Friday, 26 August 2011

Chocolate Mud Cake - Our Gang's Style!

 I don't think there are too many people on earth that aren't tempted by Chocolate Mud Cake.  Just a small piece every now and then is just divine.  Now I hate buying ready made cakes, part of that is because we are trying to be more frugal in our lives or just the fact that cakes are generally speaking, so darn easy to make why would you bother.  I love homemade food, there is no denying it.  Home baked goodies always taste so much better I think and the other things is that I like to know what exactly I am feeding my family.  I like to have the final say as to what ingredients I use.  I'm not saying everything I make is healthy lol, far from it but at least I know what goes into my cooking.

Everyone in my family loves this cake, all that is except for Buddha,,,he hates chocolate!  Nothing on earth could persuade him to open his mouth and just have a tiny bit of this cake.  Lucky for him I froze some of the Anzac Cake from the other week.  He happily takes a piece of that for his recess at school while the rest of the Gang all have the Mud Cake.

Believe me, this recipe is one that you just have to try at least one, it is so easy to make and your family will love you for it, I promise!


2 cups Plain Flour
1 3/4 cups Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt 
4 tablespoons Cocoa
1 cup Cold Water
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup Buttermilk
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Bicarb Soda

Combine the flour, sugar, salt and cocoa in a large bowl.

In a saucepan mix the water, oil and butter.

Bring to a boil.
 Pour onto dry mix and beat until smooth (I just mix it up with a wooden spoon).

Mix the buttermilk, beaten eggs and bicarb soda together.

Add this mixture to the mix.
Beat until well combined (once again I just used a wooden spoon).

 This batter will be thin but don't worry.
Pour into a well greased and lined cake tin (I recommend using a deep cake tin as it is quite a large amount of mixture)

Bake at 170 degrees C until done (in my oven it took about 50 minutes).
Cool on a wire rack and while still slightly warm frost with your favourite icing.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Honey Soy Chicken

This was actually meant to be two recipes in one.  This was meant to be a delicious chicken recipe with a equally delicious Wild Rice recipe to go with it.  Some times what is meant to be just doesn't happen.  On the weekend I thought it would be great to try out two new recipes and combine them in one meal.  I thought Honey Soy Chicken with some Wild Rice on the side sounded pretty good.  Well it did taste pretty good, the chicken was delicious,,,,,the Wild Rice was okay, just okay, hence the reason I won't post the recipe here.  If I had aimed for a Risotto style rice dish I would have been closer to the mark I think.  The recipe was for a Wild Rice cooked in the slow cooker.  We ended up with something resembling mush.  The flavour was okay but we didn't use the leftovers for lunch the following day which is pretty good indication that it kinda sucked lol.

So here we will present for your tastebud's enjoyment, the other half of our meal, the Honey Soy Chicken.  Although I'm not ever terribly thrilled with recipes requiring battering or crumbing, I decided to give this one a go....besides I had Hubby here to do the battering lol.  We had never tried the asian style batter before,,,you know the one that you get on the pork and chicken in chinese restaurants.  I had always wondered how they made it so light and crispy,,,,,now I know :-D


400 grams Chicken, cut into either strips or cubes
1/3 cup Plain Flour
1/3 cup Water
1 1/2 Tablespoons Peanut Oil
2 Egg Whites
Vegetable Oil for deep frying

Honey Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Peanut Oil
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon freshly grated Ginger
1 tablespoons Salt Reduced Soy Sauce
1/4 cup Honey
1 tablespoon Dry Sherry
1/3 cup Chicken Stock
1 1/2 teaspoons Corn Flour
1 teaspoon water

Whisk the flour and water together in a medium sized bowl.
Whisk in the Peanut Oil and whisk until smooth.
Allow to stand for 30 minutes
Beat the egg whites in a small bowl until soft peaks form, gently fold into the flour mixture in two batches.

Dip the chicken into the batter and deep fry immediately in hot vegetable oil in batches for about 5 minutes or until brown and tender.
Drain on paper towel.

