A Sweet Affair

Remember my last visit at Mr Hive’s Kitchne & Bar? Yes. I went back for more. This time I brought my mr and his family for a very special occasion: My in-law’s 29th wedding anniversary! I was so glad I decided to bring them there cause we were pampered from the very moment we were shown to our tables!

As I did let Mr Hive know, when I was booking the table, that we were celebrating a wedding anniversary, we were given a glass of champagne each to start the dinner off! I knew instantly that it was going to be a spectacular night! I couldn’t stop smiling and my in-laws were definitely really happy! (:

Mr Hive’s Kitchen & Bar

Address : 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank Vic 

Phone : 03 9292 8300

Though the service was exemplary for the whole night, the highlight of the evening was definitely when we adjourned to the dessert bar to fix our sweet tooth! I don’t usually have second posts for food reviews, but our experience that night is definitely worthy of my double post! Please do not get me wrong, the food was delicious, but we pretty much had the same dishes as my first visit, so I thought I would just focus on the desserts. Besides, who doesn’t like desserts? hehe Miss D would be with me on this! haha

We were lucky to dine at Mr Hive’s on a week night, so it was quite quiet and there was an empty dessert bar waiting for us! Having never seen a pastry chef plate desserts before, it was a great first experience for the mr and his family as well!

The moment we sat down, we were greeted by the friendly pastry chef – Chef Mario! We looked through the menu and ordered instantly. Then he started plating desserts. It was like watching a cook show right infront of our eyes! Although it was my second time, I still enjoyed it. You could tell he took pride in every single dessert he was plating.

He started plating individual portions of the yoghurt mousse with rhubarb compote and szechuan ice cream. We thought it was for another table, as we didn’t order actually this. Little did we know, it was a complimentary dessert for us as a gift for my in-law’s wedding anniversary again! Are they amazing or what? Not one but two gifts! The flavours just complimented each other. There was the lightness of the mousse with the slight hint of spiciness from the ice cream and crunch of the white chocolate crumble. NOMS!

Then came the apple tart tatin which had another surprise for my in-laws. They not only wrote happy anniversary on the board, but   also came with candles! That really made all of us smile! The tart tatin was perfect. The apples were so well caramelised and the tart was crispy and buttery. It was made to order, so it was still piping hot when served! Together with brandy cream and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Match-made in heaven!

Chef Mario portioned it and even gave each of us a scoop of ice cream to go with our slice! It was so good, I could continue eating it the whole night! There’s just something about a dessert that had both cold and hot elements. Makes my taste buds tingle (:

Of course, I couldn’t not order the Mr Hive’s chocolate bar when I dine at Mr Hive’s. It’s rich and decadent and the base is crunchy! If you know me, you know I love desserts with different textures. This definitely tick all the boxes! hehe And you know what’s even better?

This.

Chef Mario took the plate before I could, and split it into 5 portions and re-platted them individually with a beautifully quenelled peanut ice cream! In fact, the one that was served with the whole chocolate bar melted slightly, and he threw that away and quenelled 5 more for us! That’s how much pride he takes in his desserts! We were so impressed! hehe

The last dessert we ordered was of course the ricotta cheesecake because my mr’s dad loves cheesecake! Plus it was one of the prettiest desserts I’ve ever seen!

Of course, Chef Mario presented the dessert and then took it and replated it into individual portions again! What’s more amazing is that there were only 4 pieces of cheesecake but he just added another cause there were 5 of us!

How pretty is the individual portions? Every single plate looked like that. How could you not be touched? I couldn’t stop saying “wow!” both verbally and in my head. haha

And just you think there can’t be more. He picks up 5 glass bottles and starts preparing the grand finale! He started squeezing some chocolate milk with milo powder and tops the glass bottles with a salted caramel truffle! Trust me. That’s like the best truffle you will ever have. You bite into it and there’s an explosion of salted caramel in your mouth. LOVE.

I absolutely adore the straws they give to slurp the delicious, thick chocolate milk. I really need to go get some from Wheel & Barrow! hehe (:

So I can definitely say it was a night we will definitely remember! And we left Mr Hive’s with happy bellies!

Happy Wedding Anniversary to my dearest in-laws! It was great to celebrate this special day with the whole family! (: Our compliments to the chef and staff of Mr Hive’s! Thank you so much for making this day even more special than it already is!

