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.
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.
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.
Have you been to any Good Food Month events yet?
225 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9247 6744
Ground Level, 117 Maquarie Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9240 1220
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.
Cinnamon buns (makes approx 60 small rolls)
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
- Put the yeast into a large bowl, and dissolve in warm water. Leave this for ten minutes until it becomes creamy.
- 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.
- 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.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead all the lumps out. No need to knead it that much at this stage.
- Place it back into a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let it rest for 10 minutes. It should look like this:
- Now to make the cinnamon spread – in another bowl, mix together the melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!).
- 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!
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!
Sydney weather is a bit unpredictable at the moment I never know what to wear so I’ve been wearing a lot of layers and peeling/putting them on as required. I put together my latest five obsessions of the moment, and seemingly they are very cool-weather focused!
ONE. Glasshouse candles are becoming an obsession. Well obsession is probably an understatement. I have about three different variations open around the house. I love them. The mimosa and wild apple scent is my current favourite. I love them so much I decided to make an animated gif out of it.
TWO. My birthday vanilla lamington from My Little Cupcake was TDF. A perfect light cake encased in vanilla frosting and smothered in coconut flakes. Now to try the ones from Flour and Stone to compare. I really should lay off the sugar.
THREE. But wait! More sugar. Banoffee torte from Cafe Sopra. My weakness. I can never say no to a good banoffee torte. Just thinking about it makes me salivate. I love the caramel and biscuit base, and the banana is just a little something extra. Adore the textures.
FOUR. I’m loving the free art exhibitions that run across Sydney. H and I ventured over to 13 rooms down at Walsh Bay. It was my first exposure to performance art. I have to say that it did make me feel a bit uneasy at first, but overall I found it very interesting!
FIVE. There isn’t anything better than a lazy Sunday lunch with a glass of wine (or two). Any excuse will do really. It was a cold autumn day and we had pasta and osso bucco. Love.
What are you doing to keep warm this season?
ONE. Did some random errands today. It was a miserable and wet day, so I brought the red camellia out for some cheering up. I kept the outfit simple today: black ace jeans [bettina liano]; long sleeve chambray shirt [forever 21] and of course my red camellia woc [chanel]. I am extremely late to the chambray party.
TWO. H and I went out for an obligatory iced coffee from Don Campos. You know. The famed ones that contain three jillion shots of espresso. Go figure it is now one am and I’m wide awake blogging about nothing in particular at all.
THREE. Oh there was the most random pillow fight outside the MCA forecourt today. It consisted of a large cordoned off area and a whole lot of feathers. By the time I had gotten there, people were picking feathers out of their hair and clothes. Some unfortunate souls made the mistake of wearing knits, and seemingly had a much more difficult time removing the fluff.
FOUR. Easter chocolates. Namely Godiva chocolates marked down to half price. Yes, yes and yes. I bought a box. Not yet opened. To be saved for that special occasion I think!
FIVE. An assortment of Lebanese pastries from Abla’s in Granville. Crisp, sticky, sweet goodness. A welcome break whilst working on the last of my streamers. On the home stretch!
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.
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.
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.
KITCHEN BY MIKE
1/85 Dunning Avenue
Roseberry NSW 2018
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.
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!
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.
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!
The second sugar hit of the month was discovered by chance. I was out to dinner with some friends, we decided to locate a hotel close to us that could accommodate us for some dessert. We started dinner at 9pm, so it was close to 10:30pm when we finished eating. We discovered most of the places stopped serving at 10pm.
We wandered over to the Macquarie Lounge at the Marriott thinking it would be a place open late, not really knowing what was on offer. Although we didn’t have a booking, the waiter was kind enough to find a table to accommodate all four of us.
Dessert came out as a surprise to all of us. It was a lemon and blueberry curd enrobed in white chocolate. It was an amazingly presented cylinder of white chocolate that was filled to the bring with layers of sponge, blueberry and tart lemon curd.
I admit that I’m not really a lemon dessert type of girl, and that I found this quite tart and sour to begin with, but the balance of sweetness came from the blueberries, which seemed lightly stewed.
I’d definitely recommend it to those who are into tart desserts. Otherwise definitely take a look at the offering at the Intercontinental.