Sunday, November 29, 2009


In my opinion, this dessert is fuss-free which requires no baking and it's simple to whip up with short notice. I've always been partial to Tiramisu until I tried the one made by my aunt. I was hooked ever since.

Recipe adapted from Almost Bourdain.

Ingredients: (Makes 8)
  • 2 tsp of strong instant coffee powder
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • 1/3 cup of Kahlua (can be substituted with Frangelico, Marsala or Baileys)
  • 75g brown sugar + 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 250g Mascarpone cheese
  • 300mL thickened cream
  • 250g packet sponge fingers
  • Cocoa powder, for dusting
  1. Mix 2 tbsp of sugar with coffee powder, water and Kahlua until everything dissolves.
  2. Combine eggs and remaining sugar in electric mixer and whisk until thick and light. The mixture should be thick enough to leave a trail on the surface.
  3. Put the Mascarpone cheese into a large bowl. Stir in a little of the egg mixture. Fold in the remaining egg mixture. Fold in the thickened cream.
  4. Cut the sponge fingers to fit the size of the base of the wine glass.
  5. Line the bottom of the glass with a layer of sponge fingers. Drizzle the coffee and Kahlua mixture over the sponge fingers.
  6. Sprinkle over a thick layer of chocolate, then spoon Mascarpone mixture on top (3-4 tbsp, enough to cover the sponge fingers). Level the surface.
  7. Repeat the layers until it reaches the top of glass.
  8. Decorate with the remaining chocolate. Cover and chill for 4 hours.

A simple dessert that oozes class. :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sparrow, Adelaide

I am awfully blessed to have friends who love eating as much as I do and are willing to join me in having a nice meal occasionally. Eating good food makes me happy. :)

On the numerous occasions we've passed by this place, it always seems to be packed and I've read some pretty good reviews about it so it's about time we gave it a try. The food did take a while to arrive but because it was a weekend and the place was packed, it is understandable.

Ocean Trout with Mandarin Jelly and Sliced Carrots

The trout was really fresh and when paired with the mandarin jelly, it felt like everything was melting in the mouth. The flower petal is actually dehydrated sliced carrot. A delicate touch to the dish and it turned out beautiful.

BBQ Rabbit Pizza

The house made barbecue sauce paired wonderfully with the smoked rabbit and with dollops of fontina cheese. The pizza crust was wonderfully crisp (just the way I like it). We wished that they would have been more generous with the portion of rabbit meat though because we kept wanting more.

Braised Duck Breast, Confit Duck Leg with Speck and Lentils

The meat from the duck leg fell off the bone beautifully and the duck breast was perfectly cooked to medium rare. The duck was so juicy and tender. In my opinion, although the lentils were nice, it didn't really complement the taste of the duck. However, I'll be glad to polish more of the duck!

Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Cheese and Celery Leaf

This dish was very rich and cheesy. Probably something I couldn't take if I had the whole dish to myself. The sauce was delightfully thick and creamy and the gnocchi was so fluffy and soft that it felt like a piece of cloud in the mouth. Slightly more celery leaves could have helped with the slight saltiness of the sauce.

Ginger Macaroon with Ginger Sorbet and Lemon Curd

I loved the macaroon! It was slight crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. The ginger sorbet was particularly refreshing and the lemon curd went really well with the other two elements.

Roasted Loquats with Orange and Thyme Ice Cream and Madeleines

Loquats were something new to me and the lady mentioned that it belongs to the same family to the apricots. I liked the way the loquats were roasted and how it provided some acidity and zesty, tangy taste to the tongue. All three elements provided different textures and flavours.

Service was not too bad seeing the overwhelming number of customers and waitress did help out with our selection of food which we're pretty happy about. Will I be back? You betcha. ;)

Sparrow Kitchen and Bar

10 O'Connell Street
North Adelaide 5006 SA
Phone: (08) 8267 2444

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chicken Curry Buns

Quinn is an excellent baker and I was really honoured when she offered to teach me how to make my very first batch of Asian buns using the infamous water roux starter otherwise known as 65°C Tang Zhong.

Seeing that it's my first time attempting to make buns, I'm pretty proud with the outcome and I'm surprised my arms didn't ache from all that kneading.

Thanks so much for the lessons Quinn!

Ingredients: (Makes approximately 11 small buns)

i) Water Roux (Tang Zhong) Starter:
  • 25g bread flour or high protein flour
  • 1/2 cup of water
Tang Zhong is one part of bread flour or high-protein flour to 5 parts of room temperature water, measured by weight. It is cooked until it reaches 65°C and cooled before added into any bread recipes.

