Thursday, May 29, 2014

Competitions With A Catch - Mamamia's Food Blogger Idol, Opportunity or Exploitation?

I received an email from the folks at Mamamia about a new Food Blogger Idol competition they were running. Instantly, I sensed it was going to be one of those competitions with a catch, like the one I experienced a while back with Travelscene. Anyway, out of interest, I thought I'd go and take a closer look.

So basically the competition involves the following:

Together with our good friends at Rachel’s Gourmet Low Fat Yoghurt we are launching Food Blogger Idol. Sounds kind of exciting huh? That’s because it IS. The winner of Mamamia Food Blogger Idol wins a 3 month contract (one paid and published post per week) as Mamamia’s New Food Blogger.

..To be crowned the dedicated Food Blogger for Mamamia and be read and shared by potential millions, all you need to do is create a unique recipe with a specific ingredient, one that we will share with you below.

...And, apart from the fact that it’s actually pretty easy to enter, we also get to introduce you all to the beautiful and foodie inspired low fat yoghurts from Rachel’s, this will be the key and only mandatory ingredient in the dish you create and write about as your entry.

Email your recipe list, how-to and loving description to
Please accompany your recipe with a minimum of 5 photos (iPhones are fine!) of the creation process
We also need your name (including a ‘public’ alias if you’re the private type) and a head shot to show everyone your pretty face
You don’t have to live in Sydney to enter and won’t be required to come into the office (unless you want to!) if you’re successful
All entries must be received by Monday 2nd June 2014 11.59pm

If you've ever entered any of these competitions, your Spidey senses are probably going off already. This competition isn't about finding a food blogger idol obviously, it's about promoting Rachel's yoghurt. All that is fine. I'm not against promoting things and using competitions to promote something. I think the part that annoys me is that in this case, and other similar competitions where the entrants have to invest quite a bit of work, it may not be known to everyone that your work is no longer your work, regardless of whether you win or not. It would be logical, but incorrect, for most people to assume that the winner's work becomes the property of the competition promoters, but in fact, every entrants work is now no longer their own. So in this case, Mamamia, who I would assume is being paid by Rachel's Yoghurt to help promote them, has full ownership of entrants work, and can use in any which way they want.

If you go and read the full terms and conditions, there's all the stock standard disclaimers that basically they own everything that you submitted. It goes on for pages but the three conditions below give a summary of their rights:

(a) consent to the Promoter and/or Rachel’s making copies of or publishing the whole or any part of their entry/vote and otherwise exploiting the entry/vote and contents of the entry/vote and any rights in relation to the entry/vote, to publicise this competition, Rachel’s products, the Promoter, or for any other purposes;

(b) undertake to the Promoter and Rachel’s that their entry/vote is not, and its use by the Promoter and Rachel’s will not be, in breach of any third party intellectual property rights;

(c) grant the Promoter and Rachel’s a world-wide, royalty free, perpetual, irrevocable, transferrable licence (with a right to sublicense) to use their entry/vote (including by editing it) submitted as part of this competition for any purpose.

This means both Mamamia, and in association Rachel's, can use your photos and recipes for whatever they want. Rachel's Yoghurt may use your recipe for their next product. So in effect you've helped save them heaps of money in research and development and you will in all likelihood get nothing in return, not even a mention as the work is theirs now. Only the five finalists will be featured, with the lure that "to be crowned the dedicated Food Blogger for Mamamia and be read and shared by potential millions", somehow the exposure will help any aspiring food bloggers with dreams of cracking the food industry. The voting process is a popularity contest via social media and where you basically have to tell every single person you know about Mamamia and Rachel's Yoghurt to get a vote. It means you're further helping to promote them for some possible returns if you win. And what do you get if you win, you get to help them write 12 posts, 600-800 words each, at $200 a post. It's pretty bad pay to begin with, and it's not clear what you can write about. They may make you write about things you don't want to. And if you don't want to write what they ask you to, well then Clause 13 states:

13. In the event the final winner named Food Blogger Idol does not fulfill the provided contractual arrangements, the Promoter may pursue the employment of any of the other entrants . Any decision by the Promoter on future blogger employment contacted from entrants of this competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

And the winners obligations run quite far. It's not just the 12 articles you need to write. It also states:

17. The winners must, at the Promoter’s or Rachel’s request, participate in all promotional activity (such as publicity and photography) surrounding the winning of any prize, free of charge, and they consent to the Promoter and Rachel’s using their name and image in promotional material.

So you have to be their show pony at their beckon call. I wonder how far this clause stretches. Would you have to buy a plane ticket interstate to fulfill your obligations?

