Test post from my phone


In getting ready for my Japan trip in oh 11 days, I’ve been looking at what I can do get the most out of my phone whilst I’m away.  This is my first trial at using the WordPress app for Android.

These chocolates are from Hachez in Bremen, I ate a lot of this chocolate when I was in Germany after finishing year 12. I was quite delighted to find them at the confectionery warehouse on the weekend.

Sunday Breakfast

Sundays are good days and bad days rolled into one. They are bad because it means back to work tomorrow and good because it means another day at home.

I went to the markets yesterday as I usually try to do on a Saturday. As a change though I picked two croissants. One for breakfast yesterday and one for breakfast today. A little indulgent I know but I have porridge for breakfast every other day, I’m exercising and I am the lightest I have been in I don’t know how long! Chocolate Croissants/Pain au Chocolat are one of the attractors that keep me coming back to the markets each week. When I was in Germany in 02/03, you could buy Chocolate Croissants for I think about €1.30 at the convenience store across the street. At the morning break, there would be a steady stream of teenagers coming back from the store with a Chocolate Croissant in one hand and perhaps a Kinder Surprise for later on. I can’t recall if I ever actually bought a Chocolate Croissant in Germany, I know I often bought a Kinder Surprise but I don’t remember reaching into the display case and grabbing a Chocolate Croissant.

Fast Forward four years later and on any day of the weekend around Brisbane you will find a “Farmers Market” though I say the word Farmers with caution because I have only been to one market in Brisbane that was strictly just a Farmers Market and that would be the Granite Belt wine/produce market that is held at South Bank occasionally. The Northey Street Organic Market is the second closet in terms of only having direct farm to you stalls but like the others does have a number of “market green grocers”. All the other markets appear to have perhaps between a third to a half of the fresh produce stalls are direct farmer to you and the rest will be the market green grocers who have the same variety of fresh produce that you would find at the local supermarket or green grocer. Perhaps one day the balance will swing more to direct farm to you stalls.

Back to Chocolate Croissants though, at all these markets there is often at least two, three or perhaps even four bakeries and in the last two odd years of going to the markets I have tasted I do believe all the Pain au Chocolat on offer at both markets and bakeries. My biggest complaint is that they are typically lacking in the chocolate department. If I want a Pain au Chocolat I want it to have a fair amount of chocolate in, otherwise I may as well just get a normal croissant, split it open and spread on a little Nutella. The very first Pain au Chocolat I had at a market in Brisbane was at the Mitchelton markets. I believe it was from Wild Breads and it was the closet to what I feel a Pain au Chocolat should be like. It had oozing dark chocolate in the middle and the pastry was golden and you could taste the butter. Since then I haven’t had any that have lived up to that first one. The Gympie Cultured Butter/Cheese stall does come close but isn’t what I would say perfect.

When I first started this post, I certainly hadn’t planned on writing the last three paragraphs! I had planned to show a photo and a little text.

Sunday Breakfast

A cup of tea or two (tea bag saved for that purpose) and a Pain au Chocolat which I ‘”refreshed” by running a little water over the top of it and placing it in the microwave on medium for about a minute. Worked quite well.

Now I’m off to the Art Gallery with Mum and then to The Farm to see Grandad.

Christmas Truffles

I’m moving house in a week today and one of the things I hope to have done by then is to have finished blogging about Christmas 2008. So here is another post to bring me a little step closer to the end of the 2008 Christmas Extravaganza.

I have wanted to make chocolate truffles for quite a while now and on more than one occasion I have brought cream with the intention of making truffles but ended up using it for something else.

For Christmas I made two types, the first where Peppermint Dark Chocolate and the second where White Rum, White Chocolate. They were rolled in a mixture of toppings, crushed Candy Canes (any idea how hard that is?), coconut, cocoa and sprinkles. I was not 100% happy with how they turned out so I won’t be sharing a recipe but here is a link to a search on FoodBlogSearch where I got my basic recipe from. My main problem was getting the consistency right and looking back now, I can also tell you that the Brisbane weather might have a little bit to do with it as well.

The truffles were rolled over two sessions. The night that I made the mixtures Karl and Matthew came over for a little gathering. We tasted one of Karl’s beers that he brought with him. By far the best tasting beer I have ever had, if I could get a case of it I would. We sampled different liqueurs and port with ice-cream and then we rolled truffles and we rolled till the mixture warmed up too much and the table warmed up as well.

