Socialising and eating yummy food is a big part of MCG gardens! We have some wonderful cooks and bakers who generously share their special recipes. Below are a sample, watch this space for more...

Scroll down for these recipes

  • Lemon Cordial 
  • Lime Syrup Cake
  • Spicy Carrot and Pumpkin Cupcakes
  • Geranium Leaf Butter Cake
  • Macadamia & Lemon Myrtle Cookies 
  • Slow-Roast Tomato, Goats Cheese and Mint Salad 
  • Pumpkin Soup with Toasted Sweetcorn 
  • Sorrel Soup 
  • Pumpkin and Pumpkin Seed Tart 
  • Baked Rhubarb with Apple and Strawberries 
  • Vanilla Rice Pudding 

Lemon Cordial

Cooking time: Less than 30 minutes
Makes: 2 litres of cordial


1.5 kg caster sugar
Zest and juice of 7 lemons
1 litre boiling water
60g (¼ cup) citric acid


  • Combine all ingredients in large bowl or non-reactive saucepan; stir well until sugar dissolves
  • Stand covered 3 hours or overnight, before straining into bottles to store
  • Store in a cool dark place. To serve, dilute with sparkling or still mineral water, as for normal cordials

Lime Syrup Cake

Adapted from a recipe (Joyce's Lemon Cake) from Damien Pignolet’s superb book, French, 2005
 by Silvana Griffin


Silvana and her wonderful lime cake
125g unsalted butter (room temp)

175g raw caster sugar

Freshly grated zest of 1 large lime

2 large eggs (room temp)

100 ml milk (room temp)

150g self raising flour, sifted with a good pinch of fine salt

Lime syrup

100g raw caster sugar

100ml freshly squeezed and strained lime juice (or a combination of lime and lemon juices – say, 2 large limes and half a large lemon)

  • Preheat oven to 175C

  • Grease and line 23cm round cake tin

  • In food processor, process butter and sugar for a couple of minutes until creamy and light
  • Add the first egg and the zest and process to mix well
  • Add the second egg and process well
  • Scrape down the sides, slowly add the milk while the motor is running
  • Stop the machine, add the flour and salt and process for around 20 seconds
  • Scrape down the bowl and process for another 20 seconds


  • Pour into prepared tin, level the top and bake for 30 – 35 mins (test with a skewer for doneness – should emerge clean and dry)
  • While the cake is baking make the syrup in a small saucepan by dissolving the sugar in the juice on low/medium heat, then bring to simmer for 2 minutes – it will become syrupy on cooling
  • When the cake is ready and has had 5-10 mins cooling in the tin, poke a skewer all over the surface of the cake and then slowly spoon the syrup all over (use all the syrup) and leave in the tin until cold, then turn out
  • Serve with cream or yoghurt


Spicy Carrot and Pumpkin Cupcakes

Silvana Griffin
(Makes around 55+ mini or 24 regular sized cupcakes)


Half cup caster sugar

Half cup brown sugar (packed)

Half cup unsalted butter (soft/room temp)

2 eggs (large/room temp)

1 cup cooked pumpkin, mashed well

Half cup sour cream (room temp)

1 tspn vanilla extract

2 cups plain flour

1 level tsp bicarb soda

1 level tsp baking powder

Half tspn fine salt

Half tspn ground ginger

Half tspn cinnamon

1 cup carrot (finely grated)


  • Preheat oven to 180C

  • Line tins with paper cases (or grease and flour)

  • Cream butter and both sugars

  • Add eggs, one at a time and beat well after each one

  • Stir in pumpkin, sour cream and vanilla

  • Combine all dry ingredients and sift into the wet mixture and stir

  • Add the grated carrot and stir until just combined evenly

  • Spoon into the cases just over three quarters full

  • Bake for about 12-15 mins for mini cupcakes (say 25 mins for regular) – test for readiness with fine skewer (should come out clean)

