Vegetarian

Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Cake – Daring Bakers Challenge July 2010

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

A crowd pleaser – on all accounts. Everyone loved this dessert – probably because it was composed of chocolate and vanilla components. Chocolate cake and a whole lot of cream sums up this dessert – as do the words ‘yum’ ‘that was great’ and ‘can I have some more’. And yes, people did go back for seconds.

I was a little concerned at the beginning as the ice cream recipes had no egg yolks, and the chocolate ice cream only had cocoa for flavouring, which I thought would impact greatly on flavour and texture – but I think it all worked wonderfully together and would happily make this again.

I had a little trouble with the chocolate swiss roll breaking a touch when I rolled the cream up in it, so I would probably use a different recipe if I were to serve the swiss roll by itself. My food processor couldn’t grind up the vanilla bean fine enough for my likings, so I used the seeds only. And I have learnt my lesson (for the final time). Don’t try and freeze two things in the ice cream machine on the same day! I left my chocolate ice cream too late and it didn’t freeze in the ice cream machine, so we had an ice cream cake with chocolate cream sauce for dessert and it was all too good.

I had leftovers from my 2.4L bowl, so I also made a loaf tin of the swiss roll ice cream cake – and eyes lit up when I said a week after the first one – “would anyone like ice cream cake for dessert?”

Thanks to our Daring Baker host this month, Sunita. I never would have thought or got around to making this if it weren’t on the Daring Bakers – and a big Thank you to all those who maintain and manage the website.

Swiss Swirl Ice Cream Cake

Recipe source- Inspired by the Swiss swirl ice cream cake from the Taste of Home website. The recipes for the cake, filling, eggless ice creams and the fudge topping have been developed by Sunita.

The Swiss rolls

6 medium sized eggs
1 C / 225 gms caster sugar /8 oz+ extra for rolling
6 tblsp / 45gms/ a pinch over 1.5 oz of all purpose (plain) flour + 5 tblsp/40gm /a pinch under 1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted together
2 tblsp /30ml / 1 fl oz of boiling water
a little oil for brushing the pans

For the filling

2C / 500 mls/ 16 fl oz of whipping cream
1 vanilla pod, cut into small pieces of about ½ cm (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
5 tblsp / 70gms/2.5oz of caster sugar

Pre heat the oven at 200 deg C /400 deg F approximately. Brush the baking pans ( 11 inches by 9 inches ) with a little oil and line with greaseproof baking paper. If you have just one pan, bake one cake and then let the pan cool completely before using it for the next cake.

In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and sugar and beat till very thick; when the beaters are lifted, it should leave a trail on the surface for at least 10 seconds.

Add the flour mixture, in three batches and fold in gently with a spatula. Fold in the water.

Divide the mixture among the two baking pans and spread it out evenly, into the corners of the pans.
Place a pan in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes or till the centre is springy to the touch.

Spread a kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle a little caster sugar over it.
Turn the cake on to the towel and peel away the baking paper. Trim any crisp edges.

Starting from one of the shorter sides, start to make a roll with the towel going inside. Cool the wrapped roll on a rack, seam side down.

Repeat the same for the next cake as well.
Grind together the vanilla pieces and sugar in a food processer till nicely mixed together. If you are using vanilla extract, just grind the sugar on its own and then add the sugar and extract to the cream.

In a large bowl, add the cream and vanilla-sugar mixture and beat till very thick.
Divide the cream mixture between the completely cooled cakes.
Open the rolls and spread the cream mixture, making sure it does not go right to the edges (a border of ½ an inch should be fine).

Roll the cakes up again, this time without the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge till needed, seam side down.

The vanilla ice cream

2 and ½ C / 625 ml / 20 fl oz of whipping cream
1 vanilla bean, minced or 1 tsp/ 5 ml/ .15 fl oz vanilla extract
½ C / 115gms/ 4 oz of granulated sugar

Grind together the sugar and vanilla in a food processor. In a mixing bowl, add the cream and vanilla –sugar mixture and whisk lightly till everything is mixed together. If you are using the vanilla extract, grind the sugar on its own and then and the sugar along with the vanilla extract to the cream.

Pour into a freezer friendly container and freeze till firm around the edges. Remove from the freezer, beat till smooth and return to the freezer. Do this 3-4 times and then set completely.

