The Bolognese Of Snoskred

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Otherwise known in our household as “red sauce pasta” or even “awesome sauce”. I’ve mentioned it in the Fake Lasagne post but I have never posted how I make it here on the blog..

Over the years, I’ve made this sauce many different ways, chopping up the various vegetables and so forth. My most recent version involves blending carrot and zucchini in the blender and this makes the sauce extra awesome in my opinion, plus, it is a lot simpler vegetable preparation wise. I’m making it in quite large batches so I can make 3x dinners and 3-4 lunches out of one very large pot of sauce.

I don’t have a strict recipe or amounts, but here is what I usually put in it when making the large batch – I’ve put notes in for how much I use when making a smaller batch.

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2 teaspoons minced garlic, 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped leeks – many spices eg paprika, cinnamon, basil, parsley, oregano – sweat these together for 5-10 minutes in olive oil then remove from pan. Remove 1 leek if making a small batch (eg using 500g mince instead of 1 Kilo)

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2 red capsicum (pepper) chopped – sweat this for 5-10 minutes in olive oil then remove from pan. (Use 1 if making a small batch)

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1kg mince – you can choose what kind of mince you prefer. I like beef and chicken or just beef. I place this in the pan, break it up, then cover with red wine plus a dash of white wine, then put on the lid and allow it to simmer well for 15 minutes. If you have used chicken mince you will find it takes on the colour of the red wine via this method. (500g for small batch)

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Add back in the capsicum, leek and onions. Stir well.

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Add in 4-5 large carrots and 3 small zucchini – this I puree well in the blender, but if you prefer it chopped you can do it that way. I just peel the carrots and chop them and the zucchini into large chunks and add a little water to make blending easier but if you don’t mind the skins on the carrots, that is your option and you can skip the peeling step.. 2 carrots, 1 small zucchini for small batch.

You can also add other vegetables if you like – me personally I would add mushrooms and olives but the other half does not like them, so I tend to add those in when I am reheating a small serve of sauce for myself.

I find the puree adds extra awesomeness to the sauce. Stir well and allow all of the added ingredients to simmer together for 10 minutes.

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Now add –

1 x jar of tomato paste
1 x jar of Basilico pasta sauce
1 x jar of Passata – not for small batch
1 x tin of chopped tomatoes (today I used another jar of passata as we were out) – not for small batch
1 x jar of red peppers pesto – not for small batch

Stir well, then leave the sauce to simmer on a smaller burner for an hour or more, stirring occasionally..

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When the sauce is simmered together until it forms an awesome sauce, you can use it however you like.

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I will usually prepare this in the morning, have a little sauce over boiled and mashed potato for lunch, and put the rest of the sauce into containers and into the fridge for later use. We would usually have red sauce pasta for dinner that evening. I would also make Fake Lasagne with this sauce, and Ricotta, Spinach and Bacon cannelloni, which will appear here as a recipe at a future time. :)

cooking, recipes, things to remember

Spice Time

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Twice a week, I receive my email from Aldi that tells me what the upcoming specials will be. On the 9th of April I spied with my little eyebulbs spice sets. I used the Aldi system to send an email to The Other Half about this and I said if they were still there the next time we shopped I would like to get them.

With Aldi you are taking a huge risk if you do not go on the day something is advertised to arrive. These spice sets were due to be out Wednesday the 15th of April and we did our fortnightly shop on the 12th of April, so our next shopping trip was not due until the 26th of April.

I did not make a special trip, I just hoped they would still be there. And as it turned out, there were some left.There are 30 spices in all – 2 packs of 15 and not a single double up which makes for great variety.

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Chicken Salt – Garlic Salt – Coriander – Nutmeg – Ginger – Parsley – Cinnamon – Oregano – Mixed Herbs – Basil – Paprika – Rosemary – Cumin – Turmeric – Chilli Flakes – Hot Chili – Mustard – White Pepper – Thyme – Garlic – Curry – Mixed Spice – Spiced Up Salt – Celery Salt – Chives – Garam Masala – Whole Cloves – Cinnamon Sugar – Steak Seasoning – Vanilla Sugar

Luckily, due to my recent meat buying of some very cheap but excellent chicken breasts plus Aldi have been selling larger bulk cuts of steak which we have bought, cut up, and foodsaved at half the price we normally pay for those same cuts, this week we did not have to buy any meat at all. Not even bacon. I have 2kg diced up and stored in the freezer in perfect amounts for cookery.

