Friday, November 26, 2010

                                                    Restaurant Review
                      Kingsleys Steak and Crab House

Well it's been four years that my man Andrew and I have been together. To celebrate we went to Kingleys Steak and Crab House. I've heard good things about this restaurant and I'd been looking forward to seeing what all the fuss was about. Apart from wanting to explore their delicious sounding menu the restaurant looks like it has an elegant but relaxed feel to it. I wanted a place Andy and I could feel comfortable but somewhere that still felt special. That's exactly how we felt being at Kingsleys. We dinned outside, tonight was a perfect night to eat out, warm but not muggy, just a lovey night to be outside.

The service was exceptional, our waitress was very attentive and friendly. I ordered a rib eye steak cooked medium with Bearnaise sauce and an Alaskan King Crab claw. My steak was great, dark char grill marks scorched on top and below with a side of chunky rustic chips. The chips were crisp and had a fresh potato taste, no taste of oil at all. The steak was cooked perfectly, a lovely juicy meaty taste. Andrew gave me a taste of his New York sirloin, also cooked medium, it has a much stronger beef flavour than mine as it has been hung for longer .Bearnaise sauce is something I've always wanted to try. It's described as a rich thick yellow butter and egg yolk emulsion, heaven in my book. It tasted very creamy, rich with a slight tartness, a slight kick when it first dissolves in your mouth, the creaminess follows. I only wish the serving of Bearnaise was a little bigger. The crab claw was amazing! Fresh, sweet, soft and incredibly juicy. As soon and I tasted the crab I regretted ordering steak and only one crab claw. Next time I will be ordering lots of crab!
Dessert was heaven. We both chose the Chantilly profiteroles with hot chocolate sauce.
Despite the waiter giving me a confusing explanation as to what Chantilly meant they were delicious. They were light and filled with a lovely creamy creme patisserie. The filled profiteroles were served with the accompanied chocolate sauce served in a tiny ceramic pouring jug. The waiter himself poured the chocolate sauce on top which struck me as a tad unusual. The chocolate sauce was beautifully made, a rich, sweet, well rounded flavour which wasn't sickening. I enjoyed the flavour greatly as it was balanced well with cream leaving it without a bitter overpowering taste.

Over all it was a great restaurant, fresh, high quality beautifully cooked food. Great ambiance and excellent service. I won't lie the prices aren't cheap with steaks starting at $20 and going up to $45. The crab is also on the pricey side but seafood is always that way. For a special occasion or if you are well off this is a great restaurant.
125 Bunda Street,Canberra ACT 2601 Phone: 1300 546 475
Open Mon-Sat 12pm-10pm; Sun 12pm-9pm
Here's a few photos. Apologies for some slight blurriness.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

                                                            Jam Puffs

Right, your craving something sweet or you have people coming over for dinner and you need an easy dessert, well look no further. These jam puffs are a pinch to make and only four ingredients are needed.
Most people have jam and milk in the fridge so all you'll need is a packet puff pastry and some flaked almonds ( optional).

What you'll need:
1 packet of puff pastry
A small jar of your favourite jam, I like strawberry. You could also use Nutella:)
1/4 cup milk or 1 beaten egg
Hand full of flaked almonds(optional)

First defrost the pastry then pop the oven on at 180 degrees fan forced. Cut the pastry in half and then half again across ways.

Next  place a tablespoon of jam in the middle of each one then fold one corner over in half.
After folding over press the sides down hard with you index finger or thumb. 

Brush each triangle with milk or beaten egg. This gives them a lovely golden colour as well as a little shine. Sprinkle flaked almonds on top if you like.


Bake for 20 minutes and take a peek, if they are puffed up and golden they are ready, if not bake for longer.

Here I added melted Toblerone mmm. I'd strongly suggest serving these with thickend cream, I always do.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

                      Toblerone Brownie Balls

I came up with the idea for this  delicious little balls of heaven after a failed attempt at making Toblerone brownies in muffin tins. Despite the fact the I had liberally sprayed oil all over the tins, in the end each one was stuck. I suspected I had added too much mixture to each muffin hole. I was pretty disappointed but then suddenly had an idea of how to save them. After pulling off all the hard tops I scraped out the remaining moist brownie mixture from the bottom off each hole. I rolled each spoonful into a ball and melted so left over dark cooking chocolate. I popped each brownie ball into the melted chocy and covered them well, I then placed them onto a tray covered with baking paper and put them into the freezer. I used the freezer instead of the fridge because Andrew and I were running late for dinner at his parents house for Fathers day. Once they had set we headed off to dinner.

His family said they tasted great but as I used dark cooking chocolate to coat them I was very unhappy with the taste, too bitter. Straight after biting into one I gave the rest to Andrew and immediately started thinking of how I could improve them. So this is the end result of a little brainstorming. This time I used Toblerone because one I prefer milk chocolate and two I don't know anyone who doesn't love toblerone.
 I rolled them in toasted chopped almonds because I love the taste and texture of toasted flaked almonds and almonds are an ingredient in toblerone chocolate. So here is the recipe with step by step photos. They were a pinch to make and even better to eat. When you first bite into them they have a lovely light crunchy texture, then a soft and dense chocolatey brownie center, and the melting creamy toblerone coating mmmm heaven.

