Thursday, February 28, 2013

Peanut Butter and Jelly Slice

Every year I try and bake my Dad something as part of his birthday present, wether it be a batch of ANZACS or some Peanut Butter and Cornflake Slice, just something home made as a little treat. I think this is partly because I just love making things for other people, but also partly because as I get older I see more value in creating memories and gifts that really show you have put some time and effort and your heart into them rather than giving material things just for the sake of it you know?

Anyway, as soon as I saw this Peanut Butter and Jelly Slice on Pinterest a few weeks ago I knew that with a few tweaks here and there, it was going to be the perfect birthday treat for my Dad this year! It smells absolutely delicious fresh out of the oven and it tastes amazing.

For this Peanut Butter and Jelly Slice you will need

1.5 cups plain flour
1/2 tspn baking powder
1/4 tspn salt
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
3/4 brown sugar
115 g butter
1 egg
1 tspn vanilla
3/4 cup strawberry jam

Pre-heat oven to 180C. Line an 8x8x2inch baking pan with baking paper or a non stick liner and spray with cooking oil.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the peanut butter, sugar and butter and beat until smooth.

Add the egg and vanilla and beat until just combined.

Add the flour, baking powder and salt and beat on low until all ingredients are incorporated.

Press 1/2 of the mixture into the prepared pan. Spread with the strawberry jam.

Crumble the remaining mixture over the top. Bake for 30 mins.

Allow the slice to cool completely before attempting to remove from the pan.

Slice and enjoy!

Mrs B xx

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pineapple Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Filling and Lime Frosting

After the success of our Hot Chocolate Cupcakes a few weeks ago, I immediately began thinking of my next cupcake creation of Mr B's lunches. I started throwing around some ideas involving pineapple and lime and the obvious addition to that was coconut. I am really happy with the way these turned out - the pineapple cupcakes with their chunks of juicy pineapple, the creamy coconut filling and the subtle hint of lime in the frosting, plus Mr B demolished the one I gave him to try so I'm thinking I might have done something right!

Pineapple Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Filling and Lime Cream Cheese Frosting - Makes 16

For the pineapple cupcakes you will need: 

1.5 cups plain flour
1 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn salt
115g butter
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 tspn vanilla
2 eggs
225g tin of crushed pineapple

Pre-heat oven to 180C and line a muffin tin with liners.

In the bowl and an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy.

Add the eggs and beat well.

Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Beat until combined.

Add in the crushed pineapple, including the juice. Mix until all the ingredients are combined.

Fill the liners 2/3 full with batter.

Bake for 15-20 mins or until they bounce back when touched. Allow them to cool in the pan for 5 mins, before removing to wire racks to finish cooling.

For the coconut cream filling you will need:

100 ml of coconut cream (not coconut milk)

Using a teaspoon or a melon baller, remove a small section from the centre of the cupcake and set aside.

Fill with a teaspoon of the coconut cream.

Replace the section of cupcake that you cut out and press down.

For the lime frosting you will need:

Zest and juice of 1 lime
120g cream cheese, softened
125g butter softened
2.5 - 3 cups of icing sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until pale.

Add the lime zest, cream cheese and icing sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.

Pipe or spread onto your cupcakes.

And the most important part, sit down and enjoy!!!

Mrs B xx

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mac and Cheese Topped with Loaded Potato Skins

On Sunday morning, Mr B was pottering around the kitchen making our egg and bacon breakfast while I was lazing around in bed. Feeling a little guilty about this, I decided to get up and give him a hand, albeit with the end stages of preparation. This was my first mistake. You see I was tired.....very tired. All week Mr B and I both look forward to our Sunday morning egg and bacon breakfast and for me it's about the whole package, sitting in bed with my eggs and bacon and a cup of coffee. But on this fateful morning, in my sleep deprived state, I topped my coffee mug up with milk instead of boiling water effectively giving me a large iced coffee to go with my eggs and bacon. I tried to fix it but only managed to make it worse. Cue no coffee for me. And for some reason, that just upset my apple cart (or coffee cup) for the whole entire day, I was hot and bothered and a giant grumble butt and in my mind that was how I was going to stay until I got my egg and bacon and coffee package next Sunday! 

