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    Black Carbon Bread

    black carbon powder used in black atta flour flat bread and black multi grain bread

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    A spoonful of carbon makes the bread go black and the brioche, cocktail, pastry, english muffin, brownie, mayo, crackers, sauces, cupcakes, butter, potato, ice-cream, waffle and caramel too!

    You've seen the black brioche burger buns, it's not just for Halloween, Darth Vader day or goth get together... adding carbon powder gives a sophisticated and modern twist to your sweet and savoury cooking. 

    What is carbon powder? It's vegetable matter combusted at high heat, producing an insoluble activated super fine carbon that doesn't have health risks, is vegan and no seafood squid ink allergies.

    You can buy carbon powder at health food stores, organic purveyors, chef supply stores and maybe your local supermarket.

    Flavour wise it's barely there in the couple of brands I've tried, a slight char flavour that is easily overridden by stronger flavours. So it's mainly for aesthetics, I do like the drama of the visual impact.

    Each brand will have it's own depth of pigment, today I tried 'Vader Black' from a local store 'Melbourne Food Depot' because of it's promised ultra blackness and ok and because it was named "Vader".

    Tried it out in whole egg mayonnaise first. Haha a tiny bit stirred in and you have a super black mayo for piping, painting or plonking with your chosen contrasting food. 

    Next tried butter, you can see the powder mixes totally into the softened butter. 

    We've probably all seen the black glossy brioche burger buns but I was wondering could you use it with whole grain? Yes, you can successfully use it with whole grain like in this multi grain feta/cucumber number, I like seeing the flicks of grain through the black. 

    Here I used wholemeal Atta flour with carbon to make flatbreads for tofu and peanut salad wraps, you can see the flicks of bran in the finished wraps here too. 

    I used recipes that I make often because you loose the "seeing the item brown" once it's coloured black. This is the same flatbread dough not coloured black. But if your going to make black brioche buns for the first time just allow a tester bun to check for doneness.

    The flat bread wraps.


    2 cups of Atta flour 

    150ml warm water to start (more as needed to form a ball of dough)

    1 tablespoon of peanut oil (I was making Malaysian wraps with peanuts so matched the oil... match your oil to what you are making)

    1/2 tsp of salt 

    2 to 3 tsps of carbon powder (you may need more or less depending on the colour density you require)

    Pop the flour in a food processor along with the salt and carbon powder, give it a whizz to combine.

    Starting with your 150ml of warm water pour enough water down the chute to form a soft dough. For hand method and to see video of it being made see the past post of Indian flat bread here

    Wrap you resulting black dough and allow to rest for 30 minutes.

    Pre heat your cooking appliance I used an electric crepe maker to cook mine but any flat bottomed pan/griddle would work.

    Divide your dough into four and roll out one piece, leave the other pieces loosely covered whist you are cooking your first piece. I used a non stick mat so I didn't need to add extra flour. 

    Lightly oil the pan you are using, add your bread disc, cooking until the top is bubbly, flip and cook another minute. Remove bread to plate and cover with clean cloth to keep warm and pliable for rolling. Repeat steps for other pieces. Fill with salads and protein of choice, roll up and eat!

    Other quick ideas for your black breads are making pita or flat bread chips. 

    Don't let your left over black loaves go to waste, make a jar of croutons up and server them with your sweet potato, pumpkin or potato soups. 


    I love the drama of the black. Perfect for many Asian inspired dishes, adding punch to vegan offerings, reinforcing the char of a burger and of course Halloween.  

    Works well with sweet and savoury. 

    A little goes a long way.


    If your after char flavour it is barely there with the carbon powder... a piece of charred veg or BBQ chop has far more carbon flavour.  

    Cost, it's not inexpensive especially the good quality high pigment powders. 

    It can stain/be messy working with the black, but honestly coming from a cake decorating background it didn't stain like mixing up a batch of black fondant. Carbon washed easily off with water, that said take care with porous surfaces. 

    Happy baking :) I had fun playing with carbon powder, if you decide to give it a try in your brownies to tacos shells hope you have fun too.

    *Extra flat bread cooking instructions on the past Lime paneer and paneer parantha post.

    Try "the other natural black" with squid ink grissini.  


    Milo Panna Cotta

                               milo panna cotta with milo cereal rubble

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    Ahhhh a food "earworm" ....

    When I opened the tin of biscuit crumbs in last weeks post I thought "just like a Milo tin" and that's all it took for Milo, Milo, Milo, Milo to be stuck in my head. 

    "Solved" with a trip to the supermarket where I bought myself a tin of Milo and a brand of gelatine sheets I hadn't tried before... all came together as today's Milo panna cotta. We have loved Milo here in Oz since it was first launched in 1934 at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, brainchild of Australian Thomas Mayne. 

    Milo /ˈmaɪloʊ/ is a chocolate and malt powder that is mixed with hot or cold water or milk to produce a beverage popular mainly in Australia and New Zealand and some other parts of the world. wikipedia

    'Milo' takes it name from Milo Of Croton a 6th century BC champion wrestler. Milo products to this day have sport related themes. 

    Apart from the drinking powder, Milo comes in other products too like premix, ice-cream and the cereal I'm using today for the topping adding part of the much needed textural crunch. 

    Lets start with gelatine leaves that are the setting agent in our panna cotta.

