Strawberry Santas

I’ve been spending a little time on Pintrest lately…. ok, maybe a LOT of time.  It’s totally justified of course, Liam’s 2nd birthday is next month and I’ve been looking for party ideas.

I’ve come across photos of these cuties a few times, both on Pintrest and Facebook, and our Mum’s group Christmas Party on the weekend seemed like the perfect opportunity to give them a go.

There really isn’t much too them: Strawberries (the bigger the better), Whipped Cream (I add vanilla extract and icing sugar to mine) and dark chocolate chips.

Simply cut the strawberry in half, add a dollop of whipped cream (I used a piping bag), put the top of the strawberry back on (Santa’s hat) and add a couple of chocolate chips for his eyes.

These are super easy and yummy, and are a perfect snack on a hot day.

Too cute to eat!

Too cute to eat!

Yoghurt Cake with Raspberry and Pomegrantate Jam Glaze

I may have gotten a little carried away at the Maggie Beer stand at the Good Food & Wine show recently.  It was a little hard not to, there were so many yummy products, the staff were lovely and there were heaps of samples to suck you in.

When I visit our local cafe, my standing order is an extra large double shot skinny iced latte (keep that in your memory bank if anyone ever feels like dropping by) and two slices of raisin toast with a beautiful homemade raspberry jam.  So when I spied Maggie’s (I can call her that since I know her so well from watching her on tv) Raspberry and pomegranate jam, it was a no brainer that I was going to buy it.

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As well as saving the $4.50 I normally would spend, and being delicious on my toast at home, it has the added bonus of using as a glaze over cakes – yoghurt cake specifically as that is what Maggie recommends on the side of the jar.

I went searching online for a yoghurt cake recipe and found a reader’s recipe on Nigella Lawson’s site.  The cake was easy to make and as soon as it was out of the oven I eagerly covered it with a layer of Maggie’s jam – not too generously though, as I didn’t want to ‘waste’ my special jam.  After only 10 minutes I was too impatient any longer and cut the cake….  I was a little disappointed, the cake wasn’t the best and I was starting to get annoyed that I’d wasted my jam on it.  Thankfully I went back to the website to read through some of the comments (probably should have done that originally) and noted it said the cake was best eaten cold.

The next day when I returned to it, I could see why eating it cold was recommended.  It tasted much better, and the jam on top turned it into something a lot more special.

Look at that lovely jam!

Look at that lovely jam!

1 cup natural yoghurt

2 cups sugar

3 cups flour

½ cup oil

3 eggs

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* Preheat oven to 180 degrees, and line the bottom of a round 25cm cake tin with baking paper and grease the sides.

* Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl.

* Pour into cake tin and bake for 30 – 35 minutes until the top is golden brown and it’s cooked through

* While cake is still warm, brush Raspberry and pomegranate jam over the top.

* Allow the cake to completely cool before cutting and serving.

Snickerdoodles

I have heard of snickerdoodles, but having no idea what they really were (I thought they contained snickers bars!), I’d never thought about making them.  Whilst looking through Nigella Lawson’s ‘How to be a domestic goddess’ I came across this recipe – it looked easy & not many ingredients were needed, so I gave it a go.

OMG….. What have I been doing waiting so long to make these????  They tasted incredible, just like a cinnamon doughnut.  There was no way I could stop at trying just one, and I will admit to devouring 4 of them…  Oh well, looks like I’m off to the gym tonight!

Try stopping after just one of these beauties...

Try stopping after just one of these beauties…

250g plain flour

1/2 tsp nutmeg

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

125g butter at room temperature

100g + 2 extra tbsp of caster sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp cinnamon

* Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line two baking trays with paper

* Combine the flour, nutmeg, baking powder and salt and set aside

* On a small plate, combine additional 2 tbsp of caster sugar and cinnamon

* Cream the butter with 100g of sugar until light and fluffy, gradually beat in egg and vanilla extract

* Add the dry ingredients and stir through until a smooth dough forms

* Using a tablespoon, form a small ball of dough and then roll in cinnamon/sugar mixture.

* Place on baking tray and bake for around 15 minutes – they should be turning golden brown at this time.

