Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Thick, Creamy Chocolate Custard Yogo

Where do you keep your chocolate stash? Come on, I know you all have one, even if it is just an unintentional stash. Sometimes I find myself in the pantry with my hand in the cooking chocolate bag.
Last night I sneaked the block of chocolate out of my hospital bag. It was meant to be a midnight treat for after the baby is born, but now baby is overdue and  necessity calls--the chocolate is out, paired with girlie movies and other feel good things when the night comes and the babies are tucked up in bed. Why is the waiting game so hard?
I don't know...but chocolate sure makes everything feel a little better.
And I have just found the ultimate chocolate feel good recipe that pleases little people and big people alike. It reminds me of the chocolate custard recipe my mum used to make--or those yummy chocolate yogo tubs you get at the supermarket (although they're never big enough.) This super thick, creamy chocolatey goodness is easy and simple to make and cost effective--considering you buy a tub of the stuff for about 5 or 6 dollars. This probably costs a dollar. And I could seriously eat a litre of this stuff in a sitting. Although I can't, because my stomach isn't big enough anymore to do something as reckless as that. Just as well!
You can use cocoa powder instead of Milo powder for this recipe, but I used Milo/chocolate drinking malt for it's added nutritional benefits, and lowered the sugar from the original recipe. My kids can't get enough of this stuff and it makes a nice and not too naughty treat for them that they can scoop on their own from individual little plastic tubs. It's a winner all around.


3 cups milk
1/2 cup Milo powder
1/3 cup sugar
4 tbsp. corn flour
1/2 cup boiling water

Place two cups of milk in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Heat until it boils. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, place the chocolate powder, sugar, corn flour and boiling water. Stir to combine and dissolve. Add the final cup of milk to this mixture and stir.
When the milk on the stove-top is coming to a boil, pour the chocolate milk mixture into the saucepan through a sieve or strainer. Lower the heat and whisk continuously until the mixture begins to thicken, approximately 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a container or individual tibs. Place a layer of plastic wrap directly over the top of the custard to avoid a skin forming. Refrigerate until cool before serving. Custard will thicken on refrigeration.

NOTES: Makes about 700mL. You can use cocoa powder instead of Milo for this recipe. Some brands of cocoa are stronger than others, so adjust accordingly. You may also like to add a little more sugar if you use cocoa, as Milo is sweetened.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Peanut Butter Cup Bars

 They're a little bit of smooth and creamy with a little bit of crunch. The delightful flavours of the chocolate top layer combine in complete harmony with the fudgy peanut butter and make it oh so rich and irresistible.
Peanut Butter Bars. I knew when I came across Christine's blog Kitchen Chronicles that she would be the culprit of a weekend's indulgence and possible weight gain. (Don't worry Christine, I already can't see my toes anyway. My hubby had to do a few more kilometers at the gym though, he doesn't have pregnancy as an excuse!)
I loved everything about this slice, not only the flavour and appearance, but that because of the divine richness, it forced portion control. It's also a really easy recipe to make, and requires no use of the oven, just a little bit of the stove or microwave, which makes it great for summer. The only problem I had was a wee one--the peanut butter layer tended to come away with the knife when I cut through the bar. It was probably an error in my butter calculations that made it so. I heated the knife to make it easier to cut the chocolate layer, so maybe that had something to do with it as well.
Well, I'm off for a while from the Secret Recipe Club to have my bub! Wish me luck!

