This month’s theme for the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop is Berry Nice to Meet you – berries! This theme has gotten me very excited for spring and thinking about tarts piled high with fresh berries and pavlova covered with cream and strawberries, however as it was still 10 degrees outside when I started to bake I thought I would make something more weather appropriate!
I had been craving crème brûlée lately and loved the idea of contrasting the sweet rich custard with tart raspberries. You can use any berry you want in this recipe and the combination of the soft berries cooked into the custard and the fresh berries on top is delicious and well balanced.
- 1½ cups pouring cream (35% fat)
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 9 large egg yolks
- ½ cup caster sugar
- 1 punnet of raspberries (or blueberries, strawberries – whatever you like!)
- 6 tsps of light brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 160°C and place 6 x ¾ cup ramekins into a large baking dish.
- Pour the cream into a medium saucepan, add the split vanilla bean and scrape in the seeds. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Fill a second medium saucepan with around 10cm of water and bring to a simmer. Whisk the yolks and sugar in a metal bowl set over the saucepan of simmering water (make sure the metal bowl does not touch the water). Whisk for around 3 minutes or until mixture is pale yellow and hot to the touch.
- Remove vanilla bean and gradually add hot cream to the eggs and sugar, whisking all the time.
- Place 4-5 raspberries in the bottom of each ramekin and divide the hot cream and eggs mixture evenly into each ramekin.
- Pour hot water into the large baking dish the ramekins are sitting in. The water needs to come halfway up the sides.
- Bake the custards in their water bath for 25-30 mins or until set and lightly golden on top.
- Remove the custards from the water and place in the fridge to set over night.
- The next day sprinkle a teaspoon of brown sugar over each custard and place under the grill (or use a blow torch!) until golden and caramelised. Let sit for around 30 minutes to let the top harden (if you can wait that long!)
- Decorate with remaining fresh raspberries and ENJOY!
I love the black flecks of vanilla bean scattered throughout – always a promising sign of a good dessert! The custard was decadently rich and sweet and the occasional encounter with a tart raspberry was a welcome reprieve.
Highlights included Marron tail tempura and crisp pork belly, Kobe wagyu beef tartare and crisp quail egg and suckling pig, celeriac and bernaise.
Szechuan duck breast, confit leg and turnips and radish, and two lovely desserts - Vanilla pudding and pop rocks and souffle, miso milkshake and ice cream! Whoah!
♥ Had another amazing blogger meetup in the form of a pizza party at La Disfida
Entrees included polenta chips with gorgonzola sauce (!!) and ricotta and eggplant pasta and deep fried zucchini flowers. Pizzas included prosciutto and truffle (omg, my favourite!), marguerita and a tomato and pine nut pizza that reminded me of bruschetta.
♥ Little indulgences
It gets very cold in my office so I purchased myself some super comfy “office slippers”. I look like a dag but I am comfortable and warm! Also I took myself on a date in the park. Creme brulee tart + coffee from Bourke St Bakery = heaven.
♥ Hanging out with Bruce
I have been going back to visit my family a fair bit recently, including spending some quality time with my old cat Bruce. The photo on the right cracks me up as I smoothed her cheek fur down to make her look like a little old man. This was achieved quite successfully.
♥ A beautiful day on Cockatoo Island for the Biennale
I went to Cockatoo Island with my Mum on a gorgeous sunny day. I took loads of photos which will be up on the blog soon and I highly recommend you go if you haven’t been! For lunch we sat on the lawn and stared at the Harbour Bridge across the water whilst eating a pork and fennel sausage roll and the best arancini I’ve ever eaten!
♥ Ran the City2Surf!
To counteract all this eating I have been (kind of) training for the City2Surf again – although sickness had other plans. After walking half of it last year I tried to push myself much harder and shaved 23 minutes off my time. Also I got to dress like a soccer mum.
♥ A well earned treat post-City2Surf at Bruschetteria 102
We were starving and cold after our run and rewarded ourselves with a prosciutto, pear and walnut bruschetta and a NUTELLA COFFEE.
