesterday, but wanted whatever I ate to be healthy yet still quick and easy to make. Then I remembered a post in my facebook news-feed by 'Grass Fed Girl' for a 'Nourishing Dark Chocolate Gelatin Pudding' ...  I didn't have any chocolate in the house so tried a cocoa powder variation. I also altered the amount of gelatine as I wanted a more smooth and silky texture and not a jelly consistency and used coconut cream rather than coconut milk for extra richness. I had a box of 'Natvia' (A Stevia-Erythritol blend) that I'd won in a competition a while back so I used that to sweeten it. Here are the the results...

I call my version: Quick and Easy chocolate and coconut pudding.


2 tsps. Gelatin powder
1/3 cup hot water
60 g Cocoa powder
1 400ml can coconut cream
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup Natvia (or honey/agave if you prefer) 


Dissolve gelatin in hot water and set aside. Blend the remaining ingredients in another bowl until well combined.  Add the dissolved gelatin into the mix.  Pour into 4 ramekins and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours until set.

Couldn't be easier am I right? ...I hadn't planned on blogging about it but as it turned so delicious I had to share. The photo above isn't particularly great sorry. I think next time it might also be nice to decant into drinking  glasses rather than ramekins for better presentation.