Thursday, December 16, 2010


I've never made a lot of brownies before, so i figured i'd start now. You have to have a go to recipe for these chocolate delights right? So i looked around and saw what other people were doing and made up my own basic recipe from there. What a fluke though, these turned out great! A huge hit with hubby and the kid!

Basic Chocolate Brownies

3/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tspn vanilla
3 large eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips/chunks

Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
Line an 8x8 or 9x9 square baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

Add the vanilla and sugar to the melted butter. Stir well.
Mix in the cocoa powder.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl and whisk in with the eggs until well combined. Stir in the flour and chocolate chunks, but do not over mix.

Pour batter into the previously prepared baking pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes.

Let the brownies cool for about 15-20 minutes. Remove parchment paper (with brownies) from the pan. Peel away the parchment paper and cut the brownies into serving size pieces and store in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days.

These were really scrumptious! After two or three days (when they start to dry up a little round the edges) we just crumbled them up into vanilla ice-cream...mmmhmmm...!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

sweet cornbread muffins

The little man of the house LOVES cornbread, it's got to be the most requested item after waffles and hot chocolate! So i've been looking around for more ways to use cornmeal and here is one of the recipes i found to try.....

Sweet Cornbread Muffins
Original recipe from Eating Out Loud
Recipe below is how i made them =)

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup oil
1 cup milk

In a large mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add beaten egg, oil and milk, stirring until just combined.

Fill muffin cups 1/2 full, then put a small dollop of strawberry jam in the centre, 1/2 tsp for mini's, 1 tsp for large muffins. Then top the muffins with more batter until they are 3/4 full.

Bake at 400F (200C) for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
(mini muffins took about 10 mins)

Allow the muffins to cool slightly before removing from the muffin tin.
These are delicious while still warm!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

homemade fig newtons

Look at those gorgeous biscuits.....

To think it all started with 87c packets of dried figs!!

The delicious end result of boiling apple juice, water, dried figs, sugar and orange zest!

Filling the strips of rolled dough with fig jam......

Filled, rolled and cut cookies ready to bake!

Homemade Fig Newtons
Original Recipe @ The Boastful Baker
This recipe below is how i made them =)

1 cup finely chopped dried figs
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups apple juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon grated orange zest

Cookie Dough:
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour

1. Make the filling: Combine the figs, water, apple juice and sugar in a medium sauceapan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook at a bare simmer for 1-2 hours until the figs are so soft that they’re spreadable.

2. Transfer to a food processor or blender, add the orange zest and process until smooth. Remove from the food processor and allow to cool.
(i don't have a food processor, so mine was a little chunky, but we loved it!!)

3. Make the dough: Cream together the butter, sugar and orange zest in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, for 2-3 minutes on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl and paddle. Add the egg and vanilla and beat in. Scrape down the bowl and paddle again. Add the flour and beat on low speed until the dough comes together. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

4. Place racks in middle and lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

5. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12 x 16 rectangle. Cut into 4 equal strips, each 12 x 4 inches. Spoon a line of filling down the center of each strip. Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the edges together. Place on the parchment-lined baking sheets, seam side down.

6. Using a super sharp knife, slice each log into 10 cookies. (Pop the logs in the freezer for 10 minutes before slicing them.) Bake, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through, for 12-15 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack.

Monday, November 29, 2010

maple cornbread

The first time i made cornbread it was a success, but why stop there? So i decided to try many versions and find the perfect one for us! This one recipe here i came across sounded delicious, using maple syrup instead of sugar, so i gave it a try. Followed the recipe exactly and a perfect cornbread came out of the oven after exactly 20 minutes of baking!

Maple Cornbread

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman's - Tasty Kitchen

1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup Stone Ground Or Yellow Cornmeal
1 tbsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup Milk
1/4 cup Maple Syrup
6 tbsp Butter, Melted
2 Eggs, Lightly Beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 425° F. Pour 2 tablespoons of the melted butter into an 8 or 9-inch square or round baking pan.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the milk, maple syrup, remaining butter, and eggs. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently stir together just until moistened.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve warm with butter and maple syrup.

