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Food, Meringues, Recipes

Blueberry and Lilly Pilly Pavlovas

I recently attended an event for the launch of Bonne Maman’s new Blueberry and Lilly Pilly jam. The Lilly Pilly is a native Australian bush fruit, which has been combined with blueberries using traditional French jam making practices to create this new conserve. The tartness of the Lilly Pilly contrasts well with the sweetness of the blueberries, and I went home with several ideas buzzing around my head on how to bake with this jam.

blueberry-lilly-pilly-pavlovas

After a spot of brainstorming and “taste testing” for further research, I decided mini pavlovas were the way to go. Meringue is often associated with French cuisine (echoing Bonne Maman’s French identity) and the pavlova is of course our Australian dessert of choice, which works perfectly with the native Lilly Pilly.

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Don’t worry if you can’t get your hands on the Lilly Pilly jam, this recipe works well with any blueberry conserve. Or for that matter, any berry jam at all. If you only have strawberry jam, then top the pavlovas with fresh strawberries instead! The joy of the pavlova is that it works well with pretty much any fruit.

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I plucked the very tips of my mint to decorate, and the joy of mint is not only does it look beautiful, it tastes great too! If you don’t have any mint on hand, I would suggest a light scattering of lime zest.

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Blueberry and Lilly Pilly Pavlovas
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 20
Ingredients
Meringue Nests
  • 4 egg whites (room temp)
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 3 tsps cornflour
  • 1 tsps white vinegar
To Decorate
  • 250ml thickened cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • ½ jar of jam (I suggest Bonne Maman's Blueberry & Lilly Pilly)
  • 1 punnet of blueberries
  • Mint leaves to garnish
Instructions
Meringue Nests
  1. Preheat oven to 150°C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
  3. Gradually add the sugar, beating well until the mixture is glossy and the sugar has dissolved.
  4. Add the cornflour and vinegar and fold through.
  5. Transfer mixture to piping bag with a nozzle attached and pipe round nest shapes around 10cm in diameter onto the parchment paper.
  6. Place in the oven, reduce the heat to 120°C and cook for 20 minutes.
  7. Then turn the oven off and allow the meringues to completely cool in the oven.
To Decorate
  1. Using an electric mixer, beat cream and icing sugar until soft peaks form.
  2. Top each pavlova with whipped cream and a tablespoon of jam. You may need to slightly warm the jam in the microwave for 10 seconds so it's runny.
  3. Decorate with blueberries and mint.

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Oh and see that box with the cute Bonne Maman ribbon in the shot? That housed a Lilly Pilly plant which they kindly sent me. I promptly killed it within 3 weeks :( Honestly I am the worst at gardening! At least the box got a new life as a photography prop…

blueberry-lilly-pilly-pavlovas2What’s your favourite pavlova flavour combination? Mine would have to be Passionfruit and Kiwi or Nutella and Strawberry. Decisions decisions!

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Donuts, Food, Recipes

Vanilla Bean and Mocha Mini Donuts

I must admit when I first bought my donut maker, I thought I’d use it once and then stash it away in storage like the rest of my novelty food machines.

But I cannot. Stop. Making. Donuts. Some evidence of previously made donuts can be found here. Once you’re done drooling, let’s discuss these little beauties.

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I had some vanilla beans I wanted to use up, so I whipped up a light and fluffy vanilla bean donut. The beauty of these baked donuts is not only do you not have to mess around with large vats of boiling oil, they only take around 3 minutes to cook in the machine!

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I then made a rich, thick ganache to top the donuts with consisting of dark chocolate, butter and strong coffee. You can’t go wrong! The subtle flavour of the donut allowed the icing to take centre stage. And it’s worth it.

You can top these donuts with whatever decorations you have in your pantry, I used cocoa nibs, but chocolate sprinkles would work just as well. I loved the sight of the glossy ganache so much I actually left half of them bare.

