Blondies: I think I am in Love

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This week I have ended up with half of my week in Melbourne for a team offsite (tough life I know), and I knew that I wouldn’t really have time nor the supplies to do any sort of baking or cooking from my hotel room. I mean, although a lot of the apartments in Melbourne come with basic kitchenettes, it’s a little hard to work some cooking magic good enough for my readers from a hotel room. Plus, when in Melbourne, one has to take the opportunity to eat at the amazing range of delicious restaurants, why would anyone want to cook? So I decided I needed to figure out what I was going to make before I went to Melbourne, and as such I am now writing this blog post from the plane! It’s certainly providing a new atmosphere for my writing, with the whirring of the propellers and a free glass of red wine in hand. Makes for a rather relaxing evening! Hopefully this blog post still makes sense by the time I finish writing it!

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It actually worked out well, because it gave me a reason to bake something delicious to bring into work to sort of thank my team for supporting me while I am gone/baking for my boyfriend who I’m leaving in Brisbane while I get to be in amazing Melbourne. I mean, you know I will take any excuse for baking, but it was really nice to put a smile on the faces of my team at work and my partner.

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So I guess the question from there was what should I bake? Well, for quite some time I have been looking at recipes for these weird and wonderful things called ‘blondies’. Now I think these must be a little bigger in America than they are here, because I’d never really heard of them until I started taking an interest in food recipes, and I know a lot of the people at work also didn’t have a clue what they were. I guess the best way to describe them that I worked out was they are a brownie without the chocolate. Being a self-proclaimed chocolate addict, this to me doesn’t seem that great, I mean who doesn’t love a delicious, chocolatey brownie? But hear me out, because these ended up being so delicious I think I have been turned from my chocolate ways.

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I decided to give this recipe a go, because as much as I absolutely love chocolate, I also adore peanut butter. I find it strange when people tell me they don’t like peanut butter, because it is pretty much the best invention since chocolate. When I saw this recipe for peanut butter blondies, I decided that, with my newly bought peanut butter, it would be the perfect time to give a blondie recipe a whirl! I was really proud of myself because I was getting a bit carried away with pimping out my blondie recipe, and was about to add chocolate chips. But then I decided that I needed to show control and just calm down a little. I am always up for adding in whatever I feel like at the time to recipes, and for once I decided to put the chocolate down, and let these blondies shine all on their own!

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The resulting blondies were absolutely amazing. I can’t even describe to you how amazing the smell of the batter was as I was mixing it. It smelt like next level peanut butter caramel, and it took a lot of my will power to stop myself from eating it before cooking. But I am so glad I didn’t, because these blondies were next level good! I also made these gluten free, and you can’t even tell the difference! This made the girls who can’t eat gluten at my work very happy, and I was even able to pull one of them off her diet for the morning…whoops. And the best part was, I only used one bowl, was able to mix the batter with a kitchen spoon, and it only took 20 minutes to bake! You couldn’t ask for an easier, more delicious recipe! So here it is, especially because the girls at work were desperate for the recipe:

Peanut Butter and Caramel Blondies

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Adapted From Gal on a Mission
Preparation Time 10 minutes
Cooking Time 20 minutes
Serves 12 blondies

Ingredients

·         ½ cup of unsalted butter, melted

·         1 cup of packed brown sugar

·         1 egg

·         1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

·         ½ cup of peanut butter (I used crunchy for an extra texture, but smooth would work just as well)

·         ¼ teaspoon of salt

·         1 cup of gluten free flour (if you don’t want to make these gluten free you can use 1 cup of plain flour)

·         1 packet of boiled caramel lollies (I used gluten free ones but you don’t have to)

Method

1.       Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit). Line a baking dish (I used a square one that was nice and deep) with baking paper and set aside.

2.       In a large bowl, combine the melted butter and brown sugar, mixing with a spoon until combined completely.

3.       Add in the egg and vanilla extract and stir until completely combined.

4.       Mix in the peanut butter and stir to fully incorporate into the wet mixture.

5.       Sift in the salt and flour and mix until completely combined, ensuring all flour is pushed down from the edges of the bowl.

6.       Stir in the caramels until evenly mixed throughout the batter.

7.       Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly using a spatula or the back of the spoon.

8.       Place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

9.       Allow to cool and cut into even pieces.

10.   Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container.

