Monday, December 19, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

 My favourite days of the month are The Secret Recipe Club's reveal days, when all those delightfully gourmet photographs appear at once on club members pages. It's the time I feast my eyes on other people's creations and marvel at the  new windows of opportunity opening around me.  So much deliciousness, so little time!
This month I was privileged to receive an assignment to work from the blog Simply. Food.
I am always fascinated by other people's food blogs and the way they go about their kitchens and their food lives. Simply Food is a blog dedicated to vegetarian cooking, keeping it simple and delicious. The blog is full of delightful recipes and I had a hard time choosing, once again. As you may know, my "food life" is sweet and perhaps sometimes a bit too complicated, so it was refreshing to see so many simple yet effective (and obviously mouth watering) recipes on this blog.
I decided to take that simplicity and make it festive, for the Christmas season ahead of us, with Simply. Food's Chocolate Dipped Strawberries.
I had bought quite giant strawberries grown in Victoria, so I halved the recipe from the sure to check out Simply Food's version! And enjoy!


12 ripe strawberries, room temperature
200g white chocolate
Edible gold dust or other decoration (such as sprinkles, edible stars, coconut)
12 Toothpicks or skewers

Melt the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl, checking and stirring frequently to prevent burning.
Insert one toothpick into each centre of the green leafy part of each strawberry. Dip the strawberries one by one into the melted chocolate, then dipping into your choice of decoration while still slightly wet. If you are using edible gold dust, use a small brush to sprinkle the powder over the chocolate. Lay aside to set before serving.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Gingerbread Christmas Boxes

If you're looking for a different and tasty way to wrap up small gifts this Christmas, you might be interested in this gingerbread alternative to cellophane or gift wrap.
These little edible boxes are ideal for those little gifts for friends like homemade biscuits, truffles and chocolates. They are adorable and are sure to bring oohs and ahhs all around.

GINGERBREAD CHRISTMAS BOXES (reworded from the Coles Christmas Magazine 2011)

125g butter, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup golden syrup
1 egg, separated
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 cup white chocolate chips, melted
1 3/4 cups icing sugar
Cachous to decorate

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add syrup and egg yolk and beat until combined.
Add sifted flour, bicarb soda and ginger. Stir through with a butter knife until a dough forms.
Gather dough together and turn out onto a sheet of non stick baking paper. Divide into two even amounts.
Wrap one portion in cling wrap and set aside.
Roll the other portion out into a rectangle about 26cm x 18cm and trim the sides to neaten. Cut dough into 12 even pieces (four rows of three). Transfer squares to a greased and lined baking sheet with a little room for spreading. Place tray in the fridge to chill while you repeat this method with the remaining dough.
Bake the first tray for 10 minutes while chilling the second tray. Leave the squares on the tray for 5 minutes to cool before removing.
Place the melted white chocolate in a piping bag and use to "glue" the edges to form boxes. Leave to set.
Whisk egg white until frothy, then gradually add sifted icing sugar to form a stiff paste. Place in a piping bag and use to fill any gaps in the joins of the gingerbread boxes. Decorate with cachous. Pipe a cross on the lid of each box. Leave to set before filling.

Mango Chilli and Lime Aioli with Prawns

 My husband is an amazing cook. I'm not just saying that because he's my husband, it's a fact, and a sweet one at that. A man that can cook and will cook and enjoys it! There should be many more of them.
Anyway, we've decided to get the family over for Boxing Day celebrations. As seafood lovers, my husband and I have decided to have prawns for appetizers before dinner, and we found the most amazing accompaniment for those orange and white babies. We jut had to try it before hand to make sure of the fact. This recipe has been adapted by my husband from Curtis Stone's Christmas Magic. So tasty!


1 small mango, peeled, stone removed
1.5 tsp fresh peeled ginger, chopped finely (we used Gourmet Garden Ginger paste)
1 tsp chilli garlic sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped

Place mango, ginger, chilli and lime juice in the food processor and blend until a puree forms. Add egg yolk and pulse until combined. With the motor still running, add the oil until you reach a smooth creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper if desired, and add coriander.

