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Saturday, 15 December 2012

Easy Christmas Cake

My kids don't like fruit cake - actually I don't particularly like it unless it's full of nuttiness...so I decided to invent one with only things I like in it...no alcohol for the kiddies, only sweet fruits, and no dairy!!
 
Turned out moist, sweet and so so yummy.
 
You will need:
1 cup cooled strong tea
1 3/4 cup self raising flour (can use gluten free)
1 egg
1 small packet of nuts of your choice (I used slivered almonds - macadamias would be nice!)
100g currants
200g dried apricots (chopped)...dried mango or peaches could be AMAZING
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons of a sweet jam/jelly/conserve (eg. apricot, a marmalade or I used a friend's home made fruit salad jam)
 
How to:
Turn on your oven to 160oC.
Grease and line with baking paper a loaf pan.
Okay, first I boiled the kettle and made one cup of very strong tea.  Leave the tea bags in the tea until it cools.

 
 In a bowl add your fruits and sugar and pour over the tea.  Cover with cling wrap and leave either overnight, or all day (not in the fridge).  The fruit will soak up all the tea.
 
Add the flour, jam and egg
 
Add the nuts and mix till just combined
 
Spoon mixture into your prepared tin and gently press it nice and smooth with the back of a spoon.
 
Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until golden brown on top and bounces back to the touch.
 
 
Enjoy your delicious light fruit cake with a lovely cup of tea.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Oreo Truffles

Oh my oh my, thank you so very much to Nikki of Chef In Training for the inspiration for this delicious recipe and allowing me to post it on my blog. Check out Nikki's blog for some truly mouthwatering ideas. You can go to Nikki's original recipe at...
 
  www.chef-in-training.com/2011/11/no-bake-oreo-truffles                 
I have put her recipe below but converted it to metric measurements.
 
All you need is:
 
Oreo cookies
(Nikki uses double cream Oreo's but the regular ones worked fine with a little more cheese)
Cream cheese
Candy melts or Nestle chocolate melts
 
  1. In the food processor, or with a lot of patience, crush the packet of biscuits to a fine crumb. 
  2. Add in 1/3 of a 250g block of cream cheese.
  3. Process or mix to form a thick dough.
  4. Roll the dough into bite sized balls (you can make slightly bigger ones and add sticks to make cake pops)
  5. Pop the balls in to the fridge for about 10 mins whilst you clean your bench, processor and get ready the next step.
  6. Have ready a small bowl with a couple of crushed oreos in it and another bowl with your melted choc / candy melts. 
  7. Have a cookie sheet nearby with a sheet of baking paper on it.
  8. Simply use two forks and roll each ball in the melted choc, gently lifting them on to the paper to set.  Sprinkle with bits of crushed oreo.
  9. Allow to set and enjoy!
These are literally to die for. They are soft, sweet, chocolate covered bitefuls of deliciousness. What's even better is they are so, so easy! Shhhhh don't tell anyone.
 
 
 
 

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Pound Cake Italian Ricotta

 Absolutely DIVINE, moist, thick pound cake.  I combined a few recipes I have collected and think I've finally come up with the perfect one.  Enjoy!
 
yes yes, this photo below is my "baking cupboard" haha, I love having it tidy so I can grab anything at a moments notice.  I do however have a cupboard with cake pop stuff and pretty other things in it too.  I also have BULK lots of flour in a storage bin !
 
Okay, you will need...
 
