Brussel Sprout Pasta…

Just a little something I made for dinner this evening..: it’s the Queens birthday this weekend so the in laws have come to visit… I recently bought some brussel sprouts from the local green grocer and was a little disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to cook them up because they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea…

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However, travelling home from a particularly wet jaunt in the city this arvo I was delighted to learn that the father in law shares my adoration of the humble brussel so it was decided, much to my own delight to try out a brusselly pasta dish… This one came from a little inspiration and the top of my head…

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Sauté your brussels in a little oil until they turn that beautiful bright greens colour… Crush in a couple of cloves of garlic and keep at a low heat until the sprouts are tender and delicious… Toss in some cooked fettucini, don’t drain it too much or it will end up a little dry..

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Then toss through with a generous helping of pure cream, a handful of toasted almonds and a good, decent, plentiful grating of Parmesan…

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Nutritional note: brussel sprouts are a super cheap, winter vege that has 102% of your daily in take of vitamin c per 100g.. Great for keeping the winter colds at bay!

One week in the middle of nowhere…

Take 40 people, 2 buses, a dusty outback town, a single shower, and a mesh of ideas and personalities, get them to eat together, sleep together and share each others lives for 7 days while they minister to a restless group of kids and teenagers and you create a life changing experience… looking over my dashboard I’ve realised it’s been an awful long time since I’ve blogged… and I am a bad blogger but the situation will be rectified once I can get over the fact that I do not have to work constantly and that yes I can take time to do things I enjoy and not feel guilty because I am not useful to God or Church if I am totally burnt out… hence as of today blogging MUST become a task on my to-do list and as a result, baking also… good.. settled…

So, to my week in the middle of nowhere… Now I’m not the most super energetic outgoing and ferociously social of gals but my week at StormCo in Nyngan forced me to step far outside the bounds of what I find comfortable and add a couple of kms and then maybe just maybe you’ll understand how far out of my comfort zone it was… but outside the comfort zone lies character development and a sense of accomplishment and lifetime memories that will change you from the inside out… My week in Nyngan serving the kids through a kids club, through deep and meaningfuls, through games and laughter and general hanging out did more for me than them… selfish I know but it was an unavoidable by-product of service to others… we all come back different people… so to the baking… luckily there was a way that I could contribute to StormCo that was completely within my comfort boundaries and that was through… baking… YES! I was very delighted to learn that before every StormCo trip there is a fundraiser and this so happened to be a cake auction… recently I’d purchased some cupcake books, you may have heard of them “Hello Cupcake” and “What’s New Cupcake?” I think I talked about them in a recent blog… well maybe not so recent considering my slackness.. anyway they have a super fun and intriguing subway sandwhich cupcake that I just couldn’t pass…

Super easy and super impressive, most of the ingredients are starburst lollies rolled out with a rolling pin and cut into various shapes imitating the ingredients of a subway sandwhich… the lettuce was most impressing to me… some thin green icing tossed through a bowl of cornflakes stuck in the freezer for a few minutes and voila! lettuce! add half a hotdog roll brushed with sugar syrup and sprinkled with sesame seeds and you have yourself a not so healthy (but oh so eye candy) cupcake delight!

I am indebted to my new friend Johnno for these fantastic shots that were far better than anything that I could muster or edit… check out his blog here!

I hope I inspired to not only bake but serve!

Dark Chocolate and Plum Clafoutis…

 

I’ve been completely addicted to stone fruit recently… not just because they are naturally sweet and succulent.. but they are also very much seasonal which equals very much affordable… something that has been especially important since the move down to Sydney where grocery prices are exorbitant to say the least… luckily I had an excellent excuse to bake this week… worship ministry meeting!

 

 

 

Worship ministry is a ministry in our church that is responsible for the inspiring church services every week… and as corny as it sounds work a little bit like this tasty clafoutis… separately all the ingredients are pretty bland (except maybe the plums and chocolate)… but by bringing them all together using the right processes and finesse… equal a truly remarkable experience!

 

 

Clafoutis is originally a french dish from the Limousin region… traditionally made with dark, sweet cherries (pips left in for added flavour) this twist on a classic takes these beautiful ruby blood plums and transforms them into a concentrated little gem perched in a moussy and rich chocolate pillow… this recipe is so simple to make and yet the results are truly incredible… I expected a light sponge style cake but was surprised to cut into a spongey, thick and warm dessert with the consistency of thick double cream… this ones a keeper so get in quick while the plums are fresh and frugle…

 

Dark Chocolate and Plum Clafoutis
Adapted from: Donna Hay’s Seasons
Serves: 8

Ingredients
1/3 cup plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1/3 cup castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup cream
175g dark chocolate, chopped
20g butter
5 blood plums

Method

  1. Place dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix wet ingredients in a jug.
  2. Whisk the wet ingredients in the dry and stir in the dark chocolate.
  3. Melt the butter in an oven proof fry pan then fill with the batter.
  4. Slice the plums in half and top with the plums.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes or until puffed up and cooked through.

Happy Baking!

