Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holy Basil

So i've come back here twice in the past couple of weeks, giving them yet another chance /slash my friend's picked this joint for a catch up. So being a hit & miss restaurant, i tried not to judge.
Past visit reviews here & here.

Durian Shakes

But it didn't help, when our fruit shakes came out watery, and funny tasting. I didn't take a photo of my avocado & durian shake, but it was an off color, & watery tasting, and also a bit wierd tasting (Bich said it tasted like the avocado was off). Not a great start to the meal...

Chicken Pad Thai

Jeremy & Bich both shared this & the Duck curry, and having both tried these dishes before, they both agreed it was nicer the first time they had it 2 mths ago. The noodles in the pad thai weren't full coated in the sauce, so flavour was lacking.

Pad Kee Mao

Stir fried flat rice noodle with chilli, basil, chinese brocolli, capsicum, onions, bamboo, mushroom & carrot. Because i'd been here a few times already, i wanted to try something else on the menu. There was a good mixture of vegies in this dish which i liked, but again the flavour was a bit too bland for me. It was a fairly large portion, so i was really stuffed (too stuffed for desert hehe)

Duck Red Curry

The curry was a beautiful vibrant red, and while there were no complaints of the actual curry, there was minimal duck pieces in this dish. A disappointment to my meat eating friends. I would've liked it though, as there was quite a lot of vegies in there that i saw.

We asked for desert (despite our full stomachs) because after coming here 3 times, we've never tried dessert! Unfortunately they didn't have any deserts available... it was a friday night, roughly 7.30pm when we finished eating, and we really couldn't believe they had no desserts on offer??

* * *

So this being the 5th time i've come to HOLY BASIL/ i really do just keep hoping that they will improve, learn from mistakes, handle things abit more better (and improve in the kitchen).

This time it was me Anita & Trang. Trang had never been here, so it was her first time hehe.

watermelon shake, & coconut drink

The watermelon drink was really refreshing, as it was a hot day it got really watery quickly. So be the end of the meal, it was mainly just water with a slight hint of watermelon flavour.

Green curry with vegies

I was shocked at the colour of the curry, and it looked like clumpy bits of coconut milk on the top. it wasn't a very creamy curry (which is what i prefer) but i did like the variety of vegies included which were eggplant (yum) carrots, bamboo, broccoli & mushrooms.

Chicken Lad Naa

This dish was vibrantly colourful, & piled up nice & high. The stir fried flat rice noodle was topped with chicken, vegies, and then gravy ladled over the top.

soft shell crab

Anita chose something different this time, had this soft shell crab served with chilli jam, and had this with rice. "i've had better soft shell crab" she said. Mainly out in the city. At a price of $14.90, i think it was overpriced..

Trang's Lad Naa, after eating from the top down, she was left with just a lot of stir fried rice noodles, which lacked any nice flavour.

We eagerly asked if there was any dessert & hoorah!!, there was :)

Sticky rice with coconut & mango

The sticky rice was sitting over a pool of passionfruit juice & pulp, which is the first time i've seen anything like it. The coconut milk was served in a seperate shot glass, and half a mango sliced up on the other side of the plate. I was really happy with desert, & its presentation. I'd say this was the best presented dish i've had here.

Having been here so many times now, i'd say the food here is really just average. It's the location, decor and busy crowd that attracts customers to Holy Basil, but seeing a fair amount of their dishes, i wouldn't come here just for the food (maybe only, for the dessert hehe).

SWEETNESS The Patisserie

When i stumbled across
this & this, i HAD to set a date to visit this little gem. Tucked away on the quieter side of Epping station (i assume this only because the roads are quieter), i get the feeling that not many people know about this place? That, or i'm just late in finding out about it hehe. Also i found out recently that Jaa did work experience here!

i see..
gingerbread ladies, tarts, macarons,
brownies, slices, muffins & rockyroad

The front window display lures you into the shop, enticing you with a range of goodies available for purchase. The front of the shop is somewhat small, i had to make sure my back pack was not bumping into anything (or anyone). But behind the counter it is open for all to see - the work benches, ovens, and workers doing their thing.