So there was room in the budget to buy these spices and I am deeply thrilled to have new combinations to try out with our regular meals.

I did a chicken and bacon pasta on Monday. When I put in the garlic, onions and leek, I added some garlic salt, chives, basil, parsley, white pepper and nutmeg, plus cinnamon and paprika which I always use. The results were truly epic, in particular the chives, white pepper, and the garlic salt gave it a nice kick.

I rarely add salt to our meals when cooking them as The Other Half has high blood pressure, though I do keep a Himalayan Pink Salt grinder handy for myself to use on the completed food if I feel like it. That was also purchased at Aldi. :)

The dinner I made tonight, well, there was a spice incident. I was making vegetable soup and I had in mind a soup Vilis Cafe used to cook which had a lot of awesome Hungarian pepper in it. I keep a jar of Chili in the fridge and I’d added some of that, plus some cayenne powder, and then I went to add white pepper and more flew out than I’d intended.

When the soup was done cooking, I took out a potato and ate it while I waited for The Other Half to return from the mancave. It wasn’t very spicy to be honest, and I was wondering where all my spices had gone. Well, somewhere in the whizzing the soup process, those spices came out to play, and even after adding cream and cheese, my eyes were watering with every mouthful, my lips were burning..

I went in to the other half and said I thought maybe I had gone too far with the spices, and he wholeheartedly agreed. I love it spicy but this was a bridge too far!

So if you have an Aldi, you might want to keep an eye out for the spice sets next time you visit. They are excellent value – the spices Aldi regularly have in stock sell for $1.99 per container, and here you get them for $1.33 per container. Some of these spices are rarely seen at Aldi, though sometimes they do have a few flavours as special buys.

Do you like it spicy? :)

Let me know in the comments! Also let me know if you know any special powers these spices are known to have. For example, Turmeric is said to be excellent for your eye health. I add it to things quite often now – I love the colour – and I do notice a reduction in those eye floaters.

cooking, food, recipes, shopping, Soup

My Magical TuffSteel Roaster

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The official name is the Tuffsteel Forge 32cm Roaster Pan. 32cm is the interior dimension – with the handles it stretches out to nearly 39cm wide.

I love this thing. Seriously adore it. At the moment I use it every second day – my meal plan has been planned out that way, so I can use the next day to get it in the dishwasher and clean again. I’m actually planning to buy a second one of these for a multitude of reasons, not least of which is in case anything ever happens to the glass lid. Glass and Snoskred is not a very good match.

Some of the reasons I love this amazing cooking unit include –

– Keeps all the cooking inside the roaster dish.

– Whatever liquid you add eg wine, lemon juice, chicken or vegetable stock, just plain water, steams up and cooks the food faster.

– Whatever liquid you add circulates through the food beautifully.

– Keeps the oven clean – we’ve had issues before with cooking food in a regular ceramic baking dish and having a mess all over the oven. This way all the mess is safely contained inside.

– I can make entire meals just using this one pan.

One Pan recipes I have cooked inside this roaster pan –

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– Chicken Mini Roast & Potatoes
– Chicken kievs, potatoes, cauliflower
– Chicken kievs, cheesy baked potatoes
– Chicken filos, broccoli, pumpkin
– Roast Beef, potatoes, pumpkin
– Roast Pork, potatoes, sweet potatoes
– Pasta Bake
Fake Lasagne
– Quiche
– Bacon and Leek Mac and Cheese

Soup recipes that use more than the roaster pan – eg you take the roasted items out, pop them into a plastic container, add chicken or vegetable stock and milk or coconut milk and whiz up to make them into a soup.

Roasted Red Capsicum and Potato Soup
– Roasted Potato and Leek soup
– Roasted Potato, Leek and Pumpkin soup (recipe coming soonest!)
– Roasted Cauliflower Soup

I am planning more soups for winter. :) Especially a mixed veg one with swedes, turnips, pumpkin, potato, sweet potato, capsicum, leek, and anything else I can fit in the roaster pan.

I found this roaster pan at DFO in Canberra while I was looking for yet another ceramic baking dish. We’d had multiple bad experiences with ceramic baking dishes cracking and breaking, and I’d just lost our most recent somewhat trusty Ikea ceramic dish, leaving us with only one baking dish large enough to cook the things that we regularly cooked.

