Sunday, July 29, 2012

Eastern Potato and Lentil Bake

Another weekend has come and gone, and again I find myself curled up in bed far too early on a Sunday night, but it is just TOO cold to do anything else!

Last night Mr B and I had tickets to see Miss Pole Dance Tasmania and as it turns out, Mr B's sister and her partner were going as well, so we all decided to meet up beforehand and go to one of our favourite little restaurants, Amigos. Not only do they do the best mexican food, but they make awesome margaritas, ranging in size from regular to fishbowl to 1 litre jugs (which of course the boys had to try!)

After dinner we made our way to the show and I tell you what we were all completely enthralled all night, some of the things these girls could do were nothing short of amazing and required some serious strength! It was a lot of fun to watch and definitely made me wish I had kept going to the classes. I have a pole set up in our spare bedroom and it's great fun and great at building your strength up, but if I was still going to classes I would also be learning new tricks and moves as well. I think I will have to either look at going back to classes or really committing to spending more time practising at home!

This morning Mr B spoilt me with eggs, bacon, toast and coffee in bed - it was really raining hard outside and it was lovely sitting up in bed reading the paper with a beautiful breakfast! Plus he added a local product called Bush Dust (which is made of macadamia nuts, bush tomatoes, herbs, spices and Tasmanian native pepper) to the eggs and they were amazing!

We paid some more money off our new furniture today too which is very exciting, I can't wait to see how it all looks when we finally get it home. And then this afternoon we went to the movies to see Ted and eat choc-tops and popcorn and drink frozen fanta and generally just chill out. This weekend has gone way too fast, but for a change, we weren't so crazy busy that it passed us by, we actually got to enjoy it.

So you have had a great weekend yes?

And you don't want to come home after work on Monday and think about what you have to cook? Let alone spend hours in the kitchen? Have I got the meal for you!

Eastern Potato and Lentil Bake Serves 4

You will need:
1 cup red lentils
1 onion, chopped
2 tspns crushed garlic
1 tsp curry powder
Now I used 1 tspn of Bush Dust here too but you could also use 1 tsp ground coriander and 1 tsp ground cumin instead.
1 stick celery, chopped
2 cups of chopped pumpkin
4-5 small / medium potatoes, peeled, diced and cooked
1 tbspn soy sauce
1 freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup extra light sour cream
3/4 cup low-fat grated cheese

Pre-heat oven to 180C

Place red lentils in a microwave safe dish and cover with water. Heat in the microwave for 7-10 minutes or until lentils are tender, stirring frequently. Drain

In a lightly greased frypan over medium heat, add onion, garlic and spices. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until onions are soft

Add the celery and pumpkin and cook for a further 7-10 minutes or until vegetables are tender

Add the cooked potato, lentils, soy sauce, pepper and sour cream. Mix well to combine

Transfer the mixture into a casserole dish and sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is golden

And you know what - this is totally one of those dishes that is even better the next don't even have to heat it up, eat it straight out of the fridge...with a fork...or a spoon....whatever takes your fancy!

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

Mrs B xx

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mixed Berry and Oat Slice

It is a rainy Saturday morning here, Mr B and I were up early in between showers to feed the lambs and then we jumped back into bed with a cuppa and some fruit toast and watched the rain roll in across the property. It was all snuggly and peaceful and lovely.....and then I kicked Mr B outside to do some work, while I stayed here to write in the blog....ahhh the joys of being able to work from the comfort of a warm bed! 

Anyway, earlier in the year when Mr B and I were on our mini-moon, we stopped at a local honey farm and I may have got a touch excited with the variety of products they had available. You could get honey in every flavour you could imagine, strawberry, raspberry, caramel, lime, cajun, chocolate, was all happening. At the time I showed next to no restraint, made at least 3 trips to the register and we came home with an abundance of honey including vanilla, raspberry, lime and cajun honey....some honeycomb...and a beeswax lipbalm. Fast forward nearly 6 months and we have sampled them all, but we still seem to have alot of honey in our cupboard and as with most things that sit in our cupboard for more then a month, I have been eyeing off the raspberry and the lime versions to use in some baking. I think the lime one would make a beautiful coconut and lemon slice, but for the meantime, I had berries on my mind! 

