Showing posts with label cooking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cooking. Show all posts

Friday, June 13, 2014

Baked Doughnuts

One of my favourite treats to bake on the weekends at the moment is doughnuts!

Bake you say? Not fry? Correct!

I bought one of these doughnut baking pans a few months back at Big W (apparently they are unavailable at the moment - boo!) and it has been brilliant. If you are US based here is one from Amazon. The doughnuts are quite small making them a good size for kids. Only problem is I tend to eat several at once...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Fox Cake

It's no secret that I love decorating cakes for my daughters every year for their birthdays. But this year Anna requested "a cake of a dog that stands up, wags it's tail and also has a bone it can chew." Ummm...that might be stretching my skills way too far!

Pinterest to the rescue! I opened the app for the purpose of finding a simple cake, and this fox cake tutorial by Handmade Charlotte popped up immediately in my feed. Anna saw it and said "I WANT THAT!" Phew. I knew all the bits and pieces I needed would be sorted by a quick trip to the supermarket.

This is how my version turned out. Sorry, no fancy styling, it was eaten about 10 seconds after these pictures were taken!

The tutorial was really simple and helpful, and the only thing you need that might not be available in your local supermarket is a piping bag and tip. The tutorial suggests piping bag tip Wilton #233, which creates a fur effect, but I didn't have that one and I've found using my small star tip Wilton #21 just as effective for a fur like texture.

I also cheated a bit on the eyes and ears - the tutorial uses fondant icing to create those features, but I used brown m&ms for the eyes and nose, and chopped a kit kat bar to make two triangles (I ate the rest, chef's privileges haha!) which I used for the ears. The back of the kit kat was facing up so I could pipe onto the flat side.

I didn't fill in the sides of the cake with orange icing because I didn't have enough. If the cake was on display at a party, I would have bought more, but it was just a small gathering with immediate family. I used two tins of Betty Crocker type ready made frosting - one for the white undercoat of the cake, then another tinted orange for the fur. When using colours to tint large amounts of icing, I strongly recommend you purchase gel colours - you don't need as much. Liquid colours will do in a pinch, but the gels are much better and they are available in a wider range of colours. You can buy them at cake decorating stores both in person or online.

Verdict? Success!! Happy 5th birthday my beautiful girl.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Ricotta, Bacon & Herb Stuffed Mushrooms - Recipe

I love mushrooms. In all forms! Buttons, enoki, swiss brown, field, porcini. I've never met a mushroom I didn't like. (Although I admit, my love for mushrooms only came along in my adult years - you could chase me with them when I was a kid!)

I love to make these Stuffed Mushrooms, sometimes for breakfast and sometimes for dinner. I'll use button mushrooms if I want them as a side dish, or some lovely big field mushrooms if they are the main attraction!

This is a super simple recipe and I hope you love it as much as I do! It's yummy for vegetarians as well if you omit the bacon.

Serves 2 as side dish or entree. Double quantity for a main meal.

Ricotta, Bacon & Herb Stuffed Mushrooms

6-8 button or swiss brown mushrooms OR 2 large field mushrooms
1 rasher of bacon, finely chopped
6 tablespoons of ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh herbs such as flat leaf parsley, basil, oregano, thyme.
salt and pepper
Paprika for sprinkling

1. Preheat your oven to 180C / 350F and line a baking tray with baking paper.
2.  Remove mushroom stems and place mushrooms with their underside facing up on the baking tray.
3. In a bowl, combine bacon, ricotta, herbs and season with salt and pepper.
4. Spoon ricotta mixture into mushrooms. Ricotta holds it's shape well when baked so you can be generous with your spoonfuls.
5. Sprinkle the tops with paprika. It adds a lovely kick to the flavour.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes (30-35 for field size mushrooms) or until cheese is golden and the mushrooms appear to have softened.

Enjoy! A platter of these is also a great party food. For extra bite, grate a small amount of parmesan cheese over them just before serving.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Cooking The Books

I was chatting on the phone to my Dad last week and he said " Now Ros. About the blog. The sewing is great but you know I'm more interested in the food. You haven't cooked anything for ages!" (untrue - I cook every night but it gets devoured before I can photograph it. Plus my food styling skills are not great.)

So this one is for you Dad! Gotta keep 50% of my male readership happy! (My husband makes up the other 50%)

Today I'm a guest over at Things For Boys for Abby's Cooking The Books Series. I've reviewed a recipe from Jamie's 15 Minute Meals - it's a real winner for kid friendly food.

Check out all the details in the full post here!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Easy Meal Planning

Late last year I was really struggling with my grocery budget and I was often getting to 5pm and realising that I hadn't done anything about preparing dinner. Nothing thawed out, not much in the fridge - cue stress and then a boring slap up dinner. Which is fine sometimes, but it was happening too often and I felt like I was stuck cooking the same old things and I was craving some variety.

So in a push to make myself more organised and to save a bit of money, I started meal planning. I thought I'd share with you how I do it. My approach is pretty old school -  no apps or electronic lists.

