Sticky Toffee Pear and Ginger Cake

How wonderful! Windfall of Bartlett pears ūüôā

 

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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Microwave Cake? – Passionfruit Sponge with Marinated Berries and Whipped Cream

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Market fresh Aussie passionfruit mmmmm!

C’mon, ¬†I’ve baked for many, many (toooo many!) years, and yes, I’ve owned and loved using a microwave for at least¬†25 years.

yuk calvin face
Like, really?  Microwave cake??

But, babe! ¬†You know it, I know it, how come everyone on Masterchef doesn’t know it? ¬†YOU CAN’T BAKE A CAKE WITH A MICROWAVE. ¬†What is going on people?

There has been the inevitable, take over of the world, of microwave mug recipes. ¬†Late night or quick dessert fixes, I get it; ¬†I really do! ¬†I even bought my daughter a mug cake recipe book for Christmas. ¬†But, microwave sponges seem to be the biggest thing since Matt Preston, himself! ¬†I am dragging my ‘Vans’, I know, but traditional techniques are what I taught myself, so even though this recipe is from 2014…

http://tenplay.com.au/channel-ten/masterchef/recipes/80-40-20–passionfruit-sponge–marinated-berries–whipped-cream

I’m testing it out, ‘coz I have been sucked in by the hype, over 1500 people have rated it 4 stars, and I NEED to know!!

How ironic that my ramekins were too big and I had to use teacups!
After 40 seconds in a 1100 watt microwave and it isn’t cooked
Another 20 seconds has done it
Ran a knife around the edges but it is still a little rustic when turned out

 

Texture was a little dense and rubbery but quite acceptable to eat warm with cream and berry compote as the recipe suggests.

 

Cooled to stale cake consistency after about an hour, dry and hard

 

Bliss

“Definitely a mug cake. ¬†Great eaten warm but a little bouncy and slightly dense. ¬†Tastes great and is a perfect, quick treat for pudding. ¬†Cools to stale cake consistency within an hour.”

Taste heart emojiheart emojiheart emoji

Texture heart emojiheart emoji

Do I have a good recipe for…heart emojiheart emojiheart emoji

DeleteRedNot a recipe I would do gluten free.  The texture would suffer even more with any substitutions

tickUnrefined sugar substitution suitable.  Raw castor sugar or Stevia would work well.

tickRecipe as written, is nut free.

 tickI would be happy to substitute any kind of vegetable or nut oil for the butter in this recipe

when nothing goes right go  left
Image from www.upnorth.com

What would I change? Hmmm, probably it’s name! ¬†It is a great warm pudding or mug cake but would I call it a sponge cake? ¬†Probably not. ¬†It also needed 50-60 seconds in my 1100 watt microwave on high, not the 40 seconds as written in the recipe.

The flavour was great and would definitely have been great with the Chantilly cream. I personally¬†wouldn’t want to serve the passionfruit pudding with berry coulis though.

To ‘Bliss’ it, I would serve it with double or triple¬†cream or even a custard. ¬†I think a matcha infused custard with white chocolate, would have been gorgeous with this little pudding!

This recipe has definitely not convinced me that I can make cake in a microwave.

I hope you  have enjoyed this recipe review, and found it useful?  Would love to hear what you think.

See you next time ūüėČ X

Moist Chocolate and Beet Cake

Have you dared to try it?
I’ve put it off for years but the time for testing and tasting is finally here!

IMG_5815

 

Beetroot in a cake??!!!

‘Chocolate beetroot cake,’¬†has been a phrase that has both intrigued and repulsed me for YEARS! ¬† No, I just couldn’t do it. ¬†So many opportunities to do a trial and so many reasons to not go there.¬†Please, don’t get me wrong, I am a big beetroot fan in its many of its guises; most importantly; a burger is no burger of mine without it. ¬†But, no matter how many people said a beetroot chocolate cake was all kinds of wonderful, I just couldn’t make the leap….until today.

When I decided to listen to my family and post reviews of the recipes I tested, I knew there were 2 recipes that I have avoided for decades yet, never been able to let go of.

Time to make the plunge; this Moist Chocolate Beet Cake recipe is originally by Nigel Slater but I found it via David Lebovitz website.  I followed the recipe to the letter, although I did not have an 8 inch springform so used a 7 inch and had batter left over.  You definitely need an 8 inch and in fact I probably could have used a 9 inch pan.

