Tag Archives: Recipes

Toffee Pudding with Ginger and Chocolate

At some point, I’m going to have to admit it. My idea of a great weekend consists of some part of it being slightly fuzzy, in this slightly happy state of yeah.

Yeah.

Am I making sense?

Like when you’re trying to put on your 4-inch heels and realising you’ve been trying to put right to left for the past 5 seconds…and then just having a small laugh to yourself, and going yeah.

Or when lunch consists of fried rice and fresh mango. Yeah.

Left your cell phone on the charger at home, on the bed. Yeah.

Walked out of the store without taking back your credit card and the new necklace you just bought. Yeah.

Store assistant rings your mobile phone 8 times and you can’t answer because you don’t have your phone. Yeah.

The whole house smells like toffee and butter. So does your hair. Yeah.

Gym at 4pm…errrr…yeah?

You get my drift. It’s like when you’re almost unfazed by anything because there’s a slight cloud of something which is almost making everything seem fairly ordinary. Yeah.

Can we just apply this to all the things that try to get us down? The things I stress about on a daily basis when there are 1000 things way more important happening concurrently? I need to prioritise the things that I place importance on and remind myself that some days, like today, it’s really liberating to say “big fat hairy deal”.

I hope you’re having a hazy, good day. I know I am. And I smell like toffee!

Toffee Pudding with Ginger and Chocolate (adapted from Best Desserts by The Australian Women’s Weekly)

3 3/4 cups dates, pitted
3 cups hot water
2 tsp baking soda
2 3/4 cup GF flour blend
1/4 cup GF oat flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
185g butter, unsalted and softened
6 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup crystalised ginger, chopped finely
3/4 cup dark chocolate, 55% and above, chopped roughly

1) Preheat oven to 175°C. Line a large rectangle tin, roughly 35 x 25cm, with parchment.

2) In a large pot, bring the dates and hot water to a boil. Turn off the heat and add in the baking soda. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before whisking to break up the dates.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until lightened in colour. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix well. Mix the flours and baking powder in a separate bowl. Add the dates and flour mix into the creamed mixture alternately, starting and ending with the flour.

4) Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle the ginger and chocolate all over the top. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Serve warm with butterscotch sauce.

Butterscotch Sauce

250g butter, unsalted
2 cup brown sugar
2 cups heavy cream

1) Place all the ingredients in a large pot and simmer until all the sugar had dissolved and butter has melted. Allow to simmer further for 3-4 minutes. You may stir the mixture to quicken the cooking process. Allow to cool slightly before serving with pudding.

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Filed under Cakes, Chocolate, Pudding, Recipes, Sauces

Boozy Lemon Polenta Cardamom Cake

It’s been a good weekend. The sort of weekend you feel you’re not really in the same country. It’s great how doing something entirely different from your regular routine can add a little sparkle into an otherwise ‘it-passed-too-fast’ weekend.

My best friend and I decided we should head to the zoo. I wanted to see the polar bears; she the giraffes. Pity the polar bear enclosure wasn’t open (renovations were underway to merge it with a new project) so luckily Nisa managed to feed the giraffes, or we might’ve found smelling like that totally no worth it.

A lunch spread later, we found her car had contracted a case of flat tyre caused by a nail which we possibly ran over while driving and singing Kelly Clarkson’s Mr Know it All (or in my case, MISS know it all. Bottomline; don’t judge if you haven’t a clue!) ANYWAY, being the resourceful girls we are, a phone call was made, and the car was saved. We even managed to catch a movie!

If your idea of a good time is laughing so hard you’re crying, and then deciding that at the end of the movie, you’d like to watch it all over again, I strongly recommend watching What’s Your Number. Anna Faris is cute and Chris Evans is known as the human torch for a bloody good reason.

Hello my name is Victoria and I’m addicted to highly attractive men.

And cake.

Boozy Lemon Polenta Cardamom Cake

200g butter, unsalted and softened
150g sugar
220g almond meal
100g polenta
1.5 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
1 tbsp Amaretto
1 tbsp Limoncello
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 2 lemons

1) Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease and line a 8-capacity mini loaf tin. This recipe makes 7 full mini loaves.

2) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy and lightened in colour. You can also do this by hand with a big bowl and a wooden spoon.

3) Beat in the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Add in the dry ingredients and mix well. Add in the remaining ingredients and beat on medium-high until blended through. Divide the mixture evenly into 7 of the 8 loaves. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

4) Allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning out. The loaves are served upside down. Prick the loaves with a skewer and pour the syrup over the top. Allow to absorb and cool completely before topping with lemon glaze. I added some Indian candy floss-like confectionery on top but don’t stress if you haven’t any.

