Monday, September 30, 2013

Crème Brûlée and Announcement

Hi everyone. Just a little announcement that I've migrated my website to a new domain name Any previous links from the old blogger website will be automatically redirected to the new one.

For those who absolutely love crème brulee (my favourite too!), here's a simple recipe that I've tried and tested, and you will never have to order crème brulee at the restaurant again :) Just make sure you have a blowtorch handy. Enjoy!

Crème Brûlée Recipe
Adapted from SBS


300 ml pure cream
200 ml milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways, seeds scraped
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup caster sugar
2-3 tbsp demerara or caster sugar

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Lipton High Tea @ Masterchef Dining and Bar (plus Lipton Pyramid Giveaway) - Closed

This post is sponsored by Nuffnang. So, here I am at my computer, typing away while enjoying a freshly brewed cup of Russian Earl Grey tea, compliments of Lipton. I attended the ‘High Tea Brewed By Lipton’ event on 8 September as an invited guest, held at the Masterchef Dining and Bar pop-up restaurant at First Fleet Park, Sydney. In celebrating the release of its new Lipton Pyramid tea range utilising an innovative, pyramid-shaped teabag, Lipton conducted a tea-tasting session, hosted by Lipton Master Tea Blender, Kurush Bharucha. The afternoon's menu featured an array of exquisitely crafted desserts and high tea classics, from Waldorf sandwiches to Vegemite Caramel Chocolate Cups (yes, Vegemite!). It was definitely one sweet afternoon! Read on and find out how you can sample these delicious teas with our giveaway.
Feast your eyes ....

Being a fan of the Masterchef series, I was really looking forward to dining at the pop-up restaurant. I felt like a kid going to the carnival for the first time. The hostess at the door showed us into the restaurant and led us up the stairs onto the second level of the room. I was pleasantly surprised that it was quite a small and private function. I brought Mr G along and we were seated at a quiet corner with a lounge chair, right next to the railings. It had a great bird's eye view of the entire room. I managed to snap some pictures of the kitchen below and admired the entire setup from floor to ceiling.

Kitchen and dining area

Moments later, Mr G turned to me and whispered "Look, there's Julia". I turned to look and there she was, making her entrance. I was kind of star-struck for a minute, and the initial thoughts running through my  head were "I have to get a picture with her". I was also thinking, how does someone like her who makes desserts everyday manage to stay so slim? If you've watched Masterchef 2012, you would remember Julia Taylor as the Dessert Queen, famous for her sweet creations, and more notably, her Melting Moments. I have made them countless times and have garnered quite a huge following for them at work. She stopped by at each table to chat with the guests, and I was thrilled to finally meet her in person. And I had a picture taken with her too! Meeting her was definitely one of the highlights for me.

Each table was laid out with 5 glasses and 5 different teabags on either side. In between sat a row of tiny porcelain dishes displaying the contents of each teabag under mini glass domes. I could see how the new pyramid shape allows the bag to hold larger leaves, real fruit pieces, petals and herbs. It also gives the tea more space to swirl around and release a fuller taste and aroma. In essence, it's like brewing with loose tea leaves, but with the convenience of a tea bag!

Green Gunpowder tea

There were five specialty blends of tea up for tasting, and Tea Master Kurush walked us through each one of them in detail:

- English Breakfast (lovely with a splash of milk)
- Russian Earl Grey (delicately flavoured black tea with orange and lemon peel and blue petals)
- Forest Fruits (black tea blended with a medley of berries - smells amazing)
- Fruit and Herbal Collection (black tea with berries and lemongrass)
- Green Gunpowder (a well-rounded green tea with natural pear flavour)

Lipton Master Tea Blender happily at work

Love the pretty colours

I enjoyed all the teas, with my favourite being Russian Earl Grey, which has an exquisite aroma of bergamot and citrus. I think it was Julia's favourite too, and reminded her of lemon myrtle. I did like the Green Gunpowder tea as well, which was smooth and delicate. The name "Gunpowder" is a description of the manufacturing process which rolls and twists the leaf until it looks like little balls of Gunpowder. One interesting tip I learnt from Tea Master Kurush (who has almost 30 years of tea-tasting experience under his belt) was that green tea is best brewed in water that is well below boiling temperature, and should be infused for only a short time for best results. At home, I usually have black tea with milk, as I sometimes find the tannins from the tea a little bitter without it. I was pleasantly surprised that with these Lipton pyramid teas, there wasn't the slightest hint of bitterness, even without milk.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Japanese-style Risotto with Roasted Eel

Risotto. It's not a dish that I would usually order at a restaurant, probably because the ones I've had in the past weren't all that great. I've had some which were delicious at the first few mouthfuls, and after a while they just got a little boring. After all, it's just spoonful after spoonful of the same thing. Up until recently, I've never attempted cooking risotto either. Everytime I hear the word "risotto", it conjures up images of Masterchef Australia, where George or Matt would give the "eyebrow" and the cynical look that says "Death dish. Don't even think about it". For that reason, risotto never had a place in my kitchen. Well, not until a few months ago when we brought the family to a fusion Japanese restaurant in Malaysia where the kids ordered this Unagi Risotto with soft boiled egg. It looked good, but before I could even

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Apple Frangipane Tart


So, I was telling my friend Samuel the other day that I made fish head curry three times in a row prior to posting the recipe for it last week. I explained that I couldn't get it to taste the way I wanted it to, and I couldn't possibly share a recipe for something I'm not happy with. I got it right on the third attempt though, after I figured out who the culprit was - it was the fish curry powder with the Candlenut! So I changed that, made my own curry paste and it turned out almost exactly like I wanted it to.