Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Favourite Recipes of 2012

I feel like 2012 has been a year of changes for us, both personally and in terms of the types of food we have been eating. Not sure if this has really been reflected on the blog but I have big plans for 2013 in that regard so stay tuned!

The end of a year is always a time for reflection though so I have been trawling through the archives to choose my favourite recipes of the year. Perhaps they were some of your favourites too?

Vegetarian Sausage Rolls © food-baby.blogspot.com All rights reserved
Vegetarian Sausage Rolls
While we've always tried to have a balance of meat and non-meat meals, this year I really got into Meatless Mondays. My family's absolute favourite vegetarian meal of the year were these sausage rolls. My boys always go back for seconds and even thirds. Make a double batch and stash some in the freezer.



No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cheesecake © food-baby.blogspot.com All rights reserved
No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
Well this one doesn't need much explanation. It's cheesecake, with chocolate in it, and you don't even need an oven. This beauty is so simple but will really impress.



Peanut Sesame Noodles © food-baby.blogspot.com All rights reserved
Peanut Sesame Noodles
Another Meatless Monday recipe, this is the meal that converted my husband to a satay-lover. Yay! Filled with ginger, sesame and of course peanuts, it makes a substantial meal that is somehow not too heavy with the addition of lots of crunchy fresh veges.



Best Ever Custard © food-baby.blogspot.com All rights reserved
Best Ever Custard
So 2012 was the year I finally figured out how to make good custard! This makes the smoothest, most luscious vanilla custard ever. Perfect to serve with pudding but good enough to eat with a spoon straight from the pot.



Milo Muffins © food-baby.blogspot.com All rights reserved

Milo Muffins
Another thing I really tried to do this year was bake especially for lunchboxes. I love having a stash of freshly-made treats ready for my husband and kids to take when we're out and about. The benefits of course being I know exactly what's in it and we save some money too. With my eldest starting kindy in 2013 this will something I'll really be focusing on next year.

So that's it! My 5 favourites of 2012. I'm planning big things for the blog in 2013 so make sure you come back and check it out!

I wish all my readers a very happy and prosperous 2013 :-)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Rice Salad

Christmas Rice Salad © food-baby.blogspot.com All rights reserved

I know I said I wasn't going to post any of my Christmas recipes but I made an exception for this salad. Because it is exceptional!

The original version was supposed to be made with quinoa rather than rice. We had the quinoa cooked on Christmas day but with all the other food we had, we totally forgot about it sitting there in the pot and ended up having to throw it away.

So a couple of days after Christmas I decided to make it with rice and use up all the yummy herbs etc that I had bought specially for it. While the nuts and cranberries do make it very festive and therefore perfect for Christmas, I guarantee it will be welcome at any BBQ anytime!

Christmas Rice Salad
Recipe by me

4 cups cooked brown rice
1 red capsicum, diced
1 green capsicum, diced
3 shallots/spring onions, finely sliced
100g cashews, roughly chopped
100g dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1 bunch mint, chopped finely
1 bunch parsley, chopped finely
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbs soy sauce

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Serve warm or cold. Especially good served with leftover ham or roast turkey. Serves 8-10 as a side dish.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Day Recap

Well another Christmas over. It seems like the build-up to Christmas is getting longer but then the actual day is over so quickly!

We had a really lovely day at home. We all slept in until 7 (amazing) and then came downstairs together for the kids to find their stockings full of lovely things. My dad arrived before the kids were up which meant he got to see them open their presents and have breakfast with us.

Here is my favourite pic of my 2 big boys with Oscar's new bike:


We took our tree down yesterday but still have presents in boxes and a fridge full of leftovers. Speaking of which we had way too much food. My 'simple' menu could have fed 20 people as it turned out, instead of just the 4 adults and 2 kids that we actually had. Oops.

Here's what I loved about our Christmas meal:

- mango smoothies for breakfast (a real hit with the kids and filled them up for the morning)

- prawn and avocado salad (loads of fresh king prawns, diced avocado, crisp iceberg lettuce and a homemade seafood sauce. Just delicious)

- roast turkey on the BBQ (a fresh turkey with a herb butter under the skin and wrapped in bacon. Cooked and then rested for 2 whole hours it was the moistest, most flavourful turkey we have ever done. Just make sure you have enough gas. We ran out half way through and hubby had to dash to the service station to buy a new bottle!)

- frozen christmas pudding for dessert (cool and refreshing but still with all the flavours of Christmas)

I didn't really get any good photos of our food so I won't post any of the recipes.  Some of them will definitely be made again next year so I will be sure to post then.



Also speaking of food, there were hot cross buns in Woolies this morning! Craziness!

So that's Christmas 2012. Full of family, food and lots of fun. Just as it should be :)




Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Menu 2012

Source
I though today I would share our Christmas menu seeing as we are now only hours from the big day!

We are having Christmas at home for the first time since having the boys and it is going to be wonderful for all of us not having to pack up and leave for the day. Much less disruptive for the kids. We will have my dad and N's mum with us so it will be a lovely family day.

As there will only be 6 of us I have kept the menu pretty simple. I will post recipes and photos after Christmas but I have my fingers crossed all will go smoothly tomorrow and everything will taste as good as I hope!

Breakfast
Mango smoothies
Cinnamon toast

Nibbles
Roasted Pumpkin Hummus
Pistachio Cheese Log
Assorted nuts, crackers and cheeses

Entree
Prawn cocktail (very retro but so yum!)
Salad

Main
Roast turkey (on the weber)
Ham on the bone
Pork and sage stuffing muffins
Gravy (Jamie Oliver recipe)
Christmas tabouli with quinoa
Warm potato and macadamia nut salad
Broccolini with almonds

Dessert
Pavlova with berries and cream
Frozen Christmas pudding

We have chosen to decorate with lots of purple this year, both on the tree and for the table. I love the photo above but I can guarantee our table will not be so elegant!

