Executive Chef Carl Middleton has big plans for Sydney Hilton. Even before his first day in the kitchen, a smoking oven was purchased and installed at his request. Yet to come are the bee hives that will be the source of Sydney Hilton’s honey.
Carl comes to the Hilton from Lilianfels Spa & Resort’s award winning Darley’s Restaurant, but it isn’t his first gig at the Hilton chain. Previously this UK chef worked at the Langham Hilton and the London Hilton on Park Lane. Read more →
I am not a breakfast person, never have been and never will be. Brunch on the other hand is a totally different story. Sunday brunch would have to be my ultimate meal. Lazy sleep in, Sunday papers and a decadent breakfast.
The great thing about brunch is that if it is heading towards lunch, the you can always add alcohol. Bloody Marys are fantastic for those who are suffering a hangover from a heavy Saturday night. Ultimately for me it is a glass of sparkling white. Please don’t think I am having a boozy Sunday brunch every weekend, but on this occasion I had a recipe I wanted to try as well as a bottle of Wolf Blass’ Yellow Label Pinot Noir Chardonnay Sparkling. Read more →
I really hate to whinge on how cold it is in Sydney at the moment, as I know people from all over the globe read Belly Rumbles. Some of them face winters so cold they would consider our current weather as tee shirt weather. So my apologies to them, but, oh wow, this Sydney girl is finding it cold! The whirling winds and rain don’t help either.
When Winter sets in comfort foods are eagerly sought. Amongst other fantastic produce, winter means apples, such a wonderful versatile fruit. Can be used in savoury or sweet dishes. Hearty warming apple pies, tasty warm apple cakes or even the beloved apple crumble all scream winter warming desserts.
I love to cook up a big batch of poached apples. I did say apples are versatile, and I find poached apples extremely so. They can be whipped up on the weekend and then enjoyed during the week.
I like to use them in various ways but they usually end up in a breakfast of brunch dish. Served warm with yoghurt for breakfast or with custard for dessert. Used as an accompaniment with waffles, pancakes or even French toast. Sprinkle with a quick crumble and grill them. Even just warmed with a scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream, it really is endless what you can do with them.
Marsala Poached Apples
4 apples, peeled, cored and quartered
1T lemon juice
1/3c caster sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 stick cinnamon
In a medium saucepan place all ingredients except the apples. Over medium heat, stir until sugar has dissolved. Add apples and bring to a slow simmer. Simmer until apples are tender. Remove apples from liquid and eat immediately or store in fridge. Reserve the liquid to drizzle over the apples, it’s delicious.
Do tell dear Belly Rumble’s reader, how do you like your apples?
I am a stickler for tradition when it comes to hot cross buns. They are only eaten at our place on Good Friday. I shudder when I see them the day after New Year’s Eve, along with Easter Eggs, in supermarkets like Coles. When you can buy and eat them months before Good Friday, they’re no longer special and I feel that the tradition is lost. Okay, now jumping off my hot cross soap box.
Over the years I have eased my stance on Easter eggs, and you will find a bowl of mini eggs in the kitchen a week or two heading up to Easter. Since I started blogging hot cross buns too are consumed before Good Friday. Of course they are only eaten for taste testing of recipes I play around with. So eating them is sort of considered a ‘have to chore’ and therefore I feel I am still sticking to tradition. It works in my mind, so let me have that one, please. Read more →
KFC has now opened up in the Sydney Airport precinct, on Joyce drive right next door to McDonalds. Now the unique factor about this KFC is that it is the only KFC in Australia to serve breakfast. Yup you read me correctly, breakfast. When I heard this I just had to pop in and see what they had on offer. Read more →
Hot cross buns! Hot cross buns! One a penny two a penny Hot cross buns If you have no daughters Give them to your sons One a penny two a penny Hot cross buns
I have fond memories of my mum singing and teaching me this old English rhyme when I was a child. Always seemed to magically spring from her lips a couple of days before Good Friday. So as tradition would have it a couple of days before Good Friday this rhyme seems to spring unconsciously from mine. I wonder when/if Josh has children, if he too will be effected by this seemingly hereditary tic.
