Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Vegetarian Marshmallow with chocolate crackle and Milo = Success!


Every year the food bloggers picnic comes around and I struggle to figure out what to bring, i.e. Sweet VS Savoury. This year, I went with sweet and it was a smart decision. I decided to make vegetarian marshmallow. I have a few vegetarian friends, and I know that marshmallows is one of those things they want to eat but can't due to gelatin. I further decided to add my own twist to it by adding chocolate crackle and milo, which proved to be a great success. 

I left both my marshmallow and chocolate crackle overnight to ensure they were firm to cut through. However, both can be made within a few hours with appropriate cooling time. I apologise for the lack of photos in this post, I didn't expect a complete success. I have a few photos from a previous attempt which I thought was successful, but wasn't compared to this time around. Vegetarian marshmallow attempt 2

The original recipe is guided by She was able to reply to comments in a fast and quick manner which allowed for a great result!

Vegetarian Marshmallow
1 1/2 tablespoons of agar agar powder (generallly found in Asian supermarkets)
1 cup of luke warm water
185ml glucose syrup
1 1/2 caster sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
3 x 59g free range egg whites
1/4 teaspoon of food colouring/paste (optional)

1. Prepare a rectangle baking dish by lining with baking paper and dust with pure icing sugar. (I used a spring form rectangular baking dish e.g.rectangle springform)
2. In a jug, combine agar agar and water. Set aside for 5 minutes, stirring once every minute.
3. In a medium saucepan add glucose syrup, sugar, vanilla paste and agar agar mixture. Stir over a low heat, using a wooden spoon to ensure agar agar has dissolved and forms a thick syrup.
4. Using a candy thermometer, allow the mixture to reach 105 degree celsius, and then continue to simmer for 8 minutes. *maintaining the temperature is important, so DO NOT LEAVE the stove top.
5. Using an electric stand mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks.
6. Keeping the electric mixer on a medium speed, add in the hot syrup in a steady stream and mix on high for 3-8 minutes. DO NOT STOP THE MIXER. At this point you can add colour. 

(The time can vary depending on the mixer you have, I have a KitchenAid and I mixed for 6-7 minutes to ensure it wasn't too runny). You are looking for a thick and glossy mixture that is still moist. 

7. Using a spatula, spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan and dust with icing sugar. 
8. Place another sheet of baking paper on top of the marshmallow to press down and create an even and flat marshmallow surface.
9. Set aside to set for a few hours or overnight.

Chocolate Crackle
The chocolate crackle is on the side of most Rice Bubbles packages, but if you are not familiar with the recipe it is:

4 cups Rice Bubbles
1 cup sifted icing sugar
1 cup desiccated coconut
4 Tbsp Cocoa powder
250g Copha (found in the butter section of your supermarket)

1. Line a baking tray with baking paper (that is close to the same size of marshmallow baking dish) and lightly spray with oil.
2. Combine rice bubbles, icing sugar, coconut and cocoa powder in a large bowl.
3. Slowly melt Copha using microwave ( at 1-2 minute intervals) or stove top. Allow to slightly cool.
4. Add melted Copha to rice bubbles mixture until well combined.
5. Spoon the mixture onto the baking tray and spread evenly. 
6. Place another sheet of baking paper on top and press lightly to ensure the chocolate crackle and is evenly spread.
7. Refrigerate until firm or until needed.

Preparing the treat
1.Turn out the marshmallow on a clean baking tray leaving both sheets of baking paper. Or in my case I removed the spring form part of the tray. Remove the top sheet of baking paper.
2.Turn out the chocolate crackle from the baking tray leaving both sheets of baking paper. (The top of the crackle should be the smoother layer of chocolate that had settled at the bottom) and place back on the tray. Remove the now top layer of baking paper.
3. Carefully holding the baking tray, place the chocolate side down on top of the marshmallow allowing them to align as much as they can. (The chocolate crackle should be firm so it shouldn't break)
4. The marshmallow will stick to the chocolate side of the crackle. Carefully hold and flip both baking trays at the same time so the marshmallow ends up being on top. Remove baking paper.
5. Using clean string, fishing line or dental floss, create lines in the marshmallow as cutting guidelines.
6. Using a sharp knife, cut along the lines into the crackle.
7. Finish off by dusting over milo.
8. Marshmallow is now ready to be served! Place out of heat and sunlight and keep covered until ready to eat.

Good food, good times!

Sydney Food Bloggers Picnic 2013


Hello! I know this post is a bit late, but better late than never right? This year celebrated the 5th Annual Sydney Food Bloggers Picnic. This was my 3rd time going to the picnic, and every year I able to put face to blogs, meet new bloggers and enjoy great food! Even though the weather was unpredictable throughout the entire morning, we were all glad that the rain cleared by the afternoon when the picnic started! Thank you to Helen ( and Suze ( for organising the event, without you both, there wouldn't be food bloggers picnic!

Crackling from Mr Crackles! They provided a total of 25kg worth of crackling for the food bloggers to devour! =D

Amazing macarons by

Not sure who brought these, but they were tasty! Perfectly flavoured

A great picnic isn't without rice paper rolls provided:

I wish my pandan chiffon cake turned out like this:

Tasty little parcels despite what she thought!

Peach Cobbler

Calling for eating time!!

Deep fried cheese by and 
pork & fennel sausage rolls by

Mango-misu (not sure who made this either)

How food bloggers take photos...

I do not know who made this too but I am on the hunt for them! It was delicious!!!!!

Evil secret santa begins!

After all the stealing and present opening, Suze in the end was happy to swap with me! Thanks Suze!

It was a lovely afternoon meeting new people and eating with people who all have a common food interest! Thanks again to Helen and Suze!

