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Daring Bakers Challenge - Chocolate Panna Cotta
Sunday, 27th February 2011, 23:22Comments [7]

The February 2011 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

Hello! I am back from my two month hiatus.
Summer in Australia is way too hot and humid to have ovens baking away, so instead time was spent at the beach and cooking multiple barbeques.
What has brought me back is this months Daring Bakers' Challenge, a simple heat and chill panna cotta dessert, perfect for these last few summer nights.
Many of you probably make this all the time, but it's new to me. I chose to make the chocolate panna cotta recipe, provided to us by Mallory.
Part of the challenge was to also make Nestle Florentine cookies. These are essentially an Anzac biscuit, someting I make fairly often, so I skipped it. But check out the full pdf recipes for both here.

Chocolate Panna Cotta
Daring Bakers Challenge - Chocolate Panna Cotta
A few basics are all you need: cream, milk, sugar, vanilla and some dark cooking chocolate.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Chocolate Panna Cotta
The only strange item required is gelatin, either in powdered or sheet form, both of which are available in specialty food stores or delis. Living in a regional town, that wasn't an option for me, so I ended up with Create-A-Jelly, which is essentially a jelly mix without flavouring. I am told if I looked harder in the baking section of Woolies I would have spotted the powdered gelatin, but no matter, we shall see how this works. :)

To start with, mix 1 tablespoon of powdered gelatin, or 2 tablespoons of the jelly mix with one cup of milk and let sit for 5 mins.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Chocolate Panna Cotta
In a medium saucepan, place 2 cups cream, ½ cup castor sugar and 1 tablespoon of vanilla essence. Bring to a low boil over a medium heat.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Chocolate Panna Cotta
Whisk in 145g dark chocolate (about 20 pieces from a block, so yes there wil be leftovers...) until melted.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Chocolate Panna Cotta
Daring Bakers Challenge - Chocolate Panna Cotta
Whisk in the milk and gelatin mixture and stir until gelatin dissolves.
Pour into ramekins if you want to tip the panacotta out later, or into glasses if you prefer to spoon the dessert out.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Chocolate Panna Cotta
Allow to chill for at least 4-6 hours.
Simple hey?
Now decorate any way you like, the panna cotta can be tipped out and topped with fresh berries, or layered in a glass parfait style with jelly, fruits and cream. The possibilities are endless for such a simple dessert, for inspiration, check out the results on the Daring Bakers' site.
I decorated my ones in glasses by topping with a jelly made from Saxbys Cherry Cheer, fresh cream and a sprinkle of blueberries.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Chocolate Panna Cotta
My tip out ones aren't quite set so stay tuned...
Enjoy! :)

Comments [7]



Birthday Birthday Birthday
Thursday, 30th December 2010, 21:32Comments [5]

Hello, Waz here...

Today is Carly's birthday.
She is very old.

In an effort to make her happy, I have both opted to write her a birthday post, and make her a birthday cake - mostly because she likes cake, and blog posts are also kinda fun.

Since I'm not one for baking much, I went with a fairly safe recipe that Carly likes.. Shirley's Orange Cake, from The Country Show Cookbook, with slight modification - I ditched the orange and replaced it with a bit of vanilla essence instead.

Ingredients:
125g (4oz) butter (room temperature)
¾ cup caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup milk
1¾ cup self-raising flour
2 tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Start by preheating your oven to 180°C (350°F) and grease an 18cm (7in) round cake tin.

Cream your butter and sugar together.
Birthday Birthday Birthday
Add vanilla essence and mix (at this point the original recipe suggests adding 1 tablespoon orange juice and the rind of 1 orange).
Add eggs and mix.
Birthday Birthday Birthday
Add milk, then flour, mixing in each time.
Birthday Birthday Birthday
Add the water last, mix it in and you should have a nice thick and fluffy batter.
Birthday Birthday Birthday
Pour into your cake tin and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes.
Birthday Birthday Birthday

Or roughly until it looks like this:
Birthday Birthday Birthday

Yay. Cake. So far, so good.
Now, on to the icing.

I took this recipe for Vienna Cream icing from the Women's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake Book.

Ingredients:
125g (4oz) butter (room temperature)
1½ cups icing sugar
2 tablespoons milk

Beat the butter until it is almost white, as so:
Birthday Birthday Birthday
Sift icing sugar into the butter.
Birthday Birthday Birthday
Then add milk and continue to mix until it looks nice.
At this point I opted to colour the mix a nice aqua colour, because aqua is aqua-ish. 4 drops blue, 2 drops green food colouring, and mix!
Birthday Birthday Birthday
Slather on cake and top with sprinkles or decorations of choice. In this case, Smarties.
Birthday Birthday Birthday

Add candles, thrust at birthday girl while singing jovially.
Birthday Birthday Birthday

Then step back and take cover as cake is devoured.
Birthday Birthday Birthday

Happy Birthday Babe! I love you! :)

Comments [5]



Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
Thursday, 30th December 2010, 00:22Comments [0]

The 2010 December Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Penny of Sweet Sadie's Baking. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers' to make Stollen. She adapted a friend's family recipe and combined it with information from friends, techniques from Peter Reinhart's book.........and Martha Stewart's demonstration.

