Saturday, March 31, 2012

Condensed Milk Panna Cotta with Espresso Jelly + 13 Ways with Espresso!

condensed milk panna cotta with espresso jelly
espresso-title.jpg
I am not quite myself without a cup of strong, sweet black coffee in the morning. Although I have quite the addiction to T2 tea as well, coffee will always be my first love. My affection for coffee does of course extend to desserts as well, so I thought I'd put together a list of some fantastic caffeinated recipes from some of my favourite blogs and food sites. Enjoy!

13 ways with espresso
Picture Credits: Martha Stewart & Gourmet

1. I love the sound of this Tipsy Affogato from Martha Stewart. I remember feeling so grownup the first time I had an affogato! A touch of Frangelico makes it even more sophisticated.

2. This Coffee Float from Gourmet is like a grownup milkshake with caramelised sugar, coffee, ice cream, whipped cream, crushed nuts (I'd go with hazelnuts personally) and lashings of chocolate shavings. Yes, yes, yes please!

13 ways with espresso
Picture Credits: Sweetapolita & Gourmet Traveller

3. This decadent Chocolate Espresso Bundt Cake from Sweetapolita is absolutely stunning, although Rosie’s cakes always are! I love the dramatic photography, which is perfect for such a deep, rich cake.

4. I can’t believe I don’t have a single fondant recipe on my blog at all, considering how much I love eating them. I think this Warm Chocolate Espresso Fondant from Gourmet Traveller is one that will definitely go on the “to bake” list to try out very soon!

13 ways with espresso

5. Marble cakes bring back memories of my childhood, although this Mocha Marble Cake from Raspberri Cupcakes is the perfect grownup treat. I'll have an espresso martini to wash it down please!

6. As part of several doughnut experiments last year, I played with espresso sugar as a coating for these Zeppole and it was fabulous! I served these simply with some whipped vanilla mascarpone but thinking about it now, some rich chocolate sauce would be perfect as well. Something to remember next time, because there will definitely be a next time!

13 ways with espresso
Picture Credits: Tartelette & Gourmet Traveller

7. Chocolate cake. Rich chocolate mousse. Touch of espresso. Latte Icecream. Oh Helene, what a beautiful dessert! I love the story behind how these Espresso Mousse Cakes came to be.

8. I love the combination of coffee and hazelnut, so this Espresso Creme Brulee with Hazelnut Ice cream is right up my alley. The recipe itself is from Sydney's Harbourkitchen&bar (and republished in Gourmet Traveller) which places it firmly on the list of places to visit!

13 ways with espresso
Picture Credits: Gourmet Traveller & Seven Spoons

9. I have actually made these White Chocolate Espresso Parfait Sandwiches from Gourmet Traveller once before, with every intention to blog about them, but they all disappeared before I could even reach for my camera! So I had to mention the original recipe in this roundup! Try them, you won’t be sorry.

10. This Crumbled Cookie ice cream with Espresso Caramel from Seven Spoons looks utterly amazing, combining so many of my favourite things into one awesome dessert. PS, I love this gorgeous blog too!

13 ways with espresso
Picture Credits: Citrus and Candy & Donna Hay

12. How perfect is this Chocolate and Coffee Fudge from my dear friend Karen over at Citrus and Candy! Filled with lots of my favourite things – chocolate, coffee, cranberries, vanilla and salt, I’m secretly hoping she’ll make this for me one day ;)

12. I’m always on the lookout for great dinner party desserts and this looks like a winner. A delicious Frozen Tiramisu from Donna Hay is the perfect twist on the classic dessert.

condensed milk panna cotta with espresso jelly

13. I’ve had the idea for this dessert for quite a while, and this coffee love fest seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it out! It all started when I tried Vietnamese coffee for the first time, which is served with sweetened condensed milk. And while I usually don’t like milk or cream in my coffee, I kind of loved it this way. For my panna cotta, I experimented with using condensed milk with cream and it worked out deliciously! A layer of strong espresso and Kahlua jelly on top was the perfect simple accompaniment.

