Monday, February 28, 2011

Happy 100 Posts!!!!

OMG who would have thought we would reach 100 posts!? When I started this I had no specific goals or anything, I just wanted an outlet to share my love of cooking and shoes and if people actually read this blog and enjoyed it, then that was even better! Time sure does fly when you're having fun though, I mean we have only been at this for what 8 months? I just can't believe we are at 100 already! I have decided that when I reach 12 months I'm going to by myself a gift and get my blog printed as a book - I didn't even know you could do that till the other day, but it will be a pretty cool keepsake I think! Anyway to celebrate this special occasion I made you all a cake!

Ok well not technically, technically I made a triple layer chocolate cake with brown sugar maple frosting and chocolate coated strawberries for my Dad's BDay, but I was thinking of you all when I did it!

Did I mention brown sugar frosting (especially with a dash of maple syrup) is freakin awesome!! The frosting is quite sweet but it was the perfect combination with the chocolate cake and the strawberries.

Happy Birthday Dad xx

Here's to another 100!!

Em xx

Friday, February 25, 2011

Shoes, shoes, glorious shoes!!!

So I think I have been quite restrained lately....then I get an email from one of my fave shops saying they are having a show sale!! Bugger...not only do they have gorgeous shoes, but they are shoes I have been lusting after for quite some time but just couldn't justify the funding....but hell if people are going to through the word sale around then I can justify anything!!

Aren't they just the most beautiful things you have ever seen....and they smell divine....(I'm aware that sounds odd...but they do - leathery goodness!)

And to top it off they are god damn comfy too!

I'm off to sit here with one shoe on each foot coz I can't decide which pair I like most!!

Have a great weekend!!

Em x

(Only one more till we reach 100 posts!!!!!)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

And I'm spent......

I came home from my grocery shopping today thinking I might make a batch of Anzacs to go with Dad's bday present....this is what we ended up with....

Some gooey choc-caramel brownies...

some chocolate fruit slice......

enough lasagne to feed a small country....

some creamy strawberry mousse....

oh and the Anzacs!!

And I am utterly exhausted and going for a lie down!!

Nighty night!!

Em xx

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Calamari Stir Fry

What are you having for dinner tonight??

Let me tell you what I just had coz it was quick, easy and delicious!

Calamari Stir Fry
Serves 2
300g frozen crumbed calamari (if you can find uncrumbed frozen calamari then by all means use about 250g of that)
1 x red onion (diced)
10 snow peas (diced)
1 x green capsicum (diced)
2 sticks of celery (diced)
1 x sml tin of water chestnuts (drained)
1 x carrot - use a vegie peeler to make it into thin strips
220g of thin hokkien noodles
1/3 bottle of your favourite stir fry sauce.

Ok so in a wok over medium-high heat throw in your onion for 2-3 mins.
Add capsicum and celery and stir fry for another 2-3 mins.
Add your snow peas, carrot, water chestnuts and sauce.
Prepare the noodles as per packet directions and add them to the wok. Stir to combine.
If you have used crumbed calamari, use this time while your vegies and noodles simmer away to peel the crumb off (actually quite easy when they are frozen). Cut each ring into quarters and add to the wok.
Keep stirring for around 5 mins. If it looks to dry or like it's sticking to the wok at any stage add some water - it will all cook out.
After 5-7 mins the calamari should be cooked to perfection.

Enjoy : )

Em x

Monday, February 14, 2011

Honey Oat, Blueberry and Cranberry Bars

So for Dad's Bday this year, I pondered a bit, pondered some more, paced up and down the serious about my pondering and then decided I had no idea what to get him. Eventually I decided what better then to make him a whole big huge gift basket of all his favourite goodies? After much deliberation I narroed the list down to ANZACs, a chocolate fruit log, the strawberry scone roll I posted the other day, some coconut rough and these Honey Oat, Blueberry and Cranberry Bars. To be honest, right now I'm feeling a little ill as I have had far too many of these bars, but they are just so delicious!!!

Easy too!