The Hot fudge sauce– I made this just after adding the layer of vanilla ice cream to the cake.

1 C / 230gms/ 8 oz of caster sugar
3 tblsp / 24gms/1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tblsp /15gms/ 1 oz of cornflour/cornstarch
1 and ½ C /355ml /12 fl oz of water
1 tblsp /14gms/ 1 oz butter
1 tsp/5 ml / .15 fl oz vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornflour and water.

Place the pan over heat, and stir constantly, till it begins to thicken and is smooth (for about 2 minutes).
Remove from heat and mix in the butter and vanilla. Keep aside to cool .

The chocolate ice cream

2C/ 500 ml whipping cream
1 C/230gms/8 oz caster sugar
3 tblsp/ 24 gms/1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder

Grind together the sugar and the cocoa powder in a food processor .
In a saucepan, add all the ingredients and whisk lightly.
Place the pan over heat and keep stirring till it begins to bubble around the edges.

Remove from heat and cool completely before transferring to a freezer friendly container till firm around the edges. If you are using an ice cream maker, churn the ice cream according to the manufacturer’s instruction, after the mixture has cooled completely.
Remove from the freezer, beat till smooth and return to the freezer. Do this 3-4 times and then set completely.

Assembly-

Cut the Swiss rolls into 20 equal slices ( approximately 2 cms each ).

Cover the bottom and sides of the bowl in which you are going to set the dessert with cling film/plastic wrap.

Arrange two slices at the bottom of the pan, with their seam sides facing each other. Arrange the Swiss roll slices up the bowl, with the seam sides facing away from the bottom, to cover the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till the slices are firm (at least 30 minutes).

Soften the vanilla ice cream. Take the bowl out of the freezer, remove the cling film cover and add the ice cream on top of the cake slices. Spread it out to cover the bottom and sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till firm ( at least 1 hour)

Add the fudge sauce over the vanilla ice cream, cover and freeze till firm . ( at least an hour)

Soften the chocolate ice cream and spread it over the fudge sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4-5 hours till completely set .

Remove the plastic cover, and place the serving plate on top of the bowl. Turn it upside down and remove the bowl and the plastic lining. If the bowl does not come away easily, wipe the outsides of the bowl with a kitchen towel dampened with hot water. The bowl will come away easily.

Keep the cake out of the freezer for at least 10 minutes before slicing, depending on how hot your region is. Slice with a sharp knife, dipped in hot water.

Gluten Free Carrot, Zucchini and Apple Cake

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

When I was asked by Haystac whether I wanted to try out some of the gluten free products by Vitarium, I was excited to work with gluten free flour.

The texture was a lot finer, and to me resembled a something similar to the texture of cornflour. I was given both self raising flour and a packet mix of Chocolate Ripple biscuits to try. I’d like to pass on the Chocolate Ripple biscuit packet mix to someone who would like it (and live in Australia) – so please leave a comment and let me know if you’d like it and why.

Photo from Vitarium website

I decided to make something in-between a carrot cake and zucchini cake, even though I’ve never tried a zucchini cake, plus I wanted to add some grated apple too. And what is a carrot cake without the gorgeous icing? (Still a lovely carrot cake 🙂 ) But I decided to add the icing – just because it works so well and everyone loves it 😛

I have just submitted this recipe to the The Great Vitarium Gluten Free Bake Off which has just started and has some amazing prizes – check it out and wish me luck 🙂 I also want to wish all the other contestants luck for this competition, and think it is fantastic there will be such a great new range of recipes for those requiring gluten free diets.

Now, I’d love to have a try with the plain flour…

Gluten Free Carrot, Zucchini and Apple Cake

Recipe by Anita @ Leave Room for Dessert

1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 cups Vitarium gluten free self-raising flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
230g grated carrot
100g grated zucchini, excess liquid removed
50g grated apple, after excess liquid is removed
2/3 cup walnuts (optional, I didn’t use these)

250g cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup pure icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 160C.

In a large mixer, beat together the oil and brown sugar for 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well in between additions. Sift in the flour, cinnamon and ginger and mix for one minute. Mix in the grated carrot, zucchini, apple and walnuts (if using). Pour into a greased and lined 22cm round tin. Cook in preheated oven for 1 hour 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before icing.

