Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Crispy Rice Chocolate Christmas Tree and Cupcakes

December is the month full of parties and celebration, there are parties for school, for work and for family and friends.  The host usually ask their guests to bring along a plate to share and we simply have a good time together.  I'd much prefer homebake treat rather than buying from the shop because it is unique and most of the time it tastes a lot better!  I also like to receive comments from other people and that helps to bring up the conversation at the parties.  If you haven't got much time to prepare a treat, this Crispy Rice Christmas Tree is the one for you.  There is no baking, just melt the chocolate and mix it with the rice bubbles. (Who wants to turn on the oven when it's already 30c) It does need a bit of a skill in making the layer but it has very simple steps that a kid can easily master that.  If that's too much, you can simply spoon the rice mixture into muffin cases and sprinkle some lollies, sprinkles, coconut and marshmallow on top.  My kids are taking these to school for their break-up parties then they will start their summer holiday.  We are going to put up the Christmas tree and lights around the house this weekend to begin the celebration of Christmas!

Crispy Rice Chocolate Christmas Tree and Cupcakes

300g milk or dark cooking chocolate (I put in 100g milk and 200g dark)
1 1/2 cups Rice Bubbles
3/4 cup desiccated coconut

For the decoration:
coloured sprinkles
extra coconut for cupcakes


  1. Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for about 3-4 minutes on medium heat.  Stir till chocolate  is melted.
  2. Add in Rice bubbles and coconuts and stir till combine.
  3. Line two trays with baking paper.  Spoon mixture into a cross shape.  You will need 6 crosses in graduating sizes.  Sprinkle with coloured sprinkles and smarties.  Chill in the fridge for 1 hour or until the chocolate is firm.
  4. To assemble the Christmas tree: place the largest cross on the bottom of the serving plate, spoon a little of melted chocolate in the centre to secure it.  Then sit the next cross on top.  Repeat the procedure for the remaining crosses.  
  5. Cut a large marshmallow into star shape with a pair of scissor to put on top of the tree.
  6. For the cupcake, spoon the mixture into muffin cases and sprinkle with smarties, marshmallow, coconuts and coloured sprinkles.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

S'more Cupcakes

This is the quickest and easiest cupcake I've ever come across to (not the prettiest one though because of my poor cooking skill, I have seen some very nice S'more cupcake from other bloggers) It is just a sandwich of cookies with a layer of melted chocolate and topped with marshmallow with some cake decoration.  S'more cupcake or biscuits bar is originated from America which is a popular campfire snack made from a sandwich of Graham Crackers with melted chocolate, nuts and toasted marshmallow.  It's a quick fix for the craving for something sweet in less than 20 minutes.

December is approaching and the crowd waiting for the shops to open in the morning is getting bigger and the Christmas spirits is rising with parties and celebration.  I went to celebrate Thanksgiving with my American friend and got to understand more about this celebration.  It is the celebration of harvest with a big feast.  We had turkey, stuffing, ham, mash potatoes, corn and bean followed by pumpkin pie for dessert.  My friend introduced me to pumpkin pie last year and I made these little pumpkin tartlets for her party this year.  Of course her's taste better but I have lots of fun making these tartlet and the pastry is good, too.


S'more Cupcakes
(make 12)

24 digestive biscuits or Graham Crackers
milk or dark cooking chocolate

toasted coconut
coloured sprinkle
pistachio nuts
chocolate balls


  1. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.  Lay 12 biscuits onto the trays or place them into a big muffin tray with paper case if it fits in.  Add pieces of chocolate on top and then lay another layer of biscuits on top.
  2. Bake at 160c oven for about 7 minutes or until the chocolate has melted.  Remove the tray from the oven and cool slightly.  Push the biscuits down to secure a bit.
  3. Place some marshmallow on top of each cupcake and bake for further 10 minutes or until the marshmallow brown slightly.  Leave cool slightly, then decorate the cupcake with toasted coconut with pistachio, sprinkles or chocolate balls.  Enjoy the cupcake while it is still warm!

 Source: adopted and modified from the cookbook 500 cupcakes from Fergal Connolly

Monday, November 21, 2011

Birthday Pizza Cookies

I made this pizza cookies for my son's birthday.  We invited a few of his friends for a sleep over party, we had pizza and pasta followed by these cookies.  The boys came to our house with big bags, not full of clothes but full of water guns and toy guns that they had so much fun playing that they don't need much of a sleep.  

This cookies is inspired by the Betty Crocker Cookie Book.  If you don't want to bake, you can use store bought sweet cookies then ice the cookies with frosting and decorate with some chocolate and lollies for small pizza.  It will be a crowd pleaser at any kids party!

Birthday Pizza Cookies

1/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, soften
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the frosting:
100g dark chocolate
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup icing sugar
4 tablespoons or more milk

For decoration:
mini marshmallow
white chocolate, melted

  1. Preheat oven at 180c.  Beat sugar, butter, vanilla together until creamy.  Add egg and stir in flour and baking powder.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.
  2. Roll dough to the base of the pizza pan or shape dough into small round shape for small pizza.  Bake about 30 minutes or until the cookies is golden brown.  Cool cookies at wire rack.
  3. For the frosting: melt chocolate and butter in a small saucepan under low heat.  Add in sugar and enough milk to make a smooth paste.
  4. Use a knife to spread frosting to cool cookies.  Then top with marshmallow and smarties.  Drizzle cookies with melted white chocolate.  Keep cookies in tin to retain freshness.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Marmalade Almond Muffins

When I was flicking through my recipe books for my weekly bake, I found this recipe that would use up the marmalade I made a while ago.  I have changed the almond flakes into almond meal and half the flour with wholemeal flour to make this zesty muffin packed with fibre.  If you're tired of having marmalade on toast, why not making this for breakfast with a cup of coffee?

