Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Rocky Road Crunch Bars

A quick look at my blog posts for this year revealed something fascinating. I haven't had too many dessert / candy kind of recipes make an appearance this year. I owe that to what used to be a very demanding job. Now that I'm taking some time off, I actually have the time to breathe, to stop and smell the roses, so to say. And one of the first orders of business is to rectify that. I decided that the 2-ingredient Almond Rocks was a good way to start and I needed another rocking recipe. And out of nowhere, I realized I hadn't make any Rocky Road bars in ages. Turns out, I had all the ingredients needed to make some Rocky Road. So with a few minutes of prep and some time to set in the fridge, I now have a delicious batch of Rocky Road.

The beauty of this recipe is that you can switch it up so many different ways. You prefer a sweeter chocolate, use milk chocolate. If like me, you prefer a dark chocolate, use a darker variant. I used a 70% dark chocolate. I know to many of you, it may seem like it is a little too dark, but considering the recipe also uses marshmallows, biscuits and glace cherries, it balances out nicely. If however you need something in between, use 2 parts dark to 1 part milk chocolate of half of each, to suit your taste. This time around I used almonds but I have also made them with cashew nuts in the past and they work well. I think peanuts would be really nice too. So feel free to switch things up. 

Just before serving these bars, lightly dust them with some icing sugar. I put about a spoonful of icing sugar into a small sieve and lightly tap it over the bars. This gives it a lovely snow-like effect. These bars would be perfect to serve up as dessert for your Christmas or Holiday Parties or it could just as well hit the spot as a little treat as well. They would look really good on your Christmas platter too. 



Rocky Road Crunch Bars
Yields: 16 pieces

200g chocolate (I used dark chocolate. Feel free to use milk or part dark and part milk chocolate)
85g butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp golden syrup
100g Maria biscuits (Marie biscuits or any other Tea biscuits)
75g almonds
75g glace cherries
60g mini marshmallows
1 tsp icing sugar

Roughly chop the chocolate up into little pieces. The smaller the pieces, the quicker it will melt.


Place it in a heavy bottomed saucepan with the butter and golden syrup and place it on a low heat. Stir it every now and then to make sure it isn't sticking to the bottom of the pan. 


When it has mostly melted, stir well and turn off the heat. You will get a silky syrupy consistency like this.

Roughly chop up the almonds and biscuits and set aside. It doesn't need to be uniform in size.


Tip in all the add ins like the marshmallows, biscuits, almonds and cherries into a large mixing bowl.


Pour the molten chocolate over the ingredients.


Stir well to make sure everything is coated with the chocolate.

Line an 8 inch square cake tin with foil.

Pour the mix into the lined tin and flatten it out as best as you can using the back of a spoon.


Refrigerate for about 2 hours. 

When you are ready to cut, carefully peel of the foil. It is easier to do this now rather than after you cut it up.

Cut into pieces. I got 16 squares of about 2 inches each.



Just before serving, lightly dust with some icing sugar passed through a sieve. 


Enjoy!!!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Almond Rocks

My first Christmas post ... is this really possible? It's not yet December but I already have my Christmas on, and it makes me insanely happy. I happen to be someone that loves Christmas. Turns out this is the first Christmas that I have to myself in about 8-10 years. For more than the first half of the last decade, I made Christmas sweets to order back in Mumbai. So as you can imagine around mid November, things would kick into higher gear with the prep, graphic work, shopping and planning of the month ahead and come December I'd be buried to my ears in work. It was exhausting but I loved every second of it and I can't wait to do this all over again here in Sydney. Not this year though. After spending the last few years in Retail, which at this time of the year has you running off your feet, I have decided to take a little time off. Time to step back, re-prioritize and take some time off. We going to spend Christmas with the family in Bombay this year and I'm really excited. So you should see a little more of me on the blog at this time of the year.

