Thursday, September 29, 2011

Perfect Pecan Pie

So I finally dragged myself out of the kitchen and crossed some things off my TO DO list....

....I cleaned out my wardrobe and said goodbye to 6 (SIX!!!) pairs of beloved shoes

....I cleaned out an old chest of drawers and got it ready to be sold therefore making room for our new bedroom suite

....I did battle with the wheelie bin and put it out for collection in the morning

....I put on my secretaries hat and did some of OH's paperwork for his business because he is away

....I uploaded a tonne of clothes and shoes and bags and furniture onto the net to sell

....and I gave myself permission to cook this pecan pie as a reward for all my hard work!

Now I have never even tasted a pecan pie before let alone made one, so not only did I have no idea how to make one, I had no idea what it should taste / look like either!

As it turns out, Pecan Pie is dead easy to make and dead easy to eat (so easy in fact I would go as far as to call it dangerous....)

Look a pyramid of pecan pies!

Note that I made 1 big pie, 6 mini pies and had more then enough mixture left to make the scrolls at the bottom of the post so you could easily make 2 pies with this recipe :)

Pecan Pie

2 shortcrust pastry flan case (I used the Pampas one)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup golden syrup
1/4 cup maple syrup
100g butter
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (185g) pecan nuts

If you are using frozen flan cases, pop them on a tray in the oven for 10 mins at 180C while you prepare the filling.

Combine the brown sugar, golden syrup, maple syrup and butter in a saucepan or microwave safe dish. Cook over low heat or microwave for 90 seconds - 2 minutes, stirring regularly until sugar has dissolved.

Remove from heat (if using stove top) and add the eggs and vanilla. Whisk quickly to avoid eggs cooking. Once mixture is well combined pour into a jug.

Arrange nuts over bases of pastry cases and pour over the caramel. Bake for 45-55mins or until set. You can cover the pie with foil during baking to prevent burning if necessary. You will know the pie is set when a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. It should appear firm but still have a slight jiggle to it. You can serve the pie fresh out of the oven with a dollop of thickened cream or you can serve it at room temperature - either way it's delicious!!

And seeing as I had roughly 3/4 cup of the caramel filling and some pecans left over, I decided to make these Caramel Pecan Pinwheels.

Even easier then the Pecan Pie, all you need to do is spread one sheet of puff pastry with half of the caramel mixture. Sprinkle with the pecans and roll up into a log. Cut into 2cm sections. Pour the remaining caramel into a baking pan and arrange pinwheels cut side down. Bake at 180C for around 25-30 mins or until puffed and golden. Once they are cooked, alow to cool for 5 mins and invert the pan onto a plate, this will allow the gooey caramel sauce to drizzle over the pinwheels.

1 recipe...2 awesome dishes!

Em x

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Spiced Apple Sauce Cake with Maple Frosting

For some reason I always seems to have a TO DO list as long as my arm.....often it's longer then my arm.....and I always get cranky because no matter how many things I cross off it, it still gets longer. So when OH told me he was going away for work for nearly 2 months I admit, initially I panicked....then I got slightly cranky, but eventually I moved into my happy place where I realised all the free time I would have to do all those things I never seem to have time for......except that is not quite how it's working far I've cooked, I've cooked some more and when not cooking I have spent time pondering what to cook and then stalking the supermarket aisles to stock my cupboards with plenty of things to cook with.....Oh dear.

And it is that time of year again when I want to cook with pumpkin and with spices and with apples and maple syrup and pecans and ginger and I mean who can focus on a TO DO list when there is Spiced Apple Sauce Cake with Maple Frosting to be made??

For the cake you will need:

2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
120g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups or 380 grams unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 180C and grease and line a 8- or 9-inch square cake pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the softened butter, sugar and vanilla and beat until creamy.

Add applesauce and eggs, beating well until everything is combined. It will look a little curdled at this stage but it will be OK I promise.

Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices beating until just combined.

Pour batter evenly into pan and bake until golden-brown and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes before inverting onto a plate.

While the cake is cooling you can make the frosting.

