Oh M Gee! I am so excited! I can feel it- the morning sickness phase is starting to dissipate, oh but I have a nagging suspicion the ferocious appetite and cravings are settling in. The past four weeks have been an absolute *toot* *toot* nightmare! My body has never been assailed with so many unfamiliar aches and pains and ‘praying to the porcelain altar’ three to four times a day is not exactly my idea of fun! Add in heartburn, indigestion and heightened senses which had me screwing up my nose at four brands of shampoo and handwash and a constant bitter taste in my mouth plus extreme fatigue, I HAD IT REAL BAD!
Despite all the groaning, I AM thrilled about becoming a mommy! J has been nothing short of amazing and supportive; all that running around to get a myriad of weird and wonderful foodstuff and being an absorbent shoulder to soak up tears that seem to just burst out from nowhere; raging hormones it seems
So far I have not craved for anything sweet; it’s been savoury all the way until today. My baking mojo has completely flown out the window since we got the good news, so to be able to bake today, albeit the humble muffin is a welcomed change from spending days on end kowtowing to er..said altar..
I had chocolate and frozen raspberries so a quick flick through the pages of my Bourke Street Bakery cookbook and it was decided – Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Muffins which are apparently their best selling muffins. “Warm from the oven when the chocolate is still soft these muffins are a real treat”
Needless to say, I attacked the warm muffins with great relish and if not wanting to run to the loo immediately is any indication, the beginning of the end of morning sickness is near <fingers crossed>
Dark Chocolate and Raspberry Muffins
(from Bourke Street Bakery: The Ultimate Baking Companion)
(makes 12) ~I made 12 regular muffins and 6 jumbo muffins (it’s better in jumbo size)
400 g (14 oz/ 2 2/3 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
300 g (10 1/2 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
310 g (11 oz) unsalted butter
480 ml (16 3/4 fl oz) buttermilk
225 g (8 oz) dark chocolate (55% cocoa), roughly chopped
225 g (8 oz) raspberries, washed
55 g (2 oz/ 1/4 cup) raw (demerara) sugar
icing (confectioners’) sugar, for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 190oC (375oF/Gas 5). Lightly grease two large 6-hole muffin tins and line with paper cases.
- Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and add the sugar, mixing well to combine.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat, then remove from the heat and stir in the buttermilk. Using a whisk, stir in the eggs to combine. Pour over the dry ingredients and whisk to combine – don’t worry if there are still some lumps of flour at this stage. Use a large spoon to gently fold through the chocolate and raspberries.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin holes. Sprinkle the tops with the raw sugar. Reduce the oven temperature to 180oC (350oF/ Gas 4) and bake for 25-30 minutes. It may be necessary to drop the temperature about 10 minutes before the end of baking time if the muffins are starting to brown on top. To test if the muffins are done, push the top gently to feel that is is firm and turn one out of the tray and see that the bottom has coloured.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, before eating. Dust with icing sugar to serve.
Be the first to like.
You may also like:
No I didn’t disappear to some exotic island but sometime after my last entry in May, I found myself hurled into a whirlwind of The Busy; family flew over for an impromptu visit, completing the final hurdle of Cert III Patisserie, birthday and wedding cake orders, and a new small business venture handmaking toys and how that sucked up all my cooking and blogging time. Procrastination soon grew into a permanent molehill; at least until recently when delicious crisp homemade spanish churros zapped me out of my two month foodsze amnesia! These are simple and quick to make; ingredients are minimal but stirring the stiff flour paste and then squeezing it out through a piping bag requires muscles! I had the paste in a disposable plastic piping bag at first and it split before I even got the first squeeze out, so make sure you use a sturdy polyester bag. Dust these deep-fried spanish doughnuts with icing sugar, sprinkle a touch of cinnamon or better still dip them in some luxurious melted chocolate and you’ve saved yourself a trip to San Churros
(adapted from The Cookie and Biscuit Bible)
Makes 8-10 14cm long churros
250 ml water
1 tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt, plus extra for coating
175 g plain flour
1 egg (I used 2 x 60g eggs)
oil, for deep-frying
1/2 lime or lemon
Pour the measured water into a heavy pan, add the sugar and salt and bring to the boil over low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, tip in the flour and beat until smooth (requires quite a bit of strength, the dough should come away from the sides of the pan. Leave to cool slightly for approximately 15 minutes before beating in the eggs)
Beat in the egg(s) (one at a time) until the mixture is smooth and satiny. Set aside.
