Tuesday, December 20, 2011

TWD REWIND - French Yoghurt Cake with Marmalade Glaze

I have to say TWD Rewind weeks are always difficult. I mean there's just so much to choose from! When it comes down to it though we all have our favourites and in my case, it tends to be the simpler more homestyle recipes. The ones I want to make over and over again. So this week I chose Dorie's French Yoghurt Cake with Marmalade Glaze on p224-5.

I was so looking forward to this one but I didn't even get a bite. Actually no one did on account of me baking with a tub of yoghurt that had expired a few weeks earlier. Whoops! You really should check your labels kids, BEFORE you bake.

Now I know some people would eat it anyway seeing it's yoghurt and already sour and it was baked etc etc but really who wants to risk a bout of food poisoning the week before Christmas?

Come to think of it there were quite a few mishaps with this cake. I had already poured it into the tin when I realised I'd forgotten to add the oil. After it was baked, and before I realised the yoghurt problem, I opened my new jar of marmalade to discover it was covered in green fuzz. Yuck. Clearly the universe did not want me to eat this cake (don't worry I didn't take use the mouldy marmalade, I had some already opened in the fridge).

Please don't be put off by all this. When made correctly this cake is fabulous! It's moist and tangy and just plain good. You can find all the details and the link to the recipe here.

It's quite sad but this is our second last ever week of TWD. Coming up next week are Kids' Thumbprint Cookies chosen by Dorie herself.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

TWD - Unbelievably Good Chocolate Blueberry Ice Cream

This week our fearless leader Laurie of Slush chose Dorie's Unbelievably Good Chocolate Blueberry Ice Cream. Now I love chocolate ice cream and blueberries but I have to admit I wasn't sure about this combination, especially when it involved mixing ice cream with jam!

As it turned out though, after forgetting to buy any blueberry jam (no really! I did forget!) I subbed in frozen blueberries and ended up with the most luscious chocolate ice cream punctuated by sharp icy berries. Delicious!

It took hubby a little while to hunt down our ice cream maker. We moved in to this house over a year ago and it never really got unpacked. This has reminded me just how good homemade ice cream can be and I foresee a whole lot more being made this summer!

You will find the recipe for this amazing ice cream on Laurie's blog under today's date.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Baking Craziness

I know I'm not alone in overcommiting before Christmas. I love to make lots of homemade goodies for the family and to give as gifts and between all that and regular baking and bringing cakes etc for Christmas parties I will be spending many, many hours in the kitchen!

This is what I am making this year:

- 2 x christmas cakes (one is gluten free this year for my dad)
- a full-size traditional steamed plum pudding
- a batch of mini fruitcakes
- a peach tart
- a chocolate marquise cake
- choc peanut butter slice
- cranberry cookies
- chocolate peanut butter cheesecake
- a frozen christmas pudding
- sugar cookies to decorate with the kids

I know in a few years that list will blow out even further when we'll be baking gifts for teachers too.

We are having a Christmas eve dinner at our place for close family this year and have finally decided on a menu. I'll be doing a pineapple and brown sugar glazed ham, a boneless, butterflied roast turkey, potato bake and salads with plum pudding and custard for dessert. Yum!

And then we'll be rocking up to do it all again on Christmas Day AND Boxing Day!

Luckily Christmas only happens once a year!

What are you baking this year?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tuesdays with Dorie - Earl Grey Madeleines

Well it's officially the last month of Tuesdays with Dorie. I haven't actually posted a TWD recipe for a while although I have been quietly baking along at home. Now we're really on the home stretch I couldn't miss out and will be baking and posting everything for this month in spite of the craziness that is December!

This week Nicole of Bakeologie chose Dorie's Earl Grey Madeleines. (I will be baking the Honey Fig Tart in a few weeks time for an early Christmas lunch).

You'll notice from my photo that I haven't used a Madeleine pan, basically because I don't have one and couldn't justify splurging on a pan I will only use very occasionally (ha! look at me all grown up and responsible now that I have 2 little mouths to feed!). I used a patty cake pan instead and I think they look lovely.

