It’s Christmas Again…Already!

I am a bad blogging mother.
I have neglected this here blog for months. And months. In fact, I had pretty much forgotten all about it.
Until in recent days I had a couple of new followers and I was like…  O.o   ooooooh!

I have had a wonderful year, busy, but wonderful. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it.
I got a fish in March, and got my first car ever (yes…ever…I’m a late bloomer >.>) in April. We got married in July and did three trips around the wedding to Brisbane and back (was it three? I’m sure it was) and a trip to Canberra. I started my own business in September (so we now have one each) and it’s just been busy, busy, BUSY for so long.
I finally have some downtime and lo and behold, just in time for Christmas – yaaaaaaay!

Anyways, as a welcome back to me, LOL, I am going to post up my first Christmas craft for this year.

I decided to buy new decorations for our tree, for the first time in years and thought what better way to recycle/upcycle the old ones, by making a wreath out of them. I needed a new wreath (I discovered I had thrown the old one out last year) and all the ones in the shops were bodgy; too shiny and terribly made.

Upcycled Christmas Wreath

You will need:

Some wire – try fencing wire. A coat hanger will work if you can get it mold easily for you (or borrow a man for this job)
Some tape – electrical tape works great but you could get fancy and use a printed tape if you like
Old (or new) Christmas ornaments – baubles, tinsel, anything
An old Christmas tree – the mini ones work great for this
Fishing line or something else with which to tie on your decorations with

Start Here:

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Using your wire, fashion it into some semblance of a circle.
Hint: if you make a passing comment within earshot of your husband about how you need some wire for a wreath, he may do like mine did and run down to his man cave and whip something up for you!
Just make sure you tell him how big you would like it otherwise you will end up with something like I did…

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Next, trim the branches from your old tree/s – I had two mini table trees collecting dust and whatnot.
One was tinsel and the other was tree-ish.

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Using pliers or something to make bending easier on your poor fingers (believe me, I did this without and the tips hurt for two days after!),.
Affix the branch pieces to your ring, curling one end around the ring itself.

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Now you should have something that looks like this ^

I had some green tinsel that was wired (came as a bonus with some of the new decorations I bought).
I snipped it up into pieces and did the same thing with it, attaching it to the ring.
You could use ordinary tinsel and simply tie it on, it will fill in any holes you may have.

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Next, gather up your supplies and put them together so you can take a random shot of them all relaxing on your table.

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Commence the decorations!

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 I used this old piece of tinsel rope thing and at this point I was almost content to leave the wreath just like that.

But no. Less is never more for me.

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Final Result!

I had some wired kind of tinselly stuff with little stars on it, and I cut it up to attached the baubles and the rest to the wreath. It worked perfectly and was much less hassle than I assume fishing wire would be.
I used a plastic tie (you know, the ones they use instead of handcuffs these days (in movies and tv shows) to hang it on the door with, its hidden under all the crap at the top there.

I think it came out okay?

My husband loves it, though his excitement level may have been feigned…I can’t always tell.
Either way, it’s staying for now 😀

Quinoa – Food of the Health Gods

As mentioned in one of those other posts down there somewhere -waves haphazardly- the health food kick was and has started.

So the second, I suppose if you include Fattoush as being healthy (which I do 90%) recipe Id like to share is a favourite in my household as well, but it’s really good for you. And super tasty. And simple to prepare.

What is Quinoa? Quinoa (pronounced Keen-Wah) is (according to Google)

Noun
  1. A goosefoot (Chenopodium quinoa) found in the Andes, where it was widely cultivated for its edible starchy seeds before the introduction…
  2. The grainlike seeds of this plant, used as food and in the production of alcoholic drinks.

It reminds me of semolina..kind of, in looks when its uncooked. It actually looks like un-coloured hundreds and thousands.

It has a nutty flavour I guess, I’ve honestly never had it on its own so I cant really say. Maybe I will try it..like that…some day >.>
It is gluten-free and very high in protein, fibre, phosphorous, magnesium and iron as well being a source of calcium. This is what it makes it a super food!

