HELLO MY FRIENDS..HELLO

Hiya everyone! Hows it all going?? Me – flat out! School holidays, seeding time, almost back to school time..lifes been a tad chaotic lately!
We had some friends come and stay the night during the holidays, so there was 5 adults and 9 kids to feed and hang out with which was great. Cooked up my fave feast, lasagne, which got cleaned up in one sitting and the kids didnt even eat it – good old sausage sizzle for them! Think I can honestly say, it was damn good!
Yesterday and today, kids and I have been on a baking mish to get some food stocks up before they start school on Monday, so we’ve made zucchini slice, Donna Hay triple choc brownies & 7th heaven slice! My zucchini slice recipe is already on here, but the other 2 are coming right up!

First was the D.H.T.C.B’s…

Ingredients
200 g good – quality dark chocolate, chopped
200 g butter, chopped
1 1/2 Cups dark brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla essence
200 g good – quality milk chocolate, chopped
2 1/4 Cups walnuts, chopped (200g) (we didnt use any nuts cause the kids arent really into them)
1/3 Cup plain flour
1/4 Cup cocoa powder

Directions
Preheat oven to 180&deg<C. Grease a 3cm deep, 16cm x 26cm (base) slab pan. Line with baking paper, allowing 2cm overhang at both long ends.
Combine dark chocolate and butter in a heatproof, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on MEDIUM-HIGH (70 ) for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every minute with a metal spoon, until almost melted. Stir until smooth. Stir in sugar.
Add eggs and vanilla to chocolate mixture. Mix well. Stir in milk chocolate and walnuts. Sift flour and cocoa together over chocolate mixture. Stir to combine.
Spread brownie mixture into prepared pan. Smooth surface. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre has moist crumbs clinging. Set aside to cool.
Cut brownie into pieces.
These are delish cut into slabs and served with a dollop of double cream and some choc ganache, along with a coffee or hot chocolate..=)

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Next comes a recipe given to me by Aunty Chris, via an ipad app, My Recipe Book which we both have and can share recipes with..comes in pretty handy!
This one is my…

7TH HEAVEN SLICE

ingredients
250 g granita biscuits
100 g butter, melted
1/3 Cup glace ginger, finely chopped
1/4 Cup sesame seeds
395 ml sweetened condensed milk
1/3 Cup (1/3 cup) shredded coconut
1 Cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
250 g milk or dark chocolate

Directions
preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius
crush biscuits to a fine crumb, mix in melted butter
press mixture into slice tray
sprinkle over chopped ginger and sesame seeds
pour over condensed milk and press coconut and macadamia nuts on top
bake for 30-35 minutes or until slice has turned caramel colour
remove from oven and cool
melt chocolate and pour over the slice
cool again and cut into slices

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The kids and I have also been having some fun over the holidays, so I'll say goodbye with a few happy pix of us…thanks for visiting and happy baking xx

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Easter Eggs Are Eggscellent!

Hey all..
Happy easter weekend to you all! Our easter always consists of a bonfire, the first of the season (we are a tad addicted to bonfires!!), roasting mallows on gum branches & easter eggs galore! This year was no exception, just without as many friends/family around as we have had over the past few years. On Friday night, we cranked the bonfire up and pulled out the mallows, grabbed mallow cooking sticks and set to it..yummo! What a sweet feast

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Saturday, we had a night off to prep ourselves for our Easter Day bonfire, with good friends the Rollond Crew. After a few catchup drinkies it was time for our easter day egg hunt, so we sent the kids off running down the lane while Mary and I hid eggs galore. The kids came back huffing and puffing and were straight into it! They all managed a decent sized haul of eggs and gorged themselves on their eggs.

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I think we had a few happy kids there!
We cranked the barbie up and cooked up a feast fit for kings – steak, chicken, curry spuds & sausage sizzle for the kids, which they managed to devour even after all those eggs!!!

My curry spud recipe is as follows and super easy!

