Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mocha Fudge Cake with Cappuccino Buttercream

A few weeks ago I was asked if I would mind making a birthday cake for one of the ladies I work with.

Would I mind?!

I mean seriously, it's like these people don't know me at all....

Any excuse to make a cake.

This occasion called for a combination of chocolate and coffee and I had the perfect thing in mind - a moist deep rich chocolatey cake with just a hint of coffee topped with a fluffy light cappuccino frosting.

I had my concerns seeing as I was kind of just making it up as I went along but you know what? The end result was amazing. Even Mr B, who is a non-coffee lover loved it and that is saying something!

Mocha Fudge Cake

1.5 cups caster sugar
125g butter
1 cup water
1 tbspn coffee
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 tspn bicarb soda
1.5 cups self raising flour
2 eggs

Pre-heat oven to 180C (160C fan forced) and grease a round cake tin.

Combine butter, sugar, warer, cocoa, bicarb and coffee in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Bring mixture to the boil and simmer for 5 mins. Transfer mixture to a bowl and allow to cool.

Add flour and eggs and mix until smooth. Pour into pan and bake for about 50 mins or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Stand in pan for 10 mins to cool before removing.

Once cool, top with Cappuccino Buttercream.

1 tspn coffee dissolved in 1 tbspn boiling water
125g butter, softened
1 tspn vanilla essence
2-3 cups icing sugar
1-2 tbspns milk

Beat butter using an electric mixer until pale and creamy.

Add icing sugar, milk, vanilla essence and coffee mixture. You may need to add more icing sugar to get the right consistency but basically beat until you get a smooth and fluffy texture.


Mrs B xx

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Caramelised Cider Onions

Hi there intermenet peoples its Mr B here.

So tonight my darling wife made me something special to go with my steak for dinner....cider onions and OMG were they good.

The smell as they were cooking was nearly as good as the end result and I tell you they tasted beautiful.

I would love to try them with some different flavoured ciders or on a sunday morning with some eggs and bacon on toast mmmm.

Well I guess I better go do the washing up so thank my beautiful wife and to every one out there ENJOY....

Caramelised Cider Onions

1 tbspn olive oil
2 brown onions, sliced into thin wedges
1 cup dry apple cider
2 tbspns brown sugar
Salt and Pepper.

Heat oil in a frypan over high heat.

Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally for 8-10 mins.

Reduce heat and add cider and sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for a further 10-15 mins or until caramelised.

Serve over steak.


Mr and Mrs B xx

Monday, July 22, 2013

Home Made Dinner Rolls

Following on from our home made butter and buttermilk success last weekend, I thought I would continue the trend this week with some home made dinner rolls.

I can't even begin to tell you how happy we were with these. They were light and fluffy on the inside, firm on the outside and best of all, we made them ourselves.

We had them for dinner Saturday night in the form of giant rolls stuffed with hot dogs and all the trimmings, we had them fresh out of the oven yesterday for lunch, dripping in strawberry jam and butter and we had them with dinner again last night, using them to mop up our runny baked eggs with chorizo.

They were fabulous and the fact that this recipe only makes a small amount is perfect for us because I can whip up a batch on Friday night or Saturday morning and they will last us for the weekend or to have with dinner throughout the week.....although obviously if we keep eating them with every single meal the way we currently are I will need to start making them twice daily....

Dinner Rolls
Makes 6 Dinner Rolls (or 4 Hot Dog Rolls)

1/2 tbspn sugar
1 tspn instant yeast
1/8 cup warm water
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 tbspn vegetable or canola oil
1/2 tspn salt
1.5 - 2 cups plain flour
1 egg, beaten with 1 tbspn water

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Spiced Brown Sugar Self Saucing Pudding

When Mr B and I woke up this morning it was a gorgeous day, the sun was shining, the sky was blue and there was not a breath of wind which was in stark contrast to yesterday's cold, wet and windy weather.

We immediately began making plans for long afternoon walks in the sun, maybe a bike ride, definitely a cup of tea and lunch outside on the pergola soaking up the sunshine.

