Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pasta Fonduta

David has a new toy...
Whilst honeymooning in Italy, he found a pasta maker that he's wanted for a long time.
He lugged it all the way to Greece and back home, causing all sorts of grief at every airport!
Anyway he loves it, and if it means that he cooks more and I cook less, than I'm all for it!

Recently he cooked Pasta Fonduta for myself and beautiful friend Jen.
As with most Italian pasta dishes, it is very simple and only uses a couple of ingredients.
In the words of the great Italian Chef himself: "If you haven't tried making your own pasta yet, I'd strongly recommend it! Once you do, you'll never go back to buying pasta again" Wise words.

FOR THE PASTA: roughly 1 x egg and 1x 100g flour per person.
Wizz it up in a blender till you get the consistancy of bread crumbs. If too doughy keep adding more flour.
Press all the bread crumbs (dough) together with your hands till you have a big blob. Put it through your pasta maker 4 times on the biggest setting. After that, reduce the setting on the pasta maker after each run through until you're on the finest setting. Fold the past using flour between the sheets to prevent sticking. Cut pasta into desired size. In this case I cut it into Tagliatelle.

FOR THE SAUCE: 4 x table spoons of creme fraiche in a bowl above the boiling water. Add salt, pepper, hand full of parmasen cheese and a hand full of melting cheese (could be fontina, guyre etc.)

Boil the pasta (it only takes about 45secs to 1min for fresh pasta) with the brocolli (cut into a similar width to the tagliatelle)
Whilst pasta is boiling add two egg yolks to your sauce along with some herb (I just used flat leaf parsley but you could use thyme, margaram etc). Taste it and add more seasoning if need be.

Finally drain your pasta and mix with the sauce. The heat from the pasta will mix with the cream and egg in a good way so it becomes silky and cooked but not scrambled.

Finish with parmasen cheese and some good quality olive oil.
Best served with a glass of your fav. chilled white wine :)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chocolate, Walnut & Salty Caramel Tart

I've been too afraid to bake lately, as since I've stopped blogging I've lost a whole 8kgs.
At least I've been able to pin point my problem area!
There's only 12 weeks until the big wedding day... and 2 weeks until my fitness and healthy eating plan kicks in...so I thought I'd make the most of my remaining fortnight of freedom and cook something yummy for my parents. 

This recipe is from George & Gary's (from Masterchef) new book....Your Place or Mine?...a lovely engagement present from our friends Jase & Em.


  • 110g dark couverture chocolate with 70% cocoa solids, chopped
  • 40g cold unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) thickened cream
  • 2 tsp liquid glucose
Sweet pastry
  • 300g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 150g caster sugar 
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthways, seeds scraped
  • 3 cups (450g) plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp thickened cream
Walnut praline
  • 100g walnuts
  • 110g caster sugar
Salty caramel sauce
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 180g liquid glucose
  • 180g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 2 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 200ml pure cream
1 To make pastry, using an electric mixer beat butter, sugar and vanilla seeds on low until smooth and creamy but not light and fluffy. Add flour, egg and cream and mix until dough forms a ball. Divide dough in half, shape into two discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze one portion for later use. Refrigerate remaining dough for 1 hour.

2 Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180C or 160C fan. To make walnut praline, spread walnutsover a baking tray and bake for 6-8 mins, until lightly toasted. Remove from oven and increase temperature to 190C or 170C fan. Place walnuts on a clean tea towel and rub to remove as much skin as possible. Spread walnuts over a baking tray. Heat sugar in a heavy based sauce pan on low, tilting pan occasionally but without stirring, for 10 mins, until sugar melts and a dark caramel forms. Pour over walnuts and cool. Cover a clean tea towel with baking paper. Fold over to enclose and gently pound with a rolling pin until roughly crushed. Set aside.

3 Roll out dough between two sheets of baking paper until 5mm thick. Line a 24cm loose-based tart pan with pastry and trim. Chill for 30 mins.

Line pastry shell with baking paper and fill with pastry weights, rice or dried beans. Blind bake for 15 mins. Remove paper and weights. Reduce oven to 180C or 160C fan and bake for another 10 mins, until golden and dry.

5 Meanwhile, to make salty caramel, heat sugar, glucose, butter and salt in a pan on low, until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches 147C on a candy thermometer. Place cream in a small pan and bring to boil on medium. Immediately add to glucose mixture and stir on low heat until combined. Cool slightly.

6 Place chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl. Place cream and glucose in a small pan and bring to boil on medium heat. Pour over chocolate mixture and stand for 5 mins. Stir until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth.

7 To assemble, scatter walnut praline over tart shell. Pour over salty caramel and stand for 10 mins. Pour over chocolate mixture and chill for 1 hour, until firm. Serve at room temperature.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mum's Birthday

57 years ago today, my beautiful mum was born.
Today she is a wonderful mother, wife, sister, mother-in-law & Nana, and still just as beautiful.

I love my mum very much.
She is my inspiration and my role model.
My rock and my support.
My best friend and my counsellor.
My source of wisdom and my well of encouragement.
She is compassionate and caring.
The most loving and generous woman you will ever meet.

She is worth far more than rubies.

Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
She brings good, not harm,
all the days of her life.

She is clothed in strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.

She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

She watches over the affairs of her household,
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her.

