Gastronomically Terrific

November 28, 2014

Grasshopper pie

Filed under: biscuits, Cake, Sweets, Uncategorized, vegetarian — Tags: , , , , — lawsonanna @ 7:45 pm

Another Halloween treat, I wanted to make this for an event so that Dan and I wouldn’t be the only ones eating it. This was because a significant element of this pie is marshmallow, which Dan won’t eat as a pretty strict vegetarian. As it turned out, I ended up using vegetarian marshmallows anyway (which really don’t taste all that different), so Dan did get to try it. I have no idea why, but at the end of October normal marshmallows (and more specifically plain white ones, which is what I was after) disappeared from the shelves everywhere. We hunted in a number of shops before giving in and using a health food shop to buy the veggie version.

Anyway, onto the pie – which, by the way, tasted amazing! I will definitely be making this again. You begin by making a chocolate biscuit base (just like a cheesecake base). You then melt down your marshmallows, add a little green food colouring and some peppermint essence, and top the base with this. Chill this in the fridge before whipping cream and adding this to the top of the pie. Finally, because this was Halloween I endeavoured to make some chocolate bats by melting some dark chocolate, then cutting out bat shapes. They didn’t look great, but definitely added to the lovely minty taste of the pie. The pie went down really well with everybody who had some.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days, pg. 45


September 29, 2014

Chocolate and ginger banoffee pie

Filed under: pudding — Tags: , , , , — lawsonanna @ 9:08 pm

Wanting to make a relatively easy-effort dessert for when my parents were here, I thought a banoffee pie might be a good choice. Now, the recipe I have lying around incorporates a ginger caramel syrup into the pie. I wouldn’t necessarily normally choose this, but I know my mum loves ginger, so I thought I’d give it a go.Basically you just add ginger conserve to the condensed milk for the caramel layer.

Other than this, the other elements of the pie are no different to a standard banoffee pie – you make a biscuit base with melted butter, add the caramel layer, add chopped banana, then whip double cream and layer this over the top. Finally, you melt some dark chocolate and drizzle this over the cream (obviously that stage isn’t compulsory, but I think it looks – and tastes- better with it. I would; it’s chocolate). All pretty easy and overall, it took me about half an hour to put together. Simple, looks fairly impressive and tastes good.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: The Co-Op food magazine

February 28, 2011

Cheesecake of the heavens

Filed under: pudding — Tags: , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 7:27 pm

Otherwise known as “Caramel crunch Cheesecake”, this is heavenly in two ways:

  1. It tastes like it was made by angels singing hymns to chocolate in the temple of cheese.
  2. It will speed your ascent to the next world, to join the ranks of the chorus.


A little slice of heaven brings you little closer to it.


As discussed here, this cheesecake poses that age-old question, “cake and death?”  to which there is only one answer: “yes please!”.  You will note that the slice above is very, very small, as it leaves you very, very full and very, very happy. Despite this I still had to have another piece… oops.

There isn’t much to say except for the usual disclaimer:

Dan helped with the “cleaning the bowls” (no actual washing up was necessary, strangely…)

Who made it: Anna.

Recipe: Cheesecakes, Pavlovas & Trifles, by the Australian Women’s Weekly (!), page 8.

October 30, 2010

Chocolate Orange Spider Cupcakes

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 11:51 pm

“Eeeuuugh, they’re all leggy!”


The chocoholics cure to arachnophobia.


These cupcakes are richly chocolatey, zested with orange and thoroughly creepy.  Sitting on the counter top they exude primal arachnoid fear.  Yet like a fly to the web you are drawn in….

The recipe came from a Morrison’s Magazine.  I don’t know how we found out that these were in it, and I don’t think I want to.  Sometimes the wise culinary wizard must overlook the evil of the mystic tome and the suspicious circumstances by which it was obtained, because the spells inside look and taste so good.  But it does bear repeating, because they look so good and because we tweaked their recipe ever so slightly.

Ingredients (Makes 4 large muffin-sized spider-monsters)

For the cakes: 1 egg, 60g butter, 60g golden caster sugar, 1 tbsp cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp orange zest, 25g chocolate chips

For the topping: 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder, 1/2 tbsp water, 50g icing sugar, 30g butter, sugar strands

For the decoration: 2 boxes (64 pieces) Mikado dark chocolate sticks, 25g dark cooking chocolate, 8 white chocolate buttons


Beat butter and sugar until smooth. Sift in flour and cocoa powder into a separate bowl.  Add the egg  slowly to the butter mixture and beat, whilst slowly folding in the flour mixture.

Add the orange zest and chocolate chips; mix and put into muffin cases (filling to about two-thirds) and bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees celsius, gas mark 4.