IMG_5816
Beautiful, just set and wobbly in the centre
IMG_5817
Sank a little while cooling. Not a big deal. Maybe another 5 minutes in the oven?
IMG_5821 cropped
Looking pretty with the entire tub of creme fraiche poured over it, and sprinkled with poppy seeds

 

 

Bliss

 

“A beautifully textured¬†cake, full of deep chocolate flavour and just enough sweetness to balance the bitterness of the cocoa. If you ¬†like chocolate and beetroot paired, this is a spectacular recipe! ¬†For the adventurous, definitely try it, you might find you enjoy it.”

Taste heart emojiheart emojiheart emojiheart emoji

Texture heart emojiheart emojiheart emojiheart emojiheart emoji

Do I have a good recipe for…heart emojiheart emojiheart emojiheart emojiheart emoji

tickGluten free substitution suitable.   I would feel happy to bake this cake with a gluten free flour substitute.  It may have a slightly gummy feel to it though.  Another option would be to substitute half almond meal and half gluten free flour.  I feel all almond meal would change the texture too much.

tickUnrefined sugar substitution suitable.  This cake would actually take on a whole new complexity of flavour using coconut sugar or rapadura sugar.  The caramel flavours of these sugars would really give you a lovely depth of flavour.  To avoid grittiness, process the sugar until it is finer before you use them.  Raw castor sugar or Stevia would also work.

tickRecipe as written, is nut free.

DeleteRed Not dairy free.  The flavour that is added by this amount of butter would make it difficult to change out for anything else.

when nothing goes right go  left
Image from www.upnorth.com

What would I change? ¬†As a chocolate beet cake it was beautiful, I wouldn’t change it at all. ¬†Although, I found the flavour of beetroot had mellowed even more after 2-3 days.Since I am a big believer of allowing chocolate cakes time to develop in flavour, I would even consider making it 2 days ahead of serving.

I personally, would¬†consider cutting the beetroot with some green apple to help smooth the transition between chocolate and beetroot. ¬†But hey, that’s just me!

To ‘Bliss’ it, I would serve it with sour cream on the side to give it a punchier flavour and a creamier accompaniment. ¬†Creme fraiche was a little bit delicate in flavour and texture for me and I didn’t really think the poppy seeds did anything for it. ¬†I would consider a really airy cream cheese frosting for it as well, but it would definitely have to be whipped within an inch of its life!

Wow, so there it is; Nigel Slater’s Moist Chocolate and Beet Cake. ¬†What a great start!

I hope you  have enjoyed my first recipe review, and found it useful?  Would love to hear what you think.

See you next time ūüėČ X

PS if you are looking to get a springform pan, it is definitely worth spending a little bit more money to get one that won’t leak!
This is a link to Amazon.com, for a particularly highly rated tin by Kaiser, that won’t break the bank.


Kaiser Bakeware Noblesse 8-Inch Round Non-Stick Springform Pan

“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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā

 

 

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 ‚ÄúPanettone‚ÄĚ 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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā

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

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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā 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 ūüôā 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

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 ūüôā

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

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

2/3 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup Golden Syrup
¬ľ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
¬ľ 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 ūüôā¬†¬† 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!

Japanese ice cream makes me happy!

It’s been a long cold winter, there is still snow on the mountains and I am eating and blogging about what makes me happy ūüôā My new year’s resolution of living my life instead of letting life live me has, so far, been a pipe dream and I have not come anywhere near actually making it happen. However, one of my additional little resolutions,¬†New Year’s Eve and Summer is finally here,¬† has been well and truly ticked off the list. I am proud to say I have raced down that road and rung the bell (or at least caught up with the the guy ringing that happy bell!)

Says it all!
(Photo by Leo Reynolds, that I have lifted from Flickriver. Thanks Leo!)

