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Showing posts from October, 2011

Recipe rant

I did something yesterday that I'm not very proud of.

I ranted on Twitter and Facebook about a bad recipe experience and named and shamed the culprit.

This morning I felt a little ashamed for my lack of manners.  But then I got some feedback from friends and fans that they too had had a bad experience with the recipe and agreed it wasn't up to scratch.

If the situation were reversed, I'd be mortified.  But then again, I'm a little voice in the blogging net-osphere. The magazine/author I targeted is a household name with 10+ years standing.

I guess what really gets my goat is that the magazine blatantly promotes the fact that they test and retest the recipes to make sure that they're perfect.

I followed the recipe to the letter and even I could see that the wheels were coming off early in the piece.  But I was following their recipe and I persevered. In the end I ended up with flat, grainy meringues, not beautiful macarons.

I am a reasonably good baker and I can ap…

Grand Marnier & Macadamia Fruit Cake {Recipe}

This year I started my own family Christmas tradition with Olive.  We made the fruit cake together.  She helped me stir the fruit every day for two weeks and stood next to me while I made up the cake batter.

While the cakes baked we played Barbies and read stories. It was a very special time for us, one I hope we will continue to share each year. No doubt she'll still be stealing the glace cherries and macadamias out of the mixture when she's 21!

I only made this cake for the first time last year.  I'm not a fruit cake fan myself but Mr Di-licious is.  His only Christmas wish last year was for a fruit cake.

Not having a family recipe to turn to, I did the next best thing; I consulted the Australian Womens Weekly Test Kitchen (AWWTK).

I know some purists out there will criticise me for this but I fiddled with the fruit.  I have enough stuff sitting in my pantry without having half open bags of glace apricots and pineapple.  I just used good ol' Sunbeam Mixed Fruit. I …

Individual Sticky Date Puds {Recipe}

One thing I love about Christmas in summertime is it gives you permission to re-write the rules of tradition. I mean, who honestly wants to cook a hot roast on a stinking 35-degree day?
The same can be said for dessert.  Back in the day my Nanna would make a plum pudding for the family get together.  There was a lot of pomp in entombing the pudding info the huge [scary] pressure cooker and it would boil away for hours. Eventually it would be lifted out steaming and I would run and hide. Not even the promise of finding the sixpence could convince me to eat it.  It was hot and full of raisins and I just wanted ice-cream.
But even I have to concede that for some people it’s not Christmas without pudding.  So this week I’m suggesting you open your mind to something a lot less stodgy and a whole lot easier to make and serve – individual Sticky Date Puds.

Baked in a standard muffin pan, these puddings are not only easy to make, they freeze like a dream. And most importantly, they taste di-…

Cranberry & Pistachio Biscuits {Recipe}

This week I’m going to make a bold suggestion.  Instead of queuing up at the shops, why not give a home-baked gift instead?
Every year I pull my hair out, trying to work out what to give family and friends.  I walk aimlessly around monolithic shopping centres and to what end? I walk out dejected and despondent – unable to find just the right gift. 
A couple of years ago when we were all feeling budget-challenged, my girlfriends and I resolved to make our Kris Kringle gifts instead of buying them. It was fantastic. It required thought and effort. That year I gave a jar of my first, backyard plum-tree jam. I received a beautiful Christmas angel painting that takes pride of place in my living room each year.
When you make a gift you give something of yourself.  A beautifully presented box of di-licious home-baked biscuits could make you THE must have Secret Santa of the season.

These shortbread-style biscuits look like a slice of Christmas; bursting with red cranberries and merry green…

Gingerbread cookies {Recipe}

If there is one baked good that universally signifies Christmas, it would have to be gingerbread.
Originally a German recipe, these aromatic cookies are very much a part of Scandinavian yuletide celebrations as well as those of the western world. Quite simply, these cookies just smell like Christmas.
This gingerbread cookie recipe is enough to make a whole gingerbread house, an army of gingerbread men, garlands of cookies for decorating the tree or plenty of cookies to decorate and give as gifts.
If you only bake one thing this Christmas, please give these a try.  The recipe is easily halved. If you prefer a spicier biscuit, add more ground ginger.  If you don’t like ginger so much, reduce to one teaspoon and increase the mixed spice to 3 teaspoons. 
I’ve provided an indication of how long to cook the cookies for, but use your nose too – when you can smell them, chances are they’re almost done.

There are so many ways you can decorate these cookies.  I sought some Scandinavian inspir…

Cake pop love

I've managed to tick another thing off my Baking Resolutions list.  I finally made cake pops.

If you've been living under a rock the last few years, cake pops are the new darling of cake treats.

Crumbled cake and ganache mixed together and rolled into balls, stuck onto lolly sticks and dipped into candy chocolate - the combinations and decorations are limitless.

The undisputed queen of cake pops is Bakerella.  She first blogged about her 'experiment' in 2008 and before you could say cream cheese frosting, cake pops have taken the world by storm.  A book deal later, people all over the world are creating amazing works of cake-art on sticks.  The Pop Stars section of her blog really is worth a squizz...

My first attempt is a little bit clunky - the candy chocolate coating really needed to be thinned down with some vegetable shortening.  But you know what - they were so much fun to make.  I always end up with cake offcuts and left over ganache from big cake projects; thi…