Thursday, 17 November 2011

Birthday cheesecake :D

While my birthday was over 2 months ago, i just recently came across pictures of this delicious treat of a cheesecake and decided it would be fitting to share due to the name of this blog!

Cheesecake cutting requires a lot of concentration ;)

I am constantly making baked cheesecakes and experimenting with different flavours, throwing a bit of this n that in, never really following a recipe. So for my birthday i decided to create a cheesecake which incorporated some of my other favourites - pumpkin pie & pecan pie!

creamy in-ards

Whilst i can't remember exact method or ingredients(Sorry guys, i promise i will make again & document!) I know it consisted of  a Arnotts buttersnap biscuit base, layer of scattered pecans, pumpkin cheesecake layer and topped with a rum caramel glaze & chopped pecans. Delish!

Stuffed Mushies!

I found myself one evening looking for a quick, delicious & healthy recipe for two which i could use up some leftovers in - enter stuffed mushrooms!

Take two large flat mushrooms, stalks removed & chuck it in the oven for 10 minutes, 180degreesC.

Meanwhile combine chopped stalk, 1/2 chopped onion & 1tsp crushed garlic over medium heat until softened. Add this to a large bowl containing:

*leftover pumpkin mash
*1/2 cup leftover pearl barley,
*leftover prosciutto, chopped
*1 grated zucchini
*diced tomato
*salt n pepper
and mix, mix, mix!

Remove mushrooms from the oven & pile high with the mix. Pop back in the oven for 10 or so minutes, remove & sprinke some grated parmasan cheese on top and return to the oven til the cheese has melted & browned.

Serve with a garden salad on the side & your in for a tasty treat!

*You can interchange any ingredient, & if you left out the prosciutto it would make a perfect vegetarian meal :)

USA: 2009-2010 - first stop Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

Early December 2009, my best friend Alex, sister Lisa and i embarked on adventure of a lifetime to the land of all things peanut butter! We boarded our flight with V Australia, Sydney to Los Angeles very excited girlies - even if it was 9pm at night.

Ready for take-off!

So we strapped in for a 13hr flight across the pacific, where we would have a 5hr layover at LAX before heading on to Washington DC. I made good use of my personal screen, watching many movies and tv shows due to my plane insomnia :(   

 So upon arriving in LA we checked our luggage and decided to hop in a cab to do some exploring of Santa Monica. $50 later(not including tip) we had arrived at Santa Monica Pier. It was uncharacteristically cold for LA winter, especially after leaving Australia on a 40 degree day, and at just before 6pm it was almost pitch black. Freezing cold, we wandered up and down the pier in a sleep depraved haze, until we finally managed to establish we were ravenous and were in desperate need of a feed. There we found Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., the answer to rumblings of our bellies.


Bubba Gumps is a must for any Forrest Gump lovers, with many references to the movie throughout the decor and menu. Our waitress introduced us to their system to get their attention, a "run, forrest run" sign to signal that everything was sweet at the table, and the "stop, forrest stop" to alert staff that you require assistance. We thought that was pretty neat :P

Add caption

For drinks, Alex & Lisa ordered the Peppermint Christmas special(which was practically a candycane milkshake) which came in a special flashing glass, a favourite for both. I ordered a mixed berry smoothie which was quite refreshing after plane food!

We decided to share 2 big bowls of fries for food-age which came in cute little baskets lined with newpaper. They were shovelled down like they were going out of fashion as you can probably tell by the few remaining in the photograph ;)

For our first dining experience in the US, and in our zombie-esque states, we all agreed Bubba's went down pretty-darn good!

Funfetti cupcakes!

I found myself one lazy saturday scrolling across some wonderful food blogs(as i often do) and stumbled upon this fantastic looking recipe of Jessica's for homemade Funfetti cupcakes. Whilst im no American, i have travelled there many times due to family in Virginia & have eaten funfetti cake mix many a time, so seeing this recipe made me quite nostalgic and i knew that i had to make them!

Jessica's recipe:

Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes
*1/2 cup butter
*1 cup sugar
*2 whole eggs
*1 Tbsp vanilla extract
*1 1/2 cups flour
*1 tsp baking powder
*1/3 cup milk
*1/3 cup assorted brightly colored sprinkles + more for top of frosting
Preheat oven to 180C.
Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add half of the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Add the milk. Once mixed, add remaining dry ingredients. Fold in assorted sprinkles.
Pour into cupcake tins and fill 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Let cool, then frost.

Vanilla Buttercream
1cup butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp of milk, if needed
Cream butter in the bowl of an electric mixture until completely smooth and creamy. With the mixer on low speed, add in powdered sugar slowly. Gradually increase mixer speed and add vanilla, then beat for 2-3 minutes, scraping down sides and bottom of the bowl. If frosting is too thick, add milk 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached If it’s too thin, add sugar gradually until it thickens. Frost cupcakes and top with sprinkles.

Now dig in & have a bite!

breakfast of champions!

This week has been full of the most delicious breakfasts, so much so that i can't put off eating them long enough to photograph! But today i used constraint and made sure to capture this blog-worthy brekky before shoveling it down(minus one sneaky mouthful).

