December 26, 2009

Gingerbread Men

I know I have a whole big backlog of recipes to post, but seeing as it's the Christmas season, I thought I'd just jump ahead and post this Gingerbread Men recipe. I'm no good at decorating them (nor do I have the time), so these were just plain. Even so, they were well loved.

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you've had a good one!

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Ingredients

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 1/2 firmly packed cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup golden syrup
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tbs ground ginger
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 2 large baking trays. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar using electric beaters until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in golden syrup and egg yolk, then use a spoon to fold in flour, ginger, spice and soda until it forms a smooth dough. Form into a ball and cover in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes.
  3. Bring dough to room temperature then roll out between baking paper to 5mm thick. Use a gingerbread man cutter to cut shapes (or indeed any other shape you desire, in which case you might end up with gingerbread stars or something other than men).
  4. Space out on trays and bake for 10 minutes or until golden.
  5. The biscuits will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

December 6, 2009

How does your garden grow?

And now for something different! Stepping away from the kitchen for this post, and into my garden. Well, the pots on my balcony that is. I have a number of plants from chilis to herbs (and more non-edible plants). How does your garden grow?

I promise we'll be back to the regular program next post! In the mean time, enjoy the pics.


Chili of some description, I think it has ebony in the title, but my little sister who gave it to me couldn't remember the name.

Basil, my most favourite herb. I love making basil and pinenut pesto!

Mint! I love just touching the mint and smelling the aroma it leaves on my fingers. Is that weird? There's just something so refreshing about the smell of mint!

Lemon tree seedling! I took these shots a while ago, and unfortunately the bird have eaten this one. Actually, they ate all the seedlings that I grew from seed. I was so annoyed. I will try again though!
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Next time: I have a really long backlog of food photos, and just have to match up the recipes to them now, you'll be getting one of those recipes next time!

November 13, 2009

Time for a change....

I decided it was time for a change of blog design. Cupcakes are an appropriate theme, but not sure if I'm convinced regarding the two column side bar thing. Feedback, anyone?

November 7, 2009

Apple-pie cookies

When I saw these cookies over at Bakingbites.com, I knew I had to make them immediately! Straight out of the oven, these cookies were pleasantly crisp on the outside, and wonderfully warm and moist on the inside. They keep well for two to three days in an air-tight container, but the outside of the cookies will lose the crispness. They are still delicious the next day, but I believe they are best consumed on the day you bake them. I am surprised there were even any left for the next day, I wanted to eat them all as soon as I'd made them, they were that good! Take note that as these cookies lose their crisp outside the next day, they are likely to stick together if stacked on top of one another in a container. You can get around this by layering plastic wrap or baking paper/grease-proof paper (my preference).

You really should make these cookies right away. You won't be sorry!

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Apple-pie cookies
Adapted from Bakingbites.com

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bi-carb soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
125g butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 1/4 cups diced fresh apples (about 2 apples)
3/4 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped (I used walnuts)


Method
  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a cookie tray with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until well combined and fluffy.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, bi-carb soda, salt and spices.
  4. Beat in egg and maple syrup.
  5. Mix in flour mixture with a spoon or any other mixing utensil you desire, until combined.
  6. Stir in apples and pecans.
  7. Drop by spoonfuls onto lined cookie tray.
  8. Bake for 12-15 min, until cookies are browned around the edges.
  9. Eat one as soon as they're cool enough to pick up and eat.
  10. Enjoy!
  11. Cool the rest of the cookies for 5 minutes on tray, finish cooling on a cake rack.

Makes about 20 medium-sized cookies


October 7, 2009

Sweet Potato and Ginger Cake

Wait, before you click away due to the hideously ugly photos below, hear me out....

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Wow, those photos actually make this delicious cake look rather bad. You might be surprised to hear that this cake is actually really good. Despite the sweet potato (or kumara as it is known in some parts) and ginger... it kind of doesn't sound very appetising does it? I'm not sure what possessed me to make it, but I'm glad I did, because it was one of the best cakes I've ever eaten (aside from Nigella's Chocolate and Guinness Cake which I made not too long ago, and was recommended to me by the ever-entertaining Laura from Hungry and Frozen). So moist and satisfying, even a couple of days later. I highly recommend you give it a go... unless you don't like ginger, then maybe you should make the Chocolate and Guinness Cake instead.

Oh, now I know why I decided to make it, the picture in the magazine made it look fabulous... and it has white chocolate icing (yum!). My photos really don't do it any justice at all. Might have to go and make it again just to get some good photos! (....and maybe to eat some more of it).

This recipe is adapted from the Woman's Day "Everyday Food" magazine. This magazine comes out quarterly and is a small and handy size to sit on your kitchen bench as you work. I really like this magazine as the recipes are always quite easy and there's a lot of recipes to choose from. I am a bit of a sucker for shiny new recipe magazines and books (that include photos).