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Vanilla Bean and Mocha Mini Donuts
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 30
Ingredients
Vanilla bean donuts
  • 70g butter, softened
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1½ cups plain flour
Mocha icing
  • 90g dark chocolate chips
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp golden syrup
  • 2 tsp brewed coffee
Instructions
Vanilla bean donuts
  1. Preheat oven to 160°C and grease your donut pan with flavourless oil OR turn on your donut maker (you won't need any oil if you use the latter).
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar in a medium bowl until fluffy. Add in the egg, milk, and vanilla and mix until just combined. The mixture may look curdled but the dry ingredients will pull it together.
  3. Add in the baking powder and flour and stir until just combined.
  4. Transfer mixture to a medium zip lock bag and cut the corner tip cut off. Pipe the mixture into the donut pans until each is approximately ⅔ full.
  5. If using a donut pan, bake in the oven for around 10 minutes until lightly golden brown. If using a mini donut maker, bake for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Allow donuts to cool completely before decorating.
Mocha icing
  1. Place chocolate, butter, golden syrup and coffee in a bowl.
  2. Melt in 20 second bursts in the microwave, stirring after each time until completely melted.
  3. Dip the tops of the donuts into the chocolate glaze and then place on a wire rack.
  4. Sprinkle the top of each donut with cocoa nibs or chocolate sprinkles.

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And whilst you traditionally think of cookies and milk, these donuts paired perfectly with the humble drink. Afternoon tea is sorted!

vanilla-bean-mocha-donuts5Have you ever tried making donuts yourself?

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Design, Food

A simple DIY dessert/candy table

diy-dessert-table

Dessert tables have been taking the party world by storm in the last few years and if my Pinterest feed is anything to go by, the trend is definitely here to stay!

There’s a lot to love about dessert tables. They’re quick and easy to set up, everyone gets to pick and choose what they want, and most importantly – they contain sweet treats.

Here’s how to create a pretty dessert/candy table without breaking the bank or spending hours in the kitchen:

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Step 1: Create a dessert/candy menu

Before you start designing your buffet, it’s important to first decide which treats you’ll be serving and whether you want to offer candy, desserts, or a mix of both.

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Here are a few tips to create a winning menu:

  • Don’t go overboard. While a table overflowing with treats might sound like dessert heaven, it can also sadly quickly get expensive and overwhelming. Go with a quality-over-quality approach instead and offer your guests between 6 and 8 different treats (or even less if only serving desserts).
  • Don’t feel like you have to do all the desserts from scratch – it would defeat the easy part of this exercise. Instead mix store-bought items (i.e. cookies, candy, macarons) with a few homemade favourites (i.e. easy cakes, pies and slices).
  • Pre-cut your cakes or even better, make everything bite-size, so that your guests can easily help themselves.
  • Pick ‘bulky’ candy items rather than small ones as they will fill up your vessels quicker.
  • Pick a simple colour palette for a cohesive/sleek look.

My dessert table (which I made for a birthday party) included: homemade brownies, coconut cupcakes, and mini lemon meringue pies, as well as store-bought chocolates, candy, popcorn, and cookies.

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Step 2: Display your desserts/candy in pretty vessels

Before you rush out and buy brand new servingware for your buffet, have a good look through your cupboards first as there’s a good chance you have everything you need already. For example, glass items such as vases, apothecary jars, and bowls are great for candy whereas plates, cake stands, and platters are perfect to show off desserts.

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If you do need to buy additional items – apothecary jars, mason jars and cake stands can often be found at discount stores or thrift stores for bargain prices! You can also DIY cake stands by sticking bowls/ or glasses to the back of plates (see this article for a list of easy tutorials).

Choose food vessels in various shapes and sizes for a strong visual impact. You can also use gift boxes, crates, books, etc. to create different heights. Place tall items at the back of your buffet and short ones at the front. Try to balance out the items so that there is a sense of symmetry.

Finally, have serviettes, cutlery, and candy bags available (either as part of the buffet or on a side table).

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Step 3: Create a background

This is not a 100% necessary but it will definitely increase the WOW factor and bring even more attention to your dessert table.

Ideas for a cute background include:

  • Bunting
  • A curtain made out of colourful streamers
  • Tassel garlands
  • A banner
  • Balloons

Match your background to your colour theme for a gorgeous, party perfect look.

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I hope you found these tips useful! Have you ever created a dessert buffet for a party? I’d love to hear any tips you might have and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask them in the comment section!

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Soraya-Pearl Jolly is a French girl living in Melbourne with a passion for entertaining, travelling, and all things pretty. She runs the lifestyle blog Pretty Mayhem and recently released her first e-book ‘The No Stress Hostess’ which is all about hosting great parties with minimal fuss and hassle.

