Monday, June 7, 2010

Feeding 4000!

The Challenge ... to provide bite size treats over the course of a weekend to 4000+ people.  
The Budget ... mmm.... cost price.
The Team ... we rallied the troops on the day
The Result ...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Master Chef @ Sisterhood

This morning I had the awesome opportunity of doing a cooking demonstration at Hillsong Sisterhood.   The challenge was to prepare and serve a meal in 12 minutes ... all while being watched by 150 women!  

I have to admit I was totally nervous.   I actually had to stop my hand from shaking when I was pouring vinegar into a jar.   I'm not sure why I was so nervous ... maybe it was all the eyes watching, or the thought of stuffing it up, or the reality that the angle I was cooking at probably wasn't the best for hiding my double chin!   Once I got into the cooking I did relax and really had fun.

I prepared one of my favourite meals ... Tender Chicken Breasts with Sumac Yoghurt, Cranberry Salad and Jacket Potatoes.   To download my recipe click here.   If you have any questions please don't hesitate to leave a contact .. would love to chat with you.

I am cooking for the next two weeks ... next week will be Cupcakes (of course!).

If you are in Brisbane come join us at Hillsong Church, Rover Street, Mt Gravatt - 9.30am Thursday.


Hi gorgeous people ... I'm back!   Wow I can't believe it has been so long.

Our house move went really well and we are now settling into our new home. 

Most of the rooms are unpacked and I am now enjoying creating a new sanctuary for my family and friends to gather.   I love being able to set up a room from nothing. 

I have been busy shopping on ebay ... our new home is bigger and we had rooms with no furniture.  Have found heaps of bargains ... including 2 x 3 seater leather lounges for $350 (originally $5000 in Ikea!).    Love a bargain!

As life begins to settle I am finding myself back in the kitchen ... one pot wonders, winter soups, 1000's of cupcakes (seriously!) and some new ventures on the horizon.   

Life is good.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Moving House

Hi gorgeous people ... just letting you know I haven't disappeared ... I'm in the middle of moving house.

Been a crazy few weeks. We move this Friday and our house sale only went unconditional today and we sign the lease on our new home tomorrow - with two sleeps to spare!

I am sure there will be lots of things to share as soon as I am back on line.

Look forward to chatting on the other side xo

PS.   My new kitchen is amazing ... can't wait to start cooking in it!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Anyone for Scones

I am so inspired ... have a look at the gorgeous old stove ...

I think the fridge beside it is a bit modern though ... needs an old bubble shaped Kelvinator.

Anyway, I wonder how many batches of scones have been made in that oven.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Petite Breadrolls

As an alternative to making sandwiches I make Petite Breadrolls.  They look great, taste great, and are more substantial than a sandwich.

I use the bake at home rolls from Woolworths or Coles.   I normally have a stash of them in the freezer.

My favourite fillings are:

1.  Ham or Roast Beef with potoato salad and baby spinach.

2.  Egg & Lettuce
3.   Chicken w. mayo, mustard and baby spinach

Filling ideas are endless ... would love to hear what some of your favourites are ....

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cookie Dough Monster Strikes Again

As most of you are aware my son is the Cookie Monster ... he continually eats frozen cookie dough from the freezer.    If you are not aware of his antics, you can check out the original story here.   

He was then sprung eating it with icecream for dessert ... check out here!

And on a recent fishing trip to Bribie Island, guess what I found him eating???

YEP ... he had put a secret stash of cookie dough in the esky!

He does occasionally let me bake them before eating ...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Donna Hay Chocolate Cake

Oh my goodness, how great does the cover of the Donna Hay 50th Edition look.   I was so mesmerised by it I had to bake it ... and eat it ...
It was very easy to make and it tastes amazing!

My wonderful friend Lourdes, baked the Lemon & Passionfruit Cake ...

The only dilemna we faced was which one to try first ... so we had both!   We were of course celebrating the contract on our house ... that took all the calories away!

