Sunday, December 11, 2011

Triple choc chip cookies - Nigella's style

Well in true Nigella fashion this has 3 different types of chocolate.

1 - 125 grams of dark cooking chocolate.
2 - 30 grams of Cocoa
3 - 350 grams of dark choc chips.

The recipe might seem difficult, but once your organized it's not so hard. And they are yum.

I melt my 1st dark choc first. Over a simmering pot of water, or you can just use the microwave. Wilst that's melting gather the following.

Butter mix:
in a mixer, mix the following:

  • 125g soft unsalted butter
  • 75g soft brown sugar
  • 50g regular sugar
  • Add in the melted choc 
  • Add 1Tsp vanilla extract
  • Add 1 cold egg

Flour mix: 
Combine the following:

  • 150g plain flour
  • 30g Cocoa sieved
  • 1 Tsp Bicarb Soda
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt

Mix the flour mix into the butter mix
Add the choc chips and stir

Scoop out with an ice cream scoop 12 equal moulds onto a lined tray (i actually got 18 out of this mix).

Don't flatten them. 6mm apart. They will flatten in the oven hilts cooking.

Cook for 18min.
Cake tester sould be semi cleaned.
Leave to cool on tray for 5 min, then transfer to rack to harden..

In summary: 


  • 75g brown sugar
  • 50g white sugar
  • 125g 70% cocoa dark chocolate
  • 1 egg cold
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 150g flour
  • 30g of good quality cocoa powder
  • 1 level teaspoon bi-carb soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of table salt
  • 150g of milk chocolate chips
  • 150g of white chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celsius
2. Cream the butter and sugar
3. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler and then add to the butter and sugar
4. Add the egg and vanilla extract and combine again until smooth
5. Add the flour, cocoa, salt and bi-carb and mix until combined before adding the chocolate chips
6. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out the mixture onto 2 trays into 18 cookies of even size.  You don't need to flatten the cookies

Bake for 12-14 minutes
Leave to cool on the baking tray slightly and then transfer to the cooling rack until completely cool

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cystic Fibrosis

$82,000 raised for Cystic Fibrosis (Sydney Childrens Hospital Randwick)

Our recent fundraising event on Melb Cup Day raised more than $80,000 for the CF unit at Randwick. Thankyou to all our supporters, and to those who are always willing to donate. Your money will go to good use at the unit. Thankyou. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Friands anyone. Almond Friands topped with blueberries. Yum.

I was impressed after baking these, when I took the Friands out of their tin. The texture of the Friand was so shop like. 

The recipe is from a new book I recently purchased from Locantro Deli in Catherine Street, Leichardt. 

The book and recipe is by baker Pino Lacantro who owns the deli, patisserie with his brother and parents. 

The deli/cafe/patisserie is one of Leichardt's hidden treasures, with an authentic family feel about the place when you walk in. 

Congratulations Pino on your 1st book, "Dinner with The Baker".

  • Unsalted Butter     115g
  • Almond Meal          85g
  • Plain Flour               80g
  • Icing Sugar            160g
  • Egg Whites                4

Garnish Options

  • Almond Flakes
  • Blueberries
  • Choc Chips
  • Frozen Raspberries

Preheat Oven 180 deg C
Lightly grease a Friand tin.
This recipe makes 6.
I doubled everything to make 12.

Heat the butter in a saucepan and bring to boil. Continue cooking until the butter is clear and golden.
Remove from the heat and strain it into a glass measuring cup.

Using your electric mixer, mix the almond meal, flour and icing sugar on low speed until well combined.
Add the egg whites and mix thoroughly.

Pour in the butter gradually on low speed (I didn't let it cool. Made no difference), and mix for 4 minutes until well combined.

Pour into into your friand tin, and add your choice of garnish on top. As you can see I used all garnishes.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Candid Photos

Luna Park by night

Foggy morning in December

Green Pastures

My summer crop of Plums 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

Nutella Pizza

After several attempts, and several samples eaten, I finally mastered making the famous Nutella Pizza.
Inspired by pizza from Signorelli trattoria, inside the Google building opposite Star Casino in Sydney. Topped with fresh Strawberries, sliced banana, blackberries and a drizzle of mascarpone cheese, dusted with icing sugar. Sweet and Yum.

