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

IMG_1709

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.

IMG_1694

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.

Blondies 2

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

Earl Grey Tea Loaf

Not much happened this week.

As I mentioned last week we said ‘See ya’ to my sister.

She headed off to Canada with her boyfriend and best friend.

I’m working on crocheting them scarves to match the beanies I made them. I’d forgotten how much easier crocheting is than knitting for scarves. I may even try crocheting them some fingerless gloves next if I have enough yarn.

We are going well with our veg weeknight meals. I made a sweet potato and chick pea curry one night and I adapted an old favourite to get moroccan tofu and greens.

IMG_1174

On Thursday night I helped my team win a $20 three course cooking challenge which was fun. I expanded my camp cooking repertoire which is good.

Friday was full of meetings with various people and it was nice to be out and about for a change.

On Saturday B and I helped my parents put up a new gazebo for their backyard. It was hot hard work but we got done in the end.

IMG_1189

Throughout the week I worked on this recipe for you. I have tried it with a few teas and they are all good but for the recipe I’ve gone with B’s favourite Earl Grey.

Earl Grey Tea Loaf

IMG_1195

Ingredients:

25g Butter, softened

1 cup Sugar

1 Egg

2 cups Self Raising Flour

3/4 cup Earl Grey Tea

How To:

Mix together butter and sugar. Add in egg and stir through.

Alternate adding flour and tea and mix until all well combine.

IMG_1193

Pour batter into lined loaf tin and bake for one hour.

Test with a skewer to make sure its cooked through.

Cool in tin for 5 mins then place on a baking rack until completely cool.

Slice to serve.

Karaage Style Tofu

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you make something you haven’t made in ages then you wonder how you forgot how nice it is and you end up eating  lots of it over the next week or two? Well that’s happened to me this week with a dish we just call Broth. It a versatile dish and normally involves some form of noodle (this week it’s been Ramen) cooked and served in a flavoured broth with chicken (also usually cooked in the broth) or tofu (crispified) and veg. We’ve probably eaten it 3 or 4 times in the last week and it’s on the menu again a few times this week too.

In other news my mother gave me a Herman the German Friendship Cake. I have been stirring it and feeding it and I’m looking forward to actually baking it (and passing it on to others) later this week. I’ll try and remember to put up a photo of the finished cake next week.

IMG_1102

Also his week in the life of Lil I finally finished reading “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”. I decided recently it was time to re-read the series and I got through the first book in a couple of days as expected but the second book took me weeks to finish. The third book is already going much better so I think it was just that book.

My top tip for this week would have to be don’t keep plastic chopping boards at the back of your stove or you may just find it melted. I went to move my big plastic chopping board today that I keep at the back of my stove over the oven vent and found the edge all melted. I was quite impressed as it’s a reasonably thick board but I think I’ll only keep the wooden ones there from now on.

IMG_1085

This weeks recipe is one we use to serve with our broth or sometimes we are a bit naughty and eat it all by itself as a meal. It’s a great way to cook your tofu if you like it crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and marinated too. You can freeze portions of it and heat it back up in the oven later for a quick snack or to add to your meal another day. I call it “Karaage Style” as while it uses the same technique as Karaage I like to play around with the marinade so its not necessarily the same flavour.

Karaage Style Tofu

IMG_1099

Ingredients:

250g Tofu

1 tsp minced ginger

2tsp minced garlic

2tsp soy sauce

3tbs plain flour

3tbs corn starch or arrowroot (tapioca starch)

Oil for frying

How To:

Press tofu for 8-10 mins to absorb excess water.

You can do this by placing paper towel on a plate then the tofu on the paper towel. Put another layer of paper towel on top of the tofu and then a chopping board on top. Weigh down the chopping board with whatever tined items you have in the cupboard.

IMG_1081

Chop the tofu into bite sized pieces and place in a large bowl. Create the marinade by mixing together the ginger, garlic and soy sauce and pour it over the tofu. Give the tofu a gentle stir to make sure it is all covered in marinade. Let marinate for at least 15 mins. In a separate bowl mix together the flour and starch and set aside.

IMG_1086

To fry the tofu place 1-2 cm of oil in the bottom of a small pot. Heat oil to 160-170C. (use a candy or deep fry thermometer). Just before you start frying gently stir the flour mixture through the tofu to coat each piece.

Fry 5-6 pieces at a time until light brown then place on paper towel to drain excess oil.

