Mustache Cookies

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A few weeks ago the boy and I caught up with friends for our annual Christmas dinner. It’s a tradition for everyone in the group to bring a generic gift which someone unwraps and then other members of the group can steal it by exchanging it for the gift they just unwrapped – it really gets you in the Christmas spirit of peace and joy…I swear!

So this year the boy thought he had chosen the greatest present ever – mustache cookie cutters – and was determined to steal them back. He ended up taking them off his friend who seemed really excited about using them. Oh well, tis the season of giving and stealing!

They are pretty cute and fun to play with so I can understand why he wanted them back so much!

I used this recipe for chocolate sables from Miette bakery in San Francisco and they were the perfect mustache cookie cutter consistency!

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Apple and Berry Cobbler

Berries and applesAfter a cooking dry spell which seemed to go on forever (partially due to the fact that our oven exploded) I finally got back in the kitchen this week! I missed my lovely heart-shaped measuring cups!

This delicious fruit cobbler by Jamie Oliver is my go-to dessert when I am craving something a little more naughty than my usual cup of Milo (have I ever mentioned how addicted I am to Milo? I eat it by the tablespoon!). It’s great for getting through the last few pieces of fruit in your fruit bowl and there are many different flavour combinations you can try.

The balsamic vinegar is a genius touch (thanks Jamie) and really ties the tartness of the berries to the sweet and juicy apples. I never usually bother to use buttermilk, mainly because it is never in the refrigerator, but milk works just fine and the dough always turns out light and fluffy.

Cooked fruitcook the fruit, sugar and balsamic vinegar till the juices of the berries begin to run

Butter and flourrub chilled butter into flower to resemble fine breadcrumbs, then mix in sugar, salt and milk to form a loose dough

Toppingpile the dough on top of the berries, sprinkle with sugar and cook till golden brown

Fruit cobbleryummy

Apple and Berry Fruit Cobbler
time to dig in!

My Weekend in Instagram Photos

I love it when the weekends don’t rush by and I actually get a chance to spend some time being crafty. This weekend has been perfection – I got so much done, yet I feel really refreshed. Here are a few snapshots of my weekend in Instagram photos:

Sticky Chilli Chicken
my boyfriend made me sticky chilli chicken on Friday night (a variation of the recipe can be found here)

New Nail Polishmy new china glaze nail polishes arrived on friday – i’m going to get creative with them tonight!

i went craft shopping on saturday and picked up these supplies for a fun DIY

 PVC Self-Adhesive Filmand also purchased these pretty PVC self-adhesive films

Friends and Crocheti spent some time getting my head around crochet with this lovely pattern while watching friends on saturday night

DIY Projecti started making my own DIY project on sunday – keep an eye out for it later this week!

Enjoyed the Sunshineand spent some time in the sunshine – it feels like spring is finally here!

So that was my weekend! Tonight I’ll be chilling out with my boy who has been working most of the weekend – and painting my nails of course!

I hope your weekend was as lovely as mine.

Whole Lemon Bars

Whole Lemon Bars

When it comes time for dessert I usually can’t go past cookies, brownies and muffins – preferably the chocolate variety! This past week I felt the urge to branch out and make a sweet treat I had never made before. These Whole Lemon Bars were the result. They were really quite easy to make – no zesting of lemons, rubbing in butter or rolling out pastry – and they tasted amazing! The hardest part was waiting for the bars to cool down! Luckily I made a small tart-like version with the leftovers which my boyfriend and I polished off well before the recipe said I should slice the bars (I break all the rules). You can trust me when I say the recipe tastes just as good warm!

MixingCrustLemonsPour over baseEatenWhole Lemon Bars

Graduation Celebration!

Graduation Cakegraduation cake

My sister had her university graduation a few weeks ago and seeing as I was the only immediate family member present I decided to make it extra special for her with this cake creation! I was looking after my brother’s German shepherd Logan at the time and he kept trying to make his way into the kitchen – probably because what I was baking smelled delicious – so my boyfriend constructed a fort around the kitchen so I didn’t have to worry about one of my tasty treats ending up in the dog’s mouth.