    New to leaves? Leaves are used for a smoother mouth feel and/or a clearer finish. There is no gelatine after taste either. Great product for panna cotta. Somewhat confusing bloom strength grading system from bronze to titanium. Bloom strength is how firm your jelly (Jello) will be. 

    I usually buy gold or occasionally titanium gelatine leaves from chef supply stores. I was happy to see gelatine leaves in the supermarket but surprised when I purchased it's not marked on pack what strength the leaves are. Checking McKenzies online I found out 'McKenzie’s Gelatine powder has bloom strength of 210 – 240 g (Platinum strength). McK Gelatine leaves have a bloom strength of 220 – 250g (also Platinum strength).'

    Oh. That was my though "Oh" there may have been a slight expletive following that. Just a little suprised but I love McKenzies, it's the brand of baking powder and soda I use. 

    McKenzies have a recipe for panna cotta with 6 gelatine leaves on their site. That's too much for our panna cottas so I made two batches with far less gelatine, one with 3 leaves and one with two... now I'd prefer two or less but for no fail getting the little ones out of the ramekins lets go with three where you still get a nice wobble particularly on the moulded ones. 

    Panna cotta is easy, it's the same as making homemade jelly or Jello just with dairy for the liquid. This recipe makes four 125 ml serves (four 1/2 cups) or eight 1/4 cups. Set in glasses or in ramekins to turn out.

    Ingredients Panna Cotta

    250ml of double cream

    250ml of milk (I use 2% because that's all I had)

    I tsp of pure vanilla extract

    15 grams of sugar

    60 grams of Milo powder

    3 platinum gelatine leaves

    Fresh raspberries for top

    milo cereal, lightly crushed cocoa nibs and freeze dried raspberries to top panna cotta

    Ingredients for Chocolate Rubble 

    Chocolate flake breakfast cereal (I used Milo cereal)

    Cocoa nibs, broken roughly

    Freeze dried raspberries 

    Optional extra toppings

    Chocolate sauce

    Berry sauce

    Vanilla whipped cream with Milo powder on top


    Soak three *gelatine leaves in a bowl with three cups of cold water for 5 to 10 minutes. After that time you should be ready to use, remove leaves from bowl and squeeze out excess water. 

    Put the cream, milk, sugar, vanilla into saucepan and heat until almost boiling but not... you know you can see teeny bubbles starting to form around edge of pan. 

    Quickly add the milo powder and whisk to completely dissolve. 

    gelatine leaves with water squeezed out

    Swap the whisk for spoon you don't want to add extra air/bubbles at this stage.

    Remove saucepan from heat and add the soaked gelatine leaves that you have squeezed the water from. 

    Stir with spoon for at least 3 minutes, even when you think it's okay after one minute the *three minutes stirring ensures the gelatine is fully incorporated. 

    Divide the mixture between the glasses or ramekins you are using. 

    Leave to cool, then refridgerate (covered) for six to 24 hours. 

    unmoulded from 1/4 cup ramekin Milo panna cotta

    inside texture 

    You want to serve your panna cotta chilled but not "fridge cold", leave glasses at room temperature for 10 minutes before topping and serving. To unmould panna cotta, dip the base/sides of each ramekin quickly into hot water and gently turn out. 

    Top with chocolate rubble and fresh raspberries, don't worry if you don't have all matching glasses the same amount of rubble/raspberries will tie the dessert theme together. 

    Use to optional sauces or whipped cream as desired. 


    * don't have Milo available in your supermarket, look out for it in your asian grocery store.

    * if on the off chance after adding your gelatine and stirring 3 minutes you have a little gelatine undissolved in your mix you can put your saucepan on a gentle heat, stirring until it's melted. 

    * you can omit the sugar completely if you don't have a sweet tooth, there is sugar already in the Milo. 

    Happy Baking :) 


    Golden Gaytime "The Crumbs"

                                        golden gaytime "the crumbs'

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    'It's hard to have a Gaytime on your own' 

    Streets ice-cream advertising slogan

    First released in 1959 a Golden Gaytime is an ice-cream centre, choc dipped and biscuit crumbed on a stick.

    The flavour most identifiable with a Golden Gaytime is toffee and vanilla, although it was originally Strawberry Shortcake, Cassata Roma (I would have like to try that one!), Raspberry Rough and Turkish Delight before the 1970's saw the Golden Gaytime actually become a bit more golden with it's now iconic toffee/vanilla combo. 

    Now days it's available in what most of think as original toffee/vanilla, on sticks, in tubs and as an ice-cream sandwich. Plus new flavours like Pina Colada, Choc Mint, Cappucino and Unicorn. 

    And now for the "crumbs" the smart marketing department at Streets released limited edition tins of the crumbs that coat the ice-cream. Yep, a tin of crumbs. 

    Open the tin and as expected "crumbs". Guess what I put in the Christmas stocking this year along with the *limited release vegemite! 

    For Aussies this is the taste of Golden Gaytime, especially when you pair it with vanilla, toffee and a bit of milk chocolate. 

    Think choc dipping cubes of toffee swirled vanilla cheesecake and topping with the crumbs, invent a cocktail and toffee dip the rim of a cocktail glass and dip into the crumbs, swirl toffee into vanilla yogurt and sprinkle on the crumbs... few choc flakes too if you are starting the New Year living dangerously. 

    Any patisserie application where you would use Paillete Feuilletine flakes for crunch. 

    My first try using them was coating the inside of a choux buns with milk chocolate, a scoop of store bought vanilla ice-cream and a good drizzle of toffee with the crumbs on top. 

