28.4.10

Canton Chinese Restaurant

Decided to stop by Queanbeyan for a meal on a Saturday night and we ended up dining in Canton Chinese Restaurant (232 Crawford Street, Queanbeyan - (02)6297 5246) upon the recommendation of a friend whose dad is the head chef. It's a little family restaurant that specializes in Singaporean, Malaysian and Chinese cuisine and to my amazement it's been around for more than 27 years! The petit restaurant has simple Chinese paintings and colourful lanterns as decorations which makes the restaurant quite cute. In addition to that, the staff is really friendly and courteous which makes the overall atmosphere quite pleasant.
We ordered a Seafood Laksa and a Tofu Goreng. The laksa was nice and the amount of seafood in it was quite generous; it contained mussels, squid, fish, prawns and fish balls - the only criticism was that the Laksa wasn't salty enough.

Seafood Laksa

I ordered the Tofu Goreng because it seemed different and also because i've never had this dish before. I quite liked the dish because the tofu was beautifully crispy and golden on the outside and silky on the inside. Eating the tofu with the peanut sauce, cucumber and snowpeas was very nice indeed. I think i had almost 3 bowls of rice...the sauce it's very addictive, i must say. 
Tofu Goreng, before and after mixing.

To finish our meal we ordered a Toblerone Cheesecake. The Toblerone taste was subtle but nice, the cheesecake had a soft texture and it wasn't too sweet -which is how i like my cheesecake.


Toblerone Cheesecake

Bookings are recommended as the restaurant is quite small. They also have the option of take-away or home delivery, if you prefer.

26.4.10

Sydney - Mamak

This is second time that i go to Mamak (15 Goulburn Street Haymarket, Sydney). To be honest, i was disappointed with my first visit to Mamak because the service wasn't good and the food wasn't all that great either. Despite of it all, i still decided to give it a second chance after knowing that they have undergone refurbishment not too long ago. To my surprise, their service have improved enormously as the staff was polite and friendly. The food didn't take long to arrive and it was lovely as well. According to a Malaysian friend of mine, it tasted authentic and reminded her of the days she'd spent in Malaysia. We ordered a fair bit of food which left the three of us very full and satisfied.
The first dish to arrive was the Nasi Lemak which had a nice combination of fragrant coconut rice with an ensemble of sambal, peanuts, crispy anchovies, cucumber and hard-boiled egg. The Roti Canai that arrived not long after was deliciously fluffy and crispy on the outside and it comes with two types of curry dips and a spicy sambal sauce. We also ordered Roti telur bawang (roti with eggs and onions) which was nice but if i had to pick one between the two rotis, i would still go to Roti Canai - simple but tasty! Mee Goreng (Wok-tossed hokkien noodles with eggs, prawns, fish cake slices and fresh bean sprouts) was good as well and i think my friend couldn't help but eat more and more of it!

Nasi Lemak

Roti Canai

Roti Telur Bewang

Mee Goreng

Lastly, how could we have left Mamak withouth ordering their awesome Roti Tisu? It is a tall, paper-thin and super crispy roti served with vanilla ice-cream! Truly addictive and i recommend not thinking of its calorie content while eating it =P
Roti Tisu



23.4.10

Simple Banoffee Tarts

It wasn't long ago since i made these little and simple Banoffee Tarts, to be precise i made them on the day we had a hot pot. I wasn't intending to make them at the start, but since i ended up with a whole can of awesome dulce de leche (milk caramel), i decided to make something for everyone to share. Since i had some bananas, ready-made shortcrust pastry and cream why not make some bite-sized Banoffee tarts? Simple and easy but making the Dulce de Leche can be time consuming. Here's how:

First of all, you'll need 1 can of sweetened condensed milk; remove all the labels to minimize the messiness. Submerge a can of sweetened condensed milk into a pot of cold water (make sure that the whole can is covered with water). Place the lid on the pot and turn the fire on. Once the water starts boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer and leave it simmering for about 3 hours (IMPORTANT: Please check it often to make sure that the can is still submerged in water). I used a tea towel to take the can out of the pot after i've poured all the water content down the sink. Cool down the can of dulce de leche before opening them - i left mine in the sink after rinsing with cold water. Ta-da...done! Tip: they are good on toast! 

