A chocolate heaven cake and a giveaway to the Melbourne Good Food and Wine Show

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It’s nearly time for the Good food and wine show in Melbourne again.  I have gone almost every year. I love to get new ideas and inspirations from well renowned chefs and new produce I am introduced to.

This year Melbournians will get the chance to see popular UK chef Ainsley Harriott.  He has been appointed the face of this year’s Good food and wine show in Melbourne.  He will be present all 4 days during the show 5-8 June .  Ainsley will share tips and handy ticks during his live cooking demonstrations.

I have followed his career for many years and have collected a lot of his cook books.  I have also managed to cook many recipes from his books.

In celebration of  his appearance in this year’s show I have decided to share one of my favourite recipe of his.  The chocolate heaven cake.  This cake is to die for.  It really is heavenly.  Hubby says it’s light, fluffy and rich all at the same time.

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Recipe:

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 150g softened unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  •  1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 2 tbs cocoa powder
  • 200ml sour cream , at room temperature

Frosting

  • 350g dark chocolate
  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 400g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225ml milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 180degC (160degC fanforced)
  2. Prepare 3x 20cm round baking tins
  3. In a heatproof bowl, break the chocolate into pieces and melt over a pan of barely simmering water. Remove from the heat, stir until smooth and cool slightly.
  4. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Gradually add the eggs, mixing well after each addition.  Add the vanilla extract and melted chocolate and mix until smooth.
  5. Sieve together the flour, baking powder, bicarb soda and cocoa.  Fold into the creamed mixture in alternate batches with the sour cream.  Mix well between each addition.
  6. Divide the mixture evenly between the 3 tins and bake for about 25 minutes, until the cakes are springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the middle of one of them comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Once the cakes are completely cold, make the frosting.  In a large bowl, melt the butter with the chocolate chunks set over a pan of barely simmering water.  Melt until smooth, stirring occasionally.  In another bowl, whisk together the icing sugar, vanilla extract and milk until completely smooth.  Add the melted chocolate and butter and mix until combined.  Set aside for about 30 minutes to thicken slightly.
  8. Place one of the cakes on a serving plate and spread with a little frosting.  Cover with another cake and more frosting.  Top with the remaining cake and lightly press all the cake layers together.  Use a palette knife to spread the remaining frosting evenly over the top and sides of the cake.

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Would you like to attend the Good Food and Wine show in Melbourne?  I have a double pass to the show to giveaway to one of my readers.

It is simple to enter.  Just leave a comment below and share this post on Facebook and twitter.  This competition is only for readers who are able to attend the show in Melbourne.  The competition does not include flights or accommodation.

Competition ends midnight 24th may 2015.  I will contact the winner via email.

For more information on the Good food and wine show click here

Good Luck,

Cherrie

Apple and Raspberry Streusel

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To be honest, I’m not familiar with streusel.  I saw the recipe for rhubarb and apple streusel and I was curious.  Hubby is not a fan of rhubarb so I substituted it for fresh raspberries instead.

I’m glad I tried it because it was well accepted by the family.  I like the spongey cake at the base, tangy taste of the fruit, then the sweet streusel topping.

Definitely will be making this one again.

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recipe:

  • 100g softened butter
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 100g plain flour, sifted
  • 35g self raising flour, sifted
  • 1 tbs custard powder
  • 1 punnet fresh raspberries (125g)
  • 2 large granny smith apples, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2 tbs honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp orange zest

streusel:

  • 75g plain flour
  • 35g self raising flour
  • 75g brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 80g chopped butter
  1. Make the streusel:  Using a food processor, blend the flours, sugar and cinnamon until combined.  Add the butter and process again until ingredients come together.  Wrap in cling film and freeze.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180degC (160degC fanforced)
  3. Line a lamington pan (20cm x 30cm) with baking paper
  4. Beat the butter, sugar and egg yolk in a bowl until light and fluffy
  5. Stir in the flours and custard powder.  Press the mixture over the base of the pan.
  6. Bake the base for about 20 mins.  Cool for 15 mins.
  7. Meanwhile, in a saucepan cook the apple, honey and orange zest, stirring occasionally until the apples are tender.  Turn off the heat then add the raspberries.  Cool for 15 mins.
  8. Spread the apple and raspberry mixture over the base then coarsely grate the streusel over the fruit.
  9. Bake for about 15 mins.

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Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

My Easter 2015. Time spent with Family

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Easter 2015.

Easter this year, like most years, is spent with family.  During the Easter season, I am most thankful for the family and my friends around me.  Most of my days are focused on work and duties on being a wife and a mother.  I am constantly busy planning our days and weeks ahead that sometimes it is hard to live in the present.

