Sunday, July 19, 2009

Adriano Zumbo's Chocolate Mousse Cake (from Masterchef)

I don't know what possessed us to attempt this cake. It took my husband and I 4 hours to make it. We were alternating between mixing the 5 different layers, cooking it, assembling it, decorating it and trying to keep our son entertained as well. Poor little guy. Here are the photos...
Pate sable cinnamon (in the oven)
Texture apple tatin insert - Part A

Texture apple tatin insert - Part B

Salted Caramel Layer (we should have cooked this for longer)

Cigarette decor paste - this was the decorated part on the side of the cake. You really need a blast freezer for it to work out because it didn't set fast enough for the contrasting colours to show.

Biscuit jaconde mixture (used with the cigarette decor paste to make the decoration and also one of the layers in the cake)

Spreading the Biscuit jaconde mixture on top of the Cigarette decor paste

Halfway through our baking and this is the mess already.....we
ran out of clean pots and mixing bowls and had to clean some up to continue on
This was suppose to be Blackberry ganache stage but we couldn't find any fresh or frozen blackberries at the store so we used strawberry instead.


Mixing the straweberry ganache with the sabayon to form Chocolate strawberry sabayon mousse

1st layer - the mousse


2nd layer - salted caramel (the caramel is suppose to be poured into a silicone mould and then placed in the blast freezer). Since I didn't have a blast freezer I had to just pour it straight on top of the mousse layer cold. I'm sure this affected the overall appearance too because it was just too runny.

3rd layer - jaconde

4th layer - mousse

5th layer - apple tatin

6th layer - sable (6th layer should actually have been another jaconde followed by the 7th layer of mousse and then the final 8th layer should be the sable but the tin was already full and we ran out of mousse)

This was the first cake (we ended up making 2 because our cake tins must be really small)
See how the Cigarette decor paste didn't show up on the side of the cake - you need the blast freezer.

This is pathetic I know. But I don't have a sugar thermometer so I couldn't make the Tempered chocolate. We had to make do with one big swirl and our "stone henge" decoration instead. We also were not going to use a paint gun to decorate it so just sprinkled cocoa on the top instead.

It takes a lot of concentration to cut a cake (well when you are 2 it does...)

And how was the layering? Yikes scroll down, the second cake looks better!

(still the first cake)

Here's the second cake (minus the decorations because by this stage we were over it and just wanted a slice)

Slice from the second cake (below). Still pathetic. Click here to see what it's really suppose to look like.
Not Quite Nigella is one of my favourite food blogs to visit and she was fortunate enough to try Adriano Zumbo's Chocolate Mousse Cake. I'm so jealous! See the difference between mine and the real thing. Man, Mr Zumbo would be falling on the floor laughing by this stage.

Squint and you might be fooled....

So how did it taste. Pretty darn good. I think if we had cooked the caramel for longer it would have made a big difference. Would I make it again? Probably not. It took me 4 hours for crying out loud and that's with 2 people at it! There was just so much to do and it was really involved. Not to mention the cleaning afterwards too! I'd make the apple tatin insert again and use it for an apple pie. I'd also make the mousse on it's own and just eat a tub of that.
I'm glad we attempted it. It was a real challenge and I have all new respect for the Masterchef contestants and Mr Zumbo himself. Amazing.
Almost forgot, here is the recipe. Remember my cake does not resemble anything like the real one because I don't have a sugar thermometer or a blast freezer....and I'm not Adriano Zumbo. Well that's my excuse anyway.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Yum Cha Egg Tarts

I love yum cha. I go almost once a week with my parents and the kids. Ready made steamers of food being carted around a trolley for you to pick out and eat without having to wait, what's not to like? Ok maybe some people would prefer to avoid the chicken feet, intestines, stomach lining and such. Just stick to the safe ones like Sui Mai (Pork, prawn and mushroom in a wonton wrap and an orange dot at the top - suppose to be fish roe) one of the more popular dumplings. And then there is the Har Gow (prawns encased in a translucent wrapping). Mental note - take photos next time I go. I just assume everyone knows what yum cha is and all the different types of dumplings.

To encourage Keane to have more steamed dumplings I bribe him with the promise of Darn Tart (or egg tart), his absolute favourite. So it got me thinking about making some at home. I myself prefer the puff pastry version, but I hear it's hard to make so I went with the short crust one and see how that goes first. These are great. I've made them twice already and the second time was better.

The dough mixture makes more than the recommended 10 tarts. I ended up using my small ramekins and a small muffin/tart pan for the extras.

