Wednesday, October 6, 2010

honey macadamia ice cream

this second attempt at making ice cream had some surprising and delicious results but is yet to be tweaked to perfection...

you'll need

an ice cream maker

600ml cream
1/4 cup creamed honey
100g macadamias, roughly chopped

1. Warm cream and honey in a saucepan over low heat until honey has melted and combined with cream. Cover and refrigerate until cooled completely.
2. Add macadamias to cream mixture and pour into ice cream maker. Churn for 20 minutes or until desired consistency.

* Although this ice cream is delicious as is, it seems to have a slightly bitter after taste so I suggest trying the following alterations (and will keep you posted of my progress with same)-
a) roast the macadamias in the oven and cool before using
b) add icing sugar, 1 tbls at a time, as the ice cream churns, tasting after each addition to control sweetness.
c) as a last resort, serve the ice cream sprinkled with a little sugar - it works!

hunny bunny muffins

These scrummy little muffins scream Autumn to me (even though they were created in Spring!). They are super packed with carrot - moreso than your usual carrot cake -and I reckon this qualifies them as a serving of vegetables :) And even better, they are just delish as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea!

makes 12 muffins (plus 24 mini muffins if you're lucky!)
keep for 5 days in the fridge

you'll need

1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2tbs honey, warmed
1 2/3 cups self raising flour
3/4 cups golden caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3 cups grated carrot or thereabouts (the more carrot, the more muffins!)
1/2 cup shredded coconut

500g cream cheese, at room temperature
4 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup honey, warmed

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius and line a 12 hole muffin tray with muffin cases. If you're feeling optimistic, line a 24 hole mini muffin tray too :)
2. Combine flour, sugar and spices in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
3. Lightly beat together oil, eggs and honey in a jug.
4. Add oil mixture, carrot and coconut to flour mixture and fold gently until just combined.
5. Spoon into muffin trays, filling each case at least 3/4 full.
6. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the muffins spring back when lightly touched in the centre.
7. Allow to cool in trays for ten minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely. Apply a generous amount of frosting!

To make frosting -
Beat cream cheese and honey until smooth and combined. Gradually add icing sugar, beating between additions until it is a smooth consistency.

*substitute brown sugar or caster sugar for the golden caster sugar if you prefer, I like the godlen caster sugar as seems to not dissolve fully and gives a slight crunch.
*change the spices around to create a unique flavour - try adding some ground ginger or mixed spice or even ground cardamom.
* these muffins barely rise so fill them up almost to the size you want them to be when baked.

ingredient of the month, october 2010 - honey!

September seemed to fly by without even getting a look in from this section so with 'flying' in mind, I have chosen honey to be ingredient of the month for October.
I think honey is such a beautiful ingredient. It offers a rich sweetness and golden colour to dishes and adds an earthy element where sugar doesn't quite hit the mark but also, it's made by teensy weesy, buzzy little fellas who are just going about their bzzzz-ness! And as far as I know, humans cannot make honey - humbling, don't you think?

Monday, September 27, 2010

peach pudding

This is a simple pudding that goes beautifully with ice cream, cream or iced cream (funny about that!).

you'll need
800g tinned peaches
60g butter, melted
3/4 cup milk
1 egg
1tsp vanilla essence
1 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup golden caster sugar
2tbs golden caster sugar, extra

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
2. Drain peaches, reserving juice, and layer in the bottom of a medium casserole dish (about 20cm x 20cm).
3. Combine flour and sugar in a large bowl.
4. Whisk butter, milk, egg and vanilla until combined and fold into flour mixture.
5. Dollop pudding batter over peaches and sprinkle with extra sugar then drizzle over a couple of tablespoons of reserved juice.
6. Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until pudding is firm and golden.
7. Serve immediately.

