Classic Lamingtons

Each year when Australia Day rolls around, we Aussie’s celebrate by feasting on the food that we’re well known for having… Big ol’ barbies, sausage sizzles, Vegemite sandwiches, meat pies with tomato sauce, ice cold glasses of Milo, a slice of Pavlova (even though it’s a dish claimed by the Kiwi’s!) and then, of course, there is the classic lamington! A simple sponge square lathered in rich chocolate icing and then covered completely in a sweet coconut crumb! Oh my!

Some versions of the lamington have either jam or cream sandwiched in the middle, but my little homemade ones are just the simple classic kind!

IMG_3528

Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe!

For the sponge:

  • 6 eggs
  • 150g of caster sugar
  • 50g of corn flour
  • 75g of plain flour
  • 50g of self-raising flour

For the chocolate icing:

  • 500g of sifted icing sugar
  • 50g of sifted cocoa powder
  • 15g of melted butter
  • 2/3 a cup of milk
  • 160g of desiccated coconut (you may need more if it comes to it)

To make:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
  • Sift the three flours together into a bowl and then again into another. Place them to one side to be sifted for the third time into the mixture at the end.
  • Next, break all 6 eggs into a large bowl and beat them together using an electric mixer for 10 minutes until they are thick and creamy.
  • Gradually add the sugar one spoonful at a time until dissolved into the mixture.
  • Sift in the flour into the mixture and then with a slotted metal spoon, gently fold the in flour.
  • Pour the mixture into a pre-lined rectangular tin, carefully spreading the mixture into the corners.
  • Place in the oven and allow it to bake for about 30 minutes.
  • Once cooked, place on a wire rack to cool for a few minutes. Then gently remove it from the tin and peel back the baking paper to allow it to cool completely.
  • Once the sponge is cool, cut it up into 16 to 20 equal squares.
  • Make the icing by mixing the icing sugar and cocoa together in a large bowl. Add the melted butter and milk then mix until smooth.
  • Using one hand, dip a sponge square into the chocolate icing, covering it completely. Drain off the excess and then toss a heap load of coconut all over it using your other hand.
  • Place the lamington onto a wire rack to set and repeat the process with the rest of the sponge squares.

 MAKES: 16-20 square lamingtons

Lamingtons

You can also watch how I make this recipe on my YouTube Channel!

Recipe inspiration has come from the book, ‘Baking Day’ written and published by The Australian Women’s Weekly.

Here are some home-truths about this recipe before you get started…

  • At the end half of this recipe, things can get quite a bit messy! You will end up dripping chocolate icing everywhere!
  • When I use the term ‘a heap load of coconut’, I mean it! You really do just need to cover the crap out of it to ensure the icing doesn’t drip off!
  • Don’t get too hung up about cutting the perfect sponge square! Life’s too short to be faffing about with that kind of stuff! The more lop-sided they are, the better!

Enjoy!!

xx

 

Advertisements

Banana & Blueberry Bread

In order to use up three massive bananas we had ripening ever-so-fast on the kitchen bench, I decided to mash them up and bake a sweet little Banana Bread.

Banana & Blueberry Bread

Banana & Blueberry Bread

I place some blueberries on top for taste and decoration and then chucked it in the oven to bake!

While the bread was cooling but still slightly hot/warmish, I wickedly brushed melted butter over the top and then sprinkled on some castor sugar, creating a crunching sugary crust.

Delish!

In all honesty, the cooked loaf comes out more cakey than bready – but still tastes wonderful!

To find the recipe, click this awesome little link here!!

IMG_0369

Gingerbread House Fail…

So, for Christmas I wanted to make my first ever Gingerbread House from scratch…

That meant, the dough from scratch as well as the icing.

I used a recipe from the latest Donna Hay Magazine and proceeded to make…

Fail.

Alas, it’s obvious I have no skills in building a Gingerbread House.

On the plus side, it does taste simply scrumptious! It’s mouth-wateringly more-ish which I think is the best result any rookie baker could hope for!

Will I attempt to make another one next year?? The answer right now is a big fat NO!

