Tuesday, December 1, 2015

German Christmas Market Treats at Gewurzhaus

On Sunday, I attended a German Christmas Market Treats class led by Ina Low at Gewurzhaus with 13 other ladies.  My great grandparents were German, so I was particularly interested in this baking class.

Ina, our class leader, came to Australia from Germany more than 30 years ago:

She is a lovely lady and this class was lots of fun. 

To quench our thirst, we drank Gluhwein Sangria, made with Gluhwein that Ina brewed in class:

We also made two kinds of Weihnachtspl├Ątzchen (Christmas cookies), as shown at the top of this post - cinnamon Kipferln (the crescent shaped shortbread biscuits) and Elisen Lebkuchen (chocolate covered gingerbread biscuits).

In addition, we made apfelstrudel which contained Speculaas crumbs, and served to us hot with vanilla custard on the side:

and a mini stollen (note the "swaddling" bump):

We all got to take home a box full of the goodies that we had made.

I enjoyed this class - Ina was friendly and informative, and there was a low stress level.  Because it was mostly demonstration with limited hands-on (shaping Kipferln, kneading stollen, scooping Lebkuchen), there was no fierce competition for equipment like there is at many baking classes. This was a relief.  I was happy to go with the flow and listen to Ina's stories as she showed us how to make these gorgeous German Christmas treats.

543 Malvern Road
Toorak Victoria 3142
Ph: +61 3 9827 5736

Monday, November 30, 2015

Maple Spice Pound Cake

Today is Lucy Maud (LM) Montgomery's birthday.   You may know her better as the author of the Anne of Green Gables books.  LM Montgomery was Canadian, so to celebrate her birthday, I present you with a cake made with that very Canadian ingredient, maple syrup.

The recipe for this cake comes from Tutti Dolci, and is online here.

I made the cake in accordance with the recipe, but for the icing, which I made just using icing sugar, maple syrup and water (because it has better keeping qualities out of the fridge).

This cake was delicious - not too fancy, not too sweet.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

TWD - Pear Raspberry Roll Up Tart

It is a sign of how distracted I have been by things going on that I forgot to post Tuesdays with Dorie this week.  I had made the dish, Pear Cranberry Roll Up Tart, a couple of weeks ago, but the posting day passed me by without it even twigging with me.

Accordingly, I now present my pear and raspberry roll up tart (fresh and frozen cranberries being unicorns in Australia) for your delectation:

It was really delicious - lovely pastry, fruity filling made with real fruit, not jam, sugar on top - what's not to love.  Pear and raspberry roll up tart, I am sorry that I forgot about you, honestly - you were delicious.

To see what the others thought of of this tart, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Adam Liaw's Bondi Meringue Pie

Recently, Adiam Liaw published a recipe in The Age for Bondi Meringue Pie.  I was immediately intrigued by the name of the pie  - what made it a Bondi pie?  Adam explains by saying that it is red and yellow like a lifesaver's cap, and the meringue on top resembles waves in the surf.  Perfect!

Effectively, this is a lemon meringue pie with an additional raspberry puree layer.  You can find the recipe online here.

It is as delicious as it looks.  

I don't have a blow torch, so knowing that I would need to crisp the meringue in the oven, I didn't chill the filling before adding the meringue on top.  This caused the still runny raspberry layer to spill over a bit when the meringue was placed on top, but this was neither here nor there for me.  And as foreshadowed, I browned the meringue in the oven for around 10 minutes rather than using a blowtorch.  (Also note that my meringue did not behave and fluff up as it should have - normally not a problem for me, but this time it was.) 

This pie is delicious - it got plenty of oohs and ahhs at work, and he taste matched the appearance.


  • Grease your pie tin before lining it with the dough.  (The recipe doesn't mention it, and not everyone might know!)

  • To cut down on time, I rolled out the crust between two sheets of baking paper and put it in the pie plate without chilling the dough first.  I then put the crust in the freezer for 30 minutes before baking.

