Lights! Camera!……. Brownies?

Training: Run Today was a ‘run’ day so I returned to my usual lake path after work. I did two laps – which came to 10km, then dashed home to get ready for a meal with friends. But not before checking on the progress of our new house. IMG_1657  Today it was all about lights, as we met with the electrician on site to hand over our light fittings. It also gave me the opportunity to see the progress of the house….including the bathrooms… IMG_2042 (Ensuite) IMG_2046 (Main bathroom) And now that the showers are in, they are almost complete! IMG_2044IMG_2037 Now,  while I am undoubtedly indulging in pad thai from a new Thai restaurant in Civic (yes I am pretty predictable when it comes to ordering dishes from a Thai restaurant), I wanted to leave you with a super sweet treat that was enjoyed by all last weekend. I may have been tired from the weekend’s trail race, but I was not too tired to spend a little time in the kitchen indulging in a certain love of mine….baking. IMG_1931  I had picked up this wonderful cocoa powder some time ago, which inspired me to make "chocolate" something. IMG_1934 And what could represent chocolate more than… IMG_1959 BROWNIES! Or GF walnut coconut brownies to be precise! IMG_1969 Unfortunately my brownies ended up more like little chocolate ‘cakes’ than rich / fudgey brownies. IMG_1948 The taste, however, was spot on and I particularly loved the addition of the toasted coconut. IMG_1965 But then again I am pretty biased when it comes to the chocolate / coconut combination. IMG_1966     Walnut Coconut Brownies (GF) – (makes 12)

  • 100g nuttelex (or butter if you would prefer)
  • 100g 85% dark chocolate 
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 140g tub apple purée
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup GF plain flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line base and sides of a slice tray with baking paper.
  2. Combine the nuttelex, chocolate and sugar in a saucepan over a low heat. Stir with a metal spoon until the mixture is melted and well combined. Remove from the heat, pour into a large mixing bowl and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Add eggs to chocolate mixture and stir until combined.
  4. Add apple purée, walnuts, flour and cocoa powder. Stir well.
  5. Pour into prepared tray and smooth surface. Sprinkle with shredded coconut.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 1 hour or until cold.
  7. Cut into 12 squares to serve.

What about you? Do you have any hot ‘tips’ for making a perfect brownie? Happy Baking 🙂

A sweet treat from the Mystery Box

Happy Friday! Today’s training session needed to be convenient – and what could be more convenient than an early morning spin class?! 1 hour, lots of sweat and lots of heart pumping music later – my training was done for the day – and the clock had only just hit 7am. Gotta love that! When I arrived home this evening, I immediately hit the shower to get all prettied up for an industry function I am attending tonight. After a week spent in work clothes + training gear, it was actually quite nice to get all dressed up. Seeing as I will be absent from a regular dinner post this evening, I figured I would share with you the sweet treats that I have been indulging in all week – courtesy of the Mystery Box and the ever-inspiring Angela! First things first, the chosen Mystery Box ingredient… IMG_1911 Strawberries! IMG_1773      Did you know? Strawberries (which are a member of the rose family) are an excellent source of vitamin C and folate, and  are grown from the sub polar regions to the tropics. They are the only fruit with seeds on the outside – with the average strawberry having  200 seeds! IMG_1774 When I drew this delightful ingredient out of the Mystery Box last weekend, I thought of one dish and one dish only. IMG_1794 Miss Angela’s strawberry oat squares. IMG_1825 The jam was super easy to make, and tasted divine. I may or may not have sampled spoonfuls straight out of the pan…you know….for quality assurance purposes ;)  IMG_1786 I especially loved that it was thickened using chia seeds…….pure genius! In place of the kamut flour, I used this GF flour that the lovely Carol was kind enough to send me awhile ago. IMG_1780 I have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to open the package, and figured there was no better time than for strawberry oat squares! IMG_1782 IMG_1790 IMG_1797 After the slice had cooled (tempting as it was to sneak a few pieces straight out of the oven), I cut half the slice into squares. IMG_1846     Mine were initially little crumbly, but the flavour was divine. IMG_1847 I kept the remaining un-cut slice in the fridge and actually I found that it was much easier to slice after it had been chilled. IMG_1848 Yes, I will admit that the whole family enjoyed a small slice of this wonderful sweet treat each night this week for dessert. Served with a little ice-cream. IMG_1850 My only sadness is that there is none left! What about you? How do you like to use strawberries? Happy Baking 🙂

