Ever Faithful Chocolate and Coconut Truffles

Making these with Mum on a Saturday afternoon is probably one of my favourite memories, probably because I could eat them afterwards, and I used to think that Mum never knew I snuck them out of the fridge regularly. They are super simple to create and really fun with kids. These truffles are now one of my go to recipes for when you don’t have a lot of time and you have to bring a plate of food to something. I know about 100 people who make these and they vary them each time. This is the simple version, however I know people who add things such as dried apricots and other fruits, oats, chocolate pieces etc. There are a million variations i’m sure, a friend of mine once made them from oreo’s! It was so delicious I ate too many and had to have about 4 glasses of water post consumption!! My sister in law does a good variation, check out  http://spendlessnourishmore.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/date-and-honey-yum-yum-balls/.

It you are looking for something to do on a rainy afternoon, or just looking for an easy snack, try these, they are ALWAYS good.

Ingredients:

  • 1 250g packet of Marie biscuits (or any kind of basic not so sweet biscuit/cookie)
  • 1 400g can of condensed milk (feel free to use the light stuff)
  • 1 cup of desiccated coconut
  • 2 tbs of cocoa

Method:

Crush the biscuits, as kids we used to do it with a rolling pin in a plastic bag, now I just use the food processor! I like to not process them too finely because I like the crunch of biscuit when eating the truffles.

Combine the crushed biscuits with coconut and cocoa.

Add the condensed milk, mix well and roll into balls.

Cover the balls with coconut. I use a zip lock bag and 1/2 a cup of coconut, gently shake and all the balls are quickly coated! But it is more fun to roll them yourself I suppose.

Refrigerate for about an hour before tucking in!

Enjoy!

Lauren

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Chocolate Self-Saucing Pudding

I love this recipe. I am not one to eat lots of sugar but this is just so tempting I can’t resist. This pudding is not overly rich so you can eat lots of it without feeling sick. I don’t know if being able to eat heaps of pudding is good for my health but it sure does make me happy. If you want to make it richer just add more coco.

Ingredients

  • 60g Butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 3/4 cup castor sugar
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa, extra
  • 2 cups boiling water

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fanforced. Combine butter and milk in large pan; stir over heat until butter is melted.

2. Remove from heat; stir in essence and castor sugar, then sifted flour and cocoa.

3. Spread mixture into greased ovenproof dish (6 cup capacity).

4. Sift brown sugar and extra cocoa over mixture; gently pour boiling water over.

5. Bake in oven about 40 mins.

As you can see we added ice cream to our pudding. It also tastes good with cream or custard, or you can just eat it on its own.

Hope you enjoy.

Olivia

Tex Mex Black Eyed Pea Casserole

Although this does not look super appealing, it was REALLY TASTY and Craig loved it (big deal because Craig is really fussy)!

I am an avid Pinterest user (http://pinterest.com/) and this was a recipe posted on Pinterest from Recipe Girl (http://www.recipegirl.com/2011/12/29/tex-mex-black-eyed-pea-casserole/). It looked easy and I love tex mex (we can’t really get the real stuff here in Australia), so I though this would be a good one to try.

It was actually easier than I thought to find black eyed peas, just from a local deli, about $3-4 for a kilo, and you don’t need much. Also, a while back I bought 4kg of bacon when it was really cheap, so any chance to use up some of my bacon and free up some freezer space. The original recipe called for Rotel tomatoes which i’m sure would be hard to find here, so I just altered the recipe to include green chilies and a can of tomatoes which is pretty much the same! The recipe feeds 6 and takes about an hour.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups dried black eyed peas, rinsed
  • 5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (or more!)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion (about 1/2 medium)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups rice (your preference)
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 300g canned diced tomatoes (3/4 of the usual 400g can of tomatoes)
  • 1-2 large green chilies, seeds removed and sliced.
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, cut into strips
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • chopped cilantro, sour cream and sliced avocado (for serving)

Method:

Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Add the dried peas and boil for 30 minutes, or until tender (as tender as a canned black bean would be). You don’t want them to have much of a bite to them, but you don’t want them mushy either. Drain the beans when you’ve got them where you want them.

