Saturday, 19 July 2014

GIVEAWAY: $100 Voucher

It's been a busy, sleep-deprived period in my life. I've recently moved house, again. It is the 20th house I've lived in in 26 years (my packing skills are second to none).

When I moved house EatNow was the source of my first meal in the new abode. I had no idea about local eateries and there was no way I was going to go on a clueless hunt at 9pm after moving furniture all day, and did I mention we all had the flu? After entering our postcode on EatNow we perused our options and had pizza delivered, we sat on the floor and ate off unpacked boxes. It was the light at the end of the tunnel. Excuse the sombre expressions- it had been a loooong day.

This move has heralded a new addition, a border collie puppy we've named Badger. I'm having newborn baby flashbacks thanks to the waking up multiple times a night and the constant cleaning up of wee. I look haggard and I feel barely operational. My cooking has been a complete disaster, I have burned food every day for the last 3 days- you may have seen my toastie on Instagram, that bad boy was black all the way through to the cheese.

As of late, take away has become firmly embedded in my weekly meal plans. My family need some sustenance and I need a smoke-free kitchen. Cue EatNow! The only thing better than take away on a pear-shaped day is delivered take away. Even if the restaurant is only a 10 minute drive away I will totally opt to wait 45 minutes if it means I can have it delivered. Lazy I know, but I love the novelty. Also, it means we can get into pyjamas that bit earlier which is a-ok by me.

If you too are in need of a decent meal delivered to your door, I have just the thing. Thanks to I'm giving away a $100 voucher!

Entry is only open to Australian residents. Winner will be drawn at random on the 2nd of August and will be notified via email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Vegetarian 'Chicken' and Veggie Soup with Dumplings

I'm starting to get the ever so slight impression that winter has reared her frost-bitten head. Don't get me wrong, I love winter, it would be winter all year if I had my way. However, I can't ignore the fact that my feet are so frozen I can't feel them and my fingernails have turned an interesting shade of blue. On days like this I devote hours to cooking, the warmth from the oven glues me there. I spend my time churning out puddings, soups, pies and anything else that will put some heat in my belly. 

Today my kid and I hid away in the kitchen, carefully selecting recipes as we huddled by the pre-heating oven. Ultimately we decided on maple sugar & walnut biscotti for morning tea and then some roasted chickpeas with rosemary and sea salt for an afternoon snack. For something a little more filling we couldn't resist the hearty 'Chickpeas and Dumpling Soup' from Oh My Veggies. I can't leave things alone so I've altered the recipe a bit (business as usual). It's a wonderfully comforting meal, just the thing to keep those blue fingernails at bay!

Vegetarian 'Chicken' and Veggie Soup with Dumplings

Recipe adapted from Oh My Veggies
Total time: 40 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients for the soup:
  • 3 tablespoons butter 
  • ​2 tablespoons plain flour​
  • 1 large onion, diced 
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 
  • kernels of 1 fresh corn cob 
  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves finely chopped 
  • 2 dried bay leaves 
  • 1/2 cup white wine 
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetarian 'chicken' stock (I used Massel Ultracubes) 
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed​
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Ingredients for the dumplings:
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter​, cubed
  • 1/3 cup plain​ flour 
  • ½ tea​spoon​ salt 
  • 1 egg

  1. Make the dumplings: In a bowl, stir together flour and salt; add butter, and using your fingers, rub into flour until pea-size c​lumps form. Add egg, and stir until ​it comes together. ​Place in the fridge for later.
  2. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over ​low-​medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, corn, thyme, and bay leaves. Coo​k​ until the onions are light golden brown, then add the chickpeas.
  3. Sprinkle the remaining flour over the veggies and stir to coat; cook for 1 minute. ​Add the ​wine and cook ​for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock​ and bring to a ​simmer
  4. ​Drop ​dessert-​spoonfuls of ​the dumpling batter into the pot, making sure they don't touch each other​.
  5. Cover and let​ simmer for ​1​0 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and serve.