This roaster pan was found in one of those kitchen stores with every possible thing you might ever use in the kitchen and I figured – at least it can’t crack and break – I’ll give this thing a try. It has seriously changed the way I cook in our kitchen.

Unfortunately it is not so easy to find online. Deals Direct do stock it but it is presently out of stock. According to other sites when it was in stock it retailed around the $45 mark. Mine cost me $80. At that price, I might even buy two extras and put one away for later on.

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You can get roaster pans with a lid that is not glass – however I do prefer to be able to look inside and see how things are going without having to open the oven and take the dish out. Plus, our convection microwave is a Solardom which uses a halogen heater to cook and that does not work very well if the food cannot see the “light”. The pan has a true non stick coating. As in, nothing ever sticks to it, for reals.

The oven in this house has never been used by us due to absolute dirtiness from the previous homeowners. Seriously, I turned it on once and it smelled so bad, ew. The design of this house means cooking smells congregate in the main bedroom, walk through robe and bathroom, so using the oven again was not an option. The landlord has finally agreed to replace it and I intend only to use this roasting pan in it – that way I will never have to clean the oven.

Do you roaster?

cooking, food, Happy Snoskred, Home, yay

Food Obsessions – Potato & Egg

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I love reading food blogs. Food blogs often make me hungry for very specific things and oftentimes these will be things I would need to go to a supermarket to recreate, so in general I’ll just bookmark a recipe to put on the next food plan..

In the past few weeks it seems like there has been a fried egg thing going on across the various food blogs. Somewhat unfortunately, I always have eggs in the house, so for lunches I went on a little fried egg spree.

Then one day, the stars aligned in the universe and I had a strange thought about adding an egg to that nights dinner as I was deeply craving a fried egg.. much deliciousness was the result. Now, I don’t know how I will ever eat this particular meal without one or more fried eggs on top.

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Potato with bacon and onion has been in our meal rotation since I was a teenager, though my sister was usually the bacon and onion person and I would put on all kinds of exotic concoctions, from fresh cooked capsicum, mushroom and bacon, right up to bolognese sauce, chicken cacciatore or tuna mornay.

Recently we switched out onion for leek in almost every meal we use onion in. Trimmed leeks are available 2 in a packet from Aldi for $2.99 and we much prefer the flavour of leeks.

I still enjoy more exotic options on my potato and will usually add in things like mushroom at a minimum but the other half is all about simplicity and he loves bacon and leek.

If you have never made potato with toppings, here is my most recent recipe. :)

Potato with Bacon, Leek, Mushroom & Egg

I’m going to give you more than one way to do each step because that is how we roll here and I have prepared this a multitude of different ways.

Prepare The Potato –

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My first choice would be – peel, chop and then boil the potatoes. You do lose some of the potato goodness this way.

My second choice would be – peel the potatoes first, roll them around in a little extra virgin olive oil, add a few herbs – Paprika is a must for me! – plus salt and pepper. Then bake potatoes in a roasting pan preferably one with a lid. This option mostly keeps the potato flavour and goodness within the potato. I do like to add a splash of white wine to this, as it will steam up when the pan gets hot and permeate through the potatoes for extra flavour.

My third choice would be – wrap potatoes in alfoil and bake. This definitely keeps all the goodness inside the potato however, if you do not like the skins you will have to remove them from a hot potato which is not optimal.

I’ve also done baked potatoes and then you open them up and take out the innards, mix the potato and fillings together and then stuff it back into the potato. This is fiddly and time consuming and to be honest, I am not a huge fan of potato skins. I would do this if we had people coming over and I wanted to make something relatively simple but special. But if stuffed potatoes is your preference, you’re eating it, so go to it and enjoy. :)

Prepare Your Toppings

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First choice – chop bacon, mushrooms, onion/leek, add a tiny bit of butter to a a non stick frypan, fry toppings until cooked the way you would like them.

Second choice – chop bacon, mushrooms, onion/leek, add butter or margarine, cover, and microwave on medium heat until cooked to your preference – this usually takes approximately 3-4 minutes on 600w with my microwave

Third choice – chop bacon, mushrooms, onion/leek, in a saucepan put in some butter or margarine, half a teaspoon of garlic, add in the bacon, mushrooms & leek, stir about and allow to cook a little. Then add in 1/2 cup of white wine and an extra touch of butter, allow to simmer and cover the saucepan. Simmer for 5-10 minutes and it should be done.

