Sunday, July 28, 2013

A very clean oven and roasted vegetable focaccia

I really don't like to clean which isn't a good thing when I love to cook. 
I do the basics all the time but my oven very rarely, one because I hate the fumes from oven cleaners and two, it requires you to turn off your oven...

So when the lovely people from Oven Express offered to clean it for me I was overjoyed.
And they use eco-friendly non harmful-methods which mean it doesn't smell and you can use your oven straight away- how good is that?!

So I've included a few before and after shots of my oven.

So what to cook in my sparkling oven - well I decided to cook my favourite thing to bake - bread.

Miss E recently did another holiday class at Brasserie Bread and came home with some delicious roasted vegetable focaccia. 
It was an absolute winner and will be baked many times to come.
The recipe/method for the bread can be found at Crunchy Tiger.

If you have not baked bread at home I really encourage you to try.
So simple - yeast, flour, oil, water, salt.

Knead for two minutes, rest for two minutes. Repeat about five or six times.

You then rest the dough in the fridge.

Miss E shaped the dough for me with oiled fingers and then topped with the roasted vegetables.

After proving into the oven it goes. 
Its quite exciting to be able to see through my oven door ;)

I am still amazed at my clean and beautiful oven. 
Oven Express did an excellent job, make sure you check out their website or facebook.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Chocolate Honeycomb Snaps - The Sweet Swap

When I signed up for The Sweet Swap I was conjuring up in my mind incredible sweet creations reminiscent of my childhood reading the fantasy world of The Magic Faraway Tree...

I wanted shortbread, toffee, chocolate, honeycomb, meringue....

But the week of baking began and somehow I just started creating as I went along - hence my Chocolate Honeycomb Snaps were born - and wow I was not disappointed.
These little bites of deliciousness are crispy, sweet, salty and leave you wanting more.

They may seem complicated but when you break it down into its components it is really simple.
To make the shortbread you combine flour, rice flour, sugar and butter until a dough forms.

Combine your cocoa into half of the dough.

Roll the doughs out and cut into a rectangle shape.

Take your salted honeycomb (recipe at the end) and process until a powder.

It is pure gold.

Generously sprinkle a layer of honeycomb powder over the dough. 

Top with the alternate dough and sprinkle again with honeycomb powder

Carefully roll up.

After chilling in the fridge cut your roll into slices.

Place on lined baking tray leaving plenty of space.

Transfer to a cooling rack.

Drizzle with a little dark melted chocolate.

Last but not least it was such a delight to package these beauties and post off to my three Sweet Swap Matches - The Hangry Bitch, Voracious Vander and The Random Foodie.

 A huge thank you to Belly Rumbles and Chewtown for hosting such a great event where all the bloggers were able to share our love of baking and also to help some of the greatest people in need, providing banana shoots for families in Uganda.

But of course I cannot leave you without sharing the wonderful sweets I in turn received in the post.

Nutty BonBons from One Small Pot

Macadamia Toffee Crisps from Apricot Tart

Chablis Hearts from Flame Tree Flowers

Chocolate Honeycomb Snaps
(makes 50)

Salted Honeycomb Powder

100g caster sugar (I use raw)
50g honey
30g water
1/2 teaspoon salt (I used crushed pink salt)
1/2 teaspoon bi-carb soda

Line a shoe box with baking paper, ready to pour the honeycomb into (Zumbo tip!).
Combine sugar, honey and water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stir to dissolve and then bring to a boil until 150 degreesC. Take off heat and whisk in the salt followed quickly by the bi-carb. 
Pour into box and allow to cool completely.
Break into pieces and process until a powder.

Shortbread (plain and chocolate)

1 cup plain flour
1 tbsp rice flour
125g butter
1/4 cup caster sugar (I use raw)
1 tbsp cocoa
50g dark chocolate

Combine the flours, butter and sugar until a dough forms.
Divide the dough in two, set one aside and incorporate the cocoa into the other.
Roll out the doughs between grease proof papers until about 2-3 mm thick. 
Using a rectangle template (I a used a sturdy flyer covered in foil - 10cmx21cm) cut out shape.

Carefully spread out an even layer of honeycomb powder on the rolled out plain dough,
layer on the piece of rolled out chocolate dough, and carefully spread another even layer of honeycomb powder.
Carefully roll up. 
(You should be able to make two rolls.)
Place in fridge for about 15 minutes and preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius.
Cut into slices (4-5mm) and place on lined baking tray.
Bake for 25 minutes.
Leave on tray for a couple of minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.
Melt dark chocolate in a ceramic bowl over a saucepan of simmered water. 
Put in a ziplock bag while hot and let cool for a few minutes so its not so runny and more controllable to pipe. 
Cut a very small corner of the bag and drizzle over the cooled snaps.