25 November 2011

chocolate cake

I bought some delicious black cherries that are just coming into season. What goes well with black cherries, chocolate cake of course. Top this cake with loads of them and you will be the star of your Xmas lunch, weekend BBQ, office party, (fill in whatever event applies to you).


recipe from Women's Weekly Old Fashioned Favourites

Ingredients
125g butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 2/2 cups caster sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups SR flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup water
chocolate icing
90g dark choc bits
30g butter
1cup icing sugar
2 tbsp hot water

Add all ingredients into a medium bowl of an electric mixer and mix on a low speed until ingredients are combined. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and mix until the batter lightens slightly in colour, approx 3mins. 


Pour batter into a cake tin lined with baking paper and bake in a 170c oven for approx 45mins to 1 hour or until a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean. Turn out onto cooling rack. Be careful as this chocolate cake has a very delicate crumb.


Icing: Melt dark chocolate bits and butter in a small bowl. Whisk in icing sugar and hot water until the icing is smooth and spreadable. Spread onto cake then lick the bowl yourself...


Served best amongst 9 chocolate cake hungry mouths. Serves 12.



19 November 2011

natural bridge and spring brook national park

Our last weekend adventure to national parks around the Brisbane area took us to Springbrook National Park; where we saw the Natural Bridge as well as gorgeous views and plunging waterfalls.


On the way to the Natural Bridge there was a random cafe on the side of the road called the Numinbah Valley Cafe. The coffee was amazing and the homemade anzac bikkies made a delicious morning tea.


It was a short walk to the Natural Bridge from the carpark, which as you can see is stunning from underneath.



This gorgeous view with the Gold Coast in the distance is taken from a lookout just north of Springbrook.
Across the road from the lookout is a quaint cafe called the Gormet Galah where we had lunch. You can choose to sit in the cute little garden out the front or inside which had an old cottage like feel.



The gardens were amazing with this wishing well sprouting plants on every angle.



From inside you could just catch a glimpse of the view.


Josh had the burger, beer and chips special. Which was delicious.




I had the pumpkin and feta tart with basil and olive tapenade. I love it when fresh simple food is done so well.




They sold homemade ice cream which was to die for. We tried lychee and avocado. They both tasted as if it was made of pure fruit packed into the containers.



I also picked up this homemade jam from The Grange - a Brisbane based jam company that I have been wanting to try for a while.



The most amazing lookout in Springbrook National Park is the "Best of All Lookout", which pretty much speaks for itself!! Unfortunately the weather wasn't ideal but you can imagine how amazing it would look on a clear day.


There are multiple hikes in the park which all have been recommended to walk by the locals. We'll definitely be heading back to go for a couple treks! 

17 November 2011

crepes

Crepes = Josh's favourite breakfast, or at least on par with a good serve of bacon and eggs. While he was studying for exams I felt bad that I hadn't cooked him a nutritious brain food breakfast. I considered getting up with him at 6am and cooking the crepe batter I would have had to make the night before for him before his exams however this was obviously way to early on my days off so it ended up being last Sundays brunch brekky.
  

recipe from Donna Hay Modern Classics Book 2

Ingredients 
2 cups plain flour
2 tbsp castor sugar
4 eggs
1 2/3 cups milk
3/4 cup cream

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. In a small bowl whisk together the wet ingredients.


Gradually whisk wet ingredients into dry until the mixture is smooth. Let sit for 30mins before cooking in nonstick pan over medium heat until lightly golden brown.


Josh topped his crepes with stewed pears and chocolate gnash.


I topped mine with stewed peaches and maple syrup. 


It's important that you always have a large assortment of jams and other toppings for your mega crepe breakfast!!


Enjoy!


12 November 2011

simply cupcakes

We took a trip to the Gold Coast during the week and I thought we could try one of the recommended stores in "Foodies Guide to Brisbane". The first place we stopped into was Simply Cupcakes. Simply Cupcakes sells cupcakes in store but also caters for birthdays, weddings and other events as well as hosting icing classes.


