18 June, 2014

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies



My second post in a year and we are almost halfway through the year. Oh god :(
I was looking at my archives and I only posted 4 posts last year! I really need to pick up my game but I haven't made anything in my Melbourne kitchen because it's too small to do anything!


On another brighter note (or should I say sweeter and saltier note), I found these cookies in my baking photos folder and totally forgot to post them. I think it's because the photos are quite dodgy and the light wasn't looking too good. But hey, I haven't posted in ages so I am literally scrounging for baking material to post.


I made these last year sometime (I think). The recipe yielded a huge batch which I didn't know what to do with so I distributed them amongst my friends and family! They are extremely short and so are extremely crumbly and v unhealthy. But sometimes ya gotta indulge...although I tend to use that phrase on a regular basis so it's not looking too good for me, help.

It's currently 1.30AM and I am sitting in my pyjamas, listening to Beyonce and munching on a carrot because I just woke up from a nap (I know, wtf...I'm confused too). So anyway, I will leave y'all with this recipe while I continue to lip-synch BeyBey and pretend I am at the MCWT (which was a life changing show btw).
Honey honeyyyyyy, I can see the stars all the way from here, can't you feel the glow on the window pane? You put ma love on top, top, TOP. Okay, yeah, bye! 

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies
                             Adapted from For Me, For You
- 3 ½ cups plain flour
- 1 heaped teaspoon baking soda
- 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
- 1 heaped teaspoon sea salt
- 280g unsalted butter
- 1 ¼ cups brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar (raw sugar works well)
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 400g dark chocolate, chopped (you can also use choc chips)*
- Sea salt, to sprinkle

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars until pale.  Add the eggs and vanilla, and continue beating for 3 minutes.
In another bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and stir to combine.
Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and stir to combine.  Add the choc chips and stir until evenly mixed through. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge  for 2 hours or until chilled.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.  Using an ice-cream scoop (or tablespoon) scoop up the dough and roll in your hands to make golf ball sized balls of dough.  Place the balls on a baking tray lined with baking paper.  Space the balls evenly with enough room for them to expand.  Bake for 15 – 20 minutes.

Makes 30 – 40 depending on the size of the cookies.

*I didn't stay completely true to the recipe as we didn't have 400g of dark chocolate so I used half dark and half milk. I know that the result would have been much better if I used all dark as it would have contrasted to the saltiness well..but next time! 

20 February, 2014

Cake in a Cup: Chocolate Mud Cake

Hello!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am aliiiiiive..if anyone cared. I haven't blogged in about 7 months!? How crazy. A lot has happened since then. So, what I suggest y'all do is make up a cup of this cake, settle down and get ready to read.

7 months ago in July 2013 I decided to move to Melbourne. The decision was actually quite quick but I had been meaning to move out of home for a while as I felt like I needed to grow and gain independence. I also felt like there was so much out in the world that I wasn't seeing by simply staying confined and sheltered in a city which is extremely quiet. I sent out multiple applications to England and universities over there, but seeing as I missed the deadline for application admissions (ye...because the decision was spontaneous), many of the universities didn't accept them because the deadline was "strict" pfffft. Anyway, from the universities which I persuaded to consider my application, I got accepted into Edinburgh which um hello, yes, is in Scotland. I knew that it would be way too far and I knew that although I was desperate to move out of home I would miss my family like crazy. Also, I knew I would freeze my tits off.

My Dad suggested the idea that I apply to Melbourne universities because a lot of my friends from Perth were moving there themselves. And he felt that it would be a city where I could experience a different lifestyle as well as be in touch with my fam bam...also, it was a 3 hour plane ride away. I applied to Monash university and got accepted. So, my mum and I packed our bags and headed over together. She stayed for a couple of days and helped me settle in. Getting my Mum to come with me to unpack was one of the best ideas because she really gave my apartment the home-y feel and I would be a headless chicken if she didn't come. Like, I don't think I would have made it to the apartment from the airport.. #awkward.

I started at Monash University as a mid-semester student. It took a while to settle in and feel comfortable and come to terms that I had to cook, clean, wash the dishes, do laundry, go to the market to get groceries and manage bills all by myself, but I guess that was the independence I was looking for. Also, no one prepared me for HOW FUCKING COLD Melbourne was........... ummmmmmmm. I didn't bring enough winter wear so I was constantly shivering and feeling glum. I made good friends in my apartment building and a few at Uni, but, to be perfectly honest I don't think they compared to the unbreakable friendships I had at home. 2 girls that I live with however, have become like sisters to me as we see each other everyday and are coping with the transition from school to uni together.

