Sunday, October 13, 2019

Recipe: Keto Lemon Bars

Keto Lemon Bars

Shortbread crust:

2 1/2 cups almond flour
1/3 cup powdered erythritol (Swerve)
Pinch salt
1/4 cup Coconut oil (melted)
1 large Egg
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract

Lemon filling:

1/2 cup powdered erythritol (Swerve)
1/4 cup almond flour
4 large eggs
3/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Line a square 9 inch pan with baking paper
  • Make the filling first, because it must be ready to go immediately when the crust comes out of the oven. In a medium bowl, stir together almond flour and powdered sweetener.
  • Whisk in the eggs, lemon juice, and lemon zest, until smooth. Set aside.
  • To make the crust, combine the almond flour, erythritol and sea salt in a large bowl.
  • Stir in the melted oil, egg and vanilla, a loose dough will be formed.
  • Press the dough into the lined pan. Bake for about 15 mins, until firm and golden.
  • Remove the crust from oven, and immediately pour the filling over the crust.
  • Return to the oven for 15 to 18 minutes, until filling is set, but still soft.
  • Let cool to room temperature then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before slicing.
  • Top with a dusting of powdered erythritol after slicing and store in an airtight container in the fridge

Friday, August 16, 2019

Recipe: Australian Sausage Rolls



2 cloves garlic
1 brown onion
1 celery stalk
5 oz / 150g bacon
1 lb / 500g pork mince (ground pork)
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
pinch black pepper


3 sheets puff pastry
1 egg
1 oz / 30 ml milk
Sesame seeds (black and natural)
Ketchup / tomato sauce


  • Heat oil in a non stick fry pan over medium high heat. Fry onion and celery until the onion is transparent
  • Add diced bacon to the pan and fry until the bacon is browned, then add garlic and fry until all vegetables are cooked. 
  • Transfer the vegetables to a bowl and allow to cool while you  prepare the other filling ingredients. If necessary cool the bowl in the freezer while you prepare the meat

  • Preheat oven to 350F / 180C while you prepare the sausage rolls 
  • Add meat, egg, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper to a mixing bowl and combine
  • Once the vegetables are cool add to the bowl and then need the ingredients until well mixed
  • Lay out the pastry and cut in half, allow to thaw until pliable 
  • Whisk the egg and milk in a bowl and place a pastry brush in the egg wash mix
  • Brush one edge of the pastry with the egg wash, taking up around 1/3 of the pastry
  • Then create a log of pork filling that takes up around another 1/3 of the pastry
  • Stretch out the unwashed piece of pastry and then roll over the meat, then place the egg washed section over the unwashed pastry acting like a glue

  • You should have rolled up sausage logs ready for cutting, I like to make these small bites by cutting the log into 6 pieces so that you can control portions
  • If you have a baker's blade use this, otherwise a sharp knife will do. Cut the log in half and then cut each half into 1/3s
  • Place the pieces well spaced on a baking tray lined with a silicon mat or baking paper 

  • Brush the top of each pastry with more egg wash and then sprinkle with sesame seeds
  • This recipe should fill 3 sheets of pastry and make around 36 snack sized sausage rolls
  • Bake for 30 mins (or until the pastry is golden brown), turning the tray around minute 18

  • Let cool on baking racks before serving so that they are warm but not painful to touch
  • Serve on a party tray with a bowl of tomato sauce and enjoy!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Mozzarella making class at Murray's Cheese, Bleecker St

When we go on vacation we like to do local cooking classes and there seemed to be no reason to keep this just to travel time! NYC is filled with cooking classes, especially one shot items designed for couples and friends to have a fun  night out. 

Murray's Cheese is a legendary cheese monger in Manhattan's Greenwich Village that seemse to stock just about every cheese I could think of to order and every accoutrement one could see fit to add to a cheeese board. They also offer high end food products like small batch meat and dairy, imported pastas and charcuterie and a lot more. 

We were here for the class though! Now we expected a cheese making adventure but what I wasn't expecting was a tasting and drinks before hand. This turned out to be a really excellent deal with bottomless Prosecco and Red Wine and a table full of nuts, pickles, dried fruit and bread. 

Here you can see my tasting board with a variety of mozzarella products - plain curds, fresh mozzarella, buffalo mozzarella, burrata and smoked mozarrella. 

The teacher walked us through tasting notes of each item provided while everyone sipped wine. Then there was as small break while the cheese making portion of the event came up. 

Here you can see the cheese curds and hot water that form the basis of the Mozzarella; the process is surprisingly simple and easy to do at home. It mostly involves pulling hot salted cheese curds and then forming into a ball of cheese. If you want to try it at home then Epicurious has a great guide to the process. 

Here's my completed Mozzarella balls, to be honest I wish I'd ignored the instructor and made one large ball of cheese instead of two but the results were still delicious.

This class was the gift that kept on giving! First of all we had 4 balls of fressh Mozarrella to use up so we made home made pizza and caprese salad later in the week. Hmmm!

They also sent us home with an extra box of cheese curds, now... we were meant to use these to practice making more cheese but husband requested poutine instead. Honestly New York is filled with high quality fresh mozzarella and no poutine so I felt like this was a great choice!

The class was fun and an easy event to fit in after work since it only added up to a couple of hours and included both nibbles and drinks. They offered a discount voucher for the cheese shop that we abused thoroughly. All in all an excellent night out and a memorable date night; the store offers a large range of classes for tasting and making and we'll definitely be back.

Murray's Cheese Making Classes

Foodie mecca offering an array of fine cheeses plus breads, cured meats, olives & other deli items.

