How-To | 5 Tips To Bake Like Katherine Sabbath

They tell you that you should never meet your idols, because you’ll almost always walk away disappointed.

I had no such luck when I recently met Katherine Sabbath. That lady is a dream.
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Katherine was brought to Perth for the first time by Kitchen Warehouse for a series of demonstrations to make her iconic melted ice cream cake.

I’m not going to lie to you – I got there 40 minutes early so I could nab a seat in the front row, like the dork that I am. I’m going to say this – and I just can’t emphasise it enough – she’s just so damn nice. While waiting for other attendees, she was happy to answer questions, talk about Instagram and her breakfast (Stimulatte in Subi, for those playing at home) and rearrange the bench to make sure no body missed out on seeing what she was doing.

Before long, it was show time.

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First and foremost: Her aprons are from Gorman. They are gorgeous. Buy them here.

Two: “If I want a chocolate cake, I want the richest chocolate cake I can. I definitely believe in only making a cake that you’d want to eat yourself,” Katherine says.

In fact, if you took away nothing else from her demos, let nugget of advice be it. She believes that by making cakes you want to eat, you’ll buy better ingredients, your passion will show through, and you’ll end up with a better cake as a result.

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Three: Time and patience.If you’re trying to make a towering masterpiece, try and give yourself 2-3 days to do it, so you don’t end up in a panicked, crying mess on the floor (I have no experience in that…), especially if it’s your first attempt. It also goes without saying that if it is your first time making something, do not mess with the recipe. 

Cakes come together best when they are cold, so throw every layer into the freezer for 15 minutes before you add another – it will help your cake hold its shape.

Four: Think you can’t recreate one of her cakes? THINK AGAIN. All of those cakes you see on Instagram are made in her tiny home kitchen. Even more impressive is that she’s only just invested in a Kitchen Aid. Yep, all of those incredible cakes were made with an electric hand mixer. The take away: if she can do it, so can you.

What I love most about home-taught chefs is that they know how to make do with what they’ve got. No Thermomixes, no Vitamixes, no ingredients that you need a chemistry degree to be able to pronounce. Those flawless sides on her cakes? Achieved with a cement scraper her dad bought her from Bunnings 10 years ago, when she couldn’t find or afford professional tools to keep up with what she needed.  (Something kind of like this)

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Home cooks also probably have jobs outside their craft – Katherine taught high school kids until this year, while whipping the internet into a frenzy. Your saving grace when you promised someone a cake for Friday night, but can’t skip work during the day? Your freezer. Katherine recommends making double batches of cakes or Swiss meringue buttercream next time you hit the kitchen, because both freeze beautifully for up to 3 months. Simply pull them out to defrost in the fridge overnight, and assemble the next day.

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Five: The fun part of cakes is obviously the decorating. Katherine recommends fresh and freeze dried fruits, Americolor pastes, edible flowers, chopped nuts, Valhrona crisp pearls, edible glitter and plenty of sprinkles. The key to those delicious signature drips? Colour melted white chocolate with either a gel paste or special chocolate colouring (supermarket water-based colours will seize the chocolate and ruin it), and gently coax the chocolate off the sides of a chilled cake with the back of a spoon.

Experiment! Have fun!

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Places to shop:

Additional tips and recipes:

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Hand Made Heaven | Salted Caramel Apple Crumble

I have a lot of cook books. Like, a lot. I’ve just realised that, of the bookshelf that is entirely dedicated to cook books, it’s full. I have come to the conclusion that I can never ever move from my current house, because moving the books is just too damn hard.

Whether you have overflowing selves like me, or no shelves, or you just want a book that covers all your day-to-day baking needs, get your hands on this. Hand Made Baking is an instant classic, and will be your go-to bible for years to come. Everything is practical, within reach of beginners, but with enough finesse to please a more seasoned baker. His tag line of simple, sophisticated, delicious is just about the perfect description for every recipe.

And Kamran? He writes over at The Sophisticated Gourmet, a gorgeous blog that I’ve been following for a little while now. Oh, and he’s 22. That’s right, TWENTY BLOODY TWO. To be so good, so young, Kamran quite simply had to be born to this. And we are all the better for it.

The forecast for Perth this weekend is pretty monstrous – storms, wind, rain, and cold, AKA Bri’s dream weather, on the proviso I can spend it in bed with books and movies. And probably a bowl of this, because why wouldn’t you? 

