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Monday, July 26, 2010

Choc-Chip Butter Shortbread.

Okay I have two problems with shortbread.

1. They are so freaking delicious I need to eat at least 42 cookies before I am satisfied.

2. I am always left parched for hours no matter how much liquid i consume after; shortbread leave a trail of absorbent deliciousness that teaches you a lesson for eating 42 of them. They're saying, fuck you for eating all my chocolate chip brothers and sisters.

Wait I have three problems with shortbread.

3. I always seem to end up with more shortbread on my face/lap/floor/general proximity due to the fact they are always too crumbly. And after 42 of these little episodes, it looks like I've picked up the cookie jar and smashed it all over the floor in an episode of teenage angst.

For these reasons three I've always been hesitant to make shortbread. I'd prefer to eat a choc chip cookie that didn't cause me any problems and left me not-thirsty, not dirty and completely satisfied.

Then...I was proved wrong.

I was digging through my mums recipe book from when she actually gave a flying foccacia about the kitchen and didn't resort to cooking me chicken schnitzel and stir fry four out of the seven nights a week.

There, nestled between a yellow coconut curry and a boullabaise was a quaint, faded little square of a recipe that for some reason, called me from it's diamond-in-the-rough-ing-ness and begged me, nay pleaded me, to show it some attention and bake the shit out of it.

I unfolded it and lo and behold, the simplest recipe I have ever seen stared back at me, choc-chip butter shortbread.

I needed to take a breather from my usual ambitions of fifty two ingredients (p.s I'm cooking the V8 cake from masterchef for my dads birthday so stay posted.) and baked these little gems.

I didn't need to eat 42.

I didn't need to drink 42 litres of water.

It was crumbly...but not excessively.

These shortbread...are the ducks nuts of shortbread. They WILL wobble your wibbler like there is no tomorrow.


Choc - Chip Butter Shortbread (an old family recipe)


250 grams of butter
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 cups of plain flour
1/3 cup cornflour
2/3 cup self raising flour
1 cup of chocolate chips


Beat the sugar, butter and vanilla together. Mix in the flours. Mix in the chocolate chips. Scoop tablespoons of the mixture onto a tray lined with baking paper and bung them in your pre-heated oven (180 degrees celsius) for 10 to 12 minutes.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Truffle Pigs

Okay so this post is almost certainly dedicated to a friend of mine since I have known since Pokemon first came out and footsies was still cool.

I bumped into him the other week when I was "hitting da clubs" and, in a somewhat intoxicated manner, preceded to talk about life, the fact I was drinking red wine at a pub and most importantly, The Cookie Jar.

At the mere mention of my blog my friend exclaimed "TRUFFLES! MAKE TRUFFLES!" and I exclaimed back "YES FUCKING TRUFFLES!"

And in a drunken back-and-forth stupor we proceeded to name every single flavour of truffle we could think of that we would create the next morning together.

Needless to say, no truffles were made the next day, but I vowed to one day make them with him. I personally have never been a truffle person; I was always highly confused when people said they were worth more than gold (uhhhh can't you use Coles chocolate?) and that during one month of the year the French used pigs to dig them from the ground (can pigs eat chocolate?). It was a horribly embarassing experience when someone pointed out the difference between the two and I have never quite recovered from it. THEIR LAUGHS BURN LIKE THE FIRE OF A THOUSAND WARMED TRUFFLES.

Though when my truffle friend mentioned white chocolate truffle I was completely and utterly sold.

Since then, my truffle friend and I have bumped into each other several times, all whilst being slightly "under-the-weather". Every single time I have promised to make truffles for Cookie Jar, which I have not. Either I haven't had the time...or I'd been offered to bake something more exciting...or I just haven't really remembered to be entirely honest.

Anyway, yesterday as I was home sick contemplating phlegm and it's origins, I finally thought, I KNOW WHAT WILL BREAK THIS SOUL SCORCHING BOREDOM!  I WILL MAKE TRUFFLES FOR MY TRUFFLE FRIEND!

So I hustled up my ingredients, I started to make the truffles and bunged them in the freezer (they have to set overnight) and was pretty damn happy that I had finally come through with my promise.

Anyway, today I visited the doctor as I am still unwell and, lo and behold, apparently I have a disease which is horribly infectious and unappealing to all life forms and I should be kept in solitary confinement with a bag over my head as to avoid "germing" people.

Doctor: "So, Ella, are you, ummm, back at uni yet?"

Me: "Noo I deferred this semester to work full-time, but taking some time off now due to the infection you've diagnosed me with."

Doctor: "Oh that's good, you would'nt want to be seen in public at the moment."

Yes friends, my dearest general practitioner, the family's go-to health advisor for all of my natural life, the oen of whom we have trusted, in sickness and in health (mostly sickness) to hold dear to her soul our ailments and failings...

...had just told me I was too ugly to appear at university.

Needless to say, I was not being seen by my truffle friend to give him his much awaited I'm dedicating this post (and saving him a few!) to my truffle-loving friend.


