Saturday, 16 November 2013

Scrumdidlyumptious Ice Cream Sandwiches

Choc Chip Macadamia Cookies
Yarra Valley Mixed Berry Ice Cream,
Nespresso Coffee Ice Cream
Rocky Road Ice Cream covered
with a Hot Fudge Sauce

One of my weaknesses is a cooking magazine. I know every recipe ever created is now online but I still love the comfort and familiarity of a beautiful glossy magazine enjoyed in a quiet moment with a cup of coffee.

Last month I discovered a wonderful new magazine called TASTE MAGAZINE published by News Life Media. At only $4.99 it is a brilliant buy!

Each issue has a Cook The Cover competition and this month I set myself the challenge to enter and try to win a beautiful Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker.

I have never made ice cream before and after making three flavours by hand, I am even more keen to win the Breville Smart Scoop Ice Cream Maker. There are however, many excellent entries so I am not overly confident but it was an interesting challenge anyway and the family loved my creations!

Macadamia Choc-Chunk Biscuits
The recipe for these cookies was provided for us in the Taste Magazine. These cookies were sweet, crunchy and incredibly addictive. The crunchiness of the cookie paired perfectly with the squishiness of the ice cream. The Hot Fudge Sauce was a little extra that made them even more decadent.

Yarra Valley Mixed Berry Ice Cream
Adapted from Food 52 blog

3 cups of strained mixed berries (blend berries and strain well, frozen berries work fine)
2 1/4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup full cream milk
1 1/2 cups half and half cream
1/2 vanilla bean
1 cup sugar
5 egg yolks
1 tablespoon Chambord (optional) - this is a raspberry liqueur
  1. In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks and set aside.
  2. Add the cream, full cream milk and sugar to a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the insides in. Then toss in the pod, for good measure. Heat just to a simmer.
  3. Add about 1/4 cup of the hot liquid to the egg yolks, whisking furiously to temper the yolks. Add another 1/2 cup, continuing to whisk. Then, scrape the egg mixture into the pot with the rest of the liquid is. Cook, stirring constantly at a low simmer until the mixture thickens to a custard consistency, thick enough to thickly coat the back of a spoon.
  4. Strain the custard into a bowl. Stir in the raspberry puree and Chambord until completely mixed. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (I like to leave mine overnight). Then, churn in an ice cream machine according to your machine's directions or hand churn (using the method below), transfer to a container and freeze.
  5. Use to assemble ice cream sandwiches with the cookies.
Nespresso Coffee Ice Cream
1 can [14 ounces] sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup strong cold coffee or cold press
2 cups cold heavy cream
  1.  In a medium bowl, stir together condensed milk, vanilla and coffee.
  2. With a standing mixer, whip cream on medium high until soft peaks form. Whisk one third of whipped cream into coffee mixture. Fold remaining whipped cream into coffee mixture until incorporated. Pour into a regular sized loaf pan, and freeze until firm, 6 hours [or, covered, up to 1 week].
Rocky Road Ice Cream
Adapted from Sweet and Crunchy Blog