And that’s all there is to it, I told you it was simple! Maybe a little too easy to make, because now I know they are this easy I will find it hard not to whip them up all the time. I was surprised by how much people loved them given they aren’t really something we know about in Australia. Everyone went nuts for them at work, and they were gone before lunch time which I see as an indication of how delicious they were! My partner ate about 3, and said that when I get back from Melbourne I should make more because they were so delicious. I don’t believe anyone would complain if I did!

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You wouldn’t even know that these blondies were gluten free. They were gooey and delicious, full of peanut butter and caramel flavours, exactly what you want when there is no chocolate involved. I think these are a pretty good contender for brownies in general, because even though they didn’t contain chocolate, they held their own on the taste front! I think it also added a little extra to include the caramels, as these gave the blondies a texture and flavour to compliment the peanut butter.

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I would really consider making these again. They were so easy, as brownies normally are, and there was so much opportunity to add flavours. Who would have through that the blondie would make for such a delicious cousin of the brownie! I have always been a brownie fan and I think that now my eyes have been opened to a new world full of opportunities for delicious baking! I love how easy and quick these were to make, and you could really add any flavours you felt like having in them. I think next time I might try chocolate instead of caramel to make them taste a bit like Reece’s Pieces. That would be a delicious experiment!

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Until next time, happy baking!

Ella xx

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I Like Muffin Tops and I Cannot Lie

Chocolate and Berry Muffins

This weekend I was having coffee with my boyfriend, and there were these amazing looking muffins on the counter. I am the biggest sucker for those muffins that you find in stores, you know the ridiculously huge ones with the giant muffin top? My favourite thing about them is the crunchy top mixed with the delicious, soft interior. I could happily leave the rest of the muffin once I’ve eaten the top off it. So when I saw these muffins, the only thing that stopped me wanting to buy one was that we had breakfast reservations. I was so surprised that I was able to stop myself, but I managed…just.

Chocolate and Berry Muffins

As I was drinking my coffee, longingly gazing at these amazing muffins, I started thinking about baking muffins, which is my classic response to seeing baked goods I can’t eat. For some reason, every time I bake muffins, they never get that huge, delicious, crusty muffin top on them. They always bake quite flat, and just don’t have the same texture. No matter how hard I try I can’t seem to replicate that bakery muffin that I am obsessed with. So when I was sitting in that café I started looking it up to see if other people were having the same problem. It turns out that they are, and a lot of the articles I read said that it was impossible to replicate it because of the ovens they use in bakeries being so different to those we use at home. This made me quite upset, because it seemed that I wasn’t going to be able to make my own delicious bakery muffins.

Chocolate and Berry Muffins

In comes my boyfriend. I told him what I was thinking about, and in classic construction manager style, he went to problem solving. He said surely it would either be something to do with the ingredients, or the oven temperature. He said perhaps if you started on a higher oven temperature, and then reduced the heat, it would probably cause the muffins to rise. He also said he was more than happy for me to test the muffins on him, if I wanted to try it that afternoon. Such a selfless boyfriend he is!

Chocolate and Berry Muffins

So I looked up a few more articles and found out that my boyfriend was on the right track! A couple of articles had mixed solutions, either to do with the flour content in the muffins, or to do with the heat – turning the oven up higher at the start for a few minutes and then reducing the heat for the remainder of the cook. So I figured to be safe that I would try a recipe that had both in it – a high flour content and the different cooking temperatures.

Chocolate and Berry Muffins

The best part about my spot of Sunday afternoon baking was that I did it at my boyfriend’s house, which meant I got to use his mother’s Kitchen Aid! Oh, my life would be complete if I had one of these, they are so amazing! I was so excited to use it and it made the baking so much more fun! I’m sure the novelty would wear off, but for now this is my ultimate Kitchen goal! Maybe one day I will be lucky enough to own one, although I am concerned that if I did I would be baking something every single day (a problem? I’m not so sure).

Chocolate and Berry Muffins

This recipe was quite simple to make, and really versatile. I let my boyfriend choose the flavours for the muffin (I did have to reign him in a little), and he chose to go down the chocolate and berry road. I love a good chocolate and berry muffin, especially when it’s still warm and the chocolate goes all gooey! However, if this isn’t your taste, you could definitely substitute the chocolate or the berries for something else! As long as the base mix stays the same the muffins should have the same result.

Chocolate and Berry Muffins

The muffins ended up rising a whole heap, and had the crunchiest top I have ever made on a muffin! They were absolutely delicious, so much so that I had to have two! I think they were best served warm, but they still tasted delicious cold. I just love that gooey, warm, muffin goodness that you get when they are fresh out of the oven, so maybe try one straight away and then save the rest for later, if you can make it that long!

