Monday, November 28, 2011

Zumboron Day 2011

I did something bad. But I liked it. No, I didn’t kiss a girl, a’la Katy Perry (Man, this blog post got weird pretty fast, huh?). Instead, I ate my own weight in macarons. And I liked it. One-of-them tasted like cherry chapstick :)
Tis the season to eat macarons, kiddies! November has rolled around again, which can only mean one thing.. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ZUMBO. Now, let’s celebrate by getting freaky with some bizarre flavours..

There were 60 flavours on offer this year and I was keen to sample about 15 of them. Michael and I headed to Zumbo’s newest location at The Star, where we caught up with Laura from StarLoz - she is Ah-May-Zing. We’ve only known each other for a short time but  I’ve already met her mother. I think it’s getting serious :D I also had the pleasure of finally meeting the delightful Rachel from The Creamy Middles. Macarons and new friends? GOOD DAY!

(KayB & StarLoz.. shame about my hair!)

We walked alway with 20 macarons. My favourite of the day has to be the Strawberry Bubblegum. It tasted just like frickin’ hubba bubba!! I almost attempted to blow a bubble with it, because the flavor was so realistic (imagine pink macaron crumbs being spat all over the lounge room).

(Deep Fried Chicken Macaron)

I’m already counting down the days til next years ‘Zumboron Day’. HURRY UP, 2012!!

And just because I'm in the mood, here is Katy Perry to take us out. It's frickin' HANSON! What's not to like about this clip!!! (There goes my street cred). Cheers to Friday!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Beefcake – the greatest cake known to man. Tutorial: How to make a cake that looks like a steak!

It was my Daddy’s 50th Birthday last week and I had no idea what I was going to bake for him. A golf themed cake? Tour de France? Several brainstorming sessions with work colleagues resulted in various ideas being thrown back at me with a giant LAME attached to it.

It was one week out and I was getting desperate. I consulted MummyB. Surely after 20 something years of marriage she’ll know what he’d like. “Remember when his mates gave him the nickname ‘Beefcake’? What about a cow cake? With 50’s on it..? WAIT! A steak cake!!” The woman is a frickin genius.
I scoured the interwebs for inspiration and found loads of it. And it turned out to be one of the easiest cakes I’ve ever made. Everyone at the party loved it, even if they were a little turned off by it.

You will need:
Large slab cake and butter cream (or icing of your choosing)
Paper and pencil (for template)
Large knife

White fondant
Red gel food colouring
Vodka (or any clear spirit)
Fondant smoother
Foam meat tray (ask at your local butcher)
Glad wrap
Paper towel

Have a look at some of the inspiration I found online and draw a steak template on your piece of paper. Keep in mind that you will be covering the cake in two layers of fondant around the edges, so you will need to be generous with your cutting.
Once you’ve cut and filled your cake, give it a basic crumb coat. I followed up with a second layer of buttercream, but you don’t really have to for this cake. Let’s face it, steak doesn’t have that gorgeous sharp edge that we’re all so desperately seeking with our round and square fondant covered cakes. The more bumps and lumps, the better!
Next, roll out your fondant to about 5mm thick and cover the cake. As you can see, I tinted my fondant pink to act as a base for building a stronger colour. I think white underneath would have worked better – a few flecks of white showing through the red would have looked like streaks of fat. Lovely. Now the fun begins!
Grab your vodka, take a giant swig before pouring yourself a glass. Straight up. Then, pour a small amount into a shallow dish or bowl (I use an old jam jar lid). Next, drop a big dollop of red food gel into the vodka and gently mix. The reason why we are using food gel (and not ever, ever liquid colour!) is because we want a stronger colour and we also want some globby, clot-like bits (hence why I also put the vodka first, then colouring).

