Acai bowls are all the rage at the moment. I for one didn’t really get it the hype around them. I mean I love smoothies, but why do you need to make a smoothie that can only be eaten out of a bowl? After making a few myself though, I realized that eating them this way is what makes them special. It makes you really focus on the flavours when you’re having it a spoonful at a time, rather than slurping it up through a straw. Plus, the toppings add so much texture and extra flavour that you just can’t get from a normal smoothie. And so, the skeptic was converted.
Not only do they taste delicious, they are ridiculously aesthetically pleasing thanks to meticulously arranged fruit and seeds on top. I think that is the main attraction of making these bowls to be honest. You can add whatever toppings you like; honey, bee pollen, goji berries – whatever you think is Instagram-worthy really. Plus, they are full of acai, which is a modern day superfood hailing from Brazil. In Brazil, you can buy them fresh in their berry form, but here in Oz we have to use the powder, which is just as delicious. They are a rich source of antioxidants and fibre and help keep you fuller for longer, which is exactly what you want from your breakfast. Deee-licious!
- 2 tablespoons acai powder
- 2 bananas, chopped roughly (use frozen banana slices if you have time)
- 1 cup frozen raspberries
- 1 ½ teaspoons nut butter (I used peanut)
- 1 tablespoon honey (optional)
- 1 cup almond milk
- Chia seeds
- Coconut flakes
Place the acai powder, bananas, raspberries, nut butter and honey in a high-powered blender. Blend until creamy, then gradually add the almond milk until you get a smooth but thick consistency. You want it to be a bit thicker than a smoothie. Pour into bowls and arrange with toppings. Serve immediately.
I was having a look at my blog the other day and realized it had been a year since I started, so I thought I’d make a little celebration cake to mark the occassion! While I would love a bit more time to devote to it, I love the outlet it provides me to share my recipes with other foodies. It keeps me inventing new recipes and forces me to take risks in the kitchen, which is a lot of fun. So, thanks to everyone who comes by and checks it out.
To celebrate, I decided to make one of my all time favourite cakes, a super moist coconut cake that I’ve loved ever since I was little. It’s a Woman’s Weekly classic that uses sour cream to ensure the cake’s moist texture and make sure it isn’t overly sweet. While I love this cake as is, I decided to take it up a notch and add a delicious pomegranate mascarpone icing to really add that oomph! The icing is tangy and complements the cake perfectly. To top it off, I thought the cake needed a bit of texture, so I added some toasted coconut that I just baked in the oven at 220°C for about 6 minutes. And to add some colour, I finished it with some freeze dried raspberries and pomegranate arils. And I have to say, it was incredible. I don’t like to boast to much but flavours and textures in the cake are so delicious, every plate in the house was licked clean. I hope you like it as much as I did!
Coconut Celebration Cake with Pomegranate Mascarpone Icing
- 250g butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 2 cup caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 ¼ cup desiccated coconut
- 3 cups self-raising flour
- 500g sour cream
- 2/3 cup milk
Pomegranate Mascarpone Icing
- 250g cream cheese
- 125g mascarpone
- 3/8 cup sugar
- 1 egg (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- ½ tsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbs pomegranate molasses
- ½ cup toasted coconut flakes
- Arils of ½ a pomegranate
- ½ cup freeze dried raspberries
- Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Grease two deep 22cm-round cake pans; line base with baking paper.
- Beat butter, essence and sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
- Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Stir in half the coconut and half the sifted flour, half the sour cream and half the milk, then add remaining coconut, flour, sour cream and milk; stir until smooth.
- Divide the mixture into the two pans; bake for about 50 minutes or until cooked when tested. Stand cake in pan for 10 minutes before turning onto wire rack, top-side up, to cool.
- Meanwhile, while the cake is baking, start on the icing. In a large bowl beat cream cheese, mascarpone, and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy.
Add egg, beat well.
Add vanilla, lemon juice, and pomegranate molasses and mix until combined.
