I like food, writing, food, boys, naps, cooking and having people cook for me.
I'm going to see if I can put them all in the same place!
If asked where to eat, I'm usually about 20 minutes into an excited rant when the harrassed inquirer says: 'you should do a food blog'. I think it's a bit of a line to shut me up. Either way, I'm excited to be doing it.
Most recently it was my Zia Luisa over Christmas. She was up visiting from Melbourne with my Uncle Pete, and I kept rambling about how Brisbane really does have great food now and they really have to go to this and that place. She told me to start a food blog.
So, Zia, here it is.
Update: Recipe of the featured picture has been requested!
Espresso Super Dark Brilliant Adult's Caramel Slice
Take this basic caramel slice recipe from taste.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 3cm deep, 28 x 18cm (base) lamington pan.
Combine all base ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Press into prepared lamington pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until light golden. Remove from oven. Cool.
Make filling: Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, whisking, for 8 minutes or until golden. Pour over cooked base. Bake for 12 minutes or until firm. Cool completely. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours, or until set.
Make topping: Place copha and chocolate into a heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until melted. Pour over caramel. Refrigerate to set. Cut into squares to serve.
Now, we pimp it.
Chocolate should be GOOD. Not 'cooking chocolate'. 85% Lindt 100g blocks are my top pick or 70% if you're not that hardcore. Generally it should be whatever type of chocolate you enjoy eating.
Copha is for chumps. That is some hydrogenated, trans fat lard. Use unrefined coconut oil, as that is what copha is made from, and it's delicious. Other oils may suffice, but coconut oil or copha work best. (I have used copha, but i'm just guilted into thinking it will kill me. It probably won't in these doses.) UPDATE OCTOBER 2017: Ok so I was a little melodramatic - copha in those quantities is obviously totally fine but then what do you do with the rest of it?! Have successfully used macadamia oil many times also. Olive oil can be fine but if it's too fruity you can smell it.
Espresso. If you have a french press, moka pot, espresso machine, pull down a ristretto or a half shot of the strongest coffee you can make at home. If you don't, go to a cafe an ask for a short black or an espresso to takeaway.
Cook the base until it is dark caramel. Not burnt, but not blonde. The longer the brown sugar can caramelise, the better texture/chewiness/toffeeness the finished product will have. This can not be overstated. Blonde bases make for boring caramel slice. The one pictured was too blond in the middle, so only the edge bits were as glorious as they should be.
This recipe can be made gluten free easily by switching out the wheat flour for gf plain flour.
Chuck your espresso shot into a saucepan and cook down over a low heat unti it reduced by half. Then put in your condensed milk, butter and golden syrup. That is some sexy saucepan you got there. Welcome to espresso caramel. Thank me later. Also, whisk it constantly while it's over heat otherwise it may curdle or stick to the bottom of the pan and then you'll have to strain it on to the base. I honestly barely cook the caramel mixture in the saucepan because that happens all too often. So, I stir everything, make sure it's well mixed, then pour on to the base and make up for the cooking time in the oven. The longer the caramel can cook in the oven without burning, the better.
Make sure the base really is cool (I've stuffed that one up) before you hit it with the hot caramel out of the saucepan. Then cook it until it is set, and maybe a bit bubbly. A dark colour is not a bad thing, but get to know the difference between 'French' and 'burnt'.
When the top two layers are cool (you can do the bottom and middle layers in the freezer), pour the melted chocolate/oil mixture on top and tip the tin around until it's all covered.
Set the CHOCOLATE LAYER of the slice in the fridge, not the freezer as the sudden drop in temperature will/can cause the top to crack. Which is rustic but not as sexy.
In saying that, once that slice is set and all beautiful, you can keep it in the freezer. It's chewy, rich, dark, mysterious, and not that sickenly sweet-on-sweet-on-sweet you often get with caramel slice. It has personality.
Great with coffee. Great with liquer. Great for dessert. Great for breakfast.