Category: All Things Christmas

Rocky Road Celebration Cake

Rocky Road celebration cake feature

I know you’re probably thinking ‘Dannielle you just had a celebration at your place, Miss 8’s Birthday’……. and I would say ‘you are completely correct BUT with all the excitement of Miss 8’s Birthday celebrations I forgot about my 2 year BLOGIVERSARY, yes that’s right I have been blogging away here now in this little piece of cyber space for 2 years now (plus a little bit!)’

A big thank you going out to all my lovely readers for travelling with me on this little journey, you guys are just the greatest, I love it when you share pictures with me of the recipes you’ve made from my blog, the messages you send me telling me how much you’ve enjoyed them and all that sharing, liking and commenting you do for me over on Facebook. We’ve got a real little community happening here and it just makes me feel so happy and grateful! Here’s to many more delicious moments!

You all know I don’t need much of an excuse to make something super scrummy and sugarfied, my ‘Blogiversary’ seemed the perfect fit. I’ve been toying with a few idea’s since building up a slight collection of confectionery (bought on sale) in my pantry (mainly marshmallows, Clinkers and Cadbury blocks of chocolate). Zadada took a peek in there the other day and commented on the abundance of chocolate, I politely informed him the bulk of it would be disappearing very soon.

‘VERY SOON’ came very soon indeed and this Rocky Road Celebration Cake was the outcome of making most of that confectionery vanish from our pantry, just like that! This cake takes next to no time to whip up, and you only need to give it around 2 hours in the fridge to set, no baking necessary with this little treasure!

Rocky Road CC 3

Next time you’re short of time for creating a birthday cake, you might like to consider this little lump of deliciousness, I guarantee the recipient won’t be disappointed. The beauty of a creation like this is that you can mix and match the mix-ins to what ever your taste buds desire, just use the marshmallow and chocolate quantities in the mix and make any substitutions you like. I couldn’t resist but to use some of our personal favs…..Clinkers, Red Frogs, Macadamia Nuts, Oreo’s, Maltesers and M&m’s, soooooo good!

http://zamamabakes.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Rocky-road-CC-top-shot.jpg

This really is a fun cake to make, the kidlets eyeballs just about fell  out of their heads when they saw it taking shape. I explained there was some setting time to be had as well as some photography time (The joys of having a blogger as a mum!)

Rocky road celebration cake 1

Finally the time came for taste testing, I managed to sneak in a few shots of Mr 10,

I know you're probably thinking 'Dannielle you just had a celebration at your place, Miss 8's Birthday'....... and I wou...

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Couscous, Chorizo & Zucchini Salad

Couscous salad feature

I love salads, especially when you can eat them solely as a main meal and this couscous, chorizo and zucchini salad is definitely one of those.

My gorgeous and very dear friend Jennifer sent me an email in early December of last year, enlightening me she’d just made a really easy & yummy salad (it’s a given part of our friendship that when we discover something new and delicious we share with each other, love it!). Jennifer found this little treasure in the December issue of  the Woolworth’s ‘Fresh’ magazine here (you know the free one on offer at the checkout).

Jennifer’s recipe shares are always a sure thing, take a look at the ‘Lemon Crumble Cake’ she shared with me last year, it ranked 4th most popular post here on the blog for 2014, you guys loved it and I’m sure you’re going to love this Salad just as much!

Once that email had hit my inbox, a list of the required ingredients was noted and I was at the supermarket buying them the next day!

Raw Zucchini isn’t something Jennifer’s a fan of so she substituted a Lebanese cucumber, I used the raw zucchini and really liked it, I will note my second time making it for Christmas, I accidentally forgot to add the zucchini (call it one of those ‘Mummy’ moments, the good news is it still delivered 100% deliciousness)

The recipe was really easy to follow, the first time I made it was on a work/school night and I would happily make it again on a weeknight, took me about 1/2 an hour all up.

When I served it up to Zadada he said he really enjoyed it but commented he’d like it even better served with a selection of other salads, I told him he’d have to wait for Christmas for that sort of luxury!

Before we could blink Christmas was upon us. Zadada’s wish came true, one of my salad contributions to the family feast on Christmas day was this Salad, he got to enjoy it all over again with the “selection of other salads” (everyone made a salad or 2 it was great), Zadada and the rest of us were in foodie heaven!

For the Christmas version of this salad I started making 1 1/2 days before Christmas as I had to work Christmas Eve. The recipe I’m going to give you is my prep in advance version and I think it’s just as good as the make on the day version.

Oh and I just have to say how good is Persian Feta? So creamy with such a well-balanced flavour, I’ve used it in a few different salads over the last couple of years, it’s worth the extra dollars, AMAZING!

Now for that recipe…….

Here’s your how-to:

Couscous salad helpers

cooked salad ingredients

Newest favourite salad

Couscous, Chorizo & Zucchini Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 chorizo sausages, sliced
  • 250g packet pearl couscous
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 long red chilli, deseeded, chopped (1 small birds eye chilli will do the trick too)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ½ cup Frozen Peas
  • 200g punnet grape tomatoes, halved (2nd time around I grabbed one of those gourmet rainbow punnets)
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 large zucchini or Lebanese cucumber, trimmed, diced
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 250g tub Persian feta
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium heat. Add couscous, 2½ cups hot water, garlic, chilli and spices to pan. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add peas, cover and cook for 3 minutes or until just tender. Transfer mixture to a large bowl to cool. (At this point you can place couscous mix in the fridge in an airtight container overnight)
  2. The next day or straight away
  3. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add chorizo and cook until crisp. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel, allow to cool a little or completely.
  4. Stir tomato, onion, zucchini, parsley and chorizo into couscous. Drain ⅓ cup oil from feta into a jug. Whisk in lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Add dressing to the salad and combine.
  5. Top with crumbled feta and serve.
  6. SO GOOD!!!!!!!!

