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    Entries in Australia (55)


    Baci Chocolate Ice Cream

    Baci Chocolate Ice Cream sandwiched between chocolate cookies.

    For Valentines Day this year I'm making Baci Chocolate Ice Cream, I love the flavour combination of chocolate and hazelnuts and who does it better than the Italians! Think Gianduja, Nutella, Ferrero Rocher and of course Baci.

    Baci; Italian for kisses 

    Perugina Baci chocolates come wrapped in love notes in five different languages.

    Words of love are always the same, they take on the flavour of the lips that offer them.

    Traditional ice cream is custard based and this is no exception;

    Baci Chocolate Ice Cream

    makes approximately 1 Litre (4 cups)


    1 cup of milk

    2 cups of cream

    *5 egg yolks

    1/2 cup caster sugar (superfine)

    150g dark eating chocolate chopped (5oz)

    1/4 cup Chocolate Hazelnut Paste (such as Nutella)

    pinch of salt

    200g bag Baci chocolates (7oz)

    3 tsp Frangelico hazelnut liqueur (optional)


    Combine one cup of the cream and one cup of milk, chocolate hazelnut paste, pinch of salt, in a saucepan with the chopped dark chocolate, bring to the simmer over low heat whisking to make sure chocolate is evenly melted. Remove from heat & stir in remaining cup of cream.

    Beat (I use an electric hand mixer) the egg yolks and sugar together until light and creamy, about 3-4 minutes.

    Slowly pour warm milk mixture into egg mixture, constantly whisking as you do it. It is important to constantly whisk, you don't want your eggs to curdle otherwise you will have chocolate hazelnut scrambled eggs.

    Return to mixture to a clean saucepan and gently cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a wooden spoon.

    Pour through a strainer, add Frangelico if using and chill the mix thoroughly for several hours before churning in an ice-cream machine according to manufacturers instructions. In the last minute of churning, add 4 chilled and chopped Baci chocolates.

    Transfer to an air tight container and freeze unit firm.

    To serve; sandwich ice-cream between chocolate cookies of choice, I made Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop. Wonderful chocolatey flavour, fudgy texture and not to hard to bite through, you don't want to squish your ice-cream out with every bite. Roll the edges the ice cream sandwiches in chopped Baci chocolate. You can wrap and freeze after filling or serve immediately. With extra Baci chocolates on the side, because you can't have too many kisses!

    *leftover egg whites can be used to make meringues, tuiles, langues de chat or even an egg white omelette.


    Silpat are all they all that??

                                 Demarle's Silpat's


    Update: Silpats are now available in Australia from The Red Spoon Company my favourite molecular gastronomy supply store.

    Finally!! I have got my hands on some Silpat's, could not find them anywhere in Australia... well, I didn't travel Australia for them but I did have a jolly good look on the internet. 

    Amazon's International store stocks them to ship to Australia, I don't think I'll go into the postage costs, I'm still slightly traumatised by the experience.

    We do have silicone baking mats here, I own several, what we don't have is Silpat with it's woven matrix of fibre glass strands sandwiched between silicone coating.

          Fibreglass weave sandwiched between Silicone coating

    Apart from saving on the copious metres of silicone baking paper I go through, the fibreglass component of the Silpat should help prevent the over browned bottoms of baked goods I'm experiencing with my new & ghastly oven.

    I also want to expand my sugar work skills & I've been led to believe that the Silpat is the perfect surface to tip hot toffee/candy onto. 

    As I now gaze at the Silpats on the bench, with their "I'm new" sheen, I'm hoping they will be "all that"!!


    Modern Classics Book 2


    Off the shelf
    baking book reviews


    Modern Classics Book 2  Donna Hay 192 pages Paperback

    Donna Hay has the ability to turn the simple into the sublime, flick through the pages in Modern Classics Book 2 Donna Hay's baking book and you'll know what I mean. Gorgeous photography and styling accompany a beautiful collection of baking favourites, all with that unmistakable Donna Hay modern twist the world has come to love. 

    The book is divided into the following sections;

    Cookies, biscuits and slices

    Small cakes



    Hot puddings

    Pies & tarts

    Step by step concise instructions guide you through, doughnuts to crème caramel, muffins to soufflé. Learn how to make a butter cake, whip up a sponge, churn yourself a bowl of ice-cream, bake a sugary pastry.   

    Step by step instructions lead you through to the finished result

    The layout with suggested variations on recipes make it an ideal book for beginner bakers, or for the more experienced cook, who doesn't need a recipe for the perfect simple lemon cake? 

    Being Australia Day today it's good to see the traditional Aussie classics are included, pavlova, lamingtons, anzac biscuits and "yum" friands! I baked the blueberry friands (pictured top) from the friands recipe page 46 of Modern Classics Book 2.

    Blueberry Friands

    Preheat oven 180C (350F)

    Muffin or friand tin 


    125g (4oz) butter

    1 cup almond meal

    1 2/3 cups icing (confectioners) sugar

    3/4 cup plain (all purpose) flour, sifted

    1/2 tsp of baking powder

    5 egg whites

    1/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries


    Melt the butter in a small saucepan, over low heat until it changes colour to a light golden brown. Set aside.

