Sunday, March 23, 2014

Three Blue Ducks, Bronte

Hello and happy Sunday everyone! I hope you all had a blessed week and a blessed week ahead :). So I have a routine after church and that is to have lunch with my friends at a place that none of us have been to. Either that or somewhere we craved for. So as planned the week before, we went to Three Blue Ducks at Bronte.

ps: I didn't bring my camera and so every photo in this post was taken by an iPhone camera :(

The place was packed when we arrived, but it took only 5 minutes for us to get a table. The waitstaff was very attentive.


 They have two stores as dining area separated with this beautiful alley in between...


Very picturesque!

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It took no time for us to order, because while waiting we have seen what was the most ordered food here.

Steak sandwich with red pepper mayo, tomato, onion marmalade and rocket (AUD 19)

One thing that really makes this steak sandwich scrumptious and stands out is its red pepper mayo. I know it's only mayo, but dude, it was awesome! I can't describe how well it tasted in words, but I'm telling you it's very yummy. Even one of my friends said that it was the best steak sandwich he has even eaten, and he is a fan of steak sandwiches. So it's a definite must try!

To be honest, at first I thought it didn't look appetizing at all. Somehow the look of a sandwich sitting so lonely on a plate is not appetizing to me. But this sandwich changed my mind.


Glazed short rib, lemongrass, ginger, green mango, mint and cucumber salad (AUD 31)

No wonder this is a very popular dish that was ordered by most people besides the steak sandwich, it has a very appetizing smell as it came out of the kitchen and the rib alone looks perfect. The glazed short rib actually falls of the bone when you break it apart with a fork. All the spices had penetrated very well to the flesh. And the salad was very refreshing and tasted kind of like a Thai salad. 

A closer shot of the ribs.

The quality of the picture above sucks :( 
Bad timing not to bring my camera.

I had tried so hard to take a clearer picture, but I took too much picture already that my friends couldn't start eating, lol.

Salmon fish cake with salad and dip (AUD 31)

It was the special of the day, and I gotta say that 31 bucks for 2 pieces of fish cakes with salad is redonkulous. "Fish cake" here is more like a fish croquette, filled with potato much more than the salmon itself. But besides the price, it was a very good fish croquette. The salad on the side was nice and refreshing, plus the dip has a really nice taste. It can be a dip for the fish cake or dressing for the salad.



Here's the inside shot of the fish cake. It was crispy and perfectly seasoned.
Probably the fact that Andy from Masterchef Australia made this, makes this tasted nicer. Hey Andy you so fine! HAHA.


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I recommend coming here in the morning before 11.30am for breakfast, because I think the breakfast menu was more appetizing.Would definitely be back for breakfast :). Lunch was okay, but the only memorable thing about this place is the steak sandwich, and Andy Allen HEHE.


Food: 7/10
Ambience: 7/10
Price: $$


Three Blue Ducks on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

La Mamma del Gelato Anita, Chippendale.

After we were full with the autumn menu dishes of Devon cafe (read the post here), the gelato in Chippendale was calling us and we cannot resist. It was just a few minutes away and so we walked there to taste a little drop of this super trending gelato place. La Mamma del Gelato. Seriously, everyone has been posting about this gelato all month long!

Located at the back of the new Central Park mall, it has a very nice interior decor. It is surrounded by high ceiling glass windows with a very pretty tiles.





It overlooks the beautiful park right behind the Central Park mall. As you can see, it was a nice bright day, so hanging out here to cool yourself down with their awesome gelato sounds really nice.


First selections of their gelato and sorbet...


Their second selections. You can choose between small, medium or large (1 choices, 2 choices and 3 choices of flavor), so we go with the medium one. The staff was very friendly and they gave us a few flavor to sample before we buy. 

We got to try the Loaker flavor, which was very nice, although it was very sweet for my palette as if you are eating the filling of a Loaker wafer as an ice cream. Yum.

Then we tried the Creme Catalana, which tasted like frozen crème brûlée complete with its crisp burnt sugar on top. It was nice, but it wasn't what we were looking for.

