Thursday, 23 December 2010

Merry Christmas Blog!

I'm going home for Christmas tomorrow and might be M.I.A in the bloggersphere for about 2 weeks! ah yes, two whole weeks of sunshine, strawberries,seashells, friend catch ups,swimming and hugs from Mum:) But never fair I'll be back next year with more tasty treats from my kitchen to share.



Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season.


 Love Sezasaurus xx

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Jamie Oliver's mulled wine:

ingredients

• 2 clementines (or I think any orange will do really)
• peel of 1 lemon
• peel of 1 lime
• 250g caster sugar
• 6 whole cloves
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 3 fresh bay leaves
• 1 whole nutmeg
• 1 whole vanilla pod, halved
• 2 star anise
• 2 bottles of Italian red wine

This is dead easy to make and tastes like Christmas in a glass. It’s a lovely celebration of those traditional festive spices like cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. If you’ve got your own favourite spices, then feel free to add those to the pot too. Let everything cook away and warm up gently so the flavours have time to mingle with the wine. I like to leave my mulled wine ticking over on a really low heat and just ladle some into glasses as and when guests pop in.

Peel large sections of peel from your clementines, lemon and lime using a speed peeler. Put the sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the pieces of peel and squeeze in the clementine juice. Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and about 10 to 12 gratings of nutmeg. Throw in your halved vanilla pod and stir in just enough red wine to cover the sugar. Let this simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved into the red wine and then bring to the boil. Keep on a rolling boil for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until you’ve got a beautiful thick syrup. The reason I’m doing this first is to create a wonderful flavour base by really getting the sugar and spices to infuse and blend well with the wine. It’s important to do make a syrup base first because it needs to be quite hot, and if you do this with both bottles of wine in there you’ll burn off the alcohol.


When your syrup is ready turn the heat down to low and add your star anise and both bottles of wine. Gently heat the wine and after around 5 minutes, when it’s warm and delicious, ladle it into glasses and serve.


Friday, 17 December 2010

Iced coffee love

Its 81 percent humidity in Wellington today and I'm sweating up a storm to say the least! I decided that hot coffee was craziness so decided to try my luck at making iced coffee instead. Delish!



Iced coffee:

strong instant coffee (I used Moccona espresso)
vanilla ice cream
milk
hot water
ice cubes

Add two heaped teaspoons of instant coffee to a large mug or glass, pour in 2-3 tablespoons of hot water just enough to dissolve the coffee. Top up the glass with milk and place two large scoops of icecream on top, give it all a stir with a couple of ice cubes in the mix and that's it!

If you want to be a little bit fancy (like the picture) sprinkle nutmeg or cinnamon on top, and if your not a big coffee drinker just replace the coffee with milo or drinking chocolate. James loved his non coffee version just as much.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Doughnuts!!

On the weekend we went home for a friends wedding and this meant we got to see some of our lovely Auckland friends, but it also meant we got to have Dunkin donuts! Wellington doesn't have any Donut stores which is a bit of an outrage really. Which has led me to hunt the internet looking for a home-made doughnut recipe, and viola! This is what I found. These are home-made baked (not fried) donuts.

Now in keeping with my December Christmas recipes I thought I'd make them into Christmas shapes and with Christmas icing. Something a little like these:



Okay, those are Krispy Kreme ones, so that might be a little bit to challenging! Still, so pretty aren't they?

Christmas Treat #2: Baked Donuts

Source
1 1/3 cups warm milk, 95 to 105 degrees (divided)
1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
5 cups all-purpose flour (alternately, white whole wheat might work - haven't tried it yet)
A pinch or two of nutmeg, freshly grated
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Place 1/3 cup of the warm milk in the bowl of an electric mixer. Stir in the yeast and set aside for five minutes or so. Be sure your milk isn't too hot or it will kill the yeast. Stir the butter and sugar into the remaining cup of warm milk and add it to the yeast mixture. With a fork, stir in the eggs, flour, nutmeg, and salt - just until the flour is incorporated. With the dough hook attachment of your mixer beat the dough for a few minutes at medium speed. This is where you are going to need to make adjustments - if your dough is overly sticky, add flour a few tablespoons at a time. Too dry? Add more milk a bit at a time.