I may change my mind closer to Christmas 2014, but I very much doubt it!

If you have any tips or stories to share regarding the construction of a Gingerbread House, please do share!!

Your fails and/or triumphs will help those of us who are hopeless at mastering this tricky gingerbready tradition!

Doughnut Muffins

Oh my…

These muffins are some of the best I’ve ever made!

Doughnut Muffins

Doughnut Muffins

Nutmeggy and cinnamony with a lovely sugary crunch, they’re best stuffed into your cake-hole when warm and intensely fresh!

I sourced this recipe from a book I was given for Christmas one year called Cupcakes, Muffins and Baked Goods and published by Love Food.

Here’s how to make them…

This recipe will make 12 muffin sized doughnuts or up to 24 cupcake sized doughnuts.

You will need –

  • 175g butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 375g plain flour
  • ¾ tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoons bicarb of soda
  • pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoons nutmeg
  • 250ml milk

For the sugary topping –

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of butter

To make –

  • Beat together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and creamy.
  • Add the eggs, beating well after each addition.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarb soda, salt and nutmeg together into the mixture along with the milk.
  • Gently fold the together until well combined.
  • Spoon the mixture into pre-greased muffin/cupcake pans, filling the holes about two-thirds full.
  • Place in a pre-heated oven (180C/350F) and bake for 15-20 minutes. Muffins should be lightly brown and firm to the touch when ready.
  • Whilst baking, prepare the sugary topping. To do this, mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and melt the butter (in a separate bowl) in the microwave.
  • Once the muffins are out of the oven, brush the melted butter over the top and sprinkle generously with the sugar and cinnamon topping.
  • Best to eat when warm!

Enjoy!!

Munch-Crunch Cookies

Sweet, buttery vanilla cookies…sounds good huh?

Using a very simple recipe  from The Commonsense Cookery Book, I armed myself with my newly purchased Jamie Oliver Cookie Stamper and baked away!

Vanilla Cookies!

Vanilla Cookies!

Here is the recipe I used taken from The Commonsense Cookery Book.

Basic Biscuit Recipe (Vanilla)

Ingredients:

  • 125g butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence or extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • egg or milk for glazing (optional)

To make:

  • Preheat oven to 150-160C and prepare a few cookie pans with grease proof paper
  • Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla
  • Beat the egg slowly into the mixture until combined
  • Add sifted flour and baking powder and mix into a soft dough
  • Place dough on a floured board, knead lightly
  • Divide mixture into two. Roll out one half and cut out circles/shapes with cookie cutters
  • Place shapes onto the pre-prepared cookie pans – brush on glazing
  • Repeat process with remaining dough
  • Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until very light brown
  • Allow to cool on the pan.
  • Eat!

Battenberg Cake

For Mothers Day I made my mum a Batternberg cake and I think it turned out great! Well, for my first attempt anyway…

This version is a pure coconut cake. Traditionally, Battenbergs are made using two different flavourings e.g. lemon and rose.

This is where I got the recipe: SORTED Food

IMG_0164

Cheese & Chilli Biscuits

This recipe is for all you lovers of chilli!

I’ve been making these power-packed biscuits for the last six years and are usually all eaten in less then two days! They’re just too YUMMY! I’ve tweaked the recipe just a bit from the original, so I’ll write it up from the perspective of how I make them.

Brought to you (and me) by The Australian Women’s Weekly magazine, they would make the ideal gift to give when it’s Christmas or to bring along to a dinner party or to just keep to yourself!

IMG_0114

Cheese and Chilli Biscuits

Makes up to about 50 biscuits depending on what size cookie cutter you use.

They’re suitable to freeze, but I guarantee they won’t last long enough to even worry about freezing them!