After tasting a few more samples, we finally go with Cookie Man and Mascarpone, ricotta & strawberry. Cookie man was amazingly tasty with broken pieces of I-don't-know-what-cookie, which is not too sweet and the Mascarpone, ricotta & strawberry was very refreshing and not too sweet, perfect to neutralize the chocolatey-ness of the Cookie man.



Even more amazing, they have one display fridge full of frozen yogurt toppings. And even more amazing, when you buy yourself a cup of frozen yogurt, you get to choose UNLIMITED TOPPINGS. Definitely coming back for this!


Mascarpone, ricotta & strawberry x Cookie man (AUD 7)

We shared this three ways, and we still can't finish it. It was great, but we were too full and the staff gave us a very generous scoops. I love you.




Ice cream: 8.5/10
Ambience: 8.5/10
Price: $


La Mama del Gelato Anita on Urbanspoon

Devon Cafe: autumn dishes.

Today, I get to have brunch with two of my favorite girlfriends before class. I love Tuesdays because I only have 3-5 class and that means I get to sleep in or even better, go brunch!

Now now, I bet all brunch-lover in Sydney knows that Devon Cafe is as it has been very popular in Urbanspoon.com. What I love about Devon Cafe is that they always change their menu as the season change, although, I know a lot of people are so sad that they're not anymore serving 'Breakfast with Sakuma', their summer dish). But, it's not boring and it gets people coming back for more.

 The last time I went to Devon Cafe was to taste their last year's winter menu and they were aaaawe-some. Their popular citrus cured salmon with soft boiled egg is not my favorite, it's their Ultimate Toastie with shaved truffle that got me so sad when they changed their menu and I might not see that Ultimate Toastie anymore. I'm such a big sucker for truffles!

Anyway, this post will hopefully be able to take you on the journey I went today... Here we go...

So it was 11am in the morning and we went to Surry Hills to one of the most talked about cafe in Devonshire St to taste their autumn dishes...

Where the baristas do their magic...


Their cold drip...

Mocha  (AUD 4)

It was a really nicely brewed coffee. Strong, but not too strong, just nice. With a hint of chocolate flavor sweet enough to cut the bitterness of the coffee.


Ferrero Muffin  (AUD 4.5)

Yes, you read it right... Ferrero Rocher Muffin.
So me and my friends were extremely hungry and so we ordered a muffin while waiting for our food. Devon Cafe has a really nice selections of muffin, but when the owner of the cafe pointed out the Ferrero muffin,  we undoubtedly chose it.

It is irresistibly scrumptious. I mean, look at that generous Nutella on top and also the crumbed hazelnut. We immediately cut through it...


It was soft and moist in the inside, but magically super crispy on the top. It has nutella swirled in the middle and also dolloped on the top. The vanilla muffin itself is not sweet at all, but it tasted perfect together with the Nutella and the hazelnut crumb. Seriously, a must order muffin.


Croque Monsieur + egg (AUD 9.5)

 When I was choosing the muffin, they have selections of sandwiches on display too. So I ordered the croque monsieur and asked the very friendly owner to add a sunny side up egg. It almost became a croque madame. But sadly, there was no bechamel sauce in the croque monseiur. So this is basically just sourdough with ham, cheese and egg.


Chick N' Chips (AUD 25)

This was our favorite and we even 'stalked' this dish from Devon Cafe's instagram page the night before. We were deciding on what to order and I think it is always a good idea to do so. Cause it's better to be prepared, lol.

It has: Chicken provolone and porcin sausage, confit wing, fried egg seasoned with cured egg yolk (yum!), smoked potato (double yum!), crackling and jus.

It sounds as perfect as it tasted. It has a few elements and it was all very good. Perfectly executed and cute presentation. Must try!

Michelle Ma Belle (AUD 16)

French crepes, toffee apple, roasted chestnuts, chestnut cream, cinnamon and caramel ice cream. As soon as this came out, you can definitely smell the cinnamon. Big cinnamon fan, this is a dish for you... My friends loved it, but I only had few bites of these because the cinnamon was too strong for my palette. But overall, it was a good crepe dish.



