Saturday, October 31, 2009

Bygone Beautys

Corner Grose & Megalong Streets
Leura NSW 2780
Blue Mountains Australia

1.5 hours drive away from Sydney, you will find the Blue Mountains. I've come here many a times for nature walks in Wentworth falls. BUt this time, we went abit further, to explore Katoomba & the famous three sisters rocks.

My friend's Trish & Joseph, and Mel, all suggested coming to Bygone Beauties for scones & antiques! So after a nice & relaxing stroll through the Katoomba bushwalk, we headed over for some tea.


There is parking out the back, and there were a lot of people coming in & out but they seemed to be parking on the street. We got a spot in the back, and walked around (the long way ) to the entrance eheh (mianly so i could get the photo above). Later on realising that if we had walked the other way - it would of been half the distance..


The store is full of antique toys & knick knacks, this teddy was perched in front of me on a sort-of pillar, so cute!


Lots of cabinets full of brooches, mini toys, jewellry, figurines, and lots of other shiny things.


There are only about 10-15 small tables in this room, we got a table for two right in the centre.


It took a while to get served (even after a lot of waving our hands around). So i was admiring the things in the cabinet beside me. I think i saw a brooch worth $700..


I ordered a pot of japanese green tea ($4.95), while Richard got a pot of peppermint tea $4.35 (i can't stand peppermint in tea, its just tastes really wrong in my mouth..)


A plate of sandwiches with 8 points was about $15. 8 points meaning 8 pieces .. i had to ask i wasnt sure hehe. The bread was about 2 or 3 days old, it definitely wasn't fresh bread. Inside had cheese, lettuce & tomato, plain & simple - but filled us up and we also had a large pot of tea to go with it.


As we were eating we admired the teapots along the walls, this place houses over 3000 teapots on display! (not for sale i don't think so otherwise they probably wouldn't have so many hehe).




We were too full for scones, (and from seeing it served to the other patrons, it didn't look that great anyway. So up we got and explored the place some more. From the outside, you couldn't imagine how many things they fit in this small little house. SOmething in every nook & cranny, absolutely NO spare space at all, everysingle space was filled with something. Not more than one person fitting through the walk ways it was a very tight squeeze (especially with my back pack on hehe).






This doll reminded me of those golliwog biscuits - does anyone remember them? they were dark brown dark chocolate biscuits in the shape of.. this doll. Quite freaky i think



When we were done browsing we headed to the front to pay. & found out there was a minimum of $30 eftpos (and we had no cash!) ANd we had about $7 to spend to reach $30... so back into the shop to find something worth $12..

I ended up picking one of these cute mini teapot sets. Yup that's blutack holding it all together hehe. This was $12.95, the cheapest cutest thing i found. Got it for my little sister she loves it hehe.


To show you how miniature it is, i've taken a photo with a 5 cent coin. Tiny yeah?

There is also seating outside, as it was a slightly windy day, not many people stayed outside. & it was really warm & cosey inside.


I really thank Trish Joeseph & Mel for reccomending this place to visit while we were in Katoomba. I could've spent hours in the shops, but refrain from buying anything as my room is already too full of useless junk hehe.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Marshmallow & Chocolate Muffins

Happy Halloween everyone!

I don't usually celebrate, so this was a chance to make something halloween-ish :)

Muffin mixture

70 g butter
280 g plain flour
6 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tsp baking powder
85 g caster sugar
1 egg beaten
300ml milk
100g milk choc chips
55 g mini white marshmallows

Orange Icing

250g butter, cubed, at room temperature
450g (3 cups) pure icing sugar, sifted
60ml (1/4 cup) milk
1 tsp vanilla essense
red food coloring, yellow food colouring (to make orange!)

* * *
Method

preheat oven to 190C

melt butter

sift flour cocoa powder and baking powder in a large bowl. stir in sugar.

whisk egg, milk & melted butter together, and gentley stir into the flour mixturee to form a stiff batter.

Gently stir through choc chips and marshmallows.

Spoon into muffin cases, and bake for 20-25 minutes until well risen. leave to cool in tin for 5 mins, and cool completley before icing.


With the icing i just beat everything together, and added the food coloring - until i got the right colour.


