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Nutella Choc Chip Cookies.

Nutella Choc Chip Cookies

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These cookies be crack.

Perfected from a jumble of old Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies recipes that I’ve grabbed from girlfriends and gurus.

The sea salt is the best part because it cuts through the acres of chocolate with a nice savoury bite.

Often I only dust half the batch because the kids prefer them straight up.

There’s nothing remotely healthy about this cookie.

It’s just an addictive, over-indulgent, crowd-pleasing trip down Sugar Street.

Serve warm with milk.

PJxx

NUTELLA CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES.

Ingredients
150g butter (softened)
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoon caster sugar
1 egg
1 ½ cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
250g chocolate chips
200g Nutella
sea salt for sprinkling

Method

Preheat oven to 170°C. Cream the butter and sugar until the mixture becomes pale and light.

Add the egg, vanilla extract and beat well. On a low speed, fold in the choc chips, flour (sifted), baking soda and baking powder.

Take a tablespoon of dough, roll it into a ball and then flatten it into the palm of your hand. Add a teaspoon of Nutella into the middle and then roll it back up into a ball.

Place the cookies on baking trays and squash lightly with the back of a fork. Next sprinkle each one with a little sea salt.

Bake until cookies for about 12-14 minutes or until cookies are golden. They should come out still soft and harden as they cool.

Torte Carprese

Torte Carprese

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One of the cookbooks, I use most often is  Italian Country Cooking – The Secrets of Cucina Paver by Loukie Werle.

I worked with Loukie in magazine land (she was Food Editor of House & GardenShe & many more) and I  have always loved her simple, very Italian attitude to food.

Especially when my desk was across the hall from her test kitchen. They were good days.

This book is full of rustic dishes that my family love to eat and holds the recipe for Torta Caprese – a cake that should be a staple in any bakers inventory.

Not only is this dense, moist cake ridiculously delicious but it has a good back story.  Legend suggests that this simple torta was a mistake. Made in error by a local woman baking for Amercian gangsters on the Isle of Capri. She was so nervous, she omitted the flour and inadvertently created one of histories great flourless cakes.

In Italy it’s served with vanilla gelato but I like it with double cream and fresh berries.

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TORTA CAPRESE.

Ingredients
125 grams unsalted butter
200 grams dark chocolate, chopped
250 grams of sugar
5 large eggs, separated
250 grams of almond meal (or hazelnuts finely ground).

Method.

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. line a 10 inch round, springform cake pan with baking paper

Combine the butter, chocolate and sugar in a heatproof bowl and set over simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Heat until the butter is melted and the chocolate is soft, about five minutes. Remove from the heat and stir until the mixture is smooth. cool to room temperature.

Beat the egg yolks into the chocolate mixture, one by one, with a wooden spoon making sure each is incorporated before adding the next, stir in the almond meal or hazlenuts.

Beat the egg whites with the salt in a bowl until stiff peaks form; fold into the chocolate mixture by thirds, just until no white streaks remain. scrape into the prepared cake tin and bake 40-60 minutes or until the cake starts to shrink away from the sides, and is firm in the middle with a fudgy top.

Cool on rack,  remove from pan and allow to rest for half an hour before serving.

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Chilli Prawn Pasta.

Chilli Prawn Pasta.

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Prawns, chilli, herbs…does it get any better?

This recipe from Jamie Oliver is a firm favourite in our house and we’ll serve it two ways.

1) prawns on their own (low carb option)

2) to order with spaghetti (comfort option)

It’s the season for fresh seafood and I find this dish an easy, high on flavour way to bring more sea protein into your diet.

We do a small separate fry pan without chilli for the kids.

Try it this Friday with a cold Riesling.

PJxx

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INGREDIENTS.

455g dried spaghetti
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1-2 dried red chillies, crumbled
400g peeled raw prawns, from sustainable sources, ask your fishmonger
1 small wineglass white wine
2 heaped tablespoons sundried tomato puree (6 sundried tomatoes blitzed in a blender)
1 lemon juice and zest
2 handfuls rocket, roughly chopped

METHOD.

