Monday, June 28, 2010

Crème Brûlée Ice-Cream

My mum has an ice-cream maker that hails from her newlywed days, (lets just call it 'vintage'). The wires are semi-exposed in parts and you have to jiggle it a bit to get it moving, but eventually it gets it's ass into gear and churns like a milk maid.

I've tried to make ice-cream before using this machine and it was an absolute disaster. What I ended up with was pretty much a frozen milk soup, littered with chucks of icy mush. Not the creamy, soft scoop of summer-time delight I was hoping for.

I stomped around for a while after that failure, blaming the "stupid 80's electronics" for the brown sludge that was taking up precious space in the freezer. But now, on my second attempt, I realise exactly how wrong I was to blame it all on the defenceless machine.

I'm sorry poor Mr Gelato Piccolo, I didn't mean to yell at you, I can see now that the hazelnut flavour was all my fault! You did nothing wrong except churn when you were told to churn. I promise from now on I will properly thicken and chill the mixture before handing it over to you. My bad.

Want more sunshine in your life? Make this. There should be more custard coloured things in the middle of winter don't you think? The best thing about this flavour is the crunchy toffee bits, not good for the teeth but oh so good for the soul, smashing it up is half the fun!

Crème Brûlée Ice-Cream:
Adapted from Donna Hay Magazine

for the custard
1 cup milk
2 cups single cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I use Queen's Vanilla Bean Paste, way yummier)
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup caster sugar

for the toffee
1 cup caster sugar
4 tablespoons water

To make the custard, place the milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat until it just comes to the boil. Place the yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Gradually add the milk mixture, whisking to combine. Return to the saucepan and stir over low heat for 8-10 minutes or until the custard is thickened and coats the back of a spoon.
Set in the fridge to cool completely (this may take a couple of hours).

To make the toffee, place the sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat and stir until dissolved. Bring to the boil and cook for 5-7 mins or until golden, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let stand for 2 minutes. Pour the hot sugar over a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Allow to stand for 5 minutes or until the sugar is set. Use a rolling pin to break the toffee into small pieces, set aside.

Pour the cooled custard into an ice-cream maker and follow the manufacturers instructions until the ice-cream is just firm (mine took about 20 minutes in the cooled churner). Scoop the ice-cream into a metal container (such as a loaf tin) and stir in the toffee. Place in the freezer until set.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

About Me

Welcome to Stove Top Revolution, a particularly delicious place to procrastinate. 

My name is Sophie, I'm twentysomething, please don't hold that against me. I'm deputy editor at Broadsheet Sydney. Previously I've worked for Gourmet Traveller WINE and as a freelance restaurant and bar critic for Time Out Sydney.  I also contribute to Australian Gourmet Traveller, and

I live in Sydney, Australia.

This blog was started in early 2010, initially as a place to record the recipes that I kept losing within a giant folder. Slowly but surely, it has evolved over the years into its own beast, and in June 2012 I was awarded Food Blogger of the Year in the Ultrabook Pedestrian.TV Blogster Awards. 

Here you'll find stories and memories, recipes and tips, interviews and photography, travel field notes and tidbits from the web.

I love food - eating, cooking and talking about it. Welcome to my blog and I hope you enjoy.

If you have any questions or just want to holler at me, please email me at soph_mccomas (at) hotmail (dot) com or follow me on Twitter @SophMccomas or on Instagram @moremccomas.

A minor note about images used on this site: All photographs and illustrations are copyright to Sophie McComas and or contributing photographers where mentioned. 

All content published on Stove Top Revolution is independent and unencumbered by any sponsorship or brand alignment. At this stage I'm looking to keep it that way.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chocolate Melting Pots

There are some sexy desserts out there.

And there are some that aren't sexy at all.

A cheesecake? As delicious as can be, but not in a sexy way. Comfort food yes, sexy food no.

Well what the hell is a sexy dessert you ask?

Sexy is when you break the crust of an unremarkable looking chocolate cake and your spoon emerges with a glug of warm, gooey, chocolate ooze. A dessert is sexy when you have (want) to lick your spoon.

Cold desserts are not sexy. Warm desserts are. Self saucing desserts are bound to remind you of that time you accidentally ate half the raw batter of a chocolate cake (and didn't regret it at all)

Chocolate melting pots are made even sexier by the fact that they only take 12 minutes in the oven, therefore leaving copious amounts of non-kitchen time that you can put to use playing tonsil hockey with the lucky person your making these for.

Chocolate Melting Pots:
Adapted from Phillip Johnson's book; "Decadence"

Serves 6-8

200g dark chocolate
240g unsalted butter, diced
4 eggs
90g caster sugar
30g plain flour
icing sugar for dusting

Grease 6-8 ceramic ramekins with butter and lightly dust with flour, shaking off the excess. Place chocolate and butter in bowl over saucepan of simmering water, allow to slowly melt, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove and allow to cool to room temp.

In a bowl whisk the eggs and sugar together until thick and pale. Fold the cooled chocolate mixture through the butter and then fold in the flour. Pour equally into the ramekins.

Refrigerate for at least two hours, this ensures that the inside will remain molten. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Bake the pots for 10-12 mins until just set. They should be just cooked on the outside but molten in centre and should be slightly raised. Serve in ramekins, dust with icing sugar and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pumpkin Pie

If someone had told me 10 years ago that I would be eating vegetables for dessert, I would NOT have been happy. We don't have a Thanksgiving holiday in Australia, but I'm giving a whole lotta thanks for this pumpkin pie.

Dear PP (we're now best mates and therefore have witty nicknames),

Thank you for being sweetly smooth.

