Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lentil and Kumara Lasagne

So I have spent several hours each night for the last week pain stakingly peicing together our wedding albums online....tonight I finally finished it, there were no corrupt blank missing looked beautiful....then I proceeded through the checkout only for the web site to tell me that the album I had just built with my own blood sweat and tears was not the corresponding size with the voucher I was trying to use to pay for it....therefore one must go through the entire process of building the album, in the correct size, again.

Like that wasn't annoying enough, I had an epic fail with a cake tonight which I tried to fix, failed again and subsequently through out...there was much swearing and foot stamping re: the cake...and by the time the photo web site slapped me in the face I was so exhausted I just closed it down and came here to tell you about something guaranteed to cheer you up, even when the universe wants to chew you up, spit you out and then do it all over again.

Lentil and Kumara Lasagne

Looks good doesn't it?

All you will need is:

1 onion finely diced
2 tspns crushed garlic
1 medium kumara chopped into cubes
1 cup red lentils
1.5 cups vegetable stock
2.5 cups passata
150g baby spinach
300g extra light ricotta
25g parmesan
1 pkt cannelloni sheets
1/2 cup grated cheese

Add the kumara to a pot of boiling water on the stove top and cook for 8-10 mins or until tender. Drain, roughly mash and set aside.

Add the onion to a fry pan over medium heat and gently soften, add the garluc, lentils, sweet potato, stock and 1.5 cups of the passata. Bring the mixture to the boil and reduce heat. Allow the mixture to simmer, with the lid on, for 15-20 mins stirring occasionally.

Pre-heat your oven to 180C.

In a microwave safe bowl, add the spinach and microwave on high for 60 seconds. Allow it to cool before ringing out the excess moisture. Roughly chop and stir the spinach and parmesan through the ricotta, season with salt and pepper.

Once your lentil mixture is done you can start assembling your lasagnes. I made 4 individual square lasagnes, but you could use any shape ramekin for this.

Place a tablespoon of passata in the base of 4 individual ramekins. Top with 1 x cannelloni sheet. Divide half of the lentil mixture between the ramekins. Top with another cannelloni sheet and the remaining lentil mixture. Then add the last of the cannelloni sheets and pour over the remaining passata. Finish with the ricotta mixture, some grated cheese and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Bake for around 20 mins or until cheese is melted and golden. Serve with a garden salad.

This dish is so yummy and filling and just down right awesome! See just writing about it has cheered me up.....although I refuse to speak to the universe until it agrees to play nice.

Hope you are all having a fantastic week!

Mrs B xx

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Blueberry, Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins

Occasionally when doing the shopping I see something and just go hmmm I wouldn't mind making something with that...and then it sits in my cupboard for days...possibly weeks...while I decide exactly what I want to use it for.

That's what happened when I brought this packet of dried cranberries...a few weeks later I added to it with some blueberries and some cream idea was beginning to form!

Work with me here....

Start by preheating your oven to 180C and greasing 2 muffin trays.

Now gather the following -

200g cream cheese softened
50g white chocolate melted
1/4 cup icing sugar

Firstly beat the cream cheese, white chocolate and icing sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth and well combined. Place in a bowl in the fridge.

Then combine the following, also using the electric mixer...

2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbspns melted butter
1 egg

And then stir through 1.5 cups dried cranberries and 1.5 cups fresh or frozen blueberries. Don't use the electric mixer for will fling berries all around your kitchen and you will be cleaning them off the tops of your cupboards for months...believe me.

1/2 fill each muffin cup, place a teaspoon of the cream cheese mix in the centre of the mixture and top with another tablespoon of mixture. Bake for around 15-20 mins or until they bounce back when touched.

These make awesome lunch box treats, I mean who doesn't love a surprise filling!!

Hope you are all having a fantastic week.

Mrs B xx

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The loaves of my life.....

I apologise for the corny title...I really do....

Today Mr B and I sat at the local market from 7:30am until 2:00pm trying to sell some of my clothes so I could make enough money to buy 'sensible' clothes to take to Europe with me....

Yesterday I brought my first ever (yes I am 26....) pair of sensible adult big flarey bell bottoms, can be worn with sneakers without dragging through across the was all very scary, but after wearing them all day today I've come to the conclusion they actually look better with heels then all my flarey jeans said flarey jeans subsequently spent the day on the market table (sorry flarey jeans....we had some good times, but I just can't do it anymore, I will always remember you fondly)

Anyway, so that explains why I am slightly exhausted and delirious at this stage, but it doesn't explain how I nearly got eaten alive by duckies yesterday....that is a story for another day....

What I will explain to you is how I came to bake these two incredibly smelling (and hopefully tasting) loaves on Friday night!

