Fathers Day Chocolate Guinness Cake with Bourbon Caramel Frosting

3 Sep

My Dad used to play basketball before we were born. We have pictures of him on the basketball court, in his tiny basketball shorts circa 1975. My Dad is also an absolute wind up merchant and stirrer. When we were kids Dad had the usual stories about walking 10 miles in the snow every day to school, a distance that seemed to increase by a mile every time he told the story, but he also had some special stories. One of his favourites was the story about when he used to play for the Boston Celtics. My brother loved the story about how Dad used to shoot hoops with Larry Bird. In a child’s head the details of the story were unimportant. In fact it seemed completely plausible after all we knew he played basketball we had seen the photos. Mum used to tell us how he was called ‘legs 11’ because that was his number and he used to live in another country. As far as we were concerned he was the font of basketball knowledge and a sporting genius.

One day we were playing at Rachel’s house and my brother proudly told her father how his Dad used to play for the Boston Celtics. Rachel’s father scoffed let out a chuckle and told my brother he didn’t think that was true. The amused expression on his face told me that clearly there was some adult knowledge here I wasn’t privy too and so instead of supporting my brothers proud boast, I kept quiet. My brother being younger and less perceptive insisted it was true and that Dad had played with Larry Bird. This claim was met with absolute laughter and by then I started hissing at my brother to stop talking. Once again his lack of perception intervened in his reasoning abilities and he continued to argue passionately with Rachel’s father, retorting the ultimate in all argument clinchers ‘he did too!’

This Father’s Day I tried to combine my Dad’s favourite flavours into one special cake to celebrate a man who could tell his children absolute whoppers straight faced and unflinchingly 🙂 The cake recipe I used suggests using a bundt pan, I however opted for a two layered cake. I paired it with the caramel bourbon frosting which was extremely yummy, even for someone like me who isn’t a great fan of caramel. The Bourbon cuts right through any sickly sweetness and makes the cake decidedly grown up. If you are concerned that the cake will taste like Guinness, don’t be. It simply adds depth and character.

Did your father tell you outlandish stories about his past lives?

Chocolate Guinness Cake with Bourbon Caramel Frosting

Adapted from  Smitten Kitchen and Creative Culinary

Serves 8 – 10

Cake

  • 1 cup of Guinness
  • 250 gms of unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup of cocoa powder
  • 2 cups of Plain Flour
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • ½ tsp if bi carb of soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup of sour cream
  • Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius

2. Grease 2 20cm cake tins with butter and line the bases

3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powders and salt in a large bowl and put aside

4. Place butter and guiness in a pan and allow the butter to melt, then add cocoa powder and whisk to combine

5. Allow the chocolate mix to cool

6. Beat eggs and sour cream together and then slowly add the slightly cooled chocolate Guinness mixture. Add the flour mixture and continue to beat until combined

7. Pour half the batter into each tin and then bake in the oven for 20 – 25 mins or until skewer comes out clean and the top of the cake is springy to the touch

9. Allow cake to cool completely before icing

Caramel Bourbon Frosting

  • 1 cup of caster sugar
  • 2 cups of icing sugar
  • ¼ cup of water
  • 8 tbsp of butter
  • ½ cup of cream
  • 1-2 tbsp of milk
  • 3 tbsp of bourbon
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract

1. Whisk the bourbon into the cream and set aside

2. Combine the caster sugar and water in a saucepan and place of medium heat. Bring to the boil shaking the pan occasionally, I find it better that you don’t stir or whisk it.

3. Once the mixture turns a caramel amber colour and then take of the heat.

4. Add 6 tbsp of butter. Be careful the butter will cause the mixture to bubble and froth. Whisk in the butter until it is melted.

5. Once the butter has melted, slowly pour the cream mixture into the caramel mixture. Once again the mixture will bubble considerably. Place the mixture on a low heat again and then mix until completely combined.

