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Banana and cinnamon tea cake


With the quirks of my oven figured out, and a new Chicago cake tin to test out, it seemed like a good idea to tranform some overripe bananas into a tasty treat for The Loch Ness Monster.

With all the baking I do being donated to friends and work colleagues, I frequently torture him with appetising scents not intended for his consumption.

If baking is my hobby, then surely LNM’s hobby is eating.

So with this in mind I was more than happy to whip up a cake intended just for him.

Another happy memory in the bag.

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Posted by on April 28, 2012 in Foody

 

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Baking tips from the experts


Baking tips from the experts.

We have all had them. Baking disasters. My oven has been unkind to me on occasion, and I have definitely used the wrong sugar and burnt a cake.

Too many people give up after a baking disaster when simple tips, like those found in this article, can save all those cakes and biscuits that would otherwise be burnt to a crisp.

After some trial and error baking becomes a skill, but mistakes are bound to happen and should happen so that we can learn to make tasty food.

What would be REALLY awesome is a masterclass from a CWA representative, but in the meantime I’ll keep having both disasters and victories in the kitchen.

Making pancakes this morning for myself and The Loch Ness Monster I was reminded of the first time I tried to make pancakes from scratch as a child.

I was 9 years old, the batter was awful, the pancakes were poorly cooked and I absolutely loved it nonetheless. Today my batter was fool proof, tasty and left smiles on our dials.

So keep cooking, keep trying and your disasters will turn into your favourite recipes in no time.

MY PANCAKE RECIPE
1 Cup self-raising flour
1 Cup milk
2 teaspoons castor sugar
1 egg

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2012 in wordy

 

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Ganache!


Keeping a well stocked supply of baking stuffs means that my mind is often dreaming up things to make.

I had read somewhere recently that I could make chocolate truffles with a ganache made from dark chocolate and cream.

Once the ganache is made and cooled down it can be rolled into truffles or whipped into frosting.

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When I tested the ganache after a trip to the market I realised that I should opt to whip it into frosting for a cake.

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What resulted was a tasty treat that will be used for future cooking adventures.

The Loch Ness Monster was VERY happy to have this afternoon treat with a cup of coffee and some quality time with me. THIS is how happy memories are formed.

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2012 in Foody, wordy

 

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Food! Glorious food!


Ted and I went on a bit of a food adventure day not too long ago and she introduced me to some wonderful gems.

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I had been dreaming about going to Burch & Purchese for some time now, so I was very pleased to find myself drooling in their store.

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With the delightful aprons worn by the staff, and the free sample of a concoction that involved pistachios with a mango mousse it was a treat to visit indeed!

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I quite happily bought a jar of salted caramel spread for future food adventures.

Try and resist the temptation to eat it straight from the jar with a spoon

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Our next venture included a trip to the ever amazing Lux Bite for some tea and treats.

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My mouth drooled over this delightful caramel slice with miniature salted caramel macarons.

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While Ted had a glorious time with a giant hazelnut macaron made from 100% awesomeness.

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I happily bought some salted caramel macarons to take home for the eternally ravenous Loch Ness Monster, who was more than happy to nibble away, and enjoy yet another gastronomical wonder provided by magnificent Melbourne.

If you are a Melbourne foodie, or just someone from Melbourne in general, get out and find yourself in one of these stores. Do it now!

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2012 in Foody

 

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How To Make Perfect Dumplings


Step 1: The Filling

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Make a mixture that tempts your taste buds. For me it was just like my favourite vegetarian dumplings at San Yuan Chinese restaurant in Dandenong. A pumpkin mash with fried onion, 1 teaspoon butter, salt and pepper to taste.

Step 2: The Dumpling Press

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Use a really awesome dumpling press. My friend Ted* bought hers from The General Trader, I bought mine from Daiso for $2.80. In fact I bought 2 so that things could get done faster.

    * Not HER real name

Step 3: The Dough

Decide on whether you want to buy pre-made wontons from the supermarket, or if you want to make your own.

The Loch Ness Monster used to work as the dough maker at a pizza shop in high school (this is where we met), so he happily volunteered to make the dough.

