Choc Mint Layer Cake

I do find it interesting to watch the girls’ palettes evolve as the years pass by.

Miss J used to love bananas and blueberries – but now finds both quite offensive. Her current food preference includes savoury crunchy foods, such as celery, carrots and cucumber, and although she loves chocolate (only plain chocolate)  she wouldn’t dream of trying lollies or sweets or juice.

Miss M, on the other hand, has a clear predilection to sweet foods. So much so that I have no doubt she would eat sugary foods all day long if I’d let her. Thankfully she also loves vegetables and yoghurt. Lots of yoghurt.

Then there is Miss C –  who is far more adventurous than her little sisters when it comes to food. She enjoys a variety of both savoury and sweet foods, with prawn dumplings, avocado, mango and pineapple pizza featuring at the top of her favourite foods list at the moment.

And, as I found out during a recent trip to the cinema, chocolate mint is her first pick when it comes to ice-cream flavours.

So when I asked her what sort of cake we should make for her Aunty’s birthday a little while ago,  I was in no way surprised when “choc mint” was her resounding response.

Being a little short on time, we decided to do a cake hack – thanks to some store-bought mudcakes from Woolies. We did, however, make our own mint-laced buttercream along with a dark chocolate “drip”.

True to form, Miss J and Miss M kept sneaking pieces of the chocolate I had set aside to create the drip, while Miss C was only too happy to lick the bowl after we whipped up the batch of vibrant minty buttercream.

When it was time to decorate – it was all hands on deck – with various mint treats being pushed and placed into position atop the cake. We used aero bars, mint choc balls, malteasers and mint slice, with extra buttercream piped on top and a sprinkle of peppermint crisp.

And while the finished product was not entirely “perfect”, we soon had before us an impressive birthday cake in all its minty glory!  A little over the top in appearance – but relatively simple from a flavour perspective.

Not to mention being actually quite easy to pull together. Assuming that the kids don’t steal all the chocolate decorations during the construction process, that is!

15 minute meal – Crispy parma pork

IMG_6904 Another evening, another Jamie Oliver inspired meal from his 15 minute meals cookbook. This time? IMG_6898 Crispy parma pork with minted zucchini and brown rice. The pork, was stuffed with feta, seasoned, then wrapped in parma ham. IMG_6889IMG_6891 Grilled until cooked through. The zucchinis were simply sautéed in garlic, mint and chilli, while the brown rice was seasoned with tomato paste and lemon juice. IMG_6897 All together now…. IMG_6905 (finished with minted yoghurt). Another tasty meal – (even if it did take me more than 15 minutes to make!) IMG_6906 While the pork was beautifully tender, my favourite part was actually the spicy zucchinis. IMG_6911 And the flavoured rice was also a nice addition. IMG_6910 Most of the recipes in the book serve 4 – so I have been halving them seeing as there is just the two of us for dinner. One thing that has surprised me about the recipes, though, is that even when halved, they yield quite a bit. Mr BBB and I have quite good appetites at dinner time, but the portion sizes are generous even by our standards! What about you? Do you have a good appetite come dinner time?

Roasted kipfler, pea and feta salad

Between the lamb cutlets and duck that have graced our dinner table lately, I was looking for a vegetarian dish for dinner this evening to balance out the week. And with this Christmas present again providing inspiration… IMG_4290 It wasn’t long until I came across a dish that sounded oh so appealing. Roasted kipfler, pea and feta salad. First, the stars of the show… IMG_4309 The kipfler potatoes! Washed and sliced…. IMG_4310 Drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. IMG_4312 Then roasted for 40 minutes until golden brown. IMG_4320 Combined with blanched green peas, crumbled feta, fresh mint, and dressed simply with olive oil/white wine vinegar/dijon mustard… IMG_4314 And we had ourselves quite the tasty warm potato salad. IMG_4322 To add some protein to the meal, I sliced some firm tofu… IMG_4315 And raided the pantry for a “tofu” flavour. When I came across this tomato jam, well I couldn’t resist. IMG_4313 Spooned atop the tofu, and grilled until golden. IMG_4316 IMG_4327 All together now! IMG_4321 This ended up being one of those random dishes that you enjoy so very much, and vow that you will make it again sometime soon. Even if the dish itself is far from ‘photogenic’ Winking smile  IMG_4323 The clear taste winner for me were the waxy kipfler potatoes, which worked rather well with the fresh mint and blanched peas. Not to mention the creamy feta. IMG_4324 ’twas most certainly a dish worth putting the oven on in Summer for! IMG_4326 And a lovely vegetarian end to the working week. What about you? Do you have a favourite type of potatoes? I really do enjoy the waxy varieties, such as kipfler.