1 1/2 cups plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup of unsalted butter melted
1 1/2 cups smooth ricotta (about 450g)
1 1/2 cups of white sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
Icing sugar for dusting

 
Turn your oven on to 180oC (350oF).
Grease and flour your chosen cake tin.  I like to use a bundt pan or a ring pan and usually do a couple of little cakes as well for the kiddies to enjoy or my hubby to take to work.
Simply mix everything together until smooth.
 Pour batter into your prepared tins.  Bake for about 15 minutes then turn the heat down to 150oC and keep cooking until lightly golden brown on top and springing back to the touch in the centre.  Remember if you are doing smaller cakes like I do that the little ones will cook sooner than the big one.  So here's the mix in the pans baking away.  Note the tiny little round pan on the bottom shelf...that was my Nana's little cake tin she used to make cakes for my Papa to take to work.  One of my favourite kitchen things. love love love
 Look at that beautiful golden deliciousness
 When almost cool you can tip your cakes out onto a plate.
Sprinkle with icing sugar.  Simply divine.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Blueberry Boy Bait Cake

  Thank you so much to http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/07/blueberry-boy-bait/ for the absolutely gorgeous recipe for Blueberry Boy Bait cake.. and the interesting history behind the cake too!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Caramel Popcorn Balls

 
Halloween Pumpkins filled with delicious caramel popcorn.  Melissa has been making this caramel popcorn recipe for over 30 years and it is not only cheap and easy, but tastes AMAZING.  Wrap your popcorn in pumpkin costumes and it is perfect for Halloween or any party.
 
You will need for the Caramel Popcorn:
1 cup popcorn kernels
Brown Paper Bags
A microwave oven
Simply place about 3 tablespoons of kernels into a paper bag, scrunch the end closed and microwave for about 1 minute and 40 seconds.  Tip the popcorn into a big bowl and repeat until all corn is popped and you have a bowl full of popcorn.
 
For the Caramel you will need:
125g butter (must be butter - margarine does not work and tastes horrible)
3/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons of honey
 
Melt the sugar, butter and honey in a saucepan on high heat.  When it is all melted turn the heat down to medium and stir continuously.  The sugar will dissolve and the mix will go sort of frothy and bubbly.Stir for about five minutes then remove from the heat.
 
Immediately pour the hot caramel over your popcorn and stir it until you are either completely bored, or satisfied that the popcorn is all coated.
 
Press handfulls of popcorn into balls, pressing them gently together.
 
To make the pumpkins you will need:
Orange cellephane
Green florist tape or green ribbon
Pen
Medium sized plate
Black cardboard or a black marker pen
 
Trace around the plate onto the cellephane and cut out the circles
 
Place the popcorn ball into the centre of the cellephane circle
 
Pull the cellephane around the ball and srunch the top tightly together
 
Wrap a strip of green ribbon / tape around the "stem'and tie the ends tightly.
Draw or stick on black eye shapes and mouth shapes.
 
Enjoy your delicious caramel popcorn pumpkins
 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

FrankenPuds

Ridiculously simple these adorable little monsters will bring a smile to everyone's face. 
The colours are horrifying but the taste - delicious!
 
To make your own monster puddings you will need:
Plastic picnic cups
Black marker pen
Packet of Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix (1 pack makes approx 6 Frankenpuds)
Green food colouring
Milk
Cream filled chocolate cookies crushed (I use Oreo's).
 
1. Draw monster faces on the outside of your plastic cups using a permanent marker pen (even cuter if the kids draw them).
 
2. Make up the pudding as per the packet instructions adding drops of food colouring until it is the colour you like.  You can make orange puddings or white if you want to make ghosts or pumpkins or mummies.
 
3. Pour the pudding mix into the cups.
 
4.  Allow to set in the fridge for about 10 minutes
 
5. Sprinkle a pile of cookie crumbs on top of the pudding.
 
 
 

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Leek and Zucchini Ricotta Tart

 This is a delicious tummy filling, yet healthy dinner.  Thank you to my work colleague, Judy for the inspiration for this recipe.  This is Judy's recipe, just enlarged for a bigger family and I added only a couple of extra ingredients.
 
