Thursday, 31 January 2013

Red Velvet Cake Creations


I used the Red Velvet Recipe (Found here) to make 2 friends birthday cakes. For both cakes I doubled both the red velvet cake and cream cheese frosting recipes.

Cake #1: Two layer red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting in a middle layer and outside. The design of the cake was the girls favourite quote, and her likes of music, and film. This was my first time writing cursive on a cake where I made no mistakes, quite proud of the achievement. The sides of the cake had shredded coconut.


Cake #2: Two of my friends had a joint birthday which was on a boat, so to coincide with the theme, the birthday boy and girl wanted a boat cake. Due to the heat, some of the icing melted and ran through the cake, but the idea is still there.

One of my friends wanted the sun, and then wanted it to be to be turned into Pacman. Therefore, I cut out the mouth and tore some black fondant from the letters to produce the eye. 

Good food, good times!

Red Velvet Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Icing


Red velvet cake, the cake for all occassions, and of course goes best with cream cheese icing. I have tried several red velvet recipes, but this has been the best one to date. So here it is!

Red Velvet Recipe (24 cupcakes/2x20cm cakes/1 layer rectangle cake)

2 1/2 cups of plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 heaped tablespoons of cocoa
2 bottles of red food colouring (100ml)
120g of unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups of sugar
2 eggs (at room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup/250ml buttermilk (at room temperature)
1 teaspoon of white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Beat in an egg, and add second once first is well combined. Add vanilla.
4. In a small separate bowl combine food colouring and cocoa to form a paste.
5. Mix paste into egg mixture.
6. In a large bowl sift flour, baking powder and salt.
7. Add half the flour mixture into the egg mixture, and half the butter milk. Beat well.
8. Add remaining flour and butter milk and beat until well combined.
9. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda (it should fizz). Add into cake batter and combine. 

Cream Cheese Icing 
125g cream cheese room temperature (block)
125g butter room temperature
5 cups of icing sugar (sifted)
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of milk (set aside)

1. Using a mixer, cream together cream cheese and butter until well combined. (i.e. no traces of butter, resulted in a smooth white mixture)
2. Add lemon juice and vanilla.
3. Add in one cup of sifted icing sugar, and mix until combined. Continue to add icing sugar, after each cup is thoroughly mixed through.
4. Depending on the consistency of the icing (how thick or thin you would like it to be) add in milk. Ideally add in one table spoon and combine well to ensure it doesn't become too thin.

Good food, good times!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Vegetarian Marshmallow


This was my second attempt at making vegetarian marshmallow (my first attempt resulted in a pile of goo). My first attempt failed because I used a hand held mixer, for marshmallow to succeed to definitely need a stand mixer. I would still consider this attempt a success as it was edible, however next time I attempt this I will make sure to keep a few things in mind:

1. Add less vanilla. (I found them to have a strong vanilla flavour)
2. Try a lot harder to dissolve the agar powder with the sugar.
3. Mix the marshmallow mixture for longer, for a more stiff marshmallow. 

1 1/2 tablespoons agar agar powder
1 cup water
185ml glucose syrup
1 1/2 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
3 x 59g egg whites

1. Prepare a rectangle baking dish with non stick spray and baking paper. Dust with icing sugar.
2. Combine agar agar powder and water in separate bowl or jug and whisk. Set aside for 5 minutes.
3. In a medium saucepan add glucose syrup, sugar, vanilla essence, vanilla paste and agar agar mixture. Stir over a low heat, using a whisk to ensure agar agar has dissolved and forms a thick syrup.
4. Using a candy thermometer, allow the mixture to reach 105 degrees Celsius and continue to simmer for 8 minutes (ensuring temperature doesn't exceed 105 degrees Celsius).
5. Using an electric STAND mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks and then add the hot sugar syrup in a steady stream.
*At this point, the mixer should be turned on at medium speed while the sugar syrup is added, and leave to mix. DO NOT STOP THE MIXER.
6. Turn mixer to high and mix for at least 8 minutes. (The original recipe said 3, but I found that not long enough). At this stage you can add colour to the mixture (1/4 tsp should be sufficient).
7. Using a spatula, evenly spread the mixture in prepared tin and dust with icing sugar.
8. Leave a side to completely cool. (This can range from 20 min to a few hours). I let it set a side for a few hours, just to be make sure it was completely cooled.
9. Turn out onto bench top or cutting mat and cut to desired size, further coating all sides in icing sugar. 
When it comes to cutting the marshmallow, you can use different cookie cutters if you want different sizes or it is for a certain themed event or you can stick to traditional cubes. Furthermore, I used a combination of corn flour and icing sugar, to make the outside not so sticky and the marshmallow less sweet.

In the end, it was a great recipe for Vegetarian Marshmallows. I was making these marshmallow for a a couple of vegetarian friends, so I put them in a jar. 

