Delicious Vegetarian Chili

BakerMonkey, Food & Drink, General, Reckons
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 or 5 cloves garlic
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 2 courgettes (call it zucchini if you prefer)
  • 1 capsicum (any colour, but I suggest yellow or red)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 Tbs oregano
  • 2 Tbs chilli flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • vegetable stock
  • a cup of red wine
  • vegetarian burger patties
  • 2 tins red kidney beans
  • 1 tin cannellini beans
  • 2 tins chopped tomato
  • jalapenos (optional, to taste)


Get all your bits together.


Chop all the veges.


Add oil to pot, sauté onions, capsicum, celery, garlic, oregano, and (not pictured) add the remainder of chopped vegetables.


Crumble the vegetarian burger patties.


Add pattie crumbles to pot.


Add bay leaves, wine, beans, chilli flakes, cumin, and tomatoes. Stir well and bring to the simmer.


Simmer, stirring occasionally. The longer you can give it the better, I like to give it at least 90 minutes to 2 hours.


I like to serve with rice, cornbread, sour cream, and hot sauce (this recipe isn’t particularly hot, I usually make it for potluck dinners, and unfortunately not all of my friends like it hot).


Great on toast the next day. (Great on everything the next day. Mmm-hmm.)

Spicy Dal

BakerMonkey, Food & Drink, General, Reckons


  • 1 & 1/4 cups red lentils. (Brown lentils are a fine substitute, or yellow split peas if you must, but green lentils won’t soften properly.)
  • 3 & 1/3 cups water.
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp salt.
  • 3 tbs butter.
  • 1 tsp ground cumin.
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric.
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon.
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne.
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger.
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander.
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds.
  • 6 whole cloves.



Rinse the lentils well in cold water. Drain and repeat once or twice. The first time through you’ll note that the water gets quite milky, you want to wash them until the water is fairly clear.


Add to pot with 3 & 1/3rd cups water and the salt.


Boil until very soft, the water will be mostly or entirely absorbed.


Once the lentils are bubbling away and well on their way to cooking down, melt the butter in a separate pan.


Add the spices. Your house will start to smell reallllllly good. (Don’t be mad, I’m not saying it doesn’t now, just that it’ll get even better.)


Once the lentils are all cooked down (note how much the colour of the red lentils has changed), carefully add them to the spices & butter.


Mix the butter & spices well with the lentils.


Cook until very thick, stirring frequently.

Serve with rice (I suggest basmati) and a big dollop of yoghurt. This dal can be a bit hot for some people, the yoghurt goes a long way to defusing that – and it’s really delicious, so why wouldn’t you?

I find it a very warming, comforting dish. Particularly great on cold winter nights.

Most Delicious Cornbread

BakerMonkey, Food & Drink, General, Reckons


  • 1 cup cornflour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil (I use olive oil)
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs baking powder
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups grated cheese
  • 1 cup (or so) capsicum, sliced (I use roasted red peppers)
  • chillies (optional, to taste)
  • 1 can of corn kernels, drained


Preheat oven to 180°C.


Add eggs, oil, & sour cream to mixing bowl.


Blend until smooth.


Add corn flour, baking powder, & salt.


Add sliced capsicum (and optional chillies).


Add most of the grated cheese (save a little).


Add drained corn kernels.


Mix up well.


Add to cake tin or baking dish.


Sprinkle on remaining cheese.


Bake at 180°C until the top is golden brown and a skewer or sharp knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. In this dish it’s about 45 minutes, in a wider diameter & thin walled baking tin it’d be more like 30.

The corn bread will be very moist and flavourful.

Pear & Vanilla Crumble

BakerMonkey, Food & Drink, General, Reckons


  • 3 tins of quartered pears in juice. (You can use fresh pears if you wish, but you’re giving yourself a lot more work for little reward.)
  • 250g raw sugar.
  • 225g self raising flour.
  • 175g butter.
  • ~6-8 teaspoons vanilla extract. (This might seem a lot, but it’s quite a large dish.)


