Monday, December 13, 2010

jungle cupcakes (a)


It was katrinas birthday on sunday

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KAT!!!

she asked if I would make the (cup)cake for her birthday, and I said yes...as my birthday present to her, I would provide 36 cupcakes to enjoy. Kat was having a explorer themed party, so I decided that cupcakes with animals on them would be a great idea :) I used the magnolia bakery cupcake recipe, but reduced the sugar by 3/4 (yes..and they still tasted amazing). I still havent quite managed to get that melt in your mouth cupcake feel...i mean, it tasted great...but maybe i didnt beat it long enough...who knows, but they were perfectly formed and tasted amazing.

Its an easy recipe too...and then, i just used buttercream frosting and licorice/lollies to decorate the cupcakes. Looking back, I probably should have invested in a black icing pen, would have been quicker and alot more professional...but i get to eat licorice...hahahaha. next time (I'm open to orders! promise they will look better!)

so, got a kids birthday or just want some exciting cupcakes...try these!!



JUNGLE CUPCAKES

To make 24:
1 1/2 c SR flour
1 1/4 c plain flour
1 c unsalted butter at room temp
1/2 c sugar
4 large eggs at room temp
1 c milk
1 tspn vanilla

Preheat oven to 180 celcius.
Line cupcake tray with 24 cupcake papers.
Place flours into a small ball and stir to combine.
Cream butter with a beater until light and fluffy. Add sugar gradually, beating to combine between each addition.
Add eggs, one at a time, beat to combine.
Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk. With each addition, beat until combined but DO NOT overbeat.
Add the vanilla and mix in.
Place 1tbspn of mix in each cupcake case and cook for 20 minutes (or until golden on top).
Leave to cool




BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

125 g softened butter
1 1/2 c icing sugar
1 tspn vanilla
2 tbspn milk
approx 2 drops of food colouring (green, yellow, red)
1 strap of licorice
snakes or lollie animals

Mix the butter and icing sugar till light and fluffy.
Add the vanilla and milk.
Split into four bowls, one for orange (tigers), yellow (lions), white (zebra) and green (lollies)
Green cupcakes: ice with green frosting and decorate with lollie animals
Lion cupcakes: ice with yellow frosting and decorate with licorice and an orange snake for a mane
Tiger cupcakes: ice with orange frosting (one drop yellow, one drop red food colouring) and decorate with licorice
Zebra cupcakes: ice with normal icing and decorate with licorice (baisclaly the same as the tiger)



Tips:
Cupcakes can be iced the day after, just store in an airtight container OR freeze and use a week later (etc)
To make eggs at room temp (if you forget to take them out of the fridge early like me) place them in a bowl of water and change the water frequently until they have warmed up.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

How to sterilise a jar (a)


So.
Mum taught me how to sterilise a jar the other day...because you need them to put jam, fruitmince and lemon curd in (which will be the next few posts). I thought I better tell everyone else too...because its such a ridiculous thing we are supposed to know, but we dont.
My mum uses quattro stagioni jars to store preserves. But I know alot of people just re-use store jam jars.


How to sterilise a jar

Clean jar well.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Place in oven for 20 minutes (make the preserve while you wait).
Remove from oven with extreme caution as they will be HOT and place on heat mats.
Be careful not to put them straight onto a cold surface as the glass will crack
Fill hot jars with hot preserve.

If the preserve is cold, let the jars cool before you add the preserve.


How to sterilise a lid

Clean lid well.
Place in a saucepan of water and bring to the boil.
Let it boil for 10 minutes.
Remove with a tong and let drip dry (on a clean teatowel is good, or in the oven with the jars)
Place ontop of the jar once full - putting hot preserve in a hot jar with a hot lid helps it to seal better.

Tips
The 'pop' button on the lids should go down, if not, there was no seal created between the lid and jar, so make sure you use it sooner, as it wont keep as well :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Spaghetti toasties (a)


Ok, so this is a fairly easy recipe. But believe it or not, some people have not been introduced to the amazingness of spaghetti toasties.

HELLO...WHAT ROCK HAVE YOU BEEN LIVING UNDER???

I dont know how you could have lived without spaghetti toasties. When I was little they were a staple in my house...usually with alot of sauce everywhere too.
Spaghetti toasties are a great way to finish off a few bits in the fridge, or for a wholesome dinner when you just dont feel like cooking.
The way I cook it means you have soft bread on the bottom (like sizzler cheesebread) and crunchy melty cheese ontop...mmmmmmmm

So next time you have a night in, try this 5 minute meal....

