Making: Almost There Triple Caramel Tart

You know the thing with baking? It can take you anywhere.

It always starts with an idea, and then it plays out and you never know where it’ll take you until you’ve completed the whole product. This isn’t always the case since baking is a science and everything happens according to plan if you follow a recipe, but if you’re creating something as you go, then it is interesting to see where an idea can take you.

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A couple of Sundays ago, I had an idea in mind – I wanted to make a tart. I didn’t know exactly what tart to make but I knew I wanted to make a tart for sure. I played with the idea of making a raspberry chocolate tart because that is a flavour combination that I was familiar with and also had the ingredients for, but as the day went by, my ideas changed and this “Almost There Triple Caramel Tart” was born.

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Making: Macarons

I love making macarons. Yes, they are temperamental and sometimes unpredictable depending on the time of the month (jks), but I love a good challenge once in a while so I like tackling a good macaron recipe every now and then.

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Making: Dessert Table

I moved into a new place late last year and to celebrate, I had a house warming party and invited some friends and family over for a gathering. My mum was in charge of the savoury dishes and I took over the desserts station. I have never done a dessert table before so I stuck to what I could easily do so that I don’t stress out too much (because moving is already stressful as it is).

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The final dessert table featuring some savoury macarons, a colourful macaron tower, 3 tiers of strawberry tarts, a cheese platter, some fruits and some earl grey praline.

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Ananas Bar & Brasserie, Sydney

You’d think after devouring all the amazing desserts at the Shangri-La Sweet Street event, we’d head home and just rest from dessert coma. Nope, we decided to make one last stop to Ananas Bar & Brasserie for their desserts.

We ordered the Snickers dessert as well as the eclairs trio.

Snickers dessert; eclairs trio

Snickers dessert; eclairs trio

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My Top 3 Patisseries in Melbourne (2014)

Melbourne is jam packed with good and great patisseries. Whether you’re just looking for a casual for a catch up with friends over cake and coffee, or whether you’re looking for a place to eat great pastries, it is not difficult at all to find a decent place but here are my picks for Top 3. 🙂

1. La Belle Miette

Morning Tea at La Belle Miette

Morning Tea at La Belle Miette

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Koko Black (Collins St), Melbourne

Koko Black is quite an iconic chocolate brand here in Australia, with many stores across Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth and Melbourne. Recently, they have also opened up a salon in New Zealand.

I have a very distinct (and humiliating) story of Koko Black. In 2007, my best friend and I were both only 17 years old with very limited experience in the ‘dining out’ scene in Melbourne. We were shopping for our formal dresses and wanted to find a place to sit down and have a drink. As we were walking past Koko Black in Chadstone Shopping Centre, we both thought it would be a good idea to go in. We were poor students. As soon as we saw the menu, sat in the dimly lit salon, alarm bells immediately went! We were contemplating whether or not to walk away after the waiter has explained the specials to us, as well as pour us 2 cups of water.  We ended up trying their afternoon tea item which included some chocolates, cakes, ice cream and ice chocolate. It was a very expensive pit stop.

Fast forward 7 years, I am now confident enough to walk away (when needed). But obviously, why would I walk away from Koko Black? I have never tried their chocolates prior to this visit, although I’ve always been a fan of their decadent iced chocolate, which I only reserve for days where I am feeling especially vulnerable. Haha. During this visit, I bought a box of 6! I was at the Collins St store at about 8.30am and there were already 3 tables of dine-in customers, ordering chocolates. Wow. There really isn’t a specific time for eating desserts.

Koko Black - box of 6 chocolates

Koko Black – box of 6 chocolates

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Tips: The importance of tempering correctly in chocolate making

I attended my very first chocolates & praline level 1 class back in November 2013 and everything seemed so straight forward there. We were taught how to temper on a marble surface and students got to work with a chocolate melting tank each. The products from that class were beautiful, shiny moulded chocolates (and some enrobed pralines), so I thought I could easily replicate them at home!

Moulded chocolates from class - Chocolates & Praline Level 1

Moulded chocolates from class – Chocolates & Praline Level 1

Remember my previous post on making moulded chocolates (June 2014)? I was working with very basic and cheap tools and I was still able to produce some nice moulded chocolates.

But it wasn’t always that easy for me. Due to my impatient nature, I got too excited during the chocolate class with the amount of chocolate we were working with (12 chocolate tanks) and also the surprisingly beautiful products that were produced in the short 7 hour class, that I completely ignored my basics.

It isn’t hard to make shiny moulded chocolates at home, provided that you get the basics right, i.e. time, movement and temperature (Official Callebaut guide).

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Chez Shibata, Shanghai (柴田西点)

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I visited this place on a Saturday afternoon and the place was packed with dine-in customers。 Although it was already 4pm, the display cabinet was still kept quite full. I am guessing Chez Shibata receives quite a lot of orders in addition to their walk-in customers as there were at least 6 staffs in the kitchen.

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