Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanh Binh on King

Nice clean and fresh Vietnamese in Newtown?

This restaurant is a particular favourite with our family. It can fit a large group well, and there's something for everyone. Let me share some of our family's favourites...

Green papaya salad with prawn and pork
The salad is served on large rice cracker bed. Scoop a bit of salad on top of a bit of cracker and you're off!
Rice paper rolls with sugar-cane prawns
It's a game of roll-your-own rice paper rolls, and it's fun and yum. the serving is quite generous. Sugar-cane prawn is my favourite of all the choices available.
Vietnamese spring rolls with fish dipping sauce
I don't know if you've noticed, but I love deep-fried food. This is one of the best specimens of what deep-fried food should be. It's deliciously crispy on the outside, and it's the most packed spring roll I've ever had. My nieces and nephew love this dish (and so does their auntie!).
Wok-fried diced rump steak with garlic and cracked pepper, with lemon dipping sauce
This is just a very good beef dish. I love anything with extra sauce, so the lemon dipping sauce is a great accompaniment to the dish. Dunk away!
Salt and pepper pork fillets with lemon dipping sauce
Another one with lemon dipping sauce (it is a very good dipping sauce!). The pork fillets remain surprisingly tender beneath the crispy battered exterior.
111 King St, Newtown NSW 2042
ph: (02) 9557 1175
Opening hours: Tue - Thu 5:30pm - 10:15pm, Fri 5:30pm - 11pm, Sat Noon - 11pm, Sun Noon - 10pm

Friday, November 27, 2009

Billy Kwong

Modern Chinese Food, with quality organic ingredients.

I love Billy Kwong. Over the past few years, it's been one of our favourites, and we always go back for two of Kylie Kwong's signature dishes...the Homestyle Fried Biodynamic Eggs with Organic Tamari & Homemade XO and the crispy duck with a sweet syrup and some sort of citrus fruit - sometimes it's blood orange, sometimes normal orange, sometimes mandarin. These two dishes and rice is more than enough for a meal for two.

Homestyle Fried Biodynamic Eggs with Organic Tamari & Homemade XO
We dream about these eggs, they are just too good. You wonder how good eggs can be? I think this is the ultimate egg dish. It's crunchy, spicy and I've never known eggs to taste so silky.
Signature dish of crispy duck with oranges, mandarins or plums
(depending upon the season
The duck is delightfully crispy with a textured szechuan pepper and salt crusted skin, and the syrup is sweet without being too sickly, with a bit of a tang from the citrus fruit.
This is a dish that must be eaten with rice, to balance out the intensity of the flavours.

3/355 Crown St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
ph: (02) 9332 3300
Opening hours: Daily, 6pm (no reservations, some come early)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chicken & Corn Vol au Vent

I love cream of chicken and corn soup. The combination of rich, creamy chicken soup with the sweetness of the corn is just gold.

I had to come up with a quick, inexpensive canape for a recent event, and so I experimented with my favourite soup, and it turned out! The recipe is certainly not rocket science, but I'm pretty happy with the results, and I'll pulling this recipe out for many years to come.

1 can of Campbell's Cream of Chicken and Corn condensed soup
1/3 of the soup can's capacity of full cream milk (less if you want a less runnier consistency)
a handful of grated tasty/mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper to season
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 x 12 mini vol au vent shells

  1. Preheat the oven to moderate.
  2. Pour the soup into a large microwave safe bowl.
  3. Pour milk into the empty soup can, up to 1/3 of the can's capacity.
  4. Mix the milk in with the soup.
  5. Throw the mozzarella cheese into the soup mixture and mix well.
  6. Cover and microwave for 1 minute until the cheese is slightly melted. Season to taste.
  7. Spoon the filling into the shells, and then sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes or until shells and top are nicely browned.
  9. Enjoy!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Mystery Box Challenge October 2009

Our friends brought over a whole lot of mystery ingredients and this time it was our turn to cook.

It was a lot harder than I expected, and I used a lot of dishes and pots and pans! But it was really fun, I would definitely do it again (bring it on!). Having said this, we're doing another one this Friday (this time our friends are cooking), so watch this space.

Ingredients were:
sundried tomatoes
red onion
lamb loin chops
pine nuts
turkish bread
baby spinach
frozen mixed berries
filo pastry
almond meal

The result

Toasted turkish squares, rubbed with garlic and topped with
a) hummus, chorizo and wilted baby spinach

b) tomato relish, chorizo and coriander

BBQ'd lamb chops with a lemon, honey and fennel glaze.
Roasted capsicums filled with couscous seasoned with lemon rind, and mixed with fetta, sundried tomatoes and roasted pumpkin.
Rocket and Parmesan salad with caramelised balsamic vinegar.

Filo pastry topped with a coconut butter sugar mixture, topped with mixed berries.
Filo pastry with a frangipane filling (almond)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Coffee Crème Caramel

I love crème caramels. I had forgotten how easy it is to make - I can't recall why I stopped making them too often, they are just a really nice simple dessert to make.

The only thing I still have difficulty with is trying to get the custard nicely out of the ramekin, even the tips didn't really help much...any suggestions?

This recipe has only been slightly adapted from Issue 46 of the Donna Hay magazine.

150g caster sugar
80ml water
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup single (pouring) cream
1/4 cup espresso coffee
2 eggs, plus 4 egg yolks
1/3 cup caster sugar, extra
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 150°C.
  2. Place the sugar and water in a saucepan over high heat and stir until sugar is dissolved.
    Bring to the boil and cook for 10-12 minutes or until golden.
  3. Pour the caramel into 4 x 3/4 cup capacity oven-proof dishes.
    Set aside for 5 mins until caramel is set.
  4. Place the milk, cream and coffee in a saucepan over medium heat until it just comes to the boil. Remove from heat.
  5. Place the eggs, extra yolks, extra sugar and vanilla in a bowl and whisk until well combined. Gradually add the milk mixture.
  6. Place the dishes in a water bath. Bake for 35 minutes until set.
    Remove from dish and refrigerate for 2 hours until cold.
  7. Turn out onto plates to serve
Tip: The magazine says to dip the base of each dish into hot water for 10secs before turning out, this will loosen the caramel and help it to slip out more easily.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Black Star Pastry

This post has been a long time coming. I almost feel it's a shame talking about this place on my blog, because I selfishly want to keep it an inner-west secret. It's definitely a place where locals like to go and have a lovingly created sweet, as well as a pretty decent coffee.

I've also been here for some toast and a coffee, and I love the "help yourself" communal tray of butter, Vegemite and assorted preserves and jams.

Lamb Shank Pie
Eating a stew in a flaky pastry. This is a must have when you have lunch here.

Chicken mayo Sandwich

Chocolate Caramel Tart
I can't believe I finished this tart - it was so rich, and that IS salt on top. But the very short tart shell, the salty sweet caramel and the dark chocolate on top were just perfect in combination.

Turkish fig and Orange Cake
The dried fig was mor decoration, but the Orange Cake was orangey, moist and the icing tangy.

Elderflower cheesecake
It was so pretty we had to have it!
The cheesecake sat on a base of a very thin sponge.
The cheesecake itself was light as a feather. The layer of elderflower jelly was a looking glass to the thinly cut pieces of blueberry and grapes. Best cheesecake I've ever had.

277 Australia St Newtown NSW 2042
ph: (02) 9557 8656
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 7am-5pm

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