A series of completely random events led to the beginning of this baking blog post, and culminated in a delicious bake-off that would pit Dad and Nunna (Charlie’s grandmother) together, to see who could make the best Peanut Butter Cookies. Charlie would be the judge, and no bribes were allowed.
Sometime last week Charlie and I went to visit my parents, who in typical European fashion, only live around the corner from our house. Strategic plan: so, the cooking is still hot by the time mum walks it over. Cant be too far away right?
Deciding how far to move away from Rays Parents (Everybody Loves Raymond)
As my mum began to play with Charlie I noticed a handwritten recipe sitting on the bench top. The recipe was written in feint grey led pencil and could barely be read. The paper was creased and crinkled, as if someone had folded it into a minute square. This was the best photo I could get of it.
“What’s this?” I asked my mother.
“Oh, it’s a recipe that a lady at work gave me. She said they are the best peanut butter cookies and there are only four ingredients,” she replied.
This recipe seemed too simple.
“Want to have a bake off? Ill cook a batch of peanut cookies and you make these ones and we’ll see which are better?” I said. “I’ll just use a lot more ingredients.”
I scoured the internet for some inspiration and then came up with this recipe. Credit to Sally’s Baking Addiction for the inspo. You can find her recipes at: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com
TIPS BEFORE YOU START:
You’re going to get: 25 – 30 cookies.
Cost of ingredients: $24.25
2 and 1/4 cup of plain flour $1.00
1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder $2.50
1 teaspoon baking soda $1.75
1/2 teaspoon salt $0.90
230g unsalted butter (remember to soften to room temp) $2.80
1 cup white sugar $1.00
3/4 cup of light brown sugar $2.80
2 eggs (room temp) $3.00
2 cups (500g) of American style crunchy peanut butter $3.00
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract $4.00
1/2 cup (65g) of granulated, finely chopped peanuts $1.50
What you gotta do
6. Taste that dough (because I know you want to) and then cover and chill in the fridge.
TIP: you can let your dough age in the fridge for up to 3 days. Just remember, when removed let it sit for 30 minutes at room temperature to soften. I would recommend leaving your dough for a minimum of two hours to chill.
7. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) and begin to roll cookie dough into balls. I used 2 tablespoons of dough per cookie. I also baked 4 cookies at a time for exactly 9 minutes. This will lightly brown the sides but keep the centre soft.
8. Once removed from the oven cool the cookies for at least 5 minutes before handling.
9. Enjoy with all of your family and friends (just not the friends who are allergic to tree nuts).
Have you ever been out somewhere and someone’s mobile phone starts ringing? Of course you have… well unless your name is Patrick Star, you live under a rock and/or have a sponge as a best friend. However, has that particular ringtone ever been the same one that you use for your morning alarm? That immediate nostalgia evokes a sense of dread as you immediately picture yourself clambered over in your bed hurriedly jabbing the snooze button, whilst simultaneously wondering if your little one’s are about to jump into bed with you. Well, that wasn’t exactly what happened to me at all today. No something much worse. I woke up before my alarm!
As I lay there wide awake, the sound of silence felt comforting as I knew my little Charlie was still sleeping soundly. I crept downstairs and hopped into the kitchen where I felt the need to take advantage of this peaceful moment. I was sick of having the same usual breakfast which consisted of toast, cereal, or egg variations and was craving something a little more delightful. That was when I decided to create my very own Breakfast Burger.
Who does the best “worth it” breakfast in the whole entire world? Well, in my opinion it’s gotta be our beloved fast food chains. With the inspiration of every fast food experience I have ever had in my entire life
I bring you… my very own Dad’s Breakfast McStuffin recipe. Spoiler alert: It’s good.
The chilly and avocado Omelette infuses well with the southern American style BBQ sauce which gives the McStuffin a little spicy kick. The bacon and sweet brioche bun are tasty tributes to breaky muffins made at all fast food restaurants, which will indulge your taste buds.
You’re going to get: 1 - 4 of Dad’s Breakfast McStuffin (based on quantity of ingredients)
Total Cost of ingredients: $25.60
1 Large egg $3.50
1/4 cup of Colby Mozzarella cheese $4.00
1/4 thinly sliced red chilli $0.60
1 and ½ tablespoons of full cream milk $2.50
1 Brioche Bun sliced into half $4.00
1/4 fresh avocado $1
1 tablespoon of Smoky American BBQ sauce $3
2 Rashers of thinly sliced bacon $4
1 slice of Smoky American Cheese singles $3
What you gotta do:
The culture and cuisine that encompasses Thailand holds a very special place in my heart for many reasons. Before little Charlie came a long, I spent a lot of time in ‘the land of smiles’ learning the sacred martial art of Muay Thai (pronounced: M-oy T-ie) where I now compete at a professional level here in Melbourne. I have deeply ventured into the world of understanding sacred Thai traditions and let me tell you, Thai’s take their food very seriously. One of the most prominent days of my Thai adventures saw me receiving a blessed Sak Yant tattoo of Gao Yord (9 spires of Mt. Meru). The mystical geometric tattoo is said to hold ‘protective’ and ‘good luck’ blessings, something I would definitely need when fighting in a boxing ring. The Sak Yant was ritually blessed by a Buddhist monk of the Rawai village in south-east Phuket and was an experience I will never forget.
Whilst in Thailand I also had the opportunity to take authentic Thai cooking classes which saw me learn the basics of Thai curry and soup. When I got back to Melbourne, I vividly remember trying to replicate everything I had learned about Thai Red Curry in my parent’s kitchen. Cooking Thai curry was actually the first dish I ever cooked solo.
Over the last five years I have tried and tested many elements when cooking Thai Curry with the overarching mission of creating a tasty, affordable and time efficient recipe.
