House warmings and Instagram spam

succulentI’ve been absent from blogging a little bit recently. Work is keeping me away from baking and I’ve had so many things to do recently. I apologise.

So today’s post won’t have a recipe, which is most unusual. Think of it as more of a catch up. Feel free to comment below and let me know what you’ve been doing this weekend.

Choc chip slice and change

aboveI usually dislike change. I like adventures, but I am all for stability. Which is why moving has kind of thrown me off a little bit. Not having access to internet, for example, has resulted in very few posts recently. Not having access to a camera (I used to use my dad’s) means that even I do bake, I can’t show you. Not having an entirely set up kitchen yet means that my baking has slowed.

To top all of this off, the beautiful rustic table that I bought for our dining room didn’t fit through our door (insert crying face here), so we’re borrowing one from my brother’s generous girlfriend (who has been coming up lots recently!)

All of these things are different to what I am used to!!

What I do like about change though, is that it is a catalyst for experimentation. Lacking a cake tin, I opted to go back to my parent’s house and use their kitchen and camera. I was also equipped with their fabulous house warming present to the Boy and I, the Country Women’s Association Cook Book. Aren’t parents fantastic?

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

 

Chocolate cardamon pear cake and Autumn

sceneI’ve still got a crazy amount of pears to work my way through. And it’s glorious. I wrote about being given too many pears last week and I’ve not yet run out of things to bake with them!

The weather in Sydney turned pretty dismal this week, so I’ve been poaching and baking and snuggling up with Norman at every opportunity.

It’s also the first day of Autumn today! This cake is perfect for Autumn because it’s not quite heavy enough for a Winter’s pudding, but it’s not too Summery either because of the almondy hints and the caramel notes created by the brown sugar. The chocolate and cardamom mingle beautifully to create warm, rich little mouthfuls, while the pear brings a lovely moistness to the cake.

Best served sprinkled with icing sugar, as it needs very little accompaniment. If you’re feeling especially indulgent on a dreary, rainy day, serve warm, with a dollop thick cream.

Chocolate cardamon pear cake

  • 180g butterslice
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 2 pears

cardamonPreheat your oven to 180°C and grease and line a 21cm cake tin.

Cream together the butter and brown sugar until pale. Add in the eggs, followed by your almond meal. Sift in the self-raising flour and add in the milk to thin out the mixture. Mix the cardamom into the batter thoroughly, then fold the chocolate chunks in as well.

pearPeel and core your pears, then cut them into thin wedges. Arrange the wedges around the cake in whatever fashion you like, pressing them in slightly. I tend to organise them so that they fit neatly into slices once the cake is cooked.

arrangePop the cake in the oven for 50 minutes. Remove when a cake inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool before removing from the tin – this cake is delicate, so needs a little extra care.

above

Cream buns with mock cream and indulgence

bunsIt’s Valentine’s day today and I thought cream buns would be a cute things to post. I’m not really one for pet names, but I think that “my little cream bun” would be a rather adorable term of endearment.

Just me?

Anywho, I recently made these buns for a dear friend of mine (at his request!) and they were such a lovely treat to be able to share. They’re old school indulgence, the kind of thing I can picture my grandparents serving to friends at social events. They’re not showy, but they’re delicious and pretty enough to impress.