Friday, 23 September 2011

Crunchy-Top Banana Bread

Hello! Well it's holiday time again - a would-be perfect opportunity for lots and lots of baking - however, as I'm jetsetting all over the place, I have next to no time for foing anything at all! Pfft. Oh well. I shouldn't be complaining, should I?

And isn't spring just lovely? I was so over winter. So dreary and cold. My favourite thing about spring is probably all the flowers  - their colours and smells. When taking some photos of the banana bread(my family's absolute staple),  I used a couple of poppies my pappy picked in the petal-garden protected by a picket fence. Nice alliteration, eh?
But seriously, I adore flowers, especially poppies!

Speaking of words beginning with 'p', did you like the plates I posted earlier? Just another project that I've decided to dabble in. Maybe I'm doing too much, but I like it that way. It's better than being bored! Some could say I'm "spreading myself too thinly". Ha! A baking pun! Ha!

All this good weather must be affecting my brain. Let's get on to the recipe. What I love about this banana "bread" (but let's face it, it's a cake people) is it's texture - texture texture texture! The cake itself is similar to shoving a tasty pillow into your mouth, while the almondy top adds the nicest of crunches! A perfect treat, whatever the weather!

 (P.S you can freeze slices of this cake for up to 3 weeks. Just defrost it and it will be restored to just about the same level of deliciousness you had before.)

Crunchy-Top Banana Bread

Makes 2 loaves

45g brown sugar
30g dry-roasted almonds, roughly chopped
20g shredded or dessicated* coconut
255ml sour cream
1 tsp bicarb soda
100 unsalted butter, melted
230 caster sugar
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
250g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2-3 medium, overripe mashed bananas

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line 2 loaf tins (10x18cm) with baking paper.
In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, chopped almonds and coconut. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the sour cream and bicarb soda with a metal spoon and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Stir in the melted butter, caster sugar and eggs.
Sift flour, baking powder and cinnamon together into the bowl.  Add mashed bananas. Lightly fold the dry and the wet ingredients together (again using a metal spoon) until just combined. This 'light touch' will make you banana bread delightfully fluffy!
Pour mixture evenly into two loaf tins, and sprinkle equally with the brown sugar/almond/coconut mixture. Bake for 1 hour, or until golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the bread comes out squeaky clean!

Let cool in the tins for 20 min, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
{Recipe adapted from Bill Granger}

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Splendid Ceramics!

Well well well, lookee here. My good friend Sian and I enjoy painting quirky little things on ceramic plates, and it just so happens that we're going to be selling our designs at the Blackbutt Rotary Markets on the last Saturday of every month, starting in October. How exciting!

So... needless to say I'll remind you closer to the date! I hope we actually sell some :S
But even if we don't, we still enjoy doing it - it's really relaxing!

New recipe post (hopefully) coming soon! Happy Wednesday all!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Salted Butter Caramel Icecream

Bonjour internet!

So I am into making icecream at the moment. A couple of months ago I made a pretty impressive icecream cake for my Mum's birthday - perhaps I'll put the recipe and semi-demi-ok iPhone photos up later - but I am really becoming a homemade chilled-treat enthusiast. So expect some more icecream posts!
Yesterday I made a "sophisticated" caramel icecream. It's not like a store-bought caramel icecream, which is uber sugary and (I think) a teensy bit sickly; it's got a dark, salty-sweet flavour that is very grown-up. it's an acquired taste, I admit, but once you get into it, it's so amazing!
You could serve this with grated dark chocolate sprinkled on top, or with strawberries and chocolate 'cigarello' biscuits like me!
Anyhoo, here's the recipe, adapted from the icecream master blogger/author himself, David Lebovitz. (Also, last post I forgot to mention that the delectable flourless choc/hazelnut cake was adapted from 'Bills Holiday', by Bill Granger).

Salted Butter Caramel Icecream

2 cups full cream milk
1½ cups caster sugar
4 tablespoons salted butter
½ teaspoon good-quality sea salt
1 cup thickened cream
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla essence


Keep your 2 cups of milk cold (ie. in the fridge) until ready to use.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, spread the caster sugar out in an even layer. When the edges start to melt, stir them back into the middle of the pan using a wooden spoon. Repeat this process until all the sugar has melted.

