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dessert

Interview with a Pastry Chef: Anna Polyviou

Articles September 10, 2013

Some of you may remember not too long ago I interviewed Matthew McCool, head chef of Altitude Restaurant of the Shangri La. I found it very interesting to have a glimpse of what it’s like to work professionally with one of my great passions – food. So when the opportunity to interview the incredibly talented Anna Polyviou, Executive Pastry Chef at the Shangri-La in Sydney, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity!

As many bloggers do, I absolutely love baking – especially baking sweet treats. While I’m not sure if I would suit the pastry chef occupation, I do know of some friends who are interested in breaking into that field. I mean who could blame them – creating sweet treats that everyone loves definitely seems like a dream job!

So, let’s dive into the world of pastry with the legend herself – Anna Polyviou!


Anna Polyviou – Executive Pastry Chef at Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney

Tell us a little bit about your journey to becoming the pastry chef you are today. Would love to hear about what inspired you to choose this profession and any favourite childhood memories you have about baking!
I kick-started my career in cooking at Hotel Sofitel Melbourne, where my only interest were the flashing lights at clubs; dancing and having fun. Then I was asked to enter a competition in pastry because the team of four required a pastry chef and they needed an apprentice. I was a kitchen chef and had no idea about cooking anything sweet. So I trained so I wouldn’t let my team down and the more I got involved in pastry, the more I loved it. Things turned around and I found my love for pastry!

I stayed at Sofitel and finished my apprenticeship. I was then awarded the title of best apprentice in the Hotel, which led to winning the Les Toque competition for best apprentice within Victoria which got me a scholarship to London. There, I worked at Claridges hotel in London along with doing University in Culinary Arts in pastry. I won gold in different culinary competitions and won best dessert in the UK which gave me an opportunity to go work in Paris with Pierre Herme. I then returned to Australia and did another competition for best plated chocolate dessert, won that and got a trip to Chicago to do training. I was at Bathers Pavilion for five years as the pastry chef there, which was a great stage of my career. I’ve been involved in cookbooks, judging, writing for magazines and I am also the founder of the Sydney Pastry Club.

I love how food brings people together along with emotions that flow within the room after eating and tasting different items. During my childhood, my family was forever cooking and the aromas that traveled within the house are indescribable. We have such great memories.

Do you have any pastry chef heroes?
My friends within the industry are my heroes. I admire the people I know because I have seen their work and their passion firsthand. I admire Kirsten Tibballs and have seen her build her business from the bottom up, even Adriano Zumbo from the small shop till now. I’ve seen friends on TV and the way they make an impact on the foodie industry. Julie Sharpe is my HERO, because when no one believed in me or wanted to give me a chance, she did.

Tell us a little about your favourite dessert!
I have a huge problem (in a good way) with custard desserts and also ice-cream. I’m starting to think I have an addiction with ice-cream with chunky bits and caramel flavored products. I like creating complicated desserts but I love eating simple- especially home baked goods.

Do you have any guilty pleasure baking reality TV shows that you like to watch?
I love watching anything on television that involves food, especially when it’s my friends doing the cooking. I get very proud of them and love to brag on their behalf to anyone who will listen.

What’s your favourite kitchen utensil?
I love the KitchenAid ProLine stand mixer. Mine is candy apple red! It’s 6.9litres litres with all the attachments. It looks sexy and works amazing, I take it everywhere; from demos at Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney to my friend’s houses when I go over to cook for them.

What is the most difficult ingredient you’ve ever had to work with?
I really struggle creating desserts with grapes and melons along with different Asian ingredients such as Green Tea/mocha because if you infuse it too much or under infuse, you don’t get the flavour you want. I’m willing to play around with melons and grapes a bit more, it just takes practice.

How about a favourite ingredient to work with?
Vanilla for sure, especially Heilala vanilla. It’s vanilla from Tonga and the money goes back into the community and supporting the local people. This product comes in extracts, syrups, organic sugar, paste and my most favourite is the vanilla beans. It’s a natural product that can complement any dish.

What tips could you give our readers that are interested in becoming a pastry chef and breaking into the industry?
I’d say take your time to learn instead of trying to be a superstar right away. If you can, work in places where you can learn from people that share the same interests as you. Most importantly – stay humble and be respectful to people and to yourself.

