July 30, 2012

Pink Whoopie Pies - what a shame they look beige!

Last week a colleague bought me a present - Marshmallow creme a sickly blend of whipped melted marshmallow in a tub which is available at Costco!

I first tried marshmallow creme shortly after I attempted my first batch of whoopie pies, it was at this stage  I thought how great would the marshmallow creme go with whoopie pies!

My first batch of  Whoopie pies were straight from a Betty Crocker box. This time I thought I would make the whoopie pies from scratch. I found a recipe on taste.com.au (see below ingredients and method).

The following ingredients are required:
  • 125g butter, at room temperature
  • 80g (1/2 cup) brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 375g (2 1/2 cups) plain flour
  • 330ml (1 1/3 cups) buttermilk








I didn't have any buttermilk so I used milk with some melted butter in it. I wanted my whoopie pies to be pink so I added red food colouring and strawberry essence. The mixture was a nice shade of pink.

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C. Line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Use an electric beater to beat the butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl until pale and creamy. Beat in the egg.
  2. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda to combine. Use a metal spoon to fold in flour and buttermilk, in alternating batches, until just smooth. The mixture should be a little stiff.
  3. Use a 3cm-diameter ice-cream scoop to place rounds of the mixture onto prepared trays, leaving 5cm for spreading. Use your finger to smooth mixture around the edges.
  4. Bake, swapping the trays halfway through cooking, for 10 minutes or until firm. Cool slightly. Place on a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat, in 2 more batches, with remaining mixture. 
I found the whoopie pies took longer too bake, I left them in the oven for at least 15 minutes. Unfortunately the pink batter turned beige. Once they had cooled I spread the whoopies with Marshmallow creme and sandwiched them together.

The final verdict - nice, probably didn't need 15 minutes in oven, marshmallow creme isn't too sickly, chocolate is a better option!

July 28, 2012

Criniti's, Parramatta

 After a busy morning running around the city a late lunch was in order, luckily I had the entertainment book in the car so there were many options available. Pancakes on the Rocks was one option however a stop at Parramatta turned into lunch at Criniti's.

Criniti's has certainly made it's presence known in Sydney with resteraunts in Darling Harbour, Parramatta, Castle Hill and soon in Manly and Wolloomooloo.

The entertainment book voucher entitles 25% off the total bill up to $45.00 value.

We shared the antipasto platter for two and the D.O.C capriciossa pizza.

The antipasto platter was the best antipasto plate I have ever had, it consisted of two large meatballs, two amazing zucchinni flowers, buffalo mozzarella, a number of cold meats, chesses, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms and artichokes.


The pizza like always was good, the base was nice and light and the toppings delicious.


Service was average however the food makes up for the service. Overall I rate Criniti's 8.5/10. I will be back.

July 15, 2012

Wildbrumby Schnapps Distillery

After a six hour drive (including a few stops on the way) I am back home from Jindabyne. Following my last post early yesterday afternoon we headed to the schnapps distillery.

Located just off the main road between Jindabyne and Thredbo is the Wildbrumby Schnapps Distillery, the distillery door has character, as you step inside the room is warm thanks to the fireplace, there is an area for taste testing, an area where you can purchase a selection of schnapps or other yummy treats and there are several tables if you wish to order a meal from the breakfast or lunch menu. Each light in the room is unique and made from a number of items, such as old light bulbs, antlers and cutlery.

Antlers light
Light bulbs light

We tried 4 different schnapps - Pear, Peach nectar, a Spicy schnapps and Butterscotch, the sample sizes were reasonable, the spicy schnapps was too spicy for my liking, my favourite was the peach nectar. We were told there were 4 more flavours that we could sample, which for some unknown reason we weren't provided.

The cafe menu has a German/Austrian influence containing schnitzel, german sausages, gulash and kassler, i wasn't hungry so I just ordered a vegetable soup. The soup was nice and hearty, the bread was fresh and crunchy on the outside. I was too full for desert however the deserts and hot chocolates my friends ordered looked great.

