Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Goodbye from Liz too...

I will be leaving BCM also but I must say it has been so much fun doing this blog with Sathya for the last few years.

I will be moving to http://www.coupleskitchen.blogspot.com/ with my parter and Sous Chef Jared.

Come check us out sometime...


Monday, 14 September 2009


Dearest BCM fans, 

Sathya here, I just wanted to let you know, I have decided to move onto a blog of my very own - "Sathya's Kitchen Adventures".  I have shared this wonderfull blog with my dear friend Liz for years, but want to have a fresh start and try a few different things on my own.  If you want to share my journey, please add me to your favourites list, RSS feeds, etc on http://sathyaskitchenadventures.blogspot.com/"

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Thai Pork Balls

These little beauties are delicious. It's one of Jared's recipes that he just pulled out of nowhere. He didn't have a recipe, he just threw different flavours together, which is a skill I'm slowly learning. I'm always a stickler for wanting a recipe to follow. We made these on a Saturday afternoon when I had a huge craving for McDonald's and the last thing I wanted was a healthy Asian dish. But in the end I ate nine balls!! And the next day we flattened down the 3 that were left over and turned them into hamburgers with a big crusty roll, some rocket and the dipping sauce. We gave my mum the recipe to try and its now one of her regular dishes.

The dipping sauce can be made up of your favourite Asian style sauces but we are completely addicted to the sauces made by the Lloyd Brothers and always try to use them. Here's their website: www.lloydbrothers.com.au

Pork Balls
1kg pork mince
Spring Onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 chilis, chopped
zest & juice of one lemon (lime if you have it)
1.5 teaspoons minced lemongrass
2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste
1 egg
1 bunch of coriander chopped
1 cup bread crumbs

Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup peanut oil
1/2 cup Wild Lime Chili & Ginger Sauce
1/4 cup Spicy BBQ Sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Mix all the above ingredients together and roll into balls (or hamburgers). Cover with glad wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Cook over medium heat until golden brown. Sprinkle with some left over coriander. Serve with the dipping sauce and some rice on the side. If you have made them into hamburgers, serve with your favourite roll, fresh rocket and some dipping sauce.


Monday, 31 August 2009

Honey-baked Pumpkin Risotto

Sounds good right? Looks nice as well, don't you think?

Well don't be fooled like I was, it was terrible. Actually, terrible might be too strong. It was bad. The combination of the mascarpone, ginger, parsley and honey did not work for me at all. As I've said here before, its always a disappointment when you go to some extra effort for dinner, then when you take that first hopeful mouthful you think, hmm not what I expected. Then the second and you realise yuk, its not good, I just waited time, money and calories.

I did that recently with this. We were off to a friends for a big birthday gathering and I announced I would bring nibbles as I made the yummiest dip. Sarah, the host, was disappointed when I turned up with 2 containers of store bought dip and some crackers as I had talked this cucumber and feta dip UP!

Funny how you look around a while later and see everyone's devoured the store bought crap and doesn't even know how you spent all morning peeling and chopping and soaking and mixing for them only to stick your little finger in at the end to check the seasoning and realise with enormous dread that somehow a cup of salt must have fallen in there or something! It was so ridiculously salty I needed a gallon of water after a tiny taste!

Anyway, back to this risotto. I found it on Taste and loved the sound of it, only to be sorely disappointed.

900g pumpkin, peeled, cut into 1cm cubes
1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
1/2 tbs honey, plus extra to drizzle
850ml vegetable stock
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2cm piece ginger, grated
1 cup (220g) arborio rice
2/3 cup (160ml) white wine
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to garnish
2 tbs mascarpone, plus extra to serve

Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Lay pumpkin in an even layer on a large baking tray and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, then remove and drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon of honey, tossing well to coat each piece. Roast for a further 15 minutes until cooked and golden.

Place stock in a saucepan and keep at a simmer over low heat.

Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a large heavy-based pan over low heat. Add onion and stir for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add celery and cook for 1 minute, then add ginger and rice and cook for a further minute, stirring to coat grains. Increase heat to medium-low, add wine and cook until absorbed. Add stock a ladleful at a time, allowing each to be absorbed before adding the next. Continue for 15 minutes or until rice is cooked but still firm to the bite. Add lemon juice, pumpkin and parsley. Season, then stir in mascarpone.

Serve with a dollop of mascarpone, a drizzle of honey and extra parsley.

Sathya-rating *

Monday, 24 August 2009

Banana Cake

I bought a new camera recently. A DSLR and am trying to learn how to use it. I'm really enjoying all the new things I can do and am working out the best time of day as well as the best spots in the house for the right light etc.

One of the best spots is at the back of the house where the sun directly hits. I wandered out there recently to try and get a good shot of this delicious cake. I spread out a table cloth and got started. After a while I noticed our cat, Kurty had joined me as you can see here.

I continued to take photos and trying all the different tricks I've been learning and reading about. I'm not very good yet, hopefully I'll get there. The funny thing about Kurty is he's never been interested in our food. Only his fish. So you can imagine it's taken us by surprise to find him getting into food we've left out. This has never been a problem before so we're quickly learning we have to put everything away. I never thought he'd get into banana cake, but as you can see here he gave it a red hot go!

This delicious banana cake came from The LA Times, and is a recipe from The Clementine Bakery which shares their secret is using pastry flour. I stumbled across this recipe at Amateur Gourmet who says its his "dream cake". I must agree its fantastic!

2 2/3 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large or 4 small very ripe bananas
3 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons sour cream

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Into a large bowl sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, mash the bananas. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, until each is completely incorporated, then mix in the buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Finally, mix the dry ingredients into the batter just until thoroughly combined.

Pour into a 9-by-13-inch greased pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until golden-brown on top, a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool on a rack.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a medium bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth and there are no lumps. Add the butter and whip until incorporated, then add the powdered sugar and the sour cream. Frost the top of the cooled cake, then slice and serve.

Sathya-rating *****

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Peppermint Slice

Jared and I went to Clare to stay with my parents for the weekend. Mum had a cookbook of Blue Ribbon Winning recipes! The prize winner from every country town in South Australia had featured. I chose the Blue Ribbon Peppermint Slice to recreate. And it tastes sensational. I can see why it received first place. I gave Jared a piece on the drive home from Clare and he said, "in all seriousness, this is quite possibly the best slice I've ever eaten!" I cant help but agree.

