Dark Dark Chocolate Puddings

Dress-up is my national past-time, I love dressing up. As soon as October hits my browser becomes filled with tabs dedicated to costume ideas for one of my favourite holidays. Halloween! ( wait, I think I just said I was a country)

Right now I am revelling in the spooky, I motherflippin’ love Halloween, I love scary books; Salem’s Lot is not easy bed time reading btw, I love dressing up, I can do a fantabulous smokey eye, I own a lot of black and did I mention I love Halloween?

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Polenta Pancakes with Raspberry Syrup

Could we for one second forget that when I saved all the photos in a folder (my computer filing system makes me want to cry) that I saved the folder as Polenta Pankcakes? Can we forget that no, I haven’t changed that yet, and yes there are at least 30 photos without a home. Yes my laptop tells me that I’m running out of space. Yes I solve that by deleting Kardashian episodes.

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Strawberry and Gin Birthday Cake

My dad and I have lots of things in common; I think. We live in the same house, we have the same taste in comedy and a penchant for documentaries; although definitely opposing tastes in the type documentaries…seriously how many doco’s on warships can you watch dad? Documentaries like this are way better.

I know for sure though that overly sweet things are not appropriate for either of us. They make my teeth hurt. When I was little I actively avoided birthday cake in search of the jelly and ice cream, I couldn’t stand that nothing sweetness of white buttercream; even worse is shock horror it was encased with fondant. Gosh I hate fondant. My dad is nicer about the situation; mentions it was little sweet for his tastes and moves on. I have not mastered that level of decorum; seriously fondant WHAT are you bringing to the table?

So when it comes around to his birthday it’s a bit of struggle to make a not overly sweet cake; it’s definitely not a struggle to give him fondant.

This is where Swiss meringue buttercream or SMB comes in. I mastered the art of SMB a while back and now it has to be my favourite frosting! It hasn’t got that gritty texture that icing sugar based buttercreams do. And it isn’t excessively sweet, it’s is light and fluffy. SMB is a meringue-based buttercream, you create the meringue then chuck butter in, it’s a slower process but you don’t end up covered in icing sugar.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream may look really hard but this tutorial from Sweetapolita makes it so damn easy. It’s all about temperatures and timing but once you’ve got it it’s hard to mess up. And it freezes and chills well. I made a massive amount and now I’m ready to frost.

Plus its much, much easier to add alcohol to this frosting; and that is what everyone wants in a frosting yeah? I added gin to this; Bombay Sapphire to be specific and four shots for the frosting one shot for me. That combined with the light vanilla sponge and fresh strawberries is like a cocktail in a cake!

I would suggest if this cake isn’t for a birthday that you eat it with the girls, drinking darned nice cocktails and watching ‘Snog, Marry, Avoid’ your life will seem brighter, happier and more worthwhile after doing so.

 Joy the Baker Vanilla Sponge

226g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

393g granulated sugar

4 large eggs

240ml whole milk

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out

343g all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2-teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour two 8-inch round baking pans and set aside.

In a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.  Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure that everything is well mixed.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition.

In a small bowl whisk together flour baking powder and salt.

In a separate small bowl combine the milk, vanilla extract and vanilla seeds.

With the mixer on low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk mixture in three batches.  Start and end with the flour mixture.  When the batter is just combined, shut off the mixture and thoroughly incorporate the dough with a rubber spatula.

Divide the batter between the two pans.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a pale golden colour, and a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.  For cupcakes bake 25 to 30 minutes.

Let the cakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool.  Frost and berry only when cakes are completely cool.

Are you guys sugar tolerant in cakes or do you need much more of  balance? Let me know!

Green Pea Pesto Ravioli

Writing one of these blog situations is hard, because obviously on one hand, you want people to read them; but at the same time you kinda definitely don’t want your friends to read because it’s embarrassing/strange for the to read all of this stuff. Awkies. The best way is to pretend all of your readers will never ever meet you.

This ravioli is something I actually made ages ago, but never got around to posting. But now I have no times to cook delicious things and too much homework, so out come the lost-in-time recipes. And actually it’s been warm recently and this is super fresh and lemony. The warmth has also led me to believe that I should be spending all day in a beer garden, but I can’t do that either. Sad times.

If you like cheese and lemon this is the recipe for you. If you don’t like peas, well, I’m not sure we can be friends. This is total week night dinner, made to be eaten hanging out with your boy/girl/dog/imaginary friend Troy.

Granted folding up the ravioli takes time, but it’s time that can be spent also discussing life and painting your nails; actually you can’t paint your nails. Bummer.

I stole this from Joy the Baker.

1 package prepared wonton wrappers

1 16-ounce bag frozen peas, blanched until just cooked through

1-2 small cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons diced shallots

1 tablespoon lemon zest

juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1/3 cup bread crumbs ( just toast some bread and crumble it up)

1/2 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Add a bit of salt.  Boil the frozen peas for about 3 minutes, until just warmed through.  Drain and set aside.

In a food processor, combine, peas, garlic, shallots, lemon zest and juice, parsley, bread crumbs, and cheese.  If your food processor is small, you may need to do this in two batches.  That’s fine too.  Pulse until peas are broken down and the mixture is well incorporated.  With food processor on, drizzle in the olive oil until you have a thick and glossy pesto.  Remove from food processor and place in a bowl.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.

