Tag Archives: Baking

Bourke Street Bakery

4 Jan

Bourke Street Bakery
633 Bourke street, Surry Hills

When James and I went to Sydney in November, I knew I had to go to Bourke Street Bakery. We went straight from the airport to Surry Hills, braving the rain and gross humidity. We were lucky to score a seat because it was tiny inside (there was some outdoor seating and also a park across the street but nobody was using those because of the rain).

My main reason for wanting to go was that I have the cookbook and wanted to try the finished products before deciding whether to make them. James was actually quite surprised at how quickly I chose what to order, because I’m normally a lot more indecisive.

The first part of the meal was a beef pie. The pastry was darker and more cooked than I normally prefer, but that was more than made up for by the giant chunks of tender meat inside. There weren’t any fancy flavourings to the pie, but it was very beefy and satisfying.

James preferred the lamb harissa sausage roll. It’s been so long that I can’t remember exactly what it tasted like, but I remember it was vaguely Middle Eastern, fragrant, and not as heavy as lamb tends to be. I looked it up in the book and it’s pretty easy to make, so it may pop up the next time I’m in the mood for a big cheat meal.

For dessert we had ginger creme brulee. James liked it but I was a bit meh. Though that’s not the recipe’s fault, and more that I think I’m just not into ginger in non-savoury dishes. The texture of it was lovely though – a perfect, shattery top with silky insides, and I loved the sprinkling of pistachio nuts on top.

We also had a passionfruit meringue, which I liked and James didn’t. I had expected the top to be hard, but it was soft and airy (and sure enough when I looked it up in the book they specified that it’s a soft meringue topping). I really loved the passionfruit curd inside, so I think if I make this recipe I’d just do the curd – how lucky that the easy part is the tasty part!

I think the pastries plus coffee ran a little over $36. Actually, speaking of coffee, my only complaint about Bourke Street Bakery was the coffee guy, who snapped my head off when I politely enquired as to whether the coffee on the table was mine (“I called your name multiple times“). According to James, the coffee was not nearly good enough to warrant that kind of attitude. The guys behind the counter were lovely, but he was a douche.

Aside from the average coffee and crappy coffee guy, Bourke Street Bakery was great, and if it were my local I would try everything on the menu (except maybe the prune tarts, I’m a little scared of those). Instead I will have to satisfy myself by leafing through my cookbook and making the recipes at home.

Bourke Street Bakery on Urbanspoon

Catching Up On My New Experiences (Plus Some Gratuitous Chicken Photos)

30 Dec

It’s been a busy few weeks so I haven’t been blogging about my new experiences as much as I should have (though I’ve still been doing them).

These photos are from the latest New Experience, where I had a baking day with Scott, Cat and Alex. I was annoyed at myself because I bought 500g of fancy Warrnambool butter that I accidentally left at home, and now I have a bunch of butter I need to find a use for!

We made maple butter cookies, gingersnaps, and espresso shortbread (though the last one didn’t really work out so I assumed it got given to the chickens). The original plan was to package them really nicely, but I just put mine in an ice cream carton because I didn’t have enough time. Everyone else had nice packaging though.

I always like going to Cat’s house so I can check on my awesome chicken nieces, and Cat updates me about what’s going on with them.

Ducky and the chickens are good friends. The three new chickens hang out with each other, while Gertie and Jermy are lesbonic together. And I’m not just saying that because they’re two old ladies who are good friends – if Gertie and Jermy are separated, Jermy gets all distressed and runs across the garden until she’s next to Gertie again – then they are content and keep doing their turn about the garden. But my point is, nobody’s that good friends.

But anyway, here are the new chickens with Ducky in the background. Things to note in this photo:

  • the awesome whiskers on Princess Layer
  • Anakin Skybawker has really pretty feathers but a bitch face
  • Ducky is digging herself a poo hole

I shouldn’t be mean to Ducky, because she chased away a neighbor’s cat who was stalking the chickens. But Cat said that Ducky once took over the chicken coop, and was sitting in there while all the chickens were freaking out cos they couldn’t go inside. So I am undecided whether Ducky is a hero cat or not.

Here is Cat’s new chicken fence. She got it to stop the chickens from pooping on the deck. She said it’s good for parties because people prop their drinks on the fence, and it has the effect of making the chicken zone seem like a petting zoo.

