Sunday, 4 May 2014

Peanut Butter Brownies


On a cold and miserably grey day, so at least once a day if you live in Melbourne, there is almost nothing more comforting than switching on the oven and baking something yummy!

Friday, 25 April 2014

Quick and Easy Mushroom Pasta

As I have mentioned before my partner likes to refer to himself as a "refined" eater. He knows what he likes and that's what he eats.


Between us...some might call that fussy.
Now this has left me in a conundrum.
As a food blogger I love to experiment and try new recipes and as a person I LOVE food. All different sorts of dishes from all different sorts of places. I'm the kind of gal who will try anything.
(My horrible brother used this knowledge to his advantage once and convinced me to share a plate of chicken feet!)

Living with a "refined" eater and a four year old who is becoming increasingly firm on what he will and will not eat, makes meal planning difficult.
I'm constantly having to consider what they both enjoy. I found myself stuck in a rut, cooking the same 5 meals every week.

So one night when Mr was running late home I put my thinking cap on and decided to create something new. When Mr isn't home is the best time to do this so he isn't probing around the kitchen and I can sneak some new ingredients in.

And so this delicious creamy mushroom and bacon pasta was born. Full of the things Mr loves and he has so proclaimed that it is his favourite pasta dish that I cook.

Ingredients:
Packet of dried fettuccine or tagliatelle 
2 rashers of middle bacon - diced
70gm butter
200gm button mushrooms - sliced
200gm Swiss brown mushrooms - sliced
1 clove of garlic - crushed
1 tsp dried Italian herbs
Zest of quarter of a lemon
1 tbl spoon plain flour
1/3 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 tub Philly cream for cooking
Handful of fresh spinach
4 slices prosciutto 

Method:
1. Place a large pot of water over high heat. Sprinkle with salt. Once at a rapid boil, add the pasta. Stir. Cook until just tender. Drain.

2. Meanwhile; Place a frying pan over high heat and add a tablespoon of oil. Fry the bacon until crispy. Set aside to drain on some paper towel.

3. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the butter. Once it's bubbling and frothy, add all of the mushrooms. Stirring to ensure they get well coated. Cook for 2 minutes.
Add the garlic, herbs and lemon zest. Stir.
Sprinkle over the flour, stirring. Leave to cook for one minute. 
Pour in the wine, again stirring, until evaporated and you have a sort of pasty texture. Like a roux.
Slowly add the chicken stock until you have a nice sauce like consistency. You may need a little more than a cup, depending on how thick you like your sauce. Add in the bacon.
Cover and simmer over a low heat.

4. Place another frying pan over high heat. Add a table spoon of oil. Quickly pan fry the prosciutto until crispy.
Set aside on paper towel to drain.
Meanwhile, spoon the philly cream for cooking into the sauce and stir until well combined. Add the spinach, stir until wilted.

5. Serve the pasta into bowls, spoon over the mushroom sauce. Use your fingers to crumble the prosciutto over the top. Serve.

Notes:
I sometimes do little variations to this dish depending on what I have.
Sometimes I add some pesto or crumbled feta. Seeded mustard would also work well.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Good44 & Storm in a Teacup Review plus a Special Offer!

When it comes to shopping there are two things I love:
1. Buying local products from local businesses 
2. Markets, where I'm free to roam around browsing beautiful homemade products and produce.


Unfortunately my local area doesn't have a great market and with as hectic as life can get often I end up kicking myself on a Sunday evening because 'it's the first/second/third Sunday of the month and I missed THAT market!'
Not to mention as much as I LOVE markets my partner LOVES to avoid them at all costs.

It's also getting increasingly difficult to even support your local businesses in this day and age with all the fast food chains and supermarket giants popping up all over the place. Dominating the consumer market place with low prices and special offers.
I always prefer to head to my local deli or butcher. The service is often friendlier and the products of better quality. With many struggling to survive, as quickly as I've found one they disappear.

Surely there has to be a way to support local producers, somewhere to buy my favorite specialty products AND something convenient enough that I don't have to remember market dates, or worry about parking and crowds. 

Good44.com is the answer!


Good44 is an online market place allowing amazing local businesses and producers to create an online shop front so you can browse and shop at your own convenience in the comfort of your own home (or lunch break at the office!)
They even offer a super helpful recurring order function so you can choose what you want and how often you want it and bam! no more hassle of remembering a market date again! 
Good44 have everything you could possibly dream of. From artisan chocolate and fudge (you know it's good when it's given a fancy name like artisan) to breads, spices, cheeses and even wine.
Because we all know you can't have cheese without wine.
They even have beauty products, you know, for when you need to look your best after drinking too much wine. Unless that's just me?

Good44 are also good sports, they offer a price match guarantee. If you find an item elsewhere that's cheaper, at Good44 they will price match it if you let them know within 2 weeks!
Plus with a loyalty program and a freebie with every purchase what more reason do you need to do your shopping at Good44?

Try as I might to find something negative about Good44, I cannot. 
Anything negative would purely be superficial (sometimes their websites mobile version doesn't read well on my iPhone) but seriously, what sort of complaint is that?!?

