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    Entries in green (23)

    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.   

    Wednesday
    Jan042017

    "Levy's" Real Jewish Rye Bread: Rose's Bread Bible Bakers

    "Levy's" Real Jewish Rye Bread 'The Bread Bible'

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    Rose speaks of in 'The Bread Bible' that she likes rye bread 'studded with constellations of caraway seeds' and apparently I do too!! 

    Ahh that moment your loaf of bread is so awesomely "perfect" and you are so excited and then realise it's hard to get people enthusiastic over a loaf of bread, but "dang" this was my perfect loaf, turning the corner, light bulb type moment in bread making.  

    It started with me making a sponge (a starter), bread flour, rye flour, instant yeast, sugar, barley malt syrup and warm water all go in bowl.

    Then it's mixed until it forms a smooth batter bubbly with air.

    Ok, we are up to whisking the remainder of the bread flour with more instant yeast, caraway seeds and salt. The flour mixture was gently spooned over the sponge and covered with plastic wrap for night in the fridge.

    Next morning there was much bubbling coming through the flour blank and after coming back to room temperature I used the kitchen aid (there is instructions for hand mixing) to knead.  

    The resulting dough was placed in a raising container and allowed to rise for a couple of hours. Once risen the dough was shaped into a rectangle and given a business letter turn before going off for another rise.

    I'd already decided I wouldn't use the cloche to bake the bread as another bread bible baker mentioned the loaf was large and I too wanted smaller slices so a batard loaf seemed right. 

    Almost all went wrong at this point as I was following Rose's excellent video on how to shape a batard (torpedo) loaf when I realised my loaf was too long for the baking sheet. I did the thing known as "emergency squashing the ends", which you shouldn't do, but do pre measure your baking sheet.  

    *note my dough was dimpled because it's a rye bread, ditto I didn't spritz with water... and I have started with squashing the ends in this photo ha ha!

    Into my preheated (hot) oven, I placed my loaf on a silpat lined baking tray onto the already heated baking tray in the oven. Ice cubes were added to another tray in the bottom of the oven to create steam. 

    TAAA DAAA!! Ok don't judge it's acutally a dodgy phone pic.. with a ruler next to it to show the length, this is my life I'm sending out photos of my bread to friends.

    And the interior, it wouldn't be a message to my friends if I didn't include "and look at the inside!!" pic.

    I am seriously happy with this texture and flavour of this bread, well seasoned it's a just eat alone bread and made wonderful sandwiches but I thought I'd show you one of the things I do with the "close to the end" bits.

    I make "salad crisps" from bits of homemade bread. Slice as thinly as you can, it's ok if you get odd shaped pieces. Lay out your thin bread slicees on a lined baking tray and either brush lightly with a neutral oil (didn't want to interfere with caraway flavour) or spray with cooking oil and bake in a hot oven for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Sprinkle with sea salt is desired. Perfect to add a textural element to a salad of fresh pickled red radishes, smoked salmon, avocado and some assorted "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 Bibleby Rose Levy Beranbaum is available from Amazon and all discerning book stores. 

    You might also be interested in a little bit of retro with Honey Joy Cupcakes

    Saturday
    Dec102016

    King Parrot

    the king parrot

    Awww, I'm loving this wild King Parrot that has taken to "visiting" the decking outside my kitchen each day... brightens the baking morning :) 

    Sunday
    Aug232015

    Woody's Black and White Brownies Rose's Alpha Bakers

    Woody's Black and White Brownies (with a touch of green) 'The Baking Bible'

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    Stuart's Brownie Review Stuart's video brownie review Flickr. 

    Little Stuart is eight years old and has autism, each week he asks me "is it chocolate yet?" This week it is chocolate!! Woody's Black and White Brownies. 

    Stuart wanted to take the brownies to school tomorrow, so the we had to veto the bourbon in the ganache topping and no nuts (nut free school).  This caused an hour or three problem as Stuart kept repeating "the recipe says bourbon" but we settled on mint largely due to Stuart loving 'Peppermint crisp' chocolate bars. :)

    peppermint crisp bar a popular chocolate bar in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa... often used in desserts. 

    Chocolate and butter were melted in a double boiler and scraped into the mixing bowl of the stand mixer.

    Cocoa and sugar were added and mixed until incorporated.

    Eggs and vanilla were beaten in, the mixture became thick and glossy.

