Triple Chocolate Chip Muffins

Who doesn’t like chocolate? If you find someone that doesn’t, well then there is something seriously wrong with them! These chocolate muffins are a serious indulgence. Chocolate base with two types of chocolate chips (thee if you don’t have a fussy husband who won’t let you use milk chocolate) brings all the yummy to these muffins.

Prep time – 10 mins, Cooking time – 20 mins, Makes 15

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I remember a recipe similar to this that my mum used to make all the time when I was a kid. They were the best muffins ever, alas that recipe has been lost but I’d say this one comes in at a very close second. Rich but not too rich, good in the centre and crunchy on top, you definitely won’t be disappointed with these guys.

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Triple Chocolate Chip Muffins

2 ½ cups self-raising flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted

3/4 cup dark chocolate bits

3/4 cup milk choc bits

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 egg – lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla essence

Icing

1/3 cup dark chocolate bits

1/3 cup milk chocolate bits

1/3 cup icing sugar

1/4 cup milk

1 tbs butter

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. In a large bowl sift the flour and cocoa powder. Mix in the chocolate bits and sugar and create a well in the centre of the bowl.
  2. In a small bowl mix the egg, milk, oil and vanilla and whisk lightly with a fork.
  3. Pour milk mix into flour mix and stir together with a wooden spoon until combined. If the mix is a little dry add a dash more milk.
  4. Spoon mixture into prepared muffin tins and bake for 20 mins.
  5. When cooked remove from muffin tins and allow to cool to room temperature.
  6. To create the icing, place chocolate, butter and milk in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high in the microwave for 20 seconds. Stir well until all the ingredients have melted and make a smooth mixture. Add the icing sugar and using a whisk, stir the mixture until smooth.
  7. Let mixture chill in the fridge to thicken for about 10 mins. When muffins have reached room temperature they can be iced.
  8. Enjoy!

~A

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Simple Fried Rice

I can remember when I was in primary school when we learned Indonesian we did a unit on food. The best part was the day the teacher made us nasi goreng which translates to fried rice.

It was delicious and has been a favourite to eat and make ever since that day.

Here is my simple fried rice recipe.

Prep time – 15 mins, Cooking time -20 mins, Serves 6

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Simple Fried Rice

2 cups rice

1/2 cup frozen peas

2 carrots – finely diced

1/4 cabbage – finely sliced

200g chopped mushrooms

200g finely chopped chicken

100g finely chopped bacon

2 eggs

1 tbs minced garlic

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tbs sugar

1tbs sesame oil

1tbs peanut oil

  1.  Rinse rice under cold water until water runs clear. Boil rice and when cooked rinse with cold water and set aside to drain.
  2. In a wok or large frying pan heat peanut oil over a high heat. When hot, fry up chicken, bacon and garlic until the chicken is no longer pink.
  3. Add to the meat all vegies and stirfry until the carrot is soft and the peas are hot.
  4. Add rice, mixing through well.
  5. In a small bowl mix the sesame oil, soy sauce and sugar. Add to the rice mixture and stir through well.
  6. Create a well in the centre of the rice mixture and crack both eggs into the centre. Stir eggs and when they are starting to solidify mix through the rice mixture.
  7. Rice is ready when the egg is cooked throughout the rice.
  8. Serve with crushed peanuts or chopped shallots or with nothing at all (the sooner it gets in your belly the better!)
  9. Enjoy 🙂

~A

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New York Baked Cheesecake

My favourite type of cake is a baked cheesecake. I can remember when I was little whenever I was taking into town we would always stop off at our favourite German coffee shop and without fail I would get one of two things. A jam Berliner or a slice of baked cheesecake.

Each bite of this cheesecake took me right back to those cherished childhood memories.

