Friday, August 10, 2007

Kickpleat's banana bread

Via Orangette. At the time of writing my head has expanded to twice its normal size, but suffice it to say this banana bread is five different kinds of fuck off rad. I made this the same day as I made Clotilde's astonishing carrot and avocado salad. I took pictures of the salad, which means I could write up the recipe if I really wanted, but, as I said, my head is at least twice it's usual side and my mouth tastes like arse. The thing is the next day I came home from the library starving and sick of books, and there was a bowl of carrot and avocado salad in the fridge and this cake, and I ate it and I felt a rush of righteous maturity akin to flossing my teeth or getting a pap smear.

3 very ripe bananas
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1 cup raw sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.

Mash the bananas well in a medium bowl. Add the eggs and stir well to combine. Add the flour, sugars, connamon and vanilla. Add three quarters of the chocolate chips. Tip into an appropriately greased 20cm square pan.

In a small bowl mix together the remaining chocolate chips, 2 tbsp of an appropriately crunchy, goldy-coloured sugar of choice, with 1/4 tsp of cinnamon. Sprinkle over the batter in the pan.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool and eat. It's nice hot, as my housemates discovered when I forced warm, crumbly slabs of cake on them, but it is unbelievably good when it cools and the chocolate chips go all crunchy and awesome.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Orange and Chocolate Cake

So I made a variation on Clothilde's excellent chocolate fondant, really a velvety, dense, crustless chocolate cake, for KP and Toby's Bastille Day culinary smackdown, er, potluck, and KP asked me to post the recipe, so now I am. I thought I'd have a crack at an orange and black pepper version of the cake, as the combination of orange and black pepper always makes me feel safe, warm and accounted for. I failed to get a picture of the finished cake, but it looked an awful lot like the cake in the original recipe, so click on the link to see what it looks like.

And now for a note on ingredients. While I have no doubt you could easily make this cake with a block of Plaistowe and a stick of IGA brand unsalted, I have yet to. Please don't take this as some kind of poncy, bourgeois staking out of cultural capital. My stained, smelly sharehouse kitchen is largely stocked with bent and rusting Big W saucepans, stolen pint glasses and promotional soft drink cups. Really, it's quite hard to extol the virtues of 35% Swiss couverture when the counter is stacked with Transformers Big Gulps. Still, whenever I've made this cake I've used Warrnambool butter and organic (fair trade, even) dark couverture chocolate from the Vic Markets. This isn't much of an effort as I live quite near the markets and buy my fruit'n'veg there. I won't lie, the chocolate is rather expensive, but that Warrnambool butter is cheap and so good and the stall holders have this amazing ability to eyeball the exact amount you ask for. All I'm saying is, given how very simple this cake is, it might be worth your while to track down the good stuff.

Anyway, on with the cake.

165g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
165g butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup flour
An orange, scrubbed, the rind removed with a vegetable peeler
3-4 whole black peppercorns
A handful of flaked almonds
2 big old tbsp marmalade

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Put the orange rind and peppercorns in a small saucepan along with the sugar and 2/3 cup of fresh water. Heat gently, stirring, until all the sugar is dissolved and the the syrup is delicately tinted from the orange rind. Fish out the orange rind and the peppercorns (although, that said, a couple of peppercorns made it into the cake, and I've got to say the peppery crunch was, well, rather nice). Add the chocolate and stir until melted. The first time I did this the thought of putting chocolate into hot sugar syrup made me rather uncomfortable, and it does go a touch grainy, but keep stirring. You can even take it off the heat if the chocolate is in small enough pieces, but it should be said I'm quite lazy with the chopping and need the extra heat to get it all melted. After the chocolate has melted toss in the butter pieces, stir 'til melted, then take off the heat and let cool for five minutes so the eggs don't scramble when you add them.

While the chocolate mixture cools generously grease a 22-25cm round cake tin with butter, and it really should be butter as the cake batter is quite sticky, and line the base with a circle of baking paper. Put a roasting dish into the oven and put a full kettle on.

