Tag Archives: baking

Milestones, tears and lunchbox scrolls

1 Apr scrolls

Kiki's first day of kindyKiki’s little body looked so tiny when her new pink and turquoise butterfly bag was hoisted onto her back.

She wouldn’t let me carry it for her even though with her water bottle and lunchbox it was kind of heavy. She was well chuffed to finally have a school bag to call her own. Maybe she’ll grow up to be lover of fine handbags, or kooky carriers that look like animals.

Or just a crazy bag lady.

Walking up the footpath, heading to her first day of daycare, my heart was as heavy in my chest as her bag looked on her shoulders.

Always fiercely independent Kiki wouldn’t even let me help her by taking some of the weight, so I left her because essentially that’s what this day is about.

The second cutting of the cord.

She’s been looking forward to this day for weeks, always sad when we drop D Man off, always wanting to stay and play with the kids. She’s ready. I have no doubt, it’s just that it’s come sooner than I thought and my heart is a little heavy.

This is a milestone. For Kiki and for myself.

Next Monday I’ll be starting a new job. My first day of work in four years. Technically, between writing books and blogs and scripts and stuff I have barely had a single day off, but now I’m GOING TO WORK.

Somewhere that will require pants and a bra.

Kiki’s first day at kindy is a turning point that marks the beginning of big changes in my life, and all our lives, and her smiling face as she was smearing Clag glue all over paper with more abandon than I would never allow at home reminds me that this the beginning of a new era and not just the end of an old one.

She’s only going two days a week, but right now that feels like a lot.

Kiki's first day of kindyI felt quite brave walking in but 15 minutes later as I kissed her little golden head goodbye I was quite shaky on the insides.

I gathered my things and called goodbye to her one last time, but she didn’t even turn to look at me as she was engrossed in something new and exciting.

It’s lucky, I suppose, because she would have seen tears welling in my eyes and a spectacularly wobbly lip as I severed that umbilical cord just a little bit further and say farewell to my baby.

I’ll pick her up after lunch. Just a short day on your first day, but I made sure her lunch was a special one, because she’s also mega proud of her new lunchbox. It’s just like her big brother’s, you see, and she thinks he’s pretty cool except when he’s licking her hair, sticking dinosaurs down her nappy or stealing her food.

scrolls2Cheesy lunchbox scrolls

Yield : 10 

What you will need :

  •  1 ½ cups plain flour (I used spelt)
  •  1 ½ cups wholemeal flour (I used spelt)
  •  3 teaspoons baking soda
  •  1 pinch Salt and cracked black pepper
  •  60 grams chilled butter, chopped
  •  ¾ cup milk
  •  3 tablespoons Mrs Balls Chutney (or whatever chutney floats your boat)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 rashers of bacon, diced
  • 2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs or thyme
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  •  1 ½ packed cups grated cheese
  • 1/2 zucchini grated
  •  Extra milk, for brushing (may require more)

scrollsWhat you will need to do :

Preheat oven to 210°C

Fry off your bacon until cooked and yummy. Set aside to cool.

Quick-whisk the flour (don’t forget my whisk trick, just whisk it! Place the flour into a bowl and give it a good whisk to aerate and remove lumps. My cheats’ version of sifting)

Add baking powder, salt and pepper and herbs in a bowl and add the butter then using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles rough breadcrumbs. Toss in your chopped spring onion.

Make a well in the centre. Combine the milk with ½ cup water and pour the liquid into the well. Using a flat bladed knife, cut through the flour mixture until it comes together as a rough dough. If it’s too dry, add a little more water a teaspoon at a time.

Tip the dough onto a work surface dusted with flour and knead lightly until it can form a ball. Don’t overwork it. Roll out the dough to a rectangle approximately 30 x 40cm in size.

Mix your tomato paste and chutney together and smear over the entire surface, then sprinkle with cheese, cooled bacon and grated zucchini.

Roll up to form a big cigar. Slice the roll into pieces approximately 2cm wide and place scrolls so they are touching each other on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Brush each scroll with a little extra milk

Chuck them in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through and crunchy. If the scrolls start to brown too quickly cover with foil
.

Cool on a wire rack then break apart.

kiki's first day of kindy

Supermarket mayhem and spelt hot cross buns

22 Mar spelt cranberry hot cross buns

spelt hot cross bun ingredientsPeople with no children really don’t understand the pain that is grocery shopping with children.

