Friday, March 30, 2012

best macaron in canberra


I finally found a place in Canberra with great macarons - on the same par as the ones you'd get in Sydney or overseas. Croissant D'or in Civic is an inconscipuous french patisserie at the bus depot. They have a decent range of brightly coloured macarons - chocolate, rose or strawberry, pistachio among many others. I couldn't go past the blueberry macarons. They were sitting on the top shelf and called my name.
The macaron was delicious - soft, chewy and bursted with the flavour of blueberries. I loved the colour of this sweet treat - a sort of purpleness which i wish was embedded in everyday life.

Crossaint D'or
33 East Row

Sunday, March 18, 2012

zucchini, feta and dill 'pie'

A vegetarian delight - thank you to Belinda Jeffrey for the recipe for this pie/slice. The texture was like a quiche, probably due to the high number of eggs (5). It is quite rich, filling and packed with zucchini. Small servings at room temperature makes it the perfect light summer lunch and when warmed up, its a satisfying winter meal.

Due to my high cholesterol and conscious stomach, I used less feta and Parmesan than noted in the recipe and still tasty. I used one bunch of dill (all of one packet from Woolies) and it was a tad overpowering - the basil in the recipe would probably have been good. Would definitely do this again!
See Belinda Jeffrey's website for the recipe.

Monday, March 12, 2012

triple apple thai salad

A delicious and funky salad, particularly good for those who have a sweet tooth and don't mind a bit of chilli. The base ingredient is chinese cabbage (must be my favourite asian vegetable). It is dazzled with three sources of apples - apple pieces (granny smith and any red apple) and apple cider vinegar. Some people think incorporating apples in salads is a bit odd, but it's actually makes the salad refreshing and light.

Chicken was added to this meal, with a bit of sweet paprika - and it was learnt that paprika probably doesn't complement thai foods very well. Anyway, add a bit of extra protein with roasted cashew nuts. The salad was given extra freshness with mint.

See the full recipe here. The webpage recommends that tofu should be added... while the salad has a lot going on, tofu could be added for extra softness.

Eatwell vege patties

These are among my favourite supermarket vege patties as yet. These ones are nice because they are textured with (seemingly) real carrot, sunflower seeds etc and don't have any of that processed unknown mush you would get in a lot of mock meat. They taste as good as any prepackaged vege patties could taste, with a prominent spice/lentil/chickpea flavour with the freshness of carrots.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Erindale Vietnamese Restaurant (Wanniassa)

On Riot Act, a person highly praised the Erindale Vietnamese Restaurant - key highlights included the meat which was soft and cooked to perfection, the sauce in the dishes and the price. I would agree with this mostly but the downfall was the combination of flavours in my dish.
I ordered lemongrass chicken and my friend ordered satay chicken or curry of some sort. This lemongrass chicken is vastly different from the type you'd get at Thai restaurants - there was heaps of sauce (as opposed to being pan-fried in spices) and the lemongrass was quite mild. It reminded me of Chinese chefs who would try to cook other type of Asian cuisines.

There wasn't really a balance of flavours or ingredients in the dish. There were too many chopped onions, the lemongrass was only noticeable when you came across a small chunk of it and the dish was overpowered with some unusual black/brown sauce (such as oyster sauce). It was definitely cheap, but not my favourite Vietnamese restaurant in Canberra.

Erindale Vietnamese Restaurant
Unit 6/38 Gartside Street
Wanniassa, Canberra

eggplant parmigiana

I got a recipe for an easy eggplant parmigiana from some free cookbook (probably Woolies/Coles) and it seemed ideal the day I was craving meat (parmigiana reminds you of meat, yes?).
4 medium sized eggplants
olive oil
750mL jar of good quality pasta sauce (I used passata sauce)
250g mozzarella, sliced
100g grated parmesan
1 tsp dried oregano

1. Preheat oven to 180 C
2. Trim the top of eggplants and slice 1/2cm thick length ways.
3. In a fry pan, fry eggplant in olive oil in batches til golden brown on both sides
4. In a 30cm x 20cm baking dish, line the bottom with some pasta sauce, some eggplant.
5. Top dish with some mozzarella, parmesan and oregano. Repeat layer again
6. Bake for 25 to 30 mins.

  • I sprinkled salt on the eggplant beforehand as this usually removes the bitterness of the vegetable. But I left it like this overnight - huge mistake as the saltiness was impossible to remove.
  • I found the dish to be a bit boring as eggplant was the base ingredient so the flavours/texture got a bit repetitive
  • The dish should probably be eaten with carbs such as rice or other vegetables should be incorporated into the dish :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

the leaf: thai restaurant

When I was in Sydney, my friend and I planned to meet up - coincidentally on the evening of the Mardi Gras near Oxford St. This was a big mistake considering we were intending to have a quiet night and a catch up chat. So we escaped to Sydney's Eastern Suburbs to a quirky but a bit family-orientated Thai restaurant-bar-green eatery.

