Japanese Sponge Strawberry Swissroll

Japanese sponge strawberry swissroll

Good morning dear readers! Firstly I would like to apologise for the long hiatus. It’s been an exciting and eventful coupe of months as we warmly welcome the newest addition to our Ho family (: That’s right! Lochlan Ho was born on the 8th of August and he has been an absolutely blessing and gem to every one around him!

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Having this precious boy in our lives is the best thing that has happened to us (: We can’t love him enough!

But I’m slowly coming back with posts from months back and I hope you can be patient with me as I try and get my routine back in place. Thank you all so much for your constant support, even though I haven’t been posting! It’s very encouraging and makes me wanna get back to it as soon as possible!

Japanese sponge strawberry swissroll

 So to celebrate my return, I decided to share one of my favourite recipes that I’ve baked a few times before bubba arrived! One that was shared by my cousin-in-law and enjoyed by everyone!

I have an obsession with swissrolls and just love making them! Of course, needless to say, I love to eat them too! hehe To date, I’ve made a matcha swissroll with azuki cream, chocolate with cream and fresh raspberries and this has to be my favourite, japanese sponge with fresh strawberries! A light and fluffy sponge that is not too sweet, paired perfectly with fresh strawberries and freshly whipped vanilla bean cream! NOMS! So if you’re a fan of swissrolls, do give this recipe a shot! I’m very sure you will enjoy it as much as I did!

Japanese Sponge Strawberry Swissroll 

3 egg yolks

35g castor sugar

50ml water, room temperature

40ml olive oil

80g cake flour

3 egg whites

30g castor sugar

1 tsp corn flour

200ml whipping cream

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

2 tbs icing sugar

8-10 fresh strawberries, cut into small cubes

fresh strawberries

Steps : 

1) Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celcius. Line the bottom of a 27×27 baking tray with greaseproof paper. Do not line the sides.

2) In a standing mixing bowl, cream the yolks and 35g of sugar until pale. Combine the water and olive oil into a cup and pour into the yolk mixture. Sift the cake flour into the mixture and continue mixing till combined. Set aside.

3) In another clean mixing bowl, whisk egg whites till foamy and add 30g sugar. Add corn flour and continue whisking till firm peaks form.

Stiff peaks

4) Add the whisked egg whites into the yolk batter in 3 portions. Spread the batter into the baking tray. Bake the cake for 14 minutes, turning the cake at the half way mark to ensure even baking.

Combining the egg whites with the egg yolks

 5) Take the cake out of the oven and drop it a few times to reduce the shrinkage. Remove the cake for the baking tray and place it on a flat surface. Cover it with another baking tray to make sure it doesn’t dry out. Allow it to cool completely before filling it.

Japanese sponge cake - baked

6) Whip the cream till stiff peaks form and add the vanilla bean paste. Gently stir the vanilla bean paste till well combined.

7) Release the edges of the baking paper of the cake. Cover the cake with another sheet of baking paper, and flip it over. Slowy and gently remove the baking paper from the bottom of the cake. Place the paper on the bottom again and flip it back, in the upright position. Using a serrated knife, cute of the short edge furthest away from you with a diagonal cut.

8) Place the whipped vanilla bean cream onto the cake and using a spatula spread it out evenly, having a slightly thicker amount on the side closer to you. Add the strawberries evenly onto the cream. Fold the edge of the cake, pushing the paper forward, rolling the cake. Once rolled, wrap the cake with the clean sheet of baking paper, making sure it’s tightly wrapped. Cover with a plastic wrap and allow it to cool in the fridge.

9) To serve, unwrap the cake and place it on a long plate. Sift some icing sugar on top of the cake and slice it to the thickness of your liking. ENJOY!

 japanese sponge strawberry swissroll

Japanese Layered Sponge with Fresh Fruits

If you want to make a layered sponge cake instead of a swissroll, after releasing the cake from the tray, cut it into three even pieces, and layer the first two layers with freshly whipped vanilla bean cream and fresh fruits of your choice! To be honest, I did this only because my sponge kinda broke when I tried to roll it. haha So don’t stress if that happens!

Layered japanese sponge cake

I used fresh strawberries and blueberries! The only thing about the strawberries is that you gotta cut it into similar sizes so the cake will be flat enough for the next layer!

Strawberry layer

How pretty is the colour of the strawberries in contrast with the sponge? I love it! hehe So do give this recipe a try! It’s seriously one of my favourite recipes and a crowd pleaser!

