Lorraine’s Patisserie

Finding myself up the top end of the CBD wanting to get breakfast, I knew exactly where I wanted to go. My sister had told me about Lorraine’s Patisserie ages ago and ever since then, I have wanted to try their famous strawberry and mascarpone cake. It was just a few streets away from Pitt Street Mall, tucked in down the end of a cute little hipster-friendly looking alleyway lined with other funky modern shops. I was surprised to see that the patisserie was really small with no seating and they didn’t sell any beverages – but that didn’t matter as we found the cake cabinet very inviting.

We grabbed a few things and headed into the sun filled seats of Martin Place to eat our breakfast.Croissant ($4.00). We were tempted to go back and get another croissant, we basically finished it a few steps away from the shop front.Choc eclair puff ($5.50). This was heaven. The choux pastry was perfect with its little bit of crunch, the vanilla bean cream was divine all topped off with the right amount of chocolate. I was also tempted to get another one of these as TimmyC ate most of this one.Mascarpone cake lightened mascarpone, layered with crispy coconut dacquoise, fresh strawberries ($10.00). The perfect marriage of strawberries and mascarpone with an added delight of the chewy coconut dacquoise layers. As much as I enjoyed this, I preferred the choc éclair puff more as it didn’t have the hype and expectations placed on it like the mascarpone cake had. I thought the price of one cake was a little steep considering its small serving size.

Sausage roll. Not the most delicious sausage roll I’ve had but it provided a good savoury relief from all the sweets I was having for breakfast.I am eager to head back there and eat more of these cakes and croissants while hopefully also getting to taste more of their cake range.

Venue: Lorraine’s Patisserie

Address: Shop 5, Palings Lane, 320 George St, Sydney NSW 2000

Phone(02) 9254 8009

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Flower child 

Tapping into local knowledge of North Sydney, I asked my cousin where should I go for brunch that is in Chatswood, has air con (it was forecasted to be a 38-degree day!), good food and easy access as we were going with TimmyC’s grandma. She gave me two options but she mentioned that Flower Child was a sister cafe of the famous Grounds of Alexandria- BINGO! That was the one we were going to choose, the only downside was that they don’t take any bookings. TimmyC’s parents went 1 hour early to book a table for 6 people, they had to leave their mobile number and would be called when the table was available. What was supposed to be a 35-minute wait turned into just over 1 hour because every man, woman and child decided to have brunch there as well.Freshly squeeze juices~

Watermelon, pineapple and orange ($7.00).

Pineapple, pear, apple, mint and ginger ($7.00). I would have liked a stronger ginger taste but the juice overall was nice and refreshing.Cake~

Passionfruit cheesecake ($7.00). I may have chosen this cake based on its pretty looks but luckily it was yummy. There weren’t many layers or different flavours in the cake so the price may seem a tad steep for its size and complexity. Breakfast~ available all day

Toast with jam toasted sourdough ($7.00) with avocado ($3.00). I thought I would have received house made jams as well as the avocado but apparently not. The reason why I ordered such a simple brunch was because I already had breakfast and this was really just supposed to be the savoury component as I was also ordering juice and cake.

Flower Child Fruit salad seasonal fresh fruits with compressed pineapple, watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, lychee, pistachio, freeze-dried raspberries and yoghurt sorbet ($17.00). We didn’t see any lychee or grapefruit in the bowl but TimmyC happily enjoyed his light and refreshing breakfast but his favourite thing on the plate was that yoghurt sorbet. We are going to have to try and make some!Flower Child French toast banana mascarpone, sliced banana, dark chocolate crumb, baked pecans, fresh berries, salted toffee and maple syrup ($19.00). I didn’t know if all these ingredients would have made for an OTT breakfast but TimmyC’s Aunty finished the whole lot with ease.Brunch~ available all day

Tasmanian crispy skin salmon crispy skin salmon with young potatoes, green beans, truss tomatoes, radish, grapefruit, baby cos and olive tapenade mayo ($24.00). TimmyC’s Dad and Grandma both thoroughly enjoyed their meal. I loved the look of the crispy skin, it is making me crave salmon as I write this post.I think it was much easier to get a table for 2-4 people but I wouldn’t come here when it is really busy and expect to get a table without a small wait. Despite the hordes of people, a waitress set up our table, took our order and came back with our food in a timely manner. I loved the diverse range of menu items, the prettiness of the surrounds and food but I did not enjoy the wait and slightly cramped table we were on.

With gorgeous food and amazing looking cake cabinets like this, it is easy to see that this cafe has ties with The Grounds of Alexandria.Venue: Flower Child

Address: Level 3, Westfield Chatswood, 1 Anderson St, Chatswood NSW 2067

Phone(02) 9412 1555

Flower Child Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Progressive Foodie Tour in Sydney Round #1

Some foodie friends and I decided to do a trip to Sydney. We listed a bunch of eateries and although we knew we couldn’t fit in all the deliciousness that Sydney had to offer, we were damn well going to try. With dates locked in for the next trip, let’s call this post Progressive Foodie Tour in Sydney Round #1.

