Last week marked one year since I was put on life support in ICU. It’s interesting but emotional looking back on how far I’ve come since then. The hardest part has been learning not to be so hard on myself when I don’t live up to my high expectations of myself. It’s been tough but I’m very fortunate to have a great family and support network to help me when I’m struggling with my own limitations.

The year is of course flying by and its suddenly mid May already. Our busy schedule doesn’t help matters of course as there never seems to be enough time to do all the things I’d like to do.  Even when I do have some free time, my brain seems to decide I need a nap.  This has of course led to an overall lack of productivity outside work.  I am working on a few craft projects and some new recipes but its slow going.

So today I brought you a new old favourite.  Well it’s a new take on it for me but I’ve made a couple of batches now and its been quite tasty.

Biscotti is reasonably easy and its easy enough to change around the flavours to suit your taste but today I’m going with:

Choc Pecan Biscotti

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Ingredients:

2 Eggs

1 Cup Sugar

1 Cup SR Flour

1/2 Cup Plain Flour

1/2 Cup Pecans

3/4 Cup Choc Chips

Oven:

180C

How to:

In a bowl mix together the eggs and sugar until combined.

Add the flours and mix to form a dough.

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Break up the pecans and add to the dough with the choc chips.

Mix until Pecans and choc chips are well incorporated. (you may need to do this by hand)

Form the dough into a log and place on a baking tray.

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Bake for 30mins or until just cooked through.

Take out of oven and cool for 15-30mins.

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Reduce oven temp. to 150C.

Slice log on the diagonal into 1cm slices. (this can be tricky as the log likes to crumble especially around the chocolate and pecans).

Place individual slices (and any of the larger odd bits) onto a baking tray and bake for 15 mins.

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Turn each slice over and bake for a further 15 mins.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Pack into air tight containers as soon as possible once they are cool to maintain their nice crunch. Leaving them out for too long (e.g. overnight) can cause them to soften.

Enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee or just a snack on their own .

I hope you try it and if you do let me know how it goes. Take a picture of your batch and tag @thegammiecreative on Instagram or post it on the facebook page.

That’s all for now and hopefully next up I’ll have some tips on budgeting for my ‘Life Skills with Lilz’ series.

Lil

I’m not sure where the weeks keep disappearing but they sure are flying by.

It was another 4 day week at work this week. This time due to ANZAC Day.

I did something different to our normal routine this year and I quite enjoyed it.

Usually we head into the city for around midnight for breakfast then from there head into ANZAC square to help where we can.  After dawn service we head back to our suburb for some breakfast and then the local march.

This year though our scout group helped out at both local services by doing a sausage sizzle so I skipped the city and just went along to both local services.

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It was nice not to have to get up so early and to help feed the masses after each service. And even though I didn’t get up anywhere near as early as normal I still spent the afternoon sleeping.

This weekend is also another long one (labor day) and the plan is to cook (of course).

I’m hoping to make a few batches of marshmallows and some biscotti. The only problem may be the weather but so far its holding out for me.

On to this weeks recipe

Peaches and cream pastry

This is a simple dessert that can be made reasonably quickly. It’s one of my many ‘what do I have in the cupboard’ inspired recipes.

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Makes:

6

Ingredients:

1 Puff pastry sheet

3 fresh Peaches or 1-2 tins (18 slices)

1 cup cream

2 tbs Icing Sugar  + extra for dusting

1 tsp Vanilla Essence

Oven:

180C

How To:

Cut 1 sheet of  puff pasty into 12 pieces. Bake between two baking tray until brown so that the pastry only lightly puffs.

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For this recipe you can use fresh or tined peaches. If using fresh you will need to remove the seed and cut into eighths.

Heat up a medium fry pan.  Grill the pieces of peach until lightly browned on each side and warmed through.

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While the peaches are cooking whip  the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla essence.

To construct spread a thick layer of the whipped cream onto the pastry.

Layer the peach slices on to three of the pieces of pastry and cream then top with another piece.

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Serve sprinkled with icing sugar.

 

So that’s my peaches and cream pastry. You could of course use different fruit depending on what you like and what’s in season. I think it would work well with strawberries or caramelised banana.

Let me know if you give it a go.

Lil

Just a quick one this week as I’m gearing up for Supanova this weekend. I am aiming to take some cool photos to share with you over the weekend so I should have a bigger post for you next week.

This week I’d like to share my honey soy wings recipe and a little bit on how to joint your wings.

