Friday, June 30, 2006

Fortune Cookie My Foot

You Are a Fortune Cookie

You're a rather normal person, except that you have extraordinary luck in life.
People want to be around you (even when they're a little sick of you), in hopes of being lucky too!

I did this test to determine what kind of cookie I was, as I thought it would be quite intriguing to discover which one I would be. Trivial as it may sound, I felt I had some sort of vested interest in uncovering this tidbit of information seeing as it related to my blog’s namesake.

I considered maybe I would be a choc chip cookie, modest and agreeable, or perhaps even better a macaroon, lush and indulgent. In any case the outcome wasn't as favourable as I would have thought, actually it was rather amusing. The caption explaining my result first read like an encouraging note; and yes I do consider myself quite blessed and lucky, generally life is sweet. Then it went on to say, and I paraphrase- people are sick of me, although want to be around me because they think my good luck might rub off on them.

Well all I have to say is that I am no laughing Buddha sitting cross-legged on your lounge room floor waiting for my stomach to rubbed for good luck. Unfortunately, I don’t dispense any good fortune, just baked goods and a smile. And to top off the insult, I was a fortune cookie, now this is both coincidental and hilarious as that I am in fact Asian. Don’t worry I haven’t found it condescending I am laughing it off, just like the Buddha.

Try out the test, it’s cheap and petty fun and if you want, let me know your results.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Strawberry Friands

Strawberry Friand

So to think this whole food blogging affair was only meant to be a hobby; something on the side, distant and not at all to interfere with my normal life. Well I not only have become a fully-operating food blogger but it has also infiltrated my waking and sleeping life. It’s a peculiar thing blogging, like a fungus it seeps in unknowingly and then all of a sudden you are overcome in its clutches and it begins to overtake the mundane routine of your life.

Not that I don't enjoy it, because I find documenting my gastronomic triumphs and disasters quite a delight. Also I find it forces me to do the best I can at making a recipe work. I have only been tending to this blog for less than a mere two months and I have already developed strong behavioural oddities that I can only attribute to this very thing. Here are my symptoms:

1. My tiny bedroom (which receives the most sunlight) has now become a makeshift photography studio.
This is not good when you are walking through your bedroom in the dark and you end up stubbing your toe on the tripod positioned in the middle of the room.

2. My dining selections are judged not only on the quality of food at a certain eatery, but also on how well the place is lit. If no beautiful photo essay can ensue from a restaurant, then I will be rather tentative to include it in the blog.
3. All potential handbag purchases must pass the “dimensions test”, namely "Will my not-so-tiny digital SLR fit in this bag?" and if the answer is “Yes”, then it’s hired!
4. No one touches their food unless I have taken a photograph of it, lest they want to encounter my wrath.
This is probably my most neurotic food blogging trait, and I am embarrassed even to admit.
5. Whenever I bake/cook for blogging purposes I only do so during the well lit hours of the day, if there is any cooking done at night a portion of the food must be saved in order for photos to be taken the following day when there is adequate light.
This is probably my second most anal blogging eccentricity that I am mortified to even be typing this right now.
6. I am now beginning to scour textile and stationery stores for good backgrounds for photos.
So far I have only two backgrounds that you will notice are interchanged every other post.

7. My dreams are beginning to be about food and blogging. Or should they be called nightmares, I don’t know?
8. And lastly, I now make plate purchases on the merits of how well the pieces photograph.

So here to celebrate the little idiosyncrasies brought about by food blogging is a recipe for Strawberry Friands. Also known as Financiers, these little cakes are ubiquitous in the Sydney cafe scene. They are spongy and moist and can be flavoured with almost any type of fruit or nut. Here is the recipe.

Strawberry Friands

(makes 6 friands)
Strawberry Friand
2/3 cup unsalted butter or ghee (clarified butter)
½ cup all purpose flour
1 cup almond meal or almond flour
1½ cups icing (confectioners or powdered) sugar
¼ tsp salt
6 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ tsp grated lemon zest
1 punnet strawberries, chopped into pieces. Slice some lengthways and reserve to decorate the tops later.