Our first stop was out to visit some friends, we curled up on their couch, drank tea, ate some of the most amazing brownies I have ever tasted, and talked and chatted and watched their little boy laugh and play....

And wouldn't you know it, by the time we left the blue sky and the sun were gone. We ran some errands and made our way home for a quick cup of tea, a crumpet drowned in butter and honey and then we rugged ourselves up in jumpers and beanies and went for a stroll in the chilly evening air.

Winter has not quite left us yet, but you know what, I don't really mind because if it's still winter, that means it's still winter dessert weather!

Last week at Mum and Dad's we had this Spiced Brown Sugar Self Saucing Pudding for dessert and I think Mum described it best when she said it was real winter food. 

This pudding has all the flavour and richness of golden syrup dumplings paired with the lightness and ease of a self saucing pudding. Serve it with a big dollop of cream and you're onto a real winner.

Spiced Brown Sugar Self Saucing Pudding - Serves 4-6
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
200g self raising flour
2 tspns allspice
125g butter, melted
1 egg
125ml milk
1/3 cup treacle
2 tbspn cornflour
1.5 cup of boiling water
Cream and Ice-Cream to serve

Pre-heat oven to 180C and lightly grease a 6-8 cup capacity baking dish.

Combine flour, allspice, butter, egg, milk, 1/3 cup of sugar and half of the treacle in a bowl and beat until smooth. Spoon into prepared dish.

Combine the remaining sugar and cornflour in a bowl and sprinkle evenly over the batter.

Combine the water and remaining treacle in a jug and gently pour over the batter.

Bake for 30-40 mins. Serve with cream and ice-cream.


Mrs B xx

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Eggplant and Mushroom Parmigiana with Polenta and Capsicum Bread

When I was younger Mum did most of the cooking in our house with the occasional appearance of Dad's Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding or, on the nights when Mum was working or away, some creation Dad and I conjured up from our imaginations. But since Mum and Dad have been in the new house I've noticed that the two of them are doing more in the kitchen together and whilst it is funny watching them fighting over a recipe, arguing over who used the last clean cup measure or haggling for bench space, it is also really nice to see them both in there creating stuff together. 

So tonight's dinner is brought to you by my Mum and Dad and in an absolute team effort Mum was in charge of the Eggplant and Mushroom Parmigiana and Dad was in charge of the Polenta and Capsicum Bread.

I have seen this recipe for Eggplant and Mushroom Parmigiana many times and I have to admit I always passed it over, but sitting down to it last night, the flavours and the textures were incredible and it quickly became one of my favourite dishes ever. 

To make this for yourself you will need:
250g grated mozarella
1/2 cup grated parmesan
2 eggplants
1.5 cups plain flour
1 tbspn olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 x onion,diced
200g mushrooms
700g passata
2 cups of panko breadcrumbs

Cut eggplants lengthways into 1cm slices. 
Season flour with salt and pepper and use to coat eggplant.

Heat oil in a fry pan over medium high heat. Shallow fry eggplant in hot oil until golden. Drain well. 
Add the onion to the pan and cook for 1 min. Add mushrooms and cook for 5-7 mins or until softened. Add passata and simmer for 10 mins. 

Layer eggplant slices, tomato and mushroom sauce and mozarella into a lasagne or baking dish, finishing with mozarella.
Top with a mixture of breadcrumbs and parmesan. Bake at 200C for 30-40 mins or until golden. Serves 4-6.

Next we have the Polenta and Capsicum Bread.

This is not your average bread recipe as it uses scone mix for the base, but it is dead easy to make and it makes quite a large loaf so if you can manage to exercise some self control, it will last you a few days. There was more than enough here for all of four of us to have several slices with dinner..... and for Mr B and I to take some home....and for Dad to take some in his lunches for the next few days.

This bread was delicious hot out of the oven smothered in butter and I have to say that I just had some cold with a cup of tea and it is just as nice the following day.

