Silks Mid-Autumn Festival Banquet

Just a couple of weeks back, I was invited to a Mid-Autumn Festival banquet at Silks Crown by Chef Tsang, and it brought back lots of fun memories! Being away from home, I rarely get to celebrate mid-autumn festival anymore. But it was a yearly event in my family when I was much younger. We used to have lots of food, endless mooncakes and after all the feasting is done, we would light up a paper lantern and walk around the neighbourhood! Just thinking about it brings a smile to my face! hehe

8 course dinner banquet

I love love love when I get my own personal place card. hehe I know it’s a small thing, but just makes me feel important haha Just for the night (: The banquet menu included 8 delicious courses and I couldn’t wait for it to begin!

steamed scallop  and vermicelli with garlic

The first dish was the perfectly steamed, plump and juicy scallops with vermicelli and garlic. This was so so good and one of my favourites of the night! There’s just something about chinese cooking where it looks simple, but the balance of the sauce is what’s critical to the dish. This was a perfect balance of sauces and was delicate enough to go with the scallops. Amazing!

Double boiled chicken consomme with dried scallops and mushroom

The second dish for most chinese banquets is soup. No ordinary soup, it’s soup that has been simmered for a long period of time to extract every single flavour from the ingredients. Every sip was just so flavoursome and I could just have a huge bowl of this for the night and I would be a happy camper!

Giant coral trout enrobed in minced shrimp

This third dish definitely wowed my sense of smell, sight and taste! I was definitely intrigued and super excited when it was placed in front of me. A crispy prawn head and tail, and in the middle is a piece of coral trout enrobed in minced shrimp! How amazing is that?? I was sitting next to the amazing Zeboy & Ms I-Hua and we were saying how difficult that must be to do!

inside the enrobed coral trout

See how the layers were so distinct? The best part was the crispy skin of the fish! I seriously wanted more and wished the Mr was there with me, so the prawn head didn’t go to waste! Any prawn head lovers out there? This was fried till every bit of it was crispy, but I still couldn’t bring myself to eating the shell! haha

Sauteed lobster with black bean sauce and pine nuts

This brought smiles on many faces! The lobster pieces were all cooked perfectly – still tender and juicy and went so well with the black bean sauce. It’s not usual that pine nuts are used in chinese cooking, usually it’s cashews or peanuts. But pine nuts worked equally as well, and it’s good for u too! hehe There’s always a huge packet (from Costco) in my pantry cause I love to add them in my sautéed vegetables (cauliflower, Jerusalem artichokes) ! hehe

diced beef tenderloin with mixed mushroom in gravy sauce

The fifth dish was melt-in-your-mouth beef tenderloin with mixed mushrooms in a terriyaki sauce. A little sweet for my liking, but I absolutely loved the texture of the beef. Not sure how Chef Tsang did it, but the beef was juicy and really tender!

chicken fried rice with XO sauce

The last savoury dish was chicken fried rice in XO sauce. Every rice was coated with egg and you could see the glorious yellow grains in the bowl! It had a chilli kick to it as well, from the XO sauce. I could never fry rice like this, never turn out to be this delicious. Think I need to invest in a wok! hehe

Sweetened walnut soup with glutinous rice ball

After 6 savoury dishes, I was so stuffed. But there’s always room for dessert, yes? Absolutely! When I saw what we were going to have for dessert, I was a little apprehensive, cause I never had walnut soup before. Plus the only other nut-soup I tried (and didn’t like it much) was almond soup. So I was a little worried about how it would taste. But I was so wrong. This was so smooth and delicate and absolutely divine. For a cold night, it was really comforting as well! Perfect winter warmer! I would head back just for another bowl of walnut soup. hehe

black sesame glutinous rice ball

Within the soup was a hidden treasure – a glutinous rice ball with black sesame. Absolute love! How sexy is the black sesame oozing out from the middle after a bite? hehe Rich but not overly so. Did I say it’s perfect? Cause it was!

Wing Wah white lotus seed mooncakes with double yolk

To end our banquet on a even sweeter note and what is seen as a symbol of mid-autumn festival – Mooncakes! This one is the famous Wing Wah mooncake from Hong Kong! The white lotus seed paste was smooth and not overly sweet and had two salted egg yolk! While I grew up opting for the no-yolk mooncakes, I have to say the combination is starting to grow on me. But I still like mine without yolk hehe

After the amazing banquet, Chef Tsang came out of the kitchen to say hi to us and answer some of our questions. It’s no wonder his food was absolutely delish cause he was from the two Michelin stars, Ming Court in Hong Kong! He’s been in Melbourne and Silks for 6 months now and is still working on a in-house recipe for mooncakes. hehe

So if you’re want to take part in some Mid-Autumn festivities, Crown is holding one from 9th to the 22nd of September, and there is something for everyone! Do check out their website for details of the events as they will be converting the Atrium into something spectacular!

