GFM: The Morrison + Let’s do dessert at The Cortile

GFM: The Morrison + Let’s do dessert at The Cortile

Last Friday a few friends and I popped by The Morrison Bar and Oyster Room for the very first time. I’ve admittedly walked past it numerous times, but have never step foot inside. I find it always crammed with so many people – especially on a Friday night.

I was sceptical whether I’d be able to get a booking for Friday night at such short notice, but after submitting an online reservation request I was surprised to got a confirmation reply within the hour which was very impressive.

I’m not big on oysters, but I knew that I had to try the duck fat chips. I had gone to Sean’s Kitchen (when it was previously open at The Star) to try said chips years ago. We ended up ordering duck fat fish and chips ($26), as well as the dry aged hamburger ($20) (which happened to also come with duck fat chips). Both to share.

dry aged burger and fish and chips

I can tell you I wasn’t disappointed in the least. The fish was well cooked and moist on the inside, and the burger was oozing with cheddar cheese. The duck fat chips were crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside like any perfect duck fat potato chip should.

After dinner we walked down the road to The Cortile  at the Intercontinental for ‘Let’s do dessert’ (previously known as Sugar Hit). Frankly I prefer the old name to the new as it doesn’t seem to roll off the tongue as nicely. I always enjoy the ambiance inside the Intercontinental – an ethereal old world vibe. The desserts are the one definite thing I will shell out for during October Good Food Month.

Lolly cake

On offer at The Cortile was a pretty-looking Gianduja chocolate lolly cake, almond jaconde, banana marshmallow and hazelnut crunch. The intricately layered cake was served with a glass of Brown Brothers Orange Muscat & Flora all for $20. I really enjoyed it – the different layers complemented each other nicely, and the whole lollies on the side were a lovely touch for sight and taste.

Lolly cake

Have you been to any Good Food Month events yet?

THE MORRISON
225 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9247 6744

THE CORTILE
InterContinental Sydney
Ground Level, 117 Maquarie Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9240 1220

 

My life in five paragraphs

My life in five paragraphs

My life is really a non-event these days. So apologies for the paragraphs of mundane text. The highlight of my week has got to be making my iPad a secondary screen for my MacBook Pro. It isn’t the best (as I don’t have a retina display, only an iPad 2) but it is useful enough for those times when I’m out and about and need a second screen for when I’m doing some light design work.

On the plus side, I’ve discovered a place near my work that does coffee happy hour between 10:00-11:00 am in the morning. I usually get coffee with soy milk – which is normally a 50 cent surcharge at most places. Anywhere that does it for under is a bargain.

I think I’m becoming more cynical as I grow older. And I’m not really doing it consciously. I’m a bit over things in my life and can’t really be bothered fretting over it as much as I would normally do. Is anyone else noticing this as they get older? I guess maybe I’m realising that things aren’t as important as they used to be.

The Bachelor Australia was abysmal to watch. That said, I’m a little ashamed to admit that I enjoyed it. It was cheap entertainment and I will probably keep watching for a few episodes yet. I still much prefer the American version, although it has waned quite a bit since it first started (as with all reality series).

I got a random email asking me to quote them on the price of a 3-tier cake with butter icing and yellow roses. This is amusing as I’ve never really baked many cakes (other than the odd layer cake here and there). I’m no professional baker by any means. I’m pretty sure they have the wrong person. Oh and for reference, here’s the photo of the cake they wanted me to copy. Umm. What?

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Five things

Five things

As I sit here by the balcony sipping my soy latte, I can’t help but think of the ever-growing errand list I have in my diary. But for now I think I’ll take advantage of the calm and do a little bit of blogging about five things that have caught my eye recently.

