Peanut butter brownies and procrastinating

flowersI’ve had a crazy few weeks. Work has been busy, I’ve been baking with renewed gusto (and trying to get the recipes posted, rather than just consume the finished product) AND trying to have a social life.

It’s like I can only have two out of three – I can either work and socialise, and leave my beloved blog to gather dust, or I can socialise and blog, and get fired from a job that I love. Neither of these options are ideal!

I need to plan my life.

The best hot chocolate in the world

aboveWant the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day? Chocolate.

That is all you need. (Well, that’s all I need!)

It’s no secret that I love chocolate. When it comes to food, the more chocolate something has in it, the better. That is why I skip cocoa and go straight for a block when I make hot chocolate. Your loved one/s will love you for this, trust me.

Valentine’s pretzels and home-made gifts

I am the anti-Valentine. I’ve written about this before.  I question the need for lavish gifts, I’m awkward and clumsy when dining at nice restaurants, I don’t really like champagne (unless it’s champagne icing!) and, given the choice, red roses are the last flowers I would choose for myself.

pair

I’d also choose kitchen/dachshund or tea-related items over a stuffed teddy.

Mango coconut pops and Summer tastes

singleThis recipe used up the last of the mangoes that I bought on my way down the NSW east coast. It was sad to see the last of the mangoes go, but these ice blocks celebrated the mangoey goodness thoroughly; the handful of ingredients and killer combination of fruits makes for a simple, delectable summer dessert.

Seriously, eating one of these makes you feel like you’re on some divine tropical island, lazing by the beach and being fed deliciously exotic fruits. Mango and coconut transport me to paradise. 

Mini mango cupcakes and Summer flavours

Mango is Summer to me. It is impossible to imagine one without the other. When I was at school I always knew that the holidays were close when mango prices had fallen enough for us to buy a box of them. To this day, the thrill of buying a box full of mangoes brings me a ridiculous amount of joy.

image2Which is why long road trips up (or down) the NSW coast also bring me great joy – there are countless roadside fruit vendors! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen my mango haul.

We bought them about four hours into our trip, and the sweet, syrupy smell filled our warm car, becoming increasingly enticing over the remaining two hours.

Ginger spice cake and excitement

above sliceThe closer it gets to Christmas, the more excited I get. The more excited I get, the more I crave clichéd Christmas foods – give me pudding and rich spiced cakes, mince pies and roasts. It’s funny that Australians indulge in Christmas foods inspired by their northern hemisphere counterparts. Even though Christmas day can be stinking hot, we still want to have delicious cooking smells filling the house.

Christmas day is supposed to be humid and rainy this year, but that’s not going to stop me.

Choc hazelnut biscotti and Christmas food

aboveThe first time I ever tried biscotti was when it was brought home as a gift. One of the great things about having teachers for parents is that holidays always mean gifts. My dad would come home laden with Ferrer Rochers and Favourites gift packs, while my mum was gifted tea cups – my brothers and I took great delight in teasing them, trying to gauge who was the better teacher based on the volume of presents that they received.

Choc-mint dipped Christmas biscuits and small acts of kindness

aboveThis year I was invited to sign up for the Foodie Secret Santa. It’s run by Claire of Claire K Creations (she has a round-up here) and the timing could not have been better. If you’re not familiar with the concept, bloggers sign up to partake and are assigned three bloggers to mail goodies to. You receive a different gift from three bloggers in return. I made these little choc-mint dipped Christmas biscuits and sent them off to Melissa from House of Powell, Caroline of Shrinking Single and Clare from Life of Clare.

I received salted caramel fudge sauce from Melissa (we both got assigned one another!), porcini and garlic salt from an unnamed blogger and delicious, crumbly biscotti from another unnamed blogger. (I’ll update you with names when I know who the bloggers are.) I instagrammed the biscotti and caramel sauce here.

Choc cinnamon Christmas cake and delight

half cakeThis cake is delightful. It’s festive and delicious – what more could you ask for over Christmas?

For those of you who aren’t big on fruit cakes (my mother being one of those people) it’s handy to have an alternative. If you forgot to start soaking your dried fruit weeks ago, or you’re just not that keen on hanging a pudding in your garage for months on end, this is the cake for you.

It can be made the day before, or even Christmas day and it is just as festive as my dad’s Christmas pudding or caramel-filled cinnamon men.

daisy close upI have no better segue to introduce Miss Daisy than to compare her to this cake – she is also delightful. She is deliciously cheeky, excitable, and so tiny that she makes the handsome Norman look rather imposing (hah!)

Choc coconut tray bake and winning friends

slicesYou may or may not know that recently I started a new job. Everybody in the office knows that I bake, because Baking with Gab is on my CV…I think that the prospect of cake is part of what got me the job (and I’m totally okay with that!)

But this meant that there were expectations. Expectations that I would bring cake into the office. Delicious cake.

So much pressure!