This year, I spent 5 days focused on what is important.  My Family.  I love to have my table laden with food that has been prepared with love.

Here is how I spent my last few days :)

Good Friday is always spent at my Mother in law’s home.  We are always well fed.  But for some reason (mostly due to the consumption of (numerous) glasses of wine) I forgot to take photos of the delicious roasted salmon and barbecued vegetables we ate.

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For dinner I had my #luxbitefamily over for a pot luck dinner.  Nothing can go wrong with a bunch of foodies and chefs over for dinner.

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We had a feast.  It is very rare that we are all able to get together for a meal.

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I baked my Easter Hummingbird cake.  It’s moist and light.  I love this cake and I’m happy to say that it went down a treat with my co-workers.

On Easter Saturday, the day was warm and the sun was shinning.  A perfect day for a drive with Hubby, Kiddies and my parents.  We took a day trip along the Victorian coast to Torquay.

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Easter Sunday.

My dear friend, Hilda, whom I have known for many years, came over with her family for lunch.  We used to work together back in my corporate days. We have kept in touch after I left and we are still so close.  So close that she became Thomas’ God mother.  Along with my parents, we enjoyed lunch together.

I was lucky to have received a pack from Murray Valley Pork.  I roasted up a pork shoulder that was boned and rolled.  The skin came out super crispy and the meat was so tender and moist.  My tip to achieve this is to pump up the heat of your oven to 220degC for the first 20 mins to get the crackling going then turn the heat down to 180 and cook for 20mins for every 500g of the pork.

 

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Dessert was meringue nests with cream and strawberries.  I have to say the meringues came out really well.  I used Mary Berry’s recipe this time round and I think it turned out to be the best I’ve made.  Hilda also brought some of Phillippa’s hot cross buns and crepe cakes from Mille & B.

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Easter Monday.

easter13Family time at Nature Play at Royal Park.  We discovered this park a couple weeks back. It’s a great park for all ages of children.  There is also a wet area for hot days.  But on this day, we kept ourselves dry.

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The Simnel Cake I baked for Hubby.  I don’t eat fruit cake and marzipan so it’s all for him.

Tuesday.

I had the day off so we went out for breakfast and a movie.

We try to eat locally to support great businesses in our area.  Unfortunately, there are not many in our area but when we do find a good one, supporting them is important so they survive.

Before heading off to watch a family movie, we had breaky at a local cafe, Red Beetle. Cafe.  Their food is honest and hearty.  It is affordable and will warm up your tummy.

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I am happy to have spent days with my family to create happy memories.  These days are precious.

Bon Apetite,

Cherrie

Triple Choc Fudge and Cherry Baked Cheesecake

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Cookies!

I love all kinds of cookies.  Not only do I love to eat them, I also love to bake with it.

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This recipe using Byron Bay Cookies Triple Choc Fudge is amazing.  The fudge cookies gives the cheesecake a fudgey-ness that makes the cheesecake very decadent.  Please try!  If you have any left over filling, like I did, simply place it in the fridge and let it set just like mousse.  Best eaten with a spoon straight out of the fridge :)

Ingredients:

480g Byron Bay Cookies Triple Choc Fudge (for base) and an extra 120g for mixing

100g butter melted and extra for greasing

250g dark chocolate melts

500g spreadable cream cheese

1/2 cup caster sugar

3 eggs

1 tbs plain flour

300ml thickened cream

120g cherry jam

300ml thickened cream (whipped) for serving (optional)

Fresh cherries for serving

Lightly grease and line the base of 22cm spring-form pan with baking paper.

Process the cookies until fine crumbs form.  Add melted butter and process until well combined.  Press mixture into the base of pan.  Refrigerate for 30minutes.

Preheat oven to 180degC (160degC fan forced)

Melt chocolate in a bowl over boiling water until just melted.  Stir and set aside.

Using an electric hand beater, mix cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, and add flour.

Add melted chocolate and cream and crumble the remaining 120g cookies.  Stir through mixture and swirl through cherry jam.  Spoon mixture onto biscuit base.

Place cheesecake onto middle rack of oven and bake for 45 minutes.  Allow to cool in oven with door ajar for 1 hour.

To serve cheesecake, release from spring-form pan and transfer to serving plate.  Decorate with cream or fresh cherries.

IMG_6991Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

Summer Tastes with Manu

Manu

I got the opportunity to have a chat with Manu Feildel when we did his Summer tastes cooking demonstration at Highpoint Shopping Centre’s Fresh Food Mall.  I got to ask him for his tips and tricks on Summer barbequing and best ideas for picnics.

