Wednesday, 29 December 2010


I bought a lovely cookbook all about salad - Salades by Damien Pignolet.

Those who know me, know I love salad.  I believe that salad can be served with practically every meal at any time of the day.  I was particularly excited to see a book dedicated to salads with a similar philosophy - the book is divided into salads of different categories.

This book is the perfect book to buy at the start of summer - there will undoubtedly be some cool days when you will want a warm salad, although the winter salads may not get a look in over the next few months.

A minor criticism - there aren't enough pictures.  I like at least one picture per recipe, preferably more if there is a tricky technique involved, but in this book not all the salads are pictured.  Those that have been photographed look positively mouthwatering...

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

December Delicious

A bit of a let down really.   This issue contained a lot of different recipes to try on Christmas Day - assuming you have a family that is keen to try new things.

However, I don't want to eat Christmas lunch multiple times in the lead up to Christmas - nor do I host Christmas, so I won't have any leftovers to make the recipes aimed at that.

All in all, disappointing issue, beautiful cover.

G was given a subscription to Delicious for 2011 as a Christmas gift - he has told me that I can use it, as long as he gets to open the package!

Friday, 17 December 2010

A burger?

Sometimes I get real cravings for a burger and chips.   When G and I lived in Canberra we would go to Edgar's Inn in Ainslie and I would get a steak sandwich and ask them not to put on the top piece of bread (and I would give my bacon to G) because if I ate both pieces of bread I would get too full to eat the delicious, salty chips - an essential part of the burger experience!

The other night I wanted a burger and chips but didn't have bread - so instead we made big chips and used them to serve the burger on - home made lamb patties, caramelised onion, cheese and salad.

Of course, with a smear of good quality tomato sauce on the side of the plate!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Congratulations cupcakes

I love how simple things can make cakes look more complicated.  I took some simple vanilla cupcakes iced with chocolate ganache to work, to celebrate a milestone.  All I did was dye some fondant greeny blue, rolled it out and cut out the letters to spell "Congratulations"

That's just some icing sugar underneath to stop it from sticking to the bench, and you can see the 2 jars of the gel food colouring I used.

I let the letters dry and dropped them on top of the ganache.  Result - compliments on how much trouble I must have gone to!

Monday, 13 December 2010

Risoni salad

I have been trying to branch out a little at lunch times - particularly given there were so many recipes from the November Delicious I wanted to make!

Last week I made a batch of Risoni Salad (minus the peas) to take to work - I added some fresh avacado and fresh tomato each day too.

I also just bought a bottle of salad dressing that I love (Newman's classic if you are interested) and kept that at work in the fridge

The only thing that I needed to remember each day was to pull a serving out of the fridge about an hour before I wanted to eat it - nothing worse than ice cold pasta when it's supposed to be room temperature.  I actually do this no matter what kind of salad I take to work - simple green leaf or more complex pasta - and I usually set an alarm in Outlook to remind me.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Presenting desserts

I took a class the other day to learn how to present desserts - a lot of the elements were already made (the pannacotta, the opera cake) but we had to put it altogether.

Firstly we made a mango brioche galette (all made by me) topped with some coconut sorbet (pre-prepared):

We made some galettes out of brioche dough, topped it with frangipane and sliced mangoes.  A gel over the top to make it shiny, dots on the plate and a sort of rocher of ice cream!

Secondly, an espresso pannacotta, marsala foam and cinnamon sugar (so it looked like a cappuccino), dried fruit compote and candied orange zest 2 ways:
The trickiest thing on this plate was the biscotti.  Biscotti is a really tricky thing to cut.  It's simple enough to make, just like a dry biscuit dough and then you roll it into a log and bake it once.  Then when it's almost baked through you have to cut it into slices and bake it again.  It's the cutting thats hard - I barely got 2decent biscuits out of a roll that should have given me at least 8.

Third, and definitely more complicated, a strawberry vacherin.
So that's sliced strawberry and micro basil in strawberry soup, then floating in that there is a meringue, some strawberry and guava sorbet, a snow egg, persian fairy floss and a sugared rose petal.

The snow egg was so much fun to make!  You need to start with a swiss meringue and then poaching them is easy in salted water.

Then it was time for Chocolate Allsorts:

That's sago sushi, a mint chocolate mousse filled tuille sitting on chocolate dirt, a cherry jammy dodger, opera cake, passionfruit jelly with chocolate peanut truffle, rhubarb sauce, glass biscuit, white chocolate granita and a red star fruit!

Thursday, 9 December 2010


These cupcakes are beautiful to look at, delicious to eat and are packaged in such a cute way!

Inside each one of those boxes is a cupcake, much like these ones:

Lemon on the left and chocolate raspberry to the right.

Some things to LOVE about these cupcakes:
  • the sparkle on the snowflake
  • the super rich chocolatey icing
  • the real raspberry flavour - nothing fake tasting here!
Where to find them? The website and the Sunday market at the Arts Centre, Melbourne!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Free form pizza tarts

These little tarts (recipe in November Delicious)are a delicious combination of pizza and quiche - short crust pastry + thin layers of egg/cream + pizza topping.

I made squares because it seemed easier than the neatly cut rounds in Delicious!

I'm beginning to see a theme emerge and it's that I tend to the easier, lazier side of cooking.  This is not necessarily true - I will make complicated dishes, particularly desserts, when I have time, when I see something amazing in a book or magazine or when I get the urge.

However, on a weekday evening I go the easier route 9 times out of 10 - and I don't think that makes me lazy, just smart.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Le Petit Gateau

Le Petit Gateau is a french bakery on Little Collins st, near William St, in Melbourne.  To welcome our friends to Melbourne I bought a pear bandaloue tart from Le Petit Gateau.

Cleverly, ganache is used to secure the ribbon to the outside of the tart, and more ganache to secure the tart to the silver board it sits on - a delicious and clever technique!

And a yuzu and black sesame macaron and salted caramel macaron - because we couldn't wait for the cake!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Harajuku crepes

Harajuku in Tokyo, Japan is famous for crepes.  Amazing, decadent crepes which are displayed as plastic models all around Harajuku.  The creperies are little tiny kiosks full of staff whipping out hundreds of crepes all day!

I enjoyed the creperies when I visited Tokyo (as did my friends) and when I heard about the Melbourne shop 'Harajuku Crepes' I knew my friends would be excited!

There is certainly not as many options in Melbourne, but they had some of the standard Japanese ones - the cheesecake crepe, the pudding crepe and the brownie crepe!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Cafe Vue

Some of you may have heard of Vue de Monde, a french restaurant that is run by Shannon Bennett in Melbourne.  Actually at the moment it isn't open - he is reopening it at the top of the Rialto building on new year's eve this year.

In the meantime you can still enjoy his food at Cafe Vue on St Kilda Rd and on Bourke St - all details on the website.  G and I grabbed a lunch box from the St Kilda Rd cafe.  We had potato chips with red pepper dip, roast chicken roll, waldorf salad and a rum baba with vanilla custard, for $15 each.

The lunchboxes are packaged beautifully and each day you get what you are given - which is how they do the volume at the price I suppose.

Of course, we had to round out the purchase with some macarons, which we enjoyed later on in the day: yuzu, cassis and caramel. 

The best one was the caramel.  However, I don't think the biscuits were soft enough - or rather they were soft inside but there wasn't enough of the soft stuff!