28.12.09

Cherried Lemon Panna Cotta

I was waiting for so long to buy a mould for making panna cotta and finally got four during my Melbourne Trip early December. Got it at Essential Ingredient (Albury) and for some reason it's cheaper than the one Canberra (Manuka) and i also bought some nozzles - the ones that are wide enough to make macarons! *YEY, but haven't made them yet because 1) trying to overcome the fear of failure 2) busy during this Christmas period. Anyways, this post is not about macarons but about Panna cotta and as i was saying...I finally attempted to make some. I managed to buy some big and juicy cherries in Supabarn for only $6.99/kg and that was awesome since our short trip to pick cherries at Young was cancelled due to the extreme heat that was affecting the cherry trees.
Initially i wanted to make a cherry flavoured panna cotta, then i decided to make a lemon flavoured panna cotta that had a jelly layer on top filled with cherry pieces - because that's pretty. I've utilized this recipe as a reference and adapted from it. I only put a pretty cherry as a decoration because i was too lazy to make a coulis =P
Here is how it turned out:

My Cherried Lemon Panna Cotta, a perfect dessert for summer.

I think it's a nice dessert for this coming summer...yum!

20.12.09

La Scala - Christmas Dinner for work

This year's work Christmas Dinner was held at La Scala - an Italian restaurant located just next to Milk & Honey in Garema Place. I always see it when i pass the alley of cafes or to go Milk & Honey but in all these years, i've never stepped in La Scala. I guess that's because the restaurant looks rather dark from the outside and some graffiti on the restaurant sign just makes it less appealing. However, I have to say that it's a different story when you go inside, the first thing you see is an artistic and beautiful mask in a shape of a violin...there are other masks around the restaurant too. Tables and chairs are very simple and of dark brown colour which adds that extra Italian atmosphere to the restaurant.

We all started out with some entrees and i shared mine with Mol and Belz. We ordered Insalata di Mescardini Grigliati (tender baby octopus marinated in olive oil, lemon juice and a selection of Italian vinegars and herbs; served grilled on a cos lettuce bed and topped with chilli lime mayonnaise), Cape Sante alla Siciliana (seared scallops served on a bed of mesculin lettuce with olives, capers, anchovies and fresh Roma tomatoes; drizzled with oilve oil and a balsamic vinegar reduction) and the last one was Gamberi alla Lidia (king prawns wrapped in bacon and finished with garlic, wine, cream and a pinch of chilli; served with a timbal of saffron rice). I liked the scallops as they were of decent size and quite juicy. It was just a bit undercooked and probably needed that golden searing to make it taste nicer. The prawns and the saffron rice were lovely and i think that it's the richest entree i've ever had; the baby octopus were good but i think there was too much mayonnaise on them.
We moved to the Mains and i ordered a duck breast dish, it was duck breast laid on a bed of pumpkin mash finished with a sauce whose name i have forgotten. It said on the menu that the duck was going to be served medium rare but the one that i got was rather dry. I think the mash went well with the duck but it would have been better if there was less of it. Dishes that were ordered were: Filleto Di Manzo ai Ferri - beef fillet with the choice of mushroom, bacon and port sauce, Tortelloni Genovese (saffron and poppy seed tortelloni filled with sun dried tomato and ricotta, cooked with sundried tomato, persto, cream and brandy) and Scaloppine La Scala (veal).
To finish off the night we couldn't have missed out on the desserts!!! Knowing the teeny size of my dessert compartment, i decided to share the Strawberry Princess dessert with Mol! It was a beautiful and light dessert, definately suitable for summer and for people who just love a light dessert after the meal. It had layers of filo pastry filled with fresh (and awesome) strawberries, frangelico cream and strawberry jam topped with crushed hazelnuts! If you are a CHOCOLATE fan No.1, you should totally go for the Chocogasm! If you just want to try a different dessert, then maybe a Dark Knight (panna cotta) will be a nice option.

