Archive for month: August, 2010

Daring Bakers’ Challenge, August – Baked Alaska with Brown Butter Pound Cake

31 Aug
August 31, 2010

BA1 The August 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Elissa of 17 and Baking. For the first time, The Daring Bakers partnered with Sugar High Fridays for a co-event and Elissa was the gracious hostess of both. Using the theme of beurre noisette, or browned butter, Elissa chose to challenge Daring Bakers to make a pound cake to be used in either a Baked Alaska or in Ice Cream Petit Fours. The sources for Elissa’s challenge were Gourmet magazine and David Lebovitz’s “The Perfect Scoop”.

Thanks for the challenge Elissa!  This was a fun one and a couple of firsts for me.

Every since I received my ice cream makers from Mum & Dad for Christmas a few years back, Mac has asked me to make chocolate ice cream.  Sadly slack me has made all types of ice cream but not chocolate, always seemed a dull option when I could play with savoury sorbets and funky flavours like hot cross bun.  The decision was an easy one for the ice cream in the baked Alaska, rich decadent chocolate ice cream.  Oh how good did it turn out!!!  Ohhhhh My God why haven’t I made it before?

I was excited about using beurre noisette.  One of the first recipes I made in home economics at school was burnt butter biscuits.  I love using it with fish with lemon and pine nuts or sage, but I have never made a pound cake using it.
The whole process was quite fun, browning the butter and then letting it solidify again in order to cream it with the sugar.  You ended up with a rich, nutty, dense pound cake, I will be making this again just to have with a cup of tea.

I am no stranger to the good ol baked Alaska, I have made them numerous times and sadly with more success than what I had with these ones.

I am use to baking them not using a blow torch to brown the outside of the meringue.  I love having that crispy meringue shell to crack through to reach the still solid ice cream inside.  Actually as a child my mother amazed me at this wonderful delight, how can you put ice cream in the oven and it stays cold and solid?  Was something I introduced to junior at an early age as well.

Brown Butter Pound Cake

275g butter
2c plain flour
1t powder
1/2t salt
1/2c packed light brown sugar
1/3c caster sugar
4 large eggs
1/2t pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C and put a rack in the centre. Butter and flour a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan.

Place the butter in a 10” (25cm) skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes (I left it overnight).

Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.

Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and rap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert right-side-up onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

I didn’t use Elissa’s ice cream recipe (looks delicious though),the vanilla ice cream recipe is available here.

Ultra Rich Chocolate Ice Cream

1 1/2c cream
1/2c milk
1/4c sugar
100g dark chocolate, chopped
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2t vanilla essence

Place cream, milk, sugar and chocolate in to the top of a double boiler or a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Stir over medium heat until chocolate has melted and sugar dissolved.

Cool slightly and then whisk in egg yolks and essence.

Cool the custard mixture completely.  I tend to make it the day before and place it in the fridge so it is completely chilled.

Pour custard in to your ice cream maker and allow to churn until done.

Once churned place in a container in the freeze until needed.

Sara’s notes: As I was making individual square baked Alaskas I placed the ice cream in to a rectangular container, lined with cling wrap, to freeze.  This was then unmoulded and cut to the desired shapes.
Cake was cut the same size as the ice cream squares.  Ice cream placed on top and then covered with meringue.

I went to use my normal method of baking, but the meringue started to fall from the corners of one.  I whipped them out of the oven and finished them via the blow torch.  The meringue had crisped while it was in the oven so not all was lost.
These baked Alaskas were very very rich but completely delicious.

Sara xxx


Belgian Beer Cafe – Heritage, The Rocks

26 Aug
August 26, 2010

I love mussels, and surprisingly they are a relatively new thing for me, I have really only started to eat them over the past 4 years.  I found generally they were a very unappetising part of a seafood platter, chewy and pretty unimpressive, so didn’t venture further.  Then I happened to try some that were offered as a canapé on the half shell with a chilli sauce, yum, now they were alright.  That then brings me to around three years ago when I visited a Belgian pub in Auckland and had a pot of mussels, that was it, they had me, hook, line and sinker.  Simply served in a wine sauce with chips and mayo on the side. Read more →

Happy Blog Award

20 Aug
August 20, 2010

Back at the beginning of August I received an email from the gorgeous Mademoiselle Délicieuse of Spoon, Fork & Chopsticks letting me know that she had bestowed the Happy Blog Award on me.

That made me happy and smile, thank you MD :)

When I started Belly Rumbles It was really for me, I didn’t think for one second that people would actually enjoy reading about my disasters, experiments, places I visit, successes, let alone that reading my blog would make them happy.

I must admit that Belly Rumbles does make me happy, it is my place, a place where I enjoy sharing with people and I hope they enjoy what they read.