Heat 5 – 6 cm depth of oil with the lime or lemon in a deep-frying pan to 190oC or until a cube of bread browns in 30-60 seconds.
Pour the batter into a large piping (pastry) bag with a fluted nozzle ( I used a 2 cm star-shaped nozzle). Pipe 7.5 cm strips (I made mine 14 cm long) of batter into the hot oil. (Use a small knife to dislodge the paste from the tip of the nozzle). Fry a few at a time for 3-4 minutes until golden. Remove, drain on kitchen paper and roll in granulated sugar. ( Or you could simply dust with icing sugar, pinch of cinnamon or melt 200 g of good quality chocolate to serve with the churros)
2 people like this post.
You may also like:
I LOVE spices! Particularly those of the indian and middle eastern variety. You can liken my kitchen pantry to a spice bazaar. Having compiled a list (just so I could keep track of what’s in my pantry) I have:-
- Amchur (mango powder)
- Asafoetida (Hing)
- Bay Leaves ( ok, they should be under herbs but I use the dried leaves for home-blended garam masala)
- Black Peppercorns
- Caraway Seeds
- Cardamon Pods (green and black)
- Cayenne Pepper
- Chilli Powder
- Cinnamon (bark, stick and ground)
- Coriander Seeds (whole and ground)
- Cumin Seeds (whole and ground)
- Curry Powders (assorted for meat, poultry and fish)
- Dried Chillies
- Fennel Seeds
- Fenugreek Seeds
- Five Spice
- Garam Masala
- Mustard Seeds
- Nigella Seeds
- Saffron Threads
- Star Anise
So, am I a consummate spice lover? You betcha! With such an array of aromatics, even the simplest dish can be transformed into something magnificent. Take this Turmeric Chicken dish for instance; minimal ingredients and fuss-free cooking - perfect when you can’t be stuffed cooking an elaborate meal. I do love my meat but I can be a very happy vegetarian when there’s such an abundance of spices to liven up some of my favourite pulses (lentils and beans) and vegetables like eggplant, tomatoes, okra, pumpkin, aloo (potatoes), cauliflowers and more!
Whenever I cook with spices, the meal is often a labour of love; I find it all very therapeautic, be it roasting the spices to release their intoxicating perfume and then bashing them into smithers, stewing or braising spice-rich curries, blending up an accompanying chutney or cooling raita with a few spices tossed through and there’s the making of rotis and parathas as well – so warming and comforting.
These lamb koftas are delicious; the flavours of warming spices and green chillies are balanced and yoghurt imparts a tang as well as a tenderising effect on the lamb mince. As winter approaches and my mint leaves are getting punier by the week, a mint and coriander chutney is in order; luckily my coriander patch is thriving robustly. The chutney complements the meaty koftas so well and to complete our meal, I improvised a wholemeal and besan (chickpea flour) roti.
wholemeal and besan (chickepea) flour roti/flat bread
roughly break the koftas to make wrapping easier
Lamb Kofta with Mint & Coriander Chutney
(adapted from ‘A Little Taste of India’)
1 small onion, roughly chopped
5 cm (2 inch) piece of ginger, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 green chillies, seeded and roughly chopped (I used 1 large green chilli)
15 g (1/2 cup) coriander (cilantro) leaves
2 tablespoons thick plain yoghurt (I used greek yoghurt)
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) minced lamb
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin (I toasted cumin seeds and ground them to a powder)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander ( I toasted whole coriander seeds and ground them to a powder)
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
2 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 – 4 tablespoons oil
Blend the onion, ginger, garlic, chopped chilli and the coriander leaves together in a food processor until they form a paste. If you don’t have a food processor, use a mortar and pestle, or finely chop everything together with a knife. Add yoghurt to the paste and mix well.
