Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Cravings and Christmas treats

I haven't been baking in a little while because I just haven't had that much energy really but lately I've been feeling a bit better (early pregnancy sucks!) A few things I've been really loving and I think help my morning sickness are....

Lemons! I just really love them at the moment. Lift seems to be my absolute favourite drink as well as lemonade ice blocks and lime juice. I've been dying to make a lemon meringue pie but it takes a long time so perhaps for Labour weekend? We'll see.

Oranges! For about 2 weeks all I could really keep down was bread, crackers and oranges. They have become my new best friend. Even orange flavoured things seem to really help me like orange zest in muffins or orange chocolate. So far I'm finding this whole pregnancy thing is pretty weird and I feel anything but 'glowing'. I'm now well into my second trimester and I can only hope that feeling good phase is very near!

In other news I've noticed some of my favourite places have their Christmas ranges out already (hooray!). I LOVE Christmas! Lush has some adorable bath bombs which I can't wait to try. The penguin is my fav and it's citrus scented!Totally need to get one of those.
Ezibuy also has an adorable Christmas selection this year. Plus some yummy looking treats like these pretty chocolate bars and lovely decorations which I think I'll be purchasing. This Woodland one is so cute!



Hopefully I'll be back to my old baking self soon... I'll keep you posted blogger friends xx

SR

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Easy Key Lime Pie

After going a bit OTT with my lime supply for our 30th party I decided to bake a delicious Key Lime pie to use them up. Technically it wasn't a real 'key lime pie' because I didn't use Key Limes but it was still zesty, limey and tasty! I've made one once before in a jar but I much preferred this one, plus there was heaps which meant we could enjoy it all through the week.

Here's the link I used and some mouth watering pictures for you to enjoy x

This month has been super cold in our flat and at my work and I think just generally everywhere in Wellington really. Thank goodness we decided to buy a heater for our room because some nights have actually been too cold to sleep without it on! We've been enjoying lots of hot chocolate in front of the TV at night to stay toasty. I've also been wearing these amazing warm fluffy socks my husbands Aunt in Scotland sent me -so warm and cute! How have you been staying warm friends?

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Our 30th Birthday Party

A couple of weekend's ago we celebrated our 30th Birthday's, Mexican style! We decided to do a joint party because our Birthday's are only 2 months apart and also it just seemed like a fun idea for a mid winter party. What better way to celebrate than to dress up and pretend like it's not really freezing outside!

We turned our flat into a little piece of Mexico with lots of bright coloured decorations, delicious homemade Mexican fare and of course a pretty rad and appropriately themed cake. If you didn't know already I love coconut and this cake was a great way for me to make a cake I'd always wanted to try! It was called the 'You put the lime in the coconut cake'. I used Rachel Allen's recipe and got my inspiration for the cake from Pinterest. I was so pleased with the cake, I had done a test run first to make sure it was really delicious and then whipped it up the morning of the party. Luckily for us our beautiful friends decided to come down especially from Auckland and spent most of their Saturday helping us prep the food and drinks which was an incredible help! The party was everything I think we had hoped it would be. We had so much fun and it was really great to see lots of our friends  (some of who we hadn't seen since our move back to Wellington last November). For added fun factor we decided to make a photo booth in our home by sticking up some crepe paper streamers and providing a few props. It made for some hilarious photo opportunities throughout the night and now we have some great photo memories to treasure!

Here are a few...

 I made the tiny bunting myself from washi tape and some paper straws, it worked really well and was much cheaper than the bunting you can buy online from cake shops.




Here some of the snacks we made... The tiny taco cups were my favourite.

Cheers to being 30 (almost) and to great friends <3



Saturday, 21 May 2016

Apple Shortcake

A few weeks ago I found a bag of decidedly dodgy looking apples in my fridge and decided I would make them into an apple shortcake. Having never made one before I was a bit nervous it would be a total flop... I haven't been baking that much lately and let me tell you I am feeling a bit out of practice. Anyway it all went pretty much according to plan and I was so pleased with the results I thought I'd share it.

James was super pleased with it too because it tasted just as good as a bought one! I'm pleased to say I would totally make this again :) This is the recipe I used (Alyson Gofton of course!)






Sunday, 17 April 2016

My no sugar (ok almost) no sugar carrot cake

I made this tasty cake a few weekends ago now using a traditional carrot cake recipe as the base and then making a few substitutions. The result of pretty great really and I'm proud to say I managed to make it taste a good amount of sweetness with only 1/4 cup of brown sugar!

Carrot cakes are an ultimate favourite cake for me (up there with chocolate!) so it's important that even if its a 'healthier version' it still tastes really good.

This one is definitely one of those recipes...

For the cake:

1/4 cup of brown sugar (the original recipe had 2 cups!)
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups of wholemeal flour (the original recipe used white flour)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts (I didn't put these in because my friend doesn't like walnuts).
1 cup of carrots, grated
1/2 cup diced fresh or canned pineapple

Method

Beat the sugar, oil, and eggs together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light yellow. Add the vanilla. In another bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups flour, the cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Toss the raisins and walnuts with 1 tablespoon flour. Fold in the carrots and pineapple. Add to the batter and mix well.

Divide the batter equally between the 2 pans. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans set over a wire rack.
I decorated mine with cream cheese icing and some pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds and diced dried apricots. 

Lemon poppy seed muffins

A couple of weekends ago I made a these delicious lemon poppy seed muffins because I realised that I had a huge bag of poppy seeds to use up! Did anyone else know that poppy seeds can go rancid in as little as 3 weeks?! Not me... Anyway it was a good reason to try out a new recipe.

I really liked these muffins but they weren't lemony enough for my taste, I think 3 tablespoons of lemon zest (instead of 2) would be just right for next time.

