Sunday, December 25, 2011

IT'S CHRISTMAS!!! Mango Mousse Chocolate 'Gingerbread' House Cake

22 comments

It's finally Christmas!

I'd like to wish everyone a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! Stuff yourselves silly with food, wrap your selves in tinsel, belt out as many Christmas carols as you can possibly think of...... and have a great time ;)

Can you sense my excitement??


To celebrate, I finally made a Christmas-themed gingerbread house cake!! The design was intended to be a little more elaborate, but I've been extremely busy over the past week and have only managed to just finish the cake so this'll have to do.....

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cigar Cookies

18 comments

As I write this post now, I have the smell of coffee stuck in my nose. You see, I've recently purchased a coffee machine and have been busy coming up with coffee-like concoctions and forcing them down my family's throats.

Just kidding. My coffee isn't that bad (I don't think).


I don't really like coffee (nor do I drink it), so it may seem a little strange that I have a coffee machine, especially since there are about a billion kitchen appliances which I really wish I had. But I've always fancied the idea of making my own frothy milk, even if I don't like froth, and making cute pictures on coffee......though it may be quite a while til I figure that out.

But because of this machine, I now proper coffee in the house, for the first time ever. And this means that I will no longer have to take pictures with empty coffee cups in the background- or even as the subject, as I did with these photos.

Woops? 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sushi wow, Parramatta

4 comments
Fried Moneybags $3

The last time I ate out at a sushi train with my friends was at J.J Sushi, more than two years ago- a day I remember quite well because we were supposed to be studying for exams, but instead spent shopping and eating. Though I happen to be in Parramatta a lot, I don't frequent this area much, so by the time I found out that J.J Sushi had been replaced, it had already been old news.

We decide to drop in here one afternoon, to see what the new restaurant is like. The whole restaurant has undergone a considerable amount of renovation, making its interior a lot more modern looking, though we notice the conveyor, the kitchen and plates are still the same as they used to be.

Seaweed Salad Sushi $2.50

It's also considerably busier, and by the time we arrive, the place is packed, making it difficult to seat our group of 4, especially as the restaurant is quite small in the first place. After a bit of waiting, and much apologising by the friendly staff, we eventually get to sit down on the sushi train,which is filled with plenty of choices. We start with the seaweed salad sushi, a simple favourite of ours, which is done well.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Chocolate Macarons

28 comments
Vondelicious has moved to BerryNutritious.com.au
You can find this post (and more!) over at my new home: 
http://berrynutritious.com.au/2011/12/chocolate-macarons/

IMG_8704 

Is there ever a time when time doesn't pass faster than it seems?

It's been a almost a month since my holidays started. A whole month.

I know I always say time passes too quickly, but I can't help it when I look at the calendar and it's been another month but there's still about 10 things that I was meant to do that month which I didn't even get time to think about (for instance, blogging more than twice a month?).

Before I know it, it'll be Christmas!

IMG_8667

I feel like I should be doing more in preparation for Christmas since it's my favourite time of the year- like listening to more Christmas songs, starting to make Christmas themed foods or going to more Christmas events. Instead, I'm spending my holidays doing what I normally do- going out with friends, baking (and blogging), watching TV and just relaxing. It's quite busy actually!

Ever since the beginning of the holidays, there has not been a day when there has not been a bowl of left over egg whites, yolks or cream in the fridge. I'll admit that I do tend to leave stuff in the fridge for longer than they should be in there (I don't bake that much) but I am baking a bit more than usual, in hopes of catching up on my lack of baking this year and to get through my list of 'to try' recipes.

IMG_8653
Like most bloggers, I usually attempt a recipe only once or twice, not because they don't turn out great, but because I simply don't have enough time, nor the stomach space, to try all the new recipes I want to and to make things over and over again. Macarons are something I've only attempted once, but they don't completely fit in this category because the reason I haven't made them again is not because I had other things to make, but rather, out of laziness (of having to age the egg whites and making almond meal) and fear of failure.

