September 29, 2010

Really Amazing Apple and Frangipane Tart

Good Morning Food Lovers!

It a lovely day in Canberra today, so lovely in fact that i'm feeling very generous. I think i might share the most amazing tart/pie recipie EVER.

This Apple and Frangipane Tart is from (bless them). I have made this tart about 3 times i think, all of which turned out better than the last. Chef Marc (aka. Lisa's Man Friend) believes that this is the BEST shortcrust pastry recipe and i would have to agree. There is no need for blind baking in this one (thank god coz we all know how the last pie turned out!). This tart is so amazing, if you have any Frangipane mix left over i suggest you either just eat it with a spoon (oh yeah!) or make mini tarts with some puff pastry rounds, left over apples and the mix and whack it all in some cupcake trays. This is actually a really good way to use up all the left over ingredients because sitting on the kitchen bench eating a tub of what is mostly almond meal and butter, surrounded by dirty utensils and spilt flour waitng for the pie to cook, is not really a "good look", although it is bloody satisfying.

Here is the recipe!

Apple and Frangipane Tart

Frangipane (Almond Cream):
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (42 grams) almond meal (flour)
1 tablespoon (12 grams) all purpose flour
Pate Brisee (Short Crust Pastry):
1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
1 tablespoon (14 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) (113 grams) unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch (2.54 cm) pieces
1/8 to 1/4 cup (30 - 60 ml) ice water
6 cups (2 pounds, 1 kg) (about 5 large) apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) pieces
2 tablespoons (30 grams) granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter, melted

Frangipane:  In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the sugar and butter.  Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until smooth.  Add the almond meal and flour and beat until it forms a smooth paste.  Transfer to a small bowl, cover and refrigerate. 

Pate Brisee: In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined.  Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds).  Pour 1/8 cup (30 ml) water in a slow, steady stream through the feed tube until the pastry just holds together when pinched.  Add remaining water, if necessary.  Do not process more than about 30 seconds.  Turn the pastry out onto your work surface, gather it into a ball, cover with pastic wrap, and refrigerate for about one hour to chill the butter and allow the gluten in the flour to relax.

Once the pastry has chilled sufficiently, remove from refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry into a 13 inch (33 cm) circle.  Lift and turn the dough when rolling so it does not stick to the counter.   If it gets too soft and starts to fall apart when rolling, put dough back in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to firm up.  Transfer the circle to a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper, cover with plastic wrap, and return it to the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.

Then remove the chilled pastry from the refrigerator and spread the frangipane evenly over the dough, leaving a 2 inch (5 cm) border.  Cover and return to the refrigerator while you prepare the apples.

Assemble Tart:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven.
Arrange the apple slices evenly over the frangipane layer (concentrically or free form), again leaving a 2 inch (5 cm) border.  Fold the 2 inch (5 cm) border of pastry up and over the apples (sealing any cracks) and brush the pastry crust with the melted butter.  Pour any leftover butter over the apples.  Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons (30 grams) of sugar (depending on the tartness of the apples) over the crust and apples.
Bake the tart for 50 to 60 minutes or until the apples are cooked and the crust is golden brown.  (The apples should be soft, but not mushy, when pierced with a knife.)  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or softly whipped cream .
Refrigerate any leftovers.
Serves 6 - 8

Make it
Eat it
Love it

September 23, 2010

Old Cooking Adventures - Out of Control Chocolate Pecan Pie

One fine Saturday afternoon my beautiful friend Veronica came over to have her first "Charlotte" experience.

Lil' bit of info on Miss V.
Miss V is a very keen cooking/baking enthusiast and has actually attended a "Shortcrust Pastry Masterclass" taught by the wonderful Chef Marc. (Masterclass pictured, V doing the sifting and Miss Kate providing the entertainment). V is also a kick-ass Belly Dancer and Reggaton rump shaker. Also if you have your medicare card, she will diagnose your medical problems ANYWHERE! Such as the time me, V and K where climbing Mt Ainslie and K lifted up her shirt and said to V "look at my mole, do you think i should get it removed?". (i can't remember exactly what K said but that was the gist of it, she would have added much more wit than i can come up with).

