My take on Jack Stein’s Chocolate Pavé

My take on Jack Stein’s Chocolate Pavé

Many of us have probably grown up hearing the name Rick Stein and perhaps flicking through his many recipe books. I would say he’s probably one of the first TV chefs I remember watching.  I love his passion for food and now as an adult (with a tad more food knowledge) I really appreciate and respect his simple style of cooking and his ‘paddock to plate’ philosophy. It’s great to now see one of his sons walking in his footsteps and working to keep his dad’s legacy alive. I’m not sure how many of you already know that his son Jack Stein is now on the TV cooking scene. Jack, who in recent years became executive chef directing the family’s nine restaurants in the UK, has his first very own TV series called Born to Cook: Jack Stein Down Under which is airing on Food Network over the next two weeks. I’m really looking forward to seeing this series, especially after watching him in a couple of episodes of his dad’s shows. When I recently read an article about the Born to Cook series, which explores the produce of the Margaret River region in South Western Australia, I did some foraging to find out more. I came across a number of his recipes and immediately I was drawn to his Chocolate Pavé with cherries recipe! Chocolate and cherries are one of my favourite dessert combos. Fresh cherries especially! But, unfortunately cherries are not in season at the moment (Jack filmed it last November) so instead I decided to take Jack’s recipe and put my own take on it, just in time for me to sit down and enjoy his...
EID Al-Fitr — Let’s Celebrate!

EID Al-Fitr — Let’s Celebrate!

Ramadan is over for another year. And Eid Al-Fitr is just a couple of days away. Eid Al-Fitr translates to ‘celebration or festival of breaking fast’ which you guessed it, is the celebration that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. It’s a really special time of year. Perhaps a Muslim equivalent to having Christmas. For so many the day begins at local mosques with a prayer service and the act of alms-giving takes place. The rest of the day is then spent gathering to celebrate with family and friends. Every year at this time I try and make something sweet to celebrate the day because, let’s be honest, when we gather we spend the WHOLE. ENTIRE. TIME. Eating! Last year I made a Gingerbread Mosque (you can find the recipe via SBS Food here). The kids loved making this, in fact we made it a few times. This year I got a bit more ambitious and thought I would make a Mosque Cake. Something I had not tried before. Like usual I make big plans in my head. I visualise it. Decide on what’s needed & whilst in my head it all seems so easy peasy! I was planning on making all these cakes that I would layer and decorate to create this Mosque Cake creation. Unfortunately time has not been my friend (seriously, where has time disappeared this year!?) so I decided to go down the easy road. Instead I bought pre-made rectangle vanilla sponge slabs for the mosque and found a pack of round brioche buns that I thought would be perfect for the minaret. All...
Date & Pistachio Topping

Date & Pistachio Topping

Travelling to the Middle East you will find that dates are a staple fruit and have been for thousands of years.   Ramadan is a time when we are inundated with these dates. Every household stocks up on them during the month and it is commonly the first thing eaten to break one’s fast. They’re great to eat, so delicious, nutritious and easy to digest. It is also traditionally narrated, that dates were in fact the food Prophet Muhammad ate when he broke his fast and reiterated their purifying benefits those thousands of years ago. Today many nutritionists and dieticians have highlighted the health benefits of eating dates. Hiba Jebeile (Nutrition/Dietetics) says, “Dates are packed with nutrients including fibre, magnesium, vitamin b-6 and iron.” Now is the perfect time to stock up on fresh #dates with supermarkets loaded with them before the month of #Ramadan begins 👍🏼 Dates are packed with nutrients including fibre, magnesium, vitamin b-6 and iron, BUT they are also energy dense, meaning they are high in calories and carbs for such a tiny serve…. so if you are watching your sugar levels, then limit your portion to just 1-2 dates… I know, I'm sorry 😐 #nutritiontips #sorrynotsorry A post shared by Hiba Jebeile (@shouldieatthis) on May 25, 2017 at 12:49am PDT After chatting to Hiba recently about some healthier dessert options this Ramadan we thought something with dates would be great. After making some suggestions, I decided to experiment a little to create a topping for my rice pudding (you can find the rice pudding recipe here). Here’s what I came up with! Print Date & Pistachio Topping...
The ‘Desert Rose’ Pavlova

