Monday, August 29, 2011

TWD - Cornmeal and Fruit Loaf

 I adore cakes that are not overly sweet and contain fruit.  This week's Tuesday with Dorie recipe, chosen by Caitlin of Engineer Baker, was Cornmeal and Fruit Loaf, and ticked all of my boxes.

This cake was light, with a bit of crunch from the cornmeal, and sweetness from fresh and dried pear.

I really enjoyed this cake and would definitely make it again.  Thanks to our host, Caitlin, for choosing this recipe.  Caitlin will have the recipe on her site, or you can find it in Dorie's book.  If you want some other views on this cake, visit the LYL section of the TWD website

Friday, August 26, 2011

Daring Bakers - Candylicious! Homemade chocolates and candies

I am a chocoholic, and I have always wanted to try making homemade chocolates, so I was pretty pleased with this month's Daring Baker's Challenge.

The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

My first choice was to make filled chocolates using tempered chocolate.  I made the passionfruit caramel given in the recipe sheet to fill my chocolates, but it was too runny to work, even though I tried.  Here is the first batch of chocolates I tried- the shells are just solid chocolate, but the handbag and shoe are simply hollow shells that I had tried to fill with the runny passionfruit caramel:

I salvaged as much chocolate as I could (it was Green and Blacks 70% - not cheap here!), and made another round of filled chocolates, this time using my homemade lemon curd:

I was happy with the gloss on my tempered chocolate.  However, wanting to experiment a little, I brushed my chocolates with lustre dust and edible glitter:

I don't think I liked the look of them as much after that!  Of course, they still tasted good.

My other candy choice was the orange pate de fruits, again using the recipe provided in the Daring Bakers recipe sheet:

These were disappointing because they didn't set as firmly as I would have liked, and they were uber-sweet, even for a lolly lover like me.  I think I would try a different recipe if I made them again.

Thanks to Mandy and Lisa for hosting us this month, and finally giving me the motivation to make homemade chocolates.  Now I know how easy it is, I will make these again.  To see a kaleidoscope of different candies and chocolates, view the slideshow on The Daring Kitchen website.

Today's song:  You've Got To Hide Your Love Away by The Beatles, in honour of Brian Epstein, who passed away on this day in 1967.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

FFwD - Cafe Salle Pleyel Hamburger and Eggplant Caviar

This week's French Fridays with Dorie dish is not at all what you'd expect to see on a French dining table - a hamburger.  However, this is apparently not just any hamburger, but the Cafe Salle Pleyel hamburger, created for the cafe's owner, Helene Samuel, who stated the following about the burger in The New York Times:

“It has the taste of the forbidden, the illicit — the subversive, even. Eating with your hands, it’s pure regression. Naturally, everyone wants it.”

You can find the recipe online here, but in a nutshell, this burger is comprised of beef mince, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, cornichons (for which I substituted gherkins) and fresh herbs (I only used coriander and dried tarragon and skipped the thyme).  The burgers are browned to medium rare on each side:

An onion jam is made to go with the burgers:

The burgers are topped with thin slices of parmesan cheese:

and the whole lot is placed on a burger bun, as shown at the top of this post.  If you are so inclined, you can decorate the plate with dill pickles, but I also skipped this.

I am not sure that this burger was so good as to be subversive, but it was definitely delicious and beats the pants off the cardboard offering at your local greasy spoon.  I served my burger with Outback Spirit wild rosella cranberry relish one night, and with Cooper's Ale barbeque sauce the next - both combinations were good.

Playing catch up, I also made eggplant caviar from last week:

Just like Tricia S's teenagers, I didn't dislike this, but I wouldn't run out to make it again either.