6. Put caramel in a fridge until it is cool and firmer

7. Once the caramel is cooled cream together the 2 tbsp of butter and caramel.

8. Add the icing sugar one cup at a time, alternating with 1 tbsp of milk and continue to beat until smooth.

9. Place the frosting in the fridge until it is firm enough to easily spread on the cake.

10. Place one of the cakes domed side down on the serving plate. Top with some of the frosting and then sandwich the other cake on top. Use more of the frosting to spread on the tops and the sides of the cake.

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Newly Discovered Talents and Garlic and Parsely Hearthbreads

23 Aug

Anyone who has made bread will know that it requires a great deal of wrist action in the kneading process. I have been told I have excellent kneading technique. While I was of course completely flattered to be told that my kneading technique was superior, by a professional no less, it is rather disappointing to know that one of my few easily identified talents is unlikely to be much use to me in my chosen field of employment. I suppose at least I always have options if the law isn’t for me! 😉

Bolstered by the previously mentioned flattery and the fact that humiliation is a well known companion, I decided that I was going to overcome my fear of making bread. When I find myself in times of baking self doubt Nigella Lawson comes to me, bearing wisdom throughout her cook book ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’. Safe in the hands of my trusted brunette sister I embarked upon the recipe for her Garlic and Parsley hearthbreads, the recipe did not fail and I was able to produce two lovely loaves of gorgeous garlic and oil doused bread.

I can assure you if you are in anyway apprehensive about the baking of bread, this recipe will not disappoint. It is the most luxurious of garlic breads and can be scoffed while standing over the baking tray just freshly out of the oven, so even if it is not a complete success no one will be the wiser!

Who do you turn to for baking wisdom?

Garlic and Parsley Hearthbreads

Recipe by Nigella Lawson

Serves 6-8

  • 500 gms of white flour
  • 7 gms of instant yeast
  • 1 tbsp of table salt
  • 300-400 mls of warm water
  • 5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (you can use regular olive oil).

Garlic and Parsley Oil

  • 3 Heads of garlic
  • Large handful of parsley
  • More extra virgin olive oil.

1. Combine the flour, yeast and table salt in a bowl and put aside.

2. In a jug or bowl place the warm water and olive oil.

3. Using a dough hook on the slowest speed add the water into the dry ingredients and mix until the dough is slightly sticky but combined and forming a ball.

4. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. You should see real bounce back when you stretch the dough. You can do this part with the dough hook at a higher speed but I wanted to utilise my new found talent!

5. Oil a large bowl and place the kneaded dough into the bowl covering with oiled glad wrap. Place in a warm spot to rise for approximately an hour or until you can tell it has doubled in size.

6. Once risen, take the dough out of the bowl and punch it down using your knuckles to release any air.  Leave it to rest for a further 10 minutes. Divide the dough into two and roll the dough out until about 5 cms thick. Put each loaf on a lined baking tray and then try to stretch the dough a little further using your fingers.

7. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

8. Cover the trays with tea towels and put aside to allow to get puffy, this takes about 20 – 30 minutes. Use your fingers to make little dimples across the bread, the oil, garlic and parsley will pool in these little dimples.

9. Pour the garlic parsley mixture over the breads and place in the oven. Bake for 20 – 30 mins or until golden and the parsley mix is dark. Top with some Maldon salt and serve.

Garlic and Parsley Oil

1. Trim the garlic head and place on a small square of alfoil. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap the garlic in the foil and then wrap the package in another layers making sure to allow space around the garlic. Place in a preheated oven on 190 degrees and bake for 45 mins.

2. Place a good handful of parsley leaves into a food processor along with the garlic that has been squeezed from its skin and add olive oil while processing the parsley. The oil dressing should be runny and easy to pour. So just keep adding oil until you get the right consistency.

Sunshine on a Plate: Orange, Almond and Honey Syrup Cake

15 Aug

Sunshine is something occurring in a patchy fashion in Sydney at the moment and even when it does occur, the weather is still so cold that you require a few layers to brave it. Despite my love for accessorising with hats and scarves, I find the whole experience of winter depressing. Citrus reminds me of sunshine and warmth and although I tend towards lemons, my favourite of all citrus I decided to make a cake with orange. The cake was very buttery, moist and slightly aromatic.

