Sunday, 25 August 2013

Life Lately 3

I wish I had more 'life' things to discuss when I do these posts but at the moment all I have been doing is working for uni, writing and watching tv (Underemployed anyone?). Therefore this will be the usual mashup of thoughts I've had throughout the week.

Products I'm loving lately:
Cocopure Chocolate Coconut Butter
This stuff is totally amazing. It's rich, thick and absolutely amazing. They have a whole range of coconut butters but I have a feeling this one would be my favourite.
Lindt Excellence with Sea Salt
This is probably my favourite Lindt block of chocolate - I love the rich chocolate combined with the intense salt. It's amazing.

Philadelphia Chocolate Cream Cheese
I'm sensing a pattern. But this stuff is also amazing - with fruit, on bread, by itself. I am crazy about it.

Posts I'm loving lately (oh look, they're like all related to books):
I'm sure you've seen it already, but if you haven't, this post about what would happen if Disney princesses had Instagram is brilliant.

In other book character posts - I feel like this is incredibly relevant to me.

17 problems only book lovers understand - this is my life. Also, number 2 is probably what I relate to most. Also, the gif of Colton Haynes yelling 'you ruined everything' is legitimately terrifying.

Signs you're addicted to books - 11, 15 and 18 are particularly relevant.

I feel like I should read these books. I do tend to judge books by their cover, and I know it's not always right so I'm going to make an effort to read more books with bad covers.

Here is a list of things people want to do in high school. I did practically none of these. What about you guys? Did you do any of these crazy things in high school? (Also, the movies referenced in this post are AMAZING). 

And that is all I have time for today, because I have a seriously busy week of uni before my first 5k this Sunday. Better get running.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Caramel Biscuit Brownies

I do not even want to mention how many times I have made these brownies since my Mum sent me the recipe. I know I always talk about amazing brownies, but these truly are.

SIDE NOTE: Regular scheduled posting? What is that? I may return to it sometime soon.

When served warm, they are soft, gooey and the sweet caramel is piping hot and contrasts with the rich brownie. When served cold, the caramel biscuits are more obvious (the biscuit has not melted into the brownie base as when they are hot). You can taste the rich brownie, the caramel is chewy and the biscuit hard and crunchy. The texture of the biscuit is a little disconcerting but not terrible. I personally prefer to serve them warm, as I love the melted caramel and lack of biscuit crunch.

Remember, if you are serving the brownies warm, if you reheat them in the microwave, wait a moment before serving because the caramel will burn your tongue. I'd advise reheating in the oven, because, as usual, reheating in the oven makes the food taste better.

This is not my recipe. I have copied it below exactly as it appeared in the June 2013 issue of Australian Good Taste.

Makes 12 brownies (very large)

What you need:
200g dark (bittersweet) chocolate
200 g butter
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
3/4 cup plain flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
200 g (1 packet) Arnott's Caramel Crowns (or caramel centered chocolate covered biscuits)

What to do:
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Grease and line with baking paper a regular sized brownie tray.

In a large bowl melt the chocolate and butter together.

In a smaller bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolk together until well combined. Add the eggs to the chocolate mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.

Stir in the sugar. Sift in the flour and cocoa powder and stir in with the wooden spoon.

Pour half the brownie mixture into the pan. Spread the biscuits (should be 12) evenly on the brownie base. Press them down into the mixture. Pour the remaining brownie batter over the top and spread evenly with a spatula so the surface is smooth.

Bake for 40 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly and serve warm.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Apricot and Chocolate Oat Bar-Muffins

Two posts in a week. This is a record for me at the moment.  And in fact, two healthy food posts in a week.

I know I say stuff like this regularly, but I cannot oversell these oat bar-muffins. I am only calling them 'bar-muffins' because I don't know what else to call them. They are soft, chewy and filled with all kinds of delicious things, like chocolate and apricot.

And they are rather healthy too - they're made with oats, almond meal, LSA, almond milk, and unsweetened applesauce. There is no sugar - only honey. There is also no butter, just a few tablespoons of oil. If you use natural dried apricots with no added sugar and dark (bittersweet) chocolate, you've got a phenomenal treat with little sugar.

I love these as an afternoon pick-me-up, a morning snack or a quick treat after a workout. They have a decent amount of carbs, protein and fats. I actually should add peanut butter to the ingredient list because I absolutely love to top these with a large spoonful of crunchy peanut butter. I love the crunch it adds to the soft oat bars, and peanut butter is a great addition to any chocolate treat.

Recipe adapted from the ever amazing edible perspective.

Makes 15 muffin sized treats.

