Stromboli- a Fantastic Picnic Loaf

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This one has been sitting and waiting to be blogged.  I don’t know why it took me so long because I really wanted to share this recipe with you as it’s a family favourite. You will never have a boring sandwich for your picnics ever again!

This was the first time I’ve made a stromboli.  I’ve made similar loaves but this one was far the best one I’ve made and eaten.  We took it out on one of our family days and it was a hit with the family.  It’s basically a sandwich and filling baked all in one.  You can choose what ever filling you and your family wants.  I made one with two different fillings.  One side for me and hubby with roasted peppers, pastrami, salami, and mozzarella cheese while I filled the other half with ham and cheddar cheese for the kids.   A two in one!!

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The recipe below is slight variation from Jo Wheatly, the winner of BBC’s The Great British Bake Off.

Recipe:

  • 340g strong white flour (bread flour), plus extra for kneading
  • 7g fast action yeast
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 200ml warm water
  • 4 springs of rosemary

fillings:

  • 1 jar of basil and parmesan tapenade
  • 1 small jar of roasted peppers in olive oil
  • 100g sun-dried tomatoes
  • 150g mozzarella cheese
  1. Combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.
  2. Add 2tbs of olive oil from the roasted peppers and add 200 ml of the water.  Mix until you have a soft dough.
  3. Knead with hands for 10 mins or mixer with a dough hook  for 6 mins.
  4. Once the dough is smooth and elastic, place in a large oiled bowl .  Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  5. Turn out onto a floured work surface and knead for 1 minute to knock back and then roll into a 40cm x 20cm rectangle.
  6. Spread the tapenade then scatter the fillings evenly over the dough.
  7. Fold the shorter ends of the rectangle over and roll the dough into a tight Swiss roll spiral.
  8. Carefully transfer to a baking tray with the seam on the bottom.
  9. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to prove again for another 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  10. Preheat over to 220degC (200degC fanforced)
  11. Brush with a little olive oil and push the rosemary springs onto the top.
  12. Bake in the middle of the oven for 30 mins until golden brown, then turn down the temperature to 200degC (180degC fanforced) for another 10 minutes
  13. Cool and then cut into thick slices to serve.

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Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

 

 

Mini Limoncello Meringue Pies

 

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I’m happy to say that our lemon tree is now giving us constant supply of lemons.  Having said that though, I need to keep finding ways of using up all the lemons.  So far, I’ve managed to use them up in mostly sweets and desserts. Hey, what can I say? My family love desserts :p

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I found this recipe in one of my many Women’s Weekly cookbooks.  I’ve made lemon curd many times before and I usually use the same recipe but I thought I’d try this one as it also uses limoncello.  I like this recipe too.  It’s not as tart and it’s a little sweeter.  This recipe states that you should make the curd the day before, unfortunately, I wasn’t quite so organised.  I let the curd chill in the fridge for a few hours before using it.  It was still a little runny but it didn’t affect the flavour or the final outcome.

I used a blow torch for the meringue on top, however if you don’t have a torch, you can place in a hot oven (240degc) for a couple of minutes until the meringue gives a nice brown colour.

 

mini lemon meringue tart

 

Recipe:

  • 260g plain flour
  • 40g icing sugar
  • 185g cold unsalted butter, chopped coarsely
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp iced water, approx.
  • 3 egg whites
  • 165g caster sugar

 

Limoncello curd:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 1tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 60ml lemon juice
  • 90g cold unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1 tbs limoncello liqueur

 

Make the limoncello curd:

  1. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in medium heatproof bowl until pale and thickened slightly.
  2. Add the zest and juice, stir over medium saucepan of simmering water about 10-12 minutes or until mixture coats the back of a spoon.
  3. Remove from heat, gradually whisk in butter until combined between additions.
  4. Stir in limoncello; cover, refrigerate overnight.

