Friday, August 18, 2017

Baked Brown Sugar Custard

delicious and creamy, baked brown sugar custard to cook this weekend

Make this rich, silky baked custard this weekend. Thank me later. 

Baked  brown sugar custard with dates
10 fresh dates, pitted and cut in half - See Note
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways & seeds scraped
 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) pouring (whipping) cream
375 ml (13 fl oz/11/2 cups) milk
10 large egg yolks
140 g (5 oz/3/4 cup) soft brown sugar
fresh nutmeg, for grating

serves 6

Preheat the oven to 160°C (315°F/Gas 2–3). Grease an 8 cm (31/2 inch) deep, 1.5–2 litre (52–70 fl oz/6–8-cup capacity), non-metallic baking dish. Evenly distribute the date halves around the bottom of the dish — it should be a neat fit.

Put the vanilla bean and seeds in a saucepan with the cream and milk over medium heat and slowly bring just to the boil. Remove from the heat, then cover and allow to infuse for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until smooth. Strain the infused milk mixture and gradually whisk it into the egg yolks until smooth. Carefully pour the mixture over the dates, trying not to disturb them. Finely grate enough nutmeg over the custard to lightly cover the surface.

Place the baking dish in a large roasting tin, then pour in enough warm water to come halfway up the side of the baking dish. Bake for 11/2 hours, or until the custard is dry and golden on top but still a little wobbly.

Remove the baking dish from the oven, but leave it in the water bath for 10 minutes. Carefully lift the baking dish from the water bath and allow the custard to rest for a further 10 minutes, before serving on its own or with some lightly whipped cream.

NOTE: You can omit the dates - or use Prunes, fresh figs, rum soaked raisins or similar.

Recipe Copyright  - Jane Lawson from her cookbook 'Grub - Favourite Food Memories'
published by Murdoch Books
Photo by Steve Brown

Saturday, June 10, 2017


Our 3 scheduled Zenbu Tours for 2018 are filling up fast! 

You'd best be quick not to miss the Earlybird Specials! They end in early July 2017.

In fact they've already been snapped up for the Spring Tour in May - which is almost full! There are a couple of spots left on this gorgeous tour if you'd care to join us! 

There are still spaces on both the ever-popular 12 day Zenbu Zen Tour  of Kyoto in early January and the new and even more immersive 15 day Zenbu Setsubun tour of Kyoto and Tokyo. 

Please head on over to ZENBU TOURS for more details 

If you prefer DIY travel (but with a whole lot of groundwork done for you - including lots of direction pointing with places to eat, visit, experience you'd never find on your own...) then check out our detailed, personalised itinerary options. 

Oh and Ps - if you'd like to take a peek at the types of meal we enjoy on Zenbu Tours - take a look HERE. 

Interested in what other people have to say about Zenbu Tours? 
Well we'd very much like to share our TESTIMONIALS HERE and a little bit from the MEDIA HERE.

Naoshima Art Island - Japan

Attention Art Lovers ! 

Curious about the wonderful Naoshima? 

Hop over to Zenbu Tours to read about how to get the most from your travel experience. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Just a quick head's up for those of you interested in Jane Lawson's cuisine and culture tours of Japan - our popular ZENBU ZEN TOUR for early 2017 SOLD OUT in record time!!!

* 7/8 update - just quietly  - one couple has had to cancel so two spaces have just become available on the above tour - but don't dilly dally!  

BUT  - the good news is that we've just announced a SECOND ZENBU ZEN TOUR which will run just a week afterwards! 

But you'd best be quick not to miss the EARLYBIRD SPECIAL! 

Please head on over to ZENBU TOURS for details 

Jane x

oh ps - if you'd like to take a peek at the kind of meals we enjoy on Zenbu Tours - take a look HERE. 

Interested in what other people have to say about Zenbu Tours? 
Well we'd very much like to share our TESTIMONIALS HERE and a little bit from the MEDIA HERE.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Excited & Nervous....

These are the two standard emotions which face off with against each other whenever I have a new book about to hit the shelves!
In just one short month my newest 'baby' MILKBAR MEMORIES will land and you'll have the opportunity to take a peek! And hopefully be more on the excited side and less nervous than me!

I reckon those of you who are fans of my book Grub -Favourite Food Memories ( a book I wrote almost 10 years ago now! eeek)  are going to DIG this - well at least I hope you do!  It's the cookbook of your childhood dreams... ;)

Even though I really, really want to - I'm not allowed to say ANYTHING more until the book is on sale or my publisher will beat me! 

Whilst I'll always encourage people to support your local bookstore - if you are going to buy online - do it with an Australian online bookstore.  

And on that.. I have some NEWS!!

 If you'd like to be one of the first to see Milkbar Memories  then please hop on over to Booktopia where they are offering an earlybird special for anyone who pre-orders a copy - an amazing 20% off the recommended retail price!  

I might have to buy some myself at that price! 

Anyway - I hope you like it! I'll be back to share more once MM is finally released!

