Sunday, June 3, 2012

Amalgam cake :P

So I was looking at this cool recipe for cake at 10 pm thinking I would give it a try...then I saw it takes like an hour to bake!
I hence decided to combine the part I liked from it with one of the related recipes below which only took half the time :)
The result:

The cake I wanted to make was:

But the cake I did make was:

Basically I made the sponge as per recipe described (with the exception of reducing the sugar in the sponge by two thirds), then  made the Streusel from the other recipes.

I put half the batter from the sponge down in the tin, then sprinkled over the Streusel, before layering the other half of the sponge on top.

Unfortunately I did not have a tin the size suggested so I had to use next best thing which was too large.

The result:

Most likely this cake would have risen more if not for the streusel addition. It was nevertheless a very tasty cake!
I'm assuming it would have been a lot more spongey too if i had a smaller tin and also not been divided as it were. But it is still one of the most spongey cakes Ive made to date :D

At any rate, Im happy with my amalgam cake :)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Red Velvet Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe appropriated from:

This is a recipe my daughter LOVES!

A smooth Chocolately cake with the most delicious frosting!!!

Everyone will be clamouring to grab some.

Cacao powder will react with the vinegar and buttermilk to give nice red-brown colour to the cakes, but adding a little extra food colour makes cakes pop!

My daughter loves these. Hard to tell if she loves the cake or the frosting more :) The first time I made these I intended to take them along to a barbecue we were to attend. After getting ready, I came downstairs to discover my husband on the phone and my daughter at the bench top with the entire tray of cupcakes in front of her MISSING a bite sized chunk in most of them!

2 1/2 cups "00" flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder (normal unsweetened cocoa powder will aslo do as long as it has not been dutch processed (light in colour))
Red food colouring (1/4-1/2 bottle may be used according to preference, (optional, but fun for kids and adults alike)
1 tablespoon vanilla paste/liquid
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 175C. Line your cupcake moulds paper cups.

2. Mix together flour, salt and baking powder, into a bowl and set aside.

3. In a another small bowl, mix food colouring and cacao powder and vanilla paste to form a smooth paste. As cacao powder is rather coarse you may need to add more colouring and vanilla to smooth out any lumps.

4. In yet another large bowl, using an electric mixer to beat butter and sugar together for three to four minutes, until light and fluffy.

5. Mix in eggs, one at a time, then incorporate vanilla-cacao-colouring mixture, ensure you scrape down the bowl with a spatula as you go.

6. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, mix well, then add in half of the buttermilk. Mix in another third of flour mixture, then the second half of buttermilk. Lastly add the remaining third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined.

7. In a small bowl not too shalllow, mix vinegar and baking soda. Add vinegar mixture to the cake mix and stir well to combine. Fill cupcake paper cups with cake batter until they are a little under 3/4 full. Place muffin tins in your preheated oven. Bake for approximately 20, rotating pans halfway through. The cupcakes are done when you are able to pat the tops and the cake springs back up. If it sinks down they are not yet complete. Or you can insert a toothpick into the center of a cupcake in the center of the tin and if it comes out clean they are done!

8. Cool the cupcakes in their tins on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
80g softened butter
225g Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
2 cups icing sugar mixture
1 teaspoon vanilla paste/liquid

1. Mix together butter, icing mixture and vanilla with an electric mixer until they are well combined.
2. Add cream cheese and beat till the frosting combines all ingredients.

(for extra decadence add a handful of melted white chocolate buttons).

3. Top your cupcakes with this frosting for a treat no one will be able to resist.

Make sure all of your ingredients are room temperature. In a mixing bowl, mix butter on medium speed until light and creamy. Add cream cheese and mix until fluffy. Slowly add the sugar, one cup at a time. Continue to mix. Finally, add the vanilla extract to the mixture and mix until it has a creamy consistency.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Pizza Scrolls

I got this recipe from the "chef in you website" Link:

But I've modified it to suit our families tastes.
Its REALLY easy, fast and TASTY.