Food: 7.5/10
Ambience: 7/10
Service: 8/10
Price: $$

Devon Cafe on Urbanspoon

Matcha Opera Gateau Recipe

Hello and hello again! Today I will be posting my Matcha Opera Gateau recipe. I was very happy for coming up with this idea, until I googled it and found out that a lot of people have actually made this before. Fail.

But anyway, I am still very happy of the outcome because when I was catering this to an event last Saturday, someone who ate it actually came up to me and said she wanted to order one whole cake! I acted...




but inside I was like...

 

For the basic jaconde recipe I adapted it from Masterchef Australia's recipe and you can get it from here. It is a great opera gateau recipe and I actually have made it along with my friends out of boredom, and the outcome was guh-reat! I might do a post about it someday...





Yields: one (approx. 14cm x 21 cm) cake.



This recipe has 3 parts: the jaconde, buttercream and chocolate ganache. But, it's super simple and easy. If I can do it, you can do it. Because I'm not a pro :).

Opera cake is originated in France and it is basically an almond sponge cake (jaconde), layered with buttercream and ganache. The classic opera cake has coffee brushed to the jaconde, but because this ain't a classic opera cake, or gateau if you'd like, it doesn't need coffee. So we can scratch off one thing to do: making the coffee syrup. Yeay!


INGREDIENTS:

  • For the jaconde:

150g almond meal
150g pure icing sugar
60g plain flour
2 tsp good quality matcha powder
4 whole eggs, room temperature (why? read here)
45g melted butter
4 egg whites, room temperature
40g caster sugar

  • For the buttercream:

125g butter, softened
1 1/2 cups icing sugar mixture
1 tbs milk (if needed)
2 tsp good quality matcha powder

  • For the ganache:

375g dark cooking chocolate, chopped to small chunks or shredded (if you are too bored, shred the chocolate)
300ml thickened cream
30g butter, at room temperature

 METHOD:


Preheat your oven to 200 degree C.

Put 4 whole eggs into a stand mixer and beat on full speed to aerate. Meanwhile, sift all the dry ingredients together in one bowl.


Fold the dry ingredient into the aerated eggs in 3 addition. Beat carefully minimizing air lost in the egg.


Next, put the 4 egg whites to a metal bowl and put a pinch of salt. Whisk with a stand or hand mixer on full speed. Once it reaches soft peaks (bubble bath stage), add the 40g castor sugar one tablespoonful at a time.


 '

Beat it until stiff peak, but make sure it is NOT DRY! Please do not over whisk :). Whisk it until you can tilt the bowl and it doesn't drip. Do this on someone else's head so even if some egg white drips, it won't drip on your head.


Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the green mixture to loosen its consistency.


Fold the other 2/3 egg whites in two addition, fold it gently.


If you have four 23x13cm tray, divide it to 4 lined tray.
If you only have two, put in 1/4 of the mixture to each tray. Bake the rest after this first batch is finished. Spread the mixture to the edges and tap the tray to release any air bubbles.


Bake in the oven for 5-8 minutes or until it's brown on the edges.




YOU'RE DONE with the jaconde. Now... buttercream, baby.

Whip the butter until it is light and fluffy, add 1 cup of the icing sugar  and the matcha powder and whip away. Have a taste if it needs another 1/2 cup of icing sugar. Some people might not like a buttercream being too sweet. If the buttercream gets too thick, add 1tbs of milk. If it's too runny, add more icing sugar. Once you're happy with the buttercream, set aside.


Now, chocolate ganache. Super easy.
Add the chocolate and butter to a bowl, set aside. Bring the cream to the boil then pour over chocolate mixture. Mix until combined and refrigerate until it thickens

Last step: Assemble! This is the layer from bottom to top:
Jaconde, butter cream, jaconde, ganache, jaconde, buttercream, jaconde, ganache.

When I was catering, I did the jaconde recipe (x3) so I got 12 jaconde and instead of 4 jaconde in one cake, I used 3 so I got 4 cakes.
Are you confuse? Cause I am.

Anyway, the classic opera finishes with chocolate ganache on the top and I usually does that. But, these pictures below are finished with buttercream, because they only got 3 jaconde in each cake.


Once you are done layering, trim the sides with a large knife dipped in hot water. Clean your knife after every cut.



