Thursday, April 17, 2014
Easter definitely snuck up on me this year! Even though the Easter eggs have been in the shops since just days after Christmas, they are quite easy to ignore until the very last minute. I haven't even had a hot cross bun yet, let alone made any long weekend plans!
This year, I couldn't get my mind off all things robins egg blue and speckled after finding some beautiful truffle-filled eggs. I couldn't take my eyes off this gorgeous cake from The Cake Blog, but of course, I wanted to put my own spin on it, and so the Speckled Ice Cream Bombe was born!
I considered a few different flavour combinations including the delicious fresh mint that has since become a firm favourite, but I decided on a Malt no churn ice cream with a few drops of colouring for that gorgeous teal hue, and finely chopped chocolate 'speckles'. The flavour combination is a classic for a reason, it just works so well. Chocolate and malt is a match made in heaven.
I know I've said it before, but this is seriously the easiest ice cream in the world to make, with no fancy ice cream maker required, no custard to make, and no extra egg whites to deal with. With a generous drizzling of a rich chocolate fudge sauce to finish, no one needs to know that your totally stunning Easter dessert was a total breeze to make (although slightly tricky to photograph!)
I think kids and adults would both love this dessert, and imagine how good it would be as the base of a malty milkshake or scooped on top of pancakes for breakfast on Easter morning. You could make smaller individual ice cream bombes in teacups or ramekins - so cute! I'm making myself hungry, it might be time to indulge in a hot cross bun finally!
Just a quick little not to say I hope you all have a safe and happy Easter, and enjoy some good food and time with your family and friends over the long weekend! xx
Friday, April 11, 2014
Happy Friday! I'm thankful for a great week filled with work, but also some laughs, good food and exciting opportunities. There is the slightest chill in the air and with daylight savings ending, it's starting to feel like autumn is truly setting in. Truth be told, autumn might just be my favourite season in Sydney. Since I generally make these lists of the things I'm loving about once every season, I thought the timing was right for the Autumn edition. Here we go...
• fairy floss clouds • epic french toast at Three Williams • getting ready to launch my new business Lulu & Bee - stay tuned! • beach picnics with champagne at sunset • pickles • facing my fear of dinosaurs • polkadot tights • exciting opportunities • oh, Daisy! • missing Malaysia, especially Penang • cooking dinner with my housemate • strawberry and gin punch • Karen & Shaun's beautiful wedding • and the invitation suite I designed for them • homemade pulled pork sandwiches • finishing my web development course • fabulous new maxi dresses • working with my sister • shooting cocktails at The Rook and The Winery • purple glitter manicure • rewatching Buffy • cuddles • late night flower arranging • Beth's 21st party • a slight chill in the autumn air
This galette straddles the line between summer and autumn, which makes it just perfect for this time of the year. It is the kind of dessert that looks impressive even though it was a breeze to make, shows off seasonal produce and has a stunning combination of flavours.
The thyme may seem like a slightly unusual addition, but I can assure you it is what makes this dessert special. It ties the sweet plums and tart berries together beautifully. With a big scoop of vanilla ice cream (or even ginger ice cream, which I have been making on and off for the past few years) on top, I can't imagine a more perfect dessert for right now. Make it this weekend!
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
I realise that it might be a little bit cruel to be talking about dessert at breakfast time, especially when salted caramel is involved, but I just had to share this recipe with you. I've cooked up some pretty delicious things in recent times but I've gotta say - and this is a big call - this recipe is my new favourite. I'm already looking for another occasion to make it again soon.
It involves beautiful summer fruit (I used peaches but you could try other stone fruit as well), vanilla bean-spiked mascarpone, a homemade oat crumble and a generous amount of salted caramel. It elevates an already beautiful peach to something almost transcendent.
It came about when I was looking for a quick but still impressive dessert to make for a dinner party last weekend. This fit the bill perfectly, and was definitely a crowd pleaser. The flavours just work.
When you get a little of everything on your spoon, it's a party in your mouth between the sweet, creamy, salty and crunchy elements. The oat crumble and caramel sauce can be made well before your guests arrive, and the peaches popped into the oven just before you serve the main course.
