Turning 28 At Nieuw Amsterdam

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Turning a year older is no doubt a special occasion. But this year, it was really special to me. Next year, I will be celebrating as a mum! (: Can’t be any more excited about that! As we get older, birthdays just become a time where we head out to have good food. No longer did we have the huge celebrations, just quiet ones now, which I actually enjoy more! Just a small intimate affair with my loved ones. hehe

Nieuw Amsterdam

Address : 106-112 Hardware Street

Melbourne Vic 3000

Website

Nieuw Amsterdam has been on my to-go list for a while now, so I knew exactly where I wanted to go to celebrate turning a year older! Absolutely loved the atmosphere when we stepped into this American Bistro, and the wait staff were really friendly as well!

Our drinks

Being pregnant, I couldn’t have any alcohol, so I ordered lemon lime bitters instead. The sister-in-law couldn’t resist the cider and the Mr had a dark beer (sorry I didn’t get the exact name! haha). The food at Nieuw Amsterdam are mainly sharing plates and that’s exactly what we did! Although we did order quite a bit. haha We were definitely hungry (:

New York Sour Dough

The night of food started with a loaf of New York sourdough with some beautiful creamy butter! It had a really crispy outer crust and the bread was still soft in the middle. We definitely wanted more of it, but was reserving our stomach space for the food we ordered! hehe

Pig trotter and ham hock nuggets

These little gold nuggets were absolutely delicious! With a great crunch with every bite, the mixture of pig trotters and ham hock just melts in your mouth and you wouldn’t be able to resist going for more! Sitting on the nugget is a thin slice of a pickled radish, which cuts through the richness of the dish. AMAZING!

BBQ Scallops with mango gazpacho, avocado and chilli

Our second appetiser is perfectly cooked BBQ scallops sitting in mango gazpacho, with avocado and chilli! Scallops are one of my favourite ingredients of all time. I could have it in any way – sashimi, pan fried, grilled. Give it to me! haha Though it seems like there is a lot of flavours going on, but everything worked together!

Chicken waffles

I was craving for waffles for the longest time, so when I saw this on the menu, I couldn’t resist! A thin waffle topped with chicken terrine, pate and a super crispy chicken skin! YUM! Don’t worry, I didn’t have my pate hehe but it was still delish! The small but mighty chilli jam just brings the whole dish together and the flavour of sweet and spicy just bursts in your mouth! I was one happy girl! hehe

Southern style pork belly chops

This, my dear readers, was the best dish of the night. Tender and melt-in-your-mouth pork belly which was just full of flavour, topped with pork crackling and sauerkraut! Couldn’t get enough of it and just wanted to devour the whole bowl!

Southern style pork belly chops

Absolutely divine! A definitely most order dish when you do head there! (:

Jerk chicken

The Mr chose the jerk chicken dish with crispy rice and black bean puree! The jerk chicken was tender and had a good chilli kick to it and went really well with the crispy rice! The only down part of this was the pineapple salad, which really was just pieces of pineapple, and was a tad bit sweet for my liking.

Smoked beef brisket

I chose the last main : Smoked beef brisket with carrot remoulade! I requested for the beef to be cooked through, and it wasn’t tough! Wheee! (: So thankful that the chefs were happy to accommodate to my dietary requirements!

Dutch potato fries with spiced garlic mayo

As a side, we got the dutch potato fries with a side of spiced garlic mayo! Can’t turn down crispy thick cut fries. Simple but delish!

The Nieuw chocolate bar

As we were all quite full by the time we finished our appetisers and mains, we decided to share just one dessert. The one that caught my attention is the Nieuw Chocolate Bar! When it came, I couldn’t be happier with my choice! A rich and decadent chocolate bar topped with banana cake, brûlée bananas and tonka bean ice cream! It was so yum I wanted to have another, though there wasn’t much space left in my tummy. haha

 It was definitely a great night and I can’t thank the Mr and sister-in-law enough to celebrate this special day with me! Nothing beats celebrating with loved ones and having great food is just the icing on the cake! Will definitely be back to try the other dishes on the menu! hehe

Nieuw Amsterdam on Urbanspoon

 

Have a great weekend everyone!

Remember to always cook and bake with love! 

