Sunday, December 28, 2008

French Yule Log

Iced Log all shiny and glossy reflecting the blue light of my kitchen

Log waiting for final icingUn-iced log you can see the cake layer on top.
Side view of un-iced log

A French Yule Log!
This month's Daring Bakers' challenge is a French Yule Log and what a challenge! The recipe was over 18 pages long! At first sight my thought was HOLY XMAS!!!! what a long and exacting ordeal. Though on reading it a few times it was six simple recipes (taking anywhere from 10mins to 60 mins each) all combined into one Yule Log. I will be having the log on New Year's Eve I will post a photo of the cut log then. I live in Sydney Australia and we have one of the BEST fireworks displays so it should go down well on the night. The log served 26 people (it was a large BBQ party! You don't need much for a serving because of the richness of the log. The theme of the fireworks was "CREATION" the pyrotechnics (costings $6million) were so special this year. On the harbour, eight 100-foot multicoloured flame throwers danced below the bridge as images of the vast Australian landscape were projected onto the pylons.

As the last sparks from the fireworks cleared away, the Harbour of Lights parade got underway.

The parade features 55 vessels, including tall ships and ferries, displaying illuminated emblems on their masts and rigging on the theme of Creation.

The log consists of six elements

1) Dacquoise Biscuit – basically an almond cake
2) Mousse – cream and chocolate set with gelatine
3) Ganache Insert – caramel, cream and chocolate
4) Praline (Crisp) Insert – crisp crepes, milk chocolate, butter & praline
5) Creme Brulee Insert – egg yolks and eggs set as a custard
6) Icing – cocoa set with gelatine

The first five elements are arranged in a mould and then frozen and then the icing is poured over to form an absolutely smooth and shiny finish.

Not a pretty photo but it was so GOOD even I was impressed this is one to keep for that special party.
It was a lot of work (so much cream and chocolate!!!! about 3/4 litre of cream and about 450 grams of chocolate and about 100 grams of butter) BUT what a result it is the best dessert I have ever tasted. It is the combination of textures and chocolate tastes that makes this one excellent sweet - this combination is so finely tuned that the crisp layer plays off the ganche then the soft mousee and the almond cake O so delicious - a symphony of triumphs.

Notes on the six elements
1) Dacquoise Biscuit – this is a totally delicious and delectable moist almond cake it bakes to a light brown colour and is great all by itself if you spread it thickly it bakes moist and if spread thinly it is crisp. If your mould is curved do a thick layer it will be easy to bend to the correct shape. Easy peasy recipe.
2) Mousse – cream and chocolate set with gelatine – Easy to make and tastes better than the best quality ice cream; when set it is smooth and velvet-like and a light chocolate colour. Very easy recipe.
3) Ganache Insert – caramel, cream and chocolate – a caramel made by the dry method add cream and stir with a hand blender. Great chocolate taste and sets to a hard dark finish. Very easy recipe.
4) Praline (Crisp) Insert – crisp crepes, milk chocolate, butter & praline – Crepes are hard to make thin enough and then to bake them without burning involves constant watching; much easier to use Special K cereal. You combine the crepes (or cereal) with the chocolate, butter and praline (or nutella) spread on a baking tray and set in the refrigerator. You must smash the praline layer before you place into the yule log or else it will be too hard to cut through.
5) Creme Brulee Insert – egg yolks and eggs set as a custard – a lot of the Daring Bakers found that the brulee took up to 2 hours to set, this is because oven temperatures in most ovens are very inaccurate in the lowest range (so use a oven thermometer to check the true heat) and that the cream used must be over 35% if it is too low it will take a long time to set.
6) Icing – cocoa set with gelatine – so easy it isn't a recipe almost – some of the DBers found that the icing came out like a rubber sheet and literally pulled it off and enjoyed the rest of the log. This is because of the incorrect use of powdered gelatin. Place the correct amount of gelatin in a small bowl pour two tablespoons of hot water and stir to dissolve the gelatin. Place the small bowl into a larger bowl with hot water. Wait a few minutes until all of the gelatin is dissolved; the water will be a light brown or gold colour. Strain the liquid through a fine metal sieve. This icing came out so shiny and glossy I could see my face in it.

This month's challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux. They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand

The source of the recipe is [].
December's 2008 challenge recipe author is Flore.
This month's host are Hilda of Saffron & Blueberry ( and Marion of (Il en faut peu pour etre heureux (

Element #1 Dacquoise Biscuit (Almond Cake)

Preparation time: 10 mn + 15 mn for baking

Equipment: 2 mixing bowls, hand or stand mixer with whisk attachment, spatula, baking pan such as a 10”x15” jelly-roll pan, parchment paper

Note: You can use the Dacquoise for the bottom of your Yule Log only, or as bottom and top layers, or if using a Yule log mould (half-pipe) to line your entire mould with the biscuit. Take care to spread the Dacquoise accordingly. Try to bake the Dacquoise the same day you assemble the log to keep it as moist as possible.

2.8 oz (3/4cup + 1Tbsp / 80g) almond meal
1.75 oz (1/2 cup / 50g) confectioner’s sugar
2Tbsp (15g) all-purpose flour
3.5oz (100g / ~100ml) about 3 medium egg whites
1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar

1.Finely mix the almond meal and the caster sugar. (If you have a mixer, you can use it by pulsing the ingredients together for no longer than 30 seconds).
2.Sift the flour into the mix.
3.Beat the eggs whites, gradually adding the granulated sugar until stiff.
4.Pour the almond meal mixture into the egg whites and blend delicately with a spatula.
5.Grease a piece of parchment paper and line your baking pan with it.
6.Spread the batter on a piece of parchment paper to an area slightly larger than your desired shape (circle, long strip etc...) and to a height of 1/3 inches (8mm).
7.Bake at 350°F (180°C) for approximately 15 minutes (depends on your oven), until golden.
8.Let cool and cut to the desired shape.