As I mentioned earlier, I think it would also be amazing with other stone fruit such as nectarines or plums. It could even work with grilled fruit such as figs, mango or pineapple. Uhh, yum! And in winter a version with pears or apples would be the ultimate comfort food.
You could try a big scoop of ice cream or creme fraiche instead of the mascarpone, and crumbled meringue or praline on top. With room for versatility like that, I think this recipe will become a firm part of my repertoire!
Monday, February 10, 2014
It was only after I'd made, styled and photographed this dessert that I planned to post next week that I realised that it'd actually be a pretty awesome dessert for Valentines Day. Apparently in February I develop an infatuation with doughnuts and raspberries, as last year's post contained accidentally similar flavours!
Let me preface this post by saying I've never been a fan of the rampant commercialism that comes along with VDay. This is also my first one as a single lady in years... But this year I'm actually a little thankful for a little reminder to show and tell my friends how much I love and appreciate them, because it's something we perhaps don't do as often as we should. I know I'm guilty.
I like to show my love for the people in my life with cooking, whether it be making their favourite foods or express posting them a batch of cookies. More than anything I wish I could teleport all of my friends from their various corners of the globe, get them all in a room together, drink some wine, laugh a lot, cook them an incredible meal, and finish with this dessert.
So whether you're spending time with your boyfriend, girlfriend or best friend, I hope you tell them how much they mean to you. And not just on Valentines Day, but often. I urge you to avoid the tacky store-bought flowers and overpriced chocolates. This year, show your love with something homemade instead, whether it be a home-cooked meal, a scrapbook of photos, or if you're crafty, a DIY gift. There's lots of ideas over here!
These churros all but vanished, they were consumed so fast. A few even went missing during the photo shoot. I love this combination of flavours - a barely sweet doughnut cooked to a perfect golden brown, paired with a white chocolate and raspberry ganache, that also includes a healthy splash of Chambord raspberry liqueur. And some sprinkles for good measure, because lets face it - sprinkles are never a bad idea :)
Thursday, January 30, 2014
I used to think of myself as strictly a coffee only girl, but things have definitely changed. I sometimes still have a coffee in the morning or if I'm out with friends, but I'm predominately a tea drinker these days!
I have a problem walking past T2, but an even bigger problem if I end up walking in. This photo only shows part of my collection *blush!* If you've been reading for a while, you'll know that I love tea in all manner of desserts, from earl grey ice cream to chai doughnuts, but I am always intrigued when I see tea used in cocktails.
Last summer I started making iced tea regularly because it was so delicious and refreshing, and I couldn't help but think that some kinds of tea would be awesome with a few shots of booze - because what isn't improved with booze, really? - and served as a pitcher cocktail.
The possibilities are endless of course - a fruity tisane with vodka, lemons and strawberry pieces, or a twist on the mint julep with peppermint tea, bourbon and fresh mint (I can tell you that this is in fact delicious!)
For this month's Thursday Tipples post, I experimented with a vanilla black tea combined with peaches, spiced rum, vodka and a little Cointreau, and it turned out even better than I'd hoped. This drink feels very summery because of the peaches, and I loved the subtle spices that came through from the tea and the rum.
So here's something to do this weekend... Make a big pitcher of tipsy iced tea and drink this with friends at sunset, sitting on the balcony or out in the backyard - perfect! You can thank me on Monday ;)
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
I think I got a bit prematurely excited when I thought that with the cruisy freelance lifestyle I've adopted, that I might actually get to enjoy a Sydney summer for a change. Well, life and work have conspired to be non-stop busy since the new year began and I spent 17 hours yesterday looking at my computer screen. But as I mentioned in my last post, this year is all about gratitude, and I truly am very grateful to be doing what I love, sometimes while still in my pj's. Here are a few other things that are making me smile these days...
• sunset gin & tonics • brainstorming dessert ideas • winning scrabble • T2's sencha quince tea • looking through childhood photos • this view (again) • solo lunches • spontaneous adventures • my plush zombie named benny • hot chocolate fuelled business planning sessions • bri's amazingly honest post about anxiety and insecurity • perfect summer days • my new chevron rug • breakfasts from room 10 • decluttering my closet (and donating a bunch of clothes) • dreaming about visiting palm springs • the best ever homemade mac & cheese • a garden full of hydrangeas • working on exciting, inspiring projects • eating summer fruits every single day!
