Category Archives: Homemade Food

Funfetti Cupcakes

Recently, I’ve seen a lot of funfetti baking around the Internet and have been wanting to try some out.  I wanted to do a test run as one of my daughter’s birthdays is coming up in April and I’m thinking of using a funfetti cake as the base and transforming it into whatever shape or character she sets her heart on.  We had some friends over for a BBQ on Sunday, a mix of six adults and six kids, and I thought it was the perfect opportunity for a test run.

I used the recipe from the website how sweet it is, click here to see.

I didn’t have quite enough sprinkles at home (I used1/4 of a cup instead of the 1/3 of a cup in the recipe) so my version don’t look quite as colourful (next time I will definitely use more sprinkles).

The cupcakes were a hit.  The kids loved them and the adults all enjoyed them too. They had a lovely vanilla flavour and the sprinkles through cake cupcakes were a really fun addition that added a little bit of a crunch to the normally soft cake texture.

Overall a really good cake flavour, I’ll definitely be using this again, especially for kids birthday parties – my kids love anything with sprinkles!


Mushroom, Asparagus and Feta Quiche

I’ve been trying to include more vegetarian meals in my family’s diet and so I’m always on the look out for tasty, child friendly meals that I can cook for everyone.  It’s quite hard to find recipes that suit with two sometimes fussy children, one of which has an egg allergy.  To be fair, my younger daughter couldn’t eat this quiche and I had to make her a separate dinner but it was a hit with the rest of the family.


2 sheets of ready rolled puff pastry

2 table spoons of olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

5 large button mushrooms, sliced

1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into thirds

2 garlic cloves, diced

100g feta, diced

8 eggs

1/3 cup of cream

1/2 cup grated cheese

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 180 degrees centigrade.  Grease a 20cm springform tin with butter and line with the two pastry sheets.

Heat the olive oil in a medium sized fry pan and cook the onions, garlic, asparagus and mushrooms for 5 minutes.  Cool.  Once the vegetable mixture is cooled slightly stir through the feta.

Whisk together the eggs, cream and grated cheese then season to taste.  Spread the vegetable and feta mix in the bottom of the prepared tin then pour over the egg and cheese mixture.  Sprinkle the chopped parsley over the top.

Cook in the oven for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted near the middle comes out clean.  Stand for 10 minutes serving cutting.  Serve with a green salad and crusty bread on the side.

Preparation time: 15 minutes.  Cook time : 30 minutes

Serves 6

Slow Cooked Pork Belly Bao Pockets

I’ve been to The Blue Breeze Inn  in Ponsonby, Auckland a couple of times and the menu item I’ve enjoyed the most is the slow cooked pork belly Bao pockets.  The idea for the Bao pockets originated in David Chang’s famous Momofuku restaurant in New York.

We recently discovered that Bao pockets are now available at Chinese supermarkets, so decided to make our own version.

We filled our Bao pockets with hoisin sauce, cucumber slices, pickled carrots, shredded iceberg lettuce and slow cooked crispy skinned pork belly.

They were delicious, the Bao pockets are soft, light and fluffy, the hoisin sauce sticky and full of flavour, the pork tender and melt in the mouth with the contrasting crunch of the crackle and the pickled carrots provided a crisp texture and perfect amount of tang.

Chinese Eggplant, Tofu and Black bean Casserole

Whenever we eat out at Chinese restaurants, I always enjoy ordering the casserole dishes but have never tried cooking one myself.  Tonight I had a spare eggplant and thought I’d try cooking a casserole at home.

After a search of ingredients that I had at home and recipes online, I decided to use a recipe I found on Slice of Rice as a guide and make some modifications of my own.


4 tbsp of oil

1 eggplant cut into 2 cm cubes

1 packet deep fried tofu, sliced

2 cloves of garlic minced

1cm piece of fresh ginger, minced

2 spring onions finely chopped

1 cup of chicken stock

2 tbsp of black bean sauce

1 tbsp light soy sauce

1/4 cup cold water

1 tsp cornflour

1 tsp sesame oil

Heat half of the oil in a wok and stir fry the eggplant until it is golden brown.  Remove from the wok and drain on a paper towel.  Heat the remainder of the oil In the same wok and stir fry garlic, ginger and half the spring onions for 30 seconds.  Add the chicken stock, black bean sauce and soya sauce to the wok and stir. Mix the cold water and cornflour together in a separate bowl then stir into the sauce mix in the wok.  Add eggplant and simmer gently for 5 minutes.  Add sliced tofu to the wok and simmer gently for another 5 minutes.  Stir in sesame oil.  Transfer to serving dish and sprinkle remaining spring onions on top.

Preparation time: 15 minutes.  Cook time: 15 minutes

Serves 4

Elmo Birthday Cake

One of my daughters had a birthday this week and it was my turn to make the cake. She chose one of her favourite characters for her cake, Elmo, or Mo Mo as she calls him.

I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to make a large cake in the shape of Elmo’s head or some cupcakes decorated to look like Elmo.  After a lot of thinking, I finally came up with the idea to make mini Elmo heads out of fondant for the cupcakes. I wanted to try something different and I’ve never worked with fondant before.

One thing led to another and I ended up making a two large fondant Elmo’s and 12 mini Elmo heads for cupcakes.  The fondant was reasonably easy to work with and the results were really cool.

I made one large white chocolate mud cake for the main birthday cake and a batch of chocolate fudge cupcupcakes.  I had a lot of batter left over from the cupcake recipe so I also made a batch of mini cupcakes, which unfortunately crumbled when I tried to take them out of the cases.

I had a whole bowl of cake crumbs left over which seemed a waste to throw out so I thought I’d try making some cake pops.  Another first for me, the cake pops were reasonably straight forward.  I made a batch of cream cheese icing, mixed it in with the cake pops and rolled into balls.  I put the balls into the freezer until firm, then pushed sticks into the balls, rolled them in melted chocolate then decorated them with sprinkles and pebbles.  Finally I stood them in a block of polystyrene to dry.

The cake pops turned out really well.  They looked amazing all clustered together and the kids loved to eat them.  I’ll definitely make them again next time I have some left over cake bits or a cake that doesn’t turn out properly.