Ingredients

500g Sweet Potato, peeled and chopped
125g Butter at room temperature
75ml Maple syrup
75ml Golden Syrup
1/2 cup tightly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 and 3/4 cups plain flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp salt

White chocolate icing
2 tbs pouring cream
100g white chocolate chopped or broken into pieces

Method
  1. Cook sweet potato in a saucepan of lightly salted water for 15-20 min until tender. Drain well.
  2. Using a food processor, blend sweet potato until pureed (you can also use a potato masher, but you might be at it for a while). You'll need 1 cup sweet potato puree (you can chill any left over sweet potato in the fridge for 2-3 days)
  3. Preheat oven to 180C.
  4. Lightly grease and flour a 6 cup ring cake pan or kugelhopf, shaking out any excess (I used a silicone kugelhopf placed on a cookie tray).
  5. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter, maple syrup, golden syrup, and sugar together until creamy.
  6. Add eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition.
  7. Beat in vanilla extract.
  8. Fold in sweet potato puree.
  9. Sift flour, ginger, bicarb soda and salt into a bowl.
  10. Fold into creamed mixture until combined.
  11. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing top.
  12. Bake for 40-45 min until cake pulls away from sides and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean and dry. Cool in the pan for 10 min or so.
  13. Meanwhile, in a microwave safe jug/bowl, add chocolate and cream. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, mixing after each 30 second increment, until chocolate is almost all melted, do not microwave for longer or it is likely to burn. Any chocolate lumps can be stirred vigorously until the mixture is smooth. Set aside for 10 min to cool to room temperature (you can do this in the fridge for a shorter period).
  14. Seve cake warm or at room temperature, drizzled with icing. It's also really good with the addition of vanilla ice-cream.

        September 28, 2009

        Cinnamon Scrolls

        Obviously I have been absent form here for a while. Life stuff has been getting in the way, as has lack of motivation. I've been making things but never getting around to blogging about them. I'm on leave at the moment, and while I'm on leave I thought I'd like to do all those things that have been put aside for "later". So, here I am. Let's get on with the show.

        Cinnamon Scrolls; one of those things that I've been wanting to make an never really got around to making. I wanted an inspiring recipe that used yeast and not just self raising flour, so when my husband emailed me this recipe, I knew it was what I'd been looking for.

        These turned out so beautifully. The bread was nice and soft, even the next day. I was a bit surprised about that, as every time I've made bread before, it's been nice on the day, but it only good for toast the next day, and I could never get the crumb quite right. My bread has always been crumbly, and if you tried to bend it in half, it would break. Not like the store-bought bread which you can fold in half without it breaking. So I was very pleasantly surprised that this turned out nice and... what's the word, ...elastic? Well, un-crumbly anyway (obviously I'm not a writer, I'm not eloquent enough! haha!).

        One thing I will note about this is that I actually used way more flour than the recipe states below, as the dough was very sticky, (originally, the recipe instructed me to use a stand mixer with a dough hook, but I don't have one of these so was doing it all by hand) I kept adding flour by handfulls until it wasn't too sticky to knead. I suspect this is why my rolls turned out so huge (they were supposed to fit into a 9" x 13" pan, but I ended up using a large baking dish, which is maybe twice that size).

        I won't lie to you an say it was the most easy thing in the world to make, and it was no-fuss, (it took me about 5 hrs from start to finish - most of that was rising time so I could do other things in-between), but the results were well and truly worth it. I would even make them again, I was so impressed.

        This recipe is adapted from Saveur.com

        Posted by Picasa
        MAKES 8 ROLLS

        Ingredients

        FOR THE DOUGH:
        7g package active dry yeast
        1⁄2 tsp. plus 1⁄4 cup sugar
        1⁄2 cup milk, at room temperature
        2 tbsp. brown sugar
        1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
        1 egg
        1 egg yolk
        2 3⁄4 cups flour, sifted, plus more for kneading
        3⁄4 tsp. salt
        8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan

        FOR THE FILLING:
        1⁄2 cup sugar
        1⁄4 cup brown sugar
        1⁄4 cup finely chopped walnuts
        1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
        1⁄2 tsp. fine salt
        1⁄8 tsp. ground cloves
        2 tbsp. maple syrup
        4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
        8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
        (Note; the original recipe also includes 1⁄4 cup finely chopped pecans and 1⁄4 cup raisins or sultanas, but I didn't as I didn't have any, and they turned out just lovely anyway)

