Sunday, 21 July 2013

chocolate cupcakes with raspberries and vanilla cream cheese custard

i love wintery days when i light the fire and cook all day
yesterday was one of those days
soup and bread was made for dinner
and something sweet was called for too

chocolate cupcakes with raspberries and vanilla cream cheese custard
tea with hazel
makes 8



go here for the recipe but replace the milk with 1 tablespoon (tbs) of cassis and omit mahlepi

cream cheese custard

200 mls milk
80 gms sugar
30 gms corn flour
1 large egg
125 gms cream cheese softened and cut into small cubes
1 teaspoon (tsp) vanilla


1/2 cup raspberries marinated in 1-2 tbs cassis
icing sugar


cream cheese custard*

~ reserve 4 tbs milk and put the remainder plus the sugar on to heat
~ mix the corn flour with the reserved milk, add eggs, and mix well
~ add a few tbs of warm milk to the cornflour mix and mix well
~ take the milk off the heat and while stirring slowly pour the cornflour mix through a sieve into the warm milk
~ put the saucepan back on the heat and bring to the boil and cook for one minute stirring constantly
~ take off the heat and stir in the cream cheese and vanilla
~ spoon the custard into a bowl, cover with cling film, and leave until cool


~ cut a cone shape from the cupcakes trimming away the base to create a flat disk and put aside
~ place 3-4 raspberries and some cassis marinade into the cupcake cavity
~ add a large spoon of custard
~ place the reserved cupcake top on the custard pressing down gently
~ dust with icing sugar

*   this amount of cream cheese custard would be enough for double the cupcake recipe
** best assembled close to serving time

a packet of cream cheese in the fridge inspired me to make the vanilla cream cheese custard..i really liked it but then i'm rather fond of cheesecake and related future i'd like to try other flavours such as lemon, cumquat, orange, tiramisu and pistacchio and rose..just to name a few!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

soul food

it's funny how our memories work
i remember my mother saying a verse a couple of times when i was quite young
and i've never forgotten it

if of thy worldly goods though art bereft
and from thy slender store
two loaves are left
sell one and with the dole
buy hyacinths to feed thy soul

from the gulistan (the rose garden)
13th century persian poet

the bulb forcing vase is an op shop find 
i wouldn't have known what it was when i saw it were it not for a dear elderly english friend who used to have several of these vases on her kitchen window sill with hyacinths in them each year
i put the bulb in the vase about two months ago and placed it in a darkened cupboard
i took it out two days ago because it had started to flower

Friday, 12 July 2013

sourdough bulgur loaf

i've made this loaf three times now and it's become the one i'll be making regularly each week for general consumption..that's because lately i've become a bit concerned about eating mainly white bread..don't get me wrong i love a loaf of white sourdough but it's something i'd like to reserve for occasional consumption rather than for every day..i don't mind the occasional seeded loaf either but i don't want to feel like i'm having daily visits to the gulags..

sourdough bulgur loaf
tea with hazel



1 tablespoon (tbs) active starter
100 gms organic white bread flour
125 mls filtered water

final dough

250 mgs levain
250 gms organic white bread flour
100 gms organic wholemeal flour
50 gms fine bulgur
1 1/2 tbs crushed murray river salt
100 mls boiling filtered water

method levain

day 1
~ mix the starter with the water and flour, cover, and leave for 16 hours (in summer it will need to be refrigerated)

method final dough

day 2
~ pour boiling water over bulgur and leave until the water is absorbed
~ in the bowl of a stand mixer mix flours, bulgur, levain and enough water to make a shaggy dough
~ autolyse for 30 minutes
~ add salt and mix briefly, rest for 10 minutes, and then mix briefly once more
~ remove the bowl from the stand mixer, cover with oiled cling film or a damp tea towel and set aside for about 3 hours
~ remove the dough onto a flour dusted bench, knead briefly to form a ball, then cover and leave for 15-20 minutes
~ do two stretch and folds with 10-15 minute rest intervals
~ shape the dough into a round creating surface tension, place in a flour dusted muslin lined colander, and leave until a finger pressed into the dough leaves an indentation
~  carefully turn the dough out onto a hot rice flour dusted cast iron surface (or baking stone or tray), dust with flour, and score a circle around the lower perimeter of the loaf
~ cook with steam at 250 deg c for 20-25 minutes, lower heat to 200 deg c, and cook for a further 20-25 minutes

this was the pattern left on my bench after proving the dough in a colander

this post submitted to yeastspotting

op shop treasure

i'd been feeling a bit disappointed with op shopping lately

i used to find treasure quite regularly at my local haunts but in the last few months i'd found nothing that i wanted

fortunately i hadn't completely lost heart because today when i visited them i found something in each three

there were two of these hidden away in a corner
they will join my other enamel cups
i bought these ($3 for the plate) from the same shop as the cup above
i bought this old chopping board ($3) today from an op shop that i had
 virtually stopped going to because it rarely has anything i want
it's in really good condition and according to the sales person
it had only been used to cut bread
i will give the top a light sand though and a coat of orange oil
i rarely see tea pots i want to buy but i love this blue metal pot ($4)
i'll only ever use it for decorative purposes though because
it's made of aluminium 
another aluminium tea pot ($5)
i bought the 2 metres of calico ($2) for christmas puddings
and the printed cotton baby sheet ($0.50) will be
used for patchwork

happy weekend..x

Monday, 8 July 2013

blackberry and raspberry trifles

blackberry and raspberry trifles
tea with hazel
serves 2


egg white cake (see recipe below)
blackberry and apple jelly (jam) *
blackberry ** and raspberry *** jelly (see recipe below)
marinate 1/3 cup blackberries and 1/2 cup raspberries with 1-2 tablespoons sugar or to taste and 1 tbs chambord for 1/2 hour
vanilla egg custard (see here for recipe)


