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Posts tagged ‘Baking’

Let them eat cake

We had a birthday in our house a few days ago (yay PJD!). To mark this special occasion, I baked a cake. I went in search of a most delicious chocolate cake recipe, which not only had to be relatively easy to make, with not too many ingredients, but which also had to be scrumptious in the way that chocolate-cakes-when-you-were-young tasted. After much leafing through recipe books, um-ing and ah-ing over which recipe looked and sounded the best (sometimes it’s easy to get drawn in by an amazing looking photo in a cookbook only to discover the recipe is overly complicated – don’t you agree?!), I settled on an aptly (if somewhat un-originally) named “Never-fail birthday chocolate cake with chocolate icing”. This recipe comes courtesy of Australian cook Bill Granger, found in one of the most reliable go-to books in my cookbook collection, Bill’s Holiday.

Birthday cake...

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Gingerbread house in Our Place

We have been hearing about a (large!) gingerbread house which word on the street said had been constructed inside Te Papa Tongarewa (meaning Our Place – New Zealand’s National Museum, situated on Wellington’s waterfront). We always love hanging out at Te Papa – regardless of what special exhibitions are on, the long-term exhibitions and art are consistently engaging and interesting – but put baking, Christmas and museum altogether in one, and we knew we had to get down there and check it out for ourselves. So that’s what we did tonight (long may Te Papa’s late nights on Thursdays last!). The house has been constructed to encourage donations to the Wellington Children’s Hospital – gingerbread house making kits are available to buy at the museum. Click on the photos below to check out what we found… (look for the photos with the details of the building and baking, quite astounding!)…

The gorgeous Te Papa gingerbread house was baked by Te Papa’s Executive Chef, Bernd Lippmann and constructed, installed and decorated by the chef along with a dedicated team – see how they did it in the video below! The house fills the museum with a delicious “it’s Christmas!” smell of warm spices, and it is clear that the team who decorated the house has an eye for detail.

The house bought a huge smile to my face when I saw it, and was a nice reminder of the European Christmases we have the pleasure of enjoying for the past two years in the Netherlands. Seeing this gingerbread house also took me back to very happy memories of the gingerbread house competition which takes place annually in Sweden with a different theme each year and is exhibited at the Arkitekturmuseet in Stockholm. Read more

An occasional cake

I am not sure what possessed me to bake a cake on a 30°C day. These kinds of days are rare in the Netherlands. Because they are rare days, the houses are not well designed for the heat. For example, they face the wrong way — the sun beats down on our front window. That’s not very cool. Literally. But, CIA has a birthday coming up, and we’re going to be in Zürich for it; baking whilst away is rarely practical, so I thought an early cake surprise might be in order. So, I looked around for an interesting and tasty-sounding cake, and along came this one, from Nigel Slater.

Now, usually I am not one for specific amounts, as you may recall, but I have also been taught that when baking not to fiddle with the amounts or the cake won’t rise, or will collapse, or might explode, or might attack you when you take it out of the oven. I didn’t change the recipe much, and not at all for the cake part. And so, without further ado, here it is.

Coffee and Walnut Cake

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A long-awaited culinary encounter

On a recent Sunday morning, in this quaint Dutch street, we acquainted ourselves with a delicacy of Dutch cuisine.

If you’ve been reading about our various adventures previously, you may well have already picked up on the fact that we both have a bit of a sweet tooth, partial to the delicious and delectable baked goods which can be found in many corners of Europe (for example in Paris and in Stockholm to name but a few). Well, I can report that the Bossche bol, which we sampled in s-Hertogenbosch (locally shortened to “Den Bosch”), lived up to our expectations. Read more

Indulgence, Swedish style


Our recent trip to Stockholm brought us a small edible discovery, in the form of the chokladboll. “What is this thing you speak of?”, you may well ask. Well. If you like chocolate, you probably like baked, chocolatey goods. And if you like baked, chocolatey goods, then you are probably (almost certainly) going to like the chokladboll.

You can find chokladbolls on the counter and in the cabinets at many cafes throughout Stockholm (and I am sure throughout the rest of Sweden). Our journey into chokladboll fan-dom began at the cute pop-up cafe at the Moderna Museet (don’t worry, we’ll be writing about that in posts to come!). We were in need of a coffee stop prior to hitting the galleries, and as you can see from the photo above, it was a case of perfect espresso and hot chocolate + chokladbolls = happy times in Stockholm. We really had no idea what these mysterious sweet treats were going to taste like, but I can report that they taste good. Really, really, really good. Read more

Crepes make breakfast special

Breakfast, petit dejeuner, ontbijt. Whatever you want to call it, the first meal of the day is important. But sometimes you really want breakfast to be special, but without too much effort. Mornings are not usually my best time, so a breakfast that requires little effort is pretty important. And to that end, to impress people on special occasions, or just for the sake of extreme decadence, I offer to you crepes avec ganache et fraises (or, really thin pancakes with awesome chocolate sauce and strawberries). It’s pretty fast, pretty easy, and everyone always loves it. So, here’s the method…

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Éclair-ing at home

Well, true to my word, after earlier writing of our enjoyment of what some have pointed out to be the biggest chocolate éclairs ever on our recent trip to Paris,  I decided to try my hand at making some éclairs of my own at home. I thought you might enjoy to see the results…

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