ONE. Messy plaits are my new obsession. My hair is getting super long and plaits are an easy and efficient way to manage it all. On the plus side it looks super cute, but on the other, I use a helluva lot of bobby pins.

photo 1

TWO. I went to see the lovely P!nk when she was in town the other weekend. It was nothing short of amazing. I love her acrobatic prowess. She never ceases to amaze me. P!nk drew a massive Sydney crowd.

photo 2

THREE. This  installation near the MCA was so mesmerising. I love working near Circular Quay. There are so many different things to explore and discover both at lunch time and after work.

photo 3

FOUR. Working in close proximity to Lindt equates to multiple visits to the chocolatier. I’m loving their seasonal salted caramel hot chocolate for a sneaky afternoon treat. I love admiring their cakes in the window, but hot choc is my weakness.

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FIVE. This chalkboard outside one of my favourite coffee places. Don’t really think I need to add anything to this photo.

photo 5

Here’s to hoping I knock over some of my to-do list tomorrow!

Recipe: Cinnamon buns

Recipe: Cinnamon buns

I’ve had a few requests for my cinnamon bun recipe after posting some I made for a friend’s house warming up on Instagram.

To tell you the truth I’ve tried many recipes, but not until recently did I settle on one. It was accidental really. I had buttermilk from a snickers cake I really wanted to try to make (and still do). It was expiring soon so I decided to whip up something relatively quick and easy (well, more so than the crazy snickers cake I aspired to bake).

Anyway, here’s the recipe I keep coming back to time and time again. They produce roughly 60 small fluffy cinnamon rolls.

photo 5

Cinnamon buns (makes approx 60 small rolls)
Ingredients
14g of active dry yeast (you can buy them in 7g sachets at Coles/Woolies)
¼ cup of warm water
1½ cups of buttermilk
½ cup of vegetable oil (I used canola)
4½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of salt
½ a teaspoon of baking soda
½ cup of butter, melted
1¼ cups of brown sugar

1½ teaspoons of ground cinnamon

Procedure
  1. Put the yeast into a large bowl, and dissolve in warm water. Leave this for ten minutes until it becomes creamy.
  2. Heat the buttermilk until it is just warm to the touch. Be careful not to let it boil! Take the oil and the warm buttermilk and pour into the yeast mixture to combine. cinnamon buns
  3. In another bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking soda. Stir the flour mixture into the liquid one cup at a time until a dough forms.
  4. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead all the lumps out. No need to knead it that much at this stage.
  5. Place it back into a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let it rest for 10 minutes. It should look like this:cinnamon buns
  6. Now to make the cinnamon spread – in another bowl, mix together the melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.cinnamon buns
  7. Take a quarter portion of your dough, place it onto a lightly floured surface and roll out into a large rectangle. I press it out into the rectangle shape I want then roll it out with a rolling pin.
  8. Take the cinnamon mix and spread it evenly onto the rectangle of dough you just rolled out. Roll it up into a log (I like more swirls, so I roll from the shorter side), and be sure to pinch the ends to secure it all in place.
  9. Slice the log into 2.5 cm pieces and place cut side up onto baking paper. Make sure you leave enough space between each roll as they will expand! Depending on how fluffy you want them you can leave them to rest overnight. (I’m too impatient for that so I bake it almost immediately!).Cinnamon buns
  10. Bake them in a 200°C oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown and a lot of gooey! They may not look very attractive when they come out of the oven, but trust me, they will taste amazing!photo 3 copy

I like to top them with some cream cheese icing, which is super simple to whip up whilst your buns are in the oven baking. I just find a generic recipe like this one with butter, icing sugar, Philly cream cheese and vanilla essence. If you wanted to be super fancy you could use some vanilla bean. But either will work!

Enjoy! Xx

Kitchen by Mike in Rosebery

Kitchen by Mike in Rosebery

I adore lazy weekends. The last one was just that. H and I decided on a late lunch at Kitchen by Mike. I’d heard a lot about it but I hadn’t realised it was so close. We arrived at around 2:30pm, somewhat concerned that the kitchen would be closing in half an hour (we’d soon find out we needn’t be concerned). Breakfast is served until 11:30am, and lunch from 12pm onwards.

