Monday, April 30, 2012

Cheer up body breakfast

Lately I've been getting the feeling that my body doesn't like me. The subtle hint was the flue that seemed to last forever, then the food poisoning, and then today when I woke up with every bone in my body aching I got the message. YOUR ANGRY I GET IT.....BUT WHY? I live a pretty healthy lifestyle. I must admit I do like my coffee and wine, and a few treats but apart from that Im pretty good. Im one of the few people I know that runs consistently, eats fruit or vegetables for at least two meals per day, and tries to get a good 8 hours sleep. Recently when I offered to pitching in for some fish and chips with a friend she looked at me surprised and said "what? thats something you do? You eat junk food?"

So get the picture. I'm pretty nice to my little body, but these days its not being so nice to me. I felt like I was the princess and the pea waking up with all my bones in pain today, I felt like me fragile little self was beaten up by the springs in my usually soft bed. Who knows what is going on?

To try and appease my body, and to make up for this freezing winter weather I made some warm porridge for breakfast. It was warm and silky smooth and made me thing that life is pretty good after all. I recommend it.

Cheer up old body breakfast......
  • Half a cup of quick oats
  • 2tbs of sunflower seeds
  • 3tbs of dried cranberries
  • 1 tbs of honey
  • 1 cup of soy milk.
  • pinch of cinnamon
  1. Place your oats in a pot with seeds, spices, and berries and a bit of water (about 1/4 cup)
  2. Stir on a low heat until dissolved
  3. Add half a cup of milk and continue to stir
  4. Once this is dissolved as well add the remaining milk and continue the process. 
  5. Tip into a bowl and drizzle with honey.
  6. Clime back into bed and eat it all 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A spot of bad luck

Lately I feel like I have been a wee bit unlucky, its like I've done something awful karma wise that I'm not aware of and I'm being made to pay my dept. The problem with this is......I'm pretty sure I haven't done anything too offensive. Mainly I've just been baking cakes, and enjoying the last of my holidays.

Let me explain how badly my 'unlucky streak is'. For starters my pastry school is making me do work placement, as a waitress. I have no idea how this is relevant to being a pastry chef, but I have to do 80 hours of unpayed waitressing work, on top of my normal job, for no payment.....a bit rough if you ask me. Today I fell over in the shower, just stepped in and feel into the scalding hot water and burnt my leg (I was just thankful I didn't brake it though.) I have been getting unexpected bills (I HATE my gym.) But the worst one recently was coming down with food poisoning. I was at a friends house warming party and it was getting late enough that I felt that it was probably time I kissed the boy I had been flirting with all night, when I started to have a queazy feeling in my stomach...... I've had food poisoning once before and knew the I put myself in a cab and went home. I have been so very sick for the last 48 hours, just crumpled up in a ball feeling so very sorry for myself.

I'm planning on sleeping this off until I have to go to school tomorrow, and hope that in between now and then nothing awfully unlucky happens to me.

I hope your day is a bit more lucky than mine

Friday, April 27, 2012

A long day, and a wedding cake

Goodness today was long......the sort of long that makes you want to cry a bit. I turned up to work 3 hours early and ended swapping my shift with one of the girls so that I didn't have to go home, only to turn around and come back again. So I sold cup cakes for hours and hours on end. I arrived home 12 hours after I had woken, showered and run from the house, thinking that I was running late, not 3 hours early. So silly.

I felt like I did nothing productive today, no cooking, no painting, no having dinner with friends.......just a long day, that is all.

Yesterday however I did so many beautiful things. I did some work on a wedding cake and made a beautiful Moroccan lamb soup. Its so delicious with cinnamon, tomato, olives, lentils and slow cooked lamb.......amazingly good. I also went to coffee with a new friend. We started just talking about life and the conversation flowed into one of my favourite topics....the correlation between food and intimacy. We talked about meals with people that have stood out the most in our lives, and my mind wandered back to this dinner I had on a deck under the stars, surrounded by 100 candles and drinking red wine until the wee hours of the morning........such beauty.

