Thursday, July 30, 2015

Thursday Tipples 10 / Boozy Hot Chocolate 3 Ways

boozy hot chocolate | spicyicecream

Along with polka dot scarves and a steady rotation of slow-cooked dinners, hot chocolate is an absolute necessity at this time of year. Everyone knows how to make a basic hot chocolate, but I've taken it a couple of steps further. For this month's Thursday Tipples I bring you not one, but three tasty and boozed up ways to serve it. The winter blues are totally a real thing - and these drinks will help to brighten your cold nights and warm you up from the inside out.

boozy hot chocolate | spicyicecream

There is something so comforting about wrapping your cold hands around a warm mug. Out of the three versions, I honestly couldn't pick a favourite - I really loved all of them for different reasons. Of course the chocolate that you use is really important here because it's the dominant flavour, so pick one that you love. I also have to thank my sister Beth who helped me make, style and photograph all three recipes in one afternoon - and drink them afterwards ;) Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

boozy hot chocolate | spicyicecream

1. Nutella and Frangelico Hot Chocolate

This is great for a hot chocolate emergency - if you have no chocolate in the house but can scrape around 2 tablespoons of Nutella from the jar, you're in luck. The almond milk and Frangelico help to make it a little special.

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup cream (optional)
  • 2 large tablespoons Nutella
  • 30ml Frangelico
  • Whipped cream, to serve

Place the almond milk and cream into a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the Nutella until smooth and combined. Remove from the heat and add the Frangelico. Serve with whipped cream.

boozy hot chocolate | spicyicecream

2. Birthday Cake Hot Chocolate

This one is just plain fun. How can you not love anything with sprinkles on top! It's pretty sweet, as you would expect, but it's delicious. Kids would love this too - just leave out the booze!

  • 1/4 cup milk chocolate, melted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup cream (optional)
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons dry vanilla cake mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 30ml Cake flavoured vodka
  • Whipped cream and sprinkles, to serve

Place the milk and cream into a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the white chocolate, cake and vanilla extract until chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and add the Cake vodka. Spoon a layer of melted milk chocolate into the serving glass. Pour the hot chocolate over the back of a spoon into the glass. Serve topped with whipped cream and sprinkles.

boozy hot chocolate | spicyicecream

3. Red Velvet Hot Chocolate

This is a pretty and tasty version of hot chocolate spiked with a white chocolate liqueur. I love the red colour and the addition of cream cheese icing and crumbled cake on top really bring it all together. 

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/3 cup milk or dark chocolate
  • A few drops red food colouring
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 30ml white creme de cacao
  • Cream cheese icing and red velvet cake, to serve

Place the milk and cream into a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the chocolate until melted. Add the red colouring (one drop at a time until you have the colour you're happy with) and vanilla extract. Remove from the heat and add the white creme de cacao. Pour into a mug and serve topped with cream cheese icing and crumbled red velvet cake.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Instagram Food Styling Workshop at The Grounds

The Grounds Food Styling Workshop | spicyicecream

If I had to describe the The Grounds of Alexandria in one word, it would be photogenic. It comes as no surprise that its one of the most Instagrammed venues in Sydney, so I knew we were in for good things when I was invited to an Instagram Food Styling workshop hosted by Iron Chef Shellie - one of my biggest blogger girl-crushes. She is a wonderfully talented stylist and photographer and it was a total pleasure to finally meet her in person after following her blog for years and years.

The Grounds Food Styling Workshop | spicyicecream

Today was the battle of #sweetorsavoury where we got to play with some brand new Be Natural products and style two Instagram photos - one sweet and one savoury inspired - using a huge variety of ingredients, props and surfaces. Always aiming to up my Instagram game, I took this opportunity to make a mess and have fun! After going through some food styling basics, we got to work.

A video posted by Shellie Froidevaux (@ironchefshellie) on

I think with the rise of blogs, Instagram and social media, good photography has become more important than ever to stand out. Iron Chef Shellie's Top 5 tips for food styling are...

