Category Archives: recipes

Amazing Hot Cross Buns


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


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’?


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.


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


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


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


  • 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


  • 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’


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.




Thermomixing: Morning Tea Ideas


Since owning a Thermomix I have become much more adventurous in the kitchen.  This nifty machine makes every recipe so quick and easy that it is a crime not to try out new ones.

So after bookmarking a gazillion different recipes to try, I decided on a baking morning and chose 2 recipes perfect for morning tea or the school lunch box.   Each one of them was so easy to make and so delicious, I had to share them with you here.

Cinnamon Scrolls

Cinnamon Scrolls

These are SO AMAZING. They are divine eaten warm.  You can find the recipe on the recipe community here.

The key with these is to rearrange the order in which you make the components to save on the washing up.  Firstly whizz up the sugar for the icing, then, without cleaning the bowl, make the cinnamon filling.  Finally make the dough, there is no need to wash the bowl beforehand.

If you don’t own a Thermomix, don’t be put off giving these a go. It will just require a little elbow grease.

Short Notice Slice

Short Notice Slice

I had never heard of this easy little slice before. The recipe is adapted for the Thermomix and found on the recipe community here.  For those of you without a Thermie, try this recipe.

I can’t say it is the best looking slice but is perfect for school lunch boxes because it is nut-free.  I gave my slice a little bit of crunch by throwing in some sunflower seeds.  You could of course add whatever takes your fancy – your favourite dried fruit, nuts or seeds…even choc chips.

I would love to be sitting down to have one of these treats with a coffee right now, but alas the family has devoured them all.  A very good reason to pull the Thermomix out again over the weekend to ‘re-test’ the recipes ;)



Homemade Nutella Cake in a Mug


Yesterday I posted a recipe for homemade Nutella.  You can read that post here. Today I thought I would show you just one delicious dessert you can make with either your homemade or store-bought Nutella.  What I love is that the whole thing from start to finish takes 3 minutes, so there is virtually no wait to satisfy your chocolate cravings.

Nutella Cake in a Mug (adapted from Stay at Home Mum)


  • 4 tablespoons self raising flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar (I use 3 and it is still sweet)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons Nutella
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil


  • Combine all ingredients in a large mug.
  • Whisk until smooth.
  • Microwave on high for 1½– 3 minutes, depending on the wattage of your microwave.
  • Serve with cream or ice-cream for an indulgent dessert.

Nutella Cake in a Mug


The original recipe says it serves 1, but it is huge.  The mug in the picture above is massive.  Now I portion it into 2 kid’s mugs and 2 teacups for our family and reduce the cooking time.  Served with a small scoop of ice cream, it is more than enough of a dessert for everyone.

If you are anything like me, you might want to undercook your cake so is still a little gooey.  Serve it hot out of the microwave and it is fabulously fudgy.

Nutella Cake in a Mug

I certainly urge you to give this one a go if you are short on time or your sweet tooth needs instant satisfaction. Yum!


Thermomixing: Chilli Jam


I love adding a little chilli to my dishes.  I often pick up a huge bag of chillies for next to nothing at the farmer’s market every fortnight or so.  While I can get through quite a few, there is inevitably a few limpish, unused ones left at the end of the fortnight.  I didn’t really know what to do with these until I came across this recipe.

Chilli Jam (adapted from Steph Berg recipe)


6 long fresh red chillies

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup castor sugar

1 tsp salt

4 cloves garlic

2 tsp fish sauce

1/2 tsp agar agar


Trim the stems off the chillies

For a mild chilli flavour, deseeded the chillies.

You can make the jam milder again by soaking the chillies for 15 minutes in hot water then draining.

Put all the ingredients, except the agar agar in the Thermomix and process 10 seconds on speed 7.

Heat for 11 minutes at 100 degrees on speed 1.

Add the agar agar and cook for 4 minutes at 100 degrees at speed 1.

Pour into a sterilized jar.

Chilli Jam

I love chilli Jam heated and poured over Philly cheese as a quick and easy dip. Otherwise, it is great addition to a gourmet style hamburger.

That’s it….my mouth is watering. I’m off to try my creation now.

Dabbling in Freezer Cooking


After a visit to my favourite butcher who sells bulk meat, I dreaded the prospect of breaking the meat up into batches and vacuum sealing  it to be frozen.  I did however, feel slightly more enthusiastic about cooking.  So I set out to make some freezer meals.

I have at various times dabbled in freezer cooking.  I certainly loved the convenience of having ready-made meals when I was busy at work or when I was a new mum.  I didn’t hate the cooking days, in fact I quite liked them. So I wondered why I never really stuck to it and made an art of it.

I think in my case it came down to not having enough of a freezer meal catalogue.  In the old days I made the same things ….spaghetti sauce, lasagne, cottage pie, a curry or two and soups. Boring. If only I had looked to the internet for inspiration!

There are hundred of sites and bloggers out there praising freezer cooking.  Many have it down to a fine art – menu plans, recipes, shopping lists, cooking days, even providing sticker templates to print and  attach to your made meal.  There are thousands of amazing recipes out there to suit every taste and even cooking preference.  It really is an eye opener.

As it is coming into winter here in the Southern hemisphere, I am keen to get the slow cooker working.  I found whole sites devoted to creating frozen baggies of ingredients, that you defrost and pop into the crock pot to cook.  Really, who thought you could make crock pot cooking even easier than it already was?

The more I traversed the sites, the more I was beginning to be sold on the idea of freezer cooking.  I don’t know that I would have the majority of meals out of the freezer as I like to eat a fresh, clean and raw as possible, but it definitely has benefits.  It undoubtably saves money as you can shop the sale items and use seasonal produce.  You are less likely to resort to expensive take out on the days when you don’t feel like cooking.  I can see there would be less washing up and probably less food waste.

So if you are keen to dabble in freezer cooking like me, here are some sites that are worth a visit.

Money Saving Mom - Huge recipe selection and some great printables for those organising freaks, like me.

One a Month Mom – Everything you need to be a freezer cooking genius.  Menu plans for all sorts of dietary needs including paleo, vegetarian and baby. Heaps available for free on the site or become a member to receive ongoing menus and recipes.

Who Needs a Cape? – Make 40 meals in 4 hours! Lots of crock pot freezer recipes here.

Life as Mom – Lots of tips on how to freezer cook and every month a new cooking plan to follow.

I have also started to pin some of my favourite freezer meals.  You are welcome to follow along here.

So what did I cook and freeze the other day, you ask?

Freezer Meals

Healthy Butter Chicken – I used a fantastic spice mix from this company


Chicken enchiladas

Freezer Meals

Slow cooker braised lamb

Freezer Bread

Pear and raspberry coconut bread.  Yummo! I will share this recipe with you soon.

If you are interested in freezer cooking, be sure to follow along.  I intend to do a lot more freezer cooking and I will share what I make on here.

Have a great day.