    I scrapped my usual toffee sauce, I love it but it belongs in a sticky date pud not summery ice-cream. Ended up going with a butterscotch sauce from Taste where I used golden syrup replace some of the sugar. It's a quickie to avoid hot days in kitchen over summer.

    Butterscotch... moving towards toffee sauce. 


    2/3 cups of pouring cream

    1/2 cup of packed brown sugar

    1/4 cup of golden syrup (it can be maple or honey... each adds a hint of that flavour)

    2 1/2 tablespoons of cubed butter

    2 teaspoons of vanilla 


    Place all the ingredients in a saucepan. Stir over medium heat for 3 - 5 minutes until well combined.

    Watch for toffee rising up in pot, don't be tempted to multi task you don't want the toffee covered stove. Keep stirring to prevent catching. 

    Increase heat and bring to boil, once boiling reduce heat to low and cook uncovered, stirring often until sauce thickens slightly. Takes about 5 minutes. 

    Once cooked the bubbles subside and you have your sauce.

    Set aside to cool for a couple of hours. Serve at room temperature... swirling it over your creation... top with crumbs. 


    This sauce keeps in an airtight jar in the fridge for a week or so. It does set firmer in fridge so bring to room temperature before serving.

    *the tins of crumbs were a limited Christmas release... if you missed out try the end of this year or give Streets a call and see if a bakery near you can supply you with any from a bulk lot. 

    Happy Baking :) 


    Posh Vegemite and Cheese Scrolls

                     posh vegemite and cheese scrolls

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    "Buying bread from a man in Brussels
    He was six foot four and full of muscle
    I said, "Do you speak my language?"
    He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich"

     Land Down Under Colin Hay and Ron Strykert

    We love vegemite in Australia, in all it's black, tarry and salty glory... so when a special edition 'Blend 17' was released this Christmas I not only bought a jar of it for myself, it became the stocking filler of the year. 


    From Port Melbourne in my home state 'Blend 17' and the beloved yellow and red standard spread.

    Vegemite even has it's own street 

    I'm baking todays scrolls as snacks for the summer cricket season here, no not Jiminy but rather the game with bat, ball and stumps. 


    It's these guys... plus others that look the same as these guys. 

    The Guardian:  Steve Smith goes through for a run during a Tom Curran over on day four at the MCG. Photograph: Jason O'Brien/PA 

    It's the fourth day of the fourth test today, it's pouring with rain and they have probably stopped play, maybe they have gone to bed. That's it for all my cricket knowledge except for the "being Australian" comes with compulsory (forced, against your will or at least mine) playing of said game at family get togethers. 

    Time for the little bit posh (or at least the vegemite is) scrolls that pair perfectly with beer to eat during the cricket or anytime you are craving a salty hit.

    I've used a little wholemeal *spelt for extra flavour and differentiate from the bakery bought varieties here. 

    Posh Vegemite and Cheese Scrolls (more commonly known as cheesymite scrolls)


     2 tsp instant yeast (7g sachet)

    280ml of luke warm water (that's barely warm guys)

    1 medium egg (room temperature and lightly beaten to break up yolk/white)

    350g white bread flour

    100g wholemeal spelt four

    25g of caster sugar (superfine)

    1/2 tsp salt

    50g unsalted butter melted and cooled

    Oil for covering rising dough

    1 cup of *grated mature cheddar

    optional extra 2/3 cup of grated cheese for the tops

    1 and 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of *vegemite Blend 17 (some recipes on net use FIVE tablespoons of vegemite... much stronger Australians than I am!!) 


    preheat oven to 220cel or 200cel fan-forced

    Line two baking trays with non stick baking paper if making separate buns or line one tray if making pull apart buns. 

    Place the white bread flour, spelt flour, instant yeast and sugar in a bowl. 

    Whisk lightly to combine and then add salt, whisk again and then attach bowl to stand mixer...I'm using an electric mixer with dough hook attached to do the work, you can make by hand if preferred. With the mixer on low add the warm water slowly, then the beaten egg, then add the melted butter. You are just mixing to the rough dough stage, it will look like this.

    Cover the bowl loosely and leave for 10 minutes, after ten minutes turn the mixer back on low (never over 2 on KitcheAid) and continue to knead for 7 minutes on 2 or until you have smooth ball of dough. Remove bowl from mixer and lightly oil the ball of dough keeping it in the bowl. Cover and leave until risen by half. 

    With oiled hands punch the dough down and bring together in the bowl before turning out on lightly floured surface.

    Roll out to approx 42cm x 30 cm, spread on Vegemite leaving a the border free. The first thing I noticed about the Blend 17 Vegemite was that it is more spreadable, perfect for spreading on raw bread dough with hardly any pull.  I used 2 tablespoons of vegemite. Yep, it's not the most attractive stuff.

    Sprinkle on one cup of cheese.

    Roll up dough tightly to produce a large scroll, cut slices ... I cut mine fairly thin around 2cm but you can go up to three for larger scrolls.

    Most people will put them close together on tray and they will join together for a pull apart tray of scrolls... you can do that if you prefer, I wanted smaller separated scrolls so put them on two trays well spaced apart. For final rise lightly cover and put aside somewhere warm to they are doubled in size. 

    here a third through the final rise

    Ok here comes the optional cheese choice ... you can take the scrolls out of the oven and 3-4 minutes before they have finished baking and add grated cheese. Cons: it covers the scroll pattern Pros: you can acutally taste the cheese, otherwise the vegemite has overwhelmed the flavour. 

