Monday, January 13, 2014

Summer Ice Cream Cake

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This ice cream cake has two magical layers. The first, Nigella's meringue gelato cake - creamy with morsels of marshmallowy meringue and a hint of coffee liquer. The second, a super easy chocolate ice cream - just rich chocolatey goodness. Topped with wonderfully ripe cherries, raspberries and pomegranate seeds, it's a great way to a cool down on a sweltering hot summer's day.

 For how good it looks and tastes, it's a crime how easy it is to put together. I was surprised that there was absolutely no churning involved yet the texture of the ice cream was smooth and creamy.

300ml double cream
105g chocolate, chopped (I used milk chocolate, mama likes it sweet)
30ml coffee liquer
100g meringues
600ml pure cream
¼ cup cocoa powder
4 egg yolks
½ cup caster sugar
Fruit to top with

1. Whip the double cream until soft peaks form. Add 30g of chopped chocolate and coffee liquer and fold. Crush the meringues into the mixture and fold until combined.
2. Place mixture in a loaf tin lined with baking paper and pack down into all the corners. Put in freezer.
3. Heat the pure cream, 75g of chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in a saucepan on low heat until the chocolate has melted.
4. Whisk egg yolks and caster sugar in a large bowl until pale and creamy. Slowly pour in heated cream mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the whole mixture into the saucepan, cook on a low heat, stirring constantly until it thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
5. Cool the chocolate mixture down in a bowl (clingwrap the top so it doesn't form a skin) then pour into the loaf tin on top of the first layer. Put in freezer for at least 4 hours or overnight.
6. Once frozen, flip the ice cream cake onto a plate and top with fruits. Serve quickly and enjoy!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Cronut

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Ah, the mythical cronut - part croissant, part donut, all noms. Tales of its sweet delights travelled to us one night on the television when Dominique Ansel was on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to cook his beautiful creation. I haven't had the New York City cronut but I found a recipe for an imitation version by Edd Kimber.

These babies are an absolute treat - flaky, buttery and scrumptiously fluffy. To make these, you'll need a bit of patience and a lot of kitchen counter space. But once you cut out your little cronut discs and lower them into the oil to fulfill their delicious destiny, you'll know it was all worth it.

60ml milk
65ml warm water
6g dried yeast
150g cold diced butter
250g plain flour (The recipe calls for 125g plain flour and 125g strong flour. I couldn't find strong flour so I used all plain flour and added bread improver.)
5g bread improver
30g caster sugar
½ teaspoon salt
vanilla sugar
icing sugar
vanilla extract

1. Combine milk, water and yeast in a bowl.
2. Pulse the cold butter, flour and bread improver in a food processor until it looks like lumpy breadcrumbs.
3. Combine the flour mixture, the wet mixture and the caster sugar and salt until form into a dough. Cover with cling wrap and fridge for 2 hours.
4. Roll the dough into a rectangle about 1cm thick. Fold the dough into thirds, turn and roll again. Repeat this 2 times. I found the dough to be quite sticky at the beginning of the rolling but by the time I folded it a few times, it became a nice, smooth dough.
5. Cover dough with cling wrap and fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
6. Roll out the dough to about ½cm thick and cut out your cronut discs with cookie cutters. Put the discs on a tray lined with baking paper, cover with a tea towel and let prove for 1 hour.
7. Fry cronuts in oil at 170ÂșC until puffed up and golden.
8. Drain on paper towels and toss in vanilla sugar.
9. Make glaze by mixing icing sugar, vanilla extract to taste and a splash of milk. Drizzle on cooled cronuts.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Custard-filled and white chocolate coated profiteroles on a chocolate iced sponge base

This was my first attempt at making profiteroles, which made the croquembouche idea even more ambitious. I'm so psyched that it all worked because every step was a labour of love for my boyfriend's birthday. I made the profiteroles using Raymond Blanc's recipes for choux pastry and creme patissiere here.

