Christmas recipe round up (just in case the world doesn’t end and you still need to bake)

I admit, I haven’t done any Christmas baking at all; not a candy cane, eggnog, gingerbread or fruit cake recipe in sight. I was however, planning a last minute Christmas ambush of chocolatey recipes on the blog but as usual, things got away from me and before I knew it, it was the end of the week and nothing has been posted. Oops. But no matter, I’ll save the barrage of sweet posts for the new year :)

That’s if we survive of course…

If today is indeed the end of the world as those nutters claim then I sure didn’t spend my last days very well. But to make up for it, I’ll have a few bottles of my favourite wines that I’ve been saving for a special occasion (I think an apocalypse counts) and a bag of Snickers. Also I’ll have a KFC bucket of chicken for dinner. I’m totally set. And if I’m still here on Saturday, well at least I got my pressie shopping done and I can avoid the malls like a plague. It’s a win-win.

Of course I don’t actually believe in all this bs and I’m secretly using it as an excuse to eat more fried chicken. But in case Christmas is still happening then here is a mega round up of last minute baking ideas for the holidays; all involving chocolate and caramel of some kind because they make me so warm and happy. Gird your loins and elastic-waisted pants people!

(Oh and btw, in case we don’t speak again in the next few days, have a fabulous and amazing Christmas and hope you stuff yourself silly. Go on, make me proud).

 

1. Salted Caramel Chocolate Truffles

2. Chocolate Espresso Fondants

3. Chocolate Raspberry Pot de Crèmes

4. Fried Chocolate Croquettes

Oh yes I’m serious. Deep fried balls of chocolate.

5. Brioche French Toast with Bananas, Salted Caramel and Vanilla Crème Patissiére.

For breakfast of course!

6. Coconut Pancakes with Salted Caramel and Grilled Bananas

(clearly I need to lay off the caramel and bananas for brekkie)

7. Chocolate Custard Pots with Peanut Cream

8. Flourless Chocolate and Peanut Butter Brownies

9. Mulled Wine Hot Chocolate

10. Chocolate and Coffee Fudge with Vanilla Salt 

11. Chocolate Banoffee Tart

Chocolate Financier with Caramel Tea-Poached Pears

You know, I had a post already written up about my current state of panic. And how I’ve done absolutely nothing for the holidays; not a single thing baked, not a single pressie bought, not one Christmas meal planned and shopped for. And how the thought of fighting other frenzied shoppers in over-crowded malls terrified me during the last few days to the point where I would rather sit in a dark corner and forget that Christmas ever existed.

I binned that whole post immediately because it just wasn’t right to be complaining and moaning about such things. Not when there are others who just had their lives ruined so tragically. Who gives a crap about presents and planning the perfect Christmas meal? I don’t. Not anymore. Waking up with my dog beside me and knowing my loved ones are still here? That’s the only thing that matters to me now. That and being able to catch up with said loved ones over cake.

I’m at my happiest when there’s chocolate and lashings of caramel involved so needless to say, this one didn’t last long in my house. Eat this then give your nearest and dearest a few extra hugs xx

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Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake (and road-testing a Profiline Pushpan)

chocolate cherry cheesecake chocolate cherry cheesecake

Ok so it’s a little strange to post another cheesecake recipe so soon after this one but I just bought myself one of those nifty Profiline Pushpan cake tins and I really wanted to test it out. For those that aren’t sure what I’m talking about, it’s a loose-bottomed cake tin with a water-tight silicone seal around the base making it perfect for baking in a waterbath. Usually with the normal springform tins, you’d had to wrap it in layers and layers of foil like a crazy woman to stop any water getting into the tin. But of course this was always a pain in the arse because water, that sneaky bastard, will always find a way through and ruin those precious crusts. And in this chocolate cherry cheesecake, a ruined crust is the last thing you want!

chocolate cherry cheesecake

I went against all nagging thoughts to think of the cheesecake and wrap the Pushpan, just in case, but I pressed on and chucked it straight into the water bath naked. And I was prepared to be faced with a soggy mess. I guess you could already tell from the photos that it worked and I didn’t end up cranky. Though when I did have a peek down the sides, I saw drops of water around the crust and thought uh-oh. So instead of chilling the cake in the tin, I carefully unmolded it. And yes, there was a tiny bit of moisture but it was nothing to cry about and after drying off the beads of water and a stint in the fridge, the crust firmed up and it didn’t turn out soggy at all.

chocolate cherry cheesecake

But enough rattling, get to the bloody cake I hear you say. Nigella Lawson is and always will be, the queen of cheesecakes; so no surprises that I turned to another one of her recipes happily. Chocolate, always a crowd pleaser, but with the extra punch of sour cherries? Oh yes, make mine a double please. Because ’tis the season to get festive and campy, I simply had to dress it up with sugared cherries. But really, you don’t need any extras or flourishes with this cake. Its rich, smooth and creamy texture is more than enough to satisfy. And unlike the last cheesecake outing, I definitely made this one more for me than anybody else.

