Friday, September 16, 2011


Thanks to Peta from Peta Eats, I found a super easy way to do a lovely consomme.

All 3 methods, traditional egg white, gelatine, freezer, and meal supplements, can be found on this Darking Kitchen's Official Recipe on PDF.  Keep it, it will come in handy when you need to do an effort free WOW entree or meal etc...

Nothing exciting about my beef stock and soup, the normal stuff I make all the time.
Chuck steak, a couple of beef ribs, onions, black pepper, button mushrooms, white wine (I didn't want a dark stock), parsley stems, bay leaves.

I make beef stock a fair bit, use the beef in my curries or other stews, this time in pies, and use the stock separately.

Due the renovation happenning at home, I wasn't able to do a lot of cooking, so the freezing methods suit me.  And it works.  After defrosting in the fridge for a day, you can see clearly it's seperating...

I have a very fine siev, that I use instead of mousseline cloth sometimes, I have packed a few items and trying to live with the bare minimum.

And it's just easy to get the clear clear soup...

Will add some dumplings to it? 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Home Made Strawberry Yoghurt

I go through my phrases with cooking - I'm definitely not cooking as much lately, as much as I want to.

The thought that I have to pack up everything in the kitchen in a few weeks time does stress me out quite a bit.  I'm trying to use up everything I have in the pantry, and not to increase new ingredients.  It's just too easy for me to pick up bits and pieces for some one off dishes and keep the rest to use later, and end up, having quite a bit of left overs in the pantry.  Some of the items I do use quite frequently.  Like all different types of flour, self raising, chick pea, polenta, semolina, tapioca, whole meal, rye....  They do end up in different jars and containes, and all different types of sugars and syrups etc etc etc.... argg.... the panic of packing!

So the strategy is trying not to replace the item used, including every day items like cheese, butter, flour, I don't mean don't replace any, but reduce to just one type of every major category, so by the time I have to pack up the pantry for the worker to do the demolishing work, it will be easier.

But that also means I have to cook a bit less of varieties of things until my new kitchen's in, which is about a month and 2 weeks away.....

However, there are a few items I'd like to keep it going, including the yoghurt, and the sourdough.  I have to keep the yoghurt culture alive as well as the sourdough starter.  They are my babies, although I haven't really named them yet!

I bought some tubs of strawberries for the children's school lunch box. There were some left so I decided to make some strawberry yoghurts.

It's simple.  Add 1 cup sugar, 2 tbsp water to half tub (around 100g-125g) of cleaned strawberries, bring it to boil on stove top, let it simmer for a few minutes to maximise the strawberry taste in the syrup.

My children don't like the actual fruit in their yoghurt so I took the cooked strawberries out leaving just the strawberry syrup.

The rest steps are the same as making any other yoghurt.

Bring 1 lt full cream fresh milk to boil, I usually let it simmer for 10-15 minutes, let it cool to 110F or 43.6C, add the strawberry syrup to cooled milk, and 2 tbsp of warm plain yoghurt, leave it in the thermo pot to keep the heat over night.

Home made yoghurt are nicer with all the fresh ingredients.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Greek Coffee & Figs Bread

I've used Greek Coffee, and dried figs in this bread, but some how, I wouldn't really label this loaf as being "Greek", although I do cook a bit of Greek dishes and there are a lot of Greek influences in my food.

I read somewhere that Greek coffee is the finest and used in pastry, it can be quite nice, and dried figs is the type of snack that is always available at home.

Greek Coffee & Figs Loaf
250g dried figs
300ml water
1 tsp bi-carb soda
1.5 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
150g butter
150ml sour cream
2 tbsp Greek/Turkish coffee (medium roast, not dark roast)
3 cups of Self Raising Flour

Dice the figs and place figs and water in a small saucepan, bring it to boil and then take it away from heat.  Add in the bi-carb soda and stir through, let it soften and cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, cream butter with sugar, add in eggs, one by one.
Add the softened and cooled figs mixture to the butter and egg mixture. Stir in the sour cream.
Sift in coffee and flour.
Add to greased and lined loaf tin, bake in pre-heated 180C oven for 50minutes to an hour, or until skewer comes out clean.

It's a very easy recipe, and I actually used similar method making sticky date cakes so it's a blend of ingredients?

Pretty nice with a cup of Espresso (or Greek coffee) for brekky or afternoon tea....

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Seafood Chowder with Spaetzle

We wanted something different, some warmth during the still cold months but something not as heavy as red meat.