Even though the shop was in the shade, the pastel colours within made the shop sort of shine a nice light, so welcoming, and the staff were really friendly, helping us with questions like "what flavour is this? & this one? what about this one?" lol @ the array of different marshmallows that were on display.

They didn't have a place for us to sit inside, so we took our goodies across the road to Nero.

chocolate, coconut, peppermint, mango, passionfruit, raspberry

My favourite would have to be the coconut. & the chocolate. & the passionfruit. Heck, they were all yummy! Before this day, the only marshmallow i've ever had, was the allen's marshmallows. But these, are a different breed for sure. So soft, and flavorsome, colourful these morsels are to be shared around with friends- i feel like throwing a marshmallow party now hehe.

poor gingerbread man, what did he ever do to you Ann?

Some more marshmallow porn...

I hardly ever make my way over to Epping, so this will probably be my first (and last) trip for a while. Until i'm tempted again for some pillowy goodness...

Easy Chocolate Cupcakes with Lindt ball centres

I had plans to make
this after work one day. But the two banana's in the fridge - were BLACK. Un-usable. Was in a baking mood- badly. SO thought of something i can make, with ingredients i already had at home...

It wasn't till i finished mixing the batter, & thought hm, must find something to add to these plain & boring cupcakes. Saw a big box of mixed lindt balls- hoorah!

3 tbsp butter
1 cup self raising flour
2 tbsp cocoa
1 cup castor sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
12 assorted lindt balls

Preheat oven to 180'

Melt butter, and mix with remaining ingredients until smooth.

Spoon into cupcake cases, add lindt ball into each centre.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, Cool.

Serve warm, or keep in the fridge to serve anytime!

These were yummy on their own. Had some velvet chocolate ooze out (while they were still warm). You could also serve with some icecream for an even MORE calorie dense dessert!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Daring Bakers November 2009 ~ Chocolate Mousse Cannoli

My first Daring Bakers challenge !! Very excited about this, & happy that i've finally got the balls to join up :)

This month's challenge was chosen & hosted by Lisa Michele, and at first i thought what? Frying? I thought it was Daring "Bakers" ?

It was a tricky one, I've only ever baked cupcakes, and the odd souffle, brownie, and icecream (once), so i was a bit hindered at the thought of making cannoli shells from scratch. BUt i did it, and even though only 2 came out nice (out of 10 lols) i can now say that i can make cannoli shells from scratch.

So here's the recipe, & i'm looking forward to the next challenge!

Lidisano’s Cannoli
Makes 22-24 4-inch cannoli
Prep time:
Dough – 2 hours and 10-20 minutes, including resting time, and depending on whether you do it by hand or machine. Filling – 5-10 minutes plus chilling time (about 2 hours or more)
Frying – 1-2 minutes per cannoli
Assemble – 20–30 minutes

2 cups (250 grams/8.82 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons(28 grams/1 ounce) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.06 ounces) unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon (1.15 grams/0.04 ounces) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (approx. 3 grams/0.11 ounces) salt
3 tablespoons (42 grams/1.5 ounces) vegetable or olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.18 ounces) white wine vinegar
Approximately 1/2 cup (approx. 59 grams/approx. 4 fluid ounces/approx. 125 ml) sweet Marsala or any white or red wine you have on hand
1 large egg, separated (you will need the egg white but not the yolk)
Vegetable or any neutral oil for frying – about 2 quarts (8 cups/approx. 2 litres)


1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer or food processor, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the oil, vinegar, and enough of the wine to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and well blended, about 2 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge from 2 hours to overnight.

2 Cut the dough into two pieces. Keep the remaining dough covered while you work. Lightly flour a large cutting or pastry board and roll the dough until super thin, about 1/16 to 1/8” thick (An area of about 13 inches by 18 inches should give you that). Cut out 3 to 5-inch circles (3-inch – small/medium; 4-inch – medium/large; 5-inch;- large. Your choice). Roll the cut out circle into an oval, rolling it larger and thinner if it’s shrunk a little.

