Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Devils foodcakes with chocolate icing

The occasion: my workmate son's birthday.

With sourcream being used, these cakes were super moist, and even having it in the icing, the sourcream taste was not too overwhelming, they just need to be regridgerated.

The icing is really glossy, so makes them seem abit.. poshy :) hehe

These were so simple to make! So here is the recipe..

50g butter (at room temp)
115g dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
115g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
25g cocoa powder
125ml sour cream

125g plain chocolate
2 tbsp caster sugar
150ml sour cream

preheat oven to 175
place paper baking cases into muffin tray

put margarine, sugar, eggs, flour, bicarbonate of soda & cocoa powder in a large bowl and using electric hand whisk, beat together until just smooth

using metal spoon, fold in the sour cream, spoon mixture into paper cases

bake for 18-20 minutes

transfer to wire rack to cool

to making icing, break up chocolate into heatproof bowl. set over simmering water & heat until melted, stirring occasionally. remove from heat allow to cool slightly, then whisk in sugar & sour cream until well combined. spread icing over tops of cupcakes and leave to set in refridgerator before serving.

Chocolate Souffles

I had purchased some ramekins a couple months ago (to make some mushroom pot pies for Richard's birthday), & was wondering what else i could use them for.. and while flicking through food magazines, i saw souffles :)

While i did want to try a savoury, i thought a sweet chocolate one would be nice to make for the girls (Ann & Anita). So i invited them over to try my first time chocolate souffles!

Being all nervous, and having Ann help me as well (although she was on the phone for the 2nd half of it haha) after i placed it all in the oven & turned around - and saw the flour still sitting there >_<


So, i had no choice but to start again (and what a waste of 4 eggs... :(

I did suggest maybe stirring through the flour but ... no, i started all over again.

I think i maybe should of had the temperature up abit more (i have a stoneage heat element oven), or maybe kept them in for a bit longer, as they didn't rise to the effect in the picture, but they did taste really nice! Soft on the top, and slightly gooey in the centre. So here is the recipe..

1 tsp butter
150g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
85g castor sugar
1 tbsp brandy/rum/whiskey
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
4 large eggs, separated
1 tbsp plain flour, sifted

Preheat oven to 190c, butter four 150ml ramekins, & sprinkle the sides with some castor sugar, place on baking tray. ( i read the castor sugar will help the souffle rise evenly, but it could be because of this that they didnt rise over the top of the ramekins)

Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water

Remove from pot, cool slightly, then beat in castor sugar, brandy & vanilla essence. Beat in the egg yolks, one by one, and then the flour. Mixture should be fairly stiff.

Whisk or beat the eggwhites until stiff & peaky, then gentley fold them into the chocolate mixture.

Pour into prepared pots and bake for 10-12 minutes until well risen. They should be slightly gooey inside.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Forensic Eating Dinner Party

Does this picture say it all? If not .. then read on :)

It all started at our first blog meet up organised by Katherine, which included Trish, Trissa,Lorraine, Richard & myself.

Trissa: I want to host a dinner party but i don't know who to invite??

Raised eyebrows & a show of hands went up, & we all started to brainstorm dinner party ideas..

The topic of masterchef was brought up, and then ideas of a 'secret ingredient' dinner came about. We were set on making i a secret ingredient dinner, where 2 days before the dinner, a secret ingredient would be revealed, and everyone was supposed to bring in a dish made with it.

But many email chains later, we decided it'd be easier to make it a forensic eating dinner party instead, where we were all to bring in a dish, and everyone is meant to guess the ingredients.

This was very exciting for everyone, and nervous.. what to bring?? Will people easily guess the ingredients?? A main, or desert, or both??

I was abit excited, and made two deserts :P

Attendees who also came were Ellie, Katherine & her cousin Lia, Lorraine & Mr NQN, Trish & her bub Joseph, My friend Jeremy & my bf Richard.

Thanks to Trissa & her lovely husband Dan for inviting us into her lovely home! She is a great dinner host, and had some finger foods for us to start before the guessing competition started..

cheese & crackers

lamb chops
(thanks to the boys for cooking this on the bbq!)

chorizo sausages

We started off the forensic eating with Ellie's dish - a french dip called Anchoiade - served with bread. Plain bread, so that we could truley taste the flavour & figure out what ingredients were in it.. it was a tricky one, as everything was pretty much minced up - so we really had to rely on our tasting senses. I didn't try any though because there was animal in it, so i was just sniffing away..


Next is Trissa's ravioli, which she kindly enough made vegetarian style for me (which i forgot, to take some home!!) it was the first *real* food i had all nght, & was so good, i would love to try and make my own ravioli. You just can't get it any nicer than home made me thinks.