Honey Soy Sauce

Heat oil in small saucepan.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
Add the soy sauce, honey, sherry and stock, cook stirring for a further 3 minutes or until it slightly thickens.
Stir in the blended cornflour and water, stir over heat until it boils and thickens.

Place chicken on plate and top with Honey Soy Sauce.

This recipe is best made just before serving.
Not suitable to freeze or microwave.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Coconut Cake - A really simple cake to make and REALLY REALLY YUMMY!!

This cake is another that is a regular in our house.  It is just so easy to make and I have never had a failure with it yet.  It always comes out moist and it keeps well as I have found out just once lol.  Normally this cake disappears very fast and it doesn't get past the second day, but just once I had sickies in the house and it managed to stay around for 5 days, even on the 5th day it remained moist and fresh.


1 cup Self Raising Flour
1 cup Dessicated Coconut
1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Milk
2 Eggs
3 tablespoons Butter or Margarine - melted
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence

Mix the Flour, Coconut and Sugar together in a large bowl.

Beat the Eggs and Vanilla Essence into the Milk, add to the dry ingredients and mix.

Add the melted butter and beat well.  (I don't use an electric mixer usually, I just beat it in with a whisk or wooden spoon).

Pour into a greased and lined cake tin and bake in moderate oven for 30-35 minutes until golden and cooked in the centre.

Ice with any plain icing you like and top with shredded coconut.

See how long it lasts in your house!!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Our Gang's Spaghetti Bolognaise

This is one of the kid's most favourite things in the world to eat.  A recipe that "Buddha" insisted on putting on this blog, and also one that I make every week just about but continuously forget to photograph lol.  Finally, at last I remembered to have the camera handy.

I generally make a large batch of this and then freeze the left overs in single serve containers or snap lock bags.  These are great for after soccer lunches on the weekend.  I just pull out the required number of servings the night before then when we get home from soccer on Sunday, I have almost defrosted Spag Bog ready to just be popped into bowls and heated in the microwave.  The kids are happy, and all have a nice warm lunch in their tummies, what could be easier!!!

I remember when I was young and newly married to my first Hubby, Tuesday nights would be our "nightmare night".  He was a Chef and would work till about 8pm that night.  Since he worked alot of nights, having a meal together was precious to us.  I was also working full time at this point and I didn't get home until 6.30pm myself.  Tuesday nights we would alternate between Spag Bog or Tuna Mornay.  Both meals which were quick and easy to prepare.  Back in the "pre child" days though, I used to really spice things up with alot more capsicum and zucchini and then I used to add chilli sauce as well.  It was really yummy!!  Once kids came along we had to tone it down and I am only now starting to spice it up (very very gradually) lol.


1 kg Beef Mince
1 Zucchini, roughly chopped
1 Sweet Potato, roughly chopped
1 Onion, diced
1 Capsicum, diced
Garlic and Mixed Herbs to your liking
1 x 500gram packet of pasta of your choice
2 x 400 gram cans of Chopped Tomatoes (you can use fresh if you like)
1 x Can of Tomato Soup
1 Jar of Tomato Puree or use a jar of Raguletto or Dolmio style of sauce
Worcestershire Sauce to taste
Tomato Sauce to taste

Roughly chop the zucchini and sweet potato.

Place in a bowl, cover with water and cook in microwave until soft.

 Place pasta on to cook.

Fry the onion and capsicum until softened.
Add the herbs and garlic to your liking.

Add the Beef Mince, cooking until lightly browned/cooked through.

Add in the jar of tomato puree, the tomato soup and the chopped tomatoes.
Add in the Worcestershire Sauce and Tomato Sauce (I like to use the last bits of my tomato sauce bottles mixed with a little water to get it all out)
At this point I add in my pureed zucchini and sweet potato mix and stir through.

When the meat sauce is cooked, drain the pasta and add to the sauce.

So easy and so yummy.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Dutch Curry Cottage Pie

I tried this recipe out the other night feeling quite nervous.  I was sure my kids wouldn't like it lol.  We don't really eat curry.  The only curry I normally use is a little in my Tuna Mornay but other than that, nothing, nada, zip, nil, lol.  So I had ingredients for toasted sandwiches lined up,,,,,just in case!

