Why is it that every time I start to wonder what I’m doing with my life and start to consider returning to a ‘normal’ profession something turns up to make me change my mind? In this case, the latest issue of Cupcake Heaven turned up in my letterbox.
I’m now 34 weeks pregnant and I’m feeling it! I look like I’ve eaten ALL THE CAKES and I’m now getting tired a lot earlier than usual. My social calendar has taken another hit as I find I’m needing more and more down time. But the Doctors say this is all normal and that Munchkin is perfectly healthy. So I’m slowly but surely working through the remains of my to-do list before Munchkin arrives.
This week I’m making her a cot quilt and trying to get the design for her birth announcements done. As I’ve never quilted before, I enlisted the aid of the lovely Lynne who is quite possibly the most prolific and fabulous quilter I’ve ever encountered. Under her expert tutelage I’m making fairly good progress and currently have only had to unpick about half a dozen triangles. I’ll keep you updated as to it’s progress and shall blog the finished product.
I’m also discovering that I get fairly strange cravings. After a horrendous night wherein Munchkin ensured I slept less than I thought was humanly possible, I found I was craving carbs and sugar. In particular I found myself feeling rather partial to one of my childhood favourites, pikelets, and so quickly whipped up a batch. They’re delicious! I used the recipe from the Common Sense Cookery book and substituted gluten-free flour for the normal flour. Voilà! Deliciousness on a plate! They’re perfect covered in jam and cream or slathered in salty butter. I’ve had to promise DM that I’ll make him some soon as I ate the remainder of them this morning for breakfast. For those of you who want to try them, I’ve put the recipe at the bottom of this post.
It was around about this point in time that my trusty old Brother sewing machine started spitting out small parts at me. Literally.
A little investigation revealed that these are in fact the pieces that turn the lights and power to my machine on and off. I can’t complain. The machine was my mothers before it was mine. And I know for a fact she inherited it from someone else. So it’s definitely seen it’s fair share of work and has travelled halfway around the world without grumbling, until now. The machine still works, I just have to power it on and off at the wall. And on the plus side it looks like I’ll be getting a new machine for my birthday! Any recommendations?
Gluten Free Pikelet Recipe
150 grams of gluten-free flour
2 teaspoons of gluten-free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bi carb of soda
1/2 cup of sour milk or fresh milk plus 1 teaspoon of white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon of melted butter
Sift flour, salt and soda
Place egg, milk, sugar and butter in centre of flour
Beat until smooth and a thick pouring consistency
Place a dessertspoonful into a teflon coated pan – cook until they brown, turn over and cook other side.
One of my favourite foods is in season! I’m currently addicted to watermelon and have found myself enabled by our local grocery as they’ve been selling deliciously sweet, organic, mini melons. I’ve been eating my fair share (possibly more)! I’ve also found I can’t get enough lemonade so when I saw a recipe for something called Watermelonade the other day, I had to try my hand at making up a version. I love it! It’s just the right combination of sweet/ sour and utterly refreshing.
But I’m now out of watermelon… I need to make another trip to the store!
Gluten-free brownies are awesome. No. Seriously. They are.
Why? Because they’re basically all chocolatey deliciousness and there’s not much in the way of flour. I made two batches over the last week. One to take to a friends birthday picnic and then another for DM to take into the office. According to DM the batch for the office lasted about 5 minutes. I’m assuming that’s a good thing.
For the picnic brownies, I used milk chocolate and about 100 grams of shaved almonds. But for the office brownies, I used a 48% dark chocolate and 200 grams of slivered almonds.
The difference is quite strong. The milk chocolate brownies taste sweeter, whereas the dark chocolate had a bit more crunch due to the slivered almonds and were a little more ‘adult’ in flavour . They would be perfect with a scoop of homemade ice-cream as a dessert, maybe with a dribble of salted caramel sauce? *drools a little and heads off to make another batch*
Both types were delicious. It just depends on your own personal taste. Using good quality butter, chocolate and cocoa powder makes a big difference with this recipe. Buy the best you can afford and you wont regret it! Both batches were perfectly moist in the center and a little crunchy along the edge with a really nice thin ‘crust’ on top.
They’re really quick and easy to make, so perfect if you’ve last minute guests or are craving a chocolate hit. Enjoy!
250 grams of unsalted butter
300 grams of sugar (I used whole sugar much like this) but use whatever you prefer
DM and I love fresh herbs. We buy some almost every week from the grocery store, even in Winter, when they’re stupidly expensive and turn into green slime almost quicker than we can get them home. So we decided to attempt a terrarium filled with a few of our favourites to be kept inside. We live in a Minergie rated apartment in Lausanne, meaning that it has fabulous insulation and under-floor heating and so stays a fairly constant temperature indoors all year round. That should give us half a chance of keeping them alive!
This is what I’ve created! We’re hoping to get it happily settled so that we can keep it going through the Winter months. Here is how I did it… Read more
This will be my last iced-coffee post this year. Promise!
