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Archive for December 2008

I found this recipe on Nigella’s website out of all places. As i was attending a Christmas breakfast, i thought it was the perfect time to test this out. I love banana bread on it’s own, so when it’s teamed up with chocolate chip, i knew it was going to be pretty special.

Bill Granger's Choc Banana Bread

Bill Granger's Choc Banana Bread

Bill Granger’s Choc Banana Bread

  • 250 grams (2 cups) plain (all purpose) flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 125 grams (4 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 250 grams (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 175 grams (1 cup) good quality chocolate chips

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C (350 F/Gas Mark 4)
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl
  3. Mix the butter, sugar, eggs, banana, choc chips and vanilla extract in a seperate bowl
  4. Add to the dry ingredients and stir to combine, being careful not to over mix
  5. Pour the batter into a non-stick , or lightly greased and floured 19 x 11cm loaf tin and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the bread is cooked when tested with a skewer
  6. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool
  7. Serve in thick slices with butter
Bill Granger's Choc Banana Bread - yum

Bill Granger's Choc Banana Bread - yum

Recipe from Nigella’s website

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I hope you’ve all had a wonderful day filled with love, lots of presents and most importantly, lots and lots of food!

xo

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

The Christmas season has had me running off my feet. Believe it or not, I spent last Friday night baking a whole host of things which took me a whole SIX hours in the kitchen. My friend Sarah was having a housewarming party and i promised to bring cupcakes and a cake. Whilst the cupcakes and cake were baking, i decided to make these Christmas Shortbread stars (what was i thinking?). Decorating them was most the exciting part however as i was so tired, i didn’t really get too creative with them.
Christmas Shortbread Stars

Christmas Shortbread Stars

Christmas Shortbread Stars

  • 175 grams unsalted butter, softened
  • 300 grams caster sugar
  • 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • 300 grams plain flour
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C
  2. Beat butter with an electric mixer and gradually add sugar beating until light and fluffy
  3. Using a wooden spoon, mix in whole and egg and egg yolk
  4. Add vanilla essence and salt. Mix well
  5. Sift flour into mix and stir to blend
  6. Gather dough in ball and wrap with cling wra. Refridgerate for 30 minutes
  7. Lightly flour a clean surface and roll dough out until 1cm thick
  8. Using a star shaped cookie cutter (or any shape you like) cut out shape and place on baking trays lined with baking paper
  9. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until golden
  10. Leave to cool in the tray for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool
  11. Decorate with fondant icing cut out with the same cookie cutter or any way you wish

Last Saturday, my friend Genevieve and I woke up nice and early to attend a cupcake charity drive held by Planet Cake. The aim of the day was to decorate 3500 cupcakes to be delivered to Sydney’s homeless on Christmas Eve. We know cupcakes aren’t life changing, but who wouldn’t appreciate a yummy cupcake? I know i’ll never say no to one!

Not only were we there for a great cause, we also had lots of fun and learned a few tips and tricks as well. We made a pretty funky looking cupcakes and so cute ones too. So much so that i can’t bear to eat them!

Here are the cupcakes we had to make. Since we were the morning shift, our aim was 1000 cupcakes in 2 hours.

A photo guide of the cupcakes

A photo guide of the cupcakes

Joseph was our team leader who guided us through the steps.

Joseph showing us how to apply buttercream

Joseph showing us how to apply buttercream

The un-iced cupcakes. Imagine how much batter and hours of baking to make 3500 cupcakes!

30 cupcakes per box

30 cupcakes per box

Christmas pudding cupcakes. Decorated with chocolate and white fondant.

Christmas pudding

Christmas pudding

Elf cupcakes – one of my favourites! They look so life like with the hat and ears.

Oh so cute Elf cupcakes

Oh so cute Elf cupcakes

Another favourite of mine is the Santa. Decorated with fondant and royal icing.

Ho Ho Ho - Santa cupcakes

Ho Ho Ho - Santa cupcakes

These poinsettia cupcakes were gorgeous. I don’t think the photo does it justice but it really was beautiful with the green and red and gold cachous.