    Cream cheese was added and beaten until small bits remained and the mixture was spread evenly in the lined baking pan. I added a handful of choc chips, well just to surprise Stuart really. 

    Hmm, I wondered at this stage were you supposed to be seeing the little bits of cream cheese?

    Brownies were baked until the batter was set one inch from the edge.

    Next was making the white chocolate custard base that would be a compontent of the white chocolate buttercream. I used small callettes so I didn't have to cut chocolate into pieces.

    I had never made a custard from melted white chocolate and butter until this recipe, interesting technique. 

    White chocolate and butter are melted over a double boiler.

    Whisked eggs are added and cooked until slightly thickened (you have custard), it's then strained and cooled.

    white chocolate custard ready to be cooled

    Butter is whipped until creamy, custard gradually mixed in. Beaten to stiff peaks form and covered and popped away for a couple of hours. 

    Frosting is them rebeaten briefly and vanilla added.

    Time to spread frosting on cooled brownie base. 

    Next up "dark chocolate ganache glaze", cream and chocolate are melted together (there is bourbon in this bit if you are using) and ganache is spread on frosting. I sprinkled the crushed peppermint crisp chocolate bars on top at this stage. 

    The brownies are back to fridge now to chill at least one hour before unmoulding and slicing.

    Straight from the fridge the texture is like this. The brownies are much easier to slice. Once returned to room temperature the white chocolate frosting is extremely soft and will squelch out as you bite. I'd like a firmer white layer more in line with denseness that is "a brownie". The brownie base is great, fudgy without being cloying. You can still see the little pieces of cream cheese, not sure what that is about but hey "it's good'.  

    Stuart studying his brownie, he absoloutely loved them... as did his Dad.

    How it works... now I've joined the fabulous existing alpha bakers, once a week I will post about what I have baked from Rose Levy Beranbaum's 'The Baking Bible'. This won't include the recipe due to copyright and publisher restrictions however, I will be posting how it went and photos of making/baking the gorgeous baked goods.

    Would I bake again? All the elements yes, but not together. Great tasting brownie. Great tasting white chocolate custard frosting. Just not the two together.  

    Would I change anything? Yes, I would make the brownie base alone and top with ganache. Maybe incorporate the cream cheese fully because it's not visually appealing.

    The Baking Bible available from Amazon and all discerning book retailers. 

    You might also be interested in chocolate twirly swirly decorations 

    Monday
    Aug172015

    Tiesen Sinamon (Welsh cinnamon cake) cupcakes

    Tiesen Sinamon (Welsh cinnamon cake) cupcakes

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    Ahhh ha ha, I love this metal Welsh dragon my step son Daniel gave me from his recent travels to Wales. 

    Wales; with a dragon on their flag, it's the birth place of my Uncle John, home of Dr. Who and according to fairy expert Janet Bord (is too such a person!!) the little folk abound in Wales.   Welsh flag

    Tiesen Sinamon is traditionally a round cinnamon cake topped with raspberry or apricot jam and spread with meringue. The cake is returned to the oven to brown the meringue. Here favourite my little one bowl cake recipe is spiced with cinnamon, filled with raspberry jam and topped with fluffy meringue (7 minute type) frosting before torching.  

    Tiesen Sinamon (Welsh cinnamon cake) cupcakes ... the one bowl method used here results in cake similar to the original Tiesen Sinamon texture. By all means substitute your go to buttercake cupcake recipe and add cinnamon if desired.  

    Preheat oven to 180C/350F 

    Line two 12 cup trays with paper liners (the small patty/fairy cake size... this a UK size, old Australia size and smaller than US cupcake)

    Ingredients

    125g butter (4.4oz) softened

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    2/3 cup (150g) castor sugar (superfine)

    3 eggs  room temperature

    1 1/2  cups (225g) self-raising flour

    1 1/2 tsp cinnamon 

    1/4 cup milk (60ml) room temperature

    Method

    In your mixer bowl with flat beater blade attached, beat butter, extract, sugar, eggs, sifted flour, cinnamon together & milk on low speed with an electric mixer until ingredients are just combined. Increase speed to medium & beat for 3 minutes until smooth and pale in colour.

    Drop spoonfuls of mixture into the paper liners. Bake about 20 minutes. Allow to cool in tins for 5 minutes removing to a wire rack to cool.

