Archive for the ‘non-cake’ Category


Raspberry Semifreddo

May 3, 2009


In December we bought an ice-cream maker, and for the last few months it has had regular use (just one of the things keeping me from blogging). At the moment we are experimenting with brandy snap ice-cream (I will post about that later), but in our forays into home-made frozen goods we stumbled across a semifreddo recipe in Taste magazine. It looked and sounded delicious, doesn’t use an ice-cream maker, and is even easier to make than most ice-creams.

Semifreddo means ‘semi-frozen’ and this creamy dessert is designed to be served partly thawed. I can attest to its utter deliciousness – a great special occasion dessert.

Amaretti are Italian almond biscuits and if your supermarket has a halfway decent biscuit section you should find them there (for New Zealanders, New World can provide these). They are definitely worthwhile – the crunch and sugary almond flavour goes perfectly, and they look lovely crumbled over the top. If you’re not keen on the alcohol, just omit it – raspberries are delicious enough on their own. 🙂

Raspberry Semifreddo with Amaretti & Grand Marnier Raspberries (serves 8-10)

1 tsp sunflower oil (or another mild-tasting oil)
3/4 cup milk
100g honey
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
4 pieces orange peel (about 3m x 1cm), pith removed
4 egg yolks
500g raspberries, fresh or frozen
1 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
250ml cream, whipped
To serve
250g raspberries
2 Tbsp Grand Marnier
1/2 cup coarsely crushed amaretti
1/4 cup honey
icing sugar

Lightly oil a 30cm x 12cm loaf tin, then line the tine with plastic wrap, ensuring all creases are smoothed out.

Heat the milk and honey with the vanilla bean and orange peel until just boiling. Remove from heat.

Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg yolks then slowly strain in the hot milk. Whisk until completely cool.

Combine raspberries with brown sugar.

Fold the whipped cream into the egg mixture, then fold through the raspberries. Pour the mixture into the tin and freeze overnight.

To serve
About 20 minutes before serving, unmold the semifreddo onto a platter, and put into the refrigerator. If you have trouble unmolding it, immerse the tin in hot water briefly. Combine the raspberries with the Grand Marnier and set aside.

To serve, sprinkle the raspberries and amaretti over the semifreddo, drizzle with honey, and dust with icing sugar, if desired. Use a hot knife to cut into slices.



Christmas Candies

December 26, 2008


Over the last couple of months one of the things that’s been keeping me busy has been making various truffles and candies as Christmas presents. I meant to take better photos (along with photos of all the cakes I made, which I completely forgot about, sorry!) once these were completed, but this is all I ended up with. There were 12 trays like this, plus some readymade white containers I filled, and then my flatmates demolished the leftovers. 😉 The contents of the boxes included Tim-Tam truffles, ‘Toffeepud truffles’ (Toffeepop truffles with bits of glace cherry mixed in), peanut butter truffles, salted caramels, almond praline, chocolate covered marzipan, hokey pokey crunch, and a couple of other bits and pieces. It was heaps of work, but quite fun experimenting (and taste-testing, of course!), and soooo satisfying when I filled all the boxes up. And now that Christmas is over I have space in my cupboards and spare storage containers again – something that’s been a bit lacking for the last wee while. 😉

Anyway, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas – and I’ll be back with more in the New Year (we’re off to Kaikoura tomorrow for a quick break, so will definitely be awol for the next few days).


Blogging by Mail

November 16, 2008


I participated in the Blogging by Mail event, organised by Stephanie over at Dispensing Happiness, and it was great fun! I received this lovely package from Judith of Shortcut to Mushrooms, all the way from Iowa.

She sent me:

– some flower cookie cutters
– an amazing high-heel shaped cake slice/lifter
– a fantastic mix CD, with songs specially chosen to bake to
– some little tart tins, which I can’t wait to use
– a shot glass measuring cup, for teaspoon and tablespoonfuls – such an awesome idea, and I know it’s going to be so useful!
– three delicious chocolate bars, which we wolfed down immediately
– an egg separator
– and a lipstick case

Thanks heaps for an awesome parcel, Judith! I really enjoyed opening it, and love everything you sent!