WIN-EBOOK

I hope you enjoyed this post everyone! And because Pearl is super generous, she is giving away 3 copies of her new ebook The No Stress Hostess Book. Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Biscuits/Cookies, Food, Recipes

Nutella Stuffed Choc Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

Is there any thing better in life than a freshly baked choc chip cookie adorned with a sprinkle of sea salt? How about stuffing it with Nutella? This just may be my new favourite cookie.

nutella-stuffed-choc-chip-cookies

I’ve played around with my basic chocolate chip cookie for a few years now, each time trying to outdo the last recipe. My original recipe started out as a classic Choc Chip Cookie with a high ratio of brown sugar to ensure the cookies are chewy in the middle and crunchy on the outside. It then evolved into a Salted Caramel Chip Cookie before being dressed up as a Brown Butter Choc Chip Cookie with Sea Salt. But let’s be honest, if you have the option to fill something with Nutella, then you always should.

nutella-stuffed-choc-chip-cookies1

The good news is these cookies are incredibly easy to make. The only dexterity required is filling the cookies with the Nutella, but even if you do a messy job it’s still going to taste just as delicious!

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Nutella Stuffed Choc Chip Cookies with Sea Salt
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 18
Ingredients
  • 140g butter (room temperature)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 egg (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • Generous pinch of sea salt
  • 250g chocolate chips
  • 200g Nutella
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Cream the butter and sugars for at least 5 minutes until the mixture becomes light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat well.
  3. Add choc chips, flour, baking soda and baking powder. Beat on low speed until just combined (don't overwork the mixture or it can become tough).
  4. Scoop a tablespoon of dough and flatten it into the palm of your hand. Add a dollop (1-2 tsp) of Nutella into the middle, then fold the cookie dough back up so that it seals and covers the Nutella completely.
  5. Place the cookies on baking trays and sprinkle each one with sea salt.
  6. Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, around 12-14 minutes.

There’s nothing more satisfying than slowly breaking one of these freshly baked cookies apart. The Nutella is still hot and gooey, the outside of the cookie is crisp and almost caramelised and the subtle hint from the sea salt balances it all out.

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So I think this is officially my new favourite choc chip cookie! It may have taken 4 different recipes and many batches of cookies baked and tested, but I’m a selfless woman so I was happy to put myself through all that just for you ;)

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Oh and don’t forget there are more cookies recipes here and more Nutella recipes here. Happy Baking!

What’s your favourite cookie to bake and/or eat?

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Breakfast/Snacks, Food, Recipes

Crap Free Muesli Bars

crap-free-muesli-bars

Muesli bars, granola bars, whatever you call them bars. They are the ultimate snacking item for those always on the go and always hungry (ie me). But have you ever bothered to look through the ingredient list on these bad boys in the supermarket? Yuck.

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Now, I’m not afraid of sugar. You may have noticed I feature it quite heavily in my desserts. But when I am not stuffing my face full of cake, I’m eating quite healthy (otherwise I’d be the size of a house!) and try and avoid unnecessary sugar in my day-to-day life.

crap-free-muesli-bars5

I find store-bought muesli bars are sickly sweet, surprisingly high in calories and feature a lot of suspicious looking “ingredients”, such as preservatives, fake flavourings and sweeteners. So I decided to make my own. I present to you – Crap Free Muesli Bars!

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Crap Free Muesli Bars
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups rolled oats (use quinoa flakes for a gluten free option)
  • ⅓ cup activated sunflower seeds
  • ⅓ cup activated pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • 2 tbp chia seeds
  • ⅓ cup coconut flakes
  • ¼ cup chopped raw cashews (or nut of your choice)
  • ½ cup rice malt syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup boiling water
  • Generous pinch of sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 170°C and line a 20cm square tin with baking paper.
  2. Place dry ingredients into a medium bowl.
  3. In a microwavable container, melt the rice malt syrup and coconut oil together (I recommend 1 minute on medium high).
  4. Pour the liquid mixture onto the dry and mix well.
  5. Add in the boiling water and pinch of salt and stir until the ingredients are evenly combined.
  6. Pour the mixture into the lined tray and smooth out with the back of a spatula.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Let it cool on a rack for 10 minutes, before removing it and cutting into 12 bars.
  9. Store in an airtight container. I like to pop a few in a ziplock bag and freeze for later!

Despite these being “healthy” I actually think they taste damn fine, better than any bar I’ve ever bought from the shops!

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And if you’re looking for another healthy snack recipe, my Raw Cashew and Coconut Protein Balls are actually one of the most popular recipes on my blog.

