2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Praline Paste

This may be an odd sounding thing and you may be thinking what on earth is that and what would I use it for? I will put your minds at rest! It is basically what is says: praline, blended to a paste. I assure you though, it adds a toffee, nutty flavour to any bake. I like a tablespoon added to cookie mix for some more depth of flavour or even on ice cream is delicious!

Praline dates back to the 1730s in France and is traditionally made using almonds. This version includes hazelnuts, which add a lovely flavour.

Praline Paste – William Curley
Makes 250g
You need:
75g/3oz blanched hazelnuts
75g/3oz blanched almonds
125g/5oz caster sugar
2 tsp oil (any will do!)

1) Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan. Roast the nuts in the oven for 8-10 minutes and then transfer into a saucepan.

2) Cook over a medium heat whilst gradually adding the sugar and stirring continuously.

3) Continue to cook and stir until the sugar turns an amber caramel.

4) Pour the praline onto a piece of baking parchement and leave to cool.

5) When cool, break up the praline and blend in a food processor with the oil (it will be VERY noisy) until it forms a smooth paste. It keeps for up to 2 months in an airtight container.

And that is it! Simple. This is fabulous with chocolate ganache and of course in my Bûche de Noël.

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Sour Cream Chocolate Cake

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