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Chilli Chocolate Cake ❤

14 Aug

So I’m STILL really busy and this is cheeky – but I don’t have a lot of time for inventing. This cake recipe was from a great show that was screening on SBS television a few months back called Spice Trip. I tried this cake without the tequila and loved it so much I made it for our wedding day, along with a few other favourites as part of a cake banquet for our guests. I chose this because it is super duper quick and easy. No beatermix required. One bowl, a spoon and a whisk. Here is the link to the recipe
http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/really-easy-chocolate-cake-chilli-salt-and-tequila

I undercook this cake because I’m always worried about turning out a frisbee and wasting the good chocolate I use to make it. It is gooey the first day (amazingly delicious served warm out of the oven), and it kind of sets by the second day and is moist, firm and superb! I recommend covering loosely with foil for the last five or ten minutes and whatever you do don’t open the oven door to sneak a peak or you’ll get a pancake. Opening the oven door too early in the cooking process will cause your cake to collapse.

Here are some wedding snaps. I’ll have to ask my sister for the Russian Tea Cakes recipes.

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Vegemite Chicken

24 Jan
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two4six8 grew up on it.

On hot buttered toast. With cheddar and cucumber on toast (my sister in law’s brilliant invention), a spoonful in my bolognese. And my all time favourite… Honey and Vegemite on toast. Strange, but yum.

I know what you’re thinking. How cliché can you get this close to Australia Day? But honestly, this has nothing to do with kitsch patriotism. My friends will tell you I’m the last person to get excited about celebrating on January 26th. Don’t get me wrong, I love football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars as much as the next bloke. Or should I say, sheila? I usually just hide inside and then head down the beach to clean up after yobs so the turtles don’t have to choke on their rubbish. “Love ‘Straya – just not enough to give a shit about picking up after meself down the beach. That’s some other bloke’s job eh”. You beauty mate. Sorry for the neurotic whinge, I won’t get into politics. You’re not here for politics, you’re here for tasty chicken. Here’s how I got to the Vegemite chicken idea. In fact, it wasn’t me at all, it was a friend, but anyhow…

Last Sunday night after a boozy afternoon, I was at a Chinese restaurant in Brisbane’s China Town, greedily ploughing into a hot plate of Shantung chicken. Although I’ve eaten it a lot I’ve never known how it’s done. And I can never decide if I like the hot, crispy skinned chicken and sweet, sour sauce or the fried spinach garnish better. This blog does a fine job of explaining the dish. Now I know what to do with the bottle of black vinegar I bought randomly over a year ago. And now I know what that sweet, sour, slightly ferment-ish DELICIOUS flavour is that my mate Andy was puzzling over after eating it at the restaurant. He thought it tasted like Vegemite. Maybe. Can’t remember if he said it, or if I thought it, but I’ve been thinking about Vegemite chicken since Sunday. To my mind there had never been such a thing, but I was wrong. Of course it exists. There’s apparently a recipe for Vegemite chicken wings right on the back of the jar! There is nothing new under the sun, as the phrase goes (and so, often, does Andy). A simple google search has consistently annihilated any original culinary idea I’ve ever had, pretty much. Tempting as it was to bastardise the Shantung chicken recipe with the addition/substitution of Vegemite and claim it as my own, although reflecting the true colonial spirit of Australia Day (oops that was political, wasn’t it?) I decided to stick with my Aussie instincts in the use of this most cherished and familiar ingredient.

Here’s what I came up with… It was beautiful – sweet, salty, a little malty. I’m not convinced I’d choose it over Shantung chicken but hey, it was fun to invent something new! Well, new for me anyway.

You’ll need…

1 whole chicken, butterflied (I partially de-boned mine)

1 tablespoon Vegemite

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon dry white wine

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon boiling water

2 large sprigs rosemary

a knob of butter (unsalted or low salt preferably)

What you do…

Simply mix all the marinade ingredients in a jug/bowl and stir well to combine, ensuring the sugar and Vegemite have melted/dissolved thoroughly. Hide the rosemary under the bird or under the skin of the bird and then smother with marinade, rub with your hands to ensure even coverage. Cover with glad and refrigerate. As usual, at least an hour is ok or overnight if possible.

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Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Melt around 50 grams of butter. Baste the chicken lightly with butter. Cook for 20 minutes then reduce heat to 180 for about 40 minutes-1 hour depending on the size of your bird. Cover loosely with foil if the skin is burning.

Drain the juices from the pan. If you want to, strain off the chicken fat. Let the cooked chicken rest, covered with foil, for at least 10 minutes. Cut the chicken into pieces and serve with the pan juices.

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It puts a rose in every cheek 😉

Our Girls

23 Jan

Best thing I did in the last 12 months or so was invest in these 4 beauties… Bok Bok Bok… If you’ve got room, I encourage you to do the same. Their coop cost about $100, built from a second hand plastic kids’ cubby house, some star pickets and chicken wire. They’ve laid on average 2-4 eggs per day all together.

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From front left – clockwise… Little Miss Fuzz Buzz, Ophelia, Pamela Jill and Dot


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Quinoa Protein Power Breakfast

23 Jan

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I know, I know… Quinoa’s so fashionable. But honestly this breakfast keeps you powering through the morning like no other. I mean, I am usually famished by 10 or 11, but not on the days I eat this combo. And you don’t have to chow down on greasy bacon or sausages to get the protein hit you need to get you through the morning. Cinnamon is also said to boost metabolism. Whatever, it tastes awesome. I usually add a high fibre mix consisting of psyllium husks and seeds and linseed – but that’s up to you. The quinoa mix keeps well in the fridge if you want to make a big batch for hectic week-day mornings. If you’re like me and leave nowhere near enough time to get dressed and fed in the morning and usually have to opt for one of the two before you hot foot it out the door – you get dressed, and not fed. 

Here’s what you’ll need…

1/3 cup tri-coloured quinoa (or any type, no diff)

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon sugar or honey or agave sweetener (optional)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons natural yoghurt

Fruit of choice

It’s easy…

Cook the quinoa in the liquid according to packet instructions. I use the absorption method. Allow to cool. Mix the cinnamon and sweetener (if using) with either the quinoa or yoghurt, whatever you prefer, top with fresh fruit and eat! You can Add a splash of cold milk if you want it wetter. 

Dairy Free Alternative…

Instead of milk, use 1/2 orange juice to cook the quinoa. Sounds strange, tastes fantastic. Top with soy yoghurt, or just lots of fruit and some nuts! 

 

I’m back!

22 Jan

HOLY BOSS O’ THE HOT SAUCE BATMAN! That was a busy year!! Sorry I haven’t blogged  since last February… I’ve been studying full time towards a Masters of Speech Pathology. I’m half way through. I’m loving it, but it has been more than hectic. Needless to say my kitchen hasn’t had the same workout it usually gets. I did manage to find time most weeks to bake for my classmates and also perfected the loaf. Quite a coup! This year saw lots of eggs on toast (thanks to my beautiful chookies), beans on toast, scratch and duck under the table (excuse the silly Australianism).

Anyhow, I’m back and have a few old favourites to blog about, a couple of chilli bushes and some seasonal stone fruits to put to use, as well as a year’s worth of pent up culinary creativity to release. An ‘invention test’ with mates is pencilled into the diary also. Should be fun. I can’t promise anything more than a short, sharp burst of enthusiasm until uni cranks up again, but hopefully you’ll settle for quality, not quantity!

First cab off the rank is an excellently versatile enchilada sauce and my favourite way to use it. Strangely, not for enchiladas. Stay tuned…