The ‘Desert Rose’ Pavlova

Over the years we have seen the humble birthday sponge grow and transform into all kinds of creative, sometimes elegant, sometimes whacky, designs. Now with social media these designs can go viral, trends are so quickly created and people will go wild for them. I don’t mind buying these cakes. Any kind of cake really and I do, I certainly do! But when it comes to special occasions, for a loved one, I especially love making the cake myself. I am a DIY type. I really enjoy having something creative to work on and you can’t beat the taste of a homemade cake, especially one made with love (a dash of sweat & perhaps a few tears!). So when that right occasion comes around, I pull out my cake tins, I’ll sit and watch cake-making video after video and with conviction I think to myself, ‘I can do that!’ So I delve knee deep into cake making and baking one of the latest in cake ‘trends’ and I have to admit even though I start to regret it sometimes (just because it’s usually not as easy as I thought!), more often than not, seeing the look on the face of the recipient…just that end result, makes it all worth it. All these ‘trendy’ cakes aside, what I love baking most are the classics. Sponge, carrot, eclairs, lamingtons, pavlova…especially pavlova! If there’s ever an array of desserts on offer and pavlova is one of the options, hands down, I’ll go for the pav first! I love the crispy shell, the soft marshmallow-y inside and when it’s topped with freshly whipped cream and fresh...
Coconut & Pistachio Bites

Coconut & Pistachio Bites

Years ago I often made these coconut balls using shredded coconut and a tin of condensed milk. You couldn’t get simpler than that when it came to ingredients. Just mix together and roll into bite size balls. It was a yummy little treat to put together when you had guests coming around or to take with you when visiting friends or family. Recently I remembered these and thought I had not made them in a while. Of course this time I thought I’d up the ante and ‘Lebanese-ify’ them! I know you’ll love these! My family did! RECIPE is below & here on my You Tube channel… What you’ll need: 1 pack arrowroot/milk coffee biscuit 395g tin sweetened condensed milk 2 cups shredded coconut 3/4 cup shredded coconut (extra) 1/4 cup crushed pistachio 1 teaspoons Rosewater 1 teaspoon Orange Blossom Method: Using a food processor, whiz up biscuits to a fine crumb. Place biscuit crumb with all remaining dry ingredients, orange blossom & rosewater (excluding extra coconut). Stir together. Add condensed milk, ensuring you mix through well so it coats all dry ingredients. Dab the palm of your hands with water. Take one tablespoon of the mixture. Bring together to create a dough like consistency and then roll into a ball. (Note: Having wet hands makes this process a lot easier!) As the ball is still moist, roll through to coat with the extra shredded coconut. Chill in refrigerator until needed. (Makes approximately 38 – 40 balls if using a tablespoon measure.)...
Chai Poached Pears, Mohalabia & Crunchy Almonds

Chai Poached Pears, Mohalabia & Crunchy Almonds

Recently, I visited a Lebanese sweets shop with my husband and kids (I won’t name the place simply because this post isn’t about naming and shaming anyone). This wasn’t a place where I usually buy my Lebanese sweets but I’d heard about it. It seemed quite popular and was pretty busy for a Saturday night so I assumed it would be a good place to check out whilst in that area. To put it mildly, I wasn’t overly impressed. The shop itself needed a serious make over. The tables were wobbly and the chairs were those uncomfortable plastic ones that all Arab families buy at a bargain price from Bunnings for their outdoor ‘bbq areas’ (no offence to all owners of those plastic chairs, my parents included haha). And then they had displays where they sold little Minion toys and another with deodorant gift packs. So completely random! I mean when have you ever gone out for dessert and thought, ‘I wish I’d remembered to buy deodorant!’ Back to the sweets. The kids didn’t really know what they wanted. I, on the other hand, was craving everything! So we eventually decided on a plate which had a variety of desserts to share. Perfect, I thought. Well, no, not really. The sweets themselves tasted okay but nothing to write home about. Which brings me to my biggest disappointment of the evening…the way they just threw the sweets onto the plate with neither love nor attention. Why I ask? Why? Everyone knows that you eat with your eyes first. I’m a firm believer in presentation and the role it plays in...
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