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

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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!

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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

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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 🙂

Donut Disaster

http://samelder.hubpages.com/hub/Banana-Donuts-With-Poured-Over-Chocolate# These are what they should have looked like.  I followed the recipe exactly, results were far from perfect!
http://samelder.hubpages.com/hub/Banana-Donuts-With-Poured-Over-Chocolate#
These are what they should have looked like. I followed the recipe exactly, but I can tell you the results were far from perfect!

My world crumbled last month.
No it was not the GFC, nor my family’s health or well-being. Of course, it was food related. I sat down exhausted after a full day and turned on the TV, only to be told that a slice of low fat, cheese had more fat in it than a donut! WHAT!!!!

I may peddle indulgence and enjoy occasional treats, but how many donuts had I foregone over the last few years while thinking that I was doing the right thing? How often had I reached for a slice of Kraft cheddar on a wholmeal Salada, safe in the knowledge that I was doing my body a low-fat, favour? I still don’t know whether that statement on the ad was true, I’m sure I would only have to google it to find out, but I prefer to believe it is true, because it suits me!
Not surprisingly for the past month, I have been on a little donut kick and I couldn’t help but flick through a little book called Mini Donuts yesterday when I was wandering through the book shop. ‘Eat me’ styled, photos of ‘cute as a button’ donuts, looked so tantalising on the pages; it was all the inspiration I needed to make a few mini donuts as a Sunday breakfast treat. I have been working too hard and neglecting my poor kids, so wouldn’t it be nice if I surprised them with yummy, mini, breakfast donuts? Yes, it would have been fantastic, if they worked 😦

Bright and chirpy, thinking that my single, overripe banana was going to be the star of the morning, I couldn’t wait to start! But wait; firstly, it has been so long since I played with the little electric donut maker, that I bought on a whim, that I couldn’t find it….anywhere. After searching high and low for more than the allocated 5 minutes, I was not to be fazed, “I can get past this”, I thought to myself, so I looked for a recipe that was ‘cut out’ not ‘drop in’. I know enough about donuts to know there are 2 types, all is good…so far. You would think that I would also know enough about donuts to know they are generally fried and that not even that dinky little toy, mini donut, maker is a proper substitute. But it was Sunday and it was morning…it was ‘pre’ my mug of tea 😦

Not great, hey?  They were warm and bready.  Great little bit of banana damper with a hot mug of tea.  Australiana version of a donut?  Ha ha, great justification for a complete donut disaster!
Not great, hey? They were warm and bready.
Great little bit of banana damper with a hot mug of tea.Maybe an Australiana version of a donut? Ha ha, nice justification for a complete donut disaster!

Google offered me a ‘cut out’, mini, banana donut recipe, ta-dah, and I prewarmed my oven (how many of you are thinking “WHAT?”) Alas, I am a baker, prewarming ovens come naturally, the idea of it does not pass through any particular grey matter, no cortex or lobes; it has become instinct, a reflex action when I pull out the sugar, flour, (and how many eggs was that?). The batter was a drop consistency, (did I mention it was Sunday morning?) so I added more flour (did I mention I hadn’t had my tea yet?), and cut them out, and with some scepticism (I have a tiny little bit of respect for myself in being sceptical at least), then popped them in the oven.

Probably wasn’t surprising that they turned out to be banana-ish flavoured, donut shaped, scone-like thingumabobs. The photo on the recipe was misleading at best, but truly depressing when compared to my strange, donut disaster this morning. A closer inspection of the photo, after the fact, shows what looks to be a fried donut probably squeezed out of one of those really cool donut, squisher outer, contraptions, and possibly without a hint of banana in it. Ah well, live and learn! At the very least, donuts are definitely back on the menu and I am sure that I will be posting about my incredible successes…next time.

I’m setting the bar now, so let’s go the whole hog and do proper fried, jam donuts, rolled in sugar. Oh yeah, I feel better already 🙂

http://www.theage.com.au/news/entertainment/epicure/have-your-wicked-way/2009/08/03/1249152550766.html Now this is what we are talking about.  Let's do it, will post the recipe as well :)
http://www.theage.com.au/news/entertainment/epicure/have-your-wicked-way/2009/08/03/1249152550766.html
Now this is what we are talking about.
Let’s do it! And, I will post the recipe as well 🙂

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!

Ms Maclaine and My Pear and Buttermilk Chocolate Cake with Passionfruit Ganache

The first time I ever came across Shirley Maclaine was as a sassy, smart talking, lady of questionable repute in ‘Sweet Charity’ and of course, I LOVED her.