Put the lamb in a bowl, add the paste and mix by hand, kneading the ingredients into the meat until thoroughly combined. Add all the spices, and the salt and pepper, and mix again to distribute evenly. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours to allow the flavours to develop and also to make the mixture firmer and therefore easier to handle.
Wet your hands and roll small handfuls (about a heaped tablespoon) of the mince mixture into small balls (wetting hands prevents the mixture from sticking to your hands). You should have about 30-40 meatballs (I rolled mine slightly larger)
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan. When hot, but not smoking, add 10 meatballs in a single layer. Brown on all sides by gently shaking the pan for 2 – 3 minutes. Don’t be tempted to turn them over with a spoon or they may break up. Test a kofta by breaking it open. If it is cooked through, there should be no pink meat inside. If the meat is still pink, cook for another minute or two. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining meatballs. Mint and coriander chutney is the perfect accompaniment but other chutneys are also suitable.
Mint and Coriander Chutney
(adapted from ‘A Little Taste of India’)
30 g (1 1/2 cups) mint leaves
30 g (1 1/2 cups) coriander (cilantro) leaves
1 green chilli (small)
1 tablespoon tamarind puree
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons thick plain yoghurt ( greek yoghurt is perfect )
Wash the mint and coriander leaves. Discard any tough stalks but keep the young soft ones for flavour.
Blend all the ingredients together in a blender or food processor, or chop everything finely and pound it together in a mortar and pestle.
Taste the chutney and add more salt if necessary.
Note: If you want a creamier, milder chutney, stir in the yoghurt ( instead of blending it with the other ingredients)
Wholemeal and Besan (Chickpea) Flour Roti
140 g wholemeal flour
60 g plain flour
50 g besan (Chickpea) flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons chilli powder
2 teaspoons oil
125 ml lukewarm/tepid water
Sift the flours, salt and chilli powder into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the oil and water and mix to form a soft pliable dough. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl; cover and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into 4 – 5 balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each dough ball evenly to a circle about 1 – 2 mm thick. Cover with a cloth to prevent dough from drying out.
Heat a non-stick frying pan until hot, cook one roti at a time. Cook each side for 1 minute; turn and cook for a further 1 – 2 minutes (you can press lightly with a tea-towel. It will puff up slightly). Cook until you see a smattering of brown patches on the roti.
Remove the roti and keep warm, wrapped in aluminium foil while you cook the remaining rotis.
Serve warm with a smear or ghee or butter.
3 people like this post.
You may also like:
Warm Ginger Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce, garnished with chopped pistachios
Warm and luscious butterscotch-sauce soaked sticky date pudding; the only consolation for the misery I’ve been feeling (and still do) for the past 2 days. Something I did must have triggered an old neck injury. I can neither look up or down without wincing and turning my head to the left is well, an absolute PAIN IN THE NECK! I’m just resting up now but any more of this pain and it’s a definite trip to the physio.
Neck pain aside, this is a simple but very delicious rendition of Sticky Date Pudding from the pages of ‘COOK’ by Australian Women’s Weekly. However, I did modify the method i.e. creaming the butter and sugar then eggs prior to folding in the date mixture as opposed to the all-in-mixing method of the recipe. I also added a few personal touches like a spoonful of grated ginger to give it a spicy kick, added vanilla extract and a bit more sweetness to the butterscotch sauce and baked it in a 6-cup jumbo muffin pan over a water bath so it’s got that steam-bake action in the oven (for added moistness). The recipe actually mentions baking it in a 20 cm round cake pan; you can do that and cut the cake into slices before drizzling on the butterscotch sauce or you could use dariole moulds for individual puddings (which was what I was aiming for except I don’t own dariole moulds, hence the giant muffin pan). A pinch of salt enhances the butterscotch sauce. This decadent hot dessert is best enjoyed with generous lashings of caramel sauce oozing down and through the recesses of the warm pudding. Simply gorgeous!
