July 2008


We again visited Zumbos this week, this time, without getting lost on the way. It seems we are always going to be destined to forget something, as we were armed with no camera, but with the brochure Suze kindly pointed us to last time. So no glorious instore shots…but we might just be able to get the cake names and components right this time =)

Dulce de Leche Eclair: 

Pate aux choux, dulce de leche creme patissier

I have been drooling over (the very sophisticated sounding) ‘dulce de leche’ for a long time, due mostly to my infatuation with reading food blogs at night when I am likely to be hungry. And so, when I saw this on offer, I immediately started pulling on Tim’s sleeve and begging him for it. We weren’t disappointed. Perfect choux pastry, smothered in caramel and sprinkled liberally with toffee pieces, enclosing a silky smooth, ultra sweet creme patissier. I was literally off in a Fuko-style starfish-eyed daze, broken only because a) I couldn’t work out how to photograph the thing, without it looking like some sort of rabid sea-monster, or worse, and b) someone was reaching for the next cake!

 

Tanzanie: 

Flourless chocolate biscuit, chocolate jelly, chocolate ganache, vanilla brulee, chocolate mousse & chocolate meringue

Last time, we had been devastated to see, that after reading the description, they were sold out of the Tanzanie. So this time, the moment we saw it, we had to have it. We weren’t disappointed at all. A crispy rich chocolate biscuit base, followed by a slightly sweeter meringue made the cake a little hard to cut into, but that was fine. On top, a layer of smooth and creamy vanilla brulee – I think I fell in love around this point – topped with chocolate ganache, and then mousse. The ganache was just bitter enough to cut through the sweetness of the brulee. On top, I believe it was topped with a super thin layer of chocolate jelly…but I wasn’t sure, since it melted in one’s mouth just like a dark chocolate ganache would. Admittedly, it was the chocolate jelly, and vanilla brulee that drew my attention, so while the latter did not fail to please, I thought the jelly’s presence could be emphasised more.

Citron tart:

 

Pate sable, lemon creme

Knowing how much I enjoyed all the citrus cremes last time we visited, I couldn’t pass this one up. The simple lemon tart…but oh my, what an experience. The lemon creme was unctuously smooth and practically flowed when we cut into the tart, while the pastry was sweet and balanced the tartness of the filling. Dad was slightly amused at the menu’s odd use of both French and English though – in French, I think it would be ‘tart au citron’, and in English, ‘lemon tart’, but that didn’t stop him from indulging in the other half of the tart!

Chocolate fondant:

Flourless. Chocolate. A giant cube of chocolate ganache. That’s all I really need to say. Although, I did enjoy it with some cream spooned over, just to ‘lighten’ it a bit.

(more…)

Here is the obligatory photoshoot from our recent trip to…

I carried out tasting over a few days – I’m not sure Tim has had a chance to try all of these yet, so I might just have to make a trip out to his place to…’help’…him in finishing them all up! But one thing worth noting – these all kept rather well, even on the fourth day after we bought them. The macarons were just starting to get a little soft, but that would be the natural consequence of not sealing the bag well, and the fact that they were filled.

But first up, the gorgeous Miss Marple:

Unfortunately for this starlet, she didn’t travel particularly well, and her crisp toffee accessory had begun to melt by the time we got around to devouring her. Although that made the rest of the box rather sticky, the resulting glaze on the rest of her was rather nice – like caramel had been drizzled on top. The tart was filled with an orange creme, and topped with strawberries. I wasn’t entirely sure about the combination, but it worked well enough. The base was probably a bit softer than it was supposed to be, due to the melted toffee shard noted above, but still very nice and not too heavy.

Pate sable, maple syrup royale, orange creme & fresh strawberries

Chocolate Sacher:

Up next, we have this devilishly decadent delight… I think it was called Chocolate Sacher, but bad me didn’t take notes. Next time, I will remember to take photos of the names of things we order! I didn’t bother working out what was in this – the whole thing tasted like one huge dark chocolate truffle – meltingly mudcake-like, with an almost indecent amount of chocolate ganache. I only had a maybe one inch cube piece, but it was quite sufficient. Definitely for the die-hard chocolate fans, and definitely to be bought again.