1. Use natural light. 
2. Choose a theme.
3. Choose a colour palette. 
4. Use props.
5. Texture. 

The Grounds Food Styling Workshop | spicyicecream

I went with quite a rustic and messy look for my photos, really showcasing the colourful ingredients. When we were done, we uploaded them to Instagram and checked out each other's efforts using the hashtag. Here are a couple that didn't quite make the cut. After this fun, we sat down to a lovely brunch. I loved that no one wanted to touch the beautiful table setting!

The Grounds Food Styling Workshop | spicyicecream

I was totally shocked to find out that I had won - and with a savoury photo no less! Here's my winning Instagram snap below. I do love the vibrant colours of the spices in this shot. Thanks again to Liquid Ideas and Iron Chef Shellie for a wonderful morning and for my awesome prize :)

The Grounds Food Styling Workshop | spicyicecream

The Grounds of Alexandria, 7A, 2 Huntley St, Alexandria NSW 2015

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Spiced Chocolate Popcorn Cake

Spiced Chocolate Popcorn Cake | spicyicecream

Today is a pretty special day. It's Spicyicecream's 8th birthday! I started this blog to combine my love of baking, photography and writing - and I'm happy to say that that is still true. Back in 2007, I was a graphic design student who was obsessed with cupcakes. Never in a million years did I think I'd still be at it after all this time, but I still love coming here - however sporadically - to share new recipes with you. Blogging has broadened my food horizons immensely (but I still don't eat eggs…) and I've been lucky to meet so many fantastic people, some have become my closest friends.

Spiced Chocolate Popcorn | spicyicecream

Of course, it can't be a celebration without cake, and I have a rather special one to share today. I've made chocolate-chilli ice cream sandwiches and doughnuts in the past, and I thought these flavours would be perfect in a cake. To decorate it, I made some very indulgent spiced chocolate popcorn that might just be my new favourite thing. Seriously, it's the perfect dessert / late night Man Men watching snack. I used cinnamon and cayenne pepper to provide the spice in both the popcorn and the cake - but you could also use Chilli Chocolate if you prefer. I think this cake is delicious! I like that the heat doesn't hit your palate straight away, but you get a little warmth from the spice few seconds later.

Spiced Chocolate Popcorn | spicyicecream

Julia Child had it right when she said "people who love to eat are the best people" and I find that is certainly true. This post would definitely not be complete without a huge thank you to all of my readers. It makes me so happy to hear that I've inspired someone to try a new ingredient, or that one of my recipes has been used to celebrate Christmas or a special birthday. These things touch my heart. Thank you for your visits, your comments and your ongoing support.

I have a few big plans for this blog in the near future - a redesign is on the cards, which will make it much easier to browse the recipe archives. I want to share more of the things that inspire me, tips and tricks for entertaining, blogging and more. I look forward to sharing that with you soon! xx

Spiced Chocolate Popcorn Cake | spicyicecream

Friday, July 3, 2015

Chia Pudding with Honey Stewed Rhubarb

Chia Pudding with Honey Stewed Rhubarb | spicyicecream

As I mentioned in my last post, in June I started trying to eat healthier and be more active. On a normal day I probably eat too much sugar and carbs - these are what I turn to for comfort food, a quick fix when I'm busy or a late night snack. This month - as well as going for a walk most days and drinking plenty of water and green tea - I tried to plan out meals a little better, keep the fridge stocked with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, make better snacking choices and ensure to eat a good breakfast. Don't you agree it's easier to enjoy healthy food it looks pretty? I've been enjoying my green smoothies in pretty glasses with striped straws.

Chia Pudding with Honey Stewed Rhubarb | spicyicecream

If you've been on Pinterest at all in the last year you would have no doubt seen recipes for Chia Pudding. I'm sure you know that it's a superfood. The seeds look quite plain but they are absolutely loaded with antioxidants and nutrients - high in protein and fibre. You can eat them plain, sprinkled on top of salads, put into smoothies or make a pudding! They absorb more than 10 times their weight in liquid, resulting in a gel-like texture and take on the flavour of whatever you soak them in, similar to tapioca.