- To assemble the cake: place one of the cakes on a board or cake stand. Using a large spoon, place half the icing mixture into the middle of the cake. You don’t want to spread it all the way to the edge as once you place the second cake on top the weight will push the icing to the side. Place second cake on top and dollop the rest of the icing on top and spread evenly. Sprinkle with the toasted coconut, pomegranate arils and freeze dried raspberries and serve.
In the land of Westeros ‘winter is coming’, but here in Sydney it appears that winter has well and truly arrived. The rain has been tumbling down for over a week now and the temperature has dropped. It’s time to get the jeans and coats back out of the cupboard as it looks like they’re going to be on high rotation for the next few months. While, I’m a summer baby and love nothing more than spending the entire day soaking up the rays at the beach I have to admit there is something rather nice about being inside and cozy, and being able to watch the rain trickle (or cascade) down outside. The only trouble with cold weather is that it makes it that much harder to get out of bed. But with the promise of something warm and sweet, such as this bircher porridge, beckoning you from your snug bed, it might not be quite as hard. This breakfast is simple, quick, but most of all – comforting!
Bircher Porridge with Berry Compote
- ½ cup bircher muesli
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tablespoon honey or rice malt syrup
- 4 strawberries, chopped
- handful raspberries
- handful blueberries
- handful flaked coconut
- small handful natural walnuts
- Place the bircher muesli, almond milk and half the honey in saucepan and place over a medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until it comes to the boil. Once it comes to the bowl, continue to stir continuously until the porridge reaches your desired consistency and take off heat.
- At the same time you are making the porridge place the berries and ½ cup water in a saucepan over a high eat. Stir occasionally, allowing the berries to disintegrate and form a sauce with the water. Keep stirring until the berry sauce starts to thicken.
- Pour porridge into a bowl, top with berry compote. Sprinkle with coconut and walnuts and drizzle with remaining honey and serve immediately.
Yes, I know I missed Fourth of July by over a month and I know that I don’t live in America. But you see my sister is off on a six-month adventure to Santa Cruz in America for a university exchange. To celebrate we had a big family farewell lunch for her this weekend.
Seeing my sister about to embark off on the incredible adventure that is exchange made me reminisce about my own exchange. I was lucky enough to spend a year in Paris as part of my international studies degree. The friends I made in that year and the experiences I had are something that I will forever cherish. It’s a year of discovery. You discover more about who you are as a person. It makes you stronger because you have to deal with so many foreign experiences. For me, the French bureaucracy was one of the hardest things I faced. But by the end, it is this new knowledge that makes you a more well rounded person and better abled to equip yourself with whatever life throws your way. It is also a year of discovery of the city you find yourself in. I may be biased, but I think Paris is the best city to get lost in. You uncover so many hidden gems walking down tiny alleys searching for the way back to your apartment; cafes that you would have never known existed and charming boutiques that only the locals know about.
I could probably talk about my time away forever, suffice to say it was incredible, and I am so envious of my little sister and what I know is in store for her. While France may be the land of fromage and baguettes, America is better known for its red velvet cakes, smores and fried chicken wings. So, in keeping with an American theme I decided to make and American flag cake. Having seen some of the fantastic creations on other food blogs for Fourth of July I was inspired to try my own.
The cake I’ve made here looks more impressive than it actually is. It is essentially a simple butter cake with butter cream icing, topped with fresh fruit. Depending on the theme you were after you could simply lay the fruit out in a different pattern (i.e. to make a French or Japanese flag or simply arrange some berries on top). But the beauty of a simple cake is that it is a classic. It is simple because the flavours work. The buttery crumb of the cake is light and moist and the icing is sweet and delicate. And the addition of berries helps make the cake seem somehow fresher. This is the sort of dessert your grandma would have made, and she had good reason to. So make grandma proud and give this a go for yourself.
American Flag Butter Cake with Buttercream Icing
- 500g butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups caster sugar
- 6 eggs
- 4 ½ cups plain flour
- 1 ½ cups milk
Butter Cream Icing:
- 250g softened butter
- 4 cups icing sugar
- 4 tablespoons milk
- 1 punnet blueberries
- 2 punnets raspberries
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease two 20cm square cake tins or one large rectangle tin.
- Beat butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl until the light and creamy and the mixture is light in colour.