I have been wanting to try out Kiwi chef Fleur Sullivan's recipe when she did it on Masterchef Australia a couple of months ago.  Please follow to the link to the original Master Class recipe.

I did use some gourmet marinara mix instead of the shell fish because it's easier for the children and used what I have on hand.  The marinara mix consists of prawns, calamari, mussels and king fish fillets.

For the Chowder:
100g butter
100g plain flour
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup white wine
2 tsp Hungarian paprika
600g gourmet marinara mix
chopped parsley and oregano
1 fennel
1 carrot
half of onion
1 glove of garlic
1 lt fish stock

For the Spaetzle:
250g plain flour
160ml milk
1 large egg
pinch of salt.


For the Chowder, melt butter in pan, sweat the vegitables, add in flour and cook and stir till it's sandy, add tomato paste and wine, make sure there's no lumps,  and slowly add the warmed stock to make roux, keep stirring to make sure there's no lumps.  Add herbs and spice, and then bring the sauce to boil and add the seafood mix, allow to cook quickly.

For the Spaetzle, mix ingredient to make a very wet dough, let it sit for a while when making chowder.  Boil a big pot of water with a bit of salt when chowder is almost ready, and put dough into the ricer (my potato ricer has got 3 discs and one of them is the spaetzle setting) and squeeze into the simmering water.

When cooked, drain and stir through some olive oil.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Chocolate Ginger & Peach Pudding / Cobbler

It was a warm pudding we made a couple of weekends ago, after our normal Saturday roast dinner.  Just like all things, the renovation and the flu and cold in the family had the best of me, and I haven't been doing much cooking and updating on the blog in the recent weeks.  Updating things slowly.

I made a ginger bread peach cobbler using one of the recipes from Super Food Idea's Magazine, a simple food magazine with a lot of easy everyday recipes.   This chocolate Ginger & Peach pudding / cobbler is just the adaption from that.

Chocolate Ginger & Peach Pudding / Cobbler
50g Dark Chocolate (Lindt's 70% Cocoa with Ginger)
50g Milk Chocolate
2 eggs
1 tbsp good cocoa powder
150g sour cream
200g SR flour
1/2 tsp bi-carb soda
100g room temperatured butter
150g brown sugar
1/2 tsp ginger powder (The ginger flavour from Lindt's is pretty strong, if use normal dark chocolate, use a bit more ginger powder)
815 can of sliced peaches

Cream butter and sugar.
Beat in eggs, one by one.
Melt chocolates with sour cream, let it cool to room temperature.
Mix the wet ingredients together, mix well.
Sift in the dry ingredients.
grease a baking dish, I used my 10" ceremic quiche dish.

Put in the peach slices (drained syrup).

Spoon on the batter.  Bake in 190C oven for 30 - 38 minutes, dust with icing sugar.

Spoon out and serve with fresh double cream.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Home Made Vanilla Honey Yoghurt

I have been making yoghurt for myself for a while, I like plain yoghurt, simple to make, can be used in cooking, dips and add a bit of fruit, coulis, jam, it's great for a snack.

However, I have been having trouble converting my whole family into home made yoghurt, maybe sometimes, but not all the time.  They are used to the sweet taste of flavoured yoghurts.

So recently, I have been making Vanilla Honey Yoghurt for them, it's easy, and it has the natural taste and as many natural ingredients I can put in.

It's simple.

1 lt milk, full cream, good quality milk, it's always a good sign to tell if milk is really milk - some milk can't be made into yoghurt.  Can we trust any products these days?
2 heap tablespoon of full cream milk powder
1 tsp vanilla essense
3 tbsp white sugar
1 heap tablespoon of good quality honey
2 heap spoon of plain yoghurt (home made will be best, you know what's in there, otherwise try to get organic yoghurt, full cream.  There are yoghurts sold in shops that will not make yoghurt)

Bring the milk to boil and then reduce heat to a slow simmer, let it simmer for 15 minutes.
Let milk cool to around 110F or 43-45C, add to the mixture of milk powder, vanilla, sugar and honey, stir through till smooth, and let sugar dissolve, add the room temperatured plain yoghurt to the milk mix.
I use my trust worthy thermo pot to keep the yoghurt warm over night, it can be a slow oven of 43C (110F).
Usually it takes 7-8 hours, the yoghurt will set in pot, and leave it at the back of the fridge to cool.  If it's left in a warm spot, yoghurt culture will keep multiplying.
Ready to be consumed when it's chilled!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Very Rich Dark Chocolate Glazed Tart with Profiteroles - Epicurious

I made it a while ago and didn't have time to post it.

