Sunday, 13 December 2015

Peppermint Bark - YUM!

At the moment I am in full Christmas mode. My kitchen smells like what I imagined Santa's Kitchen would. Gingerbread cookies, mulled wine, butter and peppermint.

I would like to share something that is so incredibly simple I wouldn't even call it a recipe... more like a 4 ingredient combination to an amazing edible Christmas gift.... or treat for yourself.

Here is it the most loved Peppermint Bark - you could buy a small tin of this from a fancy store for $20+ or make your own for around $7.

What You Need: 

- 200 grams of dark chocolate
- 200 grams of white chocolate
- 1 teaspoon of peppermint flavour
- 6 candy canes crushed (I break them into pieces, place into a zip lock bag and smash with a rolling pin)

Cooking therapy. Grab your rolling pin and smash some candy canes!

What To Do:
1. Break Dark chocolate into pieces and melt in the microwave (I heated for around 90 seconds)
2. Pour onto a lined baking tray and spread until it is around 1/2 cm thick. (don't worry about the shape)
3. Let it set in the fridge for about an hour
4. Once the dark chocolate has hardened , Melt the white chocolate in the microwave (around 90 sec)
5. Mix the peppermint flavour into the white chocolate
6. Pour the white chocolate over the dark chocolate and spread so that it covers the same area as the dark chocolate
7. Sprinkle over the crushed candy cane
8. Put it into the fridge to set
9. Once it is set break it into pieces, I use a knife so that it looks more neat.

There you have it an amazing gift or a treat for yourself.... personally I like to make a steamy hot chocolate and enjoy it myself... Double chocolate you can't go wrong!

Loving the $2 gold Mason Jar Mug from Kmart! What a festive bargain!

* If you don't like Peppermint try a Peanut Butter and chocolate version. Instead of peppermint flavour add 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter and instead of crushed candy canes use crushed roasted peanuts.


xx Mel

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Edible Christmas Ornaments

When my boyfriend and I first moved in together I asked him to order us a suitable Christmas tree for the apartment.What I ended up with was the tiniest Christmas tree I had ever seen!! Trying to place Christmas presents under the tree meant that 2 presents in we couldn't even see the tree anymore. Ever since we've had the tree I have been thinking of ways to make it more interesting... Therefore this year I had decided.... Edible Decorations!

I think the most important part when trying to make decorations look good is to think of a colour scheme and stick with it. I chose a teal, sky blue and gold my favourite combination.

Here they are! My sugar cookie decorations!

What You Need: 

Sugar Cookies:
- Christmas Themed cookie cutters. 
- 170 grams of unsalted softened butter
- 1 cup of white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 1/2 cups of plain flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla bean
- 1 pinch of cinnamon 

Royal Icing: 
- 1 egg white 
- 1 1/4 cups of icing sugar 
- 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice
- Gel food colouring 
- gold lustre dust + a touch of alcohol to make lustre paint

What To Do:

Sugar Cookie:
1. Cream the sugar and butter together
2. Mix in the eggs and the vanilla
3. Mix in the rest of the ingredients until well combined and the dough looks smooth 
4. Separate into 3 discs and refrigerate for 1 hour. 
5. Once the 1 hour is up preheat the oven to 200 degrees
6. To roll our your dough dust your bench with flour and place thick skewers on either side of the rolling pin as thickness guides. 
7. Use your cookie cutter to cut out the desired shapes. All my Shapes were around 3-5 cm's . 
8.  Make sure you create holes in the shapes big enough for a string to threat through. (I used the tip of a small round piping nozzle)
9. Bake for 6 minutes or until golden on the edges
10. Allow the cookies to cool completely before decorating

If you have seen my old blog post you may recognise the rolling pin. That's right this is my dream rolling pin... I found sitting at my desk one day because my amazing boss surprised me with it! ... in love <3

Skewers, rubber bands and rulers are great thickness guides 

Royal Icing: 
1. Mix your lump free icing sugar with the egg whites and lemon juice. 
2. Once it is completely combined separate into 3 bowls 
3. Mix in your desired colours

* Tip: I hate sifting icing sugar so my lazy way of getting rid of all lumps is placing it in a food processor or spice grinder and blitzing it for around 20- 30 seconds. Gets rid of all the lumps every time!

