Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Chocolate coconut fudge - so delicious!

Ok, so this is a little off the crafty topic, but I had to share this recipe!  This is one of my favourite sweet treat, I have a very demanding sweet tooth, and this stuff hits the spot!  There is nothing remotely healthy about fudge, pure sugary indulgence, but I adore this combination of chocolate and coconut.  I only let myself make this a few times a year, as I know I will eat the whole tray over a week or so!  Being Easter time, I thought it was an appropriately chocolatey treat to make this week.  The rest of the family are not real fudge fans, so it's all for me!! Yay! 

Anyway, here is the recipe, I had trouble finding a choc coconut fudge recipe, so have made my own adaption of a straight chocolate one, and I think it tastes pretty good!!



2 cups castor sugar
1/2 block chocolate (around 100g)
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons glucose syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tsp natural coconut essence 
2 handfuls shredded coconut ( around 1 cup)

Line a small cake tin with baking paper and spray with one of those oil sprays for a fine mist of oil.

Mix all ingredients except coconut essence and shredded coconut in a saucepan and heat slowly on low heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved and the chocolate has melted.  (Brush down sides of sauce pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystallising.)

Increase heat to medium and slowly bring to the boil, stirring occasionally until temperature reaches 112 degrees ( soft ball stage).  ( I find a candy thermometer very useful for getting the temperature right.)

Remove from heat, and  mix in the coconut essence.  Cool for about 5 - 10 minutes.

Beat with a wooden spoon until mixture thickens slightly and loses its gloss.  
(This can take a while!) Quickly mix through the shredded coconut and pour into tin.  Allow to cool completely.  Once the fudge has set cut into squares and store in an airtight container,  I like to keep it in the fridge, just so I don't keep sneaking pieces every time I walk past the tin on the bench! 

Like all fudges, a little goes a long way!  
Sit down with a cup of tea and enjoy a little chunk of deliciousness!

I hope you all enjoy the Easter break and get to have a few sweet treats over the weekend!

Talk soon!


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Something Yum - chicken ginger soup

The other day I made this soup, and it was very delicious, so I thought I would share the recipe with you all.. Are you a soup person?  I definitely am.  Some people I know don't consider soup a meal, I just can't agree!  Maybe I just have such massive bowls of soup that it becomes a meal sized serve.  

Anyway, my boss gave me this recipe for Chicken Ginger Soup, he is a real ginger fan, it has so many great health benefits ( Google it if you are interested, it really is good for you!), and it gives this soup a lovely heat that is more subtle than just chilli.   

It is a thin, brothy type soup so would be good as a starter for an Asian feast, or I just have a bowlful for lunch and feel very healthy, like I've done something good for my body. ( And believe me, my body needs a lot of positive work at the moment, I have not been treating it like a temple!)

So here's the recipe!

Healing Chicken Ginger Soup

For the Broth:
2 bone-in free-range chicken breasts (about 1kg total)
8 cups water
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 whole head garlic, cut in half cross-wise
1/4 to 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh ginger (or more!)
2 to 3 thai chiles, chopped or 1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
2 cups chopped shiitake mushrooms
1 stalk fresh lemongrass, chopped
Small bunch of coriander
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
3 teaspoons  sea salt

For the Soup:
1 medium onion, cut into crescent moons
3 to 4 stalks celery, sliced into diagonals
3 carrots, cut into matchsticks
2 to 3 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
cooked chicken pulled from the bone and chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Optional Additions/Toppings:
rice noodles
chopped fresh basil
chopped fresh coriander
chopped fresh Thai green chilies
lime wedges

To make the broth, place all ingredients for broth into a 6 litre pot. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat medium-low and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Strain broth into a large bowl or another pot using a colander. Place chicken breasts onto a plate to cool. Pour the broth back into the pot. Once chicken is cooled, remove the skin, pull the meat from the bone and chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces.

Place all of the vegies for the soup (onion, carrot, celery, and shiitake mushrooms) into the pot with the broth. Cover and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes. Add the chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer a minute or two more or until vegetables are cooked to your liking. Ladle soup into bowls and serve with a handful of basil, coriander, and cabbage on top. Sprinkle with thai chiles if desired. You can also add a handful of cooked thai rice noodles to each bowl if desired. Squeeze a little lime juice over each bowl.


This is my pot full of the broth ingredients, ready to simmer away on the stove, no wonder this is packed with flavour! 
My only changes were that I used a whole chicken, instead of breasts on the bone, and I used dried shiitake mushrooms (found in the supermarket in the Asian section),  fresh ones are hard to find around here!

