Salted Caramels with Chilli and Fennel - The Sweet Swap

I was so excited to hear about The Sweet Swap for 2014. Sadly I was so busy and missed out on last year’s registration. The Sweet Swap is organised by two amazing Bloggers. Sara from Belly Rumbles and Amanda from Chewtown. The concept is simple, you make enough sweets to send to 3 Bloggers all around Australia and in turn you will receive 3 delicious sweets back.

I decided that I was going to make a Filipino sweet called Pastillas De Ube. Unfortunately it didn’t turn out and I was left with a tray of purple goo. I was running out of time and remembered a recipe that I made in the past with my friend Trissa. These salted caramels are delicious. I wanted to change it up, so I added some chilli flakes and fennel seeds.







Rockpool’s Salted Caramels (with a hint of Fennel and Chilli)

Ingredients
500 grams caster sugar
250 grams liquid glucose
435 grams pouring cream (35% fat)
125 grams butter (I used Lurpak), cut into cubes
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt flakes, such as Murray River pink sea salt, mixed with 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes and1 teaspoon fennel seeds

You will also need a thermometer.







Method


1. Grease a 22cm square cake tin with cooking spray and line with good quality wax paper. Spray again.

2. In a large pot, combine the sugar, glucose and cream. Stir gently and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cook gently until the mixture reaches a temperature of 113c. (It took me approximately 15 minutes to reach that heat).

3. Using a whisk, add the butter and continue to mix until the butter has dissolved into the mixture. From here on, do not stir. Let the temperature reach 119c and remove the mixture from the heat. Stir in the vanilla paste. Pour the mixture on to the greased pan. Quickly scatter the sea salt mixture on top of the caramel.

4. Allow the caramel to rest and cool. This should take around 2 to 3 hours. Once the caramel has cooled, remove it from the tin, remove the wax paper and cut into 1.5 cm strips. Then cut each strip into 2 cm pieces. Wrap in cellophane (or baking paper) and store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 5 days.

As part of the Sweet Swap, I received 3 delicious sweets. The first one arrived from Cassie from Journey From Within,  she made a delicious Rocky Road full of delicious nuts, marshmallows and she added a little rice bubbles for some Snap, Crackle and Pop.





The second package came from Gabby and Norman from Baking with Gab, Gabby made some delicate Meringues, which unfortunately didn't all make it out alive. They still tasted delicious. She made two flavours which were Earl Grey and Orange and Rose Water and Pistachio. So dainty and so easy to eat, especially with the tea blend that Gabby sent with the sweets.



The last Sweet Swap treat came from Kate from Foodies Agenda, she made a Choc Hazelnut and Banana Granola. This was delicious over the top of some light Greek yoghurt. I pretty much demolished this on the day that I received it. It was fantastic.





The Sweet Swap was a fun experience and I enjoyed waiting for sweet treats to arrive in the mail. I cant wait till next year. Not only is this a fun way to meet Bloggers all over Australia, Sara and Amanda have also done this to raise money for Child Fund Australia. Did you know that $390.00 can provide Children with clean drinking water? If you would like to donate to Child Fund Australia please go to http://www.childfund.org.au 

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My Food Bag

Have you ever roamed around the super market thinking about what you want for dinner? I often do that. I think about a meal that I want to cook and end up eating something that I didn’t feel like in the first place.

My Food Bag is a service launched in Sydney in July, it’s a meal creator and delivery service. Their main aim is to encourage us Aussies to get back in the kitchen and unleash our passion for healthy home cooked meals.




Thanks to My Food Bag and the team at Porter Novelli, I was able to test drive this service. There are 3 Food Bags to choose from. The Family Bag with quick and healthy meals, The Classic Bag, which are recipes suited to families on the go and The Gourmet Bag, which is more for the adventurous types who like to try new things in the kitchen.

