How to cook Canadian buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup


I’m up to my third recipe for the Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge and this time I’m cooking Canadian buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup.

For some background research I found a couple of videos on youtube of making pancakes. The most humorous one is probably How to make British Pancakes (slightly different recipe) by danisnotonfire. I’m not sure Delia would approve!

There is an original video of retro style Pancake Batter from Delia Smith’s Cookery Course,  BBC. Delia uses electric beaters.

I decided not to use lard, so instead I used butter and I regretted that decision, because I burnt it badly. So then I switched to olive oil and that worked just fine. I mixed together in a large bowl plain flour, baking powder, buttermilk, cold water and three eggs.

I wasn’t game enough to toss my pancakes, as previously mentioned I’ve recently cleaned the kitchen top to bottom. And cleaning pancakes off the floor isn’t my idea of fun. It pays to do the washing up before you start cooking because both the flip and tablespoon were dirty. How annoying.

Instead of tablespoons of mixture I used 2 dessertspoons, so I ended up with about 12 pancakes. Actually they were more the size of pikelets – never mind it didn’t matter. The middle batch turned out the best – with nice round edges and good colour.

The pancakes were yummy with real Maple syrup, but not so filling. I was hungry a couple of hours later.

Delia’s Complete How to Cook – (Australia)
Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Book Depository (UK)

Written for the Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge

How to cook spaghetti with olive oil, garlic and chilli


The second recipe I cooked for my Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge was Spaghetti with olive oil, garlic and chilli. Now if you look closely at the photo you may think that’s a lot of chilli, but actually since I’m allergic (well, intolerant) to chilli I used capsicum instead.

I’ve cooked pasta plenty of times before but I read Delia’s instructions and followed them as closely as I could. One thing I have stopped doing is salting the water, as we doesn’t like much salt in our diet. But in this instance I did and didn’t really notice any difference. I made enough pasta for one for lunch today. I got garlic all over my fingers, but I don’t mind the smell.

I was tempted to test the pasta by seeing if it would stick to the wall when it was al dente, but I’ve recently cleaned the tiles above the stove top so I gave it a miss. I don’t want to clean them again so soon! Anyhow, Delia says the “only real way to tell is to taste it.”

So that I only had one pan to clean up I slightly deviated from Delia’s instructions. I cooked the pasta first and then made the sauce in the same saucepan, while the pasta drained in the sink.

I love Delia’s instructions on how to eat spaghetti and other long pasta. I pretty much do what she suggests, but the olive oil dripped down my chin! Sometimes I like to use a fork to twirl the pasta around on the bottom of a spoon. I think it’s authentic, but perhaps that’s a myth.

Delia’s Complete How to Cook – (Australia)
Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Book Depository (UK)

Written for the Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge

How to cook goats’ cheese, onion and potato bread


So the first recipe I cooked for my Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge was goats’ cheese, onion and potato bread with thyme.

I had to preheat my oven to 20 degrees higher than the recipe, because our oven always lets us down and needs adjusting. The red potato I choose was a little too large for the recipe at 250g, so I didn’t use all of it. We had no thyme so I used oregano instead.

I had a heap of trouble with our scales. They only work when you take the battery out of them and then that seems to kick start it, otherwise you can press the on button repeatedly and nothing happens. I had to test my maths skills when I weighted the flour in a bowl.

We didn’t have any self-raising flour, so I added 2 teaspoons of baking powder to add a raising agent to plain flour. I don’t think my grater is very sharp, as the potato kept getting stuck half way when I was grating it. I mixed together the ingredients as per the instructions and the flour stuck to the potato. I wish I had cut the cheese into smaller chunks. I also left out the mustard because we didn’t have any.

My palette knife is over 30 centremetres long, so I stirred the mixture with a teaspoon. I used it for measuring something and was trying to save on washing up! Why I tasted the batter I’m not sure, but it was quite salty. I don’t know whether Matt will like it, because he doesn’t add salt to his food. I used a paella dish for cooking the bread with some baking paper, but I forgot to grease it. I’m usually not very good at following instructions in recipes – I like to get creative and make changes.

Fifty minutes later I had a small loaf which didn’t rise much. The potato bread was yummy with a good crust, although I think I’d prefer the red onion version over spring onion. Matt said “you wouldn’t know there was potato in it” and it “was very nice, a bit like damper.”

Delia’s Complete How to Cook – (Australia)
Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Book Depository (UK)

Written for the Learning how to cook with Delia Smith challenge

Learning how to cook with Delia Smith


I’ve always wanted to be a good cook so I’ve decided I am going to work my way through Delia Smith’s Complete How to Cook. The book was originally published as three separate volumes with an accompanying TV series. It was released as one complete book in 2009 to celebrate 40 years of writing recipes.