Makes 9 servings.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

mini baked donuts

Look at these little beauties! I was browsing the thrift stores again, i can't help myself, you NEVER know when a bargain will be awaiting you! I got these two pans, which are hardly used they look brand new, both for just $2! So of course i had to make donuts, the halloween cake moulds will wait for next year so look out!

Being late in the day, i thought i'd try baked donuts, i've heard it's quicker, easier AND healthier!! So off to Tastespotting first to see what i could find!
I discovered a new fantastic blog called Handle the Heat! Check it out!

Look how light and fluffy these turned out, i followed the recipe to the t and they turned out wonderful! I made mini's as it was the only tray i had, and got 30 little cuties out of the batch of batter! I can imagine making these in muffin form and filling with jam or custard or putting chocolate icing on them instead of cinnamon sugar....ok, i have to stop now!

Maple Cinnamon-Sugar Baked Donuts
Recipe courtesy of Handle the Heat!

Makes:- 6 donuts (i made 30 mini donuts with this batter!)

•1 cup all-purpose flour
•3/4 teaspoon baking powder
•3/4 teaspoon baking soda
•pinch of salt
•1 egg (lightly beaten)
•1 6 oz container of non fat organic vanilla bean yogurt
•1 tablespoon canola oil
•2 teaspoons lemon juice
•2 1/2 tablespoons real maple syrup
•1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
•1/2 cup sugar
•2 tablespoons butter (melted)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the cinnamon and sugar together in a shallow dish and set aside. In a large bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients. In another bowl stir together oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, egg and yogurt.

2. Make a hole in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the hole. Gently fold everything together until combined. The batter will be thick.

3. Scoop batter into a piping bag or ziploc bag, snip a bottom corner with scissors, and squeeze out the batter evenly into a donut pan.

4. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for a few moments and then flip over onto a cooling rack while still warm.

5. Use a pastry brush the melted butter over your donuts and then dip each donut in the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat. Serve immediately after coating with cinnamon sugar mixture for best texture.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

mum's tuna dinner

This is a dish i remember from my chilhood, into my teenage years. Mum used to bake it and if you are a tuna lover it was a delicious comforting meal! My favourite part was when i bit into a little piece of sweet gherkin =) Later on in years my Mum finally admitted to me she got the recipe from the back of the soup mix packet!! Now it's a family favourite! Bake it with topping or eat it like a mornay, delicious either way!

Mum's Tuna Dinner

Cook 1 1/2 cups macaroni – Drain.

Melt 2 tbsp butter in saucepan and add 1 Pkt Tomato Vegetable soup mix, 2 tbsp flour. Blend with 1 cup water and 1 cup milk.

Stir until boiling, mix in macaroni, 500g tuna, 1 chopped gherkin (sweet NOT a pickle!) and pour into casserole dish. (OR you can eat it like this, like a mornay! YUM!)

Combine ½ cup grated cheese, 1 tbsp breadcrumbs, ½ tsp paprika. Sprinkle on top.

Bake in a moderate oven for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

custard cookies

I found this recipe somewhere, sometime last year, printed it off and carried it around for a while. Finally whilst sorting through pages of scribbled down recipes, printed off recipes and torn out magazine pages i have started to work my way through the ones i REALLY want to try. Amazing how as time passes and your interest and tastes in recipes change! I now have a new "to-try" pile and a new scrap paper scribble pad.

These kind of....melt-in-your-mouth.....i really like that texture. Starts of as a crumbly soft mix that you roll into little balls, then press with a fork. I want to make a nice cream filling...custard creams...YUM!

Look at those little rolled, pressed balls all ready to bake, so well behaved!!

Custard Cookies

250g butter, softened
1 cup pure icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups plain flour
1/2 cup custard powder

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

Place butter, sugar and vanilla into a food processor. Process for 2 minutes or until well combined.

