Sunday, October 30, 2011

Easy Pumpkin Loaf for Halloween

So I spent today baking up a storm of Halloween goodies to take to work for morning tea tomorrow.

On the agenda was...

Pumpkin Loaf
Spider Web Cake
Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Cake Balls

For the pumpkin loaf you will need:

650g butternut pumpkin peeled and deseeded
100g softened butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 tspn ground cinnamon
1 tspn mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 180°C and line your loaf tin with grease proof paper.

Cut the pumpkin into 4cm pieces and place in a microwave safe dish. Microwave on HIGH (100%) for 3 to 4 minutes or until pumpkin is tender. Mash until smooth and set aside to cool.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together.

Add eggs, beating until well combined.

Add pumpkin, flour, bicarb and spices. Beat on low until just combined.

Pour mixture into your prepared tin and smooth surface.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand in pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack.

This is a great recipe packed full of flavour and you can serve it warm or cold which makes it great for lunch boxes, morning teas or even breakfast!

And here is the spider web cake....I cheated and just used a packet chocolate cake mix and decorated it with vanilla buttercream, licorice and oreos!

Looks pretty cool hey!

Stay tuned because I'll post the recipe for the Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Cake Balls tomorrow!!

Em x

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hidden Vegetable Curry

What a hectic week it has been. It started on Monday with a full day of interviews, on Tuesday I had a full day training, yesterday, today and tomorrow have been / will be spent attending seminars for Workplace Safe week...on top of that I got a heap of new beads so I've been busy making jewellery most nights and even found time to whip up a couple of cakes too! All of this makes this bowl of tasty, hearty mince and vegie curry with eggplant and yoghurt even more comforting and enjoyable to sit down and savour!

To whip it up for yourself (and 2 friends because it serves 3) you will need:

250g mince
1 carrot grated
1 zucchini grated
1 onion finely diced
1 eggplant diced
1 tspn butter
2-3tbspns curry paste (I used Korma)
1 tin diced tomatoes
salt and pepper
200g tub of European yoghurt to serve

In a fry pan over medium heat add your onion and mince and cook for 4-5 mins or until mince is browned.

Add the curry paste, diced tomatoes, carrot and zucchini. Season with salt and pepper and let it simmer for 5-10 mins.

Meanwhile throw your eggplant and butter into a microwave safe dish and cook for 10 mins (checking every 2mins) until the eggplant is nice and mushy and the butter is soaked up. Give it a bit of a mash up with a fork too.

Serve the mince mixture with a heaped spoonful of the eggplant and a generous dollop of yoghurt. I also think this would be delicious served with some naan bread too.

This dish is just packed with flavour, a great way to hide vegies from the kids, low in calories and very filling too!

Right, I must be off, jewellery to package, chocolate to know...the usual!

Em x

Monday, October 24, 2011

Strawberry Cheesecake Brownies

This weekend just gone was one of the best weekends I've had for a long time. OH is working away at the moment and not only was he home for 3 whole days but the weather was simply gorgeous as well. On Friday we picked up some new furniture for our bedroom, posted off all of our wedding invites and went out for a lovely seafood dinner with friends. Then on Saturday we went for a ride up to Meadowbank Dam and sat out on the jetty with our lunch.....

And that night we chilled out on the couch with the world's biggest plate of nachos (which OH washed down with an equally huge glass of buorbon!)

Yesterday we had a bit of a sleep in and spent the day pottering around in the garden before taking my bike out for a quick spin, OH even taught me how to ride the ride on mower and dump the oil out of my bike so it's ready for a service :)

So what better way to top off a beautiful summer's weekend then with these decadent Strawberry Cheesecake Brownies?

You will need:
125g butter
180g dark chocolate melts
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups plain flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 180C / 160°C fan-forced.
Line a slice tin with baking paper.
Place butter and chocolate in a heat proof bowl in the microwave and heat in 45 second bursts (stirring in between) until smooth.
Pour into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat in the sugar.
Add eggs and beat until well combined.
Add the flour and cocoa and beat well. Mixture will be fairly thick.
Spread mixture into prepared pan and pour cheesecake mix over. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes or until top is firm to touch. Set aside to cool.

For the cheesecake mix you will need:

180g cream cheese
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup strawberry topping

Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth.

