{Paperless Post} Lochlan & Laurel’s Birthday Invitations

It’s one of the busiest time of the year for me as I try and plan the combine birthday party of my two cheeky monkeys! This year I decided to go with one of their favourite cartoons/ movies of all time: Toy Story! Yes, they’ve watched all 4 of them and yes, they will be dressed in one of the characters in the movie!

Any guesses which characters Laurel will be? Lochlan? Stay tuned for their birthday post in about 3 weeks time!

So I was really lucky to be approached by Paperless Post a month ago asking if I would like to do a collaboration with them. PERFECT! I use to spend ages just coming up with a birthday invitation (I’m not the most creative haha) so I would take any help I can get! Plus, just having less of a carbon footprint by sending invitations online. I think it’s a win-win!

I absolutely loved how easy it was to come up with my invitation to my guests! There was pretty much an invitation for ANY occasion you were celebrating/hosting! I’ve spotted a few that I will be using in the near future

How cute are these??? There are so much more to choose from as well! These are just a few of my favourites, and what caught my eye!

All you have to do is choose which you like, and personalise it with your own words and details! Choose the font you like, size, and VIOLA! It even comes with a virtual envelope and guests are able to RSVP as well, so you get your final numbers easily.

So here’s the invitation I picked for the kid’s combine birthday party, which I feel is SPOT ON!

Lester&Laurel Birthday Invitation

How cute is this?!?! It combines the two favourite characters of my kiddos! hehe So I am over the moon that there was the perfect one! I didn’t have to stare at the computer for days/nights, I pretty much got the invitations completed and sent out in a day! WOOHOO!

So do you have a birthday/ wedding/ baby shower or just a party to plan for? I highly recommend trying out Paperless Post! You won’t regret it!

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I can’t wait to see their faces at the party! Party post to come soon after!

Thanks Paperless Post for the collaboration! I can’t wait to plan more parties!

{Spencer Makes} Peach Cream Cheese Muffins with Mixed Berry Swirl

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This is one of my favourite muffin recipes and one I’ve always make when guests come to visit, cause it’s so versatile and super quick to make! Not to mention how yummy it is! The original recipe is just the peach & cream cheese but I decided to add the mixed berry swirl for extra taste (also I just made a jar of mixed berry chia seed jam, so FRESH FRESH FRESH!) and to be honest, how pretty does it look? Loved how it turned out!

Just like the pumpkin, feta & kale mini loaves, these are great as a quick breakfast, grab one (or two) and you are ready to go! These are also a treat in your kid’s lunch boxes.

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I did make my own mixed berry jam, but of course you could use anything you have in the fridge!

Peach Cream Cheese Muffins with Mixed Berry Swirl (Makes 18 muffins)

Ingredients :

125g unsalted butter

250g cream cheese, room temperature

200g caster sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

2 cups self-raising flour (265g)

Pinch of salt

380g peach (canned peaches, drained), cut into small chunks

9 tsp (or more) mixed berry jam (you could use any jam you have on hand)

Thermomix Steps :

1. Preheat the oven to 1800C and line the muffin pans with paper case. Place the cream cheese and butter in the TM bowl and mix for 10 secs/ Sp 5 until pale and fluffy.

2. Add the sugar and mix for 20 secs/ Sp 4.

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3. Add the vanilla bean paste and eggs and mix for 15 secs/ Sp 3. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.

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4. Add the flour & a pinch of salt and mix for 30 secs/ Sp 4 until well combined. Scrape and mix for a further 10 secs/ Sp 4.

5. Add the small chunks of peaches and using the spatula, mix gently till well combined.

6. Scoop the batter into the lined muffin pan and put 1/2 tsp of mixed berry jam on the top, using a toothpick to swirl it into the batter.

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7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Allow it to cool for 10 mins in the muffin pan then cool completely on the cooling rack.

Non-thermomix Steps :

1. Preheat the oven to 1800C and line 12 jumbo muffin pans with paper case

2. Place the butter, cream cheese and caster sugar in the bowl of an electrical beater and beat till fluffy and pale.

3. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat after every addition until incorporated.

4. Add the vanilla bean paste and fold in the flour (1/2 a cup at a time) and a pinch of salt.

5. Add in the peaches and mix well.

6. Spoon into the muffin cases, and top with 1/2 tsp of mixed berry jam, swirling with a toothpick.

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7. Bake for 20-25mins or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for 10 mins in the muffin pan then cool completely on the cooling rack.

Tip : You could use strawberries as well, dust the sliced strawberries with a bit more flour before stirring in. You could also make it sweeter by mixing the strawberry with icing sugar before combining it together with the flour mixture.

    ENJOY!

