Sticky Toffee Pear and Ginger Cake

How wonderful! Windfall of Bartlett pears 🙂

 

It’s Autumn, and finally the temperature in Melbourne has dropped a little!

I was lucky enough to receive a windfall of Barlett pears from my neighbour, however I noticed that the markets are full of these pears at $1 a kilo, so it was obviously a bumper year for them this year!

I’ve had my eye on this flavour combination for a while and had a couple of ideas that I wanted to throw together.  Hope you enjoy it!

To see the video of this yumminess being put together Youtube Sticky toffee pear and ginger cake

Make this indulgent dessert for sweet-tooths, on the day  and dish it up warm, with double cream or good quality vanilla bean ice cream.

Deliciously indulgent. Sticky toffee, pear and ginger cake.

Sticky Toffee Pear and Ginger Cake

For top and sauce

120g butter

160g brown sugar

3 medium firm pears

handful of naked/ glace ginger roughly chopped

For cake

2 cups dried dates

2 cups boiling water

1 1/2 tspn bicarbonate of soda

100g softened butter

150g brown sugar

3 large eggs

1/2 tspn vanilla paste

195g self raising flour

 

Method top and sauce

Place butter and brown sugar into a small pan.  Place over medium heat and stir until smooth.

Pour into an 8 or 9 inch cake pan (or 3 x 5 inch pans,  2 x 6 inch pans)

Peel and slice pears.  Place them in a fan pattern into the sauce to cover the base of the pan.

Chop ginger coarsely and sprinkle evenly over the pears.

Method cake

Preheat oven to 175C

Roughly chop dates and place in a bowl.   Pour over boiling water and then add bicarbonate of soda.  Mix together and leave for 5 minutes.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined.

Use a food processor, hand held blender, or hand beater to whizz the date mixture until it is smooother but still a little chunky.

Add 1/3 of the flour to the butter mixture and beat until just combined.

Add 1/2 date mixture and beat until just combined.  

Repeat with flour and then the date mixture.

Add the last of the flour and beat until just combined.  A light touch with the mixing will ensure your cake is nice and soft!

Spoon cake batter gently over the pears.

Bake 8 inch pan for 50-60 min at 175C or until skewer comes out clean when tested.

(Bake 5 or 6 inch tins for about 40-50 minutes or until skewer comes out clean when tested.)

Cool in tin.

Invert onto a plate to serve while it is still warm and serve with double cream or good quality vanilla ice cream mmmmmmm.  Enjoy!

What more do you need? Maybe just a cup of tea? ;P

 

 

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“You know nothing, John Snow!” Chocolate and Brandied Dates, Butterscotch Pudding- Recipe

I’m so excited, I can’t breathe and yet it is still a month away….give me back Game of Thrones….puhleeeeese.

(Sorry, I needed to keep that original sentence in, even though the new season started 3 weeks ago!  Sometimes, nothing but pure passion can really reflect a moment in time!)

I have been wanting to put together an inspired dessert since the last season ended and no matter how I cut it. I couldn’t stop thinking about John Snow. Okay, young, handsome, committed to the greater cause, and just a touch innocent, I am sure that had nothing to do with my choice…at all!

Ahhhh, you know nothing, until you try chocolate ganache butterscotch cake.
Ahhhh, you know nothing, until you try chocolate and brandied dates, butterscotch pudding.

 

This dessert came to me completely instinctually, brandied dates and chocolate just kept coming up as the heart, so I went with it. Dusky and warm with a distinctly individual sweetness, mmm I can see how a little bit of Master Snow has crept into my foodie subconscious!
Wrap it all in an innocent and meltingly, smile inducing, butterscotch pudding, you know, the kind that puts a little smile on your face just thinking about it? You know, the same feelings, that your first crush used to give you?

Ha ha ha!  Let’s give it a go then, I don’t see how it can’t work 🙂

I know that there is nothing medieval about this recipe at all, in fact the base pudding recipe is so common you could find it on a million websites (ok, yes I changed it just a tiny bit!).  But, who cares when this recipe is so easy, you can make it, dish it out and curl up on your couch, just in time to revel in adding a whole extra layer of enjoyment to watching this great epic!

John Snow Pudding Recipe

4 dried dates

1-2 tablespoons of good quality brandy

approx 150g  50% cocoa dark chocolate, chopped

Pudding
1 cup self raising flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
60g melted butter
1/2 cup milk

Sauce
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1.2 cups water
30g butter

  1. Preheat oven to 170 Celsius.
  2. Soak chopped dates in brandy for about 20 minutes and place into the base of 4 greased ramekins.
  3. Place all pudding ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat until smooth.  Stir through chopped chocolate.
  4. Divide pudding mix into the 4 ramekins
  5. Place all sauce ingredients into a small saucepan over a medium heat.  Stir until butter has melted.
  6. Pour sauce over the back of a spoon, onto the pudding mix.  Equally divide sauce into the 4 ramekins.
  7. Bake for approximately 30 minutes.

Take it out of the oven and spoon a dollop of triple cream on top.

Fluff your cushions, grab a spoon, make sure your remote control is within reach, turn on Game of thrones,  take your first mouthful…now you know!