Element #2 Dark Chocolate Mousse

Preparation time: 20mn

Equipment: stand or hand mixer with whisk attachment, thermometer, double boiler or equivalent, spatula

Note: You will see that a Pate a Bombe is mentioned in this recipe. A Pate a Bombe is a term used for egg yolks beaten with a sugar syrup, then aerated. It is the base used for many mousse and buttercream recipes. It makes mousses and buttercreams more stable, particularly if they are to be frozen, so that they do not melt as quickly or collapse under the weight of heavier items such as the crème brulee insert.

If you would like to use agar-agar, here are the equivalencies: 8g powdered gelatin = 1 (0.25 oz) envelope powdered gelatin = 1 Tbsp powdered gelatin = 1 Tbsp Agar-Agar.
1 Tbsp. of agar-agar flakes is equal to 1 tsp. of agar-agar powder.

2.5 sheets gelatin or 5g / 1+1/4 tsp powdered gelatin
1.5 oz (3 Tbsp / 40g) granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp (10g) glucose or thick corn syrup
0.5 oz (15g) water
50g egg yolks (about 3 medium)
6.2 oz (175g) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1.5 cups (350g) heavy cream (35% fat content)

1.Soften the gelatin in cold water. (If using powdered gelatin, follow the directions on the package.)
2.Make a Pate a Bombe: Beat the egg yolks until very light in colour (approximately 5 minutes until almost white).
2a.Cook the sugar, glucose syrup and water on medium heat for approximately 3 minutes (if you have a candy thermometer, the mixture should reach 244°F (118°C). If you do not have a candy thermometer, test the sugar temperature by dipping the tip of a knife into the syrup then into a bowl of ice water, if it forms a soft ball in the water then you have reached the correct temperature.
2b.Add the sugar syrup to the beaten yolks carefully by pouring it into the mixture in a thin stream while continuing to beat the yolks. You can do this by hand but it’s easier to do this with an electric mixer.
2c.Continue beating until cool (approximately 5 minutes). The batter should become thick and foamy.
3.In a double boiler (or one small saucepan in a larger one), heat 2 tablespoons (30g) of cream to boiling. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until melted and smooth.
4.Whip the rest of the cream until stiff.
5.Pour the melted chocolate over the softened gelatin, mixing well. Let the gelatin and chocolate cool slightly and then stir in ½ cup (100g) of WHIPPED cream to temper. Add the Pate a Bombe.
6.Add in the rest of the WHIPPED cream (220g) mixing gently with a spatula.

Element #3 Dark Chocolate Ganache Insert

Preparation time: 10mn

Equipment: pan, whisk.
If you have plunging mixer (a vertical hand mixer used to make soups and other liquids), it comes in handy.

Note: Because the ganache hardens as it cools, you should make it right before you intend to use it to facilitate piping it onto the log during assembly. Please be careful when caramelizing the sugar and then adding the cream. It may splatter and boil.

1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar
4.5oz (2/3 cup – 1 Tbsp/ 135g) heavy cream (35% fat content)
5 oz (135g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
3Tbsp + 1/2tsp (45g) unsalted butter softened

1.Make a caramel: Using the dry method, melt the sugar by spreading it in an even layer in a small saucepan with high sides. Heat over medium-high heat, watching it carefully as the sugar begins to melt. Never stir the mixture. As the sugar starts to melt, swirl the pan occasionally to allow the sugar to melt evenly. Cook to dark amber colour (for most of you that means darker than last month’s challenge).
2.While the sugar is melting, heat the cream until boiling. Pour cream into the caramel and stir thoroughly. Be very careful as it may splatter and boil.
3.Pour the hot caramel-milk mixture over the dark chocolate. Wait 30 seconds and stir until smooth.
4.Add the softened butter and whip hard and fast (if you have a plunging mixer use it). The chocolate should be smooth and shiny.

Element #4 Praline Feuillete (Crisp) Insert

Preparation time: 10 mn (+ optional 15mn if you make lace crepes)

Equipment: Small saucepan, baking sheet (if you make lace crepes).
Double boiler (or one small saucepan in another), wax paper, rolling pin (or use an empty bottle of olive oil).

Note: Feuillete means layered (as in with leaves) so a Praline Feuillete is a Praline version of a delicate crisp. There are non-praline variations below. The crunch in this crisp comes from an ingredient which is called gavottes in French. Gavottes are lace-thin crepes. To our knowledge they are not available outside of France, so you have the option of making your own using the recipe below or you can simply substitute rice krispies or corn flakes or Special K for them.

To make 2.1oz / 60g of gavottes (lace crepes - recipe by Ferich Mounia):
1/3 cup (80ml) whole milk
2/3 Tbsp (8g) unsalted butter
1/3 cup – 2tsp (35g) all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp / 0.5 oz (15g) beaten egg
1 tsp (3.5g) granulated sugar
½ tsp vegetable oil
1.Heat the milk and butter together until butter is completely melted. Remove from the heat.
2.Sift flour into milk-butter mixture while beating, add egg and granulated sugar. Make sure there are no lumps.
3.Grease a baking sheet and spread batter thinly over it.
4.Bake at 430°F (220°C) for a few minutes until the crepe is golden and crispy. Let cool.

Ingredients for the Praline Feuillete:
3.5 oz (100g) milk chocolate
1 2/3 Tbsp (25g) butter
2 Tbsp (1 oz / 30g) praline
2.1oz (60g) lace crepes(gavottes) or rice krispies or corn flakes or Special K

1.Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler.
2.Add the praline and the coarsely crushed lace crepes. Mix quickly to thoroughly coat with the chocolate.
3.Spread between two sheets of wax paper to a size slightly larger than your desired shape. Refrigerate until hard.

Element #5 Vanilla Crème Brulée Insert

Preparation time: 15mn + 1h infusing + 1h baking

Equipment: Small saucepan, mixing bowl, baking mould, wax paper

Note: The vanilla crème brulée can be flavoured differently by simply replacing the vanilla with something else e.g. cardamom, lavender, etc...

