Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Coconut Grapefruit Bundt Cake

In the September edition of Taste magazine, there was a recipe for Ruby Grapefruit and Coconut Bundt Cake on p64.  I would not normally be taken by a recipe containing grapefruit, but on this occasion, I just happened to have most of a red grapefruit left over from something I had made for one of my cooking groups.  This cake seemed to be a fortuitous solution to the problem of what to do with the remaining grapefruit.

I did not make the elaborate caramel topping for this cake suggested in the magazine, and I thought it was delicious as is.

To make this cake, you will need:

1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup coconut sugar (I used panela sugar)
1 tablespoon grated grapefruit zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups spelt flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
270ml light coconut milk
1/3 cup strained red grapefruit juice

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease a 26cm bundt tin. 

In a stand mixer, beat together the oil, sugar, zest and vanilla until pale and creamy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Put the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon into a bowl, and sieve half of this mixture over the oil mixture.  Add half the coconut milk and juice, and mix the ingredients together.  Repeat with the rest of the flour mixture, coconut milk and juice.

Spoon the cake batter into the prepared bundt tin and bake for 35 minutes or until cooked through.  Cool the cake in the tin for 15 minutes before unmoulding onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Pumpkin Spice Cakes

One of the things I like about Taste magazine is its, "Wait, You Mean I can Eat That?" section.  It features "better for you" dessert recipes.

In the September 2015  edition of Taste magazine, the "Wait, You Mean I can Eat That" section featured a recipe for spiced pumpkin molasses cakes on p66.  I already had the ingredients (or I thought that I did!), so I couldn't resist making them.

The issue that I had is that the recipe calls for buckwheat flour.  What I thought was buckwheat flour in my pantry was in fact rye flour.  Oops.  I decided to forge ahead anyway, using the rye flour in place of buckwheat flour.

The end result justified my continuing on, regardless of not having the right flour.  These cakes were delicious - dense, yes, but moist and sweet, thanks to the pumpkin.  They were really good.

To make them according to the recipe in the magazine, you will need:

 700g pumpkin, deseeded
1/3 cup macadamia oil + 2 teaspoons (I used hazelnut oil)
175g buckwheat flour (I used rye flour)
80g panela sugar + 3 tablespoons
1/3 cup almond meal
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
1/4 cup coconut flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 cup molasses (I used golden syrup)
2 eggs
150ml reduced fat milk
1 tablespoon pepitas

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and line with baking paper.    Put the pumpkin on the tray, cut side up, drizzle with the extra 2 teaspoons of  oil, and  roast for one hour and 40 minutes.  Allow to cool, then scoop the pumpkin flesh into a food processor and process until smooth.

Grease 8 x 175ml mini loaf pans.

Combine the flour, sugar, almond meal, coconut, coconut flour, baking powder, ginger, cloves and 2 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon in a bowl, then make a well in the centre.

In a jug, whisk together the molasses, eggs, milk and pumpkin puree.  Pour the mixture into the well in the dry ingredients, and stir until well combined.

Divide the batter among the loaf pans.  In a small bowl, combine the pepitas, extra sugar and remaining cinnamon, then sprinkle over the top of the cakes.

Bake the cake sin the oven for 30 minutes or until cooked through.  Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, before unmoulding  onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

Serve as is or with butter or non-dairy spread.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Engine Room Cafe, Toowoomba

A few weeks ago, my Mum and I went with my brother to breakfast to celebrate our respective birthdays.  I organised for us to go to Engine Room Café, near the railway station, as it had been nominated as one of the best cafes for breakfast in Toowoomba.
I started with a skinny flat white, which was pretty good:

For brekky, I chose the Veggie Brekky ($15) - mushrooms, asparagus, haloumi, poached eggs, baby spinach and tomatoes with hollandaise sauce:

On the whole, this was very good.  I would have had one less egg and skipped the haloumi, which was rather dry, but otherwise I couldn't fault this dish.

Mum went for the omelette with bacon, parmesan and baby spinach ($15):

She said it was a little dry for her.

My brother couldn't help himself and had the Big Breakfast ($20) - rib fillet, bacon, tomato, mushrooms, beans and a poached egg with ciabatta:

He ate everything except the beans, which he doesn't like.  I tried a spoon of the beans, and they were very spicy, even for me.  However, my brother enjoyed this breakfast fry-up.