Place butter or ghee in a saucepan and simmer over medium heat until browned, be careful not to burn the butter. Set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 200°C.
In a bowl, combine flour, almond meal, icing sugar and salt.
Fold in the lightly beaten egg whites and then add the lemon zest, vanilla and browned butter. Mix until incorporated.
Then add the chopped strawberries, leaving those that are sliced lengthways for later. Mix until blended thoroughly.
Fill friand trays or moulds just almost to the top and lightly knock the tray or mould down onto the bench to release any trapped air bubbles.
Bake the friands for approximately 4 minutes. Then remove from oven and top each one with some sliced strawberries.
Return to oven and bake for a further 5-7 minutes or until the cake springs back when pressed.
Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

NOTE: The browned butter or ‘beurre noisette’ adds a hint of nuttiness to the friands. Also if almond meal or flour is unavailable you can make your own by processing blanched almonds until finely ground.
You can add any type of berry or fresh fruit to the friands, just follow the basic recipe and improvise your fruits!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

It's Moments Like These

Melting Moments

If you think was going to refrain from posting something about the World Cup, well you were wrong. All the talk around here in Australia- in the news, in the local pub and at water cooler has been the controversial loss of the Socceroos to Italy. We had come so far, only to have our World Cup dreams dashed in the last minutes by a dubious penalty decision. If we had been outplayed by Italy and went down fighting it would have been all right, if we had been beaten fair and square even in a shoot-out that would have been okay. The mere fact that our chances were ruined by very suspect and ambiguous refereeing is what is most devastating.

As someone who has only just jumped on the World Cup bandwagon, the sense of national pride and soccer fever has hit me hard. I find it happens every few years with the Olympics, when that overwhelming sense of patriotism envelops the country. What can I say, I am a proud Aussie. All I can say is the mood here for a lot of Soccer fans and bandwagon jumpers is bitter disappointment.

So to counter the sharp pain of defeat, I decided to make Melting Moments. It has nothing to do with soccer, or Australia for that matter, other than the fact that I see them sold at every cafe in Sydney. I never knew how they achieved that smooth, melt in your mouth texture and after some research on the Joy of Baking, I discovered that its secret came from cornstarch or cornflour. Instead of the traditional ball shapes I decided on little crescents, I guess if you wanted a correlation between the cookies and the World Cup, you could say they look like little frowns if you hold them upside down.

The cookies are fairly easy to make and I found using high quality unsalted cultured butter, usually the kind that does not contain any water is the best to use. Because cultured butter does not contain any water, it doesn't takes as long to soften to room temperature. Here is the recipe.

Melting Moments
(makes 3 dozen)

Melting Moments

1¼ cups all purpose flour
¾ cup cornstarch (cornflour)
¼ tsp salt
½ cup confectioners sugar (icing or powdered sugar)
1 cup high quality unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ cup confectioners sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, and salt, set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.
Add the flour mixture in batches, careful not to over work the dough. Scrape the bowl down and place the dough in the refrigerator for one hour until it firms up.
When the dough firms, take it out of the fridge and knead briefly on a floured surface. Then form little crescents by taking a portion of dough then rolling it into a 5cm long rope. Gently roll each rope so that the tips are tapered and curve them slightly to resemble crescents.
Place the crescents on the baking tray, and bake in the oven for about 12-15 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
Using a sieve, dust the cookies with icing sugar.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Good Food and Wine Show 2006, Sydney

Having just done a recent bout of night shifts at the network, I have been going crazy. But what do you do when your mother tells you she has bought you tickets to the Good Food and Wine Show, even when you haven’t had any sleep from the night before? Well you still take the offer; of course I’m never one to turn down a freebie. Even at the risk of potential madness and irritation, I decided to go.

After having knocked off five out of seven night-shifts in a row, your body goes into this state of either constant awakedness or sleepiness. When the day kicked-off it was certainly awakedness I was feeling, I was excited to attend my first GFAW Show. Then after hours in the exhibition hall battling the hordes of people, it went from awake to sleepy to aggravated. To the point where I wanted to crash tackle this sweet old lady nibbling on her
King Island Double Brie, oblivious to the fact she was standing in the middle of the walkway blocking everyone’s path.

This reminded me why I didn’t go to the Easter Show. I don’t do crowds very well. Markets are pleasant enough as they are outdoors, but being in this crammed space where you can barely walk two feet in front of you without doing a shuffle is just not my cup of tea. As one who obviously dislikes great crowds, I don't know how I managed to delude myself into going. I blame my mother’s gentle art of persuasion.

