Thursday, 21 June 2012

lovely treats

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream cheese icing <3
Moist, slightly bitter with that essential, hint of vinegar making a beautiful lovely sweet treat!

I have created their red velvet cupcakes.
I searched the internet for a recipe that was simple and didn't require too much effort. 
Where else than a place where they find baking, joyful?

  • 1 1/4 cups (125 grams) sifted cakeflour (from any Coles)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoons (10 grams) regular or Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cups (150 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon liquid red food coloring
  • 1/2 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Cream cheese frosting

  • 227 grams cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) icing sugar, sifted (I added probably 1 cup)
  • 2/3 cup (160 ml) cold heavy whipping cream(double cream) (35-40% butterfat) (Low fat just won't cut it!!!)

  1. Preheat oven to 175*C and line 12 muffins tins with cupcake liners
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder
  3. In a separate bowl (for electric mixer or mix master) beat the butter until soft (~2mins)
  4. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes)
  5. Add the egg and beat until incorporated
  6. Add vanilla extract
  7. In a measuring jug - fill buttermilk to 1/2 a cup. Add red food colouring and mix through.
  8. In 3 additions, add the flour mixture (from the large bowl) and buttermilk mixture alternately. Start and finish with the flour mixture.
  9. In a small cup, combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter
To get really perfectly even cupcakes, you can use a ice-cream scoop and quickly scoop batter into the muffin tins.

Bake for approximately 18-23 minutes, or until when you poke a toothpick in and pull it out, its clean!!!

Let the cakes cool.

For the icing
Beat cream cheese with electric mixer until smooth. 
Add vanilla extract and icing sugar and beat till smooth.
Using a whist, gradually add the double creak and whip until frosting is thick enough to pipe (will hold its shape).
Add more sugar to get consistency and flavour! Place icing into piping bag, using the crown-like attachment nozzle thing (clearly i know my stuff.. pfft) and pipe away! Its the prettiest icing and makes an easy recipe look fancy!!!

Enjoy! <3 

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Lemongrass beef stir fry

Thai style lemongrass beef stir fry - Serves 4
Fragrant and light, with hints of kaffir lime
Best served with Jasmine rice and crisp iceberg lettuce

Preparation time 15-20 minutes
Cooking time 10 minutes

~10cm lemongrass, finely chopped
~2cm x 1 cm ginger - finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic crushed
2 birds eye chillies (Adjust to taste)
4-6 kaffir lime leaves - chopped roughly
1/2 juice from lime
Zest from 1/2 lime
2 tablespoons fish sauce 
(If you think you were a little overzealous with the fish sauce, you can save it with a bit of water to dilute)
1/2 cube palm sugar, grated
~1-2 tablespoons canola oil to coat the beef and marinate
400g beef stir fry strips/scotch fillet 
Salt and pepper

  1. Chop up lemongrass, ginger, garlic, chillies and kaffir lime leaves - add to bowl. 
  2. Add beef and mix through with the lime juice, zest, oil, and fish sauce. If you think you were a little overzealous with the fish sauce, add some water to dilute. Grate some palm sugar over the top.
  3. Set aside for at least 30 minutes at room temperature
  4. To achieve that chargrilled flavour - cook on non-stick fry pan with no oil. Line beef across pan, one layer and turn beef as cooks and achieves that crispy, dark colour. You may need to do batches, depending on the size of your pan.
To add some crunch - you can get some iceberg lettuce leaves and wrap the rice or rice vermicelli and beef in a roll - like a rice paper roll! :)

Alternatively you can chop up the lettuce and serve salad like - with rice vermicelli instead of rice.

Enjoy x

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Noble Monks

Homemade toasted granola with rhubarb compote and poached pears
Bargain $7! I think it was missing the greek style yoghurt which would have definitely hit the spot!
Coffee is amazing! But of course it would be, pretty sure its supplied by the best in town!!

In regional country towns you can be lucky to get just a good Thai restaurant.
Shepparton is lucky to to boast a few good cafes and restaurants, but sadly the variety is limited.
So when something new comes to town, we're on it like bees to honey.

Noble Monks is locally owned and brings a Melbourne-like vibe to town.
Within the last week I have had the luxury of being able to go for brunch, dinner and drinks.
The walls are bare, red brick with a bike, moose head and a couple of posters that line the walls.
The ceilings are high, and there is a tree in the centre of one of the tables. (yes thats right, a real, live tree, the concept is good, but can be impractical when trying to talk across the table).
Apart from the bar stools and benches, there are some comfy recliners to chill out for Friday night drinks and black leather couches to sit around and share finger food.
Service is pub style, order at the bar kinda thing. Meals are fairly cheap, around the $15-25 mark and a fairly good range of beer, wine and spirits.
Overall, I was fairly impressed with the food. Finally portion sizes that are appropriate.
You don't feel overfull, just right.
Flavours are good and food is cooked just right.
I think this place is still finding its niche, "Am I a bar, Am I a tapas bar, Am I for brunch..."

Definitely worth the visit and worth waiting to find out what type of establishment this place finds itself.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Dead Man Espresso

Finally... the weekend has arrived and this girl needs to debrief, unwind and just forget the week just gone. What better way to start the day with the most important and favourite meal of the day!
Time to meet...
A little cafe in the back streets of South Melbourne (and i think potentially around the corner from an up class brothel? But that story is for another time).
This place is packed out, inside, outside and on the street. (So definitely book!)
The verandah has bar stools and a couple of little stainless steel tables, under scrumptiously warm heaters!
The coffee is a mixture of african blends and looks like it is changed regularly.

Potato rosti with poached egg, avocado and smoked salmon ~$17
A twist on your brekkie hash brown, this fried baby has got the goodness of potato and i think some chives too! The drizzle of pesto just ties it all together! 
It was the perfect size to fill me up and satisfied!

Pretty soy cap - so creamy and velvety. What I wish all cappuccino's should be...

Definitely worth coming back at lunch, for a beer and some more rustic food!