Month: October 2013

Scrumptious Chocolate Cake

What was the one experience that completely changed your life? What happened? How did it change your life?


Who does not love a great Chocolate cake. There are so many kinds – the delightful; chocolate brownie, the fudge chocolate cake, the mouse style chocolate cake and so on !!

In our workplace we generally make the cake for our fellow coworkers. I think the most popular choice is chocolate – there is something very satisfying about a good one.

One of our favourites is the Bourke Street Bakery Chocolate cake pictured above with chocolate chards and fresh raspberries.Here is a link for the recipe care of another blogger.


My Tips for making a great chocolate cake

1. Use good chocolate – most baking chocolate sold in supermarkets are made from animal fat and do not taste very nice. Use real chocolate – look for a cocoa content of 70%

2. Bring all your ingredients to room temperature – eggs and butter.

3. Older eggs will give better volume.

4. Be careful of your oven temperature and using a conventional oven will give this very rich cake a better baking result.

5. Dont be frightened of checking the cake throughout the cooking time.

6. Be careful not to un mould too early and ensure the tin in greased and the base covered in baking paper.

Table decoration


Simple ideas to decorate a dining table can be found in your garden ! Sometimes we don’t have any flowers or maybe we just want a change.

Think about using fresh fruit and vegetables ,fresh herbs – especially the leafy kind like basil , parsley , coriander etc.

Even vases full of fresh herbs can add great interest and provide a good visual . Vases that are different heights and shapes also can look great.

Likewise candles of differing shapes and sizes all lit can add great mood .I would ad void scented candles as this can interfere with our sense of smell !!


Party food


Last Week I had the privilege to work with Chris one of the head chefs from Vue de Monde – a very fine 3 hat restaurant in Melbourne, started by Shannon Bennet.

The focus on food is to use the best of any ingredient available, treat it with great respect and attention to detail is paramount ! For example one of the tasks I was given was to finely cut shallots into rings, further cook these onion rings in milk, dust in rice flour then dry out in a low oven at 80c (for approximately 1 hour). Lastly I deep friend them in oil kept at 140c to crisp them up. This was simply the garnish to another dish!!!

What I treasure from this work experience are the skills they teach each other in their work environment – you know those things we mere cooks only read about in books.

So here are my tips acquired from Chris.

1. Cook raw onion in milk – simply heat the milk and pour over the onion and let cool. You can use this flavoured milk to make a custard or your white ┬ásauce. Pop in the freezer if you don’t want to use it straight away. Onion can also be covered in vinegar for a similar result when using in a salad.

2. These chefs love using the soda makers to add lightness to a sauce – this night Chris filled it with tempura batter (just flour and beer) – the carbon dioxide really makes for a light batter.

3. Serve mini meals – we served slow cooked beef cheeks ,cooked slowly for 11 hours on a rich potato mash and pea mash. These mashes are flavoured with beautiful french butter and lots of seasoning – thats why they taste sooo good.

4. We used lots of microherbs – garlic flowers etc but they actually impart a gentle flavour to the dish.

5. Platters of differing small deserts are the current rage – we served mini eclairs with raspberries and mini lemon meringue pie – truly delicious little morsels.


We served his truffle marshmallow , here is a link to the recipe.