Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting.

A good cupcake, starts with a good recipe. There are so many recipes on the internet, all giving a slightly different cupcake. Some are for a light and fluffy cupcakes, some are for cupcakes with domed tops, some are sweet, some are not, some are doughy, or crumbly or dense.

My cupcake has a flat top, which is perfect for decorating. My cupcake is sweet. My cupcake tastes like childhood. It is soft, but holds it's shape. It is moist and delicious... every time.

If you're an "I don't follow a recipe" baker, and you don't follow this recipe, to the gram, and then comment, that it doesn't work out, I will get stabby.

If you are a new baker, or an old baker with no skill, then read through the recipe twice, before you begin. Understand what you have to do, ask questions if you don't understand something. I check in often, so you won't be waiting long for an answer.

This recipe makes 24 extraordinary Vanilla Cupcakes

Note: I don't use brand name ingredients, but I do use fresh eggs. I have chooks, so most of the time, they are warm from a chooks bum.

About 2 hours before you start, get your eggs and butter out of the fridge to get to room temperature.

Vanilla Cupcakes


1 cup butter (not margarine)
2 cups white sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 milk


1) PREHEAT your oven to 190degrees C. DONT FORGET! (I often forget this step)
2) Put patty pan cases into trays.
3) Sift flours and salt into a large bowl, set aside
4) With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together. Add the vanilla and eggs, and beat until the mixture has doubled in size and it very pale yellow.
5) Add the milk, but don't mix.
6) Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and begin to fold in a small amount of flour. Doing about 1/2 cup at a time, mix in the flour.
7) Using an ice cream scoop, or 1/3 of a cup measuring cup, put the batter into the patty pans.
8) Put into the oven, and then turn the oven down to 170 degrees C. Bake for 17-20 mins (depending on if you have a fan forced oven).

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting


1/4 cup of room temperature butter
170 g cream cheese at room temperature
4 cups icing mixture, sifted
1/4 tsp vanilla extract


1) Beat butter and cream cheese together with the vanilla.
2) Add a little of the icing mixture at a time, beating well.
3) Beat on high for about 4-6 mins, until the frosting is very light and fluffy.

When the cupcakes are cool, pipe on frosting using a large nozzle. Decorate with hand made fondant decorations, and people will be very impressed.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Tears Before 7am

After getting back from a morning walk, trying to change who I am, because I'm fat. Because people have told me so since I was 8. Because I quit Ballet because I didn't look like the other girls. Because I never let on how the taunts hurt me. Because I was the girl who smiled and shrugged it off. Because I wasn't the girl who cared what people thought. Because I sought love from strangers to validate my beauty. Because I found a man who loves me even though I'm flawed. Because when I was pregnant with all my babies, the Doctors insisted on monitoring my healthy babies closely because I was fat. Because I left every antenatal appointment in tears, and my confidence of being a good mother was shattered. Because I watch the Biggest Loser and they say that they can't keep up with their children, because they're fat.

I came home, to this, posted by a friend. Posted by someone who knows what this is like.


Please, watch it. Watch it when you have time to cry. Don't keep reading, unless you've watch it, thought about it, shared it.

Sara wrote, that this deserves to go viral. It does.

This is my important part.

And they'll never understand that she's raising two kids, whose definition of beauty begins with the word Mom. Because they see her heart, before they see her skin. Because she has only ever, always been amazing.

What a morning. Sometimes things just confront you when you don't expect it.

What was your part. What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Chicken Noodle Soup with Croutons and Chicken Kiev with Roast Vegetables.

Chicken Noodle Soup with Croutons and Chicken Kiev with Roast Vegetables.

The weather is cooling down in Australia, and the food is warming up. I love Winter, where it's publicly acceptable to eat soup. I eat soup throughout the year, because I just can't help myself.

This feeds all six of us, but the Kiev isn't a favourite with the kids. When we're having them, they get a sausage, or a plain thigh, baked in the oven, smeared with a bit of tomato sauce.


3 cloves of garlic (2 for the kievs, 1 for the soup)
1 Tbls chopped herbs (I use Italian Parsley and Chives)
4 Tbls butter (not margarine) softened
2-3L chicken stock (home made or pre-bought- but don't use stock cubes only)
about 1kg fresh chicken thighs (or breasts- but thighs are flavour filled and inexpensive. Breasts will leave you with  "prettier" chicken.) You need 1 for each person for the kiev, and at least 4 for the soup.  No pre-frozen pieces (I cheated for the soup, and used a roast chicken from Coles)
2 chicken or bacon stock cubes
4 large potatoes, peeled
4 carrots, peeled
1 onion, diced (for soup)
1 onion quartered (for roast)
2 stalks of celery, diced
Pumpkin (for roast)
1 cup of frozen peas and corn combination
1/2 loaf of day old bread (unsliced preferably- I love sour dough cob loaf- but if you don't have these, just normal sliced bread will do)
Olive Oil
1-2 eggs, seasoned and beaten together
300g spaghetti broken into 3cm(ish) pieces
2 Tbls corn flour, mixed with 2Tbls warm water to make a paste


Day One

1) Start by making your garlic butter. To do this simply combine butter, herbs and 2 cloves of garlic. I use my stick blender, and wazz it until smooth. Put butter onto a piece of cling wrap and roll it into a thin log, and put it in the fridge. You want it to be able the thickness of your thumb.