- Beat eggs in one at a time.
- Stir in sifted flour and milk in four batches, first flour then milk.
- Pour mixture into pans and even out with a knife.
- Bake cakes for 1 hour. Stand in tins for 5 minutes then invert, top-side up, onto a cooling rack.
- Once cool, trim the tops of cake with a serrated knife to even the surface if necessary.
- To make icing mix butter, icing sugar and milk together until smooth. Once smooth, beat with electric beaters for a minute or two until the icing becomes light and airy.
- Assembly: If using two square cakes you will need to cut one of the square cakes into pieces to form a rectangle with the two cakes. Otherwise, if you using rectangle cake you can just start icing with the buttercream.
- Use a knife dipped in hot water to ice cake as it makes the icing easier to spread. Spread icing evenly on top and sides.
- Place blueberries in top left hand corner making a rectangle shape. Then place raspberries in straight lines across the rest of the cake.
The weather in Sydney has been playing hard to get these past few weeks. One minute the sun is poking its beaming head out from behind the clouds, the next a sudden downpour appears out of nowhere. This leaves you cursing to yourself on the street for not bringing the umbrella you glanced at but decided you wouldn’t need because you were running late. Inevitably you arrive to work looking like a drowned rat. I know, because sadly this was the predicament I found myself in a few days ago. Traipsing into the office a sodden mess, I rushed myself off to the bathroom to find the emergency hairdryer a.k.a the hand dryer and stood with my head bent down awkwardly trying to dry my disheveled mane. Thankfully, I was not spotted. But such a traumatic start to the day did leave me feeling a little defeated and by the time I came home I was in need of something comforting. And that is where these delicious brownies came to my rescue.
These brownies are little pieces of heaven and the addition of goat’s cheese and raspberries makes for a slightly more grown up version of this perennial crowd pleaser. Many people are under the impression that brownies are essentially small chocolate cakes but they are most certainly not. Brownies are supposed to be gooey and fudgy, not light and airy. This is achieved by using a small amount of flour and a rather large amount of dark chocolate and butter – although this shouldn’t warrant too many complaints from the lucky few who get to be taste-testers.
If the idea of goat’s cheese makes you a little apprehensive, please hold your judgment until after you’ve had your first bite. The sharp edge of the goat’s cheese is softened by a healthy addition of cream cheese and icing sugar, and this in turn helps to cut through the rich, decadent brownie.
The scent of these wafting over as you loll on the couch has a very soothing effect. I can attest to this because that is precisely what I was doing. Once the brownies are cooked and out of the oven, try and leave them until the following day as the flavours develop and marry well into one another. I say ‘try’ because sometimes such self-control is beyond us, in which case eating them straight out of the pan is always a good option too.
Raspberry and Goat’s Cheese Ripple Brownies:
For the brownies:
- 200g 70% dark chocolate
- 200g unsalted butter
- 3 eggs
- 1 ½ cups raw caster sugar
- ¾ cup wholemeal plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
For the goats cheese ripple:
- 130g cream cheese
- 40g goats cheese
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar
- ½ cup raspberries (frozen is fine)
- Preheat oven to 180°C and grease and flour a square cake tin.
- Melt the butter and chocolate in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Set aside and leave to cool down.
- In a separate bowl beat the eggs and sugar until pale and creamy using an electric mixer.
- Sift over the flour and baking powder and stir until just combined.
- Add the chocolate mixture and gently fold through.
- Pour into cake tin.
- To make the goats cheese swirl topping mix all the ingredients together (except the raspberries) in a bowl. If the mixture looks a little thick, add some milk to make it easier to work with.
- Using a teaspoon place little dollops all over the top of the brownie batter.
- With a knife or skewer run the knife through the batter in a straight line (echo the lines you would make when cutting cooked brownies).
- Keep making lines through the batter until the goat’s cheese is swirled all over the top.
- Finally, scatter over the raspberries.
- Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes (you want them to be set but still soft in the centre, otherwise they will be dry).
- Leave in the pan for 15 minutes then invert onto a wooden board or drying rack to cool completely.