Wednesday, 26 April 2017
Friday, 21 April 2017
Tuesday, 18 April 2017
It's probably very uncool of me to brag about my sons, but I'm going to anyway. My boys have recently returned home from Western Australia where they represented Victoria in the Australian Junior Beach Volleyball Championships. Not only did they deserve a massive chocolate cake to come home to after a huge week of competition, but it was Joeys birthday the day before they left and I didn't get a chance to make him a birthday cake. This epic cake says "Congratulations, Welcome Home, Happy Birthday and I Love You". I hope they got the message.
Chocolate Fudge and Salted Caramel Layer Cake
For the Cake:
250g unsalted butter, chopped
300g dark chocolate (70%), chopped
2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
220g caster sugar
85g light brown sugar
150g plain flour
For the Salted Caramel:
60g unsalted butter
220g caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt flakes
For the Whipped Chocolate Ganache:
300g dark chocolate (70%), chopped
300g milk chocolate, chopped
Black salt for sprinkling
Make the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Grease 2 x 20cm cake pans with cooking oil spray and line the base and sides with baking paper. Set aside.
Put the butter and chocolate into a medium saucepan over low heat and stir until melted. Remove from the heat, add the cocoa powder and milk and stir to combine. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs and both sugars for about 15 minutes, or until they have tripled in volume. Add the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Reduce to the speed to low, add the flour and whisk until just combined.
Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake for 30 - 35 minutes, or until they feel set in the middle when gently pressed with a finger. Allow to cool completely in the pans, then refrigerate for an hour before removing from the pans.
Make the Salted Caramel:
Put the cream and butter into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Put the sugar and water into a separate medium saucepan and place over high heat. Cook, stirring with a metal spoon until just starting to boil. Stop stirring (and don't stir again until you add the butter mixture), and continue cooking until the temperature reaches 180°C on a sugar thermometer. The mixture should be a golden brown at this point. Remove from the heat and quickly add the butter mixture and a thin stream, stirring continuously.
Put the pan back on a low heat and cook for 5 minutes or until the caramel has thickened slightly. Remove from the heat, add the salt and stir to combine. Set aside.
Make the Whipped Chocolate Ganache:
Put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Set aside.
Put the cream into a saucepan and heat over medium heat until it is just below boiling point. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and leave for 2 minutes. Stir until smooth.
Place the ganache over a bowl of iced water. Whisk gently for 3 - 5 minutes or until slightly thickened to a spreadable consistency.
Assemble the Cake:
Use a serrated knife to cut the cakes in half horizontally. Place a base layer of cake, cut-side up, onto a cake plate. Spread with a quarter of the ganache and drizzle with a third of the salted caramel. Repeat twice more and top with the final layer of cake, cut-side down. Spread the remaining ganache onto the top of the cake and sprinkle with black salt.
Saturday, 8 April 2017
Remember the other day when I said that I make pasta to relax? Well, I also bake bread for the same reason. That makes me officially odd, right?
465g bakers flour
10g fine sea salt
5g fresh yeast
280g lukewarm water
340g active sourdough starter
Put the flour and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the water and the starter. Mix on low for about 3 minutes, or until a dough has formed. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for 45 minutes.
*Punch the dough down, knead it briefly in the bowl and cover it with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for a further 45 minutes.
Repeat the above step* one more time.
Lightly oil a work surface and turn the dough out onto it. Knead briefly and shape into a smooth ball and cover with a damp tea towel. Leave for 30 minutes.
Cut the dough into 4 even portions. Working with one portion at a time, flatten each piece out into a rough rectangle. Starting with the long edge, roll the dough tightly into a sausage shape. Using the palms of your hand, roll the ends into points.
Lay a tea towel out on a bench and flour it generously. Lay the baguettes on the tea towel, pinching the towel up between each piece of dough to keep them separated. Leave to rise for about 30 minutes, until puffy.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Gently place the baguettes onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Use a serrated knife to make four diagonal slashes in each. Use a spray bottle to squirt some water into the oven before the baguettes go in and then immediately turn the temperature down to 190°C. Slide the baguettes in and bake for about 20 minutes, turning the tray around after 15 minutes.
Thursday, 6 April 2017
Some people read a book or go shopping or watch TV to relax, I make pasta. I also make my own cheese to go in said pasta, but I'm nuts. If you're not nuts like me, you can use a store bought creamy goat cheese.
