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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 buttercake from Jacican

I use this recipe for the Kids in the Kitchen cooking classes to make rainbow cakes, and then we cover them with meringue frosting. The recipe uses 2 x 10 cm tins to make two cakes, which seems to be an ideal size for kids to make. In the class, each child makes different colored cakes. Once the cakes have been cooked and cooled, we slice the cakes into layers and share the layers between the groups of children. That way everyone gets to use different colors, in their own order, in their own cake.


  • 185 grams butter
  • 185 grams caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 265 grams self-raising flour
  • 60ml milk
  • As many different food colors as you want, if you are to make a rainbow cake. Leave them out to make a plain butter cake.



  1. Pre-heat over to 180oC. Grease your two 10 cm cake tin and line their bottoms.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar, until light and fluffy. For kids, we start by using a bowl and wooden spoon, then finish off with the electric mixer.
  3. Add one egg at a time and beat well after each egg is added.
  4. Add flour and milk alternately, about 1 third at a time. Mix in thoroughly.
  5. Divide the mix into small bowls – one bowl for each color. Add the required food coloring to each bowl and mix. Leave this step out if making a plain butter cake.
  6. Spoon into the tins. If you're making a colored cake, spoon in one color at a time.
  7. Bake at 180oC for 20 minutes or until cooked.
  8. Cool in tin. Cover with meringue frosting.


We make this recipe in my Gluten-free pastry cooking class.

Among my gluten-free biscuit recipes, the Florentine is perhaps my favorite. They're full of natural ingredients but still deliver on that chocolate hit we all crave. More importantly, though, they are almost too easy to put together with my recipe which yields 12 tasty biscuits for you to enjoy with a hot cuppa in these cold winter months.



100 grams of Sultanas
100 grams of Cornflakes
75 grams of Slivered Almonds
150 grams of Glacé Cherries
200 grams of Condensed Milk
400 grams of Chocolate (any flavor you prefer)

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Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Spray a Texan muffin tin with a lubricant to prevent sticking.
Combine all the ingredients except the chocolate. Mix well.

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Spoon the combined mixture into the muffin tin until each hole is approximately 1/3 full.

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Place in the oven for 20 minutes.
Melt the chocolate over the bain-marie.
Remove the Florentines from the oven and allow them to cool before removing from the tin and coating the flat surface with melted chocolate.
Leave to set with the chocolate facing up.

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Now all you have to do is decide how, when and with whom you will enjoy them, I wouldn't blame you for keeping them all to yourself though.

I hope you enjoy my Florentines and that I see you in the Food Studio soon,



beetroot tatin

This is a versatile entrée, that can be made with many things – potato, tomatoes, carrots, today with beetroot.

You can use store brought puff pastry, but today I make my own rough puff for the tatin.


500 grams of wash Beetroot – blub only (save the leaves for mains)

A drizzle of olive oil


2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and extra for greasing the tin.

2 onions, peeled and sliced

½ cup of brown sugar

¼ cup wine vinegar

Fresh oregano

Fresh thyme 

Homemade rough Puff pastry


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C. Line the bottom of a 20cm loose bottom cake tin with a round of baking paper. Grease the walls of the cake tin with butter. Place the cake tin on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Bring the sheet of aluminum foil up the outside of the cake tin, to enclose the tin. This is to prevent leakage.
  2. Peel beetroots, wearing gloves. Wash beetroot very well to remove any loose dirt. Place the beetroot in a lined baking tray, drizzle with olive oil. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes or until soft when pierced with a sharp knife. Remove from oven and put aside to cool.
  3. Heat the first 2 tablespoons of butter in a frypan, until foaming. Add the sliced onion and reduce the heat. Allow the onion to cook down and caramelize. This may take half an hour. Once the onion has caramelized, remove from the heat and place in a bowl. Set aside until needed. Wipe out the frypan, you will need it again.
  4. Return the frypan to the stove and heat the extra two tablespoons of butter, until melted over a medium heat. Add the brown sugar to the pan and continue to cook for 5 minutes, until the brown sugar has melted. De-glaze the brown sugar with the wine vinegar. Remove from heat. Stir to combine vinegar with brown sugar well to make a toffee.
  5. Pour the toffee into the bottom of the lined loose bottom cake tin. Sprinkle fresh oregano and thyme over the toffee.
  6. Slice the beetroot into 2 cm lengths and place beetroot atop of the toffee, cut side down. Cover the bottom of the cake tin with the potatoes. Top the potatoes with the caramelized onion. Let the onion fall between the potatoes.
  7. Cut the corners of the sheet of puff pastry. This is to make it easier to fit in the cake tin. Place the sheet of puff pastry on top of the onions. Place the tart into your pre-heated oven. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.
  8. Remove the tart from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes, before turning out on a plate.

Thia is one of the many dishes, we make together on the Long Lunch - vegetables for the garden cooking classes at Jacican. I would love it if you would like to come along sometime.



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All of us are a little time poor, so cooking a piece of silverside in the slow cooker is an ideal time-saving meal. Silverside is a relatively cheaper cut of beef, that requires a long slow cook in moist heat. I use the slow cooker for this, which allows me to do other things while the meat simmers away. The vinegar is added to the cooking water helps to tenderize and flavor the meat. This lovely piece of silverside came from Wattlebank Park farm, near Wonthaggi in Gippsland.



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1 piece of silverside – about 1.5 kg

2 dried bay leaves

2 Allspice (pimenta)

50 grams pickled lemon

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

2 stick cinnamon

2 shallots

½ cup white vinegar



  1. Place the herbs, spices, shallots, and silverside in the slow cooker. Pour over the vinegar. Cover the meat with cold water.   Sliverside 014 Sliverside 029 Sliverside 008 Sliverside 028 Sliverside 007

  2. Cook according to the instructions on your slow cooker. I place mine on low and leave for about 6 hours.

The beauty of cooking the silverside this way is once you think you have cooked the meat through, you can leave the meat in the cooking liquid to stay moist until need.

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I have served the silverside on top of fluffy mashed spuds and squash dried broad beans. Beetroot relish makes the perfect quick accompaniment.


PS. The lovely photo's in this recipe and blog were taken by Marc Morel

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