You see I get home from work and no matter how tired I am, I want to drop my bags at the door and get up to my elbows in flour and butter and baking goodness. I was meeting up with my best friend on Saturday (who I previously mentioned has just told us she is pregnant so I am in a constant state of over excited baking frenzy for her and bubba choppa) and one of the ladies I work with has recently brought her first home and moved in only last week so to me, that is 2 amazingly good reasons to come home and bake a loaf (or 2) of goodness!

First off we went with the Banana and Honey Loaf for Ali as it has very little sugar and let's be honest, who doesn't love a good banana bread??

You will need:

100g butter
1/3 cup honey
2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
1 cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 ripe bananas, peeled, mashed

Preheat oven to 180°C and grease and line a loaf tin.

Combine the butter, honey and sugar in a microwave-safe bowl and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until melted.

Sift flours, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and cinnamon into a large bowl. Stir in the milk, egg, banana and butter mixure. Stir with a metal spoon until just combined.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. This loaf does rise quite a bit so just watch where you put it in the oven! Cool loaf in pan for 10 minutes before lifting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

And for my second trick I made this Date Loaf

All you will need is:

125g pitted dates
1.5 tspns bicarb soda
1 cup water
50g butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup plain flour

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

In a microwave safe bowl combine the dates, water, bicarb, butter and sugar.

Cook for 4-5 mins or until the dates are well and truly softened and the mixture is thickened. Allow to cool for 2-3 mins.

In a bowl combine the flours and egg.

Pour over the date mixture and stir to combine.

Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for around 40 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

And most importantly, share them with someone you love....or steal a quiet moment to yourself and enjoy them whilst curled up with a book and a cuppa!!

Mrs B xx

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mushrooms stuffed with Prawns and Chorizo

Seeing as Valentines Day fell on a Tuesday this year and Mr B and I both had to work I wanted to do something really special in the evening....movies? drinks? a special dinner followed by a decadent dessert and a swanky gift? You betcha baby!

After much pondering and many mind changes I decided to cook Mushrooms stuffed with Prawns and Chorizo with Cheese Crisps and a Creamy Garlic Potato Bake - all of Mr B's favourite things!

It looks impressive, tastes delicious and is actually pretty easy!

All you need is:

1/2 cup grated cheese
4 large mushrooms
2 tspns crushed garlic
14 prawns peeled and de-veined
50g thinly sliced chorizo
2 tbspns balsamic vinegar
4 tbspns thickened cream

Now the first step is to remove the stems from your mushrooms and place them on an oven tray. Cook them at 150C for around 20 mins.

Heat a fry pan over medium heat and spray with a little bit of oil. Place the cheese into the pan in small piles, you can do 2 bigger ones or 4 smaller ones, just make sure they are evenly placed.

Allow the cheese to cook and bubble away for a few minutes. Once it looks nice and golden try and flip it over. Once both sides are nice and golden, remove from the pan and place on some absorbent paper.

Place the chorizo in the pan and cook for 3-4 mins. While it's cooking take 10 of the prawns and chop them up. Leave 4 whole for decoration later.

Add the chopped prawns to the pan with the garlic and cook for 2-3 mins or until the prawns turn a pale pink colour. Remove from the pan. Your mushrooms should be out of the oven by now.

Place the whole prawns in the pan with the balsamic and cream. While they are cooking fill the mushroom cups with the prawn and chorizo mixture. Once the whole prawns are cooked, pour the sauce over the mushroom cups, top with a cheese crisp and then with the whole prawns.

And most important enjoy!!

I hope you all had a lovely Valentines Day, however you chose to celebrate it

Mrs B x

Some fancy new artwork!!

Just thought I would stop by quickly to show you the latest addition to...well to me!

It's been something I have wanted to do for a long time and now that we are finally Mr and Mrs B, the timing was perfect :)

The Claddagh has always been very special to both of us and features on our wedding rings so I really couldn't go past it for this tattoo.

We are both completely in love with it, it is very very cool and a very special reminder of the happiest day of our lives....

I love you Mr B xx

Plus neither of us will ever be able to say we forgot our anniversary!!

Mrs B x

Friday, February 10, 2012

Red Velvet Cupcakes

With Valentines Day right on our door step I wanted to make something special to take into work today....

And really, nothing says Valentines Day like Red I've never actually made had Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting before, I've always gone with the vanilla option....AND double plus, last week I brought some red chocolate melts that I was a little bit excited to try....

Mmmmmm look at how pretty they are!!!

And they are so easy! I got this recipe from a book called Cakes to Celebrate Love and Life but I changed it a little because I realised at the last minute I had no oil so I just replaced it with butter and it seemed to work out fine!