I wish you all have a very happy and safe Christmas! xx

Friday, December 21, 2012

Cranberry, White Chocolate & Pistachio Cookies

Cranberry White Chocolate and Pistachio Cookies © food-baby.blogspot.com All rights reserved

These cookies just shout Christmas to me! They're red, white and green and packed with Christmassy flavours. I always make cookies to give as Christmas gifts because they are so transportable and always so well received.  Every year I say I should make more cookies and fewer chocolate-y things because of the heat but it never happens!

These are the sort of cookies with so many mix-ins you wonder how they will stay together. Then you make them and they're perfect, crunchy on the outside, chewy in the middle and packed with little surprises. Oh and they make the house smell amazing :)

Cranberry, White Chocolate and Pistachio Cookies
Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

1¼ cups plain flour
½ ts baking powder
½ ts baking soda
¼ ts salt
120g butter, at room temperature
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 ts vanilla extract
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup roasted salted pistachios, chopped
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 190 / 170 degrees fan-forced. Line 2 trays with baking paper and set aside.

Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl.

Using an electric mixer beat the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well combined. Carefully mix in the dry ingredients then using a spatuala, fold through the oats, pistachios, cranberries and white chocolate.

Roll the dough into balls and place onto prepared trays, allowing room for spreading. Flatten the top of each biscuit with your fingers then bake for approx 10 minutes or until slightly golden on top. Allow to cool on the trays for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Store in an airtight container.

Makes approx 30.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cranberry & Cream Cheese Strudel

Cranberry & Cream Cheese Strudel © food-baby.blogspot.com All rights reserved

I love all the free Christmas magazines put out by supermarkets at this time of year. I mean I love food magazines any time but you gotta love free stuff! While there is a lot of advertising you can find little recipe gems and some great ideas for menu plans, table settings and gifts.

This recipe came from a freebie booklet from Coles called Recipes for Christmas Baking. I've no idea whether it is still available but just check your local Coles.

I made this intending to take it to our mother's group Christmas breakup but after baking I realised it is actually more of a dessert than a morning tea treat. No worries, I made a batch of brownies to take and saved this strudel for us!

It has gorgeous Christmas flavours with cranberries, almond and nutmeg but it would make a lovely dessert any time of the year. While it is meant to be served warm with ice cream, we ate most of ours sliced and cold from the fridge and it was delicious that way too.

Cranberry & Cream Cheese Strudel

250g cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
1/2 cup cream
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 ts ground nutmeg
100g dried cranberries
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup almond meal
6 sheets filo pastry
75g melted butter
1/4 cup flaked almonds

Preheat oven to 200 / 180 degrees fan-forced and line a baking tray with baking paper.

With an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, cream, egg, sugar and nutmeg until smooth and well combined. Fold in the cranberries and set aside.

In a small bowl mix together the almond meal and breadcrumbs. Lay one sheet of filo onto your prepared tray and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle over 1 tablespoon of the almond/breadcrumbs mixture. Lay another sheet of filo on top and repeat until all filo and almond mixture is used.

Spread the cream cheese mixture over the filo stack, leaving a 4cm border around all edges. Fold in the short sides of the pastry, then with the long side facing you roll up tightly into a log. Brush the top with remaining melted butter and sprinkle over the flaked almonds.

Bake for 5 minutes at 200 /180 degrees fan forced then reduce the temperature to 180 / 160 degrees and bake for a further 25-30 minutes or until crisp and golden on top and firmish to the touch.

Serve warm with ice cream and cold from the fridge. Serves 8-10.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tim Tam Balls

Tim Tam Balls © food-baby.blogspot.com All rights reserved

It seems I have been missing out because I hadn't even heard of these little beauties until last week!

Apparently they are the most popular recipe on the Stay At Home Mum blog and I can see why. I mean everyone loves tim tams and having them in ball form makes them even more appealing. But be warned, you won't be able to stop at one!

These are just one of the tasty little homemade morsels our family and friends will be receiving this year. I will also be making my famous Rum Balls, mini Christmas Cakes and Peanut Butter squares as well as a few other things which I will post soon.

This is half the original recipe which you will find here on Stay At Home Mum.

Tim Tam Balls

1 packet of Tim Tams, any flavour
125g cream cheese (1/2 a block) at room temperature
1 cup dessicated coconut OR hundreds & thousands

Place the tim tams into the food processor and blitz until they turn into crumbs. Add the cream cheese and pulse until the mixture forms a clump around the blade. Roll teaspoonfuls of mixture into balls and then roll in the coconut or hundreds & thousands (I did 1 batch of each). Makes approx 20. Chill until ready to serve.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Baking with Julia - Finnish Pulla Failure


I feel like I have lost my baking mojo these last few weeks. Which is scary to admit considering how close to Christmas we are and just how many things I am yet to bake!

Today's Finnish Pulla takes the cake for disasters. It just didn't work. I'm partly blaming the weather (very hot) and my being distracted and leaving it too long in the second rise (because of a screaming 2 year old refusing to nap).

My bread was flat and mishapen and tasted strongly of yeast. I'm positive I measured correctly so not sure what's going on there. The end result was ugly and inedible and so very disappointing.

 
Our host this week is Erin of The Daily Morsel. I'm hoping she had better luck than me!


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

No Baking with Julia this week ...

So I didn't get around to making the Gingerbread Baby Cakes for Baking with Julia. I was kind of leaving them until the last minute but it was a scorching 38 degrees here in Brisbane today and the oven is staying off!

If it's cooler where you live and you love gingerbread check out our host Karen of Karen’s Kitchen Stories for the recipe and some gorgeous photos.
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