254 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10014
Phone: (212) 243-3289

Monday, January 7, 2019

Recipe: Edmond's Rich Christmas Cake (with added decoration instructions)

Growing up in a Commonwealth country means that Christmas is filled with warm, rich, stodgy desserts that make no sense in the Summer time but are delicious anyway. Upon moving to the US I discovered to my horror that my beloved Christmas fruitcakes were despised by many. This is my favourite Christmas Cake recipe from the Edmond's Cookbook a New Zealand kitchen staple. Hopefully it will change your mind about this rich and impressive dessert!

Rich Christmas Cake

1¾ cups orange juice
¾ cup dark rum or brandy
2 Tbsp finely grated orange zest
500g raisins
2 cups sultanas
2 cups chopped dates
150g crystallised ginger, chopped
150g mixed peel
150g glacé cherries, halved
½ tsp vanilla essence
¼ tsp almond essence
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 cup blanched almonds
500g currants
2½ cups cake flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
½ tsp ground nutmeg
250g butter
1½ cups brown sugar
2 Tbsp treacle or golden syrup
5 eggs, beaten

To decorate:

1 yield of my marzipan recipe (or 500g storebought)
500g fondant icing
2 tbspns apricot jam


(Original copy)

Place the orange juice, rum and orange zest in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and add the dried fruit. Cover and leave the fruit to soak overnight.

The next day stir the essences, lemon rind and almonds into the fruit mixture. Sift the flour, soda and spices into a bowl.

Preheat the oven to 150ºC. Line a deep 23cm square tin with baking paper and tie a double layer of brown paper around the outside of the tin.

Cream the butter, sugar and treacle until light and fluffy and add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition.

Fold in the sifted ingredients alternately with the fruit mixture.
Scoop the mixture into the prepared tin then wet your hand under the cold tap and smooth the surface.
Bake for 4 hours or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin on a wire rack, covered with a clean cloth

Wrap in tinfoil and a cloth and store in a cool place.

If you want a more flavoursome cake pour 2–3 tablespoons of brandy or sherry over the cake after it has cooled and before storing it. If the top is crusty, make little holes with a skewer or toothpick to help the alcohol soak in. 

(Goth Gourmande's additions)
  • I like to bake 1-2 single serve cakes as a test of the mixture, using single serve bundt tins these should take ~45 mins to cook
  • This cake is huge and it is hard to find Christmas cake tins this large in the US, consider halving the mix and using a 9 inch spring form pan or splitting into two cakes. In the above picture this recipe has yielded a 9 inch cake, a 7 inch cake and 3 single serve bundt cakes
  • Leave the cake to cool in its entirety before attempting to remove from the tin, preferably overnight
  • I recommend cooking the cake at least a month before serving and pouring brandy or whiskey on to the cake each week to make it moist and let the flavours develop

To ice and decorate

You can choose to use more glazed dried fruit to top the cake but I prefer traditional marzipan and fondant icing and it lets you create a really festive look! 

Start by making (or buying) marzipan, I've provided a recipe for you that I use regularly. Need into a smooth consistency and then cut into portions that match the division of the cake batter. 

We want to glaze the cake with the jam to get the marzipan to adhere to the cake. If you don't like apricot then grape or peach is also suitable but avoid berry jams which clash with the dried fruit. Heat 2tbspns of jam with 1 tbspn of water in the microwave or stove, enough to be malleable.

Set your cake on a cake circle for easy transport, this allows you to carry the cake using the support instead of having to touch the cake itself and makes for easy transfer to a decoratoring wheel or cake tin. Then using a pastry brush glaze the cake all over with the warm jam mixture. 

For a smooth finish you may want to fill any air pockets and round edges on the cake with small pieces of marzipan after glazing. This allows the final fondant coat to appear smoother like a crumbcoat when using butter cream. 

Roll out the marzipan to 2mm thickness, you want lots of overflow for an easy placement. I use the bottom of the cake pan to measure if I have rolled out the marzipan enough. 

Place the marzipan squarely over the cake and begin to smooth down the sides with your hands, then cut off the excess around the bottom of the cake with a pizza cutter.

If you are making a cake of more than half the batter then you may wish to create the top and sides separately. Use the cake tin as a template and then pinch the marzipan to join the edges.

Leave the marzipan to dry over night before icing with the fondant. 

The marzipan should have settled into any pockets and adhered to the cake. We need to get the marzipan to adhere to the fondant, instead of jam we only need to brush the marzipan with hot water.

I find fondant a nightmare to make so I buy Wilton Decorator Preferred fondant which can be bought in most large supermarkets in the US. Knead the fondant until it is malleable and then roll out with a pastry roller dusted with confectioner's sugar. 

Flip over the cake, smooth and trim just as we did with the marzipan. Sadly my fondant smoother went missing during our last move so this isn't my tidiest work but it's easy enough to cover the lumps with decoration!

I am very fond of using these Christmas Embossing rollers which imprint a festive design into the fondant, be careful though it makes it harder to smooth the edges without disrupting the design.

For the final decorations I like to colour some of the fondant by kneading in egg colouring dyes and using cookie and pastry cutters for festive designs. 

Cut out the coloured pieces and then brush lightly with water to stick to the cake. If you've messed up the fondant this is a nice easy way to cover your mistakes!

Try a variety of cookie cutter designs and use cinnamon candy to make your holly berries.

It's fun to do a different design for every cake and they make a special table centerpiece or fancy home made gift. 

And if all of that seems like too much bother then skip the marzipan and fondant and make a good stiff lemon icing; it works great topped with halved glace cherries!