Celebrations, Food

Mini Tarts with White Chocolate Ganache

Here’s a super simple recipe that I just prepared for NYE that is bound to be an instant hit with your guests or just a treat for yourself to bid farewell to 2017!

Makes 12

Ingredients:

– 12 Mini Tart Shells

– 200g White Cooking Chocolate

– 90mL light Sour Cream

– Apricot & Coconut Balls (or anything else you want to top the tarts with)

– (Optional: 2-3 Tbs Cinnamon for taste and texture)

Step 1

Prepare a large heatproof bowl and place it on a saucepan of simmering water ensuring the bowl does not touch the water. Place the chocolate in the bowl and stir gently at first.

Step 2

When the chocolate is smooth and completely melted, take the bowl off the saucepan and stand for 1 minute, stirring it occasionally. Add the sour cream to the chocolate and mix them together with a spoon until well combined. The mixture should thicken. Add the cinnamon if you would like. It’s more delicious this way I find.

Step 3

Once cooled, use a spoon to put the mixture into the mini tart shells and top with the apricot balls or anything else you’d like to decorate them with.

Step 4

Put in the fridge until they’re ready to serve!

The Result

This simple recipe is quick and delicious. You could almost call it a simplified version of a cupcake! Happy New Year to you all!

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Celebrations, Food, Life, Melbourne, Travel

Memories of 2016

Whoa, 2016 was quite a year! So much happened in the world – tragedies, triumphs, the unthinkable, the magical. This year had it all. In many ways I’m glad to bid farewell to 2016, which for me had its fair share of ups and downs just like any year.

A definite highlight was visiting beautiful Japan for two weeks in March. Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto were all places I had longed to travel to for many years and it will be hard to top my birthday from now on, having spent the day at Disneyland Tokyo – a magical place in every sense. I shall never forget my first trip in the Land of the Rising Sun – eating delicious food, seeing the sights with my own eyes, entering historic temples, smiling at the pandas and flamingos at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo. Getting a feel for Japanese culture was just incredible.

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Closer to home it’s been enjoyable spending afternoons at wildlife sanctuaries where cute koalas and wallabies can be fed and petted. It’s been so much fun creating a new studio feature wall and launching Mishka Mail back in August. I feel so grateful to every single customer who bought a subscription and every blogger that reviewed our kits on their blogs. Thank you!

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It’s been so exciting to place our first print advertisement in a funky Canadian hobby magazine called Uppercase for their special 30th issue.

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Other highlights include riding a bicycle at the beach in Port Melbourne, eating some delicious meals, writing and receiving some awesome letters from international pen friends, winning auctions on Ebay and listening to lovely concerts at outdoor summer venues.

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2016 has taught me that life isn’t about chance encounters that happen to you, it’s about how YOU chase each and every opportunity to make moments for yourself. I’m entering 2017 with this very notion in my mind and have a lot that I’m already looking forward to. Here’s to a beautiful and successful 2017 for you all!

Happy New Year!

Food

Audrey Hepburn’s Recipe Book

Recipe

I recently came across a beautiful book written by Luca Dotti, Audrey Hepburn’s youngest son, entitled “Audrey at Home – Memories of my Mother’s Kitchen.” Those close to me know how much I adore Audrey and that I own many publications about her life as well as a significant movie collection of her films. She’s such a graceful person and she lived such a colourful life, albeit filled with as much sorrow as there was joy. I was so excited to get my hands on this book and try out some of the recipes included. There are many candid photos of the star’s life and her son featured many personal stories that paint a picture of Hollywood’s sweetheart as an actress, mother, housewife and lover of good food and perfect company.

I decided to cook the recipe on page 87 – Gnocchi alla Romana because it’s a really simple dish to prepare for dinner and the recipe really appealed to my love of melted cheese, quite frankly!

