Saturday, March 29, 2014

Tim Tam Balls

Recently I experienced a very random event.

I was given a whole heap of un-wanted Tim Tams to 'do something' with.....

I mean what is up with this whole un-wanted Tim Tams thing??

My first thought was to enjoy each and every one of them with a hot chocolate.....have you ever tried biting the opposite corners off your Tim Tam then using it to drink your hot chocolate and then quickly shoving the whole thing in your mouth as it goes all gooey and melty? It is down right delicious and one of my favourite winter indulgences.....but be warned it is slightly messy if you're not quick enough. The first time I tried it I got too carried away sucking my hot chocolate through my Tim Tam and only managed to shove half of it in my mouth while the other half fell into my drink, needless to say Mr B thought it was hilarious and I am now much quicker!

In the end I decided to put the Tim Tams to good use and make something for Mr B's lunches and when it comes to baking with these little babies there is nothing better (or easier) then the classic Tim Tam Balls.


Tim Tam Balls - Makes 10-12

1 x 250g pkt Tim Tams (whichever flavour you prefer)
250g cream cheese, at room temperature
Dessicated coconut to roll

Place the Tim Tams in the bowl of a food processor and process until they are down to fine crumbs.

Add the cream cheese and process until combined. Place the mixture in the fridge for at least 30 mins to firm up.

Roll the mixture into balls (this can get a little messy so keep the sink full of warm water for frequent hand washing!) and then roll each ball in dessicated coconut.

These will keep in the fridge for at least a week, but they are so more-ish there is no way they will last that long!

Enjoy!

Mrs B xx

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Blueberry and Coconut Muffins

The weather took a turn for the worse this weekend and it has been cold and wet and windy....

Perfect weather for cosying up on the couch with a good book and a giant bowl of pesto covered pasta and whilst I have been doing plenty of that, I also managed to spend some quality time in the kitchen, clean the house and got all dolled up for an engagement party last night.

Over the last few weeks I just haven't felt much like cooking so I was really happy to wake up Saturday morning with the urge to bake. A few hours later I had a bench top full of Blueberry and Coconut Muffins, Tim Tam Balls, Stewed Apples and Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce. The house smelt like baked goods and I felt like I was in desperate need of a nap.....all was right with the world.

Later that evening, after said nap, Mr B and I got ready to head out to our friend's engagement party. It was an engagement party with a twist though because you had to go dressed as a character starting with the letter 'A' and as the invite said 'No costume, no entry fool!' (That was Mr T from the A-Team by the way.....)

Anyway, after MUCH deliberation we had decided to go as Al Capone and Alice in Wonderland (the zombie version).......


We had a great night celebrating with our friends and trying to pick out what all the different costumes were! Plus sometimes it's good to just let your hair down, dress up and have some fun.

Speaking of fun, is it weird that all week I have been looking forward to the weekend so that I could sit down with a hot cup of tea and one of these fresh blueberry and coconut muffins? It hasn't happened yet, but I'm telling you it is going to.....they smell divine!


Blueberry and Coconut Muffins

2 cups self-raising flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 tspn coconut essence (optional)
1/2 tspn vanilla essence (optional)
125g butter, melted
1/2 cup buttermilk (or substitute 1/2 cup full cream milk + 1 tspn lemon juice)
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 180°C and line 15 muffin pans with paper cases.

Combine the flour, sugar and coconut in a bowl. Add the butter, buttermilk, coconut essence, vanilla essence and egg, and stir until just combined.

Gently stir in the blueberries. Don't overmix the batter or you will end up with tough purple muffins. The batter will be really thick at this stage but that's ok.

Spoon among the prepared pans and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. Set aside in the pans for 15 minutes to cool slightly before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.


Enjoy!

Mrs B xx

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Lemon Quinoa with Seasonal Veggies

Wow where is the time going?!

Life seems to have kicked up a gear at the moment and not only are Mr B and I super busy but of an evening we are completely buggered so we have been relying on old faithful's like lasagne, curried sausages and the occasional indulgence in chip sandwiches......

The unfortunate issue with that is that I just don't have that much to tell you about at the moment.....

