Chocolate tart with raspberry poached pear

sneakIt just so happened that I came into a large amount of pears over the weekend. It was like my inheritance came in the form of pears. It was delightful.

The only problem is, pears do not last forever. And there are only so many pears one can eat before they start turn brown and mushy.

So I started brainstorming pear-based recipes. I’ve already blogged about my ridiculous love of pears and the many recipes I include them in, so I needed to think up some more plans. This post was a French-inspired one. I love everything about France. I love the people, I love the accents, I love their gardens, their buildings, their art, their FOOD. Continue reading “Chocolate tart with raspberry poached pear”

Mini mushroom tarts and lady beetles

A lady beetle was the highlight of my morning.

I opened a bag of baby spinach to put in a breakfast smoothie and she was there. I stared at her for a second, because it’s not what you expect of baby spinach. When you buy unwashed greens you sometimes encounter slugs or a teensy snail, or something equally squeamish…but mainly they’ve just got a little soil clinging to a few leaves.

She was so still and curled up that I assumed she was dead. I contemplated how long this gorgeous little beetle had been alive before she landed on the wrong leaf and was packaged up, shipped and refrigerated. Continue reading “Mini mushroom tarts and lady beetles”

Chocolate berry tarts and sluggish weather

rainThe weather in Sydney got a bit rubbish overnight. The Boy and I went to a Mexican themed birthday bash (check us out, we dressed up and everything!) and it started to rain as the night wore on, unfortunately. The company and food was good, despite the weather’s best efforts to dampen things.

Torrential rain is perfect indoor weather, which means I crave sweets. Comfort food.

If you’re anything like me, however, the wet weather also means that you’re lazy. I’m currently writing in my pyjamas and enjoying the sound of the rain. I had intended to go to the gym this morning, but as soon as I heard the rain I excused myself because rain. Continue reading “Chocolate berry tarts and sluggish weather”

Chocolatey chocolate tart and leftover egg yolks

yolkEgg yolks have so much potential.

I hate to waste a good egg yolk because of this potential. I also hate the idea of letting good food go to waste!

This is a great way to use up egg yolks after you’ve made meringues. I made some pretty spooky meringues for Halloween (as you may or may not have seen on my Instagram) so I had five egg yolks to play with. This recipe didn’t use them all up, but it got rid of four and Norman enjoyed lapping up the final yolk!

edgeI took the meringues and this tart to a Halloween party. I say party, but it was better than that – it was a group of my friends watching Hocus Pocus and eating yummy food. The tart works with out without meringue ghosts, in case you were wondering. Continue reading “Chocolatey chocolate tart and leftover egg yolks”

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

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