Category: Food

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Chocolate Strawberry Carrots for the Easter Bunny

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Pintrest is completely to blame for this post. When I saw strawberries covered in chocolate to look like tiny fat carrots, my inner voice said YES!

So everyone leaves cookies out for Santa, I figure the Easter bunny must also need some sustenance whilst doing his rounds.

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I have never eaten quite so many berries as I do in California. They not only look amazing, they smell and taste delicious too.

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Make sure you wash and dry your strawberries really well. They have to be very dry, you don’t want water mixing with your chocolate.

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It seems I forgot to take photos of the actual process. Needless to say, I melted some Ghirardelli white chocolate chips in the microwave, then mixed in some orange food colouring. Not difficult at all!

I had to use a lot more food colouring than I expected to get a good carroty orange. Adding lots of dye makes the chocolate stiffen up and become thick and lumpy, so I also added a teaspoon of melted coconut oil to thin out the chocolate. Copha or shortening would be better choices, but I didn’t have either of them handy.

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I’m not sure if it was the food colouring or the coconut oil that gave the chocolate the grainy texture. Smooth and shiny would have been preferable, but hey, what can you do. I don’t think our Easter Bunny is the complaining type.

I dragged a toothpick through the chocolate after I’d dipped each strawberry to create the horizontal lines so that they would look more like carrots.

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And there we have it, the nicest carrots you will ever eat!

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Apricot and Raisin Cookies

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Are you in the mood for some delicious, chewy, cinnamonny cookies that you can pretend are vaguely healthy?

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If you’re like me, the answer to that question is always YES!

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I opened the cupboard and realised I didn’t have any oats. NO OATS?! Finding a recipe for a chewy raisin cookie without oats is very difficult. However I got one over on Joy of Baking.

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Some important changes to their recipe:

Firstly, chop up some dried apricots. Eat a few. Yum!

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Second, plump your raisins. To do this you simply put them in a bowl of hot water for around 10mins. If you want to make them more delicious, add some golden syrup to the hot water.

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Thirdly, double the suggested amount of cinnamon. Then, for the final chewy, sweet step, add two tablespoons of golden syrup.

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Fight off the kids and lick the bowl and spoon all by yourself!

Making Plum Paste

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Our plum tree yielded so many plums this year, despite near neglect and hardly any water. What a little trooper! I made a plum pie (yum) and was about to turn the rest into jam when my husband suggested make a quince paste alternative. Genius! PLUM PASTE!

Quince Paste (Membrillo) is a dense, sweet jam that is usually served alongside cheese. It turns cheese on crackers into even more of a delicious tasty morsel, if you can imagine that, and also has the added bonus of making your cheese platter look pretty fancy.

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After researching a few different Quince Paste and Plum Paste recipes, I decided to use this one from Woolworths

  • 2kg plums. I have no idea if I used 2kg of Plums but you can see how many are in the colander above.
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 cups sugar (approximately)
  • 2 tbs lemon juice

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Chopping the plums into quarters and separating the seeds was not as time consuming as I had thought it would be. In fact, very quick and easy. Although I was annoyed when I realised I had gone to the trouble of separating the seeds when I really didn’t have to, as it turns out that including the seeds helps add pectin and set the jelly.

So you add the plums, seeds and 1/2 cup of water into a saucepan and stir occasionally over low heat for 20mins until it is mushy.

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You’ll know when it’s ready because the skins turn the mixture a beautiful shade of red, and your house starts to smell amazing.

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Then comes the bothersome bit. You have to push the mixture through a sieve. I used the coarsest sieve I have and it still took forever. I set aside the solids and then pushed them all through the sieve one more time, because I’m like that.

When you have your strained puree, measure it and add an equal amount of sugar, I actually found I had 4 cups of puree and so I added 4 cups of sugar, just like the recipe said, which was quite amazing considering I never measured the amount of plums I had. Exciting times.

Dissolve sugar and puree over medium heat, then add the lemon juice. Turn the heat down slightly and simmer, stirring occasionally, for another 30mins or until thick.

Sorry I didn’t take any photos of this part, obviously I needed a break after all that sieving. Is that even a word? Sieving? SIEVING.

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Then pour your mixture into hot, sterile jars. I used an odd assortment I had in the cupboard. Secure the lids and let them cool. That is really all you need to do for jam, but I wanted to make sure these lasted until the holiday season so I placed a glass lid in the bottom of a saucepan so the jars didn’t touch the base. Then I covered the jars in an inch of water and boiled them for 5 minutes. I have know idea if this was effective or not, but hey, that’s what I did. It looked like it worked.

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Then it was logo and packaging time, yay! I just did a calligraphy course with Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls through Oh Happy Day craft nights (which was really wonderful and super fun) so I spent a little time trying out some ideas. Actually drawing with an actual pen on actual paper is something I haven’t done for a while.

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Once I was happy with my calligraphy I printed out some little labels and stuck them on the jars with glue.  You are welcome to download these labels to use and make your own plum paste, just click here for the plum paste free printable

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Because I’m a total trickster I used some washi tape around the lids of my recycled jars so that no one would ever know they were originally Bonne Maman jars my husband got from a hotel breakfast buffet and then gifted to me, pretending that he’d bought me a present whilst he was away. Sneaky, huh?