While I quite enjoy Earl Grey tea I decided to use a tea I picked up at T2 on my recent trip to Melbourne. T2 is a chain of specialist tea stores with the most divine range of teas and associated paraphernalia. I bought a couple of vareties but by far my favourite was the Ginger Spice, a black tea flavoured with ginger, cinnamon, orange and vanilla. Really yummy and fragrant and just perfect for these little cakes.

Photo from www.t2tea.com

I let the batter rest overnight in the pan so it was ready to put straight in the oven the next morning. I thought being so cold it would need an extra few minutes baking but actually these were done (overdone in fact) at the 10 minute mark. Still really tasty and with a lovely perfume from the tea, just slightly drier than they should be. Pity.

I'm sure they won't last long though. I will pop the rest in the freezer and can see myself grabbing one for a yummy snack with my afternoon cuppa. Thanks for a great pick Nicole! You can find the recipe on Bakeologie under today's date.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Charlie turns 1

Hard to believe but on 8th November my baby Charlie turned 1! Which means Oscar is now 2 and a half. Which makes me ... well never mind!

Charlie has brought us so much happiness over the past 12 months. All those wonderful firsts - smiles, laughs, rolling over, sitting, standing and just in the last week, those amazing first steps. He's such a different little personality from his brother too, much more independant and a real daddy's boy.

Hubs and I are both only-children so we had no idea what to expect with 2 little ones. While we are certainly busier now and a for a while got a lot less sleep, having 2 kids is awesome. Can't wait to see what the next year brings for both my little men.

Here are a few photos of the birthday boy and his cakes (yep, cakes plural)!

A basic chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream icing and decorated with white chocolate buttons. I made this for his actual birthday.

First ever taste of cake. Yum! Just watch the sugar coma setting in ...

Finger licking good!

The kite cake from p11 of the Women's Weekly Kids' Birthday Cakes cookbook. A basic buttercake with buttercream icing tinted in red, leaf green, violet and lemon yellow. A little rough around the edges but with 2 birthday cakes a year from now on, there's plenty of chance to practice!

At his birthday party in the park.
'whaddya mean no more cake till next year?!'

Monday, November 21, 2011

I'm still here! ... and gluten free chocolate chip cookies

Wow, so it's been a whole 5 months since my last post. I have to say 2011 has completely gotten away from me and now it's nearly Christmas! After a few years of regular baking and blogging I guess I just needed a break. I know my waistline and bank account did too! But with TWD soon coming to an end it's definitely time I checked back into the bloggy world.

We've had a few health hiccups this year and a forray into food intolerances. The boys and I have all seen an allergist and had skin prick tests done. The boys were all clear (which is good and not so good since I am convinced that Oscar has a few food sensitivies that maybe will never show up on a test) and I am only allergic to dust, pollen and cats.

Regardless I am baking with a few more alternative ingredients and trying out some gluten-free and lactose-free products. I made these chocolate chip cookies a few weeks ago and they were absolutely to die for! Hubby had no idea they were gluten free until I told him and honestly they disappeared so fast I had to grab a photo of the lowly last one. Enjoy!

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from a recipe on Nellbe's Gluten Free Kitchen Table

115g melted butter, cooled
1 egg
1 ts vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups gluten free flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat over to 180 degrees C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

Whisk together melted butter with egg and vanilla extract until combined. Combine gluten free flour, sugar and choc bits in a large mixing bowl. Add butter mixture and mix well. Press mixture, 1 tbsp at a time, into balls. Place on tray and allow room for spreading. Press each cookie down slightly and cook 12-15 mins until golden. Cool on trays for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

These were fabulous warm out of the oven. Once cooled they settled into crispy-around-the-edges-but-still-chewy-in-the-middle deliciousness.