Hmm, short hair, red lipstick, AND a tattoo.  Why couldn't I be just like Shirley?
Hmm, short hair, red lipstick, AND a tattoo. Why couldn’t I be just like Shirley?

Julia Roberts may have caused an uproar about morally questionable role models in the ’90s, but way before then, my poor Mum really didn’t know what to do with her little primary school child wanting to be Shirley Maclaine and questioning why it was a bad idea to wear fish net stockings and get a tattoo!

Well, fast forward many years later, after I had worn my share of fish net stockings, have had my hair long, short and shaved, and tattoos are the accepted norm;   I fell in love with the indomitable Ms Maclaine all over again, when I found this quote in one of my recipe books;

LOVE that Ms Maclaine :)
LOVE that Ms Maclaine 🙂
Juicy and sweet, Bartlett pears peeled, sliced and ready to go!
Juicy and sweet, Bartlett pears peeled, sliced and ready to go!

Love it….love being able to play with chocolate cake and even more so when I pick up inspiration from fresh or home-grown produce.

So, in my grand tradition of walking into a shop and picking up ‘stuff’ that looks good, I found myself surrounded by mountains of Bartlett pears and, believe it or not, some great looking passionfruit!   Pears are a mainstay of cold weather but passionfruit?  From New South Wales, what’s more, so we are talking passionfruit in the middle of winter…I am guessing hot-house, but hey, my taste buds were talking, I was going to make an exception today 🙂

Bartletts are not my choice for eating straight up, that sweet, sticky juice, running generously through your fingers, as you try not to make a single handed mess, which inevitably turns into a double fisted, wet, napkin soaked drama; ending in a limp, and soggy mess with an urgent need to find a running tap!

Ha ha, maybe the Bartlett pears I am trying to eat for lunch are just too ripe, but for a dessert or a cake, they are my absolute favourites.  Suddenly all those sad and sorry, downfalls are in fact, the attributes that make them perfect!  Soft and melting, sweetly blessed with juice that flows and flavours everything that it comes in touch with, permeating with a fragrant, slightly caramel aroma that is unmistakable.

That's what I like to see, nice chunks of sweet and soft pear surrounded by a soft and light bed of...cake!
That’s what I like to see, nice chunks of sweet and soft pear surrounded by a soft and light bed of…cake!

I wanted to pair (no pun intended!) this luxurious texture and flavour of cooked pear with a lighter cake and decided on a buttermilk cake with just a hint of cocoa, to help the pear juice to be tasted through it.  The buttermilk gave the cake a slightly tangy flavour as well, which worked really nicely.

However, on its own, I have to say it was not a cake that had me jumping for joy, it definitely needed a little more.  Not exactly worthy of the  Hollywood aspirations of my childhood!

I decide that nothing tarts up a simple, wall flower of a cake, like a crowd pleasing 35% couverture ganache, but I wanted to lift it a little, so as to compliment the pear and to give it a little zing that even Charity would be proud of 🙂

Passionfruit in the middle of winter?  They look so good, I just have to break my seasonal rule today.
Passionfruit in the middle of winter? They look so good, I just have to break my seasonal rule today.

Please step in, passionfruit.  It may not be seasonal, it may not be home-grown but by stirring through the pulp of this little purple orb, and dribbling that thick and creamy chocolate concoction over my homely little cakes…yes, you guessed it; Bliss.

No, I know it is not Hollywood, walk of fame stuff, but served warm on a mid winters evening, I have to say this little cake makes me feel pretty sparkly, and special inside 🙂

Homely no more :)  A little white chocolate decoration gives my little cakes star treatment :)
Homely no more 🙂
A drizzled white chocolate piece, gives my little cakes the star treatment 🙂

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 🙂

Easter Bliss. Chocolate Easter Profiteroles with Golden Syrup Cream Recipe

Easter Bliss!
Easter Bliss!

Third year in, and only my first effort at a special post for Easter! “Poor form”, I hear you say, “Have you seen how much chocolate is around at Easter?” Easter is definitely the chocolate season of the year. I should know, as a student, I worked Summers at the Red Tulip factory, packing (and eating) all summer, just for Easter. But, you have to understand, in a holiday that is so dedicated to chocolate (apologies to any church goers for that blasphemous statement), it is easy to hide!

