Easter Egg Cookies

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Oh I'm sorry is that the Easter Bandwagon? Hold up! Can someone save a seat for me? Ha! Yes after venting about the sugar junkies in our house over the weekend, now I'm going to push some on you! These little jewel encrusted cookies are an annual tradition in our house, mainly because the speckled eggs are my favourite and I will consume by the handful if not used immediately!

This is also a great way to get the kids involved and can technically be called a 'holiday activity'. Now it won't keep them busy for hours or be mess free, anyone selling that lie should be shot! But maybe Easter isn't the time to be willing violence on someone selling untruths?...

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First of all you'll have to get yourself some cookies to decorate and Nigella's Cut-Out Cookie recipe is the best, and I'm not just saying that, they're really yummy! You'll only need basic pantry ingredients and an egg-shaped cookie cutter. Nigella will even give you a recipe for the icing too so click here to get that bit underway. Now if you're pressed for time and need to get this show on the road quick, why not grab a pack of Arrowroot biscuits or any biscuit in the shape of eggs will do the trick.

The Icing Recipe I use is basically 3 tablespoons of icing sugar in each bowl (depending on how many colours you want) and adding a tablespoon of hot water to each and mix! Add the colours (we use pastes which give really bright colours) and get ready to dip! I literally dump the cookie face first in the icing, pull out and leave on the rack for a few minutes before adding the eggs. And you do need to wait otherwise the eggs slide off, oops I'll have to eat that one!

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Now your biggest issue is the getting the 'kids' to wait long enough for the icing to harden and  therefore sticking those little eggs on there like superglue, at least until morning tea time! These cookies are so cute and will bring a smile to anyone who lays eyes on them. They're too sweet to resist! They're also so quick to make it'll keep those little bunnies interested too.

Time to put the kettle on!...Happy Easter Everybunny!

If you're looking for colour pastes click here for a great online business I always use for specialty cooking items.

 

Jesse x

New York Baked Cheesecake, King of the Cakes, A Number One!

Eat Me!

Eat Me!

This is a love affair that has been going on for some time. Silky, yet firm, sweet biscuit balanced by luscious, creamy cheese filling, scoop by precious scoop. I absolutely and completely covet this cake every time I spy it temptingly on display behind by what seems like 6inch thick protective glass. I will order without question, without doubt of the completeness it will bring me. My Precious, my NewYork Baked Cheesecake. So it came as a wonderful and joyous surprise when Mr Golddust put in an order for one on his birthday. My answer?...Yes, Yes, Yes!

Nigella, bless her, is my 'go to' lady when it comes to cakes and her amazing 'How to be a Domestic Goddess' did not disappoint, apart from the delusion that I am a 'Domestic Goddess'. I've made cheesecakes in the past, but I haven't come across the inclusion of egg whites before and it did add a surprising lightness to the cream cheese.

Which basically means instead of saying no to seconds, you can absolutely push your sleeves up and crack on with another piece. Unless of course like me, you give yourself sleep depriving indigestion by greedily slurping down a cup of tea with it too. I can't help myself! Hello Nexium!

So if you can't hold yourself back when it comes to this King of Cakes, and I'm sure Frank Sinatra would have sung about it too, then click here to find the recipe for this divine dessert. Or if you're a bibliophile like me, you can purchase Nigella's gorgeous book,  full of more tantalising recipes by clicking here

It was surprisingly easy work and incredibly satisfying, and if you're looking for a cake that wows, this is one to try out. Few people can say no to this rich, luscious beauty and even if you manage to crack the cheesy filling like me, it's nothing a punnet of berries and a dusting of icing sugar can't fix. Foolproof, I promise!

And if you were wondering, Mr Golddust loved his birthday cake, as did the mini gourmands who proceeded to knock this cake off in 24 hours!

Is there a cake you can't resist? Let me know in the comments. I won't judge...I promise!

 

Jesse x

Happy as a Pig in Watermelon

During the week my littlest Gold Dust Daughter finished kindergarten! Wow! This is some sort of miracle, because I'm pretty sure she's actually still a newborn?? (she's five... but y'know, being the baby and all...)

Kinder finished with a party - Yay!! how much do I love a kids' party?! I was assigned the fruit platter, so of course I rolled out an old fave... The Watermelon Pig.

Being Summer, it's the height of watermelon season, which means you can pick up a watermelon for under a dollar a kilo... which is lucky because this baby was TEN KILOS!

The giant watermelon with a life-sized golden retriever pup for accurate size comparison.

The giant watermelon with a life-sized golden retriever pup for accurate size comparison.

Firstly, chop a thin slice (just through the green bit) off the base, to stop it from rolling off your bench. Then cut a large roundish bit off the top, (save it, don't feed it to the guinea pigs just yet...) and start balling!!

My mission is usually to ball as much of the melon as I can. Sometimes it gets a bit tricky, it ALWAYS gets juicy and usually by the end I'm wearing an ocean of melon juice and smelling like Strawberry Shortcake's estranged friend Melon-y.

