Thursday, January 27, 2011

Peach and Raspberry Upside Down Cake

Ok so the entertaining season is well and truly upon us and if your after the perfect treat to take to that summer bbq...or even just to take to work to cheer everyone up then this is the cake for you!

And I should also say that seeing as OH doesn't like 'cakey' cakes I always make cupcakes and bite size things so this is the first proper cake I have made in ages - I was a tad excited....

So back to the important stuff....keeping with the quick and easy theme you will need:

1 x packet butter cake mix
1 x egg
1/4 cup water
1 tbspn butter (melted)
1 x 410g sliced peaches drained and patted dry
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 tspn coconut essence

The butter cake mix I had called for 2 eggs and 3 tbspns butter but I just didn't have that on hand so we improvised!

Preheat oven to 180C.
Combine your cake mix, egg, melted butter and water in a bowl and stir until smooth. Stir in coconut essence.
Line and grease a cake tin. Arrange peaches over base of tin so that they look pretty.
Stir frozen raspberries through cake mix, but don't over stir coz it will turn your cake mix pink...however if you want a pink cake by all means stir your little heart out!
Then pour the cake mix over the peaches and bake for around 30-35 mins depending on the size of the tin you use. When the cake is golden and bounces back when touched it is ready. Let the cake cool for 5 mins and turn out onto a nice serving plate.

I made this last night and just covered it with cling wrap over night before taking it to work today. It was so soft and moist and I was a bit lazy at drying my peaches so the peach juice had soaked into the cake giving it a lovely flavour. I also think this cake would be gorgeous fresh out of the oven with some home made custard poured over it! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm I wanted to get a photo of it with a slice taken out at work today but it disappeared too quick!!

Em x

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mediterannean Style Prawns

Ok so personally I have major issues with most seafood, but seeing as OH loves it so much, occasionally I'll cook him a treat (and I usually end up with a little treat for dinner myself!). OH was given a seafood cookbook for Christmas and lately he seems to be going through a prawn phase so I found a recipe I liked the sound of and decided to give it a go tonight (also possibly due to the fact that I had some Quorn spinach and cheese schnitzels in the freezer I was dying to try!)

I know that is a huge serving, but seeing as he doesn't get home cooked prawns that often, he likes a big serve when he finally gets the chance!

So for these lil babies (which OH has informed me were very very nice) you will need:

250g cooked, de-veined and shelled prawns.
3 spring onions thinly sliced
1 tspn crushed garlic
1 tin of tomato supreme (or about 1 cup of tomato passata)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tspn crushed / wet mediterannean herbs
salt and pepper to season
Couscous to serve

Cook the spring onions and garlic in a fry pan over medium heat for 2-3 mins.
Add wine and simmer for another 2-3 mins or until it has reduced by half.
Stir through tomatoe supreme and mediterannean herbs. Season with salt and pepper.
Simmer mixture for about 5 mins or until mixture has thickened.
Add prawns and stir through until well coated in the sauce. Cook for a further 2 mins - you are basically just heating the prawns up here.
Serve with couscous.

Now OH only got one meal out of this recipe, but as you can see it is massive so I reckon it would do two normal people!

And on a side note - my Quorn spinach and cheese schnitzel was freakin awesome. It was absolutely delicious and is officially my new favourite vegetarian freezer meal. I always have a box of vegetarian burgers or something in the freezer coz on Fri or Sat night once a week we have an 'easy' tea which usually involves steak and chips for OH and something vegetarian and chips for me! I had been on a kick with the Sanitarium Not Burgers, but they have officially been shafted now! I know the portion sizes are a touch small (but thats really not a bad thing) and they are a bit pricey but they are so worth it, I can't wait to try the rest of the range now.

Happy Monday peoples!

Em x

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday Baking and The Catch Up.....

So what do you do when your stuck at home all day and you can't go for a nice lil Sunday drive?

You make yourself a whole fleet of lil cars : )

And some lil creatures that you can pretend you saw whilst on your Sunday drive in your new vehicle!

I got these awesome cake pans for Christmas from my parents so took the opportunity to try them out today and my god was I impressed! Can't wait till I have lil ones to make these for and with....

