Sunday 29 April 2012

How you like them apples: Apple & Olive Oil Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Dorothy: [Reaches to pick an apple from the apple tree, the tree grabs the apple and slaps her hand.] Ouch!
Apple Tree: What d'ya think you're doing?
Dorothy: We've been walking a long ways and I was hungry and... did you say something?
Apple Tree: She was hungry! Well, how would you like to have someone come along and pick something off of you?
Dorothy: Oh dear! I keep forgetting I'm not in Kansas!
~ The Wizard of Oz

I made Ottolenghi's Apple and Olive Oil Cake a little while ago as a non-chocolately celebration cake for the MIL's bday.  It went down a treat.  So moist, so appley, and that maple syrup cream cheese frosting...gah insanely good.  Now, I'm a cream cheese frosting fan-girl from way back but this maple syrup frosting really took the cake.  

Because of the success of that cake, I've been itching to try them out as cupcakes.  That opportunity came when I was back up in Auckland over Easter and C's work mates requested some cupcakes.  I was stoked to get a chance to try these puppies out and  I gotta say I'm mighty glad I did.  You could say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree as, like the cake version, these Apple and Olive Oil Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting are appley maple syrupy bundles of delight.  

Thursday 26 April 2012

Lest We Forget: White Chocolate Anzac Biscuits

They shall not grow old 
As we that are left grow old, 
Age shall not weary them, 
Not the years condemn. 
At the going down of the sun, 
And in the morning  
We will remember them 
Lest we forget. 
~ Laurence Binyon "For the Fallen"

The 25th of April marks Anzac Day, a public holiday in New Zealand and Australia that commemorates the day the Anzac troops landed in Gallipoli, Turkey in WWI.  The campaign was disastrous: they were under-resourced, out-numbered, and overwhelmed.  Thousands perished.  So why celebrate such a bleak event at all?

Well, while it might have been a military defeat, what was not defeated was the spirit, courage, and bravery of those soldiers fighting for their country.  So on Anzac Day we remember them and their sacrifice at dawn services and through Anzac biscuits.

As a Gen Y'er brought up in peaceful little New Zealand, I grew up going to dawn parades and eating Anzac cookies and more importantly I was lucky enough to grow up never having to live through any war of any kind.  But just because we live in a time of peace, it's still hugely important to keep remembering and talking about war and sacrifice so that we can fully appreciate the freedom and peace we are fortunate enough to enjoy.  So as my way of remembering those heroic young men and women, I made White Chocolate Anzac Biscuits on Anzac Day.

Thursday 19 April 2012

Flavour of the Month: New Flavour, Mt Eden

花よりだんご (hana yori dango) Meaning: Someone who prefers dumplings over flowers ~ Japanese proverb

I am a dumplings over flowers kinda girl.  

Whilst the Japanese saying implies the person prefers practical gain rather than aesthetics, for me the meaning is more literal: give me food over pretty things any day.  

My husband caught on to this early on.  While in the eight years we've been together, he has not yet bought me a bouquet of flowers, he has taken me out to many a delicious meal.  The boy knows the way to this girl's heart.   

For this particular delicious meal over summer we went on a double date with my brother in law and his wife to the restaurant that everyone seemed to be talking about: New Flavour on Dominion Road for some handmade dumplings and noodles.

Monday 16 April 2012

Bali Banana Pancakes: A Bit of a Fail

Baby you hardly even notice 
When I try to show you, this 
Song is meant to keep you 
From doing what you're supposed to 
Waking up too early 
Maybe we can sleep in  
I'll make you banana pancakes 
Pretend like it's the weekend now 
~ Jack Johnson

Bali holds a special place in our hearts.

Bali was the very first place C and I travelled together way back in 2005.  Our first South East Asian adventure.  C's first taste of my travel organizing spreadsheets and the lists-monster that is Travelling Nessie.

It was a bit of a culture shock to start off with: getting grabbed at walking down the road by street hawkers yelling "plait your hair", getting ripped off at a dodgy currency exchange place down an alley, but once we adjusted we couldn't help but fall in love with the place and the incredible people.

Four weeks of surfing (C), sun bathing (me) and banana pancakes for breakfast overlooking the beach.  It's a hard life I tell ya.

So when I heard about the earthquake in Indonesia earlier last week, my heart went out to all those beautiful people in Bali and Indonesia who have gone through so much and also to our friends traveling over there at the mo.    Tetaplah Kuat, stay strong, we're thinking of you.

Remembering that amazing Bali trip got me craving Bali Banana Pancakes.  Anyone who's done any travelling in Indo knows that this ubiquitous breakfast meal deserves its place in the food hall of fame.

We had them everyday for brekkie.  Without fail.  And be you in the bustling back streets of Kuta, or a lazy warung on the cliffs overlooking Uluwatu, they were always amazing and somehow always exactly the same: sliced bananas embedded in a thick slightly-chewy pancake drizzled with a sweet maplesque syrup.

And when washed down with a steaming super-sweet mug of kopi while watching one perfect peeling wave after another, they are quite simply spectacular.

Breakfast of champions.

Sunday 1 April 2012

Not Your Grandma's Port & Prunes Gelato

Port is not for the very young, the vain and the active. It is the comfort of age and the companion of the scholar and the philosopher. Evelyn Waugh

Ok, I confess: I used to watch Iron Chef America.

All that over the top commentary, intense knife skills, and big complicated chefy creations: a foodie's ultimate guilty pleasure.

And then there was always some muppet who thought fish ice cream would be a good idea.

Fish ice cream is never a good idea.

However, there are some ice creams that sound odd but are actually incredible. Case in point: Port & Prunes Gelato.

Now, when I say port and prunes, you're probably thinking bingo and zimmer frames.  Not exactly the sexiest sounding combo but trust me when I say this gelato outta this world.

It would make Morimoto proud.

Creamy and dreamy, with bursts of port soaked prunes with the frangrance of ruby ripe grapes, in a malty almost caramelly gelato base, this boozy ice cream is like a rocking's gonna rock your world.


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