Filed under Recipe

Lasagne

What’s for dinner? Lasagne! And a side of garlic bread. I’m obviously not scared of a few carbs. This is my favourite, fool-proof recipe. It’s even better the next day and I get about eight serves. I don’t change anything from the original recipe, besides the buffalo mozzarella; I substitute the regular, supermarket variety of mozzarella.

lasagne recipe

Neil Perry’s lasagne

I’m sure you have your own favourite lasagne recipe, if so, please share!

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes

I’ve tried a few recipes for gluten-free cupcakes but I keep going back to this one.

gluten-free vanilla cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcakes
Adapted from: 500 Cupcakes edited by Fergal Connolly

Ingredients

225g/8oz unsalted butter, softened
225g/8oz caster sugar
225g/8oz gluten-free self-raising flour mix (I like Orgran Gluten-Free Self-Raising Flour)
1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
2 tablespoons milk
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In the bowl of a stand mixer beat butter slightly, then add sugar, flour, baking powder, milk, eggs and vanilla. Mix until smooth and pale, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Spoon mixture into 18 – 24 patty cases. (Fill only to half full to avoid muffin tops.) Bake for 15 – 20 minutes.

Remove trays from oven and cool 5 minutes before removing from tray to cool on a rack.

Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

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Update

Recently I made another elephant, for J & E’s baby due in January. The pink in the ears is a not-so-subtle nod to the fact I think the baby is going to be a girl!

Dottie the elephant. Fabric is Summer Song by My Mind’s Eye for Riley Blake. Pattern by Retro Mama.

I have been trying to eat well, and working out consistently. Trying to take heed of the one piece of advice that I’ve been told so many times this year – “Look after yourself!”

Clockwise from left: Ham, cottage cheese and corn relish wrap. Cinnamon butternut pumpkin and feta salad. Steak with mustard mushroom sauce and beans. Beef fajita with natural yoghurt.

And of course I’ve baked – this week the ever-popular kitchen sink cookies and Pioneer Woman’s infamous cinnamon buns.

Here’s hoping the coming week is filled with more craftiness, good eats and a dash of good fortune!

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Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie

To all of my American friends and family I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving. I’m taking the holiday as a reminder to be thankful for the good people and blessings in my life.

 

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Pink Cinnamon Buns

It’s a little after 7pm here and I’m wondering if a pink cinnamon bun would make a good dinner. Probably not. But two buns might.

What can I say, I like pink. I wear pink nail polish, use a pink phone and a pink diary. I have three pink handbags and am wearing pink now. I make pink buttercream frosting more often than any other coloured frosting. As I mentioned earlier this week, KitchenAid lent me a pretty pink Artisan Stand Mixer as part of their Pink October campaign so today I decided to bake up something else pink. I have to admit, since I received my own KitchenAid mixer last year I haven’t kneaded dough by hand once. Not pizza dough nor bread dough. It feels a bit like cheating but it does make the whole bread making process easier. And the KitchenAid dough hook does a good job!

I especially like pink when it’s for a good cause. Every year I aim to raise money for breast cancer research and support. I do a fun run each May and host or participate in at least one fund-raising event every October (although often the events creep into November too). I have a great circle of family and friends who often join me at the Mother’s Day Classic or donate generously each time I ask. I wish I’d kept an accurate tally because I think it’d be well over $5,000 and probably closer to $10,000 that we’ve raised through fun runs, Pink Ribbon Breakfasts and Girls’ Night In events over the past 10 years. I can’t thank everyone enough for their ongoing support.


Until there is a magic cure or preventative all we can do is keep funding the research and supporting the care of sufferers and survivors. And, most importantly, detect symptoms early. Check yourself or get your doctor to do it. And do it regularly. As many people have said to me lately, look after yourself.

 

Cinnamon Buns
Adapted from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice

Makes 12 -16 rolls

Dough

Ingredients

6 ½ tablespoons (3.25  ounces) caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 ½ tablespoons (2.75 ounces) unsalted butter
1 large egg, slightly beaten
3 ½ cups (16 ounces) bread or all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons dried yeast
1 ¼ cups whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup cinnamon sugar

Directions

Cream together the sugar, salt and butter on medium-high speed in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.

Whip in the egg until smooth.

