Saturday, July 28, 2012

peanut butter and chocolate freddo brownies

Oh dear, we have been eating our daughters daycare fundraiser chocolates like they are free! Eating one each night along with a cup of tea after the kids have gone to bed. It's an expensive slice of heaven but a small price to pay for a few minutes of sanity in our day! We are half way through the box, only 24 to go.....I am 2 kilos heavier (though that could be all the  lasagne I've been enjoying this winter!) and my husband, who is a keen cyclist, has noticed his waistline has ever so slightly expanded too.....We have to get through these chocolates sooner rather then later and we need to share them with people....lots of people. Maybe I could grate up the chocolates and hide them in a peanut butter brownie?.....done!


1/3 cup  or 70g softened butter
½ cup  brown sugar or approx 90g
2 eggs
1/2 cup smooth full fat peanut butter 0r 120g (at room temp)
1 cup plain flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon bicarb soda
good dash of salt
2 x 35g freddo frog chocolates, grated

How to make your peanut butter and chocolate freddo brownies
Pre heat your oven to 170C. I reccomend using a slice tin without baking paper as the mix is quite thick and tricky to smooth down. Just make sure you grease it well. Otherwise, use baking paper and smooth it the best you can.
In a bowl add the butter and sugar and beat until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition until light and fluffy. Stir in peanut butter.
In a separate bowl mix together the sifted plain flour and the bi-carb soda and salt.

Add the flour mix to the egg mix and fold together gently. Add the 2 grated freddo frogs and mix gently.

Add it to your slice tin and smooth down. Pop it in the oven and bake for approx 30 minutes. Take out when centre springs back and cut into 12 pieces or any size you like. Enjoy warm and with or without a sprinkle of icing sugar.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

quilt crazy

I take my hat off to anyone who can sew. When I was young I thought Doris Day was the beez kneez. I remember buying pretty vintage fabrics in buttercup yellow or fabric with little cherry motifs and making my own skirts. Very simple skirts I should add. But that was about as far as I got. These days I let my Mother in law do all the sewing. You see, she is one clever lady when it comes to a needle and thread and one of her big passions is quilting. It's one of those crafts that I didn't really think about until she made my husband a quilt (one of her first) back in 2001. It was just a small one to throw over the couch but it was in these lovely olive, black and mustard tones.  She must have sensed that I was a little envious of this beautiful quilt as  I received mine a few months later for my birthday; a bright yellow and hot pink one! Over the years we have been lucky enough to have been given 7 more beautiful hand made quilts.

Last year my Mother in law moved onto making one for my Brother in law and his new wife and it was spectacular. I was SO jealous!!!  It was different shades of cream with white. Hard to explain but just stunning. My Mother in law asked me if I would like her to make one for our bedroom too. After a quiet happy dance I said, "I would love one!... in soft blues please ;-)". And this is what she came with. If I hadn't seen her working on it for nearly 6 months I would swear that this quilt had been bought from a shop. I take my hat off to you Helen!

This beautiful quilt has brought such calmness to this space. I love laying on the bed flicking through a magazine or sitting on the armchair in the corner reading with the sun on my back....bliss!
the blue circle in the middle is the centrepiece

a close up of all the tiny details

And here's my effort! My Mother in law had some fabric left over so I made a simple tissue box cover to match!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

pineapple chai muffins

I was flicking through a magazine last week and came across a recipe for pineapple and coconut muffins. It made me stop and think. It made me realise that I only ever eat pineapple on pizza! Clearly something  had to be done about this..... Later that week I found myself craving some home made chai tea.  Could pineapple and chai tea thrown together in a muffin really work? Make them and find out........I dare you :)


7grams of ginger, skin off
10 cardamom pods
10 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup soy milk
1 tea bag of your choice (I use a plain black tea bag)
3/4 cold water
60g butter
100g brown sugar
1 egg
1x 225g tin of pineapple in juice, drained, juice discarded. Reserve 9 pieces of pineapple for the tops.
170g Self raising flour

how to make your Pineapple chai muffins

pre heat your oven to 180C. Get your muffin tray ready with baking paper, cases and/or oil spray. This mix makes 9 muffins.

Place ginger, cardamom pods, cloves and the cinnamon stick in a saucepan with 3/4 cup of water on high heat, bring to the boil and boil for  4 mins. Reduce heat to medium, add soy milk and the tea bag and simmer for 2 minutes. remove from heat, . Strain the liquid into a jug or bowl  (making sure there is no debris left in the chai tea mix) and set aside to cool. You will only use 1/2 cup of this chai liquid so at this point you could just enjoy the leftovers.

Place butter and sugar into a bowl and beat with an electric mixer untl pale and thick.  Add the egg beating well. Fold through flour and pineapple (don't forget to keep 9 pieces aside) , alternating with the chai liquid until well combined. Pour into prepared muffin tray/cases and pop a slice of pineapple on the top of each muffin mix.  Cook the muffins for about 25 minutes, checking them as you go. Set aside in the tin for a few minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack.  Enjoy warm from the oven or at room temperature.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Strawberry Muffin Goodness

 Whenever I head to the markets I always have to take some tasty morsels with me to ward off "market fatigue". Even if I've had a decent breakfast of porridge and a cup of tea, after 20 minutes of walking around a market I start to channel Bear Grylls, "Ooooh, is that a grasshopper? mmmmm, this little fella is just oozing with good protein!" That's why I really have to take something with me; especially if I'm going with friends!  
 I like muffins that look kinda healthy. Ones that are preferably filled with a fruit of some description. Ones that don't make you feel so guilty about eating them at 7am! I think this recipe kinda covers all those things........brown sugar is good for you, right?

Strawberry Muffins with oats

 300g plain flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder, sifted
½ teaspoon bicarb soda
Dash of salt
2 eggs, beaten
155g brown sugar
1 cup natural yoghurt
½ cup melted butter (approx. 115g, pre melted weight)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

From 1 punnet of ripe and sweet strawberries, I used 185g (with stalks still on) Take stalks off and slice.
¼ cup oats or quick oats, toasted (You can do this on a piece of baking paper in your microwave. Set to 850 watts, microwave at 20 second bursts for 1 minute. Make sure they don’t burn. Moving them around after each 20 seconds)

Combine ½ teaspoon each of brown sugar and cinnamon, for dusting


Pre heat oven to 190C. Spray your 12 hole muffin tin with olive oil spray or pop in cases.
Sift flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt into a large bowl. Set aside.
Beat the eggs in the base of another bowl. Add the brown sugar, yogurt, melted butter and vanilla. Mix together until all well combined.
Add the wet mix to the dry mix and fold together gently using a rubber spatula. Adding half the strawberries and mix through gently.
Fill your 12 hole muffin tin with your mix. On the top of each one, place the remaining strawberries and top with the oats. Sprinkle with the combined brown sugar and cinnamon.
Bake for 15 – 18 minutes. Just check that they spring back to the touch. They should be lightly browned. Leave in the tin for 5 mins then take out and place on a cooling rack. Enjoy! If taking to a picnic, once they are cooled you can pop them in zip lock bags and keep at room temperature.