It’s been quite the year, with lots going on and a lot of time spent travelling, skiing and just living life in general, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for blogging! I say every year that I hope to blog more, but I guess it’s not a bad thing that I’m spending more time living life rather than writing about it. There’s still plenty of blog posts in the pipeline though, and with 2014 almost done and dusted, it’s time to revisit some of my favourite moments from the year.
I kicked off the year with something I’d always wanted to do – fruit picking! Sir D and I spent the day in Bilpin picking some of my favourite stone fruits and eating pies at roadside diners. It was a great day out and something I’d definitely recommend.
I can’t believe it’s Christmas already! The year has flown by, especially the last few months which have been crazy busy for me. I’ve been lucky enough to have some time off work before Christmas so got stuck into the Christmas baking straight away, starting off with the usual gingerbread.
I’ve still got a couple of desserts and things to make over the next few days, but I thought that I’d revisit this flourless chocolate cake that I made last year for Christmas (but never got around to blogging about…. oops). Flourless chocolate cake was a cake I made from the first cookbook I was ever gifted, and probably kick-started my love of baking and cookbooks.
This flourless chocolate cake is adapted from a recipe from the queen of delicious, fattening things and midnight snacking from the fridge, Nigella Lawson. It’s a rich, fudgey cake that I think sums up well what Christmas feasting means for me – indulgence and a little bit of gluttony. Don’t be surprised if you find me piling my plate high with glazed ham, turkey and fresh prawns, and then collapsing onto the sofa for a well-earned post-feasting nap.
You could make this cake any time of year really, but a few strawberries and a dusting of icing sugar turns it into something a bit more festive. Even if you’re greeted with a few groans from people who have over-eaten when this cake is brought out, don’t pay attention to them and make sure that everyone has a slice. They won’t regret it.
I always get a little thrill when I find the doorway to a hidden bar. It’s that rewarding feeling of solving the puzzle of where the bar entrance is, and of knowing something that’s maybe a little bit secret.
That’s how I felt when we walked into the Hotel Coronation, a dingy looking pub on Park Street that I’ve walked past hundreds of times. We knew there was a small bar around here somewhere but it certainly didn’t look like there was one when we entered the pub. We wandered upstairs to what I think was the actual hotel guest rooms (yep, definitely no small bar there), back down the stairs again, and up another flight of stairs where we began to see the fluorescent glow of pink neon lights of The Smoking Panda.
There’s an old skool Chinese takeaway restaurant feel in the decor, with booth seating and Chinese restaurant-style chairs and tables, but we wander past these and the lanterns straight over to the bar, where we fix ourselves up with a cocktail or two.
Interestingly, the drinks list deviates from the Chinese theme, with an American slant on the cocktails and a big focus on bourbon – there’s more than 50 types of bourbon available from the bar! Our first cocktail of the night, the bourbon-based Blackberry & Sage Smash is fruity but not too sweet, with the tart blackberry and lemon flavours layered over the bourbon.
The Georgia Peach is also a bourbon-based cocktail with fresh peach and mint over crushed ice, making for a refreshing drink.
We spy someone order the Blue Lagoon, a lurid blue drink that by all accounts was actually quite tasty. That blue stuff? That’s blue curaçao, gin, vodka, lychee and dragonfruit which is topped with a lemonade foam and popping candy. We got a little taste of the lemonade foam which tasted kind of like a Sprite creaming soda.