Friday, December 14, 2012

Quick and easy: Felt Christmas tree toy for children (no sew)

I can't work out if this is a novel idea of mine or one I came across in the blog/ Pinterest/ Facebook world.  But since I don't have any particular image of this craft idea in my head other than of my daughter's playing with them I'm going to claim this one as my own!

My favourite random craft/ party supply/ notions store is Pete's Emporium out in Porirua.  It is like a small version of Spotlight, but with an edge (and 100 different kinds of wigs).  You can buy crafting felt from there in squares or off giant rolls.  Last time I was there I picked up about ten sheets of felt, mainly green and red with the idea that I would do something Christmassy with them.

I've mainly used the felt to make more felt flower hair ties for my daughters - it is a great way of identifying hairties - particularly during the preschool years when they seem to just fall out by themselves.  After two hours of assembling felt hair ties in front of British Midsomer Murders the other night I was keen to do something that didn't involve putting a needle through my finger!  It occurred to me that I could make a felt Christmas tree for the children to decorate using felt scraps.

It is very easy.  And the children (ages 2.5 and 6) both really enjoy playing with them.  It takes all of the children's best self-control not to touch the Christmas tree so this is a nice alternative for them.

Felt Christmas tree

One square of green felt
Selection small felt off cuts in colours other than green.

Fold the square of green felt in half.  Cut out a tree shape (I didn't need a template and I doubt you do).  Give to the children with the scraps and let them decorate their own tree.

I'm considering sewing the tree to a square of felt in a contrasting colour just to keep the edges looking nice.  My two trees are stored in a plastic bag, you can make something nicer if you want!

Revenge baking

Last week I sent this picture to my husband.

This year his workplace has decided not to include partners in their Christmas function.  It is the first year that they did this and there seems to be no good reason.  I can understand if it was about money and they needed to charge, or if it was during work hours and they were doing team building exercises but it is some kind of half-day extravaganza at the weekend.

I noticed last year that there were a couple of at-home parents there and really felt as though it was an end of year celebration for us too.  At home parents don't often get Christmas parties. I've spent the last few weeks arranging gifts/ cards/ thank you tokens to all the people in our family's life and am very aware that the at-home parent rarely gets acknowledgement for this work.

Luckily I have an awesome group of Mums involved in our own playgroup dating back nearly three years.  We will have an awesome night out next Tuesday.  I feel very grateful for this group of parents and children.

The revenge baking?  Well, I like baking and usually send my husband off with some Christmas baking for his workplace at this time of the year.  But I've decided this year that if partners are not invited to Christmas parties then partners will not bake for the workplace.  This year they didn't get home-made Oaty Blue Cheese crackers, home-made mince pies (I made the mince and pastry) or some of the most delicious purchased salted caramel macarons ever.  But I really enjoyed taking them to share with the other Mums at playgroup last week :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Elderflower reprieve

Did I mention that my lovely neighbours decided not to cut down the elderflower tree? The reason, as officially discussed at the body corporate meeting I missed was that they knew I loved it! I'm very grateful.  Unfortunately, after years of growing up against three other trees it is very lopsided and a bit unstable.  We are going to aggressively trim the tree (after I've picked the berries for jam) and hopefully next year it will grow straight and full.

Last night I saw what looked like someone trying to jump over the back fence into our property.  It turned out that he and his partner were on a stealth mission to nab some elderflower!!!  I thought it was hilarious and invited the rather embarrassed couple to use the front gate next time!  I also suggested another local tree that is easier to access and bloomed later than mine.  I have a few last bunches of flowers left and green berries are now visible.  My neighbours and I have a working bee next weekend, and I hope to harvest the berries before the tree is trimmed.  Finger's crossed!

First strawberry of the season, nestled amongst the rhubarb

I've worked really hard on the garden this year, I even sketched out a plan (this level of gardening planning is almost unheard of in our household).  I was very, very restrained when ordering seeds from King's seeds and resolved to grow lots of a few things rather than a small amount of a lot.  My theory is that this should result in harvests that can actually contribute to meals, rather than counting out two snow peas each for dinner!  I'm mainly hoping to have a lot of fresh food for Christmas dinner - we will definitely have a lot of Jersey Bennie potatoes, various kinds of lettuce, a large handful of snow peas and a lot of strawberries.  We may have some baby carrots and raspberries.

