Saturday, December 29, 2012

Best of 2012

best of 2012

2012 was a very interesting year. It was without a doubt one of the busiest and most challenging (both professionally and personally) but I feel like I've grown and learned a lot. One of the biggest moments for me was being promoted to Senior Designer at my day job mid-year, which had me facing all sorts of new pressures while trying to balance freelance work, a social life, this blog, and my other design blog that launched in March as well. Not always easy!

Spicyicecream celebrated its 5th birthday in July, and even after all this time I still love coming here and sharing crazy sweet recipes with you guys, even if the the posting was a little less frequent! Here's a small roundup of my favourite recipes of 2012...

1) The first recipe of the year was also one of my favourites. This Mixed Berry Cobbler started as a way to use up some leftover berries and ended up more delicious than I could have imagined! It was also featured in Girlfriend magazine!

2) My doughnut obsession continued in 2012, and these cute Lamington Doughnuts were the perfect way to celebrate Australia Day.

3) This Boozy Lemonade was one of the most popular posts of the year, and for good reason! Spiked with vodka, whiskey and Cointreau, this lemonade is sweet, refreshing and definitely has a kick. Perfect for summer.

4) I made my sister this cute purple Chocolate Ombre Cake for her birthday. Ombre was definitely one of the biggest trends of the year in everything from baking to craft to fashion. I also made a little video showing how I decorated the cake. More videos are definitely on the agenda for 2013!

best of 2012

5 & 6) I also developed an obsession with Cake Batter flavour this year, experimenting with it in Cake Batter Marshmallows for my birthday and also Cake Batter Ice Cream Sandwiches later in the year as a guest post on Raspberri Cupcakes. Sprinkles are definitely not optional where cake batter is involved!

7) My favourite ice cream flavour of the year was definitely the Cinnamon Doughnut Ice Cream I made as part of my blog's 5th birthday celebrations. Inspired by Ms G's restaurant in Potts Point, this ice cream totally captures the doughnut flavour in ice cream form!

8) Oh man I love this Berry and Moscato Trifle so much! I made it again for Christmas lunch this week and it disappeared so quickly. Put it on the list for next festive season!

best of 2012

And this post wouldn't be complete without the best restaurant meals I've eaten this year! I made a decision this year to only share the best restaurant experiences I had, and these were my favourites.

1) Next time you're in Melbourne, you must check out the Newmarket Hotel in St Kilda. The Mexican/Latin trend has been huge in the last few years, and I think it's far from over yet. But Newmarket nails it better than many other places I've visited. Try the Grilled Buffalo Milk Haloumi and the St Louis style pork ribs and don't forget to leave room for dessert!

2) Also in Melbourne is my favourite breakfast spot, Hardware Societe. Whimsical decor, great coffee, tea cozies and that fried brioche that is adapted to feature different flavours and seasonal fruits. I totally had breakfast envy that day!

3) My two best girlfriends took me out for lunch on my birthday to Orto Trading Co in Surry Hills and spoiled me rotten! Fantastic espresso martinis, very generous servings and mmm those waffles, not to mention the best company in the world!

4) And lastly, a recent visit to our new venue Sweethearts BBQ exceeded all expectations. A rooftop BBQ in Kings Cross, with some cracker dishes like this Grilled Watermelon with Feta and Mint. Also on the menu are fall-apart-tender lamb ribs, sirloin steak with bone marrow butter and house made choc tops. It's already one of my favourite places to be this summer!

I also want to say thankyou, always to all of my lovely readers who visit me here. I hope you all have a wonderful 2013 and looking forward to seeing you back again soon!

Lisa xxx

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Recipe Roundup

merry christmas!

I had planned to share one more recipe with you before Christmas, but in the midst of a cleaning frenzy and packing for my trip to Perth, being dosed up on painkillers for my aching shoulder and the finished dessert just generally being all kinds of 'meh', I unfortunately have nothing new for you today!

I did however still want to pop in and wish all of you lovely readers a very very happy Christmas and holiday season. I hope it's filled with love, family and of course good food!

While I'm here I thought I'd shine the spotlight back onto the archives, just in case anyone is still looking for Christmas recipes because there's some pretty awesome stuff hiding back there! Here are a few of my faves...

christmas recipe roundup!

Traditional Desserts

I'll be back next week with a roundup of my favourite posts from 2012! xx

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mulled Wine Marshmallows

mulled wine marshmallows

I had wanted to come here today to write about Christmas baking and how much I was looking forward to some time to relax over the holidays, but after the heartbreaking events that happened on Friday in Conneticut, it all seems so trivial. I almost didn't post this at all.