Anyway, given it was a lovely sunny day and the bushfire threat around home had eased, Mr B decided it was a perfect day for a road trip to the Tahune Airwalk. Me and my grumpy pants were obviously thrilled about a 3 hour round trip in the car on a stinking hot day and we were even more thrilled to be hot and sweaty and bombarded by flies the whole time we were there, but grumpy pants aside, it was a beautiful spot with some incredible scenery. 

Whilst we were there, Mr B took the opportunity to go hang gliding which saw him cruise for 400m across a river at around 40km p/h. From what Mr B tells me, the view was amazing and just to be sure, he went twice! 

The airwalk itself is over 600m of what can only be described as 'walking in the tree-tops,' I mean take a look for yourself......

After the airwalk, we went on another walk through the forest that took us over two swinging bridges where yes, we both jumped up and down like little kids....and I may have cracked a smile. 

Anyway, to make up for my slightly grumpy mood, I decided to make Mr B a super fantastic awesome dinner guaranteed to make him totally forget that he is married to a sometimes grumpy pain in the butt wife and probably also to thank him for not leaving my grumpy ass down in the forest....


The only dish guaranteed to cover all of the above was this Macaroni and Cheese topped with Crispy Potato Skins filled with Bacon and Sour Cream.....oh yeah, you heard me.

It sounds long and complicated, but it tastes amazing and decadent and is comfort food wrapped up with I love you forever food topped with bacon....what more could you want?

Macaroni and Cheese topped with Crispy Potato Skins filled with Bacon and Sour Cream - Serves 4

250g macaroni
1.5 tbspn butter
1/2 tbspn plain flour
1.25 cups full cream milk
1/2 cup sour cream plus 1/2 cup extra
3 cups shredded tasty cheese
100g cream cheese
1 tspn cajun seasoning
2 rashers short cut bacon, finely diced
4 spring onions, finely diced
4 large potatoes

Pre-heat oven to 200C. Place the potatoes in an ovenproof dish and roast for an hour. Once they are cooked, remove from the oven to cool. Reduce oven heat to 180C.

Meanwhile, cook the macaroni as per packet directions.

While the macaroni is cooking, place the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the flour and whisk until smooth (roughly 1 minute)

Add the milk, 1/2 cup sour cream and the cream cheese. Continue whisking until smooth. Add the shredded cheese and cajun seasoning and whisk until everything is combined. In a large oven proof dish, combine the macaroni and cheese sauce. Set aside.

Take the potatoes and cut in half. Depending on the size of your potatoes, cut each half into 2 pieces for small potatoes or 4 pieces for larger ones. Using a spoon or a melon baller, remove the majority of the flesh, leaving a thin layer of potato still in the skin. Scatter the potatoes over the top of your macaroni.

Lightly brush the potato skins with some olive oil.

Fill each potato skin with a tspn of the remaining sour cream.

In a fry pan over medium heat, cook the bacon and spring onion for 5-7 mins or until bacon is nice and crispy. Scatter the bacon and spring onion over the top of the potatoes.

Sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese and bake for 20-25 mins or until cheese is melted and golden.

I know it sounds a little fiddly, but alot of the processes take place simultaneously and to be honest, it's totally worth it (and Mr B totally thinks I'm an awesome wife again!)

Mrs B xx

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Banana and Raspberry Bread

When I first came across this recipe, it was called 'Best Ever Banana Bread.' Now really that is a pretty big call because banana bread is not only one of my favourite induglences, but I mean this recipe had raspberries in it....there was only one thing to do - make it and see if it stood up to the name (which by the way, it totally did!)

