Thursday, 28 February 2013

Layered Red Velvet, Coffee and Chocolate Cake recipe




Just one look at this cake and I want to dive right in!

It ticks all my boxes with its combo of Nespresso Ristretto coffee, chocolate and cream cheese icing. You'll spend a bit of time making it but the response will be fabulous. Definitely a special occasion dessert.

Masterchef Runner up 2012 Julia Taylor, a Brisbane gal, created the recipe.

Layered cakes used to be a bit old hat, but have become very popular since Martha Stewart featured university student Kaitlin Flannery creating the infamous Rainbow-layered Cake.

This cake doesn't have as many layers (a time blessing) but it certainly has plate appeal. Here's how to make it.




RED VELVET CAKE:

125g unsalted butter
250g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 tbs cocoa powder
50ml red food colouring
400g plain flour (2 1/2 cups)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Pre-heat oven to 180C. Grease and line two 20cm cake tins. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl down after each addition. Add cocoa powder and red food colouring, starting on slow speed until thoroughly combined. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mix and buttermilk until just combined.

Mix together the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda in a small bowl and quickly fold through the cake batter. Pour batter into two tins and bake for 18-20 minutes or until risen and springy to the touch. Cool and take out of tins; reserve for cake assembly.

CHOCOLATE AND NESPRESSO RISTRETTO CAKE:

125g unsalted butter
125g caster sugar
150g dark chocolate (70%), melted
125g egg yolks (approx. 6)
1 tsp vanilla extract
180g egg whites (approx. 6)
90g caster sugar
pinch salt
125g plain flour

Pre-heat oven to 165C. Grease and line two 20cm cake tins.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then slowly add the cooled melted chocolate to the mix, followed by the egg yolks and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites to soft peaks, slowly adding the sugar and salt – this gives a meringue base. Fold 1/3 of the meringue into the chocolate mixture, then 1/2 the flour. Follow with the remaining meringue and flour and divide among the two tins. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until just springy to the touch – the cake will be slightly undercooked and fudgy. Cool and remove from tins; reserve for cake assembly.

NESPRESSO RISTRETTO SYRUP:

4 x 20ml shots of Ristretto (4 capsules – 80ml)
70ml water
70g caster sugar
In a small saucepan, bring the espresso, water and sugar to the boil. Simmer gently until reduced by half.

CREAM CHEESE ICING:

200g unsalted butter
2 x 375g packets cream cheese
1kg pure icing sugar
Cream the butter in a free-standing mixer until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese and continue to whip until the mixture has no lumps – this may take some time if the cream cheese is cold. Slowly add the icing sugar, remembering to scrape down the bowl occasionally.

TO DECORATE:

Using a serrated knife, trim the tops off the four cakes. Keep the tops of the red velvet cakes for crumb decoration. With a pastry brush (or teaspoon), gently soak the two chocolate cakes with the Ristretto syrup. Place one red velvet cake onto a plate or cake stand, and place a layer of icing on top about 1cm thick. I like to use a piping bag for evenness but a flat knife or a spatula are fine. Top with a Ristretto-soaked chocolate cake, then more icing. Repeat with the remaining red velvet and Ristretto chocolate cakes. Cover the sides and top of the cake with a thin layer of icing and place in the fridge to chill. This is the base coat or “dirty ice” for the cake.

Once chilled, take the cold cake and cover with a second layer of icing. This works best with the cake cold and icing at room temperature, so the icing is easy to spread. Whiz the red velvet cut-offs to crumbs in a blender and use to decorate the cake if desired. I love cutting a heart-shaped stencil out of baking paper and dusting a red heart on top with the crumbs!

Kerry Heaney

Disclaimer: This is not a paid post.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Ultimate Brisbane Itinerary

Ooh, what would I do in Brisbane with a full day to myself and money no object?

Here's my wish list below.

Enter your Ultimate Itinerary for the chance to spend a day your way courtesy of the Urban List but do it by Tuesday February 27.




