It has been my privilege to host Sweet New Zealand once again this month - a monthly blog event, created by the lovely Alessandra Zecchini, which offers an opportunity for all Kiwi bloggers (whether you are living in New Zealand or overseas), as well as for non-Kiwi bloggers living in New Zealand, to connect and share some of those sweet treats from your kitchen. Tomorrow will be my blog's fourth birthday (my goodness, where did those four years go?), and I can think of no better way to celebrate than by sharing with you this round-up of all the absolutely wonderful entries this month. I have certainly enjoyed discovering and visiting all of your posts. Thanks to all of you for participating.
First up is an entry from Arfi at HomeMadeS. Arfi is one of the most delightful, generous-spirited bloggers I know, and even though a busy, hectic, family life makes finding the time for blogging difficult for her, she still found time to share these gorgeous Gluten-Free Raspberry & White Chocolate Friands. Even though I have never met Arfi, we have tweeted and commented on each others blogs for quite a long time, and whenever something goes wrong in my part of the world, the first person I always hear from (often even before my family) is Arfi, checking in to see if I'm ok. I dream of one day meeting Arfi, and I would love to sit down and have a cup of tea and one of these friands with her.
Alessandra Zecchini, our founder of this event, never fails to surprise and inspire me with her use of unusual ingredients, often things that we might ignore or discard, like onion flowers, banana flowers or feijoa skins. When she chose to use infuse feijoa skins into a syrup to make this Feijoa Zest Agar Agar Jelly, it kind of blew my mind. Doesn't that look beautiful.
Having made the jelly, instead of discarding those feijoa skins, Alessandra made a zest and added it to these gorgeous looking Feijoa Zest Meringues. How clever is that? I would have dumped those skins straight down the wastemaster! Thanks for making me look at them a little differently, Alessandra.
My friend and fellow Nelson blogger, Nicola from Homegrown Kitchen, has a brilliant way with making really healthy, good for you stuff, seem decadent. Or is it that she takes really decadent treats, and removes all the guilt from them, without removing any of the deliciousness or satisfaction? No matter which way you look at it these amazing Handmade Three Ingredient Chocolates are the perfect example of a heavenly little treat that I would not feel the least bit guilty about devouring.
Frances at Bake Club was wanting to make a sugar-free, freezable snack for her little one, and these Oaty Muffins with Stevia fit the bill perfectly. Frances says that because stevia is green, it works best in chocolate based recipes to disguise the colour. Who needs an excuse for chocolate, I say?!
Alessandra shares more sweet indulgence with us in the form of these Chocolate, Vanilla, Cream & Grappa Desserts. I love the way that this is set in different layers ... makes for something that looks very "special occasion", and the addition of grappa is the "icing on the
The lovely Lesley at eat, etc ... always brings a smile to my face, and never more so than when she talked about diving straight into the pantry to rustle these up as soon as she got home from work. Any woman who has no qualms about making and eating dessert before dinner (yes, that's right folks, BEFORE dinner), is a real food hero in my opinion. These little Soft-Centered Chocolate Puddings strike me as being just perfect for satisfying that winter evening, pre-dinner sugar craving. I can't wait to try these, and true to Lesley's form I'm going to have one before dinner ... no regrets.
Michelle at Greedybread had me at "fudge"! Add to that the crunch of pistachios and fragrance of orange blossom ... what's not to love. Silky smooth texture, this Pistachio & Orange Blossom Fudge looks like everything a good fudge should be. In fact, Michelle says she could even sell her husband for a piece of this fudge. I think there could potentially be a lot of husbands for sale once we've all tried this one.
If you were a real Kiwi kid, just the mention of lamingtons will fill you with nostalgia - they certainly do me. Memories of my brother and I, with newspaper covering every possible surface of the kitchen to catch the mess, up to our elbows in chocolate icing and coconut, rolling and dunking those chunks of sponge cake. The results were never particularly elegant, but we loved it. These stunning Raspberry & White Chocolate Ganache Lamingtons, on the other hand, from my very special friend Alli at Pease Pudding, just ooze goregeousness on every level. I would love to be sitting down having a coffee with Alli and sampling some of her heavenly baking. For me, living in Nelson makes that somewhat geographically challenging. But for those of you lucky enough to be living in Auckland, you will be able to enjoy the delights of Alli's kitchen at her Gourmet Gannet pop-up patisserie opening in Waimauku this week. Do yourself a favour and make the trip out there - I promise you it will be worthwhile.
The lovely Mairi at Toast dared to go where I have thus far feared to tread with these Almond & Orange Blossom Florentines. Mairi and I share a passion for the food of Yotam Ottolenghi, and this is a recipe she adapted from one of her beloved Ottolenghi books. These look delicate and gorgeous, crispy and lacy, and with the addition of the orange blossom are tinged with the exotic. Having allayed my fears of making florentines, I'm now eager to give these a go.
Lastly is my own entry of these Spice Cookies. Like Mairi, I went the Ottolenghi-route, using a recipe I adapted from his Jerusalem book. These cookies, a friend told me, "taste just like Xmas". They are crisp on the outside, and slightly softer on the inside, delicately spiced, with lovely hits of chocolate, raisins, and citrus ... what more can I say?
And now it remains only for me to hand off the baton for next month's Sweet New Zealand to the lovely Nicola at Homegrown Kitchen. Can't wait to see what you all cook up next month.