Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wicked Dark Chocolate Fudge Sauce

What's your favourite and most used foodie adjective? I love describing food, but I have to stop myself from getting too carried away and from getting too poetic. I get on a roll talking about it and I often think it must bore people who aren't as interested in food as I am. Its a bit like when the boys start talking footy, I tend to zone out and stare blankly into the distance and all I hear is blah blah blah blah.
I apologise to you if I have ever talked you into a daze with my foodie nattering. I suppose if I had, you wouldn't be here, coming back for more.
Anyway, I once worked for a wonderful woman who told me to make a salad look "sexy" for the display cabinet. I couldn't believe my ears, and wondered what on earth I was meant to do to that salad. Give it curves?
I always thought that was a weird way to describe jazzing up food. It didn't seem to be the right word to use, but I suppose some would disagree. I thought it sounded a bit off. I don't want to eat sexy food, do you?
But when I describe this dark chocolate fudge sauce as being wicked, I mean it. It is almost black with cocoa, drizzles slowly with a certain lethal attitude, is super thick and holds a deadly sheen. If it could laugh it would sound like a deep, evil chuckle. It looks so delicious served warm and drizzled over ice cream, and tastes even better than it appears. You will want more ice cream after a bowl of it, just to experience that chocolate fudge sauce again. It's the ultimate temptation, and that's why it is so wicked. To make things even better, its slightly boozy, and can be flavoured as desired. I added Frangelico liqueur to this mix, but hubby and I both agreed that creme de menthe or mint liqueur would have also been amazing.

WICKED DARK CHOCOLATE FUDGE SAUCE (adapted from My Sweet and Saucy)

200g good quality dark chocolate bits
1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp. golden syrup (corn syrup can substitute)
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp. instant coffee granules
1 tbsp. frangelico or other flavouring

Place the chocolate in a microwavable bowl. Cook at 20 second intervals, removing to stir before setting on for a further 20 seconds. The melting time will depend on the strength of your microwave, however when there are just small lumps of chocolate among the melted, you can just give it a good stir until it's smooth. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, place sugar, golden syrup, water, cocoa and cofee granules. Set at a medium heat and whisk constantly until the mixture comes to the boil. Cook, still whisking, for a further minute, before removing from the stovetop. Whisk in the chocolate and alcohol until smooth. Serve warm over icecream, profiteroles etc, or bottle and refrigerate until ready to use.

NOTES: I recommend using a bottle with a wide mouth that a spoon can fit into if refrigerating, as the sauce thickens when it cools. You can reheat the mixture quickly in the microwave, but be careful not to burn it. Makes about 2 cups.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Faux Profiteroles

Delicious accidents--I love them. It makes me look pretty silly though in some ways, how I came to discover these puffy little balls of pastry, custardy, chocolatey yumminess. I admit to being totally incompetent in the kitchen sometimes. I have my days of being good, but let me share a little bit of news--I'm pretty crap sometimes. My husband can confirm this if you ask him.
On a very busy day I decided it would be nice to have cake, and turned to a packet mixture. I thought, how hard can it be to cook a cake in the microwave? I'd never done it before nor liked the sound of it, but cooking for 10 minutes right then sounded mighty tempting. For some reason the fact that it was to be artificially cooked didn't bother me, and I thought, "No one is even going to know". I followed the microwaving packet instructions and everything.
It came out of the microwave looking like vomit.
It was overcooked and dry in parts, and soft and gooey in other parts. Either my microwave has problems or I do. I wouldn't be surprised if it was the latter. Serves me right for using fake cake and fake methods.
Okay, that was pretty embarrassing. This other error I made gave me so much more joy and I actually worked with what had happened. It was a pleasant discovery.
I was attempting to make mini puff pastry tart shells for a party we were holding. I was going to fill them with curried tuna and cucumber but well, that never eventuated. I cut out small discs of pastry and pressed them into the bottom of the mini muffin tray and put them in the oven at 210C. The next time I looked at them, they were puffed up and very round, like pastry balls! I figured it must have been due to the higher temperature I set them at, as I had made shells before without a problem on a lower heat. Anyway I let them be, and waited until the tops had turned golden and crisped up, so that they wouldn't deflate when they cooled down. I ended up filling them with creme patisserie and dipping the tops in chocolate, sort of like faux profiteroles. Have mishaps with choux pastry and making the real profiteroles? This is probably a recipe for you then! They made great little petits fours at our cocktail party.