 

What’s your go-to salad during summer?

Wishing you all a beautiful weekend ahead.

Stay tuned, next week I’ll be posting some baking fun the kidlets and I have been having while the school holidays are on.

Until then……

Zamamabakes

 

 

I love salads, especially when you can eat them solely as a main meal and this couscous, chorizo and zucchini salad is d...

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Our Festive Season Round-Up For 2014

festive season roundup feature

Hello and welcome back all you lovely people!

Happy 2015!

Hope the festive season was kind to you all and if it wasn’t know that I’m sending big cyber hugs your way, wishing that 2015 will be a healthy, safe and happy year for us all.

Taking a blogging break to be with my precious little family over the festive season was just lovely, we got to spend some great quality time together. Would you believe I gave up my iPhone for a day? I’m talking left it at home and went out without it for a whole day! (that’s huge for me) When we called into my parent’s house on our way home Mum asked if I got the message she had left me and I explained there was no phone with me, she said ‘what…. are you sick or something?’ I highly recommend trying it (just for a day), you won’t know yourself!

While I was on break I made sure I snapped up some happy pics I could share with you all.

I did mention some great quality time were spent together but with the great times also come the realistic, standard, run of the mill, family of 5, tantrums, melt-downs and timeouts (we All had a turn), I make no claims for 100% smooth sailing in this house, voices do get raised (mine a little too much according to Zadada), people cry (I do a good tear) and words that only 18+ people are allowed to say (that’s the rule in this house) get said occasionally by the 18+ occupants. All in all I think we’re pretty normal, that’s what I tell myself so I stay half sane 😉 The main thing I look at is that the good times outweigh those other times.

Now for those happy pics from the last couple of weeks (melt-downs don’t photograph too well so you’re in luck, only goodness today!)

It seems we have made a bit of a golden arches Christmas Eve tradition, dining in one of our local parks eating MacDonald’s before attending mass! Great option for when you’ve been working or Christmas feast preparing all day Christmas eve, last year it was cooking, this year it was work.

Christmas Eve 2014

After mass it was home to change into Pj’s, watch a few Christmas carols on telly, set up a plate for the big man in red, brush teeth and nighty nights for the little people. I think Zadada and I made it to bed by about midnight!

Christmas morning rolled around very quickly, the sun was up and we could hear little feet pitter pattering on the tiles up the hallway toward our bedroom (the signal for Zadada and I to rise and shine and grab a strong cup of tea!).

Christmas morning 2014

Now do tell me is it just me or do you find the packaging on children’s toys ridiculous?

How many zip ties, rubber bands, pieces of plastic and cardboard does it take to securely package a barbie doll or singing bird? Way too many for my liking!!

Packaging of toys

Zadada had his work cut out for him, Santa delivered a trampoline in its boxes, I secretly think he was happy to be outside creating while I was inside preparing for the day of visiting ahead.

Check out our furry Santa foreman.

Betty & the trampoline

And it wouldn’t be Christmas without a little bit of dress-up and affection!

Hound smooches

Lunch was spent with Zadada’s family at his Grandfather’s house, everyone brought a plate or 3 of something! I just love how food brings everyone together!

Christmas 2014 spread

Dessert I made a few things,  a special mention goes to Lucy from Bake Play Smile , I made a double batch of her turkey meatloaf with cranberry glaze, that way I had one for the lunch crowd and one for the dinner crowd (my family). My dad makes a mean turkey rissole with bacon so I couldn’t resist but to pop some diced, fried off bacon in the mix too.

Delish I tell you and very economical! Thanks Lucy xx

Lucy's Turkey Meatloaf

 

My gorgeous friend Jennifer recently steered me in the direction of a new couscous salad, I did road-test it during early December and it passed the tastebud/visually appealing test with flying colours, starring as one of my salad contributions for Christmas day. You’ll be getting the recipe later this week. Here’s a close up peek in the meantime.

Newest favourite salad

After lunch and clean up there was some time spent just sitting. One of those quality melt-down free moments!

Zadada and I

Christmas is huge with end of year parties, all the preparations, gift purchasing, the excitement, the stress (oh those meltdowns), the exhaustion, don’t get me wrong, I really do love Christmas but am glad it happens just once a year!

Speaking of once a year, Zadada (oh he’s such a great organiser of cupboards…….. really!) and I find this time of year a good time to declutter the kidlets  bedrooms, out with the old (donations were made) and in with some new!

Scary or what…… I’ve only just got rid of the last lot of clutter in the laundry this week! Clothing is next on the hit list!

Same time next year Zadada?

decluttering christmas 2014

Now the rest of the happy snaps are pretty well self explanatory. A few little notes, we are very fortunate to have our very own swimming hole on our property, I don’t often use it as I’m not a fan of walking through the paddock by myself with the kidlets to get to it. With Zadada home on break I made an exception and we spent a lovely afternoon/evening splashing and swimming. It was so nice to just sit and soak up what’s in our very own backyard and enjoy the company of the 4 most important people in my life.