"Many women do nobel things, but you surpass them all"

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

 Give her the reward she has earned, 
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Proverbs 31: 10-12 & 25-31.

Sugar pearls can be purchased from Donna Hay's website or David Jones.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

Well I'm not into Halloween at all and I think it's absolute rubbish, however when I saw this blog, that my friend Sarah sent to me, I was tempted to give it a go and get in touch with my American side. It's seems to be a big deal over there, whereas Big W in Waratah doesn't stock ANYTHING to do with Halloween. I had to go to the local costume shop to buy plastic spiders (I had to buy the smallest ones, as the massive ones gave me shivers down my spine).

Here is my lame attempt. It looks nothing like the original photo but it was a bit of fun. I found it very difficult to buy canned pumpkin. The guy at Woolworths laughed at me when I asked where it was. He should have been fired. So I had to make my own.  The icing was meant to be bright orange however let's not go there... It turned out more of a burnt orange - very Australian!

I made it for my friend, Cabe-Man. However I've snuck a taste and it's amazing!! He promised to eat the entire cake in front of me this afternoon.

In the meantime you should have a look at this blog if you want any party styling ideas. It's my all time favourite blog.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake
Total Time: 55 min
Oven Temp: 190

1 1/2 cup(s) flour
2/3 cup(s) cocoa
2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
1 teaspoon(s) bi-carb soda
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
1/2 cup(s) buttermilk
1 cup(s) canned pumpkin
2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
3/4 cup(s) butter, softened
1 cup(s) dark brown sugar
1 cup(s) castor sugar
3 large eggs
1 egg yolk

170g softened cream cheese
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons cocoa
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup icing sugar
1/4 teaspoon orange food coloring

115g of chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter
3 tablespoons glucose
1/2 cup heavy cream

1. Line the bottoms of two 8-inch cake pans with baking paper and lightly butter.
2. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Stir the buttermilk, pumpkin, and vanilla extract together in a small bowl. Beat the butter and sugars together using an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and yolk, one at a time. Reduce mixer speed to low and alternately beat in the flour and buttermilk mixtures in thirds.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake until a tester, inserted in the center, comes out clean--about 35 minutes. Cool layers completely before icing.

Frost: Beat 170g softened cream cheese using a mixer set on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add 1 1/2 cups icing sugar, 2 1/4 teaspoons cocoa, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 3/4 teaspoon vanilla and beat on low speed until well combined. In a separate bowl, beat 1 1/2 cups heavy cream with 3/4 cup icing sugar and a scant 1/4 teaspoon orange food coloring on medium-high to soft peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until well combined. Spread 1 cup frosting between the two layers and use the remaining frosting to ice the top and sides of the cake. Chill 30 minutes and proceed to step 2. Makes 3 cups.

Glaze: Place 115g of chopped bittersweet chocolate, 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, and 3 tablespoons glucose in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring 1/2 cup heavy cream to a boil, pour it over the chocolate, and let sit for 3 minutes. Gently stir, using a whisk, until smooth. Let sit for 3 to 5 minutes, until the glaze thickens slightly. Pour the glaze onto the center of the frosted cake and smooth out to the edges to allow the glaze to drop over the sides. Makes 1 cup. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sweets for my Sweet

Last weekend was the first weekend that Dave and I spent apart in over a year.
It was the worst weekend of my life.
I know it sounds pathetic, but it seriously was.
He is my best friend, we do everything together and suddenly I'd never felt so alone!
It's a horrible feeling and I've made him promise that he's never allowed to leave me again.

He came home late last night and I know he loves a late night snack, so I had some cuppies ready and waiting. The cases and cute toppers are from Robert Gordon.
You can get different styles to suit little boys or little girls.

I won't bother including the recipe. It's just a plain chocolate mixture with frosting, which even my dead cat knows how to make.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Poppyseed & Ricotta Cake with Lemon Curd

I've been buying the 'Gourmet Traveller' magazines lately, instead of the 'Super Food Ideas' and the other magazines produced by supermarkets. The recipes seem to take more skill and sometimes require ingredients I've never heard of, making it slightly more exciting.
This time of year seems to be the quite time in my line of work, so I've been compiling all my good recipes and want to try a couple every week to keep me occupied!

You will need:
- 750g Firm Ricotta
- 250g Cream Cheese
-200g Caster Sugar
- 6 Eggs
- 400gm Condensed Milk
- 200g Poppy Seeds
- 250g Butter
-250g Caster Sugar (for Lemon Curd)
- 6 eggs (for Lemon Curd)
- Finely grated rind and juice of 6 Lemons.

For Lemon Curd, melt butter in a heat proof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, add sugar and stir until dissolved, add eggs, stir to combine, then add lemon rind and juice and stir continuously until thick and smooth. Strain through a coarse sieve into a bowl, cover closely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set (1-2 hours)

Meanwhile, preheat over to 160c. Beat ricotta and cream cheese in an electric mixer until very smooth. Add sugar, beat to combine, then add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add condensed milk, poppy seeds and 400g lemon curd, mix to combine. Pour into a buttered and floured 26cm springform pan, tap gentle to expel any air bubbles. Bake until just cooked through with a slight wobble (1 1/4 hours), cool completely in tin then serve with remaining lemon curd.