28.2.10

Be back soon!

Currently outta town, i'll be back really soon! REALLY SOON! (slooooow internet here, gomene!)
In the mean time, tell me what's in the picture below =)

See you soon!

25.2.10

Wasabi Manuka


Had my birthday celebration in Wasabi Teppanyaki Restaurant (Shop 7/18 Flinders Way, Griffith) and it was packed with much entertainment and fun. Eggs cracked, food flew, rice on the floor but in the end everyone had fun and some even got dirty. If you want a memorable celebration, Wasabi is the way to go. We all ordered a Wasabi Set for the night.
Before all the chaos, we were served with some Miso Soup and Chicken Chawanmushi (which is egg custard steamed in a tea bowl).


The chaos started with some egg (raw) catching then followed by some scrambled egg catching (with the mouth!) and lastly catching a bowl of rice with another bowl. Some were a success, others failure...but it was fun altogether! The banquet followed with some barramundi fillets, chicken teriyaki, eye fillet steak and some mixed vegetables! I liked the barramundi and the eye fillet steak the best! If only he could cook more of those...

The funny chef who cooked and entertained all of us!

Nicely cooked fried rice shot before the 'entertainment rice' session started

A little drawing by the teppanyaki chef for me! ^0^

22.2.10

Jazz Apple Cafe?!!

You guys must think that i am a Jazz Apple cupcake addict, fanatic or a crazily cupcake-obsessed human being. Frankly speaking, i have no idea why i came accross so many cupcakes in a time spam of merely 4 days! I must say that I am utterly suprised by that fact as well. The good thing is that my haven't-tried list of flavours from JazzApple is getting shorter. YEY! A big thank you for the awesome guy at Jazz Apple who gave me the Caramel Mud & Pink Vanilla for free to sample =D
I tried 3 new flavours today: Caramel Mud, Pink Vanilla and Rocky Road (shown in the picture below)


My favorite cupcake base was probably the one from the Pink Vanilla because it was moist but i still preferred the chocolate icing from the Rocky Road (though not a fan of the mini marshmallows).


By the way, they are bringing another new flavour tomorrow: RED VELVET cupcake!

21.2.10

Lindt Macarons!

Macarons are one of my loves and sadly i have not mastered the art of making them. To add to my depression, they are not readily available in Canberra either. Well...that's why whenever i travel to Sydney, macarons (and kit kats) are at the top of my must-get list. This time, I got some from Lindt Chocolate Cafe (53 Martin Place, Sydney). They had around 12 flavours to choose from but i got only 5 - Blackcurrant, Hazelnut, Pistachio, Peach and Passionfruit. Loved all of them but i think my favorite was probably the passionfruit (i just love its tangy taste), the hazelnut macaron was beautiful too!



I've tried macarons from La Renaissance Cafe Patisserie, Adriano Zumbo and now from Lindt Chocolate Cafe...is there another place in Sydney that offers nice macarons?

19.2.10

Ojo Cafe & Bar

If you happen to be on the South side during a late lunch hour, wanting to have some simple and relaxed comfort food, you could head to Ojo Cafe & Bar (The Courtyard, Tuggeranong Hyperdome). As the name suggests it offers a cafe-styled menu in a establishment that has a bar, disco balls, dance floor and pool tables - which i believe only take action at night. It felt weird eating under a disco ball, i must say...what if it fell?


As i was skimming through the menu, my eyes were set on the Crispy Pork Belly (Twice cooked pork belly, slow-roasted then crispy fried, topped with an Asian sweet and savoury sauce served on rice with salad)...on the work 'crispy' actually. So that's what we ordered plus a Veal Scaloppini Gamberi (Tender veal scaloppini sautéed with prawns, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes in a brandy cream sauce served with mash and salad). To my surprise the pork belly was super crispy and piping hot! I definately wasn't expecting that. The veal was tender and the pranws were nice, but i still had my mind on the pork belly. If only the portions were bigger...more pork bellies that is =P

Veal Scaloppini Gamberi
Crispy Pork Belly

18.2.10

It's Jazz Apple Cafe again!

