Tuesday, January 25, 2011

chocolate cherry cheesecakes (a)

My friend manda sent me a recipe for black forest cheesecake the other day (inspiration).
Mum had brought a bazillion cherries (ingredients).
Uncle Rio had supplied 1 jar of cherry ripe sauce (for fun).
I figured I could utilise this to my advantage...

Chocolate cherry cheesecakes

125g chocolate biscuits
60g butter
300g philadelphia cream cheese
1/4 c castor sugar
1 egg
24 cherries
1 tspn vanilla essence
6 tspns chocolate sauce

Preheat oven to 180 cecius and prepare a baking tin/muffin cases (I always make mini cheesecakes as they are more convenient for my family).
Crush biscuits (using a food processor or bashing with a rolling pin).
Melt butter.
In a bowl, combine biscuit crumbs and butter.
Divide the crumb mix evenly between muffin tins (or spread into a cake tin) and press down firmly (the bottom of a glass works well) to make a base.
Place base in fridge.
Put philly into a bowl and beat.
Leave it to beat while you slice the cherries into quarters, removing the pips.

Add the egg to the philly and let it mix in.
Add the sugar and vanilla and mix well.
Remove philly mix from the beater and add the cherries. Fold cherries into the mix, careful not to overmix.
Spoon mix into prepared muffin cases or baking tin.
Place 1/2 a tspn of chocolate sauce in each muffin case and use a skewer to create a pattern.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until slightly brown ontop.
Serve with whipped cream!

Freeze these!! They actually taste good frozen, or defrost for about 20 minutes before eating.
I used the cherry ripe sauce but it would DEF be better with just plain chocolate sauce, as the cherry ripe sauce had coconut in it...ergh.

If you dont have chocolate sauce, just shave some chocolate ontop before cooking.

fig, pecan and ginger muffins (a)

Mum left a note for me this morning...
'blah blah blah clean blah washing blah blah p.s can you make some muffins/friands?'
sure thing mum, it would be my pleasure. I think she was after some blueberry ones, but I decided that was too boring and I flipped through her recipe book to find these...fig, pecan and ginger muffins. Did we have figs? CHECK. right, these muffins it was (and it was a D.H recipe...score!)
Now, these have quite an adult taste, so I don't recommend them for children, but the spicy ginger, seedy figs and crunchy pecans mix together with the subtle batter to make a heavy, delish muffin.

Oh, this recipe calls for buttermilk, but look to 'tips' for a quick way to make it with normal pantry ingredients...milk and lemon.

Fig, pecan and ginger muffins

2 1/4 c flour
2 tspsn baking powder
1/2 tspn baking soda
1/2 c brown sugar
3/4 cup pecans chopped
8 dried figs chopped
3 tbspn chopped cystalised (or glace) ginger
300ml buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tspn vanilla essence
125g unsalted butter melted

Turn oven to 180 celcius and prepare muffin tray.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and baking powder.
Add brown sugar, pecans, figs and ginger, mix well.
In another bowl, combine melted butter, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla essence. Mix lightly with a fork.
Make a well in the centre of the flour mix and pour the wet mix in.
Stir until ingredients are just combined. Do not overmix - it should be sorta lumpy!
Spoon mix into muffin cases.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden ontop.
Best served warm.

I had too much mix, and also made 12 mini muffins - so be prepared!
If you have raw sugar, sprinkle a little ontop of the muffin before you put it in the oven.
These can be frozen!
If you don't have buttermilk, use 200mL of milk and add the juice of half a lemon. Leave it to sit for around 10-15 minutes, the milk should curdle slightly.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Grilled fruit (a)

Everyone needs to know how to make grilled fruit.

The perfect addition to french toast, pancakes, waffles, weetbix, icecream, custard, or just to be eaten on its own.

So...the super easy 'omg you are amazing how did you do this'

Grilled fruit:

no...i didn't make this (i ate it), but you get the idea!!