When it comes to crushing candy canes, let me tell you the following things do not work; using the end of a rolling pin and a soufflé dish as a make do mortar and pestle, placing them in a plastic bag and whacking them with a rolling pin or placing the bag between chopping boards and whacking the top board, trying to grate them. I ended up chop, chop, chopping the candy canes till I had the pieces reasonably small enough to coat the truffles in. My “fun” crushing the candy canes resulted in Matthew buying me a nice beastly mortar and pestle for Christmas 🙂 What lovely brothers I have.

The next truffle rolling session was the day that we picked Erica and Ash up from the airport. Having learnt our lessons we knew how to roll them now and Mum’s house has air-con which made it a bit easier to roll them 😀

The following photos were taken by Mum.
candy canes!
Helen making truffles
Rolling truffles
and this is how we roll

They were a lot of hard work but oh my they were pretty tasty and they do look pretty!
Christmas Truffles

FYI for the future though. Crushed candy canes absorb moisture from anything and turn into liquid candy canes. Eat them shortly after making them.

I’m thinking that this year truffles will be made for winter celebrations not Christmas!

Also you can read Karl’s account of the truffle adventure here – Food, truffles, sausages and possums

And speaking of Candy Canes, here are photos of the girls with candy canes they were given by the Station Master at Albion train station. Anna, the girls and I went into the city before Christmas to do some shopping and check out my office – the idea was to look at the view but I think they had more fun having their height and weight measured by one of the nurses who is my work mum #1 (I have two work mums at work :D) and listening to everyone gush at how cute they were. 😀

Wedding Morning Tea Cakes

Wedding Morning Tea Cakes

One of the ladies in Mum’s staffroom is getting married this weekend, so I made some suitably simply elegant cupcakes for the staffroom morning tea.

The chocolate cake recipe is from The Australian Woman’s Weekly cupcakes book

Double Chocolate Mud Cake
60g dark chocolate coarsely chopped
160ml water
90g butter, softened
220g soft brown sugar
2 eggs
100g SR flour
2 tbsp cocoa
40g almond meal

Preheat oven to 170°C (150°C fan forced). Line a standard 12 hole muffin tin with patty pans.
In a double boiler melt the chocolate in the water, stirring till smooth. Cream the butter and sugar, beat in the eggs. Sift in the remaining dry ingredients and the chocolate mixture, stirring till smooth. That is it. Then it is just a matter of dividing the mixture evenly between the 12 pans (I used a pastry bag as the mixture is quite runny) and cook for about 20 minutes.

Once they are cooled it is time to decorate.
I warmed some blackberry jam to use as the “glue” and coloured the white fondant to a very pale pink. On a well dusted silicone mat, I rolled the fondant out nice and thin, then pressed a Fiskars Texture Plate into the fondant to make it “all pretty” on top.

Place in a container and every so often open the lid a fraction and inhale the chocolate. Or you could just eat one 🙂

Chocolate Topped Baked Cheesecake

Last Friday one of the girls at work had a birthday, so I baked a cake. A cheesecake, just like the one we always make. Though this time I added some chocolate to it 🙂 It went down oh so very well, so well in fact that one of the nurses made it the next day for a gathering.

Chocolate topped baked cheesecake, 39/366

Crumb Base
1 250g packet scotch fingers
bit of all spice
50g butter/marg
50g copha
2 tbsps or so of cocoa if desired

Melt the butter/marg and copha together.
Crumb scotch fingers till they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Stir through the all spice and cocoa if using. Stir in the melted fat mixture. The mixture of dairy and vegetable fat is used to give a better “crumb” and how it holds together. Press in to the bottom (and sides if desired) of a greased 20cm spring form pan (line the bottom with foil) and chill in the fridge whilst making the filling.

500g cream cheese
bit of lemon juice
bit of vanilla
4 eggs
2/3C sugar

Cream the cream cheese till smooth. Add in the vanilla and lemon juice. Beat in the sugar till smooth and then beat in eggs one at a time till mixture is smooth. Pour on top of the base and cook in 160deg oven for 40 mins or until cooked. Run knife round edge of spring form pan and cool overnight.

idea very loved from Smitten Kitchen
50g butter
100g+ chocolate – dark or Cadbury Energy or Lindt 70% etc – Mix it up with a few different chocolates, increase the flavour or use up those half used blocks…
2 tsp honey
You could also very easily add some flavours here such as peppermint extract, mmmm.

Melt all ingredients together in a bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Pour over top of cooled cheesecake and place in fridge for 30mins to set the chocolate topping.

When cutting this cake (due to the chocolate topping) if you want a clean cut you must dip the knife in a glass of hot water after each and every cut.

In the kitchen just after it came out of the oven.
in the kitchen, 38/366