Out of Control Chocolate Pecan Pie -

Pate Brisee (Short Crust Pastry):
1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon (14 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch (2.54 cm) pieces
1/8 to 1/4 cup (30 - 60 ml) ice water
Pecan Filling:
1 1/2 cups (150 grams) pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
2 ounces (57 grams) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cup (300 grams) granulated white  sugar
1 cup (240 ml) light corn syrup
2 tablespoons (25 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or 1 tablespoon rum or bourbon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (50 grams) whole pecan halves

Pate Brisee: In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds). Pour 1/8 cup (30 ml) water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube until the dough just holds together when pinched. If necessary, add more water. Do not process more than 30 seconds.
Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather into a ball. Flatten into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to one hour before using. This will chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour. 
After the dough has chilled sufficiently, place on a lightly floured surface, and roll into a 13 inch (33 cm) circle. (To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards).) Fold the dough in half and gently transfer to a 9 inch (23 cm) pie pan. Brush off any excess flour and tuck the overhanging pastry under itself. Use a fork to make a decorative border or else crimp the edges using your fingers. Freeze the pastry, covered with plastic wrap, for about 15 minutes before pouring in the filling. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Place the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven. 
Pecan Filling: To toast Pecans - Place 1 1/2 cups (150 grams) of pecans on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool and then chop coarsely.
In a stainless steel (heatproof) bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chopped chocolate. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, and then whisk in the sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, vanilla extract, and salt. Then stir in the cooled melted chocolate.
Remove the chilled pastry crust from the freezer and evenly distribute the chopped pecans over the bottom of the crust. Pour the filling evenly over the nuts. Arrange the whole pecans in a decorative pattern on top of the filling. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet and bake for about 50 to 60 minutes, or until the filling has puffed but is still wobbly when gently shaken. (If you find the edges of the pie crust are over browning during baking, cover with foil.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipping cream or vanilla ice cream.
Makes one 9 inch (23 cm) pie
So me and V made this pie, but we are not in America (which is where this recipe came from) and we could not locate Corn Syrup. A conclusion was made that if we substitute the Corn Syrup for Golden Syrup that would be fine. WRONG! The pie itself looked fantastic, the crust was fantastic, the taste...........lets just say our teeth hurt while eating it and it kinda caused some nausea also. There was an extreme sugar high afterward and then an EXTREME sugar low, which resulted in us not really wanting to get off the lounge to go out for dinner, which was the plan.
Poor Miss V was scheduled to do a Belly Dancing performance at a restaurant after the pie making afternoon. Such a trooper she was, she got up there and shook her thang to a room full of people eating Turkish food, despite almost dieing from a sugar overdose 1 hour earlier.
I still have some of this pie in the freezer. i know I'll never eat it but for some unknown reason i cant seem to part with it. Here is what it looked like.
Many warnings should come with this pie but this one says it all.
‘Do not underestimate the unpredictable nature of the sugar high you may experience from consuming this pie”.  Kate
Thank you Miss K, you always know exactly what to say. Tell me the one about the Bogong Moths again....

Note: the recipe is really wierd fonted. My apologies, i cant seem to fix it. :)

September 20, 2010

Sunday Night EPIC Dinner/Dessert Story. Guest Starring Marc!

An epic story, about how one Sunday night dinner turned into both an adventure and a disaster!

A pork roast and apple pie sounds easy doesn't it? WRONG!!! Actually, the "making" part of the roast/pie was quite easy it was the events that followed.

The Week Before
"Hay Pie (affectionate term i have for my partner Marc), lets have a roast this weekend and ill try to give an Apple Pie a crack!". I say with great enthusiasm.
"Yeah, that sounds good" said my wonderful Pie. (Don't ask why i call him that, it's a stupidly long story, like this one!)

So far so good......

Day Of (Sunday)

2pm- "OK Pie, I'm going to make the Apple Pie now!". "OK Pie" he says while pretending to be a outlaw cowboy in the PS3 game Red Dead Redemption.

I'm using a tried and tested shortcrust pastry recipe but i need to make 2 batches, one for the bottom of the pie and one for the lid. Both batches turn out great (thanks to Charlotte the Kitchenaid) and into the fridge they pop.

2:30pm- Dreaded apple chopping time. Recipe calls for 6 large apples - check! Cored - check! Peeled - check! Sliced thinly - arghhhh.....OK. So, I'm slicing away and almost finished when i slice through the top of my very long thumb nail (real i might add). I quickly thank my good genes for long nails, pick the nail out of the apples and then cover the apples in all the sugars and things. Bad luck 1 - Complete.

