Easy Peasy Summer Series- meringue nests with fruit

This light and easy to assemble dessert comes from a close friend of mine proving that you don’t have to slave over a kitchen for hours to make something delicious. 

Meringue nests with fruit (thanks Amy!)

Ingredients:

* in season fruit or berries

* pre-made meringue nests

* 1-2 tubs of fruche yoghurt

* maple syrup for drizzling

Method:

  1. Fill the nests with fruche and top with fruit/berries and drizzle some maple syrup on top.
  2. That’s it. I told you it  was easy.     

Punjabi hut- makin it great

——-04/11/2011——-

It was serendipitous that we went to Punjabi Hut as my friend and I were walking up and down the street trying to find another restaurant in Queanbeyan. I had heard great things about Punjabi Hut and the name always made me giggle. 

Entree~

Mixed Platter for two or morecombination of samosa, veggie cutlet, chicken tikka and rum kababs ($18.50). I couldn’t fault it, everything was delicious and the platter allowed us to try a bit of everything.

Main~

Shahi Thali (non-vegetarian) includes three chef’s selected curries, rice, naan and accompaniments (26.50). I asked the waitress if the chef was in a happy mood that evening and she said that the chef is always happy and smiling. “So the curries won’t be too hot?” I asked, she said that we could request mild. “Will butter chicken be one of the three curries?” I asked being one of those annoying customers with a thousand questions. “Yes, butter chicken will be one of the curries”. SOLD! That’s all I needed to know really. 

Butter chicken- I’m going to put it out there and I know it’s a big call, but it was THE most delicious butter chicken I’ve ever eaten (and believe me I’ve eaten a lot of butter chicken). My boyfriend thought it was a big call to make until he tried some (on a different night) and with a shy look he agreed with me. Creamy and delicious!

Beef vindaloo (mild)- although we requested mild there was still some bite to it but I could still eat it. The meat was very tender and the sauce was delicious!

Lamb rojan josh (mild)- also spicy but not too hot. Although the vindaloo and rojan josh were very nice, they took a backseat to the butter chicken. Mmmmmmmmmmm…

Accompaniments~

mango chutney & rasgulla (2pcs) – white sponge cottage cheese dumplings. Very tasty and added a nice sweet touch to the meal.

Yes, we also had dessert. With everything being so good so far, I wanted to see if it was across the board.

Dessert~

Punjabi Malai Kulfi- Home made milk and nuts ice cream ($5.50). This was very delicious with all the spices and nuts. I don’t recommend sharing, it’s not big enough for two, maybe not even big enough for one. 

Gulab Jamun (2pcs)cottage cheese dumplings dipped in flavoured syrup ($5.50) I’ve eaten a lot of gulab jamun but I’ve never had one warmed to the perfect temperature and it wasn’t too sweet. This made me do my happy clap. 

There are currently major road works on Crawford street right now which make the restaurant a little bit hard to get to than usual. The owner told me that Friday nights especially, the restaurant would be booked out solid but since the road works it has been less busy. ‘Lucky for us’ I thought, otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to stroll in as we did but sad for them because their food was really really good.

Everything we happened to order was a “Punjabi Hut recommendation” and choosing a platter for the main and entree meant that we got to try a full range of dishes even though there was only two of us. 

I have to mention that the staff were exceptionally polite and attentive. My mouth was spoilt with delicious flavours and textures. I ate with a friend who didn’t mind letting me order whatever I wanted and was willing to try everything. All in all- a perfect dining experience! The only bad thing is that it has ruined all other butter chickens for me.

I’m heading to the Erindale location very soon with a lot more people, I’m hoping it will be just as wonderful!

Venue: Punjabi Hut

Address: 224 – 226 Crawford St, Queanbeyan, NSW 2620 (also @ Erindale)

Phone: (02) 6297 2717

Entertainment book: Yes it’s a paper voucher, remember to bring it with you.

You can’t argue with the numbers!