I Baked these for about 23 mins, they were slightly dry! So i'd say bake for 18-20 minutes instead :)


oops! almost forgot!

the decoration, i just bought a tube of white fudge icing from woolworths, drew four circles starting from small in the middle. then using a toothpick, start from the centre & work your way out, to make it look like a cobweb :)

Enjoy!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Dulce de leche Chocolate babycakes


I had a can of dulce de leche in the pantry - been sitting there for about two weeks. I didn't want to make brownies again, and i had been wanting to make these babycakes from 'epicure chocolate' for a while, so i whipped these up on a Monday morning (yes, i sometimes do my baking in the mornings before work, then i get awesome morning natural lighting for my photo's hehe).

But these weren't or me, they were for the uber cool Bensy - i had missed his birthday on the weekend because i was in Melbourne, so i wanted to make it up to him :)

Ingredients

1 cup cold water
1 cup sugar
125 g butter
2 generous tbsp cocoa
3/4 tsp bi-carb soda
2 eggs, beaten
1.5 cups self raising flour

Preheat oven to 180C.

Combine water, sugar, butter, cocoa & soda in a large saucepan.

Bring to the boil slowly. Simmer for 5 minutes & cool.

Add eggs and sifted flour and mix well.

Place mixture in mini muffin trays.

Add a blob of dulce de leche into the centres of each muffin.

Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until tops spring back when pressed gentley and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Cool slightly, best eaten warm, or zapped in the microwave if its cold!

Because i had left over dulce de leche, Bensy got the rest of this liquid gold caramel to pig out on hehe. HAPPY BDAY DUDE!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Coda Bar & Restaurant

Open Tuesday-Sunday Dinner, Wednesday-Sunday Lunch.
Basement 141 Flinders Lane (Cnr Oliver Lane)
Melbourne 3003
Telephone +613 9650 3155
Facsimile +613 9650 5127

My last night in Melbourne, & i wanted to make the most of my trip and visit another restaurant. Flicking through Tom's Melbourne eating guide (2009 + 2010), he decided on Coda, a fairly new restaurant that offers Modern Australian & vietnamese fusion tapas styled dishes.

Our late afternoon call to make a booking, we were told that there were no spare tables, but for two people, we could easily be seated at the bar.

This i didn't mind.. so we just turned up at 7pm, and luckily - only had to wait 5 minutes before a couple had finished their drinks & left their seats (where the kitchen was in our full view!)



The restaurant had soft lighting, with mesh covered lanterns, and a full open kitchen & bar. I loved the layout of the restaurant, & the fact that it was a basement style room - made it feel even cooler :)



Seated infront on the kitchen we were able to see the happenings in the kitchen as well as the cute bartenders making drinks & serving us our meals.




Hopkins River steak bernaise charcoal grilled $29


Tom ordered the man steak, which he claimed was excellent, succulent, with the bernaise sauce so good that he was lost for words pretty much!


Pomme frites $8


Me being addicted to fries, i just had to order these & Tom helped me finish them as well. They were heavily salted (just the way i like them) & were fresh & crisp, serving size more than enough for the two of us we struggled to finish it.


Eggplant and tofu lettuce delight,
enoki mushroom, crispy garlic and black vinegar $5


In the Eating guide, they mentioned a vegetarian style san choy bao - & this is what got me! Since i've become vego i havent had san choy bao before, so it was the first dish i ordered. Everything was finely sliced, and in two bites this morsel was finished. It ended all too soon and i really wanted another one, but i still had my coda slaw & chips to finish off.

Coda slaw, wombok, carrot, hot mint & red cabbage $8


I ordered the healthy cod slaw - to counteract with the unhealthy fries. Cabbage was fresh & crunchy, with a light vinegar & lemon dressing.

Wok fried morning glory with garlic & ginger $8


After the coleslaw i was still not full.. so i ordered another small dish, while still picking at the fries. Then i started to get full.. & regretted ordering another dish. But i thought i'd be okay, as the first two dishes i had were faily small, i could handle another one.

When i started digging in though, i could feel my stomach getting over filled, and i was struggling to finish the waterspinach (something i have a lot at home, & i love it), I hardly ate a quarter and asked if i could take away it (i wasnt shy at all to ask this, i wanted to take it home cos there was so much left eheh). The waiter came back & said due to health regulations they didn't allow doggy bagging. I shrugged, it was no big deal.

