Friday, January 31, 2020

Raspberry, Pistachio and Lime Tray Bake

We are enjoying a bumper summer raspberry season at present.  It is a great time to enjoy recipes containing raspberries while they are cheap, abundant and in their prime.

A little while ago, Helen Goh published a recipe for Raspberry, Pistachio and Lime Tray Bake in the Good Weekend magazine. 

This delicious cake is made in a tray cake tin so that it is easily transportable and can be conveniently cut into squares.  It has a tangy cream cheese icing in the original, but I didn't have any cream cheese, so I just used vanilla buttercream.

Isn't this a pretty cake with its red and green contrasting topping:

To make this cake, you will need:

100g pistachios plus 3og extra for garnishing
3 teaspoons lime zest
125g sugar
110g plain flour
50g almond meal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
150g butter, cubed and softened
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g fresh raspberries (I only used half this quantity)

Your favourite vanilla buttercream or cream cheese icing

Preheat your oven to 195 degrees Celsius.  Greases and line a 23cm x 33cm tray cake tin.

Put the 100g of pistachios and 3 teaspoons lime zest into a food processor and process until finely ground.

Add the sugar, flour, almond meal and baking powder and pulse for a few seconds to combine.

Add the butter and pulse until completely combined. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and process the mixture until smooth.  

Scrape the batter into the prepared cake tin and smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 25-20 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Spread the icing evenly over the top of the cooled cake and top with the fresh raspberries and 30g chopped pistachios.

Cut the cake into squares to serve. 

Also, check out my latest post from my New South Wales travels, this time focussing on the South Coast and Southern Highlands.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Honey Soy and Chicken Stir Fry

I love a good stir fry.  Stir fry is such a versatile dish - you can include whatever meat, vegetables, carbs and sauce that you have, and end up with a tasty, hearty meal within minutes.

You don't really need a recipe for stir fry.  However, p24 of the September 2019 edition of Woolworths Fresh magazine featured a recipe for Honey and Soy Chicken Stir Fry that inspired me, and was a little different from what I normally make.  This stir fry contains lots of delicious vegetables, making it an easy way to get your "5 a day".

For this stir fry, you will need:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
500g chicken thigh fillets, trimmed and diced

2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 crushed clove garlic
2 carrots, grated
1 sliced brown onion
1 green capsicum, deseeded and sliced
1/4 red cabbage, shredded
2 zucchini, grated
150g sugar snap peas, trimmed
steamed or boiled rice, to serve

Heat the oil in a wok over high heat.  Add the chicken and cook until golden brown.

Put the honey, soy an garlic in a small glass jar, put the lid on the jar and shake until the contents are well combined.

Add the carrot and onion to the chicken in the pan and stir fry for 2 minutes.  Add the capsicum and cabbage and stir fry for a further 2 minutes.

Add the zucchini, sugar snap peas and honey-soy sauce from the jar to the pan and stir fry for a minute.

Serve with rice.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

TWD - Canneles

This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is one of my favourites - Canneles.  Canneles are a classic French pastry with a crisp, dark, crunchy shell encasing a soft, custard-like interior. They really are unlike anything else and are hard to describe - you really need to taste the to understand them.  Canneles are not very common in Australia, so being able to make them is a huge plus for fans of these French delicacies.    

I used silicone moulds, and made a half recipe to yield six medium sized canneles.  I only let my batter rest for 7 hours, and that seemed like plenty of time, judging from the end result.

I think my canneles are better this time than the first time I made them - no odd shaped ones in this batch.

To see what everyone else made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

If you are thinking of heading to Australia for your next holiday, check out Part 2 of my post on the Blue Mountains in New South Wales.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Iced VoVo Cupcakes - Queen Baking Club

This fortnight’s Queen Baking Club challenge is Iced VoVo Cupcakes to celebrate Australia Day on 26 January. Iced VoVos, for the uninitiated, are vanilla sugar cookies coated with two stripes of pink fondant on either side of the biscuit, with a stripe of raspberry jam in the centre, and the whole lot is sprinkled with coconut. 

