Eating out with kids AND a Giveaway

Auction Rooms2

You must know by now that I have two small children.  I know, I probably go on about them in my blog, but this one is especially for them.  Hubby and I love eating out. I especially love it when we go out as a family. Taking our children out for a meal is a great way for them to learn about different cuisines. It gives the kids a chance to experience different food and they can make up their own minds on what they like and don’t like.

As a family, we were given the opportunity to try out a couple of kid-friendly places in the inner north suburbs.  We don’t live there but like to venture out to cafes and restaurants.  In the past we have enjoyed meals at various places and we love to return over and over again.

To celebrate all things inner north, a Facebook page has been set up where you can click “like” to keep up to date with events and festivals.  Head on over to their page for your chance to win the Ultimate Northside Experience valued at $4000!  Check it out for more details.

One place that was a must try was breakfast at the Auction Rooms in North Mellbourne.  This place has a great breakfast menu for both adults and children.  The staff are friendly and the food is tasty and beautifully presented.

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Auction Rooms6

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 Hubby really enjoyed the crumbed black pudding with tomatillo salsa and pickled pine mushrooms whilst I ate the tasty gammon ham steaks, spinach pancakes and poached eggs.

 The kids enjoyed poached eggs on sourdough and a bruleed french toast.  The french toast was to die for and was thoroughly enjoyed by all of us.  The servings were quite big for the children but mummy and daddy didn’t mind helping them out at all ;)

Another go-to place for children in the inner north is Shocolate.  All kids love chocolate.  This cafe is located on the corner of Johnston & Brunswick streets, Fitzroy.  Their glass display of éclairs and macarons looked gorgeous and they have a great kids menu.  The cafe is intimate making it very family friendly and the service was happy and cheerful.

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Look at the smiles on their chocolate covered faces.Shocolate5

 We “inhaled” their fantastic iced chocolate, the kids ate crispy and crunchy dessert (chocolate ice cream with crisp pearls – cereal balls in chocolate) and the shocolate éclair.

Shocolate

My tips on eating out with small children:

  • I like to check out the menu before heading out to the restaurant to make sure it’s kid friendly.  Also, if you have picky children or children with allergies, this will also aide on deciding if the cafe/restaurant menu is suitable for your family.
  • I like to have wet wipes every time we go out to eat.  Little hands tend to get very sticky, very quickly.
  • Keep the kids occupied while waiting for their meals.  I like to bring along pencils and paper or digital devices to keep them busy before their meals come.  There’s nothing worse than having hungry AND bored children.
  • If you need high chairs, I suggest you give the cafe a quick call before heading out there as not all supply them.  Some are also not pram friendly so keep that in mind if you need to have the pram with you.
  • Try visiting places you may not usually go. This will help expand your kid’s palettes.

I’m hosting a giveaway on my blog to win a $50 voucher for 400 Gradi,  an Italian Pizzeria located in East Brunswick featuring wood fired pizzas and a Neapolitan menu.  To enter, leave a comment below telling me which cafe or restaurant in the inner north you frequent and why.  Get on it now!!

This giveaway ends Midnight 27th April and is only open to readers who are able to dine in at the restaurant in East Brunswick.  Please share by tweeting or facebooking.  Good Luck! 

My family dined at Shocolate and Auction rooms courtesy of Keep Left PR, Hockingstuart and Live North.

Bon Appetite,

Cherrie

 

Easy Rice Crispies Easter Nests

Easter Nest3

I love making little treats for the kiddies.  I try to find recipe that are quick and can be made in a moments notice, provided you have the ingredients of course.

Since Easter is coming up fast, I’ve  decided to make these Easter egg nests for a treat.  It’s also perfect if you want to bring a little something to a friend’s place to eat after a meal.

This has only 4 ingredients and the kids can help decorate them.  You can garnish these nests with anything you like, it doesn’t have to be for only an Easter treat.  Use your imagination :)

 

Easter Nest2

Recipe:

  • 1 tbs butter
  • 100g mini marshmallows
  • 2 cups Rice bubbles (rice krispies)
  • Mini Chocolate Easter eggs

 

  1. Prepare a 12 hole muffin tin with cupcake cases.  Set aside
  2. In a saucepan melt butter over low heat then add the marshmallows
  3. Continue stirring until the marshmallow has melted.  Careful not to burn the bottom of the pan
  4. Add the rice bubbles and stir until all the cereal has been coated with the marshmallow mix.
  5. Using a tablespoon that has been lightly coated in oil, spoon  the mixtures into the cupcake cases.
  6. Use the back of the spoon to make a little dent in the centre.
  7. Place in fridge for about 15-30 mins to set a little
  8. Garnish with Easter eggs

 

Easter Nest

Happy Easter.