That bright yellow melon baller is totally an heirloom handed down to me from my grandmother. I LOVE it.

That bright yellow melon baller is totally an heirloom handed down to me from my grandmother. I LOVE it.

Next, fashion two piggy ears, and a nice round piggy nose with the left over watermelon top. Grab a couple of grapes or blueberries for eyes, and something for nostrils... I've used raisins today - blueberries look just as good. Stick it all together with toothpicks.

Piggy ears!

Piggy ears!

Then fill your piggy with the melon balls and any other fave fruit pieces. I usually use grapes, strawberries, blueberries, rockmelon, honey dew, cherries... whatever you (and the kids) like!

Finally, piggy needs a tail! I curled up a pipe-cleaner here!

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And vóila! Watermelon Pig is ready to be demolished by 20 hungry five year olds! (It is always such a winner!!)
Do you have any creative and fun ways to serve healthy stuff to kids? Feel free to share them and we'll give it a go here in the GDD kitchens!

Hope you're surviving the Christmas party season lovelies!

x x - Kathy.

 

 

Italian Sausage and Broccoli Pasta

Italian Sausage and Broccoli Pasta

Italian Sausage and Broccoli Pasta

With all the planning and shopping for Christmas who really feels like cooking much in the lead up to the big day, not me!!! I thought this week I'd share one of my favourite easy dinners to get you through the silly season, so that the few nights you are at home in between parties and school concerts, dinner can be fuss free.

Our Italian sausage and broccoli pasta is our own take of my favourite dish from the iconic Brunetti Pasticceria, in Carlton. Unfortunately I don't believe it's on the menu anymore, so I settle for this version at home and thankfully the kids love it, as it gets their consumption of greens in too.

Here's what you'll need:-

  • 3/4 packet of spaghetti, or 70g per person(we have portion issues at our place)
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 onion chopped finely
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 3-4 anchovies
  • 3-4 Italian sausages(depending on how much you like), removing the skins and breaking into small pieces, like little meatballs.
  • Half a head of broccoli, broken into small florets
  • 3/4cup of Full Fat Cream
  • 1/4cup of the salted pasta water

Here's what to do:-

  • Bring a big pot of water to the boil, salting generously and then pop in the pasta, following the time directions on the packet.
  • Now moderately heat the oil in a pan and throw in the onion to cook until translucent and then the garlic, along with the anchovies which will just dissolve in a few minutes.
  • Then add in the sausage meatballs and cook until just starting to turn golden brown.
  • Add the broccoli to the pasta while still boiling in the pot for the last few minutes. You actually want the broccoli quite soft so it breaks up easily when eating, but you don't want mush.
  • Now it's time to add the cream to the sausage meatballs and let this simmer for just a few minutes while all the that creamy gorgeousness starts to meld together and set aside. You'll be seriously salivating by now!
  • Last of all drain the spaghetti and broccoli and add to the sauce along with the 1/4 cup of pasta water and combine so that the creamy sauce is coating the pasta. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately!

Now there's a few ways to jazz this up, this version works for us as the kids will eat it too, but adding fennel seeds with the onions or using a pork and fennel sausage, plus a little chilli works beautifully too. And don't be constrained by the choice of pasta, orecchiette and farfalle are great options too. We also love adding fresh parsley to this at the end, but it all depends if the 'green averse minions' are joining us for dinner.

So I hope you'll enjoy this as much we do and anything to get you through the manic Christmas period I say! Do you really need to be creative for dinner 14 days out from Christmas?

Do you have an easy 'dinner that's a winner' at your place?

Jesse x

Honey and Cinnamon Christmas Biscuits

Several years ago I picked up a Christmas food magazine. Pretty pictures of deliciousness sucked me in and I instantly planned to bake the cover photo bikkies 'one day.'
Fast forward those several years and One Day popped up yesterday. Yay! It was time to apron-up, dust off the Chrissy bikkie recipe and get my bake on.

I love baking biscuits. They are my absolute fave thing to whip up for parties and things. I love everything about them. I love the measuring and mixing, the rolling and cutting. (Oh! There's another collection of mine... cookie cutters. Can't. Get. Enough.) I love the tasting of the dough - (oh how I loooove the dough - do we really need to bake them?? Really?)
And I especially love the decorating.

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Yesterday's recipe was for Honey and Cinnamon Biscuits. The recipe called for 1/3 cup of honey which I thought was ace because I love a big hit of flavour... and honey is usually subtle, (I'm also mad about honey so I had high hopes for the end product). However alarm bells should've been ding-a-linging loud and clear when I saw the forty-biscuit-recipe only called for 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. hmmm. ONE QUARTER OF A TEASPOON!?! (You might as well say add a quarter of teaspoon of invisible flavourless fairy dust - that ain't much cinnamon between friends.) So I improvised, adding a few healthy scoops of my favourite spices and quadrupling the amount of cinnamon... (big on flavour folks... you've gotta taste it).

