at home

for those times we cannot get together...
this page came about as a result of having to learn new skills such as "social distancing" and "self isolation" thanks to crazy times in this wonderful world.
We had a thought....
whilst we're in hibernation let's share & swap with our past guests and followers on social media ideas such as recipes, along with creative and active tips.
Our mothers, Joan & Maureen were great mates and neighbours who used to share recipes and ideas.  You may see some of those ideas appear here on this page.
Another way to feel connected and
part of the Creative Escapes family.
Even when we can't be together,
we can still be together!
Want to add to our growing list below?
Email the details or send a message on Instagram or Facebook
Who knows where this will lead us?
Let's hope we will be back together very soon, but in the meantime, enjoy recreating one or more of these shared ideas and let us know how you go. 
Even send a photo of the finished result! 

and here they are....

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Lemon Cake

A favourite that Cathy has altered & adapted to suit over the years from her trusty Family Circle Quick Mix Cakes booklet

Photos taken by Creative Escapes


1 & 1/2 cups SR Flour                   

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

1 tblspn grated lemon rind             

1 cup (250g) caster sugar

125g butter, melted                       

2 eggs

1 cup (250ml) milk                       

Juice of a lemon

2 tblspn caster sugar, extra

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Brush a deep 20cm round cake tin with melted butter or oil.  Line the base and sides with baking paper.

2. Combine flour, coconut, rind, sugar, butter, eggs and milk in a large bowl and mix well with a wooden spoon until smooth.

3.  Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the centre of the cake. Once cooked, poke holes in top of cake whilst still in tin, mix the extra sugar into the lemon juice till dissolved and pour over cake. Set cake aside for 3 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.  When cool sprinkle with icing sugar to serve.

Ravioli Ricotta & Spinach


500g 00 Flour

6 eggs (700g)

Semolina Flour, for dusting

500g Ricotta

750g spinach cooked

(frozen is good)

zest of one lemon

200g finely grated parmesan

150g butter



Put the flour, all the eggs and a large pinch of salt into bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with dough hook and mix gently until it comes together.  May seem very dry at first but will gradually form a dough. If after 1 -2 minutes it still seems crumbly add 1 - 2 teaspoons water, kneading after each addition.  Continue to knead for 6 - 8 minutes, or until the dough is smooth & stretchy, and springs back when you press your finger into it.  Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, wrap tightly in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the spinach into a large dry frypan and place over high heat , turning frequently  for 3 - 5 minutes until it has completely wilted.  Drain in a sieve, pressing out as much liquid as possible, then wrap in a clean tea towel and press out any remaining liquid, so the spinach is as dry as possible.  Finely chop the spinach and transfer to a bowl, together with the ricotta, parmesan and lemon zest. Season to taste with salt and plenty of black pepper, mix well and set aside.

Put the sage, garlic and butter into a saucepan large enough to hold all the pasta once cooked.  Place over a medium-low heat until the butter melts, simmer gently for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse.   Season with a pinch of salt & pepper.

Take one portion of dough from the fridge, remove cling wrap and lightly dust the dough with flour.  Flatten with a rolling pin, to the width of your pasta machine. Feed the dough through the widest setting, then fold each side of the dough to the centre, as if you were folding a letter to fit inside an envelope.  Feed the dough through the widest setting again.  Adjust the rollers to the next setting and roll the dough through the pasta machine again.  Continue to roll the dough through the machine, decreasing the thickness by one setting each time and dusting with a little more flour if it becomes sticky.  Do not be tempted to skip settings on the pasta machine, otherwise the dough may tear.  Once you have rolled it through the thinnest setting, cut the long sheet of pasta in half widthways.  Lay one length on a floured work surface and set the other half to one side, covered with a clean damp tea towel.

Place teaspoonfuls of ricotta mixture at even intervals along the middle of the pasta sheet, using no more than about a quarter of the mixture.  Should be able to fit about 9 teaspoons of filling along the sheet of pasta.

Using a pastry brush and water, dampen the pasta around the ricotta filling.  Now take the other half sheet of pasta and carefully lay over the ricotta mix, gently pressing down around the mounds of filling and pushing out any air pockets.  Using a sharp knife, trim the pasta into evenly sized squares of ravioli, then lay them out on a tray, dust with a little flour and cover with cling wrap. (Want to know how to create tortellini shape?  Come to one of our cooking Escape Experiences to find out how)

Keep the trimmings for other pasta dishes, or to throw into a soup.  Roll out and fill the remaining three pieces of pasta the same way.

When ready to serve, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and place the pan of sage butter over a low heat.  Cook the ravioli (in batches if necessary) in the boiling water for about 3 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the pan of sage butter.  Gently stir to combine, then serve immediately with a little more parmesan and black pepper.

