Friday, January 16, 2015

White chocolate & berry blondies

This was my first time making blondies and there are definitely no regrets..
At first bite, this kept me going like 'Woah this is like a cookie/brownie and the white chocolate mmmhmm'. Quite similar to that scene in Ratatouille when Remy combines cheese and strawberries together and his mind explodes with fireworks (my childish obsession with Disney is evident), perhaps he's somewhat hallucinating.
They reminiscently taste like butterscotch..And the white chocolate chunks make it taste more caramel-ly and the berries add a sourness and slight sweetness. The texture in the middle is gooey, and the outside crust is nice and crisp.

I used Divine's white chocolate.. I love their chocolate range! Tasty and fair trade.
Would I add this to my repertoire? Absolutely.

Berry & white chocolate blondies 
.112 g butter, melted
.220 g light brown sugar
.1 large egg
.1 tsp vanilla extract
.125 g plain flour
.1 tsp baking powder
.100 g white chocolate chips/chunks
.150 g mixed berries (I used frozen blueberries & raspberries, no need to thaw)
.Icing sugar, to serve

1. Line a 20 x 30 cm brownie pan (I used an 8 inch by 8 inch pan) with non-stick baking paper (parchment paper). Mix melted butter with brown sugar and beat until smooth.
2.Beat in egg and then vanilla.
3.Stir in flour & baking powder. Mix in white chocolate chips/chunks and add the berries, stir very gently.
4.Pour into prepare pan. Bake at 180 C (350 F) for 30-40 minutes, or until set in the middle. Cool to room temperature before cutting them.

Adapted from Spicy ice cream

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A day at the patisserie

We had our normal lessons at Creipac, the language centre.We did a really fun activity to practice our writing. We formed teams in class and had a little competition against with each other.. Our teacher, Ghislaine showed us a video of Mr.Bean, then afterwards we had to write complex phrases in order of the events that happen. C'etait tres amusant!

 For lunch, we went to the boulangerie and patisserie because who can miss out on French bread and pastries? In other words, I nearly died in heaven.

The showcase of the pastries were just so pretty, I had to contemplate carefully of what savoury and sweet I was going to take away.. Rebecca and I decided on the same thing: quiche lorraine and mille-feuille. Although the funny thing was, we forgot to say 'mille-feuille aux frais', mille-feuille with strawberries that we both wanted, but just ordered 'mille-feuille', so we received the original, plain one. It was still good, but we stole some off Eric and agreed with strawberries, c'est mieux (it's better) !

We ate in a nice little park. The meal was quite good, however all of us were really way too full with a savoury and dessert in our hands.. Those cakes were extraordinarily huge for one person to eat.

Afterwards we went to the cultural centre, Tjibaou to learn about the Kanak culture. I thought it was quite significant that they have preserved a lot of that culture, and especially by building this to really showcase and tell the stories of the Indigenous people. Unfortunately I don't have much photos because we weren't allowed to take pictures, but it is great place to learn about the culture.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2014 reflections

I meant to post this on the 31st, but I was at a friend's! We celebrated by watching New year's eve, the movie which is super cheesy but cute, baking brownies, staying out on the balcony and finally waking up and making crepes for breakfast... Anyway, this is a bit of a wordy post but 2014 was somewhat a great, yet challenging year.

Exam & test cramming is never a good idea nor fun.
VCE has been hectic, which many people including me did not really anticipate. It goes from super basic math, super basic chemistry to all of the sudden a much higher, demanding level. So, I think that being said, I didn't really know how to handle my time properly this year. So 2015 is my last year of high school (year 12), and my game plan is ORGANISATION.

