Ensaymada

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Hello spring! Winter has officially ended and now comes the season of floral patterns and pastel looks. When it comes to the fashion and retail world, spring is usually one of my favourite seasons to dress up in because it’s the time for chiffon, light pinks and creams. Anyway, on the topic of spring, you’d think that after two or so weeks of non-stop raining and the sun finally out, I would enjoy the lovely spring weather. Except no. I unfortunately got sick again because of the weather and now I’m sitting at home drinking a whole lot of water to stop me from going into a coughing fit. 

So moving on… For this post, I wanted to go back to my Filipino roots and make a common Filipino treat. Some weekends, my family and I have Pandesal and Ensaymada for breakfast, and so I was inspired to try and make my own version of the sugary brioche-like buns that we Filipinos have. Just like brioche, they’re fluffy and golden yellow, buttery and sweet all at once. Read on for the recipe and a little background information on just what makes these sweet bread rolls a delicious treat.

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Lemon Chiffon Cake

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So the other week my friends and I were lounging around eating pizza and junk food and out of the grocery bag, my friends pull out this fluffy, green pandan chiffon cake. It was this rectangular loaf of vibrant green and spongey goodness that was incredibly soft when you took a bite out of a piece of the cake. Having not had a chiffon cake for so long, eating this pandan cake reminded me that it was time for me to get my sponge cake making skills back on the blog and in the kitchen. 

I absolutely adore chiffon cakes. To me, they’re the only type of sponge cake that I actually appreciate and would happily eat without icing, without ice cream or without any additional toppings. To me, chiffon cakes are best eaten and best made when they use very simple flavours because the real feature apart from its flavour is its fluffy and soft interior. Thus, with that in mind, I decided to try and replicate my favourite sponge cake with this Lemon Chiffon Cake, which adds a good lemon punch to this delicate cake. 

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Paper Plane Cafe, Parramatta

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Away from Parramatta’s main food hotspot sits a quaint little boutique cafe on the small, quieter Horwood Place. It’s decor follows the trends circulating cafe establishments over the year, with iced tea served in mason jars, hues of blue and green and dishes served on wooden boards. Paper Plane Cafe is a new addition to Parramatta’s Cafe scene, having opened up in early 2014. 

Despite having been opened for a few months, the cafe appears to have a promising future ahead of them. The premises has both indoor and outdoor seating, with both areas well decorated with trendy, corner-street cafe decor. Black chalkboards with coloured chalk writing sprawled across and raw wood seem to be the main features of Paper Plane. 

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The raw wood continues inside the cafe with floor boards spread across the establishment and a tall wooden shelf stretching upwards from behind the counter. More chalkboards are pressed up against the back wall, offering a list of breakfast specials to all day breakfast items to their lunch dishes. One particular chalkboard features a ‘tip tally’, which is a fun tipping concept Paper Plane developed. 

Upon entering the cafe, the cool, grey wall is decorated with a white picket fence and a black bench propped with a stack of books and the daily newspaper. Yet vintage and trendy doesn’t stop there with Paper Plane. A steel-framed bicycle sits in front of the counter with lovely pot plants attached around it. 

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Paper Plane offers Numero Uno coffee, poured into adorable bright blue coffee cups. Whichever cup you’re in the mood for - cappuccino, flat white or latte - rest assured you’ll be served with a delicious smooth coffee that produces a strong, roasted aroma. This Picasso coffee blend supplied by Numero Uno, along with the generous cafe style dishes, landed Paper Plane in this year’s Sydney Morning Herald Good Cafe Guide. 

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Strawberry Madeleines

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It’s funny how when you’re sick, you start to crave things that you probably wouldn’t normally eat if you were healthy. Take me and tea for example. I love coffee so much that I avoid tea unless I’m really sick and for some reason, tea tastes surprisingly delicious during this time. I was drinking black tea with honey and lemon and it was like the best thing ever. Even better than coffee. I feel really bad for saying that.

Well, after I got sick, so did my mum and she started to crave all sorts of fruits, one being strawberries. With two punnets in the fridge, I decided to take a few strawberries and use them in my baking.

So I didn’t get very creative this round of baking, but I’ve wanted to try and incorporate the strawberry flavour into madeleines. Plus, madeleines are incredibly easy to make (as I say every time I do make them) so I knew it wouldn’t be difficult to try and figure out how to put them in the batter.

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Hazelnut and Nutella Skillet Brownies

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Okay, so lately I’ve been craving brownies because one time I was scrolling through my tumblr dashboard and for some reason, every single food blog I’m following on here was uploading pics of brownies AT THE SAME TIME. I don’t know if that was some sort of sign to convince me to make brownies, but hey, it worked and here I’ve finally satisfied my brownie craving with an individual skillet serving. 

On that note, my lovely friends gifted me with a set of four mini skillet pans for graduation. They came with pre-made packets of chocolate chip cookies and brownies, but I decided to test my own recipe to see if it would work. I’ve always wanted to use a skillet pan for baking, and now I finally have my own set to use. 

There is nothing like taking your favourite chocolate brownie recipe and dressing it up with familiar flavours and ingredients like Nutella and Hazelnuts. Part of coming up with this combination for the brownies was all a result of the inspiration that popped up on my Tumblr feed. A drizzle of Nutella and the scattering of hazelnuts over the top makes this individual skillet brownie hard to split between two, despite the ‘shared’ serving suggestion. 

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