Recent Recipes

Cupcakes by Paolo at the Flemington Market

Comments (21) | Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hamsley and I decided to take a break from all the moving stress and took a Sunday morning trip down to the Flemington craft market on Sunday. We were hoping to go back to the Healesville market or even the Mornington market, but they weren't on; thus us ending up checking out the Flemington market instead.

Wondering around it was pretty obvious this was a popular market for the parents with prams. Lots of kid based stalls, trying to walk around, weaving around prams became a little annoying after a while. We bumped into Katie and her boy who also couldn't help but notice the abundunce of prams!

We didn't have breakfast before we headed down so I found it rather hard to be enthused by craft stalls on an empty stomach. We found the Crabapple Cupcake Bakery had a stall, and I nearly bought some as I've got their cookbook (never made a think out of it yet), and I wanted to see if they were dry like I've heard alot of people say. But the line was too long and they cupcakes looked like a candy tree had vomited on them. At $4 a pop, for something I wasn't too sure on, I didn't bother joining the queue.

So after wondering around for a while, finally feeding ourselves with delicious pies, we stumbled onto a store that had FAR more impressive looking cupcakes on offer; Cupcakes by Paolo. With a special offer of buy 6 get 1 free, I couldn't resist this offer to try the many tempting favours before my very eyes.

The lemon meringue looked amazing, which then led my eyes to the pineapple flavour. I love pineapple but never thought to have it as a cupcake flavour. I couldn't resist red velvet, whilst Hamsley helped me pick the remaining flavours; orange, cookies and cream, choc malt teaser and mocha. There were a few berry flavours I would have gotten; alas, there is always next time.

The main thing about Cupcakes by Paolo is how incredibly light and fluffy they all are. Not dry at all, even after keeping them for 3 days in an air tight container. Usually the red velvet I make can be quite heavy, but Paolo's version was so light. So light infact I didn't feel it go to my thighs!

Uh-maze-ing! Lovely lemon flavour with such a light Italian meringue to top it off. My favorite of all 7 cupcakes eaten.

Nice chocolately coffee flavour; not overpowering, but nice and subtle.

Looks like a work of art, tastes as good as it looks! ..... how can you go wrong when chocolate is involved?

The flavour I wanted to try most! I would have liked a bit more of a pineapple punch in the face flavour with this one, but it did not disappoint. It was still heaven in a cupcake wrapper.

... excuse the orange cupcake smeared into the red velvet... transportation played a part in that.
LOVELY light and fluffy red velvet. I'm quite fussy with my red velvet, and this one had a perfect amount of cocoa for my liking.

Chocolate + Malteasers (more chocolate) = win.
... that is all.

How cute is it with it's little orange on top? Subtle but lovely orange flavour.

We got a good range of chocolate and citrus flavours. I can't wait to go back and grab the other flavours we didn't try next time!

For more contact information and flavour choices check out their website:
Cupcakes By Paolo

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Turkey Spaghetti Bolognaise

Comments (12) | Sunday, May 16, 2010


We are trying to empty the meat from Hamsley's freezer before the move. This weekend he pulled out 1kg of turkey mince for me to cook with. I'd never used turkey mince before, but Hamsley suggested a turkey pasta as his housemate had a recipe for it in the kitchen. I went to check it out and discovered it came from the Ingham Turkey's website, which had a range of great recipes to try.

When browning the mince, I found the smell to be rather weird. But after seasoning the sauce with added tomato paste and sugar, which the original recipe did not call for; I found the turkey mince added a fantastic flavour that you wouldn't get with just beef mince.
About to attempt turkey sausage rolls. Stay tuned for more turkey!

Turkey Spaghetti Bolognaise

1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon oil, extra
500g turkey mince
425g can diced tomatoes
200g tomato puree 
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
Salt, pepper and sugar, to taste
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Hot spaghetti, to serve

1. Heat oil in pan over low heat, cook onion and garlic until transparent. Remove from pan. Add extra oil to pan over high heat and cook turkey mince in batches until browned. Return onion and garlic to pan with all the mince.

2. Add tomatoes, puree, basil, tomato paste, salt, pepper and sugar to mince. Stir well and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve over hot spaghetti.

Serves 4.

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The Grand Prix 2010

Comments (5) | Saturday, May 15, 2010

You probably are aware; I was doing lots of stuff for the Grand Prix a few months ago.
If you went to the Grand Prix, chances are, you probably didn’t see any of my work on display, unless you were near the track marshal's tent, or in the CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motor Sport) corporate tent.
It was about 3 weeks on intense work, with the last week not sitting down at all unless it was 5 minutes for lunch. Working weekends and staying back late, I thought I’d collapse by the time it came to the big event. 