        FOR THE ICING:
        2 cups confectioners' sugar
        1⁄4 cup buttermilk

        Method

        1. Make the dough: In a large bowl, combine yeast, 1⁄2 tsp. of the sugar, and 1⁄4 cup lukewarm water. Stir to combine and let sit until foamy (about 10 minutes).
        2. Add remaining sugar, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk. Whisk until thoroughly combined, (about 1 minute).
        3. Add the flour and salt. Mix with a mixing spoon until the dough just comes together. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface and knead for 4 minutes. (Note; This is where I kept adding the flour until it was no longer too sticky to knead)
        4. Knead the butter into the dough, and keep kneading until dough is smooth (about 10 minutes).
        5. Spray a large clean bowl with spray oil. Place the dough into the bowl, then turn once to coat with the oil from the bowl (leave dough oiled side up). Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place. Let the dough rise for 1 1⁄2–2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
        6. Meanwhile, make the filling: Combine the sugar, brown sugar, walnuts, cinnamon, salt, and cloves in a large bowl; stir to combine (if you're using the pecans and/or raisins/sultanas, add them to this mixture). Stir in the maple syrup. Set filling aside.
        7. Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a heavily floured surface. Gently knead the dough until it's no longer sticky, adding more flour as necessary, about 1 minute.
        8. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 10" x 10" square.
        9. In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese with a rubber spatula until it's smooth and spreadable. Spread the cream cheese evenly over the dough square; then fold square into thirds as you would fold a letter to fit it into an envelope. Take the open ends of the resulting rectangle and fold into thirds again, to make a smaller dough square. Invert the dough so that the seam is face down and, using the rolling pin, gently roll into a 10" x 20" rectangle.
        10. Turn the dough so that the short sides are parallel to you. Brush the top of the dough with half of the melted butter. Spread the reserved filling over the dough, leaving a 1" border at the edge farthest away from you. Lightly press the filling into the dough. Using your hands, lift up the bottom edge of the dough and roll it forward into a tight cylinder. (Make sure you roll it tight, otherwise it will come apart during the next faze).
        11. Place dough cylinder, seam side down, on a cutting board and, using a thin, sharp knife, trim off the ends; cut cylinder crosswise into 8 equal-size slices. Nestle the slices, cut sides up and evenly spaced from one another, into a buttered 9" x 13" baking pan (or, if your rolls are large, use a bigger pan). Cover pan with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to let rise for 2 hours. (Alternatively, the rolls may be refrigerated overnight.)
        12. Heat oven to 180°. Uncover the rolls. (If refrigerated, let them sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.) Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the rolls comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
        13. Make the icing: While the rolls are baking, whisk together the sugar and buttermilk in a small bowl until smooth.
        14. Transfer the pan of cinnamon rolls to a cooling rack; brush with remaining melted butter. Let cool for 5 minutes. Dip the tines of a fork into the icing and drizzle all over the rolls. Serve immediately.
        Ah, warm cinnamon scrolls. Bliss!

        August 23, 2009

        Hummus

        I've been having a bit of a blogging break (obviously). I have been making things but not having the time to put blog posts together (especially when a lot of what I've been making has been from food magazines), and I've been forgetting to take photos a lot of the time. Like this time, in fact. I decided I would just post this anyway, as although photos are pretty, if you know what hummus is like, you will know how this is supposed to look.

        I decided I wanted to make hummus. My sister was having a birthday celebration at my parents' house, so that was the perfect opportunity. I could have easily bought some from the shops but really wanted to try home-made hummus to see if it was as good as or better than store bought hummus. This recipe was really easy, and tasty too! I doubled the ingredients and made double the quantity, which ended up being A LOT of hummus. So I'd only recommend doubling the ingredients if you have a lot of people to feed or you just REALLY love hummus. I do love it, but there's only so much one person can eat, even if my hummus-loving husband helped me eat it, I don't think we would have gotten through it before it went bad. We left what wasn't eaten at my parents' house as there's more people there to eat it.

        Anyway, if you love chickpeas as much as I do, make sure you try this. We served this with sticks of carrot, celery and cucumber, and crackers. A relatively healthy alternative to all those full-of-fat dips we could have been eating....

        Preparation Time
        10 minutes

        Makes
        about 450g (1 cup)

        Ingredients
        1 x 400g can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
        60ml (1/4 cup) fresh lemon juice
        2 tbs tahini
        2 tbs water
        1 tsp ground cumin
        1/2 tsp ground coriander
        1 small garlic clove, crushed
        3 tbs plain yoghurt
        Salt & freshly ground black pepper
        Carrot & celery sticks, to serve

        Method
        1. Place chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, water, cumin, coriander, garlic and yoghurt in the bowl of a food processor and process until a smooth paste forms. Taste and season with salt and pepper. (Add a little extra lemon juice or water if the hummus is too thick.)
        2. Transfer hummus to a bowl.
        3. Serve with carrot and celery sticks.

        July 7, 2009

        Pear Bread

        Pear Bread. The idea of making pear bread intrigued me. As I've said before; I'm a little sick of banana bread at the moment. So when this caught my eye, I wanted to make it, and make it soon! I love pears in general so the idea of incorporating it into bread was even more appealing.