Since making the slice and deciding to buy the cookbook I found it in I have discovered the author has her own blog! The Blue Ribbon Cookbook. Check it out!

I also brought the slice to work and fed it to a friend of Jared's and this is the feedback I received: "have just eaten the slice. However the word eaten really doesn’t sum it up. It was more of a whole cuisine experience or a culinary journey. For god sake don’t ever make it again as Jared can’t possibly exercise more than he already does and he will make Jabba the hut look like a supermodel after 6 months of that. Of course I’ll be running again soon and could probably get away with a piece that size every 3rd day. Thanks".

I had to double the filling and I also used 75g more chocolate than in the recipe. The recipe below is what I did.

125g butter
200ml sweetened condensed milk
250g milk biscuits
1 rounded tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 cup desiccated coconut

2 cups icing sugar mixture
80g butter melted
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon peppermint essence
3 drops green food colouring (optional)

200g dark cooking chocolate
30g copha

To make the base, melt the butter and condensed milk in a saucepan. Crush the biscuits and mix with the cocoa and coconut. Pour over the butter and condensed milk mixture and mix well. Press the mixture into a slice pan (about 20 x 30cm) lined with baking paper. Place in the fridge and chill well for an hour.

To make the filling mix together the icing sugar, butter, milk, peppermint and food colouring. Spread evenly over the chilled biscuits mixture and put it back into the fridge to set.

To make the topping, melt together the chocolate and copha. Spread the chocolate evenly over the filling and allow it to set before cutting the slice into squares.


Sunday, 16 August 2009

Vege Tagine

Can you see that cinnamon stick? And the cummin seeds? And the gorgeous juicy dates in amongst all that delicious goodness? Oh yeah, this is a lovely dish.

My sister, Sal and her boyfriend, Liam came over for dinner recently. It was hard to know what to prepare as Sal is vegetarian, and a fussy vegetarian at that and Liam is a big time meat eater. Like any real Aussie male. I've really enjoyed cooking lately and am trying lots of different ingredients and techniques. We never had stews when I was a kid so its a new thing for me. I made a beef stew for the boys and this yummy vegetable tagine (from taste.com.au) for Sal and I all served with mashed potatoes.

It's quite a sweet subtle flavour so its very different from dishes that usually come out of my kitchen but I enjoyed it.

2 tsp olive oil
1 brown onion, halved, cut into wedges
2 carrots, peeled, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ground paprika
1 cinnamon stick
Large pinch of saffron threads
375ml (1 1/2 cups) vegetable stock
650g butternut pumpkin, deseeded, peeled, coarsely chopped
250g green beans, topped, cut into 6cm lengths
100g dried apricots
100g fresh dates, halved, pitted
1 x 400g can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
2 tsp finely grated lemon rind

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the carrot, garlic, ginger, cumin seeds, paprika, cinnamon and saffron and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until aromatic.

Add stock and bring to the boil. Add the pumpkin, beans and apricots. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender. Add dates, chickpeas and lemon rind and stir to combine.

Sathya-rating ***

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Tunesy Morns

I never ate seafood growing up. Even now I only eat whiting. But I ALWAYS ate Tunesy Morns. Our family lived for it. I always stared through the oven door at the golden crust on the top asking mum "is it ready yet? Is it ready yet?". I love my tunesy morns.

When Jared and I first started dating I cooked it for him one night and he hadn't eaten it since his mum made it for him as a boy. He was well excited - and to top things off, he says my Tunesy Morns is the best he's ever had!! I've never shown him how to make it because that way he'll never leave me!

I have however, shared it with both of our neighbours and we all enjoy tunesy morns evenings regularly.

70g butter
4 heaped dessert spoons plain flour
1 litre milk
2 x 400g cans corn kernels
2 x 425g cans tuna in brine/springwater
Grated cheddar
Freshly grated parmesan

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once it starts to sizzle, add the flour and using a whisk, stir it around and let it sizzle for at least three minutes.
Take the pan off the heat and pour in half the milk. Whisk quickly to remove lumps. Add the rest of the milk and return to the hotplate. Bring the milk to the boil, stirring occasionally.

Once the sauce begins to bubble add the drained corn and tuna. Stir well and add S&P to taste. Wait until it begins to bubble again and pour into a ceramic dish. Cover the top with the grated cheese and parmesan. Sprinkle bread crumbs over the top of the cheese.

Cook in the oven for at least half an hour, or until it is brown to your liking. Serve with a squeeze of lemon.


Monday, 27 July 2009

Dengaku Tofu

I love tofu. I'm not ashamed to admit it. For many reasons, its so versatile and delicious when you add good flavourings to it. I know many people out there hate it, if so, then go to the next post.

This little recipe comes from Serious Eats, an interesting place I regularly hang out. I liked the sound of it and it sounded healthy, all I needed was some tofu and off we went.

It was a tasty and healthy meal but it was a fair bit of work for something that wasn't amazing. The flavour wasn't great. I needed chilli paste when I was eating it. I like the idea of painting a yummy sauce all over tofu and grilling it though, so although I won't make exactly this again, I will make something similar and make it my own.

One block of firm tofu
1/3 cup of a miso paste
2 eggs yolks
2 tablespoons sake
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons dashi, or water

Toppings (optional):
Sesame seeds
Grated lemon

To make the miso sauce: put a bowl on top of a pan of simmering water, or use a double boiler if you have one. Put the miso in the bowl along with the egg yolks, sake, mirin, and sugar.

Over the simmering water, gradually add the dashi. Stir until thick, and adjust seasonings to taste if needed. At the last moment, some lemon rind if you like.

To prepare the tofu: Remove the tofu as a block from its packaging, and set it on a chopping board. Wrap the tofu in a clean tea towel. Weigh the block of tofu down with something heavy.

Cut tofu into 2-inch blocks and lay on a tray and put under a hot grill it is browned and the tofu is heated through.

Remove generously lather one side with the miso sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and place back under the grill for one or two minutes, until the topping is browned. Serve immediately.

Sathya-rating ***

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Soy Chicken

I have a little something to tell you but I don't have a photo so you'll have to use your imagination. I'm hoping I can portray the deliciousness and ease with my words. I don't know if I can do it, but here goes.

I'm not sure where or when this started for me, but someone somewhere in my universe mentioned soy chicken. It may have been a blog, it may have been in a magazine, maybe it was a friend or someone I was eaves dropping on at my local coffee hang out (I know, I'm pathetic, I'll do anything for some adult conversation lately. Including going to a coffee shop with Austen, parking myself next to the most interesting looking people and listening in to what they're chatting about).

Anyway I Googled 'Chinese Soy Chicken' and this video came up. I fell in love with the lady who commentates the recipe while her her son pesters her in the background. Its gorgeous.

I noted down what I needed and found myself making it for friends a few nights later.

I had gone to the Adelaide Central Markets and gathered everything I needed hoping to make it for our fortnightly visitor Nikolas but it didn't happen so when my dear friend Hannah said she was coming to see Austen and I, I said, stay for dinner and whipped this up. We all loved it! I thought I'd made far too much but we demolished it with steamed broccoli tossed in oyster sauce and minced garlic. The chicken is tender and sticky and tasty and crunchy has no skin or fat left on it after the cooking process so it is wonderfully healthy, which I need at the moment (damn baby weight).

Hey, if just one of you out there makes it then I will have succeeded.

2kg chicken drumsticks
2-3 tbs miso paste
big bottle of soy sauce (I have no idea how much I used probably 1 to 2 cups)
2 tsp chinese five spice
fresh ginger, roughly chopped (I think I used about a 2 cm piece)
quite a few twists of the pepper grinder

Add all the ingredients together except the chicken in a large pot and stir to make a paste. Add the drumsticks and cover with water and more soy sauce so the water is quite black. Stir thoroughly. Place on the stove and bring to the boil. Once it is boiling, turn it down to a low simmer and cover.

After 30 minutes, turn the oven onto 180C and remove the chicken from the pot and place into baking dish.

Roast the chicken drumsticks in the oven for 20-30 minutes, remove from the oven and serve with streamed greens.

Sathya-rating ****

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Chocolate Brownies

This is a Jamie Oliver recipe for brownies that are on the dessert menu at Fifteen. They look amazing in his cook book so I baked them on a cold Sunday afternoon as dessert after a Roast Lamb lunch.

When they first came out I thought they were a failure because I'd taken them out too early. The entire centre was still really runny. It was more like a runny pudding when we ate it. I was so disappointed, although the flavour was UNREAL. I left them out over night and in the morning it had set! Exactly the way it was supposed to. I had perfect chocolate brownies. The entire tray was eaten within hours. I'll absolutely be baking these again. Such a decadent, moreish treat. And the orange zested creme fraiche was a sensational addition and created such a good balance between the rich chocolate and zesty sour tasting cream.

250g unsalted butter
200g best-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) broken up
150g chopped nuts (I used hazelnuts)
80g coco powder
65g plain flour sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
350g caster sugar
4 large eggs
zest of one orange
250ml creme fraiche

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line a 30cm rectangular baking tin with greaseproof paper.

In a large bowl over some simmering water, melt the butter and the chocolate and mix until smooth. Add the nuts. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and sugar, then add this to the chocolate and nut mixture. Stir together well. Beat the eggs and mix in until you have a silky consistency.

Pour your brownie mix into the baking tray; and place in the oven for around 25 minutes. You don't want to overcook them so, you don't want a skewer to come out clean. The brownies should be slightly springy on the outside but still gooey in the middle. Allow to cool in the tray, then carefully transfer to a large chopping board and cut into chunky squares. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche mixed with some orange zest.


Saturday, 18 July 2009

Raspberry Cheesecake

Recently we had a 'family weekend'. In Holland (where my family is from) this a a normal yearly occurrence with most families. Everyone goes away together for the weekend, we play games, watch movies, go for walks, cook, etc. Sometimes I love it, sometimes not so much. This family weekend was the first one in a long time and was great. We went to Victor Harbour, about an hour and half out of Adelaide and had a gorgeous penthouse apartment overlooking the ocean for 3 nights. The weather was terrible so we spent a lot of time in the apartment whale watching from the balcony. My parents were incredibly disappointed to return one afternoon and hear that we had spotted whales and they hadn't, while they had gone especially looking for them!

The deal was that my parents paid for the accommodation and my sisters and I looked after the food. As you can imagine, we ate like kings! The highlight was a raspberry baked cheesecake which I found on cuisine.com.au and is by Stephanie Alexander and is simply titled "Best-ever Cheesecake". Let me tell you, it was! Oh my Lordy! I studded raspberries on the top and made a coulis and it was amazing. Honestly one of the best things I've ever made or eaten!

100g butter, melted
300g wheatmeal biscuits
500g cream cheese, at room temperature
200g caster sugar
1 tbsp cornflour
3 eggs
2 tbsp lemon juice
few drops pure vanilla, or vanilla extract to taste
pinch of salt
2 cups sour cream
200 grams of raspberries

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Brush the base and sides of a 22cm x 6cm deep springform tin with a little of the melted butter. Remove the base from the tin.

Cut a round of baking paper to fit the base of the tin, brush the paper with a little butter and set aside.

Tear off an 80cm sheet of foil and double it over so it measures 40cm in length. Lay the foil over the base of the tin, then put the buttered round of paper on top. Sit the springform tin over the base and lock the sides into place, leaving excess foil outside the tin. Draw up the excess foil around the tin and fold the top out of the way. You now have a watertight container.

Crush the biscuits in a food processor. Add the remaining butter and process. Press the crumb mixture into the base of the tin, tapping firmly with the base of a glass tumbler or similar as you go.

Beat the cream cheese and sugar in an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in the cornflour, then add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating each time just until smooth. Add the lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Add the sour cream and beat briefly to combine. Pour the batter into the tin, sprinkle with raspeberries (pushing some into the mix) and stand the tin in a large baking dish. Pour boiling water into the dish to come halfway up the sides of the tin. Bake for 50 minutes, then turn off the oven but do not open the door for a further hour.

Lift the tin from the water bath and flatten the foil away from the sides just in case there is any water trapped inside. Cool completely in the tin on a wire rack and refrigerate for several hours or overnight before serving.

Sathya-rating *****

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Chicken Korma

I won a copy of Jamie Oliver's Ministry Of Food cookbook. It really does have some fantastic recipes in it and they're never difficult because they were designed for those of us who have never really cooked.

I've heard many people say that Jamie Oliver's Chicken Korma recipe is bland and not that great - but after some investigating and reading a few forums I think it's actually his original, fancy recipe that people dislike; because this Ministry of Food Chicken Korma is DELICIOUS. Jared and I have cooked it and recooked it several times and it never lets us down.

