Tag Archives: afternoon tea

Making Madeleines

Making Madeleines

When I hear ‘Madeleine’, my first thought is always Marcel Proust.
But my second, is always butter.

I originally expected that unsalted would be the name of the game here, having spied ‘unsalted’ mentioned in the majority of recipes I’d looked at over the years.

Making Madeleines

I’ve been experimenting with Madeleines for the last month or so, after receiving a Bakers Secret non-stick Madeleine pan from Kitchenware Superstore, and I’ve found I much prefer my Madeleines ‘seasoned’, somewhat, by using melted salted butter over unsalted.

My favourite recipe so far has been Dorie Greenspan’s Madeleine Recipe. I found it super helpful, especially with Dorie’s additional notes on refrigeration (overnight AND in the tray for at least an hour before baking), plus tips on achieving the tell-tale Madeleine ‘hump’ through the use of a pre-heated searing hot baking tray (or baking stone).

Take note and cool your melted butter before you incorporate it. And while you’re at it, spring for the salted like I did.

I used plain (all purpose) cake flour, which has low gluten to keep cakes nice and soft.

Making Madeleines

Suffice it to say I’ve been pretty pleased with my own Madeleine experiments (and J’s definitely enjoyed eating them)!

I’d always assumed Madeleines would be difficult to make and/or destined to fail, but I’ve found that provided you follow the recipe you’re using carefully, you’ll end up with delicious results.

My latest batch (flavoured with vanilla bean and orange zest) was a hit, resulting in 24 Madeleines that were light, sweet and soft, yet sturdily textured bites of golden buttery goodness.

Madeleines are best enjoyed straight out of the oven. Dunking in tea optional, though you may disagree with that if you’re a fan of Swann’s Way.

Making Madeleines

Disclosure: Product provided by PR for review purposes. All opinions provided are my own, and I have received no other compensation for this post.

Afternoon tea at the Hyatt Regency Perth

Hyatt-elephants

My friend A joined me yesterday for a spot of shopping in Perth, and a leisurely afternoon tea at the Hyatt Regency Perth.

Afternoon tea starts at 3.00pm, and is served from Cafe at the Hyatt, with seating in the lovely surrounds of the Observatory Lounge.

High tea at the Hyatt Hotel

Cold desserts – including passionfruit pannacotta, lychee and coconut pudding,
mango pudding, Eton mess, chocolate mousse and tiramisu

We were shown to a table for two, and our host Yvonne gave us a quick rundown of what was on offer.

The friendly servers visit each table and topping up our glasses (and cups) with as much sparkling wine, tea, coffee as we like. This suits us just perfectly, as shopping and walking is thirsty work ;)

High tea at the Hyatt Hotel

There’s a comprehensive dessert bar – which features cakes and other sweet treats, gelato, freshly cooked Belgian waffles, biscuits, meringues and cold desserts (puddings, pannacottas and mousses).

High tea at the Hyatt Hotel

Meringues and biscuits

High tea at the Hyatt Hotel

Finger sandwiches – egg and mixed greens, front
and salmon with chargrilled eggplant, back.

The servers also join us tableside and present us with a selection of finger sandwiches. They’re deceptively substantial, despite their positively dainty appearance.

Fillings included salmon and chargrilled eggplant, egg and mixed greens, and salmon cream cheese with cucumber.

I particularly liked the subtly smoky chargrilled eggplant with the rich salmon spread. An unusual combination, but one I think would be excellent for future lunchtime sandwiches.

High tea at the Hyatt Hotel

High tea at the Hyatt Hotel

High tea at the Hyatt Hotel

There’s also an extensive section with hot finger food, including crispy goat’s cheese fritters, eggplant and zucchini frittata, curried savoury muffins, brie and mushroom tarts, filo tarts, and chicken and vegetable curry puffs.

We find ourselves immediately obsessed with the curry puffs – the filling is spot on, with tender chunks of chicken, potato, peas and a fragrant curry sauce, which even includes fresh curry leaves!

