Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Brioche, Plain and Dark Chocolate Filled





I am obsessed with all things French. I have been like this since I was a little girl.

I totally blame MY MOTHER. And yes mum, you know it's your fault. Mum used to take me to the city when I was younger for a little outing. I loved it. It was so exciting.

The store window displays would be dazzling with lights and mannequins wearing gorgeous clothes. There were people busking and entertaining us on every street corner. Even the everyday people walking around fascinated me. There was a homeless man that used to walk around with a Cockatoo on his shoulder. I will never forget him. He reminded me of Santa Claus, but with a Cockatoo....

The city was always teeming with people hustling to work. I couldn't wait to grow up and be one of those people, in my business suit and running to work. Now I am sooooo grateful I do not have to do this, I could think of nothing worse than sitting behind a desk and having to wear a suit ALL DAY!

I distinctly remember walking through Centrepoint Tower, now the Sydney Tower, towards David Jones. I always knew we were close by, cause the warm, and completely intoxicating aroma of fresh bread and pastries would be wafting towards us through the centre. Seriously mouthwatering!

I will never forget the bakery in David Jones. The glass front was amazing. Little jeweled and glossy fruit tarts, fruit and custard filled pasties, brioche sugared and plain, croissants plain, chocolate and almond, french sticks, and animal shaped brioche bread.

This was the first time I laid my eyes on the heavenly Croquembouche. What a tower of magnificence. Our tradition was to order one of these for every Christmas! Oh wholly heck it was good. Little puff pastry balls dipped in crunchy caramel toffee, and smooth creamy custard on the inside.

Now every time I smell a french patisserie, it always takes me back to the time mum took me shopping in the city with her. Good times.

2 cups plain flour
2 teaspoon yeast or 1 sachet
1/4 cup warm milk
2 tablespoon sugar
3 eggs
125 grams soft butter
80 grams chocolate chunks
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 beaten egg
caster sugar to sprinkle on top

Method
1. Mix the yeast, sugar and milk together. Set it aside to froth about 5-8 minutes. If you know the yeast is good you can skip this step. Meanwhile place the flour, eggs and a pinch of salt in a mixer.
2. Then once the yeast is ready to use pour it into the flour mixture. Mix, with a dough hook, for about 5 minutes. Once that is done start to incorporate the butter a knob at a time. you will end up with a slightly sticky dough. Scrape out the dough, and finish kneading on a bench with a dusting of flour to form a dough.
3. Place the dough into a clean bowl, cover with cling wrap, and place in the fridge! Yes in the fridge for  at least an hour. You can make this the night before and leave it over night.
4. Place the chocolate chunks, cinnamon and cocoa in a small bowl. Add just enough water to combine it, I used 2 teaspoons. Set this aside.
5. Cut the dough into 12 pieces. I made 6 plain and 6 chocolate. For the plain I cut a small amount for the little dough head. I made a rounded shape and glued the head on with the beaten egg. For the chocolate brioche, I made a rounded shape and made a sort of well, or dent in the centre using my thumb. Then I filled the brioche with the chocolate mix, and then pinched the edges together to seal it. Place them sealed side down. Let these rest in a warm place for an hour to rise.
6. Brush all of them with the beaten egg and sprinkle with caster sugar. Bake for 12 minutes in a 200C oven.

Best eaten warm with a cup of coffee or tea.  

Sweet Treats That Remind You Of Home


Thanks Kate, from Delivery Hero, for asking to write a guest post for my little blog. Delivery Hero, makes it super easy to find food, and have it delivered VIA POSTCODE. This is genius to me. Finding decent food, when you have no time to cook, is essential when you've had a little Koala attached all day!! 


