Kitchen Therapy


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Black Forest Soft-Centered Teacups

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These were so quick and any easy to make!
Melt some butter and chocolate together until smooth and glossy.
Beat some eggs with sugar until fluffy, throw in a couple of spoons of flour.
Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and cook 10-12mins.
Very little effort for an amazing outcome!

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I have been craving Black Forest Cake, it’s a favourite of mine.
So I took Dorie’s suggestion and threw in Morello cherries.
I’m also not a big chocolate fan, I do like it though when there is another flavour to break up the sweetness.
The tart Morello cherries tasted amazing in these little teacups.

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The only problem I had with this recipe is that makes 4 cups and we are a family of 5!
As soon as I made these, my husband and I had to run off to the Year 10 Information Night at my son’s school.
When we returned, the kids were kind enough to leave us one cup to share.

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I will definitely be making these again, they are too easy and satisfying not to! Everyone loved them.
I am looking forward to reading what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group thought.


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Flour’s Famous Banana Cake – Recipe Review

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School is back for 2016!
Routines are slowly taking shape and the craziness of summer holidays is beginning to settle.
Each day now, I walk my son to school and as he heads off to class with his teacher, I, along with many other parents head straight to the little coffee shop tucked in amongst a few local shops across the road. The coffee is fantastic and I always order it to go, however most of the time I end up sitting at a table catching up with a friend.
It’s a routine I enjoy.
Today, after dropping off my son, I met my friends, we bought our coffees to go and this time we did take them away with us. We decided to walk them back to my place and enjoy the banana bread I made the previous night.

When my children smell banana bread baking they feel comforted.
They love the smell that fills the house.
However… they are also very clear that after trying many version of banana bread over the years their favourite recipe is for the Banana Espresso Choc Chip Muffins from the Baked cookbook (see photo below).
(I usually leave out the espresso but don’t tell them that, it makes them feel grown up!)

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Yesterday however, I had to break it to them that I would be trying a new recipe from Joanne Chang’s Flour book.
The recipe is from her first cookbook, pictured below on the left.
I bought it a while back however after falling ill I couldn’t do much more than stare it for a long time.
There are SO many recipes I want to try however yesterday I had the bananas on hand.  Being unwell has taught me to grab opportunities that come up, no matter how small they may seem and to not over think things. This may sound simple, however my nature has always been to deliberate painfully over what to cook for so long that I end up making nothing. So with my new philosophy guiding me, I decided to make Flour’s Famous Banana Bread.

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It felt good to be making something, even if it was “just another banana bread recipe” :)
The recipe can be found all over the internet, here is one link for this recipe from the food network.

Coming together over banana bread is not something new however there is a reason a lot of us do it. It is comforting and nourishing to the soul and it tastes so damn good!
The grown ups really enjoyed this recipe, however the kids can’t go past the choc chips in their favourite banana muffins. I get it, who doesn’t want chocolate thrown into an already awesome tasting treat?!

I didn’t add the walnuts to the recipe (there are too many nut allergies in our house) and I think it still tasted really good. I liked the moist topping that developed on the cake and the inside was surprisingly light. I would definitely make this again, it was easy to make and well worth the effort.

 


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Lemon Slice – Australia Day 2016, Dee Why Beach

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Lemon Slice on Australia Day? Why not!!!
It’s straight out of the fridge and icy cold, the perfect bite for out hot Aussie weather.
This fortnight’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was a great addition to our Australia Day Celebrations.

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January 26th is Australia Day and as usual we head out to Dee Why Beach on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.
We have bacon and egg or sausage and egg sandwiches.
There are pancakes with maple syrup and butter or lemon and sugar.
And this year we had Dorie’s Lemon Squares!

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The festivities include a car and bike show, thong (flip flop) throwing competitions, rides, performers and music.
Tattoos are a must, as are hats, flags and anything else that bears the Aussie flag wrapped around your body, your car or even around your house. I usually end up with an Australia flag tattoo on my cheek at some point in the day.
It’s tradition :)
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And of course there’s always a few kangaroos hopping about…

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The celebrations start early on Australia Day so we head home around lunch time, when the heat is at it’s peak. We have a rest and put lamb (another Australia Day tradition) in the oven for hours of slow roasting then head back to the beach for a swim while it cooks.
We return home tired and famished. The smell that greets us is soothing and we can’t wait to eat!
This year we will be finishing off a great day and great meal with Lemon Squares topped with dollops of whipped cream.