High tea at the Hyatt Hotel

Curry puff innards shot

They’re wrapped up in bubbly crisp pastry, and fantastic dipped in sweet chili sauce. It’s difficult to stop at one. (I had three :))

High tea at the Hyatt Hotel

High tea at the Hyatt Hotel

After our savoury stomachs are taken care of, we move on to sweets. There’s a lot on offer, so we opt to share a plate of cakes and fruit.

High tea at the Hyatt Hotel

A was immediately impressed with the strawberry cheesecake as it reminded her of her Mum’s strawberry shortcake.

I was initially attracted to the layered green cake, thinking it was pistachio flavoured.

I was pleasantly surprised to find it was subtly flavoured with a creamy lemon-lime filling. Not what I expected at all, but lovely!

High tea at the Hyatt Hotel

As soon as I spotted this bowl of chocolatey goodness, I knew we would be friends. A large bowl of chocolate ‘bark’ has a prominent place at the dessert bar, next to the gelato section.

There’s milk, dark and white chocolate bark, which has a gnarled rough appearance. I was delighted to realise the bark was made with puffed rice – like fancy chocolate crackles for grown ups!

We all suddenly lose our sense of decorum around this bowl and I spy sophisticated ladies who lunch gleefully destroying the beautiful display to get to the goods.

High tea at the Hyatt Hotel

It wouldn’t be afternoon tea without freshly baked scones, and the scones at the Hyatt’s high tea certainly deliver.

High tea at the Hyatt Hotel

High tea at the Hyatt Hotel

There’s a generously filled bowl of thick whipped cream, and a sweet selection of jams available at each table.

We enjoy our scones topped with thick cream and strawberry jam, which hails all the way from Austria.

The scones look pretty standard, but they proved to be impressively feather-light and fluffy, despite their crunchy exteriors. I’m really more of a soft-sided scone kinda gal, so I guess this experience proves – never judge a scone by its exterior!

High tea at the Hyatt Hotel

I wasn’t content to stop there. Oh no. I’d been staking out the waffle section, watching with eagle eyes from our seats by the fountain.

The piano man probably thought I was giving him the eye – but I was actually checking for signs of freshly cooked Belgian waffles.

I’m very pleased to report my weird waffle watching paid off. They were light and tender-crumbed with a fantastic crisp exterior. A and I shared this one with a dollop of thick cream and a drizzle of maple syrup – but there was also an evil looking chocolate sauce and fresh fruit sauces on offer.

High tea at the Hyatt Hotel

As we neared the end of our afternoon, I realised we hadn’t sampled any of the cold desserts. Food blogger fail.

It would have been remiss of me to leave without trying at least one of the options available.

I tried the Eton Mess, which was a lovely take on this traditional Brit dessert (I know I’m supposed to say ‘pudding’ but that seems like a misnomer).

This version featured layers of sweet chantilly cream, strawberry and passionfruit coulis, a drizzle of dark chocolate and crumbled vanilla meringue.

Happy birthday A!

This afternoon tea gets A’s seal of approval

My partner in crime A declared the afternoon tea at the Hyatt a major success. We both had a lovely afternoon, and really enjoyed the selection of food available.

The surroundings are calm and relaxed (no struggling to hear the conversation you’re having with your friends), and the staff are friendly and attentive making it a comfortable dining experience.

Afternoon tea is served on Saturdays and Sundays between 3.00 – 5.00pm, for $48 per person, and includes tea, coffee, free-flowing sparkling wine (or soft drink).

Reservations are recommended. You can book online at the Cafe at the Hyatt website.

Cafe at the Hyatt Regency Perth on Urbanspoon

Disclosure: we enjoyed this afternoon tea courtesy of the City of Perth, as part of Eat Drink Perth.

Macaron-9

Chocolate peanut butter macarons

This isn’t the first time I’ve made macarons. After two previous attempts, I think I’ve finally worked out the necessary technique. The recipe I’ve been using comes from Jose Marechal’s excellent book, Secrets of Macarons, which provides an in-depth step-by-step guide to making these sweet treats for the home cook. I definitely recommend checking this out if you’re keen to get started on making your own macarons.

