Posts Tagged ‘chocolate’

Nut & Chocolate Muffins

October 4, 2008

Another tried & true recipe of mine that I can whip up in 5 minutes.

You will need:

1 & 3/4 Cups plain flour

2 Eggs

1/2 Cup softened butter

1 Cup milk

1/2 Cup sugar

1 Tablespoon baking soda

Pinch of salt

1 Teaspoon vanilla essence

1 Cup chocolate chips

1/2 Cup crushed nuts

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and grease muffin pans (alternately, use paper cup cake pans).

Put all ingredients except the last two into a bowl & beat together for a few minutes until well combined. Stir through chocolate chips and crushed nuts. Fill muffin pans 2/3 full, and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the top of the muffin springs back when pressed.

Try not to burn your fingers in your rush to eat them after baking 😉

This recipe can be adapted in many ways. Instead of chocolate & nuts, use pears & cinnamon, or raspberries & white chocolate, or leave out the sugar & add becon & cheese. The possibilities are endless!

Enjoy 🙂

Melbourne – Too much of a good thing

September 15, 2008

The week before last I I had a short break from uni so I went on a trip to Melbourne for 4 days. In the weeks leading up to my trip I was excitedly pondering what culinary delights await me, and just thinking of all the great coffee I could drink gave me goosebumps.

Most of this didn’t happen however, as I found myself being somewhat ‘sensitive’ to Melbourne…everything in it. From the turbulence on the flight over, to the bumpy bus ride back to the airport at the end of the trip, I was sick sick sick. I couldn’t eat anything without my stomach churning soon after, but I found I could eat grapes, strawberries & almonds without making me sick!! Yay 🙂

I love the street vendors in Melbourne, you can walk out of just about every major building and go straight to a fruiterer, or florist, or newsagent; and the staff are really nice all the time. I survived on these street vendors for the majority of the time I was there, with my grapes & strawberries & almonds.

Another foodie place I loved was the food court thing downstairs from David Jones. You can get anything & everything there; fresh pasta, seafood, fruit & vegies, imported chocolates, cheeses, cakes, breads, coffee….you name it, it’s there. I would spend a fortune there if I was able to bring it all back to Tassie!!

The first day I was in the city, I wasted no time in going to my most favourite favourite chocolate makers, Haigh’s. Being an Adelaide girl, I used to love going in after work and buying a few creams to take on the bus home with me, savouring each little cream centre to the last drop. My most most most favourite flavours are actually pictured on the home page at the moment, Rose (pink ones) and Violet (purple ones) creams. The combination is perfect: it satisfies the flower lover AND the chocolate lover at the SAME time!!! Definitely a match made in heaven as far as I’m concerned. And the little coloured spot on top of each chocolate? An acual piece of rose or violet petal, coated with crystalized sugar. Genius! So, I bought a big box of these to take with me, and I’ve been having one or two each day.

Another ‘must get’ item from Melbourne were a big bag of Pick-your-own-flavour Jelly Belly jelly beans. After being sent to the complete wrong place by a friend of mine, I eventually found them in the Nutshack in Melbourne Central, at the bottom. I was so excited!! A lot of the flavours were empty when I was there, but I still got all my most favourite favourites: Mango, kiwi, orange sherbert, lemon-lime, cantaloup, juicy pear & red apple. Notice a common theme here? 🙂 Yeah, I like my fruit. I bought a $25 bag & still have over half of them left 🙂

On my second day there I decided I would walk from Richmond (where I was staying) to the Botanic Gardens. I only half knew where I was going…but I found a group of old ladies who looked like they were going there (I don’t even really knew how I could tell…just got a vibe from them!!) and followed them 🙂 It was a cloudy day, threataning to rain any second, and I didn’t have my tripod but I managed to take some good shots anyway:

I spent a good four hours walking around the gardens, as it’s about 3 times bigger then the one we have in Hobart. However, most of the plantings weren’t really to my taste. Lots of spikey succulent-type things, tall grasses, natives & palm trees. No sweeping herbaceous borders like in Hobart, no Tulips or Hostas, only a few Rhododendrons & Azaleas, and a small Magnolia garden that the middle photo is from. I must say though, even that was somewhat disappointing…. several spindly trees half-heartedly flowering. Not like here where the Magnolia trees are gigantic & the flowers are literally clambering for space on the branches there are so many. It was nice to be out of the hustle & bustle of the city though, and there was some welcome wildlife keeping me company:

I must confess though that the trip the Gardens only made me want to go to the Hobart ones again, and I cant wait to go on Saturday when I have a day off.

Overall, the trip was okay, but I missed my garden and home cooking. Once I got back into my own home the sick feeling went away completely once I was eating familiar foods again. I had no idea my stomach was that sensitive, but there you go. My garden had come to life when I was away; my roses have all started to shoot, my clematis have just taken off, and I can see flower buds on my blueberry bushes. Yay!! Yesterday I planted my first batch of summer vegetable seeds. I am determined not to buy any vegetable seedlings this year, as I have more then enough seeds of everything, it just takes a little more effort them just planting seedlings out. For my tomato, capsicum, eggplant, cucumber, pumpkin & squash seeds, I put them under the house with glass on top of the ‘seed punnets’ (which are actually old egg cartons) to keep them warm to aid germination. Then once they sprout I will have to prick them out & then grow them on in my green house. Then, I have some clear plastic I can use as a cloche once they go into the veggie bed. After that they’ll be on their own! I also direct sowed some radishes, celery & corn, and will do the beans & peas this weekend. It’s really exciting.

Well I must go do some homework now I suppose, this post is already almost 1000 words (pity I can’t write this well for my uni assignments!). I will leave you with a photo of one of my favourite colour combos (and one of the only things that got me excited at the Melbourne Botanic Gardens) burgundy & acid green. Ciao!