Since Febuary this year, we have been talking to the builder, the draftman and the pool builders, and kitchen makers to negotiate our home renovation.  Although cooking is stress relief for me, sometimes, I just didn't have the energy any more after going around and look at different colours of paint, designs and spending whole afternoon in the hardware stores.

In a couple of week's time, I will be living without my kitchen, new one will be in, but old will be out.  We are in the mode of packing, reducing pantries and fridge items, and all of the renovation dos and don'ts.

I haven't put this tart on the blog before, it was a bit of reminder of our wedding cake, a big chocolate mud cake with profiteroles filled with chocolate creme pattiserie and lots of chocolate curls.

A dark chocolate tart based on this recipe from Epicurious Website:

Chocolate Glazed Chocolate Tart

The only thing I did different was using Arnott's Chocolate Ripple Biscuit instead of chocolate graham crackers (I'm  not sure if I can find it here).

Added profiteroles filled with vanilla creme pattiserie and drizzled with spun sugar, caramel to stick the profiteroles together.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chocolate Walnut Cake with Strawberry Butterscotch Sauce

This were made last weekend? I bought some strawberries from the sales rack, not the best quality, but it's so nice on desserts, and I've promised the children something chocolate. I was playing around with a couple of things, and as usual, chucking in bits and pieces from the pantry, and I got this:

Chocolate Walnut Cake with Strawberry Butterscotch Sauce


150g SR flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g walnut (lightly toasted in pan and grounded)
50g ground almond
50g butter
100g olive oil
100g white sugar
100g brown sugar
100ml cream
50ml milk (extra if needed)
2 whole eggs - Beaten
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp all spice
100g dark chocolate
50g cocoa

Strawberry Sauce:

80g cream
50g butter
150g strawberry
1 tsp cream sherry
Juice from Half of a Lemon
50ml water
150g white sugar


For the Cake:
1. Heat up the cream to just boil with butter and pour over broken dark chocolate piece and white sugar, stir till smooth.
2. Wait until cool a bit, add in brown sugar and eggs and mix well.
3. Sift in flour, and spice mix together and mix well till smooth, mix in the nuts.
4. Add in milk and stir through to check consistency, add a bit more if needed to be.
5. Pre-heat oven to 190C and line and grease a 20cm cake tin.
6. Bake for 1 hour and check if skewer is clean when stick in.

For the Syrup:
1. Make sugar syrup with water and white sugar.
2. Add Strawberry and cook till liquid is pink. Add Lemon juice
3. Add sherry.
4. Take strawberry out, add butter, stir through till mix well.
5. Add cream and cook till creamy and mix through.

To serve: Add sugar strawberry on top of cake and pour sauce around cake.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Brioche with A Espresso Chocolate Cake Twist

A cakey bread or a bready cake?

Something I did when I can't decide what to bake.

Bread or cake....

This is done on a sheet of brioche dough, I used whole egg with milk so it's a bit toned down simple brioche, and a layer of espresso chocolate butter cake batter, rolled up and cut into scrolls, proofed again and baked into little cup cakes.

Brushed on a bit of egg wash on the bread sheet.

So, do you call it a cake, or a bread roll?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Poached Salmon with Creamy Rice and White Sauce

I love salmon, although it is a quite oily fish, every time we cook it, we end up eating quite a lot of it.  So break it down to smaller portions, poaching rather than pan frying, is the way that we can try to be a bit more cautious with what we eat.

We have 2 big pieces of Atlantic salmon cutlets, around 700g.  More salmon pieces can be used in the similar quantity of poaching liquid.

To prepare the poaching liquid, I put:
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup white wine
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
3 bay leaves
7-8 whole black pepper
1 onion
1 lemon (without skin)
parsley stems
and enough water to cover the fish.

Bring the poaching liquid to boil and then reduce the heat, poach the salmon in the lowest heat, for around 15-20 minutes, you shouldn't be able to see the liquid simmer.  Once cooked, take the salmon out and break it down into chunks, take out of all the bones.

Creamy rice:
2 cup chicken stock
2 long grain rice (jasmine or basmati)
1 cup risoni
1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
grated parmesan cheese
Olive oil

Heat up olive oil in the sauce pan to cook rice, then add rice and risoni, stir till a bit fragrant and rice change a bit of colour.  Add warm stock, slowly and keep stirring.  Add warm milk, and salt and pepper.  The process is a bit like making risotto, add a bit more stock than 2 cup depending on the rice.   When almost cooked, add parmesan cheese and take the sauce pan off stove, close lid and let it sit for 10 minutes.