Ok so the catch up...what has been happening, yes I know I have been avoiding the subject. Well I should start by saying that the new job did not start off as planned, but things are now starting to look up in that department and hopefully I can start doing the job I was hired for which would be nice. Secondly the house is coming along well, have spent the last half of today trying to get the retainig wall finished out the back (and trying to work off the million calories in frosting that I consumed this morning)...also this morning, just on a side note, we had fresh honey like right out of the honeycomb this morning on freshly baked bread and the only words I have are oh my gooey honey goodness!! Now what else is going was the first time I have actually done some proper baking since like before Christmas...not good, not good at all!

What else....OH and I went for a road trip the other weekend and on the way home we stopped at a road house which we thought would serve your average selection of greasy food....we were proven wrong when OH got this massive marinated steak burger and mine was the same but with a massive vegie pattie!! Best burger and chips I have had for a very long time.

And given that we had spent the weekend in a room with views like this

Whilst enjoying meals on our balcony like this

We had a pretty good mini-break!!

But for my final piece of news...some of you might remember I have been talking about planning a wedding and trial cupcakes and blah blah blah....well the wedding should have been on the 8th of Jan so about a fortnight ago...but for a few reasons it didn't go ahead. We decided a few days before Christmas to postpone it and take twelve months to work on things. I will be the first to admit that the 8th of Jan was an awful awful day and I don't know if things are going to work out or not, but I know that we were not ready to take that step so only time will tell I suppose. And I still have my baking and my shoes...even if my love life is up in the air!

Anyway, thats it, my last month or so in a nut shell...things will return to normal around here from now on, I have had my appropriate sulking period and now am willing to proclaim myself as officially BACK!!

Em xx

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Baileys and Vanilla Tiramisu

Ok so first of all I need to begin with a confession....I didn't have any Baileys due to a sudden craving for it on Friday night so I used Father O'Learys chocolate liqueur instead and secondly I know I have been mega slack at actually writing about anything except for the recipes. To be honest my life has been a total whirlwind the last month or so and I will be updating you sometime in the next day or two I promise - and I'll throw in a tasty truffle recipe just to keep on your good side :)

So back to the good stuff. OH and I returned from a trip up the coast on Tuesday and I was overwhelmed with the urge to bake, I don't think I have done any baking since my Christmas spree....that's just unheard of and to be honest I was starting to get a bit twitchy, so hence the truffles and something I have always wanted to try - Tiramisu. I made the tiramisu with the idea of it being another one of those desserts that could keep OH entertained while I keep munching my way through the Christmas Pudding. I was a bit concerned that he wouldn't like it due to him having issues with coffee but suprisingly he loved it! So here is how it's done....

Baileys and Vanilla Tiramisu

250g Mascarpone
1/2 cup Icing Sugar
1 cup Thickened Full Fat Cream
2 tspns Vanilla Essence
2 tsp Strong Brewed Coffee, cooled
1/4 cup Father O'Learys or Baileys or any coffee / chocolate flavoured liqueur.
About 23-25 Unibic Sponge Biscuits
Cocoa Powder for dusting

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine beat mascarpone, icing sugar, cream and vanilla at high speed until mixture is fluffy and very smooth.
In a small, shallow bowl, combine coffee and liqueur. Dip each biscuit into the coffee mixture to let it soak up some of the liquid (2-3 seconds) and place in the bottom of a 8×8 or 9×9-inch baking dish. The bottom of the pan should be completely covered with the biscuits in a single layer You might need to break some up to fit down the sides etc. Do not completely soak the biscuits in the coffee mixture or they will fall apart.
When there is a full layer of biscuits, spread half of the cream mixture on top of them. Repeat with remaining biscuits and cream mixture.
Dust with cocoa powder
Cover and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 4 hours to allow the cream to set and the flavours to develop.

I found that this was delicious after the first 4 hours in the fridge, but the second night the flavours of the coffee and the liqueur and in the cream had really intensified - I'm looking forward to seeing how it's come along tonight!

It is rich so you definetly don't need a big bowl, this would easy serve 8-10.

And I promise to return with an update into a life that has involved some love dramas, some serious shoe heel issues and not nearly enough cupcakes....

Em xx

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Vegie Hot Dogs

Around our house we like an easy Friday night dinner, and it doesn't get much easier then hot dogs....except when your semi-vegetarian and those lil red snausages make you feel next best thing, Vegie Hot Dogs...with a twist!!