Betty showed us all how much she loves the water and a body board too!

Then there is just the other stuff, playing at home, dinner on the trampoline, pretty flowers home grown and gifted to me by Zadada’s Nan, new bed linen, New Years Eve at the beach with lovely friends, drinks creek side, sparkler fun,

Swimming hole 2014

Just relaxing

surfs up Betty

Playing

Dinner on the tramp

Homegrown flowers

New bed set

New Years Eve 2014

New Years Eve 2014 2

drinks and snacks creekside

some sparkle

 

Betty & Blake Dec 2014

I was guilty of having cake as my second course of breakfast on more than one occasion!

2 lovely ladies at our local bottle shop introduced me to a sparkling Sav Blanc….. I’ll be buying it again very soon, loved it!

When you live on a farm there is always other work to do, I snapped the pics of the cows,  Zadada and his grandfather ready to do some delousing on my way to dropping Blake to a friends house.

cake for breakfast

Sparkling Sav

cows ready for their delousing

the delousers

And of course there was a touch of baking and family trip to the cinema, if you haven’t seen Paddington you need to, it was such a feel good family movie that everyone applauded at its end, I don’t think I’ve experienced that since watching Titanic at the cinema all those years ago.

a touch of baking

paddington

So how did you fare over the festive break? Were there any meltdowns at your place? Did you have fun freeing those toys from all their packaging? Do any decluttering?

Hope you got to enjoy some quality family time too.

So good to be back. Here’s to a gorgeous 2015!

Stay tuned for the couscous salad recipe later this week.

Until then…..

Zamamabakes

 

 

 

 

Hello and welcome back all you lovely people! Happy 2015! Hope the festive season was kind to you all and if it wasn't k...

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Signing Off For 2014 With White Chocolate Chewy Spiders!

White chocolate Chewy spiders Here you go lovelies, my lucky, lucky last post for 2014!

These little treasures were a last minute thought for the market stall I held last weekend, thinking little kidlets might like something to munch & chew on while walking around the market with their parents. As it turned out the kidlets did enjoy them as well as quite a few big kidlets! I had two fully grown men come back and buy an extra 4 after sampling 1 each. Kaymac gave them a big thumbs up too and of course our 3 kidlets inhaled a few too, that’s always a good sign they’re blog worthy!

Earlier this week Blake had his last night of Scouts for the year which included a little Christmas celebration and of course a take-a- plate request……guess what I made him to take along?

You may have come across standard chocolate spiders, found on the back of all good Chang’s fried noodles packets. I thought I’d try something similar with white chocolate and a little more colour & appeal for the kidlets (a few Allen’s snakes and some mini marshmallows had those bases covered!).

It’s totally up to you how you decorate them I’ve crushed M&M’s over the top and also left them whole. I used Nestle White Chocolate melts in the first batch (the market) then Cadbury Dream chocolate for the 2nd batch (at scouts). Both tasted delicious, however I did like the fact that the Cadbury Chocolate melted down a little thinner and gave a smoother finish to the end product.

Close up White Chocolate Chewy Spiders

They take all of 15 minutes to make and the end result is a delicious little mouthful of crunch and chew!

Here’s your How-To:

ingredients pic White Chocolate Chewy Spiders instructionsBirds eye view Chocolate Spiders

White Chocolate Chewy Spiders
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • 300g Cadbury Dream White Chocolate broken into individual pieces
  • ⅔ cup mini marshmallows, roughly chopped
  • 8 Jelly snakes, diced.
  • 1 x 100g packet Chang's Original Fried Noodles
  • Approx 50g m&m's roughly chopped or mini's left whole
Instructions
  1. Line a mini 24 hole muffin tin with patty pans (alternatively you can just line a tray with baking paper)
  2. Melt chocolate (you can use double boiler method, I used Microwave as is so quick and easy: place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl/jug and heat on high for 30 seconds, stir and return to microwave for another 30 seconds, repeat this process until chocolate is melted and smooth. I find 2-3 rounds has it sorted).
  3. Add noodles, mini marshmallows and jelly snakes to chocolate, stir to combine.
  4. Spoon a heaped teaspoon of mixture into prepared patty pans or alternatively just place heaped teaspoonful's onto lined baking tray to create little mounds.
  5. Top with m&m's crushed or whole, the choice is yours.
  6. Place in fridge to set.
  7. Enjoy!

Now a message for you all…..thank you, thankyou, thank you for all your encouraging support again this year.

You my lovely readers are the ones who keep me blogging, your comments, likes, shares, posts and emails let me know that you’re enjoying what I’m giving you and in turn makes me want to continue giving you more of my baking, creating, mothering and lifestyle adventures. 2015 will be another fun year I’m sure.

Speaking of fun have you entered my GIVEAWAY yet? Entries close Saturday night, the perfect way to round down 2014!

As of Sunday evening I’ll be taking a little 100% break from all blogging and social media (let’s call it a good detox), my little family have been so very patient with me and all my blogging, I want to soak up every bit of this precious time of year with them, I hope you understand. Rest assured I’ll be back Mid January baking, creating and sharing with you once again.