Christmas treats…

 

My favourite thing about Christmas is obviously going to be the food… but I’m not talking about the roast turkey and vegies or even the Christmas pud… I’m talking about all the Christmas themed treats that come into season and into the kitchen generally when the calender ticks over to December… Unfortunately the first part of my December was spent packing boxes… which also meant packing away all my baking trays, rolling pins, mixing bowls and cookie cutters… all essential items for christmas themed treats… as my husband and I sat down amidst the piles of boxes and packing tape at the end of the first day of packing an overwhelming cloud settled over my head at the huge task of moving related logistics ahead… Adrian took one look at my downcast expression and being able to physically see the tension in my shoulders promptly trekked out to the mass of boxes in the storage shed and brought back one of the kitchen boxes… “I think you should bake something..”

 

 

I didn’t need to be told twice! So I unpacked my baking things and decided to get into the festive spirit with this adorable little Christmas cookie trees… that seem week I had bought the star shaped cookie cutters with the intention of making these little treats for our last small group meeting for the year… but as a result of the aforementioned packing stresses they became travel treats instead! I’ve only in the last couple of days had a chance to put them together properly! Aren’t they cute? and super easy… I can’t quite remember the recipe I use but grab your mum or nans typical Christmas cookie recipe or gingerbread recipe (or try this one) and some assorted sized star cutters and you’re good to go…

 

all you need to do is grab a skewer and using the blunt end poke two wholes next to each other in the centre of each sized cookie… stack them up and using a crochet needle or just any large needle that you can thread the ribbon into pull the ribbon through both wholes and tie at the top…. I used a thin ribbon to hold them all together and then made a festive bow with the red and white ribbon and pinned it on top…. but you can make any festive combination you like!

 

Happy Baking!

Cupcakes in red…

I had a most delightful evening the other night with my fellow ladies of theology… and I got to make some fancy pants cupcakes to take!

I have been perusing food blogs for quite some time now but have been quite surprised at the American domination… When I went to America even their pesto came as a “just add water” mix and frosty came in a jar, tub and spray can… so I was surprised to find so many wonderful baking blogs! And these little darlings just popped up all over the place…

and they are just as tasty as they look… It’s a very unusual recipe with a very unusual name… Red Velvet Cake doesn’t sound that appealing…

I couldn't help myself...

the shocking thing!? It actually had a velvety texture… surprisingly delightful… curious now aren’t you? Unfortunately I sent the last few of these cute little sweeties with Adrian to share with his friends…

I’m sure those boys are going to love little red cupcakes with love hearts on top!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

(I pinched this recipe from Willow Bird Baking)

Ingredients:

Cupcake
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting
450g cream cheese, softened
220g butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted icing sugar

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

Frosting

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy. Frost the cupcakes with a butter knife or pipe it on with a big star tip.

NOTE: Makes uber amounts of frosting so pop the leftover in the fridge and stayed tuned for a killer carrot cake to finish it off with!

Happy Baking!

My dream… God willing…

Ministry and Cooking are my two greatest passions…. you may have read the about section of this blog and understand that I’m attempting to merge the two… It has been a dream of mine for some time now to make a Ministry out of Cooking and I wanted to share this dream with you… I was stumbling around some wordpress blogs the other day and found a post that is a good example of what I wanna do in the future… at some point in my life… if it’s in Gods plan.. I’d love to open a Church Cafe… It’s an interesting concept… The cafe wouldn’t actually be a church but would operate out of a church building.. or vice versa.. basically a cafe in a high traffic area that closes on Sabbaths for Church, has community programs during the week and evenings and is a place for Bible studies and small groups to operate… all the while still running as a secular cafe during the day… a cafe where mums come after dropping the kids of at school… business men and women come to grab a foccacia for lunch… grandmas and grandpas come in the afternoons for a cup of tea… and kids come after school for milk shakes.. a cafe that is a community as well… that builds a relationship with the customers and provides services and programs at the cafe to meet their needs… a place where people feel comfortable to come to their local cafe for church.. obviously it’s a work in progress.. but this is my dream!

Would you come to my cafe?

Jammy goodness…

This week I’ve been doing an awful lot of baking… I’ve been home alone a bit.. attempting to write a 15,000 word honours thesis… which is very challenging considering I have the house to myself and an abundance of food lying around just begging to be a part of some new and delicious baking adventure! Call it procrastination… I call it an investment in my overall mental health… it’s pretty tough keeping yourself and a looming 15,000 words sane…

Luckily, my mother-in-law asked if I wouldn’t mind baking some treats to put in her freezer for when visitors pop round and the like… So I thought I’d do a few tasty and freezer friendly slices…. One of these, a favourite of mine… Not quite sure what it’s officially called… But the slice with the cakey base and jam and coconut on top! Apparently it’s an Aussie slice, quite patriotic really… But unfortunately I can’t just stick to a regular recipe… I had to make it a little bit fancy, so I decided to make my own mixed berry jam to go in the middle..

I generally find store bought jam to sweet anyway and there was a pretty funky looking packet of frozen berries in the freezer that needed to be highly processed in order to be edible… so JAM! It was very tasty.. and very quick! I hope you try it! Plus you can make jam drops with the left overs.. Feeling patriotic yet?

Quick and Easy Jam

Take a packet of mixed berries, or berries of choice, frozen is easiest! Empty into a saucepan and add 1/2 cup sugar (You’ll probably want more because I like a tarty little jam). Stir it up and bring to the boil, turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 5 minutes, until it’s all cooked and gooey. Take a 3 tablespoons of cornflour and mix with about 1/2 cup of cold water, use a fork to get rid of all the lumps. Stir it into the simmering jam mixture, you should feel it thicken quite quickly. Keep stirring for about a minute then take of the heat and let cool.

Happy Baking!