A selection of my latest bakes

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Musk sticks and Mint twigs

Although I had never heard of these in my childhood (sad) I certainly made up for it when I was buying my own sweets and lollies, when newly married and emigrated to Australia. I now have a grand daughter I can make them for and sneak a few in to myself. (Ha ha ha ha)
1 teaspoon unflavoured GELATINE
1/3 cup WATER.
1 teaspoon GLUCOSE SYRUP.
1-2 teaspoons MUSK STICK FLAVOURING. (or mint essence for mint twigs)
Few drops PINK food colouring (or green for mint twigs)
Piping bag with 1cm star nozzle.
Line a couple of trays with baking paper. In a small saucepan over a low heat, heat the glucose syrup, water and gelatine, until the gelatine has dissolved.
Take pan off the heat and stir the mixture. Get a large bowl and your electric hand mixer. Transfer the mix into the bowl with 1/3 icing sugar, mix on low speed until combined.
Add another 1/3 icing sugar and mix until combined.
Add the remaining icing sugar, colour and flavouring and mix until well combined.
Transfer to the piping bag with the nozzle in and pipe 4cm sticks on to the baking trays.
Allow to air dry for 6-8 hours (mine took 12 hours, if you did them thinner it won't take as long)
Store in a airtight container at room temperature.
The musk essence (oil based) can be got from here...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Strawberry cheesecake

Having played around with many food processors in the past and not been happy with any of them, I have finally found one that works for me. A BREVILLE ICON BFP650. In the recipe book that comes with it is a lovely recipe for a lemon cheesecake, but I wanted to make a strawberry one so I have adapted it. Here's what I did. Ingredients....

250g pkt plain sweet Biscuits.
125 Butter (melted)
250g Cream Cheese (cubed and softened)
400g can sweetened Condensed Milk.
125ml Cream.
1 tablespoon Gelatin powder.
10ml boiling water.
2 teaspoons Strawberry essence.
2 punnets Strawberries. (half a punnet diced and reserve the rest sliced for the top)
2 tablespoons of strawberry Jam.
A little boiling water.


With butter, grease a 20cm spring form tin and set aside.
Melt the butter in the microwave on 50% power and allow to cool. Break the biscuits in to quarters and place in processor and pulse until finely crushed. Add melted butter slowly through the food chute and process until combined. Remove crumb mixture from bowl and press in to spring form tin, over the base and up the sides.
Place cream cheese, condensed milk and cream in to the food processor and combine but don't over do this. Melt the gelatin in the boiling water and stir well, add this and the strawberry essence to the cheese mix now and pulse for a second or two. Stir in the diced strawberries and put in to the biscuit case in tin. Put this in the fridge now to set, this can take up to three hours, mine was done in two hours.
Place the sliced strawberries on the top in a pattern to suit yourself. Add the boiling water to the jam and brush on with a pastry brush to give the strawberries a lovely glaze.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Carrot cake cupcakes

These are so delicious, when I first made them last week, I took the smallest bite just to taste and then like a starving teenager rammed the rest in my mouth.
Leave out the nuts if you wish, but I think adding the sultanas is a must. They go so well with the sweetness of the carrot.

2 cups S.R. Flour.

1/2 teaspoon of Salt.
2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon.
4 large Eggs.
1 cup white Sugar (or Raw sugar)
1 cup Rice Bran Oil. (or Canola)
2 cups raw Carrots (finely grated)
1 cup Granny Smith's Apple (finely grated)
1 cup Walnuts (chopped, saving some for the top)
1 cup Sultanas.

For the Cream cheese icing..
1/2 cup Butter (room temperature)
1 pack of Cream Cheese (room temperature)
3 cups of Icing Sugar (sifted)
2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract.

Preheat oven to 180c and use the middle rack in the oven. Put papers in 24 muffin cups.
In one bowl sift the flour, salt and cinnamon together, then set aside.
In another bowl whisk together the eggs,sugar and oil until slightly thickened. Fold in the flour mix into the egg mix, then fold in grated carrots, grated apple, chopped nuts and sultanas. Divide mix between the 24 cases and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool.
Meanwhile, make the cream cheese icing.
Mix the butter and cheese together with a hand held mixer until combined. Add the vanilla extract and mix again. Slowly add the icing sugar mixing the whole time so it stays smooth.
When cakes have cooled, top each one with the cream cheese icing, decorate with the left over walnuts and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar if you desire.
Now see if you can fit a whole one in your mouth!!!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

