Zesty lemon melting moments

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It’s that time of year again – lemon season! The branches of our lemon tree are literally sagging under the weight of all the lemons, so it seemed like the perfect time to do a little lemony baking while the baby snoozed.

These zesty lemon melting moments live up to their name: they’re zesty, tangy and absolutely delicious. They’re also super quick to make and you only need really basic ingredients – chances are you already have everything you need sitting in the cupboard already.

While the biscuits themselves are delightful (who doesn’t love a melting moment?), all the lemon flavour comes from the icing – that’s why it’s so important! I like my biscuits nice and tangy, but if you’d like a lighter flavour simply reduce the amount of lemon zest… or increase it if you’re totally lemon crazy.

Enjoy!

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Zesty lemon melting moments
Makes 10 sandwiched biscuits
Recipe adapted from Chelsea 

Ingredients 

Biscuits

  • 125g butter, at room temperture
  • ¼ cup icing sugar
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ cup cornflour or arrowroot

Zesty lemon icing

  • 20g butter, softened
  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

Method

Biscuits

  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Place butter and icing sugar in a bowl and beat until pale and creamy. Add flour and cornflour and mix well.
  3. Lightly flour your hands, then roll mixture into small balls (approx. 1 tsp each). Place on baking tray and flatten with a fork dusted in icing sugar.
  4. Place in oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through and lightly golden on the base. Place on a cooling rack to cool completely before icing.

Zesty lemon icing

  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and beat until pale, creamy and smooth.
  2. Pair up cooled biscuits, matching up sizes as best you can.
  3. Scoop icing into a piping bag, snip off the end and pipe a generous circle onto base of one biscuit of each pair. Place other biscuit on top and allow to set at room temperature before storing in an airtight container.

 

Jelly Tip ice cream bowl

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As much as I love making decadent treats, some of my favourite things to make are based around the desserts of Kiwi childhoods – jelly and ice cream. After all, the best desserts don’t need to be complicated – all you really need are good quality ingredients and great flavour combinations.

Now you’ve all seen smoothie bowls right? Well this Jelly Tip ice cream bowl is my dessert version – a glammed up take on one of my favourite Tip Top flavours. And it is totally worth trying.

Forget a smoothie base, this tasty dessert begins by whipping up a batch of raspberry jelly. The trick? Slipping a smaller bowl inside your bowl to create a little nook for the Jelly Tip ice cream to sit within.

But really, this dessert is all about the ice cream – after all, it’s in the name! What’s great about Tip Top’s range of flavours is that they’re all made with only natural flavours and colours, along with fresh Kiwi milk and cream. So while you may not be eating smoothie bowl, you can still feel good about what you’re treating yourself with.

A Jelly Tip ice cream bowl wouldn’t be complete without an extra hit of raspberry and chocolate, which is why I finished mine with some freeze-dried raspberries and raspberry powder, and a milk chocolate disc. Not only does it look pretty gorgeous, but it tastes even better.

Find out how to make your own Jelly Tip ice cream bowl below or pick up one of Tip Tops awesome tub flavours and create one for yourself.

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Jelly Tip ice cream bowl
Creates two generous serves

Ingredients

  • 1 packet raspberry jelly
  • 1 tub Tip Top Jelly Tip ice cream (don’t worry, you won’t use it all!)
  • 1 tsp freeze-dried raspberry powder
  • 12 freeze-dried raspberries, whole
  • 35g milk chocolate, melted and spooned into a piping bag

Method

  1. Choose two medium bowls to serve your ice cream bowl in and two small bowls or glasses that sit neatly within them while still leave plenty of space – I used an espresso cup. Wrap the small bowls or glasses in cling film and spray with cooking spray. Fill with rice and sit within medium serving bowls.
  2. Mix jelly according to the packet instructions and divide into two medium serving bowls. Pop any bubbles that settle around the smaller bowl or glass with a teaspoon, then place in the fridge until set.
  3. Meanwhile, melt chocolate and spoon into a piping bag. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Snip the end and pipe chocolate onto prepared tray in a disc shape. Make a couple, just in case one breaks. Place in fridge to set.
  4. Once jelly has set, carefully twist the small bowls or glasses out of the jelly. Scrape off any residual oil using a sharp knife.
  5. Spoon ½ tsp of freeze-dried raspberry powder onto the edge of the jelly and carefully smooth along the length of the bowl. Place freeze-dried raspberries in a line along the edge of the freeze-dried raspberry powder. Repeat for both bowls.
  6. Warm remaining chocolate in the microwave until warm but not hot. Drizzle over the jelly, beside the freeze-dried raspberries. Repeat for both bowls.
  7. Roll 2-3 scoops of Tip Top Jelly Tip ice cream and pop within the prepared nook within the jelly. Repeat for both bowls.
  8. Carefully peel milk chocolate discs from baking paper and sit behind ice cream in each bowl. Enjoy!