Stop #1 Mother Chu’s Taiwanese Gourmet 

I’m a sucker for fried dough sticks at any time of day, so when we could order them for breakfast at Mother Chu’s I was like ‘heck yes!’. We ordered a small selection of delicious Taiwanese treats to ease us into our progressive foodie tour around Sydney city, but I really wanted to eat more.

Green onion cake ($3.50). This was my favourite pick of the dishes as it seems deceptively simple but had an amazing crunchy flaky texture.Flaky pastry with You Tiao ($5.50 each).Glutinous rice roll with pork floss ($5.00 each)Cold soybean drink ($3.00).

Stop #2 Emperor’s cream puffs

If you can stop yourself at one, they are 35c each but who really has that much self control. For 5 bucks you get a container full of 18 cute little puffs in the shape of a walnut filled with hot custard. CAUTION HOT! It is not as good as Beard Papa, but I’ll take what I can get.

Stop #3 Niigata city

We were on the search for O-san ramen down in Dixon food court only to be met by an empty store. We stood there in disbelief as we didn’t have a plan B. We immediately took to google to find out that the ramen store is safe and well in another location after a kitchen explosion. We headed to Niigata City beating the lunch rush. Knowing the delicious road ahead, we had to opt for half serves ($9.00) but it was very tempting to want more. The broth was slightly thick, very rich and went down a treat with the delicious char sui and bouncy chewy noodles. This place quickly became one of my top 5 places to eat ramen in Sydney.

Around us everyone ordered beautiful bento boxes, I will have to come back and try more of the menu.

Favourite pick: Tonkotsu ramen (which has always been my favourite, although the black garlic did catch my eye). The addition of raw onions did catch me a bit off guard.

Stop #4 Hakkaido baked cheese tarts

This was initially one of our first stops until we realised that they weren’t open yet and we were too hungry to wait around. The opening times were a little unclear, it appears they open around 11:30am until when they sell out (roughly around 4pm). There is a limit of 6 cheese tarts per customer at $3.90 a pop.

After taking a million photos around the stall without annoying other patrons, I took a bite of the luke warm wobbly tart. It instantly reminded me of an oyster mornay (without the oyster of course), it tasted like a bechamel sauce with the burnt spots which then after a subtle aftertaste of a cheesecake. A subtle sweetness that I could get used to.

Knowing that there were still many stops along the way during this hot day, I decided not to order a roadie to see what it tasted like cold. I will definitely be back!

Stop #5 Holy Shake

Next stop – Gimmicky-ville

Did I just buy a honey milk tea with pearls ($6.40) just so I could get a cute light bulb that flashes rainbow lights? Perhaps, but if TimmyC asks, it was purely essential for my hydration levels on a hot day.

At least the milk tea wasn’t too sweet which is how I like it.

Stop #6 Just Fry

We needed something to take the edge of all the sweetness we had been having and Just Fry’s sign had been staring at us, nay TAUNTING us that we had to get something fried. We opted for the Taiwanese chicken nuggets ($6.50), which came in a pre-weighed amount, deep fried and then doused in garlic (amazing!). A handy little savoury snack to keep us going until our next stop.

Stop #7 i-Creamy Artisan Gelato

I had first come across gelato flowers when I was in Europe a few years ago. It appears the craze has finally hit our shores but this time with the option of Asian flavours. My first picks of flavours (raspberry yoghurt and French vanilla) were sold out so I ended up with salted caramel and taro ($6.90), not because the flavours particularly compliment each other but because I had chosen two brown flavours as my second choice and it was pointed out by my server. I panicked and threw in purple into the mix. Some flavours are more suited to the outer petals depending on the ‘hardness’ of the ice cream.

It may be because I’ve been spoilt by Frugii for so many years but I didn’t think the flavours were very strong (I had high expectations and hopes for salted caramel) and within minutes of receiving my ice cream, it started to melt very fast (it was a particularly hot day) and with each lick, the pretty petals melted away to give a brown/purple melded concoction.

I’d keep your money for a better ice creamery, this seems to be purely gimmicky (but very instagrammable).

Stop #8 Uncle Tetsu

Well since we tried one cheese tart, it would only be fair if we wandered across the road and tried the other cheese tart. I was surprised to see that Uncle Tetsu had expanded into three areas; the front main stall was selling Japanese cheesecake with other baked goods, the entrance at the back sold cheese tarts exclusively and down stairs you could find sweets including their matcha range with limited seating.

Uncle Tetsu’s cheesetart ($3.90). Looking at the shell of the tart, I knew it would be more hard and crumbly than the previous one we had tried. This tart had more of a custard tart vibe and didn’t have that light wobbliness to the texture. I didn’t love the crust although the filling was nice but overall I think I prefer Hakkaido cheese tarts. The matcha tart had a nice flavour with a subtle tea bitterness aftertaste.

Stop #9 Black Star Pastry

My foodie friends wanted to try the raspberry lychee cake and it is one of the better cakes to eat on a hot day. I really love raspberry paired with lychee and it did taste a lot like their famous watermelon as they share the same filling, but I think the watermelon version is more refreshing.