        The verdict: Not as delicious as I had hoped, but still quite good. I would make it again, but I feel this loaf was missing something somehow... maybe next time I would add cinnamon, and maybe a little extra sugar. This loaf was very good as a breakfast bread, but would not toast well due to pear bits probably falling out of the bread and into your toaster.

        Oh joy, it looks like I forgot to photograph this one. Sorry. No pretty pictures today.

        Pear Bread

        Makes 1 Loaf


        Ingredients

        1 cup wholemeal flour
        1 cup plain flour
        2 tsp baking powder
        1/2 tsp baking soda
        2 tbsp sugar
        3/4 cup apple juice
        1/3 cup applesauce
        1 banana, mashed
        2 large pears, peeled & cored

        Method
        1. Preheat oven to 180C, grease and line a 8" x 4" loaf pan with baking paper.
        2. In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
        3. Cut 1 and a half of the pears into 1cm cubes, grate the last pear half with a grater.
        4. Stir into the flour mixture: sugar, apple juice, applesauce, banana, & pear.
        5. Stir together gently until just combined.
        6. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan or muffin pan 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

        July 1, 2009

        No-bake Lemon Cheesecake

        Aimee of Under the Highchair mentioned on Twitter that she was after a good no-bake cheesecake recipe. It so happens that cheesecake is a favourite at my house, and the most-loved type is the no-bake lemon cheesecake. I haven't got a picture this time, it seems I haven't ever photographed this family-favourite, but let me assure you that it is delicious. It is sweet and tangy at the same time, and is not heavy like some of the baked cheesecakes out there. It's really easy to make and has not too many ingredients too, which is a bonus. Simple and tasty, you will love it. Onward to the recipe:

        No-bake Lemon Cheesecake

        Ingredients
        Base:
        200g sweet biscuits (I use Arnott's "Nice" biscuits, but it works with almost anything else)
        100g melted butter

        Top:
        500g cream cheese
        1 x 395g tin sweetened condensed milk
        1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice

        Method
        1. Melt the butter either in a microwave safe jug or in a saucepan over low heat.
        2. Crush biscuits in a food processor until biscuits turn to small crumbs.
        3. Mix biscuit crumbs and melted butter together and press evenly into a 23cm pie dish or spring-form pan.
        4. Refrigerate until firm.
        5. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk together with electric beaters until smooth.
        6. Beat lemon juice into the cream cheese mixture until combined.
        7. Pour/scrape the cream cheese mixture evenly over the cheesecake base and smooth out the top.
        8. Refrigerate for several hours until set.
        9. You can decorate the top with fresh fruit before serving if you like, we sometimes serve it with chopped fresh strawberries over the top.

        June 30, 2009

        Bill's Coconut Bread

        I have wanted to make this since I first laid eyes on it. Bill Granger's Coconut Bread. I make so much banana bread with our dead old bananas, as my husband and I prefer to eat bananas when they are just ripe, and we always end up with a couple of bananas slowly going black in the fruit bowl since neither of us wants to eat them on their own. Waste not, want not, I always chuck them into a banana bread. I have a few favourite recipes, but there's only so much banana bread one can eat and stuff the remaining slices into their freezer.

        I decided it was time for a change. As much as I love banana bread, I have eaten far too much of it lately.The other week I made pear bread which I will get around to blogging soon, but I was more excited to post this recipe, so here it is! It is wonderful! Very nice when still hot from the oven, but still really good the next day. It's a fairly dense bread, and it toasts beautifully. Try it! Oh yum, I will definitely be making this one again!

        Oh and I'm slowly working my way through my Bill Granger cook books (I highly recommend them!), every recipe I have tried so far has turned out well with little fuss. That's my kind of cooking! Yumminess for not too much effort!


        Posted by Picasa

        bill's Coconut Bread

        Makes 1 loaf; or 10 - 12 slices depending on how thick you like your bread.
        Serve toasted, with butter.

        Ingredients

        2 1/2 cups plain flour
        2 tsp baking powder
        1/2 tsp salt
        2 tsp ground cinnamon
        1 cup caster sugar
        150 g (2 cups) shredded coconut (unsweetened)
        2 large eggs
        1 1/4 cups milk (I used skim milk)
        1 tsp vanilla extract
        75g butter, melted

        Method

        1. Preheat oven to 180C /350F. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan & line with baking paper
        2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in sugar and coconut.
        3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in egg mixture. Stir until just combined.
        4. Add in melted butter and stir until just smooth, being careful not to over-mix.
        5. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 60-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
        6. Turn loaf out onto a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or cool. It's nice with a spread of butter as well!