If anyone has been following my blog for long enough, you may remember that the last (and first) time I made macarons was a whole two years ago, when I first started this blog- a rather surprisingly successful attempt too, which I have always considered a fluke. I didn't know what a macaron really was or how it was supposed to taste, so I had my second surprise when my sister bought me a macaron and we found it tasted exactly the same as the ones I'd made!

IMG_8694

I'd expected my second attempt to be a failure, so I was surprised again, as they actually turned out macaron looking- I'm thinking it's more because of the recipe than my 'skills' ;) They're far from perfect though, especially since they're lumpy and not nice and round, due to my lack of piping bag and piping tip. But they still tasted great though, which is, of course, the most important thing!

Find the recipe on my new site here:
http://berrynutritious.com.au/2011/12/chocolate-macarons/

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Platform 7 Cafe, Sydenham

19 comments
Platform 7 Cafe

My experience with cafe breakfasts is minimal not only because I can never wake up on time, but also because I tend to go for the lunch menu items than the breakfast ones! So when the lovely people from Food Morning invited me to try out the all-day breakfast menu at Platform 7 cafe, I was only too happy to take on the offer.

The cafe is small and cosy, and by the time we arrive, it's already half full, making it a little difficult to seat our table of three (I've brought my parents along). The service is great though, and table is quickly cleared for us.

Platform 7 cafe
Caffè latte

I'm told that their coffees (Allpress) are great, and to be honest, I was a little afraid that I wouldn't have much to comment on, since I probably can't tell the difference between a good coffee and a bad one. My mum is not much of a coffee drinker either, but she enjoyed her caffe latte very much, claiming it to be one of the best coffees she's had.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Kitty Cat Sushi

28 comments

I hate the feeling of going backwards.

Not physically, though I hate that as well (have i told of the story of how I got motion sickness after sitting facing the wrong way on a sushi train?), but as in the opposite of improving. We've been making a lot of sushi of all different types lately- simple salmon nigiri, California rolls, tuna rolls and whatever else we felt like rolling up or squeezing into balls. Try as hard as I may, all my rolls still end up loose and lopsided like they've always been :(

Okok, so I actually only personally made 2 rolls by myself- a little more practice may help ;)


What I'm really talking about is my progress with decorative sushi.

I used the leftover rice and nori  to make this cat shaped sushi (a design from the same book as last time). I coloured it with sesame seeds for the black, tomato sauce for the orange (tomato flavoured canned tuna was my original plan, but I didn't want to open a can of tuna just for this one roll) and also for the supposedly pink area around the mouth, since I couldn't be bothered finding something pink.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Golden Treasures Seafood Restaurant

10 comments
lol. 

Granville RSL doesn't bring any great food memories- the last (and only) time I was here to dinner was years ago, back when the restaurant was a buffet. Cheap and cheerful, it attracted hoardes of mostly Asian and old people but the food, as I remember it, was quite terrible- the only highlight for me was the hot chocolate from their coffee machine.

The buffet is gone now, and in its place is Golden Treasures Seafood restaurant which, to some extent, keeps with the cheap theme with its discounted yum cha lunches which still attracts many (mostly Asian) locals here on the weekend. The decor is not the most interesting and reminants of the old buffet still remain- there's a bright neon dessert sign just above the entrance to the kitchen and a drinks bar on the side, which is quite lonely as you would expect since the restaurants serves tea to its diners.
.
Lobster with E-Fu moodles

We're here for dinner, and more specifically, to try out their daily dinner specials which we had previously noticed when dining here at lunch (for their yum cha). We are disappointed to find that they have since removed those offers, instead, replacing them with less interesting 'weekly specials' (i.e. available every single day of the week).

The lobster is the only thing on the specials menu which really captures out attention, but mostly because of it's price. At $68, the lobster is cheap, even if a little small (900g) but of that is, of course, expected. The dish does its job in satisfying those lobster cravings, but we find the overall flavours of the dish a little bland, and lacking in lobster taste.

