Thursday, July 30, 2009

Kingsford Chinese Restaurant

Cheap, fast, tasty Chinese food. It is no-nonsense service here, heck, I'm being nice - the service is quite abrupt, bordering on rude. But I can't seem to stop myself from coming back, the food is just too good. You're usually not there for too long anyway, the service is fast and the food comes out promptly.

Salt & Pepper Calamari with Rice $7.70

This combination is not on the menu, but you can ask for it and they'll do it for you. You get a mound of rice with a generous portion of salt and pepper calamari.

On this day we weren't very hungry so we decided to share the rice that came with this dish to go with the other dish we ordered as well.

The salt and pepper calamari is the best I've had in any Chinese restaurant
. Let me know if you know any other place that does it better and for the same price!

Shantung Chicken $11.00

The skin of the chicken is crispy, and the whole dish is drenched in a sweet, vinegary sauce. It's topped generously with garlic and shallots. The crispy, sweet, sourness of this dish makes it a winner.

426 Anzac Pde, Kingsford NSW 2032
phone: (02) 9663 1728
hours: Open daily, 11.00am-11.00pm

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lamb Shanks

Culturally, lamb shanks just never made it to the dinner table when I was growing up. We went to our neighbour's place for dinner a few months ago, and she cooked this sensational dish of lamb shanks with a sauce that had a lovely balance of sweet and sour flavours (not quite like the Chinese sweet and sour dishes, but close to it.)

Susan was kind enough to impart the recipe to me, so here it is. It's so easy to make - less than 15 minutes of prep and cooking (outside the oven), and ~2.5-3 hours of cooking in the oven.

2 lamb shanks (frenched if possible)
2 tbs olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 tsp cumin seeds
400g can chopped tomatos
3/4 cup vegetable stock
3 tbsp honey
1/4 cup lemon juice

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C.

  2. Brush lamb shanks with oil. Preheat a pan until moderately hot and brown lamb well. Transfer to a large casserole dish.

  3. Add oil to pan with onion and cumin. Cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, stock, honey and juice. Bring to boil then spoon mixture over lamb.

  4. Cover the the casserole dish tightly and cook for around 2.5 to 3 hours, until lamb is falling off the bone.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Double Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding

I've been having a lot of chocolate self-saucing puddings this year, I don't know why - there's just been a sudden influx of puddings! It's a perfect dish for winter, with a big scoop of Blue Ribbon, vanilla ice cream on the side. I also love the fact that there are no eggs in this recipe, which leaves the dry ingredients that should be staples in your pantry already.

This recipe serves two, adapted from a recipe from Super Food Ideas (June 2009) by Kim Coverdale.


Cake mixture
40g butter, chopped
1/3 cup milk
6 tbs caster sugar
1/2 cup self-raising flour
2 tbs cocoa powder
50g white chocolate, roughly chopped

Sauce mixture

2 tsp cocoa powder
2 tbs brown sugar
150ml boiling water mixed with 2 tsp instant coffee powder (coffee is optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease two ramekins.
  2. Place butter, milk and caster sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until butter has melted. Take off heat.
  3. Sift flour & 2 tbs of cocoa powder into a bowl. Make a well in the centre, add butter mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Pour mixture into the two prepared ramekins. Press white chocolate into mixture. Place ramekins on a baking tray.
  5. Sift 2 tsp of cocoa powder over mixture. Sprinkle 1 tbs of brown sugar in each ramekin. Pour boiling coffee water, over the back of a large metal spoon, over mixture.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until top has set. Stand for 5 minutes and serve with ice cream.
Tip: The note in the recipe says that pouring the boiling water water mixture over the back of a large metal spoon prevents topping sinking into batter and helps produce maximum sauce.

Shu Shin Bou

Shu Shin Bou is a place that makes Japanese mochi, but the brand originally comes from Taiwan. But I was curious enough to try some out in the quest to find the best mochi in Sydney.
Black sesame mochi $2.75
This was my favourite of the two. The mochi had an almost subtle coffee flavour, with the smoky black sesame filling inside.

