My XMAS Salted Caramel & Choc Chip Cookies

These did come out looking more like Patrick Star than Xmas creations, but they tasted better than you can imagine.

Okay so yes I used a store bought packet mix (Betty Crocker wins every time) as the base, but, there was a twist. For a sprinkle of Christmassy festivity, I added a hint of smooth choccy flavour by adding chocolate chips to the dough, and created star designs with specific cookie cutters.

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Read on if you’re interested in my simple, yet divinely tasty XMAS cookies, or better, create them yourself in 20 minutes.

Gather the following:

  • Betty Crocker Salted Carmel Packet Cookie Mix
    • Note: This is limited edition packet mix – hence why I grabbed it in Woolworths. If you aren’t able to get your hands on it, try adding Hershey’s caramel choc chips to a plain cookie recipe.
  • Cadbury choc chip cookies
  • Butter
  • 1 Egg
  • Star cookie cutter

Okay, so the method:

Mix all the ingredients together, until you form a cookie dough.

Use a rolling pin to knead the dough out on top of an acrylic/plastic/stone surface.

Here’s where it got a little more complicated. I’m currently experiencing an Australian summer, so naturally the sun was beating down at 30˚C, which made all my cookie dough melt and stick to my hands. So, I wrapped it in cling wrap and popped it in the freezer for 5 mins to make it think it was in the northern hemisphere. Note: this might be a good idea if you are in a hot climate.

Cut little star shapes out with the cookie cutter.

As the cookie cutter will make the raw cookies a lot thinner and smaller than Betty Crocker recommends for cookie sizing, you only have to place them in the oven for 8 minutes at 180˚C (350˚F), so they don’t burn.

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Once cooked, place them on a plate and awkwardly place a rogue Christmas decoration next to them for aesthetic purposes (I’m kidding). 

The perfect Christmas snack.

 

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Caramel brown

xx

 

 

New Brunch Spots and Health Shots

Thankfully its been warm, sunny weather in Sydney, and as we FINALLY turn into Summer and Uni has finished, I’ve been trying to catch up with all my friends whenever I can around work. For some reason (I’m not complaining) the most convenient thing has been brunch.

I’ve been dotting around Sydney trying some good (and not so good) places. There are a couple I would highly recommend.

Flowerchild is a sweet little cafe in both Brookvale and Chatswood and I’ve managed to go to both in the past fortnight. It’s has a dainty and graceful vibe serving up platters that look more like works of art than meals.

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Flowerchild Brookvale – The vegan bowl: falafel, quinoa, sweet potato, avocado, tomato, almonds, spiced chickpeas, sesame seeds, tahini dressing. Across from me – 12 hour slow braised lamb shoulder.

I’ve also been having the weirdest scone cravings lately – so I hit up The Tea Cosy in the (iconic) Rocks, where we indulged in cheesy scones with smoked salmon, sour cream and chives, alongside some classic scones with strawberry jam, thick cream and Nanna’s Apple Pie Tea (a fruity, warming black tea that reminded me of  Xmas Markets).

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I also tried out Momo Bar in Manly (pictured below) who started the Poké trend in Sydney. I have also had incredible brunches (i.e. A LOT of smashed avo on toast) at Laneway, The North Spoon, Wild Sage and The Bellagio Cafe.

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Momo Bar Manly – Tiki Bowl: edamame, cabbage, seaweed, ginger, onion, carrot and fried shallots, with roasted sesame sauce.

Another thing I’ve caught onto lately is the health shot trend. What’s the purpose you ask? They are meant to prevent you from low immune, and at first I was a little skeptical.

However, after looking into them it actually makes a lot of sense – it’s a little shot packed with all the good-immune-boosting stuff.

I’ve been making my own health shots to accompany morning tea (note: they are incredibly bitter/sour/off-putting and you will need a palette cleansing chaser). I throw kale, mixed leafy greens, water, turmeric, and chia seeds into the blender and down that with a banana (the chaser).

If you’re struggling with low immune, or just want to get all your daily nutrients in one go, it’s something I would definitely try!

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Today is my day off and I’m going to do the last of my Christmas shopping. I’ve already dropped $500 on presents this December, and I still have some bits and pieces I want to pick up. Looks like another expensive day, but it’ll all be worth it when Dec 25th rocks round.

Calories Don’t Count On Christmas | XMAS 2016

Of course, my favourite saying came out to play again this year – there are no calories on Christmas.

I started off the day with a cheeky candy cane cookie (Vegan recipe – my friend made them for me) and a T2 Choc Chip Chai with soy milk.

Traditionally my family has celebrated Christmas Day by opening presents in the morning, and then having a large Christmas lunch, which always becomes dinner as well because we all sit around talking into the night.

So, in order to save room for the huge Christmas lunch to come, I busied myself making a Bread & Butter Pudding. The whole ‘distract yourself so you save room for lunch’ thing was a bit of a flop because I ate half the pudding as I was making it.. worth it though.

