Peppermint chocolate slice

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Who else loves Christmas? I am one of those people who wants to start playing the Christmas music in October (I usually hold-out til mid-November!) so it suited me perfectly to test this recipe early (and a few times over!). Like candy canes in slice form, these mouthfuls are refreshingly pepperminty, with nuggets of chocolate, smooth coconut and bursts of cherry. Also a no-bake layering option with NO COOKING required! Perfect for a Christmas recipe in the southern hemisphere! Merry Christmas everyone!

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Peppermint chocolate slice

  • Servings: 25
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Ingredients

For the base:

  • 125g Marie biscuits, crushed
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 70g melted butter (?needs more)

For the filling:

  • 2 cups coconut
  • 395g sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tsp peppermint essence
  • 70g glace cherries, chopped
  • 70g dark chocolate chips

For the topping:

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Place the Marie biscuits with the cocoa powder in a food processor and whizz until they form a fine crumb.
  2. Stir through the melted butter and pour base mixture into a greased baking tray. Use a spatula to pack the base tightly and evenly across the baking tray. Refrigerate to set.
  3. To make the filling, combine filling ingredients in a mixing bowl. Pour on top of the base layer and spread evenly. Return to the refrigerator to set.
  4. After 30 mins or more, melt the chocolate and the oil in a mixing bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time. Stir with a spatula until melted and smooth. Pour on top of the filling and spread evenly. Refrigerate until set.

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Christmas fruit triangles

My take on Christmas fruit mince piesMy take on Christmas fruit mince pies

Following on from my previous post about a Christmas Waldorf salad, I have been meddling in the kitchen with all things Christmas–themed. Here is my take on the classic mince pie. I seriously can’t stop eating these, and have had them in the house since mid-November when I first tried out this recipe. It seems such a shame for this baked dish to have such a short window in the year!

My take on Christmas fruit mince pies

Christmas fruit triangles

  • Servings: 20
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Ingredients

For the pastry:

  • 240g plain flour
  • 160g butter, softened
  • 3 tbs icing sugar
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ cup water

For the fruit mince:

  • 100g sultanas
  • 50g dried cranberries
  • 100g mixed peel
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • Juice of half an orange
  • 1 tbs milk, to brush onto the pastry
  • Icing sugar, to garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius. Grease a baking tray with spray oil.
  2. Combine the flour and butter in a mixer with a dough attachment. Add the icing sugar, spices and enough water for the pastry to come together. Bring together into a ball, wrap in clingwrap and refrigerate for 20 mins.
  3. Combine the fruit mince ingredients excluding the milk, and whizz together in a food processor until sticky.
  4. Roll the pastry on a floured work surface until thin (as thin as you can without it breaking). Cut into long rectangles, and then into squares about 6cm square.
  5. Place approx. 1 tsp of fruit mince onto one half of the square (divide the square diagonally so that the fruit mince covers a triangle shape). Fold the pastry over and lightly press the edges together to seal.
  6. Place the triangles on the baking tray and crimp the edges with a fork to create a pretty pattern. Brush each triangle with a little milk.
  7. Bake in the oven for 20-25 mins until golden.
  8. Cool the pastries on a wire rack and dust with icing sugar once cooled to serve.

Watermelon trifle

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Trifle is a fun classic dessert that is a great make ahead option and is perfect for warm evenings. I decided to have a go at making one with a watermelon twist. I made my own watermelon jelly from fresh watermelon and was surprised by how easy it is!

A cooling, fresh and summery dessert! Enjoy!

