05 December 2011

COLLEGE: Graduation

Officially a chef!

Officially the Top Pastry Chef for 2011!
My prize? A set of Wüsthof knives sponsored by Lurpak - couldn't be more stoked!
Pastry exam:
white chocolate and cardamom infused bavarois topped with a white wine and berry jelly, fresh fruit salad, tuille, chocolate garnish and berry coulis.

14 August 2011

RECIPE: Lemon meringue cupcakes

I've been wanting to make lemon meringue cupcakes for ages.... so when I had leftover lemon curd and Italian meringue from a pastry test at college, I decided to finally try them out!

If you LOVE cupcakes and LOVE lemon, you will totally LOVE these! They are DELICIOUSLY tart with a beautiful burst of lemony flavour and marshmallowy fluff icing.

Lemon Cupcakes
adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery
Makes 12 big ones

120g/1 cup cake flour
140g/ 3/4 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbs softened butter
120ml/ 1/2 cup full cream milk
1 large egg
1/4  tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 170C/325F. Put flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest and butter into a mixing bowl. Using a handheld electric whisk on slow speed until combined. Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated. 

Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining milk together in a seperate bowl, then pour it into the flour mixture and continue to beating until smooth. Spoon the mixture into the lined cupcake tin (two-thirds full). Bake for 20-25 min or until golden. Leave cupcakes to cool. 

Lemon Curd
adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes approx 500ml

8 egg yolks
 Zest of 2 lemons
155ml lemon juice (fresh)
 1 cup sugar
150ml butter

Combine yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a heavy-bottom saucepan; whisk to combine. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (be sure to scrape the sides of the pan), until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, 8 to 10 minutes (160C on an instant-read thermometer).

Remove saucepan from heat. Add butter, one piece at a time, stirring until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.

Italian Meringue
From The Way to Cook, by Julia Child

For the Egg Whites:
2/3 cup egg whites (4 to 5 whites)
A pinch of salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
For the Sugar Syrup:
1-1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup water

Beat the egg whites at slow speed until the foam throughout, add the salt and cream of tartar, gradually increase the speed to fast, and beat to soft peaks. Turn the machine to slow as you complete the sugar syrup.
Bring the sugar and water to the simmer, swirl the pan to dissolve the sugar completely, cover tightly and boil to the soft-ball stage (234°F to 240°F; 112°C to 116°C on a candy thermometer).
Beating the egg whites at moderately slow speed, dribble into them the boiling syrup — trying to avoid the wires of the whip. Increase speed to moderately fast and beat until cool and the egg whites form stiff, shining, upstanding peaks. The meringue is now ready to use as your recipe directs. 

Once the cupcakes have cooled, cut a little cone out of the centre of each, fill them with lemon curd and replace the lids. Pipe the Italian meringue on top and brown with a blow torch. If you do not have a blow torch, put them under the grill for 2min until golden. 
Decorate with lemon wedges, mint and edible glitter.

07 March 2011

COLLEGE: Butternut Ravioli

Ravioli is a type of filled pasta composed of a filling (usually meat or cheese) sealed between two layers of thin pasta dough. The name comes from the Italian plural of raviolo, literally meaning little turnip.

Today we made butternut, swiss chard and feta stuffed ravioli pasta parcels on a plinth of roasted butternut cubes served with a tomato fondue, butternut ribbon crisps, parmasan and olives... what a mouthful - a SCRUMPTIOUS mouthful!

01 March 2011

RECIPE: Camembert pie

At this point, you should already know that I WORSHIP camembert! This really is so quick, easy, delicious and SUCH a crowd pleaser... sereve as a appetiser, starter, dessert or snack, savoury or sweet. If you share my passion, this one's for YOU!

The idea for the Camembert pie was sparked by Kristen, one of the WorldTeach volunteers of 2010.

Puff pastry (pre-bought or homemade)
wheel of RIPE camembert (that means; soft, oozy and a little stinky!)
butter/ egg wash
Optional flavouring:
*dried cranberries and honey
*cape gooseberry preserve
*garlic, thyme and white wine (only a teaspoon or it will make the pastry soggy)
*anything you can think of!

If using frozen pre-bought puff pastry, defrost. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. 
Roll out the pastry. Smear a teaspoon of preserve onto the pastry the size of the camembert. Place the camemberbert over it, then another smear of preserve on top. Sprinkle with dried cranberries. Fold the pastry over the camembert forming a parcel - seal the edges with melted butter or egg wash and smooth over. Brush the parcel with egg was or butter - when baking, this will give it a golden colour. Place in the oven for 30min or until golden brown. Serve immidiately with sliced apples.

Make mini pies by cutting the camembert into little blocks.
This recipe works well with phylo pastry too!

13 February 2011

RAMBLE: Valentines day with Miss-May

Champagne, cupcakes and clothes! Miss-May Clothing had an open house clothing sale with BEAUTIFUL dresses, skirts, bows, playsuits and vintage second hands... Abbi asked me to come along and make some Valentines themed cupcakes and biscuits.

My FAVOURITE marshmellow cupcakes with gooey marshmellow filling and cream cheese frosted red velvets...

Cute, pink shortbread hearts with meringue icing....

These fragrant lavender infused cupcakes are to DIE for...

08 February 2011

COLLEGE: Butternut quiche & Lemon tart

The two basic need to know pastries - sweet and savoury...

We made a butternut quiche using shortcrust pastry.

... and a lemon tart using the sweet crust pastry.

07 February 2011

COLLEGE: Kingklip en Papillote

En Papillote, "in parchment", it is a method of cooking usually fish or poultry in a folded pouch, pillow or parcel and then baked in the oven. The moisture from the food item, stock, wine, or water, is held in by the parcel, holding ALL the flavour in.

For our Kingklip en Papillote, we layered baby spinach, fennel bulb, onion, tomato, mushroom, topped with our filllet of Kingklip and a sprig of dill. To serve we made a creamy mousseline (veloute with cream).

04 February 2011

COLLEGE: Fruit Plate

I absolutely LOVE this fruit plate! We learned how to make a basic stock syrup used as a base for sorbet, poured over fruit will stop it from going brown... made a lemon sorbet, hot berry coulis and some basic sugar work.

03 February 2011

COLLEGE: Egg cookery

Eggs, eggs, eggs, eggs, eggs..... hard boiled eggs, poached eggs, scrambled eggs, eggs fried in butter, eggs fried in oil. Who knew there was such an art to the perfectly cooked egg?

02 February 2011


I have always flopped when making scones - usually ending up with flat little flying saucers. But after learning the basic principals of the rubbing in method = SUCCESS! The wholewheat raisin scones were delicious with jam and cream.

31 January 2011

COLLEGE: Chicken pot au feu

Our first dish of the year we started with chicken pot au feu (with an Asian twist). Pot au feu means “pot on the fire”, basically a traditional French stew where vegetables and meat are cooked all in one pot, slowly over a fire (like our potjie).

We deboned a chicken in the supreme cut, then deboned the leg (thigh and drum), stuffed, rolled and poached it. Served with crunchy julienned vegetables, vermicelli rice noodles and a sweet soy sauce.