If you don't already have the lastest copy of Donna Hay ... then get one!!!  It is full of fantastic recipes and ideas.   I can't believe it is the 50th edition ... I own every one ... so glad I have a subscription.

I'm keen to get some feedback from my followers, so here's a question for you ... "What is your favourite Donna Hay recipe?"

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hot Cross Buns with a Twist

This Easter I decided to make Hot Cross Buns with a Twist ... HOT CROSS MUFFINS!!!    They are so simple to make and family and friends loved them ... so much so I ended up making 8 batches!

You will need:   [makes 12]
135g dried cranberries
150g currants
2 1/2 cups self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2/3 cup sunflower oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
200g caster sugar, + extra 2 tablespoons
80g icing sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

How to:
Preheat oven to 200 deg C.
Soak dried fruit in just enough boiling water to cover for 10 minutes. 
Drain well, then pat dry with paper towel.
Mix the flour, soda and spices in a large bowl. 
In a seperate bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs and sugar until combined. 
Add to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. 
Gently stir in the fruit.
Divide the mixture among muffin cases, then bake for 20 - 25 minutes until lightly browned.
Cool completely on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, place the extra 2 tablespoons sugar in a pan with 2 tablespoons water and simmer over low heat, sitrring, until sugar dissolves. 
Brush the glaze over the muffins.
Sift icing sugar into a bowl.  
Add lemon juice and just enough hot water to make a thick, pipable icing.  Using a piping bag or drizzle from a spoon to draw a cross on each muffin.


I decided to be a bit creative and baked them in disposable espresso cups (4oz).   If you are going to give this a try ... spray the inside of the cup with cooking spray and when they are cool enough to handle, run a knife around the edge of the cup to make them easier to remove.

You will notice from my photo that I didn't pipe these ones with the icing ... you are a very observant bunch!  After that many batches I have to admit I was getting slack ... so I used a tube of premade icing from Woolworths.   The sad thing is nobody complained or even noticed the difference.

You can also use whatever combination of dried fruit you prefer.  But, the cranberries a real treat!

[Original recipe can be found in the DELICIOUS magazine - April 2010 edition]

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Jethro has found the cookie dough ....

Jethro doesn't miss a thing ... I actually thing he has a built in cookie dough radar! Look what I have found him making for dessert ....


Monday, March 29, 2010

Choc Chip & Peanut Cookies

This has been a family favourite forever.   I use to make up double batches of the recipe and freeze the cookie dough.   That way I could bake as many cookies as I needed whenever we felt like them!  

One morning I went to the freezer to get the cookie dough and the container was empty.   Upon asking the kids who knew where the cookie dough went my then 5 year old son says "oops ... sorry mum I just love frozen cookies"!!!   My little sweetie wasn't waiting for them to be baked, just pinching them from the freezer!   He only looks innocent ...

Choc Chip & Peanut Cookies
250g butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
2 cups (400g) firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups (525g) self raising flour
250g packet choc bits
1 cup (140g) crushed nuts

Beat butter, essence and sugar in small bowl with electric mixer until smooth.

Add eggs, beat until well combined.

Add sifted flour, choc bits and nuts (you can omit the nuts and add extra choc bits), press ingredients together using hands.

Divide mixture into 3 portions, roll each portion into two 30cm logs. Roll each log in baking paper or foil, refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.

Cut logs into 1 cm slices with serrated knife. Place slices on baking paper lined oven trays, about 3 cm apart.

Bake in moderate oven about 20 minutes or until browned lightly.

Makes 60

Note: By using White Wings Gluten Free Flour and Gluten Free Choc Bits (most choc bits are gluten free - but do check) it is easy to convert to being Gluten Free Cookies.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Not Feeling Like the Cooking Angel

Oh my gosh ... I think I have spent way too much time in the kitchen this past week.   As much as I love cooking, I do get to a stage where I want to boycott the kitchen for a few days!!!   Yesterday was one of those days.

