Valentine’s Day Churros

Hooray for churros! I’ve been craving these babies every day since returning from the Gold Coast last week. Despite the crazy rain up north we managed to pay a visit to Warner Bros Movie World (which was awesome btw), where we were greeted with churros stalls every 20 metres we walked. I was in heaven! Lucky for me the prices at theme parks are always pretty steep – churros were selling for $3 a pop! – otherwise I probably would’ve come home 10 kilos heavier.

If you haven’t tried these spanish donuts before you are seriously missing out! These crunchy deep fried golden sticks of heaven are delicious. Being the hopeless romantic that I am, I wanted to incorporate a Valentine’s Day theme into the recipe so I piped the churros out into heart shapes. Nawww cute huh? I rolled them around in cinnamon sugar which is how they were served at Movie World but I’ve also eaten them before dusted with icing sugar and dipped in chocolate sauce, which tastes just as good. It took under half an hour to whip these up from start to finish so if you’re looking for something easy to put together for your man/woman this Valentine’s Day then this is definitely the recipe to try!

Valentine’s Day Churros (serves 4)

Churros Dough
1 cup water
2 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 quarts oil for frying

Cinnamon Sugar
1/2 cup white sugar, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine water, 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in flour until mixture forms a ball of dough.

Place dough in a piping bag and pipe heart shapes onto a sheet of parchment paper.

Heat oil for frying in deep-fryer or deep saucepan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). You can test this by placing a wooden chopstick or skewer into the oil and if it bubbles around the chopstick the oil is ready.

Use a deep frying spatula (or similar) to carefully place the hearts into the oil. If you’re not making heart shaped churros you can pipe strips of dough into hot oil using a pastry bag to form a long churro. Fry until golden and drain on paper towels.

Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon. Roll drained churros in cinnamon and sugar mixture.

Enjoy!

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Easiest 5 Minute Chocolate Cake

Okay, this isn’t exactly the best looking cake around but what it lacks in aesthetics is made up for by the fact that this is one of the easiest recipes you will ever find – it takes 5 minutes to put together from start to finish and you cook it using the microwave! If you’re the type to get sudden rushes of cake cravings in the middle of the night but can’t be bothered to get off your butt and into the kitchen to bake then this is the recipe for you. The best thing is in order to satisfy your craving there’s no need to make one giant sized mountain of a cake – this recipe serves one.

The difference between making this an average tasting cake and a great tasting cake lies in the amount of chocolate chips you put in. You’ll need at least 3 tablespoons of chocolate chips to make this awesome. If you don’t have chocolate chips then just crush up any other chocolate bar you have lying around. Just make sure you put in enough otherwise it might be a little on the bland side. Also, the instructions below are what I used for my 1100W microwave. You’ll need to adjust the amount of cooking time depending on how powerful your microwave is.

Easiest 5 Minute Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

4 tablespoons flour (any type of flour is fine)
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 tablespoons whisked egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (if you don’t have chocolate chips, try a broken up chocolate bar – I can’t stress how much this amps the awesomeness of your cake)
splash vanilla essence or other flavoring – try peppermint or cinnamon

love in a mug: (left) pre-microwave, (right) post-microwave

Method

Add all of the dry ingredients to the mug and mix.
Add the egg and combine well.
Stir in milk and oil.
Add chocolate chips and splash of vanilla. Stir well.
Microwave for 3 minutes on medium in a 1100w oven, or 4 minutes in a 700w oven.
It will start to crown over the top of the mug. Don’t panic! It will collapse once the heat stops.

Enjoy!

Mango Sago Dessert

Hooray for Summer and hooray for mango season! What better way to celebrate than with a refreshing concoction of mango purée, evaporated milk and chewy balls of sago pearl goodness. This typically Asian dessert is served at most yum cha restaurants. The rubberiness of the sago lends this dessert a really unique texture and it’s one of those things that you either love or you hate. I personally love the stuff. I would add these little balls to everything I ate if I could.

Mango Sago Dessert

Ingredients
2 sweet mangos
1/2 cup of sago pearls
120ml evaporated milk
sugar syrup to taste (optional) – dissolve desired amount of sugar with small amount of boiling water 

Method
Bring about 4 cups of water to boil in a saucepan. Add in sago pearls and bring to the boil. Leave it to boil for about 5 minutes and stir frequently so the balls don’t end up sticking to each other. Once you see that the balls are transparent with a small white dot in the centre turn off the heat. Leave covered for 20 minutes.

Drain the sago from the hot water in a strainer, rinse under cold running water until it cools down and water runs clear. Set aside.

Peel and cut mango into cubes. Set aside a handful of cubes for garnish.

Using a blender or electric mixer, blend the mango to a thick smooth texture. Combine it with the evaporated milk.

If it’s not sweet enough add sugar syrup to desired sweetness.

In a bowl mix the blended mango, cubed mango and sago pearls. Stir well until well combined.

Chill in fridge prior to serving.

Enjoy!

HP Sauce Onion Rings

crunchy goodness

I love sauce. Given the chance I will put sauce on anything and everything. And lots of it. This recipe caught my eye because 1) it uses HP sauce as its flavour base, and 2) because I love onion rings. ONION RINGS!!! Oh and 3) these are baked not fried so they’re relatively healthy. If this isn’t the perfect snack recipe then I don’t know what is.

I think HP Sauce originates from the UK but I’m pretty sure it can be found quite easily in Coles or Woolies in Australia. For those who aren’t familiar with this sauce, it’s usually used as an accompaniment for steaks and is made of malt vinegar, tomato, dates, tamarind extract, and spices. I’ve included a substitute in the recipe if you don’t have HP sauce readily available.

Baked HP Sauce Onion Rings

Ingredients
2 medium brown onions, sliced into rings
3 tbs flour (doesn’t really matter what kind)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup HP Sauce (or ketchup mixed with Worcestershire sauce and BBQ sauce)
1 large egg
dash of hot sauce (Tabasco is perfect for this)
1 cup (enough to coat rings) crushed cereal or bread crumbs

Method
Place a rack in the centre and upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 200C.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and salt and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, HP sauce, and hot sauce.

In a separate bowl, place bread crumbs/crushed cereal.

Slice onion into rings, and separate into individual rings.

Dip onion rings into the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, then coat in bread crumbs/cereal.

Place in a single layer across the prepared baking sheets. Spray them with cooking spray (this will make them taste fried) and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, carefully flip the onion rings, and bake for another 10 to 12 minutes, until rings are browned and crisp.

Remove onion rings from the oven and serve immediately. Dip them in the sauce of your choice.

Enjoy!