plate 2 plate - kaiserschmarrn

27 Jul 2015

Have you ever heard of a dish called Kaiserschmarrn? Until Juliana suggested this as our dish for July's Plate 2 Plate blog post, neither had I. This is what it looks like, made and photographed by Juliana.

From what I've read the dish was originally created for the Austrian Emperor's wife. She asked her chef to come up with a light dessert and the fluffy little dumplings he created did not fit the bill but the Emperor loved the dessert so much he ate it all by himself. This recipe for Kaiserschmarrn comes from a book by Konditorei Zauner which Juliana kindly translated from German into English for me.

I found this recipe challenging because I didn't have a reference point as I'd not seen or tasted Kaiserschmarrn before. 

I found a few recipes online and Zauner's recipe was the only one that pre-cooked the milk and flour before adding the egg whites. Most of the other recipes made a pancake like batter and after frying the pancake on one side the cooking process was completed in the oven. 

I decided to make a test batch and found the quantity of flour daunting so I halved it before cooking off the milk and flour. When I cooked the flour and milk, it just turned into Perkin's Paste (a thick paper glue from my childhood for those non Australian readers). Juliana thinks European flour is probably a little different from Australian flour because she didn't have the same problem.

The batter tasted a bit bland so I added a little knob of butter, some vanilla and a tablespoon of sugar before folding in the beaten egg whites. The end result was like a souffle omelette, lovely and pillow like in texture but it promptly deflated making it impossible to photograph. 

I returned to the drawing board, this time baking the pancake for 5 minutes before cutting the Kaiserschmarrn into pieces and gently frying the pancake pieces in butter and a little sugar. These were more sturdy and could be photographed but I actually preferred the soft pillowy ones. 

As it's winter in Sydney and apples are at their peak, I accompanied the Kaiserschmarrn with some apple I stewed with sultanas (golden raisins), also known as appletani by my friend's children. It made for a comforting winter dessert. Juliana served her kaiserschmarrn with blueberries. Her Swiss blueberries are so much more delicate than the monster blueberries we get here.

Here's the original recipe for you without any of my changes.

500 mls milk
250g flour
4 eggs, separated
1 pinch of salt
1 Tbs sugar
Butter for the skillet

Heat the milk with the flour and stir until a thick mush forms. Cool. Add the egg yolks and salt to the cooled flour mixture. Whip the egg whites with the sugar until stiff and carefully fold into the flour mixture.

Heat butter in a skillet and pour in half of the batter. Cover and cook until the underside is golden then flip and carefully tear the pancake apart with a fork. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve warm with powdered sugar and cinnamon.

I'm a little jealous of Juliana's lovely vintage pewter plate, so here's one last photo of it.

I hope you enjoyed July's Plate 2 Plate post. Many thanks to Juliana for her lovely photos. You can read her blog post here.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


brovst dream cake

20 Jul 2015

Last year when I bought a copy of Scandinavian Baking by Trine Hahnemann, I immediately bookmarked her recipe for Brovst Dream Cake

Just last month I saw another modernised version featured in Simon Bajada's book, New Nordic, containing berries. I decided to combine the best parts of both recipes to bring you my version of this old fashioned Danish cake. 

I found blueberries in the fruit shop so I decided to use them in my version of the recipe.

The cake is a simple vanilla flavoured cake, that's cooked twice so it's important not to over cook the cake before adding the coconut topping. I decided to use some oats as well as shredded coconut in my topping to make it extra crunchy.

The cake came out high and handsome and smelled delicious.

For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C. 

Here's the recipe for you, which makes a 17 cm cake. The topping made a generous amount and I didn't use it all. In fact, I think this cake would probably be best baked in a 20 cm/8 inch cake tin but you'd need to drop the initial bake time a little, maybe to 25-30 minutes. 

BROVST DREAM CAKE - makes a 17 cm cake

200g (7 oz) plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 large eggs
200g (7 oz) caster sugar
60g (2 oz) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
125 mls (½ cup) whole milk
150g (5 oz) fresh or frozen red or blackcurrants or blueberries
Cream or custard, to serve

50g (1¾ oz) butter

112g (4 oz) soft brown sugar
30 ml single cream
75g (2½ oz) coconut or rolled oat flakes or a mixture of both

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F. Line the base and sides of a 17 cm springform tin with baking paper.

2. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar for about 10 minutes, until pale and fluffy.

3. Sift the flour and baking powder into the egg mixture and fold to combine. Stir in the melted butter, vanilla and milk. Fold in the currants or berries.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the middle of the cake is just firm to touch.

5. Meanwhile, put the butter, sugar and cream into a small saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat and stir in the coconut +/- oats. Remove the cake from the oven and spread the glaze over. Increase oven temperature to 210°C/410°F and then bake the cake for 10-15 minutes more or until the top layer turns golden brown.

6. Allow the cake to cool in its tin for a few minutes before releasing the springform. Cool and allow the topping to set before cutting into slices. Serve with cream or custard.

I had my piece of cake for afternoon tea on a very cold Sunday afternoon with a nice strong cup of tea. Loverly!

See you all again next week,


shopping in kyoto

16 Jul 2015

During my stay in Japan, I actually made 2 separate trips to Kyoto with a quick side trip to Hiroshima. On my first visit to Kyoto I stayed in Northern Higashiyama where there was a distinct lack of shops. Until the last three days of my trip, I did no shopping at all. Nothing. Eventually I found a Muji store while I was in Hiroshima and broke the shopping drought there. The second time I was in Kyoto, my hotel was in the middle of the shopping district so there was no longer any excuse. Once I'd checked in, I hit the streets in search of the shops.

I found this beautiful store called Marcourt just a short walk from my hotel but unfortunately I wasn't able to take photos of it's interior.

