Category Archives: Cooking

Easter Weekend Baking

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I hope you all had a very enjoyable Easter. The four-day weekend was a great opportunity to catch up with friends and indulge in some extra special treats. This year I chose just a few sweet things to make over the weekend and they were more than enough. I though I would share what I created with links to the recipes.

Firstly, the most decadent baked caramel filled cheesecake. I will be making this again very shortly. We all loved it!

Easter Baking

My own take on Cinnamon/Snickerdoodle Cupcakes. I love anything cinnamon.Easter Baking

 

Easter Baking

The kids decorated their own cupcakes with the decorating kits I picked up at Kmart. They had lots of fun.Easter Baking

Easter Baking

Easter Baking

And what Easter would be complete without Hot Cross Buns? These are mini ones I made in the Thermomix.Easter Baking

What treats completed your Easter?

Homemade Ice Cream: No Churn, With and Without the Thermomix

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Since the Thermomix has joined the Crooked Household, we make nearly everything we eat using  just the basic fridge and pantry ingredients. However, after nearly 2 years of Thermomix ownership, I had not attempted to make traditional ice cream. We had made sorbet and cheat’s ice cream using frozen yoghurt or milk and fruit, but not that delicious creamy stuff.

We very rarely buy ice cream, there are just too many nasties in the store-bought stuff, so being able ‘healthify’ a treat was a great option.

The recipe I used was for traditional ice cream from the Thermomix Everyday Cookbook. It is so simple, quick and super delicious!

Homemade Ice Cream - Thermomix

To suit everyone in the household I removed the sugar and instead added a little Natvia (stevia) to sweeten. Next time I might try maple syrup.

To store this delicious concoction in, I purchased these Retro Kitchen containers. A 1 litre container and a set of 4 mini ice cream tubs. So cute!Homemade Ice Cream

Since this little adventure I have been looking into other ice cream recipes, in particular the no churn ones. It seems that the secret ingredient is condensed milk, which I have been wanting to make from scratch in the Thermomix (see recipe here). I am going to one or two of the following recipes a try over the Easter season. You don’t need to have a Thermomix for these recipes, just a hand beater or food processor.

No churn Vanilla Ice Cream 

Caramelised White Chocolate No Churn Ice Cream

Nigella’s Coffee No Churn Ice Cream

Here are my two monkeys enjoying their first taste of homemade ice cream. It got the thumbs up from them. Homemade Ice Cream

Do you make your own ice cream? I’d love to try your recipe.

Amazing Hot Cross Buns

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I LOVE Hot Cross Buns.  Unlike others who groan at their appearance in the supermarket on Boxing Day, I am excited.

In the past I have had a few attempts at making my own, but I have never been able to master the texture.  They have either been too dense or too dry.

Last week though I made the best Hot Cross Bun I have EVER eaten! They were light, soft and perfectly spiced. Full of fruit and delightful with some butter.

After hearing it’s amazing reviews, I used the recipe from the Thermomix Everyday Cookbook. Making them in the Thermomix made the task so simple – all the more reason to bake them all the time. If you don’t have a Thermomix there is no reason why you can’t make these in a stand mixer or with good ol’ elbow grease. You can find a version of this recipe here.

Homemade Hot Cross Buns

To make these little baked goods healthier for my family, I used spelt flour and stevia to sweeten.  Quirky Cooking also makes some healthy substitutions to this recipe which you can see here.

Seriously, if you like Hot Cross Buns, go make this recipe – NOW. You will not be disappointed!

Cheat’s Sour Dough

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A few weeks ago I tried to create my own sour dough starter.  Things seemed to be progressing well then something went wrong. My starter started to stink and failed to rise, although it bubbled nicely. I decided to toss it – a tough decision as I had invested a fair bit of time into it.

Sourdough Starter

After trying to research what went wrong, I realised that even the ‘experts’ give contradictory advice. So I have decided that for the moment, sourdough is a little too ‘high maintenance’ for me.

However, I have wanted to get into creating my own bread to enjoy on the weekends, in particular spelt loaves with little added yeast.

The first loaf I made was Alyce Alexandra’s Cheat’s Sour Dough. This loaf looks and tastes like a sour dough but instead uses just 1/4 teaspoon of yeast to do the rising.

