Thursday, April 28, 2011

THAT person.

Cold, wet, dreary weather. 
Winter has definitely announced itself. 
Personally, I think winter would be the type of person (if it were a person, of course) you try to avoid but always get stuck talking to.
Surely you know what I mean - the type of person you see across the street and think 
"Oh goodness - where can I hide? Have they seen me? Can I still make a dash for it?"
Does everyone have old friends that are like that - or is it just me? 

Needless to say, I do not like winter.
It makes me want to stay bundled up inside in the warmth, preferably cooking.
But maybe that's a good thing - winter means I get lots of cooking done because I'm so desperate to stand huddled over the stove or pressed against the oven. 

But do tell me - 
What's your favourite winter warmer foods?  

I find myself trying to ditch salads and cold foods when it gets really cold 
and I stick to warm meals like pasta or baked vegetables. 
I've also rekindled my love of hot chocolates and my tea stash seems to deplete 100x faster
and don't forget warm winter flavours like cinnamon! 
Now for a masterchef style challenge, I have two things I've been sent - but have no idea what to do with! 
Mustard Seed Oil and Macadamia Oil.

Have you had any experience with either of these?
Any suggestions of what I should do with them?! 

Ooh and in other news!
I have a giveaway coming up on MAY 7th. 
So keep your eyes peeled! It has to do with Fairtrade Fortnight and my favourite chocolate ;) 
(It may even be an international competition :O)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes for an Egg-cellent Easter

Hey, it's Easter - I'm allowed to throw in a little cheesyness ;)
Last night I whipped up these little beauties for our little Good Friday dinner. 

They might look like your run of the mill vanilla cupcakes, 
but I'm pleased to say this may just be the Best Vanilla Cupcake recipe ever.
It's a bit of a frankenstein recipe - pulling bits and pieces of recipes together to create the ultimate one!
But rest assured, you'll have 12 yummy cupcakes by the end of the process.

BEST EVER Vanilla Cupcakes 
recipe by ksayerphotography
Makes 12

125g Butter, softened 
2/3C + 2 tbsp Sugar
2 Eggs 
1/2C Milk 
1/2 tbsp Vanilla Extract
1 1/3C Plain Flour 
3/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt

Preheat oven to 160*C (320*F).
Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 
Add in eggs one at a time, beating for a minute after each egg. (Don't worry if your mix looks slightly curdled, it'll come together - I promise!)
In a bowl combine milk and vanilla.
In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. 
With a mixer on low speed, alternatively add the flour and milk mixtures until all is combined. 
Beat for a further 3 minutes on high.

Divide into lined cupcake pans and bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on wire racks.

Though, if you do make this recipe - you may want to double it... or triple it... or quadruple it.
The cupcakes will vanish in a flash!

I frosted the cupcakes in a basic buttercream and then topped them with some candy coated easter eggs and sprinkles and there you have it - simple easter cupcakes :) 

So tell me,
Do you have any special Easter traditions?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Breads and spreads

To me, fresh crusty bread is one of life's simplest pleasure.
Even as a child I remember being excited when Mum bought a fresh loaf of bread from the bakery because I knew that there was a crusty end piece waiting for me. 
Luckily, no one else in my family seemed to like the "butt" of the bread, or is it the heel? 
What do you call it?

Lately I've been experimenting in the world of bread making. 
Quick breads.
Yeast breads. 
Flat breads. 
English Muffins.

Why? Because well, I can!
I get a little kick out of baking things most people wouldn't think twice about picking up at the supermarket. 
I mean, if you can buy english muffins why shouldn't you make them?

For ages I was scared of yeast.
It smelt like old people, bubbled and frothed and doubled in size.
Now - yeast and I are allies in the kitchen.

When I received a package of goodies from Melrose Foods I knew exactly what some of the products needed. 
Fresh bread, the perfect vessel! 

 My favourite thing to slather on fresh bread would have to be nut butter - followed closely by honey. 
Usually, I'm a peanut butter girl addict, but after making my own nut butters at home I've discovered a whole world of nutty goodness. 

Now, before I tell you about these nut butters.. It's time for a public service announcement.
See the writing on top of the jar up there? It's kind of a warning. 
Now I want you to make sure you actually do what that warning says and not be a dodo like me. 

You see, I read the warning... and then opened the jar while standing and holding the jar on an angle. 
Excuse me brain cells? WHERE DID YOU GO?!?!?!
Needless to say, my floor needed cleaning. 
Back to the nut butters!
Once I'd cleaned up the mess and stirred the oil back into the spreads (another messy job - but it's worth it!), it was time for the taste test! 

