Nutella and Raspberry Blondies

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

Three Easy Canapés

Its been a nice week. Not much worth writing about but overall good vibes.

Got refunded (in vouchers) for my flights to Sydney and Perth I had to cancel. Which allowed me to book flights to Adelaide later in the year.

Picked my car back up from my parents house so now I have a little more freedom.

Got to drink tea with this guy. We call him Fred

Fred Tea

Got my recipes photographed and written up a whole day before posting them (yay for being organised!).

I’ve been working on fixing up some issue with some of he previous pictures on some devices. This is still an ongoing process.

I’ve also been working on a few ideas for the blog which you should hopefully see in the next few weeks.

I even finally got around to putting something on my about page. It is still a work in progress though.

Overall I’m working on getting more organised.

This week I have three easy canapés for you. They don’t require much in the way of ingredients or assembly.

Tomato, Basil & Ricotta

Tomato basil ricotta

Ingredients:

Crackers

Cherry (or other small) Tomatoes

Ricotta (or Cottage Cheese)

Basil Leaves

How To:

Arrange crackers of your choice (I prefer rice crackers) onto a serving plate.

Place half tsp of ricotta (or cottage cheese) onto each cracker.

Quarter your cherry tomatoes and place one quarter on the ricotta.

Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Place  basil leaf (or half a leaf for big leaves) on each tomato slice.

Voila!

Grape & ham bites

Ham and Grape bites

Ingredients:

Ham slices (or you can use bacon)

Grapes

How To:

Heat a frying pan and brown the ham (or bacon) to your liking.

Once ham is browned remove from pan and toss grapes to warm lightly in the ham/bacon fat left in the pan.

Cut ham into slices.

Wrap each grape with a slice of ham and secure with a toothpick.

Enjoy!

Sausage Rounds

Sausage rounds

This one is by far the easiest.

Ingredients:

Sausages

Sauce to serve

How To:

The trick here is to pick some gourmet flavoured ones. you can get them from your supermarket or your local butcher will often have a good range.

Brown the outside of the sausages.

Slice into rounds.

Cook the rounds in the pan to lightly brown the middles.

Place in a bowl and serve with your favourite dipping sauce.

I made a simple honey Sriracha sauce by mixing half a tbs of honey with half a tbs of Sriracha sauce and a splash of sesame oil.

So there you go. Three super easy canapés for you next occasion.

Sweet Mini Tarts

I had a very busy week doing bits and pieces. Mostly getting ready for one of the biggest events on the rover calendar for the year, Saint Georges Ball. Every year we get together and dress up in our fanciest clothes and have a nice meal and hand out some awards. Its always a great night and this years was no exception. Even better this year B and I were crowned King and Queen of the ball which was an amazing surprise. We also got to hang out with some of our amazing rover friends. I ended the evening with very sore ankles from walking and dancing but it was worth it for the great night out with great friends.

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This week I have made three super simple mini tarts. The advantage of these is that I could prep. most of it while sitting down as my ankles are giving me trouble.

I made the cases out of puff pastry. The same as in my recipe for cheese and onion jam tarts.

The first lot I made were Caramel apple

I put 1/2 a tsp of tin caramel in each case then sliced up an apple and put a slice on each. You can also sprinkle salt on the caramel if you prefer salted caramel. If you can’t find tin caramel you can easily make some by placing a tin of condensed milk in a pot of water and boiling for 2.5 hours. Make sure to keep the tin covered with water at all times.

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The second lot I made were Nutella S’more

I put 1/2 a tsp of Nutella in each case the topped it with half a marshmallow. You can serve as is or if you want to “toast” the marshmallow you can put them under the grill for a few moments until the outside browns.

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The third lot I made were Strawberry Kiwi

I placed 1/2 tsp strawberry Jam in each case. I then put a slice of kiwi fruit on each. You could also add a dollop of cream if you wish.

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Cheese & Onion Jam Tarts

Another big weekend at Supanova has come and gone. This time it was the Gold Coast. Queensland Supanovas are always the best for cosplay (in my opinion) and though I didn’t get many photos, this weekend was no exception. I did get a photo of these two awesome cosplayers though.

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Today’s recipe favorite snack/canapé in our house. This recipe originated as one my mother used to make from one (or more come to think of it) of her cook books and it has evolved over the years being made from memory and with what’s on hand etc. It can be made with almost any sort of cheese depending on your tastes/what you have. My mother and I both prefer Blue cheese. B likes tasty. I often make them with what we call plastic cheese (that would be cheese singles) if that’s all I have in the house. I believe the recipe my mother used to use said to use goats cheese. For this recipe I’ve just used good old tasty, and tasty they were.

