Monday, 8 August 2011

Chocolate Fondants - The good, the bad and the UGLY!!

After being told that chocolate fondants are so easy, and yadda yadda yadda, I decided to find a recipe online and give them a go.

On Saturday night, my mum and dad were coming over for dinner. I thought they'd be the perfect guinea pigs to try these out on. Dinner was Vegetarian Thai Green Curry (for mum, Boone and I), and coconut prawns (for Dad and Boone).

I found this recipe by Gordon Ramsay, which had fabulous reviews, and decided to give it a go.

However, I am known for having the inability to follow recipes and since my printer was not working, I just took down the ingredients and trusted myself to remember the method. (I have an almost 7 month old baby, I remember NOTHING!!!)

Soo here is what I ended up doing.

The recipe calls for 4 eggs and 4 egg yolks. I hate separating eggs, and wastage. So if I am not going to be making something else with the whites, then I always try to use recipes that call for full eggs. So instead of using 4 eggs and 4 yolks, I just put in 6 whole eggs ;)
I also had no dark chocolate, so I used milk chocolate, and added two tablespoons of my homemade vanilla extract which is made with vanilla beans and vodka. This made the fondants quite boozy!!! HIC!!!

Anyway, here is the recipe I ended up using with all my variations.


50g melted butter for brushing dariole molds
organic cocoa powder for dusting dariole molds
200g milk chocolate
200g organic butter
200g brown sugar
6 eggs
200g plain flour

  1. Brush dariole molds with melted butter, and place upside down on a plate. My mix made 7 fondants. Place plate in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Take the dariole molds out, then brush with the remainder of the butter, place back in the freezer for a few minutes, then dust with cocoa, ensuring you cover all the sides and bottom of the ramekin. Tap out any excess cocoa.
  2. Place butter, sugar and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, and heat for two minutes on medium. (If you put it on high, you could burn your chocolate). Stir butter/chocolate/sugar mix, and heat for another minute, until mixture is all melted. Keep heating in one minute increments. Once it is all melted and combined, set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Add eggs one at a time to the chocolate mixture, until thoroughly combined.
  4. Sift flower into wet mix, and mix completely.
  5. Spoon mix evenly into your dariole molds.
  6. Place dariole molds on a plate, cover with glad (saran) wrap and freeze.
  7. When you're ready to cook these, preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius in a fan forced oven. 
  8. Bake for 15 minutes, then take out of the oven, and allow them to sit/cool for a further 10 minutes. (The recommended minute (given by the original recipe) meant
    that I ended up with some disasters, and only the very last fondant that I unmoulded, came out perfectly. This meant that because I served myself last, I ended up with the perfect fondant, and my guests, had puddles of muck like the one below, and I got comments that I was keeping the best for myself (LOL). I have since made a few more fondants, and found that the 10 minute wait time, is perfect, as they all come out easily, without breaking, but you have to be very gentle all the same.

    Run a knife around the edge of the ramekin to ensure the fondant is not going to get stuck. Turn over onto a plate, and serve with creme fraiche/yogurt/cream/icecream.

So the verdict?? well they are super easy, just gotta know what you're doing!!! According to the recipe by Gordon Ramsey, these can be frozen for up to a month. Makes desserts at dinner parties sooooo much easier :)

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Capsicum and Fetta Scrolls

Tasty Capsicum, Fetta & Cashew Scrolls
I had a delicious capsicum dip in the fridge that needed to be used up before it went out of date in about 5 days. On it's own it will not be eaten, so I decided to try to make some tasty scrolls with it.

The recipe for the dough, is the recipe that came with the bread machine for the basic white loaf. This is super easy, and soooo delicious they should be illegal!!!!
Please note that all measurements are metric.

1 ¼ cups of water
2 Tbs oil (I used rice bran has it has no flavour)
2 ½ Tbs milk powder
2 tsp salt
3 ½ Tbs sugar
4 cups plain flour
1 Tbs dry yeast
1 tub Wattle Valley Capsicum & Fetta dip with Cashews

  1. Place all the dough ingredients into your bread machine, in the order listed.
  2. Set your machine to the dough program. Mine takes 1½ hours to complete.
  3. Pre-heat your oven to 180ยบ Celcius
  4. Roll out the dough in a large rectangle shape. The dough should be about 1cm in thickness.
  5. Spread the dip over the dough, making sure you leave a 2cm band along one edge without any dip.
  6. Roll the dough from edge towards the edge that has the dip free band. (in the direction of the blue arrow as shown above).
  7. Cut 2cm rolls with a very sharp knife making sure you don't press the dough as you're doing it, you want to make sure your scrolls are nice and round and not squashed by your knife.
  8. Set the scrolls about 4 cms apart on a cookie sheet covered with non stick baking paper.
  9. Set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes to rise.
  10. Brush with an egg wash and bake in a hot oven for 15 minutes or until nice and golden, make sure that they don't burn or overcook or they will be too dry and crusty.

