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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Token Gifts

So, what was it that I had planned for the Refrigerator Cookies:

Christmas gifts of course!

The perfect 'token' gift. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Flakey Melt-in-Your-mouth Pie

On my 23rd birthday, Kevin bought me a pie maker. Yeeep a pie maker. You can imagine my surprise when unwrapping this 'thoughtful' gift. I mean, it's not every day you get given a pie maker - by your boyfriend. It's not exactly the most romantic of presents, but then Kevin can have his un-romantic moments. Can you relate? Clearly it was his way of telling me to 'make him some pies'. Thanks Kev. Unfortunately three years has gone past, and not a lot of pies have been made. Sorry Kev.

I do like my pie however, and one night when Kev and I were sitting in front of the T.V.,we became sold on a delicious looking pie that flashed before us on the T.V. screen. 

"Mmm Pie. Man I want Pie" Says Kev (currently starving). 

And that is how the love for this pie came about...

The pastry used for these pies is heavenly. HEAVENLY. When you bite into the pie, you are hit with a flakey crunch which then soon melts in your mouth. It's pretty dang amazing and no doubt has something to do with the 1/3 sour cream, 1/3 butter. The other 1/3 is flour. 
We fill these babies with slow cooked chuck steak, onions, carrots and some guinness. Mmm!

Fkakey Melt-In-Your-Mouth Pastry


200g chilled butter
250g flour
1/2 cup sour cream 

How to:

Chop up butter and add to the flour in a large bowl of an electric mixer or food processor. Process until mixture resembles large bread crumbs. 

Add sour cream and process until mixture just comes together. 

Form into a disc shape, wrap in gladwrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes (chilling pastry prevents the pastry from shrinking). 

Roll the pastry out and cut into circles (to fit muffin tins of your choice. We used a texas muffin tin which makes 7). You will need a circle for the bottom and a larger circle for the lid. 

Fill with filling of your choice and then top with the lid.

Brush lightly with a beaten egg and slice a whole through the top to allow the pie to breath whilst cooking.

Bake at 180 c for 25 minutes or until golden brown. 

Serve with T. sauce (tomato sauce) - this is a must .

Beef Onion and Guinness Pie
(or Flakey Melt-in-Your-Mouth Pie)


  • 100ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • onions, sliced
  • cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • sprigs thyme
  • fresh bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1.5kg trimmed chuck steak, cut into 5cm pieces
  • Salt flakes and freshly ground white pepper
  • carrot, cut into large chunks
  • 440ml can Guinness
  • 1L home-made beef stock
  • egg, beaten
  • Tomato sauce, to serve
Maggie Beer’s Sour-Cream Pastry
  • 200g chilled unsalted butter, chopped
  • 250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • ½ cup sour cream


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan-forced (200°C conventional).

2. For the pies, add 40ml olive oil to an enamelled cast-iron casserole, then add the onion, garlic and thyme and cook over low heat (use a simmer mat, if necessary) for 40 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat to medium-high, add bay leaves and cook until the onion is dark and caramelised. Add the flour and cook stirring often for 3-4 minutes.

3. Season the beef generously with salt flakes and ground white pepper. Heat remaining 60ml of the olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat, then cook the beef in 2 batches until well browned on all sides. Add the carrot and cook for 5-6 minutes or until golden. Add ¾ of the Guinness and cook for 5 minutes. Tip beef and Guinness into onions. Use remaining Guinness in can to deglaze the beef pan, scraping all the brown bits from the bottom, add to the onions.

4. Pour enough beef stock to cover the beef and vegetables and bring to the boil. Cover with a tight fitting lid, then transfer to the oven and cook for 2-2.5 hours or until tender. Leave to cool to room temperature. Remove the chunks of beef and carrot to a board and chop into 1cm pieces, then return them to the onion gravy. Refrigerate until cold.

5. Meanwhile, to make the sour cream pastry, place the butter and flour and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle or food processor, then blend until the mixture resembles large breadcrumbs. Gradually add the sour cream, mixing until the pastry just comes together. Shape into a disc, then wrap in plastic wrap then chill for at least 20 minutes.

6. Grease 6 holes of a muffin pan with a little olive oil. Roll out the pastry to 3-5mm thick, using a little extra flour for dusting. Cut out six rounds about 4cm bigger than the muffin holes for the pie bases and six rounds 2cm bigger than the muffin holes for the pie lids. Place a pie base in each hole, then press in in lightly with your fingers, and draw the pastry up the mould a little so the pastry is 1cm above the mould. Fill each hole with some of the beef mixture, brush edges with water, then top each with a pastry lid and crimp the edges to seal in the filling.

7. Brush the pastry tops with beaten egg, cut a small hole in the centre of each pie for steam to escape. Bake for 25 minutes or until pastry is golden. Remove from the oven and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Turn out and serve with tomato sauce, if desired.

(From Master Chef Australia)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Refrigerator Cookies

It's been a productive weekend here at the Sears' household: The window sills are now clean, the tinsel is up, the floor is vacuumed, the mountain of dishes (that have amounted due to a broken dishwasher) are done, the house has been waterblasted, the Christmas dinner part has been and gone, the Christmas service at church has been attended, the open homes have been visited, the cookies are baked and the pie filling for Tuesday is currently cooking.

What did I enjoy the most?
(Oh, why thank-you for asking) I thoroughly enjoyed making and discovering Refrigerator cookies. These beauties are so simple and basic, leaving much room for a bit of creativity and sparkle.

I made a batch of basic dough, split it into three bowls to make three different flavours - sugar coated with shaved almonds, chocolate and peanut covered, and cranberry and coconut.

