Matcha Panna Cotta with Queen’s Jel-It-In

I hope you all have had an enjoyable Easter break!

After all the chocolate madness over Easter, I was looking to make a more healthier dessert using some leftover matcha powder when Beyond the Square Communications approached me to try samples of Queen Fine Foods Jel-It-In.

Finally now I'm able to bring pannacotta's and jellies to share with my Muslim, vegan and vegetarian friends! Jel-It-In is a plant based alternative to gelatine, made from extracts of seaweed and seeds from the carob tree, think similar to agar-agar. Even if you're not vegetarian, Jel-It-In is a healthier alternative to gelatine which is made from the by products of animals (I always thought it was pork fat but it could also include skin, horn, hoof, bones – you name it!).

Matcha Panna Cotta

Matcha Panna Cotta tweaked for Jel-It-In gelling powder.

1 tbs Matcha powder
2 tbs sugar
1 tbs water
2 packets Jel-It-In gelling powder
5 tbs water
400ml milk
80g sugar
1. Mix the matcha powder and 2 tbs sugar with 1 tbs hot water to create a matcha sauce.
2. Dissolve 2 sachets of Jel-It-In in the remaining 5 tbs water.
3. Dissolve 80g sugar in the milk, half of the matcha sauce (step 1) and add the dissolved Jel-It-In (step 2) and bring the mixture to boil.
4. Once boiling point is reached, pour the mixture into the mould and leave it in the fridge to set.
5. Pour the remaining rest of the matcha sauce to serve.

I found it easy to use, clear and unflavoured. It was very fast-acting, as my panna cotta started to firm up while at room temperature soon after I poured it into the mould. I'm not sure whether it was the Jel-It-In but the panna cotta slid easily out of the mould when serving and held the shape of the mould very well when served – almost too well.

All in all I found it a great alternative to gelatine, though I will need to tweak my recipes used for gelatine as I found it set too fast and too hard compared to gelatine. I am especially excited to be able to share desserts with my Muslim and vegetarian friends as they only usually eat agar agar jellies and now they can have the taste that is seriously divine panna cotta desserts!

Merry Christmas Lunch Ingham Turkey and Strawberry Santa

I hope you're all having a great start to the holiday season! I certainly am (besides not having finished my Christmas present shopping) and have kicked it off with a lovely Christmas lunch. So… I've never ever made a roast whole anything not chicken or turkey or quail and decided it was time to take the plunge when I received some Turkey samples from the wonderful people at Ingham.

One of the samples I received was the Whole Turkey Breast Buffe which came pre-marinated, making it a little less daunting for a first timer. The breast buffe weighed in at 3.6kg, and having been kept in the freezer thus far I took it out to thaw in the fridge for a couple of days (13hrs for each kg). Once it was thawed, I pat the turkey dry with paper towels, slipped some rosemary into the skin, stuffed the cavity and placed it on a rack in a roasting pan wih 2 cups of water and into my conventional oven it went. Simple! For the first hour I covered the turkey with foil and added a bit more water to the roasting pan and for the next hour I let it roast foil off until golden brown. Wanting to keep my stuffing simple I used what I had on hand – quartered lemons, rosemary, thyme and garlic. The turkey took around 2.5hours until it was roasted to perfection – a tip to use a meat thermometer so that it reaches 80C to ensure the turkey is cooked. Though the skin was not an even colour and had broken in a few places, when carving the turkey up it revealed the juicy and succulent meat which I was happy with. My family were also impressed and enjoyed our first Christmas lunch wih turkey as the centrepiece – usually we'd have sashimi and seafood…not very Christmassy. As it was my first time roasting a turkey, I was surprised at how simple and effortless it was, making my job a whole lot easier for the day.
While my turkey was roasting away I made a quick and easy warm potato salad with asparagus, leek and crispy pancetta.
As the salad only took 20mins to prepare, I also made a start on dessert Choux Pastry filled fresh cream custard – by making a custard and  combining it with fresh whipped cream you're left with an amazing to die for filling.