The lovely people at Good44 approached me for a review and sent me a sample from Storm in a Teacup.
Because we all know how much I cherish a cup of good quality tea.
Based in Collingwood, Storm in a teacup have embraced the growing trend of tea drinking and have created an amazing concept that not only celebrates the humble cup of tea but also respects the countries and traditions involved in producing some of the finest quality tea in the world.



I received a blend called 'Red Jade #18' originating from Nantou, Taiwan. 
It is some of the loveliest and unique tea I have ever had. 
It might be a storm in a teacup but it is a pleasure on the taste buds. With a flowery aroma with notes of tropical fruit and camphor, you think it's going to be a nice delicate tea.
But the flavour is a lovely surprise. It has a delightful mix of bold flavours competing for your taste buds. Caramel and hints of bourbon really shine through. 

The funky packaging even comes complete with a lovely blurb on when and where the blend originated, a breakdown of the aromas and flavours plus a handy guide on how to brew. 
Storm in a Teacup has definitely found many little unique ways to create their own storm in the popular tea market.

Now to further prove how fantastic they are, Good44 are offering the first 50* Busy Kitchen Mum readers a massive 20% off their first order when you use the code
'Busykitchenmum' upon checkout.
So what are you waiting for?
Hurry up and head on over to Good44.com and score yourself some amazing local products and maybe even have a bit of a Storm in a Teacup yourself. 

*Limit of one per customer.
Discount available on any product from Good44.com

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Apple Crumble Bar


My mum will be the first to tell you that growing up, I wasn't a big fan of fruit.
I definitely wasn't one to just grab a piece from the fruit bowl and chow down.

If it wasn't already peeled and chopped up, ready to eat, then I wasn't interested.
But, apples were and still are one of my favourites.
Though even then I'm still picky. I will only eat Granny Smith apples. I love that they are crispy, crunchy and have a nice sour taste to them.
But after 3 years of not being able to just eat an apple at will (I had braces ��....twice) even my love for the good old Granny Smith began to wane.

However never one to rule out fruit completely I will devour fruit filled desserts. Crumbles, Danishes, cobblers, pastries...let's face it, I pretty much just love fruit covered in butter, sugar and flour. 
So when my son came home from care one day with a bag full of apples that they had picked themselves at a local apple farm the only solution was to bake them into something edible. 

My mum used to wrap apple slices in pastry with some jam and bake them. Super yum but a tad on the easy side for what I wanted.
Next stop apple crumble. My absolute favourite.
But palming off leftover apple crumble seemed strenuous.
It needed to be something portable to feed the work troops.
Apple crumble bar was the answer! 

Of course I can't bake something and not taste test straight away so a trip to my mums for afternoon tea was on the agenda. We all agree that apple crumble bar is delicious!

Ingredients:
115gms butter, melted
1 cup caster sugar
1 egg
2 large apples, peeled, cored and diced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Crumble topping:
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tbl spoons plain flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
50gms butter, melted

Method:
1. Pre heat oven to 180. Grease and line a square cake tin.
Place the butter and caster sugar in a large bowl and whisk until well combined.
Add the egg and whisk vigoursly until the mixture becomes pale in colour.
Fold through the diced apples and walnuts.

2. Using a large spatula gently fold through the flour, baking powder and cinnamon until just combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
Spread out evenly with the spatula.

3. To make the crumble topping; combine the caster sugar and brown sugar in a small bowl. Add the flour and cinnamon, stir well. Pour in the melted butter and mix. The mixture should resemble wet sand.
Sprinkle evenly over the apple cake batter.
Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until the top is golden and cake is cooked through.

4. Remove from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completly. 
Although I think this is best served warm with some natural Greek yoghurt.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Coconut Macaroons


Coconut macaroons are almost my favourite!

So deliciously soft and chewy on the inside with just the perfect amout of toasted coconut crust on the outside.
Incredibly moreish, it is nearly impossible to stop at just one.

One of the girls I work with even attempted to eat half a one and save the rest for later. It didn't happen. Epic fail!

Coconut macaroons are also ridiculously quick and easy to make that I am almost ashamed that I have never made them before now.
I promise you even the most novice of bakers can feel complete accomplishment with this recipe.

How many it makes depends on the size you make them. I measured mine out with a tablespoon and made about 16. But....I can't believe I'm saying this...they probably could have been a little smaller.


Ingredients:
3 egg whites
150gms caster sugar
2-3 tbl spoons honey
150gms desicated coconut

Method:
1. Pre heat oven 150°C.
In a medium heavy based saucepan, over low heat, combine the egg whites, sugar, honey and coconut.
Stir for about 5 minutes until sugar has dissolved and the mixture starts to come away easily from the side of the saucepan.
Set aside to cool slightly for 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
Use a tablespoon (or teaspoon if preferred) to dollop the mixture onto the trays.
Bake for 20 minutes until just firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and cool completely on the trays. Use a metal spatula to carefully remove macaroons from the tray.
Serve.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Coconut and Lime Syrup Cake


This cake, to me, is the perfect summer cake. Coconut and lime are a match made in heaven.

