Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Consider this recipe a farewell to this summer's berry season, a final hurrah if you will. I can't believe February (and summer) are almost over already, this year is already flying by! Berries are making way for stone fruit, figs and grapes, and soon we'll be seeing new season autumn fruit like pears and apples. While I can't play favourites with summer fruit (I love it all), blueberries are right up there, and a cobbler is a delicious way to serve them.
Unfussy, perfect for a crowd, with just a few simple accompaniments and a baked top that is half way between an American style biscuit and a cake. I really meant it when I said I'd be happy to only bake these kinds of fruit/pastry desserts for the rest of time!! But of course, this recipe can be adapted to almost any fruit. Nectarines or peaches would be quite lovely here too I think.
This recipe comes courtesy of The Bucket List on Sydney's famous Bondi beach via February's issue of Gourmet Traveller. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to make it! The clam bake story was beautifully photographed and actually made me wish I liked clams... Anyone who knows me, knows about my aversion to oysters, mussels and clams. And as someone who used to dislike all seafood I've come a long way in the last 5 years, but I can't imagine ever enjoying eating an oyster!!
I scaled the recipe back as I only had two punnets of blueberries in the fridge, but kept roughly the same quantity of booze and vanilla. I was intrigued when I saw dark rum in the mixture as I'd never thought to pair it with blueberries, but it was really delicious.
Something else that goes wonderfully with blueberries is lemon, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out the lemon curd ice cream recipe that had been floating around in my head. I truly love that my favourite no churn ice cream can be adapted soooo many different ways, and I'm not sure I'll ever be able to go back to making proper custard based ice cream!
I hope you have all enjoyed the summer as much as I have, and can make the most of the late season fruits in a recipe like this one soon!
Monday, February 18, 2013
The last time I made one of these lists a few months back, I was having an absolutely terrible week and the act of thinking about and writing down the good stuff in life totally helped my mood. This time around I am realising how important it is notice the little things and to be thankful. It's so easy to take this stuff for granted, but the little details are what make life special. It's one of my goals this year to appreciate them more! So here are a few things that I'm loving lately...
• weeknight adventures • yacht club dj's mixtapes • maxi skirts • editing videos • timber chopping boards made by my dad • handwritten lists • playing with the vine app • my new favourite cauliflower salad • polka dot shoes • polka dots in general • vietnamese pho • red lipstick • tea-infused hot chocolate • going for walks • epic salads from room 10 • cardigans • writing in my 365 journal • surprising Stevie with phone calls • the best figs I've ever had!
Eton Mess seems to be the dessert of the summer, popping up on restaurant menus all over Sydney, and I'm definitely not complaining! My favourite is the one at Sweethearts with fresh summer berries, but I think this tasty dessert should not just be reserved for summer fruit! I decided to make a more autumnal version with figs stewed with brown sugar, vanilla and dark rum until jam-like, complete with lashings of salted caramel sauce, mascarpone whipped cream and crumbled meringues. Yes, I promise that it tastes as good as it sounds!
I've used store bought mini meringues to save on time, but if you really wanted (or if figs aren't in season where you are) you could use a good quality fig jam instead of stewing fresh figs. I will say that they were the best part though! The caramelly sweetness from the brown sugar was delicious, and you already knew that rum goes perfectly with figs!
This dessert can be as dressed up or casual as you like. With words like 'mess' and 'smash' being thrown around, it's not meant to look perfect!! Pile everything onto a large platter if serving this dessert at a casual weekend BBQ, or if you're feeling fancy, layer it up in sundae glasses or jars like I have. Preferably one with clear glass so you can see all of those awesome swirled layers!
Monday, January 21, 2013
With Australia Day coming up next weekend, I thought I'd start the celebrations early with a cute new take on an Aussie dessert. Simple and unfussy but beautiful and summery, I think these would be the perfect sweet ending to a long weekend picnic or backyard BBQ!
The Peach Melba was created in the late 1800's at a dinner party to honour singer Australian singer Nellie Melba and has since become a classic dessert. Typically containing peaches, raspberry sauce and vanilla ice cream, I wanted to use these flavours (two of my absolute favourite summer fruits!) in a pretty panna cotta.
I started with a classic vanilla bean panna cotta, the perfect blank slate for any number of other flavours. The top layer is a sunny peach jelly that I again kept quite simple with just a little lime juice and honey to allow the flavour of the peaches to really shine. You may need to add more or less sweetness depending on how ripe your peaches are. On top, just a few raspberries for a slightly tart contrast to the sweet and creamy dessert. When you get a little bit of everything in the one spoonful, it's delicious.
