Thursday, 29 December 2011

Spiced Pumpkin & Pecan Biscuits

Hello all!

I want so badly to say Happy New Year to you, however I am being incredibly impatient and cannot wait to post this recipe! And also I kind of wasn't prepared to say goodbye to 2011 in that last post as I was all hyped up about Christmas. So now that all the Christmas stuff has died down, I'm ready to release this year and head on to 2012! So, if you're reading this in 2011, Happy 2011! And if you're reading this in 2012, Happy New Year!

2011 has been a big year, but 2012 will be even bigger. For one thing, it's my last year at school, and then the big wide world is right there waiting for me. I'm kind of scared, very excited, happy and sad. Endings and beginnings, hellos and goodbyes, and lots of study! Ugh.

Oh well, at the moment I'll just take things day by day, and see what happens from there.

At the moment, I'm living it up in the Snowy Mountains - except it's summer. I love the snow, but at this time of year it's just as beautiful. The wildflowers, the green slopes, and the crystal clear rivers - it's so peaceful, the perfect way to see out the year. Yesterday and today we went on an overnight hike. Camping out in the mountains was magical... and extremely cold at night! Going off track was wonderful - you really get away from the tourist-y rush, and feel like intrepid explorers! Camping here is like nothing else. Because there are no trees, you can see forever.

But anyway, onto the biscuits. I know what you're thinking - pumpkin?! In a biscuit?!
But have no fear. These biscuits have been delightfully made over by the addition of cinnamon, mixed spice and maple syrup, and mixing in pecans give a lovely crunch to the soft and almost cake-like texture. They're feather light and wholesome. Perfect with a cup of tea!

{Recipe adapted from Honey and Jam}

Spiced Pumpkin and Pecan Biscuits

Makes 24

2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp mixed spice
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 2/3 cups caster sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup pecan nuts, toasted
300g steamed or roasted butternut pumpkin, mashed
1 egg


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line 2-3 baking trays with baking paper.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, mixed spice and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add the pumpkin, egg, and maple syrup, and beat until smooth. Mix in the dry ingredients, and the cooled pecan nuts.

Using a tablespoon, place spoonfuls of the mixture onto the lined baking trays, and flatten slightly.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown around the edges.

P.S. Happy New Year again! Yay!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Jolly Red Velvet Christmas Cupcakes

Season's greetings, friends!

Well, it's two days out from Christmas, and I think I am more or less ready for the festive mayhem that is to encompass the next few days. My Christmas lights are up and my house looks jolly indeed, my Christmas tree happily occupies the corner of our living room, and our family has been on top of the present-buying for the relatives, so no cousin has to be left out awkwardly for the celebrations!

Luckily this year, as mentioned in an earlier post, my friend Sian and I have started a little plate-painting business, so last-minute presents have been at the ready for friends, family, and workmates. Just yesterday we had our twilight stall at the farmers' markets, which went over fabulously, with lots of purchases and interest in our designs! Obviously lots of people had left their shopping till the last minute, but hey, that suited us fine! It gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling to know that on Christmas, people will tear away the packaging to reveal our little plates. I hope they are enjoyed.

Aside from holding the stall, wrapping presents and decorating the house, I decided to bake these gorgeous little red velvet cupcakes. I had never tried red velvet before, but I am always up for new things, and thought the shade of red complemented the occasion nicely. So I made a batch for my friends, cooking up a right crimson mess in my kitchen in the process - but hey, it was totally worth it.

These cupcakes are soft and, well, velvety, and the cream cheese frosting on top is light, and perfect piped into a small dollop on top, so you can still see the deep red underneath. I think the cupcakes are perfect as they are, but I had a bit of spare time on my hands, and wanted to make the cupcakes look a little more festive, so I made some fondant to mould into little Chrissy shapes! My favourite shape would have to be the snowman - he's just so damn cute!

{Original recipe (minus the fondant) adapted from 'Everything Alice', by Hannah Read-Baldrey and Christine Leech}

Have a wonderful Christmas everybody! I'll post again in the New Year!

Red Velvet Christmas Cupcakes

Makes about 20 cupcakes
340g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 tbsp cocoa powder
50ml red food colouring
A dash of milk
110g unsalted butter, softened
340g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla essence
250g lite sour cream
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp baking soda

110g unsalted butter, softened
240g cream cheese
340g icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence

Fondant (optional):
1.5 cups icing sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp milk or water
Food colouring


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Place 20 cupcake wrappers in muffin tins.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and food colouring. If the mixture is still dry and forms little 'pebbles', add just enough milk to make a thick, shiny paste with no lumps.

Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. When light and fluffy, add the eggs, then the cocoa paste and the vanilla essence - mix until smooth. Add the sifted flour and the sour cream, and again mix until smooth.

In a cup, mix the vinegar and baking soda - it will fizz. Add this to the cake mixture. Divide the mixture evenly between the cupcake cases, and bake for 20 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in their tins for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To decorate:

Once the cakes have cooled completely, combine the butter and cream cheese and blend until smooth. Sift in the icing sugar and add the vanilla extract. Using a piping bag, or a dolloping-instument (ie. a spoon), ice the cupcakes.

To make the fondant, combine icing sugar, butter and milk/water in a large bowl and mix until a dough-like mixture forms. If the mixture is too soft and creamy, add more icing sugar until the right consistency is acheived. Knead for 1-2 minutes. Divide the fondant into bowls, and colour separately with different food colouring. Model as desired, and pop onto the top of your cupcakes!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Dark Chocolate-Orange Ice Cream

Greetings, friends!

Well, I have had a massive week - I went on camp for 5 days, and gee it was hard work! I felt kind of guilty leaving you folk stranded out there, with nothing to read/bake from me, so for that, I apologise. And yet, on the other hand, I had a fabulous week, and I'm back now, so stop complaining!

 Thank you.

Good thing I had baked some treats before I went away, because I am too exhausted to even do my favourite pastime! But I'm sure I'll have more than enough time to bake now, what with my long holidays ahead.

Christmas is just a week away! This excites me, and frustrates me too. I have missed out on a week's festive preparations, and now I am struggling to keep up with all this cheer! I have not even got around to putting up my outside Christmas lights yet, and my house looks extremely plain and un-Christmasy. I'm sorry, house!
Perhaps I'll put up some Chrissy photos when the big day comes around. My Christmas tree is pretty damn impressive, if I say fo myself. One year I'd like to have a real tree. That would make me jolly indeed.

Ooh! The thought of having a real tree made my mind venture even further into Highly-Unlikely Land. Wait for it.... how amazing would it be to have a white Christmas!?
I love Australia, and our family Christmases are always lovely and summery, but come on - snow, fireplaces, hot drinks, etcetera etcetera - that would be phenomenal.
So... anyone want to fly me to Canada? Switzerland? No?

Well, I'll just have to show you this delicious ice cream to keep my thoughts cold, and to remind me that Australian summers are truly the bomb-diggity.

Alrighty - here goes.

{Recipe adapted from Serendipity Sundaes, by Stephen Bruce}

Dark Chocolate-Orange Ice Cream

Makes 1 litre

2 cups full-cream milk
2 cups lite thickened cream
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup caster sugar
270g good-quality dark chocolate
Juice and zest of half a large orange

Combine the milk and cream in large saucepan over low heat, and heat until warm. Once warm, add the chopped chocolate, and stir over the heat with a wooden spoon until smooth and the mixture is beginning to simmer. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a medium heat-safe bowl, beat the egg yolks and caster sugar with an electric mixer until thick and pale yellow (2 min).

Add a quarter of the warm chocolate mixture to the yolk mixture and whisk until combined. Then, whisk the yolk mixture into the remaining chocolate mixture and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, until slightly thickened. DO NOT OVERHEAT. Nobody likes scrambled egg ice cream!

Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture into a clean bowl, and cool to room temperature. Then, stir in the orange juice (but not the zest). Place in the fridge and cool until chilled.

Once completely cool, freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker (according to the manufacturer's instructions). Just before you turn the ice cream maker off, stir in the orange zest, making sure it is spread evenly throughout.

Remove ice cream and store in an airtight container in the freezer.

Sunday, 11 December 2011



Sorry for the inconvenience, but as it is now SCHOOL HOLIDAYS (!), I have a week-long boat camp to attend. I have been incredibly busy what with school finishing up, so I am sincerely sorry for my 7-day postponement of posts. Please don't cry though, I'll be back in a week!

Have a festive week! Eep!


P.S. Hmm? What will the next post be? The above photo might give a hint, mightn't it?


Monday, 5 December 2011

Peach and Blueberry Tart

Well hey all you summer-lovin' folk out there.