I've become one of those rather obsessed garden types and while I haven't gone so far as to check the pH of the soil, I've become pretty obsessed with composting and soil composition.  After years of trying to encourage native birds to the garden I've started resenting their presence.  There are two blackbirds who feel quite strongly that my garden is their private dust bath.  They have destroyed three tomato plants that I grew FROM SEED.  We are now enemies.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Lahmucan: Turkish pizza

The first batch: tomato paste underneath and plain lamb mince on top

Roasted red pepper sauce - delicious and sweet

The second version - delicious and sweet.
I had an almost genuine holiday.

Holidays have been kind of lame since having children.  They are not holidays as I remember them, often they are an exercise in trying to entertain tired children in an unfamiliar locale with less resources than usual.   A 'holiday' in Rotorua earlier in the year while my husband attended a conference ended with tearfully trying to find an open chemist on a Sunday morning for nits shampoo on four hours of broken sleep.  Turns out the baby was coming down with campylobacter  while my oldest had her first case of nits since starting school.  My husband left the conference early, I napped wearing earplugs for two hours then, with greatly restored humour, we went luging. 

So I wasn't thrilled with the idea of going up to Auckland recently for a few days while my husband participated in a marathon.

It was actually quite a decent break.

I felt no more or less rested than usual, but I did a lot less cooking and no driving whatsoever.  This left me feeling more relaxed at least and I came back with a more enthusiastic approach to family dinners.

Our last meal in Auckland was at a Turkish restaurant.  It was a bit chaotic as the baby was grumpy and I was in pain due to an ill-timed ear infection (blocked ears and flying, bleurgh).  The meal, Lahmucan, was delicious and one I felt that I could easily replicate at home. We have pizza once a week and although it is an easy meal I find myself a little bored with it.  Lahmucan, Turkish-style pizza,  is based on lamb mince and a red pepper sauce.  The version I ate was dairy free, but I have seen other versions online with feta.

The mince mixture made enough for two batches of pizza.  Because I was experimenting we had two versions over two different nights.  I like both versions for different reasons.  The first version was pizza dough spread with tomato paste and the lamb mixture very thickly covering the dough.  The second version I added all of the red pepper sauce to the remaining lamb mixture, with a tablespoon of added tomato paste.  I spread this a little more thinly across the dough.  Your choice!  My internet research indicates the second version is more authentic, the first version is closer to the one I tasted at the restaurant in Auckland.


Roasted red pepper sauce

Two red capsicums
Three cloves of garlic
Drizzle of olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Cut the capsicums in half and place, cut side up, in a roasting dish.  Add the garlic and then drizzle with a little olive oil.  Add a little sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Roast at 200C for about 40mins.  Remove from the oven and, when cool, blend the capsicum in a food processor or blender until smooth.

This sauce is sweet and delicious.  I'm thinking of roasting and puréeing capsicums most weeks through summer to add to meals.

Lamb mince

400g lamb mince
2 TBSP pine nuts
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp coriander seed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic

Sweat the onion and garlic in a little oil until clear and soft.  Add the lamb mince and cook until well browned and broken into small grains.  Sprinkle with the spices and pine nuts and cook for five more minutes.  Set aside.

Other ingredients:

A very generous handful of fresh Italian parsley
One lemon
Half a cup of tomato paste.
One batch of pizza dough  (One batch makes three large pizzas)

Version one: Lamb mince only

Preheat the oven to 220C for at least half an hour.  Put an oven tray or pizza stone in the oven to heat.  Roll half of the dough out as thinly as you can on a sheet of baking paper and spread with tomato paste. Thickly cover with the lamb mince then transfer the pizza to the oven and bake until the dough is crispy.  When the pizza is out of the oven squeeze a generous amount of juice from half a lemon over the top, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Version two: Roasted red pepper and lamb mince

Preheat the oven to 220C for at least half an hour.  Put an oven tray or pizza stone in the oven to heat.  Roll half of the dough out as thinly as you can.  Mix all of the red pepper sauce with the lamb mince mixture and a tablespoon of tomato paste.  Thickly cover the dough with the lamb and pepper mixture and then bake until the dough is crispy.  When the pizza is out of the oven squeeze a generous amount of juice from half a lemon over the top, sprinkle with parsley and serve. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Eating the first home made Brie

I love this picture - it makes my first ever Brie look dark and mysterious.  I think that the flavours of this Brie were pretty dark and mysterious as well - also, very buttery.