To make this Polenta and Capsicum Bread you will need:
535g pkt of scone mix
1/2 cup of polenta
1 cup grated pizza cheese
2 x 75g cans of diced capsicum, drained (or you could use 1 x red and 1 x green capsicum, diced)
1 1/3 cups milk

Pre-heat oven to 200C (180C fan-forced). 
Grease and line a 26x16cm slice tin with baking paper, making sure to leave enough extending over the edges for handles

Combine scone mix and 1/3 cup of the polenta in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add capsicum,  3/4 cup of cheese and stir in enough milk to make a soft sticky dough. (You may need a little extra milk).
Using clean, damp hands press dough evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and polenta. Bake for 20-25mins or until golden and cooked. To test if the bread is cooked, give it a tap, it will sound hollow when it is ready.  

Stand in pan for 2 mins before removing. Slice to serve.


Mrs B xx

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Home Made Butter and Buttermilk

You know I am all about making things myself lately.

I think it all started when Mr B brought me the cheese making kit and since then we have gone on in leaps and bounds. I mean my theory is why buy it when you can make it?

Plus the home made version always tastes a million times better then the store brought version - the secret ingredients are pride and satisfaction!

Butter is really not that hard to make, all you need is:

600ml thickened cream
1/2 tspn salt
Electric mixer
Wooden Spoon

Place the cream in the bowl of the electric mixer and beat on low speed for 10-15 mins.

You will notice the cream begin to thicken and then begin to seperate. The big lumps are your butter and the liquid is your buttermilk! Continue beating on low speed until the butter has formed a ball. Pour off the buttermilk. Make sure to keep your buttermilk in the fridge and use it for baking something delicious!

Add a little bit of water to the bowl to wash off the butter. Use the wooden spoon to press and fold the butter, squeezing out as much of the buttermilk as you can. Continue this process until the water pretty much remains clear. Pour the water off.

Add the salt (and any herbs you may want to add) to the butter and stir through. Spoon the butter into a container and store in the fridge.

*If you want to make cultured butter, warm the cream to 20C and pour into a sterilised container. Add 1/4 tspn of mesophilic starter culture and allow to rehydrate for 10-15 mins before stirring well. Leave the cream in a sealed container on your bench overnight. The following morning, proceed as above.

This butter was awesome, it's hard to explain but it just tastes real and natural and I much prefer knowing it was made in my kitchen than buying it and not being entirely sure what preservatives and chemicals are in it.

What are some of your favourite things to make that most people would buy?

Mrs B xx

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Our 3rd Birthday!

That's right it's our 3rd birthday!!

So to celebrate I decided to tackle something new and exciting....fondant.

I have never used fondant on any of my baking creations so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to give it a go.

And while we are tackling all things new and exciting, we may as well make the fondant from scratch right?!

This was a joint project between Mr B and myself and quite alot of planning went into it. I was adamant that I wanted the 3 candles and Mr B was adamant that he wanted the pig in mud. Here is our design page with Mr B's original vision for the cake, some of my dud drawings and my list of things we would need!

We spaced this process out over a week.....last Sunday we made the fondant, on Friday I made the mud cake and the pig and covered the cake in ganache and on Monday we decorated and assembled everything. Yes it was time consuming, but for our first attempt at a cake with fondant we were really pleased with the results.

To make the marshmallow fondant you will need:

500g white marshmallows
1kg icing sugar
4 tbspns waters
Butter for greasing

Place the marshmallows in a large mixrowave safe bowl and heat on high for 60 seconds.

Add the water and stir until the mixture is smooth.

Add the icing sugar, 1 cup at a time, until you have a sticky dough. Reserve 1 cup of icing sugar for kneading.

This is where it gets messy.....rub your hands thoroughly with butter and begin kneading the dough. It will seem hopeless and sticky but the mixture will become me.

Turn the mixture out onto a surface dusted with icing sugar and continue to knead. (Don't ask me how but Mr B somehow even ended up with icing sugar all over his back!?) When the fondant is smooth and no longer sticky to touch it is done. This should take roughly 5-10mins.

