Monday, February 27

How to make Ginger Snaps

I think in life you're a ginger person or you're not.   For me definitely yes.  I love ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamon, all the aromatic spices.   It's no secret to friends of mine that gingerbread and it's descendants liebkuchen and Taai Taai are high up on the list of my favourite biscuits/cookies.

When I buy cookies on a rare occasion it will always be the gingersnaps.  The really hard ones.  The ones that you nearly have to break a tooth to bite off a chunk or leave into your mouth until they go soggy.    I became quite addicted to them when I was pregnant and I still do this day cannot replicate them.  I'm guessing it's a good lot of molasses and sugar and I'd just rather be in denial I think about how much....

But these gave me a much needed ginger hit when I had tonsillitis recently.  They arent totally chewy but they have a spongy centre and deliver just the right amount of sweetness for me.  Good for lunchboxes too.

2 cups plain flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 tsp bicarb soda
1 tsp allspice
1 1/4 tsp powdered ginger
175g butter, at room temperature
1 large egg (or 2 small ones)
1/4 cup treacle

Preheat oven to 190 degrees c

In a bowl mix flour, sugar, bicarb and spices.  Mix well.

Add butter, treacle and egg/s.  Now I realise it doesn't see like there's enough liquid but bare with me...

It makes a good dough in no time when you mix it together.  If by any chance you have thirsty flour, add a teaspoon or two of milk.

Roll the bits of dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and roll or dip into a bit of extra caster sugar

Place onto a greased tray and push down a little to flatten.

Bake for 15-18 minutes.   Leave to cool on tray for 5 minutes before transferring into your mouth onto a plate until completely cool.  Store in freezer in ziplock bag for up to 2 months or in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Source: recipe adapted from

Friday, February 24

Chocolate cake mix cookies!

Now I'm the first person to say 'ditch the packet mix' and this isn't usually something that I would have in my cupboard, but my friend and college Nancy from the USA and loves to bake recommended I make these as she was suprised with the results... and you know I just had to know.

The results are pretty good actually.  A bit cake-y, a bit biscuit-y, a bit brownie-ish actually but over all really really easy and really, really chocolatey.  So if you're a chocolate lover these could be your ticket.  They freeze well too - so you could, if you like, take them out, put them in the microwave for 20 or so seconds and serve them with icecream..  oh was I bad for suggesting that?

You could use any cake mix you like, I used a mud cake mix because I wanted the chocolately chocolate-ness.  But you could get any chocolate cake mix.  It's all about the consistency really.

1 packet cake mix
2 eggs
125g soft butter
1/4 cup plain flour (you may need less or more depending on the consistency/size of your cake mix)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees c

In a bowl, mix all ingredients.

The consistency should be like clay, it should stick together but also have a bit of firm-ness to it.  Add flour as you need to.  If you add too much flour, add a little milk until you get the right mix.
Roll them up into balls about 1.5 inch diameter.

Place on a greased tray (or one sprayed with canola oil) and press down slightly.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, then leave to cool on tray for 10-15 minutes.

Cool (or serve with cold milk warm - YUM!)

Irresistible to a six year old !!! (and a forty year old!)

Sunday, February 19

Quick snack solution - DIY microwave popcorn - in under 3 minutes!

No special bags.
No extra ingredients.
You just need a paper lunch bag and...
1/2 cup popcorn kernels!

Oh, and a microwave!

When I think about the times I have caved in and bought microwave popcorn from the supermarket because I was in a hurry or just wanted to avoid the oil/washing up I'm a bit annoyed with myself now.  I needn't have bothered!   I can see this being the easy way for morning teas on mornings I find myself short of stash lunchbox legends or we are going to watch a family movie.  I just can't get over how simple it is.

And you don't oil!

Of course you could melt some butter and mix it through afterwards and shake a little salt through it, or cinnamon or whatever you love but for my kids, they didn't even ask!

Step 1
Pour 1/2 cup popcorn kernels into a paper lunch bag (the kernels cost about $1 for about 2.5 cups - I just used homebrand paper bags)
 Fold the edges over, my tip is the second time I made this I made the creases shorter, and doubled it over three times...

Pop in the microwave - depending on the wattage of your microwave up to 3 minutes.  Mine is 1100W and it took 2 mins 20seconds to make it PPPEEERFECT.  The lower the wattage, the longer you need to leave it in.

Watching it won't make it pop faster, but it amuses small people.  Olivia grabbed a chair to watch...


How easy is THAT!!??

 Hungry hoardes dig in!

Recipe sourced from

Friday, February 17

RECIPE: Shortcut slow cooker tuna pasta casserole !


As you might have guessed I've been rather time-poor recently.  My big project I've been working on has gone live - but before that one ended, I've started another 2 phases of the project and preparing another!  It's caaarazy.   So these days on the rare days I do get to cook I find myself wanting to spend time with the frills and basically, sleeping!

This one's super cheaty.  It's not something you'd want to eat every day but it's a firm favourite with kids and I love it for the comfort-food factor.  The added bonus is it only has a few ingredients and takes about 10 minutes to prepare.  And there's leftovers - feeds us two meals!  And the biggest bonus for me is my biggest Frill Miss Eloise can make it with me.

1 tin cream of mushroom soup
300mls cream or evaporated milk
2 large tins of tuna, with brine (don't drain)
2 cups uncooked macaroni
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn (you can use whatever you like, mixed veges if you like!)
3 shallots or spring onions, chopped
1 cup shredded/grated cheese
1 tsp ground pepper

One by one  add all the ingredients to your slowcooker...albeit the cheese.

Remember if you want to use evaporated milk instead of cream, that's a lower fat option..

Eloise loves to cook with Mummy.  I miss my frills!

If you're in a bit of a hurry, pre-cook your macaroni for 5 minutes - this will cut down the cooking time in the slow cooker to 1 hour on high.

I love white and black pepper, but you can add other herbs like parsley or chives also if you like!

Cook on low for 5 hours or medium-high for 3 hours.  About 30 minutes before serving, stir in the cheese.

Delicious!  And so simple, great for a lazy or busy day!


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