Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cinnamon tea cake + 100th post!

Hello hello :) First of all I got a little excited when I logged into blogger today because I realised this would be my 100th post! How exciting :) I started this little blog at the end of October last year (after my HSC) as I was sick of studying and wanted to start learning more about what I love: cooking, health and nutrition, which I'm currently studying. I love reading other peoples blogs, getting ideas, inspiration, amazing recipes and hearing tidbits of other peoples lives! Blogging is so much fun and has become a hobby of mine so thankyou so much for's to another 100 ;)

Now today I did more cooking with A. I know what you're thinking, all I do is cook with friends and you know what, I won't argue with you, haha. It's true! But we all need to yeah. Well we decided to make a cinnamon tea cake for afternoon tea. The recipe is from a classic Women's Weekly cooking book my mother has, which I'm sure was passed down from my Grandmother!

Recipe: Cinnamon Teacake
60g butter
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 egg
1 cup self-raising flour
1/3 cup milk
15g butter, melted, extra
1 tablespoon castor sugar, extra
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Grease a  deep 20cm round cake pan or deep 20cm sandwich pan, cover base with greaseproof or baking paper. (I just greased pan with some butter)
2. Place butter and essence in small bowl, beat on medium speed with electric mixer until light and creamy; butter should be as white as possible. Gradually beat in sugar, beat until soft and creamy. Add egg, beat until light and fluffy.
3. Stir in half the sifted flour and half the milk, stir gently with a wooden spoon until combined. Add remaining sifted flour and milk, stir gently until combined, then beat until smooth, using wooden spoon. Spread mixture into prepared pan, bake in moderate oven for about 25 minutes or until cake is slightly shrunken from side of pan. Stand cake 2 minutes before turning cake onto wire rack.
4. Brush cake with extra melted butter, sprinkle evenly with combined extra sugar and cinnamon. 

Classic cake! Light, fluffy, cinnamon-y. Perfect for afternoon tea :) The cake doesn't rise all that much though, so I think the recipe could easily be doubled. 


Also! I'm going to Melbourne for most of next week which is very exciting and I was wondering if any of you who live in Melbourne have some great places to visit? Vintage shops/cafes/galleries/other places you love? Please tell me! I shall write them all down :) Thanks!

Hannah x

Millet & Sweet Potato balls

Hello :) Yesterday I had quite a nice day. I slept in till 11 (oh the luxury!), did some reading then decided to head to the city to look at a few things. After perusing (nice word, eh?) the shops for a little while I decided to have some lunch from Iku Wholefoods in the MLC centre. It's probably one of my favourite 'takeaway' food shops as everything is vegetarian, healthy and delicious! One of the goodies I decided to get was a millet & sweet potato ball. It was delicious with millet and sweet potato (duh!), ginger and a few herbs. The outside was crisp too, but didn't look like it had been deep fried.

Well later that evening when I wasn't sure what to have for dinner I decided to experiment and make myself some millet & sweet potato balls. Luckily I had millet leftover from when I made millet mash, and half a large sweet potato in the fridge.

I just brought 3/4 cup of millet with about 2 1/2 cups of water to the boil and let it simmer, adding the sweet potato which I'd chopped quite finely. When it was all cooked and lovely (about 20 minutes later) I put this in a bowl, mashed it up and let it cool for a bit in the fridge.

Next, I added some grated ginger and chopped shallots and coriander. And then I formed the mixture into balls (it made 15- so a little bit of millet goes a long way!) and decided to fry them in a bit of rice bran oil for a few minutes on each side. They were a bit fiddly and weren't terribly easy to flip over I'll admit.

Anyway, here's how my little experiment turned out!

Served on some lettuce leaves with sweet chilli sauce.

They were actually quite delicious (if I do say so myself!). Although I can't work out how they made theres so crisp on the outside? Mine were rather soft I'll admit. So they're more like patties, but thats ok. Maybe I'll try baking them in the oven next time. Oh well, it was a fun and tasty experiment :)

Hannah x

On being "vegetarian"...

Hello :) I thought I'd just write a snippet on why I'm actually vegetarian since I get asked this quite a bit.

I stopped eating meat a few years ago. I'm not sure exactly what spurred it on (my vegetarian friend insists it was her influence- and to a certain extent she's probably right) but to be honest meat no longer appealed to me and I decided it would be "fun" (yes, fun) to experiment with other foods and alternatives to meat as well as cooking with new ingredients. Being interested in all things health & nutrition I wanted to stop eating meat, but make sure I was still getting the right amount of protein/iron.

I think the wrong way to become vegetarian is to eat whatever your parents cook and take out the meat, hence you're not getting an adequate amount of protein/iron/vitamin B12 etc. So I made sure if my mother was making a chicken stirfry I'd cook some tofu and have some of the veges.