Banana and Raspberry Bread

You will need:

1 1/3 cups self-raising flour
1 cup plain flour
2/3 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1 tspn ground cinnamon
3 eggs
3 bananas, mashed
2/3 cup canola oil
2 tspn vanilla essence
125g fresh or frozen raspberries

Preheat the oven to 150°C and brush a 7cm-deep, 10 x 20cm loaf pan with melted butter. Line the base and sides with non-stick baking paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flours, sugar, coconut and cinnamon. Add the eggs, banana, oil and vanilla and beat until just combined. Gently fold in the raspberries.

Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the surface using the back of a spoon or a spatula. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Set aside in pan for 20 minutes to cool before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely. Now this bread is going to smell incredible, you are going to want to dive right in and cut yourself a huge big piece of it and slather it with butter....and I mean if you really want to then go ahead, but I highly recommend waiting for the bread to cool before you slice it and serving it at room temperature...still slathered with butter of course!


Mrs B xx

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentines Day 2013 and Strawberry Cheesecake Poptarts

Valentines Day is extra special in our house because it also marks the anniversary (this year it was 4 years) since Mr B and I went away for a romantic weekend and during an early morning stroll along the beach, Mr B dropped down on one knee and asked me to marry him. We obviously don't need to go into the fact that my first response was 'Are you serious?' before I composed myself and followed up with a resounding 'Yes!'
Having to work on Valentines Day is never fun, but Mr B and I always make sure we do something special to mark the occasion. Yesterday morning, I popped out of work quickly to deliver a rose and balloon (I couldn't resist the lady bug balloon that said 'Lil Love Bug!') to Mr B's work and had previously arranged for some of the guys he works with to pick it up and take it out to him at the job site. On my way back to work I was pretty pleased with myself thinking I had the upper hand in the surprise stakes....but when I got back to work all of the ladies in the office were dancing around a big white box that had just been delivered with my name on it! I opened the box and felt just a little bit special when I saw that inside were 6 red roses, a teddy bear and a box of chocolates. I really am a very lucky lady. I rang Mr B to thank him for my beautiful gift and as it turns out, he had just received his too! Great minds really do think alike!
After work we went home and sat up in the pergola watching the lambs play in the yard while we enjoyed a drink and some peace and quiet. Our time after work in the evenings always seems to disappear in a whirlwind of making lunches and washing up and getting dinner ready and it was really nice to just take some time out and sit and relax
Like I hadn't been spoilt enough already, Mr B decided he was making dinner and oh my goodness what a dinner it was! Homemade lime and black pepper chicken schnitzel, potato chips and an amazing potato and lime salad - the chicken was moist and melt in your mouth tender, the chips were crispy and golden and the salad was refreshing and super tasty! From what I can gather the salad was made up of 1 cup of diced cooked potato, 1 lime with the skin removed, 2 button mushrooms, 1/3 cup of diced cucumber, 1 small tomato finely diced and a sprinkle of grated cheese.

Seeing as Mr B pulled out all the stops with dinner, I thought I better whip up something a little bit fancy for dessert.

Strawberry Cheesecake Poptarts - Makes 4

2 sheets of shortcrust pastry cut into quarters
1 punnet of strawberries finely diced
70g cream cheese softened
1 tbspn caster sugar
1/2 tbspn thickened cream
icing sugar and extra cream to serve

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, cream and caster sugar until smooth. Set aside.

Take 4 of the pieces of shortcrust pastry and using a skewer, trace the outline of a small heart in the centre of each one. When you are happy with your heart, use the skewer to cut your design out. You can keep the heart shaped pastry to cook up later on - maybe use them as decoration on top of pies?

Spread the remaining four pieces of pastry (the ones without the heart cut out of them) with the cream cheese mixture leaving a 1cm border around the edge. As you can see from my photos, it doesn't have to be spot on though.

Place 1.5 tbspns of your diced strawberries on top of the cream cheese mixture.