2 cups of heavy cream
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup miniature marshmallows
3/4 cup roasted salted almonds (you could also use walnuts, pecans, or even hazelnuts)
  1. Begin by coarsely chopping the almonds. You don't want them too small but whole almonds are not great to bite into in ice cream. It's important to use roasted nuts for the crunch.
  2. Place the condensed milk in a bowl, and add the unsweetened cocoa powder. Whisk them together until the cocoa has dissolved into the condensed milk. At first it will be chalky and powdery but keep mixing and it will end up smooth and glossy.
  3. Add the miniature marshmallows and the chopped almonds to the cocoa mixture, and stir them together until they are well mixed and covered with chocolate.
  4. Pour the cream into the bowl of a stand mixer and whip on medium-high speed until it forms gentle peaks. It should have a lot of body and hold peaks when you drag the whisk through it, but it should still be soft and not firmly whipped or, even worse, curdled and buttery. 
  5. Add the cocoa mixture to the bowl of whipped cream and begin gently folding them together. You don't want to stir too vigorously and deflate the cream.
  6. When you’re finished your mixture should be without any streaks of chocolate or whipped cream.
  7. Scrape your ice cream mixture into a large plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. You could also just freeze it in the bowl you mixed it in, covered very well with plastic wrap. (That’s not a good long-term storage solution, though, because it doesn’t prevent freezer burn or bad odours from creeping in. So just transfer any leftovers to a sturdier container.) Freeze the rocky road ice cream until it’s firm enough to scoop, which should be about 4-6 hours, depending on the temperature of your freezer.
Hot Fudge Chocolate Sauce
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
3 ounces good bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, cup into small cubes
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Stir together in a small saucepan cocoa powder, brown sugar, corn syrup, cream, salt and half of the chopped milk chocolate.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until chocolate is melted. Cook mixture at a low boil, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove pan from heat, add remaining chocolate, butter and vanilla and stir until smooth.
  4. Any leftover sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container. Reheat over low heat, stirring or in the microwave.
Tips for Construction of the Ice Cream Sandwiches 
  1. Freeze the cookies for 15 minutes before construction.
  2. Leave the ice cream out on the bench for to soften slightly.
  3. Move quickly
  4. Have the Hot Fudge Sauce ready to go.
  5. Take the cookies out of the freezer and place a scoop of ice cream on each and squash down with the back of a spoon.
  6. Return the cookie to the freezer while you fill the remaining cookies.
  7. When all cookies are fill, remove and splodge on some of the hot fudge sauce and top with another cookie. Push down a little to squeeze ice cream and sauce to the very edges.
  8. These are best eaten on the day of construction but can be placed in the freezer.
Roald Dahl would have been proud!!


Monday, 11 November 2013

#BundtaMonth Tennessee Jam Bundt

Welcome to my first attempt at the #BundtaMonth Challenge. The theme for this month is Jam and I have chosen to make a Tennessee Jam Bundt cake. I have adapted the recipe from the Southern Living blog. There are many variations but to fit more with this month's theme of Jam, I omitted the Caramel Frosting and drizzled my cake with more sticky, sweet, gooey jam. The family have also enjoyed it warmed with ice cream.

Tennessee Jam Bundt
Makes 12 servings
 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
250g butter, softened
4 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups seedless blackberry jam
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Garnishes: Fresh mint leaves, blackberries

1. Preheat oven to 180°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 160°.

2. Beat granulated sugar and butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

3. Stir together flour and next 5 ingredients and set aside. Stir together buttermilk and baking soda. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition.

4. Add jam and vanilla and beat until just blended. Stir in toasted pecans.

5. Grease a 10-inch (12-cup) Bundt pan. Pour batter into prepared pan.

6. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack 20 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely.

This is a very moist and sweet cake with a lovely soft crumb. It is a little bit fruity, a little bit spicy, a little bit nutty and quite delicious. I think if I were to make it again, I would omit the cocoa powder so that the jam flavour would be more prominent and perhaps the sugar a little. A tart lemon icing would also work. I had beautiful blackberries and fresh mint to decorate. I picked up the blackberries at the local farmer's market yesterday. They were grown in the Yarra Valley but due to it being a little early for berries they were frozen.
I hope you enjoy my post and I look forward to joining in again next month.

Here's how you can be a part of #BundtaMonth:
  • Simple rule: Bake us a bundt using your favorite jam
  • Post it before November 30, 2013
  • Use the #BundtaMonth hashtag in your title. (For ex: title could read – #BundtaMonth: Raspberry Jam Bundt with Peanut Butter Glaze
  • Add your entry to the Linky tool below
  • Link back to our announcement posts 
Even more bundt fun! Follow Bundt-a-Month on Facebook where we feature all our gorgeous bundt cakes. Or head over to our Pinterest Board for inspiration and choose from hundreds of Bundt cake recipes.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Brown Butter Spiced Apple Cake Cookies #CreativeCookieExchange

Cooking means something different to everyone. In fact cooking has meant something different to me throughout the many different life stages that I have experienced.

When I first moved out of home I cooked from necessity (we had to eat), when I first got married I cooked what was cheap and to please my new husband and now still with the husband but with two lovely additions, I cook for health and/or smiles.

I love to try new techniques  and cook with new ingredients. This is why the Creative Cookie Exchange is such a good fit for me. I get to please my family whilst discovering new recipes. This month's key ingredient is APPLES.

These cookies are delicious. They are a soft, moist ball of yummy goodness. The cream cheese frosting used to sandwich them together takes them to an even greater height so don't skimp on the filling put a good dollop!! I kept mine quite small because they are quite substantial but you can always have two!