    Bake for around 15 minutes for two or one tray... check then if golden brown and cooked... if using two trays you may have to swap trays around for the last few minutes. 

    Eat warm the same day. 

    The 2 tsp's of yeast ensures a no fail light interior texture. 


    Vegemite ownership was returned to Australia this year after Bega purchased the Vegemite brand from international giant Mondelez. Grated cheese in scrolls is a *strong vintage Bega cheddar. 

    I couldn't fit all the vegemite recipes today so there will be sweet and a Japanese inspired savoury in months to come... but first another Australian odd thing coming up soon that is sweet with a sauce everyone can use. 

    Happy Baking :)

    *marmite, standard vegemite or other similar yeast extract can be used. 

    *substitute 50% reduced fat vintage cheddar if preferred. 

    *you can substitute plain wholemeal (whole wheat) flour for wholemeal spelt. 


    Golden and Maple Syrup Honeycomb

                                            chocolate dipped golden and maple syrup "honeycomb"

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    Confectionery: lollies, candies and sweets

    Now we're talking! I've been trying off and on, to get homemade honeycomb to taste like a Crunchie bar. Cadburys Crunchie is a milk chocolate coated honeycomb bar and is lighter in texture and tastier than the shattering type alternatives. 

    cadburys crunchie bar

    I got pretty close last week with this version; adapted from Australian Chef Luke Mangan's salted chocolate honey comb, I've omitted the honey, instead using a golden syrup/maple syrup combo for a vegan version and bumped up the bi carbonate of soda (baking soda), I did try the salt sprinkle but with the upped bi carb it's better without it.

    This is a lolly, candy, confectionery so obviously not for the 'I quit sugar' crowd, but for those who like partaking in a sugary treat it's a fabulous one to pull out of the freezer when needed for quick entertaining. 


    125 grams Glucose Syrup

    350 grams Caster Sugar

    2 tbsp Golden Syrup

    1 tbsp Maple Syrup

    3 tsps of Bicarbonate of Soda (Baking Soda)

    75 mls water


    200 grams of dark chocolate (animal product free if you want vegan "honeycomb")

    choice of granola, freeze dried berries, coconut, crushed pretzels, nuts, cocoa nibs etc.  

    make sure you sift your bicarbonate of soda, otherwise you risk those lumps in your finished candy. 

    You'll need either to line a heat proof bowl with non stick baking paper or lightly oil a silicone cake pan and place it on top of baking sheet. 

    I used a silly shaped silicone cake pan just to show a friend "it always pops out", a round or square silicone cake pan would be easier. 

    Now you just place your sugar and all the syrups into a medium saucepan, the mixture will rise quite a lot once the bicarbonate of soda is added so make sure the sides of the saucepan are high enough, no one wants boiled over sugar on their stove top.  

    Add the water to the saucepan too and stir the lot over medium heat just until the caster sugar is dissolved. Bring the mixture to the boil and boil until the mixture is *dark golden. It takes a few minutes, just err on the less side, the mixture can burn quite easily.

    Quickly, Quickly. 

    Turn off heat, quickly and lightly whisk in your bicarb ... it's a barely a mix through, this is to make sure it doesn't deflate.

    Quickly pour into prepared mould (careful it's HOT), leave the mould in place until cool. 

    Once cool it's pops straight out of the silicone mould, if you used the baking paper in a bowl un-mould and peel away paper.

    Tap or cut with large knife into *pieces. 

    Gently melt your chocolate in a bowl over hot water. Start dipping your pieces into chocolate and then into toppings of choice such as freeze dried strawberry pieces.  Place on rack to set.

    At this stage serve, I served mine in a "grab piece pile" with espresso for a late night pick me up. Or freeze the pieces in a single layer in a freezer container or freezer bag until needed. Keep some unchocolate dipped for those who like it plain, use leftover crushed honeycomb in coconut yoghurt, mixed in with granola, for hokey pokey ice cream, cookies, slices, cakes and plated desserts. 

    This is a freshly made piece, the top photo shows the slight darkening on freezing and defrosting... both lots tasted the same. My step son didn't mind the salt sprinkle, but his girlfriend Emer and I thought it was too salty with the increased bicarbonate.  


    *I can't stress enough the mixture is hot, remove pets and small children from the work area whilst making. 

    *Troubleshoot, don't over whisk once bicarbonate is added for a light honeycomb. Don't cook to long to prevent burning. 

    *Pieces... the small shattered pieces can be mixed into tempered chocolate and moulded into love hearts, skulls, frogs or whatever you like for honeycomb crunch chocolates.

    *there is no candy thermometer used in this recipe, the sugar mixture is brownish due to the syrups your aiming for "browner" without burning. 

    Happy baking  and confectionery making :) 

    You might be interested in an also vegan 2010 version of honeycomb with less bicaronate that results in a lighter colour and harder finish. 


    Lime paneer and paneer parantha (Indian Cheese Flatbread)

                                 lime smoked paneer parantha 

    Paneer is a fresh curd/cottage cheese common in South Asia, especially in Indian, Pakistani, Afghan, Nepali, Sri Lankan, and Bangladeshi cuisines.

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    Surprised by limes was I.

