Red Velvet Cupcakes For Michelles Birthday

When I went to New York in June, one of the places on my list was Magnolia Bakery. I first saw this on an episode of Sex and The City. I also heard a lot of reviews about their famous cupcakes. I fell in love with Magnolia’s Red Velvet Cupcakes. It was so light and fluffy. The icing was creamy and you couldn’t stop at one. When I got back to Sydney I searched the web and found the recipe.

I decided to make these special cupcakes for a friend at work. It was a perfect fit for her personality. Michelle is a fashionista, so chic and very New York.

Magnolia Red Velvet Cupcakes – Makes 24

3 1/2 plain flour (sifted)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons red food coloring
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Preheat oven to 175°C

1. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the food colouring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.

3. Mix the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour, beat until the ingredients are just incorporated.

4. In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well.

5. Divide the batter among the prepared pans. I used some cupcake wrappers to make it easier to clean up.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean..

The cupcakes came out so red. I recommend using powder food colouring instead of the liquid form.

Happy Birthday Michelle. I hope you liked the cupcakes.

Everyone at work loved the cupcakes. I will definately make these again. Its such a vibrant colour and simple to make. If you ever travel to New York make sure to visit Magnolia Bakery. Their cupcakes are amazing.


Mixed Berry Ice Cream With A Twist

I remember a few years ago, my brother got me an ice cream maker for my birthday. It’s still sitting in the box. I haven’t used it. I know you are probably thinking what a waste. I just don’t have the time to set it up and pack it back up.

I cam across an ice cream recipe on One Bit More. Chocolate Chai Ice Cream (no machine needed). That was the line that caught my eye.

I decided to mix things up and add a few other ingredients to the recipe. I wanted to combine the flavours of India Kulfi with the creamy texture of ice cream.


375ml sweetened condensed milk400ml thickened cream
200ml evaporated milk1 cup frozen mixed berries
2 cardamom pods (seeds crushed)


1. Combine condensed milk, cream, evaporated milk and cardamom in a bowl and whisk for 5 minutes or until it is double in size

2. Add berries into the mixture and put it into an air tight container

3. Freeze for 2 hours, take it out of the freezer and mix with a spoon

4. Put it back in the freezer overnight
Serve with some frozen berries on top

You don’t need to take the ice cream out after 2 hours to mix. I chose to do this so that the ice crystals would break down which makes the ice cream really creamy.

The ice cream turned out so well. It was so simple to make. The cardamom added an almost exotic feel to the ice cream. I think that ice cream maker will probably stay in its place for another 2 years. Ehehhe.

Thanks to Shez from One Bite More for sharing such a great recipe. Check out her Chocolate Chai Ice Cream recipe here..


Baileys With A Hint Of Coffee

Kasey from Porter Novelli sent me some of the new Baileys with a hint of coffee. It was perfect timing as I was going to try my hand at making some fudge. I think fudge is a great Christmas present. I mean who doesn't like chewy gooey squares of sweetness. It just spells Christmas to me.

The Baileys came with some information and a recipe for fudge. It was a really simple recipe and it took no time at all. It was 41 in the west when I made this so I couldn't take good shots of what I made. But I can assure you it tasted great and really packs a punch from the Baileys.


150ml Baileys with a Hint of Coffee
50ml milk
30g butter
350g caster sugar
300g white chocolate
Butter for greasing


1. Grease the cake tin with butter and chop up white chocolate into small pieces

2. Measure out 125ml of Baileys and pour into the saucepan

3. Add the milk, butter and caster sugar and put the pan over a low heat. Stir occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved and the butter melted – this will take about 10 minutes

4. Turn up the heat to medium and let the mixture gently simmer while stirring constantly. You want the bubbles to be calmly breaking the surface for 10 minutes.

5. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in chopped-up chocolate and the last 25ml of Baileys. Keep stirring until the chocolate has melted and you have a beautifully smooth consistency

6. If the chocolate doesn't melt, put the pan back over a low heat and stir until silky smooth

7. Transfer to the tin and chill in the fridge for at least two hours, or until it has set completely

8. Remove from the fridge, cut into pieces and enjoy!

Baileys with a Hint of Coffee is in stores now and will be available in 700ml with an RRP of $34.99. Its the perfect Christmas gift.


Baroque Bistro For A Very Blogger Christmas

We all know how incredibly hectic the Silly Season can be. I wanted to make sure that before all the mayhem started that I would catch-up with some of my favourite Food Bloggers. So I sent a quick email to find out when the girls were free and settled on a Tuesday night. Since it’s for Christmas I thought Secret Santa would be fun. Lorraine picked names from her hat and sent us all emails to tell us who our Secret Santa was.

A few months ago I went to the Showcase for Baroque Bistro. I liked their menu so I nominated it for our dinner destination.

When we all got to the restaurant we settled in and caught up before we all gave Lorraine our presents. Everyone took turns closing their eyes so they couldn't tell who their present came from.

Once the presents were distributed we all started opening them. I knew exactly who got me. I looked at her and she smiled. Trisha from Sugarlace. I got a cookbook called 1001 Cupcakes and Cookies and Other Tempting Treats. I love it and cant wait to post some recipes from it.

Trisha, Lorraine and I decided to share some entrees and mains. I think this is a great way of tasting more of whats on offer. It also stops me from getting too much Food Envy.

We decided to order the snail and asparagus salad $13.00 and the black pudding on puff pastry with roasted apples $15.00 for our Entree.

The snails were soft and the salad was delicious. I only ate a few snails as I was really looking forward to the second entree. This was my first time tasting black pudding. It was really nice with the apple and the pastry. It didn't have a very strong flavour like a Filipino dish that I eat called Dinuguan. This is basically a blood stew that has a very strong flavour.

Trissa and Betty both ordered the baked eggs, porcini cream and toasted baguette $13.00. I had some of Trissa's and it was really nice although I am not really a big fan of runny eggs.

Ellie ordered the poached chicken, witlof, mango with a soy vinaigrette $16.00. It looked like a very summery Entree.

For mains we chose the Ocean Trout Fillet with carrot puree $24.00, Braised Beef Cheeks with roasted parsnips $25.00 and the Confit Lamb Shoulder $25.00.

The Ocean Trout was gorgeous. It was soft and the carrot puree was smooth. This was my favourite dish.

When there are beef cheeks on the menu I always end up ordering it. I like slow cooked meat. They were very soft and sticky. The roasted parsnips were also nice.

Our waiter got a bit confused and didn't bring out our lamb with the rest of the mains. I don't eat much lamb but this was great. It was seasoned and cooked really well.

Ellie ordered the butchers cut of beef with fries and eschallot jus $25.00. The fries with this dish were freshly cut and had a slight garlic flavour.

Dessert was shared by the entire table. We ordered the breton shortbread with apple and nougatine $15.00, Croquettes of chocolate caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream $13.00 and the Vanilla creme brulee with pistachio ice cream $13.00.

The croquette innards was a pool of dark chocolate. It was lovely. I really couldn't taste much of the caramel sauce though.

The brulee was ok. I've had a lot of creme brulee and this was not the best. I don't think the ice cream had enough of a pistachio taste.

The breton shortbread with apple and nougatine was my favourite dessert. This came with cute little macarons. Speaking of macarons, they gave us some complimentary macarons.

Baroque is a great place to go for a casual dinner with friends. The menu is affordable and the atmosphere is very relaxed.

Baroque Bistro Patisserie
88 George Street, The Rocks
SydneyNSW, Australia

Telephone: 02 9241 4811

I'd like to thank Trissa from Trissalicious, Betty from Betty's Bites, Ellie from Almost Bourdain , Lorraine from Not Quite Nigella and Trisha from Sugarlace for joining me for dinner and Secret Santa. Meeting you girls has been one of the highlights of my year and I look forward to many more meet ups.