I’d love to try out some more quinoa recipes, I will be on a mission to do so in the coming weeks 😀

Poached Chicken, Broccolini & Pesto Quinoa (gluten-free)
(Delicious Magazine, Issue June 2012 Page 94 – recipe by Phoebe Wood)
Serves 4

Ingredients
1 cup (200gms) quinoa
1 1/2 cups (375ml) gluten-free chicken stock
4 x 170gm chicken breast fillets
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (35gms) pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 tbs lemon juice
1/3 cup (90gms) gluten-free pesto
1 bunch broccolini, trimmed, blanched

1. Place quinoa and stock into a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes until tender.
Remove from heat and stand, covered, for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
2. Meanwhile, place chicken in a pan of simmering, salted water. Simmer gently for 5 minutes, then remove from heat, cover and stand for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.
Remove from liquid.
3. Heat 1 tbs oil in a small pan over high heat. Add pepitas and season, then cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes until golden.
4. Shred the chicken and toss in a large bowl with lemon juice and remaining 1 tbs oil.
Season, then add the remaining ingredients and toss to combine. Transfer to a platter and serve.

Nutrition: Obviously high in protein and healthy stuff. 

Quinoa & Poached Chicken 1    Quinoa & Poached Chicken 2

Quinoa & Poached Chicken 3
Tips:
– You don’t have to make this according to the gluten-free ingredients – I’ve honestly never made it that way. Just use normal chicken stock (I’m a tight-ass and use stock cubes) and a normal pesto – I recommend Barilla.
– If your supermarket doesn’t have any broccolini in store, just use broccoli – I’ve done this a couple of times.
– When I made this last night, I used beef stock cause I didn’t realise I’d run out of chicken stock – and it tasted NO different!
– When shredding the chicken, use a couple of forks if it’s still hot – it’s a good idea to let it cool down a bit so you can shred it better with your fingers.
– Use your hands to mix it all together, it works the pesto in better that way. You can also use a bit more than the recommended dose, I tend to use at least half a cup. But be mindful, the mixture may be hot.

Thoughts:
I cooked this when I first received that issue of Delicious. Eric LOVES it. You know they love it when they say to you every week, how about that chicken quinoa thingy?
It’s quite filling, so don’t be deceived – left overs can be heated up so don’t be afraid to put it away. This is a great alternative to a pasta dish and it gives you that same mmm satisfied, comfort food feeling without being bad!

Repeat Offender?
Already is. I went through a stage of it being once a week, but it’s better as a fortnightly or even monthly meal because even good things can get a little boring!

The Best Chocolate Cake. In The World. Ever.

It was raining. I wanted cake ALL day. I had no icing so after a quick dash to the shop, I was ready to go – but what cake would I make?
Chocolate, of course. I really wanted chocolate cake.

I was still on my mission to find THE best chocolate cake, after all. And after many years of searching, I honestly believe I have found it.

How did I find it, you ask?
Well.

I turned to Google, as I do for just about everything, and keyed in those words, ‘Best Chocolate Cake Recipe’ just as I have done many times before.
I opened a few tabs and after 30 minutes of (impatient) searching, had a look at what I had opened. THREE of these tabs had the very same recipe contained within, all tried with minor changes, but all with the same title and referring back to each other in some way.
I thought gee. That cant be a coincidence, can it? Could this really be THE best chocolate cake recipe?

Let me share with you this marvellous recipe, with my own minor tweaks.

The Best Chocolate Cake
(found at I Am Baker, Lulu The Baker & Bronnie Bakes, shown here with my tweaks)

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups self-raising flour
1 3/4 caster sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 vegetable oil (I used extra light olive oil)
2 extra large eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee (I used Moccona Instant)

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/356°F. Grease and line a large (mine was 13″ x 9″) cake pan (or two smaller 8″ cake pans).
2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt into the bowl and mix until combined.
3. In another bowl, combined the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla.
4. Using an electric mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine.
Pour the mixture into prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a knife or skewer inserted comes out clean.
5. Cool in pan for 30 minutes, then turn onto a cooling rack to cool completely (if desired).