Stop #10 Koi Dessert bar

This one deserves a post of its own. Be on the look out for my next post but until then here is some food porn.

The Cheesecake Factory cheesecake

While casually shopping in Costco, I walked past the freezer section that I don’t often venture past only to find myself slowly reversing and pressing my face up to the glass. Do my eyes deceive me? Was that really what I thought it was?

Yes ladies and gentlemen. Costco Canberra (for now) is selling The Cheesecake Factory original cheesecake ($21.89), complete with graham cracker crust and the smooth cheesecake filling that we all know and love. Upside: it is all pre-cut and equally portioned for your convenience with a paper dividers; it’s the original cheesecake so you can dress it up however you like it (I had mine with berries, passionfruit, my friend added Nutella) and it tasted like I never left Hawaii.

Downside: the serving suggestion was to thaw it in the fridge for 8-12 hours (ain’t no body got time for that, I just left it on the counter until I was ready to eat it); our pineapple isn’t as sweet so I can’t replicate my favourite flavour.I take no responsibility with what you do with this information.

The Cheesecake Factory – Hawaiian series 

When you enter a restaurant that has over 35 types of cheesecake, you try to decide what you want for dessert and work your way backwards. It was after 9:30pm and the wait for a table for four was still 20 minutes, The Cheesecake Factory is a very popular place to be!There is a takeaway counter for all those who choose to take a cheesecake to go.Don’t be tempted by their complimentary bread, it was unusually sweet but it takes up important cheesecake stomach space.Fried macaroni and cheese crispy crumbed coated macaroni and cheese balls, served over a creamy marinara sauce ($12.50). This was rather quite underwhelming and was rather bland, I wouldn’t bother ordering this again.Old fashioned burger charbroiled on a toasted brioche bun with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and mayonnaise served with french fries or green salad ($12.95). It is interesting that they add their salad separately because that is exactly how I prefer it. The thick beef patty was super juicy, the bread was just sweet enough and fries were served hot- all in all, a fabulous burger.Spicy chicken chipotle pasta honey glazed chicken, asparagus, red and yellow peppers, peas, garlic and onion in a spicy chipotle parmesan cream sauce. This was delicious! The perfect amount of spiciness and generous serve of ingredients but man, it was huge portion! Between the four of us we could not finish this.Quesadilla grilled flour tortilla filled with melted cheese, green onions and chillies, garnished with guacamole, salsa and sour cream with chicken. A tasty appetizer that we was nice and light, a good choice if you want dessert afterwards.The menu was HUGE, it contained an extensive list of everything from glamburgers to pasta to tacos and seafood. We all got a bit excited with ordering our mains and instead of getting four cheesecakes for dessert like we intended, we could only fit in a few mouthfuls of one slice that we all shared.

We weren’t going to be defeated again, so our subsequent visits resulted in just getting take away cheesecake. We were able to try 9 flavours in total, which included the fresh pineapple cheesecake that is only available in Hawaii.

  1. Key lime cheesecake
  2. Dutch apple caramel streusel cheesecake
  3. Fresh pineapple cheesecake
  4. Snickers bar chunks and cheesecake
  5. Ultimate red velvet cake cheesecake
  6. Mango key lime cheesecake
  7. Toasted marshmallow s’m0res galore
  8. Chocolate tuxedo cream cheesecake
  9. Chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake

Out of all the cheesecakes I had the pleasure of tasting, I really enjoyed the fresh pineapple and Dutch apple caramel streusel. I found that the less sweet flavours work best as it wasn’t OTT.This is a very busy restaurant all the time (there was a 45 minute wait at 10:30pm one time we stopped by) but it didn’t stop the service being friendly, efficient and attentive. For a place called ‘The Cheesecake Factory’ I was surprised that the main meals were rather good and that there were so many choices. If you do come here for a meal, remember to leave room for cheesecake.

Venue– The Cheesecake Factory

Address– Royal Hawaiian Center, 2301 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA

The Cheesecake Factory Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

La Renaissance

It was raining cats and dogs, so after having a quick lunch at Ryo’s Noodles we were tempted just to go home but my Mumsy told me that there were delicious cakes at La Renaissance in Waterloo and I just couldn’t resist. The convenient under ground parking with an internal door into the building meant we wouldn’t even get wet, so of course we headed straight there. They had a nice spacious setting and a beautiful cake cabinet, which caught out eye immediately. I was a little sceptical about the cakes being over priced, because almost $10 for a small cakes sounds a  little ludicrous but my oh my, they are worth every cent. My favourite was the Monet because I really enjoy the white chocolate, raspberry and lychee combo; I found the flavours not to be overly sweet but refreshing with the fruit component. I can see how chocolate lovers would love zulu, if you’re in the area you have to drop by!