Luckily whilst flicking through the camera, willing some photos of an un-posted recipe to show up.....they did!

I completely forgot about this Lemon Quinoa and Seasonal Veggie Salad, goodness knows how because it is one of my favourites!

This is a really lovely salad with lots of fresh flavours and can easily be adapted depending on what's in season at the time. Also if you are worried about this maybe not being 'man friendly' it makes a beautiful side dish when served with lamb or veal.


Lemon Quinoa with Seasonal Veggies - Serves 2

200g sliced button mushrooms
2 red onions, quartered
2 whole garlic cloves
4 carrots, peeled, chopped into chunks
4 zucchini, thickly sliced
250g cherry tomaotes
olive oil
250g pkt 90 second brown rice and quinoa
420g can chickpeas, drained
Garlic sauce (optional)

 Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Place veggies in tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 30 minutes, turning occasionally, until soft. Add the chickpeas and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Cook brown rice and quinoa as per packet directions.

Toss quinoa through the veggies and serve with garlic sauce.

Enjoy!

Mrs B xx

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Chicken and Corn Quesadillas

Mr B and I are self confessed Mexican cuisine lovers.

However in saying that, the extent of our Mexican cooking skills usually involves nachos, burritos, enchiladas and our favourite potato wedges with chilli con queso......

So when Mr B recently requested quesadillas with sour cream, spring onions and ham for dinner I did what any good wife would do......

.....I listened to part of what he said and then added my own spin to it.

The end result was these Chicken and Corn Quesadillas and they were a big hit! Next time I would probably halve the recipe (instead of the 2 of us scoffing the whole thing.....) or serve it to 4 people with some lime rice or some tomato salsa and guacamole on the side.


Chicken and Corn Quesadillas - Serves 4

Shredded meat from 1 x small BBQ chicken
400g tin of corn kernels, drained
1 tspn Mexican seasoning
1/4 cup finely diced spring onions
8 Tortillas
1/3 cup sour cream
8-10 drops Tobasco sauce
1 tbspn tomato sauce
Salt and Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 100C and then switch off.

Combine the sour cream, tobasco and tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper and place in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

In a bowl combine the chicken, corn, mexican seasoning and spring onions. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat a sandwich press. Place one tortilla onto the grill of the press. Top half of the tortilla with 1/8th of your chicken mixture. Fold the other half over to enclose. Close the sandwich press and let the quesadilla cook for 3-4 mins or until golden. Remove to a tray and place in the oven to keep warm.

I make my quesadillas in a sandwich press but you can also do it in a fry pan, flipping them half way through the cooking time.

Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.

Serve quesadillas with sour cream sauce.


Enjoy!

Mrs B x

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Creamy Chicken Curry Pasta

I have been known to stock up on those convenient little packet pastas when they are on sale so that on the odd occasion, when I just can not be bothered, I have a handy go to meal at my fingertips.

Like most people I know, my teenage years were fuelled with these convenient meals, purely because if I lived on these, I could do my groceries for about $20 each week and it meant that there was all of 5 minutes cooking time between me and my dinner each night.

Recently I discovered this recipe for Creamy Chicken Pasta and with a few minor tweaks here and there, it was a dead ringer for the Chicken Curry Pasta we used to buy....except much fresher, tastier and generally a million times better.

Possibly assisted by the fact that Mr B cooked it while I laid on the couch. Is it just me or do things always taste better when someone else cooks them while you're relaxing?


Creamy Chicken Curry Pasta - Serves 2

160g fettuccine
2 Tablespoons butter
1 small carrot, minced (about 1/3 cup)
1 rib celery, minced (about 1/3 cup)
1 small shallot or 1/2 small onion, minced
salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 tspn curry powder
1 cup milk

Break fettuccine into quarters or sixths (depending on your preference). Cook pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water until just under al dente (this is important as it will continue cooking in the sauce). Drain the pasta and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large frypan over medium heat. Add the carrot, celery, and shallot. Season with salt and pepper and cook for a further 5-7 minutes until tender.

Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables, whisk and cook for 1 minute. Slowly add the chicken stock, milk and curry powder, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Turn the heat up to medium-high until bubbling then turn heat back down to medium. Season with more salt and pepper if required and then cook, stirring occasionally for a further 5 minutes or until thickened.

