Chocolate cardamom biscuits and a hiatus

I’ve been away for a little while. The Boy and I moved into a new place, which meant uprooting ourselves and our little pupper.

This meant that our already anxious little Daisy turned into a giant nervous wreck. Norman, the most regal dog I have ever met, is remaining at my parent’s place. He’s old and forgetful, so it wasn’t fair to take him with us.

Norman

And this meant that Miss Daisy had to spend long periods of time by herself.

Just. Look. At. This. Face.

Mini egg Easter doughnuts and a healthy Easter

mini egg doughnuts (14 of 14)
I told people who lingered over the plate of these delights that they were healthy doughnuts – there’s yoghurt in them and they’re baked! Most people laughed at me, so I explained that they’re healthy-ish…healthier than a regular fried doughnut, anyway.

They’re kind of like a little cake doughnut, which you’ll know I’m a fan of if you’ve seen my earl grey or Nutella doughnuts.
I like the idea that you can eat seconds because they’re a tiny bit better for you. I stress teeny tiny. Did I mention that I’ve started a little health kick?

Coconut ice slice and New Year resolutions

Who made a resolution to get fit for 2016? I commend you, if you did. I know that most people make healthy resolutions, usually, but I plan on challenging myself with my baking instead. I’m going to take more classes – there is no better way to get inspired than to learn from experts. I’m taking a cookie painting class in two weeks and will report back. Hopefully you’ll be seeing tiny edible masterpieces soon!

Coconut ice slice-9

And I’m going to work on my photography as well. If you’ve got any recommendations for cooking and/or food photography classes, send them my way, I’m all ears.

I’m also going to make Daisy a super obedient dog. The Boy and I have been struggling with her behaviour (she’s an angel for us, but a massive jerk  to strangers!) so we’re going to take her to a doggy specialist!

I’m also verbalising more of my plans. Or writing them here, at least. Because that way I’m less likely to forget about them/change my mind when they get too hard. I read recently that humans find it harder to go back on their plans once they’ve told them to other people. So let’s try and use that to my advantage.

AND I’m going to give my props the loving they deserve – I’ve got a rapidly growing collection and I neglect the oldies sometimes. Expect these floral tea cups to be making regular appearances, they were a Christmas present from my gorgeous mother and I’m smitten.

Coconut ice slice-6

The baking side of my resolutions I’ve already started. This winner of a recipe, which I appropriated from a gorgeous cook book I was given for Christmas, is the perfect start to my new year.

Now I’ve only got to get started on all of those other things I just committed to…

 

Coconut ice slice

Serves 12

Base

  • 170g butter
  • 1 1/3 cups white sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 1/3 cups desiccated coconut
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarb

Filling

  • 115g butter
  • 5 cups icing sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 3/4 cups desiccated coconut
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Chocolate shavings to decorate
Preheat your oven to 180°C.
Beat together your butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Mix in your cornflour, followed by the desiccated coconut. Add in your egg and beat until combined, followed by your plain flour and bicarb. Only mix in the flour until just combined so you keep the mixture nice and soft.
Grease and line a 25cm round tin (I used a Baker’s Secret high wall crispy tart pan because I love the shape – it’s non-stick, so I only lined the bottom because it has holes for aeration) and press the base evenly around the pan. If you can’t get a smooth enough finish, use your fingers or a straight-sided tumbler to even things out.
Pop the mixture into your oven for 25-30 minutes. When you pull the base out of the oven it will fall instantly. If it doesn’t sink evenly, stab remaining air pockets with a fork. Set to one side to cool.
While the base is cooling, make a start on your filling by mixing the butter with one cup of icing sugar until combined. Add the remaining icing sugar, one cup at a time, followed by the milk, coconut and vanilla.
Scoop your filling into the cooled base and spread it gently. It should do most of the spreading out by itself. Top with chocolate shavings, or whatever chocolate decorations you like. Pop into the fridge for at least two hours to set properly.
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Halloween mishaps and frankendoughnuts

This recipe almost didn’t happen. There were two versions of this recipe that didn’t make it to the blog (simply because they were devoured, so I couldn’t take photos of them) and when I’d made this batch and piped them all nicely into their moulds, the oven wouldn’t light.

You read right, I’ve ovened my oven oblivion. *insert crying emoji here*

halloween doughnuts four

Halloween chocolate cheesecake and two dollar shop finds

As you may have surmised, I’m not the girl who goes for gore. I don’t do horror films, gross things, or even dark colours, really. I’m pastel-hued, floral, I seek out beauty and positivity.

Halloween chocolate cheesecake slice side

Each year I struggle with Halloween. I don’t want a severed finger on my cupcake, brain-shaped petit fours or spaghetti that looks like intestines. I very much admire the talent of the people who create them (and the stomachs of the people who eat them!) but I just can’t do it.

Lemon lime layer cake and morning tea

wholeA friend and her mum held a morning tea yesterday. Not just any morning tea, it was Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, it’s a cute idea initiated by the Cancer Council to help raise money to beat Cancer.

You make some cakes/pastries/other delicious things, you invite your friends to do the same thing and you get together and eat, laugh and chat, then leave a little money behind to go towards a great cause. It’s a great excuse to go all out on decorations and use your best tea cups. The fabulous event I attended raised almost $2,000 for the cause, and it was ridiculously cute; everybody wins! The theme was yellow, hence the citrusy approach, and I’m so glad I made it; I forget how much I love super tart curd!

Milo mudcake and chance

cakeI bake ALL the time.

I know that I bake more than a regular person, but every now and then, some little dessert just floors me. I went to Lorraine’s Patisserie a few weeks ago and tried a gorgeous little tart. It was stunningly chocolatey, and just the perfect amount of sweetness. I set out to recreate the indulgent experience, not knowing where it would end. And then someone Googled “Milo mudcake” and wound up at my blog.

Choc pear brownie cake and accomplishments

tea and brownieI’ve been testing this recipe for a little while. I kept making it and liking it, but not loving it. I like to love all the recipes that I produce. In between making the various mediocre chocolate and pear brownies I managed to do some other cool stuff. For example, I made a milo mudcake, which I’ll post soon. I broke several peoples’ diets with a gorgeous white chocolate peanut butter cheesecake (for real, get the recipe here) and I went to Groovin the Moo and danced away a day that I would usually have spent baking.

Fairy bread biscuits and brightness

This week has been a bit of a crazy one! Sydney (just in case you missed it) has been absolutely hammered with rain. Train lines flooded, businesses closed, broken umbrellas were strewn about the city; nothing remained dry.

single

It was actually kind of ridiculous. On the second day of ridiculous rain, I decided to bake away the grey. These fairy bread biscuits were the perfect counterbalance to the bleakness. This is such a simple recipe, but it gives such consistent, delicious results.

Chocolate date skillet cookie and pans

panThis skillet cookie is everything. It’s giant, chocolatey and gooey – all of these are positives (I think) when it comes to baked goods!

I’m in love with it. I was inspired to make a skillet cookie for two reasons – one, I’d read about them before and somehow never made one; two, I was sent a cast iron pan to trial by Mark from Solidteknics.

The pan is proudly Australian made and it is built to last for generations. I love cooking in my mum’s and nan’s old pots and pans because they have character and history; they wear the marks of thousands of meals, yet continue to reliably do their job. I hope that this castiron pan will hold the same value to my kids (whenever that day comes!)