Monday, 19 December 2011

I'm back! (So what did become of THAT cake?)

Caramel Chocolate Cake Cheesecake
Now THIS is a cake!
Yes, I am back. I daresay anyone who would have read my last post would have assumed I had completely thrown in the towel and disappeared into the ether. To tell you the truth, the main reason I haven't been around is my photos. Not the quality (let's face it, I'm never going to be a blogger who people follow just for the photos) but because my computer hard drive was full and I couldn't load them from my camera onto my computer. And then I got busy. And then I kind of forgot. But I realised, I was actually kind of missing writing about my cooking, and I was still taking (slightly dodgy) photos, so now I am back!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Not a good day in the kitchen

Sometimes baking really sucks. I mean, head-in-your-hands-want-to-kick-the-oven-wondering-why-you-bothered sucks. In my case it's compounded by the fact that my catastrophe is meant to be my sister's birthday cake and is something that I have been planning for about a month, so it's really frustrating when I make silly, basic mistakes in the first stage (I'm still resisting the urge to bang my head against the wall).

Tonight I cooked the first part of the cake (that's right - there are multiple parts to this cake, can you see why I was so excited?) And it should've been the easy part - Cheesecake! A recipe I have not only cooked a number of times, but am comfortable cooking (and their aren't many of those). The problem was that I was trying to get it in the oven during the ads of Masterchef (I know, how tragic). In my haste I didn't get all the cream cheese completely smooth, something I didn't notice until I had added the eggs. So I was faced with a tough choice - leave the lumps in the mixture, or try to beat them out?

Let's move onto mistake number two, shall we? Yep, I decided to beat them out. Not only did it not work, but I managed to incorporate a whole heap of air into the mixture. I tapped the bowl like crazy but the mixture stayed thicker than normal and I just couldn't get the bubbles out. Unfortunately the damage was done so I just had to soldier on.

Unfortunately it didn't end there (can you see why I was so intent on the head banging?) - I then overcooked the cheesecakes. I had to split the mixture into two pans for the recipe, so I reduced the one hour cooking time to 40 minutes, but I didn't reduce it enough. When I checked on the cheesecakes there was no wobble in the middle and the top had already started to crack. An hour later, and despite the slightly open oven door, the small cracks had widened to ravines. I have never cooked a worse cheesecake, ever. I almost cried.

So now I have a dilemma: do I continue onwards with the recipe and hope for the best, or do I start again? Hmmmm... at the moment I'm not quite sure. Maybe when I'm not so cranky tomorrow I might be able to make a decision. Hopefully I'll manage to put a cake together for my sister's party.

What is your worst baking disaster? Did you manage to fix it?

Monday, 20 June 2011

Lemon Polenta Cake

Lemon Polenta Cake 2

In case you haven't noticed, I love to bake. If I could justify it I would bake a cake or a slice or biscuits everyday, but unfortunately those pesky fat and sugar do-gooders in my head keep reminding me that as a mum I really need to be serving mostly healthy-ish food to my family and so my poor KitchenAid stands quiet for most of the week. But I am always looking for an excuse to bake. A dinner invite, wonderful, can I bring dessert? Congratulations on the new job, have some biscuits! Thanks for knocking on my door - here's a cake! (Okay, I'm not quite that bad but I think you get the idea). So when we received an impromptu invite to dinner at my parents' house I instantly offered to make dessert.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Friday Baking and Passionfruit Curd Cupcakes


My mum and I bake on Fridays. It's something I look forward to every week, not only because it's a really good excuse to try a new recipe every week, but once my boys go down for their naps we have some really good chats and, dare I say it, adult time (I know, what am I thinking wanting time for myself? haha).

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Happy Birthday to ME!! {Tim Tam Cake}

Tim Tam Cake 5
Before everything started to go pear shaped...

It was my birthday last week (Hip Hip Hooray for me!) so I decided to make a cake that I've had my eye on for ages. Now, don't worry, I didn't make my own birthday cake because I was neglected by Mr P. - I actually had to convince everyone that I was really looking forward making it so they wouldn't stop me. I don't get to bake special cakes all that often, so I will jump on any excuse or opportunity.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Creamy Chicken Pasta and Cheesy Vegies

... but not together!

Creamy chicken pasta
Creamy Chicken Pasta

The other night I had great plans to cook Nigella's Tarragon Chicken, but I had unfortunately forgotten to buy half the ingredients. So, what was I to do with half defrosted chicken breast and an open bottle of cooking cream? Throw something together from my vast culinary knowledge of course (I can hear those sniggers - I can dream!!)

