Friday, 29 April 2011

Maven brownies

These brownies are quite cake like as opposed to fudgy, and are not that sweet, even though the recipe calls for over 2 cups of sugar, counteracted by the cocoa I suspect.

I love a recipe that let's me use the kitchen aid... and I particularly love watching the melted chocolate mix in with the eggs and sugar.  Weird huh?

It all leads to the finished product, G's favourite part!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Easter extravaganza

In my family I am definitely "the baker" so am the one who prepares desserts for family celebrations.  However, for Easter one of my little sisters wanted to make the cake, so I rather ungraciously stepped aside.  For whatever reason, she couldn't make the cake, so the duty fell to me.  She had already decided what she would make, and had told people, so I thought I should do the same thing - even though it would be my first time using gelatine.

This is my version of the cake that was on the front of the Easter edition of the Coles magazine.

I used gelatine for the first time - easy, but gelatine stinks!  Apparently it is the same smell that stale jelly crystals get if you add hot water, but having never smelled that, it was rather unpleasant.

Start by making a chocolate cream oreo base (with melted butter) and pour on some chocolate mousse (gelatine alert).

(mousse mid-mix)

Then when that is truly set, pour on some chocolate ganache, made with a touch of butter.

(and serve with some raspberry coulis)

Oh and G outdid himself and bought me a box of 6 macarons from La Belle Miette. 
(super pretty packaging)
(strawberries & cream, chocolate, lemon, salted caramel, pistachio and raspberry - from the top left, clockwise around)

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Shameless plea

Please click over to The Sweetest Kitchen and vote for my Earth Day Cupcakes - "Garden Delight" - voting link!

In case you missed my blog entry about these beauties, have a look here.

Friday, 22 April 2011

The best pumpkin soup ever

A simple recipe from the April Delicious, but absolutely delicious using some in-season produce.

Saute 1 chopped onion for 5 minutes
Add 1kg of chopped pumpkin and cook for 10 minutes
Add 1L of vegetable stock and cook for 15 minutes, simmering with the lid on.
Once tender, blend, blend, blend until smooth and return to the saucepan.
Pour in up to 300ml of cream (as much as you would like, I chose 200ml) and reheat

At this point, the recipe calls for sage oil (that you have made) and sage sandwiches, but I voted for some toasted sourdough and a spoonful of sage pesto. 

I wonder if the trick to the soup is cooking the pumpkin without the stock for the first 10 minutes - maybe a hint of caramelisation?

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Steak with welsh rarebit

When G and I lived in England in 2004 we worked for a bar in the McMullen's Brewery chain.  I remember the most unpleasant looking and smelling thing on the breakfast menu was toast with welsh rarebit.  The welsh rarebit was stored in the fridge in a log, resembling the devon meat you can buy in the supermarket.  Or if I am feeling less kind, it resembled the refridgerated tube dog food.

When I saw that there was a recipe in the April Delicious for steak with welsh rarebit I just kept turning the pages, but G encouraged me to take a second look (well after we saw the delicious looking porterhouse steaks available at the butcher).   The recipe was quite simple - cheese, mustard, sour cream and worcestershire smothered on top of a partially cooked (pan fried) steak, then all bundled into the oven to finish cooking the steak and melt the rarebit.

The best part?  The rarebit looked nothing like the log I remember from England, although still not super attractive.

Though dinner did look pretty delicious.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Salmon with black olive puree

An odd combination I know, but the saltiness of the black olive really cut through the fatty salmon - home-made olive tapenade slathered on top of salmon fillets and then baked until the salmon is done (or as done as you like it)

It was supposed to be served on white onion, but I accidentally let it brown a little!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Earth Day cupcakes

Each month I have been enjoying the mystery box cupcake challenges over at The Sweetest Kitchen - I really loved some of the birthday cupcakes were amazing.

When I saw the new theme was Earth Day my mind was totally blank on what I could do, but I thought I would give it a go anyway.  The idea is that you draw inspiration from the theme or secret ingredient and bake - for the ts and cs look here.

Of course, I started by baking my gold standard vanilla cupcakes.

Then I coloured some fondant in some pretty spring colours (although in Australia we are in Autumn, to me Earth Day speaks of Spring) and cut out some garden inspired shapes.

Then I iced the cupcakes in some blue buttercream, some chocolate ganache and some fondant discs.

The winner of April’s Mystery Box Cupcake Challenge will receive prizes from:
Thank you to all our prize sponsors!

Some individual shots

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Pistachio cupcakes

I made some delicious, super dense pistachio cupcakes , topped off with some whipped cream and almonds.

Simply grind up some pistachios and sugar and then throw that in a stand mixer with some flour, eggs and butter and then bake.  But for those who prefer precise recipes (and I certainly am one of those people) here it is:

Grind 85g of pistachioes with 70g of caster sugar in a food processor.  Mix that with 70g caster sugar, 140g butter (very soft), 2 eggs, 140g self raising flour and 5 tbs milk until smooth - personally I would do this in my stand mixer.

Divide the mix between 12 cupcake cases and bake for 22-25 mins at 160C. 

Granted, the cakes will be on the small side for cupcakes, but they are very dense.  Next time I would probably only make 9 cakes and make them a little taller, which would obviously require some extra cooking time.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Women's Weekly Birthday Cakes

I was very lucky the other day - my lovely mother gave me the new and the vintage Womens Weekly Birthday Cake books, including gems such as these:

I can't wait to make some of these!  I had to joke to my sisters that they needed to have kids so I could make cakes - surely someone with kids doesn't have time to make these cakes!  I always wanted to be the cool aunt...

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Bistro style gnocchi

Or at least, that is what I think the recipe was called (I can't find the March issue at the moment!)

It really was an easy weeknight meal - gnocchi mixed with roast capsicum pesto, topped with some blue cheese and pine nuts and baked.   There was supposed to be some cream in there too, but I decided it was too rich!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Chocolate caramel cheesecake

It's been a long time between drinks, so to speak, for my Cheesecakes of the World book - but this one did not disappoint.

A simple biscuit and butter based, baked for 8 minutes.  Topped with chopped pecans and a tin of top'n'fill (tinned caramel, the other option would be taking a tin of condensed milk and turning it into dulce de leche, following a recipe like this one).

Then topping that with cream cheese, that has been mixed with sugar and melted chocolate.

If you ever see a copy of Cheesecakes of the World I highly recommend buying it!