Wednesday, February 23, 2011

cranberry (crasin) and pistachio muffins (a)

As the cold war kids would say:

"something is not right with me, trying not to let it show"

I was feeling weird...i think i was feeling stressed, but its been so long since i have been stressed it was an unfamiliar feeling. i was also hungry. all i wanted to do was sit in the air con and watch tv.

but i could hear this niggling little voice in my head 'mum wants you to do some baking' yeah yeah...can do it tom (nope...working all day tom). can do it friday (nope...working fri and going out)...can do it sat...(nope)...sun (nope) and by that stage, mum would have done it herself. 

not so bad, except for the fact that my mum, who works a 40 hour week doesnt really need that...when i have time. right now.

sooo i turned the aircon off and went to bake. what, i did not know, but as soon as i pulled out a bowl and the flour i instantly felt better. why? i dont know...but i think it is a sign from God...'see alex...baking...makes you feel happy...should be your profession'. Thanks for that little pointer there. Then i got excited to take photos and write the recipe on here :) so now i feel better.

as for the muffins...well...i rummaged through the pantry and found crasins, and pistachios. considering i love wearing purple dresses and green shoes, i figured this colour combo would go great in muffins too :D :D

ok so im eating one now...and verdict = pretty damn good. would be improved with the addition of butter :D

Cranberry (crasin) and Pistachio muffins

2 c SR flour
1/2 c brown sugar (loosely packed)
1 1/4c buttermilk (or 1 1/4 c milk and juice of 1/2 lemon left to stand ~ 5 min)
1 egg
1/2 c butter melted (i think its about 50g)
1/2 c pistachios shelled
1/2 c crasins (dried cranberries)

Preheat oven to 180 celcius and prepare muffin tin.
In a large bowl, combine flour and brown sugar.
Add buttermilk, egg and butter and mix until just combined (doesnt have to be smooth).
Add pistachios and crasins and mix in.
Divide the mix between the muffin cases - about 1 tbpsn per case.
Bake for about 20 minutes (I'm just about to take mine out of the oven mmmm).

Make sure you make the mixture wet before you add the crasins otherwise the flour will stick in the folds of the crasins and its not so nice to have lumps of flour in your muffins.
These will freeze really well :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

chocolate trufle tart (a) [k]


chocolate. tart. 

i really dont think I need to say more than that except:

it was saturday night, both of us had ditched our bf's (mine on skype and hers working) and were spending some quality time with the pantryfridge and each other 

what started out as a 'plan to bake' turned into dinner (steak, salad and rice) and the most amazing chocolate dessert ever...

this took AGES to do

cream, egg, sugar. what could go wrong?

old skool beater fun :D

the fudgy leftovers

Chocolate truffle tart (recipe adapted and modified from 'thecilantropist.blogspot')

250g chocolate ripple biscuits
85g butter
2 eggs
1 yolk
1/3 c sugar
1/2 c cream
2 tspns vanilla essence
1/2 tspn salt
285g dark cooking chocolate
110g butter

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Prepare a muffin tray, or a springform pan (depending if you want lots of little tarts (we did) or one big one).
Crush biscuits. Melt the butter. Combine in a mixing bowl.
Line the bottom and the sides of the muffin cases/springform pan with the biscuit crumbs.
Bake the cases in the oven for 10 minutes - the house should start to smell like chocolate biscuits.
Pull the cases out and leave to cool on a wire rack (keep them in the tray/pan).
Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, yolk, sugar, cream, vanilla and salt in a large bowl.
Melt the chocolate and add the butter, stirring until combined, and mixture is smooth and glossy.
Let the chocolate cool (if its too hot, it will cook the eggs).
Then add it to the egg/cream mix and whisk gently until combined (over-whisking will produce airbubbles...not good).
Pour the chocolate filling into the prepared crusts, and then place in the oven for 22-28 minutes (longer = firmer, shorter = gooey)
Cool on a wire rack.

Serve warm with a dusting of cocoa powder and icecream or cold with raspberries and whipped cream.

As mentioned: 

  • let the chocolate cool before adding it to the egg/cream mix - should be about the warmth of a babys bottle.
  • Do not overmix the chocolate into the egg/cream mix - this tart is sinfully heavy, and producing airbubbles will detract from this.
  • Cook for a longer time if you want a firmer (more brownie like) middle, and shorter if you want it runnier (more like fudge)
Add macadamias into the chocolate mix (around a handful) for a crunchy bite.
Try using gingernut biscuits...mmmmmmmmmmm
You could also use white chocolate for the filling!