I wasn't sure how it would work out, like if you would notice the raspberry honey in this slice, but it just lends itself to a beautiful subtle flavour that I think works really well - and of course if you don't have access to raspberry honey, normal honey will work just fine. 

Berry Oat-y Slice

125g butter
2-3 tbsp of raspberry honey
1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup dried fruit (I used a mix I found at the supermarket of strawberries, cherries, goji berries and sultanas)
1/4 cup skim milk
1 egg

Preheat oven to 160 (fan forced)

Line a slice tin with baking paper.

Place butter and honey in a small bowl or jug (microwave proof) and heat in 45 second bursts until melted and combined. Sit aside to cool slightly.

Combine flour, coconut, caster sugar, oats and berries in a bowl.

Lightly beat egg and milk and add to dry ingredients, along with the butter mixture. Stir to combine.

Press the mixture into the pan using the back of a spoon.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden. Allow to cool and then remove from pan and slice. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or in the cupboard.

Mrs B xx

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Apple Pie Muffins

Flying visit today everyone as it has been a huge day and I am super tired and in desperate need of a nap before the lambs have their night time feed. 

First of all - huge big exciting news - after 12 months of studying my bum off (despite the fact my bum seemed to do nothing but expand during this period) today I passed my final assessment which means I passed my course and now have my Management Diploma! So many times I was ready to throw it all in but I'm so glad I stuck at it and even more relieved it's done....although the scariest part is that I'm actually really excited about getting started on my Advanced Diploma now......breathing in too many fumes you say? Yes I tend to agree, but excited nonetheless! 

Anyway, enough about that, you know how sometimes people say things taste like something else, but then they are nothing like the real thing.....these Apple Pie Muffins are totally not like that, they are the perfect combination of a light, moist, soft fluffy apple and cinnamon cake topped with even more apple and of course, a beautiful brown sugar crumble.....and you know what? I bet they are mighty delicious heated up with a dollop of extra thick cream too!

Apple Pie Muffins.....

For the muffins
1 1/2 cups plain flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
1.5 tspns cinnamon
2 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 large or 4 -5 small apples cored and diced (enough to give you around 2 cups)

For the crumble
1/2 cup rolled oats
3 tbspns brown sugar
40g butter softened

Preheat the oven to 200 C and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper liners.

Combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

Add the oil, egg and milk and stir gently to combine.

Stir through 1 cup of the apples.

Fill the muffin mixture into the liners until they are roughly 2/3 full

Now in a small bowl or jug, combine the oats, brown sugar and butter. Use a fork to mix it all together.

Top the muffins with the remaining apple and sprinkle with a generous amount of crumble.

Bake for 20-25 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Happy Wednesday everyone

Mrs B x

Monday, July 23, 2012

Chocolate Honeycomb Marshmallow Bites

It has been pretty busy around here lately, with not alot of time for baking - now normally that would be followed with lots of foot stamping, fist shaking and grumbling.....but not when this is the reason for your lack of kitchen time...........

Our two little orphan lambs, Loud Mouth and Blossom are taking up a lot of our time with feeds at all hours of the day and night, and to be honest, when we are not feeding them or feeding ourselves, Mr B and I are flat out catching up on sleep.....but look at those little faces, they are totally worth it. 

So I thought I would stop by quickly, while Mr B is having a nap and I have some time before the littlies are due for their next bottle (listen to me sounding all mother-like!) to tell you all about these quick and easy Chocolate Honeycomb Marshmallow Bites, because let's be honest, I'm all about quick and easy at the moment....

Chocolate Honeycomb Marshmallow Bites

You will need:

1 x 250g pkt of Scotch Finger biscuits
190g block of Cadbury Crunchie chocolate(You could substitute a block of Turkish Delight or Black Forest chocolate in this for something a bit closer to rocky road if you preferred.)
200g milk chocolate melts
60g copha
2 cups mini marshmallows

Place the scotch finger biscuits in the food processor or the blender and pulse until there is just crumbs and no big chunks. 

Combine the chocolates and copha together in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in 40 second bursts stirring in between until everything is combined. 

Stir through the biscuit crumbs and marshmallows. Have a sneaky spoonful of the mixture now because it's full of gooey chocolate honeycomb marshmallowey goodness..........

Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 24 hole mini muffin tray and place in the fridge for a few hours to set. 