I stumbled upon a Lemon and Honey Syrup cake recipe in the BBC Good Food Magazine Australia and flagged it for later baking. That was months ago. I played with the original recipe slightly because I wanted a denser cake redolent with spices.  With juice and rind added, the cake was filled with orange flavour and just a hint or aromatics. When you pierce the cake to see if it’s cooked you may be concerned because the skewer will have a small amount of sticky batter on it, not much, but this cake won’t pass the clean skewer test. In addition the cake seemed to have quite a few small bubbles or popped bubbles at the top. Once again this is not at all an issue given that it the cake will later have syrup poured on it. This cake keeps extremely well in a tin. 4 days later it was still moist and sticky

The cake was too good!

The first night Miss Wallflower and I had 2 warm slices of cake after dinner, it was so moreish. The following day we also had two slices although spread out during the day so as not to appear gluttonous, we are ladies with bird like appetites after all 😉 The copious cake consumption accounts for the lack of cake left in this photo.we had really hoed in and I was lucky to get a photo at all!

Are you controlled when there is cake in the house?

 Orange, Almond and Honey Syrup Cake

Serves 8

Adapted from Australian BBC Good Food Magazine August 2011

  • 1 1/2 cups of plain flour
  • 1/2 cup of almond meal
  • 1 1/2 cup of caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp of baking powder
  • 2 tbsp of grated orange rind
  • 1/2 tbsp of Orange Juice
  • 1 cup of greek style natural yoghurt
  • 250 gms of unsalted butter, chopped small and very soft
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 heaped tsp of ground cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg

Syrup

  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1 tbsp Grated orange rind
  • 1 tbsp of orange juice.

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and grease and line a loose bottomed round cake tin

2. Sift flours into a large bowl and add sugar, baking powder, spices and orange rind

3. In a seperate bowls stir together the eggs and yoghurt

4. Add the butter and 1/2 tbsp of orange juice to the flours and stir with a large spoon until starting to combine then add the egg and yoghurt mixture. Mix until well combined. There may still be some slightly unmixed portions of butter. As long as they are small and infrequent don’t worry about them.

5. Pour batter into a tin and bake for 50 mins to 1 hour or until set and the top of the cake is firm to the touch.

6. Take the cake out of the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 20 mins. While still warm but cool enough to touch the pan remove the cake  from the pan leaving the base of the pan on the bottom of the cake. Place the cake on a cooling rack.

7. You can now make the syrup

8. Heat 1/2 cup of honey with juice and rind in a pot until starting to thicken.

9. Skewer the cake all over and then pour over the syrup slowly while both the syrup and the cake are still warm.

10. Serve cake warm or cold.

A Slice of Dense Citrus heaven

Food Unity: Pork and Black Bean Mexican Burgers

6 Aug

Why go out for a burger when you can have a steak at home goes the old saying. Why? because sometimes nothing satisfies quite like a burger . Now I know what the saying was referring to and I am not suggesting that you start referring to your beloved as a burger, thought quite frankly I am not enamoured by being called steak either, actually lets just stay away from comparing anyone to meat products entirely so as to avoid any unsavoury punning 😉

While staring out my window at work, so as to avoid having the look at the confusing piece of legislation in front of me again, I got to thinking about what I wanted to make on the weekend. What did I feel like I pondered and I was torn between an overwhelming desire for both Mexican and burgers. In a moment of transnational food unity I decided to make a Mexican inspired beef pattie to be paired with toppings and crusty bread to make a Mexican style burger. Aye Carumba!

The patties are a little delicate, although they do keep their shape while being cooked, but I highly recommend placing them in the fridge for an hour before cooking to allow them to firm up. The Mexican seasoning is not overwhelming or hot, but gives a hint of smoky spiciness that distinguishes this burger from other more traditional burgers. Paired with whatever toppings take your fancy, cheese and guacamole being mandatory, this feels like a seeing an old lover with new eyes.

Do you prefer steak or burgers?