For the icing, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar in two lots, beating well between additions. Add the vanilla essence and mix to combine. Spread over cooled cake and serve.

Pizza Wheels

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

These pizza wheels go so fast at any party we’ve had.

They can be made non-vegetarian by adding some chopped ham or salami.

I love them, and there’s not much more I really have to say about these – except how can you go wrong with a mini “pizza”?

Pizza Wheels

Recipe by Anita @ Leave Room for Dessert

Makes more than 40

4 puff pastry sheets
6 tablespoons tomato paste
1 red capsicum, diced
1 green capsicum, diced
grated cheese

Spread the tomato paste over the puff pastry sheets, leaving a 1.5cm gap from one end. Sprinkle capsicums then cheese over the pastry leaving the gap. Roll the pastry toward the gap and then press the end onto the roll to join the pastry. This can be covered and placed in the refrigerator until needed.

Cut 1cm slices of the roll and place on baking paper on a baking tray. Cook in a moderate oven (180C) for approx 10 minutes or until cheese has melted and pizza wheels have browned. Serve when hot.

Croquembouche (Piece Montée) – Daring Bakers Challenge May 2010

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.

I’ve made two croquembouches’ so far, the original one from Masterchef and the chocolate swirl one, also from MasterChef. So, when I found out this month’s challenge was also a croquembouche I was both a bit indifferent, and also excited.

First of all, the slight disappointment was due to it not being something new. Although the excitement came from knowing how gorgeous the custard filled profiteroles with lovely crunchy toffee are. My family and I cannot resist croquembouche, although the next Christmas or event I make it for, I’ll just be pouring the caramel over the top and not building a cone shaped tower.

The other excitement came from trying the different recipes, I was hoping for a harder choux pastry, one which was a bit crunchy and kept its shape quite well. I think this choux pastry recipe may have succeeded in this, although I still need to learn my oven better, as they were cooked in 10-15 minutes, almost burning, so I couldn’t leave them in the oven to dry out longer, for fear of losing them.

For my own challenge, I decided to try making cute little caramel corkscrews. Using a spoon, I spun the caramel around a clean knife (sharpening) steel. And they worked! I had to keep heating and cooling the caramel though to make it the right consistency – which was quite difficult to figure out.

Unfortunately for the presentation, the lovely caramel strands around the outside started beading within 20 minutes and by the time we ate the croquembouche, a few hours afterwards, there were no strands to be seen. I’m not sure whether this was due to the humidity we had here, or whether the glucose added to caramel contributes to the stability of the caramel.

Overall, I was very excited making this again, and I think it made the perfect quantity (even though people asked – where’s the rest of it?). The different components themselves are relatively easy, and I will consider making it more often, now that I won’t be making trays and trays worth of profiteroles, and a large lasagna dish filled with custard.

Croquembouche (Piece Montée)

Recipe Source: Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and were originally created by famed pastry chef, Nick Malgieri.

Vanilla Crème Patissiere (Half Batch) [I made a full batch – double this – although I think I could have made 1.5 batches – three times this]
1 cup (225 ml.) whole milk
2 Tbsp. cornstarch / cornflour
6 Tbsp. (100 g.) sugar – I used caster sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp. (30 g.) unsalted butter
1 Tsp. Vanilla

Dissolve cornstarch in ¼ cup of milk. Combine the remaining milk with the sugar in a saucepan; bring to boil; remove from heat.

Beat the whole egg, then the yolks into the cornstarch mixture. Pour 1/3 of boiling milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly so that the eggs do not begin to cook.

Return the remaining milk to boil. Pour in the hot egg mixture in a stream, continuing whisking.

Continue whisking (this is important – you do not want the eggs to solidify/cook) until the cream thickens and comes to a boil. Remove from heat and beat in the butter and vanilla.

Pour cream [Crème Patissiere] into a stainless steel/ceramic bowl. Press plastic wrap firmly against the surface. Chill immediately and until ready to use.

Pate a Choux (Yield: About 28) [Mine made more than 50]
¾ cup (175 ml.) water
6 Tbsp. (85 g.) unsalted butter
¼ Tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup (125 g.) all-purpose flour
4 large eggs

For Egg Wash: 1 egg and pinch of salt

Pre-heat oven to 425◦F/220◦C degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Preparing batter:
Combine water, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally. At boil, remove from heat and sift in the flour, stirring to combine completely.

Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly until the batter dries slightly and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Transfer to a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon 1 minute to cool slightly. [A KitchenAid works so well for this]

Add 1 egg. The batter will appear loose and shiny.

After mixing in the first egg

As you stir, the batter will become dry-looking like lightly buttered mashed potatoes.

It is at this point that you will add in the next egg. Repeat until you have incorporated all the eggs.

After mixing in the second egg

After mixing in the third egg

After the fourth and final egg

Piping:
Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large open tip (I piped directly from the bag opening without a tip). Pipe choux about 1 inch-part in the baking sheets. Choux should be about 1 inch high about 1 inch wide.

Using a clean finger dipped in hot water, gently press down on any tips that have formed on the top of choux when piping. You want them to retain their ball shape, but be smoothly curved on top.

Brush tops with egg wash (1 egg lightly beaten with pinch of salt).

Baking:
Bake the choux at 425◦F/220◦C degrees until well-puffed and turning lightly golden in color, about 10 minutes. [mine cooked in 15 minutes total]

Lower the temperature to 350◦F/180◦C degrees and continue baking until well-colored and dry, about 20 minutes more. Remove to a rack and cool.

Can be stored in a airtight box overnight.

Filling:
When you are ready to assemble your piece montée, using a plain pastry tip, pierce the bottom of each choux. Fill the choux with pastry cream using either the same tip or a star tip, and place on a paper-lined sheet. Choux can be refrigerated briefly at this point while you make your glaze.

Use one of these to top your choux and assemble your piece montée.

Hard Caramel Glaze: [I needed 1.5 – 2 times this recipe, as I stirred it too early]
1 cup (225 g.) sugar
½ teaspoon lemon juice

Combine sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan with a metal kitchen spoon stirring until the sugar resembles wet sand. Place on medium heat; heat without stirring until sugar starts to melt around the sides of the pan and the center begins to smoke. Begin to stir sugar. Continue heating, stirring occasionally until the sugar is a clear, amber color. Remove from heat immediately; place bottom of pan in ice water to stop the cooking. Use immediately.

Assembly of your Piece Montée:
You may want to lay out your unfilled, unglazed choux in a practice design to get a feel for how to assemble the final dessert. For example, if making a conical shape, trace a circle (no bigger than 8 inches) on a piece of parchment to use as a pattern. Then take some of the larger choux and assemble them in the circle for the bottom layer. Practice seeing which pieces fit together best.

Once you are ready to assemble your piece montée, dip the top of each choux in your glaze (careful it may be still hot!), and start assembling on your cake board/plate/sheet. Continue dipping and adding choux in levels using the glaze to hold them together as you build up.

When you have finished the design of your piece montée, you may drizzle with remaining glaze or use ribbons, sugar cookie cut-outs, almonds, flowers, etc. to decorate. Have fun and enjoy! Bon appétit!

Vegetable Rolls

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

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Now, I don’t suppose you could call anything with puff pastry healthy. Although, you could say this is healthier than the normal sausage roll. These vegie rolls are packed full of vegetables, most of which you might not be able to guess while eating them. So, unsuspecting kids (and adults) will get a vegie fill when they go for these rolls at a party.

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I decided to make this recipe combining many vegetables I had on hand, so I’m sure it can be altered to what you have lying around.

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Vegetables Rolls

Recipe by Anita @ Leave Room for Dessert

Makes: 50

250g spinach, fresh or frozen (thawed and water pressed out)
2 large carrots (300g), grated
1 zucchini (200g), grated
12 mushrooms (200g), grated
4 cloves garlic, crushed
200g corn kernels, drained
1 egg, lightly beaten
250g ricotta
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
1/2 cup bread crumbs
5 sheets puff pastry

1 egg beaten for glazing (or milk)
poppy seeds for sprinkling on top

Mix all the vegetables in a large bowl. Add the ricotta, egg and sweet chili sauce, mix to combine. Add the breadcrumbs and mix until fully combined.

Cut the pastry sheets in half. Spoon equal amounts of the vegetable filling down the middle or side of the pastry sheet – to form an even roll. Place a small amount of egg wash down the length of the puff pastry. Roll the pastry up firmly and sealing with a little pinch on the edge. Brush some egg wash over the top and sprinkle with poppy seeds.