It is set in the most amazing converted warehouse space. Everything from the interior decor to the menus and the aprons the servers wear are so stylised. I love it all. I decide to have the crispy pork belly with a crisp Caesar salad. It is nothing short of amazing. The pork belly melts in your mouth and the skin is crisp and light. The Caesar salad is a distinct highlight for me, a halved baby cos topped with a lusciously creamy dressing and a heap of crunchy bacon.

Pork belly with Caesar salad

H chose the roast chicken with a side of baby carrots and garlic and rosemary focaccia. They give you the option of choosing your own piece of chicken from the pile. The baby carrots are perfectly glazed.

Roast chicken with garlic and rosemary bread

We finished off with two soy mochas and a very rich chocolate mud cake. We just couldn’t say no to it. It cake with a dollop of chantilly cream. Will definitely be back for the breakfast session.

Mud cake

KITCHEN BY MIKE
1/85 Dunning Avenue
Roseberry NSW 2018

Pugs + cake

Pugs + cake

I should be used to the disappointment that hump day brings, but I’m really not. I do wish the weekend would return in all its glory. The last one was filled with adorable catch ups with cute babies and bouncy puppies. I finally got around to meeting this little guy. Who enjoyed chewing on one of the pom poms I made.

Frank the pug

I took the train into work as I do each work morning. It was all smooth sailing until I hit the Sydney CBD. Out of the blue there was a toddler yelling discernible words at the top of his/her lungs. This continued all through the underground tunnel journey. The parents did absolutely nothing to pacify or discipline the child.

Mind you this is an early morning peak hour train crammed with people. I’m not saying all children should be seen and not heard, but a little consideration for fellow commuters and trying to control your child would go a long way. Anyway.

Anyway. Enough ranting. I did a bit of present hunting. We went over to Westfield and parking was horrendous. And to think that it will only get worse from here. Better get cracking on those presents.

H got the keys to the apartment. I have to say that it will not be good being so close to such great food and desserts. The first night there and I’m already buying Zumbo cakes.

Zumbo cake

SIFF Sugar Hit 2012: The Bar, Lounge & Room at The Westin

SIFF Sugar Hit 2012: The Bar, Lounge & Room at The Westin

The Westin was the last on my list of Sugar Hits for 2012. I’ve been to previous hits at the Westin on previous years, and I admit I was disappointed. But after reading the description for this year, I was all too intrigued. Kindly excuse the quality of the images, I was armed only with my iPhone in dim light. ;)

 

H and I went on a quiet Saturday night. Believe it or not we took a trip to the fish markets and had a late lunch, so were in no mood for dinner. We wouldn’t be skipping out on dessert too. I called ahead to make a booking, as when I tried to the previous week, they were completely booked out. Anyway. We got there and it was quiet. There were a few tables scattered around the place, but it was not bustling.

We were seated quickly, and our wines were served soon after.

Westin Sugar Hit 2012

Dessert came out after a few minutes, two plates, neatly arranged, complete with dry ice fanfare. Our waiter informed us that it is decorative only and that we shouldn’t eat and/or touch it. Which was fine by me. There were so many elements on the plate!

Westin Sugar Hit 2012

Dessert was created by Mark Tok, a decadent chocolate gateaux infused with an exploding sensation (read popping candy), sweet raspberry coulis, rich vanilla bean ice cream atop a shortbread cookie.

Westin Sugar Hit 2012

I have to say everything was presented impeccably. The chocolate and raspberry gateaux was more like a light mousse. The isomalt design is unique and quirky, but doesn’t add much to the taste for me (as does the dry ice). The vanilla bean was definitely another stand out, with a rich vanilla taste bursting out of every mouthful. My only criticism is that the individual elements didn’t work together as well as I’d like. They were each definitely something to be enjoyed on their lonesome.

Overall though I’d say that this is the best Sugar Hit by far of 2012. I think that’s a wrap!