Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Suprise

It's Valentine's Day and it would be remiss of me not to blog about how my day went. Well to tell you the truth it was pretty uneventful and as expected the Roses Only guy didn't turn up at work and bombard me with Roses, chocolates or perfume even, but hey I'm OK with that, he didn't have to.

I however had planned to do just a little bit for the day they call St Valentine's Day and ordered an antipasto platter from The Re-store (with some help of some sneaky family members) and bought husby a card, nothing big just something small I knew he would appreciate.

When he walked in the door this is what he got:

My gift to husby antipasto c/o The ReStore, Alkoomi CabSav, Olives, Vastese & crackers - HEAVEN!
  When he walked in the door this is what I got:
Surprise! Roses from the husby
So there you have it, even though we promised each other we weren't doing anything we still managed to surprise one another and it was PERFECT.

Afterall Valentine's Day isn't about spending big bucks it's about spending time with your loved one and to me it was just right. I mean food and flowers what more could a foodie want - perfeito!

How did your Valentine's Day go? Were you surprised? Did you do something special or nothing at all? I'd love to hear from you - LOVE Bx  

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Operation: Experimentation Part 2 Beef Wellington

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will be aware that I set myself a cooking challenge this weekend. That challenge to try cooking Pork Belly, Macarons and Beef Wellington. The first two I tried last night and the post on that can be found previous to this one, tonight though it's Beef Wellington.

Again I've seen this recipe done a million times on cooking shows and wanted to try it myself. So here it is my version (and half of Curtis Stone's) of Beef Wellington tahdah:

Golden delicious Beef Wellington

Inside prosciutto & mushroom wrapped around a juicy eye fillet
OK so as you can see this is probably not the best shot of the beef because it certainly does not give justice to the beautiful flavours of the proscuitto, mushroom, lean eye fillet and red wine jus. It's also a dish that's a little messy to plate up because of the delicate flaky pastry, but in saying that I'm hoping you get the picture.

I think it would make a great dinner party dish and I'll defnitely be serving it up again but this time rather than bake it for an hour at 200 degree Celcius (as per the recipe)  I might shorten the cooking time to 30-40mins so it's cooked medium rare - just the way I like it.

Have you guys tried making Beef Wellington and how did it go? I'd love to hear from you B x

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Operation: Experimentation!

You're all aware of the fact that I'm looking to try new things in the kitchen and so tonight in the Cooking In Choos' household I served up Pork Belly and Adriano Zumbo's Valentine Macarons! (With Valentine's Day only days away what better time is there to try them)

I've been wanting to cook Pork Belly  for a while so when husby visited the butcher this morning I made sure a nice cut of it was on the list. The Macaron fascination has also been around a long time now and while I'm happy to try Emmanuel Mollois' versions baking them is another story.

You see there's art to making them. The ingredients have to be measured correctly and placed in at the right time, temperatures watched like a hawk and then it's all up to the Parisian God's whether or not you're going to get them looking and tasting the way they should - anyway more on them later.

Now to the Pork Belly; this like the Macarons was a first attempt and I'm pleased to say it was definitely a success. The crisp, crackle seasoned with a little sea-salt, while the pork nestled in an a bed of alfoil and marinated in Olive oil, garlic and Rosemary was sensational.

So what's my secret for perfect Pork Belly? It's easy. To get your crackle, crackling turn the up oven to 220 degrees Celsius for a half hour and then turn it down to 160 for an hour and a half.  Keep your pork tender by nestling it in a bed of alfoil lined with the olive oil, garlic and Rosemary. This will not only seal in the moisture but infuse the pork with the beautiful flavours of the garlic and Rosemary - AMAZE!

Here it is:

Pork Belly Perfecction

OK so after a successful main I was hoping my Macarons were going to follow suit. The result well, they weren't bad but let's just say they weren't Pierre Herme's either. The Macarons themselves although perfectly crisp on the outside; inside (well some anyway) they were missing the chewy centre. The ganache on the other hand was a winner with the combination of Rosewater and white chocolate giving this delightful filling beautiful and musky flavours.

