Thursday, October 17, 2013

200 Madeleines

freshly baked ready to be sprinkled with icing sugar to serve in the morning.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Searching for Red Velvet in London

Chicken & Leek Pie

On this cold Autumn day, peel back the pastry lid and let the steam warm your face.  
Layered with Mash potato underneath the crunchy and flaky pastry lid, a pie filled with fresh veges, chicken and Leek for extra flavour. 
Prepared by my wife.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Factory Visit

Only 500 registered factories are allowed to produce the authentic Parmigiano cheese. The Parmigiano must be authorised by the DOP of Europe to be sold as authentic Parmigiano cheese.

The process:
The factory we visited in Parma, make 10 wheels a day.
A gastronomic day of visiting a real cheese factory in the Italian town of Parma. The making of Parmigiano cheese.

This factory had 5 vats.
Each vat produce 2 round wheel.
1 Wheel weighs approx 50kg.
Take about 3 hours for the entire process.
Then it take up to 24 months for the cheese to mature.
Salting followed by resting.
Incredible process.
The longer the cheese rests, the more mature and strong the taste will be.
The cheese is rested for 12, 24, or 36 months.

Monday, June 10, 2013


Soft "tea cake" type biscuit.
A favourite French delight.

Melted butter must be warm when added to mixture.

Refrigerate the batter mix for 2 hours. You can refrigerate it for up to 3 days. This will give the Madeleines its traditional hump.

Grease the moulds with melted butter, then dust flour on the tray. Refrigerate the trays for 10minutes for the butter to harden. This will allow the cooked Madeleines to fall out of the tray when cooked.

Follow this link for a video demo. This is the best way to explain and see the above hints.


  • Eggs                        3
  • Caster Sugar            175g
  • Plain Flour (Sifted)  125g
  • Baking Powder        1 Tsp
  • Unsalted Butter        115g (melted and warm)
  • Grated Lemon or Orange

Preheat oven at 175 Degrees. Then turn it down to 140-150 when ready to  bake.

Combine the eggs and sugar until pale and thick. (use a paddle on slow mix master)(I do it by hand with a whisk)
Add sifted flour into the mix and combine.
Add melted butter and lemon zest.
Once combined, leave to rest in the fridge. (the longer the better).
Bake for 8 - 12min. Golden and fluffy.
Cool for 10 min.
Sprinkle with Icing Sugar.

Soft and fluffy, nice when dipped in hot espresso coffee.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Pie Season

Chicken & Leak Pie

Home made by my wife. .

Sour Cream Butter Cake with Pears

Bourke Street Bakery cook book

Bourke street bakery book, is still a great reference for many yummy recipes. This I tried and proffed twice. The second attempt was a success. The first, due to my eagerness, (and the great smell), I tipped the cake out of the tin too early, and it fell apart.

The pears are bought fresh (the softer the better), or you will need to poach the pears, or use can pears. I used soft pears cut into thick slices. You can also add rasberries, but I like to keep it simple so my family can enjoy it. The simpler the better.

Thecake is soft, moist and fluffy, with the pears that sink to the bottom, that gives the cake that fruity taste at the end. 

Simple recipe, all shop bought ingredients. Use a mix master with the whisk adaptor. 


  • 250g Unsalted Butter
  • 300g Self Raising Flour (sifted)
  • 200g Sour Cream
  • Vanilla pod or 1 Tspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 330g Caster Sugar (I used 250g)
  • 4 Eggs
  • 4 Pears (or at your own discretion)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Wicking Bed - Week 4

Week 4 
of my Wicking Vege bed
A variety of lettuce and baby spinach. 
I also planted a row of Saffron flowers (Crocus sativa). A spice used on rice. Fingers crossed it grows!!

Gluten free Anzac Cookies

Anzac Biscuits (Gluten Free)

Why Gluten free? I asked myself the same question. But I was amazed. The taste was great. A gluten free diet is the only accepted diet to assist with celiac disease.  Gluten is a protein complex found in wheat. Oats may or may not be gluten free, as there are some arguments on whether they are prone to cross contamination in their milling process with other grains that's have traces of gluten. So I have shop bought all these products labelled Gluten Free, so I can only hope I haven't been mislead,,

So I shop bought all ingredients below.