Chia Pudding with Honey Stewed Rhubarb | spicyicecream

This recipe is super easy and requires barely any cooking at all. I used almond & coconut milk with a little vanilla and honey - just give it a shake and leave it for a few hours. I layered the pudding in cute jars with honey stewed rhubarb and topped it off with lots of red fruits - sweet strawberries from that are beautiful right now, pomegranate seeds and roasted rhubarb. I think this Chia Pudding is pretty healthy, and makes it feel like you're eating a fancy dessert at breakfast time - what could be better!


Chia Pudding with Honey Stewed Rhubarb | spicyicecream

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June Bites

june bites… roses

June was a big month! I started out on a health kick - lots of walks and trying to eat better - but was derailed a little due to a week of terrible weather and my birthday! But I'm back on the bandwagon now and went on a nice 5km walk today. Please don't freak out if there's not quite as much butter and sugar on the blog in the next little while :) Do you have any favourite healthy cooking blogs? I'd love to know! For more updates don't forget to follow along on Instagram.

june bites… smoothie

I've tweaked my favourite green smoothie recipe to include some seasonal winter fruit and veggies. The usual suspects are spinach, cucumber, kiwi fruit, coconut & almond milk. I'm now using pears instead of mango, celery and ginger for it's immune boosting qualities.

june bites… props

Some gorgeous new props have been added to the collection. Some are from that amazing vintage shop in Melbourne that I wanted to move into. Can't wait to use them in my blog photos!

june bites… croquembouche

I made this fun Donut Croquembouche for a small birthday celebration with my family. My sister Beth helped me assemble it. It was actually one of four cakes that I had this year - yes I realise that I'm very spoilt. And calories don't count on your birthday, right?!

june bites… flowers

My friend Naomi from Sydney Design Social got me these gorgeous birthday flowers from Little Flowers. I love the idea of a gorgeous one-off bunch of flowers created from the best at the markets each day.

june bites… cookies

We got a brand new oven this month, so to farewell the old one I made a jumbo batch of these Cookies & Cream Cheesecake stuffed cookies that I gifted to a friend. One last delicious recipe for it to go out on a high.

june bites… adventure

When your afternoon meeting gets cancelled, take an adventure! Coffee and conversation by the water, just like old times.

june bites… apples

Back at the Bondi Markets again, I couldn't go past these gorgeous tiny apples. They are cute and delicious! I've eaten a couple but there are still a few kicking around the fruit bowl so I'll make something special with them soon.

june bites… ice block

I did the Hermitage Foreshore Walk on a lovely sunny day, ending with an ice block in the sun at Neilsen Park. It's one of my favourite walks and the views are just stunning. Sydney is winning at winter again!

june bites… cat

Here's your obligatory monthly cat photo #crazycatladies

june bites… milk bar

I think I'm finally over my irrational fear of dinosaurs. We watched Jurassic World and then had an awesome lunch at our favourite old school milk bar in Sydney's west. Burgers, potato scallops, hand cut chips and mixed lolly bags for dessert. Sad to think that these independently owned milk bars doing great (and cheap!) takeaway food are now quite rare.

june bites… dumplings & drinks

And to end the month on a high note, there was dumplings and girl talk and pretty coloured drinks at Din Tai Fung. Perfection. Until next time, stay warm!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Thursday Tipples 09 / Apple Pie Pimms

Apple Pie Pimms | spicyicecream

The seasonal differences between us in Australia and you guys in the Northern Hemisphere can cause a significant amount of envy for me, especially since I started reading food blogs 8 years ago. Recently I’ve seen dozens of recipes for popsicles and ice cream using fresh berries, but meanwhile here it is all about pumpkin, pears and soup. And while do I appreciate the different seasons and all that they bring, I just like warm weather and stone fruit way more!!

