Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Daring Bakers' Challenge - January 2011: Biscuit Joconde Imprime/Entrement

The Daring Bakers' Challenge started with a bang this 2011! Our host gave us a challenge that I couldn't resist making. It's a type of dessert that I love creating. When done with planning, patience and practice it's an elegant masterpiece - entrement!

Blog-checking lines: The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert.

Entrement is a composed  French dessert consisting of different components from dacquoise to mousse to creme brulee, anything you can think of, all put together in one showpiece work of art. For this challenge, one of the components we need to put on our entrement is a patterned joconde used as a lining. Joconde is a sponge cake that is made with almond powder, flour, eggs and powdered sugar. Patterns such as stripes can also be added to the joconde sponge by using a joconde decor paste. The decor paste has a very thick consistency, so it is really manageable to make all the patterns you can think of.

I've always wondered how pastry shops make lovely designs on their sponges especially those sleek stripes and perfect swirls. In the past, I've attempted to make my own sponge design by marbling different colored sponge cake batter; it worked out really nice, but my curiosity on how to make perfect lines still remained. Alas, this month's challenge came; answer to my long time mystery solved!

For my entrement, I made an Orange Cognac Mousse Joconde Cake with Dark Chocolate Mousse and Hazelnut Meringue Disc Center. I was so happy with how everything came out. The sketch I made translated to the finished cake. The only thing I wish is for a better pattern, but since I really didn't have much time to execute this challenge, I had to make use of what I have at home/body (I used my fingers to create my pattern). As a whole I love my cake; looking at my finished cake makes me so giddy! The taste of the whole cake was fabulous too; all the flavour components blended well perfectly. I mean what's wrong with an orange chocolate combo, plus the addition of cognac and hazelnut? The cognac and hazelnuts really heightened the whole cake's flavour profile. For me, the aesthetic of the cake looks close enough to be displayed in a pastry case in Paris. Pardon me if I'm self-complimenting, but I never thought I would have made a cake like this ever in my life.

I can't wait as to what's in store for the February challenge!

Components used for this dessert treat:
Bisou bisou,

Friday, 21 January 2011

Travel Food Blog: Australia

Way long overdue post... I've been quite busy sorting out random things since I came back from Australia, so I finally found some time to squeeze in my 'travel food' post. My trip to Australia was alright; I mean all the activities I've done were amazing and worth cherishing, but due to an unexpected twist of fate, I spent most of the trip visiting my dearest P at the hospital. I won't go into details anymore... So where am I? Ah yes, 'travel food' post!

Australia has an amazing food culture. I was simply blown away with the diversity of cuisines available. Their groceries have a wide range of produce, meat, dairy and other ingredients. It was certainly inspiring; it makes a person want to cook and love food. Their ingredients are of good quality; their carrots are so sweet, and their potatoes are packed with flavour. I really had an overwhelming food cultural experience.

As I was sorting out my photos, I realized I have taken loads of food photos. So I've decided to just pick some of my food encounters to share with you guys. Warning: some might mean a lot! Shall we start?

Xiao Long Bao from our stopover at Shanghai

Fish and Chips

Chinese food chugged down with some iced milk tea! Yum!!

Noche Buena... Small feast on Christmas Eve: homemade ham, potato au gratin, buttered carrots, duck liver pate, cheese platter, and some wines and bubbly. This feast was prepared by my sister C, oh carrots by my sister Z!

Tiramisu made by my sister J for Noche Buena. Super yummy!

Wasabi peas 

Christmas feast begins! Seafood and salads... I love salads! 

My aunt R's homemade ham

Roast pork

Desserts: croquembouche, gingerbread house, bombe Alaska and orange chocolate cake (not in picture).

Cousin L's eggnog!! Delish! I drank quite a few... Sigh... such a lovely Christmas feast!

Gorgeous chocolates given by S

Donar kebab - couldn't resist this junkie goodness. 


Wine tasting and wine tour at Hunter Valley. 

Indian for dinner; tikka here korma there, my belly was so satisfied! 

Corned beef - not processed, taste so much better! 

Kangaroo! Surprisingly good; it has a gamey taste, which I love. 

White, milk and dark chocolate dips for churros. 

Churros in the making... interesting contraption. 

Yum yum churros

Pies, pies and more pies! Oh, and don't forget the sausage rolls!

Peppercorn steak pie... mmmm... 

Pumpkin tortellini 

Chicken and Chips. To be honest, I just ordered this kiddie meal because I wanted the tweety cup! Yes, I am a tweety fan. 


Pineapple float

Aunt R's kiam peng rice. She was so thoughtful cooking food for my family while we were at the hospital. Thank you! 

Cousin L's lamb moussaka. Absolutely delicious, couldn't stop eating it! Thanks L! 

Lamb sausages (my favourite sausages next to bratwurst) served with caramelized onions and salad.

Butterscotch madeleines that L and I  baked for a very nice lady at the hospital.

Hot Dog de Wheels from Harry's Cafe de Wheels - Continental Frankfurt, on soft bread roll with mushy peas, chilli con carne, garlic onions, chilli and cheese sauce. The best hotdog I ever had! 

Tiger from Harry's Cafe de Wheels - mash, mushy peas and gravy on top of a pie! oooo.... 

Ricotta cheese pancake with fresh strawberries 

Deep fried prawns 

Pad Thai 

Thai duck curry 

Ribs from Hurricane's Grill & Bar 

First salad that I made that's actually good - hake and prawn with avocado, dill and lemon vol au vent salad. 

Crocodile burrito; the croc looked like chicken and had a texture of overcooked fish. Nothing really special I'd say. 

Seared yellow fin tuna served with pineapple rice. Not that good; I'm still on the hunt for my perfect pepper crusted seared yellow fin tuna.

That's one hot hot hot chili sauce. 

German pork knuckle served with sauerkraut and mash. 

Assorted German sausages 

Swiss schnitzel 


Pork cutlet ramen 

The last food photo: my very own blanquette de veau served with buttered dill carrots. I rarely excel on cooking, so when I do, I'm proudly happy!

Whew... done! I would love to go back to Australia to eat more food! I love how there are different cuisines in one country. I'm definitely head over heels with the Australian food culture!

Bisou bisou,


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