My first adventure into Macaron land

After seeing many people posting pictures of their beautiful macarons, and after having almond meal sitting in my pantry for what seemed like forever, I finally decided to try one of the many recipes I had saved over the past few months.

I think I really hit the jackpot with this recipe, as the macarons turned out pretty well for a first try.

I would say that I would change absolutely nothing in the recipe, I followed it pretty much to the letter, and voila!! Success!!!

I will certainly be trying more of Ms Taste's macaron recipes in the future.

Here is the recipe.

Just a few notes on my experience with this recipe.
  1. I didn't age my egg whites for as long as recommended. I put mine in my pantry on Sunday night and used them on Wednesday afternoon. The amount of time seemed to do the trick. Some other recipes suggest aging for one night only, however I held off as long as I could ;)
  2. My mix did not fall in ribbons. I mixed it for the recommended 30-40 turns, and didn't want to go further as I didn't want to over mix, however my mix was quite firm.
  3. I ended up leaving them to crust for around 40-45 minutes, this is because I just couldn't get back to them whilst feeding the baby :)
  4. My macarons did not spread at all, so in expectation of them spreading I piped them quite small, as a result, one full macaron easily fits whole in your mouth, and melts away before you've had a chance to realise what is happening. IT'S DANGEROUS!!!! They can all dissapear before you know it ;) Pipe them a little bigger if your mix turns out to be firm ;)
  5. I used a different filling, recipe below.
White Chocolate Almond Ganache
40gms Pura Thick Cream (I use Pura because they use vegetable gums as a thickener instead of gelatine)
110gms Lindt Swiss Gold White with Almonds
  1. Chop the chocolate finely. Make sure you do this or else the ganache won't go through your piping bag, the chocolate has whole almonds in it, you want to make sure that those are chopped well.
  2. Heat up your cream in a small bowl in the microwave for about 25 seconds. I recommend the microwave because the amount is so small.
  3. Add chopped chocolate to the hot cream and mix to form a thick paste, if it's runny, allow it to cool completely before placing it in a piping bag with a large round tip (I used Wilton No. 12)
  4. Pipe a little of the ganache onto one macaron piece, and stick it together with another.
  5. Try not to eat them all in one sitting ;)

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Corazanes Dulces

Corazanes Dulces, translates to "Sweet Croissants". However these little yummy morsels, are not a lot like croissants, except for their shape. These "croissants" are a lot more bready in texture. In Uruguay these are a part of a group of sweets we call "Bizcochos" and we usually eat them for afternoon tea with a nice "mate".

This is what bizcochos look like.

I have never tried to make these before, but for some reason, a couple of weeks ago, I went in search of a recipe. They are normally made using lard, from beef or pork, but being vegetarian, I had to vary the recipe to use a non animal fat.

Follow this link for the recipe that I used. The recipe is in Spanish, but the ingredients for the original are as follows:

500 grams plain flour
30 grams fresh yeast
30 grams sugar
30 grams salt
150 grams lard (pork or beef, at room temperature)
200 mls warm water

70gms lard
100gms plain flour

I thought that 30grams of salt was far too much, and reduced the amount to 10gms. Also when I went to start, I realised that I didn't have enough plain flour, so I used a combination of spelt and plain flour. Also, I found that the "PASTE" which is meant to be made with the 70gms of lard and 100gms of plain flour, turned out like a dough, I guess it must be because the fat that I used had a high content of water, and therefore didn't perform like the lard. Still, I got some good results :)

I also varied the recipe by using a bread maker instead of doing it all by hand. It works well this way when you have a 3 month old baby at home ;)

These are the ingredients for the ones that I made.