Chocolate and Berry Muffins

Chocolate and Berry Muffins

Adapted From Little Sweet Baker
Preparation Time 15 minutes
Cooking Time 20 minutes
Serves 12 Muffins

Ingredients

·         2 and ½ cups of plain flour

·         1 tablespoon + 3 teaspoons of baking powder

·         ½ teaspoon of salt

·         ½ cup of unsalted butter, melted in the microwave and cooled

·         1 cup of caster sugar

·         2 large eggs

·         1 cup of milk (I used Zymil and this seemed to be fine)

·         1 tablespoon of vanilla extract

·         1 cup of chocolate chips (I used a mixture of white chocolate and dark chocolate to get different flavours into the muffins, but entirely up to you what you use)

·         ½ cup of frozen mixed berries

Method

1.      Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius (425 Fahrenheit) and line a 12-cup muffin tray with muffin liners.

2.      In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips. Whisk to combine, and set aside.

3.      In a medium bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the melted butter, sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla until combined and light.

4.      In batches, slowly add in the dry ingredients to the mix, until the entire mixture is just combined. Once it has come together, fold in the frozen berries until they are evenly distributed.

5.      Divide the batter into the 12 muffin liners evenly.

6.      Bake in the oven for 5 minutes on 220 degrees Celsius, and then reduce the oven heat to 190 degrees Celsius (375 Fahrenheit). Cook the muffins for another 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the muffins comes out clean.

7.      Leave to cool for 5 minutes and serve warm. The remaining muffins will keep in a container for around 5 days.

Chocolate and Berry Muffins

And that’s really all there is to it. I told you it was a nice and easy recipe. And these muffins were amazing! I definitely recommend having at least one fresh out of the oven for full effect, because muffins are always best served warm! I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed by the delicious, crunchy top and gooey, chocolaty inside of these muffins. My boyfriend was certainly a happy taste tester, and I left him with the remaining muffins so he had treats for the rest of the week (if they lasted that long). He was lucky that I gave them up, I must have been feeling generous!

Chocolate and Berry Muffins

The muffins rose a lot more than muffins that I have made in the past, so it must have really helped having the two temperatures. I think the main thing about this recipe was that it produced muffins with that perfect crunchy top and soft, fluffy centre. They were pretty much just what I would expect from a bakery muffin, but a little smaller. I guess that means you are allowed to have two, or four! For such a simple, easy recipe, the results were absolutely delicious! I think this might become my new go to muffin recipe, because it is so easy to change up the flavour with whatever you have lying around. What combination would you try?

Chocolate and Berry Muffins

Until next time, happy baking!

Ella xx

Tis the Season for Gingerbread

Gingerbread Snickerdoodles

It’s that time of year again when a few amazing things start to happen. The days get longer here in Australia, more parties are on, and everyone starts getting that excited feeling of another year winding up. As terrified as I am that it is getting so close to Christmas, I am also really excited, because with Christmas comes my favourite activity: Christmas baking!

Gingerbread Snickerdoodles

There are so many delicious foods to bake at Christmas time, and even though it is far too hot in Australia to divulge in most of them, there are still some that I really enjoy. I love any opportunity to bake Christmas related treats, and I’ve already started planning what I will be giving to my family, friends and work colleagues this year. I figure it is the perfect opportunity to put my baking skills to good use to give to those I love, and it can make it a lot more personal giving someone something that you’ve actually put time and effort into. As you probably already know, I don’t really enjoy cooking for myself, so I love the opportunity to bake for others, and Christmas presents the perfect time.

Gingerbread Snickerdoodles

My absolute favourite baking around Christmas would have to be gingerbread. I love the flavour of gingerbread so much, and every year I get excited to make some. But I’ve come to realise that Gingerbread does not necessarily need to be a Christmas only thing. Here I was thinking I could only crack it out in December, but there was a whole world of Gingerbread related cooking just waiting for me to discover! I guess I should have known better, because those flavours of cinnamon, ginger and cloves are just too good to be constricted to one occasion!

Gingerbread Snickerdoodles

So when I was thinking about what to cook this week, and I stumbled across a recipe that combined some of my favourite type of cookies and gingerbread, I was sold. I absolutely love snicker doodle cookies, they are so soft and sugary, and you can really add any flavour to them to kick them up a notch from the traditional type. I’ve tried ones with chai spice before, and so when I had a look at the recipe for these cookies, I thought they sounded like something I definitely had to try. Especially because it meant whipping up some gingerbread related baking earlier than December.