In other news, I cannot wait for spring!! What are you looking forward to?
I love recipes passed down from generation to generation and was recently sent this beautiful old recipe for passionfruit slice by a friend from his Mum. Since most of my recipes are now printed off from the internet and then hastily stuffed in my binder folder, I love coming across old faded and hand typed recipes such as this.
I made a few slight adjustments to this recipe but it was pretty much perfect as is (and oh so easy). Enjoy!
- 1 cup self raising flour
- ½ cup caster sugar
- 115g butter, melted
- 1 egg
- 1 400g can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 250g Nestle reduced cream
- 3 lemons, juiced
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup caster sugar
- 2 heaped tbsp custard power mixed with ½ cup water
- 4 passionfruit
- Mix together ingredients and press into a 30cm fluted tart tin or a rectangular slice tin.
- Bake for 10 mins on 180°C or until golden brown.
- Allow to cool.
- Combine all ingredients together and beat until slightly thickened.
- Pour over cooled base and put in the fridge to set.
- Stir water, caster sugar and custard power disolved into water in a saucepan over low heat until thickened.
- Allow mixture to cool before adding the pulp of the passionfruit.
- Pour passionfruit mixture over the cream filling and put back in the fridge to set (I like to let mine set over night before slicing).
Do you have a favourite recipe passed down through your family? I am desperate to get my hands on my late Grandma’s famous steamed golden syrup pudding!
Pinterest has always been a huge source for inspiration of design and interior ideas, and lately I been discovering awesome baking ideas including glow in the dark cupcakes (omg) and piñata cupcakes (genius).
These Glow in the Dark Cupcakes by Recipe Snobs are brilliant. They are achieved by incorporating tonic water into the icing. The quinine in the tonic water causes it to glow under a black light which is a great idea for a kids party or Halloween festivities.
These Piñata Cupcakes by La Receta de la Felicidad are a great interactive way to make eating cupcakes even more exciting. By encasing the tops of the cupcakes in chocolate shells and filling the insides with candy, young and old would have a great time cracking these open!
This Neapolitan Rose Cake by I Am Baker is ingenious - not only do I love the Neapolitan cake flavour idea, but icing the cake in an abundance of piped roses is stunning. I regularly use the rose technique when piping my cupcakes so I think I can pull this trick off. And finally this amazing Ruffle Cake from Belle the Magazine incorporates ruffled fondant icing and silver cachous (which you can buy from any supermarket) to create a cake inspired by fashion.
I hope these photos have you given some new and exciting ideas for your baking – what ingenious ideas have you discovered lately on Pinterest?
I discovered this Coconut Bread recipe by Bill Granger recently via Tara from Vegetaraian. I loved this twist on the normal banana bread I love so dearly but felt Bill’s recipe was a bit dry and the coconut flavour not strong enough for my coconut-loving taste buds.
I made a few tweaks to his recipe – I swapped the milk for coconut milk and toasted the coconut to maximise the coconut taste, and increased the butter as I felt his was too dry. With these improvements it produced a lovely and moist toasted coconut bread which is amazing warmed up and slathered with butter. The perfect breakfast/afternoon tea/treat!
- 2 eggs
- 300ml coconut milk
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2½ cups plain flour
- 2 tsps baking powder
- 2 tsps cinnamon
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 150g shredded and toasted coconut
- 100g butter melted
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 21 x 10 cm loaf tin with butter.
- Spread coconut out on a lined baking tray in an even layer. Toast in oven for 3-4 minutes until golden brown (watch like a hawk as it can burn easily!) Allow coconut to cool.
- Lightly whisk eggs, coconut milk and vanilla together.
- In a mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl. Add sugar and toasted coconut and stir to combine.
- Make a well in the centre and gradually stir in the egg mixture until just combined.
- Add melted butter and stir until the mixture is just smooth, being careful not to over-mix.