250gms plain organic flour
250gms organic spelt flour (white)
150gms butterfully light (it's a butter/oil spread from Aldi, I didn't realise it was low fat till later)
2tsp dry yeast
30gms sugar
10gms salt
200mls warm water

70gms melted butterfully
100gms spelt flour
In addition to this I also used 2 tbs of butterfully and 2tbs of spelt flour.

  1. Place all the dough ingredients in the bowl of your bread maker and turn on to the dough setting.
  2. Once the dough is complete, let it rest in the breadmaker bowl until it increases in size enough to pretty much fill the bowl, same way as your loaf of bread would. I only did this because having a baby, I didn't get back to it for quite a long time after the dough was complete ;)
  3. Take out the dough and place on a floured bench. Roll out in a rectangle shape, your dough should be about a 1/2 cm in thickness.
  4. Roll out the paste, in fact the paste should be able to be spread onto your dough, but because of what I explained earlier, mine didn't work out ;), so you roll it out really really thinly and spread it out over your dough, trying to cover as much of your dough as possible. Because my "paste" didn't cover the whole of my dough, I used the 2tbs of butter and make up for it. Melt the 2tbs of butter and brush it over the dough and paste, and sprinkle with the flour.
  5. Roll up the dough the same way you would roll up a swiss roll. Then put it aside in a warm place to rise for half an hour.
  6. First roll out the pastry roll in the direction of the blue arrows. Cut the pastry in half , and roll out in the direction of the pink arrow. Cut pieces as indicated by the dotted line, and roll up your "croissants" starting from the widest part of the triangle, towards the point.
  7. Place them on a cookie sheet covered with baking paper and allow to rise in a warm place for about 15 minutes. Brush with a simple syrup and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for about 15 minutes until they're nice and golden.
  8. Enjoy with a cuppa :)
NOTE: These turned out great and they're delicious, however they are nothing like the "Corazanes" you can buy in Uruguay in a bakery. I will try making these again, and if they're better I will post the recipe.

    Thursday, 31 March 2011

    Mini muffin anyone??

    I have been trying to get some baking done for a few weeks now, but with a 2 and a half month on my hip, the spare time I have is very little. Today however, Ms Lani decided to take a few naps, and the recipe I tried out is very quick.

    For a few days now, I have wanted to make a yogurt muffin. I found a chocolate recipe online which I decided to convert to a more healthy version.

    I replaced the flour with spelt flour, the butter with coconut oil, the milk with soy and the sugar with agave nectar/syrup. This meant altering the amounts, and for a first go, I think they turned out pretty good.

    This recipe makes 48 mini muffins. They're very moist and not too sweet, so if you prefer a sweeter muffin, you may want to add more agave or reduce the amount of cocoa used. Please keep in mind that if you add more agave you will have to reduce one of the other wet ingredients.

    For these I also used mainly organic ingredients.

    220gms Wholemeal Spelt Flour
    15gms gluten free baking powder
    200gms agave nectar
    30gms cocoa
    100gms coconut oil
    1 large egg
    230gms full fat yogurt (at room temperature)
    1/4 cup soy milk
    90gms chopped chocolate (I used dark Lindt)


    1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celcius.
    2. Oil or spray with cooking oil two mini muffin pans. This mix makes 48, so I used two 24 pans.
    3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and cocoa until well combined. Add the chopped chocolate.
    4. Melt the coconut oil with the agave nectar and soy milk. Do not boil, you want these to be just warm not hot.
    5. Mix in the egg and yogurt. These have to be at room temperature because if they are straight out from the fridge they can solidify parts of the coconut oil and you will end up with lumps.
    6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix in with a flat knife or spatula. Do not beat, you just want the ingredients to be just combined and no dry mix to be left over.
    7. Spoon into pan and bake for 10-12 minutes until done.
    8. Allow to cool and eat with a nice cuppa :)


    Sunday, 22 August 2010

    Zucchini Tomato & Ricotta Galette

    I have been thinking about making one of these delicious pastries since I saw the photo of a galette by Smitten Kitchen last week. Unfortunately work has been crazy busy, and I only just got to try it out tonight. It is amazingly delicious!!!
    The pastry is flaky and the sour cream gives it such a wonderful taste.

