5 Hot Chocolate Recipes That Take it to the Next Level

Save the guilt for spring time – winter means comfort, and we plan on spending the duration of the cooler weather indulging in all things hearty, rich and decadently wicked. Take your winter drinking habits to the next level by backing off the tea, coffee and chalky cocoa powder and stepping into the world of mind blowing hot chocolate. Generally, a few commandments are key to a quality chocolate concoction – namely, using solid (mostly dark) chocolate, adding a pinch of salt and using whole milk – but experimentation is the spice of life, so get busy with our top five picks.

5. Hot Chocolate with Mint and Marshmallows


Fact: There’s something wrong if you don’t like the combination of mint and chocolate. And there’s something even more disturbing at play if you don’t like the combination of mint and chocolate GANACHE. This recipe by What Should I Eat for Breakfast Today understands the importance of such things and in tune cleverly fuses together cream, dark chocolate, fresh milk and cream to create a drink so decadent that it can only be consumed in thimble sized quantities... joke -it’s so addictive you’ll have to have the cup prized from your sticky fingers.

4. Confetti Cake Batter and White Chocolate Hot Chocolate



Just stop and drink this all in for a second. Cake batter. White chocolate. Hot chocolate. Consuming cake in liquid form has never looked so delicious and Cravings of a Lunatic takes it to the next level with the addition of sweet condensed milk, white chocolate and whipped cream. Turn on your slow cooker, turn up the tunes and get prepared for the party that’s about to take place in your mouth.

3. Vegan Mexican Hot Chocolate

Dairy don’t-ers, rejoice! Coconut whipped cream, almond milk and a spice infusion of sweet cinnamon, earthy nutmeg and spicy cayenne have united in your cup to make winter your favourite time of year. Although this recipe by Minimalist Baker does use the aforementioned cocoa powder that we have preached against, you could experiment with vegan friendly chocolate OR perhaps go naughty and indulge in not so vegan friendly dark chocolate (if you’re not a fully fledged vegan, of course). Alternatively, you could just ignore us and go with the recipe as stated.

2. Cardamom & Orange Spiced White Hot Chocolate


Distinctively delicious, this recipe by Will Cook for Friends highlights winter’s signature aromas of crushed cardamom pods, vanilla extract and fragrant orange zest. Drink winter in. Literally. To truly make this something special, a few pointers are to be kept in mind;

-          Use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer part of the rind and try to avoid gathering any of the white pith (no bitter, mo’ better)

-          Back away from anything labelled ‘white chips’ when seeking out a white chocolate – they are mostly sugar and hydrogenated oils (think chalky, grainy or bland) – go for a cocoa butter content of about 30% for heaven to appear on your tastebuds.

-           When faced with the decision of green and black cardamom – go green.

1. Coconut S’mores Hot Chocolate



AKA the pièce de résistance of hot chocolates, this creamy concoction takes out the top spot on our hot (chocolate) list. It’s not hard to see why. Creamy, thick, rich, moist, luxurious – it’s an inhalation of melted chocolate goodness and the addition of coconut, marshmallows and cream is the icing on the cake. But we haven’t reached the best part yet – this recipe is TOTALLY HEALTHY! And by that we mean using coconut milk, dark chocolate and coconut cream. Coconut is a fruit, right? It’s practically like drinking a fruit smoothie. A delicious, sweet, gooey chocolate fruit smoothie...  Excuse us. We are off to How Sweet Eats to get our daily vitamin hit.

5 French Toast Recipes You Need To Try

A very (unconventional) Bastille Day brunch

Put down your Vegemite smeared bread and listen up – French toast has made a comeback in the kitchen, revamped with a brand new attitude. Taking it to the next level with a myriad of fresh flavour combinations, the new French toast isn’t afraid to push the boundaries, with its rich buttery exterior decked out and drenched in anything from chai spice to chocolate. 

Fancy up your brunching bread this Bastille Day and indulge in a little winter comfort. These five recipes spare no expense when it comes to breaking out of the box and are well and truly in the running for breakfast’s most wanted. Take a back seat, coffee and croissants.