 Sweet treats that you remind you of home (guest post for Home Empress)
I don't know about you but I used to have a bad habit of ordering an entree as my main meal so I can have enough room for a delicious dessert, sometimes even two. My sweet tooth can be so uncontrollable that some days it feels that little really truly satisfies it.
There is something about a home cooked sweet treat that really knocks my taste buds for six. (And while I think of it Leah has a great recipe for Lemony Biscotti Bread). My mum used to make me homemade mallowpuffs that blew my mind! Griffins look out! Mum's were dipped in an overly generous amount of dark chocolate and even had boysenberry puree between the biscuit and mallow. Mum only made them on special occasions and one year for my birthday, she made a 6 tiered mallowpuff pyramid with candles! I guess it’s more about the love that goes into the sweet treat that makes it oh so tasty.
This is also the case for my Nana's infamous Apple Shortcake. Truly the ultimate family home cooked sweet treat.
In homage to her and my Mum's great cooking talents, this post is dedicated to spending quality time with her while making sweet treats. Leave the main meal to a tasty takeaway treat (Delivery Hero will take care of that) and concentrate on making a taste sensation for the whole family (or just you!). Nom, nom.

NANA's APPLE SHORTCAKE

1/4 lb butter
3/4 cup of sugar
1 egg (not beaten)
2 level cups of flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
7 medium apples (stewed) - amount of sugar depends on sweetness of apples.
(Nana prefers Sturma apples)

Method:
         Soften butter with sugar and beat until well mixed.
         Add whole egg and beat again
         Add sieved flour and baking powder in stages until pastry formed.  Use hands for final stages.  Don't over mix.
         Divide pastry in half and roll out to size of dish.  You will need to experiment with thickness as depends on size of dish.
         Heat oven to Medium (350F) and cook apples
         Line dish with baking paper and cook half of pastry until just done (about 10 mins)
         Place HOT stewed apple and slide other half of pastry on top
         Return to oven and cook about 30 mins or until done


Notes:  The trick is keeping the pastry together so the amount of flour is crucial. The temperature of your hands handling the pastry also affects whether the pastry breaks up or not, so try and keep them cool. Nana never adds extra water or milk but for the learner, you may have to!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Guest Post

Recently, I was asked by the lovely Kate to write a guest post for a website called Lunch and Dinner. It's a sort of follow up, on one of my most popular post's to date. I am so excited to write a guest post! It is my very first ever. I feel so humble.


I love this blog. It is a website full of recipes for busy parents. An absolute must for me right now!! Fresh healthy meals have always been on the top of my list. And being a breastfeeding mum, I want to make sure I'm as healthy as I can be for Georgi too :D


I started this little blog, about a year ago, simply cause I was lonely while living in Canberra.

Now I find myself engrossed in blogs and blogging everyday! I feel part of this little online community, that makes me laugh, cry, and down right hungry!
It offers the best advice about where to go Not Quite Nigella.
What chocolate is best in gooey brownies, and Hannah never fails to make me smile, Wayfaring Chocolate.
Lots of delicious, nutritious food and travelling Apples Under My Bed.
And great mummy bloggers, Fat Mum Slim, Marriage Motherhood And, Meandering through motherhood, and lots lots more.

Please visit this lovely blog and leave a comment:

My guest post, and 

Lunch and Dinner

Monday, November 14, 2011

White Tea, Ginger and Aussie Clay Goats Soap


I absolutely love to make soap. There is something very satisfying about it.

But you never really know how the soap is going to turn out until it is cut. And even then you have to wait till it is fully cured, at least 6 weeks!!! and you can use it. You obviously need to be very patient to make cold process soap.

I see soap making like baking. The curing time being the "baking." You need to be exact on measurements, and timing.

Soaping can be super cheap or as expensive as you want, depending on the oils you would like to use. I like to spend a little, so my soaps are luxurious, creamy and smell amazing. And you get so much from a soap bar, so much cheaper than a gorgeous soap you can buy in a store.

I am also just as obsessive about knowing what goes into my soap, as I am with cooking. I have to know what I'm eating, I hate things with preservatives etc. SO why would I put them into my soaps?? 


450 coconut oil
280 olive oil
56 jojoba oil
112 shea butter
112 mango butter
148 caustic soda
333 goats milk

6 tables spoons White Tea and Ginger Fragrance
4 tablespoons Olive Green Australian Clay







Why I Love the Bumbo




WARNING: This post contain's poo....