Will I try this Parisian morsel again? I'm thinking yes, because even though it was hard and at times very messy at the end of the day it was a challenge and there's nothing I like more; except of course a Macaron! Bon Appetit x

Oh and here it is, with the recipe to follow:

Adriano Zumbo's Valentine Day Macarons - try it yourself

White Chocolate and Rose Macaron by Adriano Zumbo

Rose Ganache Filling ingredients:
120g cream
180g white chocolate
45g unsalted butter
15g rose water
15g musk oil


• Break the white chocolate into pieces and place in a large bowl
• Boil the cream on the stove with the rose water and musk oil

• Take the cream mixture off the stove and pour over the white chocolate stirring until the chocolate has melted

• Leave the white chocolate, rose and musk mixture to cool to 50 degrees

• Blend in butter with a wooden spoon

• Cover with cling film and cool further in the fridge

Macaron ingredients:

125g caster sugar

40g water

50g egg whites

135g pure icing sugar, sieved

135g almond meal, sieved

45g egg whites

Few drops of red colouring (to create pink colouring)

• Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees Celsius

• In a medium based saucepan, boil caster sugar and water to 118 degrees on the stove top

• Place 50g egg whites in an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Slowly stream hot sugar mixture down side of bowl, whisk until it reaches around 50 degrees to create a meringue mixture

• In a large bowl place icing sugar, almond meal and 45g egg whites on top

• Add meringue mixture to this and hand mix until combined and then place into a piping bag

• Pipe 20 cent sized pieces of the meringue mixture onto a baking tray lined with baking paper or silicone mat

• Let dry for 30 - 60 minutes until a skin forms and they are dry to the touch

• Bake in oven for 16 minutes at 150 degrees

• Remove from the oven and let shells cool, then flip them onto a clean baking tray and place in pairs

• Place ganache into a piping bag and fill one shell from the pair, then place the other side on top to make a sandwich

P.S: Hey guys that was my attempt and I'd love to see you all try it. Don't forget to drop me a line if you do, I'd love to hear how it goes. B x

Monday, February 7, 2011

Competition time: Win Lauren Conrad's Style

You loved her on MTV's Laguna Beach and The Hills but lately this Hollywood hottie has found herself more comfortable sitting on the best sellers lists than on reality television.  In her latest penning, Style helps you to make the most of your wardrobe, gives you the lowdown on the staple items every woman should own and teaches you how to adapt her classic, understated style for yourself. So now here is your chance to win.

It's simple, Cooking In Choos is now on Facebook and we need your support. Simply suggest as many friends as you can to like our page for your chance to win. The person who gets the most amount of people liking the page wins the book. Sound easy? Well it is, the only catch is you have to tell me who you've told to like the page so I can do the math. 

So what are you waiting for? Go on, go tell your friends.

Competition closes Tuesday Feb 15, 5pmWST - Good luck Bxo

Suggest Cooking In Choos to your friends on Facebook for your chance to win

And the Winner Is?

Our first Cooking In Choos competition has now closed. Overall we had almost 100 people visit the post but only six people enter. Are you guys a shy bunch or was the question too embarrasing? Let me know because I want you all to have a chance at winning some of the great prizes offered on this blog.

Anyhooo drum roll please ..............................................And the winner of the most embarassing cooking disaster goes to Monique Mulligan who confused baking soda for cornflour making her beef/bean hotpot bubble up like a science experiment!

Congrats Monique you are now the owner of an All Glitz & Glam French Fleur Necklace. Drop me an email me so I can send it out to you.

All Glitz & Glam Fleur Necklace
 For the rest you our next prize on offer is a copy of The Hill's starlet Lauren Conrad's book Style. Details on how to win this in the next post. Bx

Next Prize: Lauren Conrad's latest book Style

Choux Cafe? Oui S'il vous plait

There is nothing quite like a French Patisserie and when it comes to finding the best in Perth you can't look further than Emmanuel Mollois' Choux Cafe.

Located in Swanbourne it's been around since 2003 and sells French favourites including croissants, boeuf bourguignon pie, quiche, French Baguettes (not the blingy kind the delicious, crunchy kind - get my drift), Croquembouche and Parisian Macarons - delish!

We stopped by last Saturday and like any hotspot in Perth, there was a queue out the door with people desperate to get their hands on Emmanuel's French treats.

Once the chaos died down I was able to order a flat white, friand and a couple of Macarons (vanilla & hazelnut), while husby ordered a roast lamb baguette and a juice. All of it was yummy and reminded me of my time spent in Paris last year, minus the masses of people leaning over you while you eat and the paired table settings facing the window.

Emmanuel has gained a reputation as one of the best pastry chefs in Perth and in my opinion it is thoroughly deserved. I will definitely visit this quaint little gem again soon - just maybe I'll go midweek so I can enjoy it without the hordes.

Foodie score: 4.5/5
Sweet treats, I was like a kid in a candy store

Hazelnut and Vanilla Macarons - yum!

Queuing to get in

Choux Cafe - Swanbourne


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