Noririn and Salted Caramel Popcorn Macaron

When I first started making macaron, it was not because I love baking. In fact, I am still until today cannot bake a cake correctly to save a life. But Macarons are a different breed altogether. I made macarons because if I don’t made them myself, I will need to have a really high paying job to support my macaron addition at approximately $2-3 a macaron to buy in store. Economically, it is a lot cheaper to make them yourself. Go figure.

Salted Caramel Popcorn Macaron

Through out the year, I really improved since using Pierre Herme’s Book MACARONS. If you’re a macaron novice like me, this book will be extremely useful. There is a section called “Thirty Two Steps to Succesful Macaron Shells”. It was a life saver for me.
piere hermes book

That being said, there isn’t a recipe for Salted Caramel Popcorn macaron in this book, in fact I had a taste while sampling Zumbo’s version of Salted Caramel Popcorn at The Star, Sydney. The rest as they say is history from then on.

To make 60 macarons (give or take)

ingre

Macaron Shells (adapted from Pierre Herme MACARONS)
300g Almond Meal
300g Icing Sugar
110g Liquified Egg Whites (Separate the egg white from the yolk 24 hours before)
and
300g Caster Sugar
75g Mineral Water
110g Liquified Egg Whites (Separate the egg white from the yolk 24 hours before)

Salted Caramel Butter Cream (adapted from Adriano ZUMBO and this blog)
200gr Salted butter
100gr Caster Sugar
2tbs Mineral Water
2tsp Salt Flakes
1 Egg

Popcorn Garnish
1bag of extreme butter popcorn and some melted butter.

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Weight out the egg whites – precision seems to be key. If I don’t follow this exactly for some reason my macaron shells always comes up wrong.

2. Cover the bowls with clingwrap – pierce the clingrawp with holes, the MACARON book suggest to prepare the egg whites several days in advanced so to lose the “elasticity”. I agree, but I never plan that much ahead so I found that by leaving the bowl with holes 24 hours overnight in the fridge is quite okay too. 

3. Prepare two piping bags, one for the batter and the other one for the buttercream filling. I like to use this piping bags and this type of nozzle.
bag

4. Prepare the baking trays for the shells before starting. I use a cookie cutter and sharpies to create my circle on some baking paper. Since there are going to be many baking trays, I  only made one template but lay it underneath another baking paper so I can still see the circle when piping. That way I don’t have to make many circles.
paper

5. For the macaron batter, weight out the almond meal and icing sugar separately. In a bowl, sift them together after weighting using a medium mesh sieve over a large bowl.
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6. On the scales, weight out the caster sugar and water in two separate bowls.

7. Pour the water into a small saucepan and then add the sugar. Probe an electronic thermometer into the sugar. Cook over medium heat and as soon as sugar reaches 115C, simultaneously start to whisk the second quantity of liquified egg whites to soft peaks at high speed in an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Note: can’t stress enough about the “temperature”, last time I didn’t pay attention, it mess up my shell so I now pay careful attention to temperatures.

8. When sugar reaches 118C, take the saucepan straight off the heat. Pour the hot sugar over egg whites before the meringue is fully formed. (Note: If it’s too stiff/meringue formed already, start again. You have failed. DING DONG!!!) Continue whisking at high speed for another minute.

9. Reduce the whisking speed to a medium speed and continue whisking the egg whites for about two minutes. You have just made an Italian meringue.
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10. Wait until the Italian meringue has cooled down to 50C (use the thermometer) approximately 4-5 minutes bfore taking it out of the bowl of the mixer.
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11. Tip the Italian meringue out of the mixer bowl. Using a spatula, stir it into the mixture of icing sugar and almond meal. There is a trick to “folding”, you really need to fold the batter and stirring outward from the middle to the sides, rotating the bowl with your other hand as you stir. Sound simple enough but if you over-fold, the shell will be flat. The batter should resemble slightly running cake dough.
mixing

12. Take the first piping bag with the nozzle inside, and scoop up little batter on the spatula. Scrape into bag. Squeeze the batter down so it slips right down to the end of the piping bag. Twist the end of the bag tightly to trap the batter firmly in the bag.