Add flour and custard powder. Pulse until just combined (don't over-process or biscuits will not have a fine texture).

Roll heaped teaspoonfuls of mixture into small balls. Place onto prepared baking trays. Press with a floured fork to flatten slightly.

Bake for 12 minutes or until light golden. Allow to stand on trays for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining biscuit mixture.

This mix said it would make 36 but i must have made smaller balls because i made 70!! =)

I also rubbed the butter in with all the ingredients by hand as i don't have a food processor, good old fashioned elbow grease! They turned out so smooth and delicious, now to find a nice cream filling recipe and make custard creams with these beauties!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

creamy pumpkin pasta

I honestly don't know why i haven't been experimenting more with savoury food. I do have the BIGGEST sweet tooth and enjoy making treats for others BUT now i have a family, two boys one big (hubby) and one small (step-son) i have had the opportunity to get creative. The boy will eat everything i make, saying "i should let people in the house, they can sit on the couch, to eat 'cos it's SOOO good!", hubby on the other hand likes specific things.
This dish, was better than even i could have imagined!!!

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta - Serves 4

500g of your favourite pasta
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
500g pumpkin puree
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp of cumin
1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup, grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional cheese for serving

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and cook the according to the package instructions. Drain.

While the pasta is cooking, in a decent sized fry pan, saute the garlic, shallots and olive oil until transparent and smell great!

Stir in the chicken broth, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, bay leaves and season to taste. Cook until the sauce has thickened, about 5-10 minutes, and then stir in the Parmesan cheese and heavy cream.

Continue simmering the sauce for a further 5 minutes, take out the bay leaves, and stir the sauce into the pasta. Add a touch of parmesan cheese on top for garnish and serve!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

wholewheat pb & honey muffins

Always trying to be a little healthier when creating treats for the boy (and my waistline) i'll switch up and use some wholewheat flour and honey instead of sugar! Not always as sweet but very tasty.

These peanut butter and honey muffins came out great, i got to use my silicone muffin cups to bake them in for the very first time, talk about ease of removing them!! Although a bit of a pain to wash them after.....

Peanut Butter & Honey Muffins (wholewheat)

3/4 cup plain flour
3/4 cup wholewheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup honey OR sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth or crunchy
1/4 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl, rub/cut in the butter (i do it by hand as i have no processor)

When it resembles breadcrumbs, mix in peanut butter, honey, egg & milk until JUST combined.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes (depends on your oven) or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 12 Muffins.

*You can use all plain flour instead of wholewheat and sugar instead of honey if you like, i have made these several different ways and this recipe is the way the boy likes them =) we added in 1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts also!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

banana whoopie pies

So, the infamous Whoopie Pie! i have finally had an opportunity to make and eat some! NOW i see what all the fuss is about! They are like babycakes, a little slice of cake that can be eaten in hand and is smaller, therefore, much better for the wasteline.....if that is you can stop at one!!!

Banana Whoopie Pies - recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart!

Makes about 36

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mashed banana (from 1 large ripe banana)
1/2 cup sour cream
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl. Combine banana and sour cream in another bowl.

2.Beat butter and granulated and brown sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed, until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, beating until incorporated. Add banana mixture in 2 additions, alternating with flour mixture.

3.Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain tip. Pipe batter into 1 1/4-inch rounds on baking sheets, spacing rounds 1 1/2 inches apart.

4.Bake until edges are golden, about 12 minutes. Slide parchment, with cookies, onto wire racks. Let cool. (Unfilled cookies can be stored for up to 1 day.)

5.Beat cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla with a mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.

6.Pipe or spoon 1 tablespoon cream cheese mixture onto the flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies. Dust with confectioners' sugar, and serve immediately.

These lasted two days! My boys LOVED them! It's nice to know i have another alternative to banana cake when the bananas turn gross, well - perfect for baking, thanks Martha!