I really liked the ambiance and the design here, and the menu (found here) was really funky & different. I had to ask what everything was haha i really had no idea that a wok fried morning glory - was water spinach.

I was really looking forward to trying the desert taste plate of Baked lemon tart with Yuzu marshmallow, Valrhona chocolate custard pot, & hazelnut brittle & pumpkin foam - but we both thought we'd be too full, and opted for waffles later in the night somewhere in Fitzroy... which we didnt end up having at all. Tom was abit tired & had an early start the next morning, so we called it a night..


But i did end up going to san churros with Ann & Jess for a late night desert!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Jam DOnut Cupcakes

Excuse the awful lighting - i made these before i made my lightbox, and it was late at night, & this was taken in my bathroom with the heatlights on.. lols.

I was browsing Lorraine's site one day at work and bookmarked a whole lot of recipes i wanted to try out, and this is the first of a few. I love cupcakes, and i love donuts!

I'll probably make them again, & hopefully the photo's will turn out nicer in my lightbox :)

The donuts were really soft & fluffy on the inside and i put a tablespoon instead of a teaspoon of jam hehe.



Original Recipe from here.

Makes 8


Ingredients

  • 300g (2 cups) self-raising flour
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 175ml/6 fl oz buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons good-quality strawberry jam

To brush on top and then roll

  • 100g/3.52 ozs unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line a cupcake tray.

2. Sift the flour into a medium bowl, then add a pinch of salt and the caster sugar. In a jug, combine the vegetable oil, egg, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Add to the dry mixture and stir to only just combine. It will be thick and puffy. Place a tablespoonful of the mixture in each muffin hole and make an indent in the centre. Fill each indent with a teaspoon of the strawberry jam.




3. Cover the jam with the remaining cupcake batter. I found that these slightly overflowed and that the tops stuck together but then after taking it out, it contributed to the puffy donut look. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.

4. Meanwhile, melt the butter and cool slightly. Combine the extra sugar and the cinnamon in a large bowl. When the muffins are cool enough to handle, brush each muffin lightly with the melted butter, then roll in the cinnamon sugar. Serve while still a little warm.



Carrot & Walnut Cupcakes with Cream cheese frosting

I love how moist carrot cupcakes can be, and the fact that they have a vegetable in it - makes it seem healthier & non-guilt to eat hehe.

I found this recipe in my '500 cupcakes' book, & they turned out extra moist, with the cream cheese frosting going really well with the cake itself.

Cupcake

1 cup butter
1 cup caster sugar
1.5 cup self raising flour
4 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts
150 g freshly grated carrots 2 tbsp sultanas


Preheat oven to 175'C.

Combine butter, sugar, flour & eggs in a bowl & beat until smooth.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients.

Spoon batter into cases & bake for 15-18 minutes.

Cool cupcakes on rack.

Cream cheese frosting

200 g cream cheese, softened
1 cup icing sugar
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla essence

Beat together in a bowl, and frost cooled cupcakes.


Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

I've always loved eating peanut butter & banana sandwiches - zapped in the microwave before consuming. So when i thought of making cupcakes in a similar style - i got really excited ! Trish had made some banana cupcakes for me for my birthday, so i've used her recipe, and made up my own PB frosting.

Cupcakes

125g unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups soft, brown sugar

2 very ripe bananas (medium size), mashed

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1/3 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cups self raising flour

1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda

Pinch of salt

PB Frosting

1 cup softened butter
1 cup crunchy PB (or you can use smooth, whatever you have in the pantry)
4 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

Beat everything well together, & frost cupcakes.




Everyone who tried these loved them, & they are pretty moist as well. Since i used crunchy PB, there was soft & crunchy bits when you're chewing i love it hehe.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Guylian - The Rocks

91 George Street
The Rocks
Sydney NSW 2000

After dinner one night, we were after a place for desert, and the closest walkings distance cafe from Pony - was Guylian.

I've visited Guylian before, but it doesnt compare to Max Brennars or Lindt. It was just the four of us so we shared two cakes, & coffees/hot chocolates.



I'm not too sure what this was, but it was a special (not on the standard menu list. I thought it was the 100% pure pleasure, but after asking Lorraine she told me it definitely wasn't! I wish i had taken a photo of the specials page >_<.

