Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Dairy Free Pikelets

It's me again (Kate), just here to fill you in on how my dairy-free pikelet making went yesterday....

As mentioned i decided to work from Alexa Johnston's recipe in 'Ladies a Plate', using an olive oil spread in place of butter and some rice milk. The original  recipe offers the option to add a Tablespoon of golden syrup to the mix, which normally i would do, but this time i left it out as i find the rice milk really sweet.

I have to say the pikelets were surprisingly nice (i was a bit apprehensive) and Anton and Mila seemed to like them too, and Anton is definitely the type of guy to turn his nose up at rice milk!I have put the recipe in down below, if anyone wants to have a go at making them either for themselves, or for someone you know with a lactose intolerance.

Kate x

My trusty helper. Please don't judge me on the state of my kitchen....

Pikelet Recipe
Beat one egg and two tablespoons of caster sugar together until fluffy. 

Into this add 3/4 cup of rice milk, 1 cup of flour, 1 tsp of baking powder and 1 Tbsp of melted olivani (read:any olive oil spread, be careful some have milk solids in them) 

Mix this all together quickly and lightly until lumps are out and mix has come together.

Then heat a pan and grease and place spoonfuls of the mix in. When bubbles appear, flip the pikelets over and cook on the other side.  They are best served warm - we had ours with golden syrup.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Tuesday's gone...

...gone so long she's almost back again.
It seems my sister and I have a lot in common...looks...talent...............................love of pies.......procrastination...

Last Tuesday we had a baking day in Kate's new kitchen..styley but a little small on bench space...still we managed to come up with a Rhubarb Meringue Pie (mmmm...pie) -with a layer of chocolate thrown in of course-; and a couple of old favourites...Ginger Cake for Phil, and the best ever (truly) Chocolate Caramel Slice, which we've been making since about 1992 when our Dad had a cafe in Milford...these days I like to double the caramel though..sweet sweet sweet.

The pie was basically a Lemon Meringue Pie using rhubarb juice instead of lemon, and because there was a block of chocolate with no other purpose, we melted it down and lined the pastry with a rather hefty layer of the stuff. Kate whipped up a fantastically light and glossy meringue topping..the result was a slightly sloppy, ridiculously sweet, but , in my humble opinion, still pretty damn tasty, pie. (mmmmmm...pie).

Okay, so I am really bad at sorting the photos into a beautiful display, I'll sort it out one day, but right now i just don't have the patience. 

Anyway, meanwhile, Juno was either sleeping or just chilling with her bottle, and Rory was on the deck making cupcakes of her own..


The ginger cake is fairly simple to make, it's a melt in the pot, stir in the flour, slow bake kind of cake...it can be jazzed up with the addition of pears and/or icing..but this time I left it unadorned, and even though i thought it was slightly overcooked (my preference is always to lean towards raw , not dry), the Light-Thornleys seemed to make a quick demolition job, which i take to mean cake success. Yay. That really is the best part about baking...having people enjoy your food.

As for the chocolate caramel slice...thankfully i left half at Kate's house...once I start eating this, I find it very hard to stop. It was quite soft (the fear of overcooking strikes again..) but I have to say i think i prefer it that way .although perhaps the base could be a bit thicker to support that extra caramel-ly filling... I get such a thrill just looking at the composition of the things we bake too...the colours, the thickness, the whiteness of the meringue, the perfect roundness of a cake...oh..endless raptures
And so the end results:

A cheeky slice of pie...

Cake on a plate


Oh caramel heaven....

Clearly when it comes to posting photos, I have no clue. The blog seems to have a mind of it's own where placement of pictures is concerned..
Well. Almost a week late but there it is..the results of a productive day in the kitchen, ignoring my own domestic duties at home. So much more fun.

On another note, because I always like to do what my big sister done, I will lead you here to a beautiful song, which I hadnt heard for awhile but last week, in desperation for some sound, I put an ancient mix tape into my car stereo and heard it again..a perfectly apt love song..and isn't she pretty?
 Which then got me listening to some Mazzy Star, so nineties, so sweet...... so scary how long ago this was!

xx Harriet .

Monday Funday

I'm pleased to say I have just finished my tax return and feel like a huge weight has been lifted off me, i really am the worst procrastinator ever - Finally i can get on and enjoy the rest of my Monday and bake!

Anton and I have been having heaps of trouble with Juno lately, she's been in lots of pain and had heaps of gas (you wouldn't believe it was possible in such a small baby!!!). The doctor suggested cutting out dairy products to see if she had some sort of allergy, which we subsequently did. Ever since then things have been much better for her but terrible for me- no cheesy pizza, no yoghurt for breakfast, no milk in my coffee and no baking!

On Saturday afternoon John (our step-father, one marriage removed) had a birthday afternoon tea at his house and his wife Sharon baked heaps of really good looking food and i couldn't taste any of it, which was torturous and depressing...

Following this, I've been on the hunt for some good dairy free recipes that i can bake to help ease my pain and I came across a book which i'm gonna order from Amazon called Vegan Cupcakes take over the world, which has heaps of good sounding cakes in it.

While i wait for my book to arrive I've decided to play around with traditional recipes omitting milk and butter in favour of dairy-free alternatives.

First up is pikelets. My pan is to take Alexa Johnston's recipe from the book 'Ladies, A Plate' and substitute the milk with rice milk and the butter with olivio (an olive oil spread). I usually add a bit of golden syrup but i think i'll leave this out as rice milk tends to be quite sweet. Anyway, i'll let you all know how i get on, wish me luck!

ps: if you're wondering about the pic up top, it's just one i came across on the internet that i really like. I wish we had more diners in New Zealand, especially ones where they serve up big slices of warm pie.... mmmm pie.
source:the Guardian

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Sawdust and Scones

Happy weekend everybody....

Today i made some date and cinnamon scones in my new 'almost completed kitchen', quite a feat considering i was working around Anton, my uncle and my cousin as they put up the new ceiling in the room next door.

With Mila by my side we whipped a tasty batch of scones in no time flat and got to cook them in my fancy new oven. Now if only we had the dishwasher installed to help get rid of all those dishes....

On another note, I am really loving this song by cut off your hands at the moment and this little cutie by Princess Chelsea -great baking music!

Kate x

Monday, 13 June 2011


This is actually a delayed post, for a recipe I made a few weeks ago, but it tasted so yummy I feel it needs to be included. Prior to this particular week, I had never made an actual mud cake before. I'm not even sure what makes it a mud cake exactly...but after making a successful White Chocolate version for Rory's birthday party, I decided to experiment with the dark chocolate version. These are both from an Australian Women's Weekly cookbook, and both called mud cakes, but the only similarity between them seems to be the ganache on the outside and the fact that they are very rich. Perhaps this is what is meant by mud.

The dark chocolate version contains coffee, bourbon (i used whiskey) and chocolate, all melted together with butter on the stove...I am a serious chocolate freak ..we both are..and seriously i think i could have just consumed this whole mixture as it was, without turning it into a cake. Yum.

Ok it may not look like it here, but trust me...this was delicious

Seeing as this was intended as a gift to cheer up a special friend (baking seems to be the only thing I know what to do when times are tough...for me or anyone else..) , and because I'd been meaning to try this for some time, I figured I had better add the rest of the ingredients and see what the finished product was like.

As instructed, I baked this one in a square tin. It came out quite flat, but this seemed to be how it looked in the picture too so I wasn't too worried...by contrast the white mud cake rose beautifully and was completely different in texture.

I covered the cake in dark chocolate ganache..which was just cream and chocolate melted together...I had to mix in a little icing sugar to firm it up a bit though.
Now, even though I'm a chocolate addict, I'm not actually a huge fan of chocolate cake itself...unless it has real chocolate in it..this cake however is probably one of the best chocolate cakes I've ever tasted (modest, yes)!. And, also one of the few chocolatey things that I couldn't consume all in one go because it is so rich. You really only need a small square. It has a very soft, melt in your mouth sort of texture, with all the flavours of the coffee, whisky and chocolate coming through and then topped off with more chocolate in the icing...so yummy. So pretty.

I don't know how successful it was in cheering up my friend...but I was personally very happy with the part I kept for myself (for research purposes of course). I think it would make a great special occasion cake, especially with a little decoration on top.
 Kate later gave it a go too with similar success, although (of course) hers was a tad more alcoholic!
Definitely a keeper though.

x Harriet

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Pie time

I have a thing for pies. Particularly sweet pies. I think it's partly connected to my love of all things Americana, and a longing to be seated in a diner in 1950, as well as a general appreciation for all things old fashioned and rustic. Yesterday while clicking through a series of links I came across this website, threebabesbakeshop.com, which has inspired today's baking effort. I love the whole idea of what these ladies are doing..the pies..the pie subscription service..its all fantastic. Take a look.

Anyway, I've only attempted to make my own pastry a couple of times before, never with great success, but I decided for authenticity in pie making I really ought to give it a go. I found an old recipe in a cookbook at my dad's house, also grabbed some fresh rhubarb from his garden, some apples from the supermarket, oranges from Phil and JT's garden , and thus began Rhubarb and Apple pie. I'm not a great one for following a recipe when I get an idea in my head -sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't.


I began by cooking the apples and rhubarb on the stove with orange juice squeezed over and vanilla sugar - a gift from Phil and the girls- sprinkled in for a little sweetness. I think perhaps I cooked them a little too much and they went mushy, but it's all trial and error when you make things up as you go...

Then I made the pastry-trying for once to follow the recipe exactly, as perhaps pastry is rather fussy that way - and wrapped and refrigerated it for half an hour. Meanwhile I drained the juice off the apple and rhubarb . This in itself was success enough for me - a beautifully coloured, slightly thick, slightly tart fruit drink. Yum.

So I then rolled out my pastry,( gave my arms a wee workout doing so), and lined an old enamel pie dish with it. From time to time my parents buy me little gems they pick up in op shops, knowing I have a love for old things and old kitchen things especially. These pie dishes were a gift from my mum, and I felt they suited the  occasion perfectly. I baked the pastry blind for a little bit, but all that seemed to do was shrink it and require a little nifty hot pastry stretching ....anyone know what im doing wrong here?

Then obviously the filling went in, and a bit more vanilla sugar because most people like their fruit sweeter than the way I like it, and then I covered it over with the rest of the pastry, brushed it with milk and a little more sugar, and popped it into the oven for about 20 minutes..maybe more, I dont know, I just go by looks and feel more than time.When the pastry looked cooked and its edges were darkening, I took the rustic beauty out.

Well, it definitely looks homebaked, old fashioned, and perhaps a little, not-the-best, but on the whole I was pretty pleased. My pastry still needs work but it's definitely edible..the filling was not too mushy after all..and the orange juice gave it an extra tang that is just delicious. Im still waiting to hear what my taste testers think of it, but I for one am a happy cook today.


Friday, 10 June 2011

I ♥ Gingerbirds

The other day I stopped for coffee and cake at Gingerbirds on Dominion road and it was so delicious i thought i'd give them a positive plug...

Their shop is super cute- small but perfectly formed - and all the food is baked on the premises. They have cabinet food like salads and wraps as well as frozen meals to take away and they are also a catering company!

If you live in Auckland you should definitely check them out and grab a tasty morsel or two.... I can tell you from experience that the custard slices are the business and I've been told that the sausage rolls are pretty awesome too...

Kate x

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Tarts

We decided to create a tart today, mainly because Harriet came round for a visit armed with sweet shortcrust pastry. After some to-ing and fro-ing over good filling combos, we came up with caramel tarts with pecans and a chocolate topping.
We wanted to make something sweet and gooey so basically experimented with a caramel filling and a topping which Harriet uses on a plum cake. We added chocolate to the topping as well as brushing the pastry  with melted chocolate before scooping in the caramel.

We baked the tarts for about twenty minutes and left them to cool in the tin before trying them out. The result was a multi layered tart that looked really appealing with all the different layers on show and the combo of textures worked a treat. The pecans 
really made it work because they saved it from being too sweet.

We gave them out to all our family members and the feedback was totally positive, with everyone saying they loved them. A smaller batch of bite sized tarts were quickly devoured too....

So, all in all a definite success story and a recipe we'll be making again, hopefully in our little cake shop if it ever becomes a reality!