    Anyway here is my version of a galette adapted from Meals at Home

    220gms Plain flour
    120gms chilled salted butter
    65gms sour cream
    40gms fresh lemon juice
    67gms chilled water

    1 large zucchini sliced into 1/2cm rounds
    2 Roma tomatoes sliced into 1/2 cm rounds
    250gms ricotta cheese
    40gms grated Parmesan cheese
    60gms grated tasty cheese
    2 large eggs
    1 bunch of basil chopped
    1 tbs chopped thyme
    1 shallot minced
    Salt and Pepper to taste

    1. Place flour, butter, and sour cream in the food processor and process until it resembles coarse crumbs.
    2. Place flour mix in a bowl, pour water, and lemon juice and stir with a wooden spoon.
    3. Knead lightly on a floured surface, once it comes together wrap in glad wrap and place in the fridge to rest.
    4. Preheat oven to 200 degree Celsius.
    5. Spread the tomato and zucchini slices over paper towels. This will drain the juice that will come out of them. Pat the tops with paper towel.
    6. Mix cheeses with thyme, basil, shallot and egg. Season mix with a little salt and pepper if desired. Keep in mind that two of the cheeses already have some salt in them.
    7. Take pastry out of the fridge and roll it out to a large circle (approx 14 inches)
    8. Place on a flat baking tray lined with baking paper.
    9. Place cheese mix in the middle of the pastry, and spread out evenly leaving a 4cm edge.
    10. Start placing the tomato and zucchini on top of the cheese, each slice only slightly overlapping. Sprinkle with freshly cracked salt and pepper.
    11. Fold the leftover edge of pastry over the cheese zucchini tomato, just to make an edge that will hold in the filling. Make sure that you press this edge onto itself, I found mine was just about to let the fillings spill out.
    12. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the egg/cheese is set.
    13. Serve warm with steamed vegetables.

    Sunday, 15 August 2010

    Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake - Gluten Free

    This recipe was adapted from a recipe published in the Master Chef magazine. I just found the recipe online, and it turns out that the recipe originally came from the Lindt website. Anyhoo, here's the original recipe and my version :D

    200g gluten free shortbread biscuits
    50g Dessicated Coconut
    100g cream cheese

    For the cheesecake
    500g cream cheese
    150g sour cream
    120g sugar
    1 lemon, zest only
    2 eggs
    1 egg yolk
    2 tbsp corn flour
    150g Fresh or frozen raspberries

    1. Grease and line a 20cm square pan.
    2. Place biscuits in the food processor and process until you get a fine crumb.
    3. Add cream cheese, and coconut, and process until thoroughly combined.
    4. Press mix into the pan, and place in the fridge until the rest of the cake is ready.
    1. Place cream cheese and sour cream in food processor. Process until smooth.
    2. Add egg, cornflour, sugar, and lemon rind. Process thoroughly.
    3. Remove about half of the mix from the food processor and set aside.
    4. Add 50 gms of the raspberries and process thoroughly.
    5. Pour the raspberry cheesecake mix into the pre-prepared pan, then pour the one without raspberry over it. Using a skewer, make a swirl pattern.
    6. Decorate the top of the cheesecake with the leftover raspberries.
    7. Bake in a water bath at 150 degrees Celsius for an hour and 10 minutes.
    8. Chill before serving.

    Sunday, 25 July 2010

    Pasteles Hojaldrados, made for my dad who loves them

    My grandmother used to make these for my dad's birthday when we lived in Uruguay. After we came to Australia, my aunty (dad's sister) made them a few times and then mum and dad got into the habit of making them for pretty much every birthday. But for many many years, no one has made these. I think it's simply because they take such a long time. (As I had suspected and discovered today)

    I got bitten by the cooking bug once again, and went on a search for a recipe for these. I have never made them before, so this was a total experiment.

    I found this recipe by a Uruguayan guy, which I've adapted for vegetarians. The original recipe is made with lard (beef lard) eeek!!! Still they're yum :D
    The recipe goes like this

    500gms of plain flour
    250mls of hot water
    80gms of butter
    1 tbs of salt (I use rock salt, and thought it was too much but did it anyway, cause that's what the recipe said, the pastry was quite salty, but it works in the end, go figure!!!)
    1tsp of sugar
    Dulce de leche or Quince paste (Or both if you want to try making half and half)
    120gms of cornflour
    60gms of butter (softened)
    1 litre of Rice Bran oil
    Caster sugar for sprinkling the pasteles :)