So at this point I'm thinking "I'm fricken tired!, i need a cup of tea while my pastry cools and apples macerate (whatever that means)". *watches beloved Marc/Pie/Outlaw Cowboy/Hero ride around on a horse*

3:30pm - Pastry rolling time. Not a problem, I've done this before. Besides the edges cracking and constantly trying to make it stop, the base of the pie is ready. "Do you need to blind bake the pastry?" says the once fabulous Chef Marc. "No, the recipe doesn't mention it".

The universe spoke a that moment.

"How long will your Pie take? I need to cook the Pork" says Cowboy Pie. "45-50mins", i say silently shitting myself, because I've just realised that we only have one oven and 2 things that need to be cooked at almost the same time. "Can you get your Pie into the oven by 4pm?" "OK ill try". My Hero Cowboy Pie drains the macerated apples and helps me reduce the liquid and butter in the microwave, bless him. I then roll the top layer of the pie pastry, whack the apples in the pie, put the lid on, decide that the lid should be more of a dome shape but due to lack of apples the lid is a little flat. *quietly curses recipe*. Bad luck 2 - Complete.

Pie in oven - Complete! Its 4:15pm.

Pie out of oven - looks like this.

Mmmmmm Pie - but "hay Pie, i don't think there is enough apples in the pie, it looks flat". "That's OK, it will taste good anyway" says the optimist.

Apple Pie Recipe -

*This is not my shortcrust pastry recipe but i reckon it would do the job anyway.

Pate Brisee (Short Crust Pastry):
2 1/2 cups (350 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon (30 grams) granulated white sugar
1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch (2.54 cm) pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 - 120 ml) ice water
Apple Filling:
2 1/2 pounds (1.1 kg) apples (about 6 large), peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick (about 8 cups sliced) (about 900 grams sliced)
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1/4 cup (55 grams) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (15 grams) cornstarch (corn flour)

Pate Brisee:  In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds). Pour 1/4 cup (60 ml) water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube until the dough just holds together when pinched. If necessary, add more water.  Do not process more than 30 seconds.
Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather into a ball. Divide the dough in half, flattening each half into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about one hour before using. This will chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour. 
After the dough has chilled sufficiently, remove one portion of the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry into a 12 inch (30 cm) circle.  (To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards).) Fold the dough in half and gently transfer to a 9 inch (23 cm) pie pan. Brush off any excess flour and trim the edges of the pastry to fit the pie pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. 
Then remove the second round of pastry and roll it into a 12 inch (30 cm) circle. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator. 
Make the Apple Filling:  In a large bowl combine the sliced apples, sugars, lemon juice, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Let the apples macerate at room temperature for 30 minutes to three hours. Then, place the apples and their juices in a strainer that is placed over a large bowl (to capture the juices). Let the apples drain for about 15-30 minutes or until you have at least 1/2 cup (120 ml) of juice. Spray a 4 cup (960 ml) heatproof measuring cup with a nonstick vegetable spray, and then pour in the collected juices and the 2 tablespoons (28 grams) of unsalted butter. Place in the microwave and boil the liquid, on high, 6 to 7 minutes or until the liquid has reduced to about 1/3 cup and is syrupy and lightly caramelized. (Alternatively, you could place the juices and butter in a small saucepan and boil over medium high heat on the stove.) 
Meanwhile, remove the top pastry crust from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes so it has time to soften and become pliable. Transfer the drained apples slices to a large bowl and mix them with the cornstarch (corn flour). Then pour the reduced syrup over the apples and toss to combine.  Pour the apples and their syrup into the chilled pie crust. Moisten the edges of the pie shell with a little water and then place the top crust over the apples. Tuck any excess pastry under the bottom crust and then crimp the edges using your fingers or a fork. Using a sharp knife, make five 2-inch (5 cm) slits from the center of the pie out towards the edge of the pie to allow the steam to escape. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill the pastry while you preheat the oven.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Place the oven rack at the lowest level and place a baking stone or baking sheet on the rack before preheating the oven. Place a piece of aluminum foil on the stone (or pan) to catch any apple juices.
Set the pie on the stone or pan and bake for about 45 to 55 minutes or until the juices start to bubble through the slits and the apples feel tender (not mushy) when a toothpick or sharp knife is inserted through one of the slits. Make sure to cover the edges of the pie with a foil ring to prevent over browning after about 30 minutes.
Remove the pie from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 3-4 hours before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or softly whipped cream. Store at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.
Makes one 9 inch (23 cm) pie.

Pork Loin Roast - By Marc aka Pie

This is Marc with our Cockatiel "Dennis".


Pork loin roast has been prepared by the butcher, all i have to do now is cook it with minimal fuss. (look for a roast with a good fat layer between the skin and meat). Rub pork with oil, salt and a touch of vinegar (rub in well).

