Sensationally Smitten

Happy Pancake Day!

OK I know I am 5 days late but we celebrated it all the same this morning in my kitchen with a sensational pancake recipe with inspiration drawn from Smitten Kitchen. I recently came across Smitten Kitchen after my ongoing search for the greatest birthday cake recipe…MM is turning 1 in April. In one of her posts, she boasts that she has found the recipe of all recipes when it comes to birthday cakes. When it comes time to baking the birthday cake, I will let you know. Another recipe that took my interest recently is the Chocolate Fudge Cake posted by Hostile Bacon. Miss Ren (of Hostile Bacon)and I share a love for a cake mixer and have had one or two discussions about the innocent Kitchenaid Stand Mixer and its all-reigning asset status in the kitchen…

So getting back on track with Pancake Day; the three ELGs were sensationally smitten. As usual, there was no rush to the corner shop so in PJs I used what was in the pantry so the original Smitten Kitchen recipe has been altered. The result was the pancakes were light, fluffy, golden and the mixture was easy to whip up and held itself together when it came time to flipping the pancakes in the pan. Mr ELG and I had them with the works; dusted icing sugar, squeeze of lemon juice, raspberry sauce and light drizzle of golden syrup. MM had them on his Bunnykins plate in an extremely watered down version. His pancakes were eaten bare but still woofed down all the same.

Apple and Raspberry pancakes

Ingredients:

4 small apples (I used Gala apples but any would do) peeled and grated

2 eggs – beaten well

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup natural yoghurt

1 1/2 cup self raising flour

pinch of baking powder

1/4 cup caster sugar

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

To serve:

Dollop of apple and cinnamon natural yogurt

1 banana – halved and sliced lengthways

golden syrup

raspberry sauce (if not your own then Cuttaway Creek is the next best thing!)

half a lemon

icing sugar to dust

Method:

Combine wet ingredients and lightly whisk together in a small bowl. Combine dry ingredients and make a well in the centre. Add wet ingredients and grated apple; whisking it all together until just combined. Add cinnamon and vanilla extract and stir in.

Brush a hot pan with some butter so it is thinly coated. Add two large tablespoons of mixture and flip over when bubbles start rising to surface. Place slices of banana between two cooked pancakes and dress with remaining ingredients according to personal taste. Makes 8

Eat. Love. Enjoy!

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Published in: on February 25, 2012 at 11:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Sipping a thick shake in sunny Sydney

Summer has finally arrived and boy is it showing off in Sydney!! Temperatures are finally above 30degrees and I am loving it. I also love Baskin Robbins Chocolate Peanut butter ice cream and having a thick shake of the flavour is actually a bit too much. Oh well at least that’s my chocolate fix for the week! Happy Friday!!

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Published in: on February 24, 2012 at 4:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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hello yellow!

When I was a little girl, my mum never dressed me in yellow. I always remember her saying Chinese people should never wear yellow; looks bad with their skin. Now at 31, I’m going to tell mum I disagree.

At the moment, I am loving all things yellow. And orange for that matter but that’s another post altogether. Yellow to me is sunshine, it radiates, states happiness and has this fabulous frivolity about it. It screams HELLO!

I also love Oscar de la Renta and his classic sharp lines in his design and seeing this yellow piece today from his 2012 collection has given me the inspiration for today’s post. So after the fabulous yellow ruffled sensation spotted on Camille Styles which I will show again here; I leave you with the thought for the day of hello yellow!

Published in: on February 21, 2012 at 12:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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salt and caramel

Salt and caramel. It’s up there with the best of food marriages….lamb and rosemary, chocolate and raspberry, egg and bacon. And truth be told, it’s all I can think about it this morning and when it’s not even midday on this glorious sunny Friday and I have read the phrase “salted caramel” twice already, well I think the food gods are trying to tell me something! Correct me if I’m wrong…. ūüôā

First sighting: clicking into my Flipboard app this morning on my iPad and reading the latest Polka Dot Bride blog post. Miss Polka Dot has willingly shared Baroque Bistro’s recipe of their beautiful salted caramel macarons. I stare at the recipe and the photo takes me back to October 31, 2009 to be precise. The date of our Engagement party. Mr ELG and I had a “Party in the Park” at the Column gardens in Centennial Park in Sydney, Australia. The roses were in full bloom, the hedges freshly cut and the grass was soft and green. Mr ELG and I had just come back from a Paris trip where Laduree macarons were on our agenda each day. As Laduree has no Southern Hemisphere store, Baroque Bistro had the next best macarons (I prefer the delectable taste from the Rock’s Baroque kitchens over Zumbo any day but that’s my personal preference!) and if I recall correctly, I think I picked up 250 macarons that morning struggling to hold back from nibbling on a few. Salted Caramel was one of the flavours and take my word for it or get yourself down to Baroque Bistro today; the flavour combination is exquisite and as I write this post, know I am salivating!

Second sighting: while MM is snoozing and I have a spare ten minutes between chores, I grab the latest edition of Delicious magazine; Issue 113 – March 2012. In their latest foodiefile. there’s a write up on the latest cafe on the Surry Hills scene; The Hills. As I scan the short paragraph, my eyes find their way to “salted caramel shake”. Ooooohh I think; can I get there today with MM in tow? A shake with THE marriage of flavours today of all days would go down so well, so smooth, so satisfying on this summer’s day. OH I MUST GO!

If you need me, you know where I will be….happy Friday!

Baroque Bistro @ 88 George Street (corner of Hickson Road) The Rocks, Sydney Australia 2000

The Hills @ 61 Albion Street, Surry Hills NSW Australia 2010

Published in: on February 17, 2012 at 12:18 am  Comments (2)  
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the poets, a yellow teapot and dumplings

Long title but quick post….

