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I love to cook, I've always loved to cook.

As a young girl, my time was spent reading the cookbooks that mum kept in the bottom kitchen drawer. Always looking for a new recipe to try, a new food idea. Many weekends were spent making rainbow cakes with as many colours as possible – have you seen my Instagram, not much has changed, and looking for recipes that I could cook using what was available in the cupboard or from the vegetable garden.

At the aged of about 16, I remember stating that I wanted to leave the farm and travel the world. This would be followed by retiring by about 30 and moving back to South Gippsland to grow vegetables and cook. From 16 fast forward 20 years and I returned, starting Jacican Food Studio in Mirboo North, Gippsland where I grow vegetables and cook. This blog is where I share my food adventure.


A recipe for Viennese Sponge by Jacican

When I was growing up, Grandma always made a sponge – whether it was for someone’s birthday, Christmas or Great Aunt Vera’s visits. High, yellow and filled with fresh cream straight from the cowshed vat, they were.

Now that I’m all grown up, I can make my own sponge. Here's what I do.

Viennese Sponge

For the Viennese sponge cake:

  • 50 grams butter
  • 5 eggs
  • 180 grams sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 100 grams flour
  • 110 grams wheat starch

To make a Viennese sponge, I could follow the tradinonal method and spend a vast amount of time standing in front of the stove, whipping the eggs and sugar until my arm falls off, or I could just use the modern technique - The Mix Master. Let's use The Mix Master!

The ingredients for Viennese Sponge from Jacican 

Eggs in the mix master  Whipped eggs

Place the eggs and sugar in The Mix Master and whip until very light and fluffy. Melt the butter and allow it to cool, while the eggs and sugar are whipping.

Folding in the flour and wheat starch  Add the butter 

Carefully fold in the flour and wheat starch, then the melted butter.

In the oven ready to bake  Cooling when out of the oven

I like a square sponge; it's easier to serve up to guests and portion out, but I do make a round sponge as well - it depends on the mood and the need. So I bake the sponge in a 25cm x 30cm flat cake tray. Remember to line the tray with baking paper and grease the corners. Bake in a 170C for about 25 minutes. To check if it is cooked, just lightly touch the top of the sponge and it should bounce back (like a sponge). The uneven colours pictured above are because the oven bakes differently on different shelves in the oven. I use the browned sponge for the top and the yellow sponge for the bottom.

Allow sponges to cool in the cake pans for several hours. After they have thoroughly cooled (and preferably rested overnight), slice the sponge cake horizontally or vertically (depending on your shape) into two layers. For this sponge I made a double batch; one batch for each layer.

Ready to cut to size  Cutting the sponge 

Using a square adjustable cake frame, I cut the sponge to the desired size - today it was a 25cm square.

Adding the cream into the sponge  Filling the sponge with strawberries  Adding more cream to the sponge  The finished Viennese Sponge

Whipped cream and strawberries, then more whipped cream for the filling. Top with the second sponge. I leave the sponge in the fridge overnight before sprinkling with icing sugar and removing the cake frame.

Maybe I’ll make one for the next High Tea. 











GLM winter 1 small

As you all know I write for a local magazine - Gippsland Magazine. I was lucky enough to pick up the gig - share recipes when I meet the editor at a tourism conference. In the 2018 winter, I've shared my recipe column with Nadine, from Wattlebank park farm, down near Wonthaggi.

Nadine is the owner and operator, let just call her the farmer, of Wattlebank Park farm, located at St Clair, about halfway between Inverloch and Wonthaggi. A mixed farm of dairy, beef, pork, and lamb, Nadine produces a way range of meats and small goods that she sells through her farm gate butchers shop and at many of the local farmers' markets. In a collaboration with Prom Country Cheese, she produces a range of cow’s milk cheese. She even coordinates the Bass Coast Makers & Growers market, the second Sunday of each month at the Wonthaggi Goods Shed.

As you all know that I like to buy direct, where I can, from the farmer and as Wattlebank Park farm offers the whole range, it is one of my first go to shops for beef, pork, lamb and small goods. Nadine makes the best ‘Polish Sausage’ you have tasted. You can find her polish sausage atop many of the wood-fired pizzas, made and served locally.

Nadine Wattlebank park farm

Not only is Nadine a farmer, and businesswomen, she is a fantastic cook. The day I visited, she was up earlier, stoking ‘Betty the Rayburn’ to slow roast my meal. Her delicious serving of slow-cooked lamb, cooked through chicken, melting in the mouth beef and crackle, yes, the crackle crackled, roasted pork, made me want to return to the kitchen and cook up a winter roast feast!

So follow along with my next few posts, as I share Wattlebank park farm with you all.


GLM winter 2 small

This recipe was given to me by Jannette from Traralgon, as she had had no luck with her hot sauce. The recipe was passed on to her by her husband's Aunt - Mrs. Olive Scott when she was farming in Wickliffe, Western Victoria. Mrs. Scott now lives in Ararat.

This hot sauce is similar to a "Worcester Sauce" which is a fermented sauce that usually contains anchovies. Anchovies don't grow on trees in Gippsland, for that matter Victoria, so someone learned to make Worcester Sauce or hot sauce as I am calling it, using plums. I have also made a similar sauce before with apples. As this recipe contains no fish (or other meat products for the case) it is suitable for vegetarians.


1.8 kilograms Plums

1.2 kilograms Treacle (if you can't get treacle golden syrup will work)

25 grams ground black pepper

15 grams ground ginger

30 grams salt

900 grams brown sugar

3.3 liters of white vinegar (you could use apple cider vinegar if you wish)

7 grams cayenne pepper

110 grams garlic, crushed

plum hot sauce prep


Put all the ingredients in a large saucepan and boil until the stones fall away from the plums.

Strain to remove all the plums and return to the saucepan.

Boil for 1 hour more, until the sauce thickens to the consistency you like.

Bottle and seal.

This recipe should make about 7 x 250 ml bottles



A recipe for tomato sauce from Jacican

Who likes tomato sauce on their sausage rolls and steak pies? Well here at Jacican, I need tomato sauce on mine. Each year towards the end of the tomato season, I whip up a batch of homemade tomato sauce. One of the many preserves we make in my summer preserving cooking classes.


  • 1 kg red tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 whole allspice
  • 5 grams yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 small pinch of cayenne
  • 120 ml vinegar
  • 6 grams salt
  • 75 grams sugar


Cook tomato and garlic until well pulped.

Put through a mouli to break down to a fine pulp and remove the skin and seeds.

Rinse out the pan and return the pulp to it.

Cut tomatoes ready to cook    Tomatoes in the mouli 


Normally I tie the spices in a muslin bag and add it to the tomato pulp, along with the cayenne, vinegar, salt, and sugar - but normally I make 10 kilograms of sauce at a time. For this recipe, you can add the spices straight into the sauce, which is what I did. Muslin cloth is quite expensive to only use once, then throw away.

Cook until the mixture does not separate. This takes approximately 1½ hours.

Adding the spices to the tomato  Adding vinegar to the tomato  Adding sugar to the tomatoes  Cooked down tomatoes for sauce

Bottle and seal in hot sterilized jars.


Bottling the Jacican tomato sauce recipe

Makes 2 x 250ml bottles.



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