Saturday, October 31

Wholemeal rosemary butter rounds


Sometimes I think I have an addiction, I don't like to go for too long without cooking. So even if I'm completely out of time, working too much, and behind in my uni work I'll force myself to find the time to make something. I might not be able to find the time to finish my assignments but I can always find the time to bake.

These biscuits were made during the fews few hours I had off this morning, so they're very quick and easy. They're also somewhat odd tasting, it's not a bad taste just a strange one. In my mind rosemary belongs on crispy, golden potatoes. Rosemary in baked into biscuits isn't something I'm too familiar with. Nevertheless, it turns out that rosemary and oranges do in fact belong in biscuits together. The flavour almost fills up your mouth, it's nice but unexpected.

Homely biscuits are good when you're stressed, they relax in the way something fancy can't. They're unpretentious and you don't feel bad if you eat more than one of them. You can almost convince yourself that they're good for you.


Wholemeal rosemary butter rounds

(adapted from Australian Women's Weekly: Bake)
makes 28

125g (4.5oz) butter, softened
220g (7.7oz) brown sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated orange rind
200g (7oz) wholemeal self-raising flour
100g (3.5oz) walnuts, chopped
50g (1.7oz) currants
2 tsp rosemary, fresh or dried
80ml (1/3 cup) orange juice
50g (1.7oz) desiccated coconut, unsweetened
60g (2.1oz) rolled oats

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F), grease a line two large baking trays.

Beat butter, orange rind, and sugar using an electric mixer until creamy.

Stir in the flour and remaining ingredients. Mix by hand, or using an electric mixer on low, until combined. The mixture will resemble crumble topping when adequately combined, it does not need to form a dough.

Roll rounded tablespoons of mixture into balls, place around 5 cm apart on the oven trays, flatten gently with the palm of your hand.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly golden, cool on trays.

Friday, October 23

Chocolate, raspberry, & macaroon tarts


I actually made these quite a while ago but I figure there's no harm in adding them to the blog. I've been a bit sick over the last week so I haven't had a chance to cook, let alone photograph anything. I do remember these being delicious so I think they're worth sharing. There's no harm in sharing things for the past, right?

I'm a sucker for coconut and I'm always surprised when I meet people who don't like it as much as I do. I'm not sure what it is about coconut that I find so irresistible but if something has coconut in it, I'm there.

I'm also a sucker for chocolate and raspberries despite only having had fresh raspberries a few times in my life. I adore anything with frozen ones in it, so I can only imagine how good fresh ones are!

These tarts turned out quite different to the picture in the book, in the book they've sunken and collapsed in on themselves. They look good both ways, so if yours sink it's not a big deal.

Cramming the macaroon mixture into the cases was quite hard, I think the tart tins I own are shallower than the ones used in the book but I didn't realise this until after cramming all the mixture in. I'll never quite understand why books don't specify the height of tart tins, so if you're using 2cm (2/3") tart tins you'll probably end up with 7 tarts. You can cram the mixture into 6 tart tins but it's not really worth the effort. If you're using 2.5cm (1") tins you should be fine, though I haven't tried it.

Chocolate, raspberry, & macaroon tarts

(adapted from Simple Essentials: Chocolate by Donna Hay)
makes six 8cm (3 1/4") x 2.5cm (1") or seven 8cm (3 1/4") x 2cm (3/4") tarts

Macaroon base

3 egg whites
165g (5 3/4oz) sugar
255g (7 7/8oz) unsweetened, dessicated coconut

Preheat oven to 140°C (280°F).

Combine the egg whites, sugar, and coconut in a large bowl. Once thoroughly mixed divide evenly between the tart dishes. Press mixture firmly over the base and up the sides, using the back of a spoon if necessary.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until macaroon shells are firm and lightly golden.

Raspberry chocolate filling

125ml (4 fl oz) single cream
125g (4oz) dark chocolate, chopped
2 eggs
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons self raising flour
200g (7 oz) raspberries, fresh or frozen

Turn oven temperature up to 160°C (320°F)

Place the cream and chocolate in a saucepan over a low heat and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside. Place the eggs and sugar in a bowl and beat, using an electric mixer, until light and creamy. Fold in the flour and chocolate mixture.