SPAGHETTI TOASTIES



2 slices bread
200g watties tinned spaghetti (watties spaghetti is the best)
50g ham
2 handfulls of grated cheese (or 4 slices)

Turn the grill function on the oven.
Place bread on a tray, and place under the grill.
Pour half the spaghetti into a bowl and warm in the microwave (about 30 sec)
Take the bread out from the grill (shouldn't be brown, but just a little crispy)
Lay the ham over the bread.
Divide the spaghetti ontop of the ham
Lay cheese overtop
Place tray back under the grill for about 2 min, or until cheese is slightly brown.
Eat with fingers.

Tips
Add thinly sliced capsicum, mushrooms or zuchini to the spaghetti when you warm it for a healthier more substantial meal.
Use wholegrain bread.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

lemon and gingernut cheesecake (a)


Sorry this is another cheesecake post. Actually, i'm not sorry at all...you can never have enough cheesecake recipes! But, we still had a bit of philly left over from our free cookbook splurge. And tonight mum and I are heading to aunty w's for dinner, so I thought I would whip up another cheesecake.
This time, we only had gingernuts in the cupboard (as far as biscuits went) and alot of lemons (from the tree). I figured ginger and lemon goes pretty well together...and set about creating some sort of edible dessert from it.
Again, I made small ones, just because they are more user-friendly, but feel free to make a large cheesecake!
I also baked it...but I think you could have it straight as the mix is so thick. Just skip the baking step and let it set in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Lemon and gingernut cheesecake



125g gingernuts
60 g butter
300g philly at room temp
1/4 c castor sugar
1 egg
1 tspn vanilla essence
zest of 1 (large) lemon
3 tbspn lemon juice (I started with 2 and added extra to make it more lemon-y)

Preheat to 160 degrees
Prepare muffin tray (we have a silicone one...no prep yay!)
Crush gingernuts (best done with a food processor, I tried the bag and smash and they are so hard they broke the bag...)
Melt butter and add to the biscuits. Mix well.
Place 1tbspn of biscuit mix in each muffin case, press down well (a flat glass works best) and place in the fridge.

Chop philly and beat until creamy.
Continue to beat, adding sugar and vanilla essence. Once mixed, add the lemon zest and lemon juice and combine well.
Add the flour and continue to beat until all ingredients are combined, and the mix is lump free.
Remove biscuit bases from the fridge, and place 1 heaped tbspn of creamy mix into each muffin case.



Smooth the top as well as possible.
Place in overn for 25 minutes.

Tips
You could probably not bake this recipe, as the creamy mix is very thick. If you want to do this, just skip the oven step, and leave in the fridge for a couple of hours to harden up.
Make sure you taste test the creamy mix to ensure it has enough lemon flavour in it ;)


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Raspberry Friand slice (a)

I am actually eating this while I write the post.
Lordy Lordy this slice is good.
Mum wanted me to make some raspberry friands, but I decided it would be more fun to make...raspberry friand slice. Easier to wrap up, cut up and share, and great as a dessert too (would go epically well with some whipped cream and fresh raspberries).

Raspberry Friand Slice



125g butter, softened
1/3 c castor sugar
2 eggs
1 tspn vanilla essence
1 1/4 c almond meal (about 100g)
2 tbspn plain flour
around 3 handfulls of frozen raspberries (maybe 100g?)
1 tbspn raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 180 celcius and line baking tray with paper.
Cream butter and sugar.
Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between.
Add vanilla and mix.
Combine flour and almonds, and half to the wet mix and combine.
Add the other half and stir in well.
Pour mix into baking tray and level.
Scatter raspberries overtop and press into cake mix.
Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked (skewer should come out clean)
Heat raspberry jam for about 15 sec in the microwave, and brush over cake.
Cool and keep in tin. Probably in the fridge.

Tips
For gluten free awesomeness, just use rice flour instead of plain flour!!! YAY!!!
I actually adapted this from an apricot and almond recipe...so if you want to use apricots, then just drain a 400g tin of apricots and place the apricots in the cake instead of the raspberries and brush with apricot sauce.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Heav(enl)y Fruit Christmas Cake (a)


Hello. My name is Alex, and I am a Christmas addict.

