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Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Sangria!

Woohoo! I successfully made a HUGE batch of Sangria while the fam-bam were away...serves them right for leaving me by myself waaah! The only thing is, making a huge batch for one means alot of drinking.....

Lol I'm not that much of a loner, of course I had people over to try it haha. But the excessive drinking part is true =S. Not good!!

Sangria is so easy to make - it is literally red wine, triple sec (or Cointreau - orange flavoured liqueur), chopped up fruits and bit of lemon juice/lemonade.


And the cheaper the wine the better! Well, that's what the sangria aficionados apparently say...my bottle cost me $6.

I also went all fancy and put it in a beautiful pitcher =P....


So what I did was soak my chopped up fruit (1 orange, 1/2 large lemon, 1/3 of a pineapple, 1 apple - use what you like) in about 1/3 cup triple sec and 1/3 cup sugar for about 30 mins. Then added the bottle of red wine (any type will do, I probably wouldn't use something too sweet, or if you do, add less sugar) and lemonade to taste/soften the alcoholic blow, and let it sit in the fridge for at least 8 hours. The longer you leave it the more the flavours develop and you end up with a rich sweet gorgeous sangria.

Look how all the fruit sucks up te red wine!!

And TAAADAAA!!!


Really good way to fuel a party (and it's very effective ;) hahah) xx

Feels Like Summer.....Finally!!

Oh Thank God the sun has come out!! Such a good way to greet the new year. Nothing better than a mango honey smoothie and good magazine (SBS' Feast is such a great read!) to start of a bright sunny promising day =D

Half finished smoothie btw =P The urge to take photos comes at random times...

Hope you're all enjoying this gorgeous weather!! xx

Adorjo

Hi guys!! These past few days have been so hectic! My parents came back from overseas (meaning I had to make the place look all clean and tidy and not like a bomb just went off =P), I've been running around trying to sort out all my things for my trip (omg 1 day to go!!!!), catching up with friends before I leave.....gaaahhh I wish there were more hours in the day!!

I thought I'd do a post on a lovely brand of jewellery i acquired a few weeks ago called Adorjo. Co-owner Cecile was kind enough to contact me and send over some samples for me to have a look at. In the meantime, I was able to have a look around their site and i was really impressed with the jewellery, alot of it is pretty much my style and i could see myself wearing alot of the pieces....I was so tempted I actually made up a shopping cart for myself, but my current saving regime must prevail!!

So as I mentioned before, Cecile sent over a few products (all from the Gorgeous Gold collection which Cecile picked out - lol i think my blog reveals waaaaaay too much about me) and they were really nice!

They came in a cute little pouch!

Vega Stretch Bracelets

These are so pretty!!
Definitely something I would have picked out. I can see myself wearing these with a beige or cream chiffon dress and some pretty gold rings....and they are so cheap on sale atm!!

Honey Round Drop Crystal Earrings

These are gorgeous glittery earrings. I don't normally wear drop earrings but I tried them on really quickly and they actually look really nice! Make me look a bit more girly =P. Again, these are really well priced and are also on sale now!

I haven't had a chance to wear them yet, but I'm hoping to wear these all sometimes soon, and I'll definitely have pictures to put up on here to show you all =D.

Adorjo's whole jewellery range is moderately priced and I think it's really good value given that it's sterling silver and really good quality. As I mentioned before, Adorjo's style is definitely similar to my own...I'm really liking pretty much the whole Vintage Glamour collection and this ring from the Cosmic Dreams collection. 