Currently, Arnotts makes Iced VoVos, which are thought to have been invented by Hudsons Biscuits in 1904. Of course, there is a Kiwi challenger to the title, which you can read about here.

Queen Fine Foods’ recipe for Iced VoVo Cupcakes is online here. Just like the biscuit, it is a vanilla, raspberry and coconut flavoured confection. The cupcakes contain frozen raspberries and dessicated coconut, while the icing contains raspberry purée topped with dessicated coconut:

These cupcakes were a big hit at work - I received more compliments about these than I have about anything for ages.  Thanks for the recipe Queen!

You can join the Queen Baking Club on Facebook. There is a new challenge from the Queen recipe collection every fortnight.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

TWD - Puffed Grain and Miso Cookies

This week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Puffed Grain and Miso Cookies. These are novel savoury, gluten free biscuits made from puffed rice, puffed barley (I used puffed corn instead), dried fruit (I used cranberries), peanuts, sesame seeds, rice malt syrup, sesame oil (mine was not toasted), olive oil and miso paste. 

The mixture is pressed into muffin tins and baked into cookies.

The end result is a delicious, crispy savoury sensation, quite unlike anything I have tried before.

To see what everyone else made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

If you would like a visual treat, check out my first Blue Mountains post on my travel blog, showcasing some of Australia’s wonderful natural landscape.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Katherine Sabbath's Flamin' Galah Cupcakes and Koala Cupcakes

For our work bushfire fundraiser bake sale, the second item that I made was the Flamin' Galah Cupcakes from p26 of Bake Australia Great by Katherine Sabbath. "Flamin' Galahs" is an Australian-ism for people who are idiotic, and Katherine has converted this phrase literally into these cute cupcakes.

Katherine takes vanilla cupcakes and vanilla buttercream and makes them into fabulous pink and grey galahs using various sweets and cashews.  There are recipes in the book for the cupcakes and buttercream which I used, but you can use your favourite vanilla cupcake and buttercream recipe to make these cupcakes.   If you are a bit unsure what recipe to use, and you don't have Katherine's book,  try the Primrose Bakery vanilla cupcake recipe here.

Tint half the buttercream grey with black food colouring (only a drop or two of liquid colouring is needed so be careful!), and half of it pink with rose pink food colouring (again, be sparing with the colour to avoid it being too lurid), and ice the cupcakes half grey and half pink to look like feathers.

Attach the beak first - the beak is made of two cashews arranged to look like an open beak, with one half on the pink icing and one hlf on the grey icing.  (Note the grey icing is at the top of the galah's head).  Next cut a white marshmallow in half and attach half of it to the cupcake near the beak to form the eye of the galah.  Use a little buttercream to attach a brown M&M to the centre of the white marshmallow for the pupil of the eye. Cut a pink marshmallow into three pieces and arrange above the eye as shown to form the crest of the galah: 

So cute!  

I also made koala cupcakes:

These are chocolate cupcakes (use your own favourite recipe) that I iced with grey buttercream.  To create the kolas, you will need pink marshmallows, black jellybeans and brown mini M&Ms.

For each koala, take a pink marshmallow and cut it in half.  Holding each half marshmallow by the large flat sides, spread some grey colouring around the edge of each half of the marshmallow, then dip it around the iced edges in dessicated coconut.  Place each half on the cupcake, cut side up, to form ears.

Sprinkle the entire iced surface of the cupcake with dessicated coconut (avoiding the sticky pink marshmallow ears).  Position a black jellybean at the base of the cupcake to serve as a nose, and a mini M&M either side of the "nose" to serve as eyes.  Ta da:

You have cuddly koala cupcakes!

The koalas are less time consuming than the galahs as there are less moving parts, so consider this if deciding to make only one of these cutey-pie cupcakes.  Whether you make both or just one, I am sure that the recipients of these cupcakes will be delighted.  

