Thursday, December 20, 2012

Chocolate Beetroot Cake

Baked early this morning to take for our morning tea play date with Sam from Booloo babe and her kiddos, it was quickly devoured. If you're in the market to buy modern cloth nappies, Sam has all of the best ones. This is all that is left, and only because I had to cut this bit off to fit it into a container!

This is Ross Burden's delicious chocolate beetroot cake recipe, which can be found at Veggie Belly, though the link to Ross Burden website that is supplied there, doesn't come through to a recipe. You really need no other chocolate cake recipe in your life. This one is fantastically deliciously yummy!!

Ross Burden's Beet Chocolate Cake

for the cake
85 grams dark chocolate
3 medium eggs
300 grams sugar
240 ml sunflower or vegetable oil
300 grams cooked beets (see post above for how to cook the beets)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
30 grams cocoa powder
200 grams flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

for the chocolate ganache
250 grams dark chocolate, broken into pieces
250 ml heavy cream

Pre-heat oven to 180C.
Melt the chocolate (for the cake) over a double boiler. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and oil. Slowly add the cooked beet puree , the melted chocolate and vanilla into the egg mixture. Beat just until combined.
Sift the cocoa, flour, baking soda and salt. Add this to the beet batter. Fold just until everything is combined. Don't over work or over mix the batter.
Spread a teaspoon of butter or oil over the surface of a 10 inch cake pan. Sprinkle some flour all over, and tap out the excess. Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake tin. Bake for about 30 minutes, or till a tooth pick or skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Baking time may vary depending on the pan and oven you are using.
While the cake is baking, work on the ganache frosting. Place the chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream in a sauce pan, just till it starts to barely boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk till it forms a smooth sauce.
When the cake is done, cool it on a wire rack. Then pour the chocolate ganache over while the ganache is still warm. Let the ganache topping cool and set a little before serving.

to prepare the beets
Scrub dirt off, put in saucepan and cover with water. Boil for 45min (or 2 hours if it is enormous). Peel skin off beets, chop into 3-4cm chunks then process in food processor until smooth. 

I don't make the ganache with mine (if you did Michelle Bridges 12WBT or have ever calorie counted your cooking, you wouldn't either!), I don't think it t really needs it. It's pretty darn good on it's own!!

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Merry Christmas -in-a-box

Merry Christmas everyone!! 

Outside for a little play in the sunshine this morning, a bit of dressing up in our Christmas colours.  

I am in the process of making Christmas gift tags for the family from photos, and realised that the last photos I have of these three amigos together were eh hem  twelve months ago. Since they are receiving a joint present this year (OK, OK, I confess I did buy them more) & thus they needed a gift tag with all three on it, it was time to capture some more. They really got into the spirit of loving each other this morning and did a great job 'cheesing' constantly for about 10 minutes.

Anya wasn't too please with the elfish fairy dress...constant 'eh' 'eh' 'eh' 'ne' 'ne' 'ne' for the whole...3 minutes she had it on. Surprisingly, the headband stayed on for a whole lot longer (after I glued it back together!)

Finally, as promised...the Christmas-in-a-box parcels I wrapped, packaged up and posted last week. Only one was in a box, but you get the idea!  The first one probably a bit late to make it to Canada (sorry Bel!) but hopefully the second will make it to Derby by the end of this week.

Merry Christmas to everyone who has stopped by for a read! 

Blessings and best wishes for a fun and exciting 2013 for you and your loved ones. 

I'm looking forward to growing the toffee tree  and hope you will stick with me to as it takes a new path. 


Friday, December 14, 2012

Birthday in a Box

After seeing numerous birthday, thankyou and hello presents 'in a box', I wondered why it had taken me so long to send one to my sister. Prolly because I didn't do Pinterest before! Well, the stuff you find there! Long after I should have gone to bed. Like this ... inspiration for Lauren's birthday box came from Make it Perfect and Pinterest.

Moving on, it was my sister Lauren's birthday in November. She lives in the Kimberley, where she has lived for a number of years, interspersed with a few years in Victoria, some time in Perth, Esperance and probably somewhere else I've forgotten.  So really, pretty much every gift she gets from me, arrives in a box. Never one like this though!

I put off sending a present because I couldn't think of what to give her. I bought cards (one from me, one from the kids and didn't post them...I have lost misplaced both and still haven't found them). I settled on a running shirt -her suggestion- but then a day or so later, found all these "birthday in a box" ideas. What was I going to do now? How could I not send a birthday in a box??!!

Wanna peek inside?...

