baking – assorted sweet

Fig Clafoutis

Fig clafoutis

Fresh fig season is the best season (apart from summer, but we’re not counting that).

I’m really lucky that my friend’s mum has a large fig tree, and I’ve been reaping the bounty of their harvests.

That’s right – free figs all for meeeee. Alastair doesn’t really eat them, so I’ve been scoffing them down like crazy.

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Chocolate brownies

Brownies

These brownies came about due to op shopping.

There’s an op shop near my workplace that I pop into occasionally to look for photography props. Most of the time I come out empty handed but sometimes I get something good.

On my last visit, I found something great – a large French crystal cake stand. For the huge sum of $5. Wheeee.

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Caramel apple sponge pudding

I like to buy apples through autumn and winter, but invariably we end up with ones in the fruit bowl that are starting to go floury. I hate floury apples. Plus if there’s one thing worse than an overexaggeration, it’s floury apples. 🙂

What to do with them? Well there’s a gazillion and one things you can do with apples but lately I’ve been very enamoured with apple sponge pudding. The kind of pudding that has a layer of baked sponge/cake on top, and soft apples sitting on the bottom. I made one recently that had an additional component – caramel sauce – which coated the apples on the bottom.

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Chinese egg tarts and Niangao

After a break over Christmas, Celeste, Penny and I are now back with our Meal to Share posts. This month’s theme is “Chinese New Year” and I’ve been allocated dessert. If you’re a newer reader, Meal to Share is our monthly collaboration where we each cook a course for a themed meal – so don’t forget to check out their posts for the rest of the meal!

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Mooncake making: Mid-Autumn Festival

Mooncaking

On Sunday, I spent a fun couple of hours at Penny’s house with Anh, Celeste and Anna, making mooncakes. Mooncakes are Chinese pastries that are normally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. They’re very sweet, and high in calories, plus they’re relatively expensive per cake (I think a box of four here, depending on the quality, sells for ~$20-$25. But you’re not supposed to eat a whole one by yourself at one go – I wouldn’t eat more than 1/4 at a time.)

The Mid-Autumn Festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar, and it’s meant to be when the moon is at its maximum brightness for the entire year. (The Chinese calendar is a lunar calendar, with the months following the cycles of the moon.) The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated in many Asian countries – such as China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and the Phillippines, and this year it’s officially today! Happy Mid-Autumn/Moon Festival!
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Lemonade scones

Scones

International Scones Incident Party

After the success of the previous International Incident Parties, this month we have scones to celebrate the birthdays of Cherrie and Anh. Happy birthday!

When I was in primary school back in NZ, we used to have lessons that we called “‘manual’ – where we learnt cooking, sewing, and woodworking. My favourite was the cooking (surprise surprise), probably because in woodworking all I could turn out were wonky wooden pencil cases, and in sewing I made boring bookmarks and cushions. But in cooking – oh cooking! In cooking we made things like apple crumble, Anzac biscuits, and scones, and not only was it fun, but we got to take our food home and eat it!

So I have a fondness for scones, though for some reason I don’t make them often. Scones have a reputation for being simple, but that simplicity is rather deceptive as it’s far too easy to bake a flat, dry, puck rather than a light, fluffy tower.
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Lemon delicious puddings

Lemon delicious

Cookbook Challenge: Week 36
Theme: Comfort Food
Recipe: Lemon delicious puddings
From: AWW Bake

The theme for this week’s Cookbook Challenge is “comfort food”. After a rather busy week, this weekend has been incredibly lazy so something comforting and puddingish sounded good to me.

I have rather a lot of lemons (due to Maria giving me 5kgs from her tree) and I’ve been doing my best to cook and bake my way through them. So for this week’s theme, I decided to make lemon delicious in an effort to use up more lemons. If you don’t know what lemon delicious, it’s a classic – a baked pudding that ends up with two layers: a light sponge on top of a tangy sauce. (more…)

Andalusian spiced oxtail casserole & Catalan lemon tart

Spanish lunch

Hola! Welcome, welcome! Come in, take a seat, and get comfy. I would feed you all if I could, but unfortunately because technology hasn’t quite progressed to that point, you’ll just have to read all about the following lunch, and wish you had been there!

The theme for Week 35’s Cookbook Challenge is Spanish, and last Sunday a few bloggers came over for a Spanish themed potluck lunch. At first I really struggled with the Spanish theme and wasn’t sure what to make. I don’t own any Spanish cookbooks, and couldn’t find anything in any of my other cookbooks that wasn’t paella. I didn’t want to make paella, and interesting no one else made it either – we really needed Kat to come and cook it for us!

After a whinge on twitter, I received some good suggestions from @gastromaniac, which helped me decide on one dish – salted wrinkled potatoes with mojo verde. The following day, I went to the library and while I couldn’t find any Spanish cookbooks, I borrowed Saffron and Sunshine which contained assorted recipes from around the Mediterranean. When I flicked through it, I realised it was a goldmine and I came away with four additional recipes I wanted to make. So um, that would be five recipes altogether. Uh oh. I did consider culling my number of recipes but I really wanted to make them all.

So I did! (more…)