John Snow Chocolate and Brandied dates, Butterscotch Pudding mmmmmm 🙂

 

 

Could You Have The Time To Make Mini Chocolate Brioche Rolls for Brunch? Bliss ‘How To’ Recipe For Busy People

Warm Brioche, soft and buttery. Indulgent breakfast food :) It's a far cry from muesli!!
Warm Brioche, soft and buttery. Indulgent breakfast food 🙂 It’s a far cry from muesli!!


Brrrriiiiiioche
, even the act of saying the word is sexy and indulgent.  It was the kind of bread my mother turned her nose up at, “too rich, too much butter….”,  and if that is your belief, this post is not for you.  However, if like me, you believe those phrases were invented purely to pique your interest, please, come into my parlour! 

I had dreamed of brioche, and fantasized about it’s buttery delights long before it was available here in Melbourne.  At that time, I could only use my imagination to envisage how magical this egg and butter enriched, fluffy bun must be.  I would, as I grew, be able to travel halfway across the city to buy croissants, freshly baked, by a real French baker, but being ever so entranced by my croissants, I never did ask to buy a brioche!  It would be many years until I would be brave enough to try my hand at baking bread, and since I never fancied myself as any good, I always left the brioche of my fantasies, right where it had always been, only in my dreams.

Dreamy brioche with a gooey chocolate heart. Straight out of the oven.
Dreamy brioche with a gooey chocolate heart. Straight out of the oven.

If I had followed my food dreams as a teen, I certainly would have apprenticed as a patissier. When I look back, the number of cookbooks I picked up when I was younger, and the number of recipes I tried to emulate astounds me. Yes, a ‘can do’ attitude will lead you to mistakes and disappointment, as I discovered when I tried to make my own croissants at the age of 16, in the middle of a hot Melbourne Summer, with no airconditioning! 

However, the call of patisserie has been like a Siren song across the years, something I would succumb to and, dabble in occasionally, but always with the hard-won, knowledge that pastry making was developed for those with time and patience.  Yep, something that busy working Mum’s are never in great supply of!

So, armed with Bernard Clayton Jr’s recipe for brioche, (yes, a practical and highly regarded, American baker), and an eye on the clock, I am providing a ‘how to’ guide for getting brioche’s hot out of the oven for Sunday brunch.

Bernard Clayton’s Brioche (yeah okay, I made some very, very minor changes!)

Friday or Saturday Night (approx. 20 minutes of work time) :

a) Before you start cooking dinner, (if you sleep early, or if you have very young kids). 

b) Or, After you have finished dinner, and before you start anything else (maybe sitting down to watch TV?!);

4 cups plain flour

3 Tblspns (15ml) sugar

2  Tspns salt

1 package of dry yeast

1/4 cup full cream milk powder

1/2 cup warm water

230g butter (room temp)

4 extra large eggs

Into a large mixer bowl pour 1 cup of flour, the other dry ingredients, anbd water.  Beat in the mixer for 2 minutes at medium speed.

Add the butter and continue beating to blend together.

Add a second cup of flour. Mix thoroughly.  Add the eggs, one at a time and the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time beating after each addition.

The dough will be soft and sticky, and it must be beaten until all ingredients have been well incorporated..

Attach a dough hook to your mixer.

Turn the mixer on medium.  The dough hook will seem to turn aimlessly, but soon the dough will begin to come away from the sides.  Be patient.  Mix for a total of 10 minutes. 

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for about 2 hrs.

Later that evening (approx. 10 minutes of work time) :

a) After cooking, eating and possibly clearing up after dinner, (but definitely before you do little kids bath and bedtime). 

b) Or, after about 1 1/2 -2 hrs of clearing dinner, and other ‘stuff’ (reading, surfing or watching TV if you are lucky!);

Marvel at how your dough has risen to about double the size!

Take off plastic wrap and keep it aside.

Grab dough and give it a squish or two with your hands, or as Bernard says, “stir down dough” if you know what that means?!

Wrap dough in the plastic wrap you took off the bowl.

Put it in the fridge and go to bed.  Yes, you can keep it there until Sunday if you are making dough on Friday night, or you could just bake it Saturday morning if you want!

Sunday morning 8 am (approximately 30 min of work time):

a) If you are an early riser, or have young kids, get up, make them breakfast, throw the laundry in the machine, make yourself a cup of tea, tell your partner to watch the kids, and then see below;

b) If you don’t normally get up early, sorry, you need to get up around 8.30- 9.00am (you can go back to bed in a few minutes!);

50% Cocoa chocolate bits or a bar that is roughly chopped, approximately 2 cups.

1 egg beaten with 1 Tblspn (15ml) milk to brush.

Divide dough into 4 pieces. Place one onto floured work surface, keep remaining pieces wrapped in refrigerator.

Press and roll dough into a narrow rectangle approximately 1cm thick.

Cut strip of dough into rectangles approximately 5cm x 10-15 cm.  (I actually use a stainless steel ruler to cut straight lines, although I don’t actually measure!)

Place chocolate bits approximately 1 cm down from the narrow edge of the piece of dough. Pick up narrow edge, roll over chocolate bits and keep going until you have a neat little roll.

Place brioche rolls, seam side down on a baking sheet covered with baking paper. 

Repeat process until all the rolls are made.

Brush all the rolls with the egg and milk mixture.

(This whole shaping process takes about 2o – 30 minutes)

Turn on oven to preheat, at 180 degrees Celcius.  Don’t put the rolls in yet!!!