Form the fondant into a ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Store at room temperature. The fondant will last for up to 3 months so it's great to keep on hand. We found that this size recipe made enough to cover and decorate this cake, plus we had enough leftover to do some simple decorations on a second cake.

When you are ready to use the fondant, unwrap and roll it out onto a flat surface dusted with icing sugar.

If you plan on colouring your fondant, break off sections roughly the required size and place in a bowl with 1-2 drops of food colouring. Knead until smooth and the colour is evenly distributed. If you have any issues with the fondant being too stiff, place it in the microwave for 5 seconds to make it more pliable.

I was a bit worried about this mud cake when I pulled it out of the oven, but when we cut into it, it was moist and dense and delicious. And when we heated it up just a smidgen so that the ganache and fondant melted down the sides and served it with a generous dollop of whipped cream,
it was down right heavenly.

To make the Mud Cake you will need:

250g butter
200g dark chocolate

1 tbspn instant coffee
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1 1/4 cups self raising flour
1/4 cup cocoa
375g dark chocolate melts
1/2 cup thickened cream

Pre-heat oven to 150C (130C fan forced). Grease and line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.

Combine the butter, dark chocolate, 1 cup of water and coffee in a large saucepan over low heat. Cook and stir for 5 mins or until melted. Stir to combine. Allow to cool for 5 mins.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Add the sugar, eggs, flours and cocoa powder. Mix well to combine.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake for 40 mins. If a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean then the cake is done. If not, give it another 5 mins and test again.

When done, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan. Once cool, remove from the pan to a serving platter or tray.

Combine the chocolate and cream in a microwave safe jug. Heat in 40 second bursts, stirring in between, until smooth and combined. Allow to cool in the fridge for 30-40 mins or until thickened. It should be a spreadable consistency but if it is too firm, just microwave it for 5 seconds to soften it slightly.

Smooth the ganache over the cooled mudcake with a palette knife to create smooth even surfaces and corners. I had enough ganache left over to do the mud puddle on top of the cake and to do the candles. You can cover the cake with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for up to a week at this point.

For the candles, I used 3 x mini chocolate sponge rolls. I left 1 at full size and cut one so it was 3/4 height and one so it was 1/2 size.

Cover the rolls in ganache and allow to set in the fridge.

To finish the candles off, I rolled them in a strip of fondant to create a base. Then I stuck an actual candle into the centre of the chocolate roll, ensuring the wick was still exposed. And the final step is to melt some of the leftover fondant and drizzle it over the top, being careful not to cover the wick, to create the 'dripping wax' effect.

 For the pig, I made a very small batch of rice krispies and moulded them in a small bowl lined with greased cling wrap. This formed the base for the head which we then covered in fondant and we also used fondant for the ears, eyes, nose, feet and tail.

Now to put this whole schamozzle together, you need to start by removing your mudcake from the fridge and allowing it to come to room temperature.
In the mean time, take your coloured fondant and place on a flat surface well dusted with icing sugar. Roll out with a rolling pin until roughly 3mm thick.
Roll the fondant back over the rolling pin and use that to help you lay it out over the cake. Make sure the top of the cake is nice and smooth before pressing the corners down. Then move onto the edges and get them all pressed down. Press and smooth the fondant along the sides of your cake to ensure a nice even surface. This is where we got really nervous, but it wasn't as hard as we thought.

Ta-Da! And when we were done, it looked like this and we were super impressed. And with all the hard work out of the way, it was time to decorate. 
First I used some left over ganache to make a mud puddle and added the little piglet while Mr B made some grass to go around the edges. 

Then we placed the candles and topped it all off with some chocolate writing and some little butterflies (even if everyone else does insist on calling them flowers!)

Happy Birthday!! Thank you to everyone who drops by and reads my ramblings and thank you to Mr B, Mum, Dad and everyone else that supports me in my baking madness!
Mrs B xx

Monday, July 8, 2013

6 Years......

Mr B and I celebrated the 6th anniversary of when we met over the weekend so we decided to take ourselves away for a few days and celebrate / relax.

