Monthly Archives: December 2011

Oaty Caramel Slice

As promised, my oaty caramel slice – it certainly satisfied the craving, deffinatly reccomended!

Oaty Caramel Slice (recipe by Joe Segar)

2 c flour
1 c self raising flour
1 c desiccated coconut
2 c brown sugar
3 c rolled oats (I used the small ones)
2 eggs
300 gm butter, melted

Filling
200 gm butter
2 cans condensed milk
4 Tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 180 C. Line a large tin 25 x 35 cm with baking paper and grease. 

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl then add eggs and the melted butter. Mix well and press 2/3 of the mixture into the tine.

Make the filling by melting the butter, golden syrup and condensed milk in a pot until well blended then add the vanilla. Pour over the base and sprinkle the remaining crumble mixture over the top.

Bake for 30 mins. Cool in the tin and refrigerate before cutting.

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Rainbow m&m Cookies

Happy holidays! Christmas has come and gone for another year – it’s sad that it’s finally over after months of preparation – but at least now we can look forward to the new year. I spent my half of my Christmas day flying home from a wonderful holiday on Norfolk Island – but all in all it was a lovely day, and my lead up to Christmas was equally as lovely – it was a well earned rest, but at the same time it’s good to be home.

Now that we’re home, I’m focusing on the new year – which I must say has seemed to sprung up awfully soon since last time. I’m tidying up around the house while I have the free time because of the holidays – and I’ve planned some new years goals I’m determined to work towards, for example, get a job. It’s one thing I love about the new year is – at least mentally – being able to start fresh and hopefully make some positive change. Plus, with a new school year means loads of new opportunities, I’m looking forward to it.

Hopefully 2012 will be a little less shaky, with Christchurch being hit by yet another large earthquake on the 23rd – and another 50 or so aftershocks and still counting. It was a real blow to everyone here, I’m glad we were away when it happened. I’m one of the lucky one’s as our house wasn’t as badly affected as people on the eastern side of town – but an earthquake is an earthquake, and it’s just as challenging no matter what your situation.

On a brighter note – the cookies! These cookies acctually aren’t a recent bake – I made them a few months back and took photo’s but never shared them. With all the sweet food that’s inhabiting our pantry at the moment, both mum and I decided we’d better finish what’s left before we end up with an alladins cave of  fatty goodness, so I’ve been out of the kitchen when it comes to baking.

With that being said, I acctually just finished making some oaty caramel slice because I’m craving it since returning from having it for dessert every night we’ve been away – so watch this space!

I made these cookies for a dancing competition.  There are a lot of little kids at my dance studio, so when requests were sent out for home baking donations, I decided to put some of the m&m’s in the pantry to good use in brightening up chocolate cookies because they would be sure to sell – and they did. They’re not just for the littlies either – big kids like myself were fans too. And they really stood out against all the other plain muffins and slices.

Anyway, I didn’t think I’d have much to write but I’ve come out with quite a bit afterall. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas/holiday and get some rest before the new year hits us full swing! Untill next time – happy baking!

 

 

 

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Giving Thanks at Christmas

I think one of the nicest things about Christmas is the fact that it’s an excuse to tell everyone who you appreciate – just how much you appreciate them. There’s nothing more rewarding than giving something home made, and watching the joy unfold on the person’s face – priceless.

That’s exactly what I decided to do this year. For all my teachers at school, I made fudge (I also made some lovely shortbread, but I didn’t get any decent photographs) and bagged it with some ribbon. There were leftovers, so out of generosity of the season, I handed them out to people at mum’s work – plus, I had a spare bag for myself.

The fudge, was the most perfect fudge – and I can’t wait to share the recipe with you all. Whenever I’ve made fudge before, I’ve always used condensed milk in any attempt to get a result I have liked – which has never worked. This fudge, is made with cream, brown sugar and maple syrup (yes, que drool). It’s boiled and then whipped (good for muscle building), which gives it a beautiful smooth – although slightly gritty – melt in your mouth fudge. Just the way I like it, the way fudge should be. I also made some white chocolate cream fudge (which is acctually the first picture) – using the same method, but with white chocolate. It was equally as scrumptious.

Maple Cream Fudge (from http://www.thibeaultstable.com/)

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup cream
1/3 cup of butter
1/4 cup of maple syrup
pinch of salt
vanilla

Add the two sugars, butter and cream, maple syrup and salt into a sauce pan. Place over medium heat. Stir while bringing to a boil. Lower the heat and continue to stir slowly while the mixture cooks. After about 7 minutes, test by pouring a small amount into some cold water. You want it to form a soft ball. You might need to cook it for another minute or two. Remove from the heat, add a couple of teaspoons of vanilla and start stirring. It takes about 14 or 15 minutes for the fudge to cool and thicken. Pour into buttered dish. TIP: If you let the fudge sit for 10 minutes after removing from the heat and allow it to cool slightly this will reduce the stirring time.

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Delicious Date Loaf

Great baking deserves to be shared with a great photo.

It’s always satisfying to be able to capture what can be seen with the eye through the lense of a camera. Unfortunatly, it’s something I struggle with when photographing inside. Personally, I prefer to photograph my food outside. The lighting outdoors contrasts with the colour of the food far better than inside – and the background, even if blurred, compliments the food’s beauty (yes, I am still talking about a piece of cake, nothing more). When the sun is shining an outside table is the perfect resting spot for fresh baking. The natural world is like a blank canvas for a masterpiece.

Besides, my kitchen is usually to cluttered for a good photo anyway.