This apple crumble is perfect all on its own, but I couldn’t help but add lashings of salted butter caramel that I had tucked away in the fridge. There are few recipes that I make more than once, but I made this every weekend for a month, for the guys at work, for Rob, for friends at a party, because there is no one who won’t love this recipe.

P.S. Kamran’s tip of using half sweet apples and half tart is the perfect way of getting a balanced, not overly sweet crumble. Genius.

Salted Caramel Apple Crumble

Adapted from Hand Made Baking by Kamran Siddiqi

2 tsp lemon juice
6 apples, cored and thinly sliced
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup caramel sauce (store bought is fine, or something like this)

120g plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
Pinch of cinnamon
85g cold unsalted butter, chopped
150g traditional oats
70g brown sugar

Heat your oven to 200*C. Spray a brownie pan with oil, or grease with butter.

Combine the sliced apples in a large bowl with the lemon juice. Combine the sugar, salt and cinnamon, then add to the apples and carefully stir to coat. Pour into the baking dish, scatter tablespoons of caramel over the apples.

Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl large enough to get your hands into. Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the oats and combine.

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Cover the apples with the crumble, then bake for 20-25 minutes until the crumble is golden. Serve with custard or ice cream

 
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What I Love | Brendan Owens Edition

Guys, I’m about to introduce you to someone pretty bloody special.

Everyone, meet Brendan Owens. Brendan is someone who’s work (read: brownies) is something I admire greatly (read: eat often). BUT, the man does more than a kick ass brownie.

I can’t stress to you enough how brilliant it is to have someone of this calibre kicking around town. I don’t know about you, but I like my sweets a little bit fun. What makes Brendan interesting is that he’s trained under the people who matter in the pastry scene, so he’s got all of those beautiful classic elements down, but he’s also kept a rough edge which keeps it from being boring.

I met Brendan during his tenure at The Flour Factory – if you follow me in Instagram, you saw me eating macarons and lemon curd tarts for breakfast most days. You can find him now at Rochelle Adonis in Highgate, creating dishes for what I’m pretty sure is a rite of passage for women of Perth – their signature (and incredible) high tea.

What I Love – Brendan Owens Edition

Image via Scoop Magazine

Image via Scoop Magazine

Who are you/what do you do?

My name is Brendan Owens, and I’m a pastry chef from Perth. I’ve worked at 2am Dessert Bar and 2am Lab in Singapore under Janice Wong, and more recently was the head pastry chef for Vue de Monde in Melbourne between 2012-2014. My previous record in Perth sits with The Weld Club for my apprenticeship, as well as Restaurant Amuse, Rochelle Adonis Cakes and Confections, and Mrs S Cafe.

Why Perth?

Originally my stomping ground, but I had to leave. Otherwise, you will get stuck in the same routine and kitchens. The travel and experience of international and high-end kitchens are the only way to find out who and what you want to be behind the stoves. The Perth food scene has always been a little behind, but these days it has made a massive change and is finding its feet; becoming the city is should be, with the food and bar scene it needs. We have the best weather and lifestyle, so that also swayed the decision to come home.

Image via Brendan's Instagram

Image via Brendan’s Instagram

What/who inspires you?

Depends on the day, really! I have a fair focus on street art, I like to randomly select colours and then attach flavours which end up on the testing table, adding additions like smoke, nitro and ice. Mentors are always having some form of inspiration and impact on style for me. As a rule, I want to work with the best in my field. These people are legends in their own right:

  1. Janice Wong from 2am Dessert Bar/Alinea
  2. Andres Lara
  3. Anthony Hart from Don’t Lose Your Temper/ex Vue executive pastry chef & Press Club/Alinea
  4. Rochelle Adonis

On a daily basis, I make something with their influence – kind of like the old angel/devil on each shoulder. Of course, there are other big players in the pastry world that I follow – Stupak, Underwood, Raquel, Khan, Campbell.

Your dream food day?

No truffles, caviar or anything wanky! It can vary, from being in Singapore, searching for the best chicken rice, to doing a pub crawl with Shannon Bennett and the lads from Modernist Cuisine and Chef Steps through Seattle, starting at 8pm and ending up at some pizza joint at 4am.