Also here are some extra photos of Gertie and Jermy loving greek yoghurt.

Week 1: Made vanilla extract
Week 2: BJJ day camp
Week 3: Used Myki and went to Beatrix
Week 4: Tried new skincare
Week 5: Competed at the Pan Pacs
Week 6: Joined Kiva
Week 7: Tried durian and frog fallopian tube
Week 8: Attended a chicken auction
Week 9: Graded for my BJJ blue belt
Week 10: Went to Isthmus of Kra
Week 11: Makeover at Mecca Cosmetica
Week 12: Tried the Melbourne Bike Share
Week 13: Picnic at the Carlton Gardens
Week 14: Johnston Street Fiesta
Week 15: Sydney getaway
Week 16: Helped James do a fresh install on the Vaio Z
Week 17: Tried Evernote (and loved it!)
Week 18: Rock climbing
Week 19: Baking Day with Cat, Scott and Alex

Amaretti Cookies

5 Oct

Last week at the Vic Market I bought 500g of almond meal to make almond croissants, but then I re-thought the calorie bomb that would have been croissants and almonds. So the almond meal just sat in my kitchen, but it was so expensive that I wanted to use it up before it went bad. I decided on this almond cookie recipe from Taste – partially because it used up all the almond meal and partially because I was curious what a gluten free cookie would taste like.

Surprisingly nice, as it turns out. Very much like marzipan, and I could see them going really well with coffee (which would cut the sweetness a bit) for an after-dinner snack.

The texture is different – they look crumbly from the photo, but they’re actually very chewy, kind of like cross between a regular cookie and those toffee chocolates – though apparently they go crunchy if you cook them a few minutes longer. The most tedious part was rolling the little balls, which were very sticky. I don’t think I’d make them again though, because the almond meal was so expensive and while the cookies are very moresome (and less guilt-inducing because the macro breakdown is not terrible for a sweet biscuit) they suffer in comparison to regular cookies.

I omitted the glace cherries as a topping since a lot of the reviews said they stained the dough. The recipe makes 60 cookies.


  • 500g almond meal
  • 1 3/4 cups (400g) caster sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract
  • 60 whole blanched almonds


  1. Prehead oven to 160C. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Place almond meal, sugar, egg whites and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Beat with a wooden spoon until well combined.
  3. Roll 2 teaspoonfuls of the mixture into balls to make 60 cookies. Place on the trays. Press a blanched almond into the top half of the biscuits.
  4. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until light golden. Set aside to cool slightly on the trays before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
1 cookie: 84.3 calories, 56% fat, 10% protein, 34% carbs

Muesli Bars

15 Jul

I baked these muesli bars for a quick energy and carb hit for James this weekend. He’s doing a the Run Melbourne 10km race – it’s his first fun run, so he’s quite excited about it. I wanted to make a supportive banner, but then he threatened to show up at my BJJ comps with banners, so that idea was nixed.

The recipe is from Allrecipes, which is usually trustworthy for this sort of thing. I adapted it based on a couple of comments, reducing the sugar and increasing the cinnamon. Muesli is always super easy to customise, so I added a sprinkling of sunflower seeds and some dried cranberries. I cut it into 12 slices.

I used a different sized tin than the recipe called for, so my muesli bars were thicker – more like a slice than a muesli bar. They were supposed to end up crunchy, but mine were more chewy due to the extra thickness.

It’s a good, basic muesli bar recipe though, and I think I’ll experiment a bit with it. Next time I’m at the supermarket I’ll have a look to see what muesli bar flavours there are, to get some ideas. I won’t be able to make these very often though, since they’re not healthy enough for me to be eating weekly. Maybe for comps and future distance runs.


  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 175C. Generously grease a 9×13 inch baking pan (I had an 8×8 inch tin so my bars ended up significantly thicker)
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, raisins and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the syrup, egg, oil and vanilla. Mix well using your hands. Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden at the edges.
  4. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars while still warm. Do not allow the bars to cool completely before cutting, or they will be too hard to cut.

Very Rough Nutritional Guide: 1 serve: 291 calories, 36% fat, 7% protein, 57% carbs

White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies

31 Mar

Last week James brought me some leftover Subway cookies from his airport dinner. I was hankering for a snack, and those cookies were perfect!

