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Recipe: Easy Millefeuille

My first attempt of making mille-feuille, a pastry originating from France. A vanilla slice, cream slice, custard slice also known as the Napoleon. Usually made up of three layers of puff pastry and with pastry cream, or whipped cream or jam in each alternating layers.

As you may have read, a couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Sachiko, owner of Dining Story, personal chef and cooking class services. I was catching up with the family, and thought I would make them the dessert that Sachiko taught me, Mille-feuille. It wasn’t as perfect as the one she made, but it was pretty good for a first attempt.

Ingredients (for 3)

  • 1 puff pastry
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1/2 pack strawberry
  • 2 egg yolk
  • 20g flour
  • 40g sugar
  • 200ml milk
  • 1 vanilla bean (I used 2 tbsp of vanilla essence)
  • 20g cream

Method

  • pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.
  • cut the pastry in 3’s and sprinkle icing sugar on both side.
  • poke one side of the pastry with a fork and bake in the oven for about 15 mins then cool.
  • mix the sugar and egg yolks in a bowl and sift flour and mix until it’s smooth.
  • heat milk to boil and slowly add to the sugar and egg mix.
  • place the mixture of sugar, egg yolks and milk into the sauce pan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whizzing constantly.
  • when it boils, whisk it for another 30 to 60 seconds until it becomes thick.
  • remove from heat and place into a cold bowl and add the cream. Put in the fridge and let it cool for a bit.
  • slice the strawberry.
  • put the cream on the pastry, and place strawberry then put another pastry.
  • repeat above process.
  • sprinkle with icing sugar.

Not as hard as I had anticipated, flaky crispy pastry, and delicious cream.

Desserts at home will never be the same again. Thanks again Sachiko.

Recipe: Pandan Chiffon Cake

I love pandan chiffon cake – even from a very young age, I would ask Mum to either make it or buy it! She would usually buy as it was ‘easier’. The softness and the fluffiness and I love the bright green colour! I have tried this cake many times now, a couple of times without a mixer – what was I thinking?

My mixer has been broken for a while now, so when I noticed a ‘spare’ mixer at Mum’s I couldn’t help but ask if I could ‘borrow’ it. I had no doubt that she would say yes, but I had hope she would lend me the newer one.

I have tried making this three times now, and it was indeed third time lucky, I am happier with my third attempt and can say that I probably won’t make it any time soon! I think ‘The Mother’ is a little over eating pandan chiffon cake. However, I can eat it anytime and every day!

I have tried many different recipes, you can find a full step by step on ieatishootipost blog. Very detailed, I had to read it a couple of times to make sure that I didn’t miss a step!

I used Poh Ling Yeow’s recipe (which can be found on ironchefshelli blog) but reduced the sugar and the flour. I tried using the original recipe with 10 eggs and my goodness, overflow and my cake was oversized! I don’t think my cake thin is big enough for 10 eggs and 300g plain flour. Have played around with the recipe, and I’m ‘happy’ with the recipe below.

Ingredients

  • 6 egg whites (at room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 90ml vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pandan paste
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 100g plain flour, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder, sifted
  • 210 coconut milk
  • pinch of salt

Method:

  • Preheat oven at 160C fan forced or 180C regular.
  • Beat egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer till soft peaks.
  • Add sugar one tablespoon at a time thoroughly till stiff peaks. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks with caster sugar till fluffy.
  • Add coconut milk, vegetable oil, pandan paste and self raising flour and whisk until combined.
  • Gently fold egg whites into the yolk mixture in 3 batches.
  • Pour into a 22cm bake cake tin (do not use non-stick and do not grease).
  • Bake for 25mins at 160C forced or 30mins at 180c, or till skewer comes out clean.
  • When cake is out of the oven, immediately invert the cake still in the tin, and place on a cooling rack and leave to cool completely for about 1.5 hours

Voila

The cake was fluffy but not as fluffy as the one uncle gave me. It wasn’t too sweet, which meant Dad can eat it and believe it, with coffee, it was SO hard to stop at one. Oh the childhood memories…..

If you have a good recipe, please let me know and will give that ago in a few weeks or so. What’s your favourite cake?

