Thursday, April 26, 2012

Honeymoon Time

So I'm starting to think I may have been in La La Land (you know that place right near Crazy Land??) for the last 12 months whilst we have been planning our honeymoon. I mean I've been to all the meetings with the travel agents, I've googled more maps and walking routes and monuments then I care to discuss and I have even spent the last week packing and unpacking and re-packing my bags. But despite all of that, I'm not entirely sure it ever really sunk in what we were doing. All in all, I think it's fair to say that now it's sinking in.....kind of.....and I'm terrified. People fly every day without incident, so I'm relying on that theory (and the theory behind some lovely anti-anxiety medication) to get us there safely. I'm also slightly concerned about turning into a teary blubbering wreck at the airport when Mum and Dad drop us off tomorrow, but I'm not confident anything can be done about that.

Anyway, basically, what I'm here to say is that I don't like the idea of leaving you for a month. I had big plans of leaving a whole heap of blog posts lined up ready to go while we were gone, but the last few weeks have been crazy busy and I just haven't had a chance so I really do apologise for the silence over the next month. I would love to take the laptop with me and blog as we go, but let's be honest, it's our honeymoon and we don't need to give Mr B grounds for divorce this early in the relationship....I think the fact I'm navigating whilst he is driving the camper around Ireland will give him more then enough!!

Have I even told you where we are going???

We are off to Ireland for the first two weeks and travelling around in a campervan - on our itinerary so far we have Galway, Limmerick, Cork, Waterford, Kilkenney, Dublin and Armagh.

Next stop is Italy for 10 days and we go from Rome to Capri, Naples, Pompeii, Florence, Pisa, Verona and then Venice.

And from Venice we fly to Paris where we spend our last 4 nights before coming home.


So when we get back Mr B and I have a whole 1.5 days off work to recover where I will try and write up some holiday blog posts! In the meantime, happy baking, happy shoe shopping and most importantly stay safe and stay well.

And to two of my newest loyal readers, Mum and Dad, missing you enormously every single second, love you to the moon and back and huge giant big hugs, we will be back before you know it (I say that as much for your benefit as for mine!!)
MWAH xxxxx

Mr and Mrs B

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Whole Baked Pumpkin

Isn't it nice to be loved? I came home from my last day at work today before our honeymoon to these gorgeous flowers from Mr B and to top the day off, we had Mum and Dad coming around for dinner. This would be our last family dinner before the big trip, so it was time to bring out the big guns! Mum and Dad had given us a pumpkin last week and I had plans for it....big cheesy plans!

Whole Baked Pumpkin
You will need

1 large pumpkin
100g diced mushroom
1 onion diced
1 stick celery diced
150ml thickened cream
2 cups grated cheese (I used a combination of gouda, romano, cheddar and parmesan)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tspn wet herbs (garlic, chilli, basil and oregano)
Salt and Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 180C.

Place your pumkin on a tray and cut the top off. Scoop out all the seeds. Soak the stalk in some water whilst preparing the filling.

In a fry pan over medium heat, combine the mushrooms, onion and celery. Cook for 7-10 mins or until softened.

In a bowl combine the mushrooms, onion, celery, cream, cheese, breadcrumbs and herbs. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon the filling into the hollowed out pumpkin. Don't be afraid to cram it all in there. Place the lid back on and pop the whole thing in the oven for around 90 mins. If you can insert a skewer into the skin and through the pumpkin with ease, then it is cooked. If not, give it another 30 mins and see how it goes then.

When we cut the first slice out, the filling just sort of oozed out and it looked (and tasted) amazing! I am so keen to try this again, so many different filling possibilities from rice to risotto to chilli to cheesey goodness....

I'm off to pack (and un-pack) some more so Happy Wednesday everyone!!

Only 2 days to go till our honeymoon!!

Mrs B xx

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy International Mothers Day!

Mothers Day?
In April?
No I am not going crazy.
No I have not lost my calendar.
But I will be out of the country on Mothers Day this year and I feel incredibly guilty about it. These days are HUGE in our family. It's like our own little public holiday just for us to celebrate our family.

So when Mr B and I were planning our holiday for this time of year, I made it very clear I wanted to be home for my Mum's Birthday in June, but that meant we would miss Mothers Day. Fudge. I was none to pleased about this either, but we just couldn't do anything about it. So there was only one thing for it. We had to move Mothers Day to today. End of story.

Mum, Dad, Mr B and I went to a beautiful property just out of Hobart called Villa Howden. The Villa offers boutique accomodation with views out over the North West Bay and is set in the midst of the most beautiful picturesque garden.

Previously you could only enter the grounds of the Villa if you were fortunate enough to be staying there, so when Dad heard they were throwing open the gates and having High Tea there of a Sunday, he knew we had to go as him and Mum had admired the property from a far for quite some time.