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At this stage, either freeze as they are (with some baking paper or puff pastry plastic between the rolls) or, to eat straight away – preheat oven to 180°C. Cut each roll into 5 equal portions. Place on a baking paper lined tray and place in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until they are browned and cooked through. Serve with sweet chili sauce.

For Frozen rolls, allow to thaw enough to cut through with a knife. Cook in a preheated oven (180°C) for 20 minutes or longer, depending on how much they have thawed.

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Pistachio Macarons

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

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Happy Mother’s Day!

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Even though these lovely pistachio macarons weren’t made for Mother’s Day – they were made for my Mum – on her birthday. They were the decorations for the dessert I made for her (a while ago now), I hope to post it soon. For the main meal on her birthday, we made the most awesome beef bourguignon pie – using Julia Child’s recipe (here is the recipe, if you don’t have the book). It was AMAZING! It took a while to prepare, but was worth it – it doesn’t get any better.

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These home made pistachio macarons turned out just how I wanted. Cute little feet (the frill at the base of the macaron), slightly crisp on the outside, a lovely chewy centre and a wonderfully tasty pistachio flavour.

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These would be perfect for a kitchen tea, high tea, baby shower or petit fours after a meal.

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Pistachio Macarons

Recipe by Anita @ Leave Room for Dessert

Makes 46 sandwiched macarons

120g egg whites (aged for a day or two – covered in the fridge then brought to room temperature, or left at room temperature if the weather’s cool)
90g caster sugar
220g pure icing sugar
80g almond meal
80g pistachios

Pistachio butter cream
80g butter, at room temperature
160g icing sugar
50g pistachio

Process the icing sugar, pistachios and almond meal in a food processor until very finely ground, like dust. Sift and set aside.

Beat egg whites until frothy, add the caster sugar whilst continuing to beat the egg whites on high until it forms a glossy thick meringue. Beat and fold the icing sugar and nut mixture into the meringue until the mixture flows and when the mixture is piped, any peaks sink back after a few minutes. Pipe 3-4cm circles on lined baking trays. Leave at room temperature for 30 minutes or more to form a skin.

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Preheat oven to 150°C and cook macarons for 10 minutes or until slightly coloured, crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. Allow to cool and then fill with the pistachio butter cream or another filling.

For the pistachio butter cream, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Process the pistachios with the icing sugar until finely ground. Beat the pistachio sugar into the butter in batches. When all the pistachio sugar is incorporated it is ready to fill the macarons. If it isn’t spreadable, add a touch of milk and mix until smooth.

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Vanilla Panna Cotta with Pomegranate and Pomegranate Syrup

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

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After being sent two lovely Royal Pom pomegranates from Catherine at Wordstom, I decided to try my hand (for a third time) at making a vanilla panna cotta with pomegranate, pomegranate syrup and lavender honey similar to the one served at Jonah’s at Whale Beach (I tried it at Taste of Sydney earlier this year – lovely!).

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The Royal Pom pomegranates I was sent are grown in Australia, and the distributor Perfection Fresh, is Australian owned. Supporting Australian grown and owned produce and businesses is always a high priority. I also found out from the info I was sent that you can freeze the pomegranate arils for a year – so I’ve got some in the freezer, so we’ll see how they go.

With their lovely burst of flavour, you can see why I’ve already used pomegranates in this herb and fruit chicken dish.

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Now, I mentioned this was my third time at trying to make this dessert – well, that’s because I thought I could make my own moulds for the panna cotta. And I couldn’t.

I have previously, successfully made moulds from baking paper, which support chocolate, and using acetate – which supports mousse. Although the panna cotta mix is too liquid – if there is a hole at the bottom of the mould, it leaks out. If you manage to twist the acetate in a way that there is no hole, it will leak into every spot possible and won’t come off easily either…

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So I went and bought some cone moulds and although they certainly held the liquid, the panna cotta still stuck to the mould and needed a knife and a bit of patience for it to finally come out.

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I also needed Nick’s help in holding the panna cotta upwards, as the cone was either the wrong shape (too high), or I needed a touch more gelatine for the liquid I had used (or I should have left it longer – as ones that were taken out the next day stood up a lot better). Either way – the vanilla panna cotta tasted lovely and went very well with the burst of flavour from the pomegranate arils, and the pomegranate syrup. (Can you believe I had no honey in the house! – this would have worked very nicely with the rest of the dessert).

