Sunday, 6 October 2013

Creative Cookie Exchange: Belgium Biscuits

My husband announced last night that he might GIVE UP SUGAR!!!!

Whilst I think there is some merit to this statement, I was horrified as I LOVE TO BAKE!  In fact, I have just decided to join the Creative Cookie Exchange run by Laura (The Spiced Life) and Rebecka (At Home with Rebecka) after my very good friend at Made with Love joined the group.

Each month an ingredient or theme will be selected and then we all have fun baking and sharing our creations.

This month's theme is Back to School

As the kids return to school tomorrow, after a two week holiday break, I thought a treat was needed and chose these
Belgium Biscuits!
These biscuits were a delicious treat and look fabulous. A combination of an extremely short spiced biscuit, sweet vanilla flavoured icing and strawberry jam. Definitely for the sweet-tooth.
I made them with Strawberry Jam and perhaps the tartness of the Raspberry Jam would have been better. However, my kids loved them!!!
125g butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon cocoa
1 cup icing sugar sifted
1/4 teaspoon raspberry or vanilla essence
A few drops of pink food colouring
1/2 cup raspberry or strawberry jam (approx.)
Pink Sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
A drop or two of pink food colouring
1. Preheat the oven to 180c/350F.
2. Cream the softened butter and sugar in an electric mixer and light and fluffy.
3. Add the egg and beat well.
4. Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, mixed spice and cocoa.
5. Add to the butter mixture and combine to form a firm dough.
The dough will be very crumbly but will come together.
6. Roll out the dough on baking paper to 3mm thick.
7. Cut out 6.5cm circles and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
8. Re-roll any scraps. This may be a little harder to roll but can be used for the bases if not perfect.
9. Bake at 180c/350F for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
10. When cold ice half of the biscuits and sprinkle with the coloured sugar.
11. Spread the other half of the biscuits with jam and place an iced biscuit on top.
Sift the icing sugar and mix with flavouring of your choice and colouring. Add sufficient water to make a pink icing of spreading consistency.
Pink Sugar
Place the sugar and food colouring in a small ziplock bag.  Seal tightly and shake the sugar and rub through the colouring until an even colour is obtained.
Tip: It is a good idea to fill them with jam as you need them so the biscuit doesn't go soft.
Want to join in the Creative Cookie Exchange fun? Here’s how:

1. Write a blog post with recipe and original photo (please include some language here specific to that month’s theme). We would like the recipe to be one you’re making for the first time, and photos must be original.

2. Post the Cookie Exchange logo somewhere on your blog post so others can join in the fun:

3. Make a good faith effort to visit and comment on the other cookies in the Linky party. We all love cookies so that should be easy!

4. LIKE the Creative Cookie Exchange Facebook Page

5. FOLLOW the Creative Cookie Exchange Pinterest Board

6. LINK your blog post below using the Linky tool


Sunday Brunch

Daylight savings started yesterday in Melbourne and after a bit of a Sunday sleep in, breakfast quickly turned into brunch, lunch became afternoon tea and I ran terribly late with dinner.

As breakfast was so late I decided to cook a yummy brunch for the family.

Poached Eggs with Wilted Spinach
and Thyme Mushrooms

Ingredients (Serves 2)
1 tsp white vinegar
2 tbsp flaxseed oil or olive oil
4 field mushrooms or equivalent, sliced
3 sprigs of lemon thyme, leaves removed
1/4 cup verjuice
100g bag of baby leaf spinach
4 slices ham off the bone or bacon
2 eggs
2 slices chunky bread (eg sourdough)
1. Heat oil in non-stick frypan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and thyme leaves and cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes. When the mushrooms are soft add verjuice and stir to combine. Transfer to a bowl to keep warm.
2. Return pan to the heat, cook the ham/bacon for 2 minutes each side or until golden around the edges.  Transfer to plate to keep warm.
3. Fill a small frypan with water. Bring to the boil and then add the vinegar. Break an egg into a bowl. Reduce to a simmer and gently slide the egg into the water and cook for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining eggs.
4. While the eggs are cooking toast the bread and gently panfry the spinach until slightly wilted.
5. Cut the toast in half and place onto plates with ham, mushrooms and spinach. Top with eggs and season with salt and pepper to serve.  


Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Birthday Time - Basketball Cake

It was my daughters 12th Birthday last month. I cannot believe how much she has grown and matured in the past year. She is growing into a most beautiful, kind, generous, caring and smart young lady.

She decided to have a Bowling Party but her true love at the moment is Basketball so it only made sense that her birthday cake would be Basketball themed. Our family really "do" birthday cakes and despite her party being a rather small gathering, the cake had to match previous years. The bottom tier was vanilla cake iced with purple and white pettinice and the half ball was chocolate cake iced with orange buttercream and licorice. It was such fun to make! We were running a little late for the party so the photos aren't fantastic.

Since moving to Melbourne my daughter has been really lucky to find a wonderful group of girlfriends and I truly hope the friendships she shares with them last her well into High School next year!  The party was a blast and the best compliment came from one of her friends saying, "Mrs B, you have created a piece of art!" The smiles on their faces when we brought it out was enough thanks.
Scavenger Hunt (September)

This is my collection of photos for the September Scavenger Hunt.
It's been a busy month with my beautiful Mum visiting so my apologies for running a little late with posting.
White: A stunning white Flannel Flower complete with little fly. Spotted whilst bushwalking on the Central Coast of New South Wales. It is native to Australia.
1: One of the many magpies swooping on Melburnians during this spring breeding season.
Graffiti: Melbourne is reknowned for its Street Art. This one caught my eye because the guy in it has an uncanny resemblance to my brother-in-law.

Ears: The strange term "Ears of Corn".

Repetition: Royal Arcade in Melbourne. I loved the repetition of the roof structure.

Disney: Disney to me is Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Uncle Scrooge and comics that my Sister and I used to collect as children. 
You ask kids now and its Disney Pixar that think of most and Cars, Nemo, Toy Story, etc. Our house has lots of the modern day Disney and this is a very small snapshot.
I am now on a mission to find my old comics.

Lace: Stunning iron lacework on the balcony of an
East Melbourne terrace house (circa 1860s)
New: A new skill my Mum is trying to teach me, crochet. I have a long way to go!!
Thanks Mum for trying!

Door Handle: On a lovely door in one of Melbourne's alleyways.
Beach Life:  Surf Lifesavers on patrol at Macmasters Beach on the Central Coast of New South Wales, one of the more than 400 patrolled beaches in Australia.
Tree: Skeletons of magnificent English Elms in Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne. These avenues are of international significance as disease has killed most of these species in the northern hemisphere. Can't wait to see them in Spring/Summer in their full glory.
Tattoo: Why is My Mother Getting a Tattoo? by Jancee Dunn
If you've ever asked yourself "do we ever grow up" this is a hilarious book you would enjoy. I haven't quite finished it yet and I'll do a book review post on it when I'm done. Very funny!