They cruise blissfully up and down the aisles, maybe gently comparing products, reading labels and chatting on their phone. Parking their damned trolley in the middle of everything as they dawdle.

Every time I enter the supermarket with my two kids I feel like I’m on an episode of It’s a Knockout, or maybe one of those wacky Japanese game shows where a massive flesh eating lizard will bite your arse if you’re too slow.

I wish I was more organised and a meal planning type person but I’m not. I never know what I want to eat three days in advance so I end up spending a lot of time at the supermarket. I’m there at least three times a week on average.

The staff at my local know us by name, and I often ponder the fact that I’m there more regularly than them.

They’ve helped me find my lost children, watched me lose my shit, seen me forget my wallet after scanning a trolley load, and watched D Man ride the Guide Dog Association dog wearing Raybans and a smile.

I’m finding the usual mayhem has doubled or tripled now that there are shiny wrapped Easter eggs lurking down every aisle just waiting for chubby hands to knock over the display.

Which is imminent, no doubt.

spelt hot cross bun dough provingAnd will be as embarrassing as the penis in the meat department, I’m sure.

As patient and lovely as my local supermarket may be, I do have one complaint about them.

They don’t make great hot cross buns….. in fact, they don’t actually bake any on site, and by the time I get to the measly table stocking them there are only fruitless or chocolate chips ones left.

spelt hot cross bun makeshift piping bagFruitless hot cross buns are not the real deal, and neither, my friends, are chocolate chip.

However, if you’re looking for real deal hot cross buns, these are the shizzle.

They’re a little heavier than the traditional, you could use plain flour if you wanted, but we just fell in love with them and I’ll make these babies all year long.

Easter Schmeaster.

spelt cranberry hot cross bunsWhat you will need : 

    • 2 1/2  cups wholemeal spelt flour
    • 2 1/2 cups plain spelt flour
    • 1/4 cup caster sugar
    • 2 teaspoons yeast
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1 teaspoon allspice
    • a few grinds of black pepper
    • 1 1/2  cups sultanas
    • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
    • finely grated zest of one orange
    • 1 egg

300ml milk

  • 100g butter

For the glaze :

  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

What you will need to do :

Set aside 3 tablespoons of plain spelt flour to make your crosses with and combine the rest in a large bowl with your wholemeal flour. Give it a quick whisk to get any lumps out.

Combine with fruit, sugar, yeast, spices, salt and orange zest. Stir through.

Pop your chopped up butter and milk on the stove and warm gently until the butter has melted. You only want your milk to be just above luke warm, not hot.

Make a well in your flour mix, crack in your egg and add your milk and give it a good stir to mix together.

Turn it out onto a well floured surface and knead, baby, knead, until it’s nice and smooth. Probably looking at no less than 7-10 minutes.

Lightly oil and clean bowl and put your dough in and cover with a clean tea towel and place somewhere warm for 40 minutes or until about double in size.

Knock it back and knead again, then cut into 12 equal pieces and shape into balls. Place them into an oiled square baking tray and cover again, leaving for a further 40 minutes. Once more they should about double in size.

Preheat oven to 220C.

Mix remaining flour with 1/4 water and make a smooth paste. Using a piping bag with tiny nozzle or a sandwich bag with the corner cut out pipe on your crosses. Mine were a bit manly but rustic is good.

Pop into oven for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 200C and bake for a further 10-15 minutes until golden brown. They should sound hollow when tapped.

To make your glaze combine the sugar, spices and 1/4 cup of water and stick onto a medium heat in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and leave to simmer for 1-2 minutes, not stirring. Brush glaze over buns straight from oven.

spelt cranberry hot cross bunsThese are best eaten the day they’re made with lashing of butter. The following day they’re great toasted, and the day after that……

Italian Bread and Butter Pudding. The recipe for the pudding is in my book, not on the blog.

If you have the book, check it out, if you don’t…. what are you doing???

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All head to the Holsby Shop right now and receive both the hard copy, and the ebook, plus my new mini ebook A Bit On The Side.

If you like what you’re reading why not like my Facebook page now or subscribe via email, to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.

The edge of Nowhere and Raspberry and Passionfruit Scones

13 Feb raspberry and passionfruit scones

raspberry and passionfruit scone ingredients

My Dad is a fairly quiet sort of a guy.