In the bowl of your electric mixer combine 80g butter, 3/4 cup icing sugar, 2 tbspns maple syrup, 2 heaped tbspn brown sugar, 1 tbspn custard powder (optional) and 1 tbspn milk. Beat until smooth and fluffy adding more icing sugar if mix is too thin or more butter if it is too thick.

Once cake is cooled, cover with frosting and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

This cake is so moist and delicious, I wish I had got a photo of it once it was cut, but believe me it just melts in your mouth which makes it perfect for morning tea or served warm for dessert with a dollop of cream.....mmmmm

I also made this recipe as a batch of cupcakes and filled them with the frosting before sending them to work with OH....the boys devoured them in an instant which means this recipe is an all round winner for me!!

See.....totally worth ditching the TO DO list for wasn't it?

Em x

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fruity Pecan Muesli Bars

OH and I spent today at The Royal Hobart Botanical Gardens with OH's Mum, sister and nephew. The day was slightly overcast, but occasionally the sun decided to come out and it was beautiful and warm. We had a quick picnic before heading off for a wander around the gardens. Eli had never been there before and couldn't quite grasp the concept of 'having a wander' because he kept asking where we were walking too! Eventually his little legs got tired and he retired to the pram - personally I was very jealous, he had the best seat in the house tucked up in his chauffeur driven pram eating his icecream! The Botanical Gardens are full of things to see, we walked for nearly two hours and still didn't see everything, but we did see the fuschia house, the anatartic house (brrrrrr!!), the cactus house, the japanese gardens, the fern house, the floral clock and don't forget the ducklings!!!

It was a lovely day, there are so many beautiful spots at the gardens and at this time of year the daffodils and tulips are in full bloom as well. I could have sprawled out on a blanket with a book and some nibbles and easily filled in the rest of the day!

All that walking requires some serious energy though and these Fruity Pecan Muesli Bars are the perfect energy packed lunch box treat!

All you need is:

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup caster sugar
75g unsalted butter
1.5 cups muesli (I used one with coconut, sultanas and almonds for added goodies!)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
150g dried fruit (I used Fresh Life Triple Fruit Treat Mango, Cranberry and Blueberry)
1/3 cup chopped pecans

Pre-heat oven to 180C

Combine the honey, caster sugar and butter together in a microwave safe dish. Heat for around 60 seconds on high or until sugar is melted and ingredients are combined.

In a bowl combine the muesli, cinnamon, dried fruit and pecans in a bowl. Pour over honey mixture and stir until everything is well coated.

Push the mixture into a greased tin and flatten. Bake for 20-25 mins. Allow the slice to cool on the bench - it is quite fragile when it's still soft so I find it's best to leave it in the fridge overnight before slicing.

These muesli bars are so yummy!! The hardest part is not eating them before they cool!!

I hope your all having a great weekend :)

Em x

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

C is for Cookie......

....and C is also for chocolate and custard....and what do you get when you combine these three things??? Chocolate Custard Creams of course!!

I have been promising OH I would make him shortbread creams for a long time now...but there was an incident involving some very thin sugar cookies, which despite being delicious, were not filling I decided to try these chocolate biscuits instead....and while I was there I also made some of our old favourites.As a result our fridge is a little bit like cookie central right now and I may have had issues finding room for the groceries this week...but it was all in the name of good cookies I tell you!!

For the biscuits you will need:
185g butter
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 egg
2 cups plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder

And for the custard filling:
.5 cups icing sugar
.5 cups caster sugar
125g butter
1 tbspn milk

Preheat your oven to 160C fan forced and grease 3 baking trays.

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

Add egg and beat well.

Gradually add the flour and cocoa and beat until mixture is smooth.

Roll tablespoons of the dough into balls and place on trays. Make sure they are evenly spaced as they will spread during baking - I usually go with 8 per tray. Press the dough down with the back of a fork.

Bake for 10 mins. Allow to cool on trays before removing and wait until they are completely cooled before attempting to frost.

While the biscuits cool you can make the frosting!

In the bowl of your electric mixer combine all the ingredients and beat until smooth. If the mixture is too runny, add more custard powder and / or icing sugar to taste and to reach desired consistency. If the mixture is too thick add a splash of milk and if it's just not fluffy enough, add more butter!

Place the mixture in the fridge to firm up a bit while you are waiting for the biscuits to cool.