I opted for The Gourmet Bag. I requested an early Sunday delivery but didn’t expect the delivery to arrive on the dot. I was greeted by a good-looking delivery driver, in my PJ’s and bed hair LOL. With a massive smile and a Good Morning, Mr Delivery Man handed me 2 big brown bags and a recipe binder.




These two bags had everything you needed for dinners for 4 days except for staples you find in your pantry like salt and pepper. It also includes a recipe from celebrity Chef Miguel Maestre and a vegetarian recipe for the middle of the week.


Five Spiced Duck, Sweet Potato Mash, Pomegranate Sauce and Bok Choy


Cambodian Fish A-Mok

Each meal took less than15 minutes to make, they were quick and the flavours were amazing. The produce was fresh and it really felt like they put a lot of heart and soul into preparing each food bag.





My Food Bag is a great concept and suits families and couples who have a busy schedule. The recipes are simple, delicious and quick. My Food Bag source their ingredients from top producers, so you know you will get amazing quality food for a reasonable price.

I highly recommend giving this service a try. All A Cupcake or Two readers are eligible for 20% off their first food bag. Simply enter the code ACUPCAKE20 when you get to the check out. For more information go to www.myfoodbag.com.au. Happy Cooking...



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The Royal Hotel Randwick


Vegetarians look away, this post will either make you or break you. KIDDING..

I was invited to a Tasting at The Royal Hotel in Randwick. Celebrity Chef Danny Russo has created a new menu, revamping Australian Pub classics and giving them his own modern twist. 



We start off with Spiced Fried Lamb Ribs with a Homemade BBQ Sauce. Danny tells us that this is slow cooked for up to 7 hours. Now I must admit, I am not a big fan of lamb at all. I didn’t really grow up eating it, so I was hesitant. The meat fell off the bone and I found myself digging in and going for seconds.


Spiced Fried Lamb Ribs with a Homemade BBQ Sauce

Danny brings out the Roast Pumpkin Arancini along with the Salt & Pepper Squid. The Arancini was the perfect size, and so sweet with the roasted pumpkin innards. The Salt & Pepper Squid was crunchy and the coriander complimented this dish perfectly.


Roast Pumpkin, Parmesan and Basil Arancini with Aioli



Salt & Pepper Calamari with Chilli

It was time for the MEAT. The Royal has a selection of burgers on the menu, they also do specials which Danny changes depending on produce and popularity.

The first burger we tasted was the Pork Belly Burger. The meat was soft and the flavours were amazing. As an extra treat, the burger is served with pork crackling which you can dip in the apple sauce.



Pork Belly Burger with American Slaw, Chips and Crackling served on the side



Burger number 2 was The Royal Wagyu Beef Burger. Danny explains that he minces the beef with fat, which enhances the flavour. The meat was juicy and soaked into the sweet brioche bun.


The Royal Wagyu Cheese Burger with Tomato, Lettuce, Beetroot and Chips

The Thai Chicken Burger was next. This was a generous chicken mince patty served with Asian greens and a sauce similar to Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Dipping Sauce).



Thai Chicken Burger with Asian Greens served with a Vietnamese dipping sauce and Chips

Burger number 4 was The Lamb Burger. Eeeeeek Lamb. By this stage Danny knew that I wasn’t a big lamb fan. But he also knew that this burger would convert me. This was my favourite. The patty was incredible. The goat’s cheese made this the ultimate Mediterranean burger.



Lamb Burger with Goats Cheese, Rocket, Caramelised Onions served with Chips and a Beetroot and Balsamic Chutney

The last burger of the night was the Vegetarian option. I love meat but I do have my days where I would rather eat a nice healthy vegetarian meal. This burger did not disappoint. 

 
 Grilled Pumpkin and Haloumi Burger with Lettuce, Tomato and Tzatziki

The Royal Randwick's menu certainly caters to everyones palette. The renovations made this heritage hotel very modern without losing its old school feel.


Chef Danny Russo

If you are around the Randwick area, or you just have a craving for fantastic food at a reasonable price, make sure you check our The Royal Randwick.