What you need:

2 cups oats
1/2 cup almond meal
1/3 cup LSA
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
2/3 cup almond milk
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup honey
3 tablespoons oil (your choice, I used EVOO)
3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped (if you buy them pre-diced it saves you chopping them up)
1/2 cup dark (bittersweet) chocolate chips

What to do:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Spray and line 1-2 regular-muffin-sized tray with cupcake liners (you will need two muffin trays to make 15 treats, so you can either bake two trays at once, or if you’re like me and only have one tray, bake 12 treats and then 3).

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (first six). Stir well with a wooden spoon until combined.

In a separate, medium sized bowl, whisk the egg. Add the milk, applesauce and honey. Whik together. Finally add the oil. Whisk into the mixture. Make sure there is no oil clinging to the top of the mixture and the honey is not clumped together.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.

Stir in the apricots and chocolate until they are spread throughout the mixture.

Place approximately 2 large tablespoons of mixture into each muffin liner, making sure the mixture fills approximately 2/3 of the liner.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are a dark brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

To eat, top with a spoonful of peanut butter. 

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Healthy Banana Coconut Pancakes

I know I promised these last week, but the week just got away from me. So therefore you will not be bored with a post about my life this week, rather two food posts.

The first of which is these amazing pancakes. They are ridiculously easy to make as well as being healthy, delicious and an incredibly filling breakfast. I like to save time consuming breakfasts for the weekend, and while these do take longer than your average weekday breakfast, they are not difficult or frustrating.

If you use a very ripe banana, the banana taste is strong, and mixes well with the cinnamon and coconut. The pancakes are not fluffy, but thick and soft, and rather sweet, given the lack of sugar. If you find they are not sweet enough, perhaps because you used Greek yoghurt while I used a sweet plain yoghurt, then add more honey.

I am terrible at flipping pancakes, so please excuse my oddly-shaped and skewed pancakes. Feel free to top your pancakes with whatever you chose - I chose a homemade raspberry and chocolate sauce, a dash of maple syrup and yoghurt.

Makes five small-medium sized pancakes.

What you need:
½ cup oats
¼ cup coconut
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
1 banana, very ripe, mashed
1 tbsp plain yoghurt (Greek or otherwise)
1 tbsp almond milk
1 tsp honey

What to do:
In a blender or food processor, blend all of the pancake ingredients together until you have a thick, yellow batter.

Ensure your frypan is hot (over medium heat) and spray with olive oil / canola oil / coconut oil / any other oil you have.

Place 2 heaped tbsp. of batter on the frypan. This will make one small-medium sized pancakes. You can probably cook two or three pancakes on one frypan. Cook until the pancake batter bubbles on top and the bottom half of the batter sticks together. Flip the pancake once, and cook for another minute, until the pancake holds itself together.

Repeat for remaining batter, until five small-medium sized pancakes are made.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Life Lately 2

I used to call these posts 'around the web' but decided to change it, mostly because I don't just talk about things from around the web. I wanted to keep you guys updated on my life, so instead I shall talk about what's been happening lately.

University has started officially, but I'm not too busy yet. At the moment it's just a lot of adapting to my final classes and my new classmates.

I've been watching a lot of Ripper Street. Mostly because Jerome Flynn is seriously amazing.

I had plans to make food for Harry Potter/Neville Longbottom/J.K Rowling's birthdays, but everything I tried tasted terrible. I couldn't cook! Nothing was working out for me.

I then got sick and now everything tastes bad. So I'll be back in the kitchen properly soon.

In about 10 hours from when I am writing this the next Doctor will be announced. As 11 (Matt Smith) is my Doctor, I feel I should share this. Thanks, Matt Smith, for everything.

This list of instagrammers to follow if you love London is undeniably perfect. I am now following them all because, as most of you know, I would really love to move to England (maybe sooner than expected!).

This blog is dedicated to breakfast. AKA, the best meal of the day.

This list of ridiculous things people believed in when they were young is hilarious. Mostly because I believed in weird things too. I believed my Dad could open our garage door by magic. He couldn't. He had a remote control. What did you guys believe in?

Things you understand if raised by a teacher. This list is SO TRUE. Other children raised by teachers can attest to this. The worst is that you can never date someone without your mother/father finding out five minutes after you agreed to go out with them. Teachers have a spy network.

And for a laugh, see this. Trust me.

AND TO EXPLAIN THE PICS IN THIS POST: If you like Game of Thrones on Facebook, you may have already seen some of the above - pictures of GOT characters as pop culture archetypes. I feel like they totally nailed Sansa. And Joffrey (because you want to punch him). And Bran (forever laughing at the X-men shirt). And (no spoilers for those who haven't seen it), but god damn, Theon's was terrible. I only put in the ones I liked (I didn't like how they did Tyrion or Bronn, two of the best characters). See the rest here.

Have a great few days, and I'll be back with some pancakes later on this week.