Jane x

Friday, October 23, 2015

Polverone Tartlets with Caramelised Apple and Cider Custard


Polvorone Tartlets with Apple and Cider Custard

cider custard
375 ml (13 fl oz/1 1/2 cups) cream (whipping)
 125 ml (4 fl oz/ 1/2 cup) milk
8 egg yolks
60 ml (2 fl oz /1/4 cup) sweet Spanish sidra , or other sweet alcoholic apple cider
 80 g (2 3/4 oz /1/3 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
11/2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
2 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
 11/2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)

250 g (9 oz/2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
 1 teaspoon whole aniseeds
 40 g (1 1/2 oz /1/4 cup) pine nuts
60 g (2 1/4 oz /1/2 cup) icing (confectioners’) sugar
 200 g (7 oz) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
2 teaspoons oloroso sherry

caramelised apple
30 g (1 oz) unsalted butter 8 small crisp, sweet apples (such as fuji), peeled, cored and cut into eighths
100 g (3 1/2 oz /1/2 cup) soft brown sugar
80 ml (2 1/2 fl oz /1/3 cup) sweet Spanish sidra , or other sweet alcoholic apple cider
 80 ml (2 1/2 fl oz /1/3 cup) clear apple juice
 80 ml (2 1/2 fl oz /1/3 cup) cream (whipping)

Makes 8

To make the cider custard, pour the cream and milk into a saucepan and just bring to the boil. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks, cider, sugar, vanilla, flour and cornflour in a heatproof bowl. Gradually whisk in the hot cream mixture until smooth, then pour into a clean, heavy-based saucepan and place over low heat. Using a balloon whisk, stir continuously for 15 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and smooth and clearly holds a ‘ribbon’ shape when drizzled from the whisk onto the custard. Allow to cool slightly, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or until completely cold.

To make the pastry, put the flour, aniseeds, pine nuts and icing sugar in a food processor with a pinch of salt. Process until the nuts are finely chopped, then add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms crumbs. Put the egg yolk, vanilla extract and sherry in a bowl and mix together well. Using a flat-bladed knife and a cutting action, mix the liquid into the flour until it forms clumps. Gather together into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Divide the dough into eight equal portions, then roll each one out between two sheets of baking paper to 5 mm ( 1/4 inch) thick. Remove the top layers of paper and invert the pastry over eight 10 cm (4 inch) individual tart tins with removable bases. Fit the pastry into the tins, trim the edges and freeze for 1 hour. Save any leftover pastry for making into shortbread biscuits (cookies).
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Bake the tart shells for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before releasing them from the tins.

While the tart shells are cooling, prepare the caramelised apple. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium–high heat and sauté the apple for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden — if your pan isn’t quite large enough you may need to work in two batches. Remove the apple from the pan and stir in the sugar, cider, apple juice and cream. Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes. Mix the apple through, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, or until the apple is soft but not falling apart, and the sauce is golden and glazy. Allow to cool slightly. Fill the tart shells with the custard, top with the warm apple and serve at once.

Copyright of Jane Lawson. Recipe from Cocina Nueva - the New Spanish Kitchen by Jane Lawson, published by Murdoch Books. Image by Photographer Steve Brown. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Macadamia Cake with Lime Syrup


I swear everyone who cooks this recipe falls in love with it. 

Toasty, buttery macadamia with sweet lime. Perfect for a beautiful sunshine-filled day. 

A little goes a long way and it keeps well - check it out and let me know how you go!

Macadamia cake with lime syrup 

200 g (7 oz/11/4 cups) macadamia nuts
185 g (61/2 oz/11/2 cups) self-raising flour
 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
200 g (7 oz) unsalted butter, softened
230 g (81/2 oz/1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
 4 large eggs
 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
 80 ml (21/2 fl oz/1/3 cup) milk

LIME SYRUP 170 g (6 oz/3/4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
 3 teaspoons finely julienned lime zest
80 ml (21/2 fl oz/1/3 cup) lime juice
 1 tablespoon rum, optional

serves 10–12

Preheat the oven to 160°C (315°F/Gas 2–3). Grease a 25 cm (10 inch) wide, 9 cm (31/2 inch) deep, non-stick bundt tin or other scalloped-edge ring cake tin.
Very finely grind the macadamias in a food processor or in several batches in a blender, then tip into a mixing bowl. Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda over the top and combine well.
Beat the butter and sugar using electric beaters until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and lime zest. Mix in half the flour mixture, then half the milk. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture and milk, until all the ingredients are well combined. Spoon into the prepared tin and smooth over. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the cake is dark golden and comes away slightly from the side of the tin. A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.

Allow the cake to rest in the tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes, before inverting onto the rack to cool completely. (If you tip the cake out of the tin before this time it may collapse.)
To make the lime syrup, put the sugar, lime zest, lime juice and 125 ml (4 fl oz/1/2 cup) water in a small saucepan and stir over high heat until the sugar has dissolved. Boil for 5 minutes, or until slightly syrupy. Lift out the lime zest with a fork and set aside as a garnish. Take the syrup off the heat and stir in the rum, if using.

Brush the syrup evenly over the entire cake surface. Decorate the top of the cake with the reserved lime zest and serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. This cake keeps well — wrap it thoroughly in plastic and store at room temperature for a few days, or refrigerate for a week (or even freeze for up to 1 month).

Recipe from Grub - Favourite Food Memories by Jane Lawson. Published by Murdoch Books. Image by Photographer Steve Brown.