Dad’s Mean Green Curry is my own version of traditional Thai curry and is creamy, rich and packed with flavor that brings out mild spice.
I have experimented with a variety of coconut milk brands and have found that Ayam is the best tasting. I would recommend staying right away from Lite coconut milk. The Lite milk changes the consistency of the curry to a watery texture and has a high chance of congealing and curdling if not mixed through constantly while on heat.
I have sourced some of my ingredients from ‘Nathan Thai Grocery’ in Footscray (9 Paisley Street, Footscray VIC 3011). A must visit if you are passionate about Thai cuisine!
You’re going to get: 3-4 person serving.
Total cost of ingredients: $40.30
2 tablespoons peanut oil $5.00
1 large whole broccoli, cut into small florets discarding the stems $2.35
2 medium size carrots, cut into thin slices $1.50
75g shiitake mushrooms cut thinly $6.00
175g sweet baby capsicums red/yellow/green sliced $3.90
1 red chilli cut to your liking 0.60c
400g Ayam Coconut Milk $3.50
500g of chicken thigh fillets, diced thinly $6.00
2 tablespoons Maesri Green Curry paste $1.45
Knorr Chicken seasoning Powder $10.00 @ 800g
Optional: 4 small Kaffir lime leaves
handful of Natural unsalted almonds to garnish.
What you gotta do:
Precook: Lightly season chicken with Knorr Chicken seasoning powder using between 10g – 20g or to your liking. This can be done up to 24 hours in advance for extra taste and chicken placed in fridge.
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil in a wok. Once heated, add 2 tablespoons of the green curry paste. On low – medium head mix in and stir fry chicken until browned.
2. Add broccoli, carrots, chilli, capsicum and mushrooms and continue to cook on low-medium heat until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender and colored.
3. Pour in Coconut Milk and stir until evenly distributed through the wok. Return heat to low and continue a steady stir of the coconut milk until green curry starts to color through. Simmer curry for approximately 10 minutes.
TIP: If the coconut milk starts to bubble reduce heat immediately or turn stove top off to reduce heat.
Add Kaffir lime leaves / almonds to the curry.
4. Serve with Jasmine rice.
When you look back on your childhood what are some of the clearest and most vivid memories you have of eating food? It’s funny because I bet you can go back and think of times when food made you incredibly happy, but then I’m sure, that there are the same instantly distinct moments where food has made your stomach turn sideways. When I look back on my own childhood, I have the clearest memory of the first time I ever tried Nutella. I remember I was in primary school and I had just been picked up from school by my grandfather. As it was most days we went back to his home, where my grandmother would be waiting, ready to cure my three-thirtyitis by routinely making me a snack. On this day I kissed my grandmother hello and watched as she began to prepare sliced bread on a wooden chopping board.
Then it happened, a white tub filled with Nutella was coarsely punctured by my grandmother’s butter knife and spread onto both pieces of white bread. She handed me the sandwich with a smile and sweetly beckoned to enjoy. I was so excited to try Nutella that I had my first bite immediately, standing there in the kitchen. The top layer of bread slipped in between my tongue and I remember the Nutella glued itself to the roof of my mouth. The moist bits of bread were textured against the gooey sweet hazelnut spread and I concluded that this was gross.
I didn’t eat Nutella for years after that…
I don’t remember the next time I tried Nutella again, but let me tell you, I love it now (just not on white bread).
These Brownie’s will amaze you. There is a healthy portion of Nutella in this recipe that doesn’t stray the sacred stuff from being the front and center in this taste explosion. Get ready for this and make sure to lick the bowl!
You’re going to get: 12 brownies.
Total cost of ingredients: $24.05
1/3 cup (5 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature $2.80
1/2 cup (100g) packed light brown sugar $3.00
2 large eggs, at room temperature $3.30
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract $4.00
1 and 1/4 cups (370g) Nutella, divided $4.00
1/2 teaspoon salt $2.95
3/4 cup (94g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled) $1.00
3/4 cup (135g) white chocolate chips $3.00
What you gotta do:
1. Preheat oven to 177°C (350°F). Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan very liberally with baking paper, leaving enough on all sides to easily lift the brownies out of the pan when cool. (If using a 9-inch pan, the bake time will be a few minutes less.) Set aside.
TIP: Spread some butter on your baking pan before placing on the baking paper. Helps it stick to your pan!
2. Grab yourself a large bowl because the mixing is about to start. With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter on high speed in a large bowl until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until creamed.
3. With the mixer running on low speed, add the eggs and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high speed until combined, then beat in 1 cup Nutella and salt. Mix until smooth and fluffy.
4. With the mixer running on low speed, add the flour, mixing just until combined. Do not overmix. If using chocolate chips, gently fold them in with a wooden spoon.
5. Empty the batter into your baking pan spreading the mix evenly. Use a butter knife to scoop the last 1/4 cup of Nutella on top. Using a knife, swirl the Nutella into the batter. This will give it a dark pattern which looks great when it’s finished.
6. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes. Keep your eye on them and test with a toothpick to determine if ready.
Remember: If the toothpick comes out with only a couple moist crumbs, the brownies are ready. If the more of the mixture is coming out then bake longer. If you aren’t sure use a butter knife which has wider width to test with.
7. Allow the brownies to cool completely in the pan for about 10 or so minutes. Take your gigantic Nutella brownie out of the pan and cut into squares to your liking.
Garnish: You can make your brownies extra pretty by sprinkling icing sugar on top.
Share and Enjoy with your loved ones.
As well as discovering new and exciting food to review Dad and Charlie also like to hang out in the kitchen. Our recipes are unique in that;
Find a post below