Thank you for having a crunchy nutmeg spiced topping.

Thank you for having a crispy, flaky pastry.

Thank you for going very well with ice-cream.

Photo courtesy of the talented Amy Robinson

Thank you for being a deliciously caramel-orange colour.

Thank you for keeping my vegetable intake up and for being clever enough to disguise yourself as a scrumptious dessert.

Pumpkin Pie:
Adapted from Good Living, May 21, 2010

Serves 8

50g sweet pastry (I used this recipe) plus a teaspoon of cinnamon
1 egg, plus 1 for egg wash
250g pumpkin, steamed and pureed
3 egg yolks
60g castor sugar
250ml cream
80g pumpkin seeds
30g brown sugar
20g butter
½ tsp ground nutmeg

Roll pastry to half-centimetre thickness and line a 30-centimetre pie dish. Rest for 30 minutes or preferably overnight. Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees C. Line shell with foil and fill with pastry weights or uncooked rice. Blind bake until cooked through and golden.

Remove foil and repair any cracks or holes with left-over raw pastry. Beat egg lightly for egg wash and brush over entire shell. Bake a further 4 minutes. Set aside.

Turn oven down to 150C. Combine remaining egg, pumpkin, yolks, sugar and cream and blend until smooth. Pour into pie shell and bake for 90 minutes or until just set in the middle. While pie is cooking mix together remaining ingredients on a tray and bake until bubbling and golden. Allow to cool and break up with a spoon. Sprinkle over pie as soon as it comes out of the oven. Serve with ice-cream or cream.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Jumbo Gumbo

Even though it's ridiculous that this pack of gum cost me $1 more than my morning coffee, the packaging (nearly) makes up for it.
Cool, right?
The flavour's not so bad either.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Soft German Pretzels

There are some things in this world that are meant to be enjoyed with a massive, cold glass of beer.

Soft, doughy, salty pretzels are meant to be eaten hot, straight from the oven and each mouthful washed down by a frothy, chilled ale. In Munich there is no small size of beer. You get the stein whether you asked for it or not. Ask for a gin and tonic and they will laugh you out of town, throwing pretzels after you as you run out of the establishment with your Lonely Planet guide between your legs.

The Augustiner Keller in Munich is one of those very places. Set in a humongous building, complete with underground beer hall where you sit on thick wooden benches and drink your weight in golden liquid. The waiters are brisk and dressed in black and white lederhosen-style clothing, the un-tacky kind.

We were seated around a giant barrel that acted as a table and a bowl of freshly baked, warm pretzels was plonked in front of us. They didn't ask what we would like to drink, just how many beers we wanted. Ed ordered the biggest array of sausages either of us had ever seen, (one cut into the shape of an octopus, an octo-sausage!), and I tucked into the pork knuckle, complete with a crunchy ribbon of salty crackling encircling the meat. There was not a scrap of lettuce leaf to be found anywhere and we were certainly not looking for any. You order chicken in Bavaria, and a whole roast chicken will turn up on your plate. Your order a pretzel, and it will be bigger than your head.

We stumbled back to the hostel that night as full as can be, and proceeded to have a warm pretzel for breakfast from that day on. I have missed them so much and decided to try and relive the Bavarian memory at home. They were pretty close to the real thing if I do say so myself, although I definitely need to practice my knot tying technique.

The world cup is coming up, and where there is beer, there should be pretzels. So give it a try!

Soft German Pretzels:
A recipe courtesy of

1 Package active dry yeast (2 tsp)
1/8 cup warm water
1 1/3 cup warm water
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 1/2 cups plain flour
baking Soda
pot of water

Dissolve yeast in 1/8-cup warm water. Stir in 1 1/3 cups warm water, 1/3-cup brown sugar and flour. Knead dough until smooth and elastic. You can let the dough rise for a half hour or so but it is not required.

Heat oven to 245°c. In a saucepan, measure 2 tablespoons baking soda to each cup of water. Put enough water to fill the saucepan at least 3 inches high. Bring soda and water mixture to a light boil and set heat to simmer. Make sure the baking soda is well dissolved.

Tear off some dough and roll a long thick pencil shape with your hands. Pick up both ends, cross to form rabbit ears and then twist the ends and pull them back to the rest of the loop. Place aside on lightly floured surface and let rise a few minutes.

Place pretzels one at a time in water/baking soda mixture for 10 seconds on each side or until the pretzel dough is light yellow in color. Remove the pretzel from boiling water and place onto a salted baking sheet.

Salt the top of pretzels with course ground sea salt. Place baking sheet with pretzels into the oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until the pretzels are golden brown. Enjoy while warm.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Blue Swimmer Crab Linguine

There is something I probably should tell you...

You have crabs.

Blue swimmer crabs in fact.

Unfortunately there is no cure, you are just going to have to suffer your way through one of my favourite pasta recipes. Poor you!

Blue Swimmer Crab Linguine:
A Stovetop Original Recipe

Serves 3 (approx)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
half a pack of linguine pasta
half a brown onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
approx 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup of dry white wine
250g Blue Swimmer Crab meat
1 large chilli, diced
chopped chives to serve

Boil pasta in salted water until al dente.'

Meanwhile, saute garlic and onion with the olive oil in a large frying pan on medium heat until softened. Add the cherry tomatoes and saute for 2 minutes until blistered. Add the white wine and crab meat, stir for 2-3 minutes until crab is cooked through (it will turn an opaque colour). Drain pasta and add to pan and toss to coat. Stir through chopped chives, season with salt and pepper and serve.