During my third helping of eating the raw mixture, memories of eating raw sweet pastry from the Christmas mince pies we used to make with mum when I was little came flooding back. The mixture tastes just like it! Pastry biscuits? Mmm, yes please.

Here is what they turned out like.

I'll be back soon with my plan for these little sweet 'rounds' of joy.

"Refrigerator Cookies"

250g butter (softened)
1 cup icing sugar
2 1/2 cup flour

Beat butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in flour. Divide mixture into three bowls. Add what ever flavour you would like e.g. 1 table cocoa, chocolate chips, vanilla extract, cranberries, almonds, etc.

Next, knead the dough until smooth and roll into a log and cover in gladwrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Remove rolls from fridge and 'slice' the cookie rolls. Place each biscuit on a tray with baking paper and bake for 10 minutes at 180 degrees.

For Chocolate and and Peanut covered cookies:
Melt chocolate and chop nuts. Dip ends or top of cookie into chocolate mixture then chopped nuts. Leave to cool on baking paper.

Coconut and Cranberry Cookies:
After you have separated the mixture into three bowls, add 1/3 cup coconut, 1/4 cranberries and 1 tbsp water to the basic mix.

Sugar coated and Almond Cookies:
Once you have removed the cookie rolls from the fridge, lightly wet the roll with water then roll in sugar until coated well. Slice the dough then place shaved almonds on the cookies, pressing them lightly into the cookie so they don't come off easily.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Lemon Meringue Slice

This is pure lemon-deliciousness and is a must try for anyone who loves lemon. Recipe to come soon...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pancakes For One

One weet-bix, about 3/4 cup muesli, a few canned peaches and a good dollop of yoghurt is pretty much what I have eaten for breakfast everyday for a really long time. A really long time. Yep, I'm definitely a creature of habit - even I was going out for brunch I'd have to at least have a couple of weet-bix to line my stomach for what was coming. Some may call me a wuss or a creature of habit but regardless -yesterday morning something in the wind changed because I felt like something a little more heavy than my usual cereal saga. I wanted Pancakes. Badly. AND I didn't even want weet-bix to start off. I know! Shock horror. Quite a big deal and may have the potential to become a regular thing. Did you know they don't even take much longer to prepare than my usual cereal breakfast? 

If you're already thinking I'm pretty weird it gets worse. I wanted peanut butter and plums of my pancakes - together. Yes, that's what that brown gooey thing on the side of my plate is. But before you judge, may I just say that this is an extremely tasty combination? I dare you to try it. It has the sweet, tangy, savory taste going on all in one go. Mmm! To be fair I did use Pics' really good peanut butter (only the most ahhmazing peanut butter ever made).

While I was eating this one, my other pancake was waiting patiently in the pan and to my delight was super crispy when I came to eat it. All it needed was a good drizzle of maple syrup and - deliciousness in my mouth. 

Pancakes For One:

1/4 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup buttermilk or milk with one tsp lemon juice
pinch of salt
1 egg
a sprinkle of rolled oats

Blend together to make a smooth, pourable batter. Add more or less flour to create this consistency. Lightly grease a heavy pan and cook ladlefuls of mixture over a medium heat. Once the pancake bubbles, turn over. Makes about 4 medium sized pancakes.

*NB: Because it was early morning time, I didn't add any extra butter in the mixture (just lots to the pan) and the sweetness came from the toppings. If you'd like it extra sweet, add 2 tsp sugar and 1 tablespoon butter, melted to the mixture.

If you have mixture left over, cook it up and leave the pancakes in the fridge for the next day, or freeze them and toast them.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Pot Luck Dish

I seem to have a love/hate relationship with pot-lucks. I love them when I have the time/can be bothered to conjure up something to take yet seem to rather dislike them when I have no time, no ingredients or feeling too lazy to make anything. Thus this then results in feeling guilty when my supermarket item sits awkwardly next to a home cooked item made by someone who was slightly more organised than I.

I have a pot-luck dinner to go to tonight and fortunately I had the time, the desire aaaand the ingredients to make something.

I did have to be fairly creative however when choosing something to make as we have just moved house and my baking ingredients are spread out everywhere.

I decided to go with these little babies from my sister's blog and this chocolate no-bake slice which allowed me to use up three half empty packets of biscuits and the rest of some cereal.

Both are fairly effortless and stress-free which is ideal for a lazy public holiday day.

Apricot Truffles


250g dried apricots
1/4 cup white sugar
rind of one lemon/orange*
2 Tbsp orange juice*
1/2 cup dessicated coconut, more for rolling

Chop the apricots roughly, then put in a food processor with the sugar rind, and juice. Process until chopped finely. Then add the coconut and process until firm. Roll into small balls (one batch makes about 20) then roll in extra coconut. Keep in fridge till firm.

I didn't have a lemon or orange rind so substituted these for a teaspoon of marmalade. Instead of the orange juice I used one tablespoon of lime and one table spoon of lemon juice (from a packet - no judging..).

 Chocolate No-Bake Slice
Makes 24
175g butter
3 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 tbsp cocoa powder
250g of any cereal, biscuits etc.(I used a combination of squiggles, oreos, weetbix and muesli)
½ cup dried cranberries

3 tablespoons Cocoa
11/2 icing sugar
2 tablespoon nutella
40g butter, melted

Line a 17cm x 27cm slice tin with nonstick baking paper. Place butter, golden syrup and vanilla in a saucepan and heat until butter has melted. Process cereals/biscuits in a food processor. Add cocoa, and cranberries and pour into butter mixture. Stir to combine. Press to cover the base of prepared tin.

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine making sure there are no lumps. Spread with a hot wet knife or spatula onto the base. Leave for 1 hour to set. Cut into bars with a hot knife.

I hope you are having a happy Waitangi day (or happy Monday if you're not from kiwi land).