Chocolate Peanut Butter Microwave Cake

This is one of my favorite quick desserts and we’ve taught our older two boys how to make it so it’s one of their favorites now too. I first found this several years ago and I go through phases where I want one every night for a few days and then won’t return to it for months. But it is always there, lovingly waiting for me to return to its chocolate peanut buttery goodness. I make it in an oversized capuccino mug which lends itself perfectly to having a scoop of ice cream on top and the saucer underneath helps with the hotness of the mug straight out of the microwave.

We only make one alteration to the original recipe. I use wholemeal self raising flour for the plain flour and the baking powder. 1 ingredient for 2 and a healthier choice! Sounds like a no brainer to me. Go on…2 minutes is all it takes to create this indulgent dessert…

The return of hand pies

I missed this challenge the first time around so I was excited to see the return of the Hand Pies Bakealong this month. The recipe and step by step instructions are here if you’re interested in participating too, so I won’t go into detail in that regard.

I found that the updated instructions were very helpful for quick assembly – I divided the dough into quarters before refrigerating and rolled out one square at a time to make 2 pies. This also allowed me to adjust the number baked in one session, so I did 4 one night and 4 the next. I just cut slits rather than using fancy cutters because my cutters were all quite big. I ended up using the rest of a jar of blackberry jam I had in the fridge which worked very well and I’m pleased to report that it didn’t end up a big soupy mess like I’ve seen some pies have had.

Overall I thought this was a very good recipe and will definitely return to it should the situation call for it – ie leftover jam or sour cream in my fridge and no dessert ideas. I wonder if next month we’ll get something new or if we’ll get another repeated challenge?!

Throwback Thursday: Butternut Latkes and Fennel Apple Slaw from Moosewood Restaurant Table

Throwback to last month’s Food52 Cookbook Club selection The Moosewood Restaurant Table where we had some fun experimenting with vegetarian cooking. I found this recipe for Butternut Latkes that were said to pair well with the Fresh Fennel and Apple Slaw and immediately added the ingredients to the grocery list as we were planning Aaron’s birthday and I thought the slaw would be perfect for pulled pork sandwiches. Little did I know that this vegetarian dinner was going to be such a hit!

The latkes are basically a savory pumpkin pancake, baked in the oven rather than in a frypan or on a skillet. It’s a mixture of grated butternut pumpkin and red onion, eggs, fresh sage, rice flour and seasoning. These were super easy with portioning it on a baking sheet and baking it in the oven and quite delicious!

The slaw is comprised of thinly sliced fresh fennel, peeled and grated apple, lemon juice, olive oil and salt. This indeed paired perfectly with the latkes and also the pulled pork and is definitely a recipe we’ll go back to in future. The only thing I’d do differently next time is grate the fennel too, as a few of the chunks were a bit too crunchy.

There is still so much I want to try from this book. I’m so glad Food52 Cookbook Club continues to surprise me with books I would never buy or borrow of my own accord!

The Baking Bible: Fourth of July Cheesecake

In addition to having a cookbook of the month, the Food52 Baking Club also has a book of the year, and this year’s book is The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. We’ve only recently gotten our hands on this book, but when I saw there was a Fourth of July Cheesecake, I begged Aaron to make it for our patriotic dinner celebration. He has since made another one of the cheesecakes, and I’m sure another post will follow soon from him.

I’m again adding this post to the I Blog on Tuesdays linkup hosted by Kylie Purtell. We are still aware that people are having a hard time leaving comments on my blog. It is an ongoing issue and if that happens for you, I apologize. We’re still working to resolve it but I really appreciate you coming by to check out my blog regardless – thank you!

So apparently I’ve become the cheesecake king in our household,  so for July 4th, Jen assigned me with one of the biggest (if not the biggest) single baking projects of my illustrious baking career.

The goes to about 4 or 5 pages! It comprises 4 recipes – red velvet cake for the base, the actual cheesecake filling, an absolutely delicious white chocolate icing, and a blueberry glaze to top everything off. Well, there is a 5th recipe, too – a raspberry preserves coating, but that is just raspberry jam passed through a sieve.