Mr. Hive Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

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

Lychee Cheesecake In A Jar

I’ve been wanting to do this for the longest time. Making a dessert in a jar that is. I’ve been really amused by the whole concept and also totally in love with how the desserts turn out. You don’t even need to decorate it much, just place a ribbon around the mouth of the jar and place it with a spoon, viola! (: You have a beautiful looking dessert on the table. Perfect for a dinner party or even gifts for friends!

I had a block of cream cheese sitting in my fridge for the longest time, and have been wanting to make something with it. I wanted to make some japanese cheesecake, but decided to make something new instead. So searching my pantry, I found a tin of lychees and decided to use them!

Lychees are definitely one of my favourite fruits. But it’s so difficult to find the fresh version here, even if they sell it, it’s so crazy expensive! haha So I always have a tin of lychees sitting in my pantry. (: I have to admit, i’ve not had cream cheese with lychees before, but I suppose, it should go well with a sweet fruit puree. Right? hehe So here goes nothing!

I did a bit of research and found a recipe that sounded easy and the product looked absolutely gorgeous, so I just had to give it a try. The only downside to this recipe? Is that I have to wait for the cheesecake to set, before being able to indulge in them! haha But I am a firm believer of delayed gratification! This is one dessert that is definitely worth the wait! (:

Oh yes! I did add a bit of lychee liquor, which I always have in my pantry, just to make it a little boozy! hehe But definitely not enough to taste it. hehe Almost no effect at all.

Lychee Cheesecake in a Jar (adapted from Honest Vanilla)

For the base :

100g digestive biscuits

40g short bread

60g butter, melted

For the lychee cheese layer :

500g cream cheese

300g thicken cream

240g lychees, drained and reserve syrup

100ml lychee syrup

1 tbs lychee liquor

50g sugar

3 tsp powdered gelatine

Steps : 

This recipe is enough for 6 jars and a 6-inch springform pan.

1) Break the digestive biscuits and the shortbread by sealing them in a ziplock bag and crushing them using a rolling pin. Make sure you get them quite finely.

2) Pour the crushed biscuits in a bowl, and pour the melted butter over them evenly. Combine both butter and  biscuits are well combined and press them evenly at the bottom of the jars and springform pan. Set and chill in the fridge while preparing the lychee cheese layer.

3) In a small pot, heat the lychee syrup till it just comes to a boil. Take it off the heat and add the gelatine. Stir until it dissolves completely. Set aside to cool.

4) Puree the lychees in a blender until there are less visible chunks. Add the lychee liquor and mix it well.

5) Whisk the cream cheese in a mixing bowl with the sugar until smooth, then add the lychee puree. In another bowl, whip the cream to a soft peak and gently fold it into the cream cheese and lychee mixture.

6) Once it’s well combined and smooth, add the gelatine mixture and fill a piping bag with the lychee cheese mixture. Slowly pipe it into the jars. Pour the rest of the mixture into the springform pan. Set to chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours. (I recommend leaving it in the fridge overnight.) 

7) To serve, top it with a bit more buttered crumbs, and a lychee. I added half a strawberry for more crunch and texture! Also, pour 1 tsp of lychee syrup on top just before serving for extra sweetness!

ENJOY!

Note to self : Definitely add a little bit more next time! hehe Of course, you can leave it out if you want a kid-friendly version! hehe

Sticky Date Pudding

It’s been a while since I baked something, and it’s definitely been a long while since I made a sticky date pudding. Cold winter nights usually makes me crave for a hot dessert. That to me, would definitely end my night on a super sweet note! (: So what could be better than freshly baked sticky date pudding with a dollop of freshly whipped (and quenelle, might I add) vanilla bean cream? Absolutely, nothing! Nothing could be more comforting than a hot pudding with cream or ice cream! mmmm.

My colleague has very kindly shared her recipe with me. I took one bite of the one she made, and immediately asked her if she minds sharing the recipe. She made it so often that she wrote out the recipe in less than 5 minutes! Including the steps! WOW! I was super impressed and couldn’t wait to try it!

