Eighty Eight Banbury

Leave a comment

Create Your Own Fortune

If only life were this easy. Write all your dreams down. Bake those dreams into cookies, eat and enjoy as your wishes come true!

It may not be the case but creating your own fortune is actually very fun and easy. I used 1 egg white, a drop of vanilla essence, a pinch of salt, 1/4 cup of flour, 1/4 cup of white sugar. You’ll need a hot oven (200 C ish) and greased baking tray. Have your fortunes printed, cut and ready.


Mix the egg white and vanilla until foamy then sift and mix in the flour, sugar and salt. Place 1-2 teaspoons of batters on the tray and tilt the tray to get the batter round and thin. Do a few at a time or they’ll cool too fast to work with. Bake for 5 minutes or until the centre is pale. Remove the tray from the oven, lift a fortune cookie off with a spatula and pop the fortune in. At this stage I folded the cookie in half and popped them into a muffin tray hole, pulling the pointed edges down into the desired shape. The first few will be a disaster but you’ll pick up the technique quickly. Work quickly once they come out of the oven and repeat the process with the remaining batter. These are fun and tasty!


1 Comment

Wheat Free Inspiration

I’ve been trying ‘Less Wheat’ eating lately (it’s the easy version of Wheat Free) after reading Wheat Belly and a few other resources. I’ve found myself craving sugar like crazy and scoffed far too many lollies. It’s made me realise that if I want to give this Wheat-Less thing a proper go I need to learn to bake some delicious sweet treats. These are some gluten and wheat free treats I photographed at a lovely ladies afternoon; none made by my hands but I’m inspired to try!

high teahigh tea 3


Why I love Jamie Oliver

I’ve been a little bit Jamie Oliver crazy lately. After purchasing the 15 Minute Meal Cook Book, I’ve managed to get through a handful of the recipes and I’m blown away at how delicious they have all been. I don’t time my cooking anymore ( 15 is never going to work for me, I’m wayyyy too slow) but I am loving the recipes. This one was sooo good, we made it two nights in a row.

This is my variation of the Chicken and Noodle Laksa;jamies laksa3Chicken
2 boneless chicken breasts
1 tsp Chinese five-spice
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 fresh red chilli

1 tsp chicken stock powder
1/4 butternut squash (grated)
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 small piece of ginger
1 fresh chilli or 1 tsp dried chillie
1 tsp turmeric
1 heaped tsp natural peanut butter (mine was homemade just peanuts and peanut oil)
2 dried kaffir lime leaves
½ a bunch of fresh coriander
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp low-salt soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
300g medium noodles
Vegetables (I used some corguette but I think it’d be rather flexible to whatever you have in the fridge
1 x 400g tin of light coconut milk
3 limes

Chicken. Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper and five-spice. Bash with a rolling pin to flatten. Once ready, pop into a hot pan (great with sesame oil) and cook until nice charred. Drop honey over at the end, dip into sesame seeds and serve. EASY!

Noodle Laksa. Put about 1l of water into a large pan and throw in the stock powder. Tip in the grated pumpkin and let boil.

I use a pestle and mortar (processor would be easier but I’m too lazy to get mine out). Mix garlic, chilli, ginger, tumeric, peanut butter, lime leaves, coriander stalks, sesame oil, fish sauce and soy. Mix well into a liquidy paste. Pop the noodles and spice mix into the boiling water. Add veges. Cook until veges and noodles are cooked. Add coconut milk, check if it needs any soy or lime juice then remove from the heat. Serve with chilli, lime and coriander.


Homemade Salted ‘Snickers’ Bar

I saw this one on the ‘Leite’s Culinaria’ site and knew I had to try it. Snickers is my man’s favourite chocolate and this homemade, salty version went down a treat.

It’s one for a rainy day as there are a few layers and ingredients. I’m not confident this is any cheaper than simply buying a choc bar from the shop but it’s good nonetheless!snickers bar

  • Butter (just for greasing the tin)
  • 225g milk chocolate chopped (I used Whittaker’s)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup cream, at room temperature
  • 170g white chocolate chopped (Whittakers, again)
  • 130g salted peanuts
1. Line the bottom and sides of a loaf tin with baking paper. Lightly butter the paper.
2. Heat the milk chocolate until the chocolate is smooth (I used microwave with caution, otherwise do the double boiler method). Pour half the milk chocolate into the prepared loaf tin and spread it evenly with a spatula. Place the tin in the freezer until the milk chocolate is cold. Set the spare melted milk chocolate aside.
3. Once the loaf tin contents are cool, combine the sugar and water over a low heat.  Stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is clear. Increase the heat to medium-high and boil, without stirring, until the sugar starts turning golden brown at the edges. Cook a further 3 minutes, swirling the mixture together by gently tilting the pan over the heat  and ensure the color of the caramel is even.
4. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and cautiously add the cream. Stir until blended. Add the white chocolate and stir until the chocolate is melted. If you really liked salted baking, you could add 1 tsp of salt here. I didn’t. Add the peanuts and stir. Let cool for 5 minutes.
5. Pour the peanut mix over the cooled milk chocolate in the loaf tin and spread it evenly. Freeze until cold and firm.
6. Once the layer is cold, reheat the remaining milk chocolate and pour it over the peanut layer. Freeze for 20 to 30 minutes.
7. Pull paper off and slice up into delicious little bites. It’s rather rich so you don’t need much of a mouthful to be satisfied!


