Category Archives: Dessert

Tiramisu, making everything better

Tiramisu | Gather and Graze

It feels a little self indulgent to prepare a big bowl of Tiramisu, when it’s just for the four of us… on a weeknight no less. But with weather temperatures starting to dip, I really don’t require too much coercing to unleash my indulgent side. Thankfully walks around the lake have recommenced with vigor now that school holidays are over, ensuring those oversized portions of tiramisu don’t rest on my hips any longer than necessary. 😉 Continue reading

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Classic Waffles

Classic Waffles | Gather and Graze

Just when I was really quite sure that I had all the kitchen appliances and gadgets one could possibly need, a conversation one recent Wednesday morning made me decide otherwise. Nancy, who is a Bostonian, spoke rather beautifully about her family tradition of alternating between pancakes and waffles on Sunday mornings. She had me craving a delicious waffle, along with the machine to make them, right there on the spot. Continue reading

Crème Brûlée (and what to do with all those leftover egg whites!)

Crème Brûlée | Gather and Graze

A few weeks ago, I paid good money to eat the worst Crème Brûlée in my life. In retrospect, I should never have ordered it… should have known that it would be ‘average’ at best! Continue reading

Strawberry Cream Baskets

Strawberry Cream Baskets | Gather and Graze

A special dessert, remembered from my childhood… this was one that Mum used to serve on occasions at their very grown-up Dinner Parties. I clearly recall hovering in the kitchen as she made the little baskets, secretly hoping that at least one of them would break or crack as she moulded them into shape, so that I could nibble on the broken bits. Continue reading

Croissant & Raspberry Jam Pudding

Croissant & Raspberry Jam Pudding | Gather and Graze

A pudding so easy that it almost feels like cheating. If you have access to beautiful, buttery, flaky croissants, then the hard work is all done for you and you can expect grand results with this delicious, wintery dessert. I’ve never been overly fond of Bread and Butter Pudding, but this is Bread and Butter Pudding with a difference… one that has converted me for life… evidently, you just need the right type of bread (or croissant)! Continue reading

Australian Apple Crumble with Lemon Myrtle and Wattleseeds

Australian Apple Crumble with Lemon Myrtle and Wattleseeds | Recipe | Gather and Graze

This cold, grey, drizzly autumnal day suggested that the kitchen was the only sensible place for me to be today. With the warmth and aroma that comes from oven-baking, who could possibly argue that this wasn’t the best of ideas? I’d been contemplating a softly scented Apple Crumble with an Aussie twist for a few days now and despite the weather being completely lousy for food photography, it was the perfect Apple Crumble-eating kind of day! Continue reading

Layered Chocolate Pavlova

Layered Chocolate Pavlova | Gather and Graze

So it’s Australia Day tomorrow… and Australia Day simply wouldn’t be Australia Day without a pavlova making it’s way onto the table at some point during the day! A couple of weeks ago… in fact it was on New Years Eve, I decided to make a trial pavlova. It was my first ever layered pavlova and what could be better than chocolate meringue to give a lovely contrast in colours with the whipped cream and red berries! I’ll be making a similar version of this tomorrow to have after our dinner… barbeque’d something it will certainly be… though I’m not too sure what. Come to think of it, prawns might be nice!

You may notice that photos of this cake cut into slices, plated with dainty cake forks by their side, are quietly absent. How wonderful it would be to show you a perfectly sliced cross-section of all those beautiful layers of meringue, cream and berries… stacked up so nice and high! Well… a food bloggers photo shoot doesn’t always work out the way she plans it, does it!? It was all good, ’til I went and stuck the knife in! Hmm… to put it politely… what a DELICIOUS MESS! The family didn’t mind at all, but for the sake of keeping this blog on the prettier side, no further photos were taken. Oh and I’ve decided to keep all future layered pavlovas to the double-decker variety only!

Happy Australia Day!

Layered Chocolate Pavlova | Gather and Graze

  • 4 Free-Range Egg Whites
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 220g/1 Cup Caster Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Cornflour (Sifted)
  • 1 Teaspoon White Vinegar (or Verjuice)
  • 30g/4 Tablespoons (Good Quality) Cocoa Powder (Sifted)
  • 350ml Cream
  • Fresh Red Berries (I used a mixture of Raspberries and sliced Strawberries)

Pre-heat the oven to 150°C and prepare 2 baking trays by lining them with baking paper. You may also wish to draw some circle templates on the paper, to better guarantee that your meringue discs will be the same size.

Place the egg whites and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on high until they come to soft peaks. Continue whisking as you slowly pour in the caster sugar and the mixture will soon come to stiff peaks. With the mixer set to low, now fold through the cornflour, vinegar and cocoa powder. Whisk slowly until completely incorporated.