As this is a food blog I thought I would share some food that bring an instant smile to my face and make me happy;

  • Piragi
  • Pork Belly with Crispy Crackling
  • Peking Duck Pancakes
  • Mussels with Saffron Mayonnaise & Crusty Bread
  • Warm Fresh Bread
  • Cheese on a Stick & Lemonade
  • Schweinshaxn with Sauerkraut & Spätzle
  • Oysters & a Glass of Sauvignon Blanc
  • Cherries
  • Japanese Rice Crackers
  • Trying something for the first time

Now for some food blogs that make me smile when I read them.  If MD had not given me the award Spoon, Fork & Chopsticks would have been first on my list :)

Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)
A Cup Cake or Two
Yaya’s Yum Yums
The Cake Mistress
The French Wench

Sara xxx

Guilty Pleasure #1 – DJ’s Oyster Bar

18 Aug
August 18, 2010

OB1I have decided I am going to share with you some of my guilty pleasures.  Non food ones are none of your business ;p

I have frequented David Jones’ Oyster Bar for about 23 years.  Oh wow, just had a thought, some of my readers would of still have been in nappies, LOL, yes I am an old fart.
OB2I was quite distraught when the Food Hall had renovations years ago…. would they keep the Oyster Bar?  They did, thank goodness!

I was introduced to the Oyster Bar by my parents.  Then it became something I did with my mum when we would be in town or she would meet me for lunch while I was working.  As Junior got older and started to appreciate oysters, it was an “us” thing when having to shop in town.  It is also a girlfriend lunch thing.OB4
My favourite visits to DJ’s Oyster Bar are a ‘”me” thing.

I love oysters, adore them, I think life without them would be a travesty.  Give me natural, mornay, kilpatrick, deep fried, in a shot or any other combination you want to thrust in my direction, I LOVE OYSTERS.  Though I do believe only completely appreciated natural.  My preference is for Sydney Rocks from Southern NSW.

The oysters at the Oyster Bar are not the best oysters in Sydney (The Boat House @ Blackwattle Bay …… drool) but they are consistently excellent quality and quick.  OB6
I tend to order either natural or a mixture of natural, mornay and kilpatrick.  With this comes a bread roll and salad to munch on while your oysters are being prepared.  Top that off with a nice glass of sauvignon blanc, and yep a guilty pleasure all to my own.OB5

Oyster Bar - David Jones on Urbanspoon

Wenger Forged Knives Calabrian Masterclass

18 Aug
August 18, 2010

Was lovely to receive an invitation by the gorgeous Sian of Mark Comms to attend a Calabrian cooking masterclass showcasing Wenger Knives and dinner afterwards.

I will be honest I had not heard of Wenger knives before, and having a slight passion for knives wanted to learn more.

Most people have a knife block, I have a knife draw.  In that you will find my main chefs’ knife, German, heavy has no name and is about 20 years old, I love that knife.  You will also find knives that were owned by my grandmother which have sentimental value to me.  A massive Chinese clever that sends Junior running from the kitchen every time I get it out.  Plus an assortment of other knives, some rarely used, generally picked up travelling when a knife is needed. Typing that it has now occurred to me I probably should get rid of a few.  As well as sharpening stones and steel.

The masterclass was held at Carrick Institute of Education by Antonio Ruggerino, head chef and owner of Verde.
_MG01985Arriving it was nice to see and catch up with a few fellow food bloggers over a glass of wine, to meet the people from Wenger and have a chat about their knives.

After some mingling we were ushered in to the cooking class kitchen and introduced to Antonio and the other chef of the evening David.  The class was both hands on as well as look and learn.  We were shown how to make our entree of the evening, Calabrian mussels, and given tips and techniques on how to dice, chop, slice and basically how we should all be using a knife.  Then we were let loose at our station with the Wenger knives to make this very easy, but extremely tasty recipe.
W5I like a heavy knife and the chefs’ knife that I was using was wonderfully balanced and had just the right amount of weight.  I was slicing and dicing like a pro.  I was also chuffed when both Antonio and David commented on my excellent knife skills, go me!!
W4Once mussel entrees were made we ate them at our stations, they tasted soooo good!!  I got a little messy scoffing mussels and dipping bread in to the sauce.
W2Once mussels scoffed we were given a run down on how to make osso bucco which would be our main that evening.  Obviously due to time restraints  the osso bucco was prepared earlier.
W3After our little cooking class it was back out of the kitchen to enjoy a three course meal of deep fried stuffed zucchini flower for entree, osso bucco with mash potato for our main and limóncello panna cotta and crisp almond biscotti for dessert.
It was a great evening to introduce us to both the cooking classes and Wenger knives.  We also walked away with a little goody bag which included a chef and paring knife.

To find out more about the Wenger range have a look at their website, they also manufacture some wonderful watches.