Wing Wah moocake

We were so lucky to receive a box of mooncakes from Wing Wah to bring home! The Mr and Melissa couldn’t be happier when I took it out of the bag! hehe And yes, they finished one whole mooncake that very night! heh

Thank you so much Silks Crown, Chef Tsang and Media Moguls for organising this scrumptious banquet! Great food and was so good to meet and catch up with everyone! So do head to Crown and check it out and try some mooncakes if you haven’t had any yet!

Lianne @ Food Made With Love attended the Mid-Autumn festival banquet as a guest of Silks Crown and Media Moguls. Thank you so much for this yummy opportunity! 

Silks on Urbanspoon

Yarra Valley Chocolaterie : Hot Chocolate Festival

Yarra Valley Chocolaterie

I have a love-hate relationship with chocolate. More love than hate of course. But after scoffing down too much chocolate, that’s when the hate sets in. But it doesn’t last for long. My love for it is overpowering. haha So you can imagine my face when I walked through the glass doors of the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie! Yeap! You guessed it right! Wide grins, round eyes and I marched straight to the huge bowls of chocolate that are for free tasting. How generous! But just so I don’t look greedy, I just took a (heap) tablespoon full of the dark chocolate buttons and stepped away.

Hot Chocolate Festival

It wasn’t my first time at the chocolaterie, but this time I was really lucky to be asked to the Hot Chocolate Festival by Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Q Strategies to try 8 out of the 31 limited edition flavours they’ve come up with for the month of August! I went with the blogging gang (Shellie, Daisy, Thanh, Agnes & I-Hua) and we were allowed to bring our partners (and Melissa!) along, so it was like a fun road trip with a whole huge foodie gang!

8 flavours that we tried

These were the 7 + 1 flavours we tried that morning. Yes, we had hot chocolates for breakfast! hehe What could be better yes?

Josh - Head barista

We were introduced to Josh, the head barista at the chocolaterie. He’s the one who comes up with all the different flavours! Amazing! From the moment we gathered infront of him, pots and pots of hot chocolate arrived and were served! We were definitely in hot chocolate heaven!

toppings

Each cup (thank goodness they were mini ones!) had a different topping to match the flavours!

Pouring the hot chocolate

So without further ado, here comes the hot chocolates! I’m introducing them in the order that we were having them! Of course, I have my top three choices of the morning and you’ll see them next to their flavours! hehe So, first up….

Gingerbread

Gingerbread (2nd place)! This was made using their milk couverture chocolate and had quite a strong cinnamon and ginger taste to it, which I love! It was served with some gingerbread crumbs which gave a slight crunch to the drink.

Mint madness

Next up was mint madness! This was also made with their smooth milk chocolate and served with a fresh mint! I actually quite enjoyed this, as it reminded me of an After Eight chocolate! hehe and I absolutely love those thin pieces of chocolate! hehe

Cookies & Cream

Cookies & cream was somehow known as the King Kong of all flavours made with smooth milk chocolate and topped with crushed oreo cookies! This was delicious but it kinda of tasted like normal hot chocolate, and nothing too special. Though the crunch of the cookies added a good texture!

pina colada

I’ve been into coconut everything these days, so I was quite excited when I saw Pina Colada (3rd place) on the tasting menu! It had a strong coconutty flavour made with white chocolate and topped with toasted coconut! DELISH! hehe It was quite a favourite among us that day to be honest!

Indian Chai

When the next flavour was indian chai, Shellie and I were smiling at each other, as we both love our chai! Unfortunately, the dark chocolate was a little overwhelming and I couldn’t really taste the chai spices. Sad face! I really thought this would make number 1 on my list!

Snickers

This, ladies and gentlemen, is SNICKERS! The champion of the day! It was so delicious, and it really felt like you were having a snickers bar. It was nutty and chocolatey. Everything a hot cup of hot chocolate needs! Topped with roasted slithers of almond – A perfect cup! I secretly wanted another cup! haha But had to safe some space for the two more to come!

Lemon myrtle

If you’re a fan of lemony and citrusy drinks, this would be the one for you! I never thought that lemon would go well with chocolate. But after drinking this, your mouth is left with a subtle taste of lemon, kinda refreshing! Each cup is topped with a candied slice of lemon.

Jaffa

Our last cup for the morning was Jaffa. It was a special addition to the tasting menu we had! Before we could taste it, Josh grated some orange zest and the aroma of oranges just filled the air!