I'm actually really intrigued by the Swarovski skin tattoos (pictured to the right in the first picture)....it will be really interesting to see how those turn out! Cecile informed me that it's a recent concept originating from Europe and they are made up of fine glitter and Swarovski crystals (which excites me very much!!). Apart from the gold glitters ones she sent me, they also come in silver with blue crystals. They are actually really easy to apply when i was reading the instructions - just peel away the backing and place it on the skin in the desired spot (they suggest the arm, shoulder, scoop neck, back, ankle - I can see this on the back of my neck I reckon). It says the last for upto 3 days which is also a plus...nothing worse than a half peeling tattoo adorning your skin haha.  They are also hypoallergenic which is REALLY good for someone like me who has extremely sensitive skin! I can see myself manipulating them to make smaller patterns but we'll see how that goes (again, hoping to do a post on them when I attempt to apply them).....

Adorjo is a new Sydney based company, run by the lovely Cecile and her partner, providing the latest European styles in jewellery and accessories. Adorjo recently underwent a makeover of their site and company pretty much, and the launch of their new online outlet is quite tempting for online shopping junkies like myself! It's pretty easy to navigate, everything is grouped under collections, or you can sort through them by their jewellery type or even by price range. They feature daily flash sales where a random item is chosen daily to be massively reduced, sometimes up to 50% for the next 24 hours, and its quite good because the product changes everyday are really varied, so one day you might have earrings on sale, the next day a necklace.They also have giveaways every month (visit and 'Like' their Facebook Page to find out about these!!)

And one of the best things is that there is FREE SHIPPING for orders over $60! I have to say that's a big selling point for me, shipping fees are probably one of the biggest things that turns me off buying things online. And as well as that, you get a free gift (!!), and who doesn't like free-stuff right?!

Another good thing I noticed was that these came super fast!! Delivery was so quick - Cecile posted them and like a couple of days later I received them. Another good thing about ordering from Sydney (or even Nationally) based companies, not only are you supporting local business but everything comes super quick and in good condition!

Hopefully once I get back form my trip ill be able to wear these with some outfits and post them on here for you guys to check them out! Definitely check out Adorjo's jewellery collection online and browse through their products - alot of stuff is on sale right now and really really good value!! I'm sure you ladies will find something you like, and a good bargain along the way!

=D xx

Monday, 9 January 2012

Otto Ristorante, Woolloomooloo

Wow this post is actually quite late! I must apologise. I must also mention there are ALOT of pictures in this post...only because there were so many of us and thus there were alot of dishes to take pictures of =P. A group of my friends and myself decided to go out for a Christmas Dinner (so clearly this was a few weeks ago =P). We decided to go all out and go somewhere a bit fancier than our usual dinners out. And so, after careful research on Sydney's fine-dining scene, we decided on Otto Ristorante in Woolloomooloo. Woolloomooloo is another one of those areas of Sydney I could only dream of living in one day. Absolutely gorgeous. And oozes luxury and elegance. As we were dining, a boat pulled up, full of a people dressed in their beige and black, looking fabulously nonchalant, sipping their champagne, eventually sauntering off for a casual night of dining with friends. One day that will be me.....

Otto is located on the wharf on cowper wharf road, and it was just so nice sitting there munching on our appetisers with a slight breeze in the air as the sun set....our waiter was very helpful as we decided on appetisers (a hard task when there are 9 of you =P) and also wine selection.

Anyways, the food at Otto was so yummy! And looked absolutely amazing!! I think it was a fine choice for our xmas party, and had a great menu selection.

For starters we picked a few dishes and just doubled the order, and that was plenty...we also had some delicious fluffy bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping (forgot to take a photo =( ).

Hand Rolled Grissini Wrapped In San Danielle Prosciutto

Ravioli Of Finely Sliced Pickled Beetroot With Goat’S Curd, Pistachio And Horseradish

Peared Scallops With Carrot Puree, Potato, Soppressata With Pancetta, Muscatel And Eschallot Dressing

Pepper And Chilli Fried School Prawns With Squid Ink Aioli - These were so addictive! Like chips!! And the black squid ink aioli was intriguing..