Remember to always cook and bake with love!

xx

Pumpkin, Feta & Kale Mini Loaves

Pumpkin Feta Kale Mini Loaves

Ever had ingredients in your fridge that you just want to use up and not waste? I definitely did and wanted to make sure they don’t go into the bin! I’ve been meaning to make these for the longest time and what great timing when I was clearing the fridge and these ingredients popped up!

ingredients

This is such an easy recipe too! It is great for a quick breakfast, or even one on the go. These are also perfect for your school lunch boxes and sneaking more veggies into your children’s diet!

So don’t wait any longer, give these a go and let me know what you think!

Pumpkin, Feta & Kale Mini Loaves (An original Food Made With Love recipe)

300g self-raising flour

260g full cream milk

90g olive oil

2 eggs

1 tsp salt

80g kale leaves, chopped into small pieces

120g feta cheese, crumbled

120g butternut pumpkin, grated

pumpkin seeds, to sprinkle before baking

Steps :

  1. Spray the mini loaves baking tin (or line the muffin tins if you prefer) with olive oil and set aside. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

2. In a large bowl, mix the self-raising flour, milk, olive oil, eggs and salt with a wooden spoon until its well combined. Add the kale leaves, feta cheese and butternut pumpkin and mix till they are incorporated in the batter.

before baking

3. Place the batter into the baking tin until 2/3 full. Sprinkle some pumpkin seeds and place in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.

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4. Allow it the cool in the baking tin for 10 minutes before removing and cooling it completely on a cooling rack. Keep in a air tight container and in the fridge for up to 4 days.

THERMOMIX METHOD:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Spray the mini loaves baking pan with the olive oil spray and set aside.

Place the pumpkin pieces (skin on) into the TM bowl and grate for 3 seconds/ Speed 5. Remove from the bowl and set aside.

Place the self-raising flour, milk, oil, salt and eggs into the TM bowl. Mix the batter for 20 seconds/ Speed 4/ MC on.

Add the grated pumpkin, kale and feta cheese and mix for another 20 seconds/ Speed 4/ Counter-clockwise operation/ MC on or until well combined.

Place the mixture into the baking tin until 2/3 full, sprinkle with some pumpkin seeds. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, till the top is golden brown. Allow it to cool in the baking tin before removing and cooling it completely on a cooling rack.

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Enjoy it warmed and with some unsalted butter!

Remember to always cook and bake with love!

xx

 

Food For Families Campaign

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The Wesley Mission Victoria is holding it’s 24th annual flagship appeal to help Melbourne families that are in crisis. They help by providing nutritional food and household essentials during Christmas and throughout the year!

I’m happy to be part of this meaningful campaign and we should all try to do a little bit for those in need. Pay It Forward if you will! So what can you do? There are a few ways which you can go about helping out in this campaign!

  • You can register to receive a donation box for your workplace, school or community group. Your participant pack, including box/es is delivered and collected by a Wesley volunteer before Christmas. 
  •  Items that are most popular with families that visit the Wesley pantry include ready to eat meals, pasta/noodles and sauces, cereal, baby food and UHT milk. A full list of items is available on our website.
  •  If you are unable to contribute to a collection, you can also help by making a donation. Visit wesley.org.au.
  • Monetary donations are used to purchase fresh and frozen foods, including fruit and vegetables, to supplement the donated non-perishable food supplies.

If you want to know more please don’t hesitate to jump onto wesley.org.au for more information about the appeal and the different ways you can get involved!

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As a new mum, it is always a joy to see the little man enjoy his food, and I wish that every mum/parent could do the same!

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With your donations (be it food or money), you will ensure that families experiencing tough times can put food on the table this Christmas and throughout 2016!

The Wesley Mission Victoria is aiming to collect 30 tonnes of non-perishable goods to distribute to the crisis centres nation-wide! And you will be surprised to know that you can cook nourishing meals from non-perishable food items alone!

I was lucky to receive the recipe from the ambassador of Wesley Mission Australia and ex-Masterchef 2015 contestant, Sara Oteri! Of course, I’m going to share with you one of them that I am going to try it for myself! Sounds too yummy to give it a miss, plus it’s always been something I want to try and make for breakfast!

Overnight Oats (Soaked Muesli) (Recipe by Sara Oteri)

Ingredients:

OATS

2 cups Oats

2 cups Soy milk or long life milk

2-4 tbsp honey

¼ cup passionfruit pulp

5- 10 prunes roughly chopped

Mixed seeds

TOPPING

Desiccated coconut

Tinned peaches (or any tinned fruit of your choice)

MuesliING

Steps :

  1. Put all the ingredients to make the muesli into a bowl, mix well, then leave covered in the fridge overnight.
  2. In the morning you should wake to a beautiful soaked muesli with just the right amount of moisture. If for whatever reason it’s too dry for your liking, simply incorporate a touch more milk.
  3. Finish with coconut flakes and some tinned peaches or any fresh fruit/frozen berries you have lying around.