I had no idea that Brie is just large Camembert.  The flavour difference comes from the length of time to develop the flavours and mould in a larger size. Basically I made my standard Camembert recipe and poured the curds into a larger mould.  I also used a salty water wash rather than rubbing salt directly on the skin after removing the cheese from the mould.  I was curious if this would result in a less salty taste than the one I tend to get on my Camembert.  I do think it is less salty, but equally, I did have a little more trouble with blue dots of mould coming through - perhaps the salty water isn't as effective as repelling bacteria?  I'm not sure, but suspect that I will work it out over successive production.

My biggest problem with this cheese though was obtaining a good audience to sample it!  I'd planned to take it to my daughter's birthday party originally - as one of the children is anaphylactic to dairy products I didn't think it was a great idea to have a large cheeseboard at the adult's food table.  I next took it to my regular Tuesday playgroup.  Except I put the cheese in a plastic grocery bag with some crackers and picked up an identical bag filled with marker pens! Two outings down and so I decided to go ahead and open the cheese at home.  I'm glad that I didn't wait any longer - it was perfectly ripe with a tiny bit of ooze in the middle.  Just lovely. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Playing with food, bok choi stamps

I've been very good lately at composting food scraps. Between the worm farm and bokashi system food scraps are efficiently dispatched.

However, I've reached capacity in all systems so after dinner last night a bok choi end waited around on the chopping board for ages while I dithered about its final location!  For some reason, likely a day of child-rearing drudgery, there was some creativity trying to come out!

I've seen people use all kinds of fruit and veges as stamps and thought that the end of the bok choi made a cute shape. A while back I purchased a lot of plain cotton for lining and for art activities. I found the last two paint test pots in the storage cupboard and went to work.

'Unloved test pot colour print.'

I made about half a metre of print, just enough to make some shorts for my toddler. I feared that the bok choi would disintegrate if I kept going much longer and that the children would complete their work of destroying the lounge.  Test pot paint will keep on fabric after washing provided that you let the paint dry on the material for a couple of days first, then put on warm in the dryer for about half an hour to encourage a strong set. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Quicksale pork hock: pulled pork and pork and barley casserole

I found two rather generous sized pork hocks on special and I purchased them without too much thought.  After a week in the freezer I realised that something needed to be done with them.  I went to the internet for research purposes and found it rather lacking in great ideas for pock hocks.  I did though have 'pulled pork' on the brain after my husband enjoyed a delicious smoked pulled pork sandwich at the City Market
Pork and pearl barley casserole
Pulled pork

I put both hocks into the slow cooker with chicken stock, carrots, onions and garlic.  I seasoned with salt and pepper and also added a teaspoon each of smoked paprika and cumin seed.  At times like this I love slow cookers - I put it on high and just left it to bubble away.

A few hours later I removed one hock and a ladle full of stock.  I poured a cup and a half of pearl barley into the slow cooker with the remaining hock and left it cooking on high for another two hours.  This turned into a lovely dinner for myself and my husband, as well two meals of leftovers.

I shredded the other pork hock, removing most of the skin, and mixed through the stock.  I then added a quarter cup of 'Maharaja Sauce' - a delicious chutney available at Moore Wilsons.  This meat went back in the fridge for dinner the next night (and to give time for the meat to suck up the flavours).  Adding the stock helps to keep the shredded meat from going dry - the chutney (BBQ sauce is more traditional for pulled pork) gives a delicious spicy fruit flavour to the meat. 

Last night we used the pulled pork in home made fresh buns with lettuce from the garden, cucumber and a generous tablespoon of vegetable pickle.  It was very, very good.

I was really pleased with these meals.  I paid about $5 for the two hocks, usual price around $12.  So we ate cheaply and deliciously for a couple of nights this week and I'm looking forward to more pulled pork sandwiches over summer.  I'd forgotten how much I like pearl barley as well.  It doesn't need pre-soaking and cooks pretty quickly for a dried grain.

Apart from using hocks to make stock, I'd love to hear from other people what they do with pork hocks.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Purple pizza and parties

I've been making a lot of pizza lately.  My toddler loves baking and making pizza dough in the morning helps to get some of the 'need to bake' out of her system, with the advantage that we can all pretty much have whatever flavour pizza we feel like later in the day.