The building was obviously a bank in it's former life. I found these interior photos online but I couldn't find a credit. If any-one knows who took these photos I'd love to credit the photographer.

I also found this lovely flower shop, called Azur.

which seemed to specialise in hydrangeas.

I went on a hunt for this building housing the Mina Perhonen boutique. Can I just say trying to use Google maps which only use Japanese characters is not easy. It took me 2 goes but I found the building in the end.

The building is a grand old lady.

The boutique houses some uncharacteristically brightly coloured clothing.

I found this cute shop near my first hotel and vowed to return but ran out of time. Unfortunately the shop doesn't have a website. 

On my last day in Kyoto, I woke bright and early because I was going to the Toji Temple Market.

It's a bustling market even at an early hour and I came home with some tasty candied fruit and some pottery bowls, which are still to be unpacked.

I took this photo solely for the elderly ladies you see in the foreground. Japan has a rapidly ageing population and I shared many bus and train trips with this cohort of lively travellers all of whom wore these hats. I was almost tempted to buy one for myself!

I still had time to squeeze in one more temple so I decided to visit the Ryoanji Temple with it's famous rock garden.

The temple is set in beautiful lush gardens.

and has a lovely lake and a restaurant is located in it's grounds.

On the bus ride back to my hotel I was seated next to a very elderly gentleman who was busy folding paper. He presented me with a paper frog, a butterfly and an aubergine which I carefully brought back to Sydney with me in my carry-on. I spent the last few hours in Kyoto madly dashing between the Nishiki food market, the Ippodo Tea Company, the Takashimaya food hall and Angers where I bought most of my purchases. I was far too busy to take any photos.

So there you have it, the final photos from my trip to Japan. See you all again next week with something from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


karen martini salted spiced chocolate caramel slice recipe

13 Jul 2015

Hi Every-one,

last week I was looking for a recipe on the internet when I spied this video from Karen Martini.  Karen's recipe for salted spiced chocolate caramel slice includes cloves, cardamom, a cinnamon stick and an Earl Gray teabag. I really wasn't looking for another caramel slice recipe as I'm happy with the one I have but I was intrigued by the addition of spices to the caramel mixture.

I'm not a huge fan of cardamom. I call it sneaky spice as it often masquerades as cinnamon. Instead of adding dried cardamom powder I used a few whole pods which I infused into the caramel with the cinnamon stick and the tea bag.

Infusing the tea bag and cinnamon stick in the caramel resulted in a very sticky mess. It makes more sense to infuse the tea bag and cinnamon stick in the butter for 2 minutes before adding the condensed milk so that's how I've written the instructions.

The original recipe made a 20 cm/8 inch slice but I re-jigged the quantities to make a 17 cm version with a thicker layer of caramel. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C. 

Here's the recipe for you. 

Salted Spiced Chocolate Caramel Slice – Karen Martini (17 cm version)


½ cup plain flour
⅓ cup brown sugar
80 g unsalted butter chopped
¼ tsp ground cinnamon


50g unsalted butter, chopped
¼ cup golden syrup
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 stick cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
1 Earl Grey tea bag 
1 tin condensed milk


110g dark chocolate
15 g unsalted butter
pinch sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Line the base and sides of a 17 cm spring form tin with baking paper.

2. Put flour, sugar, butter and cinnamon in a food processor and process until combined. Press mix evenly into pan. Smooth surface and bake for 15-20 mins or until lightly golden. Allow to cool.

3. To make filling, put butter, golden syrup, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and tea bag in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Cook stirring occasionally, until butter has melted. Take off the heat and infuse for 2 minutes. Remove and discard tea bag and the cinnamon stick.

4. Add condensed milk to pan, return to the heat and cook, stirring for 2-3 mins or until mix has thickened and slightly darkened. Pour mix over cooled base and bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until the filling is bubbling and lightly golden. Set aside to cool until caramel is firm.

5. To make topping put chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water and heat until almost melted. Remove from heat, then stir until smooth. Spoon over filling, smoothing with back of spoon.

6. Sprinkle salt flakes over topping then refrigerate for at least 4 hours before cutting into wedges.

The end result was delicious and one of my workmates thought it tasted more like a chocolate caramel tart than a regular caramel slice. Next time I'd reduce the butter in the base to 55-60 gm as the excess butter bubbled out of the tin while the slice was baking. 

I hope you all survived the cold Sydney weather. I'll be back again later in the week with my last photos from Kyoto.

Bye for now,


mel and fred - a wedding

9 Jul 2015

Last month my mate Bruce called and ask if I could help out at a wedding he was photographing in the Southern Highlands. I haven’t photographed a wedding in a while, so of course I agreed. I drove from Sydney down to the reception venue, Attunga Grove, where Mel and her bridesmaids were getting ready. Bruce and I had photographed her sister’s wedding a few years back so it was a bit like a family reunion.

The Attunga Grove's grounds were gorgeous so I took some photos while the girls were getting their hair and make-up done.

The reception took place in a marquee that had been set up by the lake on the property.

Nothing like a cake with a touch of bling. 

I found a pretty nook to photograph the dress and the bouquets.

The bridesmaids wore matching elegant mushroom pink coloured dresses.

Some shots of the bride getting ready and yes, they are Badgley Mischka shoes. 

Pretty maids all in a row.

The beautiful bride.

A last shot before the trip to Berrima. 

The pretty but tiny St Francis Xavier Church in Berrima where the ceremony took place.


We drove back to Attunga Grove for some photos of the bridal party. It was close to the shortest day of the year so after the sun went down, the temperatures dropped but these ladies were troopers.

The bride and groom.

On the way to the reception venue.

A sweet moment.

Some details.

Thanks so much Mel and Fred for letting me be part of your day.

Bye for now,

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