Ta-Da - easy and delicious!

One thing I did manage to achieve over the weekend was making this cake to take into work today.....chocolate cake sandwiched together with caramel whipped cream, drowned in dark chocolate ganache and topped with some little caramel cake was decadent, indulgent and just what the office needed on a Monday morning! 

Happy Monday everyone!

Mrs B x

Friday, July 20, 2012

Chocolate and Caramel Dacquoise Terrine

It has been a big week in our house, Mr B has been struck down by the flu, we have become an instant family after adopting 2 abandoned lambs and now I have a cold so all in all Mr B and I are very much looking forward to catching up on some sleep this weekend!

Before I descend into a Sleeping Beauty like slumber for the next 48 - 60 hours, let's talk dessert. There is not much that can be said about this dessert besides the fact that it totally kicks butt, it ticks boxes, it scores brownie points, it does the works. 

It's basically 3 sheets of chocolate meringue sandwiched together with caramel whipped cream and chocolate ganache.....I know, right?!

Now I will admit I was scared of this dessert because the last time I tried to make meringues for Mr B's lunches they turned out flat and horrid and generally not meringue-ey. But I was determined to give it a go and so glad I did!!

For the Meringues you will need:

4 egg whites
1 cup caster sugar
2 tbspns cocoa powder

Preheat your oven to 150C / 130C fan-forced and line three baking trays with baking paper. I suggest spraying them with cooking spray too. 

Beat the egg whites with your electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and cocoa and beat until sugar has dissolved and stiff peaks form.

Spread the meringue mixture onto your trays so that you have 3 even rectangles.

Bake the meringues for roughly 45 minutes or until they are dry to touch. Turn off the oven and allow them to cool with the door ajar for around an hour.

For the Ganache you will need:
200g dark chocolate melts
3/4 cup thickened cream

While the meringues are cooking, combine the chocolate and cream in a bowl and microwave in 45 second bursts, stirring in between, until smooth and combined. Place in the fridge until you are ready to assemble.

For the Caramel Whipped Cream
1.5 cups thickened cream + 1/2 cup extra
1/2 cup icing sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar

Combine the brown sugar and 1/2 cup thickened cream in a microwave safe bowl or jug. Heat for 1 minute or until sugar is dissolved and mixture is smooth.

In a bowl, combine the remaining cream, icing sugar and caramel mixture. Beat using a stick mixer until thickened. Place in the fridge until ready to assemble.

To Assemble -

Now, I made all of this the night before I wanted to serve it. The ganache and cream are fine in the fridge overnight and I just left the meringues in the switched off oven with the door closed overnight and it seemed to keep them nice and fresh.

When you are ready to put it all together, remove your meringues from the baking paper - I just inverted the trays and found the baking paper peeled off them really easy.

Start by placing one meringue on your serving platter or tray. Spread with just under half of your ganache. Top with half of the whipped cream. Place another layer of meringue on top and repeat layers. Finish by drizzling the remaining ganache over the top and serve!

This dessert is beautiful when it's fresh, but also makes delicious leftovers when the meringues have been in the fridge overnight and come out nice and chewy!!

Although I do suggest not leaving it on the table while you and your guests are trying to have dessert - nobody was entirely thrilled when I, despite having a bowl of dessert in front of me, kept eating spoonfuls straight off the serving platter - just one of many benefits in being the cook and the host!!

Enjoy your weekend!!

Mrs B xx

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tuesday Night Shenanigans

I tell you what, normally if unexpected visitors showed up for dinner I would graciously hide behind the couch and pretend I wasn't home.....but last night when Mr B and I got home from work and found these two on our doorstep, how could we say no?

I have mentioned previously that we currently have a few sheep in our back paddock, around half of which are expecting. These two were born yesterday and unfortunately they had been abandoned by their Mothers, but never fear, Mr B and I are here!! We soon scooped the little bundles of wool up, brought them inside and made them a warm bottle of milk. Blossom and Loud Mouth spent the night in the laundry and lucky enough they are just the most adorable things I have ever seen so I didn't even swear or stamp my feet when it came time for the midnight bottle feeds! It will be a touch and go few weeks, but we will do everything we can to give them the best start in life. 