The presentation was like a piece of art though - it always makes things taste nicer if they are presented nicely :)


We had a little surprise in the middle, i think it was some purple berry.. hard jelly or jam. The color was very deep purple, and was colouring the surrounding cake as well.

Guylian Tiramisu $14


Sponge lady finger, expresso syrup & mascarpone sabayon. Again i love how this dish was laid out, the red love hearts in the orange circles - so cute! The expresso syrup was strong, but nothing beats home made tiramisu (where you can overload on the liqueur heehee)


I think the cakes here are nicely presented, and the names of a few of them really shout out to you (like 100% pure pleasure, sounds like you'll be eating something so orgasmic!).

Friday, October 16, 2009

Caramel Mudcakes

So as i was saying in my last post - i also made some desert for the picnic, which were these caramel mudcakes i found on Belle's site.

Belle's recipe link here.

These cakes are so easy to make, and turned out devilishly moist & sweet, & and perfect sized cakes for everyone to enjoy them (without feeling too sickly).

Chicken cashew & celery salad

My good friends Sambath & Julie had organised a trip to Canberra, to see the Floriade, visit Cockington Green, and a picnic inbetween, so naturally i offered to bring lunch! :) & also a desert, which were these from Belle's site.


I have made this before, back in my meat eating days - copied it off Richard's friend (but he made his own mayo, which i think is alot nicer aswell)

It's so simple and quick to put together, eaten by spreading the mixture onto sliced bread (or rolls, whichever you prefer). You can add as little or as much mayonnaise as you like, same with the cashews & chicken, nut ultimately you're just mixing everything through - easy!

Ingredients

chicken (whole, grilled, roasted, anything) i just bought a whole chicken from oporto's for $10.98
one whole celery (cut off leaves, keep stalks)
cashew nuts (crushed in a ziplock bag with a rolling pin) although i kept mine whole cos i like it like that
mayonnaise (i used best foods whole egg mayonnaise, from woolworths, because its creamier and less tangy)

So you pretty much just chop up the chicken, celery, stir through the mayonnaise, and lastly the crushed cashews.

Keep refrigerated & when you take it out to a picnic (if you choose to do so) then keep it in an esky!


I'm so glad everyone enjoyed lunch (& the cupcakes too)! Here is one of the photo's i took at FLoriade ( i took so many, i'd kill your bandwidth if i posted them all up hehe)

Indulge your senses Pure Chai


So, bettysbites was sent a *first* product for reviewing from Rachel of Polarity Consultants. I was really excited to see an email in my inbox with "Product review request - Indulge Your Senses Pure Chai" & eagerly read on, replied, & shortly after - received a package in the post!

I'm a huge lover of chai, i don't drink coffee so chai is the next best hot drink for me.

Now i straight away made some for my boss & my workmates & ofcourse myself. I had received two canisters one of chocolate chai and the other vanilla and honey chai.

The results? Naveed loved it, and asked where he could buy some. Rahul, asked if he could start a food blog - would be get offered product reviews too? Hehe. & my boss, said it was to sweet for him (i should of thought twice before offering, as he only takes half a teaspoon of sugar in his coffee (and this drink requires atleast 2 teaspoons of powder to be stirred through)

I made two cups for myself (so naughty i know) and i preferred the vanilla honey over the chocolate, only because i felt like i was drinking chai more with the honey & vanilla flavouring, and the drink being a lighter colour.

When made with skim milk, these drinks are 99% free - no guilt included! Yet the flavours are so intense, something i won't feel guilty about indulging in every morning tea time.

Now, onto the icecream.. I was browsing blogs & came across Shez's 3 ingredient-no icecream maker needed- icecream, where she too had also been offered the same products.

I had always thought that icecream took a long time to make, and quicker with an icecream machine. So after reading her post, i most definitely had to try it out, All i needed to do was stop by the shops after work and buy a tub of thickened cream..

all you need is:

600ml thickened cream
1 can (375ml) condensed milk
2-3 heaped tablespoons of chai powder (i used chocolate)

Put all the ingredients into a bowl, and beat until the mixture doubles in size. Pack into containers & freeze for atleast 4 hours before eating. This process can be quickened by stirring through at half time to even out the cold icecream.