- Pour into your greased loaf tin and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Leave in tin to cool for 5 minutes, and remove to cool further on a wire rack.
- Slice with a serrated knife and serve in thick slices with butter.
You know how much I love chocolate and how much I love Instagram, well now Cocoagraph offers a service where they convert your favourite Instagram photos into edible milk, white, dark or organic dark chocolate bars!
Cocoagraph’s promo video
Rae Vittorelli - founder of Cocoagraph, and an example of a chocolate photo.
More chocolate photos!
So for a unique and personalised present, head on down to Cocoagraph! What would you want to eat – a photo of your cat, a pretty sunset, your ex’s head? The mind boggles ;)
This month’s theme for the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop was Nuts About Sweets – a seemingly easy theme until you get overwhelmed by the amount of options available! I love hazelnuts and I love chocolate so it made perfect sense to combine these into a Ferrero Rocher cake complete with a decadent Nutella buttercream!
The cake features 3 layers of deliciously dark Devil’s Food Cake, with each layer sandwiched between a generous heaping of Nutella. The entire cake was then cloaked in Nutella Buttercream (omg), the sides adorned with chopped hazelnuts and then decorated with Ferrero Rocher chocolates.
This is definitely not the neatest or most elegant cake I have ever made but it’s definitely the tastiest!
- ⅔ cup cocoa powder
- 1½ tbsps instant coffee powder
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 375ml boiling water
- 190g butter (room temperature)
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 eggs (room temperature)
- 2¼ cups plain flour
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 225g butter, room temperature
- 1½ cups icing sugar
- 125g dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
- 150g Nutella
- 200g Nutella
- 80g hazelnuts
- Ferrero Rochers, to decorate
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the bases of 3 x 20 cm cake tins with bake paper and grease the sides with butter.
- Stir the cocoa powder, coffee and brown sugar in a bowl and pour over the boiling water. Whisk to mix and set aside.
- Cream the butter and caster sugar together until pale and fluffy and then add the vanilla extract.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Slowly add the flour, bicarb and baking powder. Pour in the cocoa/coffee mixture and beat until just combined.
- Divide the batter evenly amongst the 3 cake tins.
- Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Allow the cakes to cool slightly in their tins before turning out onto a tray to cool completely.
- Place the softened butter and icing sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth.
- Add the slightly cooled chocolate and continue beating until combined.
- Add the Nutella and beat on medium-high speed until the buttercream is light and fluffy.
- Using an offset spatula, spread half the Nutella on top of the first cake layer.
- Place the second cake on top and spread the remaining Nutella over it (don’t go down the sides).
- Place the third cake on top and gently press down to sandwich the 3 layers together.
- Dollop ⅔ of the Nutella buttercream on top of the cake, and using the offset spatula, begin to smooth the buttercream out across the top and over the sides of the cake.
- Use the remainder of the buttercream to cover the sides of the cake (remember it doesn’t have to be too neat as you will be covering the sides with hazelnuts!)
- Chop the hazelnuts as finely as you want. Gently press them to the sides of the cake, dusting away excess nuts that fall off.
- Decorate with Ferrero Rocher chocolates.
Thanks to Dining With a Stud for hosting this month’s Blog Hop!
What a busy month! It involved pretty skies, hair cuts, couches, and of course a lot of FOOD.
♥ Tapas Cooking Class at Mumu Grill
I recently attended a tapas class at Mumu with fellow bloggers Sophie and Flick. We learnt how to make various tasty dishes including bread, haloumi with chilli and lemon, meatballs and potato frittata. Yum!
♥ Got my hair cut and (finally) bought a couch
I took a leap of faith (wow, it’s just hair isn’t it?) and finally got a bob! I love it when it’s behaving, which is occasionally. And we finally bought a couch for our apartment. It’s name is Frenchie and you’ll meet her soon.
♥ Amazing skies
Sydney has been pulling out all the stops lately with her beautiful skies! These pics are all various sunsets except the bottom left hand photo which is when the sunrise bathed everything in pink. Beautiful!