My Biggest Project : Rainbow Cake

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Layer cakes were never a specialty of mine, but when the opportunity came up to make something special for a first birthday, I just couldn’t resist! If you follow me on instagram (@lianneelow) I’m sure you’ve seen endless photos of Paige who turned one last year. I love her like she’s my own, so I wanted to do something special for her as well!

Stacking the layers

Rainbow was the theme of her party, so inevitably, the only cake I could think of was rainbow cake! Being ambitious, I also wanted to make all 7 layers out of natural colouring and flavouring. So after much research, I came up with the flavours and decided to give it a try. As much as I wanted natural colouring, the colours of the fruits just didn’t stand out as much as I wanted to after being baked, so for the actual cake, I decided to put a drop or two of colouring paste just to make it pop!

Cupcake pops

On a side note (just cause the word pop reminded me haha), I also made some cupcake pops for the party! Though it was time consuming to make them, I enjoyed every single moment – from molding them into their shapes, dipping them into melted chocolate (like yummeh!) and to sprinkling them with 100’s and 1000’s! Could totally imagine a kid doing it as a fun activity too! Hehe

plan drawn

So here’s a draw up of my plan: 7 flavours and all stacked and iced with my favourite cream cheese frosting! Mmmmm!

I wasn’t too worried about baking the 7 individual layers, I was more worried about constructing it and how high it would actually be! It was definitely the highest cake I’ve made in my life!  The only thing I was really worried about was transporting the cake to the party as I was going to be driving alone! I think my life was shortened about 10 years in that 10 minutes of driving! Haha

It was all worth it though, to see the faces lit up at the party and hearing all the compliments from the guests! Definitely made my day! The next thing that made my heart beat really quickly was the cutting of the cake and revealing to see if there were 7 distinct layers. And….

Revealing the layers inside

TADAH!!! (: I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out! I’m sure I let out a loud sigh of relief the moment I took the first slice of cake out and served it! A happy dance was definitely in order! Hehe  I have to admit, there were some layers that I was probably a bit too heavy with the colouring towards the end (was going colour happy haha), cause I really wanted the colours to stand out. But please know that you can always cut that down to your own preference, or you can just cut that out too!

Rainbow Cake 

Ingredients : (20 cm round baking tin, repeat 7 times)

120g plain flour

80g caster sugar

40g unsalted butter, room temperature

120ml milk

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla paste

1 egg

Wilton icing food gels (I used a toothpick to add the colours)

For the different layers : (add food gel colouring till desired colour or leave it out if you wish)

Red – 3/4 cup fresh raspberry, mashed + red food gel

Pink – 3/4 cup fresh strawberries, mashed

Purple – 3/4 cup blackberries, mashed + purple food gel

Blue – 3/4 cup blueberries, mashed + blue food gel

Green – Zest of 2 limes, 3 tbs juice + green food gel

 Yellow – Zest of 2 lemons, 3 tbs juice + yellow food gel

Orange – Zest of 1 naval orange, 3 tbs juice + orange food gel

Steps : 

1) For each layer of cake : Grease and line the baking tin with baking paper. Preheat oven to 165 degrees celcius.

2) In a medium bowl, combine the plain flour and baking powder. In a mixing bowl, add the butter, sugar, egg and vanilla paste and mix till pale and fluffy. Alternate the flour mixture with milk (flour,milk,flour) until well combined.

3) Fold in the flavouring and colouring for each layer. Careful not to over mix.

the red layer - raspberry

4) Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin and tap it on the counter to allow all the air bubbles to come to the surface. Bake for 18 mins or until the skewer comes out clean. Allow the layers of cake to cool completely before assembling.

The yellow layer - lemon

Cream Cheese Icing (From the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)

900g icing sugar

375g cream cheese

150g unsalted butter, softened

Steps :

1) Beat the icing sugar and butter in a mixing bowl until well combined.

2) Add the cream cheese in one go and beat until completely incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium high, and beat until it’s light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Do not over beat as it will turn runny.

Cream cheese icing

3) To assemble : Place the red cake layer at the bottom, place 2 heap tbs of cream cheese icing on the cake and spread it out uniformly using a palette knife. Place the orange layer on top and repeat the process. Once you reach the top layer (pink), frost the top and side of the cake till it’s smooth and even.

