Monday, August 30, 2010

Menu Plan Monday


Oven Roasted Tomato Spaghetti

Freezer Suprise


Roast Capsicum & Garlic Spinach Pizza


Creamy Lemon Mac n Cheese


Moroccan Chicken & Pumpkin Soup (slow cooker)


Pies and Chips

Burgers from the Fish 'n' Chips shop

Check back during the week for the recipes, and as usual, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts, and please come back here for Kids Cooking Thursday.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Another tiny hidden treasure.

A little unicorn statue, on the windowsill, next to a No Diving sign, at the pool where Miss Four and Master Six have swimming lessons.

And then when we were leaving, Master Six found the ring from a keyring next to the back tyre. I'll repurpose it in some way, and leave it elsewhere to be refound.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dulce De Leche Flourless Chocolate Cake

This past week was my sister's birthday, so it was fitting that this week's theme for the cookbook challenge was Celebration. I love that she is only four houses down from me, so I can always make baked goods, and then hand them off onto her. With this cake though, I'm not sure that will happen. But I had to make it, regardless of the imminent danger to my hips and thighs, because, well, after all, I promised you, didn't I?

Dulce De Leche Flourless Chocolate Cake (from Viva la Vida - Rafael Palomino)
450g (1 pound) semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 eggs, separated
2 Tbsp Dulce de Leche
Vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter a 9-inch springform pan.

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate over barely simmering water. Remove from heat, pour into a large bowl, and set aside.

In another large bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks until well blended. Fold the yolks into the melted chocolate,

then fold in the whites. Pour the chocolate mixture into the prepared pan. Spoon the dulce de leche into the center of the chocolate mixture. Smooth the top with a spatula.

Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Place on a serving plate and remove the sides of the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature, with vanilla ice cream if you like.

This was an entry for
The Cookbook Challenge: Week 41 - Celebration.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Bombe Alaska

The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

Brown Butter Pound Cake
275g butter
200g sifted cake flour (sift before measuring) (2 Tbsp cornflour in the bottom of 1 cup measure then fill as normal with plain flour works as a substitution)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan.
(I just used a round tin, because that's what I had)

2. Place the butter in a 10” (25cm) skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.

3. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

4. Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.

5. Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.

6. Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

7. Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

I sliced the round cake in half, because it was too thick for my liking, and then topped it with a generous amount of the Dulce de Leche ice cream I made the other day, and set it into the freezer.

Then I realised I had no more eggs, so the next part had to wait till the next day so I could buy more eggs.

Meringue (for Baked Alaska)
4 large egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar

Beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on high speed in an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in the sugar gradually in a slow stream until stiff peaks form.

Pipe, or spread with a spatula, all over the cake and ice cream, and return to the freezer for an hour, or up to one day.

Bake the Alaskas on a rimmed baking sheet in a 260°C oven for 5 minutes until lightly golden. Serve immediately.

It was delicious - the unique flavour of the dulce de leche ice cream really married well with the nutty cake, even though the cake wasn't so nice either texturally or taste wise once frozen. This cake is really at it's best when eaten hot, or at the very least, room temperature straight after cooking. The kids loved it though. The meringue was very ahh-worthy, perhaps I should make it more often? Miss Four informed me that she knew how to make meringue: "You take the sticky white part of the egg, and then you do something with it... and then you cook it and it's meringue."

Cooking lessons from Postman Pat - It does happen!

Flash Game Friday

Zuma's Revenge

Another free Pop Gap game, this week the sequel to the wildly successful Zuma. All new, harder levels, twistier mazes, with more tunnels. I made it as far as level 13. This time...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Kids Cooking Thursday: Giant Birthday Freckle

Inspired by this post over at Planning with Kids, I thought I had to give this a go. Since I had already gotten my sister a Jumbo Cupcake cake shaped cake pan, and was in the midst of crocheting her a oversized d20 (check Never Mind the Claw Marks tonight for more on that), the logical thing to do would be to make a giant freckle. You see these in shops for up to $15 or $20, but this cost under $5 in ingredients.

You'll need chocolate. We used a 200g block of plain Cadbury Milk Chocolate, but you could use any chocolate. And you also need (half) a packet of 100s & 1000s - little coloured balls of sugar that is sold with the cake decorating supplies at the supermarket. These come in a range of colours, and even shapes these days, but we went for a traditional look.

Line a round cake pan with cling wrap, and smooth out as many wrinkles as you can.
Melt the chocolate, in the microwave, or in a double boiler for you purists, and pour slowly into the lined pan. Tilt the pan gently to spread the chocolate out evenly across the bottom.