I’ve found another great dumpling place to go to and it’s tucked away in Top Ryde of all places! The restaurant is called The Poets and gives nothing away in its name but is situated in the alfresco area of the shopping centre is a restaurant with excellent quality Northern Chinese food at reasonable prices too. Unlike other dumpling haunts, The Poets is nicely decorated with comfortable custom made chairs, blue and white oriental cushions and has a wall entirely made out of chopsticks.

Tea was served in a stunning yellow teapot with matching tea cups which reminded me of a teapot that my mum has stashed somewhere. Note to self; must look for that and ask if I can borrow…?

And well the dumplings themselves were steaming hot, fresh and it was a lovely generous serving. MM also thought highly of them as an alternative baby food for lunch!

I told you – short and sweet.

The Poets @ Top Ryde Shopping Centre; corner Devlin and Blaxland Road Ryde 2112

Published in: on February 16, 2012 at 4:03 am  Comments (1)  
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Love love love today

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Upon this day love love love someone, something or anything for that matter. I walked through the Strand yesterday which was basking in all of its rosy red and fuschia pink glory from its bulbous papier pom poms. It was such a glorious welcome from the somewhat concrete city and really got me in the mood for a bit of lovin today!

Published in: on February 14, 2012 at 9:44 am  Leave a Comment  
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Got to getaway

That was my instruction this time last week from Mr ELG. “Let’s go away for the weekend. Can you please organise something for the three of us. I’m not fussed where but I need to get out of Sydney!!?” With the forecast set to rain, beachy destinations were out. Trawling around wineries with a 10 month old did not really whet the¬†appetite either so the Hunter was also crossed out. So the place that was booked and in my mind, is always nicer anyway when it’s cold and rainy was Leura, in the heart of the Blue Mountains; less than 2 hours from Sydney’s chaos.

On all of our other visits to the Blue Mountains, I have never once stayed in Leura. I always pay a visit to the high street but never based myself there. Blackheath has the gorgeous Heatherton House but needs more three people to make it worthwhile and on our last visit, Mr ELG and I were without a third wheel and instead wewere with 8 of our friends in a massive house in Wentworth Falls.

Walking down the high street in Leura the first thing I see is an A-frame blackboard sporting a familiar image that I usually see up the road at the Gallery cafe in Annandale – Princess Pantry. I follow the gorgeous bunting and it leads me into a cute little store next to the post office. Below the gold crown motive on the sign reads Ladies Guild¬†and inside I discover an assortment of handmade knitted goodies, greeting cards, bunting, tea cups and saucers and of course a great selection of the Princess Pantry¬†range…jams, marmalades and chutneys. As I read labels of Apricot velvet jam and True Blood Orange marmalade, it is hard not to want to source some fresh scones and cream to sample the whole range!

Moving down the street I discover that the beautiful pyjama store Papinelle¬†has opened up a store in Leura.¬†When Mr ELG and I were courting (haha; such an old fashioned description that always makes me laugh); he treated me to some of their collection. Unlike Peter Alexander’s bright and bold prints, Papinelle quench the thirst to be truly feminine at home with their lace, cotton and soft floral collection; not forgetting the Petite Papinelles as they cater for bubs too with their oh-so-cute bloomers.

The other must visits in Leura are the numerous homeware stores and the best stationary store on the opposite side. And while we wandered around immersing ourselves in the atmosphere, well dressed ladies and gents caught up in the roaring 20s and all that Jazz passed us by as they shimmied this way and that and took part in the Charleston Challenge.

Before we went home, there was one last visit to be made…Bakehouse on Wentworth. Known for their delicious sourdough and hot pies, it’s hard to to not follow the smell of fresh bread. And on Monday morning; as the three of us bit into our freshly toasted fruit sourdough toast topped with lashings of butter – we started the week recharged after a great getaway.

Princess Pantry @ Shop 4, Post Office Arcade The Mall Leura 2780

Papinelle @ Shop 5, 152-160 Leura Mall Leura 2780

Bakehouse on Wentworth @208 The Mall Leura 2780

Spellbound

I really am loving my kindle and now that my lighted cover has arrived, it means that when MM has me awake at 2am in the morning and my eyes are no longer sleepy and ready for slumber; I can switch on my little light, turn on the kindle and read without bothering Mr ELG.

My latest read literally had me spellbound. Not for the faint-hearted at close to 800 pages, The Discovery of Witches¬†by Deborah Harkness is a combination of Harry Potter, Twilight and Bram Stoker’s classic Dracula. So with those books in mind, I confirm Vampires, Witches, Daemons and us run-of-the-mill humans play the starring roles. Like the books above and Elizabeth Kostova’s book The Historian, it again poses the question – do these creatures walk among us and if so; do they work, where do they live and what are the rules?

The story is told through the eyes of Diana Bishop, a History professor at Oxford and through her work comes across an ancient manuscript. After reading this manuscript; life as she knows it (a witch in denial of her own powers) changes dramatically as a Pandora box is opened as others fight to find and acquire this priceless item before anyone else can. The book moves through England, France and upstate New York as the author demonstrates her thorough research into these topics and winds you up in her work of fiction.

I finished this book in just under 72 hours, as it quickly became a page turner and although my sleepless in Sydney behaviour gave me a rude shock when I discovered yet again that sleep deprivation and a 10 month old do not mix; it was another book that had completely swept me away as I re-read certain parts and researched other titles Harkness had penned. The Discovery of Witches is the first book in the All Souls trilogy with the second due to be released this July. I also found out that Warner Bros have secured the rights to the screenplay so to finish off I leave you with my casting thoughts that Hugh Jackman would be brilliant as Matthew de Clermont and Natalie Portman would make a great Diana. 

Now I’m always told sleep when they sleep so this 4pm siesta isn’t looking too bad….. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

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