Sticky Date Pudding (Adapted from Sandra)

200g dates, chopped

600ml boiling hot water

2 tsp soda bicarbonate

200g self-raising flour

150g unsalted butter

4 eggs

160g dark brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

1 pinch of salt

Butterscotch Sauce

300ml thickened cream

150g unsalted butter

1 cup of caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

whipped cream or ice cream, to serve

Steps :

1) Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celcius. Place the chopped dates in a bowl, and sprinkle the soda bicarbonate on it, and pour the boiling hot water over it. Leave it aside, to let it soften.

2) In a mixer, cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix well. Add the vanilla bean paste and mix till well combined.

3) Using a large wooden spoon, fold in the flour, a little at a time. Add the date and water mixture and mix till it becomes a wet mixture. Don’t worry, it does look very watery, so don’t panic! Pour into a well buttered baking tray and bake for 40 mins.

4) Meanwhile, make the butterscotch sauce by placing all the ingredients in a saucepan over a medium heat. Allow the butter and sugar to melt and thicken. Pour 1/3 of the butterscotch sauce over the baked pudding and place it back into the warm oven for another 15-20 minutes.

5) Serve with freshly whipped vanilla bean cream or ice cream. ENJOY! (:

PS : It is very addictive! Don’t say I didn’t warn you! haha (:

Sour Cream Maple Banana Cake

What’s your favourite childhood cake that you still can’t get enough of now? For me, the banana cake from the neighbourhood bakery would be the clear winner! The moist and soft texture of the cake, and every bite is just full of banana-y goodness! I’ve made a few banana cakes before but nothing came close to those I had when I was back in Singapore. It either came out too dense, or too burnt or too dry.

I came upon a recipe from Meeta of What’s For Lunch Honey? while blog hopping and saw a recipe I just couldn’t resist trying out. I wasn’t sure if it would turn out like those from back home, but it was definitely worth a shot! Especially since it’s also an upside down cake, and I’m kinda into that now, after making my upside down mandarin cake. haha

The recipe calls for maple syrup. I walked the aisles of the supermarket and contemplated on the maple flavoured syrup, as I never really wanted to spend almost $10aud on a bottle of pure maple syrup. But I decided to spoil ourselves and got a bottle of the real stuff and boy was I glad I did. It adds a unusual nutty flavour to the cake, which was perfect! The sour cream made the cake really soft and moist. And nothing could beat the smell of banana cake baking in the oven. It fills the whole house with the yummy aroma which makes you wanna dive your fork into it immediately once it’s taken out of the oven!

 I felt that this cake was a slightly healthier version as it has way less sugar and butter as compared to the mandarin one (well, I would like to think that! haha). Though they were both really yummy, this just brought me back to my childhood, and felt like I was back in Singapore for that 30 minutes of tea time. haha Yes, yes. I have to admit, I am really home sick. But I’ll be fine. (: Nothing a banana cake couldn’t fix!

So thank you so much Meeta, for sharing this awesome recipe. It’s definitely a keeper, and my mum has made me promise to make this for her when I get back at the end of the year! (:

Sour Cream Maple Banana Cake (Adapted from What’s For Lunch Honey?)

Ingredients : 

5 ripe bananas (3 for the base of the tin, and mash the other 2)

100g unsalted butter, plus extra to butter the tin

9 tbs maple syrup

200g dark brown sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

300g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate soda

200g sour cream

Steps :

1) Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celcius and butter a 20 x 20 square tin well. Pour 5 tablespoons of maple syrup into the tin and swirl it around to make sure the base of the tin is well coated.

2) Slice 3 bananas into half length-wise and lay them, cut side down, in the tin.

3) In a mixing bowl, cream the butter with the dark brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla paste and the mashed bananas. Mix until well combined. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate soda. Fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture with a spatula, then stir in the sour cream.

4) Carefully spoon the mixture into the tin, making sure the bananas at the base do not get displaced. Bake for 45 mins, then open the oven door and place a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the tin so that it doesn’t get burnt. Bake it for a further 5-10mins until a skewer comes out clean after being inserted into the middle of the cake.

5) Take the cake out and poke the top all over with a fork. Spoon the last 4 tablespoons of maple syrup over the top and allow it to be soaked through (about 5 mins).

6) Use a knife to run through the sides of the tin, careful not to cut into the cake, then place a large plate over the baking tin and carefully over-turn the cake. Voila!

7) Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. ENJOY!