Gingerbread Snickerdoodles

The cookies themselves were really simple to make, and didn’t take long at all! I ended up making them on a weeknight to bring into work, because everyone has been having a bit of a tough week and I know baking always makes everyone feel better! As soon as the cookies started baking, my house got the most amazing aroma throughout it, and it reminded me so much of Christmas. Honestly, what more could you want from cookies? It doesn’t feel like the end of the year until I start smelling gingerbread baking, and if it felt even better to have it come early!

Gingerbread Snickerdoodles

Gingerbread Snickerdoodles

Adapted from Gimme Some Oven
Preparation Time 15 minutes
Cooking Time 8-10 minutes
Serves 24 cookies

Ingredients

·         2 cups of plain flour

·         3 teaspoons of baking powder

·         1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

·         ½ teaspoon of ground cloves

·         ½ teaspoon of ground ginger

·         ½ teaspoon of salt

·         ¾ cup of butter at room temperature

·         ½ cup of caster sugar

·         ½ cup of brown sugar, firmly packed

·         1 egg

·         ¼ cup of golden syrup (or molasses)

·         Additional sugar for dusting

Method

1.      Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (375 Fahrenheit)

2.      In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt. Set this aside

3.      In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat together the two sugars and butter until light and fluffy. This should take about one minute on a medium speed

4.      Add in the egg and golden syrup, and mix on a low speed until completely combined. Use a spatula to push down the sides of the mixture if needed,

5.      Slowly mix in the flour mixture in batches, ensuring each time that the flour is fully incorporated before adding more. Beat until all flour is completely combined on a low speed

6.      Line two baking trays with baking paper. Put enough sugar into a small bowl to dust the cookies with.

7.      Roll the dough using your hands into small balls. I wet my hands and slightly dried them to make it a little easier to roll. Once you have a ball, roll this in the sugar mixture to coat, and place on the baking tray. Continue to do this until all your mixture has run out.

8.      Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until they start to slightly crack on the top, and they are slightly golden in colour. Remove from oven and cool for a minute or two. Then transfer to a wire wrack to cool completely. They will flatten a bit and crinkle further while they cool.

Gingerbread Snickerdoodles

These cookies really didn’t last long. They were absolutely delicious, even though I might be a bit biased with my love of gingerbread. Everyone at work who tried them really enjoyed them and there were definitely multiple eaten! Because they were spiced I think it cut through the sweetness and made the cookies a lot easier to eat. They are dangerously good, and I’m only glad that most of them got demolished quickly so that I didn’t end up eating the entire batch! I would have if I had left them at home, because they were so delicious!

Gingerbread Snickerdoodles

I think all in all, these were a great cookie to make and perfect all year round. They would go great with a nice cup of tea, or coffee, or just on their own. Plus they were quite quick and simple to make, and didn’t take long to cook at all! Much simpler than some other cookies that I have attempted to make, which is what you need when you decide you feel like doing late night baking as I did this week.

Gingerbread Snickerdoodles

So go on, get into the Christmas spirit early and start enjoying that gingerbread! It’s never too early to enjoy the delicious flavours of gingerbread, and I’m so glad I’ve found recipes that allow me to enjoy it all year around!

Gingerbread Snickerdoodles

Until next time, happy baking.

Ella xx

Make Ahead Breakfast for Busy Weeks

Blueberry Muffin Overnight Oats

This week I’ve been away from home for dinner so much that I got to Wednesday night and realized that I hadn’t even thought about what I was going to make this week for my blog! I had a minor freak out moment when I got home late once again and frantically went through my Pinterest for some inspiration. But to be honest, it has been such a busy and stressful week that I was for once not feeling like a big baking session. I know, it is incredibly out of character for me to not feel like getting into the kitchen, even as a stress reliever. But I’m sure this is just a phase and soon I will be back up and running once more, ready to jump in there and cook up a storm!

Blueberry Muffin Overnight Oats

However, it actually struck me how perfect the timing was to try out a recipe that might save me some time. I’ve been so busy this week that it’s been hard to even fit breakfast in, which is an issue because I get hangry if I don’t eat breakfast. This has also coincided with a bit of a heat wave in Brisbane, which has made my usual breakfast of porridge/oatmeal not that appealing. I mean, who wants a hot breakfast when it is already 25 degrees Celsius out? Nobody, you need something cool and refreshing! So it was the perfect occasion for me to try out something that I’ve been meaning to try, but never quite got around to.