White sauce:
A bit of something to add to salmon and rice, so it's not too dry.  Just reduce some of the poaching liquid (it's already quite flavoursome) and add a bit of butter and cream.

My children are very fussy eaters and they are happy with this subtle flavoured dish.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookies - Martha Stewart Recipe

I borrowed this cook book from the library, and it's full of wonderful cookie recipes.

Martha Stewart's Cookies

Please follow the link to the actual recipe.
Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lovely cookies, and I'm addicted to Martha Stewart recipes!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fudgy Double Chocolate Cake for Birthday

Luke didn't get chocolate cup cakes to bring to school, so I promised him a very chocolate birthday cake.  He's into simple things, so, a fudgy chocolate cake he chose from the library book Epicure Chocolate

Fudgy Double Chocolate Cake

120g butter
250g Lindt's dark chocolate 50% cocoa
2 cups self raising flour
2 eggs
1.5 cup sugar (I used 1 cup white sugar, 0.5 cup brown sugar)
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 180C.
Beat egg with sugar until ribbony and at the meantime, melt chocolate and butter. 
Mix the liquids once chocolate and butter cool a little, and add water and milk last.
Sift flour and cocoa powder together into a clean bowl,  and then add to the liquid.
Fold and mix well.  Line and grease a 20cm spring form tin (it's higher than normal cake tin) and bake the cake for 45 minutes. 
The cake might still be a bit gooey in the middle, that's fine.  Cool and then chill in fridge before apply icing.

Chocolate Ganache
100g Lindt's dark chocolate 50% cocoa

100ml thickened cream
30g butter

Luke didn't like other icing, but I had to explain to him that with out another colour, I can't write on the cake... the yellow icing was the bit of left overs from his cup cakes...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Lemon Cup Cakes with Lemon Butter Icing

I told Luke's teacher that I would make some cup cakes to send to his school on his birthday.

Just some simple ones as there's no baking competition in the local school and kids appreciate tasty cakes.  I did scratch the bottom of the barrel trying to find out what I can make when I was told, please do not send anything with chocolate or nuts due to allergy concerns...

No chocolate, that's a bit harsh, considering, Luke doesn't like any other cakes apart from chocolate.  Very occasionally, he'd take some vanilla cakes, but he's very very particular about fruits, dry or fresh in his cakes.

He doesn't like them and he prefers smooth texture.

But just butter cake, will that be a bit bland?  

As long as there's no chunks of fruit.   We settled down on:

Lemon Cup Cakes with Lemon Butter Icing

For 28 Cup Cakes
(including the students in his class, his teacher, the teaching aid and his speech therapist)
3 cups of Self Raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
200g salt reduced butter, room temperature
4 large eggs
1.5 cup sugar
1 cup milk
very fine zests of 2 lemon
Juice of 1.25 lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla essense

Lemon Butter Icing
50g butter
100g icing sugar
1.5 tsp yellow icing
Juice of 0.75 of lemon (juice of 2 lemons in total)

Pre-heat oven to 180C
Cream butter and sugar, till light and pale, add in eggs, one by one, I used bench top mixer on high.
Add in room temperature milk and vanilla and whisk till well mixed.
Sift flour and bi-carb soda in another clean bowl and add to the milk butter mixture.  Fold in well and add lemon juice and zest.
Share the batter in the cups and bake for 15-18 minutes, until it's turning a bit light brown.

For the icing, it's simple, just heat up lemon juice and butter, mix well and add in food colouring and icing sugar, till it's thick and glossy.  Apply to cooled cup cakes and add on a bit of sprinkles...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chocolate Roulade With Chocolate Cream Filling and Chocolate Glaze

Lots of chocolate for the sponge roll....

That's how we like it?  Made it for the morning tea at work.

Recipe adapted from Chocolate Indulgence Magazine.