We had leftover filling which we poured into mini muffin cases (and added macadamias). Unfortunately, these did not come out of the tin well (not greased enough?) but we ate them with a spoon anyway. 
If you have leftover, you could try lining small tins with baking paper to ensure the mix doesnt stick to the side.

Monday, February 21, 2011

goooooooaaallll!! (a)

if i can't write this on here, then i don't know where to write it.

i thought about sending an email to myself.

i should really write it in word and print it and stick it on my wall.

yesterday i was helping my friend create a presentation, and while hanging out in her study, i noticed two large sheets of paper with 'kats 10 year goals' and 'kats life goals' and i don't think i have ever taken the time to sit down and write my goals out.

after coming back from europe i was happy with the concept - i will earn enough to pay my bills and take a yearly trip to another country. i don't feel like i need a big house, and a car, and a tv, and all that jazz. simple is easy

however, after talking to my friends lately, i realise that simple IS easy, and by submitting to this lifestyle, i am not pushing myself to evolve.

so i decided that i would write a few goals...or dream that i have. that i intend on accomplishing in my life...


1) own and run a cafe. preferably with miss k, but i would be happy to branch out on my own. european themed. the best coffee. featuring an amazing breakfast menu, and enough fresh salads to feed a goat, not to mention cakes to boot, it would be the place to catch up with friends for a well deserved break.

2) if successful, i want to own and run a bar. if you live in perth - think a mix of the bird and the moon, with a little of 1907 chucked in. lots of european themes. something like that (which is most def what it will not turn out to be).

SHORT term

3) i WILL learn another language this year. spanish preferably. and then i will live in spain. i will have siestas and lazy lunches, work in a small food establishment and wear floral dresses. i will ride an old bike with a basket and wear flowers in my hair.

4) next year, i am going to new york. i want to live there - and drive across america to LA.

5) i WILL do dancing, or yoga, or pilates this year.

thats all i can think of. i think that makes for a pretty good list. sorry nooooo recipes...ahhhh but surely one tomorrow :) i promise.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

blueberry and almond muffins (a)

Ok, I know I make alot of muffin recipes, but they are soooo easy to bake, chuck in the freezer and pull out for work, uni or school. I am trying to be inventive and do all sorts of different recipes as well, not just the same ones over and over. So here is a new (super easy) one...

Blueberry and almond muffins

2 c SR flour
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c blueberries
1/2 c flaked almonds
1 egg
3/4 c buttermilk
50g butter melted.

Preheat oven to 180 celcius and prepare muffin tin.
In a large bowl mix the flour and sugar.
Add the blueberries and almonds and mix well.
Add the buttermilk, egg and butter. Mix until just combined - the mixture should not be smooth.
Place ~1tbspn of mix into each muffin case.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.

If you don't have buttermilk, add the juice of 1/2 a lemon to 3/4 cup plain milk. It should curdle a little.

peach and mango cake (a)

Its 5:30 am on sunday morning and i am sleep-making my breakfast (due to having work at 6). I find that someone finished the tinned fruit and didnt open another tin. sighing, I find a new tin, tupperware to put it in, and open it. 
This is an extra two minutes in my 25-minutes-to-get-to-work routine that I cannot afford. 

I pour the tinned fruit into the tupperware and am about to put some on my weet-bix when through my sleepy state i realise...


AGAIN! ! !

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I quickly put the fruit back in the fridge and put jam on my weet-bix instead.

Now, anyone who reads this blog frequently knows about my issue with mango. Tinned puree mango is possibly the worst form of mango. So again, I was stuck with a tin of peaches in mango puree. I decided the best way to use them would be in a peach upside down cake. Unfortunately, I couldnt find a good one online. So I turned to the WW. Modified it a bit...and came up with this...(btw shortest ingredient list EVER).