PS : Thanks Liyun for sharing the recipe with me and giving me tips! (:

Remember to always cook and bake with love! Till the next post, xx

Cocoa, Coffee & Walnut Swirl Cake

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I’m in a butter cake phase. I just can’t get enough of it. I think it might be a pregnancy craving. hehe But then, it isn’t a bad craving to have, is it? What could be better than soft and buttery cake? Absolutely nothing! Especially with a hot cuppa – perfect afternoon tea!

Nespresso SG Fortissio Lungo

I was lucky enough to be sent a tube of the new Nespresso flavour – Fortissio Lungo. It’s the first in the Lungo range with a strong intensity (8) and has a richer taste with fuller body. With notes of cereal, the beans are from Central-South America combined with the precious full Arabica Monsoon Malabar from India. I really wanted to make something with this new flavour, and all I can think of is in a form of a butter cake!

Cocoa, coffee & walnut swirl cake

And I love swirls in my cake! hehe It’s fun making them and also so pretty before and after being baked! So I decided a swirled butter came with cocoa, coffee and walnut! Mmmm (:

Cocoa, Coffee & Walnut Swirl Cake

250g self-raising flour, sifted

250g butter, room temperature

100g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

3-4 tsp espresso, cooled to room temperature (I used the Fortissio Lungo)

5 whole eggs, room temperature

1 tbs cocoa powder

140g walnut, roughly chopped and toasted

Ingredients

Steps :

1) Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius. Butter and line the base of a square baking tin and set aside.

2) In a standing mixing bowl, add the butter and sugar, cream till light and fluffy. Add the vanilla bean paste then add the eggs, one at a time, and beat till well combined.

3) Add the espresso and slowly add the flour and chopped walnuts. Mix till all the flour is well combined, but careful not to over mix it.

4) Take half the mixture and place in a bowl. Sift in the cocoa powder in and mix till well combined.

5) Alternately place the coffee mixture and the cocoa mixture into the baking tin.

Cocoa, coffee and walnut mixture

6) Using a knife, run through the mixture from left to right, then do the same after turning it 90 degrees clockwise. You should get beautiful swirls!

Swirled cake

7) Bake the cake for 40-45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean after being inserted to the middle of the cake. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack. Make sure the cake is totally cooled before cutting, or it will crumble!

Cocoa, coffee and walnut swirled cake

This was a big hit in my family and the addition of the walnut made it yummier in my opinion! hehe (: Have a go and let me know what you think!

Remember to always cook and bake with love. Till the next post, xx

Zebra Cake

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Home. I am back in the comfort of my home in Singapore getting ready for the arrival of our little bub, Baby Ho! (: But regardless of which island I’m on, I still always have the itch to bake! Lucky for me, I’m still able to do what I love with the big bump in front of me hehe

SCS Baker's Starter Kit

Also I was fortunately enough to be sent a baker’s starter kit from SCS Butter which was filled with boing essentials that I could use! So off I went to get some SCS butter from the local supermarket and planned what I wanted to make.

Zebra cake

I’ve been wanting to bake a zebra cake for ages, but never got down to making it. Since it’s a butter cake, I thought this would be a perfect time to try it! hehe I was a little nervous as you won’t know how to will actually turn out till you cut it open, almost like a surprise cake! haha So you would be able to see the relieve on my face when I got the first slice out of the bundt! Even though there aren’t as many stripes as I hoped for, I was glad there were at least some! hehe

I absolutely love the texture of the cake baked in a bundt tin – it had a nice crunchy crumb on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, not to mention how buttery it was! And to resemble more of the black stripes, I found extra dark chocolate cocoa which turned out almost black!

Extra dark cocoa powder

I actually got quite a shock seeing how dark it was, but it worked out well! hehe

So here’s the recipe and how I made the zebra stripes!

Zebra Cake (adapted from Ambrosia)

340g unsalted butter (I used SCS butter)

453g cake flour

200g caster sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup dark cocoa powder

6 tbs water

Steps :

1) Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celcius. Butter/Oil and flour a bundt baking tray well.

2) In a standing mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure that each addition is well combined into the mixture. Scrape the sides and the bottom of the mixing bowl when needed.

Adding buttermilk & flour

3) Add the salt and vanillin bean paste and beat for another 30 seconds or so. On low speed, alternate the cake flour and buttermilk until both are very well incorporated. Make sure you start and end with the cake flour. Beat until the mixture is smooth, but careful not to over mix the batter.