I have noticed on my travels, that the colder the climate the more readily ice cream seems to be available and the more open everyone is to eating it! I was absolutely delighted to find that when we landed in Hokkaido, the northern most island of Japan and home to the snow monkeys, they are obsessed with ice cream! YAAAYYYY!!!! I won’t bore you with details of travel and sight seeing, I will just show you and tell you about the marvellous soft serve that I ate. The island of Hokkaido is the bread basket of Japan, so cows and fruit abound.¬† For the Japanese, soft serve is the ice cream style of choice. Smooth, refined, soft and delicate, everything that appeals to the Asian palate. I am used to the big bang, flavours of Aussie style cuisine and¬† I swing from loving the icy, bite in the mouth, gelati, to full bodied, richly creamy, home style, custard based, ice creams. Soft serve was always the poor cousin relagated to cheap choc dips and McDonald’s 50 cent cones, with that strange milky sweetness. Well, my mind has been changed!

Black sesame and milk, a really old school favourite flavour.

Our first stop, and we found a real old school favourite, Black Sesame. Black sesame, in any Asian dessert, has a slightly gritty texture and a pleasant deep bitterness that contrasts beautifully with a sweet finish. Both hot and cold desserts are made with this flavouring but ice cream is a perfect carriage. The smoothness of ice cream gives the ground sesame a soft bed to carry it and contrasting it with a plain milk is simply, genius.This is my dad in law’s hand…of course, he loves it!

Next ice cream stop, Hakodate tower. Hakodate, is the Southernmost fishing village on Hokkaido. Home to the

Cherry blossom ice cream, a truly romantic flavour, with a view of Hakodate.

3rd most spectacular night view on earth, as our tour guide tells us! I can vouch that the view was spectacular and that it was absolutely freezing too boot! Obviously didn’t stop us from eating more ice cream. This beautifully soft, and delicately flavoured Cherry blossom ice cream was what a lot of us imagine Japan to embody, all piled high on a crisp, wafer cone. Over 1000 cherry blossom trees are planted here, however, I missed out on that view by just a few weeks. Plenty of snow, just no cherry blossoms:(

And, this is where it starts getting weird. The Japanese seem so nice, so normal and then you dig a bit deeper and things start to get just a little strange! So, guess who went straight to the counter to order what no other adult, no matter how much they thought of themselves as gourmands, could bring themselves to do? Yes, my son ordered squid ink ice cream and ate the whole thing. Of course I had a taste, it tasted like, squid ink. Bitter. Bitter without the subtlety of black sesame and because it is such a novely, unfortunately not made with as much finesse. Icy and probably needing seasoning, I would even go as far as adding sea salt and herbs. I think we might be on to something Heston Blumenthal!!

Did I say I love the big bang flavours we get in Australia? Did I say I love

Yubari melon ice cream. MMMMMMM I love rock melon gelati and I love Yubari melon soft serve!!!

rock melon gelati? Actually, I didn’t, but I couldn’t get enough of this magnificent Yubari flavoured soft serve. It was larger and fancier than any of our previouis ice creams and the flavour made me question my allegiances, aaaaaaaaaaah.¬† Yubari is the Japanese take on rock melon, make it more amazingly perfect and packed full of flavour than any other rock melon on earth and these babies can sell for a record, 2.5 million yen for a pair! (That is a measly AUD 25,000 for 2. Don’t forget to bring a couple over for my get together next week!)

Camembert ice cream, makes complete sense!

Next stop, Camembert ice cream.¬† Of course.¬† How does that not make sense?¬† It makes so much sense that it is inspiration for a couple of great recipes that I am forming for the Summer holiday season. However, this little cone just didn’t have enough punch for me.¬† A great idea, not such great flavour.¬† Shame, shame.

Such great ice cream memories for 2012,¬† with recipes to come!¬† Please leave me a comment if you like my blog and don’t miss my recipe posts by subscribing or following my adventures!

The Grand Finale!
Banana, Chocolate, Milk, Yubari, Green Tea, and Strawberry.
Thank you Hokkaido ūüôā

Guest post gig

Fabulous Cheryl from ‘Itty Bitty Foodies’, wrote me a very succinct note to my offer of a guest post, my ‘Cutest lamingtons ever’ recipe.
YES!
Oh, wow, really? How do I do this? What do I wear? Hee hee hee, I’m pretty excited by the possibility of stretching my legs and stepping slightly outside the confines of my own page.
I can’t wait! Tell you when it is up. In the meantime here is a little sneak preview ūüôā

The cutest lamingtons ever!