Vegie Hot Dogs

4 Hot Dog Rolls
1 pkt Sanitarium Vegie Hot Dogs diced
1 x onion diced
1 x red and 1 x green capsicum diced
1 tspn brown sugar
1 tbspn balsamic vinegar
4 slices swiss cheese
4 tspns french mustard

In a fry pan over medium heat cook the onion for 3-4 mins or until browned. Add sugar and balsamic and cook for a further 2-3 mins.
Add capsicum and cook for 3-4 mins or until flavoursome. It's ok if it's still a bit crunchy.
Add diced sausages and stir to combine.
Slit your hot dog rolls through the top. Spread one half of each roll with a tspn of mustard and place a slice of cheese in there as well.
Top with the sausage filling and your good to go!!

These are so delicious and a bit of a fancy take on your average hot dog with sauce!

Sorry it's a late post, i've been away for a few days! Updates tomorrow!!

Love Em x

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cowboy Casserole!

Ok so sometimes you just wanna come home to a big bowl of goodness to make you feel like all is right with the was one of those days and this recipe definetly resulted in one of those meals.

I found this one quite some time ago on the Healthy Food Guide website but hadn't tried it as I thought it might be like a standard average meal....I take it all back!

Ok so that looks like your standard bake / slice thing....whatever sunshine....I got home tonight and I could smell it cooking from the driveway, by the time I got to the kitchen I was drooling and pretty much camped out in front of the stove until it was ready.

Cowboy Casserole
2 x 400g tins of salt reduced baked beans
500g beef mince (you could also use Sanitarium soy mince)
1 x onion chopped
1 tbspn worsterschire sauce (I always spell that wrong sorry)
1 tbspn spicy red sauce
1 tspn crushed wet italian herbs
1 vegetable stock cube
1 cup dry pasta cooked (try and get some sort of tubey pasta that will hold your sauce)
1 cup of grated light pizza cheese

Preheat oven to 180C
Cook mince and onion in a fry pan.
Add baked beans. Cook for 3-4 mins.
Add sauces, herbs and stock cube. Mix well.
Add cooked pasta and ensure it is all well combined.
Pour into an oven proof dish and sprinkle with grated cheese.
Bake for 10-15 mins or until cheese is melted and golden.
If you serve on it's own it will do about 4 decent bowls or if you serve with some salad you should get 6 serves.

So tasy and delicious and dead simple!! Kids will love it - seems to be something to do with the name!

To be honest I'm hanging out for Thursday night leftovers!!


Em x

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Coconut Cream Sauce for Fish

Well I worked late last night and when I got home OH had created a home grown masterpiece. I was pretty impressed because on this plate, OH caught the salmon and I grew the zucchini and spuds so all we brought were the tomatoes and onion. I would absolutely love to be self sufficient and seeing it all come together like that, especially when it tastes so damn amazing, makes all the hard work worthwhile : )

OH made a sauce for the salmon using some leftover coconut cream we had in the fridge from New Years Eve cocktail making activities!

Coconut Cream Sauce - best served with fish

200ml light coconut cream
1/2 onion finely diced
1 tbspn lemon juice
1 tspn crushed garlic
1 tspn wet crushed basil

Add the onion, garlic and basil to a fry pan on medium heat and cook for 3-4 mins.
Add coconut cream, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 mins.
Set aside.
Seal fish in a fry pan, doesn't have to be cooked through.
Place fish in a baking dish and pour sauce over.
Bake at 200C for 10-15 mins or until fish is cooked.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm nom nom nom great way to dress up some salmon, and the combination of flavours is just brilliant.

Great summer dish!!

Em x

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cheesy Pumpkin and Chicken Risotto

Another fabulous recipe from the Cheese Matters cookbook!

You will need:

2 cups of diced butternut pumpkin
1 diced onion
1 diced zucchini
2 diced chicken breast
1.5 cups of arborio rice
1.5 litres of boiling chicken stock
1 cup of grated pizza cheese
1 tspn wet crushed basil

Brown the chicken in a pan until golden. Remove.
Add onion and zucchini and saute for 5 mins.
Add rice and one cup of stock. Simmer for 5-7 mins.
Once stock has been absorbed, add remaining stock, pumpkin, basil. Simmer for 10-15 mins or until stock is all absorbed.
Season with salt and pepper and stir through cheese.

This is so delicious and simple!!