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend and made the most of the weather!

Em x

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Spring Pesto Pasta Salad

So this week I had a craving for a HUGE craving for pesto, but I also had a HUGE craving for mince....very not cool coming from someone who is meant to be 99% vegetarian but I think all the good vegetarian eating I've been doing whilst OH is away, whilst delicious, has not helped my iron levels and I've been feeling a touch wonky the last few days so red meat it is.....

This recipe is really simple and will make 2 huge bowls. I've been eating them cold for dinner each night because a) I think pesto pasta has more flavour when served cold and b) it's actually been rather warm here for a change! This cold pasta dish is yummy and satisfying which makes it just perfect for a warm weather dinner!

All you need is

100g dry pasta
85g basil pesto (I used half a jar of Leggos pesto)
200g swiss brown mushrooms sliced
1 green capsicum diced
1 small onion diced
250g beef mince
salt and pepper

In a fry pan over medium high eat, add your onion and cook for 2-3 mins or until softened. Add the mince and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a further 7-10 mins or until browned.

Meanwhile cook the pasta as per packet directions.

Add the capsicum and mushrooms and stir through the pesto. Cook for 3-4 mins.

Stir the cooked pasta through the mince mixture.

Allow to cool and serve cold.

It's been so warm here today and I went for a huge walk with one of my friends and now I'm fair tuckered out! Time for a nanna nap me thinks!

Em x

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chocolate Mudcake with Vanilla Bourbon Buttercream

Ohhh is as amazing and as naughty and as decadent as it sounds :) and the best part's so easy!!!

I have made this recipe twice in a matter of 3 days and it's so simple I've already got it memorised...which I highly recommend because believe me you will have people asking you for it!!

All you need is:

200g butter softened
100g brown sugar
100g caster sugar
4 eggs
1/4 cup self raising flour
250g good quality dark chocolate melted

Pre-heat oven to 180C

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars together.

Add your eggs one at a time and beat well after each one.

Then add your flour and melted chocolate, beating until smooth.

Pour into a greased and lined (believe me lining is mega important if you don't want to lose the bottom half of your cake....) square tin and bake for 45-50mins.

Don't be too concerned if your cake sinks in the middle, those gorgeous chewy edges make a great border for your frosting :)

While your cake cools you can make the Vanilla Bourbon Buttercream :)

2.5 cups icing sugar
150g butter
1 shot of bourbon
2 tspns vanilla paste

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth. you may want less vanilla or more buorbon depending on your personal tastes.

Once the cake has cooled, frost with buttercream and drizzle with melted dark chocolate.

This is such a great recipe. Most mud cake recipes I read are long and involve lots of ingredients, but this recipe is short, simple and it makes a 'real' mud cake that is moist and delicious and devilishly decadent, especially when compared with this frosting!!

The reason I was so excited (and up so damn early) earlier in the week was because a local cafe here asked me to submit a plate of different cakes for them to try and they would consider buying them to sell :)

Here is what I took in....

Chocolate Mud Cake with Vanilla Bourbon Buttercream, a Lemon Yoghurt Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, an Apple Spice Cake with Maple Frosting and a Strawberry Yoghurt Cake with Vanilla Yoghurt Buttercream....

At this stage I haven't heard anything but I'm trying not to get disheartened...keep your fingers crossed!!

Em x

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Savoury Omelette Stack

Well it is a wet and miserable day here, it's windy and rainy and generally horrible. I spent the morning lazing around in bed with my coffee and a monster size bowl of fruit and yoghurt but as much as I tried to avoid it, I had to go out in the hurricane and buy some vegies to plant this week and try and track down the last of the wedding decorations...I was so happy to get home and put my pjs back on!!

And on a day like this you just want to come home and have a nice dinner that is not only fast and easy to make, but tasty and different too! So when I came across this recipe during the week whilst searching for something to cook for Mum and Dad when they came over for dinner, I knew I was on a winner!

Savoury Omelette Stack

9 eggs
1 zucchini (diced)
2 spring onions (finely chopped)
2 capsicums (roasted with skins removed)
1 tspn crushed garlic
2 tspn crushed wet herbs (I used a combination of garlic, parsley, thyme and rosemary)
1/2 tspn crushed chilli
200g extra light cream cheese
Salt and Pepper
1/2 cup grated cheese

Now the night before I was going to serve this, I roasted the capsicums - pretty easy, cut them into quarters and place them on a baking tray skin side up and roast at 200C for about 1/2 hr until the skin is all wrinkly. Once they have cooled down you will be able to take the skin off. Then just pop them in the fridge till you're ready to use them :)

Pre-heat oven to 180C.

