Monday, September 26, 2011

7th time lucky!

We had Frank's party on Saturday. It was a low key food event - except for the cake!
Frank had requested a white chocolate smash cake (or pinata cake). I could have done the smart thing and bought one, but they are really expensive and to this day I have always made my kids their cakes and this time was going to be no different.
So armed with enough white chocolate to sink a ship I proceeded to gather information on how to erect this masterpiece - it looked easy enough? 
I searched the Internet for recipes - nothing.
Six failures and I was at the brink. 
It didn't help that it was the hottest day all month and that white chocolate (which is not really chocolate)is a bitch to work with. 
But I persisted and was not giving up till it was perfect (or at the very least de-moulded from a bowl).I'd been making F#@*%$! smash cakes all day and in a minute I was going to smash something else! 
Then a brief correspondence with my friend Bec(who had informed me that these cakes were actually called Pinata cakes).
She had perfected the smash cake earlier this year. 
A recipe scanned and a lovely offer of, "If it doesn't work this time, I'll make one for her tomorrow" and my determination set in.
I was not going to fail - what would I say to frank in the morning?

12.30am SUCCESS!!!!! I swear it was like winning the lottery, my baby girl was getting her wish and her mother wasn't a loser!
This is the recipe that I found on the Internet (with a little guidance from Bec). Check it out here

How I did it:

Get a decent sized stainless steal mixing bowl 
Oil it with olive oil - genorously and wipe the oil around with paper towel
Pop the oiled, stainless steel bowl in the freezer - for 1 hour
Close to when that hour is up - melt your chocolate in a bowl over a little simmering water in a pan - making sure your chocolate is roughly cut up or the same size, stir constantly 'til it's just melted then take the bowl off the pan of water and keep stirring till its melted and just warm.
The human Balloon
Now grab your bowl from the freezer and pour some of your chocolate into it and swirl - trying to coat all sides (you may need to add more if it not coating the whole bowl) once its coated - hurry and get it back in the freezer
Check it in 40-50min - I noticed the top was really thick and the sides thin, so with a spatula I carefully smeared more of the chocolate I had leftover, around the sides
Stuck it back in the freezer for 20 min - then arranged my mound of lolly's, got the bowl out of the freezer and turned the bowl over the lollies and with a hair dryer, warmed the bowl very slightly, gave it a tap and hay presto it popped out perfectly.
Decorate and keep in the fridge till needed.
Good Luck - you'll need it!
The rest of the party was a breeze. An early trip to Haberfeid to pick up Frank's favourite rolls from here,grub sausage,fruit platter,gulliella's rocky road (best rocky road in town) and enough contraband to get them through the holidays.

Oh and a little treat from Haberfeild for mummy to celebrate getting through 12 years of extravagent birthday parties!
One down one to go!

©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps

p.s..Claire, good luck I want to see photos!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

How do you take your coffee?

If only it were that easy….I'm what you call, ‘High maintenance’ when it comes to coffee drinking.
 Max refuses to order me coffees  - “I’m too fussy” he says, or is it just that I like things a certain way?
Not long ago I had decided to give up coffee, (my 2 coffees a week) because they always gave me a tummy ache and made me speed off my eye balls. And then on the occasion I did have one, they were never hot enough or the person making them just didn’t make it the way I liked it so I'd chuck it - what a big waste of money!

The only place that will put up with my coffee bullshit is‘Ruby’s Diner'. Ed has known Max and I since he opened the doors many years ago (we lived across the road for a very long time) and now when I venture down to my old digs to get a coffee, Ed asks, “What will it be this week Michelle?” (with the odd roll of the eyes).
Over the years my coffee choices have ranged from, macchiato extra froth,  ¾ skim latte, ¾ soy latte (this is until I realised soy was poison),  extra hot ¾ latte,  extra hot cappuccino, extra hot ¾ mocha, extra hot ½ cappuccino extra chocolate extra hot…oh, I also recall bringing my own milk and sugar in - shesh, no wonder everyone’s pulling their hair out!
Well you’ll be happy to know I have now found a coffee that I love and will drink throughout the summer and maybe even the winter too.
I visited Ruby’s at the start of the week, still (off the coffee wagon) but feeling particularly tired (thanks to the smallest member of my family playing musical beds) needing caffeine desperately (a muffin for Wilco) to get me through my day.
Ed gave me that look, to which I responded smugly, “Today I’d like a ½ cappuccino extra hot?” very patently he say’s “It’s Ok, Michelle I like my coffee a certain way too!”
(Ok, lets feel pity for the nut job who can’t make up her mind about which coffee she likes or if she likes coffee at all?)

