12 November 2012

fun in the sun (and wind)

We had a surprise BBQ at Centennial Park to celebrate Vanessa's birthday! After days of stressing about food, numbers and whether or not she would be surprised, it ended being quite okay :) The weather was surprisingly nice, just a tad windy towards the afternoon. So much lovely sunshine though. Thanks to everyone who made the effort to come, yay! 

<3 chloe

09 November 2012

a Spring in my step

Once again, it's been a while since we've updated this blog. Sorry! Not to fear, I have some delightful news to share :)

Well actually it's not really very delightful, but it sure is colourful! These are Vanessa's pics. So we had a little 'tea party' yesterday at Veronica's- thanks again for the kitchen vee! Apart from the rainbow minicakes, other highlights include almost setting her house on fire and overdosing on sugar :D

But before I go ahead with other things, I'd like to wish Vanessa a very happy birthday!!!!! :D I hope you find happiness in all you do :)

Now for the less important matters, we went to Sculptures by the Sea at Bondi again this year. How was it? Personally it was just o-k. I thought the sculptures last year were a little more interesting, or perhaps it was because the wind went crazy and nearly blew us off our feet!

2011 and 2012


Anyway it's getting late. Time for some brunch! Have a wonderful week everyone :) 

Lurve, Chloe 

16 September 2012

Macaron or Macaroon?

So some of you have asked for the macaron recipe I've been using- but before I go ahead I just want to clarify one thing; Macaron or Macaroons? How is it really pronounced and what is the difference?

According to Mr Zumbo a.k.a the dessert king, a Macaron is characterised by a dome-shaped biscuit made of egg whites and almond meal, hard to the touch with a chewy interior. A Macaroon is a small meringue cake, typically made of coconut and often dipped in chocolate. So the next time you buy one of these sugary treats make sure you're asking for the right one! 

A few tips for your baking adventure: 

1. Aging the eggwhites is not necessary, it's recommended but I find that with the method I'm using it doesn't make much of a difference. 

2. Use gel or powder food colouring because the meringue is super sensitive and the tiniest amount of liquid can ruin it.

3. Have the right equipment- you MUST use a weight to weigh out your ingredients, no guestimating. You should also use a candy thermometer- they're easily found at homeware stores or even Victoria's Basement in the city (and usually fairly cheap). 

4. Have lots of patience :D 

Step by Step recipe for Passionfruit Macarons

Using the Italian Meringue method. 

Ingredients for the shell: 

110g egg whites weighed in separate bowls 
(55g for the meringue and 55g for the almond mixture)
150g caster sugar 
30g Caster sugar (For making your shells shiny)
 50g of water

150g Almond meal
150g Icing Sugar
Food colouring of choice

A candy thermometer if you have one

Passionfruit ganache filling

1/4 cup passionfruit puree (you can buy this from woolies)
1 tbsp of cream
50g of white chocolate- or more depending on how thick you want it

Step by step method just for you: 

Part 1:

  1. Weigh 55g of eggwhites and put that in a bowl. Weigh another 55g and put that in a different bowl.
  2. Weigh 150g of Almond meal and sift that into a big mixing bowl. 
  3. Weigh 150g of Icing sugar and sift that into the almond meal mixture. 
  4. Sift the almond meal and icing sugar together so it's well combined.
  1. Weigh out 30g of sugar for the meringue and 150g of sugar for the syrup. 
  2. Weigh out 50 of water. 
  3.  Line your baking trays (you need roughly 3). Personally I don't find silicon mats a whole lot better than normal baking paper so I wouldn't waste anymore money with that.
  4.  Prepare the piping bag fitted with a 1cm nozzle, put it in a cup ready to be filled. Also get your food colouring ready, and anything else you need. Pre-heat oven to 130°C - Depends on your oven though, the temperature ranges from 130-150 but just play around.

Part 2: 

  1.  Put the 150g of caster sugar with the 50g of water in a small saucepan and turn the heat on medium. It's important that you don't stir it even if your'e tempted to, just let it sort itself out :) 
  2. Mix 55g of egg whites in with the almond/icing mixture, make sure it's a smooth consistency, add your food colouring in at this stage too then cover it with clingwrap. 