Getting back to normal

Wow – I feel like I haven’t done a ‘normal’ blog post in forever! But I am sure you understand why – considering all of our weekend adventures. Training I must admit that finding time to fit in decent training sessions over the last few days has been difficult. I was super tired on Monday, and decided to take an extra rest day. Then I was in Sydney until late on Tuesday for work – although I did manage to fit in half an hour in the pool beforehand. Its not that I am in a training ‘funk’ as such (which I accept can happen when you are training for a few months), its just that I feel my ‘normal’ routine is a little out of whack. And I am 100% a routine girl so it is frustrating for me. But then I read about Ashley and her amazing inspiring ironman experience, and I felt the pressure I had been placing on myself ease. With 5 weeks until race day, a few days "off" routine is ok. After all – I am racing for fun and achievement – not to win! Yesterday I was planning on attending a spin class, but as I got close to the gym I didn’t stop. Rather, I felt like running, so I continued to work then headed out for a run at lunchtime. 9km later, and I was feeling somewhat back to ‘normal’. Dinner Part of the reason I decided to run at lunchtime (instead of after work) was that I knew we had another dinner to attend. This time, we met with family for dinner to say goodbye to our interstate (and overseas!)  friends who were heading home after the wedding. On offer was a delicious home-cooked roast dinner, with all the trimmings. IMG_1724 I had a little of everything except for the cauliflower that was unfortunately topped with breadcrumbs 🙁 IMG_1726 And seconds thirds of these amazing roast potatoes / onions! IMG_1708  Seriously, I could have eaten the whole platter!   Wanting to contribute, I decided to bring a sweet treat for dessert. IMG_1696 Knowing that lemon slice was normally a crowd pleaser (with the added benefit that I didn’t need to bake it) I made a batch on Tuesday night and placed it in the fridge to set. IMG_1688 Then, it was simply a matter of cutting the slice into squares and arranging them on a platter. IMG_1684 IMG_1686 And there were none left by the end of the evening – so they cant have been too bad!! Lemon slice (makes 30+ squares) IMG_1691        

  • 2 x 250g packets of plain biscuits (I normally use granita or marie biscuits)
  • 2 cans of light sweetened condensed milk
  • 150g butter
  • Grated rind of 2 lemons
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 2tbs lemon juice + 2 tbs water (adjust as necessary)
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  1. Line a large slice tray with baking paper.
  2. Process the biscuits in your food processor until they resemble fine crumbs. Transfer to a large bowl and add the lemon juice and rind.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat the sweetened condensed milk and butter over a low heat until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth. Pour into the biscuit mixture, and stir until well combined.
  4. Press the biscuit mixture firmly into the prepared pan, then place in the fridge while you make the icing.
  5. To make the icing, heat the icing sugar and lemon juice over a low heat until smooth. Add water if the icing is too thick.
  6. Pour the icing over the slice, spreading to coat evening. Sprinkle with coconut and place in the fridge for a few hours (or even better – overnight!) to set.
  7. Slice into squares and serve.

(This recipe will make an extra big slice, although you could easily halve it and make a more modest one if you prefer a thinner slice or you are using a smaller pan. It is really adaptable, and feel free to experiment! I sometimes add more coconut to the biscuit mixture and / or add butter to the icing for an extra ‘sheen’. I have also made it with GF biscuits before so that I could also enjoy a slice, or two.) What about you? Do you have a ‘go to’ sweet treat that you like to take to a party? Happy Baking 🙂

