Meet Carla! She is the brains and beauty behind Black Market Treats – a small Perth-based business specialising in brownies, custom cookies and all other sweet treats. Carla has made a name for herself in the kitchen and today, we visit Carla in her home to learn the tricks behind her simple and drool-worthy “No Knead” bread and Ricotta Gnocchi.

What lead you to start your business in baking? 

Because I was making my family fat! Honestly though, I was baking and trialling new recipes nearly every night and wanted an outlet to share this with others. The idea was that I would make something delicious for the week and share it online in a limited quantity but the business quickly grew! Black Market Treats was born in June 2019 with the Treat Box – a mix of brownies and slices depending upon what was baking for the week, and that has quickly grown to include custom cookies, cakes and FAT cookies.

Tell us about your recipes, how do you go about perfecting them? 

Lots of trial and error! It’s not unusual for a weekend to include six loaves of bread and a few different trays of brownies.

Do you have a favourite treat yourself? 

There are a few! I love the Kingston Slice and the original Oreo Brownie.

What do you enjoy cooking the most? 

I come from an Italian background, so my favourite recipes are those passed down from my Nonna – gnocchi, meatballs, cutlets – all the things people love to eat which is part of the joy of cooking.

Tell us about your pantry staples… What are your go-to ingredients? 

For Black Market Treats the pantry (which was once a well-stocked cellar) is now always stocked with 20kg bags of flour, sugar and a supermarket-style chocolate shelf! My personal pantry always includes bread/pizza flour, ricotta and plenty of eggs.

When you’re not busy in the kitchen, how else do you like to spend your time? 

My husband and I have recently finished renovating but there’s always something to do so we’re usually busy doing something around the house. We spend a bit of time in the gym and like to take our staffy up to the hills for a bush walk whenever we can – followed by brekky of course!

“No Knead” Bread

Ingredients

  • 625ml warm water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon instant dry yeast
  • 900g white spelt flour
  • 3 teaspoons salt flakes
  • 80ml extra virgin olive oil

Method

Combine warm water, honey & yeast in a jug and set aside for 5 minutes so that the yeast can activate.

Place the flour & salt in the bowl of an electric mixer with the dough hook attached. With the mixer on low speed gradually add the yeast mixture and the oil. Knead for approx. 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth. The dough will be very sticky!

Wrap the bowl with glad wrap and cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm spot for 1.5-2 hours for the dough to rise.

Preheat the oven to 250C (fan forced) with a dutch oven or an oven safe heavy based saucepan with lid inside.

Dust the hot pan with flour and transfer the dough into the pan. Cover with the lid & bake for 30 minutes.

Reduce the oven temperature to 220C and remove the lid. Bake for another 20 minutes until golden and hollow sounding when tapped.

Carla’s Ricotta Gnocchi

Ingredients

  • 500g ricotta, drained
  • 50g grated parmesan, pecorino or Romano cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 250g plain flour (start with 200g and add extra 50g as required)

Method

Drain the ricotta and add to a large bowl with all other ingredients. Use a fork to bring all the ingredients together then use your hands to start kneading into a smooth dough.

Keep adding flour until it forms a soft dough that isn’t sticking to the bowl anymore. It will still be a slightly sticky dough as you don’t want it to be dry & tough.

The amount of flour required may vary and you could use up to 50g less or more.

Roll the dough into long sausage shapes and cut into rectangles. Alternatively, take small piece of dough, roll into a ball and roll on the back of a fork or well-floured gnocchi board.

Place gnocchi pieces on a lined tray. If you’re not cooking immediately pop the whole tray in the freezer – once frozen you can store the gnocchi in freezer bags until you need them.

To cook, bring a pot of water to the boil. Drop the gnocchi in – once they rise to the top they are cooked. Gnocchi can be cooked from frozen.