Strawberry and cream cookie cakes

Sweet and buttery strawberry cream cookie cakes

Ah, strawberries and cream. I have been experimenting with capturing these flavours in cake form. I wanted initially to make cookies. But these are more cake-like in texture. Plenty of body, dense, rich and tall. Also creamy and not crumbly like a biscuit. They are a doddle to make, and look super pretty on a dainty afternoon tea plate.

I think I might have to stop buying cream cheese for a while now…

Sweet and buttery strawberry cream cookie cakes

Strawberry and cream cookie cakes

  • Servings: 10
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Ingredients

  • 250g cream cheese
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup sliced strawberries (I used frozen)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius. Grease a baking tray with spray oil.
  2. Beat the cream cheese and sugar together in a mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the vanilla, the egg, the flour and baking powder and beat until it forms a smooth dough. Add more flour if it is sticky.
  4. Use your hands to shape balls using approx. ¼ cup of dough for each one. Place onto the baking tray and flatten with your palm. Use your finger to create an indent in the middle of each cake.
  5. Place a slice of strawberry on top of each cake in the indent.
  6. Cook in the oven for 25 mins. Cool on a wire rack before eating!
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Steak with crispy couscous

A paprika and garlic steak with crispy bacon couscous, green beans and tomatoes

What meat-eating person doesn’t love a steak? I do not, by any stretch of the imagination, pretend to know anything much about the cooking of the ‘perfect steak’, but I do enjoy eating it all the same. Steak is a fantastic hot-weather food. For me, it alludes to summer breezes, beaches, dining outside and BBQs. Those things usually go alongside holidays and good times.

A paprika and garlic steak with crispy bacon couscous, green beans and tomatoes

I have been making this dish recently, which has become a fast favourite due to its speedy preparation and flavour-bomb tastes. A one-pan dish (excepting the dish you ‘cook’ the couscous in), it is light on labour and on the washing up!

I also always keep a bag of frozen green beans and bacon in the freezer. Along with a few pantry staples, the only fresh ingredients on the list for this dish are steak and tomatoes. Simple!

A paprika and garlic steak with crispy bacon couscous, green beans and tomatoes

Steak with crispy couscous

  • Servings: 2
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Ingredients

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 400g beef steak
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 2 rashers bacon
  • 1 ½ cups green beans
  • 3 tomatoes

Directions

  1. Put a griddle pan on high and heat the olive oil.
  2. Rub the steak with paprika, garlic salt and pepper.
  3. Fry the steak 5 mins on the first side, 3 min on the other. Remove steak from the griddle pan and wrap in foil to rest.
  4. Boil the kettle, and add 1 cup boiling water to a bowl with the stock cube. Stir to dissolve. Add the couscous, stir and cover for 10 mins.
  5. Cook the bacon on the pan until crispy, and then add the green beans and tomatoes until softened, jammy and a little blistered.
  6. Once the couscous is cooked, fluff it up with a fork and add to your griddle pan. Do not stir for 5 mins or so, so that the bottom of the couscous becomes crispy and golden.
  7. Slice the steak into thin slices and serve on top of your crispy couscous.

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.

Baked risoni with corn, tomatoes and zucchini

A baked cheesy risoni dish with spring time vegetables

If I could eat pasta for dinner every day, I would do just that! I blogged about a slow-cooked zucchini pasta bake here and homemade ravioli here.

I decided to try something different with my sauce for this recipe, and it is so easy! Simply stir the sauce ingredients together straight in the baking tray, before adding the pasta and vegetables. I have chosen veggies that are in season and readily available, but you could use whatever you fancy or have in your kitchen.

Baking the risoni in the eggy sauce gives it a rather pudding-like texture with a pleasing crunchy topping. A lovely dish full of springtime flavours!