So many choices… What to choose?Monet white chocolate bavaroise, raspberry, lychee jelly ($9.50 dine in).So many different textures, flavours and layers of deliciousness.Goya raspberry mousseline, passionfruit, almond nougatine ($9.50 dine in).Zulu chocolate mousse, salted caramel and Valrhona Guanaja chocolate ganache, crispy pearls ($9.00 take away).Venue: La Renaissance

Address: PYD Building, Shop 1, 197 Young Street, Waterloo NSW 2017

Phone: (02), 9241 4878
La Renaissance Cafe Patisserie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Katers restaurant 

We had just booked our accommodation in Bowral when I saw the Groupon voucher that was an absolute steal for Katers restaurant at Peppers Manor House. The deal included three courses and a bottle of wine for $85.00 for two people.

We were slightly amused with our waitress. She was an older woman who didn’t seem too fussed that the restaurant was really busy and had a very blasé attitude about everything as she casually pottered about.

Groupon voucher: three courses and a bottle of wine for $85.00 for two people, but I’ve written the prices from the menu.

The white and red wine options that are included in the Groupon voucher.Complimentary bread and butter~

The bread was served warm and there was plenty of butter, the perfect combination!Amuse bouche~

Rockmelon with goats cheese, ash and prosciutto. When I asked our blasé waitress about where the prosciutto was, she simply shrugged and said she would ask the kitchen but she never came back with an answer.Entrees~

Seared scallops and Rodriquez spiced chorizo, roasted cauliflower puree, squid ink meringue, coriander oil ($24.00). These scallops were much plumper than the ones we had at lunch and it has been a while since I’ve had such delicious scallops. The chorizo was also very nice, while the puree really help meld all the strong flavours together. We were very happy with our entree and were quite excited for what was to come.Confit quail terrine, toffee parsnip, spear, watercress, cumin ($23.00).Mains~

Pan seared duck breast, kumara, hazelnut crumble, cherry glaze, whiskey coffee gel ($40.00). My friend joked and asked where the rest of his carrots were as they mostly appeared to be the tops. I jokingly replied that they were on the lamb dishes.Maugers lamb back strap, braised baby leek, roasted garlic crushed, roasted Kipfler potato, eggplant caviar, chilli fig, rosemary jus ($39.00). I was really disappointed with the portion sizes; there was just two tiny pieces of lamb for almost 40 bucks, I’m glad we came in with a voucher. Marseille bouillabaisse, today’s market fish, cold water langoustine, scallop, saffron rouille ($40.00). I loved the intense prawn head flavour throughout the soup base and it had nice meaty seafood textures to compliment but it is these same aspects that made my friend not like her main. It goes to show each to their own.Desserts~

Chestnut bitter chocolate torte, raspberry egg, espresso and hazelnut ice cream ($21.00).Lemon panna cotta, rhubarb foam, coconut parfait, lime cannoli ($18.00). This had way too much gelatin in it, we could tell from the moment it was placed down in front of us with its stiff movement.Blood orange and almond pudding, lychee sorbet, pomegranate ($21.00). We had to remind the waitress that this dessert came with lychee sorbet and she rushed back into the kitchen to have it added.Toffee apple tea cake, camomile  ice cream ($18.00). I liked how the cake looked like a cross between a toffee apple and a real apple but made the cake very messy and difficult to eat. The cake’s sweetness comes from its sticky toffee coating which was balanced by the ice cream.House cheese: aerated Manuka honey blue, lavender Bergamot, rosemary and thyme labna, local Camembert, local goat’s cheese, selection of breads and crackers ($26.00). The last cheese platter I ate/stole from was amazing (see my post here) but I left most of this on the platter. I found some of the cheese bland while some of the other cheeses were pungent, especially the goats cheese.We definitely got our money’s worth considering my three courses was more expensive than the voucher for two people. The food quality was okay, but definitely nowhere near the calibre of which they had advertised to be (it is supposed to be a hatted restaurant by the Australian Good Food and Travel Guide). It was a shame because they started the night off so strong with our entrees.

I think everything sounded really fancy on paper but the execution missed the mark and therefore the prices are too high for the actual food quality. I wouldn’t come here again considering there is so much good food around the Bowral area.

Venue: Katers restaurant

Address: Kater Rd, Sutton Forest, NSW

Phone: (02) 4860 3102

 

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

Gumnut patisserie is a must!

I will stop and talk to anyone who will listen to rave about Gumnut Patisserie. The last three things I’ve eaten from there was phenomenal. Sorry about the price uncertainty, I was too excited about my baked goods to notice.

The award winning vanilla slice ($6.00?) was fabulous, ticking all the boxes by having great pastry, a rich custard topped with a sweet marbled icing.Caramel and macadamia tart ($30.00?). My great friends took a stab in the dark when choosing my birthday cake but little did they realise that this is my favourite tart from the patisserie. The whole tart is generously studded with macadamias, embedded in a not too sweet caramel which leaves you wanting more.Sticky date pudding with butterscotch sauce ($32.00?). I asked how to serve it and they said to microwave each individual slice and just to spoon on a helping of sauce and it just melted perfectly. The pudding wasn’t dense and overly sweet like you would  get in a Sara Lee version, it was more of a tall fluffy cake studded with dates.Catch them at their various locations in Bowral, Berrima and Mittagong.
Gumnut Patisserie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sabor in the Hunter Lovedale

So it turns out that the dessert cafe Sabor has two locations: one that the locals know about (and now you), which is away from all the hustle and bustle of the vineyards and one located within a winery in the gorgeous Pokolbin area. Both venues have beautiful cakes and chocolates to tempt the young and old.

