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18 April 2014

How to Creme Caramel with Donna Hay

Happy Good Friday!!

I hope you are having a great start to the Easter weekend! We are away for Easter this year but I thought I'd keep sharing some sweet treats that are perfect for Easter entertaining. Did you see yesterday's Maple Bacon Fudge? Today's sweet treat is Creme Caramel which I attempted for the first time last weekend when we had Uncle Luke over for dinner and thought this Australian recipe was so simple and so delicious that it is definitely worthy of an Easter dessert.

Donna Hay is an Australian cooking guru. Her Classics 1 and Classics 2 recipe books are the most well-used resources in my bookcase and my go-to guides for so many recipes. I have always been scared to make Creme Caramel, I always thought it required gelatin or magic, and so always favoured creme brûlée instead. And please excuse my photo...i'm not sure why they all turned out yellow... but here is my first ever attempt at a creme caramel...

creme caramel meg-made

I was surprised by how simple the Creme Caramel was to make! It takes a bit of time to make the caramel and then add the custard, but the brilliant part is that you don't actually have to stand around carefully stirring the custard, it bakes in the oven on its own! Clever little thing.

creme caramel meg-made

Ingredients
2/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup milk
3/4 cup single cream
2 eggs
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Method:

1. Make the caramel - Place the 2/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water in a saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Brush sides of the pan with a little water to remove any sugar crystals. Increase the heat and boil for 8-10 minutes or until the syrup is a deep golden dolour. Pour into 4 ramekins and seta side for 5 minutes to allow the caramel to set. 

2. To make the custard- place the milk and cream in a saucepan over low heat and heat until warm. Place the gas, extra egg yolks, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Slowly pour over the milk mixture while shirking well to combine. Strain and pour over the caramel in the ramekins. 

3. Place the ramekins in a baking tray and pour in enough hot water to come three quarters of the way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35 minutes or until the custard is set. Remove from the tray and refrigerate until cold. 

4. To serve - dip the base of each ramekin into hot water for 10 seconds (which loosens the caramel) and invert the creme caramel onto a plate and serve immediately. 

creme caramel meg-made

creme caramel meg-made

I do so love when you discover treats that are naturally gluten free and that aren't nearly as complicated as you expect them to be. I kind of get the feeling we'll be having these a lot around here this summer!!! I would like to learn how to make a coconut flan next... does anyone know how they differ??

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17 April 2014

Maple Bacon Fudge

It's fudge time. It's Easter time. They go one go hand in hand!

Every year it has been our tradition at Easter time that Husband and I would bake fudge (to make me less mopey about being allergic to chocolate). We really only ever make it just this one time of the year, so whenever I send him a photo of fudge on the stove, he knows Easter is near!

We are heading away for Easter (right now actually) but fear not, fudge is coming with us! We've been invited to a brunch in which everyone is to bring a dish with bacon in it... so rather than bring fudge AND something else with bacon...I thought, hey, lets just put the bacon in the fudge! 

Introducing Bacon Maple Fudge. 


I used my trusty old basic fudge recipe and then added some maple-candied-bacon at the end. 

Dice finely 3 rashes of bacon and cook until crispy. You want it to be super crunchy so that it candies in the maple syrup. Add two tablespoons of maple syrup and let it bubble for about a minute. Strain and let cool, this will candy the bacon. 


When the fudge is cooked and poured into a small dish, mix through the candied maple bacon and then set in the fridge for a few hours. 



And then let the flavour explosion in your mouth start!!!


The salty/crunchy/sweet/velvety combination is like brunch in bite!

But just in case people are hesitant to try, I also have some trusty salted caramel fudge, which, of course, is also glittered!!!!


Do you have any fun Easter traditions? 

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15 April 2014

My Favourite 5 Fast Diet Recipes

To say I have Bloggers Block would be an understatement of gargantuan proportion. To say that I brain is not functioning would be a far more accurate representation of the truth. I am 95% of the way through a huge wholesale confetti-filled balloons order and it has taken over my life. It is nigh impossible to work on the order with a playful toddler around, so I have been doing lots of 2am-ers to get it done. And now my brain is mush!!! 