Then add the flour, yeast and milk. Mix on low speed until the dough forms a ball.

Switch to the dough hook and increase the speed to medium, mixing for approximately 10 minutes (or knead by hand for 12 to 15 minutes), or until the dough is silky and supple, tacky but not sticky. (You may have to add a little flour or water while kneading to achieve this texture.)

Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Leave to rise for 2 hours or until dough has doubled in size.

Dust bench with flour, then roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Roll it into a rectangle about 2/3 inch thick and 14 inches wide by 12 inches long for larger buns, or 18 inches wide by 9 inches long for smaller buns.

Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the surface of the dough and roll the dough up into a cigar-shaped log, creating a cinnamon-sugar spiral as you roll.

With the seam side down, cut the dough into 8 to 12 pieces each about 1 ¾ inches thick for larger buns, or 12 to 16 pieces each 1 ¼ inch thick for  smaller buns.

Line one or more oven trays or pans with baking paper. Place the buns approximately ½ inch apart so that they aren’t touching but are close to one another.

Proof at room temperature for 75 to 90 minutes, or until the pieces have grown into one another and have nearly doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) with the oven rack in the middle shelf.

Bake the cinnamon buns for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cool the buns in the pan for about 10 minutes and then streak fondant glaze across the tops, while the buns are warm but not too hot. Remove the buns from the pans and place them on a cooling rack. Wait for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Topping

Ingredients 

4 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons warm milk

Directions

Sift icing sugar into a bowl. Add vanilla and milk, whisking until the sugar is dissolved and a thick, smooth paste is formed. Add extra milk as needed.

When the buns have cooled slighty but are still warm, streak the glaze over them.

 

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Chocolate Pie

I haven’t been baking a lot recently, just some vanilla cupcakes and kitchen sink cookies here and there. Truthfully, I’ve lost some of my baking mojo. Now that I’m on my own I’ve lost my number one taste-tester (and my sub-editor) so baking has become more of a solitary pursuit. Yes, I share my baked goods with friends, family and anyone who stops by Katie’s Kitchen, but one of the most enjoyable parts of my culinary hobby is missing. I had someone by my side who didn’t often bake but who did enjoy and participate in the process of my baking and blogging. And of course he enjoyed the eating part. It was a happy day when he liked what I’d baked. Which was well, almost all of the time. I’m sure it will just take some time to find my new normal in the kitchen and beyond. Until then, a little chocolate will help get me by.


Chocolate Pie

Base
Adapted from About.Com American Food Chocolate Pie Crust recipe

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
70g unsalted butter
Yolk from 1 large egg
2 to 3 tablespoons ice water

Directions

Preheat oven to 175°C.
In a food processor, combine the flour, cocoa, sugar and salt until blended. Add the butter and process until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Add the egg yolk and water and process with on/off turns until the dough forms a ball. 
Press the dough into a ball, then flatten into a 1-inch round. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 20 minutes. If not using immediately, wrap with plastic and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.
Roll out dough and press into pie tin. Blind bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and leave to cool.
Note –
My pie tins are still yet to be unpacked. I had to improvise this time – I used a Baker’s Secret 2-in-1 Springform Bundt pan that was gifted to me earlier in the year. You can use it as a bundt pan or as a regular springform cake tin. I used it in the regular tin form. I used baking paper on the base of the pan just in case the crust decided to stick, but had no trouble. I pressed the crust up the side of the pan and once the filling was cooked and cooled released the pan and voila! This would work well also if you didn’t want to serve the pie in the tin you baked it in. I transferred the pie to a plate before adding the topping.

Filling
Adapted from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice Chocolate Pie recipe

Ingredients

1 cup thickened cream
200g milk cooking chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Heat the cream in a saucepan over medium heat until small bubbles start to break the surface. 
Meanwhile, place the chocolate and cocoa powder to a medium heat proof bowl. Pour the hot cream over top of the chocolate and allow to sit for 3 minutes, then whisk until smooth.
Whisk in butter, followed by egg, milk and vanilla.
Pour filling into pie crust and bake until the edges are set but the center is still a little jiggly about 26-30 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.

Topping

Ingredients

1 and ½ cups thickened cream
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons pure icing sugar

Directions

Using a stand mixer, whip cream, cocoa powder and sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread over cooled pie.
Store pie in refrigerator. Remove pie from refrigerator 20 minutes before serving.