This is one recipe I can be certain everyone would enjoy! Especially those of you who are like me, who absolutely loves banana cake! The old school bakery ones! NOMS!

Dessert Story

There’s alot of buzz about Hong Kong desserts in Melbourne of late. And I can never get enough of it! The Mr and I were at Glen Waverley for dinner one night, and we chanced upon it while roaming around the area. We are relatively new to the area, and wasn’t too sure what we could find there. And we found a place to satisfy our sugar cravings!

Dessert Story

Add : 72 Kingsway, Glen Waverley Vic 3150 

Tel : 03 95618884

When we got there, it was super packed and we the last couple of seats available. Thankfully we were a few minutes earlier, because after us was a line of people wanting to get seats! They had outdoor seats, but it was far too cold to sit outside.

The menu was extensive and there were really heaps to choose from, both hot and cold. We were definitely craving (and needing) something hot so we chose a dessert each! Trust me, it wasn’t easy narrowing down our choices because we just wanted to order everything haha. There were some interesting combinations too! Some of which we never heard or seen before.

I ordered the soya beancurd with black sesame paste. It kinda killed two birds with one stone and satisfied my cravings for both desserts. I was a little worried about the combination cause I never heard of it before. It’s usually sold separately back in Singapore. But I decided to give it a shot anyways and no regrets there! The black sesame paste was really fragrant, thick and smooth and not overly sweet. The beancurd was really smooth as well and just melts in your mouth. I do recommend it if you are a fan of black sesame!

The Mr ordered the tang yuan (汤圆) which are glutinous rice balls in a sweet pandan broth/soup. These are filled with peanut and black sesame. Yes, haha we do like black sesame alot. Plus it’s good for you! (:

It was a good balance between the sweetness of the glutinous rice ball and the sweet soup. Makes me miss those I usually get from China Town Food Street and they sell their glutinous rice ball in a peanut sweet soup! Noms!

I have to admit. If I were given a choice between the peanut and the black sesame, I am more inclined to choose the black sesame. It’s funny how my taste buds have changed through the years. I use to only have the peanut ones, but now I will only order the black sesame ones. hehe Although they are both delicious!

We will definitely be heading back to try the other desserts on the menu! They have desserts from both Hong Kong and Taiwan! Can’t wait to try the shaved ice to see if they are like the ones we had in Taiwan! (:

So what are the kind of asian dessert you enjoy? Would love to know if you have a favourite place in Melbourne to have them so I could pop them in my “to-go” list! 

Baking In New Zealand : Baklava

Sorry for the lack of posts the past 2 weeks. I just got back from a holiday in New Zealand (: So I am all refreshed and ready to keep the blog going! It was a fantastic trip; spending time with family and eating absolutely delicious food! I couldn’t believe 11 days went by in a jiffy. Time always seems to fly when we are having fun. Will definitely head back for another holiday in time to come!

We were so fortunate that we have family living in Auckland so we were able to live in their beautiful place for the 11 days. Just feel so calm and serene. Love their place! It’s really amazing to wake up to this view everyday.

When I first stepped into the house, there was just one word in my mind : WOW! The one room that I absolutely loved was the kitchen. The oven to be more specific!

Doesn’t it look gorgeous? It’s my dream stove/oven! (:

My cousin had a get together with his friends and he was in-charge of desserts so he asked me to teach him to make a Mediterranean dessert and the first thing that popped into my mind was baklava! It was quite brave of me to suggest that as I have never ever made it before. It was just always on my “to-bake” list! Thankfully, it turned out delicious and his friends liked it. *phew*

Nothing beats the combination of butter, nuts and sugar in between layers of crispy pastry. I remember when I use to live in Brunswick, we were able to buy really delicious baklava. Till this day, I would crave for one and have the urge to drive there to get it!

Making baklava was a team effort though. Needed someone to be in-charged of brushing the layers of filo pastry with melted butter, and other to place the layers of the filo perfectly in-line with the rest, another person scattering the nut and sugar mixture. Just made the whole process really fun! Loved every second of it.

Definitely making this again. Soon 😀

Baklava (Adapted from Gourmet Traveller August 2009)

250g pistachios and cashews, finely chopped

50g caster sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

100g butter, melted

300g filo pastry

Lemon Honey Syrup

150g caster sugar

75g honey

Grated rind of 1 lemon

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Steps :

1) Combine the nuts, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl, and set aside. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius and line a tray with baking paper.