Sunday, 15 May 2011

(My Very Own) Savoury Mince

Savoury Mince

Grocery shopping with a toddler and a ten month old is difficult, as any mother of young children will tell you. While I used to enjoy getting out to the supermarket with my eldest it's a logistical nightmare now. I can't fit enough items in the pram and double seated trolleys are an endangered species. So I have to wait until Mr P. is around, but then I find it all too easy to put off this chore because, really, I have better things to do on the weekend, you know? But invariably that means that I get to the start of another week and there is hardly anything in the cupboard for dinner, and so the scrounge begins!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Jam and Chocolate Doughnut Muffins

Jam/Chocolate Doughnut Muffins

I don't like doughnuts. For some reason they give me this funny feeling in my throat (except for Krispy Kremes, something to do with their being baked first, perhaps). So it seems strange that this recipe from should get me so excited. Maybe I like the IDEA of doughnuts. I mean, they're sweet, sugary and fried - how could I not like them? Whatever the reason, when I first came across this recipe I couldn't wait to make them. They just looked so darn good!

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Honey Soy Chicken Wings with Potato Bake (and Salad)

Chicken Wings and Potato Bake
Ummm, yeah, so I forgot to add the salad for the picture. 
And the potato bake kind of fell off the server - but it tastes great!

After yesterday's mammoth post today is going to be short and... well, not sweet. Short and savoury, in fact.

No chocolate today, I promise!!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

After two baptisms and a birthday party, I thought I had finally started to get the hang of this catering-for-a-huge-group-of-people-thing (at least to the point where I might, possibly, be able to leave the kitchen for half an hour) when the birthday cake flopped. Suddenly, my carefully made plans, which involved an easy to prepare menu, were sabotaged by a new chocolate cake recipe which produced, well, not chocolate cake. More like a dark brown, stodgy... mess. Suddenly I was faced with having to make the cake from scratch (including the decorating) before the guests arrived at noon. All I can say is, thank you Julie Goodwin!

Monday, 9 May 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Cake Truffles

I baked a big ol' chocolate cake on Friday (post to follow) but had to cut quite a bit of cake off to get the top flat. So, when I was trying to work out what to give my sons' Godmothers for Mother's Day, I instantly thought of cake pops! If you haven't seen these adorable creations which were first created by the wonderful Bakerella (have I mentioned how much I love her?), you have to check them out right now! They are cuter than cute. Basically, they are balls of cake and frosting, coated in chocolate, on sticks. Except way better. Instead of putting them on sticks, though, I decided to use a heart shapes silicon candy mould that I've had in the cupboard for years to make (wait for it...) cake truffles!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Choc Chip Cookie Dough Brownies - Oh My!


Brownies are pretty much the only baked good that I can make which a) doesn't stress me out, and b) reliably brings on lots of "ooooh" and "aaaah" comments when I serve them. Well, except for the time I thought I'd be clever and use Rolo chocolate and the caramel made the chocolate seize (that's what I'm blaming anyway). They were still edible though, so it wasn't a complete disaster.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

(Almost authentic) Whoopie pies


I'm a sucker for original, authentic recipes. I think its the inner conformist in me - I have to use the 'right' recipe. But, of course, when it comes to baking there are so so SOOO many versions of everything that it is hard to work out what is 'authentic' anyway. I keep telling myself that its okay, as long as the recipe tastes good, but it doesn't stop me from doing a whole heap of googling everytime I want to try something new.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

It's a scary (blogging) world out there...

Well, I finally did it. I got myself a blog. We'll see how this goes... hopefully I'll last longer than a week.

A couple of years ago my kitchen expertise extended to toast and the occasional packet cake mix (but not icing). Browning mince stressed me out and I couldn't boil an egg (well, I could boil it but I had no idea when to pull it out). Then I became a stay at home mum and decided it wasn't fair to keep expecting Mr. P. to keep cooking dinner after work. Cue Masterchef and suddenly I had a new and rather unexpected interest in cooking. I'm definitely better in the kitchen now but I have a long way to go (those eggs still give me trouble).

I've been addicted to reading blogs for a while now and I love how much I have learned just by reading about other people's adventures in the kitchen. So I'm starting a cooking blog to hopefully learn as much as I possibly can, and have some fun along the way. Let's see where this road leads, shall we? Hopefully it won't be as scary as I think.
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