I love love LOVE Christmas.

I love going to midnight mass, and the spirituality of Christmas. I love spending time with my family. I love decorating the tree (and the house). I love wrapping presents. I love BUYING presents. I love CHRISTMAS LIGHTS. I love the long drive to my grandparents (or elsewhere). I love getting a 'Christmas dress' and saving it for Christmas day. I love making cards, and sending them. I love the sunny days, and passing out on the grass or couch after lunch.

I LOOOOVVEEE CHHRISTMAASS FOOOOOOOOOOOODDD!!!!!

So, even though we are going to NZ for Christmas this year (wooooo) mum is still gonna pump out the usual Christmas food. We make Christmas cake, fruit mince pies, white choc apricot truffles, hazelnut chocolates, ginger biscuits, pavlova, ham, turkey, roast pumpkin salad and much more. So, as I help mum out this year, I'm gonna post all the recipes. So that next year, I have a reference for them, and hopefully to inspire you to get into the kitchen!!!

First things first, the epitome of Christmas...CAAAKKEEE!!!! I know alot of people dont like Christmas cake, but thats because they are doing it wrong (and probably buying it from a shop). Seriously, this will change your mind. First, you make the cake...this recipe. I'll tell you all about the marzipan later. OH and I got some good pics :D


Heavy Fruit Christmas cake


FIRST:
1/3 c pitted prunes, halved
1 1/2 c (250g) sultanas
1 1/2 c (250g) currants
1/2 c sweet sherry
1/2 c brandy

Combine prunes, sultanas, currants and alcohols into a LARGE bowl.
Cover and leave to stand, the longer (ie: a week) the better, just make sure you stir it at least once a day.
Before using, drain any excess fluid (shouldnt be there if its been sitting for a week though) and save.



SECOND (fruit nut mix):

1 1/2 c (250g) glace cherries
1 1/2 c (250g) diced dates
1 c mixed peel
2 c walnut pieces

After a week or so of the fruit soaking, add these ingredients into the large bowl and stir to combine.




THIRD:

1 tbspn dry instant coffee
1/4 c hot water
3 tbspn plum jam
1 tbspn cocoa

In a small bowl, combine these ingredients until the coffee is dissolved.


FOURTH (cake mix):

125 g butter softened
1/2 c brown sugar
3 eggs
1 c plain flour
3/4 c SR flour
1 tspn cinnamon
1 tspn mixed spice
1/2 tspn nutmeg

Cream butter and sugar in a medium bowl.
Add eggs quickly, one at a time and beat until only just combined between each addition.
Stir in the coffe/jam/cocoa mix (THIRD step).
Add the flour and mix well. Follow with the SR flour, mix well, and finally the spices.


Prepare cake tin (23cm diameter) by layering it with 3 sheets of baking paper.
Add the cake mix to the fruit nut mix and stir well until all combined.

Pour mix into the cake tin.
Cook in slow oven (150 celcius) for 2 hours.
Brush any reserved liquid from the fruit over the cake while it is still hot, and cool in pan.



Tips
You dont have to use plum jam...raspberry or strawberry will do.
Try adding pecans or brazil nuts instead of walnuts.
If you didnt have any liquid leftover to brush the cake, just use brandy.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pad Thai (a) or a tribute to David Herbert

An Ode to David Herbert

Oh David...
How I love waking up on Saturday morning
Sitting at the table,
Eating my rasin toast
And beating dad to the weekend magazine.
I flick through the glossy pages
Anticipation rising as I reach your column
What will it be this week David?
Sliced pilaf with Pomegranate...
Lamb shanks (italian style)...
Rhubarb chutney...
Simple sweet potato and pea curry (pictured)...
You make my weekend.

Anyways, in tribute to David Herbert (the chef who writes the recipe section of the Australian in the magazine each weekend) and, to my friends Hannah and Alex, I decided that I would make pad thai for dinner.
I've always been a little scared of making PT, just because of this one recipe I read with EPIC ingredients I was worried. However, mum goes...oh i've got a David Herbert recipe for pad thai and I immediately brightened up. David Herbert recipe? I can do that. I only changed one thing, I used chicken instead of prawns because I dont like them.