*We used peaches in mango juice but any tinned stone fruit or apples would work.
*Kids love the leftover juice! You can dilute it with some water if it's too thick or freeze it in ice cube trays for use in later recipes.

coconut and lemon iced cream

Hello all! I hope all Victorian families are enjoying the second week of their school holidays. The weather looks set to turn today so it's an ideal time to get those little chefs cooking - or 'freezing' as this recipe calls for :)
This was my first real attempt at creating an ice cream from scratch and as I have a serious problem with sticking to a recipe - I call it my creative license:)- this one came about by going with the flow. After many additions of curd and icing sugar (and all the tastings in between), it turned out to be more cream than ice cream yet more ice cream than cream - hence, iced cream. Because of this I decided to make a peach pudding as well and serve the iced cream an an accompaniment rather than serving it on its own.

you'll need

an ice cream maker

400ml coconut cream
300ml thickened cream
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup lemon curd
1/2 tsp coconut essence
1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)

1. Combine all ingredients except for the shredded coconut in a large bowl then pour into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions.
2. Churn until iced cream is the desired consistency - I prefer somewhere between soft serve and fully frozen.
3. Serve alongside your favourite pudding, cake or pie!

Friday, September 10, 2010

love thy neighbour

it's an easy thing to do when you have neighbours as lovely as ours! The lovely Bee from Honey Jumble is our neighbour and she treated me to a lovely jar of fresh baked cookies for my birthday! Do you like the card? That's her handiwork too! Thank you so much Bee, Marty and Twiggy! Check out the rest of her creations (and maybe pick yourself up a piece or two!) at Little Beehive.

a marple-iscious affair

my mum was nice enough to take the kids and I out to a birthday lunch today at Miss Marple's in Sassafras. For years I've been wanting to go there, imagining this grand cafe serving a variety of teas and cakes however it is actually quite small, seating only around 40 people in a kitchen/dining sized room. Along with the space, the menu was also quite limited but there were a couple of yummy sounding items to choose from and luckily they also served kid's meals (nuggets & chips) which kept the littlies happily anticipating the arrival of their order. Mum and I shared some Welsh Rarebit (my first time and not all that exciting), some ham, chutney and cheese toasties and coffee. For afters, we all shared a piece of chocolate pecan fudge cake and it was absolutely scrumptious!
After the initial shock of its quaintness and the surprisingly prompt arrival of our order, the handy phone cam came out and I snapped these pics to share.

the famous Miss Marple, herself

some of the cottagey decor

some toasted finger sandwiches

chocolate pecan fudge cake with chocolate sauce and cream

And another thing - you have to get there exactly on 11am to get a seat or go on a waiting list! Although we weren't overly impressed with the savoury dishes, the coffee was great and that chocolate cake was a winner so I would definately head back there for morning or afternoon tea.

Monday, August 30, 2010

chocolatey wisdom

well it has finally happened folks, I have found something that may bring me equal pleasure to baking - making chocolates! I spent last Sunday with the lovely Linda from Wild Patch Chocolates who imparted much of her chocolatey wisdom upon me and not only did I come away with a new found respect for the role of the chocolatier, I also brought home loads of handmade chocolates! Boy, was I popular with the family! For anyone who's interested in chocolate (and honestly, who isn't?), I highly recommend attending a course through Wild Patch. There are courses for beginners to the more advanced and everyone gets to reap the spoils. So if you're looking to enhance your own culinary repertoire or maybe you've taken the Handmade Christmas Challenge too, check out what's on offer at Wild Patch .
A fine sample of Linda's handiwork (with a little of my, let's call it 'assistance') clockwise from top left - fig & muscat pyramid, cinnamon truffle, passionfruit, lemon meringue, raspberry heart, another lemon meringue, violet truffle (my very own creation!) and in the centre a solid white heart with ladybug.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

countdown to the 'ber' months...

There's a little twinge of excitement around here during what my husband calls the 'ber' months - septemBER, octoBER etc - it means that Christmas is nearly here! Christmas is my all time favourite time of year because not only is there merriment among my own family and friends but there is a general air of excitement in the greater community and all around the world people get a little festive! This feeling of unity brings me a great sense of warmth, comfort and general happiness and what better way to maintain that feeling than to share it? This year I have taken the handmade pledge which means all my nearest and dearest will be receiving gifts lovingly handmade by my family - will it be bunting? will it be cookies? will it be my secret special boozy fruity chocolate puddings? We'll have to wait and see where inspiration takes us!
If you think of this concept on a local/global level, it really is an awesome idea - not only will you be indulging yourself in creative heaven, you'll also be giving something from the heart and reducing the impact of the environment at this super consumerist time of year. So if you're interested, take the pledge! Check it out at

Friday, August 27, 2010

vanilla sour cream cake

My apologies for breaking so long between blogs - after all the excitement of party preparation, the execution was let's say, a little disappointing :( We ran out of time and couldn't prepare as much of our own food as hoped and one of the cakes was an absolute disaster! It's a good lesson for next year - make sure to leave enough time to bake AND decorate the cake! So these things aside, there was one suprise beauty that came out of all these parties and it was this lovely vanilla cake.