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The end result was pretty... well ok, just pretty. I didn't rate them at all. They were shortbread-y in texture (my least fave bikkie) and a bit floury. (Ugh. I don't want to taste the flour!) They weren't especially crisp and the bonus spices I added were lost in the flour-y-ness. Sorry pretty bikkies, even with all that honey you were snoresville on the palette.

So it's back to the drawing board for my Christmas biscuits. Does anyone have a fave Christmas biscuit recipe - something spicy and sweet and gift-worthy? I'd love to hear about it! 

See you in the baking aisle Gold Dust lovelies!

x x - Kathy.
 

 

 

Jamie Oliver's Insanity Burger

It's truly insane!

It's truly insane!

Well who doesn't love a burger? Our life has pretty much been dotted with multiple burger experiences that have been memorable. There was the Gourmet Burger Kitchen in Putney, London, the fish burger from Rainworth Seafoods in Brisbane, The Bottle O Milk burgers in Lorne, Victoria, The Galley Diner, our local here in Daylesford...I even order them from Room Service when we get to stay at a nice hotel, and always with fat chips and aioli on the side!

So it's not hard to imagine that the burger is King in our house (no bun intended), and is now a regular on our weekly menu, but I have to admit we keep it pretty simple and healthily lean! So when I spotted this recipe from Jamie Oliver's new book, Comfort Food, after looking for cookbooks on our Shop Saturday, it didn't take much bending of the arm to get me to try it out.

Yikes! Steady on, it's worth it!

Yikes! Steady on, it's worth it!

Now I won't lie, after I laid out all the bottles I initially baulked at starting, thinking this is ludicrous for a burger! But I promise you, it's like cooking Asian food, it's all in the preparation and only takes 5 minutes to actually cook. So please press on, it's sooooo worth it!

Ready, Set, Go...

Ready, Set, Go...

See, all prepped and ready to go! The 'slaw' is so good, just enough kick to make it different from the rest and the mustard basting marinade is the key! Now I couldn't get my hands on Red Leicester cheese or Chipotle sauce from my local, so I just exchanged for a strong welsh cheddar and a little chilli and smoky bbq sauce mix would get me close (sorry Jamie). Come on, Leicester, Worcester, Wales they're pretty close aren't they?!

Yeah Baby!

Yeah Baby!

Now I don't know about you, but there's something sickeningly satisfying about all the bubbling juices, spitting bacon fat and melty cheese that seem to be telling me this is going to be good and making my heart stop at the same time. Oh my, this would be the best hangover remedy or post beach visit dinner or pub tucker or footy watching treat or...midweek lunch?

Sorry I just couldn't wait!

Sorry I just couldn't wait!

Ok Mr.J.Oliver, you've done it again! The insanity burger is truly insane and surprisingly not greasy, which I found hard to believe, but my chin can attest there was no fat runoff racing to ruin my precious frenchy tee. And THAT slaw is amazing, beef was juicy, gerkins and onions just the right kind of sweet and sour, I loved it!

So if you're up for trying out a truly amazing home made burger, especially if you're wanting to show off (don't we all want to be masterchefs secretly?), this is the one! So click away below  and be directed to the always yummy Jamie Oliver. Whoops I mean his recipes...or did I?

Do you love Burgers too? Tell us where you've had your best burger experience, and I mean it when I say I'd LOVE to know.

Jess x

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/beef-recipes/insanity-burger/

Elderflower Cordial

Under recommendation from Sophie Dahl (yes she is my imaginary BFF) I have recently purchased Anna Jones' AH-MAZING new cookbook A Modern Way to Eat. It's a delish collection of vegetarian recipes, and to be honest - makes me feel a little healthier just looking at the pictures.

Ooh look! Cordial Tree!

Ooh look! Cordial Tree!

On my morning walks I wander past several Elderflower trees, Anna has FOUR recipes incorporating Elderflowers in her new book - so I thought I'd give her classic Elderflower cordial a go.

Otherwise known as The Day Elderflowers Took Over my Kitchen...

Otherwise known as The Day Elderflowers Took Over my Kitchen...

The syrup requires 50 heads of elderflowers, sounds like loads, but the trees in the region have kabillions, so my little foraged fifty weren't even a drop in the elderflower cordial ocean.

Boy those little flowers are FRAGRANT! so honey-floral-sweet!

Boy those little flowers are FRAGRANT! so honey-floral-sweet!

My sink was full of tiny bugs and pollen after shaking the flowers...

Pretty sink!

Pretty sink!

The flowers steep overnight in the sugar syrup with chunks of lemon...

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Anna uses raw sugar - which I think makes it even more caramelly sweet and gives it a lovely rich honey colour...

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I'm sooo looking forward to some elderflower cocktails this summer.

Cheers lovelies!

Cheers lovelies!

You can buy Anna Jones' A Modern Way to Eat here.

Oh! And do let us know if you'd like us to try a recipe you've had your eye on...
We love a kitchen challenge!

- Kathy. x