Speaking of summer and fruit, Australia Day is just around the corner and I've got you covered for dessert. I love the very casual and laid back nature of our national holiday! No matter what your plans are - backyard BBQ or beach picnic - this patriotic pavlova no churn ice cream smash is made in jars, so just twist on the lids to make it perfectly portable. In my opinion, it tastes best when slightly softened and melty.
I layered the ice cream with a mixed berry compote, crumbled meringues (store bought is fine for this) and some fresh passionfruit pulp. The combination was sublime. I loved digging in and finding a juicy blueberry, or a piece of meringue that melted in your mouth. You can also experiment with other fruit in there as well. I think mango curd and kiwi fruit, or strawberry and rhubarb would be absolutely delicious too.
And for all of my readers and friends in Victoria, Canberra and South Australia, hope you're managing to stay cool in those crazy hot temperatures! And if you need a sweet treat to cool down, check out these refreshing recipes.
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
The New Year has got me (and most of you I'd wager) thinking about new starts and resolutions. There is an incredible amount of pressure on us in January to blast all our bad habits, save money and drop the few kilos we all inevitably put on during the silly season. But I prefer thought out, measurable goals to the vagueness of a yearly 'resolution'. Goals are broken down into steps, giving you a clear direction and also a deadline to keep you accountable! I wanted to share a few of mine...
- Read 20 books. I used to read so much. I had a 2 hour commute to college/work every day and would pass the time by reading whatever I could get my hands on. I was averaging about fifty books a year. I miss that tremendous appetite I had for reading, so this year one of my goals is to read 20 books, and in doing so also eliminate the pile of unread books on my bedside table.
- Have an adventure once a week. I've learned that I need little adventures every couple of days in order to function creatively. Stepping away from my computer to discover something new sees me come back refreshed and ultimately always more productive. It can be as simple as a walk to a new beach, a trip to a café I haven't tried before, or getting out of the city entirely.
- Grow the Spicyicecream brand: food blog and graphic design. I have big plans for this space in the next 12 months, but I can't say too much about that yet! I also launched my design company recently, so this year will be about working hard to grow both businesses, and working on as many projects as possible that combine my love of food with my love of design.
- Write and take photos every single day. I really want to push both of these skills in 2014, and the best way is to practice practice practice! This also ties into my overarching goal for the year, which is to Be Grateful so I'm going to try and document the special things that happen every day.
I've had blondies on the brain since I made the Banana Split Blondies a few months ago. Since the original recipe is such a blank canvas, I wondered what other ingredients could be added into them, like Steph's delicious looking rhubarb and ginger version. I decided to try a summery version with fresh berries and white chocolate chips.
I used the exact same recipe as before, but it turned out a little more 'gooey' than 'cakey' this time, even after allowing a little extra baking time. Perhaps because of the fruit juices that are released while baking? They're still very tasty - anything with berries and white chocolate is a winner in my book. Just make sure to cool them completely before trying to cut them up, or they'll fall apart. Adding a little extra flour and baking powder may also help, but you'll have to experiment with that.
Have you set any goals for the year? I'd love to hear yours in the comments!
Monday, December 23, 2013
An Australian Christmas is a magical thing.
There's usually seafood, salads and pavlova topped with lots of summer fruit. With some luck it's warm and sunny, and lunch is usually followed by a dip in the pool... unless you opt for a nap on the couch instead. I really can't imagine Christmas any other way.
If you're looking for a last minute Christmas salad or side dish or even a quick summer dinner, this is it. Ticking all the boxes - seasonal, delicious, pretty on the plate and a little bit unique, this Prawn and Watermelon Panzanella combines some seriously awesome flavours in the one dish. From start to finish, the whole thing took less than 15 minutes and can even be made on the BBQ.
A traditional panzanella is a great way to use in-season tomatoes and day old bread, making it a fantastic summer meal. But I took it a step further, because I love watermelon, feta and mint together. And to make it a little more substantial as a meal, I added some beautiful pan-fried prawns, but you could add grilled chicken or thinly sliced rare beef or lamb instead, or leave out the meat entirely for a yummy vegetarian dish!
