Tuesday, June 30, 2009

R.I.P Michael Jackson

It takes a life to entertained a world.
Michael Jackson, Rest In Peace.

Here are some of my favorite MJ songs that you can see from you tube. Enjoy

Stranger to Moscow

The Just Don't Care About Us

Liberian Girl

Remember The Time

Billie Jean

main picture from zonamusical.net

Friday, June 26, 2009

Le Hamburger Macaron

Mesdames et Messieurs, je te présente, le hamburger. Taa daaaaaa...dripping with ketchup (red strawberry sorbet) stacked with Kraft cheese (white chocolate), patty beef (chocolate cream), fresh sliced tomato (sliced strawberries) and minty peppermint leaf (exactly what it is) and two very delicious buns (do I really need to explain myself?). So here it is, the joke of the day. Enjoy le hamburger macaron only in Melbourne.

Cours de MACARON

Voilà! The winning MACARONS: flavours left - right: Citron (lemon curd) -Chocolat Caramel (with baileys caramel)- Framboise (raspberry coriander infused)- Fidel Castro (w chili flakes) - and finally Menthe Glaciale (peppermint chocolate filling).

Here it is le cours de macaron that I participated today from 8am-3pm at Savours School in Brunswick today! I had such a wonderful time, the chef or le chocolatier by profession, Paul Kennedy guided us (...did most of it actually..ha ha I was told to stay put...) *cough* I'm accident-prone :O

So there were six Macarons flavors, each made differently according to it's country of origin, ranging from Italy, Spain and France. Surprisingly the most widely-used being the Spanish ones, the sugar doesn't need to be dissolved and less ingredients. However the macarons that I saw in Paris had a very nice gloss, and if you want to create that, then you must follow the French recipe, using more Almond flour.

Squeezing the paste from piping bag is tricky at first, you squirt from the bottom of the surface, be still, don't make a snake out of it, when you get the right size, flick the bag. Flick Flick Flick it! It will raise in the oven and it takes only 12-15min tops, bring it out and leave at room temperature for 20 minutes until it's ready for the filling.

Chef Paul said that Pierre Hermé leave his unfilled macarons for 24 hours until they softened, he is the iconic créme de la créme of French patisserie chef, however even the macarons from Ladurée are very chewy whereas the ones we made today are crunchier.

Of course ideally we would leave them for more than half a day until they softened. It's up to you really whether you'd prefer more of an Italian meringue texture or a gooey bite. I prefer the gooey gooey. To get the colours we wanted, you must experiment, trial and error, the raspberry macaron flavour should be in a rich red colour, but the chef opted for something subtle, which I also liked. In the future, I would really like to use natural colouring...from fruits perhaps or jams...??

This is the French recipe, they are flatter, more chewy and is my favourite because we sprinkle them with expensive metallic powder (70 dollar a pop!). The filling today is changed to blackberry, frozen then mixed with sugar, melted to become a liquidy sorbet. Refrigerated and then glazed on top of the macarons.

Aaaah don't they look so beautiful? he he he, these are done, the top rack holds the raspberry flavor with metallic glaze, and the second rack is caramel macaron with baileys cream filling. Next time I'll use a bit amount of butter for the filling as I don't really like that creamy mousse taste in my mouth. I'd prefer the caramel to be pure melted sugar, dark and clear.

I really enjoyed myself today, I wish I could rewind and go back again. I told my friend who came with me that for a day, I felt I was back in Paris. I didn't feel like I was in Melbourne, sorry, I have this love-hate relationship with this city.

Moreover, I can't wait to practice baking them, it'll be a challenge but I'll let you know how it goes of course. Next time, I'll tackle it using natural coloring perhaps, more classic flavors like vanilla, coffee, and pistachio. If you are interested in the course, go www.savourschool.com.au It's worth it! and you'll meet fancy characters while at it!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bloc Color Magasin

menthe glaciale



Can't stop thinking about macaron flavours...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Le Pain Rustic

Ever since I arrived back in Melbourne, I have been craving for some good ol' rustic french bread just like the ones I buy in Paris every second day from Boulangerie Julien or Eric Kayser down in the 5eme arr. opposite the entrance of Rue Cardinal Lemoine, on Blvd. Saint Germain. Chewy, densey, filled with mix nuts, cranberries and apricots, they sometimes they call it le mixte, le fruits or just a small dollop of goodness for me. I love it as an after-lunch snack, healthy yet still sweet and quite filling with a cup of black coffee. So rather than doing an hour trip to Phillipa's on High Street everyday to get a good brown bread, I thought I should give a hand at making my own bread at home, another plus when you have lots of free time in the afternoon (cough*). So this week, I'm up to my third batch, and getting seriously addicted to it!

Can't wait to have my homemade bread in the morning! So this batch is filled with lots of cranberries, almonds, pumpkin seeds and a few other nameless nuts and sweet raisins. I used self-raising wholemeal flour and a few tablespoons of honey.