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New York Baked Cheesecake

250g plain sweet biscuits (Scotch fingers or arrowroot’s both work fine)

125g butter – melted

750g cream cheese – soft and at room temperature

2 tsp finely grated orange zest

1 tsp finely grated lemon zest

1 cup castor sugar

3 eggs

¾ cup sour cream

¼ cup lemon juice

  1. In a food processor pulse the biscuits until they are a fine crumble and add the butter pulsing again until combined.
  2. In a prepared 24cm spring form cake tin, press the biscuit mixture over the base and sides ensuring an even base well compressed base. When pressed in, refrigerate for 30mins.
  3. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. In a large bowl beat the cream cheese, citrus rinds and sugar with electric beaters until smooth. Add in one egg at a time beating in between then add the sour cream and lemon juice beating again until smooth.
  4. Remove the biscuit base from the refrigerator and pour cheese mixture into the tin.
  5. Place in the oven and bake for about 1hr and 15mins or until the top is just golden.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Enjoy!

-A

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Spinach and Sundried Tomato Pasta

You know when you’ve just been eating bad/naughty food all Easter long and all you want is something deliciously savoury and in no way made of chocolate? Well that’s where I am at with life this week.

I swear if I eat or even just see another Easter egg I might explode! As fantastic as it is to indulge in chocolate for a week straight there does come a time when enough is enough. So to combat all the sugary chocolaty goodness I had been consuming I fought back with this delectable somewhat fancy pants but actually really easy pasta.

Its full of semi sun-dried tomatoey goodness, creamy but with a hint of heat sauciness and of course to make it a little bit healthy a heap of spinach!

This pasta was a winner with me right away due to the fact that once I got going it was made in about 15 mins flat! How good is that for a filling midweek meal that yields loads of leftovers?

Interested yet? OK, here we go!

Prep time – 5 mins, Cooking time – 15 mins, Serves 6-8

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Spinach and Sundried Tomato Pasta

2 packed cups baby spinach leaves

150g semi sundried tomatos

2 chicken breast fillets –  chopped into bite sized pieces

500g pasta of your choice

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

2tbs chicken stock powder

2 cups cream

1/4 cup parmesan cheese – plus extra to serve

Salt and pepper to taste

1tsp oil to fry chicken – you can use the sundried tomato oil3

1. Put a large pot on to boil pasta and place pasta into pot when bubbling.

2. Place chopped chicken into a large frying pan and season with chicken stock powder and fry until golden and cooked through.

3. Add tomatos, cayenne pepper and cream to chicken. Stir through.

4. When creamy sauce is hot add parmesan and stir through.

5. Once pasta is cooked drain and return to the pot. Wilt spinach through the creamy chicken then add the creamy chicken sauce to the pasta and stir through.

6. Serve with some extra parmesan on top of pasta and enjoy!

-A

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Chocolate Tart

I recently spent the Easter weekend with my Mum in Cairns. I don’t get to see her as often as I would like, so this year I promised myself and her that I would make an effort to spend more time with her despite the 400 km distance between us.

So like the old days when I still lived at home, when we come together there is usually a lot of food related activities to be had! When I was little we would always be making something in the kitchen, usually baking on the weekends when we had time away from school and work.

Almost like making up for lost time, this weekend we baked up a storm, making two of these delicious chocolate tarts (one for Mum’s great neighbours and one for us) and one very yummy New York Baked Cheesecake, soon to be shared on The Strange Couple.

This tart is super easy and anyone should be able to make it. We did use a food processor but if you’re feeling strong enough you could mix the pastry dough by hand too. The chocolate filling is divine and ridiculously simple to make. You might consider this as the perfect dessert next time you’re entertaining guests (or just want something chocolaty for yourself!).

