Changes to Choc Mint Cupcake…

I’ve got news…

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The astute among you will notice that most of my posts have disappeared from here this week. I hinted a few posts ago that I was going to make some changes to Choc Mint Cupcake, starting with a photoshoot. Well, the last of the pictures are back and they’ve been off to a designer to help me make the look and feel of my blog be a little more me. And all will be revealed, well… soon.

Which brings me to part two of my news; Choc Mint Cupcake is moving. Woo!

I’ve thought about this long and hard because it involved lots of work and change and the possibility that the shift might make me lose readers, every single one of whom I have worked very hard to reach. But there are just too many opportunities passing me by with my current web host’s terms and conditions.

The integration is all done and tested and is something I’ve been working on behind the scenes for months. I desperately want to give you the URL right this very second so you can head over and see the site, but just bear with me for one more paragraph.

This site and URL will stay active (for now) because I think you’ll all find me okay at the new site. I’ve pulled most of the content down so that any visitors here will just see this post and one explaining that I’ve moved (which will go up in a couple of days). That means, if you’ve got recipes bookmarked, you should hopefully be able to find them easily by using tags or the search feature on my new blog, but if you can’t, send me an email: chocmintcupcake@gmail.com and I’ll find it for you.

Okay, so now, update your bookmarks to:

www.chocmintcupcake.com

If you’re still reading… why? Go! Look at my new site… good things are waiting.

Mel x

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Filed under Choc Mint On the Move

This week in my kitchen: Snacks, Jamie’s steak & mushroom sauce and Rock Climbing themed cookies

I’ve been having a bit of a stressful time lately and have found myself reaching for packets, boxes, and lazier options when it comes to meals and snacks. It struck me as ridiculous, considering that I have a Thermomix and can blitz up snacks and meals that are a lot better for me. So instead of pinning recipes endlessly to my Pinterest board and thinking about things I’m going to make when I have time, I got in and did it.

I started with a something sweet that I could munch on in the evenings if I felt like something after I’ve eaten dinner. I whipped up a batch of apricot bites from The Road to Loving My Thermomixer (noticing a theme here? Peta’s site is my go-to for recipe ideas lately!)

Peta’s done the hard work of working out how much you save money wise and sugar wise. It’s a big difference. I didn’t have quite enough dried apricots in my cupboard, so I cut all the ingredients down by about 20 % which yielded around the same slices as Peta’s recipe (40), but they were very thin and I cut teeny tiny pieces which ProPointed out to 1 pt per piece.

I’d definitely say this is comparable to the store-bought version, and actually, they don’t hurt my teeth as much so that must speak to the reduction in sugar. And seeing this one, lonely and AWFUL picture I took of my apricot bites has reminded me just how much I need a decent camera!

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I also whipped up one of Peta’s 10 Second Coconut Breads and cut it into teeny tiny 2 ProPoint slices. I individually wrapped each one and froze them in a big container to make it easy to take for lunch. So now, when I pack my lunch, I throw one of these in and by the time the coffee van’s arrived at the office, it’s perfectly defrosted. I know it’s a tiny slice, but I’ve been eating with a couple of dates and have found that’s all I need to tide me over until lunch time. Also, Peta’s just posted a recipe for a coconut rough version of this bread, so can’t wait to try that one next week!

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That’s only two new snacks that I’ve introduced into my routine, and so far, I’ve been finding it much easier to avoid morning teas and the vending machines at work because I know I’ve got something nice in my lunchbox to enjoy!

I had my last birthday party of the “season” to bake for this week, Noah’s rock climbing party. I must admit that when Noah’s mum told me the party was rock climbing, I had no idea what I was going to make for his biscuits. But a quick visit to Pinterest had me all sorted and I fixed these toppers up in no time. It was nice because using round or square bases means it’s easier to fit more cookies into a sheet, so I had the cookies baked in less than an hour.

