Spice It Up 2017 Advent Calendar

A very special Announcement.

thumbnail

As promised, I have a BIG announcement for the end of the month & finally the day has arrived!!!!

You all know what an advent calendar is, right, for Christmas?!?!? Where you get to open a wee door every day for a special treat between December 1 to 24 ?!?!

Well, calling all food lovers!!!! This is the ultimate advent calendar for you!

24 Food Bloggers from all around the world have banded together to create a very special advent calendar indeed! From tomorrow, you will be able to use the link below to ‘open’ a new door to a brand new recipe featuring a classic Festive Spice each day! How cool is that?!?!?

2017 Spice It Up Advent Calendar

So, what can you expect from your exceptional culinary line-up this year? Check out each ‘door’ below –

December 1, Jenny, from Jenny is Baking  will feature tonka bean in a sweet bread
December 2, Rachel from   Dishing Up Dinner will feature nutmeg in a cookie
December 3, Jyoti from  The Hungry Belly will feature saffron in a dessert
December 4, Natalie from  Natalie Journeys will feature nutmeg in a drink
December 5, Renea from   Inspire a Creation will feature peppermint in a dessert
December 6, Samira from   Samira’s Recipe Diary will feature cardamom in a dessert
December 7, Markus from  Earth, Food & Fire will feature cloves in a side dish
December 8, Candi from  Make Ahead Meal Mom will feature nutmeg in a dessert
December 9, Rachael from  Coloured Plates will feature star anise in a condiment
December 10, Kori from Irok the Kitchen  will feature ginger in a cookie
December 11, Megan from Life on Paradise Drive will feature pumpkin pie spice in a dessert
December 12, Leslie from  Deliciously Plated will feature cardamom in a beverage
December 13, Tanya from  Food Forage will feature ginger in a dessert
December 14, Ali from  Fix Me a Little Lunch will feature bay leaves in a cocktail
December 15, Daniela from  Dani’s Cookings will feature cinnamon in a cake
December 16, Neha from  Witty Mushroom will feature cardamom in a dessert
December 17, Lizet from  Chipa by the Dozen will feature aniseed in a cookie
December 18, Jillian from  Simple Sassy Scrumptious will feature cinnamon and cloves in a cookie
December 19, Jennifer from  Jennifer Bakes will feature cayenne pepper in a snack
December 20, Angela from  Bake It With Love will feature nutmeg in a dessert
December 21, Kaveri from  Pretty Little Things will feature ginger in a dessert
December 22, Nataliya from  The Friendly Gourmand will feature clove in a side dish
December 23, Myriam from  Milly’s Melting Pot will feature vanilla in a cookie
December 24, Jenny, from Jenny Is Baking will make a roundup

Make sure you mark your favourites in your diaries & remember to check the advent calendar every day to see what incredibly amazing Yuletide Recipe awaits you!

I am so extremely excited to be apart of this GLOBAL project & can’t wait to check out all the fabuliciouz Christmas recipes from around the world!

Advertisements

Strawberry Chips

Celebrate the arrival of Summer in Australia with these 

Sweet pops of naturally healthy goodness.

DSC_0001.jpg

With all the excesses of Festive Feasting, this is a lovely wee recipe to let you feel good about indulgence again. Whether you enjoy them on their own as a sweet snack or use them as garnish to punctuate your other luscious treats, they are sure to be a winner!

The beauty of these Strawberry Chips is just how EASY they are to make too! You get a lot of bang for your buck on this one.

Simply chop the tops off your strawberries before halving or quartering, whichever size floats your boat. Then lay them on baking paper lined trays & pop them into a 100c oven for 3 hours.

That’s it!

Told you this one was super easy!

Rocky Road

Is there anything more fabuliciouzly indulgent than the seductive combination of luxurious chocolate, buttery nuts, gooey marshmallow, crunchy rice puffs & scentsational Turkish Delight?!?!?!?!

DSC_0001.JPG

I would think not! It is quintessentially the epitome of festive food frenzy-ness but you may be surprised to discover the magical memory making experience that this Fam-Bam favourite will bring to your Christmas Traditions. It’s Kids in the Kitchen time!!!!!

This easy recipe is so good to get Mini-Me into feeling apart of the whole Festive Feast preparations, which is one of the biggest things I enjoy most about this time of the year. She can pass the components to chop up & she can stir the melted chocolate through them all. This is a recipe to empower her as it appears that she is actually doing the entire thing!