  • Cool for 5-10 mins in tine before turning out to cool completely

  • Ice with your favourite icing

Silvana’s easy cream cheese frosting

1 tub spreadable original Philly Cheese

Half tsp vanilla essence 

Say approx. 2 heaped tblspn sifted icing sugar (or to your taste)

1 tspn fine grated orange zest

  • Mix the lot together really well until smooth 

  • Spread over cold cupcakes
Sprinkle over some extra orange rind or a fine dusting of cinnamon


Geranium Leaf Butter Cake

(adapted by Tina Jackson)

 Tina's adaptation of traditional recipe

4-5 medium-sized scented (rose or lemon) geranium leaves 
¾ cup of caster sugar 
125g butter 
2 eggs lightly beaten 
1½ cups self raising flour 
pinch salt 
¼ cup milk


  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees and brush a 20 cm square cake tin with oil or butter and line base with baking paper. 
  • Remove stalks from geranium leaves and wash and dry, place in prepared tin with right side uppermost (the leaves will not sit completely flat).
  • In small bowl, beat sugar and butter until creamy, then add eggs gradually, beating thoroughly. 
  • Transfer mixture to large bowl and using metal spoon fold in sifted flour and salt alternatively with the milk. 
  • Stir until just combined and mixture is smooth. 
  • Place mixture on top of leaves to flatten them. Spoon in remaining mixture and smooth the surface.
  • Bake for 30 minutes and remove from oven. Let sit for 10 minutes before turning on to wire rack to cool. 
  • Serve warm or cold with fresh whipped or clotted cream if desired.

Tina's notes:
Be careful not to overcook or it will be dry. The cake is best eaten on the day it is made. Good with fruit compote. For presentation, sift icing sugar on top if desired and decorate with geranium leaves around the cake. Only use leaves that have not been sprayed with insecticide.

You can also make geranium sugar by putting the leaves in a sugar container.

Scented geranium grows easily from a cutting.

Macadamia & Lemon Myrtle Cookies


125 g butter
⅔ cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup self-raising flour
2 teaspoons Barbushco lemon myrtle ground spice
2 ½ cups crushed macadamias (or macadamia chips)


  • Cream butter & sugar
  • Add egg, salt and vanilla
  • Add flour
  • Stir in lemon myrtle and macadamia
  • Place teaspoonfuls on greased tray
  • Bake at 180° until golden brown (approx 15 - 18 mins)

N.B. Macadamias aren't cheap. 2 cups of nuts makes 2 ½ cups of ground nuts.

P.S. I used a fine grater with a food processor the first time and this ground the macadamias to almost a paste.  The second time I used a hand grinder with bigger holes which was easier and made less cleaning!  The mixture softens when you add the macadamias because they are so oily.  I made my batch with tablespoon quantities (having misread the recipe) so they came out much larger and softer in the centre.

Gill Lee

Nigella Lawson's Slow-Roast Tomato, Goats Cheese and Mint Salad

 Recipe from Nigella Express, by Nigella Lawson, Chatto & Windus, $69.95
Source: The Advertiser


500g (about 24) on-the-vine cherry or other baby tomatoes
1 tsp table salt 
1/4 tsp sugar
12 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp olive oil
200g rocket or spinach leaves
200g soft goat's cheese
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
Serves 8


  • Preheat oven to 220C. Cut tomatoes in half and sit them cut side up in an ovenproof dish
  • Sprinkle with salt, sugar, thyme and olive oil. Put them in the oven, and immediately turn it off
  • Leave the tomatoes in the oven overnight or for a day without opening the door
  • For the salad, arrange the leaves in a large dish and dollop soft goat's cheese here and there. Add the cooked-down, intensely red tomato halves
  • In the same dish the tomatoes have been cooking in, whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil and pour over the salad. Scatter with the chopped mint

Pumpkin Soup with Toasted Sweetcorn

(Delia Smith: Delia's Vegetarian Selection)