Peach and Mango cake

185g butter
1/2 c castor sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 c of tinned peaches and mango puree
1 3/4 c self raising flour

Preheat oven to 140 celcius, prepare a ring tin (line with baking paper or grease).
Cream butter and sugar in a bowl.
Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
Add half of the flour and mix well.
Add the peaches and mango puree, stir well. Dont worry if the peaches break up!
Add the rest of the flour and combine well.
Place the mix into the prepared tin and bake for about 1-1 1/4 hours, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Dust with icing sugar and store in airtight container.
Alternatively, serve warm with custard or icecream for dessert mmmmmm :)

Ok so this was so easy, I couldn't think of any tips until I tried to tip it out of the tin...WAIT UNTIL THE CAKE HAS FULLY COOLED and make sure you greased the tin well, otherwise it will break. 
But I did get to eat the broken bit and it tastes GREAT :) very happy with it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

spiced fig, walnut and banana muffins (a)

~two days ago~

mum: "Alex do something with those bananas"
me: "sure thing"

~next day~

dad: "do you want me to eat those bananas?"
mum: "no its ok alex is going to do something with them"


mum: "alex dont forget to do something with those bananas"

so...something with the bananas:

something EDIBLE with the bananas:

Spiced fig, walnut and banana muffins

2 cups flour
1/2 tspn baking soda
1 tspn baking powder
1 tspn cinnamon
1 tspn ginger
1/2 tspn mixed spice
1/4 tspn nutmeg
100g butter softened
1/2 c sugar
1 egg
2 mashed bananas
8 dried figs chopped
1/2 cup walnuts chopped
4 tbspn milk

i love taking photos of figs...

Preheat the oven to 180 celcius and line muffin tray with muffin cases.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, mixed spice and nutmeg.
In a small bowl, mash the bananas.
In another small bowl, cream the butter and sugar.
Add the egg and the banana to the butter and sugar and mix well.
Pour the wet mix into the dry mix and fold till combined.
Add the figs, walnuts and milk, stir.
Place about a tbspn of mix into each muffin case.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden ontop.

Serve with a big scoop of icecream.

Make sure you sift the baking soda otherwise there might be some lumps.
This recipe was adapted from a banana bread or loaf recipe, so if you would rather, place it into a loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes (or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean).

Monday, February 7, 2011

Chicken and Mango parcels (a)

Anyone who reads this blog frequently knows that


personally I think it is just proof that I am not a REAL australian, I may drink beer and wear thongs, but I DONT EAT MANGO.

I like mango FLAVOURED smoothies, mango yoghurt. 
I like mango IN pudding, mango yoghurt, mango cake. 
I like the SMELL of (non overripe) body butter from the body shop.

henceforth I come to the conclusion:


I think it has to do with the slimy texture and the overripe smell. Ergh.

Last night I made mango and chicken parcels, which are one of my mums specialties. It took me a while to admit that I wanted to try it, and when I did, it  only proved my mango long as its not straight, I can eat it and enjoy it (a bit like galliano).

So, for all of you mango lovers out there...yummy yummy easy dinner...

Chicken and Mango parcels

mmmm cheesy chicken goodness

2 sheets puff pastry
2 chicken breasts, sliced into about 8 pieces
50g (approx) philly cream cheese
4 tspns Byron bay coconut and chilli sauce
8 slices mango
8 pieces of bocconcini cheese
6-8 chives, choppped roughly

pre baking.

Preheat oven to 180 celcius and line a baking tray with paper.
Lay the puff pastry sheets out and cut into 4 quarters.
Use a knife to spread a thin layer of philly in the middle of each quarter.
Spread 1/2 tspn of coconut chilli sauce ontop of the philly.
Place the chicken and mango ontop of the sauce.
Chop each piece of bocconcini into quarters, place 2 quarters on each pastry quarter.
Sprinkle chives evenly ontop of all the quarters.
Fold the pastry on the diagonal to make a triangular parcel and press the edges firmly together between finger and thumb to close.
Place on the baking tray and make 2 small openings in the top of the parcel.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown ontop.
Serve with extra coconut and chilli sauce and a fresh salad.

I know not everyone has byron bay coconut chilli sauce lying around, so you could use chilli sauce or sweet chilli sauce instead.
Add mushrooms for something different.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

European food (a)

Im bored, home alone on sunday afternoon.

Im kinda sleepy.

I dont feel like doing any of the study I have to do.
I dont feel like sleeping.
I dont feel like organising evidence that I should be allowed to lease an apartment.

I dont even feel like eating (probably due to the large slice of praline, coffee and walnut cake I finished off from Sherbet).
I do feel like writing a blog, but
I dont feel like remembering where I sourced the recipes from.


Im going to do something I have been meaning (and promising) to since I came back from all my food photos from europe (and hopefully figure out where I ate them) so that if you ever go, you can try as well...