I’d like to wish all of you a very safe, happy, merry, love filled, delicious (make and eat lots!!!) festive season. If 2014 has been unkind to you at all please know that you are in my heartfelt  thoughts and prayers xxxx.

Here’s to an amazing and kind 2015!!!

Until then……….

Zamamabakes!

Here you go lovelies, my lucky, lucky last post for 2014! These little treasures were a last minute thought for the mark...

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15 Minute Salted Caramel Cheesecakes

15 Minute Salted Caramel Cheesecakes Feature

It’s all systems go here, lots of hopping from one event to another……handmade markets, school presentation’s & treat days, birthday parties, preschool Christmas parties , work Christmas parties and somewhere in there trying to finish my Christmas shopping (nothing like leaving the finishing touches until the weekend before Christmas) please tell me I’m not the only one!

With all this dashing as I know I’m not the only one (I feel like one of Santa’s reindeers, do you?) I thought a quick and easy dessert should be shared your way! A 15 minute Salted Caramel Cheesecake to be precise 🙂

Inspiration for these little treasures came from a delicious Mousse I recently purchased from our local Blue Frog Patisserie & Café. So many delicious delights on offer from this great Patisserie, Chocolate croissants, lemon tarts, French vanilla slice, French baguettes, cheesecakes, is your mouth watering yet?

As I said most recently  it was the Mousse that captivated my tastebuds, SALTED CARAMEL MOUSSE, it was so deliciously decadent.  Those flavours got me thinking and did lead to a bit of a brainstorming session with the girls I work with who also share my love of eating sweet treats.

The short of the long is that I decided to get experimenting to try and create something similar in flavour and texture to what I had tasted and enjoyed sooooo much. Obviously I’m no French Pastry chef but I gave it my best shot and after 2 attempts I think I’ve come up with a little winner for what I refer to as a 15 minute Salted Cheesecake.

Here I was thinking it would be something more for Zadada and I to enjoy (which we certainly did) but I can also inform you that the 2 little girls of the family devoured one of these cheescakes each and the following night asked for another!

If you’re looking for a traditional cheesecake head this way. BUT if you’re like me and quite time poor this Christmas (are you working Christmas eve too?), this little treasure might be the perfect dessert to add to your Christmas day dining menu, it’s being added to ours.

Birds eye SCC

SALTED CARAMEL!!! Do I need to say more than that? Well yes I do because I’ve recently discovered that Coles supermarket sells a delicious salted caramel sauce that is almost as good as my homemade version, you’ll find that recipe here. With time being the issue the supermarket version has been put to good use in this little treasure but don’t be afraid to try making a batch (if you have the time).

Less is more sometimes and this is one of those times, this recipe consists of 4 main ingredients: biscuit crumbs, cream, mascarpone cheese &  Salted caramel sauce.

Trust me you’re going to love it and even more so because it’s only going to take you 15 minutes to make!

Let’s get to it.

How-to:

Salted caramel cheesecake instructions

Salted caramel cheecake duet

time to enjoy

5.0 from 1 reviews
15 minute Salted Caramel Cheesecakes
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 x 250g Packet Granita Biscuits (ground down to fine crumbs)
  • 40g butter melted
  • 1 cup thickened cream
  • 250g mascarpone cheese
  • 300ml Salted Caramel sauce (store bought Or you can make mine, link is above)
  • 50g dark chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon salt flakes
Instructions
  1. Set out 6 x 300ml glasses
  2. Combine biscuit crumbs with butter and stir well.
  3. Press crumbs 2-3 tablespoons into the base of each glass, pop in fridge.
  4. Whip cream in a bowl with electric mixer until thick and peaking (see pictures above)
  5. Add mascarpone cheese and salted caramel to cream, fold through until well combined.
  6. Grab those glasses from the fridge and spoon or pipe caramel mixture into glasses (approx. ½- 2/3 cup per glass) will just depend on the size and shape of your glasses.
  7. Using a vegetable peeler, shave some chocolate curls over caramel mixture and sprinkle with a few salt flakes.
  8. Enjoy!
  9. I do recommend refrigerating cheesecakes for an hour or 2 but if you can't wait just dig in lovelies.

How’s life treating you this week? I hope you’re all safe and well.

Please know that my thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by the siege in Sydney, so so sad.

I’ve got one last post to come your way for 2014 before I take a little silly season break!

Stay tuned lovelies….

Zamamabakes

 

It's all systems go here, lots of hopping from one event to another......handmade markets, school presentation's & t...

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Christmas Treasure & A Santa Visit

Christmas Treasure & A Santa visit feature

Christmas is getting closer and closer, I haven’t finished my Christmas shopping, I have started but I’d say I’ve still got two thirds to go! Before I get back to finishing it off I’ve got a market stall to hold this Sunday (which will be lots of fun, it was last year),  the kidlets last week of school (we’re almost there), my GIVEAWAY winner to announce (exciting!) and a work Christmas party to attend.

I won’t bore you with all the other in-between stuff I’m sure we’re all travelling on a similar path at the moment (sending you lots of Christmas strength and energy).

Quality time with my little family in a bit over a week is something I’m really looking forward too. I will be taking a little break from the blogging/social media world at the end of next week (I’ve still got a couple of posts to give you for 2014), rest assured I’ll be back in the New Year to continue on with lots more baking and creating adventures.

