Monday, June 27, 2011

Strawberry and Vanilla Bean Scones

I really love to bake. Doesn't matter if its sweet or savoury. Making pies, tarts, breads, scones or biscuits just to name a few, make's me smile.

There is also nothing better than putting a smile on someone else's face. If your looking for a baked good thank you for someone, these scones would be it. They are delicious plain or devonshire style with jam, cream, and a great cup of tea. So easy and quick to make, and a little bit impressive, studded with fresh strawberries, vanilla beans and little white chocolate bits.

A great morning tea to have on hand, scones freeze really well. Lets hope that most of these actually make it too the freezer. Not like the last time I baked and made a carrot loaf, with the soul purpose of freezing some slices!!

Makes 8
2 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoons vanilla sugar
2/3 cup buttermilk
40grams butter melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 large strawberries chopped roughly
1-2 tablespoons white chocolate chips

preheat the oven to very hot 220C. Have a lightly floured bench also ready.

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix quickly by hand. Add more buttermilk if needed. Just bring the dough together, DO NOT OVER MIX.
Roughly roll out into a log and cut scone into 8 pieces. Place in a baking tray and brush with buttermilk.
Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Just bring the mixture together and turn it out onto the bench. Then bring it into a dough, and cut into 8 pieces.

Again another successful batch of scones, I can't believe my luck! I am always tentative making scones. I don't know what the magic is behind it but these were so light and fluffy, and smelled so good.

Of coarse my husband thinks that these would be good without the white chocolate too. What a weirdo! We really had to stop ourselves from eating more of these. The smell was intoxicating.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lurpak Challenge

I adore cooking. Especially baking. I think I have metntioned this a billion times. I can't help it I just LOVE food! I have entered a competition on the Lurpak website! And am hoping to get as much support, or more to the point VOTES!!!


The dishes I have put up are:

Raspberry Cheesecake Choc Chunk Brownie. 


I will also be posting about these dishes very soon :)

Thanks I always really appreciate anyone taking the time to look at my little bloggy world, let alone anyone that might take the time to vote for me ;)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Brussel Sprout Pasta

I find brussel sprouts have always been a deal breaker. You either love them, like myself, or you loath them.

I can understand why people would hate them. If not cooked well, they are grey, smelly, mushy and have a horrid taste. Reminds me of really bad RSL food.

I find if you cook them this way in a little cream, it sort of mellows the flavour. You can also add pancetta, or bacon for a smoky salty flavour. But I really love them and I prefer not to add too much more flavour to them. One of my favourite ways of eating them is simply steamed with a little olive oil and lemon. But I tried this pasta, that I found and adapted from patent and the pantry and thought it was fantastic! I had to share the recipe.

8-10 brussel sprouts shredded
1 large garlic minced
1 small brown onion shredded
1 heaped teaspoon seeded mustard
1-2 teaspoons beef stock powder, I always use Massel as it is vegetarian
splash white wine
1/4 cup cream

Top with:
1-2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
parsley few stalks chopped roughly
1/2 lemon zest
goats cheese to taste
salt and pepper

saute the onion and garlic in a little olive oil. Add the stock powder, mustard, cream and the wine. Throw in the brussel sprouts and toss for a few minutes. Then toss it through cooked pasta, serve with the pine nuts, parsley, lemon zest and feta.

Sorry lighting is very bad in these pics. It has been so dark and gloomy that I couldn't capture the vivid colour of the sprouts. These pics don't do the pasta any justice...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Food Budgets

I have decided to add a budget food label section to my recipes. I love working on budgets and do this every week for myself and my husband, maybe I need a full time job??

With the cost of groceries rising crazily and good fresh food becoming a luxury, it is easy to understand why so many people eat poorly.

Don't get me wrong we are not perfect, but I try really hard to make fresh, tasty and healthy food without blowing the budget every week.

I am also going to try and make it quick, or at least easy type food. I am pregnant at the moment and I know that my cooking will change due to the amount of time I will have in the kitchen. I have constant panicked thoughts on still making fresh healthy food for my family, without having to spend all day in the kitchen, and having to sacrifice any precious time with them.

Shows like Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules are very inspiring, and I love them, but I sometimes wonder if they realise it would be cheaper to dine out than to put together some of the dishes they create!