~ slice 6, 1 cm slices of cake, spread 3 pieces with blackberry and apple jelly, then top with the remaining slices
~ cut each sandwich into four and divide the pieces between two glasses
~ drizzle the cake with chambord and divide the jelly between the glasses and refrigerate until the jelly is set
~ add the berries and then spoon over about 1/2 cup of custard 
~ cover with foil and refrigerate

egg white cake recipe
recipe adapted from here


6 egg whites **** 
125 gms castor sugar
160 gms plain flour
1 heaped tbs corn flour 
1 teaspoon (tsp) baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
100 gms butter melted and cooled


~ whisk egg whites with 2 tbs sugar until light and fluffy
~ sift flour, corn flour, baking powder and sugar
~ fold the dry ingredients into the egg whites
~ fold in the melted butter 
~ spoon mix into a buttered and base lined ring tin 
~ cook at 180 deg c for 30 minutes or until cooked
~ cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack

blackberry and raspberry jelly


3/4 cup raspberries
1/3 cup blackberries
2 gold strength gelatine leaves


~ place berries in a saucepan, just cover with water, bring to the boil, and then mash the berries well
~ place mashed berries and juice in a muslin lined colander and drain into a measuring jug without squeezing the muslin (there should be about 200 mls..if not add water to make up the amount)  
~ add about 2 tbs of sugar to the strained juice or to taste and stir well to dissolve
~ soak the gelatine in cold water until soft, squeeze out excess water, then add to the still warm sweetened juice and stir to dissolve
~ set aside to cool


*       substitute with raspberry or blackberry jam or jam of choice
**     i used blackberries that i picked last summer and froze
***   i used frozen berries
**** i had 4 egg whites i wanted to use up; i made custard from the yolks of the other two whites

Friday, 5 July 2013

when time stands still

over the years i've tried all sorts of structured exercise type things but it's just not my thing..ok..i'll be really honest..i can't stand it..

once upon a time i lugged my children on the train to the ywca in melbourne where i could attend an affordable aerobics class (when it was all the rage) while my children were being cared for..and since then i've attended many different aerobics classes in different venues..i found with most classes a) i didn't have the right gear b) the music was too fast (i couldn't keep up!) and b) i was uncoordinated

then i swam..i even built up to 50 laps of a 25 metre pool..not great by some people's standards but that was epic for me..but it was a mission showering before going in the pool and then showering after swimming and then there was the travel bag of ablution accoutrements i had to take with me that girls need like soap, facial cleanser, shampoo, conditioner and a hairdryer..and of course there's all the other clobber you need like a bathing cap, goggles and ear plugs..these are not essential like bathers are but they a) made me look the part and b) they prevented hair, eye and ear damage..the bit where i had to shower in front of everyone was challenging enough but the thing that really put me off swimming were all the bits of human debris in the pool..ok..i know i've said too much already so i won't elaborate and offend your sensibilities any more..

i've done yoga too and meditation..that's not bad because you don't need stuff and it's ok if you wear your old stretch pants and look like a dork..i know the whole idea is about relaxing but i get bored, really bored, and when i'm supposed to be meditating i open one eye and look around the room and at the clock when i'm supposed to be thinking quiet thoughts and focusing on my naval..basically i just want it all to be over..oh..and i did pilates once too..

i love walking so quite a while ago now i went on a walk with a group..there was carpooling and a long drive and then a lot of walking in nice places with a lot of people..and when i say a lot i mean about 60 people who talked a lot and seemed like nice enough people but a) there were about 58 too many of us for me b) we made so much noise that any wildlife in the area would have headed for other hills and c) there were so many human distractions that it was hard to really enjoy the bush setting..i only went once..

yep..i've been to the gym..i've worked out to the noise of a big plasma screen television on the rower, the bike, the bench, the ball, the walking thing and all the other gizmos desperation i even had a personal trainer for a bank account got the best workout ever..

this week i've exercised a lot total i probably did about 20-25 hours..but it's the sort of exercise where for me time stands still and where i don't have to force myself to move my fact i have to discipline myself with a time limit so that, i can get other things done, and i don't push myself too hard physically..what i'm talking about here is gardening..i've hand mown the lawn and raked up the clippings, weeded, prepared a garden bed for vegetable planting, pruned a dozen roses and my crabapple, elderberry, pomegranate and lemon verbena, removed two roses, one of which was so big i needed to get the axe to it, that i haven't like for ages, picked up several bags of rust infected rose leaves and i've bundled and tied all of the prunings and then piled them in two wheelbarrows..i'll stack the bundles in my shed in the next day or so to dry so they're ready to be used next winter as kindling..and i didn't have to a) spend anything b) drive anywhere c) wear a special outfit d) pack a travel bag e) risk water borne infection f) talk to anyone i don't want to know or g) undress in public..

what's your favourite exercise? i promise i won't judge you if it involves wearing lycra..