Monday, October 24, 2011

Sneak peak at my Flats Friday Night Drinks Cupcakes

Laura, Myself and Heather

(Quality control)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Melbourne

Buona sera, my name is Laura and I will be your blogger for the night. 

The delights of Melbourne are many and as varied as there are flavours of ice cream. Amongst the city's beautiful architecture, hidden boutiques and pristine galleries there are also the edible treats that deserve a tasting when one is in town for the week or even just for the day.

I was lucky enough to be in Melbourne for two days and the city did much for all my senses; the general atmosphere was buzzing with life and excitement for the region's Spring Racing Carnival and the Rugby World Cup (ha ha, suckers). Arriving after a three and a half hour train journey, my travelling companion and I scoped out Grill'd, a burger joint for a late dinner. We both chose the "Front Bar" steak sandwich and our needs were quickly and deliciously fulfilled. Free range eggs, rocket, tomato, spanish onion, mustard, beetroot and mayo on a fresh and large loaf of ciabatta. The staff at the Degraves Street (one of the city's hidden lanes) location were jovial and the atmosphere was... shall we say "hopping?" My only gripe for Grill'd was a lack of stable tables. Hm. A lot of seat swapping occurred as a result.

Breakfast Day One: brioche and a hot chocolate from one of the many, many bakeries at the Queen Victoria Market. Buzzing like a hornet's nest and filled with the scents of various foods and flavours, we stumbled through the crowds just to find something to sit on, but the experience was still vastly enjoyable and full of many people-watching opportunities. Inside the main building are sections of stalls that sell just about anything that you can think of and more! Needless to say, with our empty stomachs, we didn't linger around the fresh meat section for long! A whole day could easily be spent there and I look forward to exploring the market further when I'm there next.

Featuring in my lunch was another of the aforementioned brioche loaves and a couple of litres of water -walking around Melbourne on a hot Spring day sure has its perks!

Dinner and everything that follows: Lygon Street, Carlton, North Melbourne. A precinct unlike any other. Italian restaurant after Italian restaurant lines the street and it's difficult to choose where to spend your money. We settled for Tiamo and despite a twenty minute wait, it was so worth it. I scoffed down a mushroom, Spanish olive, parmesan and ham pizza while my erstwhile companion (a.k.a. my mother) opted for carbonara. The service, while stretched to the limit and running around like headless chickens, was fine -all part of the experience in my view and providing some Italian authenticity!
View from Brunetti's, City Square [do excuse the tents =the Wall Street protests]

One of Tiamo's attractions is its delightful neighbour, Readings, a bookshop which is open until 11pm most nights and after spending more money here, we hoofed it across the road to Brunetti's for some coffee. My mother had told me that we were just going to have coffee and as such, I was expecting a low-key cafe with mellow music and relaxed staff. Brunetti's is not like that, at all. When you first enter you are in the bar, a long room that serves every kind of coffee and hot and cold beverage you can think of. Next is the room of the macarons, pastries and gelatos (or should that be gelati?). Finally, there is the room of cakes, tarts and chocolates. The picture that these sections produce is sensational -needless to say, I did not want to leave. Every table was full, customers and staff seemed to be having a ball and of course, the food and drinks were splendid. 
Brunetti's is a Melbourne institution, where you can go for a shot of chilli hot chocolate or a tiramisu tart and a fresh danish. They conveniently have a cute wee branch in Melbourne's City Square (Flinders Lane) and in the city's Myer store.
It is easy to get carried away in ordering dessert here, one must have standards after all -we selected two of five different treats and took a chilli hot chocolate with us.
Afternoon tea at Brunetti's, City Sq.
Brunetti's Lygon St. Precint

Breakfast Day Two: was late. We decided to go to the National Gallery of Victoria, hoping like crazy that there was a cafe there. We had tea and coffee with our breakfast at NGV's Gallery Kitchen: museli and a tomato, ham and cheese toasted sandwich -average but edible. Unfortunately for this "new look" cafe, it was deathly quiet and the staff not so welcoming. The cafe itself is filling a random space in the gallery near the ground floor's plaza so it felt a little lost. Some music would not be out of place, nor would an improved breakfast menu.
Macarons at Lindt

Lunch: Brunetti's in City Square. Delicious! Velvety Italian hot chocolates, a blackcurrent macaron, and filled croissant.

