Tag Archives: Cooking

Donna Hay Magazines

19 Oct

On the weekend I picked up an eBay auction I won – 17 Donna Hay magazines for $26.

I’m quite pleased because it worked out to around $1.50 a magazine ($1.70 if you count the cost of my train ticket). I think this lot was really cheap because the seller specified pick-up only.

They go for a lot more than that on eBay – usually $4 to $10 (and issue number 4 – which sadly I don’t have – goes for $30+!). That’s more than retail when you include postage – so if I wanted to get rid of them I could probably make a couple of hundred dollars.

But for now I’m happy to just leaf through them and check out the food porn. Sometimes it’s nice to have actual recipe books instead of printing recipes off the net.

And that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing this week while I’ve been sick. Also browsing the net and feeling sorry for myself. =(

Purchases From Kitchenware Direct

2 Sep

I bought some kitchen goodies from Kitchenware Direct earlier this week. They are cheaper than Peters of Kensington for many items, and have free shipping if you spend over $100 (which I did).

The main thing I wanted was a Scanpan steamer insert for my saucepans.

image from Kitchenware Direct

I currently use a cheapo plastic one that came with my rice cooker and the heat has warped it pretty badly. I steam vegetables 3-4 times a week, so I figured it was about time I bought a proper one.

I’m also getting excited about pizzas again so I bought a pizza peel (which is actually waaaay bigger in person than I had expected!).

image from Kitchenware Direct

I also grabbed some other pizza/pastry-related tools; a rocking pizza cutter (which is supposed to be way better than the traditional wheel cutter), a dough scraper, and a pastry mat for rolling out dough. The dough scraper looks a bit shit, so now I wish I’d spent the extra $3 on the metal one. I was close to buying a baking stone but apparently it’s cheaper to just get some unglazed quarry tile from Bunnings.

I’m also considering buying a really great chef’s knife, and am starting to do some research on it. In the meantime I should probably sharpen my existing knives!

New Cookbooks

20 Jul

Last week someone made about $8000 of fraudulent charges on my credit card (and the Citibank guy was able to confirm that it was indeed my card, and not James’) so both of us have to have new credit cards issued.

In the week before our replacement cards arrived I, rather perversely, spent a large chunk of time browsing online for stuff I want.

When we received the cards, my pent up shopping lust overflowed and I bought:

Thai Food (£15.89)

image from Amazon

I have Thai Street Food which is also by David Thompson (a Christmas gift from Scott!) and it’s so good that I also forked out for his other Thai cookbook. But that was was mainly an impulse purchase to get free super saver shipping from Amazon UK by spending over £25, and what I mainly wanted was Ottolenghi: The Cookbook (£13.74).

There are a few more things that I want to buy, like a replacement fountain pen, some make-up brushes, a pearl necklace (I don’t know why I thought googling “Asian wearing black pearl necklace” was a good idea), and some new clothes, but this will do me for now. Expect some new recipes when these two arrive! =)

White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

31 Mar

Last week James brought me some leftover Subway cookies from his airport dinner. I was hankering for a snack, and those cookies were perfect!

So yesterday I decided to make my own white chocolate and macadamia cookies, and searched online for something that might recreate it. A lot of people recommend this recipe from Allrecipes, so I decided to give it a shot.

Unfortunately the cookies were a bit meh. I think a few things went wrong – the first batch came out too dark so I readjusted my oven, but that just resulted in cookies that were too soft. They came out puffier than I would like, and I didn’t chop the nuts enough so there are some unpleasantly large chunks of macadamia in there. And in general I think there should be more white chocolate and less macadamia. But I’ve never really been a fan of macadamia – it’s so expensive and such a bland nut.

The recipe isn’t bad – it’s just when I remember how awesome that Subway cookie tasted, this one didn’t even really come close.

The recipe made about 5 dozen cookies. I made them fairly small though.

There was another recipe on Allrecipes that had brown sugar, which should result in a crispier cookie. I might give that a shot.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 225 g white chocolate, chopped
  • 180 g macadamia nuts, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190C
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, stir into the creamed mixture. Finally, stir in the white chocolate and nuts. Drop cookies by heaping teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks. When cool, store in an airtight container.

 

Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
1 cookie: 119 calories, 52% fat, 5% protein, 43% carbs

Nutella Swirl Cupcakes

26 Jan

This nutella capcake recipe (from this food blog) has been on my to-bake list for years. It may have languished for several more years, except that today I didn’t have enough butter to make yo-yos so I made these instead. After all, who doesn’t like nutella? Nobody! Nobody doesn’t like nutella!

Verdict: tasty! Not too sweet, and quite moreish. It’s eggier than I’m accustomed to cupcakes being though. James is a lot fonder of them than I am – he’s had 6 already (read the nutritional information, fatty! In the past few hours you’ve eaten 1800 calories in cupcakes!) Since the recipe only makes 12 this has depleted our cupcake stash quite considerably.