Preheat oven to 180°c.
Pear & Vanilla Crumble - Step 0

While the oven warms up, take a large caserole dish…
Pear & Vanilla Crumble - Step 1

… Add drained quartered pears – save the juice. (You can slice them further if you wish, these pears were fairly small though.)
Pear & Vanilla Crumble - Step 2

Add about 1 cup of the juice back over the pears. (This might seem round about, but if you used all the juice you’d end up with a terribly soggy mess.)
Pear & Vanilla Crumble - Step 3

Spoon about 150g of the raw sugar over the mixture.
Pear & Vanilla Crumble - Step 4

Drizzle vanilla extract over the pears – the specks you can see here are vanilla seeds. 
Pear & Vanilla Crumble - Step 5


Add the flour into a large mixing bowl.
Pear & Vanilla Crumble - Step 6

Make a divot in the flour, then add the soft (microwave softened if you’re lazy like me) butter.
Pear & Vanilla Crumble - Step 7

Add the remainder of the sugar.
Pear & Vanilla Crumble - Step 8

Crumble the mixture. It’s fun to do it with your hands – and I think you end up with a better, slightly more dense, crumble – but it’s also possible to do it with a spoon if you don’t feel like getting your hands coated in this delicious mixture.
Pear & Vanilla Crumble - Step 9

Carefully distribute the crumble over the top of the pear mixture.
Pear & Vanilla Crumble - Step 10

Until it’s nicely covered. You can press it down a little, but it should be a fairly loose covering. It will be quite a thick layer.
Pear & Vanilla Crumble - Step 11

Bake until the crumble is golden brown, and some of the juice has bubbled up around the edges and caramelised. This will take at least 45 minutes. But the longer you can leave it beyond that – just as long as the crumble doesn’t burn – the better the result will be, this one was cooked for about 60 minutes, and I only took it out of the oven because I had to take it to dinner with friends.

The crumble will end up tasting something like shortbread, and the fruit, juice, & sugar will cook together into a wonderful peary caramel.

It’s that delicious fruity caramel that requires the longer cooking time, it takes quite a while for the mixture to heat up and start to cook through – the longer you give the sugars in the fruit & juice the more they’ll change into caramel. The best result I’ve had was after about 80 minutes of baking, and I assure you that it was worth the wait – unfortunately there’s seldom time to cook for that long.

It’s optional, but preferable, to serve it with custard – and perhaps even a little scoop of nice French vanilla ice cream as well.

Pear & Vanilla Crumble - Step 12

Serves 10 lovely people, who will happily gobble it all up.
Pear & Vanilla Crumble - Step 13


Pear & Vanilla Crumble

BakerMonkey, Food & Drink, General, Reckons

Pear and vanilla crumble

Stewed pears and vanilla seed, only have a shot of the pre-crumbling version, as things got quite busy (I made an apple & boysenberry, and apple & apricot at the same time). All of the delicious pear juice (and a hefty measure of raw sugar) cooked up into a deliciously decadent caramel flavour  bomb.

Will put together a recipe next week, when I’ll probbaly be making a fullsize version. (Only made a strange little 1/4 size one this time, so not yet certain about ideal quantities or cooking time.)

The crumble was about as perfect as it can be in a gas oven, I think – almost like a shortbread.

If people knew how much butter went into it, well let’s just say they might savour it even more.

But no one can resist.

Earth Sandwich

BakerMonkey, Food & Drink, General, George, Reckons

[Update: this video is also available on YouTube.]

The video clip I mentioned the other day is all done and dusted – at least as much as it’s ever going to be. I’m still feeling a bit weak from my food poisoning and get quite light headed very easily, so I’m just not going to edit this sucker anymore. And it probably needs a bit more cutting. I think it’s funny as is, but still overlong by probably 3 minutes.

Earth Sandwich

About ‘Earth Sandwich’

Ze laid a challenge on his site to create the first Earth Sandwich, this is a piece of bread on opposite sides of the globe placed on the ground. I placed mine in my front yard, the opposite happened to be on land (which isn’t true of most of the entrants who placed their bread in North America – resulting in a sandwich that needs its other half in the middle of the Indian Ocean) in Spain.

Some really cool guys (Canadian brothers Jon & Duncan from flew from London to Portugal, then drove into Spain and with the aid of their GPS handset found their way to the exact opposite side of the planet, where they placed their half of the Earth Sandwich. They released a clip of their escapades, and I didn’t want to be left out so I made a clip of my own – even though my expedition was far, far less exciting or cool.

Amazingly, by our powers combined, we beat everyone else on the planet.

Even so, to make up for the un-cool-ness of the placement of my half of the sandwich, I had to resort to farce, sound effects, and speeding up my footage.

I think it’s hilarious, but I’m very very sick right now, so you’re free to disagree. (Either way, leave a comment, it’s fast and easy.)

