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Wednesday, December 30, 2009


It was my brother-in-laws birthday yesterday, and I was in charge of the birthday cake.
The last person to do the grocery shopping doubled up on bananas and my parents couldn't help but pick MORE berries, so our fridge was getting rather full of berries that were about to turn bad.

I hate seeing things go to waste so decided to make a banana and raspberry cake, with white chocolate ganache and berry couli...

I just used a banana cake recipe from Aliyson Holst and added berries to the mixture.


150 g butter 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 c sugar 1/2 c milk
2 eggs, beaten 3 medium sized bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla essence 1/2 c raspberries
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder

White chocolate ganache (see christmas gifts below)

Berry Couli:
2 cup berries
2 Tbsp icing sugar
2 Tbsp orange juice or water

Put all ingredients in a food processor. Process until smooth.

Preparation for Banana and Raspberry Cake:

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease and line a 20 cm square cake tin with baking powder.
One thing I love about being at home is that mum has cooking spray! We never had this in our student flat...ahh the comforts of home.

In a jug or small bowl, stir together the butter, sugar, beaten eggs and vanilla essence.

Sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda together in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.

Pour in the melted butter mixture and stir carefully with a wooden spoon, incorporating the milk and banana at the same time. Gently stir in the raspberries.

Turn the mixture in prepared cake tin

Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until a cake skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to stand in tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cake rack to cool.

Ice with white chocolate ganache

Drizzle over berry couli

and serve with cream and berries...

I'm off to the Marlborough Sounds, hopefully to enjoy more sweet things...Happy New Year to you all!x

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

And the Winner is...

Thank you for your answers. You all had the right idea- it is for icing and decorating cupcakes. I think it will come in very handy :)

As promised, your names went in to a bowl...

and Congratulaions to...

Your name was picked!

Anne said...

I'm thinking it's to fill cupcakes or something like that? Sounds like a fun Christmas!

As soon as I get your details Anne, I will send you a copy of The Jamie Oliver Magazine your way! Happy reading :)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I scream for Ice Cream

I do like my ice cream.

Fortunately for me we had a whole heap of cream and berries left over from christmas day. What better way to use them than for ice cream hmm?

I've actually never made ice cream before so wasn't sure what I was getting myself into. However, cooking is all about experimenting and learning I feel, so I was up for the challenge.

All the recipes I found were for ice cream making machines and I don't have one so decided to improvise. After all, ice cream has been around much longer than home ice cream makers!

Here's the recipe for those of you who'd like to try making their own too (it's actually not that much of a challenge at all):


2 cup strawberries, hulled and halved
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup cream
1 tsp vanilla essence

The how-to:

Put the strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor. Process until nearly pureed, leaving some strawberry chunks. Pour into bowl, refridgerate.

In a saucepan, beat egg yolks. Add mik, remaining sugar and place on medium heat just to boiling point. Do not let boil.

Transfer egg mixture to a bowl and leave to cool in the fridge. Once cool, add cream, vanilla essence and strawberry mixture. Mix to combine.

Cover with gladwrap then place in freezer. After about half an hour, the ice cream should have ideally frozen a bit around the edges. At this stage whisk to dislodge ice crystals and to make creamy once again.

Repeat this step after half an hour and one more time after that. Over all you will have beaten the ice cream three times. Put the ice cream back in the freezer until it is ready to eat.

Real fruit ice cream is my outmost favourite ice cream. So you can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was when I had my first taste to find that it tasted EXACTLY like the real fruit ice cream you buy from PYO berry orchards. Delish. You could substitute strawberries for any fruit.

There are STILL more strawberries and cream left, so I think I might be making more ice cream...

Chirstmas and Jamie Oliver

Christmas has come and gone. All the madness, all the stress, all the worry- for one day. Its crazy isn't it?

My mum and I spent most of the morning cooking and preparing food. A pretty well spent christmas morning, I think.

The Christmas tree, which was stacked to the branches with presents is now shadowing over bare carpet. It is pretty usual not to be able to guess what a christmas present is when all wrapped up. However, is it still usual to not able to guess what it is after you open it? I didn't think it was, so I was a little bemused when I unwrapped this:

Any ideas what it is?

If you think you know, leave a comment below with your answer and email address. I'll draw your names out of a hat on Tuesday, 12pm. The winner will recieve their very own copy of the latest Jamie Oliver Magazine.

Look forward to hearing your thoughts.x

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Gifts

I've been meaning to make something to give as christmas gifts for family friends for a while now, and I finally got the chance to do so this morning.