Dining story, personal chef and cooking class services

I love the name because it is true, every dining has a story whether it is dining with friends, family, co-workers, it has a story. Whether you enjoy the food, the wine, the company, the reason behind the dining, there is a story.

I had the pleasure of meeting the chef and owner of Dining Story, Sachiko Marchand. Dining story is not only a personal chef service, but also a cooking lesson service at the comfort of your own home.

Sachiko found her passion for cooking from the age of three. She has worked all over the world, from Tokyo, to France, to Morocco and Sydney where she worked at both Le Pelican and No1, Tony Bilsons Restaurant. She has been to more than twenty countries to learn about food cultures and with all the experiences she has gained, she has formed Dining Story – where she would create and customise parities and dinners for customers tailored to their needs and conditions.

Tonight was a special cooking class. The menu can be found here and everything looked wonderful. I couldn’t decide what I wanted to learn so asked ‘The Mother’ and he liked the look of ‘French cooking class B advanced’ which is Quiche with spinach and bacon, ocean trout medium rare confit with warm salad with sage and lemon butter and millefeuille with cream patisseiere.


Sachiko arrived at our tiny apartment and demonstrated how to cook in my little kitchen. Not only does she demonstrate but she also encourages you to participate. I even managed to cut my thumb with her uber sharp knife which I fell in love with!

I won’t go into the details of step by step recipe and cooking as I would like to replicate it myself in the next coming weeks. However, a recipe will be given to you and Sachiko will go through step by step on how to make each dish. A couple of techniques and short cuts that she has picked up along the way which is helpful for an amateur chef like me.

We started with the quiche with spinach and bacon. She even taught me how to make my own pastry! Easier than you think so stay tuned as I will attempt to make this next week!


The pastry was flaky, thick and wonderful. The filling I loved, it was so delicious that it was hard to stop at just one slice.


I love confit ocean trout, anything confit and ocean trout really.


The ocean trout was incredible, it just melted in your mouth. It was delightful and doesn’t that look extremely professional? Let’s see if I can replicate this!


Dessert, millefeuille with cream patisserie was also easier to make than I thought.


Fluffy, crunchy pastry with creamy delicious custard was just epic! It tasted just as good as bought in a patisserie store.


Imagine serving up these dishes at your next dinner party? Dinner will never ever be the same again! Ooooh the HIGH expectations!


Home cooking classes goes for 2 hours, three dishes for 2 to 3 people at $120 per person. The more people the cheaper the cooking class. As for corporate events, Sachiko provides sushi demonstration and tasting, or sushi team building and or corporate lunches up to eight people. More details can be found on the website.

I can see this as a fun event for hens or birthday parties or event anniversary. Or even if you want to improve your culinary skills (like me!), then Sachiko is the person for you. She is incredibly talented, and friendly! Would not hesitate to call her for an event or another cooking class. Thanks again Sachiko, it was so lovely to meet you and hear about your experience. It is always overwhelming and inspiring to meet someone who are passionate about their job. Sachiko is truly passionate about cooking, it has somewhat inspired me to find what my ‘passion’ is – whatever that  maybe!

Dining Story

Sachiko Marchand

info@diningstory.com.au

Ph: +61 421 937 672

Categories: Cooking, Events, Recipe, Sydney Tags: , , ,

Easy fluffy lemon and ricotta pancakes!

‘The Mother’s’ favourite breakfast of all time, pancakes with strawberries and drizzled with honey.

I usually use Bill Granger’s Sydney food book recipe – lemon souffle for pancakes, as I find it is one of the fluffiest and best pancakes, however, I had some ricotta cheese leftover and thought I would add it. I omitted the grated lemon zest and just added more lemon juice.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 25g unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 – 1 cup of ricotta cheese

Method

  • Place buttermilk, egg yolks, lemon juice and vanilla essence in a bowl and stir until combined. Add melted butter and mix well.
  • Sift flour, baking powder, caster sugar and salt into a large bowl.
  • Make a well in the centre and gradually stir in buttermilk mixture until the dry ingredients are moist, be careful not to over mix.
  • Gently fold the ricotta cheese.
  • Place egg whites in a dry, clean bowl and beat until soft peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter, using a large metal spoon.
  • Melt a small portion of butter in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and drop 2 tablespoons of batter per pancake into the pan. Cook until golden brown.
  • Transfer to plate and keep warm whilst cooking remaining batter.

