Tuesday, September 30, 2008

a Reality Check and some more cake...!

Time for a quick cake tally. Since the new Adriano Zumbo range arrived (5th July 2008), I have had:

4 Cherry Cherry
1 Tuk Tuk Nothing
1 Open Sesame
2 Lime and Strawberry Millefeuille
2 Cinque Terre
3 Ed Knocked Me Up
3 Homie (aka You Name It)
3 Marge (aka Storm Cloud)
1 Erice
4 Charlotte Guadaloupe
1 Boom!
Innumerable*** macarons and countless passionfruit tarts

(***this doesn't seem nearly enough. I'm sure I've forgotten some).

Also time for a reality check, don’t you think? So while I mull it over, I’ll have a little bit of cake:

Add to tally:
1 Tanzanie

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A weekend of cake (so what's new?)

The new Zumbo chocolate cafĂ© is due to open 11 October, according to the signs in the cake shop window. Can’t hardly wait!

In the meantime, here’s a ‘Boom!’. Not quite ‘da bomb’, but an explosive mix of meringue and white chocolate crust, passionfruit mousse, and rhubarb and strawberry jelly. I love these fruit-infused creations.

The weather this weekend was a perfect taste of summer (even though it’s spring). So perfect that we caught the ferry to Circular Quay and played at being tourists (‘ooh look, there’s the Bridge, take a photo of me in front of it! Ooh look, there’s the opera house, take a photo of me in front of it! Ooh look, there’s a seagull. Eeewww!’).
Also paid a visit to La Renaissance patisserie in Argyle St in the Rocks. The cakes looked a bit traditional compared to Zumbo’s, but the macaron flavours included rose, vanilla, jasmine and chocolate. Here are the rose and jasmine.

The rose was pleasantly rose-scented, but the buttercream filling was strangely stiff. The Jasmine did not really have any flavour except of eggwhites and sugar, and the macaron itself was a bit hard. Pretty, but no cigar… However, I highly recommend Nougat Limar (stall at the Rocks Market), a soft, creamy nougat chock full of cherry, cranberry and pistachio.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

...a Present for Tabitha...

It's been over six months since Tab was signed over to us, and during that time, she was still wearing her old name tag. Finally got round to getting a new one, and isn't it lovely? Very pretty engraving on a shiny gold tag.
And if you ever need engraving done in Sydney, then I can highly recommend the engraver at Brices Shoe Service in the Imperial Arcade.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

yummy biscuits (not Zumbo!)

The Hawkesbury Harvest Farmers/City of Sydney markets are a new food and produce market on the local food scene. The markets are held 10am-3pm every Friday in the forecourt of St Mary’s Cathedral. I would have visited sooner, but last Friday was the first Friday since the markets started that wasn’t windy, rainy, squally and stormy.

So, I popped along at lunch time and who should be there but the sweet chocolatesuze, at her Biscuit Tree stall.
I got a selection of goodies, and I tell you what, it’s all I can do to not eat them all at once. The shortbread is incredibly buttery (gorgeous!), and the biscotti are wafer thin, crisp and very classy. Race you there next week!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

a last-minute baby shower card

So Mum phones up saying: "When you come over tomorrow, can you bring a baby shower card?".
Me: "What? What for?".
Mum: "I'm going to a baby shower and don't have a card".
Me: "What? Why?".
Mum: "I thought you'd have a card".
Me: "What? Why would I have a card?!?"

You get the drift. I spent an hour coming up with a card design that matched Mum's exacting specifications: 'not too big', 'not too small', 'no white', 'not for boy or girl' (?), 'a baby on the front' (I ignored this last one).

Postscript: Mum liked the card. I love the Threading Water hole punch!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Don't make me angry...

Does this remind you of something? A mild-mannered Zumbo gateau that gets ANGRY and rips its white shirt off to reveal....the incredible green meanie! Don't make me angry...You won't like me when I'm angry.....

The new Tuk Tuk Nothing is a variation on the previous Wheelie Good, with coconut and exotic fruit replacing the hazelnut.

I also indulged in a passionfruit tart before tucking into the tuk tuk nothing.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Not a chook raffle, but better...

I was - lucky /fortunate /in the right place at the right time /all of the above - to win a prize in a Hero Arts challenge. Titled ‘about me’, you had to present a page about yourself that featured Hero Arts stamps. This was my entry.

I hardly ever win anything, so I was thrilled with this. Thank you, randomizer!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

it's a pissaladiere pizza!

What is this!? It's a pizza, it's a pissaladiere, it's a pizzaladiere. And it's a completely made up name. Just my interpretation of the classic French tart of onions and anchovies.