I feel that I should have swirled the nutella a bit better. There is a lot of nutella at the top and not enough at the bottom – so I’ll start eating and be all like “mmm nutella goodness”, and then there is plain cupcake and sadness.

Also here is a pic of the cupcakes in the fancy cake dome that Henry got me for Christmas. Incidentally, my politics teacher in high school hated it when we used “got” and “get” – she said that there was always a more elegant way of phrasing things – for instance, I could have said “the fancy cake dome that Henry bought me for Christmas”. Anyway, every time I use got/get I remember her rant, which is weird because I don’t even remember that teacher’s name.

In the background you can see the screaming cat house we got for free with some Iams cat food. I think it’s hideous, but James won’t let me throw it out because the cats love it.

Ingredients

  • 140g unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g plain flour, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • nutella, approx 1/3 cup

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 160C. Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar until light, 2 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated. Add vanilla. Stir in flour, salt and baking powder until batter is uniform and no flour remains.
  3. Fill each muffin liner with batter. They should be 3/4 full. Top each cake with 1 1/2 tsp Nutella. Swirl Nutella in with a toothpick, making sure to fold a bit of batter up over the nutella.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Very Rough Nutritional Information:
1 cupcake: 300 calories, 48% fat, 6% protein, 46% carbs

Simple, Delicious Brownies

31 Dec

This recipe from Allrecipes has been my go-to brownie for years.

I’m sure there are brownies that are more dense and chocolatey, but in terms of ease of preparation this one takes the cake. Or brownie. You don’t even need to be in a baking mood to make this – it’s so simple and there’s so little clean-up that it’s hardly like baking at all. And it makes your kitchen smell like chocolate heaven.

I’m making some for NYE party tonight, along with chocolate peanut and caramel slice. Once again I’m taking advantage of my nifty cupcake carrier to transport the peanut slice at the bottom and chocolate brownies on top.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (about 170g) melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 175C. Grease or line an 8″ square tin.
  2. In a large bowl blend melted butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time.
  3. In a medium bowl combine the flour, cocoa and salt. Gradually blend into the egg mixture. (Or if you’re like me, just dump the ingredients into the original bowl one at a time)
  4. Spread batter into prepared tin and bake 35-40 minutes.

The recipes says it makes 18, but obviously it varies depending on how generously you cut the slices.

Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
1 slice: 188 calories, 43% fat, 5% protein, 52% carbs

Christmas Eve Dinner

27 Dec

My family normally go out to dinner for Christmas Eve, but this year we decided to try and cook a Christmas feast. This was what we ended up with:

Starting from the bottom left and spiralling in:

  • smoked chicken pasta salad
  • potato salad
  • green beans and mushrooms
  • vegetable platter
  • smoked salmon
  • prawns
  • oysters
  • cold cuts platter
  • roast vegetables

The table fit everything except the turkey, which was unsurprising, given that it was a 6.2kg monster. Since Cat was the primary turkey cook, she did the carving. The turkey looked a little dishevelled since we overstuffed it slightly, but was delicious and moist.

The cold cuts platter consisted of olives, mild casalingo, sundried tomatoes, champagne ham, proscuitto and cheese. The girl at the deli said that last Christmas Eve they ran out of proscuitto at 7:30am. Good thing we got up early to go to the market.

The proscuitto was a surprise hit with the adults. Chinese like proscuitto – who knew? Cat told Klene to buy some cheese for the platter, but I think Cat was the only one who ate it (mainly out of guilt). Chinese don’t like cheese – who knew? Everyone! Everyone who has ever met a Chinese person! Silly Cat!

And here are the prawns from the Vic Market. They were something like $32 a kilo at the Vic Market, which is pricey, but everyone was amazed at how giant they were. You could buy pre-cooked prawns for a little more, but it’s so easy to cook prawns (just boil them for a few minutes and dunk them in ice water) and the pre-cooked ones don’t taste nearly as nice!

We were originally going to have dessert after, but everyone was so full that we decided to exchange presents before dessert. Present-exchanging is always a very elaborate affair, where each cousin takes turn guessing who their Kris Kringle was. Then everyone exchanges sibling gifts, and then we do the random $10 gifts.

Then the adults left and we realised that we’d forgotten to serve them dessert. To a bystander it might have looked like we waited for the adults to leave before having dessert, but that’s totally not how it went down.

James and I were pretty busted by the end of the night. We’d been awake since 5:30am and we still had to drive to Shoreham to celebrate Christmas with James’ family. We went home to drop everything off and pack our bags, and James chugged a Red Bull before we left. We arrived at 3:30am and were absolutely exhausted (though once we collapsed in bed I actually tried to stay awake because it felt so, so good to lie down with my eyes shut).

And that was my Christmas Eve (and part of Christmas Day)!