For the cupcakes you will need:
2.5 cups plain flour
1.5 cups caster sugar
1 tspn bicarb soda
1 heaped tablespoon of cocoa
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
200g softened butter
1 tspn white vinegar
25ml red food dye
1 tspn vanilla essence

Pre-heat oven to 180C and grease your tins. From this recipe I got 24 x mini muffins, 6 x jumbo muffins and 8 x normal size muffins.

In the bowl of an electric mixer add the flour, sugar, bicarb, butter, vanilla and cocoa and beat to combine.

Add the buttermilk, eggs, vinegar and dye and beat until smooth. The mixture will be quite thick.

Spoon into muffin tins (roughly 3/4 full) and bake for 10-12 mins (for mini), 15 mins (for normal) and 20-25 mins (for jumbo size)....or you can just test them with a skewer to see if they are done :)

Once they are cool you can spread them with cream cheese frosting and top with a chocolate heart.

For the cream cheese frosting you will need:
250g softened cream cheese
150g softened butter
2 cups icing sugar
1 tspn vanilla essence.

Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth.

And for the chocolate hearts simply get about 3/4 cup of red chocolate melts and microwave in 30-40 second bursts, stirring in between until melted and smooth.

Allow to cool for 2-3 mins and spoon into a piping bag (I used a freezer bag and just snipped a tiny hole in the corner). Pipe heart shapes onto a piece of baking paper and place in the fridge for 2-3 mins to set.

This is the yummiest red velvet recipe I have ever tried and the bright red cakes with the white frosting is just such a striking combination, you can't go wrong!

So what have you got planned to spoil your loved one this Valentines Day?? I have a special 3 course dinner planned for Mr B seeing as we are both at work during the day....but more on that later!!

Mrs B xx

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Bubba Chopper's Apple, Oat and Cinnamon Muffins

I think I have mentioned before that Mr B and I are ready for a Bubba B when we get back from Europe in a few months, which in itself is exciting, but on top of that, Mr B's best friend and his partner and my best friend and her partner are both expecting at the moment, so there is some mega excitement all round!

I had lunch with my friend on Sunday and she told me the news, and apart from bursting with happiness for her and her partner, my mind also started to tick with something special I could do for her.

Over lunch we discussed all the things she could and couldn't eat (oh my salami, no chorizo, no feta!!!) and how she is mega hungry and mega tired, and so when I got home that afternoon I was sitting around having a ponder as I do...and decided that next weekend I would make her a basket full of yummy, nutritious, filling, low-fat, pregnancy friendly goodies....then I sat some more, my thumbs started to twitch so I whipped out the computer for some ideas and started to write them down....and then I think I blacked out or something because all of a sudden I was in the kitchen and there was apple and cinnamon and oats going everywhere......

Apple, Oat and Cinnamon Muffins

For the muffin batter you will need:

 ½ cup sultanas
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup self raising flour
1 cup plain flour
1.5 cups yoghurt
1 tspn cinnamon (plus extra for decorating)
2 eggs
100ml light olive oil
1.5 tspn baking powder

For the topping you will need:

2 tbspns butter melted
3 tbspns brown sugar
3/4 tspn ground cinnamon
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 apple, thinly sliced

Prehat oven to 150C and grease / line your muffin tin.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the yoghurt, eggs and olive oil.

Add the flours, cinnamon and baking powder. Beat well. Stir through the oats and sultanas.

Fill your muffin cases roughly 3/4 full.

For the topping, combine the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.

Top each cupcake with a tspn oats and some thinly sliced apple (push it into the mix a bit otherwise it falls off when you get them out of the oven...).

Brush with the cinnamon butter and bake for about 20-30 mins depending on what size you make. They are done when a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Very simple, very easy, even Mr B who does not do oats gave them his tick of approval and as for my friend? I quote "now known as the most delicious muffin I have ever tasted." Ohhh yeah go me! Although I'm kinda wishing I kept one for myself to try!!

Never mind. I'm on cloud 9 right now, I have gorgeous friends, an amazing husband, a european holiday on the horizon, thai chicken curry pies for tea tonight and a passionfruit cake for morning tea, what more could you want?!

Mrs B xx

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Raspberry and Lime Jelly

Just stopping by to say remember the other day when I made Raspberry and Lime Cordial? And remember how I told you I was going to make jelly with it??

Well I did, I loved it and I want you to love it too!! So here's what you do!

You will need:

1.5 cups lemonade
1/2 cup Raspberry and Lime cordial syrup
1 tspn gelatine
2 tspns boiling water
Vanilla / Greek yoghurt to serve

Combine the lemonade and cordial in a saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat.

Combine the gelatine and boiling water in a jug and stir to dissolve.

