Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Sour Milk and Raspberry Cake

A lovely cake that I made some time ago is Matthew Evans' (The Gourmet Farmer) Sour Milk and Raspberry Cake.  The sour milk I imagine works a little like buttermilk to produce a tender crumb in the cake.

As it is raspberry season, while the recipe calls for frozen raspberries, this cake would be a great way to highlight fresh raspberries:

Look at that lovely golden crumb:

Serve the cake warm or room temperature,  by itself or with cream, custard or icecream:

To make this cake, you will need:

250g butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour milk or buttermilk
2 2/3 cups self raising flour
100g raspberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and grease and line a 26cm springform tin.

In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy.  Beat in the eggs, one by one, then the vanilla.  Add the milk and flour in two alternating batches, and fold in until just combined.

Gently fold through the raspberries, then scrape the batter into the prepared cake tin and level the top with a spatula.

Bake the cake for 35-45 minutes or until cooked through when tested with a spatula.  Remove the cake from the oven and leave it to sit in the tin for 10 minutes before unmoulding onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Roasted Hazelnut Panna Cotta with Strawberries

Some time ago, I spied a recipe for Roasted Hazelnut Panna Cotta with Strawberries by Helen Goh in the Good Weekend magazine.  It looked so good, and I had most of the ingredients, so I was in to make it.

This is the end result:

Mine were probably a little softer set than they should have been, and I ended up with some hazelnut crumbs in them, but I don't care - they were soft and silky and flavoursome.

If you would like to try these panna cotta, you will need:

6 dariole moulds
1 teaspoon vegetable oil for brushing moulds
200g whole skinless hazelnuts, toasted
600ml full fat cream
200ml milk
130g sugar
pinch of salt
3 sheets leaf gelatine
peeled skin off a lime
12 strawberries
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Lightly brush the inside of each dariole mould with vegetable oil and place them together on a large baking tray.

Pu the gelatine leaves into a bowl of ice water and allow to soften (~ 5 minutes).

 Meanwhile, roughly chop the hazelnuts in a food processor.  Put the chopped nuts into a large saucepan with the cream, milk, sugar and salt.  Turn the heat on to the lowest setting and stir the mixture gently until it comes to a simmer. Once the mixture reaches a simmer, turn off the hear and add the lime peel.  Squeeze the excess moisture from the gelatine and add it to the cream mixture.  Stir to combine, then leave the mixture to infuse for 30 minutes before straining into a jug.

Pour the mixture into each of the dariole moulds, then place the moulds on the tray in the fridge to set for ~ 6 hours.

To unmould the panna cotta, run a knife gently around the edge of each one, then invert onto a serving plate.  If it doesn't unmould easily, dip the mould briefly into hot water before inverting again.

Serve with chopped, macerated strawberries on the side or on top of each panna cotta.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Devilled Eggs

 If they're scrambled I can only eat two eggs. If they're deviled, I can eat forty.

Devilled eggs is one of those party dishes that everyone jokes about, but most secretly enjoy.  Until recently, I had never made devilled eggs, but that changed when my team held a disco themed virtual Christmas party.  I know that they did not eat food at discos, but disco food was one of the prize categories, and I assume that they meant food from the disco era AKA the 1970s.  So devilled eggs and pineapple hedgehogs it was!

I made these devilled eggs using Nigella Lawson's recipe, which rather fancily pipes the egg mixture back into the whites.  They were rather good, a good mix of creamy and spicy, which is just as well, as I had to eat them.

If you would like to make these eggs, you will need:

12 large eggs (or however many you want to make
and adjust other ingredients accordingly)
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons mustard
a good pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
3 drops tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons boiling water

Bring water to the boil in a saucepan, and add the eggs to it one by one.  Boil the eggs for one minute, then switch off the heat and leave the eggs to sit in the saucepan for 12 minutes.  Fill a bowl with ice cold water and transfer the eggs to that bowl, and leave to sit for 15 minutes before peeling the eggs.

Halve each egg lengthways and gently remove the yolk.  Put the yolks into a mixing bowl.  Choose 18 of the best looking white-halves and place them on a serving platter (you need more yolks than whites).

