Quince Pudding with Creme Fraiche

•June 16, 2013 • Leave a Comment


Another Justin North special from the SMH – and a great way to make sure you don’t waste any of the spiced quinces made for the previous recipe. This worked out amazingly well, even though I may or may not have been multi-tasking and forgotten the caramel until it stood right on the edge of burnt! The creme fraiche helps cut the sweetness of the caramel and  quince, and if you can serve it as elegantly as this SMH photograph (needless to say, I couldn’t) it would be an amazing winter dinner party dish.

Recipe after the jump.

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Spiced Quinces with Blue Cheese

•June 16, 2013 • Leave a Comment


This is a Justin North recipe out of the SMH’s Good Living section (as is the photograph) which seems absolutely perfect for dessert when you’re dealing with those who, like Scott, aren’t really into sweet things. The poached quinces and spiced poaching liquid are also a pre-requisite for the Quince Pudding with Creme Fraiche – more my bag than Scott’s. Unfortunately our Quinces didn’t turn that beautiful ruby red; more a golden orange from the Tokay we used in the poaching liquid. I’m not sure if it was because they’re not quite in season yet, and the young person’s interweb couldn’t really offer any guidance – it seems some quinces do and some just don’t. Anyway, they were delicious and that’s what counts. Recipe after the jump.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

•July 9, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Looks like I’m getting a bit cake heavy lately (figuratively and literally!) but I’ve been away from work so long I wanted to bake something for my team to thank them for picking up the slack in my absence. When I saw this on Paula Joye’s Lifestyled Blog it was a no brainer … the combination of peanut butter and chocolate  is sheer genius in my book, and I still think the inventor of Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups should win a Nobel Prize. I have a sneaking suspicion that these little bombs of peanut-butter-and-chocolatey good ness are the only reason I keep my Costco membership current.

The original recipe was sourced from David Herbert’s Best-Ever Baking Recipes … which, given my overloaded and groaning cookbook shelves, I won’t be buying. God knows the last thing I need is more high calorific recipes, especially considering my only exercise at present are the ones my rehab physiotherapist gives me to build back the strength in my gimpy and withered right leg. I’m rationalising my decision to bake this little number by ensuring it will go into the office and therefore be unavailable at home for me. The recipe follows after the jump.

One thing I’d say though … on eating it wasn’t really peanut-ty enough for my taste. I think I’d leave the melted 70% chocolate out of the cake batter, and just use the chocolate in the icing. Be warned, it’s a heavy, rich, dense cake. I could only do a teeny tiny sliver at work and made sure it was out of sight for the rest of the day in case I was tempted.

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Birthday Quickie: Caramel Lava Chocolate Cake

•July 8, 2012 • 2 Comments

This one is actually from last weekend – it’s a bit of a cheat’s birthday cake as it’s based on a packet mix and you’re really only making the salted caramel sauce and ganache. I found it in the July Good Taste magazine (from where this photo is sourced; my dodgy photograph is after the jump) and it looked like the best quick and easy option for a family birthday dinner. It’s super rich though, and the dark chocolate never goes down that well with the littlies … so in this case we had the rich dark chocolate cake for the adults, and a variation Mixed Berry version I threw together for the kids.

Unfortunately it was such a rush to get it done that the photography didn’t happen until we got to my brother’s place, and given the nine hungry faces around the table I couldn’t take that much time over it. Let me just say that the chocolate cake, in all it’s gloriously gooey richness, tasted and looked much better than it does in this pic. The “recipes” for both variations follow after the jump.

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Heston Blumenthal’s Chicken and Ham Pie

•July 8, 2012 • 1 Comment

I’ve just returned to work after a long period off with a broken knee, and trying to get back into the swing of things (all while continuing rehab and learning to walk properly again) is seriously kicking my ass. I’ve been getting home exhausted and it’s a rare night when my eyes are still open after 8.30pm, so cooking duties have largely fallen to Scott … while I putter about in the kitchen with baking jobs that don’t need too much standing time.

Scott’s irrational hatred of shopping means we’ve been slowly depleting the storage freezer (which is a good thing, given we’re currently running two full-size domestic fridges, one bar fridge on the deck and a storage freezer. It’s well past time to consolidate, to reduce electricity costs if nothing else!) This weekend the debate was over what to do with some frozen chicken thighs. We’d watched Heston Blumethal’s series  How to Cook Like Heston online a while back and so the consensus was to give his delicious looking Chicken and Ham Pie a go. Thankfully we had some leftover Careme Butter Pastry in the freezer, which made the option much more feasible as neither of us is a big fan of fussing around actually making pastry.

In a move that surprised neither of us, the recipe – which is also contained in the Heston at Home Cookbook – was fairly process intensive. Scott commented that Heston was obviously single as clearly no individual who had a relationship or family responsibilities would have the time to prepare meals like this on a regular basis. He was deeply disappointed when I pointed out that the world’s favourite mad scientist in the kitchen actually had three teenaged kids and had been married for 20 years until late 2011, when he appears to have left his wife for a US cookbook author. I don’t think this pie had anything to do with it though. Scott found it too salty – probably the way the ham hock was prepared – but I loved it; it was the perfect dinner for a winter’s night in front of a dvd. The recipe follows after the jump.

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Momofuku Milk Bar’s Crack Pie

•June 25, 2012 • 1 Comment

If ever there was an aptly named baked treat, this one is it: the (in)famous Crack Pie™ from the Momofuku Milk Bar by Christine Tosi. Her Milk Bar cookbook contains a fabulous story around its invention. The recipe was apparently inspired by Chess Pie (‘jes pie,  in a southern drawl) and was prepared by Tosi one night for the “family meal” – the dishes cooked for restaurant staff to eat ahead of service. She was in a hurry that day and had taken the pie out of the oven too early, throwing it into the fridge to firm as she got on with her real prep for the evening. The pie went down well with the team despite some concern about its high sugar content. I’ll hand over to the amazing Ms Tosi herself for the rest of the story.

“I wrapped the gooey pie up, stuffed it in a lowboy, and jittered away. Minutes later, a cook, equally jittery,came up to me looking for more pie. I gave it to him. Then another cook bought the pie back to me, begging me to take it away from him. Then another came for just one more bite. We shamelessly fought over the last bites of the pie. We soared high n sugar that evening. And then we crashed. It was awful. But that’s the story of how crack pie got its name.”

It certainly is addictive … and with the current discussion about sugar as a toxin (or as my sister-in-law the personal trainer proclaims, “white death”), you can see how appropriate it all is. But I’m a big believer in doing everything in moderation (including moderation itself), so I had to give it a go. Be warned – the recipe is a bit annoyingly time-consuming (there’s a reason buying the real thing from the Momofuku Milk Bar costs $44 per pie) and you need to start the recipe the day before, because the pie needs freezing overnight. Don’t you just hate that when you don’t realise something is a two-day job up front?  Anyway, the recipe follows after the jump.

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Game of Thrones (ii): Baked Apples

•June 19, 2012 • 1 Comment

… a continuation of my Game of Thrones obsession; this time the dessert I served with the Sister’s Stew of the previous post. Winter is coming here, after all!

There were baked apples and berry tarts and pears poached in strong-wine. Wheels of white cheese were set at every table, above and below the salt, and flagons of hot spice wine and chilled autumn ale were passed up and down the tables.

– A Clash of Kings, George R. R. Martin

This dish is so simple and yet so good – especially with a dollop of cream (or vanilla ice cream) and a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.

Again, this recipe is from the Feast of Fire and Ice: The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer and a slightly amended version follows after the jump.

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