  1. Put the other 55g of egg whites in a mixing bowl, throw in a pinch of salt and whisk it on low till it foams up like bubble bath, then start incorporating the 30g of sugar slowly (This is to make the shell shiny so I am told). Turn up the speed and keep beating the meringue till it looks like shaving cream. 
  1. Keep an eye on your syrup, it burns easily. If you have a candy thermometer then measure it from the hottest point- for me it's the edge of the saucepan because of the shape of the flames on the stove. You can also put in your food colouring at this point but I found that the colours got diluted down a lot when I did this. When the syrup reaches 108 degrees turn off the heat and let it cool slightly- this is important 'cause if you pour in a boiling syrup then you cook your meringue before you've even started and you end up with sticky, wrinkly soft toe look-alike things! 
  1. Keep beating the egg whites, have the speed on low and then slowly pour in your syrup down the side of the bowl- in a tiny stream at first and then a bit more as you go on. 
  2. When the syrup is fully incorporated into the egg whites- keep beating and turn your speed up a notch. Keep beating till the side of the bowl is cool/warmish to the touch and the batter looks like magma. 

Part 3: 

  1. Mix a little bit of the meringue in with the almond mixture to loosen it up- you can be rough at this point. 
  1. Pour in the rest and mix in a gentle circular motion- crucial step! Don't over mix or you'll end up with a runny mixture but don't mix too little or you'll end up with a lumpy mixture. I think it takes roughly 50 strokes but who's counting? haha. 

  1. To check if your mixture is the right consistency, lift the spatula and a thick magma like ribbon should fall back down into the bowl. If you haven't reached this point before forming your shells, they will have a tiny peak at the top instead of a rounded cap. 
  2.  Slowly transfer the batter into your piping bag. It can get messy here. 
  3. Pipe them onto the baking trays! For teddy bear ones just pipe two mini blobs for ears.
  1. Once you've finished piping, tap the tray from the bottom to get rid of the air bubbles... or sometimes what I do is just drop the whole tray onto the ground.
  2. Leave them to form a skin. Usually the time it takes for me to clean everything up is enough; 15-30 minutes? However, I don't see the harm in leaving them for longer, its up to you.
  3. Bake at 130 degrees for 18-20 minutes. I put a chopstick between the door to let out steam. 
  4. Let them cool and then decorate them with royal icing sugar :) 
  5. Sounds easy right? Well give it a go and have fun! 

Passionfruit ganache filling: 

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the passionfruit puree till it bubbles and thickens a little.
  2.  Add in the cream and keep stirring. When it's bubbling at the sides, remove from the heat and whisk in the white chocolate until melted. 
  3. Refrigerate until use.

p.s Sorry about the weird numbering- it kept re-setting itself every time I inserted an image, HOW ANNOYING. 

Till next time,


17 January 2012

China #41-45: au revoir, sayoonara, zai jian!

I'm really no good at goodbyes.

Airports are filled with so many emotions- happiness, excitement, longing, disappointment, sadness... I like to look at people and imagine why they're there and where they're going (in a non-stalkerish way!) Im sure many of you understand the feeling of parting with loved ones at the airport, how incredibly difficult it can be, especially if you don't know how long it will be before you can see them again. I guess there's not much you can do in these situations, except be thankful for the time you had together and look forward to the next time you meet.

Spending 45days in china has made it feel like home. Im going to miss crossing the road like a crazy person, the general impoliteness and terrible customer service and even the constant passive smoking... X) (however smoking is bad so don't smoke!) haha. But most of all I'm going to miss my granny and grandpa and aunts and uncles and cousins! :(

However, here's a rough overview of my trip:

30/11/2011 Excited and eating aeroplane food!
Adventures in Beijing begin!

breakfast buffet
Finding Shantelle in my hotel in Beijing!

first snow day :)

On my way to see my family :D

Fixing my bike with my grandad :) 
Revolving buffet :D 
Baking eggtarts!

dinner that tried to run away
Enjoying the view :)
Visiting a Kindergarten

Day trip to the mountains
Coming back home :(
Clouds :)

p.s haven't read a post from you in a while vanessa!!! 

12 January 2012

China #30-40: Happiness


the quality or state of being happy.
good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy.

Being happy means something different to each one of us. 

