Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Muesli Tuesday - Vanilla maple cherry berry muesli

I love muesli, actually scratch that I love good muesli and good muesli is very hard to find. Most brands that I have tried have been too oily, too dry, packed full of sugar and worst of all packed full of sultanas or raisons as fillers (which is my own special idea of hell)! Hmmm. Maybe I should start with a little context for my little muesli rant:

Last week my lovely Mum very generously took my sister-in-law, my brother's partner and I away to a swanky health retreat in the Hunter Valley. While the meals for lunch and dinner were difficult to appreciate (I like a little flavour in my food thankyouverymuch!) the mueslis at breakfast were delicious. So when I returned home suddenly my crappy commercial off-the-shelf muesli wasn't going to cut it anymore which means that I need to make my own.

In the past I have made my own granola which although delicious uses a very large amount of sugar to almost caramel coat the grains. Not good, especially with the amount of tasting I need to do for Sugar Egg Flour!

So as always, when faced with a culinary challenge, I turned to the internet looking for some good ideas on how to make muesli. With these basic guidelines in mind and an idea of what I like in a muesli this is what I came up with:

Vanilla maple cherry berry muesli
Makes: heaps!

Roast mix:
1kg rolled oats
500g rolled spelt
500g rolled barley
1C large coconut flakes
1/2C LSA (a ground up combination of linseed, sunflower seeds and almonds)
1/2C whole sunflower seeds
2C psyllium husk
400g raw macadamia halves
500g raw almonds (pulsed in food processor until broken into large chunks)
3/4C pure maple syrup
2T vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract NOT vanilla essence)
1/3C canola or rice bran oil

Preheat oven to 140 degrees Celsius. Mix everything together in a really big bowl then spread on to baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes, mix, then bake for a further 20minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly.

Fruit mix:
500g dried sour cherries
500g dried blueberries
500g dried cranberries
1/2C chia seeds

Add the fruit mix to the roasting mix and combine well. Store in airtight containers. 

Monday, 25 July 2011

New Website Coming Soon!

Hi All,

Sorry that I have been so lax in posting on my blog recently but I've been spending too much time in the kitchen baking to blog about it!
My business Sugar Egg Flour which specialises in French Macarons and other handmade sweet treats in the Sydney area has taken off beyond my wildest expectations which has necessitated the building of a proper website. My web designer extraordinaire Kate from Mint Magnolia and I are putting on the final touches and it should launch within the next couple of weeks.
Through the new website my clients will be able to contact me directly to order as well as have a look at my current flavours, upcoming market dates and wedding ideas.
If you would like to contact me in the meantime to make an order or if you have any enquiries please either send me an email at, find us on Facebook at or call me on 0412835202.

Thanks for you patience!

Mel xox

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Raspberry Macarons

For a while now I have been playing around with different raspberry fillings for macarons. So far I have explored raspberry white chocolate ganache, raspberry mascarpone cream and a raspberry jam buttercream however none of them have truly hit the mark. 

Personally I found the raspberry white chocolate ganache far too sickly sweet especially when combined with the already sweet macaron shells. 

The raspberry mascarpone cream was delicious but just too wet for macarons as even overnight storage would turn the macarons into a texture similar to Wheet-Bix left to soak overnight so not really the nicest option.. 

To make the raspberry jam buttercream I combined raspberry jam with frozen raspberries until slightly reduced and thick then strained the mixture to remove the seeds. I chilled the raspberry then whipped it through the buttercream to create the filling. I think this mixture was close to what I'm looking however the raspberry mixture just didn't want to emulsify with the buttercream which created a strange ripple effect (and not in a pretty way!).

Tonight I made a batch of pretty green shells with the intention of filling them with a lime buttercream (I recently picked up some lime oil from The Essential Ingredient and I have been dying to use it) but when I piped them out the green didn't seem like the right shade for a lime filling so I decided to give another raspberry filling a go.

This time I used powdered freeze dried raspberries to flavour the buttercream and the result was fantastic. Velvety smooth,not too sweet and perfectly combined. I guess it also doesn't hurt that the raspberry buttercream looks so pretty against the green shells. Enjoy!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Chocolate peanut butter & chocolate hazelnut macaron

This weekend I decided to play around with some different flavours for my Monday orders. Well played around as much as I could because I think I would have a lynch mob after me if I didn't include salted caramel! 

So I thought I would play around with a chocolate & peanut butter ganache as my mum used to make us chocolate & peanut butter fudge when we were kids and it was amazing. I think it must be the American in me but I loooooove chocolate & peanut butter together. Mind you I did shudder a little sacrificing my beautiful 50% cocoa Lindt couverture to being combined with crunchy peanut butter however the result was magnificent. Chocolaty, sweet, peanutty with a hint of saltiness hit the spot perfectly. 