Herbed quinoa salad

While the weather may not be indicative of the fact that it is Summer in Australia, I have been choosing to ignore the cooler temperatures that have taken us by surprise recently, and opted to make some of our favourite Summer meals nonetheless. IMG_3771 Think BBQs. Think salads. IMG_3777 Think herbed quinoa salad to be precise. I’d write down the recipe for you, but there really is nothing to it. I started by cooking 1.5 cups of quinoa on the stove, then set it aside to cool. IMG_3764 Then the rest of the salad came together in no time at all. Just mint…. IMG_3765 Parsley… IMG_3766 Chopped finely…. IMG_3767 Coupled with a diced cucumber… IMG_3770 Thrown into the cooked quinoa… IMG_3771 Stirred through with a drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil. IMG_3772 And our herbed quinoa salad was complete. IMG_3773 I loved how fresh and flavoursome this salad was, and it was a tasty addition to our BBQ dinner. The added bonus being that it can be made in advance, and dressed just before serving. IMG_3779 A salad that is packed with fresh herbs and flavour, and comes together in no time at all. I think this one will be making several appearances over Summer (assuming Summer does in fact arrive!) What about you? Do you have a favourite Summer salad?

Haloumi fritters with mint pecan pesto

Training : Run 8km Tonight’s dinner was inspired by the huge tub of haloumi I picked up on sale a few weeks ago. While I was tempted to cook slices, and eat them straight off the BBQ (seriously, you have to try it….) I decided to make a version of haloumi fritters instead. Haloumi and mint are a wonderful combination, but I needed very little mint for the actual fritters. Not wanting to waste the remainder of the bunch, I decided to make a mint pesto to accompany the fritters. Thus, today, you get two recipes! Starting with the pesto.. ingred1 Using pecans as I had an abundance in my pantry. IMG_6175 Processed…. IMG_6178 Drizzled with olive oil… IMG_6180 Left a little chunky, but rich and fragrant. IMG_6204 IMG_6187 Next, it was time to make the fritters.  ingred2  Similar to a pancake batter, I whisked the milk, eggs, flours, baking powder, cheese. IMG_6207 Then pureed 1/2 of the peas with spinach… IMG_6208 Folded it into the batter with the mint and remaining peas, IMG_6209 And fried in a little olive oil, until brown on both sides. IMG_6210 IMG_6212 Served with steamed carrots and asparagus, IMG_6215 And a good dollop of the mint pecan pesto. IMG_6217 I love the ‘green’ of these fritters, and can’t help but think they would be a good way of ‘hiding’ vegetables for a fussy child. IMG_6216 The haloumi was subtle, yet added a slight saltiness to the fritters.  While the fritters themselves, were light and fluffy, and paired nicely with the herb-filled pesto. IMG_6215  But, to be honest,  it was the squeeze of lemon juice over the top that really made these fritters stand out. IMG_6222 Let’s just say, there were no leftovers! Haloumi fitters with mint pecan pesto (serves 2) These fritters are a tasty option for a light mid-week meal. Similar in texture to a savoury pancake, the fritters work well with a good dollop of pesto and a squeeze of lemon juice. I used spelt flour, however you could easily adapt them to be gluten free by using GF flour.

