Happy Birthday Mum!

Hey dolls!

I must sincerely apologise for my recent absence, I had a family commitment that caused my lack of contact. But I’m back with a few recipe posts up my sleeve including this extra special one that goes out to my beautiful mum. It was her birthday on Monday so I decided to use it as an excuse to invade the kitchen and whip her up something special.

There’s 2 things I love most about cooking;

1.  Trying new things
and
2. Cooking for someone else

There is just something so rewarding about making food for someone and seeing them enjoy what you’ve made especially for them. My mum’s birthday was the perfect opportunity to combine both of my favourite things in the kitchen.

As a family we had already gone out for dinner the night before for mum but because of the Brownlow we were housebound on Monday night. There was no way mum was going to be forced to cook on her birthday and I was already planning to make dessert so I thought I might as well throw in dinner as well.

Cheesecake had already been allocated for dessert in my mind, it was just a matter of working out what kind. After perusing A LOT of different kinds and realising how much fridge time can be needed I settled on Mini Oreo Cheesecakes. They were the perfect size and although I’ve only recently acquired the taste for cheesecake I had to admit they looked delicious! The recipe I found made 3 dozen which I didn’t realise until after buying all the ingredients so I halved it and only made 12. 36 mini cheesecakes just seemed crazy for a family of 4. But…..

I have a confession.

In the process of making the cheesecakes, an entirely new endeavour, I may have had a small cooking meltdown. We are currently in between proper electric mixers at my house. The ones we have can’t handle anything too thick or they stop and the temporary one mum bought is more of a whisk. Therefore, when the recipe asked for me to mix the cream cheese until smooth I had a little trouble. Being a perfectionist I couldn’t handle it not working especially because I was trying to do this for my very deserving mum. Let’s just say the first try ended up in the sink after a slight tantrum. What can I say? It happens to the best of us.

Lucky I bought twice the amount of ingredients.

Turned out I didn’t even need the electric beaters (keep that in mind if you’re gonna try it yourself) because a plastic spoon smoothed the cream cheese with the other ingredients perfectly!

Menu

Dinner

Lamb Cutlets with Mashed Potatoes and Roast Tomatoes on the vine drizzled with olive oil and cracked pepper

Dessert

Mini Individual Oreo Cheesecakes

Even though dinner was served in front of the Brownlow Medal presentation I still felt like I had made mum feel special on her birthday and that’s all that mattered. Kitchen tantrums and all. And the fact that the cheesecakes allowed me to used my piping bag for the whipped cream. 😉

Everyone gets stressed but keep persevering in your own kitchens kids and in everything else you love.

Try it yourself at http://sprinklecharms.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/mini-oreo-cheescakes.html

Lady Jayy
xo

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Girls Night In

Good evening dolls,

On Monday both my brother and my dad left our lovely little home not scheduled to return for a few days. Rhett, the brother, was off to school camp (he’s a PE teacher) and my dad was off to Sydney for work. This left my mum and I with a house to ourselves for at least 2 nights. Despite a little sadness for the missing members of our family, mum and I also revelled in the little freedom this week offered because it was just us girls.

Now I don’t know about your relationship with your family or mother but mine is a close one. Especially with my mum. We’ve always been that way. I’ve always told her everything….well mostly and despite our very vocal arguments we’ve always gotten along splendidly. I’ve had many friends who have been part of the “I Hate my Mum” crew but I’ve never even thought of signing up. It’s just never been like that.

When the boys go away, this is when my mother and I play. 🙂 We get to;

  • watch all our girly shows without complaint
  • bring my puppy Ruby in without complaint and,
  • make yummy dinners that we love without complaint

Hmm. I’m sensing a pattern here.

Anyway, first night they are gone mum and I enjoyed big bowls of stroganoff and rice in front of the TV while Ruby sat happily at our feet.

Stroganoff = one of my fave meals.
Boys = hate it.
Rare Meal.

Last night, I decided I’d return the favour. Mum has been cooking for me for about, ummmm, my whole life so I figured I’d let her take the night off and whip her up something yummy. My dinner expertise outside of varying types of pasta is in definite need of improvement and what better person to use as my guinea pig than the mumma.

I decided on Spicy Chicken Breasts with Avocado Sauce, a recipe I found in the free Coles magazine I picked up when I was grocery shopping the other day. What could possibly go wrong? (Well, a few things actually but I’ll save that for later.)

Being able to serve my mum up some dinner without her having to do anything was a great feeling and something I’ll hopefully be able to repeat again soon. Gotta share the love. I must admit, dinner did taste delicious however, I do have some tips if I was going to try the recipe again or for those of you who want to try it.

