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Laws of the Kitchen





Updated: 2017-12-11T14:14:37.265+11:00

 



Ottolenghi's winter spiced cheesecake with marmalade glaze

2017-12-09T08:36:19.237+11:00

In The Guardian recently, I spied an interesting sounding recipe for Winter Spiced Cheesecake with Marmalade Glaze by Yotam Ottolenghi.  The cheesecake was interesting because it contains sweet potato; yep, you read it correctly, sweet potato.Being a sucker for anything a little unusual, of course I tried it:As you can see, these cheesecake is a glorious orange colour, and the base has a wonderful earthiness about it from the toasted almonds and sesame seeds.  Don't skip the marmalade glaze - the filling of the cheesecake is not overly sweet, so the glaze gives the cheesecake a delightful sweet hit.To make this cheesecake, you will need:550g sweet potatoes cut in half lengthways60g hard amaretti biscuits (I used morning coffee biscuits)60g Hobnob biscuits (I used Graham crackers)60g roasted almonds, roughly chopped10g toasted sesame seeds½ tsp ground cinnamon½ tsp ground nutmeg70g melted butter300g cream cheese (I used light cream cheese)250g mascarpone90g icing sugar3 tbsp lemon juice2 tsp vanilla bean essence140g fine-shred marmalade 3 tbsp maple syrupPreheat your oven to 210 degrees Celsius. Line a round 23cm spring-form pan with baking paper.Line  an oven tray with baking paper and put the sweet potatoes cut side down on it.  Roast the potatoes for 30-50 minutes until soft. Scoop out the potato flesh, discarding the skins, and process in a food processor until smooth.  Refrigerate until cold.Put the biscuits in a food processor and blitz until fine crumbs form. Mix with the almonds, sesame seeds, spices and butter, then press into the base of the springform pan to form an even layer. Chill in the fridge. Yotam Ottolenghi’s lasagne recipes Read more In a stand mixer, beat the cooled sweet potato with the cream cheese, mascarpone, icing sugar, two tablespoons of lemon juice and a teaspoon of vanilla until smooth. Spread the filling evenly over the biscuit base, then refrigerate overnight or until set.Bring the marmalade, maple syrup and the remaining lemon juice and vanilla to the boil in a small saucepan and stir for two minutes until the mixture thickens slightly. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.Release the cheesecake from the pan, discard the paper, and pour the cooled marmalade mix evenly over the top of the cheesecake. Refrigerate again for 10 minutes, then serve.[...]



TWD - Princeton Gingersnaps

2017-12-09T08:23:12.078+11:00


Last Thursday night, I went to see Culture Club at Rod Laver Arena.  I was too young to see them live when they were in their heyday, so it was a perfect opportunity to make up for lost time.  There were also two other 80s bands - Eurogliders (of Heaven Must Be There fame) and Thompson Twins' Tom Bailey.  I could not have named one Thompson Twins' song, but  when Tom Bailey sang Hold Me Now, I recognised it instantly.

Boy George's audience engagement was above average, with plenty of audience banter.  I love the fact that he used a number of very English phrases, like "tough bird", "a right old strop" and "go mental".  I know what these phrases mean, but they are not used that much in Australia.  It was fun to see the old Culture Club film clips playing in the background, reminding us all of just how much life we have lived since the early 80s.

Today's Tuesday with Dorie recipe (Dorie's Cookies) is Princeton Gingersnaps, which reminded me of another blast from the past, Arnotts Gingernut Cookies.  These cookies have a triple ginger hit - crystallised ginger, fresh ginger and ground ginger.  They are perfect to eat on their own or dunked in a cup of tea.   

I enjoyed the fact that these cookies were crispy on the outside and soft in the middle.  They baked up perfectly round from a ball, which impressed me no end.

