Banoffee Pie and Chocolate Caramel Tart - Inspired Leftovers

29 Mar 2009

As I've been doing so much baking of late, my freezer is full of leftovers. I had leftover hazelnut shortcrust pastry and leftover salted caramel ganache. So what to do with the leftovers? I decided to bake some tartlet shells and made 2 types of tarts - individual banoffee pies and chocolate caramel tarts.

I've never made banoffee pie before but my English friends all love it. It's a combination of caramel, sliced bananas and whipped cream. I decided not to make the caramel myself but tried a tin of ready made caramel. I expected the result to be over sweet but it wasn't at all. I'm not sure if I'd use the tinned caramel again even though it was so convenient because I think I prefer the taste of my own home made version.

I haven't had a chance to try out the caramel tarts topped with salted caramel ganache but once I do, I'll let you know how they taste.

P.S Tried one of the caramel chocolate tarts last night. They're very good but a little too sweet for my tastebuds.



Nectarine Cake

28 Mar 2009

I've been baking variations of this cake ever since I moved to Sydney. I lived in a house with 2 boys and they had 1 cook book on the shelf in the kitchen - More Gretta Anna Recipes. 

This recipe is from the Gretta Anna book and it can be made with any stone fruit. I usually make the cake topped with plums but I'm sure it would be lovely topped with pears or even poached rhubarb.

I made this cake in Dungog last weekend as a belated birthday cake for my brother and Farmer Andrew can be seen holding one of the girls' eggs. The recipe calls for 2 eggs and I used one egg from the local shop and the other egg was from the chook pen. The yolk from the free range egg was so yellow, it was positively fluorescent.

It was a nice having a different setting in which to photograph the cake so it was dragged to varying locations around the house. The cake is very moist so the fruit tends to sink into the cake ensuring a nice surprise with every bite.

We had the cake for morning tea on Sunday and it must have tasted okay because half the cake was been eaten before I made it into the car for the drive back to Sydney.

Bye for now,


In the Garden

25 Mar 2009

My brother is very proud of his house, Coimbra and it's garden. Although it's officially autumn here, the weather is positively summery.

The garden is a little perplexed though. The winter vegetables are on the vine but the roses are still in full bloom

The agapanthus have been and gone but their seed pods are so sculptural I think I prefer them to the flowers. I'd intended to shoot some film during the weekend but didn't get the chance so I converted the images into black and white and tried to make the images as film like as possible,

See you all again soon,



Maybelline, the ISA Brown

22 Mar 2009

I'm a bit tired after the long drive to Dungog and back so this will be a short post. I spent the weekend in Dungog visiting my brother. Last year he won the inaugural Dungog Film Festival Trivia Night. I was invited along to boost the numbers and hopefully to ensure another win. It was a late night but we were victorious. I'm not sure how much help I was except for my embarrassingly phenomenal knowledge of popular culture. All those trashy waiting room magazines filled with gossip, half truths and reports from a "close source" finally came in handy.

Since my last visit to Dungog my brother has built a chicken run complete with the Chicken Hilton.

He is the now the proud owner of 5 Isa Browns who have managed to lay 9 eggs in their first week.

They're quite endearing things and I've named them all - Noelene. Doreen. Eileen. Jolene and Maybelline. Maybelline is my favourite. She is suffering from a terrible case of moult so is not the prettiest of birds but she can lay eggs and that's all the matters. Breakfast this morning was scrambled eggs on toast, fresh from the girls, with mushrooms .

I'll post more photos of Dungog and a nectarine cake I made using eggs from the girls,


Hummingbird Cake

15 Mar 2009

It's my brother's birthday today so I baked him a cake. Unfortunately he lives in the country and I won't be able to catch up with him until next weekend, so I'll be taking the cake into work tomorrow instead. I could have frozen the cake I suppose but I only have a tiny freezer and my work colleagues do like it when I bake.

As this cake could make it into the cookbook I dutifully measured everything/timed everything and even remembered to write it all down as well. When I last made these, I halved the recipe and made Hummingbird Cupcakes.

I thought they were scrumptious but that may have been because I topped them with cream cheese icing, which I love.

If my brother is lucky I may bake a cake for him next weekend. Limes are in season at the moment and I picked up a bag at the fruit shop yesterday so the cake will be lime inspired.

Happy Birthday Andrew!


Chocolate Pistachio Meringues

12 Mar 2009

I had a busy weekend but I managed to try out this recipe for chocolate pistachio meringues, which I found on the internet. I had all the ingredients in the cupboard but when I found some lovely fresh pistachios at the fruit market on Saturday, my decision was sealed. Aren't their skins an amazing colour?

I sandwiched the meringues together with a salted caramel ganache recipe I found on Aran's blog Cannelle et Vanille. The ganache was pretty wicked and I had plenty left over so it's now resting in the freezer to be used at a later date (to prevent me from eating it all). 

The verdict - very good. Next time I'll make the meringues much smaller so I can use more of the ganache but otherwise it was a definite winner.


Coconut Lime Macadamia Cake

8 Mar 2009

Bill Granger's recipes always work. I was invited to lunch at a friends place and I couldn't go empty handed so I turned to bill. I made the Coconut Lime Macadamia Cake from bill's open kitchen.

The cake was a hit and the recipe was requested, a sure sign of success. 

Thanks Bill,


Plum Frangipane Tart

1 Mar 2009

It's plum season at the moment and I buy some from the fruit shop most weeks.

I was inspired by the plum tart I bought at the Bourke Street Bakery last week and decided to create my own version. I used my almond pastry recipe for the shell and found a recipe for frangipane from Jamie Oliver, using quantities I found in a Martha Stewart Pie book.

One of my work colleagues is celebrating a birthday this coming week and I was given strict instructions not to make cake.

Well I didn't make cake, I made a tart instead.

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