The Walnut and Cashew Spread is made up of 80% Walnuts and 20% Cashews, so it's full of Omega-3 fatty acids.
It had more of a delicate flavour, when compared to something like peanut butter, and spread really well.
It would be the perfect addition to baked goods and is perfect on a slice of toast for breakfast.
You could even use it in savoury recipes - perhaps adding it to a salad dressing or using it as part of a sauce for a stir fry.
The Brazil Nut and Linseed Spread was sweeter than the Walnut and Cashew Spread thanks to the naturally sweet Brazil Nuts. 
As someone who isn't a huge Brazil nut fan, I was pleasantly suprised to find I really enjoyed this spread! 
Linseeds (also known as flaxseeds) are the richest plantsource of Omega-3 fatty acids so they're perfect for people like me who don't eat fish or eggs!
I'm thinking this spread may be the perfect addition to some banana muffins in the near future.

Melrose also have a variety of other nut spreads like Almond and Cashew spread, 
which I definitely have my eye on to try!

Tahini is something I've been thinking about trying for quite a while, but just haven't gotten around to.
Tahini is made by grinding sesame seeds and is an excellent source of calcium. 
Hulled Tahini allows for easier absorption of the calcium in the sesame seeds which would otherwise slip straight through the digestive system without being absorbed. 
Tahini is also an excellent source of protein, having more protein than milk, soy and many nuts.

Hummus is one of the most common foods that call for tahini, but it is also excellent by itself as a dip or used as a spread on sandwiches. 
Tahini can also be used in dressings and sauces in savoury dishes or used in sweet desserts.
I actually liked it straight up on bread or crackers and its delicious when mixed with a little bit of honey!

Now, mayonnaise is something I usually avoid like the plague. 
I mentioned above that I don't eat eggs, the reason I don't like mayonnaise is exactly that. 
However! this mayonnaise from Melrose (tongue twister? maybe?) is egg and dairy free
so there's none of that awful eggyness I usually despise. 

The mayonnaise is made with natural sunflower oil and is cholesterol free and vegan friendly.
I liked the tangy taste from the mustard which made it a perfect addition to salads or sandwiches, it's a perfect alternative to regular mayonnaise for those with allergies or specific food preferences. 

You can pick up Melrose products in the health food aisle of the grocery store
or at your local health food shop!

I want you to tell me
What is your favourite thing to have with fresh bread?
and if anyone has any delicious bread recipes, feel free to share! :)

Oh and let it be known, those lovely rolls were not created by me. 
They were bought from a bakery! I can only dream my dough shaping skills will ever become that good :P

Kristy received these products courtesy of
If you'd like a review of your products, send an email to

Monday, April 11, 2011

The ultimate chocolate cake?

"Kristy this is the best chocolate cake you have ever made"

That sentence is one that is quite shocking.
You see, my sister is a bit of a brownie snob and this carries over into chocolate cakes as well.

She's stuck on just one recipe.  
Her recipe she randomly found on the web and uses every. single. time.

To be honest, it's not even that great of a recipe.
It usually ends in disaster - either an overcooked brownie or a ridiculously undercooked brownie and quite commonly, it sinks.
But it still remains the best brownie recipe ever according to the creature of habit.

So when I received this Chocolate Mud Cake Mix from Well & Good,
I decided its fate was to stand the ultimate test.

To give the cake the best chance of winning her approval,
I decided it was best to hide the packet.
A fifteen year old would surely turn her nose up as soon as she read the words..

Gluten free
Wheat free
Nut free
Fructose friendly
Dairy free
No Trans Fat
GMO free
No Artificial Colours or Flavours

So I baked away while she was at school, photographed and she came home to a chocolate cake precariously perched on the benchtop, awaiting its demise.

It was fudgy in the centre with a slightly chewy crust - just like the perfect brownie.
All it needed was a dusting of icing sugar to be complete.

"Ooooh what's this? Did you bake this today?"

I quickly weaved a little white lie, telling her I'd whipped up a Martha Stewart creation, before handing her a plate and a piece of cake.

She took a bite and that's when we heard...
"Kristy this is the best chocolate cake you have ever made"

My mum looked at me in shock,
my ego took a little dive (beaten by a packet mix!)
and I burst into laughter before pulling the packet from the cupboard.

"What's that? Wait.... this is from that?!"

The truth was out and her opinion stayed the same.
The only thing she was worried about was whether we could buy more!
 Luckily, all I have to do is look up the retailers.

Though, being as determined as I am, this cake mix has sparked the..
Ultimate Chocolate/Brownie Cake Challenge

 But I do have to say - go out and get yourself one of these mixes and bake it ASAP
You won't regret it - afterall, it passed the creature of habits ultimate taste test.

But do tell me!
Do you have a recipe you're stuck on using and won't budge on?
and Do you have a chocolate cake recipe you think is the best ever?!
I need suggestions!

Kristy received these products courtesy of
If you'd like a review of your products, send an email to