Serves 10
Keeps in the fridge for 4 days

you'll need
200g butter, softened
1 3/4 cups caster sugar
1 tbs vanilla essence
4 eggs
1 3/4 cups self raising flour
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius and grease and line a round cake tin.
2. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla together until pale and creamy.
3. Add eggs, one at a time and beat until combined.
4. Add half of flour, half of sour cream and half of milk and gently mix to combine then add remaining flour, sour cream and milk and beat until thoroughly combined.
5. Spread into prepared cake tin and bake for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cooked.

*when cooled completely, decorate with halved strawberries and dust with icing sugar.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

honeycomb crackle slice

Phew! Party time is over for another year and we are all worn out! We did however get to try a couple of yummy new recipes and here is the first instalment...

you'll need

5 cups puffed rice cereal
1 cup crushed chocolate covered honeycomb
300g milk chocolate
1/2 cup cream
coloured sprinkles

1. Line a slice tray with baking paper, allowing overhang on two sides of about 2cm.
2. Mix puffed rice and crushed honeycomb together in a large bowl.
3. Combine chocolate and cream in a small jug and and put in the microwave for 1 minute then stir until melted and combined.
4. Pour chocolate into puffed rice mixture and mix quickly to combine then spoon into prepared tray and flatten with a spoon.
5. Decorate with sprinkles then set in the fridge for 2 - 3 hours.
6. To serve, lift the slice out of the tray by holding the overhanging ends of baking paper and slice.

* The first time I made this slice, I didn't use enough chocolate so the slice didn't set fully so instead of getting nice 'slices' I got big chunks (but fortunately it was a dinosaur themed party so the chunks kinda worked :))

Sunday, August 8, 2010

theme of the month, august 2010 - party food!

Well it's that time of year again, there's an air of excitement and anticipation around our house as we prepare for not one but two kid's parties! Yes, August is party month around here so instead of sticking to a single ingredient, this month we will explore and indulge in all things 'party'! As I have one little boy and one littel girl, I am in a fortunate enough position to delve into the best of both worlds - this year my son has chosen a dinosaur theme for his party and my daughter has chosen a rainbow princess theme - yay! And what makes this even more special for me is that I have written an entire book on planning and cooking for kid's parties so this time of year gives me the opportunity to improve some recipes and try out some of the fancy ideas swirling around my head. Keep watching because in the coming weeks there'll be all kinds of party food appearing on the site, including, of course, birthday cakes!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

coconut caramel banana pancakes

Well folks, it's the last day of July and what better way to send off the first 'ingredient of the month' than smothered in a golden caramel sauce? These luscious little pancakes are light in texture and flavour and absolutely delicious when draped in caramel and sliced bananas.

Makes 15 - 20

1 cup self raising flour
1 tbs brown sugar
1 cup coconut cream
1 cup milk
1 egg
oil or butter for frying

50g butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cream
1 - 2 bananas, sliced

1. Combine flour and brown sugar in a medium bowl.
2. Beat coconut cream, milk and egg in a small jug and whisk into flour mixture.
3. Heat oil or butter in a large frypan over low to medium heat.
4. Dollop a heaped tablespoonful of batter into the frypan to create each pancake. Repeat with more batter making sure you leave enough room for them to spread.
5. When lots of small bubble holes appear on the surface of the pancakes, flip them over gently using a spatula.
6. Cook for a further minute then transfer onto a plate and keep warm in a low oven while cooking remaining batter.

While the pancakes are cooking...

Combine butter and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Add cream and sliced bananas and cook for around five minutes or until sauce is thick and golden and bananas are soft.

7. Serve pancakes with caramel bananas and vanilla ice cream.

*This recipe makes a thicker batter than crepes or your usual pancakes but you can thin it out by adding more milk if you prefer.
*Although pancakes are best eaten fresh, leftovers are great dipped straight into the caramel sauce and eaten over the stove...or so I've heard ;)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!