Despite all the pretty lights, the place was actually not conducive to photography, especially photography without the use of a flash. Maybe I’m just a bad photographer, but I need LOTS of light. Also the throngs of people made it very difficult to get a clear shot of anything. There would always be some person’s hand in your shot grabbing free goodies. People aren't as nice as they are in the markets, they won't move just so you can take a photograph. Navigating the crowds with goodie bags in tow, all the while attempting to capture things on your digital camera, wasn't very pleasant.

Be that as it may, I shouldn’t nit pick too much, as there was free food to be had, and I got to have lots of that free food. The wine and beer was flowing, and I got to have lots of that free wine and beer. So ultimately, the only thing I am complaining about are the crowds. Whinger.

So without further insomniac-ridden adieu here are the photos. I will try to describe them as accurately as I can, but in my insomnia-induced state, I cannot vouch for any sort of accuracy. Sorry.

Fresh juicy Strawberries from the
Batlow Fruit Co-operative

Ben O'Donoghue Live Show Sensational Seafood
Ben O'Donohue of Surfing the Menu fame live cooking demonstration. One of his dishes was a Sugar Miso Encrusted Shark Fillet. It was quite an interesting mix of flavours and the place smelled of burnt sugar afterwards, yum.

Avocado Oil
Avocado Oil from
The Grove

Live Honeybees!
Live honeybees at work

Thirst Beverages Green Tea Shake
Green Tea Frappe (Gluten Free) from
Thirst Beverages

Assorted Vinegars and Jams
Assorted vinegars and preserves

Escargot shells
Empty escargot shells

Free Food
Laksa sampling

Whisk and PIn
Delicious cookies from the ladies of
Whisk and Pin. The Pistachio Cranberry Shortbread was a delight. They also sell Rocky Road meusli, yummo.

Edible Blooms
The most adorable stand by far.
Edible Blooms' boquet of flower cookies, in Honey and Chocolate flavours.

Hot Chocolate

Creamy Hot Chocolate

Salmon Jerky
First time encounter with Salmon Jerky , which was quite tasty, in fact I kept going back for more.

Chocolates by Jeff de Bruges
The most exceptional chocolates by
Jeff de Bruges. The coffee infused chocolate beans were particularly good.

Darren Simpson of La Sala
By far one of the most entertaining live demonstrations was by Irish lad Darren Simpson, from
La Sala. His sarcarstic and jovial nature drew quite a crowd. He made a simple Osso Bucco with parsley salad and bruschetta, and a Steamed Coral Trout on a bed of clams and wilted baby spinach. Simple authentic Italian fare, it was great.

Lilydale Free Range Chickens
Rows of free-range chicken from
Lilydale Farms.

Fresh Pasta from Pasta Vera
Freshly made pasta from Pasta Vera in Pyrmont.

We also attended the Donna Hay
live cooking show (no pictures though), where she showcased three quick and easy dishes from her book 10-minute meals.

Also my new favourite beer is from the James Squire Brewhouse
called Porter. It is a dark, although not too thick and syrupy beer. It bears slight coffee and musk undertones and apprently goes well with a slice of chocolate cake. That last tidbit of information was the beer's selling point for me.

Eat Your Way Out of Insanity: Ginger Sables

Ginger Sables

Lack of sleep turns people into crazy heaps of chaos and disarray. You become irrational and volatile, where even the slightest matter could turn you into a homicidal maniac.

And when you have been working night shifts, seven nights in a row in fact, you start coming up with absurd titles for posts (apologies for that momentary lapse) and you begin to crave anything with sugar. I finished a 12-hour shift Saturday morning and then went to the Good Food and Wine Show (will post about it when I recover), and then went back for another night shift and here I am again, with six hours and thirty minutes to go. I am insanity personified. So, to keep me from going gaga in my little air-conditioned dungeon I brought some Ginger Sables that I made not too long ago. As long as I have something sweet to graze on I am okay.