This post was made possible thanks to Tip Top. All words, images and opinions are, and always will be, my own. 

This is Thea

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While I’m sure you’ve already heard the news on Facebook and Instagram, it’s time to make it ‘blog official’ and introduce the newest member of our little family – the delightful Thea.

The past couple of months have been an absolute blur of all kinds of weird, wonderful and (above all) memorable moments for our little family. Here are some highlights that spring to mind:

  • Finding out that we had a daughter after nine long months of wondering. My husband was absolutely mind blown – he was convinced we were having a little boy!
  • Bringing her home and spending a couple of weeks finding our feet together as a new family of three (well, five including the fur-babies!). Those first weeks at home were exhausting, but so special.
  • Watching as her personality develops and she learns new things every single day.  Thea’s such a happy little critter who loves music, watching lights move and the cats. She started rolling a couple of weeks ago too – such a proud Mama moment!
  • All those baby smiles. They make my heart burst every single time.

The lovely Laura and Grant from L&G Images popped over when Thea was just one week old and took some beautiful snaps for us – here’s a peek at some of my favourites.

This is Thea.

Meet-Thea

All the beautiful photos in this post were taken by Laura and Grant Images

Apple and berry crumble slice

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Apple and berry is one of those combinations that are almost guaranteed to please pretty much everyone – particularly during these cooler winter months. There’s just something about it that makes you want to snuggle up on the couch, right?

While apple and berry crumble is a ‘go-to’ for lots of people over winter, crumble doesn’t need to be reserved solely for enjoying as a warm winter dessert – that’s where this apple and berry crumble slice comes in.

Yip, you get all the beautiful flavours and textures of an apple and berry crumble with all the convenience of a slice. Win!

What makes this recipe even better is that despite having three distinct layers, you only need to whip up one mixture. Simply throw together the base ingredients, give it a quick mix and you’re all set for both the base and topping. And there’s no need to cook the beautiful apple and berry filling before hand either. Easy huh?

The other great thing about this recipe is that it’s made using a ‘secret’ ingredient that gives the slice just the right amount of sweetness with fewer calories – Equal Spoonful. It’s all about bringing those beautiful apple and berry flavours out and making sure the base has a little sweetness to it. And if you didn’t know there wasn’t sugar in this slice, you truly wouldn’t have guessed – it’s seriously that good.

Judging by how quickly this slice is disappearing at our house, I’m sure you will love it.

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Apple and berry crumble slice
Adapted from Healthy Food Guide

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups wholemeal flour
  • 2 cups oats
  • ½ cup wheat bran
  • ¾ cup Equal Spoonful
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ⅔ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup vanilla yoghurt
  • 2 apples, finely diced
  • 2 heaped cups frozen berries

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line slice tin with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix well.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together yoghurt and oil until well combined. Pour into dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Scoop ¾ of the mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly to create a flat base. Top with diced apples and frozen berries, then sprinkle remaining oat mixture on top.
  5. Place in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until lightly golden. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

This post was made possible thanks to Equal Spoonful. All words, photos and opinions are, and always will be, my own.

Black Forest Tim Tam parfaits

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With the weather cooling down and a newborn on the horizon, I’m spending more time snuggling up at home than ever. And you know what? It’s actually pretty amazing.

While not needing to set an alarm, having the option of wearing pyjamas all day and watching the rain rather than trekking through it are all definite bonuses, that’s not why it’s so great. What I’m really loving is having time to settle down and spend time with friends and family – and really appreciate it.

After all, there’s not much better than throwing on the kettle and spending time with your loved ones, right? Especially if you pop open your favourite Tim Tam bikkies at the same time.

Well, it turns out there is a way to make those moments just a little bit better – by making your Tim Tam treat even more indulgent with these Black Forest Tim Tam parfaits. Yip. Tim Tam parfaits!

This recipe is based around one of my favourite flavours from the new Tim Tam Gelato Messina range – you guessed it, Black Forest. With a rich dark chocolate coating, creamy Tim Tam filling and just the right Black Forest tang, these biscuits are as good as the ice cream – if not better!

That’s what makes them the perfect base for this gorgeous dessert – they’re packed with flavour, so all you need to do is combine them with a few simple ingredients to really make them pop. And like all good desserts, they’re an absolute breeze to make – which means you can spend less time making dessert and more time enjoying them with your friends, family, partner, kids…

Because we all know that a Tim Tam is better when shared, right?