In a large bowl, add the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Whisk well to combine and set aside.

In another bowl, add the philly and mixed herbs and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a frying pan over medium heat add your zucchini, spring onions, garlic and chilli. Cook for 5-10 mins or until softened. Allow the mixture to cool slightly before adding to the eggs.

(Now I used my pancake maker at this step but you could use a fry pan just as easy) Spray a small frying pan (or your pancake maker) with oil. Use roughly 2 tablespoons of mix for each omelette. Cook until the egg is set and they are lightly golden. If you are using a fry pan you will need to flip them after a minute or so.

Now I got about 8 omelettes out of this mix so I made 2 x stacks of 4. To assemble your stacks, place 1 omelette onto a baking tray and spread with some of the cream cheese mixture. Top with another omelette and spread with more cream cheese. Once you have 4 omelettes in your stack, spread the top one with cream cheese, sprinkle with grated cheese and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Repeat this to make your second stack.

Back in the oven for 10-12 mins until the cheese is melted and golden.

Can I just say yum!!!! I also think these would be awesome with a bit of tomato salsa in between the layers with the cream cheese as well :)

This post is also being featured over at Veggie Mamas Meatless Mondays
Em x

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Apple and Pecan Blondies

Why you may ask am I up at 8:30am....having been up since 6am baking an apple cake? You may also ask why I was up until nearly midnight last night making a mudcake with buorbon frosting? And whilst your there you may as well ask why I will be up rather late tonight making two versions of my much loved yoghurt cake....well to be honest I'm asking myself the same thing....but all will be the next few days!

When I first came across this post over at Cookies and Cups I just had to make it. The original recipe had toffee bits in if, but I thought I would try them with crushed pecans instead.

These blondies are delicious, the chunks of apple and pecan are just beautiful and they disappeared in a flash at work yesterday!!

Apple and Pecan Blondies
150g butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tspn vanilla
2 cups plain flour
2 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn salt
1 large apple peeled and diced
1/2 cup pecan pieces and 12 whole pecan halves

Preheat oven to 180C and line and grease a slice tin.

Cream the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth.

Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.

Add flour, baking powder and salt. Mixing until just combined.

Now STIR in the chopped apples and pecan pieces....I tried to mix them in with my electric mixer...turned my back for 5 seconds and when I turned back around I was attacked with bits of flying apple! It wasn't pretty...

Spread the mixture into the pan and bake for 30 minutes or until the center is set.

And while it cools you can make the brown sugar frosting!

60g butter softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup milk
1 cup icing sugar

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth.

Allow the blondies to cool completely before frosting and slicing.

I topped each slice with one of the pecan halves :)

Now I'm going back to bed...with a warm piece of apple cake and a cup of coffee....

Em x

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mum's Crowd Pleaser Pumpkin Muffins

My Mum is one of those people who is naturally gorgeous, she doesn't wear make up (except for lippy!) and her job as a nurse doesn't allow her to wear nail polish, but with the wedding fast approaching and Mum and Dad flying out for 10 days in the sun at Port Douglas tomorrow, it was the perfect opportunity to have a test run with our nails. Things didn't quite go as planned though, Mum got lost and was then running late, none of the colours available in the shellac really matched what she wanted and I knew she was generally uncomfortable about the whole thing....but you know what, she settled on a colour, she relaxed, she gave it a go, the result was gorgeous and I was very proud of her for stepping outside her comfort zone and letting someone pamper her for a change!

So this year when I started planning the list of pumpkin / apple / pecan / halloween and autumn inspired baking, I knew I had to make my Mum's pumpkin muffins. Mum has made these muffins for as long as I can remember. She normally only makes 1 batch a year so they are always a special treat to be savoured...and believe me, a warm pumpkin muffin with a smidgen of melty butter and a hot cuppa is pure heaven on a plate.