Thanks to Cassandra from for the great recipe. When asking questions about her recipe she was fast to reply and provided great feedback. Thank you!

Good food, good times!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Pandan Chiffon Cake


First recipe of 2013! I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year. 

Coming from Vietnamese origins, I have a slight obsession with Pandan. My first post was Pandan Mania where I made pandan waffles and pandan icecream, both recipes which to this day don't fail me. This time around I attempted to make a Pandan Chiffon Cake.

There were a few issues with this cake, where I think there may have been a bit of fat in the eggwhites, and I slightly undercooked the cake. Even with these issues, the cake was still nice, and was enjoyed by all those that tried it. Will definitely try again.

The recipe was guided by wendyinkk making pandan chiffon cake.

5 eggs (separated into whites and yolks)
1/4tsp lemon juice
200g sugar
150g flour
180g thick coconut milk
70g pandan extract (I followed Wendyinkk instructions for pandan extract)
**NOTE: you may need to remove some of the water in the extract for a better pandan flavour.

1. Preheat oven to 175 Degrees Celsius.
2. Combine coconut milk and pandan extract in a large bowl. Add  flour and mix to produce a batter and set aside.

3. Beat egg whites until frothy, and add in lemon juice. Continue to beat egg whites until medium peaks are formed.

4. Gradually add in 100g of sugar and beat until stiff peaks.
5. In another bowl beat egg yolks and 100g sugar until thick and pale.

6. Fold egg yolk mixture into batter (2).
7. Mix in 1/4 of egg whites into batter until well combined.
8. Fold in remaining egg whites into batter.

9. Pour mixture into a deep baking pan. (I used a bundt cake tin)
10. Bake for 45-50 minutes
11. Remove cake from oven, and allow to sit in baking pan for a few minutes before inverting to cool.

Unfortunately, I didn't get as much height as I would have liked, and you can see the undercooked part of the cake. Due to this, the result was a slightly more dense cake. It  was liked by some people, but traditional Pandan Chiffon Cake is soft like a sponge. Will definitely need to try again!

Good food, good times!

Windows on the Park Restaurant @ Pullman Hotel, Sydney


As a belated birthday celebration for one of my closest girlfriends 21st birthday, we went to Windows on the Park Restaurant. The restaurant is located inside Sydney's Pullman HotelIt is a relatively small restaurant, that provides a wonderful view of Hyde Park, with the ability to see part of Sydney's War Memorial Monument. 

Complimentary bread with flower shaped butter

Roasted quail with baby beetroot, fried calvolo nero and puy lentils
Calvolo neo is a type of kale that provides a slight bitterness to a dish. The quail was succulent, filled with flavour and the roasted baby beetroot was delicious. 

Harvey Bay oysters with key lime sorbet and seawater pearls
An ample serving of oysters for an entrée which was strangely not served with lemon wedges. The sea water pearls were very salty. I think fresh oysters with lemon can't go wrong.

Slow cooked pork belly with tonka beans and red miso
This was my entrée  and I found the serving to be very generous. The pork belly was beautifully cooked, but my only wish would be for a crispier skin. The sauces accompanied the pork belly well, providing a subtle Asian twist.
Sherry vinegar cured Yellowfin tuna belly with Iberico ham, red capsicum and almond crunch
A refreshing entrée filled with flavour and texture. All the elements were fun to try, and delightful. It is very appropriate dish if you don't want a warm entrée.

Rosemary infused Riverina lamb cutlets with baby gem lettuce and truss cherry tomato
One of my friends always orders lamb, just the same as how I always order duck. The lamb was juicy, and always goes well with rosemary. It was filled with colours and flavours of summer.

Roasted muscovy duck with braised Belgium endive
You can't go wrong with ordering duck as a main course. The duck was slightly overcooked, which made it a bit chewy but didn't disappoint the taste buds. I loved the carrots and mushrooms, made the dish much better.

Sage scented grain-fed beef eye fillet in red wine, softened chats and oyster mushrooms
The grain-fed beef was cooked to my friends request of medium, which is always a good thing when it comes to ordering steak. The caramelised mushrooms were succulent, and potatoes with steak can never go wrong.

Palette of chocolate with peanuts and popcorn ice cream
This serving was massive, and a great end to the meal. The popcorn ice cream was topped with popcorn and caramel and contained peanuts within it. The palette of chocolate was rich with flavour and enough to share between two people consideringthe size of the entrées and mains.

Dark ganache with pistachio soil and Malibu flavoured summer fruits
Spoonfuls of ganache with mango/coconut flavoured sauce. The pistachios added a subtle crunch.The ganache was intense, no one was able to finish all of this. 

Ricotta cheesecake with toffee glaze, walnut chutney and meringue
A light dessert for those not wooed by the power of chocolate. It wasn't as heavy as some cheesecakes may be. The nuttiness of the walnut chutney was delectable. 

The overall dining experience was delightful, with the staff assisting us in many ways possible. 

Good food, good times!