Have you ever made your own muesli bars before?

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Food, Travel

NOLA Eats – Swah’s Best Places to Eat in New Orleans

nola-eats

Oh New Orleans, how I love you. They say every heart holds onto a little piece of New Orleans, and I have to agree. From the friendly locals and stunning architecture to the turbulent history and amazing creole cuisine, NOLA is a fascinating place to visit. You could spend days stumbling around the French Quarter, but don’t forget to wander around the Garden District and Lafayette Cemetery. The nightlife is wild, but stay clear of Bourbon St for the most part (ok, walk down it once). Where should you go instead? Frenchman St is known for it’s fantastic live music and local restaurants and was my favourite place to discover more of New Orleans.

Now, on to the eating:

♥ Cafe Du Monde – 500 Port of New Orleans #27

Yes it’s a bit touristy, but you can’t visit New Orleans without a stop at Cafe Du Monde for beignet (donuts!!) These babies are deep fried and covered in loads of powdered sugar. You’ll get it everywhere, but that’s part of the experience.

cafe-du-monde

♥ Camellia Grill – 626 S Carrollton Ave

We had breakfast at this old fashioned diner and the omelettes were divine (and huge). My Mexican omelette came with potato hash, toast AND grits (triple carbs!) and we were given generous portions of coffee and milkshake samples. Loved it.

camellia-grill

♥ Yo Mamas Bar and Grill – 727 St. Peter St

Did someone say burger topped with bacon & peanut butter!? We tried it, and it was AMAZING! We also tried NOLA staples such as alligator sausage and gumbo.

yo-mamas

♥ Cake Cafe & Bakery – 2440 Chartres St

After several days of heavy, delicious fried foods I went in search of something a little healthier. Cake Cafe delivered the goods and I had a vege juice, omelette with fresh spinach and goats cheese and a biscuit. Ok so the biscuit probably wasn’t healthy, but it tasted amazing.

cake-cafe

♥ Coop’s Place – 1109 Decatur St

There was a queue snaking out the door of Coop’s Place, and with good reason. The fried chicken here is brilliant, it’s so crunchy and not greasy at all. I had sides of homemade coleslaw and jambalaya which were both sensational too! Oh and they make a mean mint julep. Hic.

coops

♥ Green Goddess – 307 Exchange Pl

This out of the way cafe tucked in a little alleyway serves up a great array of vegetarian food (rare in this city) and arguably the best biscuits in New Orleans. They also have great cocktails.

green-goddess

♥ Elizabeth’s – 601 Gallier St

The brunch at this Cajun diner is hands down one of the best in the city. They are known for their praline bacon (as good as it sounds), a great selection of egg dishes and the biscuits and gravy are divine.

praline-bacon

♥ Willie Mae’s Scotchhouse – 2401 St Ann St

Sensational fried chicken and soul food can be found at Willie Mae’s! It’s best to get a taxi there and back as it’s in a somewhat dodgy part of town. It’s worth it.

willie-mae-s-scotch-house

Want a drink? Try a voodoo daiquiri at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, sit at the Carousel Bar in the Hotel Monteleone (it revolves!) or order a classic sazerac or ramos gin fizz at the Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt.

Have you been to New Orleans? If not, do you want to go now? (that answer is yes)

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Food

Super Easy 5 Ingredients or Less Dessert Recipes

Delicious desserts don’t necessarily need to have multiple complicated steps, lengthy hours in the kitchen or loads of ingredients. I’m a big fan of having a solid set of simple recipes that cleverly use 5 or less ingredients that produce tasty results.

And there’s not a box of cake mix in sight in this round up!

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♥ 3 Ingredient Flourless Chocolate Cake | Bake Play Smile

Flourless-Chocolate-Cake

No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars | Spoon University

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3 Ingredient Nutella Donuts | Love Swah

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Oreo Cheesecake Cookies | Baker by Nature

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Puff Pastry Honey Apple Tart | Sift and Whisk

PuffAppleTart

Dark Chocolate Macaroons | The Minimalist Baker

AMAZING-5-Ingredient-Coconut-Macaroons-dipped-in-Dark-Chocolate-vegan-glutenfree-chocolate

Peanut Butter Choc Chip Cookies | Mr and Mrs Romance

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No Churn Roasted Macadamia Ice Cream | Chewtown

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Raspberry Fool | Foodie Crush

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Samoa Popcorn (chocolate, coconut and caramel) | Top With Cinnamon

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Want more dessert recipes with 5 ingredients or less? Check out my collection here!

