caramel sauce

Condensed milk was always in our house hold growing up, my dad loves it and we would eat it straight from the can !  ( oops!) so I tend to have a can in my cupboard at home, as I use it in cheesecakes, slices or sweets. So when I spied a can , I instantly thought of caramel sauce .

Caramel is one of my all time favourite flavours, if offered in  sweets or  desserts I will always choose the caramel.

I wanted to make my own, but didn’t have the time to stand a watch a caramel sauce on the stove top, so I searched for the instructions on boiling condensed milk. It was so simple and I didn’t need to stand over it, so I gave it a try. Results first time! and it was super simple.

caramel form condensed milk

styling and snap by Sydney Food Stylist Jane Collins

Caramel sauce

 makes 1 can

 prep time 2 minutes

 cooking time 3 hours, plus 2 hours cooling

1 x 395g can condensed milk

1 Bring a large deep pot of water to a gentle simmer over medium high heat. Remove the label from the can and place into the hot water, make sure the can is fully covered  by water  about 4 cm.

2 Reduce heat to medium -low, and let simmer for 3 hours.

 3 Put a timer on for 1 hour and check the water to  make sure the can is covered still. If not  top up with water. Check every hour as you don’t want the water to go below the can. Remove with tongs and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. This should take a few hours. I left mine on the counter top and checked it the next day.

 Refrigerate after opening. Should keep for a few weeks covered in a container  in the fridge.

 sizzle tip-  use this a layer in a bonoffee pie, simple served over ice cream, in a chocolate slice, the list is endless, anywhere you would see caramel as an ingredient.

DONT  leave the can simmering unattended keep a careful watch at all times. Best to try this when you are home, and can monitor it safely.

 

Smores

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  recipe and styling by Sydney food stylist Jane Collins

I am not really a camper girl, more glamping! But I do love to cook out side and enjoy easy simple food. Sometimes when all the hard work has been done for you its nice to sit back and relax and enjoy a simple morsel. These easy s’mores are just that. Two ingredients and only 2 steps. Indulge.

These  was a shots were  taken at a pony rider shoot day for their new collection, jump over and admire all the stunningly beautiful blankets, rugs, towels and  throws that are on the site. With Sarah Harrison  from our young hearts catching  the mood with  these snaps.

Home made S’mores

Makes 12

 

Prep time – 5 minutes

Cooking time -5 minutes

 

 

200g   Chocolate coated wheaten biscuits or plain digestive biscuits .

12 large  vanilla roasting marshmallows

6-12 long sticks or long handed forks to toast

Extra chocolate pieces if needed.

 

1 Find a tin that fits the biscuits and the marshmallows. Package up the biscuits and marshmallows in separate tins or containers. Add extra chocolate pieces if desired or if using plain digestive biscuits.

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To make the S’mores – Place mallow onto the end of sticks and toast over an open fire till charred and slightly melted.

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Place one biscuit onto a work surface and place the toasted warm marshmallow. Release from the fork and stick onto the biscuit. Top with another biscuit and squeeze together.

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If you can’t find chocolate  coated biscuits , simply use a sweet plain  biscuit , and add a few shaves of  dark chocolate on top of the mallow , so it melts- and top with another biscuit .

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lamington balls

hero lamington

Yesterday was my 8 year olds twins birthday.. ..

They requested chocolate cake, so I made two ! There was a party of 18 8 year olds and we played all the old fashioned games, pin the tail on the tiger ( cause they didn’t want a donkey ! )  musical chairs, musical statues, pass the parcel and Limbo !The girls  did all the preparation with my parents, and my dad even drew the tiger, for pin the tail on the tiger. Mum made the bunting, and the chocolate crackles..

We had quite a bit of chocolate cake left, and since Australia day falls tomorrow, ( and lamingtons are ever poplar on this day ) I thought we could use up the chocolate cake and make lamington balls… success! They are great and so easy, just takes 20 minutes. Remember when you used to roll up the white bread and  eat it?( oh maybe that was just me),well the rolling of the chocolate cake reminded me of this.

Give it a go  when you have some left over cake ( although I am not sure those words go together…)

 

 

Lamington balls-

prep time 20 minutes

makes 20

 

 

1 cup icing sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder

1 Tsp butter

1-2 Tbsp hot water

400g chocolate cake

1-2 cups desiccated coconut

 

1  In a medium bowl combine icing sugar with cocoa and  butter. Stir in enough hot water till smooth.  Break off 1-2 tablespoons of cake and roll into balls, about the size of a walnut.

2 Dip each ball into the chocolate icing, one at a time,  letting the excess drain off on a fork.  roll in coconut till covered.