So please enjoy some photos of some of my orders for Monday (with my pretty new boxes!).

L-R Chocolate shells - chocolate hazelnut, chocolate & yellow shells - chocolate peanut butter, white shells & light filling - lemon mascarpone, yellow & white shells with brown filling - salted caramel

Love the new boxes

Can't resist the plug - I will be making some in time for Mother's Day wrapped with pretty ribbon next Sunday so if you would like to order some please let me know buy Wednesday evening. $20 per mixed dozen and at this stage it is Sydney orders only. Sorry!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Chocolate coated candied orange pieces

This Easter hubby went to my favourite chocolate place on the planet, Haigh's, for my Easter egg. When I worked in the CBD I would make pilgrimages to Haigh's just for their milk chocolate freckles and dark chocolate candied orange pieces. I'm not normally much of an orange/dark chocolate fan (I think my impressions of that flavour combination was ruined by Jaffas!) so I was surprised to be so taken with the candied orange pieces. Chewy candied orange on the inside and 70% cocoa chocolate on the outside. Heaven!

So while up the coast this weekend when hubby presented me with my Easter "egg" (freckles and candied orange pieces) not only was I rapt but the cogs in my head started turning. How hard is it to candy something? Naturally this started some frenzied internet research in to the different ways and means of candying orange (I must also admit that I was suffering from baking withdrawal as I had neglected to take away with me my Kitchenaid mixer, piping bags & macaron stencil which was driving me a little batty) until I found the common candying themes.

I must admit that now I've mastered them I'm almost a little sad that I have ruined for myself the mystique of one of my favourite treats as they are disappointingly easy to make. Especially when they cost $90 a kilo at Haigh's!

Chocolate coated candied orange pieces

2C water
3 1/2C sugar
4 seedless oranges
300g dark chocolate (make sure this is good quality! I used Lindt 50% cocoa)

Cut the oranges in half  lengthwise and then half again. Cut the orange in to 1/2cm slices so they look like this:

Combine the water and sugar in a large saute/frying pan over a medium heat and bring to a simmering boil. Add the orange slices and simmer, occasionally dunking the floating orange slices with a slotted spoon (but please don't stir or else the orange will break down!). After an hour remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool completely before removing the candied orange with tongs.

Place the candied orange on a wire rack over some baking paper and allow to dry overnight (I cheated and put them on the racks of an oven with a dish below on 100 celsius for 3 hours until they were dry).

Melt the chocolate and dip the orange pieces, allow to set in the fridge before eating. They should keep in an airtight container for a couple of weeks and are perfect with coffee.


Monday, 18 April 2011

Orders, orders, orders

This weekend I was kept relatively busy filling orders for Monday morning. I'm still playing around a little with fillings and have stumbled across a few of crackers. First amazing combination is a lemon mascarpone filling which is just beautifully light and creamy with a definite lemon zing to it. The second one which I tested out only about half an hour ago is a passionfruit mascarpone, I never would have thought it would taste so good but I think I'm now firmly on the passionfruit in baked goods bandwagon! 

So without further ado please enjoy some pics of the flavours in my mixed dozen:

(L-R) passionfruit mascarpone, fairy bread, lemon mascarpone, choc peppermint & salted caramel

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Baby shower Macarons: salted caramel perfected & choc peppermint

My lovely friend who is 7 months pregnant and house bound (eek!) had her baby shower today and I though it might be nice to take along some Macarons to share (and also to get some people to try out a new flavour!).

I remade the salted caramel ones from earlier on this week:

Salted caramel. Still a winner.

Especially with pretty yellow shells

Choc peppermint

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Macaron Madness

My apologies for neglecting the blog this week, I have been spending way too much time in the kitchen making things to even think of getting on the computer to write it! Let me just say that I'm in love with the Macaron and the Macaron bug has well and truly bit me. I think the most appealing thing about Macarons is that in terms of flavour the sky is the limit. 

My mind is just buzzing with the possible flavours and textures that I can play with and I can't wait to make them all. At this point I think it's only fair that I say a big thank you to my flavour Guinea Pigs (family, long suffering colleagues & husband's colleagues) who have devoured more than their fair share of Macarons this week without complaint. 