    An unprecedented bounty of limes on the backyard lime tree this year took me by surprise; at first I was enjoying the lime slices in soda and the freshly squeezed lime in salad dressings, followed by lime curd, lime sorbet and then came the slight panic that the limes will fall soon and the tree still seemed to have 1000 fast ripening limes. Juice has been frozen, zest is dehydrating and now I'm up to making lime paneer! 

    This simple two ingredient fresh cheese can be used in many Indian/Indian inspired dishes such as the paneer parantha recipe today or anytime you need a cottage cheese. 

    You'll need a deep colander lined with muslin and your ready to make your cheese.

    Lime Paneer


    I litre or quart of full cream milk 

    60 mls (2 fluid oz) of lime juice in small jug


    In heavy based saucepan bring your milk almost to the boil, your milk will be hot and there will be tiny bubbles around the side of your saucepan. For those who love their cooks thermometer the milk will around 80 Celsius (175F). Turn off the heat.  

    Immediately start adding your lime juice a drizzle at a time, stirring gently after each addition. Keep adding the lime juice/gently stirring until the milk separates and you have curd and whey.

    gently stirring lime juice into hot milk

    It doesn't look attractive at this stage, a pale green water with white floaty curd.

    Leave the saucepan to cool for around 30 minutes, place your prepared colander in your kitchen sink before gently pouring in your milk mixture. 

    Gather your muslin up from the sides, twist top and start to gently squeeze the excess whey (fluid) from the curds. The more whey that is removed the firmer your finished cheese will be. This will take a few minutes to do. 

    cheese squeezed and ready to be pressed

    Time to press into a block. Untwist the top of your muslin and wrap excess length around your cheese, place your cheese between two chopping boards and apply weight to the top board. Weight can be a stack of books to another saucepan filled with water, anything to squish the cheese. Leave your cheese for 30 to 45 minutes to press. 

    Ta daaa! Finished fresh paneer/cottage cheese, you should have about 250g (8.8OZ).

    From here you can use it in recipes like palek paneer the spinach and cheese curry and the stuffed flatbread parantha paneer. 

     I've included "Jimmy's" recipe video for making the flatbread, I have used his brand of atta flour... oddly recipe on side of flour is different than what is shown in video... both methods work. 

    Parantha Paneer


    2 cups of *Atta flour (you can use wholemeal flour) 

    1/2 tsp salt

    150 ml luke warm water, more if needed. 

    Plus a neutral oil for oiling your pan, I used Grapeseed oil. 

    *atta flour is a semi strong indian grown/processed wholemeal flour perfect for making flatbread... you can see it's a finer mill than western wholemeal flour, worth seeking out but standard wholemeal flour will also work. Here atta flour is seen with salt added ready to be mixed. 

    Food processor: place flour and salt in food processor and turn on whilst pouring enough water down chute to form a soft dough. 

    Hand method: place flour in mixing bowl, whisk in salt and stir in enough water to form a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth. 

    Both methods wrap the dough and allow to rest for 30 minutes. 

    After resting, pinch off two small palm sized pieces of dough (mine were 50 grams each because I'm the weighing "type"). Roll or press both balls until they are around 10 cm (4 inches) in diameter.

    Season your cheese with 1/2 tsp of salt and spices of choice and crumble. Love it hot? Green chopped chillies can be added now if desired. I also lightly smoked my cheese with a smoking gun at this stage for a faux oven flavour.

    Top one of the rounds with seasoned paneer and in my case fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves. 

    Take the second round and place on top of the filled round and pinch together to seal. 

    Roll out the filled parcel until it is thin. I rolled mine on a non stick mat and did not add extra flour, if you are rolling a bench top, lightly flour your dough/rolling pin. 

    I usually just roll a few at a time, cover to stop drying out between cooking each one.

    Cook your flatbread on a hot pre heated crepe pan, frypan or flat griddle. I used an electric crepe maker set on maximum heat. If using non stick cookware a light brush of oil is all you will need, slightly more for stainless steel cookware. Bubbles form on surface of cooking flatbread, when nice and bubbled flip over. 

    Once you flip your flat bread will puff up like a pillow (it will deflate on cooling), cook another minute or so until golden and remove from heat. At this stage you can brush on melted butter and stack in a flatbread basket or wrap to keep warm whilst you make the rest. 

    Parantha is a stand alone snack served with indian pickles, a tamarind sauce etc, in the west you'll often see it eaten alongside curries curries too. I like it for brunch as it is... ohhh, mango pickle would be good. Unlike the lamb or cauliflower parantha the filling doesn't fall out, think of it more as an enriched bread with most of the cheese incorporating into the dough. 

    Fun to make and eat, happy baking :) 

    You might also be interested in a lightened Chocolate and Tia Maria Fridge Cake.   


    Alsatian Onion Pizza

                                    Mini Alsatian Onion Pizzas

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    Winter is coming!! Or at least Autumn is here. The skies have darkened and the driveway is strewn with leaves, a perfect time to catch up with friends for Alasatian pizza and a glass of red before winter arrives! 

    Alsatian pizza also known as tarte flambée, French pizza, or flammekueche depending which side of the border you're on. It's an onion topped flatbread/pizza, not common with caramelised onion but doubly tasty because of it. The Alsatian pizza often has bacon on top, sometimes with sour cream, fromage blanc or crème fraîche underneath the onion. A pizza known for it's wood oven charred edges, it's just as delicious made in a home oven. 

