Category Archives: Desserts and baking

Rich Fruit cake- syrup style

makes one medium sized cake about 8 inch round cooking time about 45-50 mins , preparation around 15 , depends on how organised you are

  • Flour-90
  • Almond powder 10 g( I’ve said 10 but you could higher and reduce the flour a bit )
  • cornflour-10 g
  • cinnamon powder- 2g
  • dry ground ginger- 2 g
  • Allspice- 1 g
  • Nutmeg- pinch
  • Baking soda- 4 g
  • salt- 1 g
  • mixed nuts- 125 g(Almond, walnuts, cashews)

Ive separated the dry from the wet ingredients. so as to create a demarcation.

  • water-90 ml
  • mixed dry fruit(raisins, dates, apricots, dont buy a ready mix)-200 g
  • brown/ raw sugar- 110 g
  • oil- 45 g( yes by weight)
  • butter -45 g
  • eggs -2
  • vanilla extract- a little
  • brandy or dark rum- 45 ml+ a bit more to brush on or baste after baking
  • Ok now to begin the process.First preheat oven to 170 Cand prepare your cake tin( this you always do first, REMEMBER THIS)
  • Heat the water with the oil, butter and fruits and sugar . Take off the heat and add brandy and vanilla. ( you can also put grated orage zest if you like.COOL DOWN before you add the eggs or you will have scrambled eggs which are ok, but not in a fruit cake.
  • Add the eggs , mix well and fold in the dry ingredients, and combine well.
  • Pour into your prepared tin and tap on the bench to make it even.
  • bake for about 45-50 mins till it is cooked but not dry.
  • when it comes out of the oven , hold in the tin for a few mins then demold and brush with some more alcohol.(its worth it, Truly.) The photo of the cake below has been cooked with kaffir lime infused rum and basted with bourbon

Cheesecake like no other ..baked not set.

makes about 4 x 8 inch springform tins

We used to make this cheesecake which was like manna from heaven, created by our pastry chef Noel . He was a master craftsman and I wish I had worked more with him, but usually I would be getting hammered with 900 odd people for breakfast day in day out ..followed by 400-500 in our beachside restaurant which was meant to test our staying power .. literally..but that’s a story for another time we need to get moving on the cheesecake which is a 24 hr process in itself,

You mix and make the cheesecake today and then keep it overnight to set slowly. Do NOT BE TEMPTED TO DEMOLD ON DAY you make it..it will be ruined beyond your wildest imagination..I know because I’ve tried it.

  • Cream cheese , Philadelphia is the best , but a good alternative can work too- 2.2 kg( I know it’s a lot so it’s a good idea to make a quarter of the recipe to give you one medium sized cake tin( springform please or else gets difficult to demold)
  • egg whole-6 ea
  • egg yolk-12 ea
  • sugar-690 g( what-this makes about 36 -portions)
  • corn flour/ custard powder-80 g
  • sour cream-180g
  • vanilla essence- to your liking don’t put too little because then will smell eggy- 10-15 ml depending on strength
  • blueberries frozen to put inside.( Makes it look like a blue veined cheese but tastes a 100 times better and doesn’t smell at all..win win for all–150 g
  • mixed berries to make into sauce to serve on the side—i ill put on a separate post this bit
  • biscuit crumbs- use your favourite ones – about 150 g per tin
  • butter – makes it better helps to bind the biscuit crumbs– 50 g per tin
  1. First thing s take ut the cream cheese about an hou before you start, makes it nice and soft and easy to mix.
  2. then preheat your oven to 125 C., thats very low heat , becaue what are making is really delicate thing.
  3. then line the spring form mold base with baking paper, and mix the biscuit crumbs and butter and cover the base of the mold.press down on the base to make it a bit more compcat and pop in the fridge to set
  4. cream the cheese, with sugar and corn starch and slowly incorporate those eggs..one at a time..
  5. Add vanilla and sour cream and mix one last time to get it all well blended but smooth not grainy.
  6. pour over your prepared 1 tin or 4 depending on how much qty you made.
  7. Bake at that very low heat , in a water bath, remember i said this is a delicate, this baby needs TLC
  8. we need to go for 80 minutes of baking and midway through check if the top is getting too brown then cover it with piecef foil.
  9. once its done the top might look a bit cracked and so on, thats fine its an artisan product not factor made with lots of stablisers and starches to make it shiny.
  10. cool down and keep overnight to set.

