30 May 2012

Sutton's Farm - Apple Picking

It's been busy for me lately with work, weddings and other social events leaving me little time for myself. However on a recent trip to Warwick (when I say recent I mean back in April) I had some spare time with the boy to go and explore the local apple orchards just north of Stanthorpe. I have been wanting to go apple picking for a while now, I enjoy the idea of seeing where exactly my food has come from. Sutton's Farm is across the road from the big apple which is on the highway south of Warwick and just north of Stanthorpe.







 We made our way through the shop and cafe out into the orchard where we were told that pink ladies were in season for the picking. It was a real eye opener to find not all of the apples to be perfectly ripe and shiny like you would find in your local woolworths or coles supermarket. It was also unreal when thinking of this distorted view on fresh fruit how much must actually go to waste. I guess this just made it clear to me how far from real my view of fresh fruit and vegetables was.



I was happy to know that all the apples that weren't perfect enough to go home with me were made into fresh apple juice and cider. We picked a couple bottles of juice, I enjoyed the apple with fresh ginger, as well as some apple butter which we found later to be perfect atop toasted Turkish bread, pork chops or mixed into your mashed potatoes. If you have time make sure you stop in and try their apple pie, it is unreal packed full of fresh apples. The apples that we did bring home were so much sweeter and full of flavour as opposed to the ones you would pick up from your local super market. I feel I will be attempting to purchase our fruit and veggies from the local farmers markets rather than our local Coles or Woolworths from now on. I will no longer be afraid to pick up that apple or tomato with the slight blemish either!
I'm excited to share with you what I baked with these sweet yet tart pink lady apples!


29 May 2012

forkmyfood 1st birthday give away

Forkmyfood's 1st birthday is coming up next month and to celebrate I thought I would do a bit of a biscuit give away. 
The winner will receive a batch of cookies of their choice from the following options which are:












   
To participate please see the details on my Facebook page

Conditions of entry, you can only enter once, you have to 'like' forkmyfood's facebook page and you must live in Australia as express post next day postage probably won't work to well if you live in another country. 
The give away entry date ends on June the 9th (forkmyfood's birthday) so make sure you enter before then!

25 May 2012

blog make over - Emily Nelson

As some of you have noticed my blog has been looking a little more colourful lately. It's first birthday is coming up and I thought I would treat it to a bit of a make over before the big day! 


Miss Emily Nelson is the artist behind my gorgeous new header! I first came across her artwork when I noticed she was a fan of my blog. I thoroughly enjoyed the delicate watercolours and organic tones that she used in her artwork. I also thoroughly enjoy checking out her weekly blog posts that include not only her most recent adventures, but also other arty finds and much to my delight her delicious food experiences! 



Her Dawn Tan inspired illustrations are what drew me in and convinced me to ask for her input on making my blog look more pretty. Especially the ones done in THIS POST. So Thank You Emily as I think that you have done just that! 



Have a peak at her:

All artwork on this post is by Emily Nelson Art


20 May 2012

rum and date cake with caramel sauce

The ongoing joke in our family is that Mum has always been a little bit heavy handed on the booze when it comes to adding it to food, a trait that she picked up from her mother, Nanni. Her trifle is one example where sherry is slightly over used in food, you could also say that her spag bol enjoys a little to much red wine as well. While making this cake for Mum on Mother's Day it was made clear that I am following in my Mother's foot steps and I do agree that a touch of booze, if used appropriately of course, can make all food goods just that little richer and more satisfying. Love you Mum!










This cake is a gorgeous boozy variation on your typical sticky date cake with caramel sauce. It is of course better warmed the next day when the sauce has had time to soak into it.




Rum and Date Cake with Caramel Sauce


recipe from April/May Issue of Donna Hay Magazine 2012


Ingredients

1 1/2 cups fresh dates, chopped
1/2 cup prunes, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup rum
1 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1 1/2 cups SR flour
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
225g butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
6 eggs

caramel sauce
100g butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup golden syrup
1 cup cream
1/4 cup rum

Preheat oven to 160c. Place dates, prunes, raisins, boiling water, rum and bicarb soda in the bowl of a small food processor and set aside for 10mins. Process the date mixture until smooth and set aside.
Place the flour and sugar in a bowl and mix to combine. Add the butter, vanilla, eggs and date mixture and mix to combine. Now the recipe asks you to put the batter into a well greased 3.5 litre capacity Bundt tin and bake for 60mins. However I did not have one of these, so I halved the batter and put one half into a ring pan and the other into a loaf tin. I put both cakes into the oven at the same time and baked for approx 45mins. Allow to cool in tin for 10mins before turning onto a wire rack and cooling completely. 
To make the caramel sauce place all of the sauce ingredients into a saucepan over a medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for a further 10mins. Allow the sauce to cool, this is important so I thickens and clings to your cakes, before pouring over the cake and serving immediately with vanilla icecream. 


