Easy Chocolate Mousse

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Do you ever want a fancy dessert but lack the time or ingredients? I felt that way earlier this week so decided to come up with a chocolate mousse recipe that has two ingredients! TWO! It was perfect as the calm end to a busy weekend.

This is delicious and incredibly rich. It makes 4-6 serves, depending how much you want to eat in one sitting. The quality of the chocolate makes a massive difference. You good quality, dark chocolate for the best tasting mousse.

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Chocolate Mousse:

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 250g chocolate
  • 1 Tim tam (optional)

Separate the eggs. Whip up the egg whites until soft peaks form. Melt the chocolate. Allow to cool slightly, then add the egg yolks. Combine well. Pour whipped egg whites into the chocolate and fold in. You want to keep as much air in the mixture as possible. This is what gives mousse its distinctive texture.

Pour into ramekins and place in the fridge to set for a minimum of 2 hours. Serve with a layer of crushed tim tams for something a little different.

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I hope you had a fantastic week.

 

Ttfn :)

Nectarine upside-down cake

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Nectarine upside-down cake:

  • 2 Nectarines
  • 25g Butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar

Cut fruit into even slices and line the base of a greased loaf tin. Be aware that the fruit will shrink a little when cooked. Over a medium heat combine butter and sugar. When melted together pour over the fruit.

  • 175g butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ cup milk

Mix butter and sugar until just combined. Add vanilla and eggs. Sift flour and baking powder together. Mix half of the flour into the batter. Stir through the milk. Then add the remaining flour. Pour over the fruit.

Cook at 180°C for 25-30  minutes

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Chocolate Caramel Slice

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Chocolate caramel slice is the stuff of legends. Every cafe, every family, every bakery has a slightly different version. And I think mine is the best!

Using ground almonds instead of flour creates this delicious fudgy texture, while remaining firm enough to be finger food. Mm delicious.

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Oh, and have a bragged about how easy it is yet? Each layer has about two steps. Mix the ingredients and then press into the tin. You could make this with your eyes closed! (Although I wouldn’t recommend it. The caramel requires heat and nobody should get burned just to prove how simple a recipe is.)

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Chocolate Caramel Slice:

  • 150g almond meal (aka almond flour, ground almonds)
  • 75g butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg

Mix all the ingredients together and press into a lined slice pan (18x22cm ish). Cook at 180°C for 5 minutes

  • 75g butter
  • 1 can (395g) condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Combine in a saucepan over a medium heat until thick. Pour over the base and cook at 180°C for 3 minutes.

  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil

Melt chocolate and oil together. Pour over slice and allow to set.

Cut into fingers and serve for afternoon tea.

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Can you tell I wanted to get my pretty plate in the shots? I have been slowly acquiring lots of cute crockery and am yet to figure out a way to use them for photos. They all feature floral patterns, much to the boys dismay.

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What is your favourite treat for a Sunday afternoon?

Ttfn :)

Super Easy Donburi Curry Sauce

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There is one place The Boy and I go if both of us feel too tired to cook. Renkon is the most delicious donburi. My fave is Katsu Curry so tonight I tried to create a quick and easy version at home.

The chicken was dipped in a mixture of egg and coconut milk, then coated in breadcrumbs and cooked in the oven. Add some stir fried veges and udon noodles – you have got yourself a meal!

The part I was really happy with was the sauce. It made enough for about 4 people AND used things we commonly have in the pantry. Awesome!

Japanese Curry Sauce (or a poor-mans imitation):

  • 1 tsp cooking oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp of sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • ½ can coconut milk
  • ½ can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp of: curry paste or powder, turmeric, garam masala, chilli flakes, stock powder, salt and pepper, extra spice of choice (paprika and cumin work wonders)

In a frying pan, saute the onions and garlic in the oil and sugar. Allow them to caramelise a little. Add butter to the pan and when melted stir through the flour (imagine this is the start of a roux). When the butter/flour mixture is in bubbling lumps add all the other ingredients. Stir occasionally and simmer until it has reached your desired thickness. For a smooth sauce, pulse in a food processor before serving.

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See? It is super easy. I’m thinking about keeping a container with the spice mix ready to go so that when the 5pm panic hits we have a quick, delicious meal. It is also a recipe that is easy to adjust. I don’t often actually measure the spices because who has time for that?

What is your favourite meal to throw together after a long day of work?

Hope you are having an awesome week.

