Ginger Earthquake Cookies

What better way to spend your Sunday afternoon than whipping up a batch of these yummy, gingery, creative looking cookies.  The “earthquake” look comes from rolling the balls of chilled dough in icing sugar before baking them.  The crucial part comes with making sure that dough is super cold before you roll the cookies, or you end up with ginger earthquake pancakes!

These cookies are so more-ish, you better make sure you bake a few, once your friends catch on to these, they’ll be begging for more!

Prep Time ~ 2 hours (including chilling time) Cooking time ~ 15 mins a tray

Makes approx 100 cookies (you can very easily halve this recipe if you don’t want as many!)

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Ginger Earthquake Cookies

200g butter

2/3c Golden Syrup

3c Plain Flour

1 1/2c Brown Sugar

2 eggs, lightly whisked

4 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp mixed spice

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp bicarb soda

1/2c icing sugar

  1. Combine the butter and golden syrup in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until butter melts and mixture is well combined. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.

  2. Add the flour, brown sugar, egg, ginger, mixed spice, cloves and bicarbonate of soda and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 80 minutes or until cool and firm.

  3. Preheat oven to 180C. Line oven trays with baking paper. Sift the icing sugar onto a small plate. Roll half teaspoons of mixture into balls (think cherry sized) and roll in icing sugar. Place on the lined trays, 6cm apart, allowing room for spreading.

  4. Bake in preheated oven, swapping trays halfway through cooking, for 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and set aside on trays to cool completely.

If you’re finding these cookies are spreading too quickly when they’re baking, chill your dough even further, when you’re rolling them, the dough should be quite firm, and not be sticky.

My only other warning, is that if you’re anything like I am, where quality control is crucial, that taste testing this batter raw is not a great idea! Try if you like, but you’ve been warned 🙂

Happy Baking ~ LC

Basic Pancakes

I woke up this morning and it was raining! If you know anything about North Queensland you’ll know that we have been in drought and haven’t seen consistent rain in a long while!

So when I went to bed and it was raining, then woke up and it was STILL raining, I figured it was time to celebrate!

Pancakes seemed like a fitting Saturday morning celebration food!

These are super simple, very yummy and is easy enough to double if you have to feed a crowd.

Prep time 10 mins, Cooking time 10 mins, Serves 2 (4 small pancakes per person)

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Basic Pancakes

1 cup self-raising flour, sifted

Pinch of salt

2 tbs white sugar

¾ cup milk

1 egg, beaten

30g butter, melted

1 tsp vanilla extract

Spray oil for cooking

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  1. In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar and pinch of salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, melt the butter in the microwave on high for about 30 seconds.
  3. Into the butter add milk, vanilla and beaten egg. Be sure to do it in this order, if you add the egg first the heat from the butter may cook it, but if you cool with milk first you should be ok!
  4. Create a dimple in the centre of the flour mixture and pour the wet mixture into the hole you have made. Stir until well combined. You should have no lumps; the batter should be thick and smooth. Set the batter aside for 5-10 minutes.
  5. Heat a heavy-bottomed, non-stick pan over a low-medium heat and coat it with oil. Use a consistent amount when making these pancakes so that they turn out roughly the same size. I used a small ladle, you may want to use a 1/4 measuring cup.
  6. Cook until the initial side is golden, or until the top surface forms bubbles. Flip and repeat on the other side. I found to help the cooking process go faster, simply place a lid on the frying pan while cooking. This also helps solidify the top side so that when you go to flip you don’t end up with a battery mess.
  7. Enjoy with your favourite toppings (for me that’s maple syrup or fresh fruit!)

~A

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The Ultimate Hedgehog Slice

Back in the day I had been known, when feeling slack, to delve into the realm of packet mixes. I know, slap me on the wrist.

One day, my husband Paul decided that he wanted me to make hedgehog slice. So off we went to the shops ready to get all the ingredients, but as we were cruising down the baking isle he spotted a packet mix for the slice. He told me I should save myself the trouble and just use  a packet mix. I tried to talk him out of it but no, he wanted the packet mix because the picture on front looked soooooo amazing. So I gave in.

You know those Pinterest fails that are going around the internet? Yes? Well it basically turned out like that! My guess is at the time we got it, it must have been out of date because what it turned out as was anything but the delicious hedgehog slice shown on the packet! It resembled tar. No joke, and it didn’t taste much better either!

So from that day forward I vowed never again to use a packet mix. My solution to the lazy man’s Hedgehog slice follows! Fair warning though, this baby is so rich and delicious you may only be able to handle a little at a time!

