Sunday, 30 October 2011

Magnolia Bakery

Of course, G and I had to visit the famous Magnolia Bakery while we were in NYC.  We were happy to find an outpost of the bakery at Bloomingdales, so grabbed a red velvet and a vanilla with chocolate icing.  I also took the opportunity to study the ladies doing the icing, and am going to have to give it a go at home!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Katz' deli

After the deli cooking class (which was a little disappointing as we didn't make the pastrami, sauerkraut or sauce, but just assembled the sandwiches) G and I took ourselves to Katz' Deli in the lower east side to experience the real deal!

I don't think that G's face does the sandwich justice - it was super delicious!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

A deli cooking class

G and I did a "Great New York Deli" cooking class where we learned to make:
  • reuben sandwiches - with pre-made pastrami, sauerkraut and sauce
  • egg creams
  • chopped liver
  • coleslaw
  • kreplach (jewish wontons)
  • chicken soup
  • kugel
  • black and white cookies
We were pretty busy!

Then we sat down to eat the spread!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Cake & Shake

We arrived at the Met and were feeling a little peckish, luckily there was a pale blue van outside, selling cupcakes and milkshakes!

We sat on the steps of the Met and enjoyed the cupcake and shake and listened to an absolutely amazing group of buskers!  The nougat centre was absolutely delicious - in fact, G thinks it was the best cupcake we had on our whole trip.  The cake itself was soft and not crumbly and the icing (and the filling) weren't buttery and hard, but really soft and more like a mousse.

We didn't have time for a savoury cake, but they certainly sound awesome too.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

PB and choc chip cookies

Not a recipe, but a great new combination, using some reece's peanut butter chips found (for an exorbitant price) at the David Jones Food Hall.

I love that moment when you try to stir in the choc chips.  This step has to be done by hand otherwise the mixed can cause the chips to break up (the bigger the chip the nicer it is to bite into, in my opinion). 

Just cooked - golden around the edges.  This ensures that the cookies are cookies, that is, soft in the middle, rather than biscuit like and hard all the way through. 

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Lamb involtini

A quick break from the holiday recaps - I am back in Australia, but have a few holiday related posts to come.  In the meantime, I have been doing some cooking!

The other night I made one of the most delicious dinners that I think I have ever made (a big call, I know).

Please excuse the messy plating, the red wine reduction ran everywhere! I used feta (instead of mozzarella and anchovies) and asparagus.  The feta worked really well - it held its shape, but was lovely and all melted to bite into.

The preparation was pretty simple, cut the lamb, pound the lamb so it is really thin and then roll with the stuffing.

A gratuitous shot of the cross section of the involtini. 

Friday, 14 October 2011

Baked by Melissa

Baked by Melissa - 3 for $1, and yes they are absolutely tiny, but awesome, because you can definitely eat several in one sitting!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

mmm tapas

G and I threw ourselves into the Spanish lifestyle (that is, eating tapas, drinking sangria and partaking in daily siestas)!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Mercat de la Boqueria

I'm sure that many of you are familiar with Mercat de la Boqueria in Barcelona, and perhaps some of you have been lucky enough to go for a visit.

G and I enjoyed a morning wandering around the market, tasting some of the Spanish delights.

Fresh raspberry juice

G's fave - the jamon

All kinds of shellfish

A decent chilli selection

Not exactly sure what this is - definitely shellfish though

So much seafood

G enjoying a skewer of jamon

Not so delicious tripe!

Friday, 7 October 2011

A seafood dinner by the sea

After a lovely day on the beach in the riviera, G and I headed to an amazing looking seafood restaurant, and had to start with the oysters!

I enjoyed linguine with scampi - although getting the meat out of the scampi was a tad messy.

G loved his spaghetti with lobster - and the men at the table next to us pointed at his dinner and asked for the same.

Finally we ordered dessert - the waiter did not warn us that one dessert would be sufficient for both of us.  I ended up with a platter of creme brulee and G ordered what turned out to be a very large chocolate cake!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Slow Food Festival in Nice

G and I were lucky enough to be in Nice to enjoy a Slow Food festival, featuring chefs from Nice and Monaco. 

It was a very controlled event - there were french street food vendors (fries, mussels and crepes) all along the marina, and then there was a section of the marina that was limited to a certain number of people at a time - and that area was where the slow food stalls were.

G and I made it in after only a 20 minute wait and perused some of the stalls.  Each plate was 5 euros and below you can see the scampi and a dessert platter.

We also drank some good french wine (2 glasses for 5 euros) and met a lovely Italian-Swiss couple with whom we shared a table. 

Aside from the food there were some cool stilt walkers, floats and fireworks.  Aside from the slow food aspect we're not entirely sure what the festival was celebrating - but we sure had fun.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Cooking at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris

So I know Le Cordon Bleu has cooking schools all over the world, but the one in Paris feels like its the right place to take a class!

We made a delicious quiche - using goat cheese as a significant part of the filling, with eggs and confit tomatoes.

Me whisking eggs for the quiche

The beautiful quiches
We also did a wonderful roasted sea bream, served with zucchini flan

Fish slice and stuffed - please note my knife skills.  I also did a good job of deboning and scaling - according to our Chef teacher (Fredo - not sure of his French name)
We didn't eat any of the food on the day (aside from necessary "quality control") so took home bags of food to enjoy.  Luckily our apartment in Paris came with a fridge, so we ate it over a couple of days.

G and I with our bounty

Me bruleeing up a storm

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Macarons of Paris

It's not a secret that G and I love a good macaron - and are quite particular about what constitutes a "good" macaron!  In Melbourne most macarons are the same diameter, but in France, what we consider normal in Melbourne is miniature.   Then there are the grande macarons - with fresh fruit sandwiched between normal sized macarons in France.

Pistachio with raspberry, and raspberry with more raspberry

A wide selection of "miniature macarons" at Le Bon Marche

Macarons from Laduree

Also, we had macarons from the Bouchon Bakery in New York - including this delicious carrot cake macaron.  I did notice that in France the flavours were much more common - chocolate, strawberry, raspberry, pistachio etc.  In America it was definitely a lot more adventurous.  As well as the carrot cake macaron, we enjoyed fig and balsamic macarons.