Sticky date pudding drizzled with cold (thickened) butterscotch sauce, which eventually soaks through the hot pudding
Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce
(recipe adapted from ‘Cook’: Australian Women’s Weekly. Grated ginger, salt and vanilla extract were personal touches to the recipe and method modified from all-in-mixing to creaming method)
1 1/4 cups (275 g) seeded dried dates
1 1/4 cups (310 ml) boiling water
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
50 g butter, chopped and softened
1/2 cup (110 g) firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup (150 g) self-raising flour
2 cm piece ginger, finely grated
3/4 cup (165 g) firmly packed brown sugar (See Note)
300 ml cream (I used thickened cream)
80 g butter
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to moderate (180oC/160oC fan-forced). Grease a deep 20 cm-round cake pan; line base with baking paper OR if using, grease a 6 cup jumbo-sized muffin pan.
- Combine dates and the boiling water in a food processor. Stir in bicarbonate of soda; cover with lid, stand 5 minutes; roughly process the date mixture.
- With electric beaters, cream the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy; add in the eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition. Fold in the date mixture, grated ginger and flour until well combined.
- If using the 20 cm round cake pan, pour in the batter then set the cake pan into a larger pan or roasting tray; fill with hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the 20 cm cake pan and bake uncovered in preheated oven for about 1 hour or until skewer inserted comes out clean.
- If using the 6 cup jumbo muffin pan, divide the batter into each well-greased muffin cup; place into a larger pan or roasting tray; fill with hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the muffin pan. Grease a sheet of aluminium foil and cover the muffin pan loosely (greased-side against the puddings). Bake in pre-heated oven for 45 minutes or until skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Make the butterscotch sauce; stir the brown sugar, butter, cream and vanilla extract in a small saucepan over low heat until sauce is smooth and thickened slightly. Add in the pinch of salt (or to taste)
- To serve, stand the 20 cm cake for 10 minutes; turn onto serving plate. Serve warm with butterscotch sauce.
- If using the jumbo sized muffin pan, let the puddings cool for about 30 minutes before unmoulding (as hot puddings are fragile and will fall apart if you unmould it immediately). To unmould, run a small knife around the muffin cups then overturn them gently onto a baking tray. To serve, place an individual pudding onto a microwave-safe plate; drizzle on a generous amount of butterscotch sauce and microwave on high for about 20 seconds.
- I added 80 g more brown sugar for a richer, sweeter sauce bringing the total sugar amount in the sauce to 245 g. Adjust sweetness to your liking.
devoured with pleasure
4 people like this post.
You may also like:
Melbourne’s more than chilly weather off late makes me crave for soup. Hot, heart-warming nourishing soup! I think I’m the hibernating kind when temperatures plummet to brrrrrrrfreezing cold (for me at least); my appetite is unusually suppressed during the winter season. It’s the perfect time for soups, stews, roasts, carbs, lots of warm bread and puddings but all I want to do is hibernate (tsk tsk tsk..such a bear). You see, where possible, J and I try to conserve energy and keep tabs on our power usage and yes the bill, hence we rarely turn on the heater (unless my fingers and toes are on the verge of falling off) so having to pile on jackets, scarves and a thick pillow-soft robe means I’m in some state of stupor and all I want to do is count the ZZZZZzzzzs.
