Easy Blueberry Loaf

I was feeling kind of under the weather when I decided to make this loaf bread, but I thought… you know what? I have to do something! I couldn’t just waste the day away in bed with my episodes of New Girl and Chicago P.D. Yes. I am a tv show nut.

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Back to my loaf. Originally I wanted to make this loaf with oats, but alas I was out of oats. How this happened I have no clue. I leave the country for 3 months and my family just forgets to buy certain things! So I improvised and went with half self-raising and half whole wheat flour. Not everyone enjoys the sort of strong taste of the whole wheat. Now I loaded this loaf with blueberries. I literally wanted them to be bursting out from every little slice and direction. It’s like how I love my blueberry muffins – absolutely loaded.

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While writing out the recipe I couldn’t help but think about all the other recipes I wanted to try out, and ofc write! Things like doughnuts and other baked goodies. Even though I am not really baker. No harm in the attempt right? I am actually super excited to be cooking and baking! I have probably said it heaps of times, but now that I am working full-time I am incredibly psyched to be cooking and packing lunches and easy dinners. Oh and finally, I am not studying on the weekends!!! Do you know how much time I now have to dedicate to the miniature kitchen?!?

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Okay end of the rant. This recipe is very easy, and honestly doesn’t need much equipment. I just like to make sure the wet and dry ingredients are mixed separately. I make sure I whisk through the dry ingredients to break down any lumps and bumps prior to folding the wet ingredients with a a wooden spoon. It is THAT simple! Remember to keep the milk and egg out for a little time to raise the temperature slightly, in particular the egg. The egg MUST be at room temp!

In terms of the milk, I went ahead and made my own buttermilk. All you need to do is mix the whole milk with apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice. Personally I think either works a treat. You need to let this sit out for around 15-30 minutes to allow the buttermilk to prepare. Of course… you could just buy the buttermilk, but sometimes making it yourself is fun too! You can otherwise add 2 spoons of yogurt to the milk and whisk that through.

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When preparing the blueberries you need to do an extra step. I prefer using frozen berries because they don’t rip apart at the slightest touch, but fresh is obviously better. In either case you need to coat the blueberries with 1 tablespoon of flour. What this essentially does is ensures that the blueberries do not ALL sink to the bottom. It’s sort of acts like an adhesive to the wet batter and holds the berries up while baking. Don’t believe me? Look at the little specks of blue/black while this bad boy was baking! They stayed right at the top 🙂 Without the flour, the berries would have collected at the bottom so that when you sliced into the loaf you would just have lumps of berries down the bottom and not a pretty result 😛

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Alrighty! Recipe card time! 😀 Do we like these cards? I’m hoping to add a few features to these cards, so stay tuned! You will notice in the recipe I write that you can cover the loaf tin if the color of the bread has already developed into a lovely golden brown. Cover it with aluminum foil to actually stop the top from burning, and trap a lot of the heat within the space under the foil to essentially steam the rest of the loaf. This will ensure a lovely crust, and deliciously soft and moist bread.

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Seriously, try the recipe. It’s moist and delicious and oh so good.

 

 

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Review: Criniti’s Italian

Criniti's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

For some reason or other, Criniti’s has become my go to restaurant. Need to go to a decent restaurant? Criniti’s. Need to go to a restaurant with plenty of vegetarian options? Criniti’s. Need to go somewhere closeby and/or has multiple outlets? Yup. Criniti’s.

So this particular review is based on all the vegetarian meals I ate. SO, meat eaters, this one isn’t for you.

I sound like a big advertisement :/ But in all seriousness. This is place is pretty packed on weekdays as well. During lunch there are always plenty of families, or people from work getting a bite. At night, the ambiance is warm and cozy and it is always someone’s birthday. Now the decor isn’t exactly to my personal taste, with the large mounted Ducati and spare parts adorning the place, but I absolutely love the visible wood fire oven, colorful bar serving some pretty great drinks (with plenty of Italian liquors and wines), along with the overall slightly vintage look.

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The service I have found to be very friendly, but a little slow. Particularly on weekdays! But alas when short staffed, this is bound to happen. The staff is most definitely patient however. It’s not all that customary for the manager to be serving food, but when needed he or she is also out there serving or cleaning up, which is something I really liked. I think it’s fantastic when the entire staff is working as a team ya know? #teamspirit. Much too often I’ve seen managers unprepared to do the dirty work. *sigh*

The menu here is pretty damn expansive, with regular pizza, white pizza, risotto, burgers, salad and so much more. The prices are a bit on the high side, but the portions are pretty large. I would generally say one plate between two people is the right amount. I love the drinks menu because of the excellent wine and beer range. Yes even their beer range is great. Typically I opt for a simple Riesling with my food, or a really good fruity White, coz I love my white wine. Dad went for a peroni, and I must say I did like it.