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For starters we had assorted cheeses (Camembert, Brie, Cheddar) with biscuits, salami slices, bread sticks, beef jerky sticks, chopped veggies with avocado dip and tomato relish. These were savoured with mulled wine, pina coladas and champagne.

At the main meal there was an array of dishes but I had some smoked ham, roast chicken and prawns. We also had a quinoa, kale and roast beetroot salad that I made.

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By desert I was so full but made room for some bread pudding, a bit of traditional Christmas pudding soaked in Brandy, and a fruit salad with custard/vanilla ice cream.

Despite the food coma I had a huge treat myself and such a wonderful day.

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone had a lovely day, whether you celebrate Christmas or not.

xx

Healthy Mulled Wine Recipe

Okay so wine’s wine, and it’s never going to have the health benefits of kale or broccoli. 

But, it is Christmas and time to treat yourself after a successful year, so I’d love you to try out my healthier Mulled wine recipe to celebrate the festive season.

The recipe substitutes using sugar, with dried fruits and spices.

To me, if Christmas had a scent, the warm, cinnamon-y aroma of Mulled Wine would definitely be it.

You will need:

  • 1 bottle of red table wine
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 grated nutmeg
  • Rind of 1 orange
  • 1 chunk of ginger

Bring water, raisins, cloves, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, orange rind and ginger to the boil in a saucepan. Then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the red wine and simmer for another 10 minutes. Strain the mulled wine and serve immediately. I like to put little orange peel curls or cinnamon sticks in each glass for decoration and extra flavour.

Merry Christmas Eve!

xx

Calories don’t Count on Christmas! Mince Pies and Mulled Wine for Breakfast.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

After stuffing myself silly with turkey, ham, pumpkin, potato, feta salad, veggies, custard, mince pies and truffles, on Christmas Eve, I woke up this morning to a tree full of presents and a slightly-less eager family who just wanted to sleep in. 

Luckily I managed to get them out of bed by 9am – motivating them mainly with warm, fruit-mince tarts that I freshly baked. 

I woke up at 7am and got inspired from a recipe in my Mum’s old Donna Hay cookbook. 

I needed to prepare the filling, and combined the following in a bowl and set it aside in the fridge: 

  • 1cup Granny Smith Apples, finely chopped
  • Pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon
  • Dash of Brandy
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 3 tsp lemon rind
  • 50g butter melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup orange juice

In the mean time I used cookie cutters to cut little circles in shortcrust pastry, and place them into greased cupcake baking trays. Then I prepared my star toppings using a smaller star cookie cutter. 

After the hour was up I took the filling out the fridge and distributed it into the moulds. I placed the little star cut outs on top of each one, and brushed them all with melted butter. 

After popping them into the oven (160C/320F) for 25-30 minutes, I dusted them with icing sugar and voila!

Everyone enjoyed fruit mince pies, gourmet chocolate truffles (from Belle Fleur Fine Chocolates – a boutique chocolate shop in Sydney’s Inner West), and mulled wine whilst opening presents.

I got very spoilt this Christmas, and got a Mimco Supernatural Medium Pouch, some cute Kikki K stationary and the Antler Aire Large Suitcase

Clearly I was spoilt by family and friends – hope you had a wonderful Christmas and got everything you wished for!

xx

Begin.

This blog may fizzle out after a couple of posts. However, I am dedicating myself to at least beginning.

I’m 17 and still figuring out what my passions actually are. But for now I know I like writing and food. I am also very interested in health, nutrition and how food fuels the body, so safe to say there are a plethora of things I can write about.

***

This is probably my favourite time of year. Watching society prepare for Christmas is like watching a child fall asleep. Everyone relaxes, all worries are put aside for later, and there is peaceful indulgence in Christmas surrounded by family.

In the lead up to Christmas I have been going to fun/quirky new restaurants in and around Newtown for meals with friends, eating and baking many tasty treats and wasting away hours of time and blocks of broadband usage on Youtube.

This morning I went to a local market and splurged on a small biscuit called an Alfajore which I was told was an Argentinian traditional treat.

It could have been my perpetual need for chocolate, or the excitement over a foreign dessert, but I wanted to try them as soon as I saw them. I loved the instant sweetness they gave, and the crumbly consistency reminded me of a melting moment.

Once I’ve tasted something good, I want to know exactly how to replicate it, so I can have it on demand, whenever I want. So, I have done a bit of looking and found online a recipe for alfajores that I am going to make for our Christmas day lunch.

However, I’m thinking that if I was super lazy and not feeling like investing hours into the biscuits, maybe I’ll just smear Nutella on some melting moments and call it my homemade alfajore.

For now, I’m going to start brainstorming some topics I can write about. Looking forward to whatever is to come.