Handmade marshmallows

After all the hot chocolates, we were also introduced to some handmade marshmallows! There were 4 flavours (from top) : tropical, vanilla, strawberry & chocolate ! They were all so FLUFFY (imagine me saying this in Agnes’ voice, from Despicable Me! haha) !!! Loved it and they weren’t overly sweet! I had to stop at one though, cause I definitely reached my sugar quota for the day! hehe

Chocolate freckles

After the private tasting session, we walked around the chocolaterie and it was like being in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! Every where you walked to, you would see chocolate of all kinds!

Rocky road

So do go and visit the chocolaterie before the end of August and taste all the different flavours of hot chocolate they have to offer and hit a sugar high! (: You’ll definitely enjoy it as much as we did!

chocolate cups stacked

So what flavour of hot chocolate would you love to try? I really want to try the popcorn flavour that’s coming up next week! hehe What are you waiting for? Head over there asap!

Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery on Urbanspoon

Lianne @ Food Made With Love attended the hot chocolate festival as a guest of the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Q Strategies. Thank you so much for this yummy opportunity! 

Grain Store – Grand Opening

Grainstore1-1Grainstore2-1-1

There’s many things I love about Melbourne. One of which is how new cafes and restaurants pops up everywhere and there will always be something new to try!  Slightly more than a month back, I was invited (with many food bloggers too!) to the grand opening of the Grain Store. Before I got the invitation, I was wowed by the pictures of their interior decoration. So I was super excited to try their food! hehe I do apologise if my photos are a little yellowish! I’m still learning hehe

photo-9-1

I wasn’t sure how they were going to fit so many of us, as we were allowed to bring up to 3 guests with us! But the place was really spacious and had tables all well spread out. The serving style of the evening was tapas which was perfect, so we got to try alot more things in a much relaxed environment! hehe

couscous and quinoa salad on red witlof

The first thing I had that night was a couscous and quinoa salad on red witlof. The freshness and crunch of the salad went really well with the subtle bitterness of the witlof. I definitely wanted more of this! hehe So so so good!

Black pudding on puff pastry

Next was the black pudding on puff pastry. Although I’m not a big fan, the black pudding went really well with the buttery puff pastry!  I have to admit, when it first arrived, I thought it was on a pikelet! hehe Kinda reminded me of bellini (mini pancakes), right? hehe

Potato fondant

This, my dear friends, was one of my favourite of the night. What could be better than a combination of spuds and cheese? Spuds, cheese and cream! hehe These golden and crispy potatoes are cut into cylinders and hollowed and stuffed with cheese! There were DELISH! Definitely wanted more!

Polenta chips

When the polenta chips arrive, I was grinning! One of the my favourite things ever! I’ve been addicted to it since the mr made them! hehe These were really good! Super crispy on the outside, soft and pillowy on the inside! Definitely wanted more than one!

Prawns on Crustini

These prawns were so sweet and succulent and went perfectly with the crispy crustini.

Small masterclass

In the middle of our nomming session, we were invited to the back of the kitchen, where all the magic happens! hehe Chef Ingo was going to give us a mini masterclass of how to make beef tartare! Straight away, I turned to look at Melissa (my sister-in-law who was my plus one for the night) and her face immediately lit up! She’s a huge fan of beef tartare, so I knew she would be thrilled!

Beef tartare

Chef Ingo used tenderloin, parsley, capers, french shallots, chives, gherkins, light mayo, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, a touch of cognac and seasoned with salt! For a small dish, it sure has lots of ingredients! hehe It’s no wonder it’s so tasty and it just melts in your mouth! Of course, Melissa had 2! hehe Everyone knew she liked it so they allowed her to have another! So nice of them! She was definitely a happy girl that night (:

smoke salmon on potato crisp

The house smoke salmon  was beautiful and went so well with the crisp and the slight bitterness of the witlof. Yummm!

Ginger Beer

As I was the designated driver of the night, I ordered organic ginger beer. I love ginger beer. It’s my choice of a fizzy drink (as well as lemon lime bitters)! So refreshing and just the right amount of ginger kick! hehe

Pork fritters

Just before we left, they came around with some delicious and mouth-watering pork fritters! OMGNESS. These were just to-die-for! They just melt in your mouth and the crumbs were golden brown and crispy! I’m so glad I stayed long enough to try them! YUMMEH!

Just want to thank the Grain Store for inviting me to their grand opening! I had such a good time and it was great seeing familiar faces too! hehe Absolutely loved the food and I can’t wait to try their breakfast & lunch menu! Definitely have to head down soon!

Disclaimer : I was invited and dined with compliments of The Grain Store for their launch party. 