Breads with Tang Zhong incorporated in it are softer and remain softer for a longer period without any bread softener added to it. It is the gelatinization of starch in bread flour that causes this when the mixture of bread flour and water is heated until it reaches 65°C. Starch gelatinization helps absorb more water to provide the soft and elastic texture bread. It's all about the chemical reaction, baby! ;)

ii) Bread dough:
  • 195g bread flour
  • 90g cake flour
  • 1.5 tsp instant yeast (6g)
  • 1 tsp salt (6g)
  • 2 tbsp heaped castor sugar (30g)
  • 1.5 tsp heaped milk powder (12g)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 75g Tang Zhong or water roux starter
iii) Filling:
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp curry powder, mixed with 3 tbsp water
  • 1 big onion, diced
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 200g chicken meat, cubed
  • 2 boiled potatoes, cubed
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp water
iv) Glaze:
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 tsp of salt
  1. To make Tang Zhong or water roux starter, whisk the bread flour with water in a small pot until well combined.
  2. Using low to medium heat, cook, stirring often until the mixture turns white, starchy or when it reaches 65°C.
  3. For those without a thermometer like me, draw the figure 8 using a whisk. It is ready when it leaves a trail on the surface.
  4. Remove Tang Zhong to a small bowl and cover it with cling wrap touching the surface to prevent skin formation.
  5. This could be kept up to 3 days in the fridge before it turns greyish.
  6. To make the dough, combine bread flour, cake clour, instant yeast, salt, sugar and milk powder in a large bowl and mix well.
  7. Combine egg, water and Tang Zhong starter in a smaller bowl and mix well.
  8. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk until it's no longer whisk-able then transfer onto a clean surface and knead the dough for a minimum of 20 minutes to develop the gluten.
  9. Once it forms a smooth mixture, add in 45g softened unsalted butter and knead till a smooth glossy, satiny ball of dough is formed. Add bread flour only if necessary and very sticky.
  10. Smooth out dough and place ball of dough, seams side down in a lightly greased bowl. Cling wrap it and let it rise until double in size which takes about 30-45 minutes depending on weather and climate.
  11. While waiting for the dough to proof, prepare the filling. Stir fry curry powder mixture, onion and curry leaves in oil until fragrant.
  12. Add in chicken, potatoes, chicken bouillon powder, salt and water and continue stir frying until dry.
  13. Once the dough doubles in size, punch out all air bubbles from dough with your fist and knead it briefly. Weigh each portion of dough to approximately 50g.
  14. Wrap up with the curry chicken filling and seal the seams well to prevent leakage.Very loosely wrap a strip of pandan leaf across the centre of the oblong shaped bun.
  15. Place it on a greased tray. Repeat with remaining buns. Leave it for second proofing and allow it to double in size again.
  16. When size doubles, bake it in a preheated oven at 200°C for 15mins.

Thanks to the Tang Zhong starter, the buns remained soft and fluffy for the next few days. That's the way I like my buns! Thanks for the amazing experience again Quinn!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cotton Soft Japanese Souffle Cheesecake

Cheesecakes are one of my weaknesses. Especially baked ones. This time, however, instead of the sinfully and luxuriously rich baked American style cheesecakes, I opted for a lighter, softer version of cheesecake which is the Japanese Cheesecake otherwise known as Souffle Cheesecake.

Recipe adapted from Diana's Desserts.

Ingredients: (Makes a 9 inch cake)
  • 140g castor sugar
  • 6 egg whites
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 50g butter
  • 250g Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 100mL milk
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 55g plain flour, sifted
  • 20g corn flour, sifted
  1. Melt cream cheese, milk and butter over a double boiler. Allow to cool. Fold in the plain flour, corn flour, egg yolks, lemon juice and vanilla extract until well incorporated.
  2. Whisk egg whites with sugar until soft peaks form.
  3. Fold the egg whites into the cream cheese mixture. Pour into a 9 inch round cake pan.
  4. Bake cheesecake in water bath for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until set and golden brown at 160°C.
  5. Allow to cool in oven with oven slightly ajar to prevent surface cracking.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Baked Turkey Drumsticks

Turkey drumsticks are usually sold quite cheap in the supermarket and I managed to get an even better deal by grabbing hold of 2 large drumsticks for less than $3! Talk about a good bargain.

I've never cooked using turkey before and numerous sources have told me that turkey meat can be quite dry and tough but Google is gold when it comes to finding out about baking times and temperature for turkey drumsticks. The meat was tender and just cooked. No such thing about being dry or tough. :D

It reminds me of the famous 'Siew Ngap' or roasted duck I used to get from Petaling Street back in KL. Yum! Double thumbs up.