Finally, I am featuring a gratuitous photo (sourced from Yahoo! Seven TV) of Bec's fab 1920's inspired wedding veil by Melbourne designers, J'Aton, featured in Tuesday night's finale of Winners and Losers:

There was a lot of criticism of Bec's hair and dress on Facebook.  Personally, the dress was not my style (too much like a doily), but I loved the much-maligned veil and hairdo - anything inspired by the 1920s wins my heart, and I thought Bec looked great.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Orange and poppyseed cake

Who doesn't like a nice piece of cake with their cup of tea?  I am sure there are people who don't, but I am not one of them.  A cake that is perfect with a cuppa is Orange and Poppyseed Cake, just like this handsome bundt I made from p110 of the June 2011 edition of Australian Delicious magazine.

This cake was quite dense, and the orange flavour was not as pronounced as it might have been, but the cake was still delicious.  I skipped the glaze that was recommended with the recipe and served my cake as is.

To make this cake, you will need:

3/4 cup poppyseeds
1 cup milk
225g softened butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
60ml orange juice

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Grease and dust with plain flour a 20cm bundt pan.

Put the poppy seeds and milk in a small saucepan and heat to just below boiling point, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until thick and creamy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.

Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together into a clean bowl.  Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until just combined.

Add half the milk and poppyseeds to the batter and combine.  Repeat with the remainder of the flour and milk mixtures, ending with flour.  Stir in the seeds from the vanilla bean or  the vanilla extract, together with the orange juice and zest.

Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove the cake from the oven and cool it in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack  to coll completely.

Once the cake is cool, you can glaze it if desired.

Monday, August 22, 2011

TWD - Golden Brioche Loaves

These I have loved:
White plates and cups, clean-gleaming,
Ringed with blue lines; and feathery, faery dust;
Wet roofs, beneath the lamp-light; the strong crust
Of friendly bread; and many-tasting food;
Rainbows; and the blue bitter smoke of wood ...
The Great Lover by Rupert Brooke


Mmmmm - there's nothing better than the smell of rich, buttery baked goods baking in the oven, or the sight of a golden loaf when it comes out of the oven.  This week, Margie of Tea and Scones brought us that experience with her choice of Tuesday with Dorie recipe - Dorie's Golden Brioche Loaves.

I have never made brioche before, and can't remember ever having tasted it.  For this reason, I started to worry when it said how much butter was to be incorporated into the yeasted dough, and when it felt like forever for even the smallest piece of butter to mix in.  I was waiting for imminent disaster; but instead, I got this:  

The brioche had a glossy, golden brown crust, and inside, was as yellow as butter itself.  The taste was more akin to cake than bread, and the brioche tasted wonderful spread with jam on one occasion, and honey on another.

Dorie's recipe made two loaves, so with the other, I made a brioche apple tart that I will show you another day.  If you make this, don't make a half batch - the dough freezes for months, and you can make so many other things with it, including Dorie's brioche snails and pecan sticky buns.

Thanks to Margie for pushing me outside my comfort zone this week - this brioche recipe was a brilliant find.  To check out the recipe, visit Margie's site or buy Dorie's book, and to check out how the other TWD bakers fared with their golden brioche loaves, visit the LYL section of the TWD website. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Jamie Oliver's Spinach and Feta Filo Pie

No French Fridays with Dorie for me again this week - I have been very busy and just did not get a chance to make this week's Eggplant Caviar (a dip similar to baba ghanoush).  If you'd like to see it, do visit the LYL section of the FFwD website.

Instead, I am posting an easy Spinach and Feta Filo Pie by Jamie Oliver from his smash hit cookbook, 30 Minute Meals.  The recipe can be found online here.  Jamie uses olive oil between the layers of filo instead of butter, which in my view makes it healthier.  As well as spinach and feta, this pie contains toasted pinenuts for additional texture and flavour - don't skip them, as they really make the pie.

No special pastry skills are needed to make this - everything is just placed onto baking paper in a pie pan and the filo is folded over to cover the filling:

It is a fantastic light meal when served with some fresh cooked veges - in my case, cauliflower and beans.

Have a great weekend!