If you are feeling a bit under the weather, I think this is the soup for you!

Have you eaten anything delicious lately? 
Do you treat your body like a temple or do you give it a hard time like me? 
( I am starting to change this though!)

Back soon with a crochet update.
Have a great day!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Caldo Verde - a recipe

Tuscan Kale


Today was my work day at the primary school, and one of the dishes we made was a version of a Portuguese 'green soup'  with potato and kale.  
It was a big hit, with everyone saying it was yum, so I thought I might share the recipe we made with you all, as it is heading into soup weather for my northern hemisphere friends.  It is always good to have another great vegie soup in your repertoire !

 So here it is, easy, delicious, fresh and using great stuff grown in the garden


650g waxy potatoes such as Desiree or Nicola
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions
3 garlic cloves
5 cups water, (or vegie stock, or chicken stock)
2 bay leaves
9 - 10 large leaves of kale or other cabbage
100g chourico sausage (we used bacon instead)

Peel potatoes and cut into chunks.
Finely chop the onions and garlic.
Heat the olive oil in a largish saucepan, and sauté the onion until soft. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for one minute.  Add the potatoes, water, salt, and bay leaves and cook until tender - about 20 minutes.
In the meantime, wash the kale leaves and remove the hard stems, then roll up the leaves and cut into fine shreds.
Once the potatoes are cooked, mash the mixture with a potato masher, then add the kale and cook for another 15 - 20 minutes and check the seasoning.  Remove the bay leaves.
Chop up the bacon into little pieces and sauté in a frying pan for a few minutes , until just brown.  Add the bacon to soup.
Ladle soup into bowls and enjoy! !

(This recipe came from the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation website and was tweaked a little bit by me, changes are in the brackets.)


I was able to use the Tuscan kale growing in my garden for this recipe, it is such a great vegetable to grow at home, very easy to grow and at its best growing through autumn and winter around here.

I will be making this soup for my lunches later in the week as there is still plenty of kale ready to go in the garden!

The other dishes we made today were a winter tabouli,  mixed berry jam, lemon butter, and scones.
The children seem to have fun in these cooking classes, although I find them a bit chaotic, but I think that is just having 24 kids in 4 different groups all doing their own thing at the one time, it is bound to get a bit noisy!  Thank goodness for the great volunteers who help each group!!  I am getting more accustomed to it each week, and it is bothering me less, so that is a good thing!

Hope you all have a great day!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday Sourdough Adventuring....

My sour dough pet, looking nice and frothy and healthy!


Today I thought I'd show you my recent dabbling in sourdough baking, I am very much a novice, but it is an enjoyable adventure nurturing a little sourdough pet.  
I have been wanting to have a go at sourdough bread for some time, I bought a great book a couple of years ago and had been meaning to get a sourdough starter going but was a bit afraid I'd kill it!
So when my boss gifted me a little bucket of established starter a few weeks ago, I thought now is the time to get into it!  It helped that it came from a lovely sourdough bakery in the city somewhere, so I knew that this starter had made some great  bread in the past, and I should be able to do it too!

I have been keeping it well fed and it has been a good little starter and doing all the right things for me.

Here are my first 3 balls of sourdough.  I used the basic sourdough recipe from  'Bourke Street Bakery'   by Paul Allam and David McGuinness. (I have also been reading up a bit on the internet, there is tonnes of info out there.) It is a very thorough recipe for a beginner like me, well explained with lots of instructions.  The only thing I did differently was that I combined the water component of the recipe and half the flour to the starter, mixed it together and let it sit for 1hr and bubble up a bit to make a 'sponge', then I added the rest of the flour and proceeded as per the recipe.

I have to say, this type of baking is not fast!  Definitely slow food here!
But a very enjoyable way to make bread, highly recommend it!

One thing the book said can be a problem for home bakers is finding a humid, warm environment for the final prove.  I think I have a really effective solution, I am sure I am not the first to think of it, but I am going to tell you anyway!  I had a couple of polystyrene boxes they package broccoli in, with tight fitting lids, (they are quite insulating), so I got one and put a couple of kettles worth of boiling water in the bottom, stuck a couple of upturned bowls in it so my tin was out of the water, put the bread tin in it (perfect fit) and stuck the lid on.  The steam from the water was trapped, creating a lovely warm humid environment for my bread to rise in.! 
That box made a great prover!