Last week I got out the mixer and, at the same time, decided to prepare some beetroot relish.  Grating three beetroot produces a lot of purple staining splashes and I got a drop in the dough.  My toddler thought that this was hilarious and asked for more.  So I squeezed out the juice from the next few handfuls and added it to the dough.

Looks like boysenberry ice cream!

 I'm not going to pretend that it is the most palatable colour for adults...

 ...and in fact the colour would have been more even if I'd added it to the liquid at the start.  But I feel that the swirls are quite attractive!
When baked the purple turned rather pink.  It was a huge hit with both my five year old and two year old.  I'm not going to pretend that there were any particular health benefit - I doubt that there is a huge amount of extra nutrition from a tablespoon of beetroot juice.  There was absolutely no taste difference.


My oldest daughter is now six.  In my head she is still a baby, but I am rudely confronted by the reality that she is becoming quite an autonomous little human and her birthday confirmed this.

We had a talk about inclusive birthday themes and came up with a weather theme.  Rainbows were a sub-theme.  Because the party was over lunchtime I really wanted to make a lot of food, and not all of it junk food.  The final menu was:
  • Fruit kebabs
  • Popcorn
  • Smoked chicken and cream cheese sandwiches (dinosaur shaped for fun)
  • Fairy bread (sparkly sprinkles on cream cheese - a little more popular than the chicken)!
  • A cloud shaped biscuit
  • A pack of Japanese novelty shape puffed crackers (goldfish, stars, sharks, moon).  These were love/ hate with the packs being either consumed frantically or tried and left to one side.
  • Rainbow jelly - I found great clear containers at Moore Wilson's that came with lids.

Cool kebab sticks.  Unfortunately more than one child had to be reminded not to eat the decorative balls!
The major attraction was the cake.  The children were all very impressed by the size of it and there were a few gasps when my husband cut the cake and they saw what was inside!  This was a very popular cake and so easy. I have three cake tins the same size.  I made one batch of cake mix and divided it between three pans.  I then added the colouring to each pan.  I used quite a moist cake mixture, but given that you need to ice between the layers a dry cake would also be suitable.

My daughter is a self-proclaimed scientist and a bit of a purist when it comes to the rainbow.  I had to explain that I could not find purple gel for a seventh layer.  She thought about this quite seriously and conceded that six layers would be fine!

Like most birthdays the day passed in a blur.  I was worried that the party would be too long, and we would have lots of bored children.  In the end we had a few hungry children who had left the sky show early and could see the food.   I let them start eating a couple of minutes before the other children came back.

I decided not to go with the hell and torment of pass the parcel.  I had an extra craft activity available (colouring in masks) and had brought along equipment for an egg and spoon race.  I tried playing Chinese whispers with the children waiting out the sky show - it was hilarious.  Try it with five year olds - you wont regret it. I was very surprised to see that we had ten more minutes of party time left after singing 'Happy Birthday' (or the 'to you' song as my toddler calls it) and cutting of the cake.  The children all ran around the exhibits at the highest noise levels possible before disappearing with their respective parents.  Silence, then the long walk back to the car and home.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Candy sushi for Halloween

I'm not really into Halloween.  It was not something that my family 'celebrated' growing up, and it was similarly irrelevant to my husband's family.  Actually, I think for most of New Zealand, Halloween had about the same relevance as say, Thanksgiving in America.  In the last few years I've noticed huge pushes in shops to stock Halloween merchandise.  I'm not taking this celebration up, basically because I sense merchandisers would like me to.  Children who get past the security gate on our property will be politely told that we think it is unsafe to request lollies from strangers, and that we additionally don't consider being 'tricked' for not supplying lollies to be an acceptable response.

That being said, I am thrilled to be invited to share meaningful celebrations with other families.  To a friend of the family, Halloween was very relevant to her family growing up.  She has always tried to celebrate it with a giant family friendly BBQ.  We enjoyed the Halloween BBQ last year, and look forward to it again tonight.  It has also proved to be a great way of explaining to our daughter what makes families unique - after all, few Kiwi families celebrate Chinese New Year or the Moon Festival.

A few days ago I was in Auckland and had two hours BY MYSELF to go shopping on Queen St.  I went to my sacred shopping sites of Japanese dollar stores.  I found a DIY candy sushi making kit in the 'Made in Nippon' shop close to our hotel.  We decided to make candy sushi for Halloween as part of our contribution to the BBQ.