About this clip

It’s pretty big, so if you’re not on broadband, it might not be worth the wait. It’s encoded to MP4 so it could be worse. Quicktime will play the file nicely, as will VLC, or I guess Windows Media Player might be able to do it if you keep quite up to date.

Any further hypothetical video clips will certainly be a lot shorter and smaller.

Baguette Recipe

500g flour
4 tsp yeast
300ml warm water
3 tsp salt

Mix the flour and yeast in a large bowl until evenly distributed, then add warm water and mix well for a minute, finally add the salt and knead well for about 15 minutes.

Roll out into 2 or 3 rough baguette shapes, place on a lightly floured baking tray, then cover with a cloth and put somewhere warm for 20 – 30 minutes to raise. (I put mine in the hot water cupboard.)

Score each baguette 5 or 6 times with a sharp knife, then bake in a pre-heated oven at 240c for about 30 minutes. Keep a good eye on them, you’ll notice that while I said mine looked good, they were actually pretty dark brown (but they really were very delicious). I’ve cooked this recipe a bunch of times, and our oven seems to have some difficulties maintaining the even temperature, so it hasn’t been quite the same twice.

Great Big Pan Cakes.

BakerMonkey, Food & Drink, General, Reckons

Yes, I said Pan Cakes, not pancakes.  Capitalised, and two seperate words.  They deserve it.  These are some seriously heavy duty items of foodification.

Great Big Pan Cakes looking all golden brown and bubbly.

Recipe is good for two, there are options I’ll lay out as we go through things.


  • 2 – 4 Tbsp butter.
  • 2 – 4 Tbsp brown sugar.
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp cinnamon.
  • 3 eggs.
  • 1 1/2 cups flour.
  • 1 1/2 cups milk.
  • 1/2 tsp salt.

Fruit.  Apples, pears, or peaches.  Just a few slices is plenty.

Pre heat oven to 200c, while it’s heating put 1 – 2 Tbsp butter into bottom of two oven safe pans, a small cast iron frying pan is ideal, but you can probably get away with using a cake or pie tin as well.

Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl, don’t go crazy, once they’re well beaten and just starting to froth is heaps.   Sieve in the flour, pour in the milk, and sprinkle on the flour.  Now beat again, but only until it’s all just mixed, some lumps are fine.  If you over mix it won’t work right.  Don’t waste time doing this, you don’t want to leave the pans in the oven too long, the butter will start to burn off once the oven gets up to temperature.

Take the now hot pans out of the oven, gently swirl the butter around to cover the interior of the pans, including up the side walls a bit (be careful, it’s hot) now sprinkle 1 – 2 Tbsp of the brown sugar, then the cinnamon, into each pan.  Now if you want fruit in your Pan Cake, distribute the slices around the base of the pan.

Now pour on the batter mix, and put the pans into the oven.

After about 25 minutes they should be very puffed up and golden brown.

Great Big Pan Cakes with butter and maple syrup.

Remove from the pans to a warmed plate, you’ll find that the body of the pancakes is very light and springy, and quite wonderful.  Serve with butter & maple syrup, or whatever you like on normal pancakes.

Great Big Pan Cakes with fruit.

If you included fruit (in this photo, about a third of an apple, rougly sliced) maybe you’d rather have cream than maple syrup, but really, do what you like.  I’m not the pancake police.  If I was I might make you have it with custard, but I have no idea how that’d turn out.

Vegetable Tart

BakerMonkey, Food & Drink, General, Reckons

After last nights sugary madness, tonight I decided to bake something a little more savoury.

Delicious vegetable tart.

Vegetable Tart.
2 potatoes.
1 large red onion.
2 tomatoes.
3 eggs.
125g sour cream (about half a pottle).
100g feta (about half a block).
2 sheets frozen savoury pastry.
salt & pepper to taste.

Pre heat oven to 180c.

Defrost pastry and line lightly greased tart dish.

Slice potatoes thin, chop onion roughly, add both to a large frying pan to saute – not too hot, the potatoes will take a while.  Probably 20 minutes or so.

Mix eggs & sour cream in a bowl, chop up tomatoes roughly, slice feta into small cubes, mix all together.  Add salt & pepper to taste, mix a little more.

When potatoes are done (the red onions should be long since done, but won’t burn unless you have the heat up too high) make a layer with them and the onions in the tart dish, then pour egg mixture over the top.

Put into oven until visibles tomatoes look nicely cooked through and everything starts to look golden, about 30 – 40 minutes.