So here goes, the amazingly simple and unbelievably tasty David Herbert Pad Thai (did I mention he has an english accent??) p.s sorry no pics but the ones I took were bad, and DH doesnt use photos ;)


Pad Thai

1 large chicken breast, sliced
250g flat rice noodles
2 tbspn vegetable oil
1 tspn ground ginger
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 long red chillies
50g bean sprouts
50 g spinach
4 tbpsn lime juice (about 1/2 a lime)
2 tbspn Thai fish sauce
1 tbspn brown sugar
3 spring onions, sliced diagonally
2 tbspns chopped roasted unsalted peanuts
quartered lime and coriander to serve

Place the noodles in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water, leave for 6-7 minutes (dont leave longer or they go all mushy and break up).
Meanwhile, heat a large wok over hight heat (i used a big frypan, works ok)
Add oil, ginger, garlic and chilli and stir fry for 1 minute
Add the chicken and cook.
Remove from pan and set aside.
Drain the noodles, add a bit more oil to the pan and chuck them in the pan with the bean sprouts, spinach, lime juice, fish sauce and ginger. Toss this for about 2 minutes, stir in the chicken and cook for another minute.
Serve with coriander and crushed peanuts ontop, and a wedge of lime on the side.

Tips
Add 24 medium sized uncooked prawns instead of the chicken, just peel and devein them, and cook until pink.
If you dont have roasted unsalted peanuts, just use normal unsalted peanuts, cook them in the microwave for about 30 seconds, rub them to get the skin on and crush.
Add carrot, snow peas or baby corn to the noodles for a healthier meal.

Monday, November 15, 2010

mango and peach cheesecakes (a)

I blame dad for this recipe. DAD??!! DO YOU READ THIS??!!! ITS ALL YOUR FAULT!!! ok seriously, I don't think pappy even KNOWS I do this...he'd call it a waste of time. He already thinks I put too many photos of food on facebook (you can NEVER have too many photos of food) and would make me paint the house or something instead.

BUT that doesnt say that he wont be tucking into cheesecake for dessert.

ANYWAYS reason why I blame dad is that SOMEHOW we ended up with a tin of slice peaches in mango puree. I like sliced peaches on my weetbix in the morning, but I would NEVER buy them in puree, and neither would mum, so it must have been one of those rare occasions when dad got trusted with the shopping. So, I opened the tin of peaches this morning and thought I would give them a go.

POSSIBLY THE MOST DISGUSTING THING I HAVE EVER EATEN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE

Well, the peaches tasted normal, but the mango puree...made me wanna spew (no joke). Im not really an Australian because, well I dont really like mango, and this was like smushed up over-ripe mango...grrroooossss.

I however decided that I wouldnt WASTE the tinned monstrosity, and figured if I drained the peaches, they would be good to eat (they were) and well...we had three blocks of philly in the fridge, so maybe I could use the mango to make cheesecake (the three blocks of philly is EASILY explained by the fact that if you brought 3 philly products you go A FREE COOKBOOK!!!! FREE!!!)

I also thought I would make individual cheesecakes. With no dinners planned and only 3 people in the house atm, individual cheesecakes could be frozen and pulled out for the right occasion, without having to wait for an army of people to come round to help eat a cake.

Also...this recipe uses NO GEALTIN for all those people out there who dont just HAVE gelatin lying around in the cupboard. It does have an egg though, so isn't vego...sorry, but, you could always experiment leaving the egg out (let me know how it goes!)


Mango and Peach (individual) cheesecakes


125g Milk arrowroot (or marie) biscuits
60g butter
1/2 tspn mixed spice

375g Philadelphia cream cheese (at room temperature)
1 tspn vanilla essence
1/4 c sugar
1 egg
juice from a big (1kg?) tin of canned peaches in mango puree, I think it was about 1/3 of a cup
2 tspns flour
6 of the peaches from the tin

Heat oven to 160 degrees. Prepare muffin tin (I used a silicone one, easiest way).
Crush the biscuits. Best way is to put them in a plastic bag, seal it (no air inside or it will burst) and SMASH IT WITH A ROLLING PIN! else, you can always use a food processor.
Melt the butter and add it to the crushed biscuits.
Add the mixed spice. Mix well.
The biscuit crumbs should be coated in butter, but still separate.
Place a tbspn of biscuit crumbs in each muffin case.
Use a flat bottomed glass (beer glasses are usually good) or fingers to press the crumbs into the bottom.
Place in the fridge to chill.


