Friday, April 29, 2011

Healthy low-cal apple dessert!

This is a quick and healthy dessert, 5 minutes from start to finish.

  1. Cut up an apple into squares
  2. Add about 2 tablespoons of water (so the apple doesn't dry out)
  3. Sprinkle lots of cinnamon
(if you want to make it not-so-healthy, you can add a teaspoon of sugar)

Cover and cook on high in the microwave for about 3 - 5 minutes. This depends on how powerful your microwave is. It should look like this...but the smell is just gorgeous!

I then pour a 100g tub of yoghurt over the top and enjoy!

If you try out any of the recipes I post, please come back and tell me! Thanks :-)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Works for me ANY day - chicken stir-fry

I don't like meals that take a lot of time to prepare.
Complicated + Marcia = NOT good
So while everything I make takes about 30 - 45 mins max, this is one of my no-fail easy meals.
Stir-fry some chicken and lots of veggies. I like onion, mushroom, broccoli, pumpkin (try it - you'll love it) and spinach.
If I have some rice, I prefer to serve it with rice. But if I don't and I'm going to be late for the gym, then I pull out 2-minute noodles, zap those in the microwave and serve over noodles.
To be honest, Dion likes the noodles better than the rice anyway but I like the healthiness of brown rice.

Browse my recipes for many other less-than-30-minute meals

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chocolate cake in a mug

I received an email with this chocolate cake in a mug recipe from a LOT of people so I decided to try it and see if it worked.

4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg

* I used 2 tablespoons oil and 4 tablespoons skimmed milk (still 6 tablespoons of liquid, but a tiny bit healthier :))

mix it all together and pour into a greased mug
microwave for 3 minutes in a 1000 watt microwave oven

As the cake cooks, the whole thing swells and rises out of the mug - that's normal so don't panic if it looks like it wants to explode.

Wait until the cake drops right back into the mug before you remove it from the microwave.

This is what it looks like...

emptied out onto a plate
on its side
pulled apart - that blurry bit is the steam escaping

This is just the right amount of cake for two people to each have some with their evening cup of tea or coffee :)
Enjoy! Let me know if you make it, okay?
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Apricot chicken

I love cooking and baking (mainly because I like eating!) but I don't like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I really like seeing a short list of ingredients :)

This is a recipe from Kin's blog. It is so easy and is yummy - even Dion likes it and he doesn't generally like fruit in food (like you, Annie)!

800g skinless chicken with bones (this time I used boneless and it's not as nice)
1 pkt brown onion soup
1 tin apricots with juice

Here's how you do it:
  • Pre-heat your oven to about 180 degrees
  • Rinse the chicken and place in an oven-proof casserole dish
  • Sprinkle the brown onion soup all over the chicken
  • Then pour the apricots all over the chicken. I like to open the can, and slice the apricots haphazardly with a sharp knife while still in the can. That's why some of them look mangled :)
Cook uncovered in oven for about 35 - 40 minutes and serve with mashed potato or rice and a vegetable.

It is yummy and is now one of our favourite dishes.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Baking muffins

These are my oatmeal yoghurt muffins. I, of course, love anything with apple and cinnamon, so that's how I always make them.

Which are your favourite muffins?

I had to make a gazillion because it was my birthday
always use muffin cases - less washing up to do :)
little baby ones - very cute!
I pushed chocolate discs into the big ones - they were a lovely, chocolately surprise
for Dion - cheese and onion savoury muffins. Aren't the little ones in the cupcake holders cute?
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Friday, April 22, 2011

Pastrami, tomato and potato salad rolls

The mayonnaise post inspired me so much that I got the ingredients to make these delicious rolls.

  • Portuguese rolls
  • Tomatoes
  • Pastrami/ roast beef
  • Potato salad
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the roll open and spread with low-fat margerine

Add a slice of pastrami

and some sliced tomato.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper (my pic with the seasoning was too blurry to post)

Place a dollop of potato salad.
Don't put more than this because when you take a bite, it will all fall out :)

And there you have it - delicious!


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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pineapple chicken

Pineapple chicken

  • a tray of chicken thighs, skinless but with the bones (I think mine was about 800g - 1 kg)
  • 1 packet brown onion soup
  • 1 tin pineapple pieces
  • 3/4 can water

My "lazy cooking" tip

  • Whenever you use a casserole dish, spray with some non-stick spray (Spray and Cook, or similar) first
  • It will be SOOOOO easy to clean afterwards.