Leave rolls in a warm place to rise for 30 – 45 minutes

a) & b)  Whether you have kids or not, go back to bed, with a cup of tea and the paper, maybe?   Okay, reality bites, hang out the laundry, sweep the floor, clear away the kids breakfast (or feed them the cold leftovers!) and stack the dishwasher.

Sunday Morning 10am (approx 5 minutes of work time then 20 minutes baking time)

Brush rolls a second time with egg and milk mixture and bake for approximately 20 minutes.

Leave to cool on a wire rack or just devour them steaming hot!

Left overs can be reheated in the microwave for 10-20 seconds and if you have more than you can eat, freeze them for next week’s brunch!

Et voila, a time managed indulgence for the family, or maybe just for you and a special someone. 

Home made, French patisserie before 10.30am on a Sunday morning, Bliss!

Tell me how you go with this 'time managed' recipe.  If I can mange the occasional treat of home made, brioche for brekky, so can you! :)
Please tell me how you go with this ‘time managed’ recipe. I think that you could indulge in the occasional home made, brioche brekky too! xxx L

If you are enjoying being blissed, please drop me a line with any feedback or comments!  I would love to know what you are enjoying most and what you would like to see more of.

If you have any photos, please visit my facebook, instagram or pinterest page and post some pics of your wonderful creations!

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Whose tradition is it anyway? Bread for Toni, Lemon Myrtle and White Chocolate, Ice Cream Cake Recipe

Please don’t judge me. I have a confession to make… it is the middle of January and I still have half a panettone left.
It is difficult to explain but no one else in my family will eat it, and since I enjoy a slice only at breakfast, lightly toasted, with a cup of tea, there is really only so much one can get through!!

However, it seems, that I may actually be the odd one out here, as there is an entire school of thought that believes panettone is a an inedible passing food fad Are they right? How many of us are actually secretly hiding, unopened or rather large chunks of left over panettone, in the pantry or refrigerator? Or is yours just out in the open, (like mine) taking up square footage on the kitchen counter?

Am I perpetuating the myth that no one eats panettone?  Here is another great recipe idea for left over panettone!
Am I perpetuating the myth that no one eats panettone? Here is another great recipe idea for left over panettone!

I’m not convinced though, try telling the Italians that panettone is a passing fad! It seems that the original, flatter, and probably much smaller (aka manageable) version has been around since the fifteenth century. Hmmm, five hundred years give or take, it seems like a fairly strong trend to me!
All traditional festive foods have a legend or 10 behind them and my favourite story of the origins of this paradox, of slightly dry yet buttery fruit bread is this one;

“Does the name “Panettone” derive from Pan de Toni? According to tradition, Toni, lowly scullion at the service of Ludovico il Moro, was the inventor of one of the most typical sweets of the Italian tradition. On Christmas Eve, the chef of the Sforza burned the cake prepared for the feast. Toni decided to offer the mother yeast that he had kept aside for himself for Christmas. He kneaded it several times with flour, eggs, sugar, raisins and candied fruit, until obtaining a soft and leavened dough. The result was a great success and Ludovico il Moro called it Pan de Toni to honor its inventor.

Truly generous act on behalf of Toni I think, as I am sure that as a lowly scullion, to be able to make bread and have yeast available for his family, was not a trifling luxury. Secondly, it must have surely been a charitable master to not only name the sweet invention after Toni, but to not send the entire kitchen staff to the gallows for burning the Christmas cake in the first place!! Ha ha, I like it, and I pay due respect to all, who, when faced with dire need, fall back on creative dessert making!

The Italian cultural influence in Melbourne, which peaked with Italian migration back in the late 60’s and early ’70’s really helped give birth to Victoria’s current food and European style cafe culture. You can see the influence in our streets with the number of coffee shops per capita, it is truly astounding to most overseas visitors as to how many coffee machines they can spot in one quiet suburban shopping strip. You can also see it in the basis of so many ‘modern’ Australian menus which have strong Italian foundations. Who would have imagined that the home made antipasti found in the sandwiches of first generation migrant kids, school lunches, would now be routinely served up anywhere you care to eat? Everywhere from lowly cafeteries, to gourmet modern Australian eateries offer such a wide range of ethnically diverse dishes, that it would be strange not to see it on the menu!

It is so universally accepted that Italian cuisine is part if the strong foundation of modern Australian food, that when I recently asked an overseas visitor, “What is your favourite Australian dessert?”, they replied, ” Tiramisu.”

Looks a little like tartufo! How could you resist an Italian ice cream based dessert?
Looks a little like tartufo! How could you resist an Italian ice cream based dessert?

So, here is my recipe that I dedicate to ‘Toni’. I don’t actually know an Italian Toni, but to all my Italian friends, I hope you enjoy my Bliss, Australian take on, enjoying panettone well into January.

I am giving this blissed, ice cream cake, panettone, lovely citrus aromas by using lemon myrtle. Lemon myrtle has a flavour very, very much like lemon grass. It is green and woody with a good citrus kick to it but with none of the acid associated with lemons, so there is only a heightening of the already rich flavours in the panetonne. Lemon myrtle pairs so nicely with white chocolate that it only makes sense to marry them up and serve everything with ice cream! Since no one needs a reason for ice cream; ice cream is my choice for this new Aussie summer dessert. Heston’s recipe, from ‘Heston Blumenthal at home’, seems as good a place as any to start, given the unusual pairings and the nature of this creative dessert, so here is another great culinary genius’ recipe thrown into the Bliss grinder ;P. May be you can serve it for Australia Day? After all, who’s tradition is it anyway?