Best perk of the job?
The main perks for me is that I get to do my hobby every day and am able to influence someone’s emotions. I love getting people excited about what I create. I also get to travel a bit overseas and do fun things like recipe development for cookbooks.

Any tips for us at-home bakers?
My tips for home bakers is to invite me over so I can eat what they have created and they can teach me! My favourite baked goods are created at home. Make sure to:

• Pass on the knowledge and passion

• Use good quality food ingredients

• And most importantly – use Australian seasonal produce and fruit.

 

Finally, Anna has shared one of her wonderful recipes with us for her “Passion-ate about Yellow”. Thank you to Anna for sharing such a beautiful recipe!

Passion-ate about Yellow

Passionfruit Posset
500ml cream
200gm caster sugar
60ml passionfruit juice

In a medium to large pot bring the cream and sugar to the boil.
Once there boil for 4 minutes.
After the 4 minutes are up whisk in the passionfruit juice and bring to the boil again and boil for 4 minutes.
Take off the heat and fill moulds or glasses.

Pineapple and Champagne Jelly
175gm pineapple puree
110ml water
50gm sugar
10gm gelatine, softened
100ml Champagne

Bring the puree, sugar and water to the boil and whisk in the soften gelatine.
Strain and allow to cool, stir in champagne.

Ginger Microwave sponge
100gm Eggs
5gm Egg Yolk
40gm Caster Sugar
50gm White Chocolate, melted
10gm Plain Flour 12%, sifted
5gm Ground Ginger

In an electric mixer bowl whisk the eggs, yolk and sugar until light and fluffy.
When ready add the chocolate in on a medium heat but only just combine.
Take off and fold in the flour and ginger.
Make a small slice at the bottom of a paper cup and fill half way with the sponge mix.
Place into the microwave and cook for 40 seconds it may need another 10 seconds.
Cut down the side of the cup with scissors to remove the sponge and reserve until needed.

Mango and Passionfruit Sorbet
400ml Water
70gm Glucose
10gm Stabilizer
350gm Sugar
500gm Mango Puree
350ml Passionfruit juice

Mix the sugar and stabilizer place in a saucepot and add the glucose and water.
Bring to the boil and once there, pour over the puree and juice.
Strain and allow to cool.
(If you don’t have the ice-cream machine I highly recommend pure gelato to use mango sorbet is light fresh and very tasty).

 

 

I also had the chance to visit the Shangri-La to sample Anna’s high tea that is on at the Shangri-La at the moment (and also got a sneak peek into Anna’s magical kitchen!) and will be posting about this on the blog very soon – watch this space!

Thanks to Jessica Somers-Haggie for helping to arrange this interview with Anna.

Wanna keep in touch? Why not like me on Facebook by clicking here, or follow me on Twitter by clicking here 🙂

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Mooberry, Newtown

Reviews August 25, 2013

Some of you may know that as a 19 year old, one of my career stints included a two month long job at Max Brenner’s. I only lasted there about eight weeks (for reasons I won’t write about here) but I must admit I do still miss working in a chocolatey environment. Not to mention having access to the best waffles I have ever tasted! After I finished up at MB’s, I searched high and low for waffles as good as the type they sold there, so I could get my waffley fix. All of the varieties I found at supermarkets paled in comparison but fortunately MB’s started selling their super waffles in store for addicts (like moi) to get a hit now and then for my favourite kind of indulgent breakfast!

Fortunately for me, I think I’ve found another place to get my waffle fix! That place is Mooberry in Newtown, the new dessert kid on the block that not only does froyo but a range of other fantastic desserts which is great if you’re dining with a group of people and nobody can decide exactly what to get!

Mooberry Belgian Waffles (Two for $17.90)
Warm Belgian waffles drizzled with melted chocolate and froyo with two regular toppings.

I never would have thought to pair waffles, chocolate and froyo, as I never really thought of yoghurt and waffles as a matching combination. However, I was surprised at how well these two worked quite together, especially with the coffee flavour mixing so well with the chocolate. In fact, I think I actually prefer the froyo to ice-cream (which I normally get waffles and melted chocolate with), as the tangyness from the froyo cuts through the richness of the melted chocolate better than ice cream. I really loved the waffles they served at Mooberry’s, they have that rich buttery flavour and fantastic crispness that I grew to love while working at Max Brenner’s.


