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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Choco-Choco Chip

Now if you read my last post, you'd see that I was currently enjoying reading a little book that goes by the title the "Chocolate Conoisseur".

God it's fabulous, but I feel it may be a double-edged sword; all I want to eat is chocolate chocolate and more chocolate. I want to breathe chocolate. I want to date a man made of chocolate. I want to go to the chocolate factory, push Willy Wonka down a well and make like Gustave and drink the chocolate fountain.

He's got the right idea...

]It also caused me to travel all around Brisbane today in search of various gourmet brands because if you're anything like me, you like to think you're an expert in little things like "gourmet chocolate" or anything that could fall into that particular category.

What I found was Brisbane's chocolate selection is pretty dismal; but I couldn't end my search without purchasing something to taste so I settled on some Lindt Noir 70% cocoa.

Lindt chocolate has that beautiful melt upon your tongue instant effect, and this bar was no exception. The 70% exhibits a well rounded, full bodied taste that starts as bitter, but as it dissolves upon your tastebuds a flux of flavours fill your senses. My new-found palette discerned forest berries soaked in liquor, subtle hints of coffee and an aftertaste of...I know it sounds strange...but burnt toast and wood ash.

It actually really makes a difference when you take the time to taste chocolate. It really helps you appreciate it, and you'll feel like an awesome food snob/Matt Preston wannabe, which in my opinion is pretty sweet.

Anyway, after I'd tasted the Lindt, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to bake with it, so here's a lovely little recipe for double chocolate chip cookies. It's adapted from an old recipe I found at the back of my cupboard for plain ol' run of the mill chocolate chip cookies.


Double Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies


1/2 cup packed brown sugar (dark or light, it's a matter of taste.)
1/2 granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Eight tablespoons of butter (1 stick)
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
1/2 cup Lindt 70% chocolate pieces (melted down)
3/4 cup stock standard milk chocolate chips (not melted down)
1 egg (bring to room temperature)
Pinch of salt (use sea salt...)


Melt down the Lindt 70% using a saucepan. Put the chips in, and heat them up, waiting for them to melt while stirring all the while so they don't burn and stick to the sides of the pan.


Chuck every single ingredient in the bowl and set to work with your fingers or your spoon or whatever mixing appliance you have and bash the shit out of it. Bring it all together till there are no clumps of any ingredients then roll into a long tube, wrap in glad wrap and bung in the freezer until you're ready to use it.

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees celsius. Bring your cookie dough out of the freezer and either scoop it into little cookie sized mounds on a flat baking tray lined with baking paper, or, if your cookie dough is in a reasonable enough shape, slice straight from it and do the same thing.

Put in the oven for 12-14 minutes and WAHHH LAAAAAHHH!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Today I decided to buy myself a present.

You know those days where you feel a little slow, you've got assessment coming out of orifices you didn't know you had, and you're just generally up for some retail therapy.

Now, I don't know if many people are like me but my retail therapy doesn't consist of shoes, jewellery or items of clothing.

My form of retail therapy is to buy weird shit.

No I did not buy a contortionist but I wish I did.

Why, just last week I bought baby Iranian dried figs because I got a terrible terrible (projectile vomit worthy) mark on one of my journalism assessment pieces. My logic was that if I bought these strange little items all my troubles would melt away. And when I added these dried Iranian figs to my morning muesli, well by George, they did.

Hahah they look like little dried ovaries. Yum yum!

Sometimes my impulsive buying of strange items goes astray; when I bought purple carrots from the James Street Markets the other day because I was feeling obese, my mother thought they looked like an old lady's fingers that had caught the plague. Needless to say, we didn't eat those bad boys.

I think buying strange items such as new ingredients, books, notepads and other trinkets are a much more rewarding form of retail therapy.

Maybe this is just because my mother is an extremely fashionable artist and I've never felt the urge to buy clothes as I just literally throw myself into her wardrobe and come out looking like I fell into a Sass&Bide bin.

Anyway, what brings me to the point of this post is to do a little persuading on the general public to buy this book I bought in my last little depressed retail expenditure day.

It's called the "Chocolate Conisseur", and if you're into chocolate as much as I am, you will NOT regret it.

She's into chocolate like Hitler wasn't into jews...she has like a seriously strange fetish/obsession that comes across a little strong, but nevertheless she's entertaining.

So far I've learnt all of these fabulous things about chocolate; how to taste, where the cocoa beans come from, and that when your chocolate gets that white pattern on it from being left in the fridge too long, that's called bloom.

Bloom is the fat coming to the surface of the chocolate and it happens to chocolate that hasn't been tempered properly.

I also found out the top ten chocolate bars in the world. Mars Bar is number one.

Ooooh who's a happy chappy now!