And being a Tuesday, Mum and Dad were coming for dinner last night, so not only did they get to meet the lambies and give them a feed, they also got treated to these Greek Chicken Burgers and a Chocolate and Caramel Dacquoise Terrine (more on that one tomorrow night!) aka 'messy tea night.' 

These chicken burgers were easy, delicious and packed full of flavour! 

All you will need is:

 500g chicken mince
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbspn Gourmet Garden Mediterranean Herbs
1 egg
200g fetta, crumbled
1 cup light sour cream
225g can beetroot slices drained and sliced
1 lebanese cucumber diced
4 turkish pide rolls cut in half
4 lettuce leaves
2 medium tomatoes sliced
1 small red onion sliced into rings

Combine the chicken mince, breadcrumbs, herbs, egg and fetta in a large bowl. You are going to have to get your hands in there and make sure it is all well combined.

Shape the mixture into 4 even sized patties and place on a lined baking tray. Sit the patties in the fridge for an hour to firm up.

In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, beetroot and cucumber. Season with salt and pepper and place in the fridge.

Take the burgers out of the fridge and cook in a heated fry pan or on a bbq plate for 8-10 mins each side or until cooked through. The cooking time will depend on how thick your patties are so say 4-5 mins each side if they are 'burger style' or 8-10 mins if they are 'rissole style.'

To assemble the rolls, place a lettuce leaf, some red onion and tomato on the base of each roll. Top with a burger and a generous amount of the sour cream mixture. Serve with the top half of the roll and prepare to get messy!!

And now I'm off to have a nap before 9pm feed time rolls around!!


Mrs B xx

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Happy 2nd Birthday Love Shoes and Cupcakes

How time flies when you're having fun! 

I have officially been boring you with my stories and ranting at you with my tales of all things love, shoes, cupcakes and kitchen related for two years now! This last twelve months has been massive, we have
  • survived another RSPCA Cupcake Day and just about to enter our 5th year of it 
  • Mr B has changed jobs (twice...maybe 3 times!)
  • officially become Mr and Mrs B with the wedding of the century 
  • Mr B and I both got new cars
  • I got my bike license
  • celebrated milestone birthdays 
  • seen my Mum and Dad move into a caravan on their block while they build their dream home
  • explored Tasmania on our mini-moon 
  • explored Europe on our honeymoon
  • celebrated being together for 5 years
  • and welcomed some little lambies into our family

All of this requires celebrating (and quite some time to recover from!) so you know me, what better way to celebrate then with a cake?!

I racked my brains (and my cookbooks) trying to find something perfect and I was coming up with all sorts of complex over the top fancy things to make....then Mum and Dad said 'why don't you just keep it simple and go back to basics' 

Ding....light bulb moment......

I have always wanted to make the pool cake out of the Women's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake Book but never had a reason to make it....HELLO since when did I need a reason!? Plus surely the 2nd birthday of the blog and all the excitement of the last 12 months is reason enough!?

This is how it went down....

Make a cake using blue jelly crystals....dig out a 'pool' and frost the whole thing with chocolate buttercream
Do some renovations and some landscaping by adding a ladder, fence and grass
Fill your pool with 'water' and then invite friends around for a 'swim'

I am so so happy with the way this turned out, the vibrant blue jelly in the pool, the little people bobbing around, the crocodile in the coconut grass and the little chocolate ladder, it's all spectacular and I am so proud of it - plus it was delicious!!

Thank you to Mr B and my Mum and Dad for putting up with another year of my crazy baking and for helping me demolish all the cake - I tried to make a small cake, but we all know I just can't!!

And thank you to everyone that stops by for a read too!

Mrs B xx

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Yep, it's a word, I'm using it, I'm throwing it out there....cupcake-a-licious. 

Three weeks ago when I kicked off this years RSPCA Cupcake Day fundraising, I was a little taken aback when the very first order I got said 'something with dates, rum and toffee....' I mean my first thoughts were....what happened to plain old chocolate and vanilla!? But my second thoughts were off and running with all the different combinations and how to  incorporate each flavour. I decided to go with a date cupcake, topped with rum buttercream and drizzled with toffee sauce and this is how they turned out....

I used my favourite Date Loaf recipe and simply altered it by cooking it in a 12 hole muffin tin lined with cupcake cases and dropped the cooking time to about 15-20 mins. 