Cook your spaghetti in a large pan of salted boiling water according to the packet instructions.

Heat three good lugs of extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan and toss in the garlic and chilli. As the garlic begins to colour, add the prawns and sauté them for a minute. Add the white wine and the tomato purée and simmer for a couple of minutes.

When the pasta is ready, drain it in a colander, reserving a little of the cooking water. Toss the spaghetti with the sauce, squeeze in the lemon juice, add half the chopped rocket, adding a little of the reserved cooking water if you want to loosen the sauce a bit, and correct the seasoning.

Divide between 4 plates and sprinkle with the grated lemon zest and the rest of the rocket leaves.

Burnt Butter, Honey & Lemon Thyme Cakes.

Burnt Butter, Honey & Lemon Thyme Cakes.

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I haven’t baked for over two months.

Not a thing.

Moving house. Travel. Work. School.

Not a thing.

Part of me has been missing. Truly it has. Whenever I take an extended break from spending time in the kitchen, I’m reminded just how therapeutic baking is for me. How essential it’s become in smoothing out my edges.

So it filled me with happiness turning out these warm brown butter, honey & lemon thyme cakes to my family on the weekend.

Outside was cold and these cakes were beautifully warm and sticky.

Completing the experience were two new toys:

1)We have an open fireplace just off the kitchen in the new house. What a beautiful luxurious thing it is to cook near a burning fire. There’s something so deeply snug about it.

2) I can’t believe it has taken me all these years but I finally have a Kitchen-Aid. This weekend was the first chance I had to bust it open and it’s a love affair. I think you could almost fly a plane with one of these things. The hardest decision for me was choosing a colour – look it’s just so pretty. Never looking back.

All these thing fell like pennies from heaven on Saturday afternoon and suddenly (finally) I feel like I’m home.

This recipe is from Donna Hay and the cakes have a gorgeous nutty smokiness underneath the honey.

Delish...xx

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BURNT BUTTER, HONEY & LEMON THYME CAKES.

Ingredients.
250 grams of butter
34 cup of honey
1/2 cup of milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 cups self raising flour,sifted
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, sifted
1/3 cup caster sugar
12 sprigs of lemon thyme

Method.
Preheat oven to 160°C. Place 100g of the butter in a small frying pan over high heat and stir until melted. Cook for 3=4 minutes or until foamy and golden brown. Transfer to a large bowl and add, milk, honey, egg, vanilla and whisk until smooth. Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda and sugar and whisk until smooth. Divide the mixture between 12 x 12 cup capacity lightly greased mini loaf tins. Cook for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Place the remaining butter in a small frying pan over high heat and stir until melted. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until foamy and golden brown. Add lemon thyme and spoon warm butter over the cakes to serve.

Three Milk Cake.

Three Milk Cake.

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There’s little to discuss when it comes to this magnificent cake by Donna Hay.

It’s made from coconut, banana and condensed milk.

The End.

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Ingredients
80g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (220g) caster (superfine) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe banana (approximately 3 small bananas)
1½ cups (225g) self-raising (self-rising) flour
1 cup (250ml) coconut milk
1 cup (250ml) milk
395g can condensed milk
2 cups (500ml) single (pouring) cream
½ cup (25g) coconut flakes, toasted

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Method

Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F). Place the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 6–8 minutes or until pale and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the banana and flour and beat on low speed until just combined.

Spoon the mixture into a lightly greased 22cm springform cake tin lined with non-stick baking paper and cook for 45–50 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool completely in the tin.

Using a skewer, make holes all over the top of the cake. Place the milks in a large jug and whisk well to combine. Place the cake tin on a baking tray to catch any leaks, and gradually pour the milk mixture all over the cake. Refrigerate for 2–3 hours or until the milk mixture has been absorbed.

Remove the cake from the tin and place on a plate. Place the cream in a bowl of an electric mixer and whisk until soft peaks form. Top the cake with the cream and sprinkle with the coconut flakes to serve. Serves 8.

Recipe by my Baking North, Donna Hay.