This is the ultimate crowd-pleasing afternoon tea. I made this super quick sweet-treat on MasterChef during a Marco Pierre-White immunity challenge. We were asked to make the perfect morsel to have with a good ol’ cuppa. I not only won the challenge, but won a mass following of home cooks trying them out for themselves. These flavours take me straight back to my childhood where I made the traditional monto-carlo biscuits many times with my beautiful Grandma, Mama – coconut shortbread biscuits, mock-cream and raspberry jam.  I remember waiting ever so patiently for the biscuits to completely cool before putting them together and then sitting down to eat them together, always with a cup of sweet milky-tea. These are easily made in 30 minutes and I especially love my very quick homemade jam!

Coconut Biscuits

  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 100g butter, melted
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla bean paste or vanilla essence

Raspberry Jam

  • 200g raspberries
  • ½ cup caster sugar

Chantilly Cream

  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 3 tbs icing sugar
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla bean paste or vanilla essence

Garnish

  • Mint leaves
  • 70g fresh raspberries
  • Icing sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. To make the biscuits, place flour, coconut and sugar in a bowl and stir to combine. Add melted butter, egg and vanilla and stir to combine. Place spoonfuls of mixture on a lined baking tray and place in the oven to bake until golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and leave on tray to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, to make the jam, place raspberries and sugar in a saucepan and set over medium high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until raspberries have released their juices. Add a splash of water if the jam is catching on the bottom of the saucepan. Continue cooking until raspberries have broken down and mixture has reduced. Remove from saucepan and set aside.
  4. To make the chantilly cream, place cream in a bowl and whisk to form soft peaks. Add sugar and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Set aside.
  5. To make the monte carlos, spread jam on half the biscuits. Top with a raspberry and a dollop of Chantilly cream. Sandwich the filling with the remaining biscuits. Garnish with a small amount of cream, mint, raspberries and a dusting of icing sugar.  

If I had to name a “go-to” cake, this would be it.  Firstly, it’s moist, zesty and absolutely delicious - but the most special thing about it is that it’s suitable for anyone who is dairy or gluten intolerant. Two of my closest girlfriends are coeliac and there is always a smile from ear to ear when I bring this beauty to the table. The syrup is optional and if you’re feeling a little naughty and can have the dairy, a dollop of double cream doesn’t go astray. 

  •  4 eggs, separated
  • 2 x ¼ cup caster sugar
  •  ½ tsp salt
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  •  1 & ½ cups almond meal
  •  1 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  •  1 medium zucchini grated, squeezed to remove water
  •  Icing sugar
  • Edible flowers

Lemon & Mint Syrup

  • Juice & Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Line a springform cake tin with baking paper.
  2.  Whisk eggs whites together until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/4 cup of caster sugar and salt and whisk until stiff peaks form and sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
  3. Combine egg yolks, 1/4 cup caster sugar, lemon zest, almond meal, vinegar, baking powder and zucchini. Mix well until ingredients form a smooth paste.
  4. Gently fold egg whites into mixture until well combined.
  5. Pour into lined cake tin and bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown.
  6. Meanwhile, to make the syrup, add all ingredients to a saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring syrup to the boil and cook for 10-15 minutes until reduced. Strain.
  7. Remove cake from the oven and set aside to cool. Cake will sink slightly.
  8. Dust with icing sugar and arrange edible flowers over the top. Serve with syrup on the side.
  9.  Alternatively, for an extra moist cake, pour syrup over cake while still in the cake tin.

Serve and enjoy!

  • 400 ml coconut milk
  •  2 cups frozen organic raspberries
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • Extra raspberries, mint and desiccated coconut to garnish
  1. Place coconut milk and raspberries in a blender. Process until smooth. Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a jug to remove any seeds.
  2. Add chia seeds to jug. Whisk together and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Pour mixture into jars, ramekins or glasses. Allow to set in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours or overnight.
  4. Remove from fridge. Garnish with raspberries, mint and coconut.

Serve and enjoy! 

  • 1 cup frozen organic raspberries
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbs rosewater
  • 1 cup sparkling mineral water
  • ½ cup ice cubes
  1. Place all raspberries, strawberries, lemon juice, rose water and mineral water in a blender. Process until well combined.
  2. Fill a tall glass with ice cubes and pour over smoothie. Enjoy! 

This dish is so close to my heart. I was developing this dessert before MasterChef was even on the radar.  It captures some of my most treasured childhood flavours and memories - taking me back to days on the beach eating my favourite ice-cream bar that would melt faster then I could eat it. For me, it's the Queensland Summer on a plate. Bowen Mangoes, refreshing and cooling yoghurt, buttery macadamias and of course that summertime heat is represented by the addition of red chilli. This dessert not only resonates with who I am, but it took me through to the Grand Finale - it's definitely a winner!

