Friday, October 17, 2014

Earl Grey Cupcakes

So I’m starting to get sick of blogging. Fairly sure like no one reads this anyway. It’s so much effort when I have a normal day job and general life happenings. How do people do this? They clearly have far more passion than I do.

Anyway, that aside, I went away again last weekend. To Sydneeeeeeey (say that like Oprah). It was actually a trip down to watch the incredible David Villa play for Melbourne City, but I extended it a few days because ain’t no way I was paying all that money for flights just for 24 hours. So I spent my time wondering and eating. A few key highlights were the many Zumbo runs, The Central Baking Depot and Messina. I clearly ate far more than that, but those stick out in my mind. Also shout out to Herbie’s Spices in Rozelle who were both outstandingly awesome, and outstandingly kind! Those ladies are fantastic. Good news is that they deliver so I can have awesome spices and blends all year round!
Now however, it’s back to normal. I have no other trips planned in the foreseeable future. Not that I could afford any...

So back on track – the food. I made these a while ago for a photo shoot for my sister. She’s a designer and was using my blog in her portfolio. So the photo was also taken by a professional and is clearly much better than my normal shots....
The cupcakes were pretty awesome. The frosting is OMG-I-COULD-DIE good if you follow the tip at the end. True story.

My Nana is known for Earl Grey. Like legit, famous. You mention earl grey in my family and I will bet everything I own that everyone will just think of Nana. She has it black and weak, just in case you’re wondering.  
So these cupcakes just reminded me of her. In all the best ways.

125ml milk
4 earl grey tea bags
110g butter, softened
225g caster sugar
2 eggs
125g self raising flour
120g plain flour
110g butter, softened
60ml milk
1tsp vanilla
500g icing sugar

Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until just starting to boil. Remove from heat and add the teabags. Cover and let infuse for 30mins to an hour.
When that time is up, preheat the overn to 180oC and prep your cupcake tray with liners.
Cream the butter and sugar until pale and smooth. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating after each.
Whisk together the two flours.
In thirds, alternate adding the flours and the milk to the batter, mixing between each step.
Spoon the mixture into the liners, about 3/4 way full.
Bake for 25mins or until the top is springy. Set aside to cool
Beat the butter, milk, vanilla and half the icing sugar until smooth. Slowly add the remaining sugar until you get the desired consistency.
Pipe onto cupcakes however your heart desires.
Tip: When you’re infusing the milk for the cupcakes, add in the milk for the frosting. You’ll have to remeasure again to separate it, but it adds a subtle earl grey flavour to the frosting. And then you’ll want to eat it with a spoon.


Friday, October 3, 2014

Bacchus: Dessert Degustation

First of all, I’m so sorry about missing a post. Actually I might have missed two....
The last couple of weeks have been CA-RAZY.
I fly down to Brisbane to see the BFF and spend some time with her, and then I went to Gold Coast to visit the family, and then I attended a Town Planning Conference and drank networked with other planners from Queensland. I pretty much go every year and I love it. Making friends is fun.
BUT, the main thing I want to talk to you about is a Dessert Degustation I went to with the BFF. I was all kinds of excited. Like off the charts excited.
It’s located in Brisbane, along Southbank. It’s real fancy kind of place. The kind of place that makes me feel like I need to have full make up, curled hair and definitely no swearing. I did not fit in ;)
There are actually only 5 courses advertised when you book, but just between you and me, you actually get 10. Yep. 10 courses of sweet sweet dessert. You pretty much have to have the hugest sweet tooth if you go to this thing.
This is a photo of 9 of the courses:
Doesn’t it just want to make you scream?
Because on the night I was distracted and honestly did not think to get a full break down of the exact courses, you’ll have to settle with my guess. So, in my own words, the courses were:
Course 1: Hazelnut hot chocolate with coconut marshmallows and chocolate cigars
Course 2: Raspberry panna cotta with vanilla cheesecake and raspberry sorbet
Course 3: Hot donut balls with lemon and olive oil dipping sauce
Course 4: Warm chocolate brownie with hazelnut mousse and frangelico ice cream
Course 5: Lemonade and mint granita (not pictured)
Course 6: Sticky lemon polenta with scorched buttermilk and almond ice cream
Course 7: “Forrest Floor” – salted caramel ice cream with pistachio and cocoa with chocolate twigs
Course 8: Soufflé with cinnamon anglaise, cinnamon twirl and vanilla ice cream
Course 9: Sticky date pudding with toffee sauce and prune and Armagnac ice cream
Course 10: Lemon macarons, moulded chocolate, white chocolate ice cream pops and pistachio cakes
It goes without saying that each course was exquisite. The flavours were amazing, the textures interesting - just over the top, one of the best things I've ever eaten.
Just so you don’t have to google it, their details are:
Cnr Grey St & Glenelg St, South Brisbane QLD 4101
(07) 3364 0843
So you go book, while I go jump on a treadmill....

Monday, September 15, 2014

Blueberry Ice Cream

*clears throat*

Ladies and Gentlemen (not that I think any blokes read this), I am officially a nutritionist!

Yep. I passed. I actually passed with flying colours. Big rainbow streamers with lots of glitter. So I am a nutritionist, who celebrates with ice cream.
I like to think I’m a nutritionist for the people. I understand real world issues. I understand that sometimes, money controls what you eat no matter how hard you try. I understand that sometimes it is too hard to make a fancy fresh salad for dinner after 10 hours at work, an hour at gym, a 25min traffic jam and a call from your cousin who just would. not. shut. up.  I understand that people are busy and life is hectic and stressful, and eating healthy isn’t always easy or achievable. I do believe that it should be a priority and most of the time should be ok, but I get it when you get home and have peanut butter on toast.

So yes, when there is a celebration, I will celebrate with ice cream, because that is life.
This ice cream rocked my world for about a week. Mmhmm. It’s so stupid creamy and so so blueberry and amazing. It was so good, the last 2 scoops stayed in the container for 2 whole days because I knew if I ate it, then it would be gone and that would be sad. True story.

Make it and let it rock your world!

1 cup sugar
75g cream cheese
2 egg yolks
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cream

1 1/2 cups blueberries
1/8 cup icing sugar
1/8 cup water

Combine the blueberries, icing sugar and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10mins until it thickens slightly. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Custard Base:
Combine sugar, cream cheese and the egg yolks in a bowel. Beat until smooth.

Combine milk and cream in a medium sized saucepan. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat.

While that’s boiling, set up an ice bath.

Gradually add the hot milk to the cream cheese mixture, a bit at a time to slowly temper the eggs, stirring constantly (I use a 1/3 cup measurement to do this so I don’t accidentally tip it all in and scramble the eggs). Do this for about half the milk mixture.

Transfer the cream cheesy/milk mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk.

Heat on medium-low for about 5-10mins. It should thicken slightly.

Remove from heat and set the bowl in the ice bath to cool for another 10mins or so.

Stir through the blueberry mixture which should now be cool.

Refrigerate the mixture for several hours (I leave mine overnight)

Churn according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Freeze for at least 1 hour before demolishing.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Sun-Dried Tomato Dip

I don’t have too much to report today. I’m in the depths of studying with my exam in 2 days time. I don’t think I’ll surface all weekend.

Although I really want to go see The Hundred Foot Journey. It’s a movie about France. Totally my thing. I’ll probably go see that as a study break and then come back and be distracted thinking about food. Flawless plan!
Anyway, I’m sure your weekend will be much more exciting than mine. Are you having a party? A little get together per say?

Why you should make this dip!
I love making my own dips. They’re the best and there are no chemicals or high salt or any nasties to make you think you should not be piling your cracker a mile high.

Side note, I do not understand people who don’t like much dip. My ratio is pretty much 2:1 to the dip. It’s more dip with cracker, not cracker with dip.
It’s an art.

So this dip is great. Great depth of flavour in the tomato, and nice and thick for prime scooping.
Thumbs up all around really. Try it.

1tbspn coconut oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 brown onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts, roasted
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, drained (reserve oil)
1/2 cup kidney beans
1/2tsp dried oregano
1/3 cup lemon juice

In a small frying pan, melt the coconut oil.
When melted, add in the garlic and onion and sauté until soft and translucent
Add to a blender or mini food processer with the remaining ingredients (not the oil). Blend until smooth. Be careful about the steam getting trapped. I like to pulse a few times, release steam and repeat until done. This is where you can now use the oil, or water, to thin out the dip to your desired consistency.
Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.