My new oven

My new oven went in a week ago now and it's fabulous. I adore it, going to do a lot more baking and cooking with this oven, far more than with the old one.
It's an EMILIA, made in Italy. The top or hob has a fish burner, wok burner and three other burners.
The oven is gas, as the top is too. But the grill inside the oven is electric (handy) There is also a fan in the oven, so no more hot or cold spots. You can fit two 12 cup muffin trays on each shelf, now that is large! Love it, no more waiting for first batch to cook before putting in the next.
Under the oven is a warming drawer, now that will be handy when the weather is cold (yes it does get cold here in Australia)
My last oven was a white one, yes, this is stainless steel and will take a bit to get used to. But so far I am enjoying the cleaning and polishing of it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

More cupcakes

Same recipe used here as before (see labels) but with cocoa and/or coffee added.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Nigella Forum

For those of you that no longer want to be part of the NEW NIGELLA page, there is another option.
Violet's Pantry.
Mention on the application that you were on Nigella's forum or that you saw this on my blog as we don't want spammers. We are a friendly forum and welcome like minded people. You can also post your foodie photographs if you wish.
Come and meet new friends or catch up with old ones. Look forward to meeting you there.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Boiled Fruit 'n Whiskey Cake.

This fruit cake will make an excellent Christmas or wedding cake. It keeps for up to three months, mine didn't 'cos I have hungry men in the house. But I shall do another one for Christmas this year. Use any fruit that you have, or go and do a special shop just for this. As long as you end up with around six and a half cups of mixed fruit. Ingredients....
2 1/4 cups Sultanas.
1 1/2 cups Raisins. (chopped)
1 1/2 cups Currants.
1/2 cup mixed Peel.
1/2 cup Glaze Cherries. (halved)
1 cup tinned Pineapple. (chopped)
1/4 cup Apricots (chopped)
250g Butter.
1 cup Brown Sugar.
1/2 cup Whiskey. (or Brandy)
1/2 cup water.
5 Eggs (lightly beaten)
1 tablespoon Treacle.
1 3/4 cups Plain Flour.
1/3 cup S.R. Flour.
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda.

Sift dry ingredients (flours) together and set aside.
Combine butter, fruit, sugar, whiskey and water in a large saucepan and simmer until sugar has dissolved, stirring all the time. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer with a lid on for ten minutes. (Stirring now and then) Set aside to cool. This is very important as the next step is adding the eggs and we don't want them to cook.
When the fruit is at room temperature, add the eggs and treacle and stir to combine. Then stir in the flours. Spread the mixture in to a greased and lined 23cm round tin. Bake at 150c for about 2 and a half hours. Test with a cake skewer, if it comes out clean, it is ready.
My cake tin was not that large so I had mix left over. So I quickly got cupcake cases ready and put those in the oven at the same time. These were done first of course, but it gave me an excuse to open the oven door and take in the beautiful aromas.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cupcakes fit for a princess.

It was my grand daughter's birthday recently and I made her these cupcakes. Also found these delightful cupcake wrappers which I was dying to use, so........
125g Butter (unsalted)
155g Castor sugar.
2 Eggs (lightly beaten together)
225g S.R. Flour. (Sifted twice)
125ml Milk.
Vanilla essence or strawberry food flavouring.
For the icing..
250g Butter (unsalted)
400g Icing sugar.
Colouring of your choice. (I used paste Grape Violet and Rose Pink)
Preheat oven to 180c. Line a cupcake tray with cupcake cases (makes 20)
Using an electric mixer, beat together the cream and sugar until very light and creamy. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well between each addition. Now fold in the flour, flavouring and the milk until just combined. Do not over work the flour.
Spoon in to the prepared cases and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the skewer comes out clean. Set a side to cool while you make the icing.
Put the butter in to the bowl of the electric mixer, and beat for at least 10 minutes, scrapping down the sides every now and then. The longer you do this, the paler the butter becomes. Almost white. Still using the mixer, add the icing sugar a bit at a time until smooth, then add your colouring. Put the icing mix in to a piping bag and just start making your pretty designs on the top of each cupcake.
Lastly, decorate with sprinkles, little marshmallows or flowers and birds, all edible.