Actually, not that’s entirely accurate. He’s intelligent, charming, chatty and after a few drinks leans towards a tad rowdy (I’m speaking of the tree this apple fell from after all) so perhaps one ought not describe him as quiet.

In a little house on the edge of Nowhere my Dad lives a fairly quiet sort of life.

He has his routines.

He potters about quite happily in his garden and whiles away hours reading book after book whilst listening to the tick tock of his mantle clock as gulls gently call him from the bay.

There’s a cafe up a very sheer hill that he walks to and chats with the girls when he feels like it, but mostly his company is seagulls and the odd seal, dolphin or whale.

Quiet.

Peaceful.

And then came Hurricane Holsby.

Instead of squawking gulls he has fighting toddlers.

Gone is the gentle lap of the tide on the shore, and it is replaced by elephant like stomping up and down and down and up his hall and the Peppa Pig opening score.

The gentle buzzing of bumble bees cannot be heard over the incessant farting, crying, fighting and giggling… and that’s just me.

I try to stay on it, but his neat little house doesn’t know what hit it.

Kiki insists on downing trou and peeling off her nappy (and then running around with her leggings around her ankles in that totally Monty Python-esque waddle), so there are nappies and the odd wee strewn about on the floor…. today I barely saved the Persian from a nugget.

I know sometimes it all gets a bit much for the poor man, but for the most part, I know he flippin’ loves it.

These babies are bringing a life to the ol’ boy that I rejoice in watching.

kids at whangareiI’m shit at relaxing so I’m finding new bush tracks to run, and I accidentally ran up a mountain twice. It was truly exhilarating once I caught my breath.

Mount Aubrey, WhangareiI’m writing a lot and I’m baking up a storm.

Banana, Dark Chocolate and Carrot Bread, and these scones. Too much to eat, but I’m giving it a crack.

These are inspired by Bill Granger’s Blueberry Breakfast muffins but he uses cream where I use yoghurt.

Any berry would work and just make it up from there, cowboys.

raspberry and passionfruit sconesWhat you will need : 

  • 250 g (9 oz/2 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 100 g cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup passionfruit swirled yoghurt (or whatever floats your boat)
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
  • a little milk for glazing

What you will need to do :

Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Pulse the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a food processor until well combined. Add the butter and pulse until it is roughly chopped in and the texture of breadcrumbs.. Tip into a bowl

And mix in the eggs and cream with a knife. Gently mix in the berries with your hands.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and press into a 15 cm square. Cut into quarters and then cut each quarter in half. Place on the baking tray and brush with the egg and milk glaze. Bake for 15–20 minutes or until golden. Serve warm, with lashings of butter.

raspberry and passionfruit sconesCook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All  head to the Holsby Shop right now.

If you like what you’re reading why not like my Facebook page now or subscribe via email, to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.

The black lung and cranberry pistachio shortbread for what ails you.

5 Sep

cranberry and pistachio shortbread ingredientsThe first day of your toddler’s illness is actually kind of nice. I realise that this will not be a popular statement but hear me out.

Our lives are so busy, always pushing to get the kids ready and get out the door. Lunches and snacks to prepare, parks to terrorise, kindy to get to before you’re the last person to do drop off for the day and various ‘busy’ activities to do. We barely have a day at home, just chilling.
I admit it’s a tad sad that I need my kid to be under the weather for me to take it easy, but sometimes it’s a nice excuse to just play quietly at home…. which is where my initial statement comes into play.

A toddler does not want to play quietly at home.

A toddler wants to tear around, leaving a path of destruction. Perhaps you have a quiet, content child, who is happy to play quietly, or read books or watch a movie.

I do not. I have the Tasmanian Devil wrapped up in a blond angelic looking boy.

eating shortbread

more soft focus than an episode of Moonlighting.

So the first day of sick is a breath of fresh air. Kids get sick, it’s an important part of their development, acquiring their immune system. I try to roll with it.

The second day? Not as great. There’s usually been an incredibly shitty night or two’s sleep in there by now, and you’re beginning to think that, really, they should be on the up now as 24 hours has passed and most innocuous illnesses are done with the truly hairy bit by now.

The thing is, boy had a terrible cough, but we’ve kind of had coughs on and off all winter. Kiki has had one for 5 months. Ironically, I had taken her to the doctor a few days prior to this thinking she may have had pneumonia…. ’twas not she, you see. ‘Twas the little stinker sitting next to her badgering the doctor for lollies.