Scoop out the meringue onto the baking paper into 2 (or 3 if you’re going for the tripe tier!) equal portions and shape into flattish discs of equal diameter. My 3 tiers were about 15cm across each… for a 2 tier cake, I would make them approximately 20cm across.

Place into the oven, reduce the temperature to 120°C immediately and bake for 1 hour. When the hour is up, keep the oven door shut and turn off the oven… leaving the meringue discs inside to completely cool.

Assemble the pavlova (not too far in advance from serving it), by placing a meringue disc on your serving plate, slather on a layer of freshly whipped cream and a scattering of fruit, then sit the other meringue disc on top, more cream and then decorate with an abundance of beautiful fresh berries.

Layered Chocolate Pavlova | Gather and Graze

Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream

Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream | gatherandgraze.com

This week we had some dearly loved friends come to stay with us. For three days, there were 5 beautiful boys (two of them my own…) racing around the backyard. Days filled with chatter,  food, laughter, hugs and a great thankfulness for these special times we get to spend together.

With their impending arrival earlier this week, I thought that a grand idea might be to make some home-made ice cream to serve up in cones for our first dessert together. The recipe to follow is what I made… thankfully everyone else loves raspberries as much as I do! This makes a beautifully fragrant vanilla ice cream which works as a wonderful base for perfuming and flavouring to suit your own tastes. Hard to beat the addition of raspberries, but I’m already contemplating my next batch – hokey pokey maybe… or a simple milk chocolate. Classic family favourites!

I perhaps needed to leave the ice cream sit slightly longer on the bench before scooping it into cones (I’ll admit to being way too impatient in wanting to taste-test this one!), as it had the tiniest bit of frostiness to it. I’ll know better for next time…

Here’s to happy, summer days with friends who we love as much as family! xx

Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream | Gather and Graze

  • Servings: Makes About 1 Litre
  • Print

  • 250ml/1 Cup Cream
  • 650ml/2⅔ Cups Whole Milk
  • 1 Vanilla Bean (split and seeds scraped out)
  • 180g/¾ Cup Raw Caster Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 6 Free-Range Egg Yolks

For the Raspberry Syrup

  • 200g Fresh Raspberries (I used frozen)
  • 60g/¼ Cup Raw Caster Sugar

Place the cream, milk, vanilla bean (seeds and split bean), sugar and salt into a medium-sized saucepan and place on the stove over medium heat. Stir every now and then as it comes barely to a simmer, then remove from the heat.

While the other ingredients are on the heat, place the egg yolks into a small mixing bowl and whisk until pale and thickened slightly.

Ladle in a little of the cream/milk mixture to the egg yolks, being sure to whisk continuously as you do. Continue whisking as you gradually add an extra couple of ladlefuls. Then pour this egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan and return to the stove over medium heat. Whisk continuously until the mixture begins to thicken. A good sign is when it lightly coats the back of a wooden spoon – be sure that you don’t allow it to come to a simmer. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. I sped up this process by sitting the pan in an ice-bath (made by pouring some cold water and ice into the sink).

When it has reached room temperature, place some cling wrap over the top of the mixture and place into the fridge to chill completely (ideally overnight).

Prepare the raspberry syrup by gently heating the raspberries and sugar in a small saucepan until warmed and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and use a stick blender to puree the mixture, then pass it through a sieve (thus removing all seeds) into a small bowl. Place into the fridge to chill overnight as well.

The following day… give the vanilla custard a good whisk to make sure it is smooth and fully incorporated, then churn in an ice cream maker until nice and thick. Scoop half of the mixture into the tub/container you’ll be storing it in, then pour over half of the raspberry syrup. Swirl a little with a spoon, before repeating with a top layer of ice cream and syrup. Place in the freezer to fully set.

Fresh Raspberry Panna Cotta

Fresh Raspberry Panna Cotta | gatherandgraze.com

I’m sure that most of the punnets of raspberries in the shops end up turning mouldy and being tossed out. They usually have such ridiculous price tags attached to them, that I can’t imagine who would be silly enough to buy them, particularly when they’re out of season and look like they’re on their last legs! Quite a tragedy in my opinion… as unfortunately for me they just happen to be my absolute favourite fruit. The perfect balance between sweet and tart… luscious and fragrant… little bites of pure deliciousness.

When I came across these raspberries the other day and noticed that they were half their usual price, I scooped up a couple of punnets in a heartbeat and was on my merry way. They could so easily have been scoffed by yours truly immediately upon exiting the shop, but as you will now see… a number of them were squished and squeezed, others quite shamelessly drowned and the remaining lucky few allowed to adorn the tops of these palest of pink, melt in your mouth Panna Cottas.

