Breakfast on the Go!

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The constant snoozing of the alarm leaves hubby with no time for breakfast. In order to ensure he has a decent start to the day, I pack him a carrot and pecan muffin from Woolworths, along with his cereal (yes, he has his All Bran at his desk). While reorganizing my stash of recipe books, files and pages, I came across this recipe. I made it and he loved it. Said it was as good as the Woolies ones!

Carrot and Pecan Muffins

2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence

Beat above together.

Sift the following:

1 1/2 cups Flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Then add in:
1 cup Brown sugar(I used 1/4 cup demerara sugar and 3/4 cup white sugar)

Fold in the flour mixture into the egg mixture, adding a little at a time.

Thereafter add in :

2/3 cup oil
1 cup finely grated carrots
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup crushed pineapple with syrup (tin). (freeze the extra)

Spoon into cupcake cases. Fills exactly 12 cupcake cases. I used this nifty ice-cream scoop to fill in the cases. Bake @ 180 C. For about 10-15minutes.

Its so quick to bake. A tip for the working women…wrap individually in cling-film and store in an airtight container in the freezer. Stays good for longer!

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Posted in Baking, CupcakeS, Tea Time Treats | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Tomatoe, Basil and Feta Bruschetta

Tomatoe, Basil and Feta Bruschetta

Tomatoe, Basil and Feta Bruschetta

We had guests over on Saturday, and the quickest, tastiest appetizer I could think of was, bruschetta. Bruschetta (pronounced : broo-sket-ta) originated from Italy. It consists of a slice of bread that is lightly toasted, rubbed with garlic and olive oil and has a topping.

For my bruschetta, I opted for tomatoe, basil and feta. I decided to keep it light, keeping in mind the very heavy dessert that was to be served after the meal.

Italian bread (i used french loaf)
Basil, chopped
1 1/2 cups tomatoes, chopped and de-seeded
1tsp vinegar
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil
Feta cheese

In a bowl, add in chopped tomatoes, vinegar, some chopped basil (according to how much you prefer), crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in pan and toss ingredients till it starts bubbling. Remove from stove, cover and leave to infuse the flavours. This can be done earlier in the day. I made the topping in the morning so it was pretty quick and easy to spoon and serve.

Slice the bread in 1 cm thickness diagonally. Lay on tray and rub garlic onto each side of the bread. Grill in oven on both sides. Be careful not to over toast. I was guilty of over toasting creating a very crunchy bite. Once removed from oven, use a silicone brush and lightly brush on olive oil onto each side.

Place a spoonful of the topping onto the toasted bread. Crumble over feta and add more basil if you prefer. Place on a platter and you are ready to serve!

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Red Velvet Delight!!

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2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 cup oil
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
5 Tbl Moirs Crimson Pink colouring
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla essence

Method:
Beat all ingredients until smooth. Fill cupcake cases. Bake @ 180 C till done.

Topping:

2 cups icing sugar
125 grams butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tub cream cheese, room temperature

Method:
Beat butter until creamy and smooth. Add in the icing sugar, a little at a time. Beat well.
Add in theventire tub of cream cheese and beat until mixed in. Then add in the vanilla essence.

Decorate as desired. Enjoy!

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Chocolatti Biscotti!

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Sitting at home last night had me craving biscotti. It has been on my to do list for some time now. Biscotti are Italian biscuits traditionally made with hazelnuts and aniseed. Having neither hazelnuts nor aniseed, I googled around until I found a recipe I liked by David Lebovitz. ‘Bis’ is Italian for twice and ‘cotti’ is cooked. This biscuit is baked twice and therefore crunchy, firm and tastes great when dunked in tea or coffee.

Here is my tweaked version of David’s recipe:

2 cups flour
3/4 cup Lindt cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup almonds (with skins on toasted and coarsely chopped)
100 grams Dairymilk chocolate, coarsely chopped

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Sift flour, cocoa, bicarb and salt.

Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla essence.

Gradually add in the flour mixture and add in the nuts and chocolate.(Don’t be afraid to use your hands at this stage. Flour them before bringing the dough together).Divide the dough in half. Roll into two logs.Gently flatten the tops of logs. Beat an egg and brush the tops of logs. (This step I failed to read).

Bake for 25 minutes or until dough feels firm. Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes. Slice 1 cm thick slices. Lay cut sides down on to baking tray for a further 10 minutes.Turn over midway and bake a further 10 minutes.
Although they will feel slightly soft, remove them from the oven to cool. As they cool, they will harden.