Coconut & brown sugar mochi, with vanilla mouse & red bean $2.75
I think coconut & brown sugar is a great flavour combination, but the coconut mochi was a bit too firm in this one. I'm not sure about having vanilla mouse as a filling.

I'm certainly not in a rush to go back to this place, but the black sesame mochi would be worth going back for sometime in the near future.

Miracle Supermarket, Lower Ground, World Square Shopping Centre, 644 George St Sydney 2000
hours: Open daily11:00am to 8:30pm

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sydney Madang

Lunch with a good Korean friend at a highly recommended, popular Korean restaurant. I never know what to order at Korean places, so I was glad that she took over the ordering.

The free snacks preceding the main meal

My favourite is the boiled potatoes with soy and sugar (bottom left). It's such a simple dish, and I could have 10 little bowlfuls of this one.

Jja Jung Myun (Noodle in Black Bean & Soy Sauce) $10

The noodles are wonderfully chewy & sticky, and it's a good sauce to noodle ratio for my standards. There are bits of mushroom & pork in the sauce, but not a lot. I can only liken to sauce to a sort onion gravy, very warm and satisfying on a cold winter's day.

Dolsot Bibim Bab (Steamed Rice topped with vegetables, egg yolk & choice of beef/chicken/pork in a special hot pot) $14
Comes with a special spicy sauce you mix through the dish. I absolutely love that it comes in this hot pot. It keeps the dish hot, and there are some delicious crispy bits of rice that you find at the bottom of the pot as you dig in.

Coming back here again soon for the BBQ dishes. They have burners in the middle of the table just for that purpose!

371A Pitt St, Sydney NSW 2000
phone: (02) 9264 7010
hours: Open Daily 11:30am-midnight

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Bourke St Bakery

Good coffee, great pastries, brekky/snack for less than $6 - always worth a visit, this time it was for a quick breakfast.

The only thing that grates on my nerves is the service - most of the time it's absentminded at best (except for this one guy who I think is the barista).

Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Muffin $4.00

I've just figured out why these muffins always have a wonderful crunch on the top (don't you think muffin-tops are the best part of the muffin?). They throw sugar on top, then bake the muffin - so when it comes out it's like eating one of those Danish sugar cookies. Dotted generously with blocks of dark chocolate that melt when the muffin is zapped in the microwave for ~20 secs.

Praline twist $2.50

A caramely, butterscotchy, nutty pastry twist. It's not unlike a soft version of a palmier. Best value, and very satisfying.

Piccolo latte $3.00
Yes, I'm repetitive, this is my coffee of choice. It's done very well here.

Lunch picks:
Pork & fennel roll
Crunchy, buttery pastry encasing real pork meat (no mystery meat here) flavoured with fennel seeds.

Bacon & gruyere quiche
There is something so sharp about the gruyere that makes it a perfect partner to the bacon.

474 Gardeners Rd, Alexandria NSW 2020
phone: (02) 8339 1001

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mini pavlovas

I really like making small versions of big things, for example, lemon tarts, pavlovas, sausage name a few. Small enough to be able to savour something in two or three bites...

Use my meringue recipe (click here for the recipe), whip some cream, cut some kiwi fruit, add a raspberry to each pav and drizzle with passionfruit pulp!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Commenting now available

I've now solved the commenting issue on the blog, so please do leave your comments if you have any!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Brasserie Bread

I've been meaning to come back here. I last visited this cafe when it first opened a few years ago, but haven't had a chance to go back. It's been getting a lot of good reviews, lately, so a colleague and I drove out there for a quick lunch today.

We ordered:
Chicken burger with gruyere cheese & chutney $12.50
(Special, not on the normal menu)
This chicken breast was well marinated, and the gruyere & the sweet chutney were well balanced accompaniments.

Spicy Lamb & Harissa dressing on Schiacciata bread $10.00
I didn't know what to expect with this one, but the Harissa dressing won me over (when ordering). I really loved the Schiacciata bread, especially toasted. Satisfying pieces of lamb in this sandwich with a beautiful, not-too-spicy Harissa dressing.

