Wednesday, 30 October 2013

A cupcake experience

On Saturday one of my mum's friends was having a lunch with a few of us to celebrate her 70th birthday. I volunteered to bake some cupcakes and decorate them for her. All was going according to plan until the Wednesday when I was asked to work 4 hours overtime on the Saturday morning. OH NO!!!

What was I going to do? I was out on the Friday night at one my husband's work functions so there was no time to cook them then and no time on Saturday morning.

My husband MJ put his hand up and volunteered - hooray - um no - slight problem MJ has never cooked cupcakes before, he's not even sure when to turn a steak over on the grill. But I had no other choice, so I grilled him about how to do it and left strict instructions to follow.

I was nervous all morning at work but I was so surprised when I arrived home and they were not only edible but really really good. I was so proud I couldn't believe he done it except I noticed all the vanilla essence was gone and the poor thing had thought tsp stood for tablespoon, but thankfully it didn't make a difference.

He thought the mixture should have been a bit more dense not so light and fluffy, but he just keep going as he was following the recipe. No matter how many times I say it, MJ still thinks muffins and cupcakes are the same thing.

I quickly whipped up the butter-cream and decorated with some punch out rice paper butterflies and silver glitter. The birthday girl was happy - yeah!!!!

(A Month of Food - No. 28 After Dinner (cause we had left overs for dessert) and No. 30 weekend)

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

It's a big ad

Food and songs, food and catchy tunes, food and music go together very well. If they didn't ad campaigners would have a tough time selling their products.

One of my favourite ads would have to be the Carlton Draught "Big Ad" very clever indeed.

(A Month of Food - No. 4 Song)

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Make Peace with your plate - book review

There is a great blog out there called The Wellness Warrior by Jess Ainscough and it's all about healthy eating and lifestyle. I've been following for a few months now and just recently Jess released her first book. "Make Peace with Your Plate - Change your life one meal at a time".

I ordered it almost straight away from Bookworld and devoured every page when it arrived. I thought I'd share with you today my thoughts about it. 

Jess Ainscough use to be quite the party girl until at the age of 22 when she was diagnosed with a rare incurable cancer and was told the only way to prolong her life was to amputate her arm. That was not an option for Jess so she set about learning all she could about natural treatments. In this book she share her knowledge and contagious enthusiasm for healthy living - not just with food but with mindset too. 

I love how she describes this book in the introduction: "Achieving your ideal weight is a major part of it, but only because it's a superficial side effect of getting your insides in tiptop shape. My message is about wellness: whole body, complete, total, feel-so-good-you-feel-like-you're-leaving-a-trail-of-rainbow-sparkles-wherever-you-go wellness."

I love that, it's not about weight, yes that's part of getting healthy but it's about getting your insides right and the rest of you will shine. I know how much you need to do that, being wheat/dairy/sugar intolerant (yes I can still eat a little bit now and then and I don't let it stop me from baking) but since I've change most of my diet earlier this year I can tell you it works, you feel so great, your skin clears up, you sleep better, you don't spend most nights in the bathroom almost passing out from pain. 

Being a Wellness Warrior takes dedication and work but the benefits outweigh the negatives. The only negative really is that other want to be that healthy too so they pick on you to build themselves up, but that's nothing compared to the benefits of feeling so great and healthy.  

Jess suggests to read this book with an open mind and that not everything is for everyone (I'm not going to try the coffee enigmas) but we need to get back to a simpler concept of eating - go back to Mother Nature and stop eating so many chemical and fake foods. 

There are some delicious recipes inside - including a great chocolate milkshake and choc-goji brownies. I love the section entitled "All in your head" it's about going beyond our plates and getting into the heart of our eating habits, where so often it's our mindset and attitude that affects our health. It's filled with wonderful ideas and affirmations, getting it right in the head so you can get it right in the body.  

If you only read one book this year make it this one, it's a real life changer. 

(Note: This is not a sponsored/affiliate post I just love Jess' blog and really enjoyed the book and wanted to share it with you)

(A month of food: No. 5 Book)  

Friday, 25 October 2013

Cultural Meal gone wrong!!!

Wednesday night was meant to be a lovely "your exams/study are over for 3 months" special dinner for my husband MJ, well it turned out a little different then first planned.

I decided to cook a Moroccan dish from a recipe book I borrowed from the library called "Chicken Tagine with Apricots and CousCous".

I cooked it okay and it tasted nice but about half hour later, I was doubled over in stomach pains to the point I couldn't stand up straight and poor MJ felt really bloated and heavy (nice way to spend his first relaxing night in months).

Not sure what it could have been that made us so sick as we've eaten all those ingredients before but whatever it was didn't like me. 

Well lets just say we will not be eating that meal again anytime soon (well ever again).

Have you had any meals that have bitten you back?

(A Month of Food - No. 18 Special and No. 22 Dinner)

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Sandwiches aren't just for lunch anymore

How's your week going? It's Friday today, so I thought I'd share with you some inspiration for the weekend. 

Sandwiches - they bring back memories of school and peanut butter. But to one girl out there they bring on a whole new meaning. Meet the Midwest girl behind the blog 300 Sandwiches. 

300 Sandwiches is one girl’s mission to create and feed her darling boyfriend, who joked one day with her “You’re, like, 300 sandwiches away from an engagement ring.” So she took up his playful challenge and started her journey of 300 different sandwiches. 