So here it is

Honey Soy Chicken Wings

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Ingredients:

4-8 chicken Wings

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup soy sauce

Sides:

Rice

Cucumber

Red Onion

Wombok

Carrot

Coriander

Salad dressing.

Oven:

200C

Depending on what you prefer you can serve the wings whole or you can joint them into wingettes and drummets.

Jointing a chicken wing seems a little tough at first but its quite easy once you get the hang of it.

To joint your chicken wing start by spreading out the wing and cutting the loose skin under the joint.

Next hold the wing in one hand and slightly squeeze the two edges together. Make sure the joint edge is exposed.

Cut into the joint. If you’re holding the wing right your knife should find the groove in the joint to go into.

BE VERY ACREFUL NOT TO PUSH TO FAR AND CUT YOURSELF IN THE PROCESS. Cut in until you are about halfway through the joint.

Place the wing back on the chopping board and cut into the edges of the joint where the top cut meets it to finish separating the two pieces.

Place your wings (or winggettes and drummets) in a bowl. In a separate bowl or a jar mix together the Honey and soy sauce. Pour over wings and allow wings to marinate for at least 15-20 mins.

Once marinated place wings in a lined baking tray. Brush (or pour) some of the leftover marinade over the wings.

Bake for 30-40 minutes.

I served mine with some salted cucumber and onion,

Simple Slaw, (wombok, carrot and coriander)

And rice.

You can also simmer the leftover marinade for 10min  and use as a sauce.

I hope you enjoy my simple honey soy wings.

I hope you all enjoyed you’re Easter break.

Was the Easter bunny good to you? Did you gorge on chocolate and coast into the week on a sugar high? I hope so.

I spent the weekend camping with some friends. It was nice a nice relaxing weekend though it would have been nicer if it didn’t rain on Saturday and Sunday night. Overall it was a chill weekend full of fives and not really having to keep to any schedule. Over the weekend I managed to finish two beanies and start a third. That’s possibly the most productive I’ve been all week.

Unfortunately my iron deficiency has gotten the better of me again this week. Many a plan for a productive night has ended up with me asleep on the couch after promising myself it would only be a 15 min nap to gain more energy.  Hopefully this will be remedied tomorrow and next week I’ll be back to my less tired & more productive self.

I have at least managed to attend a few meetings I had to go to so I suppose I haven’t written off a whole week due to my excessive tiredness. I even got to go to a lovely dinner with some of my good friends on Monday night to finish off the weekend. It was nice to catch up with everyone and we had some delicious food and wonderful brownies for desert.

This week I’ve gone with something reasonably easy but I hope to show yo that just because its easy doesn’t mean you can’t get creative and have lots of flavour.

Three Cheese Steak Toastie

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Ingredients

2 slices Bread (I used soy linseed but use what you prefer)

1 large slice cheddar cheese (could replace with grated parmesan if you don’t eat blue)

2 Tbs onion jam

25g blue cheese

50g -100g steak cooked and in chunks or slices

100g mushrooms sliced

1 tbs butter or margarine

2 leaves cos lettuce

4 slices camembert or brie

How to

In a small pan melt butter and sauté the mushrooms until golden brown.

On a sandwich press (or in a small fry pan) lay the first slice of bread to begin sandwich construction.

 layer sandwich as follows

Cheddar, Onion jam, Crumbled blue cheese, steak pieces, mushrooms, lettuce, camembert.

Place final piece of bread on top then lower lid of press (or place another pan or tray on top and place in a warm oven)

Now here is the tough bit. Walk away. Don’t touch the sandwich for at least 5 mins maybe longer. Wait for the bred to brown and the cheese to melt.  For me leaving it until its ready is always the hardest.

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When done remove from heat and slice in half to serve.

Now that’s a toasted sandwich to make sure you’re well fed.

What’s your favourite gourmet toasted sandwich combo?  Do you have a sandwich press or do you go old school with toasties? Let me know

Lil

What a good Friday this is.

No but really. This morning I got to sleep in to a reasonable hour. I got to make breakfast when I was ready and I even managed to catch up on some of my housework.

I did have a brunch meeting this morning but overall it was a relaxed morning.

And now I’m getting ready to go camping for the weekend . My 3rd and 4th batch of banana bread are in the oven and when its ready I’m headed down the coast to spend the weekend with some fellow Rovers.

I’m not the biggest fan of hot cross buns but I like to find ways to enjoy them a little differently so today I thought I’d share some Ideas for how you can enjoy hot cross buns a little differently.

