Monday, February 8, 2016

Hazelnut and Coffee Dacquoise - Process Shots

For those of you who are interested in how the Hazelnut and Coffee Dacquoise that I made for the Melbourne Cake Club last week was put together, here are the process shots to guide you through the recipe:

Nutty meringue base x 4:

Coffee icing piped on:

Layers assembled:

 Coffee icing covering entire cake:

Chocolate glaze to finish off:

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Warm Steak, Capsicum and Asparagus Salad

In my eternal hunt for interesting dinners, I found a recipe for Barbecued Steak with Asparagus, Baby Peppers and Rocket in the January Coles magazine. I don't have a barbecue or a grill pan, and it was cheaper to buy cubed steak than whole pieces, so I took the basic elements from the Coles recipe and made it into a warm salad.

Accordingly, I stir fried the cubed steak, coated in the spice mix from the recipe; I also stir fried one whole yellow capsicum cut into strips (rather than several baby capsicums), the asparagus and the chickpeas.  I used mixed salad leaves as the salad base, poured over the recipe dressing, then placed the warm elements on top (including the steak juices).  And voila - a healthy, tasty dinner based on the original Coles recipe, tweaked to suit what I had and what I like.

This is a terrific, light summer lunch or dinner, and I would make it again.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Hazelnut and Coffee Dacquoise with Chocolate Glaze for Melbourne Cake Club - Go Nuts!

On Thursday night, I attended another meeting of the Melbourne Cake Club.  Our intrepid host, Dalya, expertly found us another inner city venue, Aer Rooftop Bar at European Bier Cafe in Exhibition Street, Melbourne.  Our party was six strong (7 if you count Abi's gorgeous baby Joe), with Dalya's sister in law, Laura, joining us again. It was a slightly cool evening at the open air rooftop bar, so the staff fired up the heater next to our table to keep us warm.  

Without further ado, I will describe the cakes.

At the top of this post is Abi's fabulous Pistachio Baklava Cake, made from this recipe. It was wonderfully light and delightfully honey flavoured.  Here's a peek inside:

I made a hazelnut and coffee dacquoise with chocolate glaze from this recipe:

The nuts I used were almond meal and hazelnut meal.  My glaze isn't as perfect as the one in the photo, and it got knocked a little in transport, but it still tasted great, if quite rich.  Here is a peek inside:  

Dalya made a hazelnut chocolate mousse cake with a lovely hazelnut-rich base:

Yep, that's ganache on top!

Sue made a Persian love cake from her self-published book:

 Her cake was rich with cashew nuts, and was beautifully moist with a soft hint of rosewater.

Alex made a fig and nut roll, and brought in cheese and crackers to accompany it.  However, because the venue sold crackers and cheese, we weren't allowed to have it:

Here is my selection of cut cake:

To accompany my cake, I ordered the Champs Elysees Cocktail ($19):

 It comprises Chambord, Grand Marnier, strawberries, basil and cranberry juice.  I can assure you it, was delicious!

It was another fun night at Melbourne Cake Club.  If you want to come along, please join us through

Thursday, February 4, 2016

EwE - Wrap It Up - Carribean Chickpea Curry Wraps

Eating with Ellie is taking a different turn.  From now on, instead of choosing particular recipes, we are allocated a theme each week and can make whatever we want from Weeknight Wonders that matches the theme.  I have never participated in a group like this before, so I will see how it goes.

This week's theme was chosen by Kayte.  It is "Wrap It Up".  I took it quite literally, and chose Carribean Chickpea Curry Wraps.  These are comprised of a wholemeal tortilla wrapped around a hot and spicy curry of chickpeas and butternut squash.  

On the whole, I enjoyed this dish, but would tone down the spices a little next time.  I found it slightly too hot for my tastes, and added a dollop of yoghurt to my wrap to cool things down a little.

To see what the others made of this week's theme, visit the LYL section of the EwE website.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Date, Fig & Chia Bliss Balls

I wanted some healthy sweet snacks to have around the house, and was immediately attracted to a recipe for Date, Apricot and Chia Bliss Balls in this month's Coles supermarket magazine.

I found I had no more dried apricots when I went to make these, so I substituted them with an equal quantity of dried figs.

I am not sure how they got 20 balls out of this mixture - their teaspoons must have been tiny.  Even when I reduced the balls to one teaspoonful, I only got 12. 

These balls were simple to make and very tasty - a great way to satisfy my sweet tooth in a healthy-ish way. 

This recipe is a keeper - easy to make from things I already had, and delicious.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

I received some pretzels in a hamper for Christmas.  While I don't hate pretzels, they are not something I turn to if I have the munchies.

Not wanting to waste the pretzels, I decided to make cookies with pretzels in.  The Momofuku Milk Bar Compost Cookies had too many steps for me on a week night, so I instead searched for a simpler recipe, and landed on this one for Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies.  I got 16 cookies rather than 10 using a small icecream scoop as the size guide.

These cookies were delicious - salty and sweet, with soft cookie dough embracing crunchy pretzel pieces.  They were a definite winner for me.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Tomato Chicken Curry

I am always on the lookout for interesting new recipes for dinner, and I found one in the January/February 2016 edition of Taste magazine - for a Tomato and Tamarind Chicken Curry.  I do love a good curry, so this recipe was a winner for me.

I didn't have any tamarind and was not prepared to pay $5 for a jar of which I'd use 2 tablespoons, so after some Internet searching, I used two dried figs and a tablespoon of vinegar instead.

The curry tasted great - I really enjoyed this curry served with boiled brown rice and blanched broccolini.

To make this curry according to the original recipe, you will need:

2 tablespoons ghee (I used olive oil)
1 chopped brown onion
4 quartered roma tomatoes
5 peeled garlic cloves
1 chopped red chilli
3cm piece of peeled grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons tamarind puree
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds (I used ground cumin)
16 fresh curry leaves
1kg chicken thigh fillets, quartered
125ml water

Heat 1 tablespoon of the ghee or oil in a large shallow casserole dish, add the onion, tomato, garlic and chilli, season and cook for 10 minutes or until caramelised.  Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and add ginger, tamarind, curry power and sugar.  Process until smooth.

 Heat the remaining ghee or oil in the casserole dish.  Add cumin and curry leaves and cook for 1 minute or until aromatic.  Add the blended tomato mixture and cook for 4 minutes then add the chicken.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Add the water, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked, stirring occasionally.  Season and serve.