 

Make the pie :

  1. Process flour, icing sugar and butter until crumbly.  With motor operating, add egg yolk and enough of the water to make ingredients cling together.  Turn dough into floured surface, knead gently until smooth.  Wrap pastry in plastic.  Refrigerate for 30 mins.
  2. Grease two 12 hole mini muffin pans.  Roll out the pastry between sheets of baking paper until about 5mm thick.  Cut out 6cm rounds then press into holes of the pan.  Prick base of cases with a fork.  Refrigerate 30mins
  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 220degC
  4. Bake cases about 8-12mins then stand for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool.
  5. Beat egg whites ina small bowl with electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Gradually add caster sugar, beating until dissolved between additons.
  6. Divide the limoncello curd into cases.
  7. Spoon meringue mixture into piping bag fitted with 1cm plain tube.  Pipe meringue over curd.
  8. Use a blow torch to brown the meringue.

 

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Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

Choc-Peppermint Slice

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Hubby has asked me repeatedly to make him a peppermint slice. I, too, wanted to make it for a while and I finally got round to it.  I found a recipe in one of my AWW cookbooks and I knew it wouldn’t disappoint.

What I really like about this recipe is that it isn’t too pepperminty and if you use good quality chocolate for the topping, the slice becomes very addictive. So this recipe comes with a warming.  Please be careful when consuming. You cannot stop at just one slice.

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Recipe:

  • 250g plain biscuits (I used milk arrowroot but you can use Marie or any other sweet ones)
  • 100g butter, chopped
  • 125ml sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 x 35g peppermint crisp chocolate bars, chopped coarsely

Chocolate topping:

  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped coarsely
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  1. Grease a 19cm x 29cm slice pan and line with baking paper.
  2. In a food processor add the biscuits and process until fine.
  3. Combine butter and milk in a small saucepan .  Stir over low heat until smooth.
  4. In a bowl, add the biscuits and the chocolate bar.  Stir in the butter mixture until well combined.
  5. Press the mixture into the prepared pan.  Refrigerate for 20 mins or until set.
  6. Meanwhile, stir the chocolate and oil in a small heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water until smooth.
  7. Spread the mixture over the slice.  Refrigerate until firm.
  8. Enjoy!

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Bon appetite,

Cherrie

Banana Fudge Layer Cake for Great Food Blogger Bake Off

 

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I think you all must know by now how much I love to bake.  I try to bake at least once a week for my family.  It can be anything from bread to cakes and cupcakes and of course everything in between.

Last month, I invited a group of other food bloggers for a bake off pot luck.  Everyone had to bring a savoury bake and a sweet show topper.  We were all a little nervous and the flurry of tweets and instagrams ( #GFBBO) prior to the gathering showed just that. But just like every other food blogger pot luck, everyone delivered the goods (literally).

For my savoury bake, I baked Paul Hollywood’s bacon and cheddar loaves.  I’ve baked them before and you can find the recipe here.

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I decided to bake a Banana fudge layer cake. I got the recipe from the Great Australian Bake Off cook book but it is also featured in the Great British one.  I just made a tiny change. I added whipped cream in between the layers. I thought it just lightens the whole cake.  This cake is perfect for occasions as it looks spectacular but most importantly, it’s not difficult to make.

banana fudge slice

 

Recipe:

For the sponge:

  • 175g unsalted butter, softened
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 25g brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature, beaten
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla paste/extract
  • 3 tsp milk, at room temperature

For the filling and topping:

  • 175g brown sugar
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 75ml plus 200ml double (or thickened) cream
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 ripe bananas, thinly sliced
  • Preheat oven to 180degC.
  1. In a large bowl or electric mixer beat the butter until creamy.  Gradually beat in the 2 sugars until the mixture turns paler in colour and becomes light and fluffy.
  2. Gradually add eggs, beating well after each addition.  Sift the flour into the bowl and fold into the mixture with a large metal spoon.  Combine the vanilla and milk and fold in.
  3. Evenly divide the mixture into 3 x 20cm prepared tins.  Bake for 15-18 minutes or until light golden brown.
  4. Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, make the fudge mixture by putting the sugar, butter and 75ml of cream in a saucepan over a low heat.  Stir frequently until the butter has melted.  Turn up the heat and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the mixture from catching on the base of the pan.  Take the pan off the heat and vigorously stir for 30 seconds.  Add the sea salt flakes.  Leave to cool.
  6. Whip the cream until soft peaks
  7. To assemble, spread one third of the cream on top each cake, then layer the banana slices on top of the cream.  Choose one cake to be the top layer and place the banana slices decoratively on top. Now slowly pour or swirl the caramel fudge over the bananas letting some of the caramel drip over the edges.  Now carefully, place each cake on top of each other, making sure it is straight.