800g skinless and boneless chicken thighs
2 medium onions
1 fresh red chili
1 thumb sized piece of fresh root ginger
1 small bunch of fresh coriander
olive oil
a knob of butter
290g jar of Patak's korma curry paste
1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk
1 x 400g tin chickpeas
2 heaped tablespoons desiccated coconut
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
500g natural yogurt
1 lemon

Cut the chicken into approximately 3cm pieces. Peel, half and chop your onions. Halved and finely slice the chili. Peel and finely chop the ginger. Pick the coriander leaves and finely chop the stalks. Drain the chickpeas.

Put a large casserole type pan on a high heat and add a couple of glugs of oil. Put the chicken thighs into the pan and brown lightly on all sides for five minutes. Push the chicken to one side of the pan. Stir in the onions, chili, ginger and coriander stalks with the butter. Keep stirring it enough so it doesn't catch and burn but turns lovely golden. Cook for around ten minutes. Add the korma curry paste, coconut milk, the drained chickpeas and dessicated coconut. Half fill the empty tin with water, pour into the pan and stir again. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 45 mitues with the lid on. Check the curry regularly to make sure it isn't drying out. Add a little extra water if necessary. Remove the lid and cook down at a simmering heat for another 25 mins. Season with Salt and Pepper.

Serve with rice. Add a few spoonfuls of natural yoghurt and scattered coriander leaves. Service with lemon wedges for spooning over.


Monday, 8 June 2009

Shepherds Pie

Every second week the gorgeous Nikolas comes to hang out with his Dad. I enjoy spoiling him and introducing new things into his little world. Nik hadn't had crumpets for example and they are now his favourite.

Dinner is a little tough, he's a fussy eater so I am always searching for inspiration of what to cook. Shepherds Pie never fails however. Nik and his Dad love it. The crispy comforting mash potato and the meat filling served piping hot is such a wonderful winter meal. This recipe from www.taste.com.au is easy and perfect if you ask the three of us!

1 tbs olive oil
1 brown onion, halved, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, trimmed, finely chopped
500g lamb mince
2 tbs plain flour or gravy powder
500ml (2 cups) beef stock
1 dried bay leaf
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs tomato paste
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
8 desiree potatoes, peeled, chopped
40g butter
125ml (1/2 cup) milk
Melted butter, to brush

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until soft. Add beef mince and cook, stirring to break up any lumps, for 5 minutes or until lamb changes colour.

Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until combined. Add stock, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until sauce thickens. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile: cook potato in a saucepan of salted boiling water for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain well. Return to the pan with the butter. Use a potato masher or fork to mash until smooth. Add milk and use a wooden spoon to stir until combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 200°C. Spoon meat mixture into a 2L (8-cup) capacity ovenproof baking dish. Top with mashed potato and use a fork to spread over meat mixture. Brush with butter. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until mashed potato is golden brown. Serve immediately

Sathya-rating ****

Monday, 1 June 2009

Lucious Lemon Cake

I stumbled across this gorgeous coconut cake and decided to make it for an after dinner treat with the lovely Liz. I've been getting a little bored at home and enjoying being back in the kitchen so was excited to see how this cake would turn out, because Julie over at 'Dinner with Julie' made it look and sound delicious.

A few minutes into the process I realised I was screwed. I didn't have coconut extract. I did however have a few lemons in the fruit bowl so I mixed things up and used lemon zest and juice as the flavor for the cake and frosting. I'm glad I did, and so was Liz, cos it was perfect. Everything came together nicely and a delicious cake was enjoyed. Liz took a few pieces home for her and her new man and ate both of them, so it must have been good!

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 1/4 cups milk

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Spray two 8” or 9” round cake pans or one 9”x 13” pan with nonstick spray.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a larger bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer for about half a minute, until it’s pale and creamy. Pour in the sugar and continue to beat for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each, and adding the lemon juice and zest along the way. Scrape down the sides of the bowl whenever it needs it.

Add about one-third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir it in by hand or with the electric mixer on low speed, just until it’s combined. Add about half the milk in the same manner, then another third of the flour, the rest of the milk, and the rest of the flour, mixing just until the batter is blended.

Divide the batter between the greased cake pans and tap the bottoms a few times on the countertop to remove any air bubbles. To prevent a domed top, spread the top of the batter with a spatula, creating a slight dent in the middle and a raised edge. This compensates for the way a cake tends to rise higher in the middle.

Bake for 30-35 minutes for round layers or 40-45 minutes for a 9-x 13-inch cake, until golden, the edges are pulling away from the sides of the pan, and the tops are springy to the touch. Let them cool for about 10 minutes before running a knife around the edge of the pans and inverting them onto a wire rack. Cool completely before you frost them.

Lemon Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
3 cups icing sugar

In a medium bowl, beat the butter and extract with an electric mixer until creamy. Add about a third each of the icing sugar and milk; beat and continue to add each until you have a spreadable frosting. Makes enough for 1 cake or a batch of cupcakes.

Sathya-rating ****

Sunday, 31 May 2009

All Day Breakfast

Jared is golf obsessed. He plays several times a week and really is exceptionally good at it! I like to feed him a big hearty breakfast Sunday mornings before he heads off to the golfcourse for his day of comp golf.

Laura taught me this recipe. I once slept at her place and woke up to this for breakfast! I think I probably had too many wines the evening before so this would have put the fire out for sure!

I've been making it ever since and Jared is a massive fan of it!

8 rashers of short cut bacon chopped
2 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
3 tablespoons chopped spring onion
5 eggs
1 dessertspoon butter
50ml milk
1/2 cup parsley finely chopped
Worchestershire sauce (or your fav breakfast sauce)

Chop the bacon into small squares and fry in a frypan. Meanwhile chop up the tomato and spring onion.

Whisk together the egg, milk, butter and half the parsley to prepare to scramble the eggs. Season to taste.

Add the tomato and spring onion to the bacon once the bacon is crisping up. Scramble the eggs.

Make the toast. Spread with butter. Arrange the scrambled eggs on the toast and top with the bacon, tomato and onion mix. Sprinkle with left over parsley. Season with salt and pepper and as much Worchestershire as you like.

