Creamy Chicken & Corn Soup Recipe

It’s well and truly winter here in Australia. I live in the cold capital of Canberra so I know a thing or two about cold winter days! There’s also an icy wind on top of having most nights sub zero… just thinking about it makes me shiver!

Winter always calls for comfort foods that warm your body and help the soul deal with the shorter and colder days. When the temperatures dip like this, it’s always a great idea to sip on soup in winter.

Continue reading

Vegan Scrambled Tofu: the Healthy & Cruelty-Free Alternative

For those who follow me on social media, you would have seen that I completed the Veganuary challenge in January. It was really a interesting challenge that completely opened my eyes to new possibilities in the kitchen.

One new recipe I tried was scrambled tofu. I already liked the taste of tofu and occasionally ordered it when eating out. But I never knew how to cook it properly.

Continue reading

How to Make a Moustache Cake

IMG_1290 (1).PNG

I love baking cakes for people’s birthdays. It’s a fabulous present to give someone and you can easily make is personable. This was my thinking for my friends 30th recently – I could make a personalised cake and it would be a great birthday present for him!

I went onto Pinterest to gather some ideas. After some browsing I couldn’t find exactly what I was after – I wanted something funky for this milestone birthday. Then it hit me – I could make a red moustache cake, just like my friends own big red mo!

Continue reading

Pear, Cinnamon and Almond Muffins

I love this recipe because it’s a great way to use fruit before it goes off and needs to go into the bin. It makes for great afternoon tea, and there is no electric mixer needed. The mixture becomes quite thick and chunky with the end result being a rustic looking muffin with that traditional baking smell.

The fact that they are rustic means they don’t need to be perfect. I love cooking perfectly imperfect treats as it means that the mistakes can easily be disguised!

When slicing and dicing the pears, there is no need for precision. Just chop into small pieces that will work well in the muffins.

This recipe is an adapted version of a similar recipe on My Little Lunch Box – click here for original recipe. I changed it to use some almond meal as well as gluten free flour. I also decided not to use vanilla bean paste because, well I just didn’t have any in my pantry! I substituted for vanilla essence, and it seems that this did the trick.

This seems to be a winner with both kids and grown ups alike. I took these to work for afternoon tea recently and it seemed like everyone enjoyed these delicious treats.

They tend to last a few days, but they are best fresh or eatedn the day after cooking.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup Greek yoghurt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 & 1/2 cups diced pears (approx one large pear or two small pears)
  • 1 & 1/2 cups self raising flour
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup Flaked almonds
  • Extra sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Place muffin papers in the tin.

2. Roughly slice and dice the pears into small “cubes”.

3. Sift flour into a large bowl. Add the almond meal, cinnamon and sugar and stir in. Create a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.

4. Combine the Greek yoghurt, oil, eggs and vanilla essence in a medium sized bowl. Whisk together for a few moments until all items are completely combined.

5. Pour wet mixture into the well in the dry ingredients bowl. Softly mix with a wooden spoon until ingredients are combined.

6. Add diced pear to mixture. Carefully fold diced pear in with a wooden spoon.

7. Line a muffin tray with paper muffin cases. Spoon a tablespoon full of mixture into each muffin case. Sprinkle flaked almonds on top.

8. Bake for 25 minutes. Check that muffins are cooked by poking a wooden skewer into the middle of one. If it comes out clean, they are ready to be pulled out of the oven. If it comes out with raw mixture, keep in for another 5 minutes.

9. Once muffins are cooked, pull out of oven. Sprinkle a small amount of extra sugar over the top of each muffin. Allow muffins to cool.

10. Enjoy with a cup of tea or pack them in the kids lunchboxes for a delicious school day treat!

Hope you enjoyed this recipe! If you try out this recipe, let me know and share your comments!

Chunky White Chocolate and Macadamia Cookies

As a female, I love chocolate. I have always had a sweet tooth for it. As a teenager I could eat a whole block of chocolate in one sitting… Now that I’m older I’m less likely to binge on a whole block… It might still happen, but it’s not as frequent anymore. Regardless of age, I’ll probably always still have that sweet tooth for chocolate!

