Hamburger CAKE! from Ella’s Patisserie

I love love love Ella’s Patisserie (Forest Road, Hurstville) – there is even a Le Cordon Bleu certification behind the counter, so you know it’s going to be good. Some people go to Ella’s for their instant ramen menu but I go for their cakes, more specifically their mango mousse cake which is DIVINE. Their fruit mousse cakes are amazingly light, airy and fluffy with a strong taste of natural fruits. So whenever there is a celebration or a birthday in the family, we get a huge mango mousse cake.

Most recently, it was my dad’s birthday so I came home expecting a Mango Cheesecake… instead my mum brought out a Hamburger cake from Ella’s Patisserie. It looked like such a real hamburger it was weird to eat it especially with the sesame seeds on top, but it was delicious – a sponge cake filled with chocolate mousse (meat patty), fresh kiwis (lettuce) and strawberries (tomato), fresh cream (mayo) and omg the "cheese" was mango mousse. The combination of chocolate and mango may sound weird but it was so tasty – we each had seconds XP


yummm

Ella's Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Ayana’s Green Tea Macarons

Two weekends ago, I finally found the courage and pushed myself to try my hand at making macarons. I set aside a whole Saturday afternoon to make these babies and opted to make the Italian style macaron rather than the French style, because the Italian recipe seemed much simpler – equal ratios of almond meal and icing sugar.

I think watching Masterchef has instilled a fear of making macarons for me and so I had prepared myself for failure and disappointment. A good thing really because I failed… like three times ๐Ÿ˜ฆ So off I went and made three major boo boo’s:
First the almond meal was a bitch to sift through so I only sifted it once (in hindsight I should have used a food processor to grind the almond meal more) so it probably wasn’t the most fine of almond meal.
Secondly, when boiling my sugar to 118degrees EXACTLY, I had formed sugar crystals which hardened, so I had to start again. (I made toffee from the failed sugar boiling attempt though)
Thirdly I was scared to overbeat the egg mixture so I didn’t get the stiff peaks I needed = runny mixture.
 
After all the prep, I was ready to give up, but it would’ve been such a big big waste of time and effort, so I continued to pipe them. The piping was relatively easy and I had piped perfect little circles, but since my mixture was too runny the circles started to look like ovals and then just splats of mixture – oh well. Into the oven for 10mins and lo and behold – my macarons had pied!!! (Pied is the little rough frilly bit at the bottom of the shell). Unfortunately because my oven is tiny they burnt a little and the green has discoloured to a murky green with a hint of brown (I didn’t use any colouring for the shell). Quickly made some green tea ganache filling, squeezed onto one half of the shell, twisted the other half of shell on top – all done! I was really happy with the taste and the texture, crisp on the outside but chewy inside – the only disappointing thing was the look of it.
 

Guys, it was such an effort – I started at 2pm and finished at 6pm (including the washing up), but I did have a sense of accomplishment that my first attempt weren’t inedible and in fact tasted pretty good, though I was disappointed with the look of it. I was dead tired but I’ll probably try again sometime this week because I’m craving Salted Caramel macarons XP

 
Ooh they’re glossy, all piped and ready to go

 
Wafu style Macarons – Green Tea Macarons
(see how my pied/foot got burnt and a little discolouration on the top)
 

Chefs Gallery

So about a month ago after a coffee session at Tom n Tom, I noticed that the Malaysian? restaurant next door had disappeared and was replaced by a Din Tai Fung looking restaurant complete with kitchen gallery housing chefs expertly making handmade noodles – hence the name Chefs Gallery (Bathurst Street, Regent Place).

Not wanting to wait in a massive queue like at DIn Tai Fung, Bill had booked us a table at 630 (Note: they don’t take bookings after 6:30, so  you’ll have to have an early dinner or join the queue which starts to form at 7ish) . We were also joined by Jase and Helen, who was in dire need of Chinese food after her European tour and so it was here at Chefs Gallery where we caught up with Helen about the happenings over the past month.

The atmosphere at Chefs Gallery feels very much like Din Tai Fung with waiters constantly talking to their headsets and very attentive staff who placed a protector over his Jase’s jacket once he had hung it on the back of his chair. A difference could be that the restaurant is decorated with small Chinese artifact displays rather than steam baskets XP. Whilst browsing the menu you can’t help but watch the chefs repeatedly folding and stretching strands of noodles so of course we had to order some la mian (handmade noodles) and most of the other dishes we chose were the Signature dishes. Of course we also had to order some dumplings, however, although we were dining at 6:30 they had already run out of pork dumplings so we instead ordered pan fried pork buns which they advised would be a 20min wait.