We've made it their way with the addition of shredded cabanossi/salami slices/chicken/turkey slices/pepperoni.

But our favourite is starting Puff pastry (we use Borg's Puff Pastry) with a layer of hot salsa, followed by, pizza cheese, thinly sliced tinned pineapple, some form of meat as above, and herbs and spices (for us its usually salt, pepper, chilli flakes and oregano), roll up leaving a 2 cm gap with no topping on last end. 

Then spray with olive oil and sprinkle sesame seeds on top, slice and put on oven tray and bake at 200°C till golden brown and voila!!

A quick and delicious snack the whole family will LOVE :)

Or try another favourite of mine is a starting layer of cranberry sauce,  camembert, and turkey slices.

Or you can make it according to the original recipe, which is just as yummy.
The possibilities are endless with this recipe, because the only limitations is your imagination. Try your own favourite toppings :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Hi All,
Could you do me a favour?
If you are reading my blog, please leave me a note...
It just makes me feel like I'm not sending my thoughts out into the Ether :D
Also would just love to hear from someone taking the time out to read this (which I completely appreciate!) :D

Thanks for supporting me :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My version of Fiji-Style Beef Soup

Unfortunately I've been busy recently so its taken me close to a month to write this post.

Ok, so, I am really bad with quantities as I tend to use things intuitively (which 9 times out of 10 means i end up making too much :S) Please adjust quantities to match the amount of meat you use.

Ground ginger powder
Ground garlic powder
Beef Stock
Bok Choy (or other greens)
Onion cut into eigths
1 large chilli

Place some flour, ground garlic, ground ginger, salt and ground pepper in a plastic bag and add meat then shake to coat.
Once fully coated fry off meat in a little oil till it is well browned.
Add crushed ginger, garlic and chilli and fry off for a few more minutes.
Turn heat to low and cover to release juices from the meat.
Sweat out meat till the released juices start to evaporate.
Increase heat to medium, add carrot and potatoes and brown off the veggies.
Add beef stock, salt and coarsely crushed pepper corns, cover and boil till meat and veggies are cooked through. (The more time you give your meat the tastier it will be, add water if liquid begins to deplete).
Add bok choy, chilli and onion and cook till they start to go soft.

And you are done :)

In Fiji this dish is usually served with either boiled Dalo (Taro), boiled Kasera (Cassava) or plain rice.
I decided to make some home made bread rolls on this occasion though :)

I used the recipe from:

This recipe is REALLY quick and easy and you really can't go wrong.
The only variation is that I use about 3-4 (heap) tablespoons of milk powder in with the flour it makes the dough stickier and harder to handle but the end result is a lot tastier :)

Hope you enjoy :D

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Brown Rice Paella

I love Paella, but finding a hundred percent halal version is pretty hard.
So I make my version, which I'm sure is by no means like the real thing, I just read about a million different versions of the recipe and adapted it to my tastes as such it satisfies my cravings so I'm happy :)
It took me four days to find the time to write this post so I hope you enjoy it :D

I use brown rice (a) because I have it at home and (b) because real Paella rice is hard to find. I use the Riviana brand long grain rice because it doesn't turn to mush when fully cooked the way that medium grain can. Be warned though, as this is a brown rice version it takes a long time to cook, so give yourself at least a two hour lee way if you are going to attempt this recipe

Also I use a wide French Oven for this recipe, both because I don't have a Paella pan and because it helps cook the brown rice faster whilst also sealing in the flavours.

The last time I made this, I invited my brother and his wife, but there was enough left over the next days lunch, so expect to have enough for at least 4-6 people comfortably. Also I like my meals with heat so i use a lot of chillies so feel free to add less if you are not as adventurous

A nice halal liquid stock is the Massel brand one. I use the salt reduced version as that way I get more control over final flavour.
Looking for halal chorizo? Try the butcher in Chullora "Chullora Meats", directly opposite the Woolworths in Chullora marketplace. All their meat is hand slaughtered so you have peace of mind there too.