Chocolate Truffles (nom nom nom nom)
took the recipe from epicurious and adapted the jesus out of it

two cups of anyyy chocolate you like (I used a combination of milk and dark, ultimately the higher quality of chocolate...the better tasting the truffle.)
3/4 of a cup of thickened cream
a dash of vanilla essence

to coat your truffles

extra chocolate of your choice (i used milk)
crushed nuts (i used pistachios), shredded coconut, cocoa powder, crushed oreos (which i used)...


In a medium heavy saucepan, bring your cream to the boil then reduce to a simmer. Remove from heat.

While the cream is still hot, pour in your chocolate and use a wooden spoon to fold the cream over the chocolate until it is all melted and lovely and great and smooth and yum AND GANACHE-Y.

Whisk in vanilla. Pour into medium bowl. Cover; chill until firm. This will probably take a minimum of three hours but I did mine overnight which works much much better.

Take them out the next morning and line baking sheet with waxed paper. Drop mixture by rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet. Bung on some gloves and roll them into the desired shape. Or you can get all nice and messy without gloves. I'm not against licking ma phalanges.

Freeze them until firm, about 45 minutes. Potentially longer...

Take the truffles out of the freezer. Have little bowls of the ingredients you want to coat your truffles in nearby. Melt some chocolate over a double boiler and roll one of the frozen truffles in the melted chocolate.

While it's still wet from chocolate, roll the truffle in one of your ingredients eg. nuts and coat it until it's all lovely and covered. Wear gloves again as this stuff gets freaking EVERYWHERE.

Cover with plastic; chill until ready to serve. (Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Keep chilled.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Cake That Descended From The Pearly Gates

Okay generally my mother is a complete and utter control nazi when it comes to the kitchen.

I think I live in one of the few households on the entire planet where when someone offers to bake, they are greeted with a look of pure, seething, cold, unnatural and somewhat bowel clenching distaste.

You see, my mother hates mess. Yeah you're thinking, everyone hates mess you choof Ella, didn't take a genius.

But my mother, oh, she has a pure, seething, cold, unnatural and somewhat bowel clenching hate for mess.

I will admit, her opinion is fair in a sense. I am a disgustingly messy cook. I like to be artistic when I bake, throwing flour, caressing myself with brown sugar and rubbing butter into the crevasses of the drawers. So when I offer to bake, my mother

(who stupidly decided to tile the kitchen floor with black and white tiles that are quite possibly the easiest things to stain in the world. It's like she went into the tile place and said "GIVE ME TILES I CAN STAIN BITCH!")

pre-empts the eggshells and raspberry buttercream (yum) lining the walls (i'd probs like raspberry buttercream off the walls to be honest...) and proceeds to give me the deathstare that makes me shit my pants.

I've even resorted to baking in the time she goes to the grocery store. She says "Ella I'm just going out for an hour to do some chores." I hear the key in the ignition and like a gazelle I assemble and make mess and bake and clean and I fucking have an epic choc chip cookie for her to munch on when she walks back in the door. She's none the wiser.

Anyway, I did have a point to this ramble.

And that is, when I walked in the door the other morning my mother accosted me and said "BAKE SOMETHING WITH EGG IN IT"

Yes friends, my father had spent the weekend at a conference and had come home with 32 cartons of eggs that they did not ingest while at the conference.

The first thing that sprung to mind was angel food cake, which I had never been brave enough to bake before without permission as it requires ten to twelve egg whites. This number would even make my retail therapy addicted mother shit her pants.

Anyway, I made an angel food cake and here is the recipe. It's pretty difficult to get right the first time, but if you're really careful and follow the instructions to the very last full stop, you will get the lightest fluffiest most beautiful cake you can possibly imagine.

It also has an extremely low fat content as it is egg white based, so for all you loser dieters out there you can have seconds and not wake up feeling like you should put on a makeshift nappy, tie your hair in a bun and tackle some other asian fatties. I took the recipe from The CookBook Store's Poppyseed Angel Food Cake with Grapefruit Curd and omitted the grapefruit curd and poppyseeds and made a vanilla based one with a yummmmmyyy warm raspberry sauce on the side.


Vanilla Angel Food Cake with Ella's Warm Raspberry Sauce

angel food cake...
1 cup cake flour (or plain is just dandy)
1 1/2 cups caster sugar (it WILL work better with caster but feel free to use white)
1 1/2 cups egg whites (keep the yolks for another recipe..otherwise it's such a sad waste. make hollandaise sauce and have eggs benedict in the morning! fucking yum!)
2 tablespoons water
1 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
A generous squirt of lemon juice

raspberry sauce...
cup of berries (frozen or finely chopped fresh)
two tablespoons thickened cream
squirt of lemon juice
as much icing sugar as you want (until you get your preferred consistency)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Have ready a spotlessly clean 10-inch tube pan with a removable bottom, ungreased and unlined. Sift the all of the flour and 1/2 cups of the sugar together 3 times, then set it nearby.

In the very clean, grease-free bowl of an electric or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a large mixing bowl if whipping by hand, beat the egg whites with warm water until frothy. If you have a mixmaster, USE IT. Try really hard to make sure you get little to no yolk in the cake as it completely changes the texture. Add the cream of tartar and the salt and whip the whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar, a little at a time, whipping constantly. When all the sugar has been added, the whites should be firm, glossy and hold stiff peaks. Beat in the vanilla extract.

The flour-sugar mixture must be incorporated very gently, but as quickly as possible so as not to deflate the whites. This is best done using your hand, as to avoid lumpage. You can use a spatula but you will almost certainly have some lumps if you don't just get into it.

Sprinkle about 1/4 of the flour mixture over the whites, then use your (clean!) hand to fold the batter over onto itself, making sure you reach down to the very bottom of the bowl and scoop all the way around the sides and through the centre. When you don't see or feel lumps of flour, add another 1/4 of the flour. Repeat until the final 1/4 of the flour is meshed through.The batter should still look lovely and white and fluffy and like a cloud. :)

Scrape the batter into the pan, do it carefully, you need as much air in the cake as possible. Smooth the top of the batter, then run a clean knife through the batter in the pan to rupture any of the larger air bubbles.

Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean, and the top is cracked and golden.
While the cake is a baking, whip out a food processer or mixer chuck some icing sugar, frozen chopped berries (I used rasperries but if you chop up some strawberries, all works) squirt of lemon juice and two tablespoons of thickened cream and PROCESS until all blended and lovely. Bung this in the microwave for two minutes on high to warm it up and serve it drizzled over your cake.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pancakes for breakfast lunch and dinner!

Okay so two things sucked the other morning.

I don't really know which one sucked more, but I'll tell you the more irrelevant one first.

1. I got attacked by a bat.

Yes friends, that's correct. That is not a typo of "bat" instead of "cat". I got attacked by a "b". "a". "t".

As you can undoubtedly imagine, the experience was mortifying. As I went on my morning run, oblivious to the world with my tunes in my ears the wind in my sails and the sweat collecting on my upper lip, I was the picture of not only optimum health, but optimum happiness.

Not for much longer.

As I approached a rather large fruit tree and began to turn the footpath corner, a demon descended, sent from the fiery furnace that is hell and flew limbs a-flailing into my face. It's screech was like that of a newborn baby crossed with a demented goat; both terrifying and horribley confusing at the same time.

Needless to say I swore so loudly that the people in the surrounding suburbs would have been woken only to think that the apocalypse was coming and the scream was the sound of someone seeing the first alien hit the coast.

Nuff of that.

2. When I got home from that run, there was no weetbix.

What the fuck. Honestly. Having just contracted hepatitis, cancer, tuberculosis, the plague and all forms of deathly illness from Satan's little helper, I was entirely pissed off I could not have my routine breakfast. You see, I've perfected the breakfast meal and I tend to blatantly refuse any other breakfast item in the morning.

Two weetbix + half a chopped up banana + tablespoon of greek yoghurt + handful of DRY ROASTED almonds + few squirts of honey + mash it all into a porridge type mess = ella's happiness.

I was sufficiently depressed and resorted to creating myself an epic breakfast that would make up for my epic failure of a morning. And if I was going to start running at impossible speeds, glittering in the sunlight and craving a certain girl's blood...cough Bella...cough.... I wanted to go out with a bang.

So I made fucking oatmeal pancakes. They're a twist on a regular pancake; though they're essentially the same recipe as a regular pancake, they're made with oat flour (blended rolled oats) which makes them "seem" healthier. They're deliciously warm, gooey and mine were cooked to perfection. Don;t you love it when you make pancakes and the butter makes the edges of the pancake curl up into brown buttery crispy little crusts of goodness and leave you craving that fluffy cloudlike centre which you drench in a waterfall of maple syrup. Good with strawberries and cream too. Lemon and sugar. Brown sugar and cinnamon and honey. Bananas and nutella. The list goes on and on and on...

Pancakes are such an easy breakfast item to make and if you do have the ingredients, take the time to make your own batter and not just resort to packet mix. They taste so much better! Slash you won't get a fucking arm cramp from shaking the premix bottle...

Here's the recipe!


Oatmeal Pancakes
adopted and then adapted from

makes a fair few pancakes...enough for three or four.

3/4 cup oat flour (you can make this by blending the bejesus out of some regular rolled oats in a food processor)
1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter (plus extra for the pan)
1 cup of buttermilk
1/2 regular milk
1 cup cooked oatmeal* (cook up some regular ol' porridge using water or milk and use this.)
1 tablespoon honey
2 large eggs


Put all of your dry ingredients in a large bowl.
In a smaller bowl whisk all of your wet ingredients together.
Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Do this using a wooden spoon, rotating and folding so that the batter isn't overmixed. Overmixed means chewy pancake aka vomit.
Heat a 10-inch cast-iron pan or griddle over medium heat until water sizzles when splashed onto the pan. Lower to medium-low. Rub the pan generously with butter. Using a ladle, bung your pancake mix into the pan, I'm not the one whose going to tell you how big to make them. Once bubbles have begun to form on the top side of the pancake, flip the pancake and cook until the bottom is dark golden-brown, about 5 minutes total.

Eat it with the stuff I said to eat it with, or anything else! Tomato sauce, hoi sin, ice cream, asparagus...whatever.