Alright onto the part that you really want to hear about. The food.

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We started our meal with the Tomato Brushcetta Pizza Crust, as an entree. Dad in paricular loves this one because it’s delicious and fresh. There is fresh tomato, basil and onion which have been rested in their own juices with some salt and pepper ofc. It’s such a simple combination, but it is a bang on winner. The garlic crust this was served on was wonderfully thin, with a thick but soft crust. The juices of the bruschetta softens the crust down so much… love it. In saying this however, this is something you can easily do at home, so for the price you are paying I would like to see something more original and extravagant. Even a hint of balsamic would have elevated this to another level.

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Next up we ordered the Penne Vegetarian. This was a delicious pasta in a magnificent basil sauce with eggplant, sundried tomatos, olives, zucchini and capsicum. I love it when pasta is loaded with rich vegetables, and this was just that. The sauce was a stand-out really, and in fact paired as a tasty sauce for the left over crusts from our pizza. The pasta was cooked perfectly, and so were the vegetables. I certainly would recommend this one for any vegetarians out there.

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This was followed by our next main -the ferrara pizza. This I absolutely loved. There was onion, capsicum, olives and the crust was so excellent. You could taste the light smokiness of the wood fire oven on it, which is just another added taste element. The only downside to this one was that it had cooled down a little before it came to our table. We could actually see our pizza on the counter waiting to be delivered to us. This was a bit of a bummer, but the pizza itself was great. On top of that, look at the large crust! This wasn’t a huge deal for us, since we did dip the crust in the leftover pasta sauce, but considering the price, I would have like to see more topping and less bread.

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And we did decide to grab some dessert too. We opted for the 3 scoop gelato, choosing salted caramel, lemon sorbet and cookies and cream (seriously how cute is the serving!!). The cookies and cream was PHENOMENAL. Truly it was so creamy and decadent, with chunks of little cookies scattered in the scoops. Each little chunk was a different size, and portion, so it added a great dimension of texture to the ice cream. The salted caramel was true bliss in a scoop and was finished by my sister in a jiffy. The least liked was the lemon sorbet, mainly because it tasted more like an icy pole than anything else!

Okay time to rank.

Food: 6.5/10

I’ve taken points off because of the brushetta and the pizza. The un-originality of the former, along with the price of it was a let down. As I mentioned above, I would have liked more of the topping than the crust that we got. Also the lemon sorbet gelato, well I didn’t really like it all that much.

Service: 5/10

This is really the let down. I understand busy, but having to wait over 10 minutes to even catch someone’s eye for the bill, did bug me. Oh and the bill was just given to us – a piece of paper. No book or anything!

Ambiance: 9/10

Apart from all the biking gear, which you actually lose focus on within 10 minutes, the ambiance is lovely and cozy.

The menu: 8/10

The menu has a number of items, but I would love to see some more original recipes.

Total: 7/10

Would I go back? Well yes. I’ve actually always had really good experiences at Criniti’s!

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Coconut and Lime Tapioca Pudding

Finallllly I am getting around to writing up this delicious recipe. The cold Sydney weather with the really late onset of autumn rains made for the perfect weather to whip up some of this stuff. I don’t make it often… but when I do, it doesn’t last for long at all. I guess I just love pudding, whether it’s tapioca or some spiced Indian kheer.

The recipe is super simple, and can be tweaked in so many ways. You can make it with whole milk, or cream sometimes, or coconut milk. It goes perfectly with whatever seasonal fruit you can get your hands on! But a point to remember is that tapioca is one of the purest forms of starch you can find. If you are trying to cut down that blood sugar then most definitely avoid this stuff at all costs!

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You might be wondering… well duh? Why make a dessert if you are trying to cut down on sugar intake? Well tapioca can be used to make savory food too . At home we make a spiced tapioca meal during fasting periods as an alternative to rice or breads. I’m moving way off track here.

Coconut and Lime pudding! How can anyone resist the combination? It’s fun and tropical and really refreshing. It’s the kind that works wonderfully well during the hotter months and cooler months too. Here’s that simple recipe

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Right? Simple. And it works a treat. It’s the easy dessert that you can whip up in no time. Perfect for those last minute dinner parties or a quick treat for an every day dinner.

