I was at the organic market this week and was just browsing through the aisles while waiting for a friend to turn up to lunch. I wasn't intending on buying anything but there's something about the consumer in me that just cannot resist certain things.
I'm all about aesthetics, if it looks good then it has my attention straight away. Things that look unusual or cute have me at hello. So by the time I set foot outside the store, in my clutches were a few impulsive buys and I had somehow ended parting with $13.75. Something I didn't intend on doing at all. I never thought that waiting for a friend would cost me money.
Not that $13.75 is at all steep, but I am supposed to be on a strict financial diet as I am saving for an overseas trip- every cent counts. And it is becoming more and more apparent that impulse spending is my most wicked vice. This is what I bought.
Firstly, the picture above is a roll of cacao and sugar tablets that you can dissolve in milk and turn into hot chocolate. My mum uses it to make champorado, which is a sort of Filipino chocolate rice pudding. It's quite good to drink as plain hot chocolate as well. It's not overly sweet like those conventional hot chocolate ready mixes and still maintains a little bitterness from the cocoa.
This here is Lyle's Golden Syrup. I loved the vintage looking tin that it came in and even though it was whole dollar more than the golden syrup you can buy at the supermarket, I was persuaded by its beautiful Victorian inspired tin and the trademark on the front- a lion surrounded by a swarm of bees that said, "out of the strong came forth sweetness". I thought it was quite endearing and so it went into the shopping basket.
The golden syrup does differ slightly from your supermarket, $1-less brands, but only very slightly. I mean how different can sugar taste right? Sugar's pretty much sugar. Lyle's golden syrup's sweetness is quite subtle and it's sweetness isn't as cloying as perhaps some supermarket versions, it's almost more like honey than just merely inverted sugar. But really, I would gladly settle for any brand of golden syrup if Lyle's wasn't there to beguile me with it's antique green and gold tin.
The great thing with Lyle's is that the tin isn't just some sort of marketing ploy to lure hapless victims- like me- into buying something that's made to look iconic. The great thing is that Lyle's history dates back to 1883, so at least they have the heritage to back up those pretty little tins, as they have kept the same design that was launched in the 1880's.
If you want to know more about Lyle's and its history check out their website.
The other thing I bought was this teeny tiny wheel of camembert cheese, aptly named Babybert, it's from the Barossa Valley Cheese Co. The caption on the label reads " a mini white mould cheese with hints of mushroom aromas". I've learned that when it comes to cheese, "mushroom aromas" is almost code for funky feet smell, and I was right. The cheese does have a slightly pungent aroma, that is definitely earthy and hearty, and to admit I wasn't much of a fan of its odour, although the cheese tastes quite good. The white rind is quite stiff although inside the cheese is soft. And at least you won't feel too guilty for eating a whole wheel of camembert, the babybert only weighs about 40g.
And the last thing I bought is something I really want to share with you all but I'm afraid I have to restrain myself and leave it for another post when I think up something to make with them. I promise you, it won't disappoint but it's all hush-hush for now. One thing I will say about them is that, it's the first time I have come across them in Sydney and they are not even in season.
Hmm.... what could it be? You will have to come back to find out. But one thing I will share with you is how I used some of that lovely golden syrup I got from Lyle's.
Apples are the perfect winter fruit and the beautiful thing is that we are still enjoying the best of winter produce without all that inhospitable winter weather. I just love living in Sydney where winters are so short-lived. What I made was a simple Caramel Apple Pudding. I am in the midst of an obsession with caramel right now. Anything with burnt sugar I am craving for.
Even when winter already seems so far away, and the days seem to get warmer as we speak, the nights are still fairly chilly and this pudding is just the remedy to warm your from the inside out. I made these with some granny smith apples that had been sitting in the fridge for a while now, but the great thing is that even if the apples are becoming slightly soft and spongey, you can still use them for this recipe as you want the apples to be cooked throughout.
Caramel Apple Pudding
from Delicious Magazine July 2005
5 large golden delicious or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, sliced ½cm thick
1 2/3 cups (250g) plain all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
180g unrefined caster sugar
150g unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup (200g) light muscovado sugar or light brown sugar
½ cup (125ml) golden syrup
Icing sugar and thick cream, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Lightly butter a 2.5-litre baking dish.
Place apples in the prepared dish.
Sift flour and baking powder into the bowl of an electric mixer, add caster sugar, milk, butter and egg, then beat until pale.
Spread mixture over the apples.
Place muscovado or brown sugar, golden syrup and 300ml water in a saucepan.
Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil without stirring.
Pour over the pudding batter, then bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden.
Dust with icing sugar and serve with cream.