Ginger Sables

Ginger Sables

140g unsalted butter
100g icing sugar
1 egg
2½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups all purpose flour

½ tsp baking powder

Sift together ground ginger, cinnamon, flour and baking powder. Set aside.
In another bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. Then add the egg and beat until incorporated.
Slowly add the flour mixture and beat until well blended, but be careful not to overwork the dough.
Divide the dough into two batches and wrap each one in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or until firm.
Preheat the oven to 180
C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove one portion of dough from the refrigerator and place on a well floured surface and roll the dough out until it is about half a centimeter thick. Using a round cookie cutter cut out as many cookies as possible, and place them carefully onto the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet into the refrigerator once again to chill the dough for a further 15-20 minutes.
Remove the cookies from the refrigerator and bake them in the oven for about 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are slightly browned. Cool the cookies for 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool further. Dust some icing sugar on top to finish off.

In my lack of patience I didn't refrigerate the dough for a second time and the cookies did't hold their shape very well. As you can see in the photos, the cookies are quite flat. They spread a bit more than I anticipated, so it is actually important to refrigerate the dough a second time.

Playroom Control Room
in the dungeon

And for things non-food-related, what helped me through the night-shifts other than the Ginger Sables?

Possibly one of the good things to come out of staying up these ridiculous hours is chancing upon truly weird and wonderful websites. Like this one called Steve, Don’t Eat It! Steve, will eat anything, and each post is dedicated to eating a certain food that would normally nauseate normal people. He eats anything between potted meat, to his wife’s breast milk, and in my opinion the worst one yet, prison wine. He is one brave/stupid man. Only check out this website if you can stomach his misadventures in “food”.

If reading about a man eating pickled pig skin isn’t your thing, then maybe head over to Cute Overload. There’s something about looking at cute furry animals that just takes away the tensions in life. And for those cat lovers, or haters, here’s Stuff On My Cat. This is really funny at 3am in the morning.

Also Mae Gabriel of the food blog riceandnnodles also has a photography blog called pixels. She lives on an island off the coast of France and the UK called Jersey Islands and her photos reflect the beauty and stunning landscapes of this place. Definitely worth checking out.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Lemony Cricket's A Series of Repetitous Events

Cornmeal Currant Crunch

I know what your thinking, "What is up with that wretched attempt at film punning?" Indeed it’s appalling to the point of offensive but sometimes a girl just has to indulge her inner dag. It has been repressed for far too long and now it’s manifesting itself. What can I do?

Well there’s really no justification for of this dismal display of wordplay. The cookies in question are actually Lemon and Currant Cornmeal Crunch. But in some outrageous lapse into nonsensical thought, I was looking at these cookies, and I thought that the currants looked a lot like tiny baked crickets, not that I have ever baked crickets. I must have been on some unconscious acid trip or something of the like. Perhaps I’m experiencing hallucinations from a fever i've had, football fever that is. Yep, I caught it after jumping on the World Cup bandwagon.

Yes, I shamelessly admit I have jumped on the bandwagon. Personally, I don’t think there is anything wrong with bandwagon hopping. Why the more the merrier I say! Anyway, enough about crude punnage, acid trips and bandwagons. After the success of my recent polenta venture I’ve become quite obsessed with it, to the point of repetitious in fact. As atonement for past polenta blunders I have been baking up a storm with the 1-kilo sack of polenta I bought and thus a polenta revival has been birthed.

Starting from the success of these cookies, I have baked a “few” more just to confirm that it wasn’t a mere stroke of luck. These cookies still have the delightful crunch of their Orange and Polenta cousins, just not as buttery. Albeit, they were still scrumptious mounds of sugary heaven. I have also become addicted to adding zests into my batter, as I find the aroma intoxicating. These cookies contain lemon zest and oh how it permeated the house with a fresh citrus fragrance!

I enjoyed making these cookies so much that I have decided to continue using polenta more in baking. Mainly baking, as it requires much less attentiveness. Because I’m just lazy. But anyway, here is the recipe.

Cornmeal Currant Crunch

(makes 30 cookies)

Cornmeal Currant Crunch

1¼ cups all purpose flour
¾ cup polenta
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup unsalted butter
¾ cup caster sugar
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup dried currants (raisins, if currants not available)
½ cup roasted almonds, chopped

Preheat oven to 180°C, and line your baking tray with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, polenta, baking powder and salt, set aside
In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the lemon zest and beat for 1 minute.
Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
Slowly add the flour mixture, mixing just until the flour is incorporated.
Mix in the currants and almonds.
Take about 2 tablespoons of dough into the palms of your hand and roll into a smooth ball. Then flatten it into a circle and place on baking tray about 2 cm apart. Bake cookies for about 15 minutes, until edges are browned.
Cool on baking tray for 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to crisp up.

