Lemon Raspberry Meringue Pie and Craziness

Today’s post is going to start at the end. I had made Lemon Raspberry Meringue Pies and they were a little bit crazy. The recipe worked perfectly and cooked without a hitch, but I got the feeling that the beautiful bright colours were a little unusual for the humble lemon meringue pie.

doneI took a sample down to my neighbour. She’s lived one house away from me for my entire life and always played a bit of a cameo role in my life. I used to play with her grandchildren, see her at church and bump into her on my morning walks. Since I started Baking With Gab I have had so much excess food that I take her some every now and then.

Walking through her dining room I was struck by how beautiful her tea set was. Six cups, plates and saucers were out on the table, each with its own character and story. She explained that she’d been given them all individually and it was known as a ‘crazy tea set.’ Being born in 1989, I had never heard this phrase before, but I’m now completely in love with the idea of it. She told me a little history about each and I marvelled at how beautifully they worked as a set.

My lemon raspberry meringue pie is crazy in its own way. I piped the meringues onto each one differently – they all match, but they’ve got their own little bit of flair. This was done intentionally because:

  1. I don’t have the patience to agonise over perfect meringues and
  2. I’m not really that skilled a piper.

This whole thing takes about an hour, provided you time everything right. It could easily take you about half an hour if you cheat and use lemon curd from a jar and frozen puff pastry. I wouldn’t even tell anyone you cheated! I would usually cheat as well, but I had to use up excess lemons from my nan’s tree and surplus eggs that I had in the fridge. This is perfect for using up lemons and eggs!

Crazy Lemon Raspberry Meringue Pie:

pastry cutShortcrust pastry:

  • 150g butter
  • 1 ¾ cups plain flour
  • ¼ cup icing sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp cold water


Lemon curd:

  • 3 lemons
  • 1 cup sugar*
  • 100g butter
  • 3 eggs + one egg yolkcurd*you can cut this back to ½ a cup if you want it to be super tart!

Raspberry meringue:

  • 3 egg whites
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 200g frozen raspberries

breadcrumbsDice up the butter and put it in a bowl with the flour and sugar. Grab a butter knife and cut through the butter to mix the flour and sugar into it (I use this method because my hands don’t get as dirty.) When the butter is in small pieces and covered in flour, use your fingertips to rub the mixture together until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add in your egg and teaspoon of water so that the breadcrumbs combine to make a pastry. Try not to knead, but gently squash it into a ball. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and pop it in the fridge for about 20 minutes while you make the lemon curd.

lemonsZest and juice your lemons. Or juice then zest them – whatever works for you. Put the lemon juice, zest, sugar and butter into a pan over a medium heat. Stir the mixture until the butter is melted. Whisk the eggs and egg yolk together, then add it slowly to the lemony mixture. Turn the heat up to high and allow it bubble quite fiercely. Whisk it for about five minutes (making sure it doesn’t burn) until it starts to thicken. You can also use your whisk to fish out any chunky bits of lemon that may have snuck through when you juiced the lemons. Take off the heat and transfer into a cool bowl so it can cool.Curd making

Grease two 12 cup muffin moulds and preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Take the dough out of the fridge and spread flour over a clean surface. Spread your rolling pin with flour too to stop the dough from sticking to it. Roll your dough out very thinly and use a cutter that is bigger than your muffin cups. Press the circles of pastry into your greased tins. Prick each circle at least three times and then pop them into the oven for ten minutes.

prickYou’ll have one egg white left over from making pastry, use this and two extra egg whites for the meringue while the cases cook.
Whip up your egg whites with half a cup of sugar and the lemon juice. In a separate bowl, pour one cup of sugar over your raspberries and mix to combine them. Set them to one side so that they make a raspberry-sugary mush. Once the meringue
whipforms stiff peaks, add the final half cup of sugar to the mixture. Mash the raspberry and sugar together so it’s smooth  and spoon it gradually into the meringue mixture.

pipe

Take the muffin cases out of oven and let them cool for five minutes. Spoon two tablespoons of lemon curd into each pastry case and pop them back into the oven for ten minutes. When they come out of the oven set them to one side and turn the oven up to 240 degrees. Pipe or spoon the raspberry meringue onto the lemon curd (be generous!) and then put them in the middle tray of the oven with the door open for 10-15 minutes.

bunchedAllow them to cool before serving. Sprinkle them with icing sugar and serve with raspberries on top!

