Easiest Cake Ever!

(Shown here is this cake as an "upside down" version)

Serves 8
Effort: Easy


1/3 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup super fine sugar (not icing sugar)
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup milk or coffee cream
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla


- add 2 mashed bananas & chopped walnuts, or
- add 1/2 cup cocoa powder, or
- add 2 peeled, cored and chopped apples & 2 tsp. cinnamon, or
- add 1 tbsp. grated orange peel
the options are endless, so get creative!

Heat oven to 375o.
Grease and flour either a 9" round cake tin, or a bread tin.
Put all the ingredients (except whatever options you choose to add) in a large bowl and using an electric mixer, mix at medium to low speed until well combined. If using any of the options, fold those in.
Pour into the baking tin, and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until when tooth pick is inserted it comes out dry. Cool on a wire rack and frost with your favourite frosting or simply sprinkle with icing sugar.

(This recipe was adapted from Better Homes & Gardens)

Chicken Tikka Masala - my way!

Effort: Easy
Serves: 4


1 lb deboned, skinned chicken meat (I personally prefer breast for this recipe) - cut into large cubes or strips
1 large white onion, chopped
A 2" piece of fresh Ginger- minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbs Garam Masala*
2 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp (or more) either Cayenne pepper or child pepper flakes (I used the latter)
2 tbs Tomato paste
1 small can whole Italian tomatoes
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
Butter or neutral oil for sautéing
 1/2 cup Full fat yogurt, plus 4 tsp. for serving
Cilantro - about 1/2 cup, coarsely chopped
Crushed sea salt to taste
Black pepper
A tiny bit of sugar to balance out the tomatoes

Add 1-2 tbsp. butter or neutral oil to a large skillet, heat until very hot & add chicken pieces. Sauté quickly, stirring from time to time until browned and almost cooked through. Remove from heat and turn chicken into a bowl. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and 1/4 of the Garam Masala. (Some people prefer to combine it before cooking the chicken but I find it burns and ruins the taste). Set aside.

In the same pan, add some more butter or oil, onion & garlic. Sauté until transparent, add the ginger and sauté for another minute. Add the tomato paste, quickly mix and cook for about 20 seconds then add the tomatoes and lemon juice, crushing the tomatoes with your spoon. Add salt, chill flakes, the rest of the garam masala and turmeric. Mix well, ensuring you scrape the bottom of the pan, and cook on medium heat until bubbling. Add a tiny bit of sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes, then add the chicken, lower the heat to medium low and cover. Cook for about 15-20 minutes until the chicken is tender. Adjust salt and pepper to your taste. Just before serving mix in the 1/2 cup yogurt and the cilantro. Serve either with Basmati rice & peas or with Naan bread or both!

*Garam Masala

1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom seeds
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Combine and keep in a jar for further use. This is a rather small quantity so feel free to double it up and use it for many recipes such as marinating chicken or pork - along with some oil, yogurt & chopped garlic for a great BBQ!