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



Loreto Christmas Cake

2017-12-02T17:10:36.512+11:00

It is December already, and Christmas is almost here.  I have had a busier than usual year, so I am not as organised as I can be for Christmas preparations.  I have changed jobs, signed a contract to buy an apartment after months of weekends dedicated to the search, participated in a tap dancing concert at The Palais (a big theatre in Melbourne) with everything that leads up to that (classes, dress rehearsals, making costumes etc), danced at Luna Park for Melbourne Tap Week before that, participated on a professional committee, given a professional seminar presentation, attended a number of concerts (most recently Culture Club last Thursday night, and Paul McCartney is coming up next week), and baked and blogged my heart out.Here is a happy snap from backstage at the tap concert - fittingly our class were dressed as layer cakes for one number:This year, I made a conscious decision not to make a Christmas cake or a Christmas pudding.  I have decided just to make cookies and sweets for a change, although today, I did make some peach jam using Maggie Beer's recipe again, this time with a teaspoon of cinnamon and a couple of shots of whiskey added.However, a few years back, I made a Christmas cake from Loreto Cooks, given to me by my friends Steve and Craig.  Steve was recently made mayor of Stonnington, his local council area - congratulations Steve! I took a photo of the Loreto Christmas Cake, but never blogged about it, so I figure that given that I did not make a cake this year, it is a good time to share this cake from Christmas past.  You still have time to make a Christmas cake if you want to!To make the Loreto Christmas Cake (recipe by Linda George at p180 of Loreto Cooks), you will need:500g raisins125g mixed peel125g glace cherries125g blanched almonds500g sultanas125g currants125g dates1 orange, juice and rind4 tablespoons brandy315g plain flour250g butter250g brown sugar5 eggs1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda1 teaspoon nutmeg1/2 teaspoon salt1 1/2 tablespoons mixed spice1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamonCut the fruit into small pieces, and place into a large bowl with the nuts.  Add the orange juice, rind and brandy to the bowl and soak for a few days, stirring daily (overnight is probably enough!).Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.  Line a 23cm square cake tin with one layer of baking paper and three layers of brown paper.Mix half the flour with the fruit and nut mixture.In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy.  Beat in the eggs one by one, beating well between each addition.  Sift the other half of the flour with the remaining dry  ingredients into a separate bowl.  Alternately fold the flour and fruit and nut mixture into the egg mixture until well combined.Scoop the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin, then bake for three to three and a half hours, reducing the temperature of the oven if necessary during the cooking process.  If the top of the cake starts getting too brown before it is finished cooking, place a foil "tent" over the top of the cake to protect the cake from burning on top.Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the tin on a wire rack.Store the cake wrapped in fresh baking paper and aluminium foil in a cool dark place until Christmas.  You may optionally ice the cake with royal icing or marzipan and fondant, but it is good as is.  Slice into small pieces and serve.[...]



Cheat's Chicken Paella

2017-11-29T20:07:48.390+11:00


On page 56 of the October Coles Mag, there was a recipe for Cheat's Chicken Paella.  It looked and sounded so good, I could not resist.  It was so much easier than regular paella.

I was not disappointed by the results.  Although perhaps not the same as a traditional paella, it is close enough and tastes very good.

Interested in giving this a try?  If so, you will need:

4 chicken thigh fillets, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
400g can diced tomatoes
500g microwaveable brown rice
500g frozen stir fry vegetables

Combine the chicken and seasoning in a bowl and set aside.

Heat a non-stick frying pan and cook the chicken. 

Add the tomatoes to the pan and bring to a simmer. 

Stir in the rice and vegetables, and cook until both the rice and vegetables are heated through.



TWD - Desert Roses

2017-11-28T05:00:18.132+11:00


This week's Tuesday's with Dorie recipe is Desert Roses.  These are a melt and mix concoction comprised of cornflakes, dried fruits and nuts bound together with butter and chocolate.

There's not much to say about these.  They reminded me a little of fruit and nut chocolate with cornflakes for crispiness.  Dorie describes the Desert Roses as "candies", and that's pretty much what they are.

I made a quarter batch of desert roses - I had no idea what I'd do with 40 of them, and 340g of chocolate is a big investment in one recipe for a full batch.  They were delicious, but not so wonderful that I would hurry to make them again. 

