Spiced pineapple drink {Chicha de piña}

Author: Layla Pujol from https://www.laylita.com/recipes/spiced-pineapple-drink-chicha/

Tested and approved at Beelarong morning tea

Yield: ~8-10 servings

Chicha de piña is a spiced pineapple drink made by simmering the pineapple skins and core with hard brown sugar and spices.


  • The skins and core of 1 pineapple, organic if possible and well washed

  • ½ to ¾ lb of panela (piloncillo) or brown sugar, whole or in chunks – more or less to taste

  • Assorted spices: cinnamon sticks, all spice peppers, cloves, anise, etc (we recommend ½ cinnamon stick, a couple of cloves, one whole all spice pepper and one star anise )

  • 10-12 cups of water


  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large saucepan or pot

  2. Bring to a boil and simmer partially covered for about an hour, stirring occasionally.

  3. Let cool down, unless you are drinking it warm or hot, you can drink it immediately or let it rest refrigerated to allow the spices and pineapple flavor to concentrate.

Jean’s Cucumber Bread

Surprise your friends with a slice of cucumber bread. It’s more like a cake, but cooked in a bread tin.


- 1 cup coarsely grated cucumber (See notes below how to prepare the cucumber**)

- 300grams (2 cups) self-raising flour, sifted

- 140grams (2/3 cup, firmlypacked) brown sugar

- 250ml (1 cup) vegetable oil

- 3 eggs, lightly whisked

- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

- 1 teaspoon ground cinna-

**Preparing the cucumber

You will need to start this process with at least 2 cups of grated cucumber as once you have squeezed out the water, it will lose its bulk. Grate the cucumber roughly, including the skin and the seeds. Place in a colander for say 15 minutes while you are gathering your ingredients and lining the loaf tin. Some water will seep out of the grated cucumber; gather it in your hand and squeeze out more water. Now it is ready to use.


Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 20x10cm loaf pan with non-stick baking paper.

Combine the flour, sugar, cucumber, oil, egg, vanilla and cinnamon in a large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon. Now spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the sur-

Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside for five minutes to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut the cucumber bread into thick slices.

Jean's famous Bread and Butter Pickle

5 large Lebanese cucumbers, trimmed, cut into 5mm-thick slices

2 small brown onions, halved, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon salt (this will be rinsed off)

375ml (1 1/2 cups) apple cider vinegar

215g (1 cup) caster sugar

2 teaspoons mustard seeds

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

Large pinch of ground turmeric

1. Place the cucumber, onion and salt in a bowl. Toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge overnight.

2. Rinse the cucumber mixture in a colander. Pat dry with paper towel.

3. Place vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, coriander seeds and turmeric in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Add the cucumber mixture. Bring to a simmer.

4. Transfer the mixture to clean, dry glass jars. Place on the lid and set aside for 1 day to develop the flavours. Store in the fridge.

Silverbeet and Ricotta Ravioli by Sara

1 large bunch silverbeet or spinach

1 onion, finely chopped

1 serve of in-house ricotta (approx. 500gms)

4 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese

2 eggs

Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

A big pinch of grated nutmeg (using the microplane)

Wash silverbeet. Separate stems from leaves. Using 3 stems, slice in thirds lengthways and finely chop. Roll silverbeet leaves and finely shred.

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a fry pan and sauté onion until soft. Add the silverbeet stems, stir and cook for 3-4 minutes then add the silverbeet leaves. Set aside to cool.

In a bowl, break in the eggs and whisk. Add the ricotta, parmesan, nutmeg and silverbeet mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Roll out the pasta until it is very thin and cut length in half. Place a teaspoon of the filling at even intervals on the top half of the pasta. Brush a little water around the filling and then fold the pasta sheet over. Press gently around the filling to seal the pasta together and cut into squares.

This will make around 30 ravioli’s. (Make at least one per person). Cook the ravioli in plenty of boiling, salted water for about 2 minutes.