        June 20, 2009

        Cornbread

        I mentioned a few posts ago that I made cornbread and that I would post about it later. Well, that time is now, so here it is. My husband liked this cornbread, but it wasn't quite what I was hoping for. I wanted to recreate the cornbread that I had at a local cafe late last year. This was still good, but just not really what I hoped it would be. My husband happily ate it with the dhal I made. It seems to go well with things you could "mop up" with this bread. I made another recipe which was very different to this one, I liked it more, though it still wasn't what I was looking for. But I can't find the recipe I used for that one anymore. I have a feeling I only used it as a vague guide anyway. So, this is the bread my husband preferred.


        Cornbread

        Ingredients
        1 cup plain flour
        3/4 cup cornmeal (in Australia, this is generally labeled as Polenta)
        2 Tbsp sugar
        1 Tbsp baking powder
        1 tsp salt
        1 egg
        2/3 cup milk
        1/3 cup vegetable oil

        Method
        1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease an 8 x 4 inch loaf pan.
        2. In a medium bowl stir together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
        3. In a small bowl, beat together egg, milk and vegetable oil with a fork. Pour mixture into the flour mixture. Stir just until flour is moistened and pour the batter into the prepared pan.
        4. Spread batter evenly, bake 25 minutes or until golden. Cut into rectangles or squares and serve with something savoury and juicy.

        June 15, 2009

        The "to make" lists

        My "to make" list is always, always being added to. Every time I see a new recipe I want to try, I add it to my list. There are two lists really, one is for "I really want to make that, and make it soon!", and the other is "Gee, that looks good, must make a note of that to make it one day".

        This is part of my current "Make it soon!" list (well, the bit I can remember anyway. You see, the list is not on paper, it's in my head):
        • Apple Pie and Apple Crumble - Just because I've never made either of them, and they seem like they'd be an accomplishment.
        • Rice pudding - My mum used to make this a lot, so it fondly reminds me of my childhood.
        • Pear Bread - I love pears and have made so much banana bread that I feel like a change
        • Vanilla Slice - like the ones you can get at the bakery. I tried it once but the results were very smooshy. So I want to give it another go.
        The "make it one day but not right now" list is written down, and is pages and pages long. I have even noted where to find each recipe. It's a handy reference when I'm trying to think of something to make for some event or other. I won't blog it because it will be as tedious for you to read as it would be for me to type out.

        What's on your "make it soon" list?

        June 9, 2009

        Snickerdoodles - funny name for a yummy cookie

        Snickerdoodles. I've always wondered what they taste like. When I first read about them, I thought they would have something to do with the Snickers chocolate bar, which is a favourite, so you can imagine I was very interested in these cookies when I thought they had Snickers in them. Alas, they had nothing to do with Snickers bars at all. The actual cookies seemed a bit... ordinary, I guess., but that did not stop me from wondering what they were like.

        So I decided to try my hand at making some. It's the first recipe I've used that had cream of tartar in it. I'm not exactly sure what the benefit of using cream of tartar over baking powder is, but it seems to be used in place of baking powder.

        The cookies are good, and surprisingly more-ish. All in all, not a bad cookie, but not one I am dying to make again in the near future. Give them a try, they are not bad at all. And the little balls of dough covered in cinnamon and sugar are yummy on their own (I know you're not supposed to eat raw cookie dough due to potential salmonella poisoning caused by raw eggs, but I ate a couple of balls of uncooked dough anyway). The little dough balls look like those little donut balls they sell at donut shops as "donut-holes".

        This recipe is adapted from Bakingbites.com.


        Snickerdoodles
        Makes about 3 dozen.

        Ingredients

        2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
        2 tsp cream of tartar
        1 tsp baking soda
        1/4 tsp salt
        250g butter
        1 1/2 cups sugar
        2 eggs
        2 tsp vanilla extract
        2 tbsp sugar
        2 tsp cinnamon

        Method

        1. Preheat oven to180 degrees C.
        2. Line a couple of baking trays with baking paper.
        3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
        4. In a large bowl, cream together butter & sugar until mixture is fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract.
        5. Gradually mix in the flour with a mixing spoon until a dough is formed.
        6. In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon.
        7. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls, then roll each ball into the sugar and cinnamon mixutre.
        8. Place each ball on baking tray.
        9. These cookies will spread, so leave about 5 cm between cookies.
        10. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until lightly golden around the edges.
        11. Cool on trays. Once cool, store in an airtight container.

        May 27, 2009

        Whoops, I didn't follow the recipe...

        This recipe came about when I decided to try a new cookie recipe, but didn't follow the instructions. I was supposed to cream the butter and sugar together, but before I realised what I'd done, I had already thrown the sugar in with the flour. Good one. Anyway so I decided to keep going and just see if they would turn out any good. I'm not normally a crispy cookie lover, but these are surprisingly good. My husband says they get better with age (he finished the last cookie a few days after they were made).

