Jan 01

here’s to 2013

May the new year bring you, as many good things as your heart can possibly handle! Looking forward to seeing what 2013 has to offer.

 

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Dec 09

pintata cookies

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I’ve seen these babies floating around pinterest for a while and i’ve always thought that they were super cute! So, when we were invited to a mexican feast that required bringing a dish – I had a reason to make them.

Full recipe details available at sheknows.com, there is a hand video to watch so you can see the whole process.

First you need to make the sugar dough, then split it into five balls and colour each one with food dye. Then, layer the dough in a container. It’s really important that your layering gives you enough height for the cookie cutter. If you have a large cookie cutter, I suggest doubling the mixture. Don’t be too perfect with the dough at this stage, it’s looks better to have the layers a little more wavy.

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Once your dough has been formed and chilled you need to slice it thinly. To ensure that all of your cookies line up you actually cut them after you bake them. So take extra care to slice each piece of dough to roughly the same size. Remember to work in threes for your slices, as it takes three layers to form one cookie. Cut a smaller piece out for the middle cookie. If you are using an unbalanced shape (like a donkey!) you’ll need to cut two facing left and one facing right so you end up with all smooth edges on your finished product.

After you’ve baked your cookies, you need to work quickly to cut the shapes our before the dough cools. Have your cutters ready to rock and work with one tray at a time. Pull off the excess dough, these make nice little munchies cookies but they don’t have much shape to them. Keep them for your own personal stash!

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Once you have all of your shapes cut and the cookies have cooled you a ready to assemble them. Grab your icing glue and get assembling! Be sure to place the smooth layers on the outside of the cookie. Fill the middle layer with mini M&M’s and then glue the lid on.

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There you have it! The shortbread tasted pretty damn good and the colouring didn’t effect the flavour. Be warned though! These innocent looking title cookies took me the better part of a day to put together. It’s not hands on all the time but they do demand a decent amount of your attention. But it will all be totally worth it when, you see people’s faces, after they take a bite! Much fun!!

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Dec 05

its coming…

Christmas will be here before you know it.

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Aug 24

a quick quiche

This is a recipe that I learnt from a friend, when I was living in Sydney.  At the time, I only could manage a few basic recipes so this once was a bit of an eye opener to me! It’s pretty easy and great for a lunch or when you are having a few people over. I make mine on a biscuit tray  which means that it cooks easily and is nice and think like a slice.

Th recipe below is a will need to be modified for the type or size of tray you are working with. Normally this just means adding more cheese or more eggs.

Cheese and Spinach Quiche

serves 12+

  • 400g spinach
  • 200g ricotta
  • 200g dodoni feta
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Puff pastry x 2-3 pieces

Preheat your oven to 180C. Line the tray with baking paper, and take the puff pastry out of the freezer to defrost. When the pastry gets some flexibility in it, place it in the tray forming a base. I like to have a little overhang on the sides – it give you something to hang onto when you cut up later.

Add the baby spinach, and break up the cheese evenly throughout the base you have created. The more cheese the better I say! But some people need to draw a line somewhere. You can always use low-fat cheese/milk if you are watching what you eat.

Now! Once that is done all you need to is lightly whisk the eggs and milk together and pour it gently over the entire tray, filling all of the nooks and crannies within the cheese and spinach. Season with salt and pepper and place in the oven to bake. It done when the egg is cooked and the base is crunchy – usually about 15 minutes.

Chop into squares and serve immediately. The quiche will keep for a few days in the fridge. I’ve been known to eat it cold straight out of the fridge or you aren’t in such a hurry it reheats really well.

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Aug 22

find something

I just spotted this Julia Child quote when I was catching up on my reading list.  I tend to fall in and out of interest with almost everything that I get interested in. I often admire people who stick to something and are passionate about it for long periods of time. I wonder if I will ever find something like that holds my interest for so long! Maybe…we’ll see!

 

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Aug 20

how not to bake a chickpea

I first tried the chickpea bake at a friend’s house and I was hooked immediately! It wasn’t long before people where going back for seconds and asking for the recipe. This is the type of summer dish that you just become obsessed with. But if you take this one back to its roots you would find it in the Moroccan Soup Bar. They serve the chickpea bake as part of the banquet style meal vegetarian meal. If you can’t get into the Moroccan Soup Bar… or you simply can’t travel there; here’s how you can make it at home. The trick to the chickpea bake is NOT to bake it!!!!

