Muffins with pears and sultanas

200g plain flour, sifted
100g brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 pear, peeled, cored, cut into cubes, and tossed in lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
25g sultanas
100g just melted margarine, or butter
1 egg, well beaten
1 cup milk

Do all this by hand, in a large bowl. It comes together very quickly, works very well, and there is absolutely no [...]

Passionfruit muffins, given an extra zing with raspberries

Whenever passionfruit are plentiful and cheap, don’t miss any opportunity to try them any way you can or like, or think you like or think you can. Their flavour is so powerful they can even make a pavlova work, and that is saying something.
I was going through this stage of trying passionfruit with all my [...]

Scones, slow and easy

I always wondered why the old and doddery (mums, grans, etc.) always made better scones than I did. Then I started to get older and almost doddery and slower and wiser (the accumulated drip of experience) and started applying those fragments of age to making scones.
Guess what. Now I make scones like the old and [...]

Michele Day’s fruit cake

It was during the fete season, and I was, as usual, picking through the jams and chutneys and cakes, when I picked up a cake labelled ‘wholemeal boiled fruit cake’. It felt heavy, looked full of fruit, and, despite its weight, I felt sure it would be moist. But things aren’t always as they look. [...]

Hot cross buns

I had always believed that hot cross buns had come from our ii. English, Christian roots, and that may be so as far as Australia is concerned, but in the big, wide, wonderful world, ’twas not always so.
In the very old days, it was common to mark a cross on bread or bun dough, not [...]

A little like pizza, or bruschetta; an oily loaf

You can have the perfect pizza at home, one that I can be put together in the same time it takes to venture into the night to visit the local licence-to-print-money. And you don’t have to make the dough. You don’t even need focaccia.
All you need is a white cottage loaf — the sort with [...]

Focaccia, pizza, or whatever

Don’t be fooled by all the terrific press about focaccia. It’s just a flash name for flat bread. You make it just the same way as bread, treat it the same way as bread, love it just the same way.

If you make it yourself, or buy it (usually at an exorbitant price), it makes for [...]

Sourdough, from the beginning

When you have made sourdough bread you have returned to the dark ages, when bread makers were feeling their way, and strange things happened to the pile of dough in the corner of the cave; the only machines were their arms, and the bread tasted different every time it came out of the coals.
It’s very [...]

Bread, for starters

Funny thing about making bread. If you succeed, people look at you as if you have just taken a set off Steffi Graf. But the great irony here is that cave dwellers were making bread before they discovered there was more to communicating than grunting and pointing, and screaming and hitting people over the head [...]

Baking: no short cuts

Baking is not one of my strengths. For one simple reason. The best baker is one who methodically follows routines and directions. That’s not me. The best baker is one who bakes constantly; who has taken the routines into the soul and can reproduce them this way and that at will; that’s not me either. [...]