24 May 2013

Let Them Bake Cake. A Fisher & Paykel Competition



Fisher & Paykel are inviting New Zealanders to celebrate the art of baking by launching a great baking competition Let Them Bake Cake.

They are inviting all Delissimon readers and any other New Zealanders to join their competition by uploading and sharing a photo of a yummy sweet treat you have baked. You can enter something you have made recently, or it could be from a while ago. Either way, if you win this competition the grand prize is amazing!!

It includes:

  • A luxurious weekend for you and two friends in Wellington, including: domestic flights, two nights accommodation at Museum Art Hotel
  • Breakfast and a $60 daily meal allowance per person, Friday 20 September – Sunday 22 September 2013
  • Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand ‘The Art of Choux Pastry: from Profiteroles to Croquembouche’ p√Ętisserie class for you and two friends
  • A Fisher & Paykel kitchen appliance worth up to RRP $2,000
  • A Breville Scraper Mixer Pro, as used in Chelsea New Zealand’s Hottest Home Baker, Model BEM800
  • A Breville Little Genius Electronic Scales, as used in Chelsea New Zealand’s Hottest Home Baker, Model BSK500
  • A $500 Stevens gift card for a baking shopping spree
  • A 12-month subscription to Taste magazine
The total grand prize value is approximately NZ$10,000.
And they are also giving away 20 goodie boxes every week.
So come on all you amazing bakers, get creative and enter this comp - you have until the 16th July and nothing to lose.
xx




23 May 2013

Week {or two} round up

Just a photo round up of my last few weeks...











1. I baked a cake for our mechanic - I found his weak spot and got myself a WOF on the house. Yusss. 

2,3,4 & 5. A new friend lately that I've met here in Katikati I discovered is also a keen foodie and photographer and food styling is one of her passions. She needed to clear space in her spare room so she amazingly gave me this shelf with two containers of her food styling props to use. We are going to catalogue all the props and share them between us for use. Talk about getting the juices flowing!! 

6. I'm loving the new space in the house, and it also got me inspired to do a spot of furniture re-arranging...so I have a new reading nook which fills with sun at mid morning. Perfect time for a tea break with a good book or magazine. I rescued the crate from a fate of becoming makeshift cricket wickets for the backyard and gave it a bit of a clean up...it makes a perfect little bookshelf for now.

7. Then I went rearranging crazy and rearranged my oldest daughters room. I found a tiny little formica table at the local 2nd hand shop and it fits perfectly beside her bed {she made that bird house for a school project with her dad, its yet to go up outside}. My mum also treated all the kids to new duvet covers, so Mads is very happy with the outcome. 

8. I've been really enjoying this beautifully photographed book, Real Food Chef by Dr Libby as it is full of recipes that look amazing and are really really tasty and good. I've been stocking up on my pantry supplies to make these meals feature more in our diet as a family. Yes I do a lot of baking but I also balance this out with giving my kids as little sugar as possible and giving them lots of fresh fruit and vegies and buying packaged foods is almost phased out in this house. There is the odd packet of chips that sneaks in...

9 & 10. One of my gorgeous nephews and Katie messing around...and the kids all playing on the band rotunda during our most recent trip to Devonport.

Other random things:

My mum came down for the weekend and we got to spend some quality time together, especially as she picked me up and took me to Auckland for yet another appointment with oncology. Luckily these are almost all over {the 4 monthly ones anyway} as my trial comes to a close in August. After that I can look at transferring to Hamilton for any oncology care. But it was lovely to have time together as well as get a chance to say hello to a special lady up on the oncology ward who has been going through a tough time lately.

I am still pursuing my book being published however I'm still struggling to find a publisher for it and I've still to hear back from one. No one wants to take it on as a project {yet!} as the market is FLOODED with books like this right now. Its pretty disappointing, as I've already done most of the work myself and I know I have so many guaranteed sales but I will keep pressing on and working on it. Admittedly it hasn't been at the front of my mind for a while, what with Christmas and then our trips away and I was going to wait until after my surgery {which I thought would be well and truly done by now}. But I'm going to make this more of my focus for now as I really need something to do! My hands are getting itchy and I've come to terms with the fact I'm no good at knitting {stop laughing Maria!}.

19 May 2013

Manjar and Alfajores



Chileans are a nation of sweet tooths. Most popular of all ingredients in their sweet treats is the inclusion of dulce de leche, or manjar, a thick rich caramel made by boiling down milk and sugar. They use it to make tarts, tortes, biscuits, and toppings for icecream and pancakes. My favourite was the chuchufli which is a hollow tubular wafer filled with dulce de leche and dipped in chocolate....very addictive!

I took a jar of manjar home with me as the supermarket was FULL of choice and it really is quite delicious. The only option here in NZ is to make your own from scratch, boil a can of sweetened condensed milk or buy a can of Nestle caramel. Those last two options really are super sweet and don't give the richness of flavour to the caramel like making it traditionally does.

