Home-made Turkish Delight

Delicate rose scented jellies of lusciousness are easier to make at home than you might think!

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Turkish Delight is one of those exotic classics that is a real people pleaser. Check out how easy it is to make at home!

Start by ensuring you have greased & lined a slice tray with baking paper to get prepared.

Grab your medium saucepan & into that pop 3 cups of water before sprinkling 4 tablespoons of gelatine powder on top & then adding 1.5 cups of caster sugar. Place that over a medium heat & whisk with a wire whisk until it comes to the boil & everything is dissolved nicely.

Let that simmer away for 2 minutes before taking it off the heat.

Next, mix 3/4 cup of Arrowroot (Tapioca Flour) into 1/2 cup of cold water then pour it in a steady stream into the hot mixture whilst whisking constantly. This will thicken it up.

Add in 1 tablespoon of Rose Water Essence – this is what gives Turkish Delight it’s unique flavour & heavenly scent.

Now, that is the recipe done, but what colour do we all associate Turkish Delight with???? PINK! So pop a drop or two of pink food colouring into the mixture & stir it all up nicely. You could use other colours if you want to get tricky.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tray & pop that lot in the fridge overnight to set.

The next day, turn out the slab of jelly goodness onto your chopping board & slice into delicate morsels of lusciousness before dusting in icing sugar.

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Triple Chocolate Fudge

I want to tell you how fabuliciouzly creamy & decadent my fudge is,

but instead,

this has turned into a post about how to survive a culinary disaster in your kitchen this Christmas to keep you calm & still triumph!

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NEVER has my fudge not set before! I am sure you can imagine my absolute horror this morning as I turned out my fudge to slice for photography to share with you all as my second offering in our Christmas Gifts From the Kitchen series, only to realise that it had not set overnight. Naturally, I felt the panic creep up inside of me as the first time this fails is NOW?!?!?! I had to take a deep breath & retrace my steps in my mind to know what had gone so dreadfully wrong. My mistake was made right at the very start yesterday when I was preparing this. If you learn nothing else from my embarrassment here today, know this ~

TEMPERATURE IS CRUCIAL!

We are having our hottest November in 155 years in Melbourne. I waited until after lunch to begin, which placed me into the hottest part of the day. I am in a new kitchen where I do not know my burners yet so discovered that my usual saucepan is going to be too small with the heat from this cooktop which resulted in my fudge overflowing only 2 degrees before reaching where it should of. I took it off the heat, immediately, as you would, thinking that it shouldn’t really matter that much – it did! I also couldn’t get the fudge to cool to the correct temperature either, the afternoon was just far too stifling!

All of this is going into my memory data file-o-fax for my next fudge making expedition. However, if this happens to you this Christmas, remember to take a deep breath & remain calm! You’ve invested a lot of your valuable time & love in creating something fabulous for people you care about. Don’t throw it all in the bin through heated tears of disappointment. Turn that disaster into a triumph! The easiest way is to always make sure you have a selection of pretty glasses on hand & make use of the popular Chef description of DECONSTRUCTED! HAHAHA you will appear ever so fancy & maintain that tiara firmly on top of your head, without any slippage.

So, here is my Triple Chocolate Fudge recipe, that when followed to the correct temperatures, will result in the most gloriously decadent confectionary worthy of your Festive Hamper!

Ensure you get the correct sized saucepan! Then into it goes 1.5 cups of caster sugar, 1/2 cup of firmly packed brown sugar, 100g of dark chocolate buttons, 2 tablespoons of glucose syrup, 1/2 cup of thickened cream & 1/4 cup of milk.

Gently heat that lot over a low temperature until the sugars dissolve without letting it boil. Once the sugars have fully dissolved, then crank up your heat to bring it up to the boil. Do not stir from this point. Pop your thermometer in & watch it come up to 116c ~ as mentioned earlier this temperature is critical! Once that magic 116c is reached, immediately take the pan off the heat & drop in 40g of butter. Still, do not stir it!

Leave the fudge alone until the temperature drops to 40c. That’s when you can remove the thermometer & finally stir in the now melted butter. Use a wooden spoon. Continue to stir it for about 10 minutes, you’re looking for when a small amount dropped from the spoon can hold it’s shape. That is how you know it will set, unlike my double temperature mistake on this one.

During your wait time, you can prepare a bar cake pan by greasing & lining it with bakers paper so it’s ready for you to pour the fudge into then simply spread & smooth the surface before covering it with tin foil & leaving to stand at room temperature for 2 hours. Once again, my third temperature mistake with this one as it was like a sauna in my kitchen yesterday afternoon.

When the 2 hours is up, remove the tin foil to pour over 200g of melted white chocolate then drizzle over that 50g of melted milk chocolate & using a cake tester or a skewer, drag the two chocolates around to create pretty swirls for a marbled effect.

Replace the foil over the tin & pop into the fridge overnight to set.

The baking paper will allow you to easily lift the set fudge out of the tin & if you heat your very sharp knife, slicing the fudge will be a breeze. Cut the slab in half lengthways before slicing ever so thinly for decadent pieces of melt in your mouth luxury.