You will need:

  • 2 cups (300g) plain flour
  • 1/3 cup (50g) self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of mild paprika
  • 250g butter, chopped
  • 2 cups (160g) of finely grated parmesan
  • 2 teaspoons of dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds, optional
  • 3-4 tablespoons of tepid water

Now to make…

  • Preheat oven to moderately slow – 160.C/140C fan-forced
  • Sift together both flours, salt and paprika into a medium sized bowl.
  • Rub in the butter
  • Stir in the cheese, chilli flakes, poppy seeds and enough water to make a soft dough.
  • Gently knead the dough on a floured surface with your hands. (There’s no need to be too precious about it, the more rustic looking the better!)
  • With a cookie cutter (size and shape is your own choice) cut out biscuits and place them onto greased oven trays, about 1cm apart.
  • Bake the biscuits for about 30 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
  • Leave to cool on trays or transfer them onto a cooling rack.
  • Eat, Eat, EAT!!

These little delights are best for mouth stuffing straight out the oven with a cooling glass of milk!

Hot Cross Buns: Choc-Chip Style!

There’s nothing like tucking into a freshly made Hot Cross Bun on a long and lazy Easter weekend. Add in a steaming cup of tea and few chocolate eggs and you’ve got something extra special happening!

This is a fairly simple recipe to follow if you’re organised and have the time to sit through all of the ‘proving’ stages. I’ve broken down the process into three steps; follow each one slowly and you shouldn’t have any problems!

IMG_0035

Choc-Chip Hot Cross Buns

Ingredients:

For buns:

  • 4 cups of plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) of salt
  • 30g of compressed yeast
  • 1 ½ cups of milk, lukewarm in temperature
  • ½ cup of choc-chips
  • 60g of butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp of mixed spice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

Paste for the crosses:

  • ½ cup of plain flour
  • 1/3 cup of warm water
  • Glad snap bag, small

Finishing glaze:

  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of hot water
  • 1 tsp of gelatin

To make:

  • Pre-heat oven to 220C.

Step One – Making the dough:

  • Measure out the (lukewarm) milk and add the yeast to it. Stir and leave covered with a tea towel for 5-10 minutes or until it begins to go all bubbly and frothy.
  • Sift together the flour, salt, sugar and spices into a large bowl. Rub in the butter then mix in the egg and choc-chips.
  • Make a rough well in the centre of the mixture and pour in the yeast mixture. Beat well until it forms into dough.
  • Lightly sprinkle the sides of the bowl with extra flour and cover with a lightly greased piece of cling wrap and a tea towel. Leave the dough in a warm place for 1 hour to prove (double in size).
  • Once the hour is up, turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for a good 5-10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and springy.
  • Cut the dough into four equal pieces. The cut each of these pieces into four making 16 buns in total.
  • Knead each piece into a roundish shape and place side-by-side in a pre-prepared baking tin. Cover the buns with a tea towel and leave in a warm place to prove for the second time. Do this for about 10-15 minutes.

Step Two – Pipe on the Crosses:

  • Before placing the buns in the oven, you need to pipe the crosses on top of them. Do this by mixing together the flour and water in a small bowl (add more water if need be to make a slightly stiff paste). Scoop the paste into a small Glad snap bag and make a small snip in one of the corners. Pipe a cross onto each bun.
  •  Place the buns into a pre-heated oven – be careful as the oven is on one of its highest heat settings. Bake for 20-30 minutes. (If the tops of the buns are becoming too brown for your liking, cover the top with foil and keep baking until time is up.)

Step Three – The Glaze:

  • Just before the baking time is up, get the glaze ready!
  • Do this by placing all the ingredients for the glaze in a small saucepan and gently simmering it on the stove for a few minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure the sugar and gelatin has dissolved.
  • As soon as the buns come out of the oven, brush the glaze over the tops.
  • Allow the buns to cool in the tin on a wire rack.
  • Enjoy warm with dollops of butter and a steaming cup of tea!

This recipe has been adapted from one I found in The Quilters’ Guild of NSW Inc. newsletter – The Template. The recipe was supplied by Wailyn Mar.

Cheesy Pesto Scrolls

This week I had a sudden craving for one of those cheesy/bready/tomatoey scroll type things and thought I would make some of my own to help refine my bread making skills.

