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Thursday, 28 June 2012


Hello beautiful people! Hope you've all been well! I must apologise for my longer than usual absence, I had a mix of Uni exams, work and interviews that made it impossible to do anything but eat and sleep in between. And, it doesn't stop there! At the moment I'm sitting in KL airport in Malaysia waiting for my connecting flight to Colombo, Sri Lanka. I'm off to attend my cousins wedding how exciting!! But finally at last I have found the time to update and keep everyone in the loop and assure you all I will be back to blogging regularly in 2 weeks when I get back =D. Hopefully I can write up another quick post in a few days, but for now I'm off to board a plane!! (I was gonna post one of my many instagram pics but for some reason it won't let me...) Love love xx P.s. I'm loving my new iPad!! Thank god for portable technology!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

The BEST Cinnamon Rolls EVER!

I don't think I will ever make this recipe ever again. That's what I said the last time I made them.

No, it's not because it's a dodgy recipe. And no, it's not because it was too technical or complicated.

It's because it resulted in this:

Mmmm straight outta the oven, covered in delish sticky syrup

Actually, it resulted in about 20 x this. And my fat gut. But I don't want to scare you with pictures of that =P.

I made these cinnamon rolls - or more specifically, I made the Pioneer Woman's Famous Cinnamon Rolls - for the first time about a year ago. They were the best cinnamon rolls I have EVER HAD (maybe tied with the Cinnabon I had in Thailand for the first time..HEAVEN - We need one of those in Oz ASAP). After that batch disappeared in a matter of days I promised myself I wouldn't make them least for a very long long time, since I can be credited for their quick disappearance.

This time around I decided to tweak the recipe a bit, and sorta combine it with a concept from another recipe I came across a while ago. It didn't improve much in the healthy department, though I'm not really sure HOW you can make these healthy at all, except for not making them in the first place =P. Anyways, I made this mixture which is like a caramel goop which you spread on the bottom of the pan and place the buns on top, so when they bake the mixture liquefies and turns into a syrup (or, caramel goop =P), so when you turn the buns out they are covered in this delicious sugary coating which sinks into the buns and makes them the most delectable things ever. These things are ever-so rich, so even a half will suffice if you're feeling a bit peckish. But they taste sooo good that you may actually eat the whole thing. Or 3. Oh will my waistline ever get a break....

Sticky Cinnamon Rolls
Recipe adapted from the Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond)

For the rolls 
500ml whole milk 
1/2 cup vegetable oil 
1/2 cup sugar 
1 package Active Dry Yeast (0.25 ounce packet)
4 cups (plus 1/2 cup extra, separated) all-purpose flour 
1/2 tsp (heaping) baking powder 
1/2 tsp (scant) baking soda 
1/2 tbsp (heaping) salt 
125g melted butter (more or less depending on how large you roll your dough out and personal taste)
1 & 1/2 cups packed brown sugar 
Generous sprinkling of cinnamon

For the caramel goop 
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp honey

1. For the dough, heat the milk, vegetable oil, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat to just below a boil. Set aside and cool to warm. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit on the milk for 1 minute

2. Add 4 cups of the flour. Stir until just combined, then cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside in a relatively warm place for 1 hour.

3. While waiting for the dough to rise, make the caramel goop. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar together. Add the honey and blend. Set aside. 

4. After 1 hour, remove the towel and add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 1/2 cup flour. Stir thoroughly to combine. Use the dough right away, or place in a mixing bowl and refrigerate for up to 3 days, punching down the dough if it rises to the top of the bowl. (NOTE: dough is easier to work with if it’s been chilled for at least an hour or so beforehand.)

5. Preheat the oven to (190C (375F). To assemble the rolls, roll the dough into a large rectangle onto a floured baking surface, about 20 x 12 inches. The dough should be rolled very thin.

6. To make the filling, pour 1/2 cup to 1 cup of the melted butter over the surface of the dough. Use your fingers to spread the butter evenly. Generously sprinkle ground cinnamon (to you preference) and the brown sugar over the butter. Don’t be afraid to drizzle on more butter or more sugar! Gooey is the goal. (NOTE: I actually browned the butter by placing it in a saucepan and heating over medium-low heat. stirring constantly until it turns an brownish amber colour - you have to watch it closely!)

7. Beginning at one of the shorter ends, roll the rectangle tightly towards you. Use both hands and work slowly, being careful to keep the roll tight. Don’t worry if the filling oozes as you work; that just means the rolls are going to be divine. When you reach the end, pinch the seam together and flip the roll so that the seam is face down. When you’re finished, you’ll wind up with one long buttery, cinnamony, sugary, gooey log.

8. Slip a cutting board underneath the roll and with a sharp knife, make 1/2-inch slices (should produce around 20 to 25 rolls).

9. Spread half the caramel goop onto the bottom of a baking pan. Place the sliced rolls in the pans, being careful not to overcrowd. Spread the other half of the goop into another pan and place the rest of the sliced rolls on top.

10. Cover all the pans with a kitchen towel and set aside to rise on the countertop for at least 20 minutes before baking. Remove the towel and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Don’t allow the rolls to become overly brown. You may need to take them out and turn them over just to make sure the bottom of the buns bake properly (or your oven may be powerful enough so you may not need to do this).

11. Remove pans from the oven. Let the buns cool in the pans for at least 30 minutes. Turn them out onto a plate and devour ;).

Oh man too yummy! Just looking at them makes me hungry....

Enjoy =D xx

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Cochin Restaurant, Surry Hills

As usual, I have realised I've forgotten to write posts on things I was meaning to post about =P. I found some pictures from the graduation dinner I had with my uni friends, and I SWEAR I had already posted about this but I realised I had written about my grad dinner with my family and not this haha.