        Crispy Oat White Chocolate Cookies

        Ingredients

        1 cup plain flour
        3/4 teaspoon baking powder
        1/2 teaspoon Bi-carb soda
        1/4 teaspoon table salt
        140g butter, slightly softened
        1 cup sugar
        1/4 cup packed brown sugar
        1 large egg, lightly beaten
        1 teaspoon vanilla extract
        2 1/2 cups rolled oats
        A few handfulls of white choc chips

        Method

        1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Line baking tray with baking paper.
        2. Sift together: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and table salt in a medium bowl.
        3. Mix in oats.
        4. Melt butter however you like to melt butter (I used a small bowl in the microwave).
        5. Add butter and beaten egg to flour/oat mixture. Mix together, then fold in choc chips.
        6. Roll tablespoons of dough, place on baking tray and press down slightly. Leave room for cookies to spread.
        7. Bake until cookies are deep golden brown, about 10-12 min. Cool on the trays.

        May 21, 2009

        Choc Chip Cheesecake Cookies

        This recipe was recommended by kate pickle on Twitter. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to try it. I made mine with white choc chips, because, you know, I'm a white chocolate fiend. Just like Laura :). I wouldn't say these cookies taste just like cheesecake, but they are still scrumptious.



        Choc Chip Cheesecake Cookies

        Ingredients

        225g butter
        225g cream cheese
        1 cup white sugar
        ½ cup brown sugar
        1 egg
        1 tablespoon vanilla extract
        2 ½ cups plain flour
        1 teaspoon baking powder
        ½ teaspoon salt
        2 cups chocolate chips

        Method
        1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, line a couple of baking trays with baking paper.
        2. Cream butter and sugars together.
        3. Add eggs, cream cheese, and vanilla extract and beat until well-incorporated.
        4. In another bowl, combine flour with baking powder and salt. Add by cupfuls to the wet mix. Mix by hand to combine.
        5. Fold in chocolate chips.
        6. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and place on baking tray.
        7. Flatten each cookie if you want a flatter cookie, as you can see from my photo, they didn't spread much at all. Bake for 7-8 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden. Do not over-bake or they'll taste less cheesecake-y. Cool on trays.

        May 15, 2009

        Bill's Dhal

        Hey, I know this isn't baked, or sweet, but it was still yummy, and I guess that's what I ultimately want to blog about: yummy recipes. It's just that most of my yummy recipes are baked, and sweet. Anyway, I'm posting something different for a change.

        Whenever I see the word "dhal", I always think of old ladies that say things like "Thanks Darl". I don't know why. I guess it's because of the way we say "darl" in Australia, it really does sound the same as "dhal". Anyway, moving on.... This recipe is adapted from Bill Granger's Dhal recipe in his book "simply bill". I am rather partial to lentils so this appealed to me right away. The other good thing about it is that you can change the flavour if you feel like something different (I made it the way it is in the book the first time round, but the next time I added diced chicken breast, frozen chopped spinach & chicken stock, and it was still really good!). Best of all, this is really very easy to make. I can pretty much make it without needing to look at the recipe now.

        We served this with homemade naan bread the first time, but I forgot to take a photo, and I think naan bread is better fresh from your local indian takeaway place/restaurant, so I won't post the recipe for the naan bread I made. The second time I made it, my husband decided that it would go well with the cornbread I had made the day before. I will post the recipe for the corn bread some other time soon.

        Dhal is not the most appetising thing to look at, but here's a photo anyway. And I can assure you it was very tasty.

        And here's the recipe:

        Ingredients
        2 Tbs olive oil
        1 red onion, finely sliced
        2.5 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
        3 garlic cloves finely sliced
        1 large green chilli, finely chipped
        1 tsp sea salt
        1 tsp ground cumin
        250g (1 cup) red lentils
        1 tbs lime juice

        to serve:
        small handful fresh coriander leaves
        naan bread

        Method
        1. Heat a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil.
        2. When hot, add the onion, ginger, garlic, chilli, salt and cumin and cook for 10 min, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft.
        3. Add the lentils and 750ml (3 cups) of water and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20min until the lentils have dissolved.
        4. Remove from the heat and stir through the lime juice.
        5. Top with coriander leaves and serve with naan (or cornbread...)

        May 8, 2009

        New blog design...

        I've been thinking for a while now that I wanted to change my blog design. White was all good, clean and uncluttered, but I guess a little boring without any header image or anything. I could have made a header image I guess, but I thought I might try something different.

        I don't feel like there's really that much choice when it comes to the standard Blogger Templates, but I never seemed to have the time to look into free templates, and certainly not enough time (or skill) to make my own template. Today, that changes. I have the day off! I found a free template that I liked and have spent the morning fiddling with it. Edit: Went out for a few hours then came back to play around with this more. I like it much more now than I did before. Anyone willing to give some feedback? Do you like it/hate it?

        On another note, if you read my blog through Google Reader, the design doesn't even matter, as the design is not shown when you read through Google Reader, you only get the text and images. I'm not sure if this is the same with other Readers.

