I’m still away, but Laura – vegetarian, baker, and my youngest interview yet – is worth listening to!
I have a surprising success in the kitchen! We have what should not have been a surprise in the camping kitchen! Anastasia talks about being a pastry chef at The Village Bakery!
In which I talk about waffles and I get to talk to Cherry, of Cherry Cakes, and marvel at her baking prowess.
We’re sitting at John Gorilla Cafe, which is why it’s a bit noisy; if you want to try Cherry’s products for yourself that’s an easy way to do it!
Cherry Cakes – for your dessert catering needs
Cherry on Instagram: I just… these cakes are amazing
I received this from Murdoch Books at no cost. RRP $39.99; out now. Today, I’ll discuss the book itself; tomorrow, the recipes.
I love dessert. I called my 30th birthday party “my just desserts” and served only dessert.
This is probably the most beautiful cookbook I have ever held in my hands. I mean, look at that cover. The edges of the pages are all gold. Inside, there are exquisite pictures of food and baking utensils and some of the inspiration for Khoo’s own creations – buildings, flowers, and so on. This is a delightful book to browse through.
Khoo opens the book with a discussion of why she started Nectar and Stone, some of the places she finds inspiration for her designs – florists and bookstores! – and a recommendation that you play with colour. I think this section is meant to be more inspiration than anything else, and that later chapters give a little more detail. She also discusses key ingredients – including, intriguingly, that she prefers to use Nuttelex rather than butter because of dairy intolerance. She also includes suggestions for how to dress a table, and some ideas about how to photograph your creations if you want to take instagram by storm.
The cooking chapters are the eleven ‘layers’ to the book – yes, like an epic cake that you’d be terrified of trying to cut. It covers meringues, cupcakes, (baked) donuts, macarons, ice cream, tarts, small and large cakes, waffles, cocktails, and popsicles. Each chapter has a basic recipe, a few suggestions for flavour variations, and then ideas about how to style them. Also a whole pile of pictures to either inspire you, or make you feel like you’ll never achieve their perfection!
One thing I like about the way she presents the recipes is that there’s a list of ingredients… and then a list of equipment. This, I appreciate a lot. The recipes themselves are presented clearly and the method is explained in a straightforward manner. She includes tips on things like what to do with buttercream if you’re making it in advance, while the entire section on macarons (which is only layer four!) has a whole pile of advice and reassurance. I haven’t tried them yet…
Although this is a hefty cookbook, there’s not that much recipe-substance to it; a lot of it is the pictures, both of food and Khoo’s inspiration – pots of paint, buildings, trees, and so on. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s worth knowing that this is not intended as an ‘everything you need to know about making dessert’ book. If you really want suggestions for how to experiment with flavours in ice cream, cupcakes, or cake, this is not the book for you. But if you want a gorgeous book to browse through, as a springboard for your own work – well, that’s what Khoo has written this book to be: she says she wants to “provide… the skills and tools you’ll need to shape your personal style of dessert design” (14). So it’s light on specific direction and heavy on general advice to ‘let your creative juices flow’.
… because what can go wrong?
Look, as an Australian I am deeply confused about the naming of this dish. Casseroles are meant to be far more liquidy (although not soupy); although it does include tortillas I think the Mexican aspect is all about the tortillas and the corn, and the suggestion of corn and coriander.
ANYWAY, I made it… or a version of it at least. Instead of going the veg option I used rehydrated dehydrated bolognese (still had some left from camping shenanigans); I used silverbeet instead of spinach; I used wraps instead of, strictly speaking, tortillas. But the final result was HECK YES I will be making this again, and I may even follow the actual recipe next time.
So firstly I made this in a round tin because I don’t have any square tins… maybe I need to invest in one. ANYWAY I made it and the tin was a bit small I think because this ended up being a remarkably tall cake. I was very excited about the custard aspect and the apple aspect; I used apples that I’d stewed with cider vinegar ages ago and froze, and custard, man. Custard. In the end the cake itself was nice enough, being quite moist; but I didn’t feel it was either custard-y or apple-y enough. I would add more of each if I made this again.
I have very big issues with anything that’s advertised as ‘guilt free’ but salted caramel sesame cacao drew me in nonetheless. And the short version is yes, these are delicious and I really enjoyed them. However… perhaps it was because the only dates I had were not medjool, but there was no ‘processing until finely chopped’ – my dates didn’t get that fine. And I did not end up with a mixture that was at all smooth when I added the tahini and coconut oil; I ended up shaping the mixture into balls instead because I didn’t think that pressing it into a slice would work. I then also had problems dipping the balls into the coating (cacao powder, coconut oil and maple syrup). So they ended up looking pretty substandard, but darn they’re tasty.
In this episode, I bake! (what a surprise, I know). And Anne talks to me about preserving in a whole lot of ways for a whole lot of reasons with a whole lot of food.
The kimchi recipe Anne talks about: from Maangchi
Email me: acts of kitchen @ gmail dot com; leave a review on iTunes to share the lurve!