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



Becco Italian Restaurant, Melbourne

2017-11-26T08:07:52.126+11:00

A few weeks ago, Tim took me out for a belated birthday dinner to Becco, a modern Italian restaurant hidden in a laneway off Bourke Street behind Pellegrinis.  I had not heard of Becco until Tim booked this dinner, but it is I have since learned a well known and loved Melbourne restaurant.  On the night that we attended, a ringing endorsement of this restaurant arrived in the form of celebrity chef Guy Grossi and his family, who came to dine at Becco just before we left.  Guy of course owns his own Italian restaurant, so the fact that he attended another Italian restaurant for dinner is a stamp of approval indeed.On arrival, we ordered champagne cocktails ($18):For starter, we ordered one of the specials, stuffed zucchini flowers with raddichio salad: This starter was light and delicious.For main, Tim ordered the Tagliata- Rare Grilled Porterhouse (200gm) Salsa Verde, Roasted Onion and Capers ($41):I wanted to be adventurous and try something that I have never had before, and which is undoubtedly Italian - Veal Saltimbocca with Prosciutto, Parmesan, Sage and White Wine Reduction ($39):This dish was really moist and tasty, and I was glad that I took the opportunity to try it.  It's a dish I'd order again.For sides, we ordered the sautéed spinach with chilli ($12) and the buttery mash ($9):No meal is complete without dessert, and this one was no exception. Tim ordered the hot apple pie with warm anglaise ($19), as he had heard good things about it:He was not disappointed.I ordered a daily special, a peach and raspberry crostata:It was delicious, with the fruity filling being quite refreshing, and the crumb on the side adding a pleasing texture.The service at Becco was friendly and efficient, adding to the overall terrific evening that we had at Becco.Becco11-25 Crossley StreetMelbourne VIC 3000Ph: (03) 9663 3000[...]



Golden Harvest Slice

2017-11-24T09:04:25.141+11:00

This month's Red Tractor calendar recipe is Golden Harvest Slice.  The name of this recipe really appealed to me and I had high hopes for it.  It comprises a buttery base topped with fruit and nuts.The harvest theme of the recipe goes well with the quote of the month:However, this slice was just a bit meh for me.  OK, I didn't have any dried apricots as called for in the recipe, and I forgot to add the almonds in the topping.  However, I am still not sure that these ingredients would have changed my mind in the finished product.   I also made an oopsy in forgetting to add self raising flour instead of plain flour in the topping.  Perhaps that would have made me like it better, but it wouldn't overcome the crumbly base and very sweet topping. I made this slice for our tap class picnic, along with a beautiful Gerard's Mustard Tart from Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table:We were going to eat our picnic in the gardens at St Kilda after our dress rehearsal and before the big concert, but it stormed, so we ate it in the cramped conditions behind the stage at the theatre where we were to perform that evening.If you would like to try Golden Harvest Slice, you will need:Base1 1/2 cups flour1/2 cup brown sugar125g cold butterCombine the flour and sugar in a food processor, then pulse in the butter.  Press into a greased 20cm x 30cm slice tin.Topping40g softened butter2 tablespoons brown sugar1/4 cup self raising flour1/4 cup brandy90 g chopped dates90g sultanas90g chopped dried apricots90g sliced raw almondsMix the butter, brown sugar, brandy, flour and golden syrup together.  Stir in the fruit and nuts.Spoon the topping over the base, and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes.Remove the slice from the oven and allow to cool in the tin on a rack.  Cut into squares.  http://kitchenlaw.blogspot.com.au/2010/10/ffwd-gerards-mustard-tart.html?m=1[...]



TWD - Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Dulce de Leche Filling

2017-11-21T05:00:17.268+11:00



It's Thanksgiving on Thursday in the US, so the time is right for the Dorie's Cookies bakers to make pumpkin whoopie pies with dulce de leche filling.  These are light, spongy cakes, studded with cranberries, and in the recipe, filled with marshmallow crème and dulce de leche.

