22 Oct 2014

A little bit about nutella cupcakes with nutella icing!

Last year for Charles' birthday I made him oreo cheesecake cupcakes...
Look how happy he was.
For the Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes recipe click here. It's super easy to make and requires NO BAKING

He turned 21 this year and I made him nutella cupcakes from this video I watched by one the Chiappa sisters

I added Nutella icing on top because... the cupcakes shrunk on the top and it looked quite ugly bare :/
That was just one of the things that went wrong during baking... Keep reading for Lessons Learned.
The star of the show... Nutella. Do you love these black and white striped cases?
Only after did I realise I had birthday-print cases, I'll use those next year
It's super easy to make. Just spoon a large dollop of Nutella into normal cupcake batter.
When it's cooked, the Nutella will remain a hot gooey mess inside.

They came out wrinkly and sunken... So I decided to cover them in NUTELLA ICING
Nutella, butter and a touch of milk
I used wilton tip 30 to decorate these. The cupcake on the left was iced starting from the outside in and the one on the right was iced from the centre outwards.
Which one do you like better?
I needed to drive over to the white house to give them to him so I used this cake container that Lauren got me for my birthday!! It is awesome because I never have a container to put my baking in but now I do! THANK YOU
To add the finishing touch... Sprinkles

Nutella Cupcakes
4 eggs
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup self raising flour
180 gr butter, melted

1. Beat eggs and sugar until light
2. Sift through the flour and mix by hand
3. Beat in butter (make sure butter is slightly cooled ie. not hot off the pan, so the eggs don't cook)
4. Fill half the cases with batter
5. Spoon a large tablespoon of Nutella into each case
6. Top with remaining batter, leaving one centimetre for the cupcakes to rise
7. Bake at 200 Celcius for 12 minutes * test with a skewer

*A few things didn't go as planned during baking, this is the temperature suggested on the original recipe but...
I found after about 5 minutes in the 200 Celcius oven, the tops started to go brown while the insides were still runny. So I covered the top with aluminium foil. This however hindered the cakes from rising. So I would suggest baking at a lower temperature, maybe 190 or 180 and use cupcake cases that aren't so deep.
Also a good idea to rotate in the middle of baking, as some ovens have 'cold spots'.

For chocolate cupcakes, add 1/2 cup cocoa with the flour

Nutella Icing
2/3 cup melted butter
2/3 cup Nutella
1 cup icing sugar
1 Tbsp milk

1. Beat together butter and Nutella
2. Gradually add icing sugar, checking for consistency
3. Add milk if required

Icing too buttery? Add more Nutella.
Too crumbly? Add milk.
Too sweet? Pinch of salt.

And to conclude,

Still haven't found Lewis Road Creamery chocolate milk.



12 Oct 2014

A little bit about Faro Stk grill & salad bar

I turned 22 on Thursday.
THANK YOU for all your birthday wishes. I felt so loved, truly!
It's funny how when you're in a relationship, the birthday wishes become "Happy birthday! Hope xxxxx spoils you!"

Nikki asked me, "Did you get to do something fun today?"
And I answered, "I skipped Fluids class."
I didn't go because I hadn't eaten anything all day so I went to Mexicali and because I'm signed up to their newsletters, I get a free meal on my birthday. Chicken quesadilla for lunch!

Mama asked me where I wanted to eat for dinner as a family. This is how the conversation went-
Mama: Where do you want to eat on Thursday?
Me: Lonestar.
Mama: Let's go to Faro.

So we went to Faro.
And we liked it so much we went again on Saturday!

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/farosteak/info and menu
FARO Steak & Salad Cafe
138 Hurstmere Road, Takapuna
09 486 5050
Open 7 days 9am-9pm
I'm not sure what genre this restaurant is. The other Faro brances on Lorne St CBD and Nuffield St, Newmarket are Korean grill bbq but this one in Takapuna is more asian-fusion. It's a cafe as well as a restaurant- they serve coffee, cakes and bakes...

Chocolate macaroons, brownies, cakes, butterscotch pecan and caramel slies, chocolate and banana cakes...
Cronuts, croissants, cookies, pastries, biscotti...
And they also do meals, and really cheap meals too!
Pasta dishes $15, chicken katsu, udon, pizza, paella and steak from $15. Not to mention the all you can eat soup and salad bar. ( for menu click here )

The salad bar is nothing fancy, but adequate to satisfy
 Capsicum, gherkins, olives, onions...
Condiments like pineapple, cheese and egg...
Also has ready made salads like coleslaw, pastas, bean, kumara...
Bacon soup (left) and cream soup (right)
They also have bread which you can toast yourself!!
 I love the cream soup!
Thursday night I had small size angus beef sirloin with creamy mushroom sauce $17 and a glass of peach ade
Saturday night I had angus beef sirloin, also small size, with red wine sauce $15.