1kg of spuds (I use nadines)
Curry powder
Olive oil for frying

Dice your spuds up into small cubes.
You can par boil them if your in a hurry now. I dont normally cause Im never in a hurry in my kitchen!
Pour a tablespoon or so olive oil into a pan and get it hot.
Chuck a few spuds in – not too many or it will take you all night to get them soft.
Sprinkle with as little or as much curry powder as you can handle & give them a flick or too with an egg flip or similiar.
Pour about 1/4c water into the pan and stick a lid on it. Give them a flick occasionally to stop them sticking and to fry them evenly.
This is a pretty hands on recipe cause you want the pan hot all the time, so you do have to be on standby to flick them.
When you can stick a fork in your spuds without too much trouble and theyre browned up a bit, then theyre ready to enjoy.
Serve with whatever your eating..they go with most things. I also do a variation sometimes with garlic and rosemary leaves…yummy!

The kids have polished off all the food I brought last week so I had to bake some bits and pieces to keep them fed and happy. We made a double batch of melting moments which got inhaled almost as soon ad they got iced & were super yummo…one of my fave bikkies.

MELTING MOMENTS
125g butter – softened (I keep mine at room temperature all the time)
1t vanilla extract or essence
2T icing sugar
3/4c plain flour
1/4c cornflour

Beat the butter, vanilla & icing sugar till its light and creamy. Stir in the sifted flours and combine. I always use a teaspoon to spoon my mixture onto a lined baking tray, but you can use a piping bag if you can use one (hence the reason I use the spoon!) if using a spoon, dip a fork into plain flour and press lightly into biscuits.
Bake in a moderate oven – about 180 celsius – for about 10 minutes or till lightly browned. Cool and fill with icing.

Icing
2c icing sugar – sifted
30g butter
1/2t vanilla
1t milk

Beat till fully combined. You can add food colouring, cocoa powder or passionfruit pulp to the mix to give more flavour or just to make them even more decadent.

Spread the biscuits with icing and press 2 halves together..enjoy.

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The only other thing we baked yesterday, was a hi lite cake. My Mum used to make these all the time when she was a shearers cook when we were kids and theyre super easy & big which is good for a family of 6…
The kids helped with ours so it ended up being a green cake with pink icing and sprinkles, plus a few Easter eggs in the centre for decoration.

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The recipe for the hi lite cake is as follows:

HI LITE CAKE

2 1/2c SR flour sifted
4 eggs
4T custard powder
2c sugar
250g marg
1c milk

Throw all the ingredients into a big bowl and hit with your beaters till all combined. Pour mixture into a lined baking tray and bake in a moderate oven – about 180 – for 40 minutes or till skewer comes out clean. Slather on some butter icing and enjoy..=)

There are so many variations for this cake..chuck pretty well whatever you like in it and it just seems to work. Its a great cake for birthday parties – enough to feed a small army, plus lefty and overs for lunchbox treats and its also really good for marble cakes!
Enjoy!

Oh well guys, enjoy the rest of your easter holidays and I’ll see you here next time…hopefully I’ll be baking up a storm during the week so I’ll be posting some recipes!

A MUNCH FOR LUNCH

Heya there…its been a while since I dropped by with anything new-sorry! We had shearing last week and half the week before and at the end of a few long and damn hit days of back lining and drenching 3000+ sheep, the last thing I felt like doing was cooking! Forgive me as Im sure those with sheep or that have shorn, back lined and drenched in the past should! Also its been quite hot – high 30’s/low 40’s for a few days and my house is like an oven on a cool day with no aircon or air flow, so I dont tend to try n heat the house up by baking if I can help it.

