Thursday, October 16, 2014

thursday recipe: lauren's chocolate brioche

We fell in love with Cooktown. As with all great loves, it is that element that you can't quite pin down or put into words that is the most seductive and that's the case with Cooktown. I can't quite put my finger on what stole my heart but stolen it was. (Ok so the consistent hot weather, palm trees and spectacular views of the mountains and sea had something to do with it).

The township of Cooktown is pretty basic, one pub, one bank, bakery, butcher, post office, a souvenir shop, an Italian restaurant, Indigenous art gallery, a couple of petrol stations, an independent supermarket with 4 aisles of groceries and a few accommodation options ranging from a caravan park and a back packers to guest houses.

Oh and there are a couple of cafes but don't bother with the coffee there. Pete decided he would brave a take away chai from one of the cafes, I went in and ordered it for him. The waiter asked, "Would you like coffee in it?" say no more.

One Sunday morning I visited the bakery thinking I'd buy River and Sol croissants. I scanned the few racks of bread and couldn't see anything that resembled pastry. "Do you have any croissants?"
"I could defrost some for you," came the reply. Thanks anyway.

So you can imagine our delight when we left Cooktown with our friend Dave who had flown up from Byron Bay, and headed out to Eddie's camp at the remote Elim beach and were treated to French and Vietnamese inspired campfire cuisine by our newfound friends French born Lauren and her boyfriend Josh.

It was out there at Elim beach where the heat was relentless, the showers cold, no swimming allowed of course because of the crocs, that we enjoyed good coffee brewed in Lauren and Josh's coffee press and Lauren's handmade chocolate brioche made using her Dad's recipe.

One afternoon while Pete, River and Josh went out fishing and crabbing, Sol, Dave and I watched Lauren create her French delicacy. The previous night in a stockpot over the campfire Josh had carefully prepared a wonderful Vietnamese fish curry. The spice kit they travelled with was better than the selection in my pantry at home!

This recipe isn't paleo, or raw, definitely not vegan, gluten free, sugar free or egg free. No, it's French. And having this made for us, in a remote location while listening to Lauren talk about her Dad and her life in France was as much a gift as the brioche itself.

Given we had been eating mainly fish and salad for days, the brioche was sheer decadence. (I did have a moment out at that camp where I thought I can't possibly eat fish again, and immediately felt very ungrateful!)

The day after making the brioche, we took some of the catch back into Hope Vale to share with our friends in the community.  The brioche however, well, leftover chocolate brioche? Whoever heard of that.

Lauren's chocolate brioche

60ml milk
3 eggs, whisked
140g butter (melted + cooled)
50g sugar
430g white flour
14g of yeast
a few drops orange essence (optional)
200g dark chocolate

In a large mixing bowl, place the flour, yeast and sugar and mix with a fork.

Make a well in the centre and using a fork, whisk in the eggs, followed by the milk and melted butter (and orange essence if using).

Mix until you have a dough.

Leave in a warm place for 2 hours or until it doubles in size.

Break dough into approximately 10-12 balls and press 2-4 squares of chocolate into the centre of each ball and cover the chocolate over with the dough.

Lauren baked the brioche in a camp oven over a campfire until it was golden. At home you can preheat the oven to 200C and bake on a tray until golden, approx. 12- 15 minutes.


  1. Such beautiful images. After many unsuccessful cafe experiences in the outback and on country road trips, and some seriously B.A.D. coffee we always take a small french press and thermos of hot water to make our own coffee. Chocolate brioche yum! How lucky were you! What a treat x

    1. Thanks Nic. Sensible woman carrying your own good coffee. Many would say I should just give it up but one a day I do so enjoy :) x

  2. They sound like a great treat! Food cooked and eaten outside always tastes better, I think.......

    1. They were indeed a treat and you're right campfire cooking and eating is a world of its own that can't really be compared to any meal cooked and eaten indoors. Thanks for stopping by :) x

  3. Great photos Nikki and the brioche look delicious!! xx robin

    1. Thanks Robin. Indeed it was. I will make some for you! xx


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