Friday, November 5, 2010

pasta bake:- chicken, spinach & ricotta

Pasta is a wonderful thing, you can do so much with it. I personally love good old fashioned macaroni cheese or spaghetti bolognaise, but every now and then i feel like something different and whip up a pasta bake. Usually i tend to use what i have in the fridge or cupboards, no waste that way!

Pasta Bake:- Chicken, Ricotta & Spinach

250g macaroni, uncooked
250g frozen chopped spinach
1 shallot or medium onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups chicken, cooked and diced or pulled apart
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
400g tub of ricotta
1 cup milk
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 sachets Bovril chicken stock powder
1/2 cup breadcrumbs mixed with 1/2 cup parmesan, grated (for topping)
salt & pepper

Cook the pasta until it is just cooked, al dente, i think they call it. Drain and put aside.

Saute the garlic, onion and spinach, cook off most of the moisture. Put aside to cool.

Melt the butter in a large pan, add the flour and let it start to cook, slowly add the milk stirring constantly as it thickens. Mix in the ricotta, chicken stock, cooked chicken, macaroni and spinach mixture.
Season to taste.

Spread into a 9 inch x 13 inch baking tray ( i used a glass lasagne dish)

Top with parmesan and breadcrumbs and bake @ 200C until golden on top. Mine took around 30 minutes, switching it around at 15 minutes for even baking.

Monday, November 1, 2010

mini muffins

I discovered Weelicious a little while ago, and found these scrumptious little muffin recipes and made a whole whack of them to freeze for the boys school lunches!! I found some other recipes like peanut butter & honey and pumpkin pie muffins, i also substituted half the plain flour with wholewheat flour in all of these recipes to make them just that little bit healthier =)

Above you can see the scrumptious zucchini muffins!

Delicious strawberry muffins!

I'd really like to try red-pepper cornbread muffins next!

Here's the other flavours i have made:-
- carrot & pineapple muffins
- apple & banana muffins
- pumpkin pie muffins
- wholewheat pb & honey muffins

Sunday, October 31, 2010

banana cream pie

I'm not going to mess around here. I know you all want to know how to make this pie. So i'll keep this blurb SHORT!! I researched ALL over the shop for a recipe i thought looked and sounded good enough for my hubby on his birthday! I'll admit also that i have never tasted or made a banana cream pie so this was quite the challenge to get right. My husband said it's one of his favourites!!! I took my chance on a mish mash of a few recipes i found ...

Banana Cream Pie

250g cream cheese, room temperature
1 tin sweetened condensed milk
1 packet vanilla pudding mix, dissolved in 3/4 cup water
2-3 cups whipped cream
2-3 ripe bananas
1 ready made OR homemade 9-inch/23-cm DEEP pie base (sweet shortcrust)
(OR 2 regular depth 9-inch/23-cm bases, this makes quite a bit of filling, would be great for tarts also!)

1 - Pre-bake and prepare your pie crust so it is cooled and ready to fill =)

2 - Beat cream cheese until soft and slowly add in the condensed milk, then slowly add in the pudding mixture, beat until light, thick and creamy. The pudding mix will start to thicken and will set in the fridge.

3 - Gently fold in the whipped cream, start with 1 cup and add more to taste, if you like it sweet and heavier leave it, if you'd prefer a lighter creamier pie add more cream, you can use the left-over cream to put on top to serve! ( i used 2 cups of whipped cream IN my pie)

4 - Line the pie crust with a little pie mixture, then slice up your bananas and place them down in one layer across the top. Top with more pie mixture and add a second layer of bananas if you choose. Finally top with remaining mixture and pop into the fridge to chill and set!

Make it advance so that it has time for the banana flavour to permeate the me, it's worth the's really GOOD!!

5 - To serve top with whipped cream, cut and serve!

I recommend if it's just for at home, serve with whipped cream on the side for each piece, the pie will store better without the fresh cream on top. Either way you WILL NOT regret trying this pie....seriously ours is already half gone!!! hehe

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