Sweet and Sour Pork

I have claimed that I haven't come across a sweet and sour pork that I don't like, and at first, this wasn't an exception, with its crispy fried batter covered in the usual bright red, sweet and sour sauce. A little mediocre but enjoyable all the same.After a few bites later however, one starts to notice something isn't quite right with this dish............Where is the meat? 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bear Cake

38 comments

Vondelicious has moved to BerryNutritious.com.au
You can find this post (and more!) over at my new home: 
http://berrynutritious.com.au/2011/11/bear-cake/



Sometimes I'm just too good at putting things off.....

....and completely forgetting about them.

Replying texts, facebook messages or emails is the first thing which comes to mind, closely followed by  chores which I promise my mum I'd do (sorry mum!). And it's not just things I don't particularly like doing- this bear cake is a rather embarrassing example of this, as I'd promised my sister I'd make this cake for birthday..............2 birthdays ago!

Woops?


I've been thinking of the reasons why it's taken me so long to finally get around to making this cake and I still can't completely explain why. It's not because I didn't want to make this cake, or that I had better things to make.............. it just never ended up happening

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Panda Sushi

47 comments
Panda Sushi
Hello there! ;)

Can you believe that it's almost christmas?

My uni exams stole a whole chunk of my November, so I was pleasantly surprised to find Christmas decorations everywhere when I came out of my studying shell and entered the real world! Christmas and New Year is by far my favourite time of the year- there is something indescribably joyful about hearing the sounds of Christmas carols and seeing beautiful Christmas trees and other decorations everywhere!

With so much Christmas spirit in the air, I can't quite get it off my mind and have been making plans for a Christmas themed cake....but it's probably a bit early for that!

Panda Sushi
Meanwhile, I'm here tackling my list (of things to make) which you may remember me talking about. Since I realise that it is unrealistically long, I've brought it down to two main things 'skills' which I hope to master improve on before the end of the year:

1. Cake decorating- not with fondant and everything but just making them look nicer or more presentable.

2. Sushi making- which is of course, the subject of today's post.

I've been terrible at making sushi for as long as I can remember. Whilst I've had practice from helping my mother out since I was young, my rolls have always been much too loose, lop-sided and pretty much terrible no matter how much effort I put into making them. Even my friend's first attempt at sushi was better than mine!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Let's Meat BBQ

9 comments
Uni exams have finally finished for me, meaning that my first year of uni is officially over! It feels so good!! (although my leg, which I hurt whilst running to uni for my psychology exam because my train was half an hour late does feel so good......) I haven't been baking much lately so I haven't got much to blog about now, but I'll be making my way through my enormous list of things to make soon so that should be fun :) I have been eating out a lot though and in particular I've been itching to blog about this dining experience.

That's because this was our second experience with group buy vouchers- and yet again, we chose a restaurant that was long drive from home (1.5 hours this time!). We couldn't resist though, because the deal was for a Korean BBQ buffet at Let's Meat for $39- and we love our buffets.

The reviews online are mostly quite negative, and to be honest, I wasn't too sure what to expect when I called up Let's Meat to make a booking for our family of four. The voucher was valid for any day of the week, so naturally we wanted to make a booking for the weekend, when they had their 'Ultimate Buffet' (normally $41) instead of their weekday option of 'Smart Choice Buffet' (normally $32). The person on the phone sounded a little annoyed when I kept asking if there were any vacancies for any weekend (turns out that they're booked out until after December....) but was a little nicer when I finally decided to visit there on a Tuesday night instead.

Pickled Radishes, onion and mashed potato
  
We arrived to find the restaurant quite empty (though the surrounding restaurants were also very quiet) but service was great, and we were quickly taken to a table- though it was a designated 'voucher holders' table. We were given an A4 sheet, stating all the terms and conditions of the voucher including that they charge a service charge for changing the BBQ plate and that there is a limit of 10 dishes per voucher (i.e. 2 people) which I thought were a little unnecessary and off-putting.

Before you all think that this place is terrible, I'll point out that the service throughout the night was excellent. Though there were only two people serving the diners (one of which I'm pretty sure was the owner), they were very friendly and attentive. The owner spent the night walking around from table to table, making sure that everyone was enjoying their meal and chatting about just about anything!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Coconut Rolls

45 comments


Boo!