Mixing the batter to the cocoa

4) In a medium size bowl, mix the cocoa powder and water. Make sure there’s no lumps. Add 1 generous cup of the cake batter into the bowl and mix till well combined.

Getting ready to make the zebra cake

5) To make the zebra effect, add two heaps spoonful of vanilla batter in the bundt pan, then 1 heap spoonful of the chocolate batter. Continue to alternate the vanilla and chocolate batters until all the batters are used up and the bundt pan is filled. Tap the bundt pan to help in spreading the batters and be more equally distributed.

Steps to making the zebra patterns

Cake ready to be baked!

6) Bake the cake in the middle rack of your oven for 45-50 minutes. The crust will be golden brown and the cake should spring back when lightly touched. To check if the cake is done, stick a toothpick into the cake and it should come out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 10 mins in the bundt pan, then invert it out into a cooling rack. Allow it to cool completely.

Zebra cake

You can dust it with icing sugar, I wish I did, but I ran out of it! ENJOY!

Remember to always cook and bake with love! Thanks SCS for the starter kit once again! Till the next post, xx

Eclair Affair

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High tea. Something I love but I don’t do it too often. Nothing beats sitting around a table of delicious sweets and savouries, sipping on champagne or tea, chatting with a group of your closest girlfriends! I was lucky enough to be invited by Q Strategies to the Lobby Lounge at The Westin for their Eclair Affair with Daisy & Agnes!

Domaine Chandon

There are two options available for this delicious high tea. $49 per person is served with Vittoria coffee, hot chocolate or a selection of Jing Tea. $59 per person includes 1 glass of Domaine Chandon and also with coffee, tea or hot chocolate!

Jing tea

As I couldn’t have the champagne, I decided to order a fruit tea to accompany the 3 tiered spread we were having! I love the different selection of teas there are. There’s black, green, white and fruity! (:

Eclair Affair

And what’s special about this high tea you ask? It’s served with a range of both savoury and sweet eclairs and also some scones! Choux pastry is something I love, especially when it’s thin and buttery. I actually prefer the savoury eclairs more than the sweet ones!

Eclair Affair

The savoury eclairs include :

Mushroom pate with pickled shemiji

Hame, comte cheese, confit tomato and grainy Dijon aioli

Smoked duck, gorgonzola, pear, caramelised walnut and rocket

Prawn, avocado and sweet chilli jam

Goat cheese with pesto

My favourite was the prawn and avocado with the slight kick of the sweet chilli jam. A really good balance of sweet, salty and creamy! YUMMO!

Sweet eclairs

The sweet eclairs include :

Strawberry & Lime

Passionfruit and White Chocolate

Pistachio and Fig

Chocolate & Caramel

I was really excited when I heard about the pistachio and fig, but sadly the one I had wasn’t filled! But I did enjoy the chocolate and caramel one the most! hehe It’s one of my favourite combinations, so definitely can’t go wrong! hehe

Scones

Last but definitely not the least, scones! It wouldn’t be high tea without scones, in my opinion! There’s a serve of vanilla scones and fruit scones! I actually love vanilla scones more with a dollop of cream and jam! Till now, I’m not sure what the right way of having scones. Cream first or jam first? hehe I mix them around and is different every time I have it! hehe

Eclair Affair

So if you’re looking for something different from the usual high tea, so head to the Westin to give this a go! With really comfy sofa seats and a beautiful ambience, it’s definitely somewhere you can consider going with your girlfriends or loved ones! But be quick cause this is only till the 30th of June!

Eclairs are definitely the new cupcakes and macarons! So get in quick! hehe

Disclaimer : I was invited to the Eclair Affair by the Westin and Q Strategies. All thoughts and opinions are based on my experience at the time of the visit. Thank you so much for this wonderful experience and opportunity!

 

{Travels} My Guide Around Surry Hills, Sydney

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About 3 weeks back, the Mr and I decided to surprise my sister-in-law and brought her to Sydney for the weekend as her birthday present! Needless to say, the smile on her face when she opened the envelop containing her printed air ticket was priceless! It has been a long time since we went to Sydney as well, so I was super excited to go!

We were so lucky to be able to stay at Cambridge Hotel that is located at the heart of Surrey Hills. Everything was just a stone-throw away! In this post, I will be sharing with you the different places we dined at that were all located in Surrey Hills, and a walkable distance from the comfort of our hotel!

