Australia

Australia

Australia! I went there and now I want to move there. I drank flat whites like it was my job, ate my weight in Tim Tams, and finally got my hands on some of those pretty sprinkles I’ve been eyeballing on Aussie food blogs. Rather than gushing about my love for Australia and using the word “amazing” more times than the Bachelor, I’ll let the photos do most of the talking. Most of these are from a food photography workshop I attended in Sydney with Luisa Brimble and Sneh Roy. If you make it all the way to the end, I may even have a recipe for you.

Australia

I did not have a bad cup of coffee while I was here. I had better coffee at the airport here than I do at most gourmet coffee shops in the US.

Australia
Sprinkles

Here are some of the workshop pics. Sneh welcomed us with all the tea and coffee we could drink, and of course, cake!

Food Photo Workshop
Food Photo Workshop-16

She has the most amazing collection of props I have ever seen.

Food Photo Workshop

Luisa discusses how she captures hands in photography…

Food Photo Workshop
Food Photo Workshop
Food Photo Workshop
Food Photo Workshop

…and shows us how she gets her stunning tablescape shots.

Food Photo Workshop

This delicious lunch was cooked by Sneh, along with the beautiful carrot cake.

Food Photo Workshop
Food Photo Workshop
Food Photo Workshop

Yay, you’re still here! Ok, here’s the recipe that wasn’t enough of a recipe to warrant a separate post. Lemon Lime Bitters is as authentically Australian as Vegemite, but tastes way better. I drank these things like they were going out of style.
You’ll need:
An glass full of ice.
5-6 dashes of Angostura Bitters
An ounce of limeade or sweetened lime juice (homemade or store-bought)
Lemon-lime soda (I used Zevia to cut back on the sugar)
Stir everything together and enjoy!

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

Chocolate Biscotti

If this blog accurately reflected the amount of biscotti that has come out of my kitchen in the last couple of months, I would have to seriously consider changing my blog name to The Biscotti Merchant. A couple of months ago, I made this Vegan Almond Biscotti and have been obsessed with finding a chocolate version that I like just as much. I found a ton of different recipes to try. Some used eggs, others just the whites. Some used oil, some used butter, some used both and others used none. I wasn’t sure how these ingredients affected the final texture, so like an obsessive baking weirdo, I just tested them all. I’m not even kidding, but I’ve literally made about 20 batches of biscotti in the last few months.

The good news is, I found a favorite! By far, the winner was David Lebovitz’s Chocolate Biscotti. It calls for whole eggs but no butter or oil. It’s crunchy enough to be distinguishable as biscotti and not just a biscotti shaped cookie, but it’s not so hard that it will break your teeth. The best part is that these biscotti get better with age. I actually liked them better on day 3 than when they were freshly baked.

I decided to veganize David Lebovitz’s original recipe by replacing the egg with a chia egg, although you can use a regular egg in this if you prefer (you’ll just need to omit the water). I also replaced some of the flour with leftover hazelnut meal from making hazelnut milk, but you could also use almond or pecan meal in its place. This recipe makes a small batch of biscotti, but can easily be doubled.

Oh, and I don’t want to sound like Ina or anything, but use good cocoa powder, The majority of the flavor in these biscotti comes from the cocoa powder. My absolute favorite brand is Valrhona which I’ll splurge on once in a while, but I usually use Cacao Barry, which is a little more reasonable and also excellent quality.

Chocolate Biscotti
Chocolate Biscotti
Chocolate Biscotti

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

Yield: 8-10 biscotti

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup good quality Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons hazelnut meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground chia or flax seeds
  • 3-4 tablespoons water
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts, divided
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life brand mini chocolate chips)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, hazelnut meal, baking soda, and salt. If your hazelnut meal is clumpy, you can pulse the dry ingredients together in a food processor.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the ground chia seeds and 3 tablespoons of the water and let sit for a couple of minutes.
  4. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla extract.
  5. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir gently to combine. Add the remaining tablespoon of water as needed until the dough just comes together without getting too sticky.
  6. Add about 2/3 of the chopped hazelnut and the mini chocolate chips and gently knead them into the dough with your hands.
  7. Roll the dough out into a long rectangle (about 2 1/2 inches wide) and press the remainder of the hazelnuts on top of the dough.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes until the dough is firm.
  9. Cool the biscotti on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
  10. Using a serrated knife, cut the biscotti diagonally into 1/2-inch slices.
  11. Place the biscotti back on the baking sheet and bake for an additional 10 minutes on each side.
  12. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://cakemerchant.com/2015/04/30/chocolate-hazelnut-biscotti/

Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz

Toasted Hazelnut Milk

Hazelnut Milk

I know what you’re thinking. What is the beige-y liquid and where is my cake? Don’t worry, cake is on the way, but in the mean time, I’m bringing you my new favorite thing, toasted hazelnut milk. Ever since my vegan month, I’ve cut back significantly on dairy, but I’ve been spending a fortune on almond milk. Store bought almond milk can be expensive, flavorless, and makes a lame cappuccino. I hate lame cappuccinos.

My mom had been suggesting that I make my own almond milk for a while now and even sent me some cheesecloth in the mail, so I took the hint, made a batch, and I’m never looking back. Nut milk in everything! That sentence made me slightly uncomfortable.

I tried the next batch with hazelnuts, and got the idea from Smitten Kitchen’s blog to make the batch after that with toasted hazelnuts. Mind blowing. Toasted hazelnut cappuccinos, lattes, mochas, milkshakes, hot chocolate, cold brew…the possibilities are endless. I may or may not have tested all of these.

Hazelnut Milk
Hazelnut Milk

Most recipes I found use a ratio of at least 3 cups of water per one cup of nuts, which works well for drinking or using in cereal. For coffee creamer or making espresso based drinks, I would recommend a ratio of 1 1/2 cups of water to 1 cup of nuts. You can add any flavors to this that you like- a pinch of salt, a tablespoon or two of maple syrup or honey if you’re not vegan, and/or some vanilla extract. I’ve even read some recipes where people blended this up with cacao nibs. I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s next on my list.

Oh, and don’t forget to save the leftover hazelnut meal. Spread it out on a baking sheet, put it in the oven on the lowest setting for a couple of hours, and let it dry out, and if it gets clumpy, pulse it in the food processor a few times. I’ve got some fun recipes coming up with hazelnut meal, so stay tuned!

Toasted Hazelnut Milk

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 1/2 - 3 cups filtered water plus more for soaking
  • Optional: pinch of salt, sugar, honey, maple syrup, vanilla extract
  • You will also need some cheese cloth or a nut milk bag.

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Place the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and spread them out in an even layer. Make sure they're not piled on top of each other and they have a little bit of wiggle room.
  3. Toast the hazelnuts for 10 minutes and toss them around about halfway through.
  4. Let the hazelnuts cool. You can skin them of you want, but I didn't bother.
  5. Soak the hazelnuts in a large bowl or jar for 12-48 hours. If you soak them on the longer side, make sure you change out the water after 24 hours.
  6. Drain the hazelnuts and place them in a blender with your desired amount of water.
  7. Blend until the mixture is white (this may take 30 seconds or longer, depending on your blender).
  8. Line a bowl with a fine mesh sieve and line it with cheesecloth.
  9. Pour the hazelnut mixture into the cheesecloth and wring it out until you can't get any more liquid.
  10. Stir in any add ins that you want and keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://cakemerchant.com/2015/04/07/toasted-hazelnut-milk/

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, The Kitchen Treaty, and Mom.