Enter, the runner's survival pack (I'm not sure she's actually running outdoors because it is 46C in her neck of the woods), but still useful items - shirt, sunscreen (with repellant, very important for sandflies), undies, socks, mints (actually, I have no idea if she likes these but the kids chose them to match her shirt), chocolate (I know she will like that), hairbands, balloons, party blowers, cupcake cases (make your own cakes Loz) and... what else?! Candles of course. I nearly forgot to put them in!

I really wanted to post a helium balloon, like this, so it would float out of the box. How cool would that be!!

But I was told that the small balloons only hold helium for 20min, so it wasn't going to work this time. I'm not sure I could have put everything in the box together, with the birthday banner lifting up as the lid lifts up, in 20min. It would have deflated before I even got it to the post office!

Now I've put big expectations on myself for Christmas. And guess what? No surprises here, I put her Christmas in a box too! Can't tell you what's in it, because then it wouldn't be a surprise but I will post photos of it packed & ready to go tomorrow.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Bag to Keep Scones Warm

Who doesn't love scones? Especially warm scones from the oven. Delish!

I made this scone carrier for my friend Kate. She bakes the best scones. Ever. Usually they arrive in a teatowel (well, how else would you transport them?). It was supposed to be a 'housewarming' present for her, but she moved house a while ago. Plus I hadn't even started it until recently, so it became a 'thanks for making the awesome birthday cake' present.  She moved out into the Perth Hills, so it's now a bit of a drive to visit her. Or for her to visit us. So now she can still arrive with warm scones!

It is reversible and it is the second ever thing I have 'quilted'. I'm lying. The third. The first two were cot quilts, done super basically. This, I even followed the Crafty Gemini's instructions and drew lines on the fabric to get the lines straight!

If you want to see it with a cake pan or pie dish inside, have a look at one made by Cat 'n Cart Crafts.

But here is mine, OK Kate's, scone bag.

Ta-dah. Warm scones. When are you visiting this way next Kato?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

An All Australian Gingerbread House

'I love a sunburnt country, 
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!'

I love it when Christmas comes around and I get to decorate a gingerbread house. I went to the Lakeside Gingerbread Extravaganza with big plans this year. I wanted an 'All Australian', outback style gingerbread house. 

Something ala 'I love a sunburnt country'. 
Something 'A home amongst the gumtrees'. 
I came up with this extravagant creation! 

Something with kangaroos, koalas and tree frogs.  I didn't want snowmen, or Christmas trees. There was no mistletoe in my vision.  I was OK with a Santa though, and party lights. They worked.

Definitely needed a veranda out the front...

Clothesline out the back...

And a old water tank...

The roof, well I was going 'corrugated iron' though 'solar panels' comes to mind too.
Can't be Aussie without some Australian bush, so an Eucalypt, an Acacia (can you spot it?!)...

And of course a windmill and some sheep (no Keegan, they are not a camp fire?!?)

The most taxing part was the windmill. After 15 minutes and a second set of helping hands, my friend Jess subtly suggested something a bit smaller. I resisted initially, only to realised she was completely right. Chocolate wafers and royal icing are just not quite like welds of steel. Two sticks high was just too much! So then I had it done in about 5 minutes...only for it to fall over and off the board, onto the road as I carried it out to my car. Oh, *#^$@#*! dear. Everything else survived the trip home. Phew!

My only faux pas, pointed out quite enthusiastically by my five year old, was the lack of candy canes. Oops. He was quite right.  It looks much more 'Christmasy' with candy canes (Sorry, no photos of that though).  I went with minimalist house decoration, partly because I spent so much time creating the other bits, but also because I couldn't think how best to decorate the house. Probably why I left the candy canes out really. Keegan did a great job 'hanging' them around the yard.It is still standing, and we might eat it the weekend before Christmas, unless it's been devoured prior!

When I hear the poem, it reminds me of a jumper my Mum knitted in the 80's. I think it had the popular 'I love a sunburnt country' verse knitted into it. It was very 80's too.

My Country
The love of field and coppice,
Of green and shaded Lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens,
Is running in your veins;
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies -
I know but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.
I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of drought and flooding rains,
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel sea,
Her beauty and her terror -
The wide brown land for me.
The tragic ring-barked forests
Stark white beneath the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon.
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
An orchids deck the tree-tops
And ferns the crimson soil.
 Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart around us
We see the cattle die -
But then the grey clouds gather
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.
Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the Rainbow Gold,
For flood and fire and famine,
She pays us back threefold;
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze.
An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land -
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand -
Though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown Country
My homing thoughts will fly.