Hubby and I are okay, we don't mind curried sausages and very mild curries but the kids normally wouldn't touch them with a barge pole.  So to say I was nervous about this recipe was probably an understatement.

One thing my kids do all like though is Cottage Pie.  Normally we buy the Maggie mix for Cottage Pie and make it with that.  The kids love it and I love it too because I always through in a generous helping of mixed veggies lol.

This time I basically made it like I normally would but instead of the Maggi Mix I added the soup mix.  Amazingly, to my delight, the kids all ate it and although two of them said they prefer the other sort, I did notice that they all went back for seconds.  Hubby and I thought it was really nice and will definitely make it this way again (I have to add that we had it for lunch the following day and it was even yummier, the curry flavour had gone through it better and it was really, really nice).


2 kgs Beef Mince
1 packet of Dutch Curry and Rice Soup Mix
2 cups of water
1 large onion, diced
Frozen Mixed veggies (whatever you like to add)
1 tomato, sliced
Mashed Potato (however much is required to cover your chosen dish/dishes)
Cheese for grating on top

Fry the mince and onion together, adding in the mixed veggies once the mince and onion have browned off.

Mix up the soup mix with the 2 cups of water, mixing it thoroughly.

Add soup to mince and stir through well.  Bring to the boil for a few minutes.

Pour into a baking dish or casserole dishes which have lightly been sprayed with cooking spray.  

Top with Mashed Potato, then top the potato with a breadcrumbs, tomato slices and grated cheese.

Bake in moderate oven for approximately 45 minutes.

Be warned:  This recipe makes a large amount.  I used my larges baking tray and as you can see it was pretty full.  Normally I get the baking tray full plus two small casserole dishes left over with the mince.  So normally this meal would create a meal that is family size (with left overs :-)  ), plus two small casserole dishes ready for the nights when it is just Hubby and I that need to eat (you know those nights when the kids have hounded you for hot dogs and you give in but really don't feel like hot dogs yourself lol).  On this night though, I don't know what I was thinking and I just piled the mashed potato straight on top and it took me a while to realise the reason why the baking tray was so chocka block lol.  Oh well!!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

CRISPY DRUMSTICKS - Another Kid Friendly and Approved Recipe

This recipe was quite yummy.  The kids all liked it (after all what child doesn't like chicken that slightly resembles KFC!!).  Originally this recipe was supposed to be a low fat version, but as I was in a hurry and quite honestly couldn't be bothered skinning my chicken drumsticks, they got coated with the skin on.....extra fat and calories but hey,,,,they were yummy remember!! Lol.  I also made up a few chicken wings as well since one of the kids prefers wings.

These recipes are great because you can add extra herbs/spices to your crumbing mix, as you see fit.  This time I stuck with the recipe and they tasted fine.  Next time I may add a little more spice to it just to zing it up a little but believe me, these things disappeared at a great rate of knots in my house!!


1/2 cup packet breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon mixed herbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon milk
8 chicken drumsticks, skinned (or not lol)
vegetable oil cooking spray

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a shallow dish, mix through well. 
Combine egg and milk in a small bowl, mixing well.

Dip each drumstick into the egg mix, then roll in the breadcrumb mixture.
Place drumsticks in a baking dish which has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake uncovered at 200 degrees celcius for approximately 45 minutes or until done (my oven took about an hour,,,,,don't you just love some ovens!! lol)
Turn occasionally during cooking.

I found the coating stuck to the chicken really well.  Normally when I crumb things I like to put them in the fridge for about an hour for the coating to stick but I was running late and didn't have time to do this and the crumbs stuck perfectly.

Serve with salad or veg.  As usual in our house, it is Mashed Potato and mixed Veggies (I know it is boring but hey, all the kids eat it lol and if I can get some veggies into them I will do anything!)

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Am I crazy????? My Mission to Broaden my Children's Tastebuds

When I began this blog recently, my aim was to provide my children with their favourite recipes as requested by my 14 year old.  This is still my aim, don't get me wrong.  This blog will always remain a blog which I am creating first and foremost for my children.  I also wanted to try out many of the recipes in my collection, I was going to pick and choose the ones I knew the kids would like, skipping over the ones that "they may not like".  I want to expand their selection of food.  I'm not asking them to eat anything really different, I just want them to try new recipes, ones that they would normally skim over going, "Nope I don't think I would like that".