In a deep medium skillet, heat the olive oil at medium heat. Add onions and chili and cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in garlic, then rice, stock, cumin, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for about 20 minutes (just until the rice has almost absorbed all of the liquid). Time will vary depending on the type of rice you choose to use (20 minutes for white rice, but longer for brown, etc)

Preheat the oven to 200C. Scrape the rice into a large bowl. Add peas, tomatoes, spinach, 1 cup of the cheese and bacon. Stir it all together and then scoop it into a 9×12-inch (or similarly sized) casserole dish.

Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and bake for an additional 10 minutes, just until cheese is melted.

Serve in bowls topped with sour cream, fresh cilantro and sliced avocado.

I must admit that both my lovely house guest and cooking assistant Jasmine and I agreed that we wanted lots of cheese on top (a bit naughty) so we added about half a cup extra! I used 5 rashers of bacon this time and I think that next time I will either add more or I will try it with some chorizo.

Hot Cross Scones

My husband and I both love hot cross buns and they are certainly very popular around Easter time. However every time I go to the supermarket I really feel like I am being ripped off having to pay so much for 6 which we would probably consume in one day! The recipes are actually really low cost and the only thing that we had to buy was some sultanas/rasins! However, after arriving home with my sultanas I realised that I had run out of plain flour! So, I used a recipe for scones and essentially made hot cross scones! This recipe was REALLY FAST as they do not need the rising time that the yeast in bread requires, and the scones were still VERY tasty. I also think that this recipe is very child friendly, it might me a nice family Easter activity which allows you to explain all about why there is a cross on hot cross buns!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 60g butter
  • 4 tbs sugar
  • 1/2 cup sultanas and rasins
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 cup milk

Crosses

  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/3 cup water

Glaze

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tbs caster sugar

Preheat oven to 220C

Sift dry ingretients into a bowl

Rub butter until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs

Stir sugar and egg into dry ingredients and enough milk to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a floured board and knead lightly.

Pat out to approximately 1cm thickness and using a 5cm round cutter, cut into scones.

place onto a lightly greased oven tray.

Crosses: mix together four and water to make a soft paste (I added about a tablespoon extra water as it was easier to pipe). Using a piping bag and small plain tube, pipe a cross on each scone.

Bake at 220C for 12-15 min.

Glaze: in a small saucepan combine the water and caster sugar, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove scones from oven and brush warm scones with warm glaze.

We ate them with melted butter which was delicious!

Happy Easter!

Lauren

Home Made Sausage Rolls

These home made sausage rolls, or if you are Olivia – snag rolls, are made from a recipe given to me by my mother in law at my kitchen tea party. She made 500 of them for our engagement party and the same for Olivia and Paul’s engagement party. They are becoming famous in our circle of family and friends and now everyone is requesting them. The recipe is of course open to further additions, for example, I like to make them in all different sizes, and sometimes I add extras like spring onion, cheese, grated zucchini, BBQ sauce etc.

Here is the basic recipe and it is DELICIOUS!

Ingredients:

  • 5 sheets of puff pastry
  • 1kg sausage mince
  • 2 cups of bread crumbs freshly made
  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 carrot roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stalk roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper

Method:

Combine onion, carrot, celery in a food processor and process until fine. If you do not have a food processor the easiest way to get the right size is to finely grate the vegetables.

Combine the chopped vegetables with sausage mince, garlic, bread crumbs, herbs and salt and pepper. This is most easily done with your hands.

Cut each pastry sheet into two or three depending on desired size.

Put mixture onto pastry.

Roll and seal with a little water and brush with milk or egg.

Cut each roll into desired size – for party sausage rolls probably about 6-8.

Bake for 25-35 mins at 200C or 400F – until golden brown on top.

The recipe allows for about 120 party sausage rolls if cutting into 8.

Enjoy!

Home made sausage rolls, 8 to a sheet.

Meat Pie Scrolls

The concept of a meat pie scroll might not sound or look to appealing but trust me it is freakin’ awesome. It contains all the tastes that you love in a meat pie but in easy to eat scroll form. what more could you ask for. There is no dripping gravy on your top or the chance of the entire base falling in on itself and burning your hand. I guess that I am just not very good at eating meat pies. The good thing about this recipe is that it is easy, you know exactly what kind of meat your pie/scroll contains and most of the ingredients you will already have at home.