Delia has sold an impressive 21 million cookbooks worldwide, producing more than 20 recipe collections and spent over 30 years on our screens. Delia has a way of explaining complex instructions that make you understand what she means, which is perfect for beginner cooks like myself.


Photo: BBC

“Delia’s genius is to understand what Middle England wants to eat at any given time, and then nudge it just very slightly forward in a way that seems fresh and exciting rather than strange and intimidating” says Clarissa Dickson Wright in “A History of English Food”.

She continues “Delia’s other great skill is in being straightforward and comforting….. What’s more her recipes work – hence the 1980s joke along the lines of “I danced with a man who danced with a girl who had failed with a Delia Smith recipe”.”

Mary Berry says Delia’s “recipes were inspirational, effective and always worked.”

Delia’s Complete How to Cook was voted as the best recipe book ever published (The Daily Telegraph/ The book has over 700 pages, 350 recipes and step-by-step photography. There are 25 less recipes than in the originals (Delia’s How to Cook One – 137 recipes; Delia’s How to Cook Two – 120 recipes and Delia’s How to Cook Three – 118 recipes). 

I’m going to pace myself and try to complete a couple of recipes each week, so it will probably take me a few years to complete! I’m looking forward to trying lots of new recipes and new techniques with the ultimate aim of finally learning how to cook.

Delia's Complete How to Cook: Both a Guide for Beginners and a Tried and Tested Recipe Collection for Life

Delia’s Complete How to Cook – (Australia)
Delia’s Complete How to Cook – Book Depository (UK)

At My Tradition

Christmas tree

Jason from Don’t Boil the Sauce has started off At My Tradition for bloggers to share their end of year traditions. We celebrate summer solstice in our house, but it’s very much like a nature based Christmas so we have many of the same traditions.

Christmas tree decorations

The main feature in the house is the tree which is covered in red and white decorations, many of them made by my Aunty and some made by myself. We have fairy lights but tend to not put them on to save electricity. Our tree is missing something for the top, but we haven’t found the right thing yet. There is also some red and white heart banners my Aunty also made.


We all have stockings, even the dog who gets some treats on the day. Here’s mine – I used iron-on transfers to add the birds, so it’s a unique stocking.

Christmas pudding

We alternate who’s family we spend Christmas day with each year and do all the traditional Christmasy things then. You know….. Christmas crackers and silly paper hats, and coins in the pudding.

In our family we try to have a roast meal on solstice day (but sometimes we do a day that’s close by).  Matt cooks it and we usually have the works with Yorkshire puddings. Afterwards we have Christmas pudding and save the mince pies for another day because we are usually full by then. I made a Christmas pudding one year, but since then my pudding pan has gone rusty! I try to make rum balls and gingerbread around this time of year.

Happy summer solstice.

Thanks Jason for organising At My Tradition

In My Kitchen: December 2013

Thank you Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for allowing me to participate In My Kitchen December 2013. This month, in my kitchen are…


Pic’s Peanut Butter is made from Australian peanuts and a touch of salt.


I was lucky enough to win $100 worth of Maleny Cheese (some of which is featured in the photo above). There may be some left for sharing with family at Christmas.


Here’s an action shot of Matt using his aeropress to make his morning coffee. (A great gift idea for guys.)


I am still making felt vegetables for one lucky niece. This month I’ve made banana, strawberries, pear and a lemon.


I wrote a book review on Maggie’s Christmas. And visited the Good Food and Wine Show and L’Angolo Bistro.

Thank you Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for organsing In My Kitchen December 2013.

In My Kitchen: November 2013

Thank you Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for allowing me to participate In My Kitchen November 2013. This month, in my kitchen are…


We continue to watch Recipe to Riches, but our enthusiasm is starting wane. We only bought one product from the show this month – Rosie’s Kitchen almond meringue biscuits. They were nice and had a great texture, but I don’t think they were special enough that I’d buy them again.


Herbie’s Spices had four Australian spices for the month – akudjura (bush tomato), lemon myrtle, saltbush and wattleseed. I’ve been experimenting with them all, and we tried the spicy nut recipe on the back of the saltbush packet. I also cooked a chicken and akurjura rissotto based again on the recipe on the back of the packet. I have been enjoying lemon myrtle on fish and particularly liked tuna and lemon myrtle penne.


I have been enjoying different ciders, and my favourite at the moment is James Squire’s orchard crush apple cider. I am also fond of the perry – a traditional cloudy pear cider. I made an apple cider fruit loaf with the first one.


I am still making felt vegetables for one lucky niece. This month I’ve made beans, carrot, daikon, radish and zucchini. I’m yet to make some felt fruit and that will be next.

I enjoyed watching the final episodes of The Great British Bake Off, but I can’t believe we are three years behind! I wrote a book review on the The Great Australian Bake Off, and I also wrote a book review of Bill’s Italian Food.