Here are the loaves just out of the oven, that crust was really crunchy, hard and crusty, very delicious!

We couldn't wait to cut it and start scoffing our warm bread!  

As you can see the sourdough starter did a great job of raising our bread, this looks like bread I make with normal yeast, and it is such a lovely living process!

So thank you little pet starter, you are amazing!

I am looking forward to making other interesting bread, so stay tuned !

How is your weekend going?
 Are you doing fun things?
Talk soon, bye!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Summer vegetable (recipe) love...

 There has been a severe lack of vegetables being eaten in our house recently, so I decided to make something that is very vegetabley and quite delicious too. 
( Even though my boys won't eat this, very picky of them, it makes me feel better getting a good helping of vegies in)
It helps that the zucchinis in the garden are going mental doubling in size almost overnight, and this recipe can use a few of them.

I grew the garlic, zucchinis and pumpkin in the photo, but my tomatoes and capsicums are not quite ready and I haven't grown mushrooms before, so I bought these.
This is my version of a vegetable lasagna, it makes a big tray and feeds a lot!!

I thought I'd share it here, because it is yum, and pretty good for you, and uses up the zucchini glut, and just to be nice!

Ok enough rambling, heres how you make it....

My Vegetable Lasagna

8-10 tomatoes, chopped 
2 cloves garlic, chopped 
2 onions chopped
2 red capsicums
1 butternut pumpkin
3-4 zucchini chopped up or sliced
8 large mushrooms, sliced or chopped up
Lasagna sheets

Cheese Layer:
4 cup milk 
60gr butter
6 tbsp flour
1cup grated tasty/vintage cheese
1/4 cup grated parmasan

Cook the vegies:
Firstly, cut the pumpkin into quarters and take out the seeds.
Cut the capsicums into a few big pieces, discard the seeds.
Put the pumpkin and capsicum pieces onto an oven tray lined with baking paper and drizzle with olive oil.  Put in a moderate oven to roast until  the pumpkin is soft and the capsicum is nicely cooked and the skins come off easily. (about 40 minutes?)

While this is cooking, put garlic and onions in a big saucepan with a bit of oil, over medium heat, and cook until the garlic smells good, then add the tomatoes, zucchini, and mushrooms.  Let this bubble away for a while, till all the vegies are soft and it is a nice stew-like consistancy. (If you think it needs more tomatoes, I sometimes add a tin of chopped tomatoes as well.)

Make the Cheese sauce:
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, add the flour and stir together, cook for 1 minute.
Take off heat and whisk in milk, one cup at a time, (this helps give you a nice smooth sauce)
Return to heat and stir/whisk continually till sauce thickens and bubbles.
Remove from heat and stir through cheeses.

Make up lasagna! 
Layer sheets of pasta,
 then half vegie stew, 
then more pasta, 
then half cheese sauce,
 then a layer of scooped out roasted pumpkin flesh and roasted capsicum slices,
then pasta again , 
then rest of vegie stew,
then more pasta, 
then lastly, top with rest of cheese sauce and spread over top, grate some more parmasan over it all and you are done!  

Pop it in a moderate oven for 30-40 minutes until it looks nice and golden on top!

(You can also add a layer of blanched spinach /silverbeet /spinachbeet or basil leaves  if you have room and want a green layer when you cut it, and a sweet potato roasted and sliced up, can be used instead of pumpkin)))

I think that is it, lots of veg in one delicious package! It looks a bit of a hassle when you write it down like this, but it is really pretty straight forward when you get into it.

 Sorry about this pretty crappy photo, I am no food stylist!  
See all the nice colourful layers? It really is much yummier than this picture looks.

Ok, got to go now and get into some crochet action,
 I am trying to write a pattern for a cushion cover, so I hope it works out!
Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Just wanted to share this recipe.  It is the best shortbread recipe and is the only one my mum and aunts make, it's a bit of a family tradition........

Margie's Shortbread

225g butter (I usually melt the butter)
1/2 cup castor sugar
2 cups plain flour
3/4 cup ground rice (ground rice gives it a lovely, slightly gritty texture, so try and find it if you can, it's better than rice flour)

Mix all ingredients, press flat, or roll and cut out shapes.  Cook in moderate oven (around 180 degrees c)
until pale (around 12 minutes)

That's it, very simple, but so delicious and Christmassy!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Raspberry jam = yum!

How was your weekend?