I am seriously challenged for time these days. My little Georgi sleeps like an absolute angel in the evening, but during the day I struggle to get her to nap more than 30 minutes. She is also now getting to the stage of wanting to be on my hip all the time, or at the very least able to watch my every move. This makes life incredibly difficult. But I have found a great way to keep her with me, without having her cling to me like a koala CONSTANTLY.




Please a round of applause for the BUMBO!  

It is wonderful. So much better than a bouncer type chair. She can sit upright in it and support herself, and feel so very independent and secure, while watching mum from the comfort of her own chair. 


At first I wasn’t sure she’d like it but she has really taken to it. Now she sits in it all the time. I even use it for her poo chair! When she starts to go, I put her in it, to get her used to doing her business on the throne. Sorry if that’s too much info to all the non-mum readers. Since I became a mum it is crazy how much I talk and think about poo, AND NOT really caring that you’re talking or thinking about poo!

Recently it has also become her feeding chair. Yes I have started feeding her solids! And yes I know she is only 4 1/2 months, but she has expressed a huge interest in food, from 3 1/2 months old! Absolutely fascinated with food, watching everything I eat and drink so intently. You feel guilty being able to eat and drink in front of her :D So I thought why not try solids now. 


Such an exciting time. She loves food. I have given her yoghurt, potato, carrot, zucchini, banana, pear, apple, mango and more! She has loved it all. She loves the whole eating with a spoon. She always has the biggest and cutest grin after food. She really is mumma's girl.

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Sunday In Pic's

Well yesterday was my birthday. It was exactly the kind of day I love, filled with family, slobbery baby kisses, lots of doggie cuddles and food!!!

 Breakfast was made by hubby, french toast with berries and bananas.



We are currently doing Seafood Sunday's. Made a lovely Prawn Pasta, click here for recipe.
 Then birthday cake!!!! Got to lick the bowl, and the beaters.......and the spatula....!!



Friday, November 4, 2011

Moving, moving , moving.

                                                          The 'little' pond out back.


I've been a little MIA. It's been a bit nuts around here recently. We have just found out that we are moving back to Sydney, and my little Georgi has had a bit of a cold the last couple weeks :(

Trying to just make sure a 4 months old is as comfortable as she can be, with a snotty nose and all, is very difficult. There is nothing worse than a screaming baby. I wish she could just blow her nose!!!!

Hubby works for a company that's sends him all around NSW, fixing things, roads, water treatment plant etc etc. In the last 3 years we have moved from 3 times! I am so sick of it! I just want to be much more settled and stay put for a while, alas, this is still not going to happen for a while yet. But on the up side we are going to be moving back to Sydney, my home town!!!!!

I miss being there so much! We have been living in places where life moves at a MUCH slower pace. For a girl who grew up in Sydney, I found it so difficult to unwind. Every time I would just start to love living somewhere, we would have to move!

I have lived in Port Stephens for just over a year, and have really fallen in love. The people are nice, and the weather is spectacular. I can just walk down to the beach and sit there whenever I feel like it. I have never been a beach person, but there is something intoxicating about it here.....Nothing beats walking along the beach with whales breaching in the background. Or a coffee near the beach with the fresh salty air blowing through the cafe....

Almost every time I go for a walk someone wants to stop and talk. If it isn't little Chucky that starts the conversation then it is my gorgeous daughter. I will miss that. Sydney runs at such a fast pace, and people don't tend to care about their neighbours like they do here.

On the up side, I will be closer to my family. I have missed them so much. In the time we have moved, my brother got married and had a little girl. I can't wait to be a proper auntie, not someone who fly's in and out and who the little miss M is scared of!

We shall also be living with my MIL, so I'm very nervous about that. We have no choice, we have had to move so quickly, that this is our only option for now. I am just hoping that we don't kill each other, there will be a lot of us under the one roof. I don't care how nice everyone is, you can never be happy moving back in with mum and dad!

I am desperately hoping that I can keep baking. This is my first thought hahaha, not anything else. I truly love baking and to have to give that up for maybe 6 months would kill me.

I have also frantically made quite a few soap loaves, there is no way I would make them in someone else's house, it takes up too much room. So I have been trying to get my fix before we leave in 2 weeks, EEEEP!!!!

To be continued.....