Rainbow cake success!

Enjoy! (: I love how I could actually taste the fruits in every single layer, and they actually do work well together although it’s impossible to fit all 7 layers in one bite! haha

Paige eating the cake

It was such an honour that my cake is the first cake Paige has eaten (:  How pretty is her dress!

Happy 1st birthday Paige

It is many months after the actual birthday, but happy 1st birthday Paige! Can’t believe how quick it has been and she’s such a big girl now! (:

Paige and Us

I can’t wait till I am able to make my own bub’s cake and I will definitely be more than happy to make this cake again!

Have a good mid week everyone! (:

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

Turning 27 (Part 3) : Merchants Guild

Brunch at Merchants Guild

Yes, my birthday celebration continues! (: This time with my favourite mother and daughter team : Peggy & Paige! hehe While researching for where to dine at, we decided to head to somewhere close to both our homes, so I went through my list and decided on Merchants Guild! The weather was beautiful, so we took a nice stroll there to have brunch.

Merchants Guild

Address : 680 Centre Road, Bentleigh East

Website : http://themerchantsguild.com/

my lunch date

If you follow me on instagram (@lianneelow) you would see alot of photos of Paige just cause she is so gorgeous! (: Doesn’t she just melt your heart? I was so so lucky to be able to have brunch with her and her beautiful mum on my actual day. As the Mr had work that day, Peggy was so sweet to spend the day with me. Thank you again!

Chai latte

We started our brunch with chai lattes. I love it when cafes serve their chai lattes in a pot! It was richly spiced and something just so comforting about it. I’m not sure how many times I’ve said it, but I do love my chai lattes! hehe Especially if there it is served with a side of honey. Mmmm (: I could drink it all day I reckon!

Eggs benedict

There were many attractive things on the menu, but I decided to stick to the all-time favourite of mine – eggs benedict! At Merchants Guild, they actually change the flavour of their hollandaise and that day, it was a herb hollandaise that was thick and delicious, but not overly rich.

Roasted potato bubble & squeak

Peggy ordered the roast potato bubble & squeak with smoked trout with a side of horseradish cream, cornichons and poached eggs. It was so delicious and when I tried it, I knew that the Mr would definitely love this! He’s a huge bubble & squeak fan, so much so that he requested I made it for him for brunch. The smoked trout pieces were mixed into the bubble & squeak and the horseradish cream had a subtle spiciness! Yummilicious!

Buckwheat pancakes

Both of us were drawn to the buckwheat pancakes on the menu, so we had to order a serve to share. They were so good! Thin pancakes topped with grilled pears that were so soft. The chocolate fudge was so rich and decadent, tasted like nutella! So so good! It was drizzled with a whiskey maple sauce that really had a kick to it. We couldn’t stop saying “so good!” haha The roasted hazelnuts added a crunch that gave the dish more textures. Absolutely loved this!

Cutie pie

Thank you again for the company and for the treat (: Definitely had a great time and you both made my day! Great food, awesome company, happy bellies and endless smiles! 27 is gonna be a great year I’m sure! hehe Definitely gonna bring the mr here to try the food, and no prizes on guessing what he will have! hehe

Remember to always cook and bake with love! (:

Merchants Guild on Urbanspoon

Turning 27 (Part 2) : Little Hunter

Little Hunter

When I was planning where to head for dinner with the Ho Clan for my birthday a few weeks back, I happened to read a post by Miss D’s post on Little Hunter and I knew instantly where I wanted to go! (: I have to say, Melbourne is full of surprises! Ever so often, you would hear about a gorgeous new cafe or restaurant and thus my ever growing list of places to try! hehe Little Hunter was no doubt one of them! Especially when Gavin Baker (was a sous chef at Fat Duck, London) and Pete Evans are the talents behind this grill house. I definitely couldn’t wait! (:

Little Hunter

Because we were celebrating, the Mr ordered a bottle of Goaty Hill Riesling 2012. Riesling has always been one of my choices of wines when dining out, as it has sweet fruity tones and this had flavours of citrus and green apple. Really smooth and crisp! hehe How cute is the print on their wine glass? I couldn’t stop snapping photos of it. haha There were a few communal tables and also booth seats! I wish I knew, cause I would have definitely requested for one. hehe I’m not sure about you, but our table is always a tad bit small for the amount of food we order. haha Oops! That’s definitely not a bad thing though hehe