Nutrition: Chocolate >.<

Best Chocolate Cake 1   Best Chocolate Cake 2

Best Chocolate Cake 3   Best Chocolate Cake 4

Best Chocolate Cake 5

Tips:
– Choose a thin or slightly runnier than usual icing. This cake is so soft that a standard icing pulls it apart. You can see I chose the wrong kind of icing >.>
– In the large pan, 40 minutes was bang on perfect.
– As mentioned above, I used Olive oil (as I had no other on hand) and it was fine – I would probably recommend the extra light though, just so that the flavour doesn’t overpower the chocolate!
– Don’t skimp on the coffee. I saw someone recommended a substitute which I’m sure would work fine. Next time I will test this theory with something I have in my pantry called Ecco which is an ‘Instant cereal beverage naturally free of caffeine’ and calls itself ‘The caffeine free drink for modern families’ LOL (I’m only lolling because this was always in my pantry as a child, as our house was a caffeine-free zone, but that makes this drink very much NOT modern, in my opinion XD)

Thoughts:
-wipes crumbs from face- Oh dear. Honestly? THE BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE. EVER. IN THE WORLD. EVER.
It’s so soft! SOOOOOOOOO soft! And..tasty. And. Wow. This reminds me very much of a cake my mum used to make when I was a child, probably the same chocolate cake recipe she still uses (why dont I have that one? GOOD QUESTION.) I love the replacing of butter with oil in a cake, it comes out so much more moist and keeps without drying quickly.
Seriously, if you need a go-to chocolate cake recipe like I did, you have found it. Bake it today and tell me I was lying!

Repeat Offender?
I’m not even going to dignify this question with a response -continues nomming-

Australia Day – Food, Of course!

Australia Day was/is January 26th. This year it fell on a Saturday, so the public holiday fell on the Monday (28th) making it a lovely long weekend!

Although I am of mixed Islander/Australian decent, I was born and raised here and I’m as Aussie as they come particularly when it comes to Australian tradition.
I also like to put my own special mix into things because lets face it, sometimes tradition can be boring.

This year, I decided we would eat lamb as per tradition (we had some lovely lamb sausages), but would accompany that with a massive bowl of Fattoush.

What is Fattoush? No, it is not a fat toosh -wiggles butt-

Fattoush is a traditional Lebanese bread salad. In Australia we have a huge Lebanese community, I will admit that I was only introduced to proper, good Lebanese cuisine when I moved to Sydney (where I believe the biggest Lebanese community is?) by my better half. He was raised with a Lebanese babysitter who fattened him up on oh so tasty dishes such as Fattoush, Tabouli,  Kibbeh and Kofta.

In this house, Fattoush is like…chocolate cake.

I did a brief survey of a few of my many international friends and found that none of them had heard of these dishes. So I thought I would share this with you!

Fattoush

Ingredients
2 large pieces of pitta bread
1 tbs olive oil
2 Lebanese cucumbers, sliced thinly
3-4 medium tomatoes, sliced thinly
3 green onions (shallots), sliced thinly
1 medium green capsicum, chopped finely
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh baby rocket leaves
2 tbs olive oil, extra
1/4 cup (60ml) lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed

1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C/356°F.
Brush pitta bread both sides with olive oil and place on an oven tray side by side. Toast these in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until theyre crispy.
Set aside to cool.
2. In a large bowl, combine cucumber, tomato, opnion, capsicum, mint and parsley.
3. In a smaller bowl, combine extra olive oil with the lemon juice and the garlic and sit aside until ready to serve.
4. Just before serving, break up pitta bread into small pieces. Add bread to the salad, and then drizzle with the oil/lemon combo (use it all).
5. Toss and let sit for a minute or two, then serve.

Nutrition: Aside from the pitta bread, this dish is ALL gold. A little Pitta never hurt anyone!

Fattoush

Tips:
– I like to keep my tomato on the chunky side, Im not a fan of super thinly sliced tomato. It gets mushy too quickly and this salad is all about texture and chunk. I pretty much cut it all chunky, except for the shallots.
– Dont be shy with the lemon juice – I tend to use closer to a third of a cup. Also, dont be shy with the garlic – I LOVE garlic (thankfully, so does Eric) and I always use 2-3 cloves in this dish.
– The pitta bread doesnt need to be in small pieces, just grab it and snap and crumble away. Bigger pieces are great for scooping.
– Eat it ALL up. This doesnt keep well due to the bread (no one likes soggy bread). You can adjust the quantities of the ingredients accordingly.