  • 1 cup cooked peas, drained and refreshed
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 20g cornflour
  • 2/3 cup spelt flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup grated haloumi cheese
  • 1 tbs chopped mint
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon wedges to serve

Mint pecan pesto

  • 1 bunch mint, leaves picked
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tbs white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbs parmesan
  • 1/3 cup olive oil


  1. Whisk the milk, eggs, flours, baking powder and cheese together in a large bowl.
  2. In a food processor, process half the peas and spinach until smooth.
  3. Fold the pea/spinach mixture into the batter, together with the remaining peas and chopped mint.
  4. Heat a little olive oil in a frypan over a medium to high heat. Drop large spoonfuls of the batter into the pan, and cook for 3 – 5 minutes each side, or until golden brown. Keep the cooked fritters warm in the oven while you cook the remainder.
  5. Serve with the mint pecan pesto and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

To make the pesto: Process all the ingredients (aside from the oil) in a food processor until relatively smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil in a thin stream until the pesto reaches the desired consistency. What about you? Have you made your own fritters before? Happy Baking 🙂

Time to roll

I cant believe that last weekend I was running in the Spring sunshine… PA090549 As sadly, Winter made a re-appearance  today and I headed out for my long run with the temperature having reached only 5 degrees! IMG_1123 Good bye shorts…and hello tights! PA160568 Although some of us were still not having any part of the chilly day. IMG_1124 While it may have been cool, aside from a nasty headwind, it was actually a nice temperature for running 14km. I must say that last night’s pizza was not, however, a nice pre-run dinner as it sat heavily in my stomach for most of the run. IMG_1129 I did a couple loops of the ‘lake’ adding some extra distance on at each end to make up the 14km. IMG_1127 Don’t be fooled by the seemingly blue skies – it was COLD!! Although these guys didn’t seem to mind… IMG_1132 After finishing the run, and grabbing some lunch, I then headed to the pool for a “short” 1km swim. I say “short” as owing to the 2km training sessions earlier in the week, the 1km session felt like it was over super quick – and before I knew it it was time to get out. You will be pleased to hear that when I arrived home I finally sat down and started my tax return. It didn’t take long, however, before I was looking for a distraction and a visit to our new house to check the progress was a perfect one. I literally squealed in delight when I saw the living room. IMG_1142 Now complete with kitchen joinery! IMG_1145 I cannot begin to tell you just how excited I am about our new kitchen – especially now that it is starting to take shape. IMG_1140 I can only dream of all the wonderful meals that are going to be created in this room. Many of which will be inspired by the Mystery Box I am sure. Like tonight’s dinner for instance… IMG_1159 Mint! IMG_1150 Did you know? Mint was originally used as a medicinal herb to treat stomach aches and chest pains. During the Middle Ages,  powdered mint leaves were used to whiten teeth. IMG_1151 Sometimes when I draw an ingredient it takes me a while to work out what to make, other times an idea springs straight to mind. Tonight it was the latter… IMG_1155 For I simply love fresh mint when it is included in rice paper rolls. And although these rolls take a while to make, most of the time is spent in getting the ingredients chopped and ready. I sliced red capsicum, carrot and lettuce, and prepared the basil and rice vermicelli. IMG_1161 And set out some prawns (for me) and roast pork that we picked up from our local Chinese BBQ house (for Mr BBB). IMG_1163IMG_1164 Then it was time to “roll”. Rice paper sheets (softened in warm water), IMG_1165 Mint leaves, IMG_1166 Prawns, IMG_1167 Vermicelli, carrot, capsicum and lettuce,  IMG_1168 All rolled up. IMG_1169 Time to repeat…. IMG_1173 Until you have a plate filled with tasty rolls! IMG_1171 Served with GF hoisin sauce and crushed peanuts… IMG_1180 And piled high… IMG_1185 So fresh, and oh so tasty… IMG_1181 But the star of these rolls is seriously the mint. Delish! What about you? How do you like to cook with mint? Happy Baking 🙂