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Ham and pineapple pizza, the children’s favourite!

I had my lovely younger sister and her three children to stay for the weekend, it was a wonderful, busy and fun filled Sunday spent in Sydney city. The children reside in the country so taking public transport is somewhat of a novelty when they come to stay…. so we managed to travel by various means to and from my home on Sunday; train, tram and ferry all in the one day!

We visited the Powerhouse Museum and the boys loved the interactive Wallace and Gromit exhibition, I think that the planes and spaceships came a very close second! We then meandered through Chinatown to Cockle Bay for a late lunch by the harbour and after a few more adventures arrived home that evening… with three very hungry and tired children.

The children helped to make pizza for dinner [afterall it would be remiss of their Aunty to not serve their favourite foods!] It is always very hands-on preparation with multiple little hands vying for the toppings to assist and something that even the 2y.o enjoys creating. It’s such a quick and easy meal to make and every last piece is savoured by all…. win-win!

What is your fail safe, quick and easy crowd pleaser for children after a long day out & about?

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Passionfruit melting moments

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Fruit celebration ‘cake’

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creamy cauliflower soup with truffle oil


Creamy cauliflower soup, with truffle oil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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B’stilla

B’stilla, pronounced pas-tee-ya, is a delicious pie traditionally made with young pigeon for special occasions…. but as these are rather hard to come by a chicken will suffice

This is a simplified version, and the end result is a fragrant chicken pie that will soon become a family favourite.

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1.6kg free-range chicken, quartered

2 Spanish onions, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads

1/4 cup each chopped flat-leaf parsley and coriander

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra, to brush

50g butter

2 tablespoons caster sugar

175g blanched whole almonds, roasted, chopped

6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled, chopped

13 sheets filo pastry

Icing sugar and ground cinnamon, to dust

Place chicken, onions, ginger, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, saffron, herbs, oil and butter in a large saucepan.

Add 750ml (3 cups) water or just enough to cover chicken.

Bring to a simmer over low/medium heat, then cover and cook for 1 hour or until chicken is tender.

Remove chicken from pan and, when cool enough to handle, shred the meat, discarding the skin and bones.

Simmer cooking mixture, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 500ml (2 cups). Allow mixture to cool.

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Combine sugar, nuts and remaining cinnamon in a bowl. In another bowl, combine chicken, eggs and cooking mixture.

Oil a 23cm, 5cm-deep cake or pie tin.

Lightly brush a sheet of filo with oil, top with a second sheet and place in the tin to just cover the sides and base, extending beyond the tin on one side.

Repeat 5 times, arranging each double layer at a slight angle to the previous layer, so the pastry case looks like the spokes of a wheel.

Scatter half the nut mixture over the base, top with chicken mixture, then remaining nut mixture.

Fold in overhanging pastry, tucking excess down inside of pan. Brush remaining filo sheet with oil, fold in half and place on top, tucking in excess.

Brush the top with oil and bake for 35 minutes or until golden. If it browns too quickly, cover the pie with baking paper/foil.

Serve the b’stilla warm, dusted with icing sugar and cinnamon.

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Earth hour, green layered cake with buttercream blossoms

We recently had a morning -tea at work  to celebrate Earth Hour… the team that I work with love to bake so it was fun to make something sweet and colorful for this event.

The layered green cake was devoured very quickly and it seemed to travel well on public transport which was a relief!

EARTH HOUR, UNITING PEOPLE TO PROTECT THE PLANET

On Saturday 23 March 2013 at 8.30pm, the global community of millions switch off their lights to show of concern for the environment for the 7th consecutive year.

Earth Hour has now become much more than a symbolic action. It’s evolved into a continuous movement driving real actions, big and small, that are changing the world we live in.

Check out the main Earth Hour website
Find the Earth Hour website for your country

Green cake, for earth hour

various shades of green, trio of cakes awaiting the hot oven.

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the pretty pearl centered blooms trailing across the buttercream frosted cake were  easy to do, yet gave a wow factor to the simple cake

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it tasted just as good as it looked….. all demolished in only 10mins, by the hungry work colleagues!




Easter hot-cross buns

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Easter is such a wonderful time to spend with family… the weather is  generally cooler and having 4 days away from work and being with my gorgeous nephews and niece is a rare treat, and a far cry from the usual chaos of my ‘normal’ week!

I came across this lovely photo the other day, of my nephew enjoying the delicious fruit encrusted hot cross buns that we made together on Good Friday last year.

The process of kneading and mixing was very therapeutic and I think that besides the waiting for the dough to rise [patience is a virtue, especially in the very young!] we both thoroughly enjoyed creating these fragrant rolls for the family as much as they did devouring them!

I hope that you can find the time to make these over the long weekend and that your family and friends are appreciative of your handiwork……

Hot cross buns

1 tbs dried yeast

1 tsp caster sugar

185ml (3/4 cup) warm milk

125ml (1/2 cup) cold milk

50g butter, melted

1 egg, lightly whisked

525g (3 1/2 cups) plain flour

200g mixed dried fruit

70g (1/3 cup) caster sugar

2 tsp mixed spice

A pinch of salt

75g (1/2 cup) plain flour

160ml (2/3 cup) water

2 tbs caster sugar

Make the dough:

Whisk yeast, sugar and the 3/4 cup of warm milk in a jug. Set aside for 10 minutes or until frothy.

Whisk in the 1/2 cup of cold milk, butter and egg. Combine flour, dried fruit, sugar, mixed spice and salt in a bowl.

Make a well in the centre. Add the yeast mixture. Use a wooden spoon to stir until combined then use your hands to bring the dough together in the bowl.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

Place in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Set aside to prove for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.

Shape the buns:

Punch down the centre of the dough with your fist.

Knead on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes.

Shape into 12 even portions.

Brush a 16 x 26cm (base measurement) slab pan with melted butter to grease.

Place portions side by side on the prepared pan. [don't place them all together like I did in the below pic, as there is no room to expand and you'll have far smaller buns]

Cover with a clean tea towel. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place to prove for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Easter

Bake and decorate:

Preheat oven to 200°C. Combine flour and water to make a paste.

Place in a sealable plastic bag. Cut 1 corner from the bag to make a 2mm hole.

Pipe crosses onto the buns. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 160°C.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

Make the glaze:

Meanwhile, sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves.

Simmer until the glaze thickens. Transfer buns to a wire rack. Brush tops with glaze. Set aside to cool slightly.

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