Going Bananas Over Monkey Bread

My recipe book of all my favs.

As most of you already know, I love Quirky Cooking. It is very handy if you have a Thermomix, but you can definitely make the recipes without one – you will just need to adjust them….and it will take you longer to make. I enjoy trying her recipes and feeding them to my husband. He seems to enjoy it too 🙂 Today after a big day out in Noosa, I decided I felt like doing a bit of a cook-fest when we got home, so I had a go at creating her delicious-looking Monkey Bread. I have never baked or eaten Monkey Bread before, so this would be fun! Luckily she has pictures on her blog too.

Me making Monkey Bread (shame 'bread' doesn't start with 'M').

Here it is straight from her blog, with a scattering of my pics. Any alterations of mine are written in green.

Monkey Bread Recipe

1. Make a batch of Hot Cross Bun Dough, but leave the Rapadura (or sugar) out – you won’t need it, since it’s going to be rolled in Rapadura anyway. Or if you like you can just use plain bread dough. (I make my dough wheat and dairy free, but you can use just a regular hot cross bun recipe if you want to.) Let the dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in size.

The hot cross bun mixture used for the Monkey Bread.

2. Melt about a cup of butter or ghee in the Thermomix at 80 degrees, 2 minutes, speed 2 (or until all melted). Pour into a bowl. [If using rice-almond milk instead of butter, warm it up a little.]

3. Prepare tins by greasing with a little butter/ghee (I just used cold-pressed olive oil spray cause I am lazy). I used 6 mini Bundt tins, and 1 loaf tin. You could use 2 loaf tins, or 1 big Bundt tin. (I used a round cake tin and three ramekins which sat in a try of water in the oven. You can use any tin you like though!).

4. In another bowl, mix together about a cup of Rapadura and 2-3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon.

5. Pinch off small pieces of dough, roll them into balls, and roll them in the melted butter (and/or milk)…… then in the cinnamon-Rapadura mixture.

Dunk and rub.

6. Place the balls into the prepared tins, using smaller balls to fill in spaces. Only fill half full and then let them rise until they’re nearly at the top of the tin.

Putting the balls into the tin.

7. Drizzle with any remaining butter/ghee/milk.

8. Place in a cold oven and turn it on to 180 degrees C, and cook for about 30 minutes (depending on how big the tins are you’re using). They should be nicely browned when done.

9. Let them cool for about 5 minutes, then tip them out, upside down, onto a plate.

The finished product 🙂

The result: a very happy husband scoffing down warm Monkey Bread with Jersey cream. I am definitely making this again for Christmas (the cinnamon & nutmeg aroma adds that special Chrissy feel).

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Your Love Song?

We all like a bit of romance right?

So, do you have a favourite love song?

One of my favourites is by John Denver. I was introduced to John Denver’s music at a young age as my parents played his record over and over and over again. Most of his lyrics are second nature to me, like riding a bike. His famous hit, “Annie’s Song” was written for his wife. Her name is Annie. I know! What a beautiful way to express how you feel about someone you love. My husband and I claimed it yonks ago (like a billion other people) as “our” song. Never really had an “our” song cause it seemed a little too romancy…but I like having a song 🙂

I love the first verse how it describes all those moments that make you feel so alert and alive, e.g. – You fill up my senses, like a night in the forest: everything is tuned in, we are not normally in the forest so everything looks, feels, sounds and smells different. Even more so at night. I know when I go camping out in the bush, my senses come alive. At night when it is pitch black around me, I hear every twig crack and every animal noise!

According to Wikipedia: Denver “wrote this song in about ten-and-a-half minutes one day on a ski lift” to the top of Ajax Mountain in Aspen, Colorado, as the physical exhilaration of having “just skied down a very difficult run” and the feeling of total immersion in the beauty of the colors and sounds that filled all senses inspired him to think about his wife.

Here are the lyrics to Annie’s Song:

You fill up my senses 
like a night in the forest 
like the mountains in springtime, 
like a walk in the rain 
like a storm in the desert, 
like a sleepy blue ocean 
you fill up my senses, 
come fill me again. 

Come let me love you, 
let me give my life to you 
let me drown in your laughter, 
let me die in your arms 
let me lay down beside you, 
let me always be with you 
come let me love you, 
come love me again. 

Perfect Broken Glass

How clever is our dishwasher? Found my wine glass in two perfect pieces. Pure talent I tell you!

We don’t have the best track record of keeping glass together in our home….(remember this!)

My Hot Date

Hubby and I

The famous Spirit House was the setting for our date this weekend! What a special experience!

I received a voucher off a friend as a thank you gift a few weeks ago, and hubby and I decided to use it this weekend. I have always wanted to go to the Spirit House but never had the chance or money, so you can imagine I was pretty excited!

The Spirit House is nestled amongst beautiful Balinese gardens with water dragons running about the place. It was funny hearing some of the ladies squeal whenever a lizard would run under the table 🙂

Water Dragon

For a hot day, the place was cool and refreshing as we sat at our table overlooking the pond. The place was absolutely packed with people, although you still felt secluded as you can’t see everyone through all the bamboo and palms. We couldn’t believe the amount of people there for a Sunday lunch, especially at a restaurant just outside a quiet country town. Where did all these people come from?

The food is Asian and absolutely amazing! This was what we ordered:

My cocktail in a slanty glass

Entrees

Drinks: South Australian Beers, Coco Cocktail (coconut & lemongrass), Balthasar Ress Hattenheimer Kabinett (riesling)

Entrees: Crispy Pork Belly with Citrus Caramel Sauce, Hot & Sour Lychee Scallop garnished with Pork Crackle

Mains: Whole Crispy Fish with Tamarind Chili Sauce, Yellow Curry of Duck with Pickled Pawpaw & crispy Lime Leaves

Desserts: Chocolate Brulee with Chili Raspberry Jam & Candied Chili, Tropical Trifle with Passionfruit Sponge with Coconut Tapioca, Lemon Mousse, Lychees & Macadamia

Desserts

The Crispy Fish - looks can be deceptive!

I highly recommend everything we ate. In particular the Pork Belly and Crispy Fish!

It was such a lovely date. Afterwards we went for a drive to explore some of the land we hadn’t seen before. It is so beautiful out there. Then we came home and crashed with full bellies! 🙂

How our cat deals with the those chooks!

Yes, one of our chooks laid this massive egg today.

No, it doesn’t fit in the normal egg box.

Yes, this is our cat and chooks stalking her in the background.

No, Panini is not enjoying their presence one little bit.

Yes, this is Panini inside a mini cardboard box.

No, she is not headless.

Things just seem better when she shuts those chooks out.

The Best Job on Earth!!

This is the amazing place that I get to work at. Seriously, how lucky am I!

Can you spot me and my hubby? 🙂

Sweet, Sweet Prunes

A few weekends back, our dance team went dancing in Bundaberg. Seven of us were billeted together and our hosts made us feel very welcome (we even had choccies on our pillow!). In the morning we were treated to a breakfast feast complete with prunes to go on our yogurt. I’m not the biggest prune fan, but these tasted amazing. Natasha shared her recipe with us – an old favourite from South Africa.
I made this for something sweet today 🙂 The photo looks gross, but that’s a whole lotta sweet goodness in that pot right there!

Natasha’s Prunes
500g prunes
3/4 cup water
2/3 cup vinegar
1/2 cup or less of sugar (I used a few drops of Stevia instead)
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp cinnamon (organic has 3x more flavour!)

Boil everything in a pot on the stove for 15 minutes with the lid on. Leave overnight.