Nutella Pizza with Kiwi Fruit

 This Nutella pizza has Kiwi fruit, strawberries and blueberries. Delicious and sweet.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Marshmallow frosting

This is the silky cupcake frosting you see on the cupcakes made by the two sisters on the food channel show, DC Cupcakes, or known as Georgetown Cupcakes.

Trust me, its delicious. Sweet, but delicious.


  • 3 Egg whites
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp Golden syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla extract

Mix all the ingredients together in a heat proof bowl. Or use your mix master bowl.

Place the bowl on top of a saucepan, with 1/4 of boiling water.

Whisk continuously by hand until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is frothy and slightly opaque, (this will take 10 minutes).

Remove from heat and whip the mixture on high speed in the mix master until its white and thick and holds its shape.

I used it as the filling in my whoopie pies, but can also be used as cupcake frosting.

Use straight away.

You can refrigerate it, but it will be harder to work with when cold.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Red Velvet Cake

This is my second attempt at making a Red Velvet Cake. And very successful I must add. I just doubled my quantities of my cup cake ingredients, and a touch more cocoa.
The middle layer, and the frosting is my lovely Cream Cheese buttercream, sprinkled with coconut and red velvet crumbs, and of course strawberries for decoration. Yes Yum.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My Next Project - Italian Ricotta Cake

Haberfields famous Ricotta cake - to die for. This is as close as what I could find to a recipe, from the SBS Food Safari show. Worth a try. Watch this space.  


1 x 26 cm disc of shortcrust pastry-baked
Extra shortcrust pastry to line the pastry ring
Ricotta Cheese Filling
3 eggs (55 g)
60 g sugar
350 g cream cheese, at room temperature
650 g ricotta cheese
80 mL cream (35 % fat)
50 g sugar
80 g blanched almond meal
80 g diced orange peel- candied or citron
Optional 100 g sultanas, soaked in rum or brandy
Whisk the eggs and sugar, (60 g) until thick.  Set aside.

Beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth, then add the ricotta and beat until smooth.Add the cream, then gradually add the whisked eggs. Mix until all ingredients are well combined.

Fold in the almond meal, glacé fruit and sultanas.Transfer into the prepared base.

Sweet Shortcrust Dough, (1.2.3.)    Makes 650 g pastry
1 egg (55g)   (The pastry can be made without egg)
100g castor sugar
200g unsalted butter
300g plain flour
To make the pastry, cream the butter and sugar until light and pale.
Add the egg, and continue creaming until absorbed.

Stop mixer and add the flour, mix only until combined.  The dough will be very sticky, wrap in plastic and chill prior to use.

Knead the chilled dough lightly first to soften, roll out with a small amount of dusting flour.

Place a 5-6 cm high 26 cm round ring over the baked pastry disc.  Using extra shortcrust dough, press the dough onto the wall of the ring forming the sides for the cheesecake .  Smear the pastry onto the edge of the base to seal the join.  Trim off any excess dough. 

Bake at 180 ° C for one hour.When cool, dust with icing sugar.
Serve at room temperature, though store uneaten cheese cake in the refrigerator.

Monday, July 4, 2011

More Red Velvets

Line them up.
I baked 48 in total, with Cream Cheese buttercream.  .
And they were eaten in minutes.
Sprinkled with crushed red velvet that I ran through the food processor.

Below, my Red Velvet Whoopie Pies. Also a hit.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Portuguese Tarts Recipe (Pastels de nata)

I Love Custard, and I love the Portuguese Tarts. Making the custard for these tarts are really easy.  This would be my best custard to date.

So I looked at Jamie Olivers Portuguese Tarts, and I looked at "Not quite Nigellas" Bill Grangers recipe.
Im still trying to per-fect the pastry base but Im sure Im very close to getting it Cafe style.
The kids loved it. The guys at worked also loved them.

So there are two different methods of making your custard prior to pouring it into your tarts. The Jamie Oliver way is to mix the custard ingredients together and pour it (uncooked) into the pre-cooked pastry shells.

Or the Bill Granger way, cook your custard on the cook top first, let it cool, then pour it into the pre cooked pastry shells. I prefer the latter,  but both work fine.
Most French and Portuguese pastry chefs Ive seen pour it in uncooked.

Now I would prepare my custard first (especially if you are cooking the custard). This will allow it to cool whilst your are preparing the pastry.

  • 3 egg yolks 
  • 115g caster sugar (maybe a but less depending how sweet you like your custard)
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 230ml Cream 
  • 170ml Milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract or  Vanilla Bean Paste
Mix the cornflour and half the cream together (until all lumps are out), then pour the balance of the cream and stir it but dont over stir it too much.

