Saturday 30 November 2013

Creamy Vanilla Cheesecake

If there is one cheesecake recipe you need in your life, this is it. 

Saturday 23 November 2013

Coconut Passionfruit Cake

Coconut cake is by far my favorite kind of cake, but not only is it hard to come by (unless you make it yourself of course), but recipes for coconut cake usually have an overload of butter and sugar. I wanted to see what happened if I tried to make one without butter and greatly reduced sugar. Once again it was something I was quite nervous about. I was worried about the consistency of the final product. It was a pleasant surprise. It tasted exactly how a good coconut cake should, with hints of passionfruit just because passionfruit is also delicious.

Coconut Passionfruit Cake

Serves 8-12

1/2 Cup Caster sugar
1/2 Cup Stevia
150 g apple sauce
3 medium eggs
2 Cups dessicated coconut
2 Cups self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 Cup lite coconut milk (or coconut cream)
1/4 Cup Passionfruit curd


30 g butter
2 Tbsp passionfruit curd
1.5 Cups icing sugar
1/2 Tbsp boiling water

1. Beat sugar, stevia and apple sauce in a large bowl until light and slightly creamy. Add in the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Fold in the rest of the dry ingredients.

2. Mix the coconut milk and  passionfruit curd together in a small bowl. Add to the other ingredients and mix well.

3. Pour into a lined 25-28 cm cake tin and bake at 180°C for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin.

4. Once cool, ice by mixing together all of the icing ingredients and spreading over top of the cake.

Nutritional Information:

Calories 158
Carbs     20 g
Fat         8 g
Protein   3 g
Fibre      2 g
Sodium  133 mg

Thursday 21 November 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Fudge is so easy and so delicious and also a favourite of my man so while I was waiting on some baking to come out of the oven a threw this together. Only took a few minutes, also set rather quickly so I didn't have to wait long at all to test it out but I will admit that I had a taster before it was completely set!

I think it goes without saying that this one isn't on my healthy list. But we can all do with a treat every now and again.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Makes about 20 pieces

1/2 Tin (200 g) Lite condensed milk
100 g butter
1 Cup brown sugar
1/2 Cup peanut butter
100 g milk chocolate, chopped

1. Line a 20 cm pan with baking paper.

2. Place condensed milk, butter, and brown sugar in a saucepan over a low heat and cook for about 10 minutes, until the mixture starts to bubble. Stir approximately every 2 minutes.

3. Add chocolate and peanut butter and stir until smooth and well combined.

4. Pour into the pan and chill until set, cut into squares.

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Stuffed Mushrooms

When I was trying to decide what to make for dinner tonight I just had a complete mind blank. I couldn't think of anything. I broke it down and thought "OK, my boyfriend loves mushrooms let's make something with mushrooms as the main ingredient" so I wrote out a recipe for stuffed mushrooms, something I have never made before so I really didn't have a clue what I was doing.

I wanted to make them both healthy and filling so I included tomatoes and wholegrain rice as the bulk of the filling . I used some chorizo in the filling as well but these could easily be made vegetarian by omitting the chorizo or replacing it with something meat-free.

So from now on, I will try my hardest to call capsicum red pepper, because apparently capsicum is a made-up word if you aren't from NZ. Haha! =)

Stuffed Mushrooms

Serves 4

1 Chorizo, chopped
1 onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 red pepper, diced
400 g tin chopped tomatoes
1 250 g packet wholegrain 2 minute rice
8 large mushrooms (e.g. portobello)
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan or mozzarella
olive oil
salt and pepper to season

1. Preheat oven to 220°C. Heat a dash of olive oil in a fry pan over medium heat. 

2. Cook rice according to packet directions. Add the onion and garlic to the fry pan and fry for about 3 minutes. Add chorizo, chilli, and red pepper and fry for a couple more minutes.

