Coconut Chocolate Truffles

Voluptuous Dark Chocolate enrobes seductively moist Coconut

that’s sure to send your taste buds into a Mouthgasm!

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Grab yourself a mixing bowl & bung in 2 & 1/4 cups of desiccated coconut, 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil, 1/3 cup of coconut milk, 1/4 cup of maple syrup (the real stuff guys!) & 1 tablespoon of vanilla paste then give that lot a jolly good stir until it’s nice & sticky so you can form balls with it – if it’s too wet add a wee bit more desiccated coconut or if it’s too dry add a splash more coconut milk.

Form the mix into ball shapes (this requires some gentle squeeze & pushing action rather than traditional rolling) & pop those onto a baking paper lined tray & whack in the freezer for at least an hour – you can leave them in there overnight if you want to get prepared for a party or something of the sort.

When ready, break up some good quality dark chocolate into a bowl & place over a pot of simmering water, be very careful for the water NOT to touch the bottom of the bowl or your chocolate will seize, & allow that to melt before dipping the coconut balls into the chocolate to cover them completely. Let them set on another baking paper lined tray.

You could get fancy with decorating them with some shredded coconut or use a fork to impress lines in the still wet chocolate.

When all the balls are dipped, simply set them in the fridge before devouring greedily!

Classic Buttercream

Sometimes it’s the simple basic’s that are the often the best.

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Every baker should have a go-to Buttercream recipe that is simple, quick & easy to whip up that tastes as good as it looks!

So this is my TWO ingredient Classic Buttercream.

First beat 250g of room temperature butter (I use Lurpak) until it’s very pale. Then add 2 & 1/4 cups of pure icing sugar (not the mixture stuff!) but add it only 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat until it’s nice & fluffy!

Then you can tint it with all sorts of food colours to create anything your wee heart desires.

Neapolitan Marble Cake

It’s a classic which is now rarely seen,

but the swirls of pink, chocolate & vanilla are well worth the effort.

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It has been a chaotic week! Last Wednesday was Mini-Me’s birthday so off we popped to Melbourne Zoo which lays claim to being the oldest zoo in Australia! We treated her to an exclusive behind the scenes member’s tour before exploring the zoo at our leisure until just after lunch when she got to have a close encounter with her all time favourite animal by feeding the Giraffe in it’s enclosure. She was just so deliriously happy & her delightful giggle is simply magic to my ears as well as my heart.

The rest of the week was spent in absolute panic as I madly threw together her party which we hosted at our mountain top home on Sunday. Twenty hyped up children having the time of their lives & the snow machine went down a real treat! Their limbo moves were super impressive & let me tell you, those tiny ballerinas have a mighty mean swing on a piñata! Food was plentiful but, of course, the star of the culinary show is always the birthday cake!

Mini-Me loves Neapolitan Ice-Cream so I took my inspiration from that to wow her when we cut open the cake.

Bung into your mixer bowl 125g of room temperature softened butter along with 3/4 cup of caster sugar & a teaspoon of vanilla. Cream that until it’s nice & fluffy.

Add in 2 eggs, but one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Fold through 2 cups of self raising flour & a pinch of salt alternating with 1/2 cup of milk.

Divide the mix into 3 bowls. Leave one plain, add 1 tablespoon of cocoa to another & a few drops of pink food colouring to the third. Give them a jolly good mix.

Layer the 3 batters into a well greased cake tin & use a sharp knife or a bamboo skewer to create swirls.

Whack in a 175c oven for an hour.

You can serve this cake plain, dusted in icing sugar, with buttercream or even covered in ganache! Let your imagination run wild!

Cheesecake Pudding

My Cheesecake Pudding is so light, hubby says it has the texture of Mousse!

Bonus is, it’s Gluten Free!

Cheesecake Pudding

Let a 250g block of cream cheese (I use good old philly!) go seriously soft before starting.