For the base, I like to use a souvlaki bread. Fry up some sliced onion in olive oil until soft and brown. Spread on the base. Top with chargrilled capsicum and anchovies. Maybe add some goat's cheese if you have it.
Bake in a 200 deg C oven for about 5 mins or until golden. Slice and serve.

Ooh la la, grazie mille!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Christmas cards through the ages

I've made a start on this year's Christmas cards! I'm at least 2 months ahead of schedule, so that gives me time to reminisce a little...

Here are some of my cards from Christmas past. At least, going back to when I started taking photos of them. Photos are good, because I usually make too few cards and forget someone and have to use my leftovers to give them a card and don't have any left after Christmas. Phew!

The polar bear card is a favorite because it is a shaker card filled with holographic glitter. The polar bear stamp was a gift from a dear late friend who brought it back from Spitzbergen in Norway.

This year, I may do an acetate card, maybe something like this. But hopefully better than this first attempt. Ask me in December.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Lamb balls

Sometimes, I get a hankerin’ for some lamb but couldn’t be bothered cooking up a roast. I mean, that would take hours and the entire house ends up a bit pong-y with the fragrance of lamb, if you get my drift.

So, a quick alternative is … lamb kofta. It actually is nothing like roast lamb, but it’s pretty tasty, especially if you serve it with all the condiments such as tzatziki or sour cream.

I can’t remember where this recipe is from since it’s written on a piece of paper in my recipes folder. And I don’t like coriander, so I leave it out, and using tomato sauce instead of paste makes the kofta nice and moist.

Lamb Kofta
makes approx 16


500g lamb mince
1 red onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbs tomato paste
½ cup fresh breadcrums
1 egg, whisked
½ cup plain flour
2 tbs olive oil

1. Line baking tray with plastic wrap. Combine lamb, onion, parsley, garlic, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and tomato paste in a large bowl.
2. Add the breadcrumbs and egg and stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Divide mixture into 16 portions and shape each into a pointy ball (oval). Place on prepared tray and cover with plastic wrap. Place in fridge for 15 minutes to chill.
4. Place flour on a plate. Roll kofta in flour and shake off excess.
5. Heat half the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add half the kofta and cook, turning occasionally for 8 minutes or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.
6. Repeat with the remaining oil and kofta.

Can be prepared up to end of step 3 up to 1 day ahead.

Serve with tzatziki or wrap in tortilla with salad.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Some more spring-inspired craft

It's been a productive weekend craftwise, because I finished these 2 pictures and also put them into frames (the finishing touch). They are chipboard trees and birds (Maya Road) and a strip of flowers (Buzz and Bloom) that I painted with chalk ink and acrylic paint or covered with patterned paper or stamped. They are mounted onto black cardstock and are hung, I like to think, so they add an air of 'class' to the upstairs landing.

Friday, September 5, 2008

It's Camo Cat!

Each day when I come home from work, a little scenario is played out between Tabitha and me. I go upstairs to change and Tab follows stealthily, slowly slinking up each step until she is outside the door. Then, when I least expect it, she shoots past like a bullet, holing up under the bed, rubbing her little paws together in silent glee at her sneakiness.

However, I, too, am small and sneaky, and two can play at that game...If there's a cat around, then so is my camera. If there's one thing Tabitha can't stand, it's a camera shoved in her face. Take that, Tabs!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

...a mini Travel album...

I enjoy doing scrapbook pages that are smaller than the usual 12 inches because a) I can never think of what to put on such a large page and b) it allows me to cut those gorgeous patterned papers so that they can be used on more than one page.

This is a mini album that I made using chipboard covers cut to size and a couple of pages strung together with jump rings. It is 17x17 cm and it was a lot of fun to do because I could experiment with different looks, including ripping off - sorry, 'scraplifting' - designs from magazines. I stopped when I ran out of ideas, which was after about 10 pages!

The album covers our trips to Melbourne last year, so it's mainly of eating and shopping. I still have heaps of photos from these trips, so another album is in the wings...

Monday, September 1, 2008

What a big macaron you have...

Big macaron indeedy! This is the famous Cherry Cherry from Adriano Zumbo, a startling creation of macaron, chocolate sabayon mousse, morello cherry compote (delish!) and coconut moisture.

As you can see from the cross-section, there is quite a bit of coconut and mousse, but the best bit in my opinion is the morello cherries encased in cherry jelly. Try saying that quickly!

Tabitha's attention was focused on something in the background, so she did not even notice the cake under her nose...