Both steaks were great but a little on the pink side for my medium-well request.
Still, would definitely come again.
You can pretty much have a full meal for $15. Great for dates, I'd say.

And to conclude,

I am having so much First World Problems trying to locate Lewis Rd Creamery chocolate milk.
I have raved on in my post about the Food Show about their butter, so I am expecting this chocolate milk to be THE BEST chocolate milk I have ever tasted.
Got a few snapchats of it too from my friends.
I want to get my hands on it.



20 Sep 2014

Church and hospitality

We've been looking for a church for a while.
One to serve at, invite people to, put our tithe toward, be part of a homegroup and be discipled in.
We like try out a new church nearby every Sunday unless we're invited to a specific one by friends.

The biggest thing that stands out to me the most, and the most disappointing, with the churches we've been to is the lack of extended hospitality towards newcomers.

In a small church or a church with mostly regular attendees, it's quite obvious who the newcomers are.
But too often no one extends their hello to us until we are nearly leaving. People saying hi to their own friends or getting morning tea on their own; a little difficult for us to wedge ourselves in the conversation.

When you go to your church tomorrow, please notice the new faces.

If you're sitting too far away to shake their hand, give them a smile.
If you're sitting next to them, tell them your name. Ask for theirs.
You never know, they could be non-Christians visiting church for the first time. And you'd want to make them feel comfortable and welcomed right?

After the service, tell them where morning tea is served. There is something about food that breaks down social barriers. (Trust me- I've served strangers food and we instantly became friends)
If you personally go with them and serve them coffee, it is guaranteed you have already made them feel welcomed!
Introduce them to one of your church friends if small talk on your own isn't your thing.
Is it so hard?

Say hello. Tell them your name and invite them for tea after the service.

10 Sep 2014

A little bit about kale crisps!!!

I feel like America and the entire middle/ upper class First World women are best friends with kale.

I didn't know kale existed til this beauty/ lifestyle youtuber made a kale smoothie in her vlog. It looked pretty gross tbh like celery juice.

I went to Street Eats a couple weeks ago (it was crazy. Auckland, we need more of these events) and I had one of Mexico's beef tacos and there was this curly crispy green thing on top. I didn't know what it was but it tasted so good! Turns out it was KALE... Also I think kale is a nice name for a boy.

So I went on youtube, searched kale crisps and made some of my own!
It was so simple and so yummy.
15 minutes in the oven and you're happy.

Kale is a healthy superfood full of pretty much every vitamin in the alphabet. It also apparently contains more iron than beef, so if you're anaemic, this is it!
You can make salads, put it on pizza, juice it, or turn it into crisps.

I bought a bag for $3.99 from Countdown. There were also red kale and tuscan kale but I wasn't sure of the differences, so I just got curly green ones.

 This is all you need! Kale, olive oil and salt.

First, you're going to want to take off the stalks. They are too tough to eat.
So with one hand hold the stalk firmly, with the other, grab the leafy greens and pull apart.

Next, wash them. I found a tiny slug in my bag, so that was a good call to wash them.
Then dry them thoroughly. This is important! You do not want water because it will end up steaming rather than drying and crisping up. I put them on a tea towel to dab them dry

Tear them into small pieces, be mindful that they shrink a lot, and put them in a single layer. You might need 2 oven trays. Rub olive oil and salt through them

15 minutes in the oven and done! Look how much they shrunk! I think I needed just a few more minutes in the oven so the bigger pieces get crunchier.

Crispy, slightly salty, healthy kale crisps. Great replacement for potato chips.

Kale Crisps

A bag of kale
2 Tbsp olive oil

1. Take the stems of the kale
2. Wash and dry kale thoroughly and shred into small-medium pieces
3. Sprinkle olive oil and salt, using your hands making sure each leaf is well coated
4. Spread on a single layer on an oven tray
5. Bake at 150 celcius for 15 minutes

And to conclude,

I have been really into makeup because of youtube. I love LOVE doing my makeup because I like the act of applying it (not necessarily how I look with it). I need some models to play with.



26 Mar 2014

Breakfast in Town Basin

I lived in Whangarei, did you know that?
I moved to a boarding school in Auckland in year 10 and prior to that I lived in Whangarei...

We went to a cafe for breakfast in the iconic Town Basin- being tourists in our hometown.
There were vintage cars on display, cute.