It wasn't part of my ordinary schedule on a Tuesday afternoon to buy cupcakes but due to very unexpected circumstances, i ended up in front of Jazz Apple Cupcake Emporium! They had just released 2 new flavours - Raspberry and Peaches 'N Cream - and me, being a big big fan of peaches, was immediately attracted by its magnetic forces. I chose the Peach 'N Cream (duh!) and since they ran out of the Raspberry, i ended up having the Strawberry White Chocolate. I like how Jazz Apple doesn't just use ordinary vanilla cupcakes plus a flavoured icing on their cupcakes. Instead, they make a huge effort to make sure each cupcakes contains as much flavour as possible by customizing the base cake as well!
For my Peach 'N Cream, the cupcake base had a lovely peach flavour and it was finished with a lovely dried peach dipped in white chocolote! The Strawberry White Chocolate cupcake had a strawberry flavoured base (i think some fruit content was added because i'm pretty sure i ate some strawberry seeds) and it was finished with a lovely hand-molded strawberry. Cute!

Left: Peach 'N Cream cupcake   Right: Strawberry White Chocolate cupcake

Another angle =)

With so many flavours available and new ones coming out, i wonder when will i ever finish trying them all?

17.2.10

Pistachio Dining at Torrens


It's been quite some time that i've been wanting to try out Pistachio Dining at Torrens (the first solo venture of an acclaimed local chef, David Keeley, who used to work in Courgette, Aubergine and Sabayon)  and after about 8 months, here i am! Been looking forward to this very special day...not to mention it was Valentine's too *hehehe. Like most restaurants, they have a set menu for Valentine's Day.

Left: the menu.wine glasses.1pistachio Centre:Drinks Right: butter.pistachio shells

The dinner started off with a canape - Sydney Rock Oysters - it was lightly deep-fried with what i believe tasted like a balsamic reduction with chilli flakes. It wasn't the au natural way that i was expecting so it did take me by surprise. Liked the combo but i still prefer my oysters au natural with a squeeze of lemon.


It was followed by the first entree - Seared scallops with salt cod fritter and pea and mint vinaigrette - it was my favorite dish of the night! The scallops were seared beautifully and it went well with the pea and mint vinaigrette. Loved the pea and mint vinaigrette, which is unusual because i am not a fan of mint...chocolate & mint is a no-no for me.


The second entree - vine ripened tomato minestrone with roasted Tasmanian salmon, basil pesto and hand cut pasta - the salmon skin was perfectly crispy and i hoped the minestrone had a bit more flavour and more pasta.

The third entree, yes the THIRD entree - Duck and braised sweet bread terrine with in house smoked duck breast and salad leaves - the duck terrine was nicely wrapped with prosciutto, a good balance of fat and meat in the smoked duck and i think a bit more sauce would have made the dish better.


My main was a more robust dish - Milk poached pork, onion and apple cream, smoked bacon, cos lettuce and scratchings - and i have to say that i was looking forward to this dish. From the day the booking was made, i kept wondering how a milk poached pork would taste like. Couldn't taste any traces of milk but perhaps the milk makes the pork belly super soft, that just disintegrates in your mouth. The components of the dish were good individually but it was a bit too much for me. Again, a bit more onion & apple cream would have been better. Was happy with the scratchings though =P


The other main was Grain fed Beef Tenderloin with potato and garlic mousseline and mustard green beans. The mousseline was nice and tasty and it complemented well with the beef tenderloin, my favorite of the two mains.


