Showing posts from April, 2012

Caramel Coconut Cream Sponge

A couple of months back I told the story of the caramel cream sponge my dad used to buy us when I was a kid. And I promised I would try and recreate that cake and share it with you. Well this weekend I finally did that. It was a friend’s birthday, so I decided what better occasion to test that recipe and see if it worked.

I found, in the process, that the toasted coconut on the side of the cake was a key player in the overall taste balance. So I've renamed the cake to include the coconut. It was a really fun cake to make and I hope you really enjoy making and eating this blast from the seventies past.

6 large eggs
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
½ cup corn flour
½ cup plain flour
½ cup self raising flour
800ml thickened cream
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp sugar
2/3 cup desiccated coconut
2 cans Nestle Top n Fill
12-20 pistachio nuts

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Grease and line a 10 inch cake tin. The lining is very important as it will help…


Bruscetta (pronounced bru-sketta) actually refers to the bread, olive oil and garlic part of this antipasto dish. Dating back to the 15th century, it was a way to turn stale bread into a delicious snack. Italians enjoy many different toppings on their bruscetta, including roasted peppers, salami, tuna tonato (tuna blended with white beans, lemon juice and garlic) and even cheese. But nothing beats the flavour of perfectly ripe tomatoes, seasoned with salt and fresh basil. This bruscetta combination is a wonderful breakfast for a very hot day.

I have heard people dismiss bruscetta as nothing more than tomatoes on toast. But this is a far cry from the taste sensation of a properly made bruscetta. The key, in my opinion, is chosing the juiciest, most ripe tomatoes you can find, and combine them with beautiful fresh basil. As a breakfast meal bruscetta will leave you feeling like you have done something good for yourself today. I invite you to try.

Loaf of sour dough br…

Warm Pear Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Back in the seventies, my sister and I used to sit down to a breakfast of puffed wheat every morning. If we were lucky, they were honey puffed wheats, served up with canned pears. Mum kept a lot of canned fruit in the cupboard, which seems odd now I think of it, because fresh fruit was plentiful, and not particularly expensive.

Those boxes of puffed wheat always came with a toy in them - a Dutch figurine, and I used to marvel, firstly at how many of them my sister got and I did not, but also at the unusual shaped hats and shoes the figurines wore. Of they were not shoes, they were clogs, something which I later learned my Aunt who spent six months travelling around Europe.

I used to make a lot of parfaits in the seventies, in which canned pears or canned peaches featured heavily. They were basically a single serve of trifle in a tall glass. They'd take all day to make because I'd set the jelly in the jar and couldn't add another layer until it not longer wobbled.

I …

The Design Diva Tweets!

It's quite often a long time between posts isn't it? I try not to blog unless I've got a really good story to tell along with a really good, reliable recipe. I try to put a post up every week, but I noticed last month that just didn't happen! And yet I cook every day, sometimes three times a day! What the heck am I doing in between blog posts?

Well now you can find out. I've set up a Kitchen Alchemy Twitter stream, which lets me follow all my favourite foodies, and also gives me a chance to show you where I'm eating, what recipes I'm reading, and of course, what food I'm cooking. I figure micro blogging will help me keep up with you guys, and it will also let you keep up with me.

If you want to hear about the daily magic Kitchen Alchemy creates, follow me on Twitter. Just search for user name Kitchen_alchemy. Or you can click here to go straight to my Twitter profile Kitchen_Alchemy See you in the Twitterverse!

Meringue Au Chocolat

In 1702 Francois Massiolot, a chef in the kitchen of King Louis XIV of France, was the first to name an egg white and sugar confection he'd concocted for the King, “meringue”. Meringues are the little sisters of pavlova, a delicious dessert usually accompanied by whipped cream and fruit. The great thing about meringues is they are portable and they taste good on their own. Meringues can be found in patissieries all over France, often as large as a baker’s hand, swirled with the beautiful colours of fruit syrups.

When we first started our market stall in 2008, we had a lot of requests for gluten free items. We just didn't have the time or resources to come up with a range of GF cupcakes, so each week I'd whip up a batch of chocolate meringues so I'd have something to offer the GF customers. These were the cheapest item on the table, selling for $1.00, and they were invariably always the first thing to sell out.

If ever I have egg whites left over from another rec…

Fat reduced buttercream

The weather over the Easter break in Sydney was unseasonablly warm this year. So when it came time to make cupcakes for Easter, I really had to rethink the buttercream icing that is synonymous with all my cupcakes.

My standard buttercream icing has a high proportion of real butter in it, which is why it tastes so good. To me it is the key differentiator between a great cupcake and one that's just acceptable.

But with the weather so warm, I knew I had to reduce the amount of butter in the buttercream icing if my Easter cupcakes were not going to melt into a puddle. We've seen this happen in the last of our market days back in 2008 when the spring weather arrived. The texture and consistency needed to be as good as usual to get the beautiful shape when piping. I think the result was fantastic! See what you think.

500g pure icing sugar
50g butter
1 tbslp full cream milk
2 tbslp cold water
colouring of your choice
1/2 tsp Wilton Icing White

1. Place all the i…