Hope you all had (or are having..) a great Halloween and did not spend the day like me, at home supposedly 'studying' but of course, not getting much work done ;) It's at these times of the years (right before exams) that my list of things to bake suddenly grows exponentially- and I'm not even kidding, I'm filling out pages of my notebook with 'things to bake after exams'. And I'm not even including the things that I might like to bake!

The list itself doesn't consist of much bread this time around. This is probably because I haven't been to an Asian bakery for a while now and lack a bit of inspiration- I love walking into Breadtop, looking at their overpriced buns and just imagining how easy it would be for me to make the same thing at home!!


I've said that I'm getting back into bread baking, but since I haven't been to an Asian bakery for a while now, these buns are taken from my second source of bread inspiration, cookbooks. I was surprised to find a recipe for baked coconut rolls in my mum's Chinese yum-cha recipe book, though a lot of the recipes in the book were for things you don't normally find at yum cha

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Alimento Cafe, Parramatta

22 comments
There's always that strange feeling when I walk into an unfamiliar restaurant for the first time, and don't know exactly what to do. I've experienced it in bistros, when there's a sign which tells you to wait there, but not a waiter in sight. Or in cafes, when you're not sure whether you're supposed to order at the table or at the counter.

We're at Alimento Cafe (after much indecision as to where to eat), and although there are plenty of nice empty tables outside, we're standing awkwardly at the entrance. Do we just sit down and hope that someone notices us? Do we go up to the staff at the counter? Or do we wait until a waitress notices us and takes us to a seat?

We finally capture the attention of the girl at the counter, who (after establishing that we are not voucher holders) tells us to just sit down anywhere and she'll get someone to bring us the menus.


I don't often eat at cafes, and would probably never have noticed this one, but I'd read about Alimento online after searching for Italian food in Parramatta for a dinner with friends.....which never ended up happening. The prices on the menu are quite reasonable, especially at lunch, with their $10 specials- which we're here for. The lunch specials come with the condition that you order a drink from their extensive list of drinks (which took me forever to choose from). I ordered a mocha, which was nice, though I would have liked it to be a little more chocolatey- but I'm not a coffee drinker (this would probably be about my 5th mocha I've ever had) so don't take my word for it ;)


Lemon Pepper Perch Fillet $10

I order the lemon pepper perch fillet, a delicious piece of fish, grilled until tender and crisp at the edges and covered with a layer of lemon sauce. The sauce is surprisingly pleasant and tasty, with the light taste of lemon not being too overpowering and also serves as a nice dressing for the salad. The chips are definitely the highlight of the dish for me, with their shattering crunch and ability to stay crunchy even when soaked in the lemon sauce. My only complaint is that there isn't enough of them!!



Chicken and Prawn Risotto $10

My friend's order of chicken and prawn risotto, was quite popular amongst their lunch customers- and hard to miss with the strange lettuce leave on the side. The tomato based risotto is delicious and creamy- I certainly wouldn't mind ordering it next time! :)

Alimento Cafe Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 21, 2011

Strawberry Ice Cream

41 comments
Vondelicious has moved to BerryNutritious.com.au
You can find this post (and more!) over at my new home: 
http://berrynutritious.com.au/2011/10/strawberry-ice-cream-2/

IMG_7599
The first time I made ice cream was about 5 years ago, when I browsed upon the "shakey shakey ice cream' recipe on the abckids website which looked really fun to make. The idea was basically this-  mix a couple of ingredients (basically just milk and sugar), put them into a ziplock bag, and then put that bag into a bigger ziplock bag filled with ice and shake until it becomes ice cream. Fun right?

