I haven’t really made any cakes or cupcakes in a while. Maybe it’s the lack of motivation, procrastination, moving to a smaller apartment (and hence a smaller kitchen), or all of the above. I felt uninspired, and no energy to exert any effort in baking.
Until last month, when Mr J gave me a birthday present in the form of a cake decorating class: Sweet Sessions with Cakes by Cliff and Lime Tree Bower. I knew I was going to enjoy the class, but I didn’t realise how much I was going to love it. Cliff and Helen were so knowledgeable in all things cake and florals – from the technical, to the artistic, to giving us creative freedom to just do whatever we wanted with the decoration. We covered the basics: how to make your own swiss meringue buttercream, the right temperature, the right tools to use, cutting, layering, and assembling. Wiring florals, choosing which ones are appropriate for cake decorating, taping, and then decorating. I had so much fun that it made me super excited to getting my hands dirty again with flour, butter, and buttercream! Thank you so much Cliff and Helen for your patience, generosity, and energy! Really enjoyed the class, and am looking forward to attending more!
Are you jam first cream second, or cream first and jam on top?
With scones, that is.
It’s one week away from the end of winter, and we’re enjoying 8 degrees, gail force winds, and a forecast of snow up in the mountains. It’s also a Sunday afternoon and raining outside, and I’m in the mood for some baking. Luckily, I managed to buy all the ingredients that I needed from the shops this morning – fresh butter, self raising flour, milk, cream and jam. And let’s be honest: my go-to scones recipe does not need a lot of ingredients. The key here is to use fresh ingredients. I tried making this a few weeks ago, but using flour and baking powder from my pantry, and somehow they failed to rise and the taste were just not right. Today’s batch were a million times better: these babies have a golden brown crispy outside, but buttery and fluffy inside. Not too crumbly, not too doughy.
Simple this recipe may be, but I know that I’m only 5 ingredients and 20 minutes away from warm, soft scones and happiness on a Sunday. Oh, and I’m jam first, cream on top kind of girl. 🙂
3 cups self raising flour
150g cold butter, cut in cubes
1 cup cold milk
Whipped cream (or better, clotted cream) and jam of your choice
Pre-heat the oven to 160C.
In a bowel, mix the butter and flour together by using your fingers. “Press” the butter cubes into the flour until you reach a sand-like consistency.
Create a well in the middle of the bowl, and pour the milk in. Using a small, blunt knife, mix the flour roughly into the milk.
Sprinkle a bit of self raising flour on a flat surface. Place the flour and milk mixture on top.
Roughly knead the dough together, but do not overwork the dough. Tip: instead of using a kneading technique, I “fold” the dough in itself around 5 times maximum. What you’re trying to achieve is a soft, slightly crumbly finish with layers thanks to the roughly mixed butter and the “folding” technique.
Cut small rounds and place on a pre-floured baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.
Chippendale is totally buzzing, and anyone can see why. Thanks to the shiny, glitzy lights of new structures in the area such as Central Park, UTS, The Old Clare Hotel, and the Kensington Street dining precinct, this once dark and somewhat shady part of Sydney has been resuscitated back to life.
Last Tuesday, we were privileged to sample the relaunched menu of Holy Duck!, one of Kensington St’s newest kid on the block. Thanks to the team behind Chefs Gallery (hello cute buns!), Holy Duck! is a modern Chinese diner-slash-restaurant that offers both traditional and fusion dishes, with the menu boasting east meets west flavours. We sampled dishes from the relaunched menu and I must say, their signature roast meats (duck, chicken, pork, and beef ribs) did not disappoint. Apart from the uber delicious signature roast Holy Duck! (with a thin crispy skin and very minimal fat), the menu also offers winner dishes such as the crispy crackling roast pork belly, lightly battered king prawns on ee-fu noodles cooked in lobster bisque, and the old time favourite roast duck pancakes. The white chocolate cheesecake stack with salted duck egg caramel and matcha crepe & banana fritters with vanilla ice cream and Adzuki beans capped off an amazing feast.
Holy Duck!’s relaunched menu is available now.
Thanks to Holy Duck! and Cardinal Spin for the ‘ducking’ amazing feast. Trish dined as a guest of Holy Duck!
The Old Rum Store
2-10 Kensington St Chippendale
Open daily 11am-3pm and 5.30pm-10pm