To get us in the mood for relaxing, Mum and Dad gave us a bag of goodies to take away including magazines, our favourite Kilkenney liquer, Lindt chocolates and some bath bombs for the spa.

On Saturday morning when we drove down the weather was certainly cold and miserable and we were very much looking forward to curling up in front of the wood fire and not moving for the whole weekend. About half way there it actually started to snow. It's not really common for it to snow so low here so whilst it was a little bit scary, it was also quite amazing to drive through.

A whole ten mins after we took the photo of the snow, we arrived at our destination, Crabtree Cottages just outside of Huonville.....look how blue the sky is, you would never have known we had just driven through the snow if it wasn't still all over the car!

The accomodation is actually made up of two conjoined cottages. We stayed in Eliza's Cottage on the left and the one on the right is called Emily's Cottage. Last year we brought Mum and Dad a voucher to stay at Emily's Cottage and they loved it, so for our anniversary this year they also gave us a voucher for a night at Eliza's!

Two very cold little snow bunnies......just because the sky was blue does not mean it was warm! We got the fire going before going out in search of food! Just down the road in Franklin we found a place called the Petty Sessions Cafe. My Dad has always spoken highly of this place but the only issue was we had no idea what the menu was like. Given it was cold and rainy outside and it looked like it was warm and dry inside with the obvious bonus of feeding our hungry bellies we decided what the hell. We were seated right in front of a roaring open fire place and soon found ourselves torn between just about every item on the menu! I eventually decided on the Mushroom and Fetta Bruschetta and Mr B went with the Seafood Linguine. Neither of us could fault the meals and we will definitely be going back because we both have our next 4-5 meals picked out!!

We stopped at the supermarket to grab some supplies before heading back to the cottage for a lazy afternoon spent in front of the fire reading magazines and playing Jenga.

Future Jenga champion of the world I am not......


Later on when the rain subsided we ventured outside to try and find the resident platypus, Norman. Whilst Mr B ducked and dived along the banks of the rivers, I stopped to take this photo of the cottages where we were staying.

It is such a beautiful quiet spot and, when it wasn't raining, the sound of the river was lovely and peaceful.

The next morning was our actual anniversary so we started the day in style with our traditional Sunday morning egg and bacon breakfast. We were spoilt in that the accomodation includes local eggs, bacon, juice, fresh bread, butter, milk, jam, honey and cereal......just about everything you could possibly want for breakfast!

It was a beautiful day so after checking out some local markets, we went for a drive around the countryside and eventually made our way to Birch's Bay and more importantly, to Grandvewe Cheesery.

We visited Grandvewe last year on our 5th anniversary and fell in love with their White Pearl cheese so thought it was the perfect time to go back and stock up! We also sampled some of their Vanilla Whey Liquer while we were there.....oh my goodness....the liquer is made from the whey leftover from cheesemaking and if you can imagine a creamy almost custard like vanilla bean liquer then you know what I'm talking about.....just the thought of trying it poured over ice cream is making me drool....

While we were there we could not go past trying their Scones with Blueberry Jam and Cream and Mr B couldn't help himself when he saw the Ewe-Cino on the menu (think Cappuccino but with Sheep's Milk....). It took us both a little while...and some help from the be able to see the sheep on top of Mr B's ewe-cino....can you see it??

The scones came out piping hot and were delicious smothered in homemade blueberry jam and whipped cream and washed down with a cup of tea....or a ewe-cino in Mr B's case....


After lunch we drove back to Franklin to check out a replica Viking Ship that was moored at the dock. We often see the ship sailing up and down the river but have never had the chance to look at it up close.

 It was quite a beautiful ship with all of the intricate and delicate wood work and carvings.

I particularly love this photo.....

And this one taken from the dock at Franklin looking up the Huon River towards the snow covered mountains....

We may have spent far too much time planning what we would do if we had a viking ship of our own.....

The weather soon started to crack up again so we trundled on back to the cottage and settled in in front of the wood fire. A quick spa, a killer cheese platter, several glasses of rum and far too many games of UNO later, we were tucked up in the big soft cozy bed absolutely exhausted but 110% relaxed. Just what the Dr ordered.