5. Baked Chai Spiced French Toast


Can this recipe by The Kitchn scream ‘winter’ any louder? From your teacup to your toast, the exotic aromas of spiced chai make you feel like hibernating under the nearest blanket until the sight of spring. Sure, it may impress your brunch guests ... but who really wants to share? Full of challah bread, spice and all things nice, this recipe is basically like eating teacake for breakfast – and we can’t see any fault in that. 

4. Hot Chocolate French Toast


Incorporating two iconic elements of comfort, hot chocolate French toast is so decadent it makes you feel guilty just by looking at it. Luckily, in the war between guilt and envy ... we find ourselves guilty as charged. You can’t pass up the chance to treat yourself with this sinfully sweet recipe, so be sure to check it out at Half Baked Harvest.

3. Strawberries & Cream French Toast


Elegant by name and naughty by nature, this recipe for strawberries and cream French toast by Life Love Food is a mouth watering mash up of sourdough, crème fraiche and fresh berries roasted in sugar. Simply sweet and so good to eat, this recipe is perfect to bring a little summer time to chilly winter mornings. For best results, eat on perfectly manicured grass while watching tennis and feel just a little bit regal.

2. Coconut Cream Pie French Toast



We can’t quite figure out whether this makes the cut for breakfast or dessert – so why not both? Smothered in a coating of whipped cream made solely of coconut milk, we like to think this recipe by Spache the Spatula counts as a healthy alternative so by eating copious amounts, we’re not really doing any harm. We’re probably even doing ourselves a favour, right?

1. Brioche French Toast with Bruleed Bananas, Crème Patisserie & Salted Caramel 

A round of applause, ladies and gentleman. Cleverly crafted by Citrus & Candythis recipe combines sandwich and dessert into one heart stopping package. The aromas of baked brioche, caramelised banana, vanilla cream and luscious caramel sauce make for a thoroughly irresponsible breakfast – and a perfect start to your day.   

Love Italy - Guy Grossi

To celebrate Italy’s National Day on June 2, 2014, we thought we would have a quick chat to Guy Grossi, as his new book ‘Love Italy’ entails everything you would ever need to immerse yourself in Italian cuisine. Not only has Grossi put together the recipes from different ingredients across the nation, he also spent countless hours writing about the places he visited, how the ingredients were gathered and the people he met. As Guy puts it himself: “It’s a whopper of a book.” If you're in Melbourne you can enjoy Guy's heart warming and chef hatted cuisine at his restaurant: Grossi Florentino 

We will be releasing recipes from 'Love Italy' on June 2. Stay tuned, as links will appear in this blog.

You have a really busy year this year, how do you give your all at each event you attend?

Organisation is key. Obviously you can’t be in two places at once so I think it’s important to really commit to the things you choose to do. I find if I’m organised and have all the information I need for the event then it will be successful. I love participating in all kinds of events so I like to get as involved as much I can. It’s a great opportunity to meet people, learn and find inspiration so you need to give everything you’ve got.

With your new book out ‘Love Italy,’ it must be a wonderful feeling to finally have a book discovering the food in your home nation, explain to me how many years it took in the making to finally make the trip?

The trip took over two years to plan, from research to contacts, to logistics and building the itinerary. We did have a few schedules change here and there too, so that dates changed around a bit. All in all though, the book took 4 years from the inception to print date. It’s a whopper of a book. But  good things take time. We are really proud of the book.

How many hours were put into writing the book, creating the recipes and putting it all together?

I spent countless hours writing the text. It was a question of getting all the notes together, making sense of them, remembering and then writing it as I recalled it. Some of the recipes came straight from the producers in Italy. Some of them, however, we created to include the products that we had seen, so these did take some time to write, test and photograph.

What was your motivation and hope for ‘Love Italy’ and its potential readers?