This recipe is found in the Australian Women’s Weekly Little Pies and Cakes book again. I love this book because everything is portion size and, because it is just Paul and I, if there are leftovers I  can store them individually for Paul to take to work.

ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small brown onion, chopped finely
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 3 rindless bacon rashers, chopped finely
  • 300g beef mince
  • 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1/4 coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 tablespoon castor sugar
  • 50g butter, chopped coarsely
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup pizza cheese

1. Heat oil in large fry pan; cook onion, garlic and bacon, stirring, until onion softens. Add beef cook, stirring., until beef turns brown. Add undrained tomatoes, paste, sauce and stock; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, about 20 mins or until sauce thickens. Remove from heat; stir in parsley. Cool.

2. Preheat over to 180C/160C fan-forced. Grease two 6-hole texas muffin pans.

3. Sift flour and sugar in medium bowl; run in butter with fingers. Stir in milk; mix to soft, sticky dough. Knead dough on flour surface; roll dough out into 30cmx40cm rectangle.

4. Spread beef mixture over dough; sprinkle with cheese. Roll dough tightly from one long side; trim ends. Cut roll into 12 slices; place one slice in each pan whole.

5. Bake about 25 mins. Serve top-side up.

I didn’t have any fresh parsley but for some reason I have a tonne of the dried stuff. I just used that, so mine scrolls weren’t as healthy looking as the one’s in the book because they are lacking green. Also, I am not in the habit of buying pizza cheese. I have tasty cheese in my house so I just used that. Much to Paul’s dislike, we also don’t have bacon. We already have 4 other types of meat in the house and don’t require any more so I just used finely sliced ham instead.

When we ate these we just had a salad with them. If you want you can make two 15cmx20cm rectangles and bake the scrolls in a normal muffin tray if you don’t have a texas one. These smaller scrolls can also be served at parties as finger food.

Until next time, enjoy your cooking (and eating).

Olivia

Passionfruit Curd Sponge Cakes

I thought that it was about time that I cooked something that was worth posting on this blog. As fun as Beef Strog is I don’t think it deserves a blog and pictures.

This weekend we went out to a ward activity and me being me decided to make a dessert. I wanted to steer clear of cream because that seems to be what all Mormons have on desserts so I decided to make individual sponge cakes with a nice topping. Seeing as I am obsessed with Women’s Weekly, this recipe comes from their ‘Little Pies and Cakes’ book, p. 63. It’s really easy but does take a bit of time.

What you’ll need:

Sponge Cakes

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 3/4 cup self-raising flour
  • 20g butter
  • 1/4 cup boiling water

Passionfruit Curd

  • 1/3 cup passionfruit pulp
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 125g unsalted butter, chopped coarsely

How to make it

Make the passionfruit curd first. To do this:

Combine all the ingredients in a medium heatproof bowl; stir over pan of simmering water about 10 mins or until mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. Cover; refrigerate 3 hours.

Now it’s time for the cakes:

1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan-forced. Grease 12-hole oval friand pan with butter and dust lightly with flour.

2. Beat eggs in small bowl with electric mixer until thick and creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until it dissolved between additions. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Fold in sifted flour then combined butter and boiling water.

3. Divide mixture among pan holes. Bake about 12 mins. Working quickly, loosen edges of cakes from pans using a small knife; turn immediately onto baking-paper-covered wire racks to cool.

4. Spilt cool cakes in half. Spread cut-side with curd; replace tops. Serve slightly dusted with icing sugar.

As you can tell from the photo I didn’t follow the recipe exactly. Like most people I know, I don’t have an oval friand pan, but I do have a muffin pan so I decided to use that instead. I realised afterwards that I didn’t need to use the patty pans but as I was taking them out it worked out well. Also, with the curd you need to leave it on way longer than 10 mins. I had mine on for closer to 20 mins and it still could have done longer. It wasn’t quite thick enough to spread.Lastly, I used canned passionfruit because I had some in the cupboard. If you have fresh passionfruit the you will need about 4 of them.

