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All posts for the month November, 2010

Jamie’s Cook Book Challenge – Nan’s lemon drizzle cake

Published November 22, 2010 by Mary Jane

okies, I think I’m on the right track of finishing all the dessert recipes in Jamie’s cook book – yay 🙂 but the savoury section..mmm…it seems like a mission impossible. Nevermind, I’ll get there eventually…so came across this easy recipe – what caught my eyes is Nan’s lemon drizzle cake. Now I’m not sure whether I have mentioned to you that there’s 3 things that I’m very patient & fond with. Elderly people, kids and animals. So Nan falls into Elderly people so immediately I have a good feeling about this cake. I’ve never baked a lemon drizzle cake before and it sounds like it’s quite fun…

Now, the recipe requires baking the cake with poppy seeds – I’m not really a seeds person but I don’t mind poppy seeds and I’ve never baked a cake with poppy seeds in them. So I was happily folding the poppy seeds into the butter, egg and flour mixture…

Then it was time to add in some lemon zest. Woo…I love lemon zest it’s going to make the cake quite tangy…

Time to pour the mixture into the cake tin and popping it into the oven…

I made sure that I set my timer on my iphone after the episode of cheese cake drama with the oven timer failing on me. It was for 45 minutes and it was time to check the cake out…

The cake seemed to have cracked at the top, but when I checked it against the photos from Jamie’s cook book his cake also had some cracks too. Then the next fun part was to use your skewer and poke tiny holes into your cake and then make your lemon syrup – heating the lemon juice with caster sugar. Then it was time to pour the lemon syrup into the cake and it’s fascinating to see the syrup gets sucked into the sponge cake 🙂 and wait for it to cool while you start making your icing…

Now for some reason, my cake doesn’t look very tall compared to Jamies. I was starting to think whether my sponge cake would taste like sponge cake anyways, I persisted on with drizzling the icing. Jamie recommended to drizzle the icing in the centre from top and it should make that drizzle effect. It did at first but I think I had too much icing and it all sort of not only covered the whole entire plate but it kinda landed around the whole cake as well. I had to quickly transfer the cake to a new plate.

Now for the moment of truth to slice a piece of cake and have a look inside…

Woo la la…the cake actually looked half decent and very moist 🙂 that’s great…

I didn’t try a piece, I popped that piece of cake back to the whole cake and brought it to church the next day. My mate had a piece and she said it’s quite nice 🙂 and when I went to grab my plate it was all empty so I guess it was edible…

Cook book challenge success? Yes!

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Cafe Review – Brunetti Cafe (Melbourne)

Published November 22, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello Bloggy friends, hope this posts finds you all well. Lately, I’ve been feeling really unmotivated to update posts on my blog. I guess, I’ve come to a point that I’m getting a little bored and need some new inspirations 🙂 Not to worry, I’ll go for a little break and then come back all refreshed. Those that know me well, I get bored with things very quickly and it’s a miracle that I’ve managed to update these posts up till now!

So we were told by our mate that we must visit this Cafe place that sells awesome desserts and cakes. Now, I’m more of a savoury girl so not really into desserts but there are a small selection of desserts that I love. So we decided one night to check out this place.

Upon walking in you will be tempted by series of glass show case of desserts and cakes and man I have never seen so many desserts and cakes in a cafe restaurant before. So I started getting carried away with taking photos..here they are…

Okies, as I took a mini tour down the glass show cases – it was time to order some desserts. This place is quite a casual place you can order and pay at the counter. So it was our turn to order. I was still very indecisive as to which dessert I wanted to try as there were million of choices available it made the decision very hard indeed. The lady at the front counter got a little impatient as I strolled down the glass show case with umm…and ahs….so eventually we decided to share our desserts. Tiramisu in a cute rectangular case, nutella cheese cake and a fruit tart. As for drinks, hot chocolate, ice chocolate…

tiramisu

tiramisu

Nutella Cheese Cake

Nutella Cheese Cake

Fruit Tart

Fruit Tart

Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate

Ice Chocolate

Ice Chocolate

The cafe place was huge, there’s even a dining section for main course and a separate section for desserts. So we randomly chose our table and sat ourselves down. There’s even this cool coffee machine near by 🙂

