Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mississippi Mud Cake with Chilli Cherries

Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom and cloves are all spices I associate with colder-weather sweets.  However, in keeping with the theme of chilli, I decided to turn the heat up a little on a traditional dessert on the weekend.  The lure of chocolate was calling me and I made a Mississippi mudcake.  I would normally pair it with a creamy sauce made from coconut milk, but I had something more fruity on my mind as inspired by the Women's Weekly "Bake".
In a pan I simmered some water, sugar, orange peel, star anise and a red chilli.  I added some cherries I had in the freezer and let it all bubble away for some minutes. 

 I let everything sit overnight and the next day the sweet syrup had thickened and the hotness of the chilli had calmed down.  The pairing was divine.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Roasted Chilli Eggplant

There was a decided chill in the air this morning as I walked through the city.  I do believe that autumn has finally arrived which makes me very happy.  I am anticipating all the warming dishes and spices that will start to replace the fresher ingredients that have filled my kitchen this past summer. 
I recently made this dish – it is roasted eggplant stirfried with a home-made chilli dressing and topped with toasted coconut flakes.  It had a warm to mildly hot level of heat, which is just right for me.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Grape Fritters

Afternoon tea tastes so much more divine if served up with pretty accessories. Not that these grape fritters needed much adornment – these turned out much more flavourful than I expected. I topped these with fine sugar to add a little more sweetness.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Dark Chocolate

With Easter arriving in a couple of weeks, it was inspiration for me to finally visit a little shop I have walked past many times but never quite made it inside.  Vanderwee Chocolates is located in a laneway of Double Bay’s shopping village and right now it is decked out with colourful displays of bunnies and Easter eggs.
Upon entering the shop, I was met with an assortment of bon bons, pralines and truffles filled with all sorts of fruity and nutty blends. I asked the owner about which dark chocolates he would recommend and I was treated to an educational session about the world of chocolate.
Henrik and his wife Hilde opened the chocolate boutique in 1995, having come from a country that appreciates the art of fine chocolate-making – Belgium.  Whilst I would recommend visiting the store, for those that are time-pressed they offer a web order and delivery service.  The website is packed with information about chocolate and what makes a good product.
The quality of the chocolates was superb.  I bought several bonbons and truffles which were smooth and flavourful as well as a bar of 50% dark chocolate.  Let me tell you, these did not last long. 

If you would like more information about Vanderwee chocolates, visit 

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Crisp Salad

I had this salad for lunch recently. A fresh, crisp stack of thin apple, fennel and red onion slices, baby greens and Vegusto cheese. All drizzled with a mustard vinaigrette - simple but very tasty

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Remnants of Summer

The last of the summer fruits will linger for a little while in this crisp autumn air - I thought I would celebrate this crossover of seasons by making these raspberry caramel tarts. They are perfectly accompanied with a cream that is blended with finely grated orange rind.