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.

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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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Citrusy earl grey cocktail and tea obsession

I literally cannot remember the last time I went a whole day without having tea. Whether it’s hot, cold, or in my food, I’m a sucker for anything tea-related. When I was in England recently, I carried tea bags around with me. I also based a couple of my city stops on where I wanted to buy tea  from (hello Betty’s and Daman Freres!)

earl grey gin cocktail side glass

Earl grey choc chip mini bundt and comfort

aboveThis week is a bit of a crazy one for me. I’ve been baking to calm my nerves and keep my hands busy. And I’ve loved it. Last week I was a little lax with my recipe posting, but all will come good after this week. The uncertainty that has me baking like a crazy person will lift, and things will become clearer.

As always, I find myself turning to tea and baked goods for comfort – in this case, the tea and baked item are one! Earl grey tea and bundt; could one little morsel be any more perfect? It’s like all of my favourite things rolled into one perfect, adorable little bund(t)le.

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.

Earl Grey Custard and comfort food

aboveI debated over the title of this blog, because technically tea is not a food, it’s a beverage. And when I was growing up, my siblings and I used to try to treat custard like a beverage! I didn’t think that “comfort beverages” sounded right though.

ANYWAY, this tart combines two of my loves – custard and tea. They’re delicious, comforting and… well, what more could you want? Both of them remind me of my dad. He loves traditional egg custard – just the smell of milk warming on the stove makes me think of him! He also introduced me to earl grey tea when I was a child…I hated it! I used to call it soap tea, no matter how much he espoused its merits!

Earl grey truffles and indulgences

plateChocolate is something that I don’t often buy for myself. I buy baking chocolate lots, but given the amount of baking that I do, I try to avoid chocolate bars. I’m not always successful, but I try.

So when I get cravings for, I try to get creative and make them a little indulgent. This is how these amazing little morsels came about. They’re teeny tiny, so you can eat 20 of them before you have to worry about stopping! (I may have exaggerated slightly, maybe don’t eat 20…)

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.

Dark chocolate caramel and popcorn biscuit

plateThe title of this post looks like two unrelated things, right? “Oh,” you though, “Gab has made some dark chocolate caramel and she has also made some popcorn biscuits, whatever they are.”

“It’s such a smoosh of words that they couldn’t all possibly be referring to one baked product,” I hear you thinking.

Well, your internal monologue is wrong. I made biscuits with dark chocolate caramel popcorn in them.

It’s like a zillion delicious things jam packed into one gloriously ugly little package.

Honey pear cake and oversupply

sceneThis post came about because of an over supply of two things.

Pears and honey.

So I created a honey pear cake.

Makes sense, right?

I was lucky enough to receive another delivery of free pears last week (I spoke about the first delivery here.) I’m currently trying to find more ways to use these babies up, because I’ve eaten about 50, poached close to a dozen, given away what seems like bagfuls, and I’m still left with a bowl of them which are threatening to go bad on me.

Lavender poached pears and reliability

Poached pears are a failsafe dessert. They’re quick, they’re easy, and they’re bound to satisfy every time. You can dress them up or down, your guests will devour them regardless. To celebrate these reliable little beauties, I’ve put together four variations on the classic poached pear.

The first of these is a Lavender and fruit tea. The tea that I used is from my local fruit shop, and I’m not sure how widely available it is – this is what it looks like, if you’re interested. It’s got cranberry, apple, rosehip and hibiscus in it, but anything fruity and sweet enough will match the lavender perfectly.