The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up the 3 days and the cookie dough can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

NOTE: It is very important for these cookies to be cooled before transferring to the wire rack as they will break apart if you don’t.

Zested Lemons

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Winter Comfort: Home Food

Steak with Pepper Sauce with Mashed Potatoes and Wilted Spinach

With the weather in Sydney being the way that it is, for me, simple classic comfort food seems to fare far better than fancy-schmancy cuisine that require several-hour preparations in the kitchen. Nothing here requires anything to be blanched, braised, deglazed and then reduced. Not that there is anything wrong with food like that, but there certainly is a place for them. For these unforgiving wintry nights, I find myself cooking simplistic meals that not only provide nourishment but also evoke that sense of homely security.

For me the act of cooking and eating is for more than physical sustenance, it is more a soulful undertaking. Sharing and cooking meals like this, especially when it’s for another person, for me truly epitomises what home cooking is really about; it’s about bonding and fostering relationships. I think home food does this as it’s inclusive; it's the kind of food that gives you a big hug while you’re eating it.

Steak with Pepper Sauce with Mashed Potatoes and Wilted Spinach

Here, taste and comfort isn’t lost with a Three-minute Steak with Pepper Sauce with creamy mashed potatoes and wilted spinach. The steak was perfectly seared; juicy inside and just a touch of pink in the middle. The mashed potatoes were a dreamy fluffy texture; like what eating clouds might feel like. Donna Hay suggests putting the potatoes through a sieve and pushing it out with a rubber spatula. It takes some time and a bit of elbow grease, but this is how you can achieve an extremely silky smooth texture.

To finish off, I made a Brown Bread and Butter Pudding. I adapted a recipe from a 2002 Donna Hay magazine (Issue 3) and instead of using sultanas I used dates, as I had them on hand. This rustic dessert transported us to another place. Every mouthful felt more and more like we were sitting in a warm country cottage in the hillsides of Cornwall, open fire crakling before us and a thatched roof above rustling in the wind. This dish is best eaten in your pajamas, sitting on the couch, no formalities, but just extreme comfort. This is the kind of food you can cuddle up to.

Brown Bread and Butter Pudding

Brown Bread and Butter Pudding
(serves six)

12 slices of brown wholemeal bread, crusts removed and buttered one side
½ cup roughly chopped dates
2 cups whole cream milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup soft brown sugar
¼ demerara sugar or raw sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 160°C.
Make the bread into sandwiches and cut into quarters.
Place in a greased overproof dish, overlapping the quarters. Sprinkle the dates over.
Whisk together the milk, eggs, vanilla and sugar in a bowl. Pour over the bread and allow to stand for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle over the demerara sugar and then place the dish in a water bath with the hot water filing halfway up the dish.
Bake for 55 minutes or until the pudding is set. Allow to stand for 5 minutes and serve warm.

Brown Bread and Butter Pudding

NOTE: Do not use wholegrain (seeded) bread.
Also if dates aren’t your thing, you can also use sultanas or currants.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Pastries in the Park: More of Francois' Pastries

Pyrmont Park

Three posts later, our gastronomic outing at Pyrmont still doesn't end. After a hearty lunch at Milk and Two, and coffee, tea and pastries at Francois’, we astonishingly still had room in our expanding bellies for some more dessert. The amount of food I was able to consume that day, would have been enough to feed an entire football team! People have heard of second breakfast, well this was second dessert. As I mentioned in my previous post, G and I each bought some more pastries after eating in at Francois’ Patisserie. We leisurely walked back down Harris St and moseyed on down to Pyrmont Point Park, to enjoy what was left of the afternoon.

Pyrmont Park

The park was virtually empty except for a lone cyclist taking a breather and a couple of familles playing catch on the grass. Situated along the harbour, across from Balmain, Pyrmont Point Park gives you uninterrupted water views, where you’re able to spy both the Anzac and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There is a boardwalk that meanders along the water and this is where G, the pastries and I walked down until we reached the end.