Garlic pull apart bread with chicken skin butter

Our meal begun with a complimentary serve of pull apart bread and chicken skin butter. Yes, dear readers, you’re not seeing things! I did say chicken skin butter! This is a delicious little pot of gold! I know it sounds like something that might be heavy and overly rich, but it tasted nothing like that! It was smooth with little bits of golden crispy chicken skin pieces and just melts the moment you spread on the warm bread. It was some tasty, tasty (and did I say tasty?) butter! We definitely wanted more! The bread was soft and just full of flavour. Just a great way to start the night!

Beef on toast

We decided on three entrees and one of them were ‘beef on toast. It was a layer of beef carpaccio, over a layer of smooth and rich chicken liver parfait and when you reach the bottom, there was a crispy layer of crusty crouton. The dish is dressed with a mixture of gherkins and chives and the acidic mixture cuts through the richness of the dish. It was so good and I just wanted more!

Pork crackling

The mr would never miss the chance of ordering a serve of pork crackling if it’s on the menu! This was so crispy and crunchy and addictive! We just kept popping them into our mouths! They were beautifully seasoned with paprika and cheddar, and served with a smooth apple sauce. I just love the combination of pork and apple sauce, a match-made in heaven (:

Cured kingfish

Our last entree was the cured kingfish.The fish was so fresh and had a subtle sweetness. Every mouthful had the popping of fish roe and a slight spiciness of the roast peppers. Not only was the flavours beautiful, the plating was impeccable. Like art on a plate! Edible art of course. hehe

Ribeye steak with bone marrow

As Little Hunter was a grill house, we had to try the steaks on the menu. Each of us ordered a different cut of steak and I have to say, they cooked every cut to perfection! The Mr ordered the Robbin’s Island waygu ribeye with bone marrow (he loves marrow!) and beef fat butter. The meat was melt in your mouth and just full of flavour! And how sexy are the grill marks? Just love the criss-crosses that gives a nice char flavour to the steak as well! NOMS!

Blackmore waygu flank

Melissa ordered the Blackmore wagyu flank with cajun flavours and avocado. I would never have thought that avocado goes well with steak, but it did! The flank, though not the usual cut you would order, was cooked to medium rare and bursting with flavour! Definitely a happy belly there (:

Cape grim fillet mignon

I couldn’t go pass the Cape Grim fillet mignon! This melt in your mouth cut was coffee and wood smoked and really didn’t need anything at all. Every mouthful just melted in my mouth. I was definitely the happiest girl that night!

Our sides for the night

With all the meat we were having, we had to order some sides to balance it out. We had the Little Hunter fries which was chunky and crispy. And grilled cabbage! This was no ordinary grilled cabbage, it was one that packed a punch! The sweetness of the cabbage was counter balance by the saltiness of the anchovies and blue cheese and the tanginess of the hazelnut vinegar. I’m not a huge fan of blue cheese, but this was YUMMILICIOUS! Love the crunch of the toasted hazelnuts too! This is one side you don’t want to miss!

Short Mach

After indulging on all the delicious and rich food, the Mr needed a digestive ; a short macchiato. It’s a new ritual of his after being introduced to him by his Italian weightlifting buddy! hehe and He’s loving it (:

Frangipane

Of course, desserts are a must to have a complete meal. haha Well, at least it is for us it won’t be complete without something sweet! hehe I knew exactly what I wanted, and I took charge of ordering the desserts to share. haha As we were already quite full, we ordered two for the three of us! First up : the Frangipane ! I loved how it looked! Just looks like a fried egg on the plate! hehe Instead, it’s meringue with a delicious and tangy passionfruit curd and a refreshing peach sorbet! So so good! The frangipane cake was slightly dense (though still light) but I personally love dense cakes so I was one happy girl!

Double chocolate mousse

The double chocolate mousse was one so rich and decadent! Absolutely loved it! It has an airy layer of white chocolate at the bottom and dark chocolate on top. The coffee cream went so well with the chocolate (almost similar to a tiramisu, but richer), with the bite of the cocoa nib brittle! Loved every single bite!