Insalata di Mescardini Grigliati

Gamberi alla Lidia

Cape Sante alla Siciliana

Forgot to mention about the Coffin Bay Pacific Oysters, they were not bad

Filleto di Manzo ai Ferri

My duck breast dish =P

The Dark Knight

Strawberry Princess Dessert

Chocogasm


La Scala on Urbanspoon

18.12.09

Jazz Apple Cafe - another cupcake to my 'tried' list

This time i decided to try another flavour - The Triple Chocolate Mud Cupcake - somehow i had a slight suspicion that the cupcake size grew smaller and yet the price remained unchanged. Well, i didn't have the Moist Vanilla Cupcake next to me to compare if the size really did go smaller or not. I chose this flavour because it seems to be an all-time favorite and seriously, who doesn't like chocolate? (well, i know my bro doesn't, but he is a REALLY RARE human being) I would say that nothing really stood out from the cupcake, it was the expected - the cupcake base was spongy and the icing was soft and tasty. I guess i shouldn't be trying the 'normal' flavours but the more 'interesting' ones. Will keep you guys updated when i try more flavours...i still haven't had the chance to try the 'Key Lime & Coconout Cupcake'! *sad

Triple Chocolate Mud Cupcake

13.12.09

Calibre Cafe & Bar

I never really walked into Calibre Cafe & Bar (Westfield Woden, near Hoyts) though i always pass by it whenever i go to Woden Westfield. So to cross it out from my enormous list of 'restaurants that i have been to in Canberra', i had to give it a try. Calibre is where the former Lisboa restaurant (for portuguese food) used to be but for some reason, they still make Portuguese Chicken. I ordered the Grain Fed Sirloin Steak Sandwich ($16.90) and tried a bit of the Beef Thai Salad ($16) and shared the Tapas Platter ($21.50) - which consisted of flame grilled baby octopus, chorizo sausage, salt & pepper squid, piri chicken, citrus & cracked pepper prawns & tomato chilli jam served with fresh Turkish bread. I just have to say how much i liked the chilli jam...we finished it before finishing the other components in that platter. My sandwich steak was ok and the only thing that i didn't like about it was the slices of TASTY cheese in it (yes, TASTY CHEESE!), its flavour is just too strong for the whole sandwich. The Thai Salad was quite refreshing, the beef wasn't overcooked and the homemade Nam Jim sauce complemented well with the fresh leaves and vegetables. 
Overall the meal was nice especially because with the entertainment card, you get one free main when you order a main. *happy


One of the entrance to the restaurant, i just love the humoungous red light tubes attached to the ceiling. They add a modern touch to the restaurant


Grain Fed Sirloin Steak Sandwich, $16.90


Beef Thai Salad, $16


Tapas Platter, $21.50 - CHILLI JAM!!!

9.12.09

Bateman's Bay - The Boatshed

Went there on the last day of M&M Retreat for lunch. It's a humble looking place with a balcony (at the back of the restaurant) filled with tables and chairs overlooking the waters - perfect for enjoying your lunch! I am not too fond of Fish & Chips because i don't like my fish fried (at all), i prefer it to be grilled or steamed. Well...unfortunately they only make the fried version, but the good thing is that you can choose what kind of fish fillet you want. I tried the Grenadier and the Albacore fish fillets ($8/$12 with chips & salad), and my favorite was the Albacore! It's softer and not too flaky. I also tried some oysters ($15/dozen) and they were alright.
Overall, lunch was quite nice and relaxing...if only they had the grilled option...





Fish & Chips & Salad ($12)


Dozen Oysters ($15)

3.12.09

A visit from Korea

I was really delighted when i received an e-mail from a Korean friend saying that she was coming back to Canberra for a visit. It's rather odd because people don't usually come Canberra, i mean it's not the BEST place to visit in Australia especially if you have been here before and seen all the touristic attractions around (i.e. the Old and New Parliament House). We have no beautiful beaches, our shopping centres are nothing compared to the ones in Sydney or Mlebourne and there just isn't a night life...anyways, she told me later that she came back to visit a few friends and just relax in a humble and quiet town like Canberra.
I was only able to meet up with her for dinner, but i think we made the most out of it because we have lotsa fun talking, catching up and of course filling our tummies with loads of food! I was so full that i didn't even have breakfast on the following day.
First stop she chose was Milk & Honey (again, i know) because she really liked the decor and the comfortable chairs and obviously the menu sorta attracted her too. I've been there for lunch and dessert but never for dinner. We arrived early since she was really hungry, and we ordered a Lightly Fried Calamari On Mixed Leaves With Lemon And Garlic Aioli and a special of the day which was: Kangaroo Steak With A Seasoned Beetroot On A Sweet Potato Puree And Peas. The calamari was alright and the portion was quite generous, but i couldn't finish it because the batter was too heavy for me. The kangaroo was cooked to medium rare and it was quite nice, i liked the beetroot that came with it as it complimented the meat very well. The only disappointment was probably the peas, i think that they could have thought of something more original than just plating boring peas around the dish.


Kangaroo Steak with seasoned beetroot on a sweet potato mash & peas


Lightly fried calamari on mixed leaves with lemon and garlic aioli

After the meal, we decided to go for some desserts! Even though we were full, somehow we still managed to slot in some desserts. Don't people say that  in a girl's stomach there is always an compartment that is reserved only for desserts? Yeah, there is. Trust me. We decided to go to Koko Black (Bunda Street, Canberra Centre) because this friend of mine, loves chocolate.
Koko Black has one of the nicest decor, i reckon. I like how the Canberra Salon has glass windows that allow you to seat around and look at how the staff makes the truffles and pralines sold at the salon. However, we decided to seat outside so that my friend could 'enjoy the fresh air from Australia' - as she said it. We decided to share a Belgian Spoil - consisted of a chocolate cake, two Belgian chocolates (Classic Belgian Truffle & Sienna Strawberry), chocolate mousse, shortbread & chocolate ice-cream. The dish was very pretty and mouth-watering but having it just after the dinner at M&H was a killer. It's such a unfortunate thing to realise that my dessert compartment is so small...*sobs. The good thing is that my Korean friend liked it and we almost finished it (didn't really waste anything), good job!


Belgian Spoil


Playing with the Sienna Strawberry Praline

2.12.09

Sydney Trip - long long time ago (Part I)

I know i have been bad and i haven't been updating but here u go...an update from my Sydney trip in November.
Fortunately i managed to join the last event of Good Food October - Sydney Food & Wine Fair 2009, it was a charity event for AIDS. It was quite a beautiful day and with so many food booths around, you couldn't be happier. There were a lot of free stuff too...like Mount Franklin sparkling water, Ferrero Rondnoir (we got 8 of them!), Ben & Jerry's ice cream, bread!
For me the highlight was the entree from The Restaurant at 3 Weeds - Seared Scallops with morcilla, chorizo, truffled white bean puree with baby coriander! The flavours were well balanced and the scallop was just wonderful - very succulent and was cooked just right! Yum...i wanted more...




Next dish was a Noodle Salad with Peanuts, Bean Sprouts, Thai basil & Chilli Jam from Longrain. The ingredients were fresh but it was a bit too sour to my liking that i didn't end up finishing it.


To end our visit, we got 2 tarts from Bourke St. Bakery a food booth whose name i have forgotten!!! (i should have written down). One was chocolate and the other one was almond and pear tart! I liked the pear and almond tart better, even though i was the one who ordered the chocolate one.


18.11.09

Wagamama - Canberra

Despite hearing about how bad the food in Wagamama (Canberra Centre, 125 Bundah St) is, i still ended up there for lunch during a work training session. I must say that the decor is quite modern, very neat and clean (which i like). The staff was overly friendly or just extremely motivated to work because the waitress that served us, literally sat beside us while taking our order - not to mention the endless smile on her face. I ordered the Teriyaki Salmon ($22.20) and an 'Apple, Mint & Lime' juice ($4.70). The juice was a bit weird because it had this thick layer of lime foam at the top with a hint of mint but i have to say that it was quite refreshing for a hot day! The salmon was cooked nicely and i liked the crispy nori on top of it. However, the rice was a bit too wet and the sauce was a bit overpowering for the salmon. It was a really relaxed lunch and the overall experience was pleasant.



Sorry for the blurry photos, they were taken with my humble mobile phone!


14.11.09

Pão de Queijo - Brazilian Cheese Puffs

Recently, I've been craving so much for Brazilian food. I guess it was ever since i had the priviledge to eat feijoada (Brazilian black bean stew) at one of the Brazilian restaurants in Sydney: Favela. It was so good and quite authentic and now it makes me miss Brazilian food even more...every single bit of it - from main dishes to snacks! Been thinking of going back to my roots and start making some Brazilian dishes...soh pra matar a saudade! At first, i was determined to make feijoada, but gave up on the idea because i found out that it isn't easy to get the ingredients here, at least not in Canberra. Thus i decided to make something easy and that brings back good memories of my childhood: Pao de queijo! I still remember the days in middle school when i would line up in canteen queues just to get a hot and deliciously soft pao de queijo during recess. Awww.

So here is the recipe:
- 300ml of milk
- 125g of unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tbsp of salt
- 450g of tapioca starch
- 2 large eggs or 3 small eggs
- 150g of parmesan cheese (the ones that you sprinkle on top of your pasta)

Method:
1) Bring the milk, melted unsalted butter and the salt to boil
2) Remove the pot from the fire and add the tapioca starch in portions, mixing with a wooden spoon after each addition. It will eventually form something that look like a 'semi-dough'
3) Leave it to cool
4) Add one egg at a time and a portion of the parmesan cheese to the 'semi-dough' and knead it. Repeat the process until you get a smooth dough (something that resembles to a bread dough)
5) Make small/medium balls with the dough
6) Pre-heat oven to 180C and bake the cheese balls for around 20 minutes or until they are slightly brown on the top.
Enjoy!



8.11.09

A 'hello'!

Been wanting to blog so badly but due to the Canon competition, i've been negleting my lil' beloved blog and focusing on taking photos for the competition. Technically, i've submitted 4 photos but for some strange reason, only 3 photos show up in the Canon website. Weird.
Well...i hope that a photo of Snowie will keep you all happy for now =)



See you soon =)

29.10.09

Jazz Apple Cafe & Cupcake Emporium

Boasting an amazing range of 30+ different flavours (selling 9 different flavours every week, $4 each), Jazz Apple Cafe (222 City Walk, City) seems to be the latest most talked about thing in Canberra, even though it has only been in business for around 7 weeks. Located just a few steps from my work place, i clearly had to go and check it out. You can't miss JAC, because it has a big sign written 'Best Cupcakes' right in front of it! I wonder...best cupcakes in Canberra? NSW? Australia? Well, it doesn't matter...i'm happy if it's just The Best Cupcakes in Canberra since we never actually had a proper place that sold cupcakes. As i walk in, my attention is immediately drawn towards the multitude of pretty, colourful and scrumptious cupcakes all awaiting in line to be readily devoured (by me). To my amazement, i managed to suppress the inner me (who desperately wanted to buy 9 different flavours of cupcakes) and ended up buying one...yes, O-N-E cupcake! It was hard to make a decision because i wanted to try everything but mainly the Triple Chocolate Mud, Strawberry & White Chocolate, Moist Vanilla, Lemon & Poppyseed! I ended up choosing the Moist Vanilla as i remember that it was quoted in the Canberra 'Food & Wine' Magazine as one of the favourite picks (including Triple Chocolate Mud and Jersey Caramel Mud). Moist Vanilla is a pretty cupcake with a very moist vanilla base topped with a lilac coloured butter cream icing and finished with a cute violet flower on top.
Taste-wise? Very nice and moist vanilla base and the icing was fluffy and soft...good balance of sweetness too! Definately coming back for more since there are so many flavours that i have yet to try! *Eargely awaiting for the Key Lime & Cococut cupcake =9


Moist Vanilla Cupcake, $4 (i ruined a bit of the icing, sorry cupcake!)

28.10.09

The Flute Bakery

In Fyshwick (8 Barrier Street), a little gem you find. It's odd to find it in such a location because everything else you see in Fyshwick is factory outlets, motorcars repair centres, furniture shops and warehouses enfin, the last place you'd expect to find a nice bakery as such. The first thing you'll see is a big board with the bakery's logo and it's opening times...and guess what? It's only opens from Monday to Friday (8am - 3pm).
Anyways, there i was with my camera and ready for some food snapping! It is a pretty small bakery with some French posters on the walls. To your right is a few simple tables and chairs, on your left is where the bread and artisan cakes are and right in front of you is where the oh-so-good pies and quiches are.
Since i hadn't had lunch, i wanted some savory food before devouring all the delicious cakes in the cake display (not that i managed to...). I tried the Beef Pie and the Lamb Curry Pie ($4 each). Honestly, the pies are simply awesome! A-W-E-S-O-M-E. The beef pie had a lovely oozing sauce which didn't leave any after-taste and the meat was chunky and soft. I will have to admit that the Lamb Curry Pie was really good and this is coming from a person that doesn't like lamb (AT ALL). If this was the first time I had ever tasted lamb, perhaps i woudn't be so critical and against it afterall. OK...i'll make an exception for this Lamb Curry Pie then.
Now comes my favorite part...the cakes ($5.50 each). Unfortunately for the first one that i tried, didn't have a name next to it so until my next visit, this cake shall remain without a name. It was a 2-layered mousse (the first layer was a hazelnut chocolate mousse and the second layer was a white chocolate mousse) set on top of a chocolate wafer crunch with a 'river' of chocolate running on top of the cake and decorated with some caramel crunch.
After that, i was so full that i couldn't fit another cake (as much as i wanted to), thus PLAN B: Takeaway! I took away 2 cakes: the 'Passionfruit Mousse & Pistachio Cake' and the 'Raspberry Tart with Vanilla Bean Custard'. The uniqueness of the pistachio cake was the little chocolate case filled with strawberry jam but what i really liked about the cake was the passionfruit mouse. It was light, aromatic and yummy-ly (weird invented word) soft. I quite enjoyed the combination of fresh rasberries with the vanilla bean custard, they blended well with the custard offsetting some of its sweetness.