  1. Make the avocado sauce first
  2. Don’t put the potatoes on too early
  3. Make sure you use really tender chicken so it’s easy to slice
  4. Serve everything as soon as it’s ready and hot!

My dish may have been a little more on the warm side but hey, it was a first try and not everyone’s perfect. As my mum said, “I don’t care, I just like having someone make me dinner for once!” Warm fuzzies all round.

If your mouths watering go and have a look at the website and try it yourself. 🙂

Lady Jayy. xo

PS. Those gals out there enjoying the 1950’s vibe of my blog should deffs check out this website. I just discovered it through a friend today and it has some seriously great vintage items!

Baking the Blues Away

Good evening dolls,

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend and are enjoying a lazy Sunday evening as am I. Unfortunately, my weekend hasn’t been the best focussing mainly on assignments and trying to, though unsuccessfully, avoid the dreaded procrastination monster. I was also struck down with a little bit of the Winter blues yesterday which included;

a) a lack of concentration

b) mood swings and

c) the disorganization of any plans

I was left exhausted and restless reminiscing about my childhood as I enjoyed the gentle comedy of The Princess Diaries with my princess of a puppy Ruby.

However, after a long and much needed sleep I woke this morning in a better place ready to channel my inner fifties housewife and bake my blues away. Being the health conscious person I am, with the self control I have, I wanted something a little bit sweet without the added guilt.

What better way to spend a cloudy, cold, winter’s day than indoors baking up a storm and shaking some action to Nova’s daytime tunes in some bangin’ leg warmers? 

I had the kitchen to myself and after finding a delectable recipe for zucchini bread on foodgawker, I was sold. Cakes, slices, muffins and breads that use vegetables are always the underdog; tasting far better than they sound or one expects. It’s also the loophole to getting a daily dose of veggies in. Win win.I’ve done banana bread before but this was a first meeting for zucchini and I in the baking sense but I like a challenge. Bring it on. 

Baking is one of the best ways to zone out and stress less, especially when there’s no deadline or expectations weighing down on the concoctions. Add some tea and tunes and I’m in heaven. The recipe came from the app ‘foodgawker’ on my iPhone which linked me to a food blog where someone else had already tried it out. It got me thinking about how social having a blog can be and how easy it is to stumble upon a common interest with the click of a button.

I know I’m only an amateur and I’m not planning on becoming anything more to be honest. But I think that’s the appeal. It’s what I like about other food blogs when I get my stalk on. They;

  • talk to me on my own level
  • include success and failures and
  • give simple steps

If you want to try out your own baking skills I recommend giving zucchini bread a go. Easy, tasty and healthy! 🙂

Here’s a link to the blog I stole it from but I just used normal salt, not kosher, on the ingredients list.

Better start cleaning up my mess. -.-

Have a good week kids!

Lady Jayy. xo

The Competition

Hey dolls,

Surprise, surprise!

There is about 20 (not exact number) google pages filled with various different blogs that have the same goal as I do; to showcase different recipes and anecdotes that revolve around food. They ultimately pool together to become both my competition and my resources. This everlasting list of references begs one to think about the process of blogging in itself. When one can be inundated with a register of copious web pages with the click of a button that have stability, an avid following and much more relevant posts to one’s interests it get’s one thinking,

“Why would any one choose mine?”

In light of this question I decided to have a look at what I’m up against and to ignite some inspiration as a new entrant to the blogosphere. Here are the pros of a few foodie blogs I found.

http://bittersweetblog.wordpress.com/

One of the first blog’s I stumbled across was ‘bittersweet,’ created by an 18 year old young vegan woman. The pros;

  • Relatable
  • Recipe creator
  • Photographer
  • Recipe book author
  • Vegan. It appeals to a niche market

Hannah Kaminsky knows what she’s talking about being a vegan herself and she is clearly popular with a few of her own cookbooks having been published. Another of her definite appeals would have to be her age. It shows that you don’t have to be a mum or a chef to create your own food style and recipes.

“I don’t use egg replacer for most things just because I see it as a whole new craft, I’m not replacing things, I’m not taking them out, I’m just creating something from scratch.”
– Hannah Kaminsky

http://www.bakeorbreak.com/

‘Bake or break’ was another blog that stood out. Established for a few years it’s byline describes itself as, “the adventures of an amateur baker.” The pros;

  • Demonstrates trial and error
  • Well established with an avid following
  • Inspiration comes from family
  • Sentimental connection to cooking
  • Focusses on baking (niche market)

Once again, ‘bake or break,’ has a specific target market focussing only on baking. Her relation between family and cooking is especially evident with her blog posts which I think creates a special connection with her audience.

http://www.101cookbooks.com/

The premise of ‘101 cookbooks’ is an ideal example of the digital age we live in. Heidi Swanson, the author, describes what started her blog saying, “When you own over 100 cookbooks, it is time to stop buying, and start cooking. This site chronicles a cookbook collection, one recipe at a time.”

