Cook the Dish for Tastes of Central Geelong

Peanut Butter & Jelly Brownie Cake - Cakesmith. (Photo supplied)

A festival of food, flavours and fun is on now until the end of July thanks to Tastes of Central Geelong 2020.

An initiative of Central Geelong Marketing, Tastes is showcasing the fantastic food on offer in Central Geelong.

From the comfort of your own home you can learn tricks of the trade from local chefs, try exclusive recipes, dine at home or build your own menu items. Or you can make your way into Central Geelong to sample gourmet food and drink and participate in food-themed activities and offers from restaurants and cafes that need your support.

This year, four fabulous Central Geelong chefs have provided an exclusive recipe so you can Cook the Dish at home and win!

Try a South American classic, salted baked pumpkin, from Jesse Hughes at ALMA Restaurant or give a traditional Australian favourite, lamb backstrap, a go from Cameron Rowan at Westend Geelong.

If baking is more your style get stuck into a peanut butter and jelly brownie cake from Emily Ditcham at Cakesmith or a delicious no bake Snickers cheesecake from Lois Norbury at Twisted Dessert Bar – check out the recipes on these pages.

Take a photo of the end result of your attempt at one or more of the recipes, upload it to, complete the form by July 31 to go into the draw to win. There will be one winner for each recipe and each winner will receive a $150 voucher to spend at the business that provided the recipe. Terms and conditions apply and can be found at

There’s loads of activities and offers from Central Geelong businesses throughout July as part of the Tastes of Central Geelong program. To book activities and for more information visit

Salt Baked Pumpkin – Jesse Hughes, ALMA Restaurant

• butternut pumpkin
• 600g plain flour
• 300g table salt
120g egg white (chickpea liquid can be substituted for vegan)
• 250ml cold water
• 4 tbsp cumin seeds
• 2 tbsp coriander seeds
• 1 tbsp fennel seeds
• 1 tbsp dried oregano
• 1 tbsp smoked paprika

This is a versatile salt crust that can be made days in advance and used on all sorts of vegetables and proteins to enhance the flavour of your dish. It is quite a simple method, but some steps are important to get the best result.

Toast all your seeds in a dry frypan. The best way to do this is to keep the seeds moving in the pan until the pan smokes a little bit and the aromas of the seeds start to release, be careful not to burn them.
Crush all the seeds in a mortar and pestle and add them to the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix in the water and egg whites and kneed on the bench until the dough forms a firm ball. Egg whites can be replaced by the juice that comes in a tin of chickpeas (or any tinned bean) to keep the recipe vegan.
Roll the salt crust out on a lightly floured bench until it is about 3mm thick and large enough to roll your pumpkin in. I use small butternut pumpkins because I find them to be sweeter and easy to deal with once cooked. Be sure to cover the entire pumpkin (not peeled) in the crust so no juices can escape during the cooking.
Cook pumpkin at 180 degrees for about 2-3 hours depending on the size of your pumpkin and serve by cutting the pumpkin lengthways and scooping out all the seeds. We then put an onion jam, spicy chickpeas and goats curd to finish the dish, but you can use any toppings you like, or even just serve as it is.

Lamb Backstrap – Cameron Rowan, Westend Geelong

Lamb and marinade:
• 1 lamb backstrap
• 1/2 bunch thyme
• olive oil
• sea salt
• cracked black pepper

Lemon yoghurt:
• tub Greek yoghurt
• 1 x lemon (juice and zest)
• olive oil
• 1 tsp minced garlic

Smashed peas:
• 1 cup green peas
• 2-4 mint leaves
• olive oil
• 1/2 tsp minced garlic
• sea salt
• cracked black pepper

• Dodoni feta

Lamb backstrap and marinade: Pick thyme leaves apply a liberal amount of olive oil to the lamb backstrap and put the thyme leaves with salt and pepper and rub on the backstrap.

Lemon yoghurt: In a bowl mix together Greek yoghurt, juice and zest of one lemon, teaspoon of minced garlic, and a splash of olive oil.

Smashed peas: Blanch cup of peas. In another bowl place blanched peas, mint leaves (2-4), 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and smash rustically.

On a grill plate or pan seal lamb backstrap until med-rare or until at desired temperature. Let rest for 5 minutes.
Put smashed peas in centre of plate and smear out.
Cut backstrap into 5-6 pieces and place atop of the smashed peas.
Circle the lemon yoghurt around the outside of the plate in a circular motion. Crumble feta over the top of finished dish.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Brownie Cake – Emily Ditcham, Cakesmith

• 150g dark Belgium chocolate
• 125g butter
• 1 cup caster sugar
• 1/3 cup brown sugar
• 3 eggs
• 3/4 cup gluten free flour
• 1/8 cup cocoa powder

• 225g soft butter
• 150g smooth peanut butter
• 4 1/2 cups icing mixture

Putting it together:
• Raspberry jam
• Fried dried raspberries

Cake: Melt chocolate and butter together, whisk eggs and sugars in a separate bowl. Mix the egg mixture together with the chocolate mixture. Then mix in dry (sifted) ingredients. Stir until all combined. And then divide evenly into two 18cm round pans lined. Bake at 160 deg for 20min or until cooked.

Frosting: In a stand mixer beat the peanut butter and butter until smooth the gradually add in the icing mixture. Mix until all light and fluffy using a little milk to loosen and soften the mixture.

Putting it together: Put the buttercream into piping bag with an appropriate nozzle, pipe over one brownie cake and then dot on the raspberry jam. Put the other cake on top and then keep piping the buttercream over the top. Put the raspberry jam into a piping bag and cut a small hole. Pipe the raspberry jam. Then finish with freeze dried raspberries, some whole some crushed.

No Bake Snickers Cheesecake – Lois Norbury, Twisted Dessert Bar

Cheesecake is a decadent dessert that is incredibly easy for any occasion! Layers of creamy cheesecake filling, caramel, and Snickers candy bars make for an irresistible treat!

Prep time: 10 minutes
Additional time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes

• 3 whole chocolate ripple cookies, crushed
• 8 oz cream cheese, softened
• 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
• 1/2 cup powdered sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/3 cup caramel sauce
1 cup Snickers Bites cut into quarters plus more for garnish

Add crushed chocolate ripple cookies to each glass or dessert bowl.
Add softened cream cheese to a mixer bowl and beat with whisk attachment for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides half way through.
Add heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat on low until mixture is combined. Raise to high and beat 3-4 minutes or until light, fluffy and smooth.
Pipe a bit of the filling over the chocolate ripple cookie crumbs.
Add about a tablespoon of caramel over each.
• Pipe a bit more filling over caramel.
• Add chopped Snickers Bites.
• Fill the remainder with cheesecake filling.
Top with additional caramel and Snickers Bites.
Refrigerate at least an hour before serving.