Prep time – 30 mins, Cooking time – 30 mins + 30 mins setting time, Serves 8-10

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Chocolate Tart

Base

1 ½ cups plain flour

¼ cup cocoa powder

¼ cup icing mixture

180g cold butter – chopped

Filling

½ cup cream

30g butter – chopped

200g dark cooking chocolate – chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, and prepare a tart tin about 34 x 11.5cm with a little butter and flour.
  2. Sift flour, cocoa powder and icing mixture, place into a food processor with the cold chopped butter. Use the pulse setting to process the mixture until it resembles crumbs. Add about 3 table spoons of iced water and process again in pulses until the mixture comes together to form clumps. Ensure mixture is moist by pinching a bit of the mixture, if it looks too dry add a touch more iced water.
  3. When clumping, remove the dough from the processor onto a flat surface and roll out with a rolling pin to about 5mm thickness and make sure it will be long and wide enough to fit your tin. This recipe should yield more than enough dough to cover the dimensions of the tin.
  4. Lay the pastry into the prepared tin and lay some baking paper on top of the pastry and fill with dried rice or beans and bake for 15 mins, remove the rice or beans from the pastry and bake for a further 15 mins or until the pastry is dry and cooked through. Allow to cool.
  5. For the filling heat the cream, butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over a low heat until the chocolate begins to meld. Remove from the heat and stand, stirring often until melted and smooth.
  6. When pastry base is cool, pour in the chocolate mixture and smooth out.
  7. Place tart in the fridge until the chocolate has set.
  8. Serve with fresh cream and berries and enjoy!

~A

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Pumpkin & Bacon Pasta

Forgive me, its been a little while since I’ve managed to get a post up – but never fear, I *have* still been creating yummy dishes to share with you all.  A change of jobs has kept me crazy busy.  But this pasta was so quick, simple and YUM I couldn’t wait to share it.

Prep time – 5 mins, cook time – 20 minutes, serves 4.

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Pumpkin & Bacon Pasta

375g dried spaghetti (or 500g fresh)

350g Butternut Pumkpin, peeled and thinly shaved (I suggest using a good veg peeler)

1/3c Olive Oil

6 rashers bacon, streaky part only, sliced into thin battons

1 1/2c coarse breadcrumbs

2 teaspoons crushed garlic

1 tsp dried oregano

1 long red chilli, finely sliced

1/4c grated parmesan

1 tbsp baby capers, roughly chopped

1/2c spring onions, thinly sliced

  1. Cook pasta as to packet directions, and drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Cover and keep warm.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in pan and add bacon, cooking for 4-5 minutes until golden brown and starting to crisp, remove from pan and drain on paper towel.  Then add pumpkin to pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until just tender before removing to a bowl, cover and keep warm.
  3. Add another 2 tbsp oil to pan, add breadcrumbs, garlic, oregano and chilli and cook for 4-5 minutes until crumbs are golden and crispy, season with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove to bowl, keep warm.
  4. Add pasta, reserved water, parmesan, capers, spring onions, bacon, pumpkin and half the breadcrumbs back to the pan and toss to combine and warm through
  5. Serve immediately topped with more garlic chilli crumb, and a sprinkle of parmesan.

This is a very customisable recipe – if you like lots of bacon (I mean, who doesn’t) – add more bacon, or if you like a good solid kick, more chilli.  I haven’t tried it yet, but would see sweet potato being suitable in place of pumpkin, or add some shredded chicken.

Happy eating ~LC

Easy Meringue

This is the easiest Meringue recipe you will ever find. I decided to make a meringue after my last post Orange Poppy Seed Cake with Passionfruit Curd and Glaze. The curd required 5 egg yolks and I was left with all the egg whites. I don’t like waste, and I rather like meringue so it only made sense!

This meringue can me made into small rounds, or as large bases for toppings of cream and fruit.

With only two ingredients, why not give it a go 🙂

Prep time 5 mins, Cooking time 3 hours, Serves 8

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Easy Meringue

4 egg whites

220g caster sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. In a bowl beat egg whites on low with an electric beater until the whites start to go foamy and bubble, turn beater to high and continue until eggs form soft peaks.
  2. Begin to add the sugar, about 1 tbs at a time, over the course of 2-3 minutes the eggs should turn stiff and glossy.
  3. Line a baking try with grease proof paper and begin to spoon out your meringue mixture. It’s at this point that you can get creative, forming your meringue into shapes, or just a slab.
  4. Reduce the oven to 140 degrees C and place tray into oven. Leave to bake for 35-40 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave in place for a further 2-3 hours to dry out.
  5. When cool, top with your favourite fruits and cream and enjoy!

~A

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