This recipe is kindly shared by Edoardo, the head chef at The Guild Milton.  He conducts our cooking classes and we look forward to working with him again as soon as we are all allowed out again!

In the meantime, practice at home this recipe, written in his words and handed down by his Nonna. Photos taken by Creative Escapes.

Burnt butter and sage ravioli.jpg
Ravioli in progress.jpg

Banana Upside Down Cake

Made by Cathy sourced from Donna Hay

This recipe is available and easy to find on Donna Hay's website - 

Search Banana Upside Down Cake

Photo taken by Creative Escapes of their yummy end result

Blueberry Slice with Vanilla Creme Fraiche

This recipe has been shared with us by one of our regular guests, Deb Freeman.  Deb said this slice is soft, chewy and very moorish. 

She sourced this from an old favourite - Marie Claire Fresh + Easy Simple Food for Relaxed Eating. 2011.

Photo taken by Deb Freeman 


100g pecan nuts

250g caster sugar

100g SR flour

grated zest of one lemon

150g butter, melted

4 egg whites

100g blueberries

250g creme fraiche

1/2 teaspn natural vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees celsius.

Grease  a 15 x 30cm or 22cm square baking tin and line with baking paper

Put the pecan nuts into a food processor and pulse several times to break into small pieces.  Add the sugar, flour and lemon zest and process for a minute.  Remove the dry ingredients to a bowl and stir the melted butter through.

Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then fold them through the thick pecan batter.  Pour the mixture into prepared tin and scatter the blueberries over the top.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating the tin after 15 minutes.  Allow to cool in tin.

Put the creme fraiche into a bowl and very gently fold the vanilla extract through.

Cut the slice into rectangles or squares and serve with a dollop of vanilla creme fraiche.

Irish Soda Bread

Travel the world without leaving home!

Creative Escapes consists of 2 opposites! 

Cathy the creative cooking old girl and Christine the not creative admin old girl.

So it was with much surprise that Christine made, and had success with, Irish soda bread.

She found the easy way via her good mate Vicki's Facebook page -

From Ma's Kitchen.  You too can follow her video to create your own with step by step instructions!

Photos taken by Creative Escapes of Christine's creation.

Book a place >
Friendly Fritatta.jpg

Friendly Frittata

This recipe was passed onto us from Deb Henderson.  She sourced this from "Indulge - 100 Sweet and Savoury Recipes" by Rowie Dillon.  This is a popular one passed around her group of friends and now onto us.


8 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup thickened cream

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

2 spring onions, chopped

60g baby spinach leaves

small handful of mixed herbs, such as parsley and basil

150g smoked salmon, roughly torn

60g crumbled feta

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Grease and line 21cm round pie dish.

Combine the eggs, cream, Parmesan, spring onions, spinach, herbs and salmon in a bowl and lightly beat.  Pour the mixture into the pie dish, crumble the feta on top, season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 25 minutes or until firm to touch in the centre. (PS  we found it took a little longer with our oven)


Another favourite from our chef Edoardo



500g mascarpone cheese

400g fresh cream

4 eggs

150g caster sugar

vanilla essence

400g savoiardi biscuits

300-400ml strong coffee

Beat whipping cream, half the sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.  Mix egg yolks and mascarpone with the other half of the sugar.

Add mascarpone mix in the whipped cream until it is nice and smooth.

Dip ladyfinger biscuits in coffee (& brandy if using) and place in an 8 x 8 pan to make the first layer - you can fit about 7 biscuits in each layer.  Don't let them soak as they will fall apart.  Just a quick dunk in the coffee is enough.

Spread half the whipped cream mixture on top of the first layer of ladyfingers.  Repeat process with the second layer of ladyfingers and cream mixture.  

Dust the top with cocoa powder using a sieve or grated chocolate.  Refrigerate  for about 2-4 hours or longer. Perfect make ahead dessert.

Bloody Mary Cherry Tomatoes with Margarita Dipping Salt

Deb Freeman shared this recipe oourtesy of The Oprah magazine, via Delish.


4 cups cherry tomatoes

2 large regular tomatoes

1 large onion, chopped

1 tblspn salt

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup tequila

1/2 cup vodka

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 tblspn Worcestershire sauce

2-3 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 tsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce or to taste

Margarita Dipping Salt

1/4 cup good quality flaky sea salt

zest of a lime

1/4 tsp white pepper

With a wooden or metal skewer, stab each tomato ten times; place in glass bowl.

Puree the large tomatoes, onions and salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Pour it into a fine sieve over a bowl and push on the solids, getting out as much of the liquid as possible.  Discard the solids (or save for soup).  Add the zest and juice of the lemons, along with everything else (except margarita salt) to the tomato juice.  Pour the mixture over the cherry tomatoes and refrigerate for up to a week,

but at least for 3 days.

