Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Happy Easter!

Hello lovelies!

I thought I'd do a quick blog with some Easter treats for y'all :)

My daughter and I set to work this morning, making a batch of Easter cookies.  For all those who have followed me before, we used my basic chocolate chip cookie recipe but exchanged the choc chips with mini Easter eggs.  Such fun!

Still on a chocolate high, I decided to try my hand at some Easter cupcakes.  I kinda threw ingredients together, but it seems to have worked!

I also have some lovely dinner ideas for these cooler days we've been experiencing.  One is a dish that my American friends are huge fans of.  Biscuits and gravy.  Don't worry kiwis, it's not as bad as it sounds!  It's actually really tasty, and I even had my children licking their plates and requesting that I make it again the next night.
The other is a crazy mince and cheese pie, inspired by my friend who was making cauliflower cheese for tea.  I already had mince out, so decided to try and combine them in a pie.

Easter cookies

75g butter, softened
1/2C sugar, 1/2C brown sugar
1 egg
1/2C mini Easter eggs
1/2tsp baking soda
1 1/4C flour

Beat butter and sugars together.  Add egg and beat again.
Mix in the Easter eggs.  I used mini candy coated ones, you could use any variation.
Sprinkle flour and baking soda over top and combine.
Roll into teaspoon sized balls and flatten with a fork.
Bake at 180C for around 10-15 minutes

Easter cupcakes

75g butter, softened
1/2C sugar
1 tsp each of vanilla essence and raspberry essence (optional extra)
2 bananas
1 1/2C flour
1tsp baking powder
1/4C milk
choc eggs for decoration

Preheat oven to 180C and line cupcake tin with cases
Beat butter and sugar with essences of your choice.  I recommend using vanilla as a base.  You don't have to add the other essence, I just thought it would be quite tasty.
Break up bananas and add (you can mash, but I prefer to have chunks).  Mix
Sift flour and baking powder and fold in.
Add milk to soften.
Spoon into cases.  I got 14 out of this.

Gently press a choc egg into the top of each cupcake.
Bake for approx 20 minutes.

Biscuits and Gravy

Biscuit mix:
2C flour
1Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
6Tbsp butter, cold
1C buttermilk

Combine dry ingredients.  Cut butter in to resemble breadcrumbs.  Add buttermilk and combine.  I got in there with my hands and gave it a gently knead too.
Roll out to about an inch thick and using a round cutter, cut out biscuits.
Place on baking tray and brush with milk.
Pop in the oven at 180C for around 10-15 minutes (basically like scones)

350g sausage meat (from proper sausages, not that pink stuff)
1/4C flour
2C milk
salt and pepper.
optional extra - grated cheese

Heat frying pan and add a little olive oil.
Break up sausage meat into small chunks and fry until cooked through.
Sprinkle half the flour over and give it a stir.  Add the other half.
Slowly pour the milk in, stirring continuously.
Season with salt and pepper and allow to heat through until it has thickened.
If you want, you can add a little grated cheese to this too.

Slice biscuits in half and scoop gravy over top.  I had two biscuits and was full after that.  They are very filling!
I believe the Americans eat this for breakfast, but I think it works for any time of day.

Crazy Mince and Cheese Pie

Now this was kind of a spur of the moment meal with a bit of "whatever is in the pantry" type of meal.  I found one lone sheet of puff pastry, so decided to use that as the base for my pie.
I heated a pan with olive oil and fried off some diced onion and mince.
Add some vegetables to this (I used carrots and peas) along with one or two tins of tomatoes.
I had about a cup or so of leftover pasta spirals, so I added those too.
Bring it to the boil and let it simmer a little.
Meanwhile, make up a cheese sauce
3Tbsp butter
2-3Tbsp flour
salt and pepper
1 1/2C milk
1/4C grated cheese

Scoop mince mix into dish lined with pastry.  I chose to use up the last of the hash browns in our freezer by lining the top with them.  You could, however use *pastry if you like.
Pour cheese sauce over.  Sprinkle with extra grated cheese.
*If using pastry, pour sauce over mince first.
Pop in oven at 180C for around 45 minutes

There you go, that should keep you going for the long weekend!  Enjoy your Easter treats!

