Saturday, May 30, 2009

200th Post: Of course it's Zumbo

Guess what? This is my 200th post! And wouldn't you know it, it's all about Adriano Zumbo cake.
Well, one cake in particular - there weren't too many of the new range left at 3pm today, so I went for this new one.

It's a version of the popular and perennial Sachertorte, but made with white chocolate and pear. The second-bottom layer is dark bitter chocolate, and this white, bright creation is topped with a flake of silver leaf (at least I hope it's silver leaf, not aluminium foil!).

So here is Sacher's Sister, Blanca.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tweeted pasta with sausage, tomato and rocket

Perfect timing today when a tweet popped up from @GourmetTweets for Orecchiette with sausage, rocket and tomato. Bingo! Dinner tonight was solved!

A quick detour to pick up some pork and fennel sausages (from David Jones Food Hall) and I was set. By the way, why are pork and fennel sausages so expensive compared to other pork sausages ($36.99/kg vs $16.99/kg!). The exxy sausages were fantastic, though with the sharp bite of fennel seeds throughout the meat.

And although the recipe states ‘Orecchiette’, I used large shells instead. And I forgot the onion. But it was very good!

Orecchiette with sausage, rocket and tomato
Serves 4


2 tsp olive oil
1 Spanish onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 small red chilli, thinly sliced
4 pork and fennel sausages (about 500g), casings removed
4 roma tomatoes (about 500g), coarsely chopped
50g rocket
400g dried orecchiette pasta
Shaved parmesan or pecorino, to serve

1. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook onion, garlic and chilli for 5 minutes or until soft.
2. Add sausage to onions and break meat into pieces using the back of a spoon.
3. Increase heat to high and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes or until the sausage is golden and cooked through.
4. Add tomato and rocket, season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.

5. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente.
6. Drain and add to the sausage mixture. Toss to combine.

Serve with shaved parmesan or pecorino.

Recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveller website.

Ingredients: Rocket, pork and fennel sausages, roma tomatoes, shell pasta, garlic

Remove sausages from their casings; mix in tomatoes and rocket; sprinkle with sea salt

Serve tweeted pasta with parmesan - tweet, tweet!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Zumbo Macarons = Amazing!

There's only one word for the new salted butter popcorn macaron at Adriano Zumbo - outofthisworldangelsaresingingonmytongueinheavendelicious.

The others aren't bad either.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Zumbo Italiano (pun intended)

On a brilliant autumn day in Sydney, two fun events occurred.

First up, the Primo Italiano Festival.

This festival was put on by the Sydney of City council and celebrated the Italian heritage of businesses and the community of East Sydney. Stanley, Riley and Yurong Streets in Darlinghurst were lined with stalls selling Italian food, and a lively atmosphere prevailed.

Street lined with tables in checked tablecloths; layer upon layer of ricotta zuccherati
from Bertoni Casalinga (my FAVOURITE!); cheese tastings from Formaggi Ocello

Throw a coin in the fountain and make a wish; accordian player above Verde restaurant; it was crowded!

It's not a festival without cute dogs; veges for sale; Bambini gnocchi-making classes

Then, it was back to Balmain to meet up with fellow foodbloggers for a tasting of the new Adriano Zumbo winter collection:

Reem from I Am Obsessed With Food did a brilliant job in organising for part of the Zumbo café to be set aside for us to photograph the new cakes to our hearts content. And consume them of course!

Summary of the new range

Detail of some of the colourful range (I can vouch for the ones in the glasses - they are divine!)

The cafe is made even more attractive/salubrious with the addition of rabid foodbloggers

Adriano chats with his fans; the lovely Rachael takes drinks orders

Thank you Adriano and Rachael for being so accommodating. The cakes we bought and tasted are a triumphant masterpiece!
Update: Because I am totally slack and do not pay attention (*slap on the wrist*), I have had to rely on others for a list of attendees at Zumbo. So thanks for that, and hi to everyone ...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Adriano Zumbo Winter 2009 collection - at last!