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 sheets of reduced fat frozen puff pastry sheets
500g low fat smooth ricotta
150ml low fat milk
5 eggs
2 zucchini's chopped into small pieces
1 leek chopped into small pieces
the kernals cut off two fresh corn cobs (or use a small can of corn)
1 heaped teaspoon of minced garlic
a sprinkle of nutmeg
a handful of low fat tasty cheese (or Judy uses crumbled goats cheese)
 
Method:
1. preheat your oven to about 180oC
2. put the oil in a big saucepan on to the stove to heat
3. add the zucchini and leek and stir till softened (about 5 minutes)
4. Take off the heat and stir in the ricotta, corn, eggs, milk and nutmeg
and mix well
5. Line your pie dish or lasagne dish (i used this) with your pastry
6. Pour your eggy, cheesey, vege mix in to the pastry shell
7.  Sprinkle your chosen cheese over the top
8. Bake in the oven for about 1/2 an hour or until the top is lightly golden brown and the tart has set.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Meatball and baked pumpkin curry

This is warm, cheap and so so good.  You can buy beef mini meatballs from the supermarket, which makes this extremely easy to put together,  Woolworths supermarket sell Ingham chicken or beef meatballs and you can buy two packs for $10 - the chicken ones work great in this recipe.
I prefer to make my own meatballs, then I know what's in them!  (500g minced beef, one large egg and half a cup quick cook oats - mix well and roll into small balls) but so long as you're happy with the provenance of the meat go with bought ones. Likewise you can buy a $4 packet of diced pumpkin at the supermarket too...or cut it up yourself.   once everything's swimming in its mellow sauce, no one is going to be asking questions.


Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons Red curry paste
  • 2 Tablespoon Vegetable oil
  • olive oil
  • 30 Mini meatballs (approx 500g)
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground ginger
  • 400 ml Coconut cream
  • 400 g can Chopped tomato
  • 350 g diced pumpkin or butternut
  • 1 cup liquid Chicken stock
  • 2 Tablespoon Honey
  • fresh coriander
  1. Heat your oven to 180oC
  2. Putt the pumpkin on a tray and drizzle with olive oil - bake for 40 mins.
  3. While the pumpkin is baking, make the meatballs
  4. Heat the red curry paste and vegetable oil in a large wide pan; when it starts sizzling, add the meatballs, turning them in the red oily mixture till they are browned.
  5. Sprinkle the cinnamon and ginger over the meatballs and fry for a couple of minutes.
  6. Add the coconut milk, chopped tomatoes , then the stock and honey.
  7. Take your pumpkin from the oven.
  8. Stir in the baked pumpkin.
  9. Serve with rice and decorate each plate with some chopped coriander.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Fairy Bread Cookies

 These sweet little cookies have a terrific basic dough recipe that is great if you roll it into
ball shapes and press your thumb in and a drop of jam, or like this with a
simple icing on top and hundreds and thousand sprinkles!! 
 
makes 24 medium sized cookies
 
You will need:
120gm unsalted butter
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 egg
2 cups self raising flour
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
 
Step 1: Dough
 Preheat your oven to 170oC and line two cookie sheets / baking trays with baking paper.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (i use my mixer)
add the egg and mix till combined
add the flour and vanilla
Knead the mixture to form a ball.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 20 mins.  Clean up while you are waiting.
 
Step 2:  Roll
 Using a rolling pin, roll the dough evenly on a clean floured board or between two sheets of baking paper until it is about 1/2 a centimetre thick (5mm)... my grandmother's old rolling pin - love it
 
Step 3:  Cut
Using whatever shape you have or like, cut out your cookie shapes and pop on to your prepared trays.
Leave a bit of space between them as they will grow.
 
Step 4: Bake
 Place in the oven and cook for about 5 minutes or until ightly golden.  Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack to cool.
 
Step 5:  Decorate
When they are cool, ice each cookie gently.  I have put my icing recipe below...
this recipe sets firm so it's great for icing cookies or something you want to decorate with lollies etc.
As you ice each cookie, gently press it into the hundreds & thousands to cover the icing.  Set back on the rack for icing to set.
 and there you have them... 24 delicious soft, buttery "fairy bread" cookies.
 