Tip: For even cake layers, weigh the cake batter and divide evenly into thirds.

Our savoury table:

savoury collage

 

Our sweet table:

sweet table

 

For pics of what fantastic bakes we had that day look up #GFBBO on twitter and instagram

Bon appetite,

Cherrie

Toasted Pavlova Roulade with Bulla Vanilla Flavoured Cream

Pavlova Roulade 1

When I heard that Bulla Dairy Foods thickened cream have added vanilla and chocolate flavours to their product line, I was excited to try, especially the chocolate flavoured cream.  However, when I went to the supermarket, the vanilla one was the only flavour available.  That was ok, I wanted to try this one too.
I decided to make Shangri-La Hotel Sydney’s Pastry Chef, Anna Polyviou’s recipe for a pavlova roulade.  The recipe is available online but I’ve included it below for your convenience.  The original recipe didn’t state the measurements of the baking tray and I chose one too small ( around 23cm x 30cm) which made the pavlova too small and thick.  For better results use a bigger tray so the pavlova is thin and easier to roll.
I also didn’t have some of the toppings on hand, like the popping mango, so I used fresh mango pieces instead.  I guess you can top your pavlova roulade with any topping you desire.
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Toasted Pavlova Roulade with Bulla Vanilla Flavoured Cream, Popping Mango and Tropical Fruit Compote Creation courtesy of Anna Polyviou, Executive Pastry Chef, Shangri-La Hotel Sydney Serves 10-12
Ingredients:
  • 8 free range eggs (whites only)
  • 270g caster sugar
  • 10g cornflour
  • 10ml white vinegar
  • 5ml vanilla essence
Filling:
  • 200ml Bulla Vanilla Flavoured cream
  • 5 passionfruits (de-seeded)
Garnishes:
  • 1 pineapple (diced)
  • 100g popping mango pearls
  • 1 punnet baby basil
  • 3 passionfruit
Method:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160degC. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Combine 250g caster sugar and cornflour in a bowl.
  2. Using the whisk attachment of your electric beaters (or Kitchen Aid), whisk egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks are formed; then reduce to a low speed, gradually adding in the caster sugar and cornflour mixture. Once mixture is glossy and firm peaks have formed, add in the vanilla essence along with the vinegar.
  3. Spread the meringue evenly onto the baking paper, taking it to the edges. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until slightly golden in colour.
  4. Lay a sheet of fresh baking paper on the bench and sprinkle 20g of the caster sugar over it. Once meringue is cooked, turn out onto the sugar dusted paper – gently peeling the baking paper away and allowing to cool.
  5. Pour the Bulla Vanilla Flavoured Cream into a clean bowl and whisk with an electric whisk/beater until it’s semi-whipped. Remove and fold in the seeded passionfruit. Spread the Bulla Vanilla Flavoured Cream evenly onto the meringue sheet.
  6. Gently roll the meringue into a tight roulade.
  7. To serve: Place the roulade onto a rectangle dish then place the pineapple, passionfruit, popping mango pearls and baby basil on top to finish.
Bulla Vanilla Flavoured thickened cream and ingredients courtesy of Bulla and Mkt. Communications.
Bon appetite,
Cherrie

A Cake Decorating Class and an AppliancesOnline.com.au 8th Birthday Competition

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As many readers may know, I love baking and decorating cakes for family and friends.  I’m far from being an expert so any tips and tricks I can get is always welcomed.