On the outside, the place looked like a chique bar with its exposed bricks, metal beams on the ceiling and rustic naked chandeliers. One wall was covered in leaves and vines, creating a sort of organic naturalness which seemed to be a play-on the menu's attempt to include healthy dishes.
I can't exactly remember what we ordered as the focus was probably more on catching up rather than the food. However, I have absolutely no complaints. One dish was a stir fry of vegetables including eggplant, tofu etc. The other dish was a mild curry (still too hot for our liking), with chicken and assorted veges. Both dishes were nice, with a delicate balance combination of sweet, savoury and spices. We paid around $30 for all of that and had left overs :).

The restaurant also had brown rice, so I'd give them brownie points for this. I always respect an eatery which has wholesome options.

The Leaf: Thai Restaurant (previously Thai-Riffic was in the same location)
511 Old South Rd
Rose Bay, Sydney

Nick's Bar and Grill: King Street Wharf

I went to Sydney for work late last week and stayed in a hotel on King Street Wharf. The hotel was better than anything I'd be willing to pay for out of my own pocket. It was surprisingly quiet as double windows blocked out the hustle and bustle of typical Sydney traffic. I felt that a one bedroom apartment was too much space for one person. Nevertheless, the views of the wharf and the city were pretty decent/good.
For a work dinner, we went to Nick's Bar and Grill. It was a rainy Thursday evening and a bit chilly. Nevertheless, the atmosphere was still classy (or upmarket) and sophisticated. For the entree, I had seared scallops with citrus and caramel sauce. The scallops were plump, extremely fresh and sweet. Definitely amongst the highest quality scallops I've ever had. The sweet sauce complemented the dish well as it brought out the natural sweetness of the scallops and the citrus added a 'bite' to the food.

For the main, I got the whole baby barramundi - offshore fish grilled and finished in the oven. The barra was cooked to perfection as the meat fell off the spine and wasn't dry at all. Others at the table thought a whole fish would be a clumsy choice and I must admit - I found myself constantly spitting out baby bones. But for what it was, the restaurant did well. My only complaint would be that the guts weren't cleaned out to perfection - this affected the end result as there was a very small section of bitterness in the fish's stomach near the guts.

Dessert is my favourite, if not second favourite, meal of the day. I got the baklava - a traditional Greek dessert with pistachio icecream. The icecream was ever so creamy and tasted like real pistachios. This accompanient was necessary as the baklava was probably the sweetest thing I've ever eaten. I'm a huge fan of baklava, but this one was way too sweet for me. One of my colleagues advised me that 'traditional' baklava is sickly sweet and usually accompanied by bitter Greek/Turkish coffee. After eating this, I wasn't surprised. The baklava was so sweet that I couldn't finish it - def needs to be shared between two people.

Several of my colleagues got the Mango and Summer Berry Fool, with fresh mango, mixed berries, chantilly cream and meringue  - it looked amazing and many of my colleagues praised the dish for having many different components but criticised it for having too much chantilly cream.

Overall, I'm glad I had the opportunity to dine here as I've heard much about this restaurant and walked past it a million times thinking that it was way out of my budget. A great restaurant but probably not distinct or quirky enough to be called one of my favourite fine dining restaurants in Sydney.
Nick's Bar and Grill
The Promenade, King Street Wharf

Sunday, March 4, 2012

fruity frappe and refreshing tea

I was thoroughly impressed by the food/drinks at the Kawa Cafe in Surry Hills last time so I visited the place again - this might become one of my 'must eats' when I visit Sydney.

This time around, I got the raspberry, mango and vanilla bean syrup frappe. On my first sip, I immediately thought that the cafe's famous poached pear frappe was better - pears have a mild taste so the vanilla bean taste comes through better. Nevertheless, the raspberry/mango frappe was still enjoyable. It was fresh and used real (prob frozen) fruit. It wasn't too sweet and was a great thirst quencher on this humid day. The raspberry was more evident than the mango (to my dismay) and this was also evident in the colour of the cool drink.

My friend got the Moroccan mint tea - it smelt very refreshing!
Kawa Cafe
348 Crown Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010

govinda's: love this place

Govinda's is one of my favourite places to eat/be in Sydney - the concept is unique, innovative and the food is tasty and vegetarian. Govinda's has yoga etc classes, a buffet restaurant and a mini movie theatre - I frequently do the latter two.