    Fluffy Frosting
    Makes 3 cups
    • 1 cup white sugar (granulated)
    • 4 large egg whites

    Directions
    1. In the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer, combine sugar and egg whites. Place the bowl over a pot of gently simmering water, and whisk until the mixture feels warm to the touch and the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes.
    2. Return the bowl to the mixer stand. With the whisk attachment, whip on high 
    3. until cooled, about 8 minutes. Use immediately.

    *If the weather is humid, you may need to beat the frosting for an additional minute in each step to stiffen it.

    Use a good store bought raspberry jam or make your own.... Raspberry Jam recipe Traditionally raspberry jam is "loose" (wetter) than say ummm "apricot". If you prefer a firm set jam use pectin sugar as per instructions. 

    To Serve

    Cut a small hole in to the top of each cooled cake. Fill the cavities with about one teaspoon of raspberry jam, top with a blob of meringue frosting (use a star piping tip if you prefer a less rustic looking cupcake) torch with a kitchen blow torch.  

    Happy Baking :) 

    You might also be interested in Raspberry and Orange Gluten Free Friands

    Sunday
    May242015

    Stilton Baby Blue Cheesecakes Rose's Alpha Bakers

    stilton baby blue cheesecakes 

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    "It's feeling a lot like Christmas" ... Well that is when I usually have blue cheese, instead it's just me alone with the baby blue cheesecakes today, I've been stomped on by a flu virus for the past eight days.

    Now, not that my family and friends want me to have the flu, but I kind of think a least a couple were relieved they weren't partaking in blue cheese cheesecakes taste testing this week.  Sheeeesh, more for me then... I love blue cheese, and these little cheesecakes were just what the doctor ordered ha ha.... I'm allowed a bad joke quota due to slight flu delirium!!  

    stilton cheese

    Savoury desserts have been a foodie trend for the last couple of years and these 'Stilton baby blue cheescakes' fit the bill perfectly, with a touch of sugar combined with the umami of stilton cheese.

    Started the cheesecakes in the same way as last weeks 'Double Chocolate Oriolos' by oven toasting walnuts and then rubbing the warmed nuts in a clean tea towel to remove the skins.

    Silicone cupcake pans or a metal muffin pan were suggested, but since I have a mini cheescake pan I thought I'd use that following the pan preparation method in 'The Baking Bible' for the metal cupcake pan. making parchment circles for the bottom on my pan

    Seven grams of finely chopped walnuts were pressed into the base of each hole. 

    Cream cheese was beaten with cornflour, sugar and pinch of salt until soft and creamy. Sour cream, stilton cheese and eggs were added before the mix was ready for baking. You do have the choice at this stage on how much stilton you add, depending on how savoury you want to go.  

    15 minutes in a low oven, turn and another 15 result in super creamy (and rather rich) small baked cheesecakes. 

    I topped mine with roasted walnuts, pear slice (love the green skin/ripe pear flesh of packham pears) and drizzled rosemary infused honey to keep playing with the savoury/sweet theme.  Consider plum, pear, fresh fig, rhubarb (poached or compote), red grapes, celery, walnuts or honey as toppings. 

    Would I bake again?  Yes

    Would I make any changes? I'd probably use a locally produced blue cheese rather than the imported Stilton but other than that no. I think just the sheer volume of toppings that compliment the stilton baby blue cheesecakes will keep this recipe "fresh" and in my repertoire. 

    How it works now I've joined the fabulous existing alpha bakers, once a week I will post about what I have baked from Rose Levy Beranbaum's 'The Baking Bible'. This won't include the recipe due to copyright and publisher restrictions however, I will be posting how it went and photos of making/baking the gorgeous baked goods.

    The Baking Bible


    Feel like making an Albert ??

     

    Thursday
    Jan292015

    Only a Time Lord knows what season it is cupcake

    'Only a Time Lord knows what season it is' Doctor Who cupcake

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    You haven't even got time to put away your Christmas hat and it's time for Easter, well that's according to Australias major retailers. Hot Cross Buns and Easter Eggs have been on sale since January 5th. Easter Sunday is April 5th, Easter now runs a quarter of the year???

    Waiting in the queue at the supermarket... on the right of me a clearance rack of candy canes, on the left of me freshly baked hot cross buns, not forgetting the racks of foil wrapped chocolate easter eggs and the gaudy (or romantic... but it's the supermarket queue and romance isn't in the air) Valentines day cards.  