Bread favourite:
Caramelised Garlic Bread
The best thing to do with this bread is to slice it up, toast/grill, drizzle with a good olive oil, or slather with lots of butter, and spread the slice with one of the many cloves that are dotted in this loaf. This beats any garlic bread you will ever taste anywhere.

Couldn't resist trying a couple of sweets.

Front: Hazelnut & orange friand
What a great combination! I don't think I would have ever put hazelnut & orange together but it was unexpectedly perfect. The friand was lovely & moist.

Back: Coconut & Bluberry friand(?) muffin(?)
Very moist (good), very sweet (too sweet?). I'm glad my colleague & I shared, because I don't think I could've finished this one myself. I appreciated the texture though, but perhaps the sweetness could be cut with a lime or lemon syrup or icing?

Definitely coming back to try some more things on the menu. Watch out for the specials!

1737 Botany Road, Banksmeadow, 2019
phone: 1300 966 845
hours: Mon-Fri 7.00am to 3.00pm, Sat-Sun 8.00am to 2.00pm, Public Holiday - Closed

San Churro

Had a craving for some churros & dulce de leche. We took some of our nieces & nephews out during the school holidays.

Chocolate milkshake $5.50
They don't have any kid-size drinks, but were nice enough to split a milkshake into 2 glasses.

Spanish Hot Chocolate
Very thick, very rich, very chocolaty. I probably would have this one on its own (with no other dessert) because it is so rich.

Churros for two $13.90 (plus $2 with ice cream)
We share this amongst the five of us. You get to choose two dips, and we choose the milk chocolate (for the kids) & a dulce de leche (for the adults). Dulce de leche is my dip of choice.

47 Glebe Point Road, Glebe NSW 2037 (also outlets in Chatswood, Bondi, Miranda & soon in Parramatta)
phone: (02) 9692 0119

hours: Mon-Thu 10.00am-11.00pm, Fri 10.00am-Midnight, Sat 9.00am-Midnight, Sun 9.00am-11.00pm

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lemon Tart

I can never go past a lemon tart, let alone a lemon meringue tart. I didn't have time to make the meringue this time, but I improvised and put some beautiful vanilla Persian fairy floss on top.

This recipe is by Valli Little from the September 2004 edition of the delicious. magazine.
You can make one large tart, but I like to make smaller individual tarts, and using this recipe will yield 16 small tarts.

1 2/3 cups (250g) plain flour
110g icing sugar
110g unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
1 egg

3 eggs
3 egg yolks
165g caster sugar
Grated rind of 2 lemons
200ml lemon juice
180ml thickened cream
Creme fraiche, to serve

To make pastry
  1. Combine flour and icing sugar in a food processor, then add butter and process until fine breadcrumbs. Add egg and process until mixture comes together in a ball.
    Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

    Roll out pastry between two pieces of plastic wrap, and line a 26cm loose-bottomed tart pan or smaller individual tart pans with the pastry, then freeze for 10 minutes.

  2. Preheat the oven to 190°C.
    Line pastry with baking paper, fill with pastry weights or uncooked rice and bake for 10 minutes.

    Remove paper and weights or rice and return pastry to oven for 5 further minutes.

  3. Reduce the oven to 175°C.
    For filling, beat together the eggs, yolks and sugar. Add the lemon rind and juice, beat in the cream, then strain into the tart shell.

  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until just set. Serve at room temperature with creme fraiche.


What do you with excess egg whites? You make meringues!
The formula is easy.

1/4 cup caster sugar per 1 egg white
(makes about 10 bite size meringues)

  1. Preheat the oven to 100°C

  2. Beat eggs until firm peaks form

  3. Gradually add the sugar until mixture is smooth and glossy.
    Beat mixture well until all sugar is dissolved.

  4. Pipe mixture onto lined baking tray.

  5. Bake for 45 minutes

  6. Turn the oven off and leave the meringues in the oven for 1 hour.

Allpress Espresso

Consistently great coffee, best sourdough bread - all at a reasonable price. You can spend under $10pp for breakfast.