Disclaimer - Simply sharing food love.

Noosa International Food & Wine Festival launch at Esquire


If someone had told me I would be munching on crisp, bubbly beef tendon, barley and lamb tongue, wafer thin slices of air dried beef and kim chi for lunch I would have said probably not.

But I couldn't keep my hands away from the platters at Esquire as we mingled pre launch for the Noosa International Food & Wine Festival , to be held May 16 to 19.

It's ten years since this festival started and this year they are pulling it all out for four days of foodie mayhem.


Jim Berardo


Festival director Jim Berardo says more than 200 of the the world's most prominent chefs, winemakers, food personalities, media and foodies will gather in Noosa for the program.

This year sees two days of the popular food trails, but get in quick if you want to do these as they are sure to book out. I've done the Seafood Afloat Trail and that is a magical experience but this year I have my eyes set on the Asian Food trail.

There's plenty to excite on the program but some of my top picks are

  • Gala Opening Night - Edible Music - music themed to food - how good is that?
  • Asian food trail
  • World Class Cocktail Competition on the Beach - it's a rare opportunity to dig your feet in the sand and drink cocktails on Noosa's Main Beach.
  • Sunset concert at the Lookout, Noosa National Park with dinner at View on Little Hastings on Friday night
  • Debate: Food and Wine are Better than Sex - Saturday afternoon
  • Seafood Feast on the Beach - Saturday lunch on Noosa's main beach
  • Noosa High Tea by the River - high classics from sweet masters Adriano Zumbo, Eric Pernoud and Matt Major
  • Everyone is an Expert - blogs, public opinion websites, e-zines, mainstream press, the hand of the law - this is a panel and audience discussion with eight up the front including me! The Courier-Mail Life Annexe, Sunday 2.15 - 3.30 pm.
  • Oh, and the After Party at Gaston Bar Bistro on Sunday evening.
But back to the launch at Esquire - here's what we ate -


Beef and kim chi

Barley and lamb tongue



Ike jime coral trout

Murray cod, mustard and dill

Calotte of beef, parsley and onion

Lamb belly, cavolo nero and anchovy



popcorn

Campari, orange, curds and whey


Kerry Heaney

Disclaimer: Ed+bK was a guest at the launch event.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Top cuts - just the best food news



Eat up!  Here's a round up of food news to whet your appetite.  No drooling now!

BTW - Have you tried the new Oriental Yum Cha that's opened in the former Siana site on the corner of Wickham and Brookes Street in Fortitude Valley yet?


Quick lunch bargains

Smart restaurateurs looking for new ways to tempt you to dine out have brought back both the business lunch deal and quick dining options.

  • At Moo Moo you can enjoy two courses for just $45, lunch only, seven days a week 
  • Sono at Portside has a sushi platter for $20 per person or a three course teppanyaki for $30 per person.
  • Bucci's express lunch gives you two courses for $29.50 or three courses for $34.50, paired with a glass of wine.
  • Aria has a fast fresh two-course lunch in February and March for $39 including a glass of wine.

 

 

Turkish delights

 

Don't know about you, but a food tour of Turkey is so on my bucket list. World Expeditions has launched a gourmet adventure to Turkey lead bu acclaimed, Turkish-born Sydney chef, Somer Sivrioglu (he's the happy chap above) and departing Istanbul on 1 September, 2013. The itinerary combines some classic highlights with forays into some of the country’s more unusual places, with participants staying in carefully selected, boutique accommodation and dining at some of Istanbul’s finest restaurants.

Other World Expeditions’ culinary tours for 2013 include:



Chocola -tea time

 

Who would have thought to combine tea and chocolate except tea guru, the lovely May King Tsang? Head down to Scrumptious Reads book store in James Street, Fortitude Valley,  for a tea appreciation class with a difference and discover how to pair five different teas to five different chocolates. It's on Sunday, March 24 from 2pm - 3.30pm.  Cost is $40 per person. Bookings




Best fish tacos in town

 

Adam Barton, owner of Cove Bar + Dining at South Bank's River Quay has proclaimed he has the best fish tacos in town.  Feel free to leave comments below supporting or disputing this!

Their new menu draws inspiration from South American and American BBQ styles - both hot new cuisines around town. Check out their new burger range – four interesting and different types including
pulled pork, grilled haloumi, rib fillet and marinated chicken.  Check out the scallops in the top photo too.

As an added incentive, if you can prove you live or work in the area, you will receive 15 percent off the total bill on all lunch orders Monday to Friday.

 

 

Easy Easter cooking masterclass

Graze on bruschetta as you learn how to perfect the art of making gnocchi, a tasty but simple norma sauce
and veal scaloppina ai funghi. Sit down and sample the meal with matching wines, followed by coffee and traditional Easter panettone for dessert.

Owner/Chef Mario is opening up the Restaurant Marca kitchen and sharing his passion for good food, good
wine and some basic principles that he believes are the essence of stress free cooking.

Find Restaurant Marca at 299 Sandgate Road, Albion. Class starts at 6.30pm March 13. Cost is $65. Bookings


 

Taste test - Endeavour 2011 Reserve Pale Ale


The beer lovers in my house were most pleased with the opportunity to try one of Australia's award winning vintage brews from Endeavour Beer.

Their description of the brew sounds like it's been lifted from a wine bottle - grapefruit and citrus with passionfruit and tropical melon notes. Working from a background in wine, the folk at Endeavour are making beers that are slightly different year to year due to the growing seasons. Instead they use the best harvest dated malt and hops from the stated year and see what brews.


Although I'm not a big beer drinker, I enjoyed this brew and the other, more experienced testers were like minded.


Bottom line: Worth hunting for (find a stockist here)
Best tip: Hide it in the back of the fridge or it will disappear...



Taste test -Original Hot Chocolate

 

As a chocolate fan I enjoy a full flavoured hot chocolate so I was really putting The Original Hot Chocolate to the test by adding it to oat milk.  It's not hard to make a great cows milk hot chocolate but other milks make it much more challenging.  Original Hot Chocolate delivered a true chocolate flavour in spades. It was delicious. I also enjoyed licking the spoon as I stirred it through the milk

Bottom line: A full flavoured chocolate milk with a spoon to slurp on the side.
Best tip: Try it with any sort of 'milk' you like.




 

Cookie animals



This is one for kids of all ages - make your own free-standing cookie animals.

Using Wiltshire Art of Baking 3D Farm Animals Cookie Cutter Set you just make up and roll out a favourite smooth cookie dough or shortbread and then punch the pieces out. Bake, cool then ice the animal parts and slot them together to produce farmyard friends.  Included in the pack are five disposable icing bags to encourage neater icing decoration and a handy bag to keep all the pieces together when not in use.
My tip would be to buy premix icing tubes at the supermarket for a super easy fix. It's  (RRP $9.98) and available from Big W.



Here's a recipe you could use.

Shortbread cookies

· 300g plain flour

· 100g icing sugar

· 200g cold butter, diced

· 1 egg yolk

· 1 pinch of salt

· Food colour of your choice

Method

Sift the flour and icing sugar into a bowl. Add butter, egg yolk and salt. Knead gently into a smooth dough. Divide dough into three equal quantities. Roll into three balls, wrap each in plastic film and refrigerate for at least half an hour. Pre-heat oven to 180oC. Lightly flour a clean surface, roll dough to a 3mm thickness and cut with Wiltshire 3D Farm Animals Cookie Cutters. Place cookies on a tray lined with baking paper and bake for 12-15 minutes. Place onto a cooling rack and cool completely before icing. Make icing per instructions. Decorate your farm animals before assembling. Place a small amount of icing between the legs and body. Gently slot the legs into the body being careful of your decorative icing. Allow to dry and set.

Icing

· 2 egg whites

· 2 tsp lemon juice

· 300g icing sugar, sifted

· Food colour of your choice

Method

Place egg white and lemon juice into a bowl and whisk together. Add the sifted icing sugar gradually, stirring with each addition to keep the mix lump-free. Add 1 or 2 drops of your favourite colour and mix. Please note that the icing will harden when exposed to air and should be used straight away or can be kept in a zip lock bag.


Kerry Heaney

Sunday, 24 February 2013

What really happens at a watermelon festival






With a thick, deep splosh, it hits the ground and explodes sending a bright red wet stain across the road.

The Chinchilla Watermelon Festival has started and a lot more melons will be smashed before it ends!

There's nothing but good clean fun at the festival which showcases Chinchilla's main bounty in most unusual ways. I'm talking watermelon skiing, watermelon bungy and watermelon bullseye plus watermelon worn in weird and wonderful ways.

And I came home without a watermelon. How did that happen?

But I did leave my mark on Chinchilla, if only for a micro second. Courtesy of a white board marker I gave Chinchilla a spelling lesson and then wiped it off.  I do not recommend anyone else does this unless your name is Heaney and you are in Chinchilla. Please don't send the graffiti cops after me.




At the Melons Only dinner we ate melon many different ways and watched as grown men paid $5,100 for the winning melon which weighed in at 86 kilos. Yes folks, the money went to charity so it was a good deed.

The Saturday street Make it, Bake it, Sew it, Grow it Markets were a real surprise for their size and variety.
I found watermelon earrings, bags, soap, cupcakes, muffins, liquorice, jelly, hats, beanies, candles and watermelon by the bowl at the CWA's tea and scones stall.










The street parade that followed was long and interesting with plenty of inventive floats, great vintage cars and shows of local machinery power.







Then it was onto the real fun of the festival which involved getting down and dirty with watermelon, lots of watermelon. People were lining up to be dragged over black plastic strewn with broken watermelon and water.  It looked really messy but from their faces, I could tell it was a lot of fun, big fun.









Sorry that you missed this? Well you'll have to wait until 2015 for the next one.

Keep watching www.melonfest.com.au

Disclaimer:  Ed+bK was a guest of Tourism Queensland.

Friday, 22 February 2013

10 reasons why Sally loves Japan




I love the clean flavours of Japanese food and exploring the country and its cuisine is one of my dreams.
 
Sally Lynch of Taste Trekkers is also infatuated with the country and is taking a foodies tour to Japan in April  (8 - 19).  It's a chance to really see Japan's food as Sal is the kinda gal who really gets behind the scenes to find the interesting stuff that will stick in your memory long after you return home.





I asked her 10 quick questions about Japan -

1. What was the strangest thing that you ate in Japan?

 Whale sperm - it was really quite delicious. Creamy and "umami-ish"



2. What most excites you about Japanese food?

How closely it mirrors the season - from produce to plate garnishes and even packaging on bento boxes.


3. Your favourite dish and why?

So hard to choose just one! I can knock off 2-3 bowls of ramen a day as I am intrigued by the shops and the theatre of the staff and the regional variances. Mountain food is also up there.


4. Least favourite dish and why?

Fugu - such high expectations and it didn't rock my world at all.



5. Where are you most looking forward to visiting?

Kyoto with Jane Lawson - I just want to hang out with her and eat and hear stories about her time in Kyoto:-)





6. The strangest thing that you saw in Japan?

A business man on a train reading a very pornographic magazine quite openly - that is the face of contradiction that exists.



7. What are you most looking forward to sharing with people on your tour?
The people and how they do their craft for their entire life and are absolute masters but are so humble about it.


8. What surprises you most about Japan?
The people - they are crazy, dedicated, funny and intrigued by everything.




9. The most beautiful view?
Gokanosho, the land of the last Samurai, is simply exquisite!


10. Best thing to bring home?
Knives & spices.

Find out more about Sally's tour here or just email Sal.   Bookings are closing soon.



Disclaimer: This is not a paid post.

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