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

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Published in: on February 17, 2012 at 12:18 am  Comments (2)  
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with Bill and honeycomb butter in mind…

Yesterday I read an article on Bill Granger’s Sydney. In the SMH he spoke about heading to Single Origin Roasters in Surry Hills for a caffeine hit and frequently visiting both Shimbashi Soba in Neutral Bay and the inner city¬†Longrain as he quipped that no place does better Asian food than Sydney, out of Asia. Waking up this morning I was thinking about what defines my Sydney¬†and its characteristics (more to come on that later) and then my mind switched suddenly to thinking about honeycomb butter!

Last NYE, I was house-sitting my sister’s home and while flicking through her big collection of recipe books, I recall coming across a recipe for buttermilk pancakes with honeycomb butter. Weaving it into my menu for NY day, I have never before seen pancakes eaten so quickly before serving up these ones. Cooking for 12 house-guests who had been patiently waiting and slowly starving as I set about cooking in someone else’s kitchen; I heard them all chit chatting about fireworks, good sleeps out of the city and holiday to-do lists. As I served up the pancakes, baked sausages, fried eggs and crispy bacon; they later commented that it was the honeycomb butter that MADE the breakfast. Fast-forward to today and I just knew I had to eat some! I immediately sent Mr ELG with BIT off to the corner store to buy the all important ingredient¬†Violet Crumble. So¬†minus the buttermilk but with fresh ricotta in the fridge and inspired by a bit of Bill Granger, I set out to make his ricotta hotcakes with the all important addition of the honeycomb butter.

Placing the Violet Crumble in a zip-lock bag, I bashed it with a rolling pin so small chunks of the chocolate bar formed and in my beloved Kitchenaid, I whizzed it all up with 100g of unsalted butter and two tablespoons of condensed milk for around two minutes until just combined.



Before cooking the pancake mixture I suddenly remembered that last week on a whim, I had bought a bit of a crazysexycool Herbies spice by the name of “Strawberry Gum” from Chef and the Cook. Looking more like it should be added to a curry rather than pancakes, the label tells me that the finely ground khaki powder comes from the leaves of a native Australian Eucalyptus tree and strangely has the flavour of berries. So sprinkling a teaspoon of the spice in and folding it through, it is not long before Mr ELG and I have a morning feast before us. Finished off with lashings of Canadian maple syrup, some big, fat, luscious strawberries and a huge¬†dollop¬†of the freshly whipped butter, there is a sudden silence at the table and two very satisfied tummies moments later. And yes, that is baby ELG’s tiny hand edging towards the hotcake. I did start him on solids this week and he’s obviously raring to go as rice cereal is just not cutting the mustard!

Bill Granger’s ricotta hotcakes

4 eggs – separated

3/4 cup milk

1 1/3 cup fresh ricotta

1 cup plain flour – sifted

1 tsp baking powder

a pinch of salt


Combine 4 egg yolks, milk and ricotta together. In a separate bowl mix flour, baking powder and salt together and add to ricotta mixture. Mix until just combined. Whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form and in two batches; fold into ricotta mixture. Add a tsp of Herbies “Strawberry Gum” spice. Heat a pan and swirl it with 25g of butter. Drop two tablespoons of mixture per pancake into pan and cook for a couple of minutes both sides until golden crispy edges have formed. Serve with maple syrup, fresh fruit and honeycomb butter. Enjoy!

High Tea that brings tears to my eyes

Thoughts of scones, tiny cucumber sandwiches, fine pastries, mini quiches and English Breakfast would come to most people’s minds when thinking of High Tea. Most people would go to the Victoria Room in Darlinghurst or the QVB Tea Rooms and some may even contemplate an extravagant¬†celebration at the Dorchester, London to have a bit of High Tea.¬†But when my sister recently enquired as to whereabouts in Sydney serves High Tea at night, it reminded me that not everyone knows about my type of High Tea.

This is a high tea which still involves pots of EBT served at the door in teapots of all sorts but secret squirrels replace scones and sandwiches and somewhere¬†in a Surry Hills, Sydney¬†location there are 100 or so¬†people on a Thursday night who come together and unite over a shared love of music. Seated on cushions or lounges and cooling off under a¬†paper fan, musicians take an acoustic stage and croon¬†or play songs to their¬†heart’s content. Suddenly the¬†High Tea that is usually associated with high-end hotels hailing from the British Empire¬†takes on a dramatic new light.

It was on a summer’s night in early 2010 when I went to my first High Tea for the year not having heard of this musician before or knowing what his music was like. Walking into the room, there was warm candlelight and people already chatting when I arrived and the ambience had an immediate electricity. When Renny Field moved across to the piano and started singing “Your Eyes”, I felt time stop for the duration of the song. His words brought tears to my eyes as I listened to the beautiful melody. And when I listen to the song now, it takes me right back to that moment at High Tea that I shared with the others in the room that night.

So come and find me at High Tea; I will be there tonight listening to Sam Buckingham. There may be no scones but this is a secret worth discovering for yourself!

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