Friday, 28 February 2014

Dean's Chocolate Tart with Honeycomb

Mr BehomeforT’s favourite dessert is chocolate cake. Or chocolate ice cream. Or chocolate brownies. Or just chocolate. Really, anything with chocolate will do.

Every time we go out for dinner and there is a nice chocolate dessert on the menu, he’ll have it, and I am more than happy to share.

When I found this chocolate cake on Taste, I had to make it. Not only because it looked so good, but also because of its name. Mr BehomeforT is now not so anonymous anymore.... I’ll still call him Mr BehomeforT though.

Anyway, I made this tart especially for him, and he loved it. I loved it too! And although the recipe category seems to suggest that the difficulty level is ‘advanced’, I highly disagree. This cake was baked in no time, and it was gone in no time too.

Do you know someone named Dean? Make this chocolate tart for him! He’ll be very happy you did!


½ cup full fat milk
1 cup thickened cream
175g dark chocolate, broken (you can replace this with milk chocolate)
1 egg
30g caster sugar
Vanilla ice-cream and honeycomb, to serve

150g unsalted butter, and extra butter to grease
80g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 1/3 cups plain flour, plus extra to dust
25 g almond meal

The recipe
First, make the pastry. Beat the butter and the sugar with electric beaters until thick and pale. Fold in the yolk, the flour and the almond meal. Make a ball out of the dough, dust it with flour, put it in a plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Grease a 25cm loose bottomed tart pan.

Dust a rolling pin and clean work surface with flour, and then roll out the pastry to 5mm thick. This is the most difficult part. The recipe says you have to loosely wrap the pastry around the rolling pin and until it over the prepared pan. However, this is quite difficult. The pastry will fall apart very easily.

I decided to roll out the dough on top of some aluminium foil, and then quickly turn the foil upside down above the greased tart pan. You will have to evenly distribute the dough into the sides and trim off any excess dough on some sides, which you can add to other sides of the pan where there is not enough dough. Put the tart in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line the pastry case with a crumpled sheet of baking paper and weigh it down with pastry weights. Blind bake for 20 minutes and then remove the weights and paper. Be careful, the weights will be hot! Return to the oven for 10 minutes or until the pastry is dry and golden. Leave to cool completely.
For the filling, heat the milk and cream in a pan over low heat and add the chocolate gradually. Make sure you keep on stirring the mixture.

Whisk together the egg and sugar. Slowly add the chocolate cream, stirring until shiny. Return mixture to a clean saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, until it becomes the consistency of thick custard. When it coats the back of a wooden spoon and does not ‘leak’ it is finished. Allow to cool.

Reduce over to 160 degrees Celsius. Poor the cooled filling into the cooled pastry base. Bake for 20 minutes or until set but still soft and mousse-like in the centre. Chop the honeycomb and press it in the top of the tart while it is still warm. Serve the cake at room temperature with ice cream.

This tart was very filling and gooey, and also very sweet. A small slice will do, and some vanilla ice on the side works really well. I will definitely make this tart again!


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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Easy Guinness Pie

One of the things I do on the weekend is cooking lunch for the whole week to bring to work. I cannot stand paying 8, 9 or even 10 dollars for a bland, basic and tasteless salad or sandwich that has been prepared in the morning and has been sitting out all day. With some proper menu planning and a bit of effort to cook a large batch of meals on the weekend, you have lunch covered for the whole week!

Back home in the Netherlands I have never had a real meat ‘pie’. The Dutch version of a pie would be a quiche or a ‘taart’ as we call it. My mum makes a fine ‘kip in de hoed’ or ‘chicken in the hat’ (chicken in da hood!) which is similar to a meat pie, but then with chicken.

When I moved to Australia 5 years ago (tomorrow, it will be exactly 5 years since I moved to Australia!) I soon found out that the meat pie is one of the staple dishes of the Ozzie cuisine. Let’s categorise them.