I had originally planned to serve these with some Persian fairy floss on top, but my packet had turned into a rock-hard lump of sugar that I like to think would do some damage if you were to throw it at someone. Instead I opted for a simpler dollop of whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa powder. The flavours in this dessert worked really well together and the whole thing can be made ahead of time if you’re having a guests over. Win, win, I’d say!

Just a quick note about the recipes below, I'm sorry that one uses gelatine powder and the other uses gelatine leaves! I usually have both on hand so it wasn't problematic for me but the conversions between powder and leaves can be difficult and it has made my head hurt trying to figure it out. For more information about the difference between gelatine powder and leaves, this post by David Lebovitz is very helpful!

I'd love to hear your favourite espresso recipes too! Feel free to share any links in the comments below! :)

Condensed Milk Panna Cotta with Espresso Jelly
Adapted from Donna Hay
Serves 4

Panna Cotta
• 2 tablespoons milk
• 2 teaspoons powdered gelatine
• 1 cup (250ml) pouring cream
• ¾ cup sweetened condensed milk
• ¼ cup milk, extra
• ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped

Espresso Jelly
• 250ml espresso
• 80g sugar
• 2 tablespoons Kahlua
• 4g gelatine sheets

To make the panna cotta, place the gelatine and milk in a small bowl. Stir to combine and allow to stand for 2-3 minutes until the gelatine has dissolved. Place the cream, condensed milk, extra milk and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, add the gelatine and whisk to combine. Set aside to cool. Pour into 4 glasses or ramekins. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours.

To make the espresso jelly, moisten gelatine leaves in some cold water. Combine espresso, sugar and Kahlua in a saucepan over medium heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, stir in the gelatine leaves until dissovled and allow to cool. Pour evenly over panna cotta layer and refrigerate overnight. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa powder.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Key Lime Pie with Homemade Graham Cracker Crust

key lime pie with homemade graham crackers
I’ve had a long-standing fascination with Key Lime Pie, since the very first time I saw it in a recipe magazine when I was young. But I had never tried it, let alone baked it until now! I always thought of it as the cousin of the Lemon Meringue Pie, which was one of my childhood favourite desserts.

The recipe originated in Florida during the 19th century, where you can find key limes, which smaller and a little more tart than regular limes. Floridians are serious about their famous dish, in 1965 even calling for a fine to be put into place for anyone advertising Key Lime Pie that was not made with key limes! Unfortunately key limes (or even bottled key lime juice) are almost impossible to find here in Australia, so I had to use regular limes. Just don’t tell anyone!

key lime pie with homemade graham crackers
Surprisingly, I learned that the recipe has hardly changed since its invention. Before refrigeration, condensed milk in cans could be stored much more easily than fresh cream or milk. And with limes in abundance, it’s likely that fishermen combined the condensed milk and eggs from their supplies to create what then became one of America’s most famous desserts.

I used homemade Graham crackers, which were then pulverised into crumbs for my crust, and the recipe from Pepe’s Café in Key West (via Bon Appetit) for the filling. The addition of whipped egg whites gave the pie a lighter texture, in fact it was almost like cheesecake. But boy was it sweet. Next time I’d add a little finely grated lime zest to the filling along with the juice for a little more tang. I topped my pie with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream and a handful of Coconut Chips, my new favourite snack.

So tell me, what is your favourite American dessert?

key lime pie with homemade graham crackers

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sour Cherry and Cocoa Nib Biscotti

Sour Cherry and Cocoa Nib Biscotti

As I mentioned in my previous post, the work/life balance has been eluding me a little of late – too much work, not enough life! What do you do when you’re feeling a little mentally fried? I try to surround myself by my favourite things. I bought myself a big bunch of daisies to brighten up my room, I enjoyed a fabulous dinner with the girls on Friday, bought a rather fabulous red dress and spent Sunday afternoon baking.