♥ Food Bloggers Dinner at House Thai
A delicious and fun dinner with some food blogger Tweeps. Whilst I still prefer Spice I Am (they are owned by the same guys) there was a lot of tasty food to snack on. AND the dessert on the right is called “Better Than Sex” and involved a thick slab of buttery brioche, pandan gelato, caramel sauce and sesame seeds. It was pretty damn amazing, not sure if it’s better than sex though!
♥ The Dip
Had a delicious meal at The Dip with some high school friends. I only wish they would turn the music down as we had to shout to each other to be heard and eventually gave up and ate our hot dogs in silence. Am I getting old? On the left we have the Confuse di Mouth hot dog and on the right we have peanut butter + jelly and deep fried banana desserts. Heaven.
♥ District Dining
I crossed another restaurant off my list and it was District Dining, and it sure smashed all my expectations! Highlights included pigs ears and deep fried quail eggs, parmesan herb crusted pork cutlet, pear and rhubarb crumble with gingerbread icecream and white chocolate and coconut cheesecake with passionfruit sorbet. Wow.
♥ Spencer Guthrie
I ventured to Newtown (which is rare) for my father’s birthday and nabbed us a last minute table at Spencer Guthrie. The food was delicious and the desserts were a real highlight. On the left we have chewy meringue with pears and prune + green tea icecream (I really need to bake more meringues!) and on the right “All Things Chocolate”.
Edit: Thanks to my lovely readers I have now sourced some locations to buy authentic Dulce de Leche in Australia. Firstly online from Mi Casa Fine Foods, or at a store called La Torre, 9 Nelson St Fairfield.
I was recently gifted 2 jars of delicious Dulce de Leche (or in Portuguese Doce de Leite) from my cousin who had just returned from South America. The jar on the left is from Brazil and the jar on the right is from Argentina. This caramel is hugely popular in South America and has been steadily gaining popularity in desserts within Australia.
After doing some taste testing (for scientific purposes of course) I think I am learning towards preferring the Brazilian Doce de Leite – it’s darker and richer and a little less sweet than its Argentinian friend. However both are sublimely delicious and I have been sprung on numerous occasions by my housemate at the refrigerator, spoon in hand.
Now, with nearly a kilo of caramel, what does one do with all of this deliciousness? I can’t keep eating it with a spoon, my teeth will fall out. Here are some of my recipes I am considering using it in:
I want to whip up a batch of these tasty sesame seed biscuits and sandwich them together with my caramel (a nice and quick way to avoid boiling sweetened condensed milk)
For a super quick Banoffee Pie- make a biscuit base, spread with the caramel and let set in the fridge. Then top with sliced bananas, whipped cream and shaved chocolate and serve. Too easy!
To make salted caramel buttercream simply beat the dulce de leche with butter, icing sugar and a pinch of sea salt until a spreadable consistency is achieved. Then sandwich between ginger cookies, or pipe onto cupcakes.
Some other popular uses in South America include spreading it on bread/toast (like a super sweet and decadent version of peanut butter I guess?!)
Or freshly cooked churros dipped in dulce de leche. Yum!
Have you tried the authentic doce de leite before? What are your favourite dulce de leche desserts?
ombré noun – From the French word ombrer (to shade). Having colours or tones that shade into each other —used especially of fabrics in which the colour is graduated from light to dark.
I have recently become obsessed ombre and first discovered this trend through cake. I loved the effect of tinting layers of cake a different shade.
I next noticed the ombre trend incorporated into interiors and furniture. My plain white IKEA desk is begging to be painted in peach ombre!
1. Ombre Chair by Design Sponge
2. Ombre Stairs by Design Sponge
3. Ombre Desk by Vintage Revivals
4. Ombre Curtains by Sketch 42
And I love love love this ombre nail idea from The Beauty Department
Stay tuned for an ombre inspired dessert coming soon! And possibly some DIY home decorating attempts….
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