So I attempted to give it a go following this recipe by Laylita. She shows a step by step process and it is excellent. I used regular white sugar and as I had some palm sugar left in my pantry I included that as well which gave it the most amazing flavour. I also halved the amount as I didn't have enough milk for 8 cups but next time I think I'll make the larger amount, given that it takes a fair few hours to make.



To keep going with a traditional latin america theme I also made alfajores, little shortbread biscuits sandwiched with dulce de leche. Usually sprinkled with a bit of icing sugar but as it is already a very sweet cookie I thought perhaps it might go into sugar overload! I also made these quite thin as I preferred them like that. In Chile they vary in size and thickness - mostly they were so large they needed halving and sharing!


Manjar:

8 cups whole milk
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Add all ingredients together and over a medium low temperature and stir until sugar is dissolved.
Keep on low temperature and let sit for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
After 1 1/2 hours you will need to watch it more carefully as it will start to thicken. Give it regular stirs to keep it from burning or boiling over.
After about 3 hours it will have thickened and darkened in colour. It is ready when it has a thick cream-like consistency. It will thicken even more once cooled.

This makes about 4 small jars and keeps in the fridge.

Biscuit dough:

125g butter
1/2 cup castor sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg
1 cup plain flour

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg and mix well. Add sifted flour and beat until well combined.
Using two sheets of baking paper roll out dough to about .5cm thick and cut out with a round cookie cutter.
Bake for 10 mins in 180 deg C oven.

Cool and then sandwich with dulce de leche.




This is also my entry for Sweet NZ for May, this month hosted by Bridget from After Taste.



15 May 2013

Peanut Butter Stuffed Chocolate Cookies



This is a recipe that is in my book, and since I've had development of that on hold while the rest of my life carries on I thought I'd at least share a few recipes with you all.
This one is a recipe that my biscuit mad older brother, and a not-so-sweet-tooth younger brother have declared the best cookies ever.

They are rich, semi sweet chocolate with a smooth nutty centre and a total crowd pleaser for those that love that perfect combination of chocolate and peanut butter.

Recipe:
125g softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 egg
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180 deg C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Cream butter, 1/4 of the peanut butter and the sugars together until light and creamy.
Add the egg and vanilla and beat until mixture is really fluffy.
Stop mixing, add sifted flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa and stir it in until it is well combined. Set aside.
Next in a separate bowl stir together the icing sugar and remaining peanut butter until it is smooth and even consistency.
Take a tablespoon size portion of the chocolate cookie dough and form a circle, indent the centre with your thumb and fill with about 1/2 teaspoon of the peanut butter mix. Carefully wrap the rest of the cookie dough around this and place on the baking tray as a slightly flattened cookie.
Do this until you have used up all the mixture, sometimes I have a little peanut butter left over.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until set.

Also, a tip: Use smooth peanut butter if you can as it works much better. Also, if the peanut butter mixture looks too dry just add a teeny tiny bit of oil to soften it.





12 May 2013

Mum

This post is a tribute to my beautiful and quite amazing mum.
This year she is up in Auckland while I'm down here so we won't be with each other like I usually am so instead I'll give this rather public shout-out to how much my mum means to me.

Me just born...at home. Mum looks amazing!!!
My brothers and I were lucky enough to have mum at home waiting for us every day after school. She made amazing food. She was great helping with homework. She made school holidays fun.
She was firm, but loving. Immensely huggable. She fixed everything when it went wrong.
My worst moment was as an 8yr old being picked up from school by someone else because mum 
had broken her nose and needed to go to A & E. Until then I thought she was indestructible.



She also changed her hairstyles as often as her wardrobe...I still don't know her real hair colour.




In my later, and particularly important teen years she was approachable and open. Honest, wise and patient. She still is all these things. Practical, hardworking, selfless, loving, kind, beautiful, clever, funny, silly...she loves lemons, bubbles, babies, her family, her job, cooking, a well made gin and tonic, jelly babies, a good boogie on the dance floor and singing. 

We weren't really this orange...

Everytime something goes wrong or even right, she is the first person on the scene. She is always to be found in the kitchen where her love of cooking delicious food for her family (and then some) is masterful. When she qualified as a nurse we couldn't have been prouder but she achieved her Masters I was convinced of her geekness and her addiction to study.

This woman has given a lot of herself to others. So almost 35 years of being a mum to three children, then three grandchildren later she is at the centre of all of that. I can only hope that I will follow in her footsteps in raising my children as well as she did my brothers and me.



Mum. I love you so much. I miss you all the time.

Happy Mothers Day.

xx



11 May 2013

Yummy Mothers Day Scrolls



This week for lunchboxes I've been trying to change it up a bit. Sandwiches are great but I've been having a lot come home in the lunchbox, still untouched. And its only the first week back at school after the holidays!

This dough recipe is my absolute favourite go-to when making pizzas in a jiffy, or for a quick flatbread but not so good for loaves. The best part about it is there is no long waiting for the dough to rise so it makes it perfect to make on a school morning without having to fuss around the night before, or wake up at the crack of dawn. This week I've used this recipe to make scrolls. The kids favourite by far is the scroll with cheese and ham and they get gobbled down pretty fast. I thought however, for a weekend and/or a great mothers day morning or afternoon tea treat this version is perfect. It's really delicious, a perfect amount of tartness and sweetness and the dough comes up a real treat.