The staff were quite friendly and the atmosphere of the big open room was quite inviting.  I'd go again.
1 Railway St
Toowoomba QLD 4350
Ph: (07) 4637 8444

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Cumquat and Almond Cake and Brandied Cumquats

Recently, Tim gave me a big bag of cumquats from his parents' tree to go to town with.  Cumquats are not that common in these parts, so I was very happy to have them.

I had plenty of cumquats to play with, so I made a couple of different things with them.  First up, I made a Cumquat and Almond Cake:  

The recipe is online here.  It is a riff on the orange and almond cake, but the organs are replaced by cumquats.  It is really moist and delicious.  With the flecks of orange, a lot of people mistook it for a carrot cake.

I mentioned that I had a lot of cumquats, so I needed to make a recipe that would use a lot of them.  Again, after a quick Google search, I found this recipe for brandied cumquats.

The recipe made two medium sized jars.  I kept one, and gave one to Tim - kind of an exchange for the cumquats.  I have not tried the cumquats themselves, but I had a lot of syrup from making them left over, which I poured over icecream and used to make the cumquat and almond cake (in place of the sugar syrup in the recipe), and it is quite delicious.

Hopefully you will find this post helpful if you have a cumquat tree and are wondering what to do with the fruit.  These are two delicious ways to use them.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Weekend in a French Kitchen (Cafe Boulud) - Sweet Swiss Chard Tourte

For Weekend in a French Kitchen this week, we had to make Sweet Swiss Chard Tourte. 

Despite the "sweet" moniker, I fully expected this to be savoury - but it wasn't. If you have trouble imagining chard in a sweet pie, you wouldn't be alone, but this was truly delicious.

Take blanched Swiss chard, honeyed pine nuts and raisins, put them in a sweet dough with an egg and cream filling, and bake - et voila:

You have a rather delicious sweet pie, which defies definition but is really good.  This may be my favourite Café Boulud recipe so far.

To see what the others thought of this dish, visit the LYL section of the Weekend in a French Kitchen website.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Raspberry Coconut Slice for Homemades - Retro Bakes

Last Sunday, I attended my first meeting of the Homemades Meetup Group.  This group meets to eat and discuss baked goods, sweet or savoury.  Sounds pretty good, huh?

The theme for this meeting, hosted by Steph, was Retro Bakes - make something that reminds you of your childhood/youth/past in some way.  A group of 27 bakers answered the call - here is just some of the enormous spread that we ended up with:

Believe it or not, we did have some savoury dishes in there - a quiche slice, a meatloaf and a curry.  The rest was the ultimate sweet heaven.  Here is the group shot out on Steph's fabulous balcony with a city view:

Photo: S Clarke

My offering for this meeting was Raspberry Coconut Slice.  This was a regular in our lunch boxes when I was growing up, so was a natural choice for me to make.  I have no idea where Mum got the recipe from, and I have scrawled it on a piece of telephone pad that lives in a shoe box on top of a bookshelf.  The recipe is easy peasy to make, and tastes very good.

To make my Mum's raspberry coconut slice, you will need:


60g butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cup self raising flour


1/2 cup raspberry jam
1 cup coconut
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg

 Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Grease a 18cm x 28cm slice tin.

Beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer until light and creamy.  Add the egg and the vanilla to the mixture and beat well.  Sift the flour and salt into the mixture and combine with a spoon until you get a stiff paste.  Press the mixture into the base of the prepared slice tin.

Spread the base with the raspberry jam, using the back of a spoon.

In a small bowl, beat the egg with a fork.  Add the coconut and sugar and mix well with a spoon.  Carefully spread the coconut mixture evenly over the top of the jam, taking care not to press down too hard so as to avoid mixing the jam and the coconut topping.

Bake the slice in the preheated oven for around 20-25 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.

Remove the slice from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin on a wire rack.  Once cooled completely, cut the slice into the desired sized squares.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

EwE - Cauliflower with Almond-Olive Tapenade

For Eating with Ellie this week, Kayte chose Cauliflower with Almond-Olive Tapenade.

I liked the idea of this dish, as it contains cauliflower, roasted capsicums, olives and sultanas, which are some of my favourite savoury things, but the reality was I found the tapenade a little too spicy and overpowering for me.