This next starter, Yellow Fin Tuna With Marinated Mussles, Prawns, Salmone Roe, Crispy Salmon Skin, Lightly Smoked Eggplant Puree And Preserved Lemon Dressing, was probably my fav, it looks absolutely gorgeous!! So much detail and colour...and it tasted just as good! I didn't actually want to eat it cos it looked so pretty!! I had to put a close up too...


Ahh soooo pretty!!

We actually had a to wait a bit for our mains, lucky we had so many of us to keep each other company. We were probably the loudest group there (as per usual) but it was good fun =D. I found it so hard to pick a main! They all sounded so delicious, and then when they came out they all LOOKED even more delicious. I ended up choosing the pork, and I think I made the right decision! I've never had pig's ears or black sausage, and they both tasted so good! I was so surprised. And it was such a filling dish...so satisfying mmm =D.

Cone Bay Barramundi With Watercress And Pinenut Puree, Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes And Sauteed Mushrooms

Deep Fried Zucchini Flowers Stuffed With BaccalĂ , Served With A Panzanella Salad And White Anchovies

Duck Breast Served With Nectarine, Pomegranate And Almond Salad

Porcini Brioche, Bresaola And Parmesan Crusted Eye Fillet Of Angus Reserve Beef With Spinach Puree, King Brown Mushrooms And Potato Tuille - I love the idea of the tuille, it looks like a delicate piece of fibreglass or something...

White Pyrenees Lamb Backstrap With Caponata, Fregola And Binnorie Fetta

Pork Tenderloin Wrapped In Pancetta With Parsnip Puree, Black Pudding, Crispy Pig’S Ears And Apple, Prune And Walnut Salsa - So so so so yummy!!

We waited a while to order dessert because our mains filled us up quite well. And again, dessert was a breathtaking affair! They all looked incredible... my eyes were drawn to the chocolate mousse (typically), and then I thought, since I mixed it up with the mains choosing something I normally wouldn't, I thought I might as well do the same for dessert! So I chose the Marsala and Muscovado Semifreddo, and I swear I died and went to heaven. So glad I picked it! It tasted so good...I ate it slowly (well, slower than usual - I was the last to finish my main, again =P) so I could savour every last bit of it...

Dark Chocolate And Hazelnut Mousse With Cocoa Nib Tuille, White Chocolate And Raspberry Aero, Hazelnut Oil Gelato

Passionfruit Brulee With Shaved Pineapple, Mango, Passionfruit And Coconut Sorbet

Roasted Peaches, Balsamic Icecream, Meringue, Peach Mousse, Roasted Almonds And Baby Basil

Marsala And Muscovado Semifreddo With Poached Rhubarb, Strawberry,
Brick Tuille And Strawberry Black Pepper Sorbet - Again, incredibly delicious...

It was such a nice night out =D.
It's so nice to catch up with friends you haven't seen for a while, over a gorgeous dinner in an equally gorgeous location....we ended up going to back to my place to chill for a bit, which is always the best way to end a night, talking into the early hours of the morning =D.


Otto Ristorante

Area 8, 6 Cowper Wharf Road
Woolloomooloo 2011
Ph:  9368 7488
http://www.ottoristorante.com.au

Otto Ristorante on Urbanspoon

=D xx

Sunday, 8 January 2012

High On Crack.....Pie!

Hahhaha yea I know that was lame =P. But hey, it's true! Alot of you must be wondering what the hell Crack Pie is.....well, it's truly is the most addictive, euphoria-inducing, sickeningly delicious pie I have ever come across.

This pie is so decadent, I actually feel sick after eating it and crave something savoury right after greedily stuffing my face with it. That's the thing I don't get about this pie, it's so rich and sweet, but I can't stop eating it, and I go on a MASSIVE sugar high, moments later crashing suddenly, accompanied by that sickly feeling (slumped on the couch clutching my stomach =P), and vow to myself to never to have a piece again....but then an hour or so later, I find myself craving the goddamn thing again!! WTF!?!?! It truly is a drug.

Ooooo so gooey mmmm......