Anyway..I have done a touch of baking over the past 4 days so I’ll share some tasty recipes with you now.
First, we had our farm adviser/number cruncher come out and do our farm budget and it was 38 degrees that day, so Jude (mum in law; champion; workhorse etc) cranked her little pie maker up and made a heap of sausage rolls in her pie maker..sounds strange? Tasted great! I made some honey cinnamon flakes, a new recipe I found while flicking through a magazine. This one requires a food processor or a fair bit of hard yakka – I choose the food pro! These were simple to make and a big hit with everyone who tried them. The only downside I could see was that the dough had to be refrigerated for 1/2 an hour, but aside from that, great recipe! Oh n super easy to make a double batch and freeze half in glad wrap too. Just pull out, defrost and use like normal.

HONEY CINNAMON FLAKES
250 g Chilled butter
3 Cups Plain flour
1 1/3 Cups icing sugar mixture
1 egg
2 Tbsp Honey
tsp Ground Cinnamon

Place butter, flour and 1 cup icing sugar in a food processor. Process till mix resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add egg and honey. Process till mixture just comes together.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently till smooth. Divide mix in half and shape into 2 discs. Wrap in gladwrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Line 3 baking trays. Roll 1 dough disc between 2 sheets of baking paper until 5mm thick. Cut discs/shapes out using cookie cutters and then re roll and recut till all gone. Place shapes onto prepared trays about 2cms apart. Bake, 1 tray at a time for about 6/8 minutes or till pale golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Combine remaining icing sugar in a bowl with cinnamon. Dust shapes with icing/cinnamon mixture using a sifter.

Another recipe Ive recently tried was one for the kids lunchboxes, Honey Soy Marinated Drumsticks. The recipe is pretty easy – just a few sauces combined and then the waiting game while it marinates, so here goes!

HONEY & SOY DRUMSTICKS
12 chicken drumsticks
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 t grated ginger
1/3c soy sauce
1/3c honey
2 T water
1t sesame oil
(Thats the ingredients the recipe asked for but added a couple of others)
1T hoisin sauce
2T plum sauce

Combine all the sauces plus the garlic and ginger till its really well mixed. Place the drumsticks in a marinating tray or just a plastic container will do the trick, pour the marinade over to cover all the drumsticks. Now to get grotty – which I love! Get your hands in and massage the marinade into the drummies – you can use gloves if your scared of getting grotty I suppose! 😉
Put the container in the fridge and leave for as long as possible before you need to bake them, overnight is the way to go.
Spread a tray with baking paper and lay the drummies out on it so they have room around them to cook thoroughly and bake for about 40 minutes at 150 degrees or till chicken is browned and cooked through. Serve in the kids lunch box with a little asian slaw or a garden salad or for tea with fried rice and some steamed asian greens or stir fry vegies. Yummo!

On Thursday, my littlest chickadee turns 6 (where does the time go???) and I am having a little party for her with a few friends after school on Friday, so I am going to include a photo of her journey in life so far and a special birthday treat each day till Thursday! First up is Ella, 4 months old and super cute and very cheeky!

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My birthday recipe of the day is a fave with my kids and every other person who’s ever tried it! Never had a complaint about this yummy one, and in saying that, it’s definitely not one for the weight watchers!

CHOCOLATE BUBBLE SQUARES
125g melted butter
1 1/2c firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1c rice bubbles or similar
3/4c desiccated coconut
1/4c cocoa powder

Bubble Topping
200g milk choc melts
125g butter
1c rice bubbles

Combine butter, brown sugar and eggs in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Stir in dry ingredients and then spread into a greased and lined lamington tray. Bake in a moderate oven, approx 160- 180 degrees for about 25 minutes. Take out of the oven and cool in the tray.
Once it’s cooled down, melt butter and chocolate in a small pot till combined. Pour into a bowl and stir rice bubbles through it. Spread this mixture over the top of the base and stick it in the fridge till the top sets. Cut into 2 x 2 cm squares and share with friends.

I’ll be back tomorrow with my second installment of Ella pics and another couple of recipes flr you to try out at hime, so till then, HAPPY BAKING!

