Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Rubik's Cube Cake

Guess what this is!
Just wanted to quickly update with this cake. I hate these photos, but I had so much fun making this cake so wanted to show you guys. It's a Rubik's Cube Cake!

The cake is 3 small tiers of chocolate mud, set with ganache and covered with fondant.

In other news, Dad is currently redoing the kitchen, so nothing is being produced there at the moment. We are eating out most nights, and keeping the cooking to a bare minimum at home. Dad's doing an amazing job. I'll show you the photos once its all complete. :)

All the renovating has me trawling Apartment Therapy daily. It is such an inspirational site and everyday I find things that I want to have in my own home. Can't wait to move out into a place I can call my own.

We also drove down to Thredbo a couple of weeks ago, and I'm pleased to report that I am still improving on a snowboard. Yay! I made it up a t-bar lift! Fingers crossed for further progress next year...Hoping to go Japan early 2013! Anyone with suggestions for where to eat/stay?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Blue Ombre Petal Cake

Another late night photo...Don't judge me.

Being that it’s father’s day this Sunday for us Australian folks who live on the right side of the world, I’m dedicating this post to dear old Dad.

I usually ask my friends and clients for 2 weeks notice for any cake orders. So last Saturday, when my dad said: “Vicky, you know you gotta make a cake for my friend’s birthday for Wednesday right?”

Um… No? First I’d heard of this cake! Sheesh.

My mum used to hate being around my Dad and I when we were together, because we always bicker. Hard. About anything. And everything. But that’s just how we roll! And Mum never really understood that. Dad and I would fight about everything under the sun, and within 5 minutes, be all chummy again. We knew it was friendly, even when it wasn’t.

In any case, I had a busy weekend, which left last night to do the cake. The ombre petal effect is something I’ve been meaning to try for a little while so I felt this was a good opportunity, seeing as Dad didn’t know what kind of a cake he wanted.

A few hours later, and I was done :) . This morning, i.e. the morning of the day he wanted the cake, Dad waltzes in and says “Gee it’s a bit small.” Guess what? Dad forgot to tell me that the cake is for a 50th birthday celebration, and is meant to serve 30 people. Good one, Dad. Thankfully the cake isn’t that small. Hopefully, he’ll be able to get 30 small servings if he cuts it right. And she wonders why we bicker.

The cake is yellow cake with vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream frosting.

Kimmidoll Cake

I made this Kimmidoll cake a couple of weeks ago for my combined birthday celebration with le boyfriend. It served 120 coffee portions and about 60 dessert portions and weighed about a ton. If anyone was wondering, we only got down to her fringe... She is all mud and rich dark chocolate ganache inside.

For about 2 weeks after this one, I was scouring the interwebs looking for cute kimmi/kokeshi dolls that could be cake-i-fied. Have a look at these guys:

If anyone is interested in how to make one, it is available as a novelty course at Planet Cakes, who are wonderful! It is no coincidence that they are commonly regarded as the best couture cake company in Sydney.

If anyone is interested in having a Kimmidoll cake made up, please send me an email (see contact link above). Fully customizable in terms of colour. I'm thinking ninja cakes at the moment...

Also, I wanted to stick in a quick mention of Sushi Tei on Liverpool street. We frequent this place quite a lot, but they were so incredibly accommodating and patient with our large booking at such short notice. Great food and great service!

Green Tea Macarons

Have I mentioned I love Instagram?
These green tea macarons are wonderful. I love that combination of a very Asian flavour with a very Western style dessert, and this is no exception. I expect that there will soon be some black sesame/sticky rice macarons making an appearance.

The green tea is slightly bitter, which counters the usually very sweet macaron very well. Green tea powder is usually available in a Japanese/Asian grocery. If you have trouble finding it, try also looking for green tea ice cream mix. Hint: if it says 'matcha', you're on the right track.

The cracked one had a bite taken out of it...sorry. Couldn't resist ;p

By the way, these really cute tiny bowls and plates are from Ikea.
If anyone's interested in making macarons, have a quick flick through the Nooblet Patissier site (see pages bar above). Keep an eye out, because I will soon be posting a few more macarons recipes there along with a short discussion on what works for me and what doesn't (this will be mostly talk about the Italian meringue method).