I thought the jars were a nice way to display this pretty dessert, and you can just put on the lids to make them perfectly portable for your picnic. Of course you could also make these in ramekins and turn them out onto a serving plate for a more elegant presentation. If you do this I'd reverse the order of the recipe below so your peach jelly layer is made first and is on the top when unmoulded.
I know I posted a peach recipe last week, but they are just fantastic at the moment and I want to make the most of them while their short season lasts! If you feel the same as I do, check out this post with lots more great ways to use peaches from the archives and also some of my favourite blogs. Hopefully if time permits, I'll be back later in the week with another great Aussie recipe!
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
It's that time of year again. Hard to believe right? Is it just me or has this year flown by faster than ever?! But Christmas is just around the corner and I'm really looking forward to it, for a change. I'll be over in Perth with the boy's family for the first time, hopefully enjoying a proper hot Aussie Christmas! But I have a few neat Christmas recipes to share with you before then...
I was never a fan of heavy, overly boozy trifles made with packet jelly and poor quality custard, but seeing some beautiful and modern spins on this classic Christmas dish in recent years has changed my mind completely. I actually have a whole bunch of other ideas of trifles to make in the near future, so colour me obsessed (and stay tuned, it's gonna be awesome).
I first made this recipe for last year's family Christmas lunch in a massive trifle bowl, and I was surprised that after a huge lunch and with several other dessert choices, it was completely demolished! Quite a few people asked me for the recipe so I knew I would have to make it again this year - but this time I decided to halve the recipe and make individual servings as a practice run for Steve's much smaller family!
There are a few different elements to this dessert, but it comes together more quickly than you'd think. The cranberry and moscato jelly and the vanilla bean custard can be made in advance, and the whole thing can be assembled the day before (or even a few hours before) you plan to serve it. This time around I used a store-bought sponge cake and cherry jam which saved me a lot of time, however homemade would taste even better!
I just love this summery, festive combination of flavours, but feel free to play around with it. Champagne would be a lovely substitute for Moscato in the jelly, any kind of berry jam or even rhubarb would work well, and a hint of passionfruit in the custard would be delicious too. This recipe can also be easily scaled up and served in a large glass bowl to feed a bigger crowd. Stay tuned for more Christmassy recipes coming up soon!
For more Christmas recipes click here
Friday, October 19, 2012
By the time you read this, I'll be on a plane to Malaysia. Wheeee! I'm definitely looking forward to a nice getaway (and my first overseas trip) with the boy, especially after how crazy these last few months have been. When it rains, it pours, right! But don't worry, I have a few great posts lined up for you while I'm gone.
I have a confession to make. I can count the times I've made chocolate mousse on one hand. Actually, it's more like three fingers. Which makes me wonder whyyyy I haven't made it more often. For some reason I always thought it was hard to do (I'm not great with gently folding) and gone and made ice cream instead. But boy have I been missing out.
I've always been intrigued by chocolate and olive oil mousse recipes, wondering how it would affect the texture and taste. As with any recipe, the quality of your ingredients matters so use the best olive oil you've got. I used Lindt Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt, which has now become one of my favourites. The hint of fleur de sel is such a perfect match for dark chocolate.
I decided to pair it with some homemade caramel popcorn that carried through the hint of salt, and also a little glug of bourbon thrown in for good measure, though this is totally optional. I have to say, the result was amazing - and I couldn't believe how easy the mousse was to make.
It was rich and dark, not too sweet, and best served in small glasses. This is definitely one recipe I'll keep in mind for dinner parties and entertaining as it can be made in advance and easily doubled - not to mention the fact that it would be a surefire crowd pleaser!
Lindt Dark chocolate was sent to me as a gift.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
This post is sponsored by Nuffnang
I used to think of myself as a strictly coffee-only kind of girl, but in the last few years that has definitely changed. Green tea in the morning, Earl Grey in the afternoon and Peppermint at night – but one thing that doesn’t change is that I love my tea hot, sweet and super strong. Which is why I was excited to try Twinings’ new blend, Assam Bold, originating from the region of the same name in India’s north-east.
The part that piqued my interest is that this is the strongest Twinings blend ever in Australia. It was nice to take the time to share a cup of tea with my Mum, something that we don’t get to do very often! I really liked the rich, strong, malty, biscuity flavour, and it didn’t have even a hint of bitterness that other black teas sometimes get when you brew them for a strong cup. I had mine with a little sugar, she had a little milk.
