Wednesday 25 December 2013


I made a pavlova for Christmas dessert this year. This is such a typical New Zealand Christmas dessert so I thought it would be good to share the recipe with all my non-NZ readers. This recipe turned out just lovely. The outside was a nice crisp meringue while the inside was light and fluffy. They key to making a great pavlova (that also doesn't collapse!) is the make sure to not remove it from the oven until it is cool. Don't be tempted to open the oven door for a peak, just leave it be. Another pavlova plus is that it can be made a day or two ahead and then stored in an airtight container. I made mine a day ahead, saved lots of time!


Serves 8 - 10

6 Egg whites, room temperature, not too fresh works well for beating
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 Cup caster sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
2 tsp cornflour

To top:

1/2 Cup cream, whipped
Mixed berries/fruits (I used strawberry, raspberry, and kiwi)

1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.

2. In a clean, dry bowl, beat the egg whites and salt until stiff. While the beater is still running, slowly add the sugar. Continue to beat at a high speed for about ten minutes, until the mixture is very thick and stiff and does not fall off the beaters when removed from the mixture.

3. Fold in the vinegar and cornflour.

4. Transfer the mixture to the prepared tray with a large spoon, forming a big circle. Don't flatten out the top, just leave it as a dome so that if it does collapse it will be less likely to form a big crater.

5. Bake at 180°C for 5 minutes, reduce heat to 130°C and continue to bake for 60 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave to cool (leave it in the oven for another hour or so).

6. Before serving, spread over the whipped cream and decorate with berries.

Monday 23 December 2013

Mushroom Macaroni

I briefly saw a recipe a few weeks ago for a mushroom mac and cheese and thought it sounded great. As I am currently on holiday I have been looking for quick and easy dinners that are still tasty enough to keep everyone happy. I thought I would try out my own version of a mushroom mac and cheese, so here it is! (Since I think I have been over doing the sweets a bit lately).

 Mushroom Macaroni

Serves 4-6

400 g macaroni
2 Cloves garlic, finely diced
250 g lite cream cheese
1/2 Cup cream
125 g Camembert, white part removed.
100 g Edam, grated (plus extra for sprinkling)
400 g mushrooms (I used white button, Portobello, and shiitake)
1 tsp (or thereabouts) dried chilli flakes
Ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 Cup breadcrumbs

1. Cook the macaroni, according to the package instructions.

2. Dice the mushrooms. Whip the cream cheese until light, add chilli flakes and ground black pepper.

3. Heat a small amount of vegetable or olive oil in a large saucepan, add the mushrooms and garlic and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the cream cheese, cream, camembert, and edam. Cook over a medium heat until the cheese has melted.

4. Stir through the macaroni and coat well. Pour into a casserole/oven proof dish. Coat with breadcrumbs and edam cheese and bake until golden (about 15 minutes).

Saturday 21 December 2013

Malteser Cheesecake

It seems as though my blog has been taken over by cheesecakes recently. Luckily cheesecakes are great so I don't think it's too much of an issue, but I promise to do something different next! I wasn't going to post this one, made it at the request of my boyfriend, but then he said I should post it as it was delicious.

Malteser Cheesecake

Serves 10

250 g Vanilla bisuits
100 g butter, softened
500 g cream cheese
2 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 Cup caster sugar
155 g pack Maltesers, plus extra for topping
1 Cup cream, whipped

1. Make the base by processing the biscuits to a fine crumb in a food processor. Add the butter and process again. Press into the base and up the sides of a 20 cm spingform tin lined with baking paper, or greased.

2.  Add the cream cheese*, sugar, and vanilla to a large bowl and beat with an electric beater until light and creamy.

3. Wipe out the food processor, add the Maltesers and process until broken, enough so that the chunks aren't too large, but it's not just a powder. Fold into the cream cheese mixture.

4.  Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture and spread over the base, cover and chill until set. Before serving, cut a few Maltesers and half and sprinkle over the top.

*I wanted to make mine a bit lighter so I used half regular cream cheese and half lite cream cheese. It still tastes exactly the same as if you used all normal cream cheese but the consistency will not be quite as firm.