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Watermelon trifle

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients

  • 200g store-bought lemon madeira cake, sliced thinly
  • 1 thick slice watermelon, diced
  • 100ml cream, whipped

For the custard:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 tbs caster sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For the jelly:

  • 250g watermelon, diced
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp gelatine

Directions

  1. To make the custard: Combine milk and vanilla in a small saucepan.
  2. Combine egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk to dissolve sugar.
  3. Fill the sink with cold water, and get out a clean bowl, rubber spatula and strainer for when the custard is cooked.
  4. Bring the saucepan with the milk mixture to a simmer. Remove from the heat.
  5. Pour the milk mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly.
  6. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan over a medium heat and stir constantly until thick. Cook for 2-4 mins. The custard will be cooked when you will be able to draw a line on the back of the spoon through the custard.
  7. As soon as it is ready, pour the custard through the strainer into the clean bowl. Place the bowl in the sink so that the cold water surrounds it. Stir with a rubber spatula until cold. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
  8. To make the jelly: puree the watermelon in a food processor. Strain the juices into a saucepan and put on a low heat with the sugar and gelatine and stir until fully dissolved. Place into a cold bowl, cover with clingwrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or until set.
  9. Layer thin slices of cake, then custard. Top with fresh watermelon, then whipped cream and finally scramble the jelly to make a pretty topping.

Self-saucing banana caramel mug cakes

A deliciously decadent self saucing caramel and banana cake in 4 minutes

Sometimes an after dinner dessert just has to happen. You’ve had a long day, you’re exhausted, you’ve managed to get through dinner and dishes, and….you’d love to just collapse on the sofa with a delicious and decadent dessert. But who wants to be bothered making pudding after all of that??

In comes the amazing phenomenon of the mug cake. I love this concept so much. It just hits the spot when you MUST HAVE PUDDING. I had fun trialling this recipe – the first time, I went a bit crazy and didn’t add any fun ‘dessert’ ingredients, and although edible, it tasted like porridge 🙂 The second time, I forgot the flour! I have now nailed this banana and caramel mug cake and am happy to share the joys to everyone. Happy pudding-eating 🙂

banana_caramel_mug_cake_2A deliciously decadent self saucing caramel and banana cake in 4 minutes

Self-saucing banana caramel mug cake

  • Servings: 1
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Ingredients

  • 1/4 mashed banana
  • 2 tbs milk
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1 tbs oats
  • 1 tbs plain Greek style yoghurt
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbs Nuttelex

For the caramel sauce:

  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tbs golden syrup
  • 4 tbs boiling water

Directions

  1. Mix all of the ingredients (except the sauce ingredients) in a mug.
  2. For the sauce, place the sugar, golden syrup and boiling water on the top of the mixture.
  3. Cook in the microwave on high for 4 mins.
  4. Spoon upside down into a dessert bowl. Serve with a spoonful of extra yoghurt.

Oat and apple chocolate brownies

A 'healthy' brownie with less butter and sugar, but just as delicious fudgey textureI have had a lot of yummy treats in the house recently, due to several big family occasions and much testing for new recipes! So, to counteract all of the temptation, rather than not cook any sweet treats at all, I thought I’d have a go at making brownies without all of the butter and sugar as per usual.

A 'healthy' brownie with less butter and sugar, but just as delicious fudgey texture

I would not go to as far as to say that these are healthy, but perhaps offer a less decadent choice! They sure don’t taste less decadent though! Super rich, with a fudgey texture and very very chocolatey.

These took me approximately 10 mins to make, and because they bake so quickly too, they’re the perfect recipe to have up your sleeve for last minute guest baking.

A 'healthy' brownie with less butter and sugar, but just as delicious fudgey texture

Oat and apple chocolate brownies

  • Servings: approx. 30
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Ingredients

  • 100g rolled oats
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 375g apple sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 75g dark chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius. Grease a baking tray with spray oil and line with baking paper.
  2. Mix together the oats, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and brown sugar. Add the apple sauce and egg and mix to combine.
  3. Pour half of the mixture into the baking tray and spread to evenly cover the base.
  4. Sprinkle the chocolate chips all over the mixture and cover with the remaining brownie mixture.
  5. Bake for 15-20 mins. Do not be alarmed if the centre is gooey – the chocolate chips will have melted which is intended!

