Halloween Meringue Ghosts with a hint of Rosewater essence

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BOO!

Happy belated Halloween. To be fair I did make these meringue ghosts on Halloween but, I am just posting the recipe now.

Halloween is not a big holiday in Australia, we don’t decorate our houses, nor do we go trick or treating. Honestly, its disappointing as Halloween is a favourite of mine. I do get jealous of the Americans who have their shops over flowing with ghoulish goodies, and have children and families knocking on their door dressed up offering a ‘Trick or Treat’.

This year I have noticed the shops embracing Halloween a little more, it was very exciting to be able to purchase a mini pumpkin for my Mumma to carve that was not ridiculously over priced. 

My Mumma other than being an amazing woman, is  a lover (like me) of all things creepy, scary and ghoulish. Thus growing up Mumma would celebrate Halloween with us. I remember each year we would walk home from school, walk in the back door and through to the lounge and dining room. The door would be decorated with a vertically cut up garbage bag to walk through- If we dare! Mumma went all out, making tissue ghosts, hanging orange, and black streamers. Cobwebs hung from the curtains, the door would be plastered with skeletons and ghosts. The dining table always had a carved pumpkin, a spooky table cloth and other Halloween decorations. We would also be given our own trick or treat bag, filled with chocolates, lollies and toys. Then after tea, we would go to the video store (yes VHS back then) and hire a scary movie. 

I am now 26, married, own our own home and nothing has changed, the tradition at my Mumma and Dads house is still the same, and my Sisters and I still go there every year ( we still get a trick or treat bag too).

This year I decided to make my Mumma meringue ghosts as meringue is a favourite of hers. My younger sister loves them too, which I didn’t know so I have made these twice in one week, adding some greet food colouring gel to my sisters batch for fun.

Halloween Meringue Ghosts with a hint of Rosewater essence

Makes 10-12

3 large egg whites

1/4 tsp vinegar

3/4 caster sugar

splash of Rosewater essence

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Pre heat oven to 100 degrees Celsius. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. Make sure you keep the egg yolks, because they can always be used for something else. Whisk the egg whites and the vinegar until the egg whites start to foam.

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Gradually add the caster sugar, its a good idea to pause the mixer as I find the sugar goes everywhere otherwise.

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Make sure to incorporate all the sugar by scraping down the sides of the mixer bowl.

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Continue to beat until stiff peaks form, this should take about 5-6 minutes. The mixture should be glossy and shiny and beautifully white.

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Once the mixture is gorgeous and glossy I add my splash of Rosewater essence and a quick mix.

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To pipe these spooky treats, I use disposable piping bags. You can use what ever piping bag you have, I just have a lot of these disposable ones at the moment. I find it easiest to put the piping bag over a tall mug, this makes it easier and less messy. Do you like my mug?! 

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Piping should be done onto cookie mats and oven trays, they are easy to remove this way. Depending on the size of your ghastly ghosts the mix should make between 10-12. Place in the oven for an hour and a half to two hours. Just check them after and hour and a half.

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Let them cool and decorate them with a gel icing pen. They are sooo yummy and so much fun for Halloween!

My Mumma loved them.

So tell me, what did you do for Halloween?

Happy Baking :)

Renee x

Life bites

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Firstly I apologise for long time between posts, and I apologise for the shoddy photos. I didn’t use my SLR for some of them so they are not amazing.

So why the long time between posts, I think sometimes time and life gets away from us.

My husband has been busy setting up his own Carpentry business, and is doing very well, I am very proud of him.

We have been busy finishing our backyard- although it still isn’t finished. Hubby built our deck and pergola and we had a BBQ a couple of weeks ago out there- it was gorgeous. 

Although I have been away from the computer screen, I haven’t been away from the kitchen, and although I haven’t always taken shots of all my goodies, I promise I have been baking.

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The above cupcakes I made for our good friends sons second birthday. I wanted to make something special as I adore this little man. He loves animals, and for a two year old is very smart, he can name all the animals and make animal noises.

I had so much fun making these, chocolate fudge cupcakes with buttercream frosting. I used wilton gel food colouring to make the buttercream frosting coloured, and gel icing pen for the face oh and marshmallows of course.

When I presented the little two year old with them, when they cam out the container he said, frog- pig. I smiled in delight in recognition of a job well done.

The little two year old had 3 cupcakes! And when I say cupcakes, I mean he ate all the frosting and left the chocolate fudge cake for his daddy to eat. When the little man had one, he then said “more”. He is adorable!

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Gluten free! A scary word for me, admittedly I have never made anything gluten free, and when I said I would make gluten free AND dairy free cupcakes for my cousins son, the realisation of what I was going to make only it me after I said it.