In theory, the red velvet cake base should be cooked in a pan slightly bigger than the cheesecake, but who has the time for that, right? 😉 Needless to say, there was always gonna be overhang between the cheesecake and the base, but that’s what icing is for. Who’s with me?!

The red velvet cake was lovely and red, and rose probably a little more than I thought it would, but that allowed for my to do some required levelling of the cake once it had cooled, to present a more level surface for the cheesecake.

I’ll be honest with you – there is no way I though the cheesecake was going to cook in our oven – it is dodgy at best, as well as cooking the cheesecake in a waterbath adding to the unknown performance of the baking process. 175C for 20 minutes, then rotate the cheesecake, and bake for a further 25 minutes, then turn the oven off, leave that door closed, and hope that in one hour when you pull it out, it’s done. And it was!

The most nerve racking part of the process was flipping the cheesecake in order to get the red velvet cake base in place. Made even more nerve racking because the instructions made it easy by lowering a cling wrap lined round cake tin over the top of the cheesecake to facilitate the flipping. Do I look like someone who has a cake round that would work for that?! Instead I used the bottom of the springform pan I used to cook the red velvet cake, and this made the process a little less scary.

In the end, flipping the cheesecake, and flipping it back again, was a lot less stressful than I imagined it would be. But there was that overhang.

No worries though, there was plenty of the delicious white chocolate buttercream to fill in the gaps, and to top it nicely. While the recipe called for fresh blueberries, I used frozen ones, and I think that actually helped in cooling the glaze when it was poured over them.

All in all, this project took a lot longer than I thought it would, but it was definitely worth it. Cheesecake is so good, and this one – all of the elements – were exceptional, if I must say so myself. And I felt very patriotic making it.

German chocolate fudge bites

I’ve been kicking it up a notch as far as vegan eating goes and this week I wanted a sweet treat that would go nicely with an afternoon soy chai latte. This is definitely that!

I first discovered this recipe on Chocolate Covered Katie in 2011 and I couldn’t even tell you how many times I’ve made them since. They are almost like a nutty brownie in texture and flavor and they perfectly satisfy that sweet craving, only using dates as a sweetener. And they take maybe 10-15 minutes in total to throw together. I swear I do want to try some of her other bite recipes but every time I go to do so, I somehow cannot seem to bypass this one. They are definitely worth a try!

In My Kitchen: July 2018

Hi everyone – I am aware that currently some people are having a hard time leaving comments on my blog. It is an ongoing issue that I still haven’t worked out because we can’t always replicate the problem. Sometimes comments work fine and sometimes they don’t. If that happens for you, I apologize. We’re still working to resolve it but I really appreciate you coming by to check out my blog regardless – thank you!

We are more than halfway through the year and currently I’m enjoying spending some time with the kids and having sleep ins, especially on these cold Canberra mornings. In my kitchen this month I’m trying out a few new vegan finds…

This vegan choc hazelnut spread I’m using as a nutella alternative. It’s not nearly as good and I’m missing nutella’s creaminess but it’s still nice to eat, especially my favorite way – on raisin toast!

This yogurt I’ve been having in lieu of jam and cream on crumpets and it is soooo good! I *let* Aaron try it and he said he never wants to eat normal yogurt again.

4th of July has come and gone but not before my mom sent out some patriotic tea towels…

I finally secured a mug tree for our monogram mugs…

Speaking of tea, I’ve added two more into the rotation, Adore Tea’s Raspberry & Vanilla Rooibos and T2’s Chai. Can’t have too many teas in this cold weather, in my opinion.

My current cookbook “shelf”…

…plus the 2 books of the month – Tartine All Day for Food52 Cookbook Club and The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book for Food52 Baking Club. So looking forward to exploring these bad boys over the course of July!


As always, thanks to Sherry’s Pickings for hosting the In My Kitchen link up. To learn more, click on the logo on the right. 

Throwback Thursday: Hot Fudge Sauce from Baking Chez Moi

What to do with leftover cream that you need to use up?! Throwback again to July 2017 when Food52 Baking Club was baking through Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi and flick to the back of the book in the basics section and make up a batch of hot fudge sauce, of course!!!