It is a bit wonky.  Having a two-year-old yell "TURN, TURN" any time her sister did anything made everything challenging.  My daughter and I both had a lot of fun dropping orange goo into a solution.  When dripped in the goo immediately set as orange spheres.  So I've managed to get a little molecular gastronomy out of the system and the kids have lovely sticky fingers. 

It has made me think though of making some kind of dessert sushi for my daughter's looming birthday.  Coconut in place of rice?  I'll think about it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

RIP Elderflower tree

My beloved elderflower tree is only 1/8th mine.  I live in a complex with a body corporate and the land where the tree is, while directly behind my property and not indeed visible to most of the houses, is on communal land.  For the last three or four years I have looked forward to spring and making delicious elderflower cordial.  Another friend has made elderflower champagne for her friends from this tree and this was going to be the year that I got up the ladder and harvested the berries for jam.

We have a drain problem.  Our property has flooded during some of Wellington's more extreme rainfall.  Tree roots blocking the drains seems the most likely reason. The tree surgeons arrive tomorrow.

I'm thrilled with the decision to remove 95% of the trees.

But losing the elderflower really hurts.

This time last year I was making elderflower cordial for my daughter's crèche teachers as a farewell gift. Now she has been at school for a year and my youngest daughter is helping me to make the cordial. Making cordial is a great activity for a two year old - they can scoop sugar (there is a lot of sugar in elderflower cordial), squeeze lemons and oranges and help to collect the flowers.

I'm going to take cuttings tomorrow, and friends have offered me access to their known elderflower haunts.  But I'm really, really going to miss 'my' tree.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Platter and more Elderflower

It is Elderflower cordial time again!  Check the link for elderflower cordial and champagne recipes.  This year I've made two big bottles and then I had about two cups left over and no storage bottle.  I had a brainwave and put it in a pot and boiled it down to syrup.  If you boil it until reduced by half you will have the most deliciously concentrated syrup.  I've frozen mine (well, it wont freeze because it is too syrupy but I am storing it in the freezer).  I'm going to use it to make gelato and to drizzle over sorbet.  You can also use it like cordial, with just the tiniest amount (about a teaspoon) generously flavouring a glass of water.

I'd love to access a Soda Stream and make fizzy elderflower cordial drink! I'll settle for bottled soda sparkling water.

Last year I made elderflower and lemonade ice blocks for the children.  The ice blocks were also very useful as emergency cold drink flavouring when we had summer guests and nothing fresh to offer!

I'm going to experiment with some other elderflower flavours now.  I'm curious about adding vanilla - I think it will be either very good or very bad.  Ginger comes to mind as well.  I use orange and lemons when making the cordial - but might look at changing the proportions around a bit.

I still haven't tried battered elderflower but I'm making cauliflower pakora tonight so I might have a go while I've got the oil heated.

Yum, it is so lovely to have so much elderflower that I can just experiment away to my heart's content!


It is nearly the end of the school holidays and today my five year old and I had a special day off together.  With the two year old in creche and my husband at work we went off on a loosely planned 'day of trying new things.'  We went to playgrounds we have never stopped out, went op-shopping for dress ups and visited the Makara Wind Farm.  By the time we got back into town, picked up the two year old and caught up on chores it was late and dinner time.

I couldn't be bothered.

Then I remembered platters.

I was considering Fish 'n' Chips but given that lunch today was fruit and vegetable free I roused myself to something healthier.  With the two year old standing on her steps at the bench helping herself and being a general cute nuisance I did the old platter trick:

It took five minutes to make.  It would have been quicker if I hadn't used a bento food cutter to make a couple of carrot butterflies.  The breadsticks were a project with the two year old a couple of days ago.  I used a chocolate oatmeal stout beer that I'd been given at the International Chocolate Festival in a goody bag.  I don't actually drink beer, so can't comment on the drink itself. I can say that it made a fantastic flavour to pizza dough and when I made Nigella's Chocolate Guinness Cake last week it turned a great cake into some kind of in-your-face adult-only mud cake deliciousness. 

The photo was close to perfection: then the baby jostled me, the five year old reached across and I accidentally clicked.