You can find the recipe (with raspberries added) here.
* We have nut allergies in the house so I left out the almond meal and used normal flour.
I also left off the almond slices that were to be scattered on top of the squares.

 


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Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes Recipe – Cheesecake Factory Fabulousness

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It’s summer time here on the Northern Beaches of NSW, Australia.
We live a few minutes drive from Manly Beach and I feel blessed to live here.
It is absolutely beautiful.

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We decided to not go away these holidays as we are about to start building a new house.
However living here, a popular tourist town, has made me miss our favourite holiday getaway…
Hawaii!

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We stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in the Rainbow Tower.
We have a routine we have carved out for ourselves over a few years now.
We head over to Duke’s for breakfast and dinner at the Cheesecake Factory!
We don’t have the Cheesecake Factory in Australia and it’s usually the first stop after we’ve checked in, had a nap after our overnight 9 hour flight and wake up famished!
On our last trip I discovered the Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes and I’ll be honest, I haven’t stopped thinking about them!
I have a clear memory of taking a bite and stopping. There was so much flavour in one bite I just sat, smiled and savoured the explosion in my mouth. A year later I couldn’t remember the exact taste, but I remembered the impression they made on me and everyone else at the table who tried them.

I found the recipe here and after sourcing a can of tomatillos and a bag of masa harina flour I knew the day had come to commit to this recipe. The list of ingredients is long so it did make me hesitate and put this off for way longer than needed. However once I committed to it, I realised I had quite a few of the ingredients in the pantry and the rest were easy to source.

I also realised that the first three components could be placed into my processor and blitzed!

The Salsa Verde:
I doubled the recipe so I put in 4 tomatillos from a can (I had read that it was ok to substitute canned if I couldn’t find fresh and I could not find any tomatillos here on the Northern Beaches). A few slices Jalapenos from a can as I wasn’t sure what type of green chilies the recipe called for, 2 green onions, 4 Tablespoons coriander leaves, 2 1/2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp salt and 2 pinches ground black pepper. You can see the gorgeous and vibrant colours in the salsa verde after a few blitzes in the food processor. Now put in the refrigerator to chill.

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The Tomato Salsa:
Again I doubled the recipe.
I had read a medium tomato weighed about 120grams so I put in a 250g punnet of sweet cherry tomatoes, 1/2 a medium spanish onion, 2 Tablespoons coriander, 1/2 tsp lime juice, a few slices of jalapeno from a jar some salt and pepper. The recipe calls for a dash of salt and a dash of pepper, I found out that a dash is 1/8 teaspoon so since I’m doubling the recipe I added about 1/4 teaspoon of each. I drained a lot of the liquid after blitzing the ingredients in my food processor and then placed in the fridge to chill. The smell was absolutely amazing!

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The Southwestern Sauce:
I also doubled this recipe however for future reference I only need the amount specified in the recipe for double the amount of tamale cakes. This is 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, 1 tsp white vinegar, 1 tsp water, 3/4 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp chilli powder, 1/4 tsp paprika, 1 pinch cayenne powder, 1 pinch onion powder, a dash of salt and a dash of garlic powder. I placed all the ingredients in a bowl, gave them a quick stir and into the fridge to chill! It was that easy and now I had 3 out of 4 components for my recipe. I wish I realised how simple this recipe was  earlier!

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The Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes:
I doubled the recipe and placed 2 cups of frozen sweet corn in the processor along with 1 cup of softened butter, 5 tablespoons sugar and 2 pinches salt. I then placed this mixture in a bowl with 1 cup of masa harina flour, 4 tablespoons all purpose flour and 1 extra cup of frozen sweet corn. I mixed everything through and was ready to cook my tamale cakes!

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The mixture was cold and at first I struggled to get the cakes to stick together however I found using slightly damp hands made a huge difference. The recipe called for them to be baked however I cooked them about 3 minutes each side in a frying pan over medium heat.