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I also got Noah’s mum hooked on Pinterest, where she found a great idea for his birthday cake. She baked a stack of cupcakes and we stuck them to a cake board and iced them together with grey icing. I made a fondant Noah and she decorated the cake (s) with Smarties for the hand holds and Nerds rope for the guide ropes. It looks awesome!

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Lastly, this week, week three, at Jamie’s Ministry of Food was Steak and Mushroom Sauce week. I don’t eat steak, but I took along a chicken breast so I could still participate in the class. Again, I was surprised at just how easy it was to whip up a delicious sauce to transform a boring old chicken breast (or piece of steak) into something really special. I was also surprised at how easy it is to marinate a bit of extra flavour into the meat – I was always under the impression that there was no point marinating if you weren’t going to do it the night before. But our steaks and my chicken just marinated for about 30 minutes before we started cooking them and you could really taste the difference.

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I’m feeling sad that there are just two weeks to go!

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Filed under Baking, biscuits, cookies, Cooking, food, Home cooking, party, This week in my kitchen

In my kitchen (and tummy) this week: Tasmanian deliciousness, Jamie’s fajitas, and magic cookies

Another busy week!

I spent most of it in Tasmania which means I started my week eating more food that other people had made. My lovely nanna, who isn’t very well but who is still cooking a bit, had made me vege savouries (which is basically a very flat, open grill that she pre-makes, freezes and then heats in the oven for snacks) and a peppermint slice. I can’t remember having ever eaten the slice before, but she assured me that the recipe is in the book she wrote for me. It was delicious and definitely something I’ll be investigating in the future.

We had a really nice family lunch out at JJ’s Bakery Café in Longford, a small town that’s not far from where I grew up. The bakery is in the old flour mill and is a gorgeous old building. It was a cold, wet, miserable winter day but inside, we sat near the pizza oven and were toasty and warm. I had a delicious curried scallop pie with salad for lunch, and when we left and I got a look at the cabinet full of cakes, I wished I’d saved room for sweets.

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I spent the weekend in Hobart with my macaron-maker extraordinaire cousin. She had a little sample box of macs for me to try (gobbled in like, 10 minutes) and then on Saturday night we stayed up late making about a million macarons for me to take home with me. There were so many, we had to freeze them when I got back to Brisbane. We spent Saturday afternoon eating our way through Salamanca Markets (samples! vegetarian kebabs! homemade jam!), so between that, the macarons and Nan’s cooking, it’s little wonder the scales weren’t happy with me when I got home.

At Jamie’s Ministry of Food, for week two, we cooked the easiest and yummiest chicken fajitas (including a rustic guacamole and a fresh salsa) I have ever eaten. It’s only been two weeks, but I’m definitely finding a bit of my passion for cooking — and that’s cooking meals rather than baking — is sparking up again. I’d fallen into a bit of a bland food abyss lately, which means that I’ve been reaching for sweets to add some flavour into my diet. But I’m learning a lot about spice blends, temperature control, marinating time and other things that are easily done and add bags of flavour to simple dishes.

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I’m also loving the quick tips about getting an onion peeled and caramelised easily, the way to position foods on your cutting board for ease, speed and safety. Some of the smallest hints have made me think about cooking a meal after work (as little as I have to do it during the week and all) as less of a chore and more of a pleasure.

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The fajitas, salsa and guacamole are 100% definitely going to become an easy week night meal for me. And again, I can’t wait for the next class!

Meanwhile, at home, I prepped the toppers for Mitchell’s sixth birthday biscuits. With a magic-themed party, I went with playing cards, magic wands with stars and top hats. I searched high and low for a top hat cookie cutter, and with the search coming up short, I hand cut the hats. I left the toppers to firm up during the week, made the biscuits on Friday night and put them all together on Saturday in time for the party on Sunday.

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There’s lots more to come next week, and I know I keep hinting at it, but I hope that very soon I can let you in on some secret, Choc Mint Cupcake business that I’ve had brewing for a while! Fingers crossed.

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Filed under Baking, biscuits, Celebrity chefs, Cooking, food, macarons, This week in my kitchen