Poinsettia cupcakes

Poinsettia cupcakes

And last but not least, snowman cupcakes. Decorated with blue and white fondant and orange fondant for it’s nose. The face and body parts were painted on with black edible paint. Too cute.

Snowman cupcakes

Snowman cupcakes

See what i mean by them being too cute to eat?

I know, i know. I’ve already got what i wanted. But believe it or not, there are other things on my Christmas wish list and funnily enough they’re all kitchen related! What is wrong with me? I’m usually lusting after an Alannah Hill dress or Prada heels. Not dining sets!

Anyway, whilst in Myer the other day, i spotted Gordon Ramsay’s new dining and cookware in collaboration with Royal Doulton. My heart skipped a beat, it was so gorgeous it was ridiculous. And so was the price hence why it’ll probably always remain on my ‘wish’ list.

Gordon Ramsay's dining ware in collaboration with Royal Doulton

Gordon Ramsay's dining ware in collaboration with Royal Doulton

 There are so many wonderful trifle recipes out there that i would love to make but i can’t. Why? Because i don’t have a trifle bowl. Making it in anything other than one would be sacrilegious!

Trifle Bowl

Trifle Bowl

Another thing on my wish list is a good, proper zester (is that even a word?). I know they’re readily available at good shops, but i can never seem to find one that will zest my lemons the way i like it (1st layer only, no pith please!).

Zester

Zester

And last but certainly not least, i would really love a food processor. Not just any food processor either, it has to be the KitchenAid 😉 Perhaps i’ll save this one for my birthday in a few months 🙂

KitchenAid Food Processor

KitchenAid Food Processor

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Earlier this year, i made a flourless chocolate cake. I was surprised at how decadent and moist it was and so when i discovered this recipe which has the added bonus of hazelnuts, i knew it was going to be good. What is also good about this recipe is that this cake is best eaten the day after, so you can bake it in advance which leaves you out of the kitchen and plenty of time to mingle with your guests.

My wonderful friend Amanda from Swish & Swanky has asked me to contribute a Christmas dessert for her blog (which you must check out btw, it is filled with all things beautiful). As soon as she asked, i knew it had to be something chocolatey. After all, how can you finish of a huge Christmas feast and not end with chocolate? This recipe would’ve been more perfect if it were a chestnut chocolate cake (you know, Chestnuts roasting on a open fire…) but i’m not really sure how chestnuts would go so hazelnuts it is. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Hazelnut Flourless Chocolate Cake

Hazelnut Flourless Chocolate Cake

Hazelnut Flourless Chocolate Cake

  • 350 grams good quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • 185 grams unsalted butter, chopped
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup hazelnut liqueur (i used Frangelico)
  • 1 cup ground hazelnuts

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 170C
  2. Line the base and sides of a 22cm springform pan with non-stick baking paper
  3. Place chocolate and butter into a saucepan over low heat and stir until melted
  4. Place eggs, sugar, liqueur and hazelnuts into a bowl and whisk to combine
  5. Add chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth
  6. Spoon mixture into tin and cover with aluminium foil
  7. Bake for 40 mins then remove foil and cool cake in tin then refridgerate until cold

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Recipe adapted from Donna Hay – No Time To Cook

When hubby asked what i wanted to for Christmas, i knew the answer straight away. I mean, how can i be considered a proper baker if i didn’t own a KitchenAid? 😛 

He was also very good and let me have it early. We’re having a BBQ this weekend and i plan to bake my heart out so it was only fair i got to have it now. I used it last night and made lemon meringue cupcakes and boy oh boy is it good. It whipped up my meringue in a matter of minutes and just made the whole job so much easier.

Isn’t it pretty? I can’t stop looking at it!

The Box

The Box

A Guide to Expert Results book

A Guide to Expert Results book

The KitchenAid comes with a DVD

The KitchenAid comes with a DVD

A flat beater and dough (also comes with a pouring shield & wire whip)

A flat beater and dough (also comes with a pouring shield & wire whip)

Close up

Close up

My almond cream KitchenAid

My almond cream KitchenAid

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