pecan nuts

Blood Spatter Cookies

When I was younger we never really celebrated Halloween. I lived on a smallholding outside of town and trick-or-treating was simply not an option.

As I have gotten older however I have embraced the celebration. Why not? After all it involves candy and a lot of it.

My favourite thing about the holiday is imagination. I love how children truly believe they are fully transformed into a character when in costume. The commitment is priceless. You could stick two socks on either hand, draw on some whiskers and tell them they are kittens with mittens and they would whole heartedly sell the story to any passer by. It is something wonderful.

This recipe will use all imagination and when it comes to the children, I know they will be blown away! If you don’t change after baking then you could go as a ghost as this recipe uses a lot of flour and if you are anything like myself, flour gets everywhere when I bake.

serves 8


  • 375 grams of butter
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 1-teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ½ cups of cake flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 60 grams of whole raw pecan nuts
  • Three tablespoons of castor sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup of icing sugar divided into two half cups (one for each colour)
  • Red gel food colouring


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius

Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment add your butter and sugar and beat until just combined. Add your vanilla and beat again.

In a separate bowl sift your flour and add your salt.

Add your dry ingredients to your butter and mix on a low speed until the dough starts to come together. It should be a pale yellow colour.

Dust a surface with flour and dump the dough onto the flour. Fold into a ball and wrap in cling wrap. Pop the dough into the fridge and let the butter cool for about half an hour before rolling it out.

Once cooled remove the dough and put it onto flour dusted surface. Using a rolling pin roll the dough out into a rectangle. You want the biscuits to be about a 1cm thick. I have cut mine into soldiers but you can use any cookie cutter shape you would like.

Put the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet or tin (the butter in the recipe will make sure they do not stick)

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges start to brown.
Allow them to cool to room temperature.

Mix ½ cup of icing sugar and one egg white. This will be your white royal icing. Using a brush, paint the cookies white. I gave about 20 minutes between white layers and did three coats. I really wanted to white to stand out.

Let the cookies stand and set for about 5 hours or over night.

In a small saucepan add your castor sugar and a drop of red food gel. If you want you can add a teaspoon of water. This will prevent the sugar from burning. Melt the sugar over a low to medium heat. As the water evaporates the sugar will become sticky and coat the pecan nuts. Remove them one by one and place them on some wax paper to set.

Once your cookies have set mix the other half a cup of icing sugar, one egg white and some red colouring. This is going to be your royal icing for the blood spatter.

Using a whisk flick the red icing over the cookies.

Decorate your cookies with your pecan nuts and leave them to set until the icing is hard.

Happy Halloween!




banana bread

There is something so deeply nostalgic for me about banana bread. The minute I smell it, it takes me back to warm memories of my childhood, my grand parents and school lunch boxes.

I remember eating it in the holidays at my grandparent’s house after digging in the garden for worms with my grandfather. A great cup of sweet tea and loads of butter always accompanied it. Shortly afterwards we would go fishing with the worms we caught in his strawberry patch.

I was never short of a sandwich trade when ever I opened my lunch box and the wonderfully sweet smell of the banana bread would float out and kiss the noses of my friends. They would all lunge at the opportunity of grabbing a bite or a trade!

This banana bread is great because I have kicked it up a notch with a rich cream cheese frosting, which is silky smooth. You can always leave it off and just have it with butter. Plain or not this banana bread is quick to make and stays beautifully in the fridge for any occasion.

Serves: 6


•   3 ripe bananas, smashed - don't have ripe bananas? Put them in the oven at 100 degree Celsius for 30 minutes

•   1/3 cup melted butter

•   3/4 cup sugar

•   1 egg, beaten

•   1 teaspoon vanilla extract

•   1 teaspoon baking soda

•   Pinch of salt

•   1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

•   1/2 cup pecan nuts, chopped

•   1/4 cup desiccated coconut

•   250g cream cheese

•   1 tsp. vanilla extract

•   1/3 cup icing sugar

•   1 Tbsp. lemon juice

Pecan nuts for decoration


Preheat the oven to 180°c

Grease your bread loaf tin a 4x8 inch or 10 x 20cm

In a large bowl using an electronic mixer mix the butter and the mashed bananas.

Next mix in the sugar, egg and vanilla.

Next add the baking soda and salt and mix it into the batter

Add the flour to the batter and mix it in, careful to not over beat the batter.

Lastly add in the pecan nuts and coconut. Mix again just until all the ingredients are evenly combined.

Add your mixture to your baking tin and bake for 1 hour.

Allow to cool on your cooling rack in the tin for 15 minutes and then let it cool further out of the tin.

Now lets get started with the cream cheese frosting:

Sieve your icing sugar into your mixing bowl.

Add all the remaining ingredients and mix. Do not over mix the cream cheese or it will go too soft.

Ice your banana bread and top with pecan nuts for decoration.