You want the dough to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl and eventually become supple and smooth. Turn it out onto a floured counter-top, knead a few times (the dough should be barely sticky), and shape into a ball.

Transfer the dough to a buttered (or oiled) bowl, cover, put in a warm place (I turn on the oven at this point and set the bowl on top), and let rise for an hour or until the dough has roughly doubled in size.
Punch down the dough and roll it out 1/2-inch thick on your floured countertop. Most people (like myself) don't have a doughnut cutter, instead I use a 2-3 inch cookie cutter to stamp out circles. Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet and stamp out the smaller inner circles using a smaller cutter. If you cut the inner holes out any earlier, they become distorted when you attempt to move them. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise for another 45 minutes.

Bake in a 375 degree oven until the bottoms are just golden, 8 to 10 minutes - start checking around 8. While the doughnuts are baking, place the butter in a medium bowl. Place the sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl.
Remove the doughnuts from the oven and let cool for just a minute or two. Dip each one in the melted butter and a quick toss in the sugar bowl. Eat immediately if not sooner.

Makes 1 1/2 - 2 dozen medium doughnuts.




Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Tis the season to be jolly!

I love Christmas time! And even though I've never had a white Christmas I can dream right? Here are some of my favourite Christmas photos I thought I'd share with you. There's something really magical about snow, I have to confess I've never seen 'real' snow... I've never even been skiing, although I intend to change this as soon as I can. I'm a southern hemisphere girl through and through, the only Christmas is I know involves shorts, jandles and bbq's. But  I love to look at 'white Christmas' pictures and get caught up in the winter Christmas spirit of it all, so I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.











My Christmas is more like this:


Don't get me wrong, its all I know & I love it! Merry Christmas, which ever kind your having x

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Happy first of December!

In honour of December I am posting the first of my holiday Christmas treats today!

I baked these yesterday just to make sure they were as delicious as I remembered, and you'll be happy to know they were even MORE delicious! I hope you enjoy them:)

This was originally the "Herseys cookie recipe" but I've modified it (for maximum deliciousness purposes)

Christmas Treat #1: Snow top chocolate mint cookies


Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 cup of cocoa
  •  1 cup (12-oz. pkg.) dark Chocolate Chips or mint flavoured chocolate bar
  • 1 drop of peppermint essence
Preheat oven to 180 degrees
Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until creamy. Add eggs; beat well.
 Gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stir in chocolate,cocoa and peppermint (the result is the glorious chocolatey mixture below).
 Roll teaspoon sized balls of cookie dough in icing sugar and drop onto ungreased cookie sheet. 

 Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.  When mine had finshed baking they didnt have that much icing sugar left for the "snow top" effect I was going for so I just dipped them back into the bowl of icing sugar. Perfect!


Friday, 26 November 2010

Thanksgiving feast

Happy Thanksgiving blog and to all my American blogger friends! In honour of Thanksgiving I decided to make our own little Thanksgiving dinner here in New Zealand. I've never had a Thanksgiving dinner before (exciting!) and also becuase I thought it seemed like a good time to feel thankful, especially in light of our Pike River mine tragedy:(

Our main course was roasted chicken with cranberry sauce, roasted potatoes, green beans, apple and walnut stuffing and sweet potatoes (made in true American style with marshmallows on top!) 



Dessert was my first ever Pumpkin Pie!


I was really pleased with how it turned out! I think the best part of making it (aside from getting to eat it when I was done) is the delicious aroma that fills your house while its cooking. It smells like a combination of Christmas,Autumn and a doughnut, weird I know. But it smells great! very spicy and sweet.

My secret was this stuff:


"Libbys 100% pure pumpkin" yes, its pumpkin in a can. Apparently this is the traditional American way to make your pie. My awesome friend in Auckland, Amanda. Sent me some from New Zealand's only American food store. How cool is she? 

I'm guessing the secret here is its texture, because there's no way I could have got my roasted pumpkin to as smoother consistency.

mmmm delicious pumpkiny goodness!