At the end of the boardwalk we came across an interesting piece of artwork/sculpture. The contraption consisted of seven large red ladders that were suspended over the water and would bob up and down with the tide. It was quite hypnotic to watch, seeingthe ladders move up and down and swivel around as it swayed with the water. We were enjoying the view and each other’s company so much that we almost forgot about the pastries. But luckily one of us remembered the poor little things in the paper bag just waiting to be devoured. The first was a Mini Pear and Ricotta Tart and the other was an Apple and Rhubarb Slice. Not being a rhubarb enthusiast, I opted for the pear and ricotta.

Mini Pear and Ricotta Tart

Mini Apple and Rhubarb Tart

The Pear and Ricotta was smooth, sweet and buttery; it tickled my tastebuds. G, who had the Apple and Rhubarb stated that the rhubarb's tartness was offset perfectly by the sweetness of the apple; it was a perfect harmony of flavours.I cannot emphasise how good Francois’ pastries are. Each one is a delight to behold and even more so to consume. As one who loves her dessert, this place will be a staple.

Leaving Park

Pirrama Rd; in the car on our traverse home. Fully satisfied and bellies happy, off we went into the sunset.

Francois Pastries
Unit 3, 35 Union St
Pyrmont, NSW 2009

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Francois' Pastries, Pyrmont

Statue at Union St. Pyrmont

After we liberally satisfied our appetites at Milk and Two, we decided to walk off the extra few pounds we put on over lunch to a pastry shop on Union St. The irony; I know! The five-minute leisurely stroll allowed us to justify eating pastries, not that eating pastries required much justification, not for me that is.

The walk to the pastry shop also allowed us to bask in the sun-drenched streets of Pyrmont, which was surprisingly serene compared to the rest of the city. There is a small portion of Union St, in the Pyrmont Town Square, that somewhat reminds me of the book
Playing Beatie Bow. The surrounding buildings still bear the Victorian sandstone facades, thick wooden doors and blackened chimneys protruding from their rooftops. And although the square has been revamped it still carries the mood of this era.

This charming lane brought us to Francois’ Pastries. The patisserie is quite small, with only six small coffee tables. The corner extrance led us inside to a glass counter that was brimming with all sorts of cakes, tarts and breads from top to bottom, left to right. The mini tarts and slices were on the left while the bigger cakes and savouries were on the right. There were so many things for your perusal, and so much gastronomic possibilities to be had, that just deciding what to have seemed like a rather overwhelming prospect.

Mini Armandine Tart

After some time inspecting the counters we decided on the Mini Amandine Tart and the Mini Strawberry Tart. We thought that the mini tarts would be the way to go as the portions were managable. To go with our pastries G opted to have a large cappuccino, which he says is easily one of the best cups of coffee he has ever had. Also at $2.40, it was an absolute jaw-dropping bargain. I decided on the Rose Grey Tea; simply an Earl Grey Tea with rose infusions, which was refreshing and light.


The amandine tart was blissful. I have only tasted one other to rival this amandine and that was by Serge Dansereau of the Bather’s Pavilion, which was to my memory topped with mascarpone cream and macerated berries. The strawberry tart was also perfection, to say the least. The custard beneath the towering strawberries was as smooth as silk, and the crust was just the perfect buttery texture.

MIni Strawberry Tart

Aside from pastries Francois also sell quiches, pies and a variety of fruit and vegetable salads. But the pastries here are a standout, and with their extensive range you are left wanting more, and indeed we were. We ordered another tart each, to take away for later.

Empty Tart Case

It is definitely worth the return trip to sample their savouries. They had already run out of pies when we arrived late afternoon, but there are always a generous amount of sweets available. There are tarts, slices, crumbles and éclairs in every possible flavour; definitely enough to satisfy the desires of any Francophile.

Francois' Patisserie, Union St, Pyrmont

Francois Pastries
Unit 3, 53 Union St
Pyrmont, NSW 2009
Phone: (02) 9660 9083

Tag Dag: Confessions In Groups of Five

Ilva of the visually stunning blog Lucullian Delights has tagged me for the meme Confessions in Groups of Five. So to keep it short and sweet here it is, five things, five ways:

Five items in the freezer

Extremely overripe bananas, just waiting to be made into a a banana loaf!
A tub of Choc Peppermint Ice Cream
Basil and Kaffir Lime Leaves
Ready made puff pastry
5 whole Tilapias, fresh from the Philippines!