Gingerbread Politicians

November 9, 2008

Yesterday was election day in New Zealand, and to make the evening of watching vote-counting a little more interesting we decided some themed snacks were in order.


Hamish’s genius idea was to make gingerbread versions of the main politicians. From left to right we have: Helen Clark (Labour, centre-left, incumbent prime minister); John Key (National, centre-right); Winston Peters (New Zealand First; weird and hard to place party – the ‘No’ placard refers to this incident – it was later discovered that the placard really should have said ‘Yes’); Rodney Hide (Act, far right); and Jeannette Fitzsimons (Greens, far left).


We also made various supporters (not remotely proportionate – the abundance of yellow is purely because I made yellow icing first and we got a bit carried away). Note the two babies – because, as Hamish rightly pointed out, politicians need babies to kiss. We did miss a few semi-significant minor parties – the Maori party being the main one. You should see Michael Cullen, Bill English, Heather Roy and Russel Norman in there too (although they are gingerbread and not necessarily true to life…)

New Zealand has a proportional government system, which means whoever can form a majority government gets to rule – it’s always either Labour or National who get the most votes, but usually they need to form alliances with smaller parties to make numbers up to at least 62 (maximum 122 seats in parliament).


This time round National came out on top with 59 seats – almost a majority by themselves, and adding Act’s five seats makes an easy winners. They’ll also include United Future’s Peter Dunne in their coalition, and apparently will talk to the Maori party regarding an agreement – because the more the merrier – but sadly we ran out time to create Peter Dunne, Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples. Maybe next time?

Oh, and what became of Winston? I think the picture speaks for itself…



White Chocolate Creme Brulee

October 17, 2008

My sister gave me a little kitchen blowtorch for my birthday, so of course I had to trial it at the first opportunity. After I got over the initial thrill (burning sugar in a plate, and on Hamish’s porridge) I dug out the recipe for white chocolate creme brulee I’ve been meaning to try for aaaaages (from Donna Hay’s Chocolate cookbook, which I highly recommend, by the way) , and my flatmate’s girlfriend mentioned she happened to have a packet mix for creme brulee that her family in America had sent her, and proffered it for the experimentation.

First I made the packet mix one, which took all of about 5 minutes, and then just had to set in the fridge for a couple of hours (no baking). Then I set about the white chocolate version, which did take a bit longer to put together, and then an hour in the oven, and then at least four hours in the fridge…

The packet mix one (above) was very smooth, as creme brulee should be, and quite sweet – but not bad at all. My made-from-scratch white chocolate version (below) was a little less smooth (which I attribute to some amount of inattention on my part while cooking the custard), but richer and overall tasted better – as you’d hope, given the extra effort required.

And yes, I had plenty of fun burning the sugar. Apologies for the blurred photo – I took a couple but all are blurred, so I must have had some sort of pre-emptive sugar rush or something…


Daring Bakers – Chocolate Eclairs

August 31, 2008

This month’s Daring Baker’s challenge was to recreate Pierre Herme’s chocolate eclairs, as chosen by Tony and Meeta. The recipe calls for a chocolate pastry cream filling as well as the chocolate glaze, and although we had the freedo to swap one of these for a non-chocolate option, well, seriously, chocolate! Who am I to swap that mighty flavour for another?

I was a little disappointed with my choux – it looked beautiful until I took it out of the oven, but immediately deflated – which no doubt means I undercooked it a bit. Never mind, though, it tasted great, and didn’t look too bad once packed full of delicious chocolate pastry cream. They were a bit too delicious, in fact – we managed to consume the massive batch far too quickly, and even with the help of four boys I felt a tad guilty… Also, we couldn’t bear to wait long enough for me to take a good photo… So sorry about that!

Be sure to check out all the other amazing eclairs on the Daring Bakers’ Blogroll!


Tarte Tatin

July 6, 2008

I’d been wanting to try this tasty dessert for a while, and with my leftover Danish dough (although I know I should have used butter puff pastry – I will next time!) I whipped up the above specimen. It’s basically caramelised apple on pastry (although you cook it with the pastry on top) and is super tasty. I’ll definitely try this one again sometime… Soooooo goooood!