Panettone and Lemon Myrtle Ice Cream Cake
3 thick slices panettone, cut to the size of a small, loose bottomed cake tin (approximately 6 inch round)

Chocolate Ganache
150g 35% cocoa chocolate
1/2 cup whipping cream
Bring cream to boiling point. Add in chocolate, stir occassionally until melted and smooth. Leave to cool and thicken, stirring occassionally (at least an hour).

Lemon Myrtle White chocolate Ice Cream
180g Full Cream Milk
70g Caster Sugar
35g Milk Powder
420g Whipping Cream
90g White Chocolate
1 tspn Lemon Myrtle (or 1/2 tspn lemon zest, if you can’t get Aussie herbs!)

Heat milk, sugar and milk powder over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved.
Add cream and bring to the boil.
Add white chocolate and lemon myrtle or lemon zest, stirring occasionally until chocolate has dissolved.
Cool thoroughly.
Turn on your ice cream machine and churn for about 45 minutes or until the beater can no longer turn.

Work quickly to;
Place a layer of panettone into the botom of your cake tin.
Spoon a layer of ice cream over it, and smooth over with the back of a spoon.
Place second layer of panettone over the ice cream and press down lightly.
Spoon a second layer of ice cream over the panettone, as above.
Place third layer of panettone over the ice cream and press down lightly.
Cover the cake tin in glad wrap and place in the freezer.

IMG_1725

When chocolate ganache has cooled to a runny fudge sauce consistency.
Take cake tin out of the freezer and run a knife around the inside of the tin to loosen the ice cream and turn the ‘cake’ out onto a plate.
Pour a generous amount of ganache over the top of the cake and smooth it out towards the edges allowing it to run over the sides of the cake.
Place ‘cake’ back into freezer.
Place remaining ganache into fridge to firm up (at least an hour)
Use a melon baller to scoop little balls of ice cream, and place them onto a cold tray and place ice cream balls back into freezer to firm up.
When ganache has become firm but not hard, use a small spoon or melon baller to scoop spoonfuls of ganache and roll them in Dutch cocoa powder, and keep them in the fridge.

When you are ready to serve, place mini ice cream scoops and ganache balls on top. The panettone is even drier, coming out of the freezer, but in combination with the ice cream and the ganache, it is a great textural compliment and the flavours work beautifully together!

Happy Birthday Australia xxx

Can you see the Southern Cross?  Happy Birthday Australia in all the finest, chocolatey, tradition :)
Can you see the Southern Cross? Happy Birthday Australia in all the finest, chocolatey, tradition 🙂

If you are enjoying being blissed, please drop me a comment with any feedback or comments!  I would love to know what you are enjoying most and what you would like to see more of.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list or follow me on wordpress to see all my latest ramblings 🙂

It’s A Heatwave! Nectarine and Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc Sorbet Recipe

No, it is getting to 'beyond a joke', hot.  Feel free to dive in and cool off!
No, it is getting to, ‘beyond a joke’, hot. Feel free to dive in and cool off!

OH MY GOODNESS!! 8PM AND IT IS STILL 40 DEGREES CENTIGRADE!!!!! AAAAAARRRGH :0

What are you supposed to do when it is too hot to move, and you have inherited a bag of rather large, rather ripe nectarines from your globetrotting brother, who has left to go to a hot country, so he can play on the beach with his kids…..huh, Thailand, really? Couldn’t he just be hot here?
Hee hee hee, it may be sour grapes from me, but we have definitely had very sweet nectarines this Summer here in Melbourne!

I could of course, eat them as the fruit that they are….but you wouldn’t know me very well.
I have actually been on a healthy lifestyle kick for ooooh, about 4 days, and honestly I am already reaching a very low ceiling, I just can’t stomach this much fruit on a daily basis!
I like it best in cake, in dessert, in smoothies. Please don’t get me wrong of course I like fruit, but I enjoy fruit in small quantities as a pleasure, I just can’t do it as a staple, like veggies.

Given that these truly soaring, Summer temperatures are staying for at least the next couple of days I needed to quickly turn these nectarines into something, other than smelly, mouldy, mush in a bag.
Healthy lifestyle choices, mean that ice cream is not an option (at least this week!)
Out door ambient temperatures, means that the oven is NOT being turned on.
How about a sorbet? Cooling, no fat, chock full of fruit, sounded like the perfect option 🙂

What do you do with too many ripe nectarines?  Make something blissfully indulgent of course!
What do you do with too many ripe nectarines? Make something blissfully indulgent of course!

David Lebowitz, the master of indulgent desserts gave me his recipe via google and I, of course, Bliss-ed it!

I had just enjoyed a couple of glasses of Cape Mentelle, a lovely Sauvignon Blanc from Margaret River, Western Australia, the other night with a nice little seafood pasta. Fantastic; fruity, peachy and nectarine, flavours but not overwhelmingly so. I enjoyed it more and more as the glass got lower, the flavour became as smooth as silk. I don’t generally love a very fruity white wine but, I only had to take the nectarines out of the bag to immediately think of the frosty bottle I had in the fridge!

