Monday, December 19, 2011

"One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don't clean it up too quickly." -Andy Rooney

If you are like me and a little short on time (and money) this Christmas, this is possibly the easiest Christmas Cake recipe I have every come across. I have made some smallish cakes as gifts for family, friends, etc. You can also add spices to the recipe to make it a bit more christmas-ish (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, etc.) and could probably add alcohol if you go in for that sort of thing.

1 kg of mixed fruit

600ml Coffee or Chocolate Big M (If you live somewhere that doesn't have Big M, it's basically flavoured milk. You can substitute, I imagine, other flavoured milks, but don't go with the diet varieties as it's the fat content which binds the recipe together)

2 cups SR flour

Soak fruit in Big M over night.
Add 2 cups of flour (and a bit extra) & stir.
Put in muffin tins, or large tin or whatever. Decorate with blanched almonds if you like that sort of thing.
Cook at 180oC until done (about 15-20 mins for cupcakes - longer for a bigger cake)
The End


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

On nom nom - quick and easy chocolate mousse


INGREDIENTS. - 300g good-quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
3 eggs
1/4 cup Caster sugar
1 tbsp good-quality cocoa powder, sifted
300ml thickened cream, plus extra whipped cream to serve
Grated chocolate, to serve

METHOD. - Place the chocolatein a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water (don't let the bowl touch the water). Stir until melted.
Remove bowl from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
Place eggs and sugar in a large bowl and beat with electric beaters for five minutes, or until mixture is pale, thick and doubled in volume. Fold in cooled chocolate and cocoa powder until combined.
In a separate bowl, whip cream until thickened (becareful not to over-beat). Use a large metal spoon to carefully fold the cream into the chocolate mixture, trying to keep the mixture as light as possible. Spoon into 6 serving glasses and chill in fridge for at least 1 hour. Remove from fridge 15 minutes before serving, then top with extra whipped cream and grated chocolate to serve.

Or serve with strawberries and whipped cream. Or however you feel like it really.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

“On the motionless branches of some trees, autumn berries hung like clusters of coral beads, as in those fabled orchards where the fruits were jewels . . .” - Charles Dickens

I borrowed this recipe from my ΒΣΦ sisters, but it is delicious. Although I left out the marshmallows because I thought they were just weird. Crazy Americans.

But there you go...

INGREDIENTS. - 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries, halved
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 package (3 ounces) raspberry gelatin
1-1/2 cups miniature marshmallows (what the ?????)
1 package (18-1/4 ounces) yellow cake mix
2 eggs
1-1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons canola oil

METHOD. - In a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish, layer the walnuts and berries; sprinkle with sugar, gelatin and marshmallows (if you feel like adding the marshmallows. I found the cake was plenty sweet enough without them).
In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs, water and oil; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Pour over top.
Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto a serving platter.
Refrigerate leftovers.
SERVES 15 servings.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Looking back, I have this to regret, that too often when I wanted a cupcake, I did not have one. - David Grayson

So I have been making some cupcakes recently. A lot of cupcakes. And all different kinds of cupcakes. 

And I'll confess my little bugbear - people who make muffins and call them cupcakes. They're not cupcakes, they're muffins!!!! Cupcakes are by their very nature cake, whereas muffins are supposed to be more bread-y, like a quick bread - even if they are sweet.

I was given for my birthday a book - 500 cupcakes, which only makes me more angry because at least a good third of the recipes are for muffins, making it more like "335 cupcakes and some muffins". That said, it's a lovely book and has some great recipes, but clearly I have some OCD issues with the title.


Anyway, here is one favourite from the above book, written by Fergal Connolly.


450g mashed bananas
150g packed light brown sugar
90g honey
4 tablespoons margarine, melted
225g self-rising flour

1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt

150g roughly chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C. Line pans with paper liners.
In a large bowl, combine the bananas, sugar, honey, and margarine. Beat with an electric mixer until well blended. Slowly add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix well.
Spoon the batter into the cups. Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove pans from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Remove the cupcakes and cool on a rack. When completely cool, frost or sprinkle with powdered sugar. (I iced mine with honey buttercream icing)
Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Manners Rap

A recently released video to promote a new book A Guide to Australian Etiquette by society doyenne, Ita Buttrose. Not only has she been voted 'Australia's most admired woman' twice and was the founding editor of Cleo and later editor of The Australian Women's Weekly, but she also has a slight lisp that is sublime.


Ita Buttrose - my new hero.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Music: The Baseballs

My new favourite band is The Baseballs. They are the most awesome rock and roll band from Germany, who do covers of Top 40 hits - in ...wait for it... - 50s rock and roll style!

Which is both awesome and unbelievably catchy. I defy anyone to listen to their album "Strike" and not get up and dance. No, seriously, you HAVE to get up and get your boogie on. My feet refuse to stay still when listening, which probably drove the guy in aeroplance next to me crazy when I was listening on the flight and jigging all over the place.

Check out their version of "Umbrella" by Rihanna - defintely makes a bad song excellent.

You should definitely check them out if you love rock'n'roll, or those crazy Germans who make crazy ideas work fabulously! Hope you enjoy them as much I as I am.