To see what the others thought, visit the LYL section of the EwE website. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

WWDH - Braised Borlotti Beans with Sausages and Poached Eggs

This week for Wednesday with Donna Hay, Sarah chose Braised Borlotti Beans with Sausages and Poached Eggs.  The recipe can be found online here.

This was a full on man-style breakfast for me.  I liked it well enough, but I don't think I'll make it again - the combination of strong flavours was a little overwhelming for me.

To see what the others thought of this dish, visit the LYL section of the WWDH website.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

TWD - Apple Kuchen

Today's Tuesday with Dorie recipe is Apple Kuchen.  It is a deep dish pie crust filled with loads of apples, dried fruit and creamy custard.

I chose apricots rather than raisins to complement my 1 kilo (yes, 1 kilo!) of apples in the filling, and soaked the apricots in Calvados, which gave the apricots a delightfully sharp taste.

I kid you not, lining the pan with the dough was a nightmare that I do not wish to relive any time soon.  However, once you have done it, and peeled, cored and chopped that 1 kilo of apples into 1 inch dice, the rest is a breeze.

Dorie recommended 60-70 minutes baking time, but my kuchen was still wet on top at that stage, and I ended up leaving it in for an extra half an hour.

I skipped the part at the end where extra sugar is sprinkled on top and the kuchen is placed under the broiler, because I do not have a broiler.

Here's a peek inside the kuchen: 

I did not love this dessert, but I did like it.  However, for efforts versus results, I am unlikely to make this one again.

To see what the other bakers thought of this dish, visit the LYL section of the TWD website

Monday, September 21, 2015

Dinner at 25 Toorak Road Restaurant

For my birthday, Tim took me to dinner at 25 Toorak Road Restaurant, South Yarra.  The atmosphere and food at 25 Toorak Road are inspired by a French Bistro.  It is truly lovely inside, with a black and white theme.

Our waiter was amused because he had spotted me taking a photo of the interior of the restaurant from the street.  He said he'd tried to pose.  And there I was thinking I had been very discreet.

For entrée, Tim ordered the beetroot salad with orange, goats cheese and candied walnuts ($21):

while I could not go past the scallops with cauliflower puree ($24):

Both dishes were superb.  I resisted the temptation to try the old fashioned prawn cocktail, which was ordered by two gents on the next table.  I also considered the escargot, but decided to leave that experience for another day.

For main, I figured while in France, go French, so I ordered the confit duck with lentils, cabbage and pancetta ($38):

This was a rich but delicious dish, with the duck having crispy skin and not at all oily, like duck can sometimes be.

Tim went for the eye fillet done medium rare ($41):

On the side, we ordered steamed greens ($10):


and fries ($10):

The fries were especially good.

Despite feeling quite satisfied already, we both had dessert stomachs, and ordered a dessert each.  Tim went for the apple and raspberry crumble with raspberry icecream ($14):

while I could not go past the lemon soufflé with lemon curd icecream ($15):

Look at all of that fluffy, lemony goodness:

My dessert was exquisite, and I know that Tim enjoyed his too.  These desserts were both very popular - at the table behind us, there were no less than four crumbles.

The wait staff were friendly and funny, and the service was also very efficient.

We had a wonderful night at 25 Toorak Road, and I'd definitely go there again.

25 Toorak Road
South Yarra VIC
Ph: 03 9821 4425 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

WIAFK (CB) - Vegetable Couscous

Life is full of compromises.  Despite your best efforts, sometimes you just have to compromise to get anywhere at all.

And so it was for Weekend in a French Kitchen (Café Boulud) this week, where I compromised quite a bit to get the finished product due to a lack of time.  Our recipe was Vegetable Couscous.  the recipe required us to make harissa and vegetable broth from scratch before making the couscous.  I had been away for the weekend, so this was never going to happen.  I used harissa out of a jar and vegetable broth out of a tetrapak, but I was still happy with my jewelled couscous.

To see what the others thought of this dish, and to see if they made all of the components, visit the LYL section of the WIAFK website.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Golden Gaytime Cake

For my birthday this year, I was short on time, so I didn't want to make anything too complicated.  I struck gold when I saw a Golden Gaytime Cake pop up on Facebook.  This cake has gone viral, but I am a little behind the times, because I had never heard of it until a couple of weeks ago.  For the uninitiated, the Golden Gaytime is a popular icecream on a stick readily available here in Australia, which has been around for as long as I can remember.  It consists of vanilla icecream encased in toffee icecream, then covered in a thin coating of chocolate and malt biscuit crumbs.  The slogan used to market this icecream is, "It's so hard to have a Gaytime on  your own", a pun meaning that you'll attract crowds wanting to share your icecream when you eat a Gaytime.