White Radish, Coriander from the garden and Red Dates
The heavy pots and casserole dishes will reemerge from their cabinet hideout and soon our home kitchen will be filled with wafts of french onion soup, spicy pumpkin, creamy broccoli and cauliflower soups, sweat-inducing seafood tom yum, tom kha gai (broth of chicken, galangal, lemongrass and coconut milk) and plenty more. That temptress Sticky Date Pudding is definitely singing her siren song and messing with my head right now; gorgeous caramelly dates in a warm cake cocoon drenched in silky lick-your-spoon-clean butterscotch sauce <earth to foodsze earth foodsze..hello..pork rib soup? remember? knock knock>
Oh yes, back to my pork rib and white radish soup, this chinese-style soup has a clean flavour where maximum sweetness and flavour comes just from the pork ribs, a handful of red dates, white radish and coriander roots. Seasoning is minimal with fish sauce instead of salt and white pepper to taste. It is dead easy and I’ve simmered mine for 2 hours on the stove but this can be easily thrown together in a slow-cooker before you head to work and the soup’s ready and waiting when you get home. Ok. let’s get rolling; this mama only has sexy sticky date pudding on her mind right now! Whatever happened to all the nonsense up the top about suppressed appetite? Well, when sticky date pudding’s involved, resistance is futile. Stay tuned!
Pork Ribs & White Radish Soup
900 g meaty pork ribs
1 large white radish (mine was about 700g), cut into batons or rough chunks
120 g red dates
4 coriander roots & stems, washed clean (keep the leaves for garnishing)
3 litres water
3 tablespoons fish sauce
white pepper to taste
salt, to taste
- In a pot, cover pork ribs in cold water then bring to the boil; boil for 5 minutes to remove the scum that surfaces; rinse out the pork ribs with cold water then return this to the clean, washed pot.
- Add the 3 litres of water, red dates, coriander roots and stems to the pork ribs; bring to the boil then simmer for 1 hour.
- Add in the white radish batons/chunks and fish sauce and continue simmering for another 1 hour until meat is very tender.
- Season with white pepper and salt to taste; garnish with coriander leaves.
If using a slow-cooker, complete step 1 i.e. remove the grey-ish pork scum then chuck all ingredients in the slow-cooker and hit the ON button
6 people like this post.
You may also like:
It looks deceptively like cheesecake but it’s not!
Surprise, wide-eyed wonder and best of all daggy open-mouth looks were all the reactions I expected when I unleashed this dessert upon my unsuspecting cousins; great entertainment for me! And how could it not be when popping candy’s featured as the hidden surprise! Revisiting Heston Blumenthal’s Popping Candy Cake recipe but leaving out the chocolate mousse and glaze components, I topped that lovely base of toasted hazelnuts, melted chocolate and the featured ‘pop rocks’ with a titillating French Earl Grey tea infused bavarois and an intense orange marmalade gel layer to cut back, NO! more like complement some of that floral creamy goodness. And the rest, as they say is history! This is a no holds barred dessert enjoyment extravaganza.
There was no doubt in my mind that the french earl grey tea infusion would work but what to top it with besides chocolate got me thinking; I wanted something to offset all that cold set cream. And since classic earl grey is composed of citrusy bergamot orange and I spied a jar of home-made marmalade in the fridge, I decided to go with the citrus theme and turn the marmalade into a gel layer. Orange juice just wouldn’t cut it as it doesn’t have the same intensity of juice, skin and pith reduction (not sure if reconstituted orange juice would work..seems like a possible shortcut) but the combination worked and it got my pulse afluttering. I made a batch of orange marmalade several months back as inspired by A Table For Two‘s Mandarin Marmalade recipe but if boiling and simmering jam isn’t your cup of tea, you could just get a jar of good quality marmalade from your supermarket, grocer or farmers market. As my jam was pretty thick and set, I thinned down and simmered it with lemon and orange juice (for more zing!) which is then set with gelatine leaves.
Boing Boing Boing!!! I’m definitely making this again and would probably include a macaron or dacquiose layer next time!! Wooohoooo!