I made some changes to the recipe.  First, fresh cranberries are pretty nigh impossible to get here, so I used dried cranberries.  Also, marshmallow crème is not something that is easy to get here, so I substituted cream cheese frosting for the filling. (My frosting is oozing out because I had to fill the whoopee pies while they were still warm.)

As these whoopee pies are baked in muffin tins, they do not have the lovely domed shape of normal whoopee pies. However, don't hold that against them.  These whoopee pies are light and fluffy and scrumptious.  I am glad that I only made half a batch, as it would be easy to eat more than one!

To see what the other Dorie bakers made, visit the LYL section of the Tuesdays with Dorie website.



Curtis Stone's Sausage and Asparagus Pasta

2017-11-16T05:00:00.161+11:00

In another delve into the supermarket magazines, I chose to make Curtis Stone's pasta with sausages and asparagus from the October 2017 Coles magazine.  As a disclaimer to my comments, I am not a huge pasta fan or a huge sausage fan.  So, you may ask, why did you choose to make this?  Well, because it sounded quick and easy and a good thing to make to  take to work for lunch.Don't get me wrong - this pasta was OK, and I think it got better as the week went by.  I think part of my indifference to it stemmed from the sausages that I used (Woolworths beef, garlic and rosemary sausages; sacrilege, I know, when the recipe calls for Coles Beef Oregano and Parsley Sausages). I think plain old beef sausages would have been better.If pasta is your thing and you like sausages, then this would be a great quick and easy dinner.The recipe is as follows:1 tablespoon olive oil500g beef sausages (I am agnostic as to which ones you use)2 chopped cloves garlic1 1/3 cups passata250g large spiral pasta1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 4cm pieces20g grated parmesanRemove the sausage meat from the casings and break into small chunks.Heat the oil in a frypan and cook the sausage meat until golden brown.  Add the garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant.  reduce the heat and add the passata.  Simmer and cook for 2 minutes or until the passata reduces slightly.While the sausage is cooking, cook the pasta according to the packet.  During the last 2 minutes of cooking time, add the asparagus. Drain the pasta and reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid.Add the pasta and asparagus to the sauce and toss to combine, then add 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking liquid to the sauce to thin it out.  Season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with parmesan and serve.[...]



TWD - Brown Sugar Tart

2017-11-14T05:00:07.158+11:00


For Tuesday with Dorie this week, I made Brown Sugar Tart.  As described by Dorie, it is like pecan pie filling without the pecans plus bacon.


As Dorie also mentioned, this tart is sweet - super sweet.

The jury is out for me on this tart.  I didn't like it while still slightly warm - it was very egg custardy at that stage.  Once cold or room temperature, this tart was OK, although the bacon in it was not my favourite thing.  You need something to take away from the toothe-aching sweetness of the filling, but I am not sure that bacon is my preference for doing so.

This one was also not a favourite with the punters at work, and a few forlorn pieces were still left when I headed for home.

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



Curtis Stone's Stir Fried Rice Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables

2017-11-11T05:00:16.425+11:00

I am sometimes  lost for inspiration as to what to cook.  If left to my own devices, I could slip into a routine of my fallback stir fry, roasts and grilled meats.  For that reason, I love getting the supermarket magazines and flicking through for ideas before I shop for the week.The October 2017 Coles magazine has a very yummy recipe for stir-fried rice noodles with chicken and vegetables by Curtis Stone.  I wasn't quite sure about this recipe when I chose it as it uses chicken mince (not one of my favourite things generally), but the combination of flavours and textures transforms the chicken mince into something delicious.   Curtis says that the chilli garlic (siracha) sauce is optional, but for me, it made the dish.This dish is quick and easy to make, and uses sauces that I already had in the pantry.To make it, you will need:1/4 cup oyster sauce 2 tablespoons soy sauce1 tablespoon siracha sauce150g pad thai noodles2 tablespoons olive oil500g chicken mince120g sliced button mushrooms1 carrot sliced into matchsticks1 thinly sliced brown onionWhisk the sauces and 2 tablespoons of water together in a small bow, and set aside.Cook the noodles in salted boiling water for ~ 5 minutes, rinse under cold water and drain.Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frypan or wok.  Cook the mince in the pan until browned, breaking it up as you go. Transfer the mince to a plate.Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan, and when the  oil is smoking, add the mushrooms, carrot and onion and stir fry until the mushrooms are tender.  Stir in the chicken mince and the sauce, and combine well.  Toss the noodles through the mixture and stir until heated through.Serve in large bowls garnished with chopped spring onions (if desired).[...]