Then I proceeded to ask (beg) Ed if he could please make an iced coffee or iced tea for summer – he stopped me dead in my tracks and said “Have you had a cold drip?”, I was like “shit yes!”. That was my favourite way to have coffee on our recent trip to L.A (Trails CafĂ©? With agave – yum!) I had heard he was doing it but had not been down to try it out. He gave me a tester and that was it – I was hooked! Cold drip coffee straight out of the icy cold fridge, no milk with real vanilla sugar syrup (just a teaspoon full) to sweeten it, over ice – HEAVEN!!!
And I haven’t looked back since.
Actually I’m kind of addicted, it’s so refreshing and not bitter like normal hot coffee (has something to do with the filtering, I’m told).
Now I’m dreaming of my own cold drip filter so I can make cold drip coffee icypoles or cold drip granita (slushies) for the summer.
Ed I’ll see you tomorrow for my usual.

By the way cold drip is not a brand of coffee it’s a process of making coffee at room temp in one of these machines.

By the way “Ruby’s” do a great many other things, my two fav’s are the burger and those muffins… the Orange and cinnamon ones ?(Hint, hint, nudge, nudge!!)

I already want another one…..
Ruby's Diner
173-179 Bronte Rd
                         ©Michelle Schoeps 2013
                                                        All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Quinoa and Vegetable Soup

The idea for this soup was not one that just came to me. After my bout of sickness last week the first thing I ate after 4 days of no food was a delicious Quinoa & Corn soup, from one of my favourite food stores in Potts Point.
It was so nourishing and I felt it healing me with every mouthful. And all I wanted for days after was this soup - so I made my own!
+ 1/2 cup of corn 
Really there are no rules when it comes to making a good vegetable soup - any vegetable works, just make sure you cut them all the same size and try and use local organic or bio-dynamic ingredients.
And remember a little bit of love makes it taste that much better - a bowl full of goodness!
Drizzle with a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a sprinkle of chilli or a teaspoon of fresh pesto and eat with good quality bread torn and soaked in the soup - YUM!!
I forgot to photograph the corn, but there is also half a cup
feeds 6-10 people depending on portion size
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup of celery
1/2 cup of carrot
1/2 cup of pumpkin
1/2 cup of peas - fresh or frozen
1/2 cup of zucchini
1/2 cup potato - dutch creams or Nicola
1/2 cup of fresh tomato - skinned and seeded
1/2 cup of any other vegetable you need to use - I used broccolini ends, but cauliflower would also be yummy
1/2 cup of corn - again fresh is better, but I used frozen
1/4 of a cup of parsley
3/4 of a cup of Quinoa
Season really well if you only use water, with salt, pepper and half teaspoon of rapadura sugar
Oh and almost forgot - chilli as much or as little as you like
Water or stock - about 1.5litres 
olive oil
How I made it:
Cut all you vegies up, roughly around the same size
Start of by warming oil and just ever so slightly colouring the onions - then the garlic, celery and carrot goes in
Once these have all got a little colour throw everything else in, give it a stir
Pour in the water or stock till it's 3 or 4cm above the vegies - the Quinoa will expand and suck up the soup, so you may have to add a little more water at the end and remember to check your seasoning
You'll know when the soups ready because, first the potatoes will be cooked and second the quinoa will have popped and will look like itsy bitsy, teeny tiny worms
©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps
and recipe