* Cool on trays for a couple of minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Banana and Blueberry Muffins

In our household milk and bananas seem to disappear into thin air, and every couple of days we need to re-stock.  Somehow a couple of bananas slipped through the cracks and had began to die a slow and smelly death in the fruit bowl.  Looking for a new inspiration, I was flicking through Donna Hay’s Fast and Fresh and decided to adapt her basic muffin recipe.

In an attempt to make these healthier, I decided to cut out the sugar completely and I replaced it with 1/2 a cup of malted rice syrup and omitted the extra honey.  I then added blueberries for some extra sweetness.  To boost the protein content, I added rolled oats, wheat germ, LSA and chia.

Scott wasn’t very impressed with these – he complained they weren’t sweet enough,  I quite liked them though, yes they lacked some sweetness, but I still enjoyed the flavours – and Liam? Well as usual, he was more than happy to be a taste tester and loved them.

I think some further modifications are needed, next time I will use a sugar substitute like stevia in place of the brown sugar, and the malted rice syrup in place of the honey..

Yum!

Yum!

2 Cups plain wholemeal flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup raw sugar (substituted with 1/2 cup of Malted Rice Syrup)

2 tablespoons honey (omitted)

1 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1/4 cups vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 mashed bananas

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

1/4 cup wheat germ

1/8 cup LSA

1/4 cup rolled oats

2 tablespoons chia

* Preheat oven to 180 degrees

* Place the flour, baking powder and sugar (if using) in a bowl and mix to combine

* In a separate bowl, mix together the honey, egg, buttermilk, oil, vanilla (and malted rice syrup if using)

* Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined

* If using, stir through the fruit and other

Vanilla Cupcakes

Sometimes I crave just a simple cupcake.  No indulgent added extras, just a plain simple vanilla cupcake with frosting.  If you feel the same, then these are for you.  To add to the simplicity, this is an easy recipe where all ingredients are added and mixed together.  These cupcakes are super light and fluffy, you can have them with just icing or turn them into butterfly cakes with jam and cream.

Simply perfection

Simply perfection

120 grams unsalted butter – softened

2/3 cup caster sugar

1 1/2 cups self raising flour

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

2 eggs

* Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, and line a 12 hole cupcake tin with paper cases

* Put the butter, sugar, flour, milk, vanilla and eggs in a bowl and beat with electric beaters on a low speed for 2 minutes or until well mixed

* Increase speed and beat for a further 2 minutes or until smooth and pale

* Spoon mixture in to cupcake tray and bake for 20 minutes or until golden

* Allow to cool completely on a wire rack

* Ice/decorate as desired and enjoy!!

Butterfly cupcake with strawberry and cream - yum!

Butterfly cupcake with strawberry and cream – yum!

Polka Dot Cookies

Hello, my name is Lauren and I am addicted to food magazines.  I have a huge pile of magazines and recipes that I just can’t bear to part with. Slowly I have tried to cull the number I have hoarded away, as soon as I get rid of them, they are replaced by more.  I was tackling this never ending project earlier in the week, and came across this recipe that I had pulled out of a magazine (I have no idea which one it may have come from).  I used M&M’s which I think are better than smarties anyway.  The pack I had was just enough to decorate all of the cookies and leave a few leftover for me.  The original recipe is double what I have put below, the half serving made around 36 cookies which is more than enough for morning tea!

The last time I made these was before we were married, so at least five years ago – and they are just as good as I remembered!

These are GREAT!

These are GREAT!

2 cups of self raising flour – sifted

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 cup malted milk powder

150g melted unsalted butter – slightly cooled

2 eggs lightly beaten

1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

180g pack of smarties – or M&M’s

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees (160 if fan forced) and line two trays with baking paper.
  • Combine flour, sugar and malted milk powder in a bowl and stir to combine.
  • Make a well in the centre and add eggs, vanilla extract and butter and mix together
  • Using a tablespoon of mixture, roll into balls, flatten slightly and place on tray approx 4cm apart. Press smarties/M&M’s into top of cookies
  • Bake for 8 – 9 minutes and swap trays halfway through
  • Stand on trays for 1 minute before transferring to wire rack to cool