Once the biscuits have cooled, spread half of them with the custard mixture. Sandwich together with the remaining biscuits.

I got 14 biscuits out of this recipe and they will keep in the fridge for at least a week....that is if they last that long!!

Ohhh and let me show you the mega yummy, mega filling and just all round MEGA omelette, cheese and chutney rolls we had for breakfast on the weekend!

I have been busy making some changes to the layout of the blog, I think I'm just about happy with it, although I still need to figure out how to jazz up the banner abit, but I'll get there! What do you think so far??

Em x

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Moroccan Chicken Pies

My goodness....I have been slack haven't I! Well never fear, I'm here! And I have a handful of posts up my sleeve so I promise I'll be quite chatty over the next few days!

Earlier this year, OH and I visited a local bakery and tried a Moroccan Chicken was damn near the best pie we had ever eaten. So, as you do, we set about trying to re-create this delicious dish at home.

The pie is filled with a moroccan spiced mix of chicken, tomato and pasta and then the whole lot is topped with a layer of cheese before the lid is put on and it is baked in the oven...mmmmm cheesey moroccan chicken goodness!!!

Oh and we had ours with some mushrooms chips the other night! They are easy, just chuck some sliced mushrooms in the oven on 180C with some salt and pepper for about 25-30 mins, giving them a stir occasionally and they will be nice and crispy and delicious by the time your pies are ready!

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm I couldn't resist, I had to get a photo of the inside, plus I'm a shocker for eating my pie lid seperate to my actual pie.....

Have I convinced you yet??? These pies are a good idea, they are awesome, they will excite your taste buds and delight your nostrils...and possibly burn your tongue....

I made 2 pies in ramekins with this recipe so I just put pastry over the top of the dish before baking, but I have also 6-8 pies in the pie maker with the same recipe if you wanted a proper pie or say if you wanted to keep them in the freezer or make them for lunch boxes :)

Moroccan Chicken Pies
300g chicken breast (diced)
1 x brown onion (diced)
2 x sticks celery (diced)
2 tspns Moroccan seasoning
400g tin diced tomatoes
50g dry pasta
grated cheese
puff pastry (1 sheet if making in ramekins or 4 sheets if making in pie maker)

Cook your pasta in the microwave or on the stove top as per packet directions. Drain and set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 180C (fan forced)

In a fry pan over medium heat, add your onion, celery and spices. Cook for 2-3mins or until spices are fragrant.

Add the chicken and cook for a further 4-5 mins just to seal on the outside.

Add the cooked pasta and diced tomatoes. Allow the mixture to simmer for 10-12 mins, stirring occasionally so it doesn't stick to the bottom.

Grease 2 x ramekins. Spoon pie mixture into ramekins. Top with grated cheese.

Cut a piece of puff pastry big enough to cover the top of your ramekin and slightly hang over the edge. Place pastry over pie and brush with melted butter, egg or milk (doesn't really matter which, just whatever is easier for you at the time!)

Place the ramekins on a tray and bake in the oven for around 15 mins or until pastry if puffed and golden.

Enjoy :)

Ohhh and look what I got done this week! I went to get my nails done as a trial run for the wedding....although I should point out we are not having teal nails with purple foil at the wedding but I thought while I was there, why not get something sexy! Anyway, I had them done with shellac so no fake nails, just some mighty tough nail polish and apparently they should last for around 3-4 weeks before I need to get them re-done. Helllloooo sexy nails!!! Now is a good time to say that super sexy nails do increase your risk of injury due to inadvertently walking into walls / doors / inanimate objects whilst admiring said nails.....

Well I better go because I'm just about to go out to dinner and I'm currently sitting in my nice warm bed with my pjs on...not sure how the restaurant would feel about me rocking up in my pjs and dressing gown but I'm willing to give it a try!

Em x

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Confession Time.....

I have a confession to make. It pains me to do this, but I need to put it out there in the open so I can start trying to move on and recover.

As most of you know, I get married this January and after seeing the ridiculous price of paying someone to make our wedding cupcakes, I decided to make them myself.