Everything is pretty much self-served so you get issue a ticket and go and collect your desserts and drinks when it’s ready. Our desserts were divine. The tiramisu was nicely done, nutella cheese cake was not too sweet just right for my liking and fruit tart – well, it was the usual fruit tart with custard. Nothing special. Pandabear isn’t a fancy dessert type of guy, he decided he’ll play safe and go with the fruit tart – you won’t go wrong with that choice that’s for sure. Here’s my rating:

Dining experience: 3.5 star (not much service involved)
Food experience: 4 star (for the desserts)
Would I recommend? Absolutely…there’s so many varieties of desserts to try but I must admit it’s not very cheap…

Jamie’s cook book challenge – 1980s-style Black Forest Swiss roll

Published November 19, 2010 by Mary Jane

Evening Bloggy friends, hope everyone is doing well for a Friday 🙂 Well, my wrist is feeling much better now so I’m glad I took the week off work to rest my wrist let’s hope it stays this way as I’ll be returning back to work next week…

Anyways, on my day off work this week I went over to my sister in law’s place for some baking. I’ve always wanted to make some Swiss roll so came across this particular recipe from Jamie’s cook book. I’ve been told Swiss rolls are hard to make especially the rolling part. But it’ll be a challenge…or a disaster…

Anyways, the recipe starts by whisking the eggs and sugar for 2 or 3 minutes until trebled in size and when you stop the mixer and lift the beaters up the egg foam sticking to them will drip back down into the bowl. Jamie’s instruction was to count to ten and if you can still clearly see the ribbon of foam that has dripped off the beaters, then the mixture has passed the ‘ribbon test’. I’ve never heard of the ribbon test before, as you guys know I’m not very good with baking as I don’t really stick to the exact measurement. So we did what the book told us and I still don’t see any ribbons at all. So we decided to just bake the chocolate sponge. When it came out of the oven, it was a little hard and dark compared to the photo in the cook book…

Then we made the chocolate cream by mixing chocolate with cream…

It was time to cook the cherries with orange juice and orange zest and sieve the cherries and you are left with cherries syrup goodness 🙂

Then it was time to whip the cream..

Followed by chocolate shavings…

Then it was time to assemble the whole swiss roll together. First you need to brush the chocolate sponge with some cherry syrup, put a layer of chocolate cream, followed by whipped cream and sprinkle the cherries on top and you’re ready to roll the swiss roll…

It actually looks rather pretty with this initial stage of assembling. For some reason, the sponge cake was still pretty hard and I had that gut feeling I’m going to have trouble rolling this swiss roll up. I was right, while I attempt to roll the swiss roll the whole lot of fillings squeezed out and the sponge instead of rolling smoothly like a sushi roll collapsed and snapped! NO!!! I screamed!! The whole swiss roll looks like it’s been run over by a truck…or close to some one throwing up…

I was really disappointed. It was either leaving this miserable swiss roll behind or use my years of cake salvaging experience and try to salvage this swiss roll. So I attempt to transfer half of the sponge to a square container and transfer the fillings and top the other half of sponge on top so it became viola “Tira-Swiss Cake” cross between Tiramisu and Swiss roll.

We served a little piece of it for ourselves, the taste was actually quite nice except the sponge was so hard that I had to pick it up and bite it…

My sister in law decided to bake the chocolate sponge again, I really admire her persistence – pursue of excellence. If it was me, I would have given up and go with the flow. We tried to nail down what went wrong, first we thought it was the pan size so we swapped it to the correct size and then we whisk the egg and sugar extra longer to achieve the ribbon test, after 10-15 min there’s still no ribbons to be seen?? So it was time to put into the oven and bake it. Unfortunately, when we took it out it didn’t look any different from the ones we made earlier. What went wrong??? If there’s anyone out there who knows the problem, let us know. We then went online and google swiss roll and unfortunately not many recipes explains what a ‘ribbon test’ means?? So it’s still a mystery as to why our Swiss Roll failed 😦

Cook book challenge success? Nope, failed!