Serves 4


Ingredients

  • 1L milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon (5g) fine sea salt
  • 250g semolina
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 sticks (160g) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 150g grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200 Degrees C. Butter a medium-size baking dish.
  2. Bring the milk to the boil in a medium saucepan, with the added salt.
  3. Add the semolina gradually and stir for at least 10 minutes. You’re looking for a smooth consistency with no lumps.
  4. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  5. Combine the egg yolks, 1/2 stick of butter and 1/2 cup of cheese in a medium bowl. Then combine this with the semolina mixture.
  6. Using a damp knife, spread the mixture onto a surface lined with baking paper and cut out small circles (about 5cm in diameter).
  7. Arrange the circles on the baking dish, slightly overlaping.
  8. Dot them with 1 stick of butter and sprinkle 1 cup of cheese over the top.
  9. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the gnocchi are golden brown.
  10. Enjoy and think of Audrey serving this dish!

DiningTable


This recipe was summarised from the book “Audrey at Home – Memories of my Mother’s Kitchen” by Luca Dotti published in 2015. I am in no way affiliated with the publication.

 

Food

Recipe: French Macarons

Each time I’ve made French Macarons with this simple recipe they managed to turn out quite well. Before finding this recipe in the pages of Woman’s Day magazine, I tried MANY other recipes and failed each time. I don’t know what it is about this recipe, but the “webbing” always works! Honestly, the one thing that I still haven’t mastered is the smooth top, but with a bit more practice that too will work one day, I’m sure.

So here’s that magic recipe with which I baked these macarons for my sister’s birthday tomorrow. Enjoy!

MAKES: 20   PREP: 1 Hour (Plus resting & cooling)   COOK: 15-20mins

INGREDIENTS:

  • Icing sugar – 2 cups, firmly packed
  • Almond meal – 1.5 cups, firmly packed
  • Egg-whites – 4
  • Caster sugar – 1/3 cup
  • Food colouring – a few drops (personal preference on colour!)

STEP 1 – Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius. Line 2 oven trays with baking paper. In a medium- sized bowl, sift icing sugar and almond meal together.

Step 1 - Sifting

STEP 2 – In a large bowl, beat egg-whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add caster sugar, beating between each addition, until sugar dissolves.

Step 3 - Adding Caster SugarSTEP 3 – Using a large metal spoon, carefully fold in icing sugar mixture and food colouring to the egg white mixture. The consistency should be like lava, flowing and not runny. Try not to over do it (maximum of 50 folds should be fine)

Step 4 - Mixture Folded STEP 4 – Transfer mixture into a large piping bag, cut the tip off or fit with plain nozzle, and pipe straight down to create 4 cm rounds, 2.5 cm apart on the baking paper. (As you can see, I’m using a macaron template for greater ease). Lightly tap trays once on bench. Set aside for 30 minutes in a cool dry place, allowing a skin to develop over the top.

Step 5 - Piping

STEP 5 – Bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool on trays.

STEP 6 – Prepare the ganache. I love to melt some white chocolate and combine it with sour cream. Google has heaps of recipes you can try! Pipe the ganache on one shell and prepare an identical sized shell to partner it with.

Step 7 - Frosting Frosting STEP 7 – Voila! Your macarons are complete. I enjoy them more after they’ve been in the fridge for a few hours!

Step 8 - Combine Shells Enjoy!

If anyone has tips on making the tops smooth and not pointy, please let me know! I tapped the tray and tried smoothing them down with a spoon but obviously they’re still not quite perfect. Oh well, practice makes perfect.

Food

Okami Japanese Restaurant

I love all things Japanese! Whether it’s their simplicity in design and architecture, their products and cute packaging or their historic traditions. Japanese food is one of my favourite cuisines and their food usually looks just as good as it tastes! Japan is a destination on the top of my list of places to visit.