Rice cooker apricot rice pudding

An easy creamy rice cooker apricot rice pudding

Ah rice pudding; another dessert that I fell in love with last year while pregnant. It fits the ‘cold and creamy’ bill exactly, if served cold. But I’d never made it from scratch before now, and I don’t know why because it is very simple to make and infinitely less expensive!

An easy creamy rice cooker apricot rice pudding

I wanted to create a recipe that even a lazy cook would want to attempt. Whenever we cook rice to accompany our dinner, we always use our rice cooker. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to ‘put some rice on’. No need to tend to it after that, it is done and will be waiting for us when we are ready!

So I decided that wouldn’t it be cool to ‘put some apricot rice pudding on’ and have dessert smashed before I even began dinner? This recipe is definitely for people who want a luxurious dessert, but only have a few moments to put something together. It is also great for an easy dessert when entertaining too, because it is so easy to scale up or down, whatever the occasion.

An easy creamy rice cooker apricot rice pudding

The apricots become jammy and the whole thing is so creamy and filling. It can be eaten warm, straight out for the rice cooker after dinner, or can be chilled and eaten cold, which is my favourite. What is your favourite way to eat rice pudding?

An easy creamy rice cooker apricot rice pudding

Rice cooker apricot rice pudding

  • Servings: 6
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 3 cups milk
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • ½ cup diced dried apricots
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Greek yoghurt or cream, to serve

Directions

  1. Place rice, milk, sugar, apricots and cinnamon in rice cooker and stir. Cook the rice in the cooker.
  2. Once finished, stir through yoghurt or cream to add creaminess. This is equally delicious warm or cold.

Easy no bake coffee and walnut cheesecake

A creamy no bake cheesecake with a coffee flavour and walnut base

Today I am sharing an easy no bake cheesecake recipe. I have made baked cheesecakes before, and although delicious, I rarely turn to them as I consider them too much fuss. Especially when I want to whip something fancy up quickly during my baby’s nap time. I wanted an easy fuss-free no bake option.

A creamy no bake cheesecake with a coffee flavour and walnut base

A creamy no bake cheesecake with a coffee flavour and walnut base

I have made several incarnations of this coffee and walnut cheesecake below. The first attempts did not set properly, and oozed deliciously all over the plate. However, the flavours were immediately charming. I shared my trial runs with my family and as testament to the flavours, it quickly disappeared, even though we had all already eaten dessert and a birthday cake that same night. I must say, my family were fully supportive in assisting with taste testing for further trials!

I have tweaked the final recipe I’m sharing today and it now sits proudly on the plate; jiggly, creamy and delectable.

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Easy no bake coffee and walnut cheesecake

  • Servings: 8
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Ingredients

For the base:

  • 100g Marie biscuits
  • 75g butter, melted
  • 60g walnuts

For the filling:

  • 500g cream cheese
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 300ml heavy cream
  • 2 tsp instant coffee granules
  • 1 tbs gelatin powder
  • Cocoa powder, to serve

Directions

  1. Break the biscuits into a food processor and whizz until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Add the walnuts and whizz briefly again to chop them coarsely.
  2. Pour into a bowl and stir through the melted butter until well combined. Press into the base of a greased springform tin until well packed and smooth. Place into the fridge to chill.
  3. Whip the cream in a mixer until soft peaks form. Put aside.
  4. Beat the cream cheese and sugar together in a mixer until light and fluffy.
  5. Meanwhile, add ½ cup of boiling water to the instant coffee in a small jug. Add the gelatin and stir until the coffee and gelatin is dissolved.
  6. Pour the coffee/gelatin mix into the cream cheese mixture and continue to beat until well combined.
  7. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Pour into the chilled base and use a spatula to evenly spread the filling over the base. Place in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours, or preferably, overnight.
  8. When ready to serve, dust with a sprinkling of cocoa powder. Use a sieve to achieve an even, light coating.