When I see 12 little lamb cutlets are almost $40 I want to cry. And the price of fruit and veg is crazy. Fresh herbs are now ridiculously expensive also, yet another thing to add to the way too expensive pile. I have a girlfriend of mine, who's little boy chose banana as his treat for the week, while grocery shopping with mum INSTEAD of junk. When a child choses fresh produce over chips or chocolate as a treat, I know we should rejoice, but it is very sad that these can't be an everyday food now. I remember as a child always having fresh fruit and vegetables in the house.

We all know we are better off growing as much of our own produce as we can, but honestly who has the time, or space to do this?? It is fun to maybe grow herbs in pots etc, but even then they don't always succeed.  

I am so lucky to be living in a beautiful part of NSW. We have fresh produce all around us. Plenty of farm fresh eggs, fruit, vegetables, seafood and even meat. I'm very spoilt. I just wish that more people would support local farmers, and seasonal produce, and go to farmers markets that pop up everywhere now.

I hope this new budget section's serve you well, and please any feedback is welcome.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Prawn Saganaki Pasta

I love seafood. I could eat it all the time. My husband on the other hand doesn't enjoy it as much as I do. But this is one dish he really loves.

We are just so lucky where we live. We live right near the ocean and it means we have access to the best seafood. It is literally caught and hauled in through the back door of the shop, down on the Pier. Makes me wish we had a boat, so I could do my own fishing!

serves 2

dozen prawns
2 small shallots finely diced
1 large garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 glass white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock, or whichever you prefer
1 tin whole or chopped tomatoes
small pinch of sugar
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon sour cream
zest of 1/2 lemon
handful of parsley chopped roughly
Extra virgin olive oil
pasta of your choice. I love using an egg pasta for a thick sauce like this one.

Fry the shallots and garlic together gently in olive oil, until just translucent with a very small pinch of sugar. Add the tomato paste, fry the paste for 2 minutes.
Add the wine, and evaporate that. Then add the stock and tomatoes. Let this cook a little, maybe 5 minutes. adding about half a tin of water to the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Next add the sour cream and prawns. Simmer sauce for 5 minutes with the lid on.
Toss this through a fettuccine pasta.
Finish with parsley, lemon rind, sprinkling of feta and a drizzle of olive oil.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Belly Update

This was me and the bump on the weekend. I had so much fun with hubby. All we pretty much did was eat, and sleep hahaha.

I'm so close now to my due date now, the anticipation of meeting my little one is killing me! I am really grumpy and moody one minute, then the happiest I've been in a while. Not to mention how uncomfortable I am. There is no sleeping. No matter how many pillows I use to prop myself up, or use under the belly. My husband bought me a Bellybean and it helps, bless him, I recommend it to any preggo out there!

Its the little legs I can feel kicking my ribs at night. The bumblebee has taken to being a night owl. I really hope this is not the case later on!!! It is the strangest feeling having this little worm wriggling around inside you. You know it's a tiny human, but its also hard to get your head around that fact.

I'm trying to get in as much selfish time with my husband as I can, as I know we won't get any when the little bumblebee arrives :)

I can't contain my excitement. I just hope bub arrives safe, and soon :)

Saturday: Really good fish and chips, by the water.

Sunday: I sat by the water while hubby ordered us a couple of Gozleme's. Even though the weekend was miserable, weather wise, I love where we live, it's always beautiful.  
The line up for a Gozleme.

I love watching the Turkish ladies making and flipping the Gozleme's.

I always get the spinach and feta.

Monday night: Cheesy Vegetarian Lasagne

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Porridge Pancakes

I'm one of those people that can NEVER skip breakfast. I get way to grumpy and agitated if I do. On the other hand my husband can do with with ease! I don't get people like that, I just wouldn't be able to function!!

Monday was the queens birthday. It was so lovely to have my husband home an extra day that I wanted to make him a special breakfast, just for the fun of it.
I started with soaking the oats overnight. I could see the horror on his face when he saw me doing this. He hates oats! I know, I know, what the heck kind of person did I marry.....
He must of thought that some horrific porridge type thing was going to be consumed the next day hahaha. Or worse a type of bircher muesli!!! Not the case my dear husband. Well sort of anyway.