Fork the eggs into the chocolate mixture, then sift in the flour and fork until glossily combined. Pour the batter into the prepared tin, then put the cake tin into the roasting pan in the oven. Now, that was a painfully wordy sentence, but you get my meaning. Fill the roasting tin with hot water to about 1cm up the sides of the cake tin. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the cake is set in the centre. There may be a slight trace of wobble, but it should only be slight. Let it cool in the tin on a rack for a bit, at least until the sides have pulled away from the tin, then turn onto a serving plate to let cool completely.

Now, when you peel back the baking paper from the top of the cake it could well be a touch wrinkled. This is where the marmalade and almonds come in. Press the marmalade through a sieve into a small saucepan to get rid of any big pieces of rind. Add a spoonful of warm water and heat gently, stirring to combine until the jam has melted. Throw in a handful of flaked almonds, which you may or may not have toasted, into the saucepan, stir, then spoon this mixture over the top of the cake, spreading evenly. Let this sit and set for an hour or so. She is a small cake, but rich, and will feed many.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hey Look Guys -It's Me- And Creme Fraiche Potatoes

I have been a very slack blogger over here at Zarathust. And look at all the remarkable work my fellow bloggers have been doing.

God I love Chocolate Crackles. There is a poll over at La Nads place in relation to Cheese vs Chocolate going down and I urge all you chocolate lovers (i.e Good People) to go over there and vote for choc. After all, how could we have chocolate crackles without it?

So I am feeling foodie inspired by the return of my French friends, who sauntered in on Sunday with Strawberry Liqueur and within instants my fridge was once again full of 7 different kinds of brie and ham, and you couldn't move in my kitchen without risking serious injury by a baguette.

The petite femme half of the duo is Julie, who despite her tranquil qua gorgeousness has been rumoured to run with the toughest gang in Paris and can cook up a storm to stop a riot.

She does this thing with potatoes which truly makes my heart stop, and last night to celebrate her return I made damn sure she made it for me.

Julie's Potatoes avec Creme Fraiche Sauce

You can add this to most styles of potatoes. The best is with barbecued roasted potatoes wrapped in foil, but last night we boiled some first, then chucked them under the grill until they were crispy and golden brown on the outside.

Buy some good Creme Fraiche. It can be hard to find in Australia, but we have found this new one available by those people that do dips in the supermarket, I forget their name, but you can buy it in good supermarkets: UPDATE: The name of the brand is Wattle Valley. These Frenchies seem to adore it, and praise it over the one by King Island. Note: Sour Cream won't do. It has to be Creme Fraiche. We're talking something to do with milk fat percentages here, or summin'. It's important, taste wise.


Put the Creme Fraiche in a bowl.

Get some shallots, a couple will do. Chop finely. Add to bowl.

Take a sip of your Kir Royale (white wine or champagne with a splash of creme de cassis or in this case, strawberry liqueur).

Get some chives. Find some scissors.

Chop the chives into the bowl.

Add salt and pepper.


When you get your potatoes, cut them open and mash 'em up a bit with your fork. Add the Creme Fraiche Sauce, and drool.

Eat and be happy. We had ours with chicken fried in a wok with onion, red capsicum and herbs. It was amazing.

It's also amazing how many potatoes one can eat this way.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Sixteen Choc Cheesecake

½ cup milk chocolate biscuit crumbs (1)
½ cup dark chocolate biscuit crumbs (2)
50g melted butter
2 tablespoons orange chocolate flecks (3)
Generous pinch of ground cinnamon

Hard layer:
50g melted dark chocolate (4)

2 packs cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
400g sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs

For main:
200g melted dark chocolate (50-70%) (5)

Cookie Dough:
¼ cup butter
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup castor sugar
2 tablespoons water
½ cup plain flour
50g melted semi-sweet chocolate (6)
¼ cup chopped milk chocolate (7)
¼ cup chopped dark chocolate (80%) (8)
¼ cup chopped white chocolate (9)

White chocolate swirl:
50g melted white chocolate (10)

Dark Chocolate swirl:
50g melted dark chocolate (70-80%) (11)


25g melted dark choc (70-80%) (12)
Splash chocolate liqueur (13)

Milk and white chocolate lace:
Melted white chocolate (14)
Melted milk chocolate (15)

Dark chocolate curls:
Dark chocolate (60-70%) (16)


1. Combine base ingredients, press firmly into pan.

2. Pour melted dark chocolate on top and refrigerate until layer is hard.

3. Cookie dough: Cream the butter with the two sugars until light and fluffy. Stir in water, flour, melted chocolate, chocolate pieces, and mix until combined. Set aside.