My favorite part is always when I'm shifting the wholemeal flour with tiny amounts of water and milk combined, and seeing the whole transformation of paste becoming a small dough in my sticky hands. I can't get enough it! It's quite therapeutic, especially when Desperate Housewives is on!

Stuffed with mixed nuts and cranberries. Really yum with yogurt, or toasted with a smear of honey or jam. A sweet tartine for breakfast.

A similar recipe I found which includes more of the necessary ingredients like yeast and salt can be followed as below (makes one big loaf)

3 1/2 cups of self raising wholemeal flour
1 cups of water
1/2 cup of milk
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/8 teaspoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons of honey
1 cup of trail mix with lots of cranberries

Mixed the flour with little bits of water and milk, knead and add all the ingredients gradually. Once it becomes a dough, leave at room temperature for 1 hour for it to rise (cover with a damp cloth) Add the trail mix at the end, make into a round shape and slice two thin lines at the top. Bake at 200 degrees for about 40-45 minutes. Make sure the insides are baked evenly before you take it out.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Lady Macaron

French macaroons at a local boulangerie at Rue de Sevres near Le Bon Marché in the 7eme arr.

Did you know that french Macaroons are slowly making it's mark outside of France? and I have a
feeling it will have similar-like effect of the cupcake phenomena when it first entered the New York scene and burst like waterfalls to every bakery and cake shops around the world. Little did anyone know outside of Paris, what is a french macaroon. Most of you reading this would probably already know what is the true french macaroons and how it actually look like (the image above is a giver) however for a minuscule of you who come across this article by sheer accident, here is a petit l'introduction to the differences of the macaroons you grew up eating - to the french version that for many le boulanger and I will tell you that this little gem is the true flag of France.

Like everyone else, I grew up with this version:
a cracky surface with a chewy texture made from egg whites, sugar and ground almonds. When I was growing up in Jakarta, I blurry remember eating them for the first time as a gift from someone who just came back overseas. I loved it instantly, from the sweet perfumy aroma from the almonds to the way it blends perfectly over a cup of hot milk. This version is called amaretti, originally from Italy and thought to have been made by the Italian monastery way before the 16th century.

The french version...is famously created by no other than Pierre Desfontaines Ladurée in the beginning of the 20th century. Today, Ladurée sells up to 16,000 macaroons each day from their three green painted salons, my favourite one is at Rue Bonaparte and my heart smiles each time I passed it on my way home. With more than 20 flavors and a new one added each month to last only for a couple of weeks until sold out, Ladurée is the true maker of french macaroons.

When I was in Paris, I had the fortunate chance to try many macaroons from different establishments, from the ones at Four Season where the serveuse secretly admitted that they were inferior to Ladurée's. And the different versions at countless local boulangeries in different arrondissements. Each one is beautifully tasty, I remember the rosé flavored macaroon from Jules Verne up above La Tour Eiffel that was uniquely rare in taste and aroma.

Of course no trip to Paris is ever fully complete without a visit to one of Ladurée salons. It is an experience even just to wait patiently at the long queues of tourists and french people alike waiting for their turn to be serve, and then goes the next daunting task of choosing which flavors you're after. Try the classic ones first if you're confuse, I always go for caramel with a salty after-taste from the au beurre salé, then for your next visits roll out your tonque with framboise, citron and fleur d’Oranger.

I have not seen any french macaroon here in Melbourne since I arrived. However if any of you have spotted these delicious diamonds around town, always leave a comment! Thank you

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Warhol Madness

Two different Warhol exhibits at two different galleries in Saint-Germain. One was in Place de Furstenberg and Rue L'Université, is it Warhol season?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I'm Back!

I am back and feeling fresher than ever today eventhough it was raining hail this morning, and my hands and feet are close to freeeeziiingg...yes that's Melbourne!

I thought of doing a new blog and had actually signed up a new one but I deleted it after half an hour. Why? because I made a promised to myself I will come back to Paris and after all I fell in love because of my 90 days stay, so why not continue it...after all I dream of Paris every night...

So here it goes...my day-to-day thoughts on all things related to Paris...

The other day while I was finishing lunch with my cousin at Cooper and Milla's, High Street, Armadale, I found Grapeseed, a little cafe with tolix chairs from Paris! If you have been following my blog, you would know that I have this thing with Tolix, a french company specialising in chairs and is best known of course for their metal chairs. I can't believe I found them in Melbourne! It all started with Potato Head, my brother's restaurant in Jakarta that uses Tolix for their outdoor seating, then when I arrived in Paris, I started noticing them everywhere, in a little creperie, in a really cool boutique/warehouse in the 11eme arr. displayed as art, in markets with killer prices and in the Conran Gallery shop down in Rue du Bac, 7eme arr. Apparently Tolix is a household name there and it's iconic style and metal-made is very much recogniseable. The next time I'm in High Street, I'll definitely try Grapeseed.

Grapeseed is at 1084 High Street, Armadale. Tram no. 6 from Melbourne Central.