Merry Christmas Everybody!
Another year gone already? What better way to finish the year than with a spectacular Christmas Stollen. Yes, it is a few days past Christmas, but I have been filled with such cheer and goodwill that I missed my posting deadline.
Stollen is a fruit filled bread-like cake made with yeast and sometimes filled with marzipan.
The detailed recipe with quantities can be found here on the Daring Bakers site, but an abbreviated version of my recipe is below.

Christmas Stollen
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
Dried fruit gives the flavour to a Stollen and therefore is the most important part. Any fruit can be used, from currants and raisins to mixed peel, cherries, mango or ginger; select your favourites. You will need about 2 cups of fruit all up.
I chose to use sultanas, dried apricots and pineapple. I like to use these little packs as the unused fruit stays fresher longer.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
I also threw in some dried apple.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
The fruit needs to be soaked overnight for softness in about ¼ cup alcohol. Rum is the best choice, but using what I had on hand, I tried vanilla vodka and apple juice.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen

To make the bread dough, you will need basic pantry items: milk, caster sugar, plain flour, salt, butter, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, a lemon and orange. You will also need 2 packets of dried yeast sachets, these can be found in the flour section of the supermarket.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
Tip two packets (14g) of dried yeast into ¼ cup of lukewarm water and leave for five minutes to activate and go bubbly.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
Melt butter into milk in a small saucepan over a low heat. Leave to sit until lukewarm.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
Lightly beat together eggs, vanilla extract, lemon and orange juice.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon and zests of orange and lemon.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
Stir in yeast mixture, eggs, and milk/butter mixture until mix comes together in a tacky ball. Cover with plastic and leave to sit for 10 mins.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
Tip the dough out onto a floured surface, then tip out all the soaked fruit on top.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
Now, as a pre-Christmas work out, knead the fruit into the dough and keep going for about 8 mins.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
Think of the how good the upper body exercise is, and how many more rumballs you will be able to eat! :D (You could use a machine, but that's cheating.)
You will know when to stop when the dough becomes tacky and the sultanas start falling off.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave overnight in the fridge to rise.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
The next day, punch back the dough, and tip out onto a floured surface. At this stage I divided the dough into two balls to make two stollen. Roll out into a large rectangle, one centimetre thick.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
Using almond icing or marzipan, roll out thin strips and place at intervals along the dough.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
Roll into a long sausage shape, and then curl into a circle.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
Cut knicks out of the dough at 6cm intervals and shape to form a wreath.
Leave to proof for 2 hours.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
Bake for 40-50mins at 180°c until dark brown in colour.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
While hot, brush the stollen with melted butter and allow to soak in.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
Sift icing sugar over the top and allow to sink in, repeating three times to build up a protective coating.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
Serve as thin slices with butter and a cup of tea, or wrap and store for up to 4 months in the freezer.
Daring Bakers Challenge - Christmas Stollen
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! :)

Comments [0]



Choc-Orange Jaffa Cake
Monday, 20th December 2010, 19:11Comments [2]

Needing a cake for a farewell party, and needing to use up some oranges before a weekend away, I made this tempting Jaffa Cake. Now, I'm not a huge fan of Jaffa's, but I like a choc orange combination in pastries and cakes, and it is definitely a pretty foolproof combination when you have a lovely zesty orange cake topped with rich chocolate icing and a mound of chocolates.
Choc-Orange Jaffa Cake
The cake recipe is taken from "The Country Show Cookbook" - lovely recipes that require simple pantry basics that seem to turn out beautiful cakes every time.
This is the recipe for Shirley's Orange Cake.
You will need one large orange, unsalted butter, caster sugar, 2 eggs, milk and self-raising flour. You probably have all this on hand right now so what are you waiting for?
Choc-Orange Jaffa Cake
Preheat your oven to 180°c.
Cream together 125g unsalted butter with ¾ cup caster sugar until light and fluffy.
Choc-Orange Jaffa Cake
Mix in the rind of the orange and a decent hand squeeze of juice from one half. Eat the other half, it's good for you and will balance out the half bag of Jaffa's you will eat later...
Choc-Orange Jaffa Cake
Beat in 2 eggs one at a time, then ½ cup of milk. At this stage the mix will resemble half cooked scrambled eggs and you will wonder where you have gone wrong.
Choc-Orange Jaffa Cake
Choc-Orange Jaffa Cake
Don't panic, just add 1¾ cup self-raising flour and stir in 2 tablespoons cold water and the mix will suddenly be thick and smooth.
Choc-Orange Jaffa Cake
Choc-Orange Jaffa Cake
Spoon into a 20cm round tin; as the mix is thick and fluffly push the mix a bit away from the center towards the edge to allow the cake to rise evenly.
Choc-Orange Jaffa Cake
Bake for 30-40mins until golden on top.
Allow to cool and then decorate.