As you step in you can smell the sweetness in the air. We walked past the chocolate truffles and locally made cookies to be met with two large glass cabinets filled with eye catching desserts. ‘You can only choose one’ I thought to myself as much as I wanted one of everything and chocolates to go. I was tempted with the tasting plate which seemed to be the indecisive person’s easy way out as it had a range of five minature desserts.

Please forgive the bad photos, I took two quick photos and then had to make some very big decisions.Caramel and hazelnut cone milk chocolate and praline mousse, centered with a caramel creme, sitting on a chocolate sponge and a crushed hazelnut halo (around $14.00 dine in). After much deliberation, I had chosen the caramel hazelnut cone. It looked very glamorous and upon reading the description I thought it would be fairly light. There wasn’t much complexity to the flavours, it was like a light chocolate mousse with a nutty after taste if you got some nuts in the bite.

Red velvet and summer berry cheesecake a moist red velvet cake set upon a croquant base, doused in raspberry coulis then buried in a summer berry cheesecake, encased with a raspberry glitter glaze topped with a blueberries and blueberry crumble ($14.00 dine in). This dessert was visually stunning and even though it wasn’t mine, I instagrammed it but not without at least taking a bite to taste. I was surprised to see a cake encased in cheesecake which definitely took this to the next level. I thought the way that the glitter glistened in the light was beautiful.
Carmel cheesecake a baked cheesecake in a sweet pastry case topped with a generous swirl of caramel and sprinkled with chocolate flakes ($11.00). Karma would have it that I teased my friend for getting such a simple looking dessert and I preferred his over mine. We were disappointed that there wasn’t caramel throughout the cheesecake and just on top but the cream cheese made this dessert not as sweet as the others.On a day with beautiful weather and nothing but picturesque surroundings on one side, this would be the perfect place to catch up with friends or indulge for a special occasion.Venue: Sabor in the Hunter Lovedale

Address: 319 Wilderness Road, Lovedale / Rothbury

Phone: 1300 958 850

Opening hours:
Saturday 10am – 4.30pm
Sunday 10am – 4.30pm (unless sold out)

Websitehttps://saborinthehunter.com.au/
Sabor in the Hunter Dessert Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Camping 

I survived!

Much to the surprise of my friends, family, colleagues (basically everyone I know) and even myself, I went camping for the first time recently. One of my friends really wanted to go camping for her birthday and despite my hesitancy, lack of preparedness and fear of frogs, she insisted that she had everything and all I needed was my sense of adventure and something to sleep on.

Since then, I have discovered that I like daytime camping and night camping is well… Different.

Our camp site was around Berlang, 40 minutes away from Braidwood and yes, part of the allure of camping there was the promise of a vanilla slice on the way home. When the birthday girl and I arrived, it was getting dark fast and drizzling with rain- a terrific start!

We quickly set up the tent, threw in our sleeping gear and began to start a fire. The damp wood wasn’t going so well and our lovely camping neighbours came over to see if we needed any help. The birthday girl asked if they had any dry wood, they came back and started chopping up logs and wooden floor boards.

I laughed nervously and said “that’s exactly what I want my neighbours to have, an axe”.

The rain got heavier and the promise of sizzling steaks over the campfire were quickly extinguished along with the fire that we had just started. We had dinner inside the tent (cold roast chicken sandwiches with camp cheese which were very satisfying when you’re really hungry) and waited for our other two friends to arrive. They were only supposed to be an hour behind us but they arrived just after 10pm.

By then it was raining harder and we were very happy that they got there safely.At first I thought we could just all sleep together in one tent that night and figure out their tent in the morning, however it turns out that their mattress was huge and there was nothing to do but erect their tent at 10:30pm in the rain and darkness. It was a new tent straight out of the box so we had to figure it out where things belonged as we went, when it rains it pours. *hahaha*

It turns out that the wet weather brings out the frogs in the area… One of a few things that I do not enjoy being around so I started to get very conscious of closing the tent completely and was a bit jumpy every time there was movement. From then on, I brought a frog checker every time I went to the bathroom (my friends are very sweet to me).

I woke up in the middle of the night trying to rotate on a noisy air mattress on top of a stretcher bed. As I laid there, I thought about the bathroom even though I didn’t need to go and I felt I was psyching myself out. I contemplated finding reception, getting TimmyC to come pick me up from frogville and we could drive off into the sunset back to civilization with a vanilla slice in hand. Even if I really was going to do that, I would still need to wait until the morning so I told myself to go back to sleep.

