Monday, February 25, 2008

Two wonderful '08 starts!

Wowee! Felt like an eternity since I last blogged. It was such a fun CNY with the post wedding buzz still hovering about and plenty of laugh-til-your-sides-hurt moments with family and friends. Since my arrival back in Sydney, I've been busy shifting, catching up with my paddling, settling back into work mode amongst a long list of seemingly trivial chores that never seem to end. In fact each time I walk past the kitchen and catch a glimpse of the oven, a twang of guilt hits me as it silently sits in the corner (i almost feel like it's brooding a little), reminding me that I ought to get back into gear.

And Jinn's birthday was perfect for getting those whipping muscles flexing and starting off my cooking spree. Researching recipes has gotta be one of my most favourite things to do! Contemplated pear and almond cakes, a sinfully luxe chocolate cheesecake or even a batch of cute little cupcakes. Alas, it probably wasn't a good time to be experimenting, so I decided to go along with a classic flourless chocolate torte with a chocolate glaze. Fresh raspberries sat prettily on the cake, the ruby red gems all ripe with goodness in sharp contrast with the dark chocolate ganache. I added more chocolate than the recipe called for, so I shan't go into the embarrassing details of the amount of ganache-tasting and deliciously rich cake batter-licking that went on.

We celebrated at the Oaks in Neutral Bay - quite a big place with heaps of leafy courtyard space. Booked a couple of rooms where we spent our time playing pool and chatting over mussels and pizzas, washed down with good helpings of beer and wine. The Roquefort mussels with their good-sized hunks of bleu were very more-ish, though only 2 meagre slices of bread were served alongside the shellfish. Bona secretly went out to buy more baguettes which disappeared very quickly. The pizzas were seriously lacking though considering the price. I can't imagine for the life of me why they called them "gourmet" either.

And of course, the birthday cake! Was a pleasant surprise to find out that chocolate tortes are a fave with the birthday chick! MMm. To be honest, it was the first time I was tasting it and I was afraid it would be dry. But it was moist, not cloyingly sweet and made for a delightful pairing with the slightly sourish raspberries. We just finished the last two little squares after dinner! Oooh sweet satisfaction.

Woohoo!! Here's to a whole new year of new cuisines and tastebud explosions!:D

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