When we arrived today we had a lovely sticky beak around the gardens and of course Mr B left unattended for 2 minutes managed to find the croquet set....

Then we went inside for the High Tea. Inside the Villa is just as stunning as the outside, with every little detail seen too. We had only just taken our seats and already there were pots of tea on the table and 2 tiers of food on the table. Mum and I decided to start off with the mini scones, jam and cream....

...and then we alternated between cream cheese and cucumber sandwiches and the dessert plate which included a mini custard tart, mini mudcake, mini lemon muffin and some exquisite (oh yes I said exquisite) creme brulee. We left there very full, but very impressed with the whole package. If ever there was a property perfectly suited for luxury, for relaxing, for appreciating and for spoiling, it is this one.

We had a really nice day today, but it did confirm something I have been feeling more and more the last few weeks. That dull twist in my stomach is turning into a tight knotting ball....and do you know why? I am going to miss my Mum and Dad incredibly whilst we are away. I don't think I have ever been away from them for this long.....and already I am looking forward to coming home and seeing them.

Happy Internation Mothers Day Mother B xx

Love Mrs B xx

Thursday, April 19, 2012

ANZAC Slice....or is it a Cake???

Now this is not your average Anzac slice or your average Anzac cake....This takes the best parts of an Anzac biscuit, the chewy golden goodness studded with coconut and oats, and combines it with a soft, moist delicious Anzac flavoured cake ....I will go as far as to say it is Anzac perfection.

Now start by making your Anzac cake....

1/2 cup Golden Syrup
125 grams Butter
2 cups Self Raising Flour
1/2 cup Caster Sugar
1/2 cup Coconut
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup Milk

Pre-heat oven to 180C.
Combine the butter and golden syrup and melt either in a saucepan over medium heat or in a jug in the microwave for around 60 seconds. Stir until smooth.

Combine sifted flour, sugar and coconut in a large bowl.

Add syrup mixture and mix well.

Add the milk and eggs and beat to combine.

Pour mixture into a greased and lined 20x30cm cake tin and bake for approximately 30 minutes (the cake will be that beautiful golden Anzac colour when it's done)

Now once the cake has cooled a little, break it all up into a bowl.

Melt an extra 50g butter and 1/3 cup golden syrup and pour over the broken up cake. Get your hands in there, get dirty, mix it all up until it's all well combined and holding together nicely.

Push it into the bottom a lined slice tin and place in the fridge to cool.

Now for the caramel layer you will need:

200ml thickend cream
1/3 cup golden syrup
1/3 cup oats
1/3 cup coconut
1/3 cup brown sugar

Pre-heat oven to 180C

Combine the cream, golden syrup and brown sugar and melt either in a saucepan over medium heat or in a jug in the microwave for around 60 seconds. Stir until smooth.

Stir in the oats and coconut and pour over the base layer.

Bake for around 20 - 30 mins or until it is a nice dark golden colour and looks set. It won't go hard or completely set, but it will be cooked enough to not run off the edges and hold it's shape. Now I have to say that at one stage I looked in the oven and had a small panic attack because the middle of the slice had arched up quite high...but when I took it out of the oven it settled back down if yours does that, just chill out and stay calm. Think caramel goodness thoughts.

Allow the slice to cool in the pan before removing, slicing and enjoying with a cup of tea :)

I really wanted to do something different to the normal Anzac biscuits this year and I'm really pleased with the way this slice came out.

Now go on....try it for yourself!! But I'm warning you, you will not want to share...and you may end up hiding in the cupboard eating all the caramel layer with a's ok, I did it too.....

Mrs B xx

Monday, April 16, 2012

The King of all Desserts!

Let me just start by saying three simple things....

Gooey Chocolate Pudding....


Creamy Chocolate Mousse....

Are we all on the same page here? I thought so.

This dessert is easy to throw together, will impress even the fussiest of guests, and is a chocolate lovers delight!!

All you need to do is whip up a Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding and when it comes out of the oven, mush it all up and allow it to cool.

For the next layer beat 250g of softened extra light cream cheese with 1/2 cup of caster sugar and 300ml of thickened cream. Pour over the cooled pudding.

For the third and final layer combine one packet of prepared chocolate mousse mix with 100ml of thickened cream and 2 tbspns chocolate sauce. Pour over the cheesecake layer.

I swirled some chocolate sauce through the top of mine and placed it in the fridge to set overnight - totally worth the wait, such a fantastic combination of flavours and just what the Doctor ordered after a very long Monday!!

On the flip side, I sold my car on the weekend, I have been trying to sell it for 9 months now, advertising in the local paper, getting up early to park it on the side of the road and wouldn't you know it, out of the blue someone comes to look at it, takes it for a cruise and pays cash for it within the lucky I got my bike license last week isn't it!!

