Sunday, March 18, 2012

                                       Cupcakes and Rain

It was my good friend Christian's birthday a few weeks ago and to celebrate the occasion we decided to have a BBQ. Our plans were promptly squashed when it started pouring with rain so we decided to have the BBQ at my place instead. I cooked about a dozen chocolate cupcakes the night before and got up early on the day and cooked a chocolate cake. The recipe I used was Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake, I didn't have Hershey's coco so I just used dutch coco instead. The icing I made is the same one on the video (link down the bottom).  I wasn't happy with the cupcakes as I had baked them for twenty minutes and the consistency wasn't as moist as I have made in the past. I decided to make a cake the next day to make up for the cupcakes. I also put aside some batter for a few extra cupcakes to experiment with the cooking time. So in the end I baked the cake for thirty minutes and it ended up sinking in the middle so next time I'll bake it for  forty to forty five minutes and the cupcakes only needed twelve minutes. Also the second small batch of cupcakes had a mild taste of bicarb soda so I think I'll only add one teaspoon of bicarb soda instead of one and a half. Despite all of this we had a very relaxing afternoon eating and relaxing with good friends.
Here's the link to the recipe:
Note: Also in the video she uses Crisco shortening which we don't seem to have in Canberra or Australia for that matter but we do have Copha which is the same thing but comes in a hard block.
You'll need to melt it down to liquid form first then leave it to set. Once set, just spoon it into the mixing bowl. You'll find Copha above the butter in the supermarket, it has a cute picture of a smiling cupcake on the side.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Succulent Chicken Satay Sticks ( Product review)

Are you a creature of habit? I know I am. I tend to cook the same fail safe recipes over and over again.  I get stuck in a cooking rut. A few weeks ago I went to an Asian store at the Fyshwick fresh food markets. I found a packet of satay seasoning mix and decided to give it a go. Some  people walk past their local Asian grocery store because they seem strange. They're usually overstocked, with very thin ails, they have exotic smells and foods you could never imagine. My mum used to take my sister and I into these stores when we were young so we grew up eating steamed pork buns, samosa, prawn toast and hokkin noodle stirfry's. I would encourage anyone to step out of their comfort zone and have a look around. You'll find some pretty amazing marinates, sauces, noodles and much much more.

So back to my great find, here it is  LoGo Satay Seasoning mix! It comes with two seasoning mixes the first is the satay seasoning mix the second is peanut sauce powder. All you have to do is cut up half a kg of chicken either thigh or breast.
Note: I always highly recommend boneless thigh fillets as the meat is a hundred times more tender then breast meat.

Anyway cut the chicken into large cubes. Mix the packet of satay seasoning with 1/4 cup of coconut milk you don't have to be exact I  used half a small can. Add salt and pepper then add the chicken and mix until the chicken is completely covered. Place in a glass or ceramic tray or bowl and leave to marinate overnight or for a few hours. The longer it marinades the more tender and flavoursome the meat will be. Twenty minutes before you're ready to cook soak a dozen bamboo skewers in cold water for roughly twenty minutes then strain the water out. Turn on your oven 200 degrees fan forced or 392 Fahrenheit.

Grab the chicken and thread it onto the skewers about three to four large cubes. Set aside and heat up a large saucepan on high then add some oil. Once the oil is smoking place five skewers into the saucepan. Cook until lightly brown then turn over and do the same. They should only be cooking for roughly three minutes per side. Do not over cook! While the chicken is cooking mix packet B peanut sauce powder with half a cup of coconut milk and two teaspoons of oil, heat the mixture until it boils then take it off the heat and set aside. As they are cooking baste the chicken with the peanut sauce and line a plate with paper towel. Once the chicken is lightly browned on both sides place on the paper towel and continue cooking the other skewers. Once all the skewers are cooked and have been placed on the paper towel. Pop the skewers on a tray lined with baking paper. Baste both sides generously with the peanut sauce and cook in the oven for ten minutes. When the time is over take them out and baste them in the sauce again. Serve with rice. Yum! Sweet,  juicy, succulent chicken satay.


                Love Jem.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

    Beautiful Banana Cake

I made this beautiful cake because I bought a few bananas a couple of weeks ago when they were green. I waited and waited for them to go yellow. By the time they turned yellow they had brown spots all over them. So I was ready to chuck them out until I thought hey! I could make banana cake! I immediately googled 'moist banana cake' and up popped hundreds of pictures of banana cake. I slowly went through them and found one which looked the best. I went to the website and found a wonderful blog called 'in my studio'. This lovely blog had so many amazing recipes I quickly put it in my favourites.  Reading the recipe I found I already had most of the ingredients in the fridge and pantry - woohoo!

I made a few small adjustments to the recipe. I added two handfuls of crushed walnuts and I used electric beaters instead of a food processor. For the icing I added two tablespoons of lemon juice instead of two and a half teaspoons, the zest of half a lemon and doubled the quantity. Next time I will definitely follow the recipe and use very over ripe black bananas. I will probably only cook it for forty five minutes as well. This is an absolutely fantastic recipe and I highly recommend it. Also I highly recommend you click on the following link and check out other delicious recipes at 'in my studio'.



