Software engineer. Hedonist. Vegetarian. Fiancé of the amazing Cass.

 

Tiramisushi
One of the big challenges with working in IT is that unless you make gadgets or apps most of the work isn’t glamourous. For example, lately I’ve been helping MLC migrate their self-managed superannuation data from one SMSF platform to another.
Despite what it sounds like though, every day has been fascinating. I’m solving real problems for people, building high-performance software and creating with flair. It’s honest work but my achievements aren’t the kind I can explain to my mother.
That’s why I entered MLC’s baking competition: the International MasterChef bake-off. I baked Elizabeth Falkner’s Tiramisushi, which sounds challenging but I managed it all with a Scotch in hand and the wonderful My Drunk Kitchen on my laptop. I won second prize!
Cocoa roulade sponge cake
Preheat oven to 190ºC and line a 25 x 30 cm pan with baking paper.
Set a saucepan of water to boil.
In a small bowl stir together 1/2 cup of flour, 1/3 cup of cocoa powder and 1/4 tsp of baking powder.
In a heatproof bowl whisk together 3 eggs and 1/2 cup of sugar over the boiling water for 3 minutes.
Take the eggs and sugar off the heat and beat with a mixer until they triple in volume (about 6 minutes).
Melt 2 tbsp of butter then add 1 tbsp of water.
Add the dry ingredients and the butter to the eggs and sugar and fold gently.
Pour the mix into the pan and spread it evenly.
Bake for 12 minutes.
Leave to cool for 5 minutes then cut in two lengthwise.
Rest the slices for 45 minutes in a curled position by placing them on an uneven surface or sliding them into a cylinder such as a Scotch container.
Biscotti chopsticks
Keep the oven at 190ºC and line a pan at least 12 x 20 cm with baking paper.
In a small bowl beat 3 eggs then stir in 1 tsp of vanilla extract.
In a large bowl stir together 2 cups of flour, 3/4 cup of sugar, 3/2 tsp of baking powder, 2 tsp of sesame seeds and 1/2 tsp of salt.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix with your hands until smooth.
Mould the dough into a 12 x 20 x 2 cm block.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Leave to cool for 10 minutes and reduce the oven to 120ºC.
Slice the block into chopsticks and bake them for 20 minutes.
Leave to cool.
Marsala mascarpone
In a medium bowl stir together 1 cup of mascarpone cheese, 1 tbsp of icing sugar and 1 tbsp of Marsala wine (or Kahlua if we’re being realistic).
Sushi rolls
Place one of the cakes on an large sheet of baking paper.
Spread half the mascarpone down the middle.
With extraordinary grace roll the cake into a complete cylinder, wrapping the paper around to maintain the form.
Repeat for the other cake then refrigerate for at least an hour.
Chocolate sauce
Melt 1 cup of chocolate (a microwave is easiest).
Stir in 1 cup of cream and 2 tbsp of Kahlua.
Plating
Wasabi can be imitated with green icing.
Ginger can be imitated with shavings of pear (I used a vegetable peeler).
Post-it® note (pictured) should only be used for competition.

Tiramisushi

One of the big challenges with working in IT is that unless you make gadgets or apps most of the work isn’t glamourous. For example, lately I’ve been helping MLC migrate their self-managed superannuation data from one SMSF platform to another.

Despite what it sounds like though, every day has been fascinating. I’m solving real problems for people, building high-performance software and creating with flair. It’s honest work but my achievements aren’t the kind I can explain to my mother.

That’s why I entered MLC’s baking competition: the International MasterChef bake-off. I baked Elizabeth Falkner’s Tiramisushi, which sounds challenging but I managed it all with a Scotch in hand and the wonderful My Drunk Kitchen on my laptop. I won second prize!