Add the mayonnaise, mustard, salt, paprika and tabasco to the egg yolks and mash them all together before blending with a stick blender to combine thoroughly.  Ass as much of the boiling water as is required to bring the yolk mixture to piping consistency.

Put the yolk mixture into a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe the yolk mixture into the cavity of each white, and sprinkle each one with extra paprika.


Friday, December 25, 2020

Seasons Greetings

 From me, my family and friends to you, your family and friends, wishing you all the very best for a very merry Christmas and the holiday season!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Ottolenghi’s Spicy Nuts

 Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way
Christmas in Australia on a scorching summer’s day ...
The final item in this year’s Christmas boxes is Spiced Nuts, from an Ottolenghi recipe.

These nuts are made with 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper, so they pack a punch. They’d be great with a cold beer by the barbie, with seafood sizzling away.

If spicy nuts with kick are your jam, you will need:

380g of mixed nuts
80g pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves only
2 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees.

Put all of the ingredients except the pepper and cayenne together in a roasting tray and stir to combine. Roast for 15-17 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the nuts turn dark brown. Remove the nuts from the oven, stir through the pepper and cayenne. 

Allow the nuts to cool in the tray, stirring from time to time. 

Serve with a coldie!

Monday, December 21, 2020

Gingerbread Buche de Noel

There is no Tuesday with Dorie scheduled for this week, so instead, I will share my Gingerbread Buche de Noel that I made from Baking Chez Moi for my choir’s end of year  lunch.

I  made this recipe for TWD in 2014, so it is fun to revisit it all these years later.

This is the gingerbread sponge roll pre-filling:

and being rolled up with the pecan praline-studded filling inside:

and the snowy-frosting coated, praline studded final product:

It was just as big a hit now as it was then. I only have a photo of a half slice:

However, you can see all the marvellous complexities of this dessert.

If you are keen to try it and don’t have the book, the recipe is online here.

Sunday, December 20, 2020


 I need no gift beneath the Christmas tree this year
Christmas with you is all I truly need my dear.
                                                   Deborah Cheetham, "Christmas with You"  

During this year of virtual everything, ABC Classic Radio commissioned Yorta Yorta woman, Deborah Cheetam AO, to write a new Christmas carol to be recorded by a virtual choir.  The wonderful result is Christmas with You, which 1,500 people from around the world sang as a virtual choir.  You can find the video here.  I was very proud to be part of this project as a soprano (not my usual singing part but this one was within my range and I liked that part the best). 

On the topic of Christmas, another addition to my Christmas boxes this year was gingerbread, made from the recipe in the November 2020 issue of the Australian Women's Weekly. I didn't have dark brown sugar so my gingerbread don't have the same burnished hue as theirs, but they tasted great.

I decorated the gingerbread with rolled fondant that was stencilled with some beautiful Australian Christmas themed stencils by Berry Sweet from Miss Biscuit, that I airbrushed on.  I figured that having invested in an airbrush earlier in the year, I was going to make the most of it!  I also sprinkled the biscuits with some edible gold glitter.  

If you would like to try the gingerbread recipe, you will need:

350g plain flour
100g brown sugar
100g dark muscavado sugar
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
115g cold butter, chopped
87g (1/4 cup) golden syrup
1 egg

In a food processor, place the flour, sugars, baking powder and spices and pulse to combine.

Add the butter, and pulse to combine.  Add the golden syrup and 1 egg, and process together until the mixture the dough just comes together.  

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead until the dough is smooth and the same colour throughout.  Wrap the dough in clingfilm and refrigerate for an hour.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it to a 6mm thickness on a floured bench or between two pieces of baking paper.  Cut out desired shapes and place onto a baking tray lined with baking paper.   Re-roll the scraps and keep cutting out shapes until all the dough has been used.

Bake the biscuits in the preheated oven  for 12 minutes or until the biscuits are firm to the touch, rotating the trays front to back and top to bottom if you bake more than one tray at once.  Remove the trays from the oven and allow the gingerbread to cool completely on the trays.