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Easy, simple and nutritional! Best way to start your morning. So hop onto the website and help in any way you can! This would ensure that everyone can start their morning right and bright!

P.S. Thank you for this opportunity Wesley Mission Victoria, to help those people in need. This is something, indeed, really close to my heart and a campaign I really believe in.

Photo credits – Wesley Mission Victoria 

Hendriks Cafe

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Brunch has always been a favourite meal for this little family of mine. We treasure the chance we get to head out, especially on a weekday morning, to enjoy good food with the company of my two loves. It’s been a while since we tried somewhere new. As creatures of habit, we always head back to the cafes that we have tried and loved. But I chanced upon an article by Broadsheet and glad that there is a new place we could try that is on our side of town.

Hendriks Cafe

Hendriks Cafe is located in Mordialloc and a much needed cafe in this area! A huge space with a open kitchen concept, made the space really inviting! It’s always a plus when a cafe has high chairs as well, especially when brunching with a bub! Looking through the menu definitely got us excited as they had some breakfast favourites but with a twist!

Our usual cuppas

We started with our usual cuppas – chai soy latte for me and a large latte for the Mr. I can’t wait till the little munchkin can have baby chinos! I think he would definitely enjoy it!

Indo Fritters

It sure wasn’t easy to make a choice, but my eyes kept going back to the Indo Fritters ($17) – Corn fritters with a son-in-law egg and chilli caramel! If you know me, you know I love my corn fritters. These were crispy on the outside and full of sweet corn kernels! YUM! The bonus was perfectly cooked son-in-law eggs with the molten yolk and the sweet and tangy chilli caramel which had a kick! Such a great combination and one that I wouldn’t even have thought about!

Indo Fritters

Would absolutely head back to have these again!

Whisky Hotcakes

Now. When I saw Whisky Hotcakes ($17) on the menu and read the description, I knew it would be one the mr would love. He’s really into the sweet and savoury combination in a dish these days. Frankly, who wouldn’t be right? Thick, fluffy hotcakes, with bacon and a pecan praline, topped with a whisky infused maple syrup. OH MYYYYY! It tasted as good as it looked!

Avocado for the little munchkin

And for the little guy, he scored himself a side of crushed avocado ($3.50) ! His favourite breakfast food. He actually gets really excited when he sees it and is fed to him! Definitely a baby foodie in the making! hehe

You know it’s good when the little guy wants some of what we are having! I love it when his tiny chub hands reach for our plates and try his best to have a go at our food. Can’t wait till he can eat what we are having! He would definitely be one happy boy, like we were when we left the cafe! Definitely returning to try the other dishes on the menu, and I highly recommend you do too (:

Hope you had a good weekend and soldier on for the new week ahead! Remember to always cook and bake with love. Till the next post, xx !

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Nutella Swirled Olive Oil Banana Bread

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Banana bread has always been an obsession of mine. I love everything about them. I love baking them and I love searching for the perfect recipe so that I could share it with all of you. And I believe, I have!

To date, I’ve baked quite a few versions of the banana bread. One with brown butter, another with maple syrup & chocolate, one with sour cream & maple and one that is eggless & vegan! But this one, this one is my go to recipe when I want to have banana bread and I know that it will be delicious and also really easy to make! You don’t need a mixer for this, just two bowls and a hand whisk!

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Not to mention it has pretty swirls of nutella in the middle and above! Banana & Nutella, a match-made in heaven! I mean, how can it not be good with the addition of nutella? Impossible! hehe Plus, it’s made with olive oil, so that makes it relatively healthy no? hehe Trust me, this bread is moist on the inside, and crumbly on the outside. Have it warm with a scoop of ice cream (I had it with peanut butter ice cream! YUMMO!) and you will definitely have a happy belly!

So if you’re a banana bread lover like me, I urge you to give this recipe a go! You will definitely not regret it! hehe

Nutella Swirled Olive Oil Banana Bread (Adapted from Whisk Affair)

2 cups of plain flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tbs baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3 eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup + 1 tbs of olive oil

1/2 cup of greek yogurt

3 large bananas, mashed

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

5 tbs nutella (or more if needed!)

Steps :

1) Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celcius and oil the mini loaf baking tray. Set aside.

2) In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together and set aside. In another bowl, whisk the mashed banana, eggs, olive oil, trek yogurt and vanilla paste until well combined.

3) Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Careful not to over mix or it will get too dry.

4) Pour the mixture into the mini loaf tins till its 1/3 filled. Using a teaspoon, put a teaspoon of nutella into each loaf and use a toothpick to create a swirl. Fill it with some more batter until the tin is 2/3 filled. Spread another heap teaspoon of nutella on the top and use the toothpick to create the swirls once again.