Pour 1/2 cup of boiling water over a packet of lemon jelly crystals. Stir to dissolve then add in the zest & juice of a plump lemon. Set that aside to cool off.

Beat the soft cream cheese until it’s looking like cream. Add in a tin of condensed milk, a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste & the jelly mix. Combine all that until it’s thick & creamy.

Then simply pour it into individual serving glasses or ramekins & pop in the fridge to set.

Tanz Tip – I usually use a vegetable peeler to carve off some chocolate curls from the block & pop a cherry on top to serve.

Baked Cinnamon Pears

Are there many things more comforting on a bleak Melbourne day than fabuliciouzly hot Baked Cinnamon Pears?!?!

I think not!

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I wasn’t even aware that Mini Me had any knowledge of this nostalgic classic of the kitchen until she quite suddenly asked me, “Mum, do you know how to make cinnamon pears?”! Now I don’t know who is responsible, but my prime suspect would be Peppa Pig! Anyways, she was absolutely delighted when I replied in the affirmative & whipped up this easy treat for her afternoon tea.

Start by lining a roasting dish with baking paper & set aside.

Peel 4 juicy pears then cut into quarters, removing the core of each. Bung those into the roasting dish before spraying them with some extra virgin olive spray oil.

Combine 1 tablespoon of caster sugar with 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, then sprinkle over the pears. Give that lot a jolly good shake up to coat them thoroughly.

Whack into a 180c oven for 20 minutes or until they’re gloriously tender & golden.

A scoop of ice-cream is a nice contrast plopped on top.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Finally, at long last, a Gluten Free cake that is rich, moist, fabuliciouzly tasty & above all else, not crumbly!

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You know, I used to be pretty darn good at making cakes before we knew about my illness with Gluten. I used to take so very much pleasure in my cake baking but since needing to be Gluten Free, I just haven’t had that same passion. I lost my cake mojo. Try as hard as I might, using Gluten Free flour just doesn’t cut it. I tried this recipe, with much trepidation, expecting yet another bitter disappointment, only to be pleasantly surprised with the results this time! This tastes like real cake! HOORAH!

Start by lining a loaf tin with baking paper, remember to use spray oil first to hold it in place.

Measure out 3/4 cup of caster sugar.

Grab a mixing bowl & bung in 280g of dark chocolate along with 160g of softened butter. Pop that over a pan of simmering water to melt gently, then stir in 6 egg yolks & half of that caster sugar. Take it off the heat & set aside to cool.

In a second mixing bowl, beat the 6 egg whites to a soft peak consistency. Now you can opt to get an arm workout if that’s what floats your boat, but I choose to use my electric beaters. Then, ever so gradually, add in the rest of that caster sugar whilst continuing to beat until it’s thick & glossy, just like meringue.

Back to the chocolate mix bowl & gently fold through 1 & 1/2 cups of Almond Meal followed by the meringue mix. Be really careful not to totally knock out all that luscious air you’ve worked so hard to beat in there!

Pour the batter into the loaf tin & bake for an hour in a 160c oven. If you choose to make cupcakes with this batter, as pictured, simply halve the cooking time.

Pineapple Cheesecake

Fabuliciouzly creamy with a tropical twist;

this Pineapple Cheesecake is definitely a hit with my fam-bam!

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I start by crushing 2 cups of Cornflakes (I use Gluten Free ones) with my mortar & pestle to get them nice & fine. Then I melt 150g of butter in a saucepan over a low heat before pouring that on top of the crushed Cornflakes & giving it a jolly good mix to ensure all the crumbs are nice & moist. Next, simply press that lot into a loaf tin & pop in the fridge to set.

Grab yourself a mixing bowl & bung in 250g of cream cheese. Beat that with a hand held mixer to get it lovely & soft. Gradually add in 1/3 cup of lemon juice, then a whole tin (397g) of sweetened condensed milk & keep beating until gloriously smooth.

