Sunday, October 28, 2012

Butter Popcorn Ice Cream with Salted Caramel

ICE CREAM! So my awesome friends got me an ice cream maker for my birthday, amongst other things including cookbooks! Yay. So naturally, immediately after getting it I had to make ice cream, so after contemplating what I should made, I decided – well I didn’t keep my promise about making salted caramel cupcakes, I’ll do the next best thing: Make salted caramel ice cream with popcorn, even better.

Oh & my social media adventure is soon coming to an end, I’ll be presenting it this week – so no more annoying Twitter tweets and Facebook updates from me, however I’ve been wondering what I should do with this blog. I’ve really enjoyed working on it – it gives me an excuse to make and bake at least once a week, which is something I absolutely love doing – but normally never do because I’m LAZY. So since receiving those cookbooks from my friends, I’ve decided that I’ll keep the blog up and following the red cooking book, completing each and every recipe, one by one. However, I think I’ll switch over to Blogger – Posterous is annoying as heck and I’m only using it because that was what was required by the assignment outline.

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Butter Popcorn Ice Cream
(makes 1 Litre)

Ingredients 
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 bag of butter popcorn
1 1/2 cup full cream milk
1 1/2 cup thickened cream
6 egg yolks
Method
  1. To infuse the butter popcorn, combine the milk, cream and popcorn in a pot and bring to medium heat for about 10 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to boil.
  2. After approximately the 10 minute mark, remove the pot of the heat, place the lid on and allow the mixture to sit for about 30 minutes.
  3. In the mean time, beat the egg yolks and then sprinkle in the sugar. Mix for about 5 to 10 minutes until the mixture goes significantly paler
  4. Whisk egg yolks and sugar together until light and fluffy
  5. Once the milk, cream and popcorn mixture has infused, strain out the popcorn. Pour the strained infused popcorn milk and cream mixture into the pale egg yolks and sugar
  6. Pour the above combined mixtures back into a pot; place it onto the stove at medium heat. Continuously stir the mixture otherwise it will curdle. The custard is ready once it coats the back of a spoon without running off. This should take about 10 minutes.
  7. Once its done, let it cool or sit in the fridge or about 2 hours
  8. Pour the chilled custard into a ice cream machine and let it run for 10 to 20 minutes. Otherwise, if you do not have an ice cream machine, place the custard into the freezer and stir with a fork every 1 to 2 hours.   
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Infusing milk and popcorn
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Custard Ready 
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Custard Not Yet Ready 
Salted Caramel
Ingredients 
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Method
Prepare a baking tray by lightly oiling it before cooking the sugar. Sugar can turn from caramel to burn stuff real quick, hence having everything ready will make life a heap easier 
  1. In a medium pot or saucepan, spread the sugar evenly within the pot and cook over a low heat. Do not stir just let it slowly melt, occasionally scrap the sugars that flick with the side down
  2. Once all the sugar has dissolved and the caramel begins to brown, smoke and slightly smell, immediately sprinkle in the salt
  3. Pour the caramel onto the prepared baking tray and tilt the tray immediately to allow the caramel to thinly spread across the tray
  4. Allow the caramel to cool for about 10 to 20 minutes, and then smash it up to little pieces in a plastic bag
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Caramel ready to add salt
Notes
If your ice cream becomes too hard and uncommerical ice cream like, add a little bit of vodka, as it doesn't freeze, it will help the ice cream stay nice and soft. You won't be able to taste it
If its not hard enough after churning in the ice cream maker, place it in the freezer for a couple of hours

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Churning the ice cream :)
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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Yay more homemade stuff, why? Not cos I like being hippie, environmental friendly or health conscious, rather its easy, CHEAP! & you can proudly say “yeah, you know, I made that!”

So recently, whilst surfing the net I discovered that you can make vanilla extract – amazing, never buying them again, its bloody expensive, something like $10 for 200mls! AND! The best part is its super mega easy, as in only 2 ingredients easy, no physical cooking required.