This recipe came from the infamous sugar-queen Christina Tosi of the Momofuku Milk Bar, who recently released a book full of recipe of her overly-sweet creations. This. Book. Is. Amazing. I know, it's a book that glorifies sugar, butter and all sorts of naughty things, but the recipes are just WOAH! I look at the recipes and I'm torn as to whether I should be horrified at the ingredients list or in awe of the creation that results from their combined use. I was sitting in front of the book, wondering whether I should even ATTEMPT this recipe....but I have heard SO much about this pie, and the Momofuku Milk Bar itself that I just HAD to try it. Milk Bar, along with all of David Chang's other culinary establishments have been sitting at the at the top of my Bucket List for some time now =D.....


I normally don't read cookbooks back to front...not even the beginning bits where they give you a bit about the chef, the ingredient explanations and equipment. This is the first time I've read all those things, and I found it really interesting. Like milk powder is described as the MSG of the baking world....and how Christina Tosi, like me, dislikes milk, and so all the desserts created have the element of milky sweetness based on her perceptions of what that taste is. And so, after reading this book, I believe me and Christina Tosi were separated at birth. Give or take a few years =P. Our obsession with desserts and all things sugar-laden extends beyond the confines of age and race =P. Pretty sure we're on the same wavelength on all levels. Her sugar-manifesto pretty much describes my life! And she is an enigma when it comes to likes and dislikes.....just like me =P.

And after making this pie, and reading the book, I'm pleading, BEGGING David Chang to open a Milk Bar here. PLEEEASE! I think we should start a petition of some sorts folks. Try this pie and I'm sure you'll agree ;).

One ingredient I wanted to point out is the corn powder. In the book, they mention that they make theirs by of processing freeze-dried corn....and I'm not sure if you can get that in Australia. And I'm not sure if its the same thing as cornflour, which is white, while their corn powder is quite yellow. SO I went searching and I found this organic maize (corn) flour which is yellow - it was at a health food store in my local shopping centre. It looks like the corn powder they use, so that's what I'm gonna stick with.


The good thing about this book is that they give exact accurate measurements in grams and also what they 'freedom' measurements - using cups and spoons etc. Personally, I'd stick to the gram measurements because it's more accurate, but I've provided both for those without an electronic scale.

Crack Pie
Adapted from The Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook by Christina Tosi

Ingredients
For the oat cookie:
115g (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
75g (1/3 cup) light brown sugar, packed tightly
40g (3 tbsp) granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
80g (1/2 cup) flour
120g (1 & 1/2 cups) rolled oats
0.5g (1/8 tsp) baking powder
0.25g (pinch) baking soda
2g (1/2 tsp) salt

For the filling:
300g (1 & 1/2 cup) granulated sugar
180g (3/4 cup) light brown sugar, packed tightly
20g (1/4 cup) milk powder
24g (1/4 cup) corn powder
6g (1 & 1/2 tsp) kosher salt
225g (16 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
160g (3/4 cup) heavy cream
2g (1/2 tsp) vanilla extract
8 egg yolks

For the pie:
15 g (1 tbsp) light brown sugar, packed tightly
1g (1/4 tsp) salt
55g (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted

Method
For the oat cookie:
1. Preheat the oven to 175C (350F). Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2-3 minutes, until fluffy and pale yellow in colour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

2. On low speed, add the egg yolk and increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 1-2 minutes, until the sugar granules fully dissolve and the mixture is a pale white.

3. On low speed, add the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix for a minute, until your dough comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. The dough will be a slightly fluffy, fatty mixture in comparison to your average cookie dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

4. Coat a quarter sheet pan with cooking spray, and line it with baking paper. Place the cookie dough in the centre of the pan and spread it out with a spatula until it is ¼-inch thick. The dough won't end up covering the entire pan; this is OK.