Mash The Potatoes

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Once the potatoes are cooked your way, add them to a bowl, add in a little butter and cheese, and smoosh them up some with a fork. We are not talking a perfect mash here, you want them a little chunky. Sprinkle a little cheese on top

Prepare Your Egg(s)

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First choice – fry eggs in a frypan until they are cooked how you like them. Mine, I like to flip, but sunny side up would work too.

Second choice – poach your eggs in your egg cooker or poacher.

Third choice – soft boil the eggs. Peel eggs – this can be difficult with soft boiled eggs which is why this is a third choice.

Fourth choice – scramble the eggs. You can also add back in your bacon and leek with a little cheese. The only downside to this choice is – no gorgeous yolk to ooze into your potatoes.

Assemble Your Meal

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Add your topping mixture to the potato mash, put the eggs on top, cut into the eggs with a knife and allow the yolk to ooze, and you are done.

It is time to eat!

Now bear in mind, you can take this recipe and make the ingredients your own. For protein you might prefer to use chicken, sliced beef, pulled pork. You might be out of bacon so you could use ham. You might have leftover turkey and so you might slice it and cook it in a frypan and then top with some cranberry sauce and you might use sweet potato or yam as your base. Some people like to put avocado, bacon and prawns or shrimp. You might want vegetarian bacon or no meat at all.

You might even want to use mashed cauliflower, broccoli, turnip, pumpkin, sweet potato, swede, baked mushrooms or even a combination of these instead of potato as the base. You might not want leek or onion – some people have a bad reaction to those.

You might have leftover pasta sauce which you can heat up and pour over some freshly cooked potatoes. As I mentioned above, I love to put chicken cacciatore or tuna mornay over potatoes.

The only limit is your imagination, ingredients on hand, and your preference of what flavours you prefer together.

Over to you!

What do you like to put over the top of potatoes? I’d love new ideas if you have any. :)

cooking, food, recipes, Snoskred hearts, yay

Heading Into Autumn


Red Curry Noodles from Nan Tien Temple

Today is the second day of Autumn here in Australia.. Therefore you might want to make some soup. I know I will be!

Here is my Roasted Red Capsicum & Potato Soup. Also for this recipe, you could use any vegetables you like. Roasted Leek and Potato is on my to-do list this season..

Here is a great post – 50 Light and Healthy Soup Recipes

cooking, country life, food, recipes, Soup

Recipe Saves

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Savory Saves –

Recipe: Oven Cooked Risotto – I am totally going to perfect this recipe and I think I will use my roasting pan.

Prosciutto, Pea and Lemon Pasta – I think I would try to use not frozen peas if I were to make this, and I would likely sustitute bacon in for proscuttio. But this leads me to ask myself why can’t I just make a recipe as it is written, why must I Jamie Oliver it up every time?

Eggs Benedict Casserole – There are times when I have a lot of eggs and this recipe seems like it was made for those times.

Sweet Potato Spinach Mac and Cheese – This is a recipe I will make but I will use A2 milk in place of almond milk. I have a stash of A2 longlife UHT milk as well, in case we ever run out. Yes, I am a believer, regular milk does not love me much. :(

cauliflower cheese – I deeply love cauliflower cheese.

The Best Guacamole Recipe. – I will make this and love it, sometime soon.

Sasha and Malia Obama’s Favorite Mac and Cheese – I am a huge Michelle Obama fan, I have a somewhat irrational love for her.

Seriously the base recipe is amazing *and* it skips making a roux, which was one of the first things I mastered in the kitchen. A roux is the base for several of my recipes – however there are days (especially hot days) when I just don’t feel like making one. You can easily use this as your base for all roux-required recipes if you so desire, I have done from time to time. This recipe is so versatile. Here are a couple of quick things you can add to the simple cauliflower, milk, cheese and herbs base to make into a meal –

Chicken, Bacon, Mushrooms, Spring Onion.

Tuna, Broccoli, Leek, put some tomato slices and Parmesan on top, bake for 20 mins till top is crispy.