OH and I decided what flavour we wanted. I made some test batches. They were delicious. Case closed right? Wrong. This is where it gets nasty.....I was going to use a packet mix. I know I know, the guilt, the shame, the fact that they were beautiful soft fluffy vanilla cupcakes with a bright red raspberry swirl is not the has been eating away at me for awhile now and today something just snapped. I cannot bring myself to serve packet mix cake as my wedding cake. I know no one else will know but I will and that’s not cool. I go to enormous effort to make cakes for other people’s birthdays, for morning teas, even just for something to do – but I can’t make my own wedding cake.....that’s not on.

So you know what the means? We are back into the test kitchen!

For the first test batch I’m thinking Lemon Yoghurt Cake (because it’s dense and moist whilst still being light and melt in your mouth awesome) with a raspberry swirl and a vanilla buttercream......

For the second batch I’m thinking a Moist Vanilla Cake (never made one before, but I’m after a moist, soft and flavoursome cake) with a raspberry swirl and vanilla buttercream......

This will also involve some experimentation with a) getting my buttercream as close to white as possible and b) making a raspberry swirl that is packed full of fresh raspberry flavour whilst adding a vibrant red swirl to the cakes.

So there you have it.....I confessed, I am ashamed.....but I am back on the horse, guns (or ovens) blazing and super excited about seeing the results of our first two trials!

Stay tuned for updates over the next few weeks!!

Em x

Monday, September 12, 2011

On The Road Again....

This year I was lucky enough to receive an all expenses paid weekend away to St Helens (on the east coast of Tassie) as a birthday gift from Mum and Dad. They thought it would be a nice chance for OH and I to have a relaxing weekend away together before wedding fever sets in and they were right. We had the most beautiful, relaxing and peaceful weekend. Let me show you why....

When we arrived in the room there was a huge box of chocolates and a card waiting from Mum and Dad....

The view from the deck at our room....

On the first night we were treated to a delicious 3 course meal in the resort's restaurant so of course we took the opportunity to get all dressed up! It was a lovely evening, sitting in our big leather chairs, enjoying our delicious 3 course meal whilst taking in the ocean doesn't get much better then that!

We were also lucky enough to have a continental breakfast included in our package and by god did we make the most of it! We stuffed ourselves with fresh fruit, yoghurt, muesli and hot buttery toast all washed down with a hot cup of tea and that kept us going all day!

First stop for the day was The Shop in the Bush - a bric a brac shop out in the middle of nowhere where we spent up big on vintage jewellery and even did some early Christmas shopping!

Then we went back down the road to Binalong Bay. The views were just stunning and we spent a long time clambering and climbing over the rocks along the beach, exploring the rock pools and just being big kids and you know what, it felt great! Although OH did manage to get nipped by a crab....but let's be honest, it was hilarious!

In the afternoon we stopped at a beach down near Scamander and played in the sand. Just something about being with the people you love, being out in the fresh air, it just makes you feel alive....

That night we took ourselves down to the waterfront for a swanky dinner at a restaurant built out over the water. Another night filled with gorgeous water views and amazing food!

The next morning we arrived bright and early for brekkie and filled our table up with another smorgasboard of fruit, cereal, yoghurt, toast, tea, coffee and of course, the newspaper! We literally did not eat for the rest of the day!! We had a pretty full on day though so we needed all that extra energy! We took the long route home so we could stop at a few spots on the way. The first one we stopped at was St Columbus Falls and at a height of 90m, they really were an amazing sight.

Our next stop was just up the road at Russel Falls....unfortunately there wasn't alot of water coming over the falls, but the view out over the valley was worth the walk in.

And our last stop on the journey home was at Legerwood. Many many years ago a row of trees was planted in the main street as a memorial to all the soldiers from the town who had fought and died in WW1, but as time passed the trees were deemed to be dangerous and it was decided they were to be cut down. A local artist came to the rescue and using a chainsaw, made these amazing wood carvings out of the trees. Each one represents a soldier from the town and his particular story. Not only do they look incredible, but I think they make a lovely memorial to the town's fallen soldiers.

And that was our weekend away!

As always it was nice to get home, but sad that such an amazing trip had to come to an end! Not long now till the wedding and our mini-moon though!! And after the excitement from all that dies down, we have the honeymoon!! Exciting times ahead!!

