Around the 1970s it became popular to grown zucchinis in backyard vegetable patches, they were easy to grow and produced a good crop. As a result recipes for slices, soups, and cakes started to pop up everywhere. This cake is just one of the many. We tried it out without the nuts, mixed fruit or coconut. It came out very moist and we feel that it needs the either the nuts or fruit to give it more flavour. Lemon icing would be a good addition as well.

Zuccini Cake


  • 1kg zucchini (small one are best)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2¼ cups sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 cups Self Raising flour
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon carb soda
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup of either walnuts, mixed fruit or ½ cup coconut – if desired

Wash and grate zucchinis (skin and all). Beat eggs well and gradually add sugar and beat till thick and creamy. Add vanilla, oil and zucchini and nuts/fruit/coconut, if using, mix well. Add dry ingredients that have been sifted together. Pour mixture into 2 loaf tins or a large cake tin. Bake at 180ºC for 1 hour or 1¼ if using larger tin. Mixture is not very thick. Ice, if desired.


Long before we found out that almonds were so good for us Mum was making these for nibbling on.

Hot Spicy Almonds


  • 250g unbalanced whole almonds
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder (or paprika if less spicy wanted)
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 50g chopped butter
  • Salt

Peel & crush garlic, put in heavy frying pan with all the other ingredients. Place over medium heat and toss mixture with spatula or wooden spoon until nuts turn light brown and look nicely crisp. Allow to cool and store in a clean jar.


Mum used whatever pieces of paper came to hand to write down recipes. This piece had someone’s address on it, but there was still lots of blank space to add a recipe!!

Chicken & Tortellini Salad cropped


  • 300g tri coloured tortellini
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 4 single chicken fillets
  • ½ bunch English spinach shredded
  • 1 large ripe tomato finely chopped
  • Lemon rind to garnish


  • 2 teaspoons French mustard
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup light olive oil

Add pasta to a large pan of boiling water. Boil uncovered till tender. Drain. Rinse pasta under cold water, drain well. Meanwhile, heat oil in non stick pan, add fillets, cook 5 mins on each side or until cooked. Cut diagonally into 2 cm strips. Make dressing – combine all ingredients in jar, shake well. Combine, pasta, fillets, spinach and tomato in large bowl, add dressing toss well. Garnish with lemon rind.


Fruitcakes are essentially easy to make once the fruit is prepared. You can tell this is an old recipe as it has an ingredient not heard of today – Parisienne Essence. Parisienne essence has nothing to do with Paris or even French cooking it was a flavouring used to darken dishes and was used in gravies, fruitcakes and puddings. Leaving it out of this recipe won’t affect the finished cake as there are plenty of other ingredients to give it a good flavour.

Rich Boiled Fruit Cake - Bernice


  • 500g sultanas
  • 375g raisins
  • 125g mixed peel
  • 125g cherries
  • 60g dates
  • 60g apricots or prunes

Or use 1.25kg of mixed fruits of your choice

  • 2 level tablespoons golden syrup
  • 3 tablespoons rum or sherry
  • ¾ cup water
  • 250g butter
  • 250g brown sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 315g plain flour
  • 60g self raising flour
  • ¼ level teaspoon salt
  • 2 level teaspoons mixed spice
  • ¼ level teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ level teaspoon nutmeg
  • 60g whole blanched almonds

Place all the fruit, golden syrup, rum or sherry and water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil stirring occasionally and simmer for two minutes. Pour into a bowl, cover and allow to stand overnight. Cream butter and brown sugar well together. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift dry ingredients, then sift half over the fruit mixture. Mix lightly and then blend into the creamed mixture. Add remainder of flour and blend well. Turn into a 22cm cake tin which has been lined with brown paper and with baking paper (the original recipe says 2 layers of brown and 2 of white, while that might be a bit much you shouldn’t skimp on the paper as the cake cooks slowly and the paper stops it drying out). Top with blanched almonds. Bake at 140°C for 3½ hours or till done.


Pasta dishes have come a long way since Mum first cooked this recipe, but that’s not to say that her version wasn’t tasty.

Spaghetti & Meat Sauce cropped


  • 500g spaghetti
  • 500g finely minced steak
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh herbs or a good pinch of dried herbs
  • 1 small tin tomato puree
  • ½ cup cold water
  • ½ cup red wine, such as claret
  • Salt & pepper
  • Grated cheese

Melt a little butter in a saucepan and fry the chopped garlic and onion until soft but not brown. Add the minced meat, salt, pepper, herbs, cloves, tomato puree, water and wine. Cover and simmer gently for ¾ hour. In a large quantity of salted water cook the spaghetti till soft, about ¾ hour. Drain and place in serving dish. Mix about a third of the sauce into spaghetti and put the rest of the sauce on top. Top with cheese.


This refrigerator cheesecake is hard to beat.

Mars Bar Cheese Cake cropped


  • 250g plain chocolate biscuits, crushed
  • 125g butter, melted
  • 3 teaspoons gelatine,
  • ¼ cup water
  • 375g cream cheese
  • ½ cup castor sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 300ml thickened cream
  • 3 x 60g Mars bars, chopped
  • Extra cream and flaked almonds, to decorate

Combine crushed biscuits and butter in a bowl, mix well. Press mixture evenly over base and sides of a 22cm springform tin. Refrigerate until firm.

Sprinkle gelatine over water in cup, stand in small pan of simmering water, stir till dissolved, cool slightly. Beat cheese, sugar and essence in small bowl with electric mixer till smooth. Beat cream in a separate small bowl till soft peaks form. Stir gelatine mixture into the cream cheese mixture, stir in cream and Mars bars. Pour into crust. Refrigerate till set. Decorate with extra cream and flaked almonds. Not suitable to freeze.


At the end of each summer there were always tomatoes left on the plants in Dad’s vegie patch that weren’t going to ripen once the warm sunny days had gone. Rather than waste them Mum would use them to make Green Tomato Pickle. Throughout the year she made a variety of jams and pickles using whatever produce came to hand and that meant we always had a supply of homemade jams, marmalades, chutneys and pickles in the cupboard to spread on toast and sandwiches.

Green Tomato Pickle cropped


  • 3 kg green tomatoes
  • 1 kg onions
  • 500g beans
  • 500g sugar
  • 5 cups brown vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 dessertspoon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon whole spice & cloves (in bag)
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour

Chop tomatoes, onions and beans. Put in large pot with vinegar and spices. Bring to the boil. Stir in flour blended with a little water to thicken mixture. Boil for ½ hour. Pour into sterilized jars.