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Freshly Baked: Hot Cross Bun and Butter Pudding

With many thanks (and kudos) to KitchenSpells for this deliciously inspiring way to use up the last of our Hot Cross Buns…it was the perfect dessert for a cool, wet Autumn evening.

Refer to the KitchenSpells blog for the full recipe and more delectable images.

Needless to say, my Other Half will be on a red-hot lookout for leftover Hot Cross Buns in the next couple of weeks (I’m not sure if I have the heart to tell him he won’t have much luck). ūüėČ

“I Made It! Monday” Easter Extension

I hope you’ll forgive me, but I have decided to extend the first week of my new event, mainly because it has only just “made it” to The Daily Post’s Events listing (see what I did there?) Don’t worry, though – I will still share the details of something else I made in the last seven days…

Taking advantage of the extra time off from work many of us are fortunate to get over the Easter long weekend, I decided to do some baking. While I was waiting for the Other Half to come home with some extra supplies I needed to give KitchenSpells’ Chocolate and Marshmallow Cupcakes a go (more about that in a future post), I was flicking through some of my many recipe books to see if there was something relatively quick I could whip up in the meantime.

It wasn’t long before I stumbled upon a deliciously indulgent recipe for which I miraculously had all the ingredients on hand…

Triple Chocolate Mocha Brownies

Ingredients
  • ¬Ĺ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 125g unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 Tbs instant espresso powder
  • 2 cups golden brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • ¬ľ tsp salt
  • ¬Ĺ cup macadamia nuts, chopped (or other nut of choice, if you wish)
  • 90g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 90g white chocolate, chopped
Method

Preheat the oven to 190¬įC (375¬įF). Line a 20cm x 20cm x 5cm baking pan with aluminium foil, allowing the foil to overhang the sides. Grease the foil. (In hindsight, I would also add a layer of baking paper on top of the foil at the base of the pan to prevent sticking.)

Mmm…chocolate and coffee – another match made in heaven!

What did you make last week? Find out more about “I Made It! Monday” on the main event page.

My Favourite Recipe: Lemon CHEESEcakes

Where does one start when it comes to cheese? With countless options for preparing and serving the extensive types of cheese offered at varying levels in maturity and style, it’s almost impossible to pinpoint my absolute favourite! Rather than fry my brain trying to make a decision, I thought I was best to go with the easy option – cheesecake.

A few years ago I picked up this great little book called Nibbles, which contains recipes for sweet and savoury ‘finger foods’ that are ideal for serving at parties and other special occasions. To this day, I don’t think I’ve tried any other recipe apart from the one I’m about to share with you, but I have already gotten my money’s worth on this one alone. It’s a keeper, for sure!

Not only are these mini cheesecakes delicious (and the perfect size for entertaining a small crowd), they are extremely easy to prepare. Also, unlike full-size cheesecakes, you only need one packet of cream cheese…bonus!

Lemon Cheesecakes

(from Nibbles: 100 sweet and savoury finger foods by Hardie Grant Books.)

Note: I’ve omitted the blueberry sauce portion of the recipe you’ll find in the book – I believe the cheesecakes work just as well without it.

Ingredients:
  • 90g gingersnap biscuits*
  • 40g unsalted butter, melted
  • 250g cream cheese at room temperature
  • ¬Ĺ¬†C caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1¬Ĺ TBS plain (all purpose) flour
  • 1 TBS lemon juice
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 150g (1 Cup) fresh blueberries**

* I use Butternut Snap biscuits – not sure if that’s a fair substitute, but it works for me

** Frozen is fine if – like me – you freeze punnets of fresh berries as soon as you buy them (they’re never on special when you need them!) I can’t vouch for the success (or otherwise) of pre-packed frozen berries, though.

Method:

I’ve made these little gems enough times to feel confident enough to try slight variations on the recipe, including:

  1. adding passionfruit syrup to the mixture and omitting the blueberries; or
  2. adding crushed strawberries to the mix, replacing the blueberries with fresh strawberries and drizzling white chocolate over the cooled cheesecakes.

Thanks again to B.TX for setting up this challenge! Please join in and support this wonderful weekly event! I look forward to seeing your cheese-a-licious recipes!

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My Favourite Recipe: Stand-by CHOCOLATE Brownies

Donna Hay makes a comeback in¬†my response to this week’s¬†‘My Favourite Recipe’ challenge which is (ladies and gentlemen)…the one and only, no-introductions-necessary, gloriously decadent…chocolate.

Funnily enough, though, there is no actual chocolate in this recipe – well, not of¬†the dreamily-sweet-glossy-dark-chunks-of-heaven variety, that is. However,¬†it does fulfill the difficult task of satisfying even the strongest chocolate craving with the help of just a few pantry staples…and this is why I love (and rely on) it so much.