Tomato Passata (Passata al pomodoro) by Sara

2 celery sticks

1 carrot

1 red or brown onion

1 clove garlic

1.2 kilos skinned tomatoes (or 3 x 400gm tins tomatoes)

½ teaspoon sugar

3 large sprigs of basil s

alt and freshly ground black pepper

Dice the celery and carrot and onion & garlic. Heat 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Briefly fry the vegetables and basil in the hot oil then add the tomatoes.

Season with salt & pepper, add the sugar and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for up to 60 minutes, depending on how much time you have. The longer you leave it, the more concentrated the flavour. Stir regularly, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon.

Remove the basil sprigs and puree the sauce in a blender. 

Roast Tarragon Chicken by Jan

Roasting chicken

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 tbsp. lemon juice

l 1/2 tsp. tarragon leaves

2 1/2 tsp. salt

Brush chicken inside and out with lemon juice and salt. Mix butter with tarragon and generously rub skin of chicken, saving some of the tarragon butter to place in the cavity of the chicken.

Place bird on rack in roasting pan, roast in moderate oven 190°C (375°F) for l hour and 20 minutes or until done. Baste occasionally with pan drippings.

Serve with roasted potatoes, cooked carrots, green beans and white onions.

NOTE The general rule when using Tarragon in cooking is to add it at the end of a recipe for the most flavour.

Mexican Tarragon Vinegar by Jan

150g Mexican tarragon leaves

600ml white wine vinegar

Wash the tarragon leaves, pat dry with a tea towel then chop roughly. Stuff the Mexican tarragon leaves into a cleaned and sterilized jar then pour over the vinegar. Seal with a vinegar-proof lid then set aside in a sunny place to infuse for about 4 weeks, shaking the jar occasionally.

After this time, strain the vinegar through a fine-meshed sieve lined with muslin. Pour the liquid into a sterilized bottle (this is your Mexican tarragon vinegar). Add a fresh sprig of Mexican tarragon and seal securely.

Roast Butternut and Red Onion Salad

½ a small butternut pumpkin (sliced lengthways)

1 large red onion cut into eight wedges

5 garlic cloves, unpeeled & lightly crushed

Few sprigs fresh thyme

5 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons pine nuts

Head of washed First Fleet lettuce

1 dessertspoon balsamic vinegar

parmesan cheese, shaved

Preheat oven to 200°C. De-seed the pumpkin and cut off the skin. Cut across the pumpkin into even sized wedges 1 cm thick. Put the pumpkin pieces and garlic cloves on a baking tray and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 20 minutes.

Dry roast the pine nuts in a frying pan. When browned, turn out onto paper towel and set aside.

Briefly remove the pumpkin from the oven and add the onion wedges, a further tablespoon of olive oil and extra salt and pepper. Tuck the thyme sprigs under the onions and pumpkin and roast for another 20 minutes until the pumpkin is soft and the onions lightly caramelized. Leave to cool.

Wash and dry the lettuce and dress with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Lay on your serving dish and arrange the pumpkin and onions on top of the leaves. (Discard the garlic and thyme). Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and a little extra virgin olive oil. Using a vegetable peeler, shave off some parmesan cheese onto the salad and finish with the scattering of the pine nuts. 

Dorothea's Rosella Jam

Peel fruit (red) off seeds (green). Cut up fruit if you like.

Just cover seeds with water, bring to the boil, simmer a few minutes, then allow to stand at least 30 mins. Strain and keep liquid.

Weigh fruit and allow 1.5kg sugar for each 1.5kg of fruit.

Boil fruit and liquid together for 1/2 hour stirring well. Add white sugar and boil another 20-30 minutes.

Bottle into clean/sterilized jars. To check if jam is setting enough, place a saucer in fridge till cold and drop a drop of jam onto cold saucer. It is ready when it does not run any more and wrinkles when you push it.