All in all, is this competition really an opportunity, or more like exploitation? Of course Mamamia will say that all the terms and conditions are there for everyone to read and it's not their problem if entrants don't read it, but they're not going out of their way to make it clear that all entries are their property within the competition description. If they clearly outline the implications and people still choose to enter, that's great. I have no problems with that. But when the competition's darker sides are hidden amongst a tonne of legal jargon, I find it all rather distasteful.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Matcha Chiffon With Matcha Cream and Matcha Ganache - Addictively Good

I love chiffon cakes. They're quite an Asian cake and most people growing up in South East Asia has probably eaten a chiffon cake. My favourite chiffon cake is the Pandan Chiffon that I normally make. Chiffons are mostly left bare and not iced as Asians tend to like less sweet desserts. I'm not Asian in that way as I always put the pandan coconut fudge onto my pandan chiffon. I can now add some more chiffons to my repertoire thanks to Chiffon Queen, aka Agnes. I've had three of her chiffons and they're all super amazing. I've tried a chocolate chiffon with a chocolate ganache glaze, a lime chiffon with lime curd filling and a Matcha Chiffon with with Matcha Cream and Matcha Ganache. They're all so good but I decided to make the matcha chiffon first as I had some matcha powder in the pantry.

For my matcha chiffon, I added some raspberries both for looks and for flavour. I really loved the slight sourness of the raspberries in this cake as it's quite sweet. I reduced the matcha glaze as I didn't want it as sweet and it was still more than enough. The chiffon itself is beautifully light and works so well with the matcha cream. I had been making the chiffons via another method in the past but this method is far quicker and seems to produce a result that is as fluffy. I will be using this method in future and making many more chiffons.

As usual, some tips to help you bake the best cake possible:

* Use a good quality matcha as it will really come through in the cake. The amounts given in the recipe produce that a cake that's medium in matcha flavour. Obviously, adjust the amount according to what flavour profile you want.

* It doesn't really say how much to whisk the egg yolks for but I just used an electric beater to beat it until it became pale and increased in volume.

* In my pandan chiffon recipe I used to have to fold the flour in slowly to not remove the air in the egg whites. But here you add the flour before the egg whites so you don't have to be gentle and can just mix the flour in.

* When beating the egg whites, make sure you beat it until it is really stiff. The stiffer the better as you will get a fluffy cake.

* Definitely do not fill the cake tin more than 3/4 full as it really rises.

* You must let the cake cool upside down in the tin to enable it to stiffen and stay risen.

* DO NOT OIL OR GREASE THE PAN. The chiffon sticks to the pan enabling it to rise.

* I do use a chiffon mould but have made chiffons successfully in regular cake tins.

* The ganache hardens quite quick so only make it once you have assembled your chiffon and are ready to pour the ganache over it.

Matcha Chiffon Cake with Matcha Cream
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes


For the cake
7 eggs, separated (note: if you have large eggs, only use 6)
220g flour
350g caster sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon matcha powder (or more to taste)
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

For the whipped cream filling
200ml thickened cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1 & 1/2 teaspoons matcha powder (or more to taste)

For the ganache
100ml thickened cream
220 white chocolate
2 tablespoons corn syrup (leave out if you don't have any)
2 teaspoons matcha powder (or more to taste)


1. Preheat oven to 160°C and set aside a large 20cm tube cake tin that has a removable base.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

3. Whisk together the matcha powder and water until dissolved, then whisk in the egg yolks, oil, and vinegar.

4. Add to the wet ingredients to the flour and whisk until well combined.

5. In a separate, clean bowl, whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer to stiff peaks.

6. Using a large metal spoon, fold in a spoonful of the egg whites to the cake mixture to lighten it.
Add the rest of the egg whites to the cake mixture and fold in with your metal spoon until just combined.

7. Pour the batter into your cake tin and bang it on your work surface a couple of times to bring any large air bubbles to the surface. (Note: if there is a lot of batter, don't add it all to the tin. You only want to fill it to 3/4 full. If you have extra, put them into cupcake liners and make small cakes. Small cupcake sized ones need to be baked for 15 minutes only.)

8. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

9. Remove from the oven and immediately invert the entire tin and cake upside down until it's cool - you can do this by resting the middle of the tube over a bottle, or (if your cake isn't too tall) by placing it over a high wire rack that will let air circulate underneath.

10. To release the cake, run a thin knife around the edge of the cake and the tin. You will want to serve the cake upside down as it's prettier that way.

11. Make the cream filling by whipping the cream with the icing sugar and matcha powder until thick and stiff.

12. When completely cool, cut cake horizontally into three layers with a serrated knife. Place bottom layer on a serving plate and spread with half of the cream. Place the second layer on top and spread with the remaining cream. Place the last layer on top.

13. Make the ganache by adding all the ingredients into a saucepan and melting on a gentle heat until all the chocolate has melted. Let it cool for a bit (about 10 minutes) before pouring on top of the cake.