Once the cakes were cooled I made some buttercream using this recipe:

125g butter softened 
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
rum essence to taste

Beat the butter using an electric mixer until pale. Add the icing sugar and rum essence, beating until thick, creamy and smooth. 

Pipe or spread onto your cupcakes.

Now for the toffee sauce I combined 1/3 cup thickened cream with 1/2 - 3/4 cup brown sugar and heated it in the microwave in 30 second bursts until the sugar had dissolved.

If you are going to serve your cupcakes immediately, drizzle the sauce over while it's still hot, if you are keeping them for later or making them for someone else, place the toffee sauce in the fridge to cool and thicken for about hour before drizzling over your cupcakes.

Now life is not all cupcakes and shoes (although I strongly think it should be), but there is also pasta and cheese! Check out this spinach and ricotta agnolotti that Mum made Dad, Mr B and I for tea last week,
It was delicious and jam packed with cherry tomatoes, baby spinach, creamy fetta and sugar snap peas!

And last but not least, probably a month ago now, Mr B and I attempted to make stuffed squid tubes for dinner. We (Mr B) cleaned them, stuffed them with a mixture of egg, breadcrumbs, tomatoes, celery and spring onion and sealed the tops together with a tooth pick before cooking them in a well oiled fry pan over medium high heat for 5-7 minutes, turning frequently. They were really nice, but I think next time I would change a few things like using cooked rice instead of breadcrumbs and preparing the stuffing mixture in the fry pan before filling the squid tubes because the stuffing itself doesn't get much of a chance to cook when the squid tubes are in and out of the fry pan so quick.Definitely going to give it another go soon though!

Did I mention it's not even 9am on a Saturday morning here and I've already been in the kitchen for 2 hours baking up a storm for Mr B's lunches....ANZACS, oat and berry slice, apple muffins AND chocolate marshmallow honeycomb bites! Totally time for a nap....

Mrs B xx 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mid-Week Tuna Casserole

Some days everything goes just how you planned it. 

Some days everything goes wrong right from the moment you get up.

And some days everything is going smoothly until 3:30pm when everything falls apart. These are the days you get home to find out that whilst you do have rum (hooray) your coke is flat (fail) and you only figure this out once you have mixed your drink (epic fail) and then your stuck drinking a flat rum and coke which really doesn't make you feel any better at all. These are days when you want something quick and easy and delicious and comforting for dinner, not something that requires every pot and pan you own and results in a sink full of washing up. 

So while I sit here with my flat rum and coke, 3 pots on the stove, a meatloaf in the oven and a sink full of washing up, let me tell you about how you can avoid this very situation. 

a) Stay in bed. What can possibly go wrong from the comfort of your own bed?! 

b) Go for a walk, buy a new lipstick, get your hair and nails done instead of having a drink at the end of a long day.....if you are rolling your eyes at this suggestion, then try keeping ample supplies of lemonade / coke on hand instead. 

c) Make this tuna casserole. It's quick, delicious, comforting and easy! Plus you can eat it in bed if the mood takes you. 

You will need

1 onion diced
2 sticks of celery diced
2 carrots diced
100g of baby spinach
425g tin of tuna in spring water drained
425g tin of corn kernels drained
1/2 cup milk
1 heaped tspn curry powder
2 tbspn plain flour
100g grated cheese
4 potatoes peeled and diced

Pre-heat oven to 160C.

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water, place on the stove over medium high heat and bring to the boil.

In a large fry pan over medium heat, add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add the celery, carrot and curry powder and cook for a further 5-6 minutes or until carrots are softened.

Add the milk, plain flour, grated cheese, tuna and corn. Stir everything really well to combine.

Stir through the spinach until wilted.

Spoon mixture into a baking dish and top with potatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 15 mins or until potato is golden. Serves 4.

d) On the off chance you don't have access to rum, nail polish, lip stick, walking tracks or tuna casserole....may I suggest you get yourself some pregnant sheep....coming home to a newborn lamb is guaranteed to brighten anyone's day! Isn't he just the cutest, sweetest little thing???

Mrs B xx

Sunday, July 8, 2012

5 Years......

One upon a time I met this man who turned my world inside out and upside down. 

5 years later, I'm married to that man, and proud to be his wife and call him my husband. 