Of course I had to make a little tea-inspired dessert to go with it. I made a slight twist on the Caramel Date Tart from Etch, a restaurant which sadly closed its doors recently. I had this for a dessert on my birthday a few years ago and absolutely loved it. I steeped the dates in Assam Bold tea instead of Earl Grey, which meant it was a perfect match, carrying the flavours through wonderfully.
The caramel layer was smooth and creamy, and I was surprised to find that it was actually very easy to make. For afternoon tea I served it plain, but if you were making it for a dessert, a big scoop of ice cream and a little caramel sauce with the tart would be lovely.
I also have one Twinings tea chest to give away for one lucky reader so you can try out Assam Bold for yourself! To enter, leave a comment and tell me what is your favourite sweet treat to eat with a cup of tea. The competition is open until 5pm Friday 19th October, and the winner will be notified by email, so sorry but no anonymous comments will be eligible. For full Terms & Conditions, please click here.
This competition is now closed.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
To conclude my series of spiced up recipes for spicyicecream's 5th birthday, I have a very special recipe for you. I have to say, I wasn't sure this little experiment world work, but happily it did, and has become one of my favourite ice cream flavours to date. The doughnut flavour really carried through well and the ice cream itself was deliciously creamy.
This dessert was inspired by the Stoners Delight at Ms G's that included doughnut ice cream as part of a wacky dessert also featuring the likes of chocolate crackles, marshmallows, pretzels and dulce de leche, as well as bacon, and a fried banana fritter last time I was there. Soooo good!
Cinnamon doughnuts were always my favourite as a kid, especially when they were super fresh and hot from Donut King. These days I don't buy donuts as I prefer to make my own, but I wanted this ice cream to have that same flavour as the doughnuts I remembered. So I infused the cream with a dozen of them! Well, a dozen minus the one that ended up in my tummy.
The other great thing about this recipe is that you don't need an ice cream maker, you don't need to make a custard and you won't end up with a heap of leftover egg whites. There are only 4 ingredients and hardly any active time, most of it is taken up waiting while the cream infuses and while the ice cream freezes.
If you missed any of the other recipes in the spicy series, here they are!
• Spiced Mulled Cider
• Chai Spiced Rolls with Cinnamon Glaze
• Sticky Ginger Spice Cake
• Spicy Chocolate Doughnuts
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
I'm smiling as I write this post, thinking about what a great time I had in Perth over the Easter long weekend. The weather was just stunning, the mood was relaxed (yay holidays!) and I got to hang out with my very favourite person. It doesn't get much better than that. On Easter Sunday we hosted a nice casual lunch with the best roast pork I've made to date (mmmm crackling), heaps of sides and this Salted Caramel Cheesecake for dessert.
Yes I'm sharing this recipe a little after the fact, but it was so delicious I couldn't let it sit another week on my hard drive. I had been wanting to make this Salted Caramel Cheesecake ever since it graced the cover of the 2011 Entertaining Issue of Donna Hay.
I have a love/hate relationship with Donna's recipes these days, sometimes they work flawlessly - like this one, happily - but I've also had my fair share of utter disasters where I can't figure out if I did something wrong, or if the recipe wasn't properly tested before it was published. Those disasters often end up in the bin and not on the blog! So past frustrations aside, I gave this recipe a crack, sticking to the instructions exactly. Well, almost exactly... I couldn’t help adding a glug of bourbon to the caramel sauce.
I am usually a bit iffy about ricotta as a general rule, but I loved the texture of this cheesecake. It was rich but not sickly sweet thanks to the addition of sour cream to the topping. This is definitely a recipe I’ll be pulling out again for the next special occasion!
And here’s a gif, just because.
Saturday, March 31, 2012
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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
• 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
• 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.
Monday, February 27, 2012
I would be in a world of trouble if someone asked me to name my favourite fruit. Could I do a top 10 perhaps? Don't tell the peaches and the strawberries but figs are right up there. I look forward to fig season every year, and I love that they go so well in both sweet and savoury recipes. So this month I thought I would share 13 interesting ways to use figs while their short season lasts!
Picture Credits: The Kitchn & The Party Dress
1. The Old Fashioned has made a comeback in recent times, thanks in part to shows like Mad Men. I love the sound of this version with figs from The Kitchn. It looks like the perfect drink for autumn!