Click on the link below to watch my one-on-one interview with Manu thanks to Murray Valley Pork.

http://youtu.be/QckalUwiiTQ

 

Bon Apetite,

Cherrie

My review of the Tefal OptiGrill

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Thanks to Bing Lee, I was given the opportunity to test and review the Tefal OptiGrill.

The OptiGrill is one of Tefal’s popular kitchen products.

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Product features:

It cooks 6 different types of meat plus vegetables to different cooking levels.

It automatically adjusts the cooking times for different types and thickness of meat.

The automatic cooking indicator changes colour and beeps to let you know where your cooking level is at.

It has both a manual function (for cooking vegetables) and a frozen function.

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Why I like it:

It comes with a recipe book full of delicious recipes that I have tried and was loved by the family.

It’s “hubby-friendly”.  Since I come home late from work, hubby easily uses the OptiGrill to cook dinner without any fuss.

I love how the cooking indicator changes colour depending on the doneness of your meat.  When it moves to the next level of cooking it will beep. You don’t even need to be in the kitchen while your dinner is cooking.

It’s slick looking.  It can be left out on the bench and it won’t ruin the look of your kitchen :)

Easy to clean.  I dislike using appliances that have 101 pieces that need to be taken apart and washed.  The plates on the grill can be taken off easily and placed in the dishwasher.

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I read reviews online of the grill and I’m not the only ones that love it.

One down side is that it’s too small for a large family.  I can comfortably use it for my family of 2 adults and 2 young children.  When I think of larger families, it may take longer to cook as the plates may be too small.  Meals will need to cooked in batches.

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I first tried cooking lamb chops.  It was recommended to chose boneless meat as the bone will prevent a uniform level for cooking on both sides of the meat.  Since we already had the lamb chops, we tried it anyway.  To me, the chops were cooked perfectly.  We also grilled slices of potatoes.  I used a recipe in the recipe book that came with the grill. You need to make sure you slice the potatoes the same width. The thinner potatoes were not cooking as fast.  I found myself keeping an eye on it and removing ones that were already done.  To me, that’s not too much of a big deal.

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Our next meal was burgers at my son, Thomas’ request. After placing the burgers on the grill, I simply selected the burger option and waited the cooking level indicator to turn to medium.  It was that simple.

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RRP: AUD$229.95

It can be purchased at Bing Lee for $199 (at the time of writing this post)

If you are looking for a grill that is convenient, healthy and easy to use, I suggest you purchase the Tefal OptiGrill.  I’m glad I’ve got one :)

Bon Apetite,

Cherrie

 

Mediterranean Ploughman’s Lunch and Baker’s Delight Pack Giveaway.

bakers delight turkish bread

I had the opportunity to try the new Baker’s Delight Turkish Bread Roll.  They have different flavours to try, including sea salt and chilli and garlic.  I love this roll as it’s not only full of flavour but it’s soft and it can be used as a roll for sandwiches.

I decided to make a ploughman’s lunch and made a chicken liver pate to accompany the delicious bread roll.  I decided to grill the roll to warm it up which brought the flavours out even more.  To complete the platter, I added a ploughman’s flavoured cheese from Mersey Valley, pickled gherkins, celery and apple slices.

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recipe:

  • 200g chicken livers, trimmed and stringy sinews removed.
  • 150g butter, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 onion , finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1 tbs brandy
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • 25g melted butter, for topping
  • 2 sprigs of thyme for garnish
  1. Rinse the chicken livers and pat dry with kitchen paper
  2. Melt 15g of the butter in a large frying pan, then add the garlic and onions.  Cook for about 5 mins until softened.
  3. Add the livers and thyme and cook for 3-4 mins continually stirring until the livers are coloured on the outside but pink in the centre.  Pour in the brandy and cook for a further 10 seconds then turn off the heat.  Add the remaining butter and nutmeg to the pan and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Set aside for a few minutes for the butter to soften then puree the mixture in batches in a blender until smooth.
  5. Spoon the pate into a 500ml capacity terrine dish and chill.
  6. Melt the extra butter and pour over the pate and place the thyme sprigs on top.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before eating.

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Thanks to Baker’s delight, I have a giveaway pack for my readers to make their own delicious platters.

Pack includes a solid timber bread board, a bread knife, a Baker’s delight bread bag, a recipe card and a $10 Baker’s delight gift voucher.

All you need to do is leave a comment telling me what you would include on your delicious  platter.

Competition is open to all Australian residents and the competition closes midnight 23rd November 2014.  Please share on instagram, facebook and twitter to better your chances.

Competition is now closed and I have chosen a Winner.

AND the winner is …  Emily..  Congratulations.  You will be contacted via email.

 

good luck,

Cherrie.