 

 

Pork and Black Bean Burgers

Recipe by the Legal Tart

serves 6

  • 500 gms of Pork mince
  • 1 red onion chopped finely
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 1 chilli chopped finely
  • 1 can of black beans thoroughly trained and crushed lightly with a fork
  • 2 tbsp of taco seasoning
  • 1 tbsp of chipotle tabasco
  • 1 Egg beaten lightly
  • 1 Tbsp of tomato paste
  • Salt and Pepper

 

1. Fry off the onions, chilli and garlic until the onion is soft then add the taco seasoning and stir to coat the onion mixture. Cook for approximately 2 mins. Put aside to cool

2. Add the slightly crushed black beans to the mince then add the beaten egg and the tabasco.

3. Add the onion mixture and mix with your hands until the mixture feels well combined and is starting to stick together. Season with salt and Pepper

4. Make the mixture into patties and place on a tray in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

5. Place any patties you know you don’t need to cook immediately wrapped and in a container in the freezer or fridge.

6. Cook the remaining patties for several minutes on each side remembering to turn the patties gently to avoid any risk of them breaking up.

7. Serve in a crusty bread roll with guacamole sour cream, cheese and lettuce.

 

 

Irish Soda Bread Rolls

3 Aug

In Food technology (home economics) class I distinctly remember making beer bread. Beer acted as the yeast component so the bread was easy to make. I am not sure if you can have beer in a food technology class anymore given it probably violates some education department rule, but I doubt the teachers worried about us girls secreting the beer away for later consumption given that we thought beer was for boys.

When I took the formerly sticky dough out of the oven I was delighted to find I had successfully created bread and immediately christened myself a girl genius.I insisted Mutti allow me to make some bread at home for Dad. I was sure that he would enjoy another vehicle for the consumption of beer. My memory is he wasn’t that fussed, probably preferring his beer liquid and with a foam head.

My bread skills have not improved much and although I no longer make beer bread I do on occasion make Irish soda bread. I had a hankering for some baking, but Miss Wallflower had declared cake baking verboten and so I decided I would make some soda bread instead. I usually make one large loaf, but saw this recipe for soda bread rolls and thought this may be a nice change.The only change I made to the original recipe was to use half wholemeal, half white flour. But you can of course use all white or all wholemeal. The consistency is like a cross between a savoury scone and a damper. The bread doesn’t keep that well, it is best on the day baked or the next day. But it sure fills you up and is lovely warm, with slatherings of butter

Warm Rolls

Do You bake bread?

Irish Soda Bread

Adapted from a recipe by Angela Nahas from BBC Good Food Magazine July 2012 edition

  • 1.5 cups of plain flour
  • 1.5 cups of wholemeal plain flour
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp of bicarb soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk

1.  Pre heat oven to 210 degrees

2. Line  a flat baking tray

3. Put flours, cream of tartar, bicarb and salt in a large bowl

4. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk

5. Mix together. I find this easiest to do with my hands.

6. Once combined turn on to a floured surface and knead lightly for a few minutes. Remember you are not trying to activate gluten so it does not require extensive kneading.

7. Break the dough off into 6 balls and using your hands make into rough balls.

8. Place on a baking tray and bake for 15 to 20 mins. The bread should sound hollow when knocked top or bottom.

Reworking an Italian Classic: Pumpkin, Spinach and Goats Cheese Cannelloni

28 Jul

I had a cooking mistress in a class one day lament the acts of terrorism being committed against Italian cooking. Don’t worry no one is hijacking Cannoli for nefarious purposes or dropping gnocchi like missiles from planes, though quite like the idea of gnocchi dropping from the sky 🙂 What she meant was that much Italian food had become reinterpreted and short-cutted to such a point that the craft of the food was undermined. I totally put my hand up for committing some horrible acts and the following recipe is likely to be one of these.