  • White rice flour.  1/2 cup sifted
  • Brown rice flour.  1/2 cup sifted
  • Organic Desicnated coconut. 1/4 cup
  • Organic cocunut  sugar. 1 cup. Or 1/2 cup if you prefer chewy biscuits .  Or low GI brown sugar if you can't find. 1/2 cup.
  • Organic butter. 125g
  • Organic maple syrup 4 tablespoons
  • Baking soda. 1/2 teaspoon
  • Hot water. 1 tablespoon

Preheat oven 150 degrees c.
Mix all dry ingredients into a bowl.
Melt  butter in saucepan then add maple syrup
Place baking soda in a separate cup, add the hot water. Stir, then add to butter mix.
Add liquid butter mix to the dry mix and stir until it looks like the oats are sticky.

Scoop a tablespoon of mix onto a tray with baking paper.  Should fit 6 onto a tray.
I flattened some by hand, and others left as a round ball.  A slight difference in texture when cooked.

Oven 20 min Until golden brown, then transfer to cooling rack. .

Home made Italian Tomato Sauce

Time to make home made Italian Tomato Sauce. Some may say its too late for tomatoes, but I found a farmer in Wallacia (Sydney South) who was harvesting his last tomato crop.

300kgs of Tomatoes
15 x 20kg boxes

12 bottles per 20kg boxes

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wicking Bed (my new vege patch)

I have been reading up on Wicking Beds. Self watering vege patch, with a water reservoir built beneath the soil, which due to "capillary action"  allows the roots of your veges to feed off when required. Like dipping a tissue in a glass of water (watch the water rise)

Here is my step by step.
Firstly - the cost does add up. It looks simple, but it is time consuming.
All Materials were bought from Bunnings and my local landscaping supplier.

Materials below are for a  600mm high, 2.4m long by 1.2m wide bed.
Approx 600mm total depth, 300mm soil and 300mm for the water reservoir

9 x 2.4m long Cherry wood sleepers (200mm width) $14each at Bunnigs
Builders plastic
Geotextile material to seperate the blue metal to the soil
1 tonne of Blue metal (or similar) $70 a tonne (equivalant to 1 trailer)
8 x 30Litre  bags of Organic compost (2 bags for $12 @ Flower Power)
8 x 30 Litre good potting mix ($varies)
2m length, 90mm PVC pipe (drill holes in the pipe)
2 x 90mm PVC caps
1 x 90mm elbow
1m x 90mm PVC pipe (this is your pipe to fill water into)
300mm length 90mm PVC pipe for you overflow
90mm Bracket

Step 1 - Build your box
Set out your timber box,2.4m x 1.2m x 600mm high, and line with builders plastic.(fix with staple gun)
Ground must be level before you lay your plastic.

Step 2
Add a layer of Blue metal, 50mm high, then lay your slotted pipe on top.

Step 3
At 250mm high, install your overflow pipe to the side of the box.

Lay the balance of the box,  to about 300mm high with blue metal.

Step 4
Lay your geotextile material on top of the blue metal, to seperate the soil.
Lay the organic compost.

 Step 5
 Lay the soil

 Step 6
 I havent as yet, but I would also put a layer of straw, or mulch on top prior to planting.
 Plant away. (17th March)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bomboloni (Custard Puff donuts)

Bomboloni all Crema
Custard filled Donut - Italian cream filled donuts

All I can say, is this is a donut full of sugar, dough and custard. One donut is just not enough, but too many equals days of calorie burning.

I have kept this recipe in my "to cook" file for months. Taken from the food blog "La Mia Vita Dolci" translated "my Sweet life" by Grace Massa Langlois, an Canadian, Belgian born, Italian heritage, food blogger, who due to a tragic past, and current circumstances has cooked and blogged this and many other old time Italian pastries. 

I was lucky to take a pic with my phone before we all indulged. The warm smell of the custard and aroma given from the doughnut (orange zest, and vanilla) filled the room. Even I was impressed that the recipe worked on my first attempt. 

This is certainly worth the wait.  I must admit, it is a lot of preparation and hard work, but worth the effort. 

The dough is made fresh by hand, and there is a little of kneading and rising time (similar to making pizza dough). 

I won't post the recipe, as  I think its worth viewing the blog I found as the instructions are very well written. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Secret Pizza Las Vegas Cosmopolitan Casino

Hidden Pizza - The Cosmopolitan Casino, Las Vegas

After a number of trips to Las Vegas, we finally made time to look for the hidden "secret" Pizzeria, that I was told about by some locals.

