Saturday, August 30, 2008


In our house, I'm the baker and S is the cook.  While I think I have the better deal in never having to cook, I know S secretly thinks the same about me (he has a sweet tooth).  Thankfully we both love good food so we have every area covered (sweet and savoury).  

Now, since this is my blog, I was a little hesitant to write this post.  My little blog is for all things sweet (or baked) not savoury!  But this savoury dish is no ordinary dish so I couldn't resist (not to mention I really want to stop S from continuously nagging me about it!).

Truffles have become a big thing in Australia in the past few years but I wouldn't say people are cooking with them at home. Truffle oil? Yes.  But it doesn't compare to the real thing. Truffle oil has this distinct burst of truffle flavour, but you don't get all the different dimensions of flavour a real truffle has.  They are much more subtle than the oil, in a good way.  

A place in Western Australia, called Manjimup, has been growing truffles for a few years now, making it much easier to get your hands on one these days.  Well actually, we did have to pre order our truffle and we only just made the deadline for the last shipment of the season (they arrive within 48 hours of being plucked from the ground- across country).  Let's not even talk about price...  Anyway it is great that we can get our own truffles here in Australia; though I am longing to try a white truffle.  

Truffle in hand, it was time to decide what we were going to do with it.  Who am I kidding?  We had planned out the menu long before the truffle arrived and had even cleared our schedule to make sure we could enjoy our truffle marathon.  We chose to do a truffle risotto (cliche?) and truffle scrambled eggs.  We wanted to do dishes where we could really appreciate the flavour of the truffle.  We put the arborio rice into the bag with the truffle to let it infuse.  We also did this with the eggs.  It's amazing how much the scent infused!  We actually had enough truffle left to do an omlette with truffle the next day but changed our mind.  The eggs had only been in the bag with the truffle for 15 minutes so I thought they would be fine to pop back into the fridge to use later.  Well... when I went to make a cake the next day, as soon as I cracked open the egg, all I could smell was truffle!  Luckily it hadn't been in there long enough for the flavour to absorb.

The scrambled eggs were served on homemade bagels.  In Australia all I can seem to find are bread rolls with holes in the middle, claiming to be bagels.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie 7: Chocolate-Banded Ice Cream Torte

Oh dear... it seems that all of my post titles contain the words "Tuesdays With Dorie" lately!  Between Tuesdays with Dorie and Daring Bakers I don't find much time (or reason) to bake any more than that.  I promise though, I will try my best to add a few of my own things here as much as I can!  

Anyway, this week's recipe was chosen by Amy of Food, Family, and Fun.  Well, when I saw this recipe was chosen I was ecstatic!  I flip through Baking: from my home to yours, quite frequently, and this is something I always drool over.  For some reason I thought it would be on the difficult side to make, but in reality it is very simple (just time consuming).  I love the visual impact of this dessert too and also the endless possibilities of flavour creations!  When Summer comes around I'm sure I'll be making this all the time.

As always, I decided to go with mini sized ice cream tortes.  It would be fine to make the full size torte as you can just slice off pieces as you need them, but mini desserts are just so damn cute.  I also planned to make them for friends coming to dinner, so the individual portions seemed appropriate (even if the minis were still too much for one person; us girls went halves in one, while the boys almost exploded trying to finish their individual tortes!).  

At first I was going to use Dorie's Burnt Sugar Ice Cream, but I wasn't sure if our guests would like the taste (we personally love it), so I went with the original recipe suggested and made Raspberry Ice Cream.  I left out the raspberry liqueur though.  Next time, if I made raspberry again (so many flavours, so little time) I would probably omit the raspberry seeds.  S said they added to the texture but I prefer my ice cream to be as smooth as possible.  I would just make up a raspberry compote and discard the seeds. 

The chocolate truffle layer was so delicious!  I was initially concerned with the recipe but got over that pretty quick once I tasted it.  Yum!  We were saying we would even just like to eat it like chocolate custard.  The only annoying thing with the chocolate truffle cream was that it melted so quickly!  It was hard to get the base of the springform cake tin off the bottom of the truffle cream whilst still keeping it in tact.  Maybe it would work better if the ice cream was on the bottom... wouldn't look as good though!

To get really smooth layers with no bubbles I think the ice cream and the truffle cream need to be quite soft when layering them.  I was worried about melting my ice cream too much as I didn't want it to go icy.  So it was hard to make each layer really smooth.  Dorie suggests you leave at least 30 minutes in the freezer between doing each layer, but because I was quite busy the day I made it, I just kept adding layers when I got home/had time.  So don't feel you need to do it all at once!

