Bake-alicious Bakeries: Bourke Street Bakery in Surry Hills and Flour and Stone in Woolloomooloo, Sydney.

Bake-alicious Bakeries: Bourke Street Bakery in Surry Hills and Flour and Stone in Woolloomooloo, Sydney.

I’ve long wanted to go to Bourke Street Bakery. For too long, I have drooled over their gorgeous book. I nearly made it there last year, but a mishap with some Zumbo goodies saw me sitting in a corner of a random Maccas, too depressed to go on flying solo in Sydney. This year, I was determined to actually get there.

I very nearly didn’t make it again. I got there on an exceptionally hot Friday, sweaty and grumpy, only to find out that they only accepted cash payments of which I had none. Too hot and too bothered to go looking for an ATM, I ended up across the street at The Book Kitchen for lunch instead. Just as well, as I fell in love with The Book Kitchen, but it meant that my quest for Bourke St bakery was still unfulfilled.

Fast forward a few more days and Tuesday saw me once again standing outside of Bourke St Bakery. This time, I had cash with me and I was determined to get myself some of these goodies. I stepped into the tiny interior, took in the gorgeous smells and smiled a tad crazily at the boy across the counter. My pointing finger came out and soon it was a flurry of points as I listed out my order without taking a breath. Despite knowing that our mode of transport for the day would be mainly walking, I still threw caution to the winds and added the gorgeous lemon curd tarts and ginger brulee tarts to my order.

It was a busy day of running between appointments but I could wait no longer. In the middle of Rozelle, I sat myself down on a bench at a bus stop and inhaled my tarts and all its tarty goodness. The pastry was perfection, crumbly and buttery. We marvelled at the fact that despite it containing rather moist elements such as lemon curd and custard, the pastry still remained beautifully crumbly and not in the least soggy. We ooh-ahhed over the gorgeous ginger brulee tart and if it were not for the fact that I was in the middle of Rozelle and not Surry Hills, I’d have marched right back into Bourke St Bakery and bought myself more of these little sweet treats. Later on, we also tried the chocolate croissant (which we didn’t like quite as much, more because we don’t much like chocolate and croissants together than through any fault of the bakery) and also the most delicious and tasty Macadamia and Sticky Nuts bun. (Bun of some sort, I have no idea, I forgot to take a photo of the name!)

Would I go back again? Definitely! There are lines, and queues that stretch out the door and into the street, but is it worth it? Oh yes.

Bourke Street Bakery (Web)
02 9699 1011
633 Bourke St
Surry Hills, NSW 2010

Bourke Street Bakery on Urbanspoon

Instagram and Twitter are wonderful things. If not for them, I would not have seen the number of people who were spazzing out about Flour and Stone. It’s really not very far from Bourke St Bakery though it’s far enough for them to qualify as being in a different suburb altogether. On our last day, we bundled our luggages into a cab and made a quick pitstop here before heading off the airport. Our taxi driver even asked us why we made such a special pit stop!

Why indeed.

Flour and Stone isn’t very big. It is a touch bigger than Bourke St Bakery, which means that should you choose to stay and munch on the yummy offerings, you are able to have a table indoors amongst the good smells rather than being out on the sidewalk. The glass display cases are laden with goodies and I stood for the longest time agonizing over which to pick, my task made even more worse by the knowledge that every minute I took to think was another minute on the taxi meter that was running outside.

The pointing finger came out and I pointed to this, this, this, and that, that, that. With my previous mishap with Zumbo’s creations in mind, I also asked which of their goodies would travel well. Once determining that we were one step away from boarding our flight out of Sydney, the very adorable ladies at Flour & Stone then packed everything up in the most secure fashion ever and this was proven when all my goodies got to Adelaide unharmed and very much intact. (Other than the lamington, that got eaten on the way.)

I didn’t know it’d be possible, but I believe Flour & Stone actually blew me away even more than Bourke St Bakery did. I am seriously in love with the Salted Caramel Tart and I’d marry it if I could, only so I could not-so-subtly eat it every night in bed. The amazing pastry, paired with the beautiful salted caramel and topped with what tasted like malt (I say malt, the boy say not. Sigh.) made for an amazing combination and I desperately wished past me had the foresight to buy more than one slices. Sadly, past me didn’t. So I had to share the one lonely slice with the boy and tears may or may not have been shed.

If you like baked goods, pastries and gorgeous afternoon treats, then Bourke St Bakery and Flour and Stone are both bakeries you should hit up. Both have beautiful pastries and there is no way I will be able to pick a favourite. So I strongly suggest you check both out, and spend some time in their bakeries to really take in the sights and smells. For there is nothing more beautiful than baked yummies and a never ending passion for good food.

Flour and Stone (Web)
02 8068 8818
53 Riley Street
Woolloomooloo, NSW 2011

Flour and Stone on Urbanspoon

Review: Innocent Bystander, Healesville

Review: Innocent Bystander, Healesville

Giant steps / Innocent Bystander
336, Maroondah Hwy
Healesville, 3777
(03) 5962 6111

It’s been such a long time since I did a blog post! It’s been so busy around here but I think I’ve finally been able to get things sorted out. If you haven’t noticed, you might like to click through to the blog and check out the new layout. I’ve finally moved servers too, and that resulted in broken links coming in from Urbanspoon which will hopefully be resolved soon.

I have lots of posts to write and hopefully will be able to get them all organized soon but let’s start the ball rolling with a review of my visit to Innocent Bystander in Healesville.

