Best of 2009 @ Penguin says Feed Me!

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been 6 months since I started my blog and the year 2009 has already come to an end! Not only has food blogging made me expand my waistline but it’s also encouraged me to expand my baking and cooking skills as well as meeting other amazing bloggers from around Sydney. Thanks to all the readers – those who comment and also those who lurk around unnnoticed ;) – for your support for the first 6 months of this blog. It’s really you guys who motivate me to keep posting about my culinary adventures!

So here are some of my favourite posts from 2009:

The First Post – Assiette, Surry Hills: I had been toying around with starting up a food blog for a while but this was the meal that really kicked me into it! It was an amazing 3 course meal shared with some of my closest friends and it was without a doubt great value at only $30!

Best value aburi scallop sushi – Sushi Sagunja, Chatswood: This may just have been my greatest find in 2009. Since my post about it I’ve been back several times and they have never failed to impress with their sweet, smokey perfectly-seared scallops on top of sushi rice… yum!

Favourite patisserie – Bacco Pasticceria, Sydney: Everytime I go here I can’t help but stare at all the beautiful desserts in the display window. And then I have to buy one. And eat one. And every dessert I’ve had here has been almost too pretty to eat but then I bite into it and all my hesitations go away…

Most mind-blowing meal – Marque Restaurant, Surry Hills: This was by far the most intriguiging and interesting meal of the year, with flavour combinations that surprised yet pleased me. The presentation of the dishes and attention to detail was amazing and again it was great value for only $45.

Most memorable baking adventure – Rainbow Vanilla Buttercake: This cake was inspired by chocolatesuze‘s 20 layer rainbow cake and although it took me all night to bake each layer individually, it was worth it to see Queen Chu’s face when she cut the cake open :) 

Favourite event from SIFF – Sydney Food and Wine Fair: This called for some strategic decision-making as to how to best make use of our coupons and which food items to purchase, but some dishes (like the seven-textured chocolate cake from Quay) were too good to resist. Combined with some awesome freebies and great weather, it was a fantastic day.

Photo courtesy of Simon from the heart of food

Food blogger gatherings – These were by far the highlight of my year. I got to meet some amazing people who understood when it was photo-taking time and when it was eating time! It was great to finally put faces to blogs which I had been reading for a long time and to find out that food bloggers are such fun-loving, friendly people was a bonus!

Anyway that’s it from me this year! Thanks again to everyone for all the support you’ve given me for the past 6 months. Happy New Year and I hope you all have a great NYE!

Merry Christmas!

Just a quick post to say a Merry Christmas to everyone out there reading this! Hope you’ve all enjoyed a fantastic Christmas meal with loved ones – I certainly did :) Today the family congregated upon our place to have Christmas dinner, and here are some snaps of the food on offer:

Smoked salmon, garlic aioli and chives on crackers

Orange glazed ham studded with cloves (made by Mum)

The finished product complete with icing sugar snow and a puff of smoke from the chimney! Click here for more photos of my gingerbread house.

Choc Ripple Yule Log (made by my aunty)

Citrus and Candy‘s Black and Whites (made by Sir D)

Gleaming maple cheesecake

Thanks to all the readers out there who have supported Penguin says Feed Me! This is my blog’s very first Christmas and it’s great to be sharing it with all of you :) Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and happy eating!

Gingerbread Galore!

The lovely bloggers Helen from Grab Your Fork and Suze from chocolatesuze recently organised a massive Xmas party for Sydney food bloggers. Everyone brought along a dish to share and needless to say with around 50 food bloggers in attendance, we ended up with huge amounts of food. Check out these posts for more foodie madness!

Amongst a tiered platter of classic kids favourites, “Elvis” cupcakes, a slow cooked Bo Ssam, chicken wings, a Makoto sushi platter and other delicious offerings, I made some iced gingerbread cookies for the occasion (recipe below).

A few days later I also decided to try out raspberri cupcakes’ mini gingerbread houses. These turned out great and now there is a cute little gingerbread house sitting on my dining table awaiting it’s destruction on Christmas Day! 

I didn’t make all four houses in the recipe so I had some dough leftover for some gingerbread Christmas trees and gingerbread men to decorate the garden around my house. The house was very sturdy and the measurements for the house were perfect! Thanks Steph :)

It’s not quite finished yet – on the day I intend on sprinkling some sifted icing sugar for some snow and also putting a puff of smoke from the chimney using mini marshmallows and an unravelled paperclip, as shown in the raspberri cupcakes recipe. More photos will be posted up of the finished product later.

Gingerbread Cookies

2 cups (300g) flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
90g butter
1/3 (125g) cup golden syrup
1/2 cup (80g) brown sugar

1. Sift flour, soda and ginger into a bowl. Place butter, sugar and golden syrup into a saucepan and cook over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cool.

2. Pour the syrup into the flour mixture and combine. Take the dough out of the bowl and knead until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 180ºC. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to desired thickness (I rolled mine out to about 4-5mm). The dough might start to crack while you are rolling it but keep rolling and it should come back together. Cut out shapes and carefully place onto trays.

4. Bake in oven for 6-8 minutes (the longer you bake them the crunchier they will be). Cool biscuits on trays for 5 minutes because they will still be soft, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Royal Icing
1 egg white
1 1/2 cups icing sugar

Beat egg white until frothy then gradually beat in icing sugar 1/2 cup at a time until the mixture is combined. Add food colouring if desired then place icing into piping bag with a round tip and pipe onto cookies.