Thoughts:
The first time I had this, my eyes popped out of my head. The rocket is the hero of this dish, in my opinion – I mean, of course the crunchy pitta bread is a WINNER, but the flavour of the rocket sets everything else off.
When we have this, the meat on our plates tends to be forgotten until the end because the Fattoush is just so damn good. Its true om-nom-nom food.
I only ever serve this with a basic meat – sausages or a some grilled chicken breast. Its too filling!

Repeat Offender?
What do you think?! LOL Four years and counting. If I ever end up on death row with one last meal, this will be the first thing I ask for!

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Of course, no Australia Day would be complete without a traditional Aussie treat. At Christmas time, the Pavlova is the sweet tradition but at this time of the year, we tend to go in search for cakey goodness.

Again, after asking many of my friends if they had heard of this, they all failed the test and answered with a no. So allow me to introduce, Lamingtons!

I remember when I was a kid, they would always have Lamington Drives for fund raising stuff in school, etc. Lamingtons were always present at school fetes as well.

Lamingtons were said to have been invented here, and Im quite certain we have enough proof of that, but of course some other country always tries to steal our thunder XD
Note: I have to share this with you as it is a hilarious statement (taken from the Wiki): Ironically Lord Lamington was believed to have hated the dessert cakes that had been named in his honour, referring to them as “those bloody poofy woolly biscuits”.

Lamingtons
(taken from the January/February 2013 edition of the free Coles Magazine)

Ingredients
125g unsalted butter
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups sifted self-raising flour
3/4 cup milk

Icing

2 cups icing sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
20g butter
3/4 cup boiling water
1 1/4 cups dessicated coconut
1 1/4 cups shredded coconut

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/356°F. Grease and line a 20cm square cake pan with baking paper.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and caster sugar together until pale and creamy.
Add vanilla essence and beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. Fold through the flour and milk alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Pour into prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula.
Cook for 30-35 minutes, until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Turn onto a wire rack to cool.
4. To make the icing, sifter together the icing sugar and the cocoa powder in a bowl. Add the butter and boiling water and stir until smooth.
5. Cut cake into 16 squares. Place the coconut into a bowl and lightly mix them together.
6. Working with one square at a time, use 2 spoons to hold cake and dip into icing mixture, coat all over allowing the excess to drip off, then place in coconut and turn to coat all over.
Place lamington on a wire rack to set. Repeat with remaining cake pieces.

Nutrition: Cmon. Don’t make me lie to you.

Lamington 1 Lamington 2 Lamington 3

Lamington 4  Lamington 5

Lamington 7  Lamington 6

Lamington 8

Lamington 9

Lamington 10

 

Tips:
– You will need patience. I don’t have much of that, but what I did have available for the day, I saved up for the moment of dipping and rolling.
– The icing mixture may seem too thin – don’t worry, its not. Don’t make the mistake I did by adding more icing sugar >.> If its too thick, the cake will begin to fall apart.
– Roll each piece well in the coconut, the more the merrier. This helps with the icing setting.
– I didn’t trust the cake to not ooze through (or something!) the wire rack, so I sat mine on top baking paper on the rack. They set totally fine this way, and my rack stayed clean (less washing up!).
– You can serve these cut in the middle, spread with jam and cream – I’ve never been fond of that version. They get too sickly. You could also add a touch of lemon juice to the mixture for a light lemony flavour.
– Put these in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour before serving them, so that the icing sets nicely.

Thoughts:
Oh, man. These were GOOD. Its actually been quite some time since I ate a lamington, and these were the bomb-diggity. The cake was PERFECTLY fluffy and golden and the icing was firm. If you’re really clever, you can do two of these in a sitting but be warned, you may be left feeling like a glutton!

Repeat Offender:
Definitely, but I’m trying to make it like a twice a year repeat offender >.>

Best Banana Cake

This cake is an absolute favourite of mine, and more so my fiances. He is banana cake mad! In a perfect world, I would always have freshly baked banana cake in the fridge just for him.
But this is not a perfect world.

I found this recipe on Taste.com.au, but have since tweaked it over the past couple of years to the point where I think I can safely call it mine? I’m not sure how the rules work with all that.
Let’s just pretend that its totally fine 😀

Of course, as with anything banana, the older and over-ripened the bananas are, the better it will be.

