Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Having your cake and eating it too!

Clowning Around
        I like birthday's and i really like being able to make that Birthday cake that little bit special.  My boy chose this cake, he was very specific about the smooth icing on top and that he wanted white and chocolate layers so I chose quick-mix butter cakes simple and easy these cakes are the ones that you go back to time after time and they can feature in as many variations as you can think of.  The layers of cake are sandwiched together with vanilla butter cream before being covered with sugar paste/fondant icing.  The clown figure was hand molded from sugar paste.

Vanilla and Chocolate Butter Cake          

Quick-mix Vanilla Butter Cake

125g butter
3/4 cup milk
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar 
1 1/2 cup flour

Grease and flour a 20cm round cake pan or line with paper.
Cream butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, beat in eggs one at a time until combined.
 Stir through sieved flour and milk.  Spread into prepared tin bake for 35 min in a moderate oven.

Changing it up try  2 tsp orange zest
                           or  2 tsp lemon zest
                           or  1/2 cup cocoa plus an extra 1/4 cup milk
                           or   3 tsp instant coffee

Vanilla Buttercream

125grms softened butter
250grms icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp boiling water

Beat all the ingredients together till light and fluffy.  Will keep for a week in the fridge or can freeze.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Sour Cream and Walnut Brownie

      I have begun the search for the best brownie recipe,  this weeks effort is light and cakey with a real punch of chocolate courtesy of the 70% cocoa solids chocolate that was used.  Chocolate is called the food of the gods and its botanical genus Theobrama means exactly that, apparently the scientist in charge of was an avid chocolate lover.  I know that there are legions of chocolate lovers out there that would heartily agree with him.  Anyway give this recipe ago compare it to your own favourite brownie recipe..............

Walnut Sour Cream Brownie

30grms butter
250grms 70% chocolate, chopped
80grms butter, extra
2 tspns vanilla extract
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup self/raising flour
70grms walnut pieces
1/3 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 180C.  Grease a 20cm by 27cm baking pan and line the base with baking paper.  Melt first measure of butter and the chocolate on a low heat (microwave is perfect for this job melt in 1 minute intervals and stir each time) until chocolate melts, cool for at least five minutes.
Cream the butter and sugar (beat until light and fluffy and a pale colour)  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Stir in sifted flours, then chocolate, nuts and sour cream.  Spread mixture into a prapared pan and bake for 30 minutes.  If you like a really moist brownie look for the ripples that form when given a shake and remove from oven before it has completely set.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Roasted pork Fillet with crispy sage potatoes and apple calvados sauce

Roasted Pork Fillet

      What can I say I wanted an indulgent meal.  I wanted to have the satisfaction of a perfectly cooked piece of meat caramelised on the outside, rosy pink and moist inside.  There is nothing outlandish in this dish just traditional flavours tied together and cooked well.  If your out to impress with this dish then a drizzle of tart apple syrup around the plate would not go astray.

Cured Roasted Pork Fillet

1/2 Tablespoon flaky sea salt
1/2 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 small bunch thyme
1 pork fillet,  600 - 700grams
1Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon butter

Trim sinew off pork fillet.
Blend the thyme, paprika, salt and sugar together.  Rub this mix into the pork fillet cover and cure for up to two hours.  Preheat the oven to 200c.   Rince the pork fillet to remove  the excess salt, dry thoroughly.  Heat oil in a hot fry-pan,  add butter brown pork fillet evenly 2-3 minutes each side and roast for a further 8 minutes, take out of the oven and rest for five minutes. 

(optional but highly recommended)
  Collect the meat juices from resting your pork, re-heat fry-pan and quickly deglaze the pan (lift up all the tasty brown bits left from searing the filet) with the meat juices add a splash of calvados or stock or white wine and then whisk in  10grams of cold butter.  This will thicken the jus and give it a rich finish.  This will only make a small amount of sauce but it should punch out some serious flavour.  Drizzle over pork.

Apple Calvados Sauce

250mls apple juice
1 apple granny smith
50 mls double cream
50grams butter
Calvados to taste

Dice the whole apple including skins and seeds.  Cook with apple juice until the apple is soft and pulpy.  Push the apple through the sieve.  Bring the apple pulp to the boil and add the cream.  Turn off the heat and whisk the butter into the sauce, add the calvados and serve.

Crispy Sage Potato

1kg peeled agria potatoes
1 bunch sage
oil to fry
salt / pepper to season

Cut the potatoes into bite size pieces and boil in salted boiling water until al dente.  Drain in a colainder and place on a tray covered with clean teatowel or kitchen paper to ensure that they are dry.   In a large frypan heat 2-3cm of oil,  when the oil is hot fry the whole sage leaves until golden lift out of oil and drain.  (Now you have an oil gorgeously infused with sage.)  Fry potatoes in batches until golden brown.  Toss with crisp sage leaves and seasoning.