Love Italy is all about going back. I wanted to showcase, not only produce from my heritage, but also the culture and methods of cooking that we may not be familiar with here in Australia. So in a sense I wanted to go back to where I came from and back to some of the traditions that form the foundations of the food we know and love today. The book is about telling the story of passionate people whose lives are all about protecting and preserving their culture and traditions.

Each stop on your Italian journey must have been memorable, but is there a particular story you can share with us regarding one of the dishes in the book?

All of them were memorable for so many different reasons. The generosity, hospitality and warmth that we were shown by all those we meet was incredible. From offering their time and expertise to giving us produce. One that stands out (and this is a hard choice) was our trip to Pestum to see artichokes. Our stay at Lucio’s farm, just out of Salerno was just like being at home. He invited us into his family home with kindness and warmth. It was incredible. He drove us around to visit other producers and continued to offer us help from setting up appointments, making pasta with his mum and sending some loot home at the post office. We could never thank him enough for his hospitality.

If you could be any dish what would you be?

Surely, I’d have to be something with a bit of a kick no? Hot and Spicy? A hard question.. Maybe something that is quite hard on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside. Like a croquette. Mmmmm. 

When you have the time for a break what do you enjoy the most?

When I’m at work a coffee and a bowl of vegetable soup or meat and salad and a sit down for 10 minutes is what I go to. But if I get to have break for a little longer, a day off, I like to have lunch or dinner with the family. A home cooked meal is always nice.

What can Australia and the world expect from you in the future? 

I’d like to think that we will continue to cook and serve good food to our guests. I would also like to continue to inspire our staff in being the best they can, as well as inspiring those cooking at home and providing them with tools like Love Italy gives them to fuel the cook. When you cook for guests or those you love, and you can see the satisfaction when they taste something you have created, it’s one of the best feelings in the world. This is what we continue to strive to do. 

Photos from Guy Grossi's website: http://www.grossiflorentino.com/announcements/love-italy-guy-grossi 

Book Review; ‘Love Italy’ by Guy Grossi

“Regardless of whether the recipes are rustic and simple or more sophisticated, I want there to always be a thread back to time that connects to that heritage.”


Take a well seasoned chef, immerse him within the gastronomic paradise of his heritage and you have a classic cookbook that showcases a warm, honest and joyful celebration of real food and real people.  As impressive in content as it is in size, ‘Love Italy’ by Guy Grossi encourages you to do exactly as the title states, and is the essential kitchen showpiece for food lovers seeking to delve into the intertwined realms of Italian food and culture. 


From the treasure trove of truffles to the business of bresaola, Guy Grossi takes you from length to breadth across the country to discover staple ingredients of authentic Italian cuisine and the passionate artisans who craft and create them. Spectacular full page photographs take accompany the reader with a vivid and visual journey, making you feel fully immersed in Guy’s journey of culinary culture – and just a little bit … or a big bit… envious.

Italian recipes - tasty & traditional 



From Piedmont to the shores of Sicily, ‘Love Italy’ showcases 150 recipes, stamped with the seal of approval from locals themselves. Recipes like saffron arancini with osso bucco filling, cheese and honey fritters and pig’s head terrine add authenticity to the art of antipasto, perfect for passing around with family and friends. Learn the secrets behind simple yet simply irresistible pasta dishes like spaghetti with anchovy sauce, or get busy impressing dinner guests with bites like cotchetino with lentils (traditionally eaten on New Year’s Eve to bring good fortune for the coming year). 

And, of course, who can bypass the sweet treats so integral to Italian cuisine – think gelato, biscotti, granita and a seemingly endless array of luscious pastries. Lady’s kisses (buttery hazelnut biscuits with chocolate filling) lay temptingly alongside the rich and indulgent raspberry sorbet and vanilla ice cream, making for a satisfying completion to your meal.

If you're ready to indulge in a taste of Guy Grossi's irresistible new recipes, why not start with fish soup with couscous and bruschetta, a side of roasted vegetables with farro and finish with a temptingly sweet serving of strawberry cannoli and yoghurt ice cream.

For more of Guy's inspiring words, be sure to check out his AGFG Chef Profile.

