Sunday, 15 December 2013

Chocolate Pretzel Sticks

1 cup Chocolate Melts
2 tblsp Nutella
1 bag Pretzel Sticks
1/2 cup Almond slivers, chopped

Melt chocolate and nutella in heat proof bowl over simmering water.  When melted, stir through the chopped almonds.  Swirl the top half of each pretzel stick in the choc/almond mixture and place on a lined baking sheet.  Place in the fridge to set.

French Coconut Macaroons

3 Egg Whites
1 1/2 cups Castor Sugar
1 1/2 cups Moist Coconut Flakes

Whip egg whites adding sugar half a cup at a time, make sure that the sugar is desolved before adding next half cup.  When all sugar added it should be shiny and stiff peaks, like Meringue.  Fold in the coconut, spoon tablespoons of mixture onto lined baking sheet.  Bake for 15 to 19 minutes at 180C until golden.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.



Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Pretzel Turtles

I made these the other day with Jersey Caramels and wasn't happy with how they turned out.  So I thought I would try them with the Werther's Chewy Caramels, well do you think I could find them?  Nope 3 different types of supermarket and no joy!

I thought I would try the Werther's Eclairs, so I am standing in the kitchen after work just whipping up another batch for the blog, kind of in the zone and I had one of those Ah Ha moments.

Amanda you could use Columbine's! or stick to the Eclair's either way caramel is caramel yummmmo!

1 bag of Caramels type of your choice as discussed above.
Equal amount of Pretzels (must be the twisty ones)
Equal amount of Pecans
Dark chocolate for melting

On a baking sheet lay out your pretzels and place your caramels on top.

Place in pre heated oven 200C for about 3 minutes or until caramel is softened or in my case melted!

Squish the pecans into the top of the caramel (careful hot caramel can burn) then allow to cool.

*Drool* chocolateeeeee mmmmmm.  Oops sorry just a chocolate coma moment!  When the caramel is cool put some chocolate in a bowl over simmering water and melt.

On a baking sheet pour a teaspoon of the chocolate and squish the caramel into it.   If you have a little extra chocolate you can pour some over the top as well and then if you cannot restrain yourself just eat the remainder of the chocolate.
Place in the fridge to set the chocolate and then well enjoy! or give as Xmas pressies.


Saturday, 7 December 2013


6 Egg whites
12 tblspn Castor Sugar
2 tspn Cornflour
pinch of salt

Whisk egg whites and salt until foamy.  Add one tblspn of sugar at a time until the egg whites are shiny and form stiff peaks, whisk in corn flour.

Put meringue onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper, smooth sides with a spatula and make an indentation in the top.  Place in oven pre heated to 150C, cook for one hour, turn off oven and allow to cool in the oven.

Top with whipped fresh cream and your choice of fruit.


Sunday, 1 December 2013

Marcus Waring's Custard Tart

This is one of the best custard tart's I have ever had the pleasure of eating.


9 Egg Yolks
75gm Castor Sugar
500ml Cream
1 quantity of Sweet Pastry as per previous post

Roll pastry between 2 sheets of baking paper, its a very soft pastry and is easier to handle this way.  Place in pie dish or tart tin, refrigerate for about 30 minutes to allow to relax.  Blind back (beans rice etc on baking paper in the middle) for 10 minutes at 175C then remove the baking beans and bake for another 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and reduce the heat to 130C.

When you remove the tart shell from the oven, heat cream in saucepan to just below boiling.  Whisk egg yolks and sugar until combined.

Ladle hot cream over egg yolks beating while adding cream to ensure yolks don't scramble.  When all cream is added to the eggs strain into a jug for easier pouring.  Place the tart shell on a baking tray back in the oven and pour the egg mixture in, dust with grated nutmeg and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, the centre should be just set.  Remove and allow to cool completely.


Sweet Pastry

Many years ago I started watching a show called The Great British Menu, the first year Marcus Waring competed and won the Desserts section with the most fantastic Custard Tart.  I have made this many times over the years and is always a great dessert, however the pastry for this tart has become the only sweet pastry recipe I use.

225gm Plain Flour
150gm Cold Butter, cubed
75gm Castor Sugar
1 whole Egg
1 Egg Yolk
Zest of a Lemon (optional)

Place flour, sugar, zest and butter in food processor and pulse until the butter is small pea size pieces.  Add eggs lightly beaten together and blend until pastry forms a ball, don't blend longer.  The pastry is quite soft at this stage don't be worried.  Put pastry in a Ziploc bag sealed or rap in gladwrap and place in the fridge for 2 hours.