Rip off a bit of paper towel (or you could use a large, soft brush) and ball it up, dip it in the vodka/colour and sponge onto the fondant, no need to paint the sides. If you want more bloody-clots (and really, who doesn’t want more bloody-clots) then you can always smudge some food gel directly on the cake with your fingers, after you’ve put the vodka solution on.
You may be wondering why I have used vodka to dilute the colouring. It’s not just because it’s a refreshing beverage, particularly when mixed with soda water and lime, and it’s presence on the cake-decorating-table acts as an excuse to fuel my raging alcoholism. Ummm no. The vodka, or any clear spirit, will evaporate quickly and leave only the colour on your cake. If you dilute with water, the water will dissolve the sugar in the fondant and the whole thing will become a sticky, sweaty mess (see my 21st Birthday cake for an example of how NOT to paint a cake).

Once you are happy with the colouring on the top of your cake (don’t worry, we can add more later if need be), set aside to dry, preferably overnight.
Now we are going to add some FAT around the edge. A Niiiiice big ring of FAT! Measure the height of the cake and roll out your fondant so you have a few extra centimetres to work with. Brush a little water on the sides of your cake and whack your roll of fat on the side! As I said, you want some extra fondant on the fat so you have an overhang at the top. Trying to keep a realistic look, there is no need to be delicate – grab a pair of scissors and chop away at the excess. I cannot stress enough how simple this is, don’t try and make it neat and pretty. WE WANT MESS AND GORE!
Now take to the overhang with your fondant smoother and gently smooth onto the top of your cake. If you don’t have a fondant smoother, THEN GET ONE! But seriously, if you don’t then you can just use your hands, maybe a small (CLEAN) book?? Does anyone have any suggestions for substitute fondant smoothers? Anything? But when you do finally buy one, it will change your life forever. Seriously.
Once the sides are finished, grab some excess fondant and roll it in your hands so you have a ‘rope’ of fondant to use for the bone. Using your awesome powers of creativity, place the fondant ‘rope’ on the cake and shape it until you’re happy. Next we’re going to squash and smooth it out using our fondant smoother. Make adjustments as you see fit, cut off excess fat, trim the bone, add more blood, etc.
To finish off, I added a few more blobs of red gel, placed it on the foam tray and covered it in glad wrap. Doesn’t it just make you want to fire up the bbq? I also made a personalised label, with the expiry date as my Daddy’s birthday (this year) which made it look SUPER realistic. Hilarious!! Not unlike this photo..

Monday, August 15, 2011

Win one of five copies of Cake Boss, Season 2 on DVD.

If you’re ever short of cake inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. A moving, flashing robot cake, a seven foot tall solar system and a talking frog cake.. Buddy Valastro and his big, loud Italian family have attempted every type of novelty cake you could think of!
If you happen to be a part of a large Italian family, or even if you’ve watched the movie ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’, then you’ll definitely appreciate the hilarious dynamics of Buddy, his four sisters and three brothers-in-law. That’s correct - they ALL work in the bakery. Together. I have no idea how they do it. There is yelling, screaming and sometimes there are tears (and lots of dropped cakes). But they manage to make it work and create some of the most amazing, extravagant cakes I’ve ever seen (I’m talking a wedding cake with a built in bird cage and real live doves. Inside the cake. Seriously). 
What I love most about this DVD is the bonus features, including tutorials on basic to advanced level cake decorating. Who needs an expensive, overpriced two day cake decorating course when you could just watch these tutorials!
And thanks to the wonderful gals at Adele Feletto I’ve got FIVE copies of Cake Boss, Season 2 on DVD to GIVEAWAY! 
We all like free stuff, yeah? Thought so. OK, this is how it works.. 
If you could put any flavour into a cake, what would it be? 

To go into the draw to win one of five DVDs all you need to do is leave a comment on this post telling me your answer to the above question, then send your comment and full name to (otherwise I wont know how to contact you to tell you that you’ve won this amazing prize!) The most creative, unique, hilarious, entertaining answers will win. HURRAY! 
Personally, I would love a hazelnut cake, soaked in frangelico, with lime buttercream frosting. Ohhh yeah, that’s it baby. Give it to me!!
Competition ends Monday 5th September, 2011 at 10am (AEST). Winners will be notified by email on Tuesday 6th September, 2011 and you can enter as many times as you like! This competition is open to Australian residents only.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Biota Dining, Bowral.