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Coconut Kitchen Sink Cookies

I love to bake but it’s no fun baking in an unfamiliar oven for the first time. You’d think 180° Celsius in my oven would be the same as 180° C in your oven. Wrong! What should be 180° C in my current oven is more like 240° C. That means I’m off to buy an oven thermometer and then it’s game on for me and this hot-diggity-dog oven.
mms cookies

I did manage a batch of my good old kitchen sink cookies, with a packet of coconut M&M’s. There would have been shredded coconut in there too if I’d bothered to check my supplies before I started baking.

Kitchen Sink Cookies
Adapted from recipe by Martha Stewart
Makes about 40

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and ½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups milk chocolate chips (approx)
1 cup chopped milk chocolate (approx)
2 cups coconut M&Ms (approx)

Directions

Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Line baking sheets with baking paper.

Using a stand mixer, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar together until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Stir in vanilla.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Gradually beat into butter mixture until well blended. Stir in oats, M&M’s, chocolate chips and chocolate.

Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto trays, about 2 inches apart. Bake until golden, about 16 to 18 minutes (10 minutes in my oven). Cool on pan for 2 minutes. Remove from pan, and finish cooling completely on wire rack.

Snapshot – Yellow, Grey and Silver Party

Our new place feels a little more like home after a few of our friends, old and new, stopped by for a little sangria and a few baked treats. We are blessed with generous friends so there was plenty of good food, good drinks and good company.


To spruce up the place a little I made a simple tassel garland in my latest favourite colour scheme yellow and grey/silver. There are many tutorials out there in blogland if you’d like to make your own: The Sweetest Occasion, A Pair & a Spare or Design Dazzle are a few options. If you aren’t DIY-inclined pick up a cute rainbow garland from Lark or a beautiful 12ft long (and the original?) garland from Confetti SystemPenny-Pinching Party Tip – Tissue paper is inexpensive and one pack of silver cellophane did the trick. I think this materials for this garland totalled about $5. Using fabric instead of tissue paper would add to the cost but would allow you to pack it away and use it again as often as needed.


A few simple purchases continued the colour theme; a packet of yellow straws cost $1 and $5 worth of plastic cutlery popped into an empty can. I added some bright yellow cocktail napkins to a stack of plain white ones. Penny-Pinching Party Tip – Clear cups (recyclable) and white plates aren’t as pretty as coloured versions but mean any left over can be saved for another occasion with a different colour scheme.


I made vanilla cupcakes with yellow-tinted buttercream frosting. I don’t think they were quite the best batch I’ve ever made but I’m still getting used to the new oven. No disasters in it yet but it always takes a little while to adjust my recipes to suit the peculiarities of each oven. These simple recipes are economical and the frosting can be tinted to suit your occasion. Penny-Pinching Party Tip – Don’t underestimate how much people love a simple, homemade cupcake.

chocolate chip new york times recipe cookies
In addition to the cupcakes, I made pumpkin chocolate chip muffins (one batch makes 36 muffins), snickerdoodles and chocolate chip cookies. I’m again convinced this recipe from The New York Times is great. To half the batch I added milk and dark chocolate chunks and to the other half I mixed in Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits.

Today we are cleaning up and munching on leftover party food. I think I’ll leave the garland up for a little while. For more yellow and grey check out my Pinterest board titled Yellow Room.

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Australian Red Cross Big Cake Bake August 2012

Want to bake the world a better place? It’s something I try to do. That’s what the Australian Red Cross is asking this August. The Big Cake Bake is aiming to raise funds for the Australian Red Cross to help those in need locally and overseas. Just sign up, bake a cake or two and share them with your friends, family or co-workers. Your Big Cake Bake host kit will include a donation box so everyone who samples your delicious baked goods can give generously to the cause. The official date of the Big Cake Bake is August 27, 2012 however you can hold your event at anytime in August.

Go to the Big Cake Bake site to get more information. Register now to receive your host kit and get planning your event.

Here are some of my favourite cakes to help you get baking!

Can you help bake the world a better place? $150 will help give vulnerable young families around Australia basic support and skills so that they can provide their kids with the best start in life.
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