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Vanilla Panna Cotta with Pomegranate and Pomegranate Syrup

Recipe by Anita @ Leave Room for Dessert
Inspiration: the dessert from Jonah’s at Whale Beach

Serves: 6-8

600ml cream
200ml milk
1 vanilla bean, scraped
3 titanium strength gelatine leaves*
Oil for greasing

½ pomegranate, juiced [approx 75ml] (with a normal citrus juicer – wear an apron)
25g caster sugar

½ pomegranate, seeds/arils to serve
Honey or lavender infused honey, to serve

* the gelatine leaves I was using were titanium strength (5g each) – the packet said 1 sheet will set 250ml liquid (the same as 1 teaspoon of gelatine). As far as I know, 4 gold strength gelatine leaves set 250ml – you may need 12 gold strength gelatine leaves for this recipe. If you aren’t using a difficult mould like I did – less gelatine can be used (maybe 2 sheets) as this will produce a softer panna cotta.

Soak the gelatine leaves in water for 5 minutes, or until soft.

Place the cream, milk, vanilla bean seeds and vanilla bean in a saucepan and bring almost to the boil. Remove from heat. Whisk in the gelatine leaves until dissolved, then pour into a large bowl and stir to remove heat. Spray any moulds, that you want the panna cotta to come out of, with a bit of oil (if you are pouring into a glass, no oil is needed). Allow mixture to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to reduce the heat before pouring into moulds. Allow to set for a few hours or overnight in the fridge.

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For the pomegranate syrup, mix pomegranate juice and sugar in a saucepan over medium/high heat. Reduce to half the volume or until at a flavour you are happy with (if left too long it will start to caramelise).

To serve, remove panna cotta from mould in the middle of a plate. Drizzle the pomegranate syrup around the panna cotta and scatter pomegranate arils. (Honey or lavendar infused honey can also be drizzled around the panna cotta).

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Raspberry Sorbet

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

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Is it too close to Winter for me to post this recipe? I say, no. At the moment in Sydney we are having very odd whether. It is surprisingly warm, a month into Autumn.

I had been wanting to make a sorbet for quite a while, when the opportunity came crashing through my door – a faulty freezer had caused a family members frozen raspberries to thaw (along with a range of other frozen goods). Rather than throwing them out – yes, that was their plan, I put up my hand and said “but I can make some raspberry sorbet with that”.

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I was surprised at how lovely this sorbet was – sweet and full of flavour. Now time to expand my repertoire of sorbet flavours – well… maybe next summer…

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Raspberry Sorbet

Recipe from Anita @ Leave Room for Dessert

500g raspberries
1 orange, juiced
2/3 cup caster sugar
¾ cup water

Puree the raspberries in a food processor, and then pass through a fine sieve into a large bowl, keeping the juice and discarding the seeds. Mix in the orange juice.

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Place the water and caster sugar in a saucepan and heat on medium/high heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the sugar water to the boil and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

Whisk the sugar mixture into the sieved raspberry puree and cool down in the sink with ice cubes and cold water. Once cooled, churn in an ice cream maker as per instruction manual and then freeze in a suitable container. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, place in a suitable freezer container and freeze for a few hours at a time, whisking or using a fork, to break up larger ice crystals. Continue to mix until it is too frozen to mix further.

5-10 minutes prior to serving, remove the sorbet from the freezer to allow easier dishing of the sorbet.

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Chocolate Guinness Cake

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

I remember trying a chocolate Guinness cake in my later years of University when a friend brought one in (we had cake days every Friday). I was a little apprehensive (as I don’t like beer), but once I was convinced to try it, I haven’t looked back. I have been spreading the word, trying to convince as many friends and family as possible (some are more difficult to convince than you would imagine) to try it and that’s all it takes to get most people hooked.

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It even looks like a poured out Guinness, and you can be sure guys and girls alike will be intrigued by having beer in a cake.

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The best aspect of this cake has to be how lovely and moist it is. Coming in a close second (or equal first) is the great flavour combination of the chocolate with a very slight Guinness flavour (trust me, I don’t like normal beer, let alone Guinness – but I [and other non-beer-drinkers] really enjoy this cake) and the creamy icing.