2 bananas
2 nectarines
125g blueberries
1/2 lemon
3 passionfruits (or 1 small tin of passionfruit pulp)
3 tbspns sugar

Turn the oven on to grill.
Peel the banana and cut into three pieces, and then each piece in half.
Cut the nectarines in quarters and remove pits.
Place the nectarines and bananas in a shallow baking dish, with the cut sides facing up.
Scatter the blueberries overtop, try to fill any gaps.
Squeeze the lemon juice over the fruit.
Half the passionfruit and spread over the fruit. 
Spread the sugar over the fruit.
Place the dish under the grill for about 10 minutes, or until the fruit has caramelised and is slightly brown.
Serve straight away!

You can use any fruit: mango, pineapple, apricots, peaches, raspberries, strawberries for this recipe.
Frozen blueberries and raspberries would be great - they would make a sauce.
You can add mayple ot golden suryp instead of the sugar for a different taste :)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

French toast (a)

Saturday morning.

I woke up and could hear my parents in the kitchen, discussing breakfast. Saturday is traditionally 'make something special for breakfast and have orange juice' day. 
Mum was thinking poached eggs (ergh), so I wandered out to give my opinion. Dad said 'morning princess...what would you like for breakfast?' 

My mind had been set the minute i got out of bed. 'French toast' I replied and dad said 'right, what the princess wants, the princess gets'.

So that you can all feel like princesses (or princes) in the morning, here is mum's recipe for...

French toast

3 eggs
125mL cream
1 tspn vanilla essence
10 slices of white bread, cut in half
2 tbspns butter

Heat a frypan on the stove.
In a bowl, mix the cream, eggs and vanilla. Whisk lightly with a fork.
Put the butter in the frypan.
Use a fork to spear a piece of bread, coat it in the wet mix and then put it in the frypan.
Fit as many pieces of bread in the frypan as you can, a general 30cm frypan will fit about 6 pieces.
Flip the bread after a few minutes to cook on the other side. It should be a slightly crisp golden brown colour.
Serve with cinnamon sugar (3/4 sugar 1/4 cinnamon in a jar and shake to mix) or with grilled fruit (http://cafe-couture.blogspot.com/2011/01/grilled-fruit.html)

If you soak the bread too long then the inside wont cook properly and will be soggy (yuck).
Don't cut the bread too thick, as this also results in soggy inside. Normal toast slice is good.
This is a good recipe for bread that it a little too old to eat fresh.
Try rasin bread or cheese bread (yum) for an interesting twist.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


"I'm in love. I'm having a relationship with my pizza."

One of my favourite movie (food) scenes ever is from 'eat pray love' where Liz and Sofi are eating pizza in napoli. 


One of the only things I regret about my time in italy was that i didnt eat MORE pizza. Pizza was the first thing I ate, and we had a massive pizza one night in venice (it was about 60cm diameter) but because we were going so flat out, we only had time for two meals, breakfast (which was always pastries and fruit) and then lunner (lasagna, pasta, pizza or antipasto). Considering how much amazing food there was and how little time we spent there I always look back and feel a bit cheated.

To make up for this, I love to make pizza at home. I make my own base, and usually make two pizza from it...both of which I have put the recipies down here for.

So take the time to disminish the guilt, thank the italians, and revel in one of the best food invented....


our first italian pizza...

1 tspn sugar
1 cup boiling water
1 tbspn yeast
3 cups of flour
3 tbspns oil
2 tspns salt

In a large bowl, place boiling water and sugar. Stir to dissolve sugar.
Leave to cool for about 10-15 minutes.
Add the yeast and stir. 
Leave to froth for about 15 minutes.
Add the flour, oil and salt.
Use a spoon to roughly combine ingredients, then get your hands in there!
Combine all ingredients in the bowl, and make sure you give the dough a good knead (fold and push...may need to take it out of the bowl and put it on a lightly floured surface).
You may need to add more flour or water. The dough ball should be smooth, and slightly sticky, but not leaving residue on your hand when you poke it with a clean finger.
Cover the dough with a plastic bag and leave in a warm spot to double in size.
This can take 30-60min depending on how hot it is. Full sun is ok, but if it's a rainy/cold day, ontop of the hot water system is always good. 

You can always rise it in the microwave (I haven't done this before, but apparently you cook 10 sec on high, stand 10 sec, cook 10 sec).

Once the dough has risen, lightly flour a flat surface, split the dough into two balls and roll them out to fit a pizza tin.

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees.

