Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Berry Crumble & Custard

I was feeling inspired the other evening and decided to bake with whatever I could find in the pantry. We had left over berry compote that needed using up and it became my excuse as a dessert for two.
It was so simple and tasted amazing! I added a few extra strawberries to the compote, a dash of vanilla, sugar and corn flour for the berry mix. The topping was ever so simple - rolled oats, flour, brown sugar and butter. The custard isn't a must but a definite recommendation, it brought the whole dessert together to make a delicious and delectable dish that tasted like a lot more effort than it took! 

If you have left over berries or fruit that has gone past its prime, a crumble is a quick way to use it up with great results. My recipe made enough for two ramekins, you can double or triple the ingredients if needed. Sugar should be adjusted according to taste, you can add the sugar at the end if you prefer. Make custard according to packet instructions. Here is a guess-tamite of what I used. 

Ingredients -

Half cup left over berry compote – frozen berries, lemon juice and sugar – slightly crushed
10 frozen strawberries
2 tbsp sugar (adjust accordingly to tartness of berries)
2 tsp corn flour dissolved with 1 tbsp boiling water
1 tsp vanilla essence

Crumble -
¼ cup rolled oats
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
¼ cup plain flour

- Heat berries, sugar, vanilla and corn flour in a saucepan until cooked through.
- Mix together crumble ingredients **cannot remember exact measurements. If it looks too dry, add more butter and if too wet add flour. You can taste test for sugar also. **
- Using two ramekins, divide berry filling equally, top with crumble and bake at 180C for 10 minutes.
- Serve with hot custard.

Happy Baking!
Melanie xo

Friday, 16 August 2013

Peter Rabbit

I was so happy to be able to make a gift that would perfectly suit the room of a new baby! This Baby's Blanket, Booties and Mittens were made for my sister in law's sister who is soon expecting her first born. The gender of the baby is being kept top secret, however I had was given a colour palette of soft grays and white to work with. I had some concern with the booties, as the gold accent is quite feminine but wether it be a boy or a girl I'm sure they will look adorable either on chubby little feet or on display.

I absolutely adore her idea of a 'bunny' inspired room for the new baby. With the many shades of gray available, all look beautiful against a white background or vice versa. All pastel shades of yellow, pink and blue can be added for a pop of colour when the baby's gender is revealed!

These mittens were so easy! Keep an eye out for the pattern coming soon to the blog! 

I used a basic granny square for the whole blanket as well as 2 shades of gray and white. The centre square is triple the size of the smaller squares. I stitched a scalloped edge for the border and join the squares using a simple single crochet.

I highly recommend finishing off your blankets with a decorative border, it really helps to achieve a professional piece. I also blocked the pieces after stitching was complete, this helps to even out any bumps in the work.

Melanie xo

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Marie Chocolate Pudding

Just lovely.... not else comes to mind when I think about this dessert. It is for me, a perfect balance of chocolate and butter biscuits, not too sweet and not to rich. Which is rather dangerous for me as I managed to eat at three quarters of the cakey pudding alone, without helpers.

I should not however, no one else in the house enjoyed it as much as me. Some thought the biscuits should be more crunchy and some recommended more chocolate. I suggest you make this to your liking, if you prefer more chocolate, use less biscuits and more chocolate in between the layers and if you prefer more of a crunch, consider adding more nuts or less soaking.

The original recipe came from Farwin at Love and Other Spices. I love her blog and after trying out her recipe, I know I'll be returning for more!

The only things I changed from the original recipe was the amount of biscuits used and the cream. There was no specified amount in weight and I ended up using 2 1/2 packets of Tea Biscuits (rectangular shape) instead of the 1 packet she listed. I also bought the wrong cream home which was thick cream instead of whipping, I used the thick cream and didn't whip it and the result came out great!

Here is the recipe -


100g cooking chocolate pieces
3 packets of Tea or Marie biscuits
250ml whipping cream or 250ml thick cream
100g butter, room temp
2 eggs, separated 
1/2 C castor sugar
1 1/2 TBSP cocoa powder
1/2 milk to soak biscuits
Chopped cashews

- Melt the chocolate in the microwave stirring every 30 sec until melted.
- Allow chocolate to cool slightly then whisk in egg yolks quickly, leave to cool.
- Whip cream until it holds its shape (no need to whip if using thick cream) and then combine with chocolate mixture. 
- Cream butter and half the sugar until light and creamy then add choc mix and sifted cocoa. 
- Whisk egg whites until they begin to peak then add remaining sugar. Continue to whisk until it becomes a glossy white.
- Fold egg whites into choc mixture. 
- Line a rectangular baking tray with baking paper. 
- Dip tea biscuits in milk and make a base layer in the tray, then spoon over and spread the chocolate mixture followed by the cashews. 
- Make the second layer, first with the milk dipped biscuits, then chocolate mix and then cashews. I made around 4 layers, this may changed depending on the tray size and the amount of chocolate mixture you use in between. 
- End with chocolate layer on top and sprinkle with a few cashews. 
- Refrigerate overnight, this dessert gets better with age. 

Next time I may try adding some mint chips in between or even some fresh strawberries!