Whisk your eggs into the caster sugar and whisk until combined. Add the milk. 
Then mix it into your corn flour mix. and whisk it all together until all lumps are out and mixed well. 

Stir on low heat on your cook top and stir slowly until nice and thick. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. 

Then Let it cool. Once cool pour into your pre cooked pastry shells. Then bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until golden (and if your lucky some little burn marks on your custard) 

Use one sheet of pre rolled Puff Pastry (from the shop). 
Sprinkle over with Cinnamon and spread by hand. 

Then roll the pastry like a pencil and cut into 6 equal pieces. 

Stand the little cuts upright then squash down flat with your palm. (i squashed them downflat and then rolled them a little large enough to fit in the cakle tin).

Insert your flat rolls into your baking tray and spread them up the sides with your fingers. 

Bake for 200 deg C for 15 minutes. (I inserted some cup cake paper on top of the pastry and filled with rice, so the pastry doesn't grow out of the pan).

Remove from oven. Remove the rice and paper and they are ready to pour in your custard. 

Pour in the custard (almost to the top, but not all the way).

Bake for a further 8 - 10 minutes until golden brown. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Baking Dad: My Pizza Journal

Ive listed below links to take you to my pizza makeing journey.

Pizza Dough

My Pizza Menu

Prosciutto and Ricotta

All my pizza bases are simply covered with home made sauce and mozzarella cheese (sliced and spread ontop of the sauce).
Once the pizza is cooked -remove from oven then place on the prosciutto and ricotta.
Both the prosciutto and ricotta will cook and melt from the heat of the pizza.
Dont cook the prosciuto in the oven, as it will burn and taste like fried ham and lose its authentic taste.
If so you can add opions olives and mushrooms as a variety when cooking the pizza.

Garlic Pizza

My wife crushes one or two cloves of garlic (useing the hand held garlic crusher), and mixes it in with a 1/3 cup of olive or vegetable oil.
Sprinkle some herbs if you wish.
mix it together.

Then with a spoon spread over the pizza. Dont over do it. And be sure to spread the garlic from the oil.
I always keep the edge of the pizza free from any sauces or oil. I added my famous mozzarella on top of the pizza. Again only slices of mozzarella spread evenly.

Paesanella  Mozzarella

The best cheese to use on your pizza base is buffalo Mozzarella. This is "White" cheese, not your "yellow" fake cheese bought in bags from your local grocery store. Any good Deli will sell great Mozzarella. The best Mozz is from "Paesanella". These guys have been around (factory in Marrickville, and reseller in Haberfiled) for centuries.  Just cut into thin slices and place over your pizza and let it melt on top of your sauce.

By the way if you are ever in Hoboken, New Jersey, USA, you need to stop by Vitos Deli for fresh Muzz sandwhiches.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Red Velvet Mini Whoopie Pies

My third attempt at Whoopie Pies were the miniture version of the famous Hummingbirds Red Velvet with Cream Cheese butter cream.

These are easier to eat and dont make you feel so guilty.

I added dark choc chips to the mix just to to be a little different.

Verdict - YUM

Dusted with Icing sugar and chocolate swirl.

The mix is a llittle more dougier than the traditional red velvet cup cake mix. I used cocoa and brown sugar. I used the same dough to make these little cup cakes in  the poka muffin cases I found in a tiny shop in Picton.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Apple Crumble

Well it may not look as good as some of my fellow bloggers, but I assure you it taste great.
So what better to bake on a cold Sunday, Autumn Sydney afternoon. And with some warm custard to top it off.

Well this is a pretty easy recipe.

I purchased my green apples from Camden Farmers Markets on Saturday, (held every second Saturday of the month). $2.45 for 8 Granny Smiths. Bargain compared to the bigger stores. And I assure you these apples were picked the day before from this farmers tree.

I have two options for the base of the pie. You may chose to have no pastry base, or use a short crust pastry base. I chose without.

  • 8 green apples (1.2kg), peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/3 cup sugar (white)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Place the apples and water in a deep frying pan over medium heat. Cover and simmer, shaking the pan occasionally, for 5 minutes or until just tender. Drain and cool completely. Stir in the sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon, and let it sit until you are ready. 

