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    Sunday
    Jul092017

    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. 

    Ingredients

    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

    Dipping

    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.  

    Notes:

    *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. 

    Friday
    Jun302017

    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

    Ingredients 

    I litre or quart of full cream milk 

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

    Method 

    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

    Ingredients 

    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.   

    Wednesday
    Apr262017

    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. 

    Wednesday
    Apr122017

    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. 

    Ingredients

    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

    Method

    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

    Friday
    Mar242017

    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!! 

    Notes:

    *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. 

    Sunday
    Mar122017

    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

    Thursday
    Feb162017

    Walnut Fougasse: Rose's Bread Bible Bakers 

                                                  walnut fougasse 

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    Not only have I mucked up the order of baking, the walnut fougasse is supposed to be the bake for March, I've used the wrong flour. I used strong (bread flour) when it was plain (all purpose) that was called for. Still a testament to Rose's 'The Bread Bible' recipe that I still ended up with delicious crisp, yet chewy, walnut studded bread. 

    Fogasse: the French cousin of the focaccia, often slashed to resemble an ear of wheat, I loved this bread, reminded me of a pretzel focaccia cross. 

    The bread today uses walnut oil. One of my favourite ever oils with it's fantastic deep nutty flavour perfect for salad dressings, toss through pasta and as a finishing oil. 

    The bread was started with flour and yeast that were whisked together, salt was added and whisked in. 

    I added my own fresh sage and lemon zest, the backyard lemon tree leads to lemon being in umm, just about everything. Lemon gives a faux sour dough quality to the bread too. 

    The lemon zest and sage were whisked in. 

    Scalded milk and a few tablespoons of walnut oil are added, first mixed to rough dough and then kneaded by dough hook fitted mixer or hand until you have an elastic and just barely sticky dough.

    You need coarsely broken walnuts at this stage. 

    The walnuts are incorporated by hand. 

    The dough formed into a ball is then coated in more walnut oil and goes off the rise for around an hour. 

    The dough is turned out, more walnut oil is added and again it goes off to rise. Again the dough is turned out and *more oil is added and goes off for a third rise.

    I rolled the dough in a rectangle, gave it a letter turn and it was covered to rest for 30 minutes.

    Yay!! up to the shaping bit, place your dough on prepared baking sheet, and roll or press it out into a 9x15 by half an inch oval.

    Measuring with my only ruler that has imperial measurements on it.  

    More walnut oil was brushed on and dough was slashed into head of wheat pattern.  Using your fingers to stretch open the pattern.  

    Final rise time now, about 15 minutes. Stretch open any gaps that have closed and pop the tray into your prepared oven. I sprinkled on sea salt flakes at this stage, love lemon, sage, walnut and salt combo

    A great center piece bread for a BBQ or your Easter table. Full flavoured and delicious unadulterated.

    A crispy crust plus pretzel chew, moist interior with a great walnut substance to it.  

    Warm I found the bread a little oily, and unsuitable for oil dipping and dukkah (I tried)... I would like to reduce the oil a litte next time I make it. Plus I would like try replacing the milk with water or a milk substitute as this would make a great vegan bread to serve with with hummus and charred veg.  

    Add a bottle of red and your all set. 

    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.

    Know a 'Beatles' fan? You might want to make an octopus's garden cupcake for easter, don't we all?  

    Monday
    Feb062017

    The Browniest Cookies 

                                        the browniest cookies

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    Baking along with a talented group of bakers that are a part of ABC (Avid Baker's Challenge), this month is the 'Browniest Cookies' from Smitten Kitten. 

    Like all brownies it's easy to put together, chocolate is melted with butter and sugars whisked in.

    White sugar to creates the brownie crust and brown sugar to keep the cookies soft. 

    Eggs, vanilla, baking soda and salt are whisked in next, followed by sifted cocoa powder. 


    Flour is stirred in followed by chocolate chunks. I divided mixture in half and added half cup of fresh raspberries to the batter.  Both batters were then refrigerated. 

    The recipe calls for the batter to be scooped, I rolled in smaller 25 gram balls and slid the trays into the freezer for 15 minutes to insure they would keep their shape. 

    Resulting cookies are fudgy, with a thin crisp crust, definetly chocolately but did polarise the testers with the flavour.  They aren't overly sweet tasting cookies, but it was the touch of bitterness they bring with so much cocoa powder and unsweetened chocolate that some weren't keen on.  

    I drizzled melted chocolate on the raspberry ones and added love heart sprinkles for Valentines Day.  

    Tiny cookies won't crinkle as much due to chilling and the short bake time... about 6-7 seven minutes.