Spoon the chocolate mixture into macaroon shells and top with raspberries. Bake for 25 minutes or until the filling is firm. Cool in tins.

Tuesday, October 6

Vanilla rice pudding with cinnamon apples


There are many things I've never made. For instance I've never made an omelette,a sponge cake, a baked cheese cake, or rice pudding. That's right, I've never made rice pudding. That isn't to say I've never eaten rice pudding because I certainly have; in fact I love rice pudding. It's just, until today, rice pudding has always been made for me or bought from the packet. I've been developing a major addiction to that packaged rice pudding you see everywhere here that's been branded to suit whatever location it's bought from. Most recently I ate "Bondi" rice pudding which I have a sneaking suspicion came from the same factory as the rice pudding I buy from the local fruit shop.

This nicely packaged, pseudo homemade rice pudding isn't the cheapest or even the nicest rice pudding in the world. So today was my day to face my addiction head on and make my own rice pudding. My homemade rice pudding isn't the cheapest either but it sure is delicious!


Vanilla rice pudding with cinnamon apples

(adapted from Decadence: Desserts by Philip Johnson)
serves 4-6

Rice pudding

60g (2 1/4 oz) butter
90g (3 1/4 oz) white sugar
125g (4 1/2 oz) short or medium grain rice
750ml (3 cups) milk
250ml (1 cup) heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 160°C (315°F). Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over a low heat, then add the sugar and rice. Stir for 5 minutes. Add the milk, cream, and vanilla and bring to the boil.

Pour the mixture into a shallow baking dish and cover with foil. Sit the dish in a large roasting tray and pour in enough warm water to reach halfway up the sides of the baking dish.

Bake for 60-80 minutes or until rice is tender. During baking, stir rice every 20 minutes.

Once cooked remove from oven, the mixture will appear fairly wet and the fat may have risen to the top. The pudding will thicken up and take on a creamy colour as it cools. Stir occasionally as the pudding cools and refrigerate until required.

Cinnamon apples

25g (1 oz) butter
3 granny smith apples, peeled, and sliced into 16 wedges
1 tablespoon white sugar
30g (1 oz) sultanas
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the apple wedges and sauté on all sides until they soften slightly. Add the sugar, raisins, cinnamon, and nutmeg and continue to cook until any liquid evaporates. Spread cooked apples on to a large plate and cool.

To serve place rice pudding into serving glasses or bowls and top with apples. Apples can be served either at room temperature or gently reheated and then spooned over rice.

Thursday, October 1

Chocolate ganache tarts


Sometimes I just love an excuse to bake and often I'll hunt for the tiniest excuse to do so. Luckily, just the other day I had a real, actual excuse with more depth than "the cream was on sale at the supermarket". Really, a real reason: picnic time! Spring is (kind of) in the air; there are flowers and grass (!). Unfortunately the weather isn't quite warm enough for fruit based dessert but it's always the right temperature for chocolate.

I tend to forget that most people don't like dark chocolate as much as I do, so these are incredibly rich. I also tend to forgot that at picnics everyone brings sweets and so I really should make something savory to counter it. I never remember and by the end of the day I'm overloaded with sugar and wanting nothing more than an apple.

Chocolate ganache tarts

(adapted from The Art and Soul of Baking)
makes six 10cm (4") tarts

1 quantity French Tart Dough divided into six 10cm (4") tart tins.


2 tablespoons strawberry jam
225g (8oz) bittersweet dark chocolate, finely chopped
225g (8oz) double cream
100g (3.5oz) chocolate of your choice, extra

Spread 1 teaspoon strawberry jam over the the base of the cooled tart crusts, set aside.

Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour cream into a small saucepan and heat until it just beings to boil around the outside, remove from heat and pour over chocolate pieces. Sit for 30 seconds and then gently whisk to blend. If chocolate does not melt completely place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir gently until chocolate is fully melted. Spoon ganache into tart crusts and smooth using an offset spatula. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until set.

Melt extra chocolate and using a fork flick over set ganache to create a pattern. Allow to set in the refrigerator until ready to serve.