I wish all of my readers a wonderful, relaxing Christmas. I hope you enjoy lots of great food and good times with your family and friends. Thank you so much for all of your support this year, and I'm very excited about what 2014 will bring! I'll be back next week sharing some of my favourite posts of the year xx
Thursday, December 19, 2013
I feel like a completely different person since I started working full time freelance. I feel so lucky to be able to do what I love. Of course running my own business is brand new to me and fraught with all kinds of new challenges. I'm learning every single day. But the thing I love the most is setting my own schedule. Taking my laptop to work from anywhere and being able to sneak out for a short break at the beach in the afternoon when the mood strikes on a sunny day (!)
For the first time in a long time I feel like I'm actually getting to enjoy summer. And after a dip at the beach and a walk back up the hill, you need a refreshing sunset drink. Or perhaps you're looking for a Christmas or New Years Eve party starter? This second instalment in my Thursday Tipples series fits the bill perfectly.
I was a sort of late bloomer and only discovered gin last year. This resulted in a summer of gin where I drank quite a lot of G&T's. This year I'm branching out to try gin (my pick is Hendricks, I love it) with some of my favourite flavours like fresh pomegranate and mint. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that this is only the second time I've used my cocktail shaker in the five or so years since I bought it, but I think that will all change over the next few months.
This drink is super refreshing and perfect on a sunny day. Tall, cold, a little bit tart from the pomegranate and lime, a little bit sweet, and looking very Christmassy too. It's easy to make, and definitely adaptable to use your favourite flavours. Enjoy!
What's your favourite summer drink? Tell me in the comments below!
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
CHERRIES! I get super excited this time of year, because yes, Christmas is a little over a week away... but even more awesomely, almost all of my favourite fruits are in season, abundant, and totally delicious. Berries, mangoes, nectarines, peaches, figs (soon) and cherries!
They're one of my favourite fruits and only have a very short season, so I wanted to share 13 amazing looking recipes that I hope you'll try. And if you're in the northern hemisphere and fresh cherries aren't available, most of these recipes work with preserved cherries too. I think some of these would be perfect at your Christmas lunch!
13 Ways with... CherriesOur Kitchen & Cookie and Kate
1. This Cherry, Lime & Whisky Cocktail from Our Kitchen looks very pretty, and sounds perfect for any Christmas party, no matter which hemisphere you're in. Stripy straws a must!
2. I only discovered Rainer cherries recently, and loved their sweeter flavour. I loved Cookie and Kate's lovely twist on the classic cocktail - the Rainier Cherry Mojito. Sounds perfect for a sunset tipple on a hot summer's day.
Picture Credits: How Sweet Eats & Martha Stewart
3. How good do these Roasted Cherry Bourbon Milkshakes with Hot Fudge look! This recipe from How Sweet Eats looks like a very, very special boozy treat. I've also become addicted to this beautiful and new-to-me blog. Check it out!
4. When I was in New York earlier this year, I became addicted to this Cherry Juice that was sold at the Union Square Greenmarket, which was tart and super refreshing. I think Martha Stewart's Sour Cherry Lemonade would be just as delicious. I love that it's served in a large pitcher - perfect for your summer BBQ's.
Picture Credits: Cannelle et Vanille & Spicyicecream
5. Aran from Cannelle et Vanille is a very talented lady who always makes the most delicious looking desserts, and these Cherry, Cinnamon and Vanilla Flan Tarts are no exception! I love that she has mixed different kinds of cherries in the one dessert for colour and flavour.
6. I made these Cherry Poptarts with Vanilla Bean Glaze for my blogger girlfriends a few Christmases ago and they were a massive hit. The best thing is that they're made with a good quality (or even homemade if you're feeling keen) cherry jam, so you can enjoy them all year round.
Picture Credits: What Katie Ate & Lara Ferroni
7. What Katie Ate is one of my favourite blogs without a doubt. I remember seeing this epic Black Forest Gateau (from an episode of Masterchef Australia) soon after I discovered it and was immediately hooked. Luckily it's still picture perfect, even if the recipe had a few problems.