This recipe is oh-so-simple and it makes ice cream a totally appropriate winter dessert, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to eat ice cream year round?! All you have to do is melt some butter and chocolate in a bain marie and in a separate saucepan bring cream, corn syrup, sugar and salt to a boil.  Then it’s a matter of slowly stirring the cream into the chocolate mixture until combined, shiny and smooth. And voila! A beautiful dessert at your fingertips with plenty of leftovers to fill a good sized jam jar to keep in the fridge for your next hot fudge sundae fix.

I have a thing for hot fudge sundaes from when we used to go visit my mom for dinner when she worked as a manager of various Coco’s Bakery Restaurants when I was growing up. A simple thing of beauty was vanilla ice cream, topped with hot fudge sauce, whipped cream, chopped nuts and a maraschino cherry. I know these cherries are super artificial in color and flavor, but I cannot have a sundae or a hot chocolate without one. So you will always find them in my fridge. Because a hot fudge sundae or a hot chocolate would simply not be the same without one!


Tartine All Day: Sticky Date Pudding

This week I’m adding this post to the I Blog on Tuesdays linkup hosted by Kylie Purtell. I am aware that currently some people are having a hard time leaving comments on my blog. It is an ongoing issue that I still haven’t worked out because we can’t always replicate the problem. Sometimes comments work fine and sometimes they don’t. If that happens for you, I apologize. We’re still working to resolve it but I really appreciate you coming by to check out my blog regardless – thank you!

I am so excited about the Food52 Cookbook Club‘s book of the month: Tartine All Day! After discovering and loving Elisabeth Prueitt’s first book, Tartine, especially my 6yo daughter’s favorite shortbread recipe, I knew that this book was going to be a hit and it certainly has started out that way. In fact, I was so excited I flipped straight to the index to look through the different recipes in the book and was immediately fixated on the sticky date pudding – Aaron’s favorite dessert – and added it to the menu last week.

The next day I opened my pantry to find that I was out of almond meal – bugger – and needed it for this version of the recipe, so proceeded to use up my leftover cream making hot fudge sauce instead.  Fast forward to Sunday and I’m in between dropping off one kid and picking up another and need to duck into Coles to pick up bread and fruit for school lunches. Run into the mum of one of my daughter’s friends in the baking aisle as I’m looking for inspiration for dessert that night and she says “Sticky Date Pudding is always good…” and my eyes light up and I say, “Thanks! I totally forgotten I was going to try a new recipe and ran out of almond meal.” So quickly picked some up and added it to my basket and away I went about the rest of the afternoon kid taxi services.

This recipe is a bit different from your average sticky date pudding recipe because you use almond meal, cornflour and oat flour (I just grind up rolled oats in my food processor) instead of plain flour. The rest of it is completely familiar – soaking dates in boiling water and then adding bicarb soda, making your basic cake batter with butter and sugar and eggs and then alterating between adding the wet date mixture and the flour mixture which also has ginger, cinnamon and baking powder whisked in. This is baked in a cake tin while you make a toffee sauce with butter, brown sugar, cream, vanilla and salt and interestingly a small bit of lemon juice.

We had this hot out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and I must say that it was by far the nicest sticky date pudding I’ve ever had. Even though it’s Aaron’s favorite dessert, I must be honest and admit that I usually find it a bit stodgy, but with the oat and almond texture and the hint of lemon the dessert was elevated to another level. I would happily make and devour this dessert over and over again.

On reflection the next day it occurred to me that this pudding recipe was wheat free and I made a mental note to definitely make it when our gluten free friend is over next. (I later remembered she’s allergic to oats too so would need to figure out a substitute for that.) Then I started having a bit more of a look at the recipes in Tartine All Day and noticed that this seemed to be a pattern throughout the book and thought this surely couldn’t be a coincidence. So I flicked to the introduction and read through it and wouldn’t you know, this whole book was made to be wheat free! Now I’m even more excited about this book and cannot wait for the chance to cook from it again.