2 eggs
75g caster sugar
45g cake flour
5g good quality cocoa powder
pinch vanilla salt
25g unsalted butter, melted

250ml cream
1 tsp vanilla essense
100g Lindt Dark Chocolate 100% Cocoa
100g Lindt Milk Chocolate Orange Creme
25ml Water

The Sponge:
Preheat oven to 210C.
Grease and line a 15x30cms rectangular tin.
Beat egg and sugar over bain marie, until all sugar has dissolved and mixture ribbony, light and fluffy.
Sift together flour, cocoa and salt into the egg mixture, fold gently to create a light batter.
Mix a couple of spoons of batter into the melted butter, and then carefully fold the butter mix back into the egg mixture.
Pour the batter in the prepared cake tin, and smooth out.
Bake for 10 minutes or until it's just firm to touch.  Remove from oven when ready.
Sprinkle a bit of caster sugar on a clean tea towel, lift the sponge still in baking paper and turn upside down and place the sheet sponge onto the tea towel, roll up and set side to cool.

The filling:
Whip the cream with vanilla till soft peak and set a side.
Melt the chocolate, and add water to make a smooth mass.
Fold a small amount of cream to the chocolate, and then fold chocolate back to the remaining cream, chill in fridge for 10 minutes.

Unroll the sponge, Evenly spread about half of the filling leaving a bit of gap along the long edge, carefully roll up.

Chill in fridge for 10 minutes.

Apply some of the left over cream fillings on the outside, and as finishing touch, I warm up the rest of the filling a bit to return it to a smoother glaze, let cool and drizzle over the roulade...

Submitting this swiss roll - chocolate roulade to Aspiring Bakers #9 - Swiss Rolling Good Times ....

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fresh Fraisiers - July 2011 Daring Baker's Challenge

A fresh strawberry cream cake....  A lovely delicious challenge hosted by Jana from Cherry Tea Cakes.

It would be a much more fun event or events for us had it been summer for us... part of the pain being in the south hemisphere is that we don't have the seasonal fruits as the north - strawberries can be found but quite expensive, so are other berries and summer fruit.  After my first attempt, I realised I could've used kiwi fruit which we can find quite a lot in the supermarkets lately, but the second attempt never took place, Luke's birthday, school production, and Bianca's school production took most of our time, plus the house renovation....

Apart from hubby, the children are not too keen on cream cakes, don't ask me why, but they are chocoholics, and whenever there's a chance to ask for a cake, it's always, chocolate cake, especially for Luke, chocolate mud, he wouldn't even take sponge.

I didn't want to make the the cake too big, the fresh cream wouldn't keep.  The original recipes for the challenge can be found here:

First of all, I wanted to make a small heart shaped Red Velvet Strawberry Stack Cake....
Red velvet for the Red strawberries, always wanted to make a red velvet cake.

I used the recipe by Nigella Lawson for Red Velvet Cupcakes, but changed the frosting to cream cheese frosting because of the Creme Fraisier...


• 250g plain flour
• 2 x 15ml tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
• 100g soft unsalted butter
• 200g caster sugar
• 1 x heaped 15ml tbsp Christmas-red paste food colouring
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 2 eggs
• 175ml buttermilk
• 1 tsp cider vinegar or other vinegar
• 2 x 12-bun muffin tins

• 100g icing sugar (no need to sift if using a processor)
• 250g cream cheese
• 250g fresh cream
• 1 tsp lemon juice

I made 4 small heart shaped cake for my strawberry stack and 6 big cup cakes using the Texax Muffin Tin.

It's very hard to line the cakes, as I found out they are pretty fragile so I couldn't slice them thinner as I planned... 

And I got a bit too ambitious stacking all the 4 cakes up....

But thanks to Nigella, the flavour of the cake was really really good...

And for the cup cakes... I brought them to the little get together with girl friend and got welcomed by her children...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes with Orange Flavour and Ganache

I love Lindt's, all sorts of flavours of Lindt's.  I know there are better chocolates, but within my budget, especially when they are on sales, it's good.

The only thing is, when it goes on sales, you don't get the full flavour range, sometimes, however, it's a good time to sample the different flavours of chocolate and choose what to do with them.

This time, Lindt's orange creme filled milk chocolate.

Chocolate Orange Flavoured Cupcakes with Ganache
makes 12 medium size cup cakes

For the cupcakes:
75g Lindt's dark chocolate 70% cocoa
50g Lindt's orange creme filled milk chocolate
1 tbsp Cointeau
150g Self Raising Flour
2 tbsp dutch cocoa
2 eggs
100g softened butter
100ml room temperature milk

For the Ganache:
30g Lindt's dark chocolate 70% cocoa

20g Lindt's orange creme filled milk chocolate
50ml cream
50g icing sugar
20g butter

Decorate with a few pink jewels or hundreds and thousands and chocolate sprinkles...