Unfortunately, the 'ice cream' tasted like sweetened frozen milk more than ice cream and did not freeze completely, so it ended up in the bin and that was the last time I attempted to make my own ice cream again! We actually have an ice cream maker at home (and we've had it for quite a long time!) but my dad is usually the one who makes ice cream. Not that we have homemade ice cream often- the last time he ever made any ice cream was at least 5 years ago!!
IMG_760x

With the warmer weather approaching, and the many tempting ice cream recipes I've seen on blogs, I thought it was about time I got the ice cream machine back out for a churn. I used a simple custard based recipe from a cookbook I've had on my shelf  for a while, added some strawberries to the mixture (it's our favourite homemade ice cream flavour so far!). It was actually surprisingly fun to watch the mixture slowly solidifying as it touched the edges of the freezer bowl and turning into ice cream. And almost impossible to resist sticking my finger in!!

Before long, I had a tub of delicious and creamy ice cream! The texture was softer and creamier than what I remember of my dad's non-custard based ice cream. I especially loved the fresh strawberry taste which was nothing like the fake strawberry flavoured ice creams you get at the supermarket (I don't like strawberry 'flavoured' things). And needless to say, it was quite addictive- just ask my sister, she couldn't get enough of it! Now I know what I'll be up to this summer ;)


IMG_7615

Find the recipe on my new site: http://berrynutritious.com.au/2011/10/strawberry-ice-cream-2/

Monday, October 17, 2011

Red Spoon Thai, Castle Hill

14 comments
The end of the uni semester is approaching (much to my delight!), but I find it hard to believe that it's already almost been a year of uni! It was only this time last year that I was studying madly for the final exams! (maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration....)

I'm quite glad that I don't ever have to go through the pressure of those exams again (although uni exams can be just as stressful!), especially in the lovely weather that comes during these months. But I guess my experience doesn't quite compare to that of my friend, who was unfortunate enough to have the exams start on the day after her birthday!!  We did celebrate it after the exams, though by the time we got around to that I was ....overseas *ahem*

To celebrate her birthday this year, she took us to Red Spoon Thai in Castle Hill, which I was quite excited about, not only because I like thai food but because it's been quite a while since I last met up with my group of high school friends!
 
fishcakes2
Thai Fishcakes 

We start off with a couple of entrees, and I excitedly whip my camera out as the food comes. I rarely take my (big) camera out to restaurants with me, so I'm quite inexperienced when it comes to restaurants with low lighting and when plates of food just come raining down onto your table....so excuse the blurry photos! :)

skewers
Petite Chicken Satay

The chicken satay is a cute, bite-sized portion of 8 skewers, perfect for sharing. The chicken is grilled nicely, and the chicken pieces are tender and tasty, especially when dipped with the sweet, nutty peanut sauce or cucumber relish it is accompanied by.

curry puff
Curry Puffs

Interestingly enough, the curry puffs don't have much of a curry flavour, but are still quite tasty, especially with the sweet chilli sauce. The vegetable filling, consisting of mainly carrots (no doubt the frozen ones of course!), are a little too soft and overcooked for my liking but the beautifully pleated wrapping of pastry is deep fried until perfectly light and makes the puffs very enjoyable.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fruit tarts

35 comments

I love reminiscing over childhood television shows. Magic Mountain, Johnson and Friends, William's Wish Wellingtons are some of my favourites- anyone know any of these? I love the cartoons and children's shows of the late 90's, back when they were simple and there was none of this digital animation stuff which dominates children's TV nowadays- has anyone seen the new Thomas the Tank Engine?!?!

I spent a considerable amount of time in front of the television screen as a child and loved watching the various cartoons they played in the morning and afternoons. I would drag out my bright, plastic yellow chair to watch Playschool and when it came to story time, I would grab any book off my bookshelf and pretend to read along with them, pretending that I could speak English fluently, and knew perfectly well what was going on.


In my later (early primary school) years, most of my television watching time was during the afternoons after school, as my parents did not let us watch TV in the morning (not that we would have woken up early enough to get ready for school and have time to watch tv!). Of the many shows I watched in that time period, one which I personally find quite memorable is Soupe Opera (though I don't think it's very popular!) because of its interesting theme of fruit arrangement and its strange opera music! If you're curious, have a look at the video below- I still find it very creative and entertaining!