 

Ttfn :)

Homemade Thin Mints

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There are some biscuits that are hidden from children and consumed straight from their hiding spot in the freezer on weekday evenings. Those biscuits are Thin Mints.

Thin Mints are like the after dinner mint but in biscuit form and more delicious. If it was a choice between nutella and these bikkies, nutella would get kicked to the curb.

There are a few steps to this recipe but it is actually really easy. You should definitely give them a go.

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Homemade Thin Mints:

CHOCOLATE COOKIE:

  • 150g butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • pinch of salt

Cream butter and sugar until just combined. Add eggs and vanilla. Sift flour, cocoa and salt into a bowl. Add flour mixture in parts, stirring well after each addition. Chill the dough in the fridge for 20 minutes before using.

Roll to ½ inch thick and cut into circles. Cook for 7 minutes at 180°C. Cool on a rack before the next step.

PEPPERMINT FILLING:

 

  • 3 cup icing sugar
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp milk

 

Mix butter, icing sugar and extracts until well combined. Add milk until it gets to a similar consistency to the uncooked cookie dough.

Spread over cooled chocolate cookies in a layer about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick.

COATING:

  • Dark chocolate
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil

Melt chocolate and oil together. Combine well and allow to cool slightly (don’t want to melt that filling!) Dunk cookies in the melted chocolate and allow to harden on a greased tray.

Enjoy!

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I was serious about eating them straight from the freezer. The biscuit base goes hard and the mint filling is cold and it’s just so. damn. good.

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I also bought some cute patterned crockery to use for blog photos. What do you think?

What is your favourite treat for the middleoftheworkweek blues?

I hope you have a great week.

Ttfn :)

Lamingtons (like your nana would make)

Lamingtons are a kiwi classic. They are delicious with some freshly whipped cream and a cup of tea – brilliant for a Sunday afternoon. I had thought that lamingtons were everywhere. (I am not very well travelled.) According to wikipedia, they are an Australasian thing and raspberry pink lamingtons a kiwi thing. Weird.

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Anyway, they are tasty and really cute for a tea party. They are normally cubes but I thought hearts might be nice. I realised too late that I don’t have a heart cookie cutter so these were all cut out with a small, sharp knife.

On to the recipe!

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Lamingtons:

  • 1 sponge cake
  • 1 batch raspberry icing
  • 1 batch chocolate icing
  • coconut to roll in

Raspberry icing:

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 4 Tbsp raspberry jelly crystals
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted

Combine butter, hot water and jelly crystals in a bowl. Mix until jelly crystals are dissolved and butter is melted. Add icing sugar in parts. Stir until there are no lumps of sugar. This is ready for dipping.

Chocolate icing:

  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 4 Tbsp cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar

Combine butter, hot water and cocoa in a bowl. Mix until cocoa is dissolved and butter is melted. Add icing sugar in parts. Stir until there are no lumps of sugar. This is ready for dipping.

 

Cut the sponge cake into your desired shape. Dip into an icing flavour, making sure it is well coated. Remove from icing and roll in coconut. Rest on a wire rack for the icing to set. Repeat with each individual sponge piece.

Serve with some freshly whipped cream and earl grey tea.

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These are very easy and a little bit messy to make. A great one to do with kids.

What is your favourite treat for a fancy afternoon tea?

Ttfn :)

Neenish Tarts

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Lately I have had a hankering for the classic kiwi treats of my childhood, specifically meringues, neenish tarts and lamingtons. I have so many lovely memories of visiting my nana on a Sunday afternoon and more often than not, there would be one of these sweet treats.

Neenish tarts originated in Australia, with their early history still disputed. In New Zealand, everyone grew up with neenish tarts with a lemony filling. They are in the Edmonds Cookbook (which is in almost every single kiwi home, seriously almost every one) and in any corner bakery. There is no better way to have a neenish tart than with a can of L&P.

 For those of you who haven’t had these before, neenish tarts are little single-serving tarts with a lemon creamy filling. They are distinct for the monochromatic icing – half vanilla and half chocolate.

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Pastry:

 

  • 4oz plain flour,
  • 4 oz self raising flour (or 4oz plain flour and 1 1/2tsp baking powder)
  • 4 oz butter (plus a pinch of salt if using unsalted butter)
  • 4oz castor sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

 

Cream butter and sugar until pale. Add egg and vanilla essence, combining well. Sift the flours together. Gradually add the sifted flours until it forms a ball of dough. Chill for 30 minutes before using.

Press into greased molds (I used muffin molds which made quite big tarts). Bake blind at 180°C for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a rack and allow to cool.

