Saturday, June 26, 2010

When a good cake goes bad

This is a mud cake I made for my partner Andrew's 23rd birthday. I had woken that morning with a plan to make him breakfast in bed, grab his present from the shops and bake him a lovely double milk chocolate mud cake. That plan promptly fell apart when I woke up with a screaming head ache, fever and a runny nose. Lucky for me, my best friend Caitlin had previously arranged to come over and help me make the cake. She found me wrapped up on the couch and sprung into action heading to McDonald's to buy us breakfast, well, by that time it was lunch. After a lifesaving breakfast of cheese burgers, chips, coke and chicken nuggets, we began to make the cake.
Without reading the recipe, I thought it was going to be a pinch, how wrong I was. Never underestimate a mud cake recipe. Firstly, the chocolate needs to be melted and stirred carefully, then cooled before being added to other dry ingredients, a time consuming activity one should never attempt when unwell. Secondly, as mentioned before, mud cakes take a considerable amount of time to cook, this one took an hour and a half.
I also stuck with my original plan to make white and milk chocolate curls for decoration on top.
I forgot just how annoying they were to make. The first time I tried scraping the chocolate off the glass cutting board, it was too soft, so I put it in the fridge, but then, too hard, the chocolate crumbled. After leaving it for a bit, I tried again, but without much more success. The next disaster was the icing, the cream separated despite the recipe saying it wouldn't, so I added about five over-flowing cups of icing sugar (unsifted) because at this point i was about to crack it. The icing didn't thicken, it dripped, so I poured it over the cake which I placed on a drying rack over the sink so the excess would drip off. I carefully placed the half crumbled curls on top, and then got ready to go to Andrew's parents place for dinner. When I returned, I found the curls had started to slide off the sides of the cake. I carefully pushed my left hand under and my right hand under holding a knife to support it as well. I slowly lifted it up and moved it towards a plate and *SPLAT!* The cake broke into four large pieces, each piece falling pretty side down in various places on the bench and stove.
After spending around five hours, measuring, melting, mixing, sifting, whisking and baking, *splat!* I yelled "Noooooooooooooo!!!" Then stood in shock with my mouth open, Andrew came in and asked what happened but I didn't answer. Next I broke down crying and ran to the bathroom with my arms flailing (imagine ET running with chocolate all over his hands).
After twenty minutes of solid sobbing we headed off to his parents. In the end Andrew mashed it all back together and together with some friends we ended eating it all up .
It tasted pretty good.
So I learnt a few things from that disastrous culinary experience.
1: Try not to attempt cooking when sick.
2: Always wait until the cake it completely cooled before attempting to move a cake :(
3: Laugh.
I hope you enjoy. Love Jem.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How to make an omelette
What you'll need:
- Depending on your appetite, three or four free range eggs, please don't buy the caged ones :(
- Shaved ham. I like to used shaved smoked ham.
- Two slices of processed cheese, the ones that come individually wrapped
-A big blob of thickened cream or milk (about half a cup)
- Half a fresh tomato
-salt and black pepper

Step one: Roughly chop the ham and tomato.Put the stove onto medium ( half way down) and place a saucepan on top. Crack all the eggs into a bowl, tilt the bowl to the side and using a fork whisk until combined. Use a whisk if you prefer. Next add a blob of cream about a forth of a cup and add salt and ground black pepper (white is fine too). Tilt to the side and whisk again until combined.

Step two: Pour in a little oil and add a table spoon of butter into the oil (the oil prevents the butter from burning). Melt until bubbly.

Step three: Pour the egg mixture into the pan and leave to set a little, about 15 seconds.

Gently pull the egg around a little, not too much otherwise you'll end up with scramble eggs.

Step four: Once the mixture resembles the photo below sprinkle the ham and tomato on top. Take the cheese out the the plastic, pull apart into pieces and place on top too.

Step five: Leave the omelette to cook for about three minutes until the cheese has started to melt (see photo below). Once melted give the pan a bit of a shake, the omelette should move in one piece.

Step four: Leave to cook for another three to four minutes or so. Carefully tip the pan sliding half onto a plate (see below).

Lastly: Use a pushing motion with the saucepan to fold the last half over the top (see below).

Vwola! Finished . You can add other ingredients for your topping, this is just the way i like mine. Hope you enjoy. Love Jem

Friday, June 18, 2010

Triple Chocolate Fudge Brownies

This is how i make brownies. It's a cheats version of brownies for chocolate lovers who are tired from work and need a chocolate fix.