Each cake yields 16 slices...



It's a very scrumptious cake. If you're a big fan of green tea, this is another dessert that you can give a go! If you're not, maybe this cake can change your mind! :)

XOXO

Monday, March 17, 2014

Stuffed Mushroom with Crispy Crumb Topping Recipe

Finally I can write another post after one helluva hectic week last week! I am very thrilled to see a 1000+ page view...



Thank you whoever you are, I don't know if you are just bored, or procrastinating. or you really do come back for more posts... what ever your reason is, thank you! :)

Anyway, it's been a hectic week because I was actually catering for an event last Saturday and I need to prep it all by myself... I don't want to complain, because I love cooking so much, and especially for lots of people. But, it does get a bit stressing when time is running out and you do not have a commercial kitchen with huge oven and huge fridge... and uni life has not been that friendly too last week. So here I am tired as hell because I haven't slept in since last week. But talking about food is always therapeutic, right? So here's a recipe that my fans friend ask me to post on "gondo's kitchen", and thank you Janice, because it's a huge deal to get a request from someone, lol.




This is actually a recipe I came up with myself... It's too easy that I don't even feel like calling it a recipe. It's versatile and it's great because you can be as creative as you'd like or you can just stuff this shrooms with cheese only. I just like how this little thing can be so packed in flavor with lots of different texture: the crispyness from the crumb topping, the creamy and meaty stuffing, and a very moist mushroom.

This was one of the appetizer I used for my 'Gondo's Kitchen' session at home. It's a session in which I invited my friends over and I cooked them a three-courses meal, basically like playing restaurant. So if you are planning a dinner or simple finger food, this is a great idea because it can be kept frozen and only needs to be reheated for a few minutes...


INGREDIENTS:


  • 10 mini portobello mushroom
  • 125g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 150g minced pork
  • 1 brown onion
  • 3 tbs olive oil + 1 tbs for frying pork
  • 3-5 slices of stale bread (or fresh)
  • any dried herbs you have, preferably parsley

METHOD:

Number one: preheat your oven to 200 degree C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.

If using food processor: put your stale bread, any herbs, a pinch of salt and 3 tablespoons of oil in and mix until it represents a moist bread crumb.

If using hand: chop the bread finely and add the seasoning and herbs, then add the oil.

Remove the stem of your mushrooms and finely chop the mushroom stem.

Dice only half of your brown onion and in a heavy skillet, cook the onion in 1 tbs of oil on low heat until it goes translucent and fragrant. Put in your mince pork and mushroom stem, season with salt and pepper. The salt will draw the liquid out of the minced pork, so cook until the liquid has evaporated and the mince pork has gone brown and dry. Once done, cool it down in a bowl.

Meanwhile, brush your mushroom with oil and season with salt and pepper, set aside.

Once your pork is cooled, mix in the cream cheese and stir it through. Have a taste and decide if it needs more seasoning.  It is also a good idea to put dried herb at this stage.

Take one tablespoonful of the stuffing mixture and push it on top of the mushroom. Top the topping with the breadcrumb, and be generous!

And, YOU'RE DONE! How easy is that?

Put all the stuffed mushrooms on the baking tray and bake for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the bread crumb is browned and the mushroom looks cooked. Serve it warm.

If you are planning on making in bulk and freeze some, do not pre-bake it. Put the stuffed mushroom in an airtight container and put in freezer. When baking a frozen stuffed mushroom, add a further 5 minutes to the baking time.

Enjoy!!!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Peach muffin with passionfruit icing.


 

Yields: 5 big muffins or 6 cupcake-sized muffins
Peach muffin, why peach muffin? Because I feel like doing something out of the box and I don't think I have ever seen peach muffin in any coffee shops in Sydney. Also because I love peach iced tea. And because it was on sale in my local supermarket, lol.

And the idea of passionfruit icing just makes sense for a peach muffin, it just sounds very summery. It's funny that I used to not like passionfruit, I think it's a weird fruit... but now I love everything passionfruit. The story of me not liking passionfruit goes back when I was a kid. I was staying in Hilton Hotel, Jakarta, Indonesia, and there was a fruit bowl in my room and passionfruit is one of the selection. I dissected the fruit, and found nothing but black seed with yellow surroundings. It just looked very unappealing. I didn't know what to do with it and so I just threw it in the garbage bin, piling it with lots of tissue so my mom wouldn't find out, lol.