I used the "Joyofbaking" recipe posted on my blog here. They suggest serving it with maple cream which I happily did and it was a triumph! Such a great flavour to match the spicy pumpkin. All you do is whip up your cream and mix in a drizzle of your favourite maple syrup at the end. Yum!


Pumpkin Pie verdict? Sensational!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Lemon,ginger,honey drink

I've been sick with more than my fair share of colds this year and as a result I think I have now perfected the art of making lemon, ginger, honey drinks. Having another cold at the moment I thought I'd share my remedy with you!

Ingredients:
















































= The perfect lemon drink!



















Method:

Pour in about 2 table spoons of lemon cordial or concentrate. I think using a lemon cordial instead of actual lemon is the trick here because it tastes really nice and not too acidic or bitter.

Then grate about a teaspoon of ginger into your cup, or if you don't have a fresh ginger use a pinch of the dried stuff.

Add the boiling hot water to fill the cup.

Place a teaspoon of honey into your lemon drink, as much or as little as you like to taste.

Stir in a slice of lemon, now rest and enjoy!

No bake Birthday cake

Its my sisters birthday in 2 weeks and what's a birthday without a delicious Birthday cake? Unfortunately she is living in Korea and apparently Koreans aren't that big on baking which means....their apartment doesn't come with an oven! I know complete madness! I use my oven everyday! I don't think I'd be able to cope. Some how she has been and she even has her own cooking blog now, check it out here. 

So in honour of her Birthday here is a Birthday cake blog post, with a twist. Both of these cakes can be made without using an oven. I'm not even sure if they qualify as "cake" per-say, but they do qualify as delicious!

Chocolate Sherry Log

(This is a kiwi classic and one of my Mum's favourites.)


















  • 1 packet chocolate chip biscuits -- not chocolate coated
  • Sweet Sherry
  • Whipped, sweetened cream
  • Grated dark chocolate
  • Glacè cherries

Pour the sherry (or any sweet liqueur really) into a shallow bowl. 

Soak each biscuit in this mixture to the slow count of 30. Put a thin layer of whipped cream between each one. Cover the resulting log with the remainder of the cream. Sprinkle with grated chocolate and decorate with cherries. 

Refrigerate before serving.

This is a super quick and easy desert to make, great if you have to bring something to a BBQ, party etc and really, reeealy good!

Macadamia Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream Log


 
Preparation time - 10 minutes;
Freeze time - 4 hours minimum; best frozen overnight; Makes - 2 Litres

Ingredients

  • 2 litres (4 cups or 34 ounces) Chocolate ice cream, softened
  • 2 cups macadamia nuts, roughly chopped (or any roasted nuts would work)
  • 300g (10 ounces) frozen raspberries (save 1/3 cup for serving)
  • 150g (5 ounces) nougat (optional)
  • Extra roughly chopped macadamia nuts to serve 
  • You could also add little pieces of your favourite chocolate bar or crushed oreos- yum!

Method:

Line a 20 x 10cm (4 x 8 inch) loaf tin with parchment paper. Place ice cream into a large mixing bowl. 

Add macadamia nuts, raspberries and nougat to ice cream, using a spatula, gently fold through until just combined.

Press ice cream mixture into lined tin, level top with spatula. Cover top with parchment, place in freezer to allow ice cream to refreeze. This is best left overnight, or until ice cream is firm to the touch.

Remove ice cream log from tin with the baking paper. Serve slices of log with extra chopped macadamia nuts and frozen raspberries.

"Happy almost Birthday Sis"  


(Apparently these cupcakes say Happy Birthday in Korean, but they could say anything really lol)

Monday, 22 November 2010

Relay of Friendship!














Yesterday I was handed 'The baton for the relay of friendship' from a very cool blogger called Lindsay (check out her blog Scenic Glory.) 

