Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Blueberry Bliss....

Well I spent this morning shacked up in the hospital having an iron infusion, it wasn't too bad, I got to put my feet up, snuggle up in a warm blanket and read a book for the day because my blood pressure was very low but when I did get up and walk around pushing my little drip stand, I don't know, I just felt like everything was in slow motion, like I was actually very sick, something about having the drip stand made me feel very fragile. I have been home for a few hours now having a rest, my head is a bit fuzzy but otherwise I'm not too bad :)

Anyway, over the weekend I made some raspberry cupcakes and I made a lemon frosting to go with them, but I got a touch carried away with the frosting and made way way too much. So there I was with a bowl full of lemon frosting and I needed to come up with something to go with it pretty damn quick! After much deliberation I had a light bulb moment...blueberries! Blueberries and lemon go great together and I have never made anything with blueberries in it before, not to mention OH it quite partial to them. So that was it, case closed.

I made a basic vanilla cake and folded through about 500g of frozen blueberries. I poured most of the mixture into a cake tin and made 6 cupcakes for OH's lunches with the rest.

The smell that came out of the oven was just gorgeous and when we broke open a fresh cupcake, drizzled it with lemon frosting and eagerly dug in, it didn't disappoint. The vanilla and the blueberries were such a great combination and the lemon just tied it all together beautifully.

Nakey Cake

Fully Frosted Cake - imagine that in the middle of the table filled with plump fresh blueberries!!

And last but not least....the lil cupcakes :)

To make the Blueberry and Vanilla Cake you will need:
200g butter
1 3/4 cups caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
4 eggs
2 3/4 cups self-raising flour
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 180°C and line 24 muffin pans with patty cases.

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla bean paste with an electric mixer.

Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until just combined.

Add the flour and milk and beat until just combined.

Spoon mixture evenly among the patty cases. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Now for the frosting I just combined icing sugar, lemon juice and about 2 tbspns of lemon curd until I got a nice thick spreadable consistency but retaining that slight lemony flavour :)

Happy Wednesday!!

Em x

Monday, June 27, 2011

Let's Talk About The Weekend :)

How was your weekend?

My weekend was filled with some highly un-exciting things like spring cleaning (something I have never done before and will never do again!) and grocery shopping and washing :(

But it was also filled with some fantastic things like...

The new Rekorderlig winter cider with cinnamon and vanilla - the only cider I actually like and did I mention you can drink it hot or cold - perfect for a cold winter's night :)

Parfait! Everybody likes parfait!! Especially when it's as easy as beating 2 blocks of cream cheese with a tub of yoghurt, some icing sugar and then swirling through some fresh raspberries when it's all done!

And last but not least - on Friday night I made my first zucchini slice - now this may not seem like a big deal, but my Mum is the Queen of savoury slices, she throws in whatever is in the fridge wether it be dips, cheeses, vegies, absolutely anything and they always turn out delicious - so I was a touch nervous but luckily it came out and it looked good, it smelt good and most importantly it was packed full of flavour :) We even had baby pumpkins out of our vegie patch with it and whilst they may have been small, they were tasty!

Zucchini Slice
4 eggs
1 cup self raising flour
80g baby spinach
2 zucchini grated
1 cup grated cheese
3 tbspns melted butter + 1 extra
200g rindless bacon diced
1 onion diced

Pre-heat oven to 170C.

Combine the eggs, flour, zucchini, 3 tbspns of melted butter and grated cheese in a bowl.

In a fry pan over medium heat, melt 1 tbspn of the butter. Add onion and bacon and cook for 7-10 mins or until done. Add spinach and cook for a further 2 mins or until wilted.

Add onion mix to the batter and stir to combine.

Pour into a greased pyrex dish and place in the oven for 30-40 mins or until golden.

Serve with salad and vegies :)

I actually had the leftover slice cold for tea last night and I would go as far as to say it was nicer cold or even just warmed through. Also a good one for lunch boxes!

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend :)

Em x

Friday, June 24, 2011

Easy Chocolate Fudge Cake

I have been making this recipe for years. I first found it in a Kid's Cookbook given to me when I was little and it became a family favourite because it was so easy and so delicious! Whenever Mum or I had an occasion that called for a cake, we made this and we used to always make it in a fluted tin, fill the centre with raspberries or blueberries or both, dust the whole thing with icing sugar and serve with some whipped cream.

(Can you tell I got a new cake tin!?)

But it wasn't until I went to make it last night for work today that I realised the recipe has no eggs, no milk and no butter, I mean it always stood out in my mind for having oil and vinegar in it, but I never really noticed that those ingredients I normally consider a staple in cake making weren't there!