Just this weekend the boyfriend, Michael, and I spent a lazy few days in the Southern Highlands. A quick hour and a half drive from Sydney, Bowral is the perfect location for a short getaway, particularly in the Autumn/Winter when the leaves are turning orange and the air is fresh and crisp. Perfect!

A few months ago I picked up a Cudo voucher for the new Gilbraltar Hotel (more on that experience later). Obviously a popular voucher as we had to wait a few months before we could book. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it meant we arrived in Bowral post opening of Biota Dining, the new venture from James Viles. I spied a review of Biota on Gastronomous Anonymous just before our long weekend, and thankfully Michael agreed that it was a must visit.

 “Biota is a dining experience supporting both local farmers and growers, focusing on artisan produce incorporating seasonal botanicals in all aspects of its menus and environment.. Our onsite automated glasshouse grows over 40 varietels of seed imported from france, netherlands and local suppliers which gives us a constant seasonal harvest of shoots, cresses and seedlings getting put to into gastronomic practice on a daily basis.” -
We book for a Saturday night and upon entering the restaurant we find that we’ve scored the premier table – right in front of the kitchen! We have an amazing view of the servery and can see/hear every movement from within the bowels of the kitchen. Around the opposite side of the building is the lounge. Comfortably decked out and featuring a separate menu of tapas style food. Watching the working of the kitchen all night makes me realise my job is mundane in comparison.

The wine list is extensive and features a few local wines. I choose a sauvignon blanc from Centennial Vineyards, which is right next to our hotel, only to discover that they are all out. The waitress recommends another local wine and I am horrified to discover that I’ve just agreed to a chardonnay. It wasn’t too bad and the glass size was overly generous (I hear chardonnay is making a comeback, though?).

We start off with warm bread and smoked butter, followed by an amuse-bouche of apple, tomato and Chamomile. The tomato is overly acidic on its own but is palatable with the apple pure.

For entrée I opt for the banana prawns in cured scallop broth with cucumber, green tea and dill seeds ($19). The severing was huge, with a whopping six large banana prawns on my plate. The prawns were perfectly cooked and the broth was tasty, however I did find it to be a tad salty.

Michael ordered the barbecued calamari, dressed with sugar snap peas and celery ($22). I managed to wrangle a small mouth full from him and again, the calamari was perfectly cooked. I despise rubbery, overcooked calamari!

Moving onto mains, we argued for quite some time as to who would order the lamb rump ($41). I came up winner (or should I say, Michael was generous enough to change his order at the last second). The lamb is cooked medium rare (I wasn’t asked for my preference) and is placed on a creamy bed of olive caramel. What I loved most about this dish was the oat milk rolled in garlic ash and hazelnut. Michael summed this up perfectly when he compared the texture of the oat milk to ‘yogo chocolate yoghurt’. It is creamy and light and not at all what I was expecting – more of a bocchini texture? I try a smear of the oat milk with the lamb and it isn’t bad. But what I find to be even more enticing is crumbling the overly crunchy bacon rind over the milk oat. The creamy texture with the salty, teeth shattering bacon is divine!

Michael has ordered the grouper with oysters and nashi ($38), this is a scary prospect as he wouldn’t normally order fish. But I am assured the fish is flaky and the oysters well cooked.

Letting our food settle, we peruse the dessert menu while taking in the exciting scene unfolding in the kitchen. It seems the apprentice was left in charge of picking salad and herbs from the garden for tonight’s dinners, and he hasn’t picked enough or decent quality produce. After a fantastic spray from James, (Michael is highly amused to hear the ‘f bomb’ dropped a couple of times) we see the apprentice with a big bowl running out the back door into the garden to grab more salad.