So the image of passionfruit  has always been unappealing to me.

About a year ago, I went to Bourke Street Bakery and found the best thing to make someone like me to like passionfruit, it was a passionfruit meringue tart. I actually made it last year and maybe I will post the recipe soon. It was an original recipe from Bourke Street Bakery itself :). It was a very very good tart with a nice sour passionfruit flavor. I think it's the best tart I've had so far.

Anyway, this recipe is broken down to 2 parts: the muffin recipe and the passionfruit icing. It is very important to make the muffin first so that it has a chance to cool down to room temperature...

So, here's the recipe for the best peach muffin with passion fruit icing... :p


INGREDIENTS: (muffin)

  • 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp + 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup white sugar (if you are not using the passionfruit icing, consider putting more sugar in)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/4 cup milk
  • 50gr butter melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large yellow peach, seeded and diced

METHOD:

Preheat your oven to 200°C.

The second step is optional... it is making the muffin liner with a baking paper. If you are rushing or you don't feel like making this, you can just use a cupcake liner and it will work just as good. I just thought that muffin lined this way has a very cute and rustic look. And, if you ran out of cupcake liner, don't panic! Here's an alternative...

Cut 5-inch (13 cm) squares of baking paper.


Use a cup base with the same diameter as the muffin tin to press the baking paper. Grease the tin beforehand, so the paper would stick to it. Make sure that the folded paper on the side lies really flat against the cup, so that the batter won't end up in the creases.


Once you got your liners ready, let's move on the the wet ingredients.
First thing you need to do is melt the butter in the microwave for about 30 seconds and let it cool to room temperature. While waiting... into a mixing bowl, crack the egg, pour the milk and vanilla extract, then whisk away. Once the butter has cooled down, pour into the egg-milk mixture. Then, put in the diced peach.

In a different bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and sugar. Whisk with balloon whisk.


Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredient and pour the wet ingredient in.


With a balloon whisk, fold the mixture very gently but making sure that these two ingredients are combined in the shortest time and with the fewest fold possible.


Pour the mixture into the liners...
This picture below was taken when I forgot to take a picture of the poured batter and so I pulled it out of the oven after 1 minute.


but decided that it was too dark, so I pulled it out all the way to the bench to take a picture...


I just realized that this is a very unimportant details...




Anyway..... after 25-30 minutes, this was what I took out of the oven...



It has risen up nicely with a perfect crisp topping and it was very fragrant. Here's another shot from afar to show the muffin liners and how much it has risen... (and the ground white pepper background)



I was very happy to break up one of the muffin to see the inside. It was very moist and light. I think the peach contributed to the moistness. The crisp top and the moist inside are a very good combo.
It wasn't very sweet, but it has a nice peach aroma. It is meant to have subtle sweetness, because it will be topped with the passionfruit icing later.



INGREDIENTS: (icing)

  • 1/3 cup passionfruit pulp (3-4 passionfruits)
  • 50g butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups pure icing sugar

METHOD:

Run the passionfruit pulp to a strainer and press all the juices with a spoon. Then put in all the black seed to the extracted juice.

Combine the juice, butter and icing and whisk vigorously until the icing sugar has dissolved and the mixture thickened. If the mixture is too runny, add more icing sugar, until a consistency in which it drips slowly from a spoon. If it is too thick, add a tablespoon of milk.


Use a spoon to spoon the icing on top of the cooled muffin and refrigerate to set the icing. To serve, take out of the fridge 5-10 minutes before eating. This can be stored up to 5 days in the fridge.



Here's the final look of a soft, crumbly, moist muffin with a crisp top and sweetened with the slightly sour passionfruit icing.


So happy that this will be my breakfast tomorrow for my morning class! Something to look forward to despite having to wake up early tomorrow. It's 1AM now and I am hungry from writing this post, so I better go to bed now...



Good night peeps and do give this recipe a go! :)