Good food, good times!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The Hub House Diner @ Dulwich Hill


It has been more than a month since my last post due to the end of another uni semester, and exams, but I am now back in the blogging scene.  People are constantly looking for a place for a good burger, and Hub House Diner is one of  those places. It has a great diner vibe with bubbly wait staff and food for all times of the day. They are open Tuesday to Sunday for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner offering great food at affordable prices! I went with my sister and sister-in-law for dinner.

House Chargrilled beef burger
My sister-in-law ordered the burger that had the bacon. The burger may look smaller in the pictures, but there is more than meets the eye.

Half Chargrilled Basted Chicken - Hickory Smoked BBQ Sauce
You can choose between a lemon chilli, or hickory smoked BBQ sauce. The half chicken serving was the largest half chicken serving I have ever seen. Apart from the serving size, there was a generous amount of coleslaw and fries too. The coleslaw wasn't extremely creamy, which allowed for a light side. The hickory sauce is smokey and slightly sticky. It was finger-licking goodness.

Hub Beef Cheese Burger
I thought I would start with the basics which is a cheeseburger with the standard trimmings of cheese, onion, gherkin, mustard and tomato sauce.  It may be simple in nature, but a fantastic burger! I found the burgers clean to eat without sacrificing any droppings. All the burgers come with a side of fries, which are crunchy and have a chicken salt that is slightly lemony.

Deconstructed pumpkin pie
The desserts became a must when we started seeing other people get desserts and how tasty they looked. Our favourite was the deconstructed pumpkin pie. It had elements of a sweet pumpkin mousse, meringue, honeycomb, cream and pistachio soil. The pumpkin mousse was amazing! The flavour was strong, and sweet but not overpowering. The honeycomb and pistachio soil added crunch against the cloud like meringue. I feel that this is a must order!

Eton Mess
Eton mess was great as well. It has meringue, macerated fruit, whipped cream, lemon curd, raspberry coulis, pistachio soil and topped with a honeycomb marshmallow. It is a dessert calling summer with the bright colours and flavours. The meringue crunch cut through the soft ingredients. The honeycomb marshmallow was delicious. The dessert became too sweet (never thought I would say that) over time, which made is slightly sickening. However, we still finished it! 

Love the quote on the takeaway box

Hub House Diner is a great place for dinner, and I definitely want to check it out during breakfast and lunch. The serving sizes are generous, where none of use actually finished our fries, and we all love fries! The service is fantastic, and the food was great. All mains are under $30 (with burger and fries less than $20), and desserts under $15. 

Good food, good times!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Philippine Food Festival in Cafe Mix @ Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney


October - Good Food Month is the best yet worst month for a foodie. With an influx in food deals and events, it is hard to choose which events you want to go to. As part of Good Food Month myself and a few bloggers were invited to the launch of the Philippine Food Festival. 

The Philippine Food Festival involves a lunch ($48 pp, 12-230pm) or dinner ($75pp, 6-10.30pm)  buffet option at Cafe Mix inside the Shangri-La Hotel. Bringing the tastes of Philippines to Australian shores, by actually have 2 chefs from the Philippines cooking up a storm. The buffet has a salad bar, dessert bar, bain maries filled with food (mostly meat based), and a halo halo station! Available from the 1st - 15th October 2013.

Roasted meats

Banana leaf grilled fish

Pork knuckle cooked in sweet soy sauce

Crispy pork Belly

Seared ox tail in peanut sauce

Bain Maries!

Rice noodle with smoked fish and shrimp sauce

Seared mussles in ginger broth

Chef making pork sisig

Ox Tripe & ox feet menudo

Pork with tomato based sauce and capsicums

Grouper sour broth with miso

Grilled blue marlin with anatto oil

Squid with chilli and coconut milk

Salad bar

Salad bar

Plate 1: All meats, no greens

Plate 2

My aim was to try as many components as possible, yet still have room for dessert! As you can see from the photos, Filipino food isn't very vegetarian friendly. However, for all the non vegetarians our there, Philippine Food Festival is a great way to taste the flavours of the Philippines. 

My favourite of all the dishes was the mussels and pork sisig. The pork sisig had amazing fresh flavours, with a kick of spice. It was also topped with a bit of Japanese mayonnaise, which finished it perfectly. This was my first time eating Filipino food, and I find it extremely hard to describe the flavours of Philippines. It doesn't have the distinct spice of thai food or nuttiness of Malaysian food. Filipino food is filled with flavour, sauciness and overall delicious. I know that lacks description, but hopefully the photos do it justice. Now onto desserts!

Meringue Roulade filled with vanilla custard

Vanilla sponge layered with cream and mixed fruit

Glutinous rice topped with raw sugar

Glutinous rice with chocolate

Leche Flan

Ube pudding

Young coconut with pine jelly, fresh fruit and 
mixed fruit with cream and condensed milk

Halo Halo station


Halo Halo with fruit, jellies and ice cream!

All the desserts were delicious! The various glutinous rice dishes were unique in there own way. The leche flan was fantastic, it had a perfect balance of egginess and sweetness. The meringue roulande with vanilla custard was delectable. A soft meringue texture, with vanilla custard yet a crisp top layer, need to find out how to replicate such a dessert. Ube pudding was pefect,  I wish I wasn't so full so I could have gone for another plate of that alone.

Halo halo is a popular Filipino dessert consisting of shaved ice, evaporated milk and other toppings of your choice (as if you are picking toppings for froyo). It is traditionally presented in a cup, but I wanted a bowl to fill it up. It can be an acquired concept, but delicious in every way.

The Philippine Food Festival was a great way to experience the flavours of Philippines. The buffet means a fulfilling dining experience, and the desserts alone are a reason to have a taste. 

Good food, good times!