Sunday, 5 December 2010

ultimate chocolate brownies of awesomeness to the max x 100

Last week I was lucky enough to go along to a pantry tour and dinner at Black Pearl Epicure in the valley, and I learnt lots of things about olive oil, vinegars, salt, cheese, and CHOCOLATE.

To say that I'm a chocoholic is probably the biggest understatement of ALL TIME, I love scarfing down chocolate, and cooking with chocolate (and eating the spoils) is probably my favourite sort of cooking.

Brownies are basically one of the most awesome inventions on the planet, and I decided I would whip some up today, using some of the lush ingredients I bought at Black Pearl!  These brownies are super easy, and even more importantly, insanely chocolatey and delicious.

Super Awesome Brownies

125g unsalted butter
1 cup cocoa powder (I used Valrhona dutch processed cocoa from Black Pearl)
1 1/2 cups castor sugar
1tsp vanilla essence (I used Black Pearl's vanilla essence, so vanillary!!)
2 eggs
1 cup plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips (I used Callebaut 54% couverture chocolate from Black Pearl, you could use white choc bits or a mix, or whatever you want, you could also add some chopped nuts if you feel inclined).

Pre-heat your over to 170 degrees C.  Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat - once melted, stir in the sugar, cocoa, and vanilla essence.  Transfer to a mixing bowl and allow to cool a little.  Whisk in the eggs, then sift in the flour and baking powder and mix until combined.  Mix through the chocolate chips, and spoon into a greased slab tin, I used a square silicon cake tin about 20cm x 20cm.  Bake for approx 25 mins - it should still be a bit soft when you take it out of the oven, but the top will be delightfully crusty and shiny.  You want some serious goo-factor in the middle, unless you're INSANE, in which case you can probably continue baking for a further 5-10 minutes (but seriously, why would you??).

Cool in the tin and it should firm up a little, then cut it up and scarf it down!  It's ridiculously rich, so small pieces are the way to go! Enjoy!!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Kim Thanh Restaurant is 24!

I was so lucky to attend the 24th birthday celebrations of Kim Thanh Restaurant in West End on Monday. A twitter pal of mine is Bao, who is training in the kitchen of his mum's restaurant, and doing a pretty good job indeed if Monday night is anything to go by!

Bao's Tasting Menu

Nem Nuong Cuon Cham Tuong Hue (grilled pork ricepaper rolls with Hue dipping sauce)

Goi Ngo Tom Thit (pickled lotus stem salad with prawns and pork belly)

Mi Vit Tiem (master stock cooked duck with egg noodles in Chinese herbal broth)

Bo Luc Lac (wok tossed black angus with Dalat salad and tomato rice)

Dua Nuong Trai Vai Ca Rem (toasted coconut and lychee icecream)

It was all so good! I have trouble picking a favourite, but the duck soup was out of this world, sweet yet savoury at the same time, I've never had anything like it before (generally being scared to order anything 'herbal') so it was great to try it and I'd definitely love to have it again, and again! The icecream was also out of this world, served with crumbled up coconut snap cookies (which taste very similar to fortune cookies, HELLO!!) it was creamy and delicious and I finished it all despite having trouble fitting it in.

All in all an awesome night, spent with great people, and it was really nice to be part of such a special celebration! Thanks again Bao for the invite!!

Kim Thanh Restaurant
93 Hardgrave Road
West End

Monday, 15 November 2010

gotta bake a cake for my partner's father's 60th.... desire to bake is strangely non-existent.  Need inspiration... help?

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Sourdough is not a pizza cake

I am so rubbish at witty and/or pun-tastic blog titles.  But I am good at showing up on time for awesome bread and pizza making classes @ awesome bakeries such as Brewbakers at Albion!

On Tuesday night I had the pleasure of attending a very informative and delicious class and learnt all about sourdough, stretching pizza dough, and the skills involved in rolling a bagel.

Richard from Brewbakers filled us up with wine and explained the science behind baking (or maths? So many percentages, brain could not compute) sourdough and the other delicious breads and things he churns out regularly.

We got to play with our own soft smooshy lump of pizza dough, and smother it with delicious ingredients which he then baked for us, and I have to say was one of the most delicious pizzas I've ever eaten.

I discovered that I posses the seriously cool ability to eyeball a giant lump of dough and precisely cut off 400g in one go (?!? missed my calling??) which became a delicious crunchy ciabatta that didn't even last the night in our house. Before:


The ugly duckling has become a delicious swan!!

Best part of the night (besides the maths) was eating the spoils. You don't even need to be a culinary genius like me to sample similar delicious treats, just visit Brewbakers (337 Sandgate Road, Albion) and stock up. I've heard the sourdough donuts are to die for. They're definitely on my list to try once I recover from this carb induced coma.

Friday, 8 October 2010

That's a club I wanna be in!

One of my favourite foods on earth is malaysian. If I could have my way, I'd move to malaysia truly asia (MTA) in a heartbeat. I love a good curry laksa like I love fluffy little ducklings. Coincidentally, I had duck laksa for dinner on Friday night!

I met my partner, Kim the Koolman (he made that up, not me!) after work on Friday for a spot of light retail therapy (I got new sunnies, ILU dj's sale) and then some dinner. KK is rubbish at making serious decisions like where we should eat, so I decided on Satay Club in Charlotte street. Fast service, delicious food, cheap price.

Since it was fairly early evening, we didn't bother with starters, but if you do, the satay is awesome! Diving right in to the mains, KK chose the duck special dry noodles (another firm fav of mine) and I ordered my laksa 'medium' having been ballsy enough to order it 'hot' in the past and barely surviving to tell the tail. They let you choose the noodles for your laksa and I opted for rice vermicelli.

