Friday, November 27, 2020

Creamy Caramels

 It’s nearly Christmas, so I have been busy making Christmas treats for gifts.

I love caramels, so couldn’t resist making caramels for my gift boxes. These are Creamy Caramels were made from a recipe in The Australian Women’s Weekly Sweet. To make these caramels, you will need:

1 cup sugar
90g butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1/3 cup glucose syrup
1/2 cup condensed milk

Butter a 19cm square cake tin.

Put the butter, sugar, syrups and milk into a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Stir the mixture over the heat, without boiling, until the sugar dissolves.  Bring the mixture to the boil, then boil while stirring constantly for 7 minutes, or until the mixture has turned golden in colour.

Pour the mixture into the buttered cake tin and stand for 10 minutes before marking squares in the caramel with a metal spatula.

Allow the caramels to cool completely before cutting right through into squares and wrapping in cellophane.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Guinness Bread

 I had some Guinness left over from my Christmas puddings, which coincided with my need to have a homemade loaf of bread for a video, so I searched online for bread recipes using Guinness - et voila, I found this recipe for Guinness Bread on Platings and Pairings.

This is a non-yeasted bread, relying on baking powder and the Guinness to rise. It has oats inside and out for texture. I also glazed it with a honey butter glaze to make it prettier for my video:

This bread has an earthy flavour from the Guinness, which paired beautifully with the sweet glaze. I ate it without any spreads because it had its own innate sweetness.

To make this Guinness Bread, you will need:

3 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder 

1/2 cup oats + 1 tablespoon for topping

2/3 cup brown sugar 

1/2  teaspoon salt

350ml Guinness

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and spray a loaf pan liberally with cooking spray.

Combine all of the dry ingredients other than the 1 tablespoon oats together in a large mixing bowl.  Slowly pour in the Guinness and mix until just combined with the dry ingredients.

Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smooth the top and sprinkle the oats for the topping evenly over the surface of the loaf.

Put the bread in the oven to bake for 45-50 minutes or until cooked through.

If you want the optional glaze, melt together 55g butter and 1/4 cup honey in a saucepan, stir in a pinch of cayenne pepper and salt, then brush over the top of the bread as soon as you remove it from the oven.

Allow the bread to cool completely  in the tin on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

TWD - Cheddar-Seed Wafers

 This week's Tuesday with Dorie (Dorie's Cookies) is Cheddar-Seed Wafers.  These are crisp, thin crackers packed with cheddar and poppy seeds.

These crackers are super easy to make, and there is no need to rest the dough.  The resulting crackers are crispy and very cheesy.

I liked these just on their own.

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

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Orecchiette with Prawns and Zucchini

Nigella Lawson has said that she likes to keep frozen prawns on hand to make a prawn dish whenever she fancied it.  Inspired by this, I grabbed a tray of prawns at the supermarket recently with this orecchiette dish in mind. The recipe comes from

This dish is a terrific all in one, and dead easy to make.  If you'd like to try it, you will need:

400g orecchiette
60ml olive oil
2 crushed cloves garlic
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
2 small chillies, seeded and finely chopped
2 zucchini, finely diced
700g medium green king prawns, deveined and cut into 3 (I just used small prawns)
2 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup mint leaves, torn
juice of half a lemon

Cook the pasta and drain, retaining 1/3 cup cooking water.

In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a frying pan.  Add garlic, capers, zucchini, chillies and a half teaspoon of salt  and cook, stirring, for three minutes.  Add the prawns and cook on high until the prawns are cooked through.

Add the pasta, three quarters of the mint, spinach and lemon juice to the prawn mixture and mix to combine.  Season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with the remaining mint.

Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Christmas Puddings - Martin Bosley Cooks

Have yourself a merry little Christmas 
Let your heart be bright
Next year all our troubles will be out of sight.
                                                   Hugh Martin

 I am starting to get excited about Christmas. It is my favourite time of year, with many of my favourite songs, favourite foods and favourite activities in my favourite season (summer), with some of my favourite people.  I hope to be allowed to go home to my family - fingers crossed.

I made my Christmas cake months ago, but decided to turn my hand to Christmas puddings next.