Next post - Charlie turns 1!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

TWD - Date Loaf

This week Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet (love that name!) chose Date-Nut Loaf. I was intrigued by how this would turn out as it is not the date loaf that I know and love.

I made a half recipe and left out the nuts to make it kid friendly. Oscar adores dates and he scoffed quite a few while helping me whip this up. If you have kids you'll know that his 'help' resulted in a whole lot of cleaning up afterwards!

The date loaf I am used to is rich and dark. The dates are soaked in hot water and bicarb soda which essentially turns them to mush, they are then folded through the batter rather than just being dotted throughout.

To me this was more like a pound cake that just happened to have dates in it. Not that there is anything wrong with that! The cake was moist and buttery and I had a piece warm from the oven with custard. Definitely nothing wrong with that!

This was nice for a change and is a perfect snack cake. Thanks to Mary for her pick this week! You can find the recipe on Popsicles and Sandy Feet under today's date.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

TWD - Blueberry-Brown Sugar Plain Cake

It may be Thursday not Tuesday but I am so glad I decided not to skip this one. Cindy of Everyday Insanity chose Dorie's Blueberry-Brown Sugar Plain Cake and it was sensational!

In my opinion there is nothing 'plain' about this moist cake flavoured with brown sugar and studded with juicy blueberries. I didn't even bother with a dusting of icing sugar over the top. I think my tin was a little big because this looked more like a slice than a cake but it cooked in barely 25 minutes and I loved the dimply top.

We are having some really chilly weather here at the moment and this was perfect with a hot cup of tea. Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to grab another cuppa and curl up under the doona until the boys wake up!

Make sure you check out Cindy's blog for the recipe. This one's a keeper!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

TWD - Caramel Pots de Creme

Well after my disastrous plastic-wrap-filled Chocolate Pots de Creme I knew I had to come through with the caramel version chosen by Peggy the Baker.

We definitely didn't need 8 of these sitting around so I adjusted the recipe to make 2 x /2 cup serves using 1/2 cup cream, 1/4 cup milk, 2 egg yolks and 2 tbs sugar.

I loved Cakelaw's idea of turning them out so I used metal dariole moulds and sprayed them with olive oil spray before filling. I also used alfoil instead of plastic wrap to prevent a repeat of last time.

The taste test ...

Very rich and very caramel with a touch of bitterness that came from taking my sugar right to a deep amber before adding the cream and milk. I served it with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream and some crushed honey-roasted cashews. This little bit of crunch was the perfect addition. We really enjoyed these but I have to admit I rushed to brush my teeth afterwards from all that sugar.

Thanks for a great pick Peggy! I am well and truly over my fear of caramel now and it was great to have another opportunity to play around with it. Make sure you visit Peggy the Baker for the recipe.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

TWD - Oatmeal Nutmeg Scones

Whoops, better make that Wednesday with Dorie! These pesky Tuesdays are coming around so quickly these days. I do love a scone though so I wasn't going to pass on these Oatmeal Nutmeg Scones chosen by Patricia from Life With a Whisk.

I've discovered my best scones come with the help of the food processor so that's what I did again. I use the plastic dough blade and am very careful not to overmix. The dough here was very sticky but I resisted the urge to dump in some more flour. I made them exactly as per the recipe and was not disappointed.

The taste test...

Just as Dorie says, sweet but not too sweet and just how I like them. Oats and nutmeg seem to be a perfect match and these were just delicious. I ate 2 straight out of the oven (it was my lunch so don't judge me!) and then another one this morning. My 2yo taste tester also approved. The rest are stashed in the freezer.

Thanks for a great pick Patricia! You can find the recipe on her blog.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

TWD - Basic Marbled Loaf

We've just had a lovely long weekend here but I have to admit it has messed me up a bit. With 2 short weeks in a row I never seem to know what day it is anymore! Luckily I remembered it was Tuesday today and that means it's TWD time.