Monday, 9 June 2014

GIVEAWAY (**CLOSED**): $500 Harris Coffee Gourmet Hamper plus a Coffee, Date & Hazelnut Pudding Recipe

The winner is Cathy Patricia. Congratulations! Thank you to everyone for all of your wonderful entries, your time and effort is greatly appreciated.

I have an extra special treat for you today my lovely readers! Harris Coffee have been kind enough to offer up an incredible gourmet hamper to give away to one of you! This is a mammoth of a hamper, it's packed full of everything I crave on a regular basis: locally roasted coffee, wine & chocolate. There's also a range of sweet and savory delicacies included, something to please everyone. Entry details can be found at the bottom of this post.

Coffee holds a special place in my heart, I'm fairly certain I couldn't have survived the early months (or years) of parenthood without consuming my weight in coffee. It's been my go-to 'pick me up' for years, and a reward on more than one occasion.

When baking, coffee is often my staple for special occasion treats. My son's only 4 so my coffee desserts are often made in secrecy and consumed late at night while he sleeps. My husband's also a coffee fiend. Every birthday for the last 10 years he's always requested a cake involving coffee. So, when Harris Coffee asked me to whip up a recipe involving some of their locally roasted coffee I was more than happy to oblige!

This is one of those desserts best consumed on a frosty night, it's rich and warming and wonderful for sharing with friends after a leisurely winter dinner.

Coffee, Date & Hazelnut Self-Saucing Pudding

Recipe by A Rhubarb Rhapsody
Total time: 60 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients for the pudding:
  • 1 1/4 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground coffee (I used Harris Black Label)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 40g melted butter
  • 1 cup pitted dried dates, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped roughly

Ingredients for the sauce:
  • 1 cup freshly brewed strong coffee (I used Harris Black Label)
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 25g butter, finely cubed

To make the pudding:
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease an 8 cup-capacity oven-proof dish.
  2. Sift flour and cinnamon into a bowl. Add sugar and coffee and mix well. Add melted butter, vanilla extract and milk. Stir to combine. Fold in dates and hazelnuts. Spread mixture into prepared dish.  
  3. Make sauce: dot the butter evenly over the pudding mixture, then sprinkle the brown sugar over the top. Pour coffee evenly over the back of a large metal spoon on to the pudding mixture. Bake for 40 minutes or until top is firm. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Now! Back to the Harris Coffee hamper. Here is the glorious hamper I will be giving away to one lucky reader:

Included in the hamper:
  • Harris Espresso ground 200g
  • Harris Premium beans 500g
  • Harris Black label ground 200g
  • Harris Signature Blend ground 200g
  • Harris Reserve Colombian beans 1kg
  • Crooked Creek Pistachio Jacks
  • Rosnay Organic Fig Preserve
  • The Other Chef Balsamic Essence
  • Phillippa’s Bakery Herbed Spiced Nuts
  • Mount Zero Pink Lake Natural Salt
  • Mount Zero Kalamata Olives
  • Gumnut Chocolates Mixed Truffles Chocolate Box
  • Sweetness the Patisserie Mixed Caramel Bonbons
  • Lynwood Preserves Roasted Red Capsicum Relish
  • Crooked Creek Cheese Biscuits
  • Sweetness the Patisserie White Chocolate Rocky Road
  • Farmgate Cheese Pinot Noir Jelly
  • Sweet Acres Triple Chocolate Brownie
  • Gumnut Chocolates Classic Florentines
  • Maya Sunny Honey – Stringy Bark
  • Tabletop Grapes – Sunmuscat Clusters
  • The Other Chef Quince Paste
  • The Simple Fine Food Company – Charcoal Lavoche
  • The Simple Fine Food Company – Organic Lavoche
  • Atticus and Max – Bloody Beetroot Relish
  • Rylestone Olive Press – Cudgegong Gold Medal Olive Oil
  • Herbies Spices – Sweet and Sour Scrumptios Compact Kit
  • Lowe Wines – Shiraz
  • Lowe Wines – Pinot Gris
  • Didgeridoonas – Picnic bag

To enter answer the following two questions in the comment section of this post:

1. If you won the hamper what would you make with the Harris Coffee?
2. What is the main reason you purchase local produce?