Apple Pie Pimms | spicyicecream

To me Pimms is a quintessential summer drink - traditionally served with strawberries, cucumber and lemonade, but this month’s Thursday Tipples cocktail is inspired by the classic Apple Pie. It's a tasty little drink and a nice way to bridge the seasons. I think it can be enjoyed no matter what time of year it is. The cinnamon spiced syrup gives it a sort of warm wintery vibe but it's also fun and refreshing.

Apple Pie Pimms | spicyicecream

The ingredients play well with each other, a great balance of tart and sweet. It doesn't really taste boozy so you'll have to watch yourself with these ones! If you're in the southern hemisphere, I think it's perfect to serve at a wintery lunch or if you're not, maybe a July 4th celebration. If you're making it for a party you could serve it in a pitcher with apple slices like the more traditional Pimms. Happy Thursday!

Apple Pie Pimms | spicyicecream

Friday, June 12, 2015

Baklava Waffles (Gluten Free)

Baklava Waffles | spicyicecream

I feel like a whole new world has opened up to me, and breakfast as I know it will never be the same. I bought a stove top waffle iron a while ago but I was a little nervous to actually use it and then it sat in a cupboard for close to a year. Should I use a yeasted or un-yeasted recipe? What if they stick? What if I can't get the temperature right and end up with a pile of burnt waffles? Turns out my worries were completely unfounded as the waffles were super easy to make and turned out golden brown, crispy and perfect! Now feeling slightly foolish that we could have been enjoying amazing homemade waffles all this time.

Baklava Waffles | spicyicecream

I wanted to combine the flavours of sticky-sweet Baklava with a waffle - walnuts, pistachios, and a warm honey-rosewater sauce with lots of fresh pomegranate on top. To enhance the nuttiness, I used a waffle recipe based on almond meal and almond milk, which incidentally makes them gluten and dairy free, if you serve them without the whipped cream of course!

Baklava Waffles | spicyicecream

I love the way this breakfast turned out and the flavours were really amazing. There are a few different elements but whole shebang took maybe 40 minutes from start to finish which makes it a perfectly achievable weekend breakfast. The waffles themselves weren't too sweet, which let the candied nuts and honey syrup really shine and bring the dish together. The pomegranate added a burst of freshness and tartness, and made it look stunning. You could also use strawberries and raspberries if they're in season where you are, or even roasted rhubarb.

Baklava Waffles | spicyicecream

Monday, June 8, 2015

Winter Recipe Wishlist

Winter Recipe Wishlist | spicyicecream

This official first week of winter has been cold and the urge to hibernate is rising. I have been spending a fair bit of time snuggled up (boy, cat, fluffy stuffed toy, blanket - it doesn't matter) but at the same time dreaming about warm comfort food and hearty winter cooking. So I decided to scour Pinterest and make a little list of a few new things I really want to try before the season is over. There's some drinks, savoury and sweet dishes in the mix. I feel like 8 is achievable between now and what I am calling the 'official' end of winter - my trip to Manila in August. I'll share the results on Instagram and here on the blog.

1. I've certainly drank enough Espresso Martinis over the years but I've never tried making one at home. It's dark, strong and sweet - the perfect cheeky tipple on a cold night.

2. Making Homemade Chai from scratch has been on my list for the last several winters, and this will be the year for sure! It's a great opportunity to put your own spin on it - maybe pink peppercorns, some coconut or cocoa nibs for something unique.

3. Pull Apart Bread looks like so much fun. I will probably try a different flavour combination, but I love the look of this Baklava version from Sprinkle Bakes.

4. I can't get over how amazing the flavours would be in these Earl Grey Chocolate Chip Cookies from Designlovefest. I've had this recipe on the list for a few months but winter will be the perfect time to try them, along with a hot cup of tea of course.