The buffet restaurant has a range of delicious food such as cauliflower deep fried in chickpea flour, vegetarian kofta balls, curry, a range of seeds and condiments, dahl soup, cous cous, salads. I LOVE their kofta balls and have extensively tried to find a good recipe for them - no luck yet. The buffet is heaven for me as I don't have to feel a guilty conscience about over-consuming meat and the food seems to be low in cholesterol. The atmosphere of the restaurant is casual, bohemian and gypsy-like. The waiting staff are wearing clothes which you'd get from from the 'Tree of Life' and are genuine caring/helpful souls.
I often take advantage of Govinda's movie/dinner deal where I'd eat at the buffet and watch a movie upstairs for $30. Movies range from blockbuster to indie. The selling point is the setting of the movie theatre - rather than sitting in upright and somewhat stiff theatre chairs, you would lie down on reclining sofa-like seats and surround yourself in cushions. It could be a bit odd because you could be lying next to an absolute stranger and surrounded by a dozen people doing the same thing. But from experience, everyone has been easy-going, friendly and physically keep to themselves (unless you'd want otherwise?!)

Govinda's and Movie Room
112 Darlinghurst Road
Darlinghurst, Sydney

Saturday, March 3, 2012

toscani's: one of many frequent visits

Parramatta - a unique suburb in Sydney which contains a massive Westfield and Westie bogans. People in the shopping centre are often found wearing large tracksuit pants or tight arse-hugging clothes. The girls are often glamorous with a lot of mascara and the guys have bling, a cool walk and often have with a slightly open mouth so they can quickly but cooly say 'hey man'.

A friend and I have been to Toscani's, an Italian/Mediterrenean cafe restaurant, on countless times. It's a popular and large eatery which is located at the bus depot, making it a perfect place for people watching.

We often don't have to negotiate where we want to eat but one of us will say: Should we do the usual? Similarly, the dishes we get don't vary - a salad or wrap accompanied with some sort of alcoholic beverage. Without fail, the meals were satisfying and large. I got the morrocan chicken salad (dressing on the side because I was trying to detox). The dressing is consistently nice - tasty but I suspect it was pre-packaged and a generic dressing for all Toscani's restaurants. The salad had adequate amounts of avocado and chicken and the salad base was fresh. My friend got the chicken caeser salad - easy and no complaints. This time around, we shared the arancini balls - yum. Perfect combination of sticky risotto and a crunchy exterior. Just the small amount of carbs I needed.

caffe bom: a concept venue

A thing that I love about Sydney are their 'concept' venues - cafes, bars, shops etc. Caffe Bom in Eastwood is one of these. The whole place was a bit odd - a cafe heavily decorated with French/European-inspired chairs, tables, mirrors and even domestic items you could purchase. It transported me back to kitsch souvenir shops overseas which sold piles of laced table clothes (Poland) and flowery Cath Kidson bags (England).

The walls were covered in things such as ornate French-inspired mirrors and signs which say something along the lines of 'welcome home'. Next to us, there was a whole stand with handled-bowls. I saw these bowls all around Europe when I was travelling and they were often used for Spanish omelettes, soups etc. The cafe was a bit hilarious and constructed as it didn't seem natural to place plastic-covered lamps, seat cushions and baking dishes on display tables. It seemed a bit exhibitionist, and made the cafe look a bit like a shop catered for the over-enthusiastic housewife. As bitchy or prudish I may sound, I still love such concept venues.
I got a scoop of blueberry and lemon ice cream. It didn't skimp on taste and it was a great dessert/reward/pick-me-up late at night. It was served in a small silver/gold-lined bowl and had a prettiness which suited the rest of the cafe. My friend got a hot chocolate and she seemed to enjoy it. I think I was more interested in the conversation, atmosphere and decor rather than the food haha.

Caffe Bom
15 Railway Parade
Eastwood, Sydney

Friday, March 2, 2012

orient hotel: beer garden

I have a strange love for beer gardens - they are outdoors, good places for people watching yet are away from everything, casual and have bubbly alcohol-fueled people. My good friend and I had a lot to catch up on after she came back from overseas and The Rocks market was filled with tourists, consumerism and a lack of seats. The Orient Hotel beer garden was ideal for a relaxed sit down meal and a chat.

We got a vegetarian wrap (or was it a tandoori chicken wrap?!). Either way, it was a decent cafe-style lunch. Nothing flash, but the outdoors setting trumped all.

an amazing breakfast

Last year, I met up with my Texan friend who was visiting Sydney. He was staying at the Park Royal Hotel in Darling Harbour and had a spare pass to the hotel's buffet breakfast. After hanging out with me for a few days, he quickly learnt that I love food so kindly invited me to a free buffet breakfast - it was close to a dream!

Being a health freak, I am cautious and selective of my food. High cholesterol runs in my family so I need to avoid egg yolks, fried stuff, full cream milk and saturated fat (anything the average person would enjoy eating). But this was all catered for at the hotel.

There was a stand-in chef who made and cooked omelettes with any of nine fillings of your choice. I got an egg white omelette with the works. In addition, I got bircher muesli, a fruit juicer machine and fresh fruit. Healthy delicious galore.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...