I never-ever-ever have much luck when it comes to making bread; for all my effort, I’m always rewarded with a rock hard weird cakey rectangle thing…

However, my hard work and practice must be paying off as these little gems of bready goodness taste delish – they’re all fluffy and fresh, oozing with cheesy/pesto heaven!

IMG_0070

Cheesy Pesto Scrolls

Makes: 12-15 scrolls

Ingredients:

To make bread:

  • 500g of strong bread flour (believe me, this makes ALL the difference!)
  • 7g of dried yeast
  • 2 tsp of sugar
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 330ml of warm (tap) water

For scroll filling:

  • Basil pesto
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Fresh Bocconcini or Mozzarella
  • Fresh basil leaves

To make the bread:

  • Measure out the water and add the dried yeast to it. Stir and leave covered with a tea towel for 5-10 minutes or until it begins to go all bubbly and frothy.
  • Meanwhile, combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and mix well together. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture.
  • Mix this together with a large spoon until just combined, and then use your hands to bring together to form a loose dough.
  • Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for a good 5-10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and springy. You may need to re-flour your surface a few times to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands and to the surface.
  • Form the dough into a ball and place into a large bowl that has been lightly greased. Cover with lightly greased cling wrap and then a tea towel and leave in a warm place for 1 hour. (I place mine on a stool in front of a heating oven). This step allows the dough to prove (get all bubbly and fluffy) resulting in the dough doubling it’s size.

The scroll-filling bit:

  • Once the hour is up, turn the dough out again onto a floured surface and lightly knead for a few minutes and with a rolling pin, flatten the dough into a large rough rectangle.
  • Spread enough pesto on top of your doughy rectangle so that it reaches all four sides (how thick you want this is your choice). Next scatter bits of sundried tomato and bocconcini/mozzarella all over the top (again, it’s your choice for how much you want to add – my opinion is more the better!).
  • From the longest edge of the rectangle, slowly roll the dough into a scroll like log.
  • With a serrated knife, cut 3cm/1inch slices and place them side-by-side into pre-greased tins (using spray oil is fine). Add a leaf of basil on top of each for fancy presentation.
  • Cover the scrolls with a tea towel and leave in your warm place to prove for the second time. Do this for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Pop the scrolls into a 200C pre-heated oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven once done and eat as soon as possible!

This is my own recipe inspired by a few additional recipes I’ve followed through out the years.

Hot Cross Buns coming up in the next post!

Classic Chocolate Brownie

This has to be, hands down, the most easiest, most scrumptious recipe for Chocolate Brownies that I’ve ever come across. Beware: you’ll find yourself going back for another slice!

I remember the first time I ever made it and looking skeptical at the method thinking, ‘this will never work! I’m for sure this will be a complete flop!’

Happily I was proved wrong as this delectable little slice was gobbled up by day’s end!

**Disclaimer: I found this recipe on taste.com.au last year in August… This is a Matt Preston recipe. **

IMG_0052

Classic Chocolate Brownies

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 25-30 minutes

Serves: 12

Ingredients:

  • 200g of good quality dark chocolate
  • 120g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) vanilla extract
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Handful of choc-chips

To Make:

  • Preheat your oven to 170C and prepare a square tin with non-stick baking paper.
  • Melt the chocolate, butter and vanilla extract together (this can be done either in the microwave or in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water). Remove from the heat once smooth and glossy.
  • Stir in the brown sugar until it has dissolved into the chocolate (no lumps!)
  • Whisk in one egg and then the next.
  • Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together. Sift a little of the flour into the chocolate mixture and gently fold it in. Keep adding the flour into the mixture until all of it is combined.
  • Pour the brownie mixture into your pre-prepared tin and sprinkle choc-chips over the top.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes: the brownie should have risen with the top looking shiny and cracked in places. Jab the middle with a skewer and look for a sticky and fudgy crumb to come out. If not, let it cook for a few more minutes and try again.
  • Once cooked, remove the brownie from the oven and allow it to cool. Cut the slice while it’s still in the tin.
  • Best enjoyed with a nice cold glass of milk!

IMG_0058

Next blog post: my attempt at making Hot Cross Buns!