Sunday 8 December 2013

Vanilla Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Candy Cane Frosting

I am starting to get pretty excited about Christmas now. Only a week and a half left before we head off on holiday too! In my Christmas excitement I came up with these Christmas themed cupcakes.

On a side note, I think my photography is starting to improve! I have been taking close note of the photography on other food blogs I follow. Think I might have to go back and re-photograph some of my earlier monstrosities.

Vanilla Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Candy Cane Frosting

Makes 16


150 g butter, softened
1 Cup caster sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 1/2 Cups self-raising flour
1 Cup skim milk
1 Cup chocolate chips

Candy Cane Frosting:

5 Candy Canes
100 g butter, softened
1 1/2 Cups icing sugar
2 Tbsp skim milk
Optional: Hershey's kisses to top. 

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C and grease a muffin pan.

2. Beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after adding each egg.

3. Add the flour, milk and vanilla and mix until combined. Add the chocolate chips and stir them through.

4. Spoon the mixture into the the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back when gently pressed. 

5. Make the frosting by crushing the candy canes to a powder in a food processor. Add the butter, icing sugar, and milk and process until it is smooth. Once the cupcakes are cool pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes.

I didn't have a piping bag so I just spread mine on with a knife, but it would look a lot more impressive if it was piped on!

Friday 6 December 2013

Lemon Yogurt Cake

As we go on holiday in a couple of weeks and then move house after we are back I want to try and use up lots of my baking stuff (and perishables before holiday!), don't think it would be too fun potentially getting flour all over everything trying to move it all. The motivation for this recipe was that I had a heap of lite Greek yogurt and eggs sitting in the fridge that need to be used up.

I loved how moist and light this cake turned out. Tasted great with strawberries and ice cream too! I think this would also work nicely as cupcakes with a lemon buttercream icing. If you try making cupcakes let me know how it turned out =)

 Lemon Yogurt Cake

Serves 10 - 12

1 Cup caster sugar
Rind of 2 lemons, finely grated
2 eggs
1/3 Cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 Cup fat free yogurt (I used lite Greek)
1 1/2 Cup self raising flour

1. Preheat oven to 190°C.

2. In a large bowl add lemon rind, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and oil and whisk together. Add the yogurt and lemon juice and whisk again.

3. Sift in the flour and mix until just combined.

4. Pour the mixture into a baking paper/greased 21 cm cake tin, ring cake tin, or loaf tin. 

5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin. If desired, dust with icing sugar once cooled. 

I will add the nutritional information when I can be bothered calculating it. But it should be pretty good since there is no butter =)

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Homemade After Dinner Mints

When we were doing the grocery shopping on the weekend we were walking past the chocolate section and my boyfriend said we should get some after eights, I said that sounded good (since they are awesome!) although I could probably make them pretty easily. His response was "you can make after eights?!" To me that sounded like a bit of a challenge. Imaginary challenge accepted. So I got thinking of how to go about it. Here's what I came up with. Nailed it.

As you can see, I had a bit of an issue with not making a major mess when cutting into squares. But once I had a taste I realised that it didn't matter whatsoever, tastes exactly like it should!

After Dinner Mints

Makes 16

250 g 72% cocoa dark chocolate
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 Tbsp milk
220 g icing sugar
2 tsp peppermint essence

1. Line a small baking tray with baking paper.

2. Melt half the chocolate over a double boiler, pour into the tray and spread it evenly over the surface by tilting the tray to get it all covered. Place in the refrigerator until set (about 15 minutes).

3. Make the peppermint filling by sifting the icing sugar into bowl. Stir in the oil and milk and combine well to form a smooth paste.

4. Add the essence. Mix well.

5. Spread the filling thinly over the hardened chocolate. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, until filling is set.

6. Melt the remaining chocolate. Cool slightly. Pour over the peppermint layer and spread evenly. Refrigerate until set.

7. Cut into small pieces with a knife heated slightly under hot water.

I was impatient and did all the chilling in the freezer.