Fresh Raspberry Panna Cotta | Gather and Graze

  • 4 Gelatine Leaves (mine are 2g each)
  • 375ml/1½ Cups Pure Cream
  • 125ml/½ Cup Whole Milk
  • 80g/⅓ Cup Caster Sugar
  • 250g/2 Punnets Fresh Raspberries

Soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl filled with cold water for about 5 minutes.

While the gelatine is softening, combine the cream, milk, sugar and 10-12 of the fresh raspberries in a small saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat, squashing the raspberries with a spoon, as you allow the mixture to just come to the boil. When it does, remove from the heat immediately.

Lift the gelatine leaves from the bowl, squeezing out any excess water as you do so. Add them to the cream mixture and stir gently to combine. With a large jug or bowl underneath, pass the mixture through a fine sieve, using a spoon to press down on the berries, pushing through as much colour and flavour as possible.

Pour the panna cotta mixture into 6 individual ramekins (mine are about 150ml/⅔ Cup capacity each). Submerge 2-3 fresh whole raspberries into each ramekin and then place into the fridge for about 3-4 hours to set.

Fresh Raspberry Panna Cotta | gatherandgraze.com

When ready to serve, turn the panna cottas out onto little plates or bowls and serve with a few more fresh raspberries on the side.

Fresh Raspberry Panna Cotta | gatherandgraze.com

Enjoy slowly… savouring every spoonful.

Layered Chocolate Cheesecake – Fiesta Friday #27!

Layered Chocolate Cheesecake | Gather and Graze

It wasn’t easy, but I’ve removed my full-length Ugg Boots that have been firmly entrenched on my feet for the past two months and they’ve been replaced by a rather stylish set of heels. My Dame Edna frock has been donned, hair coiffed and coloured to the most beautiful lilac you’ve ever seen and my face made glamorous by a set of fancy, bejewelled glasses! I look a little something like this…

Dame Edna Everage – “Hello Possums!”

I suspect I’m not the only one going through this (rather absurd) transformation right now… as it’s Fiesta Friday #27 and the wonderful Saucy Gander and I are coming together this week (in fancy dress) to co-host the big party! Yes, Angie, from The Novice Gardener has bravely allowed not one, but TWO Australian girls in to look after her guests and ensure that everyone has a fantastic time.

Now, as you all well know, Australians are generally renowned for their quiet natures and their reluctance to imbibe anything involving alcohol… 😉 However just this once, I’ll partake in a glass (or two) of bubbly with you all and stay up late dancing and chatting until the party-goers get tired and head home!

If you’re a regular at Fiesta Friday, you’ll already know what to do (for the guidelines click here), but for those who’ve not joined the party before, you can easily click on the colourful link just below to add your post (sharing food, photos, experiences… anything at all that has inspired you this week!) Please be sure to link your post to The Novice Gardener (and to Saucy and myself) so that we know when you’ve arrived… then head on over to Fiesta Friday #27 to mix and mingle with all the other friendly folk who have also joined the party!

This really is a great way to gain exposure for your blog and all the hard work that you do. It’s also wonderful how friendships are formed and strengthened with other bloggers through this Fiesta… something truly lovely about getting to know others around the world who share a similar passion for both food and life!

Saucy and I will be around to say hi and to top up your drinks very soon. Cheers, everyone!

This week I’ve decided to bring a little something sweet for dessert… so please grab a plate and a fork and dig in to a slice of my Chocolate on Chocolate Cheesecake. A word of warning – it’s not at all for the faint hearted! 🙂

Layered Chocolate Cheesecake | Gather and Graze

  • 250g Plain Chocolate Biscuits (I used Arnotts Chocolate Ripple)
  • 100g Finely Chopped Almonds (or nuts of your choice)
  • 125g/½ Cup Unsalted Butter (Melted)
  • 200g/1 Cup Milk Chocolate (Chopped)
  • 200g/1 Cup White Chocolate (Chopped)
  • 2 Gelatine Leaves (I used ‘Gold Strength’ which are 2g each)*
  • 300ml Heavy Cream
  • 500g Cream Cheese (Softened)
  • 80g/⅓ Cup Caster Sugar

Grease a 23cm Springform Cake Tin and line the base with parchment paper.

Blitz the chocolate biscuits in a food processor until fine crumbs, then add the chopped nuts and melted butter and stir until the crumbs are well moistened. Tip the mixture into the cake tin and spread evenly to cover the base and half-way up the sides. Set aside in the fridge until required.

Place the gelatine leaves in a bowl with cold water and allow to soften for about 5 minutes.