Although when I stopped eating meat, I started doing a lot more of the cooking so my family wouldn't be eating meat most nights of the week anyway. In the beginning I started taking iron tablets except my energy levels were fine and I wasn't feeling overly tired or anything so I stopped taking them because there didn't seem a point.

At the moment I don't miss meat at all and love using different grains in my cooking to obtain an adequate amount of nutrients. Today after eating lunch at Iku Wholefoods in the city I was inspired my millet & sweet potato balls I ate, so I decided to experiment and make them myself. I've bookmarked a recipe for "breakfast polenta" I can't wait to try and also have a recipe for red quinoa salad which looks delicious. I just get excited over grains!

My only problem with saying I'm "vegetarian" is the labelling. Who knows, one day I might start eating meat again. And I probably will. But right now I'm happy where I am. I love learning about food, reading about nutrition and cooking for others.

Are you vegetarian? If so, why? I'm curious!

Hannah x

Monday, June 27, 2011

Vegetarian Lasagna

Hello :) Well today I did some more cooking with A and my friend T. Hehe I must say it's quite fun calling them by their first initials ;) I decided we were going to make lasagna since I haven't made it in ages and it's quite possibly one of my favourite foods. And also because A didn't think lasagna was worth making without meat and I wanted to prove him wrong!

I basically made a lasagna as you would with meat but substituted the meat for red lentils. I have tried other vegetarian recipes where you use eggplants, sweet potatoes etc but it's just so time consuming! We didn't use a recipe as such, but here's a basic step-by-step guide on how we made ours...

(Easy) Vegetarian Lasagna

1. Chop one brown onion and sautee in a large pot with some olive oil (a tablespoon or so). Cook for a few minutes then add a few cloves of crushed garlic.
2. Add in 1/2 cup red lentils and cook for another minute before adding 2x400g tinned tomatoes. Bring to the boil and simmer until the lentils are cooked. Add a splash of red wine vinegar if you fancy. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Meanwhile, wash, chop and lightly steam spinach. Pat dry with a paper towel to remove excess liquid.
4. Make a white sauce using butter, flour and milk. We kind of made up the measurements...
5. Assemble the lasagna! I put a layer of lasagna sheets followed by some lentil bolognese sauce. Then another layer of lasagna sheets and the spinach as well as lots of fresh ricotta. Finally another layer of lasagna sheets followed by the rest of the lentil bolognese, some more ricotta, white sauce and parmesan cheese.
6. Cook in a preheated oven for about 40-50 minutes.

The only criticism with this lasagna was the bottom layer of pasta was a little undercooked and "crunchy", if I dare say so myself. Maybe we should have pre cooked the lasagna sheets? Hmmm. 

But apart from that it was delicious and comforting :) There's seriously nothing better than a good lasagna in my opinion! And A even liked it ;) Woo! 

Luckily there's plenty of leftovers for dinner and possibly tomorrow....well maybe! 

Hannah x

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Eggplant curry

Hello :) This evening for dinner I decided to make an Eggplant curry. For the past few weeks in our house we've been ordering a weekly box of fruit & vegetables from Aussie Farmers Direct and this week we received an eggplant! I actually quite like getting an array of fruit & vegetables delivered because it means we have to come up with ways of using them up and it means we end up eating more fresh food which is always a good thing! Despite talking about eggplants a few times on this blog, I haven't actually cooked with them apart from making the occasional baba ghanoush.

So when I came across this recipe for Eggplant curry in a blog called My Darling Lemon Thyme (the same blog I got the coconut chocolate cupcake recipe from!) I bookmarked it immediately!  I've bookmarked other recipes too I hope to make soon including baked butter beans and carob tofu bliss balls. Yummo!

Now back to this recipe, and it turned out wonderfully! It was very simple and quick to make and highly recommended! All the spices which included ginger, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and cayenne pepper gave it a real kick and flavour boost. The eggplant was really soft and nourishing and the coriander on top was perfect. We all had this for dinner sitting by the heater. It was lovely! I also put a dollop of greek yoghurt on which I do on most curries/soups. Next time I might try cooking brown rice to go with it too. So yes, definitely making this again :)

Hannah x

P.S. Since I'm on holidays I'm going to be doing lots of cooking/blogging this coming week! My list of things to make include vegetarian lasagna (which I'm making tomorrow!), coconut cake, red quinoa salad, baked butter beans and maybe a lentil shepherds pie. Oh my, can't wait! :) 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Eveleigh markets + muffins

Hello :) This morning as I mentioned I went to Eveleigh farmers markets with A. We got there around 9:30, which was pretty early for us! I was surprised at how many people were there already.
We hadn't had breakfast yet and were very hungry so we both got one of these carrot muffins with cream cheese icing. The muffin was super moist and delicious, although the icing was probably a bit rich for breakfast! 
I also got this small tart with tomato, basil and feta. Really yum! I'd love to make something similar to this, just need to master pastry making!
We got a little excited about Kylie Kwongs stall "Billy Kwong" so A wanted to get dumplings from there. Although he got a little starstruck ("omg I've seen her on TV"), so I had to order them for him...
He thought they were nice but the vinegar broth was a little strong. 
I also bought some wholemeal spelt bread from Sonoma's bakery and some lovely honey! Bread and honey= winning combination! I really wanted to get ricotta too but couldn't find any. 