Em x

Friday, September 9, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!!!!!

Well I survived another birthday....

OH went to work early, but never fear, Mum and Dad had taken the day off work to spend with me and they showed up nice and early, bearing the essentials - cupcakes, candles and coffee!

Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to meeeeeeeee Happy Birthday to me!

Check out the cake OH made for me! I think he has been holding out! Under all that delicious vanilla frosting is an even more delicious moist chocolate cake!! But the only problem is it's just too cute to cut and eat! He has been locked in the kitchen every night this week and I can see why! I just love it!!

After breakfast Mum, Dad and I went to see Red Dog at the State Cinema (have to love a cinema that allows you to take a wine or a coffee in with you!). It was a great movie, very funny but also very sad and had all 3 of us sniffling into our cups of tea!

Next stop after lunch was a peak around some shoe shops in town....Dad did very well, ferrying shoes back and forth from the shelves while Mum and I tried on everything we could get our hands on....suprisingly though we walked out empty handed (I know!! I mean who walks out of a shoe shop on their birthday with no shoes!?).

Then we went to the Lansdowne Cafe for lunch. For a small, quiet, out of the way cafe, it was packed! And when our meals arrived we could see why!

Mum and I both had this Roast Vegie Stack with Grilled Polenta and it was amazing, two crispy pieces of polenta piled high with roasted zucchini, sweet potato, eggplant, tomato, spinach and caramelised onions, OMG Yum!!!! Dad had a toasted chicken, avocado and brie panini which looked pretty damn tasty too!

After lunch we did a small spot of window shopping down at Sandy Bay to try and walk off some of that lunch....which is just as well - little did I know I had to make room for dessert........

......because our next stop was the Pancake Train at Margate! The 3 of us shared this pancake topped with chocolate mousse, whipped cream and praline, it was heavenly (and next time I'm not sharing!).

We piled back into the car and headed for home where I was spoilt rotten with presents ranging from books to jewellery to silk scarves and this stunning lady (and the shoe box too!)

Then it was back into the car to go and have a look at Mum and Dad's new block of land which is just up the road from our place. They will be selling their sweet little cottage and building a new whizz bang house so stay tuned for updates on that!

We arrived back home to OH dancing around in the driveway because apparently we only had 10 mins to make it to our dinner booking - noone tells me these things! So I farewelled Mum and Dad and hopped in the car with OH. We arrived (just in the nick of time!) at the Pontville Pub for dinner. Pontville Pub is a great little pub with fantastic counter meals and because it was my birthday I treated myself to a parmy and it was sooooo worth it!! After tea we went home, tried a piece of OH's skull cake (yuuuuummmm!!) and then I opened my presents from OH. The pièce de résistance.....

....a rocking chair....a few months ago, we were talking about eventually having the pitter patter of little feet in our house and I was saying how much I would love to have a rocking chair in our nursery...and now I do! Although I don't have a nursery yet! Or even the need to have a nursery (I should make that very clear in case my Dad reads this!!) but it still makes me smile....and in the mean time I have somewhere comfy to read all my new books!

Thank you to everyone for making the day so special and for spoiling me rotten as usual!! OH and I are leaving today for 2 nights up at St Helens on the east coast, I can't wait....but if I don't get out of bed and go pack we won't be going anywhere!!

Em x

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Chorizo, Pumpkin and Fetta Quiche

I don't know about you, but I've been interviewing all day...I like interviewing, it breaks the day up, you meet new people, but a whole day of it is a loooonng time in the one room, asking the same questions over and over and honestly after 4 hours I was starving!!!

So when I got home tonight, my brain was fried and I needed something easy, something tasty....something like this!

Chorizo, Pumpkin and Fetta Quiche

1 red onion cut into thin wedges
1 tspn crushed garlic
1 tspn crushed wet herbs (such as rosemary, thyme and parsley)
100g chorizo thinly sliced
1 zucchini thinly sliced
400g pumpkin peeled and thinly sliced
100g fetta cubed
6 eggs
1/3 cup milk

Add onion and herbs to a fry pan over medium heat and cook, stirring for 3-4 mins. Add the chorizo and cook for 3-4 mins or until lightly browned. Add zucchini and pumpkin, cooking for 8-10 mins or until pumpkin begins to soften.