Em xx

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Vegetarian BBQ

Last night we descended on Mum and Dad's place for dinner and given that it was quite a balmy evening, the parentals had decided to have a BBQ. This is something that made OH sigh and me clap my hands with joy, I love a vegetarian bbq!

We had some zucchini, potato and onion all fried up on the bbq, as well as a Sanitarium Soya sausage, a Sanitarium Italian Red Pepper and Basil kebab and some saganaki cheese drizzled with lemon juice. The saganaki is a greek dish and is normally served as an appetizer of pan-seared cheese. The cheese is melted (although it doesn't actually melt, so just cooked really in a small frying-pan until it is bubbling, and generally served with lemon juice and pepper. It tastes alot like haloumi, it squeaks when you chew on it and can be a bit salty but thats where the lemon juice comes in.

MMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm one of my favourite things about summer is a good vegetarian bbq!!

Mum and I also sat down last night and started filling up the recipe book she gave me with her recipes, I can't wait to try some of them for myself!!

Em xx

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Berry Wonderful Delights!

Ok so what do you do when you buy a 1kg box of frozen berries purely because they are only $3 I hear you ask? You make some wonderful goodies with them!

Firsty, my fave brekkie over the holidays has involved chucking a handful of berries in the microwave till they are all syrupy, pouring them over a bowl of no fat yoghurt, and drizzling with maple syrup, totally delicious and filling!

But then, as previous mentioned, I got to thinking about OH and his no pudding eating dilema....seeing as he ate all the ice cream I made, could I really sit there and let him watch me eat dessert all week? Probably not...well I could, but it would definetly lower my enjoyment of the whole thing, so I decided to make a new twist on one of his favourite desserts. I covered the base of a baking dish with the frozen berries, drizzled them with maple syrup (yes I am going through a maple syrup phase...) and poured over a prepared butter cake mix. Chucked it in the oven for about 40 mins and there you have it, Berry and Maple Pudding...oh it smelt and looked delicious!

And this morning, seeing as tomorrow is our last day of holidays, we thought we should get our act together and try our brand spanking new waffle maker (thanks Mum and Dad!!). So I sent OH out to pick some raspberries from behind our shed (I know - who knew we had raspberry canes!!) and I made the waffle batter. The batters in the instruction book were all about seperating this and beating that and blah blah blah, who wants to do that on a Sunday morning? Instead I made this recipe which makes 4 large waffles.

1 1/3 cups self raising flour
2 tspns baking powder
2 tbspns sugar
2 eggs
1 tspn vanilla
1/2 cup milk

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Combine egg, vanilla and milk and add to mix. It will make a fairly thick mixture so don't be alarmed like I was at first!

Then you just pre heat your waffle maker and spoon it in, as it's a thick mixture, I just put a big blob in the middle and try and spread it out as best as possible, but remember it will spread out on its own.

So this morning we had them with fresh raspberries, maple syrup (I really must see someone about this....) and a dollop of light cream (I never knew they had light dollop cream either, I'm so behind!) and they were delicious! It's going to be very hard to go back to frozen raspberries and store brought ones because the fresh ones are just heaven!

Just a few quick and easy ways to make some berry-licious treats!!

Em x

Not My Gumdrop Buttons Icecream

Awhile ago we used to be able to buy this ice cream that really didn't do it for me, but OH absolutely adored. Basically it was bubblegum icecream with lil baby wine gums through it, in my opinion it didn't go well on puddings and the like but OH insisted on buying it every week regardless! 'Unfortunately' it went off the shelves and OH has been devastated ever since. So for the next few weeks while I'm enjoying my xmas pudding for dessert (which OH hates - lucky coz I don't like sharing it!) he gets to have the dessert of his choice and all he really wanted was this damn discontinued ice cream, so I thought why not give it a whirl myself. And it worked out better then the original! Very very easy, just combine one tub of softened vanilla ice cream with one pkt of small jubey lollies of your choice, I used starburst babies, but think chopped up snakes or strawberries and cream or raspberries would work just as well! I'm also thinking say chocolate ice cream with crushed up tim tams and remembering the vanilla ice cream with raspberries and meringues through it that I posted about a few weeks ago??!! ....the possibilities are endless!

Needless to say OH ate the tub in one night.....

Just something quick and easy and not only could the kids make it, but they will love eating it too!

Em x


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