I don't usually get so open and emotional here, but I have been much more affected by this event than any other disasters or tragedies in recent times, even those that happened much closer to home. I was in tears as I read about the heroic teachers who protected their young students, including Victoria Soto who was not much older than me and showed bravery I'm not sure I could have if I were in her shoes. Twenty young children were taken way, way, way too soon. And imagine how traumatic it was for all of the children who managed to hide and survived.

All of those people went to work/school on that completely normal day without even an inkling of what was about to happen. Everyone in that small town is now changed forever, especially the families and friends of the victims. I'm tearing up a little again as I write this. I hope and pray that their souls are at peace in heaven, and that senseless crimes like this could somehow be stopped for good.

mulled wine syrup

I think it's so important to tell the people you love that you care about them. We're all so busy with our own lives and all the stuff we think is important, but I for one am going to make a much greater effort to give my friends a phone call when they cross my mind, and spend time with my family way more often than I currently do. Life is just too short to hold grudges, anger and resentment. Friends and family are invaluable, and what better time than Christmas to make sure they know you love them.

At Christmastime I try to give edible homemade gifts, because they truly are made with love and I think it shows. These marshmallows were pretty darn delicious, but didn't quite work out as I'd hoped so I will keep working on the recipe before I share it with you. But the star here was the Mulled Wine Syrup! A bottle of wine was simmered with sugar and spices (you can use whichever ones you like) to create a wonderfully ambrosial syrup that I think would make a lovely gift because it's so versatile. Use it as a topping for ice cream or poached fruit, as the base for a delicious sangria or even as a glaze for ham or duck.

I hope this inspires some of you to show your loved ones that you care - whether it be with a phone call or a homemade Christmas gift, and to pray for the people who lost their lives, and all those affected by the Sandy Hook tragedy.

mulled wine marshmallows

For more Christmas recipes click here

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Berry and Moscato Trifles

berry moscato trifle

It's that time of year again. Hard to believe right? Is it just me or has this year flown by faster than ever?! But Christmas is just around the corner and I'm really looking forward to it, for a change. I'll be over in Perth with the boy's family for the first time, hopefully enjoying a proper hot Aussie Christmas! But I have a few neat Christmas recipes to share with you before then...

I was never a fan of heavy, overly boozy trifles made with packet jelly and poor quality custard, but seeing some beautiful and modern spins on this classic Christmas dish in recent years has changed my mind completely. I actually have a whole bunch of other ideas of trifles to make in the near future, so colour me obsessed (and stay tuned, it's gonna be awesome).

I first made this recipe for last year's family Christmas lunch in a massive trifle bowl, and I was surprised that after a huge lunch and with several other dessert choices, it was completely demolished! Quite a few people asked me for the recipe so I knew I would have to make it again this year - but this time I decided to halve the recipe and make individual servings as a practice run for Steve's much smaller family!

berry moscato trifle

There are a few different elements to this dessert, but it comes together more quickly than you'd think. The cranberry and moscato jelly and the vanilla bean custard can be made in advance, and the whole thing can be assembled the day before (or even a few hours before) you plan to serve it. This time around I used a store-bought sponge cake and cherry jam which saved me a lot of time, however homemade would taste even better!

I just love this summery, festive combination of flavours, but feel free to play around with it. Champagne would be a lovely substitute for Moscato in the jelly, any kind of berry jam or even rhubarb would work well, and a hint of passionfruit in the custard would be delicious too. This recipe can also be easily scaled up and served in a large glass bowl to feed a bigger crowd. Stay tuned for more Christmassy recipes coming up soon!

berry moscato trifle

For more Christmas recipes click here

Monday, December 3, 2012

Fig, Pancetta & Bocconcini Pizza

fig, pancetta and bocconcini pizza
I've written before about how much I love homemade pizza. Just like making marshmallows from scratch, there's no way I'll ever be able to go back to store bought pizza bases now! But luckily, pizza dough is easier to make than you think, especially if you have a stand mixer with a dough hook.

Although I always prefer making it by hand and feeling the dough come together. The whole process is kinda therapeutic. The  hardest part is waiting for the dough to prove! Making your own pizza means that you can get really creative with the toppings, using things you love the most, or whatever is in season.

Here's one of my new favourite combinations that I will definitely make again and again during the summer - figs, caramelised onion, pancetta, bocconcini and some fresh rocket and caramelised balsamic vinegar on top after its come out of the oven. Okay, it's hardly a groundbreaking combination but I promise it's soooo good.

When the figs are baked they take on an almost jammy texture, and their sweetness ties in perfectly with the onions and slightly salty pancetta. Best eaten on a summer evening with the windows open and a beer in hand, trust me on that!

fig, pancetta and bocconcini pizza


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