Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!! Chocolate Pizza and Dracula

Anyone feel like chocolate pizza?

 This is so easy to make and is a great present or alternative to the usual bunny.

All you need is chocolate and lollies, plus sprinkles if you want.

Melt the chocolate. Pour onto a pizza tray (put baking paper or glad wrap or something down so it doesn't stick). Place whatever lollies you like on it and cover with sprinkles. Leave it to set in the fridge and that's it!

You could make mini ones for parties instead of lolly bags, make big ones for presents or just make it because chocolate is awesome.

If chocolate pizza isn't your thing how about a chocolate Dracula?

That's right! These are the awesome sort of chocolates I make. Actually the reason I got the Dracula mold in the first place was because of sweet childhood memories. Christmas 1996 to be exact.

That was the year we moved from Tasmania to Canberra. We stayed with friends the few days after Christmas whilst the house was packed up and cleaned, then off we went on The Spirit of Tasmania to drive to our new home. Actually, we stayed in a motel for a week first.

Anyway, that year we got awesome chocolates. I don't remember what my siblings got but I got DRACULA!!! I thought it was awesome. The one I got had white skin, black hair and cape, red mouth etc... it was really well done. So when I saw the Dracula chocolate mold on eBay, I bought it.

I also have a baby mold plus your regular Easter eggs, chocolate bars and Christmas ones.

What can I say? I like chocolate!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Gluten Free Vanilla Berry 10 minute Cake

Tonight we had some guests come over whom I knew had a long drive ahead of them so I wanted to make them a cake. Since I still have no oven everything is cooked either in the microwave or frying pan here.

This cake is super easy, only takes 10 minutes and is done in the microwave. You can make it non gluten free by using normal flour.

1 1/2 Cups Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
1/2 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup frozen berries
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup water
1 tsp vanilla essence

I simply put everything in a bowl and mixed it together. I then poured it into a silicone cake container and baked it in the microwave for 10 minutes.

That was it!

I turned it out and let it cool a bit then mixed a little glaze to drizzle over the top (3 tablespoons icing sugar to 1 tablespoon milk) and then served.

It was very well received and so easy to do.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Cupcake Tower - Make your own!

I have always wanted to make a cupcake tower, but didn't have the foam or other stuff I had seen in tutorials until I came across this one. It is so easy and best of all it recycles things you already have!! Well most of it is recycled.

All you need is
cardboard (you could use and old nappy box or just a box from the grocery store),
2 - 3 cans, depending on how many layers you want (washed and dried)
Pretty paper
Ribbon or whatever you would like to use to decorate (no ribbon on mine)
A plate and bowl for your stencil

All I did was get a dinner plate and bowl to trace around for the levels. The plate was the bottom level as it was larger. I traced around it on the cardboard and cut it out.

I did the same with the pretty paper and glued it to the cardboard.

With the tins I cut the paper to size and glued it on to cover them up.

I put a shorter tin on the bottom, then the large cardboard layer, followed by the taller tin and the final layer.

My little cupcakes were made in reusable silicone moulds, hence no patty cases. They are decorated with little icing Easter eggs.

It was so quick and simple to make. You could make one for any occasion and it would be great!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

$21 Challenge recap

I thought I would share with you some of the things we ate this week whilst doing our challenge. I will say straight up we didn't quite stick to our $21 budget and there is 1 reason for that. I know when I know not to take my husband grocery shopping, but I did. And I did it on our anniversary. It was only $13 extra, so not a huge blow out. And hey, its better than the $150 - $200 we've been spending lately.

I could make excuses such as it was our anniversary, it came out of his sanity money (it could, since he doesn't usually spend it) BUT I decided to just suck it up. Why? I'm not perfect, and sometimes as much as we try we don't get to stick to the $21, but the fact is we did save on our usual shop and that was the main aim.

Toasted Cheese Sandwiches

Now, back to what we ate...

For breakfasts we had cereal, toasted cheese sandwiches, scrambled eggs, rice (my kids requested that one, so hey, why not?) as well as fruit, normal sandwiches and yoghurt. Not all on the one morning! Those are just things we ate this week.

For lunch we mainly had sandwiches or left over dinner.

Snacks were rice cakes, fruit or eggs.


For dinner we had
Bacon and sun dried tomato risotto (which made enough to be frozen for a meal I am planning later)
Beef curry which made enough for 2 more meals
Corned beef with rice
Pumpkin soup
Chicken stroganoff (the beef I have is only good for slow cooking, not a quick meal like this)
Fried Rice
Spaghetti bolognaise

Chicken Stroganoff with Garlic Beans and Rice

By having meals with similar ingredients (such as curry with pumpkin followed by pumpkin soup with cream followed by stroganoff using the rest of the cream) you stop food wastage and you are not having the same thing every night.

