Party Food – Homemade Sausage Rolls

When I think of party food, one of the first things that comes to mind are Sausage Rolls.  Now I am a bit of a Sausage Roll snob, they need to have crisp flaky pastry, veggies that you can actually identify in them and of course a yummy flavour.

When it comes to making them, I don’t really follow a specific recipe. It’s more about adding whatever I have in the cupboard and fridge at the time.  In the past I’ve used honey, oyster sauce and steak sauce as ingredients.  The last batch I made was for our big boy’s 2nd birthday, so I added a few extra veggies to help balance out all the cake the kids ate.

For me, the only accompaniment you should EVER serve with sausage rolls is homemade sauce.  Since we didn’t have any ‘bought’ sauce in the pantry, I begrudgingly parted with some of my Mum’s homemade sauce for our party guests to enjoy.

Sausage Rolls

For the sausage rolls pictured above, I followed the below recipe:

6 sheets of ready made puff pastry

500g beef mince

2 carrots – grated

1 zucchini – grated

4 slices of rindless bacon – diced

1 large brown onion – grated

2 eggs – 1 egg for mixture and the other is for egg wash

1/4 cup tomato sauce or tomato chutney

1/4 cup bbq sauce

2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce

2 tablespoons dried thyme leaves

Salt and Pepper to taste

Sesame seeds to garnish if you wish

– Preheat oven to 200 degrees

– Remove pastry from freezer and allow to thaw slightly.

– Combine mince, veggies, 1 egg, sauces, thyme and salt and pepper in a bowl.  Using a large spoon mix until ingredients are evenly distributed.

– Lightly beat remaining egg into a cup.

– Cut a sheet of pastry in half, then using your hands, place meat mixture in the middle of the pastry sheet and then fold pastry over the top.  Repeat until all of the meat/pastry has been used.

– Cut the sausage rolls into smaller pieces, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds if you wish.

– Bake in for approximately 20 minutes, or until pastry has turned golden brown.  The baking time will vary depending on the size of your sausage rolls.

 

Muesli Cookies

Since returning home from our holiday, we have been trying to eat well in an attempt to lose the unwanted Christmas gift of a couple of extra kilos.  There are still times though when we do feel like something a little special, and these cookies fit the bill.

I’ve been giving Donna Hay’s Modern Classics 2 a bit of a workout over the past week. It had been awhile since I’d sat down and really read through it, and there have been quite a few recipes that have jumped out at me to try.  As always, I have made a couple of substitutions and additions to the original recipe.  To start with I reduced the sugar content, and used wholemeal spelt flour instead of plain flour.  I also just used what I had in the pantry, the recipe suggest 1/4 cup dried apricots and 1/4 cup dried apples – both chopped and 1/4 cup sultanas.  I debated whether to add the malted milk powder, but went along with it and I ended up with a yummy, chewy biscuit – which I do love.    As always my big boy was happy to be a taste tester and has also given them his tick of approval.

Muesli Cookies

1/2 cup rapadura sugar (recipe suggest 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup caster sugar)

125g butter – softened

1 egg

1/2 cup malted milk powder

1 1/4 cups wholemeal spelt flour (you can use plain flour instead)

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup shredded coconut

2 tablespoons chia seeds

2 tablespoons wheatgerm

1/4 cup currants

1/2 cup goji berries

1 teaspoon cinnamon

* Preheat oven to 170 degrees

* Beat together the sugar, butter and egg in a bowl until smooth – if using rapadura sugar you will see some small sugar crystals throughout the mixture.

* Add all other ingredients and mix together until combined.

* Roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls, place onto baking trays and flatten slightly.  Make sure you leave room for the cookies to spread.