3 Oil the outside of the cannoli tubes (You only have to do this once, as the oil from the deep fry will keep them well, uhh, Roll a dough oval from the long side (If square, position like a diamond, and place tube/form on the corner closest to you, then roll) around each tube/form and dab a little egg white on the dough where the edges overlap. (Avoid getting egg white on the tube, or the pastry will stick to it.) Press well to seal. Set aside to let the egg white seal dry a little.

4. In a deep heavy saucepan, pour enough oil to reach a depth of 3 inches, or if using an electric deep-fryer, follow the manufacturer’s directions. Heat the oil to 375°F (190 °C) on a deep fry thermometer, or until a small piece of the dough or bread cube placed in the oil sizzles and browns in 1 minute. Have ready a tray or sheet pan lined with paper towels or paper bags.

5. Carefully lower a few of the cannoli tubes into the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry the shells until golden, about 2 minutes, turning them so that they brown evenly.

8. Lift a cannoli tube with a wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, out of the oil. Using tongs, grasp the cannoli tube at one end. Very carefully remove the cannoli tube with the open sides straight up and down so that the oil flows back into the pan. Place the tube on paper towels or bags to drain. Repeat with the remaining tubes. While they are still hot, grasp the tubes with a potholder and pull the cannoli shells off the tubes with a pair of tongs, or with your hand protected by an oven mitt or towel. Let the shells cool completely on the paper towels. Place shells on cooling rack until ready to fill.

9. Repeat making and frying the shells with the remaining dough. If you are reusing the cannoli tubes, let them cool before wrapping them in the dough.


Chocolate Mousse


  • 300g good-quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
  • 1 tbs good-quality cocoa powder, sifted
  • 300ml thickened cream, plus extra whipped cream to serve
  • Grated chocolate, to serve


  1. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water (don't let the bowl touch the water). Stir until melted. Remove bowl from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Place eggs and sugar in a large bowl and beat with electric beaters for 5 minutes, or until mixture is pale, thick and doubled in volume. Fold in cooled chocolate and cocoa powder until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whip cream until thickened (be careful not to over-beat). Use a large metal spoon to carefully fold the cream into the chocolate mixture, trying to keep the mixture as light as possible.

When ready to serve..fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain or star tip, or a ziplock bag, with the mousse. If using a ziplock bag, cut about 1/2 inch off one corner. Insert the tip in the cannoli shell and squeeze gently until the shell is half filled. Turn the shell and fill the other side. You can also use a teaspoon to do this, although it’s messier and will take longer.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hilton Hotel Sydney - Glass Brasserie

Level 2, 488 George Street
Sydney, NSW 2000
Ph: (02) 9265 6068

Ann was nice enough to get me to come to a sugar hit with her, and she chose the Hilton's Glass Brasserie for us. Our booking was at 9, and we had finished dinner at 7.30.. so we were sitting in the hotel lobby for a good thirty minutes (after a quick stroll up & down George st to walk of dinner). At ten to nine we thought, meh - lets just head up.

We were seated in a corner booth (yay for both of us getting booth seats), and were asked if we wanted tea or coffee. We both went for tea, i chose the chamomile & Ann chose green tea. Both came with a tiny shortbread cookie.

I really liked the simple tea pot, cup & saucer, makes for pretty pictures hehe. Not long after we got our tea's, we got our sugar hit plates.

item #1

This is the order i had them in! The first, a marshmallow (which had been blowtorched) with a shot glass of raspberry chocolate fondue. Heavily dipping my marshmallow into the slightly bitter (but oh-so-good) fondue, i had left over to scoop up with my now empty paddle-pop-sort-of stick. Really, these portions are way too small, i wish i ordered two hehe.

item #2

Second, was a ball of early grey ice cream rolled into a cookies & cream biscuit, served on a white chocolate pandan parfait. This came last on my yummy list, the flavours didn't mix well for me, but i did adore the pandan flavour in the parfait.

item #3

This, was heaven in each spoon that went into my mouth. I've never had anything sooo melt in your mouth, warm gooey goodness. I savoured each spoon, for as long as i could, and wished that i could do a tim tam ad on it - a never ending cup of chocolate fondant. I definitely want to try & make this at home (i have ramekins yippee!)