Did someone just mention Christmas?? (because I so haven’t mentioned it at all until now, kidding!), I can see you giggling & rolling your eyes at me! Well I thought I’d share a bit of what Christmas looks like at our house as well as a bit of ‘fly on the wall’ viewing of our Santa Visit from last weekend.

Front door Christmas

Days until Christmas

Christmas tree

Advent calendars

My favourite wall in the house!

Christmas creation wall

Silver sideboard

That’s home, well the good bits at least, I didn’t think you’d want to see the pile of unfolded washing sitting in my bedroom, our windows that need a good dose of Windex, or the ceiling that needs cob-webbing! Trust me, life is very crazy, normal in this house too.

Now for the ‘fly on the wall’ view of our Santa visit….

I love the set up Myer have for their Santa photo, it’s a lovely experience and what made it an even lovelier was the fact that we didn’t have to line up for ages to see the big man in Red. This year I took advantage of the book online option to see Santa, you can find it Here. Our wait was all of about 5 minutes, I’ll definitely being doing the same next year. The other lovely thing is that you get to see Santa in private, your only audience are 2 photographers and Santa.

We did have a slightly ‘wary of Santa’ 3-year-old in our presence, surprisingly she did come around by the end of our visit when Santa was handing out mickey mouse ears, she wasn’t going to miss out!

not sure Santa

Santa discussions

All I want for Christmas

making progress

And the closest we’re going to get to a professional family portrait this year……..

Blog santa picture

As we were leaving Santa’s room Zadada turned to me with a question “I wonder how much longer we’ll do this for?”

It got me thinking, I remember having my last childhood photo with Santa when I was about 13, I have a little sister 11 years younger than me so I think Mum tried to stretch out the Santa photo’s for as long as she could.

Can you remember how old you were when you had your last childhood Santa Photo taken?

Stay with me for another week of 2014 blogging lovelies I’ve got an easy 10 minute dessert involving SALTED CARAMEL coming your way next Wednesday plus another little treasure on Friday!

Until then……

Zamamabakes

Christmas is getting closer and closer, I haven't finished my Christmas shopping, I have started but I'd say I've still...

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Mum’s Christmas Cake & A Giveaway!

This Post is in collaboration with Crazy sales.

Mum's Christmas cake feature

Christmas cake never used to be high on my list of sweet treats to enjoy on Christmas day, but opinions and tastes can change over time and that’s exactly what’s happened to me, since having my 3 kidlets (must be hormones), Christmas cake is now on the priority list of must haves for Christmas and not just any Christmas cake it has to be my Mums!

Call me fussy but I’m not a fan of excessive sultanas or glace cherries in any sort of baking, I think it’s something to do with the consistency.

Mum’s Christmas cake ticks all my boxes because there’s no overdosing the cake with sultana’s or glace cherries, they’re still in there (wouldn’t be a Christmas cake without them) but there’s other good stuff in there too like dates, walnuts and apricots ! I do love a cake with a bit of texture!

Boxing Day morning is when I really enjoy Mum’s cake. We usually start with a BBQ bacon & egg brekkie and I finish it off with a nice cup of tea and a slice or 2 of my favourite Christmas cake, it’s all about balancing the savoury with some sweet!

I told Mum about a month ago I’d really love to blog her Christmas cake recipe if that was ok with her, she smiled and said “sure, but it’s not really a ‘proper’ Christmas cake, it’s just an easy boiled fruit cake’, I told her to me it’s a Christmas cake, she does make it every Christmas and only at Christmas, it has brandy, dried fruit and spices in it so that makes it a Christmas cake in my books!

We set a date on the calendar to have our (my first) Christmas cake baking day, we had a lovely day. The best bit was  getting to spend quality time with Mum (even though we were baking) we had quite a few giggles along the way. I’m now armed with a Christmas cake recipe I love and can make every year. Love you Mum xx

Coincidently around the same time we set our date the lovely people over at Crazy sales asked me to test out an Induction cooker and see what I thought. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect I knew exactly what I was going to test it on, a boiled fruit cake!

The Induction cooker arrived and a few days later so did our Christmas cake baking day!

Before we got to the baking day I wanted to give the induction cooker a good trial run, make sure we had the heating situation down pat, there would have been nothing worse than to start boiling up that delicious fruit cake and have it burn! Turns out we had absolutely nothing to worry about, it boiled the ingredients up perfectly.

Zadada and I also put it to the test frying some eggs and making up a batch of our red and green (tomato and kale) cheesy scrambled eggs.

Induction cooker

The induction cooker has a great range of temperature settings which would accommodate any type of hot plate cooking, we didn’t burn a thing. There is a whole bunch of cooking settings you can play around with on the induction cooker, I used the stir-fry setting which gave me the largest range of temperature choices and to be quite honest I think it’s the one I’ll stick with, a bit like the microwave, it has a whole range of settings available but I just stick with the one usually, heat and eat! I like things to be straight forward when it comes to using appliances just ask Zadada he’ll tell you it’s a very rare thing for me to go reading instructions thoroughly (who has time for that?). I did make an exception for this little treasure, reading the manual from front to back (3 cheers for me!! just kidding!), I think the fact that there were only 7 pages to read made the task a little more appealing.

Now you might ask why would you want an induction cooker when you already have a stove/cooktop?