Ingredients: (Serves 4)
  • 2 turkey drumsticks (can be replaced with 8 chicken drumsticks or wings)
  • 1/4 cup of soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp black pepper (I would use only 1/2 tbsp next time)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  1. Marinade the drumsticks with all of the ingredients above in a large bowl overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 160°C. Place the drumsticks on a baking tray lined with aluminium foil.
  3. Bake the drumsticks for 2 hours to 2 1/4 hours, remembering to flip the drumsticks once.
  4. Drain the marinade and slice the turkey for serving. (I chose not to reserve the marinade because it is too salty unless you're eating it with rice)

*Note: The baking time has been suited for baking turkey drumsticks, if substituting turkey drumsticks, baking temperature and time should vary.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Chicken Corn Soup

Corn was never a favourite of mine as a child but as I grew up, I've allowed my taste buds to step into different territories and now there's almost nothing I don't eat except maybe perhaps for cilantro or coriander. I'm just not a fan of its' strong taste.

Anyway, here is a quick, simple and hearty soup in less than 10 minutes.

Chicken Corn Soup

Ingredients: (Serves 4)
  • 1L of water
  • 400g can of creamed corn
  • 6 tsp of chicken bouillon powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  1. Bring the water with added chicken bouillon powder and the can of creamed corn to a boil.
  2. Lower the heat to allow the contents to simmer for a minute or two.
  3. Gently pour in the beaten eggs slowly.
  4. Turn off the fire immediately and serve.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Max Brenner, Melbourne

You can't possibly go to Melbourne and not try out their famous chocolate cafes, right? Sure, we have Cocolat and Bracegirdle's at Adelaide but come on, it's Melbourne!

Food is supposed to taste better! The air is supposed to smell fresher! The toilets are supposed to be cleaner! LOL. Ok, I'm biased like that. :P

Latte. Average. Not the smoothest I've tasted but very much forgiven since I'm guessing coffee isn't their forte but rather chocolate.

Their signature hot chocolate in a hug mug. My sister requested for the milk chocolate and it was everything you had hoped for in a hot chocolate: milky, creamy, smooth and most of all: chocolate-y! :D

Belgian waffles! YUM! The drizzled chocolate is smooth and packed with richness of the chocolate. When the warm waffles were mixed with the cold ice cream, it created such an amazing feat for my taste buds. Beats the belgian waffles I had at Theobroma hands down.

Warning: For peanut butter lovers only

OH MY! OH MY! Their Peanut Butter Iced Chockie Frappe... Imagine Reese Peanut Butter Cups melted into one tall glass of frappe. Mmmm.... Freaking awesome! My sister laughed when she saw the way my face lit up and had the orgasmic look after having my first sip. I thought the peanut butter frappe at Bracegirdle's, Adelaide was good but apparently, I haven't tasted anything yet. I feel like having this drink everyday for the rest of my life. Does that say something?

Max Brenner
25-27 Red Cape Lane,
Level 2, QV Square,
210 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: (03) 9663 6000

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Quiche Lorraine

I have this thing for meat pies and quiches. There's just something very comforting about biting into pastry and allowing the savoury and pastry bits dance in your mouth and entice your taste buds.

Quiche Lorraine

Adapted from The Big Book of Baking.

Ingredients: (Serves 4)

Shortcrust Pastry:
  • 1 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 100g cold butter, cubed finely
  • 4-5 tbsp cold water
  • 15g butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 lean streaky bacon rashers, diced
  • 55g of cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 300mL cream
  • pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. For the pastry, sift the flour into a bowl and rub the butter with only your fingertips* until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Alternatively, process it in a food processor until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Stir in just enough water to bind the mixture to a firm dough. Roll the dough into a ball, place in cling wrap and chill it in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes to allow the pastry to rest and prevent shrinkage.
  4. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a round slightly larger than a 9' tart tin. Lift the pastry onto the tin and press it down into the fluted edge. Trim off excess pastry.
  5. Prick the base all over with a fork and place a sheet of baking paper in the pastry-lined tin and fill with baking beans/rice to weigh it down*.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 10 minutes. This process is called blind baking.
  7. For the filling, melt the butter in a frying pan and cook the onion and bacon over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and lightly browned.
  8. Spread the mixture evenly in the hot pastry case and sprinkle with half the cheese. Beat together the eggs and cream in a small bowl and season to taste with pepper.
  9. Pour into the pastry case and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  10. Reduce the oven temperature to 190°C. Place the quiche in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and just set. Cool for 10 minutes before turning out.

Before blind baking.

Out of oven.

* Notes:

- The fingertips are the coolest part of your hands. Using your palm will cause the butter to melt which will alter the texture of the pastry. You want everything to be as cold as possible to result in a short, crispy pastry.

- Blind baking is a method to prevent soggy crust and bottom especially putting in wet ingredients therefore the pastry is baked beforehand. Beans/Rice is used to prevent the pastry from puffing up during blind baking. Be sure to put sufficient beans to press against the sides as the sides may also puff up.

Definitely something I would remake over and over again. After all, you know it's pretty good when you receive thumbs of approval from your family. ;)
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