La Renaissance Patisserie, The Rocks

Ever since tasting my last year’s birthday cake from La Renaissance with melt-in-the-mouth delicate chocolate sheets and light-as-air mousse, I knew that I had to return for more cakes and pastries! Charm had to go to The Rocks Markets to pick up some things and with the promise of cake I tagged along.

Courtyard in La Renaissance Patisserie

We had lunch at La Renaissance first, choosing things from a range of pies, baguettes and quiches from their savouries menu and ordering at the counter before taking a seat in the quaint little courtyard out the back.

Poulet Chasseur pie – $8.00

I ordered the poulet chasseur pie which had a delicious chicken and vegetable. As soon as I cut into the pie the sauce oozed outand I could smell the tomato, garlic and white wine aromas from the sauce. The chicken was still succulent and the pastry was beautifully flaky.

Boeuf Hâche pie – $7.00

Mum ordered the boeuf hâche which was the minced beef pie. The mince was surprisingly tasty and the pastry was the same flaky, buttery pastry from the previous pie. However, on the menu it said it was in a red wine and tomato sauce which I couldn’t really taste. It’s also possible that the tomato sauce they were referring to was the one that came with the pie in a squeezy pack! Hm… but nevertheless it was still a good meat pie.

Baguette poulet et crudités – $9.50

Charm decided to go with a baguette poulet et crudités which had roast chicken breast, salad, semi-dried tomatoes and roast garlic mayonnaise. The baguette was amazing with just the right amount of mayonnaise to accompany the tender chicken and salad. The bread itself was pretty good with fluffy insides but unfortunately the outside was a bit chewy.

A Slice of Soap – soap made in the shape of cupcakes and licorice allsorts!

We decided to wander around the markets for a bit before returning to get cakes and pastries. I saw some lovely sweets which turned out to be made out of soap! And also some other interesting items…

Wall hangings at The Rocks Markets


We returned to La Renaissance to pick some cakes to take home. After much umming and ahhing we settled on 3 cakes.

Passion de Pierre – $6.00

The first was the Passion de Pierre which was passionfruit mousse and raspberry jelly with a joconde sponge layer on the outside. This was lovely and light, with a tang from the passionfruit and the raspberry. The pepper-looking things on the top I think were balls of sugar.

Larme de Gaugin – $6.00

Another fruity cake was the teardrop shaped Larme de Gaugin. This was similar to the Passion de Pierre but with a sweeter berry flavoured mousse encased in an almond sponge. 

Zulu – $9.00

And of course I couldn’t resist getting something with chocolate – the Zulu. It had 4 components: a chocolate mousse, a salted caramel ganache centre, a macaron biscuit exterior and a flourless chocolate biscuit base. The mousse was amazingly smooth and the Valrhona chocolate just made it heavenly. I loved the crunchy biscuit bits which contrasted with the smooth mousse and the salted caramel centre went great with the chocolate. Although all three cakes were delicious, this was by far my favourite out of them all. I’m already contemplating a return visit…

La Renaissance Patisserie
47 Argyle Street
The Rocks
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: +61 2 9421 4878

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Malay-Chinese Takeaway, Sydney

One sweltering hot lunchtime I met up with Mum at Malay-Chinese Takeaway since I was craving some Malaysian food. I don’t know who said that eating hot food on a hot day would make you cooler but it certainly didn’t work for me! Although I thought I was semi-delusional for choosing to eat hot and spicy food on a hot summer’s day the food was so good that it was worth it in the end.

When we got there during lunch hour it was packed with people but luckily we found a seat reasonably quickly. Malay-Chinese Takeaway has daily specials which are rotated around a 4-week time period. Today’s special was mee rebus, which I was thinking of getting, but in the end decided to stick with an old favourite, the char kway teow.

Char Kway Teow – $9.00

You order and pay at the counter, and I was told that the char kway teow would be a 10 minute wait. This to me was good news, as I hoped that it meant that my noodles were being freshly fried. They came out looking like a deceivingly small pile of noodles on a large plate, but I quickly realised that there was a lot more on the plate than I initially thought. The noodles were perfectly soft with a surprising amount of chilli kick considering I didn’t see any obvious chilli pieces. Liberally scattered amongst the noodles were pieces of lap cheong, prawns, bean sprouts, garlic chives and fish cake. Although it was really good, I only managed to eat half of this before conceding defeat.

Tofu Laksa – $8.20

Mum got the tofu laksa which had a fragrant broth topped with puffy pieces of fried tofu. The tofu absorbed the soup so that when you bit into it, it released a mouthful of delicious, spicy soup. Mum declared this the best laksa in the CBD but still struggled to finish the huge bowl of noodles. A nice touch that they have is providing bibs for about 30c to people not wanting to splash orange soup onto their business clothes.

When we left there were still scores of people waiting around for a table, even though it was around 30ºC that day. Just goes to show that even hot weather doesn’t deter people from grabbing a tasty laksa or curry from this popular little eatery.

Malay-Chinese Takeaway
Shop 1, 50-58 Hunter Street
Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: +61 2 9231 6788
Monday – Friday, 11am-7.30pm
Saturday, 11am-6pm

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