Hip hooray for summer! The sun is shining, the birds are singing - oh no wait, the weather has been cold and wintery and rainy and AARGH. I thought I'd be all summery and bake a lovely fruity tart for this fine weather, but the atmosphere has been ever so moody, and is having a little laugh behind my back, I think. Well, wherever YOU are, I hope the weather is nice, so you can enjoy this delicious seasonal treat.

Another hip hooray is in order because... school is finishing the day after tomorrow! Hopefully now I will be able to take a big breath and not think about all the stuff I have due the next day.

And sorry for doing this but... Christmas! Yay, woohoo, yeehaw!
Ok, enough. I know you get sick of my jolly holiday talk.

I cannot believe that the school year is finally drawing to a close. This year has been a tough one, and an amazing one. I have achieved so much (like my little blog, and my friend Sian and I's plate stall), and am so lucky to have the people in my life to support me in what I do every day. I feel I have really grown up this year, and for the first time I am feeling that even if I do leave home soon, I'll be able to cope independently, because I know what a loving and caring support network I have right here at home. I love everybody! Thankyou.

I don't really know what spurred me to write what I just wrote. I just had a really appreciative sort of moment just then! Wow. I hope that all you readers out there (if you're out there) have that same kind of love and sense of kinship that I have here. If not, I hope you find it very soon.

Ok! On to the tart! What more needs to be said? It's yummy, it's fruity, it's fresh, and it's perfect for sharing with your loved ones.

Recipe adapted from Always With Butter (amazing blog + photos).

Peach and Blueberry Tart

Serves 8


For the crust:
125g unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/4 tsp almond essence (but don't fret if you can't find it in a shop)
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups plain flour
For the filling:
1/2 cup thickened cream
1 egg
1/4 tsp almond essence
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp honey
3 peaches, sliced
2 punnets blueberries
Icing sugar, sifted, to dust


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius, and grease a 23cm tart pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the butter and sugar until smooth and well-combined. Add the remaining pastry ingredients and continue to mix until blended nicely.

Press into the tart pan, including up the sides, and bake crust for 12-15 minutes, until puffed slightly and lightly golden.

For the filling, whisk the cream, egg, essences and honey until well-combined.

Arrange the fruits nicely in your cooled crust, and pour the filling over the top. To make your tart look pretty, don't cover all the fruit with the filling, leave the tops uncovered.

Place the tart back in the oven (still in the tart pan), and bake for 45 minutes, or until the filling is set and it is starting to go lightly golden. Straight after removing from the oven, sprinkle with icing sugar.

When ready to serve, sprinkle again with a dusting of icing sugar.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Raspberry and White Chocolate Chip Brownies

Hello again.

Well, this weekend was an incredibly busy one. Full of rowing and rain and heat and sunburn. I had a great time at the regatta we travelled down to Sydney for, even though the weather was being crazy as hell. First it was foggy and cold and absolutely bucketing down with rain, then it cleared up and got super, super hot. To prove how hot it was, I put sunscreen on three times, and I still got burnt! My poor ears are all red now, it looks like I'm embarrassed all the time. Oh dear.

The school year is finally rounding up, and I am excited for the holidays. Year 12 is, to say the least, quite intense. I'm not sure what I'm meant to do in the summer holidays - twiddle my thumbs and wait for my schooling to return next year, or do some work? Maybe I should just bake for the whole holidays. Yes. That would be good.

Ooh! Christmas is coming too! By this time next week, I assure you that I'll have my Christmas tree up and decorated, the twinkle lights draped over the front of the house, and I'll be spreading some Chrissy cheer to the people around me - whether they like it or not!
Have you guessed that Christmas is my favourite time of year?

Anyway... I'm sure you want me to divulge the amazingness that is these Raspberry and White Chocolate Chip Brownies. The other week, my friends baked some brownies. I bit into one, and a little red splotch gleamed up at me. I thought I had bit into my lip or something, but no, they had baked brownies with raspberries in them! I had never heard of such a thing. Are they a well-known brownie ingredient? I was simultaneously confused and delighted.

So I just HAD to make them. I adapted a simple brownie recipe from a book called 'Chocolate Magic' by Kate Shirazi, and added the raspberries and some good ol' white chocolate chips (for a more traditional spin).
Raspberries and white chocolate = red and white = Christmas!
... I'm sorry, I'll stop now.