Eggplant and tallegio ravioli with walnut, balsamic and butter sauce

Momma Eugenio made this dish for Katherine, and was abit easier to guess the ingredients because they were more visible (and not finely mashed up hehe). I did try abit of the noodle, it was really nice - again - home-cooked meals can be so much nicer sometimes.

Pancit Noodles

Trish's dish is embutido - a filipino style meatloaf, it looked like a rolled up sort of eggplant thing to me, too bad i couldn't try any :(


Lorraine made a french veal dish, which again i couldn't try. But it looked damn nice & saucy, i love my saucy foods hehe.

Blanquette de Veau

I made an indian desert called Semiya Kheer, which is something i've tried many times before, its my favourite indian desert dish! I think mine had the least ingredients (5) which were roasted vermicilli, ghee, almonds, milk & sugar.

Semiya Kheer

Ellie won the most points tonight, and thought she won a kitchen aid.. haha but got a nice shower gel instead :)

Almost everyone brought a desert, & ofcourse we all had more room in our tummys for desert!

Ellie's green tea tiramisu

Katherine's leche flan

Trish's filipino desert

Trissa's berries with toffeed cream cheese

I loved the topping on this, i want to buy a blow torch now :) mm.. creme caramel..

It was a GREAT night, and a pleasure to meet the blogger behind AlmostBourdain!

I think we might start a trend with forensic eating .. hehe.

Really looking forward to the next forensic eating dinner! Will get Trish to bring her lab coat, and some test tubes hee hee.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Pony Dining

14-15 The Rocks Centre
Cnr Kendall Lane & Argyle Streets
The Rocks
Sydney 2000
Ph: 02 9252 7797

I really enjoy food blogger meetups. We just all have one thing in common - foodblogging. And we all understand each others needs & wants, when it comes to a sit down meal anywhere.

This particular meet up was organised by the lovely Katherine from acupcakeortwo, & Pony was suggested because they had a 'Sunset Feast' available, weeknights only, between 6 & 7pm, & we had to be out by 7.45pm. 2 courses for $35, 3 for $42. Menu available here. But i think they change it often, so it might not reflect what i have posted here..

Spaghetti, asparagus, hand pounded pesto, pecorino

Both Richard & I ordered this, as it was the only vegetarian option. The dish was quite dry, & the portion small.. but then again, it was only an entree size.

Tasting plate of wood fire grilled vegetables,
chorizo and skordalia

Lettuce wraps with barbecue chicken skewers,
Cajun salsa and crème fraiche

Dutch cream potatoes baked with parmesan 8.80

The potato wasn't on the sunset menu, but there was only one vegetarian thing we could order, so we got a side for ourselves to share. I've had these before, they needed a sprinkling of salt hehe..

Minute steak of angus eye fillet, thick cut chips,
red wine sauce

I had helped Lorraine with a few of her fries, they were really nice & crisp, similar to macdonalds fries but not soggy at all (like you sometimes get from maccas).

Tasmanian salmon, salad of pickled beetroot,
orange, mint and fetta

Salad of twice cooked duck, spinach, pear and hazelnuts

Now onto the deserts.. everyone was looking forward to this :)

It was now about 7.38, so we only had 7 minutes before we had to leave. Even though the place was not that busy, the waitress still came over to remind us that we had to be out very soon. She was polite about it, but honestly - if the restaurant was quiet and had a lot of other tables, we should be able to stay a bit longer..

Macadamia tart, salted caramel,
vanilla mascarpone

This was my favourite. The tart was thick, & the salted caramel was soo good!! So addictive. The mascarpone complimented the tart very well. I ate a lot of this.. i really couldn't get enough. & the presentation was beautiful as well.

Individual pavlova, double cream,
pistachio crunch and strawberry

The pavlova was a pretty sight, all the red colours on the white pavlova made the dish really stand out. A very simple desert, turned into something special.

Katherine was kind enough to organize this meet up, and also brought us some goodies! Hard candy, loved it :)

The setting at Pony is intimate, this is my second time visiting - i don't think i'll come back again- there are just too many other restaurants to try in the city !

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hugos Manly

Shop 1
Manly Wharf
East Esplanade, MANLY
Ph: 02 8116 8555

Bear Cottage, is the first childrens hospice in New South Wales. A place where children with terminal illnesses can stay with their family from time to time to receive rest & receive medical care in a home like environment.

This is my family's 2nd stay, & the plan was to take us out on a whale watching expedition on a boat, & then lunch on the wharf.

We did spot 2 or 3 whales luckily, so everyone was really excited on the way back.