From now till Christmas our weekends are looking pretty full, lots of catch ups and parties to attend, and all the end of year school things too, plus a birthday, so we will be busy, busy, busy!!

Saturday it just poured with rain, so I tried to do some housework and tidy the place up as we were having my in laws over for dinner.  Nice pleasant evening, I cooked calamari again, and it was yum!

 Yesterday the rain stopped, so I could pick the raspberries that were ready, I picked 1.7 kg! 
Max was impressed!  It has been a great crop so far this season, all up I have picked 3.9 kg, and there are plenty more to come. 

I decided to make some jam from 1kg of these ones and max and Andre ate the rest, they are loving being able to gorge on raspberries.

 .........very simple recipe, equal sugar to fruit and 2 tbsp lemon juice............
.....low heat till sugar dissolves, then bring to a boil for 15 - 20 minutes,.........
.....pour into sterilised jars while hot and seal!

 ........this is what I ended up with, 5 jars of homemade raspberry jam, 
and I have to say it is pretty damn delicious!!
So I'm feeling quite the little home maker at the moment, loving my little self sufficient morning!

hope you had some fun on your weekend!

PS. Also did quite a bit of crafting, looking forward to showing you what's going on on this front very soon!


Monday, October 3, 2011

Choccy meringues

More cooking treats today. A very easy delicious meringue recipe that my son made at his kitchen lessons at school (our school was part of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program).

My boys really like them.  I have a big glut of eggs at the moment, so these are just the thing to use a few up.


3 egg whites
1 cup castor sugar
50g chocolate chips
2 tblsp sifted cocoa
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Beat egg whites with electric mixer until frothy.
On high speed , slowly add sugar, beating until stiff.
Fold in chocolate, cocoa and essence, do not beat, mixture should be a bit streaky.
Drop spoonfuls of mixture on to trays lined with baking paper.
Bake in slow oven for 30 mins.  Around 160 degrees C, but my oven is quite hot so I do 130 -140 degrees C.
Meringues should be dry on the outside but still soft on the inside.
Cool on tray before removing.

For Christmas lunch last year I made these for dessert (Xmas is in Summer here so we often have a light dessert).  I popped one chocolate meringue on each plate and topped it with a dollop of cream, some fresh berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and red currants), and a drizzle of strawberry puree, little mini pavlovas!  You could also grate some chocolate over the top too. They were very popular and easy to prepare before hand and just assemble at the last minute, They have been requested again this year!!

Ok that's it for now, hope to have something crafty to show soon, but with the holidays still here this week, I am not getting a lot done, also I am reading a good book that is absorbing more time than it should!! 

Have a great day!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cooking....a special treat

Today I thought I'd show you some cooking we did before we went away, I meant to post this a few weeks ago but you know how it is, things get in the way, and I didn't get around to it then, so I'll show you now, better late than never.

I was very pleased with how these turned out, very pleased indeed!!

We tend to have a bit of a sweet tooth in our house so......

once again we were looking through the Sweet Treats cook book, produced by the ace Frankie team, and found something delicious to have a go at.  
 A family favourite, I know you can buy them for $2 from the shop, but that's not the point is it? 

 I have had a go at marshmallows before, a different recipe, and they were ok but not great, sticky and hard to cut into shape and a bit too rubbery, not like a shop one.

So I was determined to get these ones right, soft and squishy and vanilla-ry, and I am happy to report we had success!!

Recently my hand held beater blew up, so armed with my super duper powerful new one, I whipped that marshmallow to a sticky, fluffy perfection confection!!  Haha.....

The recipe was easy, but with a tiny bit tricky method, but I followed it to the letter, and it worked a treat!  I find with lollies and chocolates it pays to be fussy with the instructions and do as they say with no short cuts.

Although, having said that, I did make one improvement, I wanted round/ish marshmallows not a slab cut into squares.  So I made my own moulds for the marshmallow to set in using an egg pushed into a pan of flour. Each dollop of marshmallow took the shape of the egg and ended up fairly round, and the flour dusting meant they weren't sticky!

Pure genius!!
 ( I can't take the credit for this ace idea, I read it in a cooking article in the paper some time ago, and filed it away in the 'useful information' section of my head)

See how they look setting in their little flour egg moulds - so cute and delicious!

Max gave them the thumbs up, actually all the men in my house did, they did not last long, Gary was looking for more of them long after the last one had been scoffed!

Homemade lollies, you can't get better than that, I'll be making these again I'm sure.

Have a great day!