1 1/2 sheets pre-rolled puff pastry, thawed
1 cup milk
2 large egg yolks
3 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. cornflour
20g butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla essence
150-200g chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 210C.
If you are not using a silicone mini muffin pan, grease a regular mini muffin tray (or mini cupcake liners would probably work too, see notes below).
Using a 5cm biscuit cutter, cut out 24 circles of puff pastry.Place each circle of pastry inside the mini muffin tray holes. Place in preheated oven and cook for 35-40 minutes, or until golden and crisp on the outside and have puffed up like balls.
Meanwhile, to make the patisserie creme, place milk in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
While heating, in a separate saucepan, combine yolks, sugar and cornflour and whisk over a low heat. When the milk has boiled, add a few tablespoons into the yolk mixture and whisk. Gradually add the remaining milk and whisk vigorously on a medium heat. Custard will thicken. Continue to whisk until boils, and remove from heat. Scrape into a small bowl and sit in a few inches of cold water or ice, to cease the cooking process. When cooler, add the butter in 3-4 installments, stirring until combined. Add essence, mix and refrigerate.
When the pastry is done, remove from the oven and allow to cool.
With a sharp knife, pierce one side of each pastry puff and twist the blade to create a small hole. Wiggle the knife blade inside the puff so that some of the pastry inside crumbles away and makes it more hollow. Empty each pastry puff of any crumbs.  Fill a piping bag (fitted with a thin round nozzle that will fit in the hole) with the cooled patisserie creme. Fill each pastry puff.
Take the chocolate and place it in a microwave proof bowl. Heat for 20 seconds on high, remove, and stir. Repeat until the chocolate becomes smooth when stirred. The duration for this melting process will depend on the strength of your microwave.
Spread the tops of each pastry puff with chocolate and set aside until the chocolate becomes firm.

Makes 24

NOTES: You can make these pastry puffs without a muffin tray, if you place them on a regular baking tray. They do not appear as round when made like this but still have the same sort of effect. When the pastry is cooked in a mini muffin tray, they tend to rise more and are ball shaped.
Patisserie Creme stores for 2-3 days.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mushroom Feta Risotto with Wilted Spinach