NOTES: This aioli can be made a day ahead as the flavours develop over time. You can also use sweet chilli sauce instead of chilli garlic sauce. Serve with prawns.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Golden Roast Potato Salad

It's got a bit of crunch. It's got a fresh tangy bite. It's mellow at the same time and looks divine...and tastes even better. All golden and roasted.
Why not jazz up the potato salad this Christmas? The pasty, soggy potato salad is a thing of the past, or could be, if you take a chance and try this combo.
It recently hit me that I had never seen a roasted potato salad, and wondered why on earth it had never come into my little mind until then. So I set about making it, with huge success. Yes, it takes a little more time than the slushy potato salad you see in the supermarkets and on dinner tables as a standard, but its so worth it. You will never want to look at another potato salad again!


5 large potatoes, diced
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes
1 stick of celery, sliced thinly
3 rashers bacon, fried till crispy
fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped roughly

Peel and chop potatoes into bite sized pieces. Place potato in a large saucepan and cover with water; boil for a little while until beginning to soften (but not too soft or it will just fall to bits). Remove from heat and drain.
Coat potato with a little oil and pop in the oven on a roasting tray, turning occasionally until roasted as desired. Cool. Combine all other ingredients in a bowl and add potato.
Toss gently to combine. Serve.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Homemade Bounty Bars

This is by far one of the simplest, most delicious recipes I have come across in my lifetime.
Not only is it simple and scrumptious, its very close to the real thing--yes, I'm talking Bounty Bars. I've had near-death experience with my love for coconut over the years, but Bounty bars and I--our affair has never been on the rocks. There's just something so undeniably delicious about that moist coconut centre and the outer chocolate layer, and the attraction gets even stronger with the use of dark chocolate over milk..And here's another thing. It's quite delicious before the chocolate dipping process, so if you have the self control I can't muster, you could always leave the chocolate off (if you're weight conscious but still want to have a treat).


3 cups dessicated coconut
200g sweetened condensed milk
1/2-3/4 cup icing sugar
1 tsp. vanilla essence
350g dark chocolate, melted

Combine the coconut and condensed milk in a large bowl. Add enough icing sugar to make a stiff mixture.Add the vanilla and stir until well combined.
Press with a fork into a greased and lined 20x20cm tin and refrigerate overnight until hardened.Cut into 24 bars, coat in melted chocolate and serve when set.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Easi-yo Homemade Yogurt Cheat

I'm sure the New Zealand company Easi-yo won't be all that pleased that I found this money saving cheat. Well--of course many have found it before me, but I wanted to share it all the same for those who have not heard how you can save a few dollars on this deliciousness and get more for your money. My son and I would eat about a litre of yogurt a day if it was possible, and now it is. Without the expense.
And, unlike so many of the recipes on here, its very healthy for you.
So listen up!
You can purchase a packet of dry yogurt mix for around $4, and for those who aren't familiar with Easi-yo, all that needs to be added to this formula is water. The mixture sits in a canister in a thermos of hot water for about 8 hours, and voila! You have yourself a litre of creamy, thick and healthy yogurt.
$4 doesn't seem like much, but if you're eating a litre a day, its worth listening. If you look at the ingredients on the back of the packet, the main ingredient is  powdered milk.
So you can really quarter it, and get 4 litres of yogurt out of one packet as opposed to one litre if you add enough full cream milk powder, and its just as good! You do lose a bit of the original flavour, but you can serve it with fruit if you need the extra kick for your taste buds.

For demonstration purposes, we will simply make two litres from one packet, to simplify the process.

1/2  packet (1 cup) dry Easi-yo yogurt mix
1 cup full cream milk powder
500ml cold water
extra water to top up
1/4 cup sugar, optional
Easi-yo canister

Fill the Easi-yo canister up half  way with the 500ml of water. Add the powdered ingredients, close the lid and shake until mixed through the water. Add sugar if desired. Fill the canister to the top with extra water. Fill the thermos to the top of the red insert with boiling water.
Place the yogurt canister inside the thermos, close the lid and leave for 8 hours before removing and  refrigerating. Save the remaining dry packet mixture for your next batch!