It was really simple to make using the trusty Thermomix.  I followed Alyce’s instructional video which I found on You Tube.  If you don’t have a Thermomix you could certainly whip this loaf up in your food processor.

The dough proved overnight and although wet and sticky, took very little effort to shape. It needed to be baked for 30 minutes, perfect for breakfast.

Cheat's Sourdough

Cheat's Sourdough

And this is what my baby looked like…..

Cheat's Sourdough

Instead of using baker’s flour, I used spelt flour. This messed with the texture a little. Next time I will try of combination of both these flours. I also stuffed up the oven temperature but this was the Little Loaf that Could. The bread had a great crust and sour taste.  While it tasted lovely freshly baked, I enjoyed it most toasted.

I had my slices with smashed avocado and the sweetest heirloom tomatoes. My boys had it hot out of the oven with butter and honey. Delicious! So delicious I didn’t even have time to photograph a slice before the family devoured it all.

But don’t worry, I am going to make it again tonight, ready to bake first thing Saturday. I will stand guard with a camera and a wooden spoon(to rap thieving fingers) to ensure a picture of the first slice.

Have a great weekend.

 

What Ya Been Cookin’?

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I’ve been locked away in the kitchen trying to get a jump on some cooking today. On the agenda – afternoon tea for the hungry kids, something yummy for weekend morning teas, tonight’s dinner and an experiment. Take a look…..

This is so yummy! Garlic, herb and cheese pull apart.  I used my favourite bread recipe, ripped off little balls of dough and dipped them in melted herb and garlic butter. I placed them in a cake tin to rise again before sprinkling with cheese and baking.Herb, garlic and cheese pull apart

Master O is in love with lamingtons at the moment. I made half the recipe in a doughnut pan, the other in a lamington tin. Messy to make but oh so worth it.

Lamingtons

This is Jamie Oliver’s Pork Meatloaf with spaghetti Sauce. I couldn’t wait to taste this at dinner time, so I sliced a small bit off for my lunch. A-mazing! The meatloaf has feta in it and the spaghetti sauce is lovely and rich. This will become a favourite in the Crooked Household.

Pork Meatloaf

Finally, I have always wanted to have a go at making my own sourdough bread. Today I took the first step in creating my own starter. He is equal parts wholemeal spelt flour and water. Fingers-crossed this little fella works.

Sourdough StarterWhat cooking adventures are you up to this weekend?

Freezer Cooking: Quick, Kid Friendly Lunchbox Snacks and Midweek Meals

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My eldest starts school this week so I have been making a few lunchbox snacks to keep in the freezer. As I am also anticipating a lot of exhausted and hungry afternoons, I thought it might be best to get together a few kid friendly meals that I could whip out of the freezer if I needed to.  Here is what I made….

Cheese and bacon scrolls and cinnamon scrolls, ready to defrost and bake.

Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

Fruity Pikelets.

Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

Bliss balls.

Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

And for dinners…..

Kid size lasagne,

Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

and pumpkin arancini balls.Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

This bit of effort should save me some trouble in the next few weeks. Whoo-hoo!

I also have dozens of other lunchbox recipes and ideas I want to get around to trying out.  I have been pinning madly so that I don’t loose them! If you want to gather some inspiration, or grab the recipe for any of the things I made above, take a look at my Lunchbox Recipes Pinterest page.

Have a great week.

Great Festive Cookie Recipe

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The other day I headed to the shops in an effort to finish all of my Christmas shopping.  The whole expedition went wonderfully.  I was focused, determined and fuelled by coffee. Well maybe I wasn’t 100% focused, because this little unplanned, but severely cute item, jumped into my trolley.Christmas Cookies

I mean with all the festive cooking that goes on around here, how could I not have a cute Christmas mug and snack plate?

One little festive treat I whipped up to enjoy on my new plate is this super easy and tasty cookie.

The recipe is not new. Last year I posted about the Cookie Jars that I gave to friends and neighbours. You can read about them here.

Christmas Gifts in a Jar

We so enjoyed these, I have baked them several times throughout the year.  But, now that the green and red m&ms are back, I had to make these cookies – Christmas style.