Lemon Filling:

 

  • Juice and rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup condensed milk (approx.. one can)
  • 75g of butter
  • ½ cup icing sugar, sifted

 

Put lemon, condensed milk and butter into a pot and combine over a medium heat. Take off the heat and mix in icing sugar. Fill the tart cases with the lemon mix.

Icing:

VANILLA

 

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1Tbsp hot water
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract

 

CHOCOLATE

 

  • ¼ cup cocoa
  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp hot water

 

Mix the vanilla and chocolate icings separately.  Spread vanilla icing over half of the tart. Once that is dry spread chocolate icing over the other half.

Enjoy!

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What treats from your childhood do you miss? Would you try these tarts?

I hope you have been having a lovely week!

 

Ttfn : )

Boozy Plum Granita

Granita is an incredibly easy semi-frozen dessert. Lately Auckland has been very hot and muggy. I was looking for something light to cool off in the evenings and this was exactly what I wanted.

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The bright colour is fantastic! I didn’t tell The Boy what it was, just asked if he wanted to try some. He expected a sickly sweet berry flavour and was not impressed that it was plum. This granita is a bit more sharp because of the plums I used. Black Doris would be sweeter but those don’t last long in my house.

This recipe makes six refreshing servings or four more indulgent servings. It will keep in the freezer for months – just fluff up before serving.

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Ingredients:

  • 500g plums
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup white wine

Method:

Peel and pit the plums. Place into a saucepan with the sugar and water. Stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, and then continue for about 5 minutes. Take off the heat and allow to cool.

Using a blender or food processor, blend the plum mixture until a nice puree. Stir in the wine and pour into a tray. Place in the freezer.

Fluff up the granita with a fork regularly. Some say to do it every 30 minutes or so. I forgot about it and went to sleep, and it still turned out fine. Because of the wine it doesn’t freeze completely solid.

Eat plain or serve with a dollop of cold custard. Yum! Perfect for hot weekend afternoons.

 

What do you like to make to help deal with the heat?

 

Ttfn :)

Birthday Shenanigans

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This weekend just past I went to Tauranga to spend some time with visiting family friends. We got up to quite a few things. There were 23 people staying in a four bedroom house. It was overflowing!

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On Saturday afternoon we played laser tag and I was awful at it. There were two very young kids (2 and 5) so they got to run around with lighter guns that didn’t have the lasers attached. They really enjoyed it. After wards, everyone had two pairs of shoes at the door. There were more inside than there were outside!

That evening we played older kids against parents in cranium and guess who kicked ass. Us! The young ones. My dad and I both had to do charades for bellydancing. I could hardly act it out for laughing.

The next day a fair few people ccame around for lunch. There were over 80 at its highest. Thankfully it was a lovely day and everyone could go out into the back garden. In the morning we prepared some salads and chicken for the barbeque and pot luck catered the rest.

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It also happened to be a fiftieth birthday celebration. I made a three tiered hummingbird cake with cream cheese icing. I used Bakerella’s recipe but left out the nuts.

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It was pretty delicious. If you don’t like banana cake don’t worry, you will like this cake. Somehow the pineapple neutralises the banana flavour and the cake is just sweet, moist and fruity. And cream cheese icing is always a good choice. ALWAYS.

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It was about 27°C when I was icing the cake and it just kept melting! I had to keep it in the fridge and ice it for five minutes at a time. I tried to do that whole makeitlookrusticsoitsbeautiful thing. Not sure how successful it was.

I thought that fifty candles would be a bit much so instead I used 44. Makes total sense. The flames grew so big that it was difficult to carry. The birthday boy had a good time and everyone enjoyed themselves and that is what matters.

Today is Waitangi Day in NZ. It commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 and is a day for New Zealanders to reflect on our heritage, culture and ourselves.

The boy and I took the holiday as a chance to sleep in and spend some time together. We talked about the Treaty and its importance today over breakfast. A bit heavy for people still half asleep but good none the less. There was a pretty good AskHistorians thread on reddit about New Zealand’s history. You can check it out here.

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Other things that happened this week was that the boy and I did a spot of shopping. We got some new loofahs and I got some body butter. They had some christmas stock left over which included the most delicious smelling chocolate body butter. I still have some strawberry left so I can make myself smell like chocolate dipped berries! I am strangely excited about that idea.

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We also picked up a new tea strainer and it is great. I really want to have a tea party sometime soon!

 

What have you been up to for the past week?

 

Ttfn :)