There are the ‘servo pies’ or, in proper English, service station pies. I have been told by mr BehomeforT that there is this particular servo pie which is the best. I do not believe him! I mean, who prefers a pie which has been heated for hours, maybe even days, processed and full with preservatives over a freshly made pie?? Apparently mr BehomeforT does.... Ah well.... I have to be honest, I have never tried one... and I am not intending to do so in the near future (I’m nearly 30, my crazy late party late-night-junkfood nights have been over for a while...).

The second category would be the ‘take out pie’ or ‘takeaway pie’. You can get them at bakeries, at ‘pie stands’ at events (such as the races). Harry de wheels pies are famous, apparently. Again, I haven’t tried this one! There are even shops here completely dedicated to pies! Pieface is one of them.

The third category would be ‘pubfood’ pies. Good and bad pubs often have a pie on the menu. Sometimes it is a freshly made pie, and sometimes the pie has been made from scratch. One particularly good pub pie I had was a deconstructed chicken pot pie at the ‘Duck in’ in Camperdown. It was beautifully made with fresh puff pastry and a creamy filling. I loved it!

And then the fourth and the last category is dedicated to the ‘fancy pies’! Fancy schmancy pies! I haven’t had one of these either. Not because I don’t go out for dinner to nice restaurants, but because I don’t think I should order a pie in a fancy restaurant. I mean, surely it cannot be that good? Mr BehomeforT tried one of ‘Bert’s pies’ at the Palings stand during the March into Merivale opening and when I asked him how it was he said ‘yeah alright’. Please note, this does not mean that it was an average pie. This is Mr BehomeforT’s standard answer. The best rating that any dish can get is ‘yeah, good’. I have never heard him say that something was amazing, or delicious, or SO good! So, I don’t think that his comments on this pie should be a good measurement system... So perhaps you should give the fancy schmancy pie a go yourself. Maybe I should too...

Anyway, enough talking about pies other than the one I have made. Back to easy lunches. If you make a batch of 10 or so of these pies on a weekend, you are set for the week. Sorted! You are sorted for dinner on the evening you have made them, and you are sorted for lunch at work. After making these pies, let them cool down for a while, and then individually wrap them in aluminium foil and put them in the freezer. Ready to go.

This particular pie is a Guinness pie. Two n’s, two s’es. Guinness.
Do you like Guinness beer? I don’t. It is very strong and bitter. None of that in this Guinness pie though. I’ll tell you more about that in the review.

This recipe has been slightly adapted from

1.25 kg diced casserole beef
1/3 cup plain flour
Proper amount of mushrooms, sliced
1 tbs olive oil
2 cups guiness
5 or 6 carrots (the perfect way to get kids or stubborn men to eat them)
2 sticks celery
2 brown onions, chopped
Lots of fresh parsley (I ALWAYS put in a lot more herbs than the recipe requires)
4 sheets good quality puff pastry (hey, it’s called an easy pie, not a fancy schmancy pie)
1 egg, whisked

The recipe
Get a nice large pan, and put some oil in. Properly season the beef with salt and pepper, and cover the beef with flour. You can do this by adding both ingredients to a large bag and shaking it to avoid lumps. Brown the beef in batches, and put to the side.

Add some new oil to the same pan and brown the onions, the celery, the mushrooms. Also add some salt and pepper. Once this has been properly browned, add the meat back and then add the Guinness. The flour will thicken the sauce. Put the pan away on low heat for 1,5 hours.

Reheat the oven on 220 degrees celcius. Grease the little pie forms. Often pies are made in ramekins, but it is easier to make them in pie forms so you can take them out and separately pack and freeze them. Roll out the puff pastry so the bottom and the sides of the forms are covered. Add the filling and cover with the puff pastry top. I have made these by ‘cutting’ the puff pastry with the pie forms. Seal the edges and make a small slit at the top. Put some of the egg on top and put them in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the pastry is crunchy and golden.

This is an easy to make pie. I cannot remember what Mr BehomeforT said when I asked him how it was. I guess he said ‘yeah, it’s alright’, haha! The beer gives a nice full flavour to the meat filling, almost a bit yeasty (which makes sense!). The filling has the perfect consistency (well, I think it does) – a lot of ‘chunks’ (vegies! Yay!) and a nice creamy sauce. If you’d like to, you can have a nice salad on the side, but I think that this pie is very nice by itself.