1/2 cup (115g) heavy cream (35% fat content)
½ cup (115g) whole milk
4 medium-sized (72g) egg yolks
0.75 oz (2 Tbsp / 25g) granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean

1.Heat the milk, cream, and scraped vanilla bean to just boiling. Remove from the stove and let the vanilla infuse for about 1 hour.
2.Whisk together the sugar and egg yolks (but do not beat until white).
3.Pour the vanilla-infused milk over the sugar/yolk mixture. Mix well.
4.Wipe with a very wet cloth and then cover your baking mold (whatever shape is going to fit on the inside of your Yule log/cake) with parchment paper. Pour the cream into the mold and bake at 210°F (100°C) for about 1 hour or until firm on the edges and slightly wobbly in the center.
5.Let cool and put in the freezer for at least 1 hour to firm up and facilitate the final assembly.

Element #6 Dark Chocolate Icing

Preparation time: 25 minutes (10mn if you don’t count softening the gelatin)

Equipment: Small bowl, small saucepan

Note: Because the icing gelifies quickly, you should make it at the last minute.
For other gelatin equivalences or gelatin to agar-agar equivalences, look at the notes for the mousse component.

4g / ½ Tbsp powdered gelatin or 2 sheets gelatin
¼ cup (60g) heavy cream (35 % fat content)
2.1 oz (5 Tbsp / 60g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (50g) water
1/3 cup (30g) unsweetened cocoa powder

1.Soften the gelatin in cold water for 15 minutes.
2.Boil the rest of the ingredients and cook an additional 3 minutes after boiling.
3.Add to the chocolate mixture. Mix well.
4.Let cool while checking the texture regularly. As soon as the mixture is smooth and coats a spoon well (it is starting to gelify), use immediately.

How To Assemble your French Yule Log

Depending on whether your mold is going to hold the assembly upside down until you unmold it or right side up, this order will be different.
You will want to tap your mold gently on the countertop after each time you pipe mousse in to get rid of any air bubbles.

1)Line your mold or pan, whatever its shape, with rhodoid (clear hard plastic, I usually use transparencies cut to the desired shape, it’s easier to find than cellulose acetate which is what rhodoid translates to in English) OR plastic film. Rhodoid will give you a smoother shape but you may have a hard time using it depending on the kind of mould you’re using.
2)Cut the Dacquoise into a shape fitting your mold and set it in there. If you are using an actual Yule mould which is in the shape of a half-pipe, you want the Dacquoise to cover the entire half-pipe portion of the mould.
3)Pipe one third of the Mousse component on the Dacquoise.
4)Take the Creme Brulee Insert out of the freezer at the last minute and set on top of the mousse. Press down gently to slightly ensconce it in the mousse.
5)Pipe second third of the Mousse component around and on top of the Creme Brulee Insert.
6)Cut the Praline/Crisp Insert to a size slightly smaller than your mold so that it can be surrounded by mousse. Lay it on top of the mousse you just piped into the mold.
7)Pipe the last third of the Mousse component on top of the Praline Insert.
8)Freeze for a few hours to set. Take out of the freezer.
9)Pipe the Ganache Insert onto the frozen mousse leaving a slight edge so that ganache doesn’t seep out when you set the Dacquoise on top.
10)Close with the last strip of Dacquoise. Freeze until the next day.

Unmould the cake/log/whatever and set on a wire rack over a shallow pan.
Cover the cake with the icing.
Let set. Return to the freezer.
You may decorate your cake however you wish. The decorations can be set in the icing after it sets but before you return the cake to the freezer or you may attach them on top using extra ganache or leftover mousse, etc...
Transfer to the refrigerator no longer than ½ hour before serving as it may start to melt quickly depending on the elements you chose.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Roast Chicken

Roast Chicken
Roast chicken is simple and easy. Just follow the following simple steps.

0. General guideline 25 minutes for each ½ kilogramme (per pound)
1. Let chicken get to room temperature this takes about one-two hours outside of refrigerator.
2. Preheat oven to 260C (500F).
3. Place chicken into heavy based ceramic (or metal) based pan.
4. Bake for 30 minutes.
5. Lower temperature to 180C (350F).
6. Continue baking until cooked (that is until juices from thigh run clear).
7. Baste every 30 minutes or so.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Brined Roast Chicken


I love to cook roast chicken and am always on the lookout on how to improve the process. I discovered brining (soaking in salt water) produces evenly cooked white and brown meat on any fowl. I was surprised that it is simple process - just place the bird into salted water with optional flavourings for a few hours and then dry the fowl in the refrigerator overnight and then proceed as you normally do. It couldn't be easier.

So soaking in brine really improves the taste and the moistness of all fowl (chicken, turkey, goose, duck and guinea fowl). It is simple and will ensure that your Christmas bird will be the tastiest you have ever made. All you do is to brine your fowl and then proceed as normal, you will find that the meat is juicy and the skin is crisp and a lovely colour. I stuffed the chicken with one head of garlic (chopped in half) and one onion (quartered). I chose using spices just as cumin, coriander, fennel, cinnamon,star anise and used half water and half rice wine for the brining liquid.

The results were amazing - super super moist chicken and a lovely crisp skin. The meat from different parts of the chicken were evenly cooked and the chicken didn't taste salty at all.


Brining works in accordance with two principles, called diffusion and osmosis, that like things to be kept in equilibrium. When brining a fowl, there is a greater concentration of salt and sugar outside of the fowl (in the brine) than inside the fowl (in the cells that make up its flesh). The law of diffusion states that the salt and sugar will naturally flow from the area of greater concentration (the brine) to lesser concentration (the cells). There is also a greater concentration of water, so to speak, outside of the turkey than inside. Here, too, the water will naturally flow from the area of greater concentration (the brine) to lesser concentration (the cells). When water moves in this fashion, the process is called osmosis. Once inside the cells, the salt and, to a lesser extent, the sugar cause the cell proteins to unravel, or denature. As the individual proteins unravel, they become more likely to interact with one another. This interaction results in the formation of a sticky matrix that captures and holds moisture. Once exposed to heat, the matrix gels and forms a barrier that keeps much of the water from leaking out as the meat cooks. Thus you have a chicken or turkey that is both better seasoned and much more moist than when you started.

