> m.e: July 2009

Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday ♥

It's Friday and the end of the month today.
Hope you are having a good day and had a good month.

We are doing alot of this today for tomorrow.


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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Chocolate Éclairs

We are in the middle of winter so sometimes you just need a little bit of comfort food to get your spirits back up.
Mr m.e was looking a bit down the other day, must be those early dark mornings, long (sometimes unglamorous) chef shifts, riding to and back from work everyday, smelling of odd food stuffs at times, dealing with some not very knowledgeable "chefs" and coming home to 2 little cheeky monkeys that seem to have super long lasting, heavy duty batteries.

Well, what can make him smile more than some yummy crème filled french sweets..
So here we are with a first and surprisingly successful attempt at Chocolate Éclairs.

It does look difficult and yes there are a few steps to the process but it definitely isn't that hard and I think it's very well worth it.
If not, just enjoy the pics :)


Recipe from "The Food of France"

Choux Pastry

Ingredients
  • 150g (5 ½ oz) butter
  • 220g (1 ¾ cups) plain flour
  • 7 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
makes 500g (1 LB 2 OZ)

Method
  • Preheat oven to 200 (400 )
  • Melt the butter with 375ml (1½cups) water in a saucepan, then bring it to a rolling boil
  • Remove from the heat and add the flour at once, then return to the heat and beat continuously with a wooden spoon till the mixture comes away from the pan
  • Cool for a few minutes
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time until shiny and smooth. The mixture should drop from the spoon but not be too runny
  • Beat in the sugar
  • Line trays with non stick paper
  • Pipe long lines about 1 - 1 ½ fingers long
  • Bake for about 30 minutes, make sure they are lightly golden and hollow sounding. Leave them in the oven with the door open for another 15 minutes
You can fill them with whatever you like, mascarpone and cream, just whipped cream or enjoy them with a rich crème pâtissière.

(I did find that there wasn't quite enough of the crème to fill all the eclairs so the rest were just piped with whipped cream. If you need to fill them all just double the Crème Pâtissière recipe)


Crème Pâtissière

Ingredients
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 115g (½ cup) caster sugar
  • 30g (¼cup) plain flour
  • 560ml (2 ¼ cups) milk
  • vanilla
  • 15g (½ oz) butter
Method
  • Whisk together the egg yolks and ½ the sugar until pale and creamy.
  • Sift in the cornflour and flour mixture and mix well
  • Put the milk, remaining sugar and vanilla in a saucepan. Bring just to the boil and strain over egg mixture whilst continuously stirring
  • Pour back into a clean saucepan and bring to the boil whilst continuously stirring (keep stirring, it may appear lumpy but it will get smooth)
  • Boil for 2 minutes then add the butter and leave to cool
  • Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin forming
  • Poke the end of the eclair with the piping nozzle and pipe till you can feel that it's full
  • Dip them in some melted chocolate and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!
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Beautiful day today in Melbourne!

It's been a bit cold lately....well, I guess it is still winter, but today it's a beautiful day and we are just enjoying a quiet day in the garden as we have a busy baking day tomorrow for a Saturday Market.
So we are just doing a bit of this,

and a little more of this,
and enjoying a bit of this,
Hope you are having a good day.
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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Muesli & Sultana Bars

Any mums out there will understand the need to provide good nutritional snacks for the little ones and obviously for them to like what we make for them.

We don't buy any prepackaged snacks as we enjoy baking yummy things from scratch and that way the kids get to be involved in the process and they see what goes into what they are eating.
As a parent I feel a little better about what they consume and about not buying unnecessary prepackaged goods.

This recipe is good for their lunchbox and is a good snack for adults as well.

Muesli & Sultana Bars
Ingredients
  • 3 cups Rolled Oats
  • 1/2 cup (75g) plain flour, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup (160g) sultanas
  • 1/2 cup (180g) honey
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) vegetable oil
Method
  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees C (320 F). Place dry ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine
  • Place honey into a saucepan over medium heat and cook until runny, just a couple of minutes. Mix in the vegetable oil
  • Add the honey mixture to dry ingredients and mix to combine
  • Spoon into a greased 20x30cm tin and flatten with a spoon. Bake for about 35 minutes or until golden. Cool slightly and cut into 16 pieces
Guess what we are having at kinder tomorrow!

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Windy ride this morning!

Isn't it funny when you start off on your bike ride it's gorgeous weather and by the time you are ready to head home the wind doesn't want you to head back the other way.
That's what it felt like this morning, even the coffee didn't stand a chance :)

Hope you had a great Sunday
!

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Vanilla Cupcakes

I ♥ doing markets as I get to do something I love doing, spend time with my family and meet alot of lovely people along the way.
On such an occasion, I met a lovely lady who wanted some cupcakes for her daughter's 18th and happened to stumble upon our stall and our cupcakes.
The request was for Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese/Sour Cream Icing so I wanted to share the recipe with you.

The birthday girl also wanted some black hearts which were made out of fondant, which was coloured black and cut out.


Vanilla Cupcakes
(makes about 24)
Ingredients
  • 250g butter, softened
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 290g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup (185ml) milk
Cream Cheese/Sour Cream Icing
  • 115g butter, softened
  • 250g icing sugar mixture (adjust depending on how thick you want the icing)
  • 50ml sour cream
  • 50g cream cheese

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a muffin pan with 24 patty cases
  • Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla bean paste with an electric mixer. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well. Add the flour and milk in alternate batches and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.
  • Spoon the mixture evenly among the patty cases
  • Bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly golden and tested with a skewer. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completelyFor the icing, beat butter and sugar until pale and creamy then add cream cheese, beat well then add sour cream. Depending on thickness of icing you may need to add some more icing mixture. Pipe icing onto cupcakes and enjoy!
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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sponge Cake for dessert anyone?

We have had an abundance of eggs lately as our girls have been performing fantastically so I asked what the family wanted for dessert and it was a unanimous.."Sponge Cake please!"
So here is a fairly simple sponge cake recipe which is very light and moist and the best thing is, it only has four ingredients.

Sponge Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 6 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 60 g melted butter

Method

  • Grease 2 x deep, 20cm round cake tins and line bases with baking paper.
  • Sift flour three times to aerate it
  • Preheat oven to 180C. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl on medium-high speed for 6 minutes, or until mixture is thick, pale and tripled in volume.
  • Gradually sift flour over egg mixture, add melted butter, while simultaneously folding in with a large metal spoon until just combined. Divide mixture between prepared tins.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until cakes have shrunk away from the sides slightly and spring back when gently touched.
  • Turn out on to baking paper-lined wire racks. Carefully peel away baking paper, then leave to cool.
  • When cool, fill with cream, jam, fruit or whatever takes your fancy

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Our Sunday drive

Sometimes you need a bit of a break from the daily routine and a nice drive to the country is the best cure.
We went to visit my partners' Nanny near Deans Marsh, in country Victoria, the weather was beautiful, the grass was green (despite the lack of rainfall) and the kids absolutely loved seeing their great-Nanny, running lots, playing with sticks, leaves, bark, hay and of course the animals on the farm.

It's these little things that remind us that a childs imagination is such a precious thing
I just wanted to share with you the sign on the back of a Furphy water carrier
"Good-Better-Best, Never let it rest, till your Good is Better and your Better-Best"....just in case we forget!


Hope you had a good Sunday
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