Sunday, 28 July 2013

The sweet stuff

Rightio, how was everyones weekend?  I had a fabulous time at the Hanmer Salsa Winter Festival!  I got to learn some new things, have a few social dances, have a few nights off from cooking :) and spend some quality time with the family :)  It's always nice to get away - even if you have sick children keeping you up all night, needing snuggles from their Mama - you gotta love them!

Anyways, before our trip away, I thought it would be a great treat to make some Caramel Corn for a snack on our travels.  I have made this in the past and we can never get enough of it.  It's sooo good!

So I figured, you lovely people out there in blogland might like to make this for your family too :)  My kids think it tastes better than the bought stuff - and they don't lie about that kind of thing!

Without further ado ...

Caramel Corn

7-8 C popped popcorn
85g butter
3/4C brown sugar
3Tbsp corn syrup (glucose syrup)
1/4tsp baking soda
1/2tsp vanilla
chopped nuts - optional

Put popcorn in a large roasting pan - I usually split it between two pans.
In a medium saucepan, mix brown sugar, butter and corn syrup.  Cook, stirring, until boiling at a moderate rate for 5mins (over a medium heat), the butter should have combined to make a smooth, thick mix.
Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla. - It should look fluffy
Pour over popcorn, stirring gently to coat (if adding nuts, do so now) - It will barely cover the popcorn at this point, and may sit in blobs.
Bake at 150C for 5-10 minutes, give it a stir and put back in again.  I do this a few times to ensure all popcorn gets some caramel on it.
Spread on a buttered tray/tinfoil to cool, separating clumps.  Store in airtight container.

As most of you know, I am a Prenzel agent.  We have recently brought out some new products, one of which is a Passionfruit Tipsy Topping.  As agents, we are encouraged to experiment with the products, so that we can tell people how to use them.  Last week, I decided to make up a simple cheesecake recipe using the Passionfruit topping.

Now this is what I would call a 'cheats' cheesecake.  It's a very basic recipe - made with ingredients I happened to have at home - so not a whole heap of cream cheese etc as per usual.

Mango and Passionfruit Cheesecake

Plain biscuits - 1 packet
60g butter
2Tbsp Prenzel Passionfruit Tipsy Topping

1 tub cream cheese
1 tin condensed milk
gelatine and water

Mango, diced
1/3C Prenzel Passionfruit Tipsy Topping
1Tbsp Caster sugar
gelatine and water

Place mango in a bowl, pour topping over, and mix in caster sugar.  Cover with clingfilm while you prepare everything else.

Crush biscuits in food processor, add melted butter and topping.  Pulse.  Press into a lined springform pan.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Beat cream cheese and condensed milk until smooth.

In a separate bowl, prepare the gelatine - I only had 2 1/4  tsp gelatine left so went with that.  Add to 100ml of water and stir to combine.  I put half the mix into the cream cheese, and half into the mango bowl. 

Pour Cream cheese mix onto base and pop in fridge for about 5 minutes to start firming before adding the topping.  Carefully spoon mango mix over the cheesecake, covering the whole thing.  Place in fridge to set.

serve with cream.

          I am hopeless when it comes to mangoes, and I have no idea how to cut them properly or how to tell if they are ripe, so I found that some of it tasted really nice, and some tasted a little weird, so if you are like me, you could always try it with a different fruit.

 Lastly, I want to show you my cupcakes! 
I made a standard chocolate cupcake mix, and added those caramel choc bits to them for a change :)
As I had used the last of my cocoa making the cupcakes, I made the buttercream using drinking chocolate instead, and also added in almost 1/4C of golden syrup, which I heated up to make it runnier.  The result is very tasty!

Aren't they cute?!  (Simplifood sells the wee butterflies quite cheap!)
Anywhoodle, that's my lot for this time :) I have already decided on one recipe to share with you this week, and I think I might try to do a completely savoury blog next time ... well ... we'll see how I go with that!