For the buttercream, mix the cocoa and water into a paste, beat the butter and mix in the sugar then the cocoa mixture.  Spread over the cakes and add chocolate sprinkles.

To make the legs, pierce the body with a cocktail stick or similar to make a hole.  Cut half the mikado sticks into long pieces (2/3rds length of the full piece) and the other half into shorter pieces (1/3-1/2 of the full piece).  You can extend the chocolate covered region to the whole stick if you coat them in melted chocolate but it is easier to use many mikado sticks.  Insert the shorter pieces at an angle; then dip the longer pieces into the melted chocolate and place on to make a joint.  Leave the legs to cool when all are added.

The eyes can be made by drawing a pupil with melted chocolate on the button.  Place as appropriate.

Its not posisble to reach past this monster to the fruit...

Who made it: Anna did the hard graft, Dan did much of the decorating

Recipe: See above, or look at Morrisons Magazine Sept/Oct 2010. may lead you there but we found it rather frustrating to navigate.

August 29, 2010

Truffles, Mark 2

Filed under: Sweets — Tags: , , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 9:52 pm

I claimed I would never make truffles as a present.  I lied.

Trufflicious, and beautiful. Score 1 for science.

These are the same recipe as the previous truffles, with only one difference: I used a chocolate mould.  (Actually an ice-cube mould, but who is to know?)  Instead of fighting the cooling of the mixture, simply pour some chocolate into a mould, smooth it around the edges, then leave to set.  Then pour in some truffle mixture and leave again.  Finally add a chocolate layer to seal the truffle inside.  The end result tastes the same as hand-crafted variety, but is infinitely easier to present well!

I also tried some variation here.  Notice that there are white and milk chocolate truffles.  Much to my dismay, the white chocolate ones were a little too sweet since the truffle mixture is also filled with condensed milk.  They weren’t bad, but not as good as the milk variety.  However, more successful was cherry brandy flavouring – a dash or two in the truffle mixture lead to a divine melting on the pallete, and Tia Maria worked as well.

Tasty yummy goodness, and I’m not even sad that I left it ages to blog about it – we had mixture left over and this evening another dozen truffles have mysteriously appeared.  I’m off now to eat them…

Who made it: Dan

Recipe: See my previous post.

June 20, 2010

Marbled Chocolate Loaf

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , — thinkingdan @ 3:33 pm

Yum.  Chocolate.

Marbley chocolatey goodness.

This is a pretty tasty cake recipe.  The usual marble loaf concept, you dollop in dark and light mixture alternately and then bake.  The white chocolate on top is awesome and the only sad thing is that there isn’t any in the middle!  There is white chocolate in the light mixture too, for extra sweetness.  Mmm…

We had something of an incident making this – we’d followed the recipe for a 2lb loaf, as our tin works for another 2lb recipe.  But I don’t think it is actually that big – perhaps 1.5lb.  Halfway through cooking we had a lovely risen loaf, and eruptions of dribbly chocolate goodness spewing out of the side.  Not a problem as it just went on the and into the bin, but a sad loss of perfectly good cake!  At least it didn’t spoin the main event.  And it is demonstrably the largest we could possibly have made the cake…

Also, notice how Anna cunningly made the shape of a pair of high heeled shoes in the cross-section?  Vengance for a few geeky conversations yesterday I suspect!

Who made it: Anna and Dan jointly.

Recipe: Hallelujah! Chocolate! by The Chocolate Squad, page 24.

April 5, 2010

Bittersweet Easter Basket

Filed under: Sweets — Tags: , , , , — thinkingdan @ 10:44 am

There is nothing bitter about this basket of goodness.  Take a look:

Chocolate cookies, Lindt Bunny, grapes, mini-eggs and Lindt eggs. Mmmm.

Again my photography skills have let the baking down – the chocolate cookies here are really divine; melty and oh so chocolatey. The weird thing about them is they have marmalade in.  As with all biscuits, they are actually done before they look done – the ones on the middle were soft and the edge ones were hard.  Which way you like it might be a matter of preference, but for me the gooey meltiness of the “just-done” biscuit is divine.

I’d really want to make these again and try to get the whole batch gooey because the extreme chocolatyness was overwhelmingly tasty.

Ingredients: 110g margarine, 50g soft brown sugar, 110g plain chocolate (melted into the mixture), 110g milk chocolate (chunks), 2 tablespoons marmalade, 175g self-raising flour.

Who made it: Anna did everything.

Recipe: Baking, Making and Sharing, by Susan Over, page 14.

