Wednesday, 24 October 2012

What to bring for morning tea?

Went to visit my friend the other day (well, the other week now, this blog post has been sitting in my drafts too long!) who had recently had a baby. I LOVE baby cuddles. Wanted to take something along for morning tea/lunch and it had to be dairy free both for her and two of my kids. And I just really didn't feel like making anything sweet. But grocery day was approaching (and I only shop fortnightly so by the end of the fortnight, supplies start dwindling), and I wasn't feeling very inspired. So I was flicking through my trusty old Watties cookbook and came across the recipe for sausage rolls. I had never made my own sausage rolls before. I do have a friend who regularly makes them, and I'm a sucker for them, but for some reason I just never made them myself.
I compared the recipe in that book to some more recipes I googled and decided I would keep it simple and use the recipe from the book - it doesn't contain breadcrumbs as fillers for starters, and I had all the ingredients on hand. If wanting to make them dairy free, make sure your pastry is dairy free. The Pams low-fat flaky puff pastry is, that is what I use.
And as per usual lately, the photo is crap - taken on my phone, and also just a quick snap before the last couple of sausage rolls were snapped up, but better than no photo right? Or is it? haha
Sausage Rolls
courtesy of Watties Kiwi Favourites Cookbook
3 sheets pre rolled flaky puff pastry
450g sausage meat
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 220*c
Cut each pastry sheet into 2 pieces
Place sausage meat in a bowl and mix together with the herbs and onion. Divide the sausage meat into 6 portions. Form each portion into a sausage shape and place on a piece of pastry.
Brush the edge of the pastry where it will join with beaten egg. Roll the pastry over to make a long roll. Cut into 5 sausage rolls and place fold-side down on a lined baking tray.
Make small cuts on the top of each sausage roll or prick with a fork, then brush tops with beaten egg.
Bake for 12-15mins or until cooked and golden.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Happy Birthday to ME!

Friday was my birthday, and my wonderful husband who very rarely attempts to bake (and when he does it is normally a packet mix), baked me a cake. From scratch. It's a cake I had only baked once before myself, for mr 5's birthday a couple of months ago. It was easy, and delicious!
Turns out, it was easy enough even for hubby to make it PERFECTLY. It was SO good. Caramel Cake. I am a sucker for anything caramel. Probably my favourite flavour in the whole world. Yum.
So yeah, today I share with you the recipe, as promised on my facebook page. It is a great recipe, you must try it. It would make scrummy cupcakes too. It's a dangerous recipe - will make me fat if I keep making it, so I must resist. Instead you guys must give it a go, give me your verdicts :)
This recipe was posted on the TradeMe message boards, that is where I originally found it months ago.
Excuse the photo, a) it's taken on my phone again (really must go buy a new camera!), and b) I only remembered to quickly snap a pic before we devoured the last couple of pieces!
Caramel Cake

100g Butter (or marg)
1c Sugar
1 Egg
1Tbsp Golden Syrup
1c Milk (or milk alternative... rice milk works fine)
1tsp Baking Soda
1 ½c Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt

Cream butter and sugar. 
Add egg and beat well. 
Melt golden syrup and milk, when warm add baking soda. Add this to creamed mixture. 
Add flour, Baking Powder and salt. 
Pour into prepared tin. 
Bake 180*C (350*F) for 30mins.
2Tbsp Butter
4Tbsp Brown Sugar
1Tbsp Milk
Icing Sugar

Melt butter and Brown sugar together, add milk and bring to the boil. 
Add enough icing sugar to make spreading consistency.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

So glad we don't have carpet

School holidays started this week, and we have been having a lot of fun so far. The biggest hit so far has been playdough. In nearly every house I have lived in with kids, I have had carpet in the dining room. Seriously, not a smart move really. Finally we are in a house with hard floors. Which means we play with playdough a lot more often now as I'm not scared it's going to get trodden into the carpet!
I shall share with you my favourite playdough recipe. It's a cooked dough, which doesn't suit everybody, but I prefer it as it feels so much nicer and silkier to play with and doesn't leave that yucky dry salty feeling on your hands like some other recipes do. And it's really nice to play with in winter just after cooking it!!
1c flour
1/2 c salt
1c water
1 Tbsp Oil
2 tsp cream of tartar
food colouring
Combine all ingredients in a pan and stir.
Cook over low heat stirring until a ball forms, then knead until smooth.
It is very liquidy to start with, then turns into a sticky mess. When it starts to come together it will still be quite sticky, that's ok, just put it on a board and knead it. It will go all nice and smooth.

Then you can have fun playing with the playdough! The other day we got out some Popsicle sticks and used them to make funny shapes (the kids were 1 and 2, gotta keep it simple). They had great fun, and we got to talk about the different colours and everything - can turn it into not only a tactile experience but a learning one too with colours and shapes and whatever else.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Birthday Season

First we had mr5's birthday about 6 weeks ago, then DH's has just been. For his birthday cake, I dug out my old chocolate mud cake recipe at his request. It is far from dairy free, and never tried to make it dairy free so I do not know if it would work too well - you could find a dairy free chocolate, but no idea if it would turn out with using marg instead of butter - I suspect not. Some recipes just cannot be adapted lol. It is a beautiful cake, very rich! Please excuse the photo quality, I am stuck using my cellphone for pictures at the moment and it has a useless camera on it. Really need to get around to buying myself a new camera!
Chocolate Mud Cake
250g Butter
1 1/2 cup Hot Water
200g Dark Chocolate (I think I actually put in closer to 250g!)
2c Caster Sugar (I used about 1 1/2c)
1/4 c Cocoa
1Tbsp Instant Coffee
1 1/2 cup Self Raising Flour
2 eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
125g Dark Chocolate
125g Unsalted Butter (I used normal butter... would have tasted nicer with unsalted though)
Melt the butter with the hot water in a pot over low heat. Add the chocolate and sugar, stirring till smooth.
Gradually beat in the dry sifted ingredients.
Add eggs and vanilla, beat well.
Pour into a greased/lined 25cm cake tin.
Bake at 150*c for approx 2.5 hours (I found, baking in my fan forced oven at 120*, It was cooked in less than 2 hours - so do keep an eye on it).
Melt chocolate and butter and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Pour over cold cake and smooth out.