Chocolate, cream, custard…. It’s all here

Confession No 33: I drooled over Kate Brack’s new book

Embarrassing but true….

I know that last week I promised to lighten up some traditionally fat-laden comfort food faves and I am. Believe me, I’m cooking up a comforting storm like the couch potato that I am. But this week I had the opportunity to bring you something a little new and I jumped at the chance.

For those of you who don’t already know, I am addicted (addicted!!) to reality cooking shows. So you can imagine how excited I was to be asked to take a look at 2011 Masterchef winner, Kate Bracks’ new book, The Sweet Life. For those of you who watched Masterchef last year, there will be no surprise that Kate’s book is all about desserts and I’m telling you now that it’s a dessert-lovers’ dream.


Most of you know that desserts aren’t really my thing. Not that I don’t love a good dessert, I do, but I seem to be culinarily challenged in that department and tend to focus on easy, no fuss recipes that I can whip up in less time than it takes to do my hair.

But Kate encourages us to be patient. She says the reason why most of us find desserts more challenging is because we spend a lot less time cooking sweet things. We cook savoury dishes every night, so of course we’re going to be better at it. I don’t know about you, but I get quite nervous when I’m making dessert. I don’t have a natural feel for it and I need to really concentrate which detracts somewhat from my enjoyment.

I feel immense relief when it’s done, and then I worry about how it tastes. Oh the stress of it all. But perhaps Kate’s right. If I made dessert more often then I’d feel more comfortable. But then if I made dessert more often, I’d have to eat it. There’s no other option, I’m too greedy. Quandary, conundrum, problems of epic proportions…. Life is full of difficult choices, yes?


Difficult choices – see what I mean!

There’s no escaping the fact that Kate’s recipes are decadent, it’s her style and she owns it. And although I try to keep my recipes on the light and healthy side*, there are many things I loved about The Sweet Life. Once I got past the drooling (advice = keep a box of tissues close by), I could see that not only was Kate sharing some of her favourite recipes but she was engaging in a little teaching too.

The book is filled with thoughts, tips and easy lessons on anything from syrups & sauces to custards & sabayons, cakes & puddings to pastry. Each section begins with a lesson on the basics followed by some really gorgeous recipes. Sweeeet.

There’s basic recipes including sugar syrup, chocolate sauce, meringues and sorbets. But the book also showcases recipes that our grandmother’s knew so well like crème anglaise, sabayon, passionfruit curd and homemade pastry. There’s a whole section on using gelatine properly which opens up a new world of jellies, mousses and panna cottas. She even walks us through how to make our own Ice Magic. My girls thought this was very cool.

The style of the book is full of farmhouse character and the recipe images are refreshingly real. Recipes have been photographed how they’ll come out in the average kitchen: the meringues are split, the pavs aren’t unrealistically (and unachieveably) high, the biscuits aren’t uniform in size and the cheesecake is cracked (which happens to just about every person I know). I love that! It’s how I take photos for The Moodie Foodie – real, honest and how it’s going to look when you cook it in your kitchen.


So from the Spiced Creme Brulee that would be entirely mine (all 6 servings), the Little Lime Meringues that my daughter, Elly may just trade her mother for and the Warm Chocolate Pots for which my youngest, Mia may consider giving up her dream of a horse, the book was well worth a look (and a drool – remember the tissues). The Sweet Life has only just been released, so look out for it next time you go shopping – but take the tissues, definitely take the tissues…..

* For light healthy dessert ideas, click on Advanced in the top right hand corner and click the dessert box under Time of Day – YUM!

Are you are dessert eater? What’s your favourite dessert?

Indulge without guilt
Eat without deprivation
Cook great food even when you are on your own
Embrace food moods
Eat what you want



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