Mini muffin/tart pan

Piping hot out of the oven. My place smelt so good

Not bad for a first attempt

Here is the recipe I followed. I made some minor adjustments (eg omitting the vanilla extract from the dough) but these are fantastic instructions.

Another note - Since it has been so cold, my butter was still hard even at "room temperature". So I nuked it in the microwave and ended melting the butter completely, but that didn't affect the recipe. I hate stuffing up a whole cake just because I over-nuked my butter.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Family Masterchef Challenge

My family decided to have a Masterchef cook off. There was only one rule and that was we had to make something that was featured on Masterchef. We asked a few friends to come be the "judges" who also had to pay $15 each to have a wonderful 3 course meal. The winner takes the money!

I decided to make the Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch sauce and Almond Praline. I rang up House, Victoria's Basement, Peters Of Kensington to order some dariole moulds. None of the stores had any left. I rang up the wholesale company who stock them and was told there are none left in New South Wales due to an overwhelming demand for them....due to Masterchef. Can you believe it??? So I wasn't the only one crazy enough to buy them just from the show. Anyway, I decided to order the only ones I could find. On Ebay....from Hong Kong. They did not arrive! So I had to make do with moulds that my sister-inlaw had. Bummer.

There was 3 of us and Amra made Julie's Pan-Fried Steak and Chips with Tarragon Salt. I'm kicking myself because I was so busy preparing my dish that I forgot to take photos of her plating! So sorry!!! Here's the recipe.

Justin went for the Walnut Crumbed Chicken with Vegetable Chips by Linda. Recipe here.

And I went with Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce and Almond Praline from one of the earlier pressure test episodes. Recipe here.
And the winner of the $75 and gloating rights....ME! And I must thank my husband as my sous chef! Check out my trophy too:

It's quite sad, I made the trophy for the winner. I fully expected Amra to win and even told her to put it up at work when she does. It's now sitting proudly on my dining room table ; )

Thanks for all getting together for a good laugh. With comments like "Beans were undercooked, as in RAW" and "my one looks like dog turd". I wonder which friend WON'T be invited to our dinners again.....huh Prem???

And thanks to the chefs for a good meal (we eventually got to eat the off cuts and left overs" and also thanks to my sister-inlaw & Justin for letting us trash their house, use their pantry and dirtying every single item of cutlery, dishware and utensil they own.

Now, what to do with my $75? Minus the $20 I spent on ingredients, minus $18 I spent on the moulds (which are yet to arrive). Total $37 left...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Crème Brulee

My Crème Brule was a little runny and didn't set properly. I wonder if the recipe requires gelatin? Maybe something I could play with next time. Other than that it was really creamy and rich - so good!
Water bath

Torching the top

End result

I used 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste instead of an actual vanilla bean. And I would suggest sprinkling caster sugar on the top instead of brown sugar. I found that the brown sugar burnt more quickly. Also, sprinkling 2 teaspoons of sugar is not enough. More like a heaped tablespoon.
Here's the recipe I followed.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Good Food & Wine Show Sydney 2009

This is the first year I've been to the Good Food & Wine Show and I absolutely loved it. I went with 2 of my good friends, Amra and Prem and we really enjoyed ourselves. We intended to try one of the restaurant meals by Gordon Ramsay but there was so much free samples to try we were too full to have lunch. We gorged ourselves on cheese, bread, cake, dips, chocolate and so much more.
This is just one side
Yay! Alastair McLeod from Ready Steady Cook and who is also the Executive Chef at Bretts Wharf in Brisbane

We bought tickets to see Matt Moran (owner and chef of Aria reastuarant). He was brilliant! He was funny, comical, engaging, playful, entertaining and he cooked a great meal. He was just fantastic. I want to eat at his restuarant more than ever.

Here are some other things we sampled/saw throughout the show. I had heaps more but of course I was too busy eating to take photos of everything.

TsingTao Beer

Marinaed Quail

Qauil leg. I also tried the marinaded quail meet earlier on and it was delicious. Maybe I should consider trying to cook quail some time. Wonder if it's fiddly

Also saw Dominique Rizzo demonstrate too

Bretzels - All kinds of pretzels available

Vegetable spread

Cookie Couture - had a very artistic display

Cookie Couture

Cookie Couture - how adorable!

Cookie Couture - very appropriate

Yaels Cakes of Distinction - they were only giving out free samples but weren't selling any of their cakes. Shame because it tasted fabulous

Yaels Cakes of Distinction

Yaels Cakes of Distinction

Forgot the name of this stand but they did look really good

So good that Amra bought this cupcake. Edible sprinkles too

What a great day! I'm looking forward to next years Good Food & Wine Show!