Once all pieces are done heat oil to 170-180C. Fry pieces a second time until golden brown. You can fry 8-10 pieces at a time this time as they don’t take as long so won’t reduce the oil temperature as much. Place on paper towel again to drain excess oil.

IMG_1092

You can serve you tofu with rice and steamed veg or in a bowl of udon or ramen or just serve it with your favourite dipping sauce for a snack.

TIP: Feel free to play around with the marinade. Other ingredients I like to use include: lemon grass, coriander root, chili paste or sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and Cajun spice. It’s really up to you how you flavour it.

Milo Cookies For My Friend

The weeks roll by so fast it’s sometimes hard to keep track of what actually happened in the last week.

I have to look through my photos to jog my memory.

Of course Monday was full of excitement with the #libspill and my first ever game of Quiddich. Our crew played one of our neighbouring crews in the first of three friendly matches and we tied. There were a few broken brooms and a few minor broom crashes but we had a great time. We learnt that having substitute players (which we didn’t have) is kind of key as we were all rather buggered even after just five minutes of playing.

This week we also had a lovely dinner with some friends followed by a few rounds of cards. Its something we try to do as often as possible and we’ve crammed a few in lately as two of our number are going away for six months.

I finally started my herb garden. I got rosemary, basil and strawberries to start with and yesterday picked up some mint from my parents place. I also want to get some lavender but I want to get a nice edible variety. If all goes well with these I’m also hoping to expand into having some tomatoes and maybe some chillies too.

IMG_1044

I’ve been testing out some future recipes and changing up some old ones. Despite the increase in cooking I’m also working on keeping my kitchen tidy. It’s going well so far but we’ll so how long I can keep it up.

Todays recipe was a request from a friend of mine. We’ll call him MB. We met MB on a food and wine tour when we were all at a national Rover camp in WA. Though we actually live in the same state we had somehow not met before. Fast forward a few years and we try and catch up whenever we are in the same part of the state. Earlier this year we were talking about my blog and MB asked me to make a recipe for Milo cookies. So after much experimenting this is what I came up with. I then discovered that if you spoon Milo straight onto a baking tray (lined with baking paper) and bake for a few minutes they will make cookies themselves. I suggest you give both ways a go as they both have their benefits.

Milo Cookies

IMG_1071

Oven:

180C

Ingredients:

125g Butter (softened)

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp Vanilla essence

1 1/2 cups Plain flour

Milo

How To:

With an electric mixer cream butter and sugar then add vanilla.

Slowly mix in flour until dough has formed.

Form tablespoons of dough into balls and place on a baking paper lined tray.

Use the bottom of your tablespoon to press flat the balls and make a well in the centre.

IMG_1058

Bake cookies for 10 mins then remove from oven and spoon 1tsp of milo into the well in each cookie.

Return to oven and bake a further 5 mins.

IMG_1059

Remove from oven and cool on rack.

TIP: for best heat distribution off set each row of cookies (like pictured) don’t just put them in straight rows.

Please note: I used Wholemeal flour and brown sugar this time so they came out more brown than usual. If you’re using white flour and white sugar the cookies will be paler than mine (they taste just as good though).

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

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.

Scones

Well I’ve had a fantastic week in Sydney visiting my family and friends.

It’s been a bit colder than Brisbane but really not as bad as I was expecting so the 4 jumpers I brought down were maybe a little overkill. I am glad though that I brought my new beanie and my favourite scarf as they have been much help in keeping me warm.  I’ve also knitted two beanies while I’ve been here, one for a friend and one for me, in some fantastic hi-vis and fluro yarns.

I’ve also been taking the time to write down or photograph some of my Nan’s and Grandma’s recipes. I’m looking forward to trying them out as they have some really yummy looking ones. It reminded me that I should get out Grandma’s Slice book and make some yummy slice. I sometimes forget how great slice is until I have some.

Todays recipe for you is the scone recipe I got from my mum.  It makes lovely fluffy scones that are perfect for afternoon tea or to snack on any time of the day. They are really simple and really quick to make.

Did you know? You should never cut open a scone but break it open. It is said the if you cut a scone than you are cutting your friendship with the person who made it. It also mucks up the nice fluffy consistency of your scone.

scone 1

 

You will need

3 cups Self Raising Flour (plus more for your bench)

1 cup cream

1 cup lemonade (or other soft drink)

Pre-heat oven to 200-250 decrees C

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix until it has just come together.

scone 5

Turn out onto a lightly floured bench and fold 2-3 times. DO NOT KNEAD!

