Valentines Day Heart Shaped Marshmallow Slice (makes 25-30)

This heart shaped slice is the perfect Valentine’s Day treat and with only 4 ingredients, it is so quick and easy to make.

I’d love to hear what your favourite Valentine’s Day treats are so please post below with what you would love to give or receive!

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Ingredients:

  • 6 cups rice bubbles or rice puffs
  • 3 cups pink and white marshmallows (generous cups)
  • 1 cup white chocolate melts
  • 3 Tbs butter

Method:

1. Measure out rice bubbles into a large mixing bowl.  Also grease a large flat and rectangular baking tray with butter.

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2. Melt butter, marshmallows and white chocolate over a medium heat until they begin to dissolve, stirring frequently to stop the mixture sticking to the pan.

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3. When marshmallows start to dissolve, add a couple of drops of pink food colouring. You can add as little or as much as you like to get the desired colour.  You could also use red, or, if you use only white marshmallows you can use blue, green, yellow or whatever colours you like!

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4. Stir in food colouring and mix (still on medium heat) until mixture is smooth.

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5.Pour mixture over rice bubbles and stir until they are fully covered then pour into the pre-greased baking tray.

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6. Press down until flat.  Leave to cool for about 10-15 minutes then turn over onto a greased board or flat surface.

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7. Use cookie cutters to cut the rice bubbles into shapes, pressing the mixture into the cutters before pushing them out.

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8. Allow to cool further then enjoy! Slice will be sticky yet soft and chewy!

You can put a sheet of baking paper in a box and wrap them up, ready to give to your Valentine (or enjoy them yourself for a super sweet treat)!

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Brandy Chocolate Truffles (makes about 24)

An easy and festive Christmas treat, these brandy truffles are super neat!

Try your hand at making them and let me know what you think. I think they are great as a post-dinner dessert or just for a little snack with a mug of eggnog.

20131215_19492020131215_194927Ingredients:

  • 230 grams chocolate, chopped roughly
  • 1/2 cup thickened cream
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • Cocoa powder
  • Dessicated coconut

Method:

1. Line two baking trays with baking paper.

2. Place chocolate in a medium sized bowl.

3. Heat thickened cream over the stove on medium and bring just to the boil.

4. Pour hot cream over the chocolate and stir until mixed in and all chocolate pieces are melted.

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5. Add butter and stir again until mixed in.

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6. Add liqueur and stir.

7. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours or preferably, overnight.

8. Use a melon baller to get even sized scoops of chocolate and roll into round balls.

9. Coat in cocoa powder and/or coconut.  You can also use crushed and toasted nuts, hundred and thousands, or chocolate swirls (Flake works well).

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10. Cover and place in the fridge until firm.

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11. Serve at room temperature.

Lorraine’s Patisserie, Ivy, Sydney CBD ($)

Address: Shop 5, Palings Lane, 320 George St Sydney NSW

Tel: (02) 9254 8009

Website: http://merivale.com.au/lorraines-patisserie/

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Atmosphere

Lorraine’s is a little Patisserie located in Palings Lane near the popular bar, the ivy.

It gets it’s name from Ms Lorraine Godsmark, formerly a Potts Point patissiere, who now delights Sydney CBD workers with her delicious treats, all from a small kitchen surrounded by glass windows.

The place itself is quite small with about a 2 metre by 1 metre area for customers to stand in. MDS and I found it quite cramped with all our winter baggage, maneuvering around eachother’s bags, umbrellas and coats to try to have a peek into the pastry cabinets and check out what was on the trays.

The kitchen area is much bigger and the glass windows on two sides make it quite open, allowing customers the chance to see how the sweet treats are made.

Service

There really isn’t much service involved as it is a patisserie with no seating. Everything is take-away so there was minimal involvement from the staff member who assisted us.

She was however quite patient considering our indecisiveness about which delicious treat to order (there are so many goodies!).

Food

As we walked in the store we were swamped with the smell of delicious chocolate, baking in the ovens at the back of the kitchen.

MDS and I immediately craved something chocolatey and I went for a cake, while MDS chose one of the delicious cookies.

We both ordered a passionfruit truffle to try, and I also got a marshmallow dipped in chocolate.

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The chocolate cake was amazing. It had layers of ganache, mousse, nuts in a caramel sauce, and flaky pastry. So many textures and flavours in the one piece, it was exquisite and probably one of the best cakes I have ever had!

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The passionfruit truffle was an odd combination of passionfruit tang and the sweet bitterness of dark chocolate. The shape was a little irregular but the flavour was great.

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Finally, the marshmallow was gooey and soft, a perfect square with a Turkish delight base, which was hidden by a coating of chocolate. The Turkish delight was unexpected as I thought it was simply a marshmallow covered in chocolate! A nice touch!

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Cost

The truffles and marshmallows were $2.50 each and the cake was $8.00.

Rating:

I would rate my experience (out of 10):

  • Service- 5 (non-existent really)
  • Food- 5
  • Ambience- 5
  • Value – 6

Lorraine's Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Chocolate Almond Squares (makes 18-24)

This recipe is adapted from one I found in Maureen McKeon’s book, Crave.

Ingredients: 

  • 175g chopped chocolate
  • 175g butter
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla essence
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 185g caster sugar
  • 100g ground almond (I used almond meal)
  • 60g plain flour
  • 1/4 Tsp cream of tartar
  • Icing sugar to dust

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180C and butter and line a 20 x 30cm cake tin.

2. Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl in the microwave. Stir to mix together and allow to cool.

3. Use an electric mixer to beat egg yolks, vanilla extract and 115g of the sugar for 2 minutes, until thickened.

Stir this into the melted chocolate mixture.