I'll be trying to keep my groceries to a minimum over the next few weeks to use up what we have and save more money.

You don't need to spend a fortune on food to eat well.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

How my garden grows

 So I thought I would give you a little update on my garden. In the pot above I planted chives, parsley, coriander and sage. As they grow I plan on planting them out into my garden. Whilst its not really clear in this picture there is at least 1 of each plant pushing through, which is a great sign for me.

In another pot next to it I have rosemary and in another basil, which are also starting to sprout.  I've also staked the tomato I found growing in the compost. I covered all the compost with dirt and have moved where I put my compost.

I am also very impressed with how my kumara has been growing. I posted about it here how it was from a sprouted kumara cut up. I planted 8 pieces and they are all taking off. We eat more kumara than plain potatoes here, so I am pretty excited about that.

See? Most of the plants are growing fairly tall and seem to be thriving, so can't wait to see how it goes.

I also planted a few more seeds this week including silerbeet, peas, lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli and onions. I am hoping they take and I can plant them out later. I'll be planting more of these over the next few weeks, with the plan to spread out the crop.

I'd really love some fruit trees and have 2 large crates I plan on putting wheels on and preparing them for planting a tree in each. Not sure which trees yet, but doing them in my large crates means I can move them. One will probably be a lemon tree.

At the moment I only have a little bit happening, but I am building it and making room for more. We have a good sized backyard, so plenty of room for it all.

We were planning on getting chickens but there are a few more rules in our council than we expected, so we are still deciding if we will go ahead with that or not.

We'd like bees too, but want to wait until we have the hang of the garden. There's heaps of bees in our garden lately. They seem to love our palm tree!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Rainbow Cake Recipe

I used this recipe from Best Recipes with a few modifications. It is a white chocolate mud cake, which I made double batch to create my Rainbow Cake. This is the single recipe. I chose mud cake as it is dense and since I knew I had to cook in the microwave it would not dry out too badly. (I find many microwave cakes to be dry or taste a little funny). I made it for my mother in law.

250g white chocolate
250 butter
200ml milk
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ¾ cups plain flour
1 cup self raising flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla essence
Assorted food colourings (I just used the Queen Rainbow Food Colours, 4 pack)
Betty Crocker vanilla icing (because I am lazy and I prefer it to my own icing)
600ml cream
2 Tablespoons icing sugar

-          Heat the butter and white chocolate over low heat to melt. Add the sugar and milk, then stir to dissolve.
-          Sift the flours together and add the chocolate mix to them.
-          Stir in the eggs, sour cream and vanilla essence. Stir to combine.
-          Divide the mixture into 3 bowls. Add food colouring of your desired colour to each.
-          Pour the mixtures into separate microwave safe cake containers (I used a Tupperware Stack cooker and did 2 cakes at once)
-          Cook on high for 10 minutes.
-          Leave to sit for 2 – 3 minutes then turn onto a plate to cool.
-          Do this with all the mixture.

Next to do the layering I placed the purple on the bottom then added a layer of Betty Crocker Vanilla icing, but you could make your own, I just really like that one, as does my husband’s family. I repeated with all the layers.
Then cover the cake in whipped cream with the icing sugar added to sweeten it.
Before serving decorate as you wish.

I plan on experimenting with a gluten free version of this mud cake soon.

Couple of notes –
1 I mixed gently by hand.
2 If doing this again in the microwave I would substitute some of the butter for oil. Oil is better than butter for a moist microwave cake.
3 I did my colours as follows –     
Pink was ½ the bottle of red food dye
Orange was about 10 drops of yellow and 5 drops of red
Yellow was about ¼ of the yellow food dye bottle
Green was about ¼ of the green bottle
Blue was about ¼ blue bottle
Purple was about 16 drops of red to 8 drops of blue
4 The pictures were in a dark room from my phone
5 When I was doing the layering I needed to prop the cake up with knives in my fridge til the icing set. That's probably because my layers weren't exactly even though. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Rainbow cake

I made this cake for my mother in laws birthday tonight. I had been wanting to try doing one for a while but had no reasons to.

It was pretty exciting doing it all. It was a little hard because I had to cook each layer in the microwave since my oven is not connected at the moment.

I used a white chocolate mud cake recipe to try and stop it tasting like a microwave cake. It is not gluten free because gluten free vanilla cakes taste gross. It has Betty Crocker icing between the layers to keep it together, cream all over the outside and is covered with smarties and sprinkles.

My 3 year old helped me and she had a great time. I'll post the recipe another time. I found it online, but made a few changes so it would work better in the  microwave.

I took the pic with my phone, sorry its not great.