What you'll need:
*1 box of Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix.
*Vegetable or canola oil
*1 packet Nestle Milk Choc Bits
*1 packet Nestle white Choc Bits
*200g block of Cadbury Milk Chocolate

Preheat the oven to the packet instructions. Roughly chop the Cadbury block. Read the brownie packet instructions. Throw the brownie mix, eggs, water, oil, half of both packets of Choc Bits, Cadbury chopped chocolate and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Line a brownie pan the baking paper and spray with cooking oil. Scoop the thick mixture into the pan and smoosh it all over the pan so its even. Pop in into the oven for about 30 to 35 minutes. Leave to cool for ten minutes. Place a chopping board on top and whilst holding the pan against the tin, turn over. Gently peel the baking paper off and cut into squares or rectangles using a large knife. Gently turn them over and place them on a plate.
Serve while still warm with a cold glass of milk.
Hope you enjoy, Love Jem.

Puff pastry filled with whipped cream and strawberries

I made this dessert for Andrew's family when his Nan and Pop came to visit, I just made it up when trying to think of an easy dessert. This is a really simple but impressive looking dessert.

What you'll need:

*A packet of puff pastry.
*A jar of strawberry jam, or whatever jam you like the most.
*A carton of thicken cream.
*A punnet of strawberries
*White sugar.
*Icing sugar for decoration.

preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Put the puff pastry in the fridge, not the freezer.
Start by pouring the cream onto a deep bowl and adding a table spoon of sugar, using an electric beater whip the cream until it has stiff peaks (aka it should be thick and if you stop the beater and lift it up, the cream should stay on the beater). Cover with plastic wrap and pop into the fridge. Next, take the pastry out of the fridge (leave the plastic wrap on the back of pastry) and cut the sheets into six equal rectangle pieces. Place all the pieces on top of an oven tray lined with baking paper. Pop in the oven for around fifteen to twenty minutes, keep an eye on them until they puffed up and are a golden colour. Leave to cool. Once cooled gently press your hand on top of each one. Spread a teaspoon of jam onto half of the rectangles. Grab the cream out of the fridge and dollop a heaped table spoon of cream on each of the jammed rectangles.
Cut strawberries thinly and place a few slices on top of the cream. Place the unjammed rectangles on top and decorate by dusting with icing sugar. I also decorated mine with a fanned fresh strawberry on top. For a chocolate lover i would suggest omitting the jam in place of Nutella and drizzling melted chocolate on top instead of icing sugar.

Hope you enjoy, Love Jem.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Caramel Tarts

I got this wonderful recipe from a lovely lady named Mary who was a cook at my centre. These caramel tarts are a pinch to make, just buy a packet of short crust pastry or if you really want you could make it from scratch but who has the time. Next buy one can of condensed milk.
Fill a medium or large pot with water and bring to the boil. Peel the label off the can if you want, this is optional. Carefully drop the can of condensed milk in the boiling water, ( don't open the can!!) Leave to boil in the water for two hours (you may need to turn the can a couple of times and fill up the pot with more hot water as the water will reduce over time). While the can is boiling use a medium sized round cookie cutter or an egg ring as I use. Press it into the sheets of dough (do not take the usually blue, plastic wrapping off the back, it is easier to peel the circles of dough off if it has a backing). Spray one or two muffin tins with oil and gently press into each hole. Preheat the oven 180 degrees Celsius fan forced for about five to ten minutes. Pop the pastry into the oven until they start to go lightly golden in colour, about fifteen minutes, keep an eye on them as oven heat varies. Take them out leave to cool. After two hours, turn the heat off the pot and use tongs to take the can out and place in a sink of cold water for at least thirty minutes. Pick up the can and peel the lid off facing away from you.
Warning: If you do not leave the tin to cool for long enough you may experience hot caramel bursting in your face like i did :( Anyway scoop out a teaspoon worth of caramel and smoosh into each pastry cup. Finished. You could also put the caramel into a piping bag fitted with a thick nozzel and pip it into the cases if you want them to look fancy. I like to add whipped cream on top too. Hope you enjoy. Love Jem.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


This is my first blog ever.

For those of you who do not know me I would probably describe myself as a lover of chocolate, a passionate foodie and an avid collector of cooking books and dvd's.

I have always loved cooking and everything about food, I completed a one year Certificate in Hospitality (Commercial Cookery) whilst at college and was going to be a chef. Although I loved my experience at CIT it clarified that a commercial kitchen was a place of pressure and speed which was not how I wanted to cook. After college I decided to try childcare, I started a traineeship and ended up loving my job so much that a career in cookery was a distant memory. I have been working at the same centre for seven and a half years and have been a room leader for four years. I absolutely adore my job and find can't think of anything I would rather do for a living.

I still love cooking and as most of my friends would describe me as food obsessed, I thought blogging would be a great outlet for my recipes, thoughts and photos. Up until April 2011 I used basic digital cameras, some borrowed from good friends. I am now the proud owner of a Canon 550 DSLR so my photos have greatly improved. I hope you enjoy reading my blog. Lots of love Jem.