Cocoa roulade sponge cake

  • Preheat oven to 190ºC and line a 25 x 30 cm pan with baking paper.
  • Set a saucepan of water to boil.
  • In a small bowl stir together 1/2 cup of flour, 1/3 cup of cocoa powder and 1/4 tsp of baking powder.
  • In a heatproof bowl whisk together 3 eggs and 1/2 cup of sugar over the boiling water for 3 minutes.
  • Take the eggs and sugar off the heat and beat with a mixer until they triple in volume (about 6 minutes).
  • Melt 2 tbsp of butter then add 1 tbsp of water.
  • Add the dry ingredients and the butter to the eggs and sugar and fold gently.
  • Pour the mix into the pan and spread it evenly.
  • Bake for 12 minutes.
  • Leave to cool for 5 minutes then cut in two lengthwise.
  • Rest the slices for 45 minutes in a curled position by placing them on an uneven surface or sliding them into a cylinder such as a Scotch container.

Biscotti chopsticks

  • Keep the oven at 190ºC and line a pan at least 12 x 20 cm with baking paper.
  • In a small bowl beat 3 eggs then stir in 1 tsp of vanilla extract.
  • In a large bowl stir together 2 cups of flour, 3/4 cup of sugar, 3/2 tsp of baking powder, 2 tsp of sesame seeds and 1/2 tsp of salt.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix with your hands until smooth.
  • Mould the dough into a 12 x 20 x 2 cm block.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Leave to cool for 10 minutes and reduce the oven to 120ºC.
  • Slice the block into chopsticks and bake them for 20 minutes.
  • Leave to cool.

Marsala mascarpone

  • In a medium bowl stir together 1 cup of mascarpone cheese, 1 tbsp of icing sugar and 1 tbsp of Marsala wine (or Kahlua if we’re being realistic).

Sushi rolls

  • Place one of the cakes on an large sheet of baking paper.
  • Spread half the mascarpone down the middle.
  • With extraordinary grace roll the cake into a complete cylinder, wrapping the paper around to maintain the form.
  • Repeat for the other cake then refrigerate for at least an hour.

Chocolate sauce

  • Melt 1 cup of chocolate (a microwave is easiest).
  • Stir in 1 cup of cream and 2 tbsp of Kahlua.

Plating

  • Wasabi can be imitated with green icing.
  • Ginger can be imitated with shavings of pear (I used a vegetable peeler).
  • Post-it® note (pictured) should only be used for competition.

Masala chai

To cheer you up during those times when your girlfriend is working on her Gombrich essay, you’ve taken your work home because your team leader is too inept to operate a Gantt chart, and Bones doesn’t air until tomorrow.

  • In a saucepan combine 1 star anise, 1 tsp of ground cardamom, 6 cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 dice-sized bit of ginger (diced), 1/2 tsp of crushed black pepper, 2 bay leaves, 4 tsp (or bags) of black tea and 2 cups of boiling water and keep it boiling for 10 minutes.
  • Heat 2 cups of soy milk.
  • Strain the tea and mix with the hot milk.
  • Stir in honey if that’s your thing.

(Source: thespicehouse.com)

Pizza

This recipe is greatly simplified from Heston's original but retains the brilliant counterintuitive use of dry yeast.

  • Chill 200g of water.
  • Mix the water with 350g of pizza flour using a mixer with dough hooks for 4 minutes, then rest for 0-1 hour (depending on your patience).
  • Add 7g of bread yeast and 1 tsp of salt and mix for 4 minutes.
  • Divide and roll into 2-4 balls, cover lightly with olive oil then rest under wrap for 0-2 hours.
  • Roll the balls flat then grill both sides under the highest heat.
  • Top haphazardly, where less is better.
  • Grill briefly.

(Source: amazon.com)

Gong bao tofu

One of my favourite Melbourne dishes was kung pao prawns at Sichuan House. This is a vegetarian alternative.

  • Make a sauce by combining soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, vinegar, sesame oil, stock, sugar and corn flour.
  • Slice tofu into tiles and marinate in the sauce.
  • Thinly slice garlic and ginger, and slice dried chillies and the whites of spring onions into barrels.
  • Separate the tofu and sauce.
  • Heat oil in a wok then add the chillies and Sichuan peppercorns. Once fragrant add the tofu, raw peanuts and dry ingredients and toss until cooked.
  • Add the sauce and toss until thickened.

(Source: amazon.com)

Chips

This version is a bit healthier than most.