Ingham Whole Turkey Breast Buffe

Warm potato salad, asparagus, leek and crispy pancetta

Choux pastry with fresh whipped cream custard
Also, thank you to all the lovely readers who have commented on the Strawberry Santas I made for various Christmas gatherings ๐Ÿ™‚ As some of you have asked for a recipe, it's very very easy to make!
Strawberry Santa Recipe
Wash the strawberries (preferably large strawaberries), remove the leaf and cut the strawberry into two 1/3 from the tip for the hat and the remaining 2/3 will be the body of the Santa. Whip some fresh cream with sugar, ensure that it is stiff so that it can hold up the strawberry hat, and squeeze some onto the body and onto the tip of the hat. Carefully place a black sesame seed for each of Santa's eyes and place the strawberry hat on top. Easy! These are perfect for decoration to a cake or impress with these super cute and easy to make snack.
Strawberry Santas
Hope you all have a safe holiday season and wishing you a Merry Chrismas!

Merry Christmas Deco-Roll cake

Hellooo it has been a while hasn't it…

Finally it started to look like summer on Christmas Day and just like all the other mad people with their ovens turned on, I did the same and made another deco-roll cake which turned out perfectly! Yay me!

Christmas Wreath deco-roll cake

Anyhoo apologies for the lack of posts as of late…blahh so I'm back from my holiday in Hong Kong – Shanghai – Japan, celebrated our 9 year anniversary, turned twenty four, survived Christmas and ate a whole lot of chocolates! Annnnd enough with the excuses I'll leave you with a few photos from the last month and a half from Instagram.

Now to bring on the New Year…I'll try and bake a New Year themed deco-roll cake too in a few days and possibly start the New Year with a few posts from my travels. Stay tuned ๐Ÿ˜‰

Korean Cultural Cooking class LA Galbi and Kochujang Jiggae

Annyeong! I love Korean food, especially hot pots and I love having Korean bbq with friends (not so much having the bbq smell in my hair) and kimchi and korean fried chicken are staples in my house but I've no idea how to make most of these korean dishes. So I was excited when Heather Jeong of SBS Korean Food Safari and SBS Kitchen Conversations fame invited me to attend one of her popular Korean cooking classes held at the Korean Cultural Office (255 Elizabeth Street, Sydney). I was a bit confused as I'd walked past Elizabeth Street several times but I've never seen the KCO well it's not because I'm going mad but it's fairly new and opened in 2011 the year of friendship between Korea and Australia. The Korean Cultural Office is more like a museum and currently exhibitis ancient tools, Korean arts and instruments.

Our class was a small group of six and I was lucky enough to bump into the lovely Vivian there too. I especially loved how intimate the class felt and made it a very enjoyable hands-on class. Heather started to demonstrate and explain Korean cuisine and core ingredients whilst we nibbled on some gingko nuts, said to improve your memory.
One of the dishes we were taught was LA Galbi a dish which has increased in popularity in Hawaii and Los Angeles. This is one of Bill's favourite dishes and we almost always order these marinated short ribs when we go Korean bbq. Heather kindly explained the different cuts of meat, showed us how to butterfly the meat and tips on how to buy them at the butchers – ask for pyeon galbi (non-marinated). We each marinated our own cuts of meat with sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, refined brown sugar and some kiwi to break down the meat with acidity and popped it in the fridge to absorb all the flavours and ready to cook later at home. Heather had  pre-marinated some LA galbi which she simmered over a low heat (on baking paper so the sugar doesn't ruin the pan) and we had a plate of tender, sweet short ribs best wrapped in a korean lettuce.
Kochujang jiggae and sundubu were one of the first Korean dishes I tried and I've loved Korean cuisine ever since. Kochujang jiggae is a korean chilli hotpot, a sort of comfort food to eat with a bowl of steamed rice. It's a one pot dish and very easy to make, as long as you have some core ingredients – kochujang – a vibrant red chilli paste made from harvested and sundried chillis and doen jang – a fermented soybean paste. The seasoning (kochujang, doen jang, dash of soy sauce) along with your vegetables (tofu, zucchini, potatoes) and pork mince are cooked in the korean claypot called a duk baegi which can be bought at Korean grocery shops. After 10 minutes it should a vibrant red and be bubbling hot, ready to eat with a bowl of rice.