The Royal Randwick
2 Perouse Road Randwick 2031
02 93993006
royhotel@bigpond.net.au

A Cupcake or Two attended the Burger Tasting as a guest of Wasamedia, Chef Danny Russo and The Royal Randwick.


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Mini Chocolate Tarts with a Dulce De Leche Drizzle

Have you ever had a craving for chocolate, but didn't really want to fuss over baking a cake. Well this is the perfect indulgent treat. These Chocolate Tarts are extremely simple to make and a joy to eat I pretty much used what I had in the pantry.



Mini Chocolate Tarts with a Dulce De Leche Drizzle
Makes 4 Mini Tarts

Extras

roasted hazelnuts
3 teaspoons of Cajeta or Dulce De Leche

(Base) Ingredients 

10 digestive biscuits crushed
100 grams of melted unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of white sugar
1/4 cup roasted hazelnuts

Method

1. In a bowl, crush the digestive biscuits to a fine crumb. I used a tall glass with a heavy bottom. Add the hazelnuts and crush them lightly.

2. Add the sugar and mix to combine. Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl and pour it into the biscuit mixture. Stir until it's combined. Take a small amount of the base and pinch it between 2 finger tips. Make sure that it holds it's shape. You may need to add a little bit more butter if it's still crumbly.

3. Distribute the mixture between 4 mini tart tins. Using the back of a teaspoon, Press the base down and up the sides. Set aside in the fridge while you make the ganache.




(Chocolate Ganache) Ingredients

250 grams chocolate melts (I used Milk Chocolate)
5 tablespoons of cream
a pinch of salt

1. Heat the cream in a microwave safe bowl. Put the chocolate in a separate bowl along with the salt.

2. Carefully pour the cream into the chocolate and leave it for a few minutes. Swirl the mixture until all the chocolate has melted and the ganache is smooth and shiny. Pour the ganache into a small jug.




Tart Assembly

Pour an even amount of the ganache into each tart shell. Let this cool slightly and drizzle some Dulce De Leche over and top with some Hazelnuts.



I used a pre made Dulce De Leche called Cajeta. This is actually made from Goats Milk and commonly used in a dessert called ChocoFlan. You can get this from any Mexican Grocer. I got mine from Fireworks Foods.  You can use caramel top and fill or leave it out.


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Yiro-Yiro Japanese Eatery

My Dad and I have an awesome relationship. One of the things we have in common is the love for Japanese Food. He told me about the new owners at the local Japanese restaurant. After weeks of food envy from all of his SMS's, I finally had some time to meet up with him for an early lunch.

Dad and I ordered the Agedashi Tofu to start. This was crispy with a delicate centre. What I love about this dish was the generous amout of sauce. It had just the right sweetness to it.


Agedashi Tofu $5.50

I ordered the Unagi Donburi for my main meal. I tend to stay away from Unagi as I find it incredibly fishy.This was far from it. It was one of the best I have had.

Unagi Donburi $14.50

Dad ordered the Soft Shell Crab and the Prawn Fried Rice. The Shoft Shell Crab comes with 2 big pieces, served with Japanese mayo and a soy based sauce which was slightly sour. The batter was light and delicious. If only my Dad wasn't like a Hoover Vacuum, I could have had an extra piece. The Prawn Fried Rice was loaded with prawn pieces and a the serving would easily feed two people.


Soft Shell Crab $10.00


Prawn Fried Rice $9.50


Yiro- Yiro is a quant restaurant, which is family owned. Their food is delicious and its always full of people especially on weekends. Make sure you try their food, if you are ever out west.

Yiro-Yiro Japanese Eatery
Level 1 Store 129/130 Westfield Mt Druitt 2770
(Cnr Carlisle Avenue and Luxford Road, Mt Druitt
Phone: 02 96255071

So you have probably been wondering where I have been as It's been a long time since I've been on the foodie band wagon. I guess life just got super busy. But I'm back and looking forward to sharing lots of fabulous recipes and baked goods with you. Thank you for your continued support and comments..

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