Cherrie

 

Leche Flan Ice Cream

leche flan ice cream 3

Hands up if you like ice cream.

Keep your hands up if you like eating ice cream any time of the year.

I love ice cream and I can eat it by the bowl full and not only during summer.  I can eat ice cream at midnight in the middle of winter while comfortably tucked under a thick warm doona.

While it’s nice to go out and buy good quality ice cream from stores, there is nothing better than home made ice cream.  Hubby bought me an ice cream maker and  have yet to use it.  I wanted to make my own creation using the best base recipe.  Creator of Harry’s Ice Cream, Lawrence Harris has shared his tips and recipe for making the best home made ice cream.  Harry’s ice cream has dessert flavoured ice creams that are out-of-this-world good and you can do the same at home. Nothing beats home made ice cream especially if you get to chose your own mix-ins.

The hard part was deciding what flavour and mix-ins I wanted to add.  When I decided to make my ice cream, my family was (and still is) obsessed with leche flan (Filipino creme caramel).  It was a brilliant idea.  To Lawrence’s base recipe, I added 2 more egg yolks and a tablespoon of custard powder to get the base flavour more custardy.  I also used sweetened condensed milk instead of sugar.  I use condensed milk in my leche flan so I wanted my ice cream to have the same flavour.  I then added a swirl of palm sugar syrup and topped it off with praline.

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Lawrence Harris’  tips for making the best home made ice cream.

  1. Keep it simple with a maximum of three additions; you want to be able to taste each element
  2. If you’re adding a very sweet mix-in such as white chocolate or honeycomb, consider reducing the amount of sugar in the base mix to ensure the end product is not overly sweet
  3. Think about each flavour on a plate and consider if they complement each other – match flavours that have a natural affinity to each other or reflect an existing dessert that works well.
  4. The freezer bowl you’re using should be completely frozen before starting the process – put it in the freezer for 24 hours prior
  5. Mix- in ingredients and flavours should be no larger than a 10 cent piece.

Leche Flan ice cream Recipe:

Ice cream:

  • 300ml pure cream
  • 300ml full cream milk
  • 395g can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 tbs custard powder

Palm sugar syrup

  • 200g palm sugar
  • 3/4 cup water

Praline

  • 1/2 cup white sugar

Make the palm sugar syrup

  1. Place the palm sugar and water in a small pot.
  2. On a low heat, melt the sugar then simmer until the mixture thickens a little.  Leave aside to cool

Make the praline:

  1. In a small saucepan, place 1/2 cup sugar on medium heat.
  2. Melt the sugar until golden brown in colour.  Do not stir, instead, swirl the pot until all the sugar is melted.
  3. Pour over baking/silicon paper and leave to cool and harden completely.
  4. Once hard, break into small pieces and set aside.

Make the ice cream:

  1. In a double saucepan on a low to medium heat, add the cream and milk and heat to 40degC
  2. Mix the custard powder with 2 tbs of the 300ml milk.
  3. Add the condensed milk and eggs and whisk continuously until the temperature reaches 80 degC.
  4. Remove from the heat and put the bottom of the saucepan in a bowl of ice water to prevent the mixture heating further.
  5. Let the mix cool to room temperature and then refrigerate to 4 degrees.
  6. When you’re ready to make your ice cream, remove the freezer bowl from the freezer and assemble your machine.  Turn the machine on first then pour in the mixture.
  7. The ice cream will take 15 to 30 minutes to thicken ( depending on your machine).
  8. When the ice cream is almost solidified, slowly drizzle in the cooled palm sugar syrup.  Let the ice cream churn a little longer to allow the syrup to be swirled into the ice cream a little.
  9. Once the ice cream is churned, transfer the mixture immediately to a freezer-safe container and put it in the freezer.  Freeze until your desired consistency or until ready to serve.
  10. When ready to serve, scoop ice cream into serving bowls and sprinkle the praline on top.

leche flan ice cream

Ingredients were provided by Keep Left PR and Harry’s Ice cream

Bon Apetite,

Cherrie

Pork Belly with Tamarind and Sweet Chilli Sauce Glaze And a Giveaway!

Tamarind glazed pork belly and Taylor's wine

I was contacted by  Taylors Wine  to try out their wines and to do a giveaway on my blog.  How can you say no to wine, so of course, I said yes!  One lucky reader gets a chance to win 2 bottles from Taylors Wine but more on that later.

