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

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!

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 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

Hatyai!! Mango and Glutinous Rice Recipe

Pad tai, Tom yum, Satay…Hatyai!!

Chewy, gelatinous colour coded sweeties. Green for pandan, brown for coconut and dark brown for the daring….durian!

It might sound like your Grandfather sneezing or an action, exclamation from your favourite Manga cartoon character, but Hatyai is actually a little  town near the Siamese-Malaysian border, (read Thai border, but Siam sounds so much more exotic!).  This little hub has been a mecca for Malaysian tourists looking for a great deal, for about 20 years now.  Everything is highly geared towards the local tourist dollar, from the array of body and foot massage centres, to the vast numbers of Chinese food outlets.  Amazingly, it was actually quite a struggle to find Thai food at all!  One shop owner when asked what traditionally Thai dishes she served, screwed up her nose at me and quite flatly, said, “None”.

Well, this was not exactly the beginning to the great Thai, culinary adventure that I was hoping for!

What a display! Do you recognize any of these desserts?

It actually took some leg work, getting amongst the street stalls and doing a bit of sticky beaking,  to find some more traditional snacks and drinks.  As you can imagine, I automatically gravitated towards anything sweet and dessert like.  Some were familiar to me from Thai restaurants I have visited and some, well, I couldn’t get an explanation of what they were, even when I was trying  to buy them! Like most Asian desserts, gelatinous textures with complex sweet and salty flavour combinations were the main themes.  It took eventually coming across a drink stall, which was packed with people, to really highlight to me, how limited our Western palatte and diet really is.  From pennywort and chrysanthemum to basil there was a board of at least 20 types of herbal thirst quenchers,  that customers were lined up for.  Chilled bottles were handed out in twos and threes across the sea of heads, amongst the noise and chaos that typifies a sweltering evening at the night market.  Having just been blown away by the amazing variety of flavours, I walked on…and then there it was.

There is always one dessert that rises up above all else and really, it doesn’t have to be the biggest, the most expensive or the most complex, just the most memorable 🙂

Freshly sliced, Thai mangoes served with a fragrant glutinous rice and coconut milk.  Oh, it took my breath away, sublimely simple but the Thai mangoes are fresher in taste,  and have less of the juicy, over the top sweetness that we demand from our Queensland mangoes.  The simple smooth, firm freshness, of the mangoes, paired perfectly with the fragrant pandan infused, slightly salty, glutinous rice.  Definitely my most memorable food moment this trip.

Simple roadside snacks can be so memorable 🙂

Here is a recipe for Kao Niow Ma-muang which I have tweaked (no surprises there!) that you might like to try.

  • 2 cups glutinous rice (available from Asian grocery stores)
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2-3 fresh or frozen pandan leaves (available from Asian grocery stores)
  • 2 ripe mangoes, peeled and sliced

Place rice in a large bowl and rinse the rice with cold water

Fill bowl with water so that the water line is about 5 centimetres over the rice line.  Soak overnight.

Line a bamboo steaming basket with a clean tea towel.  Spread the rice evenly over the tea towel.

Place covered steamer basket over boiling water and steam for approximately 30 minutes.

Open the steamer basket, stir the rice to help cook it more evenly, and sprinkle approximately 1/2 cup water over the top of the rice.  Cover basket and steam for a further 30 minutes.

Heat coconut milk, sugar and salt together in a saucepan.  Do not boil.  Stir until smooth.

Hand shred  2-3 pandan leaves and tie them into a knot.  Place pandan leaves into coconut milk and simmer for approximately 10 minutes.

Remove pandan leaves and squeeze liquid from leaves back into sauce, before discarding.  Keep sauce warm.

Transfer cooked rice to a large bowl.

While rice is still hot, stir through half of the coconut sauce.  Stir well with a large spoon, making sure all grains are well coated.

Let rice stand for approximately 15 minutes.

Serve 1 scoop of rice with sliced mango on the side. Top with some basil or mint, and maybe a scoop of coconut ice cream to add a little ‘Bliss’!

Serve coconut sauce in a separate jug so that anyone who would like extra sauce can help themselves!

Dream of warm, sunny beaches or bustling, teaming night markets.  Either way see you in Thailand 🙂

Full On, Grown Up, Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe

Quite simply, chocolate ice cream

Can anyone actually remember the point in time when they fell in love with chocolate ice cream?  Did it start with scooping your dessert from only  one-third of the tub of Neapolitan?  Or, was it the only flavour you wanted to eat when your Mum bought a mixed gelato from the Mr Whippy van?  Possibly, it was because an older brother or sister seemed to be enjoying their chocolate ice cream waaaay more than you were enjoying the vanilla baby cone that was dripping down your arm, and you screamed until you got the good stuff too!

Whenever it may have been, the love of chocolate ice cream transcends time.  As I  grew through chocolate single cones, chocolate ice cream thick shakes, chocolate ice cream sodas, chocolate on chocolate fudge sundaes, chocolate and lemon gelato, every single brand of chocolate ice cream from the supermarket freezer, and even a chocolate ice cream fondue from Hagen-Daaz;  Movenpick chocolate ice cream stayed the shining beacon amongst them all, creamy and smooth with a wonderfully lingering chocolate taste, there is little around that can compete.  So, when my hubby licked the bowl clean, and gave my full on, grown up, chocolate ice cream, his ‘dark chocolate purist’ blessing, I was pretty pleased!

Full on, grown up, chocolate ice cream sundae

Of course, for my blog it just wasn’t enough to serve it on its own!  I had to ‘Bliss’ it up with warm salted caramel sauce, sprinkled with a little bit of sea salt, served it in a pool of Kahlua and finished with a crisp and fragrant, home-made brandy snap.

Much to my detriment I am sure, I am the kind of cook that has the audacity to take a recipe from Erik Witzgimmin, (the calibre of chef that trained with luminaries such as Paul Bocuse) and just…change it!  I hope you enjoy my chocolate ice cream recipe as much as my hubby does  🙂

3  eggs (XLarge)

1 egg yolk

1 cup full cream milk

1  1/4 cup cream

1  vanilla bean

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon liquid glucose

200g  couveture, melted

1 tablespoon Kahlua

Whisk eggs, egg yolk and sugar together.

Deliciously over the top for a very special occassion!

Heat milk and cream with vanilla bean. Take out the vanilla bean pod.

Pour about 1/3 cup of hot mixture into the eggs and sugar while stirring with a whisk.

Pour egg mixture back into the milk and cream, and heat on low flame while stirring constantly until custard coats the back of a spoon.

Stir in melted chocolate, strain into ice cream maker pot.

Sit pot in an ice bath while stirring until custard cools.

Add Kahlua.

Place pot into ice cream maker and churn for approx 35 minutes.

Pour into container and freeze over night.

Beautiful on its own or serve it with a few frozen berries. Enjoy!