5. Bake for 15 minutes, or until it resembles an oatmeal cookie — caramelized on top and puffed slightly but set firmly. Cool completely before using. Wrapped well in plastic, the oat cookie will keep fresh in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.



For the filling:
1. Combine the sugar, brown sugar, milk powder, corn powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until evenly blended.

2. Add the melted butter and paddle for 2-3 minutes until all the dry ingredients are moist.
Add the heavy cream and vanilla and continue mixing on low for 2-3 minutes until any white streaks from the cream have completely disappeared into the mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

3. Add the egg yolks, paddling them into the mixture just to combine; be careful not to aerate the mixture, but be certain the mixture is glossy and homogeneous. Mix on low speed until it is. Use the filling right away, or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.



For the pie:
1. Preheat the oven to 175C (350F).

2. Put the oat cookie, brown sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse it on and off until the cookie is broken down into a wet sand. (If you don't have a food processor, you can crumble the oat cookie diligently with your hands.)

3. Transfer the crumbs to a bowl, add the butter, and knead the butter and ground cookie mixture until moist enough to form into a ball. If it is not moist enough to do so, melt an additional 1-1 ½ tablespoons butter and knead it in. 


4. Divide the oat crust evenly between two 10-inch pie tins. Using your fingers and the palms of your hands, press the oat cookie crust firmly into each pie tin, making sure the bottom and sides of the tin are evenly covered. Use the pie shells immediately, or wrap well in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 


5. Put both pie shells on a sheet pan. Divide the crack pie filling evenly between the crusts; the filling should fill them ¾ of the way full. Bake for 15 minutes only. The pies should be golden brown on top but will still be very jiggly. 


6. Open the oven door and reduce the oven temperature to 160C (325F). Depending on your oven, it may take 5 minutes or longer for the oven to cool to the new temperature. Keep the pies in the oven during this process. When the oven reaches 325 degrees, close the door and bake the pies for 5 minutes longer. The pies should still be jiggly in the bull's-eye centre but not around the outer edges. If the filling is still too jiggly, leave the pies in the oven for an additional 5 minutes or so.


7. Gently take the pan of crack pies out of the oven and transfer to a rack to cool to room temperature. (You can speed up the cooling process by carefully transferring the pies to the refrigerator or freezer if you're in a hurry.) Then freeze your pies for at least 3 hours, or overnight, to condense the filling for a dense final product — freezing is the signature technique and result of a perfectly executed crack pie.


8. If not serving the pies right away, wrap well in plastic wrap. In the fridge, they will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month. Transfer the pies from the freezer to the refrigerator to defrost a minimum of 1 hour before you're ready to get in there. 

9. Serve your crack pie cold! Decorate your pie with confectioners' sugar, either passing it through a fine sieve or dispatching pinches with your fingers. 

And just another picture, just to tempt you further.....

It's a pretty long recipe, but it's quite easy to make. Christina Tosi also stresses that you MUST use an electric mixer when it says, not a hand-beater, because you wont get the same results. AND, make sure you don't incorporate too much air into the filling.....this pie is supposed to be dense and gooey, so make sure you beat it on low when it says so.  

Enjoy =D xx

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Electric Pink

Revlon Strawberry Electric! I love this polish, it's quite bold and nice by itself. I actually think it could have done with out the pattern I put on it. I got this on sale for 2 bucks! Well worth it, this applied so well...





=D xx

Friday, 6 January 2012

My 22nd Birthday Cake

This is the recipe for the Caramel Cake I made myself for my birthday a couple of weeks ago =D. It is such a nice cake, I've made this twice before. The first two times it didn't turn out as neat as this - the icing was quite gooey and a bit runny as I left it at room temperature, and so the cakes didn't stack right and just sorta collapsed...didn't look THAT appetising....but both times I had NO leftovers whatsoever!! Defs a winner, it is soooo rich and dense and gooey as (if the icing is left at room temperature) and just sooo yummy.


