Sunday, 29 January 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Is there any greater combination than peanut butter and chocolate? If there is, I haven't found it yet. These are super quick to make but taste amazing - another one that I regularly get requests for from colleagues at the office. People never seem to get tired of them.


3/4 cup raw sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 pkg white chocolate chips
1/2 pkg chocolate chips
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter softened
1 cup chunky peanut butter
2 slightly beaten eggs
2 tsp vanilla


1.   Preheat Oven 180 degrees Celsius. Cream butter and sugars, beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine rest of ingredients and add to creamed mixture .

2. Roll tablespoon fulls of mixture on a baking tray covered with baking paper, pressing down slightly. Make sure to leave around 5 centimetres between each cookie - they WILL spread.
Bake for around 9-12 minutes, until golden. Cool on sheet for a couple minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Peach Melba Slice

Okay, I'll willingly admit that until about a week ago I had no idea what "Peach Melba" was. After some quick googling I learned that Peach Melba is a dessert that pairs peach and raspberry - this isn't a traditional Peach Melba (usually a mix of the two lightly cooked with some ice cream or something along those lines) - but the flavours are perfect and since I made this last week it has been requested 3 times. I had a peach tree growing outside that I used at first and once that was exhausted I bought some from the supermarket - both were good. Give it a go - great for 'take a place' functions or for the office or just for morning tea.

250g pack unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
200g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
200g self-raising flour
75g almonds
4-5 just ripe peaches, stoned, halved, then each half cut into 3
A few handfuls of frozen raspberries (you can use fresh too but they are generally more expensive!)
1 tbsp icing sugar, to finish

1. Butter and line a tray or small roasting tin, about 20 x 30cm. Heat oven to 180C. Gently melt the butter in a large saucepan (over low heat), cool for 5 mins. While you are waiting for it to cool, coarsely grind the almonds in a food processor, remove about a handful while they are barely chopped and reserve (for use later). Continue to process the almonds until they resemble coarse almond meal.

2. Add the sugar to the melted butter, beat lightly and then add vanilla and eggs (if you add the eggs to the butter when it is still hot the egg may cook – so don't cut corners!! Beat the mixture until smooth with a fork. Stir in the flour, the coarse almond meal (that you made in the processor) and ¼ tsp salt.

3. Tip the mix into the tin, then lay the peach slices evenly on top - that way each square of cake will have a bite of fruit (I like to use a lot of peach so I almost completely cover the surface with peaches). Scatter the raspberries (still frozen is fine) and the reserved coarsely chopped almonds over, then bake for 1 hr-1 hr 10 mins, covering with foil after 40 mins. Cool in the tin for 20 mins, then lift out onto a cooling rack. Once cold, lightly sift icing sugar over the slice (again, if you don't wait for the slice to cool the icing sugar will melt and become invisible) and then cut into squares.

Mini Spinach and Ricotta Filo Pies

Okay, clearly I have an obsession with mini things - mini quiches, mini pies... but these are the best - flaky filo pastry, cheesy and super healthy - lots of delicious spinach. 

These are also very easy to make. Should be eaten right away but can be kept at a stretch for around 3-4 days in the fridge. Re-heating in an over would work best but I've used a microwave at the office and while the pastry lost a bit of its crispiness - the overall package was still delicious. Give them a go!


2 bunches (about 600g each) English spinach, leaves picked, washed, dried (or silverbeet if it is more easily available - that is what I usually use)
200g reduced-fat ricotta
60g reduced-fat feta, crumbled
Handful of chedder cheese
3 eggs
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
20 sheets filo pastry
olive oil spray


1.       Preheat oven to 190°C. Chop the spinach into 5 cm sections. Cover the bottom of a large saucepan with water and put the spinach in over the top. Cover and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes or until spinach wilts. Drain and set aside for 20 minutes to cool. Use your hands to squeeze out as much excess liquid as possible. Place in a large bowl.

2.    Add the ricotta and feta to the spinach and stir to combine. Mix in the eggs and the chedder. Season with salt and pepper.

3.       Place filo sheets on a clean work surface. Lay the filo sheets out on a cutting board and carefully cut them using a sharp knife into squares approximately 10 cm x 10 cm. Peel each layer off and spray on one side with oil spray. Replace one on top of the other again then press between 8-10 layers together into a 12 hole muffin tin leaving corners of the squares lying flat over the edges of the muffin cups. Repeat until all muffin cups are lined with pastry. Make sure to reserve 3 piles of around 10 layers each. Cut these piles into four. Divide the spinach mixture between the pastry cups. Place smaller piles of filo on top of each filled pastry cup. Fold the corners of the pastry liners over the top and press lightly so they don't unfold. Spray with oil.

4.       Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown and puffed (check every 15-20 minutes. Remove from over and use a fork to carefully transfer pies to serving plates and serve immediately.