Place the philly, vanilla essence and sugar in a bowl and beat until smooth. Do not overbeat or the cheesecake will get air bubbles in it and will collapse once cooked.
Add egg and mix well.
Fold in the flour.
Add the mango juice and mix well.
Place a level tbspn of mix ontop of the base. Add half of a sliced peach and then place another tbspn ontop, covering the peach.
Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
Leave the cakes to cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar.



Serve cold with a dollop of cream.

Tips:
You can freeze cheesecakes!!! yayyy!!!
If you dont want to buy the tinned mango, just use real mango (smush it up), or a mango syrup. I wouldnt use juice, it would be too runny. You could probably use mango baby food as well.
Gingernuts would make an awesome alternative as a base.
You dont need to add the peaches, I just had them on hand. You could use chopped up mango as well.

Enjoy!!! :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

fig and pistachio biscotti (a)

soooooooooo, i was procrastinating when i came upon this site... http://creampuffsinvenice.ca/. not only do i love the name, but i love the pictures and the brown colouring and, well pretty much everything about this site. soooo...head there to check it out. Meanwhile, I decided to procrastinate in another way, and actually make the fig and pistachio biscotti recipe that I came across - modified a bit, i cut out some sugar, and made the measures a little bit simpler.
Ive never made biscotti before, so i was excited. This recipe, well....they are pretty much figgin awesome ;)

FIG AND PISTACHIO BISCOTTI




75g butter softened
1/3 c sugar
2 eggs at room temp
2 tspn vanilla
1 tspn orange extract (or orange zest, or lemon zest)
1 c (around 80g packet) shelled unsalted pistachios
1 c chopped dried figs (dried = around 6)
1 1/2 c flour
3/4 tspn baking powder


Preheat oven 180 celcius and line biscuit tray with baking paper.
Combine sugar and butter and mix until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, and mix well between each addition.
Mix in the vanilla and orange extract.
Stir in the figs and pistachios.
Add flour and stir until just combined.
Roll dough into ball and place on lightly floured surface. Split ball into 3 segments, and roll each segment out, till its about 3-4cm thick and 20-30cm long.
Place segments on the baking tray, leaving room between each one.
Bake for 15 minutes until slightly golden and warm to touch.
Remove from oven and let them cool a little.
Cut segments into 1-2cm thick pieces (depending on how thick you want your biscotti...thinner will crisp up more, thicker is a bit chewier) and separate pieces on the tray. Make sure they are standing up, don't lie them down (like on the photo guys)
Bake for another 10 minutes.
Let them cool completely before serving-ideally with good coffee :)

Tips
If you dont have orange extract (weirdly enough, mum did) then you can use orange zest or lemon zest.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

back to basics (a)

A thought just occured to me. No recipes here folks, just something i wanted to get down (but I might just dig up a good photo or two)

As most of you know, my mum is what inspires me to cook. For as long as I can remember, she has produced baked goods for our lunchboxes (no chips or roll ups) and dinner every night. My mum is traditional...and I have alot of good base knowledge from her.


mum and i hanging in the kitchen

On the other hand, is my aunt, aunty W. While I was living alone in perth, she fed me dinner every sunday night and made sure I was 'vitaminised' for the coming week.
My aunt cooks amazing dinners, is always willing to try a new recipe, and has a wealth of cooking knowledge. Last weekend we had ginger and apricot pavlova roulade, kaffir lime tart, preserved lemon and quinoa salad, lentil, feta and tomato salad, zuchini and parmesan fritters and...I made a plain green salad, just like my mums.

dinner at my aunts :)

Dinner was...amazing, fabulous, the reason I came back to perth. With friends and family, sitting outside by candlelight, eating good food. My tastebuds were doing happy dances and there was a party in my stomach.

Now, this thing that just occurred to me.
As delish as the pavlova roulade was...a normal pavlova kicks butt.
As rich and unlike any chocolate tart I have ever had...a normal chocolate tart with strawberries is always a winner.
As nutty and sour as the preserved lemon and quinoa salad was, or as textured as the lentils and feta...my normal garden salad still went down a treat.

the pav roulade...and it was great. i swear. i ate two helpings :D

Can you see what I'm getting at? These days, there are so many recipe books around, and so many ways to cook food that people come up with the craziest ideas...bacon and egg icecream, crispy duck with blood orange sauce and stir fried gai larn or even caramel banana peacan stuffed hotcakes (yes they exist).

