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Cheat`s mini Easter cheesecakes

13 Apr

 

IMG_1535.jpgI am hosting Easter brunch for the family this year and as usual, most of my effort is going on desserts.

Oh sure, there will be savoury dishes – and mimosas, hurrah! – but all the fun stuff is always sweet stuff.

Miss 11 is helping and has already baked three chocolate cakes to be transformed into an Easter-themed showstopper cake.

And Miss 9 will be helping to make waffles for the hordes in my fancy new-ish waffle maker.

But the part of the meal I am looking forward to the most – aside from aforementioned Mimosas – are these delicious individual Easter-themed cheescakes.

I love baked cheesecake and was thinking of making one large cheesecake but instead went for mini cheesecakes.

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I decorated these cheat`s mini Easter cheesecakes with candy Easter eggs. Mine are M&Ms and I have to say I don`t love all the colours in the pack (I`m looking at you, orange) but I could not find the Cadbury version with the pastel version. That`s probably coz I bought them weeks and weeks ago, before all the good Easter stuff was out.

May the bunny be kind and may your Mimosa be never-ending.

 

GATHER:

12 Granita / plain sweet biscuits

2 x 250 g cream cheese brought to room temperature, diced

2 eggs at room temperature

3/4 cup caster sugar

Rind of one large lemon finely grated

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

36 candy-covered Easter eggs

100 grams white chocolate.

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LET`S GET TO IT:

Preheat oven to 150C.

Get 12 cupcake wrappers and line them up on the bench, then carefully place a biscuit in the bottom of each wrapper. Then place each wrapper into a hole of a muffin pan.

Beat cream cheese in electric mixer until smooth, scrape down sides of bowl with spatula, then beat in sugar in three lots until combined.

With mixer on low beat in eggs, lemon rind, juice and vanilla until smooth.

Use an ice-cream scoop to dollop batter on top of each biscuit – leave a 1cm gap at the top.

Bake for 17 minutes until the cheesecake no longer has a wobble and is beginning to turn lightly golden around the edges.

Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely.

When cold melt white chocolate in microwave on low setting in 15 seconds increments until melted – depending on the brand of chocolate you may need to add ½ teaspoon of canola oil to help it melt evenly.

Place a small amount of melted chocolate in the centre of eacg cheesecake then place three eggs into the melted chocolate, using it as a glue to set the eggs.

Place in fridge until serving.

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Easy Easter egg blondies

6 Apr

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Do you find yourself drowning in Easter eggs at this time of year? I know I do. Despite not having a sweet tooth I find mini Easter eggs popping up like mushrooms. They come home from school, they are pressed upon me when I visit shops and cafes and they emerge, quite often, from the handbags of certain grandmothers. Continue reading

One bowl vegan chilli chocolate cake

30 Mar

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Easter is almost here, people! That means it is time to dust off the Easter egg basket and get your fat pants on coz it is chocolate time. Continue reading

Irish coffee cupcakes for St Patrick`s Day

17 Mar

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Those of you who know me IRL know that my surname is as Irish as it gets. I have never been to Ireland but am told that my surname is plastered across stores and businesses throughout the land. Visiting Ireland is on the to do list. I assume I will love it as I love England, the cold, history… Continue reading

Dense chocolate Guinness cake with buttercream for St Patricks Day

13 Mar

 

Chocolate Guiness cake

St Patrick`s Day is Friday March 17 and while the day marks a religious and cultural commemoration I believe there is always room for dessert. Continue reading

Chocolate whiskey cupcakes with peanut butter frosting

3 Jan

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Happy 2017! If you have come to my site looking for a healthy way to start off the new year I am afraid you are out of luck. My first recipe for the new year is full of fat, sugar and alcohol, or as I like to think of it, the holy trinity of baking. Continue reading

No bake eggnog balls – an easy last minute Christmas dessert

21 Dec

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Last Christmas, I discovered eggnog. You so thought I was going to write… `I gave you my heart`, didn`t you? Or am I the only Wham! Fan in the house? #surelyNot

I digress… as summer in Sydney is usually 35C we are more likely to drink juice or champagne (or both…) rather than a heavy, custard-type beverage.