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Sunday, 23 February 2014

Toasted Coconut Lemon Bread with Salted Honey Butter

Every week I make a ‘bread’ so I have a afternoon snack at work. Generally I try to make healthy breads with fruit and without butter or sugar (sometimes replaced by equal). However, sometimes I see something popping up on my bloglovin’ feed, and i NEED to make it. I MUST try it! This recipe has been slightly adapted from Half Baked Harvest

I have been loving lemons lately, and since it is still summer here in Sydney, I thought a combination of lemon and coconut would be very appropriate.

This beautiful cake is accompanied by a nice salted honey butter. Another thing I haven’t made before. But I like challenges! Let’s give it a go!

Toasted Coconut Lemon Bread
2 cups shredded coconut
¾ cups all-purpose flour AND 1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Zest of 4 small lemons
1,5 teaspoon vanilla paste
½ cup brown sugar
¾ cup canned coconut milk
¼ cup coconut oil (melted)

Salted Honey Butter
½ cup honey
2 tablespoons salted butter, melted (or normal butter with added salt)
Juice of 1 lemon

The recipe
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius and put baking paper on your baking tray. Spread the coconut evenly over the baking paper, and roast for 8 minutes or so. Make sure you keep a constant eye out to make sure that the coconut does not burn. This stuff burns so easily! Also make sure you mix the coconut so it browns evenly.

In a small bowl, combine the flours, the baking soda, the salt and the lemon zest. In another bowl, mix the eggs, the lemon juice, the vanilla bean paste and the brown sugar. Then, after this has been mixed properly, add the coconut oil, the coconut milk, and the toasted coconut, but leave enough coconut to put on top of the bread later.

Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Keep on stirring until consistent.
Then poor the batter in a greased baking tray. Make sure the mixture is spread out evenly. Bake this for 30-40 minutes.

The last 10 minutes the bread is in the oven, add the butter, the lemon juice and the honey in a pan and heat slowly. I added some salt here to balance the sweetness (I think I accidentally added too much honey).
Once the bread has cooled down slightly, put some of the toasted coconut you have kept on top of the  bread. Then poor the beautiful salted honey butter over the cake. This will make the bread moist and juicy and will add extra flavour.

Cut the remaining cake into thick slices and wrap them separately in foil. If you have a grill-toaster at home or at work, it will be easy to reheat this cake for a nice afternoon snack. Just put the frozen slice on your desk, and it will be defrosted in the afternoon when you are ready to toast it.

What a lovely, moist bread. It was not too sweet, and the coconut gave it a nice consistency. The salted honey butter made the bread nice and moist and added some extra flavour to it. I am definitely looking forward to eating this all week!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Dulce De Leche Brownies

There are brownies. Soft, decadent, chocolate-ey, moist brownies. And then there are brownies with Dulce De Leche. Soft, decadent, chocolate-ey, moist brownies with a sweet, gooey, creamy, caramel sauce. Dulce De Leche Brownies. Like brownies? You will love Dulce De Lece brownies!

I stumbled upon this amazing recipe when I scrolled through my bloglovin newsfeed. Brown Eyed Baker borrowed this recipe from another blogger (who might have taken it from again another blogger) and so on. Hopefully this recipe will inspire all of you bake-a-holics and we can pass on all the brownie goodness. The brownie gooey-ness. The brownie chocolate-ey ness.

Until a few weeks ago I did not even know what dulce de leche was. But boy am I happy that I was introduced to Mr (or Ms) Dulche De Leche. Also called “Doce de Leite”, this caramelised sweet (condensed) milk tastes like a creamy caramel. If you literally translate ‘Dulce De Lece’ it means ‘candy of milk’ or ‘milk jam’ (gotta love Wikipedia). There are many different variations of this beautiful cream. Various South American Countries use their own version – from unsweetened coconut milk Dulce De Leche in Puerto Rico to the Mexican cajeta which is made from goat’s milk.

