Baked Camembert – So Yum!

Recently, a page I follow shared a post on baked camembert on facebook. For some reason I didn’t like or save the post when I saw it, but it stuck in my head as being something that would be perfect for Christmas Day. Later that day I went looking for the post, but I couldn’t find it  😦

As I searched for the same or similar recipe, I came across one from My Fussy Eater. It wasn’t quite the same as the one that originally caught my eye, but it looked pretty darned good!

This time I did the right thing and pinned it to my Yum! board 🙂

Ciara’s (My Fussy Eater) recipe calls for Black Garlic. I’ve never even heard of black garlic, let alone seen it! Instead, I substituted a large roasted garlic clove. The 10 minute cooking time wouldn’t be enough to cook raw garlic, and the flavour of roasted garlic is much milder. I also changed a couple of other points.

So here is my modified version of Baked Camembert with Balsamic Vinegar, Cherry Tomoatoes, Garlic and Thyme:

  • 1 x 250g / 8oz round of camembert (boxed)
  • 1 large clove of roasted garlic
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • about 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • drizzle of oil of your choice
  •  balsamic vinegar
  •  extra balsamic to garnish

Another blog post gave some great tips to baking camembert. Start with a good quality camembert. Just because you are adding some extra flavours, don’t get the cheapest cheese.

Remove the wrapping from the camembert, and place it back in the box. My box came apart in the oven. Next time I’ll wrap it in baking  paper.

Score the top of your cheese (I just stabbed it randomly with a knife), and smear the roasted garlic over it. Sprinkle with most of your fresh thyme, and put your quartered cherry tomatoes on the top. Drizzle with some oil and a great quality balsamic vinegar. I used this one – because my sister makes it 🙂

Place it straight in the oven at 180 degrees C (or at whatever temp you are using to cook your other dishes – I think mine went in at 200C) for 10-12 minutes. When it is soft inside, or it has started bulging, it is ready. Keep your eye on it, the difference between ‘almost there’ and ‘gone too far’ is only moments!

When it is ready, add some more fresh tomatoes and thyme, and another drizzle of balsamic.baked camembert

Serve with crusty bread or plain biscuits (crackers). I served it with biscuits, as we were having bruschetta for our entrée.

baked camembert with balsamic, cherry tomatos and thyme

This really is a simple but very delicious dish to make. It will definitely wow your guests!

Baked camembert with balsamic vinegar, cherry tomoatoes and thyme . sawitdidit.wordpress.com

What’s your favourite way to do baked camembert?

Linking up with:

21 Rosemary Lane – Share Your Style, Too Much Time on my Hands – The Handmade Hangout, Posed Perfection – Creative Ways, Have a Daily Cup of Mrs Olsen – Share Your Cup, Crafty Wife – The Wednesday Roundup, Lamberts Lately – Create it Thursday, Savvy Southern Style – Wow Us Wednesdays, Love Bakes Good Cakes – Freedom Fridays, Shoestring Elegance – What to do Weekends, The Life of Jennifer Dawn – A Little Bird Told Me, Oh My Heartsie Girl – Friday Features, The Interior Frugalista – DIY Sunday Showcase, Thoughts From Alice – Sundays at Home, Claire Justine – Creative Mondays, Create With Joy – Inspire me Monday, I Should be Mopping the Floor – Inspiration Monday, Pastels and Macarons – The Creative Corner, My Pinterventures – Merry Monday, Julie’s Lifestyle – Cooking and Crafting With J&J, Raising Fairies and Knights – Bloggers Spotlight, Yesterday on Tuesday – Project Inspired, Lou Lou Girls, Merry About Town – Monday Funday, Kathe With an E – You’re Gonna Love it, Our Home Away From Home – Tuesdays at Our Home, Cozy Little House – Tweak it Tuesday, Tip Junkie – Tip Me Tuesday, The Dedicated House – Make It Pretty Monday, Domesblissity – Thriving on Thursdays, A Tray of Bliss – Five Star Frou Frou

Advertisements

Homemade Marshmallows – these really are the best!

I read a blog post recently about making Turkish Delight (bare with me – marshmallows will be along soon!), and thought that would be a decadent indulgence to include in a Christmas hamper. It looked reasonably straightforward to make, with ingredients I mostly had at home.

I found and pinned a couple of recipes. A lot of them required a sugar thermometer which I don’t have, and have managed to do without. Most recipes from the USA listed Corn Syrup as an ingredient. We don’t seem to use that here in Australia. I expect liquid glucose is our equivalent, as I found other recipes that used that.

So I tried this one first. Easy to follow instructions. Looked like it was doing ok.

Then I tried this recipe. Again, easy to follow instructions, but different method and ingredients.

Turkish Delight . sawitdidit.wordpress.com

The first one tastes pretty good, but was so sticky I couldn’t easily get it off the paper. The second one set beautifully, didn’t stick at all (mind you, I put cornflour on my baking paper-lined tin so that might have been the difference) but tasted gluey and floury. I didn’t bother dusting either batch with icing sugar/cornflour, as I was less than pleased with their result.

