Chocolate cardamom biscuits and a hiatus

I’ve been away for a little while. The Boy and I moved into a new place, which meant uprooting ourselves and our little pupper.

This meant that our already anxious little Daisy turned into a giant nervous wreck. Norman, the most regal dog I have ever met, is remaining at my parent’s place. He’s old and forgetful, so it wasn’t fair to take him with us.

Norman

And this meant that Miss Daisy had to spend long periods of time by herself.

Just. Look. At. This. Face.

Healthy veggie bites and back to school lunch ideas

The Reject Shop asked me to come up with some back to school ideas for them recently. It really got me thinking.

 

About how my eating habits have changed since I was at school. And to be honest, they’ve pretty much stayed the same. I still LOVE food, I don’t think I’ve ever been a fussy eater.

 

It helped that my mum always made the best lunches. I was the girl at school with lunches that other people envied – leftover schnitzel wraps, salad sandwiches piled high with delicious fresh vegetables, spag bol… she set such a high precedent that I worry that I’ll disappoint my future children! My own mother set the lunch bar so high that it makes me evaluate my work lunch choices much more harshly than most.

Coconut ice slice and New Year resolutions

Who made a resolution to get fit for 2016? I commend you, if you did. I know that most people make healthy resolutions, usually, but I plan on challenging myself with my baking instead. I’m going to take more classes – there is no better way to get inspired than to learn from experts. I’m taking a cookie painting class in two weeks and will report back. Hopefully you’ll be seeing tiny edible masterpieces soon!

Coconut ice slice-9

And I’m going to work on my photography as well. If you’ve got any recommendations for cooking and/or food photography classes, send them my way, I’m all ears.

I’m also going to make Daisy a super obedient dog. The Boy and I have been struggling with her behaviour (she’s an angel for us, but a massive jerk  to strangers!) so we’re going to take her to a doggy specialist!

I’m also verbalising more of my plans. Or writing them here, at least. Because that way I’m less likely to forget about them/change my mind when they get too hard. I read recently that humans find it harder to go back on their plans once they’ve told them to other people. So let’s try and use that to my advantage.

AND I’m going to give my props the loving they deserve – I’ve got a rapidly growing collection and I neglect the oldies sometimes. Expect these floral tea cups to be making regular appearances, they were a Christmas present from my gorgeous mother and I’m smitten.

Coconut ice slice-6

The baking side of my resolutions I’ve already started. This winner of a recipe, which I appropriated from a gorgeous cook book I was given for Christmas, is the perfect start to my new year.

Now I’ve only got to get started on all of those other things I just committed to…

 

Coconut ice slice

Serves 12

Base

  • 170g butter
  • 1 1/3 cups white sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 1/3 cups desiccated coconut
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarb

Filling

  • 115g butter
  • 5 cups icing sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 3/4 cups desiccated coconut
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Chocolate shavings to decorate
Preheat your oven to 180°C.
Beat together your butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Mix in your cornflour, followed by the desiccated coconut. Add in your egg and beat until combined, followed by your plain flour and bicarb. Only mix in the flour until just combined so you keep the mixture nice and soft.
Grease and line a 25cm round tin (I used a Baker’s Secret high wall crispy tart pan because I love the shape – it’s non-stick, so I only lined the bottom because it has holes for aeration) and press the base evenly around the pan. If you can’t get a smooth enough finish, use your fingers or a straight-sided tumbler to even things out.
Pop the mixture into your oven for 25-30 minutes. When you pull the base out of the oven it will fall instantly. If it doesn’t sink evenly, stab remaining air pockets with a fork. Set to one side to cool.
While the base is cooling, make a start on your filling by mixing the butter with one cup of icing sugar until combined. Add the remaining icing sugar, one cup at a time, followed by the milk, coconut and vanilla.
Scoop your filling into the cooled base and spread it gently. It should do most of the spreading out by itself. Top with chocolate shavings, or whatever chocolate decorations you like. Pop into the fridge for at least two hours to set properly.
Coconut ice slice-8
Coconut ice slice-11

Orange & poppy seed cookies and November

Movember makes me happy. Unsurprisingly, it’s not the ridiculous patches of hair that spring up (with varying degrees of success) on the men in my life that I love.