I saw these delicious oatmeal pancakes on Heidi's blog. As always I find her food scrumptious, and very inspiring. I'm constantly drooling at the computer screen. There is always something I have to try. Heidi found the recipe on Molly's blog Orangette. Another very clever foodie, with mouth watering recipe's, a book and a restaurant.

Makes about 12 thick pancakes

1/2 cup raw oats
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
25 grams melted butter
1/3 cup berries frozen can be left whole, or fresh needs to be chopped a little
1/2 banana sliced finely
1 egg
pinch salt
milk about 1/2-1 cup it depends on your flour how much you need to add to make a thick batter.
you can add sugar for sweetness, but I like to get mine from the fruit and the pure maple syrup ;)

Soak the 1/2 cup oats overnight in 1/2 cup milk. Leave in the fridge until the morning.
Next mix all the dry ingredients together with a whisk. Then add the rest on the ingrednients. Start with 1/2 cup milk, then add more if needed.
I also find if I melt the butter in the pan i'm going to cook the pancakes in, it leaves enough butter to not have to grease it again.
Heat the pan to a medium, these need to be cooked and flipped a few times to cook through, so I found it best to not have the pan too hot. I used a 1/2 cup measurement for the pancake batter, not filling it quite to the top.
The only way to eat these pancakes is with pure maple syrup. I also sprinkled cinnamon between each pancake layer, and then on top, delicious :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lily Allen....

If the rumours are true Lily Allen is pregnant! I am incredibly happy for her, after having had a horrendous miscarriage 6 months into her pregnancy last year.

I had suffered a miscarriage in the past, at just over 3 months, and it took me about a year to 'get over.' I couldn't imagine what it must of been like to have had one at 6 months...... :(

Her husband allegedly announced the pregnancy today at their wedding reception. Her strength and courage to keep trying for a baby is astounding. I found it enormously difficult and scary to even think about trying again. But I decided it was now or never, and we took the plunge. To this day I'm still a little fearful, not until I am holding my little one will I be able to breathe a sigh of relief. Even though, I know their will be a lot more to stress about :)

I wish her and her husband all the best. xo


Friday, June 10, 2011

Carrot and Date Muffins

I love to give and receive food gifts, especially for no reason. I made these to take as a 'thanks for caring' gift, and I kept the loaf for me to freeze!

I love anything that freezes well, especially right now. With my ever growing belly it is getting very difficult to navigate in the kitchen like I used too. But I still really love it. I hope I don't get too tired to have to give up cooking for a bit, I will be so devastated :(

The smell that was coming from the oven when these were baking was incredible.

I used a honey that my mum gave me. We bought it at the markets, and it is so dark and rich, tastes just like maple syrup. I love it drizzled on greek yoghurt with raspberries and almonds, one of my favourite snacks, or brekkies.

makes 1 loaf and 6 muffins

3 medium carrots grated
3 cups flour, I used half wholemeal, half plain
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons mixed sweet spice
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup golden syrup, or a dark rich honey, I used honey
1 cup dates, roughly chopped
4 eggs
zest of 1 lime
100 grams mixed nuts roughly chopped, I used toasted pistachios and almonds.

Icing for the 6 muffins
125 grams cream cheese
1/4 cup icing sugar
juice of 1 lime
topping toasted almonds

NB: The loaf didn't make it to the freezer! We ate the whole thing, was actually better the next day toasted lightly, with a little thick yoghurt, cream cheese or ricotta and honey on the side.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

3rd Anniversary SURPRISE!

Hubby came home with these today!!!

Such a lovely surprise. I love love love to receive flowers!

And we have passion fruit sponge cake for later!!!!! I feel very spoilt today.

We are heading out for dinner on the weekend, hopefully I remember to take my camera, so I can post pics of the dinner!!! I forget everything now a days....

Monday, June 6, 2011

Passionfruit Sponge Anniversary Cake

My third wedding anniversary is on Tuesday. I am trying to decide what to buy my hubby, but he never wants for anything.

He is impossible to buy for cause he ALWAYS says he wants nothing. I know he loves the super expensive nerdy toys. Anything digital like a TV the size of our wall, computery, or an old school classic car would send him into a frenzy!

