Saturday, 25 May 2013

So I'm still getting used to this blogging thing.  We had friends over for dinner last night, and I only managed to take photos of the dessert I made, cos I made it during the day.  The actual meal, I kinda forgot about!  But it was very tasty!  A definite make again meal.

Basically, chicken wraps ( you know, salad, cheese, dressings, all wrapped in a tortilla ) but with the tastiest chicken :) That Jamie Oliver definitely knows what he's talking about!  So if you want something different for a change, and again, a bit healthier, then I'd totally recommend this meal.  The chicken is simply seasoned with salt and pepper, then a generous dusting of smoked paprika, and some polenta to form a crust.  Bash the chicken to tenderise and infuse the flavour, then fry - takes about 10 minutes to cook, and is super juicy and full of flavour!  

The dessert I made was a chocolate custard tart, served with blueberry flavoured cream.  Mmmmmm ... all plates were thoroughly cleaned up. 

Today I re-stocked our cupboards with baking ( I swear we are going through much more since I started writing this! ).
I made apple, banana and choc muffins as well as some vanilla biscuits.  Biscuits are similar to shortbread, only instead of icing sugar and cornflour, it uses caster sugar.  They taste pretty good, but I think I would rather stick to shortbread.  The muffins, I adapted a recipe for banana choc chip muffins.  Have yet to try them, so unsure if it's a success or not!  Will post recipe though if it is :)
This week will be a hectic week of baking and cooking as it is my daughters first birthday :) I have big plans for her cake, a dessert, lunch nibbles and cupcakes.  Of course I will try my best to keep record of it all this time.
Oh and side note - I was reading through my cupcake book, and stumbled across something interesting.  I now know why I was having so much difficulty with the fondant.  Apparently I am to add a hardening agent to make it into modelling paste!  So I will endeavour to find this ( pretty sure Kitchen Kapers will have it ) this week and hopefully I will have some better luck with it this time.  Now all I have to do is decide on what decorations to make for the party!

Friday, 24 May 2013


As many of you know, I love to cook and try new recipes.  I'm always finding new 'favourite' chefs to watch and learn from.  The one I have loved to watch the most - for entertainment value as well as recipe ideas, is Jamie Oliver.  I love how passionate he is about food and flavour.  Even the most boring sounding meal (or one made with foods I don't particularly like), sound amazing when he is letting you in on his secrets to making each dish just right.  He inspires me to try different things and experiment.  I find myself stocking up on all these wonderful spices that I never would have used in the past, as well as looking at the quality of the product and not just the price!
And yes, sometimes my recipes have a high fat content, but I've never been one to count calories.  I believe that food is to be enjoyed, so why not indulge?  

You can probably tell that I quite enjoy making sweet treats, you might go so far as to say, I'm kinda awesome when it comes to desserts, and of course my 'famous' tan square!  Perhaps one day I will share this recipe with you - though be warned - some have tried to replicate, and failed :(

Anywhoodle, I thought just for a change, I would share something on the healthier side of things; savoury also.

As I said earlier, Jamie Oliver inspires me.  This recipe is my version of his 'twist on a lamb tagine'

2 lamb leg steaks
Garam Masala
Salt and Pepper


Lemon Rice Bran Oil

Firstly, put 1C of couscous in a bowl, cover with 2C boiling water and a pinch of salt.  Cover with a plate and leave to absorb. 

Cut the lamb into bite size chunks, sprinkle a generous amount of garam masala on top, and season with Prenzel Manuka salt and pepper.  Move meat around to season both sides.  Flatten slightly with the palm of the hand.

Heat oil in large pan -  I used Prenzel Tuscan Rice Bran Oil for this :) - Add meat and cook on both sides for about 10 minutes in total.

Now for the tagine part.  Chop onion and tomato (I used one, but if feeding more people then add more).  Heat Prenzel Lemon Rice Bran Oil in pan and fry onion and tomato, softening.  Add chilli (to taste).  The original recipe called for saffron but I had none of this, so I added a sprinkle of Turmeric and Sumac.  Add water to make it like a creamy sauce texture.  Simmer for a few minutes.

To serve, fluff couscous with a fork, then spread on plate.  Top with tagine mix, followed by lamb and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.  I also added a dollop of sour cream, though you could use yoghurt too.

Looks good huh? Was nice to have something different to the norm for dinner.  I would probably try this with yoghurt next time as I think that would balance the flavours nicely.  And I would cut the pieces slightly smaller - as I said in the recipe, bite size chunks.

*And before you ask - yes, I am a Prenzel agent :) you can even check me out on Facebook :)
Well I best be off.  We've got friends coming for dinner tonight, and I have dessert to prepare! 

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Mmmmm chocolate ...