Ho Clan

So that concludes our beautiful meal! (: Just want to thank the Ho Clan with all my heart for making the night a fab one – filled with good food, good wine and lots of laughter! (: Love you both!

The mr and I

Happy weekend everyone! (:

Remember to always cook and bake with love! 

Little Hunter on Urbanspoon

Turning 27 (Part 1) : Brunch at Code Black Coffee

Turning 27

“Everyday is a birthday; every moment of it is new to us; we are born again, renewed for fresh work and endeavor”
~Issac watts

Good evening dear readers! (: I hope you’ve had a good weekend and your Monday is going smoothly! Cause I had an absolutely beautiful weekend celebrating my hatchday! hehe (: And it couldn’t have been any better! It started with a birthday brunch with my favourite girls (Daisy, Julie, Peachie & Melissa) at Code Black Coffee in Brunswick!

Code Black Coffee

Code Black Coffee

Add : 15-17 Weston Street, Brunswick Vic 3056

Website : http://www.codeblackcoffee.com.au

Code Black Coffee is located just behind Barkly Square in Brunswick and it’s a nicely converted warehouse. The interior design is beautiful and gives a really warm feeling! Unfortunately, they didn’t have a table big enough for the 5 of us at the time we arrived, so we had to sit outside. Thank goodness the weather was bright and and sunny that morning and there were no bees around! hehe (:

our drinks

We started our day with hot cuppas! I was craving for some coffee so decided to go for a cappuccino instead of my usual chai. The coffee was nice and strong, and definitely perked me up! hehe Melissa had her usual hot chocolate, Peachie ordered her new love – chai latte, Daisy had her skinny mocha and dearest Julie (fellow April baby) had a soy mocha! I love how no two cups are the same! hehe Barristers honestly have my upmost respect with the amazing skills they have!

My cappuccino

Had to post another picture of my cappuccino. Love the contrast between my coffee, the cup and the table! (:

Smoked ham hock coquettes with cauliflower puree, baby spinach and a poached egg

When browsing the menu, there were so many things I wanted to try! But one thing that called out to me was the smoked ham hock coquettes! My hats off to the chef, as all our food were so beautifully plated and you just didn’t wanna destroy it! It was a work of art! hehe My coquettes were laid on the creamiest and smoothest cauliflower puree with sautéed baby spinach and pine nuts. In the middle was the perfectly poached egg that burst with the slightest touch of the knife!

Runny yolk

The coquettes were crunchy on the outside, soft and fluffy in the middle! And the cauliflower puree, omgness. It was the best bit ever! I could eat it all day! So creamy but light at the same time! Seriously amazing! Needless to say, my plate was close to being licked clean! haha (: I am totally addicted to cauliflower puree. Who isn’t? heh

Open bacon steak sandwich

Melissa had the open bacon steak sandwich and it came with like a whipped avocado. It was delicious and so so smooth! With the tangy-ness of lemon, just cut through the saltiness and richness of the bacon steak! hehe Melissa loved the dish and couldn’t get enough of the bacon steak! hehe She mentioned that it’s even better than ham steaks which we usually have at home on Sundays! hehe Guess I have to hunt for some bacon steaks soon! hehe

Baked Eggs

Miss Peach knew instantly what she wanted – baked eggs. It had a smooth leek puree (I have to say they do amazing purees here!), baby spinach and goats cheese! A pity that the baked eggs were a little over done but she said the flavours were lovely! The best thing on the plate for her is definitely the polenta fingers! hehe Nice and crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. She loved it! hehe Of course, she couldn’t resist ordering a side of mushrooms! hehe

Huon smoked salmon

Julie ordered the Huon smoked salmon served with a smooth and rich potato aioli with fried capers. The dish looked so so pretty with the heirloom tomatoes placed so artistically! heh But sadly, the smoked salmon was a tad bit too salty! But I would definitely be able to finish a huge bowl of the potato aioli! (:

Australia's best toasted sandwich 2012

Miss Daisy surprising didn’t order anything sweet, but that’s because she (the awesome baker that she is) baked us April babies a beautiful birthday cake! hehe So she was reserving her sugar for later. (: She decided to order the Australia’s best toasted sandwich 2012 because she got drawn in by the polenta cake! I can’t blame her, it was one of the dishes I was close to ordering too! The dish was yum but Miss D said that it could be better if the polenta was a little more seasoned. Once again, her dish looked so so pretty! hehe Love it!