Would you like to see more simple dessert recipes on Love Swah?

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Drinks, Food, Recipes

The Frida Cocktail

Today I have the lovely Stephanie from The Dessert Spoon sharing one of her favourite cocktails – the Frida Cocktail! I can’t wait to give this a try.

Move over Mimosa – it’s time for a new classic brunch drink! The Frida Cocktail is a bold and refreshing fruity drink with an intriguing herbal twist.

frida-cocktail1

This drink is the same class as other fruit/champagne-based brunch drinks, such as the Mimosa (orange), Bellini (peach), Rossini (strawberries) and Tintoretto (pomegranate). It is also, like most of these drinks, named after an artist.

frida-cocktail3

So why is it called the Frida? I have named this drink in honour of Frida Kahlo. Frida was colourful and interesting – much like this cocktail – and not only was she an amazing artist but Frida also knew how to entertain in style.

Plums are currently in season but won’t be for too much longer so try this drink soon!

frida-cocktail2

The Frida Cocktail
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 4 fresh plums
  • 6-8 small sprigs thyme (leaves only)
  • 1 x 750ml bottle sparkling white wine
Instructions
  1. Peel, slice and remove the stones from the plums.
  2. Remove the leaves from 6 small sprigs and add to the plum pieces.
  3. Blend until smooth using either a blender or immersion blender.
  4. Taste - the thyme flavour should be present but not overpowering; add the leaves from another one or two thyme sprigs if necessary and blend again briefly.
  5. Strain the puree through a sieve to remove the lumps and bits.
  6. Pour approx 45ml (one jigger or 3 tbsp) of the plum puree into the bottom of a glass.
  7. Gently and slowly pour the wine over the top; do this slowly and carefully as it will fizz. Stir gently.
  8. Serve and enjoy immediately.

I must admit plums and thyme is a flavour combo I’ve never played with before, but I will be definitely giving this a go whilst they’re still in season!

What’s your favourite classic cocktail to make? Or do you have one of your own signature creations?

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Cakes, Food, Recipes

ANZAC Biscuit Lemon Cheesecakes

This Saturday, April 25th, is ANZAC Day and in addition to commemorating our fallen soldiers, we bake and eat ANZAC biscuits.

This famous biscuit featuring rolled oats, coconut and golden syrup was baked by anxious wives and mothers during World War I and sent to the Australian soldiers in the trenches.

anzac-biscuit-lemon-cheesecakes

I love ANZAC biscuits and try to bake them every year. You can find my original ANZAC Biscuit recipe here.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli, and I wanted to create something extra special. After realising the humble ANZAC biscuit can make a great tart or cake base, I decided to give a patriotic cheesecake a whirl. The caramelised crunchy base contrasts perfectly with the tart and softly set lemon cheesecake topping.

anzac-biscuit-lemon-cheesecakes2

This is a no-bake cheesecake, so the only challenging aspect is waiting patiently for it to set! I topped mine with lemon zest, but you can also top it with crumbled leftover ANZAC biscuits or even edible flowers (preferably native).

ANZAC Biscuit Lemon Cheesecakes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4 mini cheesecakes
Ingredients
ANZAC biscuit base
  • 125g butter
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • ¼ tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tbsp boiling water
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup desiccated coconut
Lemon Cheesecake
  • 400g cream cheese
  • ⅔ cup icing sugar (or to taste)
  • 160ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Lemon rind, to decorate
Instructions
ANZAC biscuit base
  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C and line 4 small 13cm/5" springform tins (or 1 large 23cm/9" tin) with baking paper.
  2. Melt together the butter and golden syrup in a saucepan over a low heat.
  3. In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar and coconut.
  4. Dissolve the baking soda in the boiling water, add to saucepan.
  5. Combine liquid and dry ingredients.
  6. If using the small springform tins, press around ⅓ cup of batter into the bottom of each tin. You may have a bit of batter leftover, make small cookies to decorate the cheesecakes, or for snacking :)
  7. Bake in the oven for around 15 mins or until lightly golden brown.
Lemon Cheesecake
  1. While the ANZAC biscuit bases are cooling, place the cream cheese and icing sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth.
  2. Add in the double cream and lemon juice and beating until smooth and creamy.
  3. Pour onto the biscuit base and put in the fridge to set for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight.
  4. To serve, top with some lemon rind.

anzac-biscuit-lemon-cheesecakes1

I took these mini cheesecakes to a baby shower yesterday and they received rave reviews, so I highly suggest you give these a go yourself!