So much so that I made him pancakes with blueberry yoghurt, whipped cream, maple syrup and a cup of tea  for breakfast in bed to celebrate the occasion. 

We headed away for the weekend to a spot just 40 mins south of where we live, called Woodbridge and stayed in this little cabin overlooking the D'entrecasteaux Channel and Bruny Island. If the view wasn't enough to make you feel like you were in paradise, the luxurious cabins will be. Each cabin is fitted out with a different local Tasmanian timber - the cabin we stayed in was called Myrtle. They are set out in an open plan style with the bedroom, a fully stocked kitchen  (think fresh bread, eggs, bacon and orange juice) and lounge (complete with huge reclining leather lounge suite) all in one and floor to ceiling windows opening up onto the deck where your bbq and hammock await - all of which is perfect to just relax and soak up the view.   

However, it would be totally understandable if you chose to bypass all of this and spend your weekend in the bathroom.....yep, you heard me....the bathroom. There is a gorgeous spa bath that is long and deep enough to stretch out in, big bay windows that open up onto the deck so you can enjoy the view while you soak, a double shower so you don't have to fight over the water temperature or who goes first, and a heated towel rail...and wait for it.....heated floor tiles! Now heated floor tiles might not seem like much to anyone else, but in Tassie where it's freezing at this time of year, getting up in the middle of the night and not having to do the tip toe dance across cold bathroom tiles is brilliant. 

On the way down to Woodbridge, we stopped at a place called Grandvewe Cheese. Grandvewe is a local cheesery specialising in products using sheep's milk. We were lucky enough to be given a sample of some of their products and settled on not one, but two containers of their White Pearl Cheese which is described as a 'creamy soft persian style feta with low salt and subtle marinade. A light fresh curd, subtly marinated in Olive Oil, Lemon Thyme and Pepper.' That night we enjoyed the cheese with some fresh bread, biscuits and tomato and it was delicious! 

The next morning we woke up nice and early to the sun shining in our window as it rose up over the water. It was a beautiful day and as we looked down to the mist rolling over the water, it felt like we had just woken up on top of the world. 

Mr B cooked up some eggs and bacon on toast for brekkie and we sat out on the deck in the sunshine - I never thought we would be sitting outside having breakfast in the middle of winter! 

Seeing as we were up and about so early (one of the benefits of being woken up by the sun rise) we decided to take a drive down to Cygnet for a look around, and do some speed fishing on the way. Speed fishing was basically where we found a spot, jumped out, had a fish for 10-15 mins before packing up and moving onto the next one! It was basically our way of testing a few spots in order to find the one we would 'settle in' at for the afternoon. 

We stocked up on supplies at Cygnet (always handy when you go away for the weekend and forget to pack the toothbrushes!) and headed back to our chosen spot at Three Hut Point. We were very excited as the fisheries sign at the jetty said the area was good for catching squid and octopus and we thought we might be able to catch something for dinner. We were even more excited when we looked off the end of the jetty and saw a squillion crabs just hanging around! Now let me explain that Mr B and I have been attempting this whole fishing caper for a few years now....we are by no means fishermen....we still squeal and jump around in excitement if we happen to catch you can imagine what we were like when Mr B was bringing up crab after crab! We only caught enough for our dinner and put the rest back safe and sound and just enjoyed sitting in the sunshine in such a spectacular spot. 

Back at our cosy little cabin, we stoked the wood fire and set off into the surrounding bush for a stroll.....which actually turned out to be more like a slog through the mud, but it was still fun! 

When we got back we treated ourselves to another awesome cheese platter for tea, but this time we has a special addition - fresh crab meat that Mr B had boiled up with some salt and pepper to season. 

After dinner we had a long soak in the spa and curled up on the big couch to watch the moon cast shimmering reflections out over the channel. 

And this is what we woke up to this morning.....see what I mean about waking up on top of the world? Both literally and figuratively in this place! 

Mr B whipped up some delightful scrambled eggs for breakfast using the last of our White Pearl cheese, which we enjoyed with some bacon, toast and coffee on the deck before we packed our bags and sadly said Goodbye to our little cabin. 

It was lovely to get away and spend the weekend relaxing in our own piece of paradise. 

Mrs B xx

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Monkey Bread Muffins

Thank goodness it's the end of the week. 

What's this you say? End of the week? But it's only Thursday?! 