Some one asked me the other day what it's like to work in a kitchen. I mean a real kitchen, back of house with production lines and yelling chefs, giant ovens and long, stainless steel benches, and tall trolleys decked with plated food.
I had the privilege of working for the prestigious Peter Rowland Catering company when I lived in Melbourne. He started out selling sandwiches down on the beaches of Melbourne, and the business expanded to event catering--weddings, corporate dinners, galas, the Melbourne Cup Races, you name it. Their exclusive venues include the beautiful Rippon Lea Estate, Melbourne Museum, Port Melbourne Yacht Club, The Ian Potter Centre, Gardens House, The Chapter House, and many more fancy locations.
It was all rather hoitie toitie--imagine Melbourne's polo playing, Ferrari-owning crowd and you're right in amongst them. They notoriously didn't hire staff without a private school education or some sort of social connection, and just about every staff member was a son of this well known person, or so and so that knew so and so. I managed to get through on the private school education part, and probably because I could also twist my long fingers into bizarre shapes and hold three dinner plates at once. (There's a story there about a hot quail flying off the plate, but I'll leave that for another time).
I didn't particularly like mingling amongst the guests front of house, sporting heavy trays of wine and champagne glasses, but loved being assigned to the kitchen. It was always abuzz with certain excitement and pressure. Everything had to be just so. No that salad wasn't high enough! The jus was swirled too far to the centre of the plate! That scoop of caviar was too small! There was often yelling and swearing, red faces and irritability.
The chefs were basically like over-seers and were responsible for everyone, rushing from production line to production line, making sure everything was being plated impressively enough. They had the worst job, in my opinion. They had the time pressure upon them and had to sort of work around the time schedule of the event, even if it was not going to plan. If the speeches were going longer than expected at a wedding, and the desserts were due to come out after they finished, we had to try and keep them warm somehow until the signal came that we were ready to go. Then there was a huge influx of waiters rushing in and out with multiple plates, and then the hullabaloo was over within 5 minutes.
Sometimes we had to plate up as many as five course meals for over 1000 guests. That was the first day I came to work. It was an event held at Melbourne's Royal Exhibition Building, and it was a sit down dinner. The kitchen was most impressive because it was all constructed on the day. You've never seen anything like it! There was a huge curtain separating the kitchen from the event, and it was the longest, largest kitchen set up you will ever see in your life. There were hundreds of long trestle tables set up for plating up food and as work benches, there were mobile ovens moved in and lined up in a row along the back wall. It was insane. I cant even tell you how many staff and chefs were working back of house. There were trolleys stacked with plated meals being wheeled to and fro and somehow we all had to work in silence so as not to disturb the event behind that curtain!
Anyway, I have many fond memories of working for Rowlands. And I have many more stories to come. I think I was very lucky to work with such creative and talented chefs and they taught me a lot about food.  Their food is amazing, and actually turned me from borderline vegetarian to full-on carnivore. Those chefs sure do know what they're doing with a steak! But...despite being carnivore, I have a wonderful vegetarian recipe for you all today. It really ticked my fancy because it was so packed with flavour and contained no meat what so ever. You cant go past a great risotto.

I didn't have any arborio rice, so I just used regular, and it was beautiful! I guess this made it less like a typical risotto however, and it meant less stirring (good for the busy mums who could do with a few more hands. I've noted the recipe changes below if you wish to use regular rice). Improvise as you like, I don't think you can go wrong with this flavour combo!


2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 tsp. crushed garlic
1 tbsp. cooking oil
2 tbsp. white wine (we used a sweet Moscato, but dry white is great too--Chardonnay or Sauv. Blanc)
1/2 tbsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to season

5 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock if your are vegetarian)
3 tbsp. cooking oil
1 medium red onion, finely diced
2 cups rice (arborio or carnaroli is recommended, see note below)
3/4 cup white wine
5 cups spinach, stemmed and chopped
1 cup feta, crumbled

To make the topping, heat oil in a medium frypan. Saute the mushrooms and garlic in the oil for 5 minutes. Add the wine and thyme and cook for a further minute. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Turn the stove off but leave the frypan on the element to keep warm until the rice is ready.
To make the risotto, heat the stock very gently so that it is at a low simmer. In another large pot, add the oil and saute the onions until light golden brown, on a medium-high heat. Add the arborio rice* to the onions and stir with a wooden spoon until all the contents are coated in oil. Add the wine and stir continuously until the liquid is completely absorbed. Take one cup of the stock at a time and add it to the rice. Cook, stirring frequently until each cup of stock is absorbed by the rice before adding the next cup of stock. Continue this process until all the stock is absorbed. It should take about 25 minutes and the rice should be al dente. Then add the chopped spinach and cook, covered, until the spinach is bright green. Stir the feta through the rice. Serve Topped with the mushroom mixture.