This was my first & unfortunately my last sugar hit (possibly only for 2009). It scares me who many calories i'm paying $20 for, ever since i started my food blog the number on the scales has just slowly risen, just like the exchange rates lately.

Ann however, went to a few others: Shang gri La, Swissotel, & Azuma Kushiyaki. However much i am jealous, i'm glad i didn't cave in, and smile at all the calories i saved myself *sigh*

Azuma Kushiyaki

Ground Floor Regent Place Shopping
501 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
T: (02) 9267 7775
F: (02) 9267 7776

After seeing a post from Katherine here, & a few weeks later a dinner date with Ann, i decided to come here to try out some Jap food (and was also looking forward to having the quail eggs yum).

The last time i walked past with friends, looking for dinner, they were booked out (we ended up going to some dodgy dumpling place in Chinatown) so i made sure i booked well in advance for tonight.

rock style chopstick holders

Yaki Nasu $7

We both wanted just a light dinner due to:

a) low on $$
b) we were sort of on a diet
c) we had a sugar hit at 9pm :P

So i was questioning part b) if we were going to part c) :s I had never been to a sugarhit before but seeing a lot of foodies were going, i thought i'd go see what all the fuss was about (post on the sugar hit coming up shortly)

The eggplant came out sort of cold, served in a bowl of light sauce, topped with bonito flakes & a splodge of grated ginger.

Quail eggs with Kushiyaki sauce $3 (per skewer)

Quails eggs was what i was after, so i ordered 2 skewers (so i can have one all to myself!). They were colored & flavored in sauce, and didn't last very long on the plate hehe. I LOVE these little critters, and remember once i went to a 'hot pot buffet', and ate (no joke) more then 40 eggs Lols.

Green tea soba (served cold) $15

We both shared the soba noodles as well.

Above:before sharing. Below:after sharing.

The noodles were cold, and perfectly cooked. Something i should think about buying for home, as a quick and light dinner/lunch.

We didn't order any drinks, and the bill came to a measly $28 (woohoo). When the bill came, the waiter also came to inform us that there was a minimum dining charge of $35, but they would leave it be for this time.

I was thinking "are you for real?" this is the first time I've encountered anything of this sort. I think it's silly to put a minimum dining amount ..... what do you think?

Vasandha Bhavan

Shop 19, The Crescent, Homebush NSW
Phone: (02) 9746 5530

I wanted to thank Jen for convincing me to enter into her Julie & Julie competition (of which i won a Julie & Julia pack with lots of gooodies), so i wanted to shout her to lunch! She refused, but agreed to go to lunch with me anyway hehe so here we are at Homebush, at a restaurant that my workmate had always suggested me to go. So when an Indian suggests and Indian restaurant, you know the food will be traditional and real. After all, he was born in India and lives there for the majority of his life.

Mango Lassi $3

There were only two sorts of lassi, the other was plain i think- i was hoping to have rose (that's my favourite!). It came in a tall glass, really too much to finish, but really refreshing on the palate, and was a perfect cooler for the food we had lined up.

vegetarian thali $11.90

For just under $12, what Jennifer got was a real bargain! 3 small portions of different curries, and a larger portion of a mixed vegetable curry, served with raita, rice & a papadum. The platter was too large to fit in one photo hehe. It was massive, and Jen was trying really hard to finish it.. but being Indian food, being so calorie dense, i advised her to take away for a mid afternoon snack..


Now here's a dilemma! Jen took photo's of the menu, and these babies were $4.90 each?? No way.. i really don't remember them costing that much. & on my take away menu i snapped from the door- show's $1.50. So i really have no idea how much they were, but they were undoubtly one of the nicer samosa's i've had. Pity they came sauceless (unlike at Billu's in Harris Park).

These were damn crisp on the outside (yet did not ooze bad oily stuff unlike some nasty foodcourt samosa's i've had in the past), and were stuffed with a lot of veggies & seasonings. Quite filling, and the reason why i had to take away half my main.

kashmiri naan $3.50

I love anything coconutty, so this naan was my definite pick! Thin and crispy (maybe a tiny bit too crispy), with bits of almond as well, this paired well with my cream based curry.

malai kofta $9.50

My curry was served in a metal dish with cute golden handles. What looked like a small serving, was really hard to finish & i really didn't want to stuff myself silly (portion control, diet, plan to un-expand my waistline) so i took home half.