Serves 15, Prep time 20 mins, Total time for cooling approx.  6 hrs/overnight

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Ultimate Hedgehog Slice

400g dark melting chocolate

150g butter

1cup icing sugar

1 ½ packets Arnott’s Scotch Finger biscuits

150 g packet hazelnuts – chopped

1 egg – beaten

1tsp vanilla extract

Icing

1 cup icing sugar

½ cup cocoa powder

2tbs milk/water

Chocolate flakes (optional extra)

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  1. Melt chocolate, butter and sugar in a glass bowl, you can use the microwave for this just be sure to stop every 30 seconds to stir.
  2. Once completely melted and mixed together add the egg and vanilla extract. Be sure to combine well, then heat once more in the microwave for 30 seconds to ensure the egg stays warm enough to cook through. Your mixture should turn a glossy chocolate colour and be smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl crush the biscuits and mix in the chopped hazelnuts.
  4. Add the biscuit mix to the chocolate and combine until all the biscuits are covered in chocolate.
  5. Spoon mixture into a lined 20 x 30cm slice tin pressing down to ensure the mixture is packed in.
  6. For the icing, simply mix all ingredients together to form a thick paste. When fully combined drizzle the icing over the slice evenly to smooth out the surface. You can also tap the tin lightly on your counter top to reduce any air bubbles or gaps that might not have been filled at first. Feel free at this point to top with chocolate flakes.
  7. Chill in the fridge over night or for at least 6 hours. When fully hardened remove from the time dust with icing sugar and slice with a sharp hot knife (run under hot water – I managed to cut 15 slices about 2-3 inches square, this is very rich so if you think you you can handle more, feel free to cut larger slices!).
  8. Enjoy!

~A

Sesame Ramen Noodles

Our time in Japan last year for our honeymoon saw us eating many questionable things, especially when we had a stay at a ryokan (traditional accommodation). I’m talking breakfasts with more eyes than I have fingers, and easily 7 different species of sea creature on each plate! While that was an experience, we tended to lean more to things that we could recognise when out and about. Noodles of every kind fast became a favourite!

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While we were in Hiroshima we found this great looking noodle store attached to the main train station. We thought great! Normal food! Well… kind of… We took our seats and were given a menu. The menu seemed to indicate a hotness scale to the food. 1 being so bland that no one would even think about being so boring and 100 being insanely hot, we are talking surface of the sun. Well let me tell you, I think we got played hard at this place! We, being simple Australians thought we better stick to the basic boring number 1 on the scale, but when ordering the lovely young Japanese man suggested (persuaded, shamed us into…) getting at least a number 2 on the scale. The starting level he said. So being the nice folk that we are, and not wanting to insult anyone, we agreed. Number 2.

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Have you ever eaten something so hot that your lips tingled for a hour afterwards? Well I hadn’t until that day. Middle of a Japanese summer and I am literally on fire. It was the strangest thing, the noodles were amazingly delicious but so damn hot! The more you ate the better you could deal with the heat and the more delicious the noodles became, but once you stopped it was like the surface of the sun was your new lip gloss.

The most strange thing for me is since I’ve had these noodles in Hiroshima I’ve wanted more! So here is my attempt at Sesame Ramen – way less like the surface of the sun but still just as yummy!

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Sesame Ramen Noodles

3tbs sesame oil

3tbs peanut oil

¼ cup soy sauce

2tbs rice wine vinegar

3tbs white sugar

4 cloves of garlic – finely chopped

Ground cayenne pepper to taste

Chilli flakes to taste

180g packet of ramen noodles

1 small bunch of spring onion finely sliced to serve

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  1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add ramen noodles and cook as per packet instructions.
  2. While the ramen is cooking in a small bowl mix oils, sugar, vinegar and garlic. Add spices now if you wish, and mix well.
  3. After draining the noodles simply stir through the sauce and serve hot.
  4. Top with finely sliced spring onion and extra chilli flakes.
  5. Enjoy!

Tip: I always make the bulk of the mixture with less heat (chilli) and add a little more later by mixing a small bowl of soy sauce and sesame oil with added cayenne pepper for those that love their noodles spicy!

