Honey choc tops and wanderlust

animalsI’ve been having a bit of a Sweden-athon recently. My Pinterest is filling up with with beautiful, dramatic landscapes and gorgeous Scandinavian design… and I’m stuck indoors working as the Sydney gets gloomier by the day.

All of this pinning is dangerous, it’s making me yearn for a country that I’ve never even been to. It’s on my bucket list, because I’ve only heard amazing things about Sweden. For the moment, however, I have to make do with my own little Swedish baked goods and eat my wanderlust into submission. Continue reading “Honey choc tops and wanderlust”

Coconut macaroons and ease

pipeThese little morsels are the easiest of easies. They’re also super delicious. Which is why I chose to make them while I’m still getting used to my oven. As you can see, they browned pretty darn quickly, but I tend to like my macaroons on the toastier side anyway. It gives them a wonderfully crunchy shell, which contrasts beautifully with the sweet, squidgy inside. Continue reading “Coconut macaroons and ease”

Roasted cauliflower soup and immunity boosters

bowlI mentioned in my last post that my brother’s girlfriend wasn’t well. She’s starting to get better, and I kind of want to claim her recovery.

I made her super muffins (packed with antioxidants and vitamin C) and this soup, which only contains ingredients aimed at boosting the immune system. There are no sugar or dairy products in here, just hearty vegetables and delicious spices. I hate to get all informative, but I so rarely post “healthy” things that I get excited when there are actual benefits (other than deliciousness) to my recipes.

Cauliflower, the star ingredient, is packed full of vitamin C to aid your recovery. It makes up the bulk of the soup, and the gentle roasting gives it a beautiful taste. Cauliflower is also anti-inflammatory. Continue reading “Roasted cauliflower soup and immunity boosters”

Carrot, ginger and cumin soup and yearning

As the weather cools down, my body yearns for swaddling clothes and hearty meals. I fulfilled both of these desires over the weekend – dressed in a big jumper and flannelette pyjama pants, I concocted this glorious soup.

pour

It’s the kind of soup that you need good, crusty bread with. The kind of soup that tantalises you with its smells as it bubbles away. It turns out that this is the kind of soup that converts non-soup eaters into soup devourers! My younger brother initially refused the offer of soup because he’s “not a fan,” but he ended up converting after watching everyone else consumer theirs eagerly.

The cumin and ginger make this soup really sing. I’ve never been tempted by a carrot soup, I always thought they sounded bland, but this soup is a game changer! It’s thick and hearty and flavoursome, attributes which make any soup a winner in my books.

Carrot and ginger soup

Serves sixbread

  • 3 cups carrot, chopped
  • 1 brown onion, roughly diced
  • 1 cup sweet potato, roughly diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock


group
Pop the carrots, onion and sweet potato into a heavy-bottomed pan with 2tbsp of olive oil over a medium heat for 10 minutes. Stir them regularly to stop them from burning.

carrotWhen the veggies are soft, add in the ginger and garlic and cook for a further two minutes.
Add in your salt and pepper, followed by the stock, and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 45 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by about a quarter. You can simmer the soup for a shorter amount of time if you prefer a thinner soup.



Serve straight from the stove top with a dollop of sour cream.basket

done

Choc chai melting moments and routine

closeEvery now and then it’s good to shake up your routine. I’ve been in a bit of a baking rut because I’d been so intent on using up leftover pears. Don’t get me wrong, pears are delicious (I’ve baked them, caked them, poached them and more), but I was lacking inspiration.

So I went back to an old recipe and jazzed it up a little with some of mydelicious chocolate chai fudge. Nom.

The original chocolate melting moments were dense and deliciously dark, so the addition of chai fudge is a welcome gooiness. Continue reading “Choc chai melting moments and routine”

Lime curd and cravings

limesLately I’ve been craving things that aren’t sweet. Salty, savoury, tart foods. I’m fairly sure this is my body’s way of telling me that I should slow down on the baking, or cut down my sugar intake or something.

Silly body, you love sweet things.

I do listen to it sometimes. I try and eat healthily when I’m not testing baked goods (mostly!) So instead of making cupcakes or a cake for this post, I made some gloriously tart lime curd. Continue reading “Lime curd and cravings”

Honey pear cake and oversupply

sceneThis post came about because of an over supply of two things.

Pears and honey.

So I created a honey pear cake.

Makes sense, right?

I was lucky enough to receive another delivery of free pears last week (I spoke about the first delivery here.) I’m currently trying to find more ways to use these babies up, because I’ve eaten about 50, poached close to a dozen, given away what seems like bagfuls, and I’m still left with a bowl of them which are threatening to go bad on me. Continue reading “Honey pear cake and oversupply”

Caramel and high tea

aboveI’m a big fan of caramel. Actually, that’s kind of a redundant statement, because I don’t know anybody who isn’t a fan of caramel. If you happen to know someone who doesn’t like it, please send them my way, I’ll remedy their ailment.

I’ve made caramel sauces and icings for the blog, but I realised today that I hadn’t posted a chewy caramel recipe. For that, I apologise. Caramel is pretty simple to make – it has a reputation for being difficult, but as long as you’re careful you should be fine.

So I’m fixing this right now. With these delicious, chewy delights. They’re just the right amount of chewy – not teeth-shatteringly hard, but not too soft either. (Insider tip: the longer your boil the mixture, the harder they’ll set; I boiled mine for ten and they were in the middle. Boil them for more than that and they’ll be harder, boil them for less and they’ll be gooier.)

These gorgeous little mouthfuls were the top tier of my high tea set up, (the high tea that I threw to celebrate having Cristina Re tea cups on loan!) I’ll post the other two recipes from the high tea in the coming days, so keep your eyes peeled!

