Saturday, December 29, 2012

Post-Christmas spoils - Heston's Mince Pies with Pine Sugar

I'm not a big fan of mince pies but I can't resist a bargain, especially this post Christmas one at Coles yesterday.  Heston's Mince pies for $4 - sold!

160C for 10 minutes in the oven.

Sprinkle with pine sugar

The pine sugar smell was intense, not sure I loved it.  And even though Heston is quirky and is a great chef, I'm still not won over to love mince pies.  I like the puff pastry though - maybe I just like puff pastry and sugar?

But if you do like mince pies, this product would be a treat for you...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Melting Moments

What could I make for a quick afternoon tea, that I had all the ingredients for at home?   I frantically flipped through the magazines on hand, my cookbooks.  Why do so many cakes require sour cream these days?  (note to self: sour cream is looking more like a staple these days).

Finally, I come across a recipe that I can knock up with all the ingredients on hand. Melting moments.  Thank you Women's Weekly Big book of Biscuits!  And they were absolutely yummy and so easy to make.  Only took me about 1/2 hour to whip up.

1/3 cup icing sugar
250g unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup cornflour
Lemon filling
60g unsalted butter
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1/2 cup icing sugar
3 tsp lemon juice

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC.
  2. Beat butter and sifted icing sugar with electric mixer until smooth
  3. Stir in sifted flours
  4. Scoop even portions of mixture (I used a small cookie scoop) onto a lined baking sheet, about 3cm apart.
  5. Roll the portions into a ball, then press down with the back of a fork to form flattish discs. Approx 0.5cm high and 3 cm in diameter.  
  6. Bake for approx 12-15 minutes or until firm.
  7. Cool on wire racks.
  8. Lemon Cream - beat butter, rind and sifted icing sugar in small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy, then beat in juice.
  9. Firm up cream in the fridge if too soft. (1/2 hour)
  10. Sandwich biscuits with the lemon cream when biscuits are completely cool.
  11. Makes approx 12 sandwiched biscuits.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Swedish Chocolate Balls

This is one of the recipes I've been making over the past month - guiltily- for myself!  I was first introduced to these delicious balls by a Swedish colleague of mine - these are really easy to make.  No baking required.

The thing that makes this recipe though is the pearl sugar.  You can replace it with coconut, but the pearl sugar adds another textural element to the ball.

113g unsalted butter (room temperature, some slightly melted)
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp instant coffee (coffee+water)
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa (add more for more chocolate flavour)
coconut flakes or pearl sugar

Mix butter, sugar, vanilla and coffee together first and then add the oats and cocoa
Adjust batter consistency with oats or coffee - but it should be sticky enough to roll.
Roll batter into about 25 small balls and roll them in pearl sugar or coconut flakes.
Refrigerate for about 2 hours.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Montpellier Public House

We finally made it to the renovated Balzac site, transformed from a fine dining restaurant to a gastro pub downstairs, and a more formal dining area upstairs.

We opted for the more casual pub downstairs.  It's strange to think that a few months ago when we were at the same place, we were in a quieter dining room.  It's been transformed to a more casual dining area - more relaxed and comfortable and a bit noisier.

We started with the Fish & Chips, Mushy Peas,Tartare Sauce ($25)
Fish was not as cripsy as I'd expected, but the white flesh inside was sweet and piping hot.  The handcut chips were delicious, but funnily enough, for me the winner was the mushy peas!

I've always wanted to know what a traditional Welsh Rarebit ($10) tasted like.  It was a lovely tasting cheesy toasty - would I have it again?  Probably not for $10 but it was a nice comforting dish.

I've never had a traditional Yorkshire pudding.  Well, Montpellier offered Yorky Puds with Mustard ($6) and we couldn't resist.  Best of all, due to a slight delay they were on the house.  And they were awesome! Light, fluffy yet crispy and piping hot served on top of 3 different kinds of mustard.  The texture can be likened to a deep fried Choux Pastry...I would definitely go back for this dish!

I'm so glad that Montpellier kept their trademark Bread and Butter Pudding ($8) on the menu.  It does come as a slightly smaller portion and without any ice cream - which would have been good with it!  But I'm happy to say it's as good as I remember it, and I'd be happy to drop by anytime to have a portion of this beautiful pud.  Or maybe next time I'll go for the Eton Mess ($7).

It's a great local place to get a good feed, with plenty of choices at reasonable prices.  I'll definitely be back!  Best of all?  It's open 7 days.
141 Belmore Road Randwick NSW 2031
ph: (02) 9399 9660
hours:  Public Bar – 7 days – Midday to Midnight
Dining Room – Tuesday to Sunday – from 6pm

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Danks St Depot

It's been awhile since I's been a mixture of busyness at work, and preparing for a new addition - coming soon in the next few weeks!

Well, I'm just biding my time until she makes an appearance in the world.  Work is over for me for a year, and I had a Spreets voucher to redeem at Danks St Depot (and of course I had left it til the very last minute to use!).

Our brunch (for two) started of with a plate of poached pears, with labneh and mint, and sweetened walnuts.  The labneh was fresh and delicious, and the pears wonderfully warm and tender.