  • 150 g white sugar (3/4 Cup)
  • 170 g Chilled butter (diced)
  • 155 g Plain flour (1 ¼ Cups)
  • 5 g ground cinnamon (2 Tea spoons
  • 25 g shredded coconut (1/3 cups)
  • 25 g rolled oats (1/3 cups)

Mix the sugar, butter, flour, and cinnamon (use your hands).
Mix in coconut and oats. 

Pour your cooked apples into your (9 inch or 22cm) dish. 
Sprinkle the crumble over the apples.

Preheat oven to 200 Degrees c
Bake for 1hour – until golden brown

Pastry base option:

Pastry Base 

In a large bowl, whip together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Mix in the egg.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and custard powder.

Mix the dry ingredients into the bowl with the butter and sugar.

Knead a little until all ingredients are together.
Add a little water at a time to assist.

Some debate whether to store your pastry in the fridge for 30 minutes in glad wrap. I think this may help the butter hold your pastry together.
Either way, take your dough and roll it so that it fits into your dish.

Press crust into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch (22cm) dish or spring form pan.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Loveless Cafe, Nashville TN

"Hot Biscuits" and they don't mean cookies. These are scones served hot, and complimentary with your meal. And as soon as you polish the plate of 6 biscuits, they bring out some more.

This is a cafe with years of history. We were told by a local to be sure to visit the Loveless Cafe and try the biscuits, fried chicken and smoked ham. Well we did, and this is pure American country style food. It was great. Forget about what you hear or think about American fatty food, this is pure home made country style food. The biscuits (scones) made fresh and served hot kept on coming out whilst waiting for our main meal.

We arrived for brunch, so we ate the fried chicken, and some of us had the Eggs and Ham.

Check out their website to find out more.
The service is great and the staff are really friendly and very polite.

Its worth visiting if in Nashville TN.

(Biscuits shown on the top of this photo)


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pizza Dough

After doing some research I have learnt a bit about different types of flour.

The best flour to use for Pizza Dough is "plain flour" with a high Glutan (or protein level) percentage.
The best pizza flour is one with a protein level of 12%.
The high gluten level in the flour gives the dough a good elasticity and robustness. It will hold its shape and will rise better.

My second theory, is in the kneading of your dough. You need to spend a good 8 minutes kneading. Lots of muscle and sweat.

Pizza Dough Ingredients
(this will make up to 4 or 5 Pizza's, 10" - 12")

 In a jug or large cup
  • 1/2 Cup of luke warm water
  • 2 Tea Spoons Dry Active Yeast
  • 1 Tea Spoon of Sugar (Optional)
Mix the yeast into the water then add the sugar on top, and let it rest until it starts to froth.

 In a seperate bowl.
  • 680 - 700g of Plain flour. (I would use just standard Plain Flour)
  • 2 Tea spoons of Salt
  • 1 1/4 Cup of water
  • 1 Teaspoon of Olive Oil
Mix by hand then add the yeast mixture.
Continue mixing by hand until all the dough is together.

Dust some Plain flour on a bench.
Remove from mixing bowl, and start your 8 minutes of hard kneading. (this is when your singing voice comes in handy)

Once your 8 minute workout is complete (the dough should be smooth, and shaped like a soccer ball). Put it back into the mixing bowl (no need to clean the bowl, just rub some olive oil around the perimeter of the bowl), cover the bowl with a tea towel, and let it sit for 2 - 3 hours to rise.

Once risen.
Remove from bowl and cut into 3-4 equal pieces. (weighing around 200gram each)
Knead each peice into a round ball and let it sit for anoth 1-2 hours. (place them into a air tight container) or cover with a tea towel)

You should get 4 or 5  x 10" pizzas.  (each pizza dough shouuld weigh around 160 - 200grams).

I have attached a link to a link to Susans cooking school which Ive picked up the technique from.

or my favourite site "Forno Bravo - Pizza Quest"

Forno Bravo classic pizza dough link

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Carlos Bakery Visit (Cake Boss)

Yes, we had to make sure our itinerary included a visit to Carlos Bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey.  Hoboken is a beautiful town.  We didnt expect a huge line up to Carlos Bakery, so we decided to walk the length of Washington Street, to check out what else Hoboken had to offer.  We returned to the bakery and joined the 2 hour line in the cold day of New Jersey. We finally entered the shop (crowded but overwhelming), we bought a number of cakes and took them back to our hotel room.  I must admit the cakes tasted better than what I imagined. Being a huge Papas cake fan, (, (Haberfield, Sydney Australia), it was going to take allot of convincing that Buddys cakes were as good as what he boasts about on his show.