Cashew Butter Slice

Decadently creamy layers of nutty goodness with a luscious chocolate crown.

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How can anyone go past a gorgeous home-made chocolate topped slice?! It’s one of the simple pleasures in life & the first recipe in my 2017 Christmas Gifts From The Kitchen series.

This slice is made in 3 stages to get those 3 layers so prepare to spend some time with it.

To create the base layer, simply combine 2 tablespoons of coconut syrup with 1/3 cup of cashew butter in a mixing bowl. Next, stir in 1 tablespoon of a good quality cocoa powder. Finally, add in 1 cup of  desiccated coconut & prepare to get your hands messy! Mix all of that together really well before pressing into a cake tin or baking pan that you’ve lined with baking paper. Pop that lot in the fridge for half an hour.

Next comes the middle layer. This one is super easy! In a small, heatproof bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of coconut syrup with 6 tablespoons of cashew butter over a pan of gently simmering water until it gets nice & soft which makes it more pliable to work with. Press that gently over the base layer & get it back in the fridge to set for another hour.

Finally, the luscious crowning chocolate glory! Over a pan of gently simmering water, melt 200g of milk chocolate in a heatproof bowl then simply pour over the slice & spread. You guessed it…..back in to set in the fridge it goes.

Now, because you’ve been smart & lined the tray with baking paper at the very start, you can simply lift the set slice out onto a chopping board! A great trick when cutting this up is to have a jug of boiling water on the bench next to you & constantly dip your knife in so it heats up, making it glide through the slice easily.

Classic Buttercream

Sometimes it’s the simple basic’s that are the often the best.

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Every baker should have a go-to Buttercream recipe that is simple, quick & easy to whip up that tastes as good as it looks!

So this is my TWO ingredient Classic Buttercream.

First beat 250g of room temperature butter (I use Lurpak) until it’s very pale. Then add 2 & 1/4 cups of pure icing sugar (not the mixture stuff!) but add it only 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat until it’s nice & fluffy!

Then you can tint it with all sorts of food colours to create anything your wee heart desires.

Neapolitan Marble Cake

It’s a classic which is now rarely seen,

but the swirls of pink, chocolate & vanilla are well worth the effort.

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It has been a chaotic week! Last Wednesday was Mini-Me’s birthday so off we popped to Melbourne Zoo which lays claim to being the oldest zoo in Australia! We treated her to an exclusive behind the scenes member’s tour before exploring the zoo at our leisure until just after lunch when she got to have a close encounter with her all time favourite animal by feeding the Giraffe in it’s enclosure. She was just so deliriously happy & her delightful giggle is simply magic to my ears as well as my heart.

The rest of the week was spent in absolute panic as I madly threw together her party which we hosted at our mountain top home on Sunday. Twenty hyped up children having the time of their lives & the snow machine went down a real treat! Their limbo moves were super impressive & let me tell you, those tiny ballerinas have a mighty mean swing on a piñata! Food was plentiful but, of course, the star of the culinary show is always the birthday cake!

Mini-Me loves Neapolitan Ice-Cream so I took my inspiration from that to wow her when we cut open the cake.

Bung into your mixer bowl 125g of room temperature softened butter along with 3/4 cup of caster sugar & a teaspoon of vanilla. Cream that until it’s nice & fluffy.

Add in 2 eggs, but one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Fold through 2 cups of self raising flour & a pinch of salt alternating with 1/2 cup of milk.

Divide the mix into 3 bowls. Leave one plain, add 1 tablespoon of cocoa to another & a few drops of pink food colouring to the third. Give them a jolly good mix.

Layer the 3 batters into a well greased cake tin & use a sharp knife or a bamboo skewer to create swirls.

Whack in a 175c oven for an hour.

You can serve this cake plain, dusted in icing sugar, with buttercream or even covered in ganache! Let your imagination run wild!

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Finally, at long last, a Gluten Free cake that is rich, moist, fabuliciouzly tasty & above all else, not crumbly!

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You know, I used to be pretty darn good at making cakes before we knew about my illness with Gluten. I used to take so very much pleasure in my cake baking but since needing to be Gluten Free, I just haven’t had that same passion. I lost my cake mojo. Try as hard as I might, using Gluten Free flour just doesn’t cut it. I tried this recipe, with much trepidation, expecting yet another bitter disappointment, only to be pleasantly surprised with the results this time! This tastes like real cake! HOORAH!

Start by lining a loaf tin with baking paper, remember to use spray oil first to hold it in place.

Measure out 3/4 cup of caster sugar.

Grab a mixing bowl & bung in 280g of dark chocolate along with 160g of softened butter. Pop that over a pan of simmering water to melt gently, then stir in 6 egg yolks & half of that caster sugar. Take it off the heat & set aside to cool.

In a second mixing bowl, beat the 6 egg whites to a soft peak consistency. Now you can opt to get an arm workout if that’s what floats your boat, but I choose to use my electric beaters. Then, ever so gradually, add in the rest of that caster sugar whilst continuing to beat until it’s thick & glossy, just like meringue.

Back to the chocolate mix bowl & gently fold through 1 & 1/2 cups of Almond Meal followed by the meringue mix. Be really careful not to totally knock out all that luscious air you’ve worked so hard to beat in there!