Homemade Goat Cheese Tortellini with a Simple Fresh Tomato Sauce
adapted from here
For the Cheese: (if making)
1 litre goats milk
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
For the Tortellini:
350g potatoes (I used 3 medium Dutch Creams)
A god pinch of sea salt
150g baker's flour
For the Sauce:
2 tablespoon olive oil
30g unsalted butter
4 large high quality tomatoes, peeled, desseded and cut into small dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
Finely grated Parmesan
Handful small basil leaves
Make the Cheese:
Put the goat milk and salt into a non-reactive saucepan and heat until it reaches 85°C. Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice, stir to combine and set aside for 5 minutes until curdled.
Line a sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth and strain the milk. Discard to whey. Put the curds into the refrigerator and leave them to continue to drain until thick (an hour or so), and chilled.
Once chilled, mash with a fork until creamy and spoon it into a piping bag. Set aside.
Make the Tortellini:
Put the potatoes into a pan of salted water. Bring to the boil and cook for about 20 minutes until tender. Drain and when cool enough to handle, peel and push them through a ricer into a bowl. Add the salt and flour. Mix with your hands until it becomes a dough, adding a little more flour if it's too sticky. It's best to work with the dough while it is still warm.
Divide the dough in half and pop one half back into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap to keep it warm and to stop it from drying out. Take the other had and roll it using a pasta machine. Put it through the first (widest) setting a few times (dusting with a little flour and folding into thirds between each roll). Once it's smooth and elastic, you can start to roll it to make it thinner. Put it through the next setting down (thinner) and so on until you get to the third last setting. It will be a little thicker than egg pasta.
Lay the pasta sheet on a floured board and trim the edges. Cut the sheet in half lengthwise and then into small squares. I made mine 6cm x 6cm as I find that size easy to work with, but you can make them the size you want, as long as they are square.
Pipe a blob of cheese into the top left-hand corner of each square, fold the bottom right-hand corner over to cover the cheese and press the edges together to create a triangle. Pick the triangle up and with the points facing up, fold the bottom under (the point will still be facing up). Take the two long ends at the bottom and wrap them around your index finger and press the ends together to seal. I'm hoping the photos above help to demonstrate the folding technique (if not, youtube lol).
Place the tortellini on a baking sheet sprinkled with flour.
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Drop the tortellini into the boiling water and cook until they rise to the surface. This will only take a matter of minutes. Scoop them out using a slotted spoon and gently add them to the pan of melted butter, oil and garlic (Below*). Reserve some of the pasta cooking water.
Make the Sauce:
*Put the butter, oil and garlic into a large frying pan and heat on medium-low. Once the butter has melted and you start to smell the garlic, add the cooked tortellini. Coat the pasta in the flavoured oil, then add the diced tomatoes. Cook for a further 1 or 2 minutes. You don't to cook the freshness out of the tomatoes, you just want to warm them. Season to taste with sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper. Add a spoonful of the reserved pasta cooking water to emulsify the sauce.
Remove from the heat, sprinkle with grated Parmesan and basil leaves and drizzle with olive oil.
Wednesday, 5 April 2017
I've run out of excuses for why I make so many versions of banana bread, so I won't bother trying to give you one. Just know that only when they stop growing bananas, will I stop making banana bread.
Peanut Butter Cup Banana Bread
120ml sunflower oil
225g light muscovado sugar
225g self-raising flour, sifted
10 mini peanut butter cups, chopped
70 smooth peanut butter, divided
Preheat the oven to 180°. Spray a 23 cm x 13 cm loaf pan with cooking oil spray and line it with baking paper (or a paper liner- best things ever invented). Set aside.
Put the bananas in a food processor and puree until smooth. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar and eggs until combined. Add 50g of the peanut butter and whisk until incorporated. Using a large metal spoon, fold in the flour. Add the banana puree and buttermilk and fold until combined. Add the shopped peanut butter cups fold until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Put the remaining 20g of peanut butter into a small pan and warm over a low heat until runny. Dollop over the top of the batter and use a skewer to swirl, creating a marbled effect.
Bake for about 1 hour 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Start checking the cake at the 1 hour mark and cover loosely with foil if it starts to brown too quickly. Leave in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire to cool completely.