Its so lovely to have such fond memories of people I have loved so dearly, but on long days like today, sometimes those memories hurt a wee bit more than I would like to admit. Life is so much more complicated than cooking, and even then at times I struggle to understand so many of the recipes I want to make.

I have however finally mastered the wedding cake that I'm working on.......and although this will not solve any of my romance (or lack or romance) problems at the moment, it really is satisfying to watch something work out so well.

I'm glad today is finally over. I know your not meant to wish away time, but I'm so relieved to be at home, with a warm dinner and a glass of red wine, and a wedding cake in the fridge. For now these things are getting me though long days, and a sad heart. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Apple Tart Tartin

Step into my office......... actually clime in, because my office is my bed. Today I have decided to do all my writing from bed. Its really the best place to be when Melbourne is starting to get a little bit cold. I feel I get my most productive work done sometimes from bed (this is such a lie, but just go with it.)

There is really a heap of things I should be doing (cleaning my kitchen, practicing macaroon recipes, etc etc) but its just so cozy today. I think I'll stay wrapped up in my old red jumper drinking a soy latte until I really really have to go do things.

Last night I had a few friends over for dinner and cooked up a little feast for them. We had a tart tartin for desert, and I must say.....I'm kind of in love with them. They are so simple to make its crazy. And they look so impressive. Its like the little black dress of deserts, you through it on and look amazing without putting any effort into it.

Dont get me wrong I am all for making pasta from scratch, home made bread, and other such things that take hours to produce, but sometimes it just amazing to be able to put something together in a couple of minutes when you invite friends over last minute.
So if you also want to look super impressive, heres the recipe for you!

Apple Tart Tartin
4 granny smith apples
1/4 cup of water
3/4 cup of sugar
100g butter
2 sheets of puff pastry cut into rounds the size of your frying pan
1 egg
What to do:
  1. Peel and cut your apples into quarters
  2. Place your sugar and water in a fry pan or skillet that can go in the over. Place it on the stove top and cook the sugar and water on a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Turn the heat to high for about 8 minutes or until the mix is a light caramel colour. Do not stir the mix while it is caramelising, or it wont work, so just swirl the pan.
  4. Slowly stir in your butter (its best if the butter is cut into little cubes) with the mix on a low heat.
  5. Take off the heat and add the apples in a pattern around the edge of the pan and then some in the middle.
  6. Place on sheet of pasty onto of the apples, and brush with beaten egg.
  7. Place the second sheet of pastry on top and again brush with the beaten eggs.
  8. Cut a little criss cross in the pastry
  9. Place the whole thing in the oven at 180 and cook for 30 to 40 minutes. You will know when its ready because the pasty will have puffed up nicely and be golden brown.
  10. Next is the only tricky part. You need to place a plate over the pastry, and flip the whole pan so that the tart comes out, apple side up. The main thing you don't want to do is burn yourself on the hot caramel mix, apart from that its not to hard. 
  11. Then serve it with cream, or ice cream.

Anzac Day

Anzac day makes me sad. I didn't realise this until I was on the bus at 5 in the morning and realised that there were tears in my eyes. I miss my grandpa so much some times. We were close.......but not in a very conventional way. He wasn't really one for big displays of affections, or talking about feelings, but we made it work. When my grandma died I took over her job of making up fresh batches of jellies to go with his ice cream, and I hid hundreds of notes around his house, under his pillows, on his desk, on his computer, in the draws telling him I was thinking of him, and that I loved him, just incase he got too lonely. I still feel sad when I think of him, even though he has been gone for over two years now.

So I went to the dawn service to remember him. It was freezing cold, and pouring with rain as I stood by the war memorial getting wetter and wetter as the rain came down. We could hardly see or hear a thing, but we stood there in the dark as it slowly got lighter and shivered. Afterwards a friend and I went and sat in one of those wonderful little ally way cafes, and ate warm porridge with cinnamon and pears. It warmed and cheered us up.