Monday, 25 November 2013


You know how you always have that ONE sheet of Puff Pastry that hangs around the freezer that you end up throwing out as it sits there FOREVER!


Here is a way to use it up as a bit of a treat.

On a clean bench lay down a cup of caster sugar, spreading to about the size of your pastry sheet, and if you want to get fancy you can mix in a half teaspoon of cinnamon with the sugar.  Lay your sheet of pastry down and sprinkle over enough sugar to have a thin layer covering the whole sheet of pastry.

With your rolling pin just roll it once up and down to slightly stretch it and then the same thing too the other sides, this is mostly to squish the sugar into the pastry to make it stick.

Fold the sides of the pastry in so they meet in the middle.

Fold again to meet in the middle again.

Fold in half.

Slice into 1 cm pieces, place on a lined baking tray. 

Bake in pre heated oven 220C for approx.  15 to 20 minutes or until golden not burned, remember the sugar will melt and caramelize.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit.

You can stick the sliced up uncooked pieces in the freezer once frozen just bag and cook at a later time.


Cheese Straws

We had a rainy afternoon here today and it was leftovers for dinner, well left over spaghetti sauce and fresh pasta, to change it up a bit I added some nice warm puff pastry cheese straws. 


This only requires 3 things, 2 sheets of puff pastry thawed, grated cheese and 5 minutes of your time!

I find it easier to roll this between 2 sheets of baking paper to stop sticking. 

One sheet of puff on the bottom, an even layer of grated cheese and then the  other layer of puff on top.  Roll together with a rolling pin, this is to stick everything together.


With a sharp knife cut into 1 cm strips, twist each strip a couple of times an place on a lined baking sheet.  Put in pre heated oven, 220C for approx. 15 to 20 minutes or until golden and cooked.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Blackberry Cobbler

I got two rock hard Nectarines in my fruit box when delivered this week, yes I hear you say, it's too early they are not ripe yet!

So if I leave them in the fruit bowl they go mushy or I find another use for them.  So I made Cobbler for desserts.  My go to recipe to use up unripe fruit or just to put out when you want a no fuss dessert.

115g Butter melted
1 1/4 cups Castor Sugar plus 2 extra tablespoons
1 cup Self Raising Flour
1 cup Milk
2 cups Fruit  (frozen Blackberries and Nectarines in my case)

Pre heat oven to 180C

Butter a baking dish oval, square, round your choice.

Mix flour, 1 cup of the sugar, milk in bowl with wooden spoon.  Mix in melted butter until combined, pour into prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle fruit over the top, sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar.

Bake for one hour depending on your oven, or until golden.  10 mins before cooking finishes sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar over the top.

Serve with cream or ice cream

Ina Garten's Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Today is make ahead day in my house, it's a cooler day, the washing is on and being finished as we speak and I have prepared dinner in advance so I can have a lazy day.  Just the other half and myself no crash test kid today.

My recipe slightly differs from Ina's as I didn't feel like making my own Tomato sauce today, you can if you like or use a couple of jars of passata as I have done, this works just as well if your in a rush. 

I saw this recipe on Ina's show and drooled so I tried it and my other half who doesn't "do" cabbage liked it so it became a keeper.

Sauce, if you wish to make your own is as follows.

2 Onions chopped
2 400g tins Tomatoes
1/4 cup red Wine Vinegar
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
Salt and Pepper

Fry onions until translucent, add all other ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.  Allow to cool.

Cabbage Rolls

1 whole Cabbage
1kg mince beef
3 large Eggs
1 Onion finely chopped
1/2 cup Breadcrumbs
1/2 cup White Rice uncooked
1/2 tspn Thyme fresh if you have it or dried if you don't
Salt and Pepper

There are many ways to strip the leaves off a cabbage you can stick it whole in a pot of boiling water and put it in and out to loosen the leave but this takes time, or you can be  impatient like me and just cut the and peal them away carefully.

For the filling put mince, eggs, onion, breadcrumbs, rice, thyme, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl, add a cup of the tomato sauce.  Mix together thoroughly, the mixture may look a little sloppy but remember the rice is uncooked and will absorb the liquid as it cooks.

Take the stalk out of the centre of each leaf of cabbage in a V it is easier to roll and too tuff to eat.  Put 1/2 to 1 cup of filling to each leaf and roll.

I put a cup of the sauce (passata) in the bottom of a baking dish or casserole, place the rolls around on the sauce and then cover with the remaining sauce.  At this stage you can stick it in the fridge to cook when ready or cook straight away.

Cook in preheated oven at 180C for 1 hour.  Serve with mash and veg.