        I'd still like to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment :)

        May 4, 2009

        Pear, Banana & Cinnamon Pikelets

        Sorry, but there are no photos of this one, as the pikelets were all scoffed down too quickly for me to get a shot. When I spied this recipe in my favourite food magazine (Super Food Ideas), I knew I wanted to make them as soon as possible!

        These pikelets are delicious. We served them with thick and creamy pasionfruit yoghurt which went down fabulously. Not your traditional pikelet accompaniment, but delicious just the same. These are great as a morning tea or afternoon tea, (well, really, I would eat them any time of day. Even as lunch if the opportunity presented itself!).

        Pear, Banana & Cinnamon Pikelets

        Makes approx. 16 pikelets

        Ingredients:

        1 cup self raising flour
        1 tsp ground cinnamon
        2 tbsp caster sugar
        3/4 cup skim milk
        40g butter, melted and cooled
        1 tsp vanilla essence
        1 large ripe banana, mashed
        1 large ripe pear, cored, finely chopped
        cooking spray

        Method:
        1. Combine flour, cinnamon and sugar in a bowl. Make a well in the centre.
        2. Combine milk, butter and canilla in a jug, and add to flour mixture. Whisk until smooth.
        3. Stir in banana and pear. Stand for 10 min.
        4. Spray a non-stick fry pan with oil. Heat over medium heat. Spoon tablespoons of batter into pan. You can cook about 4 at a time. Cook for 1 to 2 min or until bubbles appear on the surface. Turn the pikelets over and cook for another 1 to 2 min until cooked through.
        5. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter.
        6. Serve with pasionfruit yoghurt.

        April 25, 2009

        ANZAC Biscuits


        It's ANZAC day today, so I made ANZAC biscuits.

        Ingredients
        • 1 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
        • 1 cup rolled oats
        • 1/2 cup brown sugar
        • 3/4 cup desiccated coconut
        • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
        • 125g butter, chopped
        • 1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
        Method
        1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line 2 cookie trays with baking paper.
        2. Place the flour, oats, sugar and coconut in a large bowl and stir to combine.
        3. In a small saucepan place the golden syrup and butter and stir over low heat until the butter has fully melted. Remove from heat.
        4. Mix the bicarb soda with 1 1/2 tablespoons water and add to the golden syrup mixture.
        5. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix together until fully combined.
        6. Roll tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls and place on prepared trays , pressing down on the tops to flatten slightly.
        7. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.

        April 20, 2009

        When will I be a "proper" cook?

        I don't know about you, but there are some things that although you can buy it in the shops, if you can also make your own home-made version, you feel like a "proper" cook.... there are some such things I'd like to make, they include the following:
        • Jam - I really want to try and make apricot jam, and I think it'd be cool to try pear jam as well. I don't know why I want to make these when they are readily available at the shops (ok, I have only seen one brand that makes pear jam). Can anyone recommend a recipe?
        • Passionfruit curd - no idea what I'll use it for yet, but I want to give it a go
        • Yogurt - Just so I can make up my own flavours like pear and coconut.
        • Preserved lemons - I don't know why & I don't know what I'll use it for!
        • Home-made ravioli and pasta - Just so I can say I have made it and see if it really tastes any better than the store-bought version
        Such things would also probably include making your own butter and cheese, but I think I'll pass on these and keep buying them in the shops (not so exciting...)
        What about you? Is there anything you want to make that would make you feel like a "proper" cook?
        I have more things to blog, but no time at the moment, so I will leave you here for now. I made pear pikelets the other day, they were so good! I will blog the recipe next time....

        April 5, 2009

        Apricot Shortbread Crumble Slice

        Sorry for the lack of updates, but I haven't been baking much. We have just moved and the only thing I have made since then that wasn't dinner was our favourite banana bread. I must say that I am impressed with the oven!

        A while back, I made this slice, but never got around to blogging about it. It's not my favourite, but it was quite nice. I made it for a Kitchen Tea, but all the chocolate-type slices were eaten before this one. Obviously jam is not as popular as chocolate.


        This recipe is adapted from Strawberry Pecan Shortbread Crumble Bars by Nicole at Baking Bites

        Apricot Shortbread Crumble Slice
        Makes about 24 small slices

        Ingredients

        2 1/4 cups plain flour
        1 cup sugar
        1/4 tsp salt
        250g butter, softened
        1 large egg
        3/4 cup apricot jam

        Method

        1. Preheat oven to 180 Degrees C. Lightly grease and line a 9-inch slice tin with baking paper.
        2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and salt. Stir in the butter and egg until mixture is crumbly.
        3. Set aside 2 cups of the mixture, and pour the remaining mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Press down firmly and evenly, into the pan to cover the base.
        4. Spread jam over the shortbread layer. Sprinkle remaining crumbs evenly over the top. If the mixture is too wet to sprinkle, simply break it up with lightly floured fingers and spread it out.
        5. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool in pan before slicing.