Cheers Tash x

FOOD FOR THE COUNTRY SOUL

Hey all..
A few nights ago it was pretty chilly, so I decided to whack the old family fave, shepherd’s pie. I always sneak a few vegies into mine so that T actually eats them cause he’s a bloody fussy git & wouldnt otherwise. I whizz carrots, peas, beans & corn in the food processor (aka – my best mate!) dont make them a paste, just really finely chopped so the kiddies cant tell what it is and it kinda hides out in the pie so they get the health benefits and you dont get the moans and groans! I also had some pumpkin in the fridge that was getting close to its use by date, so I mashed that into the spud topping. That also stuffed my husband up cause he hates pumpkin with a passion & he still doesnt know it was in there…;) sneaky hey!

Anyhow enough jibbering…heres the recipe for our fave COUNTRY SOUL FOOD SHEPHERD’S PIE!

500g minced beef (healthsmart if your into that!)
1onion finely diced
Vegies of your choice whizzed to fine dice
Gravy powder
Tomato sauce
Bbq sauce
Garlic
Mixed dried herbs
1c water
6/8 spuds – you can NEVER have too much mashed spud on top of a shepherds pie.
Butter & milk to mash your spuds
1c grated tasty cheese

Fry up your mince and onions in a bit of olive oil. When brown, chuck in your vegies and cook for 2 minutes. Combine gravy, sauces, garlic, dried herbs and water in a small bowl or jug and stir till all combined. Pour into the mince mixture and stir through till gravy thickens slightly. Pour the mixture into a baking dish & set aside.
Steam spuds (& other vegies you may like mashed – sweet potato & pumpkin are also yummy). When soft, mash with butter and milk till smooth and spread over the top of your beef mixture till the top is covered. Cover with cheese and bake at 180 till the cheese melts and starts to brown. Serve with crusty bread & enjoy!!!

Oh n while your on the blog trail, go n check a look at my mate Gemma’s blog…http://cookcleanerquiltmaker.blogspot.com.au/
Shes one clever cookie who’s addicted to rum, quilts, bakes & is generally pretty crafty! Tell her Tash sent you! Cheers..

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2 INGREDIENT NUTELLA CAKE

Hey all..
Just started baking today for school and also for shearing which starts tomorrow. We dont cook for the shearers but I have 3 workers and 4 schoolkids that love afternoon tea & lunchbox snacks. I was flicking through facey yesterday and came across this recipe I just had to try! Sounded too easy and good to be true, so he goes…1double sized 2 INGREDIENT NUTELLA CAKE coming right up..

The 2 ingredients are:

4 Large eggs (room temperature)
240 g Nutella

And this is how you do it!
NOTE:: Make sure you beat the eggwhites for the whole 3/5 minutes so they triple in size and be super gentle when folding – NOT stirring – the nutella through the whites!!!

Step 1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Line a 20cm round spring-form cake pan with baking paper and set aside.
Step 2. Place eggs into mixing bowl and beat on high speed until the mixture triples in volume. This will take 5-7 minutes.
Step 3. Spoon Nutella into a medium glass bowl and microwave for 15-20 seconds until it is soft.
Step 4. Spoon one third of the egg mixture and fold using a metal spoon to mix in Nutella until entirely combined. Continue with another third of egg mixture and then again until all the egg and Nutella is combined.
Step 5. Spoon mixture into cake pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer placed into the centre comes out clean.
Step 6. Cool cake in pan entirely, before removing from pan. Slice and serve.

I doubled it cause no single sized cake lasts more than a day around here and it’s about to get busy pretty quickly with shearing/backlining sheep and moving them to and from the yards.

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Party Pies Without a Party!

I have just ordered a new pie maker from Betta Electrical and it hasnt turned up yet so Ive had all these ideas ripping around for pie insides and no pie maker to try them out on! I couldve always made oven pies but that defeats the point of having brought a pie maker I think! Anyhow, my mum in law, Jude, champion that she is, lent me her pie maker that makes 4 party pies in less then 5 minutes. I was in seventh heaven and off I went.
I decided to make some chicken and vege pies, cause theyre my faves and cause I had 2 chicken breasts left from last nights tea. My pie filling was basic and simple to make and could easily have been used in an oven baked pie too. Here it is!