Blueberry Muffin Overnight Oats

Pinterest is full of recipes for overnight oats, and I’ve always wanted to give them a go. What’s not to love about chucking a couple of ingredients together of an evening, and in the morning having something delicious you can just pull out of the fridge ready to go? It’s a time saver in the morning, which is always a plus when you are running a little late. Although I am a morning person myself, I sometimes get to making breakfast on a weekday and find I’ve run out of time. At least with overnight oats you can easily transport them, and eat them on the go or when you get to work. It’s a really healthy and easy breakfast to make up at the start of the week, and just eat throughout. And oats are a great way to keep you full for the morning, along with all their health benefits.

Blueberry Muffin Overnight Oats

I found a blog post which had a number of options for flavoring your overnight oats and had a hard time picking which one I wanted to try. I mean, it’s hard to choose when all the options sound like you’ll be eating dessert for breakfast! In the end, I decided to go with a ‘blueberry muffin’ flavor. This was because I had a lot of fresh blueberries on hand, as they are in season at the moment, and I thought it would make for a deliciously fresh breakfast. I added a couple of things in as artistic license, which you could most certainly do yourself as well. That’s the great thing about these sorts of recipes, you can add whatever you want and you won’t stuff it up! As long as you have the base recipe down pat, you can add in whatever flavours you want! It’s really up to you how you want it to taste, which makes for a really fun recipe to try!

Blueberry Muffin Overnight Oats

Blueberry Muffin Overnight Oats

Adapted From Another Root
Preparation Time 10 minutes
Cooking Time 0 minutes
Serves 1

Ingredients

·         ½ cup of Oats

·         ¼ cup of water

·         ¼ cup of milk of choice (I used coconut milk but you could use any kind)

·         ½ teaspoon of lemon zest

·         ½ teaspoon of cinnamon

·         1 handful of fresh blueberries

·         2 teaspoons of sliced almonds

·         1-2 teaspoons of rice malt syrup, or sweetener of choice

Method

1.       In a jar, place the oats, water and milk, and stir to combine.

2.       Add the remaining ingredients: lemon zest, cinnamon, blueberries, sliced almonds and sweetener. Stir to combine completely, ensuring that all ingredients are fully mixed through

3.       Put the lid on the jar and place in the fridge overnight.

4.       To serve: add some additional blueberries, almonds and sweetener of choice

And that’s all you need to do! I told you it was super simple. It was the perfect amount of breakfast, and really nice and fresh. I loved the taste of the lemon zest throughout the oats as it really complemented the blueberries. You could add whatever flavours you wanted to change it up and to suit your taste. If you like it a bit sweeter, add more rice malt syrup, honey, or a little bit of stevia. I think coconut would also be nice to add a little extra crunch, so you could mix some in instead of the almonds and sprinkle some on the top.

Blueberry Muffin Overnight Oats

This breakfast was so fast and simple to make, I absolutely loved it. On top of this, even though it sort of tasted like eating dessert for breakfast, it was actually really healthy. What a perfect way to start the day! I will definitely try making these overnight oats again, and maybe try some new flavour combinations! Once you have the base of oats, water and milk, you really can add any flavours you want. The sky is the limit!

Blueberry Muffin Overnight Oats

This recipe was perfect for my time poor self, as it was so quick to make and meant that I had a delicious breakfast waiting for me the next morning without having to do anything. I could just grab it and go when I was ready to head to work, which saved me a couple of precious minutes in the morning! So what ended up being a busy week where I was worried about what to blog about ended up perhaps changing my life just a little bit!

Until next time, happy baking!

Ella xx

Cooking Lessons with Mum: Tiramisu

Mum's Tiramisu

My parents were away in Japan (lucky ducks) for about three weeks and have only just returned from recouping at the beach. It’s been lovely to hear all about the relaxing time they’ve been having while I’ve been at work, sort of. I am really glad they’ve had such a great holiday, but it did mean as a result my dad missed father’s day. Normally on Father’s Day we would do something special for him to show him how much we love him, but because he was away we sort of missed it. So my sister and I decided we could do a nice mid-week dinner for him as a belated Father’s Day celebration, just so he didn’t feel like he had missed out on anything, and to give him some love.

Mum's Tiramisu

But what to make? Well, my sister got right on a beautiful slow cooked lamb dish which was absolutely amazing. But for me, I decided that I could work on the course that I enjoy making the most: dessert, of course! And when it comes to dessert, I know the way to my dad’s heart. Although he will often have some berries and yogurt for dessert midweek, I know if he could have tiramisu every night he would. I am pretty sure it is his favourite dessert, as he’s always ordering it when we go out, and we will often share one together when we go to our local Italian restaurant. So not only was it a favourite of his, it brings fond memories back to me of enjoying food with dad, which was really nice.