You just need

3.5 cups of quick oats
50g of dried blueberries
50g of dried cranberries
2 tspns of cinnamon
1 cup of honey
125g of butter
2 tbspn brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 150C (fan forced) and line a slice tin with baking paper.
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.
Combine honey, butter and brown sugar in a saucepan and heat until all ingredients are combined.
Combine honey mix with dry ingredients.
Press into slice tin and bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown.
Leave to cool in the pan as it will be quite soft when it comes out of the oven but will harden as it cools.

Great for kids (or adults) lunch boxes!!

Em xx

Friday, February 11, 2011

Strawberry Champagne Jam

Ok so my Dad calls me up yesterday in a slight panic because he has just realised that Valentines Day is ohhhhh 3 days away!? I suggested some strawberry champagne jam that I saw at the Farmers Market last weekend would be nice with cream and croissants for brekkie, the idea goes down great, he is happy, I am happy....then he says 'so can you get me some' ...........seriously. Turns out neither of us can get there this Sunday, and seeing as he is now set on that idea, we decide that after a quick google search, I can whip some up. Notice how everyone says oh you can just 'whip' that up when they want you to do something urgently to help them!? Anyway, I found a recipe, I gave it a try and considering I have never ever made jam before, it worked out perfectly and it's delicious - I may be having some on my raisin toast as we speak - I did leave Dad a jar to serve up on Valentines though I promise!

So anyway, this is how it goes -

200ml champagne
500g strawberries (hulled and halved)
400g caster sugar
25g of Jam Setter (I found it in the supermarket with the baking goods, just comes in a lil 50g sachet)

Start by placing a small plate in the freezer.
In a medium pot over high heat combine champagne, sugar and strawberries.
Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, and then add the jam setter.
Continue to boil and stir for about 5 mins.
To test, get the plate from the freezer, place a tspn of jam on the plate and leave for 30 seconds. Run your finger through the jam and if it remains seperated then it is ready, if it runs back together, let it boil for another few minutes and try again.
When your jam is done take off the heat for 10 mins and then pour into your sterilised jars.
This doesn't have a strong champagne taste but enough to give you that slight after taste and perfect for the champagne lover - nice twist on a champagne breakfast!!

Spoil your sweetheart with croissants, champagne jam and cream in bed this Valentines Day!!

Em xx

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Scrumptious Strawberry Scroll Log

Believe it or not this lil one was whipped up in about 5 minutes last night while OH and I were waiting for Mum and Dad to arrive for dinner. It could easily be served as a dessert hot out of the oven with some cream, you could wrap it up for a lunch box treat or you could serve it at a fancy morning / afternoon tea! (We do seem to be on a versatile dish theme this week don't we!)

Ok so all you need is

1 x box pastry mix (cheating I know)
250g fresh strawberries (washed, hulled and finely diced)
100g butter
3/4 cup caster sugar

Make pastry mix as per instructions. Roll out on a floured surface into a large rectangle.
Pre-heat oven to 150C (fan forced)
Melt butter and sugar together.
Spread 3/4 butter mix over the pastry, leaving a 2cm gap on long edges.
Scatter strawberries over butter mix.
Starting from a long edge, roll pastry up into a log.
Transfer to a lined and greased oven tray.
Bring ends of roll together to create a circle.
Pour remaining butter and sugar mixture over the top and use a pastry brush to ensure all surfaces are covered.
Bake for around 20 mins or until pastry is golden and cooked through.
Slice into sections and serve hot or cold, plain or with ice cream or cream or straight off the pan!!

Happy Wednesday!

Em x

Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Moist Frangelico Brownies!

This recipe has been sitting in my must try pile for some time now and now that the time has come, I am seriously wondering why the hell I did not try these earlier! So super easy and the end result not only looks impressive, but it tastes pretty damn good too!

