Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Bourke St Bakery

It’s been getting closer and closer to my 2nd HSC assessments, but I’m still reading food bloggers from all the social networks I have access to! I knew I wouldn’t get a chance to eat out or make anything soon, but once I found out my friend had a double free, which coincided with mine, we decided to go out for breakfast, and so Bourke St Bakery was the way to go!
This place is really popular amongst the high school friends of my grade, and they tend to buy their lunches and breakfast coffees from here.  It’s a really homely place, with that nice corner shop feel, with its aromatic awesomeness and despite the small cosy size it’s quite a popular place.  We had to line up twice!

And since it’s a franchise, there are 4 “Bourke St Bakery” stores, and 3 of them aren’t on any sort of Bourke St!  But my friend Michael and I went to the original Bourke St Bakery :), as it was a short walk from school.
On a side note, I really like the area of Surry Hills. It’s alert and streetwise about suburbia and the city, and it’s like the intermediary of both, so you can never “not be in the zone”, or be “too busy”.  And after reading through many food blogs, so many Surry Hills restaurant names suddenly popped up at me, and they all look so good!  It’s such an artsy stylish place to live in, don’t you agree? :)
Anyway, onto the fooooooood!!!!!!!! :)

When we got there (which was just before 9am), we immediately noticed the smell of freshly brewed coffee.  There was already a line of around 5 people waiting for coffee, and 5 people sitting either inside or outside the store.  There’s around 3 seats in the store, and around 15 seats outdoors, so it’s pretty cosy.

So we took a seat outside, and this is what we ordered:

Michael ordered: The Bourke St muesli , with pear and yoghurt - This consisted of homemade-style muesli (with pumpkins seeds!!! Mmmmm :)), soft and slightly caramelised pear (with a lovely dash of cinammon) and a generous dollop of Greek yoghurt, with a small glass of milk (about 100ml worth) - $8 
My oh-so-lovely spoonful of muesli!!
After eating this muesli, I am actually reconsidering changing my whole entire routine morning cereal plan to a muesli plan! Can't go wrong with those pumpkin seeds, and dried oats and anything cereal-like works for me!

I ordered: Vine-ripened tomato and cheese croissant, toasted - $4
Mmmmm....look at that lovely flaky croissant pastry :) Which reminds me - one of the joys of doing French was that we had annual "French Breakfast days" when the teachers would bring in a variety of pastries, including pain au chocolat, pain aux raisins, and the classic croissant.  And then in Year 11 French, we all brought home-made pastries and sweet treats to class.  Coming to French class every few mornings was heaven :) And we even got a friend who worked at Le Pain Quotidien, who brought in so many awesome pastries from there! Now THAT'S how we should all study French! And other languages...AND OTHER SUBJECTS! Hmmm...how about dodecahedron shaped truffles for Maths, haha!
Then he ordered: Chocolate, raspberry and marshmallow tart - $4.80. 
Oh god, look at that crust, look at that smooooooth dark chocolate :) CHOCOLATE TART, COME AT ME!
Justice is served.
Look at that store-made marshmallow layer, it was soft and pillowy, but not too chewy like Pascal's, more like a dense foam layer, and this picture doesn't give a true depiction of how much raspberry jam they put in!
The lovely dark chocolate's soft and creamy consistency caught me at first bite, its generous serving of raspberry jam and marshmallow complemented the awesomeness bitter note of the dark choc, man this was worth $4.80.

For takeaway, I ordered:
*  Crème brûlée ginger tart - $4.80
* Macadamia and Honey Sticky Bun - $4 
But then Michael predicted right. I couldn't resist eating one of them :)
Credits to Michael for this pic :) Gosh, such a lovely generous serving of macadamia nuts!
Mmmmmm yeah, that's right :) all the sticky sweet goodness, ready to make you lick your lips, and lick your fingers!
This was kinda awkward to break apart, it kept sticking to our fingers, but man it was lovely!

Then he got thirsty, so we came back into the queue, and bought ourselves a "Bourke St Bakery house-made drink" - "house-made OJ". 
Despite the rainy Monday night weather, it cleared up this morning, so the seats weren't wet.  We got ourselves a long 3 seater, right next to the wall of the store.
All done! Because we treat good food right like that ;)
So when I got back to school...I couldn't really hold on for longer either...
The top of the Crème brûlée made the classic (and anticipated) crunch sound at the attack of my teaspoon, and the lovely creamy and sweet ginger awesomeness was loved by a few of my friends who got to taste it.  Their comments were "That is soooo good", "That's probably one of the only desserts I would eat that contained ginger", and "Mmmmm".  And licking my fingers sure was fun!
And yes, the good old recyclable packaging. Brown is beautiful indeed, I would know, that's the colour of my school uniform, haha :)
My verdict:
Atmosphere: I love the homeliness and comfy-ness of this place.  Eating breakfast out here was so casual, yet so lovely and peaceful. 10/10
Price: Since it’s a homely and cosy place, and all their juices and breads are either homemade or made fresh from the oven, the price range is what you’d expect: a median price of $4.50 for a sweet treat like their tarts and muffins.  So judging from the    10/10