Brining does have one negative effect on chicken and turkey: Adding moisture to the skin as well as the flesh can prevent the skin from crisping when cooked. We found that air-drying, a technique used in many Chinese recipes for roast duck, solves this problem. Letting brined chicken and turkey dry uncovered in the refrigerator allows surface moisture to evaporate, making the skin visibly more dry and taut and therefore promoting crispness when cooked. Although this step is optional, if crisp skin is a goal, it’s worth the extra time. For best results, air-dry whole brined birds overnight. Brined chicken parts can be air-dried for several hours. Transfer the brined bird to a heavy-duty cooling rack set over a rimmed baking sheet, pat the bird dry with paper towels, and refrigerate. The rack lifts the bird off the baking sheet, allowing air to circulate freely under the bird

BASIC BRINE (this is suitable for ½ kilogramme of food or 1 pound of food) max of 2 gallon

1 litre (1 quart) cold water (can use half rice wine or dry sherry and water)
½ cup sea salt (or ¼ cup of table salt)
¼ cup sugar

Optional herbs (use herbs or spices not both)
2 tablespoons cumin seeds, bruised
2 tablespoons coriander seeds, bruised
2 tablespoons fennel seeds, bruised
¼ stick of cinnamon stick, bruised
2 star anise, bruised

Optional spices
1 bunch rosemary
1 bunch thyme
1 bunch parsley
1 whole head garlic peeled
1 onion, sliced
2 lemons, halved
4 juniper berries crushed
2 bay leaves, torn into pieces

Step 1 Mix cold water, salt and sugar in brining vessel and stir to dissolve salt and sugar.
Step 2. Immerse food in brine, seal and refrigerate.

Brining Time guide lines
1 hour per ½ kg (pound), but not less than 30 minutes and no more than 8 hours

How to Roast a Fowl (Guidelines)
1. Chose a smaller sized bird because it has a better skin to meat ratio so providing a constant source of moisture during the roasting. So a 2-3lb (1-1½kg) chicken or a 12lb (6kg) turkey are the best size.
2. Use a high heat to roast the skin for the first 20 mins - also preheat the pan so that the fowl sizzles when first placed into the pan.
3. Lower the heat and continue cooking. If the bird starts to over-brown loosely cover with foil.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Caramel Lamingtons for the Melbourne Cup

Caramel Lamingtons and Gunleaf Lamingtons
It was Melbourne Cup day (a very famous horse race in Australia which stops the nation) and I did caramel lamingtons and gumleaf lamingtons, a traditional treat on national holidays. Caramel lamingtons use day-old caramel cake cut into cubes, filled with caramelised butter icing coated in a layer of caramel syrup and then rolled in desiccated coconut.

The caramel cake was delicious and ridiculously moist, the syrup was easy and the icing simple - I will make these again!!!! A great addition on the day.

Use the recipe (see below) as stated but bake in a lamington pan (33cmx23cmx3cm or 13”x9”x1”). It takes 30 mins to cook. Makes about 48 lamingtons, each takes about three to four mouthfuls to eat. The recipe is exactly the correct amount to half-fill the pan and it doubles in size when cooked.

Also I did some flavoured with gum-leaf oil (Eucalyptus flavour) use 1/8 drop of food-grade oil instead of vanilla extract. These were the first to go! This is a typical use (of gunleaf oil) in Australia also it is used in combination with caramel or honey in desserts or with coriander, garlic or honey in savoury sauces. You can dilute (2 drops of gumleaf oil to 1 litre of olive oil) and dab onto smoked salmon or BBQ meats.

I didn't win the racing-pool and the dream I had suggested a jockey with blue and white, again wrong. I only bet a very small amount. But it is the fun, food, drinks and the company that makes for a great day. O it was won by the Australian horse called Viewed.
Helping Dolores ( host this month are Alex (Brownie of the Blondie and Brownie duo:, Jenny of Foray into Food ( And since none of us know jack about alternative baking, we’ve once again turned to Natalie of Gluten-a-Go-Go ( to assist us.

Our leading lady this month is Shuna Fish Lydon of Eggbeater ( and her signature caramel cake. And in a supporting role we have an optional challenge: Alice Medrich’s Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels, with LOTS of variation. Guaranteed to keep us all on a sugar-induced high all month!

THE RULES: You must make both the cake and the caramelized butter frosting. Beyond that, we’re leaving it open and we’re anxious to see what variations you come up with… in size, in shape, in flavors you might pair with the caramel, in decoration, in how you incorporate the caramel candy. As Rosa said last month, use your imagination and have fun!

If you're making the caramels, Alice Medrich's recipe provides several alternatives flavour combinations. Feel free to use one of hers or create one of your own.
Caramel Cake with Caramelized Butter Frosting courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon (, as published on Bay Area Bites ( Shuna Fish Lydon’s recipe (

Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich, Artisan Press, Copyright 2007, ISBN: 978-1579652111
If you’re looking for additional guidance on the cake, Shuna’s got some great information posted here as well ( and here (


142g unsalted butter at room temperature
280g granulated sugar
½ tsp/2.5 ml kosher salt
80ml Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 each eggs, at room temperature
splash vanilla extract
286g  all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon/2.5ml baking powder
240ml milk, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350F/176c/gas mark 4

Butter one tall (5-6/2 – 2.5 inch deep) 23cm/9-inch cake pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.

Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.

Sift flour and baking powder.

Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients. {This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter.}

Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan.

Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool cake completely before icing it.

Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.


450g cups sugar
120ml cup water
240ml cup water (for "stopping")
In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.

When color is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.

Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers. {Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it.}

Note: For safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.


12 tablespoons (170.5 grams) unsalted butter
454g confectioner’s sugar/icing sugar, sifted
60-90 ml heavy/double cream
10ml vanilla extract
30-60 ml caramel syrup
Kosher or sea salt to taste

Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.

Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add confectioner's sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all confectioner's sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.