Served it with strawberries, cut into bite size pieces and drizzle with honey.


DELISH! Soft, pillowy pancakes, it was absolutely wonderful. I managed to make about 9 pancakes from the above ‘The Mother’ wanted five stacked together.

Easy pancakes with strawberries!

Recipe: Pulled pork sandwich

You all know I heart pork! Any kind of pork dish really. I have wanted to make pulled pork for a while now and finally, made it! Pulled pork ‘is a form of barbecue in a which pork or mixed cut is cooked using a low-heat, long-cook method’. The slower the better, the more tender the meat becomes, so it is easier to ‘pull’ or easily broken into individual pieces.


Ingredients:

  • 700g pork shoulder
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup ground paprika
  • 1/4 ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

Method:

  • put spices in a bowl and mix well
  • rub ingredients to pork and leave over night
  • unfortunately I don’t have a bbq or smoker so it was in the oven.
  • set oven to 200C and place pork fat side down in oven for 1 – 1.5 hours
  • turn down oven to 120C and roast for an additional 4 hours
  • the meat should be slowly separating from the point
  • flip shoulder to the fat side and roast for an additional 1.5 hours
  • allow to rest for about 20 – 30 mins until cooled
  • then take 2 forks and tear and pull pork into strands
  • serve immediately

Can store the remainder of the pulled pork in an airtight plastic containers


I served my pulled pork with slaw and pomegranate and a bit of mayonnaise.
easy slaw and pomegranate salad

  • 1/2 medium head cabbage shredded
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon of cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup of pomegranate

mix well and serve with pulled pork sandwich


DELICIOUS! Here’s another photo of it…. YUM!

Pork…. I *heart* you!

Winter comfort food, lamb shanks in red wine served with roast potatoes and beans

Lamb is not something I enjoy eating. Most of the time I would avoid it like plague but the past couple of months I have tried a few different types of lamb dishes and surprisingly enjoyed it. First at Cafe Ish, the lamb cutlets with panko crumbs (delicious!), then lamb shanks at Clover (melt in your mouth, post to come) and lastly the lamb at the [TOYS] event which tasted like a chicken (the best lamb I have tasted!).


The thing I don’t like about lamb is the strong after taste and the smell, however, if it’s simmered in wine or it comes with some sort of gravy or coated with crumbs I don’t mind. As long as the smell is not there, I think I can ‘handle’ it. Believe it or not I have never ever made lamb before so this was a first and a risk! Surprisingly it turned alright and was a winner!

I adapted a recipe from Australian Good Food and Travel Guide. I don’t know what possessed me to cook lamb for the first time for four hungry diners. I bought 8 lamb shanks, so doubled everything below.

Ingredients

  • 4 lamb shanks (medium size)
  • 1 brown onions diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 2 large carrots diced
  • 2 sticks celery diced
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh parsley
  • bit of thyme
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 50ml of veg oil
  • 1.5 cups of red wine
  • 2lt veal stock (I used beef stock instead)
  • 50ml of fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • lightly coat the shanks in flour and season with salt and pepper.
  • in a hot heavy-duty pan with little oil, seal the shanks till brown.
  • once brown remove from pan, drain excess oil from pan.
  • heat oil in a large pot, saute onions, garlic, carrots, celery, fresh parsley and thyme. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • once sautéed add the lamb shanks.
  • add red wine to the shanks and the stock.
  • once the shanks have come to a boil, turn the heat down and let it simmer slowly.
  • simmered it for about 2.5 hours, the longer the better.
  • the shanks are ready when they start to fall of the bone.

Served with potatoes and green beans.
Potatoes:

  • cut into quarters
  • in a baking tray, add oil, then put potatoes and bake until soft
  • i usually pan fry the potatoes a little, so they are brown and add salt


The lamb was incredibly tender. Hearty, perfect for a wintry evening and a winner amongst the diners! No lamb smell, the red wine really helped I think. Think I only have one lamb shank leftover, can’t believe they were a hit! Quite easy, but just time-consuming, if you have a pressure cooker, or slow cooker, would definitely be a lot quicker!