Fish Curry with Ginger and Turmeric

2017-11-09T05:00:09.602+11:00

The dish in the photo to this post may not look like much, but it is one of the most delicious fish curries I have had in a long time.The recipe comes from the Woolworths magazine for October 2017 (p80).  I have made a number of fish curries with coconut milk which seem to taste like coconut.  This curry uses Greek yoghurt instead, and all the other flavours shone through.The original recipe did not include any vegetables other than onion and chilli; I added frozen vegetables to the curry to make it more of a one pot dish.The use of curry powder gives the curry a pleasant kick of flavour.To make this curry, you will need:750g skinless barramundi fillets (I used half this amount!)200g Greek yoghurt2 teaspoons turmeric2 crushed cloves of garlic3cm piece of ginger, grated1 tablespoon oil (I just used olive oil, recipe says coconut oil)1 sliced brown onion1 tablespoon curry powder (I used Keen's mild)2 sliced green chillies (I used just one)coriander to serve (optional)Cut the fish into large chunks.  In a large ceramic bowl, combine the yoghurt, turmeric, garlic and ginger.  Coat the fish with the yoghurt mixture and allow to marinate for 15 minutes.Heat the oil in a fry pan or wok.  Add the onion and cook until softened.  (Also add 1 cup frozen vegetables here if using.) Stir in the curry powder and cook for 1 minute.  Add 1/4 cup water and stir well.Add the fish and marinade to the pan, and bring to a simmer.  Scatter over the chillies, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.Garnish with coriander (optional), and serve with brown rice (and steamed asparagus for me!).[...]



TWD - Kerrin's Multigrain Chocolate Chip Cookies

2017-11-07T05:00:06.129+11:00


This month, our first recipe pick from Dorie's Cookies is Kerrin's Multigrain Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I know that Mardi will be pleased - she has consistently voted for these for months.

These cookies are "multigrain" because the recipe calls for whole wheat flour, buckwheat flour and kasha.  Mine are a little less multigrain, as I subbed the buckwheat flour for the cornmeal that we had to buy for Dorie's recipes a while back, and I subbed the kasha for ground almonds.  The reasons for these substitutions are practical - use up what you have and don't buy even more packets of  unusual ingredients to languish in the pantry with the existing ones.

Despite my substitutions, these cookies were delicious.  I accidentally made a full batch, but they will not go to waste.  They are simply delish!

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



Shannon Bennett's Famous Raspberry Cheesecake

2017-10-31T08:19:01.670+11:00


Tim is a huge fan of raspberries and white chocolate, so when the cover of this month's Delicious magazine featured a raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake recipe from Shannon Bennett, I knew that I had found Tim's birthday cake.

This luscious creation had a base of crushed Anzac biscuits. I could only find school lunch box packs of Anzacs, so I opted for ginger nuts instead. I also halved the raspberries because hey, raspberries are expensive! Otherwise I followed the recipe, with lashings of cream cheese and sour cream, combined with melted white chocolate and bejewelled with fresh raspberries.

I made myself a mini cheesecake so I could try it too.  As expected, this cheesecake is scrumptious!

If you are a fan of raspberries and white chocolate or just love cheesecake, then this recipe is definitely worth making.



The mini!