So, grab a large mixing bowl & into that goes 1 cup of Cocoa Puffs, 1 bag of marshmallows (cut in half), 1 cup of cashew nuts (roughly chopped) & some chopped up Turkish Delight bars (before we were GF, I used to use 3 of the Fry’s ones but now that I make my own Turkish Delight, I just try to recreate that same amount). Mix all of those dry ingredients together to get them well dispersed.

Meanwhile, in a separate heat-proof bowl, pop in 375g of dark chocolate along with 375g of milk chocolate, then gently melt those over a pot of simmering water.

Pour the melted chocolate over the dry ingredients & simply mix them together.

Spread the mixture into a baking paper lined cake tin or tray before drizzling with a wee bit of melted white chocolate if you want to make it look that wee bit extra special. Just melt the white chocolate over the pan of simmering water the same way as the other chocolate before.

Pop it in the fridge to set the chocolate & then slice it up into squares to devour greedily or give as pretty edible gifts.

Home-made Turkish Delight

Delicate rose scented jellies of lusciousness are easier to make at home than you might think!

DSC_0001.JPG

Turkish Delight is one of those exotic classics that is a real people pleaser. Check out how easy it is to make at home!

Start by ensuring you have greased & lined a slice tray with baking paper to get prepared.

Grab your medium saucepan & into that pop 3 cups of water before sprinkling 4 tablespoons of gelatine powder on top & then adding 1.5 cups of caster sugar. Place that over a medium heat & whisk with a wire whisk until it comes to the boil & everything is dissolved nicely.

Let that simmer away for 2 minutes before taking it off the heat.

Next, mix 3/4 cup of Arrowroot (Tapioca Flour) into 1/2 cup of cold water then pour it in a steady stream into the hot mixture whilst whisking constantly. This will thicken it up.

Add in 1 tablespoon of Rose Water Essence – this is what gives Turkish Delight it’s unique flavour & heavenly scent.

Now, that is the recipe done, but what colour do we all associate Turkish Delight with???? PINK! So pop a drop or two of pink food colouring into the mixture & stir it all up nicely. You could use other colours if you want to get tricky.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tray & pop that lot in the fridge overnight to set.

The next day, turn out the slab of jelly goodness onto your chopping board & slice into delicate morsels of lusciousness before dusting in icing sugar.

Triple Chocolate Fudge

I want to tell you how fabuliciouzly creamy & decadent my fudge is,

but instead,

this has turned into a post about how to survive a culinary disaster in your kitchen this Christmas to keep you calm & still triumph!

DSC_0005.jpg

NEVER has my fudge not set before! I am sure you can imagine my absolute horror this morning as I turned out my fudge to slice for photography to share with you all as my second offering in our Christmas Gifts From the Kitchen series, only to realise that it had not set overnight. Naturally, I felt the panic creep up inside of me as the first time this fails is NOW?!?!?! I had to take a deep breath & retrace my steps in my mind to know what had gone so dreadfully wrong. My mistake was made right at the very start yesterday when I was preparing this. If you learn nothing else from my embarrassment here today, know this ~

TEMPERATURE IS CRUCIAL!

We are having our hottest November in 155 years in Melbourne. I waited until after lunch to begin, which placed me into the hottest part of the day. I am in a new kitchen where I do not know my burners yet so discovered that my usual saucepan is going to be too small with the heat from this cooktop which resulted in my fudge overflowing only 2 degrees before reaching where it should of. I took it off the heat, immediately, as you would, thinking that it shouldn’t really matter that much – it did! I also couldn’t get the fudge to cool to the correct temperature either, the afternoon was just far too stifling!

All of this is going into my memory data file-o-fax for my next fudge making expedition. However, if this happens to you this Christmas, remember to take a deep breath & remain calm! You’ve invested a lot of your valuable time & love in creating something fabulous for people you care about. Don’t throw it all in the bin through heated tears of disappointment. Turn that disaster into a triumph! The easiest way is to always make sure you have a selection of pretty glasses on hand & make use of the popular Chef description of DECONSTRUCTED! HAHAHA you will appear ever so fancy & maintain that tiara firmly on top of your head, without any slippage.

