Category Archives: Coffee

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!



Weekend Cooking


It is not often that we are about the house on the weekend so I don’t do a lot of cooking.  However, this weekend I made a bit of an effort and ended up making some lovely things.  When I say ‘effort’, it wasn’t that great as most of the recipes were done in the Thermomix. I really can’t explain just how much of a marvel the Thermomix is.  If you don’t have one, don’t let that put you off clicking on the links to the recipes as most could be done without it, or perhaps completed with another appliance that you have.

Have a look at my creations, I am more than a little proud of some of them…..

Apple Porridge made in the Thermomix while I got ready for the morning.  It can’t get much easier than that!  The boys LOVED it.  Recipe is here.

Apple Porridge

Banana and Coconut Bread.  We all loved this.  The recipe is one for the Thermomix but easy and well worth adapting if you don’t have one.  I also had my first attempt at scrolls.  These were spinach and feta.  Yummo. A fantastic brunch or lunchbox food.  You can find the recipe here.

Banana and Coconut Bread & Spinach and Feta Scrolls

Healthy Banana Ice Cream.  This is made with just a little sugar (or in our case dextrose), frozen skim milk and frozen banana.  It is just like soft serve ice cream without the guilt. I will post more about easy ice creams made in the Thermomix soon.

Healthy Banana Ice Cream

Mexican Hot Chocolate Mocha.  This recipe calls for cocoa, but I have been right into using raw cacao and I am convinced of  the health benefits.  Hubby and I love this rich drink.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Mocha

Mango, Banana and Apple Green Smoothie.  This was my own concoction but you can read about my green smoothies here. This one was demolished by my boys in seconds, despite them watching two big handfuls of spinach going into the mix.

Mango, Banana and Apple Green Smoothie

Chinese Combination Short Long Soup.  I did freestyle with this recipe and added things I knew we would like.  It was a hit all round.  Master C loved the dumplings.

Chinese Combination Short Long Soup

Another dish that I stupidly didn’t photograph, despite the fact it was the stand out dish of the weekend, was Singapore Noodles.  Oh. So. Yummy. Instead of making it with vermicelli noodles, I used angel hair slim noodles which have less than 7 calories per serve.  The meal had next to no calories and was so filling.  I can see this appearing regularly on my meal plans.

I’d love to hear whether you get up to cooking or baking on the weekends or is that your ‘time off’?  Have a great week.

Macaron Success


I love macarons.  Really, what is not to love?  These  chewy, little biscuits taste every bit as scrumptious as they look.

My infatuation started after the MasterChef series when Adriano Zumbo, the rock star of patissiers in Australia, produced the Macaron tower.

Photo: Adelaide Now

A little while back I had my first attempt at baking these deceptively tricky morsels.  I read up on techniques before I started and with more care than I have ever shown any recipe in my life, I popped my little babies in to cook.   As I anxiously pulled the biscuits from the oven, I was terribly disappointed.  Many of my biscuits didn’t develop nice ‘feet’ as they call them.  They tasted divine but just didn’t look the part.

My mission was to perfect the recipe before my children’s birthday party next month, so they could be served on the dessert table.  Well, I am so time poor at the moment that  the likelihood of that happening is zilch. If I wanted to serve macarons, I had to find another way.  The solution – packet mix.

As I walked past the clearance table at my local grocery store, a Donna Hay Macaron packet mix, literally, jumped out at me.  As the store was to no longer stock her baking range, all her packet mixes were half price.  I couldn’t resist buying a few for the party and a ‘test’ box.

I baked the test batch last night and they turned out looking great!  Today we enjoyed taste testing them for morning tea.  Again they did not disappoint.  Delicious and very un-packet like.

I see Zumbo has also released his own macaron packet mix range.  I will most certainly have to try his salted caramel ones.  I see more taste testing to come. Yum!





White Chocolate and Cranberry Muffins


White chocolate and cranberries are a match made in heaven.  This muffin recipe combines the two and is yummo.  I make a big batch of these once a month and freeze them for daycare lunches.   They defrost really well.  I haven’t a clue where I got the recipe from, although I have altered it a bit over time….. please let me know if you find it. I would love to let the creator know how much we love them!


  • 250 ml milk
  • 80 ml oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 130 gms white chocolate chips
  • 170 gms dried cranberries
  • 120 gms caster sugar
  • 280 gms SR flour
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
  2. Grease or line a 12 hole muffin tray (This makes 12 big muffins.  I usually make 12 medium muffins and 6 large muffin tops from this mix)
  3. Beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy
  4. In a jug, combine the oil with milk
  5. Add it to the egg mixture and stir
  6. Stir in the flour and mix until incorporated
  7. Add in the cranberries and white chocolate. Do not overmix.
  8. Divide between muffin holes and bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean

Sorry for the lighting – I made these at night

 I am waiting for the kids to go to bed to have one of these with a hot coffee.  Maybe I can convince them they are ready for bed now……

Wallet Clean Up – Coffee Card Chaos

Wallet Clean Up – Coffee Card Chaos

I am sure I am not the only one out there with a bulging wallet full of 6 month old receipts, credit and loyalty/VIP store cards (don’t get me started on those!).  I finally undertook a very needed clean up of my wallet today and put in place a little organisational feature that I hope will save me some frustration.