Anyway, I have had hardly anytime to bake and my kitchen is T I N Y. Literally a 1x1...I can barely turn around in there let alone cook up a dessert! But I am searching for recipes which are quick and require minimum effort and which don't require any space to work with...lol.

I went home for the summer for 2.5 months and while there I baked this for my Dad's birthday. He loves loves loves chocolate cake and I knew he would appreciate this. It's a serving for one and you don't have ANY washing up to do afterwards. I love cakes in cups because they are so handy. No need to whip out an entire cake and turn the oven on. You just bung all the ingredients in a cup and microwave dat shit

The cake came out a perfect consistency and was moist in the middle. Sooooo gooooood!

Cake in a Cup: Chocolate Mud Cake
- 4 Tb Plain Flour
- 4 Tb Caster Sugar
- 2 Tb Cocoa Powder
- 1 Egg
- 3 Tb Milk
- 3 Tb Oil (I used sunflower)
- 3 Tb Chocolate Chips (I just chopped up a chocolate bar! Feel free to use random bits of choc)
- 2-3 Drops Vanilla Extract
 *You can also throw in your choice of nut as well. I particularly like roasted walnuts with this.



 Add all dry ingredients into a mug and mix with a fork. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Then add your liquids and pour in the milk, oil and vanilla extract.Whisk lightly with a fork to incorporate the dry ingredients with the wet. If using chocolate chips/nuts, add now. 

Place the mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes on HIGH, although keep checking on the cake to make sure it does not overflow. I put a plate under the mug to catch any bits that decided to jump out! After the cake seems cooked (remember, the knife test here would be ineffective here as it's a mud cake and will naturally be moist in the middle). 
Allow the cake to cook a little and then enjoy!

05 July, 2013

Vanilla Butter Cake


Ciao Ciao! This is a simple cake that causes for no fuss and annoyance. Basically the best thing you can have on a Friday night by yourself. Lathered in custard. Watching The Titanic. Yep dats what I did. (Cool girl)

Mid-way through writing this post I made breakfast because I was famished and I cooked 90 second oats. A few days ago our microwave busted into nothing so Dad went and bought this super strength microwave that heats you food in 1 second. Literally, I could cook popcorn in there for 1 second and it would work. Anyway, I just put my oats in and during the 80 second mark I peek through the micro only to find out that my entire meal had bubbled over into a hot mess.
So I am now eating HALF a bowl of oats and I am too angry to make anymore.
I've finished and I'm craving more. (Oats, not cake! Although I could do with some cake omnomnom). I finally understand what the word HANGRY means. (Hungry and angry at the same time). Hksjdhflkjsdhflkjsdf
Note: this cake is supposed to be a butter cake not a sponge cake so it should be moist. Just a warning so no one hates me after they've cooked the cake waiting for an airy sponge.
ALSO. I GOT INTO MONASH UNIVERSITY IN MELBOURNE. SO I AM MOVING TO MELBOURNE IN 2 WEEKS AND I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING BUT YOLO. AND I WILL HAVE TO COOK IN MY 1x1 KITCHEN BUT I WILL BE COOKING AND IM SO EXCITED YEAH OKAY BYE XOXO

Vanilla Butter Cake
                      Recipe from The Australian Women's Weekly

 - 125g butter, chopped
- 3/4 cup (180ml) milk
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp of Vanilla extract
- 1 cup of caster sugar
- 1 1/2 cups (225g) of self raising flour

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius/160 degrees fan forced. Grease deep 19cm square cake tin and line base with bakin paper. (As you can see I don't have one of these so I fished out a lovely flower one which I thought suited the dimensions required).
Combine butter and milk in a saucepan and stir until smooth.
Beat eggs and extract in a small bowl with electric mixer until thick and creamy; gradually add sugar and beat until dissolved between each addition.
Transfer mixture to large bowl, stir in sifted flour and butter mixture in two batches.
Pour into cake pan and bake for about 45 minutes. Stand cake in pan for 5 minutes; turn top-side down onto wire rack and let cook. If desired, dust cake with icing sugar.

20 June, 2013

Blueberry and Cream Cheese Turnovers

Oh gawd, it has been ages since I last updated! I totally forgot about posting these morsels but I was going through my pictures on my laptop and re-discovered them!






I made these in about Feburary when I really wanted to bake but I didn't want to bake anything big. I hope other people get that feeling because I feel like that 99% of the time! I always want to create or bake something but there are days where I can't bear the hassle of cleaning up afterwards. This recipe is one of those fabulous go-to ones where you hardly have to clean anything. It's more of a station workshop where you spread, fold and bake. So easy.