French Elegance at Eat Street 2014 - Tickets Out Now

Eat Street is back for 2014. Once again, Redkite is the chosen charity. Redkite provide support for kids with cancer and their families. This year, the them is French Elegance, ooh la la. The Sofitel Melbourne Grand Ballroom will be transformed into a beautiful giant buffet. Thirty of Melbourne's top restaurants will serve a number of dishes and drinks. Having been a few times, I can highly recommend you come along. Your ticket fees are going to a great cause and you'll eat some of the best food in Melbourne as well as having so much fun. I'll be there eating everything so say hi if you see me.

Date: 27 May 2014
Time: 6:00pm
Location: Sofitel Melbourne On Collins
State: VIC
Enquiries:(03) 9653 0000 or email
Cost: $160

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Wicked In Australia - Melbourne Opening Night

I used to think musicals were rather silly, with the actors singing the words they would otherwise say. But nowadays, I'm hooked to musicals. One of the first musicals I ever saw was Wicked The Musical. I somehow heard the soundtrack from the Broadway recording and was totally captured by the story and the amazing singing of Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth. Then, by pure chance, the musical was coming to Melbourne. So I quickly bought a ticket and went to see it. I was completely captivated and went to see it a second time during it's first Melbourne run. Like most people, I then got onto the Internet and watched more videos from various productions around the world. There were some great casts around the world but the Australian cast is right up there in terms of quality.

If you don't know, the story of Wicked proceeds the Wizard of Oz story, both the book and the movie. It explains how Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West) and Glinda (the Good Witch of the North) became who they were. The story gives an insight into how people become good or bad and how perception is not always a reality. It's a really touching story and will leave you totally enthralled due to the writing, acting, singing and dancing. It definitely made me change my mind about the Wicked Witch of the West who I used to hate from the movie.

The production on this show is huge, with massive elaborate sets, lighting and music by a great symphony. I was lucky enough to be invited to the return of Wicked to Melbourne for the opening night show. Jemma Rix reprises her role as Elphaba and Lucy Durack as Glinda. Taking over from Rob Mills (who I saw the last two times) as Fiyero is Steve Danielsen. Reg Livermore is The Wizard in place of Bert Newton. The opening night performance was absolutely on-song and was so amazing. There were no jittery moments or mistakes at all. Jemma's voice is still stunning and she hits the spine tingling high notes during Defying Gravity and No Good Deeds that have the crowd cheering. Yes, we cheered like a football match. Lucy Durack also hit some brilliant falsetto high notes during her songs and was so funny. I liked Steve Danielsen way more as Fiyero as he has a better voice than Rob Mills and just encapsulated the character better.

The show has so many highlights and you'll be laughing, crying and cheering when different things happen. I was also singing along as I know all the songs so well. Despite knowing the story so well and the songs, it was still so enjoying. The singing was great, but the acting was so believable. Even the different pronunciations and emphasis on different words really made helped to draw out the drama.

The Melbourne run of Wicked only goes until the end of June, so I implore you to quickly book some tickets and go along and see it. It's a world class production and you will kick yourself for missing it. It's such a wonderful experience and I defy you to not have fun at it.
Photo credits: Jess Busby

I attended the opening night performance courtesy of an invite from ACMN.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Giveaway - 3 x Double Passes to Melbourne Good Food and Wine Show 2014

There's quite a lot of food events around the year, and I like to go to them all if I can. Once again, the Good Food and Wine Show is nearly upon us. I think I've been to all of the Good Food and Wine Shows that have ever occurred in Melbourne. This year won't be an exception and I'll be going. I'd like to invite some of you to come along and enjoy the show as well as I have 3 Double Passes to give away to gain entry to the show. You too can stuff your face with every free sample you can get your hands on, buy lots of great food, attend masterclasses and even spot some food celebrities.

What: Good Food and Wine Show
Where: Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre South Wharf
When: May 30 - June 1
How Much: $34 for an adult ticket


3 x Double Passes to the Melbourne Good Food and Wine Show 2014


The randomly drawn winners are Jackie, Dean Brandt and Kaz Reimann. Congratulations to you three and thank you everyone else for entering.

Update: As I haven't been able to reach Kaz Reimann, I've redrawn the last prize and Leelee is the winner.
Just leave a comment. You can write about anything.

Make sure there is a way for me to contact you. If I can't get in contact with you within 2 days, I will redraw the prize.

Conditions of Entry
- Anyone can enter. One entry per person. You can transfer the prize to friends or family.
- Competition closes May 11th 7pm AEST. The winner will be announced on this same post.
- The winners will be randomly drawn.
- I will contact the winners directly to get your address to send the tickets.