Mum's Tiramisu

The benefit of having mum back is that she was around to teach me a thing or two about making the perfect tiramisu. I know there are a lot of ways to make this beautiful Italian dessert, and everyone prefers a different type. I know a lot of people enjoy a really cakey tiramisu that stands on its own and is full of biscuits and chocolate. My partner, who comes from an Italian family, loves his tiramisu with custard, which I myself am not the biggest fan of, but each to their own! My experience with tiramisu has come from the one my mum makes which is beautiful and creamy, and almost like a trifle. She uses this aged newspaper clipping for a mascarpone cream that she collected years ago, and then makes this into a tiramisu. It reminds me of special occasions when she would make it, and it was so delicious. We rarely make desserts at home, so I thought this might be a way to make the dinner extra special for my dad. So mum taught me the tips and tricks for making her perfect tiramisu, which meant that I ended up with the perfect dessert for my dad!

Mum's Tiramisu

This tiramisu recipe results in a trifle like dessert with a rich, beautiful mascarpone cream and flavours of brandy and Grand Marnier. These mix perfectly with real espresso soaked biscuits and chocolate shavings over the top. It’s a truly decadent dessert, perfectly Italian, and I think it’s everything anyone could want in a classic tiramisu. What’s more, not too difficult to make, and you easily make it ahead and pull it out when you are ready to eat. I love that you can whip it up quite quickly as you don’t even need to bake it, and the resulting dish is truly delicious.

Mum’s Tiramisu

Mum's Tiramisu

Preparation Time 20 minutes
Cooking Time No bake
Serves 6-8

Ingredients

·         250 grams of Mascarpone Cheese

·         4 eggs – separated

·         4 tablespoons of caster sugar

·         1/8 cup of Brandy

·         1/8 cup of Grand Marnier

·         About 1 cup of freshly brewed espresso coffee

·         1 packet of Savoiardi biscuits

·         Dark chocolate to shave over the top

Method

1.       In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer with the whisk attachment on high, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form (about 2 minutes). Make sure that there is no egg yolk or water in the egg whites as otherwise they will not whip up. Set aside.

2.       In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture goes light yellow and firm. This should take about 2 minutes.

3.       Mix in your Mascarpone to the egg yolk mixture. Use a fork to blend it together with the egg yolk mixture before beating to avoid wrecking your whisk. Once this has started to combine and the Mascarpone has softened, use your whisk to blend until smooth.

4.       Using a spatula, fold the Mascarpone mixture into the egg whites. Be careful not to overmix, and just make sure you lightly fold it until it has just combined. The egg whites should still be visible throughout the thick Mascarpone mix.

5.       Pour the Brandy and Grand Marnier into the mix and fold until combine. The mixture should be fluffy but combined completely.

6.       Place your espresso in a mixing bowl, and get out a trifle bowl or another bowl to serve the tiramisu in. Begin dipping the Savoirardi biscuits in the espresso to coat lightly on both sides. Once you have dipped quickly, shake each biscuit to ensure they are not too wet. Layer these across the bottom of the dish.

7.       Once you have your first layer of biscuits, pour some of the Mascarpone mixture over the biscuits. Use a spatula to evenly distribute the mixture across the biscuits.

8.       Repeat with another layer of biscuits, dipping in the espresso and layering over the Mascarpone. Then pour the remaining Mascarpone mixture onto the biscuits and level again. Add one more layer of espresso soaked biscuits over the top. You can add more layers if you want, it’s completely up to you.

9.       Shave dark chocolate over the top of the mixture to completely cover the tiramisu. Place in fridge to keep cool until serving.

Mum's Tiramisu

This tiramisu was the perfect dessert! It was soft and creamy, with just the right amount of espresso flavour and crunch from the biscuits. It’s a truly decadent dessert that would impress any dinner party guests or your family for a special occasion. Or, it is so easy that you could just whip it up anytime you felt like a delicious treat (I won’t judge!) It keeps pretty well in the fridge for a couple of days, but you want to try and eat it as quickly as possible as the biscuits will go soggy over time. I don’t think you will have much trouble finishing it off though; I could have easily eaten the whole bowl of this!