Firstly

Hot cross French toast.

For my hot cross french toast I used chocolate hot cross buns but you can use any type, , home made or shop bought.

Mix together eggs and milk then sliced up hot cross buns into 3 slices. You’ll need around 1 egg and 1/6th of a cup of milk for every 2 hot cross buns.

Dunk each slice in the egg mixture then fry in a lightly oiled frying pan until browned on each side.

I served mine with whipped cream and stewed raspberries.

Hot cross desert burgers

Warm up your buns the slice in half.

Fill with sliced fruit, cottage or cream cheese and caramel or chocolate sauce.

Or for something savoury

Hot cross sliders.

Slice the bun in half. Place cheese on half then place under the grill until the cheese melts.

Fill slider with tomato lettuce and pork or chicken slices. Top with some caramelised onions or your favourite sauce.

So that’s three different ways you can serve your hot cross buns this Easter.

Do you make your own or buy them? Do you just like them warm with butter or do you have a different way to serve them.

Let me know.

Lil.

As usual last week was a busy week.

For me it was a week of scouting though I didn’t get to attend either of my regular scouting activities. I did attend a lot of other meetings though. I also spent my weekend at a scouting conference. It was fun and interesting and I’m really glad I went.

Last week I also worked on my recipe for mac and cheese. I haven’t quite perfected it yet but I’m getting there. I have a few ideas of what to change up next and I’m looking forward to having some more this week. I have worked out though that I much prefer the gooey fresh from the pot version better then the baked one.

One of my meetings ended up turning into a big menu planning session. A few friends and I are going to be catering for an event in a few weeks and so we spent the evening working out what we were going to make for it. I really love getting to plan menus for camps. Its always good fun to see what different things I can come up with that you might not expect while camping. We had a challenging brief but I think we got there.

On to this week. This weeks recipe is a treat for me. I don’t make it often but its worth it when I do. Hot chocolate is definitely my favourite hot beverage. There are of course many quick and easy chocolate powders  out there, some good and some needing tweaking, But nothing beats making a hot chocolate with melted chocolate. I was going to save this one for another day but considering the weather today in Brisbane It certainly seems like a good one to share.

Proper Hot chocolate

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Makes 1 big cup or two small ones

Ingredients:

1/3 cup chocolate melts

1/4 cup Milk

1-2 tsp Vanilla

1/2 tsp nutmeg (optional)

1 heaped tbs Marshmallow fluff

How to:

Place the chocolate and milk in a metal or glass bowl and place the bowl over  pot of simmering water.

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Stir occasionally until the chocolate has melted and has mixed well with the milk.

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Add in the vanilla and nutmeg and stir through. Continue to heat for another 2-3 minutes.

Remove from the heat and pour into a mug then top with marshmallow fluff.

I hope you enjoy my proper hot chocolate.

Lil

Well technically a recipe for my future cousin-in-law.  But more on that later.

B is back!! What a lovely valentines present for him to come home. I made him a cute card. He bought me a super cute (and super soft) toy camel from his travels. I’ve named it Alfred.

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In other news I spent my Saturday baking and was fortunate on of my friends was able to come over and help me eats some of what I made.  Between the two of us we demolished the Pav and while we only had one or two I think it may have been the best batch of brownies I have ever made.

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On Sunday I made a cute variation on the Raspberry Nutella Blondie’s to take to work for morning Tea on Monday. I added red food colouring and cocoa powder to turn them pink and I used a cookie cutter t cut them into hearts. They where quite cute.

So… on to the story behind the recipe. One of my cousins is getting married in March to a lovely lady who loves to cook. So for her kitchen tea we were all asked to send in a recipe rather then a card for her friends to put together in a recipe book.  I struggled to work out what recipe to send.  What recipe could I send that she wouldn’t already have and was worthy of such a gift. I finally settled on my signature dish. A pavlova.

 Pavlova is one of my all time favourite desserts and it became a specialty of mine when I was in high school as it was my favourite thing to procrasti-bake. While I have the base recipe perfected (for me) I do like to change up my toppings so for this recipe I drew my inspiration from valentines day and came up with this Raspberry, Rosewater and Chocolate pavlova.  I hope My cousin and his soon to be wife enjoy it and I hope you do too.

My Raspberry, Rosewater and Chocolate Pavlova

Well technically a recipe for my future cousin-in-law.  But more on that later.

B is back!! What a lovely valentines present for him to come home. He bought me a super cute (and super soft) toy camel. I’ve named it Alfred.