One type of chocolate I really enjoy is white chocolate. It’s almost the forgotten chocolate: we always see desserts containing milk chocolate or dark chocolate, and less desserts with white chocolate. Because it’s rarer, it always feels like a special treat to eat it.

That’s why I love making cookies with white chocolate. It’s a little treat to myself and anyone who eats them! The best pairing in cookies with white chocolate has to be macadamia’s. They give the cookies a bit of texture and perfectly compliment the white chocolate.

It’s even better when the cookies have a goey centre. Maybe that’s why the cookies from Subway always tasted so good?

Now that I’m gluten intolerant, I can’t enjoy most white chocolate and macadmia cookies. That’s why I enjoy baking them at home – I can easily whip up these bad boys at home and not miss out on the chocolatey-gooey-centre-sweet-goodness.

Ingredients

  • 125g softened butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 200g white chocolate
  • 150g unsalted macadamia nuts
  • Extra butter
Recipe
1. Roughly chop block of white chocolate and macadamia nuts until in small, rough pieces. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees for a fan forced oven. Lightly grease a baking tray with extra butter.
3. Beat butter and brown sugar in bowl with electric mixer until thick and creamy. Add egg and vanilla essence and beat until combined.
4. Sift the flours over the bowl. Fold in the flour until well combined. Mix in the chocolate and nuts.

5. Take spoonfuls of mixture and roll in your hands into small balls of dough. Place the dough on the tray and flatten slightly with a fork or spatula.

6. Bake for 10-15 minutes until slightly golden brown. Take out if oven and set aside to cool slightly. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.

7. Store in airtight container. Serve with tea or coffee or have as a light afternoon snack!

 

Cute Cookies for Kids of all Sizes: Gingerbread Men

For the past four years, I’ve been making gingerbread men at Christmas. It’s become a new tradition of mine as I love sharing them to friends and family.

2014 was no different. I decided to make them for my work colleagues and I’m pretty sure they enjoyed the soft gingerbread goodness.

The recipe below is my regular gingerbread recipe. It can be used with either regular flour or gluten free flour – and they still taste really good when you make the gluten free version!

Gingerbread men are really easy to make. The ingredients are also easy to come by and most people already have them in their cupboard. This is a fun recipe to make either by yourself, with friends or even with kids. Just make sure that the kids don’t eat all the cookie dough… Ok, I have to admit that I might also nibble on the dough when rolling out my gingerbread men!

Gingerbread men also make great gifts. You can bundle some up together and wrap them up in cellophane to give friends, family or even work colleagues a cute little Christmas gift.

Ingredients:

  • 125g butter, room temperature. Margarine can also be used as a substitute.
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup golden syrup
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 & 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • Extra plain flour for dusting
  • Extra butter for greasing
  • Icing decorations and lollies such as Smarties
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease two baking trays with butter and set aside.
2. Use and electric mixer to beat brown sugar and butter in bowl until it turns light and creamy. Add in the egg yolk and golden syrup on a medium speed. Fold in sifted flour, bicarb, ginger, cinnamon and allspice. You will need to start to use your hands to ensure mixture is fully mixed.

3. Lightly dust a clean and dry bench surface with flour. Transfer mixture to bench and knead until smooth. Knead into a round ball and begin to roll out with a rolling pin. Roll until it is about 5mm thick.

4. Use gingerbread men cookie cutters to cut out the shapes. Place on baking tray about 2cm apart. Roll up excess dough, roll out with rolling pin and cut out more shapes. Continue until all dough is used.

5. Bake in oven for about 10 mins until they are slightly brown. If you prefer harder cookies, then bake for at least another 5 more minutes. My recipe is for softer cookies because they are the kind I like 😉

6. Once cooked, carefully remove gingerbread men from baking tray and place on wire rack to cool.

7. Once completely cooled, the decoration time begins! You can be as creative as you like! I like to use icing decorator pens and smarties for my decorations, but there are plenty of different lollies and candy it’s that you can use to bring your gingerbread men to life.