These turnovers are filled with cream cheese, icing sugar and frozen blueberries. They are basically cheesecakes in a flaky puff pastry pillow. So, these are perf for portable cheesecake biteables.

I also got quite bored placing the blueberries on the sheets of pastry so I decided to get a little adventurous and I popped into the pantry and picked up some strawberry jam. The strawberry jam turnovers were strawberry cheesecakes, and the blueberry turnovers were blueberry cheesecakes!
There are endless options you could do to fill these turnovers to suit your taste! I'm so excited to experiement again with them and try different and wacky flavours. The best thing is that they are so crazy easy to make and are so easy to transport!

4 ingredients! Just make sure you have cream cheese in the refridgerator and puff pastry in the freezer and you are good to go. Just find little combos around your kitchen and chuck them in the turnover!

Blueberry and Cream Cheese Turnovers 

- 125g cream cheese, softened 
- 2 1/2 tbs caster sugar
 - 1 (25 x 25cm) sheet Pampas ready-rolled frozen puff pastry, just thawed, quartered 
- 75g (1/2 cup) frozen blueberries
- 1 egg yolk

Preheat oven to 220°C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.

Combine: the cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a small bowl.
Place the pastry on a clean work surface. Spread one-quarter of the cream cheese mixture over a pastry square, leaving a 1cm border. Sprinkle over one-quarter of the blueberries. Brush the edge with a little egg yolk and fold pastry over to form a triangle and enclose the filling. Use a fork to gently press the edges together. 

Place on the lined tray. Repeat with remaining pastry, cream cheese mixture and blueberries. Brush turnovers with egg yolk and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake in oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown and puffed. Serve.

29 April, 2013

Crunchy Cocoa Roasted Nuts


Oh, hi!
I made some nuts. You should totally put nuts your mouth...naughty! (See what I did there?) ;)


This recipe calls for very simple ingredients that you are bound to have in the house. The products are individual crunchy roasted nuts enveloped in a thick chocolate meringue with a hit of pepper/chilli. So grrrrrrreat y'all.


I have deferred my first semester of university meaning I have 2.5 months off whut whuuuttt woooppwoooop. I feel SO relieved because I don't have to worry about assignments and all that shit (been there done that in year 12). But I can laze around on my fat ass like I have been doing for the past 6 months I actually need to get things done. But. I. Can't. Be. Bothered.


I've started up tutoring services and I've got a few students lined up which is quite exciting! But I'm still on the hunt for a job.

Crunchy Cocoa Roasted Nuts
- 3 cups of raw almonds (I used both almonds and walnuts)
- 6 Tb of unsalted butter
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 tsp of salt
-1 cup of caster sugar
- 3 Tb unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Place a rack in the cdenter of the oven and preheat to 350 farenheit (or 175 degrees celcius).
Place almonds on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes in the oven. Remove from the oven and place in a medium bool to cool completely.

Place butter on a rimmed baking sheet and melt in an oven for 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add egg whites and 1/2 tsp of salt and beat until frothy. Gradually add sugar and increase the speed of the mixer. Beat until the egg whites hold almost stiff peaks.
Add the remaining 1/2 tsp of salt, the cocoa powder, and cayenna pepper and beat until well incorporated. Pour the egg mixture over the toasted nuts and toss together until nuts are covered. Spoon mixture into the melted butter. Spread around the mixture onto the tray and place in the oven.
Cook for 30-45 minutes, taking the nuts out and turning them every 10 minutes.

02 April, 2013

Fig, Ginger and Walnut "Almost" Linzer Torte



Aloha!!! It has been ages since I last posted..almost 4 months. How bizarre!?

I've been going through some stuff the past 4 months and as a result, my love for baking started to fizzle out and what used to excite me before just didn't interest me at all. But things are slightly starting to look up and it's kind of strange because all of a sudden its just all whooshed back at me and the past week all I have been thinking about is cakes, cookies, macaroons, trifles..ya know, the usual bakey stuff.




I stumbled across this recipe on Poires Au Chocolat where Emma made a seville marmalade version of this almost torte. (I was also desparate to back and we didn't have any eggs in the house so this recipe drew me in even more).


I also asked Mum to get me some marmalade.. which she didn't get and instead she brought home royal fig jam. But I think the flavours of ginger and fig work quite well so I decide to bung it in to my torte! I haven't even been able to try the torte seeing as I am allergic to literally every food on the planet. So I'm absolutely guessing when I say that I think the flavours work well. However, my family thinks they do which is good.