Macaron shells waiting to be baked (after 30 minute resting/drying time)

Chocolate peanut butter macarons

Using chocolate macaron recipe by Jose Marechal

Ingredients

  • 180g almond meal
  • 200g pure icing sugar (not icing mixture)
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 75ml water
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 160g of egg whites, divided into two equal portions (80g each) – you’ll need between 4-6 eggs, depending on the size you’re using
  • food colouring (optional), in red and green, or brown
  • Peanut butter of your choice (I used Kraft chunky peanut butter)
Equipment and other useful bits 
  • Electronic scales (a worthwhile investment if you decide you like making macarons!)
  • Candy thermometer
  • Food processor
  • Electric mixer (I use a KitchenAid stand mixer with the standard bowl)
  • a large metal, glass or ceramic mixing bowl (you’ll need two if you are using a hand mixer … no plastic as you’ll be using this with sugar syrup)
  • a small saucepan
  • a pastry brush
  • a glass of water
  • silicon-coated baking paper (such as Glad Bake, or identical supermarket-brand versions)
  • a large sieve (or fine mesh colander, if you’re totally lazy like me)
  • two spatulas (you’ll probably only need one…)
  • a pastry bag with 8mm – 1cm pastry tip (I use disposable bags from Wilton, with a plastic tip)
  • a permanent marker
  • 3 – 4 baking sheets
Method
  1. Using a shot glass, bottle top or any other circular template, trace out circles on to some paper (which fits your tray) using your permanent marker. It’s best to create staggered rows to avoid any conjoined twin macarons. I just trace out one piece of paper, then use this as a template beneath a fresh sheet, rather than tracing several pieces. (You can also save the circle template for later)
  2. Process the almond meal, icing sugar and cocoa until combined and fine – it should resemble a finely grained powder once it’s ready. You may need to do this in batches to ensure consistent texture. I find tapping the bowl regularly and scraping down the sides helpful. Sift into the large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. Measure the caster sugar and water, adding to the saucepan. I like to do this right on the scale, pressing tare as I go. Easier that way. Place pan on the stove, and bring to the boil using the candy thermometer. You’ll need to make sure it doesn’t touch the base of the pan – this can completely stuff up your temperature reading. Don’t let it boil above 115c/240F. Turn it down to simmer if you need to. Try not to agitate or mix the syrup, to avoid crystallisation. You can also brush down the sides of the pan with your pastry brush and water occasionally to avoid this happening.
  4. Beat half your egg whites (80g) until they reach a soft peak stage. Increase the speed once your syrup reaches 105c/220F. Your egg whites should be coming along to firm peaks by now.
  5. When your syrup reaches 115c/240F, remove from the heat. Pour into egg whites in a thin stream, while mix continues to beat. Keep beating for a further 10 minutes or so, until the mixture cools.
  6. Grab your bowl of processed almond meal etc, and add the remaining egg white (80g), mixing well with a spatula. Don’t worry about being to rough with the mix at this stage. You won’t hurt it. Add a little food colouring at this stage if you’re using it.
  7. Your meringue mix should be cool by now. Using the spatula, scoop out about a third of the meringue, adding it to the almond meal and egg white mix. Combine the two mixes well, you’ll need a bit of elbow grease to get them properly combined.
  8. Now incorporate another third of the meringue mix into the almond mix. More gently this time, using a folding action. The mixture will loosen after this next bit. Add the rest of the meringue and continue to mix, until the batter is uniform in colour and texture. It should be quite sticky, thick and definitely not runny.
  9. Prepare your piping bag, and fill with the mix. Be sure to get rid of as much extra air as you can while you fill – big air bubbles from your piping bag can lead to craters in your macarons.
  10. Take a piece of clean baking paper and lay it over your template, and on a baking tray. Pipe even rounds within each circle.
  11. Tap the finished tray on a bench (you can be pretty vigorous here), and let it sit in room temperature for at least 30 minutes. This step is very important to ensure your macarons stay pretty. They’ll crack if not rested long enough and they won’t form the distinctive ‘feet’ – the frilly bubbled edge around good macarons. You’ll know you’ve got it right when you can gently touch the surface of your macarons without leaving a mark.
  12. While you pipe your trays, preheat your over to 150c (300F).
  13. Bake macarons for 12 – 15 minutes (depending on size). Mine took 14 minutes.
  14. Dampen a bench top or table surface. Once the macarons are done, transfer macarons on the baking paper directly on to the dampened surface – this will make them easier to remove.
  15. Take cooled shells and match them in pairs according to size/shape. Spread/pipe with peanut butter of your choice, and sandwich!
My macarons getting the damp bench top treatment
Perfect feet!
And that’s it. You’re finally done.
Now make yourself a cup of tea (or coffee) and enjoy!