Birthday cake baked by Miss Daisy

The sweet queen baked us a beautiful Jamie Oliver’s pear and pistachio cake with a lemon & honey drizzle!  The cafe was really kind to allow us to cut and enjoy the cake in their premises! We were so thankful, cause there was no where else we could possibly cut the cake at! hehe Everyone that walked pass just kept staring at the cake, cause it looked like we bought the whole cake! haha Neither did they know it was homebaked by our dearest Daisy! hehe (: How beautiful does that look? Definitely worthy to be sold anywhere! hehe But please note this is not from the cafe itself.

Birthday cake by Daisy

The cake was slightly dense (and I love dense cakes haha) but was still crumbly! Love love love pistachios, so I was enjoying every single mouthful of it! hehe The lemon and honey drizzle added an extra tang to the cake which was so good! Thank you so much for your effort and time spent on baking us a delicious cake dearie! (: You’re the best! hehe I was greedy and took half of the cake home! haha Oops *hides*

Presents from the girls!

Not only did Peach and Daisy buy us birthday girls brunch, I was also lucky enough to receive presents from them! I was definitely pampered that day! hehe Ms Peach even baked us sugar cookies which were so yum! hehe Thank you all so much! Loved everything! Can’t wait to cook from the Nigella Lawson cookbook too! hehe

I really loved dining at Code Black Coffee and will definitely be back with the mr soon! (: Stay-tuned for the continuation of my birthday celebration! hehe Have a great week ahead everyone!

Remember to always cook and bake with love! (:

Code Black Coffee on Urbanspoon

Jelly Hearts

Ever since I started being more active in the blogging world, I’ve been really blessed with meeting new friends! Recently, I was invited to attend Peach-water’s birthday dinner but cause I was down with really bad hayfever, I told her that we’ll rearrange dinner and I would make her something special. (: I couldn’t think of anything better but some strawberry jelly hearts!

If you feel that these pretty cakes look familiar, I did make them ages ago and did a post on it. But I went back to look at it and the photos were so small! So here I am, re-doing the post and sharing the recipe again. It’s really interesting to see the difference a few years on! (:

I have to say, these are not difficult to make, just time consuming as you have to make sure each layer is set properly before starting on the next! The most important layer is the jelly layer, as you have to allow the jelly mixture to cool before pouring onto the cream cheese layer, to get a clear jelly layer! (: Patience, is the key when making this!

I used to only use vanilla essence when making the cream cheese filling, but I decided to use vanilla bean paste this time round. There is just something magical when you see the little black dots! And the flavour it gives the cream cheese is not comparable to just using the essence. If you do have vanilla beans, please give it a try!

These little rectangular cheesecakes with a heart in the middle make beautiful gifts for your loved ones and your friends. So the next time you are thinking of what to get for them, why not give these a try? Nothing can compared to things made with love!

Jelly Hearts 

Base : 

320g digestive biscuits

160g melted unsalted butter

Cheese Filling :

250g cream cheese

2 1/4 tsp gelatine powder

70g caster sugar

150ml hot water

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

8 medium sized strawberries

Jelly Topping : 

2 packets of strawberry flavoured jello (170g)

1 1/2 cups hot water

1 1/2 cups room temp water

Steps :

1) For the base : Place the biscuits in a ziplock bag, and crush them till they are fine, making sure there are no big chunks. Pour them into a large bowl, and mix in the melted butter.

2) Pour them into the base of a 9×9 square baking tray. Press onto the base and make sure it’s really compressed and make it as flat as you can. Prick the base with a fork and chill for at least 15 minutes.

3) For the cheese filling : Cut the strawberries into half. Using a small heart shape cutter, cut hearts out of the strawberry halves and place them on a plate lined with paper towel.

4) Place gelatine and sugar in a bowl. Pour the boiling water over and stir until the gelatine has dissolved.

5) In a mixing bowl, cream the cream cheese and vanilla bean paste together and slowly add the gelatine syrup gradually until smooth. Pour it over  the base. Place it in the fridge for 10 minutes then place the strawberry hearts, partially submerged in the cheese filling. Place it back into the fridge and refrigerate for 2 hours.