Christmas Cookies

Ingredients**

  • 1  1/3 cup Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup christmas m&ms
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup butter (room temp)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180 deg Celsius (160 deg celsius – fan forced)
  • Place all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and combine
  • Add egg, butter and vanilla and mix until the ingredients come together
  • Roll heaped tablespoons into balls and place on a lined cookie tray
  • Bake 10-12 minutes

**These measurements are Australia metric. 1 cup = 250 mls, 1 tsp = 5 mls

Christmas cookies

Now it is time to sit back and enjoy one of these while my boys sleep off an active morning at the park. Yum!

 

 

Back to School: Easy Freezer ‘Baking’

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In our part of the world, kids return to school this week for the last term of the year.  In an effort to cut down on lunch preparations, I always do a bit of a cook up of treats for my husband and the boys’ lunch boxes.

I picked out four recipes I could freeze and doubled two of them.  These should last me a while!

I made Banana and Choc Chip Muffins (recipe here), Muesli Slice (see my post here), Lemon Slice (recipe here) and Homemade LCM bars (see Thermomix recipe here, regular recipe here.

Back To School: Easy Freezer 'Baking'

Lemon Slice, Banana and Choc Chip Muffins, Muesli Slice

Back To School: Easy Freezer 'Baking'

Homemade LCMs

What made this task so easy was the last three recipes were no-bake. So, in just under an hour, I had made enough treats to see me through to at least half  term.

I did have a few eager taste testers around to nibble on any piece that looked like it wasn’t going to be packed away.  The consensus was that everything was super yummy.

Do you do a big bake up for lunch boxes? I would love to hear what are your favourites to make.

 

 

 

Halloween Treats: Frozen Banana and Lollipop Ghosts

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Yesterday being the 1st October, the kids and I thought we should pull out the Halloween decorations and spook the house up a bit.

After all that decorating we decided that we deserved a special treat. In keeping with the Halloween theme for the day, we made Frozen Banana Ghosts.

These are a really quick and easy to make.  I trimmed the end off a banana and inserted a popsicle stick. We dipped the bananas in melted white chocolate and use a combination of regular and mini chocolate drops to give the ghost his features.  Then we popped these into the freezer for a while to make them firm up.

Halloween Treats: Frozen Banana and Lollipop Ghosts

Delicious!

After making the banana ghosts we had a little melted white chocolate left.  I made lollipop ghosts out of it by spreading the chocolate over a popsicle stick placed on a piece of greaseproof paper.  Very cute!

Halloween Treats: Frozen Banana and Lollipop Ghosts

Halloween Treats: Frozen Banana and Lollipop Ghosts

These are such easy Halloween treats to make and the kids just love them. Do give them a go.

Cooking With Kids: Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

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To keep my little ankle biters occupied this morning we made cupcakes.  Special cupcakes. Cupcakes baked inside ice cream cones.

I had seen these floating around Pinterest and decided that they were a must try.  The kids were so excited and gobbled them down enthusiastically.

You can make these as simple or as creatively complex as you wish.  The boys and I just used a vanilla sponge packet mix and jazzed it up by adding a few hundreds and thousands to make the batter speckled.

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

You can bake your cupcakes in any sort of ice cream cone.  I decided flat bottom cones were easier to handle, stand and were more likely to cook evenly.

I used a tall square baking pan to hold the cupcakes while they baked.

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

 

While this worked well, next time I will try Allison from the  House of Hepworth’s suggestion (seen below) and I will explain why later.

House of Hepworths

It is important not to overfill the cones.  Ours were a little overfilled.  I think it is best for the cake to rise to either level or just below the top of the cone so you can get the finished cupcake to look more ice cream-like.

Once baked and cooled, I piped on vanilla icing in the shape of an ice cream swirl.  We drizzled some melted chocolate on top to look like sundae sauce and topped the ice cream off with a Malteser and choc finger biscuit.

They all looked spectacular and oh so ice cream-like until they toppled when I tried to move them.  As the cones are top-heavy, you need a stand, like the one thought up by Allison. Next time I will be popping by the dollar store to get myself an alfoil roasting tray.

Here is one of the prettier looking cupcakes after the toppling incident.

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

 

And here are my monkeys devouring their holiday treat.

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

 

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes