Sunday, August 31, 2008

daring bakers - eclairs

Having missed last months DB challenge I was very much looking forward to making eclairs, but there was some trepidation regarding the choux pastry and my ability to pull off such a monster.

However, the fear was unfounded and the pastry itself was actually really easy to make, although the adding the flour to the pan was rather odd.

Then came the piping. I've never claimed to be an accomplished piper. There was affirmation of my novice status. the eclair shaped ones were funny little worms with tiny, tiny little tails. So i decided to make some balls. The dough was already in the piping bag. So instead of doing the sensible thing and taking it out and spooning out the balls, i decided to pipe them - despite the fact that I already worked out that I was not good at this!!!

The looked fine. They cooked fine. However because I'd piped them they were hollow on the bottom.

d'oh

It was OK though! I didn't actually make the cream filling (despite many reports that it is deeeelicious), but did the icing top and just filled them, like little pastry spoons bringing a mouthful of liquid chocolate my way!



I was going to have another go this weekend, but the long list of wineries I have to visit stretched on in front of me, and as we speak I'm making a chocolate caramel cheesecake for a do at work on Tuesday. So this is the most complete photo I have. If you'd like to take a better photo, you'll need the full recipe.

However, it's very long and rather involved, so I won't replicate it here. But I'm sure a quick look at the Daring Baker's blogroll will give you hundreds of links to the full recipe!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Once Were Biscotti

hey-ho sugar lovers.

This month's Cookie Carnival extravaganza, brought to you by the good people at The Clean Plate Club, is Chocolate and Hazelnut Biscotti. Could three words in the English language be more seductive (OK, one of the words is Italian, but you know what I mean).

I baked up a bunch of these with glee and wonder. They were fabbo. Here's how I did it:

Chocolate and Hazelnut Biscotti

ingredients
1 1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
3 cups plain flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tspn baking powder
1 tspn baking soda
1/2 tspn salt
250gm unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tspns vanilla essence
1/2 tspn almond essence
1 cup choc chips

method
heat oven to 180 degrees celcius and line large, heavy baking sheet with parchment paper
  • grind 1/2 cup hazelnuts and set aside
  • beat butter and sugar til creamy. add eggs and essences and beat until well combined
  • whisk four, cocoa, baking powder and soda and salt together in another bowl and then add to the wet ingredients, and beat in well
  • gently mix through both lots of nuts and choc chips
  • mould into two logs and back 12cm apart (they will spread a lot in the oven) and bake 35 mins
  • remove and cool for 15 minutes, but leave the oven on
  • slice into 1.5cm thick biscuits, lie flat on baking tray and bake for another 15 minutes

  • Now, there are two major problems with this recipe. Firsly the dough is so seriously delicious that you may be forced to eat it all before it even makes it into the oven.

    Secondly, it made a lot of biscotti. I gave some to BBITW for her birthday. Took some others for a farewell morning tea at work. Oh look - visitors - well I have some for them. Before you knew it, I was all out. And now this is the only photo I have for you:



    Saturday, August 23, 2008

    mmmm.... hello there

    It has been commented on that I'm a lazy, useless blogger with no right to take up cyber space with my stagnant, uninteresting ramblings (actually, the comment was so and so noticed that you've not posted in a while - but i know how to read between the lines).

    and do ya's know why?

    wine.

    Lots and lots of wine.

    You may remember that I am doing a placement through my industry course looking at tourism in the wine industry in South Australia. Actually it's the wine industry in the Adelaide Hills region. The Adelaide Hills region has approximately 31 wineries, spread out over a huge amount of country. And most of them now know my face, so I can't walk in the door without the cheese platters arriving and glasses of wine being poured. Yes, I know it's hard. It's also bloody bloody expensive. There's great wine being produced in this area and everything I taste I want to buy. My study now closely resembles a cellar. Which is fine now because it's freezing. Come December it will all turn to vinegar.... if there's any left. tee hee.

    Today one of my favourite places I visited Howard vineyards where the lovely Andy and Sophie took amazing good care of me, showed me round their fantastic cellar door and poured me a cab franc that is wonderful. They even have a rose that I bought, and I don't like rose (it will be nice on ice come December!). If you are in the Adelaide region, now or at any time, get yourself in to the Adelaide Hills, get yourself a cellar door guide and discover just how wonderful this region is. The Lobethal bakery makes a cheese cake slice you'd sell your soul for. And I haven't even started on the cheese, the cherries, the almonds, the lamb, the.........

    Saturday, August 2, 2008

    toast

    If you've ever been here before, you know I like to cook, and eat (and if this is your first time, just take it for granted OK?).

    By today I've come to a realisation. An epiphany if you will.

    My favourite thing to eat really could be toast.

    I love toast.

    Really.

    As I was waking from my afternoon snooze, and thinking about maybe indulging in my third serve of toast for the day, I wondered: could you live off toast? And so I started to make a list of all of the things you can have with toast to see how many food groups I could come up with:

    • Mushrooms on toast
    • Cheese on toast
    • Toast with vegemite
    • Cinnamon toast
    • French toast with poached pears, berries and ricotta
    • Toast with figs and mascapone
    • Bananas and honey on toast
    • Mince on toast
    • Soup with toast (hundreds of vegetable options)
    • Cheese and tomato on toast
    • Beans on toast
    • Toast with onion gravy (don't knock it if you haven't tried it)
    • Eggs on toast (poached are my favourite, but they're hard to get right so I normally do them scrambled)
    • Cream cheese and HP sauce on toast
    ... and this is just off the top of my head. Today I had toast and vegemite for breakfast, savoury mince on toast and lainiebird's place for lunch, some cheese on toast as an afternoon snack, and tonight I'm going for curry, which I will probably order with naan bread, which let's face it is just toast too.

    There's a lot of variety on my list, protein, vegetables, fruit, dairy, pulses. Maybe it's possible. And so many sorts of bread to toast: a lovely nutty rye, a rich sourdough, a gloriously chewy baguette, sharp fruit loaf, olive bread, ciabatta, battard - the list is endless.

    So my challenge to you is have toast for breakfast tomorrow, and let me know your favourite thing to do with toast. All suggestions welcome (and possibly tried and posted - if I'm not busy eating toast).

    Tomorrow morning I'm having mushrooms on toast.