This is best served at either room temp or just over (I nuke pieces for about 15-20 seconds....makes the icing just the right amount of runniness and warms the cake slightly.....mmmmmm)


Caramel Cake With Caramelised Butter Frosting
Adapted from Tartelette


Ingredients
160g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup Caramel Syrup (see recipe below)
2 eggs, at room temperature
Splash vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk, at room temperature

Method
1. Preheat oven to 175C (350F). Butter a 9-inch cake pan.


2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and salt & cream until light and fluffy.


3. Slowly pour room temperature caramel syrup into bowl. Scrape down bowl and increase speed. Add eggs/vanilla extract a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down bowl again, beat mixture until light and uniform.


4. Sift flour and baking powder. Turn mixer to lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients (This is called the dry, wet, dry, wet, dry method in cake making. It is often employed when there is a high proportion of liquid in the batter).


5. Take off mixer and by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure batter is uniform. Turn batter into prepared cake pan. Place cake pan on cookie sheet or 1/2 sheet pan. Set first timer for 30 minutes, rotate pan and set timer for another 15-20 minutes. Your own oven will set the pace. Bake until sides pull away from the pan and skewer inserted in middle comes out clean. 


6. Cool cake completely before carefully cutting in half width wise, and icing them and sandwiching them together. Cake will keep for three days outside of the refrigerator.


Caramel Syrup:

 

Ingredients
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cup water (for "stopping" the caramelisation process)

Method
1. In a small stainless steel saucepan, with tall sides, mix water and sugar until mixture feels like wet sand. Brush down any stray sugar crystals with wet pastry brush. Turn on heat to highest flame. Cook until smoking slightly: dark amber.
 

2. When colour is achieved, very carefully pour in one cup of water. Caramel will jump and sputter about! It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.
 

3. Whisk over medium heat until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers (Obviously wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it).


Caramelised Butter Frosting:
 

Ingredients
190g unsalted butter
455g icing sugar, sifted
4-6 tbsp heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
2-4 tbsp caramel syrup (recipe above)
Sea salt flakes, to taste

Method
1. Cook butter until brown. Pour through a fine meshed sieve into a heatproof bowl, set aside to cool.
 

2. Pour cooled brown butter into mixer bowl. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, add icing sugar a little at a time. When mixture looks too chunky to take any more, add a bit of cream and or caramel syrup. Repeat until mixture looks smooth and all icing sugar has been incorporated. Add salt to taste.
 

Note: Caramelised butter frosting will keep in fridge for up to a month. To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with paddle attachment until smooth and light.


Enjoy =D xx

Twenty Two

A couple of weeks ago I celebrated my 22nd birthday =D. Twas a joyous occasion, even though half my family was travelling the world, I partied it up with my friends and Dad =P. Well, it wasn't really a party, more like our traditional yum cha outing, coupled with shopping, and dinner with daddy dearest =D. I enjoyed the day immensely!

The aftermath...

We seem to have made it a tradition amongst my high school buddies to go for yum cha at the end of every year, which has slowly become a celebration of my birthday. I absolutely love it. Marigold in Haymarket has become our 'regular' after East Ocean got rid of their carts (Boo!).

I also got some nice pressies (a few bits and pieces from myself as well haha =P).

Thank you Kalli =D
Absolutely loving the iPhone!!

And, this probably sounds like the most depressing thing, I made my own cake =P. Well, I do love cooking, so any excuse is good for me, and since everyone was so busy because of the holiday season (the downside of having a birthday so near to Xmas! Tis very easy to get cast aside...), I thought might as well! Hahah, but it tasted really good!! Ill post the recipe after this post...this Caramel Cake is so rich and dense mmmmm


And, one last special touch, my brother sent me a birthday card all the way from Italy!! Beautiful beautiful card, and made this birthday a memorable one =D. Apparently a present is waiting for me in England for when I travel there later in February! How sweet is he!


=D xx
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