When really, simple is just as good. Simple is enjoyed. I LIKE my pav plain, not chocolate, not roulade...just lots of cream and fresh fruit. Although we all enjoyed the experience of eating the chocolate tart, its a well made plain chocolate tart that blows peoples minds and encourages recipe trading.

I dont mean in any way to belittle those adventurous quinoa people. I love to eat their food. But sometimes, I think a step back needs to be taken. Of all the food I ate in europe, a meal of fish and potatoes and preserves with my grandad was one of my favourites. Or just bread and cheese fondue. Chocolate always tasted better as dark (without anything) and nothing beats a good vanilla milkshake.

So, guess I should end by saying I promise not to do any crazy things on here. When I have my cafe...it will be a return to simple delicious food that we used to eat, but got overtaken by...well...quinoa. I promise to keep it (ok ok mostly) basic, to find the BEST chocolate tart, that will have people begging for more and to embrace the art of simple, good tasting food.



Now...im off to make filled filo pastries with capsicum and chilli relish with a red cabbage and lemon salad.

wendells birthday cake (a) aka easy coffee cake

So, it was my dads birthday this week (which was the reason I came back from europe early)

HAPPY 50th BIRTHDAY PAPPY!!!!

On wednesday, I realised that we were going out for dinner, and although mum had made a cake for dad to take to work (under the Rio Tinto cake act) she actually hadnt made one for his birthday. So, I resolved to bake a cake that afternoon. At first, I thought it would be easy...we had plenty of beer, pistachios and lemons. But soon I realised we didnt have much else, so I had to ride to the shops and get essentials like baking powder and flour. Turned out I managed to whip up this awesomely super easy moist cake, and although I made a coffee one, you could easily expand on ideas and make it with coco, lemons, or mint...any flavour really. In fact, thinking about it, it was really a recipe for a giant sized cupcake. HAHAHAHA :) so, please ensure you have the essentials in your cupboard, and try...

Wendells Birthday Cake


Ingredients:
170g butter (its supposed to be half butter and half margarine but i dont like using marg to cook)
3/4 c loosely packed brown sugar
1 1/4 c SR flour
1/2 tspn baking powder
3 eggs
3 tbspn coffee (stronger the better for more flavour)

Icing
3/4 c icing sugar
40g softened butter
1 tbspn coffee
1 tbspn milk

Preheat oven to 180 celcius and prepare a round baking tin.
Whip butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour, baking powder, eggs and coffee and mix well.


Pour mixture into prepared tin and bake for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the icing by combining all ingredients and mixing until light and fluffy.

Once cake is cooked, remove and leave it to cool. Once cool, spread the icing over the top. Decorate with almonds or walnuts.



Tips
Add the juice of half a lemon, or 2 tbspns of cocoa instead of coffee to make a different flavoured cake.
Use vanilla essence, mint essence or lemon juice in the icing to make all sorts of yummy flavours
If you're feeling really adventurous, slice the cake in half once cooled, and fill with cream or extra icing.

p. my dads name isnt actually wendell, thats just what we call him. love you dad xox

Friday, October 29, 2010

Honey lemon chicken

Hello everyone. I am back...back from an epic trip around europe, 137 days :) By golly it was good fun, and I cant wait to go back again. While on the epic trip I ate mountains of food, and plan on getting that sorted into something soon. But, right now I would like to introduce one of my favourite dinners to you all. This recipe was given to me from my mum, who got it from her friend, who pulled it out of a cookbook. Its one of those 'chuck in the oven' meals that requires little preparation for big WOW factor. The amazing mix of chilli, ginger, lemon and honey just makes you beg for more, and its has great 'eat next day' qualities. Oh and you get to get your hands all sticky and gooey when you marinade the chicken ;) The marinade also makes a great sauce after cooking. Bring it on...(btw sorry dodge pics...but everyone was waiting for me before eating so i had to go fast)




Honey lemon chicken


7 chicken breasts (or more/less depending on who you're feeding)
1 large kumara (sweet potato)
1 red chilli chopped finely
2 tbspn brown sugar
2 tbspn fresh grated ginger
2 cloves garlic crushed
1/4 c honey
1 lemon
3 baby zuchini (or squash)
Cous cous to serve



Preheat oven to 160 celcius. Slice lemon thinly, remove pips. Peel kumara and cut into wedges. Add chopped chilli, brown sugar, grated ginger, crushed garlic, honey and chicken to a bowl. Use hands to stir the chicken into the ingredients, making sure the surface of the chicken is well coated with marinade. Place chicken in a deep baking dish (the flatter you lay it out the faster it will cook). Place kumara wedges around the chicken. Lay lemon slices ontop of the chicken.