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Coconut and Oreo Thickshake

Sydney heat has truly been awful this past week; way too hot for the last week of summer!

I came home the other day and honestly started to crave some sugar. Not just chocolate… I needed a cooling thickshake packed with oreos, and milk, and ice cream and delicious. This simple recipe is super easy and quick to make, and the best thing about it is that kids absolutely love it.

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My baby sister always asks me for this shake whenever our mom let’s her have a bit of a treat. You can make these incredibly fun with toppings, and I will detail just how you can do that 😛

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My favourite topping for a shake like this just include some melted chocolate, some sprinkles, an oreo, maybe some crushed pecan or pistachios, maybe some popcorn… the possibilities are endless! Head over to pinterest or instagram for some insane milkshake inspiration 😛

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See. I told you… simple. I made mine in one of my 15 dollar bottle blenders from Kmart. I love Kmart… the point of saying this is that the recipe is easy on the pocket and is really quite delicious. Have a go at experimenting with different flavours, or chocolates and share your recipes with me! I would love to try them out 🙂

Passionfruit Kulfi

Alas we have approached the last week of summer in Sydney and boy is it stinking hot!! There’s a heatwave along with bushfires and I’ve had orientation week responsibilities. Oh the fun. Sitting in the stall, all sweaty and stuffy, greeting everyone that walks by trying to entice them to join our  society. All the while eating plenty of junk food, drinking insane amounts of water and not needing to pee, handing out flyers and pamphlets and collecting money off people.

Okay enough about orientation.

I actually love the entire process. I mean it’s become a tradition to spend oweek with all my society people lugging around my now famous suitcase.

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Between all the fuss about O-week I decided to have a go at making Kulfi. It took two tries to perfect this recipe where the first try ended in a serious disaster with curdled milk. Yikes!

What is Kulfi?

Kulfi is an insanely delicious un-churned ice cream made from reduced creamy milk and flavours such as saffron, almond, pistachio or rose (traditionally). It’s a popular sweet across the Indian subcontinent and would be stored in a clay pot before serving it up. I have so many fond memories of travelling to India, going to the beach and buying an insanely tasty stick of Kulfi. It’s a bit of a tradition for my family.

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Now with passionfruit in season and the hot summer heat, I decided to have a go at this new flavour. I must say it turned out delicious. Honestly I really enjoyed it and so did mum and my sister. The recipe is fairly straightforward, you just have to be patient and really allow the milk to come together.

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Here’s the recipe

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Have a go at this crazy yum recipe. It’s easy and is so worth it. It’s one of those that will actually really impress your houseguests. If you enjoyed the recipe, do let me know! I am going to start experimenting with more fruit and flavours to develop more kulfi and sweet Indian fusion recipes.

Orange and Elderflower Halwa

OOh yes… another Halwa recipe. I think I’ve become a little obsessed with making new halwa recipes. Halwa is just so yummy!

Like I said in my previous Halwa recipe… Halwa is basically a pudding usually made with semolina or milk solids (khoya). With origins in the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent, this pudding is eaten during festivals, special occasions and religious events. My mom typically makes it with bananas and semolina, and it was definitely one of my favorite things while growing up. So if you have checked out the blog lately, you will see that I’ve already made a sugarfree halwa which turned out seriously amazing! Here is the link!

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Why orange? Because we tend to always have oranges at home, and they never seem to finish! Plus, I haven’t eaten all that many orange sweet recipes in India, and well.. I just felt a little bit inspired. The elderflower? Well that is because I had a really refreshing orange and elderflower drink some time ago, and it’s become my new infusion flavour. You can grab elderflower cordial, which is the easiest way to infuse the flower, from good supermarkets. I picked mine up from Woolworths, but I found only a few of them stock up on the cordial 🙂 Now please remember that cordial is basically sugar and elderflower made into a syrup… so not all that good for the diabetics 😥

This recipe is fairly straightforward, but does have a little bit of prep times (i.e. like 2 hours!).

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For a sweeter halwa, of course add more sugar while cooking. Also, it is important to toast off the semolina prior to making the complete halwa otherwise you end up with a kind of uncooked and clumpy semolina mixture which isn’t all that appetising 😥

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Hope you guys liked this easy recipe! Look out for more easy halwa recipes that I’ll be posting up! Are you guys enjoying the fusion foods from the Indian Subcontinent? I’m going to have a go at doing some more t