Bear Cottage is a lovely place to stay, my parents get to relax and so does Annie, with lots of activities, games, and other children to play with. They do a great deal to help us all, its just so great to have a place like this for kids to stay in! Usually Annie stays atleast a week every school holidays, and i try to take time off work to join them :)

So after a chilly morning out on the boat, we headed back to Manly wharf for a much needed lunch! The weather was superb, the sun was out, warming us from the slightly chilly breeze, & we were all starving hehe.

I guess we had a special group booking, as plates of pizza were served to everyone who wanted one, and they kept bringing out pizza after pizza, along with sides of chips & salads.

Pepperoni - pepperoni, tomato, mint & buffalo milk mozzarella

Ham - leg ham off the bone, ricotta, balsamic reduction & mushrooms

Margherita - cherry tomato, fresh buffalo milk mozzarella & basil

Chips with Italian tomato sauce & seeded mustard aioli

Pumpkin - roasted pumpkin, zucchini, sweet & sour onions, gorgonzola & pine nuts

Lamb - slow roasted with potato, fetta, olives, capsicum, onion & chilli

Pork belly - slow roasted pork belly with sweet & sour onions & radicchio

Rocket, pear & parmesan salad with balsamic dressing

Simple Cheese

Mushroom - field mushrooms, taleggio, buffalo mozzarella & basil

The location of the restaurant is beautifully located along the esplanade, with stunning views of the water, small beach, & rich waterfront houses :)

Service was friendly, we did not have to wait long for food, & our cups were constantly re- filled to the tops!

I found the pizza here really light, as in - i could eat quite a few slices, without feeling too fully. The bases were thin & crispy, with lots of topping, so really you were eating more topping then dough - i like that! & also, got to try more than just 2 or 3 different pizza's, we covered about 7 of the 13 pizza's on their menu.

Barzura cafe + ristorante

62 Carr Street
Coogee NSW 2034
ph: 02 9665 5546

Richard, Ann, Jeremy, Nam & myself, went for a training run starting from Coogee, over to Bondi, then back again. Totalling roughly 12km, on a beautiful coastal track. City2surf was not far away, & i thought a run would do us well, help us prepare for the race!

We all managed under 2 hrs, Richard being the fastest time at an hour 30 or so (i think). Naturally, we were all wrecked & starved by the end of it, so a brunch was a must!

Tina had recommended me two breakfast cafes in Coogee. Coogee bite cafe was one of them (and i really really enjoyed having breakfast there), so i remembered to visit Barzura if i was ever doing the coastal run again.

The cafe is very roomy, with lots of natural sunlight coming in, and its right next to the water & the beach, a beautiful spot to have a cafe. It was bustling with patrons, mostly i assume were having breakfast/brunch. Booths running along the sides (which i baggsed hehe) & with inside & outside seating we opted for inside, out of the sun (we had been running all morning in the sun!)

Service was quick, & the food was excellent! I would rate this place one of my top two (the other one being coogee bite cafe aswell).

Scrambled eggs on sourdough toast
with goats cheese & field mushrooms $12.50

I had this, & eggs came out in a very generous serving. The goats cheese was creamy & light, & the field mushrooms were tender & juciy, gave me a great protein boost :)

Cornfritters with bacon, roast tomato and avocado $14.50

I like the colors used in this dish. So bright & colorful. A hearty breakfast, arranged on a plate so neat & artistically, i love it!

Side orders mushrooms & sausages $4 each

Sides are a must, for both Richard & I, especially after a sweaty session of exercising.

toasted sourdough with avocado, pancetta, roasted tomato & aoili $12.50

Richard is the one who likes to try different things when we go out to eat, & he also enjoys his rocket & spinach leaves. The serving didnt have much meat so he ordered sides of mushrooms & sausages.

Sausage & scrambled eggs

Nam went oldschool style sausage & eggs, & mentioned that when it comes to breakfast, he doesnt need anything fancy - toast with eggs & sausages or bacon, will do him well!

Nasi goreng
(Indonesian fried rice, bacon, chicken, fried egg) $15.50

Jeremy went with the nasi goreng, because it is more value for money! & also, why have bacon & eggs when you go out, when you can easily have that at home all the time? :)

side of baked beans $4

This was my sides, baked beans. Because i don't eat meat, i like to fill up on beans, avocado, mushrooms, eggs, because i know i dont eat as healthy as i should.. actually i think my iron levels are quite low..

I'm sure there are other places to have breakfast in Coogee, but until i get a recomendation, i am sticking to either Barzura's or Coogee Bite cafe, simply because, they serve a hearty breakfast which is filling & delicious, and the atmosphere of seeing the water when you look out - is just breathtaking. Hearing the sound of waves crashing, seeing birds fly by, people coming in and out in their cossies & boardies. I'd LOVE to live on the beach, !!