We then had a choice of an egg dish each, and we both couldn't resist ordering the poached eggs with bacon hash.  I almost went the truffled scrambled eggs, but the bacon hash could not be ignored.

The eggs were poached perfectly, when pierced, the runny molten egg yolks flows out onto the plate - perfect to be swept up by the toasted sourdough that comes with the dish.  The bacon is moist yet crispy, served in cubes, rustically mixed together with roasted potatoes.

With the deal comes an offer of 50% off all Danks St Depot cookbooks.  My only gripe is that I spelt my name for the waitress (she offered for Jared Ingersoll to sign the book I purchased), but it still came out with the wrong spelling *sigh*.  But no matter.  Danks St Depot is still a great place for a good solid breakfast.
1/2 Danks St, Waterloo NSW 2017
ph: (02) 9698 2201
hours: Sunday - Friday 9.00am - 4.00pm, Saturday 8.30am - 4.30pm

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dulce de leche ice cream @ Patagonia Ice Cream & Cafe

I'm kind of obsessed with dulce de leche. In churros, on churros, on anything sweet! I think it's a slight obsession with sweetened condensed milk too....

I stumbled upon this cafe and I've never seen such a gloriously deep caramel coloured dulce de leche ice cream. (Ignore the snickers tag!)

You can find this rich concoction at Patagonia Ice Cream & Cafe in Coogee.

Patagonia Ice Cream &Cafe
231 Coogee Bay Rd, Coogee, NSW, 2034

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Brasserie Bread Cafe

The Brasserie Bread Cafe is actually now my local, and I can't complain.  I've been coming here at least twice a week, sometimes with friends, but sometimes for a quiet breakfast by myself.

Here's one of my favourite dishes.  I think it's pretty unique - I've never tried sourdough pancakes anywhere else's a must have.  Of course there are many other dishes (egg with soldiers, poached egg and crispy bacon on toast to name a few), but this dish you must try. Oh, and the Allpress coffee they serve is pretty decent too!

Sourdough Pancakes with Banana & Pure Maple Syrup

1737 Botany Road, Banksmeadow, NSW 2019
Hours: Monday to Friday - 7.00am to 3.00pm, Saturday & Sunday - 8.00am to 2.00pm, Public Holiday - Closed

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Restaurant Balzac Lunch Special

It's been awhile, I know.  Work has been crazy, and we just came back from Hawaii (Aloha!).

I feel a recent lunch at Restaurant Balzac is worth a mention.  For $39 for 3 courses, it's a great deal for the calibre of food served at this restaurant.

Salad of Poached Chicken, Walnuts, Watercress, Mayonnaise and Croutons
The chicken was tender and seasoned perfectly, the croutons light and crisp, and the mayonnaise creamy.  I wish there was twice as much!
Warm Veal Rump with Tuna Mayonnaise,Capers and Parmesan 
I must say, it was the idea of Tuna Mayonnaise and Veal that intrigued me, but I was told by my fellow diner that this was not an uncommon combination - her mum cooks a similar dish.  And it does work!  The veal was sliced in tender slivers, and was cooked to medium.  It was a pleasantly salty dish.
Warm Parkin, Caramel Sauce with Creme Chantilly 
What's Parkin?  That was a question that was asked by our whole table, bar the only Pom.  I googled it before we came for lunch and Wiki said it was a cake made of molasses.  Gosh it was delicious.  It tasted almost like a spicy sticky date pudding, only much lighter.  It tasted as if it was lightly toasted, and it was served with a caramel sauce with a dollop of vanilla dotted cream
The Balzac lunch special changes every week, and is available every Thursday and Friday from 12pm - 3pm. I'll definitely be back soon!

Restaurant Balzac
141 Belmore Road, Randwick NSW 2031
ph: (02) 9399 9660
Lunch special available: Thursday, Friday 12pm-3pm.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Good design: Trivet Coasters

Love this design idea....pretty affordable too, I must say, for some good functional design.  $29.95 for 10!

Trivet Coasters picture 3

Check out more designs (some more affordable than others) here.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Easy mini quiches

It's a new year, and I'm glad last year was over!  It was a year full of great things, but also tough things we had to go through.

We've been busy moving house, and also going to different parties over the past couple of weeks, and I thought I'd share my never-fail mini quiche recipe with you all.  I've always gotten compliments for it, it's dead easy and it's a great dish to bring to a party or a bbq.  A colleague of mine passed the recipe to me (verbally) years ago and I've kind of tweaked it here and there but it's simplicity remains the same.

It makes a great lunch, served with salad and some spicy tomato relish.

Puff pastry (readymade)
300ml pure thin cream
3 eggs
Parmesan cheese, finely grated
100g shaved ham or Spinach, blanched 

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC.
  2. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with puff pastry
  3. Whisk cream & eggs together, & season with salt & pepper.
  4. Fill the pastry lined muffin tin with approx 1 tsp ham/spinach & 1tsp grated Parmesan cheese
  5. Fill each hole about ¾ full with the egg & cream mixture.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes until pastry is browned & filling is cooked.


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