By the time I took him to the doctor, on day 4, he was really sick, busting fevers higher than my thermometer has ever been before and when the doctor pronounced pneumonia I admit my bottom lip got all a’quiver.

I think, although he was definitely very sick, and 100 years ago he may have died from it, pneumonia actually sounds scarier than it really is. I’m no longer afraid of illnesses that have a silent P at the front.

It’s been a long week. Thank god for modern medicine as just a few days of antibiotics and my Tassie Devil is back whipping his sister into hysterics and driving his mother up the wall.

I’m tying to keep him quiet, but I’m failing miserably.

Hadn’t been shopping and needed a little treat so I whipped up some shortbread dinosaurs for him and a wheel of shortbread for me.

No dinosaurs were harmed in the making of these cranberry and pistachio treats.

No dinosaurs were harmed in the making of these cranberry and pistachio treats.

This is a simple and delicious shortbread recipe and you can add or subtract extras at whim. I like a hint of rosewater, elderflower essence or choc chips too. Whatever takes your fancy pants.

I often make this as a tightarse gift at Christmas… cos that’s how I roll.

cranberry and pistachio shortbreadYield : 2 wheels or 1 wheel and 12 cookies

What you will need :

250g butter, softened

1/2 castor sugar

2 1/3 plain flour (I used spelt)

2 tablespoons rice flour

1/4 cup cranberries

1/4 cup pistachio nuts, chopped roughly

What you will need to do :

Preheat oven to 180C

Line 2 trays, or round cake tins with baking paper, or grease with butter.

Beat butter in a small bowl with an electric beater (cos I’m old fashioned like that, no KitchenAid or Thermomix in sight….. cos I’m povo), then add sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy.

Work in flours gradually to form dough. Knead for 5 minutes until smooth and buttery.

Divide in 1/2 and pat one into a round, and roll the other and cut shapes with cookie cutters. Place shapes onto tray.

Make the round into an 18cm circle, and pinch the edges. Stab all over with a fork and then mark wedges with a knife without cutting all the way through.

Bake for 10 minutes then reduce to 150C for 40 minutes for the round, and pull the cookies out ofter about another 5-10 minutes, when they are golden.

When cool, dust with icing sugar.

Seriously makes you feel so much better, especially consume with a cup of tea (or a martini).

it's not easy to take food shots under these conditions

it’s not easy to take food shots under these conditions

cranberry pistachio shortbread

The Thing That Couples Fight Most About and the Best Muff Ever.

11 Aug

Apple Carrot and Ginger crumble muffinsI read an article the other day entitled ‘The Thing More Couples Fight About Than Anything Else’ or some such, and I clicked through expecting to see some of the top suspects peering back at me. I thought I’d see a little financial tiff, or perhaps a chore eruption, or maybe even a differing opinion on parenting, but you know what life changing event this article was referring to?

Renovations.

Many of you, i.e. those not about to renovate their bathroom in T minus 7 days, would probably have skimmed the piece of trash article and gone on your merry way, but being as I’m in the ‘other’ category I thought I’d have a little read, accept it as gospel, and freak myself out for the impending ablution room face lift.

I imagine if we had been stealing happy moments comparing tiles and taps, catching glimpses of ourselves in showroom mirrors laughing gaily at each other and having sneaky public bum squeezes, the article wouldn’t have resonated worth a damn, but being as the cracks have already started to show before we even buy a tile then I’m inclined to wonder if perhaps said article holds a touch of merit.

Alas, I’ve decided I must disregard this journalistic trash and forge ahead with the tunnel visioned view of my sparkly new bathroom.

We are stronger than renovations. If we can do toddlers, and triathlons, we can handle a bit of wall rendering and plumbing, right?

Right???

Apple Carrot and Ginger crumble muffinsI got myself a bit low over the whole business and really wanted to eat large amounts of cake to settle my nerves. I’ve always been more carrot than chocolate when it comes to cake, but I also didn’t want to undo ALL the good work I’ve been doing at the gym.

These muffins are possibly the best muffins I’ve not only made, but eaten. I was trying to harness apple, carrot and ginger goodness, but kept fantasising about crumble tops and then these were born.

Not too naughty, not too difficult and in my tummy in under an hour….. all four of them. Woops.