Taylors wine is a family owned wine company in South Australia’s Clare Valley, that was born from a passion of producing exceptional, hand crafted wines.  I was lucky enough to try their Taylors Estate Gewurztraminer.  This wine has rose, musk and spice aromas, along with a palate that is crisp and zesty with lime and lychee flavours.  I wanted a dish that would compliment those flavours and had a look at their website where they list food and wine pairings.

Taylor's Wine

I came up with a recipe that was not only damn delicious but went really well with the Gewurztraminer.  I love pork and what better cut is there than pork belly?  I simmered the pork belly first and cooked it all the way through. I then placed in a hot oven to get that nice crunchy crackling on it.  I accidentally put the oven on the grill with fan function but didn’t realise until after an hour of cooking. But the crackling turned out perfect. At first I thought the glaze would soften the crackling but it didn’t.  It just gave it extra flavour.  One word. Winner!

Tamarind glazed pork belly and Taylor's wine2

Recipe:

  • 1.25kg pork belly
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tbs salt
  • 4 bay leaves

Glaze:

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup sweet chilli sauce
  • 1/4 cup tamarind puree
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  1. In a large pot, place pork belly and enough water to cover.  Add the salt, pepper and bay leaves.
  2. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 1.5 hours.
  3. Take the pork belly out and let it rest on a rack at room temperature for at least one hour.
  4. Preheat grill with fan function on your oven to 220degC
  5. Meanwhile mix all the ingredients for the glaze in a small bowl.  Place half aside into a small serving dish.
  6. Roast the pork belly for 20mins then turn down the temperature to 170degC for an hour and a half.
  7. Glaze the pork belly with your glaze mixture and let it roast for another 15 mins.
  8. Serve with the extra glaze for dipping.

Tamarind glazed pork belly and Taylor's wine3

To enter:

  • please leave a comment at the end of this post.
  • Australian residents only
  • You must be over the age of 18 to enter. Wine will be shipped out once proof of age has been secured.
  • Winner will be notified by email.
  • Competition ends midnight 14th March 2014
  • What are you waiting for?  Start commenting!

Bon appetite,

Cherrie

Choc-Peppermint Slice

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Hubby has asked me repeatedly to make him a peppermint slice. I, too, wanted to make it for a while and I finally got round to it.  I found a recipe in one of my AWW cookbooks and I knew it wouldn’t disappoint.

What I really like about this recipe is that it isn’t too pepperminty and if you use good quality chocolate for the topping, the slice becomes very addictive. So this recipe comes with a warming.  Please be careful when consuming. You cannot stop at just one slice.

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Recipe:

  • 250g plain biscuits (I used milk arrowroot but you can use Marie or any other sweet ones)
  • 100g butter, chopped
  • 125ml sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 x 35g peppermint crisp chocolate bars, chopped coarsely

Chocolate topping:

  • 200g dark chocolate, chopped coarsely
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  1. Grease a 19cm x 29cm slice pan and line with baking paper.
  2. In a food processor add the biscuits and process until fine.
  3. Combine butter and milk in a small saucepan .  Stir over low heat until smooth.
  4. In a bowl, add the biscuits and the chocolate bar.  Stir in the butter mixture until well combined.
  5. Press the mixture into the prepared pan.  Refrigerate for 20 mins or until set.
  6. Meanwhile, stir the chocolate and oil in a small heatproof bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water until smooth.
  7. Spread the mixture over the slice.  Refrigerate until firm.
  8. Enjoy!

peppermintslice4

Bon appetite,

Cherrie

Banana Fudge Layer Cake for Great Food Blogger Bake Off

 

Bananafudgelayercake

I think you all must know by now how much I love to bake.  I try to bake at least once a week for my family.  It can be anything from bread to cakes and cupcakes and of course everything in between.

Last month, I invited a group of other food bloggers for a bake off pot luck.  Everyone had to bring a savoury bake and a sweet show topper.  We were all a little nervous and the flurry of tweets and instagrams ( #GFBBO) prior to the gathering showed just that. But just like every other food blogger pot luck, everyone delivered the goods (literally).

For my savoury bake, I baked Paul Hollywood’s bacon and cheddar loaves.  I’ve baked them before and you can find the recipe here.