Punjabi Hut on Urbanspoon

Bruno’s Truffels

——-17/12/2011——-

I was meeting up with some lovely friends of mine before Christmas, I thought Bruno’s in Mawson would be a lovely convenient location with delicious food. Unfortunately by the time I got there around 1:15pm, the cannoli filled with kirsch cream (one of my favourite things) had sold out and there wasn’t much left in the cabinets.

galetteapricot, apple and plum ($4.00)

coffee eclair ($4.00)

  

quiche lorraine ($5.00)

Although everything we had was delicious, I just didn’t feel right being there and not getting a cannoli! Bruno’s also sell a wide range of breads, chocolate truffles, gelato and some German sweets, just try and get there early to avoid disappointment!

Venue: Bruno’s Truffels

Address: 2/106 Mawson Place, Mawson, ACT 2607

Website: http://www.brunostruffels.com.au/

People are nuts for Pistachio

——-08/12/2011——-

When the Canberra’s top 20 eateries article came out at the end of last year, it reminded me that I haven’t been to Pistachio yet. I had been to that location when it was previously Pinocchio’s, a cute pasta place spammed with Pinocchio memorabilia all over the walls and it was nice that when we walked into Pistachio, that they had kept one Pinocchio sitting on the wall.

How fitting to have pistachios at every table. 

We had a late booking which suited them as they were very busy and had several big tables. I’m sure it’s usually a quite romantic restaurant, but it was very noisy and busy that night.

Breadhouse made herb and garlic sourdough served with salted butter ($5 per serve). The butter had almost completely melted and the bread wasn’t that great.

Entree~

Kilpatrick oysters (dozen for $27.00) The oysters were fresh but were a bit dry as it had no ‘sauce’ but tasted absolutely wonderful with some lime squeezed on top. If I didn’t get this I probably would have chosen the trio of entree (that night was rabbit, scallop and vegetarian miniaturized).

Main~ ($28.00)

Duck confit and roasted duck leg with dried mushroom and baby spinach risotto and roasting juices. The duck was so nice and crispy and the risotto was absolutely delicious (might be a bit too salty for some), there was nothing left on my plate.

Prawnprawn dumplings with sweet corn veloute, king prawn, basil and baby corn. The baby corn was still a bit crunchy and it was bland but the dumplings were awesome and the prawns inside tasted very fresh. The BBQed prawns were succulent and very tasty and although Timmy wasn’t fond of the basil creamy sauce, I kept sipping at it- yum! The downside was that it was too small though. 

Dessert~ ($14.00)

We were warned that dessert would be a 40 minute wait, but like a stubborn little girl, I wanted to stay and try. I ordered a chai tea which came with petit fours to distract myself from the wait.

The chai was very delicious but I didn’t think much of the petit fours and the waiter in a rush almost threw the plate on the table. Although the staff appeared to be very attentive to begin with, I could sense their demeanor was slipping towards the end.

Panna cotta – white chocolate panna cotta with mango, mint and sago salsa, lime syrup and coconut and white chocolate cookie. I really enjoyed the salsa much more than the panna cotta, nothing much wrong with the panna cotta (although I didn’t really taste the white chocolate), it’s just that the salsa was really good. 

Cheesecake – Pedro Ximenez cheesecake with sherry anglaise and macadamia praline. A fantastic cheesecake, hard to describe the flavours but it was just YUM!

It wasn’t very romantic with so many large loud tables and being a small table of two trapped in between big table orders. I’m sure it was just a bad time to have a romantic dinner during the festive socializing season and I would come again because the food was good and hope that it wasn’t a rowdy night.

Pistachio Dining at Torrens on Urbanspoon

A few of my favourite things- the Flute Bakery

I remember when I went to Timmys cousin’s birthday a few years ago and once I saw his beautiful cake, my first question was- ‘where did you get this!?’. Ever since then most of my special occassion cakes, every day treats or when I want something delicious, I come here- The Flute bakery patisserie. The only downside is that it’s all the way out in Fyshwick, cash only and it’s only opened from Monday-Friday.

