Chocolate Fudge Cake

This past weekend was one of those weekends that are just a little bit too crazy. Adrian was organising a Regional Youth Rally at Church and with a friday night program the evening before we didn’t end up getting into bed until 2am Saturday morning. The rally was fantastic but needless to say I wasn’t surprised to find Adrian dead to the world when I called him to lunch at about 2pm that afternoon!

IMG_4684

It’s weekends like these that require some very necessary self medication in the form of sugar and chocolate. What better way to give a much needed boost to my worn out Pastor husband than a delicious fudgey chocolate cake and this fudgey chocolate cake is unapolagetically opulent. Its a very simple recipe and within the hour our serotonin levels had peaked with the sugary goodness. What better way to relax on a Sabbath afternoon then with a steaming hot cuppa and deliciously decadent choccy cake.

The best part is enjoying the leftovers now with a nice little cup of tea.

Chocolate Fudge Cake
(adapted from Women’s Weekly Classic Cakes)

Ingredients:
250g Dark Chocolate
125g Butter
150g Caster Sugar
100g Plain Flour
2/3 tsp baking powder
4 eggs, lightly beaten

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180 and line a lamington tin (20x30cm) with baking paper.
2. Melt butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water.
3. Combine chocolate mixture in remaining ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium until smooth and changed colour.
4. Bake for 20 minutes and allow to stand for 5.

Just what you need on a cool winters arvo…

Advertisements

Curry Lentil Soup

It’s one of those cold wintery nights, the ones that call for a pair of ugg boots, a snuggly blanket and a steamy hot bowl of soup.

IMG_4132

There’s also something very therapeutic about making soup, the monotony of chopping vegetables, the satisfaction of throwing a whole mix of things into one big pot and then sitting back as it bubbles away into a delicious muddle of curry, lentils and all things wonderful.

IMG_4129

How?
1 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, diced
Glug of oil

Fry the onion, garlic and oil until just starting to soften.

1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt

Add the different flavours and fry them off.

1 large carrot, diced
2 sticks of celery, diced

Stir through the veggies.

800g can tomatoes
6 cups water
1 cup red lentils

Put a bamix to the canned tomatoes then add to the pot with the water and lentils.
Bring it all to the boil, then let it simmer for about 30 minutes or until veggies and lentils are soft.
Blend until smooth and add salt to taste.
Serve with sour cream and coriander.

Simple. Warm. Delicious!

Brioche French Toast

I couldn’t help myself when I saw those massive loaves of beautiful golden and light brioche at the checkout… I have a major soft spot for frenchy baked goods and I decided to splurge.. After enjoying slices for breakfast with a hot coffee there was still half a loaf that needed to be “dealt” with.. I decided on some French toast… I’d had brioche French toast at Circa, a great little breakfast spot in Parramatta and fell in love so I thought I’d try my own version…

20120621-183648.jpg
It’s quite simple really! Whisk together 2 eggs with 4 tablespoons of milk and 1 tablespoon of castor sugar… This will make enough for 4 slices… Perfect for 1 though more sensible for two…
Melt a good knob of butter in a non stick pan and when it begins to bubble, on quite a high heat, dip the slices of brioche in the eggy mixture and fry until brown on either side…

20120621-183816.jpg

Meanwhile combine some castor sugar with a good deal of cinnamon and as the toast comes out of the pan coat in the cinnamon sugar… *drools*

20120621-183904.jpg

I topped with fresh strawberries but you could do a myriad of toppings… Apples and walnuts in caramel sauce… A berry compote with ricotta… Maple syrup, pecans and bananas… Poached rhubarb, mascarpone and pistachios…

20120621-183949.jpg
Or my personal favourite… Peanut butter, fresh peaches, maple syrup and whipped cream!
I think I may just go make myself another batch…
Happy baking!

Bavarian Apple Pancake

It’s one of those cold, wet and foggy kind of mornings which I love! Perfect for baking something sweet and delicious.

