This week is the final installment of the Cook Book Challenge taken from this mini-series (because I am a genius and did #10 weeks ago). Next week we shall return to your regularly-sized version.
Gary Mehigan is another well-known Melbourne chef. He was well known before becoming a judge on MasterChef, but since has become a household name. He began his cheffing career in London before moving to Melbourne and opening a plethora of award-winning restaurants. This book is named after, and full of, my favourite types of eats: comfort food. It's particularly comforting during this cooler part of the year. Choosing a recipe was almost impossible.
Winter, or any time, warmers…
Croquembouche is a word that conjures fear in the hearts of many. I've never understood why. Choux pastry is the easiest pastry to make, and toffee is not exactly the most challenging thing to make. Spun sugar can take some getting used to, but it's definitely achievable.
It seems to have stemmed from that MasterChef episode in Series 1 where Adriano Zumbo brought one for the pressure test. Everyone freaked out and it's since been viewed as the penultimate challenge. Many challenges since have been much more difficult, but still everyone dreads the mighty croquembouche.
It's really quite simple. If you've never tried one before, here's a mini version to help you ease your way into it.
Step-by-step after the jump…
Every year when Father's Day rolls around, I often find myself looking to reinvent my family's favourite mudcake recipe, as mudcake is my dad's favourite cake. While my family are more than content to keep demolishing their favourites, I get bored of repetition and am often looking for new skills to learn. So this year, I started trying to come up with something out of the ordinary. Given how picky my dad is, this is a harder task than usual. If it's not mudcake, his next favourite is a fruit cake, but almost no one else in my household likes fruit cake.
I found a middle ground to strike. Pears are one of my dad's favourite fruits. Like me, he prefers them really soft. Our perfect pear is what others feel is overripe. A cake involving poached pears was going to be a hit.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!
One of my biggest kitchen dilemmas is working out to do with the leftover halves of the eggs when a recipe requires only one part of it. Egg whites aren't as bad as you can freeze them, but egg yolks only last a few days and don't survive the freezer so well.
After making the Pavlova Roulade, I had 6 of them to use up. The easiest way to use a large amount up, other than giving them to my puppy, is to make something custardy. I also had plenty of cream leftover from party baking so I decided a crème brûlée was in order. I'd made a chocolate one before, but I've never even so much as seen a white chocolate crème brûlée before.
Time to experiment.
Crack the toffee open…
Chocolate crackles have such a power over me. They're one of those food items that can reduce me to giggly fits of glee at the thought of making them. You're never too old to enjoy that simple treat, but this slice offers a way to deliver them with a little more class than usual.
I've been waiting for the perfect excuse to make this. So when I threw a get together this weekend just gone these were the first thing on my list of party food.
Much more on these spheres of crackley heaven…
I hope you all had yourselves the most fantastic Easter imaginable, filled with love, great company, and of course – chocolate.
One of my favourite excuses around Easter is the ability to bake the most indulgent desserts. And when it comes to indulging, you can't go much further than this mudcake.
I've baked this flourless chocolate cake a few times. You've seen it for Father's Days and for Birthdays. This cake is so delicious and so loved I'm constantly looking for excuses to revisit and reinvent it.
I've done the Basket thing for Easter quite a lot, so I decided to step away from that and go for a nest instead.
Would you care for an egg?
For this week's challenge I baked from Murdoch Book's "Bake It".
This one was a gift from my boyfriend's brother and sister in law a while ago. It's your typical baking book with a difference: most of the recipes have some sort of twist from the old classics. This usually involves use of spices or various substitutes for flour, like polenta or semolina. They're definitely not your typical ingredients-you'll-find-in-your-cupboard type recipes, but they are nice to try something new! There are some ginger cupcakes I've been wanting to do for ages, which I was planning to do this week. But I haven't found time to grocery shop, so had no cream. So I've gone for the choc fudge cookie sandwiches instead.
This week I turned to one of my favourite Asian cookbooks, Christine Ingram and Roz Denny’s “The Rice and Noodle Cookbook”.
I’ve cooked so many savory dishes out of here, but I’ve always wanted to have a go at a rice pudding. So I whipped up their caramel rice pudding.
A belated post, and a rushed one (I’m not keeping up with this challenge very well).
This week I turned to one of my most disliked cookbooks. This is one part of a 4 pack of Pilsbury’s “Cookies, Brownies and Chocolate Galore”, this one being the “Cookies, Brownies and Bars” book. Another op-shop find from my dad, and was chosen for this week by my boyfriend.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some great looking things in here. But all recipes advocate using their brand, most of the recipes advocate using something that isn’t easily substituted.
I live in Australia. I can’t get most of it here.
But a cookie pizza? Cinch to sub.
Grab a slice…
I love Easter. It’s a time where my love for chocolate in baking can be justified. This Easter I decided to host a party at my place. It was a lovely time to get together. But more than that, it was also an excuse to make lots of my favourite things: finger food. I love making all those small and fiddly things, finding new ways to miniaturise classics. Everything from mini tandoori pizzas to tiny burgers, lamb korma on mini papadums and gow gees… the list went on. But my favourite is and always will be the desserts. I shall do a follow up post later of all the mini desserts, but for now I will turn to the sole item that was not mini: the cake.
This is one I had been wanting to do for a while. I was just waiting for the right time of year to do it. A cake that looks like a basket. Hopefully. In fact, I would be wrapped if you looked at it and thought it was just a basket.