This week Carol from The Bake More chose Dorie's Basic Marbled Loaf Cake. Rather than use the playing around suggestions I decided to take a trip down memory lane and make a neapolitan cake. These were everywhere when I was a child and mimic the colours of neapolitan icecream which had chocolate, strawberry and vanilla flavours side by side. In my house the vanilla always got left till last!

I split my batter into 3 lots keeping one plain, adding melted chocolate to the second and healthy dose of pink food colouring to the third. I have to admit I was pretty pleased with the result as my cake was not only pretty but moist and yummy.

We've had a fair bit of cake around here recently because of Oscar's birthday and he's taken to asking for 'more birthday' (meaing cake). Very cute!

Thanks to Carol for a great pick! You can find the recipe on her blog under today's date.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

TWD - A Tourtely Apple Tart

This week Jeanette of The Whimsical Cupcake chose Dorie's Tourtely Apple Tart. I took a few shortcuts with the recipe so not surprisingly I didn't end up with the slim and elegant tart Dorie describes in the book!

Basically the filling for this tart is apples cooked down with brown sugar, nutmeg and apple cider with a little browned butter thrown in for good measure. I didn't have enough apples on hand so I threw in a couple of pears as well. I used apple juice instead of apple cider, a sour cream pastry rather than Dorie's always awesome sweet tart dough and left out both the raisins and almonds.

The verdict? Fabulous. While I'm sure the original is even better this was delicious. But then again I love apple pie of any variety. With a scoop of icecream on top it was the perfect comfort food on a cool and wet day. My apologies for the awful photo. It was late and dark and this was the best of a truly terrible bunch.

Thanks to Jeanette for a great pick this week. Make sure you check out her blog for the recipe and the TWD blogroll to see how everyone else did.

On another note, my big boy is turning 2 tomorrow! Watch this space for some birthday pics including what I hope will be an awesome birthday cake!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

TWD Catchup

Hello? Is anyone still out there?? I'm embarrassed to say it's been over 6 weeks since I last blogged. That's not to say I haven't been baking along at home but life has well and truly gotten in the way of blogging recently. So it's time for another catchup post and another promise to do better this month!

For the 15th of March Lauryn of Bella Baker chose Citrus Currant Sunshine Muffins. Love citrus, love currants, love muffins and love Lauryn! These were really tasty and I have a little stash of them in the freezer.

For the 22nd of March
Suzy of Suzy Homemaker chose Honey Nut Brownies. I really wasn't sure about these. I like honey on crumpets and in stir fries but that's about it. Still, my MIL gave me a bottle of roasted hazelnut honey which was perfect for this recipe. These had the texture of a chewy gingerbread rather than a brownie but they were pretty tasty and even better on the second day.

On the 5th of April Jessica of Domestic Deep Thought of the Day chose Coffee Ice Cream Tart. Sold! We weren't huge fans of the crust which set rock solid in the freezer but it tasted great. Next time I would just use a crumb crust and go crazy with different filling combinations. Yum!

For the 12th of April Sarah of Teapots and Cakestands chose Strawberry Rhubarb Double Crisp. I've never actually tried rhubarb and strawberries together before but have been intrigued after seeing it around. The verdict? Delicious! I should have just made a half batch but we ate it for breakfast and dessert over about 3 days and loved it. Definitely a keeper!

So that's it! At this stage I intend to post my Tourtely Apple Tart on Tuesday (gasp!) but as I haven't made it yet we'll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tuesdays with Dorie: (Fail) Chocolate Pots de Creme

So these didn't quite work for me. I knew it was a bad idea to use cling wrap in the oven and I should have followed my gut. Seeing as I don't like eating melted plastic and I ran out of time and ingredients to make more, there were no Chocolate Pots de Creme in our house.

Hopefully Christine of BlackCatCooking had more success! Please visit her blog for the recipe.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesdays with Dorie: Toasted Almond Scones

Oh how I love a good scone! Unfortunately I've never been that good at making them. I just don't have the touch. Seeking to remedy the situation this time I made these scones in the food processor and ... success!