The meat is sealing.

Seal the meat in a hot oven proof pan. Do not seal the skin - the oven will make this crispy.

Once sealed place on a trivet of celery and add half a cup of chicken stock. Cover pork with foil and place in a preheated oven (220 degrees Celsius). After 30mins remove foil form the pork and reduce the temp to 189 for a further 45mins. This depends on the size of the roast.

Par cook all of the vegetables you intend to bake. These will take approx 45mins to be crispy and golden.

Marc - Out!

All was going as good as we could have expected. Pork in the oven, apple pie doing its thang on the bench (which wasn't much), good times, good times.

6:30-7:30pm - "I'm starving!" we both say. Pork check - not quite done, OK lets have showers.

Hop out of the shower, and head down stairs while Marc does his Shaving of the Face ritual. "Oh crap" i hear, "i forgot to ask you to take the foil of the pork!" oh crap indeed i think. "will the crackling be OK?" i ask, thinking OH NO NOT THE CRACKLING! Marc checks the pork, "its gonna be OK it just needs to be under for a bit longer" the clean shaven one says. After a couple more checks the pork is done, out of the oven and the crackling is back in the oven under the grill. Then, the fire alarm goes off, quickly Marc gets a towel and waves the smoke away from the alarm. Alarm stops. 30 secs of silence. Upstairs and downstairs fire alarms go off, piercing noise! We open the doors, windows, smash the alarms in hope of silence. "Oh CRAP, THE CRACKLING!, Lisa get it out of the oven!" I race to get the crackling out of the oven, "its ok its not burnt!" i yell. Alarms stop. Marc now in a panic and both of us starving!!! Its ok, dinner will be ok, lets eat.

We eat and it tastes amazing. Despite the drama and minor heart attacks.

"lets have Apple Pie". I say, now full of gravy and pork crackling (which was amazing by the way).

I turn the oven back on so i can heat the pie, which has now been out of the oven for about 2 hours. I cut the pie, oh no, i pull the piece out of the dish, oh no, the bottom of the pie has turned all mushy and disintegrated. "Pie!, why do we blind bake shortcrust pastry?" i ask, already knowing the answer. "So the pastry doesn't get all mushy" he says. Great, just FRICKEN GREAT! The bloody pie has no bottom and I've now left the pieces of pie in the oven for too long and the plates are boiling hot. I transfer the bottomless pies to bowls that wont scold our hands. It tastes quite good! The top layer of pastry is great but the bottom is almost non existent.

Despite the level of bad luck and random shit that occurred, dinner was actually really yum and dessert was surprisingly ok.

A relationship is tested by these type of events and there wasn't one fight to be had amongst this one.

The arse may have fallen out of my pie and our house could have gone up in flames, but I doubt it will ever happen to us. :)

Saturday Arvo Banana Bread

I love Bananas but i don't really care for them any other way besides their natural "in the skin" form or on toast, therefore i don't really care for Banana Bread.

But I had 2 waaaaaaaay over ripe Bananas and i knew Marc likes (or LOVES) Banana Bread, so with lack of a better option, BANANA BREAD IT WAS!

Note - I like to make cakes and things that i actually don't really like eating, such as this Banana Bread. It basically stops me from eating all the badness. I make too many baked sweet goods to be able to eat them all, if i did i would be eating them on the treadmill to equal out the fat gain/fat loss ratio.

I can just picture myself now......pie with ice cream and whipped cream......a fork.........jogging.......actually............that sounds almost do-able! I'm pretty sure i would stack it at some point though and jab my face with the fork and possibly slip on some fallen ice-cream. Then all the beef-cakes at Queanbeyan Gym would look at me and i would look at them and then they would think to themselves "I'm so hot, even that retarded chick with a fork up her nose is staring at my amazing Guns".

And that is why folks, i don't eat all my baking.....on a treadmill, at the gym.

Banana Bread - right, back to it.

Here is the recipe i used from - thank you once again for a fabulous recipe.

Banana Bread
Ingredients (serves 10)
  • Melted low-fat dairy spread, to grease
  • 265g (1 3/4 cups) self-raising flour
  • 40g (1/4 cup) plain flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 140g (2/3 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
  • 125ml (1/2 cup) skim milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 50g butter, melted, cooled
  • 2 overripe medium bananas, mashed


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush an 11 x 21cm (base measurement) loaf pan with melted dairy spread to lightly grease. Line the base and 2 opposite sides with non-stick baking paper, allowing it to overhang.
  2. Sift the combined flours and cinnamon into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and make a well in the centre. Place the milk, eggs, melted butter and banana in a medium bowl, and stir until well combined. Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from oven and set aside in the pan for 5 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into slices to serve.