I think it's a sweet idea and a nice playfulness between boyfriend and girlfriend, plus too there is some awesome recipes to be had. 
  • Sweet potato, black been and corn burgers with tomato jam
  • Grilled cheese and pear sandwich on olive bread
  • Grilled peach and cream cheese
  • Fried chicken sandwich with spicy slaw
  • Blondie ice-cream sandwiches
Head over today and find out for yourself (click here). 

Image found on 300sandwiches site. 


(A month of food No. 3 Lunch and No. 21. Sandwich) 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Blueberry Pancakes

Nothing says Sunday like a Pancake breakfast.

On Sunday MJ and I decided to treat ourselves to some yummy blueberry pancakes.

How do you treat yourself?

(A Month of Food: No. 12 Fruity and No. 31 Favourite) 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Pork Pie - Yuck

When I was a kid my mum use to make Pork Pie at least once every 2 - 3 weeks. I hated it, not sure why but I really disliked the taste.

There was a rule in mum's house, if you didn't like a certain food you went without or just had to eat it anyway. When it came to Pork Pie, I tried to like it but I just couldn't stomach it, so this was the only time the rule got a little bent.

Mum had to hard boil some eggs to put in with the pork mince, so she would put on an extra two eggs for me. I use to get so excited when Pork Pie night came around cause I got to eat hard boiled eggs. I know I know it sounds very strange to get excited over two hard boiled eggs but I just did, so I'd eat my two little eggs and some salad for dinner and was quite content. Plus my brother and dad were happy cause since the Pork Pie cut into an even 6 it meant there was one piece left over (I one I didn't eat) and they got to split the leftovers for lunch the next day. So it all worked out in the end.

(A Month of Food: No. 20 Memory and No. 25 Dislike)

Image found here - this isn't the recipe mum used, she found it out of a magazine years ago

Monday, 21 October 2013

Monthly Cardmaking

Last Friday it was my Monthly Cardmaking class. I love going to this class every month as we make the most nicest cards.

This month it was Christmas cards again, so I am now all set for the Christmas period.

Which one is your favourite?  Mine is the Fa La La La La one.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Pasta with feta, spinach and pine nuts

I have a weakness to share - I love pasta.

You might think that's nothing, slight problem is that I'm wheat intolerant.

Every now and then I can cope with a little bit of wheat on my tummy, so the other night I decided to try out a new recipe - Nigella Lawson's Curly Pasta with feta, spinach and pine nuts.

It turned out great, except I didn't use the same about of frozen spinach as I only had one box, next time I'll get two boxes.

My review:

Title: Curly Pasta with feta, spinach and pine nuts
Book/Page #: Nigella Kitchen #209
Date cooked: 19/10/2013
Review out of 5: 4
Eat again: Yes
Notes: More spinach needed

(A Month of Food: No. 15 Weakness) 

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Recipe - Hummingbird Cake

On Thursday it was one of my brother's 33rd birthday, I asked him what type of cake would he like - Hummingbird Cake was the answer.

I've never eaten Hummingbird Cake before let alone made it, so it was a nice challenge to be had.

It turned out pretty good for a first attempt and my brother was very happy and quite impressed (it takes a lot to impress him - so that's a good sign). The only thing was on Thursday it was quite a hot day so the cake didn't cool very well and end up a bit sticky when trying to frost up later. The frosting was so awesome you could just eat it all by itself.


For Cake:

  • 125g chopped pecan nuts
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 110g can crushed pineapple (I used fresh pineapple as I had some on hand)
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 225ml sunflower oil 
For Frosting:
  • 375g cream cheese
  • 250g butter, softened
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest, finely grated (I used lemon juice as I didn't have lemon zest)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
To Decorate
  • 3 tbsp chopped pecans (I toasted these ones too)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line the bases of two cake tins
  2. Put the pecans onto a baking tray and toast them in the oven for 5 - 8 mins
  3. Mix them in a small bowl with the bananas, pineapple and 55g flour, which helps prevent the fruit and nuts sinking to the bottom. 
  4. Sift the remaining flour, spices, bicarb and salt into a mixing bowl. 
  5. In another bowl, whisk eggs and sugar until they are thick, pale and creamy. Then whisk in oil, little by little. 
  6. Tip in the flour mixture and fold it in until the mixture is blended. Fold in the pecan mixture and then divide the thick batter between the tins. 
  7.  Bake for 50 - 55 mins until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool for 25 mins and then turn out onto wire racks to finish cooling.
  8. For the frosting, beat the cream cheese until it's fluffy, then beat in the butter until nicely combined. Sift in the icing sugar and beat until smooth, stir in lemon zest and vanilla extract and whisk until light and fluffy.
  9. Place one layer on a serving plate and spread over some of the icing. Place second cake onto and smooth icing all over the top and sides. Decorate with the chopped pecans.

(A Month of Food: No 16. Family and No. 19 Serve) 

Friday, 18 October 2013

Andre Rieu Concert

Wednesday night I got to spend a magical evening with my parents listening to some beautiful music.

I've never been to an Andre Rieu concert before and I know I'll be going again and again, every time he comes back I'll be there.

There is so much talent in this world and it was amazing to bare witness to that on Wednesday night.

If you ever get the chance to go to an Andre Rieu concert, take it the chance and witness an amazing night.

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