Slowly pour the 100s & 1000s into the pan. If you pour too hard or fast, you will make dints into the chocolate. Be very generous - any that don't stick can be tipped out once the chocolate has set, and used for something else.

Allow to set, then tip out the excess sprinkles, before wrapping the edges of the cling wrap over the top to seal.

BIG things for a BIG birthday

If you'd like to join in with Kids Cooking Thursday please leave a permalink to your own Kids Cooking Thursday post, as per the rules.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dulce de Leche Ice Cream

I had a big batch of failed Dulce de leche that I wanted to do something with, so I used 1 2/3 cups of it as milk in this delicious recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I placed the remaining 1/3 of it, along with one can of sweetened condensed milk, into the microwave to make it into 'proper' dulce de leche, with the thick caramelly consistency.

After I had the consistency I wanted, I added it to the cinnamony milk, and some cream, and put it in an ice cream tub to freeze. I was too lazy to get the ice cream machine out to be honest, and had too many dishes to consider washing all those parts afterwards. I used my stick mixer to churn it up before I froze it, and once every hour or two after putting it in the freezer, to prevent large ice crystals forming.

It has what I consider to be the perfect consistency, like some of the first ice cream recipes I made that were just cream, flavour and sweetened condensed milk. (Mashed banana is spectacular like that). It's sort of like a cross between soft serve and a very soft caramel. It's delicious, but sticky, so you don't really want to use this recipe for a cake filling, or for ice cream pie, or even popsicles, because it will stick to your molds, or knife or make crumbs. Just eat it straight from the container with a spoon, you'll be much happier for it. :D

On the plus side, you can scoop (or spoon!) this straight from the freezer so you don't have to think ahead for defrosting time, like so many other homemade ice creams.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


This month I was paired with Edana from YUM FOOD. She has a great recipe for Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Banana Cookies, which I really wanted to make, but we don't have peanut butter chips here in Australia.

Miss Four and I decided to make them regardless, skipping the peanut butter chips, and replacing the chocolate chips with chunks of chopped chocolate from a block. We got 45 cookies from that recipe, but hours later, there is less than 30 left. Whoops.

Ugly, but tasty.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Menu Plan Monday


Perfect Pancakes


Chicken & Hutspot


Brie, Parmesan & Mushroom Pasta

Chicken Parmagiana Subs & Chips


Easy Pasta


40th Birthday Feast @ Kryal Castle


Chicken Parmagiana & Curly Fries (repeat by request of DP)

Check back during the week for the recipes, and as usual, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts, and please come back here for Kids Cooking Thursday when we make a Giant Birthday Freckle.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Puppet Head List: #1

Hide 43 Treasures.

Well, I've done 3 so far, so that's a start.

First, a little chipmunk in a pot plant, while waiting in line to vote.

The next was a little fairy notebook, near the return chute at the library.

And lastly, a tiny bottle of bubbles in the womens change room after the kids' swimming lessons.

The hard part of this challenge won't be hiding treasures, it will be finding 4o more tiny little things (I can bear parting with) to hide!

Status: 3/43

Friday, August 20, 2010

Flash Game Friday

Plants Vs Zombies

The free online version of this totally addictive game from Pop Cap. I apologise in advance for wasting your entire weekend.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Kids Cooking Thursday: Cornflour Clay

This week's post isn't really so much of a cooking with kids, as it is a cooking for kids, unless you have children somewhat older than mine. But, if you start as late in the day as I did, you'll get two days worth of activities from this - one day shaping and baking, and another day's worth of painting :)

Cornflour Clay
1 cup cornflour
500g bicarb soda
1 1/2 cups water.

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens and comes away from the sides of the pan to form a ball. (It'll look like mashed potatoes) Remove from the heat.

Place the mixture onto a work surface dusted with cornflour and let cool.

Once it's cool, you and your children can roll, knead, mould and pretty much do anything they'd do with playdough. Place their finished creations on a baking tray lined with baking paper, and bake for 30 minutes at 180°C. Turn off the heat and leave the tray in the oven for another 40 minutes. Then remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Once cooled you can paint and decorate as desired.

See Miss Four's Play Doh Factory Monkey?

Master Two kept insisting it was 'snow man'

Miss Four did a free form leaf

If you'd like to join in with Kids Cooking Thursday please leave a permalink to your own Kids Cooking Thursday post, as per the rules.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Toot toot chugga chugga

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

'Danny Special' Pierogis

The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.

I'd completely forgotten about this month's Daring Cooks challenge to be honest, and it really was on a mere whim that I decided to make calzones for dinner, but with a mince meat filling, more like a bready empanada than an 'inside out pizza' (as we call calzones in our house).

