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Apple and Date Brioche

>> Sunday, December 19, 2010

{Weekend Herb Blogging}

Apple and Date Brioche

I cannot wait for the holidays to start. We don’t really celebrate Christmas around here, but a few days of rest are so welcomed at this stage. I know we will try to organise our place, which has been in a disgraceful mess for a while now. More boxes to be sorted, study (and studio) room to be organized. Not to mention the kitchen and my (shamefully large and still growing) collection of baking items.

Hopefully the weather will be nicer, too. It’s been a weird summer here in Melbourne – like today, it’s actually cold. I cannot believe that I’m still wearing my thick jumper at this time of the year.

At the market there are plenty of nice summer fruits around. But today I’ve chosen to feature a nice good all year round fruit – Granny Smith Apples. The fruits are thinly sliced, tossed through some lemon juice and baked on a lovely buttery golden brioche. I adore this combination – fruity and buttery. If only a brioche a day would do me good as an apple does!

This entry is prepared for Weekend Herb Blogging. This week edition is hosted by the lovely Haalo from Cook (almost) anything at least once. Please drop by her blog for the round up!

Apple and Date Brioche

Apple and Date Brioche
Recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveller
Printable recipe

7 gm dried yeast (about 1 sachet)
2 tbsp warm milk
275 gm plain flour, plus extra for dusting
40 gm caster sugar
3 eggs
175 gm softened butter, coarsely chopped
For brushing: eggwash
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
80 gm pitted dates, chopped
110 gm (½ cup) raw sugar
Juice of one lemon
Combine yeast and milk in a small bowl, stir to dissolve yeast and set aside until foamy (5-7 minutes).

Combine yeast mixture, flour, sugar, eggs and 1 tsp fine sea salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix until dough is smooth and elastic (8-10 minutes).

Add butter a little at a time, allowing each addition to be incorporated before adding the next, and beat until dough is smooth and glossy (2-3 minutes), then cover dough with a tea towel and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (1-2 hours).

Knock back the dough, cover and let it rest overnight in the fridge.
The next day bring the dough out of the fridge and let rest until the dough is at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 220C.
Place on a lightly buttered and floured baking tray and shape into a 25cm-diameter circle.
Toss the sliced apples through lemon juice, some of the sugar.
Brush top of brioche with eggwash, scatter with apples and dates, then sprinkle with sugar. Bake until golden (35-40 minutes).


Delicious Vietnam #9 Announcement

>> Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Thanks Deb for a lovely recap of Delicious Vietnam #8!

Now onto Delicious Vietnam #10! Please welcome Indonesian Eats as our host.

If you are new to Delicious Vietnam, here’s a summary of the event along side with some rules and recaps of past editions.

You have until the second Sunday of October (US time) to post about anything related to Vietnamese cuisine – recipes, food writing, review or reflection.

In your post, please include the phrase “Delicious Vietnam #9” with the link to your host.

Please submit to your post by the deadline January 9th 2011, which is:

+) 12 noon, Monday, 10 Jan 2011 – Melbourne (Australia) time
+) 7 pm, Sunday, 9 Jan 2011 – Los Angeles (US) time
+) 9am, Monday, 10 Jan 2011 – Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city time

Send your entries to

with Delicious Vietnam #9 in the subject with the following details:

• Your Name
• Your Blog Name/URL
• Your Post URL
• Your Location
• A photo (optional): 300px wide

Looking forward to next month round up!


Poached stone fruits with jasmine and chrysanthemum flowers

>> Thursday, December 09, 2010

{Weekend Herb Blogging - I came in search of flowers}

 Poached stone fruits with jasmine flowers and chrysanthemum

I have never admitted this openly – but hey, I am quite a K(orean)-drama fan. While addiction might be a strong word, I do follow news about Korean stars and dramas quite religiously, several times a day. Eh, a girl always needs some kinds of distraction right?

Though I have never watched the witty and critically acclaimed 2007 K-drama “I came in search of flowers” (also known as Flowers for my life), the name and some its photos stayed with me to this day. There is something utterly romantic and poetic about that title.

I was thinking of that phrase, together with this lovely photo from Piero Hanoi while preparing this dessert. This kind of flowers can be found in the northern Vietnam countryside. As a child, I used to think they were "too ordinary", but no, they are so pretty.The photo makes me long for my upcoming trip to Vietnam. Cannot wait!

Photo by Piero Hanoi

I truly love Piero Hanoi’s photography, and his very Hanoians’ warm-cold personality (when we met in person). It is no accident that he was my wedding photographer, you see.

Whimsical moments. Flowers and stoned fruits. Hot summer days. This poached fruit dish has my palate refresher. So good, with or without cream/yoghurt. This is how I haven’t cared much about the long absence of chocolate.

I’m sending the dish to Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Huan from Eat.Read.Live. More information about this weekly event can be found here.

Poached stone fruits with jasmine flowers and chrysanthemum

Poached stone fruits with jasmine flowers and chrysanthemum

Choose and mix your favorite fruits of similar size and firmness.