    Using Rose's Alsatian pizza recipe from the excellent "The Bread Bible", Rose varies from the standard by using black olives instead of the usual bacon or lardons.  I doubled the dough batch today and swapped half the white flour for wholemeal spelt flour, plus I added a few tablespoons of red chia seeds. I also added a splash of brandy and a splosh of crème fraîche in the toppings.

    Without doubling, Rose's recipe makes one 10 inch (approx 25 cm) pizza, or in my doubled case 10 mini pizzas. 

    The dough starts with white flour, wholemeal spelt, red chia seeds, instant yeast and sugar are whisked together. Salt is then whisked in. 

    A well is made in the centre of the flour and water added. I added a few teaspoons of water extra due to wholemeal spelt flour being included. 

    Then mixed together until a rough shaggy dough forms. 

    Off for a rise in an oiled container, overnight is best if you have time. 

    I made the onion topping at this stage, it's like onion jam ... delicious, caramelised onions. 

    Butter is melted in olive oil.

    Onions thinly sliced.

    The onions, sugar, salt and pepper are added to the pan. Cover the pan with a tightly fitted lid and then sweat the onions down for 45 minutes. 

    They look like this, fluid has been released, the onions are cooked but have no colour yet. 

    Heat is turned up, I added just a few teaspoons of brandy at this stage... it was reminding me so much of French onion soup I thought I'd try it. You could use a splash of your favourite balsamic. The onions are cooked until the liquid has evaporated and they are golden brown.

    Crushed garlic and thyme are added at this stage, I used fresh lemon thyme because it's all I had. I cooled then chopped the onions to a suitable mini pizza topping consistency, covered and then popped in fridge ready for the next day. 

    Next day the dough is brought back to room temperature and I weighed out ten 40 grams balls. There was a little bit left over for a tester pizza. They sat loosely covered to "relax" for fifteen minutes. 

    I have mini pizza pans but I wanted a less formal friendly shape and not too thin for hand held individual pizzas. So I just stretched the balls out a bit, put them on a silpat topping a baking tray. Loosely covered in oiled plastic wrap they rise for 30 to 45 minutes. I took my prepared onions out of the fridge to return to room temperature at this stage too. 

    Your oven is pre heated, your pizza stone or extra baking tray is in there too getting nice and hot. Slide your tray of risen pizza/s into the oven on top of pizza stone. Yes, that's right they don't have any topping yet but wait...

    5 minutes later remove your tray from the oven.  

    The partially baked bases are now topped, I spread on a little crème fraîche to add an acid component.

    Then topped with the caramelised onions and black olives.

    A little gruyere cheese completed the topping and it was back in the oven to bake for another 5 minutes until cheese is melted and crust golden. 

    Base crust is evenly golden brown and super crisp. 

    The interior is light, almost fluffy, with the crunch of chia, surrounded by the thin crisp crust for the "bite" you expect from a good pizza. 

    I served the pizzas with baby fresh lemon thyme leaves.

    Happy Baking :) 

    Today has been one of the 'Rose's Bread Bible Bakers' bakes where a group of fabulous bakers get together and bake from the pages of 'The Bread Bible'.

    The Bread Bible is available from Amazon and all good book stores. 


    Cauliflower Cheese

                                                         cauliflower cheese

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    I laughed out loud when I saw that this months ABC baker's challenge was cauliflower cheese, you forget we don't all have the same food experiences. To me cauliflower cheese is bog standard but lovely, old school cooking, something that could still be part of your Sunday roast or you have a distant memory of your gran's. 

    Cauliflower cheese is served mainly as a side dish, paired with a roast dinner or another protein. Cauliflower in Australia now is more often seen in curries, stuffed in flat breads like Gobi ke Parathe (YUM!!), salads, roasted, stir fries, soups, as a faux pizza base or the popular cauliflower rice but there is still a place for the classic cauliflower cheese in your repertoire. 

    supermarkets and fruit/veg shops carry the already chopped cauliflower for quick low carb cooking. 

    Baking along with a talented group of bakers that are a part of ABC (Avid Baker's Challenge), this month was 'Cauliflower Cheese' from Smitten Kitchen

    I've made the basic cauliflower cheese in individual portions with a couple of small changes to Smitten Kitchen's recipe. I also include a wasabi variation and a gluten free cauliflower and cheese soup recipe.  

    The first printed version of cauliflower cheese is in the 1861 publication of 'Beeton's Book of Household Mangement'. Where hot white sauce (Mrs. Beeton uses a sauce blanche) is poured over the cooked cauliflower, topped with grated parmesan, bread crumbs and then put under the griller (broiler/salamander) until bubbling and golden.

    The cheese sauce for the cauliflower cheese today is a Béchamel (white sauce), a sauce that is Italian in origin but now is probably more well known as one of the French mother sauces. Béchamel is the base to other sauces, add cheese like we are today and it's "Mornay sauce".

    I made buckets (literally) of Béchamel decades ago when working in seafood retail/catering, some became mornay sauce, used in seafood crepes, seafood pies, seafood bakes and goodness proving it was a long time ago seafood "vol au vents". 

    Start by preparing your cauliflower by cutting it into florets and either steaming them or boiling them. I cooked them to the "cooked but still holding shape stage", as I didn't bake the dish further as Smitten Kitchen did. 

    cauliflower florets ready for steaming

    Whilst the cauliflower was steaming, butter was melted and flour added and stirred together until flour is cooked off, 2 to 3 minutes to make the white roux.

    Milk is added and stirred continuously until thickened and hot. Grated mature cheddar cheese (tasty) was stirred in then.

