Okay, so who loves a traditional country bake off? Or, how about a traditional Easter Show baking competition that has you drooling over that chocolate sponge cake? Better still, what about that juicy looking fruit cake that would go perfectly with a dollop of homemade custard?
I had the pleasure of cooking in a beautiful country kitchen recently and I also had the pleasure of meeting some amazing and courageous women who have been living on the land for decades.

Can I just say, please buy Devondale milk, cream and cheese and let’s support our dairy farmers? I am saddened to see what is happening out there and I will do what I can to make a difference.

The Hunter Valley is a magnificent place to visit with all the quaint little cafes scattered around the countryside, not to mention those beautiful vineyards with wine and cheese tasting available as you meander your way through from one place to the next.

But let’s get back to this country kitchen. It is furnished with the most amazing appliances that reflect the past with a modern twist. I love the way the owner of this kitchen has used soft colours and timber benches to tie it all in. It was such a pleasure to deliver a cooking demonstration in such a beautiful kitchen!

So all the ladies bought with them a plate of baked goods that they and the generations that have gone before them, cooked with love and care. And I showed them how to make a traditional biscuit that has been cooked by my ancestors for hundreds of years.

Kourabiedes, a soft and buttery biscuit smothered in sifted icing sugar. They are so easy to make and a delight to eat for afternoon tea!

But I am going to mix things up a little and give you a recipe that my mother in law Hazel used to cook and reminds me so much of her! She is gone now, but her memory is still very alive!

They are peanut cookies and always very popular with her family.


125g butter

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

2 cups sifted self raising flour

1 cup unsalted peanuts


  1. Preheat oven to 180*C. Line 2 baking trays.
  2. Beat sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla paste mixing well.
  3. Fold through flour and nuts until well combined.
  4. Roll dough into small walnut size balls and place on baking trays.
  5. Bake in a moderate oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden.
  6. Place on cooling racks for 5-10 minutes before serving.