Now tell me you're shocked thatTWIX is number two!!! Can you believe that? And Bounty is ten! CHERRY RIPE DOESN'T EVEN MAKE AN APPEARANCE?!?!?

It's fucked let's leave it at that. I feel personally obligated to go and eat four hundred million Bueno bars to se their little chocolatey selves in that stupid top ten.


Anyway, it's a great read and it convinced me to believe that eating chocolate would actually make me a healthier happier human being.

So go buy it.

No recipe for now, but there's a pretty darn tempting Nutella tart in that chocolate book that I will probably bake tomorrow so stay tuned.

Tah tah.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rhu-Barbara Ann

Rhubarb is such a what the fuck vegetable.

Wait, is it even a vegetable? Excuse me while I check this fact...Oooh! Here we go.

Now that we have established that rhubarb is in fact a vegetable, let me go back to why it often connotates a "what the fuck" expression when I announce that I am using it as a main ingredient.

Why, just before I was tutoring a 13 year old in English and said that I couldn't wait to post my rhubarb creation on my blog.

He looked at me with such an expression of confusion I could've have acquired a similar response had I announced I used a dog turd instead of toothpaste this morning. Half plausible, I have bad breath in the morning and the two seem to be of the same consistency...

Enough of that. I explained that rhubarb was "uhhhh, the red version of celery?" and then we proceeded to Google all types of weird fruit like mangosteen, dragonfruit and those disgusting custard apple things.

Though rhubarb is pretty uncommonly used in Australian recipes, the American's dig it.

So, following the trend of one of my various baking bibles and decided to incoporate rhubarb into a lovely little creation that I have decided to call...

Rhubarb and Ginger Pie with Lime Zest Shortbread Crust

This recipe is a little more sophisticated than my previous ones, it would be better to bake this baby for a special occasion, or a break up. Sitting in front of a chick flick one hand holding pie tin the other a spoon and an icecream container between your legs. Timessss.

Shortbread Crust Pastry

250g plain all purpose flour
100g butter
100g icing sugar (I used caster sugar accidentally and it was saaaweeet though)
small pinch of salt
1 large egg + 1 extra yolk
zest of one lime


Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs are formed. Take your dough out and on a lightly floured surface give it a quick knead around. Wrap the bugger in plastic wrap and refridgerate while you get your other components ready.

Rhubarb and Ginger Filling

2 teaspoons of ginger paste (you can buy this at coles in the spice section in a little tube dude.)
750g of rhubarb (without the leaves) chopped into edible portion sizes
2 tart apples (granny smith or red delicious) peeled, cored and diced
2 teaspoons of lime zest
a generous squirt of lime juice from the lime you have just zested
1 cup of brown sugar
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg


Preheat your oven to 200 degrees celsius.
In a saucepan, heat the brown sugar and 125mL of water for 4-5 minutes or until the mixture goes syrupy. Add the rhubarb, apple, ginger, lime, lime juice, cinnamon and nutmeg and bung the lid on. Let it stew for about five minutes to let all of the spices and fruits infuse one another.
While this is happening, get your pastry out of the fridge and grease a tart pan with a generous handful of butter(get your fingers messy :) )
Line the tart pan, but leave some dough you can flatten out and put on the top.
Drain off the liquid and then put the rhubarb and apple mix into the tart casing.
Once the mix is in roll out the remainder of your dough and place on top. Whisk up a little concotion using some egg and a splash of milk, and brush the top of your pie with this. It'll make your pie go golden brown and lovely jubbly.
Sprinkle the top with any brown sugar you have lying around and bung it in the oven for 40. Or until golden and crunchy and yum.

Serve drizzled in honey and vanilla icecream.

(I didn't have vanilla icecream so I got some ricotta, vanilla essence, cinnamon and honey, whizzed it in the food processor and ate it with that. BEST. DECISION. EVER.)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Going Banana's.

You know that it's going to be a good day when you're woken up to the image of your mother's face looking as though she's just escaped from the sanitorium; eyes wide, eyebrows raised and hands full

"I've got black bananas!"

Well there you have it folks. The woman who brought me into this world had now discovered the reason why she had done so. She had black bananas.

"Is this really worth waking me up for?" I replied somewhat groggily. (When I say somewhat, I mean that the aforementioned speech was what I intended to say but merely came out as mmmmmghhgffffhrrrrrmmmmm, I've saved you the trouble of hiring a translator.)

"You are going to make a banana cake." she replied. She then proceeded to stomp out of my room, black bananas swinging from her hands. Probably the closest I will ever see a person get to the beginning of man's evolutionary progress.

Three hours later I had risen. Three hours later I trawled for a recipe to incorporate bananas within. I got distracted for about three days after that, found a good recipe and made something epic.

Needless to say, my monkey...ahem...mother was suitably impressed.

So here's the recipe!

Banana and Brown Sugar Walnut Cake

this recipe is an adaptation from Gourmet's Banana Chocolate Walnut Cake, I changed a considerable amount of the recipe because when I made the first one it was a bit too floury and needed the caramel of the brown sugar. I also omitted the choccy for this recipe but have added the measurements if you feel your recipe needs a bit of a fudgy kick. :)


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, softened, plus 2 tablespoons, melted and cooled
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups mashed very ripe bananas
2/3 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (if you don't have this, you can use buttermilk or sour cream, they don't work as well though...)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup 70%-cacao bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (you really can use whatever chocolate you have lying about, even those cooking chocolate those for cookies though.)
1 cup walnuts toasted, cooled, and coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg


Preheat your oven to 175 degrees celcius.

To toast your walnuts, bung them on a baking tray lined with baking paper, spray them with olive oil and then put them in the over for 10-15 minutes or until they're golden brown.

The rest if pretty much stock standard cake baking. In a separate bowl, combine your flour, salt and baking soda.
Then, in another bowl, cream your butter and WHITE sugar together. (The brown is for later)
Then gradually beat in the eggs one by one. Then beat in the vanilla.
Stir in the yoghurt and mashed bananas. The mixture SHOULD look curdled so don't be concerned.
Mix your wet with your dry until just combined. The mixture should be pretty thick as there is a lot of flour.
In another bowl, combine your melted butter, brown sugar, walnuts and chocolate. Stir this mixture into your main banana cake batter. It should look swirly and fabulous.

Stick him in a loaf tin lined with baking paper (or if your brave, grease it up with butter) and put it in the oven for 35-45 minutes or until your skewer comes out clean when you plunge it into your little cake.

Serve warm with a bit of honey, ricotta and butter! Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hey hey it's savoury day!

Since when do I do savoury?

Since I am forced to cook dinner for the family; that's when.

Now, the problem with me is that when I think I'm good at one thing, I tend to fall under the disillusion that I am capable of succeeding at all things thereafter related to the one thing I am good at.

In this case, I am talking about baking, which is the one thing of which I think I am good at.

Thus, I must be pretty good at eating.

Henceforth, I must be pretty good at describing food, and consequently, I could be a food critic.

By extension, I think I am good at cooking dinner for a family of pubescent boys who are capable of eating seventeen packets of Mi Goreng, four packets of chips, seven chocolate chip cookies and one entire litre of milk.

(I watched him.)

Which, in this case, is...


Boooooyah you thought this recipe was going to be a fail but it was a downright winnnnnnnnneeeeerrrrrrrrr.

I would also get points on the invention test in Masterchef as I completely made this recipe up and you will definitely be able to tell when you get to the ingredients list. I promise that it works!

P.S If you are following Masterchef at all, how god damn hilarious was it when that chick (I cannot for the life of me remember her name only that she has very curvy eyebrows and a psycho mouth...) said that she was not at all responsible for the creme brulee!


If I was on her team I would've picked up that creme brulee, poured it into a nappy and brutally forced her to wear it for six weeks.

Needless to say I don't think they would tolerate my sadistic attitude on the Masterchef series...their loss entirely...

Back to the recipe, the tomato sauce base is adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Tomato Sauce w/ Onion and Butter, which, is entirely edible on it's own. So delicious.

Here's the recipe!

Ella's Secret Tomato/Salsa Verde Pasta Sauce

Tomato Sauce

800 grams tomatoes from a can *
*(or, to make it even more exciting, chop up a whole heap of cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes or stock standard tomatoes and let them ferment in just one can of the tomato sauce)
5 tablespoons butter
1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved. (I used a Red Spanish Onion, which gives the sauce a sweet little tang.)
Salt and pepper to taste
Put the tomatoes, onion and butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free of the tomatoes. As the sauce sits, check it occasionally to break up your tomatoes, it's very satisfying feeling them pop when you poke them with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, discard the onion, add salt to taste and keep warm while you prepare your pasta and salsa verde.
The longer you let this baby sit the better the flavours will be so if you have time in the morning do it then then come home to your fermented goodness. :)
Salsa Verde
Generous handful of mint
Generous handful of basil
Generous handful of parsley
Handful of almonds (you can use walnut or cashews...)
Handful of pepitas
Handful of pinenuts
Squirt of lemon juice
Three cloves of garlic (finely finely finely chopped!)
4 tablespoons of heavy cream
Grab your food processor. Put EVERYTHING in. Blend until everything is choppity choppity uppity uppity.
Stir this into your tomato sauce when the pasta is cooked and serve straight away.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Man These Lemon Bars Are Good...


That was the reply I issued to my 6 foot 5 brother as he chowed into one of these little babies I whipped up the other night. Me being a measly 5 foot 6, let's just say it was not particularly well received.