The best food day that I hardly remember though, was my leaving lunch from Vue de Monde. I was with 3 great friends, there was 15 courses, 20 wines, 16 negronis… Lunch started at 12:30pm, finished at 6pm, then we sat in the bar on those negronis with bar snacks, finally finishing up at 400 Gradi with 6 margherita pizzas.

What ingredient makes everything better?

Valrhona Opalys 33% White

Image via Brendan's Instagram

Image via Brendan’s Instagram

What’s the best thing you ate recently?

An impromptu barbecue at a fellow chef’s house, consisting of dry aged wagu over bichutan charcoal and kipflers with bernaise… Totally bogan but done super classy. And beers.

Where do you love to go to eat? 

For an amazing dinner: Clarkes of North Beach. Clarky does the food I love to eat, Wayne knows how to respect good wine and the rest of the team out there are pushing on, day in, day out. For a great pub: Wayside Inn, South Melbourne. Just good, honest pub food, a full restaurant with an empty bar. I didn’t get it when I went in there the first time, but I did when I left though. For a wonderful café: Mrs. S.

Where do you love to hang out?

Generally on a weekend, in the early morning I’ll be chasing a wave either in Perth or down south with the lads. Surfing is a past time and a lifestyle. Otherwise, Bunnings. For some reason, I always find myself there. Usually the sausage sizzle after the beach leads me to Bunnings, and then to the sprinkler aisle or something.

Brendan at work - Image via Rochelle Adonis Instagram

Brendan at work – Image via Rochelle Adonis Instagram

What’s your favourite thing right now?

MAPLE BACON + PRETZEL + SALTED CARAMEL DOUGHNUTS (Bri note: I tried one of these, and they were incredible. Worth being obsessed over!)

What are you looking forward to?

I have a couple of short trips lined up to Melbourne, Sydney, Singapore and Tokyo coming up, so they are playing quite heavily on my research for eating drinking and who I’m catching up with.

Sexy AF | Chocolate Cake

Guys, it’s time to get sexy.

There is nothing in this world so reliable as good ol’ chocolate cake. But over the years, it’s earn itself a reputation as bland, dry, even boring. I mean, I get it. Cheap cocoa powder is no one’s friend. Neither is tins of pre-made frosting (or anything out of a box, for that matter).

But this, this is none of those things. This is the moment in the movie when the nerdy girl takes off her glasses, shakes out her hair and Robert Palmer kicks in as she werks it down the high school corridor. Be prepared to have your jaw drop.

The book that this recipe is from called it The Little Black Dress cake. I get it, it can be dressed up or down, it’s always a winner. But I really don’t think that title really encapsulates just how good this cake is. It is, without question, sexy. as. fuck.

I mean, look at this. It’s gorgeous. It’s pretty hard not to feel very Nigella Lawson while slowly stirring that melted chocolate until it’s all thick and glossy.

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The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of liquor, and this is a good time to get creative, or see what’s in the cabinet. Dark rum and brandy taste expensive and rich, coffee liquor (or just espresso) adds depth, Frangelico or Grand Marnier add a little fun. You can leave it out entirely if you prefer. It definitely could do with a little bit of double cream, because screw it. Be bad. Enjoy it.

 

Sexy AF Chocolate Cake

From Delicious. Simply the Best

500g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
125g unsalted butter, chopped
6 eggs, separated
90g caster sugar
150ml thickened cream
2 tbsp liquor
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

450g good quality chocolate, chopped
175g unsalted butter
600ml thickened cream
1/4 cup liquid glucose

Heat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a springform cake tin and line it with baking paper.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in either a microwave proof dish or in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir the two together until smooth, then set aside to cool slightly.

With an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together until thick and pale. Add the cream, liquor, vanilla and chocolate mixture and stir until well combined.

In a clean, dry bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mix in 3 batches. Do this carefully, you want to keep as much as air in the mixture as you can.

Spread the mixture into the cake pan, and bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out with a couple of crumbs. Leave to cool in the pan on a wire rack.

To make the ganache, melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl in a saucepan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. In a saucepan, bring the glucose and cream to just below boiling point, then remove from heat, pour over the chocolate mixture and stir until combined. Chill for 30 minutes until thick. Spread the ganache over the cake and decorate.

Now, how you decorate the cake is up to you. While the those little silver cachous are pretty, they’re a chipped tooth waiting to happen. Stick to edible gold or silver leaf, or for a more modern touch, caramel popcorn.