So please forgive me and allow me a little bit of a cheats post today, summarising my favourite Fast Diet Recipes. I wanted to share with you the five main Fast Diet Recipes that I repeat most often on a Fast Day (and to be honest, on non-Fast Days too). 


Shakshuka

This beautiful and satisfying egg dish it so simple and so incredibly tasty that I keep making it when I need a quick and easy tummy-filler! I still haven't made it to NOPI, but it's on my list! Recipe here.


Fish Taco's

Extremely fresh and zingy, whenever we find ourselves somewhere slightly warmer than London we make these for a lighter dinner with a burst of flavour. Recipe here.


Chorizo & Butterbean Soup

Hands down the most repeated recipe I keep making at least once a week for a Fast Day. This recipe from Lavender & Lovage is just such a winner!! Recipe post here.



O'Kelly Fish

Anything that has salmon in it is going to be a meal I'm going to repeat, and this one was no exception. The flavours were incredible and was a really filling meal for a Fast Day. Recipe here.



Baked Asparagus with a Poached Egg

I made this simple meal in week 1 of the Fast Diet and the simplicity yet satisfaction is the most impressive part of this one! It has been my most popular pin on Pinterest too!! Recipe here.



So there's my current favourite 5 Fast Diet Recipes. I just realised that tomato is in each of these 5 dishes, which is ironic because I used to give tomato up for Lent each year to avoid having to eat it, and now I just love it! Even if you aren't Fasting, they are just great, healthy and delicious meals that are certainly worthy of a weeknight dinner. 

Alrighty, back to the ballooning!!!! I hope you are having a great start to the week!!!

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14 April 2014

mum-made: Ashley from Words About Waverly

Happy Monday!! 

Last month I announced an exciting new series on my blog called mum-made. A wonderful thing has happened through blogging and I wanted to share it with you. 

Living in London has had its definite perks, but it is also so very far away from our family and friends in Australia. And having a baby really made the distance palpable. We have always been staunchly independent, so I'm not sure how much help we would have accepted anyway, but being in London has also had its challenges, and I was feeling so alone in motherhood. That is, until I started blogging and "meeting" other mums to share experiences, advice, tears and pride with. I have been blown away by the global mums' group that I've managed to build myself and wanted to introduce some of these wonderful women with you through mum-made. 

I find myself drawn towards the women who are the kinds of mums that I admire most. They are the mum's who just love being a mum. They put their family's needs first and make every moment count, and then some. 

My first mom to introduce you to is Ashley, from Words About Waverly. Aside from being so sweet, I think the thing that I enjoyed most about Ashley is her ability to make a every event so special for her little girl. These two look like they have so much fun together and I just love how Ashley celebrates all the little moments that make motherhood the most incredible joy in the world. 

I'm so honoured to have Ashley share a special moment with us that is mum-made...with love.


Hi, I am Ashley from Words About Waverly. I am a Fashion Marketing teacher who loves style, design & any kind of celebration!  My husband & I live in Virginia Beach, VA, the same place we met fifteen years ago in Math class.  We have a 20-month old daughter, Waverly Maye, who is the absolute light & center of our lives.


One of my favorite parts of blogging is finding other ladies who share the same priorities & beliefs that I do, especially women that I can relate to as fellow mothers.  Meg is definitely one of those.  I have been following her & sweet Maddie for a while now, I find them completely adorable & truly inspiring.  I am honored to be kicking off Meg's "mum-made" series today, the idea behind it is just too sweet & exactly what I am all about.

Like Meg, what I have always looked forward to in life is becoming a mother.  While I wasn't sure what else my future would bring, I knew that I couldn't wait to give my all to a little one I could call my own & of course, to do it with my husband by my side.  Since Waverly Maye was born, motherhood has been every bit as fulfilling of a role I expected it to be.  And more. 

Waverly amazes me on a daily basis & even though she is now close to being two years old, I still find myself unable to believe how lucky we got to have her.



Since I work full-time, most of my afternoons & weekends are all about making the most of moments with my girl.  Waverly is a spunky one (she might have gotten that from me), she loves to move & prefers to be outdoors where she has the maximum amount of space to really be free.  We definitely spend a lot of time doing just that, but with a long winter full of snowstorms & frigid air, we have had to get creative with some indoor activities for just the two of us.