I know I wrote all about how I love cold brewed iced coffee a couple of weeks ago. But I also want to share with you my instant go-to iced coffee for when I’ve run out of coffee syrup and I don’t want to have to wait 12 to 15 hours for my caffeine hit! I go to the trusty Nespresso machine. Almost everyone has a pod coffee machine of some sort in Switzerland. The simple question “Would you like a coffee?” has become quite a lengthy process since the introduction of the Nespresso machine! It’s now “what colour would you like?”, “long or short?”, “frothy milk?”, “sugar?”… and now “hot or iced?”. I have one wicked friend who frequently answers “yes” to all of the questions. One day I’m going to work out how to combine all of the above into one coffee!
Making iced coffee with your Nespresso machine is actually really simple to do. Just take your favourite coffee flavour (I’ve still got a hefty stash of the limited edition nut flavours that came out a while ago, but I’ve been told the new vanilla, caramel and chocolate limited flavours are fabulous in iced coffee too!) and put a shot or two into a cocktail shaker or jar. Add sugar if you wish, quickly stirring a little to dissolve it and then throw in a handful of ice. Read more
The other week I was craving white chocolate and macadamia nuts. I used to be able to get gluten-free white chocolate chunk and macadamia nut cookies at my local cafe in Sydney. And when combined with a good quality coffee and a magazine to peruse for an hour or so, they were a real treat. I’ve not yet been able to replicate the thick, crumbly texture of those cookies. But these are just as good, if not better!
Depending on how long you cook them, they’re either soft and slightly chewy or when cooked for a little longer they’re crunchy and crisp.
These biscuits are addictive! Just the right combination of good quality white chocolate and chopped macadamia nuts (ie. loads!) make these cookies hard to stop eating. Which is why I sent them all to my husbands office the next day. I’m not sure if his colleagues like me at the moment… those on diets probably don’t!
A couple of years ago I discovered cold brewed coffee. It’s amazing. It tastes as good as coffee smells!
It seems to taste sweeter as it has never come in contact with heated water and so has a different chemical profile from coffee created using a normal brewing method. It has a much lower acid level and so is smoother, but with all the kick you want from your coffee!
It’s really simple to make, and once you try it, I defy you not to continually keep a batch in the fridge. Particularly through the warmer months when you desperately want a coffee but not the heat that goes along with it.
The only downside is that it does take time, about 12 to 15 hours. Thankfully after waiting that long you have a delicious coffee concentrate that makes a lot more than one cup. I certainly wouldn’t recommend drinking it straight by the mug full. It’s very strong and the caffeine kick may have you awake for weeks!
Last Sunday we had a ‘making day’. My husband spent the day finishing his manga style robot and after painting it perfectly… continued painting it so that it looked like it had been through a battle… or twelve. It looks fabulous! At some point in time he’s planning on creating a Tumblr blog of his creations. If he permits, I’ll share it with you. You didn’t think I was the only person making things in our house?
As DM spends most days hunched over a laptop staring at rows upon rows of numbers or in meetings about meetings for meetings, he likes to come home and do something to turn his business brain off. Ideally he’d prefer to be spending it in a garage, pulling apart some ginormous 1980′s supercar that looks like it fell out of a 1980′s Transformer cartoon (he and I have differing opinions about what constitutes a classic car) and putting it back together. But as we presently live in an apartment and don’t have a garage or an enormous monstrosity of a car, he makes do with putting tiny versions of them together and has recently moved on to items that look like they belong in a Miyazaki film.
So whilst DM was painting away in the studio, I baked and spent some time putting together another tutorial that I’ll share with you on Wednesday. Here is the result of my baking endeavours. They’re delicious. The cake is a gluten-free butter-cake with slices of apple through the middle. They’re topped with a thick custard (I used the recipe from the Apple Custard Tart I made a couple of weeks ago) and decorated with shards of almond praline. It creates a lovely combination of flavours and textures! Below is the recipe so you can make them yourself if you desire! Read more
I couldn’t resist. My kitchen was so shiny I could see my reflection in the kitchen bench and didn’t want to mess it up. But it was raining and overcast and I felt an insatiable need to bake. I’ve been feeling a little homesick of late. Being an expat, you can sometimes find yourself hankering for the strangest things from ‘home’ and being pregnant hasn’t helped with the food cravings. I wanted lamingtons!
Lamingtons consist of a vanilla cake/ sponge, rolled in a chocolate icing and then in coconut. Variations include those filled with cream and jam. They’re perfect party and fete food. I can’t remember a party or fete when I was a child where Lamingtons were not available. We even used to have Lamington Day as a fundraiser in Primary School!
So after doing a little Googling and realising that they’re very basic. I grabbed my copy of The Commonsense Cookery Book (an Australian institution) and got to making myself some. I made the recipe more of a ganache than an icing and as per usual they’re gluten free. They’re perfect as gluten-free sponge cakes can be quite dry, so the addition of the icing and cream make them much more moist than usual.