Baked Brie (or Camembert)

Baked Brie (or Camembert)

This baked brie is an impressive looking dish (but very, very easy! Shhhโ€ฆ donโ€™t tell anyone!). This is the perfect starter for your meal, or as a component of a wine and cheese night. It can be whipped up in about 15 minutes and will be eaten in less than half than time!

 

  • 1 wheel of cheese (brie or camembert), preferably packaged in a box
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Splash of olive oil
  • Splash of white wine
  • French bread to serve

 

Preheat the oven to 180C. Cut crisscrosses in the top of the cheese. If the cheese came in a wooden box, return the cheese to the box and place on a baking tray, otherwise put the cheese into a ramekin or small baking dish. Ideally you want the baking dish to be as close to the size of the cheese as possible so that when the cheese bakes, it doesnโ€™t have much room to spread out as it melts.

Mix the crushed garlic with the olive oil and drizzle over the cheese. Stick small pieces of rosemary into some of the cuts and then sprinkle with a very small amount of white white. Place in the oven for 10 minutes and then serve straight away with crusty, french bread.

Baked Brie

Serves 4, or 3, or 2, or 1 (it really just depends how much you and your friends love cheese).

Mulled Wine

Mulled Wine

Mulled wine is the perfect comfort drink after a day on the mountain, in the snow. Or even just as a warm, tasty drink on a cold winter’s night. It only takes about 15 minutes to make, but the flavours are impressive and they will warm you from the tips of your toes to the top of your head!

 

  • 400ml red wine
  • 500ml apple cider
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • ยฝ orange, zest and juice
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick

 

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, then bring to the boil. Reduce heat and leave to simmer for 10 minutes. Ladle into mugs.

Makes 4 very, very delicious servings.

Slow Roasted Tomato and Cricket Pasta

Slow Roasted Tomato and Cricket Pasta

Cricket pasta is an incredible source of protein and fibre. 100g of cricket pasta contains 14g of protein. Not only this, but it is a very sustainable source of these nutrients, using less water and with far less environmental impact than producing the same amount of protein from beef.

 

If you havenโ€™t tried crickets yet, this Slow Roasted Tomato and Cricket Pasta recipe is a great way to start enjoying this sustainable protein! Check out the Crawlers website to see what other edible insect goodies you can buy!ย 

1x 100g packet of cricket pasta

1 punnet of cherry tomatoes

5 cloves of garlic

2Tbs olive oil

Toasted pinenuts

Fresh basil

Fresh grated parmesan

Salt and pepper

 

Heat your oven to 100C. Put ยพ of the tomatoes into a baking dish with the whole, unpeeled garlic cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Slow roast the tomatoes until they are split, blistered and slightly browning.

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Bring the pasta water to the boil, season well with salt. Add the cricket pasta and cook for 8 minutes.

Add the remaining tomatoes to the baking dish and return to the oven.

Once the pasta cooking time is almost up, heat a large frying pan and add the roasted tomatoes to the pan and squeeze the garlic out of the skin. Finish the pasta off in the frying pan with the tomatoes and about ยผ of a cup of the pasta cooking water. Grate fresh parmesan into the pan and some fresh basil. Continue to cook until the cooking water has turned into more of a pasta sauce (as the tomatoes and the parmesan combine with the water).

Slow Roasted Tomato and Cricket Pasta

Serve the pasta topped with more freshly grated parmesan, fresh basil, toasted pinenuts and black sea salt flakes and enjoy!

Serves 2

Slow Roasted Tomato and Cricket Pasta

Isla and Olive Natural Skincare

Isla and Olive Natural Skincare

Self-care is something that I think is so important. As busy people in this day and age, I think it is crucial to stop for even 20 minutes, and just treat yourself. One of my favourite ways to do that is with a face mask. You donโ€™t always have time (or money) to have a spa facial, so face masks at home are such a great alternative.

I recently fell in love with Isla and Olive and their French Pink Clay mask and it is so great! Isla and Olive are a small, New Zealand based, natural skincare brand and they make legit products!!