Wish I had got an inside shot of the torte but the truffle cream melted too quickly for the slices to look decent.

Might I just add that it was also the first time I have ever used my hairdryer as a kitchen appliance (worked a treat though).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie 6: Granola Grabbers

This week's Tuesdays With Dorie came around so fast! Usually I've completed it not long after we find out what it is, especially now since we are now finding out the recipes two at a time (which is great might I just say). The Granola Grabbers were chosen by Michelle of Bad Girl Baking.

Even though this is not something I would usually bake, I still thought I would enjoy these since I love muesli (our version of granola?). And I was right! They are really yummy- a great snack. I was positive that S wouldn't like these but I was wrong- he actually really enjoyed them (eating three in a row). Seeing as there is only one egg in the recipe, I thought halving it would be too hard so I made the whole batch, which is far too many biscuits for us! When we found out the recipes, I told my friend D Dogg (there's a story behind that name...) that I would give him some, but he turned his nose up at that idea. Oh well... I think I'll force him to take some when I see him tomorrow. I did take a couple to give my Grandad this morning but he announced to me that he didn't really like it and that his wife would much prefer it (he has dementia so I forgive him!).

After reading some people's ideas, I added some choc chips on top of a few of the biscuits, but I wasn't a massive fan. We love chocolate, but thought it detracted from the other ingredients, which were delicious by themselves. I couldn't find (or didn't know what it was) wheat germ so I added semolina instead. Seemed to work fine.

Maybe I made my biscuits too big but I certainly didn't get 40 like Dorie suggests. I think I got about 25 or so. I imagine they would last longer than the 3 days Dorie suggests too.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie 5: Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream

When I first got Dorie Greenspan's cookbook "Baking: from my home to yours" and flicked through it, the first recipe that really stood out to me was the Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream. It just sounded so delicious. So you can imagine how excited I was when it was finally chosen as this weeks challenge! (Thanks to Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiousity)

When I bought my Kitchenaid, there was a special promotion on and I got the ice cream attachment bowl for free. I have to say that it's really good. We have a normal ice cream machine too (a fairly good one too) but I much prefer to use the Kitchenaid ice cream bowl. Really I don't know why I don't make more ice cream. I guess because it's Winter here at the moment, ice cream isn't really at the top of my list for desserts. So a note to myself... Make more ice cream come Summer!

This ice cream was really easy to make since it isn't custard base. I was concerned it would turn out icy (more on that later). Well the first time I made this (last week) it turned out really great. Not at all icy. The only thing is we weren't patient enough to wait for it to fuly freeze, so it was a little soft. It is incredibly rich though so by the end of it, we were both feeling really sick. I tried telling S that there was actually enough ice cream for more than two serves but he insisted on serving it ALL up at once. He was sorry afterwards. Since we were so eager to eat it and it was so delicious, we didn't bother taking any photos the first time (as we were planning on making it again before the deadline). What a shame...

The second lot was a mess! I'm not sure what happened exactly, because I made it exactly the same way. It was really icy, but not in a granita icy way, it was an icy-gluey mess. I can't really describe the texture properly, but lets just say it wasn't pleasant! Maybe the cream split? Or I churned it for too long? Even though it didn't work I am still going to post pictures of the second batch. So a lesson learned- resist the temptation to dig right in; take photos first!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie 4: Black and White Banana Loaf

Wow! I can't believe this is my fourth Tuesdays With Dorie! Time is going by so fast, it's a little scary...

I have to say that I was pretty disappointed with this weeks challenge. I am not a huge fan of bananas, especially in desserts. I do love banana bread though, so I was hoping I'd like this too. I made the loaf last week sometime, and half of it is still sitting on the kitchen bench! Obviously S wasn't a big fan of it either... The taste wasn't too bad, but I thought the chocolate really overpowered the banana and created a weird flavour. Also, I know a few people have been complaining about the cooking time etc, and I agree. The outside was really chewy and hard, while the inside was just cooked (even though I used a tent). Some people say it has to do with the number of bananas you use, and also how old they are. Mine were bananas I had in the freezer that had almost gone black. I used 2 small-medium ones and I think that worked well. Anymore, and the cake wouldn't have cooked inside at all.

Thanks to Ashlee of A Year In The Kitchen for choosing this weeks recipe. Although I probably won't cook it again, I am glad that I did. Doing the marbling was quite fun!