Sometimes you just get into certain moods to try different things once in a while. So this was when I decided to make porridge using arborio rice, which is usually used for risotto and baking brownies in a muffin pan.

Both came out equally delicious and comforting. The porridge/risotto combo was cooked in the initial stage alike to browning the rice first and then adding the stock till the rice became a thick and lovely consistency. I just upped the liquid contents by about a cup more and simmered for an additional ten to twenty minutes according to how you like your rice "mushiness" to be. I used chunks of fish fillets and diced vegetables for this Chinese styled porridge using an Italian ingredient as its base.

The other hybrid isn't really a hybrid per se but just looks like one. It's a blondies or brownies recipe from Smitten Kitchen and it was the easiest and simplest recipe you could ever want and try. Mixed in one big bowl and spoon the batter onto a cake pan or if you're like me, you can use a muffin pan which will yield the same brownie goodness either way. The aroma emanating from the oven midway through was too torturous for me to not want to try one of these babies.

I only decided to use the muffin tray instead of a baking dish because I just recently got it and needed to break into it and also for the occasion that it's a friend's birthday today and I wanted to bake her something chocolatey and sinfully good instead of the traditional cake. I hope she likes the additions of roasted slivered almonds and luscious Cadbury dark chocolate chips which I used in this recipe.

There's a barbecue coming up so I might double the recipe and use chipped Lindt chocolate and roasted chopped walnuts. Everyone loves a good brownie including myself!

sunny days

This is going to be a relatively short post because I've been swamped with tests and assignments of late.

SO, for tonight's pot luck dinner gathering with some friends I decided to try my hand at an apple squares recipe which actually sort of resemble to that of an apple pie/tart thing. I have to give credits to the lovely Canadian Baker again for the beautifully simple recipe. I have always been a bit intimidated by pies and tarts or squares and basically anything that required me to make a dough and shape them to resemble anything at all. So, when this pot luck gathering came around and I heard that most of the people there really liked apple pie a lot I thought of maybe I should try it for once and for all. I came across this recipe and seemed relatively simple enough for even a novice baker like me and decided to give it a go.

The filling made of sliced apples mixed with sugar and cinnamon was easy enough to do and I added some sliced peaches as well into the mix for some variety. The dough came together quite easily and nicely enough but when it came to shaping them into long strips to make the lattice topping my worst fears came through. First I tried to roll them out onto a flat surface so that I could score them into even shapes and lay them gently onto the filling. The dough just wouldn't want to stick with me when it was flat and kept falling apart. So I had to end up following the rolling technique and made snake-like dough thingys to form the lattice shape. It's so far the fanciest looking dish I've made. If I had a choice I'd rather make a crumb topping and sprinkle them all over haphazardly instead of the lattice pattern.

When it was finally done, I was just glad that the dough actually expanded a bit and sort of covered up my mistakes and the ugliness of some of the dough. I'm only wishing now that it'll be evening and I get to try a piece of it. It's torturous to see the dish sitting on the counter waiting to be eaten and I can't even touch it.

Just last week as well I baked another batch of my favourite scones but this time with an addition of tinned peaches. I made this specially for my friend who was leaving good old Melby for good ole UK and been bugging me for something I either baked or cooked. I didn't realise that the scones was just about British as you could get when I gave it to him at the party and only then I got the neo-irony of it. It was just a cute coincidence that I decided to make scones and not anything else only because it was the easiest thing I knew to make then when I was pressed for time.

The odd looking shaped tin foil basket thing you see there was something I decided to scrounge out in the last minute when I was thinking of how I could bring the scones to the party place. Then I recalled this handy looking thing I watched on Jamie Oliver's The Naked Chef once and thought I'd give it a go and see if it looked as odd as I had remembered it.

Well it certainly does look odd but it does the job of keeping them safely tucked away so who am I to complain.

That last week as well, I decided to get all tarty for lunch and try out the ready made puff pastry sheets I recently bought. I used the tinned peaches again and mixed it in brown sugar, butter and flour to bring them together in a kind of crumbly mix. The puff certainly did puff and tasted lovely but I think I should have probably left them in the oven a bit longer to allow for the crumb mixture to attain the golden and crispy texture I love so much.

It's been incredibly sunny and hot but still slightly chilly here in Melbourne as we are transitioning into spring. I'm on the lookout for some spring inspired pastries, tarts, pies or anything springy this time around. But then you never know with Melbourne when the cold might bite back again despite the awesome weather we've been having recently after the frosty winter.