intermittentblogger

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Foodporn Friday: Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse

I didn’t have time to make chocolate mousse for my sister while she was here (despite the very best intentions) so I made it the week after she’d headed back home and sent her many, many photos. Sorry La!

On the upside, its super easy to make and tastes incredible – so she can make it herself.

The recipe makes 5 good size portions.

ChocolateMousse

Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse

85gr bittersweet chocolate
6 large egg yolks
85gr sugar
1 pinch salt
25gr unsweetened cocoa powder
260ml heavy cream

Directions

Finely chop chocolate; reserve. In a double boiler, whisk yolks, sugar, and salt until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch, 2 to 3 minutes. Off heat, quickly whisk in chopped chocolate until melted and cocoa until smooth (mixture will be thick). Cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form. Whisk half of whipped cream into room-temperature chocolate mixture. Gently fold in remaining whipped cream with a rubber spatula.

Divide mousse among four serving dishes. Chill at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

Remove mousse from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with shaved chocolate.

Foodporn Friday: Rude cookies

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When my sister visited recently she brought me some cookie stamps with letters – I did some “thank you” cookies for a friend and then thought I’d do something a little more fun… rude cookies.

So far I’ve done “hands off fatty” and “bite me”. I’m quite looking forward to taking some rude cookies to work.

I used Sweetapolita’s recipe for dark chocolate sugar cookies and they were good but I thought they needed some extra sweetness. Next time I will use the recipe below – its much harder to work with than the Sweetapolita recipe but its richer and delicious without any icing.

Bittersweet Chocolate Cookies

1 cup(s) granulated sugar
115 gr butter, softened
1/2 cup(s) canola oil
1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
1 large egg
280gr all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 cups)
3/4 cup(s) unsweetened dark cocoa
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt

Directions

To prepare cookies, place the first 3 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and egg; beat until well blended.

Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flours, cocoa, and salt, stirring with a whisk. Add the flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat at low speed just until flour is incorporated.

Place half of dough between two sheets of plastic wrap; roll to a 1/4-inch thickness. Repeat procedure with remaining dough. Place dough (still wrapped in plastic wrap) on a baking sheet. Chill 45 minutes or until firm.

Preheat oven to 190 degrees C.

Cut dough with a 2 1/2- to 3-inch cutter to form 40 cookies (reroll scraps as necessary). Arrange 20 cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (keep remaining cookies chilled). Bake at 190 degrees C for 9 minutes or until set. Cool on pan on a wire rack 5 minutes; remove cookies from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Repeat procedure with remaining dough.

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Foodporn Friday: Speculaas / Cookie Butter Cheesecake

Speculoos Cookie ButterMy sister and her family have spent Christmas in New Zealand with us this year and knowing how much I love to bake she brought me lots of bits and pieces for my baking cupboard. One of the things she brought was “Speculoos Cookie Butter Spread/Biscoff Spread” – its like peanut butter, only flavoured a bit like caramel-ly cinnamon ginger cookies.

Its so delicious I could happily eat it out the jar but it seemed a bit wasteful. So I grabbed one of my usual cheesecake recipes and adapted it to make a Speculoos Cheesecake with a dark chocolate base and white chocolate topping… according to my sister it’s the best cheesecake in the history of ever. High praise indeed from a cheesecake fan!

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Cookie Butter (Speculaas) Cheesecake

1-1/4 cups oreo biscuit crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 pkg. (250 g each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup Speculaas/Speculoos Spread
1/2 cup sugar
150gr White Chocolate, chopped, divided
1-1/2 cups whipped cream, divided
3 Speculaas cookies, divided

Mix Oreo crumbs and butter; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Refrigerate for 10 min.

Beat cream cheese, speculaas spread and sugar with mixer until well blended. Add 2 crushed speculaas cookies and mix. Whisk in 1 cup whipped cream. Spoon over crust. Refrigerate for 3 hours.

Microwave remaining whipping cream and chocolate in small microwaveable bowl on high until melted. Cool slightly. Pour over cheesecake. Refrigerate until firm. When ready to serve, sprinkle with 1 crushed speculaas cookie. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; remove rim.

Enjoy!

That’s it. No more parties!

introvertAfter 3 parties in 3 days I am Christmas partied out. Which is too bad because we still have about 4 of these social gatherings still to go.

The thing most people dont know is that I am an introvert. I’m an anti-social little hermit. Definitely not a people person and whatever you ask me to do or attend, know that I’d really rather be reading a book. I manage to hide this and fake being an extrovert 5 days a week because my job requires it (and its something I can fake to the point where all the Myers Briggs and other tests say I am an extrovert – ha!), but its hard work.