Up and about early this morning to check out.....but not before our eggs and bacon!

Happy 6 year anniversary Mr B xx

Lots of Love, Mrs B xx

Friday, July 5, 2013

Nutella Croissant Bread and Butter Pudding

For this week's dessert wars Mum and Dad stepped it up a notch.....

Personally I think they knocked it out of the ball park.

Mr B thinks that they would have knocked it out of the ball park if they had made their own croissants.

I think he is just a little bitter that last week Mum and Dad told him his Brandy Snaps were very impressive and would have been a winner IF he had made the coconut cream filling himself......

You see I may have accidentally blurted out that I made the filling, not Mr B.....

Anyway, moving on, Mum and Dad made this Nutella Croissant Bread and Butter Pudding which we were absolutely not expecting and Mr B prides himself on being able to guess exactly what we are having, but this one was not even on his radar.

Every time I have made a bread and butter pudding it always seems to come out slightly egg-y and well just not that exciting. This one on the other hand, was absolutely delicious and rich to the point where I had to bow out half way through my giant bowl full and yet Mr B managed two giant bowls! We took some leftovers home and the next night while Mr B was enjoying his piping hot and drowned in cream and ice cream, I had mine cold and on it's own and I actually preferred it that way. This is one of those desserts that definitely gets better with time and the day after you make it the flavours will be even more developed and gorgeous.

To make this Nutella Croissant Bread and Butter Pudding you will need

180g caster sugar
6 eggs
300ml thickened cream
900ml milk
1 tspn vanilla bean paste
6-8 croissants (2-3 days old), halved lengthways
4 tbspn Nutella
50g brown sugar
Ice cream and cream to serve

Pre-heat oven to 180C

Combine caster sugar, milk, eggs, cream and vanilla bean paste in a large bowl and mix together.

Generously spread nutella over cut side of croissants

Place croissants, spread side up, into a large oven proof dish. Gently pour over the custard mixture. Set aside for 15 mins to allow the mixture to be absorbed.

Sprinkle croissants with the brown sugar and bake for 35 mins or until golden and set. Serve with ice cream and cream.


Mrs B xx

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Kit Kat Brownie Cheesecake Bars

Let me just say you need to make these bars.

They are not just regular old cheesecake bars or brownies.....they are cheesecake bars AND brownies, sandwiched TOGETHER with Kit Kats....

Um excuse me but where have you been all my life?!

Initially I was a little hesitant that they would be complicated to make or that Mr B would not be entirely thrilled with them given they were bound to be rich and indulgent but wouldn't you know it, they were dead easy and Mr B fell head over heels in love with them!

I think that aside from how incredible they taste, one of the best things about these bars is how they look when you cut them, I love the defined layers and chunks of Kit Kat!

To make these Kit Kat Brownie Cheesecake Bars you will need:

For the Brownie layer....
115g butter
45g dark chocolate
1/4 cup cocoa
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
1 tspn vanilla
1 egg
3/4 cup plain flour
5 regular sized kat kat bars or one bag of fun size kit kats

For the Cheesecake layer
450g cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
2 tspns lemon juice
2 tspns vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 175C and line an 8x8 inch pan with baking paper or a silicone mat.

To make the brownie base, start by combining the butter and chocolate and heat in a microwave safe bowl for 40 seconds and stir until smooth.

Add the cocoa, sugar, vanilla, egg and flour. The batter will be very thick, but that's good. Beat until combined. Spoon the batter into your pan and smooth the top.

Layer the Kit Kat bars over the top of the brownie batter in one layer, ensuring the whole surface is covered.  It will look something like this....

Now, onto the cheesecake. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese and the sugar and beat until smooth.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the lemon juice and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Pour the cheesecake mixture over the Kit Kat layer, smoothing the top with a spatula or the back of your spoon. Bake for 35-40 mins or until the top is firm but still has a bit of jiggle to it. A toothpick or skewer inserted should come out clean.

Allow the bars to cool completely and refrigerate overnight before cutting.


Mrs B xx


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