It’s cold out. And when it’s cold out, there’s nothing better than a home cooked meal shared with the family. I like to eat slow cooked casseroles or ragu that has been simmering away all afternoon. The problem with winter comfort food though, is that it slowly stacks on your weight without you knowing until it’s summer time. You try to put on your favourite pair of shorts or skirt and find that it no longer fits!
I was introduced to Vetta Pasta’s new Smart Pasta range; one is High Protein Low Carb and the other is Cholesterol Lowering. These two healthy options comes in different shapes so you can cook any pasta dish you want.
I tried the High Protein Low Carb Penne and could not taste the difference over traditional pasta. I have a Nigel Slater recipe that I like to cook for the the family but since I have the healthier pasta, I wanted to change the original recipe to a slighter healthier one too. I also added a breadcrumb topping to add texture to the dish. If you don’t use all of the topping, place in an air tight container for use next time.
I have also tried the Cholesterol Lowering Spirals. If you would like to try Vetta’s recipes for their new range, you can find them here.
- 4 of your favourite pork sausages,taken out of the casing and crumbled
- olive oil
- 400g of Vetta Pasta high protein low card Penne
- 200ml white wine
- a small handful of chopped fresh basil
- 1 tbs of whole grain mustard
- 200ml light evaporated milk
- Put a large pan of water on boil for the pasta
- In a frying pan, add the olive oil. When hot, add the crumbled sausages and fry till cooked through.
- Cook the pasta according to packet instructions
- Pour the wine into the frying pan and let it sizzle. Scrape the bottom of the pan to get anything that got stuck. Add the chopped basil.
- Add salt and the mustard. Pour in the evaporated milk and bring slowly to a simmer.
- Cook for a further minute or two, making sure to stir now and then.
- When the pasta is cooked, drain the tip into the cream sausage sauce. If too dry add some of the pasta water.
- Serve with a garnish of basil leaves and top with breadcrumb mix. (recipe below)
- 1/2 cup of fresh breadcrumbs
- I clove of garlic, crushed finely
- 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 4 tbs of chopped fresh herbs, any will do ( I used rosemary and parsley)
Breadcrumb mix method:
- Pour some olive oil into a frying pan then add the breadcrumbs. Toast a little.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and warm through. Put aside.
Pasta and Ingredients were courtesy of Vetta Pasta and KeepLeft PR
I haven’t posted anything on my blog lately about cocktails and drinks. While I love cooking and baking, hubby loves to get in his bar and mix up some concoctions for me and family. He loves to keep his bar fully stocked with different liqueurs and spirits.
Just like me, he experiments with flavours and textures with his drinks. He can make me a lovely refreshing cocktail and at the same time, whip up a delicious mocktail for the kiddies to enjoy.
Here are a few Hubby has mixed up and have come up a treat.
Pimms and lemon squash
Mai Tai: White rum, Malibu, orange juice and grenadine
Blue Sky Colado: Malibu, coconut milk, blue caraco, pineapple juice and sugar syrup
Sexy Cider: Sparkling White wine, Calvados, apple juice and fresh berries
And Hubby’s favourite at the moment …
Vodka and Lime Crush:
1/3 cup caster sugar
4 limes, cut into wedges
Crushed ice, to serve
Chilled lemonade, to serve
1. Place the sugar and lime wedges in a mortar and pound with a pestle until the lime is crushed.
2. Add the vodka and ice and pound to crush.
3.Divide among serving glassed and top up with lemonade
For more drink ideas and inspiration, check out my instagram feed and search for #DrinksMadeByHubby.
Do you know it’s International Ice cream month? No? well, you do now…
It just so happens July is also Deanna’s birthday month. What better way to celebrate than having an ice cream party. It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of winter here in Melbourne, ice cream is always welcome with my family.
Deanna was lucky enough to create her very own flavour to celebrate. Harry’s ice cream asked us to create a flavour that they would make for us in their factory in Brunswick. After many discussions between Deanna and myself, we came up with…
Cotton Candy ice cream with marshmallow pieces and strawberry swirl. It definitely is a fun flavour with a touch of a princess :)
Along with the Cotton candy ice cream, we were also sent Pavlova and sticky date flavoured ice creams. O.M.G. that sticky date! I had various toppings that our guests were able to add.
We had our family over to help celebrate and had lots of fun doing it.
Thanks to Harry’s Ice cream, we were able to have our creation made up in a couple of weeks. It usually takes 6 months of research to develop their perfect flavours before it hits the freezer shelves of Woolworths supermarkets. You can see Harry’s full range here or you can also see my recipe of Leche Flan Ice cream using Harry’s base ice cream recipe here.
This one has been sitting and waiting to be blogged. I don’t know why it took me so long because I really wanted to share this recipe with you as it’s a family favourite. You will never have a boring sandwich for your picnics ever again!
This was the first time I’ve made a stromboli. I’ve made similar loaves but this one was far the best one I’ve made and eaten. We took it out on one of our family days and it was a hit with the family. It’s basically a sandwich and filling baked all in one. You can choose what ever filling you and your family wants. I made one with two different fillings. One side for me and hubby with roasted peppers, pastrami, salami, and mozzarella cheese while I filled the other half with ham and cheddar cheese for the kids. A two in one!!
The recipe below is slight variation from Jo Wheatly, the winner of BBC’s The Great British Bake Off.
- 340g strong white flour (bread flour), plus extra for kneading
- 7g fast action yeast
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 200ml warm water
- 4 springs of rosemary
- 1 jar of basil and parmesan tapenade
- 1 small jar of roasted peppers in olive oil
- 100g sun-dried tomatoes
- 150g mozzarella cheese
- Combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.