Wedding adventures – part 1

Mr BBB and I just arrived back in Canberra after a BUSY weekend away to attend his niece’s wedding.  IMG_1308 It may have been busy weekend – but it sure was a whole lot of fun. It all started on Friday afternoon, when I dashed home, packed the car…  IMG_1299     And hit the road! IMG_1302 Good bye Canberra – hello gorgeous countryside! IMG_1303 IMG_1305 After a couple of hours, we arrived at Bega and figured it would be the perfect place to stop for dinner. Such a quaint town, filled with country charm.   IMG_1323 IMG_1321 Mr BBB and I decided on a quick ‘noodle’ dinner, and the restaurant was kind enough to make me a GF veggie combination. IMG_1332  IMG_1326 Eaten alfresco – as we watched the world go by. IMG_1327  With awesome flattering photography skills by Mr BBB apparently 😉 Our bellies full, we jumped back in the car and took a short drive to our final destination… The beautiful Tathra. And in particular, the lovely Kianinny Resort – which had been booked out for all the guests. IMG_1370 I immediately fell in love with the country resort, and our gorgeous cottage set amongst the trees. IMG_1371 IMG_1373 But, unfortunately there was no time for exploring as there was a “production line” to be arranged – to finish the cupcake preparation! IMG_1334 They say many hands make light work – and I welcomed every extra set of hands that offered to help me! IMG_1338  After all – I had over 200 cupcakes to finish!  IMG_1340 While the ladies finished the wrapping, I started working on the icing. IMG_1335 Including passionfruit, IMG_1343 And lemon. IMG_1342 Then it was pipe, pipe and pipe! 3 hours, 4 bowls of icing, a possum ‘break-in’, wrist cramps and 200+ swirls and flourishes later, the cupcake stand went from this…  IMG_1341   To this! IMG_1387 Layer upon layer of mini cupcakes.  IMG_1388  IMG_1389      IMG_1419  Gluten free vanilla and butterscotch. IMG_1418 And ‘regular’ chocolate, raspberry and vanilla. IMG_1392 My only hope was that the bride to be would also be happy with the finished product!!! But I would have to wait until tomorrow to find that out. Covered in icing and tired after the long day, I made my way back to our cabin and crawled into bed.  With two more days of adventures to come – every opportunity to sleep needed to be taken! But not before again saying hello to this mischievous little kitchen thief on the way…. IMG_1366 Part 2 to follow… Happy Baking 🙂

Cakes and BBQs

(Edit: Yesterday was a super long day – so much so that I forgot to hit “publish” on this post last night!!! ) Training: Swim / Run I had another swim / run combo on the cards today, fitting in a 2km swim before work, and a 6km run at  lunchtime. I was actually a little surprised when I saw that my training program ‘only’ called for a 6km run, but hey – I was not complaining. After the longer runs I have been doing lately, it was actually kinda nice to hit the pavement for 36 minutes, and have plenty of time remaining in my lunch break to shower and have lunch without being too rushed. The rest of my day, however, was quite busy! We are heading to the coast for Mr BBB’s niece’s wedding this weekend (boy that came around fast…), and tonight we were invited to his sister’s place for a pre-wedding BBQ. But not before I got the first batch of GF cakes in the oven (which will be made into cupcakes and iced on Saturday). IMG_1264 And not before I made a couple salads to take along to the BBQ. Starting with a brown rice and chickpea salad with tamari dressing. IMG_1255 Followed by a good ol’ coleslaw – healthified of course. IMG_1258 Instead of mayonnaise, I made the dressing with greek yoghurt, dijon mustard, white wine vinegar and dill. IMG_1260 We had a wonderful time at the BBQ. IMG_1267 - Copy  The weather was perfect, IMG_1284 - Copy The wine was flowing, IMG_1287 The food was tasty, IMG_1297 IMG_1293 IMG_1294 And the celebrations continued well into the evening. IMG_1291 Which would have been no problem except that I had to come home and…. You guessed it…. IMG_1261 More cake baking! IMG_1262   And let me just say, as soon as the last cake was done, I crawled into bed and (probably with the help of the few glasses of wine I had at the BBQ) I was asleep before my head even hit the pillow. It was great to catch up with some old friends this evening, and meet some new friends from as far away as Perth, New Zealand and America!! I have a suspicion that there will be many laughs and good times over the wedding weekend. Happy Baking 🙂

An Indian Affair

Training: Run 10km Thankyou for all your sweet comments about my handwriting – yes it is very neat! I am convinced it helped my grades when I was at uni as coming across a neatly written exam answer surely was a relief to my lecturers when they were marking our exams late at night….just a thought hehe What a glorious sunny day it was in Canberra today. Not wanting to miss a second of it, I was up early and headed out to do the grocery shopping and get the usual weekend chores out of the way. The ladies of the family asked if they could use our kitchen this evening (well my mother in law’s kitchen) to continue with the great cupcake experiment. Mr BBB’s niece is getting married in a month and is going to make cupcakes in place of a wedding cake. I, of course, obliged and offered to make dinner. However, dinner for 4 soon became dinner for 7 when a few extra friends were invited over. And thus I was presented with the problem of what to cook for 7 people, that could be made in advance and that didn’t take up any precious oven space. Then I read Jess’ brilliant (and well-timed) post about her slow cooker and I had a light bulb moment!  Out came my mother in law’s slow cooker, and in went the ingredients for a beef massaman curry. IMG_0415 Beef, potatoes, onions and spices, set on low and left to cook for 8 hours. IMG_0418 With dinner prepped by 11am, I was free to enjoy the rest of the day. Starting with a wonderfully warm 10km run in the sun. Ok – well not before being somewhat distracted by the ITU World Triathlon Championships that came on the telly. IMG_0417 The run was certainly warm, and it was also hard. We have a lot of hills in the area, which when combined with bike-legs from yesterday equalled an energy-zapping run. It may have been slow, but it was fantastic to get the heart pumping! Not knowing how hungry everyone would be, and in keeping with the Indian theme, just before my guests arrived I also put together a red lentil dahl with spinach. I cooked this on the stovetop, knowing that it could be re-heated just prior to serving. IMG_0419    But now on to the fun stuff. IMG_0420 IMG_0424 Tonight we trialled a new way to make ‘cup cakes’ en masse. IMG_0449 IMG_0452 Rather than make individual cupcakes, Mr BBB’s niece decided to try a method in which a cake is baked into a slab, from which individual ‘cupcakes’ are then made. IMG_0446 IMG_0436 Finished with icing and decorative wrappers. Oh  my, so much fun….and the icing was very addictive… IMG_0441 Just saying 🙂 Happy Baking 🙂