20120611-111518.jpg
You take some granny smith apples, which happen to be so cheap and seasonal right now. Chop them up and toss them through some cinnamon and granulated sugar. They are totally yummy just like that…

20120611-120435.jpg
Mix up your batter, and heat some butter in a heavy based pan, needs to be suitable for the oven as well…

20120611-120550.jpg
Mmmm… Butter! I bought some fancy pants Danish butter this week and was so excited to use it with this buttery pancake… Well worth it I say! Pour
In the batter and sprinkle the apples over the top. Allow the base to cook for 5 mins then pop it in a super hot oven for 10 minutes. It will look nice and brown by now and the butter will have started to bubble around the edges *drool* now dot some more of that delicious fancy butter over the top and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.

20120611-120950.jpg
Pop it back in the oven for another 10 minutes, it will brown a little more but mor importantly will puff up into a deliciously light and subtlety eggy pancake…
Caution: make sure you don’t grab the handle without a tea towel… A very painful learning curve!

Happy Baking!

A mushroom in the mail…

Not too many people would be too excited to receive a mushroom in the mail… Last Wednesday (yes it would have been last Wednesday if I hadn’t been so slack but unfortunately it was months ago now…) I was sitting innocently enough at my computer doing some work when I hear a knock at the door… Now that’s not at all unusual because we often get deliveries of different sorts for other members of the household… So when the DHL man handed me a large box with Mrs Lyndelle Peterson on the front I got quite excited! Tearing the packaging to pieces I found a bottle of oil… hmmm, how unusual, who would send me a bottle of oil? Turning it over I quickly realised that this wasn’t any type of oil… this was truffle oil… I started salivating instantly… Curious to find out where this little bundle had come from I peeled of the invoice and took a look… much to the terror of my husband who quickly tried to pull me away… but alas it was too late! I had already read the rest of the invoice… “1st Grade Truffle to follow”… I then continued to throw my hands up in the air in sheer joy smacking my husband square across the face… After seeing to his wounds I then continued to do a little victory dance around the kitchen… A TRUFFLE! I later learnt the truth… my ever so generous brother law (cudos to Brendan Peterson) who had just been for a visit had ordered the truffle in the hope that we would be able to taste it’s culinary delights together but unfortunately it arrived 2 days after he had already returned to Adelaide… bummer… but I didn’t stay sad for long you see I had a very expensive fungi to prep and cook and I new just the recipe…

Black Truffle Agnalotti with A Mushroom Broth by Jaques Reymond

So this was going to be THE truffle dish… if everyone remembers when Borders had their big closing down sales it was probably the time when we all could actually afford the books that they sold… I managed to flog of $200 worth of books for about $50 and amongst them was the coveted Cuisine de Temps by Jacque Reymond, a book I’d been drooling over for many an hour sitting in the Borders Gloria Jeans and now I owned it and also had a reason to cook form it’s exorbitant recipes…

This recipe is actually surprisingly simply and if you feel like indulging I encourage you to splurge on a truffle just to experience the taste… A few days after the oil had arrived a man in a TNT refrigerated truck pulled up with what looked like an organ donor container.. I gladly signed for it and pulled apart the mini eski to reveal not one but TWO delightful little black rocks… the smell was intoxicating and it instantly filled the house… after oohing an aaahing for a few minutes I forced myself to put them aside and focus on work… but eventually the day came when I had some time to cook them up! Basically the recipe involves roasting some potatoes, pushing them through a fine seize and adding onion sauted in cream, some hazelnut oil, some olive oil and half of one back truffle diced… throw in a bit of parsley, salt and pepper and you have a heady little filling for a bit of agnolotti…

BUT even better than the pasta would perhaps be the simplest truffle dish of all! See truffles are so pungent that they permeate absolutely everything they come in contact with (you should smell Paul’s fridge…) which is a very good thing because it means you can get maximum truffle flavour from very little effort! So before our truffle was all used up I put it into the egg carton… yes… the egg carton, along with about 4 eggs.. left it over night, cooked them up in the morning and had some delightful truffled eggs.