Soaking Syrup

1/2 cup icing sugar
3 tbsp hot water
2 tsp Cardamom-Clove Syrup from Royal Rose (or you can try using a strong Chai tea instead of water)
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1) Mix well in a bowl and ensure there are no lumps.

 

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Filed under Cakes, Fruit, Nuts, Recipes

Peanut Butter Thumbprints with Caramel

Today I dropped by the post office and returned my parcel from ASOS. It was free to have it shipped here, but cost me $35 to return it. Lesson learnt; I’m never going online clothes shopping again. Next time I’ll just stick to books and rubber stamps. I love rubber stamps.

Today I spent a mini fortune on a package of laser sessions to remove the awful spots under my eyes. My eyes are still rather sensitive now…and there are black spots where they burned it. Oh man, I hope they clear up before I start work. Then again, the black spots could be a thing where people think I’m unattractive and boom! when they disappear, it’s like whoa! Who knew she wasn’t polkadotted.

Yeah, that might work.

If not, I’ll just blind everyone with these amazingly delish cookies and they’ll instantly fail to notice the burns under my eyes.

These cookies are AAAAAH-MAZING. Even if you’re being a bum and decide that scrubbing a caramlised pot isn’t what you signed up for, make them plain with the traditional criss-cross pattern. It’s really something I tell you. I’ve had peanut butter cookies but I’ve never had these! The caramel sets semi-solid, if you want it harder and chewy, I suggest relocating them to your fridge. Enjoy my lovelies!

Peanut Butter Thumbprints with Caramel (adapted from Sur La Table’s The Art and Soul or Baking)

Thumbprint Cookies

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup peanut butter, room temperature (I used chunky, do NOT use natural PB)
1 1/2 cup GF flour blend
1/4 cup oat flour
1 tbsp sweet rice flour
1/4 tsp baking soda

1) Preheat oven to 175°C and position two oven racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2) Place the butter, brown sugar and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and cream until lightened in colour. You can also do this by hand. Scrape down the bowl and add in the egg and vanilla and mix well. Add in the peanut butter and beat until well blended. Scrape down bowl once more.

3) In a medium bowl, whisk all the flours and baking soda together. Add to the butter mixture all at once. Turn mixer to lowest speed and blend slowly until fully incorporated. Remove from the mixer and stir gently to ensure everything is well mixed.

4) Using an ice cream scopp, portion tablespoon-sized mounds onto the prepare baking sheets, spacing them about 4 cm apart. Use the rounded handle end of a wooden spatula or another similar utensil to make a depression, about an inch in diameter in the centre of each cookie.

5) Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden and just firm to touch and edges are darker. Transfer to cooling rack. Immediately reinforce the depression in each cookie using the same kitchen utensil but be careful not to crack the cookie. Let cool completely and fill with the caramel. Allow filling to cool and set for an hour, store in the refrigerator.

Peanut Caramel

1 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup finely diced almonds, toasted

1) Microwave the cream in a microwave-safe bowl until just hot. Set aside.

2) Place the water in a medium saucepan. Add sugar, corn syrup and salt. Cook the sugar mixture over a medium heat, stirring occasionally with a heatproof spatula until sugar dissolves. Set the hot cream on the counter next to the stovetop. Turn heat to high and cook the sugar until it turns a golden brown. Immediately turn off the heat and whisk in the cream, adding it in a slow, steady stream. Whisk to blend caramel well. Pour into a heatproof bowl and allow to cool until warm and pourable before adding in nuts.

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Filed under Caramel, Cookies, Nuts, Recipes

{Way Too Pink} Strawberry Yoghurt Muffins

I’ve battled with this for ages and as much as I hate to admit it sometimes, the people around me have got it right all along.

I’m a girly girl.

Yeah, I don’t stress too much when I break a nail or if my hair gets unruly but take me to a store and I make a beeline for anything pink, glittery and cute. My compass is dead set on this as a criteria for anything that catches my eye. Rock chick was so 6 years ago, when I was 17 I believe.

So imagine how difficult it was not to have anything too pink in my newly decorated room. I caved, bought myself a set of Lilo and Sitch sheets and another set that’s white with a reversible option of pink. All that girly goodness hidden under a snow white duvet; wait til they lift the covers! But I swear I sleep better on pink, really.

And to explain my recent disappearance (12 days!), I’ve been away in Australia to visit Fred. Last minute decisions are rather exciting, especially when you book your tickets the day before you intend to fly. I may love pink but I’m borderline danger-lover. I arrived home early this morning to discover there was no food for my empty stomach. So I baked, and one hour later, had tall muffins in pink glaze to soothe my sore butt and jet lagged brain. I’ll make it through the day just fine.