700 gms pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped into 2.5 cm cubes
570 gms sweetcorn scraped off the cob (about 6 cobs)
25 gms butter, plus one extra teaspoon to toast the corn
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
275 ml whole milk
725 ml hot stock (e.g. vegetable bouillon powder)
salt and freshly milled black pepper

  • Melt 25 gms of the butter in a large saucepan, then add the onion and soften it for about 8 mins
  • Add the chopped pumpkin along with half the sweetcorn, then give everything a good stir and season with salt and pepper
  • Put the lid on the saucepan, and simmer the vegetables very gently to allow them to sweat and release their juices - takes about 10 mins
  • Pour in the milk and stock and stir
  • Simmer gently for about 20 mins with the lid on but partly open in case the milk in the liquid causes it to boil over. Keep an eye on it, just in case
  • Meanwhile, pre-heat the grill to its highest setting for 10 mins 
  • Melt the extra teaspoon of butter, mix with the other half of the sweetcorn and spread it out on a baking tray
  • Season with salt and pepper and pop it under the hot grill, about 7.5 cms from the heat to allow it to brown. This will take about 8 mins. Turn the corn around halfway through
  • When the soup is ready, allow it to cool a little, then blend it in a food processor to a puree, leaving a little bit of texture
  • Serve in hot bowls with the toasted corn sprinkled on top

Sorrel Soup

By Terra Brockman: Chicago Sustainable Food Examiner adapted by Gill Lee

Because sorrel "melts down" into a sauce after a few minutes of cooking, be sure to start with two or more bunches from your local farmers market.

Wash the leaves, and de-rib them if they are large to eliminate any stringiness. Hold a leaf, folded lengthwise, in one hand and pull off the stem and centre rib with the other.

This soup is also excellent cold, with some plain yoghourt swirled into it.


For 6 - 8 servings  (I halved the quantities)

2 bunches of fresh sorrel - about a pound
6 cups of water or stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
I pound of potatoes, cubed
Good dollop of plain yoghurt

OR - optional 'rich' extras
2 large eggs
1/2 cup crème fraiche or heavy cream (I used light sour cream)


  • Wash the sorrel and de-rib the leaves if necessary. Put it in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, until the sorrel has melted into a puree and nearly all of its liquid has evaporated.
  • Add the water and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. 
  • Add the potatoes and cook over low heat until the potatoes are cooked through - about 15 mins. If you prefer a creamy rather than a chunky soup, put it into a blender, then return it to the saucepan.
  • Dilute some yoghurt with some of the sauce and then add to the rest. OR combine the eggs and crème fraiche in a warmed serving bowl. Mix well. Add a ladle of the potato and sorrel mixture and mix well. Pour in the remaining potato and sorrel mixture and serve immediately.

Stephanie Alexander's Pumpkin and Pumpkin Seed Tart

(from: Kitchen Garden Companion)

Note from Gill:  I found that both the amount of pastry and the quantity of the filling was too generous for the size of tart specified and I used the excess to make another small tart the next dayI suppose it depends on the depth of the tart tin.  I sometimes leave out the pepitas.  Stephanie's pastry is rich but delicious: don't stint by using ready made.

20 cm tart tin with removable base

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion halved and sliced into half moons
400 gms peeled and seeded pumpkin, cut into 1cm cubes
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons Roasted Pumpkin Seeds or pepitas
3 free range eggs
2 free-range egg yolks
1 cup milk
1 cup thickened cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
freshly grated nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper

Basic Shortcrust Pastry
240 gm plain flour, pus extra for dusting
a pinch of salt
180 gms butter, chopped