Here is what the few days leading up to Sunday looked like:

Thursday:   Lunch Packs for 100 girls at Sisterhood to raise money
                 for A21 Campaign.

Friday:       Supper for 100 people

Saturday:   Made lunch for the next day (we were going to friends)
                Made 100 cupcakes (pink and blue)
                Fruit platters for 100 people
                Slices for 100 people

                This would have been all fine after a relaxing day, we decided to have an impromtu dinner with family and I didn't start my catering prep until 9pm!!    Cooking spaghetti bologanise at midnight just doesn't seem right!!!

After all this cooking and baking, by the time we got to our friends place on Sunday and all I needed to do was cook gluten free spaghetti and turn cupcakes into fairy cakes I was NOT feeling like the Cooking Angel.  

I turned the spaghetti into what could only be described as a pot of glue, and even when I "cheated" and bought dollop cream to do the cupcakes it wasn't dollop cream at all and still needed to be whipped ... not that it was hard, I just wanted it to be simple!!!   Then while reheating the bolognaise in the microwave it "exploded" and splattered sauce all over Vicki's microwave ... arrrghhh!!!!    I really needed to get out of the kitchen!!  And it is probably worth mentioning that Vicki is married to my husband's boss!!!

So last night for dinner my family made their own toast !!!   And I just wanted a cup of tea.

So there you have it even the Cooking Angel has disaster kitchen days.

Here's to a much better week ....

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chocolate Cupcakes

Over the weekend our friend's were celebrating their son's 18th birthday.   We were invited with family and friends to a fantastic backyard bbq.   So, now I was faced with the question "what do I give Josh for his birthday?".

Easy ... CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES ... of course!!!

If you would like to order cupcakes for any occasion, please feel free to send me a message.   

Thursday, March 18, 2010

BBQ Lamb w. Garlic & Herbs and Salt & Pepper Pumpkin

On the menu tonight ... BBQ Lamb w. Garlic & Herbs : Salt & Pepper Pumpkin : Jacket Potatoes w. Sour Cream : Stir Fry Vegies.

I have been wanting to make use of the BBQ before the weather starts getting cooler, and there is nothing better on the bbq than Lamb ... I am Aussie through and through.

One of my favourite finds is ....

and it is even better when it is "reduced".

It is a sensational butterfly cut of lamb ... you will be totally "hooked" once you've tried it.    There are a few different ways to cook it - instructions are on the packet.  

I simply heat my hooded bbq to 200 deg. C.    Then with the lid open I char grill both sides of the lamb (brushed with oil) for approximately 10 minutes. 

Turn off the burner directly under the meat, close the lid and let it cook for approximately 15 - 25 minutes.  

The lamb then needs to come off the bbq and rest for about 10 minutes.

To make the Salt and Pepper Pumpkin.    Cut your pumpkin into chunks, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper.  

Place in a preheated 200 deg C oven and cook for 25 minutes or until cooked through.


With the lamb cooking nicely on the bbq and the pumpkin sizzling in the oven, I took the opportunity to enjoy the last light of the day... while lying on the trampoline of course !!!   It was really therapeutic to take a few moments out just to relax.

"Dinner is ready ...."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Confessions of a Cooking Angel

Ok - I must confess .... I don't always stick to my Menu Planner.  Sometimes life just happens and I don't feel like cooking to the plan.   Last night was one of those nights.   I had an early morning catering job ... Breakfast for 25 people - I had a heap of domestic jobs to do - then afternoon tea with my sister, parents and family ... and Andrew was out at a work function.  

On the way home from my sister's, the kids and I took a vote and decided to have a simple dinner - Scrambled Eggs!!!   Katie ate her dinner while doing her homework (she is such a good girl!) and Jethro and I curled up on the lounge together and chatted.  It was fun just to hang with him!