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She’s my… |Bourbon Cherry Pie

It’s no secret that one of my favourite things about summer is eating myself sick on stone fruit. I spend all winter dreaming of grilled peaches, poached nectarines and tiny plums

So, when my market was selling cartons of cherries before Christmas, I went a little crazy. Let’s be honest, I don’t make great choices under pressure. What I really wanted, was the recipe for Varnish on King’s Cherry Whiskey Sour, which is probably my favourite cocktail of all time. Sadly, Jamie isn’t giving up the goods, so I settled for putting that cocktail into pie form which was probably just as delicious, and with slightly fewer next-day regrets.

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Pie is a kind of dish that you walk away from feeling accomplished. No one can ever accuse you of it coming from a box, or ‘cheating’ in any way. From having to pit the cherries, to wait for the dough to chill, you earn this pie every step of the way. Should you have any worries that it’s a lot of effort for nought, let me assure you that the final result is nothing short of completely worth it.

Yeah, you bet I played Warren on repeat while I make this sucker. There was hip swaying, and kitchen dancing, and a rollicking good time was had by all (me). In fact, I heartily suggest that you do the same.

 

Vanilla Bourbon Cherry Pie

From Half Baked Harvest

1.3 kilos fresh cherries, pitted (I really only had about 900g, which was fine)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons cornflour
1/4 cup bourbon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, seeds removed from the pod
zest from 1 lemon
1 egg, beaten
demerara sugar or granulated sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

 

Make your favourite pastry recipe – mine is this one from Smitten Kitchen, and it’s perfect. It’s pretty much foolproof, so if you’re a beginner, it’s a great place to start.

Once dough is chilled, let it sit on your bench for 5 minutes or so to soften enough to be rolled. Grease/butter a 22cm/9-inch pie dish, and heat your oven to 220 degrees C.

On a floured bench top, roll out one half of the dough to a 30cm/12 inch round. Very carefully, lift it into your pie dish. Trim any excess dough from around the edges, then prick the base all over with a fork.

Roll out the second half of the dough on a floured bench in to a 30cm/12 inch round. Transfer onto baking paper.

To decorate the crust: now, it’s up to you how you do this – you can punch stars or holes into the crust, or cut it into strips and go the traditional weave crust – be creative, this is the fun part! If you’d like ideas, check out here. Once done, place the dough in the fridge to firm up.

Add the cherries, sugar, cornflour, bourbon, vanilla and lemon zest in a large bowl, and toss them together to make sure it’s really well combined. Scrape the fruit and all the delicious juices into the pie dish.

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Carefully place your pie crust over the pie and remove the baking paper. Crimp the bottom and top crusts together to seal in all the goodness, then brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Whack the whole thing back in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm.

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When ready to bake, place the pie dish on a baking tray (this catches any spills when the pie bubbles up and makes your oven easier to clean – trust me on this), and bake for around 30 minutes, until the crust is golden. Reduce the temperature to 180 degrees C, and bake for another 50-60 minutes to get the juices bubbling.

Leave to cool on a wire rack for a good 4 hours before tucking in, and serve with cream or vanilla ice cream.

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Ain’t no one got time for that| Banoffee Pavlova

Pot lucks and picnics, dinner parties and barbecues, shindigs and hootenannies. There’s a myriad of pre-Christmas catch-ups in the pipeline for all of us, so in the interest of being prepared (and also greedy) I’m lining up a couple of crowd-pleasing recipes for you to keep in your back pocket!

First up, Banoffee Pavlova.

Pavlova is pretty traditional at this time of year. I mean, why WOULDN’T you take complete advantage off all of that beautiful seasonal fruit? Uh, because everything is made better with cream and caramel, and fruit makes it almost look like healthy, and you know I ain’t got time for that. Obviously.

I made this a couple of weeks ago for a food bloggers picnic (Thanks Bryton for organising!), and good gravy, it was tasty. You know you’re onto a winner when no one could resist eating dessert first!

Meringue remains a current obsession of mine, which is fuelled by the fact that my gas oven is basically a furnace, running faaaar too hot to bake pavlova properly. Every time I make one, it doesn’t fails, which infuriates me, which gives me a steely resolve to get the next one right, which then fails, rinse, repeat. If you’re having some trouble with your pavlovas, I found this to be really helpful with troubleshooting.

Hell, if you get really stuck, you can buy a pavlova and just throw this together… Though, as always, making your own is a thousand times more satisfying. Trust me on this, a well-made meringue is a thing of great beauty.