I use a non-alcoholic grape juice for recipes that call for wine. Here is the brand I used. "Fronti Sparkling Grape Drink".

1 large brown onion or 3 small ones chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable/canola oil
1 inch ginger
5 cloves of garlic
2-3 small red chillies
4 cups brown rice ([I use a rice measuring cup] I also will soak the rice in boiled water for at least an hour if I have the time but it is not necessary, [but remember to drain the rice before using it if you do soak it]).
5-6 saffron strands
1 litre chicken stock
2 small to medium tomatoes chopped
3 big chicken thighs cut into wedges at least about 1-2 cm's wide and 4-5 cm's long
4 chorizo sausages sliced
Large handful of pitted olives
300-500g frozen prawns (add to taste)
2 long chillies
2 large handfuls of green beans sliced on the angle
Handful of fire roasted capsicum sliced

Heat the French Oven and add the oil once it is hot, coat the surface evenly (add a little extra oil if necessary).
Sauté the onions till they are well browned (stir often to avoid them sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Blend or crush the ginger, garlic and small chillies as you are waiting for the onions to brown.
Add the processed mix to the onions and brown for a few minutes longer then add rice.
Once rice is starting to brown, add saffron strands and cover in enough stock to cover the rice. Bring to the boil then cover the french oven with its lid and reduce to a simmering heat.

Leave covered for at least 10-15 minutes till stock reduces. Remember to keep stirring to avoid rice sticking to the pan. Alternate between stock and water, continuing to allow liquid to reduce till rice is half cooked (at which point reduce out stock completely) make space at the centre of the pan and add tomatoes.
Cook till tomatoes start to break down, add chicken to the tomatoes, cook till well browned, then add chorizo. Once meat has a nice colouring to it mix with the balance of rice once and add enough grape juice to cover the rice and sauté till liquid evaporates. Add olives and incorporate with the other ingredients.

Add remaining stock and replace lid till rice is cooked (not mushy).
Once rice is cooked (will take at least an hour if not a further 20 minutes to half an hour [total cooking time]) on a medium simmering heat with brown rice. At this point add the prawns, green bean, long chillies and capsicum. Once the prawns and nicely cooked through, cook out most (not all) of the moisture in the dish on a high heat.

Your Paella is now ready to eat! Remove from heat and enjoy :D

Saturday, February 4, 2012

If I had a million dollars...

Been thinking a lot about how much I miss my darkroom days recently.

There is something so satisfying about working in a darkroom to achieve all sorts of breathtaking effects that are not only labour and time intensive but also costly. All these effects that are so easily replicated in a tool like Photoshop.

Don't get me wrong I love Photoshop, but there is something so much more authentic and tangible about the darkroom. I am more empowered there; a sense of purpose. Even when you are unsure of what will emerge as a result of your experimentations there, the excitement as you wait for your image to develop on the seemingly magical paper is palpable!

There are a million possible affects you can achieve there. Some silver toner to give your image depth and a haunting quality that brings out the metallic colours in your prints. Selenium diluted will give you red-brown hues to your prints. Undiluted will become purple. Layering fabrics over photographic paper as you place it under the enlarger can imprint another texture onto your print. Using a paint brush to paint your developer on only parts of your paper will give you a print that only semi developed.
The possibilities are simply endless.

Every man and his dog can use Photoshop...but to master the darkroom....ahh...that’s something else all together! And I am by no means any expert in the darkroom. A novice at best. But if I could afford it, I would set up my very own dark room, get me the darkroom cookbook ( and learn more every opportunity I got :) I think the darkroom is the only thing I every truly got passionate about in my life and I do miss it terribly.

So yes, if I had a million dollars, I'm sure one of the first things I would do is set up my own darkroom. (Darkroom tools and equipment has ALWAYS been expensive but since the digital photography revolution the costs have risen almost threefold.)
The second would probably be to buy the home of my dreams that would of course have its own swimming pool :D

What would you do?