Winter has really set in now, and I felt it so much today as I was out in the rain. Melbourne can be so harsh in winter, but I do love it so much! I love all the cafes with warm cups of coffee, and having friends over for soup and crusty bread. What I don't love is finding that there are holes in my jeans, just when its starting to get cold. Alas! Sometimes new clothes fall so far down on the priority list. I wonder if all pastry students spend the last of their wages on baking ingredients and cake tins? Or is it just me?

I made my favourite chocolate cake today. It was a practice wedding cake for a catering job I'm doing later in the year. Tomorrow I will ice it and post up pictures and a recipe for you. For now though I'm off to bed.

I hope you had a lovely day of remembering those who were so very brave to us.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Joy a cup cake review

According to sex in the city (and I do bace a lot of my life on that show) you only get two great loves in your life. If this is true, I'm destined to a life alone. One of my biggest flaws as a person (or you can call it a strength) is that I fall in love.........a lot. All the time. But if I'm honest with myself, I have only really been properly in love twice. Just to clarify, we are talking about men here, not pastries, because the amount of times I have fallen in love with a recipe can not be counted.

Carrie never really got over Big (we're back on sex in the city...keep up) and sometimes I wonder if we ever really get over the people we have once loved. You can move towns, you can move states, change your life, change your hair, change everything about yourself.....but it still doesn't mean you will move on.

I have been baking away my little heart, waiting, waiting, waiting for things to change, but some days, your heart just hurts. This week at a bar, I put myself in a cab and headed home early, afraid of being 'that annoying crying drunk girl' (everyone HATES that girl.) There is no cure for this sadness, but good friends help. Good friends and cake.
One of my oldest friends and I decided to check out a new cake shop today. This helped amazingly, and the place was just lovely.

Melbourne seems to be popping up with cup cake shops all over the place now. This one was called Joy, and its on south bank. The place is cute and chic (it can be hard to get the perfect combination of the two.......if you go too cutesy it can be tacky, too chic and it can look cold.) There is one main table which is communal. I kind of loved this and hated this at the same time. It was sort of festive in that you felt like you were at a big feast, but it made the place seem a bit empty, and you had to sit next to strangers if the place was full.

All the packaging was cute. I liked that they use paper bags instead of plastic.
But down to the important part......the cake. Ok lets get somethings out there first. 1. I work at a cup cake shop, so I'm pretty loyal to there cakes. 2. I'm a pastry student, and can be a little judgmental of cakes. 3. I love dense cakes, not light ones.

The cakes were yummy though, they were super light (and if thats what you like it would be perfect.) There were lots of interesting flavour combinations ranging from classic red velvet cake, to salted caramel, to toffy apple. I loved the sounds of the flavours but felt that they weren't very pronounced in the cakes themselves. I had the salted caramel and chocolate cake, and i really felt that it was more chocolaty than anything else.

The place was cute, and lovely and sweet, and all the cakes are made on sight........but I wouldn't make it my regular treat. If I'm going to eat a cake I really really want those calories to be worth while. This is not to say I don't eat a lot of cake........its just that I eat a lot of really really good cake.

Joy Cupcakes on Urbanspoon

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Don't forget to look at my tumblr....... I'm putting up some super cute photo's and recipes there too!

Lemon Curd Tart

Making lemon tarts is one of my favourite baking experiences. There are so many processes involved. There is the pastry.....I love making pastry, all that rolling and resting, and shaping. Then there is the curd. There is something so meditative about making curds, and custards. You have to stand there for half an hour, just stirring. I never think about bad things when I'm doing this. Just lovely, light beautiful things as I slowly watch my curd thicken. It reminds me of falling in love, a boy I once dated (he loved lemon curd), parties, and my best friend back home (her sister used to make amazing lemon curd.) Next you have the meringue. Its tick, and rich and glossy, and just oh so beautiful. You put them all together and its amazing. Its the perfect way to spend the day if you ask me.