Moustache cupcakes (7 of 16)

I love that it is part of the solution to de-stigmatising men’s health problems. That sounds a little pompous, but hear me out.
The men in my family are stoic, old-fashioned creatures who hate the idea of going to the doctor until there’s a real problem (I.e. When the problem is usually worse).
Preventative doesn’t exist in their vocabulary.

Chocolate beetroot cupcakes and adventure

Beetroot cupcakes (10 of 13)

Before you think “ew, beetroot in cupcakes”, please read this! I’m going to try and convince you that these adorable little suckers deserve a place in your heart AND your baked goods.

Beetroot cupcakes (1 of 13)

I love a good adventure. Every now and then, something in my brain just clicks and I feel the need for a change. The last time it happened, I ended up in Europe on a whim (which was a completely magical result that I still need to post blogs about). My little brain snaps usually happen on a smaller scale, though. They’re not usually as costly as last-minute flights!

Terry’s Chocolate Orange cake and English chocolate

I have only had Terry’s Chocolate Oranges in my life for a few years. I didn’t know they existed until I was 19.

NINETEEN!

All of those years, wasted!

It was The Boy who introduced me to them. I had moved to England, met him, and was working in a fairly average job. He opened my eyes to the delights of English chocolate!


Terry’s chocolate oranges happen to be one of his favourite chocolates, so for his birthday over the weekend I knew that chocolate oranges would fit into the equation somewhere.

Lemon lime layer cake and morning tea

wholeA friend and her mum held a morning tea yesterday. Not just any morning tea, it was Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, it’s a cute idea initiated by the Cancer Council to help raise money to beat Cancer.

You make some cakes/pastries/other delicious things, you invite your friends to do the same thing and you get together and eat, laugh and chat, then leave a little money behind to go towards a great cause. It’s a great excuse to go all out on decorations and use your best tea cups. The fabulous event I attended raised almost $2,000 for the cause, and it was ridiculously cute; everybody wins! The theme was yellow, hence the citrusy approach, and I’m so glad I made it; I forget how much I love super tart curd!

Earl grey choc chip mini bundt and comfort

aboveThis week is a bit of a crazy one for me. I’ve been baking to calm my nerves and keep my hands busy. And I’ve loved it. Last week I was a little lax with my recipe posting, but all will come good after this week. The uncertainty that has me baking like a crazy person will lift, and things will become clearer.

As always, I find myself turning to tea and baked goods for comfort – in this case, the tea and baked item are one! Earl grey tea and bundt; could one little morsel be any more perfect? It’s like all of my favourite things rolled into one perfect, adorable little bund(t)le.

Choc pear brownie cake and accomplishments

tea and brownieI’ve been testing this recipe for a little while. I kept making it and liking it, but not loving it. I like to love all the recipes that I produce. In between making the various mediocre chocolate and pear brownies I managed to do some other cool stuff. For example, I made a milo mudcake, which I’ll post soon. I broke several peoples’ diets with a gorgeous white chocolate peanut butter cheesecake (for real, get the recipe here) and I went to Groovin the Moo and danced away a day that I would usually have spent baking.

Fairy bread biscuits and brightness

This week has been a bit of a crazy one! Sydney (just in case you missed it) has been absolutely hammered with rain. Train lines flooded, businesses closed, broken umbrellas were strewn about the city; nothing remained dry.

single

It was actually kind of ridiculous. On the second day of ridiculous rain, I decided to bake away the grey. These fairy bread biscuits were the perfect counterbalance to the bleakness. This is such a simple recipe, but it gives such consistent, delicious results.