Saturday, August 11, 2007

Waiting For a Friend Cost Me Money

Pure Cacao Tablets

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.

Lyle's Golden Syrup

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.

granny smith apple

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

Caramel Apple Pudding
from Delicious Magazine July 2005
serves 6

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
200ml milk
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.


Truffle said...

I'm very curious as to the final item now! Your pudding is distracting me though. It's gorgeous!

Kat said...

Oooh, tablea. Who makes them, and which markets did you get them from? I've been using Valrhona 99% cacao for champorado and the result is divine, but I can't justify spending that much on cacao when it's just being made into rice porridge.

Jam said...

Hi there, I stumbled upon your blog when I was researching on Sydney for a holiday earlier this year. I'm very impressed by your creations and all your beautiful photos. And yes, I had a great time in Sydney as well! I've just set up my own little blog and I hope you don't mind me putting a link to yours. Thanks! Cheers from sunny Singapore.

Anonymous said...

You have no willpower jenjen, but neither would I if all those culinary treats were facing me! Your dessert looks great!! I love baked apples, especially Granny Smiths... their tartness mellows sugar's sweetness perfectly. That golden syrup sounds interesting - I'm not familiar w/ inverted sugar... what is it?

Stepmom said...

i am the same way about aesthetics. products can always get me with packaging. i almost bought a $3 bottle of water at target the other day ONLY because the bottle was glass & really cool & unusual looking. neat packaging will get me almost every time if i'm not careful.

Rachael said...

oooh, I want to eat those apples right off the page : )

Jerry said...

I'm a sucker for pretty things too. It also, happens with wine. :-/. But that pudding looks delicious!

Squishy said...

Excellent choices chicky! The golden syrup you bought is my favourite also on top of crumpets. You can buy it at Coles Supermarkets though. I to am like you, I just can't help buying things when I see something new. I am very naughty ;)

Anonymous said...

I've never seen the cacao and sugar tablets before. It sounds like a very handy thing to make the hot chocolate (I want it now!). The apple pudding looks like the apple crumble that my mother-in-law likes to make. :)

Patricia Scarpin said...

I haven't recovered from that delicious sticky date pudding yet, Jenjen! :)

Sam said...

I grew up with that exact same golden syrup - I can't remember a time without it and I am getting on a bit these days. They also do treacle in a reddish tin.

Here in the US they sell Lyle in jars instead - but with the same pattern on the label at least.

My mum used to spread it on buttered toast but i found that quite disgusting and prefer to eat it straight from the tin with a spoon!

Anonymous said...

Oh I love golden syrup especially drizzled on porridge. Luckily in the uk it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to buy it. Totally understand how easy it is to fall for vintage/beautiful packaging, I do it all the time.

ilingc said...

Mmmm caramel apple pudding sounds really good right now. (it's become really cold in Melb again) I must look out for lyle's golden syrup to try this pudding with.

ps. May I ask the name of the cacao tablet? I want to look out for that too ;)

Anonymous said...

I have the same exact problem when it comes to impulse buying...especially when it comes to food stuff! Well, you are totally justified because you came away with such cool stuff :) One item yet to be revealed! I was so surprised to see the chocolate tablea in the beginning...I love the hot chocolate those make! :)

Your pudding looks super delish!

Anonymous said...

I can't even tell you how much $$ waiting for friends has cost me, too. There's a similarly great organic butcher and shop in Middleburg, Va. I went there recently. I'm told that it's where Brangelina and all the celebs coming through DC stop and shop.

Anonymous said...

Haha - I have a very similar story! I had to kill some time before meeting a friend for dinner, so I walked into a nearby store. It happened to be Cost Plus World Market and I accidentally discovered their food section! Needless to say, I walked out spending $17 (I beat you) on a random gift for someone and some crepe mix! I'm anxious to find out what the last item was...way to keep us all in suspense!

Anonymous said...

i bet that's antonio's tablea!

Jen said...

Truffle- It's sitting in the freezer right now, and I can't wait to use it. I just have to find some time.

Kat o+ I actually found these at an Asian grocery, it's Anthony Pueo's tablea.

Jam- Hi! I'm glad you enjoyed your visit to Sydney. Thanks for all your kind words, I will definitely stop by your blog too!

Bruno- You couldn't have described it more aptly. I love granny smiths too.
I am also not too familiar with inverted sugar, but it is the process they use to make golden syrup. I'm sure you can google it or something.

Candy- Now that you mentioned it, I've bought an expensive bottle of water also because it had a glass bottle. I figured it would last longer than a plastic one and the great thing is I still have it!

Rachael- Are they just the greatest!

Jerry- I'm glad I'm not alone, yay for great packaging, even when it fools us into buying them.

Squishy- Oooh, you are making me crave crumpets right now, Yummy!

Windy- Yes, the apple pudding is quite rustic and does resemble a sort of crumble, without the crunchiness, but all of the apple goodness.

Patricia Scarpin- Isn't it just the greatest, I can't wait to make it again.

Sam- Wow, I never thought other people scoop golden syrup straight out of the can like I did, but it seems I have company. Isn't it just the best secret indulgence.

R Khooks- I am always fooled by nice packaging, I'm glad this time, the discovery was a good one.

IllingC- The cacao tablets are from an Asian grocery that sells Filipino goods. This [articular brand is Anthony Pueo.

Joey- I can't wait for the surprise too, now I just have to find the time to make it.

Wendy- Where Brangelina shops huh? It must be worth checking out : )

Hillary- You did beat me, and with the exchange rate I don't feel too bad any more.

Anon- Correct. It is Mr. Pueo's tablea!

Mansi said...

Hmm...the pudding looks great! and so does your blog:)

miaow said...

lyle's golden syrup wins life. it's not so much the sugar that is different but it is the texture that matters. and that is their secret! :o it oh-so-very viscous and sticky...perfect for messy crumpets in the morning!

Pulgarcita said...


Your blog is just amazing!!! I too fell head over heals when I found Lyle's Golden Syrup, although I have to admit it's quite hard to find Golden Syrup in Spain so that made it look even more fantastic. I know use the can to keep my vanilla flavored sugar.
Your pudding looks fantastic, I have a friend whose son is allergic to eggs and butter so I will give your recipe a try (sadly with margarine, but nothing I can do about it) and dedicate it to you both. I'm sure I will make him really happy! Umm, I think I'll add some caramel salted sauce and use even more Syrup...
I hope you don't mind, I have added you to my "must" visit pages of my blog (in Spanish unfortunately - - “blind baking”).
Regards and thank you for sharing!!!

test it comm said...

Wow! Tart apples and caramel... what a combination.