My first ever recipe for Easter had to be caramel centred, it was the only easter egg I loved and it is still the only easter egg I crave. Oh Cadbury, between caramello koala’s,

Oh Cadbury, I confess, I am a die hard caramello fan
Oh Cadbury, I confess, I am a die hard caramello fan

caramello easter eggs, and caramello family blocks honestly, why does anyone ever need to reinvent the wheel?

Well, some of us seem to be born to discover the simply perfect, only to find that it triggers some ridiculous chemical in our brains that makes us wonder, “What can I do to make this simple and perfect food, reflect my personality, by making it more complicated?”

I hope you enjoy this complicated version of my very favourite, simple easter egg 🙂

Chocolate profiteroles with golden syrup cream.

1/2 cup water

37g butter

pinch salt

1/2 cup plain flour

2 eggs

300ml thickened cream

golden syrup to drizzle

dark chocolate

sugar pearls

white chocolate

orange coloured heart sprinkles

Preheat oven to 225 Celsius

Place water, butter and salt into a pan. Bring to the boil.

Add sifted flour all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon over medium heat until forms a smooth ball and leaves side of pan. Keep stirring over the heat for another minute or 2.

Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Add beaten eggs a little at a time, beating thoroughhly after each addition.

Beat paste well after all egg is added until it is free of lumps. Mix should be smooth and glossy.

Drop rounded balls, approx size of small walnuts, on a lightly greased oven tray.

Bake in 225 celsius oven for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 170 Celsius and bake a further 10-15 minutes.

When cooked, remove from the oven and make small slits in the side to allow steam to escape.

Return to oven for another 10 minutes to allow puffs to dry out.

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Dip half of the profiteroles in melted dark chocolate and sprinkle with the sugar pearls.IMG_5795

Dip the remaining profiteroles in melted white chocolate. Decorate with a little orange heart for a beak and two dots of melted dark chocolate for eyes, to make a simple little chick 🙂 Allow the chocolate to set.

For a gooey, indulgent centre, whip up the thickened cream until stiff peaks form. Drizzle the bowl of whipped cream liberally with golden syrup but don’t combine.

Spoon the cream and golden syrup into a piping back with a small plain nozzle. Stick the nozzle into a slit on the sides of the profiteroles and squeeze the cream mixture to fill the centre of the profiteroles. Or, cut the profiteroles in half horizontally and pipe, or spoon the cream to fill the base and pop the top back on.

Have a Safe and Happy Easter!

Delicious!!  Hope you all enjoy a safe and happy easter with your nearest and dearest xx
Delicious!! Hope you all enjoy a safe and happy easter with your nearest and dearest xx

Orange blossom honey cake with yoghurt frosting, grilled figs and couverture collar

Do you live in a dream world like I do?
In my fantasies, I wake up late, have leisurely breakfasts of gourmet produce under a hanging wisteria bough, that is softly swaying in a warm, gentle breeze. Somehow in this dream I still make it to my local farmers market to stroll at my own pace, stopping to chat about, taste, and spend, without limit, on all the yummiest offerings of the season.

Food of the gods.Honey grilled figs, just lay gently on a bed of French toast and dollop generously with Greek yoghurt.  My idea of  heavenly breakfast!
Food of the gods.
Honey grilled figs, just lay gently on a bed of French toast and dollop generously with Greek yoghurt. My idea of heavenly breakfast!

Sigh…

Look what I found on my milk run :) mmmm
Look what I found on my milk run 🙂 mmmm

Of course in reality, I just go to the supermarket like everybody else, rushed after a full days work to pick up milk, and in just a little nod of respect to buying fresh, maybe pick up some meat and vegies, wrapped under plastic for dinner. That sounds so much better than it is, in fact such is the life of a working mum, who can’t even make meal planning for the week, work for her.

It was on one of these trips to the local Coles, rushing to the aisle where milk in plastic containers lives, that my eye was caught by this little jar with a handwritten shelf talker. Handwritten? In Coles? It says ‘Seasonal’ and I just happen to have a weakness for honey, (amongst many other things). Grab jar, drop in basket, keep walking very quickly.

My fantastic orange blossom honey cake.  Not strictly a chocolate cake but come on... Bliss!!
My fantastic orange blossom honey cake. Not strictly a chocolate cake but come on… Bliss!!