Food arrived about 5 mins later along with a pot of tea we also ordered. IDK what sort of tea it is, but I become obsessed with looking in the teapot every time we go there. It has these flowers in it! Maybe next time I'll ask.

My laksa was, as always, very delicious! Lots of plumb juicy duck with crispy skin and NO BONES. My only complaint would be that it wasn't very spicy, but I choose less spicy over too spicy.

KK's dry noodles were also quite delicious (I snaffled some). He is a big eater but couldn't finish them off. He said they were a bit oily this time which he didn't really like.

2 meals and tea for two cost something ridiculous like $24. Told you it's cheap! Serves are huge and food is quite authentic. We followed dinner with a Japanese cupcake from my fav Japanese bakery 2-in-1 at Post Office Square (pre purchased before dinner). So fluffy and delicious!! The cake had a slight orange flavour and a fluffy creme pattisiere filling. Yum!

Satay Club
Charlotte St

2-in-1 Japanese Bakery
Post Office Square (outside next to Coffee Club)

Monday, 27 September 2010

You don't win friends with salad

Another day, another lunch rant. Once again forgetting to bring my lunch, I was forced to venture out into the wastelands of south bris for something to munch on. Again, restricted to a 30 minute window, I couldn't make it down to west end markets for a trusty chicken kebab.

So, what will it be today? Another overpriced foccacia? A potentially salmonella-ridden chicken sandwich from a not to be named dodgy local cafe? A chikko roll from the paul's canteen?? No, no - a salad from Oliver and Co, some deli come providore come cafe thing down and across the road from my office.

I opt for the 'medium' sized salad which gives me the option of 3 different salads from the soggy selection of about 6 salads on display. I thought to myself "what looks most edible??" it was a tough call, but I eventually decided on the mushroom pasta salad, and the green bean and roasted cherry tomato salad. Said salads set me back a whopping $8.90 which seemed a bit rich for the size, compared to design your own salad sort of places in the city.

But I digress. I took my salad back to my office and proceeded to wolf it down. The mushroom pasta salad was actually really delicious! The only slight was the addition of very gritty black cloud ear fungus. Do not want in pasta salad thanks. Save that one for a stirfry or something, thanks Oliver. The swiss brown, button, and enoki mushrooms were all good though. And the pasta was nice and al dente. The dressing was quite zingy and fresh. Yep, that mushroom pasta salad went all right!

The green bean salad was a bit of a different story. Drenched in oil and soggy tomato gizzards, it was not a pleasure on the tastebuds at all. After 1 mouthful, I had a gross oily coating throughout my mouth. I don't know what the story was, but when I eat salad, I like to at least -pretend- it is healthy. 3 litres of cacky oil and a few beans and soggy tomatoes does not meet this criteria. Do not recommend this salad.

Did I think this lunch was delicious? I give it 5 out of 10, because the pasta salad was pretty good but the beans SUCKED, and I usually love beans.

Do I think this lunch represents good value for money? Nuh. It's pretty typical for south brisbane, but it's still a bit of a rip.

Will I get lunch from Oliver and Co again? Maybe, if I'm really hungry and feeling cashed up. I'm actually keen to try their yoghurt which I've heard is pretty good, but yoghurt is more of a breakfast time food.

Oliver and Co
108 Melbourne St
South Brisbane

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Zen, and the art of finding an affordable lunch in South Brisbane.

Until I couple of months ago I was a city girl. I loved working smack bang in the middle of the cbd because I could always get something cheap and delicious for lunch, aka I never had to make lunch. In July, I moved offices to South Brisbane... and not even a good part of South Brisbane, I am in the middle of nowhere, it's a good 15-20 minute walk to southbank! I have been bringing my lunch to work, which is ok, because it's usually leftovers and I'm a pretty rad cook (high self esteem, isn't it), but sometimes I forget to bring it, or don't make enough for left overs, or can't be bothered making a sandwich or salad to take. I hate frozen meals, so I have to venture out and find something to eat, and this is usually punishing on the wallet.

On Thursday I forgot my lunch, and had a strict 30 minute timeframe to fit it into, so had to venture not far from work to get something (or get a packet of 2 minute noodles from the vending machine, but they only had the 99% fat free ones, yeurgh). I decided to hit up Raw Space Cafe which is only about a 5 minute walk from my office. After perusing their display cabinet of overpriced sandwiches and limp looking salads I decided on a Chicken Turkish, toasted. $8.50! Seemed like a bit of a jip compared to the awesome sandwich place near my old office where I could get basically the fanciest sandwich every for $5. Anyhoo, I was given this blue buzzer which started beeping, flashing, and vibrating madly after the 12 minutes it took to toast my fricking sandwich, and it was already made up, so I don't know why it took so long.

After what seemed like an eternity (but as mentioned above was only in fact 12 minutes) it was ready to go! I grabbed it and hot footed it back to my office to scarf it down in 8 minutes.

Ooooh brown paper bag, totally worth the exxy price.

The filling included some actually really tasty chicken, baby spinach, some kind of melty cheese, and some tomato-y pesto-y tapenade-y stuff. It was a really tasty sandwich, but it wasn't very big and I was still hungry after I woofed it down so quickly. I think I probably would have been satisfied if it was 2 bites bigger. I like to measure my food in bites.

So, at $8.50, bit of a rip off I reckon. Not that I should be complaining because it's certainly not the biggest lunch ripoff scam around my woods! Friday's lunch was an even bigger jip, but that's a whole other blog post.

I also occasionally get a coffee from here, and it's passable. Except for the time they gave me soy milk (WTF???) and for that I punished them by not buying coffee there for 3 weeks. I'm sure they were very concerned.

Raw Space Cafe
99 Melbourne Street
South Brisbane
(it's also a gallery)