Contrary to popular belief, I did not camp outside Adriano Zumbo Patissier this morning, waiting for the new Winter 2009 range to be unveiled. I waited until the civilised hour of 10am, and lucky I did, as not all the cakes were out yet.

And, as with all new things, it’s worth the wait! You’ll notice that most of the cakes don’t have names yet, and the names will be chosen from the suggestions collated over at Not Quite Nigella.

There are also some luscious new macaron flavours, with the salted popcorn getting a thumbs up from me. I’m sure there will be heaps of new foodblogger posts once everyone gets their hands on the new creations, so I’ll just leave you with a couple of photos from today’s foray.

For the record, I got the macadamia layer cake known as ‘V’, and a couple of macarons, including salted popcorn, blackcurrant and Tasmanian honey and walnut.

New cakes with temporary names (except for the 3rd one - 'Just 2 Fingers Tiger!')

Some more new cakes (I got the 'V') and new macaron flavours - yum!

Genevieve and Charles ponder the meaning of life, cake, macarons, and the new pricing structure

Jewel box of new macarons

Hooray for Charlie with a new delivery of cakes!

What's in the basket (l to r): Sigue Sigue Sputnik (that's what it looks like, at least);
millefeuille and a massive passionfruit tart; banana and orange cakes

Better get in quick, it's popular!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Counting the days...again

This is currently the window at Adriano Zumbo Patissier:
And yes, we're waiting...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Winter warmer: Lasagne (and a Cassius)

When the cooler weather hits (and hit with a vengeance it has), there’s nothing as soothing as warming comfort food, like Lasagne.

This is the first time I’ve made lasagne, and the method I’ve used is a combination of various recipes, because I wanted to reduce the amount of fat in the dish. Not sure that this is the lowest-fat dish around, but it tries!

The best part about this lasagne (apart from the healthy vegetables in the filling) is the ricotta topping. It’s really creamy and tasty, and the egg mixed into it gives it a golden crust when it bakes. It’s a great alternative to the béchamel that is normally in lasagne.

Serves 4-6


2 small carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 brown onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped

500g beef mince (I used lean/heart smart beef)
1 tsp paprika
¾ cup beef stock
2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes

4 sheets fresh lasagne sheets (I can recommend Latina Fresh brand – you’ll have quite a few left over if your dish is small, though)
1/3 cup grated parmesan

400g fresh ricotta cheese (I used low-fat ricotta)
1 egg
1/3 cup grated parmesan


1. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a large frying pan and add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion and carrot softens.

2. Add beef to the pan, and cook until the meat browns. Break up any lumps. Sprinkle with paprika, add stock and tomatoes. Mix together and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pan and cook for 45 mins, until the sauce thickens.

3. Make ricotta topping by beating the ricotta and egg until it is smooth. Then stir through the parmesan.

4. Preheat oven to 200 deg C. Spread some of the meat mixture over the base of a baking dish. Sprinkle with some parmesan. Cover with a lasagne sheet. Repeat 3 times, finishing with a lasagne sheet.

5. Spread ricotta over the top of the final lasagne sheet and sprinkle on the remaining parmesan.

6. Bake for 25-30 mins until the top is golden. There was a bit of liquid in the dish when taken out of the oven, but it was absorbed by the pasta very quickly..

Chop some carrot, celery and onion; cook with some beef mince; bubble bubble!

Ricotta and egg; layer the mince with lasagne sheets; ricotta topping, ready to bake

Fresh out of the oven - careful, it's hot!

To complement this meal of many layers (literally), I bought a Cassius from Adriano Zumbo. Layers of chocolate plates filled with blackcurrant chocolate crèmeaux – perfect.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Yum cha at Zilver, a new favourite

This is just a quick update on a Sunday lunch and the fact that I've found my new favourite yum cha place!