Note: Caramelized butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month.
To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light

(recipes above courtesy of Shuna Fish Lydon)

- makes eighty-one 1-inch caramels -

240ml golden syrup
450g cups sugar
3/8 teaspoon/2ml fine sea salt
480 ml heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons/7.5ml pure ground vanilla beans, purchased or ground in a coffee or spice grinders, or 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon/5ml pure vanilla extract
43g unsalted butter, cut into chunks, softened

A 9-inch/23cm square baking pan
Candy thermometer


Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with aluminum foil and grease the foil. Combine the golden syrup, sugar, and salt in a heavy 3-quart saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to simmer around the edges. Wash the sugar and syrup from the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water. Cover and cook for about 3 minutes. (Meanwhile, rinse the spatula or spoon before using it again later.) Uncover the pan and wash down the sides once more. Attach the candy thermometer to the pan, without letting it touch the bottom of the pan, and cook, uncovered (without stirring) until the mixture reaches 305°F/151c. Meanwhile, combine the cream and ground vanilla beans (not the extract) in a small saucepan and heal until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep the cream hot.

When the sugar mixture reaches 305°F/151c, turn off the heat and stir in the butter chunks. Gradually stir in the hot cream; it will bubble up and steam dramatically, so be careful. Turn the burner back on and adjust it so that the mixture boils energetically but not violently. Stir until any thickened syrup at the bottom of the pan is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, to about 245°F/118c. Then cook, stirring constantly, to 260°f/127c for soft, chewy caramels or 265°F/129; for firmer chewy caramels.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, if using it. Pour the caramel into the lined pan. Let set for 4 to 5 hours, or overnight until firm.

Lift the pan liner from the pan and invert the sheet of caramel onto a sheet of parchment paper. Peel off the liner. Cut the caramels with an oiled knife.  Wrap each caramel individually in wax paper or cellophane.


Fleur de Sel Caramels: Extra salt, in the form of fleur de sel or another coarse flaked salt, brings out the flavor of the caramel and offers a little ying to the yang. Add an extra scant 1/4 teaspoon of coarse sea salt to the recipe. Or, to keep the salt crunchy, let the caramel cool and firm. Then sprinkle with two pinches of flaky salt and press it in. Invert, remove the pan liner, sprinkle with more salt. Then cut and wrap the caramels in wax paper or cellophane.

Nutmeg and Vanilla Bean Caramels: Add 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg to the cream before you heat it.

Cardamom Caramels: Omit the vanilla. Add 1/2 teaspoon slightly crushed cardamom seeds (from about 15 cardamom pods) to the cream before heating it. Strain the cream when you add it to the caramel; discard the seeds.

Caramel Sauce: Stop cooking any caramel recipe or variation when it reaches 225°F/107c or, for a sauce that thickens like hot fudge over ice cream, 228°F/109. Pour it into a sauceboat to serve or into a heatproof jar for storage. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for ages and reheated gently in the microwave or a saucepan just until hot and flowing before use. You can stir in rum or brandy to taste. If the sauce is too thick or stiff to serve over ice cream, it can always be thinned with a little water or cream. Or, if you like a sauce that thickens more over ice cream, simmer it for a few minutes longer. (recipe from Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Spinach and Cheese Pie

One dish I like to have on picnics is spinach and cheese pie it is easy and delightful cold or hot. The photo shows a large pie that uses double the quantities in the recipe. Notice how high it is and it looks great on the picnic table.

Spinach and Cheese Pie

Ingredients (Can make one large pie by doubling quantities)
8 Sheets Fillo Pastry
1 bunch spinach
2 medium onions finely chopped
1 bunch of shallots finely chopped
¼ cup oil
400 grams ricotta cheese (or combination of ricotta and feta cheese)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
Melted butter

1.Fry finely chopped onion and shallots until translucent.
2.Remove stalks from spinach, triple wash and drain until completely dry.
3.Cut spinach and stalks (optional) into small pieces and place into separate pan over low heat and wait until spinach has wilted.
4.Cool spinach for a few minutes and then drain by squeezing spinach in your hands until completely dry.
5.Beat ricotta cheese, eggs, salt, pepper and oil in a separate bowl and then add onions, shallots and chopped drained spinach. Mix well until combined.
6.Layer a medium sized pie plate/dish turning each layer 45 degrees with seven sheets of fillo pastry, buttering every layer with melted butter. Make sure that you overhang the fillo pastry over the edges of the pie plate/dish.
7.Place the mixture on top of the layered pastry and place the last sheet of buttered fillo pastry over the mixture. Fold in the overhanging ends.
8.Brush the top with melted butter and bake in a preheated moderate (180C/350F) oven for about 45 minutes or until golden brown. (For large pie bake about 55 minutes).

Variation to use when eating cold
Add 2 tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, ½ tablespoon hot chilli sauce.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lemonade Scones

The easiest and simplest scone recipe in Australia uses lemonade, cream and flour (and optional dried fruit) and this recipe produces the lightest scones. These scones are meant be eaten with jam and whipped cream.

Lemonade Scones:
3 cups of S.R. Flour (S.R.=self rising)
1 cup of cream
1 cup of Lemonade (not flat i.e. still fizzy with bubbles)
1/3 cup of dried fruit (optional)

Mix flour, dried fruit and cream and lemonade. Mixture will be soft. Scrape onto a floured surface. Knead lightly and shape and pat down, do not roll, into a rectangle about 3 cm high. Cut out with a 5cm floured scone cutter, makes 12 scones.

Brush tops with milk or egg wash

Place on tray and put into a hot oven 220C (450F) for about 10mins until tops are golden.

Serve with jam and cream.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tossing Pizza as tribute to Sherry

It was a sad challenge for the Daring Bakers this month because one of the hosts died suddenly Sherry of http://www.whatdidyoueat{dot}typepad{dot}com and the other host decided to quit the forum for personal reasons. So it only left Rosa's Yummy Yums to do the hosting for this month. Sher had shared her recipe from “Pizza Napoletana” from Peter Reinhart's “The Bread Baker's Apprentice” which yields a beautifully tasty, thin, crispy, yet chewy pizza crust and as a tribute it was chosen.

It is a delayed raising (cold fermentation) bread that is kept in the refrigerator (up to three days) to improve the texture taste and chewiness of the baked dough.

THE CHALLENGE: You have to use the tossing method (as explained below) for at least 2 Pizza Crusts. If you are not comfortable with it, then you can switch to the rolling method, but you HAVE to try the traditional method and exercise it, using at least two dough pieces. You should also capture the moment by either filming or photographing yourself while tossing the dough.