How are you going to celebrate ANZAC Day this year?

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Food, Recipes, Slices/Pies/Tarts

Super Easy Mini Salted Caramel Tarts

Recently I needed to make a dessert at the last minute, and stumbled around the grocery store for inspiration. I ended up whipping up these super easy and delicious mini Salted Caramel Tarts in under 30 minutes (including setting time) and no one actually knew I used store-bought ingredients!

salted-caramel-tarts

You can make this recipe as budget-friendly or as fancy as you wish. I picked up some pre made tart shells from the supermarket and dressed them up with a jar of this divine Simon Johnson French Caramel Sauce along with Lindt 70% dark chocolate for the chocolate ganache and a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt.

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However if you want to keep this recipe cheap, by all means use a can of Nestle Caramel Top N Fill for the filling and Cadbury Chocolate Melts for the topping.

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Super Easy Mini Salted Caramel Tarts
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 2 packets of store bought tart shells (usually come in lots of 6)
  • 1 tin of Caramel Spread (such as Bonne Maman)
  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped
  • Sea salt
Instructions
  1. Transfer caramel spread to microwaveable container and heat on medium high for 30 seconds until runny.
  2. Place tart shells on a tray and pour the caramel into each shell until it comes up ⅔ of the way up.
  3. Place the tray in the fridge for the caramel to set, around 20 minutes.
  4. Heat the dark chocolate in the microwave in bursts of 30 seconds until melted.
  5. Pour the chocolate on top of each tart and finish off with a generous sprinkle of sea salt.
  6. Return the tray briefly to the fridge for the chocolate to set, and then serve!

salted-caramel-tarts3

And there you have it, a delicious cheats dessert for when you’re running low on time or energy.

Do you have a simple go-to dessert recipe you whip out when need be?

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Breakfast/Snacks, Food, Recipes

The Secrets to Successful Chocolate Strawberries

Today on the blog I have the lovely Amy from Eat Pray Workout sharing her strawberries secrets with us. Welcome, Amy!

Chocolate strawberries are THE bombdigity. Yes, they’re that good that they require description by a verb that exceeds the realms of the English dictionary! Healthy goodness covered in a light layer of chocolate created by a quick and simple recipe – what more could a girl want?

1. secrets to chocolate strawberries

Over years of trying to perfect these, I’ve learnt a few tricks to avoiding an awkward lumpy melted chocolate mess that you wouldn’t dream of serving to any guest. Time to share the secrets to successful chocolate strawberries with you!

1. Choose strawberries at your grocer that are fresh and free from soft spots.

2. Wash your strawberries. Let the strawberries come to room temperature by leaving them to dry on paper towel. If they are no dry the chocolate will not stick properly and you have a clumpy finish to your chocolate.

2. secrets to chocolate strawberries dry

3. Be prepared before dipping. Clear a space for the trays in the fridge before melting your chocolate. Cover trays with baking paper. Have dry strawberries in a bowl lined with paper towel.

4. Melt Cadbury melts chocolate in a pyrex jug (or similar) in the microwave for 1 minute (checking and stirring at 30 seconds to avoid burnt chocolate) or alternatively on a low simmer over a double boiler if melting on the stove.

5. Keep the leaves and gather them in your fingers to dip the berries into the chocolate.

6. Don’t dip the strawberries too far in so that your leaves end up with chocolate on them too. This looks messy!

7. As you bring the strawberry up, slightly twist your wrist tipping the strawberry upside down to give it a classy and clean finish, avoiding excess chocolate and helping further cover the leaf end of the berry.

3. secrets to chocolate strawberries twist

8. Some excess chocolate (as pictured on the base of the strawberries in the picture below) is ok! Just ask any chocolate strawberry lover – I bet they always try to choose the one with the most excess chocolate (I know I do!).

4.secrets to chocolate strawberries excess

9. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes to harden, but try to avoid keeping them refrigerated as they will gain a white texture. Find a cool airtight container to keep them in.

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10. Decorate! You can decorate with chocolate, eatable glitter, crushed nuts and much more! To decorate with chocolate, place the melted chocolate in a clip lock bag and snipping a tiny hole in the corner. You can use the same colour chocolate or colour white chocolate with food colouring. Head to the EPW pinterest page for more decorating ideas!

