Friday, 7 January 2011

Orange, cardamom and almond cake with orange-blossom yoghurt

The orange and almond cake is one of my all-time favourites and when I came across this old GT recipe, I just knew I had to give it a try. It was quite a while ago that I discovered it, and stuffed the recipe away in my folder that I fondly refer to as 'those recipes I'd like to get around to making... some day'. With a fresh year ahead of me, it seemed only timely that I conquer procrastination in the kitchen and get on with some of these recipes :)

Orange, cardamom and almond cake with orange-blossom yoghurt
Recipe from Gourmet Traveller (December 2009/January 2010 issue)

2 oranges, washed
250g caster sugar
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
pinch of ground cinnamon
300g blanched almonds, finely ground in a food processor (I used store bought almond meal instead)
1 tsp baking powder
5 eggs
Puring icing sugar, for dusting

Orange-blossom yoghurt
150g thick natural yoghurt
20g pure icing sugar
1-2 tsp orange blossom water, to taste


1. Place oranges in a large saucepan, cover completely with cold water and bring to the boil over high heat. Cover with baking paper and a plate to weigh the oranges down, then cook until oranges are soft (2 to 2.5 hours). You may need to top up with extra water to keep oranges covered. Drain, cool, then remove and discard calyx and seeds from oranges and coarsely chop.

2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Process oranges, sugar and spices in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl, add almonds and baking powder and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, whisk eggs in an electric mixer until pale (3-5 minutes), add orange mixture and whisk to combine (10-20 seconds). Pour into a buttered and baking paper-lined 22cm springform pan and bake for around 50 minutes until golden and an inserted skewer withdraws clean Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then release sides of pan and cool completely.

4. Meanwhile, for the orange-blossom yoghurt, combine ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate until required.

5. Dust the cake with icing sugar and serve with the yoghurt.

This cake is incredibly moist... the texture is sublime! The flavour of the spices is so delicate and doesn't distracting from the orange flavour - they just add a nice little twist on a classic. For me, I could quite happily eat this cake on its own without the yoghurt as I was not a big fan of it as a side. Next time I make this, I think I'll sprinkle some chopped pistachios over the cake and serve it with creme fraiche in place of the orange-blossom. But before then, I have a heck of a lot of other recipes to share with you, so I had better get cracking!

Ladybird x

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Concrete Cafe, Pyrmont

On a beautiful Sunday morning last weekend Mr Ladybird and I headed for breakfast in Pyrmont. Being our first brunch out in the new year, we decided to try out a cafe I had read about a while ago.

Arriving at Concrete Cafe we choose a table in the dappled sunshine outside and ordered our coffees - a soy cappuccino ($4) and a flat white ($3.50). The cafe was getting more and more busy so we placed our breakfast orders straight away.

For me, the Scrambled Goat's Cheese - scrambled eggs with leek confit & goat's cheese on toasted turkish bread ($13). Absolutely delicious, and a superb combination!

For Mr Ladybird, the Veggie Breakfast - olive sourdough with wilted spinach, marinated tomatoes, fontina baked mushrooms, poached eggs & asparagus ($14) with a side of hashbrown ($2.50). Really well cooked eggs (as were mine) and a great, hearty vegetarian breakfast.

This is one of the most vegetarian friendly breakfast venues I've visited for a long time.. I counted around 10 items (sweet and savoury) that either were vegetarian, or had a vegetarian option. Now that's what I'm talking about!

The only disappointment (and I am genuinely sorry to say there was one!) was realising upon reaching home and reading the receipt that we had been charged a 10% surcharge for our meal. Kind of a shame given I had tipped more than 10% anyway for the good service... At any rate, imposing weekend surcharges is in fact an illegal practice in Australia under Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) laws, and has been since May 2009. It was not until relatively recently that I became aware of the law myself, so fellow diners beware...

Concrete Cafe
224 Harris St
Prymont NSW

Concrete Cafe on Urbanspoon

Ladybird x

Monday, 3 January 2011

Raspberry Frangipane Tarts

Fruit is by far one of my favourite aspects of Australian Summer.. mangoes, peaches, nectarines, cherries, strawberries and... raspberries! I picked up these beauties at Maloneys Grocer on Crown Street in Surry Hills over the weekend. Beautiful Tasmanian raspberries for only $4 a punnet! These were just so good I was inspired to incorporate them into a dish where they could shine in all their jewel-like glory!