Strawberry Yoghurt Muffins (adapted loosely from The Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook)
Makes 6 muffins

60g (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup GF flour blend
1/4 cup GF oat flour (or use buckwheat, sorghum or millet)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 large egg
100g (a little less than 1/2 cup) plain yoghurt
1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 tbsp strawberry jam

1) Preheat oven to 175°C. Line a 6-cavity muffin tin with paper liners.

2) Cream butter, sugar and vanilla extract together in a stand mixer until fluffy. Mix the flours, baking soda and baking powder together.

3) Add the egg into the butter and beat well. It will look rather watery but will come together after you add in 1/4 cup of the flour mix.

4) Add in half the yoghurt and  beat well. Mix in the remaining flour and yoghurt . Stir in the jam until mixed through. Using a spatula, gently fold in the berries. Divide batter evenly between the prepared muffin tin. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Top with strawberry glaze.

Strawberry Glaze

2 tbsp strawberry jam
1 cup icing sugar
2 tsp warm water, or more if needed

1) Mix the jam, icing sugar and 2 tsp of warm water together until you get a smooth glaze. If glaze is too stiff, add in 1 tsp of water at a time until you reach a slightly runny but still opaque glaze. Use immediately.

 

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Filed under Breakfast, Fruit, Muffins, Recipes

Baked Alaska

My favourite feeling is being satisfied.

It’s this warm, fuzzy hug that something’s been accomplished.

You’ve gotten somewhere.

You’re going somewhere.

You waited.

And good things are about to come.

You know they say fake it til you make it? Like when you’re in a room full of people you aren’t dying to be mingling with; fake the friendly smile til it starts creeping up from within. Something along those lines. I think I read too much Cosmopolitan psychology. The kind they coat with colourful words and throw a celebrity on the front cover of. But as much as I’d like to feel that I’m better than the regurgitated words of wisdom, thing is, positive reinforcement always works.

So what is it comes along with a perfectly slim, gorgeous specimen of nature which I’ll never be? I think these covers sell magazines, but the content isn’t always the worst. Sure, there are only so many times you can be told that if you use your finger to smudge your eyeliner pencil you get an instant smokey eye; but sometimes those silly Top 10 Ways to Get What You Want features do a little magic for someone who’s feeling a little down.

There, I admit it, I’m a magazineaholic. Grab your fork, eat your ice cream (and brownie) and curl up with a magazine. Promise you’ll leave with some new knowledge whether its a tip on how to pair boyfriend jeans with heels or a great breakfast idea. I should be doing that more often now…since I finally got a job…and will have to start wearing pants again in a couple of weeks!!!

Baked Alaska by Sweets by Vicky

1 pint of ice cream (I has raspberry ripple)
1/2 x Meringue recipe (use the rest for a Swiss Meringue Buttercream)
1/2 x Brownie recipe

To Assemble

1) Line the bottom and sides of 2 small loaf tins with plastic wrap. Pack the ice cream firmly into the tins, ensuring to fill up any gaps. Leave a 2 cm distance from the ice cream and the top of the tin.

2) Measure the size of the brownie that is needed to cover the ice cream and trim a piece accordingly. Press firmly onto the ice cream and freeze for 4 hours or overnight.

3) When ready, make the meringue. Un-mould from tin and turn out onto a large piece of parchment so that the brownie is on the bottom. Immediately cover a thick layer of the meringue over the entire cake. Use the back of a spoon to make peaks in the meringue. Freeze for 30 minutes or until ready to bake.

4) Preheat oven to 220°C. Place the Baked Alaska on a baking tray and bake for 5-6 minutes until the peaks and edges start to take on a golden brown. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Meringue

4 egg whites
1 cup white sugar
1/8 tsp cream of tartar

1) Mix all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water, without letting the base of the bowl touch the water. Beat with a whisk constantly until it reaches 60°C. Remove from heat and immediately attach to the stand mixer and start whisking on high until the meringue is cool to touch and holds stiff peaks. Use immediately.

2) You’ll end up using about 2/3 of the meringue for ONE of the Baked Alaskas, so beat the remaining meringue with 180g of unsalted, softened butter for Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Flavour as desired. Store in the fridge.

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Filed under Cakes, Ice Cream, Recipes

Lemon Meringue Bars

Today someone asked me why I didn’t want to be a fashion blogger since I’m obsessed with adding new things to be wardrobe all the time. I didn’t really know how to answer them. Do I like food more than I love pretty things? I love things; especially ones that make the usual me feel like SHAZAAAAMMM!!! me. Like those wide leg, high waisted flare jeans.

I came up with something half decent as she stared at me, waiting for an answer.

I don’t like taking full body photos of me and if I were to be a fashion blogger, that’s the sort I’d be. So see, it’s not that I didn’t want to…I couldn’t. Physical limitations.