Bosch Masterclass with Chef Ian Curley

Bosch Masterclass with Ian Curley

Good evening dear readers, hope you had a great weekend and you’re all pumped up for the new week! Time really flies, and it’s already mid-week! Before you know it, it’s the weekend again! How good is that? hehe A few weeks back, I was fortunate enough to be invited by PHD media agency and Bosch Home Appliances to have a Bosch Masterclass led by top chef, Ian Curley! If you’re thinking that Ian Curley looks familiar, that’s because he’s appeared on numerous TV shows – Masterchef and Conviction Kitchen (just to name a few). I was so so excited when I read that he was going to run the Masterclass, especially cause he’s the Executive chef of The European, a place I’ve been meaning to try! So glad I get to have a first-hand taste of some of the dishes they serve in the restaurant! Up close and personal! (:

Beautiful table setting

We were chauffeured to the venue of the Masterclass and they transformed their showroom into a beautiful dining area! I was mesmerised by all the kitchen appliances that was around me! The state-of-th-art cooking tops, range hoods and the built in … (wait for it)… coffee machine that grinds the coffee beans and makes the froth for you all in a press of a button! Of course, I couldn’t go past the different types of ovens they had to offer! I wanted all of them! hehe

Before I share the amazing night I had, be warned that there are heaps of photos to come and mostly would make you very hungry! hehe Might need to eat after you finish reading this post! hehe But hopefully you’ll enjoy it as much as I did that night! Here we go! (:

Filleting a John Dory

We got into the kitchen (at the back of the show room) and was introduced to Chef Ian Curley! I have to say, he looks so fierce but he’s actually really nice and funny! Insisting we take nice photos of him and make him look skinny! hehe Straight after a short introduction, Chef Ian got straight down to business! He decided to cook us a pre-dinner meal of John Dory with cauliflower puree and braised witlof!

Joh dory with cauliflower puree and braised witlof

Of course, in true chefy fashion, Chef Ian filleted the Joh Dory infront of us, in the matter of minutes might I add! Just amazing!

filleting the John Dory

ingredients used

Lucky for us, everything was prepped so we don’t have to do the chopping, but just the cooking, plating and of course, eating! hehe The best part of all!

Seasoning the fish

The fish was seasoned just before it’s being cooked in a hot pan!

Plating the dish up

While the fish was pan-frying, Chef Ian started to plate the dish up : the cauliflower puree with cauliflower florets, pine nuts, muscatels and capers. I love how it could do that with his eyes closed and it still turned out looking like an art piece!

work of art

How amazing does that look? and that’s just the beginning!

the favourite ingredient of the night : bottarga

To add extra oomph to the dish, bottarga was grated onto the dish! It’s Chef Ian’s current favourite ingredient at the moment! hehe I could definitely understand why! When I saw the bottarga, the only person that I thought of was the Mr, cause he LOVES fish roe! hehe

We were then split into groups to cook different dishes and lucky me was grouped with Miss D (Never Too Sweet) and Agnes (Off The Spork) to make some amazing Beef Wellingtons! By no means was this dish quick and easy, but all the components of the dish just made this dish TO-DIE-FOR! We girls definitely did a great job! hehe Although most of the hard work was already done for us. haha

ingredients for beef wellington

We were introduced to the ingredients needed for the beef welly and look at how beautiful those eye fillets were! The rest of the ingrdients are : dijon mustard, proscuitto, salt, mushroom duxelles.

sealing the eye fillets

sealing the eye fillet (both sides)

The eye fillets had to be seasoned with salt and coated with olive oil before putting into the hot pan to get sealed on both sides! It was important to oil the meat instead of the pan so that it doesn’t smoke out the kitchen! hehe A very good tip when you cook your steaks at home too! (:

Eye fillet sealed

Once the eye fillets are sealed (nicely golden brown too!), allow them to rest on a tray and then smear a thick layer of dijon mustard and a whole heap of mushroom duxelles!

eye fillets smothered with dijon mustard and topped with mushroom duxelles

wrapped with proscuitto

It’s then wrapped with a beautiful piece of proscuitto and then instead of the usual puff pastry, the European uses brioche instead as it gives a lovely soft texture! The brioche was then brushed with egg yolk to give it a nice colour!

Wrapped with brioche and egg washed

Beef wellingtons about to go into the convection and steam oven!

The beef wellingtons were then placed in the convection and steam oven! How awesome does that sound?? The oven has a steaming function that would bake the brioche as the usual oven function bakes/steam the beef so that it will be juicy and tender! I definitely want one!

