Thursday, May 29, 2014

Recipe - Simple - Delicious - Melted Dark Chocolate Cake.

This recipe is so simple, and sooooooo delicious.
You will need a 14cm x 21cm loaf tin, lined with baking paper, leave extra so you can grip it to lift the cake out of the tin when its cool.


125g Dark Chocolate chopped (you can use cooking chocolate but I prefer to use something I like to eat)
125 Butter chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3/4 cup (165g) castor sugar
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cup (265g) S.R. Flour
3/4 cup (180ml) Sour Cream (or Greek yoghurt).

Place chocolate and butter into a microwave safe bowl and heat on high for about 45sec. Your butter should be melted and your chocolate should be softening. Remove and mix with a spatula until the chocolate finishes melting and the two combine. (see photo).

Place all ingredients including melted mix into a large mixing bowl and beat on low speed until combined (unless you want a flour dust storm).  Then when combined beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth and lighter in colour.  Spread mixture into lined loaf tin.  Bake in a moderate (approx 180C) for about 1hr.  Cake is cooked when it springs back when touched in the centre.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes in the tin. Then take out of tin by grasping the baking paper and lifting the cake onto a wire rack.  When cold top with whatever you like.  Plain chocolate icing, chocolate butter cream, whipped cream and strawberries....whatever you like.

By the way you will notice there are no photos of the cooked cake. I forgot to take one. Then when it was iced and cut up on a plate (taken for supper at a meeting) it disappeared so fast I didn't get a chance to rectify the problem.

So, don't worry about my photo of the end product, it's gone, the proof is in the eating, I reckon.
Just make it yourself and watch how fast it disappears.  I was lucky my husband wasn't home when it came out of the oven as it smells AMAZING when it's cooked and he would probably have eaten 1/2 of it hot, best way to eat cake sometimes, no icing required. Less sugar is better for you.

Anyway it's the best tasting chocolate cake I think because of the real chocolate in it and not cocoa. Enjoy!!!

Oh, if this recipe isn't big enough for you, just double it and put the mixture into a larger tin.

Melted chocolate and butter.

Baking paper lined loaf tin

All in together ready to mix.

Beating the mixture, nearly done.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Simple, Delicious, Healthy (Mostly) Food.

Lunch time and the worms were biting! What to eat that's satisfying but not too fattening? Mmmmmmmmmmmm
Got it! "Smash". One of my favorites!

You'll need:   1  x  large egg, 1 bread roll of your choice, 1/2 Avocado, 1/2 lemon, approx 6 leaves fresh mint, small piece of low fat feta, salt & pepper.  Extra: either 1 chorizo sausage cut in half, or some bacon.

If your having the extra: put your bacon or sausage under the grill to cook out as much fat as possible, and if it's bacon I like it crispy.

Heat water in a saucepan with salt & vinegar for your egg to poach in.
Slice your roll in half and lightly toast it.
While your water is heating up for your egg, "smash" your Avocado in a bowl, chop your mint and add, then crumble your feta and mix it in.
Put your toasted (not buttered) bun on your plate and sit it in a warm oven to keep it warm.
Keep an eye on your meat and keep turning it. When done place on paper towel to absorb as much fat out as possible. Put in oven to keep warm.

Break your egg into your boiling water and cook to your desired liking. I like mine runny yolk, set white.
When the egg is nearly done, take out your plate and toast, put your "smash" mix on top, divided between the 2 pieces, then add your crispy bacon to one piece and your poached egg to the other.
Squeeze lemon juice over the lot, yes on the egg, sprinkle with salt & pepper to your liking, I like to then break the egg so the yolk runs over my toast.

Sit down and tuck in!! It's delicious, healthy (mostly) and easy.

Wash it all down with a pot of tea or coffee if you prefer.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Home Cooked Recipe - Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese & Coconut Frosting

Yummy! I love carrot cake. Especially when it's covered in cream cheese icing (so wicked!) and sprinkled with shredded coconut.  Here's my recipe if you want to give it a go, it's very easy.

Serves 10-12.

100g raisins or currants
1/3 cup orange juice ( I used breakfast juice)
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sunflower oil (I used 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 pumpkin seed oil)
1 firmly packed cup brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 cup desiccated or shredded coconut
1/2 cup walnuts
3 carrots (grated or if you have a Thermomix use that to grate them)
pinch of salt

Icing:  250 g cream cheese, 1/3 cup icing sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 2 tbs lemon juice

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line the base of a 22cm springform cake pan.
Place raisins or currants in a small saucepan with juice and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 2-3 minutes until moisture is mostly absorbed. Set aside.
Place eggs, oil and brown sugar in a large bowl and beat for about 3 minutes until thick and creamy. (If using olive oil it will still be dark because of the colour of the oil)
Sift cinnamon, spice, flour, bi-carb soda and pinch of salt over the mixture, and fold it in with the coconut, walnuts, grated carrot and raisins/currants.
Spoon into the pan and bake for around 55-60minutes until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool in pan lightly covered with foil (makes it lovely and moist).

Icing: Beat all ingredients with electric beaters until light and fluffy, add more icing sugar to suit your taste if you want it sweeter. I don't add any extra as I like the tart taste of the lemon.
Cover top and sides of cake with mixture and sprinkle with shredded coconut or chopped walnuts if you prefer.