Here are a  few of the cakes that I’ve indulged in in the past year.

Venue: The Flute Bakery

Address: 8 Barrier St, Fyshwick, ACT 2609

Phone: (02) 6280 8001

The Flute Bakery on Urbanspoon

I’ve got a golden ticket!

——-20/01/2012——-

I   Frugii.

I don’t know if I was on a sugar high or a natural high from all the excitement but I had been smiling all night while I was at Canberra’s version of ‘Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory’ except that his name is John, there were no oompa loompas and not only does he make his only chocolate from scratch, he also makes amazing cakes and spectacular ice-cream!

John from Frugii invited us over to his house to bounce around cake ideas for a birthday I’m attending at the end of the month. He gave us a tour of his oh so amazing kitchen, then we did some taste sampling of various flavours and then we took his fantastic cake (that he prepared earlier) upstairs, where we then proceeded to talk about food for the next three hours.

For a girl that has eaten a lot of chocolate, I’ve never seen a cocoa bean before. John had one preserved and it was a lot bigger than I thought. We cracked open a few beans he had roasted and ate them. Whoever thought of to eat one and then make it into chocolate is a true visionary!

Chocolate tasting– we were trying dark chocolate from Ecuador, Sao thomé and Madagascar- they tasted so different but all were very delicious. We then also tried the world’s best chocolate (yes, literally it has won that title four years in a row) Amedei chuao chocolate. Sorry there are no pictures, I was too busy eating.

Fluff– a non freeze, not too sweet fluff with a hint of coffee taste.

Sweet basil ice-cream- OMG I’ve done happy claps before but this time I did a happy dance with little stomps! Sounds strange (the flavour not my behaviour) but it works! It was soooooooooooooooo good! And the texture was perfect!

Salted butter caramel ice-cream, fresh from the machine- OMG so amazing! I had bought this flavour over the weekend (from the South side markets) and put it in both of the tubs that I was getting. It is good, like really really good, but when it’s fresh from the machine- OMG it made me jump up and down with excitement.

7 layer opera cake – this cake takes over two days to prepare and you can taste the love and effort he has put in in every layer. My favourite layer was the coffee mousse and I don’t even drink coffee! Superb!

I how their imaginations take them to weird and wonderful places where any ice-cream flavour is possible- sweet basil, coriander sorbet, anzac biscuits and vegemite, blackcurrant and fresh ginger, smokey bacon, blue vein cheese and dark chocolate and tzatziki sorbet just to name a few. Did I mention he also judges the ice-cream category @ the Royal Dairy show?

Fruit purees, pure nut pastes and vanilla extracts- he makes it all himself. All his ingredients are high in quality and his equipment and work space is top of the line. I don’t know what cake we chose in the end or if we officially decided on one in the end,  I just know that 4 hours only felt like 15 minutes. I had so much fun talking to the wonderful couple at Frugii about food, flavours and restaurants. They are so wonderful and friendly, but I just kept asking them why they kept their day jobs when everything they make is so delicious!

You can catch Frugii on the weekends at the Farmer’s market and the South side farmer’s market but if you get a mid week craving, they are supplying to Milk and Honey and several IGAs including Ainslie, Narrabundah and Hughes.

I promise to take photos of all his creations that I buy!

move the steak aside for the sides at Locanda

——-10/11/2011——-

Someone mentioned steak house to me and all I heard afterwards was ‘blah blah blah’. The people that know me, know I have a soft spot for steak, which might account for all my soft spots 

I’ve wanted to go to Locanda since it opened but I never got around to it until now. I was staring at the menu for quite some time, I just could not figure out which steak I wanted, they all sounded so good.

Although the starters and pasta sounded nice, we were here for one thing- STEAK!