I had to use smaller tart tins which are literally the size of my thumb because I didn't have any 6-inch pans! And I really should have thought of that before I was halfway through making it (soo organised). But they turned out fabbo!

I'm hoping to get back into this blog more. I took the four months off because of on-going shitty phases in my life but I am back now and I really pray to god that things get better from here. We'll see.

Enjoy da torte yo.


Fig, Ginger and Walnut "Almost" Linzer Torte
(adapted from Alice Medrich's Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts) from Poires Au Chocolat

50g whole almonds
65g plain flour (I used spelt flour)
75g light brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
big pinch of fine sea salt
75g unsalted butter
1 tsp milk
100g fig jam*
4 Tb of roughly chopped walnuts

Place the almonds, flour, sugar, ginger and salt into a food processor and blend until fine. Cube the butter then add it with the milk and blend until the dough just comes together. Wrap a 25g chunk of the dough in a bit of cling film. Lightly grease a 6" round cake or tart tin with a removable base (or in my case I used 10cm tart tins with a removable base), then scrape the rest of the dough into it. Use your fingers to press it out into an even layer with a little lip at the side. Place the little ball of dough and the tin into the fridge and chill for at least 30 minutes - meanwhile, preheat the oven to 170C/340F.

Spread the marmalade out in the middle of the tin, leaving a gap at the edge. Tear the extra bit of dough into small chunks and arrange on the top. Put into the oven and and bake for 30 minutes until the sides and splodges in the middle are deep golden-brown and the jam is bubbling. Sit on a wire rack. After five minutes, run a knife around the edge and remove the tin. Leave to cool fully. Keeps well for at least 4 days in a sealed tin.

(Makes one 6" torte, 6-8 slices)

* The jams and marmalades I make are generally soft-set. If yours isn't, a tiny bit of lemon juice or water should loosen it slightly. Lemon would also be a good idea if the jam is purely sweet (i.e. not a little bitter, like marmalade).

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26 December, 2012

Low-Fat Vanilla Cupcakes


Merry (late) Christmas everyone! I hope everyone is having an amazing and festive holiday season. I wish I could say I'm having a white christmas..but I'm not. It's blazing heat over here and I am sweating balls!

These cupcakes have 43grams of butter in them. Yes, you read correctly. 43 grams in 12 cupcakes. So out of the ordinary for cupcakes yet so amazing! These have become a staple in my house as me and my family don't feel guilty stuffing our faces with them.



My family is safely inside with the AC on full blast. We have been lazy asses all day because the heat has gotten to all of us.


I made these cupcakes the day before yesterday for myself. I adapted the recipe slightly so I could have it by subsitituing the white flour for spelt flour and the milk for rice milk. It turned out absolutely fine and super spongey!

The recipe also calls for 5 tablespoons of butter in the icing - but I left that out because it seemed too sickly sweet in such hot weather. But altogether, it's one stick of butter for BOTH the cupcakes and icing. You can finally gorge on cupcakes and not even feel bad about it.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream
    adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
    makes 12 cupcakes

1 cup all-purpose flour (I subbed in 1 cup of spelt flour)
a scant 3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk (I subbed in 1/2 cup of rice milk)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 celcius).
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or use a handheld beater and beat on slow speed until the mixture is a sandy consistency and everything is combined. Gradually pour in half of the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.

Whisk the egg, vanilla and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated. Scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side or the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Continue mixing until the batter is smooth. Just a few minutes. Do not overmix.

Spoon the batter into paper lined muffin tins, dividing between the 12 cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until light golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the pan, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

                                                                               *

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
     from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
     makes enough for 12 cupcakes, double this recipe to frost an 8-inch cake

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat the powdered sugar and butter together in an electric mixer fit with a paddle attachment on medium low speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Turn the mixer speed to low. Combine the milk and the vanilla extract and slowly stream it into the butter and sugar mixture. Once incorporated, turn the mixer to high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes. If you find that your frosting is getting to warm in the summer months, stop beating and set in the fridge for a few minutes. Once chilled, hook the frosting back up the the mixer and beat once more until you reach the desired consistency.

14 December, 2012

Hervé's Two Ingredient Chocolate Mousse



This recipe is absolutely fabulous and as the posts title states, yes it has only two ingredients! The recipe produces the dense thickness yet airyness of a chocolate mousse while keeping the calories down.


