• Aug
  • 29
  • 2012

{sponsored post} aliya’s toy laptop

 

                        (Image above shows Aliya playing with her ‘VTech My Laptop’)

When we’re at my sister-in-law’s house, all the cousins would often fight over access to that one and only toy laptop. So when my daughter recently unwrapped a present we had gotten her, she was very excited that she now had her very own laptop. She started clicking the mouse and pressing the buttons on the keyboard.  It is something she is vey familiar with, as any 2 year old toddler would do, disturb mum when mum is on the laptop!

The Vtech laptop is fun, interactive and educational. It can keep an active toddler busy for a while well beyond their usual 2 minute attention span! It has various well-designed alphabetical and numerical based games.

As parents, my husband and I have always liked the idea of ‘educational toys’. Be it books, puzzles, play dough or anything else that involves hand and brain coordination. Obviously, kids will still need some physical playtime activities and games but the Vtech goes a long way to giving my children a head start in their development.

We got this laptop from www.oo.com.au  and they have a variety of games and toys to choose from for different ages and gender. Their website is user friendly and if you browse through the kids section, not only have they categorised their toys into boy/girl sections, they have also made categories for doll toys, electronic toys, educational toys, wooden toys, stuffed toys etc. This is something that I found extremely useful when navigating as a first time user. Unlike some other websites, I knew exactly where I was going rather than being overwhelmed by hundreds of products all at once. The best part about www.oo.com.au is that once you place an order and pay, your order is instantly delivered to your doorstep within 2-3 days.

I love online shopping!  The best part is that I can conveniently sit on my couch sipping my tea whilst browsing stock, all at my own convenience. So do check out the kids section at www.oo.com.au and I hope you have as much of an enjoyable browsing/shopping experience as I did.


  • Jun
  • 03
  • 2012

profiteroles

Profiteroles

Profiteroles or also known as cream puffs are not that hard to make but just requires time especially if you have 3 different fillings to make. I’ve made a cream chantilly, vanilla custard and chocolate mousse for this round of batch. And to me, the chocolate mousse wins hands down! I used Nigella Lawson’s Instant Chocolate Mousse recipe as I had no time to chill it overnight and needed something fairly quick, and her recipe is oh-so-yum. I’ll definitely be using it again and pouring them into glass cups to indulge on its own!

Profiteroles

The choux pasty is so soft yet still holds its form and is super light which really compliments the ‘a bit heavy’ chocolate mousse. You can put whatever fillings you want really, some put ice cream and custard with fruits, then top it off with a dusting of icing sugar or chocolate ganache.

Profiteroles

I have come across so many choux pastry recipes and have found the best. Not eggy or hard. The trick is not to use milk but water instead.

RECIPE FOR PROFITEROLES / CREAM PUFFS
Adapted from Graces Sweet Life

Serves: 18
Prep time: 20 mins
Bake time: 25-30 mins
Chill time: 30 mins to an hour (with filling inside)

Ingredients

140 g (1 cup + 2 tbsp) plain (all-purpose) flour
237 ml (1 cup) water
113 g (½ cup) unsalted butter, cut into 16 equal pieces
2 tsp caster sugar
½ tsp salt
4 medium eggs

Method

1. Preheat oven to 220° C.  Line 2 baking sheets with non-stick baking paper.

2. In a medium saucepan bring water, butter, sugar and salt to a boil over medium heat, stirring gently with a wooden spoon.

3. When mixture begins to boil, add sifted flour all at once and stir vigorously until paste reaches pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a big ball, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

4. Allow paste to cool, stirring a couple of times, wait 3-5 minutes to cool.

5. Add the eggs one-at-a-time, stirring vigorously after each addition making sure each egg is well incorporated before adding the next.

6. Transfer choux pastry to a large pastry bag fitted with large plain tip (i.e. Wilton 1A). Pipe 4-cm high mounds, spacing 5-cm apart, on prepared baking sheets.

7. To prevent tops from burning, use your finger tip and dip in a little water and then lightly touch the ends of each puff.

8. Immediately place in the oven to bake (water will help to create steam which helps create volume in the puffs while baking). Bake until tops and sides are golden, 25 to 30 minutes.  Turn off oven and allow puffs to rest in the oven for 5 minutes.

9. Remove from oven; poke each puff in the side with a small paring knife to allow steam to escape.  Transfer to wire rack and allow puffs to cool completely before adding the fillings.