And to cater for differing tastes (aka fussy taste buds as I got older) Mum started making half the batch with sultanas and half without as some years I was all for sultanas in my muffins and some years I was adamant they were just not meant to be there! These days I think I prefer them without, but I still like the idea of making half and half especially if you are serving them at a morning tea or sharing them with friends :)

Mum's Crowd Pleaser Pumpkin Muffins

60g butter (melted)
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 1/3 cups plain flour
2 tspns baking powder
1/2 tspn salt
1 tspn mixed spice
1/4 cup sultanas

Pre-heat oven to 200C and grease a 12 hole muffin tin.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar.

Add the milk, egg and pumpkin puree and beat to combine.

Add the plain flour, baking powder, salt and mixed spice. Beat until mixture is just combined. (it won't be mega smooth because of the pumpkin, but just so you don't have big lumps of flour!)

Now what I do at this stage is divide half the mixture between 6 muffin cups....then I stir 1/4 cup of sultanas through the remaining mixture and divide that between the remaining muffin cups.

Bake for around 20 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clear.

Em x

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Pancakes

Ohhhh yeah these thick, fluffy pumpkin pancakes drenched in maple syrup are the perfect thing to eat with a piping hot cup of tea, whilst laying in bed, watching the rain outside, snuggled up to the person you love....or you could just eat them on your own, whatever takes your fancy....

Thick and Fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes
3/4 cup plain flour
1/5 tspn baking powder
1/4 tspn baking soda
1 tspn mixed spice
1/2 tspn ground ginger
3 tbspn maple syrup plus extra for serving
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup milk
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger and mixed spice.

Add the maple syrup, pumpkin, milk, egg and vanilla and whisk until smooth.

Heat a nonstick fry pan over medium heat or if you have one, a pancake maker and grease with a little butter.

Drop tablespoons of batter into the pan and cook until golden. If using the fry pan you will need to then flip and cook the other side until golden.

Serve immediately with butter and maple syrup.

This recipe makes 6-8 good sized pancakes so depending on the size of your pancake stacks, would easily serve 2-4....or even just 1!!

Hope you are all having a fantastic week!

Em x

Sunday, October 9, 2011

75 Cupcakes and 1 Cake Later......

And we finally have a decision on our wedding cake!

A Raspberry Yoghurt Cake with Vanilla Yoghurt Buttercream!

Raspberry Yoghurt Cake
¾ cup of vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup thick raspberry yoghurt (I used Dairy Farmers Raspberries and Cream)
1.25 cups caster sugar
2 cups self raising flour

Pre-heat oven to 180C.

Combine the oil, eggs, yoghurt and sugar in a bowl and stir to combine.

Add the flour and beat with an electric mixer until smooth.

Pour the mixture into a greased tin and bake for 35 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Once the cake has cooled, frost with vanilla yoghurt buttercream.

Vanilla Yoghurt Buttercream
120g softened butter
1.5 cups icing sugar
3 tbspn full fat vanilla yoghurt

Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer.

Add the yoghurt and beat until smooth and creamy. You may need to add more icing sugar to reach your desired consistency.

This cake was exactly what I have been looking for. It was moist yet dense whilst still being melt in your mouth light and the raspberries and cream yoghurt paired with the vanilla yoghurt buttercream is just the most gorgeous combination....I know yoghurt in a buttercream might seem a touch odd and I know yoghurt in the cake and the frosting might seem like yoghurt overload, but the yoghurt tones down the richness of the buttercream and really is the perfect partner for this cake.

So there you have it, over the last 12 months we have made numerous batches of cupcakes and even a cake trying to find a flavour combination we would be happy to serve at our wedding, I have made our parents and work mates trial them over and over, but each time there was just something missing, they were nice cakes but nothing that really grabbed us...but this cake ticked all the boxes....unique, delicious, simple to make, not too sweet, sickly or rich, something I would be proud to say I made and proud to serve up at our wedding. It's been a long and often very frustrating road, but the end result was well worth it!

And it's only 3 months to go till the big day now, I can't believe how quickly the time is going. 3 months till I'm a wife, 3 months till I walk down that aisle in my big poofy dress and look into the eyes of the man I love. I hope he looks at me in that moment and feels as amazing and as nervous and as terrified and as happy as I am going to. It's going to be one of the biggest and most memorable moments of our lives and I can't believe it's right around the corner....

Em x


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...