    *I upped the flour used to 40 grams and reduced the butter to 50 grams. I reduced the cheese too, Smitten Kitchen uses 155 grams, I used 75 grams to be added to the sauce and 25 grams to be sprinkled on top and I used 2 cups (500ml) of 2% milk. I prefer to make the sauce thicker because you can always thin it with a little warm milk but not visa versa.  

    Time to add the seasonings. 

    Coleman's mustard strong enough to "put hairs on your chest"as nan would say.

    I added a large teaspoon of prepared English mustard, a grate of fresh nutmeg and a shake of white pepper for the seasoning. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning to personal taste. 

    Cauliflower was arranged in 4 separate ramekins, then topped with the sauce, sprinkled with grated cheese and put under a hot grill (we say "grill" in Australia... it's broiler or salamander elsewhere) to gratin. Serve when bubbly and golden. 

    Change up your cheese or veg

    Change your cheese for another strong tasting cheese (be careful if using a blue cheese, you could end up with a gray coloured sauce) or if using a milder cheese pump up the flavour with more mustard or chilli and the like. Use broccoli or cauliflower and broccoli instead of plain cauli, or how about potatoes or sweet potatoes for a change? Mornay sauce matches most vegetables, adjust seasonings accordingly and if your not going for a baked or gratin finish then add a crispy finishing touch. 

    I used a wasabi cheddar for an alternative version of cauliflower cheese that I'll be serving with fish this Easter. A ittle wasabi paste was added for an extra kick. Wasabi cheddar cheese was swapped out for the mature cheddar and wasabi paste used instead of the mustard, nutmeg and white pepper. Pour the hot sauce over your cooked cauliflower, I topped with butter browned panko crumbs and wasabi sesame seeds. 

    wasabi paste

    wasabi sesame seeds 


    Ooops, I was supposed to use the black bowls my "gee this is such a yellow sauce" thought carried onto the bowls.

    Gluten free Cauliflower Cheese soup

    A simple pureed veg soup is a nice gluten free addition to your Easter feast. 


    1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets

    1 large leek or 2 medium onions, diced

    2 stick of celery diced

    I medium potato, peeled and diced 

    1.5 litres of salt reduced vegetable or chicken stock

    200 grams of grated matured cheddar cheese

    2 tablespoons olive oil 

    English mustard

    fresh nutmeg

    salt and pepper

    optional extra cheese for garnish


    In a large pot over heat the olive oil over a medium heat, and add all the cut vegetables. Stir and place a lid partially over pot, continue to cook for ten minutes. Stirring occasionally to prevent catching. 

    Add the stock and bring to the boil, reduce the heat then and simmer until veggies are soft. 

    Remove pan from heat, add the grated cheese and heaped teaspoon of English mustard and a light grating of nutmeg. Puree the soup in pot with a stick blender. If soup is too thick, thin with a little boiling water. Taste the soup, add salt and pepper to suit you and your family being mindful of what garnishes, if any, you are using. Serve the soup piping hot with extra crumbled or grated cheese and grated nutmeg. 

    Happy Baking :)  

    You might be interested in a quick and easy peach verrine 

    or make some agar agar jelly pearls


    Flax seed loaf: Rose's Bread Bible Bakers

                                 flax seed loaf baked as rolls, with chia and sesame. 

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    Baking from 'The Bread Bible', a 'Flax seed loaf' but I baked rolls with the dough and swapped out some of the flax seed for chia and sesame.  Fantastic recipe for a healthy bread that isn't heavy thanks to the mix of flours Rose lays out for use. Easy too! 

                          Flax seed is known as 'Linseed' in Australia. 

    Flax stems are used to produce linen fabric. In ancient times Egyptians wore the shenti (a kilt like garment) made from flax stems woven into linen and flax flowers are often seen in ancient Egyptian murals. 

    Today we are using the seeds from the flax plant, 58 grams were called for... I used 25 grams of flax seed (linseed), 10 grams each of white and black chia seeds with the rest of the weight being made up of black and white sesame seeds. 

    White, wholewheat (wholemeal), pumpernickel (rye meal) flours are whisked together in a bowl along with instant yeast and the seed (mix).  

    A well is made in the centre of the whisked flour and *honey added, followed by warm water and mixed until a rough dough is formed. 

    After a short rest salt is added and mixing continued with the dough hook in the KitchenAid (hand method is also in book) for 7 minutes until you have a moist smooth dough. 

    Off for rise now. 

    After rising dough is shaped into a loaf or as I did shaped into rolls, top with seeds if desired. 

    Ice cubes and preheated baking stone or tray are used produce Rose's home oven bread baking magic, and shortly you have a flax seed loaf or rolls that are substantial with a nutty wholesomeness, but still a light springiness to the texture.

    Fresh baked rolls make a fabulous centre piece for your Easter table, baking different shapes from the same dough gives you visual impact... and you have delicious fresh bread to eat!! 


    *I didn't crush the linseed, I prefer them whole letting "chewing" do some crushing. 

    *Substitute the honey for golden syrup for a vegan option to serve this Easter. 

    I served mine with hard boiled egg slices, lettuce, fresh pickled carrot spirals and whole egg dill mayo. This is an easy bread for all the family and a great everyday healthful addition to your diet for sandwiches to toast to burger buns.   