Winter Recipe Wishlist | spicyicecream

5. These cheesy Baked Lamb Meatballs from Donna Hay look like a fantastic easy weeknight dinner high on the comfort factor, and sure to warm you up from the inside out. Done! Twice! Total delicious comfort food. A layer of cheese is a must.

6. I have a great Malaysian restaurant down the street and they deliver! But I've always wanted to try making Beef Rendang from scratch from scratch. I think I'll use my slow cooker for this one.

7. This Sticky Bourbon and Cola Pudding recipe is from the Pitt Cue Co. cookbook from the restaurant in London, which I bought a few months ago. I have to try this recipe before winter is over, there is no doubt about it.

8. It seems criminally easy to have a fresh Gooey Molten Chocolate Mug Cake in just a few minutes. What could be better on a cold night? Recipe and beautiful photos by Half Baked Harvest.

Do you have any recipes you're dying to try before the end of winter? Leave a comment below or on Instagram #spicyicecreamrecipewishlist

Friday, June 5, 2015

Negroni Poached Pears

Negroni Poached Pears | spicyicecream

It's no secret that I love creating boozy desserts, so I'm sneaking in just under the wire with a recipe to celebrate Negroni Week. If you're not familiar, the negroni is an aperitif with just three ingredients - campari, gin and vermouth. Sophisticated and a little bit bitter, it's a great way to start your Friday night and stimulate your appetite for dinner. Like all the classics it has been reinvented and reinterpreted by inventive bartenders, although it never went out of style, it's definitely having a moment right now. Negroni Week is a celebration of that, with over 3500 bars all over the world selling traditional or signature negroni's and donating money to a good cause.

Negroni Poached Pears | spicyicecream

I have already put a little spin on the drink last year with a Sparkling Blood Orange Negroni. Being an aperitif, it usually begins the meal so this time I thought I would combine it with the classic poached pears to finish the night instead. To add flavour to the poaching liquid I had to use the classic accompaniment, orange peel. I also couldn't resist adding a couple of spices to the mix to make this a little more winter appropriate. I used star anise, cinnamon and vanilla bean, however feel free to use any that you love - juniper berries could be an interesting twist.

Negroni Poached Pears | spicyicecream

I really really loved this dessert and it made my whole apartment smell incredible as the pears were cooking. It does taste like a negroni and the bitterness works well with the natural sweetness of the pears. It would be a great way to finish up a dinner party because it's not too heavy or sweet. It's easy to prepare and can also be made well in advance - bonus! I hope you'll go out and participate in Negroni Week and drink for a good cause. For more information about participating bars in Sydney go here or here.

Negroni Poached Pears | spicyicecream

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Chocolate Malt Pecan Pie Brownie Cake

chocolate malt pecan pie brownie cake | spicyicecream

Chances are, if you are my friend, I've thought of the kind of birthday cake I'm going to make you months ahead of your actual birthday. It's true. Birthday cakes are a wonderful thing, and I think both making and receiving a homemade one is personal and special. I show love through a combination of butter, sugar, flour and eggs. The fun part is coming up with a cake flavour that I think they'll like - different for everyone, and never the same cake twice.

My Dad's birthday was last week and I wanted to put a spin on one of his all-time favourites, the pecan pie. How about hybrid pie/cake with a rich brownie cake on the bottom and a malted pecan pie filling on top? Bake it all together and the result will surely be delicious.

chocolate malt pecan pie brownie cake | spicyicecream

From the outside it looks like a pretty innocuous cake. It's not until you cut inside that you see how insanely fudgy the chocolate brownie layer is. Woah baby. We only needed very small slices after a big dinner of Korean fried chicken! I loved the difference in texture between the brownie and the caramelly pecan layers. You could taste the malt and the bourbon which gave this cake an intriguing little twist. I think it is absolutely necessary to serve this cake with a big dollop of cream or ice cream. Happy Birthday again to my amazing Daddy! xx

chocolate malt pecan pie brownie cake | spicyicecream

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