    But I did love Peter Capaldi in his first season as the Doctor in BBC's Doctor Who. So today we have a Time Lord figure. He started when I was practicing figure modelling and ended up being a center display cupcake for a Doctor Who cookie platter. 

    "Practice" it's boring I know, but it's how you get better. 

    I started with a print out of Peter Capaldi photos as the Doctor.

    Here is an earlier model of Peter Capaldi when I was toying with the idea of full caricature. The day was warm and he was still very soft and his hair is not attached as I was checking height.  I chickened out on the over blown features and went for a partial caricature... even then he had an eye removed and replaced after it looked, umm well I think the technical term would be "squiffy":) 

    You have to be fast!!! When working with fondant you have to be fast, drying time is in minutes for modelling. I used a 3 parts fondant to one part modelling chocolate to give me another 5 to 10 minutes to finish face. 

    Green: the green fondant here shows you the basic "eggish" shape most heads start with. I get ready with all the other pieces, such a nose, ears, eyebrows etc. You will have a series of wedges, beans, ovals and snake shapes. Then you start putting together and sculpting your head. I apply pieces with a small damp brush then use modelling tools and fingers to shape. You can give yourself a few more minutes by keeping pieces covered in glad wrap.

    If you don't use modelling chocolate mixed with fondant you might find yourself with the dreaded "elephant skin" as the fondant icing dries. 

    I use Bakels white fondant almost exclusively, colour with gel paste. CMC powder was mixed in the black and red fondant to firm.  

    Have fun, happy baking and do give modelling a figure a try :) 

    Proving I'm a bit of a sucker for a huge topper ... make  Eric the Valentine Emu

    or try a 'Love Caramel Cupcake' 

    Thursday
    Oct162014

    Half a Grasshopper Pie

                                                   Half a Grasshopper Pie

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    Grasshopper Cocktail: The drink reputedly originated at Tujague's in the French Quarter New Orleans. The cocktail contains equal amounts of creme de menthe and white creme de cacao with added cream and shaken with ice.

    You start with the thought "I'm going to make Nigella Lawson's Grasshopper pie", that was until you realise you don't have and can't get some of the ingredients.... which brings us to today's recipe a "half a grasshopper pie".

    I thought I did, I thought I did... have whie creme de cacao. I didn't. We don't have Bourbon biscuits here but I'm Australian so dark chocolate Tims Tams it was. 

    Tim Tams: chocolate coated and chocolate cream filled biscuits (cookies) popular in Australia, use the equivalent in you country i.e. chocolate coated oreos. 

    We also don't have the mini white marshmallows Nigella uses here so I thought white soft eating marshmallows will do. Three supermarkets later I cannot buy white marshmallows, I can buy fruit swirled, chocolate dipped, pink and white mixed but no "white". 

    Yep, this is why I found myself separating pink from white marshmallows. I've since found out Aldi in Australia has white eating marshmallows... dang I should have asked my all knowing friend Jacinta first! 

    Half a Grasshopper Pie recipe

    1 loose bottomed 25x5 cm (10x2 inch) fluted tart tin

    300g grams (10.5oz) of chocolate coated cream biscuits (approx one and half packs of dark chocolate Tim Tams) 

    50g (1.75oz) of dark chocolate (I used Lindt 70%)

    50g (1.75oz) softened butter

    200g (7oz) grams soft white eating marshmallows (cut in half or quarters depending on size)

    2tsp of pure vanilla extract/essence

    80ml (2.7 fluid ozs) green creme de methe 

    125ml (4.22 fluid ozs) milk

    375ml (12.7 fluid ozs) thickened cream

    few drops of green food colouring

    *optional vanilla whipped cream, fresh mint and chocolate curls to serve

     

    oiled scissor blades make short work of cutting marshmallows 

    Process the chocolate biscuits (cookies) with the chocolate in a food processor until it's a rough crumb, add the butter and pulse until it just comes together. 

    Base processing finished and ready to press into shell. 

    Using the back of a spoon or your hands press the crumbs evenly around the base and sides of fluted tart tin. Make sure you press firmly, particularly around the edges coming up the sides. Refrigerate the base. 

    Put the cut marshmallows with the milk in a small saucepan, *over low heat. Once the milk starts to foam around the edges, remove from heat and stir marshmallows to completely melt in. Pour into a heat proof bowl, stir in the creme de menthe, vanilla and green food colouring if using. Set aside to cool. 