1. Instead of piping the icing on, this recipe is super easy. You simply dip the cookies into the icing and shake off the excess. 
2. When the royal icing has dried you can paint white ones with gold lustre dust that have been mixed in a little alcohol. For the Baubles I used a spoon to add polka dots that I painted Gold. 
3. Make sure you keep the holes clear for string threading. 
4. Once everything has dried thread each of the cookies with some thin twine. 
5. Now for the fun part... decorate your Christmas Tree with these beautiful ornaments

Drum Roll please...... My tiny Christmas tree in all it's glory!

This is a great idea if you have guests at a party to have their names written on the baubles and they could take theirs off the tree and eat them. 


xx Mel. 

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Nigella's Instant Chocolate Mousse

I love fast and simple recipes. Anything to get to my food haven as quickly as I can is gold in my books. When I saw Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Mousse made with mini marshmallows I knew it was a winner. It was quick and almost instant, didn't require any heavy lifting or a long list of ingredients.
I made a few small changes to make an adult version and I halved the amounts because well... i'm only making mousse for two. 3 for me and 2 for him.. that's enough right??

 Here is it! In all it's billowy goodness!

Tall shot glasses add a touch of elegance to this simple dessert- great for parties

 What You Need:

- 2/3 cups of mini marshmallows
- 100 grams of 70% dark chocolate
- 25 grams of butter
- 100 ml of double cream
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean
- 1 shot glass of hazelnut Bailey's (For a child friendly version just leave out the Bailey's)
- Optional: Shaved chocolate on top

What To Do:

1. Add the marshmallows, dark chocolate and butter to a pan
2. Melt slowly on a very low heat until everything is combined and smooth
3. Put the chocolate mixture aside to cool
4. Whip the cream, Bailey's and vanilla together till it is in between a soft peak and stiff peak consistency.
5. Fold the cooled chocolate mixture through with the cream
6. Once the mixture is folded through and combined spoon into shot glasses or liqueur glasses
7. This is optional but I added some shaved chocolate on top (use a knife to scrap the chocolate and create curls)
8. You can eat this instantly or pop into the fridge, frankly I couldn't wait!

Great use for these liqueur glasses I got as wedding favours!


xx Mel.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Dreamy Fudge Truffles

Fudge Truffles.... can it sound any better ?? Of course it can... Chocolate and peanut butter Fudge Truffles!

What are these?? An accident that's what they are. My fudge truffles came about when I was making fudge... got impatient and tried to cut into warm fudge ruining it. Then I thought to myself... how do I salvage this? Easy! Turn them into balls rolled in coconut and call them fudge truffles. 

This is a super easy and simple recipe, doesn't cost all that much taking in mind I took full advantage of the half price chocolate sales at the supermarkets. 

Here they are:

Bowls from Daiso $2.80 each. 

What You Need:
- 1 1/2 cups of dark chocolate 50-70% cocoa
- 1/3 cup of smooth peanut butter (although crunchy would be good too!)
- 1/2 can of condensed milk
- 30 grams of unsalted butter

What to do:
1. Combine all the ingredients in a microwave safe bowl 
2. Microwave for 2 minutes (stirring it even 60 seconds)
3. Check to see there are no lumps, if there are microwave for a further 30 seconds
4. Pour into a dish , the larger the size the faster the mixture will cool for rolling
5. Place into the fridge for 1 hour or freezer for 20 minutes
6. Take the mixture out and start rolling them into balls (around the diameter of a 20 cent coin)
7. Roll the fudge truffles into desiccated coconut or chopped peanuts
8. You can eat them straight away or store in the fridge, but they won't last long!