3. Remove from the heat and stir through rice and tomatoes. Trim the stalks from the mushrooms, dice them up and add them to the filling too. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Place the mushrooms on a lined baking tray and fill with the mixture. Top with breadcrumbs and cheese and bake until mushrooms are tender and cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. 

Nutritional Information

Calories 313
Carbs    45 g
Fat        10 g
Protein  16 g
Fibre     5 g
Sodium  580 mg

Saturday 9 November 2013

White Chocolate, Raspberry and Macadamia Blondies

I have never made blondies before, or really tasted them, but I have been seeing them in cafes a lot lately and thought they looked pretty good and maybe I should give it a go but make it a bit healthier.

I couldn't really make up my mind what to put in them but then my friend asked if I could teach her to bake something. Of course I was more than up for that so I asked her what she wanted to make and she said something with raspberries (we are going to make raspberry white chocolate muffins). I then needed to pick up some raspberries from the store I thought I would add some to this recipe too.

I was a little concerned when I got them out of the oven as they seemed a little dense, but after tasting one I realised that they actually had a lovely, soft texture.

White Chocolate, Raspberry and Macadamia Blondies

Makes 18 pieces

100 g white chocolate, broken up into small pieces
1 Tbsp vanilla essence
1/2 Cup apple sauce
1 1/4 Cup plain flour
2 eggs
1/4 Cup stevia
1/2 Cup white chocolate drops
3/4 Cup raspberries
1/2 Cup macadamia nuts

1. Preheat oven to 180°C, line a brownie pan with baking paper.

2. Melt white chocolate over a double boiler, stir in the apple sauce and set aside to cool.

3. Beat eggs, vanilla, and stevia until foamy. Fold in the white chocolate/apple sauce mixture and then fold in the choc chips, raspberries, and macadamia. Make sure you do this gently so that the raspberries don't get crushed up.

4. Spread mixture into the pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool in the pan before cutting into pieces.

Nutritional Information:

Calories 148
Carbs    17 g
Fat        8 g
Protein  3 g
Fibre     1 g
Sodium  22 mg 

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Free Range Foodies Dinner Party

 When I was scrolling through Facebook a while ago I saw a post on Annabel Langbiens page: "I'm putting together a panel of keen cooks – the Free Range Foodies – to give me feedback and help spread the word about my new recipes, products and ideas. If you love to cook for others and share your foodie discoveries through social media, simply sign up below"

I thought this sounded like me so filled out the application form, then a few weeks later I got an email saying that I had been selected, then the following week I received a preview copy of the Summer Annual Cookbook in the post. It was all very exciting! And I then had a lot of fun selecting a menu made up of recipes from my lovely new cookbook.

Typical of me, I planned a very ambitious menu, with probably far too many different things in each course but hey, I do like a good challenge, and I absolutely did not want any of my guests going hungry!

 I hosted my Free Range Foodies dinner party for 14 (myself included, which caused me a great deal of panic as I had never cooked for that large a number before!) on Sunday. I spent Saturday morning shopping for as many of the ingredients that I could get my hands on at the Otago Farmers Market, as well as picking up some beautiful pink peonies. The Poultry stall guy had a very shocked look on his face when I asked for around 16 chicken thighs.

Saturdays main challenge was tracking down red cabbage. I never knew it could be so difficult to find in season produce! Thankfully, a trip a different supermarket on Sunday had some in stock. Phew.
 Due to my overambitious menu, I spent all of Sunday in the kitchen. Which is actually fine by me, as I love to be in there creating deliciousness! Thankfully I had a super helpful boyfriend helping me out. However, I did almost have a meltdown at about 3 pm when I went into the freezer to get out some puff pastry for one of the starters only to find it in a million tiny wee pieces, so it was off on another walk to the supermarket.

In the end, everything came together just fine before the guests started to arrive. Luckily for me, I had super awesome flatmates to help arrange the table and chairs before everyone arrived.

So.. I can assume that you are sitting there wondering what was on the menu??