*I doubled the lemon curd recipe that I listed in this recipe to use up the ginormous lemons that had come from my nan’s tree, but also because it means I have some ready for the next time I want to make this! Home made lemon curd is worth the extra effort, it’s tart and zesty – far superior to even the best store-bought stuff. Plus there are no preservatives or sneaky additives, just sugar, butter, lemons and eggs!

Brownies and weekends away

I made brownies yesterday in preparation for going away tonight. I’m doubling the recipe and leaving half with the fam and taking half away. The Boy and I are spending a few days in Orange. I’ve got cousins to visit, fresh produce to check out and cafes to explore. There is also a sausage dog pup that I want to steal from said cousins. The Boy doesn’t really have a choice in what we do, luckily he’s fairly compliant when it comes to these things! He’ll busy himself being a country boy for the weekend. He spent the first 20 years of his life in England, but something about leaving Sydney and heading for dirt roads unleashes his inner country boy. When we visit my cousins’ farm he wears plaid and an akubra and busies himself with fencing, quad-biking and burning things.

I read, bake and attempt to coax the farm dogs into leaving the country and returning to the city with me. I’m never successful. Sometimes I feel as though The Boy also needs coaxing back home.

I made this brownie recipe because it just screams homeliness and I think it suits the farm vibe perfectly. It’s cosy and simple. And just delightful.

Just as the farm is escapism from Sydney life, this brownie is escapism from the real world. Put away your diets for a minute, lay down the celery and indulge in a square of escapism.

textureChocolate brownie

  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 200g butter
  • 1 1/2 cups (310g) brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup (35g) cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 cups (185g) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
unhealthy
Hello deliciousness!

Preheat your oven to 160°C and line a 20cm baking tin. Roughly chop your chocolate and butter and place them in a saucepan over low heat and stir until smooth and glossy. Put this to one side to cool slightly.

eggsCombine the sugar, cocoa, flour and baking powder in a bowl. Add in the eggs and mix as thoroughly as you can, it will be hard to mix because the mixture is so dry. Add the chocolate mixture and combine. Pour the mixture into your baking tin.

uncookedBake for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean. For me, a perfect brownie should be squidgy in the centre, so I don’t want a completely clean skewer. If the skewer pulls out a whole chunk of mixture, pop it back into the oven, but if there is just a little bit of chocolate on the skewer, I’d say it’s done.

Allow the brownie to cool slightly in the tin before slicing. It will sink. It just will. There is nothing wrong with that – the sides and top will have puffed up more than the rest of the mixture and the centre will be deliciously moist. It’s dense, chocolatey and decadent.

wholeSprinkle with icing sugar and whip up some cream to serve.

Serve warm or cold. Makes 16 decent slices.

tongue out
Norman got some cream because chocolate isn’t good for dogs!

Yoghurt Berry cake and cooking credentials

You may be reading this blog wondering what credentials I have to be advising people about their cooking (valid question) – the answer is: none. I have no formal culinary qualifications, I just love it. I’m a strong believer in doing what you love – I love writing, pretty things and cooking, so writing a cooking blog seemed like a sensible choice.

flowersWhen I say cooking, I mainly mean baking. I have a near insatiable sweet-tooth, so I gravitate towards cooking things which are sweet (and often visually pleasing!) I will try to blog about savoury dishes as well, but I can’t promise they’ll be exciting – nobody gets excited over spag bol!

Cooking (baking especially) should make you happy. If it doesn’t, you’re doing it wrong. There are always going to be times when you can’t fathom getting home from work/uni/whatever else you do to slave over an oven, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Find recipes that excite you. Experiment. Make something up! You don’t have to be a professional to make something amazing.

Not everyone gets as excited about cooking as I do, but I like to think that they have it within them somewhere.

A friend of mine loves coming to my house because there are always left overs. She goes crazy over a simple chocolate slice or mashed potato, but refuses to believe that she can replicate them in her house.  She can. I’m going to make her understand this even if it pains me! You can cook as well.