13. Position yourself about 2cm above the first baking tray. Hold the piping bag certically and gently squeeze the top to pipe out just short of the circle. The batter will spread during cooking. Keep following the template and make sure to fill just slightly less than the circle in the template. When you need use the second baking tray and so forth, remove the template from the bottom of the clear baking paper gently as to not rock the macaron batter on top. Repeat process.

14. To flatten out the points that have formed on the shells, you’ll see a dot sometimes from when the piping break off. Lift baking tray one at a time and tap them gently on the work surface covered with kitchen towel. I also use my oven mitt between the bench and my baking tray to softly tap so the macaron batter spread more evenly and lose the dot.
macarondrying

15. Allow the shells to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes until a skin forms on the surface. The batter should not stick to your finger. Tap tap for test.

16. Pre heat the fan oven to 180C, but depending on each oven the cooking temperature may vary. My fan force oven normally cooks macaron at about 155-160C, otherwise it will burn. The shells should not change colour during cooking.

17. I put two baking trays in my tiny oven at a time. bake for 12 minutes, briefly opening and shutting the oven door twice to let out the steam. Open the door the first time after 8 minutes (at that point the foot of the shells will be cooked), then a second time after 10 minutes. I left the door open for approximately 10 seconds each time. Enough time for the steam to get out and for me to admire and usually you know whether you’ve succesfully made the macaron shells or have to go back to Step 1.
intheoven

18. As soon as you take out the shells out of the oven, slide the baking paper into the work surface. If you leave the shell on the tray (as I mistakenly did), it will go on cooking. Allow the shell to cool on the baking paper.

19. Carefully unstick half the cooled shells from the baking paper one at a time with hand They are ready to be filled or can be stored for 48 hours in the fridge or freeze them for later use. But I usually ran out of Macarons so there’s never excess.
shell

20. At this point now we can make the buttercream. You can follow the full proper instruction in this blog but I am usually running out of time by this point and took a lot of shortcuts. In fact, for this recipe I totally forgot to use the egg. At the same time, zap the butter popcorn bag in the microwave and when done crush them in the food processor.

21. Boil water and sugar together while at the same time continue whisking the soft butter. When sugar melted, add sugar into butter and fold the salt in. Done. Sorry probably not the salted caramel filling you’re after but I like it simple this way. Put in fridge for 10-15 minutes to firm up a bit so it’s easier to pipe.
buttermix

22. Take the second piping bag and scoop up small amount of butter cream, squeeze the bag so that it slips right down to the end of the piping bag, ensuring to trap the cream firmly in the bag (no space bubbles).

23. Position yourself about 2 cm above the first baking tray, hold the piping bag vertically and squeeze it very gently. Pipe a generous mound of cream to each shell making sure you leave an edge of about 3 mm. I usually drizzle some popcorn powder from step 20 into the cream here too.

24. Un-stick the second batch of shells and cover each filled shell and press down very lightly. Repeat for all.

25. Brush the top of the macaron with some melted butter and quickly drizzle some more powder/chopped popcorn.Macaron1

26. Place the filled macarons side by side on baking trays, put them in the fridge for 24 hours before serving. Take them back out 2 hours before serving to be enjoyed at ideal temperature. But you know what, they never last that long around here. Enjoy.
macaron2
All along while in the process of baking, Bailey and Whiskey always hover around, hoping some popcorn. Wishful thinking my happy dogs =)

 

 

 

Noririn and Homemade KFC

I am obsessed with KFC. For someone who never works for KFC, I know the menu well and when I go to different countries, I made it a point to try their KFC because as we know it, KFC is different in different countries.

KFCnoririn2

Here is a cheat recipe for a good Kentucky Fried Chicken, helped by using Kobe’s KFC Hot and Spicy Mix. Disclaimer, if what you’re after is to replica Hot and Spicy KFC Kentucky Fried Chicken secret recipe then this is not the recipe for you, but for a deep fried crunchy crispy tasty southern fried chicken recipe which takes ZERO effort, this is quite good on it’s own right.