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I wish I had a slice right now…
[By the way, you can freeze it, iced and everything – it makes the perfect easy snack for work, school or shopping].

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Chocolate Guinness Cake

Recipe taken from the internet years ago… can’t remember the site sorry

butter for pan
1 cup Guinness Stout
10 tablespoons butter (10oz or 300g)
¾ cup cocoa
2 cups caster sugar
¾ cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract or imitation vanilla – it works just as well in this
2 cups plain flour
2½ teaspoons baking soda (bi-carb soda)

Icing
1¼ cups icing sugar mixture or icing suger
8oz (240g) cream cheese at room temperature
½ cup heavy (thickened) cream

Heat oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan forced). Butter a 22cm (9-inch) spring-form pan and line with baking paper.

In a large saucepan, combine Guinness and butter. Place over medium-low heat until butter melts, then remove from heat. Add cocoa and superfine sugar, and whisk to blend.

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In a small bowl, combine sour cream, eggs and vanilla; mix well.

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Add to Guinness mixture. Add flour and baking soda, and whisk again until smooth. Pour into buttered pan, and bake until risen and firm, 45 minutes to one hour. Place pan on a wire rack and cool completely in pan.

Yes, it is very liquidy - don't worry - this will make it moist.

Yes, it is very liquidy - don't worry - this will make it moist.

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Icing: Mix cream cheese with electric mixer and blend until smooth. Add cream, then sifted icing mixture and mix until smooth and spreadable. Also add a little cocoa powder to give the icing the murky look of the Guinness frothy if you like.

Remove cake from pan and place on a platter or cake stand. Ice top of cake only, so it resembles a frothy pint of Guinness.
Makes one 9-inch cake, 12 servings.

My Note: To use up a whole 440 ml can of Guinness multiply the recipe by 1.5 times. Pour 2/3 mixture into cake tin and the rest into approximately 24 patty cases or 12 large muffin cases. (cook these for 15-20 minutes). Make 1 quantity of icing as this should cover both the cake and patty cakes. Slices of cake and muffins can be frozen and thawed when you have a craving.

Rough Quantities for 1.5x normal quantity (1 x 22cm cake + 12 muffins)
butter for pan
440ml can (approx 1½ or 1¾ cups) Guinness Stout
15 tablespoons butter (450g)
1 1/8 cup cocoa (Or one heaped cup)
3 cups caster sugar
1 1/8 cup (approx 300g carton) sour cream
3 large eggs
1½ tablespoon vanilla extract or imitation vanilla
3 cups plain flour
3¾ teaspoons baking soda (bi-carb soda)

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Spinach and Sour Cream Dip

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

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This dip is high on the list of dips we make for parties. Even though it may not sound the tastiest (with a packet of spinach in it) – it really is quite lovely. Even those who don’t like spinach will go back to more!

The dip can be served in a number of ways, with some Lebanese bread (which has been spread with a herb butter, cooked in the oven and then chopped up to biscuit size). Alternatively, you can scoop out cob of bread and serve the dip in the middle, with friends and family tearing off edges of the cob and dipping it into the dip. You can also heat the dip up in the cob for a few minutes in the oven.

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And what’s even better is it can be made the night before, so it firms up a bit in the fridge. I love being able to have things organised – it takes out a lot of the hassle and stress which could have been felt on the party date, if you had to prepare everything that morning.

On another note – I can’t believe how busy this year has been (and is)!! I have weekends booked up until late April, with a heap of big birthdays, weddings, hen’s nights, the taste of Sydney (Thursday-Sunday, in case you haven’t heard), Easter, ANZAC day and a quick visit to Melbourne for a French cake cooking class (very exciting!!).

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Spinach and Sour Cream Dip

Recipe source unknown (possibly a friend of a friend of the family?)

1 box (250g) finely chopped frozen spinach – thawed then excess water squeezed out with hands or a sieve.
1 carton (300g) sour cream
½ cup grated cheese
1 packet spring vegetable soup mix (Continental brand – we found this is nicer than some other brands)
2-3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 small packet pine nuts (toasted) (optional)

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Mix ingredients together, sprinkle pine nuts on top. Serve in a cob or on Pita/Lebanese bread.

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Better made the day before and the dip stored in the fridge (but scooped into the cob just before serving).

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