Add pasta to the sauce and stir to combine. Cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat. Sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.

We served ours with some buttered crusty bread and it was incredible!

Variation - For a cheese and cracked pepper pasta, skip the carrot, celery and curry powder and add 1 cup grated cheeses (mix of parmesan and sharp cheddar) with some cracked black pepper.

Enjoy!

Mrs B x

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Peppered Beef Stir Fry

Like most people some nights I just want to come home and not have to cook dinner.

But unfortunately every night when I get home from work I'm starving.

Mr B and I have never been much for take away food, although our one vice is getting some hot chips from the shop 2 or 3 times a year and enjoying them with a loaf of fresh white bread, loads of butter and sauce.

I used to get jealous of the people who would just stop on the way home from work or school and pick up a heap of chinese food or those happy families you see on the KFC commercials devouring their table full of chicken, coleslaw, mashed potato and chips.....

Deep down however I know the reality is a little different and I would in all honesty prefer to make my own stir fry noodles or chicken burgers any day.....even when I am tired and hangy (hungry crossed with angry - not pretty).

Last week Mr B and  I whipped up this Peppered Beef Stir Fry and it was without a doubt just as good (if not better) than any beef stir fry I have had. If you can find it I definitely recommend using peppered beef but if not just add 1 tspn crushed black pepper with the garlic.


Peppered Beef Stir Fry - Serves 2

1 tbspn soy sauce
500g peppered beef, thinly sliced
1 red onion, diced
1 tbspn crushed garlic
2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
1 x broccoli, cut into small florets
1 x red capsicum
2 tbspn water
250g pkt steamed brown rice prepared as per packet directions

Heat a large non-stick wok over high heat and spray with oil. Add the beef and cook for 1-2 mins or until sealed.

Add the onion and stir fry for 2 minutes or until golden.

Add the garlic, celery, broccoli, capsicum and water. Stir fry for 2-3 mins or until vegetables are tender yet crisp. Add the soy sauce and stir fry for a further 1-2 mins.

Divide mixture between bowls or plates with the steamed rice.


Enjoy!

Mrs B xx

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Dad's Birthday and a Malteser Cake

A few days ago Mum, Dad, Mr B and I spent the day together in honour of my Dad's Birthday.


After a leisurely breakfast we piled into the car and made our way to the movies to see Last Vegas.

Unsurprisingly Mr B and my Dad just couldn't help themselves when they saw this display for The Lego Movie!

Given it was mid- week we had the entire cinema to ourselves which was a little eery to start with but turned out to be pretty cool.


After the movies we headed down to the waterfront for lunch. Dad was craving runny eggs and chips and what the birthday boy wants the birthday boy gets - plus Mr B would never pass up an opportunity for runny eggs, chips and the thickest cut bacon we had ever seen.


Mum had a zucchini and fetta jaffle which looked delicious and I had the pumpkin soup which was just what the Doctor ordered on a chilly day.


We then took our extremely full bellies up to Richardson's Harley Davidson for some afternoon retail therapy. Needless to say every single one of us left with slightly lighter bank accounts.....


And just when we thought the day could not get any better.....it was home for presents!!!


Dad was super stoked to get some more bits and pieces for his man cave. I think my favourite was definitely this framed photo of his bike and if you look really closely you can spot Mum and Dad's house in the background.


And what birthday is complete without cake!?

Mum and I knew the moment we saw this Malteser Cake on the cover of Good Taste magazine that it simply had to be Dad's next birthday cake (he is a bit of a Malteser fiend!).

Due to time constraints I made the cake itself on the Tuesday night and then on the Wednesday night I prepared the buttercream and the ganache, cut the cake into layers and filled it with the frosting. This meant that on the Thursday right before we served it, all Mum and I had to do was cover the cake with the ganache and the Maltesers and voilĂ !

Spreading the preparation out over the week worked really well for me because once you put the Maltesers on the cake it can't go back in the fridge but if you wanted to make the whole thing in one day and serve it that evening that would work just as well.

It was a big day and we were all exhausted by the end of it but it was also a lot of fun and just nice to spend the day together.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!


