The Most Incredible Mud Cake Ever!

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Let’s face it, it’s been ages since I’ve been in the kitchen. Life has become incredibly busy, and I simply don’t get the time to cook that I once used to. It was foodfilanderer jnr’s 13 birthday a few weeks ago, and I fully intended on making him a mud cake to celebrate, but time got away from me and I ended up buying one from the local Austrian patisserie (bad move – it was expensive and disappointing).

I’ve felt somewhat guilty ever since then, so I decided to make amends this long weekend. I searched the net for the best Thermomix mud cake recipe I could find, and I believe I struck gold with this one!

This is, without doubt, the best mud cake I have ever made. Believe me. I think my husband and son love me just a bit more after eating this! And can I tell you a secret? It was so easy, it’s criminal.

I’ve borrowed the recipe from the official Thermomix forum, but I’ve amalgamated some of the tips from the comments into the original recipe. You will seriously not be disappointed.

Cake ingredients

250g dark chocolate (broken into pieces)
250g butter (room temperature)
1 tablespoon instant coffee
100g water
100g Cointreau (or port, bourbon, or other liqueur)
340g plain flour
30g cocoa
1/2tsp bicarb (baking) soda
490g sugar (I used raw sugar)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
150g buttermilk
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs large

Ganache ingredients

100g dark chocolate (broken into pieces)
80g thickened cream

Method

1. Preheat oven to 160C (fan forced) and grease a deep 23cm round tin. Line the tin with baking paper.
2. Place chocolate, butter, coffee, sugar, water, and liqueur in TM bowl. Cook at 90C for 3 1/2 mins at Speed 2. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
3. Add the remaining ingredients (except eggs) to the TM bowl. Mix 30 secs at speed 4.
4. With blades running just below Speed 3, add the eggs and mix for a further 1 minute.
5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and mix for another 30 seconds at Speed 4.
6. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
7. Reduce oven temperature to 120C, and bake the cake for 3 hours, or until a skewer comes out semi clean. You don’t want the skewer to be completely dry, but not completely wet either. A little tacky is probably best.
8. Remove cake from oven, and allow to cool in the pan.
9. When the cake has cooled to room temperature, remove it from the pan. The top surface of the cake will probably have a crunchy crust, which you may wish to trim off carefully.
10. Wrap the cake in a layer or two of cling film and a layer or two of foil and put it in the fridge for as long as possible before icing. Overnight if possible!
11. To make the ganache, add the chocolate to the TM bowl and grate at Speed 9 for 30 seconds.
12. Add the cream and cook at 37C for 2 minutes on Speed 5. You may need to scrape down the sides and stir for another 30 seconds at Speed 5.
13. Turn the cake upside down to give a flat surface for icing. Pour the ganache over the cake and smooth with a spatula.
14. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
15. Serve with fresh berries and cream, and revel in all of the compliments you will receive!!

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Mixed Berry Fruity Dream

One of the things I love about the Thermomix is its ability to make frozen desserts such as sorbet and ice cream.  I recently decided to try this recipe for “Fruity Dream” from the Every Day Cookbook, which is basically a kind of fluffy soft serve.  I used a 300g packet of frozen mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries, black and red currants) for this, but you could basically use any fruit you like.  I actually was so impressed with it that I made it again last night using half pink grapefruit and half pineapple.

Mixed Berry Fruity Dream – Serves 4

Ingredients 

  • 60g raw sugar
  • 300g frozen berries (or any other frozen fruit)
  • 1 egg white
Method
1.  Place sugar into Thermomix bowl and pulverise for 20 seconds on Speed 9.

2.  Add mixed berries and chop for 10 seconds on Speed 8. 

3.  Scrape down sides of bowl with spatula.

3.  Insert butterfly and add egg white.  Mix for 45 seconds on Speed 4 or until you have a soft consistency.  

Note:  This is a soft serve dessert and should be served immediately.

Verdict:  What a great, flavourful summer dessert! And this was so quick, it honestly took longer to blog it about it than it did to create it.  The flavour of the berries in this dessert was amazing, I think the addition of the sugar really worked wonders with this type of fruit.  Having said that, you could probably pull back on the sugar quantities a little bit if you wanted to, depending on what type of fruit you were using.  The only negative with this dessert was that when I served it, it was still a little bit on the icy side.  Unfortunately, this made it seem a bit gritty.  I think this would be less of a problem if you waited a couple of minutes before serving it, or if you let the fruit thaw out a little bit before adding it in.

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Turkish Pide Bread

One of my favourite easy at-home breakfasts on a Sunday morning is sliced avocado with a good squeeze of lemon juice served on a piece of toasted turkish bread.  However, given that we usually have busy Saturdays chauffeuring Foodfilanderer Jnr around to tennis competitions or friend’s houses, we are often not organised enough for this breakfast to be as easy as it should be. Instead, someone (usually Mr Foodfilanderer) has to get up and go to the shops in the morning to buy the bread and/or avocado.  This weekend, I decided to make things easier by making a Thermomix Turkish Pide on Saturday night.