    1. In a small bowl, mix the hot water, sugar, salt and 80gms of butter. Mix until melted and combined.
    2. Place flour in a bowl, make a well in the center and pour the contents from above in, to make a soft dough.
    3. Knead the dough until it is pliable.
    4. Roll out the dough into a rectangle, 5mm in thickness.
    5. Spread about 1/6th of the butter (60gms) over half of the rolled out pastry, sprinkle with corn flour, and fold the unbuttered piece over the buttered piece, press together lightly and roll out into a rectangle again. Repeat at least 6 times. (I did mine 7 times)
    6. Cover the pastry with glad wrap and set aside to rest for 40 minutes.
    7. Roll out the pastry to about 3mm in thickness, and cut into 8cm squares.
    8. Place some quince paste in the middle of each square, moisten the area just around the filling, and press the pastry together, making sure that you don't seal the edges, you just want to seal the pastry around the filling.
    9. If you're filling with two different fillings, i would recommend, as i did, that you fold them differently so you know which ones are which. :D
    10. Fry in hot rice bran oil, making sure that you turn them over, the tend to cook well where the filling weighs them down, so you need to push them into the oil so all sides are cooked well.
    11. Drain in kitchen paper, and sprinkle with caster sugar.
    12. Do not throw out the cut offs, cut them into strips, fry them and sprinkle with caster sugar, they make a beautiful crunchy snack.
    13. Best eaten cold with a nice hot chocolate. BEWARE YOUR HEART!!!! hahahahahaha

    Tuesday, 20 July 2010

    Sweet Potato Pie - Yeah it's looking like pie week!!!

    This pie was inspired by a pumpkin pie recipe I saw last week on Better Home and Gardens and a roasted sweet potato that a work colleague makes.

    The pumpkin pie on the telly was made with skim milk, and low fat pastry. None of that here ;)

    The roasted sweet potato is mashed with five spice and a strong tasting cheese. Hmmmm yum!!!

    I kind of combined these two ideas to make this pie.
    Once again, I used the puff pastry from Aldi.


    600gms boiled sweet potato
    50gms grated Parmesan
    1 quarter (to half) of a freshly grated nutmeg
    1 sheet of puff pastry
    3 eggs
    Salt & Pepper to taste

    1. Pre heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
    2. Line a gratin dish with baking paper on the bottom and grease the sides.
    3. Line dish with sheet of puff pastry, cutting off excess.
    4. Mash sweet potato, and mix with cheese, nutmeg, parmesan and salt and pepper.
    5. Mix in eggs, then pour onto puff pastry.
    6. Bake in oven for 30-40 minutes.
    7. Serve with salad.

    Sunday, 18 July 2010

    Pascualina - Spinach Pie

    Pascualina is a spinach pie which we often eat in Uruguay. It is made with spinach or silver beet, sauteed onions and a home made pastry. I cheated because I love puff pastry, so I used a bought one. I have found the puff pastry from Aldi to be the best out there. I have tried many brands and the Aldi brand really kicks the backside of any of the more well known puff pastries out there. Well that's my opinion anyway.

    I also use the Aldi frozen spinach. The reason I like it is because it is really easy to defrost as it comes in 6 pieces, and it is dry. Whenever I have defrosted other brands of spinach, I find that there is a huge amount of water, so you can never just add it to the dish frozen because you need to drain it first. The spinach from Aldi, doesn't have to be drained. It's perfect :)

    3 onions chopped finely
    1kg frozen spinach (defrosted)
    1/2 nutmeg freshly grated
    250gms Philadelphia cream cheese
    6 eggs
    4 sheets frozen puff pastry
    Olive oil
    salt and pepper to taste
    Egg wash

    1. Pre-heat oven to 190 degrees celcius.
    2. Sautee onions until golden.
    3. Add spinach, cream cheese, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Stir through until all ingredients are mixed together. Put aside to cool slightly.
    4. Line a rectangular tray with puff pastry ensuring the pastry reaches right up to the edge of the tray.
    5. Spread out the filling over the puff pastry, and with a spoon make 6 holes in the filling so you can pour in the whole eggs. Crack eggs one by one and pour into the holes.
    6. Cover the pie with more pastry sealing the edges.
    7. Brush pastry all over with egg wash and bake in a hot oven for 40 minutes until pastry is golden.
    8. Serve with roasted sweet potato and steamed green beans.
    Serves 6-8