Place in oven and cook for about 30 minutes. Make cous cous and cut zuchini into wedges. After 30 min, add zuchini to chicken dish, and allow to cook for further 15 minutes.

Serve the chicken, zuchini and kumara ontop of cous cous with a little marinade sauce.

Tips
You can use rice instead of cous cous in this recipe
This is a great meal to use for lots of people, just increase the amount of chicken per person, and add a little more spices and honey. The chicken doesnt need to be swimming in marinade, just coated...it will make its own marinade as it cooks.
You can add other vegetables like capsicum or eggplant to the dish.



Sunday, October 3, 2010

Chicken and Leek Soup (a)


Hey Hey!
I'm in norway. HEL-LO NORWAY! its an interesting country...very beautiful, and even though the weather is so bad (ie cold, cloudy and sporadically raining) I like the blustry-ness of it all. I guess it helps that I am
staying with hannah and her aunt/uncle, so im in a real house and everything is great...lots of cups of tea (yes i have developed a fondness for tea). Hannah and I were in Kristiansand yesterday, and we saw a lady riding a bicycle with one solitary leek on the newspaper holder on the back of her bike. We then came across the vege market, and in a flash of inspiration decided it would be a good idea to buy some leek, and then some potatoes, and cook dinner for her a
unt and uncle...my mums chicken and leek soup. So, for those cold winter days (yea totally not happening in perth right now I know) go to your local greengrocers and pick up some leek and have a go:

Chicken and Leek soup


4 chicken thigh fillets
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 large leek (or 2 small ones)
2 cloves garlic
5 medium potatoes
1.5L of chicken stock
2 tbspn vinegar
1 tspn lemongrass
Coriander and Pepper (to serve)

Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. Place flour, salt and pepper into a plastic bag, add the chicken and mix until the chicken is coated with flour. Heat oil in a pan, and cook the chicken until browned (you might need to do this in batches). Remove chicken and set aside.
Cut leek thinly, peel potatoes and chop into bite sized pieces as well. Add leek to the pan, and cook with the garlic (crushed) until soft. Add the chicken stock, lemongrass, vinegar and potatoes. Let it simmer for about 1/2 hour or until the potatoes are cooked. Add the chicken. Let it simmer until ready to serve...the longer you leave it the more flavoured the potatoes and chicken will get :)

Serve topped with cracked pepper, coriander and crusty bread with LOTS of butter

Tips
You can sautee some onion before cooking teh chicken and add it to the soup if you dont have enough leek or want some mroe flavours.
We used brown vinegar, and it turned out well too :)
This tastes better the day after, and also freezes really well!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

swiss vanilla cupcakes

wow. its been so long since i have written a blog i dont even know what font i usually use. and i noticed that i tend to go a little bit overboard with the different font styles. promise to try and tone it down...a little.

but anyways, IM IN SWITZERLAND!!! which is one of the main reasons why i ahvent blogged, being without a computer means no time, unless its like tonight, im babysitting, and am having trouble staying awake, so thought i would share some food with you all. im currently travelling europe for 6 months, and surprisingly, havent really taken as many photos of food as you would think. but, i ahve had the biggest craving for cakes. they dont eat cakes over here like they do in australia (ok like I do in australia). luckily, this weekend there was a flea market on at the campground im staying at, and i decided that it would be an awesome idea to make some food to sell. so lula (the girl that i look after) and i spent friday afternoon baking, and this is one of the products...we made three batches of swiss vanilla cupcakes (recipe adapted from smitten kitchen) oh, and remember how i said that i wasnt very good at butter icing? this is an AWESOME butter icing :) and the recipe is super easy for kids to do to!

swiss vanilla cupcakes




3 tbnspn butter
1 c flour
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c milk
1 tspn baking powder
1 egg
1/2 tspn baking soda
1/2 tspn vanilla

Icing

2 c icing sugar
5 tbspn butter (softened)
2 tbspn milk
1/2 tspn vanilla
sprinkles