 

 

Banoffee Pavlova

300g caster sugar
5 large egg whites

2-3 medium sized ripe bananas, sliced
250g tub mascarpone
½ cup whipping cream
½ – ¾ cup caramel sauce, approx (I used El Asador dulce de leche, but you can make your own, or even use Top N Fill in a pinch)
2 Crunchie/Violet Crumble or Flake bars, crushed

 

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Line a baking tray with baking paper. Spread the sugar over the tray in an even layer, then bake for 5 minutes to melt the edges.

Place the egg whites in a bowl and whisk on low (either with a freestanding mixer or electric beater) until they froth up a little bit, then increase the speed and beat until stiff peaks form. Remove the sugar from the oven, turn the temperature down to 100°C and leave the door open a little to help cool the oven down. With the mixer on high, add a spoonful of sugar to the egg mixture at a time. Once sugar is combined, continue whisking for a further 5 minutes until stiff, smooth and glossy.

Carefully spoon the meringue onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper (I split mine into two), making a little well in the middle. Bake for two hours, then turn off the oven and leave to cool completely.

When ready to serve, combine the mascarpone and whipping cream, and whip together until it forms soft peaks. Spoon half of the cream over each pavlova, then top with 1 sliced banana, half the caramel sauce (there’s no such thing as too much caramel, so if you need more, use more!) and 1 crumbled Crunchie/Flake bar. VERY carefully place one pavlova on top of the other, and serve.

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Image via @brytontaylor Instagram

 

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Cops & Spiders| Apple Pie Biscuits

If you follow me on any form of social media, you will know The Spider Story.

If you don’t, here’s a quick recap:

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Essentially, I had a great time joking around (mostly… Seriously, I need an on-call spider killer. Please. Apply within.) with the Kensington Police about sending someone to squish a spider for me. Before long, it had taken on a life of its own, and I found myself delivering morning tea to the station to say thanks for them having an excellent sense of humor.

I had a really great morning getting to meet Senior Sargent Goy, Constable Roberts and the rest of the team. But what I enjoyed the most was getting to chat to them about their love for Vic Park, swapping coffee tips and restaurant finds, and generally sharing the love for an up-and-coming hub. It was really lovely to spend time with people who genuinely love the city that they serve and protect, and are working towards making it a better place. Hats off to you, Kenso Cops!

Biscuits are essentially American scones, typically made with buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk (it’s in the fridge section of the supermarket with the milk), this is my favourite substitute. Works a treat!

Coming into Spring, these are a great treat to take along on a picnic (that still happens, right?) or barbecue. If your kids are on holidays, this is also a great recipe for them to make themselves.

 

Apple Pie Biscuits

From Joy the Baker

 

For the apples:
1  apple
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

For the biscuits:
2 cups Self-Rising Flour
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2/3 to 3/4 cup cold buttermilk

For the topping:
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt

 

Preheat the oven to 220 C/425 F. Line a baking tray with baking paper, and set aside.

For the apples, peel and slice thinly with a mandolin. Toss together the apple slices with the melted butter, cinnamon and brown sugar until coated, then place in a baking tray. Place in the oven for 5 minutes, then set aside (you don’t want the apple cooked through).

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To make the dough, place the flour and cold butter in a bowl bug enough to get your hands in to. Work the butter into the flour with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the sugar. Add 2/3 cup of buttermilk, then mix together until well combined and the mixture is moist, soft and holds together. Add more buttermilk if needed.

Dust your bench well with flour, then turn out the dough. Shape the dough into a rectangle, the, with a rolling pin, roll out to a large rectangle about ½ inch thick, about 18cm by 25cm.

Spoon the apples in a single layer over half of the dough, leaving a small border. Fold the rest of the dough over the apples, and press the edges together to seal. Cut the dough into 12 then place on to your baking tray.

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Combine together the sugar, cinnamon and salt. Brush the top of the biscuits with the egg wash, then sprinkle over the sugar mixture.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden. Enjoy warm or cold, with custard or cream. Or ice cream. Or on their own. It’s all good.

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I found that they went a little soggy the day after, so they’re best eaten the day you make them (they’re still delicious the next day though, so don’t let a little soggy stop you).
P.S. If you know of a cop in your community who’s doing an amazing job, why not nominate them for a WA Police Excellence Award?