As a nice little bonus for all of our hard work, my boss sent my work colleague, his lovely daughters and I along to enjoy the first day of the Grand Prix in the corporate tent. Since we were doing a lot of work for CAMS they were nice enough to issue my boss with passes for all 4 days of the event. I had never been to the Grand Prix before, or been treated corporate style; so I was keen to see if I could food blog about it as well!

My day began with a bit of sleep in, which seemed like bliss after the 3 weeks of madness that had just finished. We caught the tram down and began out epic trek down to find out tent. After walking around for a bit, we had realised we walked too far, and in the hot sun we were all working up a bit of a sweat. We all wore long pants and closed toe shoes in the hope we might get a tour of the pits. This turned out to be a bad idea as it was so hot, and we weren’t lucky enough to get a tour… grrr.
By the time we reached our tent, the kind guy manning the bar showed us the drinks on offer, and suggested perhaps a soft drink or a water to help us cool down. I was in the mood for one thing only at that point; “I’ll have a James Boags please!!”. 

After a short while, and a speaker attempting to make a speech as F1s kept screaming on by, we were served lunch. I managed to snap all the food before it got touched. I wasn’t so luckily with dessert though.
A nice, tasty selection of cold meats; ham, turkey, chicken and roast beef. Nice tasty salads; bean and tomato, potato. An onion tart and fresh rolls. 

We went for a walk around the track and came back to find that dessert had been served! There wasn’t much left for us though. We had stopped for ice-cream due to the heat, and I had a callipo gelati in Little Italy. I never knew callipo did gelati. It was alright, not as good as the original style callipos though. 

Some of the food stalls for the general public.

Dessert was a coffee and ricotta cake, cinnamon, apple and rhubarb pies, as well as crackers and cheese. I had the cinnamon, apple and rhubarb pie. Then about an hour later I went to get a cup of tea and found they had restocked the dessert… so I had another one!

It came to about 5pm when the RAAF jets were flying above, when a waitress comes to us with a tray full of hot delicious pastries. I was hoping she would return with more, but she did not. I had a vegetable pastie and an arancini ball. Both were awesome, hence why I wanted her to bring me more!!

F1 simulator in our corporate tent.

Overall a fantastic day. I never had an interest in motor sport until working on stuff for CAMS. However, I doubt I would go to the Grand Prix again, unless it was corporate style so I could keep cool in the shade, fed and watered. 

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Week 26 - The Cookbook Challenge: Pistachio, White Chocolate and Honey French Macaroons

Comments (15) | Thursday, May 13, 2010

Week 26
Theme: Green
Cookbook Used: Afternoon Tea
Author: Australian Women's Weekly

Hope you like the new layout! Bare with me as I'm still tweaking it and getting it to out I want it. 

I thought I was stumped for green week. I had two soups as possible ideas but then remembered things like green curry, green tea and then of course; pisatchios. I am still working my way through my massive bag of pistachios I got from Costco. Looking at the expiry date on it, I better use more pistachios before July!

I've tried making macarons before (the Australian Women's Weekly spells them macaroOns... don't ask me why). The last batch was pretty woeful. Whilst they tasted good they didn't really look like a macaron the day after as the ganache had made them all soggy. This batch was my most successful batch. Whilst they looked browner than the picture in the cookbook, possibly from a slight overcooking; the macarons had feet and stayed together overnight. I was rather chuffed to actually have something that looked like a proper macaron!

Biting in, the marshmallowy centre was slightly overcooked, but all flavours worked well together. My ganache was still fairly runny by the time I used it. Perhaps putting it in the fridge might have helped it set a bit more. Next time I won't leave them in the oven for so long!

Pistachio, White Chocolate and Honey French Macaroons
The Australian Women's Weekly

Get your hands on:
1/3 cup (45g) unsalted, roasted, shelled pistachios
3 egg whites
1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
green food colouring
1 1/4 cups (200g) icing sugar
3/4 cup (90g) ground almonds

Honey white chocolate ganache
1/4 cup (60ml) (single) cream
155g (5 ounces) white eating chocolate, chopped coarsley
2 teaspoons honey

1. Preheat oven to 150°C/300°F. Grease oven trays; line with baking paper. (I would do this after you have finished making the macaroons as they have to set for 30 minutes before you put them in the oven)

2. Process nuts until finely ground.

3. Beat egg whites in small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add caster sugar and few drops colouring, beat until sugar dissolves; transfer mixture to large bowl. Fold in 1/4 cup of the ground pistachios, sifted icing sugar and ground almonds in two batches.