So.. after a couple of sleepless nights. That is sad that I have sleepless nights over cupcakes ( I’m sure my fellow sweet eaters will agree you have sleepless nights too..right?!) anyway, I realised I would have to use a cake mix. A cake mix out a box..not made form scratch..from a box. 

That was hard for me to say, because I pride myself on making everything from scratch. So, I made these gluten free, dairy free cupcakes from scratch and included gluten free gel pens.

My cousins son LOVED them! I was so thrilled, he ate three!

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Oh my, Oh my what a beautiful sight. White chocolate mud cupcakes with chocolate and vanilla buttercream swirl frosting.

I made 15 of these and 15 chocolate fudge and peanut butter frosting cupcakes for my sisters friend birthday.

Dont you love the shiny, smooth buttercream frosting, it was deeeelicious! And a HUGE hit with all the party goers.

Due to the stress of making these cupcakes as they were my first big order, I couldn’t seem to pipe the buttercream frosting. As usual my hubby came in on his white horse and his shiny armour, and saved the day by piping them.

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So I apologise about the delay in the posts and instead of posting recipes today, I thought I would just give an update to get back in the groove of things.

Tomorrow is Halloween in Australia, and it is slowly getting more popular. My family has always celbrated halloween, when we were younger we would come home from school adn the hosue would be decorated. Black garbage bag hanging from htr door, white tissue ghosts and always a scary movie.

Although I am now married and own our own home, we still go to Mum and Dads for Halloween. This year I am making pumpkin pie and meringue ghosts! 

Stay tuned for a blog in the coming week,

Happy Baking :)

Renee 

Chocolate Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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ImageI have had a wonderful week, baking wise anyway. I received a brand new sparkly present from my gorgeous Prince charming, so I baked up a storm.

Last week my Hubby was running late, as usual I worried (what wife doesn’t? right, tell me I’m not the only crazy one!), I called him and he said he was working late. He arrives home, acting suspicious, he then says he bought me a present and hands me a Snickers bar. I jumped for joy, I do LOVE chocolate.

He then waited and said to close my eyes and come outside, he then sent me a text message and said read that before looking. It said how much he loves me and he wanted to give me an early Anniversary present. Yes, you can all gag now, he is a beautiful sweet man.

He opens up the back of his ute, and there shining in all its glory, surrounded by a halo of light is a huge box containing  a Breville stand mixer. I never thought I would be lucky enough to own one of my very own.

ImageOpening it I was so very careful, it is so gorgeous, black and chrome. You do not know yourself until you own a stand mixer. 

Our first Wedding anniversary is July 21st 2013, and my Husband is so sweet and so thoughtful, I am one very luck wifey.

So I got myself a baking. First of all I went to my idols cookbook, Nigella Lawson, How to be  a domestic Goddess, which is basically my biography. This recipe is a take one of hers in the cookbook.

ImageChocolate Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cupcakes:

2 tbsp cocoa powder

2tbsp boiling water

75g caster sugar

50g brown sugar

125g self raising flour

2 eggs

125g unsalted butter

1tsp vanilla extract

1tbsp milk

Frosting:

200g icing sugar

100g cream cheese

1 tbsp lemon juice

Makes 8

ImageFirst and foremost pre heat the oven to 200 degrees. Mix the cocoa powder with the boiling water and set aside.

ImageMix together in your stand mixer or with your hand mixer, sugar, flour, eggs and butter (make sure your butter is at room temperature). I use the scraper attachment as this scrapes the sides as it mixes. So easy. 

ImagePause your mixer and add the milk and cocoa mixture you set aside earlier. Start the machine again and mix, it will turn a gorgeous chocolatey brown.

ImageDollop your gooey, gorgeous brown mixture into your cupcake cups. These cupcake cups were a gift from my Mumma and Daddy, 150 of them. They are amazing, you bake them right in the cup. The best way to dollop your mixture is to use an ice cream scoop, unfortunately I haven’t purchased one yet.

Pop in the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes, mine took about 22 minutes. 

While these beautiful cupcakes are cooling make your icing.

Put all your ingredients into your stand mixer, icing sugar, cream cheese and lemon juice, turn the level up to mix- its as easy as that.

These cupcakes are moist and soft and beautiful and chocolatey, the cream cheese icing is Devine and compliments the chocolate beautifully.

ImageHow gorgeous do these look? They taste amazing as well.

You will most defiantly want more than one.

Enjoy

Happy Baking x

Chocolate Pie & Peanut Butter Ice cream

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ImageExcuse the poor quality of the photos, as my readers know, my SLR stuffed up last week (turns out it wasn’t stuffed up, I was just a dumb dumb) so I had to the my photos on my iPhone 5.

I made this dessert a couple of weeks ago for my Uncle and his new Bride when they came down from Darwin. I wanted to impress, so I pulled out all the stops, that included this little beauty.