Coconut froyo drizzled with melted chocolate

Oh man, this was definitely my fave combination of the night. Melted milk chocolate and coconut froyo tasted like an ice-creamy bounty bar but better! This made me leave wishing all froyo bars did melted chocolate toppings! I really enjoyed the subtle flavour of the coconut with the melted chocolate forming a ‘ice-magic’ style topping as it hardened on the cold froyo. YUM!


Watermelon froyo with gaytime crumbs

I am a huge sucker for all things melon-flavoured, (rockmelon being one of my all-time fave fruits) and love ordering melon smoothies, milkshakes and ice cream whenever the opportunity presents itself! This watermelon flavoured froyo did not disappoint and I really enjoyed the gaytime crumbs – however I think next time I would prefer this particular topping with a more creamy, chocolatey flavour rather than a fruity one.


Mango Passion, $6.00
Mango, Passionfruit and Original Froyo

This smoothie was so super thick and creamy, with a strong flavour of mango and passionfruit. It was so good, I found myself craving it a second time the very next day. If only Mooberry was closer to where I lived, otherwise I might find myself ordering smoothies every other day! They had a good selection of other smoothie flavours that I would love to try including “Lychee Love” (lychee, raspberry and coconut froyo). How good does that sound??


Dark chocolate souffle with melted chocolate, fruit and froyo, $10.00
Warm souffle with a melted chocolate centre with froyo and two regular toppings
I really enjoyed my visit to Mooberry and would highly recommend it as a dessert spot when dining out with chums in Newtown. It has plenty of options from froyo, churros souffles, to waffles with melted chocolate as well as coffees and hot chocolates to suit a variety of tastes. I will definitely be back, especially for those fantastic smoothie flavours and thumbs up for having great waffles – you have my waffley stamp of approval!

One thing I will note (for allergy sufferers) is that Mooberry might be a difficult spot to visit if you suffer from milk or lactose allergy. Their waffles contain no dairy products (as confirmed by staff on the evening I visited), although of course they contain gluten (and the melted chocolate they are served with contains dairy). If you’re gluten free, you can enjoy coffees, froyo, shots of melted chocolate and smoothies, but lactose sufferers might be best to stick with a coffee, or perhaps a waffle minus the chocolate.

MooBerry - Real Froyo and Smoothies on Urbanspoon

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Cooking Crusade dined as a guest of Mooberry, but the opinions in this post are my own.

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Raspberry and Coconut Marshmallow Slice

Recipes April 5, 2013

Hello from Tokyo!

I hope you are all doing well. What’s the weather like in Sydney? I’ve heard its been a bit rainy, so I hope you’ve all been keeping warm indoors! (and hopefully snuggling up to a hot chocolate.)

It’s been raining a little bit here but yesterday and today had the sun peeking out which gave me a good opportunity to check out some beautiful cherry blossoms around Tokyo.

While I’m over here, I thought I’d share a quick recipe I tried out not too long ago – something to help me satisfy my sugar cravings without using butter, cream, milk, yoghurt or wheat flour in a quick and easy recipe that doesn’t take long or use up a lot of ingredients (yep, that’s me!)

This is basically your marshmallow rice crispy slice, but I also used raspberry marshmallows and added some dessicated coconut for extra texture and flavour that I think turned out pretty well. I also managed to demolish the entire thing (shamefully without that much help) in a few days (so wrong but so right). I really love the chewy texture of the marshmallows and the crunch of the rice bubbles, especially with the raspberry and coconut flavour. Hope you enjoy this easy gluten and dairy free snack as much as I did!

Raspberry and Coconut Marshmallow Slice

Author: CookingCrusade.com

Serves: 6-8 people (depending on how many slices you want and how big you make them.)
Time to prepare: About 15 minutes to prep and 2-3 hours to set in the fridge

Raspberry and Marshmallow Slice

  • 250 grams raspberry and vanilla marshmallows (I used one bag of Pascall Marshmallows from Coles)
  • 3 tablespoons of butter (I used Nuttelex)
  • 1/2 cup of dessicated coconut
  • 4 cups of rice bubbles

Equipment needed: 1 medium size saucepan, wooden spoon, lined brownie/cake tin

Steps

  1. Melt together marshmallows and butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat and stir with a wooden spoon until there are no more marshmallowy lumps and the mixture is smooth.
  2. Add dessicated coconut and rice bubbles and stir until rice bubbles are thoroughly coated with the marshmallow mixture.
  3. Press rice bubble mixture into a lined brownie or medium size square (or round if you like) cake tin and refrigerate for two hours or until firm.
  4. Cut into pieces with a sharp knife and serve. Keep refrigerated. Enjoy!

