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Sugary creations Big and Small

11 Sep

I thought I might post some pictures of stuff that I have made during the time that I’ve been pregess – both small and not so small.

Orange liqueur truffles, black salted caramels and honey, thyme jellies

Chocolate molten cake with espresso syrup and brandied cherries

Chocolate and Raspberry cake for Ruby’s 1st birthday

White Rose made by pulling sugar

Ribbon made from pulling sugar

Fruit cake covered in marzipan and decorated with pink hydrangers

The Olivia the pig Plaque

White Chocolate model

Dark choc model – “The cat and the Fiddle”

Easter egg model using tempered chocolate

Friands – Banana & Raspberry with White Chocolate

2 Feb

J’s gone away sailing from Lakes to Tassie. It’ll take him 2 weeks before he returns and I’ve been staying at Jo’s for the last week since I’m too much of a coward to stay home alone. I haven’t been baking very much as J’s not around to consume my sugary treats. However, I had a special request from Jo to make friands… so here they are… an assortment of very mini banana and raspberry white chocolate friands made with love.

I used the friand recipe from The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander – fool proof.

Happy birthday Damo

19 Jan

Damien’s the only brother in law I’ve got… so it makes it easy to say that he is my favorite brother in law…. hahahah. No… he really is a very special person and we love him lots and lots. I made him a Black forest mousse cake for his birthday. A layer of chocolate short crust pastry, brandied cherries, coffee mousse and dark chocolate mousse.

Happy birthday Damo! May you always be happy and may your life be filled with epic adventures!

Above: How the cake looked like before sticking on the chocolate leaves.

Above: The final product

Fudgey Dark Chocolate Tart

12 Jan

Our west side buddies, aka adventure jet setters, Jo and Dave have returned after 3 months in Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Bolivia and Chile and were fueled with captivating stories and amazing photos that kept me wide eyed and keen as mustard. They have planted a small seed of fascination of that region within me and perhaps one day, I will be able to experience South America.

It’s my 2nd week back at my desk job and am back working at the restaurant as well. Over the xmas break, I was sleeping in, eating lots, engaging in not so strenuous summer activities and then eating some more again. I was just getting used to the cushy life… but all good things must come to an end. Its been a little hard getting out of holiday mode but there are pictures and memories for us to remise – till the next break.

This dark chocolate tart was one of the desserts that we ate excessively over the holidays. It is a very easy tart to make. Very ooey, very gooey and very yummy. You could use milk chocolate instead, however, the dark chocolate seems to work really well in terms of taste in this recipe. Enjoy.

Here’s the recipe: (Makes 1 large tart of 6-8 small tarts)

Ingredients for chocolate shortcrust pastry:

  • 300 grams Butter
  • 400 grams plain flour
  • 50 grams cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 190 grams icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 40 ml milk

Ingredients for Chocolate tart filling:

  • 375ml cream
  • 25 grams caster sugar
  • 300 grams dark chocolate (preferably 70% cocoa)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 egg

Method:

  1. Firstly, we make the chocolate short crust pastry.
  2. In your mixer, mix the butter, flour, cocoa and salt with the paddle attachment till you get a granular texture. You can use your fingers to rub the mixture together if you haven’t got a mixer
  3. Add the eggs, vanilla, sugar and milk and mix on slow. Do not overmix.
  4. Wrap the dough in glad wrap and rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or until it is ready to be used.
  5. Now we make the chocolate filling.
  6. Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a heatproof bowl.
  7. Boil the cream and sugar and pout over the chocolate.
  8. Beat the eggs and add to the chocolate mixture. Make sure that the eggs are mixed through.

Assembling the tart:

  1. Preheat oven to 140 degree Celsius.
  2. Roll out the rested chocolate shortcrust pastry to fit the size of the pastry tin.
  3. Make sure the pastry tin has a removable base for convenience.
  4. Line the tin with the pastry carefully (you do not need to grease the tin)
  5. Pour/pipe the chocolate mixture into the pastry till it is 2/3 full.
  6. Bake for 20-30 min.
  7. Leave to cool.
  8. Serve with double cream and cherries.

Sour Cherry and Almond Tart

7 Jan

I can’t believe a whole decade has passed since 2000. Somehow, its hard to believe that we are 10 years into the millennium! How did that happen?!

About a week ago, I celebrated my last ever twenty-something birthday and ahead of me is the Big 3-0. Most people will probably tell me to Shut up because being in your 30s is not that old anyway. And I know that. So I’m actually looking forward to being in my 30s. My 20s were ok – Nothing too mind blowing, pretty average. There are some things that I wish I had done in my 20s… such as see more of this big, wide world and perhaps work overseas. But life has a way of rattling our plans and throwing us surprises and then plans get placed on hold.