So, here is my Triple Chocolate Fudge recipe, that when followed to the correct temperatures, will result in the most gloriously decadent confectionary worthy of your Festive Hamper!

Ensure you get the correct sized saucepan! Then into it goes 1.5 cups of caster sugar, 1/2 cup of firmly packed brown sugar, 100g of dark chocolate buttons, 2 tablespoons of glucose syrup, 1/2 cup of thickened cream & 1/4 cup of milk.

Gently heat that lot over a low temperature until the sugars dissolve without letting it boil. Once the sugars have fully dissolved, then crank up your heat to bring it up to the boil. Do not stir from this point. Pop your thermometer in & watch it come up to 116c ~ as mentioned earlier this temperature is critical! Once that magic 116c is reached, immediately take the pan off the heat & drop in 40g of butter. Still, do not stir it!

Leave the fudge alone until the temperature drops to 40c. That’s when you can remove the thermometer & finally stir in the now melted butter. Use a wooden spoon. Continue to stir it for about 10 minutes, you’re looking for when a small amount dropped from the spoon can hold it’s shape. That is how you know it will set, unlike my double temperature mistake on this one.

During your wait time, you can prepare a bar cake pan by greasing & lining it with bakers paper so it’s ready for you to pour the fudge into then simply spread & smooth the surface before covering it with tin foil & leaving to stand at room temperature for 2 hours. Once again, my third temperature mistake with this one as it was like a sauna in my kitchen yesterday afternoon.

When the 2 hours is up, remove the tin foil to pour over 200g of melted white chocolate then drizzle over that 50g of melted milk chocolate & using a cake tester or a skewer, drag the two chocolates around to create pretty swirls for a marbled effect.

Replace the foil over the tin & pop into the fridge overnight to set.

The baking paper will allow you to easily lift the set fudge out of the tin & if you heat your very sharp knife, slicing the fudge will be a breeze. Cut the slab in half lengthways before slicing ever so thinly for decadent pieces of melt in your mouth luxury.

Cashew Butter Slice

Decadently creamy layers of nutty goodness with a luscious chocolate crown.

DSC_0004.JPG

How can anyone go past a gorgeous home-made chocolate topped slice?! It’s one of the simple pleasures in life & the first recipe in my 2017 Christmas Gifts From The Kitchen series.

This slice is made in 3 stages to get those 3 layers so prepare to spend some time with it.

To create the base layer, simply combine 2 tablespoons of coconut syrup with 1/3 cup of cashew butter in a mixing bowl. Next, stir in 1 tablespoon of a good quality cocoa powder. Finally, add in 1 cup of  desiccated coconut & prepare to get your hands messy! Mix all of that together really well before pressing into a cake tin or baking pan that you’ve lined with baking paper. Pop that lot in the fridge for half an hour.

Next comes the middle layer. This one is super easy! In a small, heatproof bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of coconut syrup with 6 tablespoons of cashew butter over a pan of gently simmering water until it gets nice & soft which makes it more pliable to work with. Press that gently over the base layer & get it back in the fridge to set for another hour.

Finally, the luscious crowning chocolate glory! Over a pan of gently simmering water, melt 200g of milk chocolate in a heatproof bowl then simply pour over the slice & spread. You guessed it…..back in to set in the fridge it goes.

Now, because you’ve been smart & lined the tray with baking paper at the very start, you can simply lift the set slice out onto a chopping board! A great trick when cutting this up is to have a jug of boiling water on the bench next to you & constantly dip your knife in so it heats up, making it glide through the slice easily.

It’s that time of year again!

Get ready to Deck the Halls & Jingle those Bells!

It’s my FAVOURITE time of the year!

Xmas 2017

Well after a whirlwind few weeks, we have moved house yet again! Hence why I’ve not been online! Moving is stressful at any time of the year, but right on top of the Festive Season?!?!?! Let’s just say I don’t want to be doing that again EVER! I still don’t have a working oven in the new place so we’ve been living on BBQ & whatever I can manage on the cooktop burners for our first week here, but hopefully, we should have that issue resolved shortly.

I have ‘enough’ of my kitchen unpacked now to get back to doing what I love ~ cooking up a storm to share with all of you on my blog. My Fam-bam are happy now too as they’re the ones who get too greedily devour everything I make.

And just in time too! Because today I start my Christmas Gifts From The Kitchen series! HOORAH!

