Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category


Brandy Snap Ice-Cream

May 4, 2009


As I mentioned in my last post, we’ve been experimenting with brandy snap ice-cream. This stems from a) the introduction of an ice-cream maker to our kitchen a few months ago and b) the discovery of a commercially produced gourmet brandy snap ice-cream (by the Gourmet Ice Cream Co), which, while utterly delicious comes in tiny 500ml containers and is far too expensive for the humble student budget.

We used a recipe from The Perfect Scoop, which Hamish gave me for Christmas and which we have already used quite a lot (11 recipes followed properly, including the toasted coconut ice-cream, which was so good we made three more batches to share with the 20 people at Hamish’s recent birthday). We figured for the brandy snap flavour we basically just needed a bit of golden syrup and ginger, so looked for a recipe with a liquid sugar component to convert. Our first attempt was from a maple walnut recipe, but (though it was tasty, don’t get me wrong!) there was 3/4 cup of golden syrup in it, which made it a little too sweet. So this time we used a recipe for panforte ice-cream. Panforte is an Italian cake with honey, spices, almonds and candied orange peel – so we used golden syrup instead of honey, ginger instead of the other spices suggested, and replaced almonds and orange peel with crushed brandy snaps. Voila!


Brandy Snap Ice-cream

For the brandy snaps:
125g butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup golden syrup
1 cup flour
1 tsp ground ginger
For the ice-cream:
125ml full-fat milk
625ml cream
2/3 cup/130g sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
4 large egg yolks
3 Tbsp golden syrup

To make the brandy snaps:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius. Cream butter and sugar, add golden syrup, then mix in flour and ginger.

Drop mixture onto a greased tray. Use a tablespoon for each snap, and try to spread the mixture a little (but don’t make holes). Since they are going to be broken up and added to ice-cream it doesn’t matter too much, but you will only need about half the mixture for the ice-cream – so I recommend making the rest into baskets or discs to serve with your ice-cream.

Bake for about 8 minutes or until golden. To shape (if desired), cool until firm enough to move without breaking but still malleable. To make brandy snaps wrap around a handle or something else round; to make baskets drape over the base of a cup or mug.

To make ice-cream:
Warm the milk, 125ml of the cream, sugar and ginger in a medium saucepan. Pour the remaining cream into a large bowl, set a strainer/sieve over the top, and set aside. Whisk the egg yolks in another bowl. When the milk is warm, gradually pour over the yolks, whisking constantly (this is to gradually warm the yolks and prevent them going lumpy).

Pour theΒ  egg mixture back into the saucepan, and stir constantly over a medium heat, scraping the bottom as you go, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Strain the mixture into the cream, then warm the golden syrup and stir it in. Chill the mixture thoroughly (at least 4 hours, cheating makes sloppy ice-cream!) then churn in your ice-cream maker. Add broken brandy snap pieces (about 1 cup, give or take) right at the end of churning. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, put the ice-cream in the freezer in a bowl and stir vigorously with a fork every half hour until it starts to firm up. This won’t make quite as creamy an ice-cream but it will still taste delicious!

Supposedly, fresh ice-cream only lasts well for about a fortnight in the freezer – I’ve never actually had any around long enough to text this, though!


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. πŸ™‚

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.



Chocolate Mud Cake

September 28, 2008

I have some pretty pictures and things to post, but am quite bogged down with uni work at the moment (1200 word essay due tomorrow, among other things), so today I’m just going to provide you with my chocolate mud cake recipe.

This is the cake I make if I need to make a carved or shaped cake – like a topsy-turvy cake or the car cake I made for my uncle’s 40th. It’s not only utterly delicious, but very dense and easy to shape.

This makes a pretty decent cake – 25cm round, and will easily serve 30+, as it’s very very rich and can be enjoyed in small portions. If you’re after a smaller cake try halving the recipe in a 20cm round tin (although it calls for 5 eggs, halve by using three small or two extra large eggs). Also, for you folk who prefer to work in the imperial system, sorry! I don’t have time to convert – but there are plenty of websites that can do that for you, just search for ‘imperial metric conversion’.

325g white sugar
500g butter, cut into chunks
500g milk chocolate chips
750ml boiling water
325g flour
75g cocoa
25g baking powder
5 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius, and grease a 25cm round cake tin (if you’re using a springform tin put a tray underneath, as the batter is thin and can drip. Non-springform is best for this cake).
Put sugar, butter and chocolate chips into a very large bowl, and pour the boiling water over the top. Stir to melt and combine all ingredients.
When you have a chocolatey soup, add all the remaining ingredients, and beat until smooth. Pour into cake tin and place in oven.
Cooking time will vary depending on your oven, but check after 50 minutes, and continue to check every 5-10 minutes until it’s done. You can tell if it’s cooked when a knife inserted into the cake comes out with a cakey-looking substance, as opposed to a batter-looking substance. Unlike other cakes, if your knife comes out clean, you’ve cooked it for too long.
After you remove the cake from the oven, leave it to cool for at least an hour before turning it out of the pan, as it will be very fragile while still warm.

If I’m using this as a base for a shaped cake I would ice it with a chocolate ganache (which I would also use as glue where necessary), and then fondant icing. However, if you just want a mud cake it stands perfectly well on its own two feet – it doesn’t need icing.

And now I’d better go work on that essay!