Decorate as desired.  I rolled out fondant and cut out shapes the same size as the biscuits, and using a paintbrush dipped in water, lightly moistened the top of each biscuit and pressed the fondant shape gently on top.  After the fondant had dried, I stencilled the biscuits using an airbrush and red and green airbrush colours, then before the colour dried, lightly sprinkled edible glitter on the top of each biscuit for that festive shine.


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

TWD - Mint Chocolate Sables

 I’ll be home for Christmas, you can plan on me ... (Bing Crosby)

For the last Tuesday with Dorie for this year, I made Mint Chocolate Sables. They are what they say on the tin, and they are good.

My only warning is not to go too heavy on the peppermint flavour, unless toothpaste is your jam. I probably went a little too subtle, but the mint flavour was definitely there.

These biscuits get their chocolate flavour from both chopped chocolate and cocoa. They are dark and rich.

Served with a scoop of peppermint chip icecream, these biscuits are da bomb.

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

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Toblerone Brownies

Have yourself a merry little Christmas (Judy Garland, Meet Me in St Louis)

On the weekend, I had a friend over for Christmas lunch. I kept it simple - cheese and dips and olives and crackers to start, roast chicken and vegetables for main, and for dessert, a delightfully rich Toblerone brownie from the Coles magazine.

This brownie has an awful lot of chocolate in it, so it’s not for the faint-hearted:

 However, I knew that my friend loves brownies, so I was on a winner.

To make these brownies, you will need:

125g butter, chopped

180g dark chocolate, chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

220g brown sugar

2 eggs

150g plain flour

35g sifted cocoa powder

450g Toblerone bars, chopped (I bought one big one, the recipe calls for 9 x 50g bars)

125ml cream (not light cream)

20g toasted flaked almonds

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease and line a 20cm square cake tin, with paper overhanging the sides as a handle to release the brownies.

Put the butter, chopped dark chocolate, vanilla and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring,  until melted and smooth. Allie the mixture to cool slightly then ehisk in the eggs.

Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour, cocoa and 150g Toblerone, them scrape the batter into the prepared tin.

Bake the brownies for 45-50 minutes or until cooked through.  Allow the brownies to cool completely in the tin.

To make the topping, put the cream in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the cream thickens slightly.

Add 150g Toblerone to the cream snd stir until the chocolate is melted and has combined with the cream. Pour the topping over the cooled brownie in the tin. Allow the topping to cool slightly before sprinkling the top of the brownies with the remaining 150g Toblerone and toasted flaked almonds.

Put the brownie in the fridge to cool for 2 hours. To serve, run a knife around the edge of the tin to release the brownies, lift them out of the tin using the baking paper handles, and cut the brownie into 16 squares.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Rum and Raisin Fudge

 Another Christmas box item for this year is Rum and Raisin Fudge. I wanted to include fudge as one of the sweets in my boxes, and rum and raisin is a winning flavour combination.

I used this Australian Women’s Weekly recipe for my fudge. It was easy to make, with no need for a thermometer.

This fudge is rich and decadent - a small piece is enough. The rich chocolate flavour is offset nicely by the rum-soaked raisins.

To make this fudge, you will need:

1 cup raisins
2 tablespoons rum
395g can condensed milk
125g butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons golden syrup
150g chopped milk chocolate

Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin.

Put the rum and raisins in a small bowl and soak for 10 minutes.

Put the condensed milk, chopped butter, brown sugar and golden syrup in a medium saucepan. Stir over low heat until combined, then bring to the boil. Boil for 10 minutes, stirring constantly .

Stir through the chopped chocolate and raisin mixture.  Remove from the heat and scrape the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Smoothe the top.

Allow the fudge to cool for 6 hours at room temperature before cutting into squares.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

TWD - Raisin Bars

 This week’s Tuesday with Dorie (Dorie’s Cookies) recipe is Raisin Bars. The name of these bars is not inspiring, but don’t be put off - they are more like a fruit crumble.

When baking, the oats snd brown sugar in these bars smells heavenly:

The dough also contains chopped almonds, so it has plenty of tecture:

The same dough forms the base and topping of these bars.

I could not resist serving one of these bars warm with icecream.

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