 

While I’m here, I thought I’d share a few holiday snaps of our trip (some of which you may have seen on my Instagram or Facebook page.)

The cherry blossom season has been absolutely magnificent this year. I can’t get over these beautiful trees and have been going mad snapping photos of them!


A pretty pond at Shinjukugyoen




We discovered bunny cafes in Tokyo! Will definitely be posting more about this later! How cute are they!?

Hope you all had a wonderful chocolatey-stuffed Easter and are having a relaxing (and shorter!) week.

xox
C

Wanna keep in touch? Why not like me on Facebook by clicking here, or follow me on Twitter by clicking here 🙂

 

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Yogurberry, Epping

Reviews December 12, 2012

Yogurberry Epping entrance

For months, my workmates and I salivated in anticipation over the giant poster hung over a shop window announcing that frozen yoghurt would soon be a treat available in Epping. Coffee runs would soon be changed to froyo runs. Sipping hot liquids at my desk would become a thing of the past, instead replaced by gloriously creamy froyo in different flavours. Expectations were raised higher and higher, and complaints of “WHY isn’t it open yet??” grew more frequent. It all dissipated in a moment of shock and joy when, passing by Hothis for lunch, I realised Yogurberry. Was finally. Open.

Yogurberry Epping launch balloons

The first thing I did was call my workmate who had also been eyeing off the signs to screech “IT’S OPEN, IT’S FINALLY OPEN” and after lunch, finally descended on the magic that is Yogurberry. And as high as my expectations were, it did not disappoint.

They had an opening special of 50% off for a couple of days. Half-price froyo, how can you go wrong? Unless of course the froyo is cursed. Or contains potassium benzoate. Sorry, that’s a bad Simpsons joke.

I stood in line and picked out the smallest cup (which, by the way, is hilariously large). The thing I love the most about Yogurberry is that you pay by weight instead of by size. That means that I can get a GIANT serving if I want, or if I’m feeling a tad full from lunch, I can get a miniscule serving if I want. ALSO, I can get as many toppings as I want without worrying about a giant surcharge per topping as with normal ice cream / froyo places. So I basically have no reason to never get froyo! This is my perfect froyo dream!

Self-serve Yogurberry

Yogurberry toppings
So many toppings! They had everything from cocoa pops, corn flakes, shredded coconut, candied popcorn, chocolate chips, sprinkles, tim tams and a whole lot of fresh fruits and of course, pearls.

A completed Yogurberry

Since each serving varies in price (I believe its about 10c per 20g), a regular serving is about $5-6.00. This serving above was quite huge so cost about $8-9.00.

Of course, I had to try each flavour on my first go! And since it’s self serve, this was easy enough to do.

They had the following flavours available:

  • Taro
  • plain
  • mango
  • green tea
  • strawberry and chocolate

My flavour preferences in order are taro, strawberry, plain, green tea, chocolate and mango. All flavours were pretty good but I mostly stick with taro and strawberry on my return visits – they are too good!

I absolutely loved the lychee pearls to top with them. This was my first try of them and on every return I have basically gone nuts and put giant servings on each order I get. Basically a ‘would you like some froyo with your pearls?’-type situation, but they are amazing! Nothing like the sort of pearls you get from Easyway or Chatime. These pearls ‘pop’ in your mouth when you crunch down on them, rather the chewy pearls in bubble tea drinks. If you haven’t before, I highly recommend giving them a try!

Paying after self-serving
Lining up to pay.

Seating at Yogurberry
They have a good amount of seating for those who wish to eat in.

I couldn’t resist including these pics of my god-daughter Talei getting a brain freeze. Not that that deters her from eating more froyo haha. Good girl.


Ergh!


Pushing through the pain.


Mmm so good.


Haha I love this video.

Yogurberry, Epping is at 43 Beecroft Road, Epping, NSW.
They accept cash only.

Yogurberry Epping on Urbanspoon

Parking is probably best found at Coles on Rawson Street in Epping, but it’s also a super quick walk from Epping station.