You can find a couple more awesome Michelle Obama recipes here –
Healthy Recipes From The White House To You – the broccoli soup is great as well especially if you add some Parmesan or blue cheese.

Coconut Lime Baked Chicken with Coconut Mango Sticky Rice – Yes to this. One day I will make this. I think this would work really well with drumsticks and wings, too.

Slow Cooker Chicken Wings – 5 Super Varieties – Speaking of chicken wings.. :)

Blood Orange Thyme Roasted Chicken – This combined with my roasting pan would = epic win, I think. :)

Sweet Saves –

Booze Baking: RumChata Cheesecake – I do not even know what Rumchata is, which may impact on my success with this recipe considering it calls for 3/4 of a cup of it.

Christmas Pear, Cinnamon & Ginger Chocolate Glazed Cheesecake – This is a recipe I am deeply unlikely to ever make for us at home, but I like to think I could make it, if people in my house ate pears. I might make it if I am going somewhere that people will eat pears. But why on earth do I save these recipes knowing I am unlikely to ever make them? WHYYYYYY?

Gingerbread Heads – You will never believe me when I say this, but I *did* make this gingerbread. It is everything you want a gingerbread to be. I should have halved or even quartered the recipe, though. Anything that says 5 cups of flour is overkill in my house. So, There Was An Incident, which we will not go into the details of, when I tried to make it in my mixer which is not large enough for this dough. I still have two large logs of this dough which I froze. I did not decorate the results, because I am a terrible cake and cookie decorator.

key lime pie – I love Key Lime Pie. I have never made it. This year is the year, it will happen! ;)

Raspberry Chocolates – I will probably make this to take along to school one day. Though, as I have a chocolate from scratch recipe I love, I will likely stick to that one – Making Chocolate From Scratch!

Salted caramel pudding – I love Salted Caramel, so, so, SO SO much.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Cups – gorgeous pics. I will make this one day.

Blueberry Pie Bars – I deeply love blueberries. I will make this!

Healthy Homemade Chocolate Paddle Pops – I love me some Milo.. :)

Fudge for all – I have made this fudge many times now, however, I just make the cookie part and skip the chocolate. Bizarre, I know, but I have to tell you this is one of my all time favourite desserts and super simple. If you make it with Anna’s Ginger Thins.. swoooooon!

Just a side note, why are so many bloggers using all caps for titles on their blog posts these days? You can do that with CSS instead, so when people like me try to copy your title, we get it in regular letters. :)

cooking, get organised, internet, Linkage, recipes

No Bake Cheesecake

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My earliest no bake cheesecake attempt in 2015

Just secretly, behind the scenes, I set myself a few goals for 2015 which I did not share with you, because hello what if I fail? This recipe represents the first of these goals which I have achieved and am now ready to share with you. What was the goal?

Perfect a no-bake cheesecake recipe.

I started with a recipe from The Annoyed Thyroid – Kit Kat No-Bake Cheesecake – you’ll note there is no gelatin which is perfect for me because I am terrible at using it and once I found out what it actually was, I was not a big fan of using it in recipes anyway..

I tried that recipe with the following changes –

– no kit kat, because my other half is a bit allergic to chocolate

– I used scotch finger biscuits for the base

– I put in brown sugar rather than caster sugar

– I also added some cinnamon because I always do.

I took it to my parents for dinner and it was hugely popular. We ate it with tinned black cherries and said we thought tinned raspberries would work well with this too.. The one thing we all felt was that the cheesecake part was a little heavy.

Then I thought.. could I add more cream to lighten it and would it still set? And maybe I might like a little touch of gingernut biscuit in the base. So cheesecake #2 was created – this time I used 300mls of cream instead of 50mls, and a mix of gingernut and scotch finger in the base.

I made it just for us here at home, and it was delightful. It did set, though not quite as well as the first one. I thought maybe I was done tweaking, but never say you’re done, because you won’t be.

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The next time I made it specifically because family was coming in from interstate, and I used 250g of regular cream cheese, 250g of light cream cheese, and still 300mls of cream. I also used a base purely of Anna’s Swedish Thins – which you should definitely try as a biscuit if you have not, and Ikea make a version almost identical which they call Pepparkakor – these biscuits are fantastic with cheese especially bitey vintage or blue cheese but they are even more fantastic as the base of a cheesecake.

