Thursday, November 29, 2012

Small world

Sorry for being absent lately but life has been crazy. We had two students staying with us as they were doing mission at my parents church before they go to a conference (on a bus) over east so that has been fun. One of the events they organised was a night on how to evangalise and ways to do it which was great as I have a few non Christian friends and I have been wondering how to reach them. The other night was a girls night where you could share your testimony if you wanted. My physcologist said that I am at the stage where I need to test my anxiety so both events were able to put me out of my comfort zone. I shared my testimony at the girls night which I was hesitant to do but somehow managed to do it. It helped that I knew a few people from my own church that were doing mission at my parents church.

I am constantly amazed at how small the world is one of the girls who stayed with us actually visited my church with few others a while ago (and I thought she was dating a guy as they were similar glasses and came in together!) which was a nice suprised and I loved getting to know her more. I met a guy who was also on mission who knew a guy at my church really well too, being Christian I guess you will always have links with everyone!

I came away from the past few days feeling really encouraged as a Christian and made me wish I was going to uni so I could get involved with the Christian Union and Bus Trip saying that I don't think I could survive uni so I am thankful that I get meet to all these wonderful people through various events and people.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Almond Brittle

I am known as the dessert queen at church and home, I am always whipping up desserts, cakes and other sweet treats sure I can do savoury but I am known for my desserts and treats. I posted a picture today of a cake I made for dessert tonight as we had friends over for tea on Facebook, within minutes lots of people had 'liked' it. So I thought I would post the recipe (along with the picture!).

Flourless Chocolate Cake with almond brittle (adapted from taste.com)

Cake:
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 200g butter, chopped
  • 180g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 cups almond meal (ground almonds) one 200gram packet equals 2 cups
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Grease a 6cm-deep, 22cm round (base) spring-form cake pan. Line base and side with baking paper.
  2. Place coffee powder and boiling water in a heatproof jug. Stir to dissolve. Place butter, chocolate, cocoa powder and coffee mixture in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes or until melted and combined. Remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl to cool slightly.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks and sugar for 5 minutes or until thick. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form (I find its best to beat the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl and the egg whites in a smaller bowl)
  4. Add chocolate mixture and almond meal to egg yolk mixture. Stir to combine. Using a large metal spoon, gently fold half the egg whites into chocolate mixture. Repeat with remaining egg whites. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes (it has taken up to an hour to cook at times so don't stress if it takes longer) or until a skewer inserted in centre comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool cake completely in pan.

    Almond Brittle 
    In a small saucepan combine 1/2 cup sugar with two tablespoons hot water. Place on medium heat stirring until all the sugar is (mostly) dissolved) bring to boil and eye ball it THIS CAN BURN EASILY the moment it turns yellow watch it you want it to turn golden then take off heat (it may go darker). Mix in 1/4-1/2cup raw or roasted almonds and quickly pour onto a tray lined with grease proof paper and spread it the best you can. Let it sit at room temperature for 30-40 minutes. Using a knife break into (smallish) pieces (try not to eat too many!).

  5.  
    This cake can keep for a few days in an airtight container at room temperature.
UPDATES
This cake freezes really well and you would never know that it had been frozen unless told otherwise. I have frozen it both in the pan (just make sure you do a couple of layers of glad wrap and/or foil) and in a container. You can freeze either the whole cake or slices of it if there's any leftover. The Almond Brittle won't freeze so be sure to make it on the day you plan to serve it. To defrost leave it on the bench for at least 12 hours so it will fully thaw (If I am able to I get it out the night before).
You make your own almond meal by grinding 225grms of almonds in either a blender, coffee grinder or food processor until ground then sifting it and weighing it until you get 200grms you may need to regrind the larger chunks until you get the right amount.
We normally serve this cake with whipped cream or ice cream and sometimes a berry compote if we choose not to do the brittle (frozen berries and sugar over low heat until they are broken down into smallish chunks and a syrup has formed) which all helps cut down on the richness.

Monday, November 12, 2012

What will my mind do next?

Last night I prayed I prayed that God would give me the chance to go to job interviews this week as I have been feeling useless and worthless on the whole job search front. Today my prayers were answered sure I had to knock down a job interview but I have one tomorrow and for the first time I feel like I am getting somewhere. Its for a 15-20 hour admin job and there are 2 shifts I can work (if I get the job) 7.30am-1.00pm or 1.00pm-6.30pm each 5 and a half hours long but manageble sure I will have to leave the house at 6.30am to get to the shift that starts at 7.00am but it won't be a problem if God gives me the job.

My mind has been running off when I sleep. Just the other night I dreamed a friend posted on twitter that he was engaged to someone whom he had been secretly dating called 'Pixel Pinky' (seriously?!) and I awoke wondering how that idea got stuck in my mind (still don't know).

I feel that as a few of my friends have been begging me to post a few recipes I would post my favourite general cake recipe and a recipe for choc mint cookies which I made up:


Never fail birthday (or any other occasion) cake
You will need
125g butter or margarine
¾ cups white sugar (you can use castor if you have it but it doesn’t make a difference)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 cups self raising flour sifted
½ cup of milk
1      Turn oven to 180 degrees.
2.      Beat butter and sugar together until creamy
3.      Add eggs and vanilla essence
4.      Add milk and flour stir to combine.
5.      Pour mixture into a cake tin or cupcake cases.
6.      Bake for 30-40 minutes (20-30 minutes for cupcakes) or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean (don’t judge by the colouring often it looks cooked but the middle of the cake is not set!)
7.      Cool then ice
       Adjustments:
  • add a few tablespoons of sprinkles to make a funfetti cake (or a cake with awesome colours inside it!)
  • sub out a few tablespoons of flour and replace with cocoa powder for a chocolate cake
  • swap the vanilla essence for strawberry, peppermint, almond essence ect
You can use either of the following recipes to ice the cake.
Recipe 1: Mix 1 cup of icing sugar with enough hot water to form a past (you don’t want it too runny!) add food colouring if desired then ice cake.
Recipe 2: mix/cream 125grm  softened butter (if its not softened it will be impossible to cream!) until pale and creamy add 2 cups of sifted icing sugar  and 2 table spoons milk until combined add food colouring if desired. Ice onto cooled cake (if the cakes not cooled the icing will melt!).

Easy ways to decorate the cake:
  • sprinkles
  • choc chips (mini and normal size!)
  • dye the icing different colours with food colouring

Mint Choc Chip Cookies

You will need:
200grms of butter or margarine softened
1 1/4 cup white sugar
2-3 teaspoons of peppermint essence (adjust according to your own taste)
1 teaspoon green food colouring
1 egg
3 cups self raising flour
¾ cup dark choc chips or chopped up dark chocolate
Coating:
2 tablespoons white sugar (you can add more sugar if you wish)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  1.            Preheat oven to 180 degrees
  2.            Cream butter (or margarine) and sugars until pale and creamy (or beat with a wooden spoon works  just as well!)
  3.            Mix in peppermint essence, food colouring and egg
  4.            Stir in flour and choc chips (add more flour if its to sticky)  
  5.        Mix the cocoa powder and sugar togeather in a bowl 
  6.        Roll teaspoons off mix into ball then roll in sugar/cocoa mix
  7.        Place the coated balls onto a tray lined with baking paper evenly spaced apart 
  8.        Cook for 10-15 minutes then cool on a rack for 5-10 minutes
  9.        Enjoy with a glass of milk :)