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Please note that this recipe makes double the number of pastry cases you will need. you can either put away the leftovers (they will keep for a few days in an airtight container) or use them for something else.

Oven 180C

1 Sheet Pre-made puff pastry

2 large onions  (red or brown)

2tbs port or red wine

2tbs balsamic or apple cider vinegar

4tbs brown sugar

100g cheese

Cracked pepper to taste.

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Slightly defrost puff pastry sheet then cut into 16 – 36 squares (depending on how big you want the tarts).

Transfer the squares to a baking sheet lined with baking paper.

Place oven and bake until puffed and lightly golden.

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While pastry is baking, quarter and slice the onions.

Place onions in a saucepan over medium heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally,  until browned.

Stir in port, vinegar and sugar, and bring to a simmer.

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Simmer until onion takes on the colour of the sauce and the sauce reduces and becomes a sticky/ jam consistently.  Remove from heat.

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Take each pasty puff and cut in half  to form little cups.

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 Slice cheese into small pieces that fit inside the cups.

Place pasty cups up on baking tray. Place 1 slice of cheese in each then a teaspoon of the onion jam on top.

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Place in oven and bake until cheese melts. Remove from the oven then crack some pepper over the top.

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Couscous Three Ways

Over the last two weekends I have participated in a bushwalking course and helped cater for a medieval feast. In the next few weekends I am camping with a bunch of mates, going to Melbourne and The Gold Coast Supanovas and marching in an ANZAC day parade. Suffice to say I am a busy person at the moment. This is one of the reasons I have moved my posts to Monday. I am hoping It will give me a little extra time to get myself sorted out each week (especially when it comes to taking photos).

Todays post was Inspired by two of the afore mentioned activities. Couscous is a regular side dish at the medieval events I attend and it makes for a super simple light weight (for hiking) meal of its own. Its also very versatile and extremely easy to make.

And so I present you with couscous three ways as a side dish, As a meal and as a breakfast. Couscous is an ugly food for photographing but is delicious anyway.


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For all three recipes the method is the same.

1. Place the couscous in a heat proof bowl (preferably 1 with a lid) then add the water.

2. Cover the bowl and allow steam for 2-3 minutes.

3. Stir through with a fork to break up the couscous.

4. Stir through the rest of the ingredients.

5. Enjoy

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The ingredients for each are as follows:

As a Side dish (serves 4) 

1 cup Couscous

1 cup of boiling Water

3/4 cup Raisins, Sultanas or Dried Cranberries

1/4 cup toasted Pine Nuts (optional)

1 tsp Veg Stock powder (or 1 stock cube)

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As a meal (serves 1)

1/3 cup Couscous

1/3 up boiling Water

1 small tin of flavoured tuna

1/4 cup Sultanas

1/4 cup Almonds

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As Breakfast (serves 2) – Serve with Yogurt

1/3 cup Couscous

1/3 cup boiling Water

1/4 cup dried fruit of your choice (I use saltines and cranberries)

1/4 cup nuts of your choice (I use almonds or pistachios)

1/4 tsp ground Cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground Cardamon

1/4 tsp ground Nutmeg

2 tbs of Honey (or to taste)

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Dried Fruit & Almond Fritters

Finally we have internet!

It took 3 week but we survived. just.

So what did I do on our first weekend with internet?

I went on a bushwalking course. Yer, out in the bush, without internet.

And to top it off it rained most of the weekend.

Despite the rain I was a really great and informative weekend.

I brushed up on my navigation and light weight camping skills and met some cool people who’ve done (and do) some amazing stuff.

Todays recipe is Dried fruit and nut fritters.

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1 1/2 Cups Self Raising flour

1/4 cup Brown Sugar

1/4 cup Powdered Milk

40g Sultanas*

30g Almonds & Dried Cranberries*

1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg

1/4 tsp Ground Cardamon

1 Egg

1 cup Water

* I use the small pre-packed snack boxes of sultanas and almonds & cranberries for convenience.

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Put all dry ingredients in a bowl then add wet ingredients.

Mix together with a whisk until smooth.

Place a frypan over a medium heat and spray with oil.

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Scoop 1/4 cup of mixture into the fry pan and allow to cook for 2-3 mins. bubbles should be appearing and popping on the top and the bottom should be easy ti lift with a spatular.

Flip over and cook other side for 1-2 mind or until browned.

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Repeat spraying the pan between each one, until you’ve used the mixture or you have enough fritters.

Excess mix can fe kept in the fridge for 1 day.