Mains~ All main dishes include one side & one sauce of your choice

Wagyu strip loin (300g) Riverine, NSW, marble score 6 ($55.00) with garlic aoli sauce

Black Angus eye fillet (200g) King Island, Tas, grain fed ($38.00) with truffle reduction (*additional $4 charge)

Wagyu strip loin (300g) Riverine, NSW, marble score 6 ($55.00) with peppercorn sauce. The peppercorn sauce was very runny and there was nothing special about the steak, I wouldn’t even know it was a wagyu steak.

Rib eye on the bone (400g) Murray valley, NSW, 35 days dry aged, grain fed ($45.00) with porcini bearnaise. I ordered my steak medium-rare but the closer I ate towards the bone it became more ‘blue’. I alerted the waitress and there was nothing that they could offer me but to cook my steak for longer. It was just an average steak and they could not compare to the scrumptious ones I buy at the markets.

 

Mmmmm roasted garlic

Sides~

(starting from the top left corner, clockwise) creamy potato puree, sweet potato gratin, lobster mash (an additional $4 charge) and wild grilled mushrooms. These were truly amazing, I could have ordered whole bunch of these and skipped out on a steak! The lobster mash made me do my “happy clap”.

Dessert time~

 

Peach & mixed berry tart hazelnut crust, red wine cooked peach, mixed berries with raspberry gelato ($15.00). The tart itself was average, the crust to filling ratio was a bit off but thank goodness for the raspberry gelato, it was delicious!

 

Burnt Sabayon Caramelized sabayon custard with pear chips ($14.00) This was absolutely delicious and creamy! The only down side was the small size.

 

Tiramisu Mascarpone and egg cream with Italian coffee savoiardi biscuits ($15.00) I’m going to put it out there, this was THE most delicious tiramisu I’ve ever had. I was very sad that this wasn’t my dessert 

 

Will I come back? Of course I will, maybe not for the steak but this looks pretty good:

Venue: Locanda Italian Steakhouse

Phone: (02) 6247 1488

Address: 1 London circuit, Canberra, ACT 2601

Entertainment book: Yes! It’s on the gold card and makes a BIG difference.

Locanda Italian Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Dumpling Inn re-run

I don’t post every time I eat at Dumpling Inn, otherwise you would know how much I come here. So let’s pretend this is only the second time I’ve come here recently  

My friends and I have now become slightly addicted to this, we would even drive past and get a takeaway order of just shallot cakes even if we were already running late to somewhere. Luckily now there is a shopfront of ready to go shallot cakes @ the Belconnen Westfield upper foodcourt, but it’s nicer when it’s fresh.

Shallot cakes- hot delicious pastry encasing a salty shallot goodness. Quality varies from day to day but usually it’s delicious.

Four Season beans (this time without minced pork)- I told you I order this no matter who I dine with! Delicious and counts as a serve of greens! Win win!

Sizzling bean curd– Even the biggest of meat eaters love this dish where tofu puffs are left sizzling away in a thick sweet-ish sauce. Watch out, it often retains it’s heat even after a few minutes and I always burn my tongue. 

Peking shredded beef aka rusty nails in some other restaurants. Crunchy, sweet and sticky with thin sweet potato chips

Scallops with garlic

What’s a ‘dumpling inn’ without some dumplings? My favourite is the pan fried pork dumplings with chinese vinegar- YUM! Plates of 10 so you have to find someone to share it with or you won’t be able to fit much more in.

Shan tung chicken– Not the best in Canberra but it still  has the crispy skin and often finished quickly.

Hot rock salt bean curd– crispy outer shell encasing soft tofu in the middle and who doesn’t love anything in hot rock salt anyway?

There are few people who get to dessert after eating at Dumpling Inn (usually waaaay to full to get anything else) but there are a few things you must try!

Toffee banana– comes out in a hot sticky toffee then dipped into iced water at your table (and this was when bananas were expensive!). I have also tried toffee apple and strawberries, all very nice.