PEANUT BUTTER CUP BARS (Adapted from Kitchen Chronicles)

Peanut Butter Layer:

3/4 cup butter
1 3/4 cups icing sugar
1 cup smooth peanut butter
3/4 cup biscuit crumbs (I used crushed Scotch Fingers but biscuits such as Graham Crackers do the trick well also)

Chocolate Layer:

1/3 cup butter
1 cup dark chocolate buttons


1 tbsp smooth peanut butter

Grease a 9x9 inch tray and line with baking paper.
To make the peanut butter layer, place the butter in a medium saucepan and melt over a low heat. Add the icing sugar, peanut butter and biscuit crumbs and stir until well combined.
Pour this mixture into the prepared tray and smooth with a spatula. Set aside.
For the chocolate layer, place the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over a low heat. Stirring continuously, allow the chocolate and butter to melt and incorporate. Remove from heat. Gently pour this mixture over the peanut butter layer and smooth with a spatula.
In a zip lock bag, place the remaining peanut butter for the garnish. Microwave gently for 15-30 seconds until the peanut butter is runny, then decorate the top of the chocolate layer as desired. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before cutting with a hot knife.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Oven Baked Fried-Style Chicken

I've never really been into eating fast food like McDonalds and KFC. But I have on occasion reveled in the idea of easting a KFC twister wrap, and have indulged myself in buying one. The salad in it makes it okay, right? That's what I try to convince myself.
I'm sure it's not as unhealthy as some of the other options, but I'm also sure that chicken can't be great for you. I have no idea how they cook it however and maybe it is baked? (I highly doubt that given the name of the store, but lets give them the benefit of the doubt for a second.)
Anyway I found this great recipe for oven baked fried-style chicken, and just had to try it. I'm in love!
They are delicious portions of chicken breast covered in a layer of Dijon mustard mayonnaise, dipped in golden, crispy crumbed deliciousness on a par with KFC chicken, and healthier for certain! So if you want a recipe for KFC style chicken, this is it! I've altered it from the original recipe as I didn't have all the ingredients such as crushed bagels and melba toast--my version is very easy to make and quite irresistible. Can't wait to try it Twister-style in a wrap with some lettuce, tomato and peppered mayo!

OVEN BAKED FRIED-STYLE CHICKEN (adapted from Food Network)

1 1/3 cup crushed wheatbix
150g Shapes savory biscuits (I used pizza flavour, Chicken Drumstick biscuits worked great last time too)
1 tbsp. oil
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp dijon mustard
800g chicken breast cut into portions

Preheat the oven to 200C. Line and grease an oven tray and set aside. Place crushed wheatbix and savory biscuits in a food processor and blend until finely crushed and ground. Place this mixture in a  large plastic bag along with the oil, salt, pepper, and paprika. Mix until thoroughly combined.
In a shallow dish, place the mayonnaise and the mustard together. Stir to combine. Dip the cut strips of chicken breast into the mayonnaise mixture and thoroughly coat. Add these chicken pieces to the bag of cereal. Shake the bag until all the pieces are well covered in the dry mixture.
Lay the chicken pieces out on the greased and lined tray. Spray each piece evenly with oil and place the tray in the preheated oven. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and moist and tender, and the outer layer is crisp and golden (about 30-40 minutes depending on the size of the pieces of chicken.) This time will depend upon the size of your chicken portions, so keep a good eye on them after the 30 minute mark.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Award Winning Lemon Crinkle Biscuits

They say when you start talking about the weather, you have nothing to say.  In some cultures, when they have nothing to say to one another, they talk food instead of weather. I know I'm always talking about the weather on here, but it's because to me, without a question, food and weather go hand in hand. Casseroles and cold winter nights, lemon and summertime, rainy days and comfort food. Call me boring, but weather sways my every move in the kitchen. So here I go again--Today was particularly warm for a winter's day--25C, and it made me rip off my cardigan and get baking in the kitchen with the kids, doors and windows flung open. We whipped up these amazing lemon crinkle biscuits, and the house was infused with citrus scents for the duration of the cooking. I've never tasted anything quite like them.  

They're sweet and crisp on the outside, soft and fudgy on the inside and taste just like summer feels to me--warm and golden, zesty and fresh

You absolutely will not be able to stop at one--so make a double batch, I guarantee you won't regret it. And a little note--do use fresh lemon juice and zest! It really makes all the difference and packs a punch. Now I want a lemon tree. Oh for a lemon tree. Lemon really is a perk-me-up.