*If you are not using arborio rice and just the regular rice as I did, place the wine and simmering stock together in a large pot. Saute the onion in another pan and add to the stock mixture with the rice. Cook on high until boiling and turn down to medium. Give it a stir and leave it until holes appear in the rice. Turn it off and cover, leaving it on the hot element. It should absorb all the liquid just standing still. You can add some more liquid, such as wine or water if the rice is still looking too firm, and reheat until the rice is tender. Then stir though feta, wilted spinach and top with mushroom mixture.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Caramel Injected Cinnamon Carrot Cake

There are certain things that terrify me in the kitchen. One is that moment when you have your hand inside a wine glass trying to clean it (my hands are small, okay) and for a moment you hope that it hasn't broken between plopping it in the water and putting your hand in there. Another is choux pastry. Attempting things that are infamously difficult, like french macarons, croissants. Using every possible dish and then having to clean the mountain that's looming over your head.
And following recipes that sound scarily daring. Disastrous. Just plain wrong. Too risky.
Usually I avoid these guys like the plague. But I was so curious and so excited by the idea of this Caramel  injected Carrot and Cinnamon cake, I just had to make it anyway.
The Secret Recipe Club helped me discover the lovely blog Life's Simple Pleasures by Jess, and through her, this decadent, gooey recipe had us all drooling as it was cooking and as we waited for it to cool.
Nuts, fruit and vegies rolled into one divinely moist cake, seeped with sticky caramel and topped with cinnamon spiced cream cheese icing...oh my! It had us all on our knees begging for more. Fortunately for our hips, it got shipped off to hubby's work come morning, to the strong protestation of my taste buds. It was too dangerous to have in the house. Me, alone all day in the house with two small non judgmental babies, and that cake staring me in the face? You've got to be kidding! So off it went.
Fortunately Hubby and I got a good taste of it before we bid it farewell, and it was as scrumptious as it looks and sounds. Luke said it was the best carrot cake he had ever tasted, and I couldn't have agreed more. MAKE IT! It's no ordinary cake.
The thing that scared me about this cake, was that the instructions ordered holes to be poked into the surface of  the cake when it was removed from the oven, and a buttermilk caramel was to be smoothed over the top and into the holes to form a moist, gooey and delicious cake. I envisioned a soggy, crumbling cake being the end result. But the caramel set nicely in the wells, and thickened there, and when I iced it, the caramel didn't budge. When I cut it, caramel slowly oozed from it's sweet hiding place and drizzled onto the plate. The cake stayed dense and firm, softened only a little by the caramel. I think I may have over-mixed the batter because it was a lot denser in texture than the pictures Jess posted on her blog. Never the less, it didn't detract from the glory of the cake, nor the taste. It was so rich, so decadent. Who ever knew something as ordinary sounding as carrot cake could be something so extraordinary? Thanks to Life's Simple Pleasures I now have a new favourite for my must-keep recipe book.

CARAMEL GLAZED CINNAMON CARROT CAKE (Adapted from Life's Simple Pleasures)


3 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup light vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla essence
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch salt
2 cups grated carrot (about 2 large carrots worth)
220g crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup (110g) chopped pecans


1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter
1 tbsp. golden syrup (or corn syrup)
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla essence


350g (about 12 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla essence
3-4 cups icing sugar

Preheat your oven to 180C. Grease and line a lamington tin (13x9 inch) with baking paper and set aside.
To make the cake, place the eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and sugar in a large bowl and beat until smooth.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and stir to incorporate.
Gradually add this dry mix to the wet mix and stir until just combined. Fold in the carrot, pineapple and pecans. Pour into the prepared tray and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed on the surface.
Once you have removed the cake from the oven, take the handle end of the spatula, or spoon, and randomly poke holes into the cake (see picture. I poked about 30 holes in the cake.)
Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, to make the glaze, place a medium saucepan on the stove. Place the sugar, buttermilk, butter and syrup into the saucepan and then add the baking soda. Place over a medium heat and stir constantly, as the soda causes the liquid to foam and stirring helps it subside. Stir until the mixture turns a walnut colour, for about 5-8 minutes. Stir in the vanilla essence and pour over the cooling cake. Smooth with a spatula so that the glaze covers the whole of the cake and seeps into the holes.