The moral of my story is that even without those ingredients this is still a soft, moist, fudgey flavoured cake that is just delightful. I decided to ice it rather then decorating it with the berries and icing sugar. Now I kind of wish I had though because they do give it that really classic old fashioned baking look that I love :) Luckily it still tastes just as good with a big dollop of cream!!

Easy Chocolate Fudge Cake
1.5 cups self raising flour
3 tbspns cocoa
1 cup caster sugar
1 tspn vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tbspn white vinegar
1 cup water

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a fluted cake tin.

Combine all the ingredients and beat with the electric mixer until well combined.

Pour into tin and bake for 35-40 mins or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Now the icing I made had about 1 cup of icing sugar, 1 tspn of strawberry essence, a dash of lemon juice, 100ml of sour cream, a tbspn of butter and 2 tbspns of cocoa in it. These quantities are not exact but I combined it all with the electric mixer going off taste and texture until I was happy with it. Then I refigerated the icing until the cake was cool enough to spoon it over. The icing had a subtle chocolate flavour paired with a hint of strawberry and a slight tang from the lemon and the sour cream, it was a fantastic combination that didn't take away from the flavour of the cake at all, it actually all went together really well :)

So I know it has all been about the recipes lately and not so much about me, so let me give you the 5 minute update....OH and I have had our ups and downs but are now back in wedding / honeymoon planning mode, we are getting married in January and looking at having a 'minimoon' around Tassie for a week and then going on a honeymoon to Ireland, Italy and France in May. We have been taking my lil bike out every weekend so I can get more confident on it and hopefully I will be able to hit the road soon. I am back into the full swing of jewellery making and next week I will post a shameless self promotion post that shows you where you can view the full range and / or purchase if you feel that was inclined :)

And that my friends, is me :)

Happy Friday :)

Em x

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Baked Ricotta

Happy Wednesday!!

I actually can't take any credit whatsoever for this one. This is one of Mum and Dad's Tuesday night specials, they have been experimenting with Baked Ricotta a fair bit lately, but OH and I were yet to try it. So Mum thought it only fitting that she enlightened us :) We had some ricotta combined with spinach, garlic, mushrooms and semi dried tomatoes topped with fresh tomatoes and cheese baked in individual ramekins and served with a beautiful sour dough. We also had some tomatoes, potato and some 'store brought' baked ricotta as well. Doesn't it look delicious?? The ramekin of freshly baked ricotta was just begging for you to dive in there with your bread time and time again and do I even need to mention how good it is running a piece of fresh bread around a bowl / ramekin and mopping up all the juices?!? I didn't think so....

It was such a delicious meal, and so many things you can do with it, you could simply add some spices, or you could add grated carrot and zucchini and maybe even a few sultanas, the possibilities are endless!

Now I think the general gist of baked ricotta is get your ricotta and add your chosen combination of mix ins. Stir it all up, spoon into a ramekin(s) and bake for about 20-30 mins at 180C or until it looks set.

How easy is that!!

So go on, start planning a gorgeous brunch / lunch for your loved ones this weekend, sit down with them, chat, take turns diving crusty bread into the baked ricotta, they will love you for it :)

Em x

Monday, June 20, 2011

Patty Cakes, Lollipops and....Quesadillas?

That pretty much sums up my weekend really...although I will add that on Friday night I had the best vegetarian pizza of my entire life...roast pumpkin, pepper dews, garlic fetta, honey roasted mushrooms all on a pesto base...oh it was good, it was so good.....

But moving on!

I actually had no intention of making patty cakes this weekend, I made OH an orange cake for his lunches so he didn't need anything but I had about 300mls of thickened cream in the fridge I needed to use and when I did a quick search for ways to make it go away, I found this awesome recipe for cupcakes that also gave me the chance to test out my new patty cake pan!!

For these lil babies all you need is:
2 eggs
300ml cream
3/4 caster sugar
1 tspn vanilla essence
1 cup self raising

Combine the eggs and cream in a bowl and beat well.
Add the sugar and vanilla and beat combined.
Add the self raising flour and beat for 2-3 mins or until mixture is nice and smooth.
Pour the mixture into 12 lined cupcake / muffin trays / patty cake trays and bake at 180C for 15-20 mins or until they bounce back when touched. I added some chocolate fudge nutella frosting too :)

This recipe produced such light and fluffy cakes and they are just so adorable!!