I then placed sweet corn tamale cakes on a plate, topped half a side with salsa verde and the other half with the tomato salsa. I added some diced avocado over the top, a small dollop of sour cream and some chopped coriander for garnish.

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As I said earlier I remember they were good however biting into these was orgasmic! The flavour exploded into my mouth and I actually moaned with pleasure. Yep. They were that good! To be honest I don’t think I can do them justice with words. I am so glad I made these and will be making them again soon!

fluted carrot cake


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Fluted Carrot Orange Cake

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I have been indulging my sweet tooth over the Christmas break. Pavlova, caramel slice, vanilla slice, panna cotta and a variety of Italian pastries from Nutella filled Ricotta Cakes to my favourite, the Butterfly, a double profiterole filled with vanilla and chocolate pastry cream. It has been a very sweet holiday! So… when I saw this as the recipe of the week I have to admit I didn’t feel too excited. A cake with carrot, ginger and orange? It felt almost… healthy. I wanted more of the lush creaminess I was indulging in for the past few weeks. The only thing that stood in this recipe’s favour was its simplicity. That and the fact that I had missed being a part of the Tuesdays with Dorie group! So I baked…

 

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The smell, colour and texture that came together in making this cake surprised me.
The kids started to migrate towards the kitchen asking what the smell was. Always a good sign!

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The cake was light yet moist.
The flavour was full and satisfying and it was eaten in one day.
I think it was a welcome change to be honest.

It has been an intense year in our household, my daughter graduated from high school and after months and months of studying for the final exams she recently received her results and smashed her tests! She needed a high mark to gain entry into the double degree she had her heart set on and her hard work paid off. She worked so hard, I could not be happier for her or more proud.
So we celebrated her results as well as all the usual Christmas/New Year festivities with lots and lots of cake as I mentioned above.

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My daughter graduating from high school, celebrating with friends and off to her Year 12 formal above.
She liked Dorie’s Fluted Carrot Orange Cake the most and has always been excited to taste the latest Tuesdays with Dorie group recipe.


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Cauliflower Mac and Cheese – A Donna Hay Recipe Review

 

 

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We have had a week of cool rainy weather smack dab in the middle of our 2015/2016 Australian summer. I’m not complaining! It’s a nice break from the heat and humidity. It’s also given me an excuse to make some comfort food. To sit by the back door with a bowl of Cauliflower Mac and Cheese and just enjoy the crisp smell and sight of our rain soaked yard. Within days the ground will be parched, dry n hot again. So I’m enjoying this short break from the beach n sandy towels.

Our family loves this recipe so I thought I’d share it. I will also have a record of it on my site here since it is meant to be about the recipes we love and experiment with. A record that I (and hopefully) my children will be able to turn to in years to come and find favourite recipes and laugh over forgotten adventures.

The cauliflower gives the pasta dish a crunch while the garlic and rosemary crumbs add an extra punch of flavor. Great for someone like me who gets bored with the same taste in a dish.

Sometimes I substitute the cup of cream in the recipe with a 250g tub of Philadelphia Light Cream for Cooking, (I actually do this with a lot…). You can find the recipe here, on Donna Hay’s website.

Below are photos of the grey weather we have been enjoying here on the northern beaches of NSW, Australia.

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Long Reef (above and below)

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Dee Why Beach (above)

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My son and his friends jumping at Castle Rock
(I don’t know if that’s the real name or the name the kids have given this favourite hang out near Manly beach)


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Nutella Buttons

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This week is catch up week for the Tuesdays with Dorie group. Which is great for me since I have a lot to catch up on! The Nutella Buttons were an easy choice. We are a Nutella loving family! My daughter turned 18 a few weeks ago and her friends arrived with a 5kg tub of Nutella.

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My husband is the only one who doesn’t like Nutella. He’s also the only one in the family who isn’t into superheroes and comic books. We don’t understand it but we love him nevertheless :)
So when completing this week’s recipe I took Dorie’s suggestion and filled some of these bite sized mini muffins with jam.

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It’s school holidays here so these didn’t last long. They were delicious!
Looking forward to reading the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie posts.

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