XO re-run 

Just like Santa, I’m going through my list and checking it twice, although mine is probably less of a list and more of a menu, more specifically XO‘s menu. After patting my belly at the end my second visit, I checked the menu and there are only four items that I haven’t had the pleasure of tasting yet. Soon, my pretties. Soon you’ll be mine.

Don’t mind me and my random sense of humoursoonmyprettiesyouwillbemineSince I had eaten most of the menu the first time around I spent most of my second trip talking to friends and enjoying the food all over again, I did eat more than two things (best you don’t know how much more) and I’ll only write about the dishes I hadn’t tried before.

Starters~
Steamed dumping  minced prawn and pork with spicy soy vinaigrette ($16.00). These reminded me of the dumplings you can get at Din Tai Fung, and that is fine by me. Unbeknownst to me, my chilli tolerance must be gradually getting better because I didn’t think the soy sauce was too spicy but according to some, it was.
Larger~
Barramundi fillet steamed in sesame soy with cherry tomatoes and pickled mustard leaves ($32.00). Most of my life, I remember my family patiently sitting there and waiting for me to finish eating at restaurants and what I am usually ‘pecking’ at is the last of the steamed fish with soy sauce that I love drowning in my bowl of rice. I don’t often have this dish anymore as A) I’m more aware of how much a steamed fish costs at a restaurant (lots of thanks for all the meals Mummy paid for) and B) I can’t eat a whole one to myself and need people to share it with. Anyway, back to this dish, It reminds me exactly of that dish (minus the tomatoes), it makes my heart flutter and takes me back to my childhood. The fish itself was really delicate and almost melts in your mouth, which is not usually a term you would use to describe fish! I was keen to try this after reading Gary’s review of XO and I’m so glad that I got the opportunity.
I’m still dreaming about the Asian bolognese and xiu mai… YUMMMMMMMMMMMM

 

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Playing with my food

My food cushion collection keeps growing: PB and J toast, cheeseburger, water melon and a chicken leg. You don’t know how comfortable that chicken leg is to sleep on! #foodielife 
#cbr #instafood #food #foodie #pillow #fakefood #cushions #typo    

Lunch at The District

For those who know me know I’m really indecisive, especially when it comes to food. I have FOMO, I don’t want to have food regrets and I also don’t want to be that table that orders 5 of the same thing. So going to The District out in Crace was no different and possibly even worse as I always crave a steak AND a schnitzel at the same time when in a pub style cafe.

 

As it turns out, it didn’t matter what I ordered everything was delicious at The District! Between the three of us we ordered two burgers and I opted for the ‘weekday lunch special’ of a Porterhouse steak at the very last minute (I changed my mind at the counter after deliberating at the table for at least 15 minutes on what to order). My friends were sweet enough to share a part of their lunch and I would have happily ordered any of them.

Burgers from the main menu ~all burgers served with beer battered fries

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Burger with bacon, cheese, baby cos & sweet chilli mayo ($22.00). When you feel like a schnitzel or a burger this would be the winning combination and I almost ordered this before I realised I really want beef. It is all my favourite things on a burger and the chicken itself was really moist despite the thicker cut.
My friend helping me get a cross section photo of her lunch before I let her eat it, hahahaha.
American Cheese Burger with 180g beef patty, bacon, sliced pickle,ketchup and American mustard ($22.00). I’m not one for pickles but when my friend said that it really makes it, I couldn’t help but agree. It was a nice juicy patty and definitely hit the spot if you were after a beefy meaty burger.
Weekday special~ a choice of chicken schnitzel, calamari or a Porterhouse steak all served with chips, salad and a beer/wine ($20.00). I exchanged my alcoholic beverage for a lemon lime bitters and thoroughly enjoyed my lunch. The steak was surprising really juicy and easy to cut (I’ve come across many chewy, gristle filled steaks in my time). I ordered my steak with a diane sauce and I’ve never had a more delicious sauce with my steak. It became our communal dipping sauce for our chips at the table as it was a generous serve and everyone loved it.
There is always a nice relaxed atmosphere at The District and it has always been family friendly. If you’re in the area and you want a nice simple meal without the pretentiousness at hard to park areas, come to Crace. The service is friendly, the warmer weather lets people enjoy the outdoor seating and the food is tasty.

District Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A Bite to Eat

It probably wasn’t well planned going out for breakfast just before a brunch/grazing session, but my friends were just telling me about an awesome thick shake available south side and I sort of promised my stomach that I would have one at the first possible chance. I grabbed TimmyC and we headed to A Bite to Eat where I haven’t been to in years. We seated ourselves at the back outside area where I fell in love with the quirky miss matched furniture, it was well shaded and they had what looked like a dog friendly area with big outdoor cushions and a water bowl. 
Even the water and glasses were quirky and old school.We were a bit carried away and instead of just ordering a small breakfast for TimmyC and a thick shake to share we ordered something savoury, sweet as well as a chocolate thick shake.