Transfer mixture to a greased quiche dish and scatter with fetta.

Combine the eggs and milk in a jug, being sure to whisk well.

Pour the egg mixture evenly over the pumpkin mix.

Bake at 180C for around 15-20 mins or until puffed and golden and the egg is set.

You should get 4 serves out of this and we just had our with some steamed vegies.

I must say though, the leftovers are delicious cold on their own or in a sandwich!!

OH tells me I'm odd...but I can not be the only person who likes cold quiche / frittata in a I?? Come on guys (and gals) back me up here!!!

Em x

Strawberries and Cream Mud Cake

So I suppose there is no point avoiding it....tomorrow is my birthday. I mean seriously didn't we just do this like not that long ago? I can't believe how fast it has come around....but nonetheless, yes it is tomorrow. And as I firmly believe it is wrong wrong wrong to work on your birthday, I thought I better take a cake into work with me today.

I thought about it for a long time and went through many recipe books trying to figure out what to make. Something new? Something bold? A tried and true favourite? But no matter how many books and web sites I looked at, nothing really grabbed me as something that I would like to make for MY birthday cake. So then I sat down to think about what sort of cake would I really like, what sort of flavours do I love? I knew I wanted something that involved fruit, something that was not too rich, something that I hadn't made before....well I've never made a mud cake before....but not a chocolate mud cake, that would be far too about a white chocolate one? But then how to incorporate the fruit....I know! A Strawberries and Cream Mud Cake! I couldn't find any recipes that matched the vision I had going in my head so instead I found a really great white chocolate mud cake recipe and decided to just kind of wing it from there!

Strawberries and Cream Mud Cake (adapted from Exclusively Food)

For the Cake:
450g of white chocolate (I used 2 x 220g blocks of Dream)
300g butter
1 cup of caster sugar
1.5 cups milk
3 tspns vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup self raising flour
1.5 cups plain flour
2 tbspns strawberry essence
Pink food dye

Pre-heat oven to 160C (145C fan forced). Grease and line a 28cm round springform tin. (Just for the record I hate lining springform tins, but for this recipe I just placed a sheet of baking paper over the bottom tray, sealed the tin around it and let the overhang bits just kinda hang out the bottom of the tin.)

In a large bowl, combine the chocolate, butter, milk, sugar and vanilla. Microwave in 40 second bursts, stirring in between, until the chocolate has melted and all ingredients are combined. Let it sit and cool for a minute or two.

Add the eggs to the mixture and stir well.

Add the sifted flours and mix until all the lumps are gone.

Now remove just under half of the mixture to a seperate bowl. To this bowl add the strawberry essence and 2-3 drops of the food dye. Give it a good stir.

Pour half of the plain mixture into the tin. Top with half of the pink mixture. Use a skewer to swirl the two mixtures together - being careful not to rip the baking paper underneath. Top with the remaining plain mixture and then the pink mixture, again swirling the two layers together with a skewer.

Bake in the oven for anywhere between 75 and 100 mins....mine took about an hour and a half. It really depends on your oven so once it hits the 75 mark just keep an eye on it and as soon as a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean it's done.

Let the cake sit and cool for 10-15 mins before you try and remove it from the pan :)

Now while the cake is cooking you can make the frosting!

For the Frosting:
375g white chocolate melted
300ml thickened cream
2 cups icing sugar
2 tbpsns strawberry jam

Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat well for 3-4 mins. You may need to add more cream / icing sugar depending on the consistency your after. Once the cake has cooled, cover with frosting.

(Now here I have to recommend putting the cake in the fridge overnight. Purely because it allows the flavours to develop even more.)

This frosting was great, it had a subtle strawberry flavour, but maintained the creaminess of the white chocolate and, of course, the cream. Also with all that chocolate in there, it sets nice and firm once you put it in the fridge, not solid, but firm and then as you bring the cake to room temp (like you should before serving a mud cake) it just softens beautifully. And just before you serve the cake, top it with gorgeous fresh strawberries....