And awhile ago I brought a Simpsons lollipop mould for OH because he is Simpsons crazy and I finally got around to making some cherry and some strawberry lollipops for him :)
Lollipops are actually easier to make then I realised! And now that I have my wizz bang candy thermometer they are even easier!!
In a saucepan over low heat, combine 1 cup of white sugar, 2 tbspns liquid glucose and 1/4 cup of water. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved.
Add a few drops of food colouring and a few drops of an oil based flavouring and increase the heat to medium high. Slowly bring the mixture up to 300F on your candy thermometer.

It helps if you have a lollipop mould prepared with the sticks in it at this stage and coated with a light mist of oil (not olive oil though as the flavour will end up in your lollipop)

Once the mixture reaches 300F pour into your moulds carefully and allow 10-15 mins to set.

The first time I made these I didn't spray the moulds and they broke :( The second time I sprayed the moulds too much and it made the surface of the lollipop bubbly :( The third time I sprayed them lightly and they came out just perfectly :) :)

And after all that cooking, we needed some dinner...these Ham Quesadillas were perfect, they were fast, simple and tasty!!

To make these delicious treats you will need
150g ham diced
60g of semi dried tomatoes (try and dry as much oil from them as possible)
100g of light cottage cheese
1/2 cup spring onions diced
2 tbspns sour cream
1/2 cup grated cheese
4 tortillas

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
Heat your sandwich press.
Place 1 tortilla on the press. Spoon 1/4 of the mixture over one half of the tortilla. Fold the other half over and close the press. Cook for 2-3 mins or until golden.
Repeat with remaining mixture and tortillas :)

I hope your weekend was full of patty cakes and lollipops and even quesadillas too!!

Em x

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Whole Orange Cake with White Chocolate Frosting

Remember a few weeks ago when we had that Biggest Morning Tea? Well there were a few oranges leftover on the day and the ladies at work gave them to me to take home requesting that they return in the form of an orange cake :) I had never made one before and to be honest was not a fan of some of the one's I had previously tried but I thought what the hell, I love a challenge!! I looked at alot of recipes for orange syrup cakes, whole orange cakes, orange cupcakes but eventually I settled on this whole orange cake recipe and initially I was going to make an orange syrup to pour over it, but that didn’t quite work out to plan – I’ll explain further down!

So you will need:

1 whole orange
180g butter melted
2 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
1.5 cups self raising flour

Pre-heat your oven to 180C and grease and line a loaf tin.

Cut the orange into quarters, removing as much of the pith as possible. Process all of the orange in the food processor until well pureed.

Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and process until well combined.

Pour the mixture into your loaf tin and bake for 40-45 mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Now when I was done with the batter for this cake, I had a sample and it was so orangey, like not over powering, but it was definitely strong and I was worried that the orange syrup might just push it over the edge so I had a look in the cupboards and started experimenting! In the bowl of the electric mixer I had about 2 cups of icing sugar and ½ cup of thickened cream. Whilst this was mixing I poured in 100g of melted white chocolate. Now you may want to add more cream / icing sugar to reach your desired consistency. Once it was ready I put the bowl in the fridge and let it ‘set’ a bit while the cake cooked and then cooled. I was really happy with this because it made enough to cover the entire cake and it turned out to be a really good combination. The chocolate wasn’t too over powering, it was just a nice creamy frosting that really complimented the beautiful dense yet melt in your mouth soft orange cake :) The ladies at work loved it and OH even requested one for his lunches (total shock horror here from me....a cake that is a) a cake, b) contains fruit and c) has white chocolate in the frosting!). I think this mix would make lovely cupcakes / patty cakes too.

Happy Wednesday everyone :)

Em x

Monday, June 13, 2011

My New Toy :)

I think I mentioned a few posts ago that I had got my learner's license for a motorbike...well apparently to make some use of that, you need a motorbike! So this weekend OH and I travelled to Burnie which is 3.5 hours drive away and at the other end of the state to us.

We have a massive problem with eating too much rubbish on road trips, bags of lollies, boxes of shapes, it's horrid, so this time I decided to plan ahead....I got up early and made OH an egg and bacon roll for brekkie and I made myself a fruit salad, I also made OH a huge ham salad roll and myself a pumpkin and feta salad and we were set!

It was a massive drive, a very long day, we drove through snow, rain, we found some sunshine then we lost it again but we came home with my new bike, my new baby...I know I still need alot of practise before I hit the road, but at least now I have a bike to do it on! Yay!

And all the healthy food we packed stopped us snacking despite being bored stupid for 7 hours in the car! Double yay!!

Hope you all had a fantastic long weekend x


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Some Weekend Treats :)

So what does one do on a cold long weekend? One bakes of course!!