~A

Thai Red Curry Pork

I’m a sucker for a good red curry – my absolute favourite would have to be a red curry duck, but this red curry pork comes a very close second, loaded with red curry and creamy coconut milk, a nice crunch of fresh vegetables and sprinkle of chopped peanuts and chilli to top it off, and if you want to add a few more healthy bits, there’s even a scoop of nutty brown rice hiding under the gorgeous spicy coconut broth.  Incredibly simple, quick and easy, its certainly one to keep the hungry crowds from rioting for a few hours at least!  This recipe is structured to be a bulk cook, but by all means, scale it back by half if you only have a small crowd.

Prep time 15 mins, Cook time 10 mins, Serves 8

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Thai Red Curry Pork

2 tbsp peanut oil

2 brown onion, cut into thin wedges

1 jar Ayam red curry paste

1.3kg pork fillet or loin steaks,sliced thinly

3 x 400ml can coconut milk

2 tbsp fish sauce

4 tsp brown sugar

2 large red capsicum, diced

400g can baby corn pieces, drained

400g green beans, trimmed, halved crossways

1/4 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

2 large red chillies, thinly sliced (optional)

  1. Heat peanut oil in large heave based pan, then add onion, cooking until just soft
  2. Add curry paste and saute until onions are coated and paste is fragrant, which should be 2-3 minutes
  3. Add pork and stirfry for a further 5 minutes, until pork is browned.
  4. Add coconut milk, sugar, fish sauce and vegetables, stir and bring to the boil, simmer for a further five minutes.
  5. Serve on a bed of rice, and top with fresh sliced chilli and peanuts.

Kick back with a glass of your favourite white wine (or red if thats your chosen poison) and wrap your taste buds around this bad boy, I guarantee you’ll want to lick your bowl clean when nobody is looking! Cheers ~ LC

Jam Drop Biscuits

An oldie but a goodie these jam drops will leave you wanting more! Very quick and easy to make, these biccies come out light and fluffy and are a total crowd pleaser.

Prep time 10 mins, Cooking time 20 mins, Makes 24

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Jam Drop Biscuits

125g butter – softened

2 large eggs

2 cups self raising flour

3/4 cup caster sugar

1tbs lemon juice

1tsp vanilla essence

1/4 cup jam – choose your favourite flavour

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  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Line two trays with baking paper and lightly grease.
  3. Combine the butter and sugar using an electric beater until smooth and creamy.
  4. Add eggs, lemon juice and vanilla essence and continue to beat until smooth.
  5. When fully mixed add flour and stir in to form a dough. If the mix is too damp add a little more flour.
  6. Form small balls out of the dough and place on baking trays. With a spoon or your finger make small but deep holes in the center of your dough balls. Fill with your favourite jam and place in the oven for 20 mins or until golden.
  7. Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
  8. Enjoy!

-A

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Chicken Roulade

It looks a bit fancy, and a bit complex, but looks can be very deceiving! This simple chicken roll-up is a winner, seen here served with a simple garden salad, crunchy butter grilled asparagus and a bed of creamy polenta, it’s a good hearty meal.

Prep time 20 minutes, cook time 30 minutes, Serves 4

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Chicken Roulade

6 chicken thigh fillets, bashed out to 5mm thick

1/3c sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped

1/3c roasted capsicums, roughly chopped

1/2c button mushrooms, quartered

3 squares of your favourite cheese – if you like soft cheese, use 6 slices

1/2c plain flour, seasoned with salt and pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

1/3c white wine

1/3c chicken stock

1tsp wholegrain mustard

1/3c thickened cream

1/2c Polenta

2c chicken stock extra

1 tsp butter

  1. Place sundried tomatoes, capsicum and mushrooms into a food processor and blitz until finely chopped.
  2. Spread each chicken thigh with approx a tablespoon of the blended mix and spread to cover.  Place 1/2 square of cheese at one end of each thigh, and roll up tightly, securing with toothpicks, roll in seasoned flour. WARNING – this can get a bit messy and fidley, but dont stress, it WILL come together.
  3. Heat oil and butter in large frying pan, once frothy, add chicken cooking for 4-5 minutes on each side until golden.  Once golden on all sides, pour wine and stock into pan and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, turning chicken every minute or so.
  4. Remove chicken from pan and allow to rest for 5 minutes.  Add mustard seeds and cream to remaining liquid in pan and stir to combine, place back on low heat.
  5. Meanwhile cook polenta by brining stock to boil, add polenta in a steady stream, stirring constantly until thick, add butter and cook a further 2-3 minutes.
  6. Slice chicken into 1cm slices and serve on a bed of polenta with crispy asparagus topped with wine and mustard sauce, and a side of garden salad (or whatever takes your fancy really!)