4. Spoon mixture into piping bag fitting with 1cm (1/2 inch) plain tube. Pipe 4cm (1 1/2 inch) rounds about 2.5cm (1 inch) apart onto trays. Tap trays on bench so macaroons spread slightly. Sprinkle macaroons with remaining ground pistachios; stand 30 minutes.

5. Bake macaroons about 20 minutes, cool on trays.

6. Make the honeyed white chocolate ganache: bring cream to the boil in small saucepan. Remove from heat; pour over chocolate and honey in small bowl; stir until smooth. Stand at room temperature until spreadable.

7. Sandwich macaroons with ganache.

Makes 16.

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Week 25 - The Cookbook Challenge: Blender Chocolate Mousse

Comments (15) | Saturday, May 8, 2010

Week 25
Theme: Silky
Cookbook Used: Faking It
Author: Valli Little

Right folks, the move out of home is getting closer, cookbooks are being packed and I'm only doing simple recipes for a while until I'm settled. I even got my KitchenAid this week and it's still snug in the box. I did crack open the lid to make sure it was in there and the correct colour! Can't wait to start using it.
I was going to do a different chocolate mousse recipe from another of Valli Little's books, but that involved an oven and a lot more steps. That will be done another day, when I have time to faff around in the kitchen.

Thursday turned out to be a day when the universe was against me, and to top it all off; I came home to find that my chocolate mousse had split. And to confirm my fears of the mousse not going to set, due to the lack of setting agent or whipping the eggwhites and cream; it was in fact runny when you put your spoon into it. It wasn't a complete disaster though, we all mixed through the whipped cream on top and I then renamed it 'chocolate soup'. It had a lovely flavour to it, and it was like eating melted ice-cream.

If you are going to do this recipe, I suggest whipping the cream, and beating your eggwhites until stiff peaks form, instead of following step 4 of the recipe.

Blender Chocolate Mousse
Valli Little
Get your hands on:
1 cup (100g) finely chopped dark chocolate
1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
2 tablespoons brandy
3 eggwhites
3/4 cup (185ml) thickened cream

Serve it with:
Whipped cream
Dark chocolate shavings

1.Place the finely chopped chocolate in a blender.

2. Place the sugar, coffee, brandy and 3/4 cup (180ml) water in a saucepan over medium-low heat and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar and coffee.

3. With the blender motor running, carefully pour in the hot liquid through the feed tube, blending until the chocolate has melted.

4. Add the eggwhites and cream and pulse the blender several times to just combine.

5. Pour the mousse into 4 serving glasses and chill for 4 hours or overnight. Sever topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Serves 4.

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Week 24 - The Cookbook Challenge - Chicken with Chilli Chocolate

Comments (17) | Sunday, May 2, 2010

Week 24
Theme: Chocolate
Cookbook Used: Faking It
Author: Valli Little

For chocolate week, I could have just done a chocolate cake, souffle, mousse... anything sweet really. But I decided I'd go for something different again and do a savory dish. Teaming chocolate with chicken is definitely something I would not have thought to do, but the Mexicans have been doing it for years, so I thought it was worth a try.

I left the plating up to mum whilst I went to photograph the dish. I came back to the table to find Hamsley having a little taste of the dish. Worried he was going to tell me he didn't like it, I didn't say anything. To my surprise, he turned to me and said it was really good. In fact, one of the most favorite meals I've ever cooked!

I could smell the chocolate as it cooked on the stove. I could also taste the chocolate in the first few bites. It was a delicious dish that I would definitely make again. The corn chips add a different texture to the dish, and also add a nice saltiness that is required. Although, I would definitely serve it with more avocado next time, and maybe a margarita.

Chicken with Chilli Chocolate
Valli Little

Get your hands on: 
1 tablespoon olive oil
20g unsalted butter
4 chicken breast fillets
100g pancetta, cut into strips
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
150ml dry red wine
400ml chicken stock
400g can chopped tomatoes
50g chilli chocolate, borken into small pieces
300g can red kidney beans, rinsed, drained

Serve it with:
Steamed rice
Sliced red chilli
Coriander leaves (optional)
Corn chips
Avocado wedges

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

2. Heat the oil and butter in a casserole pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes each side until golden, then remove and set aside. Add the pancetta, celery and onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until vegetables soften. Add the garlic and win and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the stock, tomato and chocolate, then return chicken to the pan. Cover and transfer to the oven for 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

3. Remove chicken from the pan, cover loosely with foil and set aside in a warm place. Return the pan to the stove over medium-high heat, add the beans and simmer for 4-5 minutes until thickened. Slice the chicken and serve on steamed rice, with the sauce, chilli, and coriander if desired. Serve with corn chips and avocado.

Serves 4.

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