Asparagus tarts
Spinach, Pea, Mint and Feat Frittata (Pictured)
Cheesy garlic bread (wasn't from any recipe, just threw it together to use up left over Farmers Market Brioche).


Coconut Slaw
Spicy corn rice
Jerk Chicken
Steak with Moroccan spice rub
Sweet corn and pesto polenta

All of these dishes turned out absolutely fantastic. I had never cooked polenta before, but as one of my guests was vegetarian I thought I should put just as much effort into a vegetarian dish as I was the meat dishes. The first sentence in the recipe for the polenta was "cook polenta following the package instructions." The package just said "SunValley Pole
nta". Google search. Looked at four pages on how to cook polenta and got four completely different methods.. oh dear. I just guessed in the end and it turned out fine. I even got lots of comments on how tasty it was.                                                                                                                                                          

Left: Slow cooked steak with Moroccan Spice rub, just the right degree of spiciness. Full of flavour, delicious! And I still have lots of the spice rub left over, looking forward to getting creative with it!

Top left: Spicy corn and rice
Top right: Polenta. Well, what's left of it anyway! It disappeared very quickly.
Bottom centre: Coconut slaw. Green and red cabbage, carrot, toasted coconut with a zesty dressing.

All three of these got fantastic comments =)

The only picture that was taken of the chicken before it was all eaten was a surprise photo of me getting it out of the oven. Of all the main course dishes I think this was my favorite. The chicken was beautifully tender and moist, and the jerk sauce had a perfect balance between the sweetness of orange and the spiciness of the different spices.

If you have been following my blog you would have picked up by now that desserts are a definite favourite of mine. I often struggle to make sure that I keep a balance between baking/desserts and main meals. So of course this dinner was no exception. I made far more dessert than would ever be necessary. Unfortunately, dessert mostly got eaten before anyone remembered to take photos. But we did get one!


Chocolate meringue cake (pictured)
Raspberry ripple ambrosia
Three ingrediant chocolate moouse
Chocolate dipped strawberries (just because I like them..)

I loved every one of these (of course). By this point everyone had already had far too much to eat but everyone still managed to find enough room to fit in these tasty treats.

All in all, this was a really successful night. We all had such a blast and all of the food was fantastic. If you can get your hands on this cookbook, I definitely would! Totally worth every cent.

And to finish off, here are a few pictures of friends enjoying their meal.

Saturday 2 November 2013

Parmesan Crusted Chicken Arrabbiata

The third and final installment of creating pasta recipes for my brother.

I tried to keep all three recipes as different as I could, without being too out there in terms of flavors and ingredients, as my brother can be very fussy.

Arrabbiata is my favorite pasta sauce. You can buy it in the pasta sauce section of the supermarket but it is very simple to make yourself too. Especially the recipe that I have here. And at least by making it yourself you can simply adjust it to suit your tastes.

I apologize about the picture quality! It gets a bit tricky with a phone camera at night!

Parmesan Crusted Chicken Arrabbiata

Serves 4


2 Medium chicken breasts, halved lengthways (or 4 small)
1 Cup lite Greek yogurt
1/2 Cup finely grated parmesan
1/2 Cup breadcrumbs
Salt and Pepper to season


2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
3 small red chillis, deseeded and finely diced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 400 g cans diced tomatoes
1 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 Tbsp mixed herbs

1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Combine yogurt and parmesan and salt and pepper (if required, to taste) in a small bowl and bread crumbs in another.

2. Coat the chicken in the yogurt mixture, then the breadcrumbs. Place on a baking paper lined baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.  

3. Make the sauce while the chicken is cooking: Heat the oil in a large fry pan over a medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes. Add chillis and tomato paste, cook for a further minute. Add tomatoes and herbs. Cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes until the sauce thickens. Stir in the vinegar and season with salt and pepper.

4. Serve chicken and sauce over pasta (I used Linguine). 

Nutritional Information:

Calories 401
Carbs    22 g
Fat        16 g
Protein   40 g
Fibre      1 g
Sodium  673 g