A very creamy curry consisting of cottage cheese & potato dumplings (i made a little mess trying to dissect the dumpling for photographic reasons). I like how the curry was not just full of oil, (well if it was it was mixed through completely hehe) but i've had curries before which just tasted like i was eating oil.

I also ordered a cocnut chutney to go with my meal, totally un-regrettable as it was the best chutney i've ever had! It came out chilled, and was so refreshing. I think i finished off about three quarters of it, (i really like to overdose on my condiments). I love the texture of coconut, and could see some finely crushed almonds in the mix as well i think.

To finish off our meal, Jennifer shared with me her desert (part of her $12 meal) which was gulab jamun (wiki: made of a dough consisting mainly of milk solids (often including double cream and flour) in a sugar syrup flavored with cardamom seeds and rosewater or saffron) which was served cold. Not enough dessert if you ask me!

Indian is something i don't have often due to its high calorie content, but it is certainly one of my favorite foods to indulge in. Our next lunch date (hopefully soon) will be at Billu's in Parramatta which i have already been to, but they have such an extensive menu i could just keep going back again & again!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Our 1st Bloggoversary

BettysBites is One Years of Age today Yippee :) Celebrating with dinner at Etch tonight, really can't wait!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Golden King 2000

Shop 13 172 Greenvalley Rd
Green Valley
New South Wales, 2168
Phone: (02) 9826 7500

After a whole day in the Blue Mountains, (and a not so filling lunch at Bygone Beautys), on the drive home we were thinking what to have for dinner. I really had trouble thinking of something local, took us ages to finally decide to eat here. I've been here once a long time ago, and have had take away as well.

The shopfront is shared by a newsagency, and i think a hairdresser as well. And behind, you can find an indian mart and a few other small shops that i can't remember.

Being seated straight away we were waitered by a bubbly middle aged Chinese woman, assuming that we spoke fluent Chinese, but then seeing our confused faces (Richard is Chinese, but doesn't speak it very well) she changed to the English language.

She was very chirpy and cheery, making jokes about things, and happily taking our order, and accommodating to my request for some nuts (they didn't charge for a small plate of cashew nuts yippee)

Sliced chinese mushroom with egg noodles $11

Shanghai Noodles with XO Sauce $10.50

I found both dishes were lacking flavour, i've had better noodles in Cabramatta before, and at this point, regret not going to Cabramatta for dinner. Richard, however, enjoyed both noodles (he isn't very hard to please hehe).

The big chunks of shallots were a bit overwhelming on the palate, but Richard enjoyed eating my bits :)

Dinner was cheap, but probably could've been cheaper in Cabramatta :P

I think this restaurant caters more for the non asian community, as there were a lot of different nationalities of people dining at the time we were there. They did a great job on service i was really happy with that, next time perhaps, i might ask for a side order of soy sauce to add some more flavour.

Blue Mountains Chocolate

176 Lurline Street
Katoomba, Blue Mountains
Ph: 02 4782 7071

While visiting Katoomba, we had seen this chocolate house - and just had to go in :)

We had just finished our Three Sister's walk, and weren't starved, but could do with a small snack, so we chose the brownies, and a few pieces of chocolates.

The brownie was dense, and cold from refridgeration, but slightly on the dry side. Richard liked it, but i'm more a fan of the fudgier type brownies.

I ate the first chocolate in one go, then after seeing the disappointment in Richard's face that i didn't go halves with him, i shared the other three with him haha :P

I don't remember the flavours that we had but they were all hand made. The shop has over 60 different hand made chocolates on offer. On top of that they have chocolate covered toffee and nuts, & fluffy nougat.

So here are pictures for a mini tour of the shop, enjoy!

different chocolate goodies

pick n mix!

i wanted to buy this but was scared it would break on the ride back to Syd

various chocolate moulds (vintage i think!)

assorted chocolates jams & oils

chocolate gift box sets

I left the shop with these two goodies in my bag. Chocolate buttons (milk & dark chocolate). Hoping to make some yummy biscuits with these :)