  • This banana bread will keep in an airtight container out of direct sunlight for up to 3 days. Alternatively, place in an airtight container, then label, date and freeze for up to 1 month. Place in the fridge overnight to thaw.

My non-arse tasting Banana Bread

I chose this recipe out of MILLIONS of Banana Bread recipe's because of this comment -
jazzcinta8 added this comment at 10:03pm Mon 6th September, 2010
5 out of 5
Simply BEAUTIFUL! I tried this for the first time earlier this year and my hubby can't seem to get enough! Very easy to make and just tastes divine. :)

Thank you "jazzcinta8" - you are right, it does taste good (even though i don't like Banana Bread - as we have already established, i usually think it tastes like arse), and my Man Friend (Marc - obviously my partner but i like to say Man Friend in a deep voice) really likes it too. I'll tell ya girl, if that bread turned out like crap, it was gonna be on your head after a comment like that. But luckily, no arse whopping for you today.

September 16, 2010

Old Cooking Adventures Coming up! First Christmas Truffles 2009

2009 was the year of falling in love with cooking/baking....mostly baking. it was also the year i received 2 aprons for Christmas which made me think, "is my family trying to encourage me to be a housewife? and one of those aprons came from Marc so is he wanting me to BE a housewife?". Either way i didn't really care because one apron had Owls all over it and made me look like a 50's housewife (which i weirdly think is awesome!) and the other was covered in cupcakes and had  tea towel ATTACHED to the apron!


I thought it would be the most wonderful idea if i gave all my friends a special gift basket of Truffles for Christmas. I knew that even if the Truffles turned out like crap everyone would be so proud of me anyway as this would be my first adventure into Truffle-land!

Mmm Truffle-land sounds yummmmmm.

Anyway, I had 3 recipes all courtesy of, Eggnog, Marshmallow and Rum Balls.

Despite needing to have really cold hands to role the chocolate balls and the inside of my kitchen was roughly 26 -30 degrees, i soldiered on, covered in chocolate, floor covered in chocolate, almost every utensil i own covered in chocolate......but.......success!

Truffles aren't actually that hard to make. And here are the recipes!

Eggnog truffles
Preparation Time 30 minutes
Cooking Time 10 minutes
Makes 32


  • 2 x 180g pkts good-quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) thickened cream
  • 1 tbs brandy
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 x 375g pkt white chocolate melts
  • Ground nutmeg, extra, to dust
  • Freshly brewed espresso coffee, to serve


  1. Place the chocolate, cream, brandy and nutmeg in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan half-filled with simmering water (make sure bowl doesn't touch the water) and stir with a metal spoon until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Place in the fridge for 2 hours or until firm enough to roll into balls.
  2. Line a tray with non-stick baking paper. Use a teaspoon to scoop out 2 teaspoonfuls of chocolate mixture and use your hands to roll into a ball. Place on prepared tray. Repeat with the remaining chocolate mixture. Place in the fridge for 1 hour or until firm.
  3. Meanwhile, place chocolate melts in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan half-filled with simmering water (make sure bowl doesn't touch the water) and stir with a metal spoon until chocolate melts.
  4. Line a tray with non-stick baking paper. Use 2 forks to dip a truffle into the melted chocolate to coat. Remove truffle, tapping the fork handle gently on the edge of the bowl to shake off any excess chocolate. Place on prepared tray. Repeat with remaining truffles and melted chocolate. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes to set. Sprinkle truffles with extra nutmeg and serve with coffee.


  • Make this recipe up to 3 days ahead. Store in airtight container in the fridge.

Marshmallow Truffles

Makes 20-25

  • 200g good-quality milk chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup thickened cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup vanilla Mallow Bakes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup coloured sprinkles
Method Combine chocolate and cream in a heatproof, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on medium (50%) for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring every minute with a metal spoon, or until melted and smooth. Stir in vanilla. Cover. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours or until firm. Line a tray with baking paper. Using 2 teaspoons of chocolate mixture at a time, roll into balls. Sift cocoa into a shallow dish. Roll balls in cocoa to coat. Place on prepared tray. Refrigerate until firm. Notes You can make these truffles up to a week ahead. Roll in coatings up to 1 day ahead. Store truffles in an airtight container in the fridge.