2) Layer one-third of the filo pastry in tray, brushing butter between each layer. Scatter evenly with half the nut mixture, then top with half the remaining pastry, brushing butter between each layer. Scatter over remaining nuts, top with remaining filo, brushing between each layer with butter. Refrigerate until firm (15 minutes), then cut through all pastry layers into 4cm diamonds with a sharp knife. Bake until golden and cooked through (about 30 mins). If needed, cover loosely with foil partway.

3) Meanwhile, for honey syrup, combine sugar, honey, lemon rind and 150ml water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to low, simmer until infused (10-15 minutes). Remove from heat, stir through lemon juice and set aside to cool slightly.

4) Cool baklava slightly (2-3 minutes), pour over syrup evenly, set aside at room temperature to cool completely (overnight if possible). Baklava will keep in tray, covered, for 3-4 days. ENJOY!

My favourite way to have it is to pop it into the microwave for 10 secs and have it warm! How do you like to eat your baklava? (:

Easy Peasy Fig Tart

FIGS. Believe it or not. Just a month ago was the first time I ever had fresh figs! When I tried it, I wish I had it sooner! Fortunately, I scored a bargain at Springvale Market and bought 7 for $2.50! I had to head back to buy more.

Just couldn’t get enough!

So the first time I had it, I slid the top of it twice and stuffed them with ricotta and topped it with honey. It was DELICIOUS! But to be honest, I preferred mine without the ricotta. Just honey! The mr loved his with the cheese though.

So after a few nights of having the same thing, I decided to do something different. Looked into the freezer, and VIOLA! Puff pastry! Perfect. A quick tart it is.

Trust me, it’s the quickest and yummiest thing you would have! The sweetest of the figs, with the buttery-ness of the pastry. That made our night. Of course, to top it up, some macadamia ice cream from Connoisseur. The mr had two! (: Always a joy to see him eat the food I make with the satisfaction on his face.

So for a quick fix to your sweet tooth, I urge you to give this easy recipe a try!

Easy Peasy Fig Tart

1/2 sheet of store bought puff pastry (with butter), cut into 3 or 4 rectangles

3-4 fresh figs, sliced into quarters

caster sugar, enough to lightly sprinkle on top of the pastry

tightly packed brown sugar, to sprinkle on top of the figs

scoop(s) of ice cream, to serve (flavour is up to you!)

Steps:

1) Preheat the oven to 170 degrees celcius. On the rectangular sheets of puff pastry, lightly sprinkle caster sugar on the top.

2) Place the figs, aligned in the middle. Leaving some space on the sides.

3) Sprinkle some brown sugar on the figs. Bake the pastry for 15-20 mins, or until the pastry is golden brown.

4) Serve with a scoop of ice cream and ENJOY!

ps : you can either place the ice cream on the side, or put it on top like the mr did! haha

Crazy About Hazelnut.

Macarons. I just can’t get enough of it. I don’t think my craze about them will diminish anytime soon. This was made a while back but this were the best macarons I’ve made. I made it before heading back to Singapore so I could bring it back for the loves of my life : family (:

And fortunately, they loved it! and these shells were the nicest I’ve made so far with happy feet!So sticking to using the Italian meringue for the shells!

I’ve made a few successful ones before : pb&j and bandung are just 2 of my favourite ones. This macaron was inspired by the sister-in-law-to-be! When she was in Melbourne, the only flavour of macarons she would have is hazelnut! So I promised her that I would try making them and bring them back home if they were successful. And thank goodness they were!

So I packed them nicely and neatly and compactly so that would be able to survive the 7 hour flight home!

Now enough about the shell. As for the beautiful filling, I attempted to make my own nutella! And I was so worried. Cos I LOVE nutella. and trying to make it from scratch was just something I never thought I would even attempt! When I made it, having it on its own (which I always do;digging a spoonful of nutella) didn’t have the “WOW” factor, but having it together – NOMS!

So here’s the recipe that I adapted from Anita from the Dessert First (: definitely a keeper!

