Monday, November 23, 2009

Tackling Desserts

Readers of my blog will know as a food writer and editor of a food & lifestyle publication, I see, eat and cook food a lot!! It's part of my research to get to know food better and so I eat, cook, write and eat some more.

One of my weaknesses however is dessert; baking in particular gets me all the time and never ever am I quite satisfied with how my baked treats turn out. For instance a few months ago we had a few ripened bananas which were no longer nice enough to eat so hubby suggested I bake a banana cake. Having never baked one before I trawled through my cook books (OMG there are 30 of them, I never knew this until the other day)and after much researching I found one which was easy enough for me to attempt - or so I thought!

When I took the cake out of the oven I could not get it out of the tray - you see I forgot one basic rule - line bottom of try with backing paper!!!Anyway after gentle tapping and a longish wait the cake came loose from the tray and we were all able to enjoy warm banana cake.

But the story continues and I was determined not to let the banana cake get the better of me so weeks later and a few more ripened bananas, I tackled said dessert again.

The verdict - presentation needs more practise, taste however delicious!!

Here's the proof:

Now it seems the dessert bug is catching on in my family. Yesterday I attended a family barbecue & my cousin Josie attempted a passion fruit & kiwi fruit cheesecake. It too was delicious and we polished it off with problems at all. I guess as they say practise makes perfect so even though it's still not my favourite thing to do in the kitchen I will keep on keeping on until I get used to it.

Is there something you struggle with in the kitchen if so I'd love to hear your story - until next time Happy Baking!!

Here is Josie putting the final touches on her cheesecake:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Trying it @ Home with Justine Schofield

So a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to catch up with former Masterchef contestant Justine Schofield during her first visit to Perth. Although only brief Justine managed to pack a lot into her whirlwind trip including visiting PMH, eating out at Pata Negra and catching up with old friends.

Her main reason for stopping by however was part of JVG Events inaugral TRY THIS @ HOME presentation. In conjunction with Buy West Eat Best, the event held at Joondalup shopping Centre saw Justine create four simple dishes that audience members could recreate at home by purchasing $20 showbags filled with all the necessary ingredients needed to do so.

Justine and JVG Events director Jo Garnett in action on the day:

Justine working on the Chicken BLT

After the event I did what any good foodie would do and bought myself a showbag to try Justine's Chicken BLT for dinner that night. The verdict, absolutely delicious, quick, easy and a winner with all who ate it. It's definitely going to become a permanent fixture on my weekly menu - thanks Justine!

My attempt to recreate Justine's Chicken BLT

No visit would be complete without a few questions here's what we chatted about when she was here:

What was it like being on Masterchef:
Amazing, it has really changed my life. Not only career wise but also with my confidence in getting the job done.

Do you think being on MC has changed your cooking technique:
Yes... at the beginning of the process I was just a home cook, but because of Masterchef I have become faster in the kitchen and have learnt to be more methodical. The way I chop, present my dishes and combine flavours have also changed.

What are you doing at the moment:
I've done some work experience at Aria, both in Sydney and Brisbane.
I've done Food demonstrations at the Good food & Wine show in Brisbane, other smaller food demo's, catering, cooking for corporate events, charity, appearances and the most recent thing I'm doing is going to compete the LG world cooking competition in Thailand. I'll be flying the Australian flag and hopefully will do well!

Do you have a favourite ingredient & what do you like to make with it:
Tarragon..... bearnaise sauce, butter,really good olive oil, French shallots and cream are also always in my kitchen!

What is your favourite dish:
Daube de Boeuf... Amazing if done right.
And of course a good aged piece of Steak and chips with bearnaise sauce.

Justine enjoying a glass of white

What were you doing prior to the show & will you go back to it:
I was a sales executive for a security company selling CCTV software.
No I wont because I've now realised have a desk job is just not for me!

Have you had a cooking disaster & what was it:
Slow cooking a shoulder of pork overnight in the oven .... waking up the next day and it was charcoal! Someone had accidently turn the heat up and I didn't realise! ... So lunch was pretty much a disaster that day!

What is your favourite restaurant:
Marque by Mark Best in Surry Hills, Sydney for fine dining, Quay in Sydney also fine dining, Sel et Poivre, Darlinghurst Sydney for casual dining and Nobu in Melbourne again for casual dining.

And who is your favourite chef:
So many!!!!
Raymond Blanc
Alain Ducasse
Mark Best
Matt Moran... to name a few.

Justine & I catch up the day before her Try This @ Home Event

A big thank you must go to Jo of JVG Events for organising such a fantastic event, here's hoping there will be more of them in Perth in the very near future.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I'm back!!!

Hey guys I know I've been slack with the posting but I've been super busy and have not had the chance to scratch myself.

Sooooooooo what have I been up to - well I'll be blogging about all of that and more over the coming days. You see I'm having a HOLIDAY woohoo - it's been a while & well hubbie & I did not get that honeymoon we had hoped for so this is it!!!

I know you're all probably thinking NICE ONE; blogging on your honeymoon but don't worry he's actually sleeping after a hard day laying by the pool sipping cocktails - it's all good!

Me, I'm sitting here waiting to have a spa pedicure & full body massage(yes, hubby too will join in on the indulging minus the pedicure!!)and while I wait I thought I'd touch base with you all so that you don't think I've deserted the bloggosphere for good!!!

FYI I'm in Malaysia, Penang actually, and we are staying on the famous Batu Ferringhi beach strip at the newest Hard Rock Hotel Penang. It is awesome and has surpassed all my expectations. There is so much to do in one location, everything is at our fingertips - it's hard to work out where to start!!! That's right yes I do - PAMPERING!!!

Anyways best get back to hubby before he develops a complex!!

Til next time

Selmat Datang :)

P.S Here's a pic of me enjoying my favourite poison - The Cosmo!!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Julie & Julia The Movie - A Review

Julie & Julia premiere held in Los Angeles

As a big-time foodie I've been dying to see this movie since the previews came out in August. Julie & Julia is the story of Julie Powell, a 30 year old secretary living in Queens who one day decides to spice things up in her life by writing a blog about cooking 524 recipes in 365 days using Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking as inspiration.

Powell played by Amy Adams is joined on the big screen by Meryl Streep who plays Powell's mentor Julia Child. Both are brilliant as their on-screen characters as they take viewers on a food safari through New York and France (both places I'll be visiting in the New Year). Streep in particular shines in her role as one of the world's first television chefs, even grasping Childs' high pitched voice perfectly.

There were many reasons why I enjoyed this movie - the story line, the food and the fact that I too am a blogger & believe in dreams are just a few. With the foodie-phenomenon exploding everywhere Julie & Julia's timely screening in cinemas will more than satisfy even the most discerning diner's appetite! 5 STARS


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