While the gelatine is softening, place the cream into a small saucepan and heat until it almost reaches the boil. Remove from the heat and stir through the softened gelatine leaves until they have completely dissolved. Set to one side to cool a little.

In two separate small mixing bowls, place the milk chocolate and white chocolate and melt each carefully in the microwave (or over a double-boiler if you prefer – being careful not to allow any water to mix with the chocolate).

In the food processor (or electric mixer) place the softened cream cheese and process/beat until smooth. Add in the sugar and process once again until well combined, before finally adding the cream/gelatine mixture and giving a quick whizz/beat to incorporate.

Stir in half of the cream cheese mixture into the melted milk chocolate and the other half into the melted white chocolate. Stir to combine.

Spread the white chocolate mixture to create an even layer on top of the chocolate biscuit base and place into the freezer for about 10 minutes. Then add the milk chocolate mixture, spreading evenly to create the top layer. Refrigerate the cake for at least 4-6 hours before removing from the tin and serving.

Fresh berries (particularly raspberries) go perfectly with this luxurious chocolate cheesecake

Layered Chocolate Cheesecake | Gather and Graze

 Cooking Notes

  • Feel free to use powdered gelatine in place of the gelatine leaves. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of gelatine over ¼ Cup of cold water and then stir into the cream, before adding to the cream cheese mixture.

* Adapted from a cake seen on ‘My Kitchen Rules’

Self-Saucing Butterscotch Pudding

Self-Saucing Butterscotch Pudding | Gather and Graze

The air has been sweeping off the back of the Snowy Mountains. If only it would snow here, then it might all perhaps seem worthwhile. Instead the chill just eats into you, gnawing away relentlessly until you find your way back indoors. So that’s mostly where I stay… loitering in the kitchen, by the warmth of the oven. The best place to be.

I have a slight hesitation in posting this recipe, knowing that so many of the lovely people who read ‘Gather and Graze’ live in the Northern Hemisphere and are currently basking in full summer. However this is my reality… and I can only really show the winter-warming dishes that are bringing comfort to us, here and now. From my heart though, let me tell you that I’d far prefer to be grilling meat on the bbq and churning ice-cream and sorbets like the best of you! xx

Without further ado, here is a fabulous pudding that has graced our table no less than twice in the past 48 hours. It’s been adapted from a family recipe of a friend of mine. The second time I made this, I decided to reduce the amount of sugar, as well as the amount of sauce that slips through to the bottom of the pudding. Absolutely perfect for this time of year in the Antipodes!

Self-Saucing Butterscotch Pudding | Gather and Graze

  • 150g/1 Cup Self-Raising Flour (sifted)
  • 115g/½ Cup (Raw) Caster Sugar
  • ½ Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 125ml/½ Cup Milk
  • 60g/4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (melted)
  • 2 Tablespoons Golden Syrup
  • 15g/1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • 180ml/¾ Cup Boiling Water

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and grease a 4 cup capacity oven-proof dish (or 4 x 1 cup dishes).

Place the flour, sugar and salt into a mixing bowl and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Pour in the milk and stir briefly until no lumps can be seen.  Then add the melted butter and stir again until the batter is fully incorporated. Scrape this mixture into the oven-proof dish(es) and set aside for a moment while you prepare the sauce.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the golden syrup, butter and boiling water. Stir until the butter has completely melted. Pour this liquid over the top of the pudding batter and then place in the oven. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes (or 25-28 minutes if doing smaller individual puddings) until golden brown on top.

Serve with a generous dollop of double cream, ice-cream or custard…

Self-Saucing Butterscotch Pudding | Gather and Graze

French Apple Frangipane Tart

French Apple Frangipane Tart | Gather and Graze

It has been said that ‘the apple does not fall far from the tree’. My love of baking (and of course eating) cakes, biscuits, desserts and sweets is shared equally by my mother. When I baked this particular dessert a couple of days ago it made me think of her. I know for sure that she would enjoy it… this classic French tart, with perhaps a spoonful of double cream on the side. Continue reading

Roasted Honey and Walnut Figs

Roasted Honey & Walnut Figs | Gather and Graze

For a classic autumn dessert that embraces two stellar seasonal delicacies, this simple yet heart-warming dish is an absolute must. The lemon zest and sea salt work perfectly to create a balance with the sweet succulence of the figs and honey, while the walnuts provide textural crunch and a rich earthiness. This is not so much a recipe, but a celebration of seasonal ingredients while they’re at their peak.