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Here you can see I’m testing my Weck jars to see that they are sealed. If you take off the clamps and lift the jar by the lid only, it should stick. The orange tab should also be pointing down. Check and check on both points, my Weck jars are sealed!

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Plum Paste
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This plum paste turned out to be seriously delicious. I was planning on using these for gifts at the holidays but now I’m not sure I will be able to refrain from eating them before then. Apologies to friends and neighbors, if you don’t get one of these, the intention was there!




Fishing Princess Cake

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My little girls loves princesses (no surprise) and fishing (surprise!). My husband had the bright idea of hosting a party for her at a Trout Farm. I had a lot of misgivings about it (quite possibly stemming from the fact that it wasn’t my idea) but it turned out to be a really fun day and the kids had a fantastic time. Plus, the kids ate what they’d caught for dinner, which was a really lovely lesson about where food comes from.

Fishing Princess Cake

We had a few thoughts around different kinds of fish-themed cakes, but settled on the princess as a way of bringing her other interests to the table (literally! AHA so punny!). I’d seen a lot of ombre mermaid themed cakes on Pintrest and wanted to have a go. I divided the white fondant into three different lumps – two small lumps for white and dark teal, and one large aqua tinted lump. Kneading the colours into the fondant was actually quite fun and therapeutic.

I looked around to see what I could use to cut the circles for the scales and an Advil measuring cup was sitting on the sink, so I used that! It was actually a good size.  I rolled out some white, aqua and teal fondant and cut out the circles I needed. Then to make the ombre I just mixed some of the remaining fondant together to get the perfect blend, and cut out more circles.

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My husband had the clever idea to use a piece of string to measure how long our fondant needed to be to make the skirt. He wrapped the string around the cake, then cut pieces to size for the arc of the top and bottom. He then laid the sting over the fondant and cut it to size. Clever man.

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I also tasked my husband with the job of making the fishing rod, and he went to town. I just love the little button for the reel. He also made the happiest little fish that ever had a hook in his mouth.

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Then I got my craft on and decorated the cake with seaweed, seashells and starfish. Super fun!

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And there she is, our princess of the lake.

Fishing Princess Cake

Chocolate Coconut Ice

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Here is a sickly sweet, yet sugar-free, yummy, yummy treat (well, there’s sugar in the chocolate, but we broke that into bits and therefore we all know the calories have all fallen out, right?)

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I saw this recipe for Chocolate Covered Coconut Bars on Pintrest, and had been thinking about it for days and days. I go crazy for a Bounty Bar, and I was thinking about how to combine the concept with the classic Coconut Ice. So here is my version.

  • 1.5 cups of Coconut Oil
  • 3 cups desiccated coconut
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 8 ounces chocolate (use sugar free chocolate if you want to pretend this “healthy”!)

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Warm the coconut oil in the microwave for about 20 secs so that it liquifies. Mix in the coconut and honey. Easy peasy!

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Spilt the mixture in half and add some red food colouring to half. Or, to be specific, I used a drop of magenta and a drop of orange to get a pretty coral colour.

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Gratuitous chocolate shot. Yum.

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Melt your chocolate then take close up photos of it because it looks so ridiculously delicious.

Press the white coconut into a parchment lined tin. Then add the pink layer, then top with the melted chocolate. I garnished the top with Trader Joes Coconut Chips because those things are the best.

I used an 8″ square tin, but honestly I think you could halve this recipe if you have a smaller tin. You really don’t need to make too much of this, it is sweet. Just looking at the photos now is making me feel a bit sick.

Pop it in the freezer for 20mins or until you can’t wait any longer.

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The original recipe suggested cutting the squares when the chocolate is at room temperature. I tried this, but then the coconut started to go a bit melty whilst the chocolate was still like a rock. Cutting it without the chocolate breaking was very difficult, hence my squares are more ‘rustic’ and ‘slab’ style. Maybe you will have better luck.

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Store it in the fridge. Enjoy your face full of yumminess!

Flower Cake

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Today’s post is not really a recipe, mainly because this is my husband’s grandmother’s famous TOP SECRET chocolate cake, and as such I probably shouldn’t put it on the internet. So instead, enjoy these photos of my lovely new Oh Joy for Target cake stand. I thought I might not like it considering that it is plastic, but then I decided that that was it’s best quality. After all, I have other fancier cake stands, so now I have an informal one. Because, of course, one must have the correct cake stand for every occasion! Of course! Right?

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Yes, that’s an elephant. It was one of the assistants who helped decorate the cake.

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Bacon, Egg and Bread Muffins


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What to do with the French baguette that was so delicious yesterday and is now stale and hard? Well, usually, I like to keep it in the pantry until it grows some mould and then I feel ok about throwing it out. But today I turned it into something yummy again.

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Based on this Bread Pudding recipe, you’ll need:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • Half a baguette, cubed
  • Three cooked rashers of bacon, chopped
  • teaspoon of thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • grated cheese

Whisk the eggs and milk and seasoning together, then add the bread. Let it soak together for half an hour in the fridge.