Step 4: Most Important

Use only REALLY small amounts of mixture in your dumpling, and follow the instructions on the box that you bought on how to seal your dumplings.

Step 5: Dumpling Heaven

Make lots of dumplings!!!!

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Step 6: Quality Check

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Check that all of the dumplings are properly sealed and do not have any tears in the pastry.

Step 7: Leftover Storage

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Since I made a large amount of dumplings I decided to store some in the freezer to make dinner on a work night.

I used a small plate and made layers of 6 dumplings at a time, topping each layer with baking paper and then wrapping tightly with cling film (caterers cling film is preferred as it holds better).

The main thing you want to make sure is that there is no air coming in so that you don’t get freezer burn.
Pop it in a snap lock bag as well if you are worried.

Step 8: Cooking and Eating

The most important part of the process is of course cooking and eating your dumplings.

You can boil or steam them, however we have been boiling them with great results.

Serve with a side of rice and dipping sauce – I’m a sucker for kecap manis personally.

Step 9: Use This Recipe Often

You will impress the crowds at parties, or just impress yourself on a weeknight when all you have to do is come home, pop on the rice cooker (a mandatory household item), and drop some dumplings in boiling water.

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2012 in Foody, wordy

 

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Food Blogs Keep Us Creative


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Super Bowl Foods: Mexican Mess Bean Dip.

I recently discovered Recipes, Recipes, Recipes where I spotted their Super Bowl post featuring a mexican bean dip, and quickly decided that I needed to get into the kitchen to make my own.

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Variations:

  • Instead of refried beans I pan fried some red kidney beans with some onions in taco sauce
  • Skipped the salsa
  • Omitted the green chilies
  • Just before placing in the oven I added some spring onion, as well as tomatoes from the garden

The food was amazing, and Loch Ness Monster thought it was out of this world in the flavour department and made me promise to make this again. (No problems there!)

With food blogs, cooking shows or cookbooks, there is a big possibility of expanding ones imagination as to what they can whip up in the kitchen.

Inspiration to cook can come from the lunches belonging to your colleagues at work, or eyeing off the dish belonging to the table sitting next to you when you go out for dinner.

My advice?
DO look for inspiration everywhere.
DO try new things.
DO break away from recipes and modify them to your own tastes.

You never know how amazing a cook you can be unless you try something new and challenging.

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2012 in Foody, wordy

 

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Cafe at home


Visiting USA Foods has long been a favourite pastime of mine. Having visited the land of the free many times since my Dad moved over there, I have developed a love of iced tea mixes.

On my annual pilgrimage to Moorabbin to stock up on said iced tea mix, I was gob smacked at the size of their new store. So gob smacked in fact that I bought more things than I had planned on due to the frivolity of the situation.

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Having such temptations in the cupboard was proving to be all too much for The Loch Ness Monster. So much so that I have found myself being greeted on weekends, not with a ‘Hello’, not with a ‘Good morning’.

No. Lately I have been greeted in the morning with one simple word.

“Pancakes?”

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So I caved in on Saturday and decided to make what I call a ‘whole PAN-cake’ as an homage to the lovely Joe’s Garage banana pancake, which I must say was a game-changer for me in the world of pancakes.

The cooking process was very similar to how I make a frittata, so the task was not overly daunting. The only part that worried me was wondering how to flip it without ruining the whole thing.

Some delicate flipping into a pan of equal size saved the day, and as always I recommend a high quality pan, cooking on a low heat, and walking away to let it do some magic on its own.

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I was so pleased with how light and fluffy the whole thing was.
Like when cooking a frittata, lots of bubbles = fluffy results.

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Due to prodding from The Loch Ness Monster I found myself purchasing some ice cream as a treat this weekend.

Kicking and screaming the whole way to the supermarket – I swear!

I use the term ‘treat’ because this is something you would not purchase to share with ANYONE.
Partly because of the price, but mostly because of the flavours that you want to savour for an eternity.

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I had no idea what burnt fig would taste like, but had a feeling that this would be the ice cream to end ALL ice creams. If I didn’t realise it enough before, I made a silent promise to myself that I need to visit Adelaide to see what else Maggie Beer has to offer at her store.

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2012 in Foody, wordy

 

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