Today was the Foundation Day public holiday in Western Australia, so I took the opportunity to invite a few family over for lunch – any excuse for some crazy cooking madness. So what’s on the menu?

First up is leek, bacon & vintage cheddar quiche. I discovered this simple recipe a while ago in Good Taste magazine, and it’s become my standard thing to make if I have guests – if I’m taking one to a family function I always make two otherwise the first one doesn’t always make it there intact! You can see the full recipe here, although I tend to use frozen shortcrust pastry more for the sake of speed than anything. It might also be because I’m hopeless at pastry.

ingredients
Short crust pastry
1 large leek – trimmed and thinly sliced
175g rindless short crust bacon, chopped
1/2 cup grated vintage cheddar
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk

method

  • make pastry if you’re so inclined, or line a flan case with pre-made. Blind bake according to your recipe or the packet instructions (mine was 10 mins @ 200C lined with baking paper and weighted with pastry beads then a further 7 mins)
  • heat some olive oil in a pan. Cook the leek for 8 minutes until soft. Remove, then cook the bacon for 4 minutes until golden.
  • sprinkle the leek and bacon over the pastry case, then cover with the grated cheddar.
  • whisk the eggs and milk in a jug, then season with salt and pepper (I wanted a more substantial quiche today so I increased the recipe to 6 eggs & 3/4 cup milk). Pour the egg mixture over the leek mixture, then cook at 180C for 25 minutes or until set. Eat it while it’s still warm 🙂

Next is the “cheat” sausage rolls. This one is pretty obvious when you think about it; thanks to this recipe from Anna Gare for showing me the way. Simply cut a sheet of frozen puff pastry in half, place the contents of your favourite sausage (skin removed) down the middle, fold over & seal on the bottom, brush with egg yolk and bake at 180C for 20 mins. So quick and easy to make, and much nicer than frozen ones. I used a pack of six British Sausage Company pork sausages and 1 1/2 sheets of frozen pastry to make all these.

So onto dessert. I’ve had my eye on this recipe from Irish cook Donal Shekan for the “ultimate chocolate cake with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting” for a while…
ingredients
350g self-raising flour
5 tbsps cocoa powder
2 tsps bicarbonate soda
300g caster sugar
4 large free-range eggs, beaten
300ml sunflower oil
300ml semi-skimmed milk
4 tbsps golden syrup
For the frosting
400g good-quality white chocolate
220g butter, at room temperature
450g cream cheese
440g icing sugar, sifted
method
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line two 2 x 9 inch (23cm) cake tins. Sieve the flour, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda into the bowl of a stand-alone mixer. Add the sugar and mix well.
  2. Measure the wet ingredients in a measuring jug. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the contents of the jug. Beat together in the mixer until you are left with a smooth mixture. Spoon the cake batter into the lined tins and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until risen and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and leave to cool before transferring to a wire rack until completely cool.
  3. To make the frosting, melt the chocolate in a bowl placed on top of a saucepan filled with a little water boiling over a low heat. Remove from the heat to cool for about 10 minutes. Place the butter and cream cheese in a bowl and beat until fluffy and combined.
  4. Mix through the melted white chocolate and then gradually sift and beat in the icing sugar until you have a smooth, spreadable mixture.
  5. Slice the the cake layers in half horizontally and then place one on a cake stand and spread over a little of the frosting. Repeat this with all the layers of the cake until it is assembled.

This cake was absolutely massive, and the frosting so rich! Everybody enjoyed it, although no-one could eat all of the piece they were served – in one go anyway. Time for a little lie down I think…