I say “cheat” because I’m being helped by this packet mix, which you can buy in your local oriental grocery store. The box comes with two packets, one wet mix and one dry mix.
1

Ingredients
1kg Chicken Wing
1 Packet Tepung Kentucky Kobe Brand – which has 1 wet mix and 1 dry mix
1 tbs Masterfoods Ground Paprika
2 tbs Masterfoods Garlic Flake
1 tbs Masterfoods Black Peppercorn Cracked
1 tsp Masterfoods Coriander (optional – not a lot of people like coriander)
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Sugar
1 egg

Instructions

1. Mix the paprika, garlic flake, pepper, coriander, salt, sugar together. Rub onto the chicken.

2. Add wet mix from the instant mix, instead of 6 tablespoon of water for the wet mix, only use 4 for a thicker paste. Mix with the chicken. Then add the egg and mix to the chicken as well. Leave for 15 minutes in the fridge.

2
3. Heat Oil to medium hot temperature first, then use another bowl for the dry mix to mix the chicken into.
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You want to completely cover the chicken with the flour and pinch them to create the crispy pockets. More pinching more crispy crunchy pockets.

3

 

4. Deep fry in oil until crispy.

4

 

5. Ready to eat.

KFCnoririn

 

 

Noririn and Bibigo (Korean Healthy Fresh Kitchen) Beijing

For lunch we went to Bibigo, a korean chain restaurant which you can find anywhere from UK to Indonesia but sadly not in Australia yet. I think they should though.

Bibigo
Indigo Mall
010-8426-0759
53 1L INDIGO Mall, 18 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing China

There we had the Sweet and Spicy Rice Cake, Hot stone Galbi and Deep fried squid.

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I can’t eat spicy food, which is why it’s hard for me because I like korean food. The sweet and spicy rice cake is hot. Very hot. But it is also very different, they deep fried the rice cake first before coating it in the hot sauce which makes it chewy and crunchy and even though i was sweating, it was worth it. They went down very well with the Ice Lychee and Oolong tea drink which I forgot to take a photo of because I was fighting fire in my mouth.

The deep fried squid is a bit of a miss….. It was very salty, maybe that’s how it is suppose to be. I can’t fault the menu. I heard food in Beijing tend to be over salty and over oily and overly hot. The first two I can live with the last not so much.

Lastly the oh soo nice Hot Stone Galbi. Meat is a bit chewy and at CNY180 is also one of the more expensive item in the menu, it’s worth it though. It’s just really good.

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We also ordered the bibimbap in the hot stone, the fun part about this is its a mix and match.

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First you choose the rice: White, black, Brown&White, Barley&White.
Then you choose the meat: a Grilled beef, chicken, pork or tofu.
Then you choose the sauce:KHot, sesame, citrus&soy or Ssam.

You also get side dishes of Kimchee, some fish cake side dish and the vegies cucumber side dish.
I opted for white rice, pork bulgogi and sesame dressing and this is what it came up to:

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The sauce comes in a packet that you mix in to the stone bowl.

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Need to come back again and try the hot tofu stew dish. Maybe another day, we are going to the Great Wall tomorrow. Wheeee~

Noririn and Movida’s Pan Catalan

One of my favourite things to do is eat and then recreate.

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So when I had Movida’s @ SydneyAirport Jamon Hamon Catalan bread, I knew that I need to have more and at home. So then the brain got thinking and this version of the above materialise.

Disclaimer: This is not Movida’s recipe of their dish. I don’t know what their recipe is, this is a recipe of what I want my version of Pan Catalan should be and more. Even the bread I used is a French baguette.

Noririn’s version of Pan Catalan

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Ingredients
1 French Baguette
2 tbs Virgin Olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed through a garlic presses, or just chopped if preferred chunkier pieces.
2 cans of crushed tomatoes
1 tbs sugar
1 tsp Masterfood mixed Italian herbs
1 tsp Masterfood cracked pepper
Jamon Ham slices (as many as u want, or afford) or prosciutto.
Sprinkle of Reggiano

Instructions
1. Slice the bread thinly, spread on baking tray, drizzle some olive oil and put in oven for 10 minutes on 180c fan force.