I don't claim to be a good cook, never have, & definitely could take a tip from a fabulous chef like Meg.  Yet we do love food at our house & also share the thought that the heart of the home is in the kitchen.  Now that Waverly is older, more interested & able to interact more, I've been pulling up a chair while cooking or baking so that she can help me with what I'm doing.  It really makes the process so much more fun & not to mention, I could probably use some help in there.  She will probably be "out-cooking" me by age three. ;)


 Obviously, Waverly can't help with everything so our cooking dates have to be with recipes that are super easy & don't consist of many ingredients.  We love pizza at our house & especially love making it ourselves, Waverly plays with the dough like it's one of her favorite toys & even can help me pour the sauce.  We get our dough & pasta sauce at Trader Joe's, it's delicious & cheap. 

Win & win, both are qualifications when writing our grocery list.


With Easter coming up, I couldn't resist a bunny-shaped pizza (made from a cookie-cutter).  I know Waverly doesn't understand it quite yet, but I love, love a theme & it makes my mama heart very happy to make her food holiday-friendly.  We also added a dessert, the cut-out cookies that you can buy at the store are totally our jam.  You literally only have to put them on the cookie sheet so this again qualifies as a task that Waverly can take part in.  Yet don't even think this didn't buy us some serious time, both activities paired together made for an entire afternoon of mama & mini fun. :)


I am so thankful to Meg for letting me be a part of this special series, I truly am honored to be a guest host on this sweet, sweet blog. We hope everyone has a wonderful day!
XOXO 

Ashley, thank you so much for sharing and being part of mum-made. I look forward to reading and sharing more of your adventures in motherhood on Words about Waverly

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11 April 2014

meg-made it to Bake-a-Boo (review)

Bake-A-Boo. The name just works doesn't it?! Combining youthful mystery with the promise of gluten free sweet bakes, Bake-A-Boo is not only cute by name, but it is cute by decor,  and delicious in nature!

Last Saturday morning I woke up with a migraine in the early hours of the morning, which meant I spent the entire weekend with a headache and just felt lousy. And as every good comfort-eater does, I drowned my misery in cake!!!! 

And when I walked into Bake-A-Boo I was instantly uplifted not only by the promise of amazing-smelling baked goods, but by the thoroughly cheerful and sweet decor too!


I have had Bake-A-Boo on my list for a while now and so a leisurely stroll down to West Hampstead was the perfect amount of activity for my post-migraine haze. 






I am pretty much open for trying all and sundry when it comes to gluten-free bakeries, but this one is on the "repeat" list for sure. It was such a girly retreat (made even more so by the bridal shower of millinery going on in the back tea room) and I just loved all the country chic details. 



I tweeted ahead of time to make sure there would be some gluten free delights in store for me, I just knew my fragile self wouldn't handle that level of disappointment well, and I needn't of worried! 

We tried all three of their gluten free cupcakes available on Saturday - lemon, blueberry and raspberry. 



I like that they weren't insanely sweet, which seems to be some bakers answer to the gluten free problem, add more sugar!! They were perfectly cooked and to be honest, I wouldn't have even known they were gluten free (which is a funny compliment but a compliment none the less!) 

We each had a favourite, which kind of worked out for the best, because there was NO sharing of Madeleine's lemon cupcake!!! Where has my savoury-tooth-baby gone!!





I'm sorry, who's lemon cupcake...





"But Mummy has to try it for my review honey..." hehe I'm such a lousy mum making my baby cry like that!! It was really good though, she has good taste!

And just to show what most of Pete's engaged and interested wife looks like while we are having these sorts of outings...such a lousy wife too!!!


But, it would be more lousy of me to not photograph and sample all the amazing gluten free baked goods at Bake-A-Boo because this way I can share the wealth!! 

For a beautiful range of gluten free cakes in a beautiful setting, Bake-A-Boo is the perfect peek-a-boo bakery I've ever seen!! If you're looking for something yummy to do in London this weekend, I highly recommend a cupcake or two at Bake-a-Boo!

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