ImagePeanut Butter Ice Cream:

4 tbsp caster sugar

3 eggs

250ml milk

125ml cream

2 tsp vanilla extract

The beauty of this ice cream is it does not require an ice cream maker. 

In a medium bowl beat sugar and eggs until it thickens. Set aside.

ImagePour milk into a small saucepan over low heat and bring to a simmer. Gradually add the milk to the sugar and egg mixture while whisking with a hand whisk.

ImagePour the whole mixture back into the saucepan over low heat and stir constantly until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.

This is my favourite part, remove from heat and whisk in the delicious peanut butter. As the Peanut butter whisks, it dances around, leaving a beautiful orange swirl in its path.

Allow to cool slightly and add the condensed milk, cream and vanilla extract.

ImagePlease excuse my loaf tin, she has been well loved. Hubby recently purchased me a brand new spanking one.

Pour mixture into a loaf tin and freeze for 6 hours. When you are ready to serve, take out of the freezer and place in the fridge for about 15 minutes, to soften slightly.

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Chocolate Pie:

1 1/2 cups plain flour

2 tbsp icing sugar

125g unsalted butter

1 egg yolk

1 tbsp chilled water

2 egg yolks

2 eggs

1/3 cup caster sugar

1/3 cup thickened cream

200g dark or milk chocolate melted

If you have a food processor, by all means use one. I do not, so I do this by hand. I do find by doing it by hand you are more connected with the ingredients.

Process or hand mix the flour, icing sugar and butter until it comes together and resembles fine bread crumbs. Add egg yolk and chilled water and mix until the pastry does together. You may have to add a little bit more water if needed.

ImageTurn dough onto a  lightly floured surface and knead until it becomes smooth. Shape into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and bung it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Grease a 24 cm by 3cm deep, loose fluted tart tin. Roll the pastry between two pieces of baking paper (this makes it easier to roll). Roll it about 4mm thick.

ImageLine the tin with the pastry, trim excess. Place the tin on a baking tray, line the tin with baking paper and fill with baking beads (uncooked rice if you don’t have these). Bake for 12 – 14 minutes.

Remove paper and beads, bake for a further 5-7 minutes. Set aside to cool, and reduce oven to 140 degrees.ImageTo make the filling, use an electric beater and mix, egg yolks, eggs and cater sugar. Let it become beautiful, thick and creamy. Fold in the cream and melted chocolate.

ImagePour the gorgeous chocolate mixture into the pastry case.Bake for 25 minutes or until just set. Set aside to cool. Refrigerate until chilled. Dust with icing sugar to decorate.

ImageServe the chocolate pie in slices, topped with the creamy delicious peanut butter ice cream.

Trust me you will make friends with this.

Some exciting news before I go, I have recently got in contact with a fellow blogger from the USA, we are both pean butter lovers, so she suggested a treat swap. She will send me goodies from the USA, and il send her Aussie goodies.

Any ideas what to send?

Happy baking x

 

Portuguese Custard tarts

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Oh my goodness, I didn’t realise that its been a week since I last posted. I didn’t do this intentionally, its not like I haven’t been baking, trust me iv been baking..alot.

These Portuguese custard tarts were a request from my hubby xx, its seems like everything I bake is his request :) These beautiful custard tarts are beautiful..creamy..sweet..

I found this recipe via Not quite Nigella, who said its a Bill Granger recipe.

Please excuse the lack of photos, my camera stuffed up, which means I pressed a button and then couldn’t figure out how to work it until Hubby came home :)

Portuguese Custard Tarts

3 egg yolks

115g caster sugar

2 tbsp cornflour

230ml cream

170ml milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 sheet puff pastry

Makes 12

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First and foremost preheat oven to 200 degrees, Grab a medium saucepan and place egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in. Gradually whisk in the cream and milk. The mixture will look a beautiful like a sunny day.

Place the pan over medium heat on the stove top and cook stirring until mixture comes to the boil and thickens slightly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.

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Transfer the custard to a heatproof bowl and place a piece of cling film over the top (to stop the custard getting a skin), and leave to cool.

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Now the tricky bit, not so much tricky but a tad time consuming. Lightly flour your work bench, fold the puff pastry length ways, cut down the middle of the fold so its now in half, roll each half upwards. Cut into 12 X 1 cm rounds.

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Roll each 12 X1 cm into round 10 cm shapes. Please don’t be too fanatic about the size or shape, mine were not perfectly shaped, but beautiful and random (just like me).

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Now, scrunch up baking paper ( I say scrunch because it makes the paper sit better in their homes) and place, flat into a 12 muffin tin. I didn’t have a muffin tin when I made these, crazy I know, my Mumma has since kindly bought me one. So if you don’t have a muffin tin, do what I did and use cupcake wrappers, scrunch and lay the baking paper flat into the cupcake wrappers and place on a baking tray.