 

Chickpea Bake

serves 6-8

  • 2 x 400g can of chickpeas
  • 6 small pita bread
  • 500ml greek style yoghurt
  • 1 bunch parsley (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 50g butter
  • 200g  slivered almonds and pine nuts

Toast pita bread under the grill until crunchy. Break pita bread into a dish in rough pieces.

Mix chickpeas, garlic and yoghurt together in a large bowl. Pour  mixture over the pita bread, until it is completely covered.

Finally melt the butter in a small pan and add almonds and pine nuts, simmer and stir often until they begin to change colour in the butter. Pour nut and butter mixture over the top of the dish and finish with chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

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Apr 28

little banana and cinnamon cakes

More banana I hear you say!! Sorry – but I go about 8 in my last fruit and veg box and needed to put them to good use.

 

Little Banana and Cinnamon Cakes

Makes 12

125g butter

1/2 cup logician low GI sugar or 1/2 castor sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 1/2 cups mashed banana (about 4 bananas)

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/2 cup milk

2 cups of self-raising flour (wholemeal)

 

Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Prepare a cupcake holders on a tray or grease a cupcake tray.

Cream butter and sugar using electric beaters, until light and creamy. Add the eggs gradually, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla essence and mashed banana, and beat until combined. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in the milk. Using a metal spoon, fold in the flour alternatively with the milk. Stir until all of the ingredients are combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cupcake pans filling them about 3/4 full. This will allow for the little cakes to rise.

Bake for around 25-30 minutes, test with a skewer to ensure that it is cooked all the way through. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

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Apr 15

coconut and chocolate macaroons

Today, Tim and I trekked out to sunny Melton to the 40k farm, to meet the newly formed SOC II (Seddon Organic Co-op II – more on this later). This was the groups first meet and a bit of a getting to know you session. We were asked to bring a plate for a picnic lunch, so I made these babies this morning. They are straight out of the diabetic living better homes and gardens magazine. They are super easy to make and medium GI – so a good kind of sweet that’s not too full on!

 

Coconut and Chocolate Macaroons

Makes about 18

3/4 cup shredded coconut

2 egg whites (from 50g eggs)

1/2 cup caster sugar

2 tblsp cocoa powder, sifted

 

Preheat oven to 170C(fan forced. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Spread coconut over a third baking tray. Bake stirring once, for 5-6 minutes until coconut is toasted. Set aside to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 150C (fan forced).

Using electric beaters, whisk egg whites in a medium bowl until firm peaks form. Add sugar 1 tblsp at a time, beating well after each addition, until thick and glossy.

Sift cocoa powder over egg white and whisk on low speed until combined. Stir in coconut. Spoon teaspoons of the mixture onto 2 lined baking trays, 3 cm apart. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crisp. Set aside on the trays for 10 minutes to cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

You can keep the macaroons in an air tight container for up to 1 week.

 

These macaroons are super easy, and take only minute to prepare. The good news is they all got eaten at the picnic and seemed win some fans. At the picnic there were all kinds of yummy things, looking forward to sharing recipes and ideas with this new co-op.

 

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Mar 28

Banana Nut Bread

Over ripe bananas mean one of two things…. bin or banana cake. As I hate wasting stuff, I decided that I would make some banana bread today. Not just any banana bread….. banana nut bread… and a low GI version to boot!

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Low GI Banana Nut Bread

1 and 1/2 cups of logicane Low GI sugar

1/2 cup butter

2 eggs, beaten

3 very ripe bananas, mashed

2 teaspoons baking powder

2/3 cup milk

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups wholemeal plain flour.

 

Cream butter and sugar together. Add beaten eggs and mashed bananas, mix until combined.

Warm milk slightly in a separate dish and add baking soda, stand for a few minutes then add to the banana mix. Mix in the flour, vanilla and chopped nuts.

Pour into a baking loaf tin that is lined with baking paper.

Bake at 350F (180C) for 50 minutes. Cool on a rack before serving.

Most people who ate this had no idea I’d used wholemeal flour, so I guess the husky bits were not all that noticeable. To make any banana cake/bread you should use super ripe bananas. The skin should be black and the banana smell almost over bearing! This is how you get the best flavour. The walnuts give you a little bit of crunch along the way. I put a couple on top of the of the mixture before putting it into the oven, basically to make with the pretties.

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Feb 08

Feb Photo a Day – Day 8 :: Sun

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Day 8, Sun. I’m currently in the Barossa Valley for the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technologies’s (AIFST) Sensory Symposium. I had to be up at the butt crack of dawn for breakfast and then get on a bus. This is the view from my room.

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