Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Azuma Patisserie, Sydney (17th September 2013)

When Natasha suggested us GAWGs (in case you were wondering, it stands for Girlfriends And Wives of Googlers) meet up for coffee after work today, I immediately jumped in and decided on the location, one that was close to the train station so I wouldn't have far to hobble to - my left ankle is still recovering from snowboarding sustained injuries and causes me pain if I walk too much. I chose Azuma Patisserie on George St for its proximity to Town Hall station and also because none of us had been there, making it a good opportunity for us check it out. 

Azuma Patisserie is the newest addition to chef Kimitaka Azuma's growing empire of restaurants in Sydney which includes Azuma, Azuma Kushiyaki and Ton Ton Chifley. A smallish patisserie located on the ground floor of the HSBC Centre, it serves an array of desserts ranging from frozen yogurt to cakes and sweet pastries with coffee or tea to compliment. At 5.45pm, the place was rather quiet but to be expected - a bit early for dessert, don't you think? That did not deter us girls getting ourselves an Azuma Cake Set each which included a cake and drink of our choice. I decided on the Green Tea Chiffon Cake and Macha Latte for my set and headed up to order at the counter. Fortunately I had cash in my purse for the patisserie is a cash-only facility. There was no waiting around to collect the order; the friendly Japanese waitresses will bring it to your table. 

Azuma Patisserie on George Street

Assorted cakes and desserts

Anna, Natasha and I caught up on the events of our lives and shortly our drinks and sweet goodies turned up. My Azuma set was totally green! The Matcha Latte was served in a tall glass and finished with a gorgeous Rosetta. Matcha (sometimes also spelled maccha) is quality green tea leaves that is stripped of its veins and stem, then grounded into a fine powder. Naturally caffeinated, the health benefits of matcha exceeds that of green tea because you ingest the whole leave, not just the brewed water. Here at Azuma Pattiserie, only premium quality matcha, imported from the Uji region in Japan is used. I took my first sip of the matcha latte - mmm, tastes like warm milk mixed with grounded green tea. It was good to try something different to the mainstream hot beverage though I think I much prefer matcha in desserts such as cakes and mochi; as a drink, I felt it was a bit overpowering. The Green Tea Chiffon Cake was lovely - made also with matcha, the chiffon cake was light and soft, and not too sweet unlike others I've have bought or chiffon cake recipes I've tried at home. Oh, I can have a lot more than just the one slice! Said to hold less calories than the typical sponge cake, this Azuma signature cake comes in several other flavours - Chocolate, Vanilla, Honey, Earl Grey, Sesame, and Coconut. Hmm, need to plan another visit to try the Sesame and Earl Grey ones for they sound very interesting!

Azuma Cake Set ($8.90) - Green Tea Chiffon Cake and Matcha Latte

As of October 2013, Azuma Patisserie has closed. You can still order their cakes via Azuma Japanese Restaurant using the order form here.

Azuma Patisserie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 1 September 2013

My little herb and veggie garden (1st September 2013)

It has been a month since we got the keys to our house - still can't believe I'm now a house owner! Since moving in, Jono and I have been busy cleaning up the place (the previous owners did not hand over the house in an acceptable clean state, especially the oven which we had to use not one but TWO cans of oven cleaner to rid the gunk!) and doing DIY jobs around the house when not at work. Weekends have been spent making multiple trips to the nearby Bunnings Warehouse conveniently located 10 minutes walk from home to pick up yet another tool or more DIY parts. We now own so many household/handyman equipment we've never previously needed when renting!

Recently we've started work in the garden. The grass and hedges were getting a bit overgrown and with his new toys - an electric lawnmower and battery-powered hedge trimmer - Jono has been doing a great job keeping the grass and hedges nicely trimmed :) We've trees in the backyard we don't even know what they are sprouting leaves as we move into the spring season. The lemon tree needs some serious pruning as it has grown past the fence over to the neighbour's side (and that's where the good lemons are!). Neither of us are much of a green thumb (well, there hasn't been a need to date) and honestly I can't really tell the difference between plant and weed. I've been doing some weeding, pulling out anything that looks out of place. Are those daffodils? Ops...oh well, too late now...

One of the things I really want in our backyard is a small vegetable patch enough for me to grow herbs and vegetables for our own consumption. I've been doing a bit of Googling and there is so much work involved in preparing the garden bed and soil! We haven't quite decided on the section best for the patch. I guess we will go for the small plot next to the tool shed which seems to get heaps of sun (apparently you need at least 6 hours of sunlight for the vegetables to thrive). Feeling overly excited and enthusiastic with the idea of growing my own vegetables, I got myself a few small herbs and some pak choi from Bunnings Warehouse and have been growing them in pots to start. Will have to plan out what other vegetables and herbs to plant once we work out the plot size.

My little herb and veggie plants - rosemary, coriander, pak choi and spring onion

My do we have lots of little skinks in the garden (reptiles - yuck!) and spiders that seem to love spinning their web around withered leaves. Hmm, need to do some reading up on pest control...