Happy cooking!!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

A bit of fun

My son was away on holiday with his Dad this week, so I made him a special welcome home cake :) I again got the idea from a post on Facebook :) I'm loving that people are sharing ideas to my page for me to try for this blog. 

This one didn't actually come with a recipe, just said how to make it.  It's such a cool idea, and the kids absolutely love it!  Eli was very impressed when I cut it open to reveal the surprise inside -

The post actually said to make a white cake, but I thought it would stand out quite nicely in chocolate cake, that and I wanted to have a different flavour seeing as the coloured balls are vanilla.

So for those of you who would like to make this, here's what you do.
Make a batch of cake pops (I have a cake pop machine) or you could do mini cupcakes.  You want to split the mix and add colouring.
Make cake mix of your choice.  Place cake pops in the bottom of the cake tin before adding mix, and then cook as per normal.  If mine is anything to go by, it will be lumpy looking - but that is probably because I attempted to make two cakes and then realised that the mix wasn't going to go far enough and so had to combine them in the one pan.
Make some buttercream and if you want the same look as I've done, you just need a standard cupcake icing nozzle - First time I've ever tried to ice a cake this way - pretty darn impressed with myself!!

I'm getting better at the photo taking am I not?? :)
Now the other thing I made this week, that I was asked to share on here, is an old favourite that I dig out whenever I can't think of anything else to make for lunch.  Creamed corn and cheese scrolls.
I do cheat a little for this.  I use my breadmaker.  I make a batch of pizze dough - though it works with scone mix as well, and as a friend asked, I'm sure you could work out a way for it to work with pastry - probably best to do a layer, fill it and then repeat before rolling up.
Anywho, once you have your dough, you roll it flat (rectangular shape) and spread some cream cheese on the base.  Spread a decent helping of creamed corn over this and then top with grated cheese.  You can also add sweet chilli sauce, or instead of the corn you can use relish and meat, or any other variation you like.
You then roll (like a swiss roll) so that you have a long log.  Using a sharp knife, cut slices about 1.5cm wide and lay each slice flat on your oven tray, leaving room for them to spread and rise.
Bake at 180C until they have started to bubble and are looking golden in colour.

I treated myself a few weeks back and bought Jamie Olivers 15 Minute Meals cookbook.  I believe I've mentioned how much he has inspired me.  Anyways, I tried one of his meals this week - Chicken Laksa.  Highly recommend this one!  Simple to make and tastes amazing, especially the sticky sesame chicken that goes with it :)  I did however forget to take a pic of this, but I did get a pic of my daughter eating it -
As you can see, she had a lot of fun with it!  She actually did eat some before tipping the bowl on her head!  And my 10 year old who can be fussy when it comes to meals like these, raved about it. 

There you have it, a few ideas of fun things to make with/for the kids :)  Happy holidays!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Tried and True

I'm eating a bowl of ice cream, trying to decide what to write ... not the most productive way to do this, as it's very distracting!  Chocolate ice cream with choc biscuits and choc fudge!!  (No I can't take any credit for this one - it's that 'Awesome' brand)

Right ... what have I made this week?  Biscuits, honey jumbles, cake, pasta, chicken, potatoes ...  Where do I begin?  I think I'll start with the partial calamity this week - biscuits.  I saw a recipe on Facebook, and I thought it looked like a fun biscuit to make, that the kids would love :)  Here is the picture of what they should look like:
See?  They look great eh?  Well ... I'll now show you the recipe - I'm copying it, so I haven't done anything to alter it, ok?  Take a look at instruction 4 and tell me if you can figure out what it means??

◾Flour – 2 cups
◾Baking powder – half teaspoon
◾Salt – a pinch
◾Powdered sugar – 1 cup
◾Sugar (sand) – 50 grams
◾Butter – 300 grams
◾Vanilla – one and a half teaspoons
◾Almond extract – half a teaspoon
◾Food color – green


Combine the flour, sugar, powdered sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and vanilla.

Knead the dough. Divide the dough into 2 parts. One almond extract and add color.