Fudge mixture ready for cooling and rolling!

This recipe is also great as a gift  or scattered around the room in delicate bowls at a party. You can customise the flavour to suit what you like. For Christmas remove the peanut for more chocolate and add peppermint. Like Nutella? Add Nutella instead of peanut butter. Like a bit of naughty? Add some Baileys or Kahlua ... the options are endless!

Perfect pairing with a nice strong cup of espresso


xx Mel 

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Thumb Print Cookies With A Twist !

I have always loved the taste of thumb print cookies, the chewy tart jam combined with the buttery cookie was always a winner to me. Unfortunately on some rare occasions you find people who don't enjoy the yummy jam center ... Then what do you do??

My post last week inspired me to make a Butterscotch thumb print cookie with a white chocolate drizzle!

Here it is!

What You Need: 
- 125 grams of unsalted soften butter
- 1/3 cup of caster sugar
- 1 1/4 cup of plain flour
- A pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla Bean paste
- Cooled Butterscotch (Recipe here Click for Butterscotch goodness - you will only need half the amount and you could save the rest for some late night ice cream drizzling)
- Around 30 grams of white chocolate

1 tablespoon per cookie rolled into a ball

I made the dents in my cookie using the back of a measuring spoon

Butterscotch is spooned into each dent

What To Do:
1. Mix the Butter, sugar, salt and vanilla until combined
2. Add in the flour and mix until the dough is smooth
3. Flatten into a disk and place in the fridge for 30 minutes
4. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
5. Use a tablespoon to measure out each cookie and then roll into balls
6. Use your thumb or spoon to create an indent for the butterscotch - don't stress about cracks when you press down, I find them charming and homely.
7. Spoon the butterscotch into the center
8. Bake for 15-18 minutes - until slightly golden on the edges
9. Cool slightly and then move to a baking rack to cool further
10. Melt the white chocolate and drizzle over the cookie
11. Pack into a cute metal cookie tin and you can give this as a gift or eat them yourself :)

Great as a gift!


xx Mel.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Bargain Finds and Butterscotch Sauce

On my weekends one of my favourite things to do is bargain hunting! Not only in brightly lit shopping centers but also at markets where people sell their precious little treasures for a steal!

I happened to find something that I am madly in loved with and I got it for $2 !!

Here is it! a beautiful pale jade dish with a real gold trim

Just gorgeous!! Perfect for Trinkets or as a glorified ice cream bowl

I also found some super cute retro cookie tins for $4 each! These would also be great when you are on a tight budget but want to give a thoughtful gift. Add some homemade cookies in it and you would have an edible gift and something for them to keep. Best of both worlds!

Also this would not be a post without some sort of sweet treat ...

So here is my butterscotch sauce, perfect for the ice cream that will go in my beautiful new dish.

What You Need:
- 60 grams of butter
- 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup of thickened cream
- 2 teaspoons of golden syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt ( or another 1/4 teaspoon if you like it saltier)

What To Do:
1. Pop all the ingredients into a saucepan and mix
2. Heat it up until it starts to bubble
3. Let it bubble for 1-2 minutes before you turn the heat off
4. Give it a stir and transfer it into a jar for storing

There you have it! a quick and easy butterscotch sauce , serve with ice cream anytime or eat it out of the jar with a spoon... yum

I added some cookie chunks to it... because I can :)


xx Mel.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Cool Off With Some Ice Tea

With the hot and humid weather I find myself craving a cool sweet drink constantly. While I find myself wanting to reach for a freezing cold soda I know.. my waist line will curse me later !

My cooling fruit infused ice teas will have you well quenched and totally satisfied without the nasties that come along with a sweet refreshing drink. 

I love to stock my pantry with various things that help me whip something up whenever I want. One of these things are flavoured teas , great for entertaining friends on a budget and on short notice, just add some slice up some fruit for presentation and flavour. 

Here it is: 

Got my Glass Jars for $2.50 each at a bargain store! Love it!