Here’s my thoughts………

  • I do love my gas cooktop but there has been the odd occasion where I’ve run out of gas midway through steaming the veggies for dinner! This would solve that problem and prevent me from having a Mummy meltdown!
  • I find the gas sometimes too hot even on the lowest setting, I’ll be using the induction cooker for my chocolate ganache and salted caramel sauce from now on.
  • Hot lunches Christmas day, lots of cooks in the kitchen, running out of room on the standard stove…..problem solved again.
  • Camping not my favourite thing to do but if I was to go camping I would definitely want to take one of these with me (I’d just have to make sure I had a powered site or generator). It’s so light in weight (approx. 1kg) making it perfect for transporting.
  • Those times when it’s too hot to cook inside and you want to be outside (I don’t like lighting the BBQ solo) so I could just cook the meat in a pan on the induction cooker, win, win!

You can check out more of Crazy sales small kitchen appliances HERE.

The great news for all of you is that the generous people from Crazy sales have given me another Induction Cooker to GIVE AWAY!

For your chance to win this handy little appliance, head over to Crazy sales, check out all their other fantastic deals and tell me in the comments below ‘What else would you add to your Christmas wish list from Crazy sales and why?……… Good luck!

PS – in case you were wondering what else I’d add to my wish list…… it would be one of the Crazy sales Robotic vacuum cleaners (I need all the help I can get!)

Now for a Christmas cake…….

We had the ever so talented 3-year-old helping us, she can make a handful of diced apricots disappear in 30 seconds!

Christmas cake helper

Christmas cake instructions

Christmas cake 2

A little moment of proudness x 2!

Our Christmas cakes

4.6 from 5 reviews
Mum's Christmas Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 25
Ingredients
  • 375g packet mixed fruit (I pick the glace cherries out and dice them up finely)
  • 1 cup diced dates
  • ½ cup diced apricots
  • ½ cup apricot jam
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 250g butter, cubed
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • ½ cup diced walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 3 eggs
Instructions
  1. Combine mixed fruit, diced fruit, jam, orange juice, butter and brown sugar in a large heavy based saucepan. Stir over low heat until butter melts and sugar has dissolved, increase heat, bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer 5 minutes, let stand until cold. Add combined beaten eggs and brandy, then fold in sifted dry ingredients. Grease and line a 23cm x 23cm square cake tin (you’ll end up with a cake about 4cm thick), spread mixture evenly into tin. Bake in a moderate oven for 50 minutes until cooked when tested (a skewer should just come out clean) for me and my fan- forced oven moderate worked out at 160C.
  2. Cool in tin 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire cake rack.
  3. Mum tells me this cake keeps for a good month in an airtight container in the pantry, mine has been quartered, wrapped in foil followed by cling wrap, placed in an airtight container and is frozen in the freezer (I always like to stay on the safe side with our summer temperatures).
  4. Cake size options:
  5. cm x 20cm square tin baked in a moderate oven for approx. 1.5 hours (this will give you a thicker cake).
  6. Six 7cm x 14cm mini loaf tins for a cuter option, baked in moderate oven for 30 - 35 mins.
  7. Enjoy!!

 

Terms and Conditions:

The name of the promotion is: Crazy Sales Induction Cooker Competition. The promoter is Zamamabakes in conjunction with Crazy Sales. The conditions of entry: answer 1 question, 1 entry per person. Employees, immediate family members, retailers, suppliers, associated companies and agencies are not eligible to enter. The giveaway will close on Saturday December 20th, 2014 at 8pm. Comments submitted after this time will not be considered for the giveaway. This is a game of skill. The winner will be awarded based on the strength of their answer to the question ‘what else would you put on your Christmas wish list from crazy sales and why?’ The prize will be in the form of an induction cooker which will be sent to the winner once address details have been provided after the competition has closed. The results of the giveaway will be published on this site on Sunday December 21st 2014. Prizes are not redeemable for cash and are non-transferable. The prize is valued at $59.95. The competition is open to Australian residents only. The Promoter is not responsible for prizes once they have been dispatched to the winner.

Until the next time….

Zamamabakes

THE WINNER OF THE INDUCTION COOKER COMPETITION IS T. HUFSCHMID, thank you to everyone who entered! Have a beautiful Christmas.

This Post is in collaboration with Crazy sales. Christmas cake never used to be high on my list of sweet treats to enjoy...

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Chocolate Ganache Meringue Kisses

Chocolate ganache meringue kisses feature

Time just seems to be flying past at the moment more so than usual, maybe due to the fact that it’s December??? What do you think?

This week we’ve had school intensive swimming for one 7-year-old (she loves it), she’ll be pleased to know she still has another week ahead of her, I managed to spend a day with Mum making her Christmas cake recipe (which I love eating)….can you believe I’d never attempted baking one until now? (And yes you will be getting Mum’s recipe!).  We’ve also done the dentist check-ups  x 3 kidlets which went surprisingly smoothly (love that it’s out of the way for another 6 months!), there’s been a take-a-plate request, I made my Triple Choc Malteser Balls for a group of 9 & 10 year olds, which I believe were well received (the container did come home empty!). Somewhere in there are 2 days of work at the optometrist and then over the weekend we’re braving the Santa crowds (I’m actually feeling good about it this year because I’ve booked ahead at Myer, fingers crossed our wait is only about 10 minutes, I’ll keep you posted!), and in case you’re curious here’s a peek at our Santa visit from last year.