This was totally the best version of this cheesecake yet. The ginger from the base seemed to transmute itself into the cheesecake itself, adding an amazing flavour. Done, perfected. I achieved my goal and ate several cheesecakes in the trying, which was awesome. Each shopping trip, I’ve added the ingredients for this cheesecake to our shopping list, and it makes enough that we have a small piece for dessert nearly every night.

But then, a happy accident happened when I went to recreate my perfected version. I’d seen this recipe over at Domesblissity – Mini Choc Hazelnut Cheesecake Cups – and I’d bought some spreadable cheesecake, intending to give this recipe a try and perfect it.

I was in the middle of making the no bake cheesecake while listening to The Celebrity Apprentice on my cordless headset – the base was complete and in the fridge – when I discovered all my cream was no good. Seriously, this happened on the 26th of January and *two* 600ml thickened cream tubs had use by dates into February. I suspect foul play of some kind and I definitely smelt sour cream. But I had this spreadable cream cheese (250g) in the fridge, and I thought.. ok, give that a try in place of the 300mls of cream.

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Here now, I present to you, my final no-bake cheesecake recipe.

The base –

150g Anna’s Ginger Thin biscuits – 50g Butternut Snaps – ground into a fine crumb.
80g unsalted butter

Combine the biscuit crumbs with the butter in a bowl and then press into a baking paper lined baking pan – put this into the fridge to cool while making the base.

The Filling

250g regular cream cheese
250g light cream cheese
250g spreadable cream cheese
(I use Manhattan from Aldi)

90g brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Recipe Notes –

You can also add 50-300g thickened cream if you like to make it lighter, and the cheesecake will still set.
Leave the cream cheese out at room temperature for an hour before you begin mixing for the best results.

Make The Filling –

Mix the brown sugar and regular cream cheese first, until smooth.. Add in the vanilla and cinnamon during this stage.

While the mixer is going on a light speed, add in the spreadable cream cheese. Then cut the light cream cheese into small strips and add that in. Mix on high speed for a few minutes until perfectly smooth. If adding cream as well, add that in last.

The Density Of My Cheesecake Destiny

It is a density thing, why I say to mix the things in this order – the time I accidentally mixed the straight out of the fridge regular cream cheese with the cream, it was almost impossible to get that smooth. So learn from my mistake and mix things of a similar density with each other. :)

The Final Step!

Pour mixture into the lined baking pan with your base. Smoosh with spatula, until presentable. Cover with alfoil or glad wrap and then put this back in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight if you have the time and can resist the urge to eat it.

Can You Guess?

What my next cooking goal might possibly be? And do you like a cheesecake, will you give this recipe a try?

cooking, country life, food, Happy Snoskred, recipes

Cinnamon Crumble Muffins & Iced Tea

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My Cinnamon and Black Cherry muffins are well known in this part of the world. I have taken them to my workplace(s), where my parents work, and to family and friends. People really lose their shiznit over these muffins, they act like I am some kind of baking genius. I suspect it is the Streusel topping, which, in reality, is just cinnamon and sugar.

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I am so, so, so so not a baking genius. But the folks at Betty Crocker are, and I can follow the recipe of their Cinnamon Crumble Muffins. And so can you. Especially considering the hardest part of this recipe is buying the packet mix from your local supermarket. You’ll also need –

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The eggs were fresh from my girls – we have a broody at the moment who is keeping them warm from when they are laid to when I collect them. You will notice the mix is a strong shade of yellow – the yolks of our eggs are such an amazing colour! Plus, there is a lot more yolk than white with our girls. You can use coconut oil for this recipe as well, though it will work best if you warm the coconut oil to a liquid state.

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So you just put a tablespoon of the mix into each muffin pan.

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If you like, you can special up these muffins with various fruits, if you so desire. My Mother makes this packet mix too, only she adds slices of apple from a tin. You could use any kind of fruit you so desire – the back of the packet has a banana and raspberry version. Me personally, I do not like raspberry unless it is a strained coulis – I’m not a big fan of the seeds, sadly.

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I like cherries in mine but the other half likes his plain, so using these gorgeous gingham patty pans, I can easily know which ones have cherries. Pink for mine, Black for The Other Half. Before this recipe, I would put a tin of cherries in the fridge until they were icy cold, and have just cherries and icecream. Cherries are the perfect fruit addition to this recipe. You could also use fresh cherries, strawberries, blueberries, well, just about any fruit you like!