Growing up we only had hot cross buns on Good Friday. Until just this year my household was the same, hot cross buns were only eaten on Good Friday. No nibbling on them in February when they first hit the shelves or the weeks leading up to Easter. Due to the meaning behind the bun I always found it strange that people would eat them on any other day than Good Friday – yes I am strange. It is only due to “research” that I have eaten them leading up to Easter this year.
My favourite part of a hot cross bun has not changed from when I was a child. Nor has the way I eat them. I judge a hot cross bun by its cross. Yes the cross is a very important part, not only due to its religious significance. A cross has to be hard and crisp.
So how do I eat them? The bun needs to be warm and the cross is the first thing I devour. I need to be able to pull it away from the soft spicy bun and munch on it. Like most people I cut the bun in half and I then lavishly spread it with butter, has to be butter. I then eat the top half first leaving the crustier bottom till the end.
I attempted to make hot cross buns for the first time last year. Let’s just say it was an epic fail. Have you seen the Charlies Angels movie (I think the first one) where Alex Munday (played by Lucy Liu) makes muffins? You may remember they refer to them as Chinese fighting muffins, where one is promptly thrown at a door and makes one mighty hole. My hot cross buns basically fell in to that category . They were rock hard and dangerous if thrown.
The Chinese fighting hot cross buns I made last year (hangs head in shame)
This year putting the pathetic effort of my last attempt behind me, I had another go. The result was much more successful, but not perfect. I tweaked a recipe from Gourmet Traveller. I am not a fan of peel and I had some glace figs and apricots in my fridge which I wanted to use. Sadly I made one big mistake, for some reason dumbo here didn’t add the correct amount of yeast. Instead of the 14g stated in the recipe I only added 7g.
In a large bowl place flour, caster sugar, yeast, spices, salt, fruit and zest. Mix. I find it best to get your hands in to the ingredients and make sure that all your fruit has separated and has been covered with the flour. This ensures and even distribution of fruit through your buns.
Place milk and butter in a saucepan and over a low heat warm until the butter has melted. Your mixture should be of a tepid temperature. Whisk in the egg.
Stir the milk mixture in to the flour mixture. Turn out on to a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, or until smooth.
Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel. Let the dough stand for about 40 minutes in a warm spot or until it has doubled in size.
Once doubled in size knock the dough back and separate in to 12 pieces. Knead in to balls and place in a lightly greased 24cm x 30cm slice tin (or cake tin which you have available of similar dimensions). Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to stand in a warm place for 40 minutes or until doubles in size.
Preheat oven to 220C. Combine remaining flour and ¼ cup water and stir to a smooth paste. I suggest you add a small amount of water at a time to ensure you get a nice thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a fine nozzle or if you are like me and use disposable plastic ones, snip off the end for the cross size you desire. Pipe lines down each row to form crosses.
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce temperature to 200C and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden. They’re ready when they sound hollow when tapped.
To make the glaze, combine sugar and mixed spice with ¼ cup water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Brush glaze over hot buns. Place buns on to a wire rack to cool.
The fig and apricot combination worked really well. As the apricots were glace, when kneading they smushed through creating sweet ribbons of apricot in the buns.
Considering my mistake and the good result, if you are attempting hot cross buns for the first time this recipe is worth a go. Please feel free to substitute my choice of fruit for what you desire.
Wishing you all a lovely Easter next week with family and friends. I am curious, am I the only one that is quirky in the way they eat their hot cross buns?
Jenn and Jillhave challenged The Daring Cooks to learn to perfect the technique of poaching an egg. They chose Eggs Benedict recipe from Alton Brown, Oeufs en Meurette from Cooking with Wine by Anne Willan, and Homemade Sundried Tomato & Pine Nut Seitan Sausages (poached) courtesy of Trudy of Veggie num num.
I know that poached eggs are not up some peoples’ alley as the gooey runny yolk goodness can give a major gag reflex. Not me, give me my eggs runny, gooey with golden molten seeping goodness, oh yeah.
Eggs Benedict is probably my favourite Sunday brunch meal beside yum cha. They are the two things that I get cravings for. Eggs Benedict, large glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, decent latte and I am in heaven.
Originally I had planned to do my challenge the Sunday after the Sydney Food Bloggers Christmas Party, but I woke up feeling like death warmed up. Sore throat, chesty cough and basically incapable of doing anything. So my original brunch idea became dinner on Monday evening. I still felt like death warmed up, but I actually really felt like this for dinner. Read more →