Their French Pink Clay mask makes my skin feel so wonderful after I use it! The pink clay renews cells and is mineral rich too! The mask also has rosehip in it, which helps to remove impurities and repairs damaged tissue! That is so what our faces need right?! This is why after using the clay mask my face feels so good!

Isla and Olive

After the mask, I used the Organic Face Oil. This is is a heavenly blend of organic oils (when you smell it, omg). Rosehip (improves skin softness), manuka and tea tree (helps to reduce acne), lavender and grapeseed! Damn!! The Isla and Olive Organic Face Oil has become a part of my everyday routine now too! I was hesitant to use it in the morning because I was worried about how oily my skin would be by the end of the day, but my skin has responded really well to the blend of oil and I absolutely love it! Iโ€™ve even got my boo on to using it too, because thatโ€™s just great for both of us!

Make sure you check Isla and Olive out on their website and also their Instagramย (@islaandolive) because they have a few other natural skincare products too ย (for women AND men) and they also post the most beautiful photos! If you try any of the Isla and Olive products, let me know what you think!!


Enjoy your self care and look after yourself!

White Chocolate and Berry Cheesecake

White Chocolate and Berry Cheesecake

The team at Nairns sent me some of their yummy biscuits that have 40% less sugar than the average sweet biscuit, and I just had to use them to create a delicious cheesecake to share with friends! Give it a go and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

200g Nairns Mixed Berries Oat Biscuits, crushed into crumbs

100g butter, melted

350g white chocolate pieces

300ml cream, whipped until stiff

100ml plain yoghurt

250g cream cheese

400g frozen mixed berries

 

Method:

  1. Grease a spring-from/loose bottom round cake tin – I used a 20cm tin.
  2. Mix melted butter with biscuit crumbs until the crumbs are all covered in melted butter.
  3. Pour the crumbs into the cake tin and press down firmly, making sure that the biscuit base is even. Put the biscuit base into the freezer for half an hour.
  4. Melt the white chocolate pieces in a heat proof bowlย over a bain marie (pot of gently simmering water) making sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir the chocolate occasionally to help the melting process.
  5. In a seperate bowl, whip the cream cheese until soft. Then gently fold in the whipped cream, yoghurt and melted chocolate.
  6. Take the biscuit base out of the freezer and evenly spread 1/3 of the frozen berries over top of the biscuit base.
  7. Gently pour the cheesecake mixture on top and scatter the remaining frozen berries on top – some of the berries will sink in to the cheesecake mixture, this is good!
  8. Put into the fridge to set for around 8 hours. Leaving it to fully set will make it easier for you to cut and plate the cheesecake.

5 things: to plant this Autumn

5 things: to plant this Autumn

 

A few years ago, if you asked me, I would have said that once summer was over, my vegetable growing season was also over. But thankfully I have seen the light, and now my garden continues year round. Autumn is a great time to finish harvesting those summer crops, and also preparing for winter. There are many things that you can still plant in Autumn – especially in the warmer parts of NZ; like leafy greens, beans, brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower etc.), radishes, wintery herbs.

But here are my top 5 things right now to plant in your garden this Autumn:

