Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chocoholics Anonymous

Yes...I'm sure there's one somewhere around. Chocoholics Anonymous. And I fear that my husband is going to check me in, and there will be many long hours of holding sticky hands and praying that I may overcome my weakness and my greed. People will look at my baby belly and feel sorry for me, not for a moment presuming there is anything but chocolate in that huge swell. Doomed or not, I intend to continue my addiction, therapy group be warned. It has been one of my greatest craves this pregnancy. Yes, I have shamefully already started on the Easter supply *blushes*.
I promised not to add any chocolaty recipes on this blog until Easter was well over and everyone had recovered from the masses of Easter eggs and bunnies, and bilbies and what ever the heck they create out of chocolate these days.
I couldn't resist, knowing that some people don't fancy giving eggs and such at Easter, and I admit, sometimes a box of chocolates is a nice gift for the over 20's (being so over the hill)
I had these photos taken a few months ago at my sister-in-law-to-be's kitchen tea and was awaiting an opportunity to spring them out into the open. They were so fun to decorate, and really, the sky is the limit when it comes to fillings and covers. For this lot, I made them all rum balls because I was running out of time, but feel free to create your own sticky chocolates out of any type of crushed biscuit, condensed milk and whatever takes your fancy. Experimenting is fun!


7oz Milk Arrowroot Biscuits
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup coconut
400g can sweetened condensed milk
3 tbsp. rum
Chocolate to cover

Crush biscuits with a rolling pin until they resemble fine crumbs. Combine all ingredients together in a bowl, mixing well until combined. Shape mixture into walnut-sized balls. Place in refrigerator until firm.When ready, melt desired type of chocolate and coat the rum balls, leaving them on greaseproof paper to cool and set.

Decorate as desired, and box.

Makes 30.

NOTES: imagine Timtam biscuits instead of Arrowroots, centres made of nuts or dried fruit, mints or soft centred goo? I dare you!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Easter Hot Cross Bun

I doubt that our neighbours cook very much. "What are you burning now?" has resounded angrily from one particular house more than once. I often hear them talking of buying pizza or KFC for dinner, and the kids protesting because they're sick of it. No matter--each to their own. But how nice it is to come home to a delicious aroma issuing down from the kitchen through the garden! I love walking down the street and on occasion coming across some delightful baker's house issuing strong smells of hot vanilla muffins or a great BBQ on a summer afternoon. Unfortunately its not something you come across all that often. Imagine how great the villages a hundred years or so would have smelled! Fresh bread baking every morning from every house! Ahhhhhh bliss.
I don't think much beats the scent of freshly baked bread. My brother used to bake bread and it was simply to die for when it came out of the oven, with a slathering of butter--it was all too good. I have the best memories of his bread, and I shall soon bribe him for the recipe and perhaps a cooking class on how to get it so incredibly delicious and irresistible.
In the mean time, I try a few things when I have the time to try and replicate that fresh bread smell. Here's a great one for Easter morning...its great toasted with butter too!



200lm milk
1 tsp caster sugar
7g sachet dry yeast
400g SR Flour
2tsp ground cinnemon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt
50g brown sugar
175g mixed dried fruit
50g butter, melted, cooled
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tbs plain flour
2 tbs caster sugar, extra

Heat the milk in a saucepan over a medium heat until lukewarm. Combine the caster sugar, yeast and 100g flour with the warm milk in a bowl and stir until smooth. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave in a warm place for 25 minutes.
Grease a 18cm springform pan.
In a large bowl, sift together cinnamon, nutmeg, remaining flour and salt. Stir in the brown sugar and dried fruit, then add the yeast mixture, egg and cooled melted butter. Bring the mixture together with your hands, kneading for 2-3 minutes until combined. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead thoroughly for 5-6 minutes or until you have a smooth dough. Shape the dough into a round and place in the pan. Set it in a warm place, covered with a clean tea towel, for 1 1/2 hours. The dough should ride to just above the rim of the pan.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
For the cross decoration, combine the plain flour with 2 tablespoons of cold water and stir into a paste. Pipe a cross onto the uncooked bun just before placing in the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes until cooked through. Cool slightly in pan before turning onto a wire rack to cool. For the glaze, combine the extra caster sugar with2 tablespoons of water in a saucepan and boil until the sugar dissolves. brush onto the cooling bun. Serve warm with butter. Any remaining bun can be toasted the next day.

adapted from taste.com

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Coffee Layered Lamington Cake

