Friday, April 19, 2019

Vanilla Glazed Choc Chunk Hot Cross Buns - QBC

It is Good Friday today, heralding the start of the holy Easter season.  For Queen Baking Club this fortnight, the recipe was fittingly Vanilla Glazed Choc Chunk Hot Cross Buns.

These hot cross buns contain a tradition blend of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves) and raisins, together with the less traditional addition of chocolate chunks.  The finished buns are glazed with a syrup that is flavoured with vanilla.

Here are my buns just before going into the oven:

I found that I needed twice the amount of flour paste suggested in the recipe to make crosses for all of my buns, 20 in all.

Here is a yummy hot cross bun, fresh from the oven and spread with butter:

The smell of hot cross buns is amazing!  Loved these buns, and my colleagues seemed to like them too.

Queen's recipe is quite straight forward, should you wish to try making your own hot cross buns for today.

Wishing you a blessed Easter.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

TWD - Matzo Morsels

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe doesn't involve any baking at all - it is a melt and mix concoction that you could easily make with your children as a holiday treat.  It is Matzo Morsels, comprising chocolate, chocolate chips, raisins, crushed matzo crackers and butter all combined together and chilled in the fridge.

Matzo Morsels are not unlike Chocolate Crackles, Hedgehog Cake or other "refrigerator" cakes.  Very simple to make, even easier to eat.

To see what the other Dorie bakers made this week, visit the LYL section of the TWD website

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Sunday Reed's Rolled Oat Biscuits and Love Exhibition

Lust picks us up like instruments
and puts us down again retuned,
makes music of what hands invent, 
a universe from an empty room.
                                                            Ode to Lust, Cate Kennedy

I recently visited the Love exhibition at the Immigration Museum in Melbourne.  This exhibition was developed in conjunction with the Heide Museum of Modern Art, and unsurprisingly contains a lot of material relating to the Reeds and the artists who were part of the Heide crowd.

This exhibition asks - We all have a love story - what's yours?  It covers the full spectrum of love in all of its types and all of its phases, from the first thrilling rush of lust right through to grieving for love lost.  The exhibition is not just concerned with eros love, although there are a number of exhibits which deal with this form of love.  It also covers love between friends, neighbours, communities and families.  One of the best features of the exhibition is that it was accompanied by a free audiovisual presentation on an individual iPod, so that you could go through the exhibition at your own pace, and read and hear the detail relating to the exhibits without straining over someone's shoulder to read a card.

The exhibition is divided into a number of different segments, each dealing with different phases or aspects of love, and highlighted by an illuminated neon sign relevant to the theme of that section.  For example, the name of the first section was taken from a telegram from Sweeney Reed to his wife, Pamela, and dealt with the early stages of love:

A highlight of this first section was a photo of young John Perceval and Mary Boyd associated with the Heide set, to which the audio was a recitation of Ode to Lust by Cate Kennedy, a stanza of which appears at the top of this post.

There was a whole section devoted to the love between John and Sunday Reed, the founders of Heide, and the various other people who featured in their relationships:

Perhaps my favourite exhibit was in this section, being a modern drawing featuring various prominent places and things associated with Heide, interspersed with photos of the Reeds:

Another section of the exhibit dealt with long-lasting love, including a group of friends who had been together for more than 50 years:

There was a section of the exhibition dealing with devotion.  An example of the exhibits in this section included the story of a Vietnamese couple who escaped to Australia via a perilous sea journey, a statue made to honour the victims of Black Saturday, and trinkets of Sweeney Reed kept by Sunday Reed and Joy Hester.

The final section entitled "Each Year I Grieve Another Year" dealt with love lost.  This section related, not only to the loss of love through death, but also through other forms of break-ups.  In this section, Mirka Mora, another member of the Heide set,  explains that she started making dolls after she left the familial home following her break up with her husband, leaving her three boys behind.  The dolls helped to make Mirka feel closer to her boys.

After viewing the exhibition, there is an opportunity for visitors to write their love story on a card and hang it on one of the strings along the wall dedicated to the purpose.  It was interesting to read other people's thoughts and stories on these cards.  I left my own story, but what I wrote shall remain a mystery to all but me.

Inspired by the Heide exhibits in the Love exhibition, I hauled out my copy of Sunday's Kitchen - Food and Living at Heide, and chose a recipe to commemorate my visit to the exhibition.  I chose a very simple recipe for Rolled Oat Biscuits on p173.  These biscuits are true to their name - they are made solely with rolled oats, with no flour or golden syrup (unlike ANZAC biscuits).  This recipe comes from Sunday's own recipe collection.  

While the biscuits taste great, I found them a little difficult to form, as there is only egg and melted butter to glue the ingredients together.  I perservered with the crumbly dough and managed to make 12 biscuits as stated by the recipe (with a little left over).

To try Sunday's Rolled Oat Biscuits to get a taste of a little bit of magic from a Heide arvo tea for yourself, you will need:

2 cups traditional rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons melted butter (~45g)

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Mix together the rolled oats, sugar, egg, salt and vanilla in a large mixing bowl.  Add the melted butter and mix well to combine.  

Place small mounds of the oat mixture onto the lined baking tray and press down lightly with a fork to flatten slightly.  (You should get around 12 biscuits.)  Bake the biscuits in the oven for around 10 minutes or until golden brown.   Remove the baking tray from the oven and allow the biscuits to cool on the tray completely before carefully removing with a spatula.  

Friday, April 12, 2019

Chocolate, Caramel & Malt Cheesecake

Happy Friday all!  Today, I thought I'd put a smile on your dial with a gorgeous Chocolate, Caramel and Malt Cheesecake that graces the cover of this month's Delicious magazine.