I wouldn't put up a resturant name/photo if I didn't think it was worth it!

Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, Netherlands, Poland, Norway, Denmark.


Chocolate - Sucher Interlaken, Switzerland.

Fondue Friday at Riverlodge - Interlaken, Switzerland.

Swiss bread from Altstad Tea Rooms - Interlaken, Switzerland.

I baked cupcakes, brownies and cookies with Lula - Interlaken.

Pumpkin at the markets - Tübingen Germany.

Tiramisu Icecream - Tübingen, Germany.

Apple (funny that) - Unteresingen, Germany.

Best cake shop EVEEERR: Gundel - Heidelberg, Germany.

Blackberries on a morning walk - Heidelberg, Germany.

Sushi (cant find the name of the place) on the Valminstraat- Bruge, Belgium.

Lurenzinos waffles (amazing) on the Noordzandstraat - Bruge, Belgium.

My baby and my chips - Antwerp, Belgium.

CHEESE (3 guesses where) - Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Currywurst @ Currywurst 36 - Berlin, Germany.

Mor-Mors Boller - Sogne, Norway.

Åses pear pie - Stavanger, Norway.

Grapefruit sunday morning - Stavanger, Norway.
Fresh blueberries (soooo good) - Stavanger, Norway.

Hot Chocolate @ Sjokoladepiken - Stavanger, Norway.

Lunch @ Ostehuset (Cheese house hehehe) - Stavanger, Norway.

Reindeer for dinner anyone??? - Stavanger, Norway.

Mor Mors apples - Some random island at H's grandmas house, Norway

Mor Mors waffles - Bergen, Norway.

THAAIII (so craving it) somewhere near the YHA - Bergen, Norway.

Norwegian icecream - Bergen, Norway.

Hot chocolate @ Cafe Klimt *REALLY GOOD* - Copenhagen, Denmark

Hamburger (really guys, this place was GREAT) @ Cafe Klimt - Copenhagen, Denamark.

First Pizza (pretty sure it was at L'Arcano) - Rome, Italy.

Simmo and Gelato near the Vatican - Rome, Italy.

Pastries (mmmm) @ Enotica U.Giuliani - Rome, Italy

Breakfast every morning @ pastry shop, Via Montebello near Papa Germano Hostel - Rome, Italy.

Breakfast : pastries from that shop and Fruit from the market outside there as well - Rome, Italy.

Picnic @ Michelangelos steps - Florence, Italy.

Delish-ious-ness from a shop on the Via S'Onofrio - Florence, Italy.

Fish. Yes - Milan, Italy.

Lasagne and Spaghetti Bog @ Alla Vecchia Pescheria - Murano, Italy.

BEST TIRAMISU EVVEEERRRR @ Alla Vecchia Pescheria - Murano, Italy.

Panna Cotta @ Alla Vecchia Pescheria - Murano, Italy.

Biscotti - Italy.

Dick pasta - Italy.

Condiments @ Ginger - Venice, Italy.

Shrimp pasta @ Ginger - Venice, Italy.
Biscotti pasta @ Ginger - Venice, Italy.

Gelato - Venice, Italy.

Strawberries at the markets - Zagreb, Croatia.

CAAAKKEEE - Zagreb, Croatia.

Karlovack Pivo - Hvar, Croatia.

I finished most of it before I took a photo, pizza in croatia is good! - Hvar, Croatia.
Fudge, random chocolate shop - Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Zucchini in Dans grandads garden - Igrane, Croatia.

Figs, grandads garden again - Igrane, Croatia.

Poppy seed bun from local bakery - Igrane, Croatia.

Tiramisu @ Cacao - Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Cake @ Zvezda - Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Chocolate - Vienna, Austria.

Cupcake somewhere in Vienna, sorry - Vienna, Austria.

Breakfast @ Garda - Vienna, Austria.

Bread at the markets along the river - Salzberg, Austria.

Dinner @ Churrasco la Mamma - Innsbruck, Austria.

Toasted Marshmellow on Biscuit - Interlaken, Switzerland.

My fav picnic: peanutbutter, chocolate and bread @ Trummelbachfalle with Sarah - Interlaken, Switzerland

So. I hope you enjoyed that. I tried my best to whittle it down, but really, if you are in any of these places, I highly recommend you find these restaurants to eat at. I wouldnt put them up if it wasn't worth it.

YAY for beautiful european food :D :D :D