Friday, December 11, 2009

A little tradition please

Tradition is a big part of all our lives, quite simply it is the things we do over & over through time. Traditions give us a sense of grounding, make us feel safe and can bring comfort. Paterson’s Cakes is in so many ways defined by the word tradition. There is the tradition of

• The family run business- My Great Grand Father, My Grand Father, My Father & now me.
• Many of our customers have a tradition of using Paterson’s Cakes to celebrate Birthdays, Weddings & Christenings among other events
• We use traditional methods and recipes- my father even has my great grand fathers original hand written recipe books.

Christmas is a wonderful time of year for tradition. No matter where you come from, if you celebrate Christmas you & yours will have your own traditions. One of my strongest childhood memories is of helping my Grandma with the Christmas pudding. She used the same recipe as the shop but she always put old coins in it for us to find in Christmas Day. We would stand on a stool at the kitchen bench and each throw in a couple of coins, makes a wish (always for the best gift from Santa) and give it a stir. Then after lunch on Christmas Day she would turn it out, set it alight and the culinary treasure hunt began.

I was never a big fan of Pudding back then but would always ask for a large slice so as to increase my chances of making it rich! After making an attempt to eat enough so as not to be wasteful and I had retrieved my loot, my next trick was to hit all the adults up for theirs (coins not pudding). My parents were a wash - I had three other siblings and they were annoyingly even handed. So it was up to the Aunts and Uncles.... When we had extracted everything we could from the pudding and our family, we approached Grandma who converted the old money to current day value. Easy money earned from eating, if only someone would pay me for it today...
Sadly Grandma is not with us this year & traditional pudding in an Australian Hot summer is a tradition whose time is passing, but it is one tradition that I love & will continue- with just a few fresh berries on the side ( “a bit of both please!”)

Plum Pudding with Brandy Sauce

Another tradition from Europe is that of Stollen. I never really understood the appeal as a child; to me it looked like old mouldy bread. How wrong I was, I discovered it as a teenager and have never looked back. It is perhaps my all time favourite Christmas treat- yeast dough, spices, fruit, nuts and baked marzipan centre.... what is not to like? Now, I know many of you are saying (possibly shouting) MARZIPAN is what is not to like! But I promise in Stollen & baked it takes on a whole new dimension & is the best

Those of you from Austrian, German, or Swiss backgrounds are bound to be thinking,” yeah but it won’t be a good as from back home” and I offer you this posted on our fan page a few weeks ago

Torie Nimmervoll
Yum Stollen, Ang I don't know if you know this but Paterson's Stollen is my grandmas favourite since she migrated here decades and decades ago. Your dad I think said it's the swiss version not the Austrian version of it however she just loves it and get nostalgic......

The art of making great versus a good Stollen is apparently in the way that the dough is rolled. The all important thing being that there is a thin layer of dough without any fruit or nuts poking through. This forms a sort of seal which with brushing with clarified butter layer of sugar applied after baking coating helps to keep it lovely and moist.

Paterson’s Stollen is a traditional Swiss recipe that Dad brought back with him after working in Zurich bakery Honold for two years, Patersons baked their first Stollen for Christmas in 1969.


So what are you favourite Christmas Food Traditions?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Crack in the Mouth

The not so humble Croque-em-Bouche has always been popular, it is fanciful and when executed well can be shear elegance. Its appearance on Master Chef captured Australia’s culinary imagination; Adrian Zumbo’s was a fine example of the Croque-em-Bouche at its best.

Following those episodes there were noticeable increases in the volume of Croque-em-Bouche related inquires our shops fielded. There were even reports of home wares stores selling out of the cones they used due to the viewing publics overwhelming desire to try it for themselves.

Broken down into it elements it can be made to appear more simple or complicated depending on your skill level & confidence- you need to master the following;

Choux Pasty
Crème Patisserie
& the Construction!!!!

From the first appearance on Master Chef it became apparent the construction was the element approached with the most trepidation and where most were brought undone. You can make the most superb Choux Puffs, Crème Patisserie and toffee but falter in the construction and you fail. Your Croque-em-Bouche is nothing more than a pile of toffee dipped profiteroles, sweet rubble- delicious, but a disaster none the less. You may as well wear a tracksuit to the wedding!

Over the years I have witnessed many an apprentice and even qualified chef having a bad day, construct what could be mistaken for a tribute to Italy’s leaning tower of Pizza rather than the majestic French Wedding Cake.

With this in mind I have videoed a Croque-em-Bouche under construction so we amateurs might get some tips. I had planned to post this last week & would have done so except for my technical limitations....

Crack in the Mouth- some photo's

These photo’s illustrate some of the different ways we have been asked to decorate them.

 Toffee, Roses and Gyp

1990 Ski fanatic
 White Chocolate

2000's Milestone Birthday's
            Dark Chocolate Ribbons, Stars & Sparklers

       It is all about the toffee!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Treats of Chidlhood

Brownie Indulgences....

I recently was planning a trip down to my mother’s (she lives in Venus Bay, Gippsland) and I asked her if she wanted me to bring her anything from Melbourne. Her request for a Paterson’s Brownie brought back memories of visiting the shop as a child. We were not there often during work hours during our younger years- it was a big, busy place and Dad was always too preoccupied to keep an eye on us.