Then mix in the bacon pieces, sprinkle cheese on top, and pop into the oven at 325 degrees for half an hour.

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Get ready to eat them soon after they come out of the oven, when they are all puffed up and golden and delicious!

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Healthy Fruit Balls for Kids

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My friend Megan posted this recipe on Facebook recently. It sounded easy, fun and good for kids so of course I was interested!

Her recipe:

  • 250g Dates, 50g Coconut, 50g Oats, 20g Cocoa, 1TB Milk.
  • Whizz in blender, then roll into balls

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As you may know, I have trouble following recipes as they are. So I added cranberries and graham crackers in addition to the above.

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And then I felt like they didn’t taste naughty enough, so I added 2 teaspoons of icing sugar. Because I’m bad like that.

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I can’t say I loved them, but they were a hit with the kiddos. And it was fun to see my youngest shovel piles of desiccated coconut into her mouth with her fingers.

Breakfast Pies

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This is the easiest recipe for a great brunch. The original recipe comes from Williams-Sonoma but I simplified it…because why not make something easy, even easier! These pies transfer well, so they’d be great to take to a friends house, or a picnic.

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Cut rounds of store bought pastry and place in a muffin tin, ramekins, or if you’re lucky like me, a pie maker!

Precook the pastry in a hot oven until they look light brown… around 5 minutes.

Crack an egg into each. Add some sliced proscuitto, thyme, truffle salt and cracked pepper. Cook until the whites of the egg are solid but the yolk is still runny. This took me approximately another 5 minutes.

That’s it!

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So easy, and so yum!

Happy Valentines Day

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I don’t really do Valentines Day. Of course, if I found a mysterious card from a very attractive secret admirer I might be persuaded to celebrate.

I have always wanted to buy those little heart candies though, so that’s what we are celebrating today.

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Gushy love for my favourite cookbook

A cookbook that has held the title of ‘Favourite’ for well over a year now, is Bill Granger’s Everyday Asian. I just love this book. It may not be the most authentic, but it has a good selection of my favourite Asian and psuedo Australian-Asian dishes.

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The recipes are easy and use regular pantry ingredients.

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And the photography! I love it so! Such lovely, light-filled, colourful shots that take classic greasy spoon decor to a modern and chic place.

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More Gold – Edible this time!

Continuing my obsession with gold, what better way to use than to eat it?! I already have hundreds of ideas on how to use edible gold leaf  to make food look sparkly, special and fancy. What about gold leaf dumplings for CNY? Or some shiny gold heart candy for Valentines Day?

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This is the most decadent looking cake. Oreo Olallieberry Chocolate Layer Cake. I’m not to sure about the cake (surely I’m not the only person never to have heard of an Olallieberry?) but the chocolate ganache poured over the top looks amazing and reasonably achievable.

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What lovely examples of how to make the prettiest, most delicate little treat, even prettier.

Via Pinterest

Gold lollipops, yes! Via Esty

I am aware this strays very much into Douche Burger territory. But where is the tipping point, does gold leaf get a bad rap just because it sounds more expensive, and therefore wasteful, than say, sesame seeds? Here’s the philosophical question for the day: Is the desire to decorate and make things pretty a wasteful pastime for housewives, or is it part of a human beings calling to beautify life?

Styling a CNY dinner

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I took a trip to Chinatown today to prepare for Chinese New Year, and it was crazy busy. CRAZY. It was difficult to walk down the street, I started to get overwhelmed and confused about what I came for, and I got yelled at by old ladies. It felt just like being back in Jordan, in other words, I loved it!

So I’ve taken a look at what I have in the cupboard, and I think I could make a stylish Chinese New Year theme with the things I have, plus using a colour palette of red, orange, pink and yellow. And of course, white, to make it all crisp and clean and laundry detergent bright, just the way I like it.

Can you tell I’m getting a bit excited about this event? Just wait until I start cooking, I’m going to dream of dumplings until then…

Googy Egg Roll

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Today I had a longing for a little Inner West action – namely, a stroll around the bay and the bacon egg rolls at the Orange Grove Markets. (And some Gozleme, but that will have to wait.)

So I decided to make my own creation, a googy egg roll. Black forest bacon and a soft boiled egg with, of course, truffle salt.

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Check that out! That, my friends, is the full goog!

Ps. I got my daughter’s report card from preschool during the week, and she got an ‘outstanding’ for ‘trying new foods’. I’m so proud!!

Ideas for a stylish Chinese New Year Banquet

I’m planning a Chinese New Year celebration. After living in Hong Kong for 5 years it just doesn’t feel right to let this occasion go past unnoticed. And of course I always take a very keen interest in any cultural event based around a feast! Give me an interesting tradition, and delicious food, and I AM THERE!

However I’m looking for some styling inspiration and not really finding any. I am the biggest fan of Chinoiserie, if you’ve seen my house you’d know. But, I find most Chinese ‘themes’ either look tacky, twee or, worst of all, fusion. Urgh.

Pop Up Dinner Party: Chinatown Alleyway

You can see some of the few nice inspirational images I was able to find by clicking on the button.

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