Summer is coming in December but the temperature has already reached 30c.  I am really looking for the summer holiday to take the kids to the beach or just hide myself in the air-conditioner room while having hot curry!


Marmalade Almond Muffins
(make 12)

1 cup self-raising flour
1 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
125g butter, chopped
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup orange marmalade
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
almond flakes for extra topping

Marmalade Syrup:
1/4 cup orange marmalade combine with 2 tablespoon hot water


  1. Preheat oven to 200c.  Place muffin paper cases into muffin tin.
  2. Sift the self-raising flour into a bowl and then add the wholemeal self-raising flour.  Rub in butter with finger tips to the flour.  Stir in sugar, eggs, almond meals, marmalade and milk.  Sprinkle extra almond flakes on top.
  3. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean when inserted into the muffin.  Brush warm muffins with the marmalade syrup.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Almond Crisps

I had the draft of this cookies in my blog for a while, I actually made this in winter when it is was cold and the butter took so long to soften.  I ended up beating it with sugar in a double boiler with hot water to speed up the process.  It is really buttery and crispy like the Danish cookies and it is a perfect thing to go along with a cup of tea.  When I was living in Hong Kong, our relatives usually give us tins of Danish Cookies for Chinese New Year.  And in Australia, those Danish cookies can only be seen around Christmas time.  There are about 7 weeks to Christmas and 3 more weeks for the school ended for a long summer holiday.  With the preparation for Christmas and end of the year activities at school, life couldn't be busier at this time of the year! 
Almond Crisps

125g butter, softened
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup self-raising flour
1/4 cup almond meal
2 tablespoons flaked almonds


  1. Preheat oven to 200c/180c fan-forced.  Line baking tin with baking paper.
  2. Beat butter and sugar in a mixing bowl with electric mixer until smooth.  Stir in flour and almond meal.
  3. Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls, 5cm apart.  Flatten slightly with a fork.  Sprinkle with flaked almonds.
  4. Bake about 10 minutes or until brown.  Cool on wire rack.
Source: adopted from Australian Women's Weekly - Mix -Cakes, Muffins, Biscuits + Pudding

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Prawn Salad with Mango Mayonnaise

I made this salad a year ago before I started blogging.  I had this friend travelled a lot for work and he took some photos of the food he had when travelling first class in the plane.  The food served at first class was much better than the one I had when I travelled economy class.  As I probably don't have the chance travelling first class so I start making the dishes from his photos and  start cooking more and more western style food until I decide to challenge myself and start blogging about food.  Although I still haven't had the confidence in handling big chuck of meat such as roast leg of lamb and roast turkey etc., I am having more experience in using herbs and trying out new recipes.  What I like about this salad is that I do not put any salt and sugar into it and it tastes so fresh and natural.  My husband bought a tray of mango home the other day and I'd just love to make this salad again!

Prawn Salad with Mango Mayonnaise

fresh raw prawns
green salad
1 mango (1/2 sliced, 1/2 leave for mayonnaise)
1-2 tablespoons low fat mayonnaise
olive oil


  1. Remove heads and shell from prawns, use a toothpick to remove the poo vein.  Heat oil in pan and pan fried the prawns until cooked, season with some pepper and paprika. 
  2. Arrange salad onto the plate with mango and avocado then topped with cooked prawns.  Drizzle with some olive oil if wished. 
  3. For the mayonnaise: Cut mango into dice and blend it with mayonnaise into a blender until smooth.  Drizzle the mango mayonnaise over the salad. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Success of the Fundraising for Breast Cancer

I couldn't hold my tears when the principle at school announced at the assembly that we had raised over $1000 in only ten days for the Pink Luncheon to raise fund for breast cancer.  It was my first time organising fund raising for charity and I was overwhelmed with the supported from the school, customers from the restaurant, local businesses and the girls from the netball club.  On the day of the luncheon, we had only about $600 raised (which had already hit our target of $500) then 31 people turned up and they generously purchased multi-draw raffles tickets and buying merchandises from the Pink Box.  My cupcakes was a hit as well.  Everyone had a wonderful time and a nice meal was served by my chef husband.  The guests wrote little supporting messages for their family and friends that had suffered from cancer and we put those messages onto our wall to memorise them.  They also signed for the painting which was painted by the close friend of my other organiser who had recovered from breast cancer.  It's a pleasure to see the guests winning the prizes from the raffles and enjoy a great time together for a good cause.  For $1200 raised, it can help to fund 3 days of research into a rare type of breast cancer and that's a small step closer to the cure!  After a month of organising the event, my husband and I went to bed feeling so happy and good for what we had achieved.  I am looking forward to get involve with the biggest morning tea and relay for life next year and hopefully we can help other people suffering from cancer and keep fighting for them!

In order to say thank you to one of the group of ladies coming to the luncheon, I baked this choc chip cookies for them.  It's my daughter's famous recipe that she baked it for charity and gift for our family most of the time.  My husband and my son both have the same expression when they eat the cookies, it's mmmmmm like a heaven to them.  Because it's her special recipe, I have to keep it as a secret!