I've always thought it'd be fun to cut up pieces of fruit and arrange them into cute animals like they do this on show. Not that I've actually ever done it- their designs are very intricate and require a considerable amount of effort! But if my fruit arrangement 'skills' were as creative as this, it would be pretty awesome, because then I could make really pretty cakes and pastries!!

I guess I'll just have to stick with copying other people's designs or making simple patterns like I did with these fruit tarts ;)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Macaroni Cheese

23 comments

I was looking at the calendar on Monday, and couldn't quite figure out whether it was the 12th or if it was the 19th. This month has really flown by much too fast.

Actually, the whole year has flown by incredibly quickly- I find it hard to believe that it was only a year ago that I was graduating from high school! But the past week has been extremely hectic for me, with a couple of quizzes, essays due for uni, a dance exam and to top it all off, I volunteered for the Australian Dance Festival last weekend! Now, I don't usually talk much about what I do during the week, especially when its unrelated to food, but I want to write about it somewhere incase I ever forget about it- because the festival was simply amazing!! I met many lovely people, even participated in a world record attempt (and managed to hit a little girl in the eye while I was at it....sorry!) and watched many amazing and inspirational performances.

I also managed to dislocate my knee on the weekend (only the day before my dance exam!) so now my knee cap feels like its not attached to my leg and is about to fall off......literally. But I won't scare you with all the gory details! ;)



Of course, the period following such excitement is often filled with feelings of extreme fatigue so it wasn't surprising when I found myself very tired and sleepy at uni for the past two days (though staying up until 2:30 in the morning writing up my psychology report may have something to do with that!). And I mean the extreme type of tired, you know, where you'd rather pretend not to see someone than actually go up to them and start a conversation? (hopefully this isn't only me...)

Luckily, my mid-semester break has just begun and so I've had plenty of rest, but today, I have a super easy recipe- perfect for when you're much too tired to cook anything complex and exciting. I first discovered this recipe when I was in one of my lazy days, but still wanted to make something slightly more interesting than reheated leftovers. I was in a mood for some pasta and I had some yoghurt in the fridge, so this recipe was perfect!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Takeru- CBD

12 comments
A little while long time ago, my friend took me to try Takeru- a Japanese restaurant most known for its 'half portion' items. I love the idea of half portions, as it means you can order double the normal number of dishes you'd normally order! Unfortunately, this still didn't help with picking items from the menu because there was too much that I wanted to try!


Tuna Sashimi Rice (half portion)

We decide to order two things to share and two to eat by ourselves. My friend picks the Tuna Sashimi rice which is a beautiful dish of warm rice below generous mound of tuna cubes, topped off with a drizzle of mayonnaise and tobiko. The tuna is quite fresh and beautifully coloured. My previous experiences with sashimi rice dishes have often involved some interesting sauces, so I was surprised at the simpleness of this one. Nevertheless, it is quite a tasty and satisfying dish, if a little less exciting than anticipated.

Tonkotsu Ramen

We order the ramen to share, and I'll admit that I'm not much of a ramen critic but I found this ramen to be quite enjoyable. The broth is extremely rich and tasty, and I found myself drinking plenty of it (I don't usually drink ramen broths!).

Monday, September 12, 2011

Soft Buns

24 comments


Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!!
Hope you all had plenty of fun lighting lanterns and eating mooncakes :D

I was originally going to write about some snowskin mooncakes I made a two days ago........

Unfortunately, they all got gobbled up before I had the chance to take photos. (they were that good) Don't worry- I'll be making them again very soon!!


Instead, I'll tell you about something not as sweet, but equally as good!

It's been a while since I've baked bread, so when I saw these extremely soft buns on Shirley's blog, I couldn't wait to make them. I'd been wondering why the buns I bought from Asian bakeries were always soft wrinkly whilst the ones which came out of my oven, though soft, always remained unwrinkly- call me strange, but I think wrinkly buns are beautiful! Better still, the recipe was was simple, consisting only of a quick roux to be made the night before- perfect for someone in a lazy mood :)

I wanted to keep my buns simple, so I just twisted them into a knot, as I'd seen in one of my cookbooks (though mine didn't turn out quite as pretty). The buns turned out very soft, as I'd expected and were especially good straight out of the oven.