Rum Balls

*Most people know how to make rum balls so i wont put in the recipe, also i don't have a handy picture of said Rum Balls. Please consult for more information.

These Truffles below are the Eggnog and Marshmallow.

I can't remember what everyone liked the most (or liked at all!) but i liked the Marshmallow ones for taste and the Eggnog ones for looks.

The Rum Balls ended up very liquidity and had to be refrigerated. Most of them actually just melted in the summer heat, which resulted in people actually having to lick their balls (pun intended) as opposed to eating them.

September 15, 2010

Finnish Hierloom Recipe - Pulla (aka Korvapuusti)

I always loved when my Aunty Sybil (Sirpa is her actual Finnish name) came to visit, apart from her lovely warm presence, she would bring the most amazing bread/Cinnamon things i had ever tasted! I have always known them as Pulla but the correct Finnish name is Korvapuusti. i loved them so much she would bring plastic bags full of Pulla's and we would freeze them and take them to school.

I thought they where the most amazing treats, all curled up in little buns of sugary/cinnimony delight. I never thought i would actually ever bother to learn how to make them.

So one day 2 weeks ago i said to myself, "Lisa, you have taken on your Finnish family's last name, you love eating Pulla's, why haven't you learnt how to make them yet?" *kicks herself in the arse*.

So along with my apron, Charlotte and a whole lotta flour and yeast i set to work. Here is the recipe from Aunty Sybil herself.

500mls milk
50gs fresh yeast or 3 1/2 sachets dry yeast (each sachet 7g)
1tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoon crushed cardamon seeds
150-200gr softened butter
appr.1 kg plain flour
2 eggs

1 beaten egg for glazing
demera sugar
extra butter
ground cinnamon (masterfoods )
extra sugar
Mix yeast, couple tablespoons sugar, 1/4 cup warm milk in a small bowl, leave aside till starts rising
warm rest of  milk until luke warm, put in big bowl and add sugar,eggs,salt ,cardamon,mix with whisk
Add yeast mixture
Start adding flour with wooden spoon, then use hands to knead about 5-10 mins.
(I did not use all of flour, about 1 cup left )
Add softened butter, and knead about 10min. untill dough leaves bowl, might need more flour if too sticky,
cover with teatowel and leave in a warm place about 1hour ,untill doubles in size

I usually divide it in 4,
Place on lightly floured board and roll one piece at a time into a rectangle ,spread with soft butter and sprinkle with sugar and ground cinnamon
Roll tightly lenghtwise, cut diagonally into like triangles.
Put on baking tray with baking paper and leave to rise again untill double size
Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle  with demera sugar
Bake in warm to hot oven app.10min

After 4 hours of waiting for dough to rise, rolling pulla's, cooking pulla's, rolling more pulla's, cooking more pulla's, angry pet Cockatiel Dennis screaming at me in his bird like way because i was not paying attention to him and missing out on a baby shower, i finally finished.

It was definitely not that hard, just very time consuming. I was so exhausted and i ate soooo many pulla's along the way (i put on 1kg) but i was proud.  I was officially (according to Aunty Sybil) a "true Finn"!

And that's all that matters. :)

Welcome to Cooking with a Sparkle!

Hello my friends!

I'm Lisa Sparkle. To you who don't know me, I'm not joking this is my actual name, well part of it anyway.

I've been inspired like most people I'm sure by the movie Julie and Julia. I love the concept of blogging and i love the concept of writing a book. Unfortunately i have neither the skills it would require to write a book or the skills (and the time, lets face it) to create many unique recipes. So, I'm left with blogging.....about other peoples recipes.

I love to bake. I love to cook with recipes. I love eating the food i baked or cooked. I love sharing the food i baked or cooked with people who appreciate my love for baking and cooking.

I love my partner Marc for many things but in this instance i love him for teaching me how to bake and cook. I love him also for always being my number one baking fan and always eating all the "duds". xxx

I love my friend Kate who gave me the best baking book ever for my 23rd birthday, the Baking Bible. And i love my friends for not only encouraging me but helping me consume amazing amounts of butter and sugar.

I love my Nan and Great Grandma's, who through their DNA gave me the ability to be able to bake.

I love food and i love my Boysenberry Kitchen aid "Charlotte".

And of course a special shout out to my family - i love you all very much, you are my world and aren't you glad i found Marc. xx

I will promise to post, from this day forward, all baking/cooking adventures/disasters and I hope you enjoy reading.

Lisa Sparkle :)