Place one of the pastry pieces with the heart cut out over the top of your strawberry mixture. Use a fork to seal the edges.
Place 1 tbspn butter in a microwave safe jug with 1 tspn caster sugar. Heat on high for 10 seconds and stir to combine. 
Brush the tops of your pastry with the butter mixture. It doesn't matter if you brush the strawberries as well.
Place the tray in the oven and bake for 15-20 mins or until pastry is golden. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and dusted with icing sugar.
During the cooking the cheesecake mixture will bubble up through the strawberries making these an absolutely delicious dessert, perfect for Valentines Day! It wasn't until this morning that we both went 'oh hey, they tasted like pop tarts!' Duh.... Anyway, I would also like to try them using nutella instead of the cheesecake mix because well who doesn't like nutella and strawberries!


Happy Valentines Day!

Mr and Mrs B xx

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pizza Pull Apart Bread

Awhile ago you might remember Mr B and I made this Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread for a special Mothers Day breakfast....well seeing as we are stuck at home at the moment unable to do much besides watch for changes in the bushfires around us, I decided to make a savoury version of this for our dinner last night. This pizza pull apart does take maybe 2-3 hours to make from start to finish, but alot of that is rising time for your dough so don't think you will be chained to the kitchen the whole time, plus the end result is well worth it, our house smelt incredible and we sat down with some of Mr B's home brew alcoholic lemonade and just dug in - pure awesome-ness.

Straight out of the oven, the bread is soft and warm, the cheese is melty, the flavours are incredible and yes we demolished the whole thing and spent the rest of the night laying on the couch complaining about our expanding bellies but after a few hours recovery time, we totally would have devoured another one.....this is the ultimate date night / move night meal.

Pizza Pull Apart Bread

For the dough you will need:
2 cups plain flour plus 3/4 cups extra
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1/3 cup full cream milk
90g butter
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, at room temperature

For the filling you will need:
140g tub of tomato paste
1.5 cups of shredded pizza cheese (we used a combination of mozarella, cheddar and parmesan)
150g of sliced salami
1 tomato, diced
1tbspn butter, melted
2 cloves garlic, minced

In the bowl of an electric mixer with the dough hooks ditted, add the 2 cups of plain flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Stir until just combined with a spoon.

In a microwave safe jug, add the milk and 90g butter. Heat for 60 seconds and then stir until the butter had melted. Add the water. Allow the mixture to cool to around 45-50C before pouring over the dry ingredients.

Use the dough hooks of your electric mixer to knead the dough on low speed until everything is fully incorporated - this should take around 3 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, kneading in between each addition.

Add 1/2 cup of the remaining plain flour, kneading it on low speed until the dough is smooth. Add 3 more tablespoons of plain flour and knead until just combined. Remove the bowl from your mixer stand. Using one hand you should be able to work the dough, kneading it gently, until it just comes together into a ball. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to proof in a warm, dry place for one hour. During this time it should roughly double in size.

Preheat the oven to 180C

Gently deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll it into a rectangle measuring roughly 50cm x 25cm.

Spread the tomato paste over the dough and sprinkle with 3/4 of the cheese. Arrange the salami and tomato over the top and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Trim the edges of the dough so you have straight sides along the rectangle.

Cut the rectangle (width-wise) into 5 equal strips. Cut each strip into 4 equal squares so you have a total of 20 squares. Stack the strips on top of one another so that you have 5 piles each consisting of 4 squares. 

Lightly grease a 9"x5" loaf pan. Stack the squares in the centre of the pan against each other, cut-sides down. It's ok if you have extra space on both sides because they will expand.

Lightly cover the pan with plastic wrap and let it proof for 30 minutes.

Place the loaf pan on a baking tray to ensure the bottom doesn't burn and bake it for 15 minutes.

Stir together the melted butter and minced garlic. Remove the pan from the oven and brush the top of the loaf with the garlic butter. Return it to the oven to continue baking for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before turning the loaf out onto a serving plate.

All that's left to do now is pour yourself a drink, chuck a good dvd on and dig in!

Mrs B xx

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Potato and Bacon Rosti

Mr B and I are still here, still sitting in our partially packed up house, watching and waiting. The fire around us seems to have settled a little which is lovely, but it's still quite large and uncontrolled so we are still on high alert. Here are some of the photos we have managed to get on our phones at the back of our property over the last day or so (our camera is packed somewhere in the depths of the car and I have no idea where it is...). 