NOTES: There are two cups of dry yogurt powder in the packets. Use the ratio 1 cup of milk powder to 1 of dry yogurt mix.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Toasted Coconut Marshmallow Slice

If ever I need a confidence boost with my blogging, I simply pop my 18 month old son on my lap and browse the blog. His little tongue comes out to lick his lips and he points to the pictures and says "mmmh mmmmh!" over and over. 
I tell you its therapeutic. 
His all time favourite is his Farm Animal Birthday Cake that was made for his first birthday, and he always requests a viewing by oinking like a pig. With his very limited vocab, he has informed me that he wants a "pen-un" (penguin) cake for his next birthday when I asked him.
Anyway, this little guy is my biggest (and smallest) fan. Yesterday I found him in the refrigerator licking hands covered in marshmallow and toasted coconut. There were hand trails throughout the slice. Goo on the fridge door, tell-tale remnants around his mouth...but a giant grin on his cheeky face.
I love that boy.

TOASTED COCONUT MARSHMALLOW SLICE (Taken from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine Dec 2011)

2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
185g butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp. vanilla essence
1/2 cup cold water
2 tsp. geletine powder
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup shredded coconut, toasted

Preheat the oven to180C.
Grease a 26x16cm slab pan and line with non stick baking paper.
Sift the flour into a large bowl. Add brown sugar and stir to combine. Add melted butter and vanilla and mix until a stiff mixture forms. Spoon into the prepared pan and flatten firmly with a fork until evenly spread.
Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden.
Set aside to cool completely.
Meanwhile, put 1/4 cup of the water into a microwavable jug and sprinkle gelatine over. Set aside for 5 minutes or until softened. Cook in microwave on high for 20-30 seconds until the gelatine has dissolved. Set aside to cool.
Put caster sugar and remaining water in a clean bowl and beat on high for 5 minutes until the mixture turns white. Add the gelatine mixture and continue beating for a further 10 minutes or until a thick white marshmallow forms.
Spread the marshmallow onto the biscuit base, then sprinkle with toasted coconut.Stand for one hour or until marshmallow has set. Cut into squares using a large wet knife, dipped into hot water between cuts. Serve.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Eton Mess Inspired Parfaits

 I really struggle when it comes to making a good meringue. Something always seems to go wrong. It either ends up as a soft sticky mess, or it browns too quickly on the outside or the bottom. Well, if you're anything like me, you will love this recipe, because it doesn't matter how your meringue turns out.
Eton Messes traditionally are formed with strawberries, cream and broken meringue. In this version of the recipe, I have added extra decadence, removed the cream and piled it high with layers of deliciousness. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!


1 packet strawberry jelly crystals

1/4 cup strawberry topping or sauce (we used the kind that you pour over ice cream)
2 cups thick custard (suggested recipe to follow)

1 batch of meringues (suggested recipe to follow)
Sprig of mint to garnish

Follow the instructions on the jelly packet to make one batch of jelly. Refrigerate until firm.
Meanwhile, cook meringues, and then the custard in the following recipes. Alternatively the meringues and custard may be store bought.
To assemble, layer all ingredients in tall glasses immediately before serving., finishing off with a drizzle of strawberry sauce and a garnish of mint.

Serves approximately 4-6, depending on size of serving glasses


2 cups milk
4 large egg yolks
6 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp corn flour
40g butter
1 tsp vanilla essence

To make the custard, bring milk to the boil. At the same time, in a separate saucepan, combine yolks, corn flour and sugar together and whisk over a low heat until the milk boils. Add a splash of boiled milk to the yolk mixture and begin to whisk vigorously. Gradually add the rest of the milk, continuing to whisk constantly, until thick and smooth. Remove from heat and immediately scrape the custard into a bowl and place in a basin containing a few inches of cold water. Add the butter in 3-4 installments. Add vanilla essence to flavour. Cool.