  • Peel then wash potatoes, then cut them into chips.
  • Rinse the chips to remove starch.
  • Immerse the chips in cold salted water and boil until soft.
  • Drain the chips, letting them collide to develop oil-trapping texture.
  • Place on a tray with oil then bake at the highest temperature until crispy.
  • Season with salt.

Eggplant parmigiana

Cass and I had dinner at Mrs Parma’s before the Städel exhibition. Mr’s Parma’s makes the best eggplant parma in Melbourne and is a great place for a beer, but this version goes better with a red.

  • Cut eggplant into 5mm slices.
  • Sprinkle the slices with salt and leave for an hour.
  • Heat passata and extra virgin olive oil in a pan.
  • Dry the slices with paper towel then dry fry until browned.
  • Layer the slices on a tray with the passata, basil leaves, mozzarella and parmesan.
  • Bake.

(Source: amazon.com)

If you don’t have a mandoline, two straws will do the job.

If you don’t have a mandoline, two straws will do the job.

Tea and coffee

I made these masala chai and tiramisu cupcakes for Amit’s birthday. The original recipes are vegan, which makes for a far better texture than butter and eggs, but I use real yoghurt and cream cheese.

Chai latte cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 180ºC and line muffin pan with 12 baking cups.
  • Microwave 1 cup of soy milk until almost boiling then steep four tea bags for ten minutes covered.
  • Remove and squeeze the tea bags, topping the milk back up to 1 cup.
  • In a large bowl whisk together 1/4 cup of canola oil, 1/2 cup of yoghurt, 3/4 cup of granulated sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla extract and the milk tea.
  • In a small bowl stir together 4/3 cups of plain flour, 1/2 tsp of baking powder, 1/4 tsp of baking soda, 1/2 tsp of salt, 2 tsp of cinnamon, 1 tsp of cardamom, 1/2 tsp of ginger, 1/4 tsp of cloves and 1/8 tsp of pepper.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix, then fill the baking cups 2/3rds full each, getting them into the oven as fast as possible.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Leave to cool, then finish with a dusting of 1/4 cup of icing sugar, 1 tsp of cinnamon and 1/4 tsp of nutmeg.

Tiramisu cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 180ºC and line muffin pan with 12 baking cups.
  • Add 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of soy milk and leave for three minutes to curdle.
  • In a large bowl whisk together the curdled milk, 1/3 cup of canola oil, 3/4 cup of granulated sugar, 2 tsp of vanilla extract and 1 tsp of instant coffee.
  • In a small bowl stir together 5/4 cups of plain flour, 2 tbsp of cornstarch, 3/4 tsp of baking powder, 1/2 tsp of baking soda and 1/2 tsp of salt.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix, then fill the baking cups 2/3rds full each, getting them into the oven as fast as possible.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Cream 1/4 cup of butter and 1/4 cup of cream cheese, then whip in 2 cups of icing sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla extract.
  • Mix 1/3 cup of coffee and 1/3 cup of Kahlua.
  • Cut a cone out of the top of each cupcake, approximately 1 cm from the edge and 2 cm deep.
  • Spoon 2 tbsp of the Kahlua mix into each cavity, followed by 2 tbsp of the cream cheese icing, then dip the top in the Kahlua mix and replace.
  • Cover each cupcake with a second layer of icing and finish with chocolate shavings and a coffee bean.

An oven thermometer is highly recommended for all baking, the one on your oven lies.

(Source: amazon.com)

Roasted pumpkin salad

I would never buy Japanese pumpkin over butternut, but our vegetables come from CERES now, so this is a roasting recipe for warm weather.

  • Preheat oven to 220°C.
  • Slice pumpkin into bite-sized wedges and toss them in a pan with olive oil,honey and salt.
  • Bake for 30 minutes turning once.
  • Remove from oven to cool.
  • Toast pine nuts in a dry pan.
  • Combine lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and wholegrain mustard in a mixing bowl.
  • Toss spinach leaves into the dressing, followed by the pumpkin and pine nuts.
  • Finish with chunks of chèvre.

(Source: taste.com.au)