 

 

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High tea at Rochelle Adonis, Northbridge


I saw this sweet little print on the wall at Rochelle Adonis on Sunday and thought: “Damn straight!”

J and I had been planning to visit Rochelle Adonis with his cousins H and E for some time. As H is now about to move to Melbourne to complete her honours year in neuroscience, last Sunday was the perfect time to talk, catch up, and be fed at the same time.

Tomato and basil quesadillas, sweet corn and coconut soup, cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches

We started with a selection of savoury bites – tomato, basil and mozzarella quesadillas, sweet corn and coconut soup, and cucumber sandwiches with the traditional cream cheese. Being a big fan of corn, quesadillas and cucumber sandwiches, I was all over this selection.

I love a good cucumber sandwich, and these didn’t disappoint. Although we found the skewered presentation a little awkward to get out mouths around. I decided to throw propriety and caution to the wind, pulling out the skewer and just going for it.

 The quesadillas were lovely – crispy on the outside, as all good quesadillas should be, with sweet tomatoes and fragrant shreds of basil throughout. The mozzarella served as the ultimate creamy glue to hold it all together.

My plate

I thought the stand out of this savoury selection was the sweet corn and coconut soup. It was amazingly smooth and rich, with a velvety quality about it that made it thoroughly drinkable and delicious! The flavour of the corn was intense, and made even richer when coupled with the coconut – and we all agreed that the buttery flavour of the soup reminded us of popcorn, and also of Jelly Belly buttered popcorn flavoured jelly beans (do you remember those?)

Rice pudding brulees with cumquat compote, sweet nougat filled ‘wantons’ with strawberry ‘jus’

For our second course, we enjoyed two fun interpretations of classic dishes – rice pudding brulee with cumquat compote, and sweet wantons, which were stuffed with Rochelle’s famous nougat.

H and E were particularly pleased to hear the word ‘brulee’, as neither of them had tried a brulee before. I really enjoyed the addition of the bittersweet marmaladey compote with the creamy rice pudding. Sometimes I find rice pudding to be too rich (even though I love it), and the addition of the citrus really helped cut through that.

Nougat filled ‘wanton’ with strawberry jus

The wantons were an interesting play on one of my personal favourites. These were probably as far removed as possible from the crispy, porky morsels I know and love. I loved the strawberry jus which the wantons sat on, which was fragrant with the summery scent of strawberries.

Winter fruit salad with sabayon, mini pecan pies with vanilla ice cream

Our next selection was a winner for sweet tooths. Ordinarily I consider myself a fan of all things sweet, but I’ve got to confess that after our previous ‘courses’, a hot chocolate and a cup of tea, I was dangerously close to sweet-food coma stage once I finished this round.

The winter fruit salad featured apple, pear, dates and sour morello cherries with a sweet sabayon folded through. I really enjoyed the subtle spiced flavours of the salad, which I think probably included cinnamon, nutmeg and star anise.

Pecan pie minus ice cream

We were warned as this selection arrived to ‘start with the pecan pies’ to avoid any ice cream melting mishaps. To prevent this, I ate my ice cream first :) and followed with the buttery pecan pie. I loved the crumbly buttery pastry, and the caramelly roasted pecan filling.

Egg nog milkshakes

To finish off this course, we were also presented with a tray of mini-milk bottles, filled with boozy and rich egg nog. It was liberally spiked with brandy, and was a fun nod to ‘Christmas in July’ (though I don’t know if that was intentional)! The retro waxed-paper straws reminded me very much of candy canes, and no doubt cemented this Christmas reference in my mind.

