Newcastle, NSW, Australia
I’m a former industrial chemist, and after deciding on a career change while at home with my two young children, I’m now a qualified pastry chef. In 2009 I started taking some classes in cake decorating and other pastry-related cookery, and taught myself many more decorating techniques from books and internet resources. In 2010 I started a pastry apprenticeship, studying Retail Baking (Cake & Pastry) Certificate III at TAFE, which I completed with Distinction in 2012. I completed my apprenticeship in December 2013, and am now working as a full time Pastry chef and Cake Decorator at 'Exquisite Cakes by Lennert' in Cessnock, NSW.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Last Christmas

And yet another month flies by... speaking of which, before the bells start jingling for THIS Christmas, here's what I made for my family last festive season.  I happened to catch an episode of Poh's Kitchen with Emmanuel Mollois, who made a gorgeous looking Yule Log... the recipe and video can be found at

The log had a heart of vanilla barvarois wrapped up swiss-roll style in a sheet of sponge with chocolate mousse and pistachio almond praline.  Unfortunately something wasn't right with the recipe for the chocolate coating that was supposed to go on the outside (you can find my colourful expression of annoyance at this in the comments under the recipe amongst those of others that had the same problem); suggested changes to the recipe have been added since, but I haven't tried it again.  I was still up at midnight on Christmas Eve improvising with a ganache that I made from the last of the chocolate and cream I had left in the house.  All's well that ends well, though... my logs (eventually) looked and tasted amazing, and were a hit with the family.

At the time I was still working at the now-defunct 321 Patisserie, and we had a French pastry chef working with us making yule logs (or Buche Noel, in his native tongue) for the shop.  He always put meringue mushrooms on them, and after a bit of Googling I found out that mushrooms were a traditional decoration for yule logs, as they are meant to resemble a log that's fallen over in the forest.  I added some holly made from modelling paste, and a dusting of icing sugar for snow.

Finally, a cross-section of one of the cut logs... it was most suitably rich and delicious!

And now that 2011 is three quarters over, that FINALLY wraps up 2010!

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