Skyscraper

Friday, September 23, 2011

Off on Holiday for Next Two Weeks. See You Soon.

I'm super excited to be heading off to China and Hong Kong for the next two weeks, eating my way to fatness. There will be a lack of posts during that time, so why don't you check out my archives for some interesting reading while I'm away. See you all soon.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Giveaway: Win a Subscription to Baked and Delicious Magazine Valued Over $1000

I love to bake. Just look at my recipe index and compare the number of baked recipes to the savoury items. If you ask anyone that knows me, they'll tell you that I have a very sweet tooth and can't get enough of cakes, biscuits and desserts. I own far too many baking tins for my own good, having moved a bulk of them to the garage now. However, not a single one of my cake tins are made from silicone. I've been tempted many times to buy a silicone mould, coming close with a madeleine tray once, but the high prices usually stop me.

I've heard that silicone moulds bake much more evenly, easier to clean, no rusting and light. When Baked and Delicious offered to send me an issue of their new magazine to try out, I jumped at the chance. The magazine is sold every fortnight and subscription gets you a copy of the magazine, which comes with a different silicone mould each time.


I got Issue 3 of the magazine, which came with a green loaf "tin" mould. Upon flicking through the magazine, I found that there were 2 recipes in the magazine to use with the mould. Other recipes looked to be quite traditional and classic recipes. There's a sachertorte recipe in there that I'm dying to try out next. There's lots of photos of what the end result should look like, which I always prefer. I just can't seem to visualise recipes without a photo. There's also step by step instructions for some recipes for novices and advanced students if you're new to that cake.


So firstly, here is my cake. Do you think it looks as good as the photo in the magazine? I'm pretty bad at food styling so took queues from the magazine photo.


So let's talk about the magazine and mould. I must say I was surprised that the recipe still asked for the mould to be buttered and floured. I assumed that the advantage of silicone was that it wouldn't stick? As it was the first time I was using a silicone mould, I didn't want to risk the cake being a disaster and floured the mould. Next time I'm going to try not buttering and flouring. Does anyone know if it will still stick without the butter/flour? I found the mould tended to sag out due to the weight of the batter, which a tin wouldn't do. This had the benefit that, despite the cake might be a bit "fat", it doesn't all spill out over the top and look super ugly. It retains a fairly flat top, which I like. The cake was cooked through really well, and was faster in time than my normal tins. With my normal tins, which are much smaller, a butter cake would take about 60-75 minutes in my oven. This cake took about 55 minutes to cook all the way through, maybe even slightly overcooked. That in part was my fault, as I found I had the oven temperature too high (must always look at the oven thermometer rather than trust the oven setting) and then dropped the temperature down for the last 30 minutes. Flipping the cake out was super easy, as was cleaning the mould as I didn't need to be careful not to scratch it. The lightweight is actually handy, much easier to store. Trust me, once you have accumulated about 40 cake tins (all very large), weight and storage start to become issues.

As for this Lemon Drizzle Cake recipe, it was good. I'm not a fan of lemon desserts at all. I don't understand lemon tarts, lemon meringues, lemon slices or lemon butter cakes. So don't let my view on this cake taint your views. Others who I gave the cake to liked it. I will say that this cake didn't have a fine crumb and was a bit coarser. What I did love though was the syrup that went over it. Something about that kept making me go back for more cake. The golden syrup mixed with the lemon juice turned this cake from something I wouldn't eat much of, to something I did like. The recipe is super easy, although I think the magazine is a bit generous with it's preparation time estimates. The recipe estimated 15 minutes of prep time. I think I used up my 15 minutes to get out the equipment, measure out the ingredients and zest and juice my lemons. My final measured preparation time was 45 minutes, which is typical for a cake like this. If only I had sous chefs to grab and measure everything for me and then also clean up *sigh* :-)


Overall, I did like the silicone mould and think the magazine has nice and simple recipes that I would attempt. Hence, I am happy to recommend this magazine for you to try. It will be fun to try out the various moulds from each issue and the recipes that use them. Below, I have a giveaway for one reader to win a subscription to the Baked and Delicious magazine. If you don't happen to win, you can subscribe to get your hands on the magazine.

GIVEAWAY

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Thank you to everyone for entering the competition. So many great cake experiences. After much consideration, I have decided to award Elisa the winner. It was such a wonderful story and I have a soft spot for G√Ęteau aux framboises and learning French.
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I have to give away to 1 reader, a full Subscription to Baked and Delicious magazine, which includes 60 issues of Baked and Delicious (each comes with a silicone mould) and 4 exclusive secret gifts, the total worth being $1,105.

HOW TO ENTER

I ask you to do two simple things

1) "Like" my Facebook Page

2) Leave a comment and answer the following:

What is your most memorable cake experience.

Make sure there is a way for me to contact you, either via Twitter, a blog or an email. If you don't want to publish your email in the comments, please email me at ieatblog[at]yahoo[dot]com and let me know which comment was yours. If I do not hear back from you after 2 days upon contacting you, I will redraw the prize.