Part of the high tea experience at Rochelle Adonis includes being seated at a shared table with other diners. We had a great time chattering amongst ourselves, and didn’t find this a problem. I did notice that some of the other diners during our session looked a little uncomfortable, so it’s worth noting this before you go. Of course, on the flip side – if you have a group of ten or more, then you could enjoy the luxury of the place to yourselves, all around one big table – which looked like a lot of fun for the group of ten ladies enjoying a champagne high tea next to us.

Even if high tea isn’t your thing, there are many delicious takeaway sweet and savoury treats on offer at Rochelle Adonis which makes it worth stopping by. You mgiht consider trying some of Rochelle’s famous nougat – the dark chocolate, cherry and almond version we bought on our way out last Sunday only made it to Wednesday night!

And I noticed a chalkboard menu of lunch specials which sounded delicious – including a beef and red wine pie.

For a high tea sample menu and further information visit Rochelle Adonis

Rochelle Adonis on Urbanspoon

Cheese and bacon scones

Juji seeks:
The perfect carb, capable of working independently or in a team. Versatile – available for meals morning or evening. Hard on the outside, yet soft and yielding on the inside with a golden exterior. Yummy extras are an advantage (cheeses preferred). Bacon, always a must.

Cheese and bacon scones

Makes about 14 – 16

Ingredients

  • 6 rashers streaky bacon, rind removed, finely chopped
  • 3 cups self-raising flour
  • 90g butter, cubed
  • 100g tasty cheese, finely grated
  • 50g parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups buttermilk (plus extra for glazing)
  • paprika, for dusting
  • butter, extra, to serve

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a roasting pan with baking paper.
    Note: I like to use a high-sided pan to ensure soft-sided scones. If you like yours crispy, use a lined baking sheet.
  2. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Cool completely.
  3. Sift flour into a large bowl (or bowl of stand mixer).
    By hand: Using your fingertips, rub butter into flour until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
    Using stand mixer: Turn mixer on lowest setting, add cubed butter gradually, beating well after each addition. Mix until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.Add bacon and cheese. Mix well (by hand if you used a stand mixer).
  4. Make a well in centre of mixture. Add buttermilk slowly. Mix with a flat-bladed knife until mixture forms a soft dough, adding more buttermilk if required. Turn dough on to a lightly floured, clean surface. Knead dough gently until smooth (take care not to knead too much, you’ll just need to work it enough to bring it all together).
  5. Pat dough until 2.5cm thick. Using a 5cm cutter, press gently and cut rounds from dough. Place in roasting tin, ensuring that scones are placed next to one another (for soft sides) or spaced apart on your baking sheet 3 – 4 cm for crispy sides.Brush tops of scones with extra buttermilk, sprinkle with paprika. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until golden and well risen (may need to vary depending on your oven).

    Serve scones hot with butter.

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Koko Black, Claremont Quarter

The day I learned I was lactose intolerant was a sad one.

Goodbye, flat whites. Sayonara to creamy hot chocolates.
Hello, soy milk, and a minimum fifty-cent surcharge on every hot drink purchased.

Luckily for me, and everyone else who suffers a similar affliction, soy has become popular. While I scoff (usually) at the mere suggestion of anything veggo, vegan or otherwise granola, I do tip my hat to the health and diet conscious crowd who have made soy options more palatable, and popular.

J and I continued on our anniversary weekend way, which meant a stop at Koko Black’s new Salon at the Claremont Quarter. I’d heard via TFP that Koko Black’s menu featured a specially blended soy hot chocolate ($5.95). Soy. Chocolate. On the menu! I was there in a flash.

Trio of Tastes | $9.00, from left clockwise: Chocolate Opera, Vanilla Pannacotta, Alice Lamington

Perth has certainly gone cuckoo for Koko Black. Since opening in March, the salon is regularly packed with ravenous chocaholics getting their fix.

We were more than happy to join the throngs of screaming fans… all in the interests of blog research, of course ;)

We ordered a Trio of Tastes – after our hearty breakfast only a few hours earlier, the thought of ordering something larger was challenging for me.

