30 July 2011

classic baked cheesecake

So patience and I rarely go together. Which is silly I know because sometimes you need to have patience while waiting for a cake to cook or cool etc. So it is no surprise that usually while cooking I have had enough of it half way through, chuck a tantie, and Josh has to come in and save the day. 
Usually after my instant irrational brain snap I am able to come back and continue what I was doing....usually. I must also note that I am an extremely messy cook. I like to dirty as many things as I go and rarely clean up as I'm going either. 
Today with this cheesecake I accepted that I would no doubt end up with a massive crack across the top of it as there was no way that I could end up cooking one as perfect as Donna Hay made in the Masterchef masterclass. So when I pulled it out of the oven with a massive crack in the top I was okay because I knew I could cover it in icing sugar and a pile of strawberries. However I had no idea what would follow. 
Last night I made the best mushroom sauce ever by just glancing at a mushroom sauce recipe online and adapting it as I went...it was amazing. So naturally I thought I could do the same with a mixed berry coulis. Wrong idea Jaimee you have to much kitchen confidence, now you must fail. So....after about half an hour of trying to push berries through a seive then getting impatient and squirting berry juice around my kitchen, which now looks like a crime scene, I ended up with a surprisingly good berry soup or "glaze" as Josh likes to call it. Note to self....never wing it again unless you want another brain snap.

recipe from Masterchef Website

1/3 cup ground almond (almond meal I used hazelnut meal)
3/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup castor sugar
90g chilled butter, chopped

330g cream cheese
500g ricotta
4 eggs
11/3 cups castor sugar
1 tbsp grated lemon rind
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
11/2 tbsp cornflour
11/2 tbsp water
mixed berries to decorate

Preheat oven to 150c. Line 20cm spring form tin with baking paper.
Combine base ingredients in a medium bowl. Rub in the butter until it forms course breadcrumbs. Pour mixture into cake tin and press evenly with the back of a spoon. 
Bake for 15 mins and set aside.
Mix cornflour and water together until cornflour is dissolved. Add this as well as the rest of the filling ingredients into a food processor. Process until smooth.

Grease the sides of the cake tine with melted butter and pour filling on top of the base. 
Tap to remove air bubbles then bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and leave the cake in the oven for 1 hour with the door closed. Refrigerate until cold and serve with berries.

If you want to have an attempt at my berry soup add a packet of mixed berries to a saucepan with a cup of water and 4 heaped dessert spoons of sugar. Bring to the boil. Press the mixture through a seive. Repass the mixture through the seive lined with muslin cloth.

27 July 2011

chewy oat cookies with maple filling

I've just come off four 12hr night shifts and wanted to cook something quick to fill my sweet craving until I get around to cooking something a bit more complex this week. 
These cookies are great with or without the filling. Josh enjoyed the test cookie so much when I told him he had to wait until I put the filling inside he did a little tantrum dance. 
The maple syrup makes them almost like an Anzac biscuit, yum!


125g softened butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp icing sugar
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 brown sugar
1/4 tsp bicarb soda

Preheat oven to 160c and line 2 baking trays with baking paper. 
For the filling, combine 3 tsp maple syrup, 1/2 the butter and the icing sugar in a small bowl and set aside. 
Combine flour, oats, coconut and sugar in a medium bowl. 
Mix the remaining butter and maple syrup in a small saucepan over a low heat until the butter is melted. Add bicarb soda then mix into the dry ingredients. 

Roll into tsp sized balls and place onto baking trays. I made about 16 individual cookies out of this mixture but only because I like my biscuits big, however you can make them smaller if you wish. Bake in the oven for 15mins until starting to colour, swapping the trays around halfway through. Set aside for 5 mins before allowing to cool on a wire rack. 

Make sure they are completely cool before spreading with maple butter. 
Sandwich together the similar size ones. These cookies are super sweet and rich, you will only need one to be satisfied, especially if you make them as big as I did!

25 July 2011

hedgehog slice

Hedgehog slice is Josh's most favourite cooking creation that I make. I made a massive block of it and he demolished it in two days. I must admit it is pretty tasty but he enjoys it much more than me. It is also really easy to make and I haven't had much time lately to bake a wonderful time consuming creation so I'll give you this instead.


1 can of condensed milk
1 250g packet of dark chocolate chips (you could also use milk or white if you wanted)
50g butter
1 packet of hazelnuts preferably toasted
1 cup coconut
1 packet of Arnotts Nice biscuits

Line a slice tin with baking paper. If your hazelnuts aren't already roasted cook them in a 180c oven for approx 10-15 mins or toasted lightly brown. Remove the husks from hazelnuts. Crush them into crumbs and add to a large bowl.
Break the Nice biscuits into pieces into the large bowl with the hazelnuts. Add the coconut to the bowl as well.