____________________________________________________________________________

RECIPE FOR  CREAM CHANTILLY
Adapted from Graces Sweet Life with slight modifications

Ingredients

1/2 vanilla essence
300ml thickened cream
1 1/2 tbsp icing sugar, sifted

Method

1. Add the heavy cream, vanilla essence and icing sugar into bowl. Whisk together using an electric mixer/beater until soft peaks form or stiff peaks form

2. Refrigerate until ready to use.
____________________________________________________________________________

RECIPE FOR VANILLA CUSTARD
Adapted from Taste with slight modifications ( I halved the recipe)

Ingredients

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup thickened cream
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
2 egg yolks
1/2 tbsp cornflour
2 1/2 tbsp caster sugar

Method

1. Combine milk, vanilla essence and cream in a small saucepan.  Place over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until hot (do not allow to boil). Remove saucepan from heat.

2. Whisk egg yolks, cornflour and sugar in a heatproof bowl until well combined. Pour hot milk mixture over egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly.

3. Return mixture to saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 15 to 20 minutes or until custard thickens and coats the back of a metal spoon (do not allow custard to boil, as it might curdle).

4. Leave to cool for about 10 minutes before adding into each profiterole.

__________________________________________________________________________

 RECIPE FOR INSTANT CHOCOLATE MOUSSE
Adapted from Nigella Lawson with slight modifications ( I halved the recipe)

Ingredients

75g mini marshmallows
25g soft butter
125g good dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), chopped into small pieces
30ml hot water from a recently boiled kettle
1 x 140ml thickened cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I use 1 tsp essence)

Method

1. Put the marshmallows, butter, chocolate and water in a heavy-based saucepan.

2. Put the saucepan over low-medium heat, to melt the contents, stirring every now and again. Remove from the heat.

3. Meanwhile, whip the cream with the vanilla extract until thick, and then fold into the cooling chocolate mixture until you have a smooth, cohesive mixture.

4. Allow to cool in the frige before adding into each profiterole. Mixture will start to thickened a bit.

 

 

 


  • Jun
  • 01
  • 2012

a sneak peak…

picOf our grey and mustard DIY bedroom. Is it a nursery, toddler’s room or guest room? Well, thats what I’m trying to figure out myself too! For now, its all of the above. Stay tuned for more pictures. I am waiting for the sun to come up so I can take nice photos…at the moment, its dull and gloomy in wintery Melbourne. Lets hope for some sunshine soon xx


  • May
  • 18
  • 2012

oreo cheesecake

I had a packet of Oreo’s from a while back when Coles had them on special for $1, so I thought why not make something a little classy yet cute? I went on a hunt to find the perfect oreo cheesecake recipe and this did me proud!

What I liked about this recipe is that its not too dense or too light. Its just perfect. I love the creaminess and smoothness of the mixture, combined with the biscuit crunch…it certainly makes for a crowd pleasing dessert for the young and old.

 

RECIPE FOR OREO CHEESECAKE
Adapted from Gourmet Getaways with slight modifications

Serves: 12
Prep time: 20 mins
Chill time: 6 hours (min)

Ingredients

Base
80gm butter, melted
250gm Oreo biscuits

Cheesecake
200gm white chocolate
250ml pouring cream (regular unthickened)
375gm Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup boiling water
3 tsp gelatine

Top decoration
Whipped cream
12 halved oreo cookies

Method

1. Place the biscuit base ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it reaches a fine breadcrumb stage.

2. Press crumbs into a 12 cupcake base and refrigerate.

3. Combine water and gelatine and stir until fully dissolved.

4. Warm the cream and white chocolate in a double boiler and stir until smooth. Allow to cool until room temp.

5. Combine the cream cheese, vanilla and sugar in a food processor until the mixture is smooth and the sugar is dissolved. Add the white chocolate mixture to the food processor and combine. Pour the gelatin into the food processor and continue to mix the cheesecake filling until smooth.

6. Pour the filling into the prepared biscuit base.

7. In a piping bag, pipe out the whipped cream for the top decoration and finally put an oreo on top. Chill until set for at least 6 hours.

Note: I use cupcake cases first then before serving, take them out and place onto plate.


  • May
  • 03
  • 2012

spaghetti bolognese

 

RECIPE FOR SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE WITH MINCE BEEF

Serves: 4
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 1.5 hours

Ingredients

400g dried thin spaghetti
500g beef mince
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 carrots, diced
300g sliced mushrooms (or 400g can sliced champignons)
1 tsp oregano (or to your taste)
4 tbsp thick tomato paste
1 x 425g can peeled tomatoes
3 cups beef stock (i use vegetable stock or just water)
salt and pepper, to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
fresh shaved parmesan and/or powder parmesan to garnish

 

Method

1. Heat olive oil and saute onions and garlic in a medium pot.

2. Add mince beef and stir until evenly brown until lumps are broken.

3. Add carrots, stock/water, mushrooms, oregano, tomato paste and canned tomatoes. Stir for a bit and bring to a boil. Then simmer for 45 minutes until liquid has greatly reduced.

3. Add salt and pepper and stir.

4. Boil spaghetti with a bit of oil and salt, then drain under cold running water.

5. Serve immediately with hot bolognese sauce topped with cheese.

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