We also picked up our tickets and final itinerary for Europe and Ireland tonight too, I can't believe this time in a fortnight we will be in Galway....totally blows my mind...also totally freaks me out - I don't do flying!

Anyway, I will fill you in on the trip more over the next few days - in the mean time, make some Triple Chocolate Pudding and enjoy yourself xx

Mrs B xx

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Very exciting news!

I passed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After a very stressful day of testing, I passed my motorcycle license test and now all that's left to do is get out there and enjoy riding!! No more skills testing, no more riding for the sake of practising, it's all about riding for the sake of riding...and about time too!!

Huge big thank you to Mr B for all his time, effort and patience...(even when he had a tone in teaching me xx

Mrs B (B for Bad Biker B$%ch!!) xx

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Fully Loaded Honey Roasted Pumpkin, Egg and Bacon Pie

So as far as I'm aware it's Easter yes? The time for 4 days of relaxing with cups of tea, buttery hot cross buns and easter eggs yes? Ahhh no....

On Thursday night Mr B and I kicked off the Easter break with a night out to watch the Shaolin Kung-Fu Monks. My god, these guys (and lady) were off tap, we were on the edge of our seats for the whole show and for a theatre full of people, including small children, the number of times the whole place fell dead silent in awe of what they were about to do, was incredible. I would definitely recommend catching this show if you get the chance.

Yesterday Mr B and I headed out with the bikes to do some skills practise for my upcoming license test. I've had my learners for nearly a year now, so it's time I got myself together. I have no trouble riding on the road, but the finer skills that they test you on like cone weaves and obstacle turns just needed some work. So we spent 5 hours in the cranking hot sun working on my skills...and getting frustrated with each other...and throwing tantrums...and getting very excited when I got things right...and dancing around like was an all over the show kind of day, thank god Mum and Dad came down and brought us hot cross buns, easter eggs and a cuppa for lunch! Thanks Mum and Dad!! After all that practise we were all tuckered out last night and in bed by 6:55pm....oh yeah just call me Nanna B!

Which brings me to today....more practise...and I finally nailed everything...HOORAY!!! (That's literally what I was yelling whilst doing a victory lap of the car park....) And I have video evidence to prove it! I wonder if they would accept that at the test??

Anyway, moving on...let's talk Pie. Like real a huge big savoury pie stuffed full of eggs, bacon, honey roasted pumpkin, onion, cherry tomatoes and spinach!?! Are you sold yet? You should be.

This pie is huge and so far had fed Mr B and I for two nights and we still have half of it in the fridge for the next 2 nights! Not to mention the overwhelming satisfaction you will get when you pull it out of the tin and see how amazing it looks and knowing you did it all yourself simply by following these very easy steps...

All you will need is:

650g butternut pumpkin cut into 2cm cubes
1 brown onion finely diced
1 small punnet cherry tomatoes halved
100g baby spinach
4 rashers of short crust rindless bacon, finely diced
2 tbspns honey
50g butter (melted)
6 sheets filo pastry
6 eggs
1/2 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup grated cheese
1 tbspn wet italian herbs (I used Gourmet Gardens Italian Herbs)

Pre heat your oven to 180C (fan forced) and place the pumpkin and onion in a baking dish. Drizzle with honey and toss to coat. Roast for around 20-25 mins. Add the bacon and stir to combine. Roast for a further 10-15 mins or until pumpkin is tender and bacon is browned. Set aside to cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 150C.

Brush the base and sides of a 20cm springform tin with butter. Place 1 sheet of filo on a flat surface and brush with butter. Carefully push filo into pan, allowing it to extend over the edges. Repeat with remaining filo and butter ensuring all surfaces of the pan are covered. (The best way to do this is to layer them in a clockwise pattern around the pan)

Whisk the eggs and evaporated milk together in a bowl. Stir through the herbs, cheese, tomatoes, spinach and pumpkin mixture. Carefully pour the mixture into the prepared pan.

Place the pan on a baking tray and bake for around 55-65 mins or until the filling is golden and set.

Carefully remove the sides of the pan and stare in awe at the amazing pie you have created, take photos, call friends to come have a look at it, but most importantly, serve it up with some salad and enjoy it!!

Wishing you all a Happy Easter for tomorrow!!

Mr and Mrs B x

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Creme Pie

I know this week is a short one due to Easter and I know that should excite me...but to be honest it doesn't. Work is so flat out and everyone keeps saying to me Oh gee are you busy because you're getting ready to go away, but I haven't even thought about getting ready to go away yet...hectic...that is the word for it!

But on the upside the weather is beautiful so I'm balancing the hectic-ness out with early morning walks, late evening bike rides, large amounts of chocolate and this Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Creme Pie....not only is it soothing to the frazzled and fried mind, but it is a great quick and easy mid-week treat that takes next to no time to prepare!

Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Creme Pie
1 tub marshmallow fluff / marshmallow creme
1 pkt chocolate chip cookie mix
Chocolate topping

Pre-heat oven to 160C

Prepare the chocolate chip cookie dough as per packet directions and push into the base and around the edges of a greased round 20cm cake tin.

Bake for 25-30 mins or until cookie is golden and cooked.

Spread with marshmallow creme / marshmallow fluff and bake for a further 10 mins.

Once cooked, swirl chocolate topping through with a skewer and place in the fridge to cool for 3-4 hours - if you can wait that long...if you can't it's no big deal because whilst this is easier to cut when it's cool, it's best eaten slightly warmed in bed with a big fluffy doona and a good book!

Mr B and I are off to see the Shaolin Kung Fu Monks tomorrow night and we are both really looking forward to it. We are long over due for a night out and Mr B was very excited when he saw this show was coming to town so I brought him some tickets as a surprise!

And did I mention it's only 3 weeks till we depart on our honeymoon for Europe...3 WEEKS!!! Eeeek!

Mrs B x

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Double Chocolate and Caramel Cake Mix Bars

Some days you win, some days you lose....

Yesterday Mr B and I went on my first long ride on the motorbike...we went right down around Woodbridge (where we had a picnic), through the mountains to Cygnet and back up through Huonville. All in all it was about a 3 hour ride, I was so proud and so pleased with myself and I really really enjoyed it. And we stopped to do some skills practise on the way home and everything was looking great.

Today we continued with the skills practise and I couldn't weave in and out of cones, I stalled and I nearly fell off my bike doing a left hand turn....and on top of that my bike was revving really high which meant it kept wanting to take off and meant it chewed through the fuel and all of that meant that I cracked the sulks and called game over for the day.

On top of that Mr B and I had a lovely date planned for this afternoon at The Autumn Festival...and well seeing as he is hiding in the shed and I have my pjs on and am eating these double chocolate and caramel cake mix bars from the pan...I can't see it happening.

Some days, you should just stay in bed.

And some days you should sleep in really late, where your pyjamas around the house all day, make these Double Chocolate and Caramel Cake Mix Bars and watch some cheesy dvd' know you do it just as much as I do....

These were another accidental success....I seem to be having a few of those lately, which either means I'm getting very sloppy in the kitchen...or very creative....or a combination of both!

I was all set to make some Rolo Cake Mix Bars...the general idea is you mix your vanilla cake mix with some evaporated milk and an egg so that it is kind of crumbly...push half into a cake tin, top with a block of rolo chocolate and then crumble the rest of your cake mix over the top, bake for 30-40 mins and ta-da! Bars of shortbready, roloey goodness yes!? No....mine basically baked up like a cake with a block of rolo chocolate in the middle...which proceeded to sink to the bottom...and the whole thing fell apart...EPIC FAIL. So I smushed it all up, mixed 2 tbspns of caramel fondant through and left it in the fridge with good intentions of making some Hot Cross Cake Balls for Easter. But the more I thought about it last night, the more I decided I wanted to do something different with them.

Here's how it went down...

1 box of vanilla cake mix
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 egg
1 block of Rolo chocolate
2 tbspns caramel fondant or topping
375g milk chocolate
80g butter
3 tbspns brown sugar
2 tbspns thickened cream

Pre-heat oven to 180C and grease a cake tin.

Combine the cake mix, evaporated milk and egg in a bowl and stir until combined.

Pour half the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Top with broken up rolo chocolate and remaining cake mix.

Bake for 30 mins or until cake is cooked.

Now for something unconventional....pull the cake to pieces....get in there, break it all up, smush it all together and add in the caramel fondant or topping too...really get it all combined. The mixture should hold together well.

Push the mixture into the bottom of a lined loaf tin.

Combine the brown sugar and cream in a microwave safe jug and heat for around 60 seconds, just keep an eye on it because it does tend to rise. Stir well. Continue heating until the sugar is dissolved. Place in the fridge to cool down.

When the brown sugar mixture has cooled, pour over the cake mixture and place in the fridge.

In a microwave safe bowl, add the broken up chocolate and butter. Heat for around 60 seconds, stirring regularly, until mixture is smooth.

Pour over the cake and smooth out.

Place in the fridge to set.

Oh my god...I am sitting here...after having eaten far too much of this slice...but it is heavenly, the combination of textures from the soft chewy cake mix to the gooey caramel layer and the snap of the chocolate brain and my belly are in serious debate with each other about wether to have another slice...but in the meantime I'm going to sit here with a big grin on my face and my cup of coffee and contemplate if I should tell Mr B about it...or hide it in the back of the fridge!!


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