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.

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

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. 

Portuguese tarts Lord Stow’s bakery – Macau

I sat there with a sweat dripping out of every pore. My feet were sore from excessive running in inappropriate shoes. My face was red and flushed and I might have annoyed a few people along the way. Yet I felt deeply satisfied with the resulting box that laid in my hands.

How did it all come to this?

60 minutes earlier

We were heading out for the morning after a night of R ‘n R staying at the luxurious Lisboa hotel. The plan was simple – buy our ferry tickets for our return trip to Hong Kong, hunt down Lord Stow’s bakery and then head back to the hotel just in time for our 1pm late check out, allowing time to wildly throwing everything back in our suitcase.

Me being as stubborn as I am, wanted to go to the original Lord Stow bakery hidden somewhere amongst the not so main streets of Macau but when Google, phone reception and the taxi drivers were not helpful in finding the store, we had no choice but to run wildly towards the Venetian hotel (I knew there was a store there), which seemed very far away and time was ticking.

Inside the Venetian was an awesome canal with gondolas paddling up and down between all the fabulous stores, there are gorgeous paintings everywhere all over the ceiling and there were human statues, magicians walking around performing tricks but there was no time for any of that, we were here for one thing – PORTUGUESE TARTS!

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It would have looked like four crazy tourists running in multiple directions and there might have been a bit of running around in circles but we finally found it!20131123-002057.jpg

Warm Portuguese tarts from Lord Stow’s bakery ($8.00 HKD per tart).20131123-002206.jpg

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The pastry is so flaky looking with beautiful imperfect brown spots.20131123-002617.jpg

The custard was so delicate and silky smooth, which a great contrast to the crispy flaky pastry. Oh my goodness, there is a party in my mouth.20131123-002659.jpg

You can see the pastry is swirled at the bottom and you can really feel that in the texture when you bite into it.

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Even the next day when the tarts were all cold, they were still amazing and while sitting in a five-star hotel looking over Macau just made the experience just even better.

While you’re in Macau, you have to make this as one of your ‘absolutely have to do’ things on your list. I would suggest going straight to the Venetian hotel and take time to browse around the mall and float down the canal in a gondola and not frantically scramble to check out of your hotel room.

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The need for Knead

——-12/08/2012——-

I was taking my Mummy out and about in Belconnen markets and we couldn’t pass Knead without stopping by.

From their website:

Knead Patisserie’s philosophy is simple: to use real ingredients (organic where possible) and create delicious food from scratch on a daily basis.

 Knead Patisserie serves an array of rustic breads including Baguettes, Traditional boiled Bagels, Sourdough, Light Rye and Multigrain Cobbs, tarts including crème brûlée tarts, frangipane, chocolate ganache and berry cheesecake tarts, and individual cakes, muffins & pastries.

They have a beautiful marble top studded with beautiful tarts, breads and pastries.

Berry Cheese cake ($5.00) and creme brulee tart ($5.00).

Berry Cheese cake – Even though the cheese layer was very thin (in comparison to a ‘normal’ cheesecake), there was intense cheesecake flavour. Truly wonderful.

Creme brulee tart despite leaving it a few hours before eating, the top still had a great toffee sugar top that I could break with a spoon. The custard filling was silky smooth and delicious!

There were so many choices and everything looked incredible it made it very hard to only choose two things.

Venue: Knead patisserie

Address: Shop 18, Belconnen Markets, Belconnen

Phone: (02) 6162 3200

You would be nuts not to stop by @ Gumnut Patisserie

——-13/06/2012——-

As nice as lunch was at Caffe Rosso, we skipped dessert just so I could go to The Gumnut Patisserie afterwards. I would have rolled out the car when we drove past it the first time if the main street wasn’t so busy.

If all the awards wasn’t convincing enough, the nearly empty shelves when there was still at least 2 hours of trading left would let you know that they were doing something right.

Too full to try their award winning pies, but their sweets looked tempting.

Macadamia tart– Wow this was AMAZING! I know people go nuts for macadamias, I’m not that fussed either way but even I had two slices of this tart. Think macadamia nuts encased with a rich caramel like custard. 

Ok I guess it wasn’t a good start when even the girls in the shop didn’t know what flavours the macarons were. They said one might be strawberry and would have to guess lemon for the yellow one. Even when we bit into them we still had no idea what flavours they were, although there was just the ever so slightest hint of passion fruit after taste with the yellow one. Bland and basically no taste – very disappointing and they obviously didn’t win awards for their macarons. 

Now I’m not the biggest fan of croissants but when I bit into this my eyes widened.   YUM! Perhaps the best croissant I have ever eaten!

Not a hollow interior but a flaky rich buttery network inside.

A bit unfair that there are so many delicious cafes/patisseries/restaurants to eat in one area so far from Canberra. I will definitely have to come back to Bowral and see what other gems are yet to be discovered, eating more from this patisserie will definitely be on my list!

Venue: The Gumnut Patisserie

Address: Shop 7 Grand Arcade Bong Bong St, Bowral, NSW 2576

Phone: (02) 4862 2819

Websitehttp://www.gumnutpatisserie.com.au/

Opening Hours: Everyday 8am – 5 pm

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Bakery Bonanza! Hughes

——-03/03/2012——-

Okay, it might have been a bit excessive to go to a third bakery in one morning, but we couldn’t have a bakery bonanza and not come to 210 degrees patisserie and bakery, plus it was close to lunch time and I wanted a pie!

Different cake selection on different days it seems. Good to mix things up a bit though!

Cheese and bacon pie – This was a MUST for me (after all I am a savoury kinda gal) but I was sad that there weren’t any Italian sausage rolls that day. Tim sure did eat a lot of my pie for a guy that didn’t want one! 

Curried sausage pie – I ate this later at home and I chose it because I thought it sounded like an interesting filling. I was hoping more for a ‘sauce’ as it was a bit dry and felt like it was sausages and vegetables wrapped in pastry.

Raspberry tart – I was excited to try their pastries after they posted photos of them being made on their FB page. I found the filling of this one a bit too tart for my liking.

Creme brulee tart – Lucky for me I ended on the creme brulee tart. The top was not as ‘crispy’ as before, but still delicious.

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