Thank you Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for organsing In My Kitchen November 2013.

Sugar Free Body Blitz – Tracking sugar intake

Sugar Free Body Blitz

Once you start looking for sugar on labels you’ll find it hidden in lots of unexpected places. As part of easing in to a sugar-free diet, this week we’ll start tracking our sugar intake. Write down what you have eaten, the amount of sugar and how you felt or the reason you ate the food. Then think of a substitute for next time you are in the same situation.

For example, here is my sugar intake for the last few days:

Food eaten Amount of sugar Reason Substitute
Gluten free gingernuts 6.4g Wanted to finish off the packet and not waste money. Now not in the cupboard, so not a temptation.
Biscuits at morning tea not sure. Were homemade. Was being polite. Take savoury morning tea to craft class.
Fresh orange juice 69g Use up three oranges. Mandarins are easier to eat whole.
Takeaway hot chocolate not sure Was at cafe and forgot about the sugary syrup and marshmallows. Order coffee or tea instead.
Hot chocolate at home 1tsp  Was bored. Try with honey or Stevia and pure cacao powder. Have a herbal tea instead.
Lindt chocolate 5g Finishing off the packet. AntiOx Chocolate (stevia)
Tea 1tsp Morning habit. Now having tea without sugar.

Sugar Stacks may help with the amount of sugar in a particular food.

What sugary food have you been eating lately?

In My Kitchen: October 2013

Thank you Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial for allowing me to participate In My Kitchen October 2013. This month, in my kitchen are …


Concetta won the first week of Recipe to Riches. They were delicious, but I’m not sure we’d buy them again because we don’t eat very much frozen prepared food.


Last week’s Recipe to Riches was won by Chocorn – corn covered in caramel and then chocolate. They are marketed as a premium product which I think is their downfall. They were overpriced at $8 a box. The dark and milk chocolate were fantastic, but the white chocolate was sickly sweet.

We also tried Sweet Billies the previous week but found them too sweet as well.


Sumac is Herbie’s Spices spice of the month. We have been having it on our chicken fajitas. The berry goes well with avocado and tomatoes, so it’s perfect with guacamole. You can also add the tangy lemony flavour to salads as a garnish and seasoning rubs on grilled and roasted meats (sprinkle on before cooking).


My Aunty made cumquat marmalade, which goes perfectly well my spiced fruit cider bread. I’ve been trying to perfect a bread recipe, and this one finally turned out well.


I’ve been having some fun making felt vegetables. They are supposed to be a Christmas present, but I’m afraid I like them too much to give away.

Posted for In My Kitchen October 2013 hosted by Celia from Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

Starting the Sugar Free Body Blitz

Sugar Free Body Blitz

Today is the first day of my Sugar-Free Body Blitz.



A few years ago I read Sweet Poison and the Sweet Poison Quit Plan by David Gillespie (Sweet Poison website) and was impressed by his research, but was unsure about having dextrose (glucose syrup). Then I watched Dr Robert Lustig present Sugar: The Bitter Truth.

Last year I discovered Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar
ebook (I Quit Sugar website). I recently borrowed her updated I Quit Sugar book with plenty of recipes from the library, and thought perhaps this was something I could try.

After some more research and consulting my nutrition guru Meghan Telpner, I decided to start my own version of quitting sugar. I am calling it The Sugar Free Body Blitz, because I’m doing the 12 week body blitz challenge as a way of making myself accountable. I will be tracking my weight and fitness levels. I plan on writing blog posts about my progress and sugar-free recipes as a way to keep myself motivated.


Aim: The type of sugar I am aiming to quit is refined sugar, because it is devoid of nutrients.

1. Instead I will allow some of the more nutrient dense sweeteners in small amounts, such as:

  • backstrap molasses
  • coconut nectar
  • maple syrup
  • palm sugar
  • raw honey (a superfood)
  • sucanat
  • Stevia

2. I will also allow one to two serves of whole fruit a day – fruit are full of health benefits, so I don’t believe in cutting them out.

3. I will not use dextrose as it is processed and I don’t believe it has any health benefits.

4. I will not use artificial sweeteners.

Week 1 – Reducing refined sugar

Rather than go cold turkey I’m going to slowly reduce my sugar intake for the first week. Today I had my morning English Breakfast tea without sugar and I didn’t really notice any difference. I cut back on my morning biscuits and threw in the bin some chocolate brownies which were sickly rich. I noticed that my raspberry yogurt has 9.7g of sugar per serving, so I’ll have to find a plain organic yogurt next week. For an afternoon snack I had some popcorn with butter and salt.

More information

To find out more about the problems with sugar watch Catalyst: Toxic Sugar? – ABC TV Science or the more scientific (and harder to understand) Sugar: The Bitter Truth.