On a side note, this weekend I’m planning on stripping my little cumquat tree of all it’s bright jewels. Some of you may remember that last year my tree produced only one solitary (yet perfect) cumquat. This year is another story… I have about 70-80 cumquats to contend with and once again the debate resumes in my head as to what I should do with them. Hmmm, perhaps I should spread the risk and try a few different things… who knows, we might even enjoy them this year! Preserving some in salt (as inspired by Darya, from Tortore) seems like a great way to start… ready to use in casseroles and tagines throughout the winter months. If anyone has any other thoughts or favourite uses for cumquats (or should I say Kumquats), please let me know.

For now though… back to those beautiful figs.

Roasted Honey and Walnut Figs | Gather and Graze

  • Fresh Figs (2-3 per person)
  • A Generous Scattering of Chopped Walnuts
  • A Flourish of Lemon Zest
  • A Good Honest Drizzle of Honey
  • A  Fairy-like Sprinkling of Flaked Sea Salt

Slice open the figs to reveal their gorgeous inner beauty and arrange in a baking dish, topped with all other ingredients as suggested above. Cover the dish tightly with foil and place into a 200°C oven for about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and return to the oven for a further 15-20 minutes until roasted to perfection.

Serve with either a dollop of Greek yoghurt or some vanilla ice-cream on the side.

Roasted Honey & Walnut Figs | Gather and Graze

 Notes on Cooking

  •  Different varieties of figs may take more/less time to roast, so be sure to keep an eye on them and remove from the oven when they are roasted to your liking.

As it’s Friday, please head over to Angie’s fabulous blog The Novice Gardener to see what everyone else has been making for Fiesta Friday this week. It always makes for a great start to the weekend and the talented people who link into this ever-growing online party are such a lovely bunch to hang out with. A happy weekend to all!

(Persianised) Apple Crumble with a Rosewater Cream

Persian Apple Crumble with Rosewater Cream| Gather and Graze

My friend Azita, from the most beautiful blog Fig and Quince, is travelling overseas over the next couple of months… to her beloved homeland of Iran that she hasn’t seen in 35 years. Her excitement and anticipation for this journey is well and truly infectious!

Not long ago, she very sweetly approached a number of her blogging friends to help out with providing a ‘guest post’, so that Fig and Quince may continue to run smoothly during her time away. I was completely humbled (and surprised… and excited…) that Azita had invited me to do this… Gather and Graze is still less than a year old and most of the time I still feel like the new kid on the block… winging it as best I can.

The one request she had, was that my dish, if at all possible, should have a Persian-slant to it. So, this is for you dear Azita… beautiful, new season Australian apples (from a local orchard no less) have been infused and enhanced with the exotic delights of cardamom, pistachio, barberries and rosewater to create a Persianised Crumble that (may not rival the foodie delights of Tehran and surrounds, but…) will at least touch upon some of the flavours that make Persian cuisine so delicious and unique.

Safe and wonderful travels my friend… You will be in my thoughts often.

(Persianised) Apple Crumble with a Rosewater Cream | Gather and Graze

  • 50g Roasted Unsalted Pistachios (chopped fairly finely)
  • 150g/1 Cup Plain Flour
  • 75g/ 1/3 Cup Raw (or Brown) Sugar
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • 90g Chilled Unsalted Butter (separated into 75g and 15g)
  • 4-5 Apples (peeled, cored and chopped into chunks)
  • 10g/3 Tablespoons Dried Barberries
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cardamom
  • 250ml/1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1½ Teaspoons Rosewater Essence
  • 1 Tablespoon Icing (Powdered) Sugar (sifted)

Persian Apple Crumble with Rosewater Cream | Gather and Graze

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

Start by making the crumble topping… Place the pistachios, flour, raw sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the 75g portion of butter (that has been diced into small cubes) and rub into the flour mixture using fingertips.

Persian Apple Crumble with Rosewater Cream | Gather and Graze

For the apples… place a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the 15g portion of butter. Once it has melted, add the apples, barberries, brown sugar and cardamom and allow to cook for 4 to 5 minutes (just enough time for the apples to soften slightly and for the barberries to rehydrate a little).

Divide the apple mixture evenly into either individual baking dishes/ramekins or one larger-sized baking dish).

Persian Apple Crumble with Rosewater Cream | Gather and Graze

Spread the crumble mixture evenly over the top of the apple. Place dish(es) into the oven and bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes until golden on top.

Persian Apple Crumble with Rosewater Cream | Gather and Graze

Allow to cool a little, before serving warm with rosewater cream (simply whip together the cream, rosewater essence and icing sugar until you have medium/stiff peaks) and/or ice-cream.

