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!

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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.

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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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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!

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.

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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.

Vegan chocolate cupcakes and challenges

swirlI really enjoyed making my white vegan vanilla cake that I’m continuing to try some vegan recipes. I love that they offer me a bit of a challenge, but it turns out that trying to make something taste delicious without the traditional delicious things that belong in cakes (eggs, milk, butter) isn’t as hard as you think!

Cranberry walnut muffins and breakfast

spoonI never say no to a cooked breakfast. Actually, if you take a look at my instagram, if you take away the pictures of dogs and cake, it’s pretty much just poached eggs and muesli. I seriously cannot get enough of avocado on toast. Pancakes? Hngg. Porridge on a chilly morning is possibly one of the best things in the world. Fresh baked bread, cut thick, with peanut butter on top. OM NOM NOM NOM.

This post is quickly degenerating into me just listing foods.

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!)

White vegan vanilla cake and going vegan

vegan cakeI’ve got heaps of friends who are vegetarian. I love them for their dedication to the cause and often join them in devouring delicious vego meals. I’ve got a couple of vegan friends (and have even made a sumptuous raw vegan dessert before) and I really admire them for their efforts. It’s not easy being vegan – in my research for this cake I found out that some sugars (apparently mostly in America) are processed with animal bones. I read that some baking paper isn’t vegan-friendly. I also learned that some apple juice is clarified using fish bladders.

Bleh.

Choc hazelnut bundt and Easter left overs

aboveI don’t know what your household is like, but we’ve still got leftover chocolate eggs at our house. My whole family goes a bit overboard – each sibling is in charge of contributing some Easter eggs to go on the table, to be enjoyed by all… And each year, we have far too many eggs!

I’m not complaining (although my comfy pants probably are, they’re getting way too much use lately!), I just need to come up with some crafty solutions to the “problem.”