Basic Icing:
1 cup pure icing sugar
1 teaspoon room temperature butter
1 tablespoon milk
 
Mix all together till smooth.


Monday, 20 August 2012

Julie Goodwin's - Lemon Diva Cupcakes


Not my recipe but made these today.  So lemony and delicious!!!  Hooray for Masterchef winner first season Julie Goodwin!


Lemon Diva cupcakes - makes 12
Ingredients:
100 g unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup (165 g) caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
finely grated zest of 3 lemons
2 eggs
1. cups (200 g) self-raising flour
1/2 cup (125 ml) milk

Icing
125 g unsalted butter, softened
2 cups (300 g) icing sugar mixture
11/2 tbs lemon juice
yellow food colouring (optional)
yellow liquorice allsorts, to decorate

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes



1 Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan-forced). Line a 12-hole medium muffi n pan (1/3 cup capacity) with paper cases. Using electric beaters, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until light and
creamy. Mix through the lemon zest.

2 Add the eggs one at a time, beating well a er each egg. Gently fold through the fl our and milk in two alternate batches. Divide the mixture evenly among the paper cases.

3 Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown and springy when touched. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

4 To make the icing, use electric beaters to beat the butter until light and creamy. Add the icing sugar a little at a time, beating constantly. Add half the lemon juice and beat until well combined. Add the remaining lemon juice a little at a time, and tint with food colouring if you like. Using a 1 cm fluted nozzle, pipe the icing onto the cooled cupcakes. Decorate

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Craft Fair Chocolate Pretties

For something a little bit different for your craft stall or fair why not individually wrap little chocolate bars.  These are made from Hershey Miniatures (not a good idea to use for school events as Hershey's include peanuts in their chocolate.... or label that they include nuts).  You can use Lindt minis or even Cadbury Furry Friends.
Simply wrap the little chocolate with a collar of pretty scrapbook paper, add a ribbon and a little bit of sparkle.
Irresistable!

Fairy Wand Tutorial

We have our school spring fair in about a months time and I am busy making crafts for my stall.  We will be having home made fudge, cookies and of course fairy wands along with other goodies.  I HATE ugly fairy wands and hate even more terrible ones made of cardboard.  We want fairy wands that are solid and strong and BEAUTIFUL!!!  Here is my tutorial for a wand that costs only about $2.50 to make.  It makes a terrific seller for craft fairs or school fetes.

Wooden stars are available at most craft/hobby stores for about $2...Okay - I guess my wands only cost about $2.50 each because I already have LOTS of craft supplies, paints, brushes, glitter, sparkly jewel thingys, ribbons, glues etc. Just use whatever scraps you have or I guess your stars will cost more :(

Step 1:  Paint your wand
Paint everything, both sides, the edges and the stick and leave to dry

Step 2:  Trace your star onto pretty paper
THIS is the trick to making your fairy wand extra extra pretty.  If you just painted the wand and glued on sparkly things it is BORING. 
Draw around your star onto a pretty paper (scrapbook paper is awesome)

Step 3:  Cut out the paper star
Cut out the paper star a bit smaller than your pencil marks.

Step 4:  Attach the paper to the wooden star


Using double-sided tape, glue, or whatever you have, stick the paper star on.

Step 5:  Seal the edges with glitter glue
Using a coordinating colour of glitter glue, seal along the edges of the paper.  Add glitter glue anywhere on the paper you think would look pretty and also use it as glue and to decorate.

Step 6:  Decorate
 This is the most fun part.  Use whatever you have, particularly sparkly stuff!  Cover your star with pretty jewels, sparkles, butterflies, flowers, the more the merrier.  Put dots of glitter glue on top of them to add more sparkle.
Let your star dry completely then finish it off with a coat of MOD PODGE gloss to protect it and tie on some matching ribbons.

Have fun and you can create some beautiful beautiful fairy wands!