Persian Apple Crumble with Rosewater Cream | Gather and Graze

A Little Tip…

Another delicious alternative is to mix together some vanilla ice-cream with rosewater essence (about 1 teaspoon rosewater to 200g of ice-cream). If the ice-cream softens too much during the mixing, place it back into the freezer for half an hour or so, to harden a little. This was absolutely perfect with the apple crumble – I can well and truly recommend it!

Profiteroles (Fit for a Fiesta!)

Profiteroles | Gather and Graze

As some of you may well know, I’m a little on the quiet side. On occasions I require varying degrees of gentle coercion to prise me from the house, to be social. I always have a fabulous time when I get there, but given the choice I would almost certainly opt for a calming cup of tea and a good book.

My friend Angie, over at The Novice Gardener must have sensed this when she sent out the invitations to come along to ‘Fiesta Friday’ (an online party!) which she holds each week with inimitable style. Her somewhat subtle reminders to join in have recently been playing on my mind… so here I am, ready (with bells on!) for my first Fiesta Friday!

Funnily enough though, due to the time-zone difference between Australia and the USA, it looks like I might be partying on my own for about 16 hours, until midnight ticks over in America! Hmmm, perhaps I’ll make myself a cuppa and sit down with a good book while I wait. 😉

My sweet offering for Fiesta Friday is a rather indulgent French dessert, that needs little by way of introduction. Classic Profiteroles! The recipe I use and adore comes from the cookbook of a stunning French restaurant in New York City called Balthazar. A few years ago a friend and I had breakfast there while on a girl’s weekend in NYC and I’ve been dreaming of going back for dinner ever since!

Wishing you all a fun Fiesta Friday, a Happy Valentine’s Day and a very relaxing weekend!

Profitéroles | Gather and Graze

  • Servings: 40 Choux Puffs
  • Print

  • 125ml/½ Cup Whole Milk
  • 125ml/½ Cup Water
  • 130g/½ Cup Unsalted Butter
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • 150g/1 Cup Plain Flour (sifted)
  • 5 Large Free-Range Eggs

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, water, butter and salt until it just comes to the boil. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until it all comes together into a dough. Continue to stir over medium heat for about 3 minutes (being careful that nothing starts burning on the base of the saucepan).

Place the hot dough into an electric mixer and mix at low speed for a few minutes to allow the dough to cool down a little. Then one at a time, add the eggs, mixing on medium speed between each addition to ensure they’ve been incorporated well. After the last egg goes in, mix for about 4 more minutes until a smooth dough forms.

Use either a piping bag, or a soup spoon to form small puffs on the baking trays. Each should be approximately 5 cm in diameter.

Place the trays into the oven and bake for about 35 – 40 minutes or until golden brown. If you are placing 2 trays in at once, remember to swap them around at the halfway mark.

Allow the choux puffs to cool on a wire rack.

When you are ready to serve, slice each profiterole in half with a serrated knife (like a hamburger bun), place a scoop of vanilla bean ice-cream on each base and place the tops back on. Drizzle with chocolate sauce (recipe to be found here…), decorate with berries/fruit if you wish and serve without delay.

Profiteroles | Gather and Graze

Cooking Notes:

  • If you make the choux pastry without an electric mixer, be sure to allow the hot dough from the saucepan to cool down enough in a mixing bowl before you begin to beat in the eggs. This will avoid a nasty case of scrambled egg choux puffs…
  • The choux puffs can be made in advance and kept for a day or two in an airtight container. Re-crisp them a little before serving, in a 180°C oven for approx 5 minutes.
  • I’ve decided to try freezing a batch to see how they fare… I’ll let you know in the next week or two if they still taste great.

* Recipe from “Balthazar” cookbook

Honey-choco-misu

Honey-choco-misu, Gather and Graze

About a week ago my husband and I celebrated our 15th Wedding Anniversary (the crystal glasses seen in my previous post were our gift to one another to remember this rather special milestone). We also decided to take our two boys out for dinner that evening to a local Italian restaurant to delight in some really wonderful food. After a relaxing meal and a glass or two of wine, it finally came time for dessert… tiramisu was spotted on the menu and my choice was made (all rather swiftly). It arrived at the table and naturally the children were keen to have a taste, but with the infusion of coffee and liqueur, a small spoonful was more than enough and they were straight back to their gelato. Phew… all the more for me! 😉

Following that evening, an idea has been rattling around in my head to create a version of this iconic, marvellous dessert that could be equally tempting for both adults AND children. So, despite not having posted a savoury recipe in well over a month, I am hoping that you will indulge me just one more time, so that I can put my head down to rest tonight and get a full night’s sleep! It really has been bothering me to the point of distraction.