My Macaron breakthrough occurred on Tuesday evening when I decided to give a different shell recipe a go and for some reason everything fell in to place, suddenly making these seemed like the most simple, natural thing in the world. Making Tant Pour Tant (or TPT as it is known which is simply a mix of equal parts icing sugar and almond meal) which is then mixed with a fresh egg white, heating a sugar syrup to 115 Celsius, whisking egg whites to soft peaks, slowly adding the hot sugar syrup to the egg whites, then beating the meringue until it is impossibly thick and glossy, folding the meringue through the TPT paste, piping the shells out, leaving them to rest, baking and matching them up. 

Then comes the fun part where you get to play around with the flavour and texture of the filling. This week I've played around with making caramels, ganache & buttercreams, experiencing their different feel in the mouth, level of sweetness and adaptability. Personally I think that the salted caramel I made on Sunday was an absolute winner and very hard to beat in terms of flavour. White cholocate ganache is a little too sweet for me especially when combined with the already sweet Macaron shells but others seemed to love it. I believe the overall winner in terms of a brilliant vessel for other flavours would be the buttercream mainly because there is the ability to mediate the level of sweetness relative to the other flavours in the Macaron. Having said that I'm keen to explore the use of flavour infused marscapone, citrus curds & fruit jams. 

So without further ado please enjoy a few shots of what I have made so far this week.

White Chocolate & Raspberry Macarons

Tasty but the white chocolate made the ganache a little too sweet for me. But they do look perfect!

Fairy Bread Macarons

The idea for these actually came from a colleague of my brother's girlfriend and I have to say that they are very appealing to me, who doesn't secretly still love fairy bread?!

The little ones resting and forming their crust, I was a little concerned that the colour of the 100's & 1000's would bleed on to the mixture.

But luckily it didn't! I just love how whimsical they look.

Filled with a vanilla buttercream with more 100's & 1000's mixed through.

Yum, nuff said.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Why didn't anyone tell me that chicken, haloumi & honey was awesome?!

I started making this a few weeks ago after a few months of hesitation since first spying it in a cookbook I was given for Christmas. I understand the combination of chicken & honey, chicken & haloumi but honey & haloumi?! Upon closer study of the recipe it calls for oodles of lemon which I think act as a sort of middle man between the salty chewiness of the haloumi and the sickly sweetness of the honey. The flavours that you end up with are amazing and this dish is so  simple that it shouldn't taste as good as it does, even my one year old nephew loved it. Oh and thank you to my awesome brother who thought to take photos when the rest of us were digging in!

Baked chicken with haloumi & honey
Adapted from Donna Hay 'Fast, Fresh, Simple'
I'll write this up as a serve per person so just multiply it by the number of people you need to feed.

1 200g chicken breast
75g haloumi, sliced thickly
zest of 1 lemon
1 sprig lemon thyme
1t olive oil
1t honey

Preheat the oven to 180 Celsius. Place the chicken and haloumi in a baking dish and sprinkle over the lemon zest and lemon thyme. Place the honey and olive oil in a watertight container and give it a good shake to combine. Drizzle the honey/oil mixture over the chicken and haloumi. Bake in the oven for about 20 mins or until the chicken is cooked and the haloumi is golden.

I love this particularly with a fig and rocket salad. Just drizzle a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar over some rocket and sliced figs.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Sugar Egg Flour's Belgian triple chocolate fudge brownies

Our signature brownies are dense and fudgy with generous chunks of Belgian Callebaut dark, milk and white chocolate. 

mmmmm... brownie

Now that's just being cruel. Sorry!

You don't win friends with salad.. Unless it's one of these babies!

Unfortunately I wasn't able to bake last night for my normal Wednesday evening stress release baking session due to a horrible migraine which has been hanging around since Monday. Cooking really isn't on the top of my list of priorities when my eyes feel like they are about to make a dash for freedom from my eyelids or when your head feels like it's in an old school wine basket press being slowly turned. Ok ok I promise that  the morbid self-pity session is now over.

I just thought that I would share a couple of quick recipes for some amazing salads. Yeah yeah I know, you don't win friends with salad but these two are beauties! So easy and they will win over most carnivores and are so much more interesting than your normal Greek or garden salad.

The first recipe is one which was given to me by a friend of mine who is the most amazing chef, one night Ben & I went to the little restaurant he used to own and out came the most amazing dish. Duck and pistachio sausages on a beetroot salad with a truffled honey dressing. I had to beg for the recipe for the salad dressing and the truffled honey (I bought mine from The Essential Ingredient) takes a little bit of searching to find in the shops but the effort is worth it.

