Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Food for Thought

Dessert is probably the most important stage of the meal, since it will be the last thing your guests remember before they pass out all over the table. The Anarchist Cookbook

The only reason my husband and I recently bought a dining suite was so that we could hold dinner parties. I don't tend to plan them much, but I do like to have an amazing dessert in mind to finish off the night with a sigh...usually teetering on regret at our own gluttony, but mainly out of relief that there is nothing more to come that we cannot resist!
I discovered this recipe a while ago, and as we had the in-laws around last night, I attempted the surprisingly easy Rocky Road Ice-cream Tart. Anyone would think I was trying to butter up my father-in-law. Apparently Rocky Road is another of his favourites!
This recipe easily serves 8 people. Be sure to defrost it for a few minutes before cutting!


1.25 litres vanilla ice-cream
250g plain chocolate biscuits, coarsely broken
125g unsalted butter, melted
250g marshmallows, chopped
100g chocolate buttons
12 funsized Twix chocolate bars or 12 Ferrero Rocher, chopped
100g dark chocolate, chopped
160ml (2/3 cup) pouring cream
60ml  (1/4 cup) Frangelico (optional)

Place ice-cream in a large bowl and refrigerate until softened.

Meanwhile, process broken biscuits in a food processor until resembling fine breadcrumbs.Combine with the melted butter until both ingredients binds.

Gently press this mixture into a 3.5cmx25cm fluted tart tin. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill.

Remove the ice-cream from refrigerator and fold through the marshmallows and chocolate buttons.

Arrange the broken Twix or Ferrero Rocher over the base of the tart. Pour the ice-cream over the top and smooth, pushing the ice-cream mixture to the edges of the tart. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze overnight or until firm.

To make the sauce to top this dessert with, place cream, liqueur (if desired) and chocolate in a medium saucepan over a medium heat and cook for 5 minutes until smooth. Serve warm over tart.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Clean Kitchen is a Sign of a Wasted Life...

...or so they say. I like to think its true, (or hope it is!) as my kitchen almost always looks like a bomb has hit it when I'm cooking. Needless to say, I am happier when my kitchen is clean, unless I'm in the middle of baking.
One of my pet peeves however, is the recipe that requires the use of all bowls, pots and pans that you possess, and makes an even bigger mess than need be. Often if the recipe is re-ordered, you can save a lot of time cleaning extra aftermath at the sink. Honestly, I don't have that many spare bowls for each individual ingredient to sit in and look pretty. Sometimes you have to re-order the recipe, or improvise when it comes to cooking gear. In fact, in this recipe, I used a wine bottle as a rolling-pin and a small asian-style tea cup as a cookie cutter.
A note of warning though: this recipe is a bit messy and fiddly, but well worth the trouble! (and requires a lot of cleaning afterwards)
But...there is little so satisfying as replicating a childhood crave, oh the nostalgia! Little did I know when I made these delicious Wagon-Wheels, that they are one of my father-in-laws favourites. When my husband came home and saw what I had made, there soon after was a call to his father, and before you knew it,  there was a knock on the door!


250g butter
200g caster sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
375g plain flour
1/2 cup strawberry jam
2 cups marshmallows
2 tbsp. lemonade
400g dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 170C, and line oven trays with baking paper.
Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl for 5 minutes until light and creamy. Beat in the egg and the yolk, then gently fold in the flour until a soft dough forms.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, approximately 6mm thick. Using an 8cm round biscuit cutter, make 24 discs. Arrange discs on the trays and freeze for 5 minutes. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden.
Put marshmallows and lemonade in a pan on the stove to melt, whisking continuously until liquidised for approximately 5 minutes.Remove from heat.
Put jam in microwave on high for 30 seconds or until boiling.
Brush undersides of the cooked biscuits with hot jam, and wedge together with a spoon of marshmallow. Set aside to cool. Dip biscuits in melted chocolate  to cover completely. Cool thoroughly before serving.

Notes: alternately, for marshmallow filling, slice marshmallows into thirds and melt between hot jam-spread biscuits. This creates less mess, plus minimises the stickiness and cleanup time in the kitchen. If you do go with the marshmallow melting, don't worry about sticky overflow, the chocolate covers any mess nicely.

Monday, September 20, 2010

If You Want Breakfast in Bed...Sleep in the Kitchen

Whether he knows it or not, my husband is my inspiration and motivation in the kitchen. Before I met him, I found little joy in cooking for myself alone. My satisfaction at my own successes was the size of a crumb without someone to share it with.
Now I love being in the kitchen. Since I have been married, I feel, through him, I have come  such along way. I have come so far as to even venture from my warm covers now and then on a rainy weekend to make him breaky in bed!  It's the only way to start a good weekend!
Recently for a lazy, late Saturday breakfast, I threw the idea of a healthy meal out the window and made pancakes for a treat. You can add your choice of topping, as this recipe is great for both sweet and savory taste buds. Scrumptious and ever so easy!


1 cup Self-Raising Flour
1 cup milk
1 egg

Combine ingredients in a medium sized bowl and mix until combined and form a batter.
Heat a little oil or butter in a large fry-pan over a medium heat.
Ladle some of the mixture onto the frypan and cook. When bubbles rise and burst on the top of the batter, its time to turn the pancake to cook on the other side, until light and golden.
Serve with your choice of topping. 

Bon Appitite!

Friday, September 17, 2010

I don't even butter my bread; I consider that cooking...

What, you cant cook? You poor unfortunate. The good news is it really is just as simple as following a recipe. Easy peasy.
Before I got married, I knew I had to find a man who could had the basic culinary skills, loved being in the kitchen and had a taste for the savouries (so he wouldnt eat my sweets). 
I found him. His food, through my stomach, was the way to my heart. I like to think we make the perfect team--he is the experimental "lets put this and that in", and I tend to play it a little safer and go by the book...throwing in my own artistic splash at the end.  (and since, I have unfortunately converted him to sweets..which means I have to share).
Still, I like to think of myself as an experimental cook-in-the-making, with a passion for the sweets and attempting to make simple edibles look impressive. Its amazing what a drizzle of chocolate or a sprinkle of icing sugar can do, if you just have the ideas. My aim is to inspire the basic cook or non-cook with exciting recipes that look and taste get the apron on!


1 Egg white
1/4 cups caster sugar
your choice of icing

Preheat oven to 150C. Line a baking tray with nonstick paper.
Separate the egg and beat the white until stiff peaks form when electric beater is lifted.
Add sugar gradually, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat well after each addition, ensuring that the sugar dissolves. To test this, take a little between your fingertips  to feel if the texture is smooth or gritty. Beat until thick, smooth and glossy, and stiff peaks form.
Pipe into small peaks on the tray. Bake for 8-10 minutes. 
Cool in oven with door ajar.
Wedge like-sized meringues together with your choice of icing, chocolate or lemon curd.