I used my trusty friend "Allyson Gofton" for the recipe she never steers my wrong. Her website was recently revamped and their are HEAPS of great recipes online now so you don't even need to buy the books.

 It was actually a loaf recipe by I just put it in muffin tins instead and cooked it for 25 mins.

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ cup poppy seeds
  • 150 grams butter, softened
  • ¾ cup castor sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1¾ cups flour
  • 1 tsp each baking power and baking soda
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tsp grated lemon rind

Method

  1. Heat the milk in a small saucepan and when hot but not boiling, stir in the poppy seeds. Set aside to cool for 30 minutes.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  3. Sift the flour with the baking powder and baking soda and fold into the creamed mixture, alternately with the poppy seeds and milk. Lastly fold in the lemon juice. Turn into a greased and paper-lined 22cm x 12cm loaf tin.
  4. Bake at 180ºC for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.. Allow the loaf to stand for 20 minutes before turning out onto a cake rack to cool.



Saturday, 5 March 2016

Friendly cats and making our own Crème brûlée


This month has been a busy month for us as we got settled into our new flat. We moved just over a month ago now to a house on the top of a giant hill in Wellington. It's nice to have a different view and perspective on a city we know so well. I'm still getting used to being able to see the ocean (it's very exciting!). I love watching all the comings and goings in the harbour and the planes landing into Wellington city.

Something a bit weird about our new house is all the cats that seem to visit us! I've counted 4 now that seem to roam our back garden daily. Too bad none of them are very friendly and I haven't managed to get one pat in yet. This is not your house kitties and if you want to live here that is fine as long as I can pat you. One is so cheeky it tries to push it's face through our cat door!



Also this month we have been making a lot of creme brulee mostly because James bought us a blow torch from Briscoes and has just been going a bit crazy trying it out.

So far we have made 3 different Creme Brulee's, one from scratch, one from a packet mix and one with pineapple. Fun fact about Creme Brulee is it actually means 'burnt cream' in French and I guess that makes sense because that's literally how you make the topping (by burning sugar on top).

After a few really successful attempts we've discovered some tips.

1. Always use white sugar for the topping because caster sugar just doesn't taste right or have the same effect. Maybe something to do with the surface area? or the crystal sizes in the sugar? I'm not sure but there you go.

2. The packet mix you buy from the supermarket is actually really great if your running short of time. Hansel's makes one and it saves you the 40 minute cooking process and the custard making but I personally think it's only about 1/3 as good as the made from scratch version.

 Crème brûlée

We just used 'Betty Crockers' recipe I found online and it's been awesome!

You start with making the custard which is vanilla bean paste, sugar, egg yokes and cream. Then you cook them in a water bath for 30-40 mins until almost set but still a bit wobbly and then you chill them in the fridge for 2 hours.

Finally, before you serve them you sprinkle them with some sugar (make sure its plain white sugar) and blow torch! When it starts to bubble and turn a nice caramel colour you're done!




My favourite part it that first scoop when you break it's crunchy sugary surface into a million pieces.  YUM!!!


Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Beetroot Chocolate Cake

On the weekend I baked my first ever Beetroot Chocolate Cake.

I was a bit nervous about it because I've never made one before and the recipe is pretty unusual!

You basically boil up a bunch of beetroot and then let it cool in the pot before rubbing off their skins.
Which means you end up with VERY red hands! After that it's a fairly normal cake recipe but it does make a wet mixture which is also VERY red. As I tipped it into the baking pan I was feeling pretty unsure about the whole thing. I mean a vegetable in a cake?! but I thought if it can work for the humble carrot? Luckily it tasted great (phew!) and was perfectly cooked after 50 mins just like the recipe said.

I first heard about this cake when watching an episode of Nigella on FoodTV and then a friend of mine made us one for dessert and I was so intrigued by the unique flavour it brought to a chocolate cake.

I think I would make it agian for sure, very moist and moreish. Hooray for chocolate cake and hooray for unusual recipes.

Side note: This recipe is also gluten free and if you wanted you could make it lower in sugar by adding a natural sweetener like maple syrup or honey.

Beetroot Chocolate Cake:

Ingredients
  • 85 grams dark chocolate
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 2 cups coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 cup olive oil or  melted butter
  • 300 grams cooked beetroots (see method)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1tbsp vanilla essence)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 200 grams almond meal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (or gluten free baking powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Method

Pre heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
To cook the beetroots, wash thoroughly and place in a pot full of cold water. No need to peel.
Bring the pot to the boil and cook the beets until soft when poked with a knife – approx 30 minutes though this depends on the size of the beets.
When cooked, run the beets under cold water and gently rub off the skins.
Blend or mash the beetroots until slightly smooth but still some ‘chunks’ remaining.
Melt the dark chocolate over a double boiler or place the chopped chocolate in a bowl, cover with cling film and microwave on low for approximately 1 minute until chocolate has just melted. When you remove from the microwave, stir quickly to melt any pieces that are still solid.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and oil.
Slowly add the cooked beet puree, the melted chocolate and vanilla into the egg mixture.
Stir well to combine, but take care not to over work the mixture.
Sift the cocoa and add this, the almond meal, baking powder and salt to the beet batter.
Fold just until everything is combined. Again, don’t over mix the batter.
Grease and line a 20 cm cake pan
Pour in your cake batter

Bake for approximately 50 minutes. 

Cake is ready when a tooth pick or skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Baking time may vary depending on the pan and oven you are using.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the pan.
I made chocolate ganache for the icing but you could use regular chocolate icing or just dust it with icing sugar if you like.

From this:

To this!

Who knew Beetroot could be so wonderful in a cake?

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