We started off with an appetizer Pork Belly roll. I don’t usually like blanched fatty meats but this was delcious filled with crunchy vegetables, I especially loved the dressing. 
Though we were off to a good start, the next few signature dishes were disappointing – our Prawn Dumplings which were ordinary and Chefs own golden Snowflake Chicken (I think the name was too fancy here where we were just expecting something spectacular) , but the noodles were served in a pumpkin soup which was very strange to eat but nice nonetheless. We also ordered a dry noodle Zha Jiang Noodle.
Feeling quite disappointed, the Chefs Gallery redeemed itself with the last few dishes. Another signature dish Chefs own handmade egg tofu was absolutely divine!! The egg tofu was silky yet firm and the preserved vegetables it was served with made it very appetizing. And the 20mins extra we waited for the Pork Buns were well worth it – they came out very lightly panfried, perfectly smooth and round and amazingly non greasy like the ones you usually get!!!
They have a pretty extensive dessert menu divided by hot or cold desserts, so we finished the night off with dessert Piggy Buns – I just had to have these since I missed out when I was in Hong Kong. They were way too cute to eat!! filled with smooth black sesame paste. Will definitely be back for the Pork Buns and also to try the other desserts like the Pumpkin filled with lotus paste :9.

 
Chefs Gallery

 

 
Signature dish – Pork Belly roll
Thinly sliced blanched pork belly rolled with carrot, cucumber, topped with a garlic and oil free vinaigrette dressing

 
Signature dish – Xia Jiao
Prawn dumplings steamed in a fine clear pastry

 
Signature dish – Chefs own golden snowflake chicken
Lightly crumbed chicken fillet, very crispy, tender and moist served with noodles in a pumpkin soup
unfortunately an underwhelming dish ๐Ÿ˜ฆ 

 
Zha Jiang Noodle
handmade noodles with finely minced pork, dried bean curd and soya bean sauce

 
Signature dish – Chefs own handmade egg tofu lightly pan fried, topped with preserved vegetables

 
Signature dish – Jian Bao Zi
Lightly pan fried pork buns
DELICIOUS AND CLEAN I don’t think I can go back to eating the overly greasy jian bao zi anymore

 
Signature Dish – Steamed sesame ‘piggy face’ bun
omgg so cuteee and fluffy!!!

Chefs Gallery on Urbanspoon

Menya Mappen Japanese Noodle Bar

oops I forgot to mention Bill took all the photos ๐Ÿ™‚ he’s getting better huh??

The I’s Group have brought a little bit more of Japan to Sydney, with the opening of Mappen (Skyview Shopping Plaza). The concept is self service and simply to enjoy a quick, cheap and tasty meal with the potential to cost less than a coffee.

Before you enter Mappen, make sure to grab a menu by the door for instructions:

Join the queue.
Get a drink.
Grab a try and order your noodles or rice (they also have curry and a few donburi options)
Add toppings to your noodles (tempura flakes or shallots) and get yourself a soup spoon.
Help yourself to all sorts of tempura at the tempura bar.
Hungry? There’s onigiri (rice balls) here too!!! and Salad, Sansai veg, and daikonoroshi for tempura
Pour yourself some miso soup if you please.
Don’t forget to pour yourself ten tsuyu (tempura sauce) if you have tempura.
Pay at the cashier
Enjoy your meal
After you’ve finished – return your tray ๐Ÿ™‚

A bit like Ikea yeh??

With limited seating, their system failed a few times as people came in and found themselves a seat before ordering – this meant people who had ordered and collected their food were left waiting for a seat holding a tray of food, prompting Mappen staff to come out and ask people to give up their seats. If the restaurant is full, don’t worry about finding a seat as the turn over is pretty fast!!! – so please don’t save yourself a table before you order… oh and I think it’s much easier to find seats for one or two people here rather than a big group (you might have to separate).

 
Menya Mappen Japanese Noodle Bar

 
$3.90? $4.90? Cheaper than a Tall Caramel Macchiato

 
Watch them make your noodles and fry up tempura fresh

 
Shallots, Tempura flakes and Soup spoons

 
See how the tempura bar is quite empty??
This means that they cook the tempura fresh!!

 
They also have salmon tempura, chikuwa tempura as well as the usual prawn tempura and vege tempura!

 
Kake Ramen $3.90

 
Shrimp and Vege Kakiage $3.90, Soft Boiled Egg Tempura $1.90 and Sweet Potato Tempura $0.50

 
Ontama Udon $4.90

 

Bill was eager to have ramen but unfortunately they didn’t have Miso Ramen or Shoyu Ramen available so he opted for Kake Ramen (ramen in kakedashi soup usually for udon).

Total Costs??
His Kake Ramen and all the tempura cost $10.20, while mine Ontama Udon and Sansai cost $5.90 = happy wallets. :)))

Menya Mappen on Urbanspoon