Five items in my closet
There are certainly more than five things in my closet but here it goes…
A gorgeous dress that G bought me from Seduce that has never been worn. Hopefully will be able to for a wedding in September.
My Year 12 high school blouse that I got signed by everyone in my graduating class
A million bags and purses that haven’t been used in years; time to donate them to St Vinnies!
A really cool pair of jeans by Francois Girbaud called Aviatrix Jeans.

My favourite coat, it’s the same kind that Paddington Bear wears but in black

Paddington bear

Five items in my car
A gazillion empty water bottles
Five cent pieces in the coin box
Petrol dockets
Jack’s accessory bag- water bowl, tennis balls, back seat mat, leash

Five items in my purse
My ipod, one of the best presents G has ever given me
Caboodles lip gloss, my favourite
A small heart mirror
A felt tip pen, my favourite to write with
My wallet, of course

Tag Five people
I’m not sure if you have already been tagged with this meme, but if you want to participate you may, but if not, no pressure.

Swee of A Self-Proclaimed Foodaholic
Cin of A Few of My Favourite Things
Bee of Bee's Kitchen
Ange of Viscious Ange
Anna of Morsels and Musings

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Milk and Two, Pyrmont

Table Number Two, Milk and Two, Pyrmont

What to do these mild winter days? It appears that our winters here in Sydney waver between vehemently icy temperatures to unexpectedly pleasant warm days. But who am I to complain? This is what I love about winter in Sydney, there definitely are the cold days but there are always sunny days thrown in for good measure.

When the climate in Sydney is agreeable, all you can do is spend the day enjoying the sunshine. One such occasion was last Sunday, the sun was out and not a cloud in sight; there was really no need to idle away the day indoors. So off we went over the bridge and into Pyrmont to the relatively new Milk and Two. This is the cafe venture from Sugaroom restaurant duo Greg Anderson and Patricia Nunes.

Milk and Two, Pyrmont

Located at the old CSR refinery building at the end of Harris St, the café offers waterfront views of Balmain's working harbour. The landing in front doesn’t get too crowded so your views are rarely interrupted. As for the menu, well the food is what I would call casual chic. For the price we paid, we didn’t expect the quality of food that we got, however we were pleasantly surprised. We shared an entrée and had our own mains, the servings are quite reasonable and we were full by the end. The menu offers you ‘Something Light’ and ‘Something Filling’, so depending on how hungry you are, they have what you are looking for.
Also, G had to tear me away from the glass counter that contained a nice selection of cakes, tarts and muffins that are all baked on site. I am definitely coming back for a taste of those tarts!

Salt Cod Fish Cakes, Milk and Two, Pyrmont

Salt Cod Fish Cakes and Tartare sauce, served with Rocket Salad $8.00

Salt Cod Fish Cakes, Milk and Two, Pyrmont

As we broke open the crusty exterior of the cakes, it revealed a light and airy filling inside. It was a great juxtaposition of textures. Also the tartare sauce paired well with the saltiness of the cod.

Hot Chocolate, Milk and Two, Pyrmont

Hot Chocolate; Olive Oil (below)

Olive Oil, Milk and Two, Pyrmont

200g Beef Burger, Milk and Two, Pyrmont

Milk and Two 200g Beef Burger with shoestring fries, lettuce, tomato and pickle $15.00

200g Beef Burger, Milk and Two, Pyrmont

G couldn't resist eating his mammoth burger straight away and couldn't wait for me to take a decent photograph. He did let me take a quick one after the first bite. He gave the burger a rating on 8.5 out of 10.

Crunchy Duck Salad, Milk and Two, Pyrmont

Roasted Duck Salad with crispy noodles, snow pea leaf and tamarind dressing $13.00

G couldn't resist eating his mammoth burger straight away and couldn't wait for me to take a decent photograph. He did let me take a quick one after the first bite. He gave the burger a rating on 8.5 out of 10.

The cafe offers both indoor and al fresco dining and the staff are approachable and attentive, but not overly fussy. Overall, I would have to say that Milk and Two was a solid casual dining experience. And the desserts are definitely worth another look.

Knife and Fork, Milk and Two, Pyrmont

Milk and Two
No. 1 Harris St
Pyrmont NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9571 5503