Baking in the combi steam oven

The combi steam oven doing it’s magic for 12 minutes! While it’s baking, we went over to the other groups to have a sticky beak! hehe Boy was I glad we did, cause the smell that was filling the kitchen was making my tummy grumble!

crab linguini

One of the groups made crab linguini and we were just in time to taste the dish! One of the tips that were given to us was to only add the basil leaves just before serving the pasta just so it is able to have the added freshness!

Chef Ian plating the crab linguini

Topped with bread crumbs and shaved bottarga

Before serving, they crab linguini was topped with breadcrumbs and shaved bottarga! Love the addition of the bread crumbs. It added an element of crunch to the dish! (: So so tasty! My belly was definitely happy after I finished a whole plate!

Crab linguini

After being satisfied by the bowl of deliciousness, my greedy belly led me to the next group. They were cooking saffron seafood paella!

Rice absorbing all the goodness

The short grain rice are absorbing the goodness of the stock, capsicum, saffron and chorizo. hehe I couldn’t wait to dig in to this dish!

All the seafood going in!

Especially after I saw the amount of seafood that is going into the dish! I’m sure you would want some of this too! Just at this time, the beef wellingtons were ready to come out of the oven and be plated!

Beef wellingtons done!

While they were resting, we made the button mushroom garnish.

mushroom garnish

It was a delicious mix if button mushrooms, fresh peas, pearl onions, lettuce, brussel sprouts leaves and bacon! YUMMERS!

Slicing the beef wellington

Within a circle of pea puree lay the button mushroom garnish, a teaspoon or two of mushroom broth and some mushroom froth. Then the beef wellingtons were sliced into half and served!

Beef Wellington

Fresh horseradish was grated onto the finished beef wellingtons just before being served! hehe How pretty does that look? So many components and trust me, everything works magically together! The eye fillets were cooked perfectly  medium as well. hehe I have to say though, I do prefer the flakey puff pastry but the soft brioche was a delightful difference! hehe Just like my buttery puff! hehe

Saffron Seafood Pealla

Next up, saffron seafood paella! (: Don’t you just want to dive into this pan of deliciousness?? When it was placed on our table, everyone just went “WAH” simultaneously! There was so much seafood, the rice wasn’t even visible at first look! hehe Our kind of paella. haha

close up shot of the seafood paella

We quickly snapped some shots and dugs our (clean) spoons in it! The flavours just burst in our mouths! It was so good and the seafood were all cooked really well! Plump and juicy! (: individual portions

I was already stuffed by the time I finished my wellington. So I only had a small portion! Had to leave some space for dessert! hehe For a moment, I sound like Miss D! haha

Pinot Gris Cold Pressed - Yering Station

After having the paella, we were invited back into the kitchen to have some dessert! Of course, there was a sweet dessert wine to go with it – Yering Station’s Pinot Gris Cold Press! SO SO GOOD! Really need to head to the vineyard to buy some of these to stock up! I personally love sweet wine that’s why Moscato or Reisling is usually my choice of wines. hehe I took the smallest sips so that it could last longer! hehe

plating the desserts

While we were busy enjoying our meal, the chefs were busy plating the dessert : olive oil polenta & ricotta trifle! To go with was a stick of puff pastry (YAY!) and some candied walnuts (I wanted to sneak the whole packet home haha). It was my first time having a polenta cake and I loved it! Wasn’t too sweet and added a bite to the dessert. I’ve been a huge fan of olive oil cakes of late, so this was definitely making my belly happy! hehe

Olive oil polenta ricotta trifle

I just kept digging and digging into the glass and it felt like it was never ending! At this point, I knew I was filled to the brim and definitely a happy camper!

Chef Ian making pasta

Before the night came to a close, Chef Ian wanted to show us how easy it was to make pasta from scratch and also how quick and simple a spaghetti marina could be! He whipped out the Bosch MUM86 Professional with a pasta maker attachment and started rolling out the pasta dough that he’s made prior.

Cooking spag marina

In a matter of minutes, he was able to fire up and plate an amazing bowl of spaghetti marinara! Too bad we were all really stuffed, or else I would have loved to have a taste!

spaghetti marinara

I definitely had so much fun during this masterclass! All the different techniques learnt and the delicious food we got to try and attempt cooking. Definitely a night to remember! (: Thank you so much Bosch and PHD agency for this amazing opportunity! Would also like to extend my thanks and appreciation to Chef Ian Curley and his team for holding such a fun masterclass! I enjoyed every minute of it!

take-home goodies

To make the night end on a even sweeter note, Bosch has generously given each of us a goodie bag filled with amazing gifts! One which I have been eyeing for the longest time : the stick blender! WOOOHOO! (: Now I can make soups, mayo and sauces in a whizz! Thank you so so much Bosch Home Appliances for everything and for the beautiful night! Couldn’t ask for more!