Step 5 3/4- is to add your blueberries if you fancy them, if not make plain. I also at times spike this with baileys irish cream or amarula to make it even more divine.

Biscotti be like Tutto E bene

I had never ever heard of a biscotti till quite late .It was when we went to our flagship hotel in Jaipur called Rajvilas, a hotel which was built be of a palatial kind of opulence and luxury which was unimaginable at the time circa 1997

quite a bit later in maybe 2011 when I was in NZ teaching Culinary arts/ cookery at Whitireia Polytechnic ,in Auckland I introduced this to teach my students something which can be eaten as a biscuit ( cooked twice – that’s what the name implies).

Eggs 2 ea
.vanilla essence 2 ml
Orange flower water 1 ml
Plain flour 150 g
Almond powder 50 g
Baking powder 3 g
Orange or mandarin zest – 1
Cocoa nibs 20 g, don’t worry if you don’t have them..
Almond or cashew or pistachios if U are feeling rich – 50 g soak in warm water for about 5 mins.this is so when these are baked they are fairly easy to slice .
Whisk eggs and sugar and the 2 essences .
Sieve or mix well the flour ,baking powder and almond powder .
Add zest and nuts (nibs )and mix all the things together.easy peasy.
Form a log and bake at 160-175 c 15- 18mins.
Cool down and freeze for long term storage or
Cool down and slice thin, use a serrated bread knife for the job .(My favourite one is the Fdick one ,which I used to get from House of knives in Auckland. Go pay them a visit someday .The Fdick range of knives is awesome and Shannon one of main man there is very knowledgeable about knives .He will be able sort you out.)
Back to our biscotti which need the second baking to finish the job and be crunchy and very moreish.

Bake at 165 c for 12-15 mins.I love these as a crisp garnish for a dessert or a snack when you don’t want something very sweet

Tiramisu

Tiramisu is delightful italian dessert made from sponge fingers layered with a kind of mousse/ cream of mascarpone , eggs an cream. This is my evolved version which has baileys or amarula in the cream and kahlua in the sponge fingers. works very well and tastes mind blowing.

So how this works is you have to make a cream mix with eggs, sugar , mascarpone and cool down then whisk in the cream and mix them togther without overworking the cream or it will split. 

Then you dip the sponge fingers in the coffee syrup.(coffeee , hot water and kahlua), but you only dip not make mushy. then in a container or a glass, you carefully arrange them in layers. one layer of sponge, then cream and so on.

I have made this so many times  from 10- to a few hundred portions a work, that these days i dont even have to measure anything, but thats me, Dont be like me, get a proper measuring scale and weigh it. if you want less or more of something go ahead, for things like sugar it can but not for everything. If you are stuck, i can demonstrate via ZOOm or some other medium too

Sponge fingers 400 gms- usually 1 packet
Mascarpone cheese 1 kgs
Eggs 4 nos
sugar  120 gms
bailey irish cream – 30 ml or more if like it boozy
Kahlua or another quality coffee liquer 50 ml

coffee powder-10 gms /2 t
Whipping or thickened cream  250 ml

  • Whisk eggs over double boiler till thick and fluffy.
  • Combine with softened mascarpone.
  • Add in baileys irish cream / amarula.
  • Whisk cream and fold into above mixture .
  • Dissolve coffee powder with hot water and dip sponge fingers inside.
  • Layer sponge fingers and cheese mix. keep in the fridge/ freezer to set 
  • Dust with cocoa powder before service.
Making the sabayon

FOCACCIA

This is one of my favourite breads. made well its awesome, but its very easy to make too.

  • Flour 1kg
  • Instant Active yeast-20 gm
  • Sugar-20 gm
  • Salt -20 gm
  • Water-800 ml
  • Olive oil-100 ml

Mix Flour with yeast, sugar and salt.Add in the water. the dough will be very very sticky.

Dont worry thats normal.Add in half of the oil.

allow to proof for about 20minutes.(keep in a warm area with gladwrap on dough or a wet tea towel).

Divide into 4 and spread flat on baking trays with the remainder of the oil.make dimples with your fingers on the top

of the dough and then add the oil.

when the bread is proofed nicely(risen) Bake at 195 C for 13-15 minutes.

You can add fresh herbs in the dough and some rock salt on top before the baking process

.Enjoy it hummus, just some olive oil and balsamic dressing or for a sandwich.only your creativity limits you.

Today im making  a higher fibre version of this with 20% oats added and that much reduced from the flour content of it