family · health and wellbeing · homemaking


Homemade bread

Man does not live by bread alone. Not a truer word was spake. For a simple gastronomic experience it is a must that it be accompanied by jam, cream, butter or any permutation or combination thereof. And once generously layered with these preserves and toppings it guarantees to satisfy growling bellies whom it has lured by its aromatic welcome at the front door.

As food trends have arrived and departed over the decades (and dare I say centuries) bread in its purest form – flour, yeast, salt and liquid – has stood by unwaveringly witnessing these passages. So basically, the loaves we break today, were broken many times over by our ancestors – with equal pleasure.

To be frank, I don’t grind my millet and bake over coals, but instead harness our kitchen horse – the breadmaker. As pleasing and as therapeutic as it is to knead and prove, I am equally energised by the fact that in the four hours the machine is at work, I can have shopped, cooked, stroked a cat and still have a lovely golden loaf to slice for the afternoon onslaught.

We each have our ‘desert island’ appliances, and the bread machine, although bulky, would be one I would have balanced on the luggage. To be able to have home-baked bread, is truly a pleasure. A loaf of olive bread with pasta, a grainy variety for breakfast toast or a fluffy Vienna with jam and cream in the afternoon are all examples of how our breadmaker adds value to the day.

Before you invest, look around you. Are there family or friends with idle machines that you could press into service? (that was how I was lucky enough to receive mine) The classifieds are another source of pre-loved bakers. However you source your breadmaker, regard it not as a new gadget, but rather a modern tool shoring up the links with your bread-breaking forbears.

Homemade bread, jam and cream

Postscript: and with an ever-expanding supply of jams, marmalades and chutneys on our shelves, what better vehicle is a thick slice of warm bread to transport them?



Chocolate Ripple Log

As a child of the 70’s, any mother who produced a chocolate ripple cake for the ”sweets table” at a local function, won my everlasting respect.

Not sure if it’s the fact that its made from my favourite childhood biscuit, it’s delicious on a hot day straight from the fridge Nigella style, or it’s sheer simplicity, but this would be one childhood dessert that has carried over into adulthood for me, without skipping a beat. Sandwiching biscuits together with cream and making a log – it doesn’t come much simpler than that.

So with temperatures currently in the high 30’s, I could think of nothing nicer than opening the refrigerator to a chilled chocolately log at sunset. Extended setting time is required to allow the cream to seep into the biscuits and become all cakey. So, first thing in the morning, once everyone has vacated, pour yourself a coffee and trowel yourself a creamy log. The sense of accomplishment you’ll radiate by 9.30am will astound.

To get your chocolate ripple cake up and running, here is the recipe, straight from the crinkly pack – and if you feel the need to slip on a kaftan before you begin, by all means do.

1 x 250g packet Arnott’s Choc Ripple biscuits
500ml thickened cream
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
cocoa powder

  1. Using an electric mixer, whip together cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff.
  2. Spread a little of the cream along a long serving plate to make a base. Spread one biscuit with 1 ½ teaspoons of cream then top with another biscuit. Top with another 1 ½ teaspoons cream then place biscuits on their side onto the cream base on the serving plate. Repeat until all biscuits have been used to form a log.
  3. Spread remaining cream over entire log. Cover loosely with foil then refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours to set. Just before serving, dust log with cocoa or sprinkle with grated chocolate if desired. Cut cake diagonally to serve. Serve with seasonal berries.

chocolate ripple sliced

Postscript: A friend will routinely pulverise a packet of chocolate ripples into powder, scoop the resulting crumbles into individual containers, throw in a scattering of sour worm lollies, and market them at fetes and cake stalls as ”Worms in Dirt'” …. just so you know.