Original recipe taken from “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart.

Makes 6 pizza crusts (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter).

4 1/2 Cups (20 1/4 ounces/607.5 g) Unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour or all purpose flour, chilled
1 3/4 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Instant yeast
1/4 Cup (2 ounces/60g) Olive oil or vegetable oil (both optional, but it’s better with)
1 3/4 Cups (14 ounces/420g or 420ml) Water, ice cold (40° F/4.5° C)
1 Tb sugar
Semolina/durum flour or cornmeal for dusting


1. Mix together the flour, salt and instant yeast in a big bowl (or in the bowl of your stand mixer).

2. Add the oil, sugar and cold water and mix well (with the help of a large wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment, on low speed) in order to form a sticky ball of dough. On a clean surface, knead for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and the ingredients are homogeneously distributed. If it is too wet, add a little flour (not too much, though) and if it is too dry add 1 or 2 teaspoons extra water.

NOTE: If you are using an electric mixer, switch to the dough hook and mix on medium speed for the same amount of time. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle in a little more flour, so that it clears the sides. If, on the contrary, it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water.
The finished dough should be springy, elastic, and sticky, not just tacky, and register 50°-55° F/10°-13° C.

3. Flour a work surface or counter.  Line a jelly pan with baking paper/parchment. Lightly oil the paper.

4. With the help of a metal or plastic dough scraper, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces (or larger if you want to make larger pizzas).

NOTE: To avoid the dough from sticking to the scraper, dip the scraper into water between cuts.

5. Sprinkle some flour over the dough. Make sure your hands are dry and then flour them.  Gently round each piece into a ball.

NOTE: If the dough sticks to your hands, then dip your hands into the flour again.

6. Transfer the dough balls to the lined jelly pan and mist them generously with spray oil. Slip the pan into plastic bag or enclose in plastic food wrap.

7. Put the pan into the refrigerator and let the dough rest overnight or for up to thee days.

NOTE: You can store the dough balls in a zippered freezer bag if you want to save some of the dough for any future baking. In that case, pour some oil(a few tablespooons only) in a medium bowl and dip each dough ball into the oil, so that it is completely covered in oil. Then put each ball into a separate bag. Store the bags in the freezer for no longer than 3 months. The day before you plan to make pizza, remember to transfer the dough balls from the freezer to the refrigerator.


8. On the day you plan to eat pizza, exactly 2 hours before you make it, remove the desired number of dough balls from the refrigerator. Dust the counter with flour and spray lightly with oil. Place the dough balls on a floured surface and sprinkle them with flour. Dust your hands with flour and delicately press the dough into disks about 1/2 inch/1.3 cm thick and 5 inches/12.7 cm in diameter. Sprinkle with flour and mist with oil. Loosely cover the dough rounds with plastic wrap and then allow to rest for 2 hours.

9. At least 45 minutes before making the pizza, place a baking stone on the lower third of the oven.  Preheat the oven as hot as possible (500° F/260° C).

NOTE: If you do not have a baking stone, then use the back of a jelly pan. Do not preheat the pan.

10. Generously sprinkle the back of a jelly pan with semolina/durum flour or cornmeal. Flour your hands (palms, backs and knuckles). Take 1 piece of dough by lifting it with a pastry scraper. Lay the dough across your fists in a very delicate way and carefully stretch it by bouncing it in a circular motion on your hands, and by giving it a little stretch with each bounce. Once the dough has expanded outward, move to a full toss.

NOTE: Make only one pizza at a time. During the tossing process, if the dough tends to stick to your hands, lay it down on the floured counter and reflour your hands, then continue the tossing and shaping. In case you would be having trouble tossing the dough or if the dough never wants to expand and always springs back, let it rest for approximately 5-20 minutes in order for the gluten to relax fully,then try again. You can also resort to using a rolling pin, although it isn’t as effective as the toss method.

11. When the dough has the shape you want (about 9-12 inches/23-30 cm in diameter - for a 6 ounces/180g piece of dough), place it on the back of the jelly pan, making sure there is enough semolina/durum flour or cornmeal to allow it to slide and not stick to the pan.

12. Lightly top it with sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

NOTE: Remember that the best pizzas are topped not too generously. No more than 3 or 4 toppings (including sauce and cheese) are sufficient.

13. Slide the garnished pizza onto the stone in the oven or bake directly on the jelly pan. Close the door and bake for abour 5-8 minutes.

NOTE: After 2 minutes baking, take a peek. For an even baking, rotate 180°.

If the top gets done before the bottom, you will need to move the stone or jelly pane to a lower shelf before the next round. On the contrary, if the bottom crisps before the cheese caramelizes, then you will need to raise the stone or jelly.

14. Take the pizza out of the oven and transfer it to a cutting board or your plate. In order to allow the cheese to set a little, wait 3-5 minutes before slicing or serving.

I did a semi-dried tomato, spinach, Italian sausage and soft mozzarella curd, the sauce was roasted garlic/red capsicum (bell pepper) pestoSemi-dried tomatoes with roasted garlic.

I chose marinated feta cheese, mushroom, garlic and semi-dried tomatoes as my topping the sauce was white-wine reduction. I like my piazzas crusty and using a baking stone and high temperature really are the keys to success - it makes the base very crispy.

Potato Cornmeal OO Bread

Potato imparts a soft crumb, an earthy taste and adds shelf-life to bread while cornmeal (polenta) adds colour and a crisp crust. I was in the mood for a bread to serve with my meatloaf (Spicy and Chilli) and I thought this might be the perfect compliment.

Potato Cornmeal OO Bread

3 cups 'OO' all-purpose unbleached flour
½ cup mashed potatoes (skins included)
½ cup of cornmeal (polenta)
2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons instant yeast
3 teaspoons salt

Preheat oven to 270C (520F) with a baking stone.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and roughly mix to form a dough.
Let rest in refrigerator for one hour.
Turn out on counter and knead for 3-5 minutes.
Return to bowl and to the refrigerator for one hour.
Turn out to counter and shape into two loaves, place into pans.
Let rise until doubled in size, about one hour.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Reduced temperature to 220C (450F) for 35 minutes, until loaves sound hollow when knocked.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pre-baked thick polenta pizza

I love thick thick pizzas and polenta makes for a wondrous crisp crust, a lovely yellow colour to the crumb and the mellow taste of corn. This is a pre-baked base after it is baked store in the freezer (about 3 months) or use later that day.