Conditions of Entry
- One entry per person.
- Australian readers only.
- Competition closes Monday September 19th 8pm AEST. The winners will be announced on Monday 19th and published on this same post.
- The best answer as deemed by myself will be chosen as the winner. I will contact the winner directly to inform if you have won.

Thanks to The Defectors for organising the prizes.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Giveaway: Win 1 of 9 Yearly Subscription to Wine Companion Magazine

Balanced, Clean, Dull, Elegant, Harsh, Mellow, Powerful, Sharp and Vigourous.

You could mistakenly think that those words are to describe a person, but they are actually to describe wines. Wines are complex items and can be very intimidating for most people. I profess to very knowledge about wines, even though I really enjoy drinking them. As with most people, I started drinking alcopops as a teenager, liking their sweet tastes which actually masked the alcohol. Beers were a constant feature during university given their abundance at various university events. However, now as I have some money to enjoy fine dining, my liquor of choice is definitely wines to match with the food. The depth and diversity of wines really help to enhance food, as well as being enhanced by food.

I enjoy red wines far more than white, except I am NOT drinking any f**king Merlot!. I like to drink new wines all the time and make notes on the ones I like. My vocabulary to describe wines is rather limited. I can usually only identify a few distinct flavours and know whether I like the wine or not. So I'm very interested in the new Wine Companion Magazine that will be launched soon. As an offshoot to the wine Bible James Halliday's Wine Companion, the magazine is targeted at a younger audience who like to learn some more about wine. The magazine hopes to make wines more assessable to their audience while still imparting useful information.

The magazine features
- tasting tips and tuition
- tasting notes on wines
- internationally rated wines
- travel stories through the wine regions of Australia
- recipes and tips on food and wine matching
- interviews with wine and food producers

The magazine is released every two months from October 28th, 2011.

Image of cover is a mock-up only.

GIVEAWAY

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COMPETITION CLOSED

The winners are: Emma, Miss Melbourne, Celeste, April, Vida, Ecliss, Leaf, Agnes, James.

I shall be contacting you directly about the prize.
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To celebrate the release of the magazine, I have 9 Yearly Subscriptions to giveaway to my readers.

HOW TO ENTER

Leave a comment and answer the following:

Tell me with a bit of detail about a wine and food match that you enjoy.

Make sure there is a way for me to contact you, either via Twitter, a blog or an email. If you don't want to publish your email in the comments, please email me at ieatblog[at]yahoo[dot]com and let me know which comment was yours. If I do not hear back from you after 5 days upon contacting you, I will redraw the prize.

Conditions of Entry
- One entry per person.
- Australian readers only.
- Competition closes Friday September 16th 8pm AEST. The winners will be announced on Saturday 17th and published on this same post.
- 9 winners will be randomly drawn. I will contact the winners directly to inform them they have won.

Thanks to Q Strategies for organising the prizes.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Old Kingdom - Surrey Hills

683 Canterbury Road
Surrey Hills, VIC 3127
Ph: 9898 3343


You mention Peking Duck in Melbourne, and inevitably talk will turn to Simon's Peiking Duck. I really love Simon's ducks but not everything at Simon's is the best. And also, if you don't like an oily duck, you may actually not prefer Simon's. If you are looking for an alternative to Simon's, I would suggest the newly relocated Old Kingdom.

Old Kingdom used to be where Simon "Duck Nazi" Lau worked before he left and started his own restaurant. It used to be a dark crowded restaurant, but is now a light, modern, clean, comfortable place. The restaurant does not have the usual Asian feel and instead is minimal in decorations, opting for a light decor. Tables are spaced quite far apart so you can have some space. While the decor is not typical of other Asian restaurants, the menu is similar. Their Peking Duck is their speciality, and cost wise is the same as the other restaurants. You can choose between just the duck or also with the accompanying noodles and soup. We chose the full three courses.


The duck here has a really great flavour and I would rate it just marginally below Simon's. The flavour is excellent and skin is crispy. While Simon's duck skins are crispy, which I prefer, his ducks are also oiler. The duck here is less fatty and oily, which some people prefer. The pancakes here are of the flour variety, thin and soft. Again, some people may prefer this over Simon's eggy pancake.


For me, the items where Old Kingdom are far superior to Simon's is the sauce for the duck, the noodles and the soup. The sauce is this fragrant plum/hoisin mixture with a hint of chili. It is fantastic and really lifts the whole Peking Duck. The noodles are also really bouncy, light and fresh. The soup is clear and full of duck flavour instead of being cloudy and muddled in flavour.


I realised that I haven't posted as many photos of myself and my friends lately. So I've decided to change this and get back to what this blog was about, talking about my life and all the people in it, with food mixed in between.


Service at Old Kingdom is quite good, and I like the ambiance there. I prefer the roomier cleaner feel of restaurants. I would definitely recommending trying out Old Kingdom and I would happily come back here for Peking Duck. It's a worthy alternative to Simon's Peiking Duck.

Overall Rating: 15/20, Great Peking Duck in a comfortable environment.

Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20:Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.
Old Kingdom on Urbanspoon