Anyway, at the end of a day full of all of that, you need to sit down to something comforting, something good, something that is not just going to fill your belly, but something that is going to temporarily make you forget about all that crap going on just beyond your backyard....this Potato and Bacon Rosti totally did that for Mr B and I. For just a few minutes while we sat down to eat tea, it almost felt like any other night and with all the stress and anxiety and sleepless-ness going on right now, those moments are rare and when they do occur they are heaven.  

Potato and Bacon Rosti - Serves 2
Adapted from Margaret Fulton's Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery
6 large potatoes
1/2 tspn salt
1 onion, finely diced
3 pieces short cut bacon, finely diced
4 pieces short cut bacon (extra)
1 tbspn butter
Tomato Relish to serve

Place the potatoes and salt in a large pot of cold water. Place the pot on the stove and bring to the boil. Allow the potatoes to cook for a further 10 mins after they begin to boil, then remove from heat, drain the water and allow them to cool.

Peel the potatoes once they are cool enough to handle. Grate the potatoes and set aside.

In a lightly greased frypan over medium high heat, cook the onion and diced bacon for 5-7 mins or until onion is transparent. Gently stir the onion and bacon through the grated potatoes.

Now to shape my rostis, I lightly buttered a small round ramekin and filled it with the grated potato mixture. You need to ensure the mixture is pressed in there well so that it holds together. Tip the ramekin upside down onto a plate and there you have your first rosti! Re-butter your ramkin and repeat with remaining mixture. You could also use a large round biscuit or pastry cutter if you prefer.

Melt the remaining butter in a fry pan over medium heat. Use a large spatula to lift the rostis gently into the frypan. Allow to cook for 10 mins before gently turning over. Cook for a further 8 mins and then they should be ready to serve. When the rostis had around 3-5 mins to go, I made some room in the fry pan and added the extra short cut bacon rashers. They should be nice and crispy by the time your rostis are done.

Serve the rostis topped with bacon and a generous spoonful of tomato relish and a side of salad.


Mrs B xx

Friday, February 8, 2013

Crunchy Noodle Salad

Tonight's blog post is kind of a mental health post.

For the past 2.5 days Mr B and I have been watching and waiting as a bushfire rages out of control in the bushland around us. It is one of the most frustrating and scary things I have ever experienced as just when you think it's calming down and things are looking good, the wind changes and it all flares up again. I have this constant knot of tension in my stomach and I just don't know how people face these things.....well actually I do - you just keep going. You put one foot in front of the other, you keep yourself busy and you just wait for it to get better because honestly, what else can you do? I would love to pick our house, land and lambies up and move it to the middle of a big city, I would love to jump in my car and just leave, but more than anything I would love to just look out the window and for it to all be gone and if I never hear another helicopter fly over head ever again, it will be too soon. I'm sure I'm going to develop some sort of helicopter related nervous twitch from this whole thing.

I have the utmost respect for firefighters who face these things every day and for the work they have done and will continue to do in defending the properties and the communities here.

So in an effort to stop myself going completely mad, I have baked, I've cleaned, I've packed our cars full to the brim with everything we hold dear and now I'm writing to you. Last Tuesday night Mr B and I went to Mum and Dad's for quite possibly the very last dinner in the caravan before they move into their brand new home. As usual they had whipped up a feast consisting of Mushroom Pies, Greek Salad AND Crunchy Noodle Salad! Mum had been keen to try this Crunchy Noodle Salad recipe off the Chang's Fried Noodle packet for a long time and I had also heard lots of good things about it so I was really excited to try it. Let me just say WOW - the textures, the flavours, the crunch of the noodles...did I say WOW?  The dressing in this salad is just amazing and quite refreshing.

This makes enough to serve 4 people as a side dish, but if you toss through 300g shredded BBQ chicken along with the noodles you will easily have enough to serve 4 people as a main.