The recipe I'm working on at the moment is for an old friends wedding back home. The man she is marring loves lemon tarts, so I'm perfecting them for the wedding party. Along with this there will be cup cakes, macaroons, salted caramel tarts and a few other peti fours I'm working on. Its so nice to have an excuse to practise all these recipes and get them exactly how I want them.
A morning spent baking is one of my best pass times. Here's the recipe I used.....

Lemon Meringue tarts.

For the pastry:
300g flour
200g butter
100g sugar
2 egg yolks

  1. Rub the butter into the four and sugar. This can be done with your fingertips if you have time, or in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment.
  2. Add eggs, and mix in. Dont mix too much as you dont want to overwork the dough.
  3. Give the dough a 5 second knead just to bring it together, and then wrap in glad wrap and place in the fridge.
  4. Let the pasty rest for about half an hour, then take out of the fridge to roll out.
  5. Roll out the dough on a floured bench and cut into the shapes you want. You can use special pastry shells, or simply use a muffin tin. I do both. 
  6. Prick the pasty all over with a fork and place back in the fridge to rest for another 30 minutes.
  7. Take out of the fridge. Place some squares of baking paper in each pastry shell, and fill with baking weights, or uncooked rice.
  8. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 for 10 minutes.
  9. Remove the baking weights and cook until lightly golden. This should take about 20 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool.
Lemon curd
Juice of three lemons
200g caster sugar
3 eggs
100g butter
  1. Juice the lemons and stir together with the sugar
  2. crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk lightly. Push them through a sieve to remove any lumps and add to the lemon mix.
  3. Place the mix over a double boiler with lightly boiling water, and stir constantly. Make sure that the water is not touching the bowl otherwise you mix will scramble!! It may take between 20 to 30 minutes to thicken.
  4. Cut the butter into little cubes.
  5. Once the mix is coating the back of the spoon you know its thick enough. 
  6. Take it off the heat and stir in the cubes of butter a little at a time. 
4 egg whites
1 cup of sugar
pinch of salt
  1. Place the egg whites in a bowl of an electric mixer and beat until bubbly.
  2. Slowly add the sugar while the beater is running.
  3. Add salt.
  4. Continue to beat until the mix is thick and stiff. 
To assemble
  1. Once the pastry shells are cool spoon in some lemon curd.
  2. Pipe the meringue on top.
  3. Eat them......all. You will. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Flourless blueberry and almond cake

Where have I been hiding the last week? I have been high up above the streets of little Collins Street sipping tea and eating toast. Such luxuries!

This past week Iv'e come down with an awful flu that has left me feeling a bit limp so I've been taking life pretty slowly. Luckily my parents are in town so I haven't had the added worry of actually having to get out of bed to look for food, go shopping, and clean the house. Instead I've been tucked up in a little hotel room overlooking lane ways and right near hardware lane, and my favourite macaroon shop. This would be glorious if only I was well enough to eat some macaroons!!

Its so lovely having family around, and we have been venturing out on little explorations such as the CRES organic farm and cafe, record shops in brunswick and a few little cafes. Mostly what I love though is waking up in the morning, making a pot of tea, having some toast and jam, and reading the paper that my dad has gone down to the shops to buy for me. Its one of my favourite rituals, and the three of us do it every time my parents are in the city. Its one of my fondest memories I take from their visits, not the eating out, or little treats...........but just sitting with them quietly in the morning eating tea and toast.

Well i have been promising recipes all week, and haven't been delivering the goods. But today I will!!! I have this beautiful almond and blueberry cake that is gluten free and just delicious! I made it recently for a dinner party at a friends house..........and after 2 courses we still all managed to eat two slices of cake each. I blame the amount of wine consumed, and the fact that the cake is sooooo good.

