Tag Archives: Easy

Peanut Brittle

7 Apr

This recipe from Allrecipes has been in my favourites folder for awhile. I love peanut brittle – it has that super peanutty taste without the icky mouthfeel of peanut butter. I’d look at the recipe longingly from time to time, but my local Woolies and Coles don’t stock light corn syrup. Well the other day I found it (oddly enough) at my Asian grocer. Now nothing would stand in the way of me and delicious, delicious peanut brittle.

And it was soooo worth the hunt. The recipe is ridiculously simple, but the end result is pro-looking (and tasting). If I had bought that peanut brittle instead of spending like … $2 and a few minutes of my time, I would not be disappointed.

I’ve been constantly sneaking bits of brittle, which is terrible because I’m on a physio-imposed rest week, and really can’t afford the extra calories. Though I recently found out that if I bring something tasty and put it next to James, he will eat it.

AHAHAHAHAHAA!! I did it just then! I put the brittle down, he looked at it for like, half a second, then ate it. He’s like a puppy!

OK he figured out what I was doing because I kept laughing to myself.

But anyway, make this peanut butter brittle. It’s easy and you won’t regret it.

The recipe is written for someone with a 700W microwave, which conveniently, is how powerful my microwave is. If you have a more powerful microwave you’ll probably need to do some trial and error to get the time right.


  • 1 1/2 cups dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 pinch salt (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


  1. Grease a baking sheet, and set aside. In a glass bowl, combine peanuts, sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Cook in microwave for 6 to 7 minutes on High (700 W); mixture should be bubbly and peanuts browned. Stir in butter and vanilla; cook 2 to 3 minutes longer.
  2. Quickly stir in baking soda, just until mixture is foamy. Pour immediately onto greased baking sheet. Let cool 15 minutes, or until set. Break into pieces, and store in an airtight container.

The recipe says that it makes 16 pieces, so that’s how I went with the nutritional guide. But I just basically broke it into randomly-sized pieces.


Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
1 piece: 173 calories, 42% fat, 8% protein, 50% 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.


  • 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


  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

The Barefoot Contessa’s Curried Couscous

13 Dec

I finally got around to using one of my new cookbooks. The other night I spent a couple of hours going through them all, tearing little bits of scrap paper to use as bookmarks for dishes that I want to make. I’m a bit intimidated by Momofuku, but the Barefoot Contessa cookbook has a lot of lovely, accessible recipes. The first one I tried was the curried couscous.


  • 1 1/2 cups couscous
  • 1 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup plain yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar (which I didn’t have, so I used red wine vinegar)
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • 1/4 cup blanched, sliced almonds (I left these out)
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup died red onion


  1. Place the couscous in a medium bowl. Melt the butter in the boiling water and pour over the couscous. Cover tightly and allow it to soak for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
  2. Whisk together the yoghurt, olive oil, vinegar, curry, turmeric, salt and pepper. Pour over the couscous and mix well with a fork.
  3. Add the carrots, parsley, currants, almonds, spring onions and red onion.
  4. Mix well and adjust to taste.

Next time I think I’ll add some more currants (I actually used sultanas – are they the same thing?) since I kept looking forward to bites with sultanas in them. The book recommends serving with chicken or lamb.

The couscous was so flavoursome that it almost made the lamb seem bland (which it wasn’t – my lamb is salty and delicious). I think next time I will have it with chicken breasts and a vegetable side, just to improve the macro breakdown. It’s a great dish to take to a picnic or barbecue since it’s served at room temperature.

It’s colourful too – I bet it would look ever so pretty next to some sausages.


Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
1 serve: 307 calories, 39% fat, 8% protein, 53% carbs

Nigella Lawson’s Sweet and Salty Crunchie Nut Bars

11 Dec

I don’t think you can get much easier than the recipe for Nigella’s sweet and salty crunchy nut bars. There is the barest hint of cooking, but everything else is just assembly. It’s pretty tasty for the effort, but in my humble opinion, not as tasty as the chocolate, caramel and peanut slice that I’ve made before. This is a bit too densely chocolatey for me, though James seems very fond of it.

Still, James eats a lot of weird stuff – the other day he put some Indian spiced nuts (the packet says Hot Party Mix) into his yoghurt for breakfast. I’m sure it must have tasted foul – he even made a face when he took his first bite … but then he kept eating! Not that I think this slice is in any way equivalent to James’ Hot Party Mix Yoghurt. I’m just saying. He’ll eat anything. Like a labrador.

I misread the golden syrup and only included 1 TBSP (instead of 3) but it seems fine like that. Like most other chocolate and nut concoctions, this one is ugly and unphotogenic. I used a 26cm springform cake tin but you could use any container you wanted.


  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 1 TBSP golden syrup (original recipe specifies 3 TBSP)
  • 250g salted peanuts
  • 4 x 40g Crunchie bars


  1. Line cake tin with foil. Break chocolate into pieces, and drop into a heavy-based saucepan. Add the butter and syrup, put on a low heat, and melt gently together.
  2. Tip the peanuts into a bowl, and crush the Crunchie bars with your hands.
  3. Take the melted chocolate mixture off the heat and stir in the peanuts and crushed Crunchie bars, then tip straight into the cake tin or foil tray. Smooth the top of the mixture as much as you can.
  4. Put into the fridge for about 4 hours and, once set, cut into slices as desired.

It’s supposed to serve 24 but I reckon it would serve more because it’s pretty rich. The recipe is pretty flexible, and you can change the ratio of dark to milk chocolate and play around with the fillings. If you wanted you could add some Hot Party Mix, but then you would be weird.

Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
1 slice: 206 calories, 69% fat, 8% protein, 24% carbs

Easy Massaman Beef Curry

24 Nov

I love meals where you chuck everything in a big pot and then leave it for a few hours. The only downside is that having the stove on for several hours can heat up the apartment, which wasn’t the best, since it was 33 degrees and we face west, but I it was a small price to pay.

I wanted something easy, and this recipe from Taste had a lot of good reviews. Based on the comments I omitted the coconut cream, and I also cut out the potatoes. Boo to empty starches! I think next time I’ll try adding more meat and leaving out the peanuts since I didn’t think they added that much. That’s nitpicking a bit though, because honestly, this was fantastic.

I also think I’ll double the recipe next time. This recipe makes enough for 3 or 4, and it would be good to have some extra leftovers to freeze.

Look at the curry bubbling away!

I thickened it with a cornflour and water slurry about 30 minutes before it was done. I was quite proud that I remembered – normally I forget until the end and then I’m too hungry to wait the extra time.

I had a crisper drawer full of broccoli (it was $1 for 2kg at the Vic Market – tell me you wouldn’t have done the same!) so I cooked some of that and served it all with a small side of quinoa. I can always tell when James likes a new meal because he goes and gets seconds even though he’s full.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 650g chuck steak
  • 3 tablespoons massaman curry paste
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until hot. Add beef. Cook, stirring constantly, until evenly browned. Transfer to a plate. Add 2 tablespoons coconut milk to pan. Cook over medium heat for 20 seconds or until hot. Add curry paste. Cook for 1 minute or until aromatic.
  2. Return beef and juices to pan. Add stock, peanuts, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cardamom pods, sugar, tamarind concentrate, fish sauce and remaining coconut milk. Stir to combine.
  3. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 or 3 hours or until beef is tender. Serve with rice.


    Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
    1 serve: 649 calories, 64% fat, 27% protein, 9% carbs