Once we had the hands-on cooking experience and gained knowledge of the korean culture as well as the cuisine, the class concluded with a sit down meal, sampling the dishes we made today and banchan which are side dishes normally served at each meal to accompany your rice – I love banchan served at korean restaurants I would be happy eating just that with rice! Heather generously prepared a colourful array of banchan including kimchi, kongnamul (bean sprouts in sesame oil), a Japanese style sunomono and lotus root jorim (simmered in broth). Heather also bbqed some strips of wagyu which were marbled beautifully, seafood pajeon (pancake) with squid and mung bean pajeon to sample. Due to the sweetness of korean dishes, dessert is normally fruit however since it is nearing "Chuseok" the celebration of the harvest moon and Korean thanksgiving, we were treated to some pretty rice crisps!

The Korean Cultural Office cooking class was a great experience and I had a lot of fun learning to make some of my favourite korean dishes. The classes are intimate and Heather is a lovely teacher providing guidance along the way. It was a great way to learn further about the korean culture and the unique ingredients and techniques particular to korean cuisine. The Korean Cultural Office are holding cooking classes in October and November and are very affordable and pays for itself with the sit down meal at the end ๐Ÿ˜‰ For further information head on over here Traditional and Modern Tastes of Korea. Happy Chuseok and Moon Festival everyone!

Korean Cultural Office Cooking Class

Pyeon galbi

Butterfly and score the meat

Marinate in sesame oil, soy, green shallots, ginger, garlic and brown refined sugar

Simmer over a low heat for sweet, tender LA Galbi

Doen Jang – soybean paste

Kochujang Jiggae

Steamed rice

Wagyu strips

Mung bean pajeon


Happy Chuseok!

Heather Jeong

Thank you KCO for a lovely afternoon and beautiful meal. Ayana attended courtesy of Korean Cultural Office.

Quarter Twenty One Cookery School – Perfect Pork Crackling

A few weeks ago, I was looking for ideas for Bill’s Quarter of a Century birthday and I got a little sidetracked landing at Quarter Twenty One’s website. My eyes lit up at the sight of those three little words… "Perfect Pork Crackling", without a doubt Bill’s favourite foods are pork crackling, pork belly and a great piece of steak. And I knew this would be a nice little gesture to celebrate Bills birthday and had ourselves booked in for the express class.

Opposite Becasse Bakery is Quarter Twenty One (Level 5 Westfield Sydney) including the bistro restaurant and providore where I spy amazing produce, walls of wine and the pink salt that I usually take as souvenirs overseas ๐Ÿ˜› (You also get 10% off products if you’re attending the cookery school). Through the providore you’ll find yourselves at the Quarter Twenty One Cookery School run by the lovely Libby. The school is fitted with stainless steel tops, state of the art equipment and finished with a wall of mini spice jars giving a warm, intimate and homely feel.

The class began with the grinding the fennel seeds and salt in the mortar and pestle to massage onto our huge pork rumps after scoring the skin. After our mise en place was completed, accompanied with a glass of wine we watched as Head Chef of Quarter Twenty One Michael Robinson shared his knowledge and food inspirations with us. We watched in anticipation as he demonstrated how to cook the crispy pork crackling and accompanying side dishes of sprout and chestnut saute, caramelised pears and a potato puree whilst he and director Libby Travers provided us with tips and tricks to cook a fail safe dinner.