It wasn't until I was looking at the Daring Kitchen forums, checking a detail for the Daring Bakers challenge coming up on the 27th, that I realised that the meal we had eaten the night before, fell technically under this months Daring Cooks theme.

Although the recipe given by LizG and Anula was for flour pierogis, they did say that bread ones were acceptable, and this pretty much fit the bill. Dough, wrapped around meat.

I used my standard pizza/calzone dough, and for a filling, I made a batch of what I term Danny Special. It's something my mother used to cook fairly often, but I remember one night she and Dad went out, and it was just the three youngest of us at home. (By the youngest, I mean myself, my brother Danny who is nine years older than me, and one of my sisters, who is eleven years older than me.) Danny cooked this for us all to eat, only, because he kept "testing" it, to check the seasoning, by the time it was ready, there was only a quarter of a large pan full left. And then my sister and I howled (like stray dogs) all the way through his Stray Cats tape while we dried and he washed the dishes. :) Kids. Every time I make this, I remember that night, and so, even if only to myself, this is the Danny Special. It's not really a dish representing my locale, unless you are really specific, and say that my locale is my house or one belonging to my family :D

This is pretty much just chopped (or canned, diced) tomatoes, diced onion, and mince. Fry it all up, you can thicken it with a little gravy powder or the tiniest amount of tomato paste if you want. If you use tomato paste, go very easy on it. This is a meaty gravy type dish, not a tomato bolognese sauce. I used quite a bit of gravy to make it nice and thick inside the pierogis, but if you serve with mashed or steamed potatoes, you don't need it as thick.

Put a couple of spoonfuls on a rolled out circle of dough, bake for 18 minutes at 180°C, and serve in front of the tv while watching Dennis the Menace.

This was DP's double sized one, because he eats more than the rest of us.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Freezer Suprise



Chicken Quesadillas


Creamy Bacon chunk & Spinach pasta



'Danny Special' Pierogis


A bit of a lazy week this week, but check back during the week for what recipes may apply (there will be at least one), and as usual, check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for literally hundreds of other menu plan blog posts, and please come back here for Kids Cooking Thursday when we make Cornflour Clay.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


It was fairly certain to me that this week, being TV Chef week, was going to end up being another Nigella recipe. Either that, or something from Kevin Woodford's Planet Cook cookbook I borrowed from the library once. While the Pyramids of Toast did appeal to the food stylist in me, I knew that I really needed to cook something more than toast with scrambled eggs. Then I remembered Nigella's recipe for pancake mix.

I have a friend, who is always posting on my Facebook feed about how much she wants pancakes. Begging people to come and cook her pancakes, boasting when they do, talking about going out for pancakes. She is, by her own admission, not the best or even a capable cook, so when I first saw this recipe, I thought of her. And so when this weeks theme rolled around, it seemed only natural to make a jar or two of this, and give them to her, since it's her birthday in a few weeks. And I know she follows this blog, so it won't be much of a suprise, but she can rest assured I have another suprise up my sleeve for her.

Pancake-in-a-jar (Nigella Express - Nigella Lawson)
600g flour
3 x 15ml Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
40 g vanilla or caster sugar

Mix all the ingredients together and store in a jar.

For each 150g pancake mix, add and whisk together:
1 egg
250ml semi-skimmed or full-fat milk
1 x 15ml Tbsp melted butter

Heat a flat griddle or pan with no oil.
Spoon drops of 1 1/2 - 2 Tbsp of batter onto the hot griddle or into the pan and, when bubbles appear on the surface of the little pancakes, flip them over to make them golden brown on both sides. A minute or so a side should do it.

Makes 15 pancakes, each about 8 cm in diameter.

This was an entry for
The Cookbook Challenge: Week 39 - TV Chef.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Flash Game Friday

Robot Unicorn Attack

A brilliant garish game from Adult Swim where you have to headbutt fairies to death with a robot unicorn. Jump to 'fly' magically through the air, and rainbow dash through anything that gets in your way! Guaranteed to keep you well away from housework for the whole weekend. ;)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A stitch in time...

Just a shout out to any crafty type followers here, that may not follow my other blog:

DELL-icous Crochet on Facebook is starting a mass blanket for charity project. She's trying to get people to crochet granny squares and send them in to make a blanket that will be donated or auctioned off for charity.

Details such as wool ply, hook and square size, and also which charity are to benefit are yet to be arranged, but if you are interested, head on over to the above link and check it out.

(She also makes the cutest beanies which I am so jealous of... who needs tassles when you have cat ears or Igglepiggle heads?)