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My baby girl is 8

Birthdays in our house are a big deal. Any opportunity to have breakfast in bed, dinner at really nice restaurants, gift giving, throwing a party, bringing icy poles or cake to school…we do it best!Hell, I gave birth to them, I’m going to spoil them rotten one day of the year!
My children are perfect. Ha! But that middle one, she has been an angel, from when she was in-utero all the way 'til 8 (let’s hope it continues). She is so very sweet and good natured, fair and kind as well as smart, funny and exceptionally loyal and lets not forget beautiful (come on I’m her mother, I’m just a teeny bit biased!).
Whilst daddy is away it’s up to me to bake a cake, video and photograph the day and document anything that may go on – whilst having just a few of our nearest and dearest to celebrate.
Hopefully, one day she will look back and say "my ma was a legend"(maybe yes?,or maybe she’ll think “what the f@*% was she thinking!”)
Our conversation over breakfast on Tuesday morning went something like this…
Frank said, “Keep an eye out for my present from Aunty Marika, she’s sending me a card with lollies and chocolate”, I said, “What do I get for giving birth to you?” and she say’s (dead pan), “Happiness!”,she obviously feels valued and so she should, she’s one of the best decisions I ever made!
This afternoon we'll be having a few people over to sing Happy Birthday and have a bite to eat…(her birthday party is next weekend)
I’ll be making fish fingers and cut up raw veg for the kids (as requested by the birthday girl) and the adults (all 3 of us) will be having my Quinoa and Vegetable soup (will post these recipes on Monday or Tuesday). 
The birthday cake Frank picked is my Chocolate and Raspberry Brownies – when asked what cake she’d like me to cook it was a toss up between donuts or brownies. She said she’d like brownies, but did they have to be beetroot? ”Can I have the ones you used to make?” 
My original and best Chocolate and Raspberry Brownies – your wish ‘sweet cheeks’ is my command!
Have the most wonderful birthday chuchie! 
love you xxxx
Chocolate and Raspberry Brownies
preheat your oven to 180c
What you'll need:
3 eggs
200g unsalted butter
250g dark 70% chocolate
100g milk chocolate
200g raw sugar or rapadura
150g flour - spelt or rice(for gluten free)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup of frozen broken up raspberries
(Totally forgot the melting chocolate & butter, then pouring into the eggs & sugar, that would be step 2 - sorry)
How to make:
Beat the eggs in your kitchen aid (or similar)
add half teaspoon of salt
Whilst this is doing its thing, melt the butter and 150g of the dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over simmering water till melted
Now add the sugar to the eggs - keep it whisking...
Once the chocolate has melted and has cooled slightly, pour slowly into the mixer and keep it beating until well combined
Add the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and leftover salt - fold gently
Finally add the rest of the dark chocolate and the milk chocolate - chopped up finally
and the raspberries, which you'll need the break up in a zip lock bag with either a wooden spoon or rolling pin
Fold these in, then pop the mixture in your brownie tin and bake for 20-25min in 180c oven
Once cooked let the brownie cool for 15min
 Best eaten warm with ice-cream!

©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Fluke!

I've been a lot under the weather this week and I'd meant to post this on Friday, but as it turned out Friday was not a good day for me so today is the day!
Ear infections suck – big time!!! 
I’ll never fob my kids off again if they tell me their ear hurts, because I know first hand how bad they can be!

So this is my biscuit / cake recipe as promised for Rochie – week 3
Banana Chocolate Cake - 2 ways
I’ve made this cake many times usually with yoghurt(I did a gluten free post a while back). This time all I had was sour cream. Both way's were moist and delicious, but very different from one another.
The other difference being this time I used more chocolate, which for some reason sunk to the bottom and made this delicious chocolate crust - so good! 
Whichever way you make it you wont be disappointed!

Sour cream & Banana Chocolate Cake

 3 small bananas
1/2 lemon juiced - to put on the banana's to keep them from going brown
250g - 1cup spelt flour - sifted along with...
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 salt
160g sugar - a mixture of dark muscovado, rapadura and normal
125g butter - softened
100g sour cream
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1½ cups of chocolate - half dark/half milk
2 teaspoons of warm milk
1/2 bi-carb
How I made it:

Start by beating the butter and sugars together till light and fluffy
Mash the bananas, sour-cream and lemon juice together, then pour into the butter and sugar and mix again
Now the eggs and vanilla go in - mix
Turn your mixer off and sift in the flour, cinnamon, baking powder - mix with a wooden spoon
 Then your chocolate goes in - mix
Followed by your warmed milk with the bicarb dissolved into it - mix this in really well.

Pour into you prepared lined tin and bake on 
180c for 45 - 50 min
Let cool slightly and eat warm...mmmmm

Yoghurt Banana and Chocolate Cake

Follow the directions above
The difference being I used:
Only dark chocolate
raw sugar and demerara sugar
wholemeal flour
150g Barambah sweetened Greek yoghurt
and 3 large very ripe banana's
For some reason in the yoghurt version the chocolate didn't sink to the bottom - but as I said both were Divine!

I've been living on jelly, ice cream and painkillers for the past week....nice to be back on the mend!

©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps
 - recipe originally adapted from Tessa Kiros 'Apples for Jam'