Apple Carrot and Ginger crumble muffins

Apple Carrot and Ginger Crumble Muffs

Yield : 12 large or 16 medium muffins

  • 1 cup white spelt flour
  • 1 cup wholemeal spelt flour (if you don’t have these you can just use 2 cups of plain flour)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1/4 cup glace ginger, finely chopped
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 125g butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 3/4 cup milk

For crumble topping

  • 2 tablespoons LSA
  • 2 tablespoons rolled oats
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 180C, and line your muffin tray with patty cases.

Put all dry ingredients into a bowl and mix to combine, add fruit, carrot and ginger and stir through.

Add your wet ingredients. Mix well and spoon into your muffin cases in your tray.

For topping, rub all together to create a crumbly texture and sprinkle on top of each muffin.

Bake for about 20 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.

OMG, nom nom nom. Eat while warm. Seriously. Then eat the rest cold.

Apple Carrot and Ginger crumble muffins

 

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Friending, Unfriending and Biscuits with Friends

23 Jun kiki eating cookies

Spiced Sultana Porridge CookiesI made two new friends recently. People that I think are really cool.

They’re funny, and smart, and they have similar values to me. All the qualities I look for in a friend.

We don’t actually know each other, not really, but when I saw the little friend request icon on the left hand corner of my page I felt like the first girl picked for the basketball team. I felt a little bit popular.

Conversely, when someone unfriends me, it can be quite deflating, and leave me wondering what I did wrong.

I’ve been unfriended a few times. I rub people the wrong way sometimes, you know, being big mouth and all.

The friends figure rises and falls, and it’s often hard to pinpoint who’s disappeared from your scope. The one time someone I actually cared about unfriended me, I thought it was a pretty loud way to make her statement. We had had an altercation, and now she didn’t want social contact with me anymore.

She didn’t care how witty or quippy I may be.

I was dumped.

Recently, someone in my outer circle said a couple of things, a couple of times, that really got under my skin and in anger I clicked the unfriend button hovering beside her name.

I thought we’d disappear from each others news feeds and that would be it… except she called me on it. She had no idea that I’d been offended so imagined I’d had accidental ham fingers or some such.

I explained the situation, and her feelings were hurt, and I felt terrible. I hate upsetting people.

Did I overreact? Maybe, but at the time I felt justified. I had been hurt by careless words.

Then I realised how incredibly highschool this whole Facebook ‘like’ process is.

spiced Sultanas cookies and cookie monster

There was a time where I collected FB friends like bottle tops. The more the better. I didn’t care how random, how obscure, how remote the connection, I wanted to be connected. I became a voyeur of the highest order and I spent (SPEND) hours peeping in the windows of people’s lives. Not people I actually wish to talk to.

God, no.

Just watch.

From afar.

Not their real lives either, of course, just the representations of themselves. Their branding. Their shopfronts.You can sell yourself and your life however you want. We’ve all become spectacular at one liners.

Well…… not all.

I heard someone say recently that unfriending was akin to cyber bullying, but it made me think how sad it was that we see Facebook as our be all and end all to connection.

I started to think that if I didn’t want to actually speak to someone, like EVER, than perhaps collecting them as a specimen was a strange, time wasting, pastime. I could spend the five minutes wasted trawling their history by talking to someone I do wish to connect with. Someone who gives something back. Someone who fills my energy pots instead of sucks them.

I had a mega friend cull in the wake of this. I ditched over 100 people from my friend list. Some of whom, whenever they popped into my feed, annoyed me anyway.

In truth, I could probably cull 100 more.

People I met once on a night out. People from school that I wasn’t even friends with at the time, and still now we have no common interests. A friend of a friend that one time I nearly…..you get the picture.

I am addicted and appalled by Facebook in equal measures, and I feel like a disloyal lover even saying it, but perhaps now we use the term FRIEND so loosely that we forgotten the true value of a good one?

I took a batch of biscuits to the park today to catch up with someone I don’t see enough. As our kids played happily in the sun, laughing and getting dirty with each other, we talked about our lives. We discussed the truths of our lives, and not just skimmed the window dressing of our shopfronts.
That connection filled my proverbial cup, and I thought once more about friendship, and where we place our precious energy.