Dinner by Heston, Melbourne

2017-10-29T09:08:37.147+11:00

For Tim's birthday last week, I took him for lunch at Dinner by Heston.  As you can guess, Dinner by Heston is a restaurant associated with Heston Blumenthal.  It is situated on Level 3 of Crown Towers in Southbank, Melbourne.The entrance to Dinner by Heston is a long dark passage.  At the end is what looks like a black wall, but just when you think you won't get in, that black wall slides back to reveal the interior of Dinner by Heston.  We were greeted by two friendly staff members, one of whom showed us to our table. Shortly afterwards, we were greeted at our table by a French sommelier, from whom we ordered two glasses of French pink sparkling wine. A short time later, a waiter brought over this lovely dark bread with a delightfully chewy crust:There was a five course tasting menu ($160 per person), but we decided to go with main and dessert from the a la carte menu.  All of the dishes are inspired by a particular historical time.Tim ordered the roast duck breast with beetroot and chard from the 1600s ($58):I ordered the roast quail with confit butternut pumpkin, pumpkin puree, spiced crumb and chard ($56) from the 1860s:These meals looked deceptively small, but were very filling.  The quail was soft and melted off the bones - no need to "chew the bones" to get all of the meat.For sides ($14 each), we ordered the carrot with caraway, which was beautifully sweet and caramelised, and a favourite of mine:and the green beans with almonds:We drank glasses of shiraz from the extensive wine list to accompany the mains. Next came dessert.  Tim went for the lamington ($32): This lamington was not made of cake and coconut - the centre of the lamington was a creamy smooth mousse filled with raspberry jam and resting on a chocolate ganache foundation, and covered with grated milk chocolate:I went for the signature dessert, the Tipsy Cake:This was a lovely buttery brioche, swimming in a boozy "tipsy" sauce, with roasted pineapple on the side.We skipped the coffee as there were no flat whites or cappuccinos =- we didn't understand the coffee menu at all.The meal finished with a complementary chocolate pot each:The service at Heston was friendly and efficient.  I loved the "steam punk" atmosphere, the fact that I was seated where I could see the kitchen staff cooking through the viewing window, and that we had a window table with an expansive view of the Yarra River.Dinner by Heston was a special experience which I enjoyed very much.Dinner by HestonLevel 3 Crown TowersCrown Melbourne8 Whiteman StreetSouthbank VIC 3006Ph:  (03) 9292 5779[...]



Red Tractor October - Moroccan Couscous Salad

2017-10-26T05:00:10.789+11:00

October's Red Tractor calendar recipe is Moroccan Couscous Salad.  It is Moroccan spiced couscous containing lots of vegetables, which is what I think inspired the quote of the month:This salad was easy to make and quite tasty.  Add a can of tuna and you have a complete meal.The recipe is as follows (I made half):2 cups cooked couscous750g sweet potato, peeled and cubed1 tablespoon olive oil1 heaped teaspoon Moroccan seasoning (I used harissa)420g can chickpeas, drained1/2 cup currants (I forgot these)1/2 cup lightly toasted pepitas100g coarsely chopped rocket leaves (I used a spinach and rocket mix)1 cup chopped parsley (I left this out)1/2 cup chopped mint (I also left this out)Dressing:Juice and zest of 2 large lemons1/2 cup olive oil1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (I used orange vinegar)1 tablespoon honey1/2 teaspoon saltPreheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.  Line an oven tray with baking paper.  Toss the sweet potato in the olive oil and Moroccan seasoning, place on the baking tray, and bake for 30-40 minutes until soft and caramelised.Fluff up the couscous with a fork, then toss through the remaining salad ingredients.Out the dressing ingredients into a screw top glass jar and shake until combined.  Use the dressing to dress the salad.  Add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.[...]



TWD - Babas au Rhum

2017-10-24T05:00:27.207+11:00



This week's Tuesday with Dorie (Baking Chez Moi) recipe is Babas au Rhum.  These are little yeasted cakes that are soaked in rum syrup and filled with whipped cream.

I didn't know what rum baba was until about 10 years ago, when a work friend of mine introduced me to them at Brunettis as her favourite thing.

I made a half recipe to end up with six babas.  They were easy enough to make, but there were a lot of steps and three separate components to make (babas, syrup, filling).

In the syrup, I used Cointreau instead of oranges as I didn't have an orange, so I thought orange liqueur would be the next best thing.