I used this recipe, although I made less of the icing because six cups of icing sugar seemed a little excessive and I added a dash of vanilla essence for a more rounded vanilla flavour. Delish!

For the mini mortar board cupcakes I tempered some good quality white chocolate, put it in the fridge and then cut it into squares, adding little chopped up snakes for the tassels. The end result: a delicious afternoon treat, perfect for celebrating the special day. My sister loved them!

CupcakesSnakes/Tassels
cupcakes ready to be baked/snakes being cut into tassels

White chocolatechopping chocolate

Tempered chocolatetempered chocolate

Mortar board cupcakemortar board cupcake


Cherry Tomato, Mushroom and Parmesan Baked Risotto

Risotto would have to be one of my favourite meals. For me it is one of those dishes where if it is on the menu at a restaurant I will most likely order it. It is also pretty perfect as a home cooked meal, as you will almost always have the basic ingredients in the pantry – the hard part is choosing which delicious flavour combinations you want to incorporate! I took this recipe from Donna Hay’s cookbook – Fast, Fresh, Simple – and added mushrooms and fresh whole cherry tomatoes. I love the way the cherry tomatoes burst as they cook, it’s so rustic. The best thing about this recipe is that you don’t have to hover over the stove stirring until your arm is about to fall off, I guess that is why it is in a cookbook with the word fast in the title!

Fast, Fresh, Simple - Donna HayCherry Tomatoes and Aborio Rice

Mushrooms and Tomatoes

Baked Risotto

Lamb and Rosemary Pot Pies

Lamb and Rosemary Pot Pie

I was feeling a little under the weather the other day and was really craving a hearty, home-cooked meal. I found this recipe, then made my way to the local shopping centre in my track pants and ugg boots and picked up the ingredients. The recipe itself took a little while to complete, but it was really nice to get to spend some time making use of the entire kitchen and so worth it in the end when my belly was full. Once all the ingredients were in the pot I had two lovely hours of bliss while I put my feet up, watched a movie and let the wholesome aromas of rosemary and pancetta fill the house. I had a little leftover puff pastry so I cut it into triangles, brushed it with milk and topped it with sugar and cinnamon before putting it in the oven for ten minutes. Served with ice cream, this was such a simple and tasty treat and the perfect way to top off the pot pies.

Pancetta

Carrots, celery and parsnipLamb seasoned with salt and pepperPie filling

Pie with carrot smash and peas & onions
i served the pies with Jamie Oliver’s carrot smash and peas & onions

Dessert
dessert time!

Ginger and Soy Glazed Salmon

Ginger and Soy Glazed Salmon

These days I am steering further away from red meats and moving closer towards seafood, I must be maturing. Salmon is probably my most favourite fish (aside from the delicious unidentified deep-fried kind) because it is so versatile, cooked, raw, smoked, the list goes on. I had been craving this recipe for quite some time before I made it the other night. It is mouth-wateringly delicious. All the elements come together so perfectly that after every mouthful you cannot help but groan in pleasure – surprising for a supermarket recipe card! Not bad for my first try at cooking salmon either!

Bold flavours

The glaze

Salmon

Buk choy

 

Blondes Have More Fun

Blondie

After the biggest baking dry spell in history I came home today with a massive craving for blondies (blonde brownies). Blondies are yet to take Australia by storm but they are a popular treat in America. I was first introduced to these delectable slabs of vanilla goodness by my boyfriend’s sister-in-law from California and have been craving them ever since.

I don’t like to put too much butter in my blondies so I made a few alterations to Martha Stewart’s Brown-Butter Toffee Blondies recipe and they worked a treat! I also subbed out the toffee chips for choc bits as this was all that was in the pantry.

The batter

Don’t you just adore my love heart measuring cup from Store? They make for very happy cooking!

Choc bits

Blondies