Call your friends. If you don’t wish to commit to a chat because talking with kids around is a freakin’ nightmare, text them. Tell them what they mean to you and help fill their energetic cup, because life empties our cups over and over and it can be hard to stay half full, instead of half empty.

spiced sultana cookiesThese biscuits have been doing the rounds of my test kitchen lately. I’ve tried different flours, no butter, Rice Bran Oil, more sugar, less sugar.

This is it. This is the perfect combo. Not too sweet, yet delicious and still in the good for you spectrum.

Spiced Sultana Cookies

Yield : about 24 good sized biscuits

What you will need :

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup puffed brown rice
  • 1 cup sultanas
  •  ½ cup chopped dates
  • 1¼ cup self raising flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice syrup or honey
  • 2 small eggs, lightly beaten
  • 130 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon raw sugar (for sprinkling)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (for sprinkling)

What you need to do :

Preheat oven to 180C

Chuck all your dry ingredients, except the teaspoon of raw sugar and cinnamon, into a bowl and stir to combine.

Make a well in the middle and add wet ingredients and mix well.

Spoon tablespoon fulls onto baking paper on a tray. Press gently with a fork so they don’t look like rock cakes.

Combine your teaspoon of sugar and cinnamon, and lightly sprinkle each cookie with a little of the mix.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden. Cool and nibble with friends.

kiki eating cookieskiki eating cookies

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A wedding cake birthday cake…. Pistachio and Rosewater Cake with White Choc Ganache

12 May pistachio and rosewater cake with white chocolate ganache

ingredients for pistachio and rosewater cakeA few years ago I discovered a cupcake that captured every one of my senses and made my cake jackpot lights and bells go nuts.

I’m not a generally store-bought cupcake kinda gal but when I walked past a sign saying pistachio and rosewater cupcake, I knew one of those puppies had my name all over it.

When it came time to organise my wedding cake I knew this baby was it. The problem was I was getting married 2500 kms away from this shop. I explained my plight, thinking maybe they’d take pity on me and allow their recipe to wing its way to my cake maker in Port Douglas, QLD… alas, they merely shook their heads and said forget about it.

 

Bastards.

They also said that this cake would never withstand being larger than a cupcake as the mixture would cave in.

Dastardly bastards. They may as well have challenged me to a sword fight at dusk.

I went to my guru of cake. I described this cake to her with words like delicate, exotic and exquisite. She had never heard of such flavours in a cake.

There was only one thing for it. Express Post.

pistachio and rosewater cake with white chocolate ganache

From the second she received the slightly sweaty, partly mooshed, icing smeared flying cupcake, she was onboard the adventure. She was dissecting it on her tongue, trying to recreate the texture and flavour. She did all that and more. She not only matched the delicate flavours, but she made it better… and then smothered it in white chocolate ganache.

Boom.

I didn’t throw a kids party for Kiki’s first birthday. I threw a late lunch feast for a few dear ones who love her to pieces. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to recreate our wedding cake. Maybe it’s a little bit weird, but I’ve actually been dying for an excuse to make it.

The beauty of it is it’s possibly the easiest cake ever. You make it in a food processor. No creaming, no sifting, no nuffing. You chuck everything in, and whizz.

Sha-wing!!

Note : This is to make one 8 inch round cake…. oh, and this batter is so freakin’ yummy, it’s addictive.

pistachio and rosewater cake with white chocolate ganache

What you will need :

For the cake - 

  • 150g shelled pistachios
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 200g castor sugar
  • 200g softened butter
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons rosewater

For the ganache - 

  • 120g white chocolate, plus a few pieces for garnish
  • 60 ml cream
  • a small handful of pistachios, chopped, for garnish

Preheat oven to 160C. Grease and line a baking tin.

Very finely grind your nuts in a food processor.
Chuck in your flour, cardamom and sugar and blend to combine. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

Tip into your tin and bake for 55 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for an hour before turning out (although apparently it’s also divine warm with cream)

Chuck your chocolate and cream into a saucepan and melt together. Leave to cool for a good few minutes before you spoon on. Spoon into the middle and gently push it towards the edge until it runs down the side.

I then melted my remaining few pieces of chocolate and smeared in onto baking paper before rolling it and setting it in the fridge. When you unfurl it you have curls and cool pieces for garnish. Chuck it on with some pistachios and you have yourself a cake that’s fit for a wedding… or a first birthday.

rosewater pistachio birthday cake

 

 

 

 

our-growing-edge-bannerHooking up with Our Growing Edge. This month’s host is Sonya, at And More Food.
Go see who’s tending their growing edge this month!