As we enjoyed our lunch we spotted several kangaroos bouncing in the fields, overall I enjoyed my experience, the schnapps besides the spicy one were yummy, the meals were delicious and well priced and the company was great. I would recommend visiting the Wildbrumby Schnapps Distillery.

July 14, 2012

Jindabyne

Yesterday I arrived at Jindabyne to celebrate a dear friends 30th, last night we headed to thredbo we spent the majority of the night at the schuss bar listening to Harry sing some tunes followed by the smoky nightclub downstairs. This morning I woke up around 11 we headed out for coffee and a brisk walk, now we are off to the schnapps distallary!

July 12, 2012

Recent purchases (some bargains) - all under $50!

Dotti Jumper - $49.95

Tokito top - reduced to $20.00

Boohoo dress - reduced to $24.00

Boohoo top - $36.00

Tokito top - reduced to $12.50

Peter Alexander nightie - reduced to $19.00
Spendless gumboots - $24.95


July 7, 2012

Thai Spice, Stanhope Gardens

Located outside Stanhope Gardens shopping complex is Thai Spice a Thai restaurant popular with the locals. Thai Spice has been present in the area for 12 years, in total they have 7 different locations aound Sydney, 4 of these locations are under Noodle Hut.

The decor as you can see below consists of timber and bamboo furniture and dim lights. Corkage is $1.10 per person, beer is allowed. The restaurant was reasonably busy, consisting mainly families. We were seated in the far corner which was perfect for taking photos of the dishes.


The entertainment book voucher invites you and your guests to enjoy 25% off the total bill.

We ordered Gai Hor Bai Mai for entree - marinated chicken with herbs wrapped in bamboo leaves deep fried seared with Thai Spice mint sauce. Duck curry and from the specials menu a Scallop curry.

Entree - Gai Hor Bai Mai

Marinated chicken cooked inside bamboo

The entree was amazing, I can't remember the last time I had a piece of chicken that was so delicious! The entree contains 4 pieces of chicken and only costs $8.90, bargain!

Duck Curry

Scallop curry
The duck green curry was good, there was enough duck in the dish. The scallop curry which doesn't look so appealing was amazing, like the duck curry there were enough scallops in the curry, the flavours were great.

Overall I would rate Thai spice 8.5/10, the service was fine as expected for a suburban restaurant, the corkage which includes beer is great, the premises are modern and clean, the food is fantastic and the price of the dishes were reasonable. Our total bill including the discount was $46.30!

July 4, 2012

I have run out of butter!

Ekk it is the State of Origin decider I am at home, it is cold outside and I feel like baking a nice warm desert! I have my flour, sugars, shredded coconut, bicarb soda the list goes on in my Tupperware containers in the pantry however when I open the butter compartment in the fridge all I find is a crusty piece of butter which must be at least 1 month old.

What is a woman to do?

Google 'dessert recipes without butter' and find many search results including one from one of her favourite sites - forums.vogue.com.au

One of the recipes I have found posted by a Voguette requires: eggs, caster sugar, vanilla essence, self raising flour, plain flour, cocoa powder, olive oil and low fat milk, yup you guess it, it's a chocolate cake recipe and I have almost every single ingredient besides self raising flour. Luckily I have a copy of the Women's Weekly book 'Ask Pamela Q&A' ($3 bargain from Victoria's Basement).

Pamela suggests to add 2 teaspoons of baking powder to 1 cup plain flour to make 1 cup of self raising flour, which is what I do.

Making the cake is quite easy, no real skill is required and little utensils are needed, it takes approx 10 min the prepare, 35 min to bake and 2 minutes to eat : )

If you are interested in making this chocolate cake without butter the recipe can be found at:

http://forums.vogue.com.au/showthread.php?t=333472 

The ingredients

Mixing the eggs and sugar

All ingredients combined


Baked chocolate cake, coconut and cocoa sprinkled on top

Piece of chocolate cake


The final verdict - Crunchy on the outside, slightly dry on the inside, perhaps it required more olive oil or milk. Overall rating 7/10.