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Black Forest Tim Tam Parfaits
Serves two

Ingredients

  • 4 Tim Tam Black Forest biscuits, crushed
  • 205g (half a can) tinned raspberries, drained
  • 210g (half a can) canned pitted cherries, drained
  • 220g (half a tub) vanilla bean custard
  • 2 Tim Tam Black Forest biscuits, halved

Method

  1. Place 4 Tim Tam Black Forest biscuits in a sealed bag and crush with a rolling pin until broken into small pieces. Open bag and spoon into serving dishes (stemless wine glasses work beautifully) – aim to pop around 3 Tbsp in each glass.
  2. Spoon around 1 Tbsp of pitted cherries into serving dishes. Repeat with approx. 1 Tbsp of raspberries.
  3. Divide vanilla bean custard evenly between the two dishes. Top with more cherries and raspberries.
  4. Carefully cut 2 Tim Tam Black Forest biscuits in half diagonally and stand them in serving dishes. Finish with remaining crushed Tim Tam.

There are four beautiful flavours in the new Tim Tam Gelato Messina range in-stores now – Choc Mint, Salted Caramel & Vanilla, Coconut & Lychee and Black Forest.

This post was made possible thanks to Tim Tam. All words, photos and opinions are, and always will be, my own.

Lemon and raspberry shortbread

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The following blog is not sponsored – I simply love what the Blind Foundation do and want to encourage you to lend a hand this Bikkie Day.

It’s always a bonus when you can make a difference just by whipping up a batch of biscuits – while it’s great having a full biscuit jar tucked away, it feels so much better knowing your baking will brighten someone’s day a bit, right?

How about knowing that your baking is playing a part in changing someone’s life? Pretty massive, huh?

With the Blind Foundation’s Guide Dog Bikkie Day just around the corner, making a difference through your baking is not only possible but it’s totally easy – all you need to do is follow four simple steps:

  1. Register to take part in Bikkie Day to make it official. You’ll be sent a little pack in the mail with a red puppy cookie cutter, bake sale poster and all the info you need to get started.
  2. Bake your biscuits! Mine are lemon and raspberry shortbread – you can find the recipe below if you’d like to try them yourself.
  3. Sell your bikkies to friends, family or workmates in exchange for a donation to Blind Foundation Guide Dogs. You can do this on Bikkie Day (Monday 3 July) or any day that suits you.
  4. Donate the money you’ve raised – and feel great knowing your baking is helping such a wonderful cause.

Too easy!

While I won’t be able to take part in Bikkie Day myself this year, I decided to show my support by coming up with a recipe for all your Bikkie Day bakers – lemon and raspberry shortbread. The dough is easy to prepare, quick to bake and the biscuits hold their shape really well during baking (so don’t worry, your red puppy bikkies will look like puppies!)

Rather than icing red coats on each biscuit, I decided to dip each one in a little white chocolate which was then sprinkled with a dash of freeze dried raspberries. They still look rather cute, right?

So if you have a little time on your hands or just feel like baking for a difference, sign up for Bikkie Day – it’s totally worth it.

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Lemon and raspberry shortbread
Makes 30 red puppy biscuits

Ingredients

  • 225g butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 4-5 freeze-dried raspberries, crushed

Method

  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add lemon juice and zest and mix well.
  2. With mixer on low, gradually add flour to butter mixture. Mix until a dough forms and pulls away from the sides, being careful not to overmix.
  3. Scoop dough into a thin disc and wrap in cling film. Place in fridge for 30 minutes (or longer).
  4. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius and line four baking trays with baking paper.
  5. Remove dough from fridge and turn onto a lightly floured bench. Roll dough out to approx. 5mm thick and cut using red puppy cookie cutter.
  6. Place on prepared tray and bake for 8-9 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool on tray for around 5 min, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Once biscuits have cooled, melt white chocolate chips in 30 second bursts in the microwave. Add oil and mix until well combined (this will thin the chocolate and make it set a little slower)
  8. Dip each red puppy biscuit into chocolate, tapping off excess. Place on baking paper and sprinkle with freeze dried raspberry. Place in fridge to set completely.

 

One biscuit, three ways

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Now that I’m on maternity leave I’ve developed a bit of a new obsession – always having a container of homemade biscuits in the house. Not only is it nice knowing there’s a homemade treat stashed away to relax with for afternoon tea, but it totally takes the pressure off when you know someone’s popping over for a catch-up.

The trick is finding recipes that are quick to make, easy to put your own twist on and (of course), totally moorish. Luckily for you I have a recipe that ticks all those boxes!