This is not advertising but I just love Dilmah flavoured teas, there's a large variety and the flavours are easy to work with!

What You Need:

- 3 flavoured tea bags per jar
- 1 1/2 table spoons of Stevia
- Fruits of your choice ( oranges, green apples, frozen raspberries, mint, frozen mango, passion fruit)
- Ice

What To Do:

1. Infuse 3 teabags in 2 cups of boiling water. 
2. Dissolve the Stevia in the boiling water
3. Once the Stevia is dissolved and the water is teabags have infused remove the teabags and add cold water
4. Pour the flavoured tea into the jars and fill to 3/4's of the way. 
5. Add the fruit sliced and chopped into the jars. 
6. Add the ice till the jar is full. 

* You don't want the tea too be too strong or sweet , it is meant to be a nice light refreshing drink. 


xx Mel. 

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Marie Antoinette Cake Lust

Ever since I watched Marie Antoinette when I was younger there has been a scene that has stuck in my mind... It was the scene where she sat around with other ladies and feasted on all these beautiful amazing cakes while sipping on french champagne with beautiful floating red raspberries in old school champagne saucers

There's one piece of cake in particular that I remembered and it was this one.. 

YUM! how could you resist sinking your teeth into those ? The crack of the white chocolate coating and the pretty red rose petal on top. I can imagine the inside would taste like creamy vanilla and tangy raspberry. 

But really, just once more isn't this everyone's idea of a dream come true?? 

My cake is slightly different, I've tried to keep true to what I imagined the cake would taste like but at the same time I just had to pull out these cool cameo brooch molds that I have been dying to use!

Here it is...

What you need: 

- 120 grams of unsalted butter
- 1 cup of caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cups of self raising flour
- 2/3 cup of plain flour
- 1/3 cups of sour cream
- 1/2 cup of buttermilk
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
- 5 freeze dried strawberries crushed

- 100 grams of soften unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup of icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons of double cream
- 1 small drop of pink food colouring gel (optional)

White chocolate:
- 200 grams of white chocolate

Decor (optional):
- small piece of fondant , about the size of a golf ball.
- little molds of your choice.
- lustre dust and alcohol
- a little icing sugar for dusting
- Pink edible pearls
- Rose petals

What to do:
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
2. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy
3. Mix in the eggs and sour cream
4. Mix in the flour and salt
5. Add the buttermilk and vanilla Bean Paste.
6. Fold in the crushed freeze dried strawberries
7. Pour into a lined baking tin (9in x 9in)
8. Bake for 25-28mins (Until skewer comes out clean)
9. Allow to cool before using a circle cookie cutter to cut out circles of cake.

* Tip: If you find it is hard to cut the cake with a cookie cutter because a slight crust has formed on top . Brush a very small amount of hot water to moisten the top making it easier to cut into.

Yummy vanilla Cake batter speckled with Freeze dried strawberries 

Perfect sized little cakes ready to be turned into glamorous little pieces  

1. Sift the icing sugar
2. Mix the butter and icing sugar until well combined and smooth
3. then mix in the cream and colouring.

1. Ice the cake circles with the frosting (I used a turntable with a piece of small baking paper to help me keep the cake from moving without touching it)
2. Place the frosted cakes into the fridge to set and harden.
3. Now to make the molds for decorating.
4. Dust the molds with icing sugar and then roll a small piece of fondant and press it into the mold
5. Pop the fondant out of the mold and paint it with a mixture of lustre dust and alcohol.
6. Now to cover the cakes in white chocolate
7. Melt the white chocolate in the microwave for around 40 - 60 seconds.
8. Pour the chocolate over the cakes and don't stress it doesn't have to be perfect!
9. When it has set a little pop your decorations on and be brave with your creations!

Stage one! icing the little cakes with a pastel pink frosting

Lustre dust painting my fondant pieces. 

