these are busy days. i’ve been laying out the program booklet for the sydney arab film festival for a week now. last friday, as i waited in the train station beneath the airport, i fielded a call — the most crystal clear reception in an underground station! — asking me, only partly in jest, why i was not at home laying stuff out. but it seems even super urgent and late jobs are entitled to five rounds of author’s corrections, so here i am, the millstone still tied to my neck. a very sleek millstone, mind, if i do say so myself.
night times at the computer call for simultaneously stimulating and comforting snacks. a cup of tea, definitely, and a rotating roster of small sweet things. a square (or four) of chocolate one night, a raspberry cream biscuit another.
this particular raspberry cream was unexpectedly good, though somewhat smoushed from being in its paper bag for too long. we found it at the cookie man concession at david jones, nestled close to the caramel creams. you get a crunchy shortbread sandwich, filled with sugary “cream” and anointed with a dab of sticky red jam. the caramel’s definitely on the cards for the next trip to DJ foodhall.
speaking of caramel…
i never dallied the mille feuille at adriano zumbo patissier, not even that season he filled it with mandarin creme. i don’t know what held me back — all that pastry cream, all that pastry — but i suspect it was that there was always something pinker on display. if he’d just remolded it into a cream horn, i totally would have bitten.
but all this is in the past now, because to herald the autumn, there it was: the salted butter caramel mille feuille. after a couple of weeks of missing each other in the shop, i finally had one cornered. and… the planks of pastry were crisp and very nicely sugar-glazed, the fat lines of creme patisserie most enticing. and while the richness of it was lush on my tongue, and i felt completely full after a mere third of the cake, i was left wanting more. more! more salt! more caramel even. i still have two thirds, just to make sure. but, just, more.
zumbo is a riot of colour at the moment: a rash of new cakes hit the counter in the last few weeks. there’s a fancy piped meringue thing crowned in fat, shiny cherries. there’s a slab of chocolate (and chocolate rice crispies!) beneath a wave of pistachio something. there is a multi-layered pink thing in a glass wearing a jaunty pink macaron beret, another incarnation of the macaron marie (ispahan), which will surely be the next thing i pick. but oh! the pink things to be had!