February 28, 2010

Caramel Crunch Cheesecake

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 4:35 pm

In the interests of fairness, I should say that I’m a recovering Cheesecake addict.  Well, I was recovering.  Now I’m simply an addict again.

This is possibly the least healthy cake (measured in increased death probability per mouthful) that has ever existed.  It is also the reason that I feel passionately that the humble digestive earns its place as the spiritual leader of the biscuits.

Here, have a look:

The most delicious death you could ever imagine.

What you are looking at there is almost solid sugar and dairy produce, tainted only by cocoa.  The top layer is dark chocolate, mixed with a little cream.  The base is a rather simple but extremely delicious mixture of chocolate coated digestives and butter, which when baked tastes divine.  The cheesecake mixture is cream cheese, sugar and eggs, mixed with a home made caramel sauce.  There are even pieces of crunchie in there.

As with all real cheesecakes, its baked in the oven, which concentrates the flavour and gives a cake-like consistency.  This is, to my tastes, an essential feature distinguishing cheesecake from a simple mixture of cheese related ingredients – unbaked cheesecakes just don’t do it for me.

The end result is simply awesome.  The best things is that it gets better with time – sitting in the fridge actually seems to open up the flavours in a way that I don’t fully understand.  It will take us a week to eat this guy – it should take a month by calorie count – and I know from delicious experience that today’s awesome piece will be matched or beaten tomorrow.

Who made it: Anna did the hard work, Dan helped with the “cleaning the bowls” (no actual washing up was necessary, strangely…)

Recipe: Cheesecakes, pavlovas & trifles, by the Australian Women’s Weekly (!), page 8.

February 15, 2010


Filed under: Sweets — Tags: , , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 10:12 pm

First up: acknowledgements.  Huge thanks to Anne for making these for us at Christmas, and putting up the recipe!

There is only one word to describe these truffles: divine. It might be blasphemous, but the only way I can describe the taste is as a Mars Bar made personally by God.

Home made truffles come in all shapes and sizes yet just one awesome favour. Trust me, you don't want them to taste of anything else.

Making your own truffles is a way of turning some tasty chocolate into loads of even tastier chocolate (again with the divinity thing – except that chocolate tastes better than loaves and fishes!).  It’s a fair amount of effort, and it matters which chocolate you start with, because “all” you do it melt it in with some condensed milk, refrigerate, and coat in chocolate.

Of course, that’s some “all”. Anne details all the clever tricks that make it easier, but at the end of the day warm melted chocolate goes on cold balls of truffle that melt at room temperature.  Its a very tricky business!  We don’t have Anne’s “truffle-fu”, so got a little more “variation” than would be ideal.  Still, the taste is all there.  After the ordeal of making them, we were wondering why we bothered since chocolate tastes so yummy anyway.  But the next day when I tried the first one…

Oh.  My.

I won’t be making them as a present – they are tricky, and I couldn’t get them as perfect as Anne did – but if anyone is reading this – I’ll take it as a present any time!  And getting the taste right is thankfully easy, and oh so worth it…

Who made it: A joint effort, though I’ll claim responsibility for the decoration!

Recipe: See Anne’s post, and the pioneer woman‘s post, which is two links in the industrious history of this magnificent recipe.

January 31, 2010

Chocolate Ripple Teabread

Filed under: Cake — Tags: , , , , — thinkingdan @ 7:43 pm

What better on a Sunday Afternoon than:

Chocolate Ripple Teabread

Doesn't it look perfectly delicious?

You can see how great this teabread looks.  Chocolate, chocolate and chocolate!  Mmmm.  I stuffed my face on the mixture and licked the bowl clean – it tastes amazing, being flavoured by mixed spice to give it a little extra.

No look closer at that picture.  Go on.  Stop being distracted by its delicious yummyness and focus on the flash glare.

Yes thats right – its the picture from the book. Sadly, our cake burned on top 20 minutes in to the 90 minute baketime.  We had to slice the burnt top off (complete with chocolate pieces – I could have cried), wrap it up in tinfoil, then put it back in the oven for another hour.

The finished article: upside down cake.

Our cake is the “upside down” version, though contains the same chocolaty goodness inside, as pictured.  We managed to stop it burning again by putting it in the bottom of the oven, at 20 degrees less, and covered in tinfoil (for the remaining hour).  This isn’t the first time we’ve had such problems with the oven; normally starting the oven from cold works but sadly not this time.

Still, what remains of the cake tastes as it should, which is pretty good.

Who made it: I’m going to claim that Anna had the most input, but lets face it, either of us could have noticed that it was burning before it burnt!

Recipe: “Simply Cadbury’s Chocolate”, by Joanna Farrow, page 32.

Blog at