This basic biscuit recipe is one of my favourites because of how easy it is to spice up by simply adding an ingredient or two – whatever you have tucked away in the cupboard really! The number of variations you can make with it are truly only limited by your imagination (and pantry).

As well as sharing the recipe itself, today I’m sharing three super simple variations you can make – raspberry jam thumbprint biscuits, classic chocolate chip and, my personal favourite, lemon and poppy seed.

One of the great things about this recipe is that it’s made using a ‘secret’ ingredient that gives the basic mixture just the right amount of sweetness with fewer calories – Equal Spoonful. And guess what? If you didn’t know they weren’t made with sugar, you wouldn’t have been able to guess.

All the more reason to feel better about enjoying two (or three) when you put your feet up, right?

one-biscuit-three-ways_2Basic biscuit dough
Makes approx. 36 small biscuits

Ingredients

  • 125g butter, softened and cubed
  • ¾ cup Equal Spoonful
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp milk

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line three baking trays.
  2. Place butter, Equal Spoonful and vanilla in a large bowl and cream until pale and fluffy. Add egg and beat well.
  3. Add flour and baking powder. Mix until just combined. And milk and mix until dough comes together.
  4. Divide dough equally into small bowls, based on the number of variations you want to make – three of my favourites are below:

To make raspberry jam thumbprint biscuits

  1. Roll dough into small balls (approx one teaspoon each) and place of baking tray. Flatten gently with back of a teaspoon, then press thumb into top of each one to create a small hole.
  2. Fill hole will ¼ – ¼ tsp raspberry jam. Place in oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden.

To make classic chocolate chip biscuits

  1. Add 1 tsp milk chocolate chips and 1 tsp white chocolate chips to dough and mix until chocolate is well combined.
  2. Roll dough into small balls (approx one teaspoon each) and place on baking tray. Flatten gently with back of teaspoon or fork.
  3. Place in oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden.

To make lemon and poppy seed biscuits

  1. Add juice of half a lemon and 1 tsp of poppy seeds to dough. Mix well.
  2. Roll dough into small balls (approx one teaspoon each) and place on baking tray. Flatten gently with back of teaspoon or fork.
  3. Place in oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden.

This post was made possible thanks to Equal Spoonful. All words, photos and opinions are, and always will be, my own.

South African rusks

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There are a whole lot of things that stand out about our time in South Africa last year – meeting Kevin’s wonderful extended family, road tripping through the South African countryside and (of course) every moment of our dream safari. But one thing I didn’t expect to stand out so much were rusks.

We were lucky enough to stay with family friends during our time in Johannesburg and were made even luckier by all the beautiful cooking and baking that filled their home – including homemade South African rusks packed with all kinds of seeds and grains.

I find rusks a bit of a tricky thing to explain – they’re kind of biscuits that you bake as one big sheet, then slice up into chunks and slowly dry out overnight in a cool oven so they are absolutely rock hard. Like break-your-teeth hard. Until you dunk them in a hot cup of tea or coffee to soften them up – then, like magic, they are a beautiful little treat to work your way through.

From our first jet-lagged morning on African soil, Kevin and I both chewed and crunched our way through countless rusks over endless cups of coffee. For me it was a novelty, but for Kevin it was more of a walk down memory lane. And we both loved every bite!

I’ve been meaning to try making some similar grainy rusks ever since we returned from our holiday but life kept getting in the way. But now that I’m on maternity leave and patiently waiting for this baby to arrive, I figured it was the perfect time to surprise Kevin with a batch of homemade rusks.

And you know what? They’re freaking delicious.

So good in fact that we’re back to our jet-lagged ways of downing endless cups of tea just so we have an excuse have a rusk (or two).

Keen to try making them yourself? Then check out the recipe below – and let me know what you think!

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South African rusks
Adapted from NOMU
Makes approx. 50 pieces

Ingredients

  • 500g wholemeal flour
  • 50g almond meal
  • 50g slivered almonds
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup wheat bran
  • 1.5 Tbsp baking powder
  • 125g butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 500ml buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a large baking tray with baking paper (I used a lamington tray)
  2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Mix until well combined.
  3. Pour buttermilk into a jug or small bowl and add eggs and vanilla. Whisk until well combined. Add buttermilk mixture and melted butter to dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  4. Scoop mixture into prepared tray (it will be pretty thick and sticky) and spread evenly. Place in oven and bake for 60 minutes. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool for five minutes. Decrease oven temperature to 90 degrees Celsius.
  6. Turn out onto a large chopping board and slice into rectangular wedges. Place wedges onto prepared baking trays, leaving a small gap between each piece.
  7. Place sliced rusks into oven and leave to dry for 8 hours (yip – 8 hours. That’s not a typo!). Once cool, store in an airtight container.