Now, a word of warning before I start….this is a great recipe, but it is time consuming. Not time consuming in an “Oh my god I have to stand here for two hours cooking, kill me now” way, mind you.  The dough just needs several rest periods throughout the process  (and if you’re like me and set about trying to make 200 other things at the same time, you will also need some rest periods!).  It’s so worth it though, I think being able to make homemade Turkish bread is pretty damn special.

Homemade Turkish Pide Bread  – Makes 2 medium loaves

Ingredients

  • 15g dried yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 125g lukewarm water
  • 90g Baker’s flour
  • 250g lukewarm water
  • 40g extra virgin olive oil
  • 390g Baker’s flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 25g milk
  • Sesame seeds (to sprinkle on top)

Method

1.  Place yeast, sugar, and 125g water into Thermomix bowl.

2.  Mix for 2 minutes at 37 degrees on Speed 2.

3.  Leave in bowl for 8 minutes until frothy.

4.  Add 90g Baker’s flour and mix for 1 minute at 50 degrees on Speed 2.

5.  Leave in the Thermomix bowl for approximately 30 minutes to form a “sponge”.

6.  Add remaining water, Baker’s flour, oil and salt to mixture.

7.  Combine for 10 seconds on Speed 5.

8.  Set dial to closed position and knead for 3 minutes on Interval Speed.

9.  Turn the dough out onto a well floured Thermomat or bowl.

Note: This mixture is extremely sticky, so be aware!   

10.  Wrap the dough in the Thermomat, or cover bowl with a tea towel.

11.  Leave at room temperature for approximately 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

12.  Preheat the oven to 220C.

13.  Knock the air out of the dough.

14.  Divide into two pieces, and shape each piece into a “round” approximately 20cm in diameter.

Note: I found this part really challenging as my dough was incredibly sticky and hard to handle.  I definitely couldn’t make a “round”, but it doesn’t really matter.

15.  Cover with a damp tea towel or a Thermomat and leave for approximately 3o minutes.

16.  Place floured Thermomat/silicon baking sheet/baking paper onto two baking trays.  Lift each “round” onto a baking tray and stretch slightly into an oval approximately 30cm long by 15 cm wide.

Note:  My dough “rounds” were way too sticky to lift.  Instead I just sort of let them fall from the bowl onto the tray and then tried to shape them into a bit of an oval shape.  They really didn’t look all that pretty at this point, but I knew they would look okay once they were baked.

17.  Place egg and milk into Thermomix bowl.  Mix for 5 seconds on Speed 5.

18.  Brush egg mixture liberally over bread surface.  Using your fingertips, make deep indentations across and down the dough, leaving a narrow border.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

19.  Put both trays into the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the surface is crisp and golden brown.

20.  Allow to cool and slice horizontally if you plan to serve with toppings.  This is also great when sliced vertically and served with dips.

Verdict:  As I mentioned already, this recipe does require you to hang around the kitchen for a couple of hours.  But I think it’s worth it.  Who wouldn’t be impressed with homemade Turkish bread?  It’s really not that labour intensive either, the only slightly annoying bit is trying to shape it into something resembling an oval as it can be pretty sticky.  However, I have made this recipe once before and it wasn’t quite as sticky, so maybe it was something I did differently this time.  Do trust the recipe I’ve provided here though, as the results are great!

I don’t think I’ll be making this recipe for breakfast every weekend, because to be honest, avocado and lemon juice tastes pretty great on a (much easier) standard loaf of Thermomix bread too.  However, if I’m making dips for a party, a loaf of this would be an indispensable accompaniment.  It’s definitely the type of recipe that can be made easily in between other things.

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Barley and Autumn Vegetable Soup with Homemade Bread

I was sick yesterday.  I’m not sure what was wrong with me, but I just spent the whole day in bed feeling lethargic.  Of course, Mr Foodfilanderer was running late home from work  and I couldn’t stop Foodfilanderer Jnr constantly sniffing around for food, so I had to haul my weary body out of bed and try to make something wholesome for dinner.

Thankfully, the Thermomix makes lazy dinners easy.  I managed to throw together a delicious soup and a loaf of bread with hardly any effort.  I’m including the recipes for both here, but because I was sick I didn’t pay a lot of attention to quantities when I was making the soup, and I certainly didn’t bother taking photos throughout!

The bread recipe is virtually the same as that used for the Margherita Pizza Scrolls, but I’m including it again here.  If you make the bread dough a little before the soup, you can basically put it in the oven when the soup has 30 minutes to go, and they’ll both be hot and ready to serve at the same time.