While I like cheese sauce on many things, sometimes I feel that it can overcome the otherwise fresh flavours of foods and those cannelloni dishes I was served as a child in Italian restaurants were often so loaded with cheese sauce they could have filled the cannelloni with anything and you wouldn’t have been able to tell. For this reason I have tried to make a lighter version that is packed with lots of flavour but is also satisfying. I can not emphasise enough how roasting the pumpkin increases the flavour. Boiling it simply isn’t the same, and I quite like anything I can bung in an oven a leave for 30 mins while I get on with a glass of wine and a book, I call it time management. The red onions become sweet from being roasted and the goats cheese adds enough creaminess that you don’t feel that you need a béchamel sauce to cover it. Best of all you are getting a good dose of your vegetable needs in one dish!

Do you sometimes commit crimes against Italian food?

Pumpkin, Spinach and Goats cheese Cannelloni

A Legal Tart recipe

Serves 10-12

  • 1 butternut pumpkin chopped into chunks
  • 1 red onion cut into segments
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 100 gms goats cheese
  • 300 grams of chopped spinach(frozen) defrosted and squeezed of water
  • 100 gms of pinenuts toasted
  • 1 Egg
  • 250 gms Onion and Garlic Pasta sauce
  • Grated mozzarella

1. Roast the pumpkin with the red onion and some olive oil until soft and burnished. Cool the pumpkin. Squeeze the garlic out of its skin

2. Mash the pumpkin and garlic until slightly smooshed but with some texture. Then add the spinach, goats cheese pinenuts, egg and onion and combine with a fork. Add salt and pepper to taste

3. Spoon pumpkin mixture into the cannelloni sheets and roll then place in the baking tray. Repeat until all the cannelloni sheets are used.

4. Top with tomato pasta sauce and as much grated mozzarella as you prefer. I used about 2 handfuls.

5. Bake until skewer detects a tender pasta sheet and the cheese is golden and melted, about 30 mins.

*I did have some mixture left over. I used this in wonton wrappers to make ravioli. You can freeze the cooked cannelloni.

Peppers Craigieburn Bowral and Monfort’s Dining Room

23 Jul

I have discovered as I have got older, that I am not very good at doing nothing. Well I am great at doing nothing  as long as I am at work, but if I am at home I can’t just do nothing for extended periods of time and because work and uni can suck up a lot of my time I have a tendency to utilise every bit of free time to do things like housework, run errands and have the occassional drinkies, just the one of course! For this reason when a small window between trials finishing and uni starting again presented itself, I decided to pursue a little mini break. I settled on two days off work to go somewhere where I could not succumb to obligatory cleaning or ironing. So I picked my destination, Bowral and packed my bags.

Entry to the main house

I checked into Peppers Craigieburn and got my keys excited to see my room. I was a little disappointed because in my fantasy night away I was going to spend a good long time soaking in a bath with a glass of wine and a magazine, this room had no bath. So I returned to reception explained my dilemma to the lovely Nicole and she found me another room at a small additional cost. The new room was larger with a queen sized bed and a balcony.

Beautiful Sunset

The bed linen was thick and there was plenty of extra bedding if you happen to be someone who feels the cold like I do.

The bathroom boasted a bath and shower. The bath was neither long nor deep but it served the purpose I needed it for and I appreciated the roomy shower which is a change from some of the showers I have had at hotels in the past. There were Peppers branded toiletries and vanity kits and plenty of towels.

After a visit to the endota day spa on site, which left me feeling all floppy and relaxed and a long soak in my tub, I got ready for dinner at Monfort’s Dining Room which is located in the guesthouse through the lounge. The lounge deserves a special mention with its open fireplaces and big comfy sofas, but I didn’t have time to sit and enjoy as I had a much needed meal coming.

Monfort’s did have a Christmas in July special which involved 3 courses and a glass of house wine for $75.00 but I chose items on their standard menu.

Salty and Buttery

I had the dukkah crusted poached eggs with brioche fingers to start. The yolks were perfectly soft and runny and the dukkah added a lovely saltiness and contrast in texture. The brioche fingers were small but exactly the right amount for the eggs, given they were rich and buttery.