Antonio runs Calabrian cooking classes at Carrick on a regular basis.  To check them out have a look his website or alternatively drop by Verde and enjoy some of his cooking.
If you are interested in the mussel recipe, you should be they are awesome, head over to The Heart of Food, for an adapted recipe by Simon.

I have been using my Wenger Chef knife at home a little more than my beloved German one, so that says something.  I also sliced off half my thumb the other night. Don’t panic it is healing beautifully.  I blame jet lag and not the knife, stupid me sort of waved the super sharp knife around.
The Wenger knife range is available at a King of Knives store near you.


Mad Cow @ the Ivy – Nose to tail degustation {closed}

18 Aug
August 18, 2010

Another well overdue post, but as it was a one night only event I am being easy on myself.  Also you will note the lack of photos, sorry about that folks, but they were taken on my mobile and really do not do the food justice, so read on and let your imagination concoct delicious images in your mind.

I had read a few reviews on the Mad Cow situated in Justine Hemmes’ Ivy establishment, and it was with much eagerness that I booked the nose to tail degustation which was part of the March into Merrivale event.  A five course degustation centred around the wonderful bovine, was just too hard to pass up.

As I had a prior engagement I met up with Mac and Junior at Mad Cow. I was rushed, flustered and 15 minutes late when I arrived after running up town and went straight to where the tribe were seated. Both looked very happy with Mac having a nice cold beer and junior had been looked after with a tantalizing looking mocktail including lime and mint. Not having yet sat down our waiter for the evening came over to our table to greet me. After smiles and hellos, I asked if he could advise me where the ladies room was and he happily escorted me while asking if I would like him to organize a drink for me.

The décor is fresh and spring like, the restaurant predominately white and glass with crisp white linen on the tables and yellow and white lampshades to add that splash of colour. Light and airy but yet still intimate.
To start a wooden cutting board was placed on our table with three thick slices of bread which were soft with a lovely crunchy crust and butter on the side.

The first course in the degustation was a Rangers Valley angus beef tongue, pear and celery heart salad. The tongue was delightful but sadly we were served only a single sliver, a couple more would have not gone astray. The salad had a lovely tangy bite with capers and an aged balsamic dressing.
This was followed by a 1.5 inch thick piece of poached rangers angus valley fillet with baby vegetables and a beef consume. There wasn’t much baby about the vegetables, they were actually carrots and beans cut to size with normal peas. The fillet was topped with a fresh horseradish sauce, incredibly tender and cooked to a lovely medium/rare. The consume was only about ¼ of an inch in the bottom of the bowl, but it was rich and flavoursome.
Next we were delighted with some David Blackmore wagyu flank steak and chimichurri sauce. The first thing to tantalise your senses was the smell of the chimichurri sauce which was delightfully fragrant. The steak was seared with a delicate smoke flavour and accompanied with olive oil and a wedge of lemon. Again you could not fault the cooking of the steak, these guys know what they are doing.

The last of our savoury dishes was David Blackmore oxtail served with gnocchi. The oxtail was shredded and in a rich gravy which was lightened by orange and parsley flavours. Gnocchi was soft with a slight chew, but there was just not enough of them for the generous serve of rich oxtail. This was also accompanied with a bone marrow jus.

To finish was a gateau pithiviers which was made with kidneys. The anticipation for this dessert was high due to kidneys in a dessert. The kidneys added a richness to the almond cream but you would not know kidneys were used. The gateau was topped with a puff pastry and a calvados ice cream was served on the side.
The service was impeccable with each course being explained in detail. I had the accompanying wines with my courses and again the wines were explained in great detail. Staff were friendly, helpful and knowledgeable of the food they were serving.

The only down fall was that service was slightly slow and it did take a while to get the bill and being a weeknight we were eager to head home.

I will be going back to Mad Cow and if any other special nights come along I will be booking.  Was a great evening.


Mad Cow on Urbanspoon

DJava Cafe-Bar {Closed}

18 Aug
August 18, 2010

IMAG0740I have seriously run behind on restaurant posts for Belly Rumbles.  Seems to be so much cooking going on I want to share with you guys.

Quite a few months ago (err January!!) it was Mac’s birthday and we decided to get the family tribe together for a Sunday lunch at DJava in Cronullla.

DJava tout themselves as “The Shire’s only authentic Indonesian food” and it makes a nice change in the Shire from Thai, Chinese and modern Australian.  I was also after a BYO restaurant, it fitted the bill, so we just had to try it out.

It was a really hot sunny day, but the restaurant was lovely and cool with a breeze running through off the ocean.  There are nice views over Cronulla beach from the back balcony area and seats outside at the front which look over The Kingsway.
D17Beside a couple sitting out the front we were the only group (7 of us) dining there for lunch.
I was quite surprised when we went to order a few things from the menu and advised that they weren’t available.  I really wanted to try the Rempeyek (Javanese peanut crackers made fresh on premises) but was advised that they are very time consuming to make and that management will probably be taking them off the menu, so therefore not available.