Hope you enjoyed the post! Sorry about the photo bomb hehe I’ve got the recipes of all the dishes that we tasted that night, so if you would like any of them, please feel free to drop me a comment with your email and I will send them through to you asap! (: Have a wonderful night ahead and I hope that your Thursday would be a happy one!

Always remember to cook and bake with love!

Disclaimer : I was invited to this Bosch Masterclass with Chef Ian Curley as a guest of  PHD agency and Bosch Home Appliances.

Easter Egg Masterclass By Cacao

Easter Egg Masterclass by Cacao

It’s the time of the year when you start indulging in chocolate eggs and bunnies and the only aisle you want to walk at the supermarkets is where all the deliciousness is located. Walking the aisle actually feels like I was partially in the chocolate factory of Charlie! The smell of chocolate is unbeatable and just inevitably puts a smile on my face. I have to say this is one other time of the year that I love and have lots to be thankful for.

Just a week back, I was invited to a Easter Egg Masterclass by Cacao Fine Chocolates & Patisserie and TinkPR with a few other awesome food bloggers (Iron Chef ShellieI’m So HungreeBrunch AddictSweet Cherrie Pie, Off The Spork, Melbourne Food Snob Peach Water & Never Too Sweet For Me ). Was so good to see everyone from the Pizza challenge and also put faces to some whom I’ve followed since I’ve started blogging! hehe Needless to say, this was one educational and fun class! hehe Do be warned that this post will definitely make you hungry and possible make you crave for some chocolate & salted caramel! hehe

Cacao Fine Chocolates & Patisserie

Address : 52 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda

Phone : 03 8598 9555

Website : http://www.cacao.com.au

Hot chocolate

When we got there, we were asked if we wanted a cup of their signature hot chocolate, and I don’t know how anyone could resist such an offer? It was my first time having their hot chocolate and I have to say, it is one of the best ones I’ve ever had! And it was perfect for the cold windy night. Their hot chocolate is made from Belgium chocolates and it’s so rich and definitely chocolatey! I just couldn’t stop picking my cup up and sipped continuously! hehe

Canapes

Canapes

Canapes

We were also served some delicious canapes and they were perfect with the hot chocolate. It was good to fill us up before the class so we don’t gobble all the Easter eggs we were going to make! hehe (:

Tim Clark

Tim Clark who is the mastermind behind all the delicious chocolates and macarons introduced himself and led us to his kitchen which had a beautiful marble top which I’ve always dreamt of having in my kitchen! And we got down to business immediately!

Tempering chocolates

Tim taught us the art of tempering chocolate and the importance of doing it – so that we can get smoother and shinier chocolates! hehe We also learnt that different types of chocolate temper at different temperatures. Tim made it look so easy spreading the chocolate out and scraping it back again. It’s like second nature to him! He could do it with his eyes shut! hehe Once the chocolate was tempered, it was ready to be used for our Easter Eggs!

Ashely @ I'm So Hungree did really well at tempering the chocolate too!

Ashley of I’m So Hungree gave tempering chocolate a shot and I have to say, she did a marvellous job! hehe She looked like a pro doing it! hehe and while she was tempering, and us watching, the beautiful Julia of TinkPR came around (like an angel) offering us macarons and chocolates! How pretty is this box of macarons? I wanted to steal the whole box! hehe

Macarons

I tried the cookies and cream one and it was SO GOOD! Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The ganache was not too sweet as well! Really enjoyed it and was so tempted to go for seconds, but had to control myself! hehe

Tim Clark showing Daisy and us how to fill the shells

The time has come when we learnt how to make the shells of Easter Eggs! Miss D stepped up to give it a shot! hehe Before filling it up with the luscious chocolate, we first have to make sure the shell moulds are polished and shiny. This can be done just by using a cloth or paper towel! hehe

Filling the mould up

Then we fill the mould up all the way to the top!

Tapping the air bubbles out

Then tap the side to make sure there are no air bubbles in between and then scrape the top.

Making chocolate shells

Then comes the fun part : flip, tap, allow it to drip and scrape the access off! What you get in the end are some nicely covered egg shells!

Salted caramel chocolate egg shells

To make it extra special, we sprinkled some salted caramel crystals before covering and sealing them with another layer of chocolate! Yummo! Next up, Tim showed us how to be the best salted caramel EVER.

Tim Clark making salted caramel

We all stood around him and all you could hear is the Ooos and Ahhs as the salted caramel is being made. We were big fans of the salted caramel and just couldn’t wait to taste it! hehe

Almost done!

