It has been a little while since I last posted…. But what a 10 days I have had!
The 2009 Royal Melbourne show has been my home for the last week or so . You could spend the entire visit to the show just in the Grand Pavillion – with over 120 wonderful foods to sample and learn about, beer & wine sampling and great gadgets for your home exhibitors… I have purchased so many great things for my test kitchen!
The stage has been a flurry of fabulous non stop activity. I cooked myself into a frenzy and as always the robust, calm and reliable KitchenAid appliances performed and performed. Everychef and presentor has loved using them. And to those wonderful fellow foodies who stayed back and chatted with me - I loved your and questions and the joyful expresssions. Several of you were also lucky enough to take home a very special KitchenAid or Profiline gift too.
Vanilla Snow Pavlova
Favourite KitchenAid recipes were definitely the brown sugar meringues with many ooohs from guest chefs and the audience. The mixer does many great things but the quality of the meringue produced is spectacular. The chocolate beetroot cake was also a winner. The other favouties…..potato au gratin, Mexican meatballs, French apple muffins and petite coconut cup cakes to name but a few.
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At Chocolate Rush this year ( held on the 8th & 9th August at the Melbourne Show Grounds) I was delighted and privileged to meet a sensational pastry chef and chocolatier Pierrick Boyer. Pierrick is the executive pastry chef at le petite gateau in Little Collins Street Melbourne. Oh, how wonderful is this superb little patisserie. It’s in a swish little section on little Collins Street (just up the road from Vue du Monde).…. A wonder around this section of the city always reminds me ‘just why’ I love living in Melbourne.
Chatting with Pierrick, I soon heard the passion he has always felt for KitchenAid and I was very impressed when he told me he has visited the factory (yes where these beautiful machines are actually made) in Ohio. The mixers are still hand made which is a remarkable thing in it self in this throw away plastic era of appliances.
Here is Pierrick and some of his team with him holding his new mixer ( if looks little different it because its from the commercial range. A large mixer with a special thermal cut off – so if the motor gets too warm it will stop – excellent for pastry chef’s as they push the mixer hard). Read the rest of this entry
Cakes – oh how I adore a delicious piece of cake. So did Marie Antoinette, according to tradition. I think we all do and any time really, not just morning or afternoon tea or as dessert.
The finale to all celebrations and occasions is the cutting (and eating) of the cake. So much love and effort and maybe for some a few tears ’ tears’ can go into producing a soft crumb, moist, high sided cake. So to ensure a fabulous result every time here are some important tricks of the trade:
- Your mixer – of course my choice has always been and will always be my KitchenAid Standmixer. Make sure the mixing bowl and attachments are clean and dry. And for the beginners – the flat beater is for creaming and beating while the whisk is used for whipping egg whites. Speed 6 or 8 is normally used for creaming butter and sugar and speed 8 for whisking.
- Always read the recipe at least once before beginning to cook and use a recipe written by a credible source.
- Use fresh ingredients and the best you can afford especially with butter, eggs and flour. (if available use cake flour, you’ll find it at good supermarkets and specialty food stores– it has a lower protein content which produces less gluten therefore the cake has a softer texture)
- Prepare the pan or tin and line with baking paper or grease well and preheat the oven
- Test the oven temperature with a thermometer (just because the oven says it is 180 C – does not mean it is)!
- Measure and weigh the ingredients accurately (even 1-2 extra tablespoons of flour or liquid will change the texture and end success of a cake)
- Most cakes are best baked in the centre shelf of the oven and for me I like to bake without a fan – meaning conventional not ‘fan forced’. If your oven is fan forced, I recommend placing a shallow bowl of water in the bottom of the oven. The steam and moisture produced ensures a moist cake.
- Use a timer and test the cake either with your finger (it will spring back when cooked or gently insert a thin skewer into the centre of the cake – if comes out clean the cake is cooked. Your nose will also tell you the cake is cooked!
- Stand the cake for 10 minutes in the pan before inverting
- Cool completely on a cake rack before icing and or cutting.
Some of my favourite cake recipes on the Peter Mc Innes web site are: Read the rest of this entry