I followed my entrée with the slow roasted pork cheek in an apple cider reduction accompanied by pickled vegetables. The pork was divine, it simply melted in the mouth and was luscious and full of flavour. If you are not a pork lover you may find the taste of this pork cheek is too strong and while I can not claim that pork is my favourite meat, this was so unctuous and tender that I was in heaven. I was advised the pork is cooked for 12 hours. 6 hours at an extremely low heat and a further 6 hours at a higher heat. The reduction coated the pork and added a lovely sharpness and stickiness.

Slow cooked Pork Cheek

The vegetables were apparently pickled but I could not detect a strong pickled flavour. They were a good crunchy accompaniment to the pork. The only complaint I would have is that they were so firm that cutting them with a normal knife was difficult and I was concerned that another diner would end up with one in their lap due to it flying of the plate as I tried to saw through it.

While I don’t always go for dessert I thought in the name of a complete review I would on this occasion. I am so self sacrificing 😉

Gourmet Doughnuts!

I had the apple and ricotta fritters. They arrived hot and aromatic with cinnamon and sugar. They were accompanied by a raspberry coulis and a cider jelly. I have to say the dipping sauce and jelly left me perplexed as I didn’t think that the three textures and flavours integrated that well. The fritters however were light, crispy on the outside and with a distinctive apple flavour that combined with the cinnamon reminded me of strudel.

I would definitely go again but in the interim must heed the sirens call of ironing…..

Being led up the garden path

Peppers Craigieburn

Centennial Road, Bowral

Endota Day Spa

Monforts Dining Room

Food Fixations: Anglo-Asian Prawn Noodle Stir fry

16 Jul

Sometimes I get absolutely fixated on a particular food group. Usually it is chocolate or chocolate related but this time it was noodles. I simply had to have them, nothing else would do. I wandered through the grocery store, clutching a packet of noodles, wild eyed and wondering what meal I could create that would be almost instant, so as to quell the urge for noodles.

I need to start this post by saying that I have no skills when it comes to Asian cooking. I lack the patience for all the chopping and I know very little about the techniques involved. I say all of this because despite the Asian inspiration of this dish it is very much a anglo version of an otherwise Asian noodle stirfry, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t tasty

I will say that this stirfry did leave an enviable aroma in the house, I absolutely love the combination of garlic, chilli and ginger and this dish gave me my noodle fix. If you are looking for a quick noodle dish with minimal chopping and a light fresh flavour, this could be for you. I can’t promise you will transported to an exotic Asian destination while you eat it, but you will feel immense relief at satisfying your food fixation.

Do you get fixated on certain foods?

Anglo Asian Prawn and Noodle Stirfry

Serves 2

  • 200gms of rice noodles
  • 1 chilli finely sliced
  • 2 cm length of ginger peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 150 gms of green prawns peeled
  • 1 carrot finely chopped into battons
  • Small bunch of  brocollini chopped into 3 pieces
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 2 tsp of brown sugar

 

1.Cover the rice noodles with boiling water and leave to steep

2. Combine the sauces, lime juice and brown sugar in a bowl and set aside.

3. Steam brocollini for 5 mins or until starting to become tender.

4. Put some oil in a wok and heat until very hot and then throw in your carrots garlic, ginger and chilli, fry off for a few minutes.

5. Add the prawns and fry for a few minutes until starting to turn pink.

6. Add the sauce mixture and turn down the heat.

7. Drain the rice noodles reserving a ½ cup of the steeping liquid then add noodles to the wok along with the broccollini and toss to combine. Add some of the water if it looks dry.

 

 

Living Dolls and Red Velvet Cream Cheese Brownies

10 Jul

I don’t know if anyone else remembers a doll that came out years and years ago that reveled its gender only after purchase, kind of imitating the real life gender surprise at birth. I recall when I was small that they sat on the shelves beckoning me every time I went into a department store and I begged Mutti for one. I had never had anything but girl dolls before but I desperately wanted one of these dolls, it came with a dissolvable package that revealed the birth certificate and gender of your baby. I of course was adamant that despite the dolls androgynous features I could pick the girl dolls and I remember Mutti trying to reason with me that I may get a boy doll and I couldn’t give it back. After some careful consideration…..maybe a whole day of thought….. I decided I could indeed cope if I got a boy doll, although I was still sure I would get a little girl. Some time later mum let me pick a doll, I got it home dissolved the little package and it revealed I had a bouncing baby boy! I was horrified 😦 I refused to pick him up or play with him at first and I think I might even have cried.  I came to love him, I named him after an uncle, but I never felt the same fondness.