2. While the bread is going, drain and strain the two cans of crushed tomatoes. You want to keep them not so watery so ensure most of the juice is out, then tip into a bowl.

3. Add garlic, mix herbs, cracked pepper and sugar into the bowl.Add olive oil. By this time it should be quite garlicky, (adjust seasoning to your preferred taste if required).

4. The bread should be about ready to be out of the oven, it should be crusty but not crispy. Add a dollop of the tomatoes mixture on top of the bread, sprinkle some reggiano on top and finish with a slice of Jamon.

Other topping options
1. Instead of Jamon, opt for sliced chorizos.
2. Instead of Jamon, add a slice of Buffalo Mozarella underneath the tomato mixture.
3. Instead of Jamon, you can also use prosciutto. I did. On some.

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See my review of Bar PulPo by Movida Pan Catalan, not to be mistaken to the one at Sydney Airport.

Noririn and Airplane Food (China Southern Airline)

Normally I don’t really care too much about airplane food, opting to fall asleep instead to kill time. However, this time we are flying from Melbourne to Beijing via Guangzhou.
Melbourne to Guangzhou takes 9h50min and then Guangzhou to Beijing takes 2h50min with approximately 2 hours transit time. I have got to eat somehow, when I get hungry, the green eyes monster comes knocking and I will cut you down!

We bought our tickets early, one of the biggest reason to go with China Southern was because of the 2 pieces luggage allowance at 23kg per piece. That’s a whooping 92kg between the two of us. No other airline, even if I’m flying business would give me that much luggage space. So this was a no brainer. I was expecting cramped space where I will suffer for 14 hours though. Something I thought I would do in the name of 92kg of luggage.

The good lady at the checkin counter somehow sat us at premium economy even though I’m sure I booked normal economy tickets, and here I was thinking I am going to dread the whole trip… Normal economy seat is 32″ while premium economy is at 37″, we definitely feel the extra space extremely welcomed in a 10 hour flight between Melbourne and Guangzhou. I brought my own pillow so even though it’s not a flat bed,it was still a lot better than the others. Thank you good lady at checkin counter.

The airplane is an Airbus a330-300, according to seat guru there is no personal tv, but we actually do have personal tv on each seat. There is also a plug for USB as well. Quite a number selection of Hollywood, Chinese, Korean, French and Indian movies. Plus the usual tv episodes and music and games. I didn’t watch any, too busy watching reruns of Top Chef masters in the Ipad.

You can’t really tell but there were ample leg space between my knee and the fold up table in front of me, I can even stretch my leg further and not touching the end so I didn’t have to bend my knees…

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Now for the food part, we were given two meals. The option is always one Chinese meal and one western meal. So we ordered one each.

We had the beef and rice, it was strongly seasoned (in a goood way) and a little bit spicy. Quite a change for my nonexistent taste bud at 30,000feet above ground when I usually struggle with bland food. I didn’t try the rice noodle prawn salad or the slice fruit as we just had the breakfast at Bar PulPo a few hours before. And we also had the chicken with tomato and cheese and potatoes. That one we tried but didn’t like as much…..

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The second meal service was just before we landed, we had a chicken sticky rice (I think) wrapped in leaves, a common fare we get at dimsum place. I was so hungry at that point, I wish they gave me 10 of those. Yummmm. And then we also had the penne bolognese. The hubby was so hungry(maybe), he cleaned the plate up so quickly.

There is one special mention to the cookies pictured below, I do not know why not everyone get one. Apparently the flight attendant was giving this out to a few people and ticking some list. We both got one each, I ate mine pretty quickly. Who doesn’t like almond, white chocolate and cranberry cookies?

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Overall, I think this was definitely a value for money cheap fare flight.

Even if we didn’t get seated at premium economy, I would have been quite happy with the whole experience.