1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 egg
1 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
1 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
pinch salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line baking trays with non stick baking paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy and light. Add the vanilla, egg, zest and lemon juice. Beat until combined. Stir in the salt, baking powder, baking soda and flour until just combined. In a small bowl or plate, place the icing sugar. Take walnut sized balls of dough and roll them in the icing sugar until well covered. Place on the baking sheets and cook for 9-11 minutes, until the surfaces are matte and the bottoms are just beginning to brown ever so slightly. Remove from the oven and let sit on the baking trays for 3 minutes before removing and placing on a cooling rack.

Makes approximately 25-30
Tastes most awesome when still slightly warm from the oven.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Caramelised Red Onions

I'm not sure if there's anything on this blog that doesnt involve a little bit of sugar. Even my savory recipes sometimes have sugar in them. The good thing is, if you're trying to keep down the sugar levels in your diet, you can often greatly reduce the amount of sugar stated in the recipe.
However, when making this delicious accomaniment,  I forbid you to remove the brown sugar--it's what makes these caramelised onions sing, and well, caramelised. I've used red onions, speedily cut up with the help of Jamie Oliver's Chopping Tower which is a lifesaver when it comes to avoiding tears and cut fingers in the kitchen. You can use brown onions if you prefer, but I love the gorgeous colour of the red onions once they are caramelised, and they look rather pretty as an addition to a cheese platter with that bit of colour in them. You can also have caramelised onions with bangers and mash, on your salad and burger roll for lunch or any place you please. I like to put caramelised onion in meat pies and into rissoles and chicken burgers when I make them--that caramelised flavour really packs a punch and gets the "wows" coming out of your eater's mouths when they have swallowed.


2 tbsp olive oil
3 large red or brown onions, sliced
pinch salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the onions and the salt and stir to combine. On a very low heat and stirring occasionally, cook the onions for 15-20 minutes, or until soft and tender. (if the heat is up too high the onions may catch and burn)
When the onions have softened, add the sugar and vinegar. Cook the onion over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for a further 8-10 minutes to caramelise. 
Use immediatly or store cooled in an airtight jar in the refrigerator. Makes about 1 cup, depending on the size of your onions.

Serving suggestions: Caramelised onions are great incorporated into rissoles and chicken burgers, or served on top of burgers in a salad roll. They are also great with bangers and mash, served with a selection of cheeses, or added to any savory dish.

Caramelised Red Onions

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Banana Cinnamon Puddings with Butterscotch Sauce

My kids are what I call faze-eaters or gorge-feeders. My daughter has a bird-like, grazing appetite, and my son is a heavy snacker and eats small main meals. But when they discover something new, they gorge themselves on it like they cannot get enough. I don't mind this when it's a healthy thing, and it always is, or I wouldn't let them do it. For the duration of a week it was strawberries. Now they wont look at them. For two weeks it was bananas. Now they wont touch them. It's been beans, chickpeas, pasta, mandarins and yogurt. The banana faze left me with tonnes of bananas I had to cut up and freeze, hence this recipe perked my curiosity and made me feel I could get a little condensing done from the freezer.
And who doesn't love that banana cinnamon and butterscotch combination? Its like a match made it heaven, and its also made with greek yogurt which makes it light and airy with a bit of a tang. Scrumptious!


100g butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup self raising flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup mashed banana
2/3 cup greek yogurt

1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup cream
25g butter, chopped

Preheat the oven to 180C. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add one egg at a time and beat thoroughly between each addition. Add the flour and cinnamon and mix until combined. Fold in the mashed banana and yogurt. Divide between 6 greased ramekins or 6 greased Texas muffin tins.
Cook for 30-35 minutes or until the tops are golden and a skewer comes out clean.
To make the sauce, place the brown sugar, cream and butter in a small saucepan. Heat on low, stirring for 3 minutes or until the butter melts. Increase the heat and bring to the boil. Lower the heat again and continue cooking for a few more minutes until the mixture thickens. Pour over warm puddings to serve.


Banana Cinnamon Puddings with Butterscotch Sauce