“Who doesn’t like sticky date pudding?! It’s one of the top desserts on many menus around the world and a regular recipe in my own kitchen. I’ve been testing a vegan recipe for catering and have realised this is better than the version I used to make. With the addition of banana to replace the eggs you do get and extra flavour in the mix but it compliments the traditional flavours so well. Enjoy!”
“This recipe came from necessity. Â I needed a dessert for a catering job that was Christmas themed and gluten free, so I adapted my mud-cake recipe to include some Christmas flavours. Â The result was a super moist cake that works brilliantly as a warm dessert served with ice cream or custard and a hearty cake for your Christmas celebrations. Â If you don’t need it gluten free thenÂ substitute regular flour. Â For the dessert cake I slightly undercook it so it is still fudge and moist inside. Enjoy”
375g dark chocolate
600ml water (or red wine)
300g almond meal
200g gluten free self raising flour
400g dark sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
150 chopped walnuts or almonds
1kg Christmas mince (Recipe on “Christmas Mince Pies” post)
Place chocolate, butter and water (or red wine) in a saucepan and bring to a medium heat, stirring occasionally until all ingredients are melted and combined. Â Allow to cool.
Combine in a mixing bowl the almond meal, GF flour, sugar and spices.
Beat the eggs and mix into the cooled chocolate mixture.
Add the Christmas mince to the chocolate mixture and stir through.
Pour the chocolate mixture and the nuts into the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
Pour into a large flat lined dish or several smaller ones. Â I use one that is 35cm by 24cm. Â If you try to use a traditional cake pan it will take ages to cook and burn around the edges. Â You want the cake to be about 4cm tall (It won’t rise much at all)
Bake in a 180 degree C oven for 45 minutes or until just set. Â As long as there’s no movement in the cake when you move it and a skewer comes out relatively clean it should be fine.
Allow to cool in the pan in the fridge before turning out and cutting.
“I’m always looking for quick and easy recipes to make for Christmas parties and presents. Â These biscuits are based on a Mexican recipe I found that I deleted the chilli and spices and added Christmas mince. Â They turned out so well I’ve had requests to make more. (Mainly from my husband) Â I love the texture of the crinkle and on the outside which is achieved by rolling them in icing sugar. Â Enjoy!”
(Photos by Gary Corbett)
450g plain flour
80g dutch cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
300g Christmas mince (Recipe on “Christmas Mince Pies” post)
Icing sugar to roll balls in
Combine flour, cocoa, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder and salt in a bowl and mix well.
Beat the eggs with the oil, then stir in the Christmas mince.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and beat until combined.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes (this makes them easier to roll)
Put icing sugar into a small bowl.
Roll golf ball sized balls in your hand then roll then in the icing sugar until covered. Â shake off the excess and place on a parchment lined baking tray. Â (You can press them down slightly so they won’t roll around but don’t flatten them out. Â They will keep their ball-shape once they’re cooked.)
Bake in a 180 degree C oven for 10-12 minutes or until the crackle patten has emerged.
“I recently made a delicious fruit and nut loaf from one of Bill Grainger’s beautiful cookbooks. Â It was light and fragrant with nice chunky pieces of dried fruit and crunchy nuts. Â Because it didn’t have a lot of butter or eggs in it I decided to try and convert it to a vegan version. Â After a few attempts I got the right balance that doesn’t lack any of the flavours or textures of the original. Â It also works great toasted after a few daysÂ and freezes well. Of course I do have it smothered with butter, but you can always find a vegan alternative. Enjoy!”
“Whoops! I seem to have missed thanksgiving or halloween for this post. (Not that we really celebrate them here much) Â But who says pumpkin pie should only be served on those days? For this recipe I’veÂ combined the silky softness of the pumpkin custard with theÂ spiciness of chai tea to make a slightly different version of this American classic. Like all good tarts, it’s slightly complicated and has several stages but the finished product is well worth the effort. Â Enjoy!”
(Photo by Gary Donald Corbett)
For the cinnamon pastry
300g plain flour
140g castor sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
For the spiced apples
3 granny smith apples
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 tbsp chai tea
2 tbsn raw sugar
For the pumpkin filling
2 cups cream
2 tbsn chai tea
180g brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
For the cinnamon apples: In a cup pour the boiling water over the chai tea and sugar and leave to sit.
For the pumpkin custard: In a small saucepan bring the cream to a light simmer then add the chai tea. Â Allow this to sit and infuse while it cools down.
Cut the pumpkin into 2 cm square pieces and steam until soft. Â Set aside to cool. Â (If you’re in America you can buy pumpkin pie mix in a can. Shame on you!)
