Monday, June 13, 2011


After our massive afternoon tea, we had the most random ingredients in our fridge calling out to be used (lemons, sour cream, egg yolks, cream cheese icing, mango nectar, condensed milk, buttermilk, among others). I absolutely hate wasting food so I used some of these to make lemon curd, which I later used to make a lemon and yoghurt cake.

The lemon yoghurt cake had a dense and rich texture, and was carefully selected and made specially for my mother's tastes. However, in a mad rush to pack my car for Sydney, I STUPIDLY left the cake outside my apartment, free for any random passer-by to eat it :(. I was so annoyed that I spent time making a cake that might not be eaten and that my beloved tupperware might have disappeared. I frantically called up people who I thought might be in Canberra and changed my facebook status to:

FREE CAKE - i think i left cake outside my apartment when packing my car for Sydney :( - is anyone still in Canberra who lives close to [my suburb]??

THANKFULLY, a mutual friend of ours picked up the cake and tupperware. I was SO glad and felt a huge weight off my shoulders - then I thought 'Now, I can have a good weekend :)'

afternoon tea

my flatmate recently left Canberra for overseas and I recently moved into Canberra so we decided to celebrate by hosting a large morning tea in our apartment :). We baked TEN things between us - it took a lot of planning, coordination and pre-thinking. I've never baked that much in my life. Here's a picture of all the ingredients, just to prepare you for the amount of stuff we baked:

It was very rewarding and allowed me to practice old recipes and try new recipes.

Between us, we cooked:
*Savoury puff pastry scrolls
*Savoury olive, feta and zucchini muffins
*Chocolate brownies
*Chocolate cake with a marbled meringue topping
*Cashew nut biscotti
*Scones x 2.5 lots
*Mango syrup and coconut cupcakes
*Lemon cake
*Coffee Slice

Below you can see the before and after photo:
Note: Some of our guests brought extra food - we really appreciated it, but it added to our amazement of how much food there was!

And some highlights of my baking journey...

Over the past year, its taken me many many test runs to find a good scone recipe and to (almost) perfect them. The best recipes that I found were from the Ritz Hotel (London) and the Country Women's Association (Australia). It takes a light yet swift hand to make the fluffiest scones. The recipe that I used for the arvo tea are from the Ritz Hotel - they were rich and buttery. And below you can see my recipe-book-like pictures :)
I'm not going to list the ingredients due to copyright reasons... but here's the method that I used:

1. Put all ingredients except milk in a bowl
2. Cut or rub with your fingers until large flaky crumbs
3. Put milk in bowl then mix
4. Identify cutting instrument (I didn't have a cookie cutter so used the bottom of a cup. I'd definitely recommend a sturdy cookie cutter because if the cutter is uneven, it affects the shape of the scone and how perfectly it rises)
5. Knead on a floured surface then roll out
6. Cut into shapes
7. Place closely next to each other in a tin - this is essential as the closeness of the uncooked scones will force them to rise up rather than out
8. Bake in a 180 degree oven for 15ish minutes
9. Voila!

Cream Cheese icing
When I first started to make cream cheese icing, I always had major problems - there was either too much cream cheese or icing. I'd try to get the balance right by adding one or the other, but it would often end up in me having twice the amount of icing as necessary. Generally, the more icing sugar there is, the more firm the icing is. The consistency of the icing depends on what you want to do with it - pipe it (more firm) or spread it on with a knife (soft).

Sorry, I didn't note down how much of each ingredient I used, but it was about:
*400g cream cheese
*1/4 cup mango nectar (for this particular recipe)
*1/2 cup icing sugar
note: I think I broke my hand mixer by forcfully mixing the unsoftened cream cheese. I had this mixer for 10+ years, so I was quite attached to it and thought it deserved a picture :)

Coffee Slice

Friday, June 3, 2011

thanks for looking :)

I recently posted up the url for this blog on facebook, so I thought this pic would be appropriate:

I saw this graffiti in London when walking to the Portobello Markets (amazing, but it was so bloody windy). The graffiti was in a obscure location, above and adjacent to a garage, so it's pretty cheeky!!

hong kong

before i started full time work, i did a round the world trip - it was AMAZING. I went to the USA, Europe & HK... preempting this blog, i sacrificed my own self-respect and other people's respect for me and took an enormous amount of food pictures - and I'd love to share some of these with you.

This is my FAVOURITE treat in Hong Kong... I'm not sure what it's called, but my family would always make an effort to have these every time single time we'd go to HK. They are like waffles in a ball, but they are more eggy and fluffier. The outside would be ever so crisp and the inside would just melt in your mouth - maybe just like macarons, but hot and lighter and less sweet.

This was my first yum cha in HK during my trip. Once I arrived in HK, I demanded to my mum that we have to go to yum cha. I had heaps of fond memories as a kid/teen and can remember thinking: i could have yum cha for lunch everyday in HK, but could never do the same in Australia, due to the quality and oiliness of our yum cha here. In HK, there's different styles of yum cha, including: Shanghainese, Canton etc. This one I think was Cantonese. The restaurant had the decor of a wedding reception (note the mass white and chandeliers).

I caught up with my relos over a Chinese banquet (pics below). All these dishes were served in one 3 hour sitting. THERE WAS SO MUCH FOOD! My cousins thought it was a bit funny that I took pictures of everything that came out of the kitchen. They just said it was a 'youthful' thing for people in HK to take pictures of their food... Despite the embarrassment, I'm glad I have visual copies of the amazing food at this banquet:

As I've done a bit of travelling in the couple of years, I stacked up some Asia Miles points (frequent flyers) and I got this High Tea for free. It was at the Langham Hotel and was pretty casual. Delicious, but I wouldn't pay real money for it. There's no doubt that I've been better. Pretty, nevertheless:

And everything else: street food, street markets, shopping, visiting the Peak, sushi train, 'hong kong' style food and kitsch but cute edamame beans!!!!!

watch this SPACE

I'm baking 5 things this weekend: a cake, sweet and savoury cupcakes, scones and a slice... watch this space for food porn...


urban pantry

My flatmate has a Entertainment Book for Canberra - the entertainment book has heaps of vouchers on restaurants, take away joints, leisure activities, hotels etc. You can save a whole lot of money with the book (but you have to pay money to get the book itself). Anyway, her book had a voucher for Urban Pantry in Manuka, so we went there and got almost 50% off our dishes. The restaurant/cafe is trendy and casual. Going to the place, I loved the feel of it - the decor reminded me of times in Germany when I explored an underground wine cellar (altho urban pantry is ground level and very open/airy) or what it'd be like to explore a huge pantry. It'd definitely be a trendy place for lunch... or a cafe style dinner.
I got braised chickpeas and seasonal vegetables with Moroccan spices & a side of polenta chips and my flatmate got a special, which was spinach and ricotta cannelloni. The chickpeas were heaps spicy, and they were clearly different from the chickpea salads you'd get as takeaway - the flavour was more bodied and spices were more fresh. but there was nothing spectacular about it that would make me pay the full price for the meal. The polenta chips, on the other hand, were amazing and I wish I could snack on them constantly. My flatmate's meal was okay too... I'd have to commend them on making cannelloni in a way that wasn't too messy and could actually be picked up with a fork. However, we both knew that we could replicate and improve on this dish at home.

Urban Pantry
5 Bougainville St
Manuka ACT
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