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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,700 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.


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These Oriental Chicken Rice Paper Rolls are so fresh, healthy and colourful. Great for a nutritious lunch or delicious snack. With all the colours and flavours, you can’t taste the healthiness! Next time, I think I would add rice noodles to the filling. I love making rice paper rolls, as there are so many flavour options. You could easily adjust the filling and dipping sauce to suit your taste: tofu or seafood in place of chicken, celery or beetroot, serve with a peanut satay sauce instead of soy, or even make a fruity rice paper roll with berry and banana filling. You could also deep fry the rolls to make spring rolls. The possibilities are almost endless! Don’t worry if you don’t like them, apparently you have to try something 8 times before you begin to like it.


Don’t eat them after the day they’re made, they don’t taste as fresh and end to go soggy. Make sure to slice the vegetables thinly and don’t overfill the wrappers because the rice wrapper easily rips and is difficult to roll up neatly. Tie them in plastic wrap for easy transportation. Go ahead and alter the ingredients, but this is my own recipe. Or add some chopped peanuts or cashews. This is probably the longest list of ingredients ever in history of k-e, but it’s worth it!


Yields: 16 rolls

Preparation Time: 30 min

Cooking Time: 10 min



350g chicken breast, chopped into stir-fry sized pieces

½ green chilli, cut finely

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 spring onions, sliced

1 teaspoon mint, roughly torn

1 teaspoon coriander, roughly torn

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice blend

1 tablespoon Chinese Cooking Wine

Dipping Sauce:

2 spring onions, thinly sliced

½ green chilli, cut finely

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

zest and juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon roughly torn coriander

2 teaspoons sweet chilli sauce


16 rice paper roll wrappers

1/2 continental cucumber, cut into thin strips

½ red capsicum, cut into thin strips

½ green capsicum, in thin strips

1 carrot, chopped

¾ cup snow pea shoots

Cooked chicken pieces (from above)


  1. Chicken: Combine marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add strips of chicken. Cover for 30 min to allow flavours to infuse.
  2. Cook in a fry pan over high heat for 10 min, adding 2 tablespoons of water to the fry pan. Set aside while you prepare everything else.
  3. Dipping sauce: Add all ingredients and mix, until sugar dissolves.
  4. Rolls: Fold the bottom up, then right in, then top down, then left in. Like a nappy, a delicious vegetarian nappy. Be sure to only use a small amount of filling, or the rolls wont turn out properly. Serve with dipping sauce and enjoy!




Rice paper rolls

Rice paper rolls

If you liked this Oriental Chicken Rice Paper Rolls recipe, you might also like:


Vegetable Salad Rolls The Fit Housewife



Rice Paper Rolls With Shrimp and Avocado The Little Things



Fruit Filled Spring Rolls Veg Web

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Hot apple cider

Nothing beats a mug full of steaming hot apple cider on a cold Winter’s day, as a healthier alternative to hot chocolate or coffee. I think I’m a bit late for that, as yesterday as the first day of Spring! Also, this is Kitchen Essence’s first drinkable recipe!


I loved cooking this, the aroma filled up the whole house.

An iced version could easily be prepared — cool liquid in fridge, pour into glasses and top with ice.

Hot apple cider is also called mulled cider, according to Wikipedia.

I didn’t have time, but you could always squeeze your own apple juice. You could also reheat the mixture in a saucepan, but it wont be as bubbly.

I need some synonyms for yummy and delicious, I use them too often to describe foods on our blog. I definitely want to make it again!

Next time, I think I would add some freshly grated nutmeg or star anise, but this still tasted nice.


Variation: try replacing the apple juice with cranberry juice to make a hot cranberry cider.


Yields: 6 Servings




Preparation time: 5 min

Cooking time: 16 min


6 cups apple juice

1 orange, peeled with a knife into long pieces (only rind)

3 cinnamon sticks

9 whole cloves

1 cup plus a splash of unflavoured mineral water



  1. Combine apple juice, orange strips, cinnamon, cloves and 1 cup mineral water in a medium saucepan, bringing to the boil at medium-high heat.
  2. Reduce heat once bubbles start appearing to medium low, and cover, simmering for 15 min.
  3. The mixture should smell aromatic and fragrant. Strain through a sieve to discard the solids.
  4. Add the ‘splash’ of mineral water (amount to your liking) and pour into mugs, ready to serve.


Adapted from "School Day Lunches".