  • Next time, I might try thickening the raspberry layer with a cornflour paste instead of gelatine - the gelatine was tricky to dissolve, and the raspberry layer didn't thicken well until after it had some time in the refrigerator.  This is especially important if you are going to brown your meringue in the oven.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

EwE - Meatballs with Simple Marinara

This week's Eating with Ellie dish is Meatballs with Simple Marinara, chosen by Margaret.  I always thought that marinara implied seafood (there is none in this dish), and that a tomato sauce was Napoli, but hey, a rose by any other name ...

This was another surprise hit.  The meatballs/rissoles of my childhood or in a can were rather dry, nuggety things, but these meatballs were moist and delicious - presumably because of the addition of grated carrot and cooking them in the sauce.   They were flavourful and filling and I'd make them again.

I served my meatballs with the salad from next week:

To see what the others thought of this dish, visit the LYL section of the Eating with Ellie website.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Pumpkin Pie for US Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States.  To celebrate with my US readers, I thought I'd make a pumpkin pie, traditional Thanksgiving fare.  

There are  many, many different recipes for pumpkin pie.  I decided to make the recipe from the Hoosier Mama Book of Pie.  Hoosier Mama is a pie shop in Chicago, but a Hoosier is a resident of Indiana, the neighbouring state to Illinois.  This book has few photos but lots of pie recipes.  You can also find the recipe online here.

I had to adapt the recipe for a number of practical reasons.  First, canned pumpkin puree is not a thing in Australia; nor is pumpkin pie spice.  You might be able to track them down for an exorbitant price in specialist shops, but I am more resourceful than that.  For the puree, I roasted a piece of pumpkin for an hour then mashed it.  For the pumpkin pie spice, I combined half a teaspoon each of cinnamon and ginger with a grating of nutmeg on top - I have no idea how authentic that is, but I wasn't going to look up what's in pumpkin pie spice at the time of night I was making this pie.  A major oversight on my part was not having cream - a bit silly given that pumpkin pie has a custard filling.  However, I improvised with natural yoghurt, which dare I say it, seemed to work.  (It also used up the remainder of a pot of yoghurt that I was not particularly fond of.)

The crust was Dorie Greenspan's Good for Almost Everything Pie Dough rather than the one in the book, as that is the one that I am used to.

Although the crust got a bit knocked around (you can see where my oven mitts mauled it getting it out of the oven), the end result was pretty good:  

I served this sans cream, as it is "healthy" enough as it is ;)

We don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia (the Pilgrims didn't land here!), so Christmas is our next big celebration.  They put up the gorgeous tree in the foyer of our building over the weekend:

This year, it has winky lights - I love it.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my US readers!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Banana and Coffee Cake

I recently made a gorgeous Banana and Coffee Cake recipe by Julie Goodwin that I found in the September 2015 edition of the Australian Womens Weekly.  The recipe also called for a caramel sauce to be served with it, but I didn't think that was necessary.

The cake was gorgeous and moist, and is one of my favourite banana cake recipes.  One of my colleagues asked for the recipe, so it can't have been too bad.

To make this cake, you will need:

185g butter
Stevia - the recipe says 1 cup (245g) - I thought this sounded mad so I used 18 x 2g stevia sachets, equivalent to 1 cup of sugar, which seemed quite enough
3 eggs
2 1/4 cups/335g self raising flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups/525g mashed ripe banana
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup/200g sour cream
1 cup/100g roasted chopped walnuts
1/4 cup/60ml boiling water
3 teaspoons expresso coffee granules

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius., and grease and line a 22cm round cake tin.

Beat the butter and stevia in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy and fluffy, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Add the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, mashed banana, vanilla, sour cream and walnuts and combined water and coffee and combine using a rubber spatula.  Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin and smooth the top.

Place the cake in the oven to bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before unmoulding onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Slice into generous wedges to serve as is, with caramel sauce or icecream.