Roll out the dough between two layers of baking paper and place for 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Put the colored layer on top of the dough roll belogo.Skatayte. Roll in confetti. Wrap in plastic wrap at 4:00.

Cut the roll into slices 1 cm thick

Bake for 15-20 minutes at a temperature of 165 degrees

As you can see, the majority makes sense, but something went wrong (... belogo ... skatayte ...) and the instructions went a little strange.  I just did what I guessed to be correct.
Now, my problem with this recipe (other than the obvious), is that putting this mix in the fridge for 2hours makes the whole thing solid.  Solid biscuit mix is impossible to roll!  I let mine sit for a few hours to come back to room temp and still had no joy with it, so instead I improvised and cut it into strips and placed on top of each other, then cut it into it's 1cm slices.
I think, once you have rolled mix between the baking sheets, you could place on top of each other then, and maybe put in fridge for a few minutes to firm slightly before rolling together, and then wrap in clingfilm before putting back in fridge for longer before slicing.

I also think that hundreds and thousands would probably look better than the longer ones which i happened to have.  I found it quite difficult to cover the biscuits in them, but that could just come down to me being frugal and trying not to use the whole container!

 See my fabulous candy coating!

It's basically a funky shortbread biscuit, and if you can get it to roll then it would be quite impressive for at kids parties.

The cake I made, is my good old favourite.

To ice it, I melted some dark chocolate, with a knob of butter and a good dollop of golden syrup.  I then spread this on the cake and topped it off with some caramel bits (like choc chips, but caramel) and a few sprinkles :)

Enough of the sweet stuff, on to the savoury.

I made another of my favourite pasta dishes, though as per usual, I changed a few things, just to keep it interesting :)

Creamy Fettucine with kranskys

1 packet of kranskys
1 onion
spaghetti/fettucine pasta
200ml cream
Basil infused RBO (Prenzel)

Cook pasta as per packet instructions
Heat oil in large saucepan, cook onion until softened.  Add chopped kransky to pan and heat through.  Add peas to pan and heat through.
When pasta is almost done, add cream to the kransky pan to make a sauce.
Drain pasta, and add to the pan.  Mix through.
Serve with grated parmesan on top and an extra drizzle of RBO

This recipe can also be made using bacon, and 1/2C chicken stock also.

Now for those of you who are on Facebook, you have probably recently seen a shared recipe involving a potato and oil - to be made instead of chips.  I made this the other night as part of our dinner, along with some chicken burgers - courtesy of Sophie Gray (Destitute Gourmet).
I used the new Prenzel Garlic Butter RBO for these potatoes, and it was very tasty :)  What you do, is cut slices into your potato, almost through but not quite, drizzle with your oil, and sprinkle on some salt.  I would recommend trying to get your slices to hold open a little wider so that the oil and salt get all the way through, otherwise the edges are quite flavourfull and crisp but then inners don't get as crunchy as I prefer them.

Well, that will do for tonight I think :) Hopefully there is something in here you like.  Happy cooking!

Friday, 5 July 2013

Recipe revamps

I'm going to apologize in advance for the lack of photos this week.  I've been a bit slack!

This week I decided to use some recipes that I had, and change them up a bit - yes I know I do this a lot, but that's the point of this!

I made some yummy Raspberry, Chocolate and Banana cupcakes/muffins, my Pav with Chocolate Mousse, and a Cheesey Leek, Onion and Potato Bake.

Raspberry, Chocolate and Banana Cupcakes

2C self raising flour
1/2C caster sugar
1/2C choc chips - I used dark but white would be good too
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt

1/4C Prenzel butter rice bran oil
1 egg
1/2C milk
1/2C yoghurt
1/2 tsp vanilla paste - or you could use extract, but probably 1tsp
2 bananas mashed
1/2C raspberries - I used frozen ones

Firstly you want to preheat the oven to 180C fanbake

Sift the first lot of ingredients into a large bowl

In a separate bowl combine all the liquid ingredients

Pour liquid into dry ingredients and fold together, adding the raspberries when almost combined.

