Saturday, September 30, 2006

Sweet somethings

I voraciously read food blogs, reviews, magazines - anything really that relates to food, cooking, bars or restaurants. This information overload often means that I've read about a food or restaurant, poured over the recipes, drooled over the photos and read the reviews - both good and bad but not actually eaten it.

This is the case with macarons - J at Kuidaore has a mild obsession with these French morsels and she makes and takes the most fantastic photos of them. I have spent a great deal of time looking at her recipes and ultimately decided that while her macarons look (and probably taste) fantastic they were something that I would never have the patience or skill to try.

Recently there was an article in the Good Living liftout of the Sydney Morning Herald about macarons and where to find them in Sydney. The Lindt cafe in Martin Place is one such place.
Lindt call their macarons delice and they have a variety of flavours. I have to say when I got the store and saw their display I was momentarily disappointed - their Delices were not as shiny or as beautifully proportioned as J's.

Lindt delice's come in a variety of flavours - dark chocolate, hazelnut, coffee, choc-orange, berry and champagne. The meringue halves are light and crisp the filling smooth and rich. The chocolate and hazelnut flavoured delices were nicest, the champagne the least so.

The packaging makes a small selection a great gift - make sure you ask the sales assistant to dress up the box with a ribbon in a colour of your choice. A single delice is $1.60 or you can buy premade boxes for around $9.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

SHF# 23 - A surprise (butterscotch) inside!

Alanna over at A Veggie Venture is hosting this Septembers Sugar High Friday - her theme is 'A surprise inside'. I thought long and hard about all manner of creative and interesting ideas that I could make with this theme but in the end kept coming back to a family standard - Butterscotch Surprise Cake.

This recipe was clipped out of a 70's Women's weekly magazine by my mother and stuck into her personal recipe book. When I moved out of home I carefully transcribed it onto a file card for my recipe box. It's my husband's favorite cakes of my repertoire. This is not an exciting take on the theme but it's such a good recipe I had to share it - it's great coffee cake and keeps well or is excellent as a dessert served warm with icecream.

The one of the key ingredients if custard powder - I have heard that this is not readily available in the States - it is sold here under a couple of different brand names but the most readily available worldwide seems to Birds. Otherwise a quick Google search seems to suggest that vanilla Jello pudding mix is a good substitute but I can't confirm this.

Butterscotch Surprise Cake
125g butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup plain flour
1/2 cup self raising flour
1/4 cup of milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp custard powder
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp butter
1 egg, beaten
Cream the butter and sugar, add the vanilla. Add the eggs and then alternatively mix in the flours and milk. Beat till smooth.
To make the butterscotch, combine the custard powder and sugar in a saucepan. Gradually stir in the milk - cook over a medium heat stirring constantly till it thickens. Stir in the butter. Cool slightly then add the egg. Use while warm.
Grease a ring or bundt pan - spread half the cake mixture evenly. Pour in the warm butterscotch and top with the remaining cake batter.
Bake in a moderate oven for 35-40 mins - the top will crack. It is done when the cake springs back when touched and pulls away from the sides of the pan. It is hard to use a skewer to test doneness with this cake because of the ribbon of butterscotch. Cool in the tin.