I was invited by AppliancesOnline.com.au to attend a cake decorating class at Let Them Eat Cake in South Melbourne.  Owner Christopher Montebello and staff demonstrated their decorating skills and answered all the questions we had.  And trust me, we had plenty.

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Australia’s largest online retailer of appliances is celebrating it’s 8th birthday by launching a national cake decorating competition to find it’s official birthday cake.  The national competition encourages Australians to get creative by baking and decorating an appliance themed cake, to celebrate the birthday.  Entrants will go in the draw to win one of eight sunbeam food processors valued at $399.

To enter, create your cake and upload a picture via Appliances Online Facebook, instagram or twitter. Tag @appliancesAU and use the hashtag #AOLbirthday

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During our class, we were shown how to decorate cake to make it look like a blender. CakeDecoratingClass1

Doesn’t it look real?!

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Christopher also showed us how to write with royal icing.

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Not bad huh?

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Here are some cake decorating tips:

1. Buy fondant pre-made.  It can be difficult to achieve the right consistency when making fondant from scratch.

2. Sketch your concept before you start decorating and keep it simple.  The simplest ideas are often the best.

3. Use fruit or mud cake.  Fondant works best with firm cakes such as fruitcake or mud cake.  Make sure you don’t use sponge cake as it won’t support the weight of the icing.

4. Heat the marzipan.  If you’re using marzipan, take it out of it’s foil package and microwave for about 10 seconds to make it easier to work with.

5. Applying the fondant.  Knead on a clean board that’s been sprinkled with icing sugar.  If adding colour, apply sparingly and knead into the icing.  Roll out with a rolling pin and keep applying sugar throughout the rolling process.  Drape fondant carefully over the cake and then smooth gently with dry hands, starting at the centre of the cake, moving outwards.  Make sure to get rid of any air bubbles. Trim any excess fondant with a sharp knife.

6. Experiment and have fun with leftover marzipan and fondant icing which can be used to create simple figurines and flowers.

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Don’t forget to enter Appliancesonline.com.au’s competition.  Ends December 8th. So get on it now!

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

Celebration Carrot and Pistachio Cake

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I love baking for my family and friends be it for an occasion or for the joy of baking for them.  This time, it was my mother in law’s birthday.  We went out for dinner but came home for a slice of this delicious carrot and pistachio birthday cake.

It looks simple but elegant.  It’s a celebration cake because it’s luxurious in flavour and texture.  It’s moist and most importantly, damn delicious.  For a family that does not like eating carrots, I had them eating this cake to the very last crumb.

Thanks to Fleishman Hillard PR co, I had a bag of Wonderful Pistachios in the pantry and I was dying to bake with it.  I came across a carrot cake recipe and I thought to add the pistachios to it.  It was a great idea! It gave the cake a little character.  I love eating pistachios on it’s own so you can imagine how difficult it was for me to shell them without scoffing them all down.  LOL

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Recipe:

  • 275g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 200g soft dark brown sugar
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 250ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tbs vanilla paste/extract
  • 450g carrots, peeled and grated
  • 400g can crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 125g Wonderful roasted unsalted pistachios, shelled and chopped
  • 1/4 shredded coconut, toasted
  1. Preheat oven to 180degC (160degC fanforced)
  2. Oil and line 2 x 18cm round baking tins
  3. Combine all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and stir well.
  4. In another bowl, add the eggs, oil and vanilla extract together and then add to the dry ingredients.
  5. Using an electric whisk, blend until all ingredients are well combined.
  6. Stir in the carrot, pineapple and chopped pistachios.
  7. Divide evenly between the two baking tins and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes our clean.
  8. Remove from the oven and leave to cool before removing from the tin.
  9. When cool, divide the frosting (recipe below) between the two cakes and layer one cake on top of the other.
  10. Sprinkle the top with the toasted coconut.

Frosting:

  • 175g softened cream cheese
  • 50g softened butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste/extract
  • 200g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1-2 tbs milk (if needed
  1. Beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla paste together until smooth, then gradually beat in the icing sugar until the frosting is smooth.
  2. Add a little milk if it needs loosening it a little.

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Bon Appetite,

Cherrie