To make the icing, place the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl, and beat until light and fluffy. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla essence. Slowly add the icing sugar and mix until you get the desired texture. When the cake is completely cooled, either spread the icing over the cake or pipe it as preferred. Garnish with a little extra cinnamon or pecans, if desired.

Makes about 24 serves, depending on how you cut it.

Sticky Caramel Toffee Cheesecake

When it comes to birthday cake, I don't really care for it much. I'm talking about those buttercakes or medera cakes slapped with icing. In fact, I'm even talking about the fancy decorated ones. Wedding cakes and all. I really could take it or leave it without any problems. My hubby is the same. That's why when I saw this Caramel Toffee Crunch cheesecake, I knew it was fate. Like I knew I was the only girl for him, I instantly knew this was the one and only cake for him.
Yes, he just turned quarter of a century old, and what better way to spend a birthday weekend than eating a giant, sticky caramel toffee cheesecake?
Not only does it look sinfully fabulous in all its gooey, sticky, baked glory, it got raving reviews from some of the guinea pigs, not to mention my grateful husband.
It sports a very creamy, rich and delicately caramel flavoured filling, which lies atop a layer of dark chocolate, surrounded by a base that is scattered with chunks of toffee. If you were thinking it couldn't get much better, it does.
On top of all this decadence is a layer of gooey caramel, swirls of cream and shards of toffee. Do we have a fan? Hell yes!
Truth be told I had a few issues with this cheesecake. I followed the directions and it did not work for me. I'd like to blame my tools but I'm not really sure what went wrong, it just needed a whole lot more cooking time than stated in the original recipe. Anyway, I've adapted it as stated below, as I made it, without the issues! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did, even if you only get to enough time to drool over the pictures.

 STICKY CARAMEL TOFFEE CHEESECAKE (Adapted from Yammie's Noshery)

1/2 cup toffees (Pascal's Columbines)
3 cups (300g) shredded wheatmeal biscuits (or Graham crackers), crushed
pinch salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. golden syrup (or corn syrup)
3 tbsp. butter
1/3 cup cream

710g cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla essence
1/4 cup caramel
4 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup cream, whipped
Remaining caramel(about 1/2-3/4 cup)
1/2 cup toffees

Preheat the oven to 150C. Grease and line a 20x20 springform cake tin and set aside.
To make the base, first place the toffees in a food processer, and blitz until they resemble chunks. Fransfer to a large bowl, and add the biscuit crumbs, salt, sugar and melted butter. Combine well.
Press this base mixture into the lined cake tin and well up the sides. Place the chocolate chips inside the cheesecake shell and cover the bottom evenly. Place in the oven for 5 minutes until the chocolate begins to melt, then remove from oven. Smooth the chocolate over with a spatula, and place in the freezer.

While the base is cooling, make the caramel. Place the sugar and golden syrup in a small saucepan, and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally. When it is caramel coloured, add the butter and stir until it melts. Add the cream and stir to incorporate. Stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and a thin caramel topping forms. Store in the refrigerator until you use it for the filling.

To make the filling, beat the cream cheese, sugar and sour cream in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The sugar should dissolve, then add the vanilla and caramel. Add the eggs and beat until just combined. Remove the base from the freezer. Pour in the filling and smooth the top with a spoon. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 1 1/2 hours-2 hours (depending on the strength of your oven. Mine has dodgy seals, so it took two hours. You can check to see if its done by lightly shaking the tin from side to side, to see how wobbly the centre is. The top should form a dry coat, and the centre should only be slightly wobbly. This will firm up on refrigeration. You can also dip a knife blade into the centre of the cheesecake, and see the texture of the residue that's left on the knife. If it looks like raw batter, give it a few more minutes and test again).
Turn off the oven and leave the oven door ajar with the cheesecake in it for a further half an hour, so that the cheesecake cools slowly. Remove after this time, and complete the cooling process on the bench top. When completely cooled, you can remove the cheesecake and decorate with whipped cream and remaining toffees. I blitzed my toffees again in the blender to use as a garnish. I also used the remainder of the caramel to spread over the top of the cheesecake before decorating with cream. This caramel does not set, so when the cake is cut, it drizzles down the side of the cheesecake and looks super decadent and droolworthy.