It was amazing to see James and his kitchen at full steam. By now (approx 9.30pm) the restaurant is about three quarters full and we overhear whisperings from waiters and the kitchen that there are VIPs dinning in the lounge. Even with all this on his plate, James notices that we are still sitting, staring at our dessert menus and he calls over a waitress to send in our direction and take our order. Did someone say Super Chef?
There will be no sharing when it comes to dessert. Michael orders the caramel pear, raw cacao ice cream, warm buckwheat and malt ($16), while I opt for the slightly more exotic silken honey and pumpkin cream, pumpkin seed shortbread, curds and whey, ginger juice sorbet ($15). The pumpkin cream is light and airy, and the shortbread is buttery and melts in the mouth. But my favourite part of the dish is the ginger sorbet. Delightfully fresh, I only wish I had a bigger serve!

We have to roll ourselves out to the car, bellies bursting at the brim thanks to the huge servings we were dished up. Michael isn’t normally one for fine dining, he can’t understand why someone would pay an exuberant amount of money for a tiny portion of food on a oversized plate. Our bill comes to around $160, which we both believe to be unbelievably cheap considering the quality and quantity of food. Even a week later, Michael continues to tell me, over and over, how impressed he was with Biota. This was definitely one of the best dining experiences I’ve ever had. The service, the food, the ambiance - everything was fantastic. I hope to return very soon to try out their lounge menu – the mini wagyu burgers sprawling out of the kitchen looked amazing!

Move over, Eschalot. There is a new player in the Southern Highlands and I’m sure the awards will be flooding in very, very soon.

Biota Dining
Address: Kangaloon Road, Bowral, NSW 2576
Phone: 02 4862 2005

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Self icing peanut butter cupcakes and the diary of a vegan.

I have a friend. Shock horror, I know. He’s pretty cool. We work together and sometimes drink at hip new Sydney bars together. Recently, he decided to become a vegan for a month - purely for a bet. One alcohol fuelled night my friend bet his mates that he could go vegan for a whole month. Typical males. Now, he is writing a blog about it. You can follow his adventures here. During the last few weeks I have enjoyed taunting my friend, Vinnie, with emails of what I will be consuming for lunch that day, ALWAYS including a large chunk of animal product. It’s just what a good friend does.

Just last week I stumbled upon this recipe. I was fascinated by the concept of ‘self icing’ cupcakes. No mess, no extra fuss and you still get to lick the bowl clean. Umm what’s not to love? Only glitch in the plan – it’s a vegan recipe. I was all pumped up for some peanut butter cupcakes with self icing chocolate sauce but I wasn’t about to go and buy a bunch of flax seeds to quell my foodie desires. Now, don’t get me wrong. As a reformed vegetarian of eight years, I can understand the motives behind veganism. But as a result, I can now also appreciate meat. I am now that girl in the group who could actually pass for a guy with all my beer-drinking and meat lovers-pizza-eating. Oh, how times have changed.

Regardless, I went about my plans to suck down several of these cupcakes but without the ‘vegan theme hanging over my head. I reworked the recipe to feature many glorious animal products including milk and eggs. And now I present it to you. Enjoy.

Self icing peanut butter cupcakes with chocolate icing.

Adapted from My Sweet Vegan (by Hannah Kaminsky) as published on
Makes 12 cupcakes.

Peanut Butter Cupcakes:

2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoon bicarb soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting:
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
2/3 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup full cream milk

To make the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 175 degrees C and grease a 12 hole muffin pan.
Using electric mixer combine buttermilk, both sugar, eggs, peanut butter, oil and vanilla into your mixer. In a separate bowl, add the flour, bicarb soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients one spoonful at a time into the wet ingredients. Mix until there are no lumps.

To make the icing:
Using an electric mixer, or a hand whisk, combine all of the ingredients for the icing until smooth.