Get creative and have fun!

Melanie xo 

Friday, 9 August 2013

Eid Mubarak!

Wishing you all a very blessed Eid! 

This Eid al Fitr, we spent our very busy day cooking, travelling and eating. As there was some debate this year over the moon sighting, we had thought that Eid may unexpectedly be on the 7th of August and not the 8th. Thankfully this wasn't the case and it gave us an extra day to prepare for the Eid festivities. This also meant that in the hurry of preparing for what we thought would be an early Eid, we ended up doing most of the cooking preparations a day early! Alhamdulilah! 

A glimpse inside the Islamic celebration of Eid

This was our schedule for the day, I hope it provides some insight for those non-muslim followers!

5.30am - Ready to leave the house to attend the Eid Prayer
6am - Arrive at Crown Prince Hamdan Mosque (the royal family of Dubai prayed here also, very exciting!)
7am - Arrive home and prepare Eid Breakfast
8am - Eat!
10am - Back to sleep for an eventful afternoon
3.30pm - Attend Open House of friends, chat & eat
4pm - Leave for Umm al Quwain
5pm- Arrive at Umm al Quwain and distribute toys to children for Eid
6pm - Visit the hospital to give Eid Mubarak to patients
7.30pm - Meet a party of 16 for dinner at The Hilton Resort and Spa in Ras al Khaimah 
11.30pm - Leave for our long drive home to Dubai

Day 2 and 3 of Eid also consist of attending dinner parties and celebrating. A lot of eating and a lot of outfit changes! 

In the next few coming posts I hope to provide some of the recipes that I made for our Eid Breakfast. We had a a mix of breakfast items and some meatier dishes, I guess its an Asian tradition to have big meals for Eid breakfast! We had French Toast with Berry Compote, Lamb Kurma, Scrambled Eggs with Goats Cheese & Chives, Spiced Rubbed Roast Chicken, Lamb Kofta, Peri Peri Chicken Talkari, Sweet Potato Pudding, Almond & Pistachio Milk. 

As you can probably guess, being the 'token white girl' in the family, I was the one who decided on the Eggs, French Toast and Sweet Potato Pudding! 

Here are some picture from our day.

Such a sweet little boy from a such a kind family! 

The beautiful outdoor area and beach front of Hilton RAK. 

We all took full advantage of the chocolate fountain. 

And the with that, I bid you farewell!

Melanie xo

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Slice of Sunshine

I'm unsure about the weather where you are, but here is Dubai the weather is less than impressive. The sun is hidden by sandy skies and the summer heat is (for me) unbearable. I also know that the winter weather in little Tasmania is freezing cold, with more rainy days than clear. Wherever you may be, I hope these images add some sunshine to your day!


Paris Rooftops

Capri, Italy

image from herblog.com


image: travelhere.com

North Carolina
image: bluepueblo.tumblr.com

Everyone needs cake.

image: calderclark.com

The millions of pilgrams surround the Kabah in Mekkah, Saudi Arabia

Sweetest flower, Babys Breath

image: chicvinagebrides.com


image: gthegentleman.tumblr.com

Too adorable. 

image: ittybittyfluffy.blogspot.co.uk

image: psweadoreyou.blogspot.com

Grumpy Cat for Prada

Roses & Teacups

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Lemon Syrup Cake

A quick and easy Lemon Cake recipe that could easily rival the Ritz Carlton 1920's Tea Room Cake. Moist and delicious, this cake keeps well for days and the lemon syrup is pungent and just the right amount of tart.

I made this as a dessert for an iftar dinner we had for some family members visiting Dubai. That afternoon I found myself stuck with what to make while flicking through countless cook books, until my husband made my life so much easier by picking for me! As he is a lemon lover, this was his first choice. I was um-ing and ar-ing about his decision but it turned out to be a hit! Take note dear bakers, if your stuck on what to bake, ask your husband, father or son (it has worked very well for me so far!).
The recipe calls for buttermilk but as I cannot find buttermilk in Dubai, I used just under 1 cup of fresh milk, mixed with 1 1/2 TBSP of white vinegar.

Here is the recipe-


  • 250g butter, softened
  • 1 TBSP finely grated lemon rind
  • 1 C caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 C buttermilk (or milk mixed with vinegar)
  • 1/3 C lemon juice
  • 2 C SR flour

  • 1/3 C lemon juice
  • 1/4 C water
  • 3/4 C caster sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan assisted. Grease (well) a 24cm savarin tin (or 22cm round cake tin and line base and side with baking paper).
  2. Beat butter, rind and sugar using stand mixer or electric beaters until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. 
  3. Fold in milk, juice alternatively with flour.
  4. Spoon mixture into prepared tin; bake for about 50 mins if using savarin tin and 1 hr if using round tin. Cover cake with foil if browning too quickly. 
  5. Stand cake in tin for at least 5 mins before turning onto wire rack.
  6. Pour over the lemon syrup once it is cooled slightly.
  7. lemon syrup - Combine ingredients in a small saucepan; stir over heat, without boiling, until sugar dissolves. Simmer, uncovered, without stirring, 5 mins.