February has arrived. The kids are back at school (yippee!). It’s deliciously warm outside. You haven’t had a chance to catch up properly with the girls all year. And that new year’s resolutions to shed a few kilos has actually happened! So it’s time to relax a little. Invite some friends over. Enjoy a freshly baked Vanilla Cupcake. Or perhaps a warm Pork and Fennel Sausage Roll? Have a cup a tea or even a glass (or two) of bubbles. And join the many other women around the country who will be hosting an Afternoon Teal to raise awareness and funds for Ovarian Cancer Australia this month.
I feel privileged that Ovarian Cancer Australia has invited me to come on board as an Ambassador to help women of all ages understand a little bit more about ovarian cancer. Did you know that there is no detection for ovarian cancer? That means that a pap smear will not detect ovarian cancer so it is really important that you know what symptoms to look out for. The four most commonly reported symptoms by women with ovarian cancer include:
- Abdominal or pelvic pain
- Increased abdominal size or persistent abdominal bloating
- Needing to urinate often or urgently
- Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
Vanilla Cupcakes with Teal Cream Cheese Icing
150 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
200 grams white sugar
2 free range eggs, room temperature
350 grams plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cooking salt
1 ¼ cup full cream milk, room temperature
2 teaspoon vanilla paste
250g good quality cream cheese, softened and roughly chopped
2 cups pure icing sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
4 teaspoons blue food colouring
1 teaspoon green food colouring
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Prepare cupcake/muffin tin by placing cupcake patty pans into individual moulds.
- Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a medium size bowl and set aside.
- Place butter in an electric mixer and mix on low-med speed to soften slightly for about 1 minute.
- Add sugar to the butter mix and continue mixing for about 1 minute or until fluffy and creamy.
- Continue mixing on low-med speed and add one egg at a time, until combined.
- On low speed, add half the amount of sifted flour mix into the butter mix, then add half the amount of milk until just combined. Repeat process. It is very important not to mix the flour for too long as it will result in a tough cupcake.
- Using an ice cream scoop or dessert spoon, carefully place mixture 2/3rds of the way full into prepared patty pans.
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until cupcakes spring back or if skewer is inserted it will come out clean.
- Remove cupcakes from cupcake/muffin tin and allow to cool on wire rack. Do not ice cupcakes until completely cool.
- To make the icing, place cream cheese in electric mixer and mix on low-med speed to soften slightly for about 1 minute.
- Continue mixing and add maple syrup and one tablespoon of icing sugar at a time until combined, then repeat process until all icing sugar has gone. Add food colouring, adjust measurements if required to achieve a teal colour.
- Once cupcakes have cooled, pipe or spread icing mixture over individual cupcakes and serve.
Pork and Fennel Sausage Rolls
1 tablespoon oil
3 large cloves of garlic, diced finely
1 small onion, diced finely
1 small bulb fennel, sliced thinly and diced
1 small carrot, grated
500g minced pork, with a good amount of fat
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoon salt
2 apples, any variety, grated
4 sheets store bought frozen puff pastry, bought to room temperature
1 egg, lightly beaten to make egg wash
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, to garnish
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Prepare baking tray by gently spraying with canola spray oil then lining with baking paper.
- Using a medium sized saucepan, heat oil to medium heat then gently fry onion for 1 minute, then add garlic and continue frying for 1 minute. Then add fennel, carrot and gently cook until mixture is softened for about 5 minutes. Season with salt then allow mixture to cool slightly.
- Place pork mince in a large mixing bowl, add oregano, thyme, white pepper and salt then mix by squishing mince with your hands for a few minutes.
- Squeeze out any excess liquid from grated apple then stir through mix, then add onion mix and stir through. To test if you are happy with seasoning and flavours, fry off a small amount of pork mince and taste. Adjust seasoning if needed.
- Place one sheet of puff pastry on clean, flat surface. Using your hands place about 2 cups of mixture on pastry and form a thick sausage shape vertically across the bottom edge of the puff pastry, leaving a 3cm gap from the very edge. Curl the edge slightly over the mince, then flip the pastry over so that the mince is fully encased in pastry. Cut off the remainder of the puff pastry and secure the edge by brushing with egg wash.
- Using a pastry brush, lightly brush top of the pastry with egg wash then lightly sprinkle with fennel seeds.
- Place sausage rolls on prepared baking tray then bake in oven for about 30 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Serve immediately.