        February 12, 2009

        It's been a while....

        My blogging has been on an unintentional break for a while. I just have not been making anything exciting enough to blog lately. The main reason for the non-exciting-ness is the fact that hubby and I are currently on the CSIRO diet. We're aiming to lose a bit of weight and to get our BMIs (Body Mass Indexes) down to a more acceptable level.

        I don't mind the diet, we've been on it for about 4 weeks I think. The diet doesn't make me feel deprived of things (well, I mean, I still miss all the baked goods, and it is a bit low in carbs.... I do miss them a bit), but I don't feel too hungry all the time, nor do I get sick of the food, as it's all stuff you buy in the supermarket and cook up yourself. The recipes in the CSIRO book are really good, and you can also modify other recipes to fit in with the diet, so it keeps things interesting. I may end up posting some of the recipes I've modified to fit in with the diet, but I have to remember to photograph them first!

        I've lost a few kilos so far, which I can attribute to the diet, my gym attendance and my 10,000 steps per day. I'm doing pretty well with my goal of getting 10,000 steps per day, and if there is a day that I don't quite get there, I make a note of how many steps I need to make up and make sure I do them the next day or so. The goal of going to the gym 3 times a week on top of my steps is not going as well as I had hoped. I do still go at least 3 times a week, but if I haven't done enough steps for the day, sometimes I go to the gym just to walk (usually only if it's dark outside and I don't want to walk alone in the dark).

        I have lost my momentum with my other goal for this year of finding a Japanese course and getting enrolled, as life has been hectic enough with my more active lifestyle and a multitude of other things (like buying a house!). Hopefully I will be able to enroll in a short course next term or semester or something. Anyway, for now, that's on hold.

        We're moving to our new place in a few weeks time and I'm looking forward to doing a really big clean out of stuff and getting rid of things that clutter up the place and that we don't really need. This blog has some great tips for living an uncluttered life, but suggests to get rid of things you haven't used in the last 6 months, and I wonder if this isn't long enough?? Well, this weekend I'm going to give decluttering a go. I'll let you know how I go with it.

        Back to the recipe blogging soon. In the mean time, check out these great blogs:

        http://hungryandfrozen.blogspot.com/ - Laura makes some really yummy things, has mouthwatering food photos, and her witty humour makes this blog a very pleasant read!
        http://www.eatmedelicious.com/ - I've been perusing this blog on and off for a while now, lots of recipes here I'd love to try.
        http://twofatals.com/ - Lots of photos and recipes to see here. I wish I was that good at food photography.

        January 5, 2009

        What do you hope for in 2009?

        The beginning of the new year tends to make people think about what they want to achieve in the coming year. I guess it's kind of like turning a new page. This year I have a few goals and have thought about trying to achieve some of the things I hope for in life.

        My first goal is aiming to be more active. Partly because being more active has lots of health benefits, but the other part of it is that I want to be able to enjoy the fruits of my baking-labour without feeling as guilty.... Anyway, the first part of this goal is to try to walk 10,000 steps per day, the second part is trying to get to the gym at least 3 times a week on top of my 10,000 steps per day. I got a new whiz-bang pedometre for my birthday, which counts your steps, measures how far you've walked, and how many calories you've burnt. You can set your stride-length down to the nearest centermetre, and enter your weight to ensure more accurate readings. I have joined up to the website: 10000 steps.org.au and I am entering my daily steps in there, and there are other things you can do on the site, like set goals/challenges and tick them off as you get there, but I haven't yet explored that area. Even if I can only achieve part of this goal, I'll be happy, if I can achieve both parts, then all the better.

        I don't expect it to be easy, but it's what I am aiming for, and even though I'm sure it will be a lot harder when I go back to work (currently on holidays), I'll give it my best. I'm also trying to get my mum interested in joining me in setting walking challenges and reaching for them, as she is always talking about how she needs to be more active, and more walking is the first step (so to speak) to a more active lifestyle. I have even given her a pedometre, so hopefully she will have no excuse not to do it. It's a bit of a shame we don't live closer as we could walk together if we did.

        Something else I'd like to do this year is either join a Japanese class or get a Japanese tutor, as although I can already speak/read/write Japanese, I would like to become fluent somehow. Even if I don't become fluent this year, I'd like to at least work towards becoming fluent.

        Well, they are the two main things I'd like to do this year, and I feel they are achieveable. There are lots of other little things I'd like to do, but for now I am just concentrating on the on-going challenges.

        What are you aiming for this year??

        I'll be back to blogging recipes again shortly, lots of yummies coming up in the near future!

        January 3, 2009

        And I thought I was observant!

        You may or may not have seen this, but I came across it recently, and found it very interesting! Take a look and let me know what you think!

        http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=ubNF9QNEQLA