There is a wonderful restaurant in Melbourne’s exclusive suburb of Hampton and it’s a really nice place to dine at. They have a buffet menu where you can eat all you can for a set price and even though the portions are small, you can order as many times as you like until you’re satisfied! The décor in the establishment needs updating but they had good service and a lot of great dishes. Lovely place to catch up with friends or celebrate a special occasion.

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Food, Melbourne

Japanese Restaurant: Shizuku

Delicious food, a lovely atmosphere, great service and beautiful interior decorations made Shizuku an excellent choice for Japanese food over this weekend. With its location on the predominantly Asian grocery/restaurant street of Victoria, Abbotsford, Shizuku is a wonderful place to experience Japanese food at its best, with a small yet tantalising menu to choose from. We tried the popcorn chicken and pork gyoza dishes and absolutely loved them.

You can visit their website here: http://shizuku.com.au/

Australia, Melbourne

Hello there…

Welcome to the newly renovated Graceful Avenue website! We trust that you’ll find it easy to navigate through as we wanted to create a simplistic user interface with a clear vision for our brand. Here’s the latest news from us:

1. You can now sign up to our exciting Newsletter, giving you the chance to see our new products before anybody else. You’ll also receive exclusive offers and discounts to use in our Online Shop! We are very excited about this new venture.

2. We can’t wait to grow our brand, so very soon you’ll get to see our Wholesale Catalogue with the opportunity to flick through the virtual pages of our exclusive Mishka Collection card range.

3. On the menu up the top we now have a “Stockists” section where we’ll be thrilled to update you on which lovely retailers have chosen to stock our products. If you’re a retailer please get in touch!

4. As the year approaches Christmas (can’t believe it’s nearly November already!!) we are hoping to do a few local markets and events so keep your eyes open for that too!

5. We also have a new email address to go with our new domain name: info@gracefulavenue.com.au so please take note of that.

Overall we’ve been super busy with business/admin stuff lately and that’s why it’s been a bit quiet on the blogging side of things. Here is a photographic summary of life in Melbourne during the last fortnight for your entertainment. Please check in again soon.

London, Travel

Harrods Department Store, London

I’ve been back in Melbourne for almost 3 weeks now and can definitely sense that time goes much faster here than it did in the UK. I don’t know what it is about the southern hemisphere but I truly get the sense that the earth just revolves around faster in this part of the world.

I’ve been going through my travel photos again and came across a series of photographs taken in Harrods last month. I’ve decided to share them with you here so that you can see the splendour, grandness and luxuriousness of this world-renowned department store for yourself. If you’re ever in London a trip to Harrods is a must!

Food

A taste of something different…

Hi everyone,

So today I decided to blog about something totally different… food. I’m not much of a cook. Actually I’m practically still a beginner in the kitchen but when I saw this recipe whilst browsing for healthy meal ideas on the internet, I just knew I had to try it.

Prosciutto-wrapped Chicken with Peach Salad:
http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/24029/prosciutto+wrapped+chicken+with+peach+salad

Sunday Dinner

The results were so satisfying! The chicken breast was the juiciest and most succulent one I’ve ever tried and accompanying it on the plate was the most delicious summer salad ever! Who knew peaches are so delicious in salads?

I highly recommend you try this dish for yourself, it’s quick and easy to prepare and if I can do it then anyone can. Honestly! Happy Sunday and here’s to a great week ahead for one and all.

xoxo

Travel

Sweden Calling

Stockholm is a city that needs little introduction. Known as the ‘Capital of Scandinavia’ and the ‘Venice of the North’, it’s a peaceful, vibrant and captivating city, which has many bridges and islands. When we got there the weather was finally warming up and it was great to see the locals outside in the sunshine enjoying themselves, especially after the winter they just had. Stockholm’s quaint little squares, wonderful boutiques and interesting architecture are my favourite things about the city. I loved our time at Skansen, an open air museum and zoo right in the city centre, on one of the islands. Yes it is an expensive city to visit but it was well worth it in my eyes. Enjoy the photos!