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Into the pans that will have cherries, you add 2-3 pieces of chopped cherry. I like to cut mine in half and make sure there are no pits left inside – one too many pit accidents. But if you like, you can leave them whole.

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Then you add a little more muffin mix to cover the cherries, and then the streusel topping which is provided in a separate packet to the muffin mix.

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And then you bake them for a bit, following the instructions on the pack.

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This is how they look without cherries –

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And this is how they look with them –

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Now, if you are like me, you’ll bake these after dinner, and make them into an awesome dessert, by cutting them in half while still hot, popping them into a bowl, and adding icecream. So awesome!

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Now, onto the Iced Tea. I have never made this before but I am always willing to try new flavours to go with my soda water. I used the Australian Afternoon Tea by Twinings which is one of my personal favourites. Simply brew up a cup of tea the way you usually would, with boiling water.

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To provide a little sweetness, I added honey while brewing the tea. You can use any sweetener that you prefer – coconut sugar would be my second choice, and I will give that a try as well because it will provide a more caramel flavour as opposed to the honey flavour.

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Place the brewed tea into the freezer for a while. I left mine in for a few hours, then added freshly charged via Sodastream soda water, ice and slices of lime.

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It was absolutely delicious. Full of flavour, and low in sugar. If you like Nestea or iced tea, you absolutely should give this a try.

This post was inspired by two other posts – Fake it ’til you bake it over at Awesomely Unprepared, and How much sugar is in that? at Laughing Galah.

This is not a sponsored post – this is just stuff I regularly use and enjoy in my house. But I’d like to send a shout out to Betty Crocker – I’m more than willing to try any packet mixes you want to provide me with and blog about them here. I have tried some other ones before but it has been a while, and I have seen some very yummy new things appear which I am thinking of trying soon.. :)

cooking, recipes

Roasted Red Capsicum & Potato Soup

I’m not one to follow recipes very often. Much of my cooking is inspired by a recipe and then I go forth and experiment. Such was the case with this soup which was inspired by this post – Chilled Red Pepper Soup with Yogurt and Herbs – though what I made was nothing like the recipe.

I also like my recipes to have “offramps” – points at which you can stop and tada, it is done. This recipe has a couple of offramps..

So here’s what I did, with pics. This is super simple!

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1. Chop and prepare 5 capsicums – any colour you like. I chose red today because they were on super special at Aldi. Peel some potatoes – amount is up to your preference, some people might like more potatoes than I used to roast but I knew I would be adding a couple more in at Slow Cooker Time.

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2. Check in with your Kitty Supervisor to make sure you have done step 1 correctly. Set the oven to 200 degrees C (400F).

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3. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on base of roasting pan. Smoosh the capsicum and potatoes around in the oil to make sure they are covered with olive oil. Layer your items thoughtfully in your roasting pan so they will provide each other with flavour.

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4. Get spicy! Add your choice of spices – you could use any you like, I chose paprika, cinnamon, cayenne, parsley and cracked pepper. Put this in the oven for 1 hour in a covered lid pan – you may need slightly longer and/or a lower temperature for uncovered pans.

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5. Remove from oven. Delight in the smell.

Offramp 1

Here, you could boil the kettle, prepare a litre of stock – chicken, veg, your choice. Add the roasted items and stock to a blender, whizz, add some cream, sour cream, or yoghurt, and your soup is ready. If not, continue on with the recipe as follows.

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6. Cut up one onion, one fresh red pepper, a few carrots. Saute and sweat these in a saucepan if you are planning to get off at the next offramp, or your slow cooker if you are in this for the long haul.

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7. Add in 1 litre stock of your choice, extra potatoes or other vegetables if you would like. Sweet potato (yams) would be wonderful in this. If slow cooking, set for 6 hours.

Offramp 2

If you are not slow cooking, simmer soup on the stove for an hour or until everything is cooked through and mushy. Remove from heat, allow to cool a little, whizz in your blender, add some cream, sour cream, or yoghurt, and your soup is ready.

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8. When your slow cooker beeps, remove the soup and allow to cool a little.

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9. Whizz in your blender, add some cream, sour cream, or yoghurt, cheese if you like it, stir well, pop it back on the stove to get the soup piping hot again, and your soup is ready

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