4. Main mixture: Beat the cream cheese until soft and smooth at medium speed. Add the condensed milk, vanilla and eggs (one at a time) and beat thoroughly at low speed. Reserve some mixture for the swirls.

5. Add chocolate to mixture and continue beating until mixed well.

6. Pour a little chocolate cheesecake mixture in the tin. Add cookie dough in small pieces. Add rest of cheesecake mixture.

7. Halve leftover cheesecake mixture and make swirls with melted milk and dark chocolate. Pour these into the mixture.

8. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour in a 180 degree preheated oven.

9. Turn off oven and rest cheesecake for 1 hour.

10. Refrigerate cheesecake for 3-4 hours.

11. To make glaze, mix together melted chocolate with chocolate liqueur and brush on.

12. Add chocolate curls and chocolate lattice. Chocolate lattice is made by melting chocolate, adding to piping bag and spreading a thin lattice pattern on a piece of baking paper which is on top of a baking tray that has been in the fridge.

13. Refrigerate for 30 mins.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Crizizzle ma Nizzle

The second the Copha comes out, they all want to know one thing. When are the chocolate crackles coming? Not when is the coconut ice coming, or when is the whatever else you make with a solid block of coconut oil coming, they all want the chocolate crackles. I don't know why those of us without kids, or fetes to attend, don't make chocolate crackles more often. They get enough of a nostalgic reaction from the crowd, and there's just something about the combination of melted vegetable fat, icing sugar and dessicated coconut melting onto your hands that just makes you feel safe, happy, and like you want to smear it on the cat.

Do I even need to give you a recipe? Do I? It's on the Rice Bubble's box for - oh, fine. 4 cups Rice Bubbles, 1 1/2 of icing sugar, 1 of coconut, a block 'o Copha, and three tablespoons of cocoa. Stir together the dry stuff, melt the Copha to make the wet, and fork the lot together before spilling it into cupcake papers and fridging 'til solid.

Makes far too many. You won't even be able to give them away.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Date Slice of Determination

Oh what a night. The moon is full, the air is blood heat and there's a light breeze. You can positively feel the shenanigans in the air, you can, and I'm at my desk feeling every ounce of energy drain away as I face yet another chapter revision. Just the night to give Kickpleat's restorative oat and nut squares.

I made a few alterations, of course, and the version I present to you below is not the version I used. I think my pan was a couple of centimetres bigger than the one she used, and so there were, ahem, gaps in the baked slice (and I am calling it a slice, because I'm Australian and that's what we do). I will definitely make it again in future using the below quantities. I didn't have any rum to hand, so I threw in the cardamom-nutmeg-ginger-cinnamon combination that goes into all my bakeables. Please note the apple sauce instead of oil or butter. Please also note that you'll have to fridge these after they're done as low fat things don't keep as well as their high fat counterparts.

Beat 2 eggs in a large bowl until frothy. Beat in 1/2 cup of apple sauce, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar until pale. Roughly fork in 1/2 cup self raising flour until just combined. Then fold in 1/2 teaspoon each of cardamom, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon. To this you will add a 100g of walnuts (I figured this equals 1 cup) that you broke up a bit while still in the packet, a cup of rolled oats, and two cups of finely chopped, pitted dates.

Tip into a lightly greased 23cm square pan and bake in a preheated 180 degree oven for around 30 minutes 'til the edges are darkened and the centre is firm. Cool in the pan, slice, make a cup of coffee and get back to work.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Salmon Wrapped in Prosciutto

No pictures. Just imaginate, man.

Take some salmon fillets and take all of their bones out. Feel them. Make hand love to them. Search their essence for bones. Remove them.

Dry this baby salmons, wrap the pieces in prosciutto, sprinkle with a mixture of finely chooped herbs (mint, oregano, basil, parsley, etc) and some pepper, squeeze some lemon on top and put in a very hot oven for roughly 10 mins until the prosciutto goes crispy.

Top this with some yoghurt (plain, seasoned slightly with salt and pepper).

Get drunk on champagne that is served with it, blog the recipe, and you're done.