à la coque $7.00
soft boiled eggs with soldiers.

Country toast with sliced provolone & tomato $5.00
Country toast is a less dense sourdough bread. It's light and airy, and the crust has a slight caramel flavour when toasted.

Chocolate croissant $3.50
Is it a the best chocolate croissant? No - I don't think it's flaky enough - it's a bit more bread-like than flaky. But it was still pretty good. The chocolate was nice and bitter. Would have it again.

Piccollo latte $3.00
My coffee of choice.

58 Epsom Rd, Zetland NSW
phone:(02) 9662 8288
hours: Mon-Fri 7.00am - 3.00pm, Sat 8.00am - 2.00pm, Sun closed

Bavarian Bier Cafe

Good value with Entertainment card.
Buy one main meal, get the other one free (pay the cost of the meal of greater value)
Bavarian Tasting Plate
Menu description:
Succulent Pork Belly, Sausages and Schnitzel all served with Traditional Bavarian Condiments

Thoughts on the dish:
Could do without the sausages, all you really want is a taste of the pork belly with the crispy crackling. The chicken schnitzel is crumbed nicely; crispy on the outside but succulent on the inside.

Crackling Roast Pork Belly
served with Granny Smith Apple Compote, Red Cabbage and Sautéed Potatoes

Thoughts on the dish:
On this day, the pork belly wasn't so great. The pork crackling wasn't consistently crispy, and some parts were quite leathery.

Entertainment Quarter
212 Bent Street, Moore Park, NSW 2021
phone: (02) 9361 3833

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Adamo's Pasta

General price $4.50-$11.00

The drill:
Choose your fresh pasta, choose your sauce, & they make it up for at the back.
Monday-Friday, they have different specials for each day.

Best picks:
  • Gnocchi pesto - I didn't like gnocchi til I tried Adamo's. Sweet, smooth texture. Pesto is fresh & creamy. This dish is best fresh, it's no good to take home and reheat.

  • Pappardelle Boscaiola - the fresh pappardelle is unbeatable. Any sauce goes, really

Other picks:
  • Arancini with bolognese sauce - best value at $4.50. Has a tiny ball of oozing mozarella in the middle.
  • Lasagne: buy to cook at home for $12.00. Good idea to stash one in the freezer!

  • Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni: Not too much spinach in here, but the texture of the ricotta and spinach is firm and perfect.

  • Tight Tuesday Penne Bolognese: Good value for a small container for $5.00.

  • Wednesday & Thursday Eggplant stuffed with risotto

725 Botany Rd, Rosebery NSW 2018
phone: (02) 9310 7033
hours: Mon-Fri, 8.00am - 6.00pm, Sat, 8.00am - 4.00pm, Sunday closed

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Best combinations (under $40)
Basil Crispy Pork Belly - crispy on most occasions, spicy, very garlicy, fried basil. We can never go past this dish.
Green Papaya Salad - spicy, fresh, dotted with nuts
Rice x 2
Lots of water - two spicy dishes, need I say more?


Basil Crispy Pork Belly
Red curry with chicken - best red curry in Sydney
Rice x 2
Lots of water

Other good dishes:
Pad see ew - most close to a char kwe tiaw that we've found here in Sydney

Dishes to avoid:
spring rolls - very, very small & you only get 5 or 6, not good value at all & flavour is average

90 Wentworth Ave, Sydney NSW 2000
hours: Tues-Sun, 11.30am-3.30pm, 6.00-10.00pm
No reservations


two scoops to share ($6):
panna cotta gelato (house specialty) - sweet, vanilla taste
coffee gelato - dotted with ground coffee beans, robust coffee flavour

With extra cone on top.

262 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
phone: (02) 9516 0655
hours: Mon, Wed-Sun 9.30am-midnight, Tue 3.30pm-midnight


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