Saturday, 3 January 2015

I bought a pasta maker and made some crackers!

So, I am trying to wean myself off buying any more kitchen gadgets. I have a few. I use them all (maybe only twice a year) but kitchen real estate is scarce. So adding something to the kitchen family is generally considered.

I always thought that pasta makers were a bit of a waste of time as it takes so much time to make the pasta in comparison to the payoff. I mean, it's pasta.  I have an ice cream maker that I only use a few times a year, but when I do, it's magical. Let's not talk about the fairy floss maker from Aldi. It will get used one day . . . maybe.

So when a work friend mentioned that she bought a cheap pasta maker from Big W for $20, the idea stuck in my mind. I wanted to make it. I wanted to have one. I am but a sheep and very susceptible to suggestion!

So, machine was purchased and spinach pasta was made for a spinach lasagna. It was super tasty and successful (although I will roll it a bit thinner next time).

What I have made multiple times though is crackers!

I made these a few months ago and rolled them out  between baking paper and they were successful (so if you don't have a pasta maker you can use that method) but I really enjoy using the pasta maker to roll them out.

Cheapo pasta maker from Big W

I used a recipe from The Kitchen as my starting off point and take it from there. I generally only make half a batch at a time (which is about 2 full oven trays of crackers).

I have tried it with both rye flour and spelt wholemeal flour. I really liked the rye, but the wholemeal was also delicious.

You can add whatever additional flavours that tickle your pickle. My favourites have been:

-sesame seeds
-rosemary and sea salt

So, go ahead and give these guys a go, you will not be disappointed, they are worth the 10 minutes it takes to make the mix and roll them.

Here is the recipe that I modified via The Kitchen


1.5 cups rye flour (can also use wholemeal, spelt etc)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup water


1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius approx. Add all dry ingredients to bowl, mix to combine.
2. Make a well in centre of dry ingredients and add wet ingredients.
3. Mix at first with a wooden spoon until flour is all combined, then tip onto bench and knead lightly until smooth. Add a small amount of extra flour if sticks to bench.
4. Let rest for 15 minutes
5. Pasta maker method - take 1/4 - 1/3 cup of mixture and flatten out lightly until around .5 to 1cm thick. Use pasta maker to roll out, dialling down thickness of pasta maker as you go until it is around the thickness of a lasagna sheet. 
5. Rolling pin method - get two pieces of baking paper and roll out dough in between so it is as thin as you can get.
6. Place on a baking tray, cut out with a knife or pizza cutter to whatever shape you like. I liked the kind of trapezoid shapes. Prick all over with a fork.This stops them from rising and makes them crisp up.
7. Place in over for around 10 - 12 minutes or until browned to your liking. Keep an eye on these suckers as they burn quickly. 

Note: you can use whatever flavourings you want in these. I have used rosemary and sea salt, Ras Al Hanout seasoning, Tex Mex seasoning, oregano, parmesan. Whatever you have on hand.

Ombre Swiss Buttercream Mud Cake with DIY Mini Bunting

Girls cakes. I don't get much of a chance to make them and sure do enjoy it when I do. I wouldn't say that I am a frou frou girl (although my collection of makeup, shoes and bags may contradict this) but I do enjoy embracing the feminine occasionally.

So two hints I got for the interests for the birthday girl was a piano style cake board, music and purple.

I mashed together a few influences and came up with this. 

The cake board was made about 3 days prior to allow the fondant to harden. I also mixed some tylose powder in it to help it along a little. The lines of the keys were indented with a pizza cutter and the black keys also cut out with a pizza cutter. No measuring, just freestyle.

The mud cake was a tried and tested Exclusively Food recipe that I always use for chocolate or white chocolate mud cakes and it's awesome as there is a PDF that shows different quantities for different pan sizes.

I pinned a few buttercream technique images that I was interested in (see my Pinterest board for a look of all things cake that inspire me on the interwebs!), but ended up going with the bottom layer of this Cakestyle TV video on Youtube (this specific method starts from 20 mins 20 sec). If you are interested in cake making, their tutorials are great.

Everyone loves a surprise in the middle of their cake (unless it was a baked in bug . . . . ), so the bottom layer is 4 layers and the two in the middle were hollowed out with a round cutter and Maltesers hidden inside.

The frosting recipe I used was a Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe from Sweetapolita and I coloured it with Royal Purple from Americolour.
P.S. Is anyone a control freak that writes instructions on how the cake is cut or is this just me . . . . . 
The mini bunting was a free printable that I came across from Pinterest from here. I printed it on photo paper as I had no cardstock and I attached it to two bamboo skewers with some silver christmas string. I wanted to attach it to two swirly straws but I couldn't find the colour I wanted. 

And done.

I find that my cakes are always a huge mash of inspiration from many places these days and it was a lot less stress making this from buttercream in 70% humidity and 34 degrees celcius!

Got to love humidity encouraging 'cake sweat' to form!