I hope that you enjoy this recipe. My husband and the ward loved it so I hope that you do as well.

Till next time,

Olivia

Chocolate and Pear Torte

I had a few pears sitting in a bowl on top of my microwave that were starting to get a little past their use by date. So what to do? Google recipes for pears! I came up with this one by Rosemary Shrager from Rosemary Shrager’s School for Cooks http://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recipes/10563/chocolate-and-pear-torte.

I am a big fan of using what is in the cupboard when I cook, rather than having to go to the supermarket to purchase 10 things (some of which I have never heard of before). I liked this one the minute I came across it because the ingredients are so simple, and I already had them all!

Ingredients:

  • 150g butter
  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 4 small eggs, separated
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 60g self-raising flour
  • 2 ripe pears, peeled cored and diced
  • Icing sugar for dusting

Method:

Preheat oven 180C.

Line the bottom and side of a tin with buttered greaseproof paper.

Cut the pears into small pieces.

Meanwhile, melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Make sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.

In another bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar and mix into the melted chocolate.

Fold chocolate mix in the flour and the diced pears.

Whisk the egg whites and when stiff fold into the mixture.

Pour into a greased 22 cm. loose-bottomed tin, cover with buttered paper and bake for 45 to 50 mins.

Rest in the tin for 15 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool.

When completely cold, dust with icing sugar.

Notes: I’m a bit lazy when it comes to melting chocolate and butter. I always do it in the microwave, about 15 seconds at a time, stirring in between, and taking it out of the microwave before it is completely melted as the remainder melts as you stir it.

Baked Tomato, Bacon and Haloumi Gnocchi

As a premise to this first recipe blog I must admit that this meal was actually cooked by my wonderful husband Craig!

We got the idea for this baked gnocchi online and altered it to suit what we had in the kitchen.

Ingredients

    • 500g of gnocchi (we used store bought, make your own if you are game!)
    • 1 medium brown onion, diced
    • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
    • 4 rashers of bacon, diced
    • 2tbs balsamic vinegar
    • 2tbs olive oil
    • 100g haloumi, cubed
    • 1 400g can of crushed/diced tomatoes
    • 200mls pasata (or some sort of plain pasta sauce)
    • 1/4 cup of fresh basil, roughly chopped
    • 100g parmesan cheese, grated
    • flat leaf parsley or basil as a garnish

Method:

Preheat oven to 180C

Fill a medium sized saucepan with salted water and bring to the boil. Add Gnocchi and cook according to instructions on the packet, making sure you don’t overcook it. Drain immediately.

Heat oil in a medium sized saucepan (I use the same one as the gnocchi because then I don’t have to wash two), add onion and garlic, cook at medium heat until the onion becomes transparent.

Add balsamic vinegar and bacon, saute for 3 minutes.

Add tomatoes and pasata, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Combine gnocchi, haloumi, basil and tomato mixture in a large ovenproof casserole dish. Top with parmesan cheese and bake in oven for 15 minutes, or until parmesan appears golden brown.

Serve while hot with fresh parsley or basil as a garnish.

Notes: Feel free to add salt and pepper before baking, however remember that most cans of crushed tomatoes and pasta sauces contain a lot of salt, so taste the tomato mixture before adding any extra. Also, for a vegetarian version of this dish just remove the bacon (your arteries will thank you).

Enjoy!

Lauren

Welcome!

Two Sweet Potatoes is the beginning of Olivia and Lauren’s culinary adventures!

We love to cook and have decided to start this blog as we both have a million recipe books that we have not used nearly enough, leaving our husbands wondering why we keep buying them!

We love international food, sweet food, sour food, savoury food, hot food, cold food, slow-cooked food, healthy food, NOT healthy food, and we believe that cooking some really tasty food can not only be fast but also VERY cheap.  

Lauren is a nurse who loves to spend her spare time in the kitchen surprising her husband (who has fairly low expectations of Lauren’s cooking based on several strange meals early on in their marriage)! Olivia, who is studying to be a teacher, loves cooking with her husband who is completing law school. As they are both students, they are perfecting the art of super cheap and super tasty diners!

We hope that our blog gives you some great ideas for meals to make at home, and we hope we enjoy writing it!