There’s been a murder in my kitchen…

The victim? Blood Oranges.



and disemboweled.

All in the name of dessert.

But oh my, it was a good dessert! ThisĀ Blood Orange and Vanilla Syrup Cake was another experiment with seasonal winter fruits. I had been eyeing it off in my Seasons cookbook by Donna Hay since the mothership bought it for me last Christmas. As my weakness for all things citrusy and syrupy have been well documented on this blog, this cake was a natural progression from the basic syrup cake to a prettier, deeper flavoured dish.

Easy to prepare, this cake didn’t take long to cook and the only difficulty I had was getting the blood orange stains out of my chopping board! I didn’t realise that the gorgeous deep red juice would be so stubborn! I shook my fist at it. Then let the mothership shoot her tractorbeam of cleanliness at it.

I broke out my bundt pan for this baby

Tah Dah! Golden, puffy goodness!

Note the abundance of progress shots. The deep red of the blood oranges was so beautiful that I got on a bit of a photo taking roll! I just wish that practise made perfect in this case.

Finally, I have a pretty product to photograph. Excitement to the max.

Blood Orange and Vanilla Syrup Cake – Adapted from Seasons by Donna Hay

Ingredients – Topping

1 cup (220g) caster sugar

1/2 cup (125ml) water

1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

3 Blood Oranges, thinly sliced

Method – Topping

1. Place sugar, water and vanilla in a frying pan over medium heat and stir until sugar has dissolved

2. Add orange slices and simmer for 10-15 mins or until the orange is soft. Remove from heat and set aside

Ingredients – Cake

4 eggs

1 cup (220g) caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup (150g) self raising flour

150g butter

1 cup (120g) almond meal

Method – Cake

1. Place eggs, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and beat until the mixture is thick, pale and triples in size (8-10 min)

2. Sift the flour over the egg mixture and fold through

3. Melt the butter and fold through the cake batter along with the almond meal

4. Line the bottom of a cake tin with the orange slices and remaining syrup. If you are using a spring form tin you might want to wrap your tin in aluminium foil or place a baking tray on the shelf below in the oven in case of any leakage

5. Pour batter over orange slices

6. Bake at 160 degrees celsius for 40 mins or until golden and firm. (I took mine out after about 30 mins)

7. Turn out onto a platter to serve with cream or ice cream.

Crispy, Buttery Golden, Gooey Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin is one of those dishes I was always meaning to cook but never seemed to get around to. It seems easy so it goes into that i’ll-cook-it-when-i-cant-be-bothered-cooking-anything-else category. Imagine my surprise when I found the recipe in the MasterChef Season One cookbook and read the comments that “it was a high-risk dish that could go wrong right up to the last minute”. Well, that sure sparked my competative nature and of course I had to try it! How could something that seemed so simple be tricky enough to be in a MasterChef pressure test?

The short answer: it wasnt…

So with my Sous Chef on hand and recent inspiration from the gorgeous French Wench, I set about cooking this wonderfully caramely, deliciously gooey dessert. It is a very straightforward recipe and apart from the stubborn sugar taking forever to melt, there were no real difficulties. Other than my woeful photography that absolutely does not do this dish justice. Please forgive me!

I love the feeling you get when the pastry puffs and goes golden in the oven

Other than making the caramel, there really are no elements to this recipe that anyone should have difficulty with. As long as you can peel and core an apple and cut a circle of pastry, you’re fine. Just do everything step by step and sit back to watch the magic happen!

Yes, I know I totally dropped the ball in the presentation department. But, as Gary would say (tongue in cheek) “its rustic and therefore excuses any mistakes I may make”! It really is the loveliest winer dessert and I am kicking myself that I never tried this recipe earlier. Moreso when I realised that im possibly the only person on the planet who has never tried to cook this. Shame on me!

Yes, I hear you, less self-flagellation more cream!

So my lovelies, what is the recipe that you wish you had tried earlier?

Tarte Tatin Recipe – From the MasterChef Australia Cookbook Volume One


3 Golden Delicious apples

1 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar

1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry

20 g unsalted butter


1. Peel the apples and cut into quarters being careful to remove the cores. toss in a bowl with the lemon juice and 1 tbsp of the sugar

2. Cut the pastry into a round slightly larger than a 20cm frying pan and prick with a fork

3. Melt the butter in your frying pan (with an oven proof handle) over medium high heat and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Cook until a rich caramel forms (keep watching VERY closely to make sure it doesn’t burn!)

4. Arrange the apple quarters in a circular pattern in the pan with the rounded side down. Cook over a medium heat for about 10 mins or until the caramel begins bubbling up in the pan. Shake the pan every now and then to prevent parts from burning.

5. Lay the pastry over the apples and tuck in the overhanging edge. Place the pan into the oven at 200 degrees celsius and cook for around 25 mins or until the pastry is puffed and golden.

6. Stand the tarte in the pan for 10 mins before carefully turning it out onto a serving plate. Serve with cream!