One other thing that’s been causing a little lack of sleep lately is the fact that we were given a wonderful big pot of honey just before Christmas from our very kind bee-keeping neighbour. Those of you who follow G&G on Facebook may remember seeing photos of the Honey Bee Swarm in our backyard last October and our fabulous bee-keeping neighbour who came to save the day and remove them for us. I have to say that this pot of honey is very well loved, but I really didn’t want to see it all disappear, slathered onto slices of toast (never mind how delicious that is…)! So, developing this dessert has also allowed me to celebrate the amazing honey bees that visit our garden, along with the incredible-tasting honey that my neighbour and his hives  have produced. Thanks very much D!

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Honey-choco-misu | Gather and Graze

  • 12 Savoiardi Biscuits
  • Chocolate (for grating over the top)

Chocolate Dipping Sauce

  • 60ml/¼ Cup Heavy Cream
  • 60ml/¼ Cup Full-Cream Milk
  • 25g Milk (or Dark) Chocolate (chopped into chunks)

Honey Mascarpone Cream

  • 300ml Heavy Cream
  • 100g/½ Cup Mascarpone Cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons Honey

For the dipping sauce, heat the cream and milk in a small saucepan over low heat, until just below boiling point. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Leave for a couple of minutes, then stir until completely melted and combined. Allow to cool to room temperature.

To make the Honey Mascarpone Cream, whip the cream in a large mixing bowl until frothy on top. Add the mascarpone and honey and continue to whip until you have soft peaks.

To assemble the dessert, dip the savoiardi biscuits into the dipping sauce, turning them a couple of times in the sauce to ensure completely coated. Place a single layer of the soaked biscuits in the base of a serving bowl (see photos below if unsure), then add a layer of the honey mascarpone cream. Continue layering biscuits and cream, finishing with a layer of cream. Grate some chocolate over the top and refrigerate for about 6 hours (or overnight), for the biscuits to soften and the flavours to infuse. Serve chilled!

Cooking Notes:

Option of adding a little fresh fruit between the layers… berries, sliced banana or mango would all work really well in my opinion.

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Bringing in the New Year!

Gin and Tonic, Gather and Graze

A refreshing aperitif – Gin & Tonic – perfect on this summery afternoon!

Gather and Graze

Cooking al fresco on the BBQ – Linguine in the pot and Buttery Persillade Prawns in the pan.

Inspiration thanks to the lovely Stéphane, creative genius of My French Heaven!

PersilladePrawns

Last, but not least, a fabulous finish with decadent Dark Chocolate Sauce, ideal for smothering fresh Raspberries and Vanilla Bean Ice-cream.

Dark Chocolate Sauce, Gather and Graze

Dark Chocolate Sauce (for Ice Cream)

  • 250ml/1 Cup Cream
  • 100g (70%) Dark Chocolate (Chopped)
  • 45g/3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (diced and softened)
  • 2 Tablespoons Icing Sugar (Sifted)

In a small saucepan, bring the cream just below boiling point. Remove from the heat and add the dark chocolate – allow to sit for a couple of minutes before stirring gently to combine. Add the butter and icing sugar and continue stirring until smooth and glossy.

Enjoy drizzled over ice-cream and berries.

Dark Chocolate Sauce, Gather and Graze

Fireworks, Gather and Graze

Happy New Year everyone! May 2014 bring you all much happiness and good health!

Margot.xx

Chocolate-Chip Pavlova and Pointe Shoes

Chocolate Chip Pavlova, Gather and Graze

From the tender age of three, up until about eighteen, I took part in Classical Ballet lessons. No doubt there were days when I didn’t want to attend, but for the most part I danced along quite happily, grand-jetéing and pirouetting all the way to class… Ballet books lined the shelves, tutus filled the dress-up tub and oh so much oohing and aahing was had over the national and international ballet dancers who came to perform in our local theatre. My mother bought season tickets each year for us both to attend. Mikhail Baryshnikov was my pin-up boy… until the likes of INXS, Wham and Michael J Fox took over. Ahh yes, I’m an 80’s girl after all…

So unsurprisingly, in my younger years, a pavlova would be my number one request each year for my Birthday Cake. A dessert created for the beautiful, touring Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova – what could be finer? I thank my Mum dearly for making such delicious cakes over the years and for always making whatever our hearts desired. I’ve continued that tradition with my own children and love the challenge of finding a way to make their requests come to fruition, not to mention the priceless looks of wonder and appreciation at the finished cakes.

These days pavlova makes an appearance in our house more often at Christmas and always on Australia Day (January 26th). A summer dessert, perfect for when berries and passionfruit are in season and the sun is sitting high in the sky. This year, it was a Chocolate-Chip Pavlova that adorned our Christmas Day table and tempted us to eat just that little bit more…, deliciously topped with fresh raspberries, strawberries and chocolate curls.