Here’s my most recent designs:

For more Christmas DIY projects, check out my post on my DIY Bauble Christmas Wreath

Typical Aussie Meal: Sausage Rolls

 

Homemade sausage rolls were always a favourite growing up. They were delicious and flakey and always filled me up.

Now that I’m older they serve a different purpose: Sausage rolls are perfect for entertaining. I made some for my housewarming party and I got many great reviews on them!

You can half cook these sausage rolls and put them in the freezer to fully cook for parties or for a quick and easy dinner.

Ingredients

  • 500g sausage mince
  • 4 sheets of puff pastry*
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs*
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • Sesame seeds

*gouten free versions of these items can be used to make a gluten free version.

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees for conventional ovens and 180 for fan forced. Take the puff pastry sheets out of the freezer and defrost.

2. Dice the onion. Grate the carrot and zucchini.

3. In a large bowl, combine the mince, vegetables, herbs, breadcrumbs and tomato paste. Mix together with hands until everything is fully combined.

4. Whisk the egg in a small bowl.

5. Cut the puff pastry sheets in half. Place a log of mince and place this in the middle of one half of the sheet of pastry. Ensure there is at least 1cm space between the sides of the pastry and the end of the mince. Roll the pastry around the mince.

6. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg. Fold edges of pastry and brush the top of the roll with egg. Cut into 5 pieces. Sprinkle some sesame seeds over the top and place on a lightly greased baking tray.

7. Bake for 20 mins until the pastry is golden brown. Serve with tomato sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mushroom and Bacon Quiche

Introducing the first post for Foodie Fridays!

Quiche is a great meal to make. It’s relatively quick and easy, and makes for great left overs. You can easily eat it when its cold or reheat it for the next day. It is great for parties, for picnics or for a mid-week meal. You can also make so many varieties of it. I like mushroom and bacon because they are two ingredients always in my fridge and I can easily whip this up for dinner – which is just what I did earlier this week!

photo 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 sheets of puff pastry*
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 rashers of bacon
  • 8 small button mushrooms
  • 1 bunch of spring onion
  • 1 medium brown onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground paprika
  • 1 tsp dried corriander
  • Salt and pepper (to season)
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese
  • Cooking spray
  • Water

*Puff pastry is optional. I use gluten free puff pastry found in the frozen section of the supermarket. However you can also make your own pastry. As I am not yet up to that standard of cooking can’t be bothered making it, it would be best if you click here to get a good recipe for puff pastry. I also find puff pastry is great for square or rectangular oven baking dishes. If I had a round quiche pan, I would definitely recommend making your own pastry over using puff pastry.

photo 1

Recipe

1. Preheat oven to 180 (fan forced). Take the two sheets of pastry out of the freezer and thaw on counter whilst you are preparing the rest of the dish.

2. Dice the brown onion and slice the bacon into strips. Combine bacon and onion in a fry pan with the oil and cook over a medium heat. Once onion is browned, take off heat and allow the bacon and onion to cool slightly.

3. Slice spring onions and mushrooms. Grate cheese. Set aside.

4. Spray the tray with cooking spray. Take one pastry sheet and line the baking tray. Use other peice of pastry to fill the gaps. You may need to cut up the pastry before you place it in the tray. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the pastry with water.

photo 3

5. In a large bowl, break all eggs and whisk lightly. Add in herbs and season with salt and pepper. Mix in cream. Add in bacon, mushroom, spring onion, mushroom and cheese.

6. Pour egg mixture over pastry in oven baking tin/tray. Cook in oven for 25 minutes or until egg mixture is no longer liquid. Pastry should also be slightly browned. Allow quiche to cool slightly before cutting into even slices.

7.Can be served by itself or with a delicious side salad. This also makes a great lunch option as it can easily be placed in lunch boxes and eaten warm or cold.

photo 4

TIP: Be careful not to bake for too long or quiche will become dried out and pastry may become burnt. Check quiche after 15 minutes to see if it is cooked. You can poke the mixture with a sharp knife, similar to how you would check if a cake is cooked: if the knife comes out dry, then it is cooked.