Though I'm pretty happy he didn't decide to defame my drumset.

But seriously, I bake for a reason and that reason is because I require attention and life satisfaction. These lime bars give me both in immense proportions and I will not have them fall victim to mistaken identity, not now, not ever. Especially for those "lemons".

And may I just say that using lime instead of lemon for this recipe is the best life choice most of you will probably ever make. Screw having children and buying that dream house; do yourself a favour and grow a lime tree and make these bad boys.

Literally I froth every time at the mouth when I make these, and my family likes to hang around the corner waiting for the entrails too. The funny thing is, unlike cookie dough and melted chocolate, the raw baking components that you're left with before you bake the bastards are so incredibly non-appetizing, but so incredibly delicious.

Seriously, don't make the mistake I did and eat most of the lime custard mix that you're supposed to put on top of your shortbread before you put it in the over. You WILL run out of limes. I repeat, you WILL run out of limes.

Oh another note before I finally indulge you in the recipe is that in no way shape OR form must you replace the limes with lemon. Nor must you use that shitty little bottled lime juice in replace of a fresh zingy tangy juicy lime. The difference is so so noticeable. 

Nuff said, enjoy!


p.s this recipe is adapted from the baking bible "The Art and Soul of Baking".
Best Christmas present.

To Make your...

Shortcrust Pastry

(If you're in short supply of ingredients or don't have the time to chill your dough just go out and buy some store bought vanilla short crust pastry. Or chocolate. Or anything that wobbles that wibbler of yours really....)

1 and 1/4 cup all purpose plain flour
1/4 cup sugar (white and granulated please)
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces of COLD butter, cut up into pieces
2 large egg yolks (discard the whites)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of water
the zest of one lime

1. Place all of the ingredients in the food processor. Pulse until all the ingredients are JUST combined so they have formed little clumps.

2. Take your dough out and place on a lightly floured surface. Knead it a couple of times to make sure there are no lumps of ingredients and the whole thing has come together nicely. Wrap it in plastic wrap and bung it in the fridge to chill for ten minutes. NOTE: When you remove your dough from the fridge to roll in your tin, make sure the dough is reasonably shapeable and floppy as if it is hard it will crack when baked.

For The Bars Themselves...

4 large eggs
2 cups granulated white sugar
5 tablespoons white flour
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (takes about four or five limes)

1. Preheat your over to 175 degrees.

2. Line the pan you have chosen with foil across the bottom and up all four sides then lightly coat in some melted butter. Scrape your shortcrust into the pan and press it into an even layer in the pan. Chill for half an hour.

3. Bake the chilled crust in your preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Wait until cooled.

4. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk in flour (make sure there are no lumps) then your lime juice. Pour the filling over the crust and bake for 50 minutes or until the filling is set. NOTE: You can tell your filling is set if you tap the side of the pan and the filling doesn't jiggle.

6. Refridgerate until you'd like to serve. Dust with icing sugar to make it perdeh for your fellow consumers.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I May As Well Rename The Blog "Peanut Butter Jar"

So what?

I like peanut butter, you like peanut butter; it works for us really.

Before I give you a new recipe I just have to vent my disgust in the Kraft Peanut Butter company. I didn't think they'd be able to disappoint me, but they have. And it is just simply simply simply awful.

Light Peanut Butter.
It. Is. A. FARCE.

It's texture is that of sand and hardened toothpaste. It tastes as though they have sucked out all of the butter and all of the oil, and pumped the bad boy full of sugar and salt. Not only that, it leaves a slight aniseed taste at the back of your throat once you manage to choke it down (if you get that far) and if you're anything like me and you hate licorice, you don't appreciate your peanut butter tasting like allsorts. It ain't creamy. It ain't worth the 200 less kilojoules. It. Is. FOUL.

Moving on, I used real quality smooth yummy irresistable peanut butter for this recipe for Peanut Butter Blondies and you will just die! I adapted the recipe from Jamie Oliver, adding some cinnamon and more chocolate chips really gave them that zing you need. I also changed the amounts of sugar; I prefer more brown sugar than white, it makes them caramelly. Watch they don't burn though...Enjoy!



1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons of smooth or crunchy peanut butter. (I'm partial to smooth...)
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
Couple of pinches of cinnamon
As many chocolate chips or chunks in it as you want!

How Do I Do It Maaaan?

Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Grease a 9x9 inch baking pan with a whole heap of butter then dust with flour. If you're not familar to this method of non-stickage, just line the tin with baking paper.

In a medium bowl, cream together peanut butter and butter. To this mix, blend in your sugars, eggs (one at a time) and the vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Stir your wet into your dry until you have a just formed gooey mass of goodness. Add your chocolate chips. I advise eating some as you do this. Waste not want not.

Bung it in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the top springs back when touched. Cool and then chow down babeh.