Stand-by Brownies

(from fast, fresh, simple by Donna Hay)

Ingredients:
  • 150g butter
  • 1¬ľ C caster sugar
  • ¬ĺ C cocoa
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • ¬Ĺ C plain (all purpose) flour
Method:

You can even watch Donna prepare the brownies herself!

Thanks to my fellow Blogging101 graduate B.TX for setting up this challenge! I implore all my fellow foodies to support this wonderful weekly event!

Baking 1, 2, 3

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Rule of Thirds.”

As it’s been way too long between blogs (due to an unexpected hiatus on account of being unwell recently), I also decided to stay on topic and combine my Weekly Photo Challenge response¬†with another (admittedly¬†pitiful) Poetic Hat Trick attempt for Writing201‘s third challenge.

This time the theme was Trust, the form was Acrostic, and the device Internal Rhyme:

Beaters, to mix things quick (and later lick),
Apron, to catch the spills or whatever¬†doesn’t stick;
Knife, to help take the cake (or muffins) out,
Ingredients, which a recipe can’t do without;
Nervous, you don’t have to be, a recipe is all you need,
Go for it¬†– you’ll be so proud of what you achieve!

Enjoy (or jest) at will ūüôā

Freshly baked: Not-so Never Fail Muffins

Just quietly, I am devastated. Not to the point of inconsolable, but quite dismayed to say the least.¬†I’m currently enjoying a day off of work (pre-booked time off in lieu – I’m not ‘chucking a sickie,’* in case you were wondering), and I decided to bake some muffins for the following reasons…

  1. Because I can
  2. So I can say I accomplished something today…even if I end up spending the rest of the day on my laptop or the couch
  3. I thought ‘Freshly Baked’ sounded like a great idea for a new recurring theme for my blog
  4. Seriously,¬†who doesn’t like to start their day with a delicious freshly-baked muffin, still warm from the oven?

I have a number of go-to muffin recipes (one of my most-used recipe books is the Muffin Bible which I picked up for the bargain price of six dollars); however, my pantry, fridge and freezer are a little light on at the moment, so I was having trouble finding a recipe for which¬†I had all of the ingredients on hand…until I found one for ‘Never Fail Muffins’ in my latest purchase from¬†Donna Hay (my hero): The New Easy.

What could possibly go wrong?

Everything was going¬†swimmingly; by the time I took them out of the oven, my kitchen smelled awesome, they had turned a beautiful golden brown, the skewer came out clean…check, check, check!

So far, so good…I managed to get one muffin out of the pan with nary a crumb staying behind, but my (false) sense of security quickly diminished once¬†I started trying to remove its neighbours. Don’t get me wrong¬†– I’ve had many a muffin baking session where one or two tops may come off a little earlier than the rest than the muffin (kind of an “oops…I mean, woo hoo!” situation), but this time I was having no luck freeing them from the pan.

Each of them acted like a two year old child clinging to their mother, begging to not be left at the day care centre; or a dog refusing¬†to jump in the car because it just¬†knows¬†this is one ride that ends at the veterinary surgery, not¬†the beach or park…Every. Single. One.

What could possibly go wrong?

Oh, the carnage! I’m not sure what my biggest crime was – adding a tiny bit of desiccated coconut to the recipe (I thought it would enhance the¬†deliciousness), or using a light spray of cooking oil instead of paper cups, as directed (I didn’t have enough, and it was all or nothing as far as I was concerned)…maybe next time I’ll learn to Stick To The Recipe.

Still, I’m not one to judge a book by its cover (or waste food); despite their wretched appearance, the Muffin Crumbles taste absolutely delicious – even if I do say so myself!

Muffin fail

One out of twelve ain’t bad…right?

I have since done a bit of online research to see if anyone has come up with a genius idea for dealing with¬†muffins mishaps. One post in particular – The Muffin Disaster, by¬†The Brooklyn Farm Girl¬†– caught my attention; the author’s experience was almost¬†identical to mine and her solution¬†was simply inspired…I think I’m going to give¬†it a try!

Can you help?

Unlike Pamela, I’m not terribly¬†innovative in the kitchen – the only reason I can cook is because I can read a recipe (above example notwithstanding). As a result, I’d love to get¬†your suggestions for un-failing my failed muffins. Please also feel free to share the ways you may have dealt with your own¬†baking flops¬†– what worked, what didn’t?

I look forward to the possibility of compiling some of the best (and most disastrous) stories for a future post – confess away!

* ‘Chucking a sickie’ – Aussie slang for calling into work sick when you’re not really ill – I have way too much of a guilty conscience to pull it off, myself!