Cathie’s Train Cake – Chocolate Hazelnut Torte

September 12, 2008

My baby sister celebrated her 18th birthday last weekend (although it’s a bit of a cheat, since her real birthday is still more than two weeks away – and made life somewhat busy for me as her party was the same night as the UCanDance one), and requested a train cake to match her Duplo train party.

This is a delicious chocolate hazelnut torte recipe, and although I’m not sure that train-shaped cakes can be considered torte it works really well in the intricately-shaped Nordicware pans – and, even better, because it’s such a decadent cake the need for icing is completely negated. Of course, it also makes a great torte – the cake I made my Dad for Christmas was from this recipe.

It’s also a gluten-free cake, using hazelnut meal as the ‘flour’ – here’s the recipe, in case you want to try it yourself!

400g 70% dark chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
400g butter
400g ground hazelnuts
300g sugar
10 eggs

Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius. Grease or spray a 25cm round tin.

Beat together butter and sugar. Add chocolate, beat, and then gradually add beaten eggs. Fold in hazelnuts. Pour into pan, spreading evenly with spatula.

Bake for 40 minutes, and then turn oven off and leave in oven with door ajar for a further 30 minutes.

Wait until cool and turn out of tin. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

My tips:
– I use whatever tin I feel like. If you’re using a fiddly one like my train make sure you use a pastry brush to get your non-stick spray/grease into every last crevice
– I generally don’t bother with the resting in the oven, as my oven is usually needed for other things, and so far it’s always turned out fine
– You could easily halve this recipe and use a 20cm round tin if you prefer. It is a very rich cake, so a little goes a long way


Cake trifle

May 22, 2008

Have you ever wondered what to do with cake scraps? I know it may not be a problem that strikes normal people too often, but as a weirdo who makes cakes very frequently, I often look at the plate of offcuts (for a normal cake I trim the top so it’s flat, but shaped cakes require carving and result in even more wastage) and consider that one day my flatmates may stop eating them.

Last night the plate was piled high, as I baked two cakes, one of which is a special shape. So I decided some trifle was in order. I crumbled the cake into a dish, made up a packet of quick-set strawberry jelly, poured some custard (store-bought – how lazy is that?) over the top, and swirled some ganache on top. It’s pretty messy, but taste definitely made up for that! So if you are a cake-baker who often gets left with scraps, here’s something you can try – and if not, well, this is such a delicious trifle (I’m sure it would be even better with fruit and homemade custard) it might just be worth making up a half version of this chocolate cake recipe purely for the sake of it!


Banana Coconut Bread

May 11, 2008

This yummy banana coconut bread was inspired by Lorraine from Not Quite Nigella‘s Banana Bread Bake off. I had never made banana bread before, but since we had two slightly sad-looking bananas in the cupboard, I figured it was a good time to start! I decided I wanted another flavour, and it struck me that coconut would make a good match. A quick trawl by Google turfed up several recipes, and naturally I chose the one I had the ingredients for already! πŸ˜‰ The recipe is here; I actually didn’t have coconut milk, but had read that normal milk and a little extra vanilla would suffice – I guess it’s not as coconutty, but the flavour was beautiful anyway, and since coconut is (sadly) so full of fat, it’s definitely the healthier option*! I sprinkled some coconut on top, and voila!

We took it to a friend’s birthday picnic yesterday, and it certainly passed the taste test; it was gobbled quite quickly, especially once people discovered it was still warm from the oven. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for hosting your event, Lorraine, it’s fun to have challenges to meet! And if anyone hasn’t looked at Not Quite Nigella yet, go there! It’s an awesome combination of food reviews (in Sydney, sadly for me!) and recipes.

*although, if it’s health food you’re after, banana bread is probably unlikely to satisfy your criteria anyway; in fact, if you’re trying to steer clear of sugar, I’d suggest you’re reading the wrong blog. πŸ˜‰

Edit: Pia commented to let me know the link was broken, and then, wonderfully, she’s relocated the recipe and sent me a link for it! So here it is, just in case it goes AWOL again:

1Β½ cups self-raising flour, sifted
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup mashed banana
1 cup coconut milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Butter, to serve
Preheat oven to 160Β°C. Lightly grease and line a 10 x 20cm loaf pan.
In a large bowl, combine flour, coconut and sugar. In a large jug, whisk together banana, coconut milk, egg and vanilla. Add to flour mixture, stirring until just combined.
Spoon mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 55-60 minutes until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve spread with butter, if liked.

Beer Bread

April 9, 2008

Now, I know this isn’t cake, and sadly I don’t have any pretty pictures for you (it got eaten too quickly – you can’t keep hungry boys away from food for long!), but I highly recommend this recipe if you’re looking for a quick bread accompaniment for soup or something similar. The bread has a doughy texture, and is reasonably dense, but still quite tasty – and you can add olives or sundried tomato or maybe some blue cheese into the mix to make it a bit more interesting if you like.

You won’t believe how easy this is…

Beer Bread
360ml beer
2 2/3 cups self-raising flour

Mix together (the dough will be quite sticky, divide between two loaf tins, and bake for 50 minutes at about 180 degrees celsius.

That’s it! I was looking for a quick bread or bread substitute to pair with a hearty homemade soup for dinner, and stumbled across the recipe on this website, and it sounded too good to be true but I had to try it anyway… And it’s like magic, I tell you. It won’t replace the yummy homemade bread you have to knead and rise and bake, but it’s a pretty good quick fix! Oh, and none of the boys could guess what it was made with, so the beer is not a distinct flavour, just in case the thought worries you. I hate beer, but loved the bread. πŸ˜‰