Serves 2


Saturday, 30 May 2009

I'm Back! With Spinach & Ricotta Dip

It has been 20 long months since I posted on the Baker & the Curry Maker and a lot has happened in that time! I have a perfect new man, a funky new home, a new exciting job and a brave new hairstyle plus a few new gorgeous friends. I've been itching to get back into the blogging lately. I almost made it back last weekend with a lemon slice but I was staying at my parents place in Clare and didn't have my camera. And so this is my returning recipe.... Spinach and Ricotta Dip.

I've had this at morning teas at work a few times and I actually get frustrated when staff bring it along. I want to pick it up and take it back to my desk where I can devour it all myself. This week another pesky staff member brought it in and I decided to make one all of my own today so I can sit in the comfort of my lounge room and inhale it. I so badly didn't want to share with my boyfriend that I made him one all of his own also!

It's simple and always a hit!

300g Ricotta
500g Frozen chopped spinach
100g Danish Feta
300g Sour Cream
1/3 cup chopped chives
30g Spring Vegetable Soup Mix
Freshly Ground Pepper
Cob bread

Squeeze and discard all liquid from thawed spinach. Place into a large bowl. Add ricotta, feta and sour cream. Stir until well combined and smooth. Add chives and dried soup. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Mix until well combined.

Using a serrated knife, slice a 3 to 4cm-thick slice off top of loaf. Set aside. Remove soft white bread from centre of loaf to form a bread 'bowl' and use this to scoop out the dip. Spoon spinach and ricotta mixture into loaf. Serve immediately.


Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Slowcooked Butter Chicken

I was very lucky to get a slow cooker for my birthday late last year. At the time I was five months pregnant, incredibly nauseous 24 hours a day and not really in the mood to go anywhere near the kitchen. Six months later the weather was much cooler and I had much less time to prepare dinner, what with a new baby and all, and so came my first attempt at using the slowcooker or crockpot as it seems the Americans call them.

I googled my way around the internet and stumbled across Stephanie over at A Year of Crockpotting (who literally used her crockpot for 365 days. Funny that). There are loads of recipes I am looking forward to trying but I started with Butter Chicken. Boy, am I glad I started with Butter Chicken. To be honest, I don't think I have moved away from Butter Chicken yet! I've made it several times and we're all loving it. I wonder how long till we get sick of it. No time soon, I hope because it is so incredibly easy to prepare and very tasty.

(I followed Stephanies recipe, however, I used 2 teaspoons of butter rather than 6 tablespoons and 3 tablespoons of tomato paste rather than a can).

900g boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 onion, sliced
6 garlic cloves, chopped
4 tbs butter
15 cardamom pods
2 tsp curry paste/powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 can coconut milk
3 tbs tomato paste
2 tbs lemon juice
1 cup plain yogurt (to add at the end)

Carefully sew together the cardamom pods using a needle and thread ro put them in a little cheese cloth bundle. Put chicken in crockpot, and add onion, garlic, and all of the spices. Plop in the butter and tomato paste. Add lemon juice and coconut milk and stir. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4. The chicken should shred easily when fully cooked.

Stir in the yogurt 15 minutes before serving. Discard cardamom pods. Season to taste and serve with rice.

Sathya-rating *****

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Rice pudding

I don't recall having rice pudding when I was a kid. The first time I had it was maybe a year or two ago when I made chocolate rice pudding (which it seems I didn't blog about). I enjoyed it but never made again. For some reason it popped into my head recently. Probably because I thought it would be easy to prepare, I wouldn't have to leave the house, it does not contain chocolate but would still be comforting.

Yes, poor, poor Sathya cannot have chocolate at the moment. Its devastating! Our gorgeous baby boy screams and screams for two days when I eat chocolate. You know, I think I'm struggling more with no chocolate than no alcohol. Big call I know.

Anyway, enough fantasising about booze and chocolate! I searched the web and found so many different recipes but Deb's (adapted from Gale Gand) over at Smitten Kitchen seemed best as I had everything at hand.

Its perfect. Creamy, sweet and absolutely delicious. I have made it a few times since finding the recipe. You can serve it with any fruit (we really like banana too), here I have served it with dried cranberries.

1/2 cup Arborio rice
4 cups milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 pint raspberries, other berries or dried fruit (optional)

In a large saucepan, place all the ingredients, except the fruit. Bring it to a gentle boil and then turn it down to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom, for about 30 to 40 minutes. Taste the rice to check for doneness. The rice should be very soft and plump.

Take the pudding off the heat and pour into dessert bowls and stir in some fresh raspberries, or other dried or fresh fruit. Serve immediately.

Sathya-rating *****

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Pumpkin Cannelloni

For Mothers Day this year we decided to spoil Mum by cooking her a nice lunch. Straight away I knew what we should make, and thankfully my sister Sal agreed.

We went to the Adelaide Central Markets on Saturday and got all the ingredients. Sal roasted the pumpkin at home later that day, so this dish was pulled together easily on Sunday. Sal rolled the cannelloni, I prepared the white sauce and the boys did the salad and the garlic bread. It was a perfect lunch on a cold wintery afternoon with family in the warmth by the fire.

This recipe comes from Bill Grangers new book and is a winner. I will definitely be making it again, everyone ate their plates clean and commented on how much they enjoyed it. I found the recipe at Lorraine’s blog Not Quite Nigella. Lorraine made this with ricotta and stated that next time she would do it with feta to counter balance the sweetness of the pumpkin, which is what we did and it worked a treat.

6 large fresh lasagne sheets or 12-14 smaller sized ones.
35g/1 oz parmesan

1.25kg peeled, deseeded pumpkin cut into 3 cm cubes
1 large red onion, cut into thin wedges
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Cheese sauce
40g butter
3 tablespoons plain flour
750ml milk
1 bay leaf
240g feta

Simple tomato sauce
800g tinned chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, crushed

Preheat the oven to 200C. To make the filling, place pumpkin and onion on a large baking tray and drizzle olive oil on top. Sprinkle thyme, chili, salt and pepper on top and roast for 45 minutes until golden stirring occasionally. Cool slightly and mash with a fork ensuring to leave some texture.

To make the cheese sauce , heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes or until bubbling. gradually whisk in the milk then add bay leaf and cook. stirring until the sauce is thickened and smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in the feta and season with salt and pepper.
Lightly butter a baking dish or use a non stick one ensuring you use one that will snugly hold the cannelloni. Pour 1/3 of the cheese sauce onto to base of the baking tray. then assemble the cannelloni by filling in each one with 2-3 tablespoons of filling and fold over to make a tube to enclose filling.