We hadn't been to Zilver for ages, mainly due to its traditionally massive queues and waiting times. Because, if you don't get there before 11.30am on a weekend, then you are in for a wait, and there's nothing I hate more than waiting for food when I'm HUNGRY (I get grumpy and manky and you don't want to know me).

So we made the effort yesterday and got to Zilver Chinese Restaurant (at Central, opposite the Capitol Theatre) around 10.50am. We waltzed right in and were seated straight away. The food is excellent, with old faves such as sui mai and steamed meatballs having a certain piquancy and flavour that is missing from other high-volume yum cha palaces in the Chinatown and CBD areas.

Zilver also has some dishes that are hard to find in other places, such as the rolls of black sesame jelly, that here are so light and fragrant.

And it's pretty good value, too. We had 9 dishes all up (with tea), and the bill came to just over $50.

We ate (clockwise from top left): the best sui mai; gorgeous chicken spring rolls and nori prawn cutlets;
oh-so-light black sesame jelly rolls; very tender and tasty white tripe

There was a slight gap in the floor service (for about 2 minutes but felt like 2 hours) when there were absolutely no trolleys on the floor at all. See if you can spot the customers (at neighbouring tables, in the photo below) who collapsed as a result...

And apologies for the quality of the photos - they were taken with my new camera phone and I don't know all the settings yet.

But this pic of Tabitha cat turned out okay - she and I were sunning ourselves on the upstairs landing. Looks like she has a giraffe neck, for some reason...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hello Cookie: Salted White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

At first, this seems to be an unusual recipe because it takes traditional cookie goodness such as oats, sugar and white chocolate, and combines it with a touch of salt. Not that unusual, though, when you consider the popularity of fleur de sel caramels and salted caramel sauce.

That said, these salted white chocolate oatmeal cookies are absolutely wonderful. They look like Anzac biscuits but have a crunchy texture that is at odds with its chewy-looking exterior. Plus that hint of salt, love it. And they aren’t that rich, either – I managed to scoff 5 of them in no time at all!

By the way, the recipe says it will make 24. I used the exact ingredients and rolled the cookie balls as specified, and I ended up with 50. No matter, even more reason to nibble another one…

The original recipe is from and my metric conversions are in brackets below.

Salted White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Makes about 50

1 cup all-purpose (plain) flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon table salt
14 tablespoons (198.6 grams) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 cup sugar
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups rolled oats (I used quick oats)
6 ounces (170.25 grams) good-quality white chocolate, chopped
½ teaspoon flaky sea salt (like Maldon or fleur de sel), for sprinkling on top

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (175 deg C). Line baking sheet with baking paper.

2. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and table salt into a medium bowl.

3. Beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Scrape down bowl with rubber spatula, then add egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Scrape down bowl again. Add flour mixture gradually and mix until just incorporated and smooth. Gradually add oats and white chocolate and mix until well incorporated.

4. Roll about 2 tablespoons of the dough into balls, then place on lined baking sheets about 2 ½ inches (6cm) apart. Using fingertips, gently press down each ball to about ¾-inch (1.8cm) thickness.

5. Sprinkle a flake or two of sea salt on each cookie (I sprinkled a lot more, because I like salt!)

6. Bake until cookies are deep golden brown, about 13 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.

Recipe adapted from

Ingredients and preparation

Press down on cookies before baking; adding a few flakes of salt

So many cookies, so little time!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Trip down Memory Lane: Zumbo's Berries

We know that the new Adriano Zumbo range is special, thanks to Not Quite Nigella. There are lots of new and unusual flavours that are the Zumbo trademark, and some traditional (or as traditional as Zumbo gets) as well.

So while we wait for the newies to arrive, here is a reminder of some past juicy Berry creations.

Update on cake names (top to bottom, left to right): Berry tart (April 2008), Fleur d'Fraise (Dec 2007),
Nora (Mar 2008), Berry brioche (April 2009),
Berry tart whose name I've forgotten (May 2008), Charlotte Full (Nov 2008),
Have a chat Kai! (Nov 2008)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Mother's Day page!