2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar (preferably caster sugar)
1-2 drops of  red food colouring

Preheat the oven at 150C.
Line two trays with non stick baking paper. Separate the eggs and beat the whites in a clean dry bowl until peaks form. Gradually beat in the sugar, a tablespoonful at a time. Beat on high until thick, glossy peaks form and the mixture is left smooth with no sign of the grit from the sugar. Add a drop or two of red food colouring and mix to combine.
Pipe as desired onto the tray, and cook until crisp on top. Turn the oven off and leave ajar for an hour until the meringues become more firm.

Monday, November 28, 2011

We Interupt this Program for an Important Announcement!

So all food aside for a moment to welcome our new little girl into the world...
Vienna Rose who was born on Sunday the 20th November after a very speedy labour and birth!

We're all doing well with just a little jealousy on the side from our 18 month old son...lots of special cooking for him to tide him over this bump in the road!
More recipes will be coming soon! Stay tuned!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Banana Blueberry Muffins

While waiting for my new darling to arrive, I've been trying to get a few good freezables stocked up for my darling husband and those who might come over for a peek of our little bundle. No, not just lasagnes (although they do freeze particularly well), but some sweets too. Cake never goes astray! (not in this household anyway) And it usually stores quite well.
So here's a batch of banana blueberry muffins to tide everyone over the waiting period. No one can be living in such impatience as I! I wonder if they'll last? I may just have to make another batch. Somehow these muffins feel healthier than my usual posts.
Bring on the low carbs and antioxidants! (these may be neutralized by the icing....I wouldn't know! Feel free to indulge in them without the white drizzling...they're just as tasty.)

6 oz sugar
3 oz butter
2 eggs
2 ripe or over-ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup blueberries, frozen or fresh
7 oz Self Raising flour
1/4 level tsp. bicarb soda
1/2 level tsp. salt
extra blueberries for decorating
1 cup icing sugar
1-2 tbsp water

Beat the sugar and butter together until creamy. Add the eggs one by one, beating well between each addition.
Beat through the blueberries and bananas.
Place flour, soda and salt on top of this mixture and stir through until well combined.
Scoop batter into 35 greased mini muffin tray holes/patty pans. Bake at 180C for approximately 15-20  minutes until golden and firm. Remove and cool.
Combine icing sugar and a little water to make a thin icing paste. Drizzle over the muffins and serve with extra blueberries if desired.

NOTES: Makes approximately 35 mini muffins or 15 regular sized muffins. Instead of using icing to drizzle over the tops, you could substitute for a sprinkle of icing sugar or a swirl of melted white chocolate.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Chilled Chocolate Rum and Raisin Custard

Recently we had a green energy meter installed at our house, which gauges how much electricity is being used at one time. The idea is to be more energy efficient and be able to see what uses the most energy, so as to cut back and save money.
I was surprised to see that the oven used as much power as our air conditioner! I had never really thought of any cost being involved in using the oven, for some strange reason. Of course with summer coming up, the oven won't be used as much, which should keep the heat down in the house anyway. Do you have a cost efficient oven? It's certainly something to think about. Makes me think twice about keeping mine on for long periods!
Here's a refreshing summer recipe that doesn't require the heat of the oven. It's a combination between a boozy chocolate custard and a mousse--it has a soft bubbly top, custardy centre and is topped with chocolate covered raisins and cream. Delicious!


1/2 can evaporated milk, chilled
1 1/2 tsp. gelatine powder
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup caster sugar
Rum, or rum essence to taste
Chocolate coated raisins to decorate
Extra cocoa to decorate
Cream to decorate

Dissolve the gelatine in water and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, beat the chilled evaporated milk with an electric beater until thick, like cream. (approximately 2 minutes)
Add the sugar, essence and cooled gelatine, and beat until combined. Mix cocoa powder through the mixture until well combined. Spoon into two dessert glasses.
Cover with plastic and refrigerate until set.
Beat the cream and pipe a design onto the centre of each glass. Decorate with raisins, extra cocoa powder and any preferred berries or chocolate shavings.

