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Random Fridays: Cupcake in the dark

A yummy cupcake, artfully lit.

This certainly looks like a cupcake to me, with its piped border of rich blue icing and a cherry perched atop.

In reality, it’s part of the old elephant house at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, seen at night during the Vivid light festival.


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Random Fridays: Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth in Sydney

Possibly not the Queen Elizabeth you were expecting? 😉

Apologies if you expected a photo of the UK monarch! This is the cruise ship Queen Elizabeth, seen in Sydney in April this year. A friend and I have booked a one-week cruise on this ship for March next year — bring on the bubbly!


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Bubbles, Burrata and Bocconcini

 

Last Friday evening I did something very out of the ordinary: I made cheese! It was a “Bubbles Burrata and Bocconcini Cheese Making Class“, held at Tramsheds in Sydney and led by a cheesemaker from Omnon Cheese Making. I don’t know if the lure is the bottomless bubbly or the cheese making, but either way they are on to a good thing here; it’s a popular event and often sells out.

The setting. Tramsheds was originally a (wait for it) tram shed and depot, then empty, now revitalised as a collection of eateries.

First steps: add the citric acid to the milk, and warm it. Remove from heat, stir in the rennet, and let it sit.

 

Okay, so at this point it’s not especially appealing.

Time for a drink!

Bottomless indeed.

Cut and drain the curds, and this is what you get. (The curds had been prepared for us to this stage; very sensible, as bottomless bubbles, heat and precise measurements probably don’t mix well.)

A big bowl of curds.

Then it’s time to take out the frustrations of the day on the poor defenseless curds. Mash them with your hands until they fall apart and surrender.

Near-boiling water is then poured over the curds, and as you agitate gently the mass (mess?) starts to come together. Gather it all up in your hands. The contents of the bowl are very hot at this stage, which is why we all wore two or three layers of rubber gloves.

Still none too appetising …

A miracle happens as you stretch and fold it; the gloppy, stringy stuff becomes glossy and stretchy. (Mine never stretched this much, I admit!) This is why fresh Mozzarella (not the block stuff) can be pulled apart in layers.

 

I learned at this event that Bocconcini is just Mozzarella in small balls, and Burrata is a sort of stuffed Mozzarella pocket tied off with a knot. My attempt at Burrata was a misshapen lump that leaked. 😦

 

Now it was our turn to mash our curds, stretch and fold the cheese, and pinch off balls. First, though, it was time for a refill!

This bowl holds the far-from-perfect results of my two friends and me. More blobs than balls, but as the instructor said, they will melt just as well on pizza and will still taste yummy!

From the state of the table, you can guess that this was a messy process.