Nutella Christmas Tree

Last year this Nutella Christmas tree had been doing the rounds on the internet and I always said I wanted to make it. Well a year later I finally made it.

It was super easy and you only need 3 things. You will need:

2 x Edmonds flaky puff pastry sheets

Nutella

1 x egg

Pretty much to start you need to make a Nutella sandwich, so cover one sheet with Nutella (not too close to the edges as it becomes messy when twisting). Then place the other sheet on top.

Measure out the trunk and mark the shape of the tree out.

Once that’s done cut strips along the side to make the branches and then twist each one and top with a cut out star.

Now don’t throw away any of the scraps because you can still bake those p.s you will notice my first attempt of a star amongst the scraps, it’s a shocker.

Egg wash the pastry and bake in the oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes. When it’s cool dust with icing sugar so it looks like snow and I used red and green M&M’s to give a bauble effect.

There you go, the Nutella Christmas tree dessert.

Hope you have a go at making this!

Happy holidays

Ronell x

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The Travelling Scroll Recipe

Okay so first up I cannot take any credit for this recipe. A friend passed on the recipe to me for Cinnamon Scrolls. I’ve just used the same recipe for my savoury scrolls and left out the sugar component. 

She got the recipe of her sister in law, and then passed it onto me, and now I’m sharing it with you, hence the name of the post. Here is the recipe, in my own words. 


Dough Recipe (using a breadmaker)

  • 1 sachet dry yeast or 3 Tsp
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (not too hot)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups plain flour

Method

  • Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees c fan forced or 220 degrees c. 
  • Firstly heat the milk until warm and put in the dry yeast. 
  • Whilst the milk and yeast are doing the tango in the jug put all the other ingredients in the bread maker. 
  • Now pour in the milk and yeast mixture. 
  • Set your machine to the basic dough function and away you go. 
  • In my machine this takes about 2 1/2 hours. 
  • Once done roll out onto a floured surface in a rectangular shape. It will be a bit broad which is what you want. 
  • Spread the cheese over the dough and top with ham. 
  • Then it’s time to roll. Make sure you are rolling it from the longer side away from you. 
  • Once rolled, cut into slices and place cut side down. 
  • Bake for about 15 mins or until golden. 

So that’s how I made the scrolls. The dough was perfect and the scrolls turned out amazing. It will sure be a winner in the kids lunch boxes. 

Below is a photo of the recipe that was sent to me for cinnamon scrolls as reference if you need. 


I hope you enjoy this recipe and don’t forget to share the scroll love and pass it on. 

Ronell x

Easy Bean & Corn Salad

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If you’re looking for a quick and easy salad to throw together then this is it.  Perfect to take along to BBQ’s or to make a big batch at the beginning of the week and use for lunches.

Here is my recipe:

Easy Bean & Corn Salad

Ingredients

2 x cans sweetcorn, drained
2 x cans four bean mix, rinsed
1 x red capsicum
Red onion, finely diced
Cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
Cucumber, diced
1 x avocado diced
1 x bunch asparagus blanched then cut into pieces
Handful of coriander, chopped
Season with salt and pepper

Method

Put everything in a bowl and mix together!  That easy

Note:  The quantities above makes a very large serving, half the ingredients if you want a smaller amount.

Enjoy!

Ronell x

Salty Caramel and Chocolate Christmas Cracker Recipe

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Since making this and posting a photo I have been asked a lot for the recipe.  These Christmas crackers are so easy to make and they are perfect for gifts or as a plate.  I made these for my girls shared lunch at school, and used candy cane as the toppings. The toppings you can add are endless.