This is a fancy favourite of ours, if you’re feeling a little bit less fancy, you can serve this bad boy straight on the plate (skip the slicing) with some mash and colorful veg.

Enjoy ~ LC

Golden Syrup Dumplings

When I think of Golden Syrup Dumplings, I think old school classic favourite, skip the healthy and go for downright yum.  Naughty and nice, that sweetness from the brown sugar, cut through by the slightly bitter golden syrup flavour.  Topped with a dash of cream and a scoop of vanilla ice-cream turns this into a perfect dessert, but one that you definitely need to leave plenty of room for! Can anyone say sugar coma?

Prep Time 25 mins, Cook Time 20 minutes – Serves 6

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Golden Syrup Dumplings

Dumplings

190g (1 1/4 cups) self-raising flour

40g butter, chilled, chopped

80ml (1/3 cup) milk

80ml (1/3 cup) golden syrup

Syrup Sauce

500ml (2 cups) boiling water

185ml (3/4 cup) golden syrup

100g (1/2 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar

40g butter

  1. Mix ingredients for sauce in a heavy based pot and place over a medium heat until butter has melted and mix has come to a simmer.
  2. While sauce is heating, place flour and butter in bowl and rub butter in until it forms a light crumb.
  3. Add milk and golden syrup into flour and butter, then portion into 18 dumplings.
  4. Place dumplings into simmering syrup sauce and cook for 20 minutes until dumplings have puffed up and sauce has thickened slightly.
  5. Serve with a scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of thickened cream

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Sit back and enjoy – remember to share with friends, because as nice as these are, they’re liable to make you feel a touch ill if you eat too many 🙂 Cheers ~LC

Squid and Cashew Stir-Fry

Crunchy and sweet this stir fry has quickly become a favourite. You can use your favourite veggies or just what’s left over in the fridge that needs to be used up. Either way teamed up with lightly battered squid, sweet sauce and cashews you cant go wrong!

Prep time 10 mins, Cooking time 15 mins, Serves 4

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Squid and Broccoli Stir-fry

2 heads broccolini – chopped into small heads

1 punet mushrooms – halved

3 carrots – julliened

1 clove of garlic – chopped finely

3 bunches pak choy –  chopped into thirds

2 tbs brown sugar

1tbs fish sauce

1tbs soy sauce

1tbs sweet chilli sauce

3 squid tubes – sliced into inch wide strips and scored in a cross hatched pattern

1 cup plain flour

1/2 tsp Tuscan seasoning

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup peanut oil – for stirfrying and shallow frying

1/3 cup cashews

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  1. Prepare the squid by slicing and scoring.
  2. Place flour, salt and Tuscan seasoning in a bowl and mix. Dust squid in flour.
  3. Shallow fry squid until just golden. Make sure oil is very hot. Set squid aside.
  4. In a small bowl mix sugar, fish sauce, sweet chilli sauce and soy sauce.
  5. Heat a tbs oil in a wok and stir fry all veggies except the pak choy until just tender. Add pak choy and stir fry for a further minute. Remove from heat and drizzle with sauce. Mix though.
  6. Plate up stir-fried vegetables and top with squid and cashews.
  7. Enjoy!

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Pizza Scrolls

Who doesn’t love pizza? What better way to enjoy an easy pizza snack than as a scroll!  Super simple dough base that you can top with whatever takes your fancy at the time, fantastic for lunch box snacks or just to have when the hunger bugs are biting.  Let us know what your favourite toppings are for making these, we like the classic Hawaiian, jalapenos supreme or my personal favourite, tandoori chicken with crumbled feta!

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Pizza Scrolls

Basic Dough Recipe

2c Self raising flour

1 tbsp caster sugar

60g butter

2/3c milk

  1. Combine flour and sugar in a large bowl, add chopped butter and rub in until mix resembles a fine crumb.
  2. Add milk and work with a table knife until dough combines together.  Tip onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth.
  3. Roll out to make a 30cm x 40cm piece of dough and top with your favourite toppings (see below).  Once topped, roll from long edge, keeping the roll nice and tight and firm.  Slice into 12 equal slices, and place cut side up on baking tray.
  4. Bake in oven at 180C for 30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
  5. These can be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for a couple of days or can be frozen for up to three months.

Toppings – These are our favourites, but any combination you like;

  1. Tomato sauce, mozarella cheese, ham/bacon and crushed pineapple
  2. Tomato relish, mozarella, tandoori chicken, crumbled feta
  3. BBQ pizzza sauce, mozarella, pepperoni, ham/bacon, chorizo, olives, jalapenos