If you liked this recipe, you might also like:


Apple Cider Doughnuts from desserts for breakfast



Apple Butter from teacher-chef



Caramel Apple cider cookies from gimme some oven.


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Caramel cupcakes


I think the caramel notes came mostly from the molasses, but the brown sugar also played a part in making these cupcakes flourish.

They taste great, and who doesn’t love caramel?

Yields: 24 cupcakes

Preparation Time: 10 min

Cooking Time: 25 min



1 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup white sugar

4 eggs

2 tbsp molasses

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk

½ cup oil

½ cup full cream milk

2 ½ cups self raising flour

½ tsp baking soda

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup evaporated milk

4 tbsp butter

1 cup icing sugar

caramel jerseys, optional



Preheat the oven to 170c (350f.) In a large bowl, use the electric mixer and beat the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well combined.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the molasses and vanilla and mix. Turn the mixer onto low speed, adding the buttermilk, oil and milk, and mix.

In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients, then slowly add into the wet. Add to muffin tins lined with paper cases and bake for 20-25 min.

To make the frosting, combine brown sugar and evaporated milk in a saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the mixture starts boiling, then leave without stirring for 7 min. Remove from heat and stir in other ingredients.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, dip them in icing and top each one with a caramel jersey. The frosting will harden more once cooled.

Although these taste great, the icing was a little runny.


If you liked this, here are some other great recipes

One-Minute Chocolate cake from chocolate covered Katie

Caramel Apple Crumble Slice from domesblissity

Caramel Corn Cupcakes from annies eats



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Mexican Taco Pizza

This pizza tasted really nice, and was a cinch to make. The flavours and colours went well together, but at the same time contrasted too. We didn’t add red kidney beans as they aren’t liked in our family (except Desi). You could add corn kernels or use English muffins as a base, there are many ideas. This was definitely a winner, and will be made again!


Yields: 6 pizzas

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: maximum 10 minutes



6 corn tortillas

¾ cup mild Mexican salsa

red kidney beans, optional

11/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese

1 avocado

4 large iceberg lettuce leaves

½ cup sour cream



Preheat the oven to 180C.
Line baking trays with baking paper and oil spray, then place the tortillas on the tray, making sure they don’t overlap.

Spread salsa on each tortilla, but not all the way to the edge.

Sprinkle with cheese and beans, if you like.

Bake for 5-10 min, or until cheese is melted and a pale golden colour.

Chop the avocado and shred the lettuce while pizza is cooking.

Top with veggies, sour cream, and get them while they’re hot!


Photo didn’t work out the way I planned












If you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like:


Sweet Corn Ice Cream from One Perfect Bite


Homemade Taco Seasoning from annies eats


Mini Fruit Pizzas from twopeasandtheirpod




P.S. Here’s one idea for our new logo, what do you think?


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950g beef mince (lean)

375g jar tomato paste

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried oregano

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

3 eggs

¾ cup dry breadcrumbs

6 sheets puff pastry (you can use store-bought or home made)

milk, to brush



Preheat the oven to 200C.

Place the mince, tomato paste, dried herbs, chopped garlic, egg and breadcrumbs in a large bowl and combine with your hands.

Get a large plate and brush the plate with milk.

Put 1 sheet of pastry on the plate, scoop in some mixture, and shape into a sausage down the centre.

Roll the pastry over to cover the sausage.

Cut each roll into thirds and repeat this step.

Put the rolls onto a greased baking tray and cook for 20 minutes or until the pastry goldens up nicely.


makes 18 large pillows

note: these are so moist you probably won’t need to serve them with sauce

 Serve up this sausage pillowCinemascope

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We spruced them up with orange zest and ground ginger. But you could use grated fresh ginger instead.


Mixture 1

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup plain flour

1 cup shredded coconut

1 cup oats


Mixture 2

½ cup melted butter

1 tsp ginger (ground or grated fresh)

1 large orange, grated


Mixture 3

1 1/2 tsp bicarb soda

3 tbsp golden syrup

2 tbsp boiling water


Don't eat them yet


Preheat the oven to 180C.

Line a tray with baking paper then grease.

Combine mixture 1 in a large bowl.

In another bowl combine mixture 3 and stir until frothy.

In another bowl, combine mixture 2.

Add mixture 2 to mixture 1, stirring with a wooden spoon until combined.

Add mixture 3 to the other bowl, and stir until everything is well combined.

Bake for 10-15 min (we found that 10 min wasn’t enough, as the cookies were too soft to take off the tray.)



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