Aug 22, 2012

Dead Man Espresso

C: " Fitting name. There will be one dead person by the end of this brunch. "

And not in a dead-because-the-brunch-experience-was-incredibly-awesome. More of dead-because-omg-they-are-so-slow-i-am-so-hungry-i-will-kill-someone.

Maybe (just maybe) I am being over-dramatic and maybe it was just a bad day for them, but this definitely was not the best brunch experience for me.

I mean, do try out this place. You might be luckier than we were.

From the outside, it looks massive and really modern. But inside, it is small, rustic and somewhat cozy with all the wooden table tops and decos.

I have read heaps of amazing reviews of this place and it really got my hopes up. Heard the coffee was great (which it was) and food was delicious (beg to differ).

For coffee, you had a choice of their house blend (Seven Seeds) or guest blend (Market Lane). Thankfully it was nice and hot.

As for the food, now that is a different story.

I was debating between the ever-so-popular BLT - pork belly and spinach puree on brioche with a side of gazpacho or the herb and potato rosti with poached egg, avocado and Istra bacon (or smoked salmon, whichever you fancy). A and I had it with the Istra bacon. C had the smoked salmon.

C and I thought that the potato rosti was over-the-top salty, while A's was bland. Also, it was probably overcooked because it was really tough. When we (yeah, 3 of us ordered the same dish) cut into the rosti, we noticed it wasn't light and fluffy on the inside like most blogs described it. R ordered the special omelet with zuchinni and toast on the side. He left half of it. Wasn't sure if he liked the dish or not.

To top of the not-so-impressive food, service was...slow. Very...very...slow.

It took forever for A to get his filtered coffee. Maybe...30 minutes? Seriously. 30 minutes for filtered coffee?

And by the time C and I finished our coffee, our food still hadn't arrive. From the time we ordered to the time where we got our meal, it was probably a good 30 minutes wait. It didn't help that we were starving and our coffee took awhile as well.

So, will I go back? Probably not.

But that's just me.

Dead Man Espresso
35 Market Street
VIC 3205
(03) 9686 2255

Dead Man Espresso on Urbanspoon

Aug 17, 2012

Banana and Chocolate Muffin

Banana and chocolate. Now this is my idea of a perfect dessert combo. 

I grew up eating banana bread since it was the easiest thing to make. I am the sort of person who leaves the bananas sitting on the kitchen bench for a while to the point where the skin becomes black but the inside is still edible. More mushy. But very sweet. In short, perfect for baking a very yummy banana bread. Or in this case, banana and chocolate muffin.

I usually add in walnuts when I bake banana bread or even have it plain. But this time round, I added shards of chocolate instead and topped it off with almond flakes.

Rather than using my old usual banana bread recipe, I decided to search for a simpler recipe. Something quick. Something with minimal fuss. After a bit of research, I decided on this recipe.

Banana and Chocolate Muffin
adapted from Crumbs and Cookies

1 1/2 cups of mashed, ripe bananas (about 3-4)
1/2 cup brown sugar
125 g unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
roughly chopped chocolate (I used about 125 g)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Line 12 muffin tins with muffin liners.
  2. Melt the butter in the microwave at 30 second bursts. 
  3. Combine the butter, sugar, milk, egg and mashed bananas. Whisk lightly just to mix everything together.
  4. Whisk in flour and salt until the dry ingredients are just incorporated into the wet ingredients.
  5. Fold in the chocolate.
  6. Divide the batter into the liners.
  7. Bake the muffins for about 25 to 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.

Aug 5, 2012

Banana and Cream Cheese Muffins

I love this recipe. Love.

The very ripe and very sweet banana balances out the salty/savouriness of the cream cheese filling.

A matchmake in heaven.

I followed the recipe to the T. But after making the muffins, I realized that I would change it slightly. I personally prefer my cream cheese to be a bit more..moist. A bit more fudgy? If that even is the right way to describe it. 

So rather than piping the cream cheese filling before baking and let it sit in the oven for the full baking period, I would pipe in the cheese when the muffin itself is semi-baked. Then, I will just have a more oozy cream cheese filling. Yes. Oozy.