Comfort Food Recipe – Green lips mussels with spaghetti

Published November 18, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello everyone, I haven’t done a comfort recipe for ages…so here it is..I’m sure I would have mentioned when we were holidaying in New Zealand Pandabear and I both fell in love with the green lips mussels – they are so juicy and tasty. So one day I had a craving for mussels and while I was at Springvale, I found some green lips mussels imported. I was so excited and wanted to make a green lips mussels spaghetti. It’s a very easy recipe and takes only 15 min to whip up.

So here it is…

Ingredient
about 10 green lips mussels
bunch of spaghetti
olive oil
2 x anchovies from tin can
some parmesan cheese
1 x lemon
1 clove of garlic
splash of white wine
salt & black pepper

Instructions

1. Clean the green lips mussels by pulling out the beard and scrub the shells. Boil the spaghetti in a pot of boiling water (remember to add salt to it). Drain and set the spaghetti aside.

2. Olive oil in the pan, add in minced garlic and some anchovies (and if you’re like me a chilli fan, make sure you chuck in some dried chillies), chuck in the green lips mussels, add a splash of white wine. Drizzle with a squeeze of lemon juice. Chuck in the spaghetti and season with salt and pepper.

3. Then it’s ready to plate up and make sure you shave some parmesan on top and drizzle more of the goodness of olive oil and it’s delicious! Ready to be eaten 🙂

close up of juicy green lips mussels

close up of juicy green lips mussels

Restaurant Review – Papa Gino’s

Published November 18, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello Bloggy friends, hope this post finds you all well. Another day off for me. Today, the weather seemed rather cold and miserable so I decided to stay home for the whole day and work out an itinerary for my little sister and mum when they’re over in Melbourne. I’m so excited they are coming soon only 9 days to go…I’ve planned out for the week where I’m taking them, now I just have to figure out how to catch the public transport to these places 🙂 Anyways, my wrist is recovering quite well hence I’m able to post…

Anyways, this particular restaurant is well known for it’s famous pizza and pasta and apparently it’s been around for a while. If you are in Melbourne you would know to grab Italian food you need to head down to Lygon street where the whole street is covered with Italian restaurants.

When you walk into the restaurant you will come across this pizza counter and there’s this Italian Papa making some woodfire pizza and a large signage with all the pizza flavours. The restaurant isn’t very big and it was packed when we arrived.

The restaurant decor is quite casual and it has that old Italian feeling. Wooden chairs and red brick walls. The waitress were very friendly, I even managed to capture one of happy customer’s big smile. He must be very happy with his food 🙂

So there were three of us there that night we decided to share our mains with their Papa Gino’s woodfire pizza, fettuccine carbonara and deep fried seafood selection that came with a garden salad. The waitress dropped off some crusty bread with butter and it came with Parmesan cheese in a little shaker jug for us – it’s complimentary, how thoughtful…then within 10 minutes our mains all arrive pretty much one after the other..

The woodfire pizza was delicious, full of generous toppings and flavours. As for the fettuccine carbonara – it was nicely done, the fettuccine was home made fresh pasta and the sauce was nicely done – not too overly creamy but it was nicely balanced! As for the deep fried seafood selection, the calamari was nicely done, not chewy, there were scallops, fish and prawns all nicely seasoned and deep fried to perfection. The servings for our mains were huge. We were so full and didn’t even have any room for desserts!

Here’s my rating:

Dining experience: 4 star
Food experience: 4 star
Would I recommend? Yes, Absolutely!

Jamie’s cook book challenge – The ultimate fruit meringue with vanilla cream, hazelnuts and caramel

Published November 17, 2010 by Mary Jane

Okies, it’s time for a Jamie’s cook book challenge. Still persisting on with the dessert section. I reckon I’ll be able to finish the dessert part challenge soon…but I’m way behind with the savoury section. I know I still have about less than 3 more months to go and it could still be doable 🙂

