20 Dec 2011

we all scream for ice cream!











































An overcast day spent accompanying the Sydney-sider MC and The Kiwi. We stopped at Harbour Town for lunch and of course, a trip to Dairy Bell for some yummy ice cream! The rest of the afternoon was spent attempting jump shots and doing all kinds of silly things!

28 Nov 2011

oh honey honey











































I saw this tweet on my feed this morning and noticed there were only five weeks left in the year. Instantly, I asked myself, what had I done this past year. It seems a long time ago but I can still remember the days of laughter and yelling with my sister, MC and four monkeys over our summer break. Wii battles with aching hands and feet and throats sore from yelling. MC's "dancing" were recorded are still laughed at today.

I contributed (just a little) to the Tohoku earthquake charity organised by a friend. It was a windy day and rained a bit, but it made my day that people came to support by contributing what they had. Children donating their pocket money and many enjoying the fresh brew and baked goods.   

Making my first batch of croissants (the frustration!) and appreciating art made with food scraps. Oh, and spending lots of time cramped in a tiny car for photography camp! It was worth it though as I reached the peak of Mt. Buffalo, saw spectacular scenery and met great people.

What summer brings this time round I can only wonder. But I can foresee many serves of french toast now that I found a yummier way to prepare them. Must remember to finish going through dad's amazing collection of CD's from the 80s and 90s as well! My all time favourite is and forever will be Elton John's Love Songs followed by Jorge Rico's Magic of the Panpipes series.  

15 Nov 2011

butter fingers

























My camera has been gathering dust and will go moldy if I don't use it! I have disappeared off to Animal Village and somewhat studying for my exams. My last exam concludes before the end of the week and so I have started to take baking trays out of the box.

The recipe originates from LCB Biscuits but it was a bit soft for my liking. I used the same recipe to make four batches of these cookies (not on the same day!), changing the flour quantities each time. I found the addition of corn flour makes the finished cookie firmer and slightly crunchier. However, too much and the texture becomes too sandy for my liking. The recipe notes show my experiments so feel free to adjust to your preferences.

I dipped my previous batch in melted dark chocolate and they were quite good. If you are in Melbourne, make sure to eat them quickly or the chocolate starts to melt and becomes bleh.

23 Oct 2011

a short lived summer























Spring weather came to Melbourne and went in flash! It felt more like a summer than a spring to me though. However, it's has now reverted back to it's gloomy, rainy state. The heat wasn't too bad as long as there were cool breezes, but I find it more tolerable with the current weather. Here's hoping it will hold out for just a few more weeks! (Surely summer loving folks will be charging at me now.)

At least I made some lemonade (a few weeks ago...)! I remember my dad making a tart lemonade back in our old kitchen. The child me would always tell him to add more sugar. But he never did, saying it was enough. Nowadays, I prefer it towards the tart side.

Recipe yields around one litre worth of strong tart lemonade. Please use the above as a guideline only. Feel free to adjust the ingredients to suit your tastes.   

1 Oct 2011

good morning, breakfast


























































Lots of rain, thunder and cloudy weather in Melbourne this week. Not that I mind, since I very much prefer the cold weather. Decided to try something different from the usual scone mixture again. To me, these ones were fluffy and less floury. When in the oven, the spices in the dough make your kitchen smell really good too! 

Looking forward to chop in a block of my favourite chocolate next time. The zest of an whole orange won't hurt either. Oh, and that egg yolk part, skip it (or brush with milk) if you want, since it just makes the tops more golden and shiny. 

14 Sep 2011

when life gives you lemons






















...you squirt the juice into your enemy's eye and make them cry in agony! into your cake batter!

Mid-semester break starts next week, but I have assignments due at the start and end (what excellent timing!). Just letting you guys know, I won't be able to post in a while.

The cake above, is a vegan recipe from Thom, one of my favourite film photographers on flickr. Only I forgot to add the vegetable oil and used strawberry flavoured dairy yogurt instead. I still liked it though. It came out dense, sticky and very lemon-y! I'll make it properly (with dairy yogurt) next time :D

2 Sep 2011

tourist












































① View on top of the steps - Southern Cross Train Station
② Polly Woodside & Maritime Museum - South Wharf
③ Walk, ride a bike, or catch our (unreliable) public transport

My grand uncle and aunt came to visit Melbourne exactly a week ago. It was fun being both a tour guide and tourist for a day. Lots of walking from Victoria Market to South Wharf :)

23 Aug 2011

sugar-high school days

I was having a conversation (more like exchanging HAHAs and LOLs) with Mrs.Roddick last night. It was a decent conversation and we ended up talking about these brownies again! She would always say how a "light dusting of icing sugar" as stated on the recipe became "filling our containers with icing sugar". Our food tech classes ended just as lunch time started so we became sugar-high from eating these sugar-coated brownies for lunch. Um...good times?