I have one container especially marked for my best friend Ann - she's gonna love it!

Shez used 2 tablespoons, but i reeally love the flavour of chai, and i think the colours in mine turned out abit more darker aswell.

Richard was the first to try the icecream (after me hehe) and he said the icecream was premium tasting - better then anything he's ever tried. Now i'm not sure if he's just over complimenting, but it was pretty good :) & i loved the fact that i could just whip it up in the morning quickly, and it was ready when i got home from work!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Holy Basil

233A Canley Vale Road
Canley Heights NSW 2166

So Thai food, is a favourite of mine at the moment (and has been for the last4-5 mths!) I really can't get enough of it. So when i was told there was a new thai place opening up in Canley, i organised a get together..

The restaurant can seat quite a few number of people, and it also has outside seating (but i think only in the daytime, there were not enough lights for dining outside at night yet). Decorated with statues, plants & lanterns, i love the ambience it creates, walking through the doors you can hear the clanging of pots and things from the open kitchen in the back.

Bich had booked a table for us, (just incase it was busy & we didn't have to wait).


Menu's were handed out, and an extensive one at that. A huge A3 page, double sided, so much to choose from no wonder the waiter was coming back about 3 times before we were ready to order hehe.

We were told that there was no drinks menu, so when asked - the waitress just listed what they had. I went with an avocado & durian shake (my fav drink at the moment). Thanh requested a watermelon drink, but moments later they said there was no more..

avocado & durian Shake


Seriously this is the best avocado durian shake i've ever had! It was lusciously thick, with a very strong flavour of durian (which means they weren't stingy on the durian (like most other places are). Served in a round wine glass, with a thick straw -it was a meal in itself i struggled to finish this hehe.

vegetarian curry puffs (2 pieces) $3.90
savoury vegetable triangles potatoes, peas, carrots, corn & onion
fried until crispy golden brown & served with sweet sour dipping sauce


The curry puff pastry was nice & crisp, with a fair amount of filling in it. I ALWAYS order curry puffs when i eat out at thai, mianly because they are the only vegetarian options available! But this place has the meat version as well (for the ame price i think)

goong hom pha (prawns in a blanket) $3.90


larb ped (spicy duck mince salad) $14.90


This is a laos/thai classic, combining duck's brerast mince, spanish onions, coriander, shallots, fresh chilli & mint leaves dressed in lime juice.

ox tongue $8.90


Marinated grilled ox tongue, thinly sliced & served with dipping sauce.

duck gang dang (red curry)


Made with a red spicy base of red chilli paste, sweet basil, kaffir lime leaves, & garlic infused in coconut milk served with seasonal vegetables eggplant, green beans, zucchini & pumpkin.

Pad thai (vegies + tofu) $9.90
optional egg $1.50


With the option of having a fried egg on top - i snapped up this straight away! Fried sunny side up is my FAVOURITE way to have eggs, and i asked if the yolk can be runny :)

The pad thai had alot of fresh bean sprouts, and the noodles were perfectly cooked (some places have the noodles over cooked and it goes all mushy). Flavour was awesome, its hard to find a place that serves their pad thai right, and this would be the 2nd best pad thai i've ever had (the first being a restaurant in Newtown back in my nonblogging days)

chicken pad thai $10.90


After eating, staff came out to say that there was actually watermelon, and we could order it if we wanted to. We all shook our heads.. we were all full and pretty much finished for the night, until he mentioned 'on the house' haha :) So we all got cmplimentary glasses of their watermelon shake (which i think had lychee in it aswell). I didnt try any because i'm allergic (yes i'm allergic to watermelon fruit!) but everyone said it was beautiful & refreshing.

complimentary watermelon drinks


The owner had come to ask us how everything was, and also mentioned they are going to open up the outdoor area soon as well, and try to turn it into a cafe style place on weekends, somewhere people can come to read the paper, have a drink, in a relaxing atmosphere.


I'd say this place has the nicest decor, and biggest drinks bar avail (and offering special drinks that no other places have).


We really enjoyed dining here, and when i got home i straight away joined the facebook group for 'Holy Basil'!

This is definitely now my favourite Thai restaurant out west, and will be coming back again soon enough.