Saturday, April 28, 2012

Blind Fortuna Smiles

Blind Fortuna has smiled upon me and I awoke this morning to collect a Pecan Roulade from Jocelyn's Provisions. On a Saturday this gorgeous New Farm establishment is open from 7am and it is a wonderful time of day to explore the shelves of fine ingredients and stunning prepared treats. There are savouries, biscuits, pastries, cakes of all shapes and sizes. I really like the the bar cakes as they are a great size and extremely economic for those work morning teas.  

But we're moving off from the subject which is this luscious Pecan Roulade. This amazing creation easily fed a rehearsal of 10. Feather light sponge, contrasted with a pecan and espresso cream and finished with icing sugar. Ladies and gentleman, I think it's time for you to pay a visit.   

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Smidgins: Aja Coffeehouse $10 Sweet Treats

So after our Kodoya adventure, we all decided it was time to sniff out some dessert so we decided to head back to the stylishly dark, Aja Coffeehouse (we stumbled across this venue on our last adventure). When we arrived there was a sign outside advertising three desserts for $10, how convenient we thought as we placed the order. As the minutes started ticking away we started to wonder how long it took to put a biscuit on a plate, but we well and truly shut up when these three works of stunning art appeared. Above is the meringue finished with passionfruit, chocolate and fresh strawberries.  

Beautifully crisp and dense shortbread with strawberries and cream. Garnished with delicate mint leaves.

The final piece we selected with this orange and almond cake. A little more dense than the others, but again beautifully presented. There were a couple more options on the menu but this was truly bang for the dollar and a great way to finish up a Friday night in the city. So make the time to suppose this new Elizabeth Arcade establishment which opens Monday to Thursday (7am - 4pm) and Friday (7am - 9pm). I've already decided to return for dinner, so will be back with a review soon.


Though it has now been a number of months since I finished my project at the Cancer Council Queensland, I still catch up with Carmen and Tania. So on Friday night, we left the boys at home to have dinner a Tania's ye old faithful, Kodoya. As you can gather from the name, Kodoya serves Japanese cuisine and is cluttered amongst all the cheap and cheerful Asian eateries in Elizabeth Arcade. The Chicken Katsu Curry that Tania and Carmen selected set them back $9.80 and you can customise the amount of chili included in your meal from a basic one to a challenging champion level for $5.  

I decided to get my naughty katsu fix via the Tokyo Ramen at $8.90. The dish comes with the egg noodles, nori and half a boiled egg. Though it isn't Taro's beautiful handmade ramen, it is extremely serviceable with its chewy texture and the speed that the meal was delivered was extraordinary which more than makes up for the establishment's basic layout.

Tania also ordered these morish Crab Cream Croquettes which were amazing but at some point I must return with my little brother as I spotted the Takoyaki. We both have fond memories of street food and Takoyaki is a favourite. Will you beat us to it? Let me know.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Address: Shop 29-30, 99 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane, QLD 4000.
Open: Monday - Saturday, Lunch and Dinner.
Phone: (07) 3229 3993

Kadoya on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Strawberry Lemon Puffs

My little brother is a gentleman of fine taste, so at Christmas he gifted with an Annabel Langbein cookbook and I'm absolutely in love with the simple, tasty but extremely stylish things that she has chosen to include. But as you know like breeds like and from that love, I've also grown extremely fond of making choux pastry. I know what you're thinking, isn't it difficult to make? No, it's actually dead easy, but you need to be prepared to (a) make and consume the item on the day, (b) double the amount outlined in cookbook and (c) pipe or mould the pastry into a shape close to the final product as the dough really doesn't swell much.

To begin I preheated by oven to 200°C fan-forced (this setting is important) and placed 1 cup of water, 120g butter in a saucepan and brought he mixture to a boil. Once it had reached this point I added 1 1/2 cups of plain flour and stirred the mixture with a wooden spoon until it left the sides of the pan and a light crust formed on the base. This process takes approximately a minute and I then removed the pan from the heat and added 2 tbsp of sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the mixture with a hand beater. Once it was well combined, I then added four large eggs, one at time. Note the mixture should still be thick enough to fall from a spoon in clumps and form into shapes on a greased tray. As you can see I made small rings and lightly dusted them with flaked almonds.

I baked these rings for 12 minutes before reducing the heat to 180°C and continuing to bake for a further 15 - 20 minutes or until the puffs are golden and feel firm with tapped. Once this occurs, turn off the oven and leave the puffs inside for another 15 minutes before cooling on a baking rack. During this time I sliced a punnet of strawberries and made the lemon curd cream. This comprises of 1 cup of lemon curd (Annabel does have her own recipe but I returned to tried and true recipe) folded into 2 cups of whipped cream.

Take each puff and slice them with horizontally with a serrated knife and layer them with the lemon curd cream, strawberries, dust them with icing sugar and serve within the next few hours. I'll guarantee these little pieces of food porn won't last long, so take the plunge and make some choux pastry. You'll be addicted! 

Parkland Chinese Restaurant

April always signals to me the coming of Ching Ming (also known as the Clear Bright or Tomb Sweeping Festival) which means a trip to Mt Gravatt to attend to my Father's grave site. You may assume that this would be a simple process of cleaning the tomb but also involves preparing ceremonial food (which may include a entire chicken with head and feet intact, fish, roast pork, vegetarian cuisine and rice), drink and paper offerings (including clothing and paper money). As the journey takes some time, the family often continues onto yum cha and during this year's journey we choose 'Parkland Chinese Restaurant.'

Parkland is a relatively new venue having opened a year ago and is a sister to Landmark. The restaurant's furnishings are clean and I was impressed to be quickly presented with a pot of tea and a large hot water thermos to ensure the tea remained free flowing. As you can see from the images the items we selected were of a more traditional nature and the family was extremely impressed by the Pig's Blood. It was fresh, silky smooth while maintaining its shape. The chef's inclination appears be towards chilli as the Tripe and Chicken Feet Rice were quite spicy which was a nice change towards the gentle nature of the Salted Pork and Preserved Egg Congee. As a child of a chef who specialised in yum cha, I admit to being an extremely hard marker but I was quite impressed with the taste and offering. I recommend taking a group of friends to fully enjoying this establishment.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Address: Sunny Park Shopping Centre, Cnr of Mains and McCullough Road, Sunnybank, QLD 4109.
Open: Seven Days a Week, Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Phone: (07) 3345 4588.
Parkland Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

The Art of Burping

Occasionally I get bored and to shake things up one afternoon, I laddishly announced to my unfortunate colleagues, "you know when you internally burp, sometimes it's like re-eating your meal all over again!" The girls groaned but being the curious cat that I am, it prompted further research.

Burping (also known as belching, ructus and eructation) is caused by the intake of air as you eat or drink and the subsequent need to expel it as gas. This expelled gas contains nitrogen, oxygen and stomach contents as the gastroesophageal junction does not produce a tight seal. So yes, ladies and gentleman by producing that internal burp, as opposed to vibrating your upper esophageal sphincter, you are indeed re-eating portions of your meal. Bon Appetit!