Mum's Tiramisu

My dad was so excited when I pulled the tiramisu out of the fridge after dinner. I don’t think he was expecting such decadent dessert midweek. He truly loves his tiramisu and so I served him a nice big bowl and he loved every bite. I was so glad that I made it for him because it made the dinner a little bit more special. I love that tiramisu is a relatively simple dish to make, but it seems so fancy and special. It’s a great go to dessert when you are a little short of time and want something truly delicious!

Mum's Tiramisu

Has anyone tried making tiramisu before? What is your version? I’d love to hear all the different types of tiramisus people love, because everyone has such different taste when it comes to this classic! I’m just so glad that now I can replicate my favourite one, thanks to my mum showing me the ropes!

Mum's Tiramisu

Until next time, happy baking!

Ella xx

Mum's Tiramisu

Chicken, Mushrooms and Kale, Oh My!

Garlic Chicken with Mushrooms and Kale

I feel like these past few weeks I might have reformed from my former sweet tooth ways. For I, Ella Penman, have managed to write two blog posts in a row that do not involve baked goods or sugar. That’s not to say that I’ve quit sugar or anything, quite the opposite in fact. I guess I’ve just been in the mood for trying out new dinner recipes lately as opposed to baking things. As depressing as that might be to some, I think it is helping me to diversify my portfolio of recipes. And I’ve read somewhere that diversification decreases risk, or does that only apply to the stock market?

Garlic Chicken with Mushrooms and Kale

Anyway, I seem to be craving mushrooms lately, which isn’t anything new for me, as I seem to be quite obsessed. It seems to link up to my craving for comfort food, partially I think to do with winter being almost over, and also because I’ve been a bit stressed out. So what better to ease stress than some delicious, healthy comfort food? And mushrooms always lend themselves to those rich, comforting flavours. So it really was a win win situation. I could have my cake and eat it to, without actually baking any cake. Actually, there was no cake, which makes me a little sad now that I think about it.

Garlic Chicken with Mushrooms and Kale

I decided to make this dish before coming home and so was able to go to the store and get all the ingredients I needed, which was a novelty for me. But I realised once I had decided to cook this dish that my partner was coming around, and I became concerned that perhaps he might not be too keen on the whole kale thing. My boyfriend does like my cooking, especially the sweet stuff, but he does tend to be a little funny about health foods. He will try it, but he is a little sceptical whenever I make anything too healthy. So I decided that he would become the perfect tester of whether this healthy dish actually tasted any good.

Garlic Chicken with Mushrooms and Kale

So here it is, my recipe for a perfect one pot Chicken, Mushroom and Kale dish. This has fresh and comforting almost Italian flavours, thanks to the garlic and lemon, and is quite easy and quick to make, which is always a plus in my book. It also involves minimum washing up, which is another even better plus! I was surprised by how well the ingredients came together into something so delicious, so without further a do, here is the recipe:

Garlic Chicken with Mushrooms and Kale

Garlic Chicken with Mushrooms and Kale

Adapted From The Roasted Root
Preparation Time 15 minutes
Cooking Time 15 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients

·         1 tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil

·         6 cloves of garlic, minced

·         2 teaspoons of dried thyme

·         3 cups of brown mushrooms, or anything on hand, roughly chopped

·         500 grams of chicken breast, sliced into thin strips

·         ¼ teaspoon of salt (plus extra for seasoning of the chicken breast)

·         ¼ teaspoon of pepper (plus extra for seasoning of the chicken breast)

·         Zest of one large lemon

·         4 cups of kale leaves, roughly chopped

Method

1.      In a medium fry pan, heat the olive oil on a medium heat.

2.      Add the minced garlic cloves and thyme, and cook for 1 minute until it starts to sizzle and brown.

3.      Add the mushrooms in and stir frequently for about 5 minutes, until they have browned and started to go soft.

4.      Season the chicken breast with some additional salt and pepper, and add the chicken to the fry pan and brown both sides, this should take about 3 minutes.

5.      Add the chopped kale and cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked through.

6.      Stir in the lemon zest, salt and pepper. Cook for an additional minute and remove from heat.

7.      Serve with potatoes, vegetables or with pasta.

Garlic Chicken with Mushrooms and Kale

This most certainly passed the boyfriend test for tastiness. He really enjoyed it, despite the absence of cheese or pasta, and when normally he complains when something is a little too healthy, he was actually telling me that he really enjoyed it. So I think this dish might be boyfriend safe, if his reaction is anything to go by! The flavours were delicious, even if they are a little simple, this really made for a tasty and comforting weeknight meal. And I mean what’s not to love about something that’s easy, healthy, fast and tastes great? It ticks all the boxes for me, and I really hope you enjoy it as much as I did if you try to make it!So as you can see this is another one of those great quick dishes that is perfect for a weeknight meal. It is a really simple recipe, and more importantly it is really quite healthy. It’s full of good ingredients and doesn’t really have anything fatty in it. Plus, I’ve heard kale is a ‘super food’, whatever that means, so it must make the dinner extra good for you. I find kale a lot easier to eat when it’s cooked in garlic and thyme and served with mushrooms, so this dish is a perfect way to introduce more ‘super foods’ to your diet.