Heat the condensed milk, butter and chocolate in a saucepan over a low heat until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. 

Working quickly so the chocolate doesn't set, pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Pour the slice mixture into the slice try and press into the tray with the back of a spoon. Cover tray with cling film and refrigerate for 2-3hours or until the slice is set.

Cut to the size that you like and enjoy with a good cup of tea or coffee, or straight out of the fridge in one mouthful like Josh does!

23 July 2011

jolly's lookout

Do you live in Brisbane?

Are you looking for a place to have a picnic while basking in the gorgeous views of the greater Brisbane area?

Well you should drive approx 30mins up Mt Nebo Road to Jolly's Lookout and you will not be disappointed.

Yesterday Josh and I bought some tasty pastries from our favourite bakery and head up to this gorgeous spot.

Stamford Road Bakery at Indooroopilly is where we bought my favourite, apple turnover with fresh cream, and Josh's, a mini bee sting. 

We will definitely be heading up to Jolly's lookout again soon for the views and gorgeous rain forest walks. 

20 July 2011

bitter chocolate tart

Anything that contains chocolate (or dark chocolate for that matter) is a winner in my house. 
So chocolate tart it was today. 
It gave me an opportunity to use my mix-master for the first time since I got it last year for my birthday from my Mum. I'm really not sure why I haven't used it until now as its surprisingly easy to use, much easier than my hand beater for that matter, so it's now going to be one of the most used appliances in my kitchen along with my glorious food processor.

The recipe asked for Tia Maria but I only had Kahlua so I used that instead, but you can use whatever coffee flavoured liqueur you have laying around your cupboards. 

recipe from Marie Claire Kitchen


150g unsalted butter
200g dark chocolate
3 egg yolks
2 eggs
3 tbsp castor sugar
2 tbsp Tia Maria
pre-baked sweet shortcrust tart case or 6 pre-baked mini cases
cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 180c. Melt butter and chocolate in saucepan until smooth. 
Whip eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Whip chocolate mixture and Tia Maria for 1 minute into egg mixture until combined.

 Pour chocolate filling into tart cases. I used the sweet shortcrust pastry recipe.
 Bake for 5 - 10 mins.

Let the tart sit for 1 hour before serving. Sprinkle with cocoa powder and serve with strawberries.

This tart is best served cold as the chocolate filling will set, however it is luscious straight from the oven. 

Ps. If you make mini tarts they are best not shared, as you will want to eat them whole.

sweet shortcrust pastry

So I thought it was time to perfect my short crust pastry. This time I found a sweet shortcrust pastry recipe in my Women's Weekly "Old Fashioned Favourites" cookbook that was much easier to work with than the savoury one I made. The Old Fashioned Favourites cookbook is by far my favourite sweet book in my recipe book cupboard, so i knew it was a no brainer to use this pastry base.

recipe from Women's Weekly Old Fashioned Favourites


11/2 cups of plain flour
1 tbsp icing sugar
140g cold butter, chopped
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp cold water

 Process flour, sugar and butter until crumbly. Add egg yolk and water and process until ingredients come together into a dough ball. Knead dough until smooth, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 mins.

Roll out dough between two sheets of baking paper until large enough to line the tart tin. 
Press dough into tin and trim the edges. Refrigerate for another 30 mins.
Prick the base of the tin with a fork before covering the pastry with baking paper and baking weights.

Bake for 10 mins in a 180c oven, remove baking paper and weights and bake for a further 10 mins. Allow to cool before adding filling.

This pastry case would be fine for sweet or savoury dishes as the sugar flavour is very subtle.

19 July 2011

my maleny weekend in food

So on the weekend Josh and I visited Maleny which was amazing.
I am going to tell you about my amazing day in food. All of the meals we purchased up there were relatively cheap.

For breakfast we had croissants and iced coffees from the "Swiss Crust Wood Oven Bakery". 

Then we went to the Sunday markets at the Maleny RSL Hall. 
It was exactly what you would hope a markets would be like. All the locals brought their own home made goods/arts and crafts/antiques etc. 
When we first walked in there was a stall with what looked like gorgeous stones. 
Turns out they were Belgian chocolates. Unfortunately I don't know whether the lovely lady who sold these chocolates has a shop or whether she just made them at home...either way they were amazing. The pictures below include the 4 gems we tried. 
Clockwise they are "Bleeding Hearts Raspberry", "Coconut Kiss", "Rise and Shine" - coffee flavoured, and I can't remember the exact name of the runny caramel one but it was by far the best!