The ingredients are pretty similar to the original, however the method is quite different. Texture wise, the original was more cake-like whereas these ones I would describe as dense.

P.S. Dear students running Average Joe's this year. I am not sure if one of you reads my blog, but according to my sister, one of my old food photos was used in your ad :) It was an ugly photo haha! Good luck with business!

15 Aug 2011

more dairy and more strawberries
















































Huzzah! I have been way too engrossed in the VW, busy chatting on an online forum and playing games with my fellow net buddies. Not to worry, I have not forgotten this RL space of mine on the internet :)

Recently, I used the blender that came in a set with the food processor I received from grandma a while ago. It is an awesome piece of equipment. You should really dig yours out and make some frothy smoothies and milkshakes!

3 Aug 2011

pancakes for the weekend
















































Aside from scones, I like pancakes too! Not only are they easy to whip up, but they are also my all time favourite food to photograph. They are very photogenic, no?

16 Jul 2011

strawberries and cream

I am proud to say scones changed my life! The first scones I ever made was way back in year eight. They were cheese and onion flavoured and came out rather successfully on a first attempt as a no0b attempt. From that experience and the teacher's guidance, it gave me the confidence to cook every week at school alongside my friends. Throughout the years, we went through both successes and failures. 

The 120 minutes of prac each week then, donned in a bright blue apron who needed a friend to tie my apron at the back when I was a junior. Slowly upgraded to a senior wearing a striped black and red apron with a compulsory hideous white cooking-apprentice-styled hat. I slowly began to apply my knowledge learnt in class and "upgrade" the recipes I learnt at school to recreate them at home. Then the blog started as a way of procrastination in VCE and I've grown to love photography as well. 

Three cheers to scones!  
   
I made strawberry (and walnut) scones almost a year ago, but I wanted something different this time. Using a cream scone base, I decided to replace part of the cream mixture with strawberry puree which gave the scones a light pink hue (doesn't show in the photos) and a lovely strawberry scent. Instead of being crumbly, these were kind of softer. They taste rather refreshing with honey sweetened whipped cream with chopped strawberries. 

○○○

strawberry + cream scones

ingredients:
makes 20 x 5cm diameter scones

  • 3 cups self-raising flour, sifted
  • 4 Tb caster sugar
  • 200 g strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 2 Tb lemon juice
  • 150 mL thickened cream + 50 mL if dough is dry
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • milk, for brushing

method:

Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Combine the flour and sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Make a well in the centre.

Puree the strawberries and lemon juice in a food processor. Stir in the thickened cream, egg and lemon zest. Pour the cream mixture into the flour. Stir until nearly combined and add remaining cream if dough is dry or add some sifted flour if dough is too wet.

Empty contents onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead the dough until it comes together. Pat down the dough to about 5-6 cm thick.Using a floured cutter, cut dough and place onto the baking tray. Combine the remaining dough (do not knead) and continue to cut dough until there is no more.

Brush tops with milk. Bake for 15 minutes. Scones should be light golden.

For the cream: Whip cream in a food processor until soft peaks form. Add 1 Tb of yellow box honey (or caster sugar) at a time and pulse until the cream reaches your desired sweetness. Just before serving, finely chop strawberries and gently fold through.

○○○

Enjoy them in the late morning or early afternoon, preferably near a window with the warm winter sun shining through.


8 Jul 2011

coming back for some more

I don't particularly like eating brownies in general. Every time I bake a batch, I end up eating one piece, passing the duty to my brownie-fan sister to polish them off. :) 

These ones were more firm towards the sides becoming dense and gooey in the middle when warm from the oven. Though I felt they were so much sweeter when warm from the oven. Perfect when cooled. 

I liked these ones. I even ate more than one.

***

chocolate coconut brownies

note: play around with the sugar and chocolates. add/reduce sugar depending on the amount and type of chocolate you use

ingredients:
makes a 18x18 cm square tin, I cut them into 6x6 cm squares

  • 120g unsalted butter, melted
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 30g dutch cocoa powder
  • 40g plain flour
  • pinch salt
  • 130g milk chocolate, chopped into small bits
  • 50g desiccated coconut, toasted*

* to toast coconut, just pan fry over a medium-low heat, stirring constantly until it is golden. you may want to reduce the heat lower when it starts to turn golden.

method:

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 18x18 cm tin with baking paper.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the butter and sugar. Add the beaten eggs to the butter and sugar mixture. Sift in the cocoa and flour. Add salt and mix. Fold in the chopped chocolates and toasted coconut.

Pour into a prepared tin. Bake approximately 25-35 minutes. Allow to cool in the tin.

1 Jul 2011

a favourite

Pandan and coconut, probably the favourite food combination in the household (though I prefer chocolate and coconut over it). I usually make waffles using pandan paste and a combination of dried coconut, so I decided to make some minor changes to Bill Granger's coconut bread recipe. Speaking of Bill Granger, I am loving his simple recipes more and more!

We bought a classic Monopoly game board just yesterday and I have been playing with my sister. It reminds me of my last year of high school when my friends and I would run to the library to take out the board during our study sessions and lunch time to play. Fast paced and somewhat nosily with certain disagreements and trying to contain our laughter.

I bought all the properties and built houses on the high-end street and my sister threatened to "typhoon" my houses away because rent was so expensive! I cracked up laughing in the middle of the game!

Until then, the board game awaits!

***

pandan and coconut loaf
adapted from Bill Granger's coconut bread via The Accidental Foodie by Neale Whitaker

Crumbly and slightly drier than a cake, I think this taste bests toasted and eaten warm. I particularly like the crisp golden edges and top! 

ingredients:
makes a 21x10 cm loaf (8-10 thick slices)

  • 2 eggs
  • 300 ml milk (I replaced this with coconut milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence (I replaced this with 1/2 tsp of pandan paste*)
  • 310 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon (I omitted this)
  • 230 g (1 cup) caster sugar (I used just a bit more than 1/2 cup)
  • 150 g shredded coconut
    (I used 100 g shredded coconut and 25 g desiccated coconut)
  • 75 g unsalted butter, melted (I used vegetable oil)

* pandan paste can be bought in small plastic bottles at Asian grocery stores

to serve:
  • butter
  • icing sugar

method:

Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly whisk eggs, milk and vanilla together.

Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl, add the sugar and coconut and stir to combine. Make a well in the centre and gradually stir to combine. Make a well in the centre and gradually in the egg mixture until just combined. Add the melted butter and stir until the mixture is just smooth, being careful not to over-mix.

Pour into the greased and floured 21x10 cm loaf tin and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until bread is cooked when tested with a skewer. (Mine took 50 minutes to bake and I had to tent the loaf with foil halfway through baking)

Leave in the tin to cool for 5 minutes, then remove to cool further on a wire rack. Serve in thick slices, toasted, buttered and dusted with icing sugar.

9 Jun 2011

pulp fiction by chaco kato



Quick post before I go back to studying!

I read Nobika's tweet about her friend's exhibit a while ago and I've been meaning to go. I had some time after my first exam so I went with Iris (my lunch break friend turned good friend) to check it out. Since it wasn't very far, we braved the cold and walked there from the exam hall.  

We found it really fascinating and interesting that Chaco Kato's exhibit was environmentally friendly and the majority of the models used food items! Made from dried out melon husks, orange peels, passion fruit shells, stone fruit seeds, rice, shiitake mushrooms, herbs, all we were thinking was about food haha!   

The exhibit closes on June 11, so if you are in the metropolitian Melbourne area, please do check it out!

More information can be found at:
  • Craft Victoria (Lily Feng's photos of the exhibit are much better than mine, so do look at those too)
  • The Age - featuring a feature article on Chaco Kato and her exhibit

29 May 2011

morning shortcuts

Remember those homemade croissants that nearly drove me nuts? Well, I baked these a while later but just never got around posting them. I wanted to try Emmanuel Mollois' recipe, featured on Poh's Kitchen, but when I saw it I opted for the easy way out and made my own filling :) It was too early in the morning to make so many different components, and it looked too sweet for my liking.

On a note, I have been getting rather annoyed with the blog layout, so I decided to revamp it. The new design is purely inspired by artist + designer Sun Wahyu (his blog and works) and Japanese food stylist and bread baking instructor Niwa Akiko (her blog and website). I really hope I didn't copy too much :(

Another thing, pretty much the same reason as Lalarhs (except I'm not a science student), I will be going on a hiatus for one month. SWOT VAC and exams are just around the corner, so priority goes to studying. I am not going to post anything here until I hit the holidays, but I will probably be making small updates on twitter and klippity klop.

Over and out.

***

cheat's almond croissants

taste the filling as you go and feel free to use honey and icing sugar interchangeably. add more or less depending on your taste buds.

ingredients:
makes around 2/3 - 3/4 cup of almond butter filling

  • 50 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 50 g almond meal
  • 1 1/2 Tb honey
  • 25 g icing sugar, sifted
  • dash of vanilla essence (optional)
  • almond slices
  • homemade or store bought almond croissants
  • icing sugar for dusting, optional

method:

Mix butter until creamy. Add almond meal, honey, icing sugar, vanilla essence and mix until well combined.

Slice the croissants in half and generously spread almond butter filling on top. Sprinkle a pinch or two of almond slices on top and lightly press into the butter.

Toast in a moderately pre-heated oven until the croissant is warm, crispy and golden. Lightly dust with icing sugar before serving.

21 May 2011

day 3: autumn camp

Porepunkah Resort; Porepunkah

The last day of camp! Everyone wished they could stay longer! We had a fairly slow morning as people slowly filed in for an awesome breakfast. Before checking out, I took some shots of the accommodation; Porepunkah Resort. It was actually a caravan park, but there were 4-star cabins and houses inside. I recommend this place if anyone decides to visit Bright.

Canyon Walk; Bright

We departed for the Canyon Walk soon after. With the minimal gear I was carrying, it was an easy 3 km walk. It started off with a paved path, but it got rocky and kind of slippery with the mud trail. Luckily we were blessed with good weather and no rain, so the ground was rather firm.

Canyon Walk; Bright
Canyon Walk; Bright
Amazing Foliage, Canyon Walk; Bright
Amazing Foliage, Canyon Walk; Bright

Apparently, only the European trees planted by the early settlers change colour during Autumn. The Australian trees (and pine trees) stay green all year around.

Livestock Paddock, Canyon Walk; Bright
Livestock Paddock, Canyon Walk; Bright

I was so happy when we were able to pass a livestock paddock with cows! During the road trips, we passed so many livestock paddocks but we couldn't stop to take photographs :( The cows here were particularly friendly and we were able to get super close! I even got to see a cow with snot coming out of it's nose :P It was one big snot!

Canyon Walk; Bright
Canyon Walk; Bright

The Canyon Walk used to be a gold mining area. I was able to spot some locals trying their luck to pan some from the river.

Canyon Walk; Bright
Canyon Walk; Bright
Canyon Walk; Bright
Bright

Before heading back to Melbourne, we returned to Bright for lunch and more photographs! This is the last post for camp and I hope you guys have enjoyed "visiting" rural Victoria through my lens.

Day 1
Day 2

15 May 2011

day 2: autumn camp

Eurobin Falls Picnic Area, Mt Buffalo National Park

To burn off calories from day 1's BBQ dinner, we spent our time until sunset up in Mt Buffalo National Park (part of the Australian and Victorian alps). I thought we were going to walk on the nature trails but we ended up driving most of it!! But in the very end, we managed to drive up to the plateau and hike up 1.5 km to The Horn (the peak of Mt Buffalo).

We spent a while at Eurobins Falls Picnic Area finishing lunch and taking photographs of the waterfall. I forgot to take my tripod, but I think I got some decent shots of the waterfall.

Eurobin Falls Picnic Area, Mt Buffalo National Park
Bent's Lookout, Elevation 1300m; Mt Buffalo National Park

Before heading up to The Horn, we stopped at Bent's Lookout to see if we could spot any hang gliders. Unfortunately there wasn't otherwise there would be a photograph. It was also chillingly cold up there! From this point, one could walk to Lake Catani (I think it was around 1.2km), but we drove there instead.

Bent's Lookout, Elevation 1300m; Mt Buffalo National Park
Bent's Lookout, Elevation 1300m; Mt Buffalo National Park
The Chalet (currently closed), Elevation 1337m; Mt Buffalo National Park 

The Chalet is a historic guest house, however it is currently closed. According to fellow camper L, who was also my driver for camp said that The Chalet is always saved at last minute when bush fires strike at Mt Buffalo.

The Chalet (currently closed), Elevation 1337m; Mt Buffalo National Park
Lake Catani; Mt Buffalo National Park
Lake Catani; Mt Buffalo National Park
Lake Catani; Mt Buffalo National Park
Lake Catani; Mt Buffalo National Park
Plateau leading to The Horn Track; Mt Buffalo National Park
L: The Horn Track, R: View from The Horn, Elevation 1723m, Mt Buffalo National Park

To me, the view of the alps was pretty much the same, so I didn't take much shots from The Horn. The hike was pretty fun, though it was a bit hard to breathe (I was probably out of breath too :P)

For the photos at The Horn, I was able to borrow a plastic filter which helps darken the sky (not the ones at the plateau though).

View from The Horn, Elevation 1723m, Mt Buffalo National Park
Sunset @ the plateau; Mt Buffalo National Park

Day 1