To assemble the ravioli you’ll need the wonton wrappers, a bowl of the pesto, a small spoon, a small bowl of water, and a bit of time.

Place a square in front of you so that it shapes a diamond.  Place a generous teaspoon of pea pesto on the bottom half of the diamond.

Dip your finger in water.  Run your wet finger along one bottom edge of the diamond and the other.  You’re moistening two edges so they act as glue when the ravioli gets folded over.

Fold the top half of the diamond over the pesto dollop.   Use your fingers to press the triangle edges together.  Make sure that the triangle is not filled with air, and well sealed at the edges.

Grab the two farthest points and bring them together in the center.  Use just a bit of water to seal the two points together.

Set ravioli in a single layer on a plate.  Marvel at your work as your ravioli numbers increase.

Ravioli can be cooked immediately in boiling, salted water, for 2-3 minutes, or until warmed through.  Drain and serve with spicy tomato sauce and more cheese.

Ravioli can also be placed in the freezer, in a single layer until frozen.  Once frozen, they can be sealed well in a plastic bag until ready to cook and serve.  Cook in boiling, salted water for about 7-9 minutes, or until warmed through.

*ps how good is spell check? Apparently Wonton is not a word. Go Spell check!

Red Velvet Cake

Happy new year! The festivities are gone and now all we are left with is new years resolutions and the realisation that they are far to big to tackle. My new years resolution is to make things pretty and keep breathing (also maybe the perfect frosting), the next post will be more of an end of year thing. This recipe is just close to my baking heart and something I felt I needed to do before the year was out.

I once made a version of this cake that I hated and that some of my friends still rave about.

I’m not trying to be humble, I honestly was very disappointed with how it turned out, they were supposed to be amazing birthday cupcakes, full of deep red colour and chocolatey taste; the colour and the taste were at best mild.

Being that I can be a perfectionist, I just had to tackle the red velvet again, this time it turned out exactly as it should have aside from the frosting, but that’s just something that is perpetually wrong.

Recipe from Joy the Baker

I am in the middle of doing conversions to weight for everyone. It is far more accurate than the cup system, I misplaced the paper that had all the weights on it unfortunately so this is a bit half/half.

114 grams of unsalted butter, at room temperature

338 grams of sugar

2 eggs

5 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

4 Tablespoons red food coloring mixed with 2 Tablespoons water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk

282 grams of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

Preheat oven to 175 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease your pan, I use a 6″x3″ pan for cute little tall cakes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes.  Turn mixer to high and add  the eggs.  Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.

In a separate bowl mix together cocoa, vanilla and red food coloring to make a thick paste.  Add to the batter, mixing thoroughly until completely combined.  You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets color.

Turn mixer to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk.  Add half of the flour and salt and mix until combined.  Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour.  Beat on high until smooth.

Turn mixer to low and add baking soda and white vinegar.  Turn to high and beat a few more minutes.

Spoon batter into prepared cake pans and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Let rest in the pan for 20 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

Cream cheese frosting from Joy the Baker

340 grams of butter, softened

227 grams cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

4-6 cups powdered sugar

2-4 tablespoons milk

depending on desired consistency

Cream the cream cheese in an electric mixer for 1 minute.  Scrape down the bowl and add the butter, beating for 1-2 minutes, or until incorporated.  (Be sure that the two are at room temperature.  Cold cream cheese or butter can make your frosting lumpy.)  Add the brown sugar, pinch of salt and vanilla extract, and beat until incorporated.  Turn off mixer and add 2 cups of powdered sugar.  Turn the mixer on a low speed so the sugar doesn’t fly out of the bowl.  Slowly add more sugar alternately with the milk until you reach your desired consistency.

 

Salted Chocolate Cookies

I have a confession, that will probably make you doubt whether I even bake any of this stuff. It’s something my friends constantly question me on.

The thing is: I don’t like sweet things all that much (aside from jelly and ice cream, both of which I could eat until the cows come home). But that is exactly why these cookies are amazing!

They aren’t too sweet, which means you can pair them with super sweet things, or just eat them on their own and enjoy the lack of sweetness. They are adult cookies, like the Champagne of the biscuit world.

Also these are the first recipe that I’ve blogged about from Joy the Baker, which is a blog you should check it, it’s pretty awesome. She lives in California which seems to have a perpetual summer filled with strawberries, cocktails and barbecues. Although I thought the same about Australia. How wrong I was.

Adapted from Joy the Baker

  • 1 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or scraped vanilla beans from 1/8 vanilla pod
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons semi sweet chocolate, very finely chopped
  • coarse sea salt
  1. Sift flour and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Mix in egg yolk and vanilla bean or extract. Gradually add flour mixture; mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
  2. Add cocoa powder and chopped chocolate to remaining dough; mix on low-speed until well combined. Turn out chocolate dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a 10-inch log, about 1-inch wide and 1/2-inch tall.  Wrap the rectangle in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 190 degrees. Cut log into 1/4-inch-thick rounds; space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. If dough becomes too soft to slice cleanly, return to freezer until firm.  Sprinkle course sea salt onto the chocolate cookies.  Press in lightly with fingertips.
  4. Bake until firm to the touch, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.