Angry Birds Cake

So, one more brightly coloured, kid appropriate cake for you guys! Angry Birds cake! For one lovely Angry Birds fanatic. I'm really sad that I only have these instagram photos of the cake. It disappeared pretty quickly following a dinner at Kobow restaurant in Sydney.

Inside was chocolate mud with dark chocolate ganache. All the Angry Birds figurines were edible, formed form gumpaste.

If you're interested on how to make these little figurines, let me know in the comments section and I'll post up a tuturial for you guys. :) finish off, a random photo of Miss Bagel. She's a little pig and wants eggs and cake too. :)

Hello Kitty Cupcake Tower

I have a friend who's obsessed with Hello Kitty. Adorable!

For her birthday, she asked for a Hello Kitty cake. Who am I to say no?

Amy is one of the sweetest people I know. She's loving, kind, honest and straightforward. I always knew she was into Hello Kitty, but I didn't realise how obsessed until I made her this cake. And what a fitting theme. I think Hello Kitty almost defines Amy. Pink, sweet, fun.

During the party, Amy's beautiful parents came and thanked me, saying that a cake tower like this was "Amy's dream". I could not have been more honored. No one deserves to have her dreams fulfilled more.

Love you!

Tinkerbell Cupcake Tower

Had some trouble getting Tinkerbell to sit ladylike...her legs kept wanting to go in opposite directions.

I thought I'd kick off the new blog with this cute as Tinkerbell cake tower. For those of you who don't know me, I go by Nooblet and run Nooblet Patissier, my general baking blog. Very recently, Noobet Patissier underwent an inter-web-mitosis sort of event and divided into two distinct blog: a baking one, and a caking one!

Nooblet Patissier will be predominantly focused of baking endeavours such as breads, pastries and other random dessert stuff. Nooblet cake will be a platform where I will showcase my cakes (which are available for order in the Sydney metro area). I will also be posting caking tutorials here from time to time for those of you who are interested in DIY sugar madness.

Life has been pretty hectic for me at the moment and I'm currently juggling all sorts of life-thingies, both ordinary and regular, and extenuating circumstances. So while my posts probably will not be the most regular at this point, I'll do my best to make sure they keep on coming, however sporadically that may be.

So now! On to the cake!!! I love making kids' cakes. They're so much fun! Wedding cakes most often default to the whites and the creams and the very pastel colours, which are certainly beautiful, but it's a wonderful break to make a loud, bright cake. Birthdays, especially children's birthdays, are so perfect for this!

This Tinkerbell themed cupcake tower was made for a 3rd birthday. It's a chocolate mud cutting cake and light, moist chocolate cupcakes.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Things, and a quick thought on butter

It's Friday people!

I just happened to be reading a few things about butter and thought I'd quickly share with you. I randomly stumbled onto a "why is butter yellow" thingy and found it interesting so here goes:

Butter is yellow due to the presence of something called beta-carotene which is naturally found in milk. Beta-carotene is part of a group of naturally occurring chemicals known as carotenes or carotenoids. And yup, carotene's are responsible for that orange colour in carrots.

Apparently, the French produce the best tasting butter in the world. I will let you know how French butter measures up to the Aussie stuff when I get there (must go to France to eat butter...). Since butter is made from milk, and we all know where milk comes from, it comes as no surprise that what the cow eats directly impacts how the butter turns out. Australian cattle feed year round on green pastures with high levels of beta-carotene, which makes for a yellower butter that is richer in vitamins A and K. French cows live in barns and are fed dry food, resulting in a paler butter. Unsalted butter also tends to be a little paler than salted butter.

And this brings us nicely along to that funny debate of which butter to use: salted or unsalted. It seems that cooks are divided into those that use only unsalted butter, and those who don't really care, and so are happy to take advantage of salted butter's versatility and convenience.

Proponents of unsalted butter claim that using only unsalted butter allows you to have complete control of the amount of salt that goes into your recipe. They also point out that salt is a preservative, giving salted butter a longer shelf life, which suggests that unsalted butter is typically fresher.