We chose dishes to share and I wish that our waiter had advised us on the portion sizes as the servings were quite small to share between 7 people.  We only ended up with a mouthful of each dish to try between us.

The food was fantastic, service was great, but sadly very very slow considering the only 9 customers all up.  We weren’t really phased by this as we were all happy to have a long lazy Sunday lunch, just very hungry at the start.   D15Lumpia:  Homemade vegetable spring rolls with vermicelli noodles & mixed vegetables, deep fried. $5.90 for 2

We had ordered the beef version of the Lumpia but ended up with the vegetarian ones, we weren’t fussed. Nice and crispy with a flavoursome veg filling.D14Bakwan:  Fritters of bean sprouts and prawns mixed with seasoned batter, deep fried and served with fresh peanut dipping sauce.  $6.50

D13Sate Ayam:  Satay chicken sticks. $5.90 for 2 sticks

I am a sucker for chicken satay and I think I have an addiction to peanut sauce.
D5Sambal Goreng Kentang Udang:  Spicy prawns and potatoes cooked in a fragrant & spicy sambal.  $18.90

D8Udang Mentega:  Prawns in a rich butter sauce.  $18.90

D6Gado-Gado:  Mixed blanched vegetables, tofu and lontong (rice cakes) topped with freshly made peanut sauce.  $14.50

D12Gulai Ayam:  Mild coconut chicken curry.  $13.90

D10Ayam Kecap:  Grilled chicken pieces in a sauce of butter & traditional spices.  $13.90

D7Dendeng Balado:  Dried beef with capsicum and chilli dressing.  $14.90

Both beef dishes were favourites, tender and tasty.

D11 Rendang Daging:  Rich and spicy Sumatra style beef curry.  $15.90

Sambal Goreng Tempe:  Crisp fried strips of soybean cake in sweet & spicy sambal.  $5.50

D9Coconut rice.  $3.90

Seri Kaya:  Coconut egg custard with rich java palm sugar, subtly flavoured with pandan leaf.  $5.90

Beside the deflated appearance, the Seri Kaya wasn’t too bad.  I have had better black sticky rice pudding, but it curbed the craving that I was having.
Bubur Ketan Hitam:  Black sticky rice pudding topped with coconut cream.  $6.50

Bathroom sign appealed to my childish sense of humour.

It was a shame that they couldn’t provide a few dishes that were on the menu (5 in total) as they sounded interesting and tasty  They were dishes that included fresh pineapple, whole fish, bananas etc which I think maybe they had run out of on the course of the weekend and didn’t bother to replenish for Sunday lunch service.

A return trip is in order, on a busier day/night, to try some of the other dishes.  What we did have everyone was really pleased with and found delicious.  We will go back.


Djava on Urbanspoon

Daring Cooks’ Challenge, August – Pierogi

16 Aug
August 16, 2010

The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale.

Firstly a MASSIVE thank you to LizG and Anula for putting this challenge up.

This challenge sparked memories of my Grandmother and I cooking dumplings (perogi) for my Grandfather when I was a little girl.  Sadly my Grandfather passed away when I was quite young and I was devastated by his passing.  He was Czech and my Grandmother’s second husband, but blood ties aside, he was my Grandfather and I was his Granddaughter. He was an amazing musician and an incredible artist and I loved him so very much.  It saddens me to know he never had the chance to see me grow up and meet his great grandson.  Oh wow I am starting to cry as I type this (Junior just glanced at me and I am sure he thinks his mother is going nuts).

Okay deep breath…….. Read more →

Mitsukoshi Food Hall – Tokyo

14 Aug
August 14, 2010

I was in Tokyo for business and for convenience was staying near the company I work with which was located in the business district of Tokyo.  What I like about the Nihombashi-Kayabacho area is that on the weekend it is soooo quiet, almost Twilight Zone style compared the rest of bustling Tokyo.  Come Monday and you wonder where all the traffic and people came from!

There are numerous department stores around Tokyo in its various city wards (Ku).  Just one station from where I was staying (Suitengumae), on the Tokyo Metro Line of Hanzomon, is the station Mitsukoshimae and the home of the Mitsukoshi department store (there is another big one in Ginza).To put it bluntly I am in love with the food halls of Japanese department stores.  If you like David Jones you will go gaga over what you can find in Tokyo.  To be honest, their food halls make David Jones look like a country corner store.

I could walk around them for hours, just so much to see and absorb.  I am the proverbial kid in a candy shop when I visit.  My dream is to one day be able to stay in Tokyo for more than a few days, get myself a little apartment, play and explore with all that can be found.  Serious mouth watering excellence. Read more →