8. June 2013

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Coffee Roasting And Cooking

I often incorporate coffee into my recipes because I absolutely love the smell, taste and added edge it gives to dishes. I add it into both sweet and savoury dishes. Finding the right beans for my recipes has led me to research into the art of coffee roasting.

I’m a Melbourne based chef and avid coffee drinker and a favourite of mine is Cisco’s Coffee in Melbourne. I would definitely recommend their coffee blends to any coffee drinkers out there. They sell their beans so you can stock up at home, much like I have.

I love their Columbian blend for my sweet desserts! Try some – you won’t be disappointed.

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14. May 2013

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All is Well and Good for everyone!

Mothers Day lunch at our household was a site to behold after we had 20 family members pack into our small, but comfortable dining room. We had a huge spread on for all the kids and the grandparents complimented with a few champagnes and some wine.

Unfortunately, my daughter suffers from celiac disease and is gluten free. It always tends to be a problem when we’re having a big family dinner/lunch because she is the only one who needs meals that have gluten free recipes.

To rectify this problem, we searched gluten free bread and gluten free cake on Google and looked for the most impressive company. We clicked through a few websites and after maybe looking at 5, we came across Well and Good for both of those keyword searches. I rang them up personally and spoke to one of the ladies who worked there and explained to her the situation I have with my daughter. She was so aware of what I was saying and she said she dealt with these situations all the time and knew exactly the best products to give us for my daughter. After a while, I agreed to subscribe monthly to them in exchange for a bit of a discount on all the products. I was happy to buy my daughter her monthly dose of gluten free products if it meant spending a bit more. Obviously her health to me is imperative so it didn’t bother me.

So we ended up having all the family over on Mothers Day and we feasted in all the breads and cakes while my daughter was able to enjoy her customised meals.

Thank you Well and Good for helping my daughter and making her feel Well and Good :)!

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15. April 2013

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Chocolate Almond Toffee – In my brand new kitchen!

Growing up, my dad would always bring home a tin of the most delicious toffee in the week before Christmas, I think it was a gift from a vendor. At the time I thought it was a sign of how important my dad must be at work – they were kissing up to him, with the best tasting dessert in the world! I was really excited to see a recipe for something similar in the December 2009 Food & Wine. I made a double batch of it to give to friends, family, and of course dear-old-dad, this holiday season.

I have now attempted again, in my gorgeous brand new kitchen!! Firstly I need to tell you about it. I love cooking and I love spending time in my kitchen, and so when I was finally able to renovate it, I was so happy. I searched high and low for kitchens Donvale designers. And found a company called Perennial Kitchens.

I asked around for a cabinet maker in Melbourne, and I heard off a few people, how great Perennial Kitchens are. So I called them up and chatted to them about what I wanted – space and storage! It wasn’t long before I decided on them, with their friendly and professional attitude and the amazing display of fabulous kitchen cabinets in their showrooms. So it is now complete and I am now in there baking away! Look how beautiful it is!

kitchen-cabinet-melbourne

 

Enjoying myself immensely. So please check out one of the most delicious sweet treats ever- easy to make too. Try enjoy baking and eating these as much as I did!

Chocolate-almond-toffee

Ingredients (for a single batch, makes 2 pounds): 2 sticks butter, 1.5 cups sugar, 2 Tablespoons water, 1 cup slivered almonds, 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract, 1.5 teaspoons coarse sea salt, 1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate pieces.

 ingredients-donvale

Line a small rimmed baking sheet with foil, then brush with vegetable oil. The oil is important – you’ll be able to peel the foil off much easier later when the toffee cools.

In a heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.

Stir in the sugar and water. Continue to stir with a wooden spoon until dissolved.

Keep stirring regularly, scraping down the sides of the pan. The mixture will start to darken as it heats up. Use a candy thermometer, and cook until the caramel is 300 degrees (about 15 minutes).

almond-toffee

Quickly stir in 3/4 cup of the almonds, vanilla and a pinch of sea salt. (You might want to wear an oven mitt so you can stir vigorously without worrying about the hot caramel splattering onto your arm.)

Spread the toffee flat in the baking sheet.

almond-toffee

Sprinkle half of the chocolate pieces over the toffee. The toffee will still be quite warm, so it will melt the chocolate in a few minutes.

Once the chocolate is melted, you can spread it with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle half of the remaining almonds over top. Place the pan in the freezer for 20 minutes, or until it is hardened and cool to the touch.

Line a second baking sheet with foil. Flip the toffee over and place it in the other baking sheet upside-down – then peel away the aluminum foil. Melt the remaining chocolate in the microwave, then spread over the “naked” side of the toffee. Sprinkle with the rest of the almonds and a pinch of salt. Refrigerate until completely solid, at least a couple of hours, then break apart into pieces. Keeps in the fridge for several weeks.

Kitchens-Donvale-Almond-Toffee

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2. April 2013

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homemade oreos

oreo1

Yes, it has been months since my last post.  And no, the bear hasn’t starved…  I have been busy moving from Atlanta to San Francisco, starting an exciting new job, and planning for my family’s visit in April!  I’ll apologize for the long absence without a new recipe by sharing one of my favorites – a classic Martha Stewart recipe for homemade oreo’s.

oreo2

Ingredients: (for cookies) 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 5 Tablespoons melted butter, 2/3 cup packed light-brown sugar, 1 large egg; (for filling) 4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) room temperature butter, 1.5 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.

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