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I decided to bake a Banana fudge layer cake. I got the recipe from the Great Australian Bake Off cook book but it is also featured in the Great British one.  I just made a tiny change. I added whipped cream in between the layers. I thought it just lightens the whole cake.  This cake is perfect for occasions as it looks spectacular but most importantly, it’s not difficult to make.

banana fudge slice

 

Recipe:

For the sponge:

  • 175g unsalted butter, softened
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 25g brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature, beaten
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla paste/extract
  • 3 tsp milk, at room temperature

For the filling and topping:

  • 175g brown sugar
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 75ml plus 200ml double (or thickened) cream
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 ripe bananas, thinly sliced
  • Preheat oven to 180degC.
  1. In a large bowl or electric mixer beat the butter until creamy.  Gradually beat in the 2 sugars until the mixture turns paler in colour and becomes light and fluffy.
  2. Gradually add eggs, beating well after each addition.  Sift the flour into the bowl and fold into the mixture with a large metal spoon.  Combine the vanilla and milk and fold in.
  3. Evenly divide the mixture into 3 x 20cm prepared tins.  Bake for 15-18 minutes or until light golden brown.
  4. Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, make the fudge mixture by putting the sugar, butter and 75ml of cream in a saucepan over a low heat.  Stir frequently until the butter has melted.  Turn up the heat and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the mixture from catching on the base of the pan.  Take the pan off the heat and vigorously stir for 30 seconds.  Add the sea salt flakes.  Leave to cool.
  6. Whip the cream until soft peaks
  7. To assemble, spread one third of the cream on top each cake, then layer the banana slices on top of the cream.  Choose one cake to be the top layer and place the banana slices decoratively on top. Now slowly pour or swirl the caramel fudge over the bananas letting some of the caramel drip over the edges.  Now carefully, place each cake on top of each other, making sure it is straight.

Tip: For even cake layers, weigh the cake batter and divide evenly into thirds.

Our savoury table:

savoury collage

 

Our sweet table:

sweet table

 

For pics of what fantastic bakes we had that day look up #GFBBO on twitter and instagram

Bon appetite,

Cherrie

Toasted Pavlova Roulade with Bulla Vanilla Flavoured Cream

Pavlova Roulade 1

When I heard that Bulla Dairy Foods thickened cream have added vanilla and chocolate flavours to their product line, I was excited to try, especially the chocolate flavoured cream.  However, when I went to the supermarket, the vanilla one was the only flavour available.  That was ok, I wanted to try this one too.
I decided to make Shangri-La Hotel Sydney’s Pastry Chef, Anna Polyviou’s recipe for a pavlova roulade.  The recipe is available online but I’ve included it below for your convenience.  The original recipe didn’t state the measurements of the baking tray and I chose one too small ( around 23cm x 30cm) which made the pavlova too small and thick.  For better results use a bigger tray so the pavlova is thin and easier to roll.
I also didn’t have some of the toppings on hand, like the popping mango, so I used fresh mango pieces instead.  I guess you can top your pavlova roulade with any topping you desire.
Pavlova Roulade 2
Toasted Pavlova Roulade with Bulla Vanilla Flavoured Cream, Popping Mango and Tropical Fruit Compote Creation courtesy of Anna Polyviou, Executive Pastry Chef, Shangri-La Hotel Sydney Serves 10-12
Ingredients:
  • 8 free range eggs (whites only)
  • 270g caster sugar
  • 10g cornflour
  • 10ml white vinegar
  • 5ml vanilla essence
Filling:
  • 200ml Bulla Vanilla Flavoured cream
  • 5 passionfruits (de-seeded)
Garnishes:
  • 1 pineapple (diced)
  • 100g popping mango pearls
  • 1 punnet baby basil
  • 3 passionfruit
Method:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160degC. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Combine 250g caster sugar and cornflour in a bowl.
  2. Using the whisk attachment of your electric beaters (or Kitchen Aid), whisk egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks are formed; then reduce to a low speed, gradually adding in the caster sugar and cornflour mixture. Once mixture is glossy and firm peaks have formed, add in the vanilla essence along with the vinegar.
  3. Spread the meringue evenly onto the baking paper, taking it to the edges. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until slightly golden in colour.
  4. Lay a sheet of fresh baking paper on the bench and sprinkle 20g of the caster sugar over it. Once meringue is cooked, turn out onto the sugar dusted paper – gently peeling the baking paper away and allowing to cool.
  5. Pour the Bulla Vanilla Flavoured Cream into a clean bowl and whisk with an electric whisk/beater until it’s semi-whipped. Remove and fold in the seeded passionfruit. Spread the Bulla Vanilla Flavoured Cream evenly onto the meringue sheet.
  6. Gently roll the meringue into a tight roulade.
  7. To serve: Place the roulade onto a rectangle dish then place the pineapple, passionfruit, popping mango pearls and baby basil on top to finish.
Bulla Vanilla Flavoured thickened cream and ingredients courtesy of Bulla and Mkt. Communications.
Bon appetite,
Cherrie