I topped my cake with a store bought (I keep on hand for when I am pushed for time, but you can make any basic frosting) vanilla frosting to which I added a generous tablespoon of good quality cocoa and a squeeze of orange juice.
Choc-Orange Jaffa Cake
Then I bashed up a generous handful of Jaffa's with a rolling pin in zip lock bag.
Choc-Orange Jaffa Cake
Sprinkle on top and you have a lovely, simple choc-orange temptation.
Choc-Orange Jaffa Cake
I can't say how it tasted in the end, because I made it for a party I wasn't attending, but from "sampling" the various components individually, they all tasted pretty awesome. :D

Comments [2]



Feasting In Bangkok
Thursday, 9th December 2010, 22:37Comments [1]

We recently spent three weeks eating our way around South East Asia. We have sorted through our thousands of photos to bring you our favourite Thai hawker and restaurant food in Bangkok.

Our first proper meal after landing was, of course, the tourist staple, Pad Thai.
Feasting In Bangkok
Rice noodles, with veggies, chicken and tofu, flavoured with lime and tamarind and topped with egg. When served at a cheap plastic table in the middle of a bustling market for only 50 baht ($1.60), it doesn't get much better for street food.
A few strange signs only help the atmosphere...
Feasting In Bangkok

For a fancy welcome dinner we dined outside right on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, at the Arun Residence / The Deck by the River. After a round of mocktails & beers,
Feasting In Bangkok
(Fresh lime juice, with mint, soda and sugar syrup. Sooo refreshing in the heat and humidity)
Feasting In Bangkok
Feasting In Bangkok
The three of us demolished a range of delicious and (comparatively expensive) Thai food.
Satay chicken. The bread was great for mopping up all the excess sauce.
Feasting In Bangkok
Massive river prawns in a green curry with baby corn, kale and capsicum.
Feasting In Bangkok
Chicken stirfry with mixed veggies
Feasting In Bangkok

We stayed out from the main hotel area, and this little café was our favourite lunch place.
Feasting In Bangkok
Check out the funky chairs!
Feasting In Bangkok
For 15 baht (45c) we could get an ice cold Pepsi,
Feasting In Bangkok
to go with super tasty 40 Baht ($1.20) stirfries, such as chicken in yellow curry,
Feasting In Bangkok
or beef with mixed herbs. Those little green things are fresh green peppercorns; they pack a serious heat punch when bitten into which no amount of Pepsi could counteract.
Feasting In Bangkok

A visit to the Suan Lum Night Bazaar for some hawker food.
Iced tea with lime and fresh fruit shakes, pineapple and watermelon. I lived on these! A huge chunk of fruit, ice and a squeeze of lime blended together into a refreshing drink.
Feasting In Bangkok
Salt and pepper baby crab and spring rolls.
Feasting In Bangkok
BBQ chicken with rice. Simple, but done so well, smoky and delicious.
Feasting In Bangkok

A meal under the stars starting with a frosty glass of rosella juice.
Feasting In Bangkok
Chicken with cashews.
Feasting In Bangkok
King prawns with broccoli, fresh and simple.
Feasting In Bangkok
Salt and pepper pork ribs, Lovely layers of crispy fat and a nice crunchy coating.
Feasting In Bangkok
Cute heart shaped rice.
Feasting In Bangkok
Tiny dishes of sticky, salty coconut rice, a perfect finish to a meal.
Feasting In Bangkok

And finally, the simple and tasty lunch served as part of our Flight of the Gibbon day: Egg and rice, green curry sauce, watermelon and pineapple.
Feasting In Bangkok
So hungry right now...

Comments [1]



A Very Merry Baconmas
Wednesday, 8th December 2010, 18:54Comments [1]

If anyone out there still needs to find me a Christmas present, I have found the ultimate gift guide.
Check out the "bacon" tab on ThinkGeek for some seriously awesome stuff.

I've got my eye on the Caffeinated Maple-Bacon Lollipops with a whopping 80mg caffeine per pop (about the same as an espresso shot or two cans of coke).
Bacon Lollipop

Or, the Periodic BaCoN T-shirt, because I'm a chemistry nerd.
Periodic BaCoN

Or possibly the Bacon Bubble Buddy because my cat goes nuts for bubbles and the house would be all bacon-y. Mmmm bacon-y...
Bacon Bubble Buddy
Anyway, so if you're still out there present hunting, do it all online. And remember, my B'day is just after Christmas, so you have plenty time to get it to me. :D

Comments [1]



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About:
fivesquaremeals fivesquaremeals is the blog of Carly, a 20-something female living in the Macleay Valley on the mid north coast of NSW, Australia.
I love baking that begins with creaming butter and sugar, and eating anything with either bacon or custard. Or both :)
I enjoy going to good pubs, bakeries, food festivals, markets and regional shows.
Favourite Quotes:
"One must not let vanity overrule appetite"
"Donuts. Is there anything they can't do?"
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This is a personal foodblog, please be advised that it does not aim to offer any serious form of advice, be it legal, medical or other.
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All opinions expressed and photos featured on the site are my own original work and remain the property of me.
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