Aren’t they pretty!

 

A new little girl was introduced into the world a couple of weeks ago and I am completely ecstatic. I won’t lie, I basically jumped around after I heard the news and told people I had a living doll to dress, before promptly going out and buying clothes for her. I love the little men that my friends have so kindly brought into the world so I can practice my car sounds and force cuddles on them, but there is just something so exciting about a little girl. Little girls open a whole new world of sugar and spice and all things nice 🙂

In honour of the new little princess I made a slice which I thought was appropriately girlie and completely delicious. I also figured it would give poor mum some sweet treats to keep up her energy or bribe her toddler (or husband) with.

They are no greater work than a usual brownie. The only amendment I made to the original recipe was to make a double batch and use a different shade of food colouring. They are by far the most moist and moreish brownie I have ever made and they didn’t last long.

Red Velvet and Cream Cheese Brownie

adapted (only slightly) from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

 

  • 1 cup of butter
  • 110 gms of dark chocolate
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp of rose pink colouring
  • 1 1/2 cup of plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp of salt

Cream Cheese Topping

  • 450 gms of cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large egg
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract

1. Pre heat oven to 180 degrees

2. Grease an aluminium roasting tray, line if you are using a non disposable baking tray

3. Microwave the butter and chocolate in a bowl until melted and combined

4. In a seperate bowl whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and pink food colouring.

Prior to adding chocolate the mixture is bright pink

5. Add the chocolate and butter mixture to the egg mixture and stir to combine

6. Add flour and salt and stir to combine completely

7. Pour into baking dish. Bang the dish a couple of time on the bench top to release any bubbles

8. Beat together the ingredients for the topping until smooth and then layer on top of the brownie and using a knife swirl the topping in with the brownie mixture.

9. Bake for 40 mins or until sides are slightly crisp but centre is just set. Leave to completely cool before cutting

 

White Rabbit Gallery Chippendale and dumplings

3 Jul

I caught up with a friend of mine and her son on Sunday. After a trip to see the Colosseum built out of Lego at Sydney University we took a trip to White Rabbit Gallery in Chippendale for some tea and dumplings. White Rabbit is actually and art gallery showcasing contemporary art by Asian artists. It has some interesting installations and free admission. But primarily I went because someone mentioned the word dumplings and that is enough to seduce me in to going anywhere.

The eating space is to the left as you enter and is nice and open with birdcages hanging from the ceiling and plenty of light. I doubt that the White Rabbit would claim to be a dumpling powerhouse but they have managed to provide a range of teas and 2 choices of dumplings as well as savoury and sweet tasting plates.

Tea $4.50 a pot

We ordered 2 pots of tea. I had a Rose Oolong which had a prominent rose aroma but a slightly spicy taste and was very drinkable, plus extremely pretty with its small rosebuds floating in the teapot. Miss Fine Arts had a Chrysanthemum tea. We also ordered some chive and egg dumplings as well as a sweet tasting plate for the little man. There are 8 dumplings a serve. They are handmade, steamed and served with both a soy sauce and a chilli dipping sauce. The dumplings were tasty and the skin was a nice consistency with the right amount of filling.

Egg and Chive Dumplings $9.50

The tasting plate consisted of mainly dried fruits and 2 small shortbread style biscuits. It would have been nicer to have maybe a little less dried fruit as maybe some alternative biscuits or slice as a sweet finish to the lunch, but despite this criticism it didn’t stop me picking at the craisins.

A nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Sydney

Are you easily seduced by the offer of a dumpling?

 

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