Best served with some sort of chutney or relish, tonight I served with turkish salsa and hummus, and it was really good.

If you’re awesome and nice, make a special extra tart in a ramikin for your delightful loving partner of 5 years to take to work, when she gets home from yoga and sees it, she’ll be very happy indeed.

Lunch sized vegetable tart.

Apple & Boysenberry Crumble

BakerMonkey, Food & Drink, General, Reckons

It’s winter, so it’s time for food that warms you from the inside.  Maybe with sugar, maybe with… hotness.  Maybe with both.  And butter.

Without further ado, how about a completely insane desserty treat?  Ok, you asked for it.

Apple & Blackberry Crumble

Apple & Boysenberry Crumble.
3 medium sized granny smith apples.
1 tin of boysenberries.
250g brown sugar.
225g self raising flour.
175g butter.

Pre heat oven to 180c.

Rub flour and softened butter until it is crumbed, add a couple of tablespoons of the sugar into the mix.

Peel core and slice apples, lay out in bottom of baking dish, pour boysenberries over top, pour sugar onto berries then gently mix (just make sure the apples are nicely covered with the juice, it should be pretty straightforward if the tin had lots of juice in it.

Sprinkle crumbs over the top, there should be heaps, making for a thick crust.

Bake for about 45 minutes – delicious bubbling juice should appear around the edge – check that a knife slides into and out of the middle easily.

Serve with custard, and possibly cream & ice cream as well if you want to go crazy.

This makes enough for probably 8 people to have a hefty big chunk, so you can pretty safely reduce it if you like, but I can’t tell you how long to cook it if you do.

Of course, that’s not challenging, so I decided to make another banana loaf at the same time.  Banana loaf in da hizz-ouse!

Banana Loaf

I’m a super multi-tasking baking good boy.

My ricey lunch.

BakerMonkey, Food & Drink, General, Reckons

So, I’ve been known to give off a bit of a false impression of myself through this site, and my dietary habits are one of the things I’m most prone to lying about, so today I present my most common lunch.  (Well, aside from something like toast.)

Rice with tuna and furikake.  Furikake is a Japanese seasoning sprinkle, full of lovely things like dried bonito, sesame seeds, sugar, seaweed, bean powder, and egg.

My rice method requires fairly accurate measurements.  If you follow the instructions everything will work out just fine.

  • 1/2 cup of rice.
  • 1 cup of cold water.
  • A little oil.
  • Tuna (or a hard boiled egg or two, if you prefer).
  • Furikake.

Heat oil in a pot, rinse rice under the tap (I put it in a sieve) then drain as well as you can before dumping in the pot.  Stir around in the pot with a wooden spoon while it sizzles up a bit.
Rice sizzling in the pot.

Pour in the water, stir it around well, get all the rice off the sides of the pot, scrape the wooden spoon around to make sure none of the rice is stuck to the bottom.
Add the water and stir the rice in well.

Put the lid on the pot, wait until it comes up to the boil, then turn the heat right down, below low if you can, really just keep it so it’s barely on.  Now leave it alone.  Don’t take the lid off.  Don’t stir it.  Don’t even look at it.  Set a timer for 15 minutes, and try to avoid even thinking about it.  You see, your sizzingly and boiling were really just a practical majick to entice kind hearted spirits into your pot, they do the job of the cooking and puffing up of the rice, and if you bother them, they’ll all run away.
Cover the pot and leave to boil undisturbed for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, the kind spirits will drink up all the water, and leave, you’ll find a bunch of little holes, that’s where the spirits were lying while they did their work.  Stir the rice up so any excess moisture on the rice steams off.  Unless you cheated (or estimated, against my advice) your water & rice quantities, there will be no spare water in the bottom of the pot.
The rice will look nice and puffed when it's cooked, with no spare water left in the pot.

Put as much of the rice in a bowl (or on a plate) as you want to eat, all of it makes a very filling lunch for a big lad.  Add some chunks of tuna on top.
Add some chunk of tuna.  Oily is better than briney.

Got your favourite furikake?  I’ve got mine.  Chilli flavour.  Awww yeah.
Got your favourite furikake? Good, now is the time to sprinkle it on.

Sprinkle on as much as you like.  I get about 5 meals from a pouch.
Yum.  Stir it in a bit, and you're good to go.

Mix everything up a bit, and it’s ready to eat.  And so good.
It's some good stuff.