 Malteser Cake - Serves 20

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
¾ cup milk
125g butter, chopped
¾ cup self-raising flour
½ cup plain flour
½ cup cocoa powder
3 eggs, lightly whisked
185g butter, extra, at room temperature
2¼ cups icing sugar
1/3 cup Milo
1 tbspn milk, extra
465g Maltesers
300g dark cooking chocolate, broken up into pieces
½ cup thickened cream

Preheat oven to 160°C (fan forced) and line the base and sides of a 20cm round springform cake tin with baking paper.

Place the brown sugar, milk and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 2-5 minutes (this will depend on the wattage of your microwave) or until the butter melts and the mixture is smooth.

Sift the two flours and cocoa powder into the bowl of an electric mixer. Slowly pour over the butter mixture and beat until combined.

Add the eggs and beat until mixture is smooth and combined. Pour the mixture into your prepared tin and bake for 50-55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the ganache, place the chocolate and cream into a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high for 60 seconds. Stir and repeat until the chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

To make the buttercream use an electric mixer to beat the extra softened butter until pale and creamy. Add the icing sugar, milo and extra milk and beat until fluffy. Add 1½ tbspns of ganache and beat until combined.

Set the leftover ganache aside for 1.5 hours or until it’s thick and spreadable.

Meanwhile, use a large serrated knife to cut the cake horizontally into 3 layers. Given this is not the tallest cake and the layers are quite thin, I got Mr B to help me with this bit!

Place the cake base on a cake platter or plate. Spread with 1/2 of the Milo buttercream. Continue layering with the remaining cake and buttercream, finishing with cake. Cover and place in the fridge for 1.5 hours or overnight to chill.


Spread the ganache evenly over the top and side of the cake. Place a row of Maltesers straight down the middle of the cake, then add in rows on either side.


To serve, cut the cake between the rows of Maltesers, or just do what Dad did and eat every Malteser that falls off whilst you're trying to cut the cake.....prior warning this will result in Malteser overload.


And most importantly - enjoy!!!


Mrs B xx

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Strawberry and Marshmallow Jelly Slice

Given summer is now officially over and we are into the first few days of Autumn, the weather has actually been lovely here this weekend.

Mr B and I were lucky enough to have a four day weekend so we got to spend a day with my Mum and Dad celebrating Dad's birthday, we got to spend a day together just hanging out and that left me with a day in the kitchen and a day doing the housework.

Not bad odds really and I can just about accept a whole day of housework when it is proceeded by three days of relaxation.

From the moment I saw the recipe for this Strawberry and Marshmallow Jelly Slice I knew I had to make it. With it's cheesecake filling studded with mini marshmallows and strawberry jelly topping it just had Mr B written all over it...well I thought so anyway!

So imagine my surprise when Mr B actually agreed and then my complete astonishment when he came home from work and told me how much he enjoyed it! Double bonus!


Strawberry and Marshmallow Jelly Slice

250g double chocolate cookies
100g butter, melted
1 tbsn gelatine
250g cream cheese
300ml thickened cream
100g pkt mini marshmallows
1 heaped tbspn strawberry jam
85g pkt strawberry jelly crystals

Line a 17 x 27cm slice tin with baking paper.

Place the cookies into the bowl of a food processor and process until they form fine crumbs. Whilst the motor is still running, slowly pour in the melted butter and process until combined. Press the mixture into the base of the tin firmly and evenly. Place in the fridge to chill.

Meanwhile, place the gelatine into a small bowl and add 1/4 cup of boiling water. Stir well to dissolve and set aside.

Clean the bowl of your food processor and add the cream cheese. Process until smooth. Add the cream, jam and marshmallows and process until the marshmallows are chopped and mixture is combined. Add the gelatine liquid and process until evenly mixed. Pour mixture over the prepared base and smooth the top. Place in the fridge to chill for 2 hours.

Empty the jelly crystals into a jug and add 1 cup of boiling water. Stir to dissolve and allow to cool to room temperature.

Gently pour the jelly over the filling and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until firm. Remove slice from pan and cut into squares.


Enjoy!

Mrs B xx

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