This recipe is super simple and works warm or cold. It’s great for entertaining – it’s quick to make and it makes people happy! It works with most fruits as well. If you don’t have fresh berries, use frozen ones. Nectarines cut into wedges look really effective if you use a lamington tin instead of round cake tin.

sliceSuper simple Berry Yoghurt Cake

  • 125g butter
  • ¾ cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 3/4 cup vanilla yoghurt
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • Icing sugar, to serve

Preheat oven to 180°C fan-forced. Grease a 23cm round cake tin.

Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

mixtureAdd eggs, beating to combine. Mix in your plain flour, then the yoghurt. If you only have greek yoghurt in the fridge (like I did), add a teaspoon of vanilla to the mixture as well. Add the self-raising flour and mix until combined. This is quite a thick mixture, don’t worry if it’s a little hard to mix. Spread mixture into your greased cake tin.

tinThe cake tin I’m using has been well-loved. It has held many of my mother dearest’s crème caramels and cakes. As a result, it’s a little worn (that’s being polite) and has a tendency to cling onto cakes when you want to remove them. To combat this I simply trace the base of the tin onto baking paper, cut the round out and place it over the greased base. Problem solved.

frozen berriespressPress a few berries gently into the mixture, but sprinkle most of them across the top of it and then pat them down gently with your hand. If your oven is prone to over-browning things, cover the cake with tin foil two thirds of the way through cooking.

Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

cake
Remove from oven and let it stand for ten minutes before serving. Sprinkle with icing sugar and add a dollop of cream or yoghurt to finish.

off centreDon’t worry if you take this cake out a little too soon, my favourite part of any cake is the squidgy bit right in the centre where the heat hasn’t completely cooked the mixture. I’m a sucker for cake mixture, and the centre of this cake is glorious!

trio

 

 

 

 

Your finished product should look even better than mine because I foolishly used 2 cups of plain flour instead of one plain and one self raising. It should look more like this (I instagrammed this cake when I made it about a month ago.) We all make mistakes!

 

 

 

Brioche and beginnings

My new mixer (beautiful beast that it is) has prompted much reflection. I debated what to mix in it first. I didn’t want it to be something boring, but I didn’t want to make something really fussy (who does?).Penelope

And so I’ve chosen a recipe that comes highly recommended from a fellow baking enthusiast. This recipe is not mine, but has been tried and tested in mixers that are not my own.

In this recipe I used the bread hook, and it really has me hooked (sorry for the bad pun.) This mixer does all the work for you! I’ve had a food processor before, but the mixer seems much gentler and thorough. I’m not saying everyone should have one – this recipe, as with all the recipes I post, can be done with a bowl, a wooden spoon and a little muscle – the mixer just cuts down on physical exertion…it appeals to my inner sloth.

I’m looking forward to using my KitchenAid for new recipes and old ones too. I have a habit of naming things, I’ll hopefully have come up with a name for the mixer by the next post. I’m thinking Penelope at the moment, but that might have too many syllables…suggestions?

Sort-of-speedy briochecake like

  • 2 1/3 cups plain flour (use bread flour if you’ve got it)
  • 1 sachet instant dry yeast
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 45g butter, softened
  • Egg wash (1 egg and 1tsp of milk)

Don’t preheat the oven yet, you’ve got a while before this deliciousness needs to go into the oven. Combine the flour and yeast. Add
bread hookin your eggs, milk, sugar and salt and mix them to combine. Continue to mix for a further five minutes, adding your butter in slowly. If you’re doing this by hand, make sure your butter is really soft (but not melted!) to make the mixing easier.

Once your butter is incorporated mix the dough for about eight minutes, or until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If you’re using a bread hook like I was, this only takes three minutes on a medium setting.

stuck
Grease that paper!

Line a tray with enough baking paper to envelop the dough and grease the paper. I mean it when I say grease the paper, this dough is sticky. I didn’t grease my paper and I regretted it.  Wrap your dough in the baking paper and cover with a tea towel. Put the tray in a nice warm place for 2-3 hours and allow it to get all warm and risen. It should just about double in size.

I put mine in front of the heater (much to Norman’s annoyance), but this was just me being impatient. Ideally you would leave brioche to rise overnight then refrigerate briefly the next morning, ain’t nobody got time for that though.

I waited two and a half hours before I succumbed to the excitement and threw the mixture into a greased loaf tin.