Makes approximately 12 serves.

NOTES: You can use any chewy toffees in this recipe. If your toffees are too soft to blend in the food processor, place them in the freezer for a few minutes to harden. The toffees I used were similar to Fan Tails, without the chocolate.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Woodland Love Bird Cake

This post has no recipe, just a few pictures of the cake I made for my husband and my combined 50th birthday party. We held a cocktail party in 1950's style, and I have to say, the cooking wasn't particularly 1950's-esque but the people were.

Looking pretty good for 50, aren't we?
The main of the birthday cake was a 6 layered, pink ombre butter cake, surrounded with rustic slabs of dark chocolate and tied with a ribbon. It was topped with a smaller cake in the same style, featuring two love bird toppers made out of rolled fondant. These were supposed to look like 1950's style birds, the male featuring a hat popular in that era and the female sporting a tiny hat on the side. Unfortunately my son got to them before we did and demolished the hats, which I had to hastily reconstruct just before the party. Hence, they're a bit demented, but you get the idea. The cake had a sort of woodland-bird feel about it, as I decorated the top of the large cake with chocolate curls and fondant roses.

 I didn't get a picture of it after it was cut but my sister in law did. It was only then that I realised the colour graduation wasn't as distinctive as I had hoped.

It was yum!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Easy Mini Quiches

The truth is, most people are pretty busy in their day to day lives and more and more are turning to take away foods because its a quick and easy option. High in salt and saturated fats, it's often not a great choice for frequent eating for main meals. That's why I absolutely love freezable, prepare-ahead meals and snacks that you can simply pull out of the freezer in the morning and come home to eat in the arvo. Everyone needs those meals every so often. I'm pretty good with cooking up dinner every night, but freezable do-ahead food is always welcome. I love cooking but I tend to stress out before entertaining, and then feel like I cant manage to whip out a whole lot of appetizers or entrees on the day. This is where these little quiches come in. They're not only great on your entertaining menu, but can be eaten hot or cold, so you don't have to be near the oven while you have guests over if you would rather be enjoying a good glass of wine and a chat with them instead. They make great snacks too, and are healthy and quick to grab for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I made them in a 24 hole mini muffin tray (silicone for ease) but the same recipe would fit a 12 hole regular muffin tray or a pie dish depending what size you want. The mini size is fabulous for entertaining or as hors d'ouevres and look amazing  for finger-food at a party all set out in rows on a long plate. I made these ones vegetarian, but you can add bacon or ham if desired.
And...real men DO eat quiche.


4 eggs
1/2 cup cream
3 tbsp water
pinch salt
1 1/2 sheets pre-rolled frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 small zucchini, grated and dried off in paper toweling
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 small onion, chopped finely
1/4 cup cheese, grated (I used Tasty cheese)

In a medium bowl, place the eggs, cream, water and salt. Beat on high with an electric mixer until well incorporated and light and foamy.
Take the pastry and cut the first sheet into four rows of four to make 16 small squares. Take the next sheet and cut it in half. Cut two rows of four squares from this, to make an additional 8. Using a 24 hole mini muffin tray (grease this first if it is not silicone like mine) press each pastry square into the base of each hole. Take a pinch of cheese and place it in the bottom of each uncooked pastry case. Repeat with the zucchini, sun dried tomato and onion. Ladle egg mixture over the top of each until the pastry case is full. Cook for approximately 35-45 minutes at 200C, or until pastry is puffed and lightly browned and tops of quiches are golden and firm.

Makes 24 mini quiches.