I wasn’t in the mood for something fussy or overly complicated. When I saw the little tub of sour cherries I had bought a while back sitting on the shelf, inspiration struck. It had been a long, long time since I had made biscotti (in fact it was one of the very first posts on this blog all those years ago) but it felt right to update the recipe with a few standout flavours.

Sour Cherry and Cocoa Nib Biscotti

This time around I stuck with the almonds (you can’t go wrong!) but added the sour cherries, some cocoa nibs and just a touch of coffee liqueur. When they were baked, I dipped the biscotti into some dark chocolate which set off those flavours perfectly. Of course you could get really creative with add ins, using almost any kind of nuts or dried fruit depending on your tastes.

Evidently, I wasn’t the only fan of these biscotti - the huge batch barely lasted a few days in our house! They made the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee, and it was hard to stop at just one. It definitely won't be long before I make another batch.

Have a great week folks!

Sour Cherry and Cocoa Nib Biscotti

Sour Cherry and Cocoa Nib Biscotti
Adapted from Donna Hay
Makes about 40 biscuits

• 2 cups plain flour
• 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
• ¾ cup sugar
• ¾ cup almonds
• ¼ cup sour cherries*
• 2 tablespoons cocoa nibs*
• 3 eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 tablespoon Kahlua or other coffee liqueur
• 120g dark chocolate, melted, for dipping

Preheat oven to 160°C (320°F).

Sift the flour and baking powder together in a bowl. Add sugar, almonds, cherries and cocoa nibs and stir together. Add the eggs, vanilla, and liqueur and mix well to form a dough. Divide the dough in two. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead each piece until smooth. Shape into logs and flatten slightly.

Place the logs on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool completely. If not completely cool, it will be crumbly when you slice it. Cut the logs into 5mm thick slices with a serrated knife and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the biscotti are crisp. Cool completely.

When biscuits are cooled, dip each about 1/3 into the melted chocolate, drain off the excess and place on a baking paper lined tray until set. If the weather is warm, you may need to refrigerate them briefly. Store in an airtight container and serve with espresso or liqueur.

*You can find sour cherries and cocoa nibs at gourmet stores like Essential Ingredient or the David Jones Food Hall

Friday, March 9, 2012

Boozy Lemonade

boozy lemonade

Friends, it’s been a lonnnng week. Work has been rather hectic, I can feel the beginnings of a cold starting to sap my energy, and let’s not even start on the weather Sydney’s been having! But you know what they say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But some weeks are so trying that lemonade isn’t enough, so I boozed it up. It is Friday, afterall.

The inspiration for this recipe actually came from a bar called Fringe in Paddington that I used to frequent almost every Thursday night after work with my cousin. We’d order pizzas and jugs of the Lynchberg Lemonade, which was everything you’d want lemonade to be – super refreshing, sweet, and deceptively boozy. Until that sad day, when it was taken off the menu, and the cocktail jugs that replaced it were never quite as good.

boozy lemonade

I recently set about recreating it from memory, and I was pretty happy with how it turned out! Feel free to play around with the ratios of ingredients, and make it as boozy or sweet as you like. I think this would also be great for any BBQ’s or garden parties you may be planning before summer slips away entirely.

Have a lovely weekend, guys! I’ll see you back here with another tasty recipe on Monday!

boozy lemonade

Boozy Lemonade
Inspired by the Lynchberg Lemonade at The Fringe Bar in Paddington
Makes 2L

• 3 lemons, juiced
• 2 or 3 shots vodka
• 2 or 3 shots whisky (I used Jack Daniels)
• 1 shot Cointreau
• Sugar syrup, to taste (recipe here)
• Ice, lemonade and lemon slices, to serve

Pour lemon juice, vodka, whisky, Cointreau and sugar syrupinto a 2 litre jug and give a little stir with a long spoon. Add ice, lemonade and lemon slices. Taste for sweetness and add more sugar if desired. Serve immediately.

