Cook Book Challenge: Week 19

Julie Goodwin's cookbooks are amongst my favourite. This is her second. They are littered with personal stories, quotes from family members and delicious recipes that come from her family. The last chapter is left blank so you can fill it with those from your own family.

The recipes themselves are always so homely. Nothing new and fancy and designed to push the envelope. Just heart warming, delicious meals whose sole aim is to accentuate good times spent with loved ones. Her methods are written in a conversational style, often explaining aspects that may be new to a reader, or adding notes about serving suggestions or how much of the dish can be prepared in advance to allow more time with guests.

Along with Julie Goodwin, pavlova is another of my favourite things in the world. For the uninitiated, a pavlova is a meringue-based dessert that is a staple amongst Australian and New Zealand national cuisine.

A good pavlova meringue has a crispy exterior but is soft and marshmallowy on the inside. It is then typically topped with cream and fruit, but it is open to additions. Additions that usually involve some form of chocolate. I like adding broken up Flake or Peppermint Crisp to it, preferably by folding it through the cream. It's such a delicious, refreshing dessert and always the first thing I make a bee line for.

So when I saw her take on it, I just couldn't resist…

Custard Meringue Gateau

Last Friday was my boyfriend's 29th birthday. One of his greatest culinary loves in life is custard. So when I was brainstorming ideas for a nice-looking, fondant-free cake that pandered to his tastes, I just knew it had to involve custard.

Celebratory photo spam and recipe after the jump…

Valentine’s Day bakerage

I've been really bad keeping up with the baking scene this year, but I definitely had to make time for some Valentine's Day baking.

Hearts. Always with the heart-shaped desserts in Feb.

My boyfriend loves two things: cheesecake and custard. So I decided to draw on his loves and combine them into four heart-shaped delectables for him to nom on Valentine's Day.

Take another little piece of my heart now, baby…

Gateau Foresteire

Baking is fun at the best of times, but when it’s for charity it is so much more fulfilling. My boyfriend works for IBM, and currently he is on a project in an ANZ office. One of the ANZ offices he is located at decided to host a Big Cake Bake fundraiser for the Red Cross. I was more than happy to oblige when asked to do a cake, and more than happy for the excuse to make a cake I’d been wanting to do for a while.

Take a walk through the forest…

Cook Book Challenge: Week 2

The first season of MasterChef coincided with two other significant events for me: the first cake decorating book my dad bequeathed unto me, and the time around which my dessert-loving boyfriend and I stopped spending every waking hour at live music concerts and more time hanging out at home and, subsequently, cooking for him.

It reignited a love of food and baking that I’d had flashes of as a child, but had lost touch with as other things filled my life.

Julie Goodwin, Australia’s first MasterChef, won many hearts during a competition throughout which she often appeared out of her league. She was so lovely I couldn’t be upset when she beat my favourite contestant, Poh, in the Grand Final. But I think the moment she won the most hearts was when, during one of the final challenges, she revealed the idea for her cook book. Every chapter to tell of a chapter in her life. It would be filled with stories and photos of her family and their favourite recipes. But the final chapter would be left blank, for us to fill with out of tales, photos and recipes.

Win she did, and with her publishing deal she released exactly the book she’d promised on the show, titled “Our Family Table”.

Turn the cover…