New York style pizza in Las Vegas.

Not so a secret anymore, as many bloggers are now revealing the location. The hotel concierge is also a great help, for those that cant remember directions at 3am in the morning.

Located on the 3rd floor of the ever so metro, 3 year old, Cosmopolitan Hotel/Casino.

To be accurate, look for a lounge type set up, with a pool table, on level 3, as you reach the top of the escalator, between the Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar, and Jaleo restaurants is a dark corridor.

Located down a lonely corridor, filled with old memorabilia posters of Frank Sinatra, Paul Anka (who?) and the like, you will see a pinball machine, and then the PIZZA everyone lines up for after midnight.

Menu is typical New York style. Cheese pizza, mushroom, ricotta, sausage, pepperoni, thin, Grimaldi's style. Or they also offer the thick Lasagne Sicilian style pizza, found at L&B spumoni in Brooklyn (Bensonhurst). 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Gordon Ramsay's Burger Bar Las Vegas

Jan 2014 - Burgers are still good. This time I had the Americana Bgr.  Garlic fries are excellent.  Great atmosphere.  Waited at the bar for only 15 min (pretty good for the USA).

Within the bright lights and sin city of Las Vegas, lies Gordon Ramsays latest culnery fab. Its called "BURGR", note the GR initials that make up Burger/Gordon Ramsay.

Located within the Planet Hollywood Casino (Miracle Mile Shops).

This is worth the 40minute wait. 

Simple menu of hamburgers, fries and hot dogs spelt DAWGS.

Atmosphere is that of a typical US sports bar, with Plasmas all around, a bar at the front for those that want a quick eat, or table setting inside, overlooking the open kitchen. You can even request to sit on a bench facing the kitchen. 

No sign of Gordo, but Im sure some of he chefs are easy recognisable from one of his many TV shows. 

Chanterelle Burger - Mushroom $16 

Sweet Potatoe Fries, sprinkled with Vanilla sugar.  $9

I give it a 8/10 rating. I still enjoy my San Fran Burgers at Hubert Kellers, Burger Bar

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Coffee in Sydney has BOOMED over the last few years, and only gets better. I mean its always been around, but cafes are getting more and more popular, and more so trendy, pending on what coffee blends are served.

Im attempting to blog about some of the cafes serving great coffee and cakes, that I have come across in Sydney.

A Coffee machine at home helps, so you can bring back the blend and see if it tastes as good at home as it does at the cafe.

Im not suggesting that my list below is the best coffee (as there is always someone that will disagree), but it will list some examples of the best coffee served in Sydney, and some of the new Cafe's around.

My coffee of the month has been CAMPOS for some time. Since I stumbled across the Newtown flagship store a few years ago (which Ive been told is almost 10 years old), many more cafes have opened since, serving Campos Coffee.

This must be the trendiest coffee in sydney, not only for its taste, but also for their eye catching army green cups. Very disctinctive, and a relief when you see someone holding one of these cups when your'e in an unfamilair area. (A cafe serving CAMPOS is near by).

Some of the cafes I have visited are located around Glebe, Newtown, Marrickville and found Campos coffee served in a cafe in southern suburb of Picton.

So Newtown, Flagship Campos cafe. I would count almost 8 people working behind the counter on a busy weekday between the hours of 7am and 10am. 4 Baristas working furiously, and 4 serving the anxoius Campos lovers queing out the door.

Cafe is tiny, with limited seating within the store, but majority of customers are take outs.

They offer many different blends, from quality beans around the world. There website explains further.

I give this a 9/10.

Chrysler Coffee Bar
127 Castlereagh Street (entry to Piccadilly arcade), Sydney. They have three other cafes in Sydney.
Great smooth blend of coffee, thats not too bitter. Staff here are also great. Hint, you may get a free pastry when ordering a 3.30pm coffee !!

I also give this a 9/10


Dulce Luna Viennoiserie - 66 King street, Sydney 
The newly refurbished 66 King Street building has a touch of Paris brought to Sydney. Not only has a new French themed pub has opened, "Le Pub", so to has Dulce Luna Cafe serving French style pastries, with a touch of Argentinian & Viennese influence. 
THE PASTRIES ARE little croissant type pastries with a sweet glaze.
COFFEE - Delano Coffee 

Dulce Luna is Spanish for "half moon" which is a Argentinian famous pastry, shaped as a half moon. 
Viennoiserie is the French name given to bakeries that specialise in Viennese style baked pastries made from a laminated dough but with added ingredients to give them a richer and sweeter character.