This recipe is an adaptation of the Frangipane Tart recipe showcased by Matt Moran on Masterchef Australia in 2010. A good frangipane tart is a great addition to every baker's repertoire - with its 'melt in your mouth' crumbly pastry and almond filling, it is the perfect platform for your favourite fruit(s) to make for a simple and elegant dessert. I find the following to be a good reliable recipe, particularly the lovely pâte brisée - a delicate shortcrust pastry that just breaks (brisée being the verb 'to break' in french) as you bite into it. The other great thing about this recipe is that you don't have to blindbake the tart case!

Raspberry Frangipane Tarts
makes 16 x 8cm tarts, but can easily be halved


375g plain flour
50g icing sugar
200g unsalted butter
1 free range/organic egg

125g unsalted butter
125g icing sugar
125g almond meal
2 free range/organic eggs
1 free range/organic egg yolk
25ml dark rum

1/4c strained, warmed raspberry jam
2 punnets fresh raspberries


1. Grease and line the base of your loose bottomed tart tins and set aside.
2. To make the pastry, add the flour, icing sugar and butter to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the egg and pulse again until the dough comes together. Wrap in cling wrap, then rest in the fridge for about 1 hour.

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the pastry until 3-4mm thick. (you can freeze remaining pastry for up to 4 weeks). Line the tart tin with pastry, then rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.

4. For the frangipane, cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Be careful not to overbeat it. Add the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time until incorporated in the mixture. Fold in the almond meal and dark rum.

5. Remove the tart tins from the fridge. Brush half of the jam over the bottom of the tarts, then spread a spoonful of frangipane into each tart case. Lightly press 6 raspberries into the mixture of each tart.

6. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees celcius for 30-35 until golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and brush each tart lightly with remaining raspberry jam. Serve with whipped cream and any remaining berries.

Having made frangipane tarts at home for the first time, I can't believe how good they taste is in comparison to the dry frangipane tarts I've tried in cafes in the past. There really is no comparison - the frangipane filling is beautifully moist and the pastry crumbles as you bite into it .... Mmmm! Can't wait to try this simple recipe out with other fruits such as blueberries, strawberries, nectarines or even pairings like pear and raspberry, or peach and raspberry, for example. The options are endless!

Ladybird x

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Campos Cafe & Roastery, Fortitude Valley

Happy new year my beloved readers and fellow food enthusiasts! May 2011 be a wonderful year for you all. I am really looking forward to the year ahead, particularly from a blogging perspective. I have an abundance of recipes and food experiences I can't wait to share with you, as well as a few other surprises I have up my sleeve ;) I'm sure there'll be lots of other food experiences to be had along the way this year, and I look forward to sharing them with you, and reading about yours too of course!

I am back in Sydney after a short break to Queensland for Christmas with my family there. While in Queensland, Mr Ladybird and I had the opportunity to eat out at both some new places, as well as places we used to frequent often while we lived in Brisbane. Revisiting what used to be our local areas was a good experience. It is amazing how some things change immensely while other things stay so much the same in a matter of just a few years.

On Christmas eve, we met up with family for brunch at Campos Cafe Roastery off trendy James Street in the Fortitude Valley. The cafe was recommended by one of my brothers who is quite the foodie and has his finger on the pulse for places to eat and get good coffee in the Brisbane/Gold Coast area so I knew it had to be blogged. It was only when I settled in Sydney that I learnt of just how good their coffee is, so I was excited by the fact that Campos coffee has now made its mark in Queensland!

Although Campos Cafe does not take reservations, the large group of us waited only a short while to be seated at the back of the restaurant where we had a great view of the roastery. I did not take any shots of this in accordance with cafe signage requesting patrons not to photograph this, but it was cool to see nonetheless. Once settled in our seats (or stools in this case), we ordered our coffees which were a warm and comforting during the crazy wet and cold weather Queensland experienced over Christmas.

We then ordered our breakfast choices. While there were relatively few vegetarian options on the menu, Mr Ladybird and I learnt from our friendly waitress that alterations could be made to some of the savoury dishes to accommodate for meat-free diners such as ourselves. It's that sort of flexibility with a smile (and not being made feel that you're a complete pain in the a**) that always makes me happy to recommend such places to others, vegetarian or not!

Unfortunately Campos Cafe's menu is not published online and I was somewhat in holiday mode so did not make notes on my visit, so I am unable to give you the exact descriptions and prices of dishes... So on this occasion I shall simply say it with pictures.

Campos Cafe's dishes aren't the cheapest in town at somewhere between $15 - $20... I would consider that quite pricey in Sydney let alone Brisbane, but if you are after an excellent coffee with your brunch too, perhaps it is worth the price. All-in-all an enjoyable brunch experience.

Campos Cafe & Roastery
11 Wandoo Street, Fortitude Valley
QLD 4006
(07) 3252 3612

Till next time!
Ladybird x
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