In other news I spent my Saturday baking and was fortunate on of my friends was able to come over and help me eats some of what I made.  Between the two of us we demolished the Pav and while we only had one or two I think it may have been the best batch of brownies I have ever made.

On Sunday I made a cute variation on the Raspberry Nutella Blondie’s to take to work for morning Tea on Monday. I added red food colouring and cocoa powder to turn them pink and I used a cookie cutter t cut them into hearts. They where quite cute.

So… on to the story behind the recipe. One of my cousins is getting married in March to a lovely lady who loves to cook. So for her kitchen tea we were all asked to send in a recipe rather then a card for her friends to put together in a recipe book.  I struggled to work out what recipe to send.  What recipe could I send that she wouldn’t already have and was worthy of such a gift. I finally settled on my signature dish. A pavlova.

 Pavlova is one of my all time favourite desserts and it became a specialty of mine when I was in high school as it was my favourite thing to procrasti-bake. While I have the base recipe perfected (for me) I do like to change up my toppings so for this recipe I drew my inspiration from valentines day and came up with this Raspberry, Rosewater and Chocolate pavlova.  I hope My cousin and his soon to be wife enjoy it and I hope you do too.

My Raspberry, Rosewater and Chocolate Pavlova

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Ingredients:

3 egg whites

150g Castor sugar

2tsp  of vanilla

1 cup Frozen Raspberries

1tbs sugar

150g chocolate

100mls thickened cream

200mls thickened cream

2tsp splash of rosewater

1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg

1 tbs icing sugar

Oven:

 150C

How to:

In the bowl of a stand mixer whisk 3 eggwhites until light and fluffy.

Add in the sugar and turn your mixer speed up. Mix for 10-15 mins or until the whites are shiny and no longer grainy.

Line a baking tray with baking paper (spray with a little oil so the paper doesn’t move). Spread your whites onto the paper and swirl the top with your spatula to give it some texture.

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Place in the oven and bake for an hour-an hour and a half. The outside should end up nice and crispy.

Meanwhile, place the chocolate and 100ml of cream in a double boil until the chocolate melts and mix to combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Place the frozen Raspberries in a small saucepan over a low heat and allow to heat through. Once mostly thawed add in the sugar and stir. Continue heating over low heat until warmed through.

Whisk together thickened cream, nutmeg, icing sugar and rosewater until cream is thick.

To serve:

Place the meringue bases on your serving tray/board. Spoon the raspberries evenly over the top of the meringue. Drizzle the chocolate sauce over the top then dollop the cream on top.

So as it’s pancake day I thought I’d break from my usual format and go straight into my pancake recipe.

The Basic recipe:

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Makes 6-10

1 cup Self raising flour

1 cup Milk (or milk substitutes like almond milk, soy milk, rice milk etc)

1 egg

Optional: 1/4 cup sugar

Yep that’s it.

Mix your pancake batter together until well combined then scoop 1/4-1/3 of a cup of batter into a frying pan over  medium heat. Cook until the top of the pancake is starting to bubble (and the underside is lightly browned) then flip the pancake. Cook for a further 30-60 seconds or until pan side is brown. Remove from heat and repeat with remaining batter.

Tip: you will need a good non stick pan or you will need to lightly spray the pan with oil between each pancake.

So that’s my basic pancake recipe and if you just want a great ‘breakfast  for diner’ pancake then go ahead with that recipe and serve with your favourite toppings.

However If you’d prefer a savoury spin here are a few suggestions for some minor changes to give you yummy savoury dinner pancakes.

Veggie pancakes

Makes 6-10

1 serve basic pancake batter (no sugar)

3/4 your fave veggies – My favourites for this are zucchinis or corn kernels but most veggies would go well in this.

Small dice or great your veggie/s then mix through your pancake batter.

Cook as above. Serve with your favourite sauce.

Pancake sandwiches

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Makes 3-6 sandwiches

1 serve basic pancake batter (no sugar)

1/2-1 cup extra milk

Bacon

Grated Cheese

Tomato – sliced

Optional – your favourite spice.

Make your pancake batter a bit thinner with some extra milk.

Cook the pancake batter as above.  Optional: Before you flip the pancake sprinkle a pinch or two  of your favourite spice or spice mix over the top.

Once you have two pancakes put to the side then cook your bacon.

Place one of your pancakes bake in the pan and cover with cheese. Top with bacon then the sliced tomato. Sprinke tomato with salt and pepper. Remove from heat to a plate. Lightly reheat second pancake then place on to of the sliced tomato.