If you rather enjoy the dulce the leche by itself you can stop reading, but if you want the rest of the Banoffee tarts recipe, read on:

1. Using a cookie cutter (3.8cm), make little tart shells with the shortcrust pastry.
2. Whip about 250ml of thickened cream in a chilled bowl until soft peaks form. Add in 2 tbsp of caster sugar and 1tsp of vanilla extract to the cream. Whip until firm peaks form - if it starts to look grainy, you have most likely over-whipped your cream.
3. Cut the banana into 5mm slices

Assembling the Simple Banoffee Tart:
1. Put 1 tsp of dulce de leche in the tart shell
2. Put 1 or 2 slices of banana on top of the dulce de leche
3. Using a 2.5cm in diameter star noozle, pipe out some whipped cream on top of the bananas
4. Add some crushed peanuts on top of the cream and...Voila! *Oops,i took the photos before completing step 4.



20.4.10

Ichiban Boshi - Authentic Japanese Noodles


Every single time i'm in Sydney i see a multitude of people queuing outside Ichiban Boshi (Level 2, Galeries Victoria Building, 500 George Street) during lunch hours. 'It must be good' - i always thought to myself, and yet i was so often lazy to queue who-knows-how-long before i could sit down and enjoy a bowl of ramen. After inumerous times of walking pass Ichiban Boshi, here i am patiently lining up and waiting for our turn to be seated and served. It wasn't long until we were seated and by the time we placed our orders, the queue grew even longer. Thefores, if you want to try Ichiban Boshi the best time to get there will be somewhere between 11.30am - 12.15pm - not too early for lunch and no need for queuing. Initially i wanted to try their Tonkotsu Ramen (which is limited to 15 bowls a day) but after being told that they only serve it from 2pm onwards, i ordered a Toyko Ramen. My friends ordered a Karaage Ramen (Japanese-style fried chicken) and a Kimuchi Ramen (Kimchi).

Kimuchi Ramen
The servings were generous and the noodles were cooked 'al dente' but sadly my Tokyo Ramen didn't come with enough toppings compared to the other two ramens (or compared to Menya and Gumshara) and they went a bit heavier (than i expected) on MSG. It only came with one slice of Japanese fish cake, wakame, nori, half an egg and one slice of pork *sigh.
Tokyo Ramen

I also tasted a bit of the Karaage Ramen and the chicken was crispy on the outside and soft in the inside and it
went well with the ramen. Unlike the Tokyo Ramen, they were quite generous on the toppings for the Karaage ramen =)

Karaage Ramen

Overall we had a nice time there and it was a historical moment for one of my friends, as it was her first time having ramen! Everybody was super full but i still managed to fit in a Sticky Rice ice cream from Passionflower - which was awesome =)

19.4.10

The Smokehouse Cafe at Poacher's Pantry

Despite the fact that Canberra has been feeling like winter for the past few days, today was a beautiful day! The weather was warm (but not hot) and the sky was beautiful; a perfect day to go somewhere as nice and as relaxing like The Smokehouse Cafe @ Poacher's Pantry for lunch. Poacher's Pantry is only 25 minutes drive from Canberra's CBD and is a very enjoyable place to savour a range of delicious gourmet smoked meat, poultry, seafood and vegetables. If you desire, you can order wines from Wily Trout Vineyard to accompany your meals. The surrounds of the cafe are very lovely, especially now as we are approaching autumn - small pond with carps, yellow-orangy trees and lavender with white butterflies.
It is recommended to make a booking to avoid any disappointment as they have been increasing popular for brunch or lunch on the weekends - i was so fortunate to have someone cancelling their booking today!
The Smokehouse Cafe boasts a simple and rustic decor with a few fireplaces. I love the fact that they have a small corner selling their own smoked goodies and another one selling gourmet vinegars, oils, jams, chocolate and mayonnaise! An interesting thing that i found out today was that Poacher's Pantry products have been used by chefs such as Stephanie Alexander, Andrew Blake and Tetsuya. Cool huh?

If you do have the opportunity to go to The Smokehouse Cafe, DO NOT leave without trying one (or all, if possible) of their platters - you have a choice of Meat, Seafood or Vegetable Platter. On this instance, we ordered the Seafood Platter (for two) which consisted of Smoked salmon, smoked cooked ocean trout, smoked prawns, some marinated vegetables, smoked garlic, dolmades, smoked tomatoes, (awesome) capers and four different dips served with bread & crackers.


We also ordered the Brandy cured smoked duck breast salad with oranges, honey macadamias, roasted red onion and a palm sugar vinaigrette. I really liked the combination of flavours in this dish and the smoked duck was very succulent and tender. *It was about time to have a nice duck dish! Finally!* The only tiny criticism, the vinaigrette was a bit oily for my liking. Apart from that...awesome!