The verdict? That’s one tick of the bucket list… I suggest you add cooking with truffle to yours…

One week in the middle of nowhere…

Take 40 people, 2 buses, a dusty outback town, a single shower, and a mesh of ideas and personalities, get them to eat together, sleep together and share each others lives for 7 days while they minister to a restless group of kids and teenagers and you create a life changing experience… looking over my dashboard I’ve realised it’s been an awful long time since I’ve blogged… and I am a bad blogger but the situation will be rectified once I can get over the fact that I do not have to work constantly and that yes I can take time to do things I enjoy and not feel guilty because I am not useful to God or Church if I am totally burnt out… hence as of today blogging MUST become a task on my to-do list and as a result, baking also… good.. settled…

So, to my week in the middle of nowhere… Now I’m not the most super energetic outgoing and ferociously social of gals but my week at StormCo in Nyngan forced me to step far outside the bounds of what I find comfortable and add a couple of kms and then maybe just maybe you’ll understand how far out of my comfort zone it was… but outside the comfort zone lies character development and a sense of accomplishment and lifetime memories that will change you from the inside out… My week in Nyngan serving the kids through a kids club, through deep and meaningfuls, through games and laughter and general hanging out did more for me than them… selfish I know but it was an unavoidable by-product of service to others… we all come back different people… so to the baking… luckily there was a way that I could contribute to StormCo that was completely within my comfort boundaries and that was through… baking… YES! I was very delighted to learn that before every StormCo trip there is a fundraiser and this so happened to be a cake auction… recently I’d purchased some cupcake books, you may have heard of them “Hello Cupcake” and “What’s New Cupcake?” I think I talked about them in a recent blog… well maybe not so recent considering my slackness.. anyway they have a super fun and intriguing subway sandwhich cupcake that I just couldn’t pass…

Super easy and super impressive, most of the ingredients are starburst lollies rolled out with a rolling pin and cut into various shapes imitating the ingredients of a subway sandwhich… the lettuce was most impressing to me… some thin green icing tossed through a bowl of cornflakes stuck in the freezer for a few minutes and voila! lettuce! add half a hotdog roll brushed with sugar syrup and sprinkled with sesame seeds and you have yourself a not so healthy (but oh so eye candy) cupcake delight!

I am indebted to my new friend Johnno for these fantastic shots that were far better than anything that I could muster or edit… check out his blog here!

I hope I inspired to not only bake but serve!

Dark Chocolate and Plum Clafoutis…

 

I’ve been completely addicted to stone fruit recently… not just because they are naturally sweet and succulent.. but they are also very much seasonal which equals very much affordable… something that has been especially important since the move down to Sydney where grocery prices are exorbitant to say the least… luckily I had an excellent excuse to bake this week… worship ministry meeting!

 

 

 

Worship ministry is a ministry in our church that is responsible for the inspiring church services every week… and as corny as it sounds work a little bit like this tasty clafoutis… separately all the ingredients are pretty bland (except maybe the plums and chocolate)… but by bringing them all together using the right processes and finesse… equal a truly remarkable experience!

 

 

Clafoutis is originally a french dish from the Limousin region… traditionally made with dark, sweet cherries (pips left in for added flavour) this twist on a classic takes these beautiful ruby blood plums and transforms them into a concentrated little gem perched in a moussy and rich chocolate pillow… this recipe is so simple to make and yet the results are truly incredible… I expected a light sponge style cake but was surprised to cut into a spongey, thick and warm dessert with the consistency of thick double cream… this ones a keeper so get in quick while the plums are fresh and frugle…

 

Dark Chocolate and Plum Clafoutis
Adapted from: Donna Hay’s Seasons
Serves: 8

Ingredients
1/3 cup plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1/3 cup castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 cup cream
175g dark chocolate, chopped
20g butter
5 blood plums

Method

  1. Place dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix wet ingredients in a jug.
  2. Whisk the wet ingredients in the dry and stir in the dark chocolate.
  3. Melt the butter in an oven proof fry pan then fill with the batter.
  4. Slice the plums in half and top with the plums.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes or until puffed up and cooked through.

Happy Baking!