Trissa I can't wait to see your post with you grating coconuts on your new coconut graiter.


Caleb's Birthday Party

My nephew Caleb had his 2nd birthday party on the weekend. I can't believe he is 2. He has grown up so fast. I'm not being biased but he is such a smart young man. At the tender age of 2 he is out of nappies, knows how to have a proper conversation and always says Please, I Love You and Ta. He also has great taste buds. He loves Fried Tilapia and eats all different kinds of fruit without hesitation.

For his party I made some sausage rolls and rocky road. Below is the recipe I used for the Rocky Road. This is a child friendly recipe which means no nuts.

Simple Rocky Road
2 Blocks of 250g Cadbury Black Forest
1 250g Strawberry and Vanilla Marshmallows (chopped into small pieces)
¼ cup Desiccated Coconut
8 Chocolate Ripple Biscuits lightly crushed
Sprinkles to decorate


1. In a bowl add desiccate coconut, chopped marshmallows and crushed biscuits.

2. In a separate bowl melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for 2 minutes. Pour the chocolate over the dry ingredients and mix until combined.

3. Put mixture into pattie pans and decorate with sprinkles.

The cutest little girl in the world. This is my niece Caitlin. Isn't she a doll? She makes everyone smile.

My brother hired a Slushie machine. Oh this was very popular as it was an extremely hot day. The next day we all tried to drink as much as possible since it was going to go to waste. Oh the brain freeze was intense. SLUSHIE OVERLOAD...

Sausage Rolls. I will post the recipe I used in upcoming post. This was a healthier version packed with carrots and celery.

The chocolate fountain was a hit too. This was served with some strawberries, banana bread, banana and pineapples for dipping in the fountain of joy. Yummmmmmmmmm.






Belgian Beer Cafe

During a hectic working week it’s always good to take a break and have a few drinks and a nice lunch with some friends at work. On this particular occasion it was Danny’s farewell lunch.

We went to the Belgian Beer Café. Perfect timing as it was Mussels Wednesday. From Midday to 10pm its half price mussels. They also have a special menu of two courses for $25.00 to celebrate their 10th anniversary.

I ordered the Mussels Poulette. These are cooked with white wine, bacon, vegetables and a touch of cream. Normally $26.90 but because its was Mussels Wednesday it was only $13.45. The mussels were plump and poulette had a nice flavour and loaded with ham and vegetables.

The mussels came with the Belgians signature chips with mayonnaise. The chips were very oily this time around. It wasn't up to its normal standards.

Kat and Danny ordered the A l'Escargot. These are half-shell mussels, grilled with garlic butter. Normally $25.90 but $12.95 for Mussels Wednesday

Chris ordered the Heritage Herb & Chicken Schnitzel $24.50. I tasted a little piece of the chicken and it was just very herby for me.

Mon ordered the Belgian Chicken & Mushroom Vol au Vent. This is a chicken, mushroom and asparagus casserole served on a Vol au Vent. This was part of their set menu which is 2 courses for $47.00 and 3 Course $57.00.

The Belgian is a good place for lunch especially if you go when they have their specials. Their website has a lot of information on upcoming promotions and specials so check it out.

135 Harrington Street
The Rocks NSW 2000
Located in the old St. Patrick School Hall, just behind Grosvenor Place
Telephone: (02) 9241 1775
Fax: (02) 9241 1875


Blog Award..

Wow I got my first Blog Award. I'm in shock..

Over The Top Blog Award:According to the rules of the award, I must provide my readers the answers to the below 35 questions in ONE WORD I also must THANK my award giver Ellie @ Almost Bourdain for this fun award AND grant 6 of my FAVORITE BLOGGERS this award. Then, give them the heads-up that they have been nominated by yours truly..