Book Review: Organic Fusion

Organic. Raw. Vegan. Low GI. Gluten Free. Superfoods. Everything you could ever want in Organic Fusion by Amanda Battley. 

Amanda's recipe book is more like an instruction manual for the organic, raw and vegan lovers; it is packed with juices, smoothies and breakfast ideas all the way to mains and desserts. With a history immersed in yoga and Buddhism, Amanda takes her 20 years of experience in healthy living into one book and shares it with others. Conscious food for the mind, body & soul is her tag line and it is well used with the first pages of the book dedicated to yoga, meditation, superfoods, healthy living, weight loss and increased energy. 

With a passion for the less fortunate, Amanda will also donate 10% of the profits from Organic Fusion and donate it to Classroom of Hope in Cambodia. 

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world" ~ Nelson Mandela. 

Our favourites are the tofu scramble on p49, the coconut curry with tofu on p100 and the lemon lime avocado pie on p119. 

To experience the joy of organic fusion you can get your own copy from Buddha Soul here

Spoil Mum!

This year Mother's Day is on May 11, 2014. 

There are a few ways you can celebrate your Mum this Mother's Day. Most opt for a gift or breakfast in bed, but if you want to do something special you could always cook your mum a wonderful lunch or dinner. Karen Martini recommends: 

"Ooo yeah... for something a little fancy I’d recommend my pan-seared gnocchi with scallops, mushrooms and lemon; sticky lamb shanks with dried figs and vine leaves for a heartier option; and for dessert, nothing says “thanks Mum” like my decadent Valrhona Manjari chocolate mousse."

Or if you just want to surprise her with a yummy morning tea then Poh Ling Yeow's Persimmon Cake would be perfect! 

However, if this all seems like too much and you're likely to just make a mess than something wonderful don't fret, there are a number of restaurants that are doing something special for Mother's Day, whether it be a high tea, a lunch or dinner, you can find exactly what you need in our what's on guide here, just refine it to your region.  

For the adventurous Mum, we have a wonderful competition on offer that can be used until November 2014. Win a 60 minute scenic hot air balloon flight over the Hinterlands, you will also be able to enjoy return transfers from Brisbane accommodation, a Vineyard Champagne Breakfast and a bottle of Moet et Chandon per person. This package is valued up to $365 per person and is valid for two adults. What are you waiting for? Enter NOW! This fantastic Mother's Day package will be drawn on Mother's Day, May 11 and the winner will be contacted by email. 

Greek Independence Day

Recipes and Restaurant Suggestions to help you celebrate Greek Independence Day

March 25, 2014

The Greek National Anniversary of Independence Day, also called Evangelismos, commemorates Greece's victory in the War of Independence against Turkey. On this day, Greek's traditionally eat fish. Particularly Fried Garfish (Tiganites Zarganes) with Boiled Green Vegetables (Horta). If you want some extra with this why not try: 

All above recipes are thanks to Kathy Tsaples from Sweet Greek, a Melbourne Book that will make an excellent gift for anyone that loves Greek Food. 

Earlier this month AGFG was able to speak with Jonathan Barthelmess from The Apollo, the two chef hat awarded Greek restaurant in Sydney's Potts Point. Head over to our interview with him and check out some of his recipes and remember to enter our competition to $100 to The Apollo. 

If The Apollo isn't in your local area but you want to celebrate along with the Greeks this Greek Independence Day, head over here and find your local Greek restaurant. 

Colin Fassnidge: Four Kitchens

Two restaurants, 4Fourteen & Four in Hand, the outside kitchen and the home kitchen

An insight into Colin Fassnidge and his new book "Four Kitchens." 

"Well for years, like most young chefs, it's all about the food, I had tunnel vision, you don't think about anything else, we were rather selfish. When I had kids, I realised there was more to life than cooking and food. My food got better because I had two kids to feed and nourish, my head changed to quality and nourishment instead of just being fancy," Colin Fassnidge on what made him ready to write Four Kitchens. 