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Press your pastry into the baking paper and the custard into each one evenly. Now lick the custard bowl, trust me you will want to do this. The custard is heavenly sweet, silky and smooth.

Bake for 20 minutes until browned on top. They will look beautiful and golden. Leave them to cool for 5 minutes in their little homes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

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These are gorgeous eaten warm but best cold. My hubby ate four at once, and wondered why he felt sick! The puff pastry adds a beautiful different texture.

I promise not to leave posting so one next time, Im on uni holidays now so lots more baking to be done.

Let me know what you think, or contact me and let me know if there is something i particular you would like to see baked.

Happy baking x

Eggless Chocolate Brownie

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ImageAs I write this I should be finishing my 2500 word assignment, but I am feeling unmotivated, so to hopefully get my bum back into gear, I thought I would post a recipe.

I have been doing a lot of baking lately, baking makes me happy. A simple truth, but true none the less. I adore breaking and egg and seeing it mix with flour and sugar and form a beautiful sweet treat. I love being in my kitchen, mixing and stirring, its soothing for me.

My arch nemesis, Brownies. It seems that they never turn out right, for some reason no matter how hard I try. Don’t fret though this brownie recipe is fail proof. I stumbled across it one day when I had all the ingredients for a brownie but no eggs..wallah..Eggless chocolate brownie.

Eggless Chocolate Brownies

1 cup plain flour

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

pinch salt

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup melted butter

100g milk chocolate

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup macadamia nuts

1/2 cup white chocolate buttons

10x25cm brownie pan

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Firstly preheat oven to 175 degrees. Now cut the macadamias, I had large white chocolate buttons so I had to cut those too. Once again tediously I did this individually, but I’m sure you
can think of a better way (I am just a perfectionist).
 
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Melt the butter and milk chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. This can be done in a microwave if you are short of time, I just like doing it this way. Set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
 
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See how the chocolate becomes silky and shiny on the stove top.
 
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Now its as simple as adding all the ingredients together and mixing. In a large bowl stir flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, mix through. Then add milk, chocolate and butter mixture and vanilla, mix through. Finally add nuts and chocolate and mix through.
 
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Scrunch up baking paper and line baking tray, pour the gorgeous, glossy, shiny, chunky mixture into the baking tray. Now, lick the bowl :) 
 
After 20-25 mins the brownies will be beautiful and moist.
 
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Enjoy these eggless brownies with cream and a glass of milk. Yum!
 
If you bake these let me know how you went, don’t forget to follow me :)
 
Happy Baking :)
 

Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

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This is my first Carrot cake recipe. Admittedly I have been scared of making a carrot cake, I’m not sure why but every time I thought about making it, I would clean, or distract myself in some other way. Strange I know that baking a cake can scare someone.

I am so very glad I baked this beautiful, moist cake with smooth, creamy tangy icing. This cake is amazing to say the least, I adore the cream cheese icing, it has a hint of lemon and come through just at the right moment on the pallet.

Here it is in all is glory…

Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

The cake:

300g carrots, peeled and grated

200g walnuts, chopped roughly

2 eggs

1 cup caster sugar

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

pinch salt

1 cup plain flour

1tsp baking powder

Icing:

1 cup icing sugar

100g cream cheese

45g unsalted butter softened

1 tsp lemon juice

1 lemon zest

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Firstly pre heat your oven to 180 degrees, then combine eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla and beat to combine. Once again this can be done by hand or if your lucky enough to have a stand mixer, or if your like me a hand mixer. Then add the cinnamon, salt ,flour, baking powder and mix.

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Add the grated carrots and smashed up walnuts and mix until combined.

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Once combined it should look gorgeous and glossy yellow with speckles of orange

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Get yourself a loaf tin 24x12cm, my loaf tin is silicon so its non stick, but if you don’t have a silicon loaf tin, just line a normal loaf tin with baking paper. To line it with baking paper I scrunch up my baking paper so it will sit properly. Pour the batter into the loaf tin and set the timer for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

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About half hour into the baking your house will fill with the warm inviting smells of cinnamon and cake, It is a comforting wintery smell for me. Once your cake is cooked, let it cool completely. While the cake is cooling get onto the icing.

This icing is unbelievable, it is Moorish, you have to try it to understand. Combine, icing sugar, cream cheese, butter, lemon juice and lemon zest with a mixer. Roll the lemon before juicing to get the juices flowing. Please don’t use bottled lemon juice, nothing beats lemons from mother earth.

Once cooled slather the icing onto the beautiful cake, please don’t think any less of yourself  for licking the icing bowl, you may not be able to help yourself, I know couldn’t.

Slice and serve with a warm cup of milo or tea rugged up with a snuggie.

I would love to hear if anyone makes this recipe and if they love it as much as I do.

Until next time,

Happy baking :)