The transfer process in Guangzhou was another story. It was a busy airport and we speak no mandarin, but we manage to get where we need to. It took us almost an hour to clear immigration, custom and security screening to go to the domestic gates.

By that time, I was hungry again and between trying to find our gate which always happen to be at the end corner of the most furthest gate there is, I found a little noodle joint. I don’t know what it’s called, and it’s quite expensive (well it’s an airport). I decided to have a Taiwanese noodle with minced stewed pork. It comes with a soup and some side vegies and fruits. The noodle is chewy and nice and the stewed pork is fatty.

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I had to eat it quickly and as soon as we left the noodle place, it was time to board the next plane to Beijing for more food-fest!!!!!!!!!

Noririn and Bar PulPo by Movida at Melbourne Airport

After a long 3 hours drive to the Melbourne airport, I was quite adamant to make sure i eat some breakfast before taking on a 17 hour plane hopping trip.
I had eaten at Movida Airport in Sydney a few months ago so I decided to indulge again.

The hubby decided to have the BLT with Fried Egg in Rustic Roll (AUD11.50). The portion is quite generous and the juices is just dripping from the sandwich. Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato and fried egg with Mayo and HP sauce. The bread is warm and crusty.

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I had the Pan Catalan (AUD12.50), a slice of open toast bread with chopped tomato and garlic and my favourite jamon ham. I was a bit let down because I had a similar one in Sydney and they crushed the tomatoes and had a very strong garlicky punch and drenched in olive oil, while the version here is just similar to your average bruschetta.

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In comparison, the bread was better in this instance as the one in Sydney was a plain sourdough toast while this one is quite crunchy and soft. But I was feeling more satisfied with the filling from the Sydney airport.

Jamon and tomato Catalan from Sydney Movida airport (top) and Pan Catalan Bar PulPo Melbourne airport (bottom) in comparison.

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After all said and done, for a breakfast option I don’t find it all that good. It was just average. In terms of satisfactory oomph factor, I think BLT from Hungry jack would have hit the same for less $$$. Probably not going back for breakfast there anytime soon, it wasn’t bad but there were definitely better options in the airport. And yes, I realise these are just airport food after all.

Noririn and Nobu’s Apchee Martini Mock

In a trip to Melbourne, we went to Nobu to celebrate my birthday. In the drinks menu, there is a little concoction called Apchee Martini (21AUD) that I really wanted to try, but since I can’t drink alcohol i had to keep scrolling down the list and then I stumble upon a non alcoholic version called Apchee Martini Mock (10AUD). This was definitely the winner drink of the night.

nobuapchee
(Scuse the really bad photography)

When we got back home, I had to recreate it. I know I do. But grrrrr I could not find the recipe for this drink and yet I really want more and the craving is getting worse. Google is not being a good friend. But that’s okay, we know what’s in the drink. I don’t have the measurement, but I can live with that (and my tastebud)!

So today’s drink is Noririn’s version of Nobu’s Apchee Martini (plus other things mix in).
nobuapchee2

Ingredients:
1L Apple Juice – I used Berri Apple juice
500ml Lychee Juice – Buy canned Yeo’s Lychee Juice from the Asian Aisle
500ml AROY D Lychee Can – use the lychee to put on a stick, and add the sugary lychee drink into the mix
300ml Coconut Water
Fresh Limes to squeeze when serving.

Instructions:
1. Mix Apple juice, lychee juice, lychee water from the can of lychee and the coconut water together into a jug, put in fridge until cold.

2. Put Glass in the freezer so it’s cold.

3. Assemble Lychee and toothpick like the picture.

4. To serve, get chilled glass, add ice cube (or no ice cube), add about a few squeeze of cut limes, add the juice from the jug, stir. Garnish with the Lychee toothpick. Ready to drink.

It’s pretty close except mine had coconut water in it, because I like coconut water. And I prefer mine sweeter and not so lime-y. But from the testing phase, i’m pretty sure it’s 50-50 apple and lychee portion. I could be wrong, but this is perfect for me.