Hauntingly Horrible

In honour of Halloween, I’ll share a recipe that to be honest, went all kinds of wrong.

I showed a picture to a colleague who was upset her cookies weren’t pretty enough….They made her feel a lot better.

My husband and another friend both suggested I call them Halloween Cookies or something similiar. These are, the ugliest cookies, I’ve ever had the priviledge (?) of baking.

So ugly, that the particulars of the recipe are best forgotten. It was however, the last of the strawberries. Lets all move on.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

 

Waffle I do?

I still had jam left over. And trying not to waste my very expensive, foolishly purchased strawberries I decided to make something for breakfast the next morning to help use them.

I don't have a waffle pan. Its a dangerous thing, waffle pans….it encourages you to eat more waffles.

I do have a griddle pan. And Jamie Oliver, has a griddle pan waffle recipe.

Winning.

Griddle Pan Waffles

I would suggest you jump straight over here to view the recipe: Jamie Oliver Griddle Pan Waffles

I enlisted the help of my hubby to do the flipping, because its a bit tricky to flip as one giant piece, and I may or may not have forgotten to add the melted butter. Maybe. I'm admitting to nothing. I also had my stovetop to hot, hence the somewhat blackened centre. Nevermind.

My first waffle had bacon, eggs and maple syrup, which was delicious. The next one used up the left over jam with a little scoop of yoghurt. Both ways worked really well.

 

 

Strawberry Fields

We had a long weekend recently in Brisbane, which felt disjointed because hubby worked the Saturday, and I worked the Monday. My sister was away on a beach holiday and I had a day with which to work out how to run solo, without spending the entire thing at home.

So I ventured out, on foot, to a recently started local market. It was a little to warm honestly for the 7.5km round trip, but, thankfully no birdlife swooped me on the way.

Hot, sweaty and very thirsty (hydration Cookie, when will you learn?) my first purchase was a Virgin Mojito Ice Tea. Over a week later and I'm still thinking about it……mmm…..mojito…..and I can't be sure if I loved it, because it was awesome, or because I was hot and thirsty and it was full of ice!

It was a harder choice on the food front, when my head kept saying 'yeah, but I could make that' and I finally convinced myself on a lemon slice for comparative purposes. And yeah, I should have made that! I did cave and buy some churros in a cup…..because in all honesty, deep frying scares the bejesus outta me.

Then came the most foolish purchase. Absolute folly. 2kgs of fresh strawberries. Why? They smelt amazing, cost more than I should have paid, but the smell was just hypnotising. After 40mins jammed in my backpack on a hot day though, they were a bit squished.

So, what do you do with 2kgs of 'a bit squished' strawberries? Well, you cook with them of course.

Strawberry Sillyness Part 1 – Jam

While flicking through some recipe magazines I came across a quick strawberry jam recipe. Perfect for using up the very squished strawberries.

from Donna Hay magazine, Issue 71 page 122

Ingredients

  • 500g strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (the recipe was for white, but I used what I had to hand).

Method

Heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the strawberries, sugar, vanilla bean paste and stir until the strawberries start to soften and release liquid. Bring to the boil and cook, stirring, occassionally, for 14-18 minutes or until thickened.

Add the vinegar, and stir well to combine. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool completely. Refigerate until cold.

 

Of course, that left me with the 'what do I do with strawberry jam' question. I made a cake. Yes, how predictable.

My First Chocolate Sponge Layer Cake

This is also from the same Donna Hay magazine, same page even, but instead of pairing my jam with a classic Victoria sponge, I picked the chocolate sponge from the next recipe because…..well….'Chocolate?'. Need I say more?

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (75g) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Lightly grease 2x20cm round shallow cake tins and line them with non-stick baking paper.

Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa three times and aside. I did this three times. I'll be honest, I don't know why. Next time I won't and we'll see if it makes a diference.

Place the eggs and sugar in an electric mixer and whisk on high speed for 12-15minutes or until pale, thick and tripled in volume. Sift half the flour mixture over the egg mixture and using a large metal spoon, gently fold to combine. Repeat with the remaining flour. Add the butter and fold to combine. Divide the mixture between the tins and gently spread the mixture evenly with a palette knife.

Bake for 14-18minutes or until the sponges are springy to the touch and come away from the sides of the tins. Remove the cakes from the tins and cool completely on wire racks.

 

At this point, I was worried that the jam and chocolate sponge needed something else….something perhaps like…..

Chocolate Rum Liqueur Buttercream

Because if we're in for a penny, we should be in for a pound. Right?

adapted from Marianne Hudsons 'cupcakes' recipe on page 96

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons chocolate rum liqueur. I used the Bundeberg Rum one, because my husband brought an ENTIRE CARTOON of the stuff.
  • 1 cup confectioners'/icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

Method

Combine all the topping ingredients in your electic mixer and whisk until combined, and as fluffy as you can get it.

 

So now we have one hell of a triumphant looking chocolate, strawberry cake with a layer of buttercream and jam between the sponge, and another layer of both up top. Delicious.

 

 

 

Hansel?

For my brother-in-laws party, I wanted to surprise him with a Linzertorte. Given its an Oktoberfest themed party (yes, I wore dirndl!) and he is super proud of his Austrian ancestry I thought the Austrian dessert would be a great bet.

Plus I was hoping to impress his Austrian Chef Dad, who is a big sweetie.

I went for a slightly tweaked version, substituting gingerbread pastry instead of the hazelnut version that's more traditional. I thought that would give me some breathing space if it wasn't right too. Sneaky.

The Linzertorte disappeared with satisfying speed. There is absolutely nothing more gratifying than when something you've made is devoured by the people you made it for. And judging by their responses, I'll be making this one again.

Gingerbread Linzertorte

From Martha Stewart, Pies & Tarts

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup treacle
  • 2 large egg yolks, plus 1 large egg white for egg wash
  • 1 1/4 cups good raspberry jam

Method

Sift flour, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, pepper and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add sugar and mix on a medium-low speed until combined. Add butter, and mix until combined, about 2 minutes. Add treacle and egg yolks, then mix until the dough just comes together.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out two-thirds of the dough into a 12-inch round about 1/4 inch thick. Fit into a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom (I had buttered mine). Spread jam over the shell and refrigerate for 30mins.

Roll out the remaining dough between lightly floured pieces of parchment until its 1/4 inch thick. I then cut out stars with my handy cutter until I'd pretty much used up all the dough. As you cut them out carefully transfer them to a piece of parchment on a baking tray. Then pop in the fridge for 30mins.

Lightly beat egg white, brush the rim of the tart shell. Carefully decorate the top with the gingerbread stars. Refrigerate again for about 30mins.

Preheat the oven to 190C. Transfer tart to a rimmed baking sheet (I used a pizza tray). Bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, 50mins to 1 hour. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Remove from tin, and cut into slices of whatever size you fancy!!