For me... happiness is family. It's realising how lucky and fortunate I am to have such a wonderful family, spending the last 5 weeks with them has made it hard for me to go back to Sydney! I wish I could shrink them all and bring them back with me, especially my grandparents. x)

My other happiness is food and TV! I thoroughly enjoy sitting like a blob infront of the TV with a table full of junk food keeping me company. I spent the most part of last week watching taiwanese series and immersing myself in make-believe fairytales starring non-existent, perfect characters who are extremely droolworthy!! This habit is not a good one. But I'm not changing it just yet...

All that aside, I think I've had an epiphany! Lol. I have realised, in my days of deep thinking (not), that happiness is not hard to find. It's ironic to think that we were happiest as kids because that's when we had the least to lose... It's the little things in life that get to us, but often it's the little things that we shouldn't be worrying about. We all know it's easy to tell somebody else to smile and walk with their chin up, but when it's your own problem cheering up seems so much harder. :( 

I've realised that when things get tough, its time to take a step back (and a deeep breath) and a good look at the bigger picture, what's really important to you and what are the things that make you happy? Count your many blessings and be thankful for what you have. People should all smile more (especially in china), lol. 

They say good things happen to people who smileeee. :) :) :)  

Here's what I've been up to lately;

02 January 2012

China #19 - 31: To Xiamen and back again

Dear blog, sorry I haven't updated you in almost 2 weeks, I've been busy being lazy and waiting for something exciting to happen so I could blog about it, but nothing exciting's been happening so I'm going to blog about my non-exciting daily life x)

So in the last 2 weeks, I've been to Xiamen and done some shopping- mainly for butter and cheese and baking ingredients... I was so excited to see butter and cheese cause I really wanted to bake stuff and there weren't any ingredients in my hometown. Anyway, I quite liked it there. It was almost like an asian version of Sydney, like a more asian version of Sydney. We went to this cafe for lunch one day, it looked really nice from the outside, kinda like the cafes you see in taiwanese series, kinda like the one below but nicer. (I didn't take a photo cause I didn't feel like it at the time)

(random picture from goo0o0ogle)

I was expecting really nice food, really nice NON ASIAN FOOD, but I was sorely disappointed when I looked through the menu and they only had all these weird asian dishes. I turned to the 'Coffees' section, hoping to try their coffees, but all I found under the Coffee menu was more asian dishes. x( I felt mislead and confused!
On the bus back from Xiamen, the line is a really long bridge hehe.

Moving onnnnn.....since I have so much spare time at the moment I decided to pick up another hobby, drawing with pastels! It was such an awkward experience when I went to buy this packet of oil pastels at the local stationery shop. The shop owners had a baby sitting in the corner of the shop, it was bald and it kept making these funny hiccuping noises.Anyway so as I was about to pay, I felt as though I should say something to break the ice cause it was so awkward having a lady follow me around and glare at me as I touched all her pens, so I told them that their son was cute! Then there was an awkward moment where the father looked up at me and said, 'It's a girl....'  Then the shop lady asked me how old I was, I said I was 3rd year uni. She then looked at my colouring stuff and papers and asked if I was buying a gift for somebody, I said these were for myself... and then replied with an awkward 'oh...'.

Testing out my oil pastels- Portrait of my grandpa <3

Addicted to these lollies

I felt like Christmas and New Year came and went so quickly ... I remember how I used to get so excited when it was Christmas! I guess that's one of the downsides of growing up, things seem less exciting. : ( I spent my Christmas in Xiamen, making pizza for my cousins! I spent New Years day back in my hometown baking eggtarts lol! 

Yayyyyyyyy Pretty Eggtart flower!

Oh I forgot to mention that I spent NYE visiting my aunt's kindergarten (she's a teacher there). IT'S A FREAKING HUGEEE KINDY! For kids up to 6 or 7... it's so nice there. So much wasted dead space though, they have all these hugeee unused spaces for little kids to run around in lol. If I was a kid there I would never want to leave.

Their playground
I went to play on the playground and some cheeky little boy comes up to me and goes, 'This playground is for  children, not for adults. hmph.'

They even have little pretty flower thingies at the bottom of the columns!

This is the entrance foyer

View from the Roof 

Play stations!!!

Their classrooms- they have beds in their classes :'( For naptime :) 

Another play station

Fish tank! My aunt told me these fishes dont get fed much so they won't grow, lol T_T

Another play station!

Argh little kids have it so good. Lol. Anyway that about sums up my last 2 weeks.


Oh and I want to leave you with this song, it's so bittersweet but very lovely.