Saturday, January 31, 2015

Chocolate Truffles



I am trying to find healthy go to snacks to help me through my day so that I don't turn to junk food as much.  In that vein, I recently found a recipe for Chocolate Truffles here on the Melbourne Natural Medicine Clinic website.

I already had all of the ingredients to make these chocolate truffles, so I decided to give them a go.

These vegan, gluten free truffles are very quick and easy to make, and require little attention - I made them while watching TV.  The dough came out surprisingly thick, so rolling it into balls was not a problem.

I rather enjoyed these truffles.  They are not very sweet, but they have a pleasing soft texture with a bit of crunch, and they help to satisfy hunger cravings.  I'd make them again.

Friday, January 30, 2015

FFWD - Croquants


For French Fridays with Dorie this week, we were assigned one of our last dessert recipes - nutty, meringue based cookies called croquants.

I had wanted to make these for ages, so I was really pleased with this week's pick. The recipe sounded just like cookies that are served alongside coffee in one of my favourite chocolate shops, Ganache Chocolate

Croquants are super easy to put together - they are just chop, stir, dollop and bake cookies.  For the nut component of the cookies, I used chopped roasted almonds.

These crispy cookies are perfect on their own, although as Dorie suggests, they would also make lovely icecream sandwiches.

To see what the other Doristas thought of the croquants, visit the LYL section of the FFWD website.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

EwE- Shotgun Wedding Soup



It is week 2 of our new group, Eating with Ellie, where we cook along from Weeknight Wonders by Ellie Krieger.  Kayte had kindly sent me the recipe, but today, my book arrived, so I am in action.

This week, Margaret chose Shotgun Wedding Soup.  I had no idea what this was until I read the recipe, but apparently the name has to do with the marriage of meat and vegetables.  It is a kind of chicken soup with egg and spinach that reminded me of chicken noodle soup from a Chinese restaurant, sans noodles.

I made a half recipe (no idea what I'd do with 8 cups of soup!), which was plenty for two meals for me.  I minced a chicken thigh myself instead of buying pre-minced chicken, which can be a bit dry. 

This soup made a quick, tasty meal.  I liked it rather than loved it, but I learned a new dish.

To see what our other EwE cooks thought, visit the LYL section of the EwE website.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

WWDH - Spinach, Fetta and Almond Risotto


Our Wednesday with Donna Hay pick this week is from Chaya, who selected Spinach, Fetta and Pinenut Risotto, available online here.

I had no pinenuts, so I used chopped roasted almonds in their place.

This risotto was a cinch to put together, as all of the work is done by the oven,  and tasted really good.  I served it as a side with some pan fried chicken:


To see what everyone else thought of this dish, visit the LYL section of the Wednesdays with Donna Hay website.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

TWD - Brown Butter and Vanilla Bean Weekend Cake


For Tuesdays with Dorie this week, our assignment was brown butter and vanilla bean weekend cake.  I was excited to be making this cake because it received rave reviews on the discussion forum from those who had already made it.

Dorie informs us that this cake is called a "weekend cake" because it can be made on Friday and will last all weekend, to be left out for family and guests to help themselves.  In France, a "cake" usually means a loaf cake, like this one. Dorie advises that this cake is best eaten a day after baking so that the flavours have time to develop. 


This cake came together quite easily and smelled marvellous while baking, primarily courtesy of the browned butter in it, which has a nutty aroma. It also looked rather handsome once unmoulded from the tin.

The cake itself is very flavoursome, with both the vanilla and rum flavours being prevalent in the finished product (note that I used vanilla extract rather than vanilla bean). It is sweet without being overly so; for children, you could easily add a glaze to the top of the cake so that they have their ultra-sweet hit. 

To see what the other Doristas thought of this cake, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.



Monday, January 26, 2015

Lamington Slice for Australia Day


Today is Australia Day, and to mark the occasion, I made Donna Hay's Lamington Slice.

Lamingtons are an Aussie classic, but I was attracted by Donna's slice version, which is a twist on the original.


This slice was super easy and quick to make, although I found that I needed more icing than was stated in the recipe.

The resulting slice is true to the essence of a lamington, with a light sponge cake base, topped with moist chocolate icing and coconut.

The verdict - beauty!

Happy Australia Day to all of my Australian readers.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Cupcake Decorating on a School Holiday Weekend



Recently, I hosted a cupcake decorating workshop one Sunday afternoon for a friend and her daughters during the school holidays. 

We made chocolate cupcakes together, and I had made carrot cupcakes in advance using the Crabapple Bakery cookbook recipe.

We then iced the cupcakes using a variety of techniques, including piping buttercream roses, swirls and ruffles, decorated with edible glitter, cachous and sprinkles:


then using buttercream and fondant, including colouring the fondant, moulding, rose making and using plunger cutters:


A sample of the end results is pictured at the top of this post.

The previous afternoon, I had attended the opening matinee performance of Strictly Ballroom The Musical at Her Majestys Theatre in Melbourne:


It was glittery, sparkly and fun - I couldn't help but come out with a big smile on my face.  If you liked the movie, or if you like good old fashioned fun, I recommend seeing this musical.