Garlic Chicken with Mushrooms and Kale

Until next time, happy cooking!

Ella xx

Lemon and Balsamic Lentils

Lemon and Balsamic Lentils

Occasionally, I really enjoy cooking for myself. It doesn’t happen very often, as most of the time I like to have someone there to try my food with me, and shower me in praise. Its no fun telling yourself how tasty your food is, I mean how are you to know how good it is without reinforcement from others trying it? Plus, its quite hard to cook a meal for one, as most recipes and the ingredients you need to make them don’t come in single serving size. It’s a real problem, and so I tend to avoid cooking for one. I guess I will need to get more used to it if I live on my own, which could be happening quite soon. But I guess I could either get used to it, or just invite more people over. I feel like the latter might end up happening.

Lemon and Balsamic Lentils

Anyway, I had a night where I was home alone and thinking about what I wanted to eat. And then it hit me: I can cook whatever I feel like eating, and I don’t have to consider what other people might want to eat. I could have chocolate for dinner, or cheese, and no one would be there to question it. However, I had a strange craving for lentils. I do like vegetarian food, and will tend to eat it when I’m out over meat without thinking. But I do live in a household where vegetarian meals don’t really fly. Each dish needs some form of meat in it, and so I often don’t get to eat it at home. So I took this as a perfect opportunity to try a dish that would satisfy my craving for vegetarian food.

Lemon and Balsamic Lentils

The dish I ended up cooking is delicious, simple and most of all healthy. It was really easy to make, but ended up with beautiful, Moorish flavours. I had already pinned a recipe for lentils a while ago that I had been meaning to try, but I realised that I actually had two recipes. So I ended up putting them both together, as I really felt like having some mushrooms in the dish. They ended up really adding to the flavour, and making the dish a little more substantial. I couldn’t stop eating these beautiful lentils, and they make a perfect winter dish (even though we can’t really call our weather winter anymore). Plus, I had it completely cooked in under half an hour, which is perfect for a weeknight dinner. What more could you want? Tasty, Healthy and Quick: It’s a perfect trifecta!

Lemon and Balsamic Lentils

Lemon and Balsamic Lentils

Adapted from The Petite Kitchen
Preparation Time 15 minutes
Cooking Time 10 minutes
Serves 2

Ingredients

·         1 can of lentils, drained and rinsed

·         1 and a half tablespoons of olive oil

·         3 cloves of garlic, minced

·         1 cup of chopped mushrooms

·         2 handfuls of baby spinach, roughly chopped

·         ½ tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

·         Juice of a small lemon

·         ¼ Sea Salt

·         ¼ teaspoon of pepper

Method

1.      In a large frying pan on a medium heat, warm the olive oil until sizzling

2.      Add the garlic and mushrooms, and cook until soft (about 4-5 minutes). If the pan gets too dry add a tablespoon or two of water.

3.      Add the lentils, spinach, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss the lentils around to coat.

4.      Cook for 2-3 minutes until the lentils are fragrant and get a nutty aroma. Once cooked, add the lemon juice and stir the lentils.

5.       Serve as is, as a side, or on toast.

Lemon and Balsamic Lentils

And that’s all there is to it. I told you it was really easy! It really takes no time at all to whip up this delicious meal, and the flavours were great! It filled the house with a delicious aroma, and I couldn’t stop eating the resulting meal. The lemon juice really lifted the flavours in the dish and made brought out the natural flavours in the lentils. Plus the mushrooms and baby spinach really complemented the dish, making it a more substantial and fulfilling meal.

Lemon and Balsamic Lentils

I ate these on their own, but they taste really great over toast, or as a side dish to lamb. I would eat these for breakfast for a protein boost. It is a really healthy dish but ended up being quite hearty and filling. If you are willing to look past the vegetarianism of the dish, it makes for a quick, simple and delicious weeknight meal that anyone could make!

Lemon and Balsamic Lentils

Until next time, happy cooking!

Ella xx

Lemon and Balsamic Lentils