You will notice I actually put in a bit of cocoa and nutmeg into my recipe, which may seem strange!? For a brighter looking sorbet, please feel free to leave them out, but for me the mix needed a bit of extra depth in flavour, and it just seemed so right. You do sacrifice a few points in the looks department, and although you can’t taste chocolate flavours straight out, I think it adds really nicely to the complexity of the flavours.

No, this is not a kid friendly recipe, but if you want a clean, simple recipe, please link through to David’s recipe, it is gorgeous!

The best of Summer in a wine glass!
The best of Summer in a frosty wine glass!

Heatwave Nectarine Sorbet

5-6 ripe nectarines (approximately 750g after pitting)

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup white wine (sav blanc is my choice!)

2/3 cup caster sugar

pinch nutmeg

1/2 tspn dutch cocoa

1/2 tspn lemon juice

Fresh raspberries

Mint leaves and tips

Pit the unpeeled nectarines and cut into rough chunks.

Place the water, wine and nectarines into a medium sized pan. Simmer over a medium heat for approximately 10 minutes, or until soft, stirring occassionally.

Stir in sugar, nutmeg, cocoa and lemon juice. Use a stick blender to puree until smooth.

Cool thoroughly ( I actually poured the mixture into the pot from my ice cream maker and put the whole thing in the freezer for an hour)

Place into your ice cream maker and churn for 45 min-1 hr. It will still need some time in the freezer, after you have finished churning, for it to firm up enough so that it can be scooped. I left mine overnight.

Mix fresh raspberries with mint leaves and place in the bottom of a dessert or wine glass. Scoop generous portions of sorbet to sit on top and decorate with a few mint tips!

Oh yes, I feel cooler already, and an extra splash of Sav Blanc will guarantee to put a little smile on my face 🙂

This is a great make ahead dessert for a warm summer evening, especially after a lovely grilled seafood meal, on a balcony by the sea….. aaaaaah, such is Summer 🙂

All anyone really needs is a little touch of Summer Bliss :) x
All anyone really needs is a little touch of Summer Bliss 🙂 x

Love, Sunshine and Bucks Fizz. Champagne Syrup, Orange Cake Recipe.

20131231-144611.jpg
Relaxing on New Year’s Eve with a family barbecue enjoying the sunshine and fresh air.
Looking back on 2013 there has been so much to be thankful for, and to celebrate before I move into the new and unknown.
Yes, my full time job, like many of us, eats into the time that I would rather spend on baking, creating and experiencing life, however without the balance, would I enjoy and look forward to these activities as much?

“And soon you will find
That there comes a time
For making your mind up.”
Bucks Fizz- Making your mind up lyrics

So, who doesn’t think about Eurovision 1981 when they are lying about in the sunshine enjoying a day trout fishing with the family? 😜
The last couple of years have been pivotal, in deciding to keep ‘Bliss’ a fun creative outlet instead of seeing it as a business. Certainly as 2013 comes to a close, it has definitely proven to be the right decision to make. As the great masters of philosophy Andy Hill and John Danter wrote in that history making song, I made my mind up!

Bottoms up then! No matter how nicely a glass of Veuve may go down at the stroke of 12. You know, a Yellowglen with orange juice, and a quick 80’s pop song may be all you need to put a smile on your face and cheer in 2014!

20131231-172358.jpg
No, really this look was awful even in 1981!!

Bliss Bucks Fizz Cake
250g butter
Grated rind of 1 medium sized orange
3/4 cup caster sugar
3 eggs separated
150g self raising flour
1 cup buttermilk
Champagne Syrup
2 cups champagne (sweet, fruity and cheap is perfect!)
1 cup caster sugar
Raspberries to decorate

Preheat oven to 170C.
Grease and lightly flour a deep 20cm round cake tin.
Cream butter, orange rind and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in egg yolks one at a time, until combined.
Stir in half the sifted flour and half the buttermilk.
Then stir in remaining flour and butter milk.
Beat egg whites in a small bowl until soft peaks form, fold lightly in to cake mixture in 2 batches.
Spread mixtures into prepared pans and bake for approximately 1 hr.
Stand for 5 minutes before turning onto wire rack.

Bring the champagne and sugar to a boil and reduce to about half.
Poke holes all over the top of the cake and drizzle over the syrup.
Let syrup absorb into the cake and keep adding as much syrup as you feel you want!

This is the basic recipe that I have been working on and as soon as I put together some nice photos over the next couple of weeks, I will revise it. It will take me the next two weeks to work on my presentation!!

Hope you all have fun, try something new, and love what you do in 2014! xx

Chocolate Ripple Cake with Roasted Wattle Seed and Creamed Honey Recipe

Entertaining season is on us with a vengeance! Are you ready? How many family and friends’ barbecues and Christmas parties are you attending over the next 2 weeks? How many pavlovas and chocolate ripple cakes will you see this December?

Bliss it up!  A new Aussie Classic as far as I am concerned.  If you are making a chocolate ripple cake this Christmas, try this truly Australian version, I promise you will love it!
Bliss it up! A new Aussie Classic as far as I am concerned. If you are making a chocolate ripple cake this Christmas, try this truly Australian version, I promise you will love it!

After posting on facebook, a photo of an American version of a chocolatey, cream cheese and cool whipped easy to assemble, mad indulgence, my sister reminded me of the importance of keeping it real! Let’s get back to our roots, let’s not forget a good old, Aussie, chocolate ripple cake; ‘Blissed’ of course!