Beetroot Salad with Truffled Honey Dressing

2 beetroot
2 granny smith apples
200g rocket

1T truffled honey
2T light olive oil
2t good quality balsamic vinegar

Wrap the beetroot in foil and bake for 1 hour at 180 Celsius. When the beetroot is still hot rub the skin off and slice into fine matchsticks (I use a mandolin). Slice the apples into matchsticks (if you want to make this ahead of time but don't want the apple to brown, just toss it in a little lemon juice). Toss the beetroot, apple and rocket together. To make the dressing place the truffled honey, olive oil and vinegar in a little watertight container and give it a good shake. Drizzle over the salad and serve. This is also great with some toasted pine nuts tossed through.

The second recipe is one that I saw on the menu of a restaurant and one which seriously delivers on taste. Hot, salty molten haloumi with sweet fresh figs and peppery rocket... droooool. Then when you throw in the tartness of the pomegranate it becomes an almost religious experience.

Fig & Haloumi Salad with Pomegranate

4 fresh figs sliced into wedges
200g baby rocket
250g haloumi
seeds of 1 pomegranate

1T white balsamic vinegar
2T olive oil

Slice the haloumi into little batons (like fish fingers!). To make the dressing combine the vinegar and oil in a watertight container and give it a good shake. Toss together the figs and rocket. When you are ready to serve quickly fry the haloumi in a pan or on the BBQ until golden. Quickly toss the haloumi through the salad and drizzle on the dressing. Serve immediately.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Ribfest 2011

There is something quite special about ribs, especially ribs which are fall-off-the-bone tender and are smothered in a spicy sweet homemade barbecue sauce. I've always been partial to ribs but feel that they often have a bad reputation through those awful pre-marinated ones you can buy at Coles or Woolies.

Last year my brother introduced me to the most beautiful ribs I had eaten in years they were messy, sticky, gooey, spicy and sweet all at the same time. In short, I was in love. So after a lengthy discussion over how he made them and getting my hands on the recipe I played around with it and tweaked until I came up with something which in my eyes are the perfect ribs.

Just a disclaimer: I know that this looks like a lot of effort but believe me once you have done it one it becomes so simple to do and with one taste you will be hooked!

Pork Spare Ribs - Serves 8
Adapted from Masterchef Australia 

4kg american style pork ribs (the ones which come in the long racks but just cut them into 4 pieces)
Limes, to serve
Olive oil

Spice Rub

2T brown sugar
2T salt
4 cloves garlic chopped
1 onion finely chopped
2t dried oregano leaves
2t ground cumin
2t mustard powder
2t hot smoked paprika
2t hot chilli powder

Combine the spice rub ingredients in a bowl then massage the mixture into the ribs and place in the fridge overnight to marinate completely.

Once the ribs are marinated turn on the BBQ, drizzle some olive oil on the ribs and cook until they are sealed and have a beautiful crust.

Once the ribs are nicely sealed, place in a baking dish and heat the oven to 160 Celsius.

Barbecue Sauce

2C brown sugar
500mL malt vinegar
2t ground cinnamon
2t cumin
2t smoked paprika
4 bullet chillies (or less if you don't like things spicy but please just try it once with all the chilli, it's a whole different experience!)
2t hot chilli powder
2t mustard powder
4T tomato sauce
4T Dijon mustard
250mL bourbon
2 onions finely chopped
2 tomatoes finely chopped
4 bay leaves
the peeled rind of 2 oranges

Combine the above ingredients in a saucepan over a medium heat and simmer for 15 mins. Pour the sauce over the ribs then cover with aluminium foil and bake in the oven for 1.5 hours, turning the ribs every 30minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for a further hour turning the ribs every 20 minutes. You will see the ribs start to fall of the bone and that is when you know you have hit the jackpot.

To serve just squeeze a little lime juice over them. Heaven! Just don't forget copious amounts of serviettes...

mmmmmmm ribs....

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Bright Ideas

It just occurred to me that you could substitute the dates for dried figs which would be divine... Or make it with white chocolate, dried cranberries & pistachios... Or just dark chocolate & cashews... Or anything else at all you can think of! Just make sure that the ratios stay the same and you should be fine.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Well hello there world

I never really realised how difficult it is to find the right words to begin something like this with. Well one sentence down, shouldn't be too hard from here on in...

Call me lazy but the reason for this blog is so I can share my recipes with my family and friends and so I don't have to keep writing them down or emailing them!

I started taking an interest in cooking relatively late in my childhood when I realised that if I didn't like what my parents were feeding me (sorry Mum!) I should do something about it and make things that looked good to me. In true form I began to obsess over cookbooks, looking for a challenge, trying things out and seeing how I went. Surprisingly (especially for me!) my family didn't spit it out or drop dead. So from there cooking became like a challenge: Can I make my own pasta? Can I make bread? Can I make a rabbit ragu? What does a fresh truffle taste like? How can I cook with it?

I hope that you enjoy me sharing my kitchen with you.