Recipe

Serves 25+

Ingredients

  • 100g plain salted crackers (I used Huntley & Palmers Cream Crackers Original)
  • 225g butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 250g Whittakers Dark Cacao chocolate block (at least 60% Cacao and above is good), roughly chopped
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
  • 1/4 – 1/2  cup dried cranberries

Method

  • Preheat the over to 190 deg C.  Line a 22cm x 33cm shallow baking tray with baking paper.
  • Place the crackers in the base of the tray without overlapping, so they cover the base, breaking them to fit if required.
  • Melt the butter and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring well, until it bubbles and is combined.
  • Remove from the heat and pour immediately over the crackers as evenly as possible. Place in the preheated over for 8-10 minutes or until bubbling all over and the caramel is starting to darken.
  • Remove from the heat and sprinkle the chocolate over evenly, then return to the oven for a further minute or until the chocolate has just melted enough to spread. Using a spatula or palette knife spread the chocolate evenly so it is smooth on the surface.
  • Sprinkle over the pistachios and cranberries and leave until the chocolate is just set before cutting into pieces.
  • Store the crackers in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Recipe courtesy of Dish Magazine

Enjoy!

Ronell x

An Alternative to Traditional Garlic Bread

It’s the season which brings along lots of entertaining and that means lots of food. 

This weekend we hosted our first Christmas catch up with friends and instead of the traditional garlic bread which can be a bit heavy and greasy, I tried something a little different. 


I used a pack of wraps and you can get all sorts these days in the supermarket. Then spread over a bit of garlic butter, crushed fresh garlic and a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese. 

I grilled these in the oven keeping an eye on them the whole time as they brown quickly. Then used a pizza cutter and cut them up in wedges. 


The end result was amazing. They were light and crispy and full of flavour. The kids even gobbled these up!! Fair to say these were a hit. 

So give this a go at your next party or take a plate of these with some dips and you’re set!

Enjoy!

Ronell x

Berry Picking Season

It’s the 1st of December which means it’s officially Summer!  One of the things I love about summer is all the stone fruit and berries available. My kids devour them every time and we go through a lot of fruit.

Something we always wanted to do with the girls is find a strawberry farm where we can pick our own berries and teach them how it all works.  Most of the pick your own (PYO) fields only open on Boxing day.  Now its tradition that a lot of people hit the shops for the big Boxing Day sales, why would anyone do that after just spending the month before at the shops buying stuff for Xmas, go figure! Right back to picking fruit! So why not try something a bit different this Boxing Day and hit the orchards instead.

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Last year we headed to Sweet Red orchard to pick our very own strawberries, however we kinda got the timing wrong and went in October!  But we still had a look at all the fields, and bought a few punnet’s of amazing strawberries and off course fresh strawberry ice cream. Even though we went when you couldn’t pick the fruit it was pretty busy.

img_0560I think it’s such a cool thing to do with kids, getting them outside in the fresh air, looking for fruit and seeing where it comes from.  We took this one step further and planted our own strawberries at home and it was super easy to do.  The girls loved watching them grow and then running out and picking them when they were ready.  Organic as it comes.  We bought a couple of the big tubs from Bunning’s Warehouse and drilled a few holes around the bottom.  You can get a bag of Tui Strawberry Mix soil from most garden shops. Once the strawberry plants were planted we added some pea straw and you’re done.

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Below is a list of links for Strawberry farms that you can visit and pick your own.  There is one listed for the Hamilton region as well.  I’ve had a look for some Blueberry farms but there isn’t much in the Auckland region at all.

Phil Greig Strawberry Gardens

The Strawberry Farm  (Hamilton)

Sweet Red

Blueberry Country

Mona Vale Blueberries

So I hope you will grab the kids and find a field where you can pick your own berries for summer, and create amazing memories.

Ronell x

White Cloud Spur – My Take on it!

When I heard that Spur was opening up here on the North Shore I was beyond excited, being South African, and knowing what a great place it was back home.  The weekend after it opened we attempted going however the line was extremely long, and we would have been waiting probably an hour to get in and with two hungry children we made a quick U-turn.

So we decided that we would let the hype die down and then go during the week.  When Adam finished work today we dashed over in peak hour traffic to get there in record time to if I might add.  We got there around 5:15pm, dinner bookings start from 5pm so you want to go early as it does fill up.  The good thing though is, it has two levels so once the downstairs is full then they open up the top dining area.