Mango Sorbet:

  • 90 g sugar
  • 30 g glucose
  • 300 g mango puree
  • juice of 1 lemon

Vanilla Yoghurt Parfait:

  • 2 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 cup Greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • zest of 1/2 lemon

Macadamia and Chilli Praline:

  • 120 g caster sugar
  • 60 g macadamias, toasted
  • 1/2 long red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp salt flakes

Chilli Salt:

  • 1/2 long red chilli, diced
  • 30g sea salt flakes

Garnish:

  • mangoes, diced
  • micro coriander
  • nasturtium and marigold flowers
  1. Turn on ice cream machine to chill setting.
  2. For the mango sorbet, combine sugar with 90 ml water in a small saucepan and stir until sugar has melted. Add glucose and stir until dissolved. Mix in mango and lemon juice and chill over an ice bath. When cool, pour into ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. Once churned, set aside in the freezer.
  3. For the yoghurt parfait, line an 18 cm x 18 cm shallow tray lined with plastic wrap. Place eggs and egg yolk in a medium bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk until pale and fluffy. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Gently fold in yoghurt, vanilla and lemon. Pour into prepared tin and place in freezer until almost set, about 40 minutes. When almost set, remove from freezer and mark widthways into 6 x 9cm x 6cm portions. Return to freezer to set.
  4. For the praline, place macadamia nuts on a paper lined tray. Place caster sugar in pan over medium heat and cook until golden brown. Pour over macadamias and sprinkle with chilli and salt. Allow to set.
  5. Process praline in food processor until fine crumb. Set aside.
  6. For the chilli salt, combine chillies and salt flakes in a food processor until fine.
  7. To serve, cut parfait into rectangles and place on plate. Add diced mango, chilli praline, micro coriander and sorbet. Top with flowers and sprinkle with chilli salt.

Who doesn't love an ice-cream sandwich? To say they are a crowd pleaser is an understatement.  I was lucky enough to create these beauties for the very lovely Maggie Beer. I truly believe this dessert is the definition of simple and delicious. Uncomplicated and impressive. I make many desserts using lemon and thyme, but I can confidently say this is my favourite.

Biscuit :

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 125 g unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp chopped thyme
  • 1 egg yolk

Semifreddo:

  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 3 whole eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
  • 2 lemons, juiced and zested
  • 375 ml cream, whipped to soft peaks

Syrup:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 60ml water
  • 60ml verjuice
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves

Garnish :

  • marigold petals
  • thyme flowers
  1. Preheat oven to 180 C.

For the semifreddo

  1. Whisk together sugar, eggs and egg yolks until combined. Place over a pan of simmering water and whisk continuously over gentle heat until the mixture becomes thickened and light in colour. Slowly mix through lemon juice and zest. Set aside to cool.
  2. Once cool, fold through whipped cream. Pour into an 18 x 28cm plastic lined tin and transfer to the freezer for 3 hours or until set.

For the biscuits

  1. Combine all ingredients in an electric mixer to form a soft dough. Spoon 12 tablespoons of mixture onto lined trays and bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and set aside to cool.
  2. Once semifreddo has set, remove from freezer and gently remove from the tin. Using a round cookie cutter the size of the biscuits (approximately 7cm) cut out rounds of semifreddo. Transfer back to the freezer until assembly.

For the syrup

Place all ingredients into a saucepan and simmer over medium heat until reduced and syrupy. Strain through a sieve and set aside.

To assemble

Place a round of semifreddo between 2 biscuits. Repeat with remaining biscuits and semifreddo. Place on serving platter. Drizzle with syrup and garnish with marigold petals and thyme flowers.

Carrot Cake would have to be one of my all time favourite cakes. This tasty little recipe provides you with all the key flavours you would find in a generous piece of cake, but in a healthy, lunch-box friendly snack. Make in advance and store in the fridge for the week.

  • 1 carrot, grated
  • ½ cup organic sultanas
  • ¹/³ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup preservative free shredded coconut
  •  1 ½ cups organic walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbs maple syrup
  •  1 tsp organic vanilla essence
  •  Pinch of salt
  • Additional shredded coconut for rolling
  • Marigold flowers to garnish
  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor. Pulse until ingredients come together.
  2.  Roll mixture into balls.
  3. Coat evenly with additional coconut. Arrange on plate and top with marigold petals.
  4. Serve and enjoy!