Thursday, July 30, 2009

Black Forest Gateau

Alright, if you're prepared for deliciousness, richness, chocolatey, moist and creamy and did I mention rich, then this is the cake for you.  It was perfect, just how I wanted it to be.  This was my husbands birthday cake, I don't think he was prepared for how rich and chocolatey his birthday cake was to be...I was!  I've made basic black forest cakes before with just an ordinary chocolate cake base, but this time I followed the books recipe, except for the kirsch liquor, which we don't use and didn't need.  The recipe comes from my Chocolate Dreams recipe book by Christine France, I inherited it from my sister.... thank you Gabby.  

Black Forest Gateau

6 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup melted butter


60ml Kirsch (optional I didn't use it)
600ml/2 1/2 cups double cream or thickened cream
2 tblspn icing sugar
1/2 teasp vanilla essence
675g jar/can pitted black cherries well drained
Juice from the jar of cherries.

To Decorate

2 Cadbury Flake bars crumbled or grated chocolate
Fresh or drained cherries

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.  Grease three 19cm round cake tins.  

**I used two 21cm round tins and made double the mixture to bake 4 cakes.  It depends on the size of your pans and how big you want your cake.  I'm making a 3 layer cake and I have frozen the 4th cake.**  

Line the bottom and sides of each tin with non-stick baking paper.  Combine the eggs with the sugar and vanilla essence in a bowl and beat with a hand-held electric mixer until pale and very thick.

Sift the flour and cocoa powder over the mixture and fold in lightly and evenly with a metal spoon.  Gently stir in the melted butter.

Divide the mixture among the prepared tins, smoothing them level.  I only cooked two at a time.

Bake for 15-18 mins, until the cakes have risen and are springy to the touch  leave them to cool in the tins for about 5 mins, then turn out on to wire racks and leave to cool completely.  Remove the lining from each cake.

Prick each layer of cake all over with a skewer then sprinkle with a couple of table spoons of cherry juice (or the Kirsch).

Using a hand held electric mixer, whip the cream in a bowl until it starts to thicken, then gradually beat in the icing sugar and vanilla essence until the mixture begins to hold its shape.

To assemble, spread one cake layer with a thick layer of cream and top with about half of the cherries.

Put second cake layer over the top of the first, spread with cream, top with cherries.  You could leave the cake like this and it would still be wonderful.  But I'm going for 3 layers of decadence.

Top with the final cake layer.

Spread the remaining cream all over the cake top and sides.

Sprinkle with chocolate and decorate with cherries. I used a piping bag for the cream blobs that the cherries sit on.
Cherries with stalks or without? 

 I think I prefer the stalks left on they look like little birthday candles.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Homemade Sausage rolls

I have been making these sausage rolls for birthday parties over the past few years. I am tired of greasy sausage rolls from the frozen food section and wanted to make a healthier, tastier version for the kids (and adults). It is easy and you get to choose the type of filling for your sausage rolls.  So go get yourself some lovely gourmet sausages the flavour of your choice.  I chose lamb, rosemary, mint and garlic for these ones.

Sausage Rolls

6 gourmet sausages, your choice of flavour
2 sheets ready rolled puff pastry
1 egg beaten
1 table spoon sesame seeds

Turn on your oven to 200°C/400°F. Line baking trays with baking paper. Defrost 2 sheets of puff pastry about an hour before you start cooking. It will give the pastry time to thaw so it's easy to work it.

You need about 3 gourmet sausages per square sheet of puff pastry.  Peel the skin off your sausages just like for the spaghetti and meatballs.  Cut the pastry in half.  Lay the sausage down the long edge of the puff pastry and add another 1/2 sausage until the lenth of the pastry is covered and comes to the end of the pastry.  You can always stretch the sausage to fit.  Brush beaten egg on the opposite edge of the pastry to the sausage.  Now roll the pastry until the sausage is covered.  The egg will seal the pastry and sausage roll together.

Cut the large roll into whatever sized sausage rolls you like, I like bite size, and place them onto a lined baking tray.  Repeat with the rest of the pastry and sausages. 

Brush beaten egg on top of sausage rolls and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Place in a hot oven for 20-25 mins until golden brown and sausage is cooked.