I got my pretty little Cameo and heart molds online from Ebay. I also have the complete set of fancy Alphabet molds with little cherubs on them. It cost quite a bit but if you buy it as a set it isn't too bad!


xx Mel 

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Cheesecake In A Glass

I love cheesecake! The silky smooth texture contrasting harmoniously working with the subtle tangy flavour of the cream cheese.
I am also aware that a normal baked cheesecake takes around an hour in the oven and there is the risk of the ugly dreaded cracking on top. I being the hungry impatient person I am like to make my cheese cake in a glass cup so I can speedily eat it up with a spoon. Oh the best thing about my cheesecake? you don't need to bake the cheesecake part! :)

What you need:
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 1/2 cup of water
- 250 grams of cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons of lime juice
- 1/2 cup of freshly whipped cream

- 1/4 cup of chopped roasted pistachio
- 1/4 cup of chopped roasted almonds
- 1/2 cup of shredded coconut
- 3 pieces of crushed freeze dried mango
- 1/4 cup of self raising flour
- 2 teaspoons of caster sugar
- 3 teaspoons of butter
- 2 teaspoons of honey

What to do:
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
2. Place all the ingredients into a food processor and blend well.
3. Place the processed crumbs onto a lined baking tray
4. Bake for 10 minutes
5. Once it has been baked allow it to cool down.

1. Boil the water and sugar together in a saucepan for around 5 minutes until the water and sugar is slightly thicker (The consistency of really runny honey)
2. Allow the sugar syrup to cool
3. Whisk the cream cheese until it is smooth
4. Whisk in the cool sugar syrup until combined
5. Mix in the lime juice.
6. Finally fold in the freshly whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.

1. Place the base mixture in the bottom of the glass of your choice.
2. Add the cream cheese mixture on top of the base.
3. Place in the fridge to set (about 10-20 minutes was fine for mine)
4. Now you are ready to eat!


xx Mel

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

My Little Crushes

Just a few days ago my beautiful but clumsy Greyhound knocked over my Nigella Lawson Cake stand and broke it into bits. Needless to say my heart broke with that cake stand... Fast forwards to 10 minutes later and I was already furiously flicking through the internet trying to find myself a replacement. As a person with the attention span of a goldfish I of course lost track of what I was looking for and found some beautiful treasures that I one day hope to own in my humble little kitchen.

Here they are, bits and bobs that I have fallen in love with !

This Robert Gordon Pitcher is to die for! Imagine lush peonies, elegant hydrangeas or whimsical orchids sitting in this copper pitcher.  

Another Robert Gordon piece. I imagined myself wrapped in a chunky knitted beige throw while sipping on some hot cocoa on a rainy day

This tumbler is from Freedom and I just LOVE it. The gold just takes it to another level and I could see this fitting perfectly into a dinner party with some friends 

This tumbler is another piece from Freedom. There is something about the bubbles on the tumbler that I find so charming and cute. 

This Churchill rolling pin is the stuff of baking dreams... What a perfect way to turn a boring basic tool into something so beautiful you could proudly display. 

Now that I've shared my new loves you with all.. I have to say I did replace my Nigella cake stand  :) Duck egg blue <3


xx Mel

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Matcha, White Chocolate and Wasabi...Cupcakes?

I know what you are all thinking after reading the title to this post !... YUCK ! How could Matcha, White Chocolate and Wasabi go well together ? Well it isn't that much of a stretch actually, I love this quirky flavour combination!

The flavours work really well together. The Earthy Matcha cupcake,  Creamy white chocolate ganache and Zingy Wasabi White Chocolate drizzle all work together in an order within chaos kind of way.