Serves 2

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chocolate Crinkle Biscuits

These biscuits remind me of Christmas. I don't know if its that the icing sugar that covers these cute chocolate biscuits reminds me of snow, but there's something definitely festive looking about them. The name brings to mind crinkly old people, but brush the thought aside, these are anything but like wrinkly skin.
They're simply divine.
They smell like chocolate pudding when cooking and are so quick and easy to make. The minimal effort for the the huge taste just blows your socks off,I give this recipe a big five stars.
There is nothing fancy about the ingredients either, which I know some of my readers will rejoice over. Mind you, I don't feel like I have a gourmet pantry, but I suppose for the everyday cook some of the items I use may not be frequently at hand. Never fear, you will probably have all the ingredients for this one just hanging about in your go and make these lovely little biscuits and experience the crisp outer layer, the soft melt in your mouth centres and that ever so irresistible chocolate fix you know you need. Go on, you know you do!

CHOCOLATE CRINKLE BISCUITS (adapted from Williams Sonoma)

1/2- 3/4 cup icing sugar
1 2/3 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla essence

Preheat the oven to 180C.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and the granulated sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Stir through the vanilla.
Place the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt on top of this mixture, and gently stir to combine all ingredients.
Place the icing sugar in a shallow bowl. Form rough balls with the dough, the size of a walnut. Roll each liberally in the icing sugar to thickly coat.
Place the balls on greased and lined baking trays. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until they puff and have a cracked appearance on the top.
Remove from heat and let sit on the trays for a few minutes to cool, before placing on a cooling rack.

Makes 50

NOTES: For the best results, cover the dough balls in icing sugar immediately before placing in the oven. If you leave the raw dough to sit, the icing sugar tends to soak into the dough a little and the end result isn't quite as pretty.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dutch Snykoek

Cinnamon. Ginger. Cloves. Nutmeg. The smell wafting through the house is intensely satisfying.
When we were kids we'd call it snake cake.
Straight out of the oven and lathered in butter--divinity to the taste buds.
Its a simply delicious spiced loaf cake called Snykoek from the Netherlands, otherwise known as Ontbijtkoek (Breakfast slice), and one of the only Dutch things we frequently had around the home when I was growing up. My mother is Dutch, but unfortunately speaking the language at home was not something that happened, as my mother was young when she moved here and therefore lost a lot of the language. So I clutch at the few things my mother did bring with her, and this is one. I haven't updated the measurements, but a quick conversion is all you need. It's worth it!


1 1/2 lb. plain flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2-1 pint milk
1 1/2 level tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves

1 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the milk until you get a smooth consistency, mix until well combined. Pour into three lined and greased loaf tins. Bake at 180C until cooked through. Serve warm with butter.

NOTES: There are 2 cups to a pint.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cherry Berry Rocky Road

Well, its really warming up here in Queensland, and having the oven on for a few hours is looking less and less desirable. To top it off, I'm carrying an extra 14 kg and that adds a few extra degrees to the body, and definitely makes cooking all the more tiring. I cant even get close to the bench anymore with this protuberance at the front of me!
Hopefully baby Massey #2 will be here before long and I wont be so heavy for when Summer really hits us.
So with the warming weather, I've been dreaming up ways of "baking" without baking, filling up the uncomfortable void of oven strike. Fortunately there are tonnes of recipes that are deliciously unbaked, and call for no additional heating of the house. I'm thinking jellies, mousses, ice cream cakes, sorbets, frozen delights, refrigerator slices, truffles. Let's add rocky road to the list, because its simple, delicious and is a winner at just about any occasion.
Speaking of good food, I'd like to share a rather exciting event that's coming up here for those of you who live in the Brisbane area. It's the Good Food and Wine Show, and it's being held over a few days in early November. If you're interested in going, I recommend checking out this link
It sounds totally awesome, and although I've never been, I'm hoping to make it this year! Finger's crossed, the unborn lets me. Bon Appetit!