Saturday, 9 November 2013

Turtle Cheesecake


1 cup Plain Flour
1/3 cup packed Brown Sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 cup Pecans
35 g Cold Butter cubed

Place all ingredients in your food processor and pulse until mixed and pecans chopped.

If using 20cm round pans use 2 if larger use 1.  Place base in pan and using base of glass press mixture firmly down to form even base. 

Place 2 sheets of foil on bench put prepared pan in centre and rap the foil up the sides (this is so that the water from the water bath you cook the cheesecake in doesn't get into the pan and make a sloppy mess).

Place Pans in the oven bake at 175C for 14 minutes.  Remove and cool on wire rack.  While this is cooling leave the oven on and prepare the filling.



4 packets of Cream Cheese
1 cup Castor Sugar
1/3 cup packed Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Plain Flour
1 tspn Vanilla Paste
4 eggs
1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Chips
1/4 cup Caramel top and fill
1/3 cup Chopped Pecans

Over a pan of simmering water melt chocolate and set aside to cool.

Place sugars and cream cheese in mixing bowl and beat until smooth.  Beat in the flour and vanilla.  Add eggs one at a time until combined, scrape down the sides and beat again to ensure all incorporated.  Remove 1 and a 1/2 cups of the batter and stir into the melted, cooled chocolate.

If using one pan spread chocolate mixture on base evenly if using 2 pans divide and spread evenly over the bases.

In a bowl mix the pecans and caramel and drop tspoons of mixture over the chocolate batter.  Top with the remaining vanilla batter.  Place in baking pan or roasting pan and add one inch of hot water to the baking pan (water bath).

Bake for an hour if using 2 smaller pans or 1 hour 25 minutes if using larger pan, or until the surface is dull and the centre is set.  Remove from the oven and water bath, remove foil and cool on cooling rack for 10 minutes.  Run a small sharp knife around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen from the pan.  Cool for a further hour on rack then refrigerate for a couple of hours or over night.


1/2 cup Dark Chocolate
1/4 cup Cream
Pecans to decorate

In a heat proof bowl put the chocolate and cream and heat in microwave.  I use 30 second shots and stir together if it needs more another 30 seconds should do it to melt the chocolate.

Run your knife around the edge of the pan again and remove spring form sides.  Place on serving plate if you used baking paper under the base this should be easy to slide off.  Top with the ganache letting it run down the sides a bit,  place pecans on top to decorate.  Serve.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Sourdough from Starter to Bake

To begin a sourdough you start with a Starter.  This starter is easy to make and you can keep using it for years.
1 cup plain flour (strong or bread flour)
1 cup spelt flour or just use 2 cups of plain flour.
2 cups of tepid water
Mix the flour and water and set aside in a plastic container with the lid on.
This is what it should look like after 24 to 48 hours,  discard half this mixture and top up with a cup of flour and a cup of water mix and set aside with the lid on.  Do this every second day for a week.  At the end of the week your starter is ready to use.

375g plain flour
250g starter
7g salt
150ml tepid water
Either with your hands or mixer with a dough hook mix the flour and starter adding 50 ml of the water.  Mix the salt with the remaining water and add slowly with the mixer running.  When your dough comes together in the bowl of the mixer you may need to add some olive oil to the bowl to stop it sticking.  Let the mixer run on medium for approx. 10 to 15 mins checking if you need to add more olive oil to stop the dough sticking to the bowl.  Turn into oiled bowl to prove (rise) and cover with cling film and allow to rise in a warm place for 8 to 12 hours.
At the end of the first prove it should have doubled maybe tripled in size.  Now you need to "knock the dough back"  this involves knocking the air out and re kneading the dough.  Turn the dough onto a well oiled bench or into an oiled mixer bowl.  Knead the dough by hand or in the mixer for about 10 mins then "shape" into a ball.  Tuck the edges under to the bottom of the ball of dough, it will look nice and smooth on top.

If you have one use a bread proving basket (banneton) if not oil and flour a bowl, remember to oil it and flour it well other wise it will stick when turning the dough out to cook, this I know from experience! When you put the dough in the basket/bowl put the smooth top down and the underside pointing up.  Put the basket/bowl in a plastic bag to prove again for 5 to 8 hours.
Pre heat oven to 220C and place an oven proof bowl with boiling water in the oven.
Turn the dough onto either a tray or pre heated pizza stone.  Slash the top with a serrated knife and place in the oven at 220C for 30 mins then reduce heat to 200C for a further 20 mins.  When you tap the bottom of the bread it should sound hollow.