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.

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How to Make a Moustache Cake

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Koek (Dutch Spice Cake)

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Do you know the times when you’ve walked into a house and you can smell something divine being baked in the oven? The smell just wafts through the house and makes you feel warm inside… It often brings up memories of childhood, creating a nostalgic feeling towards the place and food. A lot of people would think back to when they were a kid and their mum or grandma baked something special for the family. The fact that it is something you don’t have so much as an adult makes it seem even more special.

I think that’s how my partner feels about Koek. When asking him what his favourite dessert is, he replied black forrest cake and koek. I had no idea what this ‘cook’ was so I had to look it up.

The next weekend we went to visit family and funnily enough, his mum had just baked some fresh koek. The smell of ginger and spices lingered in the house and made it smell like an old country home. I didn’t get to eat this one as it wasn’t gluten free, but I knew that it would taste fantastic.

I thought it was worth having a go at a gluten free version when I returned home. I searched the net for recipes and so many came up with different versions. I know from speaking to my partners mum that it traditionally needed to have self-raising flour, ground ginger and all spice. But that was all I knew. I was on a mission to figure it out and make my partner his favourite afternoon treat.

Here is my version of the cake:

Ingredients

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup gluten free plain flour
1 cup gluten free self-raising flour
1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp Dutch cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp all spice or mixed spice
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup milk

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180 deg. Cel.
2. Place all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl
3. Add milk & egg to dry ingredients and mix with whisk. Mix until the mixture is thick and runs slowly off a spoon.
4. Place in loaf tin and cook for 40 mins or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cake.
5. Serve cake sliced and warmed up with a layer of butter. I’ve also eaten it plain with some fresh strawberries, or for an extra treat, with two scoops of ice cream – Yum!

For a more traditional loaf, double the ingredients and use a donut or bunt cake tin.

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Do you have a recipe for Koek? Have you eaten koek or a similar spice cake before?

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Breakfast Bruschetta

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Breakfast is one of my favourite meals. I always love going out for breakfast, and I get super excited for the buffet breakfast at hotels. Even though I’m gluten intolerant, there are actually a lot of great things that I can eat for brekkie.

One of my favourite breakfasts is Breakfast Bruschetta. The recipe was inspired by Michelle Bridges cookbook, but I’ve added my own twist to it. It’s super easy to cook and normally only takes 15-20 minutes.

 

Serves 2

 

1 Tomato

6 Button Mushrooms

1/2 tsp parsley

1/2 tsp corriander

splash of olive oil

2 slices of bread (you can have more per person if you desire)

2 tsp coconut oil

30g Danish feta

2 eggs (optional)

Salt & pepper to taste

 

1. Dice the tomato and slice the mushrooms. Saute the mushrooms and tomatoes in a frypan with the oil for about 5 minutes.

2. Add the herbs and mix in well. If you want eggs, either  poach or fry your eggs separately to the veggie mix.

3. Toast the bread.

4. Spoon the veggie mixture over the bread. Add the egg and crumble feta over the top. Pour a teaspoon of coconut oil over the plated items.

5. Season with salt and pepper and sit down to enjoy!

 

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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:

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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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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