Ben and Elvis write:
We love picnics. They’re a chance to catch up, put on a great outfit and spend time with friends… we wanted to recreate the perfect picnic and share some of the stuff we like to do.
Tips For Good Jelly
We always use gold- or titanium-strength gelatine leaves to help the jelly set really well.
We use ingredients we have on hand and whatever seasonal fruit is available.
We find poached fruit works better than fresh fruit because it has a softer texture and you can use its cooking liquor to help flavour and set the jelly. The jelly stops the fruit from oxidising so it will last longer once set in the jelly. Just be aware that fresh fruit can sometimes make a jelly break down faster so if you go that route, it’s best to serve it within a day of making it.
When layering your jelly, it’s a good idea to put the moulds in a large container filled with really icy water. This helps the jelly to start setting while you’re working. Make sure the first layer is pretty much fully set before adding the next. And be sure the next layer you pour is chilled, not warm, or else they will bleed into one another.
To set fruit in a jelly, pour 5 mm (1⁄4 inch) of jelly onto an already set layer of jelly and allow to set just enough to be tacky; this will act like glue and help the fruit to stay in the desired place. Arrange your fruit then pour the balance of that layer of jelly around and over the fruit; this will stop the fruit from floating.
Once the jelly has set, be patient tipping it out of its mould. Lower the mould into a bath of hot water for a few seconds, or just until the jelly starts to separate from the side of the mould. Remove from the water bath, place a serving plate on top of the mould then flip it upside down and gently turn the jelly out onto the plate.
- Glacé cherry jelly with chopped glacé cherries
- Blueberries in blueberry jelly
- Gin and tonic jelly
- Stewed-strawberry jelly on top
- Poached rhubarb in rhubarb jelly
- Almond milk jelly
- Raspberries in peach and champagne jelly
- Ginger, yoghurt and cream jelly
- Raspberries and blueberries in stewed berry jelly
- Plum jelly with a splash of cognac
Boozy Banana Cake
Elvis’s mum started making this cake as a way of using up the leftover bananas from our banana old fashioneds . We’d all come into the restaurant in the mornings and there’d be this boozy cake sitting there, covered in cream. Sometimes it’s so boozy you have a bite and it literally takes your breath away and makes you screw your face up, but in a good way.
The quantities for the bananas are pretty loose because we make the cake to taste. But generally, the batter should be quite wet before you add the flour, and the banana and booze flavours should really come across (unless you’re making this for kids, in which case you can sub in ripe mashed bananas for the booze-soaked ones). We say eat it when you don’t have to drive anywhere.
- 3 large bananas, sliced and soaked in 300 ml (101⁄2 fl oz) of Jack Daniel’s whiskey for 3 days then strained (strained weight approx. 350 g/12 oz)
- 150 g (51⁄2 oz) unsalted butter, plus
- extra for greasing
- 250 g (9 oz) caster (superfine) sugar 5 eggs, separated
- finely grated zest of 1 orange
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 300 g (101⁄2 oz) plain (all-purpose)
- flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting 1⁄4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1⁄4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
To serve (optional)
Dulce de leche whipped cream crème fraîche
Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F/Gas 2). Grease and lightly flour a 20 cm (8 inch) round bundt tin (or whatever tin you want to cook this in: loaf, spring-form etc.). Put the paddle attachment on an electric mixer then cream the butter and sugar together in the mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks to that mixture, one at a time, then all of the strained boozy bananas.
Continue to beat for a few minutes, or until the batter is smooth, loose and creamy. Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until soft peaks form. Add the orange and lemon zest to the batter. Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together then fold that through the banana mix with a spoon. Fold through the egg whites until combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 35–45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool a little then serve with your favourite cake condiments. elvis’s mum cuts her cake in half horizontally, smears dulce de leche on it, then puts the top back on like a sandwich and finishes it with whipped cream. It’s up to you.
Pineapple & Passionfruit Cheesecake
Anzac crumb base
- 150 g (51⁄2 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour 125 g (41⁄2 oz) rolled oats
- 70 g (21⁄2 oz) caster (superfine) sugar 90 g (31⁄4 oz) desiccated coconut
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 150 g (51⁄2 oz) unsalted butter, diced 200 ml (7 fl oz) pure maple syrup
- 3 g (1/10 oz) bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).
Mix the flour, oats, sugar, coconut and salt together in a large bowl.
Melt the butter and maple syrup together in a small saucepan over a low heat and add the bicarbonate of soda.
Add the melted butter mixture to the dry ingredients, mix together well then use your hands to bring it all together.
Grease a 20 cm (8 inch) spring-form cake tin and line it with baking paper, then press the crumb into the base and bake for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) cream cheese, chopped
- 200 g (7 oz) caster (superfine) sugar 2 eggs
- 200 ml (7 fl oz) cream (35% fat)
- 50 ml (11⁄2 fl oz) passionfruit purée
- 50 ml (11⁄2 fl oz) pineapple purée
Turn the oven down to 130°C (250°F/Gas 1).
Beat the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, until smooth.
With the mixer running, add the eggs and cream and mix for a further 2 minutes.
Pour the mixture into the tin, evenly covering the biscuit base, then drizzle over the fruit purées and use a skewer to gently swirl them through the mixture.
Bake for 1 hour, or until just set.
Allow to cool to room temperature and then chill before eating.
Recipes and images from Recipes for a Good Time by Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz, published by Murdoch Books, rrp. $59.99.