Chewy caramels

shatterMakes 24 pieces

  • 395g can sweetened condensed milk
  • ¾ cup cup caster sugar
  • 125g butter, chopped
  • 1/2 cup golden syrup

Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper.

ingredientsToss the condensed milk, sugar, butter and golden syrup into a medium sized pan. Turn the heat up to medium so that the butter melts, the sugar dissolves and the mixture combines, mixing regularly. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to boil for 10 minutes, making sure you stir consistently to avoid burning the mixture.

pourTake the mixture off the heat and set aside to let the bubbles subside.

Pour into your prepared pan and allow to cool briefly before putting in the freezer for at least an hour. Be careful, because your tin will heat up because the caramel is so hot. If you want salted caramel, take a pinch or two of salt flakes and sprinkle liberally.

saltRemove from the freezer about ten minutes before cutting. When it comes to cutting, lightly oil a knife so that it glides through the caramel more easily when you’re cutting. Personally, I like to allow the caramel to shatter slightly – when cutting, put pressure on the tip of the knife while it’s in the caramel without pressing the rest of the blade down, this should cause little fractures in the caramel.

tier

 

Plum frangipane tart and efficiency

sceneIf you have a friend popping over without a minute’s notice, efficiency is key. I was in a position recently where I had 45 minutes to throw makeup on and prepare something for afternoon tea when I knew that I had used up most of the flour on this cake (coconut raspberry cake.)

So I whipped up this little gem – it’s fast, easy and super impressive. Tarts are usually a pretty impressive dish to serve to people, but a frangipane tart sounds even better, it gives it an air of French sophistication. Try telling your guests that it’s “just a little plum frangipane tart I threw together” without having the smuggest face ever.

The delicious filling of this tart is gluten free, so would be perfect for celiac or gluten-sensitive friends – just make sure you find a reliable gluten free pastry. I’m in the process working out a decent gluten-free pastry, so watch this space. If you’ve got any suggestions for a GF pastry, comment below!

Plum frangipane tart:

Serves 8-10slice

  • 2 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry
  • 100g butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ tsp almond essence
  • 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk
  • 1 ½ cups almond meal
  • 2 large plums

pastryPreheat your oven to 180°C and grease a 35×12 cm tart tin.

Thaw your pastry until it is malleable enough to shape into your tart tin. Prick the uncooked tart shell with a fork, line with baking paper and pour baking weights in. Pop it in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven, take away the baking weights and baking paper, then return to the oven for five minutes.

Make the filling while the tart is in the oven.

plumsCream together the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in the vanilla and almond essence, then the eggs and egg yolk, mix to combine. Add in the almond meal and give it a good mix.

Allow the tart to cool slightly before filling it.

Spoon the frangipane into the tart case and smooth out with a spatula. Don’t worry about being too precise, the filling with smooth out perfectly whilst in the oven.

plumThinly slice your plums and arrange them as you please. I slotted mine in at a slight angle so that some of the flesh was showing, giving the tart a little pop of colour and allowing the sugars in the plums to be exposed to more heat so that they’d caramelise slightly.

abovePop this back in the oven for 30 minutes so that you’re whipping it out of the oven just as your guests arrive. Allow the tart to cool before serving.

(I also used the baking time to throw on a face of makeup and attempt to tame my hair!)

 

Mango macadamia icecream and freedom

slicedI’ve been very lucky these past two weeks. I was given a ridiculous amount of pears last week and my dad was given a whole bag full of mangoes. The pears were delightful – they’re so versatile and perfectly ripe right now.

Commandeering my dad’s mango bag, however, was an entirely different kind of wonderful. Mangoes are Summer, Christmas and deliciousness bundled into a little oval shape present. They’re sweet and messy and dripping with gorgeous nectar.

I’m not usually allowed to experiment with cooking mangoes because people want to eat them (greedy, right?!) and they don’t often last more than 48 hours in this house. Having the bag of them allowed me a little freedom.

Tasty, tasty freedom.

Mangoes need very little improvement, so I didn’t want to tinker with them too much. I just added sugar (a classic Baking with Gab move), macadamias and ice cream. This is like a home-made version of those moreish Weis bars.

Caramelising the mangoes intensifies the flavours because the mango flavour seeps into the brown sugar and the mango flesh becomes slightly mushier. This is a perfect dessert

Mango macadamia icecream topping

  • ¼ cup macadamias, roughly choppednom
  • 1 mango
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 4 scoops ice cream

 

 

 

mmPlace a non-stick frying pan over a high heat to warm up. Plop your macadamias straight into the pan and stir for five minutes so that they start to brown. While the macadamias are roasting, slice the cheeks off the mango and away from the seed, then cube the flesh and discard the skin.

roastedKeep stirring the macadamias as you’re cutting the mango, you don’t want the macadamias to burn.

When the macadamias are browned, remove them from the pan and wipe it out. Return the pan to the heat and cover the cooking surface with a piece of baking paper. Measure out the brown sugar onto a dinner plate and pour the pieces of mango onto the sugar. Toss to give them a good, coating.

cookPour the entire contents of the dinner plate onto the baking paper in the frying pan and let them cook for 5-8 minutes. Turn the mango pieces with tongs occasionally and give the caramelising sugar a stir so it doesn’t bubble up too much.

serveTake the gorgeous, golden mixture off the heat, quickly serve up four scoops of ice cream and scoop the mango over the top. Toss a few macadamias over the top and serve before the ice cream is completely melted.

This dessert is super easy and it’s so delicious that guests won’t believe how easy it is to throw together. You only need one pan and 12 minutes to whip this dessert up…and the baking paper means that you don’t even need to scrub the frying pan!

cupsOn a slightly funny mango-related note, the big mango which usually lives in Bowen, North Queensland has been stolen. Hopefully it’s returned, uneaten soon!