Serve with tomato sauce (compulsory).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chocolate Marshmallow Cloud Cookies

It's school holidays and with the boys home from school I have lots more time for cooking. It's just a matter of deciding what treat to cook. Today we baked chocolate marshmallow cloud cookies, which comes from my Mrs Fields cookie book. With my little marshmallow goblin helpers (goblin cause that's what they do when they help, gobble, gobble, gobble) we sifted flour and cocoa and added the marshmallows to the mix.

Chocolate Marshmallow Cloud Cookies

3 cups plain flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup salted butter softened
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups dark choc bits
1 100g bag mini marshmallows, frozen

Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F. Put the marshmallows in the freezer prior to baking and keep them there, they need to be kept cold before they go into the cookies.

In a medium bowl combine flour, cocoa and baking powder. Set aside.

Combine sugars in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, blend in butter, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat at medium speeed until lght and fluffy.

Add the flour mixture and chocolate chips, and blend at low speed until combined. Batter will be very stiff.

Gather a ball of mixture in the palm of your hand, make a well in the middle and fill with 4-5 frozen marshmallows, cover over completely encasing them and forming a 2-inch-diameter dough ball. Make sure the marshmallows are covered otherwise they will spill out while cooking and become too chewy rather than soft and marshmallowy.  I have tried making smaller cookies with less marshmallows and have tried making them bigger, it just depends if you can handle the sweetness, they are very rich.  I prefer the smaller cookies.

Place balls on lined baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake 8-10 minutes. Cool on pan 2 minutes then transfer to a cool flat surface or pop into your mouth.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mini Quiches

These little quiches are lovely for brunch or lunch and can even go in the kids lunch boxes the next day. I just used my normal quiche recipe that I use for larger quiches. The egg mix is always changing when ever I make a quiche. You can add whatever bits and pieces to flavour your quiche, cherry tomato on the top, chopped asparagus or mix up a bit of chopped spinach, what ever you have in your fridge.

Mini quiches

6 Eggs whisked
3 slices Bacon chopped, fat removed
2 shallots chopped
125 grams grated colby cheese
125 ml Cream or sour cream
125 ml Milk
2 tablespoons cottage cheese
3 sheets Frozen puff pastry thawed
Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 220°C/430°F. Thaw the puff pastry separately on the bench on it's plastic. Grease a 12 muffin tray pan with oil, I used olive oil. Cut out circles in the pastry the size of a ramekin. You want them big enough to fit your muffin tray sections with the edges a little higher than the muffin cups so it's easier to get them out when they're cooked. Cut a little triangle out of the circle to make it easier to fit into the muffin tin. Any left over pastry can be added together, kneaded and rolled out to make more quiches.

Shape the pastry into the muffin tins and press down to seal the cut pastry.

Cook up the finely chopped bacon and then add the chopped shallots. Put them aside. Combine beaten eggs, milk, cream or sour cream, cottage cheese and season with salt. Add half of the bacon and shallots (save some to sprinkle on top of quiches) and all the grated cheese. Spoon evenly into the pastry and sprinkle with remaining bacon and shallots.

Cook in the oven until the eggs are set and pastry is cooked and puffed. Approximately 10 to 15 minutes. The eggs will rise while they cook and then settle down when out of the oven. Don't they look scrumptious all puffy and golden!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Raspberry and White chocolate muffins

I've never made these muffins before and have dreamed of them for years since I first saw Ainsley Harriott on tv making extra tall ones wrapped in baking paper.  I can't quite remember how he did it but these simple ones are pretty scrumptious.  I just love how the mixture goes a lovely shade of pink.  I found this recipe here.  Next time I'll attempt the more decadent tall ones.

Raspberry and white chocolate muffins

  2 cups plain flour
 2 teaspoons baking powder
  1 cup caster sugar
  1 egg
  1 cup milk
  50g butter, melted
  1 cup frozen raspberries, thawed
  180g good white chocolate, roughly chopped or white choc buds

Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F. Place 12 large patty cases into a muffin pan. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and mix in the sugar.

In a small bowl, whisk together egg, milk and butter. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and mix well. Using a large spoon, gently fold the raspberries and chocolate into the mixture until just combined, you don't want to over stir it or the raspberries squish up.

Distribute the batter between patty cases.

 Bake for 20-25 min, or until a skewer comes out clean and muffins are golden.