Friday, May 29, 2009

Choc Brownie Cupcakes & more

Ok so am starting to get a bit tired & slowing down a bit though the kitchen is still managing to produce lots of goodies. Today I made these fantastic Choc brownie cupcakes, recipe by Curtis Stone, featired in delicious magazine, recipe can be found here, just add strawberries on top.

I like brownies however I find they can be a bit boring, these however have all the gooey fudginess of a brownie with the added bonus of a delicious chocolate, cream cheese frosting & to top it off a juicy sweet strawberry on top, yum & none of the kids or mums who came over to eat them today complained too hard either. When they came out of the oven I was a bot worried as they had spread over the top & collapsed a bit. I just plonked the broken pieces on top & covered with the frosting & all was solved.

Also this week I was inspired by Master chef Australia to make a souffle. I have been sort of watching the show & while I dont think its a great cooking competition & is really more of a personality contest, I still enjoy the cooking bits like the master classes where I have actually picked up a tip or 2. Anyway instead of sticking to a simple chocolate souffle I chose a mango/choc souffle from my Green & Black's chocolate cookbook. It was nice but after all of the effort I had to put in, including burning out one pot as I left the room while the syrup was boiling down & forgot about it (that would be the pregnancy absent mindedness kicking in) until I smelt something suspicious & smoky coming from the kitchen, using the kitchen aid, food processor plus several pots & pans not to mention the souffle ramekins, I dont think I will be rushing to make this again. It was fun to allow myself the luxury of making something more complicated & messy for a change though as with Chloe this doesnt happen very often these days.

On the dinner front I have cooked everything from a lovely veal osso bucco, a quick tuna pasta bake and some surprisingly nice chicken, pumpkin & carrot rice balls from a kids book to try & entice Chloe into eating something other than bread, dairy & fruit - it worked so I was impressed.

Dinner tonight will be a simple chicken & spinach soup - food for the soul.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Old vs New & Friends for lunch

I just remember that I have now been back in my home for a few weeks now & haven’t shown you the photos of the new kitchen. So I thought I would show you not only my beautiful fresh, crisp, sparkly new & very workable white kitchen , but also what I was working with before the extension, my very old, sorta cute, grey & pink very unuser friendly kitchen, so here they are.

The new kitchen has inspired me to invite many people over for lunches, coffee, dinner & you name it as I cant do enough cooking now it seems. This week a few of the girls plus their kiddies came over for lunch. To start with I whipped up Nigella’s smoked trout pate which I have made previously & cant seem to get enough of. This was followed by a very simple yet delicious Onion & Feta Cheese Tart from by new book, Bill Granger’s Open Kitchen, as you can see I still cant seem to get away from tarts for lunch, I have a big thing for pastry at the moment & this was another good one, the hardest part being slicing up 1kg of onions! To top it off a nice autumn Pear & Hazelnut torta from Delicious magazine, I think it was the previous issue, April’s? Just the sort of cake I am loving at the moment, lots of gorgeous ripe fruit & a nut base so not too sickly or cakey.

I still have plans for lots more cooking & entertaining at least until my energy dries up before No 2 comes along in early July, so fingers crossed it doesn’t happen too soon.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

A week of birthday baking & celebrations

This week started off with Michael’s birthday on Saturday, so what better way to start off a weekend/birthday than with a special breakfast. Michael wanted a nice manly dish so no pancakes or anything sweet & ‘girly’, I’m afraid. So I made these scrumptious Potato & Feta Pancakes from Bill Granger’s Sydney Food. As I have said before I love his breakfast recipes in particular even though if I watch him on the tele I find him a bit off putting & cheesy, which is good as Michael just bought me another one of his books full of new brekky’s to try for my birthday. Anyway I have a thing for hash browns, even (shock horror) the Macca’s fake kind though I need to be hungover or pregnant before I allow myself to indulge in that particular variety. So this recipe was a treat, the addition of feta, which every other mouthful melted through the golden crispy potatoey goodness was sensational. To top off the mans breakfast I had to of course include meat, bacon, ottway free range bacon & no less. Even Chloe loved the pancakes so the celebrations stared off a success.

Lunch at the Fairfield boathouse on a beautiful sunny autumn afternoon followed by a bit of row, row, row your boating & duck feeding was a nice way to relax away the afternoon. Dinner I’m ashamed to say was simply cake – Nigella’s Chcocolate Orange Cake from Feast which contained 2 whole oranges, 6 eggs, almond meal, no flour, was very moist & almost a meal in itself. Some candles and a quick rendition of Happy Birthday was all this needed to be served with.

Sunday we had a day of pottering around the house, getting the vegetable gardens ready for planting out, painting some cupboards, etc & working off all of Saturdays indulgences. I did bake a batch of blueberry & raspberry friends to take to work for my birthday though – I love a friend & as they are made with nut meal (in this case almond) I find they stay fresher longer than say your traditional muffin, if making them advance. Sorry about the blurry photo but for the life of me I cant work out how to take a photo of anything covered in icing sugar that doesn’t blur, any suggestions? They went down a treat even though I couldn’t convince most of the guys that a friend was in fact any different to a muffin & not just a fancy name.

Today it was my birthday & even though a) I had to work & b) I am really a bit over cake by now, I decided I couldn’t let the day go by without making myself a quick cake to celebrate. As I had to whip it up before work I made Nigella’s Retro Cherry cheesecake from Express & no kidding I have made easy cheesecakes before but this was incredible, I almost felt like I hadn’t made it, it was so easy! Very, very delicious too.

Off to dinner at L’osteria on Nicholson st in North Fiztroy for a quiet dinner with the family tonight, they do some lovely home cooked Italian food & seem to accept kids running around too so will be a nice way to top off the celebrations & then bring on Mothers day this Sunday!