Styling for gifts or parties

I made a basket of healthy Easter themed chocolate strawberries on Eat Pray Workout! You could use the same serving idea I used for other gifts or styling food at your next dinner party.

The Secrets to Successful Chocolate Strawberries
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 20
Ingredients
  • 2 packets Cadbury chocolate melts (white, dark or milk chocolate –consider how you want to decorate them)
  • 2 punnets of strawberries
  • plastic clip lock bag for piping
  • Decorations of choice (coconut, nuts, sprinkles, edible glitter, etc)
Instructions
  1. Method: Follow the secrets above!

Do you have any tips on decorating or making successful chocolate strawberries? What occasions do you like to make them for?

Cakes, Food, Recipes

Pocky Easter Egg Nest Cake

Oh Easter, how I love you so! I am well and truly in the festive spirit and wanted to bake a magical holiday-themed cake to celebrate. I’ve been wanting to create a Pocky cake ever since I saw it on Sprinkle Bakes years ago.

I thought if I lined the outside of the cake with chocolate Pocky, it could resemble the shape of an Easter basket or nest. I added on some coconut flakes and speckled eggs and voila!

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For those who don’t know what Pocky are, they are a Japanese snack food of long thin pretzels dipped in a variety of toppings such as chocolate, strawberry and green tea. They are available from most Asian grocery stores.

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I ummed and aahed over what flavour to make this cake. Chocolate is usually my go-to option, but I thought combined with the icing, Pocky and chocolate eggs it might end up being too sickly sweet and rich. Since the eggs were pastel I wanted to echo this theme and settled on a strawberry-flavoured cake.

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Most strawberry cake recipes I saw involved either commercial cake mix or strawberry jelly powder. Gross! I used pureed strawberries in both the cake and icing. Not only does it give the cake a gorgeous pink colour, the taste of real strawberries is second to none. And don’t worry if strawberries aren’t in season where you live, this cake works perfectly with frozen berries.

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Pocky Easter Egg Nest Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
Fresh Strawberry Cake
  • 115g/1 stick butter
  • 300g/1⅓ cups caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 285g/2¼ cups cake flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2½ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup pureed strawberries (fresh or frozen)
Fresh Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing
  • 600g/4-5 cups sifted icing sugar
  • 60g/1/4 cup butter at room temperature
  • 250g/8oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • ½ cup pureed strawberries (fresh or frozen)
To Decorate
  • 5-6 packets of chocolate Pocky
  • Coconut flakes
  • 1 packet mini speckled Easter Eggs
Instructions
Fresh Strawberry Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the bases of 2 x 20 cm cake tins with bake paper and grease the sides with butter.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat well.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together the cake flour, salt and baking powder.
  5. Add the flour mixture to creamed mixture, alternating with the pureed strawberries.
  6. Divide the batter between the 2 cake tins and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  7. Allow the cakes to cool slightly in their tins before turning out onto a tray to cool completely.
Fresh Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing
  1. Cream the butter and icing sugar together until well mixed.
  2. Add the cream cheese in cubes slowly until incorporated.
  3. Add in the pureed strawberries and continue mixing for 5 minutes until the icing is light and fluffy.
  4. Using an offset spatula, spread ⅓ of the icing on top of the first cake layer.
  5. Place the second cake on top (upside down) and dollop the remaining ⅔ of the icing on top of the cake. Using the offset spatula, begin to smooth the icing out across the top and over the sides of the cake.
To Decorate
  1. Once the cake has been filled and iced around the top and sides, gently press the Pocky chocolate-side down onto the sides of the cake until completely covered.
  2. Scatter a generous handful of coconut flakes onto the top of the cake, allowing a shallow dip in the middle to let the eggs sit.
  3. Place speckled Easter eggs in the middle of the coconut nest on top of the cake.

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I added a few drops of pink food dye to the cake batter to emphasise the colour, but that is entirely up to you.

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To serve, make sure you place your serrated knife between the Pocky pieces and gently saw back and forth to cut pieces. Yes, some coconut and Easter eggs will fall, but just pop them on the top of the pieces you serve.

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Pretty as a picture!

fresh-strawberry-easter-egg-basket-cake2What are you baking for Easter?

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Cupcakes, Food, Recipes

Speckled Egg Chocolate Easter Cupcakes

Today I am thrilled to have my baking partner in crime, Lucy from Bake Play Smile, share with you an Easter recipe she created just for Love Swah!