Continue to cook until you can smell that it's almost going to burn - be careful as it will happen very quickly! If you chicken out at this bit, you're icecream will just taste sugary, instead of getting that deep caramel that is so highly desirable! So be brave, I believe in you!

Now quickly remove from the heat and stir in the butter and salt. Once the butter has melted, whisk in the cream. (Note: if the caramel hardens, simply return it to low heat and re-melt.)

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, and pour a little bit of the caramel over them. Keep stirring!

Pour the yolky-caramelly mixture back into the original saucepan with the other caramel and stir over low heat (remember to scrape the bottom) until the mixture thickens.

Take the milk out of the fridge and transfer to a large bowl. Through a mesh sieve, pour the caramel mixture over the milk. Add the vanilla and stir until cool. Refrigerate for 8 hours.

Ding dong! 8 hours is up and it is time to press on!

If you have an iceream maker, freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.

If you don't have an icecream maker, pour liquid into an airtight container and pop it in your freezer, taking it out every hour and mixing with electric beaters until it's too hard to do so! (Note: your icecream won't have quite the same texture as if churned in an icecream maker, so before eating, maybe leave it out for 10 minutes to soften a little).

This is such a sophisticated icecream! Well done old chap.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Flourless Chocolate and Hazelnut Cake


Yay for my first recipe post! Basically, if I were a knight, this cake would be my trusty steed. It's a knockout every time! I love the fact that it eliminates the flour - this creates a moist, decadent texture on the inside, and a crunchy crust on the outside. It's so yummy! I serve it with cinnamon cream, but you could serve it with good icecream or even just whipped cream if you like.

So. My first recipe came with my first 'food photography shoot'. I was a bit hesitant because I had never done it before, and I don't have an overly fancy camera - just a little digital. But I think it turned out ok, especially with my little rabbit friends to help me out!

My cat is chocolate too! So of course she wanted to assist me.

Note: You will need a springform pan for this cake.

Flourless Chocolate and Hazelnut Cake:
(Serves about 10 - if you don't scoff it all down as soon as it's cool enough to eat!)


200g chopped dark chocolate (good quality)
125g unsalted butter
225g (1 cup) brown sugar, firmly packed
100g hazelnut meal (almond meal is fine too)
5 eggs, separated.
{For the Cinnamon Cream}
250ml (1 cup) thickened cream
1 tbsp icing (confectioners') sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon


- Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Grease and line a 20cm springform cake pan.
- Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over boiling water in a small saucepan (make sure the water doesn't touch the bowl!).
- Remove from the heat to cool slightly.
- In a large bowl, mix sugar and meal, and then the melted chocolate mixture, and stir until there are no lumps. Add egg yolks one at a time, stirring well after each one.
- Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until firm peaks form. Gently fold the whites into the pan.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes, until, when tested with a skewer, it comes out pretty damn clean.
- Cool completly in the pan before "springing" open and placing on a pretty little plate that perhaps your nan gave you. Or, you know, just a white plate.

To make the cinnamon cream:
- Whip the cream using a hand mixer.
- Mix in the icing sugar and cinnamon until well combined.
- Dollop on top of your slices of cake to serve.

Yay! Now it can be your trusty steed/ favourite cake/ reliable friend too! Enjoy :)

Friday, 9 September 2011


I am just a wee bit excited about this new venture of mine. I am baking something (who can tell what?) tomorrow, but I am simply too impatient - I want to post something right now!
So, this photo, I think, is a good starting point for me. Who knows what the future may hold? I am the  one who can make good things happen in my life. Naw.
I also miss NY, where this photo was taken. I'll go back there one day.
Dammit this post is turning out to be so long. Save your words for tomorrow Angela!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

New kid.

Hello. I'm not from around here. Well, I suppose I am now. I just moved here, into the world of blogging, and I don't really know anybody, or what the hell I'm supposed to do now.
This blog is (hopefully) going to be an insight into my adoration of baking, and little snippets of my world scattered throughout. If you want to be all metaphorical about it, you could say that the recipes I'll be posting will be like the "bread", and the "sprinkles" will be the other random tidbits of waffle I'll be blurting out.
I also would very much like to purchase a snazzy new camera, so as to photograph my baking/worldly adventures, but for now I'll try to nut out how to make a respectable blog and post semi-acceptable photos taken on my little digital. Bear with me!
Wish me luck!