Barley and Autumn Vegetable Soup – Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 100g potato
  • 100g pumpkin
  • 100g sweet potato
  • 100g carrot
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley (unsoaked)
  • 1-2 tbsp vegetable stock concentrate
  • Water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

1.  Peel garlic cloves and other vegetables.

2.  Place all vegetables into Thermomix bowl slowly with the blades running at Speed 5.

3.  When vegetables are chopped finely enough, turn the Thermomix off.

4.  Add barley and stock concentrate, and then fill the Thermomix to the maximum line with water.

5.  Cook at 100C for 45 minutes on Speed 1 + Reverse.

Note: To avoid splatter, put steamer basket on top of the Thermomix while the soup is cooking.

6.  Check seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary.

7.  Serve with a couple of slices of freshly made bread, straight from the oven.

 

Quick White Bread

Ingredients

  • 280g warm water
  • 10g yeast
  • 20 oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 500g Baker’s flour

Method

1.  Add water, yeast, oil, and salt to the Thermomix bowl.

2.  Mix for 5 seconds on Speed 3.

3.  Add flour, and mix for 6 seconds on Speed 8.

4.  Knead the dough for 2 minutes on Interval Speed.

5.  Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl or the Thermomix mat.

6.  Let dough prove in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

7.   Placed on a tray covered with baking paper or a silicon baking mat.

8.  Shape into a freeform loaf.

9.  Brush some water over the top of the loaf so it goes nice and crusty while cooking.

10.  Turn the oven to 190C (fan forced).

11.  Place the loaf in immediately (while oven is still cold) and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly brown.

12.  Slice and serve warm or cold.

Verdict:  The combination of homemade soup and bread made a delicious, warming, and hearty meal.  I just love barley in soup, so I’ll definitely be making this one again.  I just used whatever seasonal vegetables I had from my organic delivery this week, but you could pretty much use any vegies you want in it.  The bread was really fantastic, it tasted exactly like something bought from a bakery. Yum!

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Too Easy Chocolate Cake

This one is from the Every Day Cookbook.  It says in the book that it’s quicker to whip up this cake than it is to go down to the shops and buy one.  It’s totally true… this cake is so easy to make, it’s ridiculous.  I have been making this every week during the school term, and giving Foodfilanderer Jnr a slice each day.

Too Easy Chocolate Cake – Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 120g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 120g sugar
  • 120g self-raising flour
  • 30g cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Method

1.  Preheat oven to 180C.

2.  Prepare a small ring tin or 20cm square pan.

3.  Place butter into Thermomix bowl and melt for 2 minutes at 60C on Speed 4.

4.  Add remaining ingredients and mix for 30 seconds on Speed 5.

5.  Pour into cake tin and bake in centre of preheated oven for 25-35 minutes.

6.  Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Verdict: Look, this chocolate cake is what it is.  It’s a quick, easy, and tasty.  Sure, it’s not the most impressive chocolate cake I’ve ever made, but it is nice and moist inside and gets the job done.  Besides, it literally takes 3 minutes to whip up it up! One thing that surprises me about it is that it doesn’t really rise much, and I’ve tried several different types of self-raising flour and baking powders.  However, if you’ve got a Thermomix, I totally recommend it for when you need a cake in a hurry.

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Margherita Pizza Scrolls and Pizza Sauce

So the school holidays are over, and that means that it’s time to get up early and start making school lunches again….groan.

I don’t know about other parents, but Foodfilanderer Jnr has never been a sandwich eater, thus making school lunches difficult.  Thankfully, the addition of the Thermomix into our lives has made things a little easier, as he’s now a total fan of my margherita pizza scrolls.  I made a batch up tonight, and I’ve bagged and frozen slices for the week ahead.

Here’s the recipe for the pizza scrolls, plus a totally delicious and easy pizza sauce.  Both of these have been adapted by me from recipes posted on Forum Thermomix.

Pizza Sauce – Makes enough for two batches of pizza scrolls or three large pizzas

Ingredients

  • 3-4 small cloves of garlic
  • 10g olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp dried italian herbs
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 x 480g can organic crushed tomatoes

Method

1.  Chop garlic in the Thermomix for 10 seconds on Speed 5.

2.  Heat oil for 30 seconds at 100C on Speed 2.

3.  Add herbs, sugar, salt and tomatoes.

4.  Cook for 10 minutes at 100C on Speed 2.

5.  Blend on Speed 5 for 2-3 seconds.

That’s all there is to it!

Pizza Scrolls – Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 280g warm water
  • 10g yeast
  • 20 oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 500g Baker’s flour
  • 15og grated mozzarella cheese
  • handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1/2 quantity of pizza sauce (recipe above)

Method

1.  Add water, yeast, oil, and salt to the Thermomix bowl.

2.  Mix for 5 seconds on Speed 3.

3.  Add flour, and mix for 6 seconds on Speed 8.

4.  Knead the dough for 2 minutes on Interval Speed.

5.  Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl or the Thermomix mat.