Chocolate-Chip Pavlova, Gather and Graze

The recipe below is adapted slightly from a classic recipe of Stephanie Alexander‘s in her amazing tome The Cook’s Companion. I feel rather strongly that the oven temperatures she uses are too hot (for my own oven, at least…), resulting, once before, in an unfortunate-looking, browned pavlova. Never a good look… unless of course you’re making a Chocolate Pav! One of my dearest friends, Claire, made a wonderful Chocolate-Chip Pavlova a couple of years ago and ever since then, I’ve shamelessly added choc-chips to my own – thinking of her ALWAYS when I do though! xx

Chocolate-Chip Pavlova | Gather and Graze

  • 4 Free-Range Egg Whites (at room temperature)
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 220g/1 Cup Caster Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Cornflour (Sifted)
  • 1 Teaspoon Verjuice (or White Wine Vinegar)
  • 100g/½ Cup Good Quality Dark Chocolate (Chopped)
  • 300ml Cream (Whipped to Soft Peaks)
  • Fresh Fruit/Berries/Shaved Chocolate to Decorate

Pre-heat the oven to 130°C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Slowly add the caster sugar while continuing to whisk, until stiff peaks form. Fold in lightly the cornflour, verjuice/vinegar and the chopped chocolate.

Scoop the mixture onto the baking tray and shape into a 20cm round, flattening the top and sides.

Bake for 1½ hours and then turn the oven off, prop the door slightly ajar with a wooden spoon, leaving the pavlova shell to sit in the oven until completely cool.

When ready to serve, top the shell with whipped cream, fresh berries/seasonal fruit and a scattering of chocolate curls.

Chocolate-Chip Pavlova, Gather and Graze

* Recipe adapted from Stephanie Alexander’s ‘The Cook’s Companion’ Cookbook

Rhubarb and Raspberry Tart

Rhubarb and Raspberry Tart, Gather and Graze

There are certain fruits and vegetables that I adore seeing on display at the Farmer’s Markets, but I never quite know what I’d make with them if I gathered them up and brought them home. Things like persimmons, pomegranates, quinces, globe artichokes and kale all fall into this enticing, yet somewhat untried and untested category. Invariably I find myself wandering the stalls until I reach produce that I’m comfortable with, produce that speaks to me immediately with recipe ideas. The berries, the stone fruit, the citrus, the root vegetables, the salad greens. In fact, come to think of it, there’s actually quite a lot that I don’t walk past… I guess it just feels that way sometimes.

With this innate feeling that I’m missing out on experiencing these seasonal treats, the plan is to gradually overcome this little shortcoming by delving into these delights that others know and understand already. I feel very lucky in the fact that many of the food bloggers I follow, either come from or live in parts of the world where the use of these ingredients is nothing unusual, so a wonderful selection of recipes and knowledge is there to be discovered.

For me, rhubarb falls on the fringe of this category. We used to (quite happily) eat bowlfuls of stewed rhubarb, with a dash of milk, cream or ice-cream stirred through, for dessert when I was growing up. It’s just unfortunately something that I don’t tend to cook for my own family. Time to turn that around!

Rhubarb and Raspberry Tart | Gather and Graze

I used a delicious shortcrust pastry recipe from a British/Dutch blog named ‘My Foodtopia’ – please see here for the link to the pastry recipe. It made enough pastry for not only the rhubarb tart, but for a dozen gorgeous little Strawberry Jam Tartlets as well (which were baked in a muffin tin) – photo attached here.

I found it best to make the pastry first, press it into the tart tin and then allow it to rest/chill in the refrigerator while the filling is being made.

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 450g Rhubarb (chopped)
  • 220g/1 Cup Raw Sugar
  • 125ml/½ Cup Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Paste or Extract (or the seeds from 1 Vanilla Pod)
  • 100g Raspberries (Fresh or defrosted from Frozen)

Place the rhubarb, sugar, juice and vanilla into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then allow to boil for about 10 – 15 minutes (stirring occasionally) until it becomes a jam-like consistency. Remove from the heat, stir in the raspberries and allow to cool completely.

Once cool, spoon the mixture into the prepared tart case and top with pastry lattice. Brush the pastry with a little egg wash (1 egg beaten with a teaspoon of milk or water).

Rhubarb and Raspberry Tart

Place into the oven, pre-heated to 180°C and bake for approximately 40 – 45 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

Allow to cool completely, before serving with whipped cream and/or ice-cream.

Rhubarb Raspberry Tart, Gather and Graze

  • Filling recipe inspired by, but adapted from a Gourmet Traveller recipe.