1. Make a cake base of your choice.
2. Make the pastries, dip them in melted white chocolate, fill with creme patissiere and stick them on the cake base with toffee.
3. Decorate with toffee strands (using a spoon, cool toffee down enough for it to make long, thin strands, then drizzle around the croquembouche).

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Red Wine Braised Veal & Honey Glazed Carrots

Twice cooked osso bucco, honey glazed baby carrots, parsley jelly and Pinot Noir jus, served with sweet carrot and ginger tea

1. Sear osso bucco (marrow removed) and caramelise diced carrot, celery and leek. Braise with beef stock, Pinot Noir (perfect for braising because of its deep and rich flavour), thyme and bay leaves for 3 hours on a medium simmer. The liquid should reduce by half. 
2. Pull veal off the bone, flake with a fork and combine with the raw marrow. Roll into a log with cling wrap and set in the fridge for a few hours (I was impatient so the log didn't hold too well, but it was still delicious). Fry the log in a pan with butter and olive oil until brown. Rest, slice and serve. Reduce braising liquid by half and add butter to make the jus.
3. Blanch a bunch of parsley leaves in salted water. Puree with a blender or whiz stick the parsley with about a quarter cup of the water. Push through a fine sieve and dissolve gelatine in the green liquid. Set in a shallow dish (I used a mini flan dish) lined with cling wrap. Cut into cubes.
4. Blanch baby carrots in water, sugar, star anise and cloves. Add ginger to the water and serve as a tea. Glaze carrots with a mixture of water, butter, honey and sugar. 

Saw a similar recipe on the food channel and loved that it used cheap and humble ingredients, treated with lots of love. I'm so glad it's getting cool enough to enjoy hearty, slow-braised meals. Not only does it warm up the house, it gives me an outlet for my OCD for hours at a time (is there anything more enjoyable than arranging small objects to make them pretty?). We enjoyed this with a great friend, a few glasses of wine (and when we ran out of red, we moved onto white) and a night of trashy movies.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Spicy Lamb Leg with Pumpkin & Couscous Salad

Lamb leg has everything I want in a piece of meat. It's tender, juicy, easy to cook, inexpensive and has an appropriate amount of fat. When you roast it, every part of it is delightful to eat. It's not fidgety like other cuts where you have to cook it in several pots and pans and you end up spending more time cleaning than eating. The fat renders off beautifully in the oven and it all melts in your mouth.

I love a roast with an intense spice rub. There's a lot of meat on that bone so you need a lot of flavour. This rub is so delicious and a great example of using spices for their flavour rather than heat. When it mixes in with the lamb juices, it's a marriage made in heaven.
A couscous salad is the perfect way to soak up those beautiful juices, not to mention it's dead simple to make. I also put in some roast pumpkin (tossed in those lovely spices) for colour and sweetness.

Spicy lamb leg

You'll need:

Lamb leg (mine was 1.5kg)
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
Birdseye chilis (to taste)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon salt

Combine turmeric, paprika, cumin, garlic, ginger, chili, olive oil and lemon juice in a mixing bowl.

Wash and pat dry lamb leg with paper towels.

Rub the spice mixture onto the lamb.

Marinade in fridge for at least an hour. The lemon juice tenderises the meat so the longer the better.

Preheat oven to 170°C.

Roast lamb on a wire rack for 1 hour 20 minutes for every 1.5kg. (I know my oven is pretty slow so I left it in for an extra 10 minutes.)

Rest for at least half an hour.

It should be beautifully pink medium-rare, so juicy and tender it will hardly hold onto your fork.

Pumpkin & couscous salad

You'll need:

500g pumpkin, diced
1 cup couscous
1 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of salt
Juice of one lemon
½ cup red onion, finely diced
½ cup raisins
Handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped

Toss the pumpkin in any left over marinade and roast with lamb for 1 hour on a baking tray in a single layer.

Combine couscous, olive oil, salt and water in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap for 10 minutes.

Separate couscous with a fork and mix in pumpkin, lemon juice, onion, raisins and mint.