When you’ve pre-heated your oven to 160°C got your dough pressed into the tin, whisk up the egg wash to brush over every corner of the brioche top. Norman loves it when I need an egg wash, because he gets the leftovers.

spottedyum

Bake for 30-35 minutes. Turn on the fan in your oven during the last five minutes if you’re not getting a nice brown top.

bread and pear
sliced pearSlice thickly and enjoy! Brioche is rich and cake-like, but can be eaten at any time of the day and suits sweet or savoury dishes and eaten warm or cold. My sweet tooth got the better of me and I topped mine with pear and chocolate, a failsafe combination.

I’ve got a brioche-based recipe coming up soon, so stay tuned!
ready

Melting moments and surprises

I always thought that melting moments would be super tricky to make. It wasn’t until late last year that I came to realise just how easy they are. And I was pleasantly surprised! This recipe produces beautiful, soft little biscuits which (as the name suggests) melt away in your mouth.

Mid-way through making these alabaster beauties the front door-bell was rung quite fiercely. I broke away from rolling the dough IMG_4799and answered the door, doughy-handed. I’ll cut out the boring bits (like polite chatter with the mailman and the unwrapping) and tell you that in the big box that arrived with the mailman came my very own KitchenAid mixer. For whatever reason, the Boy took it upon himself to surprise me with it! I’m amazingly grateful… and super keen to use it!!

Norman partook in the celebrations by attempting to eat the little packaging puffs. Then he spat them out, then tried to eat them
again. He ended up in the box full of them and made himself quite comfy!

I won’t gush any further, but it will hopefully feature in upcoming blogs. It’s so beautiful I could die!

I’m hoping it will also improve the quality of my baking (especially meringues, which are the bane of my life!)

Biscuits:

plate

  • 250g butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/3 cup cornflour

Filling:

  • 60g butter, softened
  • 1 passionfruit
  • 1 – 1 ½ cups icing sugar

MixPreheat oven to 160°C and line a large tray with baking paper. If your baking paper is disobedient, dab a few spots of butter in the corners of the tray and use that to keep the baking paper down.

Cream butter, vanilla and icing sugar together until smooth and creamy – it should change in colour
slightly. Sift the flours into the butter mixture and mix until you get a soft dough. When you scoop a spoonful out of the mixture it should look like ice cream – solid, but soft at the same time.

Measure out heaped teaspoonfuls of mixture and roll them into small balls, lining them up on the baking paper as you go. Don’t worry if the balls aren’t perfect, they’ll smooth out even further when they’re in the oven. icecream

press 1When you have a tray full of soft doughy spheres, grab a fork and use it to lightly flatten them, pressing a pattern into them as you go. To avoid messing up the pattern or the smooth dough, pull the fork out towards you after you’ve pressed them down.
icingBake for 15 minutes and make the passionfruit filling while they’re in the oven. Beat the butter and icing sugar together, then mix in the passionfruit pulp. Take the biscuits out of the oven and transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool. Even if they don’t look done after 15 minutes, they are – you don’t want them to brown like you generally would a biscuit, these biccies are beautiful and pale. Once the biscuits are cool spread a teaspoon of passionfruit filling onto one biscuit and sandwich it with a second.

You can substitute the passionfruit for any other fruit of your choosing. Experiment – let me know what filling you use!

You should get about 28 individual biscuits, which will make 14 melting moments. You might want to double this recipe though, they don’t last long! passionfruit

Baby Baklava Gems

This week I’ve been trying to be super frugal and use up excess ingredients left over from previous baking adventures. I shared my chocolate orange cupcakes to help you use up orange rind left over from the orange and kidney bean salad, I made the bejewelled orange syrup cake after buying too much trail mix, and now I’m combining both to bring you baby baklava gems.

These little gems are perfect for last-minute entertaining. You can make, cook and serve them in about half an hour AND they’re delicious. I like making them in tiny muffin tins because they’re just big enough for one bite, but they can be made in bigger muffin tins as well. They’re a bit of a twist on the normal tray style baklava too.

Mine isn’t a traditional baklava because my trail mix had chocolate and cranberries in it as well as nuts. Experiment – keep the quantities the same, but substitute in different nuts or dried fruits!

Just to add to the hard sell I’m doing, they’re also vegan-friendly! Until about six months ago I didn’t realise that some vegans don’t eat honey (go on, call me ignorant), so I’ve come up with an alternative to the usually honey-laden syrup.