Over the next 3 weeks, I shall be bringing you fabuliciouz festive culinary treats that you can whip up at home to surprise your loved ones this year with edible presents. Choose to either give them separately as lots of little gifts or combine a wee bit of everything into glorious gourmet hampers! You may even wish to use some of them as your offering on a share plate table as the parties kick in.

After our 3 weeks of Gifts From The Kitchen, I will then be launching straight into my Christmas Feast! This year is a whopper so you definitely won’t want to miss that! Plus, something EPIC is coming up which I can announce to you all at the end of the month ~ you won’t want to miss that one!

So, without further delay, let the Merry Christmas season begin!

Fish Cakes

Golden encrusted discs housing a

fabuliciouzly soft & flavourful gift from the deep.

DSC_0003.jpg

I simply adore Fish Cakes & would order them every time at one particular restaurant in Sanctuary Cove on Australia’s iconic Gold Coast. I haven’t found them that good any where else in the nation……until I started making my own! Hubby goes absolutely wild for these, devouring them greedily as if he’ll never experience them again. It is such an easy recipe, but that’s what a lot of good food is ~ Simple.

Start by frying off 750g worth of fish fillets in a wee bit of heated oil. I use Basa which is about 4 fillets. Then you’ll need to flake them up into small, mince like, consistency in a bowl.

Add in 300g of mashed potato (this is a great way to use up cold left overs!) along with 1/2 a bunch of chopped up flat leaf parsley, 1 teaspoon of hot cayenne pepper & then whisk 1 egg well & pop that in the bowl too.

Combine that lot well & then season generously with salt.

Rest the mixture in the fridge for half an hour then shape into cakes, dust with a wee bit of plain flour & shallow fry over a medium heat until each side is lusciously golden.

Drain any excess oil off your Fish Cakes before serving with a colourful salad & lemon wedges.

ClapShot

A nod to my Scottish heritage,

this fancy mash is fabuliciouzly sweet.

DSC_0002.JPG

It’s one of the most treasured of Scottish dishes but it’s one of those oral knowledge recipes that’s usually passed down in the family rather than recorded, so here is how you can all make this classic wee bonnie meal!

Start off with 2 saucepans because the veggies take different times to cook. Place 500g of peeled & chopped potatoes in one & 500g of peeled & chopped swedes in the other. Cover both in water, add salt & bring to the boil. Let those bubble away on your cauldron until the root vegetables are soft & tender before draining them well.

Now you can mix them together in the one pot. Mash them up good & proper before adding in 50g of butter along with 75ml of double cream. Mash them thoroughly until lovely & smooth.

Season the ClapShot generously with salt & white pepper then finish off by stirring through 1 tablespoon worth of freshly chopped chives.

Hubby declares this to be the BEST mash EVER!

Spinach Dip

This Retro Classic is a breeze to whip up & with only 3 ingredients!

DSC_0001.JPG

This four day pseudo long weekend, created by the iconic Melbourne Cup horse race in the world’s most liveable city, always marks the start of our Festive Social Season. It’s a time where we glam up in a fashionista style unlike any other day of the year! I love pulling on my fancy frock, securing a stunning fascinator to my tresses & downing a glass of celebratory bubbles.

Alas, tis not to be this year as we must quickly pack up our belongings to depart our mountain top abode! We reluctant nomads are being forced on the move again due to the sale of yet another rental property. Not to the other side of the country this time, though, just sliding down to the bottom of this big hill.

But, I digress. It’s always lovely to have simple, easy foods to pick at & nibble throughout any party but especially at the races. This classic Spinach Dip is a proven crowd pleaser & it’s high time it made it back onto our Celebration Tables!

Simply bring a pot of water to the boil & throw in the contents from a 120g packet of fresh baby spinach leaves. Let them boil away to wilt then drain them & allow to cool ever so slightly.

Meanwhile, empty a 300g tub of sour cream into the pot & add in a 30g packet of spring vegetable soup mix then mix that in thoroughly along with the spinach.

Cook over a medium heat, stirring continuously, until it thickens up nicely then set aside to let the flavours develop for at least 15 minutes but it’s much better if you pop it in the fridge overnight.

Traditionally, this dip is served in a hollowed out round cob loaf with the scooped out bread being used to dip with but when needing Gluten Free, rice crackers & carrot sticks get devoured just as quickly!