I love my coffee and there is nothing I like more than ordering a flat white when I am out.  What I hate about having coffee out is that just about every place has a coffee card. You know the ones – buy 5 coffees get the 6th one free…blah, blah,blah.   I am always the girl standing at the register shuffling thru what seems like dozens of cards to occasionally find the one I am look for.  I’d throw them all out except nothing tastes better than a ‘ free’ coffee!

So, hubby hearing my annoyance, went to a handbag store near his work and picked me up a plastic credit card holder for next to nothing.

So now my coffee card section of my wallet no longer looks like this……

 A jumble of cards thrown in. And this picture is taken after removing about a ream’s worth of receipts from between the coffee cards. 

Instead it looks like this…….


Clean and neat.  Until my next day at the shops, when my receipts will no doubt be smashed into the space.  Oh well. I can only organise one bit of my life at a time. 


Weekend Baking – Banana and Raspberry Bread

Weekend Baking – Banana and Raspberry Bread

I pulled out an old favourite for my Saturday morning bake-off, Banana and Raspberry Bread.  I hadn’t made it for a longtime.  I think I got out of the habit of buying bananas ever since Cyclone Yasi destroyed the crops a year and a half ago and the prices skyrocketed.

This morning the Farmer’s Market had lovely Lady Finger bananas so cheap I had to buy some for the boys and to make this great bread.

Whenever I make it I am reminded of my first days as a new mum.  My Sister-in-Law baked this for us to have for afternoon tea and I think it was the only thing I ate uninterrupted by  a nappy change or feed in that first week.


  • 150 grams butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 ripe bananas mashed
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup frozen raspberries


Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius (fan-forced oven).  Grease and line a standard loaf pan

Beat butter and sugar until pale and creamy. 

As it is so cold here at the moment there was no way my butter was going to soften anytime soon.  I used the George Colombaris’ tip of grating the butter first and it worked well.  

Add eggs, beating well.  Stir in banana.

Sift flour and baking powder on top of mixture and then add milk. Stir until combined.

Gently add raspberries to the mix

Place mix into the pan and bake.  The recipe states it takes about 45 minutes, but I find it is so big and dense it take about 60 minutes in my oven. I keep an eye on it an use a skewer to test that it is cooked through.

Leave to cool in the pan for a while before turning onto rack to cool completely

Serve warm or cold.  You can spread it with butter for an extra special treat.

This is lovely with a cup of tea.  I have in the past frozen it for school lunches and it holds up pretty well.  I recommend this as a must try recipe.

Dear Coffee, I Love You Again – 5 Minute Coffee Corner Creation

Dear Coffee, I Love You Again – 5 Minute Coffee Corner Creation

Like many, I have a love affair with coffee.  I am not, however,  one of these people who can’t live without it or a can’t-function-until-its-drunk gal.  What I love is the ritual of sitting down to drink a coffee.  I love smelling the coffee beans, cradling a warm cup and relaxing for the 10 minutes or so while you slowly sip at that perfect brew.

However,  my life became a whole lot busier last November with the addition of Master C to the household and relaxing is not always on the cards.  If I do get to fire up the coffee machine and make a cup, it is often drunk lukewarm or in a rush to satisfy a hungry infant.   I just wasn’t loving my cup of coffee anymore and I was missing the relationship we once shared.  So, yesterday I decided it was ‘Reclaim the Coffee Break’ Day in the Crooked household!

And so the plan was devised……

  1. Change coffee break to mid-morning during Master C’s nap time
  2. Distract Master O  while I sip coffee
  3. Set up the perfect place to enjoy the coffee break

Steps 1 and 2 were easy but step 3 was going to need work and time was scarce.  I had always wanted a coffee nook in my house.  A place where I could go, specifically designed for my coffee drinking pleasure.  Mood lit, comfy chairs, nice china, cloche covered morsels, engrossing reading material, maybe a view and no annoyance.  Keep dreaming Jade!  But maybe I could have just a fragment of this?  With no place  inside to devote to my selfishness  I looked outside.

There  is a no other place where Master O is more entertained than in the front yard.  It was the logical place for my coffee spot and as I had already set up a table and chair set under our front porch, all the area needed was a makeover.  This is what the area looked like pre-reclaim….

Pretty bland and ordinary I know.  But the area has a nice, green outlook and is a relaxing space with a trickling water feature.

So with this spot in mind I went ‘shopping’ about my house for items that could redecorate here.  I am all for recycling.  I love to change things up at my place so items are constantly being rotated from room to room or into storage.  It means that house is decorated in a similar style and I am not spending up big when the redecoration mood takes me.

To brighten and comfy up the black suite I used two red and white cushions that once lived in the spare room.  To add more splashes of red I used one of my felt placemats as a runner on the table.  A small  black flexi tub that once stored toys would be perfect for magazines or books.  Outside there already lived a few pot plants and lanterns which could be rehoused here to help frame and green up the space.  Finally, I had a small black pot in which once sat a lovely plant that I skillfully killed and with a quick trip to Masters it was filled with a $2 potted colour.

So in five minutes, with a little fluffing and moving of pots and only $2 my new coffee spot  looked like this:

So with just a few small changes, the place is now a lot more inviting.  With my favourite coffee cup and a plate of biscuits, I can sit in my front yard and enjoy my coffee.  I can happily watch Master O at play, flip through the latest catalogues and magazines and enjoy the outdoors.  It just goes to show that you don’t need Donald Trump’s budget or a whole weekend to improve a little corner of your world.