Catch ups and simple orange biscuits

aboveI’ve been a bad blogger. I haven’t updated the blog in over a week! I have an excuse, I promise. I’ve been trying to organise a super-cute giveaway for the blog (keep your eyes peeled in the next few blog posts), I’ve been working like a crazy lady, and I was in Melbourne over the weekend. I do have a biscuit recipe to share with you though – that’s go to count for something, right?

So here is what I’ve neglected to tell you:

Strawberry lemon cordial and Spring!

flowersI know I’m a little late jumping on the bandwagon, but it’s Spring and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

My favourite flower in the entire world happens to be the freesia, which only rears its gorgeous little head for the shortest period of time. Spring is that time. If you’ve not seen a freesia before, I’ll give you a little crash course.

They’re small, predominantly white flowers that grow best in the wild. They like company; four or more flowers will grow, side-by-side, on the same stem. They’re trumpet shaped and tend to have shades of purple and yellow dabbed around the outer edges.

Lemon poppy seed cake and processes

smoothI made this cake without the aid of Penelope, my mixer. I use her to do everything because it’s just so effective! Today, however, she stayed at my house while I visited Norman and mum. Faced with the prospect of no mixer and an urge to make a delicious cake, I decided to simply hand mix the ingredients.

I thought that I would begrudge it, but I really enjoyed it. I found that I paid so much more attention to what was going into the batter, and noticed the effect that certain ingredients had when they were added.

Lemon lavender bundt and elegance

shapeI have a thing about bundts. I’m not even trying to be funny. I think bundts are gorgeous. I don’t even mind that they’re un-iced, which is unusual, because I am a big fan of buttercream! There is something about the shape of them that just screams elegance to me – the lines are so beautiful, so precise. To complement the beautiful form of bundts, I went with classic, elegant flavours, lemon and lavender.

The sharpness of the citrus works beautifully with the softness of the lavender. The Boy was not a big fan of the lavender, he much preferred the batter before the dried lav was added . If your intended audience is as critical as The Boy is, simply omit the lavender, this recipe works beautifully as a lemon bundt.

Blueberry cranberry muffins and colds

tearIt’s probably not hard to see that I love cooking. One of the things that I love about cooking is the sharing aspect. I love nothing more than foisting food upon my loved ones. So when somebody that I love is unwell, I turn to food for the solution.

My brother’s girlfriend currently has a terrible cold, so I made her an immunity-boosting soup and these muffins.

They’re packed full  of blueberries and cranberries, which have antioxidants, vitamin C by the bucket load.

Lemon zest is great for eradicating toxins in the body. I realise that the sugar is probably counteracting the eradication slightly, but when you’re sick you need comfort food. We can’t be good all the time, right?

You’re doing your body a favour by eating one of these little muffins. Go on, make a batch.

Blueberry cranberry muffins

Makes 24

  • 1 cup frozen blueberriesbite
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 2 ½ tsp bicarb

Topping:

  • 1 tbsp lemon zest, grated
  • 1/3 cup sugar

berriesPut ½ a cup of the blueberries and ¼ cup of the cranberries into a small saucepan with the water and one tablespoon of the sugar. Heat the mixture over a low-medium heat, stirring constantly and squishing the berries as you go. Keep on the heat for 5-8 minutes, until the water has mostly evaporated and you’re left with a small amount of syrup. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool. If you want a berry pulp, grab a fork and mash the berries further – I kept lots of whole large chunks in mine, but you can make them whatever consistency you like.

foldCream together your butter and sugar, then add in the vanilla and eggs. Mix well. Mix in the bicarb, then gently fold in the remaining blueberries and cranberries so that their colour doesn’t bleed into the mixture.

Mix together your sugar and lemon zest for the topping. Set this to one side.

sugarSpoon into cupcake cases, then top with 1 tsp of your blueberry cranberry mixture, then sprinkle a generous teaspoon of the lemon sugar topping over the mixture. When the sugar topping bakes, it should caramelise slightly to create a satisfyingly crunchy coating for the top of the muffin.

Bake at 180° for 25-28 minutes.

aboveIf you’re after a healthy beverage to go with these super muffins, try a lemon tea. Enjoy!

preview

Anzac day and passionfruit mint cocktails

IngredientsI’ve already posted an Anzac biscuit recipe. It’s my dad’s recipe and they are delicious. He’s in the kitchen making them as I type. The smell of melted butter combined with the oats and brown sugar is such a simple delight. The mixture is to die for, raw or baked.

Instead of posting another Anzac-based recipe, however, I’m sharing a cocktail today. Sharing a drink with friends is so deeply ingrained in the Australian culture, that I’m pretty sure my entire long weekend consists of pub catch ups.