I think I'm starting to get hooked on bread baking again!!




Soft Buns
Recipe from Køkken69

Water Roux
50g Bread Flour
75g Boiling water

Bread Dough
6gm Active Dry East
160gm Bread Flour
40gm Plain Flour
50gm Sugar
2gm Salt
50gm Water
1 Egg
40gm Butter

Method
1. Mix water roux ingredients together in a bowl. Cover bowl with cling wrap and store in fridge for 12 hours.
2. In a mixer fitted with a bread hook, add flour, yeast, sugar, egg and water. Start mixing at slow speed for 2 mins. Add salt and continue to knead until dough lifts from the wall of the mixing bowl.
3. Add (1) and continue to knead for 3 mins.
4. Add butter and increasing kneading speed to speed 4.
5. Continue kneading for 15 mins on speed 4 until dough is no longer sticky and does not break when pulled to perform window test.
6. Place dough in a slightly oiled bowl. Cover with cling wrap and leave to proof in a warm area for 45mins.
7. With lightly floured hands and table top, knead (6) to form a smooth round ball. Divide dough into 12 balls - about 40g each.
8. Roll each small ball into a round ball and leave to proof for 10mins. Shape into a knot (or whatever you want to shape it into!) then leave to proof for 1 hour.
9. Brush with egg white and decorate.
10. Bake at 185C for 8-10mins until brown. Leave to cool.

* I made mine in my bread machine, but I'll point out that if you do, you should put the roux before the dough forms- bread machines do a terrible job of incorporating wet things into dry doughs. It took mine almost the whole of the kneading cycle to knead the roux in!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Lebkuchen- German Spiced Cookies

23 comments
Don't you just hate it when you find a recipe that you're excited to try out, so you take all the effort to make it, and it turns out great.....



..... only to realise that you never really liked that particular type of food in the first place?

Or I could be the only strange one who does that.

But it's happened to me a couple of times!


I was recently sent a copy of Baked and Delicious in the mail, much to my excitement, which came with a set of beautiful brightly coloured silicon muffin cups! I don't own much silicon bakeware (infact, I'm pretty sure the only bit of silicon in my kitchen is my silicon spatula!) but I love the colours! The magazine itself is formatted like a thin cookbook, with bright pages of delicious baked goods and detailed step by step instructions for some recipes.

There were quite a lot of recipes I wanted to try, but I was most intrigued by the Lebkuchen (German spiced cookies). The cookies contained an acceptable butter content (by my standards), and I thought the large amount of honey would make for a great tasting cookie.



It was only when I was halfway through making the batter, that I realised I didn't have enough honey so I did a quick google search of other lebkuchen recipes and ended up making a substitution of some sugar and an egg. The recipe I've included at the end of the post is the original recipe I had intended to make.

I was pleased to find that the cookies still turned out beautifully, if a little different to the pictures in the magazine. I coated them in chocolate because i didn't have any gold leaves, as suggested in the recipe, but I personally think that chocolate looks better than gold leaves ;) On cookies anyway.

What I wasn't so pleased about was that after my first bite, I finally remembered why I've never made spiced cookies before. I don't really like them! I shouldn't have been so surprised though, I'm often lured by the sight of tasty spiced cookies, only to be dissappointed by the taste. Whilst I like spices in cooking, and to some extent, certain cakes and desserts, spiced cookies are definitely not my thing. Which is a shame because I think they would have been really good cookies for someone who likes spiced cookies!





