31 Degrees of separation

Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick loves chocolate.

After spending some time in France in her younger years, she realised she could never go back to Australia without access to the pastries, chocolates and breads she had tried in Paris (and I can relate!).

When she got back to Australia, she did what any sane sweet lover would do, she studied to become a pastry chef so she could replicate the sweets she tasted and experienced during her travels. After qualifying, Kaitlyn worked with cakes for over a year before melting under the desire to focus on her true love – chocolate.

She started 31 Degrees at the end of 2013, making use of South Brisbane commercial kitchens at Wandering Cooks to whip up delicious chocolate treats. After a Pozible campaign and many months of waiting for the construction phase to be over, she has finally moved into a permanent base – a store on Eden Lane in Woolloongabba.

31 degrees staff

Kaitlyn’s focus is on European-style chocolates, made with premium, locally sourced ingredients. Her most popular treats involve raspberry, passionfruit, coffee and the salted caramel bars, and heavenly honeycomb. Her Decadence Bar is a stunner – moist coconut, homemade caramel, coated in a high-quality chocolate. I can liken it to a gourmet Bounty Bar, but that description would do the quality product Kaitlyn produces no justice.

My husband (it’s weird calling him that) and I stopped by the new store the day before our wedding. Kaitlyn had planned an opening weekend on 22 and 23 July and even though it was a busy time for me, I wanted chocolate! I had contributed a small amount to her Pozible campaign months earlier, so I’ve always kept an eye on what’s happening in the world of 31 Degrees.

The store is small (to be honest, it doesn’t need to be big because we’re only there for one thing really – chocolate!), but Kaitlyn has made the most of it with a window into her workspace, so we can see her and her staff creating the delicate confections we were going to eat. Her cabinet was choccas (like what I did there?) and it was a tough task to decide on the chocolates we would get. Aside from the cabinet, more substantial options were also available for purchase, like chocolate bark, honeycomb and rocky road. She also has a killer hot chocolate on offer and probably spent more time at her coffee machine than in the kitchen the whole weekend, as she had free samples on offer.

31 degrees christmas tree, hot chocolate, cabinet

For the opening weekend, she created an entire Christmas tree out of chocolate. It was difficult not to just break a bit off and eat it right there. I missed out on her smash cake the following day, but I heard it was a success.

Oddly, I bumped into Kaitlyn the following week at Wandering Cooks and asked her what the next stage was. And, boy does she have plenty of plans! I won’t divulge them here, but I think you should keep an eye on the 31 Degrees Instagram and Facebook to stay up-to-date with the sweet sweet changes and additions over the coming months.

Thanks for bringing a little part of Europe to Brisbane, Kaitlyn.

The details:
31 Degrees Custom Chocolates
4 Hubert St, Woolloongabba QLD 4102
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 8am – 5pm | Sunday, 8am – 2pm
Phone: 07 3160 8834
Web: 31degrees.com.au

Let me know what you try when you go!

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Christmas sausage rolls

We had a Christmas in July feast last month – because getting married the following weekend wasn’t challenging enough!

We decided to try and keep it fairly traditional, but because I’ve never really experienced a winter Christmas in a traditional English-style setting before, I had to do a lot of Googling to find some dishes that we felt would be traditional enough.

I noticed during my search that a lot of websites had sausage rolls in their list of traditional Christmas fare. I was quite surprised, because obviously sausage rolls here in Australia are pretty casual and are usually served with a couple of beers (or at children’s parties!).

We decided that sausage rolls would be fairly easy to make and cook, so they went on the list. Later, when searching for good recipes, I couldn’t find anything particularly ‘Christmassy’, so I came up with my own – turkey, Camembert and cranberry. I sort of forgot to get more photos than I did, sorry!

Sausage roll mix and testing

Ingredients

  • 1kg turkey mince
  • 1 large onion, finely diced (I buzzed mine up actually)
  • Half a small jar of cranberry jelly
  • 1 Camembert, chopped up
  • 6 sheets of puff pastry
  • Liberal sprinkling of garlic powder (I think about half a teaspoon)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method

  1. Pull your puff pastry out of the freezer.
  2. Put everything in a bowl, but keep half the cranberry jelly to the side.
  3. Give everything a good mix.
  4. Add the other half of the jelly, but don’t mix it in completely, you’re after little ‘chunks’ throughout the mixture.
  5. By this point, your pastry should be pliable enough that it won’t break. Divide up the mixture into six.
  6. Put one sixth of the mixture on the pastry in a sausage shape and roll it up. I use the plastic that the pastry comes on to assist with this process (bit like a sushi mat). I use a little water on the edge of the pastry to seal it.
  7. Repeat 5 more times. I should say at this point that if you want to make smaller sausage rolls, just put less mixture in the pastry.
  8. Wrap up the rolls and pop them in the freezer until you need them. This will help keep the shape of the rolls when you cut them later.
  9. When you plan on using them, pull the rolls out of the freezer about 20-30 minutes prior to cooking. Don’t let it defrost too much or they will be a pain to cut.
  10. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.
  11. Using a sharp knife, cut the sausage rolls  into 8-6 slices (just keep in mind that the narrower they are, the more likely they will fall during the cooking process).
  12. At this point you can put a bit of eggwash on the top and sprinkle some herbs or seeds on top for decorative purposes.
  13. Pop them in the oven and cook until the pastry is golden.

Note: I like to test the mixture before committing to pastry, so I cook a little patty after I’ve mixed all the ingredients together.

I think they were well-received because there weren’t any left over at the end (though, I may have eaten a few myself). I’ll be making these again!

What’s your favourite sausage roll recipe?

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