I think it's my forth time there, and i have have to say that i've always enjoyed the good atmosphere and the food. Definately worth a visit and don't forget to buy some smoked goodies =)

Poachers Pantry on Urbanspoon

16.4.10

The Flute Bakery Revisited

Haven't been to The Flute Bakery for a while (almost 6 months!). I guess that's because it isn't very accessible and also their opening hours aren't the most friendly (Mon-Fri from 8am until 3pm). On this instance, i went there during lunch hours and the petite bakery was packed. I had to walk past a few people before i managed to look at the cake display. I was delighted to spot quite a few cakes that i hadn't tried before. Knowing that i would not be able to finish them all in time, i decided to get only four! I really liked the chocolate one because it wasn't as rich as it appeared to be and i really like how they used the short bread and the crunchy chocolate feuilletine together! I don't know its name because i was only told a description of the cake and they hadn't prepared a name tag for it.
Cream & Chocolate mousse decorated with a chocolate ball (filled with cream) on a short bread and crunchy chocolate feuilletine and wrapped with a chocolate sheet.

The Cappuccino had the same shape as the Hazelnut Mousse Cake (tried in my previous visit) and guess what made me get it? THE MACARON that they used as a decoration. It sounds pretty silly but if you are a macaron lover or a person who understands the intricacy of these little gems, will see the reasoning behind this.
The cake itself did not have a very strong cappuccino flavour but it was still lovely with the hazelnut meringue base.
Cappuccino

The Castel, which is Hazelnut Meringue topped with some strawberries & raspberries, was light a cake and perfect for a sweet treat after dinner.

The Castel

The last one was actually a cheesecake - the well-known New York Cheesecake - and if you fancy a dense and reasonably cheesy one, this will be a just for you! The cheesecake doesn't look fancy, but somehow it has that simple attractiveness to it (that's probably why i ended up getting it) that makes you go for it!


The Flute Bakery on Urbanspoon

13.4.10

Streets of Asia Restaurant - It feels like winter already!

It was literally freezing on Sunday morning and I even had to wear my winter coat! It's not even meant to be winter here in Canberra...*sigh. The good thing? I have an excuse to eat body-warming hot noodle soups! And that's exactly what i had for lunch at Streets of Asia (Shop 1-008 Cnr Anketell and Reed St, Tuggeranong) - previously blogged, but with a selection of more summer-inclined dishes. This time we ordered a BBQ Pork Laksa and a Wonton Egg Noodles Soup. The portions are very generous and i almost couldn't finish my humble bowl of noodles =P. I would have preferred chunkier and tastier BBQ Pork slices in my Laksa but i'll have to say that i was amazed by the amount of wontons in the Wonton Egg Noodles Soup! The most important thing is that it kept me warm and full =)
BBQ Pork Laksa

Wonton Egg Noodles Soup (with heaps of wontons!!! Can't even see the noodles)

12.4.10

The Ginger Room

I was invited to a dinner at The Ginger Room (Old Parliament House, King George Tce, Parkes) on a particular weekend to celebrate a special occasion. I was utterly excited because the last time i went there (1.5 years ago), i missed the opportunity to blog about this place as i did not own a blog yet. The Ginger Room is located in the Old Parliament House and surrounded by the stunning Old Parliament House Gardens, which has an extensive range of beautiful roses. It's worth getting there early to visit the rose gardens and allow some time for photos.
The Ginger Room definately grabs your attention from the very first minute you walk in as you are faced with a big, bright red wall. The interior decor is quite modest and relaxed. The staff is very polite, friendly and also smartly dressed with a subtle uniform bearing the restaurant's logo. The Ginger Room focuses on bringing an Australian Modern menu with an Asian influence.


We decided to go with a 5-courses menu (you can choose from 2 - 5 courses or the degustation menu) and the good thing is that you are able select your own entrees, mains and desserts from their a la carte menu. Before the entree arrived we were served with a complimentary amuse bouche: sushi with japanese seaweed and a selection of three bread rolls: plain, lime & pepper and parmesan & pinenut.


Parmesan & pinenut bread roll

These were the entrees that we ordered:
- Half shell scallops with pumpkin, sage and bacon: very fresh with clean flavours to accentuate the scallops
- SPECIAL: Rock oysters with a hollandaise infused with lime sauce: quite different but i prefer my oysters au naturalel
- Pambula rock oysters with mignonette dressing (no photo): nice and fresh
- Brie de Nangis twice baked soufflé with watercress and pinenut salad: the soufflé was soft and moist. Beware to not burn your tongue like i did!
- Poached scampi tails with confit tomatoes, crisp prosciutto and verjuice beurre blanc: simple and clean flavours, nicely presented.
Clockwise: Half shell scallops with pumpkin, sage and bacon;  Rock oysters with a hollandaise infused with lime sauce; Poached scampi tails with confit tomatoes, crisp prosciutto and verjuice beurre blanc; Brie de Nangis twice baked soufflé with watercress and pinenut salad

Not long after the round of entrees, we were served with our mains:

- SPECIAL: A marron dish that i can't remember the name! (maybe because the red plate was too striking): all i remember was that the marron was very fresh and cooked to perfection! The sauce enhanced the marron well.