It was all the inspiration I needed for a new seasonal cake.
There is no better way to eat figs than the age old, Mediterranean way. One of my best friends, who happens to be Greek, first introduced me to the pleasures of fresh figs with Greek yoghurt, drizzled with honey. Really, some things don’t need changing, but you know me 🙂

Moist and full of honey flavour with just a little hint of citrus, this gorgeous cake is layered with a tangy vanilla bean, Greek yoghurt frosting, topped with sweet as heaven, orange blossom honey grilled figs.  Finished with a dusting of cinnamon. Take each mouthful with a little of the 55% couverture dark chocolate collar, for a dusky cocoa hit, for balance. Food of the gods by Bliss xxx

My seasonal cakes are limited and may not be the same every year.  Please enjoy them while you can! 🙂

My dream gourmet breakfast Bliss-ed!!  Nothing beats cake even if it's not technically chocolate ;p
My dream gourmet breakfast Bliss-ed!! Nothing beats cake even if it’s not technically chocolate ;p

Something Quick, Something Simple. Apricot, Ginger and White Chocolate Pavlova Recipe.

Sunkissed and freckled, just the thought of apricots remind me of the fantastic old apricot tree that was the jewel of my Mum and Dad’s old garden. Not at an old house, just in the old garden. Unfortunately, with progress, renovations and just many years passing by, since the tree was first planted; that gnarly old tree with knobs of amber sap, hardened like jewels, dotted along its branches, has long gone.

I have been sadly disappointed with the apricots that are available from the supermarkets for many years now. I pick up those little golden orbs, full of promise, to find a rubbery texture, then bite down to find, I have not been transported back in time. Sad, but I do understand the need to produce a product that will travel well and that will look good on the shelf, I just really, wish that it didn’t come at the expense of all that wonderful texture and flavour. The old fashioned apricots were small and soft, traits which just don’t cut it on the mass market today. Yep, I can just imagine the horrid, bruised mess of apricot puree, that would greet any greengrocer that might open a box of old fashioned apricots in the modern supermarket age!

I had made a promise to myself to plant an old fashioned Blenheim apricot tree in my garden last year, only to find that they weren’t available in 2012! I was willing and ready to make my own memories, to remind myself of times when life was simpler, when Summers seemed softer (they weren’t!) and when apricots ruled my Januaries. So, disappointed 😦 Talk about first world problems, ha ha!!

So, here I am, bang in the middle of the Summer of 2012/13. Stone fruits abound and the apricots, well, smelt good, for the first time in years! I bought a bag, I was excited, I got them home and ‘bummer’, they were sour. My obvious answer to, ‘too sour’ is to pair it with ‘too sweet’ 🙂

too sweet, too sour, with a touch of the exotic.  Delicious!
Too sweet, too sour, with a touch of the exotic. Delicious!

Bake a pavlova shell with the recipe I posted here. Or, try this other recipe!

Apricot, ginger and white chocolate pavlova

4 egg whites

1 cup of sugar

1/2 tspn vanilla

1 tspn white vinegar

1 1/2 cups thickened cream

100g white chocolate

4 pieces Bundaberg naked ginger (crystallized ginger)

6 apricots sliced

handful of blueberries

fresh mint sprigs

Heat oven to 150 degrees celsius.

Beat egg whites until soft peaks form.

Add sugar gradually, beating well after each addition, until dissolved. Add vanilla and vinegar and beat a further 1 minute.

Pour mixture on to a tray lined with baking paper. Use spatula to form round shape approximately 20cm wide, Use spatula to scrape the sides up so that they are straight and the mound looks like a cake shape.

Bake for 45 minutes or until meringue is crisp. Take out and run a sharp knife around the top about 1.5cm from the edge which awill allow the shell to stand as the top sinks when cooling. Turn oven off and allow pavlova to cool in the oven.

Beat cream until soft peaks form.

Place white chocolate in a bowl and microwave on med-high for 1 minute 20 seconds. The chocolate may not look melted but take it out and stir. If it does not melt with some stirring, place it back into microwave at med-high for 10 second bursts and stir between bursts, until melted. Let cool slightly.

Stir chocolate into cream and place in fridge.

Chop ginger finely or whizz in a processor. Stir into the white chocolate cream.

Pour cream onto the top of cooled meringue shell.

Decorate with sliced apricots, blueberries and mint leaves. Dust with icing sugar if you so desire!

A slice of this apricot pavlova has made it just a little bit easier for me to wait. The fantasy is of course, taking the first bite out of my own soft, sweet and fragrant, sunblushed apricots. One day 🙂

Sun kissed apricots, fresh off the tree.  Aaaaah, only a distant memory
Sun kissed apricots, fresh off the tree. Aaaaah, only a distant memory