Thick Thick Polenta Pizza

2 cups polenta (cornmeal)
1 cup corn flour
2 cups strong bread flour
3 cups warm water
100 grams tasty cheese
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons olive oil for drizzling over dough.

Preheat oven with baking stone to 260C (500F) for 50 minutes.
Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Make a well in the centre and add wet ingredients.
Mix roughly until a dough forms.
Let the dough rest for one hour in the refrigerator.
Turn out onto counter and knead for five minutes. Return dough to bowl.
Let dough rest one hour. Turn out and knead for five minutes.
Shape and place into a pan. 33cmx23cmx3cm. 13”x9“x1”.
(Or make two thin pizzas bases use two pans the same size as above.)
Let the dough rise until reaches the top of the pan.
Using your fingers dimple the surface of the risen dough and drizzle olive oil into the dimples.
Let the dough rise for 20 minutes.
Place pan onto the baking stone and bake for 20 minutes. Turning half way through.

To make your pizza

Your choice of Sausage, salami, char-grilled capsicums (bell peppers), egg plant (aubergine), marinated artichoke.
Your choice of cheese marinated feta cheese, tasty aged cheese, semi-dried tomatoes. Vegetables like spinach and herbs basil, chives.
Your choice of sauce, pestos, tomato sauce etc.

Pre-heat oven to 180C(350F) with baking stone.
Top the pre-baked pizza base with sauce and your toppings.
Bake for 30 minutes until the toppings are hot and the cheese is melted.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Stuffed Red Bell Peppers (Capsiums)

What to do with cold rice and meatloaf, it is cold and sunny in Sydney so I thought stuffed capsicums! A great dish any time of the year.

Stuffed Red Bell Pepper (Red Capsicum)

9 medium red bell peppers (red capsicums)
3 cups of cooked white rice
1 ½ cups of meatloaf
2 tablespoons of capsicum pesto

Preheat oven 180C (350F).
Combine rice, meatloaf and pesto in a large bowl.
Cut off tops of the peppers, and stuff with rice/meatloaf mixture.
Bake for 1 hour until the peppers are soft.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Banana Chocolate Walnut Loaf & Muffins

I love banana bread and I love chocolate and I love yoghurt, so I thought why not a cake that combines all of these into one. It has little added fat since the yoghurt and bananas make for a moist crumb and the whole wheat flour and walnuts makes for a healthier nutritional profile and complements the banana and chocolate flavours so well. The secret ingredient is a good pinch of cayenne pepper that stimulates the taste buds and intensifies all the flavours. (Try a pinch in your usual recipe and taste the flavour boost.)

I like to make a few muffins at the same time, these satisfy my hunger instantly so I can let the loaf cool to room temperature.

One-Bowl Banana Chocolate Walnut Cake (Makes 1 large loaf & 6 muffins)

3 cups self-raising whole wheat flour
½ cup dark cocoa powder (Belgium if possible)
1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
2½ tsp ground cinnamon
Good pinch of hot cayenne pepper (this stimulates the taste-buds and increases the taste)
1 cup dark brown sugar (in the US add 1½ cups cane sugar, Americans have a sweet tooth, if you use white sugar the cake will not be as dark and shiny)
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups natural set (Greek) yoghurt
3 eggs
1½ tablespoons oil
3 large bananas, mashed

Step I Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Grease a large loaf [23cmx13cmx7cm (2litre) 9”x5”x3”(4.5 pints)] pan and a six ½ cup muffin pan with cooking spray oil.

Step II Combine flour, soda, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, sugar and walnuts in a large bowl. Stir in milk, eggs, oil and bananas until just combined.

Step III Spoon into muffin pan filling ¾ full smooth surface. Spoon the remaining mixture into the loaf pan and smooth surface (it should be over ¾ full). Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes and the loaf for 60-70 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand in the pan for 5 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cold Comfort for Picnics

Spicy Chilli Bean & Rice Meatloaf

I go on picnics a lot and this recipe makes a great cold spicy meatloaf that can be sliced thinly to make sandwiches.

This simple picnic meatloaf recipe relies on a can of well flavoured chilli beans and Italian Chilli sausages. It can be eaten hot or cold it makes wonderful sandwiches. In the local market (Chatswood, Sydney Australia) the mince was $6/kg while the sausages were only $5/kg so a cheap recipe was to use the sausages in meatloaf. The combination of brown rice and beans boosts the protein content and improves the nutritional (high fibre) profile of the recipe. There is no need to add red bell pepper (red capsicum), onion, garlic or water/milk, the Chilli beans have all these in the can and the sausages contains extra seasoning and breadcrumbs so we only need two eggs and a small quantity of cornmeal to thicken the meatloaf to shape it into a loaf shape. The total cost is approximately $7 for the whole 2 kg or 4.5 lb loaf. Serves 8 with crusty white bread and salad.

Spicy Chilli Bean & Rice Meatloaf

Ingredients (Makes one large loaf, serves 8 with crusty white bread and salad.)
1 kg (about 2 lbs) Italian Chilli Sausages (skins removed)
3 cups of cooked brown rice (use 1 cup of uncooked rice to make 3 cups of cooked rice)
1 can (about 400 grams or 14 ozs) Mexican Chilli Beans
2 large eggs
1/3 – 1/2 cup of cornmeal (depending on the wetness of the mixture)
2 tablespoons hot chilli sauce ( I use ABC brand, an Asian import)

Glaze (Optional)
½ cup tomato sauce
½ tablespoon hot chilli sauce (or to taste)
4 tablespoons of brown sugar
4 teaspoons cider or white vinegar

Preheat oven to 200C (400F).
Place all ingredients (except cornmeal) into large bowl.
Mix adding cornmeal(2 tablespoons at a time) until the mixture comes away from sides of bowl.
Form into loaf shape
(or place into large 23cmx13cmx7cm(2litre) 9”x5”x3”(4.5 pints) meatloaf tin)
If using glaze brush half over the loaf.
Bake for 35 mins.
Pour remaining glaze over loaf and bake for another 35 mins.
Or simmer remaining glaze over medium heat until thickened slightly. Slice meat loaf and serve with extra glaze passed separately.

I use a meat thermometer to check that the internal heat is medium done.

This cold meatloaf will make about 30 slices for open-faced picnic sandwiches.

Sourdough Meatloaf Sandwiches topped with cheese and mustard

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The need to knead and the need for speed

Sometimes I get the urge to knead and I have a dough that needs about 30 mins to become smooth and elastic this is because we use dry cornmeal and potato flour which require a long time to incorporate into the dough. It is a very fast rising bread because potato flour really makes yeast grow fast. The cornmeal makes for a golden crumb and an even brown crust and the cheese makes for long lasting bread and the 'OO' white flour makes for a soft texture.

Sometimes I get the need for speed kneading and the same recipe with a little resting makes this possible. To reduce the kneading time to 3 mins. After you have roughly mixed the dough let it rest for 27mins and knead for 3 mins

Cheese, Cornmeal, Potato and 'OO' Wheat Bread
3 cups 'OO' wheat flour
1/2 cup potato flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 cups warm water
2 cups of grated cheese (strong tasting)
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons yeast
1 tablespoon salt

Mix dry ingredients into a large bowl.
Make a well in the centre add water and oil.
Roughly mix into a dough.
Knead for 30 mins. (Or let the dough rest for 27 mins and then knead for 3 mins).
Return to bowl and cover with plastic wrap until doubled in size about 30-40 mins.
Lightly punch down the dough spread out on counter and spread with cheese.
Roll up the dough and shape into a round or log.
Loosely cover loaf with plastic wrap and let double in size about 15-20 mins.
Preheat oven to 460C (500F) for 45 mins. Add small cast iron pan on bottom of oven.
When ready to bake add water into pan to release steam.
Immediately place loaf onto baking stone for 20 mins.
Reduce heat to 220C (440F) bake for a further 20 mins.
Reduce heat to 200C (400F) for 20 mins.

Notice how the yellow cheese is spread out in the crumb of the loaf. I like the large holes this happens because of the folding process.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Roast Chicken

I love to make roast chicken. It is simple yet produces a dinner party result that everybody loves. Basically there is no recipe as such. Place the bird on a rack over a roasting dish and place into a preheated oven 260C (500F) for 10 mins. Lower the heat to 180C (350F) and bake for 45mins for each kilogram (or 20 mins per pound) until the bird is brown and oozing delicious juices. Rest for 10 mins. You can use the pan juices to make a simple gravy.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Three day bread (No Knead)

Time is what makes bread taste good. The longer it takes the dough to rise the better the taste. This loaf takes three days to ferment this is achieved by using a a very very small pinch of yeast in the dough and letting it rise in the refrigerator for a long long time. Also using a baking stone makes for a crisp crust.

5 cups (750gs) of strong bread flour (14% gluten)
2 cups (500 mls) water
pinch of yeast (use as little as possible)
1 tablespoon of salt

Place all the ingredients into a large bowl, roughly mix and place into refrigerator covered with two layers of plastic wrap
Wait three days until the dough comes together and looks like kneaded dough
Take dough out of refrigerator for one hour
Punch down dough and shape into loaf, let rise until doubled in size about 1-2 hours
Preheat oven to 250C (480F) with baking stone in the oven
Bake of 20 mins
Reduce to 220C (430F) bake of 20-30 mins until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped

The bread worked out so goood! When I took the loaf out of the oven it started to 'sing' (the crust made loud cracking noises) as the French say this is a great sign of a thin crisp crust and the crumb was soft and chewy.

If you click on the first photo you will see a closeup of the crackes that formed on the loaf.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

My Trip to Dublin Ireland

My trip to Dublin Ireland

Dublin is full it is a small city everything is crowded together its people, its buildings and its roads. O'Connell Street is the main street it has a 60 metre metal spike that dominates the street. The people crowd the streets during the day and the pubs at night. I stayed on Bachelor's Walk on the River Liffey right in the heart of Dublin. I was disappointed because it didn't rain while I was in Ireland I was hoping for the famous Irish rain, Sydney has been so dry and hot. Everywhere you see references to Dublin's writers James Joyce etc...And a big thank you to Anne and Amanda for helping me to get to Dublin for my job interview!

Where I stayed Abbey Court on Bachelor's Walk (notice sunny)

The Oldest Pub in Dublin Brazen Head Inn 1198 (notice not raining)

My first Guinness and the aftermath

The Metal Spike on O'Connell Street

The O'Connell Momument 1882 (note the blue skies)

The River Leffey (notice the bright light and blue skies)

Grafton Street full of people

Dublin's many churches
St. Catherine Church 1769

St. Patrick's 1192

Trinity College

St. Stephen's Green 1663 (More bloody bright sunlight)

The home of Guinness

James Joyce Statue

The Dublin Theatre festival Delirium

The Dublin Theatre festival was on and I ask to see a play and the lady behind the counter said “Do you want one with dialogue” well being a little conservative when it comes to plays I picked one with dialogue called Delirium. Here is the blurb

“If there is no God, everything is permitted...”

The Abbey Theatre presents a daring adaptation of Dostoevsky's classic tale of family rivalries, created by renowned Irish playwright Enda Walsh (Disco Pigs, Bedbound, The Walworth Farce) and the award-winning theatre O.

From its explosive opening, this bold and muscular interpretation demands you sit up and take notice!

The Karamazovs are a train wreck waiting to happen. A hated father and his sons battle it out over women, money and God. Uncompromising and on the edge, they don't so much live as burn up. 

Hilarious, brutal and tragic, Delirium pulsates with energy, bursting at the seams with barely controlled passions as emotion and intellect battle for stage time. Questions of faith and fundamentalism play out against unrequited love and a lust for life in a world that's losing its moral and ethical boundaries.

It was above average and I enjoyed the talking even if it is frowned upon.