A baked cheesy risoni dish with spring time vegetables

Baked risoni with corn, tomatoes and zucchini

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 2 tomatoes, halved
  • 1 zucchini, shaved into thin slices
  • 500g dry risoni
  • 1 egg
  • 500g creamed cottage cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 15g grated parmesan
  • Fresh basil, to serve

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius.
  2. Heat a griddle pan and chargrill the corn, tomatoes (face down) and zucchini for 5-10 minutes until softened.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the risoni in salted boiling water according to packet instructions.
  4. Grease a deep roasting tray and break the egg into it. Add the cottage cheese and mix well. Add cooked risoni and vegetables and stir to mix well.
  5. Top with a layer of finely grated parmesan and bake for 20 -25 mins until golden and crusty on top. Sprinkle a few leaves of fresh basil on top to serve.

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.

coffee_walnut_cheesecake_3

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.

Raspberry and Milo chocolate mousse

A raspberry and malt flavoured chocolate mousse using Milo

I grew up in Australia, and as such, I am a natural ambassador for Milo. I am in love with the stuff. While I was pregnant, I enjoyed a hot cup of Milo as an alternative to a coffee.

A raspberry and malt flavoured chocolate mousse using Milo

As an adult, I think I have become more health-smart with my Milo to milk ratios. I know many a child who has filled a glass with the powder, and added a splash of milk to create a crunchy, malty paste. Hmmm description sounds far less appealing than the cheeky treat!

I actually was inspired to make this mousse after using a similar flavour combination for my porridge regularly this winter. Sprinkle a few frozen raspberries and a couple of teaspoons of Milo into your oats – it is delish! And so is this glammed up version of my fave childhood drink!

A raspberry and malt flavoured chocolate mousse using Milo

Raspberry and Milo chocolate mousse

  • Servings: 4
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Ingredients

  • 120g dark chocolate chips
  • 120ml cream
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 2 tbs Milo
  • 1 tbs caster sugar
  • ½ cup raspberries (I used defrosted frozen)

Directions

  1. Melt the chocolate and cream gently in a small mixing bowl, by placing in the microwave for 30 seconds, and stirring to encourage the rest of the chocolate to melt. Zap for another 30 seconds if needed.
  2. Once smooth, whisk the egg yolks and Milo into the chocolate mixture while still hot. Set aside to cool.
  3. Whisk the egg whites, adding the sugar, until stiff.
  4. Once the chocolate mixture is cool, fold through the egg whites, taking care to lose as little air as possible. Stir through the raspberries.
  5. Pour the mousse into serving glasses and set in the fridge for 4 hours, or ideally overnight.

Baked salmon & leek risotto

Flaky baked salmon in a one-pot leek risotto

My husband actually has a food blog buried in his past. Not in his long-ago past, but he no longer updates it. And on it, he shared a recipe for a baked risotto. It was his specialty recipe. As soon as he discovered how to bake risotto, rather than loyally stand at the stove stirring, he has never looked back. For a lazy weeknight, the baked risotto option is definitely a winning method that I support.

Flaky baked salmon in a one-pot leek risotto

I have rejuvenated my husband’s recipe with different flavours. Salmon and leek, a classic combination. And this recipe is packed with springtime vegetables. It is nice to know that you are sitting down to a well-balanced meal. No sides required

This recipe uses one-pot, is super simple to prepare, and then just let the oven do its thing. Enjoy!

Flaky baked salmon in a one-pot leek risotto

Baked salmon & leek risotto

  • Servings: 2-3
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Ingredients

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 leek, halved and sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 salmon fillets, skin off
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • Knob butter
  • Lemon juice, to finish
  • Salt and pepper
  • Grated parmesan, to serve

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in an ovenproof heavy based casserole dish. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius.
  2. Fry the leek, carrot and zucchini for 5 minutes in the casserole dish until vegetables have softened.
  3. Add the rice and mustard and stir to coat the rice evenly with the oil.
  4. Add stock and allow to boil. Cover with the lid and bake in the oven for 20 mins or until the liquid has all been absorbed.
  5. Meanwhile, place salmon fillets on a greased baking tray, season and bake for 12 mins or until cooked through.
  6. Remove from the oven and flake the cooked salmon over the risotto. Stir through with the peas, butter and lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with grated parmesan.