A friend once said to me that being in your 20s is over rated. You’re still trying to get comfortable in your skin and most of the time, you still care about what other people think of you. When you get to 30, you stop caring and you live the way you want to and it’s refreshing. So I am looking forward to eventually turning 30 in 2010. But for now, I will live it up at 29.

Over xmas, I received a fabulous electric mixer from Jase. Its not a KitchenAid but I reckon, it works just as well. This is it.

A Breville Professional Wizz Mixer that spins at 1000 watts and with 4 attachments. A whisk, a dough hook, a paddle and …. wait for it…. A PADDLE WITH A SCRAPPER to scrape down the sides of the bowl so you don’t have to stop the machine to manually scrape down the sides of the bowl. I love it. Thanks Jase.

Equipped with the mixer, I seem to be able to whip up desserts a lot quicker. Shortcrust pastry in the mixer is brilliant. I made this cherry almond tart to take down to zoe’s farm for new years.

(Down at zoe’s farm over new year’s eve 2009)

Here’s the recipe (makes 1 large tart):

Ingredients for sweet shortcrust pastry:

  • 175 grams Butter
  • 100 grams Caster sugar
  • 25 grams egg
  • lemon zest from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence
  • 250 grams plain flour – sifted

Ingredients for Frangipane/Almond filling:

  • 150 grams Butter
  • 100 grams Caster sugar
  • lemon zest from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 150 grams eggs
  • 150 grams almond meal
  • 20 grams plain flour

Other ingredients:

  • 1 jar of stoned sour cherries / fresh cherries (stoned)
  • some boiled apricot jam for brushing the pastry

Method:

  1. Firstly, we make the sweet short crust pastry in the MIXER (Yay….)
  2. Cream the butter and the sugar using the paddle attachment until all the sugar dissolves.
  3. Add lemon zest and vanilla to the egg and add half the egg mixture to the butter mixture slowly. Mix on slow. Repeat this for the rest of egg mixture.
  4. Sift the flour.
  5. Add flour to the mixture and mix on SLOW mode (*Do not overmix at this stage*)
  6. Wrap the dough in glad wrap and rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or until it is ready to be used.
  7. Now we make the almond paste
  8. Add lemon zest and vanilla to the egg.
  9. Cream the butter and sugar with the paddle attachment in the mixer.
  10. Add the egg mixture to the butter mixture little by little.
  11. Add the almond meal and flour to the mixer.
  12. Scrap down the bowl and place the almond paste into a piping bag. (if you haven’t got a piping bag, just leave it in the mixing bowl)

Assembling the tart:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius.
  2. Roll out the rested shortcrust pastry to fit the size of the pastry tin.
  3. Make sure the pastry tin has a removable base for convenience.
  4. Line the tin with the pastry carefully (you do not need to grease the tin)
  5. Pour/pipe the almond paste into the pastry till it is 2/3 full.
  6. Press the cherries halves into the almond paste and bake in the oven for 1 hour.
  7. Remove from oven and brush the tart with boiled apricot jam.
  8. Leave to cool.

Eat up!

My first attempt at French cooking – Poached Fish in White White with Mushrooms

26 Oct

Julia Child - FISH

I watched ‘Julie and Julia’ at the Half Pipe this weekend – I loved it. And yes… I am one of those suckers that enjoyed it so much that I decided to invest in my first French cook book – and it so happens to be the one by Julia Child, Mastering the art of French Cooking.

Yes… laugh away…. In my defense, I have been contemplating to attempt French cooking in my kitchen since I started working at the current restaurant I’m at. The restaurant serves predominantly french cuisine and it always looks and smells so great. As much as I wish that I could afford to eat at the restaurant someday as a paying customer or even better… jet away to France and plunge fully body into their croissants and creme brulee for a week, I am at the age where most of us are paupers, therefore I can only think of perhaps trying to cook something French in Christine’s kitchen. So there’s my long and elaborate explanation as to why I bought the book – It wasn’t because I was a sucker for the movie.

The first recipe I tried was the Poached fish in White Wine Sauce with Mushrooms and steamed asparagus with hollandaise sauce – I think I used about 100grams of butter for this meal. That’s about 1/2 a block of butter. See how the fish is smothered in white sauce…. and to make it all the more decadent, there was actually cheese grated on top of the poached fish before it was covered in the thick white sauce.

Verdict from my non-fish-eating victim: “Mmmm… (5 seconds later) mmmm…. (at the end of the meal) wow… the French really know how to cook. I wouldn’t mind eating fish again if you’re going to be cooking from that book.”

Conclusion: $44 well spent. Waist line may increase exponentially in the following months, however, there will be gastronomic delights to be enjoyed. This is good for the soul.