Press flat to 2-3 cm thick.

Use a circle cutter to cut scones out of dough. Tip: dip cutter in flour so dough doesn’t stick to the edge.

Place on a baking paper lined flat tray close together but not touching.

scone 3

Bake for 10-15 mins until brown on top. Keep an eye on them as they can go from perfect to a little burnt on top in seconds (especially if the oven has been set wrong so the top shelf is hotter than the bottom, opps).

Fortunately the second tray went much better and the burnt ones were still fine to eat if you cut the top off.

scone 2

Serve your scones with cream and your choice of jam or other preserves. My lemon curd goes great on them.

Bánh mì – Vietnamese Rolls

After a weekend of trying to keep my foot up after I hurt it when I managed to fall over on Friday night, I’ve done a fair bit of walking today. This is because I flew to Sydney. I’ve been looking forward to heading down here to visit all my family and a couple of friends. Normally I catch up with them when I come down for Sydney Supanova but as that trip was cancelled this year due to my health I made the effort to come down to see everyone.

I love coming to Sydney and my Grandparents houses are as much home to me as my own house.

This week I’d like to share with you my recipe for a super easy meal – Bánh mì or Vietnamese rolls.

We keep most of the stuff for this pre chopped in ziplock bags in the fridge as we use them quite often but it doesn’t take to long to chop the stuff up if needed.

Bánh Mì

IMG_0832

Ingredients:

Vietnamese Rolls (4-6 depending on size)

Pork (300g)

Carrot (1/2)

Chinese Cabbage (1/2)

Cucumber (1/3)

Coriander (a handful)

Aioli (2 tsp per roll)

Soy sauce (aprox 1 tsp per roll)

Cilli paste (to taste)

How To:

To start with I cut my pork into strips (or you could buy stir fry strips) and marinade it in a honey soy marinade for 30mins or more. I am lazy and just use a shop bought marinade but you can use your own.

While the meat is marinading I prep my veggies and put them in ziplock bags for easy storage. I Slice the Cabbage into strips. I finely slice the carrot (I use my Slicer to make life easier). I cut the cucumber into long wedges (usually 1/6s or 1/8s).

When the meat is ready  stir fry until cooked. when this is done you should be ready to start constructing your roll/s.

Cut your roll in half lengthways and scoop out some of the bread on one side to create a bit of extra room.

IMG_0837

spread your aioli and chill paste (if desired) on the flat side and sprinkle soy sauce on the dug out side.

Layer in your cucumber, cabbage, carrot and pork then top with coriander. Enjoy!

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.

11817153_872241729480393_2854005047871076398_n

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.

IMG_0783

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.

IMG_0786

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.

IMG_0790

Meringue Eggs

IMG_0433

Happy Easter!!

What are you up to this long weekend?

I am camping with a bunch of other Rover scouts from my state, hopefully the weather stays nice for us.

I made these meringue eggs for morning tea at work and they went down a treat. I Hope you enjoy them and are having a fantastic Easter weekend like me!

Meringue Eggs

4 egg whites

200g sugar

1 cup lemon curd

50-100g White Chocolate

50g Milk Chocolate (optional)

Beat egg whites to soft peaks the add sugar.

Beat for 8-10 mins or until stiff peaks have formed and whites are no longer grainy.

To form the egg shapes use two table spoons to “roll” scoops of the mixture between the two spoons. Scoop the mixture from one spoon to the other until it is egg shaped the drop each scoop onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper.

 IMG_0390 IMG_0389 IMG_0388  IMG_0395

Bake the meringue eggs for 45-60 mins. Meringues should be slightly crisp on the outside and still soft/chewy in the middle.

 IMG_0426

Once Meringues have cooled poke a hole in each meringue.

IMG_0423

melt white chocolate and place in a piping or zip lock bag. Place lemon curd in a piping bag

Pipe lemon curd into each “egg” then pipe white chocolate over the hole to stop the lemon curd from leaking out.

IMG_0430IMG_0427

Optionnal drizzle more white or milk chocolate over the top.

 IMG_0436

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.

IMG_0351

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.

 IMG_0343

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.

IMG_0345

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.

IMG_0346

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.

IMG_0349