Just a quick note - I have signed up for a full day chocolate making course in August and hope that by the end of the day I will be a chocolatier extraordinnaire and have made lots of yummy chocolate to pic and post! Well, at least the latter!

coconut and passionfruit pudding

It's nearly the end of the month so before I move onto a new 'ingredient of the month', here's one last coconut cream recipe and it is my favourtie way to end a winter meal...

Serves 6
Keeps 2 days covered in fridge

80g butter, melted
1 cup coconut cream
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup self raising flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
170g tinned passionfruit
3/4 cup caster sugarm extra
1 cup boiling water

1. Mix butter, cocontu cream and egg in a small just until combined.
2. Combine flour, sugar and coconut in a medium bowl then add wet mixture and stir gently until combined.
3. Pour passionfruit into teh bottom of a four litre casserole dish then gently dollop pudding mixture over the top and smooth.
4. Sprinkle pudding with extra caster sugar then gently pour over boiling water.
5. Bake at 180 degrees celsius for 35 -45 minutes or until a skewer inserted halfway into the pudding comes out clean.
6. Serve immediately with vanilla ice cream.

*The reason for pouring the passionfruit into the bottom of teh casserole dish is so that the seeds are in teh sauce rather than the liquid seeping through and the black seeds ramining on teh top of the pudding.
*Remainin gpudding can be heated in teh microwave before serving.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

beef stroganoff

Time for a little comfort food...This is our family recipe for beef stroganoff - it's a little different to the traditional and totally delicious!

Serves 4

500g scotch fillet, cut into thin strips
1 large brown onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp sweet paprika
2 tbs tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
2 cups beef stock
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 heaped tbls sour cream

1. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat and brown the beef in two batches.
2. Add onion and cook for a couple of minutes until it has softened.
3. Add garlic, paprika, mustard and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute then pour in red wine. Simmer for a couple of minutes.
4. Add half the stock, cover with a lid and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Add remaining stock, cover and cook for around 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Remove from heat, stir through sour cream and parsley and serve with cooked pasta.

* Cooking the beef in two batches allows it to caramelise on the outside without stewing in the excessive juices which you would get from cooking it in one batch.
* If the sauce is drying up too quickly, add 1/4 cup of water and continue to simmer. You can add red wine or stock in its place but this will impact the flavour.
*Hot paprika can be subtituted for the sweet version if you like the added spice.

coconut cake with lemon curd frosting

On a wild and woolly day such as this, I am happy to be taking my in-laws out to lunch for their birthdays and inviting them back to our place for cake and coffee - it's also a great opportunity to sample this new recipe!

Serves 10
Keeps 4 days covered in the fridge

200g butter, softened
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1tsp coconut essence
3 eggs
2 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
400ml coconut cream

125g cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 tbs lemon curd

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Grease and line a deep round cake tin.
2. Cream butter, sugar and essence for around 3 minutes or until pale.
3. Add eggs and beat until combined.
4. Add half the flour and half the coconut cream and mix until combined then add remaining flour, coconut cream and coconut.
5. Pour into prepared tin and bake for approximately 1 hour or until cooked through.
6. Cool in pan for 20 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely. When cooled, spread with frosting.

To make frosting
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.

*The tangy lemon flavour contrasts the creaminess of the coconut cake perfectly however if you don't have lemon curd, use the juice of half a lemon a couple of teaspoons of grated lemon rind instead.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

coconut and raspberry pudding

When I initially came up with this recipe, the idea of mixing creamy coconut with tangy raspberries seemed like a surefire hit, however half way into it I discovered that we only had mixed berries in the freezer - I should have remembered to check all ingredients before starting! It was too late to turn back so I used the mixed berries in place of raspberries and soldiered on. The result was quite tasty but it looked horrible! The blueberries turned the sauce an insipid mauve and had also stained the bottom of the pudding leaving a layer of purple mush. So here is the recipe using only raspberries which will give the pudding that sweet tang and the lovely raspberry red colour.

Serves 8
Keeps 2 days in the fridge

1 1/2 cups self raising flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
80g butter, melted
250ml coconut cream
1 egg
1 cup raspberries
3/4 cup caster sugar, extra
1 1/2 cups boiling water

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees and grease a 3 litre capacity baking dish.
2. Mix flour, sugar and coconut in a medium sized bowl.
3. Combine melted butter, coconut cream and egg in a small jug the stir into dry mixture until just combined.
4. Spread raspberries evenly over the base of the baking dish then dollop pudding batter over the top and smooth with the back of a spoon.
5. Sprinkle with extra caster sugar then pour over boiling water.
6. Bake for approx 40 minutes or until cooked through and serve with vanilla ice cream.

