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Sunday, 28 April 2013

MakMak @ Newtown

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Finally, MakMak have created a retail store! This happened after originally being a pop-up store, and has now become a permanent resident of Newtown. MakMak was named the best macaron in Sydney, by a blind taste test conducted by 3 of Sydney's best chefs (Time Out Sydney Article). They provide exceptional flavours, with their current Botanicals Collection that is inspired by flowers, herbs and plants. Each macarons costs $3.00 each, but if you get more they become cheaper. I purchased 12 for $32.


Flavours (from top left corner):
Rhubarb & Rose: This was one of my favourite macaron flavours. There was a lovely balance of sweetness with the tartness of the rhubarb jelly centre.  
Passionfruit, Orange & Lemon Myrtle: I do enjoy my citrus flavours, but this was filled with so much flavour that it was a bit overwhelming for me. Lucky I was enjoying it with a cup of tea, which helped with the intensity of the macaron. 
Apricot & Elderflower: The taste of Autumn was definitely encased in this macaron. There were lovely pieces of apricot with the apricot ganache which made all the difference. 
Peanut butter & Belgian chocolate: Another one of my favourite macarons. It was like snickers in a macaron, but better! It was more so a peanut and chocolate, than actual peanut butter. Too good to eat slow.
Pistachio: It is a classic macaron, that can't fail (when bought of course). A great rendition of a classic.
Peppermint & Dark Belgian chocolate: Another favourite! I love things mint, and this is something to add to all things mint. A lovely balance with peppermint and chocolate. I was eating it slow to savour it all.
Salted Caramel: I was actually a bit disappointed with this one. The shell was crunchier than the others, and not enough of a salted taste. Then again, maybe I received an odd one of the bunch.
Raspberries & Cream: Gotta love raspberries! It was a lovely balance between white chocolate and raspberries. 
Smoked Vanilla & Pecan Praline: This was an interesting macaron. I could, yet couldn't get the taste of the macaron. The nuttines of the pecan was definitely there though! 
Green Tea Latte: A different twist on the new phase of green tea flavoured macarons. There was a bit more of a sweetness to it. I loved how there was a little white love heart on the shell.
Strawberry, Vincotto & Pink Peppercorn: This was my least favourite. I found the pink peppercorn to be overpowering, along with the wine type taste. The flavours were conflicting, and just didn't work for me.
Bounty: Coconut all around! There was a coconut centre that was bound by ganache. The chocolate half shell gave the taste of the bounty chocolate bar.

Overall, MakMak macarons are a delight! There shells keep in perfect form and reminds me of those from Melbourne's La Belle Miette. The flavours are more subtle than competitors such as zumbo and baroque. However, they are definitely worthy of being Sydney's number 1 macaron.


Sunday, 21 April 2013

Blackflower Patisserie @ Haymarket

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Blackflower patisserie is a new pastisserie, that is a side business with Passionflower (the ice creamery). It opened at the end of 2012, and still building a reputation. They offer an assortment sweet delights including macarons, cakes, biscuits, teas and coffee. All their desserts provide a combination of great flavours.

The pastisserie has a handful of tables which can seat roughly 20-30 people. There is a lovely display of macaron towers, cook books, and empty patron bottles. They have their blackflower bags as decoration for their cabinets, and shelves. A nice place to catch up with friends over some sweets and beverages. Each macaron costs $3.00, and the cakes are around $7-8 each. 

 Panda - Black Sesame

How cute are these macarons?! They were a limited edition macaron that they used for a club promotion. I loved how the other side of the macaron had a little tail. The black sesame was a great flavour, that wasn't too strong but still had the kick. It was almost too cute to eat.

Hamburger 

Another cute looking macaron, I thought it might actually taste like a hamburger but staff said otherwise. The inside contained a patty of chocolate ganache, cheese made of yellow hard icing, and tomato sauce using red icing. The sesames put on top of the macaron, made it look that more realistic. The ganache was smooth and helped counteract the taste of fondant (which I don't like, but others may).


Salted Caramel

This was the most subtle tasting salted caramel macaron I have ever tried. It didn't have the kick that most salted caramel macarons had, needed just a touch more saltyness.

Chocolate with cafe patron

When I saw this, I couldn't not buy it. The idea of chocolate with cafe patron is a combination I would have never considered. There was a perfect balance with chocolate, and you could definitely taste the patron. A great treat for those who always like a bit of alcohol in their desserts.

 Wasabi and white chocolate

I thought, that these two flavours would work, but it just wasn't right. I could taste too much of the wasabi, but the white chocolate did help a bit, just not enough. 

 Green tea and genmaicha

Genmaicha is the blend of brown rice with green tea, which adds a slightly roasted nutty taste. The macaron had a great taste of green tea, as other places have a stronger taste of vanilla or chocolate.




Envy - Japanese green tea, white chocolate and black sesame

All the cakes have very interesting names, such as pash, orgy, envy, hangover, and you can kinda get the gist of it. Going a long with the Asian inspired desserts, this was the best of all the dessert options. The layers of blacksesame, and green tea were amazing! The white chocolate added a bit more sweetness against the slightly bitter green tea.

 
Dessert of the day - Passionfruit and Lychee Bomb

This sounded delicious, looked great, and has one of my favourite flavours of passionfruit. However, for the first time the passionfruit flavour was too overpowering for me. It needed a bit of chocolate to help balance it out. The passionfruit overtook the flavour of the lychee as well.