  1. Spinach, silverbeet and kale – I’ve grouped these together because to me they are fairly similar in terms of the way that I grow them. They are very easy to grow and make great additions to curries, smoothies and as side dishes. They are packed full of yummy nutrients. Planting these in succession means you will have homegrown green veggies throughout winter. Just plant the seeds in good soil straight in the garden or in seed pots making sure to keep the soil nice and moist – and after a month to two months you will be able to start harvesting.
  2. Snow Peas – These are gorgeous to grow and so tasty to eat. They can be eaten raw or cooked and are ready to harvest around three months after being sown. Sow these straight into your garden – supporting their growth with a trellis for the tendrils to grow up. I like to assist my pea plants by tying them gently to the trellis with some garden twine.
  3. Pak Choi and other Chinese greens – I am obsessed with Pack Choi. I love adding it to chicken soups, noodle soups, wonton soups and stirfrys. It is seriously easy to grow these guys and they look impressive too. I pick as I go and only take a few leaves at a time – leaving the rest of the plant to keep growing. As with all leafy greens, the hardest part about growing them is keeping the slugs off them – so make sure to use a natural deterrent such as recycled coffee grounds or egg shells to keep your greens safe. After about a month to two months you will be able to start harvesting your Pak Choi.
  4. Beetroot – If you don’t like beetroot then I’m sorry but you are crazy. I recently discovered Chocolate Beetroot Cake, however I was already in love with beetroot after having enjoyed it in juices and roasted. If your only experience of beetroot is canned beetroot then you have been living a lie – make sure you try real beetroot because it is a million times better than the stuff you find in burgers from the takeaway store. Beetroot seeds should be sown straight into the garden and will start sprouting quickly but make sure you thin the beetroot so that they have room to grow. They will be ready for harvest within two months of planting and I like to plant beetroot in a few goes throughout autumnย so that I have fresh beetroot available all winter, however they will keep longer than two months in the ground. They are so tasty!
  5. Brussels sprouts – I may lose a few of you here, but Brussels sprouts are actually delicious. Just don’t boil the living daylights out of them and then you can actually enjoy them. Have you ever had steamed Brussels sprouts which have been finished off with a quick fry in some free-range bacon with all those yummy bacon fats. Because if you have, you will understand what I say when I say – Brussels sprouts are seriously good. Brussels sprouts I think are one of those plants that you have to see to believe how they grow, cos they look weird. As a kid I always just imagined they grew like cabbages, just really miniature. Luckily they don’t because how inefficient would that be?? Plant your Brussels sprouts seeds in seed trays and after about a month move the seedlings to your garden. After about 3 months from when the seeds were planted you should be able to harvest small, golf ball sized Brussels sprouts – and then cook them with bacon. Nom nom nom.

What are you favourites or must-haves for Autumn? Let me know in the comments section or hit me up on Instagram (@victoria.makes).

Happy Autumn gardening my Southern Hemisphere friends.

 

 

5 things: cute gardening accessories

Gardening is seriously my favourite. And what’s better than cute gardening accessories? The answer: not much.

Here are 5 things I’d love to have in my gardenย right now:

  1. Ingrid Starnes Bar Soap – $19.95 (buy it online from Alex & Corban)

Made with organic goat’s milk, shea butter and organic manuka honey this would be such a treat for gardening hands – and it doubles as a body soap as well – so perfect for that post garden shower!

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2. Redcurrent Natural Scissors – $19.50 (buy it from Redcurrent)

Although not technically for the garden, these wooden handled scissors would be perfect for cutting those herbs or any other gardening job that requires easy cutting (seed packets, twine etc.). I love the look of natural wood – and these add a Scandinavian touch to your gardening accessories that is very on trend.

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3. Sophie Conran Fork – $59.00 (buy it online from Father Rabbit)

These garden forks are so beautiful, Sophie Conran also has other gardening accessories in this range – like a trowel, secateur, potting sieve, hand rake and compost scoop. Made from waxed FSC Beechwood, brass and stainless steel, these tools are specifically and ergonomically designed for woman’s hands to help make gardening tasks easier and more pleasurable. Hence why the tines on the fork are shaped and sharpened.

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4. Watering Can – $135.00 (buy it online from Father Rabbit)

This is super clever! The handle is designed so that as the watering can gets emptier and emptier your hand slips further back down the handle, so that the can tips further forward – pouring out the last of the water. Genius! As it’s designed by Burgon & Ball it’s no surprise really!

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5. Herb Drying Rack – $19.95 (USD) (buy it online from Williams-Sonoma)

This is such a sweet herb drying rack – and would make drying those spring and summer herbs very easy with its circular design and included S hooks for hanging your herb bundles. Preserving your extra produce is the best way to make the most of your garden, so any that makes that task easier – and cuter – is a winner for me.

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