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients
125g butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar
1 1/4 cups mashed banana (2-3 bananas)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
100ml buttermilk
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
(OPTIONAL – 3/4 cup slightly crushed pecans or walnuts)

Cream Cheese Icing
125g cream cheese, softened
50g butter, softened
2 1/2 – 3 cups icing sugar
1 1/2 tsp buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/356°F.
Brush a round or square 20cm cake pan with melted butter to grease (or use whichever method you generally use – I use papertowel and a smidge of soft butter).
Line the base and side of pan with baking paper.
2. Put the butter, sugar, banana, eggs and vanilla into a bowl and using an electric beater/mixer or processor, process together for 2 minutes or until well combined.
Add the buttermilk and process until combined.
3. Add the flour and process until just combined. If you are adding nuts to the mixture, add them in now and with a spoon, give the mixture a gentle mix.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and shake slightly to settle.
Bake in oven for 40-45 minutes (or until a skewer/butter knife inserted into the centre comes out clean).
Let sit in pan until cooled, or for ten minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. To make the cream cheese frosting, use an electric beater/mixer to beat the cream cheese and butter together in a bowl, till well combined.
Add the icing sugar and beat until well combined. Check the consistency of the mixture, it should be firm enough to not drip off your finger but soft enough to spread. Add more icing sugar if necessary.
Add the buttermilk and beat until the mixture is pale and creamy.
5. When cake is ready, place it on a serving plate to ice (or leave it in the pan like I do). Spread the cream cheese frosting all over the top of the cake.

Nutritional: Bananas are REALLY REALLY good for you. So are nuts. And milk. 


Banana Cake raw mix  Banana Cake raw mix in pan

Whilst it is baking, make sure you have a puppy break. Cause its REALLY HARD WORK watching Mummy cook..

Banana cake puppy break 2  Banana cake puppy break

Banana Cake freshly baked

Banana cake freshly iced

Banana cake freshly iced and sliced

Tips:
– I like to moosh my banana up in my Kenwood super handy Tri-Blade mixer thingy. It gives you a really fluffy, aerated banana mixture and if you do it just for a few seconds, you still get chunks of banana. I over mooshed in this version. I also use this to break up the nuts, if I didn’t buy them pre-broken.
– Don’t over mix the mixture – I am partial to sometimes hand mixing the flour into the mixture just to make sure. Over mixing will result in a firmer cake which, whilst still nice, just wont be the same.
– Forgot to buy Buttermilk? Add a drop or two (depending on the amount of milk) of white vinegar to a 1/4 -1/2 cup of standard milk and mix and let sit for a few minutes until curdled. I think I’ve only EVER remember to buy buttermilk twice in my entire life pffffffft!
– If you want to get all fancy, slice up an additional banana to decorate the icing with.

Thoughts:
Mmm. Took me a few goes to get this the way we liked it. The addition of nuts was at Eric’s request (I actually prefer it without but shhh) and I find walnuts to be the better match to banana. The cream cheese icing is what EVERY banana cake should be dressed with. Its the perfect flavour addition. Remember to always lick the beaters when making this icing, it would simply be wrong not to!

Repeat Offender?
Already in effect! I’m open to other Banana Cake recipes, if anyone wants to send me theirs?

The Happy New Year

Of course it’s happy. It’s only 4 days old! Give it at least a month or two before the bitching begins.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.

Ours was quiet as we spent it at home this year. We stuck to our ‘at home Christmas’ tradition of seafood and Pavlova.
Actually, I have a pic of said Pavlova here somewhere…

Christmas Pav 2

Christmas Pav

Did I make the shell myself? Of course not. I am not suicidal.
God bless Woolworths for bringing out Pavlova shells for sale every Christmas. Best invention ever.

I remember when I was a child, my mother always had that one and only friend that could make Pavlova from scratch. She would be invited to all the potluck dinners and get togethers, because she had the skills and who doesn’t want Pavlova to make an appearance at their dinner party??

Back then you either made everything from scratch, or you bought the ever legendary Pavlova Egg (which I heard didn’t actually make Pavlova making that much easier).

So yes, that was the highlight of our Christmas feasting, along with the huge Snapper we barbecued.

Now beginneth the commencement of healthy eating, for the next six months at least. Hopefully I will have some tasty, healthy recipes to share!