  • Established in 2003
  • Open journal
  • Easy to read
  • Various recipes
  • Reads like an unlimited recipe book

It encapsulates the ideal that in today’s age when you no longer have room for the physical written word, there is always room in the cyber world.

From my competition it is easy to deduce that for me to create a food blog of success I need a few basic things:

  • A love for food and recipes
  • A possible niche
  • A desire to write
  • An exploration of something new

Hopefully I can be just as good as these guys!

Lady Jayy. xo

Breakfast of Memories

Hey Dolls!

I decided for my first recipe trial I’d go with something simple and new. Now pancakes are the usual all American classic smothered in maple syrup, ice cream and whatever other concoction your willing to throw in there. However, I felt this was a little over done. Instead, following an invigorating run in the slice of sunshine Melbourne decided to share yesterday, I decided to whip up Pancakes’ French rival, Crepes!

Aware of how thin crepes are intended to be and despite their seeming simplicity my fear of screwing them up and having nothing to write about but a failed recipe started to kick in. However, before I was able to curl up into a ball in the corner of the kitchen, hugging a spatula to my body a good song came on the radio and the good vibes started flowing. Motivation arrived ready to try something different.

The recipe was simple enough;

  • Plain Flour                                   
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Banana (topping)
  • Honey (topping)

How hard could it be?

I started to get into the swing of things in no time; pour batter, swirl it in fry pan, wait, flip, wait, place in oven to keep warm. The smell was enough to take me back to my trip to Europe last year.

Location: Paris, France.

Encountering crepe stalls WHEREVER you walked. Eiffel Tower. Crepe Stand. Outside the Louvre. Crepe Stand. Strolling down the Champs-Elysees. 20 Crepe Stands. You get the picture. Though I’m not complaining. The temptation was overwhelming and it wasn’t long before I caved. I will never forget standing outside the Notre Dame Cathedral, Nutella and banana crepe in hand. Absolute bliss and a winning photo op. 

This can hands down be one of my favourite things about food. In just seconds the smell of something cooking, it’s taste or appearance can transport you back in time. It can bring back memories that usually sit in the dusty corners of your mind usually covered in spider webs. Special memories that you hope you never forget. I don’t think I will ever eat a crepe without thinking back to my first European trip. My mum, my travel partner, even asked if I had Nutella and banana in the ones I made the other morning.

Lady Jayy. xo

Hello and Welcome!

Hey hey dolls!

I issue a warm welcome to you who has ventured the limits of the Internet to explore my little blog.

I have to admit I am a blogging virgin, in terms of writing about something I enjoy and aside from the short “blog” responses that we are required to do for uni in relation to subject content. This can be considered the official loss of my “B Plates,” if you will and I appreciate your presence in this matter.

Over the coming weeks I will be utilising this space as an exploration of my own into the magnificent world of cooking, baking and food in general. Over the significant 7 week holiday break I have just encountered between semesters (yes, I am an arts student who is lucky enough not to have any exams) I found myself with a little bit of spare time here and there as a recent life change seemingly opened my calendar right up.

I think my obsession officially started when I decided to make cupcakes for an upcoming friends birthday. Personally, I’m not the biggest sweet tooth and can often be described as a bit of a health freak when it comes to food, however I love it in every form. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. I revel in the ability to create something delicious from just a few ingredients. I can’t help enjoying the happiness that comes from a gesture such as making cupcakes for a friend or letting mum take the night off from being head chef.

Now my mum is no masterchef but she always amazes me with her ability to make a meal with no recipe and no measurements. I don’t know if it’s my personality or my fear of making a mistake but when I cook, I follow the recipe to the T!

This blog is ultimately my desire to learn how to cook more than just cupcakes. I want to try to recreate recipes for every meal of the day, even the sneaky treats, with the help of my iPhone app, ‘FoodGawker.’ I’m not looking to be the next chef anywhere, I just want to try something new and if it tastes good in the process that’s just an added bonus.

I hope when you read my blog you can try to understand some of the fun and enjoyment I’ve had and who knows, it might give you the motivation to try it yourself. 🙂

Lady Jayy. xo