I can’t wait to enjoy more froyo goodness over the summer period! Psst, if you’re interested, check out their website — they have plenty of nutritional advice about their frozen yoghurt.

Oh thought I’d also mention that Yogurberry is cash only!

Hope you’ve had a great start to the week. Not long to Christmas now, eeeee!!!

xoxo
C

48 Comments

Flourless Christmas Brownies

Recipes November 20, 2012

Flourless Christmas Brownie

I can’t believe Christmas is just around the corner. Scary, right? I swear it was New Year’s Day for 2012 just a few seconds ago… It is absolutely amazing how time seems to be moving right now. I’ve had a busy week – I’ve turned 25 (today, actually!) and finally upgraded to a full drivers licence (goodbye, P plates!)

This year I was hoping to get ridiculously organised with Christmas super early – taking a bit of the stress off during the mad December last-minute shopping (which usually occurs on Christmas Eve. Haha… but seriously, not joking). I’ve (as usual) been trying to become more organised to help save time and money wherever possible by planning ahead. One of my ideas this year is to make some homemade Christmas hampers for family and friends packed with plenty of homemade goodies. One of these recipes I plan to include are these Christmas brownies!

How lucky was I, then, to be sent a package of Lucky Nuts from Nuffnang to review? It also gave me a chance to completely stuff a brownie recipe full of nutty goodness – as if I needed a reason. While I haven’t used Lucky Nuts in the past for baking, I certainly have used them for everyday uses: sprinkling them in cereals, adding them to pestos and dips and, of course, snacking on at work! Aside from being a good quality product, I like that they’re so conveniently accessible from Coles and Woolies, which is a big plus in my books. All in all, they definitely turned out well in this recipe!

Lucky Nuts Californian Walnuts and Almond Meal

Flourless Brownie

These brownies are based off Nigella Lawson’s Flourless Brownies, but packed with extra goodies – more nuts, cherries and chocolate chips, and topped with a layer of fondant. I had never tried baking flourless brownies before but was pleasantly surprised with the result – a dense, incredibly moist and chocolatey brownie, stuffed with extra nutty goodness. It reminded me of a chocolatey version of a Christmas cake – you could add some liquor, extra nuts and dried fruit to emulate this if you wish but I think they’re pretty good the way they are!

Since this recipe uses almond meal instead of flour, these brownies are also perfect for gifting to your gluten intolerent friends and family! This recipe is also great for cleaning up as it is all made in the one pan.

Flourless Christmas Brownies

Ingredients To make about 20 brownies

  • 1 cup of butter
  • 1 cup baking dark chocolate
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence (I store my vanilla beans in my caster sugar, so skipped this step)
  • 3 eggs, whisked (I used organic)
  • 200g Lucky almond meal
  • 150g Lucky walnuts
  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • 250 g (or 1 cup) dark chocolate chips You can also use white or milk choc chips to mix things up a bit!
  • 250 grams of white fondant

Ingredients at a glance.

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C and butter / line a brownie tin with baking paper to prevent sticking.
  2. Melt butter over a low heat in a saucepan with high sides.
  3. Add baking dark chocolate and stir until butter and chocolate melt together.
  4. Take off the heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla essence (if using).
  5. Temper eggs by adding a little of the warm chocolate mixture to your beaten eggs and mix together. Add eggs to saucepan and stir until mixed in.
  6. Add almond meal and stir until fully combined.
  7. Add walnuts, cherries and chocolate chips. If you wish to add any other dried fruit/nuts, etc. do so now.
  8. Pour brownie mix from pan into lined tin and bake at 150 degrees, or until a thin blade comes out of the brownie with moist crumbs sticking to it.
  9. Roll fondant out until at 2cm thickness. Moisten the top of your brownie with water and top with fondant. Brownie slices best after being refrigerated overnight. Serve and enjoy!

Melting chocolate, butter, sugar together
Mixing in the rest of the ingredients
View pics left to right, top to bottom.

Final result

Hope you are all having a great week and aren’t getting too stressed out by impending Christmas shopping!

With lots of love from the freshly-turned 25 me!
xox
C

Disclaimer: Cooking Crusade was sent Lucky Nuts to review by Nuffnang (Product Talk by Nuffnang), however the opinions in this post are my own.