These babas pleasantly surprised me - they were moist and soft and definitely rum-tasting. I have had some hard and dry store-bought babas, so these are infinitely preferable - just a lot more time consuming.

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



TWD - Crumb-Topped Apple Bars

2017-10-17T05:00:02.523+11:00

When I was in Grade 5 at school, we started doing lecturettes for assessment in class.  Sometimes, our teacher (whose name really was Wally) would select a theme and hand us each a random topic in keeping with that theme.  For example, when the theme was famous people in history, I drew Houdini and inexplicably swapped him with a classmate for the far less exotic George Stephenson.  Other times, we could choose our own topic.  I was most impressed by a lecturette given by a boy named David, who chose to deliver a lecturette on the Australian apple industry.  He stood there calmly peeling an apple the whole time, and managed to peel it without breaking the chain.  Some might find that distracting, but I thought it was the cleverest device ever, and I wanted to emulate it (but never did get the chance).David's lecturette on apples came to mind while I was peeling apples for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, Crumb-Topped Apple Bars (or in the Australian vernacular, apple crumble slice).This slice comprised a biscuit base, made easily in the food processor, topped with chopped Granny Smith apples, sultanas and chopped walnuts.  The sultanas and nuts were optional, but being a streudel loving girl, there is no way that I was going to leave them out.  The bars are then topped with a shortbread crumb made from the same dough as the base, and baked until golden brown. These bars are not 15 minute wonders - the baking time alone was over an hour.  However, the end result is well worth it for these buttery, fruity, scrumptious bars.  For me, we were back onto a winner this week.To see what the other Dorie bakers made and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.[...]



TWD - Moka Dupont

2017-10-10T05:00:15.312+11:00


This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Moka Dupont, a type of chocolate biscuit cake.  It is named after a Madame Duponte, who apparently first made this cake, and the "moka" is from "mocha" for the coffee flavoured syrup that the biscuits are dunked in. 


I used Arnott's Milk Coffee Biscuits, as they seemed the closest match to those that Dorie used in the recipe.  The coffee soaked biscuits are coated with a grainy chocolate buttercream that is firmed up with an egg.  It chills for three hours after assembly before serving.



This dessert tasted OK.  I didn't love it, as it was just syrup soaked biscuits glued together with buttercream, but it was OK.

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



TWD - French Snacklettes

2017-10-03T05:00:00.135+11:00


This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is French Snacklettes.  That is the polite term for them - Dorie describes them as "nuggets".   I'll leave it up to you how to describe them, but they are little sandy chocolate cookies containing ground up almonds and chunks of chocolate.

The full recipe makes 60 cookies - I opted to quarter the recipe and got around 18 cookies.

These cookies are OK - not exciting, but very easy to make.  All you need is a food processor and your own two hands to fashion these cookies for baking.

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



Felicity Cloake's Perfect No-Bake Cheesecake

2017-09-29T10:09:51.034+10:00

I love Felicity Cloake's "The Perfect ..." baking columns in The Guardian, and look for them each Thursday.  Last week, Felicity's recipe was for The Perfect No-Bake Cheesecake.For those not familiar with Felicity's column, she chooses a different baked (or in this case, non-baked) good each week, and tries out different recipes.  Felicity then selects what she thinks are the best elements from her experiments with other recipes, and puts together her own recipe which she deems to be "the perfect" version of that item.This no-bake cheesecake unusually has a cornflake crumb crust, which I have never worked with before.   I really enjoyed the cornflake flavour, but did find that the base became a little soggy over time - this is definitely one to be eaten as soon as possible.The ricotta and cream cheese filling was silky smooth, but a little blander than the no-bake cheesecakes that I am used to from the Philadelphia cream cheese packets.  It really is a vehicle for the topping - I used Duncan Hines cherry pie filling just because I had it, but fresh fruit would be lovely.  I was surprised that the cheesecake set very nicely without gelatine. I enjoyed Felicity's cheesecake recipe, but I don't think it will replace my usual no-bake recipe based on cream cheese, which is denser but has a bit more tang.[...]



TWD - Simplest Plum Tart

2017-09-26T21:39:23.656+10:00


This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Simplest Plum Tart.