So when I am expected to attend social gatherings after hours and fill entire weekends with them, well… I panic.

Right now, I’m scrambling to come up with a plausible excuse to skip this afternoons “festivities”.

I don’t do small talk. I don’t know what to say/do in social situations. I am almost 100% sure I come off as a stuck up bitch at parties (last night’s one being a particularly awkward evening for me). If someone wants to discuss the awesome book they just read, or the amazing place they’ve just visited then I am there with bells on! But this “space filler” stuff that passes for conversation has me stumped.

And its not because I’m shy. Far from it! I just don’t want to talk when I have nothing to say.

I am exhausted. So I am opting out. There is only 1 of these next 4 social things where I will be with people who know me and love me as I am so that is the only one I’ll be going to. The rest of this week will be filled with some nice quiet time (and cookies… always cookies).

Foodporn Friday: Coconut Caramel Slice

Before our friend Liesl deserted us to work on the Olympics and didnt come back left for the UK we used to go to a cafe called Paper Moon that did the most spectacular coconut caramel slice I have ever tried. I’m not a huge coconut fan but *this* is enough to make me change my mind. I daydream about it often and finally decided to try and make some. This recipe is originally from Australian Women’s Weekly and is pretty darn close!

Coconut Caramel Slice

Ingredients
1/2 cup (75g) plain flour
1/2 cup (75g) self-raising flour
1/2 cup (45g) desiccated coconut
1/2 cup (110) caster sugar
100g butter, melted
395g can sweetened condensed milk
2 tbs golden syrup
1/4 cup (55g) brown sugar
60g butter, melted, extra
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1/3 cup (75g) caster sugar, extra
2 cups (180g) desiccated coconut, extra (I use threaded if I can get it – the bigger the bits the better)

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a slice pan. Line base and two opposite sides with baking paper, extending paper 5cm over edge of pan.

Combine sifted flours, coconut, caster sugar and butter in a medium bowl. Press mixture evenly over base of prepared pan. Cook for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool slightly.

Combine sweetened condensed milk, golden syrup, brown sugar and extra butter in a medium bowl. Spread mixture evenly over base.

Combine eggs, extra sugar and extra coconut in a medium bowl and sprinkle evenly over filling. Cook for further 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool in pan. Cut slice into squares or triangles to serve.

Foodporn Friday: Geek Cake

Last week was a colleague’s 40th birthday and because he is a bit of a geek (aren’t we all?) we decided to make him a geeky birthday cake. I started with a red velvet cake made with oil instead of butter so that it keeps longer, topped with cream cheese frosting. And also chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache. The fun bit was writing “happy birthday” across the top in binary code and making transformers, pac men and lego pieces from fondant to top the cake and cupcakes. I was thrilled with how they turned out!
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Red Velvet Cake
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 Tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1-2 oz. liquid red food coloring OR two heaped teaspoons gel colouring
  • 1 teaspoon of white vinegar
  • ½ cup of strong coffee
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and vegetable oil.
  4. Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and red food coloring until combined.
  5. Stir in the coffee and white vinegar.
  6. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients a little at time, mixing after each addition, just until combined.
  7. Generously grease and flour two round cake pans.
  8. Pour the batter evenly into each pan.
  9. Bake in the middle rack for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not over bake as cake will continue to cook as it cools.
  10. Let cool on a cooling rack until the pan are warm to the touch.
  11. Slide a knife or offset spatula around the inside of the pans to loosen the cake from the pan.
  12. Remove the cakes from the pan and let them cool.
  13. Frost the cake with cream cheese frosting when the cakes have cooled completely.

With love from the tooth fairy

Today our little Diva lost her first tooth. And she is thrilled! After a week of “hey Mum, is this tooth loose? It feels loose to me. Does it feel loose to you? Look, I can wiggle it!” it finally fell out. She seems to think this signifies the passing from babyhood into adulthood (rude awakenings will be ahead no doubt).

In our family when the first tooth falls out it is kept and put into your baby album (but you still get cash) and I thought given that its the first and she is so excited about this milestone that I would make her a note from the tooth fairy.

Here is a printable PDF if anyone wants to use the note too. I printed this out at 50% of its actual size to make the tiny note.

Things I’m loving this week

A few things I am loving this week (mostly food related of course!)…

My sister. Who sends me weird and wonderful food stuffs from the U.S like these toffee bits which are about to make their way into some salted chocolate shortbread cookies.