Toblerone Brownie Balls:
One 200 gram Toblerone bar
One packet of flaked almonds
One box of Betty Crocker Triple Chocolate Fudge Brownie mix
One egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon of water

Step 1:
Mix the brownie mix, egg, water and oil in a bowl with a wooden spoon until combined, spoon the mixture into a brownie tray lined with baking paper. Spray the sides with a little cooking oil. Bake for thirty to thirty five minutes at 160 degrees. Leave in pan to cool. Whilst cooling take the Toblerone out of the wrapper and break it up into pieces and place into a metal bowl. Grab a small saucepan and bring 1/2 cup of water to simmer, once simmering place the bowl of chocolate on top and turn down the heat down a little. Leave it to melt, after a while use a metal spoon to stir the chocolate.

Step 2:
Once the chocolate is fully melted take the bowl off the saucepan and place aside on a bench. Line a baking tray with baking paper and spread the flaked almonds evenly all over. Pop the tray in the oven at 180 degrees until golden in colour, about fifteen minutes (keep a close eye on them, they burn easily). As an alternative to the oven you could cook them in a dry pan until golden (do not add any oil!)
Chop the nuts or scrunch them with your hands. Run a knife around the sides to the pan and place a chopping board on top then hold the pan and the chopping board together and flip over. Leave to cool for about ten minutes or longer if needed. Peel off the baking paper. Whilst the brownie mixture is still warm use a large knife to cut the edges off each side.

Step 3:
Then cut the brownie slab into small squares and roll them into balls, then place the brownie balls into the melted chocolate. Move them around the chocolate with your fingers until fully covered.
Hold the balls above the bowl for a few seconds to let the excess drip off.  Next pop them into the chopped nuts and roll them around.

Step 4:
The last step is to simply pop them in the fridge and distract yourself for an hour to let them set.
Warning: Dieters prepare to meet thy doom. These are irresistible.



Friday, September 3, 2010

Jem Jem's Food Blog: A foodies struggle with taste and her waist.

Jem Jem's Food Blog: A foodies struggle with taste and her waist.: "Julie and Julia! Delicious movie. I adored this movie and it actually gave me the idea that I could write my own food blog too. I fell in lo..."

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

                      Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate, Chocolate Cake

This cake is the first in line from my 'search for the best chocolate cake' challenge. I found it while hunting on You Tube and as soon as the video finished I was pumped and ready to make this wonderful looking cake. After searching for Hershey's chocolate, I finally grabbed a few small bars of dark chocolate from Hawker shop's which seemed to be one of the few dam places in Canberra you can actually get your hands on some. Hershey's coco powder isn't available in Canberra so I went with the next best thing, dutch coco from Cooking Co-coordinates at the Belconnen markets, you can get dutch coco from the supermarket too. The icing/frosting I used is made with Hershey's Dark chocolate.

So whats my verdict on Hershey's perfectly chocolate, chocolate cake. Well at risk of sounding premature as this is only the first cake I've  made from the series, it's bloody amazing, excuse my french. It is truly is, the texture was so incredibly moist, when cutting it, it made a sort of  smooshy sound that's difficult for me to describe to you. Just know that it is probably the most moist, soft, satisfying chocolate cake you will ever eat. That said, at the same time it's not so moist that it sticks to the roof of your mouth and feels suffocating. Simply put, to me, it was perfect.
I'm sure your reading this thinking " sure Jem, well that was a easy, the first cake you cooked was perfect, no need to keep searching now, lazy ". Well, as convinced as I am that this is the perfect chocolate cake I'm not about to throw in the tea towel and admit defeat.
I still vow to keep cooking my way though many chocolate cakes. The icing/frosting I made from the video was also very good, it was fluffy, creamy and went very well with the cake but again I'm still on the search for more icing/frosting recipes too.

So here's the link for  Hershey's, well technically I should say Perfect Dutch Coco Chocolate Cake:
In the video she puts it in the oven for 35 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
When I cooked it it needed longer, 45-50 minutes at 176 degrees fan forced, keep an eye on it as ovens vary. Also in the video she uses Chisco shortening which we don't seem to have in Canberra or Australia for that matter but we do have Copha  which is the same thing but comes in a hard block.
You'll need to melt it down to liquid form first the leave it to set. Once set, just spoon it into the mixing bowl. You'll find Copha above the butter in the supermarket, it has a cute picture of a smiling cupcake on the side.

Here are some photos of me making the cake and frosting.

                                                      I used six of these in the frosting.

                                        Adding melted Hershey's dark chocolate to make thick frosting.

 The recipe said to add eight cups of icing sugar but used about six, there was soooo much frosting.
 The beaters found it challenging, they slowed down even when put on high speed due to the density.

                                                       The cake fresh out of the oven.