Sticky Kicking Chicken (Jamie Oliver Style)

LasSticky Kicking Chicken - Jamie Olivert night we tested another Jamie Oliver 15 Minute Meal; Sticky Kicking Chicken. I didn’t time this one and I’m glad I didn’t as I used bone-in chicken thighs so the cooking time was quite long.

This is 15 Minute Recipe #3 for me and yet again it was delicious. Easy too. I didn’t make the salad but I’ve tasted it previously and was also very good!

I’ve borrowed Jamie’s photo as we gobbled the chicken down before a camera shutter could even be pressed.

1 Comment

Breakfast Love

I love discovering a new cafe that delights. It’s just a little sad when it’s in another city!

The Christchurch Addington Co-Op Cafe is a real treasure; fair trade, great service and delicious breakfast treats. We’ll be back.

co op breakfast


Nigella’s Slow Roast Chicken

I confess that until this year I’d never even seen Nigella let alone tried one of her recipes. This is her Slow Roasted Garlic & Lemon Chicken and yes, it is tasty but you definitely need to like lemon. As usual, I tweaked the original recipe, due to what I did and didn’t have in the kitchen.

I used:

  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 6-8 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 2 lemons (cut into quarters)
  • 1 handful fresh thyme
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I only had good quality wine so I scaled it back….wanted to drink it instead!)
  •  black pepper

Preheat the oven to 160°C, pop the chicken in the roasting tins and add the rest of items (excluding wine and pepper), mixing around with your hands.

Pour the wine over the chicken and grind some pepper over. Cover the dish with foil and…cook for 2 hours. Then remove the foil, crank up the heat to 200 and crisp everything up for 30-40 minutes. This is such an easy Sunday night dinner!

My photography has a long way to go to compete with Nigella sadly.



Crusty No-Knead Ciabatta

bread boardThis is bread for dummies. Seriously. I’ve never baked successful bread. My last attempt resulted in sugary tasting rocks. So, as usual, I was skeptical that this one would work. So skeptical was I that when it worked brilliantly the first time I baked another two loaves right away just to make sure it was fail safe! If I can, so can you!

Mix in a bowl:
3 cups standard flour, 1 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon instant dry yeast (I use Edmonds of course. It’s labelled ‘good for breadmakers’). Add 1 and 1/2 cups of water and mix until shaggy dough forms. Cover with Gladwrap and leave to sit on the bench for 12+ hours (I think 14-16 hours is perfect. One loaf ended up at almost 22 hours and it was super holey.)
Put cast iron pot (lid on) into a heated oven (200 degrees C). Meanwhile, put the dough onto a floured surface (be generous with the flour) and shape into a ball.  Cover with the plastic wrap again and leave alone until the pot has heated for 30 minutes.
Take the pot from the oven (warning:HOT!) and drop the bread dough in. Sprinkle with extra flour and any toppings as desired (sea salt, herbs, whatever you like). Pop the lid back on and cook for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes check the bread – mine tends to need another 10 with the lid off. However you need to watch the colour carefully so that it ends up golden brown not black!
Remove from oven and cool on a rack.
Tip: If you tap the bottom of the bread with your knuckles it will sound hollow when cooked.

bread board2
That’s it! I don’t claim this recipe in any way. It’s as old as bread is and no one really knows who first invented it, however I based my recipe on the one listed at Simply So Good.


The Joy of Organisation

Does anyone else lust over ‘home organisation’ type images in magazines? Annie Traurig (see www.livesimplybyannie.com/) works as an organisation expert; beautifying both homes and businesses. She really is amazing and has inspired me to scrutinize my own house for areas to declutter and sort.

It’s quite easy to cover shoe boxes with fabric or get plain ones (just ask politely at any shoe shoe and they’ll usually send you away with a stack). Labels are essential to save time delving into numerous boxes looking for some panadol!

Bathroom: Check.


Leave a comment

Chocolate Caramel Slice

This is a staple at every good kiwi cafe. Unfortunately mine are always a bit messy looking to be found at a cafe but they are still delicious.

chocolate caramel slice

125 grams melted butter
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup soft brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
60 grams butter
395 gram can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons golden syrup
185 gram dark chocolate (I prefer 50% cocoa cadbury chocolate block)
1TB oil or butter

Preheat your oven to 160-180 degrees c and line a slice tray with baking paper. I use a 20cm x 30cm baking dish – if I had something a bit smaller that would be better!

Mix the flour, brown sugar, coconut and melted butter.


Press the mixture into your dish and flatten it with the back of a spoon or spatula. Bake until golden (I’d allow 15 minutes) then remove from the heat and cool completely.  base

Start the caramel by adding the condensed milk, butter and syrup into a saucepan. Stir over a low heat until your caramel becomes smooth and well…caramelly!


Remove from heat and cool completely.

Once both elements are both, pour the caramel over the base and cook again until the caramel turns golden (15 minutes). Generally mine bubbles in the middle where it’s a bit more liquid whilst the edges brown and set faster – that’s fine!

Cool the slice completely before spreading over the chocolate topping.

To make the chocolate, break the chocolate into a bowl. You can either use a typical double boiled type method or pop your bowl into the microwave stopping it every 30 seconds for a stir until smooth. Add 1TB of butter or oil and stir.

Pour the chocolate over the slice and cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes until set.