But I love baking with eggnog. The slight rummy taste and notes of nutmeg make it such a festive concoction that every year, come December 1, I am stalking my local supermarkets for the first appearance on the shelf. Continue reading

The perfect Christmas Day salad: macadamia, salmon and Asian cabbage

14 Dec

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The weather is warming up here in Sydney, which means picnics and barbecues are the mainstays of eating. We Sydney-siders love a chance to eat in the great outdoors, whether its on a towel at the beach, on a friend`s verandah or in the park. Summer is when Sydney is at its showy-off best: hot days, blue skies, balmy nights when the sun takes forever to set, festivals, long days at the beach…

Reading this, you wouldn’t actually realize that summer is my least favourite season. The heat and I are enemies. I only have to look out the window on a summer day and I am burnt. My Anglo Celtic skin demands broad-brimmed hats, long sleeves, SPF 50-plus and shade. Give me a shady spot with a tall glass of something cool and spiked and a slightly breeze and I am happy.

The best part about summer is eating fresh, healthy food. As a pescetarian of some 25 years it is the perfect opportunity to indulge in salad with a protein hit.

This salad is the perfect meal or side dish for Christmas Day – it has crunch, luxury items like macadamia nuts, greenery, and some protein. It takes minutes to throw together but looks and tastes amazing.

It would also be a perfect Boxing Day meal, an ideal antidote to the previous day`s eatfest.

I recommend assembling this salad right before serving so it doesn’t wilt – you really want the crunch of the cabbage leaves. This salad serves 4 so feel free to multiply it to serve the number of guests on Christmas Day. I always serve salad dressing on the side rather than pouring it over.

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GATHER:

One Chinese cabbage (wombok) shredded finely

Two packets hot smoked salmon, roughly broken up – I prefer the pepper fillets

One bunch flat leaf parsely, leaves removed and stems discarded

300 grams roasted macadamias

freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

dressing:

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup lemon juice

2 teaspoons minced garlic

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LET`S GET TO IT:

Place all ingredients, except the dressing, in large salad bowl and toss. Serve with dressing on the side.

Dressing: place all ingredients into a glass jar with screw top lid and shake until combined. Place in glass serving jug. If making dressing in advance remove from fridge about 20 minutes before serving.

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Christmas peanut butter cookies

10 Dec

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Christmas in Sydney is a hot and humid affair. There`s none of the snow and ice skating and roasting things by a roaring fire. Here it is a swim after a cold seafood lunch and trying to avoid the flies and sunburn. Continue reading

Sweet and salty Christmas popcorn

7 Dec

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Regular readers will know that popcorn is one of my very fav foods. I am somewhat obsessed with it – I even named my mini schnauzer after it! I have an air popper machine at home and it gets quite the work out. If I am out and see popcorn for sale I buy it. I have even been known to go to the movies, buy popcorn, and leave.

Usually I just have salt and butter – mmmm, butter – but this morning I was thinking of how I could `Christmas-ize` popcorn. A quick pre-school-drop-off trip to the supermarket later and I had some M&Ms and a plan.

In Australia the array of Christmas confectionary is very poor compared to what my friends in the US have. You can buy single colour M&Ms here but they are tricky to find. I bought a pack of mini M&Ms and set Miss9 to work, segregating all the reds and greens. I also bought a pack of mint M&MS which were mainly green, with a few whites. I am trying to think of a Christmassy way of using these.

This fun and easy Christmas snack is a cinch to make. Please do not use microwave popcorn. It is coated in so many very weird chemicals and it tastes like a bucket of chlorine.

I found this recipe on the fabulous Two Sisters Crafting website, which is packed with so many cool recipes. I just reduced the quantities. Check it out: http://www.twosisterscrafting.com/

This recipe makes heaps and is perfect for sharing at Christmas picnics, BBQs and school Christmas gatherings, which is where this batch is destined to end up. I also think Santa would love a dish of sweet and salty Christmas popcorn to eat on Christmas Eve.

My pro-tip: wash the saucepan the instant you have finished making this recipe – you do not want melted marshmallow congealing on your pan. Trust me on this.

GATHER:

6 cups popped popcorn

freshly ground sea salt

3 cups of white marshmallows

45 grams butter, diced

1 cup red and green M&Ms or Skittles

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Here`s Popcorn the mini schnauzer looking unimpressed at her Santa photo 2016 🙂 She hated having her photo with Santa but look how cute she is! Squee! 🙂

LET`S GET TO IT:

Spread cooked popcorn on a large baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and remove any unpopped kernels.

In a large pan over low heat melt together the butter and marshmallows. Stir constantly. It will become a really sticky, weird science-experiment texture but continue on. When it is 90 per cent melted turn off heat and keep stirring until there are no lumps of marshmallow left.

Immediately pour the mixture over the popcorn, then use a fork or tongs to stir popcorn to coat as much as possible. Sprinkle over the M&Ms, and stick some to the marshmallow sauce. Grind over the sea salt to taste.

Set aside to cool then break into chunks to serve.

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