Before the last dish came out, we were served a raspberry sorbet to clean our palates. As i waited eagerly for the last dish, obviously a dessert, i didn't know what to expect because it simply said: Dessert Tasting Plate to share, not much clue in that. Three small-sized desserts? Well, it didn't take long before the dessert came! TA-DA! It looked so yummy and with so many options, i didn't know where to start! 
This tasting plate consisted of chocolate and hazelnut brownie with a heart-shaped shortbread, raspberry jam with tapioca served in a shooter glass, panna cotta with stone fruits, cinnamon doughnuts, pistachio cake with youghurt sorbet, fig & pistachio crumbs, chocolates with cream & fig jam centre and lastly a rich chocolate mousse wrapped by chocolate cake and topped with a creamy chocolate ice-cream. The last one was probably my favorite.

16.2.10

Vanilla Cupcakes for Valentine's

Made some really simple vanilla butter cupcakes dusted with icing sugar or cocoa powder (using a heart-shaped stencil) for Valentine's. These are really easy to make and they are moist too! Hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Vanilla Butter Cupcakes
Close-up of the cocoa powder dusted Vanilla Butter Cupcake

Vanillla Butter Cupcakes (from The Australian Women's Weekly) 
Makes 12 mini cupcakes

Ingredients:
- 1 cup (150g) self-raising flour
- 90g softened butter (i used unsalted)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp milk

Method:
1) Preheat oven to 180C. Line 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases (small ones)
2) Sift flour into small bowl, add butter, extract, sugar, eggs and milk; beat with electric mixer on low speed until ingredients are combined. Keep beating until the mixture is changed to a paler colour
3) Drop 1/4 cup of mixture into cases and bake for about 20 minutes.
4) Stand cakes 5 minutes before turning top-side onto wire rack to cool

Enjoy!

14.2.10

Happy Valentine's Day!

Love is definately in the air! Quite a few weddings, engagements, new couples lately...awwww
I just want to wish all the lovey-dovey couples a...

Happy Valentine's Day!
**
So does Smokey & Snowie!

10.2.10

On The Pier - Bateman's Bay


It's been a while since i've been to On the Pier but why not blog about it? This restaurant has been awarded the best seafood restaurant in the lower coast since 2004 and i decided to check it out. The restaurant looks very nice from the outside and i particularly liked the front entrance door which resembles to a wooden 'ship door'. There were a few safety rings hanging on the walls that looked quite adorable too! On the inside, the restaurant looks quite classic with bar facilities and outdoor dining space overlooking the waters of Clyde River. I ordered a Seafood Platter for two and finished the meal with a Creme Brulee. The Seafood Platter consisted of a lobster, 12 oysters natural, 12 Crystal Bay Prawns, 6 tempura prawns, five spiced squid, coconut & coriander scallops, smoked salmon, tempura fish fillets, scallops wrapped with prosciutto skewer, crumbled calamari, seasonal fruits and dipping sauces. It was really filling and i particularly liked the fresh and juicy scallops and the smoked salmon! The Creme Brulee wasn't overly sweet (the way i like it) and the orange & strawberry sauce matched it well.

Outside View from the inside of the restaurant
Seafood Platter: Front & Back
Creme Brulee with orange & strawberry sauce

Call me weird, but i actually scooped out all the rockmelon flesh and ate it. I know it was used to hold the prawn and scallop skewers but it was too much of a waste to chuck half of a rockmelon out =P



9.2.10

The Scholar Chinese Restaurant - Yum Cha

Can't believe that i've returned to the restaurant within a week! However, it was for Yum Cha this time. It was nicely organized by a friend who knew one of the bosses and we ended up getting heaps of food (at least i thought it was heaps!). It started out with quite a few fried dishes such as the salt & pepper squid tentacles, deep-fried white bait, chinese raddish cake, deep-fried prawns. I kinda liked the salt & pepper squid because they were tasty and crispy...as if they were just outta the deep-fryer!
We,then, started getting a loads and loads of steamed dim sums such as dumplings, siu mai (chinese steamed pork and prawn dumplings), pork ribs and cheong fun (rice noodle rolls). There were so many dumplings served in bamboo steamers, and due to their resemblance...i've only uploaded a few photos of them. I liked the cheong fun wrapped around the yau tiu but for some reason one dish's yau tiu was crispier than the other =P

Siu Mai & 'dumplings'
Traditional steamed Pork Ribs
Egg Tarts, Rice Noodle Rolls, Rice Noodle Rolled around Yau Tiu
Random shot of a soya sauce and fresh chillies that i kinda liked =P Looks faaancy, huh?
Chinese Coconut Slice for dessert!