    The recipe today is similar to Martha Stewart's 'Chocolate Crackle' type cookies that we have made every Christmas for over a decade. The other Martha Stewart cookies that are brownie/crinkle like are the 'Outrageous Chocolate Cookie' we also make for holidays. 

    my step son made these brownie cookies for high school food tech in 2009   

    Today's cookies are good, but won't replace the Martha Stewart cookies in our Christmas repertoire. 

    Like a full cocoa flavoured cookie? get the full recipe for today's bake from Smitten Kitten 'The Browniest Cookies' 

    Happy Baking :) 

    You might also be interested in making Eric the Valentines Emu

    Friday
    Feb032017

    Year of the Rooster cupcake

                                           year of the rooster cupcake

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    After the Monkey and before the Dog, every twelve years comes the Rooster. 

    Year of the Rooster .... 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, and 2029.

    I find the Chinese horoscope so confusing! It is the year of the rooster, the fire rooster or the female fire chicken. The chicken puzzles me, a chook is not a rooster. I decided to go with the Rooster like the ones you see as Chinese prints adorning restaurants and my Dad's nursing home was rather fond of them too. 

    If your in Melbourne the Chinese New Year festival runs to the 12th of February at Crown Casino, lots of fun and celebratory goings on around town. 

    Making a Rooster.... 

    I made a simple shape from a 50% white modelling chocolate, 50% fondant. Toothpicks mark the leg holes.

    I cut feather shapes from orange fondant for around the neck and marked a centre line. Marked the body with crescent shapes. 

    Black fondant was rolled super thin (add some cmc if necessary) and cut into longer feather shapes. The shapes are then shredded along the edges. 

    The pieces were attached to the body with a light touch of water. Here I am starting to attach the comb and playing with placement of tail feathers. 

    Gold leaf was applied to cupcake with a brush small brush, lifting on small pieces and laying them on pre dampened surface. 

    The finished dry rooster was shaded in petal lustre dusts, gold, red and blue. Attached to the cupcake with toothpick legs for easy removal. 

    Happy Chinese, Lunar, Spring Festival time :) 

    You might also like Chinese chicken wings 

    Or back to year of the Dragon

    Sunday
    Jan222017

    Olive Bread: Rose's Bread Bible Bakers

                      

                                                  Olive bread 'The Bread Bible'

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    I love an olive baguette, stands to reason I was looking forward to baking Rose's olive bread. 

    Started with making a 'biga' (an Italian pre-ferment), it's easy, combine flour, a little instant yeast, a tad of optional malt powder with room temperature water.

    Stirred until smooth and it comes away from the side of the bowl.

    Placed in an oiled two cup container and covered for six hours, it's ready to use at this point or pop in fridge for up to three days. Mine was refrigerated for two days.

    Ready for the mixer now (instructions are also included for hand and food processor mixing in 'The Bread Bible'). Flour, more yeast, biga are mixed together with water until a rough dough forms.

    Rough dough mixed

    After a short covered rest, salt is added and the dough is returned to the mixer to be kneaded until smooth.

    Dough is covered and given a short time to relax before the olives are added. 

    chopped kalamata olives mixed with a little flour

    Dough is allowed to rise now until doubled in size. Shaped in a banneton or colander lined with a tea towel... and this the stage there is a slight hiccup, ok LARGE hiccup. 

    I go to preheat the oven and the electrics were out, I could light the gas with a match but I can't run the oven without the fan. 

    I stayed calm... ha ha no I didn't I had tears running down my face despite self talking to myself to "toughen up". I went and punched down the partially risen shaped loaf and froze the dough. 

    Oh the fuse box!! Apparently you are supposed the check the fuse box outside, which I did the next day. Even though the switch marked oven was on there was a random unmarked switch down... yep, oven back on YAY!

    Soooo, I defrosted the dough and baked it off in a batard (torpedo) loaf shape because it was faster. 

    Hmmm, I thought the dough didn't look right defrosted and reshaped, though apart from not getting as much crust as I expect I would have gotten without freezing... all was good, delicious in fact. Well flavoured, moist, light but with just enough bite in the texture. 

    Now the tomatoes... Nanna loved a grilled tomato and always made me grilled tomatoes on toast for breakfast, I liked them but like fresh too so I went a bit "Ottolenghi" and caramelised half the tomatoes in a pan, keeping the other half raw. Mixed together they top my olive toast. With a lemon olive dressing, baby basil and rough cut herbs, the best ever Sunday brunch on a hot summers day.

    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 by Rose Levy Beranbaum is available from Amazon and all discerning book stores.  

    You might also like Little Lemon and Lime Lamingtons Australia Day January 26th.