The morning sunshine brought with it a new sense of hope. I could see properly now (my torch died on the first night), the rain dried up and we were preparing breakfast. My friends quickly found out how much I love prodding fire and burning things. I was like a little kid at Christmas when they said I could burn their tea bags etc in the camp fire.


You can take the girl out of the restaurant but you can’t take food blogger out of the girl. There I was, in the middle of no where rearranging my plate for a photo. Fried egg and sausages, soft bread roll with butter and a cup of tea.
There was one cooked sausage left and it was pointless to store it. My friend said that if I reheated it in the fire for her, she would eat it. When I gave it back to her, I asked her ‘do you know what this is?’, when she replied with ‘what?’ I carefully chose my words ‘this is a twice cooked, flamed licked, tea infused sausage’.

There was a lot of tea drinking but in my mind I wasn’t going to go out of my way and drink anything that was going to act as a diuretic out in the bush.

The billy was constantly going to heat up for the next round of hot beverages and I decided I’d participate in every 5th cup with them.It turns out that ex-girl guides are the best people to go camping with. The birthday girl made a bivouac for us using fancy knots and a tarp, a camp oven and she also built a camp shower?! I started calling her ‘Macguider’, get it? Macgyver and girl guide, well it sounded much more amusing when you’re out in the bush.

For lunch we had wraps which I convinced the girls to toast in the cast iron pan so I could build up the fire again. Rice wraps with smoked chicken, avocado, tomato and cheese.Before it got dark again, the birthday girl made a camp oven out of a chip box, aluminium foil, aluminium trays and some heat beads. This was amazing to watch as I didn’t think it was possible to make a cake in the wilderness. Our camp cake was catered for multiple dietary needs; it contained gluten free self raising flour, Nuttelex, one egg, lactose free chocolate milk and a little bit of chocolate shards scattered through it. It was done in about 20 minutes and smelt really good.Shhh… The cake is baking.Ta da! All done!For our last breakfast, we finally ate the steaks that were supposed to be our dinner on Friday night. It was a hearty breakfast of sautéed onions and mushrooms, grilled tomato, steak and BBQed corn.

Cooking the old school way, on top of a fire and of course… The billy is on again!I could get used to these hot hearty breakfasts.BBQed corn is the best!Fast forward to the next camping trip (yes apparently I love her that much that I went twice), we made dietary needs friendly breakfast. This time it was french toast, gluten free pancakes with stewed apples, fresh berries and lactose free yoghurt.

People were getting creative on their plates.Beautiful plates styled breakfast using plastic plates and utensils.
Gluten free pancakes with lactose free yoghurt, fresh berries and stewed apples, who would have thought it made for such pretty breakfast.Gluten reduced french toast.
I was wondering if I could just go camping during the day, set up a fire, eat all day and then maybe return to a nice cottage or 5 star hotel at night, but someone pointed out that that would just be picnicking.

I was very lucky to have my first few camping trips with people who were so organised and excited about food (almost) as much as I am. Thanks for letting me camp with you ladies.

Space Explorer

I wasn’t able to make it to a breakfast at Space recently, so instead a fellow blogger kindly offered to write her experience. So here it is, Tales of a Confectionist’s first GUEST BLOGGER: the wonderful Serina from Ms Frugal Ears.  How exciting! Her photos are crystal clear, she writes well and she wrote this much faster than I ever would have. Hahahaha, maybe we can make this a regular thing.

Thank you Serina for sharing your experience and making us want to run to Space and check it out for ourselves!


 

I’m heading off to Space. For breakfast. Only I’m not heading to outer space, but rather to a car park. In Woden.

Space, a new café/restaurant by Rick de Marco of Ricardo’s fame, opened three weeks ago in the Skypark car park. Yes, in a carpark. A pretty modern and funky NEW carpark in Woden with 940 spaces and plans for a lightshow. It is an unusual place for a café, but not so unusual for someone used to working hard and taking risks.

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Rick opened Ricardos in Jamison Centre ten years ago when he was only 18. I remember Jamison Centre back then; I used to regularly forage at the Sunday morning Trash n’ Treasure market that the Rotary Club of Belconnen runs. Before the Jamison Centre refurbishment the area was a bit of a dive. I remember seeing Ricardos when it first opened and wondering if it would stay in business in such a drab environment.

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But Ricardos Jamison has flourished, so much so that on weekends you have to queue along the red carpet before one of the staff will grant you a pass in. It feels more like being an at exclusive nightclub than the family friendly and fun café that it is. Not that staff behave like brusque bouncers – everyone is utterly courteous and service is brisk. It is just extremely popular.

The new business is not simply a new Ricardos. “I consciously chose to give Space a new name, a new brand,” explained Rick de Marco. “I opened Ricardos when I was only 18. This is like an adult version of Ricardos. I want to be able to experiment with new dishes, rather than having people wonder why things weren’t exactly the same as Ricardos Jamison Centre.” Rick also expressed passion for heading the revitalization of Woden to mimic what he was part of at Jamison Centre.

Before you ask – yes Space still does amazing cakes including Rick’s signature Golden Gaytime and macarons. But the feel is slicker, more modern, with subtle references to the ‘car space’ theme throughout. And Rick is even more courageous with his food creations.