Food and Taste: I was “mmmmmm”-ing at everything.  The breakfast was definitely a big one (I usually only eat a 40g serving of cereal every morning), but it was totally worth it.  The good tastes can’t be denied, and man the sweet treats were good.  But there was quite a limited range for breakfast itself, there were only really 4 options to choose from.  However, Bourke St Bakery sure had a wide range for lunches and dinners.  However, I’d still have to give it top marks for the taste. 10/10

Service: The service is stellar, what you’d expect from a café – they clean your tables, they serve your food all nice and neat – but they also gave a very personal/homely and friendly environment.  They asked us for our names, and made the ordering conversation very nice and friendly.  There were 3 kitchen staff on at that time, and they were all trying to multitask, but also ensure that their customers don’t wait too long.  10/10

Overall = 10/10!!!

My friend and I agreed that we’d be coming back for lunch as soon as we have another coinciding free!

Bourke St Bakery details:

(On the menu, it said “prices may vary”)
Trading hours: The Surry Hills bakery opens at 7am to 6pm Mon to Fri, and 8am-5pm Sat and Sun

Bourke Street Bakery on Urbanspoon
(Blogpost edited 29/12/12)

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Happy Valentine's Day :)


Valentine's Day for me was very good I must say, because The Boy gave me a really special and wonderful present, a great way to celebrate my first Valentine's Day I actually bothered to celebrate :)
A Ferrero-Rocher flowerbed :)
The soil - made from chocolate and biscuit crumbs :) Mmmm, I love it that the biscuit crumbs weren't too fine, leaving the soil with a conglomerate-type look, with all the different sized "rocks", which I really liked.  The Boy made me 2 layers worth of chocolate soil, and I devoured 1 whole layer at school today haha (I did share some with one or two friends, but I'm pretty sure I ate heaps of it!!)
And of course, my now-favourite confectionery store, Happy Lab.  Haha, this wasn't handmade, but it sure made me HAPPY!!
Overall, it made my day, and I was really glad we decided to hand-make gifts, because as much as I appreciate the idea of giving roses and chocolates, I believe it's also good to put effort into presents; it definitely makes one feel very special :) 

Also, a quick shoutout to Vivian from http://vxdollface.tumblr.com/ for this amazing present, which I received in the mail today. Awesome Valentine's Day present as well!!

(Blogpost edited 29/12/12)

Monday, 13 February 2012

Recipe: Red Velvet Cream Cheese Swirl Bars

This is the first time I've actually been bothered doing something for Valentine's Day.  We used to sell roses at my school, but that plan was abolished in the recent few years, so I can't resort to buying roses for my friends anymore.  My best friend suggested that we should do something this Valentine's Day, and hand-make things for each other, so I had to stay away from the favourites of roses and chocolate boxes and try to think of something I could make :)

I came across this recipe a few days ago, and I've told myself that I'll definitely bake it for V-day!!

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Swirl Bars

Adapted from Food Network’s Sunny Anderson

Red Velvet Brownie Bar layer:
  • 110g unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring
  • 1 tsp white distilled vinegar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose/plain flour
Cream cheese layer:
  • 220g (8 oz) cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Just a side note - I recently bought this mini kitchen scale from Daiso Japan in Chatswood, the store that sells everything for $2.80 each!! This scale has 20g increments going up to 1kg, and it's not all that accurate, but it's better than the other set of kitchen scales i have at home that goes up by 100g increments.  I better get myself an eletronic balance soon :)
1. Preheat oven to 180oC. Line a 20x20cm baking dish with baking paper or foil, and brush with butter or use cooking spray.  
2. In a medium bowl (you will have to whisk eggs in it later), combine melted butter with sugar and mix well. Add vanilla, cocoa powder, salt, food colouring, and vinegar in that order, mixing between additions.
Butter and sugar, mixed with a sptula.  I used caster sugar.
Batter with flour and egg added.
Adding flour and fold.
 3. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each. Fold in the flour. Pour all batter except 1/4 cup into prepared baking pan (I didn’t follow this step properly, instead of ¼ cup, I saved around 1 cup worth, and so my swirls aren’t that prominent)

Whisked egg, and tada!
4. To make the cream cheese layer, blend together the cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla.
Cream cheese layer
5. Spread the cream cheese on top of brownie batter. Drop dollops of remaining brownie batter over cream cheese layer and using a knife, swirl through the cream cheese mixture to create a swirl pattern.
Swirls :) Not very good ones though, but I'll get it better next time!
6. Bake for around 30 minutes in preheated oven and cool completely before cutting into squares. 

And here is my completed product:
All ready, packed in the box, for my Valentine's tomorrow :)
Note: these pictures were taken using 2 different cameras, and yes the lighting is terrible for some of them, so I'm very sorry about that, I'm still a learner with photography, let alone food photography.  Credits to my dad for letting me borrow his pro camera (Canon 60D), and my grandma for helping me when I needed it :)
(Blogpost edited 29/12/12)