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shopshoot - weylandts

26 Oct 2015

Hi Every-one,

last week I flew down to Melbourne to attend a food photography seminar at the Digital Imaging Show. While I was down there I also visited the David Bowie exhibition at the ACMI. It was amazing but there was so much content that the exhibition really deserved a much larger venue. The music accompanying the exhibition was great and I still have the song 'Life on Mars' on repeat in my head.

Have you ever been to Melbourne? I have family down there, so I've been a regular visitor since I was a little girl. When I was 14, I was considered old enough to fly down solo so I spent a few weeks of the school holidays with my friend Jenny and her family. Even at 14 I could appreciate that Melbourne was a shopping mecca and it still is today.

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So shopping was definitely on my to-do list while I was in town. Apart from prop shopping I was on the hunt for furniture for my living room and found my way to Weylandts in Abbotsford. I was looking for an armchair that I'd seen on-line.

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Weylandts is housed in a massive old warehouse a short walk from Collingwood Station. Apart from furniture and accessories, it houses a busy cafe, called The Kitchen by Weylandts.



The building is huge with soaring ceilings so it's the perfect canvas for large scale furniture and installations.

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A closer look at that amazing chandelier.


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Another corner of the building.

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I found some bold patterns.

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Interesting textures.

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This beautiful mirror which reminded me of the peacock cane bed head and chair that's in my old bedroom in Brisbane.

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Wall art featuring earthy tones and textures.

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A few little piggies

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and walls of accessories to provide those final finishing touches.

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I did eventually  track down the armchair but as I couldn't fit it into my carry on, I came home with a little something for the kitchen that will make it's début on the blog very soon.

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I hope you enjoyed my little visit to Weylandts. See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen,

Bye for now,

Jillian

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sour cherry amaretti

19 Oct 2015

That biscuit tin of mine always needs replenishing. I was hunting through my favourite baking bibles last weekend looking for something quick and simple to make. These amaretti from Ottolenghi the Cookbook, fitted the bill. I checked the cupboards and all the ingredients were at hand so once I returned from the shops, I whipped up a batch. 

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I had some almond meal in the cupboard so instead of toasting whole almonds and grinding them into meal as Ottolenghi suggested, I toasted the almond meal. Once the almond meal was cool I went ahead and followed the recipe. An unexpected dinner invitation meant the first batch went to another home so I made another batch last Sunday. 


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The amaretti were delicious but I found the first batch were a little sticky and a bit too sweet. I tweaked the recipe a little and that's the recipe I'll be sharing with you. I also had some candied blood orange in the fridge so I chopped up a piece and added it to the mixture. If you want the original proportions, you can find them here. I've since made the ameretti without toasting the almond meal and honestly I didn't notice any difference.



Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.


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Sour Cherry Amaretti, adapted from Ottolenghi. Makes 24.
220g ground almonds
100g caster sugar
Grated zest of one lemon
Pinch of salt
60g dried sour cherries, roughly chopped
1 piece candied orange rind, coarsely chopped (optional)
90g egg whites (approx. 2 large eggs)
2 tsp honey
Plenty of icing sugar for rolling

Heat the oven to 180°C. Place the ground almonds on a small oven tray. Toast the almond meal in the oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly golden. You’ll need to stir the mixture a few times to make sure it toasts evenly. Set aside to cool.

Mix the cooled ground almonds, sugar, lemon zest and salt in a large bowl with your fingertips. Add the cherries and orange peel (if using) and set aside.

Whisk the egg whites until they reach a soft meringue consistency. Add the honey and whisk until firm. Gently fold into the almond mixture until it forms a soft paste.

Using a tablespoon, form the mixture into 24 irregular shapes then roll in icing sugar. Arrange on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for about 15 minutes until they have slightly coloured but still remain relatively pale and chewy in the centre. Leave to cool before storing in a sealed jar.


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These little amarettis are absolute flavour bombs and they might just have become my favourite new sweet treat. I have some hazelnut meal in the fridge and I can't with to try this recipe using a different nut meal and a different dried fruit or perhaps some coarsely chopped chocolate.

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I hope you get a chance to try these little gems. I've got a feeling I might be making a few of these for Christmas!

See you all again next week.

Bye for now,

Jillian
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plate 2 plate - apfel kuchen

14 Oct 2015

Hi Every-one,

welcome to this edition of Plate 2 Plate.

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It was my turn to choose the recipe for Plate 2 Plate and as it's now Autumn in Zurich where Juliana lives, I suggested making an apfel kuchen (or apple cake) to Juliana and she agreed.

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chose this apple cake recipe from Australian Gourmet Traveller as I'd bookmarked it ages ago and just hadn't found the time to make it. I do have a similar apple cake in the archives but I'm always keen to try new recipes and this one intrigued me.

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I made this apple cake when I was recently home in Brisbane. Topped with cream it's become one of my Dad's favourites. Juliana's cake is pictured above while mine is below.

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The recipe contains no fancy ingredients, just apples, lemon, cinnamon, and the cornerstone of any baker's pantry - eggs, sugar, butter and flour. The autumnal images are courtesy of Juliana while the rest are mine.

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Juliana prepping her apples.

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Prepping, Jillian style.

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The pastry is very easy to make in the food processor but it is soft. I'd go easy with the eggs and just add sufficient for the pastry to come together. 

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I found the easiest way to line the tin with pastry is to cut it into 4 pieces - one piece for the base; another for the lid and 2 strips for the sides. The quantity of pastry is generous so you'll probably have a bit leftover for later. 