Where is your cell phone? Desk
Your hair? Brown
Your mother? Inspiration
Your father? Hero
Your favorite food? Crème Brulee
Your dream last night? Money
Your favorite drink? Lychee Shake
Your dream/goal? Successful
What room are you in? Lounge
Your hobby? Baking
Your fear? Sharks
Where do you want to be in 6 years? New York
Where were you last night? Brothers
Something that you aren’t? Selfish
Muffins? Raspberry
Wish list item? Kitchenaid
Where did you grow up? Australia
Last thing you did? Bake
What are you wearing? Jeans
Your TV? LCD
Your pets? 2
Friends? Rocks
Your life? Interesting
Your mood? Happy
Missing someone? Family
Vehicle? Yaris
Something you’re not wearing? Skirt
Your favorite store? Marc Jacobs
Your favorite color? Purple
When was the last time you laughed? Now
Last time you cried? Thursday
Your best friend? C/H/A/R/E
One place that I go to over and over? New York
One person who emails me regularly? C/H/A/R/E
Favorite place to eat? Home

OK before I post my pick I just wanted to say that I have a lot of favourite blogs. and it was really hard to choose the 6. If I could grant 200 I would :)

I would like to pass on this wonderful Over The Top Award to 6 bloggers (in no particular order):

Conor @ Hold The Beef
Trisha @ Sugarlaced
Peachkins @The Peach Kitchen
Mary @ Keep Learning Keep Smiling
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
Lauren @ Celiac Teen


Kulinarya Cooking Club - Turon

Today marks the first post for the Kulinarya Cooking Club..

Kulinarya was started by a group of Filipino foodies living in Sydney, who are passionate about the Filipino culture and its colourful cuisine. Each month we will showcase a new dish along with their family recipes. By sharing these recipes, we hope you find the same passion and love for Filipino Food as we do.

The first dish that we decided to make is Turon. This is a very common snack in the Philippines. It is eaten any time of the day. There are a few versions of making this, but typically it is sugar bananas with jackfruit dipped in sugar and wrapped in a spring roll wrapper and fried.

Below is my version:


2 bananas (you can use sugar bananas but you will need 4)
1/3 cups brown sugar
3 to 4 piece of jackfruit in syrup (you can use fresh jackfruit)
1/2 cup syrup from jackfruit or water
8 spring roll wrappers.


Slice the bananas in half and then length ways.
Slice the jackfruit into strips about ½cm wide.
Dip the banana one at a time in the syrup and then roll in the brown sugar
Put the coated banana on top of the spring roll wrapper which should be in a diagonal. Put 3 to 4 pieces of the jackfruit on top.
Wrap the bananas like a spring roll and set aside
Fry the Turon in vegetable oil until golden brown. You can also deep fry them if you have a deep fat fryer.

If you're interested in joining our Kulinarya Cooking Club, please feel free to drop by the food blogs below and leave a comment - we would love to hear from you!

I would like to say a big THANK YOU to Helena for designing the banner.


Making Ensaimada

Ensaimada has always been a family favourite. My mum often orders this and we would eat the entire box in one day. Its a soft fluffy bread that often has butter, sugar and Edam cheese as a topping.

I'm not really a bread baking kinda girl. The thought of waiting and punching out dough scares me. On Saturday as I was getting ready to read through some emails my mum shouts out "Oi we are making it". So I said "what are we making what?" Then she said "Ensaimada hurry we are making it."

So I went to the kitchen and she had a recipe ready for us to get started. She chose a recipe on Burnt Lumpia. She must have spent some time on Google looking for a good recipe. I was so glad she chose one that came from a fellow food blogger's site.

Punching out the dough was fun. It's a great way to relieve stress. Just think of your worse enemy and punch away...

The Ensaimada was delicious. My mum and I looked at each other in shock as we bit into the hot bread. I will definately be making this again. It was also a great bonding experience for me and my mum. She only yelled at me once. ehehehe..

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