First stop : Devon Cafe

Devon Cafe

Of course, to maximise our stay, we took one of the earliest flight out and arrived early in the morning! haha As we were too early to check in to our hotel, we decided to stop by one of the cafes that has been on my list for the longest time for breakfast! Plus it was close to the hotel too! (:  We were greeted by the most enthusiastic and friendly staff which instantly brightened up our morning!

Muffins, pastries & burgers

If you wanted something light or quick, they had a good range of savoury and sweet on display! Croissants, muffins, brioche and tarts! Especially if you wanted something to pair with your coffee-on-the-go! hehe

Our usual cuppas

We started our breakfast with our usual hot cuppas! Chai soy latte for me, latte for the mr and hot chocolate for Melissa!

Chai soy latte

I absolutely loved the pot used to serve my chai latte! hehe It was so japanese inspired and wanted to smuggle it back! haha Of course I didn’t, I still wanted to head back to Devon Cafe when I am traveling in Sydney again. hehe

Chick n Chips

There were so many things on the menu that we were drawn to. Everything just sounded so delicious! Melissa was tossing between sweet or savoury, but decided on the Chick n Chips! When it arrived, the smell was AMAZING! I was salivating just inhaling the smells. haha It had a chicken sausage, crispy confit wing smoked potato, fried egg, jus gras, chicken skin and chips! Yes, crispy chicken skin! DELISH!

green eggs and ham

The Mr ordered the special of the day, and I could totally understand why! It’s a play on the typical green eggs and ham but definitely elevated to a whole new (and better) level and everything the Mr loves! Thick cut bacon, Jerusalem artichoke puree, 63 degree eggs with wild mushroom, parsley & garlic cream and topped with crispy Jerusalem artichokes! Absolutely delicious! The plate was close to being licked clean!

Devon's granola

I wanted to start the trip with something healthy, as I knew how indulgent I will be for the rest of the day! haha So I decided to order Devon’s granola! How pretty is it? hehe It has house made granola, vanilla yoghurt, poached pear and freeze dried raspberries!  Loved all the different colours and how the freeze dried raspberries just pop!

Devon's granola

Seeing how pretty it is is making me itch to make my own granola and have it for breakie!! Think I just might! (: So after a filling and satisfying breakfast, we decided to head over to Cambridge Hotel to check in!

Front Desk of Cambridge Hotel

(Photo credits : http://www.cambridgehotel.com.au/)

When you enter the hotel lobby, you’re greeted by the smiles on all the faces of the staff! It took less than 10 minutes to get us all checked in and headed up to our room!

our room

How inviting are the rooms? Really spacious for the 3 of us too! This was the premium twin double room and our room had stunning views too!

Welcome chocolates

And how thoughtful are the staff at Cambridge Hotel? A box of handmade chocolates to warmly welcome us to our room and Sydney! Isn’t it the little things that really count and make an impact to your holidays? Love it!

Second Stop : Bourke Street Bakery

Address : 633 Bourke Street, Surry Hills

Opening hours : 7am – 6pm (Mondays to Fridays)

7am – 5pm (Weekends)

Bourke Street Bakery

After taking a short break (aka taking a power nap haha) we decided to walk to Bourke Street Bakery! I was so happy when I realised how close it was! Just a 15 mins slow walk brought us to this amazing bakery! It’s always pretty packed and there is always a queue, but it moves pretty quickly and trust me, it’s worth the wait!

Pork and fennel sausage rolls

Before going on to the sweets, we decided to have their sausage rolls! So glad we did though cause it was so so so so good! The pastry was flakey and buttery and the pork and fennel filling was absolutely delish! We shared as we wanted to have space for the sweets which we already aimed or while we were ordering the sausage rolls! hehe

Sweet pastries

The mr really wanted a croissant, but they only had the plain ones left! It was still really good though! No regrets getting it! hehe We couldn’t resist ordering the famous ginger creme brûlée tart, especially since the mr loves creme brûlée! And just when we were about to pay, a tray of freshly baked rhubarb frangipane tarts came out of the oven, so I had to get one! Trust me, nothing is better than a piping hot tart, fresh out of the oven!