Preheat oven to 190 degrees and line cupcake tin with papers. Put flour, sugar, butter, baking soda and baking powder into bowl and beat until mixture is sandy. (i just used a whisk...make sure the mix isnt lumpy, otherwise you pay later). pour in half the milk and beat well (no lumps!!!) mix egg and vanilla in remaining milk and pour into mix and beat well to make a smooth mixture - but dont overmix! spoon butter into prepared cases (about one tbspn per case) and bake for 20-25 minutes. cool completely on wire tray

Icing
beat butter and icing sugar until well mixed. with a wjick this takes a while, but dont be discouraged because all of a sudden it will come together. combine milk and vanilla and pour into mix, beat well to combine and continue to beat until mix is light and fluffy.

Place sprinkles in a shallow bowl. cover cupcakes with layer of icing a lightly press icing side up into sprinkles. enjoy!!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Overseas inspiration - Madrid


Overseas holidays are not complete without snaps of the delicious culinary delights tasted!


I only touched the tip of the Europe-iceberg...I'm definitely planning my next trip back! It is a hub of culture - expressed in multiple avenues (food, language, architecture, social behaviors of the people.. etc).
This trip: Madrid = sangria/wine & tapas of all sorts!


Its been a while since posting - but hope these pictures satisfy your appetite :)


xx


No.1 & 2 must-eats: Sangria & Tapas of all sorts!










No. 3 must-eat: Seafood Paella


White Chocolate & Blueberry Macarons

Thursday, June 3, 2010

lemon rose cupcakes (k)

First cupcake making attempt ever! Started simple - a simple vanilla cupcake with lemon buttercream icing - topped with a rose bud for deco. SO PRETTY! and super yum.


This post is not so much for the recipe but just to show off my cupcakes :D Like a proud first-timer of anything haha..
The recipe is calculated - straight from the Primrose Bakery - ie. London's BEST cupcake shop (or so I'm told). But boy did they work out well - level tops, and a cupcake that was moist yet fluffy!
Mine look so amateur compared to theirs pictured throughout the book, but hey, thats just simply a goal to work towards!


Baked and ready to ice


<3 <3 <3

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

totally easy apple crumble (a)

so. this post is for a couple of people :D

numero uno is raymanda. ray (and) manda are my housemates. who LOVE apple crumble. seriosuly love. but they buy nanas apple crumble, defrost and heat in microwave ?!??!?. i was a bit shattered when i heard this (almost makes me as sad as hearing people say that gelare waffles are real. BAH) so i made apple crumble for them, and they were in crumble heaven. and i made custard.

the next person i dedicate this to is georgie *waves* georgie baked my gingerbread cake the other day and has apparently now earned the (undeserved she believes) title of a baker in her house. so, georgie, i post this super easy and delish apple crumble so you can wow your housemates with your amazing baking skills

and to all you readers out there, get inspired by georgie...its getting cold, totally time to whip out the granny smiths and heat up the house with the aroma of apple crumble.

ok so the pic isnt that great. but you try arranging apple crumble from a bowl in another bowl and then taking a photo in bad light. promise next time i make it i'll get a new one.

Apple Crumble
(note...this is a double crumble amount. but more crumble the better i say)

3 large granny smith apples
1 c plain flour
150 g room temp butter
1 c rolled oats
1/2 c brown sugar (can use white sugar)
1 tbspn cinnamon
1 tspn mixed spice

place butter in bowl to warm up while you prep the apples. wash apples. cut into quarters and de-core. slice each quarter into 4-5 pieces. alternately, grate apple. arrange in bottom of large baking dish (i use pyrex dishes, about 10cm deep and normal cake tin size round). turn oven on to 190 degrees. add flour to butter. using fingertips, rub the butter and flour together (takes about 5 min) until most of it has combined and looks like breadcrumbs. (there will probably be a couple of big chunks of butter, dont worry too much). add oats, sugar and spices. mix together. pour ontop of apples and press down firmly. place in oven for 45 minutes.

To serve:
vanilla yoghurt (goes really well and MUCH healthier than icecream)
icecream or cream
custard
or a combination of all three

Tips
add a shake of cinnamon over the apples before placing the crumble ontop to give it a bit more flavour
add frozen berries or raisins to the apple
add 1/2 c of loosely chopped walnuts to the crumble for a bit of crunch

eat leftover crumble for breakfast - BEST IDEA EVER!!!!