I suggest while making this to use the best possible chocolate you can get hold of as there is no cream or eggs to mask the flavour of the chocolate and instead, the chocolate is the star of the show, being mixed only with water to produce this mousse.

This recipe was created by a French chemist who was a molecular gastronomist and I watched Heston Blumenthal make it on his show.

It's important to not overbeat the chocolate sauce once it is in the ice cold bath as it can become too grainy. However, keep in mind, the more you whisk, the more moussey the mixture becomes up until the point where the chocolate siezes.



I left mine at the cold chocolate pudding-semi mousse stage, however you can always keep whisking longer to get that thick dense mousse most people are after.



The recipe is all about timing. However, this recipe being as incredible as it is allows you to also reverse your mistakes using the SAME mixture! All thats needed is to scoop out the "wrong" (overbeaten, grainy etc.) mixture and place it back onto the saucepan where you reheat it to get the glossy chocolate mixture. Then you carry out again, the next step where you chuck it in an icebath with a bowl on top. So fab.


You could also use this recipe for a chirstmas vibe! And add any flavouring you want with the water, whether that be liquor or orange essence or juice to give it another layering of flavour. However, I think just using the chocolate on its own produces a very thick, rich and creamy mousse which lets the chocolate flavour shine through. Bon appetit!

Hervé's Chocolate Mousse (Adapted from Hervé This' Molecular Gastronomy, via Food 52)

100g high quality dark chocolate (roughly 70%)
80ml (or g) water
a few handfuls of ice cubes
good glug of double cream (optional garnish)
cocoa nibs (optional garnish)

Chop the chocolate up into chunks. Put the ice into a bowl then fit a metal bowl (if possible, it will let the mixture cool faster, meaning less whisking) into it. Add some water to the ice to make sure the bottom of the top bowl is submerged and cooled. Get a whisk and serving bowls ready.

Place the chocolate into a saucepan with the water. Warm over low-medium heat until the chocolate has dissolved and you have a smooth liquid. Pour into the cold bowl and start whisking immediately. As you whisk, the mixture should start to slowly thicken. Keep going until it holds thick ribbons. Quickly transfer to your serving bowls before it starts to set.

Remove the chocolate bowl from the ice and replace with a clean one. Pour in some double cream and whip until it holds soft peaks. Spoon over the mousse and sprinkle some cocoa nibs over the top. Serve immediately if possible. If not, place in the fridge then bring up to room temperature before serving.

(Serves 2-3)

11 December, 2012

Sweet Potato and Brown Butter Scones




Hey yo! I made these last night because I was craving a snack and the recipe kind of fell into the holiday recipe category!
I love scones so much their so easy and so simple in flavour and you can just snack on them whenever you want.

These scones are so good. Nutmeg is one of my favorite spices and it's flavour in the scone works so well with the sweet potato. I've demolished half of the tray.
The addition of the brown butter also provides a nutty taste to the scones, making it even harder to not go back for a second, or third, or in my case...fourth.


The scones almost taste like gingerbread, but you need to remember to put the tea towel over the scones after they come out of the oven - because I didn't and they went a bit tough..oop. But still delicious anyway.
 

 
The countdown to christmas also begins!

Sweet Potato & Brown Butter Scones
(adapted from this recipe, makes about 10)
1 3/4 cups (245 g) plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
pinch of nutmeg
1 cup (250 g) cooked, mashed orange sweet potato
60g unsalted butter
1/4 cup (60 ml) milk (I used skim)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp brown sugar
To serve: Clotted cream & fresh strawberries, maybe a drizzle of maple syrup

Prepare your sweet potato first. I boiled mine until very tender, mashed and then set aside to cool. Place butter in a small saucepan on low heat and brown, swirling the mixture regularly so it heats evenly. Set aside. Preheat oven to 210°C (410°C). Sift flour, salt, baking powder and nutmeg into a small bowl. Stir together sweet potato, browned butter, milk, egg and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Cut flour mixture into the wet ingredients using a flat bladed knife until just evenly moistened.

Turn dough out onto a well floured work surface. With floured hands, gently pat (don't knead!) out to a 2-3cm-thick round (I like them thick, so I do 3cm). Cut into rounds with a 6 cm biscuit/scone cutter. Place rounds on a baking tray about 2.5 cm apart. Gather up remaining dough. Pat into a circle; cut out remaining scones. Brush tops of the scones with some extra milk using a pastry brush. Bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes, cover with a clean tea towel once out of the oven to keep them soft. Serve warm with clotted cream and sliced fresh strawberries and maybe a little maple syrup if you wish.