The end result? Hearing the crunch as the pork was cut into serving pieces and smelling sweetness of the pears and the beautifully caramelised brussel sprouts. Of course we got to eat some too!

We both loved the class and the idea of cooking for the soul – I think it was Bill’s first recipe too (hopefully not the last)! Though they call it a 45 minute express class, it was really relaxed able to ask questions and a casual way to perfect a culinary skill. A definite big bonus was we have completed most of the mise en place for dinner and ready to cook!

How did we go at home? Well… it didn’t go quite as smoothly as he demonstrated and took us nearly 90mins to get dinner on the table but practice makes perfect!

Quarter Twenty One

Quarter Twenty One Cookery School

Peering into the bag of goodies – brussel sprouts and chestnuts

Kurobuta pork rump ready to be scored and massaged with fennel seeds and pink salt

Head Chef Michael Robinson
Applying pressure to create that crispy crunchy crackling


Perfect Pork Crackling
Sprout and chestnut saute, caramelised pears and potato puree

Bills version…practice makes perfect!
My version… we’re getting there!

Happy Birthday Bill! I hope you enjoyed the class and you’re more motivated to cook for us ๐Ÿ™‚

Quarter Twenty One on Urbanspoon

Deco-Roll Caking and a Happy Mother’s Day to all

Hope you all had a wonderful day with your mother! I couldn’t get up early to do the whole breakfast in bed, but I did do a whole lot of housework today and baked a special deco-roll cake for my mummy dearest ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy Mother’s Day!  xx


I decided to give it a go after I saw some recipes in Japanese magazines, and after I had picked up a ‘Let’s make Deco-Roll’ book whilst in Japan. It’s quite a simple recipe and the sponge you make is shop worthy good – it’s dense but fluffy and light! It’s also really fun to decorate and customise your cake however you want ๐Ÿ˜‰

A few people asked for me to post the recipe of the Love Heart Deco-Roll cake I made last week… so here it is!

To start off with make a mixture with three egg yolks, 35g sugar, 60ml water and 40ml oil. Sift 80g flour through and mix thoroughly. We shall call this Mixture 1 which is now complete!
We’ll also need two batches of meringue. Make one bowl of meringue using three egg whites (Mixture 2) and another bowl of meringue using one egg white (Mixture 3) – don’t forget to add a pinch of corn starch which will make the meringue last that little bit longer ๐Ÿ˜‰
For your patterns you’ll need different colours right? For each colour, take a small amount of Mixture 1 (3tsp), add 1/4tsp flour and any colouring then mix away until you reach your desired colour. If you didn’t want to use colouring, try using natural products like maccha with a little bit of water to make a green mixture.
Once you have your desired colour you’ll need to add a tablespoon of meringue Mixture 3 – make sure when mixing to get rid of any air bubbles which will cause craters to form. Once it is well mixed, go nuts drawing your pattern on a sheet of baking paper either with piping bags or spoons (I used spoons to draw my hearts but piping bags for the flowers). Once your pattern is done, bake it at 170degrees for ONE minute until the pattern is slightly puffy – remember we’ll be baking this again so you don’t want to overcook it.
To finish the sponge cake add meringue Mixture 2 to what is leftover from mixture 1 and mix well. Once it is combined pour it over your pattern and bake for 14 minutes until golden.
You’ll then need to start placing the filling. First cut 6 slits on the back of the cake and brush sugar syrup all over the cake.
Slather on some freshly whipped cream, arrange your fruits in a line and you’re ready to carefully roll the cake. You can use whatever fruit you fancy or none at all! I also added a wee bit of Grand Marnier too ๐Ÿ˜‰
Once you’ve rolled the cake refrigerate it overnight if you can resist temptation or a few hours if you’re like me and couldn’t wait to eat it – it’ll help the shape form.
And that’s it!






Ta daaa!

In other news, Bill and my lovely BFF have gifted me with a 9week French Pastry cooking course with the BFF!  It officially starts this week – how exciting!! Love them to bits.