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My visit was hosted by Rick as part of a social media event to showcase some of Space’s signature all-day breakfast dishes. Space does make some standard style bacon & egg type dishes, and these are also popular – according to head chef Russell, although Space has only just opened it typically cooks around 1,200 eggs on a weekend.

We began with vegetable fritters ($18.90) This is kind of like traditional corn fritters your mum probably made only more upmarket and served on beetroot humus and corn cous cous with salad and poached eggs. Remove the cous cous and the dish is gluten free – chef Russell makes them with a flour made from chickpeas, amaranth, quinoa and arrowroot. He also said that during the week this is by far the most popular breakfast item.

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I wanted to try more of the hot smoked salmon breakfast (hot smoked salmon, smashed avocado, coconut roesti, poached eggs and puffed grains, $18.90), but it disappeared quickly amongst our group. There was a substantial salmon serving and if ordered as a breakfast you would not leave feeling unsatisfied. I liked the gentle tea-smoked flavour, which was distinctive yet not overdone.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI noticed owner Rick de Marco plating something up himself. “Does he interfere often?” I playfully asked. “We take a collaborative and cooperative approach,” answered head chef Russell tactfully. Rick is clearly a perfectionist, evidenced when he presented a plate of the most beautiful bircher muesli I have ever seen. Adorned by fresh fruit and flowers, the bircher muesli ($15.90) was surrounded by circles of yoghurt and blood orange curd and decorated with passionfruit caviar (perfect pearls made through a chemical emulsion process). And yes it tastes good as well, augmented with freshly grated apple.

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Then came the two spectacular dishes that have a creative wow factor that will likely put Space on the galaxy map. Space benedict ($18.90) incorporates the Golden Gaytime theme that Ricardos has become famous for as a dessert – but here it is a deep-fried savoury pulled pork croquette, served on a bed of beetroot coloured hollandaise sauce with avocado, poached eggs and pork crackling brioche crumble. I loved the crumble texture, liked the concept of the croquette but it is not my preferred choice for breakfast as it is a bit oily. Russell said that Space plans to make it with smoked trout in the future, which I think will be nicer.

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My favourite dish was, quite unexpectedly, waffles ($18.90). I am almost over waffles after consuming way too many while in Taiwan – usually they were overly adorned with fake cream and fake maple syrup and looked much nicer than they tasted. But these were savoury waffles made with polenta and cheese and served with a side of mushrooms sourced specially from a grower in Yass, with a liberal sprinkle of popcorn. And served with goats cheese, poached eggs, corn puree and salsa verde. Yet there is more – as they are served, the waiter (in our case Rick himself) poured diffused truffle oil over the top, which wafts out in a (safe) cloud of dry ice. Spectacular and fragrant.

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We were served soft cooked poached eggs, but Russell assured us you can order them well done or prepared a different way if you like.

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If you are hungry, I recommend the boysenberry hotcakes, with blood orange curd, freeze dried raspberry and white chocolate crumble with coconut mascarpone ($17.90).  These were pretty, and also pretty filling.  I would have struggled to finish an entire plate.  Or perhaps I would have been greedy and managed the task – the hotcakes were thick yet inviting and moreish.

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Venue: Space

Address: Ground floor, Skypark, Furzer Street, Woden

Phone: (02) 6281 6668

Opening hours:

Mon-Fri: 7:30 am-5:30 pm
Sat: 8:00 am-4:00 pm

Guest blogger details: Serina blogs about mindful frugality and low-cost recipes at www.msfrugalears.com and about Taiwanese food and Chinese postpartum confinement at www.taiwanxifu.com.  She is an avid tea drinker and loves brunching with friends. She participated in a breakfast tasting at Space at the invitation of the owner, Rick de Marco.

Patty’s Patisserie

With clear descriptions from SheisMelen and Wita, I was able to spot Patty’s Patisserie and their red top marquee located at the centre of the Epic markets pretty easily. I had never seem them before despite them attending the markets for the past three months, it must have been bad timing because up until now they had attended the Farmers markets every second week.

There wasn’t much left by the time I got there but it still took me a long time to decide what I wanted.They take much pride in their work and it was really nice that they stuck the cakes/sweets down into the box as it would have definitely been found upside down by the time I got around to eating them.Raspberry rose vanilla cake ($7.50). This was a delicate cake consisting of what seemed like raspberry mousse, vanilla bean panna cotta and a raspberry jelly layer. It was very easy to eat and reminded me of summer. I would want this cake in a bigger size.Raspberry and vanilla, a match made in heaven.Strawberry tiramisu ($7.50). There is no coffee component to this dessert at all, in fact the only thing it has in common with a tiramisu is the layers of sponge biscuit and cream. The custard cream component was thick and luscious which was really soaked up by the sponge and sweetened by a little strawberry sauce. With what started off as ‘just one bite’ turned into TimmyC almost finishing the whole thing to himself.Chocolate and caramel cake ($7.50). Sorry for the photo, it had spent a few hours in the box before I got around to eating the cake. I thought this would be an OTT really rich cake but all the textures and flavours were rather light and so you could eat a whole cake easily without feelings of regret and sickness. The caramel mousse-y layer was particularly good.Orange and chocolate eclair ($6.00). This was shared around between some friends who like the chocolate/orange combination. TimmyC who doesn’t like the combination, still appreciated the choux pastry texture and the creme patissiere. I wish we got there earlier to try their many other eclair flavours like: chocolate, vanilla & chocolate, pistachio and white chocolate, coffee and chocolate or their salted caramel.  
It is nice to know that when you rock up past 11am that there was still some choice of sweets (albiet limited), according to their cake menu there should be eight cakes available(?). My friend who had been to the markets on the same day but two hours earlier, was able to pick up a V8 cake that was originally recommended to me by my friends.

