Tag Archives: baking

Christmas 2013: the season that was

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Luke and I kicked off the season with my ‘work’ Christmas party. Given that I have no workplace as such, this ‘work’ Christmas party consisted of just the two of us. It was excellent. No boring boss or creepy guy from accounts.

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We took ourselves off on a bike tour to Abbotsford, where we partook in a cleansing ale at the charming Retreat Hotel. One turned to two or three, and we were hungry. So off to Thy Thy for a feast.

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No party is complete without the ‘superior’ Michinbury. Hey big spender.

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We may or may not (may), have then ridden home, dragged the mattress into the lounge room and slept under the Christmas lights. Childhood dream realised. Best ‘work’ Christmas party ever.

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Next up is the Christmas baking. As per every year, my sister Laura and I split our baking and make hundreds of treats for packaging up and sharing with friends and family.

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This year I made lebkuchen for a picnic, gluten-free mince pies for Luke, along with a range of truffles – peanut-butter balls, date and ginger logs and whiskey balls. Laura made the amazingly cute shortbread, chocolate orange balls, mint log and fruit mince pies. We are the best Christmas bakers going around. Just quietly.

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By the time the end of December rolled around, Luke and I were well ready for a holiday before family Christmas time. So we took ourselves up north to Mooloolaba for a few days. Bliss.

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First we visited ‘Crikey Park’, aka Australia Zoo. Crikey expensive, but a good day out. We saw bucket loads of lizards, crocodiles, birds, koalas, giraffes and kangaroos. It was fun to be tourists and ooh and aah at the wildlife.

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Beaching was up next. I didn’t grow up near the beach, I’m more of a river gal, but whenever I visit the beaches on the Sunshine Coast and Northern NSW, I can see what all the fuss is about. We enjoyed naps, fish and chips, watching the sun set over the marina, reading books, Luke enjoyed swimming at the beach (I got dumped by a wave and cried), I enjoyed swimming in the hotel pool, etc etc. Bliss.

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Good old Lismore and the family were up next. We introduced the Ramsay team to the iconic Milk Based Cocktail #MBC and got everyone on board (see last years Christmas post for the story!). We go with a White Russian, but there is definitely room for another in the repertoire, any suggestions?

Then we ate.

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But don’t worry, we survived all the food, and loved seeing the family. Another Christmas win!

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I hope that you all had a great Christmas and sent 2013 off feeling full of food, booze and family!

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Chocolately, chocolately chocolate cake

Yesterday Luke and I were invited over by our friends Robin and Clarisse to play board games, a perfect Sunday afternoon activity. We played Dixit and Small World (I recommend watching the videos I’ve linked to the games, they explain them perfectly), Luke and I hadn’t played either of these before, they were both really fun. I particularly enjoyed the afternoon, as I won! Both games! Yippee!

Unfortunately this didn’t put me in the good books with our hosts, who are both seasoned board game players, luckily though I bought this cake along to share, and all was forgiven.

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Chocolate Buckwheat Cake
Adapted from David Lebovitz

170 grams 70% dark chocolate
115 grams salted butter (or unsalted butter and 1/2 teaspoon of salt)
4 eggs
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/3 cup plain full fat yogurt
1 teaspoon powdered vanilla
3/4 cup of almond meal
1/4 cup buckwheat flour

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Melt the butter and chocolate together, I did this in the microwave on reduced power. David says to do this in a bowl over simmering water. To each his own. Either way, melt together until smooth.

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Whisk the four egg yolks, 1/4 cup of the sugar, yogurt and vanilla together in a large bowl. Whisk in the melted chocolate and butter, then stir in the almond meal and buckwheat flour.

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Whip the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually whip in the other 1/4 cup of sugar until and keep whipping until the whites are in firm peaks. Slowly fold the whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture until it’s just combined.

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Pop the cake batter into a springform tin, and bake for around 30 minutes, leaving the center still a little soft. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the cake tin.

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This cake was so yummy, very soft and almost puddingy, and very, very chocolatey. David also suggests making it with hazelnut meal, I’m going to try this next time. Yum!

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Banana bread fit for a Coeliac King

Gluten-free banana bread
Adapted from Not Quite Nigella

½ cup quinoa flakes, you could use oats if you didn’t need the bread to be totally gluten-free
1 cup almond meal
½ cup red or brown rice flour
½ cup gluten-free flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons honey
3 medium mashed overripe bananas
1 beaten egg
300ml milk
roughly chopped nuts for on top, I used hazelnuts and pistachios

Slap all ingredients into a bowl and mix until combined. The great thing about gluten-free baking is that you don’t have to worry about over or under working the batter – there isn’t any temperamental gluten to upset!

Pour into a greased and lined loaf tin and sprinkle with nuts. Bake for around 80 minutes at 180C, you may need to cover with foil for the last 20 minutes or so if it is getting too brown and still isn’t cooked through. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before placing on a cooling rack for another 10 minutes before cutting.

You could put nuts into the batter, but I don’t like the texture. Up to you. Enjoy!

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Mmmm biscuits …

Today I made amazing peanut butter choc chip biscuits. Gluten and dairy free too! But with eggs. Sorry vegans.

Choc chip peanut butter biscuits
Recipe adapted from the Gluten Free Girl and the Chef. Makes 30.

2 cups peanut butter, I’ve used both smooth or crunchy
1 cup raw sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
1 cup dark choc chips

Cream peanut butter and sugar, mix in baking powder and eggs, then fold through the choc chips. Roll into balls, bake at 180 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Leave them on the tray to harden for 5 minutes, then cool on a baking rack. Done! Delicious!

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