Place cannelloni in a single layer on top of cheese sauce and then sprinkle some water on the pasta. Pour the rest of the sauce on top ensuring that the cannelloni is covered with sauce. Cover with grated parmesan.

Cover and freeze at this stage. Or if cooking this now, bake in a 180C oven for 35-40 minutes until golden and bubbling.

While this is in the oven, prepare the tomato sauce - empty tomatoes into a saucepan and cook over a medium heat for about 15-25 minutes until reduced and thickened. Add remaining ingredients and cook for 1 minute.

Serve the cannelloni topped with the tomato sauce and a nice green salad.

Sathya-rating ****

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Fijian Creamy Lentil Soup

Summer must be officially over as it is cooling down and I am making lots of soups. The best so far was a chicken, corn and noodle soup by Karen Martini on Better Homes and Gardens which I forgot to take a photo of, but I'll defintely make it again and post it.

This lentil soup I made on the weekend is delicious. It was incredibly easy to prepare and was hearty enough with a bread roll for dinner. I love that, cos you can make a big pot and reheat it easily when you don't have time (ie, Austen the baby needs to be held). The caramilised onions were a nice touch, but I don't know if I'd bother next time. Although the cummin seeds through the caramalised onions were great, maybe I'd just dry roast and add them on their own at the end.

375g (1 1/2 cups) red lentils
1 litre (4 cups) vegetable stock or water
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2.5cm piece ginger, peeled and chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
250ml milk
1 tsp sea salt
60g unsalted butter
1 brown onion, diced
1 tsp cumin seeds

Pick over the lentils, removing any stones or discoloured ones. Rinse thoroughly and place in a deep saucepan with the vegetable stock or water, turmeric, ginger and tomato.

Bring to the boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes, or until the lentils are soft.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before transferring to a food processor and blending until smooth. Return the pureed lentils to the warm pan, stir in the milk and salt and simmer gently over low heat until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan over high heat. Add the onion and cumin seeds and cook, stirring occasionally, for eight minutes, or until the onions are brown and caramelised.

To serve, ladle the soup into warm bowls and sprinkle generously with cracked black pepper to taste. Scatter the caramelised onion and coriander over the soup and serve immediately.

Sathya-rating ***

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Broccoli & Rice

It's disappointing when you see a recipe that sounds tasty and you think to yourself, 'Yeah, that would be nice for dinner tonight'. You walk to the shop especially to get some ingredients, the baby has fallen asleep so you start dinner while you have a chance as dinner time is always crazy times. Baby wakes up so you quickly shut production down and settle him.

Hours later you find another moment to try and finish dinner off. Again, the baby is unhappy and you have to stop. Dad comes home and says something encouraging along the lines of 'that smells good', so you plant the baby on Dad's lap and finally finish off the dish and serve it.

Finally, you sit down, take the first bite and realise it is terrible.

This kind of thing breaks my heart. It happened to me with this Broccoli, Rice and Cheddar Casserole dish from Serious Eats. Boo hoo.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Pioneer Womans Chocolate Cake

Another cake, I apologise! I shall try to make something different soon. However, this cake is fantastic! It comes from one of my personal favourite sites -
Pioneer Woman.

As you can imagine, we have had plenty of visitors coming to meet our gorgeous baby boy. I managed to throw this cake together without a special trip to the store or too much trouble. We got lots of pieces of cake an 'mmm's this is so good' which is exactly what we needed. Chocolate cakes are often dry I find, not this one, soft and moist.

Combine in a mixing bowl:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a saucepan, melt:
225grams butter
Add 4 heaping tablespoons cocoa. Stir together.
Add 1 cup boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.

In measuring cup, pour 1/2 cup buttermilk.
2 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into sheet cake pan and bake at 180C degrees for 20 minutes.

While cake is baking, make icing:
Chop 1/2 cup pecans finely.
Melt 200grams butter in a saucepan.
Add 4 heaping tablespoons cocoa, stir to combine, then turn off heat.
6 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
350grams icing sugar
Stir together.
Add pecans, stir together, and pour over warm cake.

Sathya-rating ****

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Plum Cake & Welcome to the world

Its been over a month since I have signed in or typed anything for you all. What a time it has been! On 1 March the moment we had been waiting for finally arrived and we welcomed our gorgeous little boy Austen Patrick into the world. After a crazy week in hospital we have spent the last 2 weeks getting settled in at home, and slowly but surely we're getting there. With this news I hope you can sympathise with how little I have been in the kitchen (what with 44C degree days here in Adelaide and a heavy load) and now trying to literally find time to do anything let alone cook and blog about it. Hopefully I will work it out soon and you will find me here more often.

Isn't he gorgeous? I think so haha.

Anyway onto the yummy stuff. A few weeks before Austen arrived my lovely friend Hannah had a dinner party and I offered to bring dessert. Coincidentally Mum left with me a bag of home grown plums, so I decided the dessert must use these plums. As a side note, let me say I hate plums, I find them sour and don't like the flavour, so I wasn't very excited about all this.

I was generously given "The Cooks Companion" by Stephanie Alexander for Christmas so I thought I'd start looking for a recipe there. I didn't have to look long as under the plum section there was this wonderful recipe. It was easy to make and the cake was gorgeous, the topping is the winner I think. I'd never made a cake like this before, the method was interesting, and I wasn't sure it was going to work, but it did. Give it a try, its delicious, everyone loved it, and some of them were outstanding chefs! Always nice to impress and receive compliments from chefs!

180g softened butter
150g castor sugar
135g plain flour
135g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
70ml milk
1/2 cup ground almonds (or fresh breadcrumbs)
10-12 ripe blood plums, halved and stoned

60g butter
1/2 cup castor sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 200C and lightly grease a 26cm springform tin.

To make the topping, melt butter and stir in sugar and cinnamon, then allow to cool a little. Whisk eggs well and stir into cooled butter mixture.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then mix in flours and salt. Mix eggs with milk, then add to flour mixture and mix to make a softish dough (it should drop easily from the spoon). Spoon batter into prepared tin (it should not fill more than a quarter of the depth, as the cake rises a great deal), smooth the top and sprinkle over ground almonds. Arrange plums on top, cut-side up, starting around outside edge and working towards centre. Spoon topping over and around plums on cake. Place cake in oven and reduce temperature to 180C.

Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until a fine skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Serve warm with cream or ice-cream. Any leftover cake can be warmed, wrapped in foil, in the oven at 180C for 15 minutes.

Sathya-rating *****

Monday, 9 February 2009

Apricot Jam

A friend of mine at work had an excess of apricots from her tree at home and passed them onto me. They were incredibly ripe and delicious and I realised straight away they wouldn’t last long so decided I would have my first attempt at making jam. Not just any jam, apricot, which is my favourite.

I typed ‘apricot jam’ into Google and found this very easy recipe on www.cuisine.com.au a great Australian recipe site and got straight into it. It was all very easy and the end result was incredibly rewarding and worthwhile, the jam was delicious! It didn’t last long here, so I am looking forward to the next bag of fruit and my next attempt.

The recipe is below, but please note, I didn’t add the apricot kernels.

1.2kg ripe apricots
570g sugar
4 apricot kernels, chopped
Juice of a lemon

Wash apricots well and pat dry. Pit them (keep the kernels) and dice flesh into 1cm cubes. Mix diced apricots with sugar in a large pot and let stand for at least an hour or preferably overnight in refrigerator. Add chopped kernels. Bring mixture to boil, stirring so it doesn't catch. It will rise in the pot with large bubbles. Skim off any scum that forms on top. Lower heat to a vigorous simmer until bubbles get smaller. Test for thickness by placing a few drops on a small cold plate (from refrigerator). When ready, remove from heat, stir in lemon juice and place in preserving jars following the maker's instructions.

Makes about a litre.

Sathya-rating *****

Thursday, 15 January 2009

The best stuffed tomatoes - ever!

One of my favourite blogs is Orangette written by a gorgeous woman called Molly. I have probably told you about her before, she takes wonderful pictures and every recipe I have made has become a favourite - like the eggplant curry.

I have a new favourite which Molly demanded everyone make, and if I may be so bossy, I think you all should as well! Rice stuffed tomatoes adapted from Luisa Weiss.

The photo isn't terribly exciting but the flavour (and the ease) of this recipe make them perfect! Yum. I made them a lot before it turned really hot over here in Adelaide. Now, I try to avoid using the oven as pregnancy + heat doesn't mix!

4 large, good-tasting tomatoes
1 small onion, diced
Olive oil
1/3 cup Arborio rice
1/3 cup water
5 fresh basil leaves
baby potatoes, sliced into rounds

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Cut the tops off the tomatoes. Holding them over a bowl, scoop out their insides – flesh, seeds, and juice – and let it all fall into the bowl. Set the tomatoes in a lightly oiled 9”x13” baking dish. Then fish the flesh out of the bowl, and chop it. Return it to the bowl with the juice and seeds.

In a medium saucepan, warm a glug of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent. Add the rice, and continue to cook, stirring, for another minute or two. Add the tomato flesh, juice, and seeds – it may look like a lot, but add it all – as well as the water. Tear the basil leaves into small pieces, and add them too. Add a generous pinch or two of salt. Reduce the heat slightly, cover the pot, and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste, and if needed, add more salt.

Spoon the par-cooked rice mixture into the tomatoes. Top them with a sprinkling of breadcrumbs. Arrange the potato slices around the tomatoes in the pan. Give everything a good drizzle of olive oil. (You might want to flip and rub the potatoes a bit, to make sure that each has a nice coat of oil.) Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. The tomatoes should shrivel a bit and release some of their juices, and the potatoes should cook through.

Cool for 15 minutes or so before eating, so that the tomato juices have time to settle.

Sathya-rating *****

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

December Daring Bakers Challenge - French Yule Log

Its time for Daring Bakers! Yay!

This month's challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux. They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand

I am a little late as I was in a rural part of Australia, Streaky Bay, without access to a computer and I couldn’t do it before we left on 27 December as posting day was 28 December. Hopefully I am not banished for this. We shall see though, as Daring Bakers has become much more organised and regulated in 2009.

This time last year the Daring Bakers made a Yule Log so when I first saw the challenge was a Yule log, I was a little disappointed as I thought it was the same, but I have since learnt that a French Yule Log is very different! I must say, however, that I enjoyed last years much more in taste and preparation.

This recipe took a lot of time and effort to prepare, so please don’t attempt unless you have those 2 things in abundance, which I didn’t at this crazy time of year plus being 7 months pregnant!

Thanks you to Hilda and Marion for hosting Decembers challenge. It can’t be easy to choose a recipe that both hosts are happy with and that they imagine all Daring Bakers will be happy with! Hats off to you ladies!

I think as Daring Bakers we need to be honest and open and give our feedback on these recipes so that is what I will do. I did not enjoy this challenge, preparing or eating it. Disappointing huh? I think it was partly the recipe, and partly me and my kitchen! Firstly, it was about 32C degrees (90F), my kitchen light had blown and I couldn’t change it as the ceilings are so high, my KitchenAid was playing up and finally the batteries in my scales ran out. Humph.

The taste testers enjoyed this though and it looks like many of my fellow Daring Bakers did as well so don’t take too much notice of me. I’m terribly hormonal!

FRENCH YULE LOG RECIPE by Flore of Florilège Gourmand

Element #1 Dacquoise Biscuit (Almond Cake)

80g almond meal
50g icing sugar
15g plain flour
3 medium egg whites
50g sugar

Finely mix the almond meal and the confectioner's sugar. (If you have a mixer, you can use it by pulsing the ingredients together for no longer than 30 seconds).

Sift the flour into the mix.

Beat the eggs whites, gradually adding the granulated sugar until stiff.

Pour the almond meal mixture into the egg whites and blend delicately with a spatula.

Grease a piece of parchment paper and line your baking pan with it.

Spread the batter on a piece of parchment paper to an area slightly larger than your desired shape (circle, long strip etc...) and to a height of 1/3 inches (8mm).
Bake at 180°C for approximately 15 minutes Let cool and cut to the desired shape.

Element #2 Dark Chocolate Mousse

2.5 sheets gelatin or 5g powdered gelatin
40g sugar
10g glucose or golden syrup
15g water
3 medium egg yolks
175g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
350g heavy cream (35% fat content)

Soften the gelatin in cold water. (If using powdered gelatin, follow the directions on the package.)

Make a Pate a Bombe: Beat the egg yolks until very light in colour (approximately 5 minutes until almost white).