These lil babies were for OH's lunches, but they would be awesome desserts....some chocolate self saucing pudding topped with some creamy strawberry rice...the combination is decadent but so very good!!

Then we got invited round to OH's step mother's for dinner and because I believe it is rude to show up empty handed we made these lil strawberry swirl cheesecakes :)

You will need:
500g cream cheese
2/3 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tspn vanilla essence
strawberry topping
2/3 cup sour cream
100g white chocolate melted
1 pkt butternut snap biscuits

Pre-heat your oven to 135C and line 2 x 12 cup muffin trays with muffin / cupcake cases. Place a butternut snap biscuit in the bottom of each case.

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine cream cheese and caster sugar. Gradually add eggs and vanilla.

Then add around 1/4 cup of strawberry topping and the sour cream. Beat until well combined. Pour in the melted white chocolate and continue beating.

Pour mixture into cases, you will only need to fill them about 3/4 as they will rise. Once this is done, squirt a small amount of strawberry topping onto each cheesecake. With a skewer gently swirl it through the mixture.

Bake for 20-25 mins and then refrigerate for 4 hours.

These are so delicious, OH refused to let me take them all to the dinner because he wanted to keep some for himself!!

And last but not least, some savoury goodness! We were in Melbourne last week and when we got home we needed a quick and easy these Sauteed Mushrooms on Toast

For enough to serve two people you will need:
250g mushrooms sliced
1 tspn smoked paprika
1 tspn smoked bbq seasoning
250g cherry tomatoes halved
200g cottage cheese
*We had this with 1/2 a loaf of Tigger bread but you could use any thick crusty bread

Combine the cottage cheese with the smoked bbq seasoning and place in the fridge.

In a frying pan over medium heat, cook the mushrooms and paprika with a tspn of butter for 6-8 mins or until golden. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for a further 6-8 mins until the tomatoes have broken down. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with cottage cheese mix and crusty bread :)

This was such a yummy dinner, a great combination and so easy!!

Hope you are all having a fantastic weekend :)

Em x

Thursday, June 9, 2011

WW Card File Challenge #6 Pot Roast Meatloaf

I actually made this a few months ago, it was the second thing I made out of my the card file...but then blogger had that epic tantrum and lost my post and my photos so last night we made it again, not that we were complaining because we loved it and were happy for the excuse to make it again! So we took more photos, it was more delicious then we remembered it being the first time and the best part is I can finally tell you all about it :)

Pot Roast Meatloaf
400g mince
1 small onion diced
1 tbspn wet italian herbs
1 tspn crushed wet garlic
2 tbspns spicy red tomato sauce or tomato chutney
2 eggs
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs

455g can tomato soup
2 tbspns tomato paste
2 cups water
4 small potatoes (peeled and whole)
800g pumpkin (cut into chunks)
1 large parsnip (cut into chunks)

Combine the mince, onion, herbs, garlic, tomato sauce, eggs and breadcrumbs in a bowl. You could also add some grated carrot and / or zucchini if you were trying to hide some vegies from the kidlets :) Get your hands in there and mix it all together. It is best if the mince is room temp or at the very least fully defrosted as when I did it, it was still half frozen and my hands are still recovering from the frost bite....

Shape the mince mixture into a round ball. Spray a large pot or castiron casserole dish with oil and add the meatloaf. After a few minutes turn over so that it browns on both sides. Remove from pan.

Add tomato soup, tomato paste and water to the pan. Stir until the mixture comes to the boil. Place the meatloaf carefully back into the pan and surround it with the potato, pumpkin and parsnip. You could also add some wedges or rings of onion in there as well if you wanted to. Cover with the lid and let the mixture simmer for around 40 mins on medium heat.

This makes 4 lovely serves, the vegetables are perfectly cooked, the meatloaf is full of flavour and melt in your mouth tender and it's perfect for a winter's night rugged up on the couch :)


Em x

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mum's Pasta Surprise

This is a recipe my Mum makes all the time and when I was little the sight of tinned pumpkin soup in the cupboard could only mean one thing - Mum's Pasta Surprise! It earnt the name Pasta Surprise because the vegetables in it usually depended on what was in the fridge at the time! Some of you may remember that for Christmas last year my Mum gave me a book with all her recipes written in it. This was one of them and I decided it would be the perfect winter treat for OH and I to have this week :)

You will need:

200g dry pasta
2 x 540g cans of Campbell's Butternut Pumpkin Soup
125g of bacon (or similarly you could use some sliced sanitarium vegetarian sausages)
2 x celery stalks diced
1 x onion diced
1 x capsicum diced
150g mushrooms diced
(Or similarly you could use a mix of peas, corn, capsicum and carrot)
1 cup grated cheese

Cook the pasta in a microwave dish or on the stove top.