Vanilla Extract


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Ingredients
Vanilla pods
Vodka

Method

Clean all cooking utensils and the jar well with hot water
  1. Obtain a sealable glass jar 
  2. Fill the glass jar with vodka
  3. Split the vanilla bean down the side with a knife and scrape out the seeds
  4. Place the vanilla seeds and the vanilla pods into the jar with vodka
  5. Seal the glass jars, shake it a couple of times and place it in a dark area
  6. Shake the jar once a week
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Left: Vanilla pod split in half & seeds scraped out Right: Vanilla pod split in half  
The stronger you want the infusion the longer you should leave it. I made mine about 1 month ago, I’m planning to infuse them for 6 months or so. Also, I purchased my vanilla pods online from eBay, way cheaper then purchasing it from the supermarkets, I think Woolies sells them for like 4 for $7, where as online I got mine for about $1 each from France, took a bit of time to get here cos it was checked by Customs. Vodka wise, most people say purchase good quality stuff, I just got the cheapest one I could find from Dan Murphy. And heres a great gift idea, I grabbed these from that shop next to Satang Thai thats having the moving sale. Would make a perfect present for anyone who likes cooking or baking  

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Homemade Dulce De Leche

Everyone always talks about how amazing dulce de leche is, talking about eating it straight out of the jar in spoon fulls etcetc, personally I've never tried it- nevertheless I’ll probably love it, it’s made from condensed milk, so naturally it must be incredible!

So any Australian would know that you can’t just waltz out to the supermarket and pick up some pre made (pretty much anything) like they can in Europe or the United States, sadly we have to hunt out specialty stores, order online or make it ourselves. Since I’ve never tried it and I'm sick of missing out, I figured wouldn’t hurt to make some at home J Plus its dead easy, all you need is condensed milk, a pot and some water.


Dulce De Leche


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Ingredients
Condensed milk

Method

  1. Pill the labels off the condensed milk tin
  2. Make a small opening on the lid of the tin (Just poke a tiny hole with a pin or the tip of a knife, I made the mistake of making a slightly bigger incision in one of the cans, didn't turn out too well), this ensures that the pressure doesn’t build up too much and cause an explosion  
  3. Place the tin into a pot, fill the pot with water up to about 1/2 of the tin
  4. Bring the pot to the boil and allow the tins to simmer for 2-3hours, the thicker you want it the longer you need to leave it, some recipes even call for 4hours. (Don't close the lid). Note! Be sure to check the pot every 20mins or so, if the water falls below 1/3 be sure to refill the water
  5. Once complete, remove the tin from the pot of water and allow it to completely cool, about 1hour
Ta Da! Now you have dulce de leche to enjoy or use for cooking! Yay! 

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Monday, October 08, 2012

Homemade Sprinkles

Who knew you could make so many different cake decorations at home. Not only is it a tonne cheaper but it also means you can make any colour you like and add different taste and flavours and its super easy. And if you want to be hippie - its also "healthier"  

Sprinkles 


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Ingredients
1 cup powdered sugar  
1 teaspoon of food flavouring
1 teaspoon of food colouring
1 egg white
a pinch of salt

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Heres the pipping tip that I used Ateco #134 Musical Staff there is also Ateco #89 which has three nozzles, otherwise you can use a fine single tip
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And heres my makeshift piping bag

Method
  1. Sift the powdered sugar well: This ensures that you don’t get lumps, which will make pipping a pain
  2. Combine the egg whites and powdered sugar either with a whisk or electric beater
  3. Mix in the food flavouring and colouring
  4. Pipe the mixture onto some baking paper and leave to set overnight (24hours)
  5. Once the piped sprinkles have hardened, scrap the sprinkles off the baking paper with a spatula
  6. Either break the sprinkles into shorter pieces by hand or knife
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Still wet sprinkles
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Sprinkles after 24hours

The green ones didn't turn out as well, as you can see - the pink ones were less runny as I added a little bit of cornstarch to thickened the mixture. Now you will never need to go to Woolies again to make your cupcakes and cakes all pretty. :)

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Monday, October 01, 2012

Melbourne

So the past week was my midsemester break – for the first time ever in my 3 years of university, I actually did something productive with my time, normally I spend my VC week’s lazing around at home, watching TV, surfing the net, hanging out with friends and family and  ‘catching up’ on work – nah never happened.

So this time because apparently I have the travel bug, according to my mum, I booked a trip to Melbourne about 2 weeks before hand, its been a while since I’ve been to Melbourne and every trip to Melbourne has always been a 2-3 day stop over, once during a trip to Adelaide and more recently a couple of years back during a Tasmania trip. 

