Chocolate elderflower mousse and Mother’s Day

flowerEverybody knows that you love your mum. It’s nothing to be ashamed of; it’s unavoidable. My mum is the one that instilled me with a love of feeding people. She’s a strong, clever, funny little lady and she’s never allowed to age because I won’t be able to cope without her.

She’s the woman who told me I was an idiot when I came home with a lip-piercing, the woman who continues to show me how to run a household and still dress immaculately, the woman who puts all of herself into her work. She’s well-spoken, fabulously insightful, and just an all-round nice person.

GF Rosewater rhubarb bundt and bundt obsession

dat bundtIf you’re up to date with Baking with Gab, you will have seen my darling little bundt babies. They were so cute that I almost struggled to eat them.

Almost. They were delectable enough that the guilt subsided eventually.

And those little cutenesses reminded me how much I adore bundt. They’re show-stoppers, centre-pieces, let-me-have-the-first-slice kind of cakes.

Date and cashew fudge and adventures

icingOne of my friends lives about an hour out of Sydney, so every now and then I go on an adventure to Elderslie. It’s really not that far away from where I live, but it’s so different. There are farms and horses and farm fresh veggies at ridiculously reasonable prices. There are some pretty cute cafes, and I’m slowly working my way through each of them.

It’s beautiful as well – because of the slight climate difference, the cherry blossoms in Sally’s area start earlier than they do in mine.

And around Christmas the jacaranda blooms come out with such vibrancy that it takes your breath away; they carpet the streets with their purple, silken flowers. The reason I’m telling you about her is because she’s a little bit of a health-nut, and I made this dessert to take to her. She runs an Instagram account dedicated to raw/vegan/healthy food…her page is pretty much the antithesis of Baking with Gab!

Blueberry baked oat bowls and breakfast obsession

aboveI ADORE BREAKFAST.

It’s no secret. On days where I’m at work, it pains me slightly to have a measly slice of toast, or a pathetic bowl of rice bubbles. I start work at 7, and I’m not that much of a morning person, so I literally don’t have the time to make myself something epic for brekkie every morning. It’s not that I don’t appreciate toast and rice bubbles…they just don’t knock my socks off.

So on days where I’m not working, I prioritise breakfast. I debate whether I want to make baked eggs or chocolate pear bread.

Or if I want to go to a café and get poached eggs (a personal favourite.) Or grilled peaches on muesli. Or scrambled eggs. Or avocado on on toast…. you get the point.

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.

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.

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.

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!

 

Quinoa breakfast cups and gluten thoughts

aboveI’ve been trying to cut back on gluten in my life. Laughable, right? I bake nearly every day and I LOVE gluten. The more I look into gluten free options, the more I realise how hard it is to cut it out of your diet.

I’m not doing too badly – I don’t miss bread as much as I thought I would; I actually have to have a think about the things I put into my body; I’m enjoying the challenge of looking for alternatives.

But I like soy sauce, I like chocolate and lollies, I like oats! But most of all, I like the versatility of flour – it’s in cakes, pastries, cereals, gravies, my mother’s delicious omelette and most of the foods I like to eat.