The result is an intense, soft and fudgy treat, that marries together distinct flavours perfectly. The raspberries kind of melt into the brownie, which gives the brownie a lovely texture and a fantastic 'zing'.

Please do me a favour, and don't overcook the brownies! There is nothing worse than a dry brownie. Much appreciated. Thank you very much.

Go on! Get baking!

Raspberry and White Chocolate Chip Brownies

 Makes about 12


110g unsalted butter
75g dark chocolate, chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
225g caster sugar
50g plain flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
100g white chocolate chips
100g fresh (or frozen) raspberries


Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease a square/rectangular tin and line it with baking paper (making sure that it hangs slightly over the sides, as the brownies do rise before falling back down again).
Melt the butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl that sits perfectly on top of some boiling water in a small saucepan on the stove (make sure that the bowl doesn't touch the water!). Stir with a wooden spoon to get rid of any lumps. Once smooth, remopve from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
Add the eggs, sugar, flour and baking powder and mix well with a wooden spoon until smooth. GENTLY mix in the white chocolate chips and raspberries (raspberries are very soft and easily squished!) Pour batter into the tin, making sure it's spread easily.
Bake for 30 minutes, until top is crusty, but inside is still moist. Leave the brownies in the tin to cool for 10 minutes (the middle will harden as it cools). Cut  into about 16 squares, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Fairy Bread and Fairy Bread Pizza

Hullo again!

Gah! The end of the year has rolled around again, right under my nose! End of year assessments are nigh, stress is moderately high, and thoughts of Christmas are oh-so tantalising. Christmas is my favourite time of year - and my favourite time for baking!

Sigh. So many goodies to be made, so little time.

On another note: you knew it was coming. Don't pretend to be surprised. The name of my blog is 'the fairy bread chronicles', so obviously I just had to make fairy bread (and a twist on the original too).

Fairy bread is the ultimate symbol of nostalgia for me. I do not know how many pieces of fairy bread I consumed in my childhood, but I know it was (and still is) my absolute favourite party treat. It's just so pretty and colourful! And dead simple to make too.


End of story. Thank you very much.

On yet another note: Fairy bread is so simple that it pretty much doesn't count as a recipe, so I had a little epiphany that I'm pretty proud of - Fairy Bread Pizza.

I love sweet pizzas. They're playful and fun to eat. So combined with the concept of fairy bread?
Wow. It's the kind of food that I imagine magical creatures like unicorns and gnomes would eat.

First I'll do a little "mini-recipe" for the fairy bread, just in case you have been hiding under a rock and for some reason have no idea what this delicious food is and/or how to make it.

Fairy Bread

Makes as much as you want!

White bread, sliced
Butter or margarine
Hundreds and Thousands


Pour as many Hundreds and Thousands out onto a baking tray or large plate of some description., evenly covering the whole surface.

Butter a slice of white bread, spreading right out to the crusts.

Place the slice of bread buttered side down onto the Hundreds and Thousands, and lightly press down to coat the entire buttered surface. Shake off any excess and cut into mini triangles.


Now for the Fairy Bread Pizza.
(Dough adapted from 'Pizza Modo Mio' by John Lanzafame)
Overall recipe product of Angela's brain.

Fairy Bread Pizza

Serves 6 (makes one pizza)


1 tsp dried yeast
A pinch of salt
100ml warm water
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra
160g plain flour, sifted
1 tbsp brown sugar
300ml good-quality vanilla ice cream
Hundreds and Thousands


Whisk together the yeast, salt and warm water in a small bowl until just combined. Whisk in the olive oil and leave in a warm place for 10 minutes, until the mixture starts to bubble slightly.
In a large bowl (ideally of a standing electric mixer) place the sifted flour and the mixture, and knead (with a dough hook attachment) for 15 minutes. Alternatively you could knead by hand. The dough should be smooth, not sticky, and elastic.

Rub the inside of a large bowl with a little olive oil, and roll the ball of dough around in it to coat. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave in a calm spot for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
Punch down the dough to get any air bubbles out. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top and knead the dough briefly, so the sugar is evenly spread. Shape and flatten the dough, and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover with a tea towel again, and leave for 15 minutes, or until risen slightly again.

Remove the tea towel and place dough in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Let cool until nicely warm, then spread with slightly softened vanilla ice cream and sprinkle with Hundreds and Thousands.
Cut into slices and serve immediately.