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Did you miss me?

Hi my pretties!  Long time, no see!
I have no real excuse for being such a slacker on the blogging front.  I just found it easier to post directly to Facebook as it took less time than writing up a blog, but I am back!  I will endeavour to write more of these throughout the year.
Last night we went over to a friends for dinner and I made a pudding that I'd watched Nigella make, and wanted to attempt.  Alas, I had had too many wines and didn't feel like eating it myself, but it was well received by others :)
You may have heard of a dessert called Grasshopper Pie.  This is what I made, only mine wasn't green.  Ordinarily it would be made with green Creme de Menthe and blond Creme de Cacao, but I had some Prenzel on my shelf that I wanted to use.  Mine was a chocolate brown colour instead.  I still used the same choc-mint flavour, only I had Peppermint Schnapps (which is clear) and Chocomulu (which is a syrupy chocolate liqueur).

I didn't have the recipe with me when I did my shop, so in true Calamity Jayne styles, I had all the wrong quantities!  It still worked though.  I actually ended up with extra filling, so I will write out the quantities I think would have been better.

Grasshopper Pie

250g chocolate biscuits (I used a budget TimTam type)
80g dark chocolate
50g butter (melted)

Put into a food processor and blitz to a sticky crumb.  
*side note - I couldn't remember if the chocolate was meant to be melted so I just put it in as is, though I think it was probably meant to be melted)
Press into a flan dish - I used a silicone mould, though a loose bottom tin would be just as good.  Sit in fridge to set.

100ml milk
100g white marshmallows
60ml Peppermint Schnapps/Creme de Menthe
60ml blond Creme de Cacao/Chocomulu
300ml cream

Put milk and marshmallows in a small saucepan and heat, stirring until marshmallows have melted in. Take off the heat and put in a bowl.  Add your alcohol choices and mix.  If you are wanting it to look a little more green, you can add a few drops of food colouring.
Leave this to cool slightly, while you whip the cream.
Fold the cream into the green/choc brown mix.
Pour into base and smooth the top.  Set it in the fridge.

When ready to serve, grate some extra dark chocolate on top.  Voila!

This morning, my daughter asked for pancakes for breakfast.  She was given an apron at Christmas time and she has been wanting to help out in the kitchen ever since.  I agreed to make them, and had her and her sister help with mixing.

In case you don't have a pancake recipe, here is what I use:

1C flour
1C milk/water
1 egg
pinch of salt.

I double it usually, but this is a standard recipe.  I normally do half milk and half water.  You can add more milk/water to your mix depending on how thick you like your batter.

I decided to make caramelised pears to go over top.  To make these, I peeled and cored two pears.  I sliced them into long strips.
Heat some butter in a pan and add pears.  Let them cook in the butter for a while before adding a teaspoon of vanilla.  Stir.  Sprinkle in some brown sugar - I just eyeball it until it looks like enough.
Keep it cooking, stirring occasionally.  Spoon over your pancakes.

For lunch, I decided to use up some leftovers in the fridge.  I still had some sausages from the previous night, and tomatoes that needed to be eaten.

I chopped these, along with an onion.
In a saucepan, I got 1C of rice cooking.
I heated a frying pan with olive oil and when warm, I added the onion and leftover sausage.  I fried that until it was cooked through.  I added the tomatoes.
I drained the rice and added this to the pan too.  Season and stir.
Crack a few eggs - I used three - and stir them through.  The heat from the pan and the cooked food will cook the eggs.

So there you go.  After waiting with baited breath for over a year, you now have three recipes to add to your repertoire :)  Enjoy!  Happy cooking my lovelies!