Once you are seated, the kids get some colouring in to do and mask’s, much to my girl’s delight.  Whilst we ordered our dinner the kids played in the playground outside (check out my Facebook page Not in a Nutshell for the video of the kids playground).

The meals came out pretty quickly, first up were the kids meals, Kiara had the ribs, which where a bit on the small side.  Chloe had the pizza which was great and a lot for her (thank you I’ll take a doggy bag please!).

I ordered the Sauce burger because from memory the mushroom sauce at Spur is amazing! Well I was very disappointed, the sauce was a bit bland and the actual burger pattie itself had no seasoning on it at all!  My meal was luke warm besides the chips that were hot.  My burger kinda looked sad!  I was so looking forward to this.  I’m not sure why people are scared of using seasoning when making food!!  It drives me nuts every time.  Adam’s was no better, the chicken wings seemed poached because they were so white, rather than having some sort of char grill to it.  The sauce on his ribs were good but his meal too was luke warm as well.

All in all, we were fairly disappointed with the food, however, the atmosphere, deco and playground were fabulous, but we wont be rushing back!  I really wished I could have written an amazing review for the food but I can’t.  Please note these are just my opinion’s you might have a completely different experience with the food.

Maybe in time it will get better!

Ronell x

 

Stepping out in Waihi Beach

Soaking up the sun and sand at Waihi Beach seems so long ago now, when we are stuck with rain and gloomy skies here in Auckland.  So it’s the perfect time to look back and reminisce on our time in Waihi Beach.  I love holidaying in new places each time, as it gives us the opportunity to explore another part of our beautiful country.

It was the first time that my family and I have visited Waihi Beach and I was completely blown away.  The array of shops and cafes, were endless, and really good variety.  The sun was out and holiday makers everywhere walking the main street stopping at shops and cafes and enjoying the sunshine.  I will take you through some of the lovely shop’s and cafes that we have visited whilst down there.

The first store we looked at was Shipshape it is a great boutique store in the heart of Waihi beach village.  They sell beautiful clothing and Balinese designer homeware’s.  I couldn’t get photos of inside the store purely because it was so busy with customers!  That’s a good sign right!

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To the side of this store you can make your way through to The Secret Garden, which is set amongst lush tropical plants, and they have beautiful authentic Balinese seating areas for you to relax in, enjoy a cup of coffee from The Pod, which serves amazing coffee’s and chai lattes and their food is top-notch, with healthy salads on offer and raw delights.  The Secret Garden also has live music playing which really gives the atmosphere something special.  You can still do a bit of shopping here too, there is a little pottery shop and art space where you can pick up some great original paintings.

It was a great to take some time out with the kids and sit back and relax for a bit, before we hit the shops again!

We stopped at Molly’s at the Beach next.  Again, another great store where you can find some pretty good pieces including swimwear.

Further along the road you will come across The French Shop or Au bord de la mer: The French Shop At The Seaside. Here you will find amazing french inspired homeware. I could have spent a long time in this shop just looking around but the kids were standing with their faces pressed to the window, not impressed how long I was taking!

Another great shop that we found which was tucked away in the back behind a lot of the shops was called Inside Out.  You had to walk along a driveway to get to it.  This shop was my kinda shop too, they had modern gifts and plants for inside and out!  If you know me well, you would know I love plants!

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Last but not least was another homeware store called Sunday.  It had some fabulous modern pieces in there, I was eyeing up a few things!  By this stage though the family had left me and started making their way to the car, that was a signal for me to hurry up!

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We are on to the good stuff now FOOD!!  You guys know I love food, from preparing it (most of the time) to eating it (all the time).  Food brings people together, and I love a place where you can get sit back relax and enjoy good food.  On the second night of our stay in Athenree, we knew the All Blacks rugby game against Australia was on, so we needed to find somewhere with a big screen TV and food.  The campground had a big TV but not a lot of room for everyone, and we didn’t really want to cook that night. So we headed to the Waihi Beach RSA, no better place, except everyone had the same idea as us!  The place was packed, and I have to say the food was really good too, we enjoyed our time there, great atmosphere and views looking out over Waihi Beach.