Brown Butter Apple Spice Cake Cookies
Recipe thanks to Guilty Kitchen

Yield: 6 sandwich cookies or 12 plain cookies
(I made mine quite small and got many more than this) Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

1/2 cup salted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup, granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg, grated
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 cup quick cooking oats
2 large apples, peeled, cored and shredded or diced
3/4 cup toasted pecan pieces **
1. In small saucepan on medium high heat, melt butter. Swirl (do not stir!) the butter every so often, until it becomes a darker shade and begins to get a bit foamy. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. In large bowl, stir together sugars and all other dry ingredients.
3. In separate bowl, whisk together egg and vanilla. Slowly add butter to egg mixture while whisking.
4. Stir egg/butter mix into dry ingredients. Stir in apple and pecans.
5. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour or over night.
6. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out, level off and place cake batter 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking tray.
7. Bake in 350°F oven for 15-20 minutes.
** To toast pecans: Chop pecan halves into small pieces (about 5mm or 1/8″). Place on cookie sheet and bake for about 5 minutes at 425°F OR In a small, heavy bottomed pan set to high heat, swirl nuts for about 5 minutes or until browned.

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz Cream Cheese (Light okay, no fat not okay), room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup salted butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1. Whisk together until thick and completely combined. Cover and chill until needed.
To assemble your Cookie Sandwiches, simply put a dollop of chilled frosting onto a chilled cookie and sandwich another cookie right on top. Divine!
My kids were extremely happy with these declaring:

"They had never tasted something so yummy!!!"


Friday, 1 November 2013

Scavenger Hunt (October)

Here are my photos for the October Scavenger Hunt. I had fun with them again and thank Made With Love for once again hosting and giving us some challenging words. I hope I did the list justice.
Orange: This is predominantly an orange juice bar in the centre of Melbourne city. I loved the decoration of the front façade.
2: The number of the Scenic Route along the Yarra River.
Flower: This is a new variety of rose my Mum and I found! The perfection of a rose never ceases to amaze me.
Rubbish: Melbourne is very well known for alleys and laneways but it's usually for the cafes and eateries not the rubbish!
Emotion: This picture on a shop wall shows lots of emotions. Apologies for the slight reflection, it was through a window.
Flight: A wonderful view from the plane window on our last flight to Sydney.
Homemade: These are handmade knitted possum pouches I have been working on for Wildlife Victoria. They are the perfect size for rescued little possums and joeys.
Black and White: A hard time choosing so please forgive me for including two. My Son made his Communion this month. The group all dressed beautifully in their black and white.
 Some of my favourite liquorice allsorts from the show bag my husband bought me at the Melbourne Show.
Coffee Time: Enjoying a coffee at my favourite café, the iconic, Brunetti's in Lygon Street, Melbourne.
Balloon:  Some of the balloons we had up for Halloween. It's not celebrated very much in Australia however we had about 100 kids call by. Thank goodness I stocked up on lollies.
Weather Cock: This one held up my entire collection and I had to resort to photographing one in our local nursery. It really was a lovely one.
Fridge Magnet: We have one of the slightly ridiculous refrigerators built into the kitchen cupboard, so unfortunately no fridge magnets in our house. I did however purchase one of these to send to my relatives in Wales!
Like each day, each month comes with it's own challenges. May everyone's November be a good one.

Thank you for visiting, it really does make my day to read your comments.

If you would like to join in with November then following the link to November's list.


Sunday, 6 October 2013

Creative Cookie Exchange: Belgium Biscuits

My husband announced last night that he might GIVE UP SUGAR!!!!

Whilst I think there is some merit to this statement, I was horrified as I LOVE TO BAKE!  In fact, I have just decided to join the Creative Cookie Exchange run by Laura (The Spiced Life) and Rebecka (At Home with Rebecka) after my very good friend at Made with Love joined the group.

Each month an ingredient or theme will be selected and then we all have fun baking and sharing our creations.