Australians have a lot to be proud of when it comes to desserts. The famous Pavlova, the Peach Melba, Lamingtons, Golden Syrup Dumplings, Vanilla Slice. We'll pop the good old Anzac biscuits in there too, and the list goes on with all sorts of amazing iconic delights.
I love tradition, but I love tradition with a twist even more. It spices life up, and we all need that on occasion. How does coffee layered Lamington cake sound? This was a huge hit when I made it to celebrate my mother-in-law's retirement, and despite the sound of it and the list of ingredients, its quite simple to make.
Scared of trying to make a sponge cake? This was the first sponge I ever attempted, and truth me told I was besides myself with worry it would be a flat, hard lump of detestable grossness. Everyone says sponge cakes are the hardest cakes to get right but this one is super easy...I'd say its just about fool proof (although Ive only made it twice!)
I will add though, that if you're one of those delightfully optimistic "chuck any amount in and it will do" type of bakers, a sponge cake probably isnt your friend. Sponges, needless to say, require some precision. If the recipe asks for a cupof flour, it means a full cup of flour, not one that come shy of the top a few centremetres. You know what I mean. Just follow the yellow brick road and you will have something to brag about in a good hour or two.
There was a woman my family was in connection with who made the most fantastic sponge cakes. No one dared compete with her, and to every event she was requested to make that delicious airy sponge cake. She never parted with the recipe and no one ever challenged her. So you can see my apprehension in daring to make a sponge cake was high. Nothing could compare to that cloud of fluff she made. But this cake, if I may blow my horn a little, is very much in danger of becoming a requested party cake also. In fact, who needs a party as an excuse to indulge a little? Go on, you know you want to!

(adapted from Taste.com)

200g butter, room temperature
1 cup caster sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
2 tbsp. milk
1 cup extra coconut


1 heaped tbsp. instant coffee granules
2 heaped tbsp. cocoa powder
1/4 cup boiling water
2 cups icing sugar, sifted


1 cup thin cream
200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

To make the ganache, combine the cream and chocolate in a saucepan over a medium low heat. Stir with a metal spoon until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is combined and smooth. Transfer to a bowl. Place in the fridge for a few hours until the mixture has thickened and is a spreadable consistency.

Preheat the oven to 170C. Line two 20cm (base measurement) pans with non stick paper. Use a beater to beat the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat thoroughly after each addition until well combined. Add vanilla and beat through the mixture.
Sift the flour and baking powder over the butter mixture. Use a metal spoon and fold until combined. fold in the 1/2 cup of coconut and milk. Divide among the two pans and smooth the tops with the back of a spoon. Bake for 30 minutes or until the surfaces are dry to touch and the cakes spring back when lightly pressed. Set aside in the pans for 5 minutes before turning onto racks to cool completely.
Meanwhile, to make the cake filling, combine boiling water with the coffee granules and stir until smooth and well dissolved. Sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder together in a medium bowl and then add the coffee mixture. This should make a thin icing to go between the layers of cake.
Use a large serrated knife to cut each cake horizontally in half. Spread the thin icing on each layer except the top, and stack each cake one upon the other.Spread the top and sides evenly with ganache. Sprinkle over the ganache the extra coconut, pressing it gently to the sides until well covered. Serve with cream, if desired.

Serves 10

Coconut hides so many faults!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Coconut Macaroons Dipped in Chocolate

After an unfortunate and unmentionable incident with some Malibu several years ago, I swore never to touch anything coconut related again. The thought of it made my stomach turn. Gradually the revulsion passed and now...Bounties have once again become one of my favourite chocolate bars and I don't mind the odd coconut cream in one of Luke's curries. Luke is a great fan of coconut and I suppose over time he has brought my taste buds back to life to enjoy its sweet goodness. We even have a whole coconut sitting at the bottom of the pantry, starring at us every time the door swings open. Its been there since the summer and will probably never be opened, but ah well, you cant have it all.
Anyway, I recently took a further leap and made macaroons which are just almost entirely made from coconut. Well, there's a bit of chocolate in there.
Okay, I lied.
I know I wasn't going to post any chocolaty recipes until after Easter, but here we have it.
I cant help myself.

Coconut Macaroons


7oz dessicated coconut flakes
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp. flour
small pinch salt
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp. vanilla essence
Chocolate for dipping

Mix coconut, sugar, flour and salt in a large bowl. Stir in whisked egg whites and essence, and stir until well combined. Form 24 roughly formed but firmly packed balls of mixture onto greased and lined trays. Cook for 15 minutes at 180C until the edges begin to turn golden. When cooled, dip the bottoms in melted chocolate and place on baking paper until cooled. Store in an air tight container.