After flicking through the foodtown magazine (full of some suprisingly good recipes) I decided to make these:

Macaroons with White Chocolate Ganache

...and Dark Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Coated Nuts:

Both were a little time consuming but super easy to make, not to mention very tastey too.

re are the recipes if you'd like to give a little home-made something this christmas too:



70g packet ground almonds
1 cup icing sugar
2 egg whites, room temperature
2 Tbsp sugar
a few drops of food colouring

White Chocolate Ganache

75g white chocolate, roughly chopped
3 Tbsp each: cream, icing sugar


- Line an oven tray with baking paper. Place the ground almonds and icing sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they form a fine mixture.

- Beat the egg whites with a whisk attachment until they froth. Add the sugar gradually and continue to beat until the mixture is glossy, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the food colouring now if your're using it.

- Using a spatula, gently fold in the almond and icing sugar. The mixture will be stiff at first, but will loosen as you fold. Fold just until the mixture falls back into itself, not until it makes a peak. It's really important not to over mix at this stage.

- Spoon the macaroon mixture into a piping bag that has a 2cm opening. Holding the tip close to the oven tray, pipe out enough mixture to make a round approximately 3cm wide.

- Set the macaroons aside for 30 minutes. This helps to form a skin before baking.

- Preheat the oven to 140 degrees celsius and bake the macaroons for 18-20 minutes. Leave them to cool on the trays before peeling away the baking paper and placing them on a wire rack.


- Place the chocolate and cream in a glass jug or bowl. Microwave on medium power for 1-2 minutes. Whisk gently to combine. Stir in the icing sugar and leave until thickened.

- Sandwich the macaroons together with a spoonful of ganache.

Dark Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Coated Nuts (this is my altered version of the one in the Foodtown Magazine)


4 Tbsp dark brown sugar (I used muscavado cane sugar, but any sugar would fine)
3/4 tsp each: salt, ground cinnamon
1 egg white
2 tsp water
300g raw mixed nuts (I used almonds and cashew nuts)


- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees celcius. Line baking tray with baking paper.

- Place the sugars, salt and ground cinnamon in plastic bag and shake together.

- Beat the egg white and water until frothy. Pour in the nuts and stir until well coated. Lift the nuts out with a slotted spoon and place them in the bag of sugar and spices.

- Toss well to coat the nuts and then place them on the prepared baking tray.

- Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to separate them. Leave them to cool, again stirring every now and then to break them up.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fantasy Pavlova

I felt like making a dessert for a bbq I had last night and decided to make this ...which I've been feasting my eyes on for a wee while.

Despite my liking for making meringue-type things, I had never made a pavlova before. It really was just like making a giant meringue, I don't know why I thought it would be any different..

The recipe calls for 1 cup berry compote, but I didn't have enough berries so I found some passionfruit pulp to use instead. I thought melted white chocolate drizzled over would be a rather delish subsitute too.

Served with whipped cream and french vanilla ice cream makes it go down a treat...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Muffin marvel

I'm staying at my parent's house for the summer and their garden is rich with fresh vegetables and luscious fruits. The plum tree has just begun producing for the season, and I couldn't resist the urge to use them for something...

Yeah you guessed it,muffins. There's something about making muffins that I just can't seem to get enough of. Perhaps its the endless selection that one can pour into a muffin tray, or maybe its just the simple pleasure of mixing the dry with the wet...whatever it is, muffins are my thing.

I can never seem to stick to a recipe when I'm making muffins for some reason, so I usually just make up my own.

Below is my version of plum and coconut muffins. The combination of the sugar, coconut and plum gives a tarty, sweet-but-not-too-sweet taste. Enjoy:

1/2 cup castor sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
2 cup Self Raising flour
1 cup coconut
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chopped plums (or 1 can plums)

Beat sugar with eggs, add vanilla, oil and milk. Mix to combine. Fold in flour, coconut, cloves, cinnamon and plums. Do not over mix as it usually results in 'peaked and cracked' muffins. Add more milk if needed.

Pour mixture into greased muffin tray (fill to about 3/4 -4/4 full - I like mine nice and full to give a 'plumped' and 'whole' look when cooked).

Bake for 15-25 minutes at 180 degrees celsius or until golden brown and skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in tray for five minutes before removing. Dust with icing sugar or drizzle over lemon glaze:
(Comine- 1/2 cup icing sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp butter)

Serve warm with lots of butter...mmm

Kia Ora, hello, guten tag, ola, bonjour, hola

I am excited to start an online journal about my love for food. I hope to see you here too!x