Caramel apple scrolls and rainy mornings

scrollWhen I woke up this morning it was raining. Hard.

It’s been doing so on and off for a few days now. This kind of weather makes me want to shrug off anything that resembles responsibility and stay in bed, only leaving the covers to bake and make more tea.

Scrolls are perfect for this kind of weather. You can whip them up and let them rest while you return to bed. Then pop them in the oven and take them back to bed once they’re done!! The sweet smell of caramelising brown sugar will creep into every corner of the house and have it smelling inviting after just once batch. The smell will settle right around the house like a big, warm hug, fending off those rainy day blues.

Vanilla Christmas biscuits and festivity

hollyI’ve been trying to resist posting Christmas recipes for about a fortnight now. I adore Christmas, but I dislike how it seems to creep earlier into our consciousness each year. In my family, we don’t buy our tree or decorate ANYTHING until December first (and there are two birthdays in the family to focus on before December 25th rolls around anyway.)

This year, however, I have caved; the combination of abundant free time and having the blog as an excuse to create delicious Christmas things means that I’m allowing myself a bit of a head start this year.

And what a start it is! These biccies are simple and adorable…and they don’t have to be Christmas themed if you don’t want!! I chose a star shaped cutter because I thought my family would scoff at my if I’d gone for the candy cane or Christmas tree shapes. The good thing about a basic biscuit mix like this is that it lends itself really well to any shape you want!

Honey and cranberry loaf and baking adventures

butterThis loaf came about a little bit by accident. I had delicious candles that I was given by Cate from Queen B candles and I wanted to use them to complement something that I’d baked. The candles have this faint smell of honey when you light them, so I thought I’d make something honey-based.

(Queen B also writes a blog, it’s lovely to meet fellow bloggers! And Cate’s beautiful beeswax candles can be purchased at http://www.queenb.com.au/)

I’d already posted a recipe for honey jumbles (and they were delicious, check them out here), so that was out of the question. I’d also done honey tea cakes, so I was at a bit of a loss for what to bake. Browsing Pinterest for inspiration, I found this delectable looking bread, which  inspired me to come up with my own!

Honey jumbles and celebrating food

closeI’ve had one of those weeks that really inspire you to love food. I had fabulous breakfast with a friend (which I couldn’t help myself but Instagram, check it out!), I reminisced about chocolate milkshakes, I watched my mother darling throw together an amazing meal to entertain a crowd and I had an unexpectedly delicious meal last night in Newtown.

I feel as though there are times in your life where you’re more appreciative of food than others. And seeing as I’m in this deliriously food-focussed mood, I picked out a jar of honey I’ve had sitting in my pantry for months and decided to make the most of it.

Spinach and parmesan quiche & leftovers

spinach 1My dear mother often buys spinach. She has the best intentions for it – healthy meals, delicious spinach and cheese pastries, something different to the usual green addition to our meals – but it very rarely gets used. It often (rather wastefully) sits in the fridge and wilts until someone takes pity on it and disposes of it.

I know, I know, I can hear you all groaning in disapproval – “how wasteful”, “think of the starving children in Africa”, etc but that’s what happens in a house where everyone works. There just isn’t enough time for good intentions!

Parmesan entertainers (biscuits)

in bowlMy love for parmesan borders on the obsessive. I don’t mean that weird dry yellow powder that comes in a shaker bottle; I mean realparmesan cheese.

If it were up to me, spag bol would be 1 part spaghetti, 1 part bolognaise and 3 parts parmesan cheese.

It’s tangy and mature and just delicious.

In my world there is no such thing as too much parmesan. Pasta, salads, fruit, sandwiches – you name it, I’ve parmesaned it.

Easy appetiser bread and entertaining

I had friends over on Saturday. We were going to a hen’s night together so I asked them to come over beforehand. I organised some chips and dips and cheeses doneand faffed about getting ready in between locating cheese knives and sourcing plates for (store bought) dips. Everyone thinks chips and dips are easy, but really, they’re fiddly. I have nothing against cheese and biccies (in fact, I quite enjoy them) but there are lots of bowls and knives and plates to clear away afterwards.

Lavender shortbread and excitement

previewThis recipe was my first contribution to a website that wasn’t my own – I know, super exciting, right?! I was stoked when the Geelong Blabbertiser said that they wanted me a contributor! I already wrote an introduction for the post (which can be found here), but I’m going to write a second one. That’s right, a double-barreled introduction. I hope you’re sitting down.

Today was a day of great excitement! My first post on the Geelong Blabbertiser went up (I had first post jitters!) and Norman got a hair cut (before and after photos!) While I was waiting for Norman I also ate at a patisserie that I’d never been to (see the amazing picture here.) You underestimate how exciting all of these things were! Norman’s haircut also lead to the discovery of a hernia which is kind of sucky, but that will hopefully be sorted out in the coming weeks. 

Simple Sunday cinnamon scrolls

Ever wake up on a Sunday morning craving something super delicious, but can’t be bothered to put loads of effort into whipping up bacon and eggs or pancakes? This is your solution! It’s a little bit hard to resist eating the raw dough when it’s filled with cinnamon butter, but I promise you it is worth the wait. The whole process will take about 50 minutes to an hour to make it from hunger to plate.

I don’t even usually like cinnamon scrolls, I often think they’re too doughy or bland. These little beauties are soft and cinnamon-packed, with the perfect balance of dough and filling. Yum!

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!
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