NOTES: If you prefer your macaroons to be more golden on top but the bottoms are already browned enough, a few moments under the grill will colour the tops beautifully. During baking time, you may like to remove the trays and check that the macaroons have not crumbled on them selves and pinch the tops if they have collapsed a little. Sometimes the mixture seems a little crumbly.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Pear Crumble Breakfast Muffin Love

Easter is looming...that fat season where any amount of chocolate inhaled or ingested is acceptable, and the extra pounds are to be expected. Kids gorge themselves and are sick the whole night through (although mine wont be eating chocolate yet) and spend most of Easter Day with chocolate rings around their mouths. So, I've decided to hold off on the chocolatey recipes until Easter is over and every one has recovered from their chocolate hangovers. This will allow you to enjoy Easter gorging without spoiling your appetites.
Anyway, for something a little healthier sounding...Pear Crumble Breakfast muffins. Have you ever been running late for work and had no time to get the cereal into your stomach, because its too chunky to simply pour down your throat as you head out the door? That's where breakfast muffins come in. Giant sized muffins full of fruit, energy and even...a bit of muesli on top.
I've seen pictures of muffins with crumble on top and I knew that I just had to try and replicate something that looked so yummy. They were surprisingly simple to make and taste SO GOOD! (especially just out of the oven) They have a delightfully sweet crumbly topping with a deliciously moist centre--the recipe for addiction. Now my mind is drifting to thoughts of adding chocolate Milo to the crumble mixture......lets leave that delicious thought for after Easter.
My husband has taken a few to work in the mornings. I'd say he's fallen in love again...but I may have to double check. I certainly have!


8oz SR flour
4oz sugar
4oz butter
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp. cinnemon
1 cup diced pear or apple
pinch of salt

2-3 tbsp. butter, room temperature
1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup roasted muesli

Cream butter and sugar, beaten egg and milk. Peel and core pears and dice, add to the mixture. Lastly add sifted flour and cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Divide amongst a lined cupcake tray.
To make the crumble, combine all ingredients and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until clumps begin to form. Add as much butter as it takes to get a good crumble texture. Pile onto the tops of each muffin. Bake for 3/4 of an hour in a moderate oven (180C)

"Hm, what are these scrumptious morsels?"

"Aw Mum! I was going to eat one of those!"

NOTES: Ever seen those incredible high rise muffins and wonder what made then so big when yours look so flat? Try the cheats souffle trick. Cut some baking paper and place in the greased muffin tray much higher than the tray edge. you can fill them up higher and as they rise, there will be no chance of spill-over, they'll just keep rising up. Neat.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Way To A Man's Heart

They say food is the way to a man's heart. I think it definitely is, and the way to a woman's heart too. Any man that can cook a nice feed at the end of the day gets brownie points in my books, and lots of them.
But can food really make someone fall in love? I don't know if it can, to be honest, but it can make a man get down on one knee and propose.
Never! you say.
Well, I'm about to share a recipe that did. Every six months or so, I give away one of my secret recipes that I have always sworn is signature and not to be parted with. Anyway, I'm feeling generous today, and feel like sharing some humour as well. Be warned...this might be a love potion of sorts!
So, I used to work/supervise at a small cafe, the Marmalade Deli. Yes, it was just as quaint and pretty as its name, with pots and colanders hanging from the ceiling, polished wooden surfaces, adorable cakes for sale and floral tea towels. I felt this place was mine in many ways, and any one who entered it was entering my house. I put my heart and soul into creating gourmet food for my guests and took pride in whipping things out at top speed.
Anyway, every morning for several months, a troop of tradesmen would come in and order breakfast, sitting down together at the large wooden table that had become a centrepeice of the cafe. There was one guy, a big fellow, and I cant for the life of me remember his name--so he shall be Russel, because he looked like one.
He would grin, eyes sparkling, lean in close in and order, then say something cheeky to me just before he walked away. He became a bit of an embarrassment to me, and the other guys would always laugh at how red he made me turn. He ordered the same every day...Scrambled Eggs, extra bacon. Every day the same, every day a cheeky comment, and almost every time when he dropped the plate back at the counter he would tell me I made the "best eggs in the world".
One day I got up the nerve to be cheeky right back, and after a very cheeky comment from him, I had enough and told him I was engaged. I proudly flashed my ring in his face, and I still remember what he said. "Aw darling! Don't do this to me! I was getting up the courage to ask you--would you marry me? Marry me, and cook me those scrambled eggs for the rest of my life!"
Is there a deeper shade of red than scarlet? Crimson? Maroon!
Of course it was all in silliness, but forever more when he came in, he would give puppy dog eyes at me, order, and ask "Are you still going to marry him?"
He later disappeared and never came back, to my relief.
So, do you want to get a proposal out of you man? I'd say its worth a try!!


2 eggs
a dash of cream (about 1/4 of a cup)
a dash of water (about 2 tbsp.)
a pinch of salt
a dash of pepper

Breaks eggs into a plastic measuring container. Add the dash of cream, water, and salt and pepper. Whisk vigorously until well combined and fluffy. Place the container in the microwave and set on high. Check every 30 seconds, gently turning the cooked egg and coating with the uncooked egg. Repeat until you have creamy, folded eggs. The success is in the folding, and not letting any part of the egg become dry and over cooked. Sounds too easy? It is. Best eggs ever.