4. Add almond meal and flour and stir. Set aside.

5. Use clean dry beaters to beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Continue to beat and gradually add in the remaining sugar, beating until it has dissolved into the mixture.

6. Fold the egg white mixture into the melted chocolate mixture in two batches.

7. Pour the mix into the cake tin and bake for 30 minutes.

8. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack then turn out and cut into squares.

9. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Dilmah ChariTEA Event

I was lucky enough to score an invite to the Dilmah High Tea Event. The event was held at the Langham hotel, a 5 star luxury hotel formerly known as the Observatory Hotel.

Now everyone knows that I love a good cup of tea and I’m sure most of you also know that I love high tea (see my High Tea To Do List). I knew from the start that this was going to be a beautiful high tea and I was not disappointed. The staff were friendly and helpful and I was quickly ushered into a very elegant looking room where I found about 100 people seated at round tables.

Peter Kuruvita, a half Sri Lankan, half Austrian who was born in England and resides in Australia (how very multicultural!) was the host. Peter is one of Australia’s top chefs and is well-known for his restaurant Flying Fish, in Pyrmont (see my Food Bucket List). He welcomed us all to the event and told us a little bit about his involvement with Dilmah and as a judge of their Real High Tea competition.

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Peter Kuruvita

He then introduced Dilhan Fernando, one half of where the name “Dilmah” comes from (the other half is his brother, Malik, who was not present). Dilhan gave a speech about Dilmah’s passion for producing truly ethical tea and their commitment to giving back to the community. It was really nice to hear how all this work could be done in a developing country such as Sri Lanka simply through the support of tea lovers purchasing Dilmah tea products.

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Dilhan Fernando

We then heard from Mr Merill J. Fernando himself. I was quite star struck hearing him speak after seeing him on TV for so many years! He was a very dignified and well-spoken person and being of Sri Lankan background myself,  I have a lot of respect for what he has done for the country. He told us how he decided to market and sell pure Ceylon tea to the world to show people what real tea should taste like, as opposed to the mixed tea that was previously traded all over the world. We heard of his vision to produce, market and manage this tea company from Sri Lanka to ensure that he could give as much as possible back to the country through job creation and by helping the employees who helped him build his company. It’s hard to believe that he has been in the business for over 63 years! Mr Fernando thanked us, as Australian tea drinkers, for our support which he said was one of the main reasons for Dilmah’s success, and said that this high tea event was one way in which they could give back to some of the company’s supporters.

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Merrill J. Fernando, Dilmah Founder

Upon conclusion of his speech, we  were invited to enjoy the high tea treats which Dilmah and the Langham Hotel had put on for us, whilst watching a few videos about the MJF Charitable Foundation’s work in Sri Lanka. The foundation uses part of Dilmah’s revenue to support underprivileged people in Sri Lanka through providing access to education, better living conditions, community health programs and support to families who have lost loved ones in the North.

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During the video we were treated to a wonderful menu of:

Smoked salmon, cucumber and egg and mayonnaise sandwiches

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Quiche Lorraine and a Vegetarian QuicheImage

Green tea with jasmine smoked duck breast with celeriac remoulade on brioche toast  (I never used to eat duck as I once had a pet duckling, but I accidentally ate this one without checking what it was! My first time eating duck! It wasn’t too bad at all but I haven’t decided if I will keep eating duck from now on or try to avoid it :s).Image

Fresh baked scones- mixed fruit and plan with home-made strawberry jam and cream (served in the cutest lil jars!)

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Orange and Almond Tea BaklavaImage

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Langham cupcakes

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Chocolate Mousse in a wafer cup

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The perfect accompaniment to all these delicious treats was the selection of Dilmah Teas available to try including Ran Watte, Meda Watte, YataWatte and Uda Watte.

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Have I got you drooling yet? What a spread! At the end of it I was so full and couldn’t eat another bite if I wanted to (which I did!).

The winners of Dilmah’s Sydney Real High Tea challenge were announced and the 4 lucky winners won tickets to Sri Lanka to visit the Dilmah Tea Estate. Peter Kuruvita closed the event by saying that normally in a charity function they would ask for donations, but in this case, simply purchasing Dilmah tea helps the Foundation work towards its goals.

We then had the opportunity to meet the “stars of the show” and I was delighted to be able to get a photo with, and speak to Peter, Dilhan and Mr Fernando.

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With Peter Kuruvita

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With Merrill J. Fernando, Peter Kuruvita, Dilhan Fernando and friends

I was also very excited to meet my blogging idol, the gorgeous Mrs Lorraine Elliot of Not Quite Nigella (check out her blog at: http://www.notquitenigella.com/) and I can honestly say that she is absolutely lovely!

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With NQN

We left with some wonderful goodie bags, stuffed with teas and tea-making instruments- a perfect way to  finish off a great afternoon!

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Laduree

So today I thought I’d try to get a piece of the action and went to laduree with the intention of indulging my sweet tooth.
Little did I know, as I made my way to Westfield Sydney, that half of Sydney had the same idea. When I got there there was a line of about 50 people and I was informed that they would not take any more people as they closed at 6.30pm.
While it’s understandable that they would be busy on opening opening week you would think they would accept a line of customers at least until 6pm. I was there at 5.15 and couldn’t get in the line.
Anyway I left, quite disheartened. My laduree experience will have to wait for another day!

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Laduree in Sydney!

Laduree has opened in Sydney (see: http://www.vogue.com.au/culture/interiors/laduree+opens+in+sydney,19777) and I just can’t wait to try it out!

The luxury pastry store, famous for its macarons, was founded by Louis-Ernest Ladurée in 1862. They are famous for being Blair Waldorf’s (Gossip Girl) favourite treats and are considered a “must do” when dining in Paris.

For more information see: http://www.laduree.fr/en/fabricant/produits/macarons