Ginger creme brûlée tart

The ginger creme brûlée tart was nothing short of amazing! The short crust pastry was buttery and absolutely love how creamy and luscious the filling was! There was also a good hit of ginger, which the Mr absolutely adored! We may or may not have bought 2 more to bring back to our hotel. haha

Third stop : RoboCog Cafe

Address : 249 Riley Street, Surry Hills

Robo Cog

I absolutely love how the hotel is surrounded by small cafes, and all of them have something that would draw you in! Just down the road was a cute little cafe called Robocog which I had a cuppa with the gorgeous Heather (:

The inside of robocog

The interior was really warm, cosy and inviting. Their menu was in a shape of a robot (but I didn’t get to snap a shot of it, oops!) They had quite a spread food wise, but we were just there for coffee and to catch up!

Decaf cappuccino

I ordered the decaf cappuccino which had quite bold flavours but was smooth to taste! It’s been a while since I had coffee but still enjoyed it! I really love meeting up with people after only communicating over emails/instagram/twitter! Was an absolute pleasure!

Forth Stop : Chat Thai

Address : 20 Campbell Street, Haymarket

 Chat Thai

I know this isn’t exactly located in Surry Hills, but it’s a short 5 minutes drive or a 20 minutes brisk walk from the hotel! Chat Thai has been on everyone’s lips when they do head to Sydney and we didn’t want to miss having it! So off we went, in the cold, and walked there for dinner one night!

Cute lights

Although we went around 615pm (which I thought was quite early), we still had heaps of people infront of us and we waited for a good 40 minutes for our table! Fortunately there were a few thai supermarkets which we could pop in to have a walk or when we felt too cold to wait outside! When it got colder, the staff brought out the gas heater, which definitely made the waiting less painful!

papaya salad

We started our meal with a bang! A huge chilli hit! The papaya salad (som dtum) was so spicy I could only have one portion! Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious, but just too spicy for me. I think we could have let them know the level of spice, but we didn’t and we were given the maximum one! haha

Grilled pork neck

This was my favourite dish of the night. Grilled pork neck (khor mhu yaang) with smoked chilli and tamarind relish! The pork neck was so tender and the sweet & sourish relish complimented each other really well. A must order dish if you ask me! (:

Thai green chicken curry

When we have thai, it’s a must to order a bowl of green curry as well! This was the thai green chicken curry with apple egg plants, kaffir lime leaves and basil! So fragrant and just the right amount of heat! Could easily finish a bowl of rice just with the curry gravy! Mmmm!

dtom yum goong with king prawns

The dtom yum goong with king prawns had the most intense and amazing flavours! Every sip tasted like prawns! SO GOOD! We couldn’t stop saying WOW. haha In fact, we were still talking about it the next day!

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The last savoury dish we ordered was the crispy fried whole snapper with a roasted chilli and garlic sauce. When it arrived, we all thought we were in for another spicy journey haha But it actually was a good balance of sweet & spicy! The fish was also cooked perfectly. NOMS!

Durian sticky rice

We were so stuffed by the time we polished off the savouries, but the Mr couldn’t resist ordering the durian sticky rice! We did want the mango sticky rice, but mangoes weren’t in season. So durian it is! Many might not like this King of the Fruits, but we absolutely adore it! Creamy and sweet, we finished it too quickly! hehe

Fifth Stop : Bills

Address : 359 Crown Street, Surry Hills

Bills

Last and definitely not the least, Bills. I remember the first time I came to Sydney, the only place I wanted to try then was Bills. This time was no different. Bills was still on my to-go list and one thing I wanted to have was the fluffy ricotta hotcakes! We went around 1030am and had to wait for a good 45 minutes. But is it worth the wait?

Ricotto hotcakes with banana and honeycomb butter

ABSOLUTELY! Look at how fluffy the hotcakes are??? Piping hot with bananas and a honeycomb butter and a drizzle (or a heap haha) of maple syrup! YUMMO! I just couldn’t stop eating!

Ricotta hotcakes

Oh my gosh. I’m having some serious hotcakes pregnancy cravings this instant! hehe They are seriously amazing. You definitely have to make a trip there when you are in Sydney or around Surry Hills! Head there early if you want to reduce the queueing time!

Bills

The place was constantly crowded but the staff still wore smiles on their faces! Love it!

Hot chocolate

I was so excited about the hotcakes I forgot to talk about the drinks we had! Melissa ordered the hot chocolate and boy was it good! It was made by coating the bottom and sides of the glass with chocolate buttons and pouring hot milk in! Ooh lala! She was definitely one happy girl! hehe

Beet root juice

I decided to go for something healthy and refreshing – Beet root, carrot, fennel & apple!