I made a few changes to the recipe (as always) subbing in wholemeal flour, low fat milk instead of cream and using whole raw almonds with the skin on. Oh and leaving out the almond essence because that stuff is evil.

I wasn't intending to mix the dough in the processor but seeing I had to grind the nuts in there anyway it seemed easier to just switch to the dough blade and not dirty another bowl. A few quick pulses and the dough came together.

The taste test ...

Wow. Seriously good. Moist, nutty and really moreish. I ate mine warm from the oven with a smear of butter and a big drizzle of golden syrup. Mmmmmmmm.

Thanks to Mike of Living Out West for helping me to finally make good scones! You can find the recipe on Mike's blog under today's date.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesdays with Dorie: Chocolate Oatmeal Drops

This week Caroline and Claire of Bake With Us chose Dorie's Chocolate Oatmeal Drops. I really love this sort of cookie. There's no creaming butter, you don't have to wait for the dough to chill and you don't have to roll them out. Just melt, mix, drop, bake and eat!

I made just 1/4 of the recipe and got 10 large cookies. They disappeared in record time so I will definitely have to make another batch sometime soon. Next time I will leave a little more space between them on the tray though, these spread like crazy.

The taste test ...

I don't think I've ever really had oats in a chocolate cookie before but it was delicious. I upped the wholegrain aspect by using wholemeal flour which made me feel a bit better about scoffing down 3 of them for lunch! These were really tasty everyday cookies and I will be making them again.

Make sure you check out Bake With Us for the recipe as well as the other TWD bakers here.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesdays with Dorie: Maple and Fruit Bread Pudding

I know I've said it before but I'll say it again ... I LOVE bread pudding! It is just about the most comforting food you could ever eat and after the week we've had, a little comfort eating is definitely required.

Oscar came home from daycare last Monday with a fever and by the next day was just downright miserable and refusing to eat or drink. By Thursday he was diagnosed with tonsilitis. By Friday he was covered in a rash which is either rubella or roseola. Being sick at any time sucks but when you're not even 2 and can't tell anyone what hurts or what you need to feel better must be just horrible. While he is on the mend now we still have a week of quarantine at home missing out on all the fun stuff like swimming, daycare, music and playgroup that we normally go to.

The remedy? Bread pudding for breakfast!

While I love bread pudding I don't love bourbon and wanted to make it child-friendly in any case. I pretty much completely changed Dorie's recipe but I was inspired by it. A big thanks to Sharon of Simply Southern for choosing it this week.

For my Maple and Fruitbread Pudding I used the following ingredients but followed Dorie's method of preparation and baking.

250g fruit bread (mine was homemade and packed with dried fruit and mixed spice)
4 eggs
3 cups reduced fat milk
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 ts cinnamon
1 ts vanilla extract

The taste test ...

The youngest and sickest taste tester gave this a big "yum yum!" I have to agree. Absolutely delicious. A little sweet for everyday but perfect for a special breakfast or dessert.

For the real deal aka Bourbon Bread Pudding make sure you visit Sharon of Simply Southern.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tuesdays with Dorie - Great Grains Muffins

This week I was delighted to have another muffin recipe. And even more delighted that they seem somewhat healthy. Now that Charlie is 12 weeks old I don't really have any excuses for not losing the baby weight, so these Great Grain Muffins chosen by Christine of Happy Tummy sounded perfect!

As with all muffins you simply tip the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir a few times and you're done. Mine baked for the full 18 minutes and I used both prunes and dried apricots.

The taste test ...

Straight out of the oven these were amazing! Moist and flavourful, not too sweet. As for the healthy part I worked out there are 221 calories and 9.5 grams of fat per muffin*. So a little high in fat but with all the grains and dried fruit you do feel full after just one. I think they would make a great quick breakfast and I have most of the batch stashed in the freezer for just that purpose.

Thank you Christine! A great pick and definitely one I will be making again. You can find the recipe on Happy Tummy.