CHICKEN & VEGIE PIES

1packet puff or shortcrust pastry. (I always use puff cause shortcrust seems too heavy to me unless its homemade & I had no butter to make my own)
2 skinless chicken breasts cut horizontally through the middle & then cubed into about 2cm cubes.
1carrot, peeled and diced finely
1onion peeled and finely diced
A handful each of frozen peas and corn kernels
2T creamy chicken soup mix
1T chicken gravox mix
1c water

Firstly, I made the filling by frying up all the diced chicken till lightly browned. You may need to do this in 2 batches so you dont stew it, like I had to cause my oven is piss weak!
When its all browned, add the vegies and then mix the gravox, soup mix and water together to make a thick liquid. Add that to pan and thicken slightly. Simmer for a couple of minutes and set aside to cool a bit.
Get the pie maker hot and using cutters provided – or in my case, a plastic wine glass and a plastic drinking cup cause Jude’s pie maker cost only $14 and didnt come with cutters. Obviously they dont add them in for that low price..(:O)
Cut circles for bases and lids out of pastry using wineglass & plastic cup.
Place bases in pie slots and press down gently. Fill bases with filling and then put your lids on. Press pie maker lid down for about 3/5 minutes depending on how crisp you like your pies and continue till the filling is all used up. Enjoy!

Note: If you dont have a pie maker, use muffin trays or mini pie dishes and press the lids to bases after filling. Bake for 10/15 minutes on 180 or till crispy.

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BACK TO SCHOOL

Well, here we are again! Almost back to school time for us in WA. I have decided that each week I am going to make 3 kids lunch box ideas, just to vary what theyre eating and cause I get so over making sandwiches everyday and I cant imagine they’d be fun to eat for the tinlids either! Well, I couldnt eat the same crap for 40 weeks of school!!!
So Miss Lily and I pored over our cookbooks and found a list of ideas to try out. This is what we came up with:

LUNCHES
-Mini cheese & bacon potato halves (kinda like stuffed potatoes, but only halves)

-Chip crumbed chicken drummies or marinated chicken pieces and a salad on the side.

-Chicken and corn turnovers..little golden parcels of pastry full of chicken and corn filling..yummo!

-Traffic light sambos – bread columns with cherry tomato spots, gherkin spots and cheese spots.

-Mini Hawaiian pizzas

-Homemade pies made in my new pie maker with leftovers

-Homemade sausage rolls – an old fave but always a winner!

-Homemade chicken nuggets and salad.

-Pinwheels with different fillings. A couple of our faves are pizza where I just put everything Id normally put on pizzas, into my food pro and whizz till its a thick paste and then spread over puff pastry sheets and roll, then cut into skinny rounds and ovenbake; ham & cheese, which is just grated cheese over strips of ham & cheeseymite – quick and super easy!

-Rice paper rolls and an asian style slaw.

-Cold rissoles and salad – my kids are all suckers for cold rissoles and its always a fight to get them before the kids, so they’ll be a big hit!

Last but not least, another family fave, homemade zucchini slice.

Another list Lily and I made, was for recess ideas. I always put at least 2 pieces of fruit or vege in their lunchboxes and they do ‘Crunch & Sip’ so they need fruit chunks for that, but I always like to add a homemade treat as well.
Some of our faves are:
-Melon shapes, cut out with bikkie cutters for something fun, rather than just chunks of fruit.

-Cake pops that I make in my cake pop maker, which is super fast and I end up with heals of them from just one mixture.

-Fruit kebabs – your choice of fruit chunks skewered on wooden skewers. Cut the points off the ends of the skewers after you thread the fruit so they dont become schoolyard weapons. I’d hate to write this up as a suggestion and then find out someones kid lost an eye at school or something..hahaha!