Could this be a new love? I wouldn’t go as far as saying I love lamb! Pork is still my favourite but I wouldn’t hesitate making or ordering it next time I see it on the  menu!

Din Tai Fung, Sydney and Tiramisu Recipe

It certainly has been a long time since my last visit to Din Tai Fung (DTF) – can you believe over a year? ‘The Mother’ and I went to the DTF in Hong Kong and Taiwan and it was just as good but for half the price! ‘The Mother’ loves DTF, he claims they are the BEST dumplings in Sydney as they are consistently good. I am not sure if I agree with him – I wouldn’t say its the BEST dumplings in Sydney, but he sure does love them. So when I asked what he wanted to do for his birthday, he suggested DTF.

We had an early dinner, 6 pm and the place was already busy! Thankfully we didn’t have to wait at all and walked straight in. I left all the ordering to ‘The Mother’ (first time ever!) and surprisingly, he ordered well!

Started with my favourite silken tofu with pork floss and a thousand year old egg. ‘The Mother’ is not a huge fan of this, he doesn’t like pork floss and hates cold tofu.

However, this is probably one of my favourite dishes, soft, silky tofu with pork floss and gooey, creamy thousand year old egg. How can he not like thousand year old egg?

We ordered Shanghainese noodles with chicken and soup on the side. The noodles cooked to perfection, slippery and oh so soft.

The chicken incredibly tender, and the soup delicate and lots of flavour. It really complemented the noodles well.

Two servings of xiao long bao – steamed pork dumplings and steamed crab meat and pork dumplings – 8 in each. They are as good as I remembered them to be. Make sure they are cool enough before putting the whole thing in your mouth, as they are juicy and the juice can burn your mouth! Yes, it has happened to me before, a hard lesson learnt! ‘The Mother’ loved it so much that he ate 14 and left me with TWO! yes… TWO – one of each!


The stir fry black pepper steak is a favourite of ours. The meat deliciously tender and succulent with a nice peppery kick. Unfortunately silly me forgot to take a picture, you just have to trust me that it was good!

Green beans with pork mince is also another favourite, and by this stage, we were both getting extremely full!


Service is efficient, by the time we finished at 7pm, there were a queue of people waiting to dine. Don’t fret, turnover is quite quick, so don’t be put off by the queues. However, in saying that, I don’t usually like to wait.

Incredibly full, we really couldn’t stomach any dessert and waddled to the movies to watch Harry Porter. Not a bad film, although the last 45 mins dragged a little.

You can’t have a birthday without a cake right? Earlier that day, I made him a tiramisu. My mixer is currently broken, so I wanted to do something relatively easy that doesn’t require a lot of hard labour!


For the life of me I can’t remember where I got the recipe from but being the lazy cook that I am, I picked the easiest and simplest!


Ingredients

  • 4 eggs, separated (i didn’t have enough eggs so used 2)
  • 1/2 cup Caster sugar (reduced my sugar to only 1/3)
  • 250g mascarpone cheese
  • 1/3 cup coffee liqueur (such as Kahlua)
  • 200ml thickened cream
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee powder
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 28 sponge finger biscuits
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (didn’t have cocoa powder so grated some dark chocolate!)

Method

  • Beat egg yolks and sugar together in a large bowl until pale and creamy. Gently fold in mascarpone and liqueur.
  • Whip cream to firm peaks, fold into mascarpone mixture.
  • Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, fold into mascarpone mixture, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 mins.
  • Combine coffee and warm water in a shallow dish, stirring until coffee dissolves. Dip biscuits 1 at a time in coffee, turning to coat. Place in a single layer, over the base of a 6cm-deep, 18cm x 28 cm (base) baking dish.
  • Spread half the mascarpone mixture over biscuits to cover. Repeat layers with remaining biscuits, coffee, mascarpone mixture.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.
  • Dust top with cocoa powder and serve.

Voila….

To my dear husband, best friend, and the most important person in my life – Happy Birthday and here’s to many more to come!

GA’s ratings for DTF: 7.5 / 10

Din Tai Fung

644 George Street

Sydney 2000

Din Tai Fung on Urbanspoon

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