Flourless Almond and Blueberry Cake
165g caster sugar
6 eggs separated
Zest of one lemon
1 tsp of vanilla extract
125g butter, melted and cooled
2 cups of almond meal
pinch of salt
half a cup of blueberries
Berries and natural yoghurt to serve

What to do:
  1. Preheat the oven to 170. Line and grease a cake tin.
  2. Set aside a tablespoon of sugar. 
  3. With an electric beater, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  4. Reduce the beaters to low speed and mix in the essence, butter and lemon.
  5. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until bubbly, add the one tbs of sugar and beat until soft peaks form. 
  6. Fold the almond meal though the egg yolk mix
  7. Fold one spoonful of the egg whites though the almond and egg yolk mix to loosen it up. Then fold though the remaining egg this carefully so as not to loose all the air! Pour into the cake tin
  8. Push in the blueberries.....they will happily sink a little bit.
  9. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
  10. Let the cake cool completely and then top with yoghurt, and berries.
  11. Eat two serves......because I did. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

No coffee

I haven't been doing too much blogging in the last two weeks, and for this I am terribly sorry. You see the thing is I was so overwhelmed with pastry school assignments that I just wanted to hide under my bed. Then an old school friend came to visit, and then my parents came. In between all of this I also got very sick. So these are my valid excuses.

Where to even begin......I've been eating so much good food lately. While my school friend was here, we went from cafe, to restaurant, to bar, to foodie markets for four days. By the time he left my jeans where getting tight and the headache that had begun after the first night he came to stay had turned into a full blown hang over. Oh dear, the life of indulgence is tough!! I was lucky enough to go to a new restaurant called Albert street food and wine, I'll write a little review on it later when I'm not so time poor.

My parents are still here now, so we have been exploring the city and eating out a little bit. Its been nice apart from being sick. I went to the doctor a few days ago and they instructed me to say off wheat, sugar, alcohol, and coffee for two weeks. I smiled and nodded telling the doctor I could easily do this. Really what I was thinking was "WHY, WHY WOULD YOU AKS ME THIS!! LEAVE ME SOMETHING GOOD IN LIFE." Such first wold problems, and I am ashamed at how much I am attached to my coffee, food and wine.

A while ago, after spending some time with some super new age hippies, I convinced myself to give up coffee and alcohol to prove to myself that my happiness does not come from these things.......and its true, it shouldn't. I struggled with the idea for weeks. Trying not to buy a coffee, to be strong. In the end I decided that realistically, it was no big deal, life can be hard, and yucky and a struggle at times, so if a few treats make it a wee bit more enjoyable.....then I'm damn well going to have them........until now when the doctor has taken them away from me.
Wish me luck!

So I'll be back in a few days with some new recipes and restaurant reviews.....but for now, I think I'll have a nap....because I'm on holidays! 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter treats

There is something so very special about easter. Its the only holiday of the year I really stop. Most of my life feels so crazy at times running around trying to get everything done. Christmas is constantly busy and always leaves me more exhausted than when I started.......there is just so much cooking to be done! Easter though, is actually a break for me. I lay in bed and read books, I bake fresh bread, and drink big cups of tea and coffee out of mugs the size of bowls. This is magic to me.

What I do love though, is the dinner parties. I haven't hosted any for this holiday but I've been lucky enough to be invited to a few. Its wonderful just to sit around with friends, drink wine and unwind.

Last night at a little dinner I had the pleasure of meeting a lovely chef. It was so wonderful to meet someone with the same passions as myself. Often times at parties I will find myself wanting to talk about food. I spend most of my time cooking, at pastry school, reading cook books and studying recipes that talking about this comes so naturally. However not every other 22 year old at a party wants to have a conversation about the new technique you learned and ingredient you're in love with.

Last night however I got to sit and talk to a boy for hours about the lamination process in puff pastry, and how to make a sourdough culture. Such bliss!!

At one of the easter dinner parties I attended I was asked to bring the desert course (I always volunteer to bring desert.......such a good excuse to bake a cake.) I made some salted caramel tarts. I'm all about salted caramel at the moment. I'm not going to lie..........they were kind of amazing. I'll post the recipe up for you some time over the long weekend.

