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!