6.  Let dough prove in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

7.  Preheat the oven to 180C.

8.  Roll dough into a rectangle shape on a well floured surface.

9.  Spread pizza sauce over dough, and top with most of the grated mozzarella and all of the basil.

10.  Roll up lengthwise and sprinkle over the remaining mozzarella.

11. Place on a baking tray covered with baking paper or silicon mat.

12. Bake for around 25 minutes until brown.

13.  Slice and serve either warm or cold.

Verdict: I am a huge lover of the pizza sauce.  It takes virtually no effort to make and is ready to go in around 11 minutes.  It also tastes so much better than anything you can buy in the supermarket.  If you’re not as much of a garlic fan as I am, you can cut back on the cloves if you want.  You could also add onion, and fresh herbs instead of dried.  I reckon this would also taste great served over fresh fettuccine.

The pizza scrolls are also totally awesome.  Bread that is made in the Thermomix is so much tastier than that from breadmaker machines.  Obviously, you can also add any combination of your favourite pizza toppings to the scrolls before you roll them up.  Pesto would also probably work a treat. Great picnic food too!

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Brunch at Barclay’s

If there’s one thing I love on a Sunday morning, it’s going out for a cooked breakfast.  However, my family and I are generally slow starters on weekends, so we tend to eat late.  This morning was no exception, and at around 11am we decided to go out for brunch at Barclay’s in Heathmont.

In my mind, Barclay’s is a bit of an anomaly in my local area.  The chef there actually makes a bit of an effort to produce food that is a bit more adventurous than the average outer suburban cafe.  However, for some reason I rarely venture over there (it is about a 10 minute drive away from home), but when I do I’m generally impressed.

Now, beyond their commitment to fair trade coffee and the fact that their tips go to supporting World Vision children, one thing that I love about Barclay’s is that they serve Benedicts until 3pm every day.  And it’s not just your usual selection of Traditional and Florentine either, they actually have 5 different kinds, with all of them (excluding the Traditional) being suitable for a vegaquarian.  They also have a large range of other breakfast items on the menu, which I believe are served until midday.

Despite the variety available, Mr Foodfilanderer and I ended up ordering the same thing: the Roma Benedict.  This includes a slice of toasted ciabatta topped with tomato relish, wilted spinach, fresh salsa, two poached eggs and half a sliced avocado.  And because it’s a Benedict, there is also a generous serve of hollandaise on the side.

Now before I talk about what I thought of this breakfast, I should mention that Mr Foodfilanderer considers this one of his favourite breakfasts of all time. Fair praise for an omnivore!  I am, however, a little less enthusiastic.

Don’t get me wrong, all of the individuals parts of this breakfast were fantastic.  The ciabatta was crisp, lightly toasted and created a perfect base for this meal. The relish was sweet and flavoursome.  The eggs were up there with the best poached eggs I’ve ever had. The avocado was perfectly ripe with just the right blend of softness and firmness.  The hollandaise was sweet and creamy with a fair hit of lemon.  But…I’m just not sure that this breakfast worked well as a whole.

For me, the balance of flavours was a little off.  In the interest of transparency, I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of sweet and savoury flavours together.  Therefore, the sweetness of the relish and the hollandaise seemed just didn’t seem to work all that well with the savoury flavours of the rest of the meal.  If I was creating this breakfast, I think I would focus more on making the salsa the star of the dish, and try and get everything else to be in harmony with that.  As a result, the relish and the hollandaise would probably end up off the plate.  However, having said all that, I still enjoyed eating it.  It’s just that I could see some room for improvement.

Foodfilanderer Jnr, being a lover of sugary breakfasts, opted for the fresh Belgian Waffles.  I have to admit that it’s fairly rare to see waffles on a breakfast menu in this area, so he was very excited to give them a try.  Barclay’s offers four different options for toppings which I thought was pretty great: warm mixed berries; maple syrup;  banana, caramel and pecan; or ice cream.  Unsurprisingly to us, Foodfilanderer Jnr went for three of the four options: berries, maple syrup and ice cream.

I have mainly included this photo for interests sake, as I didn’t get to try this meal (being an only child, Foodfilanderer Jnr doesn’t believe in sharing). However the verdict from Jnr was that it was “awesome”, however the mix of berries was skewed quite heavily towards blueberries.  I assume that this was a decision based on seasonality, and that’s something I do like to see.

So, what’s the verdict on Barclay’s then? One thing I always keep in mind when dining out is “Could I have cooked this better at home?”.  I think that while I might have been able to tweak the flavours of the Roma more towards my tastes, the food we got at Barclay’s was sufficiently outside the box to ensure that we’ll be brunching there again in the near future.

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