So yesterday I decided to make my own white chocolate and macadamia cookies, and searched online for something that might recreate it. A lot of people recommend this recipe from Allrecipes, so I decided to give it a shot.

Unfortunately the cookies were a bit meh. I think a few things went wrong – the first batch came out too dark so I readjusted my oven, but that just resulted in cookies that were too soft. They came out puffier than I would like, and I didn’t chop the nuts enough so there are some unpleasantly large chunks of macadamia in there. And in general I think there should be more white chocolate and less macadamia. But I’ve never really been a fan of macadamia – it’s so expensive and such a bland nut.

The recipe isn’t bad – it’s just when I remember how awesome that Subway cookie tasted, this one didn’t even really come close.

The recipe made about 5 dozen cookies. I made them fairly small though.

There was another recipe on Allrecipes that had brown sugar, which should result in a crispier cookie. I might give that a shot.


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 225 g white chocolate, chopped
  • 180 g macadamia nuts, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 190C
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, stir into the creamed mixture. Finally, stir in the white chocolate and nuts. Drop cookies by heaping teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks. When cool, store in an airtight container.


Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
1 cookie: 119 calories, 52% fat, 5% protein, 43% carbs

Nutella Swirl Cupcakes

26 Jan

This nutella capcake recipe (from this food blog) has been on my to-bake list for years. It may have languished for several more years, except that today I didn’t have enough butter to make yo-yos so I made these instead. After all, who doesn’t like nutella? Nobody! Nobody doesn’t like nutella!

Verdict: tasty! Not too sweet, and quite moreish. It’s eggier than I’m accustomed to cupcakes being though. James is a lot fonder of them than I am – he’s had 6 already (read the nutritional information, fatty! In the past few hours you’ve eaten 1800 calories in cupcakes!) Since the recipe only makes 12 this has depleted our cupcake stash quite considerably.

I feel that I should have swirled the nutella a bit better. There is a lot of nutella at the top and not enough at the bottom – so I’ll start eating and be all like “mmm nutella goodness”, and then there is plain cupcake and sadness.

Also here is a pic of the cupcakes in the fancy cake dome that Henry got me for Christmas. Incidentally, my politics teacher in high school hated it when we used “got” and “get” – she said that there was always a more elegant way of phrasing things – for instance, I could have said “the fancy cake dome that Henry bought me for Christmas”. Anyway, every time I use got/get I remember her rant, which is weird because I don’t even remember that teacher’s name.

In the background you can see the screaming cat house we got for free with some Iams cat food. I think it’s hideous, but James won’t let me throw it out because the cats love it.


  • 140g unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g plain flour, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • nutella, approx 1/3 cup


  1. Preheat oven to 160C. Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar until light, 2 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated. Add vanilla. Stir in flour, salt and baking powder until batter is uniform and no flour remains.
  3. Fill each muffin liner with batter. They should be 3/4 full. Top each cake with 1 1/2 tsp Nutella. Swirl Nutella in with a toothpick, making sure to fold a bit of batter up over the nutella.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Very Rough Nutritional Information:
1 cupcake: 300 calories, 48% fat, 6% protein, 46% carbs

Simple, Delicious Brownies

31 Dec

This recipe from Allrecipes has been my go-to brownie for years.

I’m sure there are brownies that are more dense and chocolatey, but in terms of ease of preparation this one takes the cake. Or brownie. You don’t even need to be in a baking mood to make this – it’s so simple and there’s so little clean-up that it’s hardly like baking at all. And it makes your kitchen smell like chocolate heaven.

I’m making some for NYE party tonight, along with chocolate peanut and caramel slice. Once again I’m taking advantage of my nifty cupcake carrier to transport the peanut slice at the bottom and chocolate brownies on top.


  • 3/4 cup (about 170g) melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup plain flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 175C. Grease or line an 8″ square tin.
  2. In a large bowl blend melted butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time.
  3. In a medium bowl combine the flour, cocoa and salt. Gradually blend into the egg mixture. (Or if you’re like me, just dump the ingredients into the original bowl one at a time)
  4. Spread batter into prepared tin and bake 35-40 minutes.

The recipes says it makes 18, but obviously it varies depending on how generously you cut the slices.

Very Rough Nutritional Guide:
1 slice: 188 calories, 43% fat, 5% protein, 52% carbs