We did go in after hours if Dad had to drop in to do any odd jobs on the weekend. It was for us a and vast mysterious place- our very own Chocolate Factory (minus the Oompa Loompas) just on a smaller scale, it was magic. I saw this excitment again recently when my then 3 year old nephew, nearly tripped over himself getting his shoes on so as not to miss out on the visit to "Grandpas work shop".

Just like the Chocolate Fctory we were encouraged not to touch with out permission. We were were allowed to use icing piping bags to decorate cardbord discs -fake cake tops, play with the PA system and to help Dad as requested. If we were well behaved (and nagged just a little!) there was a treat of a Chocolate Brownie- chewy, chocolaty and laced with meaty walnuts, they were delicious and never big enough!

Here is the recipe...

Brownie Base

150gm Walnuts
3 (55gm) Eggs
390gm Sugar
195gm Chocolate
195gm Melted Butter
195gm Plain flour

Line A 20cm x 30cm -4 cm deep Baking tray with baking paper.

In a bowl mix walnuts, eggs and sugar with melted chocolate and mix well, but don’t beat until light.

Mix in the melted butter and lastly the flour. Combine well and spread evenly into the baking tray.

Bake at 190°C for approx 35-40 minutes until the cake is set – remove from oven and cool


40gm Unsalted Butter
160gm Melted Chocolate

Combine melted chocolate & melted unsalted butter.

Spread onto the brownies & sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

When set cut into pieces and remove from tray

NB: Will keep for a week in a cool place or 2 weeks refrigerated

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Food Fashion

We all want to know what is fashionable right now! It maybe a dress, hair cut, a place to live, a movie star or gadget but when it is in we want it and want to have it first

Old School, , Retro , Vintage, Nostalgia – all words used to let us know that what wasn’t cool last week is back, so dust of your 80’s fluoro and get on with it- defiantly do not stop to question whether you should ( the answer will often- but not always, be NO NO NO!!!! )

The food industry is no different. Deliha Smith was dumped for Jamie Oliver. We turned our backs on Jamie for Nigellia Lawson. Now poor Nigellia is licking the bowl on her own while we obsess over the three master chef amigos.

In the world of pastry chef’s we now have “rock stars” of our own. Adrian Zumbo (also of Master Chef fame) and Burch and Purchese (British expats) are doing simply amazing things in the world of dessert & pasty. The way they play with flavours and their stunning presentation is inspiring. While the rest of us are squeezing everything we can out off the cup cake craze, Zumbo & co are already working on the next big thing- macaroons! You heard me MACAROONS are the next big thing and with flavours like bacon & maple syrup, sticky buns and Passionfruit Adrian Zumbo is leading the way.

The result of changing culinary trends and fashion is that many great new things have been introduced to that Australia table- flavours that younger generations take for granted. There are also many that have consequently been left behind- some that should never be revived (curries made from “curry powder”, pre mixed mashed potatoes and greens boiled until they smell of a mouldy old chux). There are a few that deserve another look, they prove that while we should always be looking for something strange and new, classic and simple is good too!!!

Paterson’s is a place for Nostalgia. While we keep up with current trends ours is still the place to come for the teats of your childhood. Observing trends in children’s Cakes and party orders can be a fascinating social study. We can tell you the most popular children’s names (no research grant needed) and what the latest themes are. I have seen them come and go, Teenage Mutant Ninger Turtles, My Little Pony, Transformers, Princesses, Cars, The Wiggles, Dorothy the Dinosaur, Dora the Explorer, Ben 10 and Iggle Piggle....................... This week I noticed a few cakes for children that may signify a return to some of the retro themes.

Two cakes in the shape of Rocket Ships and one for Mr Tickle!!! Simple, Classic and surprisingly effective.

Hopeful prediction –“Where the Wild things Are” is going to go off (possibly for as many nostalgic adults as children).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

An Introduction

Dessert: (di-ZERT) - Meaning an usually sweet food served as the final course of a meal. The word was first recorded in 1600 and it derives from a French word meaning "to clear the table...

Cake.... It is a big part of my life. I work in a cake shop and have done all my life; it might be more accurate to say that I was born into it. My Father is a pastry cook, my Grandfather was a pastry cook and my Great Grandfather was a pastry cook. I am not a pastry cook, merely “a pastry cooks daughter” but I work in my family’s business Paterson's Cakes Shop in Melbourne.

Food has been an important part of my upbringing, both my parents are like me- good eaters and enjoy good food. Like many families’, celebrations centred around the kitchen table and on holidays we always end up indulging in great local food. I remember travelling to Hong Kong and  Bangkok as a child where my father had us down the back lanes and market stalls for dinner with the locals. I remember eating in one particular restaurant, the menu was in Cantonese and Dad just pointed blindly to a few selections and we took our chances. The lesson learnt- to try anything once! If you did not like it that was ok but you had to try it.

Here I will include tales of life behind the scenes, some company history and recipes. My thoughts on food, culinary trends, great places to dine and things I have eaten (and want to eat!)- I hope it finds some readers...