8. Lara Ferroni is the author of a book all about doughnuts (which I own and love), so I would trust her implicitly on all matters concerning fried dough. I love the sound of these simple Ricotta Drop Doughnuts with Fresh Cherry Sauce. Perfect for breakfast or dessert!
Picture Credits: Citrus and Candy & Gourmet Traveller
9. My gorgeous friend Karen from Citrus and Candy does decadent desserts like no other, and clafoutis is a great "lazy but fabulous" option, in her words. So it goes to reason that this Chocolate and Cherry Clafoutis is perfect for the busy Christmas season, when you'd rather spend time by the pool than in a hot kitchen. Perfect.
10. Christmas breakfast is sorted. This alluring stack of Cherry Toast with Vanilla Cream looks like the perfect way to start your Christmas Day. With a few Mimosa's too?
Picture Credits: Call Me Cupcake & The Bojon Gourmet
11. Ice cream on Christmas Day is a bit of a tradition here in Australia, because it usually gets so hot! Dessert is often followed by a dip in the swimming pool. I really love the look of this festive Fudge Ice Cream Cake from Call Me Cupcake, topped with ruby red cherries. Stunning!
12. This Roasted Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream with Bourbon and Chocolate from the Bojon Gourmet looks like a grown up cherry ripe. And that is definitely something I can get behind. If you haven't already checked out this blog, do! It's filled with great recipes and amazing photographs.
13. It was my Mum's birthday over the past weekend and she deliberated long and hard over the kind of cake she wanted. "Cheesecake would be nice... or something with cherries" were her requests, so I set about combining the two in one decadent birthday dessert - Chocolate Cherry Bourbon Cheesecake - that would also be perfect for Christmas.
I think next time I'd swap half the amount of cream cheese for mascarpone or ricotta (or a combination of the two) and use melted chocolate instead of cocoa powder. I was a little rushed for time, used a cake tin that was slightly too small and probably didn't give the cheesecake quite long enough to cool in the oven before transferring it to the fridge, so it sunk a little and developed a few cracks in the top. Oops. Luckily with some strategic photo angles you can't really tell, and it still tasted great. I even got Mum to cut her cake for me while I photographed it! Happy Birthday Mummy! xx
Hope you give these a try, and if you have any other great cherry recipes, please post the link in the comments below!
Monday, October 28, 2013
I'm just going to come right out and say it... I could eat this salad every day.
I'd (almost) turn vegetarian if I could eat this salad every day! I realise that's a pretty big call to make - especially given how I feel about ribs - but it contains some of my favourite things; eggplant, zucchini and feta cheese.
It's colourful, healthy, pretty quick and easy enough to prepare for a midweek meal, and works well as either a vegetarian main course or as a side dish to any almost kind of grilled meat. It tastes great warm or at room temperature so it would be great to take to a picnic. The leftovers make a great lunch the next day. You'll make your colleagues jealous, I promise.
The recipe was the cover star of Jamie Oliver magazine (which I love!) a few months ago. I saw it while walking around Santa Monica, the image just got me and just had to buy it for this recipe alone! Jamie always comes up with the best salad recipes. My favourite part is the grilled feta that gets crispy on the outside and creamy in the middle, but the caramelised pistachios also give it a really great textural contrast.
Here are a few ways you can mix it up, if you're going to eat it every day like me!
- Use your favourite combination of vegetables like grilled mushrooms, capsicum, asparagus, pumpkin, corn etc
- Swap out the cous cous with cooked quinoa for a different texture and extra boost of protein. Especially good if you're a vegetarian!
- For a more substantial dinner, toss in some grilled sliced steak, lamb, chicken or fish
- Try some different herbs in the tabbouleh. I think coriander would be a nice addition too!
- Serve with grilled pita bread or flatbread
- Swap the grilled feta for a slab of grilled haloumi
Friday, October 25, 2013
Florals for spring? It kinda had to be done. In the past I've featured 13 unique ways to use lavender, so I wanted to bring Rose into the spotlight this time. It's such a beautiful ingredient, especially when used with certain other flavours - lychee, berries and champagne to name a few.
I also have a lovely, light and somewhat healthier recipe than you'd usually see around here that would be the perfect sweet ending to an alfresco dinner. I hope you'll get inspired and experiment with a rose flavoured dessert or drink before spring comes to an end!