This cheesecake, by Phoebe Wood, is as decedent and delicious as it looks. The crushed malt biscuit crust is filled with a layer of caramel cheesecake, then a layer of chocolate cheesecake, and finished off with dark chocolate ganache.  Ooh la la.

I halved the recipe because the quantities of ingredients in the original were a little OTT for my tastes - but you can knock yourself out by making it the original way if your motto is "go big or go home".

This cheesecake was, unsurprisingly, very popular at work.  The only complaint I received was that there was not enough of it.

To make this cheesecake my way (half recipe), you will need:

250g packet malt biscuits (I used Malt O'Milk)
100g butter, melted and cooled
400g cream cheese at room temperature, cubed
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon cornflour
1 1/2 eggs (for the half, break one egg into a cup, whisk with a fork and only use half) 
125g dulce de leche (I used Nestle Top 'N' Fill)
100g dark chocolate, melted and cooled
1/4 cup malted milk powder (I used Ovaltine)
1/2 cup pouring cream

For the ganache topping:

100g dark chocolate, chopped finely
1/3 cup thickened cream

Preheat your oven to 150 degrees Celsius.  Grease and line the base of a 22cm springform pan.

Put the malt biscuits into a food processor and blitz into fine crumbs.  Add the butter and blitz until combined.  Press the biscuit mixture evenly over the base and up the sides of the springform pan, and chill in the fridge until needed.

Put the cream cheese into the bowl of a food processor and blitz until smooth.  Add the sugar, cornflour and eggs, and blitz until well combined. Transfer half of the cheese mixture into a separate bowl.       

To the cheese mixture left in the food processor, add the dulce de leche, and blitz to combine.  Pour the caramel mixture over the biscuit base, and bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes (50 minutes if making the whole recipe) or until just set.

Combine the reserved cheese mixture with the melted chocolate, malted milk powder and cream, stirring well.  

Remove the cheesecake from the oven, pour the chocolate mixture carefully over the top of it, and return the cheesecake to the oven to bake for an hour or until the cheesecake is just set.  Turn off the oven, but leave the cheesecake inside with the door ajar to cool for roughly 3 hours.

Once the cheesecake is cool, chill it in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Once the cheesecake is thoroughly chilled, make the ganache topping by placing the ingredients into a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, and stir from time to time until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.   Cool the ganache to room temperature before pouring over the top of the cheesecake, and allow the topped cheesecake to set in the fridge for another 30 minutes before serving.

Slice and enjoy!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

TWD - Double Chocolate Marble Cake

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is the equivalent of a piebald horse.  It is a Double Chocolate Marble Cake, with half of the batter combined with white chocolate, and the other half combined with dark chocolate.

This is a very sturdy cake, and quite heavy in texture.  It is not really the kind of cake that I go for, but is nice enough in its own way.  If dense, pound-style cakes are your thing, you may love this cake.

To see what the other Dorie Bakers made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Chicken and Plum Tray Bake

I love meat and fruit together - the sweet and the savoury are like ying and yang.  Accordingly, when I saw Anja Dunk's recipe for Chicken and Plum Tray Bake in Strudel, Noodles & Dumplings, I knew this was a recipe I'd have to make.  You can also find the recipe online here

I recommend using sweet plums for this recipe.  I used ones that were slightly tart, and that tarty flavour was front and centre in my dish.  That didn't mean it wasn't good - it just meant that I think it would have been better with sweeter fruit.

The beauty of a tray bake is that it takes minimal time and effort to put together - everything is thrown into a baking tray with very little preparation, and left to its own devices to cook in the oven.  Brilliant!

If plums are in season in your area, I highly recommend trying out this recipe.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Adam Liaw's Irish Tea Cake

A few weeks ago, Adam Liaw published a recipe for Irish Tea Cake in the local newspaper.  It looked just the ticket to me - rich, tea soaked dried fruit, packed into a glossy cake.  I definitely had to make it! 

I can say without a doubt that this recipe lived up to its promise.  The cake was moist, flavoursome and choc o'block with delicious, tea soaked dried fruit. I used English Breakfast Tea as opposed to Irish Breakfast Tea to soak my fruit (does this make my cake an English Tea Cake?), and subbed the cranberries for dried figs. Fascinatingly, there is no butter or oil in the cake itself.  

I absolutely adored this cake.  It doesn't really need butter, although that is how it is traditionally served.

As Molly Meldrum would say, do yourself a favour and make this cake!!

You will need:

1 black tea bag
1/2 cup sultanas
1/2 cup prunes, roughly chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
1/2 cup dried figs, roughly chopped
225g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
150g brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup white sugar

Brew the tea in 1 1/2 cups of boiling water and pour over the dried fruits.  Allow to steep for a couple of hours.

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celsius and grease and line a 30cm loaf tin.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and spices.  Drain the liquid from the fruit (reserving it for later), and fold the egg and the fruit through the dry ingredients.  Add some of the fruit liquid as necessary to make a pourable batter.

Transfer the cake batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake in the preheated oven for 75 minutes or until cooked through when tested.

In the meantime, combine the white sugar with 1/4 cup of the reserved fruit liquid (or 1/4 cup of water if you have no more fruit liquid left) in a small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer and simmer until the sugar dissolves, then remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

After removing the baked cake from the oven, brush the top of the cake with the sugar syrup  while the cake is still hot.

Once the cake has cooled completely, unmould from the tin and slice and serve (with butter if desired).