Monday, 28 November 2011

Red Velvet Cake

My goodness it is only a month till Christmas....I think I say that every year. It is so true the older you get the years just fly by, it only felt like yesterday we were taking the tree down. Yes being ozzie we don't have real trees........ plastic unfortunately.

Everyone loves Christmas, right? Good food, family time and holidays yay! This year we are doing secret santa, not really secret because Mum and I choose who was giving to who, kind of defeats the purpose of secret doesn't it! I haven't even started present shopping yet....oh except I have got my husband a cooking class in town.....hint hint!! 

I have never made a Red Velvet Cake before but my mum was having a few friends over for dinner, and I have wanted to try this recipe for a while now so I offered to make it for her.

This could be your show stopper for Christmas..... come on it looks and tastes amazing!

Red Velvet Cake
2 1/2 cups self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
150g softened butter
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup of buttermilk 
3 tablespoons of red food colouring
1 teaspoon of white vinegar
1 teaspoon of baking soda

White Chocolate Butter Icing
Block of white chocolate
100g butter, softened
2 cups of icing sugar
1/4 cup of milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees
Grease and line 2x 19cm round cake tins
Sift flour, baking soda and cocoa powder and add salt
In a separate bowl beat the butter and sugar together until a pale yellow colour
Add the eggs one at a time then the vanilla extract, red food colouring and white vinegar 
On a slow speed add in the flour mixture then the buttermilk until combined
Pour mixture into the two cake pans and place in the centre of the oven for about 30 minutes or until cooked.

Once the cakes have cooled make the icing.

Melt the white chocolate over a double steamer and put to the side to cool
With a hand mixer beat the butter and sugar until pale 
Add in icing sugar, milk and vanilla extract and beat together 
Stir in the white chocolate
Place in the fridge for 20 minutes
Then you are ready to ice the cake, start by icing the middle then the top and the sides.

Decorate with red sugar.

Tip: Freeze the cake before icing it so the red crumbs don't mix into the icing! 

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Mango Tart

I'm so hot. I need ice-cream with caramel sauce. I want mango!
Ok maybe I could do with putting the air-con on and putting my feet in a bowl of ice!
Well I do have mangoes that is a plus. Is there anything better than summer fruit especially fresh mango…sweet and refreshing, gorgeous!
At least I am doing something that is a little healthy ummm….. mango?
Anyway you will forget about your wast after trying this desert. There is something about the texture of mango and custard that complements each other and the lightness of this Mango Tart is a perfect summer desert! 

Mango Tart
1 quantity of sweet shortcrust pastry
1 cup of milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup of caster sugar
3 tablespoons cornflour
25g butter
1/2 cup of cream, lightly whipped
3 mangoes, peeled and sliced

On a floured surface roll out pastry to 3mm thick. Lightly press the pastry into a 23cm tart tin and freeze for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
Remove from the freezer and line with baking paper. Fill with baking weights and bake for 10min. Remove the weights and bake for further 10 minutes.
Place the milk in a small saucepan over a medium heat and heat until it reaches boiling point add vanilla and remove from the heat.
Place egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and beat until thick.Add the cornflour and hot milk and stir until smooth.
Place the mixture into a clean saucepan over a medium heat and stir constantly for about 15min, or until thickened. Using a whisk to stir is great to prevent lumps.
Bring the custard to the boil, turn the heat down and cook for another 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add the butter, stir till combined.
If your custard is lumpy strain the mixture into a bowl. Refrigerate until cold. Fold through cream.
Remove tart from tin and place on a serving plate. Pour in custard and arrange mango slices decoratively on top.
Make sure you place the mango slices starting from the middle and work outwards.

It is late spring and mango season has started! 

Friday, 11 November 2011

Herb & Butter Potato's

 We just got back from a road trip to Lennox Head, we visited my sister in-law's new home. It is only two streets away from one of NSW's most amazing surf beaches. I also had a photography lesson to learn how to use my new camera,  as I have had it for a month and had no clue on what I was doing.
Can you remember those family road trips? Usually painfully long and boring. Yelling to the front ARE WE THERE YET!! My brother always had a knack of pushing my buttons!! You know how you have a favourite spot either in the car or on the couch, well my brother would always sit in my seat…yes my seat! No wonder my Mum would half the time ignored  us, it probably drove her insane.  
This trip was more peaceful, we had Angus and Julia stone playing and the surfboards on the roof. We had the most amazing day and a fab BBQ lunch, all local produce from the Bangalow farmers markets. I had to share with you the recipe for these gorgeous buttery potato's…Yum Yum Yum!!!

Herb & Butter Potato's
10 kipfler potato's 
25g butter
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons of lemon rind
squeeze of a lemon
salt and pepper to season

Peel the potato's and boil till just soft,place to the side to cool
Put the butter and oil in a fry pain over a medium heat
Meanwhile cut the cooled potato's in half and place into the hot butter mixture
Toss potato's around with lemon rind and salt and pepper till golden
Sprinkle parsley all over and serve.

Thanks Em xx 

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Blueberry Sponge Cake

I have decided to ignore all the Christmas decorations in the stores, they have been out for over a month and it is way to soon! Maybe I should start baking for Christmas day? ...... no that is a ridiculous thought. I do love Christmas but before I start cooking all those delicious little goodies, I must show you a few more of my favourite spring recipes.

I have been inspired by all the gorgeous Jacaranda trees that are out in bloom this spring. Their amazing colour, a magnificent shade of light purple which is so vibrant you can see them from miles away. 
Hense the Blueberry Sponge Cake, this is a real favourite in our family. Trust me take a break and enjoy a warm piece of cake and a deserve it!!

Blueberry Sponge Cake
3 eggs 
225g caster sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
150g butter,softened
100ml milk
210g plain flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 pinch of salt
120g frozen or fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees
Beat together the eggs, caster sugar and vanilla extract till white and fluffy
Melt in butter and stir in milk. Mix into egg mixture
Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Carefully fold into egg mixture
Stir through blueberries
Pour mixture into a buttered ring pan make sure to line with flour
Bake in the middle of the oven for 40-45min or until cooked
Leave to cool and turn onto a wire rack.

Ella xx

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Almond & Coconut Loaf

Wow what a day! I have been to the city, where everyone is on a mission. The city is great but I must admit I do love the peaceful innocence of suburbia. I enjoy the space and community that it has to offer..... I sound really old, don't I? 
I have my Grandparents popping over for afternoon tea. Some of you might not know but I am a hairdresser, and it has become a ritual that as well as indulging in tea and a piece of cake, I do my Granny's hair once a week. This week it is a moist almond and coconut cake, this is such an easy recipe and great to freeze and use when needed.

Almond & Coconut Loaf
150g butter, softened
150g caster sugar
2 eggs
155g plain flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
3/4 cup of milk
1/3 cup of almond meal
1 cup of coconut
Handfull of flaked almonds

Preheat oven to 175 degrees
Beat together the butter and caster sugar until pale and creamy
Add the eggs one at a time
Mix all the dry ingredients and fold into the mixture
Pour mixture into a lined loaf tin and sprinkle with flaked almonds
Place into the centre of the oven for 45 minutes or until cooked.

Try slicing and toasting it in a frying pan, and serve with a spoonful of ice-cream!