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One of the great joys of having backyard eggs is being able to make marshmallows from scratch.

Homemade marshmallows are completely different in texture to bought ones – they’re soft, pillowy and very moreish. I wrote a detailed tutorial on making marshmallows four years ago, but this was our first (and second) attempt at making flavoured ones.

We made a concentrated coulis by cooking a cup of frozen raspberries in a little water, then pushing the pulp through a sieve to remove the seeds. We then reduced it down even further until we were left with just a few spoonfuls of thick fruity redness…

We used the raspberry concentrate in place of vanilla, but otherwise followed our original recipe exactly. Surprisingly, the fruit added only the lightest tint of pink and a subtle raspberry flavour…

Two egg whites produced a mountain of marshmallows! I was planning to make rocky road with them, but we (and the neighbours) have just been eating them straight…

Emboldened by our success, we decided to try passionfruit marshmallows next. We bought a small tin of passionfruit pulp (our backyard vine isn’t producing fruit yet, but it is flowering)…

As with the raspberries, the syrup and pulp were strained, then cooked down in a small saucepan to form a thick, jammy concentrate…

The passionfruit marshmallows were absolutely divine, with a strong tangy flavour…

If you’ve never made marshmallows at home, I’d definitely recommend giving them a go. Remember to start with the freshest eggs you can find!

Little gifts of homemade chocolates are the perfect way to say “thank you”.

Our lives are filled with wonderful people – it’s nice to be able to let them know that we appreciate them. In all those situations where a bought gift might seem weird, a small selection of handcrafted chocolates is often just right. It’s affordable, consumable and doesn’t impose any obligation on the giftee to reciprocate!

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 Thank you for always delivering my parcels on time…

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Thank you for teaching me how to pipe buttercream roses…

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Thank you for always providing such cheerful service…

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Thank you for being the best neighbours ever

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Thank you for lending me a free courtesy car
while mine was being serviced…

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Thank you for being an adorable Viking…

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If you’d like to make your own chocolate treats, you might be interested in our tempering tutorial. It’s a great skill to have up your sleeve!

Rino Saffioti makes the best chocolate sorbet in Sydney.

Cow and the Moon were recently named the world’s best gelato makers, but nothing beats Rino’s chocolate sorbet. And because I’m a demanding pain-in-the-butt, they very kindly top it with homemade chocolate shavings and caramelised Piedmont hazelnuts for me…

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Baby M is the cutest little girl in the world.

She sat on our driveway and tried to make bubbles last week, by blowing through her nose…

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Baked goods improve exam performance. Chocolate helps too.

I’ve been baking and tempering for our young friends Rory and Alex as they study for their end of school exams. They assure me that it’s helping…

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Luca is going to be a famous fashion designer one day.

I gave him some Sheridan sheeting scraps I’d found at Reverse Garbage years ago, and he turned them into this shirt…

Note the perfectly straight stripes!

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There IS such a thing as a free lobster.

Two, in fact. My neighbour Liz ran out of freezer space and gave me her Costco lobsters. We made speedy mayo and Cuban bread today and enjoyed them for lunch…

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Life is always brighter with a new enthusiasm.

This month I’ve been learning to pipe buttercream flowers. This is my second attempt at hydrangeas following Rosie Cake-Diva’s YouTube tutorial

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Practice makes better.

Not perfect, but better. I’m still working on my roses…

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 Rocky Road should be made with dark chocolate.

This batch also had roasted hazelnuts, cranberries, glace ginger and marshmallows…

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What bold statements are you making today?

Did any of you read the title of this post and think of bagpipes? No? Sometimes I worry about the way my brain works…

Anyway…remember the rubbish attempt I made at cake decorating recently when I ended up with a volcano? Not just any volcano either, as my husband very kindly pointed out, but a “school science experiment one”.

So I decided I needed practice. I spoke to my wonderful friend Dotti who told me to start with a Wilton 1M piping nozzle and buttercream roses. A quick visit to Iced Affair (fabulous shop in Camperdown – Lorraine wrote about them here) and I had two tips (1M and 1F) and some primary gel colours…

Now I’m not a fan of cupcakes, but I figured they were the best foil for my fledgling attempts with a piping bag, so on the weekend I baked 31 of them. The first batch were made using our yoghurt cake recipe

I found Rosie Cake-Diva’s fabulous tutorials on YouTube, including this one for buttercream…

 

It uses…

  • 250g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 500g sifted icing sugar mixture (confectioner’s sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

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I watched her tutorial on buttercream roses three times before attempting them…

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Two-tone roses were probably a bit ambitious to start with, and I did end up with frosting everywhere. Nonetheless, after a few attempts, I was able to make this…

The 1F nozzle was great fun to play with…

The following day, I made chocolate cupcakes. The frosting on these didn’t hold up nearly as well for piping, but it was good practice nonetheless!

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t really like cupcakes, but thankfully the neighbours were happy to eat most of them. I still haven’t figured out how to prevent the edges of the roses from going raggedy – can anyone give me advice on that? Thanks! ♥

Inspired by Jamie Oliver’s new series Comfort Food, we made burgers for dinner last week (his original recipe is here). We made a simpler version, omitting the mustard and bacon.

A couple of notes:

The brioche buns were a riff on our sweet dough recipe – I halved the sugar and used lard in place of the butter to give them a more savoury note. They were shaped into twelve rolls, flattened slightly, then spritzed with water and topped with sesame seeds before baking. Here’s the revised ingredients list, instructions are here:

  • 1kg bread/bakers flour
  • 20g dried/instant yeast
  • 14g fine sea salt
  • 40g caster (superfine) sugar
  • 120g lard
  • 4 large (59g) eggs
  • 500g full cream milk, at blood temperature, or UHT milk, unrefrigerated

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For the sauce, we blitzed together a half batch of speedy mayo with a chipotle chilli (in adobo), a little Worcestershire sauce and a couple of tablespoons of semi-dried tomatoes in oil. This was mixed with chopped garden lettuce and spread over the buns under the patties.

Best burgers we’ve ever made! We’re really enjoying both the tv series and the Comfort Food cookbook. I only wish Jamie would release his cookbooks in Kindle format!

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