Beef/Lamb Curry Pie ($4)
Hazelnut Mousse Cake (Temporary Name)
Passionfruit Mousse & Pistachio Cake
Rasberry Tart with Vanilla Bean Custard

The Flute Bakery on Urbanspoon

19.10.09

Tien Vietnamese Restaurant

Ten days with no update...oops! Was a bit busy for the past few days...but what matters now is that i'm blogging again.
I went to a newly opened Vietnamese Restaurant last week called Tien Vietnamese Restaurant (27 Woolley St, Dickson) and because it was a totally unexpected visit, i didn't have my beloved camera...only an in-built camera in my Sony Ericsson mobile phone.
At a first glance, the restaurant has a modern design with very simple and clean tables and chairs (a la IKEA Style, it seems). The staff was polite and friendly with a rather fast service. This place is a bit more expensive in comparison to other Vietnamese restaurants in Canberra, but the serving size is definately very generous. To be honest, i couldn't even finish my dish. 
I ordered a Special Broken Rice and MP ordered a Prawn Laksa. I would say that there is definately room for improvement for both dishes; with the Broken Rice, there is a lack of authenticity in the taste for most of the components but in terms of presentation, the colours mix and match well creating a very colourful and beautiful dish.

The ceiling
Prawn Laksa
Special Broken Rice

9.10.09

Blakstone Restaurant & Bar

UPDATE: Restaurant has closed down
Pesto Pizza on Foodista
It was a Wednesday. Cold and windy in the middle of spring...that's Canberra for you. For the most bizarre factors, you can experience four seasons in one day.You can have destructive hails in April, snow in November...but never a hot day in the middle of winter. Anyways, if it wasn't for the free movie and Gummy's enthusiasm i would have probably stayed home drinking tea, fb-ing, msn-ing, etc...
The movie was at Manuka's Greater Union ('An Education'), so we decided to meet up early and walk around Manuka (since G has never been there before). We went into 'The Wine and Cheese Providore' and guess what i saw immediately? Snow Bear biscuits (from UK)! I regret not buying them, but now i know where to get them. This place is packed with gourmet goodies, a big variety of cheese, freshly baked bread and it has a small cafe inside as well. I would describe the place as being a gourmet shop with a small cafe corner...if that makes sense. Must try next time!
We kept on walking around and around and we finally decided to sit down and have a cup of hot drinks in Blakstone Restaurant & Bar. 1) It was too cold to keep on walking 2) our eyes were caught in a sign saying 'Wednesday Special - 2 for 1 pizza $19.95'
Blakstone has a sophisticated and pleasant decor with black, white and red as their theme colours. The staff is very friendly and nice! *thumbs up


To start with, we ordered some hot drinks since the kitchen wasn't opened yet. To our surprise, the hot chocolate drinks came with pistachio & cherry nougat as an accompliment. Wonder why...maybe they felt bad for not having marshmallows...since G requested some.

Hot Chocolate $4.00

After the drinks, we ordered the pizzas (thin crust)! I got the Pesto pizza and G got the Chorizo one, i quite liked the roasted butternut pumpkin on my pizza! Chorizo pizza was nice too, sadly the amount of chorizo wasn't a lot but it was compensated by the prawns!

Pesto Pizza - Roasted butternut pumpkin with baby spinach, cashews & basil pesto

Chorizo Pizza - Spicy chorizo sausage w’ prawns, caramelised onion & watercress salad

I'm glad for how the day had turned out, despite the cold weather! It was totally worth dragging myself out of bed =)

7.10.09

My photo was featured in refrigeratorsoup.com

Just excited when i saw my photo featured in Refrigerator Soup! They featured the photo from my 'Sydney Trip - Day 2' post - the 'Old Time Chocolate Mousse'. This website basically publishes the top 40 food photos submitted for the day! Twenty photos are featured in the morning and the other half is featured at night!


I think it's a bit small...but i've circled my blog =)


This is the photo that was featured at refrigeratorsoup.com

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