Pesto Pizza (vegetarian):

2 tbspn pesto
1-2 handful of mozzarella cheese
1-2 artichoke hearts
2 tspns black olives (sliced preferably)
2 tspns capers
3-4 sundried tomatoes sliced
black pepper

Place the pesto ontop of one of the prepared pizza doughs. 
Spread evenly, out to about 0.5cm from the edge.
Place the cheese ontop of the pesto. Don't get too close to the edge or it will spill over when cooking (mess!!! bad!!)
Distribute the artichoke hearts, black olives, capers and sundried tomatoes across the pizza - more flavour = more ingredients. 
Sprinkle pepper overtop.
Beware these ingredients are quite tasty. I do it by sight, but I put guestimate amounts into the recipe :)

before cooking

Tomato Pizza (non-vego):

2 tbspn tomato paste (raguletto napolitana I use - leftover can be used for spag bol)
1-2 handfulls mozzarella cheese
1 tomato sliced thinly
1 small green capsicum sliced
4 rashers shortcut bacon (and get rid of excess fat!)

Place the tomato paste on the prepared base and spread, to about 0.5cm from the edge.
Place the cheese ontop of the tomato paste. Don't get too close to the edge or it will spill over when cooking (mess!!! bad!!)
Place the tomatoes, capsicum and bacon evenly over the pizza.
Add a sprinkle of pepper to taste.

before cooking

Cook both pizza in the oven (on fan bake if you can) for about 20 minutes. Swap the pizzas around (from top to bottom shelf) after about 10 minutes.

Serve with a fresh garden salad!

Add salami to the pesto pizza for a bit of a kick. You can also use bocconchini instead of mozzarella, just slice it thinly and distribute it evenly.
The less bacon/cheese and more veges you use, the healthier it is!
Add pineapple to the tomato pizza for a hawiian twist.
Add mushrooms to both the pizzas.
Add 1/2 tspn chilli to the tomato paste for a kick.
If you have small children, divide the large dough ball into 1/3 and 2/3. Use the 1/3 to make a thinner pizza base for the adults, and on another larger (rectangle) tray, make three small pizza bases. Allow the kids to put their own toppings on!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fried rice (a)

I would like to thank my grade 9 Home Ec teacher, Mrs Hill, for this recipe.
Someone decided it would be a good idea that every second wednesday, the grade 9 kids would be let loose in the kitchen. EVERYONE had to do Home Ec, and EVERYONE had to be involved with the cooking (and cleaning).
We were given the recipe on the first day of class (usually a monday period) and then on wednesday we would bring all the required ingredients to school and cook.

Some kids wouldn't bring ingredients, and had to be paired up with someone else.
I always brought my ingredients in suitably labelled tupperware containers, the eggs carefully wrapped in paper towel and the meat separate from the veges.
Of the 20 or so recipes we cooked (pumpkin scones, vegetable bake) in that classroom kitchen, this was the only one that became a staple in my household, and should be a staple in any household.

Over the years, it has been adapted and improved to become what it is today...my specialty....Alex's awesome

Fried Rice (to serve 5 people and leftovers for one)

2 eggs
5 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 small chilli
1 leek sliced
1/2 green capsicum sliced
4 small (or 1 big) zucchini sliced
6 mushrooms sliced (or quartered)
1 carrot sliced (julienned is best)
2 chicken stock cubes
3 tbspns soy sauce (i usually just give it a good pour and a splash but thats my estimated amount. add less, and taste to see if it needs more!!! otherwise it tastes really REALLY gross)
rice to serve 5 people (probably 2-3cups)
coriander to serve

Heat the largest, deepest frypan you own.
In a cup, lightly beat the two eggs together with a fork.
Pour oil into the frypan and then cook the egg.
Remove egg and put aside.
Add a little more oil to the pan and place in the chicken, chilli and leek. Stir fry until chicken is cooked.
Add the vegetables and cook to desired crispness (i like mine crispy, so for about 3-5 minutes).
While that happens, roughly chop the egg into bite sized pieces or strips.
Add the rice and stir through well. Be careful not to spill any out of the frypan!!!
Add the soy sauce, crumble the stock cubes in and add the egg. Stir well.
Serve in a bowl topped with coriander.