And I mean, working till 2 AM on gene technology for biology is actually the worst idea ever. Nor is neglecting year 11 chemistry for year 12 biology, because in the end, IT'S OVER WHELMING. But I am glad my hard work was well worth it for year 12 biology this year, content with my study score :)

New Caledonia was a trip of a life time and my desire to learn languages.
Fail jump shot picture....
For me, French isn't really a chore. Sometimes when I walk to school or walk back, I'll listen to the French radio. I love watching French movies, reading and my French tutor is awesome. Also, the New Caledonia trip definitely helped my French and it was such a good trip. I have made friendships (and strengthened) with some people. Frankly, I didn't really expect us 14 students to get so close during the trip...  I hope to continue French for the rest of my life (at least in uni) and hoping to pick up Chinese again, since I realise the importance of being bi/trilingual! Plus it puts me to shame being a Malaysian Chinese...

Malaysia & Singapore
Throwback to the greatest (and first) kouign amman of ma vie. 

Singapore & Penang was such a wonderful trip during January (will I ever cease saying that?). Not only just solely for food and sight seeing, but the best part is spending time with your relatives. I have very little relatives here in Australia, so seeing them is always a joy.

It was also nice catching up with my friends in KL the way I've done each summer spent in KL for so long. Always good times.

So to 2015: My bittersweet last year of high school. Dreading it, yet excited for it to be all over!

Great apple crumble/crisp

New year's resolutions... Well, over the years, I realise how futile they are. The no.1 resolution that always goes down the wrong pathway: "Lose weight".. Sorry, not sorry but I'm eating apple crumble.. But in all seriousness I hope that I can eat slightly more healthier and refrain from eating so much desserts this year. And be a bit more active. But I guess it'll come and go. My number 1 resolution is to STAY ORGANISED because I have a big school year ahead! My last ever year of high school. Nervous, but can't wait to get out.

Anyway, it's funny how we have different names for food. For example, we say 'tomato sauce' in Australia, in the states, it's 'ketchup'. We usually say 'muesli', not 'granola'. Having lived in Australia for more than half my life, I have come to discover 'apple crumble'. Oh the humble apple crumble... Or known as 'apple crisp'?
To be quite frank, I prefer apple crumble to apple pie. I love all the oats and crumbly buttery bits on top of steaming hot apples and pouring custard or eating it with vanilla ice cream.

Ambitious kitchen is one of my go-to blogs, her recipes are easy and delicious! So how could I go past a post titled 'The best apple crisp you'll ever have with brown butter'?
It certainly was a great recipe, and I ended up going back for many, many, many more slices. With copious amounts of vanilla ice cream.

I have to excuse myself for the horrid pictures though.. I wasn't quite sure how to photograph apple crumble lol!!!
Apple crisp 
For the topping
-1 cup all purpose flour (I used combination of 1/2 cup whole wheat, 1/2 cup all purpose)
-1 cup old fashioned oats
-1 cup dark brown sugar *
-1/2 cup chopped almonds
-1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
*I used light brown sugar and reduced it to 1/2 cup.

For the filling:
-1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
-1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (or vanilla extract)
-6 medium sized Granny smith apples, peeled, cored and very thinly sliced
-1/3 cup dark brown sugar
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1 tsp bourbon (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)

1.Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Grease an 8 x 8 inch baking pan.
2.To make topping: Combine flour, oats, brown sugar & almonds in a large bowl until well-combined. Add in the pieces of butter and use your hands to squeeze and combine until mixture becomes crumbly and resembles wet sands (or cut butter pastry cutter or place all topping ingredients in a food processor and pulse until just blended).
3.Once finished, place topping in the fridge and begin making apple filling.
4.To make the filling: place butter and seeds from vanilla bean in a medium saucepan and turn heat on medium. After a couple of minutes the butter will begin to crackle & foam. Whisk consistently until a brown colour. Remove from heat as soon as the butter begins to give off a nutty aroma. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
5.While butter is cooling, place apples, 1/3 cup brown sugar, cinnamon and bourbon in a large bowl and toss to combine. Add brown butter to apple mixture and toss again to combine.
6.Take 1/2 cup of topping mixture and toss with apple mixture. Place apple mixture in prepared pan and sprinkle evenly with topping.
7.Bake the crumble on a baking sheet for 55-60 minutes or until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes on wire rack. Serve warm with vanilla bean ice cream.

*Adapted from Ambitious kitchen