For the cinnamon pastry: In a food processor combine the butter sugar, flour and cinnamon. Â Pulse until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Â Add the egg and process until pastry comes into a ball.
Tip out onto a piece of cling wrap and form into a disc. Â Place in refrigerator.
For the cinnamon apples: Peel the apples and cut each one into 16 wedges. Place apples in a small saucepan.
Drain the chai tea and add the tea leaves to the cream. (Every little bit of flavour helps)
Pour the chai tea mixture over the apples and bring to a simmer. Â Cook the apples until they’re soft but still holding their shape. Â Transfer the apples and liquid to a bowl and refrigerate, letting them cool in the remaining liquid.
For the cinnamon pastry:Â Remove the pastry from the fridge and on a well-floured surface, roll out until it’s about 5mm thick.
Carefully transfer this into a greased 30cm tart dish (I use the sort with the removable bottom), filling any gaps and neatening up the edges.
Transfer the tart dish to the freezer for 15 minutes.
For the pumpkin custard: Drain the infused cream of the tea leaves and put in a food processor. Â Add the cooled pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and eggs and process until smooth.
For the cinnamon pastry:Â Remove the tart dish from the freezer and using a fork, prick the bottom of the pastry evenly (about 20 times).
Line the pastry with grease-proof paper and fill with baking beads or rice. Â Transfer to a 180 degree celsius oven and cook for 15 minutes. Â Remove the beads/rice and baking paper and cook for another 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 150 degrees.
Remove the tart shell from the oven and let it cool slightly. Â Drain the apples of any remaining liquid and put a layer of 2/3 of the cooled apples into the bottom of the tart. (The remaining apples are reserved for serving)
Pour the pumpkin custard over the apples and transfer to the oven for 30-35 minutes. Â The cooked pie should be uniformly cooked but still a bit wobbly.
Allow to cool and serve with whipped cream and some of the remaining spiced apples and a sprinkle of icing sugar.
“It’s been far too long since my last post.Â I blame it on moving house, orchestrating and conducting a ballet and catering.Â But I thought it was time to put a decadent cake recipe on my site that always gets the taste buds going.Â This cake is quite easy to make but takes a bit of time and patience to get it looking pretty.Â I also use this recipe for a cupcake version with a swirl of the butter cream on top.Â Beware, it’s pretty rich and definitely not for the diet-conscious.Â Enjoy!”
(Photo by Gary Corbett)
220g white chocolate
2 tbsp golden syrup
3/4 cup water
2 tbsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
220g brown sugar
1 cup self raising flour
1 cup plain flour
For butter cream
300g softened butter
500g icing sugar
2 tbsp ground ginger
1/2 cup apricot jam
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C
Grease and line 2 20cm cake tins
Put butter, white chocolate, golden syrup, water, vanilla and salt in a saucepan and gently melt together, stirring constantly.Â Once all the ingredients are melted and mixed together leave to sit for 1/2 an hour
Beat sugar and eggs together until combined.
Add the cooled melted ingredients and then the flours.
Pour into prepared tines and bake for 1/2 and hour or until centre is cooked when a skewer is inserted.
Remove from the oven and let cool in the tins.Â Refrigerate until you are ready to ice.Â (This type of cake is much easier to cut and ice when completely cold so it can be made a day ahead if necessary.)
Carefully cut the domes of each cake to get a flat top then cut each cake into 2 discs.Â Keep the most even surface (usually the bottom) for the top layer of the cake.
To make the butter cream put icing sugar and ginger in a food processor and slowly add the softened butter until combined.
Heat the apricot jam in the microwave until runny and paint liberally on to 3 of the cake discs.
When the jam has cooled add a layer of the butter cream.
Assemble the layers finishing with the un-iced top layer.Â Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Remove from the fridge and put a thin layer of butter cream on the top and sides of the cake making sure to fill any gaps.Â This “Crumb layer” will make it much easier to get a smooth finish later.Â Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Put the final layer of butter cream on top and sides smoothing down to get a perfect finish.Â This cake is best served at room temperature.
Hello, my name is Craig.
Craig Allister Young is a cellist, orchestrator, arranger, singer and song-writer who works with the QLD Symphony Orchestra in Brisbane.
Over the past 20 years he has orchestrated music for most of the major orchestras in Australia, composed music for the Sydney 2000 Olympics,
toured a cabaret ensemble around QLD and for the past three years has been a musical director and cellist for the QLD ballet. His passion for cooking
saw him embark on his latest adventure as a top 24 contestant in the hugely popular TV sensation Australian Masterchef 2011. It is from this that the idea of
"Musical Menus" materialised as a way of combining his love for music with his passion for creating imaginative culinary dishes. Bon Appetite!