Instead I have decided to bake hubby a cake! Haha, doesn't make up for not getting any of the above toys, but it is what I can afford for now.

I asked my husband what sort of cake he loves, and he says a plain sponge cake! A PLAIN SPONGE CAKE!!!!! My goodness of everything that I can bake this is what he wants....What can I say I married a weirdo. I would've said a decadent chocolate cake with chocolate icing, or little oozy chocolate fondants. And don't get me started on his weirdness about icing. He likes just a little, he thinks it's too sickly sweet if there is too much. I could eat just a bowl of icing right now. I blame the little one that's kicking around inside me for my full blown sweet tooth right now ;)

It has been a long time since we had just cake.  I really don't like baking a whole cake, it is just a waste. It is only the two of us, well three counting Chucky, for now ;) So it's impossible for us to eat the whole thing! But this is a very special anniversary for us so a whole cake it is!

I used a really basic recipe I found on taste. SO easy and really quick. I also used a larger cake tin 22cm, instead of 2 smaller ones, and baked it for a little longer.

Basic Sponge Cake
4 eggs room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup corn flour
2/3 cup self raising flour

Preheat the oven to 160C. Beat the eggs and sugar together until really glossy and tripled in volume.
Sift in the flours, and very lightly and quickly mix with a big spoon, or spatula.
Bake for 30 minutes until golden and firm to touch, but still springy. Flip it upside down and let cool. Ice how you wish.

Tropical fruit cream filling.

300mls thickened cream
1 vanilla bean scraped of seeds
1-2 tablespoons strawberry jam, the best you can afford
2-3 strawberries cut into little chunks
1/2 tin passion fruit
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar

Beat the cream until quite firm, careful not to take it too far, then add the rest of the ingredients, adjusting sweetness etc to your liking.
Split the cooled cake and fill generously with the tropical cream.

Passion fruit icing

1 cup icing sugar
the rest of the tinned passion fruit

Mix the passion fruit and icing sugar together in a bowl. Pour very carefully and slowly over the cake, letting it spill over the sides. Make sure to lick the spoon and bowl, of all the icingy goodness when your husband isn't looking!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Baby update and going Bonkers

This cute little fluffy sheep if for bub to lie back on all snuggly, and play. 

Paddington Bear was a gift from Auntie Lou, bubba's first toy :) I bought the little night light, it's a little hedgehog that glows different colours.

Just a few of the many clothes I have bought for bub. There really is nothing cuter than baby clothes! Tiny little human clothes also make me EMO!

I have been eagerly anticipating the birth of my first baby for what feels like forever! I have been sick, tired, had swollen feet, ankles and legs. Not to mention leg cramps from hell!!!! Not being able to sleep is the worst though. I toss and turn trying desperately to get comfortable, if it isn't the bubba kicking so hard it wakes me, its heartburn or the need to go to the toilet! And I'm always hungry! If I see something appetising online or on the TV I have to have it!

I have been nesting like a crazy woman. Cooking and freezing food, cleaning like the queen is coming, totally spotless. I have always been a bit of a cleanliness nutter but this is different. I feel like de-cluttering like a mad woman. I wish though I could do more, waddling around trying to get things done is not ideal.

By the time the afternoon comes round, I'm putting on the TV and falling asleep. I have never before slept in the afternoon. I'm just not one to take nanna naps! I anticipate this will also happen a lot when baby is finally here.

Being in the last trimester I have been tired and so emo, it is ridiculous. I cannot watch ANYTHING on TV that is remotely sad. It triggers a waterfall of tears, and an urge to do something about it. My husband has put a ban on certain TV shows of an evening, no more Bondi Vet.... I wanted to watch Four Corners, a Bloody Business, about the export of Aussie cattle to Indonesian slaughterhouses, but both my husband and mother advised me strongly not too :( So instead I contributed by letter writing.

It doesn't help that I have been stuck at home with not much to do but wait...

The few things left to do:

  • finish the nursery
  • clean house
  • cook more frozen food for when we arrive home
  • finish packing hospital bag
  • double check the baby's list, nappies, bottles, clothes, make sure I have all the basics we need for a newborn.