Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Wrapping Idea

I love wrapping presents. This year for Christmas I have chosen brown paper that I had left over from a uni project, tissue paper and tissue paper pom-pom's. I had seen tissue paper pom-pom's in various magazines and blogs, and had a go at making them to hang on my Christmas tree. I then thought they would look gorgeous on the actual presents, so I have been making 'half sphere' versions ever since. I'm also thinking about making smaller versions to use as napkin rings on Christmas day. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thread Cafe, Malvern

Had coffee here this morning...tasty as well as being a work of art! 
I love the bright mismatching coffee cups, and how adorable is the dog? 

1373 malvern rd
malvern 3144

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lizzie's Homemade Tomato Sauce

I have enjoyed my mother-in-law's tomato sauce with many a steak, however this past weekend I learnt how to make it.

Top tips:
1. The gathering and organisation of ingredients/glass bottles etc. probably takes longer then the actual cooking.
2. Once you have everything you need, set aside a whole day to prepare, make and bottle the sauce.
3. Cook a meal that you can enjoy the sauce with ASAP.

20kg tomatoes (with skin off)
3kg granny smith apples
3kg onions
15 whole bulbs of garlic (peeled)
3tblsp ground allspice
3tblsp crushed cloves
100g minced chillies
3.175kg sugar
454g salt
2.13 litres malt vinegar

In a (very) large saucepan, combine tomatoes, apples, onions, garlic, allspice, cloves, chillies, sugar and salt.
Boil for approximately 2 hours, blitzing with a handheld blender and stirring throughout this time.
Add vinegar and boil for a further hour.
Pour into sterilised glass bottles.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Rich Chocolate Birthday Cake

A friends birthday, the perfect excuse to make a giant chocolate cake. I doubled the recipe below to make 2 chocolate cakes, stacked them on top of each other and added a generous layer of icing in between the cakes. I also added a sprinkling of Lindt milk chocolate flakes on the top. It reminds me of that cake in Roald Dahl's 'Matilda' that Bruce Bogtrotter was forced to eat. I can't wait to have a slice tonight after dinner...

185g butter
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1 3/4 cups castor sugar
3 eggs
2 cups self raising flower
2/3 cup cocoa
1 cup water
90g dark chocolate, chopped
30g butter
1 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons hot water, approx.

Grease a deep 23cm round cake pan, line base with paper; grease paper. 
Combine butter, essence, sugar, eggs, sifted flour and cocoa and water in a large bowl. 
Beat on low speed with electric mixer until ingredients are combined. 
Increase speed to medium beat for about 3 minutes or until mixture is smooth and changed in colour. 
Spread into prepared pan. 
Bake in moderate oven for about 1 1/2 hours. 
Stand 5 minutes before turning onto wire rack to cool. 
Spread cold cake with icing. 
Melt chocolate and butter in bowl over hot water. 
Gradually stir in sifted icing sugar. 
Then stir stir in enough hot water to mix to a spreadable consistency. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

21st Birthday Dinner

My 21st... a dinner party for 20 at Quaff

I made the invitations myself, their were lolly bags that matched. 
(Much more fun and cost effective then getting them done).

The menu, crowd pleasing classics...

The best part of all... a barbie ice cream cake...

I highly recommend Quaff for your next event, especially the 'White Room' with its gorgeous bay window overlooking Toorak Road below. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Light Lunch

On this beautiful hot day I decided to make a tasty light lunch, of corn fritters with smoked salmon and coriander dressing. From the 'The Biggest Loser Best Recipes' recipe book, this meal was satisfying as well as being suitable for losing winter kilos and the hot days in bathers to come. 

1/2 cup wholemeal self-raising flower
1/4 teaspoon  baking powder
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 tablespoon chopped dill
1 x 200g cooked corn cob, kernels removed, or 200g can corn kernels
4 tablespoons low-fat milk
2 egg whites
olive oil spray
freshly ground black pepper
8 slices smoked salmon, cut into 5cm pieces 
125g watercress
1/4 red onion, finely sliced

1 cup chopped coriander leaves
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
2 small chillies, seeded and finely sliced
5 tablespoons low-fat natural yoghurt

To make the dressing place coriander, lemon juice, garlic and chillies in a food processor and process to a smooth paste. 
Add yoghurt and set aside. 
Combine flour, baking powder, spring onions, dill and corn in a mixing bowl. 
Add milk and stir thoroughly. 
In another bowl whisk egg whites until fluffy then gently fold through the flower mixture. 
Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and spray lightly with oil. 
Spoon the mixture into the pan and cook until small bubbles form on the surface. 
Turn the fritters over and cook for a further 5 minutes or until golden. 
Combine the salmon, watercress and onion and arrange on top of the fritters. 
Drizzle with coriander dressing. 

serves 4

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Morning Treat

My morning treat of a raspberry and banana smoothie. 

2 bananas
1/2 cup frozen frozen raspberries
1tablespoon honey 
3/4 cup milk 

Blend all ingredients together. I use a handheld blender. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sugared Rose Petal Cupcakes

I had a sudden hankering to try and make some sugared rose petals..they look so pretty in recipe books. So I tried it out, and also made some cupcakes so there was something to put the rose petals on. Not quite as magnificent as what I've seen in the recipe books...but they tasted good. I'll try these again soon.

Rose Petals
1 rose
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup caster sugar

Whisk 1 egg white with a tablespoon of water.
Using tweezers to handle petals, brush egg white on gently.
Sprinkle with caster sugar.
Let petals dry for a minimum of 1 hour. 

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 eggs
6 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 cups self raising flower

Cream butter and sugar together and add vanilla. 
Lightly beat eggs and gradually add to butter and sugar mixture. 
Add milk and sifted flour alternately.
Spoon into greased patty pan cases.*
Bake for 10-15 minutes in a pre-heated moderate oven (180*C).

*I used an icecream scoop to put the batter in the cases...a tip I saw on Nigella recently. It worked perfectly...I ended up with nice even cakes.

Cupcake recipe from "The PWMU Centenary Cookbook."

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Spring Racing Carnival Catering

It is 7am on a Saturday, I have been awake since 6. This is not normal for me. The reason for this bizarre behaviour is that I am stressing about the food I am organising for 15-20 people on both Derby Day and Stakes Day. I am making it rather then getting professional caterers, but I thought I would steal a few ideas from the Cooper and Milla menu... it looks delicious! 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Yummy Yummy Brownies

My first post, a crowd pleaser, is Yummy Yummy Brownies (otherwise known as classic brownies). I have made these quite a few times now to the delight of those around me - they are so easy. A checkered fabric napkin and glass of ice cold milk are essential when enjoying this chocolate-y treat.

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup plain flower
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (if desired)
1/2 cup frozen rasberries (if desired)

In a small bowl, combine oil and cocoa until smooth; set aside. 
In a large bowl, beat sugar and eggs. 
Add cocoa mixture and vanilla to sugar mixture.
Combine flour and salt; gradually add to mixture until moistened.*
Pour into a greased 20cm square baking tin; sprinkle with chocolate chips. 
Bake at 160*C for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted near the centre comes 
out clean. 
Cool in tin on a wire rack. 
Cut into squares. 

*stir through walnuts or raspberries if desired

Recipe derived from 'Cookies, biscuits, bars and brownies' - Readers Digest.