 

Terricotta fresh ricotta doughnuts with roast banana custard, black berries and vanilla fro-yo ($19.30). I love the witty name and as soon as I saw this plate, I just had to have a bite. The doughnuts were nice and hot and while I didn’t really see a vanilla fro-yo everything wasn’t too sweet, but I think towards the end it got a bit too heavy and we couldn’t finish it.
Check out how crispy the doughnuts were! The ice cream tasted nutty even though at first we thought it was the vanilla fro-yo.
Even though they had a light texture, I wouldn’t be ordering a huge thick shake AND these doughnuts as it gets very filling.Toast sourdough served with condiments ($7.30). TimmyC really enjoyed the bread because he likes eating ‘Country split’ bread and this reminded him of that.
Chocolate thick shake ($6.60).This was very thick and borderline icy but an intense chocolate flavour just wasn’t there. It was still nice and very refreshing but after eating sweet ricotta doughnuts, what little sweetness there was had completely faded. I sent a photo of my thick shake to my friend and she said that her’s, albeit was a few months ago, didn’t look so icy.


The service was fast and friendly and the overall wait time for food was very short. I love when you walk into the cafe you get a sense of walking into someone’s living room, the vibe is very casual and homey. I think this would be a cute little quirky place to meet up with friends for brunch, if you’ve never been add it to your ‘to go’ list.

Venue: A Bite To Eat
Address: 8 Chifley Pl, Chifley ACT 2606
Phone: (02) 6260 3703

Opening hours:

Mon – Tues 8am–4pm
Wed 8am–9.30pm
Thurs-Fri 8am–10pm
Sat 8am–4pm
Sun 9am–8pm

A Bite To Eat, A Drink As Well Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Any jam and almond tart recipe      

I haven’t forgotten about my New Year’s resolutions and I know the clock is fading fast, but I’ve been plugging along behind the scenes working away at the list.

I have a confession to make, for some reason I love buying jam. I don’t have something in mind to use it for, although I would love it if someone would make me fresh scones on a daily basis. I just like tasting it at markets, buying lots of different flavours and it just sits there in my cupboard begging to be used. Recently I bought a whole stash of Walsh’s homemade jam made in Boorowa and when I went to put them in the cupboard, I noticed I didn’t have any room left because it was filled with other jams, chutneys and relishes. I have a problem (one of many) but let’s work on that part later. When I found this recipe I was so happy that it was delicious and buttery, it was also a tart and best of all it used roughly a jar of jam!

This recipe for a tart base is so easy! I’ve used orange marmalade and peach and mango jam so far but I’m dying to try this with more of a berry style jam or Black Horse’s plum and cinnamon (which is one of my favourite jams).

Any jam and almond tart

Original recipe taken from here.

Ingredients

Filling

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 150g flaked almonds
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup of jam

Pastry base

  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 225g plain flour
  • 3 tablespoons of chilled water
  • 4 tablespoons cornflour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Equipment

  • greased tart tin
  • saucepan
  • spatula

Method

  • Throw all the pastry ingredients into a food processor and process until a dough has just formed.
  • Press the dough into the tin and ensure an even surface. Refrigerate the dough in the tin for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C
  • Place all the filling ingredients except the jam into a saucepan on low heat, stirring until butter has melted and then set aside to cool
  • Take the tart tin out of the fridge and spread the jam over the pastry base and then layer the flaked almond mixture evenly on top and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden (keep your eye on the tart towards the end as the almonds can burn easily)

Tips

  • I’ve been making my tarts at 180C with a fan but I found after 25 minutes the almonds get very dark, maybe it is supposed to be 160C fac forced
  • Both time I’ve made this tart, I didn’t have time to wait for it to cool before taking it out of the tin; despite looking like a quick and easy recipe, you have to be patient and allow for some cooling period or you’ll end up with the corners crumbling in the tin and a not so pretty tart (like mine).
     Yes I realised I forgot to take a photo until after I put it in the ovenIt is lovely when it is warm; the jam is runny, the pastry is crumbly and the top is crunchy- yum. 

Space re-run

TimmyC and I are not morning people, but everyone has a price so when TimmyC suggested that we wake up early and go to Space to have breakfast, I agreed although our early morning progress would be negated by said breakfast and we would just arrive to work at the time as we would normally.Polenta waffles lemon thyme sautéed mushrooms, goats cheese, poached eggs, corn puree, salsa verde and truffle oil ($18.90). I thought the addition of dry ice and truffle oil to create a ‘truffle cloud’ upon serving was more for showmanship rather than for taste, but it gives Space a more theatrics side of things setting them apart from their sister cafe Ricardo’s. The waffles themselves were rather crunchy with a soft centre and I loved it paired with the mushrooms and sweet corn puree but I found the goats cheese flavour too strong. I would easily order this again if I wanted a unique vegetarian option.The truffle cloud presentation.Space benedict pulled pork croquette with poached eggs, beetroot hollandaise, pork crackling brioche crumble and pea puree ($18.90). I loved the interesting presentation of this dish and I can’t resist a croquette. The crunchy croquette coating which encased the tender pulled pork was brilliant although I wasn’t a fan of the pea puree. I was surprised to see that I found the slightly sour beetroot hollandaise really addictive and kept dipping my fork into it. Definitely a breakfast classic with a twist that is worth trying.Served with beautiful violets and perfectly cooked eggs.
The dynamics and atmosphere of Space is really different to Ricardo’s, you can see that this cafe is more ‘mature’ and invites a different clientèle in that would be suited to the surrounding office buildings. I love the addition of this funky cafe to the south side and I would definitely recommend this to anyone for a great breakfast and lunch, although I am not sold on their cakes yet. I can’t wait to go back and try more of their menu.

Read the blog post that my awesome guest blogger wrote here.