Lebkuchen
Recipe from Baked and Delicious Vol. 1

Ingredients
250g plain flour
75g ground almonds
1tsp baking powder
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2tsp ground nutmeg
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
1/2tsp ground cloves
zest or an orange and a lemon
200ml clear honey
85g unsalted butter

To decorate
a handful of halved blanched almonds
edible gold leaf (optional)

1. Mix the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and orange and lemon zest in a large bowl. Gently melt the honey and butter together in a saucepan and then tip them onto the dr ingredients and m ix into a fairly stiff dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave the mixture to cool and solidify a bit.
2. Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F. Use your hands to roll the dough into balls about 3cm across and lay them out on the prepared baking sheets with plenty of space between each one. Flatten the balls into circles with your fingers. Put an almond in the centre of each cookie and sprinkle with a few edible gold leaf to decorate. Bake for about 15 minutes until risen and golden, then turn them out to cool on wire racks.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Signature Thai, Balmain

14 comments
We don't usually buy coupons off group deal sites- mostly because they are quite a hassle, with all the terms and conditions and because most of them are simply situated in places which are far away from where we live. We decided to try this deal ($19 for $45 worth of food) at Signature Thai restaurant, eventhough it was situated all the way in Balmain, because it seemed like a pretty decent deal for our family of four.

We'd made a booking the day before, and drove for more than an hour to get to Balmain for lunch here on a Sunday. So you can imagine, we were not impressed to turn up and find that the restaurant was not even open. We waited a while, called them numerous times (but no one picked up) and eventually figured that the restaurant wasn't going to open anytime soon and left. Definitely not a good first impression.

After not receiving a call back from them for a week, we called them to make sure they were still in business. The call was answered by an apologetic waitress, who explained that it was a one off because that something had happened. We made a second booking, this time for a Friday night, since it was probably less likely that they wouldn't be open on a Friday night.

Roti

Luckily, the restaurant was open the second time around (though it was much quieter than we'd expected) and the waitresses immediately apologised again once they figured out that we were the ones who turned up when they were closed last time.

We didn't order any rice with our mains so we ordered roti instead, which we thought was interesting in a thai restaurant. The roti was nice and crispy- it tastes like the frozen ones you get from asian supermarkets....but we weren't really expecting freshly made ones anyway.

Thai Beef Salad

We spent a long time pondering over what to order, as the menu was full of interesting choices, but we almost instantly decided to order the thai beef salad, as it is one of our favourite thai dishes. The dressing in this salad was a little disappointing, missing the hit of flavour I've had with beef salads in the past, but beautifully pink beef slices were quite good.

Salt and Pepper Soft Shell Crab

We had a hard time trying to decide between the soft shell crab with curry powder or the salt and pepper soft shell crab , but ended up choosing the latter, since my dad isn't a big fan of curry. The soft shell crab is deliciously crunchy, almost to the point of being too hard and quite tasty with the mix of chilli, spices and shallots. It's served on little bed of lettuce, which serves well to sooth my tongue from the spiciness of the chilli (I'm not too great with spicy food). Whilst it's quite an enjoyable dish, it feels like it's lacking a little something- it wasn't quite as exciting as I'd hoped.

Pad Thai

The menu doesn't offer much variety when it comes to stir fried noodle dishes, so we chose the pad thai (with beef). The stir fry of thin noodles was good though not the most amazing pad thai I've ever had- the sauce isn't too tangy or sweet, but I find the noodles a little on the dry side.

Duck Hoisin

We couldn't really go to a restaurant named Siganture Thai without trying one of their signature dishes, which we are informed by the waitress are Duck Hoisin and Lamb Massaman Curry. The Duck Hoisin sounds a little more interesting than the curry, so we chose that- and were pretty glad we did. It comes as a beautiful dish of roasted duck pieces, accompanied by some plump shitake mushrooms rested on a bed of vegetables and drizzled with a delicious hoisin sauce, which tastes slightly different from the normal, store bought type. The flavours of the dish have a resemblance to Peking Duck, though that may be obvious from the combination of the duck and hoisin sauce, but still unique in its own way. This is definitely the highlight of the meal- the roasted duck has an irresistibly crispy skin and tasty duck meat.

Overall, the food was pretty good, though not spectacular- probably not enough to get us coming back here again (though I may have had a slightly more positive opinion if we had not had been through the first experience of turning up to find it not open).

Signature Thai on Urbanspoon
Related Posts with Thumbnails