Meanwhile fry the onion and bacon in a frypan over medium heat. Add the vegetables and cook for 8-10 mins or until softened. Season with salt and pepper.

Combine the vegetables, pumpkin soup and pasta in an oven proof dish.

Top with grated cheese and cracked pepper. Bake at 180C for 20 mins or until golden.

This is a delicious and hearty winter dish that is very versatile. I think the pumpkin soup also makes a nice change from other pasta bake sauces.

Enjoy :)

Em x

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I'm back!!!

Did you miss me??

We got back late last night and I am still exhausted so let me give you the run down in pictures!

We went to Melbourne because it was my gorgeous Mother's BDay

So we started the day with a quick trip to the Lindt Cafe....

Then Dad, OH and I took Mum to the Observatory Cafe at The Botanical Gardens for brekkie and not only was the food beautiful but the setting was too. Then we went to the Tutankhamun Exhibit which was amazing and very interesting too :) Mum and I shopped up a storm in Myer and brought some very cool tights (more on those another day...) and we found our new favourite chocolate cafe called Chokolait where we sampled truffles, iced chocolates fruit smoothies, icecream sundaes with bananas and belgium chocolate, chocolate mousse cakes and so much the point where we had to return the following day to try the chocolate mousse with strawberries and the chocolate pavlova roll too! I highly recommend this place, the service was friendly and the food was to die for...

That night we went to a bar called The Long Room because Mum loves Tapas and this place had received some good write ups. Mum and Dad shared 4 or 5 plates including deep fried camembert with honey vinegrette, tempura vegetables, sagnaki and potatoes with a gorgonzola sauce and OH and I did the same, our dishes included soft shell crab, eggplant stuffed with basil, mozarella and pinenuts and a goats cheese, potato and pancette pizza. Every single dish was a winner. Then we took a short stroll across the road to see Love Never Dies, the sequel to Phantom of the Opera. It was OH's first opera so I was worried about how he would go, but he survived. The show was brilliant, even if you didn't know or didn't like the story, the stage show was just mind blowing.

On the Friday we went out to Werribee Open Range Zoo which was a really different experience seeing all the animals out in the open like that. That night OH and I took Mum and Dad to come of our favourite places, first we hit up Grill'd for some burgers then it was onto Rockstar Bowling for some 8 Ball - we all love that place, the decor, the music, the atmosphere, we thought Dad was going to settle in for the night! - and then for the walk back to the hotel, Harajuku Crepes - these lil babies are brilliant, a crepe filled with your choice of fillings, ranging from fruit to cheesecake to tiramisu to brownies topped with ice cream and cream and then folded into a cone shape so you can walk and nibble at the same time :)

Mum and Dad flew home early Sat morning, but OH and I didn't fly out till late Sat night so we decided to take a walk out to Prahran to visit Misty's Diner. The place is fantastic, decked out like a true old 50's diner complete with mini juke box in the booths, Cap'n Crunch cereal on the menu and waitresses names Peggy Sue. The menu is quite extensive and after much deliberation we decided on a Bloomin' Onion for starters and then OH had a Bite Me Burger with Curly Fries and I had a Vegetarian Chilli Dog with Con Queso Fries washed down with a pink lemonade :) The meals were huge! The Bloomin' Onion was a whole onion, fanned out, crumbed and fried and served with ranch dipping sauce. OH's burger consisted of not only a beef pattie but a chicken schnitzel aswell and my hot dog was a delicious vegetarian hot dog topped with vegetarian chilli con carne. The fries were also off the charts (as you can see from the pic of me scoffing them!) and the meals were just huge I mean this photo is just of mine! We were so very full when we left, but OH brought himself a Twinkie for the road, I was glad we had the long walk back to the CBD to try and stretch our stomachs out a bit!

So all in all it was a fantastic trip, there was laughter,

there were drinks....

there was dancing....

even some happy feet....

but most importantly there was family....

Happy Birthday Mum!

Em x

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mini Break

Hey everyone!!

Two very exciting things -

1) I got a GHD Straightener last night and am utterly in love with my straight hair.

2) I'm off to Melbourne in about 8 hours with Mum, Dad and OH for Mum's BDay and I can not wait, we have some awesome stuff planned for while we are away which I will tell you all about when I get back!!

So I will be away till Saturday but you will hear from me Sunday I promise!!

Have a great week and weekend everyone :)

Em x


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...