A treat amongst the boredom….Gluten-free Orange Cake with Sugar-free Chocolate Ganache

9 Apr

Gluten free orange cake with sugar free ganacheMy name is Danielle and I’m a food addict.

I rarely eat fast food, except sushi. I love good food, and I love healthy food, but it doesn’t make me less of an addict.

I’ve ascertained something in the last few weeks and that is that I’m addicted to sugar and wheat. There’s a very good reason why wheat and sugar are so addictive.

It’s because they’re yummy.

It’s because majority of the yummiest things contain one or both of them, so even when we think we’re not specifically eating sugar or wheat, you’ll probably find you are.

This makes cutting down, or giving up incredibly hard.

And boring.

So, so boring.

After two weeks of no sugar and no wheat I have drawn some conclusions.

  1. Coconut flour biscuits sweetened with banana puree should never be referred to as biscuits. I couldn’t give them to children who eat anything, and neither would adults eat them, even in the name of politeness.
  2. Stevia tastes like crap. A little in a coffee is passable, but in yoghurt, biscuits or anything edible it leaves a wacky tang on the back of your tongue that lingers like a fart in an elevator.

My girlfriend suggested I stop trying to substitute  and just get used to not having these treats in my life.

What kind of life is that?

Pass me a noose.

I’ve been like a mad scientist. I pretend I’m Heston Blumenthal on the trail of molecular gastronomy but my molecules are flour substitutes and my gastronomy is baking. Sure, there’s been some schtummers, but I have also made some delicious discoveries.

My sourdough recipe made with half gluten-free flour and half wholemeal spelt, rolled in sesame seeds before baking is a noble loaf. It could hold it’s doughy head high in Bourke Street Bakery and I bet the GF hipsters would be right into it.

Coconut flour is an awesome flavoured flour. Super low in carbs and high in protein and good fats. It’s exxy but you use only about a half as much of it. It is notoriously tricky to work with as it’s sucks moisture like a sponge. That said, I made a spicy salt and pepper crust out of it for fish, and coconut flour banana muffins?
Helllllo…..delish.
Slightly odd texture but I had my fussy 5 year old neighbour here and she scoffed two of those little puppies straight from the oven.

She usually makes Kerry Vincent, Ice Queen of Cakes, look like a pussy. She’s turned her nose up at more of my creations than she’s actually eaten. Not a word of a lie.

My piece de resistance, however, was not a new recipe. I’ve made this cake a million times, never once thinking how good it was for me. Now I know it’s practically a health food.
I would usually put a Grand Marnier cream cheese icing on it, but that would have needed too much stevia and we know how I feel about that, so I made a thick, lucious, chocolate ganache out of sugar free chocolate. Yep, diabetic chocolate.

Diabetic chocolate is sweetened with a product called maltitol and while it’s not as bad as the cancer producing aspartame, it’s probably not actually better for you than sugar.
I was just experimenting with it to see if the integrity of the ganache would be maintained with this product… and boom. Just like the real deal.

Bear in mind it was for my Easter table so I did use a little sugar in the cake but much less than usual. I didn’t eat the bunnies on top. They’re full freight chocolate.
Forgive the lack of photos but I wasn’t planning on blogging it but after I put this image on Facebook, my wall went nuts for the recipe……

gluten free orange cake with sugar free ganache

And what my peeps want, my peeps get.

What you will need :

For orange cake -

  • 4 oranges
  • 6 eggs
  • 100g sugar  plus 1/2 teaspoon of stevia (if you’re not watching your sugar intake, you can just use 200g sugar)
  • 250g almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

For ganache -

  • 100g sugar free chocolate, broken up
  • 100ml cream

Boil your whole oranges in water for about 1 hour. Drain and cool. When they’re cool, chop off their ends and cut in half to disgard any visible pips.

Puree the fruit in a blender until it is a thick liquid.

Preheat oven to 18oC.

Beat your eggs and your sugar (and sweetener) until creamy, then add your orange puree, almond meal and baking powder.

Place into a greased and lined tin. Make sure it’s a big enough tin because it’s quite a large cake.

Pop into your oven for about an hour or until a skewer comes out clean.

Cool in the tin. Then transfer to a plate for serving.

Pop your cream on a moderate stove in a heavy based saucepan. Add your chocolate and stir until it is all melted. Leave to cool for 5-10 minutes before pouring on your cake.