Simply Cupcakes is situated at Ferry Road Plaza, 175 Ferry Road, Southport on the Gold Coast.


We chose three cupcakes from the daily selection.


Josh chose Mocha


I chose Lemon Curd.


Which of course was stuffed with a delicious lemon curd dollop.


We both chose an Apple Crumble cupcake to share.


Which was stuffed with delicious stewed apples.


We took them to our favourite spot on the Gold Coast and they lasted a total of five minutes.
I will definitely be stopping into Simply Cupcakes for some more sweet treats soon!

6 November 2011

november '11 top 5

I've been spoiling myself lately with gorgeous "foodie" related things and I just wanted to share with you my latest finds.
I was really excited to find out that 2012 would be the first year of the "Foodies Guide to Brisbane" compiled by Karen Reyment. This book has been released for both Melbourne and Sydney in the past but is newly compiled for Brisbane containing more than 360 recommended butchers, bakers, food stores and chocolate makers, which are considered Brisbane's and its surrounds best and most interesting. I was delighted to find out that I had already visited some of the featured shops and that some of them were even my local fruit and veg shops and deli's. Over the coming months I will make an attempt to visit all or as many of the featured stores! Igot this from my local QBD for around $25 but I was surprised to find it in Big W for around $16.


Bakerella is the queen of all things baked and sweet. She is probably best known for her cake pops and bites. I was surprised and delighted to see on my last visit to my local Big W that she has released a "Cake Pop Kit". This kit contains a cake pop recipe book that has hints and tips on how to make your cake pops a success as well as bags, sticks, tags and ribbon to package up your treats. It was only around $16 and will be a great gift for one of my foodie friends, or even myself for Christmas.


I have been compiling an assortment of cute baking tools and utensils and these star and gingerbread men cookie cutters will be perfect for my Christmas sugar cookies and ginger bread men.


Speaking of gingerbread men I picked up these gorgeous Ninja Bread Men cookie cutters, primarily to amuse Josh. I got mine from Typo but you can also get them from most specialty kitchen stores, I saw them in Robyn's kitchen along with some "Ginger Dead Men".


I was gifted this toffeed balsamic and vanilla syrup by Josh's Mum who picked it up on her recent trip through the Yarra Valley. I'm excited to try it on a salad or over pancakes soon!


Remember the tea that I mentioned in my Shortbread post? On a recent trip home I topped up my supplies at Sexie Coffie. The citrus flavour that hints the tea is my favourite giving it that bittersweet taste and smell.



What are your current foodie buys? 

3 November 2011

snickerdoodles

I wanted a plain, simple yet tasty cookie recipe to cook by the dozen to give away for Christmas and I feel that snickerdoodles have fit that description. I told myself I would only eat two of these beauties fresh from the oven but that turned into me telling Josh he was only able to have one more as he ran and hid with a handful to eat with the large cup of milk he had just poured. 
These cookies gave me flash backs to the gorgeous Cinnamon Doughnut Muffins I made a few months ago as I rolled them in the mass produced cinnamon sugar that I had left over. These cookies are the most underestimated in the book. Crunchy and cinnamon coated on the outside and soft in the middle. Ahh I'm ranting, you can tell it has been a while since I have made things from scratch....
 

recipe from Women's Weekly Classic Cookies 

250g butter, softened
1tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup castor sugar
2 eggs
23/4 cups plain flour
1 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
cinnamon sugar (two parts sugar for every one part cinnamon)

Beat butter, vanilla and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. 


Add eggs one at a time and beat until combined. 


In two batches stir in the dry ingredients. 


Cover and put in the fridge for half an hour. 
Preheat oven to 180c and line two baking trays with baking paper. 


Roll level tablespoons of the dough into balls and coat with cinnamon sugar. 


Place on trays leaving room for them to spread and bake for 15mins. 
Cool on trays.
Now I wish I listened to my own advice and only had one as I now have no room left for my dinner.