For now though, I'm going to stay in my peter alexander p.j.'s sip a massive cup of coffee, and read a book.

Happy Easter everyone. Hope your resting too. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My girls

There is nothing like best friends is there? My mum always makes fun of me because I call about 80% of my friends "my best friend", but its only because there are so many amazingly incredibly ladies in my life (gosh I wish I could say that about men!! Sooooo many amazing men in my life...sigh.....ummm I'm off topic.)

If its just a chat, a bottle of wine, a coffee date, or a long phone call I know these girlies have my back, and its so nice to have that.

I once had a boyfriend who everyday would tell me how wonderful I was. On a daily basis he would let me know I was amazing, beautiful, and could do anything I wanted to. when we stopped dating I felt a little adrift without all this reassurance in myself. I've been learning recently that its so much easier to believe in yourself when you have a personal cheer team in the form of a sexy brunet. Alas this isn't always possible. I was telling one of my best friends this recently, and how I was finding it hard to feel as confident. After we finished talking and she was just about to hang up the phone she stopped and said "Cherry, I think your amazing, and beautiful, and I think your doing so well." At times like these it makes me so grateful I have so many best friends.

So this is just my little thank you to all my girls. I wish it was a cake, or a cookie, or a treat to say thank you.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Chocolate and salted caramel layer cake

I made this cake recently, and it was so pretty I thought I would share it with you. Its super yummy because its chocolate and caramel, but also really pretty with all the layers varying in colour when you cut into it. When I first looked at the recipe I was a little scared because of all the elements, but once you get stuck into it, its pretty easy.

The first two layers are chocolate and vanilla
You will need:
150g unsalted butter, very soft
150g caster sugar
2 large free range eggs, beaten
100g plain yoghurt
120g self-raising flour
60g ground almonds
2/3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder

What to do:
  • Cream together the sugar and butter.
  • Beat in one egg at a time, beating well between each egg. 
  • Add vanilla. Beat
  • Sift together flour and baking flour and almond meal
  • Fold in half the flour. 
  • Fold in the flour mix, the yoghurt and then the remaining flour.
  • Split the cake mix into two bowls.
  • Sift the coco into one of the cakes and fold through the mix.
  • Scrape the cake batters into two papered and buttered cake tins.
  • Bake both cakes at 180 for 20 to 30 minutes or until cooked
  • When cakes are slightly cooled take them out of the tins and place on cooling racks.

For the second two cakes....the caramel and caramel chocolate cake.
150g unsalted butter, very soft
100g light brown muscovado sugar
50g dark brown muscovado sugar
2 large free range eggs, beaten
50 ml milk
120g self-raising flour
60g ground almonds
2/3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp cocoa powde

  • Repeat the following steps as in the above cakes except substituting the caster sugar for the muscovado sugars, and the milk instead of yoghurt.
  • Again split the cake batter into two portions and fold the coco only through one.
  • Bake the same as the above cakes.
  • Place on cooling wracks and let cool completely.
Chocolate Icing
100g dark choclate
100g milk chocolate
220ml double cream
  • Break up the chocolate and place together in a bowl
  • Bring the cream to a boil in a small pot
  • Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and leave for five minutes
  • Stir the chocolate and cream mix until smooth, and all lumps of chocolate are melted
  • Set aside to cool.

To assemble the cake:
You will need 300g of salted caramel. If you have your own recipe feel free to use it. I used one I found online at :
However I promise to do a little lesson on here about making caramel soon!!
If your feeling a bit scared of caramel its ok to used tined caramel and add a little salt to it.
  • Take your first cake, the vanilla and sit it on a plate. Slather it with 1/4 of the caramel, some of the chocolate icing.
  • Next place the caramel cake on top. Spread on 1/4 of the caramel, and another layer of chocolate.
  • Next there is the chocolate caramel cake, repeat the steps above.
  • Finnish with the chocolate cake.
  • Cover the whole cake with the chocolate icing.