100g paschal swirl berry marshmallows
250g dark chocolate
1/4 cup peanuts or cashews
6 mini cherry ripe bars (about 100g), roughly broken
4 chocolate ripple biscuits, roughly broken

Line a 20x20cm square dish with baking paper.
Arrange the nuts, marshmallows, broken biscuit and cherry ripe pieces on the base. Pour melted chocolate over the top, ensuring all the other ingredients are well covered.
Refrigerate until firm, cut into squares and serve.

Monday, October 24, 2011

SRC Mocha Frappuchino

Just about anyone who has ever visited my page will know that I'm not the world's healthiest cook. That is, I love my sweets and I'm not afraid to eat them. When you have the metabolism I have, this isn't a problem. Just wait until it catches up with me in a few years!
Mind you, its not like I live off the stuff, most of what I post here goes to various mouths that are not my's how I like it...I cook for others. I enjoy seeing the joy in others who are eating what I have made. Its thrilling.
When I joined The Secret Recipe Club I never expected I would find it such a challenge. The Secret Recipe Club is a group that designates a food blog to its members every month. As a member, you choose one recipe from you assigned blog, cook it and blog about it. I have such a hard time choosing what to make!  This month I was assigned a great cooking blog Amy's Cooking Adventures. She's a sweet mum of two gorgeous boys from North Dakota, and she has a great list of recipes to choose from. She likes to "sneak in extra vegies" and that's something I admire her for. Still, I found myself opting for the less healthy side of her blog with this delicious Mocha Chip Frappuchino. I even ended up adding more sweet things to it and making it unhealthier. But don't worry, I'm sure there's a warm day coming up where you deserve to indulge! They're perfect for the warmer months and are so inviting when you've had a busy weekend morning out in the hot sun. Slurp it down and enjoy this baby! It rocks.
And don't forget to check out the original recipe at Amy's Cooking Adventures!

MOCHA FRAPPUCHINO (adapted from Amy's Cooking Adventures)

1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup vanilla ice cream
2 cups ice
1/4 cup chocolate topping
2 heaped tbsp. chocolate powder or milo
1 heaped tbsp. instant coffee granules
1/4 cup hot water
2 tbsp. mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup vanilla ice cream, extra
sprinkling of extra milo to decorate

Combine the coffee granules with the hot water and stir until dissolved. Refrigerate until cooled.
Place the coffee, milk, ice, milo, ice cream and chocolate topping to the blender and process until the ice has broken down.
Serve in tall glasses, topping with the extra ice cream and extra milo, and a sprinkling of mini chocolate chips or shavings.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Have You Tried to Get on Foodgawker?

Every so often I have a little rant. Faithful followers will know.
Well today is one of those days...I need a little loving.
Have any of you culinary bloggers ever tried to get a food photo published online with foodgawker?
I thought it might be a nice way to get some of my recipes shared and just a little ego kick to boot. Well, that's why I am ranting. The past two weeks I have been submitting pictures left right and centre and every single one of them has been rejected. I tell you, it's left me very bruised in that baby ego and spitting and hissing at the thought my photos are rubbish.
For those of you who don't know, foodgawker is a site of unbelievably delicious recipes and beautiful photography. I don't claim to have the best photography but did I submit my best. Here is the outcome, with "feedback".

Peppermint Ganache Cups "Photo/food composition"

Home Style Sausage Rolls "Photo/food composition"

Strawberry Coconut Swirl Biscuits "Photo/food composition"

Pesto and Cashew Damper Scrolls "Composition - too tight"

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cups "Photo/food composition" 

Chocolate Jaffa Cornets "Photo/food composition"

Flourless Chocolate Cake "Dull/Unclear Image"

So, are they really that terrible? I've submitted over 12 photos and every single one has been rejected. Sometimes it makes me want to scream. Just saying.