PS, thanks Steph for my lovely vintage citrus juicer!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Newmarket Hotel, St Kilda

newmarket hotel, st kilda

I have a new favourite restaurant.

Unfortunately for me, it’s in Melbourne, because the Newmarket Hotel in St Kilda would be one place I’d love to have in my neighbourhood. On a quick weekend trip with my sister to my second-favourite city, we hopped on a tram and were greeted at the restaurant by truly lovely smiling staff. The décor has a retro feel with a little whimsy thrown in via the wallpaper – I loved it!

We started with a pitcher of the ‘Back to the Future’ cocktail. I may have been tipped over the edge by the name, but the combination of grapefruit vodka, rhubarb liqueur, mango puree, lemon juice and sparkling pink grapefruit seemed irresistible. It was refreshing, and not too sweet. The perfect foil for the humid weather outside. Next time I’m going for the Garden Punch, which sounded lovely with gin, apple, elderflower and honey. Mmmm.

newmarket hotel, st kilda

We perused the menu for a good 20 minutes before we narrowed down our order. This would be a fab place to go with a big group of friends since the whole menu is designed to be shareable. The menu is inspired by Mexican and Latin food, as are so many others these days, but far from being bored by the trend, I'm so excited when restaurants just nail it, and Newmarket have. We started with the BBQ corn on the cob with chilli and queso fresco, a messy but absolutely delicious affair.

newmarket hotel, st kilda

Tacos were a must. Remember when you couldn’t find a decent taco to save your life? Oh how times have changed. While these are on the more expensive end of the taco spectrum, you can’t deny that the fillings make them unique and totally worth the dosh. First up, we tried the Soft Shell Crab tacos with guacamole, shaved fennel, spicy corn and tomatillo salsa. The generous portion of crab was crisp but meaty, and the accompaniments worked so well with it, both in terms of flavour and texture.

The pork carnitas taco (pictured in the collage above) was served with baby gem lettuce, pickled pineapple and hot adobe sauce. They were spicy, saucy, and pretty much awesome. Remembering this amazing dinner now, I’m filled with regret that I didn’t try the brisket taco with wood roasted bone marrow and chimichurri. But that’s what frequent flyer points are for. Melbourne, I'll be back soon!

newmarket hotel, st kilda

The menu didn’t come close to describing how well presented or well balanced this stunning dish was, simply Grilled Buffalo milk haloumi with spiced melon gazpacho salad. I don’t say this lightly, but this dish is one of the prettiest I think I’ve ever seen, and ranks up there as one of the best things I’ve eaten so far this year! I loved the creamy haloumi with sweet melon and pops of colour and flavour from the cherry tomatoes.

newmarket hotel, st kilda

From the “Low and Slow” category, we ordered the XL St Louis style pork ribs with Mr Wilson’s BBQ sauce and summer slaw. Wow. The meat was fall-apart-tender, as you would hope, and the sauce packed a walloping punch of flavour and heat. The slaw was the perfect accompaniment, a little bit tangy with a nice crunch.

newmarket hotel, st kilda

Dessert was also a tough decision, between the likes of a coffee and tequila flan, or the pina colada baked alaska. In the end, we decided to try the Latin style Chocolate Pot with Bananas and Dulce de Leche, because you can never go wrong with dulce de leche. But even though it was delicious, I only made it a few spoonfuls before I was defeated by the richness of the chocolate.

I love this kind of playful food that mixes influences, presents things just a little differently to how you would expect, and definitely doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s laid back fine-dining at it’s best, in an environment where you feel comfortable picking up a giant rib and getting your hands dirty, but where the food and service are so polished. And it must be working, because the restaurant was full on a drizzly Monday night! Did we leave happy? A resounding yes.

And as a side note, has anyone tried the brisket tacos? Are they are as amazing as they sound?

Newmarket Hotel on Urbanspoon

Newmarket Hotel, 34 Inkerman St, St Kilda (03) 9537 1777

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