Happy New Year!

christmas dogs 2012

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Part III

Monday  (17th) was D-Day. I HAD to get this task completed otherwise it would have been all for nowt. Delivery was Tuesday. No time to waste!

I dont know how chefs/bakers do it. That much time on your feet, day after day, cooking….ARGH.
Not to mention the urge to run far, far away from food in general. Actually, that may be a  cure for fatness…perhaps I should look into that further?

So it was oven baking day and the night before I had whispered a few feeble words with regards to the weather being cold so that my house wouldn’t over heat.
Obviously, in Australia its Summer time right now and the last thing you want to be doing is running an oven in an already heating up house. Not fun. And guess what? It was cold and somewhat miserable. I was in luck!

Day Three – The Finale
Shortbread & Cookies 

Shortbread (Scotland)
(www.taste.com.au/recipes/553/shortbread+scotland)

Ingredients
250g butter, softened
1 cup pure icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups plain flour
1/4 cup cornflour
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 tbs white sugar

1. Line 2 flat baking trays with baking paper. Draw an 18cm circle in the centre of each sheet of baking paper.
Turn paper over so that marking is face down.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, icing sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy. Sift flour and cornflour over butter mixture. Stir until a soft dough forms.
Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough until smooth.
3. Divide dough in half. Gently press each piece into a 10cm (diameter) disc. Place shortbread discs on baking trays.
Using circles on paper as a guide, gently press shortbread out with your fingers to form a 1.5cm thick, 18cm (diameter) round.
4. Pinch the edge of each round to form a frill. Score 8 triangles in each shortbread round (do nut cut through dough). Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until firm.
5. Preheat oven to 160°C. Brush shortbread with egg white and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 30-35 minutes, swapping trays after 15 minutes, or until shortbread is light golden and firm to the touch.
Allow to cool completely on trays. To serve, use a sharp knife to cut through markings.

Nutrition: Apparently none. Although, butter is from cows and is therefore healthy?

Shortbread uncooked  shortbread cooked

Tips:
– It seems tedious to follow the directions exactly, what with the drawing of circles and blah blah yawn >.> I actually have a perfect round circle burnt lightly into my breadboard…so I placed my baking paper over the top and use it as a guide. Voila!
– Use a salty butter – I found this was missing that smidgen of salt.
– Use caster sugar instead of plain old white sugar, its finer and prettier.

Thoughts:
As above, I swear this was missing salt. The texture was perfect, the base flavour was there…it just didn’t have that thing that shortbread is sposed to have. And the only thing I can think of is that.
I’m going to make another batch this week so I will test my theory and update.

Repeat Offender?
Why yes. This is actually the second time I’ve made this recipe, unfortunately I didn’t bother to make notes the last time so I had to eat it again to remember!
Eric looooves shortbread. Like, loves it more than he loves me. So I am bound to continue to find the right recipe – if you have one, send it to meeeeee.

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Honey Jumble Biscuits
(www.taste.com.au/recipes/22917/honey+jumble+biscuits)

Ingredients
60g butter, chopped
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp milk

Icing
1 egg white
1 1/2 cups pure icing sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
Pink food colouring

1. Combine butter, honey and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until butter has melted. Bring to the boil. Remove from heat.
Set aside for 10 minutes.
2. Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, mixed spice and cloves over butter mixture. Add milk. Stir to combine. Cover. Set aside for 1 hour or until mixture has cooled and thickened.
3. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead lightly.
Divide dough into quarters. Roll 1 portion into a 25cm-long log shape. Cut into 5cm-long pieces. Place on prepared trays, leaving room for spreading.
Using a wooden spoon, flatten each piece of dough until 5mm-thick. Repeat with remaining dough portions. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden. Stand on tray for 10 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Make icing Using: a whisk, beat egg white in a bowl until foaming. Gradually beat in icing sugar until combined. Stir in lemon juice.
Spoon half the mixture into another bowl. Tint pink with food colouring. Spread half of the biscuits with pink icing. Spread remaining biscuits with white icing.
Set aside for 30 minutes or until set. Serve.

Nutrition: Eggs..are healthy!