Spoon into cupcake tins - I got 18 out of this recipe.  Bake for 15mins or until golden.

*I also sprinkled a little demerera sugar over the top before baking

Very tasty cupcakes, nice and moist - only lasted a few days in the pantry!

My pav, delicious as it was, didn't quite work as it normally does - mainly due to impatience I think, or the fact that I didn't actually measure my ingredients this time!
So basically, I use the good old Edmonds Cookbook recipe for the pav.  I don't alter any ingredients, the only difference is that I am splitting it into two smaller pavs instead of one larger one.  Because of this, I reduce the cooking time slightly.  Just keep an eye on them, you get a feel for when they are ready.

The mousse is where my issues were.  I have made this recipe several times, and it has always worked perfectly.  Now that I have decided to share it with y'all, it goes pear shaped!  I may have been a little hasty in putting the whole thing together and the mousse didn't quite have the time it needed to thicken.  I also may have added a touch more cream than necessary ...

The main thing is, it tastes amazing!!  Like it would be anything less than that anyways - I mean, what more could you want??  Pav, Chocolate Mousse, Whipped Cream and Chocolate Drops!!

I will share with you the mousse recipe, just make sure you follow the measurements and times better than I did.  *This works with both white and dark chocolate.

Chocolate Mousse

200g chocolate in pieces (I use melts or choc drops etc from baking aisle)
3 egg yolks (the leftover from the pav - no wastage here!)
2Tbsp sugar
1/4C cream plus 1C

In a large bowl, place the chocolate and set aside.

In a separate small bowl beat egg yolks with sugar until pale in colour

Heat 1/4C cream in saucepan over low heat, slowly add to the egg mix, whisking as you go.
Pour back into saucepan and continue to heat and stir until it coats the back of wooden spoon.

Pour through a sieve over the bowl of chocolate and stir until smooth.

In another bowl, whip the 1C cream to almost stiff peaks.  Fold half into the choc mix to lighten and then fold in remaining cream.

Cover and refridgerate until set, approx 1hour.

It is such a wonderfully, creamy mousse.  Such a treat to have, and so many ways you can use it.  Obviously I sandwich it between two pavs, and last blog I suggested using it in the chocolate lasagne, but even just in a bowl with some fruit salad.

Onto another meal I mentioned a few blogs ago - nachoes.  I made them with mince, garlic butter oil, tin tomatoes, tin salsa chilli beans, and a generous tablespoon of BBQ sauce.  While making that, I cooked up some streaky bacon ... mmmmmm ... bacon ...
I assembled the nachoes as per usual - chips, with mince mix in centre, sprinkle of cheese on top and put under the grill.  I then sprinkled the crumbled up bacon on top and served with sour cream and guacamole.  It was oh so good!

And the last recipe to share with you is Cheesey Leek, Onion and Potato bake.  Again, I adapted a recipe, and when I make it again, I will adjust the cooking times also.  I found that even though it tasted great, some of the potato was still not as cooked through as I would have liked.
Now you will have to use your imagination for this one, as I clean forgot to take a pic of this when it was ready.  I know my awesome way with words will enable you to get a clear picture in your head though :)

Cheesey Leek, Onion and Potato Bake

4 potatoes
1 leek
1 onion
1tsp mustard seeds
cream cheese
3/4C cream

Preheat oven to 180C

Slice and dice leek and onion.  Cook until tender in pan with butter.  Add mustard seeds and continue  heating for a little longer. Season.

Wash and slice potatoes - I leave skin on, and you want thin slices.

In a greased baking dish, layer potato with leek mix, seasoning each layer and dolloping some blobs of cream cheese around.  Finish with a potato layer.

Pour cream over top - you could also beat a little cream cheese into this.  Sprinkle cheese over top and bake for approx 1 hour until golden on top and cooked through.  I think this would also be nice with bacon added :)

So there you have it. Four new recipes - aren't you glad you decided to click on my blog?  :)  I'll have to put my thinking cap on and come up with something new and exciting for next week!

Happy experimenting!