13 Ways with... Rose
Picture Credits: Donna Hay & Baking Bird
1. A pretty and very girly Rose Petal, Gin and Prosecco Punch from Donna Hay would be a lovely little tipple to serve at a girls night in or a high tea, don't you think?
2. This year I'm all about the G&T and Hendricks gin is one of my favourites (stay tuned for a very special gin cocktail recipe coming up in the next few weeks!). I totally love the sound of this unique Cardamom and Rose Gin & Tonic from Baking Bird. I think the rose would be a totally perfect match for the slightly floral gin. Lovely photos too!
Picture Credits: Gourmet Traveller & Raspberri Cupcakes
3. How's this for a beautiful breakfast! Pikelets are served with Apple & Rose Compote and Crystallised Rose Petals in a very special recipe from Gourmet Traveller. I think the compote would also be lovely with scones or a tea cake.
4. My gorgeous friend Steph from Raspberri Cupcakes has quite a few rose recipes on her blog, but I think these Lychee, Raspberry & Rose Marshmallows are one of the prettiest. The flavour combination is inspired by Pierre Hermé and his famous Ispahan desserts. Trying his creations in Paris is definitely on my Bucket List!
Picture Credits: Spicyicecream & Bossacafez
5. This Pomegranate Baklava with Rose & Mint Syrup is one of the very first times I'd ever used rosewater in my cooking, and started my love affair with it. It pairs just beautifully with pistachio and pomegranate.
6. I love these super cute Lychee & Rose Cupcakes from Bossacafez, which was one of my favourite blogs when I first started out with mine! I've long been a fan of Evan's stunning photography and gorgeous sweet treats.
Picture Credits: Spicyicecream & Bobbies Baking Blog
7. This is one of my favourite doughnut recipes that I've ever made, inspired by a meal that we had in Melbourne. Turkish Delight Doughnuts have a double hit of rose from the piece of Turkish delight in the middle (it turns kind of jammy when they're piping hot) and a rose and honey syrup that is drizzled on top just before serving. This is a really great, easy and impressive recipe.
8. This perfect heart shaped Champagne Rosé Genoise Cake from Bobbies Baking Blog not only has rosé champagne, but also rose water, and is decorated to look as though it's covered in roses!
Picture Credits: Desserts for Breakfast & Food 24
9. Here's a combination I never would have thought up - Rose, Basil and Dark Chocolate Macarons! What an interesting blend of flavours from Desserts for Breakfast. These sweet morsels would make a lovely gift - especially for someone you love.
10. On the much simpler side of the baking spectrum (compared to macarons at least) we have this Turkish Delight Cheesecake from Food 24. I used to hate the chocolate covered Turkish Delight as a kid, but now I can't get enough. This cheesecake looks like a great dessert - perhaps with some fresh strawberries on top as well?
Picture Credits: Good Food & Epicurious
11. Looking for a very special Christmas dessert? Yes it's nearly that time already! These Rosewater & Raspberry Ice with Sparkling Wine from Karen Martini via Good Food are a sophisticated and grown up take on the 'spider' with a festive combination of flavours. Yum!
12. And here's another boozy ice pop, because summer is just around the corner after all! But really who needs an excuse to eat pretty frozen treats like these Prosecco & Rose Petal Pops from Epicurious.
13. Where is all the butter and flour, I hear you asking. But in the spirit of Spring, we're keeping things light and fresh today with a Watermelon, Berry & Rose Salad with Coconut Granita. It's inspired by two desserts, both famous in their own right - Pierre Hermé and his Ispahan and Black Star Bakery and their Strawberry and Watermelon Cake. If you're in Sydney and you haven't tried it yet, get down to Newtown quick smart!
I've combined watermelon, strawberries, raspberries and lychees in a rose syrup, topped with a coconut and rose granita (which was originally going to be a sorbet, but I kind of messed it up and had to improvise).
I really like this fruit salad. It's very pretty, easy to make, and the flavours all work so well. Best of all, it can be made in advance so it's the perfect no-bake, no-stress dessert for a dinner party. For a boozy twist, you could even add a splash of gin or elderflower liqueur to the syrup if you like!