As usual, I was struggling to find a gift for Mother’s Day. Fortunately, my mother and I had attended a wedding on the previous weekend, which produced some lovely photos. I was inspired by this page by the talented Tiffany, and produced my own version as a result.

I put the finished page in a white box frame, which allowed the die-cut butterflies to remain ‘wing up’. Hope mum likes it.

Supplies: Patterned paper: Bella Blvd. Cardstock: Bazzill. Die-cuts: Amy Butler. Chandelier stamp: Heidi Swapp.
Rub-ons: American Crafts. Other: Cuttlebug embossing, Fiskars Apron punch, Stampin' Up! scallop punch
Detail of page inside the frame

Tabitha cat straightening up the frame (or there was a cat treat caught underneath)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Out with the old, waiting for the new

There are only 15 nights and 14 days until the new Adriano Zumbo range is revealed. It's called '40 Days and 40 Nights in Paris' and it's out on 23rd May.

So there is only a short time to experience the favourites from the current range. My fave is 'Have a Chat Kai'. Lychees, berries and white chocolate are the perfect gift for Mother's Day, too. Though looking closely at this one I got today, it does seem a bit shrivelled..?

Hopefully one tart that will survive to fight another day is the Tarte aux fruits de la passion. Can we have more than one favourite? Yes, we can!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

DIY Fried Rice

As a child, one of my favourite takeaway dishes (from a Chinese restaurant) was fried rice. Looking back, it probably wasn’t the healthiest dish, laden as it was with chopped ham, curry powder (for the yellow colour) and most likely lashings of MSG. It sure was tasty, but! And compared to my mother’s homemade version, that had beaten egg stirred through it, there was no comparison – takeaway won every time.

Fast forward to the present, and decent fried rice is harder to find, because I’m now a picky eater. Any fried rice with peas receives the ‘get lost’ treatment. Ham bits, bah, you don’t know what you’re doing! And as for curry powder – what the??

The solution is to do it yourself, so you can put in what you like and leave out the rubbish. I generally include:
- a couple of medium-large prawns (peeled green, or cooked),
- some shiitake mushrooms that have been soaked in hot water (save a tablespoon or so of the soaking water to add to the rice),
- Chinese sausage (lap cheong) or, if you’re a thrillseeker, some diced bacon (not authentic, but good), or barbequed pork (char siu)
- Chopped egg omelette that is made in the wok prior to starting the fried rice

The secret, I’ve found, is in the sauce. Combine the ingredients from the recipe below, add it to the rice, give it a quick toss and you’ll end up with perfect fried rice, ideal for the picky eater.

Fried Rice made with delectable sauce
Serves 4

2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbls vegetable oil
6 medium green prawns, peeled and quartered
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp minced ginger
150 g meat (Chinese sausage or BBQ pork), chopped
3 shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 20 mins, finely chopped
3 cups cooked rice
2 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp white sugar
2 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 cup bean sprouts, washed and tailed

1. Make the omelette by adding the eggs to the wok, turning the wok so that the egg coats the bottom and side. Cook until barely set. Remove the omelette onto a plate, roll it up and chop into 1cm slices.

2. Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok over med-high heat, until very hot. Add the prawns and stir around until just cooked. Remove from wok and set aside.

3. Reheat the wok and add heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil until very hot. Add the garlic and ginger and stirfry for 30 seconds.

4. Add the meat and mushrooms (and soaking juice) and cook for 1 minute. Then add rice and prawns to the wok.

5. Mix the soy sauce, sugar, oyster sauce and sesame oil together in a cup, then add to the wok. Stir until rice is coated with the sauce.

6. Finally, add the chopped omelette and bean sprouts to the wok and heat through.

7. It’s ready to serve. This rice can be eaten alone (full of good stuff already) or as part of a banquet.