Wanna keep in touch? Why not like me on Facebook by clicking here, or follow me on Twitter by clicking here 🙂

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Super Simple Mango Gelato

Recipes November 12, 2012

Scoop of mango gelato in bowl

Here’s a recipe to get you ready for summer… A ridiculously easy mango sorbet you can whip up in no time – and no ice cream maker needed! You will however, require a food processor – or a high quality blender may do the trick too. I finally caved in and purchased a food processor and I looove it. Homemade cookie dough dip? Yes please. Pesto, hommos, capsicum dips? I’m there! I can’t imagine my kitchen life without it now! If you have any great food processor recipes, please share as I’d love to have another excuse to whip mine out 🙂

Frozen chunk of mango gelato

Now, onto matters more gelato related…

This recipe is very easy to prepare and make, and only takes a few minutes to blend – what’s not to love?

Start out by (not pictured) freezing fresh mango flesh in ziplock bags overnight.

Chopped chunks of frozen mango gelato
Remove mango flesh from ziplock bag and slice into chunks.

Chunks of mango gelato in blender
Chunks of mango gelato is blender with brown sugar
Place mango in food processor. Optional: Add sweetener if desired (brown sugar pictured) and/or a splash of vanilla essence.

Blended mango gelato before adding milk
Blend. (Pictured without sugar). Mangoes become crumbled and require some liquid to help it become creamy and smooth.

Blended mango gelato after adding milk
Add milk of choice and blend again – it should become nice and creamy!

Scoop of mango gelato served in bowl
Scoop and serve! Enjoy!

Mango gelato in plastic container for storage
You can also freeze any leftovers in a plastic container for later. This shot reminds me of pumpkin puree hehe.

Here’s the handy-dandy recipe!

Super Simple Mango Gelato (an original recipe by Cooking Crusade)

Serves: About 3 people
Time to prepare: Mangoes need to be frozen overnight but actual blending takes less than a few minutes!

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups frozen mango, chopped into chunks
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used soy milk but you can use whatever you like – cow’s milk, almond, coconut etc.)
  • 1-2 T maple syrup or brown sugar*
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla essence (I just added this for some flavour but it’s not neccessary.)

* You can omit if your mangoes are very sweet. These particular mangoes I bought were very cheap and not terribly sweet – clearly they had been forced to ripen early in order to meet demand and unfortunately did not have the best flavour. However, in my experience, proper ripe mangoes are usually more than sweet enough without the sugar added. See for yourself – you can always add extra sugar after tasting if you like (I made two batches, one with and without sugar).

Note: This recipe requires a little preparation overnight – to freeze the mangoes.

  1. Slice cheeks of mangoes (I used about 3 medium sized ones) and scoop out the flesh. Freeze in a ziplock bag overnight.
  2. Remove frozen mangoes from ziplock bag and chop roughly to make it a bit easier for the food processor to blend.
  3. Place mango chunks and vanilla essence (if using) into food processor bowl and blend for about 1 minute or until it is completely broken up into tiny pieces. Add milk tablespoon by tablespoon or until you get the creamy consistency you like.
  4. Taste. If it’s sweet enough, serve – but if not, add sugar spoonful by spoonful, blending after each addition and taste each time to get the right sweetness for you.
  5. Scoop mango gelato out of processor bowl using an ice-cream scoop into bowls and serve! I’d like to try topping this with some freshly whipped cream (or coconut cream) and chopped macadamia nuts for that true mango cream Weiss bar feel. Mmm. Weiss bars. But honestly its pretty good by itself – even my vegan Mum enjoyed it! Any leftovers can be poured into a plastic container and stored in the freezer. It will harden, but a few 10 sec zaps in the microwave should be enough to make it scoopable.

Feel free to play around with the measurements in this recipe. You can add more / less mango and just add the milk / sweetener afterwards so you can get a good consistency / sweetness.

Hope you enjoy this super simple summery recipe !

xoxo
C

Wanna keep in touch? Why not like me on Facebook by clicking here, or follow me on Twitter by clicking here 🙂

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chocolate-fountain-2

DIY Dessert Table

Uncategorized May 6, 2011

I’m staying up a little late.. but I didn’t want to neglect my blogging duties! It’s been awhile, my apologies! But I have not forgotten cookingcrusade.com!