To serve, spear each tomato with a toothpick or wooden skewer and set in a shallow bowl with some of the liquid (spears up so they don't get wet!)

Serve with Margarita salt for dipping.

Anzac Biscuits

To commemorate Anzac Day 2020

Made and shared by Kerby & Alby Clements

A special day in the Australian and New Zealand calendar  each year, but especially so this year with social distancing in place.

Why not go to another Aussie icon for the recipe source and have a go:

Dream of Vietnam

This is a variation of a dish we created at one of our cooking classes in Vietnam last year.  We hope to take you with us for our Vietnam Escape Experience in the near future.  In the meantime we can all pretend by creating one of their many delicious dishes.

Vietnamese Pork Meatballs with Vermicelli Noodles


500g pork mince

500g fresh rice vermicelli noodles


2 tblspn crushed shallots

2 tblspn crushed garlic

2 tblspn crushed lemongrass

2 tblspn crushed spring onion

2 tblspn honey

2 tblspn fish sauce

2 tblspn oyster sauce

2 tblspn coconut cream

2 tblspn Vietnamese coconut caramel sauce

2 teaspoon ground pepper.

Marinate the pork mince with the marinade and form into small meatballs.  Let them rest for 10 - 15 minutes.  Then grill the meatballs on outdoor charcoal or BBQ.



Vietnamese perilla (mint family)

Vietnamese basil

Cucumbers, sliced

Bean sprouts, julienne carrots, lettuce (optional)

Dipping Sauce

1 cup fish sauce

2 cups lime juice

3 cups sugar

6 cups water

Garlic and chilli to taste

Boil the mix of water, lime, fish sauce and sugar.  Wait till cold and add crushed garlic and chilli.

Assembly Instructions

Clean all vegetables.

Place on a platter the fresh greens, meatballs and noodles.

To assemble the dish, fill a medium serving bowl half full with the dipping sauce.  Add some noodles, meatballs and fresh greens into the bowl and enjoy.


at home

Deb Freeman has been busy creating and escaping at home!

Now to Japan - Shibori is an ancient Japanese dyeing technique. 

And having attended our latest Shibori workshop Deb has progressed to DIY Shibori at home.

She bought a dye kit and has just been experimenting.

Want to have a go?

We plan on having Michele back to teach Shibori in Spring (hopefully), so please let us know if you're interested & we can add you to our list to contact once dates are confirmed.

Ultimate Banana Muffins

Deb Freeman has been busy "at home".  This time she has adapted the recipe to make her Banana Pecan "portion controlled" Muffins. 

She has switched the walnuts for pecans.

See original recipe at

Cocktail Hour

Gaby's Narrawallee Special

(or pretend we're in Hawaii!)

Another of our regular Creative Escapees, Gaby has shared this  "create your own" cocktail with us.

In her words.... "They said get creative with what's in the pantry, so I did.  White rum, Cointreau, and frozen fruit smoothie.  It's 5 o'clock somewhere!"

I've added a photo we took of Gaby getting "into it" at our Smart Phone Photography (iPhoneography) class last year.  As you can see from the cocktail photo she is putting these skills to good use!

Want to join us for our next photography class once we can confirm dates?

Contact us by clicking on the link below.


Minestrone Soup

Perfect time of year to make this old favourite.  Thanks to Amanda Smith from Brisbane for sharing her version (and photo) which she has adapted from an old recipe over the years to suit.

As Amanda said " I love it as it's a real main meal soup - healthy and hearty.  It's quick too!  We love it with toasted wholemeal sourdough.

Minestrone Soup

Serves 8 – can also be made vegan friendly.

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil plus a small knob of butter (omit butter for vegan option)

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed (or just use some ‘lightly dried’)

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 1 large potato, diced

  • 1 carrot, diced

  • 2 large zucchini, diced

  • 125g green beans, trimmed and sliced

  • 1 pack ‘lightly dried’ Mixed Herbs (parsley, oregano & basil mix)

  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste (or 1 sachet)

  • 2 litres chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegan option)

  • ¼ cup pearl barley

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 420 - 440g tin red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

  • 100g macaroni noodles

  1. Heat oil and butter in a large heavy-based saucepan; low to medium heat only, and cook onion for about 5 minutes.  Add garlic for just the last minute.

  2. Stir in potato, carrot, zucchini and beans.  Cook 3-4 minutes stirring frequently.

  3. Increase heat, add herbs, tomato puree, stock and barley, then season to taste with black pepper.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are just tender.

  4. Add kidney beans.  Bring to the boil, drop in macaroni and cook for a further 20 minutes.