Sunday racing…team style!

Wow – where did the weekend go? Suddenly I find that it is Sunday night and I am wondering what I have been doing all weekend. Although, admittedly, I did fit in a long bike ride yesterday, a hair cut, drinks with friends, and a rugby-watching party last night. Not to mention some homemade tandoori pizza… IMG_9150 Served with a mesculun/ avocado and sunflower seed salad. IMG_9152 A great dinner, although not a great rugby result….. And then there was today…. IMG_9154 Mr BBB and I were up early this morning for …. a team duathlon! IMG_9153 The “race” was a team event, in which both members of the team completed a 2km run, and a 9km cycle, with the winning team being the one that was closest to its “guessed” completion time. IMG_9186IMG_9185 There were over 50 teams competing in the event, but it was informal and friendly, and well organised. IMG_9158 Mr BBB and I estimated a finishing time of 1:05:30, and although I suspect we were a little over, we had a great time racing together (albeit sans watches and trip computers)! But, don’t let the sunny skies fool you, it was FREEZING this morning. Mr BBB headed out for the first 2km run, while I remained in the transition area trying to keep warm. He soon arrived back in the transition area, and tagged me so I could start the first 9km cycle leg. IMG_9165 I made the mistake of forgetting my gloves and my hands were FROZEN even before I started the bike leg!!! IMG_9166 Seriously, I think that was my “I CAN’T FEEL MY FINGERS FACE” …. It was only as I was rounding the bend for the last 500m or so that I finally got feeling back in my fingers. Not a fun ride at all. But I did make it back and tag Mr BBB so that he could head out for his 9km ride.  IMG_9178 The last leg of the event was a 2km run for me. I loved this short and speedy run… IMG_9189 And it wasn’t long before the finishing line was in sight! IMG_9190  We were told after the race that the winning team were only 12 seconds “off” their guessed time. Not bad at all when you consider that all watches / trip computers were banned! I am not yet sure how far “off” our time Mr BBB and I were, but I expect that it was around 4 or 5 minutes or so. We spent the remainder of the day enjoying the sunshine, having lunch, and hanging out at our new ‘house’. It was fun to walk through each room, and discuss how we are going to set up our furniture etc when the house is completed! Lets just say, we can’t wait. Before we knew it the sun started to set and it was time to go home. We have the family coming over to dinner tonight, and I found blueberries on sale, so a batch of blueberry muffins made an appearance not long after!  IMG_9195    While these aren’t GF, I am sure the other family member’s will enjoy a little sweet treat after the Sunday Roast, lovingly cooked by Mr BBB’s mum. IMG_9196 Speaking of which, dinner awaits! Happy Baking 🙂