So I decided to ditch that idea. I might try again when Christmas isn’t a week away!

I don’t know what made me think of trying marshmallows next. But I am so glad I did! I found and pinned some recipes to my Yum Pinterest board.

I chose this recipe from Taste.com.au for my first attempt. And I am very happy with the result, so I don’t think I’ll need to try any others!

The recipe from Taste is so easy:

1 1/2 cups caster sugar (I used plain white sugar and it worked fine)

2 tablespoons gelatine

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Grease and line a 26cm slab pan, allowing paper to hang over sides. (I didn’t bother greasing, and it didn’t stick at all)

Place the sugar in a saucepan, add 2/3 cup hot water and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves and syrup is clear.

Place gelatine in a bowl, pour over 2/3 cup cold water and use a hand whisk to combine. Pour mixture into hot sugar syrup and cook, stirring constantly, until the gelatine has dissolved and the mixture is clear. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Pour cooled mixture into a large bowl and use electric beaters or a kitchen mixer on high to beat for 5-10 minutes or until the mixture is very thick. Add the vanilla and beat to combine.

Pour into the prepared pan and leave in a cool place to set. Once set (about 1 hour) turn out of the pan and use a wet knife to cut into squares.  

Place the toasted coconut in a bowl and add the squares in batches of four, tossing them through the coconut to coat properly.

Other recipes required sugar thermometers and various other details. I found this simple and easy.

The mixture whipped up nicely. So thick and glossy!

Fluffy marshmallow mix . sawitdidit.wordpress.com

I actually used two smaller trays.  I divided my mixture between the two trays and then went back to smooth them over, to find that it had already started setting. So I left them not so smooth 😉

marshmallow mix . sawitdidit.wordpress.com

An hour or so later I cut them into squares and rolled them in toasted coconut. You can also roll them in a combination of cornflour and icing sugar. Equal quantities cornflour and icing sugar seems to be the usual thing, but you can also use much less icing sugar than cornflour if you prefer.

To toast desiccated coconut, place it in a dry frying pan and cook over medium heat. Make sure you stir it continuously, and don’t leave it alone! It only takes a couple of minutes. Once golden, remove it from the pan and let cool.

Homemade marshmallow . sawitdidit.wordpress.com

I made some up into small packs to give to some school friends. I got a text later in the afternoon from one friend who said: “Mum said she could eat a whole tray of these, while Master E says it was like eating feather pillows!”

Marshmallow packs . sawitdidit.wordpress.com

I love my new Santa table runner!

These really are little pillows of deliciousness!

marshmallow .sawitdidit.wordpress.com

I really can’t describe how much we love them. Once you have tried homemade marshmallows, store bought ones will pale into insignificance. You will have to try them yourself!

Fluffy homemade marshmallows

I will also try making some flavoured marshmallows. Today I tried adding Butterscotch Schnapps. It didn’t whip up quite so well, so I need to experiment with that. They still tasted quite good!

I have an idea on something savoury and crunchy to gift along with the marshmallows. I will up update with that soon 🙂

Linking up with:

The Life of Jennifer Dawn – A Little Bird Told Me, A Tray of Bliss – Five Star Frou Frou, Love Bakes Good Cakes – Freedom Fridays, The Pin Junkie, Life With Lorelei – Home Matters, Domestic Superhero – Pinworthy Projects, Oh My Heartsie Girl – Friday Features, 24 Cottonwood Lane – Best of the Weekend, The Pinterested Parent – Sunday’s Best, The Interior Frugalista – Sunday Showcase, Thoughts From Alice – Sundays at Home, The Foley Fam, Sunday FundayMy Pinterventures – Blogmas Recipes, Claire Justine – Creative Mondays, Create With Joy – Inspire Me Monday, I Should be Mopping the Floor – Inspiration Monday, Julie’s Lifestyle – Cooking and Crafting with J&J, Yesterday on Tuesday – Project Inspired, Lou Lou Girls, Merry About Town – Monday Funday, Kathe With an E – You’re Gonna Love it, Cozy Little House – Tweak it Tuesday, Tip Junkie – Tip Me Tuesday, The Dedicated House – Make it Pretty Monday, 21 Rosemary Lane – Share Your Style, To Simply Inspire – The Mommy Club, Posed Perfection – Creative Ways, Lamberts Lately – Create it Thursday, Savvy Southern Style – Wow us Wednesdays, Domesblissity – Thriving on Thursdays,

Melting Snowman cupcakes

As we were growing up, Christmases were lively affairs filled with siblings, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. And of course there was always the annual cousin photos with us all lined up oldest to youngest, followed by another photo tallest to shortest. Yes, there was a difference!

However, as we have all grown and started our own families, Christmas gatherings were becoming enormous!

Some years ago we simplified things by celebrating with our own family groups. I have two sisters and one brother, so along with our parents and all the children and partners Christmas is still quite a wondrous feat!