* Bake for 15 minutes until beginning to brown on top – cool on trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

 

Caramel and Banana Layer Cake

Being the party animals that we are, we decided to ask a couple of friends over to our place for New Years Eve.  Even though we were all still getting over the excess of food and goodies we had been consuming during the past week, I still wanting to make something yummy – and a little naughty for our New Years dessert. I’ve made this cake a few times now and the recipe is from Donna Hay’s Modern Classics 2.  This time I decided to add banana to the layers in the attempt to bring a little bit of goodness to an otherwise sweet and yummy dessert.

It was a lovely night, spent with some great friends.  Alas our toddlers partied more than we did, with the adults happy to sit back and watch them expend what seemed to be a never ending supply of energy…..  If only they could have passed some on to us, we were all in bed by 11pm!

I hope you are all having a great start to the year

xx

caramel and banana layer cake

1 1/4 cups plain flour

6 eggs

3 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar

3 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar

125g butter – melted

2 cups thickened cream

vanilla essence

2 tablespoons icing sugar

1 banana – sliced thinly

caramel sauce – cooled

Caramel Sauce

– 3/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup of single or pouring cream (I’ve also used thickened cream in the past and it has still turned out fine).

 

– Preheat oven to 180 degrees.  Line and grease a 18cm square tin

– Sift the flour three times and put aside.

– Put the eggs, caster sugar and brown sugar in a bowl and beat together for 8-10 minutes with an electric mixer until mixture is pale and thick and has tripled in size

– Sift flour over the mixture and fold together gently, then fold in the butter.

– Using a spoon, put mixture into tin, and bake for 25 minutes.

– While cake is baking, make caramel sauce by stirring together brown sugar and cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.  Increase the heat and simmer for around 8 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.  Let the sauce cool slightly in the saucepan, before transferring to another container and place in the fridge for 20 minutes to cool completely

– Cool cake in tin for 5 minutes and then turn onto a cake cooling rack – leave until completely cooled before slicing cake in half

– Beat together cream, drop of vanilla essence and 2 tablespoons of icing sugar until cream is whipped

– Spread half of cake with cream, cover with half of the banana slices, and half of the caramel sauce

– Carefully place top layer onto the cake and repeat.

– I like to leave this cake for an hour or so in the fridge, then remove around 15minutes prior to serving.  It’s best eaten the day of/day after making.

Baptism Cake – Butter Cake with Buttercream Frosting

Setting off on our 1700km road trip down to Victoria, we didn’t make any plans as to where we would stop, or how far we wanted to get each day.  The only deadline we had was that we needed to be in arrive by the Sunday morning (we left on Friday morning), as our boys were being baptised at the local church that morning.

Thankfully the boys were PERFECT (well, close enough anyway!) and we arrived a whole 24 hours before the baptism.  Although it was a small event, of course we needed a cake to celebrate!! In theory this gave me plenty of time to make and decorate one for them.

I decided to go with a simple butter cake, topped with butter cream – the same one I made for my sister’s baby shower.  I bought some very cute animal cake toppers from Coles, and also used smarties to decorate – I did need 2 large bags to get enough of the colours that I wanted!

Baptism Cake1

I only finished decorating the cake 10 minutes before we had to leave for Church as I had no little help from my husband who decided to go riding that morning and lost track of time – but let’s not even get me started on that!

Baptism Cake

The cake was a big success, there was way too much for just seven adults, but Liam was more than keen to try some!

This is such a versatile and easy cake to make.  Even though you need to make two cakes to get the four layers, it still takes no time at all to put together.  After the stress of getting everyone and the cake ready, it was a very fitting way to end what turned out to be a beautiful day xx

baptism 2

Hazelnut and Caramel Slice

Caramel Slice is one of my FAVOURITE treats, especially Donna Hay’s version which is made with 2 tins of condensed milk to give it a truly decadent caramel layer.  After our 1600km car trip, we were greeted with plate of this slice to for morning tea.  I didn’t think Caramel Slice could be improved, until I tried a piece of my Mum’s slice – instead of plain chocolate on top, she instead used hazelnut chocolate….. yum!!