Love Jem

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Quadruple Chocolate Caramel Brownies
Hello everyone! Hello? Anyone? I'm not sure if anybody is still reading my blog since I fell off the face of the blogging earth. It's been five long months since I posted anything new here but I'm back and I ready to share more foodie adventures, recipes, photos and more. This post is a week late but better later then never. Last year I lost my blogging mojo I planned on getting back on board in the Christmas holidays. Sadly my mum got very sick over Christmas so I took her to the hospital on boxing day and figured she'd be out the next day. She was moved to intensive care and my sister, dad and I were told she had a fifty per cent chance of survival. At that point I couldn't conceive loosing my mum. As each day went by she got weaker and by new years eve morning we lost her forever. It all happened so quickly that most days I still can't believe it. I decided to start posting again because I remembered how proud mum was that made a food blog.  My mum was a great cook , she taught home economics for years at many different high schools. Mums passion for cooking rubbed off on me from an early age. So in honour of my wonderful loving mum here is my first post for 2012 . I love you mum, I miss you every day.

Quadruple Chocolate Caramel Brownies
1  box of Betty Crocker Triple Chocolate Brownie Mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 tablespoon of water
1 packet of Nestle milk chocolate bits
1 can of condensed milk

To start, boil a large pot of water and peel the label off the can of condensed milk. Carefully lower the can into the boiling water with some tongs. Leave the can in the boiling water for roughly one and a half to two hours . You will need to check the water every once and a while as it will evaporate; just keep topping it up with hot water. Once the time is up fish the can out of the water using tongs. Place the can unopened into a bowl of cold water and let it sit for around thirty minutes. If it's still very warm to the touch put it back into cold water and leave for another twenty minutes. Warning: do not open the can if it is hot or if it hasn't been left to cool in water. Otherwise you can expect burning hot caramel to explode in your face. True story.

While the can is cooling, preheat the oven. Check the instructions on the brownie mixture box for the oven temperature as it can vary depending on your oven. Put the brownie mixture, eggs, oil, milk chocolate chips and water in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are combined.  Do not use an electric beater. Line a pan with baking paper and then scrape the mixture into the pan. Remove the condensed milk can out of the cold water. Read the above warning before opening the can. Pull the lid off facing away from you. Using a table or dessert spoon, scoop out the caramel a bit at a time and put dollops of it all over the brownie mixture. Next take a knife and put the tip into the mixture and run the knife slowly around the pan in a swirling motion, it should leave a slightly marbled effect.  

Pop the pan into the oven and bake for one hour. The  brownie box says to bake it for thirty minutes but when I checked it wasn't cooked properly so I baked it for another half and hour. I was so eager to taste it that I didn't wait until they cooled properly and I when I cut them up they ended up looking like a gooey mess. Even though I baked them for thirty minutes longer than recommended they still ended up being very moist and gooey. It was too soft to cut into lovely neat squares so sadly I don't have any photos. They aren't pretty but I can guarantee they are a creamy chocolate dream that will make you weak at the knees. Although this recipe didn't work out I have plans to work on it further and adjust it so hopefully it will come out looking aesthetically pleasing next time. Stay tuned.

Love Jem

Here is a link to my other blog:

Sunday, September 4, 2011

                                                               Just lovely
                                      If I didn't work with children this is what I would love to do.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

               Lately I've been cooking..........

Bbq pork ribs!

Filo wrapped chicken

Filo wrapped chicken with a creamy bacon, basil and parmesan sauce

Beef Stroganoff with buttered french beans, honeyed carrots and buttered rice

                                                                        Milk chocolate fudge sauce

                                                                                     Love Jem

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

                                                   Penne a la Betsy
This recipe is incredibly comforting, it's a recipe from The Pioneer Women Cooks book.
By far my most treasured book in a vast cook book collection. I could go on and on about this incredible book, it's gorgeous step by step photos, mouthwatering recipes and of course it's stunning author and photographer Ree Drummond. I've followed her blog daily over the last couple of years, her warm honest writing style and full flavoured recipes make any foodie fall in love with her. This particular recipe was made up by her sister Betsy, the minute I lay eyes on it I was desperate to make it. Warm pasta, sweet juicy prawn pieces drenched in rich creamy tomato sauce. I changed the recipe slightly by using curly fettuccine pasta and adding 3 handfuls of shredded Parmesan and used  a 4 tablespoon of tomato puree instead of 1 can of tomato sauce. I also mixed in 1 table spoon of corn flour which I first dissolved in 3 tablespoons of water, this was to thicken the sauce . I couldn't find fresh basil in Coles or Woolies so I settled for minced  basil in a tube. So give it a go, you won't be disappointed. Here is  Penne a la Betsy!

Love Jem