So, here's the recipe.

The Dough

1 1/2 teaspoons active dried yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
2 1/2 cups high grade flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons oil



Put the water into a small bowl and add a pinch of the sugar, stir to dissolve it. Then add the yeast and put aside for a few minutes.

While waiting for the yeast to activate, combine the flour, remainder of the sugar and salt into a mixing bowl. If you have an electric mixer fit the dough hook on the machine. When the yeast is ready pour it, along with the oil into the mixture and beat on medium for 10 seconds until it is all combined. Then increase the speed for 30 seconds and beat well.
Leave the dough for 10 minutes - don't worry about covering it even.

Filling:

Softened butter
2 tablespoons icing sugar
2 tablespoons dessicated coconut
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
handful of chocolate bits (white or dark, or both)

Roll out the dough into a rectangle shape to approx 1cm thickness.


Spread the butter thinly over the dough, but leave a 3cm gap at the bottom edge
Sift icing sugar over this evenly.
Sprinkle the coconut and then the raspberries over this evenly.




Add the chocolate bits.




Roll the dough up in a long sausage, as if making a sponge roll and using your finger and a little bit of water wet the gap at the bottom edge and seal the roll.
Cut the roll evenly into sections, I end up with roughly 8 scrolls.



In a lined cake tin (square or round) place the scrolls in snugly and bake for 30 minutes at 200 deg C.

When you take them out of the oven you can then drizzle some melted white chocolate on them, they'll look fantastic.



Eat and enjoy!



01 May 2013

Sweet NZ April Roundup

Well here it is, my round up of all the delicious and wonderful creations whipped up this month. Fruit featured heavily in the recipes for this month, and its not hard to understand why. All the beautiful stone fruit collected over summer, the new season apples and feijoas and the zingy fresh taste from berries, it's hard not to bake without having fruit, or in one case beetroot, as inspiration.

So, lets begin...

First up was Bridget from After Taste with a recipe of a Late Summer Plum Cake. This looks so perfect and in her own words is "moist, tender and wonderfully fruity" and can be made with apples, nectarines or peaches. Sounds pretty perfect to me.




Next was Alessandra with two recipes she actually managed to send while away in South America battling with ovens that don't work. Her first one from Only Recipes is Fresh As lychees, raspberries and feijoas dipped in dark chocolate.


And the second one from her Alessandra Zecchini website is a Very Easy Semifreddo Dessert...which looks delicious, and not only very easy to make but would go down a real treat at any dinner party to impress guests. Happy travels Alessandra!



Mairi from Toast made the most amazingly flavour combination shortbread with her Lime, Clove and Pinenut Shortbread. I bet her kitchen smelled delicious while these were baking.




Lesley from eat,etc made Coffee and Walnut Cupcakes which sound like my ideal morning tea snack. I LOVE coffee cake.
Coffee lovers will love these little mouthfuls of coffee and walnut cupcakes, light in texture, rich in taste.




The lovely Nicola from Homegrown Kitchen made an amazing Pink Butterfly Cake for her daughters third birthday. Isn't it beautiful?
It is moist and light, while dairy- and egg-free, low in sugar and boosted with the power of beetroot. Iced with a cashew 'cream' icing, delicately coloured with a few drops of homegrown beetroot juice.  



Zo from Two Spoons made a Magic Custard Cake with Raspberries and Caramel Sauce. I'm a sucker for anything custardy so I'm pretty sure I'm going to try and make this!



Frances from Bake Club made a chocolate version of a louise cake with this Chocolate Cherry Louise Cake. Yummo!! 




Sue from from one of my favourite blogs Couscous & Consciousness gives us a recipe for Fig, Vanilla and Chocolate Jam. After reading her post I wish I was having the same breakfasts she is enjoying with this jam!! Oh my goodness it sounds amazing.



Lydia from Lydia Bakes has had an exciting new blog extreme makeover, so you should check her out just for that, let alone these swoon worthy Passionfruit Cupcakes with Passionfruit Curd Filling!
Don't they look divine? I've got a whole load of passionfruit pulp sitting in my freezer from an amazing summer haul, so I'm thinking the curd recipe alone is a great way to use them up.

And Lydia says "These delicious cupcakes are filled with delicious and easy to make passionfruit curd, then topped with creamy passionfruit buttercream (I even show you how to decorate them!) I'm not lying when I say these are one of my favourite cupcakes I've ever made!"



And lastly, myself with my Apple Meringue Pie recipe from all the abundant apples I've had this month. This is a warm filling dessert perfect for the cooler evenings, with a bit more glam than your average apple pie.



That's it folks - go and check each of these wonderful blogs out and get some baking inspiration. And if you haven't done so yet join us in May for the next Sweet NZ entry. May is being hosted by  Bridget from After Taste.