Great Places To Visit To Eat in Melbourne. - Jahdomes - Mill Park

There's a lovely little French Cafe called Jahdomes off Childs Rd, Mill Park ( I think the shopping centre is called "The Stables"). if you happen to live within visiting range. Have eaten there a couple of times now with friends and found the food very good. They have a good range of breakfasts, lunches, tapas and desserts.  Good coffee to. They are closed on Tuesdays, but open otherwise as far as I know.
I enjoyed the Mediterranean Scrambled Egg with Turkish Bread (feta, chorizo, tomato ) and coffee for lunch today. Very good. My friend had a scrambled egg with smoked salmon and a side salad instead of Turkish Bread, which they were happy to do, and she enjoyed that as well, and washed it down with a Chi Latte with spice. Breakfasts can be ordered up to 3.00pm so if your like us and like your eggs, you can have them for lunch!

Black Miniature Poodle & White Westie - Best mates.

Couldn't resist posting this in even though the photographer should be shot for such bad work. Never mind. You try keeping up with 2 little dogs playing "tag" with each other.  The Westie is my friends dog and she is 10 years old (although she forgets to act her age, just knocks up quicker), and the black poodle is my Miss Lily who is approaching 2 years old. Big age gap, but both love to play. Cerys just doesn't run as fast or as far as Lily, and being the "senior citizen", or Grumpy Grandma as we love to call her, she tries to "boss" the youngster around.......if only she could catch her! Keeps us smiling.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Great Places To Visit - Melbourne - Night Lights.

Started  the day with a good walk with Miss Lily and some friends.

Progressed into the night life, with a visit to Rod Laver Arena to hear a comedian/ventriloquist Jeff Dunham (whom our son introduced to us via u-tube). Something different for a change and also a very talented man. We enjoyed the evening with lots of giggles. Would recommend him for a interesting night out.

Melbourne is certainly lovely by nightlight. We could have easily spent the evening just wandering around the city lights, the weather was unusually pleasant for this time of year. Made us realize we should visit the city at night more often, and just wander around, find somewhere different to eat some dinner and walk some more. There's so much to see.

View from walk-over bridge at the MCG towards the city.

Inside Rod Laver Arena. Crowd just starting to come in.

City Lights

Entry to Rod Laver Arena

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Rhubarb & Apple Crumble

Rhubarb & Apple Crumble


Approx. 6 stalks of Rhubarb washed and cut into about 3cm pieces.
2 x Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thinly.
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar.
Add fruit to saucepan with water cook until softened,stirring occasionally so fruit doesn't stick,  add sugar continue to cook and stir. Cook 2-3 mins to be sure the sugar is dissolved. Taste, if not sweet enough for you add more sugar. Remove from heat.

1 heaped cup wholegrain rolled oats
1/2 cup wholemeal (or white) flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped almonds
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon mixed spice

Mix altogether in a bowl.

You can distribute your fruit between individual heat proof serving bowls or just one casserole dish. Only fill dish to about 1/2 way as fruit bubbles up in the oven.  Top with Crumble. Place on an oven tray (this catches any spills if your dishes are too full)  and cook at 180C for about 30mins or until golden brown.

Serve with custard and ice-cream or cream.

Great Places To Visit - Melbourne, Victoria, Australia- Parklands

Melbourne is a very diverse city. Being a country girl at heart I never thought I would be able to live happily in a city. Melbourne has proved to me that I can with its many park lands and reserves.  Having purchased a black miniature poodle to save my sanity, and make me walk more, I have begun to seek out areas where I can take her that are dog friendly.

Right on my doorstep is a bike path that winds its way along Darebin Creek and onwards. I enjoy taking Miss Lily along the many pathways within the Darebin Parklands, as they have sections which are dog friendly and clearly marked  "off lead" areas where your dog can run free, chase a ball etc. Of course you are expected to be considerate of other people and their dogs in these areas and it is your responsibility to ensure your dog is obedient even off lead and friendly towards other dogs and people.

Miss Lily is very friendly, and mostly obedient. Occasionally she might see another dog her size and run to say "hello", sometimes she doesn't listen and come back, but once she has said "hello", and waggled at her new found friend, then she comes.  It seems that way with most people's dogs, and as I would only let her off lead because she is so friendly, I hope others think the same.  So far that has been the case, and generally speaking, the owners get together and have a quick, friendly chat whilst the dogs have a little social interaction and fun. Then its's back to their owners and if necessary, back on lead and moving on.  So love being able to allow her this freedom and meeting other people who love their dogs enough to train them and allow them to "meet and greet", other owners and their dogs. There are also bins provided with bags attached throughout the park lands so you can clean up after your dog. Great idea. Keeps the area clean for everyone.  Personally, I always carry a plastic bag with me when I walk Miss Lily, even if she has been to the toilet at home, just in case. You can get fined if you don't clean up after your dog. Personally, I think it's irresponsible not to clean up after them, after all, I hate coming out to my mailbox and finding dog droppings on my nature strip, so I make sure Miss Lily and I don't leave them on anyone else's nature strip. 

Anyway here are some pics from this mornings walk, around Darebin Parklands in Ivanhoe.
I Love trees

Miss Lily standing on a rock -Queen of all she sees.

Morning sunlight on Darebin Creek

Darebin Creek

Miss Lily checking out something in the dewy grass.

Great Places To Visit - Doncaster East, Melbourne, Mullum Mullum Walking Track

Just because I'm currently in the city for awhile doesn't mean I have to "miss out" on my daily bush walks. Nearby to us i...