This cocktail is a far cry from the usual macho feel of Anzac day, where beer and two up are king, but it’s a gorgeous way to brighten up your rainy Anzac day. I also got most of my ingredients from my farm visit last weekend, so this cocktail is a little celebration of Australia in a glass.

With fresh, zesty flavours, it’s also pretty delicious. Enjoy your Anzac day!

Passionfruit mint fizz:

Makes 4 cocktailsscene

  • 8 passionfruit
  • 5cm chunk of ginger
  • 2 small lemons, juice and zest
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • White rum
  • 2 cups soda water or lemonade

scrapsSlice the skin off your ginger, then score it lightly to ensure it releases lots of flavour. Pop the ginger in a heavy based, medium-sized saucepan with the passionfruit pulp and seeds, juice and zest of the lemons, sugar, and water.

Put the mixture of a medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Set to one side to cool. You should end up with about 2 cups of syrup, which will make four cocktails.

mintWhen the syrup is cooled, pour about ¼ cup into a tumbler, add 30ml (or more) or rum and top up with soda water or lemonade. You can always omit the alcohol and serve it as a home made cordial if you please.

Enjoy!

Lemon pistachio cake and stories

tea cake flowersI had such a lovely day. I explored a suburb near my home called Newtown – I went with friends and we tried a new café, explored a graveyard and went antique shopping. These are all things that everybody should do more often!

I loved that Brewtown Newtown served their tea on wooden boards shaped specifically to hold the teacup, teapot, creamer and spoon. The space was off King Street (the main road in Newtown), so things were a little bit more relaxed, and we were able to stay at our table long after we’d finished our meals and swap gossip.

Citrus cupcakes and picnics

biteFriends and I had a post Australia-day picnic and I wanted something nice and zesty to perk people after their Australia day celebrations. The day was hot and windy, and our location at Sydney Park was perfect. I instagrammed it, obviously

What I love about these cupcakes is that they’re so simple, but awesome – they’re beautifully moist and citrus-laden. I can’t think of more ways to explain how glorious these cupcakes are, I just love them… you should bake them!

groupThe little cakes are moist and sweet, while the icing is mouth-puckeringly tart – the combination of the two is just gorgeous. The icing stops the cakes from being overly saccharine, while the cake softens the edges of the citrus tang; these two are a match made in citrus heaven.

Citrus cupcakes:

Makes 20bite

  • 125g butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 250g (2 ¼ cups) almond meal
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 orange, zest and juice

Icing:

  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 small lemon, zest and juice

zestPreheat your oven to 180°C

Cream butter and sugar together until pale and smooth. Add the eggs and almond meal and mix until incorporated. Sift the flour into the bowl and mix that too.

fillPop the zest and juice of the orange into the mixture and give it one final mix before scooping generous spoonfuls of batter into cardboard cupcake cases. Aim to fill them about ¾ of the way up, as this mixture doesn’t rise very much.

lemonBake for 20-23 minutes until the edges start to turn golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean*. Transfer cakes onto a cooling rack.

While the cakes cool, zest and juice the lemon. Combine the lemon juice, icing sugar and about half of the zest to make the icing. Reserve the other half of the zest to decorate the cupcakes with.

iceTo ice, drop a tablespoon of mixture onto the crest of each of your cupcakes and allow It to run down the sides naturally. The icing is pretty thin, so should sort itself out – if this approach is too messy for your liking, simply use the back of the spoon to spread the icing out. Top some of the iced cupcakes with  your remaining lemon zest.

holder*This batter can also be made into a cake – simply pop the mixture into a greased cake tin and cook for 40-50 minutes.

 

Mini lemon thyme cakes and discoveries

thyme in handLast post I mentioned re-discovering a fabulous carrot and poppyseed cake. I realised that I don’t proclaim my discovery of things often enough. It would be remiss of me to write any further this week without mentioning my two new loves – lemon thyme and cake stands.

Of course, I’ve always known that both existed, but this week I have seen them in a new light. So I guess you could call these sort-of-discoveries It was an abundance of lemon thyme in the garden that drew me to seek out new recipes to harness it. The smell of lemon thyme is absolutely enchanting. It’s like lemon’s cooler older brother – lemon thyme  is a little more mature and mellowed out where lemon is really loud and abrasive, too busy trying to prove himself.

Arancini bites and procrastibaking

The job applying is about to start. I’ve updated my Linkedin, my CV and I’ve had my hair done. I am interview ready…I just need to apply for jobs now! It is with great trepidation that I throw myself (yet again) into the world of job seeking. I would happily stay unemployed in order to bake all day and blog all night, but one needs to have some form of income! I want a job, I am excited about the prospect of a new job…I just don’t like this initial part where I have to put myself out there to be rejected or worse, ignored.

Enter: procrastibaking!