Hazelnut Macarons with Homemade Nutella

Ingredients :

Italian Meringue Hazelnut Macaron Shell

200g hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
200g confectioners’ sugar
200g sugar

50g water
150g egg whites, divided into two 75g portions

A bit of cocoa powder, for dusting (optional)

Steps :

1. Stack two baking trays on top of each other. Line with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. (I actually prefer the parchment paper, but that’s just me!)
2. Process hazelnuts with confectioners’ sugar in a food processor. Sieve out any large bits of hazelnut. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan. Heat on medium until all the sugar is dissolved. Meanwhile, place 75g of egg whites in a mixer bowl with the whisk attachment. Continue cooking until the sugar syrup reaches 118 C/245 F.
3. While the sugar is cooking, begin whisking the egg whites. They should reach stiff peaks by the time the syrup is at  118 C/ 245 F. If it whips too fast, turn down or turn off the mixer. Turn the mixer speed to low. Carefully pour the sugar syrup in a slow stream into the mixer.
4. Turn the mixer speed to high and let the meringue whip for several minutes until it has cooled (to touch) and appears glossy and firm.
5. In a large bowl, combine the hazelnut mixture with the remaining 75g of egg whites until partially combined. Scoop the meringue on top of the hazelnut mixture. Using a spatula or dough scraper, carefully fold the meringue in, trying not to deflate it.
6. The final batter should be thick and flow slowly like magma. Do not overmix. Scoop the batter into a piping bag fitted with a ½” diameter plain tip.
7. Pipe 1 ½” rounds of batter onto the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle some cocoa powder straight after piping. Let the sheets sit for about 30 minutes to let the shells harden. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 160 C/320 F.
8. Bake one set of macarons for 15 minutes, rotating once. Let tray cool for a few minutes before removing from the silicone mat. Let finish cooling on wire racks.
Homemade Nutella

1/2 cup (70 g) hazelnuts, toasted and skinned

8 ounces milk chocolate, chopped into small pieces

2 ounces semisweet/bittersweet chocolate

1 cup (240 g) heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

Steps :

Place hazelnuts in food processor and pulse until nuts are ground into a paste.

Place both chocolates in a metal bowl and place on another saucepan of simmering water. Stir chocolate occasionally until fully melted.

Place cream in a clean saucepan and bring just to a boil on the stove over medium high heat.

Stir cream into chocolate until fully combined.

Add ground hazelnuts and salt and stir until combined.

Pour mixture into a container and chill in refrigerator for 1-2 hours until it has firmed up slightly and can be spread/piped onto the macaron shells.

ENJOY! (:

Instant Gratification : Cinnamon Sugar Churros

Ever saw something and want to have it right that instant? But it’s too cold to head out cos of the 50km/h winds and below 10 degrees ?

Well. That was me last night. I saw a post on cinnamon sugar churros and just had the cravings for them almost immediately. And nothing was going to stop me from making them. Not even the lack of vegetable oil to fry them. I scurried to the nearest supermarket to get a bottle just so I could fry them in. haha

Trust me, if you love cinnamon sugar churros, you should really try making these cause they were SO EASY! You don’t even need to use a mixer of any kind. Just have a fork, mixing bowl, put everything together and MIX! Don’t get frightened by the sound of deep frying. You really just need a small pot and fill it up to the halfway mark, and heat it up slowly. It’s not that bad really!

Give it a go (: I’m very sure you won’t regret it! Especially if you’re craving for some like I was!

Cinnamon Sugar Churros (adapted from Toasty Biscuit)

2 cups plain flour

1 tbs baking powder

pinch of salt

600ml of boiling water

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tsp vanilla paste

vegetable oil, to fry

cinammon sugar, to dust (just combine caster sugar with ground cinnamon)

Steps :

1. Fill a deep, heavy based saucepan with vegetable oil. Place on medium-high heat and allow to heat. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, vanilla paste, water and oil. Mix with a fork and make sure there are no lumps.

2. Spoon the mixture into  a piping bag with a star tip. When the oil has reached 170 degrees, pipe 12cm lengths into the oil, using scissors to snip them from the bag. Be careful not to splash the hot oil.

3. Fry until golden brown, strain off excess oil and dust in cinnamon sugar.

Tip : Best to make and eat it hot/warm, but if you made too much, share it with others! They will love you for it. (:

PS : Once again, I got invited to Lisa’s Sweet Treat Linky Party! Head there to check out other sweet treats!