My notes :

My first log went into the oven with no egg wash. Bad mistake or so I thought. I was timing it using the timer on my microwave. That stopped on its own at 18 minutes to go and I noticed that too late. I had to estimate the rest of the time left to bake. It cracked along the side and was hard when I removed it from the oven.

Before putting the second log in, which was more petite( I didn’t get my halves right which was for the better) I patted water on the log to moisten it, hoping it won’t crack!
And this time I timed it with my phone! This batch was just firm and slightly gooey when I removed it, but it firmed up nice and crisp. It just looked much darker than the first batch.

Hubby thought I had burnt it. Not cool! The second batch was smaller and resembled a decent sized biscotti unlike the first batch which were slightly on the big side.

I was very pleased with the result. It had an intense chocolate flavor. Hubby said it had a brownie taste to it. A decent comment coming from someone who isn’t a chocolate lover. Oh well, at least I have all the biscotti for myself!

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A Perfect Wintery Dessert!

A Lovely Wintery Dessert!

A Lovely Wintery Dessert!

After watching a few seasons of Masterchef Australia and watching the contestants attempt to poach pears (not always successful!), I worked up the courage to give it a try. So first thing was to find a recipe that contained no alcohol. After searching blog after blog, I finally found a recipe by David Lebovitz.

He explains the different types of pears and which type works well with poaching.I had the normal pears we find in Pick n Pay, so I used that.

Spiced Poached Pears with Whipped Cream, Chocolate Sauce and a Sprinkle of nuts!

1 litre water
1 1/3 cup sugar
4 pears – peeled, halved and cored (i used 1 pear…just to try)
1 cinnamon stick
2 cloves
1/2 lemon ( i used a 1/4)
1 vanilla pod, split

He included black peppercorns, star anise, fresh ginger but i didn’t have these ingredients so i did without them.

So, in a large pot, heat the water and sugar till the sugar is dissolved. Add in the spices and lemon.
Then add in the pears. Cover with a parchment paper with a little whole cut in the middle. Press against the liquid so the pears remain submerged i think! (I used Glad wrap and towards the end it started to tear but it did the job).
The liquid should be at a low boil and simmer until cooked through. I checked the pears at 20 minutes and it was not quite ready yet. It was perfectly done at 25 minutes.
Remove the pot from stove and allow to cool.

While you wait for the pears to cool:

1. Whip up some Woolworths Double Thick cream, adding icing sugar to sweeten.
2. Heat cream and add in Dairymilk chocolate and mix till its a runny chocolate sauce.
3. Chop up pecan nuts and toast on the frying pan.

I could not contain my patience any longer. When the pears were warm, I removed them with a slotted spoon. I piped the cream, drizzled the chocolate sauce, sprinkled the nuts, tried to take a decent photo and dug in!
It was amazing! The spoon slid smoothly into the pear! Got it right first time!

You get the soft yet firmness of the pear, the sublteness of the cinnamon and lemon. The contrast of the firm pear, the lightly whipped cream, the sweetness of the chocolate and the crunch of the pecans was really good!I loved it. It is not like the usual desserts I make. I was not much of a fruity dessert person till Poached Pears!! ūüôā

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Cinderella’s Chocolate Slipper!

I’ve been going through my photos and came across this. I made this for my cousins birthday party in December 2009! Its been a while since I worked with chocolate. After visiting the Lindt Chocolate Studio with my friend Saajida, I’m tempted to go and play with chocolate.

Cinderellas Chocolate Slipper

The marshmallows looked abit plain on their own. I decided to try making the shoe on the morning of the party! Crazy idea!!

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Working with chocolate can be very messy and disastrous. But luckily for me, it worked :). The birthday girl was thrilled with the shoe and so excited to be able to eat it all on her own!

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Sweet Cravings!!

When the sweet cravings start and theres not a single piece of chocolate or a bag of chips in the home, the only quick thing to satisfy the cravings is sweet popcorn!???????????????????????????????

1/4     cup     oil

1/2     cup     popcorn seeds

1        cup     sugar

1/2     cup     water

                      colouring of your choice

Using a deep pot, add in the oil and the seeds and close the lid (on medium heat). Wait until the sound of popping stops and pour the popcorn into a bowl.

Using the same pot add in the sugar, water and colouring and bring to boil. Keep stirring to ensure the sugar dissolves and a sugar syrup is formed. To test if the syrup is ready, lift the spoon and let the syrup drop and the last drop should look like a thread.  Then throw in the popcorn and mix properly. Return to the bowl to cool.

I used the same amounts but halved the sugar and water to make two different colours. I should have added a little extra colouring to get a darker colour instead of the dull colour that i have. It still tastes good!

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