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Embossed Marbled Fondant Covered Sugar Cookies

My workplace had a bake sale to raise funds for bushfire relief this week.  I wanted to contribute, so I baked a few things: 

One of my contributions was vanilla sugar cookies made according to the recipe from my Miss Biscuit  classes.  However, instead of covering the cookies with royal icing, I covered them with yellow and white marbled embossed fondant.

The marbling technique that I used is here.  First you make three sausages of fondant (yellow in the middle, two white either side), plait them together, fold and squash the fondant flat. Divide into three sausages again: 

plait them together:

squash the fondant flat:

Once you are happy with the amount of marbling, roll out the fondant, ready to use:  

The "Not All Heroes Wear Capes" embosser that I used to stamp the fondant comes from Custom Cookie Cutters, who for three days donated the proceeds of sale from these embossers to the Red Cross bushfire relief fund.

After stamping the fondant with the embosser, I cut out a round of fondant the same size as the cookie, brushed a little water on the surface of the cookie so that the fondant would adhere to the cookie, then carefully placed the embossed fondant round on top of each cookie.

I think these turned out rather well:

It was the first time I had marbled fondant, so I had fun trying a new technique.

All up, I made 45 cookies.  For the purposes of the bake sale, I packaged them in groups of two in clear cellophane bags.

The bake sale raised funds by way of a donation from attendees, and from all accounts did very well.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

TWD - Chunky Chocolate Fruit and Nut Bars

This week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Chunky Fruit and Nut Bars. These bars do not involve any baking - tbey comprise fruit and nuts mixed through melted chocolate.

I used almonds and cashews for the nuts,  and apricots, cranberries, currants and crystallised ginger for the fruit.

The end result was delicious, but hey, it’s chocolate- it’s hard to go wrong.

The teatowel in the background is a Rodriguez guide dogs fundraiser teatowel - so cute!

To see what everyone else made this week, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

TWD - Meringue Snowballs

Happy New Year for Tuesday with Dorie!  This year's first recipe is Meringue Snowballs.  These are basically just meringues, which Dorie suggests are shaped using an icecream scoop to make them round.

I made these at my Mum's while I was on vacation, so I had to use the equipment available to me.  For this reason, I just spooned out my meringues.  I made a third of the recipe to yield three meringues.  I flavoured my meringues with vanilla and coloured them with rose food colouring.

My meringue snowballs turned out OK, don't you think?  They are not round, but they looked and tasted good.

To see what everyone else made to kick off the New Year for TWD, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Caramelized Peanut Coffee Cake

David Lebovitz recently featured a Caramelized Peanut Coffee Cake on his blog.  It looked so delicious with its golden caramelized peanut topping, and knowing that I had peanuts and cream to use up, I went ahead and made this cake.

Now as you can see, my cake does not appear to have any peanuts on top.  And you would be correct - it doesn't.  Somehow, in the baking process, all of my peanuts sank to the bottom of the cake, so instead of a peanut topping, I had a peanut base.

The top photo demonstrates my solution to this dilemma - simply turn the slices of cake upside down!  And this is one delicious cake.  I highly recommend making it.  Just follow the link above to David's blog and you too can have this wonderful cake on your table for elevenses or afternoon tea or dessert.  You might even have a peanut topping instead pf a peanut base! 

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year 2020!

Happy New Year to everyone!  

I don't have any spectacular photos of fireworks or parties to share for my first post, so I have instead decided to share with you the way in which I start most mornings - with a cup of coffee.  

This  gorgeous flat white with decorative swan in the crema came from a café in the QV Building in Sydney when I was there in early November.  Most cups of coffee that I have, barista made or otherwise, are not this grand.  This morning started with a cup of rather grey looking instant coffee.  However, a cup of coffee  is a wonderful way to kick start my day, so it seemed fitting that it should kick start my blog in 2020.

May this new year bring you blessings and happiness.