But we missed seeing our cousins, especially as we are now quite spread out across the city, state and country…even overseas.

So a few years ago we started doing a ‘Cousin Christmas’ earlier in December. We meet in a big park where there is more than enough space for all the kids to run around, and the adults to eat, drink and be merry. This means all our children – second cousins – will have some knowledge of each other. There was even talk this time about holding another ‘Cousin gathering’ half way through the year, because for a lot of us, it’s the only time we see each other. And we all kinda like each other..y’know?

To this gathering, we all bring a festive plate of something on which to nibble. Sweet and savoury, there’s plenty for us all to share.

This year I found a very cute idea for Melting Snowman Cupcakes from  Just-Between-Friends.com. (You can follow my Christmas Pinterest board if you like 🙂 )I thought that was a particularly inspired idea since Christmas here in Australia is in the middle of summer. If there were any snowmen to be found, they would definitely be melting!

I started with a plain vanilla cake which I baked in silver patterned cupcake cups, found in Aldi.

Next, I wanted an icing that was stiff enough to hold it’s shape easily, but was also a clean white colour. Jonie’s cupcakes have two distinct melted blobs, however she has used a pre-made frosting. Usually I make butter icing, however that is off-white because butter is yellow.

I made a Royal Icing using 1 egg white mixed with Icing Sugar, adding some milk (water is ok too) to get it to the required consistency. You don’t need to whip the egg white, just break it up before beating in the icing sugar and liquid.

royal icing

While I working on the cupcakes, my son had been given the job of constructing and decorating the gingerbread Christmas Tree my mum makes each year. So we had icing going everywhere (I made green-tinted butter icing for the tree)!

icing everywhere

I added all my icing to a piping bag, however the largest nozzle I found was still quite small. You can see in the above photo that it doesn’t look much like a melted ball of snow. Also, because I baked the cupcakes in cups rather than patty pans, the cake sat below the rim. So you wouldn’t get the full effect of 2 distinct blobs of melted snowman.

Using a wet spoon I smoothed my blobs over, then added half a marshmallow for the head. Snowmen melt faster in summer, so I figured one big blog would be enough!

Following Jonie’s suggestion I used half pretzel sticks for the arms, and chocolate chips for the eyes and buttons. She used mini choc chips, but I didn’t have them.

snowmen taking shape

In hindsight (a marvellous thing) I should have put the marshmallow heads closer to the edge so there was more room for buttons.

The cupcake cup pack also had cake toppers, so I stuck those in too!

I don’t think mine turned out as nicely as Jonie’s, however I think you can still what they are meant to be. And they tasted pretty good!

We had fun working on our decorating projects. Here they are finished, ready to be packed up to take to the park:

gingerbread and snowmen

I think our contributions fitted in nicely with everything else!

Goodies galore (683x1024)

And just because I can, (with big apologies to my cousins!) here is a photo from quite possibly the last time we all had Christmas together before too many children came along. My sister had just had her first baby, the first grandchild. We are posed in order of tallest to shortest in this photo. I am fourth from the left. I am the eldest of my cousins!

001

I think I’ll make some more melting snowman cupcakes to take to our street party this weekend! What do you think?

Linking up with:

The Pinterested Parent – Sunday’s Best, The Interior Frugalista – DIY Sunday Showcase, Thoughts From Alice – Sundays at Home, Domestic Superhero – Pinworthy Projects, Oh My Heartsie Girl – Friday Features, 24 Cottonwood Lane – Best of the Weekend, Julie’s Lifestyle – Cooking and Crafting with J&J, My Pinterventures – Merry Monday, Claire Justine – Creative Mondays, Create With Joy – Inspire Me Monday, I Should be Mopping the Floor – Inspiration Monday, The Foley Fam – Sunday Funday, Pastels and Macarons – Creative Corner, Yesterday on Tuesday – Project Inspired, Lou Lou Girls, Merry About Town – Monday Funday, Kathe With an E – You’re Gonna Love it, Cozy Little House – Tweak it Tuesday, Tip Junkie – Tip me Tuesday, 21 Rosemary Lane – Share Your Style, To Simply Inspire – The Mommy Club, Domesblissity – Thriving on Thursdays, Have a Daily Cup of Mrs Olsen – Share Your CupPosed Perfection – Creative Ways, Crafty Wife – The Weekly Roundup, Lamberts Lately – Create it Thursday, Savvy Southern Style – Wow us Wednesdays, Wondermom Wannabe – This is How We Roll, The Life of Jennifer Dawn – A Little Bird Told Me, A Tray of Bliss – Five Star Frou Frou, Love Bakes Good Cakes – Freedom Fridays, The Pin Junkie, Life With Lorelei – Home Matters, Domestic Superhero – Pinworthy Projects, Oh My Heartsie Girl – Friday Features, 24 Cottonwood Lane – Best of the Weekend, My Pinterventures – Blogmas Recipes,