2) Put the chicken stock onto boil in a large pot. Add whole chicken thighs, celery, 2 carrots, finely diced, onion, garlic, stock cubes and 1/2 a diced potato. Simmer until the chicken is cooked all the way through, about 20mins.

3) Meanwhile, place the rest of the vegetables, cut into roasting sized pieces into water, and put into the fridge.

4) Take half of your bread, and mix it in a food processor, and add some salt and pepper. You can also add herbs, if you want to be fancy. Add a little olive oil to bring it together. Cut the rest of the bread into cubes, place on a tray, and drizzle on a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Bake in the oven on a low heat, until croutoney.

5) When your butter is firm enough to cut, take the cling wrap off, and cut to size. Wrap it inside your chicken thigh. If you're using breast, you need to make a cut and stuff it inside.

4) Dunk the chicken in the egg mixture. Coat the chicken into the bread crumb, back into the egg, and back into the crumb. Double crumbing will ensure the crumbs stick, and go nice and crunchy. Pro tip- use one hand for egg, one hand for crumb, and you wont end up with it on your hands, and none on the chicken. Wrap in cling wrap, and put in the freezer until tomorrow night.

5) Take your chicken out of the soup, and skim the weird stuff off the top of the liquid. Using a fork, shred chicken and put back into the soup. Add your corn flour paste, and stir well. When your soup thickens, add the noodles, and cook for the required amount of time for the noodles to cook.

6) Get the kids serves out well in advance, and let cool. Serve and allow everyone to add their own croutons... it's the best bit!

Day Two

1) Put chicken, potato and pumpkin into a roasting dish. Dress vegetables with olive oil and salt and pepper. Cook chicken kiev from frozen. Cook for 40-60 mins in a moderate oven (180degree C). When there is 20mins to go, add carrots, and if you're cooking sausages for the kids, pop them into the roasting dish too. They will need turning at 10mins to go.

Just before serving, microwave peas and corn in water, until hot.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

With time and money a scarcity at the moment, I've decided to do a series of meals, that I'm going to call,

Two For The Price Of One.
I'm not talking about dollar value, but time value. I can cook or prepare both of these meals, and they will both use similar ingredients in a different way. One I will make for dinner on the night, and the other will be tomorrows dinner.

I'd love to have your meals featured (yes you!) so if you'd like to contribute, comment below, email me at alishaluxford@hotmail.com or contact me at our Facebook Page.  
 This page, will be an index to all the Two For The Price Of One meals. Just click on the link you want, and it will lead you there.

1) Sausage Curry with Rice and Echidna Rissoles with Vegetables
2) Chicken Noodle Soup with Croutons, and Chicken Kiev with Roast Vegetables

Sausage Curry with Rice and Echidna Rissoles with Vegetables

Sausage Curry with Rice and Echidna Rissoles with Vegetables

This is the first post in the Two For The Price of One meals that I'm doing. You can view the others by clicking here.

These meals will generously feed 4, with a serve left over for lunch.


3 cups of basmati rice
10-12 thick beef sausages
2 large onions, diced
1 tin diced, organic tomatoes (the organic makes all the difference to the flavour)
2 tsp Keens Curry Powder (or whichever brand you prefer)
3 Tbl plain flour
2 cups water or stock
1/2 tub of cream cheese
1/4 cup of canola oil
500-700g (1 pound) minced (ground) beef
4-5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in half (place this in a bowl of water in the fridge to stop it going brown)
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 cup frozen peas (but use half a cup per meal)
1 cup frozen corn (but use half a cup for each meal)
Any other vegetables you want, cauliflower, broccoli, beans, pumpkin, etc (prepare them, but store these for Day Two).
Salt and Pepper to season
1 egg
3 Tbls tomato sauce


Day One

1) In a large pot, boil the rice as per the instructions on the packet.
2) Heat 3 Tbls oil in the fry pan, and fry sausages until cooked all the way through. While these are cooking, peel and cut vegetables, and onion.
3) When they're cooked, take out of the pan, and sauté 1 onion with a little oil for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add curry powder and plain flour and cook until aromatic.
4) Slowly add a bit of your water or stock, and stir until thickened. Add the rest, and stir through. Add half the carrots- put the remaining into the fridge with the potatoes and other vegetables.
5) Slice the sausages into bite size rounds, and add to the sauce. Add the tin of tomatoes, and cover and simmer for 10 mins.  (do step 6-7-8 in this time) Then, add your peas, and corn to the curry sausages, and stir in the cream cheese. Leave simmer for 5 minutes
6) Meanwhile, drain the rice, and rinse.
7) In a large bowl add mince, 1 onion, tomato sauce, egg, salt and pepper and 1 1/2 cups of cooked rice. Mix well with your hands.
8) Form large rounds, and place on a plate into the fridge, covered in cling wrap.
9) Serve Curry Sausages over the rice, and garnish with some fresh parsley if you want to be fancy.

Day Two

1) Steam your veggies as per usual.
2) Fry your Echidna rissoles, in a little oil that covers the bottom of the pan (or you can BBQ them)
3) If you want, serve the Echidna rissoles with gravy or some tomato sauce to dunk in.

Our kids love both of these meals, and I usually prepare them on the same day, when I know the following day will be busy. I love making two meals at once, as it's me who reaps the rewards. The more organised we are, the happier we all are.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Thank you to these websites for providing the pictures- All Recipes and food.com