Mr B and I are jumping ship early this week as it's our 5 year anniversary. Yep 5 whole years! 

The ladies I work with spoilt us with a voucher for a beautiful weekend away as a wedding gift so we are setting off nice and early tomorrow, after a sleep in and a pancake breakfast of course! Although Mr B has made a point of telling me several times a day this week that you only get 10 years for murder so I'm undecided if he is coming just yet - but then I think if I left Mr B at home and went on my own, who would get me a cup of tea in bed or a whiskey and lemonade while I soak in the spa? 

So while we are away soaking up some relaxation and some luxury this weekend, may I suggest you whip up your own piece of heaven? Turn your favourite music up, sing along, bust out some moves, bake these gorgeous cinnamon roll monkey bread muffins, have one hot out of the oven with a cup of tea while you curl up in the sun or in a big warm comfy bed with a good book and just enjoy!

Now when I started to make this recipe last weekend I intended to make Cinnamon Roll Muffins, but then half way through I kind of changed my mind to Monkey Bread so they have ended up as a cross between the two....hence the Cinnamon Roll Monkey Bread Muffins!

For the coating you will need:

1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 tspn ground cinnamon
For the dough you will need:

1 cup room temperature buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup tightly packed, brown sugar 
1 tspn bicarb soda
1/2 tspn salt
1/2 tspn vanilla extract
3 cups plain flour (plus extra for dusting)

For the topping you will need

80g butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 tspn ground cinnamon
For the icing you will need:

1 cup icing sugar
2-3 tbspns milk 

Pre-heat oven to 160C and grease a normal 12 hole muffin tin. 

Combine the coating ingredients in a bowl and set aside. 

In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the dough hooks, combine the buttermilk, egg,  brown sugar, bicarb soda, salt and vanilla. Add the flour and mix all the ingredients together on a low speed  until just combined - try not to over mix. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour in 1/4 cup measurements until it comes together and is easy to manipulate.

Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a good minute.  Grab your rolling pin and roll the dough into a rectangle. Don't be too fussed on the size and shape though.  

Cut the dough into 1cm cubes and drop into the bowl with the coating. Toss it all around so that the cubes are well coated in the cinnamon sugar mix. Evenly divide the cubes between your muffin cups. 

Combine the topping ingredients in a microwave safe jug and heat in 30 second bursts until butter is melted, sugar is dissolved and everything is combined. Spoon tablespoons of the mixture over the dough. Don't worry if you don't use it all because we will use it later on in the recipe. The topping mix will bubble up during cooking and the dough will spread out so don't over fill the cups too much. Place a baking tray underneath them during cooking just incase....Mr B can attest to that as he has spent the last 2 nights scrubbing burnt sugar from the bottom of our oven! 

Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow the muffins to rest in the pan for about 5 minutes. Now at this stage I poured my remaining topping mix into an oven dish and placed the muffins upside down in it so that the tops would have a chance to soak some of the gooey cinnamon goodness up. I popped them back in the oven for maybe 5-8 mins. When you get them out, allow them to cool slightly before removing to a rack and leaving them to cool completely. This will be hard because you will want to pick bits off them - hell go for it if you want to because let's be honest they are damn awesome at this stage....but save at least one for adding the icing to because I know it's hard to believe but they are even more awesome with that! 

Now for the icing combine the icing sugar and milk in a jug or small bowl and mix until smooth. If it looks too thick, add a little more milk until it thins out enough to use as a glaze. Dip a small spoon or fork into the icing and just have fun drizzling it over the muffins or if the mood takes you, just pick a whole one up and dip it straight in there! But most importantly, enjoy them!

Mrs B xx

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Blueberry Cheesecake Blondies

Where did this weekend go? I seem to be saying that a lot lately, but I mean honestly I don't even feel like this weekend has started yet and your telling me it's over? You're kidding right? 


Right, well then let's try and figure out where all that time disappeared to....

Friday night - come home from work, make chocolate cupcakes in return for RSPCA donations....whilst waiting for them to cool, make tuna bake for Mr B and I to have with dinner. Mr B pours himself a glass of lemonade and sits down, I laugh because he forgot to add the whiskey....Mr B tells me he is sticking to lemonade for awhile....I think I may have passed out....