A pot of gold just about completed!

sifting the salted caramel

The pot of salted caramel is then blended before going through a fine sift and there in the big metal bowl is magic. Just thick and delicious. You just want to lick the whole bowl and any drips around it. haha

when it's cooled

Once it’s cooled, all is left to do it to dig a spoon in and ENJOY!

spoonful of salted caramel

And we did just that of course! hehe We each were given a (tea)spoon to try and OH-EM-GEE! It was super yummilicious! Wish we could have more, but no double dipping! 😛

Filling the small shells with salted caramel

We piped the salted caramel into the small egg shells that were made prior to our arrival and they were sealed with even more chocolate before capping it with the other shell. This small chocolate ball of goodness was going to be placed within our large chocolate egg!

Shiny chocolate egg shells ready to go!

Our chocolate shells were popped out of the moulds and getting ready to be filled and sealed too! (: We each did one after Tim demonstrated how it should be done. We never knew how it was sealed and it’s always great to learn something new everyday! hehe

sealing the easter egg

Just lightly heating the egg shells, then placing the small egg filled with salted caramel then sealing it! VIOLA! An easter egg is formed!  Or some would say, this is how the baby egg is formed. haha

Completed shells

Take home box

We were lucky enough to take an egg back at the end of the class and there was nothing but big smiles on our faces! hehe Thank you Tim Clark from Cacao & Julia from TinkPR for this wonderful opportunity to learn how to make beautiful Easter eggs and irresistible salted caramel! I definitely enjoy every single bit(e) of the class and will be back for more macarons and hot chocolate! Mmmm (:

Happy mid week everyone! Just one more day till the long weekend! Remember to always cook and bake with love!

PS : Did you see the Humpy Dumpy display at the top? Do head to Cacao at St Kilda to have a closer look! Everything is made with chocolate and each Humpty Dumpty used 40kg of chocolate! Happy Easter everyone!

Disclaimer : I was invited to this Easter Egg Masterclass as a guest of  Cacao Fine Chocolates & Patisserie and TinkPR.

Bring It On : Pizza Fight At The Grosvenor Hotel

The Grosvenor Hotel

Don’t worry dear readers, this was not a physical fight! hehe It was more of a challenge. One that involves creating the best pizza and be crowned the champ! (: Thanks to the Grosvenor Hotel and Tink PR, some food bloggers and I had the chance to get flour all over our fingers and learn the art of making a good pizza dough. I was definitely looking forward to creating my very own pizza! To be honest, I didn’t realise how serious the competition was until everyone was tweeting about bringing their own secret ingredient! And when I went empty handed, only one thing was on my mind ” uh-oh, I’m in big trouble ” haha. It made me super duper nervous! In addition to that, it was my first time meeting most of the people invited for this challenge – Iron Chef Shellie, I Eat Therefore I Am, I’m So Hungree, Brunch Addict, Sweet Cherrie Pie & Ms D (Never Too Sweet For Me). But I have to say, I really didn’t need to be nervous, cause everyone was so friendly (with their game face on hehe) and we had so much fun from the start to the end! Definitely a night to remember! (:

Passionfruit, lime and basil cocktail

When everyone arrived, we were brought to our table by the gorgeous Julia (From Tink PR) and introduced Chef Emile to us! In the midst of all the introductions, the table was filled with a spread of chicken liver parfait & hot bread, antipasto and some arancini balls.

Chicken liver parfait & antipasto

The chicken liver parfait was my favourite! It was so smooth and just perfect when spread on the bread. YUMS!

Arancini balls

The arancini balls were the perfect bite size, and had bits of chicken in them! After filling out tummies, we headed towards the kitchen to learn about making the dough.

Ingredients for the pizza dough

We each had our own dough to work on, and boy was it a work out to just get the dough right! I was standing next to Thanh and we just couldn’t stop laughing as we went along! We were lucky enough to have Chef Emile and Stefano there to give us a hand and to make sure we are on the right track!

Chef Emile & Stefano giving us a hand or two!

My own pizza dough

After what felt like hours, our dough was finally ready to be cling wrapped and proofed!

Stefano distributing the dough

While our doughs were proofing, Stefano took out a whole tray of perfect looking doughs so that we could learn how to stretch them by hand! The right hand stretches while the left hand rotates the dough! Definitely easier said than done, but I had so much fun! It was like playing with playdough haha

The pizza base is formed by hand

All stretched out!

It was even an art to place them on the wooden boards before putting the ingredients on!  And at this point, everyone had their game face on and were all ready for the challenge! 

