Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Strawberry and black pepper cake

I created this cake for episode 12 of Refreshments Provided, our cake episode, we had three cakes!

With a few punnets of strawberries in the fridge I wanted an interesting flavour combo that was not only different but delicious. 

Initially trying balsamic vinegar which I found to acidic I opted for black pepper.

Thankfully Carly was quite impressed with this cake during the episode and I really like the combination of the sweet fruit and the warmth from the pepper.

Strawberry and black pepper cake
  • 500g strawberries
  • 2 tbsp cracked black pepper 
  • 240g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs ( 4 from my girls delivers about 277g)
  • 250ml milk
  • 180g unsalted butter (melted and cooled)
  • 400g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • Preheat oven to 180°C
  • Line a 23cm springform cake tin with baking paper
  • Top and half the strawberries and add to a bowl
  • Add 20g of caster sugar and 1tsp of black pepper to the strawberries
  • Line the base of the cake tin with strawberries cut side up
  • Roughly chop any remaining strawberries and add to the flour
  • Add remaining sugar and eggs to large mixing bowl
  • Beat with electric beaters till thick and fluffy about 5 minutes
  • Add milk, cooled melted butter, flour, baking powder, vanilla and remaining black pepper
  • Beat till combined
  • Gently pour over the strawberries into the cake tin
  • Bake at 180°C for 55-60 minutes
  • Leave in the cake tin to cool for 10 minutes
  • Gently remove from cake tin and cool on a wire rack, strawberry side up
  • Lightly dust with icing sugar and serve

Providing refreshments rhubarb and ginger cake

We all know how much I love a project (just the one?) so for the past few months I've been having great fun on a new venture with my mate Carly Findlay.

Refreshments Provided is a podcast where Carly and I get to talk about pop culture, what we've been streaming or reading and what's been happening in our kitchens.

While the conversation always comes back to food we also tackle some of life's more meaty subjects as we try to make sense of it all or just accept that sometime we don't have a clue.

We have had the occasional guest ranging from "Candice" our first guest who asked us for directions to the toilet to theatre producer Kath Duncan and media personality Osher Günsberg.

Each episode as well as catching up on the goss we of course have a delicious refreshment provided....I wonder how long it will be till people discover this whole project is just an excuse for Carly and I to catch up and eat! 

I'd love to hear what you think of the show.

iTunes Button (via NiftyButtons.com)

This cake is the cover art of the podcast and is a great combination of sweet, tart and sharp (possibly just like the podcast) 

Rhubarb and ginger cake
  • 250g softened unsalted butter
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 100g glace/crystalised ginger roughly chopped  (plus extra to garnish)
  • 250g stewed rhubarb*
  • Preheat oven to 180°C
  • This is an all in one mix
  • Add all ingredients except the ginger and rhubarb to a large mixing bowl
  • Beat together to combine for a couple of minutes
  • Stir in rhubarb and ginger
  • Add batter to lined cake tin
  • Bake at 180°C for 55-60 minutes
  • Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes
  • Completely cool on a wire rack
  • Cover with icing and extra ginger
Cream cheese icing
  • 250g cream cheese (full fat)
  • 200g icing sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Beat together till smooth and not grainy (can be 20 minutes so a stand mixer is a good friend)
*I stew a bunch of rhubarb cut into 5cm chunks with about 1tbs of sugar and juice of 1 lemon in a fry pan over medium heat for about 10 minutes. 
There will be some left over for breakfast with yogurt.

Carly isn't a fan of icing which just means I get her's!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Kids love balloons and blood orange and almond biscuits

A few months ago (remember I told you how behind I am) I had the pleasure of being on Chris Holland's podcast Kids Love Balloons.

Chris is a huge Eurovision fan and was the standby jury member for Australia in 2015. He has also had Julia Zemiro and Nina (Carbon 2011) on the podcast so you can imagine just how excited I was to be amongst that level of Eurovision royalty. (I keep wondering who cancelled??)

The focus of the podcast is a simple question "what makes you happy?" and the conversation goes from there. 
Chris has a great way of just letting you talk/ramble that all the talking points you'd thought of in the car just go out the window. 

The second part of the podcast has each guest discusing three songs that make them happy and to Chris' disappointment I didn't add any Eurovision! Madness I know!

The ever growing playlist of joy is a total joy and will have you going "oh yes I love that song" more than once as guests adds their songs. 

My contributions were Italian pop, 80's girl power and the perfect inspiration for any dance audition! 

The day we recorded this interview was also the first day my mate Carly Findlay and I recorded the first episode of Refreshments Provided so it was great to see how Chris worked.

In the episode I did give Chris the scoop that there was going to be a Chow Down to Junior Eurovision and I was hoping to be in Malta, well sometimes life just gets in the way. The good news is I may have started Chow Down to Eurovision 2017....243 countries what am I thinking?

Please check out Kids Love Balloons, my favourite episodes are Julia Zemiro and Nina (obviously), as well as Lelia Gurruwiwi and Osamah Sami. The latest episode with Joan Korblith gave a great insight into the workings of radio in the USA in the 70's.

Being the obsessed baker I am I made some biscuits to take to the recording, you should never go anywhere empty handed. 

Blood orange and almond biscuits (makes about 40)
  • 2 blood oranges
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 75g slivered almonds lightly toasted and chopped 
  • 450g self raising flour
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • Zest the 2 oranges
  • Cream butter, sugar and zest together
  • Add almonds, flour and milk
  • Mix together
  • Turn onto the bench and knead lightly for a minute till it comes together smoothly
  • Shape into a square log
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
  • Preheat oven to 200°C
  • Slice into 1cm thick slices and place on a lined baking tray
  • Bake for 12 minutes (10 if you like a softer biscuit)
  • Allow to cool on a wire rack
  • Make icing by beating icing sugar with a knob of butter and the juice of 1 blood orange (a tbsp at a time)
  • Pipe into whatever designs make you happy!

I had to add a final clip that is just pure joy Manic by Michael Sembello, I'm sure it will make you happy!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Let's Get Technical Great British Bake Off 2016 - Royal week Final

Well we finally made it to the final bake and post of #let's_get_technical for 2016!
Is it just me or do things take much longer as we get older......(or do I just take on too many projects??)

I'll be honest I was a bit disappointed when they announced that the technical challenge for the Great British Bake was going to be a Victoria Sandwich.....again???

The weird and wonderful unfamiliar bakes is what makes the technical challenge so much fun but I understand when the old vicky sponge made another appearance. This technical challenge really was the exam after the weeks (years) of study. Had I been paying enough attention to bake a cake just from my brain?

And drum roll please, it appears I can! Thanks to the many series of British and international bake offs I think I have learnt enough about cake that without a recipe I can wing it.

I look back to that day years ago I turned up to channel 9 with an olive and parmesan loaf and a trio of chocolate tarts to audition for a show I'd never heard of.....if only I knew then what I know now.

Thank you Bake Off for teaching me to bake.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Let's Get Technical Great British Bake Off 2016 - Pâtisserie week

Week 9 saw the bake I was most excited to try from this series of The Great British Bake off.
The savarin a yeast raised chantilly cream topped and fruit adorned beauty did not disappoint.

No spoilers but I think I nailed this bake even if I do have to judge myself and will even be presenting a savarin for the christmas table this year. 

I think that should read savarin! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Let's Get Technical Great British Bake Off 2016 - Botanical week

Week six was a Paul Hollywood technical of Fougasse in 2 hours.
This has become a favourite repeat bake! 

Let's Get Technical Great British Bake Off 2016 - Pastry week

Week 5 saw a Mary Berry technical of a bakewell tart in 2 and a half hours.