    Happy Baking :) 

    Today has been one of the 'Rose's Bread Bible Bakers' bakes where a group of fabulous bakers get together and bake from the pages of 'The Bread Bible'.

    The Bread Bibleby Rose Levy Beranbaum is available from Amazon and all discerning book stores.

    You may also be interested in Chocolate Hot Cross Buns  recipe. 


    Liège Waffles

                                                  Mini Liège waffle dipped in melted chocolate

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    Liège waffle: brioche based waffle with pearl sugar, rumoured to have been invented during the 18th century by the chef to the Prince-Bishop of Liège.  

    Haven't had a burger in anything but a brioche bun in the last decade? This waffle is for you and all your brioche loving friends. Belgium has many varieties of waffles but today is the "Liège", brioche dough cooked in a waffle maker with pearl sugar. 

    Antonin Carême. 1784-1833 

    Early versions of what is now the Liège waffle were a brioche base with crushed block sugar on top as a garnish; then a nod to Antonin Carême, the famous Parisian chef has several waffle recipes with crushed/pearl sugar. However, a full recipe for the gaufre de liège (liège waffle) wasn't published until quite late in 1921.

    For today's recipe you will need pearl sugar. 

    Pearl Sugar a beet sugar compressed into uneven nuggets. 

    Pearl sugar is paired most frequently with brioche, like these mini loaves I baked previously. The pearl sugar even though it has been baked keeps it's shape. 


    Baking along with a talented group of bakers that are a part of ABC (Avid Baker's Challenge), this month was the 'Liège Waffles' from Smitten Kitten

    The ingredients and changes I made to this months recipe in bold.... 

    1/2 cup (120 ml) milk, whole is ideal (replaced whole milk with water, milk, particularly whole milk makes dough heavier
    1/4 cup (60 ml) water
    2 tablespoons raw sugar, brown sugar or honey (used golden syrup to build to the caramel/burnt sugar flavour, in Australia our tablespoons are larger so I used 1 1/2 tablespoons) 
    1 packet (7 grams or 2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast ( I used instant yeast same weight, in changing yeast the method also changed) 
    2 large eggs, ideally at room temperature
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    3 2/3 cups (460 grams) all-purpose flour, divided (plain flour for Australians)
    1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt (I used Maldon) 
    14 tablespoons (200 grams or 7 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
    1 1/3 cups pearl sugar (cut the sugar amount, scooped out a half a cup of pearl sugar and sprinkled on top of scoops of the dough rather than incorporating into the dough)

    flour mixture with golden syrup and water

    The method I had to change because of using instant yeast. All the flour and instant yeast were whisked together, then the salt whisked through, water and golden syrup added. Popped the bowl onto the kitchen aid and using the dough hook and speed 2 until I had a rough dough.

    rough dough

    Eggs were added in, then well softened  butter added a spoonful at a time  still using the dough hook until incorporated. Well softened butter means the butter holds it's shape but if you touch it ever so lightly it will smear . Seven minutes mixing on 2 and it's all done. 

    not as silky as typical brioche dough, it's firm. 

    I should have cut down the flour measurement somewhat, not keen on the tight texture. More fluid or less flour would have been good to improve the hydration in dough. There is a couple of rises at this stage. For the full original recipe and method see Smitten Kitten.  

    You'll need to have your waffle iron ready and pre heated, stove top or electric, the deeper Belgian waffle makers are the perfect choice but recipe will work in standard waffle makers too. Mine is the 'Cuisinart 4 Slice Belgium Waffle Maker'.

    Here is a scoop of waffle mixture... literally just used a dessert spoon and scooped spoonfuls of room temperature brioche dough onto oiled waffle maker. My shapes weren't really the traditional oval, more of a plump round oval (there is so such a thing!!) shape. They took 4 minutes on setting 2 to cook. 

    Why oiled when it's non stick? Always oil your non stick cookware if the recipe contains a high sugar content or low fat mixture like sponge. Using the pearl sugar with oiled waffle plates meant clean up was a breeze. I made 28 waffles all up in this sizing.

    Youtube clip from 'The Hostel Girl' blog she is in europe talking and eating waffles. 

    Liège waffles are a street food, food truck food, something you would grab at a market as you were walking around. Usually eaten plain they can also be plated with a chocolate sauce. They are meant to be eaten warm and immediately, you may wish to half recipe. They don't keep well and you will have to reheat in microwave and wrapped in oven to freshen them. Brioche does freeze well, but because of the sugar topping you will get sugar weeping/stickiness on defrosting. 

    Lets have a look inside... yep, it's brioche, fluffy plus crisp and crunchy due to the pearl sugar and waffle iron. The pearl sugar topping has almost totally smashed and melted. They are more substantial than a standard waffle, they are enriched bread and are not meant for giant stacks with lots of toppings. Although you could if you wanted to, maybe you like brioche and whipped cream and chocolate and cherries on top.  

    Mine were served with cups of melted chocolate and strawberries for dipping, great with coffee but would be fabulous with champagne for a celebratory brunch. Do you make a wickedly good hot chocolate? Hot chocolate to sip on or dip the waffles in would be great too. Spice with the traditional cinnamon, or try a dash of cardamom or saffron to spice things up. Consider serving with berries to provide an acid component to clean palate and don't be afraid to keep a bit of your favorite enriched dough aside when baking and try it out in your waffle maker. 

    Happy Baking :) 

    You might also be interested in Caramel Stoopwafel cupcakes

    or make a fondant 50 shades of Grey cupcake