  Honey Jumbles raw  Honey Jumbles raw on tray

Honey Jumbles white icing  Honey Jumbles pink icing  Honey Jumbles cooked

Honey Jumbles white iced

Honey Jumbles pink iced

Tips:
– Don’t over cook!
– Less colouring is more (LOL – I never learn)

Thoughts:
These made me sad. I LOVE gingerbread. It’s the one thing I love about Christmas the most when it comes to food. I don’t know if it was me? Or the recipe? I have to blame the recipe. But it was very sad.

Repeat Offender?
Unfortunately, no. Boo! They were hard. And not nice and crunchy hard, just hard. Like stale hard. And then a bit chewy in places. And just plain old WEIRD and SAD.
I’m still trying to get over this one.

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Spiced Ginger Cookies
(Super Food Ideas, Issue August 2012 Page 77)

Makes 40
Prep 25 minutes
Cook 18 minutes (plus cooling time)

Ingredients
170g butter, softened
1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup golden syrup
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup raw caster sugar
2 tbs sliced glace ginger – I omitted this

1. Preheat oven to 170°C/150°C fan-forced. Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and golden syrup. Beat until combined. Sift flour, bicarb, ginger and cinnamon over butter mixture.
Using a wooden spoon, stir until combined and a soft dough forms.
3. Place raw caster sugar in a shallow dish. Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls. Roll balls in sugar to coat evenly. Place on prepared trays, 5cm apart, to allow room for spreading.
4. Using the palm of your hand, flatten slightly. Lightly press 1 piece of ginger into the top of each cookie. Bake for 15-18 minutes, swapping trays halfway, or until light golden.
Cool on trays for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve

Nutrition: (each) 416kj; 3.7g fat; 2.3g saturated fat; 1g protein; 15.9g carbs; 0.3g fibre; 16mg cholesterol; 105mg sodium

spiced ginger plain deco3 uncooked  spiced ginger plain deco2 uncooked

spiced ginger plain deco3  spiced ginger plain deco2

spiced ginger plain deco1  spiced ginger plain cooked

Tips:
– Cook to cooking time.
– Use whatever you want on top – I did! Actually, I had these neat jars of mixed decorations that Woolies had and hadn’t used them so I thought Id give them a whirl.
– The dough is really fluffy and light and a little sticky, use the spoon method to create the balls and drop them a few at a time into the dish with the sugar. Then just give them a quick toss through and remove.

Thoughts:
This recipe was quite good. It was a little bit fiddly rolling the dough in sugar. They came out quite chewy, which I’m not opposed to at all but..I was hoping for a biscuit biscuit.

Repeat Offender?
Maybe. Eric isn’t a fan of ginger like I am. I may just see how I feel next year XD

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Rainbow Cookies
(Super Food Ideas, Issue August 2012 Page 77)

Makes 48
Prep 25 minutes
Cook 15 minutes (plus cooling time)

Ingredients
250g butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
200g packet chocolate freckles

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugars, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until well combined.
3. Siftr flour and baking powder over butter mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir until combined. Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls.
Place on prepared trays, 2 cm apart, to allow room for spreading. Press 1 freckle into the top of each cookie to form a 4.5cm round. Bake for 12-15 minutes, swapping trays halfway, or until light golden.
Cool on trays for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve.

Nutrition: (each) 488kg; 5.3g fat; 3.4g saturated fat; 1.4g protein; 16g carbs; 0.3g fibre; 21mg cholesterol; 56mg sodium.

Rainbow Cookies raw

Rainbow cookies single cooked  Rainbow cookies cooked

Tips:
– Well, obviously. Space them out better than I did! I don’t mind though, my mother always made cookies that merged like these ones XD
– You could change out the freckles for anything you like, really.

Thoughts:
These slightly crunchy, chewy and just all round nice. The recipe was simple to follow and the prep was easy.

Repeat Offender?
Sure. If I’m feeling like lazy cookies! I don’t actually bake cookies often. Christmas seems to be the only time.
Eric liked them, and that’s always a good sign, yeah?

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You can imagine by this stage, I was freaking exhausted.

My feet were killing me. I was covered in flour and icing sugar. My kitchen looked like a bomb had hit it. And I still had to wrap and hamper it all up!
Thankfully, that was the sitting down part.

finished hamper

 

Ah.
Seriously, I’m glad tha’ts all over.
Will I do it again? Ask Martha in November, 2013 (bitch!)