Nigella's Chocolate Christmas Cake 2012

As I blogged last year, i stuck to what was a success, and a treat for all that tried my chocolate Christmas cakes made previously.

Thanks again to Nigella, whose recipe is always faultless.
More chocolate, and less fruit.

I made two this year, and both with walnuts, Tia Maria liquor, and chocolate added to the dry mix.
No time for fancy decorations, as with this cake, it's best eaten within a week or two after baking.

Time to enter it into the Easter show!!!

A few of my favourite pastries. Portuguese tarts and Custart Horn, a Apple Vanilla cake. 


Grimaldis Pizza Pie 

I have an obsession with looking for the perfect pizza. Thin and simple.
Many pizza chefs have their own style, and claim they have the best pizza in town, but at least I like to compare and taste the many "Best" pizzas Sydney has to offer and pizzas from around the world.

Click onto the names to their website. No particular order. Im sure this list will grow, and

Im sure there are places I havent visited, and perhaps have just as good pizza's, and Im keen to  try. 

  • La Disfida -Haberfield
    • Wood fire Oven. Very thin authentic Italian pizza. Great selection of home made pasta also. 
    • We keep on going back to this place. Great atmosphere. 

  • Campbelltown - Fillippos at Macarthur Tavern Campbelltown
    • Wood Fire Oven. Thin Pizza. Pizza chef has been trained by the best italian pizza chef. 

  • Rosso Pomodoro - Balmain
    • Very thin Pizza. Dont ask for Hawaiin or Pineapple here. Very authentic. Loved it.

  • Pizzeria Bullucci - La Piazza Bankstown Sports Club
    • Wood fire oven. Loved what they have done here. Little italy inside the sports club. Pizza'a are great. Thin and basic.

  • Ventuno - Walsh Bay
    • Wood fire oven. Great position at Walsh Bay (Sydney Harbour). Thin Pizza's. One size per person. 

  • Franks Pizza - Forest Lodge/ Camperdown 
    • Normal Pizza Oven. Medium thickness (not to thin, not too thick). Cash only. Great spot. Franks has been around for decades, and moved down the road to a new location a couple of years ago. Nothing over the top. If you cant get in, then across the road is Deus Cafe. More than just pizza slices, set in a garage style environment. 

  • La Rosa Bar & Pizza - Strand Arcade Sydney
    • I love this place, especially the building its located in. Great traditional pizza, and they do takeaway. 
    • Located opposite Pendolino (run by the same owners) - great wine selection. 
New York
  • Grimaldis - Under the Bridge Brooklyn and Hoboken
    • Massive New York style Pizza, cooked in a coal oven. Thin but not too thin. 
San Francisco
  • Pizzeria Delfina -  about a15 minute cab ride from the heart of San Fran. 2 locations. We went to the 18th Street location. and yes, be prepared to wait  (no bookings). Put your name on the blackboard and wait for your name to be called. Its worth the wait. Great Thin pizza'a and pasta. And for desert walk up the road (approx 100m) to Bi-Rite Creamery & Bakeshop, and try their salted caramel icecream. This is a webisode I found whilst surfing the net for Pizza in San Fran. Great website also for Pizza fans. Pizza Quest
Digressing a little away from Pizza, whilst in San Fran you need to eat at these spots.
  • Best Hamburgers Hubert Keller's Burger Bar (located on the 6th Floor at Macys Geary street entrance).
  • Desert two levels up (level 8) at the Cheesecake factory (beware of long wait). 
  • Pancakes - If you are in San Fran for Breakfast, you can't miss pancakes at Sears. They serve the best Swedish pancakes. Great cosy cafe/restaurant. Lovely in winter. 439 Powell Road. and yes be prepared to stand in a que. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Cake Crazy

My Topys Turvey attempt

Doctor Who Tartis

Ganache of one of my cake creations prior to Fondont

At Carlos Bakery workshop Hoboken, New Jersey

Red Velvet Soccor Cake

Middle daughter's Fathersday bake

Eldest Daughtes Fathers day bake
Youngest daughter Fathers Day bake