Baby baklava gemsset

  • 130 g trail mix
  • 50g walnuts
  • 1 tsp water
  • 6 sheets filo pastry

Syrup:

  • Juice of one orange
  • 1/4  cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 chunky strips of orange rind
  • 4 cloves

Preheat oven to 170°C and grease a 24 cup mini-muffin tray with spray oil. Butter works well too, I just find it fiddly when the cups are so small.Mixture

Put your trail mix, walnuts and water into a food processor and blitz them on a high speed for about four minutes until they’re chopped. I like my baklava filling a little bit coarse, but if you want it a finer, keep them in for longer. I add the teaspoon of water because it ensures the nuts don’t fly around the food processor as much. Also, when you’re cooking the baklava, the water keeps your mix from drying out too much. Set your mixture to one side.

Lay out your first sheet of filo pastry on a clean surface and spray it lightly with oil. Place the second sheet of pastry over the oiled one and spray it with oil too. Repeat until you’ve used all six sheets of pastry.

stripsCut lengths of the pastry as long as your muffin tin and lay them over the tin, covering the holes. This helps you get an idea of how much pastry you need per cup. squares

Cut your pastry strips to size, pushing the filo squares into the cups as you go along. Try to push them down into the cup so that you get four points rising from the cup and decent cavity to fill with your nut mixture.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp.

syrupWhile the pastry is cooking, juice one orange and put it in a pan with the water and sugar over a medium heat. Make sure you wash your orange skin before cutting the strips of rind, some fruits are sprayed with various chemicals and this can make them give off a bitter taste when boiled. Add in your washed rind and the cloves, stirring them in until the sugar is dissolved.

The mixture of the cloves and orange is delightful, your kitchen will smell delicious! Turn up the heat and bring it rapidly to a boil so that it starts to thicken. Stir the syrup constantly so that it doesn’t burn.

Whip the syrup off the heat, remove the rind and cloves and set it aside to cool for five minutes. In this time, scoop your trail mix into the awaiting filo cups. Now spoon the warm syrup over the baklava gems. If you’ve got the time and patience, you can also brush the edges of the filo with extra syrup.

They’ll be sticky and glossy and fragrant – I cannot fault these beauties.

baklava

baklava 2

Rewards and caramel slice

SpoutAs a little reward for starting this blog I treated myself to a tea set that I did not need. Technically I bought it before I even started posting words on this blog, but I had resolved to finally start it, and I figured that was good enough to deserve a reward. In my defence, I have never owned a full tea set!

And this was a thing of such beauty that after knowing of its existence,  I don’t think I could have survived a single day longer without it.

Aren’t humans funny creatures? I got to wondering whether other species reward themselves like we do. Does a dog ever give itself five more minutes in front of the heater after it feels it has barked sufficiently at a potentially threatening bird? Do birds commend themselves on especially sing-song chirps by finding a new leaf to furnish the nest with?

I don’t think they do. We are unique. And my tea set is a masterpiece.Teacup

How many people can say they drink tea with Monet ladies?

I have no desire to promote the make of the set (because I’m not being paid to do this!), but I will show it off in all of its fabulousness by including it in photos to accompany this week’s recipe.

tea setThis is a food blog, so I should talk about the caramel slice now! I find few things more rewarding than sweetened condensed milk, which is why I consider this recipe a little treat. The Boy’s family call caramel slice Millionaire’s Short Bread, which I just love – it makes it sound like even more of an indulgence!

I like the proportions of this recipe, it’s got similar amounts of base and caramel and just a thin covering of chocolate– this doesn’t mean that yours has to be as well. The Boy likes his caramel slice big on base, some people like lots of chocolate on top. Bake it once and play around with the proportions the next time!

Twice-baked caramel slice

sliceBase:

  • 1 ½ cups plain flour
  • 125g butter, melted
  • ½  cup sugar

Caramel filling

  • 70g butter
  • 400g can sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup

Topping

  • 200g dark cooking chocolate
  • 1 teaspoons vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 180°C  and line a 20cm x 20cm tin with baking paper.

Place the flour and sugar in a bowl and mix to combine. Melt your butter in the microwave and mix it into your dry ingredients.

Butter

Melted butter

Press the mixture into your lined tin with your fingers, then roll it out flat with a floured glass.

biscuit base

Pop it in the oven to bake for 20 minutes. It’s a pale biscuit, so it won’t brown overly – don’t worry, after 20 minutes it is definitely ready. Remove base from the oven and take it out so that it cools.