16 May 2012

fork my food from the shoot

It took me a few weeks to actually decide on what I was going to cook for this photo shoot. I knew I wanted a cake with multiple layers and some cute cupcakes with brightly coloured icing straight away. I had the idea of covering the gorgeous Chocolate Tart I made last year with raspberries and some fancy shaped cookies with bright icing or sugar to finish off the feast. With a little consultation with Charli I knew we had come up with the perfect mix. So here is where I gathered my food inspiration from for the shoot and where to find the recipes if you wanted to bake any of these gorgeous goodies for yourself.



The Raspberry Coconut Cupcakes have been the biggest hit with Josh and my family. I baked a batch for Valentines day and they satisfied on every level. For the shoot I wanted to use an icing that kept for a long time but that was also easy to make visually appealing. Our Best Bites helped out with their Perfect Cupcake Frosting. This icing is smooth and light and surprisingly holds its shape very well, it's also dangerous as it's not sickly sweet like other icings.




The "Queen of Hearts Tart" is a beautiful celebration of summer berries. It contained raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and cherries. I baked a Sweet Shortcrust Pastry case, filled it with vanilla cream (fresh cream with 1 tbsp of caster sugar and 1tsp vanilla extract whipped to soft peaks) and topped with the berries. Simple, delicious and fresh dessert that not only looks great but smells amazing like a strawberry patch!




The Sugar Cookies brought back memories of the time that I spent in the USA. It was very common to come across "sugar cookies" covered in coloured sugar. I made some pink sugar by mixing sugar and a few drops of food colouring together until it reached the colour I wanted. This Star Cookie recipe from the Donna Hay website topped with coloured sugar will give you some cookies that you will only need one of to satisfy your sugar craving with!



Finally what you have all been waiting for the Rainbow Layer Cake. The recipe for this cake is from the Whisk Kid which you will have to check out for some ridiculously delicious baked goods. This cake, I must say, although visually appealing contains such a large amount of butter and sugar that make me sick just thinking about it! Although it looks complex it is quite simple to make. I recommend any one who feels they could stomach almost 1kg of butter in the cake as well as frosting to give this a try. 



8 May 2012

rainbow layer cake? MeOhMy!!

Recently I had the opportunity to collaborate with the amazing fashion blogger MeOhMy and some gorgeous kids from Mirror Mirror agencies to showcase not only my food but Charlie's awesome styling skills (give her blog a sneak peak, she is such a sassy dame!)













Charlie and the girls sported some gorgeous pieces from the local labels of  Lady Petrova and Cameo, with hair styles to match the Alice like feel of the shoot, styled by the very talented artists at Tognini's, and not to mention the unreal make up from MUA Nicole Carney (an old fan of my cooking).










Without the skills of photographer Rhys and coordination from Neese Gill, this shoot wouldn't have turned out as amazing as it has!

Models: Elana Wilson - Mirror Mirror Agencies
Arkie Barton - Mirror Mirror Agencies
Photography: Rhys Loss - Moustache Magazine
Shoot Coordinators - MeOhMy and Neese Gill
Styling: MeOhMy

Stay tuned as I will be sharing the gorgeous recipes for all the food featured in the shoot!!

7 May 2012

chocolate hazelnut cake - gluten free

Josh has always had an obsession with Nutella. After seeing fizzle out's home made healthy Nutella I had Nutella on the brain, so when I saw this chocolate hazelnut cake I thought it fit the description of a "Nutella cake". 
I've also been on the hunt for gluten free cakes and this cake made on hazelnut meal is a beautiful gluten free option.

 









Chocolate Hazelnut Cake - Gluten Free


ingredients

150g butter
150g dark chocolate
5 eggs, separated
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 cups hazelnut meal
1/3 cup dessicated coconut
1/3 cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped coarsely

Chocolate Ganache
1/3 cup thickened cream
100g dark chocolate, chopped finely


Preheat oven to 160c. Grease and line a cake tin with baking paper.
Combine butter and chocolate in a small saucepan, stir over a low heat until smooth, cool for 10mins. 
Beat egg whites in a small bowl until they have formed stiff peaks and set aside. 
In a separate bowl beat egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale, beat in the chocolate mixture. Fold the hazelnut meal and coconut into the chocolate mixture, then gently fold in the egg white in two batches. 
Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and bake for approx 1 1/2 hours. Cool the cake in the pan before turning out and topping with the chocolate ganache and roasted hazelnuts.
Chocolate ganache: Bring cream to the boil in a small saucepan, remove from heat before adding the chocolate and stirring until smooth. 

This cake is beautifully rich and moist and enjoyed best warm accompanied with cream or vanilla ice cream.