Then we continued onto the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
The view of the Glass House Mountains from here was breathtaking and the rain forest walk also highly recommended. Once again the food won awards in my books. I enjoyed, from my table with an amazing view, an iced chai and a chicken BLT. If you ever stop at the Mary Cairncross lookout make sure to try the cafe there as they have an assortment of home made cakes and other sweets.

Then to top of my gluttonous day in food Josh's Uncle invited us over for roast pork! Unfortunately no pictures from there but amazing just the same!

16 July 2011

white chocolate citrus mud cake

When I was home visiting my family it was my cousin Nikki's 18th birthday. 
Her sister Tam made her this amazing citrus mud cake! So I decided for my birthday that I would make this cake for myself. She found this recipe on taste.com.au 
Now don't let the mass amounts of lemon rind scare you off, it flavours the cake very subtly.

recipe from Taste.com


2 tsp lemon rind
2 tsp lime rind
3 tsp orange rind
350g butter
180g white chocolate
2 cups castor sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
11/2 cups of milk
3 eggs
2 cups of plain flour
 3/4 cup SR flour

For white chocolate ganache
360g white chocolate
2 tsp lemon rind
2 tsp lime rind
2/3 cups of sour cream

Preheat oven to 160C. Grease cake pan and line with baking paper. 
Combine lemon, lime and orange rind, butter, chocolate, sugar, vanilla, and milk in a sauce pan and mix over a low heat until the mixture is smooth. Cool the mixture for 10mins.
Add eggs to the mixture and whisk in. Add flour and whisk in. Pour into greased lined cake pan. Cook for 2 hours or until a skewer comes out with fine cooked cake crumbs on it. Let stand for 10mins then turn out and cool on a wire wrack.

Now for the white chocolate ganache. If you have never worked with white chocolate before just keep in mind that it's very easy to stuff up. 
Place 2 cm of water in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Chop the white chocolate and place in a glass or metal bowl that fits over the top of the saucepan perfectly. 
Make sure the water is just at a simmer and the bowl is not touching the water underneath.
 Just another hint: do not let any steam get into the bowl as this will make the chocolate seize up. Also make sure you are using a metal spoon to mix rather than a wooden one as the wooden spoons contain moisture. 
Let the chocolate sit melting until half of it is melted. Take the pan off the heat and continue to mix the chocolate until it has completely melted. Then mix in the rind and sour cream. 

Let the mixture cool in the fridge for around 30mins or until it has thickened enough to spread over the cake like a thick icing. Let set and serve. 

This cake is amazing! Enjoy!

11 July 2011

pumpkin pie

I was so excited to make pumpkin pie but I just haven't had the time...but today I made it my priority. This traditionally American dessert is usually seen around Thanksgiving or Christmas, however the cold weather has had me craving it.
This recipe was taken from the back of the American tinned pumpkin that I found. It has the exact same flavour that I remember from my childhood of pumpkin pie.


3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 eggs
1 can of pumpkin/or the equivalent of cooked mashed pumpkin
1 can of evaporated milk
1 pie shell

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Mix in the two eggs, then the pumpkin, then slowly mix in the evaporated milk.

The mixture should look like this....yum!

Ladle the pumpkin mixture into a pie shell until it is a few millimeters from the top of the shell.

Bake in a 220c oven for 15mins, then reduce temperature to 180c and bake for a further 45 mins.

Serve with thickened cream mmm..

If you make this yourself let me know what you think of it!!

short crust pastry

For you to make a pie you need to have a tart case. So why buy one when you can make one? 
Josh got me a food processor for my birthday (well as an early birthday gift) and pastry was the first thing I wanted to make with it! So here is my step by step experience with short crust pastry.

recipe from Marie Claire Kitchen

My beautiful food processor! 

Add 1 2/3 cups of flour to food processor.

Then 100g of chilled cubed butter and a pinch of salt.

Blend for 1 min until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.

Add 2 tablespoons of cold water and blend until the pastry comes together. This will take about 2 minutes and will be done when it resembles wet sand.

Roll into a ball while keeping the pastry as cold as possible, then wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30mins.

As you can see the rolling out step has been left out. This is where I had a brain snap and Josh had to save the day by rolling it out for me. Be careful at this stage by making sure the pasty is rolled out evenly between two sheets of baking paper. Be careful while draping the pastry over the tart tin. It should look something like this....ps if you have any extra pieces of pastry they can be pressed into any holes or areas on the tin where there pastry isn't enough. Refrigerate for another 30mins.

Prick the pastry base with a fork so that the base doesn't buckle in the oven.

Fill the case with crumpled baking paper and baking weights, rice or, as I only had, macaroni.

Bake for 10-20mins in a 180c oven until the case looks dry.
Remove the baking weights and set aside to cool.

The tart cases can be used immediately or frozen for later use.