Thanh and I with our

(Photo credits : Thanh from Instagram)

I stole this photo from Thanh cause it shows exactly how prepared we were with our “ping pong” bats! From the grin on our faces, you know how much fun we’re having! hehe

All getting ready to create our pizzas in groups

We all gathered around the table and Julia starts explaining how the challenge will be carried out. We were split into three groups so that the wood oven pizza won’t be over crowded. So off went the first group of savouries!

Bakkwamon by Ashley of I'm So Hungree

The first was Bakkwamon by Ashley of I’m So Hungree and it was inspired by her dad! Her secret ingredient was homemade bak kwa! Plus her pizza base was the gluten free one! hehe It was so delicious! I could just eat the bak kwa all night long! (:

Banhmigeddon by Shellie of Iron Chef Shellie

This was one of my favourites of the savouries for the night! It was Shellie’s (Iron Chef Shellie) banhmigeddon! The lemongrass chicken was SO GOOD! I was super tempted to go for seconds but had to control myself cause I had alot more to taste through the night hehe

The Karaage Kid by Thanh of I Eat Therefore I Am

Thanh (I Eat Therefore I Am) made the karaage kid – He brought in pieces of crispy karaage (fried chicken) and drizzled yummy roasted sesame sauce! That’s pure magic and was also one that I really enjoyed for the night! (:

Second round includes :

Fiddle to the Fennel By Scott of Brunch Addict

Fiddle to the Fennel was created by Scott of Brunch Addict! How cute is the name? I’m not a but fan of fennel but this was so good and the sweetness of the caramelised onions just stood out with every bite! Noms!

Baa Baa's Delight by Sabrina of Brunch Addict

Sabrina of Brunch Addict made Baa Baa’s Delight and how pretty are the beets on the pizza? With the classic combination of lamb and minted yogurt, this was also really good! In fact everyone’s pizza were awesome creations and it was so difficult to rate them!

After all the savouries, of course up comes the sweets! Even though we were all quite full by then, there is always room for dessert yes? YES! Cause I decided to walk on the sweet side that evening, together with Miss D (of course!) and Cherrie! We were spoilt for choice for the ingredients and ended up using almost similar things with slight variations of each! So it was definitely a close fight!

Bananas about Dulce de leche and bacon by Cherrie Moore

Cherrie made hers with a dulce de leche base, mashed banans, almond flakes and her secret ingredient, bacon! The combination of sweet and savoury was just brilliant! Almost reminded me of the Elvis sandwich which I LOVE! hehe

Sweet Attack by Daisy of Never Too Sweet For Me

Our dearest queen of sweets, Daisy (Never Too Sweet For Me) of course created a dessert pizza for the night! hehe Her was called ‘Sweet Attack’ and it had dulce de leche as the base, with almond flakes, almond crumble, honeycomb and nutella! It was deliciously sweet! hehe Everyone loved it! Noms!

Banana Nut Cracker by Me!

Last but not least, it’s my creation : Banana nut cracker ! I was thinking about breakfast cereals for some reason, so I decided to do a breakfast inspired one with butterscotch sauce, bananas,  almond crumble, flaked almonds, walnuts and sprinkled with some cinnamon sugar. Of course, I’m biased and I did like mine! haha I think just cause it’s everything I love on a plate! Especially the subtle hit of cinnamon with every bite. Reminds me of cinnamon sugar churros! NOMS! hehe

Once everyone had scored their peers (including our own creations), Julia and Chef Emile went into another area to add up the scores and after 20 minutes, the winners were announced! There was a tie in the first place and it was none other than the Banhmigeddon (by Shellie) and Sweet Attack (by Daisy)! Congrats girls!! And to my surprise, I came in second! WHEEEEE! (: And our pizzas went on as their specials the following day and will be on their specials for the next week for everyone to try!

Specials menu at Grosvenor Hotel

So I need your help dear readers! Please head to the Grosvenor Hotel’s Facebook page and vote for my pizza! Every single vote counts! Plus if you are around the area, or feel like a pizza for dessert, do head down to Grosvenor Hotel to get some. You can either dine in or takeaway and for just $17 (and $12 on Tuesdays!). Every pizza you order is considered a vote too!

Vote for me please! (:

So do click on the link above or just head to https://www.facebook.com/grosvenorhotelstkilda and search for the picture of my pizza and “like” ! Your help and support is greatly appreciated! (:

Facebook page

Thank you all once again and especially those who have already voted! One more week and the winner will be announced! hehe Fingers and toes crossed! (: Thank you Grosvenor Hotel, Chef Emile and Julia for organising such an awesome event!

Disclaimer : I was invited to this pizza making event as a guest of Grovenor Hotel and Tink PR.