Pavlov's dog...who doesn't need a cup of tea when they see this iconic logo?
Pavlov’s dog…who doesn’t need a cup of tea when they see this iconic logo?

Arnott’s was the biscuit company of our time. We grew up with great Aussie faves such as Chocolate Ripples, Tim Tam’s, Chocolate Royals (yes, I took inspiration for the name ‘Royale’ for one of my cakes from this!), Tic Tocs, Iced Vovo’s, Nice, Marie, oh my goodness….too many to name! This simple line says it all, “Arnott’s is more than a food company, it’s a piece of Australia’s history.”

You can’t go wrong with a chocolate ripple cake and I am sure it sounds like a good idea to most, but I bet you are feeling hesitant about reading ‘wattle seed’ in the title. Biscuits, check, creamed honey check, but seriously wattle seeds? When I tell you, you can get bottles of roasted wattle seed at the local supermarket, and after you have taken your first lick of whipped cream with wattle seed, believe me, we as a nation, will all be wondering what we were waiting for!

Showers of golden, wattle flowers, bane of hayfever sufferers, and muse to photographers and artists across the country :)
Showers of golden, wattle flowers, bane of hayfever sufferers, and muse to photographers and artists across the country 🙂

Wattle is far better known by everyone, within Australia and overseas for the incredible masses of golden flowers it produces and the great green and gold colours which are synonymous with our sporting teams. Wattle is our national flower, so for goodness sake, why isn’t roasted wattle seed our national flavouring? Chocolatey, coffee, and hazelnut aromas are all what Melbourne cafe culture is about!! You get instant heady mocha aromas when you open the jar and then when you add it to a few spoons of Beechworth creamed honey, which is not too sweet, bursting with honey flavour and the perfect consistency for whipping into cream …. yes, you will know you are in heaven 🙂 Add some Victorian strawberries for a really Bliss-ed up version of the old chocolate ripple cake, and a new Aussie classic has been born!

Australian Herbs, Roasted Wattle seed...my new best friend.  What a gorgeous, amazing bottle of magic!
Australian Herbs, Roasted Wattle seed…my new best friend. What an amazing little bottle of magic!
A match made in the lucky country.  Smooth and sweet creamed honey with amazing mocha flavoured roasted wattle seeds.  I am claiming this combo as a Bliss specialty!
A match made in the lucky country. Smooth and sweet creamed honey with incredible mocha flavoured roasted wattle seeds. I am claiming this combo as a Bliss specialty!

I have done a little bit of a sexy version, however, feel free to leave out the alcohol and pile up the layers in little dessert or cake cups with extra sliced up strawberries for a more casual and kid friendly take.

Double or triple the quantities if you are doing a big party!

Blissed up Chocolate Ripple Cake – makes 6

1-2 packs Arnott’s Chocolate Ripple Biscuits- you will need 18 bikkies for this recipe

300ml bottle of thickened cream

1 tspn Roasted Wattle Seeds

2 tblspns Creamed Honey

1 tspn Kahlua

1 punnet strawberries

Pour thickened cream into a large bowl. Beat on low until frothy.

Add in roasted wattle seeds, creamed honey and Kahlua (or not, if you want it Kid friendly).

Whip until stiff peaks form.

Sexy version:

Transfer cream into a piping bag with a rosette nozzle.

Pipe a swirl of cream, that does not quite reach the edge, onto the first biscuit. Place a 2nd biscuit on top and press down lightly.

Repeat the swirl of cream, top with 3rd biscuit, and finish top with a swirl of cream.

Place in an airtight container and refrigerate over night.

Casual version:

Place first biscuit into a dessert cup, one of those paper ones with the stiff sides is perfect.

Spoon a generous tablespoon or so of cream to cover the biscuit. Top with second biscuit.

Repeat the dollop of cream, top with 3rd biscuit and finish top with a dollop of cream.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.

Top it up:

Decorate with strawberries and mint sprigs. Or rosemary sprigs, if like me, you want a more adventurous flavour combination, or truth be known, you have found that all your mint has died!

Yes, it is as delicious as I described!  So,  go out and buy yourself some roasted wattleseed!  Delish :)  xx
Yes, it is as gorgeous as I described, so go out and buy yourself some roasted wattleseed! Delish 🙂 xx

I hope to post a second Christmas inspired recipe post next week, however the best laid plans can go astray, so let me take this opportunity to thank you all for supporting my little Aussie blog. Have yourselves a very merry Christmas and see you in the new year xxx

Beechworth Honey, Banana and Pistachio Sour Cream Cupcakes Recipe

There are philosophical certainties in this life; birth, death, taxes and….over ripe bananas. So long as your household buys bananas, there is one certainty; there will be, at some stage in your life, a couple of bananas that are more brown than yellow, sitting in a fruit bowl or basket.

Occasionally, they are thrown away, and sometimes you have the time and inspiration to make something of them. This is a first in, what I believe, will be a series of recipes featuring these sad, orphan fruits.

With love ❤ My special present when my girl got back from school camp. Looking forward to getting down to Beechworth myself to do the ‘honey experience’.