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And finally, a reminder for my Aussie readers, today is the last day to enter the Electrolux giveaway! Competition closes tonight at 11:59pm AEDT so head on over to this post for all the details.

chocolate cherry cheesecake

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Giveaway: Win an Electrolux TURBOPRO™ Stick Mixer

{Competition is now closed. Congratulations Robyn Little!}

The holiday countdown is officially on and to celebrate, I’m reaching into my Christmas sack a little early and brightening up someone’s kitchen with a new toy.

A few months ago my old stick blender died a pitiful death, which for a raging soup lover during winter, was friggin’ annoying. But as good timing would have it, a few weeks later, I was invited to check out a demo of the new Electrolux TURBOPRO™ stick mixer at Quay. Not something I usually do but I was on a serious mission for a replacement so I was eager to check it out. In a nutshell, this mixer churned out the most silkiest and smoothest purées and crushed ice and nuts without missing a beat. My old mixer retailed for nearly double the price and couldn’t even blend my soups without leaving tiny chunks *grumble grumble*

I was incredibly lucky to be given one of my own to take home and it has been such a good workhorse since. Once you go turbo-powered triple blades, you can never look back.

So thanks to Electrolux, I have one TURBOPRO™ mixer in a spanking watermelon colour to giveaway. This is the top of the range model that comes with the mini chopper bowl, the measuring beaker and a handy double whisk attachment.

To be in the running, leave a comment on this post by 11:59pm AEDT Tuesday 11th December and answer the question below. I’m in the mood for an entertaining story so I simply have to know:

What’s the worst Christmas present you’ve ever received?

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Terms and Conditions:

1) Prize on offer is 1 x Electrolux TURBOPRO™ stick mixer in watermelon. Sorry but competition is only open to Australian residents.

2) Competition ends 11:59pm AEDT Tuesday 11th December. You may only enter one answer so make it count!

3) Chance plays no part here. Winner will be chosen based on the quality of their answer and will be announced on the blog once confirmed.

4) Judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into regarding the result.

5) Winner will be notified via email by Thursday 13th December and will have 48 hours to reply with their name, address and contact number (purely for delivery information purposes and absolutely will not be shared or used for anything else). Failure to do so and another winner will be chosen immediately so make sure you use a valid email address, check your inbox and reply asap. I want to make sure that it reaches you by Christmas :D

6) Prize cannot be transferred or redeemed for cash.

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Full disclosure for your information: I only ever conduct giveaways for products that I’ve actually road tested and love so all opinions and words here are my own and were expressed willingly, honestly and happily. This giveaway was sponsored by Electrolux.

For stockists please call 1300 366 366. Electrolux TURBOPRO™ Stick Mixer (watermelon red includes mini chopper and double whisks) retails for $139.

Mussels with Blue Cheese and White Wine

Wait what?! Mussels and… blue cheese?!

So those who know me well would understandably, be a little perplexed and confused by the fact that I have a blue cheese recipe on the blog. And that I actually cooked with it and survived the stinky fumes. Because they’d all know that I’ve always been repulsed by the likes of gorgonzola, stilton and blue vein. In fact if I wanted to scare you all (and embarrass myself), I would totally upload a video of me eating it. According to my friends, it’s the most hilarious thing in the world.

It wasn’t until I tried the Australian Shadows of Blue from Gippsland a few months ago that I had a mini breakthrough. It was glorious; rich, creamy, salty and went perfectly with dessert wine. The unmistakable taste of blue cheese was there but it was ever so mild and thankfully, free from the smelly-jock-strap characteristics. It’s an absolute favourite of mine now and as a bonus, I don’t think of my stinky-cheese-loving friends as insane anymore. But don’t cheer for me yet, I’m still not ready for the big boys.

Umm jockstraps; bet I got you all salivating by now. No but seriously, don’t run away from me just yet because these mussels with blue cheese and white wine are a winner. It’s the first dish that I’ve ever cooked with you know, blue mouldy food and while initially, the smell emanating from the wok was a bit, um fresh, the end result was deeply satisfying. Even more so with crusty bread, a glass of white and trashy tv.

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Peach, Tea and Mascarpone Trifle

Ok I gotta be honest, this isn’t really a trifle in the purest sense (I mean a trifle without sherry, custard, jelly and sponge cake?! *Thud goes the purists*). What it really is and was always meant to be, is a fruity version of tiramisu replacing the coffee with peaches, fragrant tea and peach liqueur. I just hate to give it a cheesy name like peach-misu or peachimisu so I’ve stuck with calling it a trifle. I mean hey, it still has fruit, sponge, cream and booze right?

A while ago I was lucky to be sent a gorgeous tray of fresh Aussie peaches to mark the start of the summer stone fruit season. Happy days indeed! There’s nothing I love more about summer than stocking up on peaches, nectarines and plums then sticking them in all kinds of desserts (this tart is still one of my all-time favourites).

I adore my coffee tiramisu but this was an amazing and much lighter alternative; perfect for the sweltering months ahead. As for the dunk-worthy tea, a good quality peach flavour is the obvious choice but I reckon a French Earl Grey with its floral and almost peachy fruity notes is the winner here. But then again I might be a little biased :)

Feel free to skip the booze if you wish and the same goes with the nuts; not necessary but I loved the extra bite, flavour and colour from the pistachios. But do make sure you begin this dessert ahead of time. An overnight stint in the fridge (or for a few hours at least) for the flavours to deepen and party together makes all the difference in the world.

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