Open a tin (440g) of crushed pineapple & drain it well of the juice. Gently fold the pineapple into the filling before pouring over the top of the now chilled cornflake base then whack back into the fridge overnight to set.

When ready to serve, invert the loaf tin onto a board, then back onto your serving platter, decorate with whipped cream & strawberries then It’s Chompin Time!

Crab Cakes

Perfect as a fancy dinner party starter or just at home as a drinking snack on a Friday night,

these gems of soft, creamy, sea salty discs encased in a fabuliciouzly crunchy crust are simply divine & oh so easy to make! 

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Grab yourself a mixing bowl & bung in a 140g can of Blue Swimmer Crabmeat (we prefer this one as it has a stronger flavour) along with 300g of mashed potato, a good sprinkling of chopped flat leaf parsley, 1 teaspoon of paprika & crack in an egg. Season generously with salt & give that lot a jolly good mix up before popping in the fridge for  half an hour.

Remove from fridge & shape into bite size medallions before dusting with a wee bit of flour.

Shallow fry the Crab Cakes in a some hot oil over a medium heat until each side is gloriously golden (about 3-5 minutes or so each side) then drain before serving.

Fiesta Dip

This Mexican inspired layered dip should definitely come with a warning label that, once tried, you shall be, forever more, required to make it for every future gathering.

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I picked up this fabuliciouz wee recipe in the Northern Territory during our Top End stint. It’s just perfect for whiling away those blistering days but has served me equally well in the south on a sultry summer evening.

Grab yourself a nice dish, either quiche or lasagne, & then it’s just a simple layering game!

Layer 1 – Mix together a tin (440g) of refried beans with 2 tablespoons of salsa & spread it over the bottom of the dish

Layer 2 – Chop up 2 tomatoes (I use Black Russian as they give a much milder flavour with no acidity) along with a generous handful of Jalapeño chillies (however many float your boat!) & evenly scatter that lot over the first layer

Layer 3 – Mash up 2 gorgeously ripe avocados with just a splash of lemon juice (this prevents them from going brown so they keep that intense green colour) then smear it right in there

Layer 4 – Open up a tub (300g) of sour cream & spike it with half a packet (30g) of Taco Spice Mix then, you guessed it, slather it on top

Layer 5 – For the grand finale, crown this glorious masterpiece with an uber generous topping of grated cheddar cheese

Pop out a bowl of Corn Chips alongside & you’ve got yourself a party!

Stuffed Mushrooms

Every Christmas my fam-bam looked forward to my Savoury Vol-au-Vents,

since discovering Gluten issues, however, these pastry favourites have been missing from our festive fare ~ Until Now!

Gorgeous Portabello Mushrooms make the perfect Gluten Free alternative to carry my luscious, slightly curried, mince filling.

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Start with 2 cups of water in a mixing jug & add in 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce, 3 tablespoons of gravy powder, 1 tablespoon of curry powder, 1 teaspoon of minced garlic & a jolly good sprinkling of dried mixed herbs. Combine that lot well & set aside.

Heat a glug of oil in a frypan & cook off 500g of chicken mince, remembering to season ever so generously with salt & white pepper for flavour.

Pour the liquid mixture over the mince & stir well. Next, throw in a cupful of mixed frozen veggies & let it all simmer away to soften them up.

Then comes the kicker……..chuck in a good solid handful (about 1 cup) of grated cheddar cheese to melt through which will thicken it all up slightly.

Now, the fun bit – drizzle a wee bit of oil on a baking pan & brush it all over before lining up your mushrooms. Gently push the stalks away from you with your thumb until you hear them break then pull back again slightly to pop them out cleanly. Put your mushroom cups on the oiled tray, fill them with the mince mixture & then crown them gloriously with more grated cheddar cheese.

Whack that lot in a 180c oven for 15 minutes & It’s Chompin Time!

A simply stunning way to kick off Christmas morning.