    Put the almond meal, icing sugar, flour and baking powder in a bowl and stir until combined. Add egg white & stir to combine. Add butter and stir to combine. Spoon 2 tablespoons of mix into 10 of the greased or paper lined muffin cups. Sprinkle with blueberries. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and springy but moist in the centre. 

    I sprinkled mine with icing sugar, I sometimes add one tsp of lemon zest to the recipe for lemon blueberry friands. 

    Modern Classics Book 2 will quickly become a favourite with it's home-style, easy & stylish recipes. Excellent tools & glossary sections will further assist beginner bakers and delicious recipes will tempt bakers of all levels!

    All in all, a worthy addition to any bakers shelf.

    Available in Oz from all leading bookstores and online from Donna Hay's official site.





    Crocodile and Kangaroo Meat Pies

                                Crocodile and Kangaroo meat pies

    Australia Day January 26th is almost here and since you can't get more Aussie food wise than the iconic Australian meat pie, a trip to a pie shop seemed to be in order. 

    Australian meat pies in their most common form are a handheld pie comprising of mince beef (ground beef) & gravy in a shortcrust pastry base with a puff pastry top usually finished with globs of tomato sauce (ketchup). Synonymous with sports, the pie is one of the most popular items to eat at a game of Australian Rules Football.

    A recent successful advertising campaign from pie manufacture Four'N Twenty had "work men" eating pies from a plastic plate, the salad on the plate is also made of plastic. 

    Real men eat pies not salad according to Four'N Twenty. My husband must have agreed because he got himself two of these pie plates!!

    On to our visit to the pie shop; The Pie Shed is located in Bayswater a partially industrialised suburb east of Melbourne. Walking in you are hit by the delicious aroma of baked pies. The menu is quite extensive with over 40 varieties of pies. Divided into: Steak Pies (a dozen varieties of those), Open Pies, Gourmet Pies, Game Pies, Fruit Pies, Family Pies, Quiches, Rolls & Pasties. Flavours such as chicken & camembert, Guinness stout, curried scallop, cauliflower and broccoli were tempting but we were interested in the game menu. Kangaroo, Venison, Crocodile are the standards, Emu, Goat, Camel, Turkey and Duck are available seasonally.

    The small cafe was doing brisk business, after a short wait at the counter friendly staff sent us off with our Crocodile and Kangaroo Pies. $5.75 per pie

    According to the menu; Kangaroo Pie contains 'diced kangaroo cooked with onions and lemon scented spices' the Crocodile Pie Tender pieces of crocodile cooked in mornay sauce and white wine.

    Taste Test

    The first thing that struck you is they weren't hot, the Kangaroo was warmish and the Crocodile pie was lukewarm at best.

    The pastry looked good, taste wise it was fine, not great, buttery or super crisp, but okay, my husband Mark quite liked it. The crocodile was missing something, oh yeah I know "the crocodile"!!  

                                           Croc Hunting

    The mornay sauce was THICK, and since it wasn't hot... gluggy. Under seasoned, with no hint of the aforementioned white wine, the filling was bland with the only flavour note coming from a commercial tasting chicken stock. Mark was looking forward to his first taste of crocodile and was disappointed with the lack of croc meat. 

    The Kangaroo pie had all the seasoning missing from the crocodile pie, it was salty with a capital S, once the salt dispersed on your palate there was a subtle not unpleasant wine flavour. No sign of the promised 'lemon scented spices', which was a shame, as it would have added another much needed flavour dimension. Mark said he thought it was a bit too salty but he liked this pie a lot. 

    Overall, not my cup of tea but my husband (and he is target audience) liked it enough that he would go back and could envision himself using the drive thru service to grab a quick bite when he was hungry. 

    I will bake my version of the pies come winter, but for now it's back to churning ice-cream.


    Half a Master Chef

    What makes a Master Chef? Perhaps it's how many elements that are put on a plate?


    Gorgeous chocolate plated dessert by chef Matt Moran from his Sydney bay side Restaurant Aria.

    For those MasterChef fan's this is dessert from the final of Masterchef Australia. 

    I set about making about half of the plated desserts elements ... the chocolate tart (miniature versions), chocolate sauce, the chocolate glacage (chocolate glaze) and quenelles of the mousse like chocolate. 

    What's missing are the chocolate macaron's, double baked macaron crumb, chocolate pipe and chocolate sorbet. 

    Valrhona Jivara Chocolate is used in the recipe, quite a small amount 60g, but it's worth seeking out if you are going to recreate the dessert. Jivara is a fine French milk chocolate (40% cocoa solids) with caramel/vanilla undertones and just a hint of malt.

    The resulting tarts were just amazing, step son Dan said he "would kill someone for this". 

    Want to give it a try? Visit the MasterChef Australia site for the full recipe and instructions. 

    MasterChef Australia: Top rating reality cooking competition based on UK's long running MasterChef.



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