So there is my basic pancake recipe and two savoury twists. The bonus of pancakes for dinner is just make few extra from the basic batter and you have desert ready to go. I hope you enjoy them.

Happy pancake day!

It’s been another big weekend for me.

I went straight to the airport from work on Friday to fly to Sydney for RTX AU.

I had a fantastic time and meet some great people as well as getting to catch up with some of my Supanova friends.  Though I didn’t get to spend much time with them I even got to catch up with  couple of my family members.

The only downsides were it was a lot of late nights and early mornings and I couldn’t get Monday off so on Monday morning it was a very early flight and straight of the plane to work.

On the up side I slept really well last night and as today is a public holiday I even got a sleep in (and a nap).

B and I haven’t done much today to celebrate Australia Day, just enjoyed getting to spend some time together. This is the only day we are both home all day since before the new year and until mid February as he leaves to go overseas on Friday.  It’s been a nice relaxing day.

As today is Australia day here I thought I’d go with an Aussie classic. The mighty Sausage roll! Even better this is my super cheats recipe so it’s super easy. Eat them nice and hot from the oven or keep them to take for lunch.

Simple Sausage Rolls

Ingredients:

Sausages

Puff pastry (I use the pre rolled frozen sheets)

Your favourite sauce to serve

Oven:

180

How To:

Firstly I don’t usually use just regular sausages (though you definitely can if that’s what you like). I like to get some nice gourmet flavoured sausages either from the shops or my local butcher.

Defrost your puff pastry sheet/s on the bench until its just soft enough to cut through. You’ll need around 3 sausages per sheet of pastry.

Cut the puff pasty in thirds then cut those thirds vertically then in half horizontally to make 2 smaller rectangles of pastry. Cut each of your sausages in half.

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Place a half a sausage on along one of the long edges of each piece of puff pastry then roll the puff pastry around the rest of the sausage. Press the edges of the pastry together to seal then seal the ends.

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Place the wrapped sausages on a tray lined with baking paper and bake for 30 mins or until the pastry is puffed and browned.

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Remove from oven and serve with your favourite sauce or allow to cool fully and keep refrigerated until your ready to eat them (reheat in microwave if desired).

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Optional extras:

Sometimes I like to put some cheese in side my sausage rolls. Just put the chees on the puff pastry before you wrap up your sausage. You could also just replace your sausage with cheese altogether if your catering for non meat eater or you don’t like sausages.

 So what did you get up to for Australia day? Do you have a favourite gourmet sausage flavour?

I hope you give the sausage rolls a go.

Lil

This week has been a rather quiet one for a change.

It’s also been reasonably productive.

I got a lot of my to do list sorted which was nice.

I spent most of my weekend in the kitchen working on some new recipes and enjoying the results of some old ones.

I also discovered the food network channel. A whole free to air channel of food shows! Sufficed to say I had that on in the background for most of the weekend. It definitely helped inspire me to work on some of my recipes.

I also did a little bit of crafting and worked on getting myself more organised.

My challenge for this week is to take this momentum and work on tidying up the house. I suspect it may not go so well but trying to procrastinate from it may lead to some interesting creative projects.

Sunday marks the 1st anniversary of this blog. I’m proud of myself for what I have achieved with it and I’m working on more ideas for the future. The first recipe and proper post for my blog was my basic brownies recipe. This week I decided I would expand a little on that recipe. This week I have made my Nutella and Raspberry Blondies. I hope you enjoy them.

Nutella and Raspberry Blondies

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Ingredients:

125g butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1tsp Vanilla

1 cup plain flour

3 tbs Nutella

3/4 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

Oven:

180C

How to:

Melt the butter in the microwave or over double boil.

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Mix in the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add the flour and mix until just combined.

Pour mixture into a lined square baking tin.

TIP: if you crumple the baking paper it fits into the corners of tin much easier.

Dollop the  Nutella onto the top of the mixture in a few places then use a spoon or rubber spatula to swirl the Nutella through the Blondie mix. Scatter the raspberries on top.

 

Bake in oven on the bottom shelf for 40-60 mins of until the top is set and a little firm to touch.

Allow to cool in the tin for 5 mins the move to a rack. Allow to cool on rack for at least 5 mins before cutting up.

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You can server them warm or let them completely cool depending on how you like them. They are very nice served with a scoop of ice cream or just on their own.

This recipe is really adaptable especially for dairy and gluten allergies.

Let me know if you give them a go.

Lil