Combining 2 of my favourite things, holiday-themed treats and cupcakes, these speckled egg chocolate easter cupcakes will have you baking up a storm in no time.

I’ve also gotten into the Easter Baking Bonanza and created some delicious Cadbury Creme Egg Brownies for Bake Play Smile. So don’t forget to check out her gorgeous blog for more delicious recipes too!

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Hi everyone! I’m so excited to be here on Sarah’s gorgeous blog sharing one of my favourite Easter recipes with you. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably been eating Easter eggs for a few weeks now (ok I lie… maybe a couple of months is more accurate!). But anyway, the only thing better than eating Easter eggs on their own, is of course, to add them to a totally delicious chocolate cupcake!

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These cupcakes are perfect for all of you little chocoholics out there (and I’m definitely including myself in that!). They’re made from a beautifully rich and moist chocolate cake recipe and are topped with a delicious buttercream frosting (everyone loves frosting, don’t they!). Oh and I can’t forget the most important part… the speckled eggs on top! You can buy Cadbury Speckled Eggs or M&M Crispy Speckled Eggs at the supermarket – both taste amazing and are perfect for this recipe.

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I have to tell you that this is my absolute favourite chocolate cupcake recipe…. I make it ALL the time. In fact, I’m far too embarrassed to tell you exactly how many times I’ve made these cupcakes (it’s way too many!).

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Speckled Egg Chocolate Easter Cupcakes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 125g butter, softened
  • ¾ cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 11/4 cups self raising flour
  • ⅓ cup cocoa
  • ⅔ cup milk
Frosting
  • 190g butter, softened
  • 2 and ¼ cups icing sugar mixture
  • 2 tbs milk
  • 1 drop green food colouring
  • 36 speckled eggs to decorate
Instructions
Chocolate Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 170°C.
  2. Line 12 muffin holes with patty paper or cupcake holders.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined.
  5. Alternate folding through the sifted flour and cocoa with the milk until combined.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the lined muffin pans.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked when tested.
  8. Leave in the pan to cool for 10 minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool completely.
Frosting
  1. To make the frosting, place butter in a bowl and beat with electric beaters or a stand mixer until pale and creamy.
  2. Slowly add the icing sugar and milk, beating continuously.
  3. Divide the frosting into 2 equal portions.
  4. Place one portion in a separate bowl and set aside.
  5. Add 1 drop of green food colouring to the remaining frosting.
  6. Beat until desired colour is achieved.
  7. Spread a thin layer of white frosting over the top of each cupcake.
  8. Place the remaining white frosting into a piping bag with a star tip on the end.
  9. Pipe white stars around the outside edge of the cupcakes.
  10. Wash and clean the piping bag.
  11. Fill the bag with the green frosting and pipe stars into the middle of the cupcake, making sure to fill in any gaps.
  12. Place three speckled eggs on top of the green frosting.
  13. Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

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If you’re not a pro at piping, don’t worry, because neither am I! These cupcakes are really easy to decorate and are perfect for beginners. I used a standard star tip, but you can use any tip you like. To make your cupcakes look extra special, spread a thin layer of frosting over the top of the cakes before piping. This will give you a nice even base to pipe onto.

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Start by piping individual white stars around the outside edge of the cupcakes and then finish off by piping the pale green frosting into the middle. If you have any frosting leftover then you should definitely eat it straight from the bowl. AMAZING! You can thank me later for that little suggestion.

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To finish off the cupcakes and give them the most gorgeous Easter feel, pop a few speckled eggs on top (oh and definitely play the whole ‘one for me, one for the cupcake’ game with the eggs. It’s by far my favourite game in the world). I think the thing that I love the most about these cupcakes is that they’re very deceiving. Everyone will think that you’ve spent hours labouring over them in the kitchen, but in actual fact, they take hardly anytime at all! And because they’re so quick and easy, you’ll have more time to kick back with a cuppa and watch trashy TV (umm…. please tell me it’s not just me who does that?).

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Happy Easter everyone! I hope you love my cupcakes as much as I do. A big thank you again to Sarah for trusting me enough to let me take over her beautiful blog for the day! xx

Thanks again to Lucy for creating these gorgeous cupcakes for Love Swah, and don’t forget to swing by her blog Bake Play Smile for more delicious dessert recipes and give her some love!

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