Sunday, February 12, 2012

Batch #18 - My First Macarons Sale and the Hello Kitty Macarons

I was commissioned by my good friend Tepid Duck to make a batch of macarons for her friend's birthday recently.  This is the first time I've actually made macarons for someone who isn't in my immediate family or circle of friends, so I was a bit nervous but stuck to what I think are my best and favourite flavours - the Salted Caramel, and the Lime Butter Cream macarons.  

This is a big occasion for me, as it marks the first time I've been paid for something other than what I have been trained for (yes I still have cold hard cash sitting on my table, not willing to spend it yet!)   I have always been more into maths and science in my studies and chosen career, so to get paid to do something creative gives me a real buzz!  I'm pretty sure the recipient of these macarons is a follower of this blog, so Happy Birthday to you (you know who you are!) and I hope you enjoyed them!

I also had a little fun and made some of the Salted Caramel ones into Hello Kitty macarons after spotting them here.  The ears were made by teasing out a little of the macronage with a toothpick after piping.  Kitty's bow was made by "gluing" 2 heart shaped sprinkles onto the macaron with some Butter Cream.  The rest of Kitty's face was drawn on with food coloring pens that Hubby hunted down for me during his lunch break.  

Hello Kitty Macarons!

I only made 8 of these but they were a huge hit with the kids.  They were certainly a huge hit on Instagram as this has become my most "liked" picture, and I also seemed to have gained a whole lot of young teenage girls as followers as a result!

I couldn't bear to bite into Hello Kitty's face.....

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Eat. @ Percy's Aeroplane

96 Denmark St, Kew 3101 ph : (03) 9939 7642

We're thinking this is the eponymous Percy's Aeroplane?!

I first heard about Percy's Aeroplane from my cousin last year.  Excited to try another coffee place in Kew, I brought Macaron Monster and Bubs out for brekkie before visiting Leo's Fine Foods on one of my trips there to buy couverture chocolate for my macaron making.  Quiet and unassuming to look at from the outside, this little cafe surprised us with a very decent coffee and some good old fashioned friendly service.

The owners are obviously very serious about their coffee.  They roast their own beans and offer single origins as well as their house blend.  I love love loved the yellow coffee machine and the splash of color it brought to the quiet minimalist decor.  We visited late last year and the waitress told me that they had just recently opened on the premises of a previous cafe.

I love that the coffee machine matched the aeroplane!  Cute touch!

The coffee is pretty good too.  My mocha ($3.5), with its pretty latte art, is certainly right up there with the top Melbourne coffee spots that receive much more hype.   The locals certainly know their luck as we watched a steady stream of people come in for their daily brew and a friendly chat.

The little ones are well catered for too, with a kids section on the menu.  I ordered a poached egg with bacon on toast ($6.5) for Macaron Monster,  which is pretty good going for that price on this side of town.  The egg was nicely poached, bacon was delicious, and there was enough bread to share with Bubs.  

And of course there was the obligatory babycino.  It came with a marshmallow, which seems to be a rarity nowadays, but of course won Macaron Monster over straight away.

I had a Ham and Egg Muffin ($5) which was very pleasant.  Sliced ham with folded eggs and cheddar on an English Muffin.  Mine was a slight touch cool towards the centre but otherwise this is a great take away brekkie with a cup of coffee.

We sat near the front of the shop and got a good view of all the action happening with the coffee and food making, which entertained the kids.  There is a courtyard out the back with more seating which would suit slightly bigger groups and prams.

Eat.Play.Shop. says - A quiet achiever in the Melbourne Suburban (yay!) world of coffee and a welcome addition to Kew.

Percy's Aeroplane on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 6, 2012

Eat. @ Hopetoun Tea Rooms

The Block Arcade, Melbourne CBD ph : (03) 9650 2777

I love having a wander through The Block Arcade and we've walked past The Hopetoun Tea Rooms countless number of times.  Mini Me and Macaron Monster both always ask to have a break here but we've always been discouraged by the long line of people queuing for a table out front.  On this slightly cooler summer morning I organised babysitting for Bubs and took the older 2 here for morning tea.

The line for a table starting to build
Before going inside to sit down, we checked out all the goodies in the window.  There are usually about 2-3 camera wielding  tourists people taking happy snaps of the gorgeous, traditional sweet goodies at any one time and it's often hard to even get near the window on busy weekends!

It was seriously baked-goods-heaven and as you can see, I couldn't stop taking pictures either!

I always imagined that Hopetoun Tea Rooms is the type of place to go when grandmothers caught up with their uni-attending grand-daughters for tea in the city (yes, table on our left), and for  ladies to meet up and chat over old fashioned delights (table behind us).  And yes, a generous helping of interstate and overseas visitors kept the tables filled.

We didn't bring Bubs as bringing a stroller into this popular, crowded tea room would be seriously pushing the friendship.  Fortunately we beat the crowds and got a little table for the 3 of us without a significant wait.

The menu offered savoury breakfast dishes as well as the goodies on display.  We all had our eye on the yummy sweet stuff so did not try the breakfast fare and went straight to the treats.  (I sound like such a bad Mummy!  They did have a normal cereal-breakfast earlier, this is morning tea after all!)   We admired the interior of the tea rooms while we waited, it was very Old-English, with draped ceilings, opulent lighting and floral wall papered walls.

The kids shared a big ice chocolate, old fashioned style, in a tall glass with plenty of cream and vanilla ice-cream.

I went for a traditional English Breakfast Tea for this occasion, of course.

The Pavlova was heavenly with fresh and tangy fruit offsetting a fantastically light meringue with a lovely slightly chewy centre.

The Portuguese Tart was a highlight for Mini Me.  I have to agree it's pretty good, as the pastry was light and crispy, which I don't always get with my recipe.

The low light was the macarons unfortunately.  They looked lovely piled high in the windows, but  on the plate they were dry, hard, powdery and crunchy.  Macaron Monster has been starved of macarons as we haven't made any recently, but even so could only manage to eat part of the strawberry one.  Even at $2.5 each I couldn't bring myself to finish the unappetising cookies, quite possibly the worst I've ever tasted.  

Eat.Play.Shop. says - Go for the gorgeous pavlova, take-away a Portuguese tart, and leave those macarons for display only.

Hopetoun Tea Rooms on Urbanspoon

Toilets - The arcade has some
Highchairs - No