Assemble the cupcakes and icing:
Divide batter between the prepared muffin holes. Add a spoonful of icing into the top of each cupcake and swirl use a toothpick or squewer to swirl and spread over the entire cupcake. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Be careful if you plan on eating these straight out of the oven.. the icing is like lava and will burn a hole in your head. Perfect warmed up with a side of ice cream!
Dear Vinnie,

At the time of publishing, you still have nine days of vegan life ahead of you. Which means you can’t eat these cupcakes. Suck it, bitch! These bad boys are good and you’re missing out!
BUT, if you’re lucky, then maybe I’ll make a batch to celebrate your return to the meat eating, animal product consuming life.

Love KayBizzle.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Masquerade cake: Tutorial

Today we're going to learn how to make a gumpaste mask. But first, a more pressing matter. Check out this wicked apron I got for Christmas..

Tehaha Love it. Ok. Now onto more important things.. lets learn how to make this. 

You will need;
Gumpaste – any chosen colour

Rolling pin
Baking paper
Cling wrap
Led pencil
Plastic Mask
Royal icing
Piping bag plus tips
Sparkles!!! Or any decorations you want to use, like peacock feathers.

First off, design your mask. It’s always a good idea to have a design idea before going in. I always sketch my designs while surrounded by inspiration. But be flexible, sometimes the best laid plans can go awry. I made two masks, because my first design sucked. Seriously. It sucked hard, kids!

You also need to make a template for your mask. I found a few I liked and made a variation of them.

Trace your template onto some baking paper and cut out. Next you will need to cut your template out of gumpaste, so prepare your bench top with a sprinkling of corn flour and roll your gumpaste to approximately 5mm thick. We want it to be thick and sturdy. 
Lay your template over the gumpaste and using a small, sharp knife cut out the mask, leaving the eye holes til last.
You may find that the gumpaste will shift as you are cutting it. No problem, just used your index finger to smooth out and shape the gumpaste so it’s all even. Then proceed to cutting out the eye holes. Now, be patient. Once you put this on the actual mask to dry, you’ll probably have to trim the eyes again to get them even.

Now that you have your mask, you'll want to get that realistic shape. Enter the creepy plastic face mask! So, to stop the gumpaste from sliding off, place a layer or two of cling wrap on the plastic mask. You will also want to raise the plastic mask so the gumpaste mask doesn’t dry with its tips sticking out like a pair of tiny wings. I stuck an upside down bowl under mine, which worked a treat!
Once dry, we start the fun bit.. Decorating! I also took the extra step of trimming my dry mask with a small knife, just to round off the corners and even the whole thing out. You may also want to redo the eye holes.
Assuming that the actual mask won’t be consumed, we’re going to use a bit of led pencil to trace our design on the mask (and honestly, who of us didn’t suck on or chew the living daylights out of some led pencils in primary school? Didn’t hurt me).

Ok so, grab some baking paper and trace the outline of your mask, including the eye hole (don’t use your original template because the shape of the mask will have changed).
Use this to draw your design onto. Once you have finalised it, flip the baking paper over and trace the outline of the design. Then, lay the baking paper over the mask (right side up) and rub over the outline again. This will transfer the led on the back of the baking paper onto your gumpaste. Use this technique to ensure all your design is even and consistent.
Now we have a lovely stencil to pipe over. Fill your piping bag with royal icing, coloured to your choice. I was using very dark green/almost back edible sparkles so I tinted my royal icing black. I also used a round #1 size tip, but use your discretion based on your design. Work in sections so the royal icing doesn’t dry before you sprinkle your decorations on top. If it does dry quickly, just grab a fine paint brush and paint with a little bit of water, then sprinkle your decorations on.

To finish I grabbed some peacock feather which I glued to the back with royal icing. Attach to the cake with more royal icing and voila! One beautiful masquerade birthday cake for a beautiful girl.. Happy Birthday Ashleigh!