3 Refrigerate or eat as it. Store any uneaten balls, in an air tight covered container  in the fridge,  for a couple of days.

lamington finished

 

sizzle tip-  use any left over cake- it helps if the cake is moist to be gin with, as it needs to be to roll, if you are having trouble rolling the cake, drip a couple of drops of hot water into cake and continue till the mixture comes together. I would have loved to have squeezed in some whipped cream and jam to make a true lamington style… I will have to get onto testing this.

 

 

 

classic pavlova with strawberries & cream

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Photography by  Sydney Food Photographer Omid

Recipe and styling by Sydney Food Stylist Jane Collins 

 Classic Pavlova with cream and strawberries

Pavs seem to make a special appearance at Christmas time……there are rolls, layered disks, classic and flavoured with chocolate, nuts, fruit. I love the classic version, and if you do it well, it will become a family favourite all year round.This is like the one my mum  makes. She loves it with simple fruit, such as strawberries, but the list is endless for the toppings.

Do you like it with lots of mallow ? Pile it really high to get the most mallow … Cool completely in the oven before dressing with cream and strawberries, don’t worry if the pavlova shell cracks, its all part of the charm and rustic nature of this dessert.

 

 

Serves 8-10

Prep time 10 minutes

Cooking time 1- 1 ¼ hours

 

6 egg whites

1 ½ cups caster sugar

1 Tbsp corn flour

1 Tbsp malt vinegar or white vinegar

1 tsp good quality vanilla extract or scraped beans from 1 pod

600ml thickened cream

250g fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped

Icing sugar to dust

 

 

 

1 Preheat oven to 180°C, or 160°C fan. Line a circular tray (the pizza trays with the holes in the base are really good for this) with baking paper.

2 In a large bowl beat egg whites with an electric beater for 4-5 minutes on medium speed till soft peaks form. Gradually add the caster sugar and beat on high speed scraping down the sides between additions, beating till thick and glossy. With a large metal spoon fold in corn flour, vinegar and vanilla. Stir till combined.

3 Pile the meringue really high in the centre of the prepared tray with a diameter of about 12-15 cm. Reduce the oven temperature to 120°C, or 100°C fan forced. And bake for 1 hour- 1 ¼ hours, till the meringue is crisp and slightly coloured. Turn off oven and leave door ajar. Cool completely in the oven.

4 Beat cream with electric beaters, on medium speed till thick.

5 Spread pavlova with cream, top with chopped strawberries, and dust with icing sugar to serve.

 

 

 

 

white chocolate cheesecake

Cheesecake is one of my loves and this baked cheese cake is my all time favourite, its defiantly not one to have every day, but special occasions or entertaining calls for something as spectacular as this. Its got a slight tang from the sour cream, which only helps to cut through the beautifully creamy and velvety texture that is the middle of this cheesecake. Its best served at room temperature, and maybe a few berries in season to top it off.

 white chocolate cheesecake-

prep time- 20 minutes

cooking time- 1 hour 5 minutes

serves- 12

 

12 granita biscuits, broken  ( or any other sweet biscuit )

60g butter, melted

2 x 250g cream cheese, softened

¾ cup caster sugar

250g sour cream

1tsp Vanilla bean paste ( or vanilla extract )

2 eggs

300ml thickened cream,  lightly whipped

100g white chocolate, melted

pine nut praline-

1 cup caster sugar

100g pinenuts

1 Preheat oven to 160c or 140c fan forced. Grease and line the base of a 20 cm spring
form tin with baking paper. In a food processor blitz biscuits till a fine
crumb, add butter and pulse till they come together. Press into prepared tin.

2 Wash processor and combine cream cheese, sugar and beat till smooth, add sour cream, vanilla, and eggs and process till just combined. Spoon into prepared case and
bake for 45-50 minutes till still slightly wobbly. Top the cheesecake with
whipped cream and drizzle with melted chocolate.

3 Line an oven tray with baking paper and lay pine nuts in a single layer.  Heat sugar and ¼ cup water in a small saucepan over medium high heat for 10-12 minutes till bubbling. Reduce heat and simmer for a further 5 minutes or till golden in colour. Once the desired colour has been achieved removed from heat and gently and slowly pour over the pine nuts in an even fashion, covering all the nuts, allow to cool completely. Crush the pine nut praline and sprinkle over the cheesecake.

 sizzle tip- If you don’t have a food processor, simply put the biscuits in a thick plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin.For the cream cheese mixture, beat with electric hand beaters, or a  kitchen top mix master.


sizzle save – The pine nut praline will keep in an airtight container up to a week. Use as a topping for pavlovas, muffins, fruit salads, ice cream, anything for some extra
crunch.