So I came across this meringue recipe. To be honest, I’m not a fan of meringue and they are abit sweet for my liking. I’m more of a savoury person and there’s only a small selection of desserts that I like and it’s definitely not a meringue. But since I’m not eating it I thought it will be cool to learn how to make meringue. I love how the recipe incorporates lovely seasonal fruits it just makes the dessert look a little healthier consider it has vanilla cream and caramel. What an evil combination! Here it is…

ingredients

ingredients

It was time to whip up some egg whites, and unfortunately I’ve accidentally left some egg shells inside when I cracked some eggs and some egg yolk accidentally dripped into the bowl. I was reading Jamie’s cook book carefully and it said to make sure you don’t have any egg yolk with your egg whites cos it might not peak! No!!! The way of testing it out to ‘meringue perfection’ is to ensure when you tip the bowl upside down the meringue mixture stays in the bowl. That’s a pretty risky movement…so I decided to half tipped the bowl upside down just incase the whole thing drops to the floor…

I was so excited that the meringue mixture did not fall out of the bowl. Then it was time to add some sugar into the bowl and make the meringue mixture glossy…

Then it was time to put the mixture onto an oven baking tray…it actually looks half decent 🙂

Jamie’s cook book said to bake the meringue for about an hour. I have a gut feeling that my oven will play up so I went and checked out my baked meringue and to my horror it actually looks a little brown on the outside. So I quickly fished it out…

I decided to assemble the fruit meringue the next day as I was taking the dessert to church the next day, I didn’t want my fruit meringue to be soggy. So on Sunday morning, I woke up extra early and started chopping my strawberries and washing my blue berries. Then it was time to roast my hazelnuts and crush them slightly…

Then it was time to make my caramel. Which I thought shouldn’t take too long but it ended up taking a while and eventually they are done. I quickly assemble the rest of the vanilla cream on top of the fruits and hazelnuts and drizzle the caramel mixture on top and it made a sizzling noise – cool! But melted some of my vanilla cream 😦 Anyways, I had so much caramel mixture left so I decided to make some random caramel toffee like shapes and put it next to the meringue mixture. Ta da!! Here’s my final product – it actually looks quite nice…

I didn’t have time to get Pandabear to taste test it, but it looked quite nice so we brought it to Church and thank God, all gone afterwards 🙂

Leaking ceiling from the fire sprinkler…

Published November 17, 2010 by Mary Jane

Okies, another exciting thing that has recently happened to us is that one night while we were watching TV, Pandabear rushed off to our bedroom and started yelling “help me pull the mattress up the sprinkler is dripping water”. I was a bit slow that night, but just to see Pandabear jumped up and ran towards our bedroom was an amazing sight. I’m so glad Pandabear is very attention to detail and can react to emergency situation. If it was me, by the time I realised there’s a leaking roof it would have flooded our entire bedroom :-S

So Pandabear grabbed a bucket and place it directly underneath the leak. We couldn’t believe our eyes, the bucket was literally filling up the water. It wasn’t raining outside, so we decided to open our balcony window to check whether other people within the apartments had leaking ceiling problem. Nope, things pretty normal… then Pandabear decided to head down and ask our concierge to see what’s going on. To his surprise as he opened our door the outside area was leaking too and the carpet along the corridor was all wet. Apparently on his way to the concierge he saw this guy running and drenched (totally soaked in water) poor dude. We found out that someone has accidentally trigger the fire alarm and it has set off the sprinkler and some how flooded the apartment above us. It was filling up the whole apartment and that’s why it leaked through our sprinkler.

Here’s photos of our bucket which saved our mattress…

Anyways, we had to shift our mattress and laptops and other important stuff in our bedroom incase the leaking became worst. We got this massive knock on our door and it was a fireman who asked “are you guys ok?” I showed the fireman where the leak was and he replied “oh, it seems like you guys are ok…” Then he left. An hour later, we received another knock on our door. Another two firemen came and this time they asked “is everything ok?” I showed them again where the bucket and leaking roof was and they explained they are trying to get rid of the water in the apartment above us. Hopefully they will be able to sort this out ASAP and the manager will be coming to the building soon. So Pandabear and I decided to shift our bed to the TV room. Our apartment is pretty tiny so the whole bed took up our TV room and we decided to camp there for the night…

Thank God, the leaking eventually stopped and guess what we ended up camping our bed in the TV room for 2 nights cos it was kind of comfy having a bed in the TV room where I could lie on my bed and watch TV at the same time 🙂 The downside, our bed got a little wet so I had to do lots of laundry but apart from that – we’re actually ok.