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5) Bake for 20 mins, rotating the tray 12 mins into the baking time, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in the loaf tin for 5 mins before removing and allow it to cool on a wire rack. Or have it warm with a scoop of ice cream!

Enjoy!

Hope you all had a great weekend! Have a fantastic week ahead and there will be more posts up soon, I promise! Till the next post, remember to always cook and bake with love! xx

My Mr The Chef : Chicken Money Bag

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I am truly a lucky woman. I married a man who can seriously cook some delicious food! Although he’s really busy, he still takes time to cook something once in a while, which I am super thankful for! If you’ve followed me for a while now, you would have seen some of his creations : Hainanese chicken riceroasted beef ribshomemade bacon and polenta chips!

Ready to be served

I’m  not sure if you remember seeing this dish on Masterchef last year, but this was a dish by the ever so talented – Maggie Beer! The Mr wanted to make it the moment he saw it and boy am I glad he did. It was absolutely delicious! Tedious to prep, but all the hard work definitely paid off! Just imagine golden crispy chicken skin (like yum!) and the meat is just succulent and full of flavour on the inside! Together with the tomato chutney, it’s just the perfect pair!

Skinning the chicken

The trickiest part of the dish is probably skinning the whole chicken and keeping the skin whole, making sure there are no holes! The Mr did such a good job! He got it out in one go! Don’t think I would be able to do it. haha

So here’s the recipe from Maggie Beer! Give it a try, the hard work is definitely worth every delicious bite!

Chicken Money Bag with Preserved Lemon and Tomato Chutney (Recipe closely adapted from Maggie Beer, Serves 3)

For the chicken :

50g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing

2 tbs olive oil

3 shallots, finely chopped

225g white button mushrooms, sliced

1 tbs lemon thyme leaves, chopped

1/3 cup white wine (I didn’t have Verjuice)

1.8kg whole chicken

100g chicken fat, finely chopped

1 1/2 tbs preserved lemon rind, chopped

1 1/4 tbs tarragon, chopped

15g sea salt flakes

1 egg

For the Preserved Lemon & Tomato Chutney : 

1 1/2 tbs Olive oil

1 onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped

1/4 cup white wine (Use Verjuice if you have it!)

800g tomato, roughly chopped

100g preserved lemon, rinsed and chopped

110ml Red wine vinegar

90g caster sugar

Steps :

1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius.

2) Place a heavy based pan over medium-high heat, add butter and heat until it has turned nutty brown. Add olive oil, shallots and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Add thyme, toss to combine, and season with salt.

3) Deglaze the pan with white wine and cook until it is sticky and reduced. Place mushroom mixture in a large bowl, and set aside to cool.

4) Skin chicken and place in a bowl. Remove chicken marylands, roughly chop leg and thigh meat, then pulse in a food processor to a coarse paste. Add chicken fat and pulse to combine. Remove breasts and cut into two centimeters dice.

Prepping the chicken and mushroom mixture

5) Finely chop mushroom mixture, then add the preserved lemon rind and tarragon to cooled mushroom mixture and mix until well combined. Add chicken leg mixture, diced chicken breast, sea salt flakes and egg to the bowl and slap the mixture against the side of the bowl until combined.

Prepping the ingredients

Chicken mixture

6) Cut chicken skin into three even triangular shaped pieces.

7) Over a 6cm springform baking tin, place a sheet of cling wrap, then spread skin over. 

Making the money bags

8) Add chicken mixture, bring each end of the skin together to create a pouch, then place in the fridge for ten minutes to allow the skin to set.

Adding the chicken mixture

Bringing the skin together to create a pouch

9) Invert baking tins onto a baking tray and carefully lift tins to remove. The skin should remain neatly tucked underneath, holding the parcel together as it cooks.

All ready to be baked!

10) Place baking tray into oven, and cook for 25-30 minutes or until the skin is golden brown. If you have a meat thermometer, check to see that the internal temperature has reached 62 degrees celcius.

Baked till golden brown

11) Remove from the oven and allow it to rest for 15 minutes.

12) For the chutney : Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for five minutes until softened and translucent. Add garlic and rosemary, and cook for two minutes.

13) Deglaze the pan with white wine then add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a rapid simmer and cook until the mixture is reduced to about two cups and a chutney-like consistency. Remove from heat, and place into a bowl to cool. Season to taste with salt.

14) To serve : Slice the chicken money bags and serve on the tomato chutney. Enjoy! (:

chicken money bag sliced

Enjoy the coming weekend everyone! (: Hope this has inspired you to cook something special for your loved ones this weekend! Remember to always cook and bake with love!

Till the next post, xx