 In the mix today was:
*1/2 cup oats
*1/2 cup water
*1/2 cup soy milk
*pinch of salt
Bubble away together til the oats have absorbed most of the liquid, then adding
*majority of a frozen banana
*1Tbsp chia
*dash of vanilla bean paste
Stir away til the banana is incorporated and the chia does its magic(may need to add more liquid). Take off heat & top w
*small amount coco pops chex
*remaining banana
*& the money maker- spoonful of nutella ;)

Served along a nice cuppa coffee, we have a winning brekky.
Definitely the best bowl of oats i've had in a while! Just don't do what i did & eat directly before undertaking a decent workout at the gym, he he.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Cooking with tea!

Sarah from Simply Cooked was our November Daring Cooks’ hostess and she challenged us to create something truly unique in both taste and technique! We learned how to cook using tea with recipes from Tea Cookbook by Tonia George and The New Tea Book by Sara Perry.

I made a chicken stir-fry using a lemongrass & ginger tea as part of the marinade for the chicken and for the sauce to coat the stir-fry. I added carrots, red capsicum, broccoli, mushrooms and green beans and combined the tea with some soy sauce, chilli, garlic, ginger and shallots.
The flavour combinations worked quite nicely and made a perfect mid-week dinner for this warmer weather we've been experiencing lately. Thanks Sarah :)

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Daring to bake..Povitica!


Traditonal walnut and cocoa filling.

Povitica (also known as Nutroll, Potica, Kalachi, Strudia) is traditionally served during the holiday season. It is traditionally made with an English walnut filling but as a whole batch of dough makes 4 separate loaves i decided to try out some different fillings. Firstly i started with the traditional walnut filling.

Pumpkin pie & white chocolate Povitica.
The next loaf i made was a pumpkin pie and white chocolate filling. Unfortunately i had a bit of an issue, the filling wasnt thick enough & started spilling out when i put the dough in the pan & sinking to the bottom whilst cooking. This didnt matter at all though as it was extremely delicious & has been gobbled up faster then i could get it out of the pan!!

Another i did was a cream cheese, cinnamon and honey filling with pecan chunks & chopped prunes. It tasted quite nice but i didnt make enough filling so it was probably my least favourite out of the 4 loaves.

Finally my last loaf was a savoury Povitica. This had a basil pesto, sundried tomato and a herby cheddar cheese filling. This was quite delicious!

All in all a very enjoyable challenge with some very popular finished products! Thanks Jenni :D

The Daring Baker’s October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Time to make Moo Shu - Daring Cooks

The October Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Shelley of C Mom Cook and her sister Ruth of The Crafts of Mommyhood. They challenged us to bring a taste of the East into our home kitchens by making our own Moo Shu, including thin pancakes, stir fry and sauce.


Moo Shu is generally made with pork for the protein along with cabbage, green onions, bamboo shoots and wood ears(fungus).
I made Moo Shu prawns for the challenge and it was delicious! The whole family loved it and we ate all the pancakes! I didnt get the best pictures because they were messy & hard to photograph but i think the proof is in tasting them!
I added red capsicum along with carrot , zucchini and red cabbage to the mixture for a bit of colour and added nutrition. The hoisin sauce i made with peanut butter but i think next time id try it with the black bean paste as i didnt particularly like it on its own, it tasted fine all together though.

I also loved the pancake cooking process, which involved rolling 2 balls of the dough out on top of each other, cooking them & then separating them - i was truly amazed at how well it worked!

Thanks so much for a really fun challenge!!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Daring to bake.. Croissants!

The Daring Bakers go retro this month! Thanks to one of our very talented non-blogging members, Sarah, the Daring Bakers were challenged to make Croissants using a recipe from the Queen of French Cooking, none other than Julia Child!


This challenge took a long time as i had to do it over a period of 3 days due to work and other commitments. There are many rising periods and rolling and folding of the dough which makes it quite time consuming.

Straight away i could tell me dough wasn't exactly perfect and it seemed to get worse as time went on with the addition of the butter to the pastry. I wasnt sure they'd actually rise and i couldn't start again as id left the challenge til the last minute. The dough wasnt thick enough of solid enough to keep proper definition between the layers when rolling but i chucked them in the oven anyhow.

After about 5 minutes in the oven a wonderful aroma wafted out from the oven and i knew that if all else failed, at least i had a nice smelling house! Haha :P But amazingly enough my dough rose, and while not traditional looking, i produced some pretty darn tasty croissants!
Buttery and moist, and oh so delicious ;) a perfect afternoon snack fresh out of the oven with some strawberry jam!

Thanks Sarah for what proved to be a tough but fun challenge for me, im definitely planning on trying this recipe again to try perfect my croissant-making skills!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Time to make candy Daring Bakers!

The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!
First off i made a chocolate peanut butter fudge to get started. It didnt set as well as id hoped it would but it was still deliciously tasty!

Next i tried my hand at honeycomb. I was quite nervous about this as id heard horror stories! But my honeycomb turned out delicious, next time id take it off the heat a  bit earlier but otherwise i was pretty happy with the result.

The last candy i tried was a white chocolate truffle with rosewater, pistachio & cranberries. This was so yummy! Really different to any truffle id ever had before but it was really nice.

Thanks ladies for such a great challenge, you kept my sweet tooth happy for days!!