I made the Golden Gaytime Cake exactly as per the recipe, which can be found here at Tinman's Treats.  My malt biscuits were Paradise Malt biscuits as my supermarket didn't sell the Arnotts Malt O' Milk, but it is basically the same thing, just a different brand.  To make my chocolate butter cream, I went with the cocoa powder suggestion rather than the chocolate suggestion. 

I used a rolling pin to break up the biscuits rather than chopping them with a knife - much easier and quicker.

I think the cake looked pretty good and close to the original.

Here's a peek inside:

and here's the first slice:

I actually enjoyed it a lot.  One of my colleagues said it was very sweet, but I did not find it overly so.  Does it taste like a Gaytime icecream?  I don't think my imagination can take it that far, but it certainly has the right flavours.

I received plenty of compliments on the Golden Gaytime Cake, so I proclaim it a winner.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

EwE - Loaded Hummus Plate

For Eating with Ellie this week, Sarah chose Ellie's Loaded Hummus Plate.

I was a bit worried about this, as it didn't sound like me at all - chopped up lettuce, radishes and cucumber with homemade hummus and a boiled egg.  This did not sound appealing at all! 

However, I made a single serve, using store bought hummus (sorry Ellie) to say that I had tried it.  And I was pleasantly surprised - it really tasted quite good.  I think the egg was supposed to be hard boiled and sliced into pieces, but hey, I like runny eggs so I was happy with the way mine turned out.

To see what the others thought of this dish, visit the LYL section of EwE website.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

WWDH - Chicken in White Wine with Lemon Potatoes

Chaya's pick for this week's Wednesday with Donna Hay is Chicken in White Wine with Lemon Potatoes.

What a beautiful dish this was - chicken served with a lovely artichoke, garlic and white wine sauce and lemony baby potatoes on the side. 

My photograph does not do this light, fresh dish justice.  I served my chicken and potatoes with steamed broccoli and sliced tomato.

To see what the others thought of this dish, visit the LYL section of the WWDH website.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

WIAFK (CB) - Gazpacho with Anchovy Toast

Our dish for Weekend in a French Kitchen (Café Boulud) this week was Gazpacho with Anchovy Toast.  This is of course a classic cold soup that needs no further explanation.

I am not sure why I needed three colours of peppers  when the whole lot gets blended up to give a red coloured soup, but nonetheless I complied with the recipe.  I didn't put the extra raw vegetables on top as that is not my kind of thing, but I did make the anchovy butter for the toast.  

Overall, I liked this dish, but not enough to make again.

To see what the others thought of this dish, visit the LYL section of the Weekend in a French Kitchen website.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Black Bean Chocoate Cake for Melbourne Cake Club - Mystery Ingredient

Last Thursday night, the Melbourne Cake Club had a meeting at Groove Train in South Yarra.  The theme for this month's meeting was "Mystery Ingredient".  After some extensive Internet searching, I decided to make a black bean chocolate cake, with black bean as my secret ingredient.  The recipe is online here.  It is a gluten free cake.
For Cake Club, I dressed up the cake with chocolate water icing rather than the sugar free buttercream accompanying the recipe:

I had never made a black bean cake before, and the first thing that struck me was how funky those canned black beans smelled.  Yuk!  It did not inspire confidence in what the cake would be like.

Another worrying thing when I was making this cake is that the batter was very liquid - it was so runny that I had doubts that it would set.

However, the end result was astonishing.  The cake was dense, moist and chocolatey, and most definitely did not smell funky - in fact, it smelled just like chocolate cake should.  The crumb of the cake was very smooth - all round, this cake was a winner, even if I didn't make it look very pretty: 

Other cakes at the Melbourne Cake Club Mystery Ingredient event were Sue's gluten free tomato soup spice cake: 

Abi's Vegemite caramel chocolate cake: 

and Dalya's tomato soup spice cake with raisins:

Here are my spoils from the evening all arranged neatly on the cake board:

It was another fun night with the Melbourne Cake Club.