Wild Strawberry and Lime Millefeuille:

Once again, we’re only guessing at the name of this, but Millefeuille sounds about right. This was my absolute favorite out of all 4 cakes. In it, there were layers of puff pastry, the many fine crispy leaves at the top and bottom of the cake, that give it its name. I was very impressed by the way it remained crispy, and didn’t go soggy, even 2 days after we bought it. Was the top brushed with sugar? Whatever it was, it was good.
Just underneath was a lime filling. It wasn’t quite as sour as the one in the cake below, but that might just be because it wasn’t fighting for dominance with the sweetness of chocolate. Still ultra-good, I think all these citrus fillings were really well done and balanced everything out really well.
But admittedly, it was the layer of wild strawberry jelly that absolutely stole the show. I might have eaten this layer all by itself (and all by myself!) if it weren’t for the fact that other people wanted some of the cake too! Like the ripest, sweetest strawberries, plucked straight off the plants from my highschool farm, and made into a jelly with a tart jam-like consistency. My mouth is watering just remembering it…
The cake which separated the jelly from the lime had absorbed both flavours by the time we ate this cake, and so was nicely moist.
Separated, each layer was good, altogether, I thought it was really nicely balanced and simply worked. Would love to try making this at some point…I think it’s doable. But until then, perhaps it will provide just one of many excuses to go back.

Caramelised puff pastry, lime mascarpone creme, wild strawberry jelly & biscuit jaconde

Cinque Terre:

Neither Tim or I can remember the name of this. He thinks it might be the name of an Italian town starting with ‘C’ Edit:  Chocolatesuze has kindly let us know it was called Cinque Terre-  which makes sense, ‘5 layers of ‘earth’?…but I have no clue. Whatever it was, it wasn’t bad. The meringue topping on top is so pretty, but began to slide off by the time it made it home, as you might be able to see in the photograph. It was sweet, but not overly so. It was followed by a layer of milk chocolate ‘something’, it wasn’t quite a ganache, and didn’t taste like it was all milk chocolate – i suspect there was some hazelnut or something in there that i have forgotten. Once again, highlighting how important it is to make notes!
That was followed by a lemon filling – perfectly balanced between sourness and sweetness, it cuts through the richness of the cake really well, and gives it something special. I wouldn’t have thought of that combination myself, but it somehow works. Underneath that, was a chocolate jaconde, but I was in a hurry to get to the chocolate mousse below that. Very creamy, but I would have liked a bit more of a pronounced chocolate taste – perhaps it is because Tim and I like our mousse recipe too much to concede that anyone else’s is better! One thing I didn’t like about it though, was the unexpected presence of dates or prunes, whatever they were (I don’t eat them much, so unless it’s a sultana, I honestly couldn’t tell you what it was). Just not to my liking. I ended up scouring the rest of each spoonful very carefully for them. Finally, the base was a chocolate jaconde layer, with a layer of dark chocolate underneath. It was dense and rich.

Flourless chocolate biscuit. citron creme, raspberry cremeux, candied vanilla olives, chocolate cinnamon mousse

So my favourite was the Millefeuile, followed by the Chocolate Sacher, and then Miss Marple. I suppose I’m not quite as fond as the last unnamed one as the others, although presentation-wise, it certainly ranks highly. I now have a craving to try my hand at a layered cake. Perhaps I should wait for other dedicated bakers to be around before I try.

Macaron mugshots follow after the break.

(more…)

I ran into a celebrity today. Well, a few, in a way. Guess who…^^

Tim and I decided to pay a visit to Balmain. After getting lost a couple times, we eventually found ourselves driving down Darling Street, keeping an anxious eye out for…

After hearing multiple rave reviews about the cakes and macarons on various Sydney foodblogs, we decided we simply had to pay a visit. And judging only by the quality of the eyecandy, it was very much worth the hour-or-so detour. Adriano Zumbo is tucked away rather discreetly in Balmain, no flashy window-displays or gigantic signs…but when you walk inside, it’s difficult to resist the temptation of elbowing your way through the laid-back saturday-afternoon shoppers to peer, like children in a candy store, at the wondrous creations underneath the glass counter. And the smell…Freshly baked bread and pastries…I was tempted to skip dinner and go straight for some of the many delectable items on offer (it was probably a good thing I didn’t, but more on that later). My photos do the cakes and pastries themselves no justice, I’m afraid.