Anyway, back to the brownies. This was the first time I have tried to make these brownies – and the result was bang on. Preparing them turned out to be more interesting than expected. I said to Mr BehomeforT..... Shall I call him that? That is what all bloggers do, right? Ok, Mr BehomeforT it is... Where was I? Don’t get distracted!! I said to Mr BehomeforT: “This won’t take long”. It did. It took a lot longer than expected. But I’m a beginner, so I can get away with that, right? OK, let’s get to the part you all have been waiting for: the recipe! Here we go...

Dulce De Leche 
Making the Dulche De Leche can be done in a few different ways, including cooking the condensed milk in its tin. Now, I have heard horrible stories about exploding tins and Dulce De Leche on the ceiling, so I decided to go with a safer option. Get a baking tin and empty one or two tins of condensed milk in the tin. Tightly cover the tin with aluminium foil, and then place it in a baking tray filled for ¾ with water. Put it in the oven on 180 degrees for 1,5 hours. Make sure you check the water level and that you add some water every 30 minutes to ensure that the milk does not burn. After taking the tin out of the water bath, cool it down a little, and stir like there is no tomorrow so all lumps are gone. Store in a jar in the fridge.

The brownies 
I know you are supposed to make brownies with dark chocolate. I think you are supposed to. Are you? Anyway, most recipes I have read use dark chocolate only. So does this recipe. But I like breaking the rules. I love breaking the rules. So i used half dark chocolate, and half milk chocolate. Because I can! Living on the edge! Turned out I did not have enough eggs. I made an apple/pear brown butter bread on the weekend and used a lot of eggs. Poor Mr BehomeforT had to run to the shops at 9.30pm. “I love that you love to cook” he said with an annoyed expression on his face. Is that sarcasm? I don’t get sarcasm. I don’t know whether it is the fact that I am Dutch or whether it is just me. Anyway, he was not happy. He felt a bit better when he ate some of the brownies though. More about that later.

Before I move on to the actual recipe, I want to warn you. The recipe tells you to melt the chocolate with the butter and to add the sugar after taking the pan (au bain marie) from the stove. The mixture did not turn into a smooth mixture but sort of ‘split’. A watery, oily butter substance was floating around the sugar, which slowly turned into lumps, the more we stirred and tried to mix it. This was solved once the eggs were added (make sure the mixture has cooled down, otherwise the eggs will cook!), and the mixture became smooth. I might have done something wrong. It doesn’t matter. I am not a professional chef, and I am still learning.

Ok, here is the recipe. Finally!

I have been a cheeky bugger and I have not changed the measurements/standards to the ones we use in Australia. You will have to figure that out for yourself (the ‘convert currencies’ app on my iphone was a lifesaver here).

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Dutch processed)
11 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used half dark, half milk chocolate)
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
1½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup dulce de leche

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light-colored metal 9x13-inch pan. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper, and butter the parchment; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cocoa powder; set aside. Place the chocolate and butter in the bowl of a double boiler set over a pan of simmering water, and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined.

Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water of the double boiler, and add both sugars. Whisk until completely combined and remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be at room temperature. Add three eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until just combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage, or your brownies will be cakey. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate.

Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until there is just a trace amount of the flour mixture still visible. Pour half of the brownie mixture into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Drizzle about ¾ cup of the dulce de leche over the brownie layer in a zigzag pattern, making sure the dulce de leche doesn't come in contact with the edges of the pan or it will burn.

Use an offset spatula to spread the dulce de leche evenly across the brownie layer, leaving about a ½-inch border around the edges. In heaping spoonfuls, scoop the rest of the brownie batter over the caramel layer. Smooth the brownie batter gently to cover the dulce de leche layer.

 Bake the brownies for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, and check to make sure the brownies are completely done by sticking a toothpick into the center of the pan. The brownies are done when the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. Remove the brownies from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack; allow to cool completely to room temperature before cutting and serving.

The brownies can be stored, tight wrapped at room temperature, for up to 4 days.

The Review 
I don’t have to tell you how good these brownies were. The recipe says that you can store the brownies for up to 4 days. Trust me, they will be gone before that. Enjoy!


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