 

Stuffed Capsicums

I love finding new recipes and trying them out. Although I always tend to change things and substitute, so it’s never really the same as the recipe. This is because I’m one of those annoying gluten intolerant people, so I need to carefully consider every ingredient that goes into a dish – otherwise I will be regretting it later!

I also get bored if I make things the same time and time again. And sometimes I just think on the spot about what to add, hoping for the best!

This recipe for stuffed capsicums was something that came along by accident… I had some capsicums/bell peppers that I hadn’t yet used and they were sitting in the fridge about to waste away, so I decided to make some stuffed capsicums. I read a couple of different recipes online and nothing really screamed “Cook me!” So I decided to improvise and hoped for the best!

This is a great recipe when you’re trying to use leftover incredients before your regular grocery shop. It’s so easy to change and substitute, and I’ll tell you some of my variations below. For now, here’s the recent version of the recipe:

IMG_3264

Ingredients 

  • 500g Turkey Mince
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed oil (or olive oil)
  • 4 medium sized capsicums / bell peppers
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp dried corriander
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp Pesto
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 400g Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 carrot
  • 5 button mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 cup tasty cheese
  • Pinch each of Salt & Pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups of boiled white rice

IMG_3262

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Begin to cook rice as per normal. Wash capsicums and cut in half. Scoop out seeds and inside flesh of capsicums until they look like hollow bowls. Wash out insides and allow capsicums to dry on a paper towel.

IMG_3256

2. Add mince and oil to pan and brown. Chop onions and add to pan with garlic and ginger. Once onions are cooked, add salt and pepper as well as coriander and basil.  Reduce heat and allow to simmer.

3. When mince mixture is cooking, put capsicum havles in a baking tray, skin side down with hollow bowl facing upwards. Bake in oven for 20 mins on 180 degrees (150 for fan forced oven).

4. Add pesto, tomato paste and crushed tomatoes to mince mixture. Stir in until all ingredients are combined.

5. Grate carrot and thinly dice mushroom. Add carrot, mushrooms and peas to mince mixture. Once vegetables are cooked, add in the Parmesan Cheese. Allow mixture to simmer for 5-10 minutes. If mixture becomes thick, add a small amount of water to mixture until it reaches a medium to thick consistency.

6. Take capsicums out of the oven. There may be some excess moisture gathering in the bowls – this is normal and ok as the mince mixture will soak up this excess moisture. Add a spoonful of rice to the inside of the capsicum. Spread out the rice so it creates a ‘bed’ at the bottom of the capsicum bowl. Add a few spoonfuls of the mince mixture until it covers the rice. Add some grated cheese over the top and place in the oven for a further 5-10 minutes.

IMG_3259

7. Once the cheese is melted, take out and serve! A delicious meal is ready for you and will surely be a winner!

IMG_3261

Variations

  1. I often use Turkey mince with this recipe, but beef, chicken or lamb could also be used
  2. Cheese is not necessary – I just like to add it for that decadent taste 😉 It makes the mince mixture creamy and gives another texture to the dish. But you can certainly make the dish without it.
  3. I used flaxseed oil but olive oil is fine.
  4. You can add vegetables of your choice – eggplant, zucchini, beans, other capsicums, corn, and so on.
  5. This definitely works with brown rice rather than white rice if you’re after a healthier alternative. And there have been times when I have taken the rice right out of the dish for those days when I feel the need to cut back on carbs.
  6. I have made an Asian Stuffed Capsicum – I use pork mince instead of turkey, I use soy sauce & fish sauce instead of tomato, pesto and tomato paste, swap the basil with chilli flakes (or fresh chilli), and don’t use cheese in the mince mixture. I bake with the rice in the capsicum, then garnish the finished dish with grated carrot, cucumber and lime juice.

IMG_3260

The beauty of this dish is you can make it the way you like it – add or subtract what you want to make it your dish! Next time I might try a Mexican version with some kidney beans and sour cream – YUM!

 

Let me know if you tried this dish and how it turned out for you. Does anyone have some suggestions on some good variations?

 

Vintage Barbie xoxo