Its basically fun way to make new friends and find out about the rad bloggers that are following you. I of course accepted this challenge with delight!. If you are chosen below please fill out the questions and pass the baton on! xx

Donna from I have an idea
Jets from My little gift

what did you want to be when you grew up?
A doctor, I even had a pretend doctors kit and would examine all my teddies and dolls. Good times.

what were your favorite cartoons?
The Jetsons,Tom and Jerry and The Simpsons ( I still watch the repeats on t.v everyday, love it!)

 
favorite childhood game?
Building huts, me and my sister would build these elaborate huts and have tea parties in them. We swept little paths into them with branches and had divisions for the rooms and everything!

I also had a really awesome Tree house that I would play in for hours. There's something so fun and magical about a tree house! Check out this amazing grown up tree house that I love! I found it on "The 10 most amazing tree huts"


most favorite Birthday?

My fifth Birthday party. My Mum made me this flipping amazing Mickey Mouse cake and my Dad dressed up as Kermit the frog! He went around all the party guests offering them treats and putting on the kermy voice, awesome!

something you have always wanted to do, but haven't done yet?
Go on  a roller coaster tour around America!

what was your first love?
My Teddy and my wonderful family


first musical idol?
The Backstreet Boys, I was pretty much an obsessed fan....

favorite gift?
 Anything handmade or thoughtful, if you can tell the person has really thought about it then I love it. 
if a theme song played for you everywhere you went, what would it be?
This ones tricky! I think it would be something by Johnny Cash, maybe "Get rhythm"?


favorite city to visit?
I haven't visited many cities but I love Melbourne in Australia. Its so arty and beautiful and full of stores brimming with sweet vintage finds on every corner!. Its also home to Lord of the Fries an amazing vegetarian burger place that I could happily eat at everyday. 


& check out that awesome Melbourne street art!

Thats all the questions...

Happy Monday bloggers

xo Sezasaurus

Sunday, 21 November 2010

With a little help from my friends...

On Friday I couldn't think of any new recipes worthy of posting so I asked my Facebook if anyone had a great recipe they would like to share. Here is my lovely friend Bethany's contribution. It sounds great for chilly evenings or just in general really. I love her writing style! I can hear her American accent as I read it, I've written some notes in italics, but the rest is all her.

Bethany's Bangin' Chicken pie:

1 onion chopped
2-3 garlic cloves diced/crushed (I never have the patience to properly crush!)
7-10 pepperoni rounds, chopped

Fry in some EVOO until onions are clear. (Extra Virgin Olive Olive in case you were wondering)

Chop some fresh sage, oregano, and marjoram and add to the mix (I'm never exact, it generally depends on how long I feel like standing outside taking herbs out of the garden) and a dash of smoked paprika.

Pour in 1 cup of chicken stock with about 3 tablespoons of flour and 1/4 cup of milk, thicken.

Put on about a cup of frozen peas and cook through in another pot.

Chop up and cut out all the major fatty parts of 6 boneless/skinless chicken thighs and chuck them in the frying pan with the onions. When it is cooked through add the peas and silverbeet (I used a whole head because it was going to seed in the garden, but I'm sure about 10 leaves coarsely chopped leaves would do the same - I love my greens!).

Cover for a few minutes to wilt the silverbeet. Here's where I salt and pepper to taste - careful though, the pepperoni has loads of chucky peppercorns in it, so don't go overboard on the cracked pepper!

When the silverbeet has wilted and cooked down in, pour the mixture into a casserole dish.

Melt about 3 tablespoons of butter (sorry, once American always American - that's how I measure my butter!) and get out your filo ready!

My filo pastry was having some issues, so I ended up tearing up bits and pieces of it, scrunching it up, and dipping the tops in butter before placing on top of the chicken mixture. I made sure that the pieces were densely populating the top, so it looked a bit like a mashed potato topping. I wouldn't suggest using whole sheets at a time because it was so lovely having these little portions that you could hold in one hand and bite into when you took a spoonful of pie!