  • Preheat the oven to about 180 degrees Celsius
  • Wash and rinse the chicken pieces and place in a casserole dish
  • Sprinkle the entire packet of brown onion soup liberally over the chicken pieces (it looks like there's too much but it will all make a yummy sauce later)
  • Empty the can of pineapple and then add 3/4 of the can of water to the mix
  • Cook for about 30 - 40 minutes (my oven is hot so 30 minutes is plenty)
  • Serve with some vegetables and rice

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sweetcorn and potato bake

  • About 4 - 6 medium potatoes
  • 1/2 onion
  • Mushrooms (I use about 4 - 6 button mushrooms - use more or less, as you like)
  • 1 can creamed sweetcorn
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Any spices that take your fancy (I like some dried chili)
(Can you see I'm very free and easy in the kitchen? It's the only place where I'm totally flexible :))

  • Wash the potatoes and dice into smallish pieces.
  • Add cut onion (have I told you before how I LOVE cutting onion? There's nothing like a nice sharp knife slicing an onion!) and mix it all up.
  • Add sliced mushrooms and mix.
  • Add spices, salt and pepper
  • Add about 1/4 cup of water
  • Microwave for about 8 - 10 mins (that's in my 1000 watt microwave) until potatoes are almost soft
  • Add the can of sweetcorn and mix it all up (I like to add more pepper at this point)
  • Microwave for a further 2 - 3 mins until all the flavours mix

If you want to be really decadent, grate some cheese on the top!

Yummy :)

Serve with chicken and a salad

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

An Irish weekend with Irish Soda Bread

When we visited Ireland in May this year, I bought this oven mitt fully intending to bake this Irish Soda Bread. I eventually got my act together and bought the buttermilk just so I could bake this bread.

4 cups plain flour
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margerine, softened
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees/ 190 degrees Celsius.
  • Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
  • In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients.
  • Stir in the egg and buttermilk.
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead.
  • Form dough into a round and place on baking sheet.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes (mine only needed 20 minutes!).

Verdict: delicious!

Coincidentally, I happened to rent a DVD called Once this weekend. It is a beautiful story set in Dublin and if you love the gorgeous Irish accent, get it!

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Does anyone know how to rescue fudge?

I've been very good, which means I buy 3 pieces of fudge every week and make it stretch :)

Then I got the bright idea to make my own. Just call me Frugal Barbie!

I followed the recipe on the condensed milk can and the bit of fudge I dropped into the glass of water wasn't setting into a "soft ball" so I boiled it for another 45 minutes. The original recipe said 40 - 45 minutes.

It kind of set after that so I thought all was well.

Um, no.

It is now a consistency like toffee and goes even more gooey when I leave it out of the fridge.

It tastes yummy - it's just not fudge!

Any ideas on how to fix it?

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Oatmeal Yoghurt Muffins

Recently I was blog-surfing and I landed up in Melbourne, Australia. Bindi Nestor posted this muffin recipe and people all over the world started baking. Isn't blogging fun?

1. mix 1 cup unsweetened plain or vanilla yogurt and 1 cup rolled oats together
and leave to soak in the fridge for half an hour.

2. after half an hour stir the following things in, making sure you fold the flour in last to avoid over beating: 1 egg, 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use extra virgin olive oil, but it
works ok with canola oil or whatever you prefer), 1/2 cup sugar, your own
favorite combinations of fruit, nuts, chocolate, spices, 1 1/4 cup self raising
flour (or plain flour plus one teaspoon baking powder).

3. the mixture makes 12 large muffins (1 tray) or 24 little muffins (2 trays - these are very cute).
Grease your tray and spoon the mixture in. Cook for about 15 minutes in a fairly
hot oven, 220 Celsius. You might need 20 minutes for the large muffins, but its
worth checking them at the 15 minute mark and giving them the extra time until
they are golden brown on top, and no longer squishy - they should spring back to
the touch.

I'm lazy so I use muffin cups - much easier to clean afterwards.

As you read, you can add whichever fruit you like to the basic mix. I love cinnamon and apple is also one of my favourite things (certainly my favourite fruit) so I decided on cinnamon and apple muffins.

I peeled a Granny Smith apple and grated the entire thing (medium-sized apple) into the mix. And then I added about a tablespoon of cinnamon (told you I love it).

Now, this first batch came out a bit hard and Bindi was kind enough to comment on the blog to brainstorm solutions.

I made them again this afternoon - here in the Southern Hemisphere it is cold = baking weather for me. And this time they are perfect!

So I think what I did wrong is I left the oats/ yoghurt mix too long the first time. This time I was very disciplined (very unlike me in the kitchen), set my timer so I wouldn't forget and mixed the rest in after exactly 30 minutes.

Also, my muffins need only 12 minutes in the oven, not 15. That could be why they were a bit harder the last time too.

By the way, Bindi - I think you should do a Mr Linky and get everyone who made your recipe to link their posts onto yours so we can see where in the world this has been made. Won't that be fun?

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Pancakes are one of my my favourite desserts.

They're so easy to make and the only thing that prevents me from making them more often is the frying. Have I mentioned that I'm impatient? I have absolutely no interest in standing at the stove frying - Dion has to wash dishes so we can talk otherwise I'm not interested.


1 of everything! Literally.

For the two of us, I use 2 measures.

  • 2 cups flour (if you want to be healthy, you can use wholewheat flour. Honestly, plain white flour is best)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups water/ milk (I do half of each)

Mix well

Pour into a jug for easier pouring (and less mess). I said less not no mess :)

Fry in very little oil (you only need to add more oil after every 3 - 4 pancakes).

Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar/ spread with apricot jam and dot with just a few drops of lemon juice before enjoying hot with a nice cup of tea. Yum!