It is no secret that my sister and absolutely love afternoon tea. Love is probably a major understatement.

My sister recently held her first annual summer supper party (I'm not sure if it is an annual event but I'm hoping that by publishing that it is, she will HAVE to do it every year! hehe) anyway, a summer supper party is essentially afternoon tea but in the evening.
This was a small intimate evening with 7 lovely ladies.
I have to say my little sister really blew me away with the effort she put into the whole evening. Everything was so elegant and perfect. So proud of you schwester ❤️

For this occasion BKM sista had asked me to make my Orange and Rhubarb syrup cake (I think it could be her fav now) but being mid summer rhubarb is far from in season and I would hate to make a sub standard cake with sub standard rhubarb.
With my thinking cap on I started to channel summer and the flavours I think best represent summer.
Two things came to mind: Coconut and Lime.
(Could you guess that my fav cocktail is a PiƱa Colada?)

Apparently my sister wasn't as convinced at this suggestion....until she tasted it.

Ingredients:
250 grams butter, softened.
1 cup caster sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature 
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 2/3 cups self raising flour
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup natural yoghurt (plus extra to serve)

Lime syrup:
4 limes, zested and juiced
3/4 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup water

Method:
1. Pre heat oven to 170°C. Grease and line a 22cm round cake tin. 
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, sugar and 1 tsp of the lime zest until light and creamy.
Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each one is incorporated before adding the next.

2. Using a silicone spatula or a large metal spoon, gently fold through half the flour, coconut, milk and yoghurt until just combined. Repeat with the remaing flour, cocnut, milk and yoghurt. Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake tin.
Place in the oven and bake for 40-45 mins or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

3. Meanwhile to make the lime syrup; place the remaining lime zest, juice, sugar and water in a small heavy based saucepan. Stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 mins. The mixture should thicken slightly and go syrupy. 

4. Once cooked, remove the cake from the oven and let it sit in the tin for 5 mins before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 
Poke holes all over the cake using a skewer then slowly drizzle the warm lime syrup over the entire cake. 

5. Slice and serve with extra natural yoghurt. 

Friday, 17 January 2014

Mexican Fiesta; Fish tacos, red cabbage pickle and fresh salsa


The first time I ever heard about fish tacos, I have to admit, I was not overly enthused. What the heck is fish doing in a taco?!?

Fish has no place in a taco!

Or so I thought.
And I owe it all to a hilarious movie by the name of 'I love you man'.
If you've seen it then you know the scene I'm talking about. 
The guys are on a 'man date' and Syd persuades Peter to stay a bit longer and try the best fish tacos in the world.

This made me realise two things:
Firstly, Jason Segel could probably talk me into anything.
And secondly, perhaps I had judged fish tacos a little too harshly.
I am forever scolding people for turning up their nose at food.
"Don't knock it till you try it" is probably one of my most common used phrases.
Practice what you preach I hear you shout. 
Amen!


So recently I had decided to host a girls dinner while Mr BKM was away for work. This particular week, Melbourne was going through a heat wave with 40 plus degree days so I didn't need much convincing when my mum suggested I make fish tacos.


Having never eaten a fish taco, let alone made one, I wasn't sure what to expect or how to execute this. With a little bit of research (seriously, I typed fish taco into google and looked at one recipe!) I took the fish taco head on.

And my guests would probably agree; I won!!

Makes 12 tacos
Ingredients:

Red cabbage pickle:
1/4 head of red cabbage
2 tbl spoons vinegar 
1 tbl spoon white sugar 

Fish Tacos:
12 soft tacos
2 fillets of Ling (approx 600grams)
1 lime, zested and juiced
1/2 bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
1 sachet Mexican seasoning
1 red onion, finely diced

Mexican Salsa:
1 can kidney beans
1 can of corn kernels 
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
Coriander stalks, thinly sliced
Remaining coriander leaves
Juice of one lime


Method:
1. Place the red cabbage in a glass bowl. Sprinkle over the vinegar and white sugar. Using ur hands, scrunch it together until well combined. Set aside, giving it an occasional stir.

2. In a separate glass bowl, combine the fish, lime zest and juice and the Mexican seasonging. Set aside for 10 minutes to marinate.
Meanwhile make the Mexican salsa; drain the kidney beans and corn kernels. In another glass bowl, combine the beans, corn, onion, the stalk of the coriander thinly sliced, tomatoes and lime juice. Stir well to combine. Set aside. 

3. Heat a frying pan over medium high heat and add some olive oil. Add the fish and cook for 1 minute. Add the onion and half of the coriander. Cook for a further 2 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.
Warm the tortillas, as per packet instructions.
Sprinkle the remaining coriander over the Mexican salsa.

4. Place the red cabbage pickle, Mexican salsa and fish on the table along with the tortillas and your favourite Mexican condiments. Gather everyone and enjoy your Mexican fiesta!