I think these photo’s are the perfect example of this. The colours are amazing, almost better than reality if that’s possible – thanks to the camera.  The date loaf really does look beautiful basking in the light of a perfect New Zealand spring day. Are you jealous of our wonderful weather? Haha. I’m wondering how long it will last. It’s summer already, by the time autumn hits us, we’ll be heading back to blankets. But for now, I’m loving what we’ve got – it’s fantastic!

Oh and this really was quite a delicious date loaf too.  Moist, sweet and a little bit nutty. The perfect accompaniment to the day.

Date and walnut Loaf

  • 240g (1 1/2 cups) pitted dried dates, halved
  • 310mls (1 1/4 cups) water
  • 100g (1/2 cup, firmly packed) dark brown sugar
  • 80g butter, cubed
  • Melted butter, for greasing
  • 300g (2 cups) self-raising flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 1 x 100g pkt walnut pieces
  1. Place the dates, water, brown sugar and butter in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and pour into a heat-resistant bowl. Allow to cool for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 170°C. Brush a 9.5cm x 19.5cm (base measurement) loaf pan with the melted butter to grease.
  4. Sift the flour and mixed spice into a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs to the date mixture and stir to combine. Pour the date mixture into the flour mixture and use a wooden spoon to combine. Add the walnuts and stir to combine.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the greased pan and bake in preheated oven for 50-55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean. Turn onto a wire rack to cool.
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Coconut Ice

There’s certain foods that are out of a home bakers league, and best left to the professionals – for everyone’s sake.

However, there are foods which are the exact opposite – where a store bought version could never out-do a homemade one. It looks better, tastes better – and although baking isn’t necessarily ‘healthy’, it is probably better for you too.

After my success last weekend, I believe coconut ice belongs in this catagory.

Coconut ice is one of my favourite candy treats. Sweet, coconutty, crumbly and gritty – yet a chewy mouthful all at once. Not to mention how pretty it looks. It’s something I have personally bought on numerous occasions, each packet of sugary goodness judged on how it meets my standards – usually there’s something not quite right about it, but it satisfy’s the craving so it passes judgement and onto my waistline .

But now, I no longer have this problem. This coconut ice is simply the best. Melt in your mouth divinity – creamy coconut danced on my tastebuds – really. Plus, it looked amazing too. I stumbled upon it by accident – it was made as a fundraiser for my dance school’s Christmas show and I just needed something fast and simple. Because of that I really didn’t get to indulge in a whole heap of it – but then again you can’t produce something without taste testing it. Probably a good thing anyway, the whole slab wouldnt have lasted very long after the first bite.

Looking back over my posts, I’m aware I have quite a routine going to saying my recipes are along the lines of ‘the best I’ve ever tasted. I would pull myself up on this – but I can’t deny the truth. Homemade really is simply unbeatable.

Coconut Ice Recipe (from ‘Sweet Treat’s by Frankie Magazine)

250grams icing-sugar, 60grams copha, 125grams desiccated coconut, 1 egg white, 1-2 drops of vanilla extract, few drops of red/pink food colouring.

Lightly grease an 8 inch square tin. Put the copha in a small saucepan and melt over a low heat.

In a large bowl, lightly beat egg white. Add coconut, copha, icing0sugar and vanilla. Mix untill well combined.

Split the mixture into two equal parts and press one half into your pan. Stir and mix food colouring into the other half (hands work well) untill it turns pink.

Press pink mixture on top of the plain. Cover in cling film and pop in the fridge for 45minutes untill set.

When set, turn onto a chopping board and cut.

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Christmas Time

Hoorah! December is finally upon us again. There’s something in the air at Christmas time, for me it’s the prospect of the end of another year’s hard work and the beginning of a new – as well as a fun-filled summer holiday break away from everyday life.

Christmas in New Zealand is slightly different from that in other parts of the world. The days are long, sunny and warm (in saying that, it’s currently pouring with rain and a chilly 9 degress celcius outside). It’s the perfect weather for barbeques, salads and ice cream – all on the beach.  School is finished for the year, with around a 6 week well-earned holiday break for us kids – although longer for those of us in high school, as we have ‘study break’ leading up to, and around our end of year exams.

There are some things that stay the same – the decorations go up in streets, and carols start ringing throughout malls and shops, Santa pops up everywhere – and we still devour a delicious Christmas dinner or lunch, even if desert is a pavlova rather than a pudding (one of my favourite times of the year I must admit). In fact it’s all rather materialistic if you look at it, but to be honest, it’s about the only time of year that it happens for me personally.

This year, I decided to get a bit creativly festive, as I’ve had a lot of time off with exams (which has been FANTASTIC). I took inspiration from the many times we’ve been to Hawaii for Christmas. Although the weather is much the same as home, the Christmas atmosphere is totally different – the decorations are amazingly beautiful, and one thing that always impresses me is the array of gingerbread villages. Seriously, some of them are huge!  It’s something I’ve never done before but can now check off my list.

I’m quite pleased with my house – although it lacks in doors and windows and is comparitivly bite sized to the ones in Hawaii. It’s certainly unique, it kind of reminds me of something from Hansel and Gretel. I even got a few gingerbread men out of the left-over dough. I got pretty excited over the decorating aspect too – I finally I had a use for my royal icing recipe. I spent the whole afternoon and into the night on it, with breaks of course.

I havent yet tried it – I will – but for now I think I can trust that it tastes good. I left it out on the bench by accident the other night, and when I woke up, the roof has been nibbled at by mice – holiday cheer for all.

Merry Christmas everyone 🙂 !

 

 

 

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