Cookie Monster Cupcakes and the Sydney Food Bloggers Spring Picnic!

Cake made by Anna from Diary of a Ladybird

As I’m sure you have all read about already, the awesome Billy from A Table for Two and Karen from Citrus and Candy organised a picnic for the Sydney Food Blogger community a few weeks ago. There was a great turn-out, with lots of new faces as well as familiar ones, and of course there were mountains of tasty food which spanned across at least 3 picnic rugs!

We were all encouraged to bring a plate to share, and to put some effort into it as well since there were some great prizes up for grabs, including restaurant vouchers and a brand spanking new KitchenAid which was won by Anita from No Red Meat. Congrats Anita!

It was the weekend before my thesis was due so I decided to whip up something easy like cupcakes. Since Nuffnang was sponsoring the picnic one of the categories included a prize for the best blue dish. Whilst trawling the internet for some cupcake decorating ideas I came across this Cookie Monster cupcake which I thought was an awesome idea and I set out to replicate it.

It seems great minds think alike, since there were two other offerings of Cookie Monster cupcakes at the picnic (one of which was made by Sook from Nommy Nom Nom). Even though we all had the same basic idea, all the cupcakes were slightly different. I decorated mine with dessicated coconut which had been dyed blue to give it a ‘furry’ effect and piped dark chocolate for the eyes instead of using choc chips.

My favourite part of the cupcake though is the cookie that is shoved in Cookie Monster’s mouth! If you’re going to make these it’s probably best to insert the cookie on the day you’re going to serve them to avoid the cookies going stale as mine did. I was getting worried at the amount of blue food colouring that was going into the whole product so I skimped a bit on colouring the coconut (you can see some white flecks where the coconut didn’t manage to be dyed blue), but feel free to go crazy on the blue food colouring if you want a really vivid, intense blue colour.

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Cafe Ish, Surry Hills

Something that caught my eye in the 2010 Sydney International Food Festival (SIFF) lineup was the new addition of “Let’s do Brunch”. I noticed that Cafe Ish was participating in Let’s do Brunch, offering a breakfast trifle, soft-shell crab omelette and a coffee for $25, and since I’ve always wanted to try their soft-shell crab omelette it was the perfect opportunity to do so.

Josh, the owner and chef of Cafe Ish, gives us a friendly wave as we walk in and I make sure to ask the waitress if it’s ok to take photos. Asking politely goes a long way here, and the waitress kindly thanks me for asking and gives me the thumbs up :)

Wattle Macca-cino

It’s definitely a good thing that I can take photos since it would be a shame not to be able to share the awesome food that they serve at Cafe Ish. We start off with their signature Wattle Macca-cino which is a nutty concoction of wattleseed, macadamia and coffee. It arrives with pretty coffee art on the top and the tiniest, cutest little cookie ever on the teaspoon. The coffee itself is smooth and with just the right amount of sweetness that I don’t have to add any sugar. If I could have this every morning to start my day I would!
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Sugar Hit @ Azuma Kushiyaki Bar and Grill

Azuma Kushiyaki was one of the SIFF Sugar Hits I most wanted to go to last year, but by the time I got around to booking they were already full up! I was quite disappointed but this made me want to go even more this year and I made sure I booked nice and early to avoid missing out again.

Azuma Kushiyaki Bar and Grill 2010 Sugar Hit – $20 (including dessert wine, cognac or green tea)

The SIFF Sugar Hits are available througout October from 9pm onwards for $20 which includes a dsesert as well as a glass of Brown Brothers dessert wine or Hennessy cognac. The dessert offered at Azuma arrived in two cute little black boxes. The container on the left had a matcha green tea ganache tart, a wasabi chocolate ganache tart, a petit almond financier and a macaron. The macaron had a face piped onto it which was a very cute touch, and the flavour and texture were spot on as well. I wasn’t a big fan of the financier or the wasabi chocolate tart. The wasabi and chocolate combination just didn’t do it for me, but it did leave my tongue tingling! The green tea ganache tart had a nice strong green tea flavour and the ganache was super smooth as well – this was my favourite out of all the parts of the Sugar Hit.
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SIFF Night Noodle Markets, 2010

I’m baaack! Yes that’s right my thesis is finally finished! And since we’re right in the middle of the Sydney International Food Festival (SIFF) what better way to kickstart my newly-found freedom than by trying to go to as many events as possible.

The queue at Jackie M Malaysian Cuisine

The Night Noodle Markets started on Monday this week and I may have picked the worst possible day to go. Though it started out as a nice balmy evening, the rain started pouring down about an hour into the markets and people took cover under the trees in Hyde Park. Nevertheless, we still got a chance to check out all the stalls which consisted of mostly Thai, Malaysian and dumpling/dim sum places, a sprinkling of Japanese stalls and the ever present Turkish gozleme and poffertjes (which had been renamed ‘mini pancakes’ with an Asian font haha). The Jackie M Malaysian Cuisine stall was just as popular as last year, with lots of people queueing up for the made-to-order noodles.

Both Din Tai Fung and New Shanghai had dumpling makers on site which was quite cool. They stood behind plastic screens with their mouth guards and folded dumplings in front of the waiting queues – it was like dumpling TV! The dumpling-makers at Din Tai Fung looked especially professional, they folded those dumpling skins so expertly and so quickly.

4 assorted skewers from Mizuya: (left to right) prawn kushiyaki, chicken yakitori, Japanese cheese sausage and beef kushiyaki – $13.00

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