Everyone at work brought something in for morning tea and the sneaky buggers presented me with a bouquet of baby pink carnations, aswell as a card signed by everyone. I felt very very spoilt.

I have to say the cake was delicious, I was really proud of how it came out. It has that dense moist mud cakey texture and the flavours were not over whelming but they were simple and subtle and it was exactly what I wanted it to be :)

Em x

Monday, September 5, 2011

WW Card File Challenge #7 Beef Curry

....with apples and bananas?? OH was going through the card file looking for something to make this week and this one was just too weird to pass up! We have made a mango chicken curry with apples before, but a beef curry with apples and bananas sounded very interesting and we just had to try it!

It was actually dead easy and one of the tastiest curry sauces we have had for a long time, not to mention the beef was melt in your mouth tender!!

And this is how it's done....

500g beef steak cut into cubes (2cm x 2cm ish)
1 tbspn butter
1 x onion diced
1 x apple diced
1 x banana diced
1 tbspn curry powder
2 tbspns plain flour
1.5 cups water
1 beef stock cube
2 tspns brown sugar
Salt and Pepper
Pappadums and Steamed Rice to Serve

Spray a fry pan with oil and add the beef. Cook over medium high heat until browned. Remove the beef from the pan and add the onion and butter, cooking for 1-2 mins.
Add the onion, banana and curry powder. Cook for a further 2 minutes before adding the flour. Stir well and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add the water, crumbled stock cube, brown sugar and season with salt and pepper. Bring rhe sauce to the boil, stirring well, until it thickens. Add the meat and simmer for 30-40 mins until the meat is tender.

Serve with steamed rice in pappadums!

Yum yum yum, did I mention this is one of the nicest curry sauces I have tried?? This would be a perfect sauce for curried sausages too as it is nice and thick, not to mention packed full of does have a bit of kick to it though so be warned, but the sweetness of the apple kind of off sets that. I will say though that it was a bit hard to tell the banana was in there as it breaks down and disappears during cooking, but I think it adds to the creaminess of the sauce maybe? Either way, this dish is a great way to hide fruit and vegies from fussy kids (and adults!).

Hope you all had a fantastic Monday and are all set for the week ahead of you!

Em x

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fathers Day 2011

Today is Fathers Day so what better way to start the day then with this gorgeous fruit platter....

Then we went to have a beer with OH's Dad, Dad's Dad and Mum's Dad before going to a local seafood cafe for lunch...I have to say lunch was so good I forgot to take photos, but let's just say there were sweet potato cakes, tempura mushrooms and fish burgers and it was good!!

We finished the day off with some presents and a quiet drink at Mum and Dads...but the best Fathers Day present ever?! Dad and I going on our first bike run together :)


Em x

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Caramel Nut Clusters and THAT cake!

Well with Fathers Day fast approaching I thought I better pull my finger out and make something for my Dad. Last year I baked and baked and baked for his Fathers Day present, but this year he is on a health kick so I toned it down a bit.

A few weeks ago at work, one of the ladies made this heavenly caramel nut slice that we all drooled over and she was nice enough to give us all the recipe so we could try it for ourselves. Initially I started off following the recipe, but then I decided to make some small tweeks here and there and this is how it ended up.

All you need is:

1.5 cups crushed biscuits
125g melted butter
1.5 cups crushed nuts (I used peanuts and walnuts)
1 cup dessicated coconut
1 tin condensed milk
.5 cup dark choc bits
.5 cup sultanas

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Push tablespoons of the mixture in greased mini muffin or normal sized muffin trays.

Bake at 180C for 15-20 mins or until they look a nice golden colour.

Let them cool in the pan before removing.

They will store in the refrigerator for a few weeks...if they last that long!!

And for the last few nights I have been flat out working on a cake for a lady at work. She asked me last Friday if I would make a lego cake for her son's birthday this week and I said yeah no worries, I mean how hard can a lego cake be....

I retract my previous statement....after a full night of baking last night and 3.5 hours of frosting tonight, it's finally done! And despite the fact that I am utterly exhausted, I am really happy with it :)

Did I mention I'm buggered?? I have been trying to figure out what sort of cake to take to work for my birthday next week and after the last few nights, anything with buttercream is out....soooooo any suggestions??

Em x


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