Have fun!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Violet's Pantry

Violet's Pantry is a small forum where a group of people from all over the world, chat about food, take photograph's of food, gardening, the nursery, the slimming shelf, the music room, and Nigella and a few other well known chefs too. And of course *The coffee break* where loads more topics are discussed.
We are a very friendly forum and welcome new members. All the requirements of new members are, to like food, like cooking and baking, and like to converse with like minded people.
If you would like to join, please state in the application where you saw the link and or if you know anybody on there.
Would love to see you.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chocolate Raspberry Roulade

I put off making this cake, because it actually scarred me! But after a little research on YouTube on how to *roll*, I took the plunge. And I can honestly say "There is nothing to be afraid of" Most importantly is to *roll* straight from the oven using the prepared baking paper and a damp but clean tea towel. I added some booze to the cream to make it a little more adult, but you can leave it out if you wish.Ingredients...
100g Caster Sugar. (Plus a little more for turning out the roulade)
5 Eggs.
25g S.R. Flour.
40g Cocoa.
50g Almond Meal.

For the Cream filling....
250g Mascarpone.
100g Plain Chocolate (melted)
100g Icing Sugar. (Sifted)
2 tbsp Booze (I used VOK's Martini Chocolate)
200g Raspberry.
Cocoa or Icing sugar for dusting.

Preheat the oven to 180c. Line and butter a 30cm Swiss roll tin, and dust with caster sugar, shaking off any excess.
Beat the eggs until three times the volume, they should be pale and thick enough to leave a trail when the whisk is taken out. This could take up to ten minutes so I hope you have a fabulous mixer like me! (The new KA)
Sift all the dry ingredients together and gently fold them in to the egg mixture, using a metal spoon and being very careful not to knock the air out of the eggs.
Spoon carefully in to the prepared tin and spread to the corners.
Bake for 12 to 18 minutes until the cake is firm to touch in the middle. Turn out on to a piece of baking paper scattered with caster sugar.
Peel off the backing paper and then start to *roll* lengthwise using the paper it is now on. When rolled, dampen a tea towel and then roll again. This will help to keep it moist while it is cooling.
Meanwhile, make you cream filling. Beat the mascarpone, melted chocolate, icing sugar and the booze together. Then fold in the mashed raspberries. Holding back a few for decoration. Put this in the fridge to set. When the *roll* and the cream filling are ready, unroll and spread the filling to all edges. Re roll, cutting off any tatty edges. Then dust and decorate. Put back in the fridge for a wee while. (I couldn't wait that long!) To firm up.
Now stop yourself from having more than one slice. ENJOY.
* Leave out the fruit and just have all chocolate.
* Note I didn't dust mine, I used shop bought chocolate swirls.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Chocolate Stout Cake.

This delightfully gooey and chocolaty cake I have made before. It comes from Nigella's FEAST. And I am sure she would not mind me playing around with it. In fact, I think she has said that recipes are meant to played with.
I found Young's Chocolate stout at Dan Murphy's grog shop, and thought this would be as good as Guinness. It is and more so. I also cooked the cake in two tins rather than one as Nigella suggests. Then I made the icing, adding cocoa and sandwiched the two together and put the remaining cheesy/chocolaty icing on the top.
For those of you that don't have Nigella's FEAST, you will find the original recipe here under CHOCOLATE GUINNESS CAKE.
Thank you Nigella.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Victoria Sponge.

My very first sponge that I have made, all by myself (with a little help from my new love, KA) Well, I got the ingredients out, all it did was mix it! Ha ha. Why have I always bought these in the past? They are so easy to make.

175g Butter (unsalted and softened)
175g Caster Sugar.
175g S.R. Flour (sifted twice)
1 teaspoon Baking Powder.
3 Eggs (medium size)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence.
1 teaspoon Water (room temperature)

Preheat oven to 180c and grease and flour two 8 inch tins.
Cream the butter and sugar until it is white (this took under two minutes in the new KA)
Beat eggs, water and vanilla essence in a separate bowl or jug. Add the eggs in a very slow trickle to the butter mixture while still mixing. This should take a wee while, around 2 minutes.
Mix the baking powder and flour together and gently fold in to the creamy mixture.
Divide the mix between the two prepared tins and cook for 20-25 minutes until springing back from sides when pressed.
Leave them to cool a while before turning out. When totally cold spread thickened cream on the bottom of one and strawberry jam on the other. Then sandwich together. Dust with icing sugar, then it is ready to devour.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I am in love again.

