28 February 2013

flame tree cupcake drive

The beautiful Lauren of Flame Tree Bakery had her cupcake drive last week and I was fortunate enough to take some snaps of her delicious cupcakes. I was also lucky enough to sample what she had for sale. Over the past month Lauren has run a Pie Drive, Cupcake Drive and this week a Macaron Drive to boost sales at her independently run business. If you are craving macarons be sure to put an order in as this week is all about those beautiful biscuits that give that desirable crunch on the outside followed by your teeth sinking through the center before they melt in your mouth. 

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Malted Milk and Cookie Dough Cupcakes

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Turkish Delight Cupcakes

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This shoot was so much fun! The glowing milk bottles and the bubbling lemon lime and bitters were particularly eye catching. Not to mention how impressed I was with Lauren's tea cup collection, they just had to be mentioned! 
My favourite cupcakes were the banana caramel, yum!! 

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Caramel Banana Cupcakes

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Lemon Lime & Bitters Cupcakes

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If you missed out on Lauren's baking drives don't worry, you are able to order these goodies from her any time you like. Make sure you keep her in mind for you're friend's birthday, kitchen tea, baby shower, wedding, anniversary, tea party or even just to satisfy your sweet craving. She only requires a day's notice for her more basic cupcake or pie orders but to avoid disappointment be sure to give her your requests in advance.

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Have a look here for some more photographs of the delicious food she can produce and a bit more of  Flame Tree's history. 

Check out her:



16 February 2013

spinach and feta pie



When in Greece I was amazed by the gorgeous views, the culture and especially, no surprise, the food. 
Spanakopita a Greek spinach and feta pie was all I could think of when I tried this reciepe. It took me right back to that tiny village sitting at a long table at quiet a cafe in a court yard with grape vines weaved up lattice work accompanied by a Greek salad of tomatoes, feta, olives and an unbelievably light olive oil which were staples with every meal.
I have so many food memories associated with different places I have visited around the world that I strive to recreate in my own kitchen. What is your favourite food memory?


 
 
 


Spinach and Feta Pie

recipe from Jamie's 30 Minute Meals

Ingredients

100g pinenuts
5 eggs
300g feta cheese
50g grated chedder cheese
1 lemon
a knob of butter
400g baby spinach
 12 sheets of filo pastry
1 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsp ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 200c. Toast pine nuts in a medium oven proof frying pan until golden brown, set pine nuts aside. Return the empty frying pan to the heat, add a lug of olive oil and a knob of butter and the spinach mixing occasionally until wilted. Combine eggs, crumbled feta, cheddar cheese, the zest of 1 lemon and a lug of olive oil in a large bowl. Stir in the toasted pine nuts, nutmeg and wilted spinach to the egg mixture until well combined. Wipe the frying pan clean with a paper towel.

Scrunch up an approx 50cm piece of baking paper then lay out flat on the bench before drizzling with olive oil. Lay 4 sheets of filo pasty on the paper in a large rectangle over lapping the edges in the middle so that they almost cover all the paper. Brush the pasty with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika, repeat until you have 3 layers. Carefully move the paper and filo into the empty pan so that the edges spill over, push it down into the sides of the pan then pour in the egg mixture and spread out evenly. Fold the filo sheets over the top of the mixture and let them rest where they fall on the top. Return the pan to a medium heat for a couple of minutes to begin cooking the bottom before adding to the oven and baking for 20mins or until golden brown.

7 February 2013

almond biscotti

I bought Josh a coffee machine for Christmas. We regularly visit different coffee bean suppliers to sample the different roasts and beans. Our current favourites are Java Imports Organic Mexican and Montville Coffee Sunshine Coast Blend. I also am quite partial to the milk frother on the machine. It is perfect for a nice milky hot chocolate. When Josh has a coffee for morning or afternoon tea a crisp piece of almond biscotti goes perfectly. The lightly toasted almonds in a lightly golden twice biscuit are enough of a treat to enjoy without feeling to guilty. Almond bread is also super simple with only 4 ingredients.


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almond biscotti

ingredients

3 egg whites
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup almond kernals

Preheat oven to 180c. Line a loaf pan with baking paper. 
Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar beating until dissolved between additions. Fold sifted flour and nuts into egg white mixture then spread into pan. Bake for around 30mins. 
Cool bread in pan, remove from pan wrap in foil and leave to stand overnight.
Preheat oven to 150c. Using a serrated knife cut the bread into wafer thin slices. Place slices in a single layer onto ungreased oven trays. Bake for around 45mins or until dry, lightly browned and crisp. 

1 February 2013

mushroom, blue cheese & walnut tart

I am a fan of savoury tarts and quiches. I am surprised to see when reflecting on past posts that I haven't as yet shared a recipe for short crust pastry. There was a period of a couple of months where quiche lorraine was on the menu every week. This pastry is delicious and no fail.

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 If you haven't made short crust pasty before it is all about keeping it cool. The cooler the pastry case when you start baking the more delicate and crumbly it will be. You will find it is much easier to work with when it is cold. It is also important to blind bake your pastry to ensure that it maintains its shape and doesn't shrink down the edges of the tart tin. This recipe is influenced by a tart I found in the Coles recipe magazine. It is a delicious combination of savoury flavours. I recommend enjoying this with a glass of Jameson's Irish Whiskey, the blue cheese and mushrooms in the tart give the whiskey an almost sweet flavour. 
What is your favourite savory tart??

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mushroom, blue cheese and walnut tart

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, finely diced
300g sour cream
1/2 cup parmesan
1/2 cup walnuts
1 tbsp chives
50g butter
200g brown mushrooms
100g soft blue cheese (i like castello blue cheese)
50g rocket

short crust pastry

1 3/4 plain flour
150g cold butter, chopped coarsely
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup iced water

Sift flour into food processor, add butter and process until resembling fine bread crumbs. Add egg yolk and water and process until dough comes together into a ball. Shape into a flat disk, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerator for 30mins. Preheat oven to 180c. Roll pastry between two sheets of baking paper until large enough to line a rectangular tart tin. Lift the pastry into the tin gently pressing in before trimming around the edges. Cover with cling wrap and return to fridge for another 30mins. Remove cling wrap before covering the pastry with baking paper and filling with baking weights, dried beans or rice and baking for 10mins. Remove the paper and weights and return to oven and bake for a further 10mins or until golden brown, set aside to cool.

Heat oil in a frying pan, cook shallots for 2-3mins or until softened. Remove from pan and place in a bowl to cool. Stir sour cream, chives, parmesan and shallots together until well combined. Spread cream cheese mixture over pastry and top with 1/3 of the walnuts. Bake for 20mins until filling is set. Melt butter in a frying pan on high, add mushrooms and cook for 3-4mins until golden. Add half of blue cheese to the pan, toss together and spoon over tart. Scatter over remaining walnuts, blue cheese and rocket. Cut into slices and serve immediately. Enjoy!