I really hope you enjoyed my eating journey around Surry Hills! Our bellies were definitely happy through the 3 days we had in Sydney. Just want to thank the Mr for planning the trip, Heather for helping with the accommodation and Cambridge Hotel for the comfortable stay we had for the 2 nights!

Have a great week ahead everyone! Remember to always cook and bake with love!

Till the next post, xx

New Autumn Menu : No. 8 By John Lawson

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I was so lucky and excited to be invited to taste the new autumn menu at No. 8 by John Lawson a few weeks back. Don’t know if you can remember my first tasting done there and I absolutely loved it! So when another opportunity came to dine back at No. 8, I couldn’t say no hehe If you don’t remember John Lawson, his dishes are driven & inspired by the fresh produce he has around him. In fact, his cooking revolves around sustainably produced ingredients that he can find around locally from Victorian farmers. 

Before I share with you the new menu, I just want to thank John Lawson, the chefs and the staff for accommodating to this expectant woman. hehe Cannot be more thankful that I am still able to dine comfortably and have delicious food! (:

Whole wheat and beer sourdough

So like always, the night starts with beautiful slices of bread made by Eds Breads! If you follow me on instagram, you would know that I often buy my breads from him and have them for my breakfast! Unfortunately, I was late due to work, so I didn’t get to try the newly created – whole wheat and beer sourdough. But lucky for me, we were all given a loaf to bring home! YAY! hehe Love the crunchy outer crust and a soft centre. There isn’t one loaf of his I could fault!

Wheat berry and baby carrot salad

The first course was the salad course : wheat berry and baby carrot salad ! I absolutely love the wheat berries. They have a nutty flavour to them and really good bite too! This was also served with jerusalem artichokes turnips and sunflower shoots! A really colourful and refreshing start to the night! This was paired with a gin & tonic, which I didn’t have, of course. But I can imagine what a good match it would be! hehe

Mildura yabbies, hervey bay scallops and pine mushrooms

The next dish was a show-stopper in my opinion! When it arrived in front of me, I could feel my jaw drop! How pretty is that? Perfectly cooked Mildura yabbies, that were so fresh and sweet with Hervey Bay scallops and pine mushrooms! What a great entree! Every seafood I love on a plate! Actually on a gorgeous scallop shell! Absolutely loved this dish.

Slippery Jack mushroom risotto

And the dishes just gets better and better! When I looked through the menu before dinner started, this was the dish I was really looking forward to! Risotto, when cooked perfectly, is my weakness. I could have a huge plate of it and still want more. hehe This, my dear readers, was absolutely delish! Every mouthful I had was bursting with mushroomy flavours, and the rice was creamy and cheesy! SO GOOD! Ticked all the right boxes! Hands down my favourite dish of the night! NOMS!

Milawa duck breast

The main for the new autumn menu was Milawa duck breast! As it was cooked medium rare to medium, I couldn’t have it. But from the sounds made by everyone sitting around me, I knew it was as good as the first time I had it! This time it was served with pear, brussel sprouts and foie gras sauce. How good does that sound? hehe Have to head back another time to try it! hehe

Flat iron steak

Lucky me though, a special dish was cooked for me – flat iron steak! I’ve not had this cut of steak before, but it was so tender and though it looked like it hasn’t been cooked through, it was! Every piece just melts in my mouth and goes so well with the slices of beet root! AMAZEBALLS! I was trying to savour it slowly, but I found myself finishing it before I knew it! haha

baked potato with cheddar and crispy pig

We were also served a side of baked potato with cheddar and crispy pig! Holy moly! This was everything I was craving for in my pregnancy! Lucky thing we shared among the 4 of us, or else I would have smothered my face in it! Don’t worry there was also a side of cosberg, kale and mustard leaf, but I was so engrossed in eating the potato and steak, I forgot to snap it! hehe

72% Cocoa and coffee fondant

Now, time for the sweets! Though I was already quite stuffed, but there is always room for dessert right? hehe There were two on offer again tonight, and this was the one I didn’t have cause they were worried the chocolate wasn’t pasteurised. 72% Cocoa & coffee fondant! Let me tell you though, the smell of the chocolate filled the table as they were being served! So delicately plated too!

Gooey middle

Of course, when you are served a fondant, the money shot would be when you cut it open! Sorry the photo is a tad dark, but can you see the shiny bit of chocolate oozing out? Definitely a perfectly cooked fondant!

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I had the slow poached quince, spiced crumb and yoghurt! The last time I was at No. 8 I had a yoghurt dessert too! Such a good way to end the night though. Light, refreshing with the sweetness of the poached quince! I definitely wanted more! Mmmm (:

Occelli testun in foglie di castagno

Something new was a fromage course : Occeelli Testun in Foglie di Castagno! haha The name was a tongue twister and I have to admit I googled just to see what it was! hehe It’s a cow and sheep milk cheese that is wrapped in chestnut leaves for 18 months! My constant craving has always been cheese this whole pregnancy, but sadly I couldn’t have this cause it was soft cheese! The smell was divine though! It was matched with a Grey Box honey from Castlemaine. Sweet and salty – match made in heaven I’m sure!

Chocolate and passionfruit truffle

Last but definitely not the least, we were given beautiful chocolate and passionfruit truffles to end the night (: Dark chocolate that is subtly bitter contrasting with a sweet passionfruit filling!

Once again, the food was outstanding and I highly recommend you to head down to No. 8 at Crown Melbourne to give the new menu a go! You definitely won’t regret it! (:

Disclaimer : I was invited to the launch  by Hatch Communications and No. 8 By John Lawson. All thoughts and opinions are based on my experience at the time of the visit. Thank you so much for this wonderful experience and opportunity yet again!

No. 8 by John Lawson (number 8) on Urbanspoon

Salted Caramel Creme Brûlée

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Whenever I’m deciding what to cook or bake, my inspiration always comes from my loved ones and what they like to have, or what their favourite cuisine or flavours are. Of late, I have to admit that I cook according to what Baby Ho (& I) crave for and thankfully the Mr and sister-in-law are really easy and wouldn’t mind having what I’m craving for! PHEW! So so blessed! But last week, I decided to make something inspired by what the Mr loves and with a twist, using his favourite dessert & flavour – creme brûlée & salted caramel!

salted caramel creme brûlée

I have to say I was really nervous making creme brûlée again, cause the last time I made was a long time ago and usually they kinda curdle a little, and never comes out as smooth as I wish they would. But I decided to give it another go, and waited with my fingers and toes crossed while they were baking in the oven! hehe

I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out! Smooth, luscious and with a good kick of the salt! Not overly sweet too! The Mr was all smiles and because I didn’t wanna have too much sugar, he had his and half of mine! hehe Of cos, the best bit was so hear the crack of the burnt sugar on the top!

So here’s the recipe and I hope you all enjoy it as much as we did!

Salted Caramel Creme Brûlée

600ml thickened cream

6 egg yolks

1 egg

1 vanilla pod

120g caster sugar, plus extra for the brûlée

1 tsp fleur de sel (or sea salt if that’s what you have)

Steps :

1) Preheat over to 115 degrees celcius.

2) In a small pot, pour the thickened cream in. Split the vanilla pod into half, lengthwise, and scrape the vanilla bean into the cream. Throw the pod into the pot as well and bring it to a slow boil. Allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes so that the vanilla pod and beans would infuse into the cream.

3) In another pot, heat the sugar on medium-high heat, swirling it to incorporate the rest of the sugar. Watch closely so that the caramel doesn’t burn. Once the caramel is a beautiful amber colour, take it off the heat and pour the cream into the pot. Do be very careful as the mixture will still bubbling! Whisk continuously to make sure the caramel and cream is well combined. Add the fleur de sel and give it a good stir to ensure the salt combines with the caramel cream mixture.

4) In a large glass bowl, crack the egg and add the egg yolks. Whisk well and slowly pour the salted caramel cream in a slow and steady stream. Make sure it’s not added too quickly, as it will scramble the eggs. Whisk continuously as you add the caramel cream  and strain into a measuring jug.

5) Pour the mixture into small mason jars (my mixture was enough to fill the 1/2 way mark of 6 jars) and place the jars in a roasting tray.

salted caramel creme brûlée

6) Fill the tray with hot water until it reaches 1/2 of the jars and slowly place it into the oven. Bake the creme brûlée for 45 minutes or until it’s just set but still wobbly in the middle. Take the jars out of the water bath and allow them to cool completely before placing them in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.

7) To serve, sprinkle some caster sugar on top of the creme brûlée and using a blow torch, burn the sugar till it caramelises and is a dark brown colour.

salted caramel creme brûlée

ENJOY!

Have a great night everyone and remember to always cook and bake with love! xx