Pour the batter into the loaf tin & bake for an hour in a 160c oven. If you choose to make cupcakes with this batter, as pictured, simply halve the cooking time.

Pineapple Cheesecake

Fabuliciouzly creamy with a tropical twist;

this Pineapple Cheesecake is definitely a hit with my fam-bam!

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I start by crushing 2 cups of Cornflakes (I use Gluten Free ones) with my mortar & pestle to get them nice & fine. Then I melt 150g of butter in a saucepan over a low heat before pouring that on top of the crushed Cornflakes & giving it a jolly good mix to ensure all the crumbs are nice & moist. Next, simply press that lot into a loaf tin & pop in the fridge to set.

Grab yourself a mixing bowl & bung in 250g of cream cheese. Beat that with a hand held mixer to get it lovely & soft. Gradually add in 1/3 cup of lemon juice, then a whole tin (397g) of sweetened condensed milk & keep beating until gloriously smooth.

Open a tin (440g) of crushed pineapple & drain it well of the juice. Gently fold the pineapple into the filling before pouring over the top of the now chilled cornflake base then whack back into the fridge overnight to set.

When ready to serve, invert the loaf tin onto a board, then back onto your serving platter, decorate with whipped cream & strawberries then It’s Chompin Time!

Old Fashioned Butter Biscuits

Light as air first bite gives way to melt to the roof of your mouth buttery smoothness,

Sometimes you just gotta go old school!

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Baking bikkies with my Mini Me is just one of those simple pleasures in life that are what memories are made of, you know?! I just adore it when we’ve donned our aprons, are covered in flour & her delicious wee giggle is filling the kitchen with joyous bliss.

Bung into the bowl of your mixer 125g of softened butter, 1/2 cup of caster sugar & 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla paste. Mix until it’s pale & creamy before cracking in an egg & continuing to mix until it’s well combined.

Next, throw in 2 cups of plain flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder & 1 tablespoon of milk. Mix until it forms a nice soft dough.

Pinch bits of the dough out with your fingers & roll into wee balls before placing on a baking paper lined tray. When all the balls are done, very gently press a fork to just flatten each top.

Whack those into a 180c oven for 15 minutes.

Allow the biscuits to cool on the trays, then dust them in icing sugar before devouring greedily!

Basic Macaroons

They’re a fancy bakery favourite but you’ll be really surprised how easy you can make these slightly chewy, crispy crusted delicate biscuits at home.

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The first trick to get all of your macaroons at the same size is to grab some sort of round object that’s about 4cm in diameter. I ‘borrow’ one of Mini-Me’s toy’s, a layer of a wooden ice-cream from her timber high tea set but ssshhhhhhh don’t tell her! Then trace circles onto baking paper leaving about a 2cm gap between each one. Spray some oil on a couple of baking trays to help the baking paper stick without moving & set those prepared trays aside for later.

Next, we’re going to beat 3 egg whites in a mixer until soft peaks form before adding in 2 tablespoons of caster sugar along with whatever food colour floats your boat & beat that until the sugar dissolves, that means you can’t feel any grains of sugar between your fingers anymore.

Then, simply fold through 1 & 1/4 cups of sifted icing sugar with 1 cup of almond meal gently in two separate batches, being extra careful not to knock out all that lovely air you’ve worked so hard to beat in there!

Scoop that luscious mix into a piping bag fitted with just a plain nozzle & fill in the circles drawn on your trays. The next trick to an awesome macaroon is to gently tap the trays on the bench to spread them slightly before dusting with some more icing sugar & then leave them sit there for 15 minutes – this is what allows that signature crunchy crust to form in the air drying!

Whack those in a 150c oven for 20 minutes after which allow them to stand for an extra 5 minutes before very carefully peeling them from the paper & bunging them onto a cooling wire.

Meanwhile whip up a standard chocolate ganache by simply popping 100g of dark chocolate callets into a bowl & pouring in 2 tablespoons of thickened cream. Sit that over a pan of simmering water, make sure that the water never touches the bottom of the bowl or your chocolate will seize & be useless, then gently stir while it melts. Sit it aside to cool slightly so it thickens up a wee  bit before spooning small amounts onto the bottom of a macaroon & using another one to sandwich on top.

When you serve up these fabuliciouz wee beauties you can stand back & bask in the glory chef!

Lamington Truffles

Happy Australia Day!

Last year, on the Facebook Page, I introduced my new creation of a great Aussie classic with an updated twist. It was so popular that I’m now sharing it onto the website to help you all celebrate our National Day tomorrow.

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Start by crumbling up a sponge cake into a bowl & mixing through 1/2 cup of vanilla frosting (Both can be bought from the shop ready made to save time if that floats your boat).

Pinch off bits of mixture & roll into balls. Pop them on a baking paper lined tray & bung in the freezer for an hour.

Melt some good quality dark chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Once melted, remove from the heat & start rolling your frozen balls in the hot chocolate before then rolling through desiccated coconut on a plate.

Return the balls to the freezer for a few minutes to set the chocolate before devouring greedily this Australia Day.