The Scholar on Urbanspoon

8.2.10

Multicultural Festival Canberra 5-7th February


The Multicultural Festival (in Canberra) was held from the 5th - 7th of February and to my surprise, it was really packed. I believe that a good percentage of Canberrans were present on the day that i went because street parkings were full, the new Canberra centre parking was full and at least 2 levels in the old canberra centre parking were full. It was great seeing so many countries and cultures gathered together in this festival and there were a lot of stalls set up promoting various countries' cultures and their cuisines. However,to my disappointment, the Brazilian stall was not selling food at all. *sigh.
Due to time restriction, i couldn't stay in the festival for very long and didn't get to try a lot of food (not to mention that some queues were long). They had food from Italy, Spain, Argentina, Korean, Russian, Indonesian, Sri Lanka, Macedonian, Greek, Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, South African, Lebanon...etc...(too many to name, but you get the point)
I tried some Indonesian food: Opor Ayam (Braised Chicken in Coconut Milk), Satay Beef and Chicken (liked the peanut sauce), Russian Piroshki (Meat and Cabbage) and some Alexandria Sausage. I think my favorite was probably the Satay Beef with the peanut sauce...very tasty! (though the photo doesn't look like it)


Live music and happy people cooking are always cool.

Satay Beef Skewers

Russian Piroshki (Meat and Cabbage)
Alexandria Sausages

7.2.10

An afternoon at the Gold Creek Village


Located just 15 minutes from Canberra City Centre, Gold Creek Village (Nicholls) is well worth a visit. The village is so serene and relaxed that makes it so different from the rest of the Canberra suburbs. I even thought that this place was located somewhere far far away and distant from civilization. Gold Creek Village has some beautiful architectural buildings like the Holland houses, lovely gardens and plenty of lovely small shops and cafes to relax. There are also touristic attractions such as the Cockington Green Gardens, National Dinosaur Museum, Canberra Walk-in Aviary and others but we didn't go to those this time. Despite the rain and the wind, MissN. and I still had a lovely and well-spent afternoon.

1st stop: Cherry Seed (Ginnindera Village, Gold Creek)

After hearing so many good comments about this lovely place, i decided to go and visit it myself. From the moment you step in Cherry Seed, you feel like a child again. Why? The place has a checkered floor, colourful wooden chairs and pretty tablecloths...not to mention the pretty polka dots serviettes too. You can hold children tea parties too! (Cool, huh?). It sells quite a lot of little tea party-related things that surely makes you wanna buy them all, just because they are pretty...i was so tempted to get a packet of star/heart sugars. They normally have 6 flavours each day (Chocolate and vanilla being the standard ones), MissN. ordered a chocolate one and i ordered the Vanilla Strawberry one. The cupcakes are simple but pretty and took us half an hour to start eating them because we were crazily snapping every single angle of them. Veredict? They were very yummy, moist and the icing was sooooo fluffy!


2nd stop: Adore Tea (Federation Square)

This place holds a massive range of single and blended teas from all around the world and an amazing collection of teapots too(available to purchase)! I was so overwhelmed by the amount of tea choices that i didn't know what to have at first. We ended up choosing Mango Sencha (very fragrant and sweet) for two ($3.95) and the German Poffertjes with Butterscotch and Raspberry dipping sauces ($5.95).

Beautiful Teapots and the large selection of teas!
Mango Sencha & the Dutch Proffertjes
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