What you need:

Matcha Cupcakes:
- 120 grams of unsalted butter
- 1 cup of caster sugar
- 2 eggs
-3/4 cups of self raising flour
-2/3 cup of plain flour
- 1/3 cups of sour cream
- 1/2 cup of buttermilk
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
- 2 teaspoons of Matcha powder (For those of you who are unfamiliar with Matcha it is an intense earthly green tea powder)

White Chocolate Ganache: 
- 1/3 cup of cream
- 200 grams of white chocolate

Wasabi White chocolate Drizzle:
- 1/3 cups of cream
- 100 grams of white chocolate
- 2 teaspoons of wasabi
- green food colouring (optional)

What to do:

Matcha Cupcake:
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
2. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy
3. Mix in the eggs and sour cream
4. Mix in the flour and salt
5. Add the buttermilk and vanilla Bean Paste.
6. Add in the Matcha powder
7. Spoon into Cupcake case lined muffin tins, 3/4 of the way filled)
8. Bake for 25 mins (until golden on top and skewer comes out clean)
9. Allow to cool completely

Cupcake Mixture with Matcha Powder

I use an ice cream scoop to spoon my cupcake mixture into the paper cases 

White Chocolate Ganache:
1. Place ingredients in a microwave proof bowl
2. Microwave for 60 seconds , 30 seconds at a time to make sure you don't overheat the mixture
3. Mix the ingredients and allow to cool
4. Once it cools whip the white chocolate ganache for a few minutes to thicken it up, this also makes the ganache whiter in colour.

Wasabi White Chocolate Drizzle:
1. Microwave the white chocolate and cream for 30-40 seconds
2. Mix in the Wasabi and colouring and mix well
3. Allow to cool

1. Ice the cupcakes with your white chocolate ganache.
2. Drizzle with the wasabi white chocolate after using a pipping bag or fork


xx Mel.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Getaway Gourmet

Happy Long weekend everyone!

I hope everyone has had a safe and long weekend filled with fun and sun :)

This long weekend Lee (My other half) and I decided to get away to a cabin in the middle of a farm, away from society civilization. I know what you are all thinking... How does a girl like me who loves delicious beautiful things survive on meat cooked over an open fire ? Well to be honest I love meat cooked over an open fire but I also need my little bit of gourmet style food while I am away. Two words... Gourmet Damper.
Seems almost impossible gourmet damper... an oxymoron almost? Not really my damper is cooked elegantly on a stick and smothered in all things amazing.

Here is it!

What you need : (done over an open fire)
- 1 1/2 cups of self raising flour. (seeing as I didn't have a measuring cup with me I used a normal mug as a measure so when I say 1 1/2 cups I mean 1 1/2 mugs - about 300-350ml in capacity)
- 100 grams of cold cubed butter unsalted
- 2 teaspoons of caster sugar (just use a normal small spoon)
- approx 1/5 of a mug of cold milk (add more if needed)
- extra self raising flour for dusting
- Very long sticks that have been washed
- lots of your favourite toppings , chocolate hazelnut spread, marshmallow spread, nuts, freeze dried fruits

What to do:
1. Create your fire! The best place to cook your damper is over a log that has been slow burning for a while , not over direct fire otherwise you will end up with charcoal.
2. Mix the flour, sugar and butter together until it resembles bread crumbs . The best way to do this is by rubbing the flour and butter together in between your fingers
3. Mix in the milk and knead until you have a soft dough and you have no more dough sticking to your fingers
4. Add more flour if the dough is too soft, it should have the texture of soft bread dough that isn't as elastic
5. Make some thing sausages with the dough and wrap the dough around the end of the stick like a twirl.
6. Squeeze the dough around the stick to seal it and keep it on tight. remember the thinner the dough the faster it takes to cook
7. Now cook slowly over some burning sticks or logs that are no longer on fire, mine took around 10-15 minutes of slow cooking
8. Once it is cooked (the dough will will firm like damper should) add your toppings !
9. I added chocolate hazelnut spread, fluff (marshmallow spread), salted roasted peanuts and freeze dried strawberries!

Enjoy! This is a great thing to do with a bunch of friends over a campfire!Just make a big bowl of the dough pass it around and everyone can cook their own damper and then dip it into different toppings in the middle.

xx Mel.