I'm sitting down to write this with a steaming cup of hot chocolate :) Yes, that's right! I have perfected the recipe for the "Hot Chocolate Truffles" and thought I would share it with you lovely people!  No need to thank me, I know I'm awesome :)

Hot Chocolate Truffles
Makes 4

1C White chocolate buttons
1/4 C Cream
pinch of salt

Place all ingredients in a bowl and place in microwave for 30 seconds.  Remove and stir.  Continue heating in 20 second bursts (I only needed two more) until you get a smooth consistency.

Cover and place in fridge for at least 3 hours.

Place heaped tablespoonfuls onto clingfilm and wrap.  Place in freezer overnight.

Now to make these into the yummiest hot chocolate you've ever tasted!  All you need to do is put 1 1/4 C milk into a cup, add a truffle and pop in microwave for 2 minutes.  Stir until all mixed in, and ENJOY!  (You might want to let it cool a little first!)

Note: They actually stayed in their truffle shape this time!

You will remember from my last post, the troubles I was having with the fondant.  Yesterday I decided to give it another go.  I only had blue and pink colouring on-hand so was a bit limited as to what I could make.  It's my daughters birthday next week so thought I would attempt to make some kiddy shapes - teddy bear, cat, mouse, ladybird (which ended up as some sort of armadillo type creature!).  After many trials, Tegan suggested making animated monsters, and I have to say that was quite fun - not to mention easier to pass off  "Yea I meant for it to look that way"

I'm sure that with more practice I will master this fondant!  But all in all, I don't think it was too bad an effort.  At least my kids think I'm awesome :) and they can tell what each decoration is, so that's gotta be a good thing.

On a side note - Eli told me all his friends think I'm the best baker ever, cos he keeps bringing my cupcake creations to school for his morning tea :)

Sunday, 19 May 2013

If it's not one thing...

Today is my sisters birthday. 
 I had found a great idea on Pinterest - "Hot Chocolate Truffles".  I thought this would be the perfect present (self confessed chocaholic here!) along with some big mugs to make said Hot Chocolate.
Well.  Where do I begin?  The first part was easy - melting the chocolate and cream together and leaving to cool in fridge.  The second part, also easy.  Place blobs of mix on wax paper then place back in fridge.  Now the next part - roll mix into balls and wrap in clingfilm - sounds like it should be super simple, but alas, this was not the case!  Firstly, mix did not want to come off the paper (I used greaseproof paper which I assumed would work) so I ended up scraping it off and blobbing it onto clingfilm, leaving a lot of chocolate behind, and covering myself in it also (not such a bad thing).  I decided that perhaps the freezer would be the best place to leave these to turn into "truffles" as they were meant to be.
This morning I went to the freezer to collect the truffles and see if I could shape them into ball shapes rather than blobs.  I discovered that truffles were still squishy and no amount of shaping was going to work.  Seeing as truffles didn't look aesthetically pleasing, I figure I should probably try one and make sure they at least taste as they should.  So I get my mug of milk and pull out a white chocolate truffle.  I slowly ease the clingfilm off, only to discover that truffle is stuck to clingfilm!  So I now have to scoop truffle off clingfilm and into mug (again leaving chocolate behind!).  Sighing, I figure I may as well continue - I mean I can't waste any more chocolate! 
And ... Success!  It may not look as it should, but it tastes amazing!!!  (fighting the urge to say "amazeballs" here - thanks Tegan!)

Anywho, after the truffle fiasco, I decided that I would make some cupcakes to accompany these wonderfully unattractive, yet tasty, balls of chocolatey goodness. 

I begin measuring ingredients and mixing it all together.  It's not until I'm almost at the end that I realise I had my scales set to mls and not grams!  Crikey!  Not a good day for me in the kitchen!  But, I push on through, hoping that cupcakes will still taste good.  They take a little longer to cook, but come out looking pretty good :)

While these are cooking, I start on the decorations.  Yea that's right, I'm going to attempt to make decorations out of fondant.  I saw a demo at Kitchen Kapers a few weeks back.  I mean, how hard can it be??  Pfft!  I used to make roses out of clay all the time when I was a kid, and yet I can't seem to get fondant to do what I want it to.  Roses end up as big funny looking flowers, that keep sticking to me! 

I gave up on roses and made a couple of pigs (Tegans suggestion - that's right, I wasn't finished by the time she came round - birthday presents nailed!).  First pig stuck to board - learned from this and did second one on plastic bag :)
Now that cupcakes are cool, they are ready for the fun part!  Icing!  Made an awesome chocolate buttercream if I do say so myself.  Grabbed my new icing tip, scooped icing into the bag, and started to decorate ...
Bag burst.
One disaster after another.  Oh well.  They still taste good :)