Thursday, 4 April 2019

Pickled Cucumber Dip

This dip is scrumptious and something I whip up fairly frequently for no other reason than I always have cream cheese in the fridge and thanks to my friend Helena’s very productive veggie garden, a good supply of  pickled cucumbers. I use this  this recipe for pickled cucumbers, however, a jar of commercial bread and butter pickles could be used. Serve with crackers, crusty bread or carrot and celery sticks.

Pickled Cucumber Dip

250 g cream cheese
1 cup (drained) pickled cucumbers / sliced bread and butter pickles, roughly chopped.
1 clove garlic, crushed.

Make sure the pickles are well drained, press down firmly to remove as much liquid as possible. 
Divide drained pickles in half reserving one half of the pickles for the top or garnishing the dip.
Combine the cream cheese and garlic in a food processor and blitz to mix, pulse in the half the pickles.
Place the dip in serving plate or bowl and then top with the reserved pickles.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Passionfruit Spread

I love it when friends turn up with a bountiful supply of passionfruit, it means that I get to make passionfruit spread. I only make this spread in small batches and use it up quickly, each batch uses half a cup of passionfruit pulp. Cornflour is used to stabilise the spread, however,  it can be made without it. Whenever I get lots of passionfruit I freeze it in half cup blocks and then  defrost a block to use to make another batch. I love this spread as a layer on pavlova or in sponge cake or as a filling for small tarts.

The spread is thick and each batch makes one jar.

Spread a layer over the pavlova, top with unsweetened whipped cream and then more fresh

It is delicious on toast or crumpets

Passionfruit Spread
1/2 cup passionfruit pulp
1/2 cup caster sugar
60 g butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons cornflour (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe /heat proof bowl ( I use a Pyrex jug) and mix well. If using cornflour mix it into the passionfruit before adding the remaining ingredients.
Microwave on high in one minute increments until the mixture has boiled and thickened, whisk at each increment.
Place spread in a clean and sterilised jar. Store in the fridge. Use within ten days.

Monday, 4 March 2019

Molasses and Sultana Cookies

These are more a family style, lunchbox type of cookie and not you high tea offering.

These cookies are thicker due to the raising agents and have a softer crumb.

Instead of dropping spoonfuls of mixture onto the try roll with wet hands and flatten the cookies as you place them on the tray.

Molasses and Sultana Cookies

125 g butter
2 Tablespoons molasses
1/3 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1 egg
1 cup sultanas
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 cup plain flour
1 cup SR flour

Put butter, molasses and water into a large saucepan and put on low heat to melt.

Add sugar and oats into molasses mixture, stir to mix well and then leave to cool

Mix in remaining ingredients

Place heaped teaspoons of mixture onto greased tray or use baking paper. Alternatively, roll the mixtures into balls using wet hands and press flat as you place them on the tray.

Bake 170 deg C for approx 15 minutes or until golden brown. 

Place biscuits on cooling rack until completely cold, store in an airtight container.

Friday, 1 March 2019

Alphabet Postcards (7)

The project continues, these are the last three swaps.

N: Naive Art

J: Japanese Art

L: Landscape

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Welcome to Luna

Welcoming Luna to the family. It was a pleasure to make a cot quilt for my latest great niece. My niece, Amanda, the mum to be suggested that she would like a cot quilt that was mint, grey and ivory.

A  crooked version of Roman Stripes, a pattern from Cut Loose Quilts by Jan Mullen. I have made this quilt before and think it is great for a cot quilt, the crooked version gives a more modern feel. The quilt is big enough to be used as a floor quilt, a lap or snuggle quilt for the couch or as a topper on a single bed.

A close up

I thought Amanda might also like one of my crocheted baby blankets

And this knitted pram or capsule blanket

Gorgeous Luna

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Oscar’s 2nd Birthday

We live near two train stations and very close to a train tunnel. As part of our afternoon routine we walk to the tunnel so that Oscar can watch the trains go through the tunnel and the boom gates. A train cake would be perfect. He is also keen on the Thomas the Tank Engine books and trains. His favourite is Toby who, he frequently tells me, gets stuck in the tunnel. It was an easy decision to use the Thomas toys to make a cake, possibly more expensive to buy the toys but making a cake tunnel was so easy and the toys are still here for him to play with.

The finished cake, a mud cake tunnel, fondant grass, some Thomas toys and train tracks and a little landscaping with a few plastic succulents. A big white chocolate ‘O’ for Oscar and a couple of candles in cupcakes to complete the cake.

This is how easy it was to make.

Step 1
Make the mud cake in a large tin and then cut it into three pieces, one for each of the tunnel sides and the third for the top. I use double quantity of my standard mud cake and made some cupcakes as well.

Step 2
Tint some commercial fondant and roll it out, I wasn’t worried about it not covering the board and quite liked the irregular shape.  

Step 3
Layout the track so that the placement of the tunnel  could be decided. 

Step 4
Assemble the tunnel, firstly the parts needed to be iced. The icing is chocolate ganache that is whipped when cool to make the frosting. Once the frosting had been spread over the cake I used a wooden chopstick to mark in the bricks. 

Step 5
Once all the pieces were iced I used a little more ganache to stick the top of the tunnel to the sides.

Step 6
The finishing touches were added. 

I think he was pleased with the cake.

Yum, Nanna.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Pumpkin & Tofu Curry

I was out shopping with a friend in an Indian grocery and came across these packet sauce mixes and originally purchased the Butter Chicken for my son but didn’t get around to giving it to him. Having read the ingredients list and determined it was suitable for vegans I decided to use it up in this curry. The packet instructions list butter, cream and yoghurt but to keep it vegan I used almond milk and coconut milk powder. Not even remotely like butter chicken sauce but the resulting dish was very good. I have made it several times since and has been enjoyed by vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters. I usually serve it with rice that has chickpeas and almonds added to it. Great for last minute cooking if you keep the ingredients on hand as they have a long life in the pantry, fridge/freezer.

Served with rice and almond cream flavoured with mint, garlic and lime.

The product that I used but any other could be substituted.

Pumpkin & Tofu in Curry (ButterChicken) Sauce

1 wedge of pumpkin, cut into bite sized chunks
1 package firm tofu, sliced in half and then each piece into sixteen pieces.
1 onion 
Small amount of oil to fry pumpkin and tofu
1 onion, finely diced or puréed in food processor - optional
2  cloves garlic, crushed

1 packet Butter Chicken Spices 
(or other of your choice or use a commercial paste or your preferred combination of spices)

1 tin chopped/ diced tomatoes
1 packet Coconut milk powder
2 cups almond milk
I package frozen spinach
fresh coriander, chopped
Juice of 1 lime/lemon

Use other vegetables that you like and have on hand, such as eggplant, zucchini, cauliflower.

Put oil in frypan, add pumpkin and fry over low heat until pumpkin starts to brown.  Add tofu and brown lightly then add onions if using until onions are slightly softened and then garlic.

Add spice mix, tomatoes, coconut milk powder and almond milk. Simmer gently until the sauce thickens and the pumpkin is just cooked. Add spinach and allow to heat through.

Add lime juice and top with chopped coriander.

Cooked rice with chickpeas and almonds.

Fresh salsa to round things out.