As it’s cooling, make a start on the caramel filling.dripPut your butter and sweetened condensed milk in a small pan over a medium flame and allow the butter to melt, stirring regularly. Add in the golden syrup and brown sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved turn up the heat so that the caramel comes to a slow boil. Stir consistently for 6-8 minutes as it bubbles away – mind it doesn’t burn. Take it off the heat and allow it to cool before pouring it over the cooled base.

Ensure that your base has cooled sufficiently before pouring the caramel over, otherwise it will seep into the base and ruin the layered effect that you want!

Spread the caramel evenly over the base and return it the oven for 15 minutes so that the caramel will set properly. When you remove it from the oven the caramel should have formed a skin – it’s ready to go into the fridge now.

Pop it in the fridge while you melt the chocolate in the microwave. Put it in for 20-30 second intervals and give it a stir after each time so that it doesn’t burn. Once its completely cooled add the oil and give it a good stir. The oil gives it an extra glossy finish and also makes it a little easier to cut.
fridge

Spread the chocolate over the caramel and return it to the fridge for about an hour. 

This rich little slice should give you about 16 serves, depending on how generous your slices are! Beware, it’s sickeningly good!

Chocolate orange cupcakes and resourcefulness

In the last post I mentioned that I’d hold onto the orange rind that was leftover after the Orange and Kidney Bean Salad – here is the reason why you shouldn’t throw those delicious peelings out! After making the salad I was left with the rind of two oranges – I used about one orange’s worth of rind in this recipe, but it only yields about  eight cupcakes, so I highly recommend doubling this recipe and using up two orange’s worth. I love finding ways to make the most out of fruit and vegetables because it means you waste less, but you also make more of an effort to get creative.

IMG_4336The Boy is a big Terry’s Chocolate Orange fan. He introduced them to me (not sure whether I should love or loathe him for this) and I couldn’t believe how amazing the flavour combination was. If I could get all my nutritional needs out of Chocolate Oranges, I would… sadly, that is not possible. At least in this recipe you’re getting some fruity goodness. One might even venture so far as to say that it was healthy.

Might.

Regardless of how healthy this is, it’s delicious AND it doesn’t use any butter. I used sour cream in place of butter for this recipe because it gives it a denser, more decadent texture.

Chocolate Orangecupcake

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp bicarb
  • 1/4 cup sour cream*
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 60g dark chocolate
  • 1 egg

Icing:

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 50g butter
  • 4 tbsp orange juice
  • zest of half an orange

*If you’ve not got any sour cream in you can always use the same amount of butter, but I think these treats deserve better than that – it’s just a smidgen of sour cream!

Preheat the oven to 100°C and grease up your cupcake tin. If you’re lazy like me, use silicone bakeware and you won’t have to grease anything. Stir in the egg and sour cream and combine it as well as you can. The mixture will be a bit dry at this point, so it’s okay if it’s looking crumbly.

Put a small pan filled with water onto the stove and start to boil the water. Set a heatproof bowl over the pan and put your chocolate and milk into it, stirring them to combine. When you have what is essentially chocolate milk, resist the urge to drink it and take it off the heat for five minutes so that it cools.

Add the chocolate milk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. pans

Pour into your cupcake tin and pop them in the often for 15-20 minutes. As they’re cooking make a start on your icing. Beat the icing sugar and butter together. Add in the orange juice and all of your zest – usually I would juice an orange myself, but for such a small amount I cheated and got this juice out of the carton. If the mixture is too runny or dry, fix this by adding more icing sugar or more orange juice, respectively.

zestRemove the cupcakes from the oven when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let them cool properly before you start to ice them. I was slightly impatient, which meant my icing oozed deliciously off the sides – no complaints here, just an observation!

Top your cupcakes with a little more of the zest so they pack a nice orangey punch and serve up with a big cuppa.

Madeleines and perfection

Wednesday was one of those days where everything just seemed to work.

