Friday, 31 January 2014

Meringue Layer Cake

We're almost one month in to 2014 and Lush and I really should have a resolution to make this a dedicated blogging year. Working in our favour is that I now have access to my own kitchen. Not that I didn't have a kitchen before, but now there is no one else to get annoyed by the mess I leave behind. Working against us is our natural ability to be consumed by the cooking and the eating and forget about the photographing and writing! Wish us luck; we will need it!

Using this kitchen freedom, I have been making an effort to cook regularly and have started hosting dinner parties again! A dinner party with friends usually involves a rich, chocolate brownie or a pudding that smells good enough to overpower the lack of any attempt (or success) at decoration and presentation. But no more!

This is my attempt a meringue layer cake that to be honest was more of a learning experience than a success. Things to remember with meringue:
  • Don't make it on a humid day (you'll notice mine is quite flat)
  • Make sure to beat your eggs well to get as much air as possible
  • Assemble the cake no more than 30 minutes before you eat it. The creme patisserie will make the meringue soft and you don't want to lose the crunchy chewiness
  • Most of all, even when it fails, it's still delicious and good friends will lie and agree with you

  • 6 egg whites (save the yolks for the creme patisserie!)
  • 300g cater sugar
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 cup pecans, finely processed
  • Seasonal Berries (preferably not frozen as they will be too wet)
  • Icing sugar to dust
Creme Patisserie
  • 300ml full fat milk
  • 30g unsalted good quality butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 60g unrefined caster sugar
  • 30g plain flour
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 140ÂșC. Line 3 baking sheets with baking paper and trace the bottom of a loaf tin onto each
  2. Beat the egg whites until there are stiff peaks. Then slowly add the sugar a spoonful at a time, make sure to beat well after each addition. 
  3. Gently fold through the vinegar, vanilla and pecans. Making sure not to knock the air out of the eggs as you go.
  4. Divide the mix between the 3 baking trays. Stack each meringue thick to get it as chewy as possible
  5. Bake for 1 hour, then turn the oven off and leave the meringues in it to cool.
Creme Patisserie
  1. Beat the egg yolks and caster sugar until pale and thick ribbons form when the beaters are lifted
  2. Seive the flour over the top and mix until smooth
  3. Put the milk, butter, salt and vanilla in a medium sized, non-stick saucepan.
  4. Bring the milk to the boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat and pour a ladle full over the eggs. Stir quickly until smooth. Repeat until about half of the milk has been incorporated
  5. Pur the egg and milk mix into the saucepan with the remaining milk.
  6. Bring to the boil then simmer on a low heat for 3 minutes
  7. Cover the surface with gladwrap or baking paper so that a skin doesn't form
  1. To assemble, place one of the meringues on a flat plate and spread with a third of the creme patissiere. 
  2. Scatter a layer of berries, top with another of the meringues and repeat



Thursday, 16 January 2014

Burma Lane

What: Burma Lane
Where: 118 Little Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000

To be honest, I had no idea what to expect when it came to Burmese food. I simply assumed it was going to be very similar to other south-east Asian cuisines. Upon investigation, I found out that the main influences in Burmese cuisine are Chinese, Indian and Thai due to Burma’s bordering neighbors, combined with a slight western influences due to colonization and trade.

What we ate:

ENTREE (shared of course)

  • Kun Sar Thi - Betel leaf w/ chicken, shallot, peanuts, green mango & Sichuan pepper
  • Crispy soft shell crab w/ dandauk salad & sour chilli (WOW)

MAINS (shared of course)

  • Pickled tea leaf salad - tea leaves, tomato, peanuts, sesame seeds, crunchy broad beans & cabbage (AMAZING)
  • Scallops & BBQ pork wok fried w/ yellow noodles, Chinese celery & coriander
  • Prawns cooked in banana leaf w/ spices & herbs

(I must admit these were not my favorite, largely due to my preference for western desserts)

  • Sago & coconut pudding w/ coconut & seasonal fruits
  • Pandan, coffee & coconut jelly with coconut sorbet 


Given the wide variety of cuisine in Melbourne generally, I don't think I would personally add Burmese to my standard rotation. But as their website states: it really is "Fresh, Vibrant and Deliciously Different!"

Give it a try - after all variety is the spice of life.
(apologies for the picture - I only remembered to take a picture once we had finished)