Now for the really important, yummy bit, the latest addition to the blog….. ‘Chocolate Ganache Meringue Kisses’. I’ve had Blake requesting I make a batch of these for the last 2 months.

I waitressed a wedding 2 months ago and was lucky enough to be gifted some delicious home baked treasures, including meringue kisses! Knowing how much Blake loves meringues I kept one aside to take home for him to try. The next morning when I mentioned I had a few little sweet treats from the wedding, all 3 kidlets were lined up at the bench waiting for some samples. Blake loved the meringue kiss which was joined with chocolate ganache…… that’s when the request came. It’s taken me a little while to get around to it, but we did it and they all vanished within 2 days.

I will add purchasing Donna Hay’s 2014 Christmas magazine last month and discovering a whole section dedicated to meringue was the icing on the cake for making these little treasures, Donna had a plain meringue recipe for me to run with (I’ve never failed with Donna!). It had been a while since I’d made meringue, Donna’s recipe worked a treat.

One of best things about Meringue is that you only need 3 ingredients!

We knew there was going to be some Chocolate ganache made to join our meringues together plus a few sprinkle’s to pretty them up (cue the dark chocolate, cream and sprinkles) so we used 6 ingredients all up! You can enjoy the meringues plain or do a whole lot of other variations, just check out Donna’s Christmas Magazine page 172-182!

I’m guessing I’ll be getting another request from a certain 9-year-old to make another batch of these treasures for our Christmas celebrations, they really are so pretty and delicate, they’d compliment any dessert buffet for any occasion.

Here’s how our little creations unfolded…….

Blake was chief meringue mixer, he even attempted piping a few little meringues.

Meringue instructions

Ella was chief stirrer for the chocolate ganache.

Chocolate ganache instructions

Chocolate Ganache Meringue Kisses
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 30
Ingredients
  • MERINGUES
  • 150ml eggwhites (approximately 4 eggs)
  • 1 cup (220g) caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • Sprinkles for decorating
  • DARK CHOCOLATE GANACHE
  • ¼ cup cream (I used thickened cream, coconut cream works well too)
  • 100g dark chocolate roughly chopped.
Instructions
  1. MERINGUES
  2. Preheat oven to 150C.
  3. Place egg whites in bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on high speed until stiff peeks form.
  4. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking for 30 seconds before adding more. Once all the sugar has been added, whisk for a further 8 minutes or until the mixture is thick and glossy.
  5. Scrape down the side of bowl, add the vinegar and whisk for a further 2 minutes or until glossy and combined.
  6. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 2cm plain nozzle and pipe small circles on a large baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper (I traced small 4cm diameter circles onto the baking paper using the edge of a little medicine cup as a template -see picture) this helped to keep my meringues similar in size. You should end up with about 60 meringues.
  7. Sprinkle the sprinkles over the piped meringues.
  8. Reduce heat of oven to 120C and bake for 25 minutes or until crisp to touch.
  9. Turn the oven off and allow meringues to cool in the oven for 1 hour.
  10. DARK CHOCOLATE GANACHE
  11. Place cream and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high for 30 seconds, stir and return to microwave for another 20 seconds, continue this process until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Alternatively you can heat cream in a heavy based saucepan over low heat until just starting to steam, add chocolate, stir until chocolate is starting to melt through, remove from heat and stir until completely smooth. Set aside.
  12. Chocolate mixture will thicken as it cools, (I give it a stir about very 5 mins if I think of it, if it's a hot day pop the mixture in the fridge for a bit, but be keep an eye on it, you don't want it to set or you'll have to melt it down and start the cooling process again) once it reaches a thick enough consistency to pipe with, spoon mixture into piping bag and pipe small rounds very carefully (the meringues are very delicate to handle, I did break a couple but you'll have plenty to play with so don't worry) onto one cooled meringue base and join with another meringue.
  13. Store meringues in an airtight container in the pantry for up to 5 days.
  14. Enjoy!

Plain chocolate ganache kisses

How’s your December travelling? Is the Silly but Precious Christmas Season making your life a little busier than usual?

Wishing you all a beautiful weekend ahead and stay tuned because there’s another giveaway bubbling in the pipeline!

Until the next time…..

Zamamabakes

 

Time just seems to be flying past at the moment more so than usual, maybe due to the fact that it's December??? What do...

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DIY Christmas Snow Globes

DIY  Christmas Snow Globes

Craft is something the kidlets love to do at home, and I love doing it with them when I have the time! What I don’t love is craft that ends up taking you longer to clean up then it does to set up! These DIY Christmas snow globes are my kind of craft, minimal fuss and lots of fun!

Last week I decided I’d organise a little Christmas craft project for the kidlets for the weekend ahead. You see earlier in the week I’d had a conversation with my lovely friend Cathy who told me about some DIY candle holders she’d discovered on Pinterest see here, I think they are just lovely, Cathy’s planning to make some for herself. I got thinking about how I could do something similar but adapt it to be a little more child friendly. My thoughts were for a kind of liquid free Snow Globe.

I took a trip in to our local Reject shop with a bit of a plan in my head and come out with some supplies I thought the kidlets and I could work with.

