Monday, August 30, 2010

Choc Chip, Honeycomb, Cookie Crumble Ice Cream Cake

A week or so ago I asked the handsome Husband what kind of cake he would like for his birthday.

"Icecream" was the reply.
"Home made or store bought?" I enquired. (We have a bit of romantic birthday history involving the store bought kind!)
"Home made" he said.

Well ok then! I thought of various concoctions involving his favourite things - hazelnuts, coffee and chocolate.

But eventually I went back to the best looking ice cream cake I've ever seen.

In Nigella Express she makes one that has always tempted me with it's sheer decadence so I pulled up the recipe on and made an ingredients list on a post-it at work. I love that Nigella is so relaxed about sharing her recipes online! It's brilliant that you can remember a recipe from one of her shows and immediately hunt down the recipe and pick up the ingredients on the way home.

My post-it said:

Good vanilla ice-cream (I used Streets Blue Ribbon)
Bourbon Biscuits crunched up (which became malt ones when I figured out that you can't seem to get Bourbon biscuits in Oz)
Choc Chips (in place of her peanut butter swirls)
a Crunchie smashed
2 flakes (my addition for decorative purposes)
Dark chocolate & Cream (for a chocolate fudge sauce)

Basically you let the ice cream soften, put 1.5L in the mixer and mix in 3/4 packet biscuits, 3/4 packet choc chips and the crunchie. Pour the mix into a springform tin lined with cling, flatten down, fold the cling back over and freeze overnight.

Decorate with crumbled flake and sit out for 5mins or so before serving.

I melted together the dark chocolate and cream for a rich fudge sauce - be careful to do this on a low heat - cream burns and changes flavour very easily.

I almost had a disaster! The original recipe also includes sugared or honey roasted peanuts. I bought the only packet Woolworths had and was about to pop them in with the ice cream when I had a quick sample. Lucky I did! turns out they were "Savoury Honey Roasted" and the ingredients included onion and garlic powder! That would've been a fine birthday story!

We invited friends over, bought ingredients for a big roast dinner (2 kinds of meat!) and then 3hrs before they were due to arrive poor old husband fell victim to a nasty sinus bug. He was Codralled up and sent to bed - party cancelled. 2 days later I took pity on the poor thing and lit up the cake just for us. We celebrated with a Farscape marathon in our PJs rather than the planned dinner with friends but the cake was still just as delicious.

Once all is well we'll be hunting down visitors to demolish the fridge full of baked dinner accoutrements - and the rest of the cake!

Have a nice day everyone! x

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A guest appearance with White Chocolate Raspberry Slice!

This little visit is from my beautiful sister-in-law Suzette.

You couldn't ask for a better person to become a relative! They say 'You can't choose your family' but fortunately she is exactly what I would've chosen if I'd had the option :)

Suze is a true Stepford wonder woman, raising 2 gorgeous daughters and still cooking lots of wonderful food in a pristine house. Amazing!

We are the family of food allergies and have to accommodate a diet where we span the spectrum of issues- gluten-free, dairy-free, allergic to Vitamin C, to coconut and allergic to gluten-free flours!

Sometimes I think we should make each person bring their own food :)

Other times I think we spend so much time accommodating that we miss out on the good things and I feel sad that people miss out or feel guilty to take care of my dairy allergy. I'd much rather that they indulged in front of me - I'm well aware of how good cheese and ice cream is - they deserve it!

This slice she made for a family birthday is just to die for, and is wicked in the sense that it contains almost every allergen we have between us. It is moist and luscious and full of my favourite raspberries.

Further joy is in how simple it is and how easy to involve the little ones in a bit of team kitchen work. I can imagine my lovely niece El with a big mixing bowl, stirring away happily helping.

The slice comes from "Marie Claire's Fresh and Fast" and it was enjoyed by many at that event - allergies and all.

Thanks so much Suze!

Pre-heat oven to 180c.
-Grease and line a 16 x 26cm slice tin.

-Melt 125g of unsalted butter and 150g of white cooking chocolate in a saucepan over low heat.

-Add 175g of superfine caster sugar and stir to combine.

-Pour into a large bowl and add 125g of Self raising flour and 90g of desiccated coconut. Stir to combine, add 2 beaten eggs and then fold in 150g of fresh raspberries.

-Pour into prepared tin and bake for 40 mins or until firm.

