Thursday, March 31, 2011

BBQ Cupcakes

When I first told my family I was making BBQ cupcakes for hubby's birthday there was quite a bit of confusion. "Ewww do you mean BBQ flavoured cupcakes???" Hahahaha! No of course not, just cupcakes that a decorated like a BBQ. I first saw these in a Woman's Day magazine. Can't remember which issue and I couldn't find all the lollies they suggested so went to my local Woolies and grabbed an assortment of jelly sweets and made do with them

Woman's Day suggested using a chocolate fudge recipe for the cupcakes so I went with the recipe on the back of the Nestle Baking Cocoa tin.

150g butter
1 cup Nestle Baking Cocoa
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3/4 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 packet Nestle white choc bits ( I chopped up milk chocolate melts, about 1/2 cup)
1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees. Line base of 27cm x 18cm x 3cm tin with baking paper.
2. Melt butter and stir in Nestle Baking Cocoa, allow to cool slightly. Beat in eggs. Stir in sugar and vanilla.
3. Sift flour and baking powder together. Add to mixture and stir until thoroughly mixed. Stir through Nestle white choc bits. Turn mixture into tin.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 45-50mins or until just firm when pressed in the centre. Leave in tin for 20mins then turn out onto a rack. When cold, cut into bars.

Then my version as cupcakes....
Melt butter
1 cup cocoa

Butter and cocoa mixed

Now for the sugar

Eggs and vanilla essence

Sifted flour and baking powder

Chopped chocolate melts

Bake for around 30mins

Intermission: I was baking at mum's place and before I started I asked whether she had a hand mixer. My aunt pulls this out of the drawers! Ha ha ha!!! I told them I was after an ELECTRIC hand mixer...but ok this will do. Nothing like a bit of elbow grease. How old school.

On to the decorating.

You will need:
Butter cream icing (Woman's Day says you could use black icing gels to make the BBQ grills but I preferred going the extra mile and making the butter cream and tinting it with black food dye)
Black food dye
Snap lock bag
NB: I used about 100g butter and about 35g icing sugar

Pipe strips across the cupcake to create the "grill"

For the embers you will need:
1/2 cup sugar
2-3 drops of red food dye (or you could use red or orange sprinkles)

Place sugar in zip lock bag, drip food dye in, seal bag and shake.
Sprinkle over the cupcakes

To make skewers you will need:
Different coloured jellies

I used gummi bears and chopped them in 3rds - I know it's pretty barbaric!

Skewer them on and bobs your uncle

Steaks - I used coloured marshmellows and sliced them up

Sausage and Egg
Sausages are chocolate bullets
And the egg, well I just got lucky and found these in an assortmant pack along with the gummi bears

Deconstructed hamburger

And the whole lot

Happy birthday Larry! Although you don't always get the steaks cooked to our liking, I still think you are a BBQ King!
Love you!!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Do you remember Yogo? Here's a YouTube video for you hermits who don't know, click here. Ahhhh the memories....
Loved the stuff when I was younger and I still get massive cravings till this day. That's why I am so so thankful to Mellebug for giving me this recipe! I can't believe how easy it is to make. And it really is so much like the actual Yogo. So go forth people and try this out if you love Yogo

3 tablespoons cornflour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon sugar (adjust to your taste)
Up to 500ml milk
1. Mix dry ingredients together. Whisk in up to 500ml milk
2. Either cook on the stovetop to just boil/thickens or put in microwave and stir every minute until just boil (don't ignore or you will have a great mess)
3. Pour into containers (makes 4) and set in the fridge. Before putting into lunchbox top with berries
NB: If your child is use to sugary Yogo then you can add more sugar to start with and slowly decrease the amount each time, reducing their 'bliss point'
3 tablespoons cornflour
1 tablespoon cocoa

1 tablespoon sugar

Mix dry ingredients

Whisk in 500ml milk

Cook till it thickens or up to boil

Thick like Yogo....
I would taste it at this point to see if you want to add more sugar or cocoa

Makes up to 4 portions
Before it's chilled

2 hours after it's chilled

It was hard to make this dessert look pretty....I mean it's brown and goopy....and we've packed up our ramekins and nice glass dessert bowls because we are moving soon. But regardless, it's the closest thing you'll get to the real yogo and I'm sure if you poured the real stuff out, it would be just as hard to make it look appealing. My only gripe was after chilling in the fridge, there was this thin film on the top. Probably because I didn't cover it, but otherwise it is a dead ringer for the real thing. So anyone who loves Yogo......make some! Make it now!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I had a bunch of vegies in the fridge that needed to be used up before they went off....what to do? I was contemplating an eggplant and zucchini bake but then what would I do with the other vegetables? I needed a recipe where I could throw in everything together and not waste anything. So I did some research and came up with a vegetable stew, why of course.....ratatouille!! And I've never made it before till now. I will certainly be making this many more times. It's the best way to use up any pieces of vegetable you have left in the fridge and it tastes great! And it's healthy. Win win yay!