After being a loyal friend for 38 years, my dear friend the Kenwood Chef decided that he had had enough. What to do? Buy another Kenwood or look at something else?
The forum I am an administrator on, (Violet's Pantry) are pretty well divided on this subject. Some prefer Kenwood and others love the KA.
So I did some more research and found all the wonderful colours it comes in. People said that I should get the pale pink one as my kitchen is mostly pink. But to be honest with you, to me that looked cheap.
The colour I decided on, is called Boysenberry. Hmmmm, yum.
This machine is so quiet! About half the noise of the Kenwood. And efficient. I had to cream butter until it was white, so on half speed, it managed this in under two minutes. WOW! And I could still hear the radio in the background. Ha ha.
My next post will be the cake I made, something I have never attempted before, a delicious Victoria Sponge. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Milo Muffins

For the Milo addicts amongst, of which my son is one. Ingredients...
1 3/4 cups S.R. Flour (sifted)
1/2 cup Dark Chocolate bits.
1/2 cup White Chocolate bits.
1 1/4 cups Milk.
75 gms Butter (melted)
1 cup MILO.
1 Egg.

Preheat oven to 190c. Layout 12 muffin cases in to tray.
Combine in a bowl the flour and both sorts of chocolate bits. Mix together the milk, butter and MILO in a jug. Add to the dry ingredients with the lightly beaten egg. And mix well.
Spoon the mix in to prepared cases and sprinkle a little more MILO on top of each one. Bake in the oven for around 25 minutes. Allow to cool before serving to your addict. Makes 12.

Orange and Cardamom Cookies.

Okay! Who has been keeping this versatile and tasty spice from me? CARDAMOM. I can see it featuring a lot in my cooking in the future.Very easy to make, store and eat (Love 'em)

250 gms Butter (softened)
100 gms Raw Castor Sugar
1 Egg Yolk. (medium sized)
A little Salt.
Zest of 1 Orange.
1 teasp. Orange extract.
1 1/2 tablesp. Cardamom (freshly ground)
250 gms Plain Flour (sifted)

Preheat oven to 180c. Line a cookie/biscuit slide or tray.
Cream together butter and sugar until pale in colour. Add the egg yolk, salt, orange extract, zest from orange and the cardamom, then mix again until well combined. Finally add the flour. This is left until last so as not to overwork the flour.
Making sure your hands are really clean, here comes the fun bit.
Make little balls of the mixture (about golf ball size) and place on prepared tray. Now just gently press down on each ball. I used a meat tenderizer so I could have a pattern. But please remember, these do spread a little, so not to close to each other.I also sprinkled a little raw sugar on the top before putting in to the oven.
Place in the oven for around 16 minutes until golden. Cool on rack and then try stopping at just eating one!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Nutty Fruit Cake

This cake I originally found in GOOD HOUSEKEEPING (U.K.) Cakes and Bakes. And was called "30 minute fruit cake". But as is my want, I had a fiddle. 30 minutes is how long it takes to cook, well! After my fiddle and adding a few other things, I had to change it's name. So THANK YOU Good Housekeeping for the original recipe. Now, here's mine.
You will need....
125 gms softened Butter.
125 gms light brown Sugar.
2 Eggs.
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract.
150 gms S.R. Flour. (Sifted)
50 gms Glaze Cherries. (chopped)
200 gms Mixed Dried Fruits (I used Sultanas, Craisins)
100 gms mixed and chopped Nuts. (I used Walnuts and Pistachios)
1 tablespoon Raw Sugar and a small amount of chopped Pistachios for the top.

Preheat oven to 190c and grease and line a 22 cm round tin.
Beat together the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, add the flour. If this is a little dry at this stage, add a small amount of milk until you are happy. Stir in all fruits and nuts. Spoon in to the prepared tin and level the surface. Now sprinkle the raw sugar and Pistachios on top of the mixture.
Bake until golden brown or the skewer comes out clean. Mine took 45-50 minutes.
Leave to cool in tin before turning out.
Do hope you enjoy this. Have a fiddle yourself and change the fruits and nuts used here. I won't mind.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Long absence

I am so sorry for this long absence from my blogs. But my blogging mojo and cooking mojo went out the window. Plus a few things going on in my personal life has kept me away. Some sites I visit and other blogs need updating too, so hopefully it will be today.
I trust you all had a smashin' Christmas and this new year is happy for you.
See you all very soon with my latest bakes.