So what inspired me to use up said bananas last night? It was some very special little tubs of honey, all the way from Beechworth, but more importantly, bought with the change that young children carry with them when they are on school camp. My big-hearted girl, loves her Mum and was thinking of me when she visited the home of honey in Victoria, earlier this year. She brought home little tasting tubs of ‘bold’, ‘fruity’ and ‘delicate’ blends, which we have been happily eating slathered and dripping, on hot crumpets with butter 🙂 However, time ticked on, and the inevitable question came, “Aren’t you going to make something with my honey?”.

I have to admit, I wasn’t thinking about it, but as I am now known as the cake lady by most friends and family now, the question lingered, “Where to, cake lady?” I had to do something…4 generations of apiarists at Beechworth have built this business to become one of the most well known brands of Australian honey, as well as a major tourist attraction, I had to turn it into cake. No pressure, Mum…

Bananas and honey are a ‘no brainer’ combination, if I added a smidgen of crushed pistachios, suddenly the flavours should become a little more complex, the eating a little more textural; combine it all into a gorgeously, rich sour cream cake base and we get mellow undertones which make me go mmmmm 🙂 In my head, banana cake had to be made with ‘fruity’ honey, a white chocolate whipped cream to serve it with just had to be dribbled with ‘delicate” honey, and my hot lemon tea while I baked, had to be sweetened with my favourite, ‘bold’ honey :D.

Well, that was the flavours sorted, so, here we go guys;

Honey, banana,and pistachio sour cream cupcakes

150g butter

3/4 cup caster sugar

70g honey

2 xlarge eggs

2 mashed bananas

250g self raising flour

1/3 cup sour cream

Approx 1 tablespoon crushed pistachios (optional)

Cream butter, sugar, and honey until light and fluffy.

Beat in eggs one at a time, until just combined.

Mix in mashed bananas and pistachios

Beat in half sifted flour and half sour cream, until combined.

Beat in rest of sifted flour and sour cream, beat well.

Spoon into medium size patty pans until approx 3/4 full and bake for approx 20 minutes at 170 Celsius, or until cake springs back when pressed lightly in the centre.

Yep, hot out of the oven, the cake was light, moist, and had a good hit of banana. Unmistakable honey flavours and aromas came through with a hint of green, nuttiness which I was hoping for from the pistachio. Yum, yum, yum.

No more homely banana cakes.  Light and fluffy, gourmet style cuppie! :)
No more homely banana cakes. Light and fluffy, gourmet style cuppie! 🙂

Now, come the part which I really have to use a different part of my brain for, the presentation. If you follow my blog, you will know this is not my greatest strength! It’s honey, so honestly, we had to have bees, and honey dribbles, with a nod to the shape of an old fashioned bee hive didn’t we?

Whip up 300ml thickened cream until soft peaks form.

Melt approximately 1/2 cup of white chocolate and stir until smooth.

Add melted white chocolate to cream and whip until stiff peaks form.

Pipe with a round nozzle a round to cover cupcake, then 2 smaller rounds on top of first layer.

Drizzle gently with honey, sprinkle with crushed pistachios if desired.

Cut slices of banana and slather liberally in lemon juice. Use a little flower cutter to cut through the slices.

Top off with a banana flower and a little sugar bee ( I made these but you can buy icing bees, and the wires are cute but end up spinning your bee all over the place!)

Before: Brown bananas

After:

Gorgeous!  I think they look pretty good :)  Cake lady, Blisses, again! xxx
Gorgeous! I think they look pretty good 🙂 Cake lady, Bliss-es, again! xxx
IMG_6338
Tick of approval from my special little girl…that’s all I need 🙂

Sundae(y) Afternooon, Hot Fudge Sauce Recipe.

I am an ice cream sundae, kind of girl.    And, being a Sunday afternoon, it can be kind of hard not to think about the more calorific, Soda Shop style dessert.

Okay, you caught me out, I dreamed of being one of the gang that hung out at Pop’s and wanted desparately to be able to order those ridiculous, overflowing, ice cream sodas, and to eat, foot high, ice cream sundaes.  I may only have been in primary school and happened to live on the other side of the world from any Soda Shops, but I loved wishing that I could be perched on a red vinyl stool, slurping down a real American, malted milk!

The closest thing I ever got to a hot fudge sundae was a dribble of Cottees chocolate syrup on a single scoop of Streets vanilla ice cream.  Ummm, sorry Mum….not even close.  So guys, let’s do this for real!.  Hot fudge sauce is another one of those things you never thought you could make and when you do, find it only takes you about 20 minutes flat.  No preservatives, no additives, just pure indulgence through and through 🙂

Mmmm, smooth, silky, hot fudge sauce :)
Mmmm, smooth, silky, hot fudge sauce 🙂

Basic Hot Fudge Sauce  (adapted from the Brown eyed Baker)

2/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup Golden Syrup
¼ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
170g 35%couverture chopped, divided in half
30g unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream, syrup, cocoa powder, salt and half of the chocolate to a boil. Reduce the heat to low (enough to maintain a low simmer), and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining chocolate, the butter, and the vanilla extract, stirring until smooth.