    Whisk the cream until soft peak stage (it will hold it's shape but drop gently off a spoon), add cooled marshmallow mixture. Whisk until combined but not over beaten. 

    Pour mixture into chilled crust. Spread lightly to fill shell evenly, create a few swirls or smoother finish... whatever you prefer.

    Refrigerate pie a minimum of four hours, use a plastic dome lid or aluminium foil to create a dome over the pie. You don't want the surface to be touched.

    When ready to serve either top with crushed chocolate biscuits (cookies) or as I did with a dollop of vanilla white cream, chocolate curls and a fresh mint leaf. 

    * Trouble shooting: gentle, gentle heat melting marshmallows if the mixture boils the marshmallows don't reset. 

    * a delicate texture similar to a Sara Lee Bavarian dessert, this pie needs to be refrigerated... it will collapse if left in a warm place. 

    Was the pie worth it? Absolutely!!  Happy Baking :) 

    You might also be interested in Ode to Bounty Bar cupcakes   

    Tuesday
    Oct222013

    Catrin Day of the Dead Cupcake

    catrin day of the dead cupcake

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    Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de los Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. November 2nd is the official date for Day of the Dead, it is celebrated between October 31st and November 2nd.

    In 2013 Day of the Dead celebrations begin November 1st and finish November 2nd. 

    I've made a Cartrin this year, because a lady needs a dance partner. 

    Made in the same way as the Catrina skull last year, you start with a white egg shaped piece of fondant or modelling paste.

    Roll small sausage shapes and add to the skull to build up features. Use your finger tips and modelling tools to blend and shape the skull. Use a toothpick to mark out cracks and scratches on the skull.

    Start the body with a torso shaped piece of fondant or puffed rice treat. If using puffed rice treat, cover with a base layer of fondant first. Cut a vest and apply with damp brush, I had imprinted the rolled fondant so I dusted with green lustre dust at this stage to bring out the pattern and add depth of colour. Small balls of fondant were marked with a toothpick and attached as the buttons.

    Make white collar for the shirt, attach. Proceed to make the jacket, again attaching with a brush barely dampened with water.

    Bow tie is made with two rectangles, the larger one is pinched in the middle and shaped. The smaller one is wrapped around the center of the large one.

    Make pocket handkerchiefs with small triangles, attach to jacket and then attach false pocket flap to the top.

    For the hat I used puffed rice treat to reduce the weight, I know he is a skeleton and all but I didn't want to squoosh his head. Squeeze and shape the puffed rice treat into a top hat, cover with fondant. Make a band and brim with fondant.

    For the buttonaire see Catrina Cupcake  

    Leave the pieces to dry, supported where necessary to keep the shapes. Once dry use dusts to shade the piece and insert either a strand of dry spaghetti or a small wooden through the whole piece and attach to your cupcake.

    Happy Baking :)  

    Amazon has a range of day of the dead figures... click on the Senorita to visit Amazon :) 

    You might also be interested in a recipe for quick and easy Chocolate Peanut Spiders for the kids and young at heart.

    Saturday
    Sep142013

    Frankenstein's Monsters Cupcake

                                 Frankenstein's Monsters Cupcake; topper made from modelling chocolate and fondant

    “I ought to be thy Adam, but I am rather the fallen angel...” Mary Shelley

    Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is a novel written by Mary Shelley about eccentric scientist Victor Frankenstein, who creates a grotesque creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Wikipedia

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    Goodness, I'm late, I'm late, I'm always running late but instead of making a white rabbit/Alice in Wonderland cupcake I had a slight panic moment when I saw Martha Stewart's Halloween issue is out already... it must be time to work out this years Halloween baking theme. Shall it be classic monsters? Yet, I've never done Hitchcock before.

    Mad scientists appeal to me. I think I can make something with a bowl of green goo (green coloured peanut butter turned into powder perhaps?) or pop rocks/space candy, I love pop rocks, I could fill test-tubes with those and give them out to sprinkle of top of frosted cupcakes or bake them into the cases of chocolate chilli tarts.

    Hmmm, what to do? What will you do? 

     

    Also out now the first edition of Taste.com.au magazine. Definitely worth a look, with  Zumbo, Manu and Matt Preston writing stories/recipes plus a plethora of other aussie food journalists. Paper copy from Woolies, digital copy from itunes. 

    I'm off now to read Martha Stewarts Halloween :) Happy Baking.