You will need:

1/2 - 1 Chinese Cabbage (or Savoy Cabbage)
6 green onions, finely chopped
100g lightly roasted almonds or pinenuts
1 pkt Chang's Fried Noodles

And for the dressing:

1/4 white wine vinegar
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 tbspn soy sauce
1/2 cup olive oil

Mix all the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well.

Place in a small saucepan and place over low heat, stirring for 2-3 mins until sugar is dissolved.

Combine the cabbage, green onions and almonds or pinenuts in a salad bowl. Add the dressing and mix well.

Just before serving add the noodles and toss thoroughly.

Thank you for the distraction - but for now, it's back to fire watching duty....

Mrs B xx

Monday, February 4, 2013

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

On Saturday just gone, Mr B and I had a gigantic pile of wood chips to spread around the front garden.

Obviously our first mistake was getting the wood chips and assuming they would spread themselves around (I really think gardening companies could boost their profit ten fold if they included a complimentary gardener to spread your wood chips or plant your 60 trees or what not....) and the second mistake was when I said 'no darling, I didn't have anything planned today, what did you need me to do?'

Silly silly girl.

Although in saying that it was lovely to spend the day outside doing something productive and the difference it has made to our front yard is amazing.

However I won't deny that around 3pm we came inside for a cup of tea and a snack and when we got back outside, my motivation was definitely hiding in the kitchen screaming 'please don't make me go back out there!!' It was just one of those situations where we should never have stopped because even though we only had maybe an hours worth of work left, it seemed like an eternity! But we stuck it out and I resisted the urge to say 'Ok so you can finish up out here, I'm going inside to do some baking / wash my hair / pass out from exhaustion.'

In all honesty, I've totally done that before.

When we finally did drag our weary, dusty bodies inside, I decided we could both use a treat, so I whipped up these Hot Chocolate Cupcakes for Mr B's lunches this week!

Now when I told Mr B I was going to make Hot Chocolate Cupcakes for his lunches, he was less than thrilled....when I say less than thrilled, I don't mean he was obviously disappointed, but he didn't do the little squeal, happy dance, spin around thing I did when I first read the recipe for them, which in hindsight I'm probably glad he didn't do.

Despite Mr B having a massive sweet tooth and the world's most awesome metabolism, he has occasionally been overheard saying that my baking is going to either
a) make all his teeth fall out
b) send him into a sugar coma from which he may never recover,
c) give him premature diabetes or
d) all of the above.

When it came to these cupcakes though, all of that was really neither here nor there because I knew I had him won over when I said they would be filled with toasted marshmallow fluff. I mean really, who is going to argue with that? And as it turns out, the recipe I used for the chocolate cupcakes was much more of a fudge cake so it didn't have a really rich chocolate flavour, which I think definitely worked in this combination.

This recipe makes around 15 cupcakes and you will need:

1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup plain flour
1 cup caster sugar
1 tspn bicarb soda
1/2 tspn baking powder
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tspn vanilla essence

Pre-heat oven to 180C. Line and grease 2 x 12 cup muffin trays.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cocoa, plain flour, caster sugar, bicarb soda, baking powder and egg.

Add the buttermilk, water, oil and vanilla. Beat until smooth. The mixture will be runny at this stage, but don't worry about that.

Fill your muffin trays 2/3 full and bake for 20 mins or until set.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, remove from the trays and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Once they have cooled completely, use a teaspoon or a melon baller to scoop a hole in the top of your cupcake. You want it to be deep so you can cram as much filling as possible, but you have to be careful not to break your cupcake and make sure the sides and base are still nice and thick so they don't crack or split.

I brought a tub of toasted marshmallow fluff from the local bargain shop, but you can buy normal marshmallow fluff at the supermarket near the Nutella and sandwich spreads. Spoon a heaped teaspoon of the marshmallow fluff into the centre of each cupcake.

Now for the chocolate frosting, you will need

125g butter, softened
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 tablespoons milk at room temperature
2 tbspns cocoa

Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until butter is pale and creamy.