For my first Christmas treat, I'm going to share with you a little chocolate creation that will knock your socks off. If you aren't wearing any socks at the moment, I'll wait for you. Put them on and come back to check the rest of the post and prepare to have them knocked off. Almond Rocks are so simple to make and need just 2 ingredients. You can make as big or small a batch as you'd like to. But I must warn you, these are so addictive, do yourself a favor and make a bigger batch than you need. You can also adjust the chocolate to be as intensely dark or sweet as you want it. We personally love dark chocolate, so I use a 70% dark chocolate straight up. If you like a sweeter chocolate, you simple use milk chocolate. If you're in a Goldilocks kinda situation, use half semisweet / dark and half milk chocolate. So you see what I mean, you could have your chocolate just the way you like it. So that's about your first ingredient. Now onto your second, the almonds. I use just the regular natural almonds and I roast them myself. I find the flavor much better this way. But you could use store bought roasted almonds too. Those are the ingredients for you. Now let's put these together, shall we.



Almond Rocks
Yield: 16 pcs

100g dark chocolate (I used 70%, but you can use whatever you like)
A handful of almonds (I use 3 per chocolate, and always roast some extras, in case you have chocolate left over. The almonds taste great for snacking too.)

Preheat the oven to 170°C.

Place the almonds on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 5 minutes.

Toss the almonds and place back in the oven for another 4-5 minutes. Check at the 3 minute mark this time. You may not need as long as 5 minutes, depending on the size of your almonds and your oven. You want the almonds to slightly change color and you will distinctly be able to smell the nuttiness. You need to watch the almonds as you don't want them to char or burn.


Once you're happy with how roasted the almonds are, take them out of the oven and let them cool completely. They will crisp up and be a whole lot yummier one it has cooled down. (If you are using store bought almonds that are roasted, you can skip this whole step.)

While this is happening, roughly chop the chocolate into small pieces. Remember, the smaller the pieces, the faster it will melt, which is a good thing. If you haven't worked with chocolate before, please ensure that all surfaces, bowls/plates, knives that you use to work with the chocolate are comepletely dry. Water and chocolate don't get along. Any moisture will cause the chocolate to seize and that is NOT a good thing.

Place the chopped up chocolate in a microwave suitable bowl and pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and return to the microwave for another 15 seconds. Stir again. As you stir, you will see the chocolate starting to melt. It took me a further 15 seconds (1 minute in all) to get my chocolate melted. Stir well and as you stir, the chocolate continues to melt and gets silky like this.


Tip the completely cool roasted almonds in the chocolate. At this stage, you may feel like there isn't enough chocolate, but trust me, there is. If you want to, you can add the almonds in two stages. 


Stir the almonds into the chocolate to make sure every nut is well coated in the chocolate. 


Line a plate or platter or tray with parchment paper. 


Spoon out one cluster at a time. I scoop up 3 almonds at a time and drop them on the parchment lined tray. (If you want smaller clusters, you could use just 2 almonds for each cluster. I like the portion size that 3 almonds yield.)


Repeat with the rest of the almonds and chocolate. I love the irregular shapes of candy you get. I think its what gives these almond rocks a lot of character. 


Pop the tray in the refrigerator for around 20 minutes to set. This is what it will look after it has set.


Keep refrigerated till you are ready to serve or store in an airtight container in the fridge. If you want to wrap them in colored candy wrapping foil you can do so at this stage. You could also pop them in little festive bags and use them as edible gifts or host / hostess gifts this holiday season. I am going to leave them uncovered. 


Enjoy!!!


Note: If you are making a massive batch, melt your chocolate in batches that way it is easy to work with. However if you find the chocolate getting too thick to work it, microwave it for about 10 seconds and you should be good to go.

If you don't have a microwave, you could use the double boiler method to melt the chocolate. Simply place a bowl with the chocolate over a pot of simmering water, making sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl and no moisture or vapor gets to the chocolate while you are melting it.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Crepe Paper Flowers Tutorial - Iris (with video tutorial)

After a long break from the craft videos side of life, I'm happy to announce that I'm back on that track with a brand new tutorial. The Iris is such a simple flower to make but has such a visual impact.



You can watch the step by step video tutorial here.