This month's theme is Back to School

As the kids return to school tomorrow, after a two week holiday break, I thought a treat was needed and chose these
Belgium Biscuits!
These biscuits were a delicious treat and look fabulous. A combination of an extremely short spiced biscuit, sweet vanilla flavoured icing and strawberry jam. Definitely for the sweet-tooth.
I made them with Strawberry Jam and perhaps the tartness of the Raspberry Jam would have been better. However, my kids loved them!!!
125g butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon cocoa
1 cup icing sugar sifted
1/4 teaspoon raspberry or vanilla essence
A few drops of pink food colouring
1/2 cup raspberry or strawberry jam (approx.)
Pink Sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
A drop or two of pink food colouring
1. Preheat the oven to 180c/350F.
2. Cream the softened butter and sugar in an electric mixer and light and fluffy.
3. Add the egg and beat well.
4. Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, mixed spice and cocoa.
5. Add to the butter mixture and combine to form a firm dough.
The dough will be very crumbly but will come together.
6. Roll out the dough on baking paper to 3mm thick.
7. Cut out 6.5cm circles and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
8. Re-roll any scraps. This may be a little harder to roll but can be used for the bases if not perfect.
9. Bake at 180c/350F for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
10. When cold ice half of the biscuits and sprinkle with the coloured sugar.
11. Spread the other half of the biscuits with jam and place an iced biscuit on top.
Sift the icing sugar and mix with flavouring of your choice and colouring. Add sufficient water to make a pink icing of spreading consistency.
Pink Sugar
Place the sugar and food colouring in a small ziplock bag.  Seal tightly and shake the sugar and rub through the colouring until an even colour is obtained.
Tip: It is a good idea to fill them with jam as you need them so the biscuit doesn't go soft.
Want to join in the Creative Cookie Exchange fun? Here’s how:

1. Write a blog post with recipe and original photo (please include some language here specific to that month’s theme). We would like the recipe to be one you’re making for the first time, and photos must be original.

2. Post the Cookie Exchange logo somewhere on your blog post so others can join in the fun:

3. Make a good faith effort to visit and comment on the other cookies in the Linky party. We all love cookies so that should be easy!

4. LIKE the Creative Cookie Exchange Facebook Page

5. FOLLOW the Creative Cookie Exchange Pinterest Board

6. LINK your blog post below using the Linky tool


Sunday Brunch

Daylight savings started yesterday in Melbourne and after a bit of a Sunday sleep in, breakfast quickly turned into brunch, lunch became afternoon tea and I ran terribly late with dinner.

As breakfast was so late I decided to cook a yummy brunch for the family.

Poached Eggs with Wilted Spinach
and Thyme Mushrooms

Ingredients (Serves 2)
1 tsp white vinegar
2 tbsp flaxseed oil or olive oil
4 field mushrooms or equivalent, sliced
3 sprigs of lemon thyme, leaves removed
1/4 cup verjuice
100g bag of baby leaf spinach
4 slices ham off the bone or bacon
2 eggs
2 slices chunky bread (eg sourdough)
1. Heat oil in non-stick frypan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and thyme leaves and cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes. When the mushrooms are soft add verjuice and stir to combine. Transfer to a bowl to keep warm.
2. Return pan to the heat, cook the ham/bacon for 2 minutes each side or until golden around the edges.  Transfer to plate to keep warm.
3. Fill a small frypan with water. Bring to the boil and then add the vinegar. Break an egg into a bowl. Reduce to a simmer and gently slide the egg into the water and cook for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining eggs.
4. While the eggs are cooking toast the bread and gently panfry the spinach until slightly wilted.
5. Cut the toast in half and place onto plates with ham, mushrooms and spinach. Top with eggs and season with salt and pepper to serve.  


Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Birthday Time - Basketball Cake

It was my daughters 12th Birthday last month. I cannot believe how much she has grown and matured in the past year. She is growing into a most beautiful, kind, generous, caring and smart young lady.

She decided to have a Bowling Party but her true love at the moment is Basketball so it only made sense that her birthday cake would be Basketball themed. Our family really "do" birthday cakes and despite her party being a rather small gathering, the cake had to match previous years. The bottom tier was vanilla cake iced with purple and white pettinice and the half ball was chocolate cake iced with orange buttercream and licorice. It was such fun to make! We were running a little late for the party so the photos aren't fantastic.

Since moving to Melbourne my daughter has been really lucky to find a wonderful group of girlfriends and I truly hope the friendships she shares with them last her well into High School next year!  The party was a blast and the best compliment came from one of her friends saying, "Mrs B, you have created a piece of art!" The smiles on their faces when we brought it out was enough thanks.