In other words, I was going to stick with the safe options......

BUT.......I  have recently been looking at my vast collection of recipe books and the recipes that I have printed off from my computer (and I still have more to go!).  I have been admiring new cookbooks lately but have decided that I will not spend money on these new shiny versions when I have so many sitting on my shelves waiting to be used.  My cookbooks may not be big and beautiful.  Most of them are pretty old, I haven't bought a cookbook in over ten years and only received 1 as a gift in that time!  Many of them are in fact my Mum's!  But they contain some beautiful recipes.  Here is my collection of cookbooks (not many have impressive spines, many are the Womans Weekly style ones)

 Then we have my folders.  These dull looking (I plan to pretty them up soon) folders, contain hundreds of recipes each.  One folder is savoury recipes, the other is sweet recipes.  These are recipes collected over the last 30 years of my life.  When I was aged about 10 I started tearing recipes out of my mum's magazines telling her that she should make them.  My mum was a good cook, particularly when it came to baking but she liked to stick with her favourite oldies.  The recipes that were stored, not on paper, but in her head.  These recipes are the recipes that my brothers and I grew up on.  The ones that sadly, she never got around to writing down, no matter how many times I asked her.  She now suffers from dementia and these recipes are sealed within her mind, no longer available for us to ask for.  When Mum went into a nursing home 2 years ago, I took all her recipes, all the recipes that over the years her and I had ripped from magazines.  I have scanned them onto the computer, I have stuck them on pages.  Finally I have them all in one place.  Along with this are the recipes that I have found online over the last 10 years of having the internet.  I have cut and paste so many recipes over this time it is incredible.  Sadly I never took any notice of where I got most of them from.  I was like a little squirrel gathering nuts for the winter, except my gathering was of recipes.

My intention now, is to work my way through these collections, starting at the front of my folders.  I will not buy any new cookbooks, I don't need them.  I will no doubt, still find recipes online and add them into my folders though.  I have shared my idea with the kids and they are actually (at this point) really excited to try all the wonderful new things.  Sure I will still make their favourites but I aim to try some new recipes each week.

This blog will become a "Julie and Julia style" blog lol, only with more than one cookbook to work through.  One Woman, Thousands of Recipes, Her Mission,,,,,to Broaden the Tastebuds of Her Children.....Lol this may take a while......Stay Tuned!!!

Monday, 8 August 2011

Boiled Chocolate Cake

 I have been wondering whether or not I should post this recipe for the last couple of days.  Its not a bad recipe but it isn't an absolute favourite.  But I figure since most of the kids enjoyed it, there would be other people who enjoy it also.  It certainly is an easy cake to whip up, so that counts for a lot as well, but I don't know, it isn't a "chocolate, chocolate cake" if you know what I mean.  I'm not sure whether more cocoa would make it better or not.  I think next time I make it (yes there will be a next time lol) I may add some chocolate cream in the middle just to give it that little bit more oomph.

This I think could be called "The Chocolate Cake for When You Don't Feel Like Chocolate Cake" lol.  It is such a subtle flavour that it barely rates on the chocolate scale, but having said that the cake itself is nice and moist.  I made this cake about 4 or 5 times now, so that proves that it isn't that bad.  Each time it has only lasted a couple of days so the kids definitely don't hate it.

Ok onto the recipe......


1 cup Water
2 teaspoons Cocoa
1 1/2 cups Sugar
2 Eggs
125 grams Butter
1 1/2 cups Self Raising Flour
1/2 teaspoon Bicarb Soda

Place sugar, water, butter, cocoa and bicarb soda into a medium sized saucepan and stir over a low heat until the butter has melted. 

 Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and leave to cool.

  When mixture has cooled stir in the beaten eggs and Self Raising Flour.  Beat well.

Pour into a greased and lined cake tin and bake in a moderate oven for 1 hour.
Cool in tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Ice as you like.