* I used the recipe calculator at Spark Recipes to work out the nutrition info. This is a great tool to find the fat and calories etc in everything you make from scratch. That's if you actually want to know!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesdays with Dorie: Nutty, Chocolatey, Swirly Sour Cream Bundt Cake

This week Jennifer of Cooking for Comfort chose a recipe with possibly the longest name I've ever come across! The Nutty, Chocolatey, Swirly Sour Cream Bundt Cake. To tell the truth I was debating whether to make this or not. My thighs really don't need a chocolatey, sour cream anything at the moment. But I know N's lab mates are always up for cake so I figured I could just give it away. Unfortunately the universe/my oven didn't cooperate.

Despite the oven always cooking hotter and faster than I expect, this time... it didn't. My beautiful bundt cake with the crispy golden crust was massively underbaked. As it was cut each slice collapsed in on itself leaving a gooey, doughy centre. As you expect this made for a very sorry looking photo. See above.

But still, it was delicious! Chocolate, orange zest, cinnamon, walnuts ... it was a marriage made in heaven. It even came out the pan perfectly, something I know others were struggling with. (I used a silicone pan greased with olive oil spray in case you were wondering).

We ended up just picking at the cooked parts and throwing the rest away. Such a shame. But I'm really not sure what I could have done differently. It baked for the full 65 minutes, the top was crisp and golden, it was pulling away from the sides and a skewer came out clean. Oh well.

Thanks to Jennifer for a great pick anyway! It was really tasty and I love making bundts. Make sure you visit the other TWDers for better results and Jennifer's blog for the recipe.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tuesdays with Dorie: Lemon and Poppyseed Muffins

Wow, a TWD recipe actually posted on the right day! This week Betsy of A Cup of Sweetness chose Dorie's Lemon Poppyseed Muffins. While I love a good layer cake as much as the next girl these melt-and-mix muffins are much more my thing at the moment.

It's been ages since I made muffins but given how quick and easy they are I really should dig out my muffin pans more often. Unusually for me I did a full batch and only made one substitution, using homemade greek yoghurt instead of the sour cream.

The taste test ...

These muffins are moist, bright and zingy, especially drizzled with lots of the lemon glaze. Perfect afternoon tea fare. My taste testers all gave a big thumbs up!

Make sure you check out Betsy's blog for the recipe and for lots of pics of her adorable baby boy (a November baby like Charlie).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Late TWD - Midnight Crackles

A belated happy new year to everyone! That's if there's anyone around after my extended absence. Hard to believe but Charlie is now over 9 weeks old and life with 2 kids under 2 is definitely keeping me busy. I am really missing baking and have a lot of catching up to do both in terms of recipes and reading my favourite blogs.

I actually did have this recipe made and photographed ready for the new year but a computer/camera compatability issue and lack of time means it is now 2 weeks late. Oh well.

So, Midnight Crackles. This is TWD's anniversary recipe chosen by Laurie and Jules. Can you believe it's been 3 years? Happy anniversary everyone!

These are basically a deep, dark chocolate biscuit with a little hint of spice. I baked just 1/4 of the recipe and they disappeared in record time! I am still figuring out our temperamental new oven so they were a smidge overbaked. I still have 1/4 of the dough stashed in the freezer and will definitely underbake these to ensure a yummy, fudgy centre.

I know this is short but I will finish with a few favourite pics of my boys from the holidays. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Here's to a fabulous 2011 for us all! :-)

PS. Since I began this post last week (everything happens in it's own time these days), my home city of Brisbane has been devastated by floods. At last count 16 lives lost and countless thousands who have lost their homes and possessions. We are exceedingly lucky on this side of town but spent a few worried nights as the river began to peak. I had a bag packed for the boys just in case we needed to leave quickly but in the end it was ok. My thoughts and prayers are with all who were affected. If anyone cares to make a donation to the Premier's Flood Relief Appeal you can do so here.
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