Cook the sugar, glucose syrup and water on medium heat for approximately 3 minutes (if you have a candy thermometer, the mixture should reach 244°F (118°C). If you do not have a candy thermometer, test the sugar temperature by dipping the tip of a knife into the syrup then into a bowl of ice water, if it forms a soft ball in the water then you have reached the correct temperature.
Add the sugar syrup to the beaten yolks carefully by pouring it into the mixture in a thin stream while continuing to beat the yolks. You can do this by hand but it’s easier to do this with an electric mixer.

Continue beating until cool (approximately 5 minutes). The batter should become thick and foamy.

In a double boiler or equivalent, heat 2 tablespoons (30g) of cream to boiling. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.

Whip the remainder of the cream until stiff.

Pour the melted chocolate over the softened gelatin, mixing well. Let the gelatin and chocolate cool slightly and then stir in ½ cup (100g) of WHIPPED cream to temper. Add the Pate a Bombe.

Add in the rest of the WHIPPED cream (220g) mixing gently with a spatula.

Element #3 Dark Chocolate Ganache Insert

50g sugar
135g heavy cream (35% fat content)
135g dark chocolate, finely chopped
45g unsalted butter, softened

Make a caramel: Using the dry method, melt the sugar by spreading it in an even layer in a small saucepan with high sides. Heat over medium-high heat, watching it carefully as the sugar begins to melt. Never stir the mixture. As the sugar starts to melt, swirl the pan occasionally to allow the sugar to melt evenly. Cook to dark amber color (for most of you that means darker than last month’s challenge).

While the sugar is melting, heat the cream until boiling. Pour cream into the caramel and stir thoroughly. Be very careful as it may splatter and boil.

Pour the hot caramel-milk mixture over the dark chocolate. Wait 30 seconds and stir
until smooth.

Add the softened butter and whip hard and fast (if you have a plunging mixer use it). The chocolate should be smooth and shiny.

Element #4 Praline Feuillete (Crisp) Insert

Note: Feuillete means layered (as in with leaves) so a Praline Feuillete is a Praline version of a delicate crisp. There are non-praline variations below. The crunch in this crisp comes from an ingredient which is called gavottes in French. Gavottes are lace-thin crepes. To our knowledge they are not available outside of France, so you have the option of making your own using the recipe below or you can simply substitute rice krispies or corn flakes or Special K for them. Special note: If you use one of the substitutes for the gavottes, you should halve the quantity stated, as in use 1oz of any of these cereals instead of 2.1oz.

60g of gavottes (lace crepes - recipe by Ferich Mounia):
80ml whole milk
8g unsalted butter
35g plain flour
15g beaten egg
3.5g sugar
½ tsp vegetable oil

Heat the milk and butter together until butter is completely melted. Remove from the heat.

Sift flour into milk-butter mixture while beating, add egg and granulated sugar. Make sure there are no lumps.

Grease a baking sheet and spread batter thinly over it.

Bake at 430°F (220°C) for a few minutes until the crepe is golden and crispy. Let cool.

Ingredients for the Praline Feuillete:
100g milk chocolate
25g butter
30g praline
2.1oz (60g) lace crepes(gavottes) or rice krispies or corn flakes or Special K (I used cornflakes)

Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler.

Add the praline and the coarsely crushed lace crepes. Mix quickly to thoroughly coat with the chocolate.

Spread between two sheets of wax paper to a size slightly larger than your desired shape. Refrigerate until hard.

Element #5 Vanilla Crème Brulée Insert

115g heavy cream (35% fat content)
115g whole milk
4 medium-sized egg yolks
25g sugar
1 vanilla bean

Heat the milk, cream, and scraped vanilla bean to just boiling. Remove from the stove and let the vanilla infuse for about 1 hour.

Whisk together the sugar and egg yolks (but do not beat until white).

Pour the vanilla-infused milk over the sugar/yolk mixture. Mix well.

Wipe with a very wet cloth and then cover your baking mold (whatever shape is going to fit on the inside of your Yule log/cake) with parchment paper. Pour the cream into the mold and bake at 210°F (100°C) for about 1 hour or until firm on the edges and slightly wobbly in the center.

Let cool and put in the freezer for at least 1 hour to firm up and facilitate the final assembly.

Element #6 Dark Chocolate Icing

½ Tbsp powdered gelatin or 2 sheets gelatin
60g heavy cream (35 % fat content)
60g granulated sugar
¼ cup water
30g unsweetened cocoa powder

Soften the gelatin in cold water for 15 minutes.

Boil the rest of the ingredients and cook an additional 3 minutes after boiling.

Add gelatin to the chocolate mixture. Mix well.

Let cool while checking the texture regularly. As soon as the mixture is smooth and coats a spoon well (it is starting to gelify), use immediately.

How To Assemble your French Yule Log

Depending on whether your mold is going to hold the assembly upside down until you unmold it or right side up, this order will be different.


You will want to tap your mold gently on the countertop after each time you pipe mousse in to get rid of any air bubbles.

Line your mold or pan, whatever its shape, with rhodoid (clear hard plastic, I usually use transparencies cut to the desired shape, it’s easier to find than cellulose acetate which is what rhodoid translates to in English) OR plastic film. Rhodoid will give you a smoother shape but you may have a hard time using it depending on the kind of mold you’re using.

Pipe one third of the Mousse component into the mold.

Take the Creme Brulee Insert out of the freezer at the last minute and set on top of the mousse. Press down gently to slightly ensconce it in the mousse.

Pipe second third of the Mousse component around and on top of the Creme Brulee Insert.

Cut the Praline/Crisp Insert to a size slightly smaller than your mold so that it can be surrounded by mousse. Lay it on top of the mousse you just piped into the mold.

Pipe the last third of the Mousse component on top of the Praline Insert.

Freeze for a few hours to set. Take out of the freezer.

Pipe the Ganache Insert onto the frozen mousse leaving a slight edge so that ganache doesn’t seep out when you set the Dacquoise on top.

Close with the Dacquoise.

Freeze until the next day.

The next day...

Unmold the cake/log/whatever and set on a wire rack over a shallow pan.
Cover the cake with the icing.

Let set. Return to the freezer.
You may decorate your cake however you wish. The decorations can be set in the icing after it sets but before you return the cake to the freezer or you may attach them on top using extra ganache or leftover mousse, etc...

Transfer to the refrigerator no longer than ½ hour before serving as it may start to melt quickly depending on the elements you chose.

Sathya-rating **