So that was how I spent my morning. Later in the afternoon we decided to make some muffins. I decided to try a recipe I'd seen on a really great blog I've recently discovered. They're flourless chocolate coconut cupcakes and the recipe can be found here

The ingredients list was so simple! Dark chocolate, shredded coconut, eggs and maple syrup. Thats it! There's also coconut milk which is melted with dark chocolate for the ganache icing (although we used coconut cream). I really liked these muffins, they were rich and chocolate-y and gluten free too! :) Just lovely! 

Hope you're having an awesome weekend! 

Hannah x

Friday, June 24, 2011

A lovely sunny day.

Hello :) I've finished my first semester at Uni. Hooray!! I'm so excited to have a month to spend sleeping in, cooking, reading, seeing friends, watching movies, going to markets...the list is endless!

Well today I had most of the day to myself. I don't know about you, but I love spending time alone! Luckily it was a beautifully sunny day so I decided to go outside to soak up the sun...

I popped on my favourite vintage shoes. They remind me of bowling shoes!
I planned to go to the newsagents where I bought the latest copy of Frankie. Then I went to the local deli to get a few fresh dates and coconut/apricot/date slices before finally stopping by the coffee shop to get a soy latte. 
I actually take this keep cup with me everywhere, mainly to Uni. It's great for coffee! I bought it at Finders Keepers markets last year and couldn't imagine getting a takeaway coffee cup anymore. What a waste! 
I got a wee bit excited as there was an article on the band Seeker Lover Keeper as well as Bon Iver because they're the two CD's I want at the moment! 
Afterwards I walked to the local library. I haven't read a book in ages so I was determined to find a few good reads. I got out two novels as well as a memoir set in France and a CD. I was so excited to find this CD from a band called 'FLAP' at the local library because I'd listened to them a few times at the National Folk Festival and didn't end up buying their CD, even though I had planned to. What luck! :)
Reading in my room...

And that was how I spend most of my day. My friend who I hadn't seen in ages came over later in the afternoon and we made a hokkien noodle and vege stirfry. It was delish! Gosh I love holidays :) 

Tomorrow I'm going to Eveleigh Farmers markets. What fun!

Hannah x

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Hello hello :) Well I have one exam left until I'm free from Uni for a whole month!! It's very exciting :) I was only going to blog after my exams, except tomorrow I have psychology and's not too difficult! I was going to call this post 'study snacks', as in food I've been eating whilst studying for exams, but lets be honest, I just like taking photos of what I've been eating! Although I must say sometimes I get a little too excited about what I'll be eating when I'm studying and forget about the study itself! Hehe. So here's a few tasty treats I've been eating of late...

I whipped this simple frittata up the other night. And I used coconut oil! It was probably one of the healthiest frittata's I've made with sweet potato, broccoli, mushrooms and pine nuts!
Another very simple, but delicious dish! Pan fried tofu (in coconut oil too!) with steamed broccoli and avocado. And topped with a dash of soy sauce. There was a lot more than this...but I was hungry :)
I'm loving soup at the moment!! I don't use a recipe and just add whatever veges we have (usually carrots, sweet potato and pumpkin) and always add some red lentils or chickpeas for protein. I want to try making other, more interesting soups though including french onion, roast tomato and barley and vegetable! Yum yum. What soups do you love making?
On the long weekend my parents and sister went away for the weekend (so sad, I had to stay home and study). But it was ok because they came back with some delicious treats including this huge berry pie which didn't last long ;) there's something I'd love to make soon!
Poached pears with lots of spices :) 
And some more fruit! Stewed apple and rhubarb. I think poached/stewed fruit is the perfect dessert in Winter! It's warming and comforting without being overly heavy and rich. 
Scones :) 
And who can study without a cup of tea? 

A bit of a peak into what I've been eating lately...

Also I just wanted to say thankyou for all the lovely comments I've been receiving lately :) :) 

Hope you're having a wonderful week!!