6) For the jelly topping : Dissolve the jello in hot water and stir well. Add the room temperature water and allow it to cool completely before pouring over the cheese filling. (Use a ladle and slowly pour the mixture over the strawberries instead of the cheese to keep the jello clear!)

7) Chill it in the fridge for another 2 hours or overnight for the best results.

Enjoy! (: And Happy Hatchday once again my dearest friend!

*Note : When slicing, make sure you clean the knife after every cut. It might seem difficult to get them out without it being messy, but start with the corner and use a spetula to help you. Once you have the first piece out, the rest would be a breeze! 

Remember to always cook and bake with love!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Lava Cake

So it was my mr’s birthday yesterday and I really wanted to make him a cake especially since it’s his birthday I’m celebrating with him as his wife! (: So I have been thinking and thinking what would he like as his cake. As he loves salted caramel, I was inspired by Ms D’s cake  (the queen of desserts hehe) that she made for her mr’s birthday! So after much research, I found a perfect cake that the mr would love!

I was really nervous with how it would turn out cause I havent baked a lava cake for the longest time. And I was quite stressed when making it cause there was no turning back. I had no back up cake plan at all. haha You could definitely see the relief in my face when the cake came out cleanly from the ramekins and I found out there was a gooey molten middle! SUCCESS!

And it was definitely a hit with the mr! He has requested that I make him this cake every year on his birthday! hehe I have to say, nothing is sexier than having the luscious salted caramel oozing out of the cake the moment you cut your fork through! It just puts a really big smile on my face! And I could just see how happy and satisfied the mr was. To me, that was the most important part of the day – that he enjoyed what I made him. hehe

Salted Caramel Chocolate Lava Cake (adapted from The Endless Meal)

For the chocolate salted caramel : 

142 g dark chocolate

1 cup caster sugar

28 g unsalted butter

1 tsp fleur de sel, plus a bit more when layering dessert

2 tbs water

1/2 cup thickened cream

For the lava cake :

284g dark chocolate

113 g unsalted butter

3 large eggs

3 egg yolks

1/2 cup plain flour

1/2 cup icing sugar, and more for dusting

2 tbs cocoa powder

extra butter and cocoa powder for ramekins

Steps :

1) For chocolate salted caramel : Melt chocolate in a double boiler, over a small pot of boiling water.

2) In a large pot, add the sugar and water and heat over medium heat until sugar melts and turn dark amber. If you have a candy thermometer, it should reach 176 degrees celcius. Take it off the heat, and carefully add the thicken cream. (Do note that it will bubble vigorously, so do not stand too close.) Whisk the mixture until smooth, then add the melted chocolate. Once it’s mixed well, stir in the butter. Set aside.

3) For the cake : Prepare 6-8 ramekins (depending on the size), and butter them well before coating them with cocoa powder, turning them upside down to make sure there is no excess. Set aside.

4) Melt butter and chocolate in a heat proof bowl, over a mall pot of boiling water. Once melted, set aside allowing it to cool a little.

5) In a mixer, whisk the eggs and egg yolks until well combined. Add the cooled melted chocolate and butter mixture, and stir well. Combine the flour and icing sugar, making sure there are no lumps, then slowly add to the mixture. Mix until smooth.

6) Fill each ramekin half way. Then place a big teaspoon of chocolate salted caramel in the middle and sprinkle a little bit more fleur de sel, before covering with more cake batter until it’s 3/4 filled. (At this stage, you can either bake it straight away or keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days.)

7) Preheat oven to 210 degrees celcius for 10 minutes. Place the ramekins in the middle rack of the oven, and bake for 15-20 minutes. If your ramekins are smaller, please reduce the baking time to ensure the gooey middle! Remove the ramekin from the oven, and run a palette knife through the sides to loosen the cake.

8) Carefully place a plate over the top of the ramekin and invert it. Carefully lift the ramekin up. Dust with icing sugar and serve with whipped vanilla bean cream if desired.

ENJOY! (:

So happy birthday my dearest hubs! So so glad you enjoyed the dinner after a 12 hours day at work! Thank you for working so so hard just to make sure we live comfortably. I couldn’t ask for more really. I love you! And I promise to make this for you every year on your birthday! hehe