2. This fancy Fizzy Fig Cocktail from The Party Dress is about as festive as you can get, not to mention that it's absolutely beautiful! Plus I lovelovelove the idea of homemade flavoured sugar cubes. Imagine all the flavour possibilities! Plus they would make lovely little gifts for your foodie friends.
Picture Credits: Eat Boutique & Donna Hay
3. I've recently been interested in infusing my own vodka but ive been a little intimidated by the whole process. This Fig and Vanilla Vodka from Eat Boutique shows how easy peasy it can be. And just think of all the delicious ways you could use your fig-infused vodka! Mmmm...
4. An oldie but a goodie, I remember when I first saw the recipe for this Fig Martini in Donna Hay magazine and thought it sounded so grown up and sophisticated. I’m looking forward to impressing the girls with this one at our next lunch.
5. This list wouldn’t be complete without some kind of boozed up iced treat, and thse Fig and Port Popsicles from Bakers Royale are just beautiful. That colour is so striking and I bet they would taste absolutely delicious!
6. Another classy and stylish dessert is this Coconut Panna Cotta with Fig Syrup from Inspring the Everyday (a blog that I discovered recently but have fallen in love with!) that would be perfect for your next dinner party! I love the sound of a dairy-free coconut panna cotta for delicious twist on such a classic dessert.
7. Tartelette does it again with a gorgeous French dessert, Gateau au Riz, or a baked rice pudding studded with figs. It looks absolutely delicious, and this is definitely a recipe I want to try very soon.
8. One of the easiest and most delicious things you could do with figs is a Galette. No fiddly pie crusts here! This Honeyed Ricotta, Fig and Lavender Galette from my archives was a favourite last summer, and one that I'll definitely be making again soon! You could even add some prosciutto and a few sprigs of thyme for a savoury lunchtime version.
9. As I mentioned before, figs are delicious in both sweet and savoury recipes, and this Sausage Goats Cheese Pizza with fresh figs from Cilantropist looks completely delicious!
10. I love this adaptable recipe for 'Whatever' Upside Down Cake from Gourmet Traveller. Their version uses figs (and looks amazing!) but you could use almost any fruit that is in season, making it a great one to add to your repertoire.
11. I can’t believe that I never thought of this before, since the flavours go so beautifully together, but this Fig Balsamic Jam from Burnt Carrots sounds absolutely delicious! I can imagine how awesome it would be as part of a cheese platter, or even just spread on hot toast for breakfast. This recipe is definitely going on my long list of things to make!
12. I always get excited when Aran from Cannelle et Vanille updates her blog, because her writing and photos are stunning. This post actually has two delicious recipes - Fig Hazelnut Financiers, which look delicious and this stunning Fig and Champagne Sabayon. Isn’t it just beautiful!
13. One of my favourite combinations in the world is fig and ginger (well, if we’re being honest – almost anything and ginger!) so when trying to come up with a great recipe with figs, of course it was this that I thought of! And what a great recipe it is! Creamy, rich, caramelly, gingery, boozy, it ticks all the boxes and is a perfect match for the caramelised figs. It’s the perfect dessert for this time of year, straddling the line between summer and autumn.
Rum and Ginger Flan with Caramelised Figs
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller
• 90g caster sugar
• 65ml water
• 2 tablespoons rum
• 1 cup milk
• 160g caster sugar
• 1 thumb size knob of ginger, peeled and sliced
• 6 egg yolks
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• To serve, 4 figs, brown sugar
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Combine 90g caster sugar and 65ml water in a saucepan and stir over medium heat to dissolve sugar. Bring to the boil, and cook until sugar turns deep caramel in colour. Add rum, stir to combine (being careful as mixture may spit). Pour caramel evenly between 4 ovenproof ramekins.
Meanwhile, bring milk, remaining caster sugar and ginger to the boil in a separate saucepan, for 5 minutes or to reduce mixture slightly. Remove from the heat and cover, allowing to infuse for at least 30 minutes. Whisk egg yolks, egg and vanilla in a heatproof bowl. Strain milk mixture over (discard ginger) and whisk to combine. Pour evenly between caramel filled ramekins. Place them in a roasting pan, fill with boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins and bake until set (30-40 minutes depending on the size of your ramekins) Remove from pan, cool, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until cool.
To serve, cut figs in half and dip cut sides into brown sugar. Preheat a fry pan or BBQ plate, and place figs cut side down. Cook until caramelised. Serve flans in the ramekins, or dip bases into a pan of hot water and invert onto plates. Serve with caramelised figs.