Cross section of the cake
Earl Grey Bavarois and Popping Candy Surprise
(You will need an 8 inch cake ring)
Popping Candy Base
(adapted from Heston Bluementhal’s Popping Candy Cake recipe – the following amounts have been doubled from the original recipe to fit an 8-inch cake ring)
170 g whole hazelnuts
80 g milk chocolate (I used good quality 70 % dark chocolate)
4 tsp mixed spice (I used ginger spice)
200 g popping candy (from any local sweet shop or food ingredient shop)
Earl Grey Bavarois
300 ml full cream milk
2 tbsp French Earl Grey loose-leaf tea
3 egg yolks
45 g caster sugar (for the milk)
45 g caster sugar (for the egg yolks)
4 gelatine leaves, gold strength
300 ml thickened cream (35% fat)
130 g orange marmalade (130 g net after passing marmalade through a sieve to get a fine puree)
10 ml fresh lemon juice
60 ml fresh orange juice ( 1 small orange)
2 1/2 gelatine leaves, gold strength
(Note: In total, the strained marmalade + juice = 200 ml)
Place an 8 inch ring mould on a serving plate and line the sides evenly with acetate sheets.
To make the base, preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F/Gas Mark 4 and roast the hazelnuts for about 10 minutes until lightly coloured. Blend to a paste in a food processor, then set aside. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or a basin/bowl sitting atop a saucepan/pot of simmering water – take care that the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water; Stir the mixed-spice and popping candy into the melted chocolate. Next, fold in the hazelnut paste. Gently press in the base mixture to a depth of about 1cm (Make sure it is compact and flush against the sides of the lined tin). Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until hard.
- To make the bavarois, bring the milk, 45 g sugar and tea leaves to just boiling; turn off heat and let stand (to infuse) for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, using a balloon whisk, blend the egg yolks and 45 g remaining sugar thoroughly in a bowl.
- Soften gelatine leaves in cold water
- Bring the infused milk to just boiling then immediately pour onto egg yolk mixture; Blend well. Strain the mixture back into the pot (make sure there are no loose tea leaves) and heat gently; all the while stirring continuously until the mixture is cooked and coats the back of a wooden spoon (about 82oC). Immediately take the pot off the heat (you don’t want to overcook the custard – it will split); Squeeze out excess water from the softened gelatine leaves and stir this through the custard to melt. Cool custard to room temperature.
- Whip the cream to soft whip point (soft peaks)
- When the custard mixture has cooled, fold through the softly whipped cream; pour onto the hardened popping candy base and chill in the refrigerator until set.
- To make the marmalade gel, combine the strained marmalade, lemon and orange juice in a saucepan. Bring to the boil; stirring until smooth.
- Soften the gelatine leaves in cold water; squeeze out excess liquid and stir through the hot marmalade liquid to melt ; pour this on top of the set bavarois and chill in refrigerator until set.
- You can leave it plain or pipe on some decorative patterns using melted chocolate.
- To serve, remove the cake ring and gently peel away the acetate sheets; Use a hot knife to slice the cake (dip the knife in hot water then wipe off excess liquid with paper towel before cutting each slice)
- Enjoy with mouth wide-opened for maximum popping volume!
2 people like this post.
You may also like:
Chocolate Angry Bird (seemingly guarding his precious egg) wants to wish you all a Happy Easter and Anzac Day long weekend! Made with 100% natural vanilla dark and white couverture chocolate and powdered food colours for the Angry Bird chocolate plaques, this creation stands at approximately 22.5 cm tall and weighs 900 grams.
I seem to be suffering the worst case of writer’s block right now so let me just say it was incredibly fun melting, tempering and painting my very first Chocolate Egg and it tasted Weeeeeeeeee-licious!!
Happy Easter everyone! Enjoy the photos!
The Dark Chocolate half with the green pig from ‘Angry Birds’
My collection so far..have yet to crochet the Black and Green angry birds
J chomping on the Chocolate Angry Bird
Be the first to like.
You may also like: