Baking

Cookbook Review: Lamingtons & Lemon Tart

Hailed as Australia’s Willy Wonka, Darren Purchese is renowned for his stunning high-end dessert creations. Known as the chef with the tricks, with a scientific approach to food and ingredients, in Lamingtons & Lemon Tart, he turns his eye to the classics, cast with his trademark flair for the home cook who might be ambitious, but also wants to feel that the recipes are within their grasp—and that ingredients can be sourced with ease.

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Cookbook Review: Eat this, My friend 

Jade O’Donahoo’s Eat This, My Friend is a collection of recipes for the foodie-to-be. As the market become saturated with artfully shot star-chef recipes books, O’Donahoo’s mission is to offer what she calls a moment of authenticity and calm. Eat This, My Friend is a compendium of hand-lettered and hand-illustrated recipes, all created by O’Donahoo. (more…)

Cookbook Review: Dorie’s Cookies

Over the course of her baking career, Dorie Greenspan has created more than 300 cookie recipes. Yet she has never written a book about them—until now. To merit her “three purple stars of approval,” every cookie had to be so special that it begged to be made again and again. Cookies for every taste and occasion are here. Ms. Greenspan pays great attention to detail. There are over 500 pages filled with recipes, tips, techniques and notes on gear and ingredients.

The author offers up treats like Portofignos, with chocolate dough and port-soaked figs, and lunch-box Blueberry Buttermilk Pie Bars. They Might Be Breakfast Cookies are packed with raisins, dried apples, dried cranberries, and oats, while Almond Crackle Cookies have just three ingredients. (more…)

Cookbook Review: How to Bake Everything

I adore Mark Bittman. Having followed his New York Times food column for years, I have always found his evocative view of the world of food quite refreshing. Bittman has written more than 20 cookbooks, including this new one, “How to Bake Everything.” For an occasional and frightened baker like myself, his witty, caustic and opinionated banter provides a compelling counter to the usual staid baking books. (more…)

CookBook Review: The Pie Project

I love this book! Two women, one mission: to share their ultimate collection of decadent sweet pies in all their bubbling, fruity, caramelized, and buttery glory.

The Pie Project is a collection of 60 delicious sweet pie recipes. Pies are very forgiving desserts for bakers: spillages are, really just an opportunity for more caramelisation and a mis-shapen pie just adds to the rustic feel! Readers are encouraged to use imperfect fruit, play around with lattice, design their own pastry top and bake the pies in whatever they have handy (some are cooked in skillets, or even enamel bowls). (more…)

Cookbook review: Alimentari: Salads + Other Classics from a Little Deli that Grew

‘Alimentari’ literally means ‘good food and camaraderie’ – and that is just what this celebrated Melbourne-based café/deli stands by. They present delicious, attainable Italian, modern European, and Middle Eastern food (with some cheffy touches) alongside a compelling story of success of the little deli that became a beloved cornerstone of the thriving and unparalleled cafe culture that Melbourne fosters.

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Interview with a Chef: Sheila Lynch of Three Tarts Bakery

White Chocolate, Cranberry and Toasted Pistachio Tart

I discovered Three Tarts Bakery a few years back. It started with one tart: White Chocolate, Cranberry and Toasted Pistachio. You would think that the sweetness of the chocolate would overpower the other flavours. Wrong! The tangy cranberries make themselves heard and the pistachios lend a nice crunch allowing an insinuation of nuttiness.

I then began my exploration of the cookies. While chocolate chip, oatmeal and shortbreads cookies generally get all the glory, I prefer the less vaunted “decorated cookies.” Three Tarts is a temple to the art of decorated cookies. Miniature edible masterpieces done in artful symmetry. There’s something about biting off a bunny’s ear or chomping on the tail of a whale that just fills me with joy. (more…)

Family Recipes: Finnish Coffee Bread

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I’ve come to realize that many of us have been bequeathed a cherished family recipe. Be it simple or elaborate to prepare, it’s a dish so fiendishly delicious that it is the unmistakable star of the family meal, whether celebrating triumphs, comforting woes, or keeping family traditions alive. Withholding such heirloom recipes from the world seems almost cruel. Hence, I am championing the family recipe. I will entice the people in my universe to share favourite, nostalgia-infused family recipes, and I will give one of them centre stage in this very space on a monthly basis. In the end, we are all family, and these recipes represent the legacies of our shared passions. This month’s post is written by my  pal Sherry. Enjoy!

My paternal Grammie emigrated from Finland with her sister when she was 17 years old. Landing at Pier 21 in Halifax, she brought with her a few material possessions and an unwavering passion for baking. One dish in particular took centre stage in her repertoire—pulla coffee bread. The Finnish people know this bread well and every household makes a slight variation from the next. Sitting around the kitchen table with a strong brewed coffee and a slice (or four) of pulla bread is a time honoured custom.

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FAMILY RECIPES: Etelka’s Cocoa Chiffon Cake

I’ve come to realize that many of us have been bequeathed a cherished family recipe. Be it simple or elaborate to prepare, it’s a dish so fiendishly delicious that it is the unmistakable star of the family meal, whether celebrating triumphs, comforting woes, or keeping family traditions alive. Withholding such heirloom recipes from the world seems almost cruel. Hence, I am championing the family recipe. I will entice the people in my universe to share favourite, nostalgia-infused family recipes, and I will give one of them centre stage in this very space on a monthly basis. In the end, we are all family, and these recipes represent the legacies of our shared passions. This month’s post is written by my good friend Eva. Enjoy!


 

Etelka’s Cocoa Chiffon Cake
By Eva

The grand finale of every family birthday dinner was THE CAKE.  My mother, Etelka, always served her signature Chocolate Chiffon Cake. Festooned with  tiny, lit candles, it was ceremoniously placed before the celebrated one as the room broke into a full-throated, charmingly off-key rendition of “Happy Birthday.” (We are not a family of gifted singers.)  A hasty, silent wish, a quick whoosh to blow out the candles, and then bliss ensued as the cake was sliced, handed around and savoured.

The cake’s appearance underwent a few metamorphoses over the decades.  Sometimes it was rectangular, at other times round, depending on the baking pans my mother had on hand.  The cake’s magic lies in its ratios rather than its aesthetics. It has just enough cocoa and sugar to give chocolate lovers their fix without overpowering its rich texture, a combination of moist, delicate cake and silky icing.

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The best thing I ate this month – February 2016

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Photograph by Carl Tremblay – America’s Test Kitchen

A two layer cake with one batter? Lemon pudding cakes are a desert that should be beset with any number of issues. Yet during baking, the egg whites miraculously rise to the top in soufflé fashion, while the lemon pudding skillfully sinks to the bottom—just like magic! But how is this achieved? Carefully and with expert guidance from the fine folks at America’s Test Kitchen.

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