- Add 2tbs of olive oil from the roasted peppers and add 200 ml of the water. Mix until you have a soft dough.
- Knead with hands for 10 mins or mixer with a dough hook for 6 mins.
- Once the dough is smooth and elastic, place in a large oiled bowl . Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead for 1 minute to knock back and then roll into a 40cm x 20cm rectangle.
- Spread the tapenade then scatter the fillings evenly over the dough.
- Fold the shorter ends of the rectangle over and roll the dough into a tight Swiss roll spiral.
- Carefully transfer to a baking tray with the seam on the bottom.
- Cover with oiled cling film and leave to prove again for another 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Preheat over to 220degC (200degC fanforced)
- Brush with a little olive oil and push the rosemary springs onto the top.
- Bake in the middle of the oven for 30 mins until golden brown, then turn down the temperature to 200degC (180degC fanforced) for another 10 minutes
- Cool and then cut into thick slices to serve.
Make time to sit down and enjoy an afternoon treat. Lately life seems to go by so quickly. Life is fast paced and full of activity. For me, working long hour days, I don’t get the chance to sit down and enjoy and a cup of coffee or a pot of tea with a little treat.
Having some down time is very important. It’s time to collect thoughts and enjoy some quiet time. I know it’s hard. Even though I sit down, I’m constantly thinking about planning our family meals for next week or what chores and events I need to attend to next weekend.
The ritual of sitting down for a cuppa is long gone but I would like to bring it back. I enjoy a cup of coffee or sometimes a pot of freshly brewed tea. I always need to accompany my drink of choice with a sweet treat. Of late, I have put aside my Sunday afternoon, even for just half an hour to sit down, enjoy a cuppa. I often read a magazine while partaking in a sweet treat.
If I can do it al fresco, it’s even better.
For treats, I like scones. I’ve recently had the delicious range of scones from baker’s delight. Or if you’re up to baking up a storm to create your own special treat to enjoy, you can look here for some of my recipes.
Scones and the Christina Re tea cup came courtesy of Baker’s Delight and Keep Left PR
I’m happy to say that our lemon tree is now giving us constant supply of lemons. Having said that though, I need to keep finding ways of using up all the lemons. So far, I’ve managed to use them up in mostly sweets and desserts. Hey, what can I say? My family love desserts :p
I found this recipe in one of my many Women’s Weekly cookbooks. I’ve made lemon curd many times before and I usually use the same recipe but I thought I’d try this one as it also uses limoncello. I like this recipe too. It’s not as tart and it’s a little sweeter. This recipe states that you should make the curd the day before, unfortunately, I wasn’t quite so organised. I let the curd chill in the fridge for a few hours before using it. It was still a little runny but it didn’t affect the flavour or the final outcome.
I used a blow torch for the meringue on top, however if you don’t have a torch, you can place in a hot oven (240degc) for a couple of minutes until the meringue gives a nice brown colour.
- 260g plain flour
- 40g icing sugar
- 185g cold unsalted butter, chopped coarsely
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tsp iced water, approx.
- 3 egg whites
- 165g caster sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 110g caster sugar
- 1tsp finely grated lemon zest
- 60ml lemon juice
- 90g cold unsalted butter, chopped
- 1 tbs limoncello liqueur
Make the limoncello curd:
- Whisk egg yolks and sugar in medium heatproof bowl until pale and thickened slightly.
- Add the zest and juice, stir over medium saucepan of simmering water about 10-12 minutes or until mixture coats the back of a spoon.
- Remove from heat, gradually whisk in butter until combined between additions.
- Stir in limoncello; cover, refrigerate overnight.
Make the pie :
- Process flour, icing sugar and butter until crumbly. With motor operating, add egg yolk and enough of the water to make ingredients cling together. Turn dough into floured surface, knead gently until smooth. Wrap pastry in plastic. Refrigerate for 30 mins.
- Grease two 12 hole mini muffin pans. Roll out the pastry between sheets of baking paper until about 5mm thick. Cut out 6cm rounds then press into holes of the pan. Prick base of cases with a fork. Refrigerate 30mins
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 220degC
- Bake cases about 8-12mins then stand for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool.
- Beat egg whites ina small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add caster sugar, beating until dissolved between additons.
- Divide the limoncello curd into cases.
- Spoon meringue mixture into piping bag fitted with 1cm plain tube. Pipe meringue over curd.
- Use a blow torch to brown the meringue.
So, how do you eat your Hot cross buns?
Do you eat it toasted with lashings of butter for breakfast at the kitchen table in your pyjamas or do you like to scoff them down with butter and jam for afternoon tea with friends? Either way, it’s time to eat them now!
I was given a chance to try eating them with all kinds of spreads. Some of which I haven’t even thought of. For me, I like to eat them with a thick layer of butter with a good cup of coffee. Thanks to to Baker’s Delight, I was able to try them with caramel spread, honey and lemon curd.
In my house, my family eats them all different times of the day depending on when we crave them. Most of all, while they are available, they are best eaten fresh when they are still soft. We can go through so many packets during Easter. It’s definitely a favourite with everyone in our house.
Whilst the kiddies like them with strawberry jam, I have discovered my love for caramel spread on warm hot cross buns. I have a sweet tooth, as you can tell from all the baking I do. This really hits the spot when I have my late night sweet cravings. Hubby tried the lemon curd and he loved it! He loves the combination of the spices and sweetness of the hot cross buns mixed with the sourness of the lemon curd. If you haven’t tried it before you need to try!
Anyway, however you enjoy these sweet spiced buns, I hope it’s shared with family and friends together filled with love and laughter this Easter.
From my family to yours,
Hope you have a blessed and happy Easter.