We boxed up 4 cakes, and a dozen macarons to sample, I’ll try to write up some reviews on what we bought later. (But will return soon, I hope, to try some more!)

But that’s not all we saw there…

(more…)

I’ve spent most of my high school years defending the goodness of the pumpkin. My friends seem to hate it, calling it all manner of foul names, all of which I’ve staunchly maintained were false and misguided. Maybe they had had bad experiences, but not I – memories of golden tender slices of roast pumpkin, and soothing warming soups swam before me. One of my favourite Japanese restaurants even gave complimentary bowls of pumpkin soup the moment one sat down, causing one of my closest friends to forevermore abandon the place. A tragedy, indeed.

Yet, I could never see anything wrong with this sweet vegetable, especially in its soup form. It’s like a little ray of liquid sunshine on a cold winter’s day, the perfect thing to curl up in a patch of sun with, alongside fluffy slippers and a good book. The addition of a dollop of full cream, crispy garlic croutons, maybe even bacon and chives if we were feeling decadent…pure bliss.

But no longer. I have been traumatised by today’s attempt at cooking, and am no longer certain where my loyalties lie. I admit, to cowardly running scared from the kitchen, leaving my poor dad to clean up what remained of the pumpkin soup.

(more…)

When I first saw Fanny‘s picture of these gorgeous snail-like green tea and vanilla sables, I just knew I had to make something similar. I mean, it would be so perfect for my new blog…

So hurriedly, I read the recipe, nodded happily and set out to conquer a new recipe. But then, silly child that I am…I remembered that I wasn’t a huge fan of matcha. And decided to go chocolate instead. Substituted cocoa powder for the matcha powder. All good, right? Vanilla and chocolate? What could go wrong? 

And see, they are really pretty, aren’t they?

 

Then I tasted my attempt. *Insert failure noise here*.

(more…)

While this is the first time I’ve made any attempt at foodblogging, I’ve somehow managed to store up a few photos here and there of various encounters with food…mostly chocolate really.

In a trip to Singapore at the beginning of the year, we really could not resist walking by Haagen-Daz’s fondue set and made a valiant attempt at demolishing it. 3 different types of chocolate icecream, banana…

…pineapple, apple, marshmallows, breadsticks, waffles…

…and mint and strawberry infused chocolate.

Very yummy…Well, I guess it turned me off chocolate for a good month, but hey…still loving it!

There are few things in life more comforting to me than the smells of vanilla and chocolate… particularly if combined. To me, it’s the gastronomic equivalent of holding the other half’s hand – of course, it doesn’t hurt that he happens to provide chocolate most of the time! I remember being particularly enamoured with any makeup/beauty product that smelt of vanilla or chocolate though, particularly in lipbalms…mm…

These bite-sized vanilla bean cupcakes with milk chocolate ganache are just the thing for a sweet craving. Aren’t they cute? I love using real vanilla bean in cooking. There’s something so sophisticated about those dark flecks in the batter and in the crumb. 

  (more…)

So, my partner-in crime-and-all-else has asked me to come and say something too… well, here goes!

1. My name is Tim, and I’d call myself a professional student, except that they’re not paying me to do it.  So I have to go out and work for a living in order to support my Lindt Chocolate addiction.

2. I’m most definitely the senior partner in this syndicate – most certainly if we’re determining it by the number of criminal acts I’ve committed on the world of cooking…

3. Yes, I’d agree that you probably don’t want to meet Chris on the roads just yet either.  But she’s getting better… not much thanks to me though..! *smacks hand for teaching bad driving habits*

4. I’m much better at recreating music than recreating food (although I’m terrible at creating either!).  However, when one has 10 kilograms of Lindt lying about the house, it becomes hard to resist the urge to attempt (keyword here) to do something nice with it.

5. Oh, and in case I didn’t mention it before, I’m bad at cooking ^_^;;

So, welcome aboard, enjoy the ride, and don’t mind the burning smell coming from my side of the engine room.

Next Page »