I have owned Martin Bosley Cooks for years, and have always meant to make his Christmas pudding recipe but never quite gotten around to it.  Well, now I have!  Martin’s recipe makes 4 x 12cm puddings - I halved it to make 8 x 4cm puddings.

Instead of using muslin to cover the puddings while steaming in the oven, I made pleated baking paper covers:

I have no idea what they’ll taste like, but hopefully good!

To make a half recipe my way, you will need:

1/2 cup raisins
75g sultanas
75g currants
50g blanched almonds, chopped
90g vegetarian suet
juice and zest of half an orange
juice and zest of half a lemon
1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and grated
1/2 carrot, peeled and grated
60g flour (I used a gluten free flour mix)
1 1/2 eggs
pinch of salt
pinch of ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon mixed spice 
60ml brandy
75ml stout

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for 48 hours. (I skipped this due to time constraints.)

Preheat your oven to 150 degrees Celsius, and grease 8x 4cm pudding moulds.  Divide the pudding mixture evenly between the moulds. Press the mixture down firmly. Place circles of baking paper that have been lightly greased  over the top of the mixture. 

Cover the top of each mould with a circle of damp muslin tied with string (or do as I did - use baking paper with a steam “pleat” instead).

Line a large roasting dish with baking paper and put the puddings on top. Put the dish in the preheated oven, and pour in enough water into the dish to come halfway up the side of the pudding moulds.

Cover the dish with foil, and cut a small hoke in the centre of the foil to release the steam.  Bake in the oven for 4 hours.

Remove the puddings from the oven and allow them to cool completely before unmoulding them and wrapping in baking paper then foil.

On Christmas Day, reheat the puddings and serve with custard and cream or brandy butter.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

TWD - Carrement Chocolat, The Fancy Cake


On November 11, 2014, I published my first Tuesday with Dorie - Baking Chez Moi post. The recipe was Palets de Dames, Lille Style, being fancy little frosted cookies. Now, almost 6 years to the day later, I am publishing my last Tuesday with Dorie - Baking Chez Moi post.  Allow me to indulge in this achievement, because 6 years is a long time and a lot has happened over that period.

Today’s final recipe is a very fancy French style chocolate cake - Carrement Chocolat. It comprises a thin chocolate cake, flavoured with cocoa, sliced in half and filled with chocolate creme patisserie, glazed with shiny chocolate ganache and topped with abstract salted chocolate shapes:

My cake is not as grand as it might have been because it is only a half recipe. In this strange and sometimes frightening year, I have been working from home for 8 months, so I cannot share a full version of this cake with my colleagues, as I once would have. I also lost my cake loving downstairs neighbour a couple of months back - he would have told me this cake was “beautiful”, so I feel very sorry that he is not here to share this delightful treat.

I did give a slice to a lady in the same complex who lives in another tower, and today, I am going to Pilates for the first time in 5 months, so I will share a few slices with my instructor and classmates.  This is a celebration cake, made to be shared, so I am grateful to finally be allowed out to share it with a wider group of people.

My favourite part of this cake was the addictive salted chocolate shapes on top, followed closely by the silky chocolate creme patisserie. This cake was definitely “beautiful”, as John would have said.

Here I am, in full celebration mode, at the end of my third full Dorie Greenspan cookbook:

It has been a tradition that Doristas, as Trevor dubbed us, celebrate the end of each book in some way, so this odd sideways-looking selfie (due to the device camera positioning) with my cake and my book, all dressed up with nowhere to go, is my way of marking this auspicious occasion.

Another tradition is to rate your least and most favourite recipes.  My least favourite was the Cats Tongues, which were an abject failure for me, while my all-time favourite is the delightful canneles, unique and fabulous in their own right.

To my fellow Baking Chez Moi Doristas - congratulations, it’s been quite a ride that we’ve been on together.

And as for Baking Chez Moi - this is finis. Au revoir!

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

TWD - Pain de Genes Buttons

 This week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Pain de Genes Buttons. Their back story is that during a seige in 1800,  the only food that the townspeople of Genoa had was almonds. These little cakes are very simple, comprising almond paste, egg, cornflour, flour, salt, kirsch and flaked almonds.

They don’t look much, but these little cakes are very tasty. The texture is soft and spongy. 

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