Add all sorts of vegetables to this...baby corn, red/yellow capsicum and baby broccoli also go really well.
If you cook too much rice, then just leave it out, use it another day!
This tastes really good the next day too!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mini meringues (a)

I LOVE pavlova
But, more than pavlova, I love mini meringues. Bite sized beautiful little kisses that crunch between your fingers, melt on your tounge and stick to your teeth. mmmmmmm.
I make meringues alot, just because they can keep in the freezer, so they are great for backup dessert.

For Christmas this year, instead of making a traditional pav, I made about 150 small meringues which I dipped in dark chocolate, and they were amazing.

So, here I give you the epic meringue recipe...and all the tips to make the perfect ones...

Mini Meringues

4 eggwhites
1/2c castor sugar
1 tspn vanilla essence
1 tspn cornflour
2 tspn vinegar

Preheat the oven to 150 celcius.
Prepare a large baking tray.
Place egg whites in a bowl and beat using electric mixer (i did it once with a hand mixer and it took about 1hour) 
Beat and beat and beat...if you have a book to read, go for it. The more you beat the better. Beat until the eggwhites are stiff - so when you pull the beaters out the eggwhite should stand up, and if you turned the bowl upside down nothing would come out.
Now, add the sugar, but S L O W L Y. Add about 2 tbspns at a time, and beat for about 5 minutes between each addition.
This should make a stiff, glossy mix.
Add the vanilla, cornflour and vinegar, and beat for about another 5 minutes.
While it is beating prepare a piping bag (about 1cm nozzle).
Place all the mixture into the piping bag.

There are a couple of ways to pipe now:

1) spiral: pipe a spiral base about 3cm in diameter, and then spiral up the base to create a cone shape.
2) kiss: holding the bag quite close to the tray, squeeze out the mixture to make a round base about 3cm in diameter, and then still squeezing, bring the nozzle up so that you end up with a shape that looks like a hersheys kiss.
3) nest: pipe a spiral base, and then pipe three circles around the outside of the base, one ontop of the other, to make a nest (which you can fill).

Alternately, you can use a tablespoon to spoon big blobs on (more like a mini pavlova)

Make sure you leave room between each meringue otherwise they will stick together when they cook.

Place meringues in the oven, and cook for around 35 minutes, or until a light brown colour on the outside.
LEAVE TO COOL IN THE OVEN this is REALLY important. Don't take them out of the oven until it is cooled. Best to do this in the evening and take them out in the morning.
Freeze as many as you like (they don't really need defrosting).
Serve with fresh cream and berries, dipped in dark chocolate or use in Eaton mess (http://cafe-couture.blogspot.com/2011/01/eaton-mess.html)

mmmm choc dipped strawberries and meringues!

If you dont have a piping bag, use a ziplock bag, and cut off one of the corners to make a small hole from which mixture can be piped.
Leaving meringues to cook in the oven means they harden up and aren't too sticky!

Eaton Mess (a)

EATon mess
eatON mess
eaton MESS

doesnt it just sound like the most crazy delicious thing ever??? Now, say it with a pommy accent:
 'bit o' eaton mess of dessert lovey?' 

Eaton mess is traditionally made with strawberries and served at Eaton colleges annual cricket game against Winchester college. How very dardy. Mum suggested I make eaton mess for dessert, just to try it out. I changed the recipe a little though.
My english friend Jenny was around for dinner, and she said it was perfect, even better, and even dad ate it (and he doesnt like sweets!)
So...try this for a perfect summer dessert that is sure to impress everyone...

Eaton Mess

yes, its supposed to look messy...

300ml cream
1 tspn vanilla essence
1 tspn icing sugar
20 small meringues
125g raspberries
125g blueberries

Place cream in a large bowl, add vanilla and icing sugar and whip.
Break meringues into bite sized pieces, you should have about 2 1/2 cups worth.
Use a fork to squash raspberries, but roughly, leave a few whole.
Add meringues, raspberries and blueberries to the cream.
Fold mixture together, don't mix too much, you want the meringue to stay whol and the raspberries to be sperate from the cream (ie: no pink cream)
Serve immediately

Whipped cream can be made earlier, but don't add the meringue or berries until you are ready to serve.
See http://cafe-couture.blogspot.com/2011/01/mini-meringues.html for how to make mini meringues!
Use frozen raspberries if you can't get fresh ones
Other fruit such as strawberries and banana or passionfruit can be used instead!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hazelnut Chocolates (a)

A couple of years ago, my mum allowed me to do the WHOLE process of making the hazelnut chocolates for Christmas. From then on, it has always been my job to make the Hazelnut chocolates, and when she tried to do it this year, I had to forcibly remove her from the kitchen.