- Beef fillet Wellington deconstructed (medium) - the beef was tender and soft, perhaps the pastry was a bit too big for the dish.

- Confit duck leg with braised red cabbage, potato dauphine and anise jus: it was my least favorite dish of the night because the duck was a bit dry and the potato dauphine made the dish a bit too rich. The cabbage was nice though.

- Ragout of mussels, cod, scallops and scampi in a bouchée pastry case: the ragout was nice and this dish was generous and filling.

- Rolled saddle of rabbit served with braised rabbit leg, glazed baby turnips and roasted parsnip purée: i didn't get to try this one but my friend said it was nicely done. It only needed a bit more sauce.

How can a lovely meal be complete without the desserts? It kinda feels like an unfinished business, if you know what i mean...so...it's DESSERT TIME - this part can never be ignored! Here is what we ordered:

- Boysenberry icecream bombe with marbled brownie: althought it wasn't flambéed, it was still my favorite dessert of the night! The boysenberry ice cream and the meringue weren't too sweet and went well with the brownie. It looks like a porcupine, doesn't it?

- Chocolate soufflé with macerated strawberries: the soufflé was delicate and soft! The strawberries complemented well with the not-too-sweet chocolate soufflé.

- Poached peaches with peach icecream and vanilla tuile: pretty dessert and addictive vanilla tuile.

Here is our Petit Fours:

Overall, we had an enjoyable and lovely dinner and the service, i must say, impeccable.
The Ginger Room on Urbanspoon

9.4.10

Chinese Hot Pot Gathering

Although winter hasn't hit Canberra yet, on occasional days it does feel like one. Canberra is a funny place and sometimes, you can even experience extreme cold and hot temperatures on the same day. It wasn't extremely cold on this particular day that we decided to have a Chinese Hot Pot (also known as steamboat or chinese fondue), but it was cold enough to have a hot pot happening. Hotpot is usually a good way to gather people around the table and have conversations while waiting for the food to get cooked. It brings me back fun memories of when I used to have hotpot with my family during winter times; i even remember that we had a round hot plate around the pot in which we would 'grill' some beef balls and crabsticks - they did turn out nice!

In Chinese hot pots there is usually a metal pot of stock in the middle of the table that is constantly simmering while ingredients are added into it (in batches). Preparations are pretty straight forward and the most time-consuming part will be figuring out what soup base you want, what ingredients to get and physically go and get them. A Chinese hot pot usually consists of (but not limited to) a soup base/stock, thinly sliced meats, asian meatballs, asian greens and some sort of noodles. This is a list of what we got:



The ingredients

The pot full of mixed meatballs

My humble bowl of food...which doesn't look all that attractive =P

8.4.10

La Renaissance Café Patisserie

I like going to La Renaissance Café Patisserie (47 Argyle Street The Rocks, Sydney) whenever i  have extra time in Sydney (which unfortunately doesn't happen often). It is such a lovely place that has a Parisian style courtyard where you can just sit back and relax or have a chat with your friends while indulging in some scrumptious cakes and 'pretty' coffee (oh, they have macarons too!). I have a friend who is so fortunate to be working around that area, i wonder if she has tried all the cakes and macarons...

We ordered a Zulu (Valrhona “Araguani” 72% and Jivara 40% chocolate mousse with a chewy salted caramel “Araguani” Ganache centre, macaron biscuit and flourless chocolate biscuit base) and a plate of Petit Fours Frais with Larme de Gaugin (Exotic tear-drop shaped cake; light creamy mixed berry mousse, encased in a decorative almond sponge, and topped with glazed mixed berries) and Cheese Cake (Cold set vanilla cheese cake on a biscuit base). I really liked the berry mousse from Larme de Gaugin, it was soft and not too sweet and it went well with the berries on top! I HEART berries =) Not to mention that it is a pretty cake too!

'Pretty' Coffee (cappuccino, it was)

Larme de Gaugin


Cheese Cake

Zulu - i know someone who is drooling all over her laptop right now! Check out the next photo...

Zulu cut open! It was a very rich but yummy cake!

It's worth paying La Renaissance Café Patisserie a visit! I will be back for more cakes, hopefully sometime soon!
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