Egg custard pancake- there is also a red bean version which I love. SOOOOOOOOO delicious. Comes deep fried and hot to your table with a crispy coating with an amazing egg custard centre.

They also now have ‘live mud crab‘ (from another sitting). Mud crab with ginger and shallots with a noodle base (different noodles to what I’m used to but still very nice).

This still remains as a good ol’ favourite restaurant between my friends and I. Although we’ve had some ‘miss’ dishes, we’ve been enough to know what we want now and we even get cravings for specific things!

Can get very busy for dinner, so try and book to avoid disappointment!

Dumpling Inn on Urbanspoon

Tasty things are baked @ 210 degrees

My mission: go to 210 degrees patisserie & bakery and pick up my mud cake that I purchased through ‘GrabOne’. It’s not like I didn’t achieve my goal, I just happened to leave with a lot more than one cake. 

7” mud moist mud cake, a bargain for $9.00 though the ‘GrabOne’ voucher.

 

There is so much to choose from- bread, foccacias, pastries, slices, tarts, savoury tarts, cupcakes, slices, cakes and daily made rolls.

  

I was looking at the semi-empty pie cabinet and since it was well before lunch time, they looked to be very popular! I asked how long it was til the next batch of pies, they said it was going to be 20 minutes, “I’ll wait!”.

While I was waiting, there was always a steady stream of people coming in, the staff were friendly and the coffee smelt amazing.

 

The smell of delicious pies wafts through the store as they were being cooked. Mmmmmmmmm finally, the shelves are re-stocked!

 

While I was deciding what pie I wanted, someone inquired what the thinner sausage roll was, ‘an italian sausage roll with wholegrain mustard’. SOLD! I want a cheese and bacon pie and one of those!

 

The sausage roll was piping hot and delicious! The cheese and bacon pie was one of the best I’ve ever had, the perfect balance of all the ingredients.

A fresh roll- delicious with a nice oregano flavour.

The tarts looked so beautiful, I couldn’t not leave without one… Or two? 

Strawberry tart– I had to get one because the last time I got one I only got one nibble  This was SOOOOO yummy! A bit hard to eat because of all the strawberries but if you’re not sharing, it’s not a problem.

 

Crème brulee tart– it had a slight toffee crunch that I could crack with a spoon that made me squeal with excitement! The tart was Ah-mazing! It was truly a crème brulee in a tart!

 

I asked them why ‘210 degrees’? and they said that it is a good temperature to bake bread at, which I thought was very cute. Everything I’ve tried was really good and I’m excited to go back and try more (and grab a few more tarts!). Go earlier to avoid disappoint of empty shelves!

Venue: 210 degrees

Address: Hughes Shopping centre, Canberra, ACT 2605

Phone: (02) 62810111

Opening hours: Monday – Friday 7am – 5:30pm

                                       Saturday 7am – 2pm

210 Degrees on Urbanspoon

Easy Peasy Summer Series- Cobb loaf

I know it has been several months and I haven’t posted many recipes, but I guarantee you that I have been cooking (and will post more I promise)! With the hotter months here (well it’s supposed to be) and everyone still in holiday mode, I thought I’d share some of my favourite simple ‘easy peasy’ (note: there are no peas in the recipe) recipes with you.

Cobb loaf with French Onion dip (thanks Lissy!)

Ingredients:

* 1 packet of French onion soup mix

* 1 large tub of sour cream

* 1 cobb loaf or similar bread

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C
  2. Take the loaf and cut off a little ‘hat’ and pull out chunks of bread from the inside and place it on an aluminium foil covered baking tray (see 2nd picture)
  3. Mix the french onion soup and sour cream together and pour into the bread cavity
  4. Bake til the bread is golden brown
  5. Enjoy!

I usually put it on the table as is and people just help themselves, I also put a bread knife next to it so once the bread pieces have been eaten you can cut the bread ‘bowl’ into sections and eat the whole thing!