Sift flour and salt into a food processor, then add butter cubes. Pulse briefly to combine butter and flour until mixture looks like breadcrumbs. With motor running, gradually add approx 4 tablespoons ice-cold water and process just until mixture forms a round ball.  Lightly dust a workbench with flour, then tip dough out and knead briefly.  Wrap in plastic film and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Remove pastry from refrigerator and dust workbench lightly with flour, then roll pastry to fit a 20 cm tart tin with removable base.  Line tine with pastry, trimming edge with a small sharp knife.  Cover with foil and place pastry weights (or dried chick peas) on foil.  Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 200 °C. Blind-bake pastry for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, leave tart shell to cool for a few minutes, then remove pastry weights and foil. Reduce over temperature to 170 °C.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan that has a lid over medium heat, then sauté the onion for 5-8 mins or until limp and starting to colour. Add pumpkin and salt and stir. Cover pan, reduce heat to low and cook for 10 mins.  Remove lid and test that pumpkin is tender, then increase heat to high and stir until pumpkin and onion have started to catch at the edges; the tart will taste better if there are a few caramelised bits. Tip pumpkin mixture into a mixing bowl and add roasted pumpkin seeds.

In another bowl, lightly whisk eggs and yolks together. Whisk in milk and cream just enough to mix. Tip in pumpkin and onion mixture and stir, then stir in two-thirds of the parmesan and the nutmeg. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Put blind-baked tart shell on a baking try and place it on the oven shelf. Carefully pour in filling, moving pumpkin around if necessary with a spook or fork to ensure an even distribution.  Sprinkle top with remaining parmesan.

Bake tart for 20-25 mins or until just set. Remove tart tin on baking tray to a cake cooling rack and leave to cool a little before cutting. This tart is best served warm rather than hot.

N.B. Almost any cooked vegetable can be used to make this sort of open tart. The veggies must be cooked first and drained well so as not to spoil the texture of the filling or crispness of the pastry. You could try carrot, silver beet or Jerusalem artichokes cut into chunks, copped or pureed. It is quite rich made with cream and yet not sufficiently luscious made with milk, so you can compromise and make it with half thickened cream and half milk.

Baked Rhubarb with Apple and Strawberries

(Adaption of a 'Simply Bill' recipe)

I bunch (500 gms) rhubarb
1 Granny Smith Apple
110 gms of caster sugar
1 punnet of strawberries
(Optional) A couple of 'robust' rose geranium leaves tied with string like a bouquet garni (more mature leaves are less likely to disintegrate)


  • Preheat oven to 180° C (350°F). 
  • Trim away the base and leaves of the rhubarb and rinse the stems. 
  • Cut the rhubarb into short (4 cms) lengths. 
  • Peel and cut up the apple into small chunks (no need to thinly slice). 
  • Top the strawberries and slice in half. 
  • Put rhubarb and apples into a stainless steel, or ceramic baking dish (e.g. a Le Creuset type ceramic casserole dish with a lid). Add the sugar and thoroughly coat the rhubarb and apples. 
  • Add the strawberries and stir through.
  • Lay the geranium leaves on the top.
  • Cover the baking dish tightly with foil or a close fitting lid.
  • Bake for 35-40 mins or until soft.
  • Carefully remove the geranium leaves
  • Let the fruit cool in the syrup that has formed, spooning the syrup over the fruit as it is cooling to give it a bright even colour.

Great with home-made rice pudding (see Bill's recipe below), spooned onto muesli with a dollop of yoghourt, or added to a slice of sponge cake with cream as a tangy easy dessert.

Vanilla Rice Pudding


1 litre milk
75 grams sugar
2 strips orange rind
1 vanilla pod, scraped, or I teaspoon vanilla extract
180 grams Arborio rice
3 egg yokes


  • Put milk, sugar, orange rind, vanilla bean (and seeds) in a heavyish saucepan or cook-top casserole dish and bring to simmer over medium heat.
  • Add rice and sir occasionally to prevent it catching on bottom of pan.
  • Cook for 30 mins or until the rice is tender.
  • Add the lightly beaten egg yolks one at a time, mixing well.
  • Remove from heat and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Remove orange rind and vanilla bean.
  • Spoon into serving bowls and serve hot with baked rhubarb and cream/mild yoghourt or cover and allow to cool (a skin will form if left uncovered).
  • Serve with stewed fruit like baked rhubarb.

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