Another good thing about these muffins? They are quite healthy. At least I would like to think so. Or maybe, I am just kidding myself.

For those of you who love/crave banana bread or cheesecake, this is definitely a good way to kill two cravings with one muffin.

Get it? Get it? (;

Ok. I need to shut up. SO. I present to you, the recipe.

Banana and Cream Cheese Muffins

The recipe makes more than 12 muffins if you want pretty muffins with no muffin-tops. Otherwise, you can use one tray.


8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups self-raising cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
125 g unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsps vanilla essence
3 eggs
3 very ripe bananas

  1. Preheat oven to 160˚C. Line the muffin tray with paper liners.
  2. Filling: Using a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and vanilla essence until it is smooth. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs using the whisk attachment. Gradually add in the sugar while continuing to whisk the eggs. Change the speed of the mixer to high and whisk until stiff peaks are formed. Add the meringue to the cream cheese and fold the mixture until it is well incorporated. Transfer the mixture into a piping bag and set aside.
  3. To make the cake, combine the cake flour and salt in a mixing bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla essence until light and creamy.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix well.
  6. Once all the eggs have been added, fold in the flour, be careful to not over-mix.
  7. Divide the batter into the muffin tins.
  8. Bake the banana cake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until it is semi-cooked.
  9. Take the tray out and pipe in the cheese filling.
  10. Place the tray back into the oven and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes.
  11. Once it's done, take the tray out of the oven and let it cool completely before eating.

Day 3 in Sydney

Final day in Sydney.

I was spoilt for choice on what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go and most importantly what I wanted to eat.

I had a pretty long list of places I wanted to visit. Unfortunately, most of them were too far. So, they are now being saved in my phone for my next trip.

We had to check out of the hotel early because my sister and her colleague were going straight to the airport after work. I guess this was a pretty good idea though. I ended up having a good morning walk at Sydney Harbour, followed by a little exploring around Old Sydney. 

A few hours later, the sun finally decided to come out and play. 
While walking around Old Sydney, I stumbled upon this small food market. 

But I wasn't hungry since it was so early. 

I just ended up walking a lot, exploring and just sitting by the river and soaking up all the sun.

Eventually I got hungry, so I went to Baroque. The only reason I knew about this place was because my sister read it in the magazine on the plane. And I did not realize it was at Old Sydney. I just happened to walk by. What are the odds. (:
The bistro did not open until 12.30 only though. But I was still in the midst of exploring, so I didn't mind.
They had this lunch special, "Plats Du Jour". Essentially, each day has a different plats du jour. And if you decided to order this, you get a glass of red or white wine with your meal. And, it was only $29. Not too shabby.

Also, Baroque is quite well-known for their macarons and they do give classes on Fridays.

The plats du jour that I had that day was a barumandi grilled in heaps of butter and herbs. Served with a side of yummy baked potato wedges. And I decided to have white wine with it.
Truth be told, when I first got the dish, it did not look appetizing whatsoever.
But, it was insanely good. The fish was nicely cooked. And the flesh fell off the bone so easily. 
It was pretty spacious inside Baroque. Since I was early too, it was quiet. I had a nice, peaceful and  enjoyable meal. Service was pretty good. The waiters and waitresses were really friendly. I will definitely be coming back here during my next trip.
 As I mentioned, they are pretty well-known for their macarons. So, I bought a dozen macarons for my sister and I to try. I was pretty impressed. The flavours that I bought were: Hazelnut with Rum (as you can see, there are 2. one for me. one for my sister), Jasmine, Passionfruit with Chocolate, Pistachio, Salted Caramel, Cherry Wonka.
Wasn't too crazy about the cherry wonka, but other than that, everything else was pretty good. I especially loved the Jasmine flavour. 
A good last meal before flying back to Melbourne.

Baroque | Bistro, Bar, Patisserie
88 George Street
The Rocks
NSW 2000
(02) 9241 4811

Baroque | Bistro Bar Patisserie on Urbanspoon

So that wraps up my very first trip to Sydney. I am looking forward to the day when I can go back again. Hopefully this time, I will be able to tick off more places on my list!