Saturday morning was a busy one (a weekend wouldn’t be complete for me without some baking and creating) , we started by making some  Christmas Jelly Pin Wheels I discovered from over at Just a Mum (if you like jelly do it!!). It was then time for a bit of baking for the kidlets Christmas Tableau Cake Stall (which was that night), I made some Butterscotch Blondies, you really should try them, if you haven’t already. Then it was time to get crafting.

We got set up (as you can see minimal mess supplies required)

DIY snow globe action

And here’s how it all ended up…..

Snow Globes elegant

snow globe single

Three little people proud of their efforts.

snow globes in hands lit

So proud that we dined outside with our new little creations on Sunday Night.

snow globes at dinner time

These little treasures really are straight forward and fun too make.

Here’s your How-To:

DIY Snow Globe bits

DIY Snow globes instructions

DIY Christmas Snow Globes
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue
  • BluTack
  • Coloured ribbon or string (to tie around neck of bottle)
  • White and silver glitter (you can pretty much choose whatever colour you like, mine was from the reject shop)
  • 4 little Christmas figurines (I bought some cheap little cheese knife sets {form the reject shop} that were topped with little Christmas characters, I detached the knives from the tops leaving me with just the figurine)
  • An artificial Christmas branch cut up into 4 small pieces to resemble Christmas trees (reject shop)
  • 4 jars including lids (I got a 4 pack from the reject shop for $4 you could just upcycle some jars from home too)
  • candles (tea candles will work but for the kidlets I went with battery operated candles as a safer option, again purchased from the reject shop).
Instructions
  1. Taking lid off jar, position figurine and Christmas branch inside lid with a piece of Blu Tack, squeeze some craft glue all over the figurine base covering Blu Tack too (see picture).
  2. Set aside to dry for at least 4 hours (we did leave ours overnight).
  3. Pour glitter into base of jar (you're looking for about a 1cm depth of glitter maybe 2-3cm if your jar is a little larger).
  4. Once figurine and little branch has set in lid, carefully push inside the jar. Fasten lid onto jar and simply turn the jar upside down, (a few little shakes and you should have a cute little Christmas scene).
  5. Tie some pretty Christmas ribbon around the neck of jar.
  6. Using some little balls of Blu Tack fasten the battery operated candle to the base (now top) of the jar.
  7. Hey presto, you've got your very own Snow Globe with a little light and without the liquid & mess!

Have you checked out my other craft project on the Blog here, here and here.

Do you get up to any craft at Christmas?

I’ll be back again towards the end of the week with some more edible Christmas treasure.

Until then…..

Zamamabakes

Craft is something the kidlets love to do at home, and I love doing it with them when I have the time! What I don't love...

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Easy, Tasty Cheese Ball Recipe

Well hello again. Hope your week is going well. We have had a great week. I am still very much enjoying the fact that it’s school holidays and we are not having to stick to a strict schedule.

I promised this recipe to everyone last year when I revealed the menu for our 2013 Christmas day feast!!
This delicious little appetiser first found my attention 3 years ago when Zaunclejim featured it on his cheese platter for Christmas day. It was a fantastic hit, everyone loved it. I believe it was one of Zaunclejims gorgeous work colleagues who originally shared it with him a few years ago. We love it so much we asked Zaunclejim to bring another one for the 2013 Christmas feast just passed. I love a great recipe that finds its way to me, so thank you Zaunclejim and Zagorgeous work colleague.

I have made the Cheese Ball a few times now, most recently I made it and took it along to a baby shower I attended last weekend.

A recipe like this should be shared over and over. So here is me sharing it with you.

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You will need:

250g cream cheese
125g triangle of Blue vein cheese
60g butter softened
1/2 cup sliced black olives (I used a combination of olives and semi sun-dried tomatoes)
3 shallots finely chopped
Approx 150g chopped walnuts, pecans or cashews (I used walnuts)

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Combine all ingredients except for nuts (keep them aside) in a food processor (if you don’t have a food processor a hand mixer will do, mix cheeses and butter first until smooth, then add the vegetables).

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Process/mix until evenly combined. It is meant to be a textured mixture so don’t over process or mix.

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To make the mixture a little easier to handle I refrigerate it for about 1/2 an hour.

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Prepare your nuts on a piece of baking paper.

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Remove chilled cheese mixture from the fridge. I moistened my hands a little which made the mixture a little easier to work with.

NOTE: Depending on the size of Cheese Ball you want for your platter, this quantity has the potential to make 2 good size balls and possibly 4 smaller ones you may just need a few extra nuts for rolling.

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Carefully place cheese mixture in a mound on top of prepared nuts. Just work the nuts up and around the mixture, then roll it over and continue to press the nuts all over until the Cheese Ball is well coated.

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Once you have your Cheese Ball prepared wrap it in cling wrap and place it back in the fridge to firm up for at least 20 minutes.

The Cheese Ball will keep in the fridge for a good 5 days so if you want to prepare it ahead of time you can.

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I made a smaller ball for Zadada and I, as well as the larger ball to take to the baby shower pictured below.

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I love colour so I served the Cheese ball with some raw veggies as well as some crackers.
I had a lovely morning at the baby shower.

You really need to put this recipe on your to-make list, you won’t regret it.

Next up in the Blog Post pipeline is an easy sweet treat involving licorice allsorts.

Until then
Zamamabakes

Well hello again. Hope your week is going well. We have had a great week. I am still very much enjoying the fact that it...

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