I thought I'd taken a picture of elderflower but can't find it.  This is the girl's playing in cherry blossom a fortnight ago instead.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cooking with Cola - Cola Chicken Terikyaki

At the moment in New Zealand there is a launch of 'personalised' Coca Cola bottles.  The company has selected 150 of the most common names, added them randomly to their original Coke and so people can search out their name when shopping.  I have a very, very common first name and haven't come across it yet!  I've been fascinated watching people rummage through the bottles trying to find their name - cola bottles have become a messy display item in my local, anally tidy supermarket.  The one name I continue to come across is 'Meena.'  I wouldn't have thought that it was that common a name - and since I see it all the time at the moment I think that not too many 'Meena's' are interested in purchasing personalised Cola!

At the Food Blogger's conference we sampled Six Barrel Soda's Kola flavour.  It was a warm, spicy flavour and I really enjoyed it.  It was a lot less syrupy than your standard Coca Cola and the residue at the bottom of the sample cup was proof that the drink was made with genuine spices.  My friend has actually made cola syrup after coming across an Internet recipe for Coca-Cola a long time ago. I was so impressed when she assembled all the ingredients together (over many months) then actually made cola syrup.  She gave us some as a gift for our daughter's birthday last year - it was really nice!

I've heard of the odd recipe using cola drinks as an ingredient.  I wondered if there was a recipe out there were the cola drink was the star of the dish. I used ordinary Coca Cola in the recipe below.  I'm off to buy some more of the Six Barrel Soda version though - I think that the mixture of spices in their cola would make this dish really special.

Chicken teriyaki is a Make-Do Mum favourite here.  It is the only recipe I know of that gives beautiful, marinated flavour to chicken without actually marinating the chicken in the first place.  The only catch is that you have to be able to pay attention to it for the twenty minutes or so that it is is cooking.  Bottled teriyaki sauce will burn rather quickly if not watched.  The advantage of this dish is that the sauce is thin, and thickens after twenty minutes or so of cooking.  So there is a good chance that the chicken is well cooked and glazed before you have to worry about it burning.

It doesn't matter if the cola is fresh or flat for this dish.  I don't know about you, but I tend to find the last drink in a bottle of soda rather uninspiring.  I didn't use diet cola - you really need the sugar in the full-on version to caramelise the chicken.

You could also use that last slug or two of cola drink to help glaze roast pork - a great way to add some colour during cooking.

Cola Chicken Teriyaki

About one can of cola drink (a cup and a half)
Quarter a cup of Chinese Rice Wine (you can get this very cheaply at Asian grocery stores and some supermarkets (found with Asian ingredients, not in the alcoholic drink section).  This wine is absolutely not for drinking, only for cooking.  You will find dire warnings to that effect on the label!  You can substitute with sherry.
Half a cup of light soy sauce
One diced Garlic clove.
One onion
Black pepper
Vegetable Oil
Approx 1 kg Chicken - I used chicken nibbles and often use chicken wings for this dish.  If you are using diced chicken, such as chicken breast  you may find that the chicken has cooked long before the sauce, and you could end up with quite dry meat.

Use a really large pan or wok so that all of your meat can be cooked at one time.

Cut the onion so that you have long stringy pieces.  Rapidly cook these in a very hot pan until they are golden and getting some crispy bits (I like to see a bit of charred effect on mine).  Set aside to cool.

Cook the chicken in oil until the chicken has got a nice browned effect on all sides.  Add the cola, wine, garlic and pepper.  Cook on a moderate to high heat, turning occasionally until the chicken is glossy and most of the liquid has evaporated.  Add the onion, cook for a couple more minutes then leave to cool slightly before serving.

This can look really attractive sprinkled with either spring onions or black sesame seeds just before serving. 

Caramelised and delicious
We had a great chat at the Food Blogger's Conference about referencing and acknowledging sources when writing recipes.  If I would like to copy a recipe then I will always link to the original recipe, adding my own comments.  If I'm creating a recipe I tend to use a search engine to find recipes similar to what I am after.  If I am condensing a recipe from a number of sources, changing methods, amounts and local ingredients then I will from now on make sure I acknowledge the most helpful of those sites.

Inspiration for this recipe came mostly from the following two blogs:
* Fuss Free Cooking
* Appetite For China

Monday, October 1, 2012

Blog word cloud

This word cloud represents the amount of times different words have been used on this blog.  I'm a little embarrassed that 'Chocolate, chocolate and chocolates' come up quite prominently.  I suspect the New Zealand Chocolate Festival is responsible for that one! Take a look here if you want to have a go at making your own.