Pineapple Heads conditioner. Ok, this is supposed to be for children and I got it with that in mind but it smelled so wonderful and felt really good when I was using it on Belle that I’ve now claimed it for myself (makes my hair feel beautifully soft too).

Pin-Up Girl Clothing. Who by the way have a 20% off sale this weekend. I love finding somewhere that stocks gorgeous clothes for people with some junk in the trunk. I have hips and an ass and I also want to look spectacular. Killer heels on their site too!

Image credit: Pin-up Girl website, photographer Laura Byrnes

Super quick molten chocolate puddings… perfect for when you’ve had a horrible day at work and need a pick-me-up. The recipe below makes 6 small ramekins or 4 big ones. Serve with vanilla ice-cream.

200gr dark chocolate

100gr butter

2 eggs and 2 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

3 tbsp flour

Heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and grease the ramekins. Place on a baking tray.

Melt the chocolate and the butter together.

Beat the eggs, yolks and sugar for a couple of minutes until pale and creamy.

Fold in the flour. Then fold in the chocolate mixture.

Bake for 10 minutes or until risen. These should be set around the edges but very soft in the middle. Enjoy!

Foodporn Friday: Warm Winter Pudding

Winter is at an end in NZ and we’re moving into Spring, but I really should share this recipe. It is sweet, rich and comes from my friend Spiral which just makes it that little bit more special. Try it with fresh cream, custard or ice cream.

Spiral’s Sponge Pudding

375ml self-raising flour
125ml sugar
2 eggs, beaten
5ml baking powder
50ml melted butter
125ml milk
pinch salt
50ml fine apricot jam

Sauce:
125ml butter
125ml water
5ml caramel flavouring/vanilla essence
250ml sugar
1 tin evaporated milk

Mix eggs and sugar until creamy. Dissolve baking powder into milk. Add butter, salt and jam to eggs and sugar. Sift flour and add in bit by bit, alternating with milk.

Bake in a greased dish at 180 deg C for 30 minutes.

Cook all sauce ingredients together in a saucepan for 15 minutes. Poke holes all over the cake with a fork and pour the sauce over.

Serve warm.

Foodporn Friday: German Chocolate Cake

First, a disclaimer… I’ve no idea why this is called German Chocolate Cake. I saw a cake with that name, thought the toasted coconut & pecan sounded good and thats where the similarity ends.

It was a friend’s birthday last weekend and I was wanting to try something a little different – so I made my usual standard chocolate cake but in a square tins, made the toasted coconut & pecan praline topping which I put in between the cake layers as well as over the top and then drenched the lot in hot chocolate fudge sauce. Killer!

The remaining chocolate fudge sauce was enjoyed over ice-cream (and leftovers sent home with a friend and her new boyfriend – do not ask, it may scar you for life!).

Simple Chocolate Cake

Beat for at least 5 minutes:

  • 300g sugar (1.5 cups)
  • 4 eggs
  • half tsp vanilla

Mix well:

  • 30g cocoa (3 heaped dessert spoons)
  • 3/4 cup boiling water

Add the following to egg & sugar mixture and beat well:

  • 1 and 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Then add hot cocoa and beat well. Bake for around 25 minutes at 180 degrees celsius.

Hot Chocolate Fudge Sauce

  • 225 g butter
  • 30 g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 600 g white sugar
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 5 ml vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Combine butter, cocoa, sugar and evaporated milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and boil for 7 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Carefully pour hot mixture into a blender and blend for 2 to 4 minutes.

Coconut Pecan Praline

  • 140 grams toasted pecans, chopped
  • 160 grams shredded coconut
  • 100 grams brown sugar
  • 115 grams butter
  • 215 grams evaporated milk (whole fat)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 large egg yolks
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. On a foil lined baking sheet place 2/3 of the coconut and all the pecans. Toast until coconut starts to turn color and nuts are fragrant, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan combine the brown sugar, butter, evaporated milk, vanilla and eggs with a whisk. Cook over medium heat until mixture is bubbling and thick. Use a whisk and then switch to a heat proof spatula or wooden spoon. Cook until thick and then, using the foil as a funnel pour the toasted nuts and coconut into the pan. Add the additional untoasted coconut. Stir thoroughly. Cool until room temperature.
  3. Spread half the mixture over one layer of cake. Add some fudge sauce. Place other layer on top and use the rest of the frosting for the top of the cake. Pour on as much fudge sauce as your nerves can handle. Enjoy!

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