Muffin Monday

Hello there and welcome to the start of a new week! I don’t know whether it was the trail run on Saturday or the afternoon of painting / renovating, or perhaps it was both, but I woke up yesterday with some delightfully sore leg / butt muscles. I say delightful because it was the kind of sore that you just know means you had a killer workout. I can only imagine how I will feel after 16kms of trail running next weekend … but bring it on I say! The weekend disappeared before I knew it – although Mr BBB and I did have time yesterday to fit in a 10km bike ride, a lovely lunch at a local cafe, and finish the weekend with a Sunday roast. Trail run + family time + biking + great food = a perfect weekend  really. Tonight my legs asked for a rest, and although my mind was itching to head out for a run, I obliged and opted for a rest day. So, finding myself with some time to spare, I decided to indulge my other hobby….baking! I had seen this recipe for Zucchini muffins a while ago on Ashley’s blog, and knowing I had most of the ingredients on hand, set about making a batch. IMG_8902  I switched the wheat flour for spelt flour, and stevia for sucanat. I also used a combination of cashew nut and sunflower nut butter, together with rice milk. IMG_8913 I topped some with walnuts… IMG_8906 Some with sultanas… IMG_8908 And the remainder with shredded coconut. IMG_8917 Oh my – talk about light and moist! IMG_8911 A delightful muffin that will be sure to make another appearance, in some shape or form, sometime soon. I must say that muffin making before dinner is quite dangerous. It seems the aroma of freshly baking muffins can test even the strongest of wills! So, as soon as the muffins were out of the oven I set about making a quick and easy dinner to keep the hunger pangs at bay (and in an attempt to refrain from eating half the batch fresh out of the oven!). During a pantry “raid” I came across this jar of goodness hiding up the back. IMG_8923       Mmmmm Chilli Jam. Smeared on tofu and baked for 40 minutes. IMG_8927 Spicy and sweet. Served on a slice of GF olive bread, with some fresh basil and a slice of mozzarella. IMG_8932 With a good heap of sweet potato garlic mash. IMG_8931 And peas, carrots and brussels. IMG_8930 Another tasty, albeit random, dinner. The chilli jam tofu will certainly be repeated sometime soon. But right now a muffin is calling my name! Happy Baking 🙂

By numbers

Today I woke up to sunny skies and even a little warmth (dare I say Spring is coming?…..). Perfect conditions for a morning run. IMG_8855 I decided to hit up some ‘trails’ in anticipation of next week’s 16km race – which is all off road. IMG_8857 As you know, I am not a fan of treadmills. To me, a treadmill is a run “by numbers”. Kilometres run, time elapsed, kilometres to go, time to go, incline……you get the drift. But as I discovered this morning, even an outdoor run can be “by numbers”. IMG_8856Around the mountain” trails intended to run: 1 IMG_8864 Times getting lost whilst running the trail: 2 IMG_8863 Summits intended to climb: 0 IMG_8879 Summits actually climbed: 1 IMG_8880 Gorgeous view to reward a geographical embarrassment: 1 IMG_8878 (For perspective of the climb, my car was parked near the white building at the centre-bottom of the photo….) Calves sore after tackling some crazy hills: 2 Kangaroos seen: 8 Gorgeous trails: too many to count IMG_8858IMG_8865IMG_8881  Kilometres run: around 10 While I may have gotten a little lost, resulting in an unintended climb to the summit, I had a wonderful time this morning. The trails, the bushland, the quiet –’twas  everything I love about outdoor running. My workout did not stop there though. After a quick shower and lunch, I headed to my sister in laws house to help her paint her house! Cornices painted: too many. Staples removed from the old flooring: 1000s ….  (and if only I was joking 😉 Needless to say I feel like I have had a complete body workout today! Not to mention being starving for dinner. I invited our fellow painters and home renovators over this evening – with the promise of burgers and rugby (the Wallabies were playing). Two types of burgers were made. Italian beef – with oregano and sundried tomatoes. IMG_8892 Chickpea and Vegetable – using Ashley’s wonderful recipe.IMG_8891 Salads were cut… IMG_8893 And a delightful burger evening was had! IMG_8899 Served with potato and sweet potato fries… IMG_8900 Must get back to the game… Go Wallabies! Happy Baking 🙂

Sunday scones

Mr BBB and I had a wonderful day – albeit a busy one. We finally finished unpacking, and did a huge grocery shop. It was nice to just wander around the shops together, with no set timeline or place to be. Mid afternoon we stopped off at Baker’s Delight to try their new white chocolate and passionfruit scones  using a voucher that they had kindly sent me. IMG_7760 While  I can’t eat them (due to the wheat content), I was intrigued by the combination of flavours. IMG_7755 Mr BBB was, however,  more than happy to sample the scones on my behalf! IMG_7757 Mr BBB enjoyed the flavour of the scone, and Mr BBB’s mum mentioned that they were also nice with a little butter. My only concern is that they are fairly calorie dense (at 370 calories per scone). This evening, Mr BBB’s mum made a delicious broccoli soup for dinner. IMG_7763 Served with a GF bread roll. IMG_7762 Oh and some apricot crumble for dessert. I heated up  the remainder of yesterday’s slice, and served it with ice-cream. IMG_7766 Because sometimes a girl just needs ice-cream. A delicious end to the weekend. Happy baking 🙂