It is what it says on the tin - a tart shell sprinkled with biscuit crumbs to soak up the juices from the plums that fill it, and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.



I had to use tinned plums as it is a long time before plum season here.  This meant that my tart was not as pretty as it would have been with fresh fruit,  but it was still good.

I found this tart perhaps a little too plain to be a favourite, but it disappeared promptly at work, so I'll take that as a tick of approval.

To see what everyone else made this week, visit the Tuesday with Dorie website.



Wattleseed Blinis - Red Tractor September

2017-09-26T21:30:07.211+10:00

This month's recipe from my Red Tractor calendar is Wattleseed Blinis.   As the name suggests, these blinis are flavoured with wattleseed, from the native wattle tree.  Wattleseed gives a mild coffee flavour. Here is the calendar quote for this month, appropriately referencing the wattle:These blinis were easy to make, but don't taste as good as my favourite blini recipe.  The wattleseed is a novel flavour that you could add to any blini recipe.To make these blinis, you will need:1 tablespoon wattleseeds 1 cup plain flour1 tablespoon sugar3 teaspoons baking powder1 pinch salt2/3 cup milk1 egg 50g melted buttermashed avocado and smoked salmon to top the blinisToast the wattleseed in a frypan and grind in a mortar and pestle.Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and wattleseed in a large bowl.  Combine the egg and milk in a jug, then whisk into the dry ingredients, then half the melted butter.Rest the mixture for 30 minutes to soften the wattleseed.Heat a large frying pan, then brush the pan with some of the remaining melted butter.  Drop two teaspoons of batter into the frypan for each blini (don't overcrowd the pan), and cook until bubbles appear on the surface.  Gently flip each blini and cook the blinis on the other side, and repeat with the rest of the batter.Top the blinis with mashed avocado, smoked salmon and ground pepper to serve.[...]



TWD - Graham Cracker Cookies

2017-09-19T06:57:06.451+10:00


This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Graham Cracker Cookies.  Graham crackers are not something that is sold in Australia, but to me, the taste and texture of these cookies resembled Arnotts Shredded Wheatmeal biscuits.

These cookies were simple to make.  I made a half batch and only froze them for an hour before cutting and baking (instead of three hours).  

I am pleased to have them as next week's Dorie recipe is a tart with a Graham cracker base - that worked well.

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



Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds Cake

2017-09-18T20:09:56.017+10:00

For my birthday this year, I thought it would be apt to make a Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds themed cake, it being 50 years since Sergeant Pepper came out (I am younger than Sergeant Pepper!).  One of my favourite songs on the Sergeant Pepper album is Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, and the imagery that accompanies that song  in the Yellow Submarine movie lends itself well to cake decorating.  In Yellow Submarine, the cartoon Beatles find themselves in the foothills of the headlands, when John strikes up singing Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.  The first image in that song is a woman (presumably Lucy) inside the heads in two different colour schemes.  That is the image I used on my cake, using coloured rolled fondant.I was too lazy to colour my own fondant, so I just used colours that I could buy in the supermarket.  It was interesting the different textures that different brands of fondant had - some was hard to roll out, like elephant hide, while some was very sticky and fragile. I drew on Lucy's features with edible pens.The underlying cake was a chocolate cake recipe that I had not used before from Chocolate Coffee Caramel - A Cook's Book of Decadence.  I chose it because it contained blackberry jam, like Nigella's chocolate cake. Here is the inside of the cake:To make this chocolate cake, you will need:125g butter125g sugar40g icing sugar2 lightly beaten eggs1 teaspoon vanilla extract80g blackberry jam155g self raising flour60g cocoa powder1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda250ml milkPreheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Grease a 20cm round cake tin and line the base with baking paper.Beat the butter and sugars together in a stand mixer until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, vanilla and jam and beat 'til combined. Fold in the sifted flour, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda alternately with the milk in three batches, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Pour the batter into your prepared cake tin and bake for 45 minutes or until cooked through.  Turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool.Decorate as desired once cool.[...]