  
Dessert of the day - Green tea and white chocolate treat

This was a little egg of joy. The bottom layer was white chocolate mousse, topped with a green tea ganache and garnished with coated cornflakes. It wasn't like anything I expected or ever tried before. The green tea ganache was the highlight of it, definitely something I will try to attempt one day.

Blackflower provides desserts that are filled with flavour. There are a lot of options, for those who love intense flavours, and for others who enjoy a bit more subtlety. 

Good food, good times!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Pandan Graduation Cupcakes

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The sad moment when most of your friends start to graduate and you are still doing your degree. Even though it is a sad moment, I made it a happy moment by getting out my creative skills and creating graduation cupcakes, with an all time favourite flavour of pandan.

Pandan Cupcakes (recipe guided by muchamunch)
Makes 12 standard cupcakes


Ingredients
125g butter (softened)
1/2 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup caster sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 eggs
3 tbsp milk
1-2tsp of pandan essence

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius. 
2. Using an electric or hand held mixer, combine sugar and butter until pale.
3. Add one egg and combine. Add additional egg once the first is well combined.
4. Add in pandan essence, and combine. 5. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
6. Add half the flour mixture, and half the milk into the green mixture, mix well.
7. Once combined, add the remaining flour and m
ilk. The mixture should be nice and smooth.


8. Spoon mixture 2/3 in cupcake cases, and bake for 20 minutes.



NOTE**: I used 2 teaspoons in my attempt, but I found that it turned out too green for my liking. Since I have only made this once, I am not sure what colour it would turn out when using 1 teaspoon.

Buttercream Frosting

75g butter (softened) 
1 1/4 cups of icing sugar (sifted)
1tsp vanilla bean paste
2 tsp milk

1. Using an electric mixture, mix the butter until it becomes pale (almost white)
2. Gradually add in sifted icing sugar (one heaped spoon at a time), and continue adding spoonfuls once each previous spoon is combined.
3. Add milk 1 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency. Do not add too much.
4. Add in vanilla bean paste and combine.

NOTE** The addition of milk changes the consistency of the buttercream, so depending on how stiff or runny you would like the icing, depends on how much milk you add. If you feel that the icing is to your desired consistency without milk, then don't add it.


Graduation Hats
Materials:
Mini peanut reese's cups 
Melting chocolate (milk or dark)
Lindt chocolate block (milk or dark) - 10 individual pieces
Writing icing - any colour of choice.
White fondant/hard icing
Toothpicks

NOTES:

- Which ever chocolate you  use, ensure you get matching chocolates. i.e. milk melting chocolate, with milk lindt chocolate or vice versa.
- For the lindt chocolate, I used the thin flat block (blue packet) not the red packet.
- If you dont want to use block chocolate, you can melt chocolate and place in a piping bag and draw our your own squares to desired size.
- Miniature reese's cups can be found at costco or any speciality stores

Method
1. Melt 100g melting chocolate. (I used the microwave)
2. Carefully remove foil wrapper on mini reese's chocolate cup, and poke with a toothpick.
3. Dip into melted chocolate, and place on wax proof paper and remove toothpick.
4. Refrigerate until hardened (15 minutes). 
5. Neatly cut the lindt chocolate block into individual pieces.
6. Once reese's cups are hardened, place on cupcake (bottom side up).
7. Add a little bit of melted chocolate on top, and place lindt block on top (writing side down).
8. Leave to set.
9. Using writing icing,  add a tassel from the centre of the lindt block and drag to one side and leave to hang.
10. Using the fondant or hard icing, roll out small graduations scrolls.
11. Add little bow detail using writing icing.

As you can see, my bottom part was coated in dark chocolate, and I placed a milk chocolate lindt piece on top, and it looks funny. So I strongly advise using same coloured chocolate.


I made two cupcakes blank and using black writing icing to say Congrats Graduates. I wish all the graduates the best of luck, and hope they enjoyed the cupcakes!

Good food, good times!

Monday, 1 April 2013

100TH POST! Easter Tea Party

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HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE! But also a HAPPY 100TH POST! I am not sure if it is really a milestone, but to me it seems to be. After blogging for almost 2 years, I continue to find joy with it, and hopefully it is helpful to some people. Anyways, going on with Easter, my girlfriends decided to host a high tea at my house, where everyone was to bring a savoury and sweet dish. It was a great first high tea, and hopefully be one of many catch ups! 

My contribution was a Strawberry and Watermelon Cake (the famous one from black star pastry), however the cake part didn't quite turn out, so instead it became a tart (by using puff pastry and used baking beads to flatten it). So I will definitely be trying this recipe again, if you are after the recipe it can be found here on Gourmet Traveller: strawberry and watermelon cake recipe. 

Collection of tea pots


Victorian style tea set that has been with the family for years

My Easter display, lindt chocolates in a basket

Ham, cheese & cucumber, and turkey, spinach & avocado sandwiches


Hedgehog slice


Mini pandan cupcakes and vanilla, coconut, pandan tarts


Date pastries and toasted oregano and tomato sandwiches


Strawberry and watermelon tart

Cross section of the tart

The tart and I

The lovely girls! xx

Good food, good times!