Monday, 24 September 2012

Chocolate Mulberry Cupcakes

Chocolate Mulberry Cupcakes

Afternoon Everyone!

Mulberries.  They taste like my childhood.  My grandma had the best mulberry tree ever and I spent a lot of time just sitting under it and eating and eating mulberries until my hands were stained purple.

Now it is my parents who have the tree and have given me heaps of the sweet little morsels.  So I decided to pair them up with chocolate and the combination is just heavenly. 

Glorious TreatsI am quickly discovering that the best recipes on the internet are from other bloggers.  I know that I only put my absolute favourite recipes on here and it is the same for other bloggers.  So I used the recipe for chocolate cupcakes from a blog called Glorious Treats.  The icing is a buttercream that is made using mulberry juice. 

So, here it is: chocolate cupcakes with mulberry juice icing and topped with a sweet little mulberry...

Chocolate Cupcakes
(makes 24-27 standard sized cupcakes)
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups plain flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons bi-carb soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoons vanilla paste
1 cup boiling water

Line muffin tin with paper liners.  Heat oven to 180°C.  Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed for one minute.  Stir in boiling water (the batter will be quite runny).  Fill liners 2/3 full with batter.  Bake cupcakes for approximately 22-24 minutes.  Cool completely on wire rack before icing.

Mulberry Buttercream Icing

1/4 cup butter (57g)
1/2 tub cream cheese (125g)
1/4 cup mulberry juice
3 1/2 - 4 cups icing sugar

Leave butter out until it is at room temperature.  Using electric beaters blend butter and cream cheese in a bowl until well combined.  Add mulberry juice and blend.  Gradually add the icing sugar and beat until the desired consistency is reached.  Using a star tip pipe onto cupcakes.  The buttercream may need to be returned to the fridge so that it pipes well onto the cupcakes without flopping.

Top the cupcake with a mulberry and enjoy!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Baked Cheesy Meatballs

Baked Cheesy MeatballsAfternoon Everyone!

I love cheese. Parmesan, brie, bocconcini, feta, mozzarella... we are all dear friends.  This is why I love this recipe.  Also, it is a good recipe to help get kids involved in the kitchen.  While I was making the sauce my niece (who was visiting at the time) made the meatballs and did a very good job too!  I originally found it in a Recipes+ magazine.

Baked Cheesy Meatballs

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 x 410g cans diced tomatoes
850g beef mince
2 tablespoons chopped basil
2 tablespoons chopped oregano
2/3 cup grated parmesan
200g feta, cut into 18 equal pieces
160g bocconcini cheese, coarsely cut

1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan forced.  Lightly grease a 2 litre (8 cup) ovenproof dish.  Heat oil in large saucepan over moderately high heat.  Add onion and garlic, cook and stir for 5 minutes or until onion softens.  Add tomatoes. Reduce heat, simmer, uncovered for 8-10 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly.
2. Meanwhile, place mince, basil, oregano and half the parmesan in a large bowl.  Using clean hands, mix well to combine.  Divide into 18 portions.  For each meatball, flatten a mince portion slightly and top with a piece of fetta.  Shape mince around the cheese to enclose and form a ball.  Place in the prepared pan.
3. Pour tomato mixture over meatballs, then sprinkle with bocconcini and the rest of the parmesan.  Bake for 20-25 mins or until cheese melts and meatballs are cooked.

Note: I didn't have fresh basil or oregano so I used dried instead.  Since I love cheese so much, I sometimes put mozzarella on top too.  Can be served with pasta or salad.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Sweet Potato Dog Treats

A f t e r n o o n   E v e r y o n e !

Dehydrated Sweet Potato Dog Treats

I love my dog and I love my dehydrator.  So when my father-in-law mentioned that dogs love dehydrated sweet potato I was excited to give it a go.  Dog treats can be expensive and sweet potatoes are cheap and everywhere at the moment.

To make these treats, I simply peeled the sweet potatoes, cut them up lengthwise and placed on the dehydrator racks.  I usually check my dehydrator every hour or so as the bottom racks always dry things out faster.  The general rule is that anything that is put in the dehydrator is ready when it is no longer sticky or wet to touch. I always let my fruit or veggies cool on the racks before putting them in an airtight container just to be sure.  After dehydrating the sweet potato I noticed that there were a few dark spots on them that weren't there before but I don't think my dog will mind.

With my dehydrated sweet potato in hand I rushed outside to see if my beautiful dog Millie would like them.... and she LOVED them!  Success!  Now to tell my father-in-law that he was right.  Just like any man I think that he will be happy to hear those 3 little words: you were right.