Afternoon tea: the Lindt cafe. Lovely and rather posh-nosh (compared to Brunetti's anyway) but still worth a visit.
And so, that was what, how and where I ate in Melbourne. I look forward to my next trip there when I hope to explore the Chinatown and Greek precincts and write all about it on Chloe's wonderful blog.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Baking: Nanny's Chocolate Cake

Nanny's Chocolate Cake

This is a fabulously easy recipe!

115g Butter
1 Teascup Sugar
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
2 Dessertspoons Cocoa
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
2 Eggs
1 Teacup and 1 Tablespoon Flour
Pinch Salt
1/2 Cup Boiling Water

1. Preheat oven to 160C

2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

3. Add each egg one at a time, beating after each addition.

4. Add flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt and mix until just combined.

5. Add water and beat well, before turning out into a greased cake pan.

6. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes until when a skewer is put in, it comes out clean.

Monday, October 17, 2011

I heart you

I made this cake for my flatmate Laura. In fact i am waiting right now, to go and pick her up from the airport from her first overseas trip ever (to Melbourne). This is her welcome home cake.

I was given the tin from a dear friend of mine Lisa for my birthday and I have been yet to really utilise it, however I must say it is amazing! The cake I made was using my Nanny's (my mother's mother) Chocolate Cake recipe. It brought back many memories, as it was perhaps the first recipe (after scrambled eggs and corn fritters) I ever mastered.

My school friends will be particularly well acquainted with this chocolate cake recipe as it was my fallback recipe throughout high school. I will post the recipe tomorrow!

Carter told me that the heart shaped cake was so cool and that he wanted one when he was in NZ at Christmas!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cake Wreaks

I am loving this website! Not that I saying I am much better than most of these... but these are suppose to be mostly professional! Have a look!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Baking: More Southern Craving Red Velvet Cupcakettes

More Sourthern Craving Red Velvet Cupcakettes

I fear I maybe missing Carter, as this is the second "southern" delicacy I have made in a week! This time instead of using my usual Red Velvet Cake recipe I used the following Red Velvet Cupcakette recipe which works perfectly for 24 little mouthfuls of heaven.

2.5 Cup Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
2 Teaspoons Red Food Colouring
1/2 Cup Butter, Softened, Chopped
1.5 Cups Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
1 Cup Buttermilk - If I don't have buttermilk I use 1 Cup milk and 2 Teaspoons Vinegar left to sit for half an hour
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1. Preheat oven to 180C

2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

3. Add eggs one at a time and mix thoroughly after each addition.

4. Beat in vanilla and food colouring, then dry ingredients (minus baking soda) until just combined.

5. In a separate jug mix baking soda into buttermilk, then pour buttermilk mix into other ingredients and stir until just combined.

6. Put teaspoonfuls of mixture into greased mini muffin tins and bake for 10 minutes.

7. Pipe on cream-cheese butter cream icing to finish.

Yes I decided to make the icing pink for a few...I thought was kinda cute

Baking: Southern Biscuits

Southern Biscuits

After being corrected by Carter every time I offered him a Ginger Biscuit when we were in NZ or Aust, I finally got to try a Southern Biscuit. They are traditionally served with gravy, however I tried them for breakfast filled with Southern Fried Chicken. I will be honest it was delish, however possibly not so good for my waistline! It tasted like a cross between scone and dinner bread roll. I decided to try and make these myself, after a good half hour of googling. 

2.5 Cups Flour
2 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1/2 Cup Butter
3/4 Cup Milk
1 Egg

1. Preheat oven to 200C.

2. Mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a bowl, the grate in cold butter. 

3. In a separate bowl whisk together egg and milk.

4. Add the milk mix to the dry ingredients anmix untill just combined.

5. Turn out on a floured bench and roll or pat out untilis about 1.5cm thick.

6. Cut out rounds and place on a baking paper lined tray.

7. Brush with milk or a milk/egg mix and bake for approximately 10 minutes until risen and golden brown.