-Dust with icing sugar. (Makes about 20 slices).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Raspberry Olive Oil Cakes

I love a baking recipe that uses olive oil rather than butter.

Often it makes it dairy free without being the annoying kind of "Dairy Free" recipe that tastes bad and includes odd dairy replacements that you have to search the health food store for, but mostly it's because, let's face it, butter is annoying! Delicious - yes.

BUT you have to remember to set it out to get to squishy room temperature in plenty of time, but not too much time in summer or it's a melty disaster that won't behave as required anymore. This is not too convenient if you're desperate to knock up a little something after a long day at work. I guess it's part of my very modern 'I want it now' attitude :)

Clearly I'm not all that avid about completely avoiding dairy the way I'm supposed to(the fact that I had french onion dip and jatz for breakfast this morning clears that up immediately!) but when you can avoid it without feeling like you're missing out on the good things in this world... well that's just brilliant! I may even have one of these little cakes for breakfast tomorrow :)

I've been making these little cakes for years. They evolved from a giant slab of a thing full of blueberries, originally from a family circle magazine? to these delicate little darlings, plump with raspberries (my favourite!). Think something like a light little friand without the almond meal, or the shape - as I don't have a friand tin.

I actually do a batch as half quantities because the original is absolutely vast! So I'll put the full quantities here but feel free to halve it like I did. A half batch gives you 12 Muffin size cakes.

4 Eggs
2 cups caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla (I used the bean paste)
1 cup extra light olive oil
1 cup apricot nectar
3 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
300g fresh or frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 170C

Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla on high speed until pale and thick. Stir in oil and nectar, sift dry ingredients in and fold together.

Divide into muffin papers. Sprinkle raspberries over evenly and poke them under the batter so just a few peek out.

Bake for 50-55 mins until a skewer comes out clean.

These freeze beautifully and are lovely slightly warm. The dairy allowed among us could add white chocolate chips - that would be yum. I've also used self -raising flour (omitting the baking powder) and that worked wonderfully too with a lighter result.

These were again a hit with the lovely taste tester ladies at work - I think I'm starting to develop an addiction to the happy feeling I get from feeding people!

Have a lovely day everyone x

Monday, August 9, 2010

Apricot Macadamia Muesli Bars

So I'm not really a wholefoods kind of girl. No one who likes KFC as much as I do could possibly claim to be. You won't find me wafting around the health food store in a hemp shirt glaring at the carnivores over at the butcher shop - although I once was a vegetarian I've actually had to forgo that to improve my health! (plus now I actually do enjoy a steak...)

But I have recently started to object to all the additives and preservatives on the labels of what I eat.

As I'm intolerant of dairy I've had to have soy milk for a long time now and have only just realised how insanely long the list of ingredients is on there for something that should be relatively simple. For the same reason I use cheap margarine - and there's not a real ingredient on that massive list either. While my major interest is flavour and not being unwell, I think a major part of feeling good and being healthy is eating things in a more or less natural state.

So I spotted a bargain at the bookstore 'Coming Home to eat Wholefood for the Family' by Jude Blereau. As well as decent non dairy recipes and a not too preachy or scare factor attitude she is Australian and uses relatively accessible products as well as approving the cheaper products if you can't afford the expensive ones.

We go through stacks of muesli bars at our place. The easy option for grabbing something for work and easy for Husband when he's on a night shift - also considered to be the 'healthy option': having said that - the packets read like a novel of additives and preservatives plus stacks of sugar. Jude has a muesli bars recipe so I decided to give it a go. It has been such a hit, so inexpensive (in comparison), better flavour and better for us.

One day we may have some kids, and I don't know that I'll be one of those mums who refuses the kids the shop bought treats but if I can replace some of the day to day with better for you it just makes the treats all that much more treaty!

Muesli Bars (adapted from the aforementioned book deleting sultanas: I don't like, and coconut: husband doesn't like)

2 Cups rolled oats
1/4 cup pepitas
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup chopped macadamias
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
90ml Light olive oil
45ml golden syrup (supposed to be rice bran syrup - but I couldn't get any)
45ml maple syrup

Mix together well, press into a small lined baking tray and bake for 30mins at 180 degrees C until golden. Wait until completely cool until cutting into bars and keeping in an airtight container.

Stepford tip - the centre of mine disintegrated as it wasn't as firmly cooked as the edges were. I toasted it for a bit longer in the oven just loose and served it up with milk as homemade muesli - it was lovely.