Conditions of entry:

Entry is only open to Australian residents. Winner will be chosen based on their answer (not at random). Winner will be announced and notified on the 23rd of June.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Sharing The Love, Week 1

I've been procrastinating heavily this week. We're moving house (again) in a week and a half and the time to pack has reared it's ugly head. So, instead of whipping out the packing tape, newspaper and a bottle of wine I've turned to the Internet to distract me and soothe my house-moving woes. Unsurprisingly it didn't fail to deliver! I thought I'd share some delicious links for those of you out there who are also stuck in the procrastination loop. The more the merrier, right?

Lets start with a little savory:

I'll have seconds and thirds of these sweet treats, please:

If you have any links to share, I'd love to see them! The longer I can stall the better. ;)

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Choc Chunk Muffins with Brown Sugar & Choc Chip Frosting

Choc Chunk Muffins with Brown Sugar & Choc Chip Frosting

Chocolate chip, the quintessential baker's classic. Simplicity in its finest form.

Choc Chunk Muffins with Brown Sugar & Choc Chip Frosting

In all honesty, I prefer my sweet treats rich and decadent to the point of near sickening. I've heard my husband complain of desserts being too rich and this is something I truly can't fathom. Granted, he also doesn't like cake so I'm pretty sure he's certifiably mad.

Choc Chunk Muffins with Brown Sugar & Choc Chip Frosting

Even though I will usually opt for 'chocolate mud' I still hold a warm place in my heart for 'chocolate chip'. Choc chip cookies sing of comfort and lazy childhood afternoons, they're unparalleled as a nostalgic treat. Whether it's choc chip cookies, ice cream, cake, or muffins, it's guaranteed to be a crowd favourite.

Choc Chunk Muffins with Brown Sugar & Choc Chip Frosting

I wanted the joy of chocolate chip cookies in a more substantial form, but it had to be compact enough for me to lug down to the park for an impromptu picnic with my son. Muffins fit the bill perfectly! I still have a glut of Easter chocolate left over so I chopped some of it up and made these 'choc chunk' muffins. I then grated a bit more of the excess chocolate and mixed it through brown sugar frosting for a choc chip overload. The result? A perfect picnic indulgence!

Choc Chunk Muffins with Brown Sugar & Choc Chip Frosting

I'd love to know, what's your most nostalgic treat and are you a 'choc chip' or 'choc mud' kind of person?

Choc Chunk Muffins with Brown Sugar & Choc Chip Frosting

Choc Chunk Muffins with Brown Sugar & Choc Chip Frosting

Recipe by A Rhubarb Rhapsody
Total time: 40 minutes
Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients for the Muffins: 
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil or melted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plain yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chunks or chips (I used a mix of dark and milk choc)
To make the Muffins:
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (355°F)
  2. In a large bowl sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder. Add salt and sugar. Set aside.
  3. In another large bowl whisk together oil, vanilla extract, egg, milk and yoghurt. Add the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  4. Add chocolate chunks to the batter and gently stir until just incorporated.
  5. Pour batter into well-greased muffin pan. 
  6. (Optional) Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of raw/turbinado sugar over the top of each muffin (this will make the top nice and crunchy). 
  7. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and cooked throughout, let them sit in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  8. Once completely cooled pipe choc chip frosting (recipe below) on top of each muffin and serve immediately.

    Ingredients for the Brown Sugar & Choc Chip Frosting:
    • 250g cream cheese (at room temperature)
    • 7 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons butter (at room temperature)
    • 40g dark chocolate (grated finely)
    To make the Brown Sugar & Choc Chip Frosting:
    1. In a the bowl of your mixer or food processor add the cream cheese, brown sugar and butter. Mix/process until completely smooth.
    2. Add the grated chocolate and gently stir through until it's evenly distributed.