Hannah x

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Raw Chocolate Magic Macaroons

Hello :) Gosh, how cold is it today?! I'm rugged up in a woollen mustard cape (...very odd purchase from Vinnies a year ago, but it's like wearing a blanket!), sipping tea and trying to study for an exam I have on Tuesday. Although part of the exam is on nutrition, so I can't really complain ;)

I had planned on going for an early morning walk to get a soy latte, a treat for brekky (probably a yummy pastry!) and the paper however when I woke up it was pouring with rain so I opted to stay indoors. For breakfast instead I decided to make some more brown rice porridge. It did take a while though so in the mean time I made a soy hot chocolate which tasted yummo. And to make my breakfast a little bit more indulgent I added a teaspoon of raw cacao to the rice and it tasted delicious!

It must seem like I'm a little bit mad about cacao at the moment!! It's funny because to be honest I don't really like chocolate that much, although I can't say no to the odd piece of dark chocolate. For me, milk chocolate is way too sweet! I much prefer cooking with cacao at the moment, giving foods that chocolate taste but without being overly rich and sugary.

Anyway, enough rambling! For morning tea I decided to experiment with another one of Lola Berry's recipes called 'Raw Chocolate Magic Macaroons'. Now before you get too excited, these aren't actually those French macaroons you see everywhere now but more a rustic ball of goodness ;)

Recipe: Raw Chocolate Magic Macaroons
4 tablespoons raw cacao poweder
2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
1 tablespoon agave
1 tablespoon hulled tahini
handful of organic coconut flakes
mixture of your favourite nuts
Small handful of dried cranberries, blueberries and goji berries

Mix the cacao, coconut oil*, tahini and agave together until you get a thick paste. Mix the remaining ingredients through, roll into rustic macaroon shapes and put into the fridge to set. It will only take an hour or so to set in the fridge. A perfect dessert: gluten, wheat, dairy and sugar free and vegan!

* the coconut oil is in a solid form so I just heated it for about 30 seconds on a pan and it quickly melted into an oil.

Setting up my ingredients! 
Coconut oil/butter? I actually bought this a few days ago after reading a lot about it and I wanted to experiment with it. It cost around $10, so it was quite pricey but I'm going to start using this as my main cooking oil. It came in a solid form but melted very quickly into oil after being heated. On the label it reads 'coconut oil is the only oil not affected by heat' which is interesting. My understanding is you can use it as you would any other oil. I'm keen to hear if you've used coconut oil before? 
Mixing the ingredients.
Forming into balls.
Perfect served with a cup of green tea :)

 Now how did they taste? Very rich actually and kind of like chocolate ganache! I didn't have any dried fruits to add and just used chopped up roasted almonds. They were delicious though and perfect for morning tea but I couldn't eat more than two! I said those raw fudge balls could be an alternative to Lindt balls and I reckon these macaroons could rival a ferrero rocher ;) 

I just happened to have most of the ingredients to make this, but you could always use alternatives too. Instead of agave you could use maple syrup and add some almond butter instead of tahini. Next time I think I'll add more tahini and and a little less cacao. I think adding orange zest would taste yummy too. And give it an added zing! 


Well I hope you have a lovely Sunday regardless of this weather! I have final exams for Uni coming up so I don't think I'll be posting for a while. Guess I'll see you all on the flip side :) 

Hannah x

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Hello :) So this morning A came over for breakfast. To my horror he didn't want any of this quinoa/brown rice porridge/kale crap I keep raving on about so we had to settle on pancakes. Not that I'm complaining ;)

Here's a link to the recipe :)

And that was my Saturday morning! I'm planning on making some super healthy raw chocolate macarons later, so I'll keep you posted! 

Hannah x

Friday, June 10, 2011

Simplicity chocolate cake

Hello :) Yesterday evening for my mothers birthday I decided to make her a chocolate cake! I didn't really have time to buy ingredients to make something new so I opted for a classic. Chocolate cake is always a winner! And once again I used a recipe from Frankie magazines 'afternoon tea' recipe book (which I've noticed being sold in some newsagents now if you're interested). Without further ado, here is the recipe :)

Recipe: Simplicity chocolate cake
125g butter
1 cup self raising flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Place butter in a saucepan and melt over heat. Sift flour and cocoa together into a mixing bowl. Add sugar and the lightly beaten eggs, milk, vanilla and melted butter. Stir to combine. Using a wooden spoon or electric mixer, beat hard for three minutes until cake batter changes colour slightly.

Grease and line the bottom of a cake tin. Pour mixture into tin. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Like I said, this cake is an absolute winner! I've made it several times before and it's always delicious! It's fluffy, chocolate-y goodness, what more could you want? And it literally took me about 5 minutes to make which was great! I served this to my mother on a pretty plate with some raspberries and dollop of whipped cream (not pictured). 

And a few posts ago I said I was going to make those Raw Fudge Balls again. Well I couldn't help but take a few pictures...they just looked so pretty!!

So there you go! Two great recipes using cacao powder. One is a little indulgent and the other super healthy! 

Hannah x