Bake at 180 until the filo has browned (about 10 minutes? I'm really bad at timing these things, I'm pretty sure it went in when Kurt announced he didn't believe in God and came out when Rachel let Finn get to second base. But I've got pregger brain, so that may not be accurate)

My directions aren't exactly a recipe per say, but you can give it a try and create a proper recipe if you like! And you can tell that I'm trying to really up my veggie intake with all the greens. My semi-vegetarian policy is the more vegetables the better! I actually think this might taste really nice with some grilled eggplant chunks, but it's not in season yet so I didn't try it!

I hope that gives you something to think about for your blog!(Thanks Bethany! You're the best, I am planning on making it tonight, so will post a picture)

Bethany also contributed this little gem!  Can you believe the deliciousness?

Boston cream cupcakes!

Source:http://www.womansday.com/Recipes/Boston-Cream-Cupcakes-Recipe

These are James's favourite doughnut, in fact he makes a special trip to Dunkun Donuts every time we are home just to get one. I have to try these! Review to follow.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Little Christmas Puddings

Last Christmas my sister made these delicious Christmas truffles, they were a bit of a sensation in our house. But this year she won't be able to make them because she is in Korea :(. But fear not! I think I have found her recipe or something very similar. I can't wait to make these little beauties!

INGREDIENTS

700g plum pudding
250g dark eating chocolate, melted
½ cup (125ml) brandy
½ cup (80g) icing sugar
200g white chocolate Melts
glacé cherries, cut to resemble berries and leaves

METHOD

Crumble pudding into large bowl. Stir in melted chocolate, brandy and sifted icing sugar; mix well.

Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls, place on tray; cover, refrigerate until firm.

Melt white chocolate in small heatproof bowl over small saucepan of simmering water. Cool chocolate 10 minutes. Drizzle over puddings to form "custard"; decorate with cherries.

This recipe can be made two weeks ahead. Use either bought or left over homemade pudding.

Yum,yum,yum! I love Christmas baking!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Pumpkin Pie time!

A few posts ago I said that for Thanksgiving I was going to bake my very first pumpkin pie! Well Thanksgiving is a little less than 2 weeks away so I have started researching possible recipes...

I really like this one, its from Joyofbaking.com its the first recipe that comes up on Google, which means its the most popular! I hoping that also means its the most delicious!




Pecan and Gingersnap Layer: (optional)
1/4 cup (25 grams) pecans, toasted and ground
1/4 cup (25 grams) crushed gingersnap cookies

Pumpkin Filling:
3 large eggs
2 cups fresh pumpkin puree or 1 - 15 ounce can (425 grams) pure pumpkin
1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup (110 grams) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt

Maple Whipped Cream:
1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

To make the Maple Whipped Cream:
Place the heavy whipping cream and maple syrup in bowl of your electric mixer.  With the whisk attachment, whip the cream until soft peaks form.

Pecan and Gingersnap Layer:  Toast pecans in a 350 degree F (180 degree C) oven for 8 minutes or until lightly browned and aromatic.  Cool and then place the pecans in a food processor and process until finely ground.  Combine the ground pecans with the crushed gingersnap cookies.  Press this mixture evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of the unbaked pie crust.  Cover and return the pastry to the refrigerator while you make the pumpkin filling.

Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and place rack in bottom third of the oven.  

Make the Pumpkin Filling: 
In a large bowl lightly whisk the eggs.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Pour the mixture into the prepared pie shell (I don't want to make my own pastry because to be quite honest its hard and time consuming so I'm just going to use a bought short crust pastry from the supermarket ) then place on a large baking pan to catch any spills.  Bake the pie for about 45 to 55 minutes or until the filling is set and the crust has browned (the center will still look wet).  (A knife inserted about 1 inch (2.54 cm) from side of pan will come out almost clean.)

Place the baked pie on a wire rack to cool.  Serve at room temperature with maple whipped cream.

Makes one 9 inch (23 cm) pie.

Read more:
http://www.joyofbaking.com/pumpkinpie.html#ixzz14vf7dMPG

Theres something I really like about the whole concept of 'Thanksgiving' I mean why can't New Zealand have a day where we give thanks too? I for one would celebrate it as I have lots to be thankful for! I'm also thankful for this little guy, tehehehe makes me laugh every time!


Who would have thought a vegetable could taste so delicious?

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