If you'd like to play along you can find the template here

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Mango Smoothie Bowl

A couple of days ago, I came across something I instantly new was going to be a wonderful find. Now I am guilty of constantly looking for and saving interesting recipes that I want to try out. I have a list of bookmarks that grows every minute and a pinterest account that will prove my point. But this little treat flew straight to the top of that list. Turns out that smoothie bowls have been very popular for a while now. I was probably stuck under a rock for a really, really long time given that I hadn't seen these beauties before. But when I saw the first one, I had to look them up. There are so many combinations possible that it blew my mind. A smoothie bowl is bowlful of refreshing goodness with a choice of flavors and toppings only limited by your imagination. These smoothie bowls are like a cross between an ice cream, a soft serve, a frozen yogurt and a smoothie without the bad stuff. It is great for summer. And seeing how hot a summer it is turning out to be, these are going to be perfect for breakfast, Or once you see how good these are, a smaller portion as a snack.

Since this is my first smoothie bowl, I kept it simple. It is so easy to make and so refreshingly delicious, I know I'm going to be making more than a few more of these All you need is the fruit of your choice, milk and a little yogurt. Onto the toppings. You could use your choice of cereal, granola, nuts, seeds, chocolate chips pretty much whatever you feel like.

So go ahead and give these bowls a try. They will be a hard summer option to beat. You know you'll be seeing a few more of these. Oh, have I mentioned these just take a couple of minutes to make. Its a winner all the way.

Also, I have news. I have finally been bitten by the Instagram bug. I hope you can join me there. My Instagram username is @vaztrisha. You can find the recipes from this blog making an appearance there at #myhobbielobbie



Mango Smoothie Bowl
Serves 1-2

1 cup frozen mango cubes
1 banana, frozen
1 cup milk
4 tbsp Greek yogurt

For the toppings -
A few fresh blueberries
Peanut butter granola (Recipe coming up soon)

Place the mango, banana, milk and yogurt in a blender and blitz on slow at first.

Scrape down the sides and blitz till you are left with a soft serve consistency.

Pour the smoothie into a bowl.

Top off with fresh blueberries and some granola.

Serve chilled.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A walk down the SRC memory lane

As many of you know, I've been a part of the Secret Recipe Club for a long time now and this month was our last reveal. Yes, this much loved club is posting its last reveal this month and I know that it will be missed by all the members. As a parting post, I've decided to post a recap of all the recipes that I've made for the reveals for quicker access. I hope you enjoy having a look through with me.

1) Classic Blueberry Muffins


2) 2-minute Nutella Mug Cake


3) Breakfast Salad


4) Pineapple Kiwi Smoothie


5) Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix


6) Carrot, Cumin & Tomato Soup


7) Avocado Chocolate Mousse


8) Zucchini Spinach Soup


7) Shish Tawook Chicken and Toum


8) Corn Fritters with Balsamic Honey Reduction


9) Dutch Baby Over Pancake with Fresh Berries


10) Thai Inspired Chicken Patties


11) Cayenne Truffles


12) Brownie Pudding


13) Gingerbread Milkshake


14) Spicy Herby Potatoes


15) Sriracha Peanuts


16) Carrot Fritters


17) Peanut Butter Banana Muffins


18) Mini Banana Peanut Butter Yogurt Popsicles


19) Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting


20) Ginger Molasses Cookies


21) Homemade Pecan Muesli


22) Iced Caps


23) Strawberry Oat Smoothie


24) Coconut Pie


25) Blueberry Muffins


26) Fruit & Nut Balls


27) Beef & Bean Minestrone


28) Spinach Stuffed Omelette


29) Bursting Berry Muffins


30) Apple Hand Pies


31) Cookies N Cream Cupcakes


32) Buttermilk French Toast


33) Pots de Creme


34) Blueberry Pancakes


35) Chorizo Hash


36) Chocolate Oatmeal No-bake Cookies


37) Nutty Chocolate Granola


38) Melon Cucumber Smoothie


39) Caramel Popcorn


40) Chilli Lime Shrimp


41) Peppermint Hot White Cocoa Shots


42) Mocha Muffins


43) Pure Magic Truffles


44) Double Chocolate Scones


45) Smokey Potato Salad with Pan Fried Chicken


46) Nutty Cinnamon Bars


47) Wholewheat Oatmeal & Raisin Muffins


48) Chocolate Fudge Tarts


49) Orange Julius


50) Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Scones


51) Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


52) Low Fat Healthy Deviled Eggs


53) Black Russian


54) Stuffed French Toast


55) Tzatziki


56) Whole Wheat Carrot Muffins


57) Dutch Almond Bars


58) Tornado Chops with a Side of Slaw