Add the gelatine mixture to the cordial mixture and simmer for 3-4 mins or until gelatine is well and truly dissolved.

Pour into 4x1 cup containers. Allow to cool at room temp and then place in the fridge overnight to set properly.

I think I mentioned in the original post that the cordial syrup is quite sweet so if you serve it with a dollop of greek or vanilla yoghurt, it balances out perfectly and makes quite the decent summer dessert!!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend!!

Mrs B x

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Lemon and Blueberry Fudge Slice

This slice was a labour of love....initially it was like a lemon cream slice and don't get me wrong, it looked and tasted delicious, but when I thought of it being thrown around in Mr B's truck all day and sitting out in the sun getting all melty, it just wasn't going to I re-modelled it to make it more fudgey, less creamy and we ended up with this Lemon and Blueberry Fudge Slice....totally lunch box friendly and totally awesome!

You will need:

250g pkt gingernut biscuits
100g butter
1/4 cup plain flour

2 x 375g pkts white chocolate melts
1/2 cup condensed milk
1/3 cup cream
280g lemon butter
3/4 cup blueberries

Pre-heat oven to 150C.

In a food processer combine the biscuits, butter and flour and process until it forms fine crumbs.

Press into a lined and greased slice tin and bake for 10 mins.

While the base cools off, combine the white chocolate, condensed milk, cream and lemon butter in a microwave safe dish. Microwave in 60 second bursts until chocolate is melted and everything is combined. Gently stir through the blueberries and pour over the base.

Refrigerate overnight before slicing.

And may I just say, the gingernuts in the base is spectacular!! So if you're looking for something to do this weekend, grab the kids (or turn up the radio and put your dancing shoes on) and whip up this simple and delicious treat!!


Mrs B x

Friday, February 3, 2012

Raspberry and Lime Cordial

I've never made cordial before, to be honest I wasn't aware that I could.....I know I know, I'm sorry. But I saw a recipe in a magazine recently and I had to give it a go - mainly because there was another recipe where you used the cordial to make jelly and we are a jelly loving household here plus I am going through a raspberry and lime phase at the moment, I have raspberry honey and lime honey on my crumpets for breakfast, much to Mr B's disgust, so there was no question about it really, we were making cordial!

This recipe made around 1L of cordial syrup and you use it just like any other cordial syrup you buy - so you take maybe 30-50 ml and top it up with water to make up your 1L cordial bottle. If I was to make it again I would probably cut down the sugar and increase the lime juice, but that's down to personal preference really, it's still delicious and refreshing either way!

All you need is

1kg fresh or frozen raspberries
3.5 cups caster sugar
2 cups lime juice

Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan over medium high heat.

Cook for 5-10 mins to allow the sugar to dissolve then bring it up to simmering point and allow it to cook for another 10-15 mins or until it thickens slightly and the raspberries have all broken up.

Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Now comes the fun part - pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a container or jug (it really doesn't sound that bad now but I wish I had a proper sieve when I did it, a tea strainer just was not appropriate!!)

As long as the syrup is in a bottle / jug with a lid it should last in the fridge for up to 12 months.

Stay tuned because in a few day I'll show you how to use the syrup to make jelly!

Mrs B x

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sticky Date Balls

Do you ever have those times when you just NEED to cook, when you NEED to get in that kitchen and create something yummy and delicious with whatever you might have in the cupboard at the time?

Last Saturday night at around 10pm, I had one of those moments....poor Mr B got up to go to the bathroom and when he came back to the loungeroom, ready to snuggle down and watch a movie, I was nowhere to be found.....much searching was done and soon enough he found me in the kitchen up to my elbows in rice bubbles, dates and marshmallows (looking very apologetic mind you) and decided to leave me to it.

These little treats were very simple to make and are absolutely delicious!

Mmmmmm sticky date goodness.....

All you need is:

400g dates roughly chopped
4 cups rice bubbles
2 tbspn golden syrup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
200g pkt vanilla marshmallows
1 tbspn milk
1/2 cup dessicated coconut

Ok first step, in a microwave safe bowl, combine the dates, golden syrup, brown sugar and water. Microwave on medium high heat for 5-8 mins or until the mixture is nice and broken down.

Add the milk and marshmallows to the date mixture and heat for a further 60 seconds. Stir well to combine.

Pour the mixture over the rice bubbles in a bowl and mix well.

Place the mixture in the fridge to cool down for an hour or two.

Once the mixture has cooled, roll tbspns of it into balls and then roll them in the coconut. Place on a lined tray or in a lined container.

Repeat with remaining balls and coconut and your done!

A sweet little treat (and a great way to get the kids - or the adults (!) eating dates!)

Mrs B x


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