I am going to write the recipe exactly as I did it, which ended up with about 150 chocolates. I had tripled the original recipe, so if you use 1/3 of the ingredients, you will end up with about 50 chocolates.
These chocolates are time consuming BUT amazingly good, and everyone who eats them will be impressed, I promise. If they aren't, then there is something wrong with them, NOT you.

Hazelnut Chocolates

210g roasted hazelnuts
600g dark cooking chocolate
150g butter
3 egg yolks
2 tbspn hazelnut liqueur
150 small tin foil cases

Spread foil cases out onto a baking tray.
Roast the hazelnuts and rub between your hands to get rid of the skin.
Chop the hazelnuts, saving about a handful whole (to garnish later).
Melt the chocolate and butter in a large bowl.

Stir the egg yolks into the chocolate, one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
Stir in the liqueur, (I always add an extra dash for good luck).
Add in the chopped hazelnuts and mix well.

Spoon about 1 tspn of the mix into small foil cases.
Place a whole hazelnut ontop of some of the chocolate.

You can buy pre roasted hazelnuts, just remember to get rid of as much skin as possible.
Use 70% dark chocolate for extra decadent chocolates.
Use a baby spoon to spoon chocolate into foil cases, I find its easier.
Foil cases can be brought from most kitchen stores.

White Chocolate Apricot Almond (a)

Happy new year everyone! I'm a bit behind on a few recipes, so gonna get straight into it. This year, I want to expand the blog, add on a separate tab so you can follow our food reviews (if you know how to do this, PLEASE let me know) as well as recipes. I also wanna get more people reading this, and I PROMISE to get better at taking photos.

Anyways, following on from Christmas, I made a white chocolate...of sorts...it was meant to be truffles, but I couldn't remember the real recipe, so I made more of a chocolate crunch. Its super easy, and great for a small Christmas gift :) Read on to find out more....

White chocolate apricot almond

2 blocks white cooking chocolate
150 g slivered almonds
1 cup dried apricots
50g butter

Prepare a baking tray.
Melt butter and white chocolate.
Cut apricots into pieces.
Mix almonds and apricots into the chocolate.
Spread onto tray, about 1-2cm thick and leave to set in the fridge overnight.
Break into bite sized pieces and store in the fridge.

Together with the hazelnut chocolates, this makes a great Christmas present when wrapped up in green/red cellophane and tied with ribbon. I made about 12, which mum and dad took to work for their workmates!

Merry Christmas!! (a)

Merry Christmas!!!

So, My Christmas gift to you all...I wanted to put a few pictures up of some of the Christmas food I ate.

I was lucky enough to go to NZ for Christmas, and spent a most enjoyable hour at the cherry farms in blenheim, picking cherries straight from the tree for $9/kilo. I also ate LOTS of icecream (because NZ icecream is the BEST) and ham and turkey (yes we had two Christmas dinners). I also got to spend alot of time with my mums side of the family, all my brilliant aunts, uncles and cousins...its like instant friends, just add food :) 

It was a great experience, and I wouldnt give up the traditions my family carries for anything. I will be teaching my children (and husband) how to spend Christmas the Taucher (Wisniewski) way, with midnight mass, lots of amazing food, present opening on Christmas eve and boxing day picnics.

Hope you all had a FABULOUS Christmas as well....filled with the best things in life...family, friends, faith and FOOOOODD!!!! xx

fresh cherry flesh mmmmm

mums epic roast pumpkin salad

Christmas dinner numero uno

Dessert, fresh raspberries and cherries


Picking cherries

my cousin loz, and borcht (beetroot soup)

more icecream..choc dipped

L&P the best drink!

aunty bees' champange jellies


mum passing on pierogi skills

meringues...coz u cant have Christmas without them

Christmas dessert

Christmas dinner

Dinner and a G&T....lovely!


Christmas dessert :)