Well I pretty much had a graduation celebration weekend. Dinners, parties and the actual graduation ceremony, pretty much ran for about 3 days. My uni friends and myself decided to go out for dinner just to have our one little slightly informal celebration =P. Nothing better than good friends, good food and (plenty) of good wine haha. Cochin Restaurant is a Vietnamese restaurant situated at the heart of Surry Hills. It's a very simple restaurant, not very big with long tables more suited for group dinners, but can be separated for couples. Actually, they also have an outside dinning area which looked quite nice. Very simply decorated, but the small room sorta trapped all the noise and made it a bit hard to have a conversation with everyone, It got sooo loud. But we sorta contributed quite a lot to it and pretty much forgot about it once we had cracked open the bottles =P.

Image Courtesy of Cochin Restaurant Website

I'd never heard of Cochin before until my friend sent me the booking details and I looked it up, of course having a squiz at the menu to see what we would be dining on. We decided to go with the Chef's Degustation Menu ($65 pp) just so we could have a bit of everything. It was quite delish, but the portions were quite large for a degustation (which was 10 courses + rice and nibbles =P) and I got so full I couldn't even fathom getting dessert (which was included in the degustation).

Decided to road test my 50mm lens for this outing. Twas ok but it made it hard to take shots of food since everything is uber close...

Asparagus Veloute - I'm not a big fan of veloute...

Roasted Duck Pancakes - A classic fav

Spring Rolls and Prawn Summer Rolls with a Sweet Chilli Sauce

Coco Garlic Prawns Served with Fresh Bread (to mop up the beautiful sauce)

Tempura Soft Shell Crab & French Salad with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

Pork Hock served with Papaya Salad and Sticky Garlic Dressing - One of my favs!
We had a very interesting discussion about what part of the pig the hock came from haha

By about this point I was so full from all the food and wine, I could barely even touch the next dish, even though it was probably one of the best of the night (such a shame!)

Tea Smoked Duck Breast - So yummy!

Pandan Rice

And then came dessert. I definitely couldn't fit any more in, but most of the girls got the Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse (Apparently very rich =P)

One of the girls eating said chocolate mousse =D

Overall it was a gorgeous dinner, and very very filling =D.
I'd love to go back and sample their A La Carte menu. It all looks reasonably priced as well, and the degustation was definitely good value for money considering the portion sizes and how nice everything tasted.

Cochin Restaurant
61 Fitzroy St
Surry Hills
NSW 2010
Ph: (02) 9358 5388

Cochin on Urbanspoon 

=D xx

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Zoya Alegra & Nfu Oh 43

Hellllooo people =). I'm glad I've finally found some time to post on here, I've been cooped up in my room studying for the past few days and I'm actually motivated because I sorta need to cram in alot. And so, this will be quite a short post.

Zoya Alegra is a pretty pinkish magenta colour, however it doesn't come out very well on my camera. I've actually worn it a few times but everytime I take pictures I'm not overly happy with them. I tried taking some with my iPhone which I think turned out a bit better.

Zoya Alegra is actually a much more dimensional polish,
a really nice magenta with a bit of sparkle

This time I also added a coat of Nfu Oh 43 which has yellow/orange flakes suspended in a transparent orange jelly. I think this really elevated Alegra, I really liked the end result.

With Nfu Oh 43 added - this was taken with my iPhone
And this one was taken with my camera. I love how the Nfu Oh 43 turned out

=D xx

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Masterchef Meatballs

Most of the recipes I've tried from either the Masterchef website, books or magazines have all worked out pretty well. Due to this high success rate I wanted to try out the Meatballs with Tomato Sauce recipe put together by Courtney from Season 2 (She's the one in all those oven adds for Harvey Norman =P). Ever since I saw her cooking them for all those hungry troops I've been drooling over the recipe. And FINALLY I got around to cooking them (nearly 2 years later ahahha).

Yet again, the Masterchef recipe didn't let me down. The meatballs came together really well, the sauce tasted incredible. It was great to slather them over a bit of pasta and sit down on a cold winters night with a nice glass of red and enjoy a nice night in. Even better when you end up slightly tipsy with a goofy smile on your face =P.

If you have the time (it doesn't even take that long) to make your own meatballs you should defs give this one a go, really straight-forward and simple. They are so much better than the store bought stuff and using all the fresh ingredients just makes them taste divine.

Meatballs with Tomato Sauce
Recipe by Courtney Roulston

Herb and Tomato Sauce
60ml (1/4 cup) olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp sea salt
1 large carrot, diced
6 thyme sprigs
2 tbs tomato sauce
2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes
1 tsp dried Italian herbs
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbs sugar
1 cup fresh basil leaves

700g beef mince
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
1 tsp dried  Italian herbs
1/2 tsp chicken stock powder
1 egg
25g (1/4 cup) packaged breadcrumbs
1 tbs tomato paste
1 tsp mild paprika
2 tbs tomato ketchup
1 tsp thyme leaves

1. To make the sauce, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and salt and cook for 5 minutes or until begining to soften. Add the carrot and thyme sprigs and cook for a further 2 minutes or until soft. Stir in the remaining ingredients, except the basil. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer gently for 45 minutes or until thickened.

2. Meanwhile, to make the meatballs, combine all the ingredients and season with ground black pepper. Use your hands to mix well. Roll into balls, using 2 tbs mixture for each.

3. Add meatballs to simmering sauce without stirring, increase heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes, or until cooked through. Gently stir in basil leaves and top with Parmesan. Serve with pasta or bread.

Enjoy =D xx
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