I love cake. I mean I really love cake. And for me, one of my favourite parts of making cakes is the presentation. Fondant cakes are cool, but they’re not really my sort of thing. I really prefer to use ingredients and things from the garden to decorate the cakes and make them look amazing as well as tasty. This pretty little cake used a basic vanilla cake as the base with a few tablespoons of earl grey tea mixed through. I then made a tonne of vanilla icing and mixed a bit more tea through that. The thing I really liked about this cake was that the tea wasn’t right up front when you cake a bite, but it was the last taste on your tongue. It is kind of like making a pot of tea in your mouth as the icing melts and infuses the tea.
I am really lucky that we have a great food shop in town (A Tasty Surprise) that also sells flowers so they were able to help me pick out a few flowers that hadn’t used pesticides and were safe to use with the cake. I’ve seen other cakes with the flowers cascading down the side and really like that look, so was really happy when the flowers worked with this style.
The next cake I want to share with you is the rich, decadent Savour School Chocolate Cake-
Unfortunately I can’t share the recipe with you, but I can tell you where I got it from- if you have a look at Savour School’s online classes here- http://www.savourschool.com.au/online-classes.aspx then you will find their Decadent Chocolate Cake recipe. It is incredibly rich, incredibly decadent as the name suggests and you will definitely go back for seconds.
It is a gluten free cake, but not your average gluten free chocolate cake. This one uses almond paste, which makes it much more moist and rich…. and delicious! Thankfully Mum was curious (and probably hungry) so she bought me some.
I kept the decorations simple with this one so the cake could stand out more. All I did was use a bit of the orange zest that was in the cake, fresh raspberries to give a contrast and chocolate shavings just to finish it off.
Voila! (And now I’m hungry.)
Risotto is the perfect way to warm up in winter and these cute mini pumpkins make it a favourite for everyone in the family as you serve risotto straight from the pumpkin. I use the River Cottage recipe for Whole Roast Pumpkin Risotto but with a little tweak- instead of pumpkin seeds, I use prosciutto that I fried up until crispy. I have fried the pumpkin seeds before, like in the recipe, and they make an amazing snack on their own.
I find this recipe easy to follow and quite simple, but so flavoursome. The golden nugget pumpkins can be hard to find, but after much searching, I finally found some at my Grandie’s local farmer’s market. The stall I got it from was a small farm that grew all their veg and a lot of their meat themselves, this is the same stall where I got the kipfler potatoes and spent much time chatting. They were a real inspiration. If you can’t find some, you can replace them with any other small pumpkin. Butternut is a great option as it is sweet and nutty, like the golden nugget, giving the risotto a similar flavour.
Serving pumpkin risotto in pumpkins is cool. Just like bow ties.
Find the River Cottage recipe for Whole Roasted Pumpkin Risotto here- http://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recipes/22515/whole-roast-pumpkin-risotto
Coconut and lime panacotta is a refreshing, zesty summer dessert that is easily adapted to make variations on this flavour. One of my most popular desserts uses this as a base (but I’ll share that with you another time).
Light, smooth panacotta is given a twist a lime to make it deliciously zesty which plays off nicely against the coconut. When making desserts you, ideally, want at least 2 different textures, which in this dessert is the creamy panacotta against the crispy, biscuit crumb base. Easy to make, this can be made ahead of time and then pulled out of the fridge at the last minute, making it perfect for dinner parties.
Coconut and Lime Panacotta
1 1/2c coconut cream
1 1/2c milk
1 vanilla bean
1/2c castor sugar
2 1/2 tsp gelatin powder
2 tbs boiling water
1 1/2 limes
12 plain sweet biscuits
2 tablespoons of butter, melted
Pour milk and sugar into a saucepan, heat until warm and then add cream. Stir and continue to heat until boiling and the sugar has dissolved. Meanwhile, mix boiling water and gelatine. Once the milk mix is boiling and sugar has dissolved, remove from heat, whisk in gelatine. Add juice from 1 lime, mix again and then pour into moulds. I used plastic cups as moulds for these ones. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until set.
While the panacottas are setting, crush biscuits until they are just rough crumbs. Stir through melted butter. Sprinkle the biscuit crumb onto plate in a small mound. Place the panacotta on top. If you are having trouble removing them from the moulds, try dipping the mould into hot water for 10 seconds and then tap upside down on the bench. Transfer to plate. Garnish with zest from first lime and wedges of remaining half. Enjoy!
If you really have no other cake recipes that you can remember- memorise this one! This means that you have no excuse to go anywhere without a cake. And no-one should go anywhere without cake. Add a few blackberries and this simple cake gets a delicious, fruity boost.
Classic Pound Cake
Few tablespoons of icing sugar (optional)
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees.
Beat the sugar and butter until pale and creamy. Add the eggs in one at a time, betting well after each addition. Sift the flour into the batter and mix until just combined.
Pour into a greased 20cm deep cake tin. Bake for 45minutes or until golden and a skewer comes out clean.
Dust with icing sugar and serve with blackberries and a dollop of thick cream.
My favourite treat for after school is this delicious butterscotch milkshake. Ok, so it’s a little bit more involved than your average milkshake, but you can make the sauce and keep it in the fridge making it much easier for next time- if you can wait til next time and not drink it all in one go!
Creamy, rich and satisfying, everyone at my house loved it. Though come on, who doesn’t love butterscotch? Made with a homemade butterscotch sauce, you know exactly what goes into it. It’s a great recipe to get help from the younger kids with too.
This recipe can be easily adapted to make a deliciously rich hot butterscotch (instead of hot chocolate). Simply heat the milk over a medium heat and add the sauce. Stir and serve when it gets the desired temperature.
150g brown sugar
pinch of salt
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Whisk in brown sugar once butter is fully melted. Then add the cream and allow to bubble for 5 mins without stirring. Remove from the heat and add vanilla and salt. Set aside until cool if you are making milkshakes. Or keep warm to serve over ice-cream, pancakes or waffles, cakes or eat by the spoonful.
1/3 batch of butterscotch sauce
1 cup milk
Simply blend together in a milkshake maker or a blender till frothy and milkshakey.
When the days start to get shorter and the nights get colder one of the best things is to tuck into a lovely, hot pie. This pie is super easy, quick to make and one of the richest, comforting pies I’ve ever had.
This pie has a flaky, buttery pie crust and lightly fried leeks, slightly smashed sweet potato and a rich creamy sauce. Imagine pairing this with the cool, late Autumn breeze on the back deck.
If you don’t have time to make the pastry (though I really recommend you try it when you do have time) you can just use regular puff pastry… if you have to.
Leek and Sweet Potato Creamy Pot Pie
1 tbs butter
4 baby leeks
1 sweet potato
1/2c apple cider
1/4c sour cream
1/4 tsp english mustard
1/2 batch of River Cottage Rough Puff Pastry
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Boil sweet potatoes until soft. Lightly mash when cooked, but while they are cooking you can start on the leeks.
Finely chop baby leeks and fry them in frypan over medium heat until soft and slightly transparent. Remove from heat and put leeks in a separate bowl. Using the same pan, deglaze by adding apple cider. Once cider is simmering stir through the sour cream and mustard. Add the leeks back into the pan and turn heat to low.
Into 2 ramekins divide the leek sauce evenly between them. Add sweet potato evenly as well. Roll the rough puff pastry to desired thickness. Cut into rounds approx 2cm bigger than ramekins and lay over the top of the pie. Whisk the egg and brush over the top of pastry. Cook until pastry until golden and flaky, roughly 15 minutes.
Once they are cooked, put your feet up and enjoy.