Food on the other hand, can also get quite fussy. Thank goodness you can eat them after all the effort. It’s the washing up that realllyyy reeks. And the slaving over a hot stove part. You can’t win it all.

So I found a great way to satisfy my need to dress up and keep this blog going…super cute aprons! Don’t feel bad if you need to wear a string of pearls or have winged eye-liner on while you bake; I totally get what you mean.

Dad went straight for it after the photos

Besides, you never know when company’s coming, especially if you’re going to be baking these succulent, buttery lemon meringe bars. You can’t possibly answer the door looking like that.

Lemon Meringue Bars (adapted from The Essential Baker & The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread)

Base
1 cup + 2 tbsp GF flour blend
1/4 cup GF oat flour
1/2 cup icing sugar
5 tbsp cornstarch
pinch of salt
156g cold butter, unsalted

1) Preheat oven to 175°C. Grease and line a 9 x 13 baking tray with parchment.

2) Dice butter into 2-inch cubes and place it in the freezer for 5 minutes while you gather the remaining ingredients.

3) Mix the flours, icing sugar and salt together.

4) Do this either in a food processor or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment: Pour 1/2 of the flour mix and all the cold butter into the mixing bowl and (food processor) pulse on and off until the butter starts mingling with the flour. Add in the remaining flour and pulse until it comes together to form a dough. (Stand mixer) Do the same, but have the motor running on medium-low until you get a dough. Do not over mix. Place the mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly with your fingers, ensuring the dough covers the base of the pan and about 1/2 inch up the sides, to prevent filling from flowing over.

5) Place in the freezer for 10 minutes and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and pour filling over the base. Bake for another 20 minutes or until filling has just set. Top with meringue either by dolloping heaping spoonfuls over the lemon filling or piping it in swirls and stuff. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, cool completely before slicing. It’s even better when it’s been refrigerated for 3-4 hours.

Filling
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
3 tbsp GF flour blend
145g lemon juice (about 5/8 cup)
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp whole milk
pinch of salt

1) Mix all the ingredients together and whisk well.

Meringue
4 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1) Place the egg white, sugar an cream of tartar in a bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl of a pot of simmering water and whisk constantly until an instant-read thermometer registers 60°C. It will look thick and foamy. Remove from pan and place bowl on the mixer and whisk on high speed until you get a glossy shiny meringue which holds stiff peaks.

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Filed under Bars, Fruit, Pastry, Recipes

{Another Chocolatey One} Crackly Brownies

I swear I wasn’t sneaking the odd piece here and there…

I once had an obsession; I wanted to bake brownies like Betty Crocker just without a box mix.

But you know those pouches of liquid Hershey’s fudge you get with the premium brownie mixes? You can’t beat the excitement of ripping it open. It’s like receiving a hand written letter. There’s no way around it.

So instead of trying to make a longer process seem more enticing than Betty Crocker’s one-box-one-bowl-one-PERFECT-tray brownies I’ll just cut to the chase. Betty, I love you, you’re inspiring, but I think you’re losing your touch. Sorry I had to say that, maybe I’m just upset because there’s no gorgeous gluten free version of Betty’s mix. That’s it. Throw a tantrum, make these brownies and be happy Miette wrote a book.

So what’s one gluten-filled dessert you wish you could un-glutenify? I think Mine would be cannoli. There are recipes out there; I just need to get those tube things for frying. And maybe croissants. But for the sake of fitting into interview clothes, I might hold off the pound of butter for now.

I miss going to work. Is that weird? I probably won’t be saying this if I had a job. But I’ll only know it if I did. Which I don’t. Hence, rambling.

Vicky, out.

No stand mixer for me; old school hand held all the way!

Crackly Brownies (adapted from Miette)

1 cup GF flour blend
1 tsp baking powder
1 pound of 70% couverture chocolate, chopped
1 3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, unsalted
2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
5 large eggs, room temperature

1) Preheat oven to 160°C. Line a 9 x 13inch baking tray with parchment and grease well. [I didn’t have a pan on hand so I used a round cake tin]

2) In a bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Melt the chocolate and butter together over a bain marie or in a microwave, medium power, 45 second bursts until melted through. Stir well and leave to cool.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until double in volume. Slowly pour in the chocolate mixture in a steady stream down the side of the bowl while the whisk is running on low speed. Add in the vanilla. Once the chocolate if fully incorporated, using a spatula, fold in the flour until just mixed through. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Remove from oven and allow to cool immediately (I would put it in an ice bath or in front of a fan).

4) Refrigerate to set before slicing into squares.You may wish to spread a layer of ganache over it if you’d like to be sent into a chocolate induced coma. It’s great.

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Filed under Chocolate, Recipes