Friends and I went op-shopping for plates and utensils to pretty up the blog, I was given home-made croissant dough to have a play with (because I’ve never made my own before), I found lots of new recipes and I ate some delicious food. (I Instagrammed it all, it must be true)

And to finish the perfect day off, I went to see Maeve O’Meara host a chat with Lorraine Elliot (better known as Not Quite Nigella!!) – it was so lovely! Lorraine was humble and completely adorable. She was generous with her tips for bakers and bloggers and the audience chatted to her freely. Most of the people in the audience knew intimate details of Lorraine’s life, which I suppose comes with choosing to be a blogger, so she spoke candidly about almost everything!

I also came home to delivery of new measuring spoons in the mail – Wednesday was perfection!

To celebrate my Wednesday (and share the celebrating with you all), here is my madeleine recipe.

This recipe, like my Wednesday, just works. The flavours are beautiful, soft and worth savouring. If you’ve never tried orange blossom water before, let this be the recipe that you amend this – it’s like bathing in gardenias, like swimming in blossoms.

Neither of those descriptions do it justice. This smell makes me long for the orange tree that used to grow in my backyard. Orange blossom water smells and tastes like my childhood.

I just Googled madeleines and it turns out that ‘madeleine’ is used in Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, to refer to something that evokes a memory or is a source of nostalgia. How neatly Proust just rounded off this evening’s recipe musings.

Orange blossom water may be a little bit hard to procure, but I promise every drop of this delightfully intoxicating little liquid is worth it.

Orange Blossom Madeleines:Madeleines (2)

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 45g melted butter
  • 3 tsp orange blossom water

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Whisk together the eggs and sugar with a mixer until foamy, this should take about 2-3 minutes. Melt your butter in the microwave while the mixture foams up.

Butter stack

Take out the whisk element and slowly sift in the flour, then mix in gently using a wooden spoon.

Add the melted butter and orange blossom water to the mixture. If you’re unsure about the orange blossom water – despite my best attempts to entice you – try cutting back two one or two teaspoons and just to test it out. Or, if you’d prefer to be completely unadventurous, replace the orange blossom water with some lemon zest, coconut essence or rum.

Spoons

Before you grease anything, marvel at how beautiful the madeleine tins are for a second. Aren’t they just gorgeous?!

batter and tinsLiberally grease your madeleine tin with butter and fill them about 3/4 of the way up. When I say liberally, I mean lather your tin up, because these little ladies like to stay in their tins. Refrigerate your filled madeleine tins for about an hour if you’ve got the time (I got impatient and took them out after half an hour with no adverse affects.)

Place them in the oven and cook them for about 12 minutes, when the edges turn golden.

Allow to cool and sprinkle with a little bit of icing sugar.

Enjoy with tea and friends.

Lemonade scones and sharing

tea for two

I’m enjoying putting my thoughts down as much as sharing my recipes! For me, food is best when shared. I have a large extended family, so food has always been a social occasion.

I cook for those I love. The Boy often jokes that I’m trying to give him diabetes with all my baking. I like to think that I bake cakes of appreciation or puddings of love. He just thinks I’m fattening him up.

Regardless of what you make, the act of producing something for someone is special. It’s really rewarding as well!

One of my favourite (and simplest) things to share with people is scones. I have made and shared more scones than any other food. They’re just delightful. And always appropriate – stressed out? Scones will help. Should be doing an assessment? Scones will distract. Sick pet? Scones will calm. New friendship? Scones will seal the deal.

Lemonade scones:
Scone

  • 2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup thick cream
  • 1/2 cup lemonade
  • 2 tbs milk (for brushing)

Preheat the oven to 220°C and lightly grease a baking tray.

Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the cream and lemonade. Mix to form a soft dough.

Pre mix

Using floured hands, transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead gently. Press the dough to a thickness of 2-3cm…nobody likes a flat scone, be generous!

Use a scone cutter to cut out as many scones as possible. If, like me, you’ve misplaced your scone cutter, flour the edges of a thin-rimmed glass to cut out your scones instead. Re-knead scraps gently and repeat.

Raw scones

You should get six generous scones.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned.Brush the tops with small amount of milk to help them brown then transfer to your baking tray.

While the scones bake, whip up some cream and find your jam. I’ve chosen blueberry jam, you can never go wrong with blueberries.
These scones are so easy, you can whip them up in under ten minutes and serve them piping hot within half an hour.spoons for two

Share with whoever you choose – enjoy!


Add a handful of choc-chips, sultanas, blueberries or some lemon zest to change the dynamics of your scones.