Mike and I had our engagement party on Sunday (and unfortunately we were both actually struggling with a heavy dose of the ‘flu so we were massively drugged up on Codral – but we managed to have a good go of it.) The afternoon-night turned out to be pretty successful and I finally got to do a dessert table! I must apologise for that first photo, but I was so busy meeting and greeting guests I honestly did not touch a camera during the whole party so I had to rely on pix taken by the photographer and he wasn’t very interested in the dessert table, mostly the guests! Fortunately my lovely fiance realised I would want to blog about it later, so he took the remaining pics 🙂

Of course, there were plenty of things I had in mind. Macarons! Intricately decorated sugar cookies! Beautifully piped cupcakes, complete with miniature handmade flags! A beautifully decorated rose cake, or something pretty with fondant. Yes, I had many, many ideas… But unfortunately since I got sick a few days before the party (and it continued for quite a few days after), I was unable to realise any of these ideas – but I still think it turned out pretty well.

The theme colour for the engagement party was teal, so I tried to pick out a couple of teal themed ideas to add some colour to the table. Fortunately (and surprisingly) the walls for our engagement venue was actually painted a lovely teal shade – a funny coincidence, but also helped stick to the theme! Lol.

Some of the teal decos I picked out:

  • teal cupcakes for the dessert sign made from coloured cardboard I picked up from a local craft shop
  • teal dessert cups for the brownie cups – picked up from Alfresco Emporium
  • teal heart shaped chocolates from eBay (it’s great, you can order 100 chocolate hearts in any colour you like) – i put these in an old fashioned glass candy jar of my Mum’s
  • my baking partner in crime, Ghilaine made up some teal coloured fondant for the cake hearts and the cupcake flowers – dyed with some teal food colouring she had (she even painted her nails teal!). she also decorated heart shaped butter cookies with teal royal icing 🙂
  • teal napkins! found (surprisingly) at a $2

I had lots of fun making the dessert sign. I bought a foam board from a craft shop, covered it with some pretty wrapping paper from Kikki.K, then printed a cupcake template from google images, then cut out a bunch of teal cupcakes from cardboard, drew on little cupcake papers and then glued them to the board with dessert names 🙂 Easy and quite cheap to do!

Desserts we served;

  • Chocolate fountain (borrowed from Ghilaine – so glad we got to have this – had many guests comment on it), served with marshmallows and fruit platters
  • Hummingbird cupcakes (also by Ghilaine!) with yummy cream cheese frosting – from her cupcake Bible – the Crabapple Cupcake Bakery book
  • Chocolate chip brownies (my fave packet mix! – White Wings)
  • Bakerella’s deadly cookie-brownie slice
  • Kim’s favourite choc chip cookie recipe from Lovin in the Oven – the first time I tried the recipe, but got many compliments. I made them in milk chocolate chip and dark/white chocolate chip versions – both delicious! Will definitely make this recipe again. I made huge batches before hand and froze them in log shapes, then defrosted them slightly, chopped it up and baked it 🙂
  • The engagement cake was a double batch of Pioneer Woman’s chocolate sheet cake with whipped milk chocolate ganache, decorated with teal fondant hearts and cachous. I wanted to do something a little more involved, decoration wise, but I honestly ran out of time and had absolutely no energy to come up with anything better due to the cold… Oh well! I think it turned out rather well in the end 🙂
  • Ghilaine made some lovely gluten free desserts for the gluten intolerent
  • A friend of my Mum’s brought along a few platters of vegan cakes – so delicious! I am dying for the recipe 🙂

Cookie-brownie slice and chocolate brownies 🙂


brownie cups with cream cheese frosting / chocolate ganache


Cupcake tower (bought from Woolies for like $8, bargain!)


Chocolate chip cookies 🙂


Cute little vegan cakes.


Engagement Cake

Despite the fact that there were lots of little details that I missed out on doing, I think it turned out rather well!

ps: couldn’t resist sneaking in a few shots of us from the night:

Me and Mike with two soon to be newlyweds – getting hitched this very weekend! Congrats MF and Steve!!


More soon to be newlyweds… Grant and Chivs plan to marry a few weeks after us 🙂 Congrats to you guys too 🙂


Love this pic of my maid of honor, Kira (on the right) and her sister Holly. Too cute!


Of course my gorgeous god daughter was there too! After all, her mama is one of my bridesmaids 🙂

Thanks for watching, hope you are well!

xx

Christine

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