Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Raspberry Ripple Cake for Stacey

Monday last week was my last Pilates class with our instructor, Stacey.  She is a trained exercise physiologist, and found a full time job in her field, hence her reason for leaving.  I am very happy for her and very sad for me - she is one of the best instructors we have had, and a very nice lady to boot. 

As you will know, I love baking cakes, so I couldn't let Stacey leave without baking her a cake.  I chose Edd Kimber's Raspberry Ripple Cake from The Boy Who Bakes.  That book has been around for a while, but I only acquired it late last year, and this was the first time that I had used it.  If you don't have the book, a few people have published the recipe online, including here.  

I made a few adjustments to the recipe.  Instead of three layers, I cut the cake batter recipe in half and made only two layers, which seemed quite substantial anyway.  I also swapped out the Italian meringue buttercream (I personally hate Italian meringue buttercream!) for my favourite Primrose Bakery buttercream, but incorporated the same raspberry and white chocolate flavours that Edd used.

When I tried swirling white chocolate buttercream through the raspberry buttercream, I didn't get the ripple effect suggested by Edd, and I just messed up the smoothness of my frosting job.  I also tried to pipe little swirls on top for decoration using supermarket bought frosting in a tube, and the swirls unfortunately looked as though they could use some Viagra:

Oh well.  I hope Stacey enjoyed eating this cake - it certainly smelled amazing.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

When I made chocolates for Easter, I needed something to fill them with.  I didn't have any cream so many of the usual fillings were out.  By luck, I came across this recipe from Honey and Spice for Dark Chocolate and Roasted Hazelnut Spread - homemade Nutella!

I was surprised at how easy and delicious this spread was.  I will shamefacedly admit that I have been eating the remainder out of the jar - it is that good.  Best of all, I know what's in it, which you don't with store bought Nutella.

While this spread  is not as smooth as Nutella, it has that lovely chocolate-hazelnut taste, and would be perfect on toast etc, just like Nutella.  Or for eating out of the jar ...

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Masons of Bendigo

On our recent trip to Bendigo, we had a wonderful dinner at Masons of Bendigo, on the recommendation of my work colleague, Wayne.  We had a sneak preview of Masons on our Food Fossicking Tour earlier in the day, and it certainly heightened our anticipation of dinner at Masons in the evening.

Masons is very popular, and we were told on our tour that you have to book at least two weeks in advance.  I had booked a month in advance, so that part was taken care of.  As I mentioned in my post on the food fossicking tour, Masons has an open kitchen so that you can watch your meal being prepared.  Masons prides itself on its use of local produce which it highlights in its fusion style menu.  There are two dinner sittings at Masons - 6pm and 8pm.  We went for the earlier sitting - I would be so hungry if I had to wait until 8!

On arrival at Masons, we are presented with a plate of bread with miso butter:

The bread was delicious, and the miso butter was devine.

Next, our drinks arrived.  I ordered a glass of red:

and Tim ordered a local Tooborac beer:

Then came the good stuff - Tim and I ordered two entrees to share.
First up came seared Hervey Bay scallops, curried cauliflower, salmon caviar, coriander vinaigrette and squid ink crackers ($14 for 3, we bought an extra scallop):

This was my dish of the night - just heavenly.

Next came steamed sticky beef buns with shitaki mushrooms and pun chun sauce ($8 for 2):

No complaints here:

For main, Tim ordered the Beijing roast duck red curry, with caramelised pineapple, okra and puffed rice ($30):

with a side of jasmine rice:

while I ordered the baked barramundi with sweet and sour calamari salad, peanuts and yellow curry ($32):

Both mains were top notch, and we enjoyed them very much.

To finish off, we could not go past the Masons Tasting Plate ($26) - vanilla and peach brulee, Eskimo pie, yoghurt pannacotta with passionfruit gel, choc-hazelnut delice, baked cheesecake, Yuzu curd and tapioca pot with summer fruits, pomegranate icecream and Persian fairy floss:  

It was all pretty good, but I think my favourite was the pannacotta.

The service at Masons was very friendly and efficient, and Tim was chuffed that Nick, the owner, remembered him from the food fossicking tour earlier in the day.

We would definitely return to Masons when we are next in Bendigo.

25 Queen Street
Bendigo VIC 3550
Ph: (03) 5443 3877

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Plum Tart

Do you ever pick up a copy of the free supermarket magazines?  If you do, do you ever make anything from them?

I am a bit of a skeptic when it comes to supermarket magazines, because in some respects, they are one big ad for the products sold by the supermarkets.  However, every now and again, you get a gem of a recipe that  is worth making.

The March 2015 edition of Coles magazine featured such a gem in the form of a beautiful mixed plum tart featured on the front cover.  I was immediately drawn to the tart, and bought some plums especially to make that tart.  You can find the recipe online here.

I used Dorie Greenspan's sweet tart dough recipe for the base instead of the one stated in the recipe, because it is my go to tart dough and you don't have to roll it - it can be pressed straight into the pan.

For the plum component, I used all yellow plums, which happened to be on special that week at Coles.

This tart was very tasty - nutty, sweet and texturally interesting.

If you have some fresh plums on hand, do give this beautiful tart a go - it is well worth it.

Friday, April 17, 2015

FFWD - Pork Roast with Mangoes and Lychees

I had a sense of deja vu with this week's French Friday with Dorie dish, as I had made Pork Roast with Mangoes and Lychees back in 2010.  Granted, the photo back then was a little confronting with all that unrendered fat on the roast, but I enjoyed it very much.  That meant that I was happy to front up for round two.

This time, instead of using a pork roast, I used pork tenderloin medallions - faster and easier to cook, and less waste for one person.  I used fresh mango and tinned lychees (fresh ones being out of season).

I am a sucker for meat and fruit together so I loved this dish.  On the day I made it, I couldn't eat it because I had been having a bad day health-wise, and the smell of the garlic and onions in the sauce made me feel nauseous.  However, next day, I was right as rain and enjoyed every last drop of the sauce.

This was once again a winner for me, and a dish that I would happily repeat - but I will have to be careful of the company I serve it to, because I can see from the Dorista forum comments that the fruit-meat combination (or maybe just the lychees!) is confronting for some.

Visit the LYL section of the FFWD website to get the insight of the other Doristas on this dish.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

EwE - Tuscan Kale Salad

For Eating with Ellie today, Kayte chose Tuscan Kale Salad from p41 of Weeknight Wonders.

I have never cooked with kale before, and I have to say, I wasn't a big fan - it tasted a lot like grass, even with the lovely raisins and toasted pinenuts.   (For some background, I am not a green salad girl.)

To make it more palatable, I served it with yesterday's WWDH spaghetti, making it just another green leaf in the spaghetti.

To see what the others thought of this dish, visit the LYL section of the EwE website.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

WWDH - Spaghetti with Lemon, Capers and Rocket

For today's Wednesday with Donna Hay, Sarah chose Spaghetti with Lemon, Capers and Rocket from p130 of Modern Classics.  You can also find the recipe online here

This is a spaghetti flavoured with capers, garlic, chilli, lemon and parmesan.  I used wholemeal spaghetti to make it a little healthier.  I was not sure about the rocket through the pasta (in my case, mixed leaf salad), but it actually tasted quite good.  I really enjoyed the clean, fresh flavours of this pasta.

To see what the others thought of this dish, see the LYL section of the WWDH website.