Chilli Chocolate and White Chocolate Cardamon Panna Cotta

2015-05-13 21.21.58.jpgChilli chocolate is a mix that is quite common and we all know works well. White chocolate and cardamon is another mix that just works. Now imagine marrying these two flavours together and you get this amazingly delicious dessert. The chilli and cardamon flavour remind me of an indian style dish, but then you add the two chocolates to the mix and it brings it to a completely new level. The kick that the chocolate delivers is then balanced out by the rich creaminess of the panna cotta, but then you get a extra spiciness and chocolatyness (I’m pretty certain that’s not a word, but for now it is).

2015-05-13 21.21.58This is a great dessert for people who don’t want something to sweet but still want dessert. The sugary sweetness that normally comes with a panna cotta gets balanced out by the normally savoury flavours of chilli and cardamon. Although they can be a bit time consuming they are well worth the effort. When I make desserts I tend to make sure there are at least three textures/elements. In this dish you have the panna cotta, the cookie crumble and then the choc chilli ganache. All in all I highly recommend that you try making something of this style, even experiment a bit.

2015-05-13 21.21.52Ingredients

1 3/4cups heavy cream

2 gelatine leaves

2 tbsps sugar

1 pinch salt

100g dark chocolate

50g white chocolate

4 cardamon pods

1 small chilli

6 chocolate biscuits

1 tbsp butter, melted

1 tsp cayenne pepper

A couple of frozen raspberries, crushed

Method

  1. Start by dividing the cream and sugar into two different saucepans, add the cardamon pods to one and the halved chilli to the other and simmer over low heat. Add the 2 gelatine leaves to a bowl of cold water while the cream is heating. Once simmering, add the white chocolate to one saucepan and 50g of dark chocolate to another. Stir until melted. Add  one gelatine leaf to each saucepan and stir until dissolved. Strain the mix through a sieve. Now for the tricky part, pour both mixtures into the desired moulds or cups at the same time. Put in the fridge for 5 hours or overnight, or if you feel like cheating a bit you could put them in the freezer for 1 1/2 hours (I do this lots).
  2. While the panna cottas are setting make the crumble. To make the crumble first crush the biscuits however you want as long as they are a rough crumb by the end, I quite enjoy placing them between two sheets of baking paper and crushing them with a rolling pin. Once crushed add the butter and mix through. Set aside until serving.
  3. To make the choc chilli ganache melt the remaining chocolate in a double boiler, I don’t use a proper one, I just put a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Once melted add the cayenne pepper and stir thoroughly, both for your guests sake and your own. When making this the first time I added to much cayenne and forgot that it was very spicy, so smart little me decided to scoop up the left over ganache and eat it all….. It was hot!
  4. To serve grab a small handful of the crumble and make a rough mound on the plate. To get the panna cottas out put your mould in in very hot water for 7 seconds and then turn upside down and either shake or tap it until the panna cotta comes out, place on the crumble. Drizzle the chocolate ganache around the plate and add some crushed raspberries.

Now sit back and enjoy the toils of your labour. 🙂

Beef Sliders with a Twist

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To start off I’d like to say one thing- Big Flavour! These sliders are absolutely packed with flavour, colour and most of all, deliciousness(if that’s a word). They may have heaps of flavour, but all this is packed inside a tiny bun…….. a bit like a Tardis to those Doctor who fans out there! Their small size lends themselves to perfect little dinners for all kids, big and small. I have taken a bit of a twist on the typical corner shop burger, instead of a slab of beetroot and fried onions I have used a beetroot and red onion relish that has both the sweet and salty flavour. I have used rocket from the garden as a peppery replacement to lettuce, and have added a carrot and cucumber quick pickle, or a quickle as Paul West would say.

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Mmm…. tasty………

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Based on the River Cottage Australia Jersey burger recipe this was a massive hit with everyone and will definitely be made many more times.

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Earl Grey and Vanilla Cake and Savour Chocolate Cake

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I love cake. I mean I really love cake. And for me, one of my favourite parts of making cakes is the presentation. 2014-11-07 20.37.29Fondant 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. 2014-11-07 19.42.53

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. 2014-11-07 20.37.56 2014-11-07 20.37.37

The next cake I want to share with you is the rich, decadent Savour School Chocolate Cake-tomcake5

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. cake4

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. cake5

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.) cake6

Pumpkin Risotto River Cottage Style

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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. 2015-01-17 12.49.49

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.  2015-01-17 12.48.42

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

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Coconut and Lime Pannacotta

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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. 2015-01-22 18.26.56

Coconut and Lime Panacotta

Ingredients-

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

Method-

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!  2015-01-22 18.25.59

Classic Pound Cake

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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.

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Classic Pound Cake

Ingredients-

400g flour

400g sugar

400g butter

4 eggs

Few tablespoons of icing sugar (optional)

Method-

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.

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Butterscotch Milkshake

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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 2015-02-16 16.08.05it 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.

Butterscotch Sauce

2015-02-16 16.07.45Ingredients-

60g butter

150g brown sugar

180ml cream

2tsp vanilla

pinch of salt

Method-

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.

Butterscotch Milkshake

Ingredients

1/3 batch of butterscotch sauce

1 cup milk

Method

Simply blend together in a milkshake maker or a blender till frothy and milkshakey.

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