3. Pour half of the sauce into a clean jar or into a pouring jug for those who are chocolate purists.

But for those who are dedicated to Bliss-ing it up;  Keep reading 🙂   I won’t bore you with too many details, just suffice to say I was at Vic Market, killing some time and enjoying the company of my best bud, hubby and foodie companion, when I spied blood oranges…

Adding a little interest with tart, seasonal blood oranges, picked up on my wanderings...
Adding a little interest with tart, seasonal blood oranges, picked up on my wanderings…

1. Stir in the grated zest of one blood orange into the remaining half of the chocolate sauce. 

2. Squeeze in approximately 1 tablespoon of blood orange juice.  Stir well.

3.  Pour into a clean jar or into a pouring jug for those that like things just a touch more interesting!

To serve a Blissed up Hot Fudge Sundae;

I have no illusions about my ability to present food in any manner other than rudimental.  I have even wondered whether there are talented people out there, who I could pay to teach me!  There were 2 main reasons why it took a week for me to post this blog, even after I had made the sauce.  First, because I didn’t have the time to write it, but secondly, because I seriously didn’t know how to put it together, so that would be something that my dear readers might want to look at and maybe even want to eat!  So, here we go guys, and honestly I couldn’t even get a decent photo out of it.  If you have a better photo of your attempt at a Bliss Sundae, please post it on my FB page for me to drool over!

1. Cut 3 thin slices of blood orange and place into the base of a shallow dessert bowl.  I used a Japanese rice bowl, I just love them for desserts!

2.  Place a generous single scoop of any ice cream of your choice on top of the fruit slices.

3.  Drizzle with as much or as little sauce as you wish.

4.  I stuck in a couple of chocolate dipped Pocky sticks for a little bit of crunch.

Looks lickable?  Looks good to me! I am definitely no food stylist, so if you have a better photo of your attempts at a Bliss-ed up Hot Fudge Sundae, please post it to my FB page so I can drool over it!
Looks lickable? Looks good to me!
I am definitely no food stylist, so if you have a better photo of your attempts at a Bliss-ed up Hot Fudge Sundae, please post it to my FB page so I can drool over it!

Breakfast Inspired, Raspberry and Apple Jam Tarts Recipe

Quick! I am running out of raspaberry jam (ha ha, a typing error, but funnily enough the way I usually pronounce it!) This ruby red jelly, speckled with little white seeds, is my current mainstay of weekend breakfasts. I love it, I love it, I love it. On bread and butter, on french toast, toasted croissant, pancakes, scones and cream in fact, on just about anything I can think of 🙂 Raspberry jam is just tart enough to not really taste like you are doing the wrong thing and so fruity that you can justify that you are eating something, almost, healthy!
Jam is so quick and easy that I just went straight to my stash of frozen raspberries and picked up a left over apple from my kids lunches and whipped up an apple-fied version of my favourite jam.

Raspberry and apple jam

Boiling, fruity, bliss.  Just remember to keep stirring!
Boiling, fruity, bliss. Just remember to keep stirring!


350g fresh or frozen raspberries
100g chopped apple
350g sugar
1 small juiced lemon (use the lemon NOT the juice!)

Place into heavy pan, boil rapidly, stirring constantly.
Cook until mixture thickens and drips off the spoon in jelly like dollops. (About 15 minutes)
Serve on French toast, toasted croissant, or just freshly baked bread warm out if the oven, mmmmm
Makes enough for about 2 medium sized jars.

When I finished filling a couple of jars, I realized…oooooh I’ve missed having fun, just playing and mucking about in the kitchen No wonder I’ve been feeling so grumpy!
With fresh, sweet and fruity aromas wafting around the kitchen, and knowing that I have 2 jars of freshly made, still warm, home made jam, cooling on the bench, I can’t stop myself whipping up a quick batch of short crust pastry 🙂

Pastry cut, jam dolloped, ready for the oven.
Pastry cut, jam dolloped, ready for the oven.

Short crust pastry
150g plain flour
80g cold butter
approx 3 tblspn ice water

Place plain flour and cold butter into food processor and pulse until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add cold water and process until a smooth dough forms. Turn out and knead lightly. Wrap in glad wrap, refrigerate for approx 30 minutes. Makes enough pastry for approximately 20 little tartlets.

I have company for dinner tonight, so that’s all the excuse I need to create a few, little, jam tarts to have with tea afterwards. I feel so happy 😀

Jam tarts

Heat oven to 180 Celsius

The Queen of hearts, she made some tarts...I don't know if I am a queen of anything, but the tarts, oh the tarts :)
The Queen of hearts, she made some tarts…I don’t know if I am a queen of anything, but the tarts, oh the tarts 🙂

Roll out short crust pastry on a lightly floured bench. Roll it thin enough so that you can just start to make out the colour of your bench through the pastry.
Use a fluted cutter to cut out rounds, and place them into small, shallow cupcake pans.
Place about 1/2 tspn of jam in the centre of each pastry round. Don’t overfill as jam will melt and bubble while cooking.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until pastry is lightly golden.
Cool thoroughly before serving, as jam is hot, hot, hot!!

A lovely smooth buttery flavoured pastry, short, and flakey when you bite into it and of course, there is no getting away from that great full, tart rasp-aah-berry flavour with chunks of unmistakable apple sweetness. You always knew I would drizzle with chocolate didn’t you? I used white chocolate here but dark couverture would be just as lovely.

Heavenly. I think I might be kidding myself that they will last until after dinner. Isn’t it almost afternoon tea time?

Raspberry and white chocolate, raspberry and dark chocolate?  Who can choose anyway?  Just eat me :)
Raspberry and white chocolate, raspberry and dark chocolate? Who can choose anyway? Just eat me 🙂