500g mixed stoned fruits of similar size and firmness – choose from apricots, plums, peaches, nectarines etc.
300ml of sugar syrup (i.e. equal amount of sugar and syrup)
10g dried jasmine flowers
10g dried chrysanthemum
Heat up the sugar syrup, place the dried flowers in a bag, tied up and put in the syrup mixture. Simmer for about 5-10 mins, and take off the heat. Leave to steep for about 10 mins.
Meanwhile, wash and cut the fruits in half.
Bring the mixture to the boil again, put the fruits in. Bring the heat to low, so the mixture barely simmers. Cook until the fruits are just soft.
Remove the fruits and let cool. Continue to boil the syrup until it has light syrup consistency.
Serve chilled with some cream, yoghurt and honey with floral notes.



Quay's chocolate and nut petit fours

>> Monday, December 06, 2010

{The best ever chocolate truffles. Almost}

Chocolate and macadamiapetit fours

We were sitting at Chikalicious dessert bar in NYC and chat about sweets, Per Se, Momofuku and chocolate truffles.

I travelled to Belgium and sampled their truffles, in search for the best one”, said Chika, the owner of that lovely dessert bar. As we spoke, she continued plating our desserts with the sweetest smile and grace – the famous chocolate tart with pink peppercorn ice-cream, the warm apple soup with biscuits and buttermilk sorbet. And of course, a plate of petit fours with the melt-in-your-mouth chocolate truffles.

We had it better here [NYC]. Better.”

If you have tasted Chika’s sweets, you will believe her. I’ll be over the moon if she publishes her recipes. One day.

Back to my home in Melbourne, I went through a month of no chocolate and not too much sweets after the said NYC trip. After a short while, I start craving for chocolate again. Something chocolaty, smooth and creamy. And when I saw the Peter Gilmore (of Quay’s fame)’s chocolate and hazelnut petit fours recipe, I knew it was the one to try. In fact, I bought that particular edition of Master Chef magazine just for that one recipe.

The formula is elegantly creative – caramelized nuts + white chocolate crumbs + chocolate garnache. It is the combination that will always work, and it tastes delicious. I cannot praise the white chocolate crumbs enough – an interesting way of adding milky richness to the petit fours. Finally, the chocolate truffles which will please fans of both white and normal chocolate.

I admit my petit fours look far from prettiness. The white chocolate crumbs, I think I chose the wrong product for it (mine was a very rich chocolate with smooth center bar from Lindt). More solid chocolate perhaps will yield drier looking crumbs.

 Before reading the long recipe, I gotta say that this post is prepared for Bake A Difference fund-raisingevent, hosted by Penny from Jeroxie. Come, take a look and join us!

You can wrap the truffles individually and place in a small box for gifts! i found the pattern of this cute cloud box here, and it's extremely easy to make. So cute, too :)

The cloud that brings you chocolate

Chocolate and macadamia petit fours
Adapted from Peter Gilmore (Quay’s restaurant) recipe

Printable recipe page 

Chocolate garnache:
300g milk chocolate, finely chopped
125ml pouring cream
30g unsalted butter, finely chopped
Caramelised nuts
70g castor sugar
1 tbp pouring cream
60g roasted and peeled macademia (or nuts of your choice)
White chocolate crumbs
100g white chocolate, finely chopped
100g coconut palm sugar

The day before
Making the chocolate garnache: Place milk chocolate in a heat proof bowl. Heat cream until almost boil and pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Whisk until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. Gradually add in the butter until the mixture is glossy and smooth. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Making the caramelized nuts:
Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place sugar in a small saucepan with 1 tbp water over medium heat. Swirl until the sugar is dissolved, simmer until you have a nice caramel color.
Stir in the cream (be careful the mixture will split). Remove the pan from the heat. Add in the nuts and coat them well with the caramel mixture. Place the nuts onto the baking tray and let them cool slightly. Use a fork and your hands to separate the nuts. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Making the chocolate crumbs
Preheat oven to 170C. Place the white chocolate onto a lined baking tray. Bake for 12 mins or until golden. Cool until the chocolate is firm up, break them to pieces.
Add in the sugar and process the mixture in a food processor. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Assembling the petit fours
Line a baking tray with baking paper. Use a teaspoon, scoop a healed teaspoon and mould to a small ball. Insert the caramelized nut and place on the tray. Refrigerate for about 2 hours.
Place the chocolate crumbs in a bowl. Smooth the chocolate balls with your hands, and coat them with the crumbs. Refrigerate for about 1 hour or until firmed up. Serve chilled.

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Weekend Herb Blogging # 261 - The roundup

>> Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Thanks so much for being patient with this roundup (and my horrible internet connection). I was at the point of extreme frustration, wanting to throw mugs at my computer. But heck, no need for such terrible actions. A little patience goes a long way. My internet is okay now, and we should go ahead with the delicious roundup without any delay!

In no particular order...