To start with I bought this weekly planner from a local office supplies store. Not only do I use it for meal planning but I write my whole week down on here. As the week continues, it fills up and I write daily to-do lists on it too. It looks very tidy in this picture because this photo was taken on the Sunday before the week started.

Before having kids, I had a mind like a steel trap. These days I am so forgetful - constantly interrupted, distracted and things slip from my mind like water. This weekly planner has helped a lot - it sits on my kitchen bench where I am forced to look at it several times a day! It doesn't help all the time though - yesterday I emailed a dear friend back and forth several times, the whole time completely oblivious that it was her birthday and I hadn't acknowledged it. Despite spending the whole morning thinking "Must ring Bec for her birthday! Must ring Bec for her birthday!" Hopeless. But not as bad as I used to be now that I've developed a few strategies for remembering things.

So to start with, I like to grab my planner and some food magazines and cook books then I flip through and choose my recipes for the week. Some more detailed than others and I always make room for old favourites.

I also write down the book/magazine and page reference so I can find that recipe easily on the day I cook it.

Once I've got a week's worth of meals, I write a shopping list of all the things I need to buy, then do the grocery shopping accordingly. I don't shop as impulsively as I did before, so it helps keep costs down and I've really been able to reign in the budget over the past few months.

So that is it! Simple, but that 15 minutes a week I spend planning saves me SO much stress.

You are probably wondering a few things. Like what if we decide to have take away one night? Easy - I just bump that night's meal into the following week because I know I have all the ingredients ready to go. And what if I wake up and just don't feel like that meal for that night? I just swap it with something else that week. I like to keep things flexible.

I have kept up the meal planning for a few months now, and the best things are:
  • No stress at 5pm or if I've had a really busy day with the kids - in my mind dinner is sorted, I just have to cook it.
  • I use my cook books and food magazines a lot more often. Current favourites are Jamie's 15 Minute Meals, Secrets of the Red Lantern and Recipes Plus mag (I bought a subscription). I also use some recipe sites like Kyrstie's blog A Fresh Legacy and
  • It's easier to stick to our budget ($250AU a week for ALL groceries, including food, toiletries and cleaning products, nappies, and extras including mid week cafe visits, kids activities, the occasional take away or dinner out)
So that is one of my attempts at being a Domestic Goddess. Ha! Do you meal plan? How do you do it? 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Favourite Choc Chip Cookies - Recipe

It's been a while since I've done a recipe. So I thought I'd share one that I make all the time. You know those stand-by recipes that always work. Tried and tested. Love it.

Also known as my favourite choc chip biscuits. Yep - in Australia we call them biscuits. And what you may know as biscuits, we call scones. Confused? Don't worry, call them what you like, they are YUM!

And here is how to make them.

You need:
1 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1/2 teaspoon salt
80g softened butter
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup soft brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup crushed nuts (of your choice - I often use almonds, hazelnuts or pecans. Whatever you like! Optional of course - many people are allergic to nuts.)

1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F)
2. Cream butter, sugars and vanilla until light and creamy. Beat in egg.
3. Sift in flour, bicarb soda and salt. Mix until well combined.
4. Stir in choc chips and nuts.
5. Drop teaspoonfuls of mixture onto baking trays (I like to line mine with baking paper)

At this point be careful...the cookie dough tastes divine and you will want to eat it all. Try to cook some :)

6. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Keep an eye on them.
7. Cool on tray or transfer them to a cooling rack.

Omg. I need some now, just looking at that picture....

My local supermarket has just started stocking caramel cooking chips. I think I must buy them, then up the salt content in the recipe, and make salted caramel biscuits. Yes. I must. *drools*

Happy Baking!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ghost Birthday Cake

Many Australians of my generation (growing up in the 80s / early 90s) will know all about this - one of the highlights of your birthday was your Mum handing over the Australian Women's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake cookbook and you got to choose which cake you wanted. Awesome!

So much to choose from! My Mum was a bit of an expert at these cakes and there are not many in the book that weren't made by Mum and devoured at a Jackman family birthday party over the years. I remember having the piano one year, and several years having a Dolly Varden cake with a Barbie sticking out!

My sister told me a while ago that she'd always wanted the Ghost cake. Luckily for me, Mum found a copy of the original book (pictured above - it has since been reprinted with a new cover and not all the same cakes) at a market a few years back and gave it to me. So I made the Friendly Ghost cake for Kirsten for her 30th last weekend.

The most challenging part was the 'fluffy frosting' which is pretty much just a meringue. The only difference was that I had to boil sugar and water to soft ball stage and pour it into the mixer where the stiffened egg whites were waiting, mixing on high speed and pouring slowly. Scary! The first attempt with store bought egg whites was a disaster, but when I tried with fresh egg whites it worked perfectly. So glad I persisted - the frosting was a luscious (and super sweet!) marshmallow-y triumph!

For the eyes I used Oreo biscuits (cookies) and some little blue round sweets, and the mouth is red licorice. Simple! This would also be a great cake for Halloween.

The current version of the book is this one, but if you see the original in a second hand store GRAB IT STRAIGHT AWAY! They are quite rare. Although chances are if you are Australian your Mum or Nan might have one floating around ;)

Lots more creativity here today.
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