Growing from strength to strength Colin Fassnidge has not only graced Australia's culinary scene but also our televisions. Recently winning GQ's Chef of the Year 2013 has seen Colin grow beyond his famously known Four in Hand restaurant.  

Known for pushing boundaries and winning awards, Colin's cooking philosophy is all about bringing enjoyment to the people he is cooking for. His nose-to-tail style sees him coax as much flavour out of the produce as possible and leaving very little to waste. His first dish, made 9 years ago at Four in Hand as just a joke symbolises this, "Pigs ear Schnitzel."

"People panicked, 'your restaurant won't work,' they said, but we stood our guns, got two hats and then all these people are eating the pigs ear schnitzels and loving it with a $200 bottle of wine," said Colin.

His book Four Kitchens is a collection of favourite recipes from both Four Kitchens and 4Fourteen, plus recipes he likes to cook at home for family and friends. If you have ever wanted to get to know Colin truly, then picking up his book and immersing yourself in his creations will certainly have you understanding this Dublin-born ex-rock star Chef.      

Loving the look of that Rhubarb? Don't stress it's only just one masterpiece from Colin's 'Four Kitchens' and we have it for you here.  

Four Kitchens has just been released this month, you can purchase it here.

Images courtesy of Random House Publishing. 

Valentine's Day Recipe Rescue

Recipes to warm the heart of your loved one. 

So we're one week out from Valentine's Day and you still haven't figured out where you're going? Bad move, head over HERE to check out some steamy Valentine's Day specials, sure to be perfect for you and your loved one. 

However, if you've decided to stay in this weekend (we don't really know why you would want to but ok...) you could surprise your lover with a few homemade recipes. We are sure you will shock he or she with your glorious tasting chocolaty delights. 

Firstly, how could you go past Chocolate Mouse in between chocolate shaped hearts? It just oozes love and we are sure it taste's like it too. All you have to do is follow the recipe

Does your other half enjoy a mojito every once in a while? Well we have the perfect combination, try our white chocolate mojito cheesecake

Not a fan of dessert but want a main? I'm sorry all we have is a chocolate lasgne... it'll be perfect! 

Feel like melting into the couch together to watch that Rom Com she (or he) has been insisting on? Don't worry we got you covered, enjoy our melting moments. 

Valentine's Day - Aphrodisiacs

Spice up the weekend with your Valentine. 

Remember the days when Valentine’s Day just meant flowers and chocolate for your sweetheart? Well they are long gone! Expectations are higher, a dinner or lunch necessary and that bottle of champagne a must. 

For those that have no idea what they are doing for their loved one this year, head over here, we give you a few tips and tricks and point you in the direction of some great Valentine’s Day specials

Aphrodisiacs are as old as the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite. In our modern age they are refuted more and more by scientists, but come on let’s not let the scientists spoil our romantic fun! 

So here are our top Aphrodisiacs:

Firstly chocolate, what else right? Chocolate makes us feel good all over – much like being in love (or lust – whichever you’re into this Valentine’s Day). So why not delve into a wickedly delightful chocolate fondue – everyone sells them these days. Or wanting to put some of your love into your own cooking? You could try our Frozen Raspberry Truffles or Gu Pear Belle Helene with Chocolate Genache recipes.

What goes just great with a fondue? Strawberries! Any food, lovingly hand fed to your partner is certain to ignite the flames of passion, if you’re not one for hand feeding… seems a bit 90’s romcom doesn’t it? Maybe consider our Strawberry Salsa or Sweet Strawberry Pies.  

Oysters – the aphrodisiac everyone knows about but seems to steer away from. Make a point of feasting on these beauties this year round, you could try them freshly shucked and served on a bed of crushed ice with just a squeeze of lemon or for something different try a French inspired eschallot vinegar or a Japanese dressing of mirin and grated white daikon. 

Last but not least is Champagne, which just goes down beautifully with everything mentioned above, really how can you not enjoy popping a bottle, feasting on oysters and then for those with a sweet tooth, washing it all down with strawberries and chocolate? An absolutely perfect evening! Happy Valentine’s day.

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