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Once baked, this a pretty rustic looking cake. The pastry is so short that little bits fall off but I think that adds to it's charm. 

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The cake is topped with a drizzle of apple flavoured icing, my favourite bit.

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Just a note of warning, this cake is not particularly sweet so if you have a sweet tooth you may want to increase the sugar in the filling. Try using ½ cup of caster sugar rather than ⅓ cup suggested in the recipe, if you use tart green apples like I did.

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Here's the recipe for you. I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

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Juliana and I shoot and style our images without any consultation and we couldn't believe how similar our cakes looked. Good enough to eat!

Apfel Kuchen, recipe by Brigitte Hafner

Filling
8 large Granny Smith or Cox’s orange pippin apples
Finely grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
Finely grated rind of ½ orange
75 gm caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
125 gm pure icing sugar, sieved

Pastry
450 gm cold butter, cut into small cubes
250 gm (1⅓ cups) plain flour
250 gm (1⅓ cups) self-raising flour
80 gm caster sugar
2 eggs, whisked

Method
1. Peel, core and finely slice the apples, then place in a bowl with citrus rinds, lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon, toss to combine and set aside to macerate (1 hour).

2. Meanwhile, for pastry, process butter, flours, sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Add egg and process until mixture just comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to chill (1 hour).

3. Preheat oven to 165°C. Roll two-thirds of pastry to just under 1cm-thick on a lightly floured surface and line the base and sides of a greased 28cm spring-form tin. Drain apples well (reserve liquid) and fill pastry case. Roll out remaining pastry, roll over the rolling pin and lift pastry over the apple. Press and crimp edges with your fingers to seal and then bake until deep golden brown (1 hour). Set aside in tin to cool for 10 minutes, then release sides of spring-form tin and set aside to cool completely.

4. Meanwhile, place 1½ tbsp of reserved apple liquid in a bowl and gradually stir in icing sugar until a glaze consistency forms. Drizzle over cake and serve.

Brigitte suggests making this cake the day before you plan to serve it. The apple cake will keep for 4 days, if it lasts that long.



I've made the apple cake twice so far and tomorrow I'm planning to make another one so it's quickly become a favourite recipe. I hope you enjoy making it as well. Many thanks to Juliana for continuing to be my partner on Plate 2 Plate.

It's been a busy couple of days for me. I've just flown home to Sydney following a few days in Brisbane visiting my family, then Thursday I'm flying down to Melbourne to do some prop shopping and to attend a food photography seminar.

See you again next week.

Bye for now,

Jillian

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salted wholemeal hazelnut and chocolate cookies

5 Oct 2015

I try not to snack between meals and eat fruit for dessert but by the end of the day, I do need a sweet treat with a cup of tea. Most weekends I make a batch of biscuits to see me through the week. These cookies were inspired by a recipe I found in Isidora Popovic's recipe book, Popina Book of Baking. The original recipe called for wholemeal spelt flour but as that sells for $7.00/kilo I was more than happy to use the supermarket brand wholemeal flour I had in the pantry.

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I checked through the cupboards and I had some dark chocolate chips and milk chocolate buttons but no hazelnuts. Buying skinned roasted hazelnuts is a short cut I use but recently they've been hard to locate. I found a packet at my local fruit shop and bought them despite the hefty price - anything to avoid having to remove all those skins then chasing them around my kitchen!



I've made these cookies twice now and have played with the recipe quite a bit. I've upped the quantity of butter; added some plain flour to lighten the mix; reduced the quantity of baking powder; added some brown sugar then topped the cookies with sea salt flakes. These cookies literally take 5 minutes to put together and best of all, you don't need any fancy equipment. All you need is a mixing bowl and a wooden spoon.

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I used my cookie scoop and made 22 small cookies from this recipe. If you don't have a cookie scoop, a 15 ml tablespoon will do the trick. As I didn't want to be a little piggy, I only baked half the cookies and froze the rest on a baking paper lined tray. The frozen cookies are now in a plastic bag in the freezer waiting for the next time I'm craving a freshly baked cookie. 

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I still can't work out why every cookie is a slightly different size even though I use a cookie scoop. Any thoughts?

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Who doesn't love a biscuit, still warm from the oven? 

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Here's the recipe for you, inspired by this one. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C.

Salted Wholemeal Hazelnut Chocolate Cookies - inspired by Popina Book of Baking. 

Ingredients
100g unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup caster sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
¾ cup whole meal flour
¼ cup plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
40g coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts
50g dark chocolate, chopped or chips
50g milk chocolate, chopped or chips
Sea salt

Makes about 22 small cookies.

Preheat oven to 180°C (conventional). Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well. Sift the wholemeal flour into a bowl, then mix in the plain flour and the baking powder and then gently fold the flour into the wet ingredients. Finally mix in the hazelnuts and chocolate. Place the dough in the fridge for an hour.

Take a tablespoon of the biscuit dough and place on one of the prepared baking trays. Flatten it slightly, then repeat this process with the remaining dough, spacing the dough balls well apart, as they will spread when they are baking. Sprinkle the top of each biscuit with a flake or two of sea salt.

Bake each tray in the pre-heated oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until the biscuits are deep golden-brown. I usually rotate each tray halfway through the baking time. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes before placing the biscuits on a wire rack.

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Once cold, store the cookies in an airtight container. The cookies keep well and unlike other cookies don't soften in the tin.

I'm going to be travelling a bit next week between Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne so next week's post may be a day or two late.

Until then happy baking.

Jillian
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