The planned FAJITAS will now get bumped to the next menu planner.

BUT I'm not being a slack angel ... last night was Date Night for Andrew and I.    One night a week we "blob" on the lounge together in front of a good DVD.    I decided to prepare a little treat for us ...

Yummo!!!  I am sure that cheese & chocolate where created in heaven ... just for me!

My treat platter included:

Hint:  I leave cheeses to sit for 1 - 2 hours at room temperature before serving - brings out the flavour.

I love semi dried tomatoes and fetta ... unfortunately we don't have a good deli nearby so I settled for a Woolworths prepackaged variety ... not too bad.

I think South Cape Crispbread is one of the best crackers to serve with cheese ... they are light and don't overpower the cheese.   You really want to taste the cheese NOT the cracker!!

I have to confess as much as I love cheese .... I LOVE CHOCOLATE ... so what cheese platter would be complete without a few pieces ...

And I couldn't think of a better accompaniment to the whole night ....

So, I confess ... I LOVE DATE NIGHT WITH MY MAN xxoo

Chicken with 40 Garlic Cloves

My menu planner is off to an extraordinary start with Chicken w. 40 Garlic Cloves  [courtesy of].   Hubby and the kids were very impressed and the leftovers were a delight for lunch today!    I love cooking with garlic ... the smell brings back childhood memories growing up on the farm.   The man that lived next door "Jock" grew garlic and his barn was full of bags and bags and bags of it.   Everything about Jock ... his clothes, his house, his barn, his ute, EVERYTHING smelt like garlic!!   

The recipe is simple to follow, so don't hesitate for a second - add it to your menu planner!

You will need:
1 lemon
1 large (about 1.6kg) free-range chicken
2 bay leaves
40ml (2 tbs) extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs finely chopped rosemary
40 garlic cloves, skin on
300ml chicken stock
300ml white wine

What to do:

Preheat oven to 190°C.

Cut the lemon in half lengthways and place in the cavity of the chicken with the bay leaves.

Tie the legs together with kitchen string to secure, then rub with the olive oil and sprinkle with the rosemary.

Place the chicken in an ovenproof casserole dish, add the garlic cloves, stock and wine and bring to the boil on the stovetop over medium heat.
Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove lid and roast for a further 20 minutes or until the chicken is golden brown.

Remove the chicken from dish and set aside to rest. Use a slotted spoon to remove about 16 of the garlic cloves and set aside. Place the baking dish on the stovetop over high heat and simmer for 5-6 minutes to reduce to a sauce, pressing the garlic to release the flavour. Strain.

Serve the roast chicken with the reserved garlic cloves and drizzle with a little sauce.

I served the chicken with mashed potato & beans.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Menu Planner Inspiration

This fortnight's menu planner has some family favourites ... some of the new recipes I tried last fortnight have become instant "hits" and so have reappeared ... except for the Paella of course!

I will be posting some of the recipes during the week ... especially tonight's Chicken with 40 garlic cloves!!!

Thanks to those who are following my menu planner ... and a BIG welcome to all my new followers from TASTE ...

Here's to a great week of gathering our families around the table!!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Oven Grilled Nectarines

Over the weekend I noticed that there were an abundance of nectarines in our fruit bowl.   I didn't want them to go to waste and I knew it would be impossible to eat them all, so I decided to turn them into dessert.

Oven Grilled Nectarines in Port

1. Cut the nectarines in half, removing the seed.   Place in a baking dish, flesh side up.

2. Sprinkle with brown sugar (probably a bit more than just a sprinkle)

3.  Place in a preheated oven, with the grill on.

4.  Bake for approximately 10 - 15 minutes.  Until the sugar has caramelised.

5.  Serve with vanilla icecream and drizzle with the juice from the baking dish.  Yummo!

And the leftovers???

Place in steralised jar and fill to the top with Port, Rum or Brandy.

Store in the refrigerator.

Keeping enjoying!!