NOTES: You can use fresh tomato instead of sun dried tomato if prefered.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Raspberry Lemonade Slice

I knew that this May was all panning out too well not to come with some sort of price. Everything was in my favour until the last day, when I found out that I had some sort of malware warning coming up when anyone tried to visit the page though the internet browser Chrome. I had no idea what malware even was, how it got there and what on earth I was going to do about it. It was deterring visitors and scaring the heck out of me since reading a post earlier that day about blog hijacking. It will never happen to me, I thought. Anyway, it didn't get that serious that I lost control of my page or anything, but there was apparently some evil content on my page coming through the site that hosted the picture for my blog background, Shabby Blogs. So after lots of panicking and hasty researching, I came up with a solution. Delete everything connected to that wormy site! Htmls, everything had to go. Now the problem seems to have disappeared, sadly with the pretty little blog design that was the skin of Lick The Spoon. So that's the explanation for the little facelift that the blog has undergone in the last few days.
 But the recipes keep on churning out! If you've been following for a while, you'll be seeing a bit of a theme going on here. I get quite thrilled by colour when it comes to food, and like a bull, excited by red. Actually I recently heard that bulls can only see blue and yellow, and that movement is what excites them...but...you get my point. If you've been in my kitchen you will see splashes of red appearing too. There's just something about that colour.
So when I decided to buy some frozen raspberries, that made me go on a mad raspberry recipe hunt, and my eyes were instantly drawn to this vivid raspberry lemon slice.
My hubby doesn't like berries like I do, and I think it's mainly to do with the seeds that tend to sneakily linger in your teeth after devouring them. Especially raspberry seeds. Those little demons can hang around for a while and make you look pretty demented as you try to remove them. Well have no fear, all the seeds are removed from this delicious slice. I call it a slice, but as soon as I cut into it, a million ideas were pulsating through my brain.  To me this is a wonderfully versatile recipe as far as sweets go, just depending on how you cut it and decorate it. You can cut it  into a slice or squares for a casual affair, or make them fancy petits fours simply by cutting them into 2x2 inch squares, and topping them with a raspberry. If you cut them into long rectangles you could serve it as an elegant dessert, with a pretty garnish of mint, raspberry and a drizzling of cream. This slice freezes well too, so it is a perfect make ahead dessert for your up and coming dinner party menu. A no stress yet impressive dessert sounds pretty good to me. And it's practically guilt free too!
The filling has a similar texture to lemon curd that has set (as you often find in lemon meringue pies once cooked) and has that same delightful tartness, combined with the subtle raspberry flavouring and a lovely simple buttery base. It reminds me somewhat of Starburst lollies. Fruity and tangy! I think I will try this filling inside a meringue pie. How does Raspberry Lemon Meringue Pie sound to you? Makes me start craving. Keep your eyes open for the recipe!

Cut into petit fours as a lovely dessert at a cocktail party

Fancy it up with a garnish
Dessert style
A winning combination..
RASPBERRY LEMONADE SLICE (Adapted from The Improv Kitchen)


9 tbsp butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla essence
pinch of salt


2 1/2 cups frozen raspberries, thawed
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup lemon juice (about 3-4 medium lemons)
zest of 3 lemons
3 egg whites
1 egg
2/3 cup flour
pinch of salt, extra

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line and grease a 8x8 inch square baking dish.
To make the crust, cream together butter and sugar until light. Add the flour, vanilla and salt and mix until combined well. Do not over mix as this can make the base tough. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until just golden brown. Remove from oven and cool.

To make the filling, place all thawed raspberries in a fine sieve and press them into a large bowl with the back of a spoon. Discard the caught seeds and skin. Add the sugar, juice, zest, whites, egg, flour and salt and combine, until well incorporated.
Pour the raspberry mixture onto the base and place in the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool on the bench before placing in the refrigerator to set completely (about 3-4 hours) Cut and decorate as desired.

NOTES: This slice freezes well and makes a great dessert or afternoon tea to have handy for unexpected guests or dinner parties.