Serve with butter and/or honey.

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Super Easy Cheats Flat Bread

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So all the moving is all done and now we are in a new place surrounded by boxes.  The First rooms to be unpacked were of course The Ben’s study and the kitchen. This has made a rather large dent in the pile of boxes in our living room as these are probably the rooms with the most of our stuff in them. I’m very excited to get back to some cooking especially now I have a bigger kitchen to work with.

new kitchen

Now the biggest problem is that our internet is not working so we are running off our mobile internet and that is starting to wear thin. Telstra have promised they will have resolved it by the 19th of March but thats still 2 weeks away.

So todays recipe only comes with a few pictures.

Don’t worry though its a really easy recipe.

 

You need

1 Cup SR Flour

2/3 cup Water

2 Tbs Garlic salt

Mix together the dry ingredients then add in water bit by bit until the mixture becomes a dough. If you add to much water then you can add more SR flour to bring it back to the right consistency.

Split the dough into 4 and roll each piece into a ball then roll out each ball on a lightly floured surface into a 5-15m thick round.

lightly oil a fry pan and place over a medium heat.

Once warm place one of the dough rounds into the pan and allow to brown. You will see the dough puff up a little and my form some bubbles in the middle.

When one side is browned flip over and brown the other side.

When both sides are browned remove from pan and place to the side. Repeat for each round until all done. Oil pan between each one.

 

I like to eat them with sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce and.or kewpie mayo.

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Meringue Kisses

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There is something wonderful about early mornings.

 Don’t get me wrong, I like getting out of bed as much as the next person but once I’m up and awake  I really enjoy the quiet and still of the early morning.

 I got up early this morning as I had to drop B off at the airport. He’s off to Melbourne for a few days while I stay home and pack. We’re moving house next weekend.

 I hate packing but I like getting to move to a new place and re organise everything. I’m especially looking forward to having a bigger kitchen.

 I have a massive sweet tooth and pavlova has been one of my favourite deserts as long as I can remember. It is because of this the Meringue became my procrastibaking go to during high school. Many a weekend I have spent attempting to form the perfect peaks in my egg whites, waiting for the slow baking process to work its magic, smelling the sweet sent of caramelising sugar wafting through the house and artfully arranging cream, chocolate, fruit and/or nut atop my creations.

And its just so worth it.

To me eating Meringue is akin to floating on a cloud.

So today I am sharing one of my recipes for this delightful sweet.

Meringue kisses are just small peaks of meringue sandwich together with something sweet. I’ve used caramel and lemon curd in todays recipe but you can use ganache, jam, curd, whipped cream, or whatever else takes your fancy.

My general rule for all meringue is 50g castor sugar to 1 egg white.

For these you will need 2 egg whites and 100g castor sugar.

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In a clean mixing bowl whisk the egg whites on medium with an electric mixer until they form soft peaks.

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Add in sugar 1 tbs at a time. Once all the sugar has been added turn the mixer up to high and whisk for 10-15 mins or until the meringue is smooth and not grainy. to test this rub some of the meringue between your fingers.

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Once your meringue is ready use a spatular to move the meringue into a piping bag or large zip lock bag with the corner cut off.

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 pipe small peaks (1-2cms in diameter)of meringue onto a baking paper lined baking sheet.

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Place in a 100-130 C  oven and allow to bake of at least an hour.

The outside should be crisp.

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Turn off the oven and allow to cool.

Once they have cooled you can store them in an airtight container until you are ready to serve them.

 To serve match up evenly sized meringues. Sandwich together with half a teaspoon of caramel or lemon.

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Super Simple – Chocolate Covered Ginger

Darrell Lea’s Dark chocolate covered ginger was the stock standard gift for Dad on every occasion until it started getting to hard to get a hold of. So what were we to do? Trying to find gifts for Dad is hard enough without losing our standard gift. Showing the usual Gammie spirit I thought ‘I can make that.’ and so I did.  You can use dark or milk chocolate for this its up to you but our favourite is dark chocolate. 
Ingredients 
1 Bag (200g) uncrystallised or “natural” Ginger 
100g Melting Chocolate 
place chocolate in a small metal or glass bowl, place over a bowl of boiling water. stir occasionally until entirely melted.  
Place ginger pieces (a few at a time) in bowl of chocolate. use chopsticks or a fork to roll the ginger pieces around until covered with chocolate.  
  
 
once covered place on  sheet of baking paper to dry.  
 
  
 
 
repeat until you have run out of ginger.  
allow to dry for 15-30 mins or until chocolate hardens.