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So fives days in Melbourne – most of it was spent focused on food – sugary, colourful, food candy and anything absolutely bad for you. Also spent some time shopping because well its Melbourne, right? & My sister is a total shopaholic!

Macarons that I managed to bring home :) The small yellow box of macarons are limited edition moon cake macarons from Luxbite for spending over $50 this weekend, however since I was from Sydney, they let me have some on Thursday anyways. 


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LuxBite

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Awesome desserts and macaron café in South Yarra – about a 5minute tram trip from the CBD. I ended up getting 16 macarons – one of each flavour & four desserts ^_^

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The macarons were AWESOME! The desserts however were a little too sweet for my likings – but I’m totally picky when it comes to desserts. However I really liked the massive chocolate macaron – it was like eating a giant Ferrero Rocher. The caramel one was super mega sweet – my sister and I ended up giving up on it, but the two mini macarons on top were beyond amazing. The meringuie looking one was watermelony, I normally absolutely love watermelon but this was a little on the more artificial tasting type – nevertheless still fine. & We also had the lychee strawberry massive macaron which was nice too. 

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Top Row
Oreo | Lemon, Ginger & Pineapple | Kaya Toast | Heilala Vanilla Crème Brulee | Mandarin Jaffa | Sour Strawberry | Watermelon | Rose & Lychee
Bottom Row 
Ribena Lemonade | Pandan | Green Tea Pistachio | Coffee Candy Kopiko | Salted Caramel | Peanut Butter & Jelly | Hazelnut | Bamboo Oolong Tea

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Burch & Purchese
So this place is also in South Yarra – in the opposite direction to Luxbite. The chef was apparently on Masterchef a couple of times or something and my sister swears that she recognised one of the cooks as a past Masterchef contestant – but however with my terrible eye sight and memory, I couldn’t confirm – lol. 


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Open Kitchen 
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Chocolate Penguins
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Chocolate Marshmallow Lollipops
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Chocolate Art - Completely Made from Chocolate!
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Ingredients Wall
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I ended up buying the two cups – one was a Gin & Tonic and the other was a Mango, Coconut and Ginger. My sister got the Salted Caramel Mandarin Dark Chocolate, which was apparently their 2011 best seller and the winner of some Melbourne food prize award. I also purchased the above two jars, only to realise the night before flying back that chocolate spreads and jams are considered a liquid! So I had to hike out on the Saturday and find a post office to spend them home to myself – so $20s later & I have to wait until Wednesday before I can try any! Ohh and and poping candy ice cream. 

Le Belle Miette

By far the prettiest macaron shop I’ve been too, look how perfect every single macaron is, and those pretty pastel colours ^_^  

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72% Cocoa Single Origin Chocolate (Venezuela) ‘Bastille’ – Moet et Chandon and Blackcurrant | Caramel a la Fleur de Sel | Cherry Blossom & Sake | Mariage Freres Earl Grey Chocolate | Hazelnut Belle Miette | Lavender | Lemon | Mango & Coconut | Passionfruit Chocolate | Pimm’s & Pomegranate | Pistachio | Raspberry | Raspberry Chocolate | Rose | Strawberry & Vanilla | Vanilla | Violet & Blueberry

Ganache

So this place wasn't actually on my list of places to go, however stumbled across it on the second day and I just had to get a couple of things. Ended up buying a couple of macarons and a pear caramel cake, totally yummy. 

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Passionfruit  | Lavender | Chai | Hazelnut | Salted Caramel 
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Lord of the Fries
This place was about a 2minute walk from our hotel - so practically any time that we were hungry and couldn't be bothered, we ended up here :) There was poutine which is a fancy Canadian term for cheese and gravy on chips. Yum yum ^^. This place also had a whole bunch of veggie burgers too *yay*

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Oriental Tea House 
Yum Cha
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Pot Tails: Cocktails in a teapot - this one tasted like a pina colada, I was hoping for something more melonie & green since it had Midori in it.
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Chocolate Dumpings! - White & Milk Chocolate 
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Queen Victoria Market
Their markets are aboslutely massive compared to Sydney's. And look at all that pretty fresh food - ended up buying a 1/4 of a block of brie cheese for my parents. 

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