If you are looking for a great spot for lunch then look no further than the Flatwhite. The restaurant is situated right on the beach, it has the perfect location, where you can grab a bite to eat then head on down to the beach!  The kids meals were pretty decent sizes too which is great when you get value for money.   I had the smashed avocado, poached egg with rye toast and a side of bacon (which I must admit I found paying $5 for two pieces of bacon pretty expensive), Adam had the creamy mushrooms on toast.

A visit to the beach would not be complete without an ice cream, and what better place than to stop at the Waihi Beach Hotel.  The ice creams here are incredible, I had the coconut ice cream and Adam had the berry yoghurt scoop, he was not too keen on sharing a cone!

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Waihi Beach is by far one of my favourite town’s and we will definitely visit here often.  We absolutely loved our Labour Weekend camping trip, and this is what a great holiday is all about, good food, good company and good times.

Ronell x

Olivado Oils

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Recently I have been sent some of these amazing oils by Olivado to try out.  All of Olivado’s oil’s are cold pressed, meaning that no heat or chemical additives were used to extract these oils.  I think now that people are starting to become more aware of what we eat and the nutritional value behind products, it’s time we also focus on the type of oils we are using.

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I tried out the Avocado Oil, and at first I thought it’s going to have a strong taste like some oils have, which can be off-putting and change the taste of the dish as well.  However this wasn’t the case with this, it was a beautiful colour and taste.  Olivado developed the worlds first artisanal extra virgin avocado oil in 2000. They use New Zealand Hass avocados and each bottle contains the oil of 20 avocados!  This is such a versatile oil and can be used for so many things like pan frying, roasting, drizzle over vegetables or as a salad dressing.

Here are some of the health benefits with using avocado oil are:

  • it has the highest levels of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats (in comparison to other oils)
  • up to four times more beta-sitosterol than olive oil, to assist in lowering cholesterol
  • high levels of alpha and beta-carotene, which protect against heart disease and cancer

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My Olivado extra virgin peanut oil accompanied me to my families latest camping trip and was perfect with the Pad Thai that we cooked up for dinner.  This oil smells so delicious.  The oil has a light golden colour with a mild peanut flavour, which is great for Asian and Middle Eastern cooking, salads or for sauteing as well.  Peanut oil is a good source of Vitamin E.  The cold extraction preserves all the natural goodness of raw, unroasted peanuts.  It contains no trans fats, additives, preservatives or artificial ingredients.

The oil that I am most looking forward to trying is the Extra Virgin Macadamia Nut Oil.  The Macadamia nuts used are from Queensland, Australia. This oil has a delicate, smooth buttery flavour which is perfect for pan frying or using as a butter substitute when baking.  I will be putting this to the test this coming week with some baking.

Olivado has a great range of oils including Sesame oil, Sweet Almond Oil, and their raw cold pressed coconut oil.  Alot of their oils can be used externally as well on the skin. If you would like more information on Olivado and their products you can click here.

I look forward to using these oils in my daily cooking and baking, knowing that I am using a great product which is good for my family and I.

Next time you are in the supermarket, look out for Olivado Oils and give them a try!

Happy Cooking!

Ronell x

Chocolate Breakfast Smoothie

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Healthy chocolate breakfast smoothie

This sure hit the spot this morning!  For all those chocolate lovers, this is so delicious and to think it’s healthy too!

Here’s the recipe for my healthy chocolate breakfast smoothie:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 heaped tsp cacao powder
  • 1 tsp ground LSA (linseed, sunflower seeds, almonds)
  • 1 cup coconut & almond milk
  • water if needed
  • desiccated coconut

Place everything (except desiccated coconut) in a blender and whizz it up!  You can adjust the ingredients according to your tastes.  You can add some honey if you like it much sweeter but I enjoyed it as it.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Ronell x