[My comment is in square brasket :)]

Baked Apple Banana Oatmeal - The Taste Space

[I know I want this for breakfast] - “…I used the bananas more as a base for the oatmeal, so that it did not need any additional fat. It made it nice and creamy with a hint of sweetness. I added in chunks of apple, and because I used Pink Lady apples, they kept their shape well. Very well. They kind of separated the creamy oatmeal. This meant my oatmeal was a bit disjointed, but I liked it! Apple butter was used for a touch of sweetness and cinnamon and nutmeg provided a savoury background. Beautiful comforting fall flavours, great as a virtual hug in the morning. Bake this once and you have breakfast for the week…”

Passion Fruit and Couscous TrifleLive to Eat

[Amazing tropical flavours!] - “Passion Fruit and Couscous trifle is a pleasant surprise. Every bite transforms you to a world of flavours”

Egg and Bacon with Avocado and Watercress - Erbe in Cucina (Cooking with herbs)

[A beautiful way of using home-grown cress!] - "The cress sown last month is ready to be harvested. This aromatic herb can be planted all year round, and I chose to cultivate it during fall because it seems very appropriate for this season: not only is rich in vitamin C, but it helps to calm the cough and has expectorant properties."

Stir fry Ginger Turmeric Chicken - Bits of Taste

[This is my kind of dish. Perfect for a shared family meal ] - "These two ingredients [turmeric and ginger] are my all time favourite, especially during the confinement period. Today's featured recipe is based on these two natural spices and also one of my favourite dish. If you prefer a strong smell and taste of ginger, you can either pound or blend it beforehand. By using these natural spices you can whip up a chicken dish full of natural goodness in it.

Growing and Eating a Gaudy Purple Cauliflower - The Crispy Cook

[I wish I could grow vegetables like this amazing color cauliflower] - "While not the most prolific vegetable in my upstate New York garden, the cauliflower is so delightfully odd-looking and so terribly toothsome, that I always like to buy a six-pack of seedlings each spring to intersperse among my plants."

Duck Legs with Garlic and Leaves - blog from OUR kitchen

roasted duck leg with garlic and bay laurel (WHB)

[A revelation!] "Bay leaves are not only terrific for flavouring stocks but they are delicious to eat as well."

Sundried Tomato and Spinach Pesto - The Bee and the Fruit in the Kitchen

[Great pesto recipe. The color is so vibrant ] - "Pesto is quite a versatile accompaniment. It can be used as a condiment, a sauce for pasta or pizza, slathered on bread, or eaten by the spoonful. Oh, is that last one just me? There are also a lot of ways to make pesto. My recipe uses less oil than most and its still delish."

Lavender Pancakes - allotment2kitchen

[Beautiful, beautiful pancakes with the use of lavender] - "If you have yet to cook or bake with lavender, just keep one thing in mind, Lavender has a very strong flavour especially when dried so please use sparingly. Its a wonderful herb, almost magical - both for scent and flavour..."

Chamomile tea poached cherries - Cook (almost) anything at least once

[Haalo, I know we share the same passion for cherries :)] - "I've taken a slightly different approach this time and poached the cherries in chamomile tea - those subtle honey notes found in chamomile really work well with the flavour of cherry."

Smashed Sweet Potatoes and Butternut Squash with Five-Spice Marshmallows - Eats well with others

[Thanks for introducing this wonderful dish to me! Lovely post about 'being thankful', too] - "The five-spice powder adds a little extra kick of umami, an undefined sweet-savory flavor, to an otherwise traditional dish. So subtle that you won't explicitly notice it. Other than the fact that you just can't stop eating it. And neither can your supposedly sweet potato-hating family members."

Cod and Asparagus in a Packet of Parchment - Honey From Rock

[What a lovely way of cooking fish. I'm in!] - "These packets contained cod, asparagus, red onion, and from our garden, lemon slices, thyme, and chives. Super good. You should definitely do this. "

turnip salad with herb dressing - Briiblog in English

[Raw and well dressed turnips are my things, too] - " I love turnips, possibly raw and as I actually don't know the english names of these turnips I made a photo and I hope you can help me identify them :)"

Açili Ezme - Turkish red pepper dip - The Well Seasoned Cook

[More, please! I remember our conversation about the amazing Turkish mezze in NYC! :)] - "açili ezme is a vibrantly red Turkish chopped vegetable dip creased with rivulets of olive oil and jolted with hot pepper paste. It strikes a perfect balance of raw heat and heart-healthy ingredients that will give the spice lover in you just enough color in your cheeks without punishing yourself with the physical pain of swallowing some of those other high-octane chile recipes."

Curried Cauliflower Mash - Green Gourmet Giraffe

[Sound fabulous! And healthy, too!] - "E and I loved it – though Sylvia preferred her cauliflower boiled and plain! It was great with vegies on the side or just spread on a piece of fresh bread like a dip. I think I can see more of this coming our way soon. "

Curry Pears au Gratin - Cindystar

[a new and refreshing dish. And I love candle decoration!] - "a light but delicious recipe with some of my favorite ingredients: curry and pears"


Thanks to everyone who participated in this week WHB! I know the round up was done a bit late, but hopefully you guys enjoy it as much as I did... For more information about Weekend Herb Blogging, please visit Haalo over at Cook (almost) anything at least once.

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