Today is Tuesday which is terrific in my small world. Tuesday means that I have survived Monday and am most likely preparing for the upcoming weekend, which is a mere four working days away. How could it get much better without becoming Wednesday?
As I sat on a park bench at the train station this morning, idly watching the trains not stopping to collect passengers I thought about a few things that I really love about Melbourne.
- The coffee is brilliant. Not just good or acceptable but brilliant. Most metropolitan train stations will have a cafe or two within a hop, skip and jump away from the nearest Myki machine. It has never been easier to grab a soy decafe half strength latte` on your way to work. Not only are we stimulating our senses with our coffee consumption we are also stimulating the local economy. Coffee is good for the soul and the community. How many corporate citizens slugged their way through university by working at one of these small fine establishments? I’m more than happy to be my bit and support the education troops.
- So many shades of black. Each morning I have to remember to add a signature color to my outfit. Usually in bright aqua blue shoes or some nice polka dots. Until you have seen the rush hour around the main Melbourne train stations you would not believe how many shades of black there are available and the beautiful style of clothing. Truly Melbourne.
- Summer is the season of Night-markets and international food. You can’t go past the Queen Vic Night Market on a Wednesday night. Food from all over the world tempt you to break that New Year Resolution. Again we’re supporting the local community so go for that Nepalese BBQ chicken. And a glass or two of sangria. A perfect excuse to take my new bike out on the town.
- Summer brings out the cinema lover in all of us, with several companies now offering moonlight cinema experiences. Try the Botanical Gardens or one of the rooftop cinemas.
Ok enough ramblings. Here are the links to tried and tested recipes that were included in my summer holiday baking sessions.
Homemade Peanut Butter thank you to The Cub Club.
Fluffy Pretzels thanks to Fifteen Spatulas
Thank You Cookies from the funtastic SpoonForkBacon. These cookies are seriously the most simple shortbread I’ve ever made!
Cowgirl Cookies from Bakerella.
Hot Chocolate Jars
Start by layering the mix in the order above. Make sure you really pat down each layer before you ad the next. The marshmallows go ontop of the mix. You really need to squeeze and stuff as many in as possibly so that the mixture can’t move around when you are transporting it to the lucky receiver.
The cocoa is naturally quite bitter. If you don’t want to worry about adding sugar then opt for a premixed hot chocolate. I’ve found that the above mix gives you quite a creamy hot chocolate. All you need to do is mix it all up and and a few tablespoons to hot water and enjoy!
- Tiny mason jars
- 1x pavlova (I used the Donna Hay recipe from here)
- Fresh berries of your choice
- Sparkling wine*
- Whipped cream (cream, vanilla essence and sugar)
Mix the berries and sparkling wine in a large bowl. Spoon the mixture into the jars and leave them overnight to soak up all the wine goodness.
Bake the pavlova according to the instructions.
Whip cream, vanilla essence and sugar.
Layer the cream on top of the berry mixture. Don’t worry about draining the excess liquid. Crush the pavlova into large chunks and artistically place on top of the cream. Serve.
*I used a pink moscato style sparkling wine. The cost was around $8 for the bottle. The color really adds to the distinct image of the dessert.
Champagne and Berry Jelly
- Using the remainder of the sparkling wine* and 1 packet of gelatin. Around a large tablespoon worth if you have a jar instead of individual packets.
- Mixed fresh berries.
Slowly bring the sparkling wine to a soft boil. Add the gelatin. Keep stirring on a soft boil until the gelatin desolves.
Now there are two ways to include the berries in your mixture. If you want them on top of the dish then just pour the hot mixture over the berries and refrigerate. However if you are going to be all fancy and use a mould and present the dish on a fancy plate then I’d suggest adding the berries to the mould and slightly cover with the jelly mix. Let this set for about an hour in the fridge before putting the rest of the jelly in. Leave the remaining mixture on the bench top until needed.
The jelly will need to set over night.
* This recipe is for 500ml of sparkling wine. If you use more don’t forget to increase the gelatin amount.
In the end I think all the baking and creating took a toll on poor Toby. He was in desperate need of sleeps.
And lastly if you are interested in some healthy snacks to help with a NY resolution take a looksie at Protein Princess. Don’t be daunted by Candice’s amazing body. Her recipes are user friendly and tasty too!