This Caramel Slice recipe is from Donna Hay’s Modern Classics 2, next time I make this recipe at home, I will be definitely be using hazelnut chocolate.

hazelnut and caramel slice

1 cup plain flour

1/2 cup coconut

1/2 cup brown sugar

125g melted butter

1/3 cup golden syrup

125g melted butter

2 x 400g tins of condensed milk

220g block of cadbury hazelnut chocolate

3 teaspoons vegetable oil

* Combine plain flour, coconut, brown sugar and 125g of melted butter and stir together. Press into a slice tin, fully lined with baking paper hanging over the sides

* Bake in 180 degree oven for 15 minutes – remove and allow to cool

* Combine 125g melted butter, golden syrup and condensed milk in a saucepan over a low heat and stir for approx 7 minutes until mixture has thickened slightly

* Pour caramel mixture over the top of base and bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven and put into the fridge until slice has completely cooled

* Place chocolate and vegetable oil in a microwave safe bowl and cook in 30 second bursts until chocolate has melted.

* Pour over slice and place in the fridge until almost set – it’s much easier to cut into slices when it isn’t fully set.

Enjoy!

Carrot, Banana and Coconut Muffins

These muffins are jam packed full of yummy fruit, veggies and seeds and are also quite filling – the perfect snack to stop any over indulging at your next Christmas party!  This recipe is from ‘Wholefoods for Children’ by Jude Belreau. I am LOVING this book, it is full of great recipes not only for babies and kids, but the big kids too!  This recipe made around 24 muffins, so I stashed half of them in the freezer, and they have defrosted really well.

Please don’t be put off by the list of ingredients, these were really quick and easy to make (with a little helper), and you can always substitute regular flour for spelt flour and cow’s milk for coconut milk if you don’t have any. The original recipe also suggested sultanas, but I prefer currants.

Carrot Banana & Coconut Muffins

130g white spelt flour

165g wholemeal spelt flour

90g rapadura sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

45g desiccated coconut

1 teaspoon quinoa flakes

1/2 cup pecans or walnuts roughly chopped

1/4 cup sunflower seeds roughly ground

1/4 cup pepitas roughly ground

1 banana cut into small pieces

1/2 cup rasins

90g unsalted butter melted and cooled

1 egg

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup plain yoghurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line muffin tins with cupcake papers

* Place the flours, sugar, baking powered, cinnamon, coconut, quinoa flakes, nuts and seeds into a bowl and whisk together to combine.

* Add the carrot, banana and currants and mix through

* Place the butter, egg, coconut milk, yoghurt and vanilla in a bowl and mix until it has just combined

* Add to the dry ingredients and mix through until just combined. Let the mixture stand for a couple of minutes to absorb some of the liquid, then spoon into muffin pan.

* Bake for approx 20 – 25 minutes until golden on top and cooked through.

Christmas Baking – Caramel Fudge

I always have been (and probably always will be) a sucker for anything with caramel in it…. who isn’t though?  This is the first year I’ve had to think about Christmas gifts for teachers (daycare and swimming), and what better way to say thank you to someone than give them a gift that you have made!

This is a really easy recipe, with just a few ingredients.  You also get a good arm work out from all the stirring that’s needed, which is a good way to feel less guilty when you try a piece!  This is another recipe from Nestle’s Australia’s Favourite Baking book, so naturally they suggest using all Nestle ingredients.

Caramel Fudge

125g butter – cubed

2 tablespoons of golden syrup

1 tin of condensed milk

1 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup of white chocolate melts

* In a medium sized saucepan over a low heat, add the butter, golden syrup, condensed milk and brown sugar.

* Mix continuously for approx 10 minutes until the mixture thickens slightly and colour has changed to a golden brown.

* Add white chocolate melts and mix together.

* Pour into 7 x 25cm loaf tin, fully lined with baking paper and pop into the fridge for a couple of hours, or until set.

* Slice into small pieces – it’s quite rich so you don’t need a huge slice.