I start with it in the middle and gently push it out to the edges so it can dribble down in a most enticing fashion.

Iboting with EssentiallyJess cos she’s da bomb….

Self Portrait Birthday Cake… cos I’m weird like that.

24 Mar

self portrait cake ingredients (1 of 1)I  can’t believe it’s been a year since I wrote my first post. I just reread my ‘about’ and realised I must update it, as it feels like it was written by someone else.

I guess in many ways it was. I’ve had a hell of a year, don’t you reckon?

After poodling around and seeing some truly awful cakes online, I promised you I would try my hand at cake decorating to celebrate Keeping Up With The Holsbys birthday…..nothing beautiful, I promised.

Something fugly.

Well, after I threw out to you, my peeps, I got a few responses worth mentioning.

A water birth was suggested.

As I had promised no suggestion was too weird, I don’t want to point any fingers, but I did think perhaps my cake decorating chops weren’t ready to wrap around this one.

A Tony Abbott cake was definitely  unappetising, although the ears alone would have provided cake for a small African nation. Sadly, he would have left a bit of a crappy taste, but hey, let’s not talk politics so early in our relationship.

Tony Abbott's ears

Not tasty…..

A lap top? Julia Gillard?

The suggestions were not many, but certainly very varied.

When Emily from Have a Laugh on Me suggested self portrait cake, I shot it down in flames.

That’s just silly, I thought…..

I fashioned myself upon this image.....

I fashioned myself upon this image…..

…..and then my megalomania kicked in and I remembered that silly is my middle name.

This cake is most certainly not fugly. In fact, it’s kind of awesome.
It is definitely on the weirder side of awesome though.

Carving me up like a Christmas ham and feeding me to loved ones, smacks of Silence of the Lambs or something equally macabre.
My body was gone and just my head was in a container in the fridge…….. wow.

I don’t think I need to go into too much detail on how to make a Mrs H cake, as I doubt many of you will give this particular cake a crack, however, I do have a few tips if you should hanker to make baked goods in your own likeness.

Ummm, yeah, nah

Ummm, yeah, nah.

Life-like was never gonna fly, for two reasons.

1. I couldn’t fit a life-size me in the fridge without cleaning out the various unrecognisable furry things that lurk in the back, and that was never going to happen.

2. I don’t quite have the requisite decorating chops.

So, with these in mind, I chose a photo that had some recognisable accessories that I could caricature.

To create this cake I used a portion and a half of my favorite cake recipe. I made a big rectangle to carve and a small bowl-shaped one to cut in half for my boobs.

After the cake had cooled, I popped it in the freezer overnight for ease of shaping.
Then I cut out the shape I wanted.

nice cans.

nice cans.

I used cream cheese butter icing. I made a big white batch and just coloured different portions as required using red, yellow and blue food colouring. For the fringe and glasses I actually added some powdered drinking chocolate to the icing. I was hoping to make and pipe ganache, but I was up against the clock.
For a few moments I felt like I was in a surreal episode of Masterchef where Zumbo had set The Fugly Cake Challenge.

It was a fun project. When my friend arrived to help me film the Holsby birthday video, her first response was -

You have way too much time on your hands.

Au contraire.

Do you want a piece of me?

Do you want a piece of me?

I’m linking this creation up with Our Growing Edge monthly foodie link up.
You still have a week to get your submissions in and I’m loving what we have so far!

I’m totally loving finding new foodies to follow and share fantasy meals with!

If you need to refresh on what Our Growing Edge is about check this out, or this from it’s fabbo creator, Bunny. Eats. Design.
What’s floating your food boat this month? Hurry up and share it with us all.

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Do you want a piece of me? Holsbys birthday video.

22 Mar

Some of you may know that I used to be an actress.

Now, all of you can see why I gave it up.

You may also note, I have not given up being a total idiot.

Somethings will never change.

I mean it from the bottom of my heart. Your comments, and clicks, emails and love, mean more to me than I can express.

I’m also well chuffed I stuck something out for a year.

Happy Birthday KUWTH. You’re now approaching toddlerhood.

Linking up with WithSomeGrace, to flog myself silly. Go see what Mama G is up to this week.

Whoring around this week with Flash Blog Friday, just so I can flash while I flog. Check out the FBF hostess with the mostess at Twinkle In The Eye

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