April 21, 2013

Self sauce chocolate pudding

Cold nights call for warm desserts and one of my favourites that I have been cooking since I was in high school is the self sauce chocolate pudding.

Being a comfort food it doesn't look fancy when spooned into a bowl, however this can easily be forgiven when served pipping hot with plenty of chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream!

What you will need:

60g butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup self raising flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder, extra
2 cups boiling water.

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease 1.5 litre ovenproof dish.
2. Melt butter with milk in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat, stir in extract and caster sugar then sifted flour and cocoa. Spread mixture into dish.
3. Sift brown sugar and extra cocoa over mixture and gently pour boiling water over mixture.
4. Bake pudding, uncovered for 40 min or until centre firm. Stand 5 minutes before serving.
5. Serve with ice cream, preferable a vanilla based ice cream.

*The above recipe is an Australian Women's Weekly recipe.

April 16, 2013

Crispy autumn days

Autumn has arrived! After last nights storm the temperature has dropped and it is time to start thinking of autumn fashion! Below is an outfit I created on Polyvore, let me know what you think!

Crispy autumn days

MaxMara silk shirt

Trench coat
$98 - houseoffraser.co.uk

Miss selfridge

April 13, 2013

Victoria, Australia

Just under a month ago my husband and I went on a road trip to Victoria. Today's post is dedicated to the various towns we stayed at and a brief overview of what we did.

Hepburn Springs.

Located approximately one hour away from Melbourne CBD, in the Daylesford region is Hepburn Springs a picturesque small town which contains Australia's largest mineral springs. We stayed at Peppers Mineral Springs Retreat. The hotel was lovely, it was warm and intimate. We spent some time at the mineral spa and dined at The Argus which was amazing, the food was sensational and the service was great. I can easily say it is in my top 3 dining experiences ever.

Hepburn Springs


In Ballarat we stepped back into time at Soveriegn Hill, a town set up replicating the goldrush era. I had a fantastic time, learning more about that time, panning for gold, watching $150,000 of gold bullion being melted and going underground into a gold mine. At $45 an adult it is a little pricey however we spent the majority of our day there so it was worth the money.

Sovereign Hill

Located along the Great Ocean Rd is the town Lorne. We stayed at the Mantra which was reasonably priced and located one minute from the beach. Like most towns along the Great Ocean Road there isn't a lot too do, we spent our time relaxing and swimming at the beach and went for a walk to the pier. Dinner was fairly casual we ordered burgers and chips from the popular Bottle of Milk which we ate along the beach.


Lorne pier
Burgers and chips from the Bottle of Milk

Port Campbell.

Our trip from Lorne to Port Campbell was amazing and is a part that you don't want to miss. On our way to the Cape Otway lighthouse we spotted koala's in the trees, it was so nice, prior to this trip the last time I saw a wild koala was in Noosa when I was 10 years old.

Cape Otway
When we arrived at the lighthouse it was wet and cold, not wanting to turn around we braved the weather which did clear a little. We had a quick look at the homestead, the lighthouse, the aboriginal site and the war bunker. The lighthouse keeper was a wealth of knowledge it was a shame we couldn't spend more time listening to his stories. The view from the lighthouse was great, however I wouldn't recommend it if you are scared of heights!
12 Apostles

10 minutes from Port Campbell is the famous 12 Apostles and the Loch Ard Gorge both were spectacular and a must see.

Loch Ard Gorge

We spent the night just outside Port Campbell in one of the self contained cottages at Anchors. The cottage was perfect set admist the country side with views of the ocean. With the wild wind and rain it was nice to look out the large window in the warm, cozy room, we decided to make the most of the room by purchasing some items from the local grocery store and cooking dinner in the cottage.

Anchors - view of countryside

Warrnambool is  a very pretty, clean town with many lovely restored homes.The main purpose of our trip was to attend a wedding in Warrnambool. The wedding was great!  After stopping at many small towns along the Great Ocean Road it was great to see a large town.  We spent two nights at the Lady Bay Inn. We didn't have much time for sight seeing however managed to squeeze in a quick trip to Port Fairy and we watched the evening laser and light show at Flagstaff hill which was based on the shipwreck at Loch Ard Gorge.

Port Fairy

April 1, 2013

My herb garden

My latest pride and joy is my herb garden.  I love watching my herbs grow and enjoy the  freshness and flavours they add to my meals. Starting a herb garden is fairly inexpensive, isn't time consuming nor requires much room.

L to R: Dwarf lemon tree, Aloe vera, Sage, Parsley, Mint, Chives, Oregano, Chilli

 I prefer to contain my herbs in pots, if you wish to plant them straight into the ground make sure you have plenty of room for them to grow, approximately six months ago I planted basil which was happily thriving in a pot plant into the ground, the basil positioned in a sunny spot has quadrupled in size!

I also recommend using a good soil, placing them in a spot which receives a fair amount of sunlight and watering them every couple of days especially in summer. Adding plant food such as Thrive to the watering can will ensure your herbs thrive (mind the pun)!

If you have any tips please feel free to comment.