I think as the word gets out about their producst, their popularity will grow and they would sell out much quicker. Hmmm, should I be telling people who wake up earlier than me about them then?

You’ll be happy to know that Patty’s Patisserie will now come every week to the Epic Farmers market and that they also sell jars of salted caramel.

Venue: Patty’s Patisserie
Address: 556 Olive Street, Albury, New South Wales, Australia
Email: patriciapastrychef@gmail.com
Canberra outlet: Epic Farmers market (every Saturday 7:30 – 11:30am)
Phone: (02) 6021 4662

Cholo’s Peruvian Restaurant

**AIYA! I thought I hit post on this before I left for Asia, wah so late already!**

I haven’t eaten Peruvian food before and all I know about it is that they have guinea pig on the menu over there but that is not what I was particularly hoping for when I went to Cholo’s Peruvian restaurant in Dickson (there was no guinea pig on the menu phew).

I love their brightly coloured place mats and interesting ‘Inca Kola’ bottles that have been reused as water bottles.

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Chicha Morada Peruvian purple corn drink ($4.00). This wasn’t overly sweet and had an aftertaste of bubble gum but not so strong that I wouldn’t finish the glass. YUM and very interesting!

Entrees~

Empanadas ($12.50).

The filling wasn’t dry but a bit crumbly when we tried to cut it up to share. I’m a huge huge fan of the accompanying green sauce (be careful it has a bit of a kick to it)!

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Tequenos ($8.50). A smaller version of the empanadas with a different pastry. I think I prefer these if sharing with a bigger group, although it doesn’t have that wonderful green sauce (yes I liked it THAT much!).

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Ceviche diced Ocean Perch delicately spiced and cured in lime juice served with Spanish onion, celery and coriander, served cold ($19.50). There was only one of these left of the night so we quickly ordered this while we were figuring out which mains to order. I didn’t really read the description, so I was quite surprised when I discovered it was a cold dish. There was lots of lime juice and coriander flavours. People either loved it or had enough after one piece. I found it very interesting and slightly addictive as I kept going back for more.

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Mains~

Pollo a la Brasa 1/2 succulent, roasted Peruvian style char-coaled chicken  served with papas, fresh green salad and chili sauce ($25.00). This was a really moist char-coaled chicken with a really great seasoning on the skin. I thought the side of chips was a bit weird unless they eat a lot of chips in Peru?

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Carapulcra slow cooked spicy Papa seca (sundried potato) and pork pieces served with rice and sarsa criolla ($26.50). This had nice pork stewed flavours but I preferred the roast chicken.

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Crunchy cassava chips.

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Lomo Saltado beef stir fry with Spanish onion, tomato and coriander tossed through crispy potato fries served with rice ($28.50). I didn’t think there was anything special about this dish and the beef wasn’t particularly tender either.

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Locro de Zapallo potato and pumpkin casserole served with rice ($24.00). I liked this dish even though it seemed very mushy in texture. I would order this over the beef stir fry next time.

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Desserts~
Everyone was too full for dessert but I convinced a friend to get a little something with me and somehow ended up ordering two desserts. 
Pastry horn filled with dulce de leche ($4.00). The pastry was very stale so I just focused my fork in the centre, as delicious as it was, it was very intensely sweet (like eating ‘caramel from a can’ kind of intense).

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Torta Tres Leches sponge cake, smothered in 3 different milky creams. A taste you won’t resist ($12.50). I really liked this cake. The sponge was incredibly ‘light’ feeling and despite being soaked in syrups, I didn’t feel like the dessert was sickly sweet. It might seem a little pricey for a dessert but if money isn’t an issue, this is worth trying.

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Cholo’s has a friendly atmosphere and this Peruvian menu has plenty of new and interesting things to try. Get the roast chicken, it isn’t too ‘out there’ if you’re not adventurous and it is really well made. The entrees that we had were really nice and I would probably order the pork and the potato pumpkin casserole again. There was a dulce de leche that I was dying to try but they had sold out and I was so disappointed, please take a photo if you happen to order this!

Venue: Cholo’s Restaurant

Address: Shop 68, 12 Challis Street, Dickson, ACT 2602

Phone: (02) 6248 86483

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