-Cupcakes or muffins – always topped with a fruit juice based icing or fruit muffins so its a little bit healthy.

-Grisini sticks with choc dip – buy or bake little grisini sticks/breadsticks from your local shop & serve with a small tub of nutella or some other paste to dip them in.

-Mini meringues – I always find Im making batches of meringues or pavs with leftover egg whites from other recipes. Add a natural or unnatural food colourings for something a little more fun. I use the unnatural colourings cause I cant stand the flavours of the natural ones, but feel free to use whichever floats your boat!

All recipes will be available on my blog as I make them, plus photos to show what theyre meant to look like, so keep your eyes peeled for updates!
Cheers till then..=)

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ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE!

Hey all..
Just a quick post tonight to say sorry about the promise of chocolate cake that still hasnt come…I am getting there but spent most of today packing for 6 people for 2 weeks..and that takes some doing!
Tonight we cooked up one of our fave teas..Steak Kilpatrick! This is an old Newdegate Hotel fave of both mine and my husbands, and it was a 1st time treat for our workman Mark. He’s a kiwi and apparently they dont do Kilpatrick in NZ, or parmigana as we found out a while back.
Here are the recipes for both..

STEAK KILPATRICK
4 scotch fillet or porterhouse steaks
3 rashers bacon diced finely
3T woosty Sauce (worcestishire)
1c grated tasty cheese

Fry steak to your liking and while its cooking, combine the diced bacon & the woosty sauce.
When your steak is cooked, sprinkle some of the bacon over the top of it and then top with grated cheese.
Place under the grill until the cheese melts and browns off.
Serve with steakhouse fries and salad

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LIVIN THE DREAM

Hey all…
Well today I had THE best sleep in in ages, which I really needed! I have been influxed with constant thoughts and ideas for my home and my mind has been in overdrive to the point that I have been catching only a couple of hours sleep per night…not cool when your running a farm and trying to keep up with 4 super active little people! Anyhow..feeling a million times more amazing today and I started a list of inspirational home thoughts and ideas on my ipad so I can write them down instead of frying my brain with them! So far its over 5 pages long…thats a lotta inspiration to hang onto in my head, plus the farm book keeping, which is a mammoth task & the day to day running of our home!
So I started the day at about 9:30am and kicked off with my morning coffee kick – pretty well regulation for me! – and ran some mail down to the mail box (2kms away from the house), went for a walk with the dogs and watched the kids in their new pool for half an hour. Did the morning chores – washing, dishes and sweeping the loungeroom floor & then it was lunchtime. Had the family, plus the workman and my mum in law Jude and bro in law Rob all here and hungry. Jude and Rob had brought along some lunch but I had to feed the rest of the gang, so salad sangas it was for them and me. After they left to head back to work and off to town, it was time for me to get onto bakefest day 2! First came cornflake bikkies and then cheese and chutney sausage rolls.
The cornflake bikkie recipe can be found on the side of the cornflakes & I add sultanas to mine, but its personal taste on that one.

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The sausage rolls I make just as a basic mince, using all sausage mince, a finely diced onion, 2 pieces bread, mixed herbs and garlic & an egg, then I add whatever I feel like adding at the time. Sometimes I do pizza flavour so I whizz up all types of pizza toppings with 2 T tomato paste and add that to the mince, or like today I added 1/2c grated tasty cheese & 1/2c chutney. Play around with the basic mix and add things to your liking. They pretty much only need the mince, an onion finely diced, bread or breadcrumbs and an egg to make the basic sausage roll recipe.

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I didnt get around to baking the chocolate heaven cake today so that will happen tomorrow! Look forward to that..its fiddly but delishiosa…full of flavour and its so moist and yummy and covered in rich dark choc ganache, its a bit of a treat and comes in really handy for birthdays!
Till tomorrow then guys xT