Saturday - Mr B gets up early and goes to work, I roll over to watch the fog rolling in across our property, like a big blanket over the sheepies, thinking yay for having the big warm bed all to myself....5 minutes later I think 'Oh hell I'm awake....' and get up.

It's not even 7:30am on a Saturday morning and I'm in the kitchen making Blueberry Cheesecake 9:30am I've managed to deliver the chocolate cupcakes, go to the supermarket and somewhere in there I think I drank some toast and demolished a coffee. 

When I got home I made some Blueberry Muffins and some Cinnamon Rolls - that turned out to be a cross between a Cinnamon Roll and Monkey Bread....either way they were awesome and I will tell you all about them later in the week! 

It was now nearly lunchtime, the kitchen was covered in flour, dough, pans, bowls and shopping I decided to go to town and buy Mr B's anniversary present. On the way I stopped in at where Mr B was working and dropped off the blueberry muffins for him and the boys - I figure if you have to work all day out in the cold on a weekend, you may as well get some fresh baked blueberry muffins for your troubles! 

On my way back home from town I started to feel very very tired....and when I looked in the rear view mirror I realised I had a smear of dried dough on my face and my hair smelt like curry powder, it's fair to say I hadn't just hit the wall....but the wall had slapped me right across the face. No time for that though, I got home, made some icing for the cinnamon / monkey rolls and cleaned up the kitchen. 

In an effort to remain awake, I threw on some music and attempted some polefit....turns out it has been quite some time since I have done any and my arm muscles are once again non-existent, cue me lying on the floor gasping for breath, with a potential broken foot, after trying to do what used to be a basic climb....definitely time to get back into training! Managed to crawl into the shower and just as I was getting out, Mr B arrives home. I say hello as I pass him and crawl into bed, utterly exhausted!! 

After my hour long power nap, we are up and on the go again. Friends of ours were having a get together, boys playing poker at one end of the house, girls attending a Horny Little Devils (think adults only Avon!) party at the other end. The boys played drinking games, the girls ate Mars Bar cheesecake and cob loaf filled with cheesy goodness. Who would be a boy!? 

Ok - so just writing about Saturday is making me tired! I'm starting to see where the weekend disappeared to now.... 

Today was equally mad - Mr B's brother delivered us some gravel at an unheard of hour for a Sunday morning (before 10am) and we went to visit Mr B's sister so we could meet her new little bubba, who was just a picture of peacefulness, and to top it all off we met up with Mr B's Mum and spent the afternoon touring around, visiting shops - and having lunch of course! By the time we finished touring we had just enough energy left to do the groceries and crawl into bed with a cup of tea and a bowl of blue cake and bavarian - the blue cake will make sense to you later in the week I promise! 

For now let me tell you about the Blueberry Cheesecake Blondies. You need to make these. If you ever find yourself with dough on your face and curry powder in your hair, these will make the world right again. 

Think a chewy blueberry blondie, topped with baked cheesecake, topped with a thin crumbly shortbread layer - that's right....the triple dessert threat in one delicious and easy slice!

For the Blueberry Blondie layer you will need:
140g butter, softened
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tspn vanilla essence
1.5 cups plain flour
2 cups blueberries - fresh or frozen

And for the Cheesecake layer you will need:
250g cream cheese at room temperature
1/4 cup caster sugar 
1 egg at room temperature
1 tspn vanilla essence

And last but not least, for the Shortbread Topping you will need:
70g butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup plain flour

Preheat the oven to 160C and line a 8 inch square baking pan with grease poof paper and spray with a little nonstick cooking spray too just to be safe.

For the blondie layer - In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Mix in the flour on low speed, and mix until just incorporated. Add the blueberries and mix in by hand. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and set aside.

For the cheesecake layer - Beat the cream cheese and sugar using an electric mixer until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Pour the cheesecake mix over the blondie batter. 

In a bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar. Place in the microwave for 40-50 seconds on medium high or until butter is melted. Add the flour and stir to combine. This mix will not completely cover the top of the cheesecake layer, but just drop teaspoons of it randomly over the top and they should join together during baking. 

Bake for about 45-55 minutes or until the top is golden and feels firm - the cheesecake should look set if you give the pan a gentle shake. 

Allow to cool in the tin for 10-15 mins before removing to a board. Slice into bars and store in the fridge. 


Mrs B xx


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