We went to Riverside Cafe...
I got a key lime cake to takeaway for morning tea later that day. It was pretty average... Looked and sounded better than it tasted. The chai latte was great though.
But the bacon and egg croissant with relish was SO AMAZIIING!!
I skipped lunch because I was still full from this. It was perfectly toasted and delicious.
Papa had the french toast, and the bread was so good.
Mama had the pancake stack with bacon and fruits. It was alright, my croissant was definitely better.
This is the outdoor seating. The checkerboard used to have chess pieces on it, so you could play lifesized chess.


And to conclude,

I am going to start ballet again!

I did it last year (or maybe even the year before) with MEBA, but with my class at 10am on tuesday, I am going to do a lunchtime one with City Dance!

Join me?

Monday 12.30pm


19 Mar 2014

A little bit about nacho crumbed chicken

I got given a huge bag of corn chips- like a school camp sized one.
After snacking on them at uni and eating 4 meals of nachos, there was still a third of the bag left!!

So I googled 'meals with corn chips' and it came up with a recipe that uses corn chips as a crumb coating for chicken!

I made it for dinner tonight and it was actually DELICIOUS!
I like the crunchy texture, the cheese sprinkled on top and the mayo sauce that keeps the chicken tasty and not dry.

Corn chips make great crumb coating.

Nacho crumbed chicken

some corn chips (maybe half a bag)
1 cup grated cheese
1 cup mayonaisse
1 tsp onion salt (or garlic salt/ chicken salt, anything that will give it a salty flavor)
1 tsp paprika powder (or peri peri, anything that will give it a nice zing)
2 tsp lime juice
500 gr skinless boneless chicken breast
  1. Crush the corn chips. You can do this by putting it in the food processor for fine crumbs, but I just bashed it with a rolling pin.
  2. Combine in a bowl with the grated cheese.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together mayo, onion salt, paprika and lime juice.
  4. Slice chicken breast pieces to portion sizes.
  5. Dunk chicken piece in mayo bowl and coat thoroughly with chips. The easiest way to do this is using tongs.
  6. Place on a lined tray and bake at 180C for 25 mins, or until the chicken is cooked and not pink.

Serve immediately with salad and potatoes.

I also had garlic bread with this, it was still in the oven when I took the photo.
Oh and I had another piece of chicken beacuse it was just SO GOOD!!!

And to conclude,

I'm contemplating subscribing to GoodieBox! Not only do I enjoy baking, I also love doing makeup as a way to be creative and work with colors.
GoodieBox is a monthly box you receive with 5 'deluxe sized' beauty samples in it- it could be cosmetics, hair care, food- for $25 a month plus $5 shipping.

Do you think it's worth it? Is anyone a subscriber? Let me know!! I'm planning on subscribing next month after I move in to my new house.


18 Mar 2014

How to impress your employers on your last day

To farewell me from my summer job, my department held a morning tea during the last week.
It was lovely because the other interns in the other departments didn't get one :p

I had brought some orange apricot and cinnamon loaf to Payne, who sat next to me a couple week before and he said I should bring some loaf to morning tea.

What I love about loaf is that it has a lot of flavor as well as texture, and it's in the shape of bread, so it must be healthy!!

It was well received too, all the engineers loved it :)

This one contains one whole apple, peeled and cubed.
So if you eat the whole loaf, you're basically eating an apple.
You know it's going to be good when there's a brown sugar cinnamon combo...
There are 3 layers to this aple cinnamon loaf: the loaf batter, apple and cinamon sugar.
And of course, chocolate! I used a rich Old Gold 70% cocoa block

Apple cinnamon and chocolate chip loaf

1/3 cup brown sugar
1tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup white sugar
115 gr butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 block chocolate, chopped
1 apple, peeled and chopped

1. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl.
2. Beat together white sugar and butter.
3. Beat in eggs one at a time until well mixed, then add vanilla essence.
4. Sift in flour and baking powder and mix by hand.
5. Add milk and mix until smooth, folding in chocolate chunks.
6. Pour half the batter in a lined loaf tin.
7. Add half the chopped apples, lightly patting into batter.
8. Sprinkle half the brown sugar and cinnamon over top.
9. Repeat the layers.
10. Swirl the brown sugar mixture at the top with a spoon.
11. Bake at 180C for 45 minutes. Check with toothpick

Firstly I thanked everyone for welcoming me in the team for the past 3 months and told them that my friends have been telling me to quit engineering and start a bakery. So after trying a slice of my apple cinnamon chocolate loaf, they said "work for us and bake for us too!".

And to conclude,

Did I tell you me and Miss Shell attended a cake decorating demo? It was amaaazing! So life changing. We watched the lady from Go Bake roll fondant into roses and butterflies and the color of the sea when it changes tide.
I really want to decorate cakes!!