* The sugar and water will sink to the bottom during cooking to mix with the raspberries and create a sauce.
* When using frozen raspberries, make sure they don't thaw before you use them or they may turn the pudding green.
* This pudding can be divided into ramekins for individual servings.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

white passion cupcakes

Mixing 'wet into dry' is probably the simplest of home baking methods - there is no whipping or creaming involved and barely enough stirring to work up a sweat. As the name suggests, it is simply a matter of combining wet ingredients in one bowl and dry ingredients in another then gently stirring them together. It is using this most homely of methods (and of course, the ingredient of the month!) that I created these delicious little cupcakes today.

Makes 24
Keep for 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge.

You'll need:
100g butter, melted
300ml coconut cream
2 eggs
1/2 tsp coconut essence
2 cups self raising flour
1 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup dessicated coconut

200g white chocolate
1 cup cream
3 tbs passionfruit pulp

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius and line two 12 hole muffin tins with paper cases.
2. Combine flour, sugar and coconut in a large bowl.
3. Mix butter, coconut cream, eggs and coconut essence in a jug until thoroughly combined then pour into dry ingredients and fold mixture gently until just combined.
4. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until cooked through.

To make ganache
Combine chocolate and cream in a heat proof bowl and microwave for 1 minute then stir until chocolate is completely melted and combined with the cream. Refrigerate for two hours or until a think, spreadable consistency. Remove from fridge, stir through passionfruit pulp and spread over cupcakes.

*When using the wet into dry method, be sure not to over work the batter as this will lead to a tough texture.
*Bring the cupcakes to room temperature before serving.
*Leftover ganache is delicious served warm over vanilla ice cream!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

ingredient of the month, july 2010 - coconut cream

Ingredient of the Month for July 2010 is coconut cream. Not only is it a great addition to Thai cuisine and curries, it adds a delicious creaminess to cakes and puddings. Use it as a subtitue for milk, cream and even water in baking recipes to add a creamy coconutty deliciousness! For the rest of July I will test recipes using coconut cream and will post the results, hopefully with pics :)

cherry ripe cake

Now, one would probably assume that the most fitting recipe for my first post should be the recipe for Princess Pie however as I am yet to decide exactly what constitutes Princess Pie, it will have to wait! As a divine substitute, here is the recipe for my most recent creation - Cherry Ripe Cake. I made this cake yesterday and it turned out surprisingly delicious, thanks largely to my special ingredient - coconut cream. For those unfamiliar with baking with coconut cream, it gives the most luscious, creamy, dense and moist texture to cakes and puddings - it is my first 'Ingredient of the Month!' This is the first time I have made this cake so it is prone to change and improvement - stay tuned :)

Serves 20
Keeps 4 days, covered in the fridge

You'll need:
200g butter, softened
1 3/4 cups caster sugar
1tsp vanilla essence
4 eggs
2 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup cocoa
400ml coconut cream
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1 cup chopped Cherry Ripe bars

200g milk chocolate
100ml cream

1. Preheat oven to 170 degress celsius. Grease a deep square cake tin and line with baking paper.
2. Beat the butter and sugar until it is pale and creamy - this could take up to 5 minutes then add vanilla and beat.
3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
4. Add half of the flour, all the cocoa and half the coconut cream and mix slowly until combined.
5. Add remaining flour, coconut cream and the dessicated coconut and mix until comined then gently stir through the Cherry Ripe.
6. Pour into prepared cake tin and bake for 1 - 1 1/2 hours or until cooked through.
7. Allow to cool completely in cake tin before turning onto a plate and spreading with ganache.
To make ganache - combine chocolate and cream in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high for 60 secs. Remove from microwave and stir until all chocolate is melted and combined with the cream. Allow to stand a few mintues to cool down before pouring over cake.

Decorating notes: For some added YUM, chop glace cherries and mix with dessicated coconut then sprinkle over the ganache.

*Milk chocolate ganache is a must for this cake. The flavour is somewhat creamier and less intense than using dark chocolate but of course if dark chocolate is your thing, by all means, substitute!