Personally, I don't really care. I have tried both, and have not noticed a huge difference which I guess puts me into the salted butter basket. Seeing as I don't see much of a difference in my baking when I use salted butter, why would I use unsalted butter at all? If I use salted butter, it keeps a little longer in the fridge (not usually an issue at our house), and I can soften it up to spread on toast for a yummy carb-loaded snack.

So! What are your thoughts? Salted or unsalted?

Recipe of the week: Shauna Sever's Lemon Curd
This is a pretty old post on Shauna's blog, but it includes a fantastic recipe for lemon curd. You crack 10 eggs to make it, but it manages not to taste all that eggy. It's also delightfully tart and lemony. The cake's not bad either.

Incidentally, I also picked up a copy of Shauna's book, Marshmallow Madness, today. This is a wonderfully puffy book with plenty of inspiration and lovely pastel photos.

New boots! What else is new? These ones over at Tony Bianco are particularly tempting.

Quote of the week:
"We are what we repeatedly do." - Aristotle

And that's it from me today! Cheers to the freaking weekend!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bye Bambi! We will miss you...


No baked goods today folks. 

This post is entirely dedicated to my beloved Bambi, who passed away last Saturday. 

Yes, she was named after the famous one. And, yes, I do know now that Bambi the deer is a boy.

Bambi came to my family in 1997 as a small, runty, bug-eyed puppy. She was our first dog, and one that came after much shameless begging and empty promises on my part. Within the first week, we had experienced toilet accidents, near miss crush injuries, food issues, and had also managed to misplace new puppy in a memorable incident (she fell asleep in the couch lining). Bambi quickly grew into a young dog with a lot of attitude. Despite her stature (small even for a Cavalier), she was feisty, often challenging the German Shepherd who lived nearby. She was a leash puller her whole life, and never got past 'sit' in obedience training.

Bambi loved chicken and cheese. She barked at her own reflection. She was on occasion accidentally drunk. She reluctantly befriended cats, and later other dogs, but only when it wasn't dinnertime.

Bambi was an expert at picking our moods. She knew when we were happy, sad or angry. She also knew when she had done something bad, reliably making herself scarce and plastering a perfect guilty look on her little face. She was always happy to see me, and slept on my feet in winter.

Bambi has had 2 litters of puppies, one dislocated leg, a case of lead poisoning, and a heart murmur. For a runty pup with a wonky eye, 15 years was an achievement I think.

On Friday evening I came home to a Bambi who was very unwell. She wasn't eating or drinking, was terribly restless, and looked to have a mean headache. She wasn't walking straight, was displaying signs of headpressing, and did not seem to register our presence. We opted for euthanasia the next morning.

I'll miss you so much, bug-eye puppy.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Beef Brisket Noodle Soup

So, the weather in Sydney's been pretty cruddy lately. In fact, it hasn't really been a great year, weather wise. We went from a non-existent Summer of 90% rainy days straight to a uncharacteristically cold Winter. Which is why I currently have an obsession for soups and stews and braises. Which leads to my second ever savoury post, incidentally also a soup.

Pretty much every day I'm trawling the world of food blogs for soup recipes and photos (yes, just looking at soups makes me warmer). Most of my soup porn seems to be focused on recipes for slowly simmered and braised things, like ox tail soup. And beef brisket. Brisket is something I always want to order in a Cantonese themed restaurant, but somehow seems always to be trumped by some congee, or something deep fried. And every time, after I pay, as I am walking out of the restaurant, I'll see someone's bowl of steaming beef brisket noodle soup and be overwhelmed with sudden food envy (despite being really really full).

I was craving this over the long weekend just past (God bless the Queen), and decided to make it, braving the rain to run out for the meat required (brand new Hunter boots makes this so much more do-able). After a huge steak dinner at home involving parmesan pan bread and green tea tiramisu, the brisket sort of got put on the back burner until later that night, which of course meant I was having a bowl of soup at 2AM. This soup though, is better left until the next day ladled over some freshly boiled noodles and Chinese vegies. Makes for an incredible meal at work.

Beef Brisket Noodle Soup 
This recipe is pretty free for you to play around with. If you like more soup, add more stock. If you like your brisket to be more stew-like, add less stock and more tendon to thicken.