                   Here I'm cutting the cake in cake with a nifty tool I picked up at kitchen
                   Co-ordinate, I filled the middle with frosting too .



Saturday, August 14, 2010

Ham, Parmesan and Roasted Sweet Potato Quiche

* One packet of thin sliced or shaved ham (I like to use smoked ham) also ham off the bone is even better
* A hand full of packet shaved Parmesan.
* 9 eggs, free range, please don't used caged ones:(

* 1/3 of a cup of thicken cream

* 1 medium sweet potato

* 1 packet puff pastry

* medium brown or white onion

* Dried Italian herbs (optional)

*Salt & pepper

* 1/4 cup of vegetable or canola oil

Take the pastry out of the freezer and leave it to thaw. Preheat a fan forced oven to 250 degrees. Peel and cut the sweet potato into cubes. Place the cubes onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and cover with the oil, salt and pepper. Using your hands massage the oil and cubes together. Chuck the cubes into the oven for about forty minutes until brown, keep an eye on them as ovens vary. Next place one sheet of pastry on top of a quiche dish and smooch the pastry around the sides if the dish with you fingertips. If You need more for the sides just cut some extra pastry into stripes and again smooch the pastry around the sides. Using a fork, prick the bottom about seven times all over.

Preheat the oven to 200 drees. Chop the onion finely. Heat a pan until hot then add a slosh of oil until it smokes then add the chopped onion and keep stirring on high heat for a minute.
Turn down the heat and stir occasionally for another few minutes until they are soft and turn brown, leave to cool. Chop the ham roughly. Crack all the eggs into a bowl, add salt,pepper, Italian herbs and whisk, add the cream, onion,and whisk again until combined. Using your finger tips press down on all the sweet potato cubes. Next sprinkle the ham, cubes and Parmesan cheese evenly over the pastry covered dish. Pour the eggy mixture all over ingredients in the dish, sprinkle with extra Parmesan and pop into the oven for about forty five minutes, check it after thirty minutes. When it's golden on top and all puffed up it's ready.

Hope you enjoy, love Jem.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Mocha Layered Leaf Cake
I made this cake for my best friend Caitlin's birthday. She loves coffee and chocolate so i thought a big mocha cake would be perfect.

Mocha cake
I cheated a bit by using two boxes of chocolate cake mix from Coles. After stirring eggs, and milk and the dry cake mixture together I dissolved about three table spoons of Nescafe' Gold instant coffee in four tablespoon of steaming boiled water then added it to mixture and stirred. I only have one round cake tin so I put half the mixture into a tin bake it, took it out to cool, cleaned the tin and put in the last half of the mixture and baked it. After thoroughly cooling them i cut them in half using a serrated long knife.

Mocha frosting
I made a thick chocolate frosting and added three table spoons of the same instant coffee again and dissolved in three teaspoons of boiling water. I stirred the coffee into the icing then spreading equal amounts of the frosting between each layer.
Mocha Frosting: (recipe doubled)
250g Butter - chopped
3 cups (480g) icing sugar
1 Tbs of milk
3 tsps nescafe gold instant coffee - dissolved in 2 tsp of boiling water

Beat butter using an electric beater on medium speed. Beat butter until white as possible. Gradually beat in half the sifted icing sugar then add all the milk (in which you have added dissolved coffee), then remaining icing sugar.

Chocolate Fudge Frosting
Next i made a very very thick chocolate fudge frosting then covered the entire cake with it. This frosting was so thick it broke my electric mixer and my plastic scrapper. So in future I will follow the recipe properly and use my blender instead.

Chocolate Fudge Frosting: (recipe doubled)
Warning: Do not use electric beaters ( they may explode - learnt from experience)
400g butter softened - to achieve this, place in microwave for 10-15 seconds
400g icing sugar
400g dark chocolate - melted (I used Cadbury dark cooking chocolate)
Sift icing sugar. Place softened butter and sifted icing sugar in a food processor / blender and process/blend on medium speed until combined. Add melted chocolate and process/blend on medium to high speed until thick and smooth. Done!

White and Dark Chocolate Leaves
I made the chocolate leaves by melting dark and white chocolate in separate metal bowls over a saucepan of simmering water on the stove. Don't let the water touch the bottom of the bowls over wise the chocolate will go clumpy, also the same thing will happen if any water gets into the chocolate. Use a metal spoon to stir the chocolate. After melting the chocolate I painted about fifty leaves i had collected earlier. I washed and tried the leaves thoroughly before hand. I used a soft thin brush to paint with. The chocolate hardens after a while so I had to keep putting it back on the simmering water. When the chocolate dried, I carefully peeled it off, peeling from the part which was closest to the stem. They can be kept in the fridge if its a warm day. If you are going to attempt this, be patient, it's fussy work but the end result is worth it.
When i had all the chocolate leaves ready i began to place the leaves side by side starting from the outside of the cake working my way in. I used large leaves around the sides and smaller ones in the middle. I then added a few more leaves to any areas that had spaces between them.

Close up photo of the chocolate leaves.