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!!