Well the cakes were Great.

Hoboken has many great places to eat. A typical Irish / Italian suburb filled with Italian Delis, pizzerias and Irish pubs. Be sure to visit Vitos Deli (,  Grimaldis ( whilst in Hoboken.

The only chance to get a photo infront of the store was late at night.

Inside the store. (Very crowded)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

In Search for the Best Red Velvet Cupcakes

My family and I took on the challenge to find the best Red Velvet Cupcake in the US. There are thousands of cupcake shops in every state we travelled to.  Many of them always packed to the rafters with customers.

Yes we found Magnolia Bakery in NYC and to my surprise they were very nice (especially with the cheese cream topping. We also found a bakery called "crumbs" who had a gigantic version of the Red velvet. It too was Yum, with a huge serving of buttercream and white chocolate sprinkles on top.

Off to New Jersey to the famous Carlos Bakery in Hoboken. And Yes they too had a Red Velvet. And to our surprise it was very nice. As a matter of fact all of Buddys cakes were better than what I anticipated them to be, (but not as good as Pasticceria Papa's in Haberfield).  Papa still has the best custard horns, ricotta cake. and cannolies. Las Vegas also had its fair share of Red Velvets. From the new "Sugar Factory" on the main strip, not only selling Red Velvets, but also $30 Chuppa Chupps (made of Gold perhaps!!!), but also the "Cheese Cake Shop" had a great Red Velvet.
To the south in Florida, you can only imagine, even Disney had a red velvet mickey mouse style cupcake.
Then off to San Francisco. Many bakeries. Including Starbucks claim to have the best Red Velvet cupcakes.

Well not sure who wins. They were all yum. Carlos Bakery had the very best moist cupcake. Magnolia had  fresh cupcakes made on the premises as we were waiting (so they too were nice).
Crumbs had the biggest and most calories.

Soooooo the decision is undecided. Keep on trying.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Whoopie Pies

I attempted today to make Whoopie Pies.
A cup cake like sandwich cake with cream filling in between.


  • Plain Flour          1 2/3   Cups 
  • Cocoa powder       2/3   Cups 
  • Baking Soda       1 1/2  Teaspoons
  • Salt                     1  Teaspoon
  • Unsalted Butter       60 grams (room temp)
  • Copha                     60 grams
  • Brown Sugar          1    Cup
  • Egg                         1
  • Vanilla Extract        1    Teaspoon
  • Milk                        1    Cup


Preheat oven to 170 deg Celcius
Line baking tray with baking paper (parchment). Or use a "Whoopie Pie" special baking tray (available from the USA)

In a bowl sift together the flour, coca, baking soda and salt.
In your mix master, beat the butter, copha and sugar, on low until all combined.
Increase the speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

Add the egg and the vanilla extract and beat for 2 more minutes.

Add half the flour mixture and half the milk and beat on low until all combined. 
Add the remaining flour and milk and beat until all combined. 

Using a Tablespoon, scoop the batter and drop in onto the baking tray, keeping each scoop 50mm about. (2 inches)

Don't flatten the mix on the tray, just let the mix drop out of the spoon.

Bake for 10 minutes. the cake should be springy.

Remove from oven and let them cool for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Mix your cream. I used cream cheese butter cream, then spread onto one cake, and place another cake on top. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Rosquillas - Spanish Doughnuts

Crunchie Donuts made by my mother in law.

Not your usual size cinamon donuts, but a little smaller and crunchier, sprinkled with sugar. They are yum.
I will post the ingredients soon. But here is the link I found online but I'll post her personal ingredients as well. (the pic below is my mother in laws cooking, smell great)

My Vege Garden Success - Potatoes


Whilst picking my 42 cucumbers, we stumbled across what we thought was a weed. Well little to our surprise that weed turned out to be a large crop of potatoes. These weren't my usual tiny little spuds (as a result of premature picking), these were your off the shelf, top of the range, large potatoes.
I may open a stall next season if my success continues.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Harvesting Time - Cucumbers


With all this rain and sunshine, my spring crops are ready to be picked. As I was cleaning out the weeds from my vege garden, I noticed two large cucumbers. As I continued to clean out the weeds, I found a further 42 large cucumbers laying undercover beneath the large leaves. Yes 42 large cucumbers. So I filled 5 grocery bags and delivered them to all my neighbours.