Gradually add about half the sifted icing sugar, beating constantly. Add milk gradually then gradually beat in the remaining icing sugar and cocoa.

Pipe or spread the frosting onto your cupcakes and sprinkle with mini marshmallows.

When Mr B got home from work today I asked him how these were and he said they were off the charts incredible.....and this coming from someone who doesn't necessarily like chocolate!! So go on, give them a try!

Mrs B xx

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Moroccan Feast

A few weeks ago I was having a nightmare day (week) at work and it really knocked me about. I was mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted. On the Friday afternoon when I was close to lapsing into something close to an emotional coma, my Mum delivered me a care package complete with 2 new cookbooks and some very tasty cranberry and white chocolate shortbread biscuits. She sure does know how to keep me distracted long enough to stay sane!

So on Tuesday night this week when Mum and Dad and Mr B's Mum came for dinner, the only appropriate thing to do was whip up a Moroccan Feast fresh from the pages of one of those beautiful books! We had Vegetarian Cigars with Harissa Yoghurt, Spicy Red Couscous and Carrots with Minted Fetta. I'm just going to come right out and say it, it was absolutely awesome. Every single thing on the plate worked together, complimented each other and was just down right fantastic so thank you Mum!!

Vegetarian Cigars with Harissa Yoghurt

1 red capsicum
1 tspn crushed garlic
1 eggplant
1 zucchini
2 tomatoes
1 tspn ground cumin
1 tspn smoked paprika
1 tbsn finely chopped fresh mint
10 sheets fillo pastry
1 tbspn butter (melted)
200g greek yoghurt
1 tspn harissa paste
1 tspn lemon juice

Pre-heat oven to 200C.

Cut the capsicum into quarters, discarding the seeds and membrane. Place the capsicum on a baking tray, skin side up, and roast until the skin blisters and blackens slightly. Stand for 5 mins to cool and then finely dice.

In a large frying pan over medium heat, add 1 tbspn olive oil. eggplant, garlic, zucchini and tomatoes and cook for 5-7 mins or until vegetables soften. Add the cumin and paprika and cook for a further 5 mins. Stir in the capsicum and mint and allow mixture to cool.

To put the cigars together, take two sheets of fillo and place them on your work bench with one of the long edges facing you. Cut the fillo vertically into 3 sections. Place 1 tbspn of the vegetable mixture along the short end of each rectangle. Roll the pastry over the filling and then fold in the sides and continue to roll up to form a cigar shape. Place cigars seam side down on a baking tray. Repeat to make a total of 15-18 cigars.

Brush the cigars with melted butter and bake at 180C for 20 mins or until lightly browned.

To make the Harissa Yoghurt simply combine the yoghurt, harissa paste and lemon juice in a bowl. Serve drizzled over the cigars or on the side for dipping.

Spicy Red Couscous

1 tbspn olive oil
1 tbspn harissa paste
2 tspns smoked paprika
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup of vegetable stock
1/2 cup water
1.5 cups couscous

Heat oil in a medium saucepan, add the harissa, paprika and half of the onion. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 mins.

Add the stock and water and bring to the boil.

Remove from the heat and add the couscous. Cover with a tea towel and stand for 5-10 mins.

Season to taste and serve sprinkled with the remaining onion.

Carrots with Minted Fetta

6 medium carrots cut into match sticks
200g fetta cheese
2 tbspns finely chopped fresh mint
1/2 tspn ground cumin

Boil the carrots for 10-12 mins or until tender.

Meanwhile crumble the fetta in a bowl using a fork. Gently stir through the cumin and mint. Place in the fridge until your ready to serve.

Serve the carrots topped with a generous helping of the minted fetta.

And just like that - you're done! See it really wasn't that hard was it. I know it might seem like there is alot of steps, but it's all pretty basic and things like the minted fetta and the filling for your cigars can be prepared the day before just to make you'r life that little bit easier!


Mrs B xx


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