I was very keen on sampling the Alice Lamington, having already heard about it. I was glad I did – I loved the sour cherry jam sandwiched in between the fluffy layers of sponge. The moist grated coconut added the lovely (coco)nutty flavour I enjoy so much in a good lamington.

It reminded me of the fresh lamingtons I ate as a kid – hand made for church fundraisers which my Mum used to help with. Once you’ve tried a truly fresh lamington, all other packaged varieties pale in comparison.

Despite the risk of crazy lactose hell, I soldiered on with J’s assistance. The super silky smooth Pannacotta was a delight. It was generously flecked with vanilla seeds and was perfectly set but not too set, with the perfect wobbly-solid texture.

Coffee fans should definitely try the Opera Cake – it’s covered with thick ganache, with layers of moist chocolate cake sandwiched with rich coffee cream. I’d totally go for a slice of this in lieu of my usual morning coffee. All the satisfaction of coffee (aroma, taste, caffeine) plus cake! :)

Chili Hot Chocolate | $5.95

J’s Chili Hot Chocolate was an impressive sight to behold. I don’t think the red stripes were chili-flavoured, but they certainly looked good.

It had a pronounced chili kick which J enjoyed. He made me try it after he noticed the chili heat wasn’t a mouth-burning heat – interestingly, you get the flavour of the chili straight up, and the kick only presents itself upon swallowing as this fun throat-burny sensation.

Ok, sounds weird, but chili fans would enjoy it – we certainly did!

My Soy Hot Chocolate ($5.95) was impressive. Rich chocolatey flavour, smooth and without the telltale soy aftertaste which I still don’t like after over five years of drinking soy milk.

Of all the things I would go back to Koko Black for (besides the chocolate and cake), this would be it. Definitely. Period.

Oh, and while I’m there, I’d also get a lamington. And some Manjimup Truffle Caramels. And perhaps some South Australian candied orange slices dipped in dark chocolate…

Koko Black on Urbanspoon

Sweet potato pie

As a child I used to spend hours reading from my Mum’s recipe book collection. My favourite books were usually the ones which featured food prominently (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), and I often found myself inspired by the foods I read about.

I vividly remember asking Mum to make rhubarb and custard – despite never having eaten it before, and not knowing the first thing about how it would taste (I think I was seven). But I was a girl on a mission. And I had my rhubarb.

As an adult, that unmistakable ‘a-ha‘ feeling still comes over me when I stumble upon a recipe online or in a book (now my own). I find myself struck with the feeling that I have to eat something – not because I’m hungry, but because I just know I’ll like it.

My latest a-ha came courtesy of my strange (and inexplicable) love of all things Southern. I’m not even American. Never been there. Never met anyone from the south. For some reason food from America’s south really appeals to me. Fried chicken. Grits. Sticky pulled pork. And now, sweet potato pie.

This pie is surprisingly light, and not as sweet as I expected. The sweet potato yields a fluffy, moist filling. The added cinnamon and nutmeg make this a spicy treat which I think of as ‘christmas flavoured’ though I know it’s not exclusive to the festive season.

The pastry recipe I used (linked below) was surprisingly easy, and delivered a good result in a short amount of time.

We enjoyed this at a family afternoon tea. My nieces Ruby and Zoe seemed to be more intent on eating the pastry – but that’s okay with me!


Sweet potato pie

Adapted from Sweet Potato Pie I recipe at allrecipes.com

Makes 1 large 9-inch pie

Ingredients

450 g sweet potato (raw weight)
115 g butter, softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 unbaked pie crust (I used this recipe, and froze the remaining dough for another time)

Method
  1. Boil sweet potato whole in skin for 40 to 50 minutes, or until done. Run cold water over the sweet potato, and remove the skin.
  2. Break apart sweet potato in the bowl of an electric mixer. Turn the mixer on and beat at a slow speed to break up any remaining lumps of sweet potato.
  3. Add butter, and mix well with mixer. Stir in sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into an unbaked pie crust.
  4. Bake at 175 degrees C for 55 to 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Pie will puff up like a souffle, and then will sink down as it cools.
  5. Sift over a little extra cinnamon once the pie is cool (if you wish).