Thanks to traffic, we were unfortunately half an hour late for our booking. When we arrived, our table had been given away (the restaurant did try to contact us, but phone was on silent, whoops). They apologized and promised us the next table available which came up in about 3 minutes. Good service, checked!

We were started off with sourdough bread and olives. Absolutely delicious sourdough bread at that. Speaking of bread, Innocent Bystander had the most amazing looking bakery which also smelled amazing. Take a look:

It looks good, hey?

The chips came along and they were sprinkled with truffle salt. And they were the yummiest, yummiest chips on earth. There’s something incredibly addictive about them! I am totally getting truffle salt and going all crazy all over them. Even now, I feel like driving back there just for those chips. Hmmm.

The mains came and we started with Duck and mushroom pie with carrot mash. This was carrot mash at its best, amazing texture and beautifully done. The pastry on the pie was really well done, crumbly and a dream to bite into. Unfortunately the inside of the pie was rather dry and not very memorable.

We also ordered the Coconut braised beef brisket with green papaya salad and & toasted peanuts. And unfortunately the beef brisket was a bit like the pie in that it was dry. But the accompanying green papaya salad was to die for. Amazingly fresh, the clean and refreshing taste that cuts right through… I was in love!

Innocent Bystander is also really famous for their pizzas. So we couldn’t let this visit go by without a Pizza on the table. We ordered Roast mushroom, ricotta salata, white truffle oil, garlic & Parsley. And I guess you can’t always order winners. K had tried their pizzas before and had been suitably impressed. But unfortunately while I normally adore mushrooms, there was just something not quite right with this pizza. The mushroom flavours overpowered anything else on the pizza and I’m not sure what mushrooms they were, but they weren’t the normal mushroomy flavour that I adore. Alright, that’s pretty vague, but all I can say for sure is that it wasn’t as great as I’d hope it’d be.

When the mains were done, it was time to pull out the desserts.

Flourless Chocolate cake with Vanilla Ice Cream – so so rich and so chocolatey! Wasn’t my dessert to gobble down so I can’t tell you too much about it, but I do know that the Vanilla Ice cream was fresh and extremely delicious.

The lemon tart was sweet and sour in just the right amount. Enough to make me gasp and pucker up but not too much that I didn’t want to eat it anymore. I don’t quite like sour things, you see. But Lemon tart is often the few exceptions I have. The pastry was so crumbly and just heavenly. A dessert that is A+++, that’s for certain!

If you are in the area, do check it out. White Rabbit Brewery is just next door together with the Beechworth Bakery. Both absolute delightful places to visit and eat and drink! (Especially the pale ale from White Rabbit – to die for).

Giant Steps / Innocent Bystander Winery on Urbanspoon

March Cookoff – German Bread Dumplings

Have you ever played Cooking Mama? For those who haven’t, it is a cooking game for the Nintendo consoles and is really quite entertaining. When you fail, ‘mama’ gets all fired up and will say “don’t worry, Mama will fix it” or something akin.

And do you remember the monthly cookoffs? There was a reason why I picked the fired up ‘mama’ as my mascot on the banner as the cookoff was meant to challenge us and push us out of our comfort zone. And well…. it did.

For the month of march, the theme was German. I was still in a dumplings loving phase so when I came across German Bread Dumplings (otherwise known as Semmelknoedel) I felt like I had struck gold. Well……

The recipe came from Tasty German and it sounded simple enough.

450g white bread or rolls from the day before
170ml milk
3 eggs
salt and freshly ground pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
1 dessert spoon fresh parsley leaves

Slice the bread or rolls into very thin slices. Place into a large bowl. Heat the milk until boiling and remove from heat. Beat the eggs and then mix with the milk, salt, pepper and pinch of nutmeg. Pour the egg and milk mixture over the stale bread. Cover and leave to rest for a few minutes.

Mix the parsley leaves into the egg and bread mixture and with damp hands form 8 dumplings out of the mixture. The dumplings should be firm in your hands and quite sticky so that they don’t fall apart in the boiling water. In a very large pan bring salted water to the boil. Place the dumplings in the scalding water and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

It started well enough:

I got my photos as we worked through the steps:
And added onions as another recipe had suggested onions which I thought would be a nice addition.

And then we added the liquid mixture to the bread.

It was then, I started getting the first hint of trouble. I had forgotten that I really really really dislike the smell of soggy bread. And boy did this reek of it. I was trying so desperately not to gag! Not cool.

Of course like a good soldier, I pushed that aside and march right on. And what do you know, there was way too much liquid in the mixture and the dumplings wouldn’t form! It wouldn’t stick, wouldn’t stay in a ball shape and nothing I did would coax it into being dumplings. Oh yuck.

So in a desperate attempt, I added flour to hopefully dry out the liquid and encourage the foul mixture to stick together. And it didn’t work. I tried everything I could think of but nothing worked. Oh this failed so terribly I’m shuddering just thinking about it. I’ve never had quite an epic failure in cooking before, so this was a huge blow to my ego. And most definitely this was one failure ‘Mama’ wouldn’t be able to fix.

I ended up throwing the whole lot out. It looked like vomit anyways.

Needless to say, I failed the March Cookoff, the mains course anyways. So why did I decide to blog about this?

Because we can all learn from our mistakes. There is always room to grow, and my food blog is not just a shiny shrine for me to post my successes. On this road and quest towards better food and healthier lifestyles, there will always be bumps and falls and by realising what they are, we grow from it.

I hope I haven’t disgusted you too much, but I know this much. I will get this recipe right. One day.

Have you had any cooking failures? I’d love for you to share your stories!