For these Frangelico and Cream Cheese Brownies you will need:

Creamcheese Layer:
220g philadelphia cream cheese
1 tspn vanilla essence
2 tbspns caster sugar
3 tbspns Frangelico liqueur

Brownie Layers:
85g butter
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
3 tbspns cocoa
3/4 cup self raising flour
1 tspn baking powder
3 tbspns Frangelico liqueur

Pre heat oven to 150C (fan forced) and line a 20cm slice tin.

For the cream cheese layer, beat together all the ingredients until smooth. Set aside.

For the brownie layer begin by beating eggs and caster sugar until fluffy.
Melt the butter and cocoa together and stir until combined. Add to egg mixture.
Fold in the flour and frangelico.
Pour half the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Spread the cream cheese over the top - you might need to microwave for a couple of seconds to make it easier to spread so you don't disturb the brownie layer too much.
Pour over remaining brownie batter and bake for 40-45 mins. Depending on how awesome your oven is, it may be ready after 35, so just check it with a skewer.

Now whilst we all love brownies fresh out of the oven, I found the flavour of the frangelico was much more noticeable the following day once they had been in the fridge over night.

Enjoy xx

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Apple and Pineapple Danish

Now you could eat this on the run for brekkie or you could eat it piping hot drizzled with custard, you could even serve it up at a swanky breakfast / morning tea / afternoon tea and dazzle everyone with how you just 'whipped these up' in a matter of seconds! ...gotta love a versatile dish!

Ok so you will need:

About 2 cups of diced pineapple (drained)
1 small tin of pie apple
1/2 cup of brown sugar
100g butter
3-4 sheets of puff pastry

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and sugar together. Add the apple and pineapple and stir until everything is well combined and well coated.

Pre heat your oven to 160 (fan forced)

Grase and line two baking trays.

Cut each sheet of pastry into quarters. Along each quarter place a tablespoon of the mix in a diagonal line. Bring the other two corners together and seal.

When the danishes are all done, brush with a little egg wash and bake for around 15 mins or until golden and gorgeous!


Em x

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Caramel Bread and Butter Pudding

You know secretly I think OH is enjoying this whole 'I'll make you whatever you want for dessert to make up for me having pudding' thing because last weekend when I asked him, instead of the standard 'i dunno' he said 'oh well I had a look in the recipe folder and (pause while he rifles round in the kitchen cupboard looking for the recipe folder - wtf - I didn't even know he knew we had recipe folders let alone where they were!) I wouldn't mind trying this Caramel Bread and Butter Pudding.' Several seconds later my jaw and my mouth re-connected and I said something along the lines of 'oh well yes very well then I haven't made one before that would be good' and kind of quietly babbled to myself while I took the folder back to the kitchen to review the recipe! Now I have always wanted to make a bread and butter pudding and have oodles of recipes for different varieties but given I have never tried one I was unsure of the textures and consistencies and was a big ol' scaredy cat really. But this one looked pretty simple so why the hell not!

Caramel Bread and Butter Pudding

3/4 cup brown sugar
80g butter plus extra for spreading
300ml thickened cream
2 cups milk
4 eggs
3/4 loaf of white bread (crusts removed)
Maple syrup

Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced.

Place brown sugar, cream and butter in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until melted and smooth. At this stage is tastes spectacular...resist the urge to eat it all....Set aside to cool completely - preferably in a different room to avoid temptation...

Meanwhile spread one side of each slice of bread with butter. Cut in half diagonally and arrange, overlapping, in a greased dish. Try and arrange them so they look pretty but are kind of well packed in there.

Whisk milk and eggs together in a jug and then add to caramel. Mix well. Pour over bread and if you have time, set aside for 15 mins to absorb.

Place dish in a large baking dish. Pour boiling water into baking dish until halfway up side of smaller dish. Bake for 50 minutes or until golden and just set. Cool for 10 minutes.

Drizzle with maple syrup when fresh out of the oven.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream :)

Really not that hard to make and to be honest I had no idea how it would come out, but it was delicious, the custard set beautifully and the bread had soaked up so much flavour and was crispy and golden on top. Massive fan of this one and will be trying some other variations in the future!!

Happy Wednesday :)

Em x


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