1.25 kg  beef brisket
500g  beef tendon
2 thumb sized pieces of ginger
6L beef stock*
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1/4 cup Chinses cooking wine
1 tbsp black or mixed peppercorns
1 cardamom pod

To serve
Bok choy (or any Asian greens you like)
Noodles (I use white wheat noodles, feel free to improvise)

*Use Asian beef stock. Either carefully select one you like from an Asian grocery or make your own with a combination of beef bones and a bit of meat such as chuck or blade steak. When making stock for this soup, I would suggest staying away from bouquet garni, celery, or parsley as it will change the flavour of the soup.

  1. Place the beef tendon in a medium sized pot and cover with hot water. Boil for 45 minutes or until soft enough to cut.
  2. Meanwhile, cut brisket into 2 inch cubes and set in cold water to soak for 30 minutes to remove excess blood.
  3. Rinse brisket and place in a large pot with the ginger. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Boil for 2-3 minutes then remove from heat, discarding the water. Rinse the brisket and ginger well with warm running water, pouring off any impurities you can see.
  4. Wash the pot clean. Return the meat to the pot and add the remaining soup ingredients. Bring back up to a boil and turn down to a simmer.
  5. Take the tendon off the heat, and rinse with cold water until it is a manageable temperature. Cut into chunks similary sized to the brisket and trim off any obvious fat. Add to soup.
  6. Simmer until brisket is tender and tendon is meltingly soft (3 hrs for me on very low heat).
  7. To serve, boil noodles and bok choy separately. Layer noodles under the bok choy in a noodle bowl and ladle over the soup and brisket and tendons.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Peanut Butter Cookies

When I was small, I was often sent to school with a peanut butter sandwich for lunch. In Australia, PB&J is not nearly as common as just plain old PB. The thing with peanut butter sandwiches, was that they somewhat easy to get sick of. Or maybe that's just being a kid. In any case, peanut butter sandwich lunches came to me in the same way as all the other lunches I got: in bursts.

Day 1, Mum would supply a peanut butter sandwich. It would taste sensational. For some reason, I would always forget how good they tasted. Day 2, continue to revel in the awesomeness that is PB. Day 4, starting to get a bit bored of PB, and is the bread a little stale? Day 6, more PB. By this point, I'd have probably complained to my Mum about it, and the next day, magically, lunch would be different. Maybe ham, maybe roast beef, maybe turkey (if I was very lucky). And so the cycle would continue.

As an adult, I eat less peanut butter these days. Somehow, though, it taste better than it used to. And it was only this year that I began to really, really appreciate the stuff. The chief contributor to my new found affection is none other than Costco. How I now love peanut butter. And how I love Costco.

You see, Costco opened its massive warehouse doors for the first time in Australia last year. I was instantly a member. My second trip there, we came back with four 1.5kg bags of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (Mini). And so the obsession began.

It was during this mad PB craze that I was searching for more ways to use my giant, industrial, Costco sized jar of peanut butter. I stumbled upon these peanut butter cookies. Now, for those of you who don't know, I've been toying with the idea of making Chinese peanut or almond cookies for some time now. This seemed like a good avenue to explore. I was not mistaken. They were yummy. And they disappeared quickly (speed of vanishing is how I judge my baking).

Let me know how you go with it :) .

Peanut Butter Cookie (adapted from Joy of Baking)
Original recipe here.

3/4 cup butter*
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup peanut butter**
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
*I often use salted butter for baking cookies, simply because I like the taste, feel free to use reduced salt or unsalted if you prefer.
**I have tried this recipe with both smooth and crunchy peanut butter, and they both work very well. If you opt to go the crunchy way, make it an extra generous 3/4 cup.

Preheat oven to 170°C line a cookie sheet with baking paper.

Beat butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Beat in the peanut butter. Add the egg and vanilla and beat to combine. Add the dry ingredients and beat to combine.

Roll the batter into 1 inch balls and place on lined cookie sheet, squashing them a little flatter as you do. Then, using a fork, press into each cookie twice, making the checkered pattern you see above.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove and cool. Devour.


Related Posts with Thumbnails