Tomatoes are the key ingredient, along with eggplant, capsicum, zucchini, onion and garlic. I however wanted to use up my pumpkin I bought on special. So tweeked it slightly. Also traditionally I believe it should be layered. But really, who has the time? Not me anyway.
My vegies that needed to be used up
2 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large onion (I went with 2 small onions), diced
1 large eggplant, cubed
Pumpkin (I probably used about 100g), cubed
Capsicum (go with the red for more colour, but I used both), cut in wedges
4 tomatoes (I only had 2 so also added a can of diced tomatoes), diced
2 large zucchinies, sliced
1/2 tablespoon chopped thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
1 tablespoon oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano)
1 tablespoon basil (or 1 teaspon dried basil)
Handful of chopped fresh parsley
Salt & Pepper
1. Saute the onion and garlic (about 5mins)

2. Add the pumpkin and cook for 3mins

3. Add the eggplant and cook for 3mins

4. Add the capsicum

And the tomatoes, cover and cook for 10mins. Make sure to stir occasionally to prevent any vegetable from sticking to the bottom.

Add the zucchini and herbs, cover and cook for 15mins

Open the lid and wow....clear the pores!

Smells delicious! Tastes pretty good too
Unfortunately I didn't take a plating shot as I had to cart the whole pot out the door over to my brothers place to feed my family of hungry hungry hippos

Monday, March 14, 2011

Taste of Sydney 2011

A big thank you to Ashley from Stellar* Concepts Australia for organising tickets for me to attend this years Taste of Sydney. And what a line up! I was so pumped to go knowing that I would be able to try so many mouth watering dishes from amazing restaurants such as Berowra Waters Inn, Restaurant Balzac, L'etoile, Aperitif and many more! I might even be able to shake hands with Manu Feildel!!!

We decided to take a walk around first and scope out what was available from all the restaurants. And also see what stalls were here this year.
Gates opened at 12 noon and within half an hour it was already very busy

Very impressed with their selection

I was curious about the De Dietrich appliances (and the macaron tower also caught my eye I must admit) so decided to watch the cooking demonstration by Vincent Gadon from Patisse.
The Macaron tower

Vincent showing us the pre-made tuile

In front is the raspberry mousse
Behind is the raspberry marshmellow
And the finished product! How pretty is it

Then I head straight over to L'etoile to see if Manu would be there. Seemed like everyone else had the same idea...
He's even more personable in real life!
I passed him several times and he was still as energetic and friendly as when I first saw him, dancing, singing, laughing and bouncing all around. He's a right nutter! But a charming one ; )
Ok I'm suppose to be here about the food too....
~Slow cooked shoulder of lamb with smoked potato puree and jus~
It did not come like my excitment of meeting (ok hugging) Manu I'd forgotten to take a photo before I started attacking the lamb!
The lamb was great but for me it was actually the smoked potato puree that made it. Oh if I could sit in front of the telly with a massive bowl of it all to myself on a cold winter night....mmmmm
Last year the saddle of suckling pig with garden peas and smoked bacon jus was my favourite dish so I had to come back and try something else from Restaurant Balzac. And since it was on the menu again, I instead went for the Crisp Wagyu Beef with Wild Mushroom and Truffle Foam.
Although it was presented differently to how I imagined, that is I wasn't expecting a 'spring roll' as such, but don't let the look deceive you..... this satisfied the tastebuds. Indeed crispy yet delicate and the beef was so so good. I would swim in that truffle foam if I could! Definitely my favourite dish of the day.
Oh Mr Kemp you have won my vote 2 years in a row now!

From Berowra Waters Inn & Ad Lib Bistro
~Slow cooked fillet of ocean trout, 'French Onion Soup' puree, peppered oxtail 'Croustillant'~
An interesting mix of ingredients. The ocean trout melted in the mouth and the French onion soup puree paired with the oxtail croustillant was lovely together. But the trout and soup and croustillant together.....don't get me wrong it wasn't just wasn't for me. But I can appreciate it if I had them as a separate dish.

Having a break between mains and dessert we went for another stroll. I was eager to check out Planet Cakes but unfortunately they weren't holding any decorating demonstrations this year and the stall looked rather empty. Perhaps they ran out of things on the last day. On the plus side, I found a stall (Moraitis Tomatoes) that sells the most amazing tomatoes. Imagine going ape over tomatoes. Trust me, they were that good. I'm kicking myself for not buying any before I left.

Ok on to dessert!!
~ Amedei milk chocolate mousse with salted caramel and fresh berries~
Now THIS is my type of dessert! It was light, smooth, velvety and well there just wasn't enough : ) I couldn't taste the salted caramel come to think of it....but it didn't matter, this was bliss.
~Raspberry bavarrois~
A very delicate dessert that was fresh and summery. Perfect for the day we had with all that sunshine

From Aperitif
~Churros con chocolate~
You know my weakness is anything doughy and deep fried. So I couldn't go past the churros.
And these were gorgeous. So fresh and oh the dark chocolate melt had that lovely bitter aftertaste that I love. Could have done with more sugar coated around them...but being my 3rd dessert my tastebuds had probably become immune to sweetness

I always enjoy the Taste of Sydney event. Having 2 young children means that I don't have the opportunity to experience fine dining, but with the renowned restaurants/chefs coming together and making their dishes available to people like me all in one open area, is just fantastic. I love that I can try their food they have created without all the fuss of having to dress up or remembering my table etiquette. A really relaxing and fun foodie experience : )