Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cooks Hill Hotel

Cooks Hill are well-known out west for their $10 steak nights (Sunday to Thursdays) and also for $10 you can get beer battered fish, chicken fillet, lamb chops, pork chops, spaghetti or Kransky specials. All of these are served with chips, salad, and a complimentary drink :O)

On a sunday lunch i was craving for fish & chips but didn't want to travel far so i ended up here with a mate.

For $10 you can't complain. The chips were great, the salad awesome with their special 'cooks hill' dressing, and the fish hot straight from the fryer.

It was a full house while we were there, but i have driven past this place many a times and seen a decent line up outside the place.

2/485 Cabramatta Rd,
Cabramatta West NSW 2166
Ph: (02) 8786 0622

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Harvest Box Review- & a FREEBIE!

I'm sure anyone that work's in an office - will always get peckish mid afternoon, just before heading home for the day (well, i know i do!)

When i ignore this hunger i usually end up binge eating when i get home before dinner, which is so much worser then just having a little snack at work to keep hunger pangs at bay. But reaching for a coke, or chocolate, or biscuit - can be detrimental to your waistline :s

When i found out about HarvestBox through Jennifer, i knew it was what i needed for my health conscious self.

Harvest Box will deliver a package to you once, twice or three times a week (however often you want it) and there is also a rating system so that you can get your favourites (and avoid the one's you didn't like as much).

I have mine delivered once a week, and so far i love it! No longer am i starved till i get home, or craving junkfood at work, these little packages are yummy and nutritious and keep me satisfied :)

By the beach (my favourite so far!!)
brazil, coconut chip, macadamia, mango

Mont blanc
blueberry fusion, white chocolate, crown sultana

Latin swing
brazil, roast almond, macadamia

Everest & Beyond
date, goji berry, crown sultana

Now for the freebie :O)

If you head to and punch in the code 551K8UKVA, you will get your first box FREE and 2nd box at half price.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fat Panda

So i haven't been eating out much lately because a) i'm trying to lose weight & b) i'm trying to save some money. Eating out is so stressful on the wallet sometimes, and bad for the waistline I've put on 5kg since the beginning of the year and 2 mths ago I've seriously started dieting & exercising to lose it.

So staying local means sticking to what i know, and like, which is Japanese at Fat Panda.

In the last couple of mths i've come back a handful of times and never fail to order these three items from the menu.

salmon sashimi


Eel & cream cheese handrolls

From the menu i have also tried, vegetarian gyoza, agedashi tofu, deep fried soft shell crab, and various plates off the sushi train.

The sushi train is nothing special, only picked off the train from hunger while waiting for our food to come. The gyoza's are yummy crispy morsels, which at the visit i had my camera with me, they had sadly run out :(

I like coming here to get my japanese fix, when i'm too lazy to trek out to the city for dinner :D

Fat Panda
233c Canley Valey Rd
Canley Heights, 2166
(02) 9755 4888

Note: - no Efptos - only cash payments.

Sunrise, cakes, breakfast & a garden photo-shoot

Something i love to do but a) dont do it often enough & b) it's a little too early for a weekend to wake up - is to catch the sunrise at the beach - particularly Bondi Beach :O)

& After lazing in the morning sunshine, grabbing a coffee and walking along the wet sand with the water crashing over our feet - we headed to Cafe ish for breakfast ^_^ But it wasnt open until 9am (i swear i saw somewhere it had mentioned opening at 8am) so we went for a drive around & stopped by Bourke Street Bakery.

Praline Scroll
nicely presented it wasn't a favorite of mine but James said it was soft, not to sweet, and didn't stick to your teeth like other scrolls do.

Pear & almond tart
i chose this as i didnt want anything overly sweet (like the creme brulee tart that i also saw on display) & im glad i did - this tart wasn't too much sweet at all- i really liked it :)

Lemon curd tart
this we were told to eat very soon as the curd would melt? after James took a bite he said it had a first hit of fishyness taste - i found it too sour and tangy for me - so i only picked at the tart instead =P

a big adorable cuddly dog we met while sitting outside on the tables!

It was already past 9 when we were done with our bakery treats so we headed over to Cafe Ish, where there were already a few customers seated already. It's not a huge place, but the space didn't seem too cramped either. I already knew what i wanted to try - which was the Soft shell crab omelette. & i was keen to try the okinomiyaki, so James ordered that and we shared both.

Linger Iced Tea $5.50
this homemade drink was light & refreshing with flavors of lemon peel lemon myrtle and melon balm, and apparently ginger but it wasn't too noticeable for me?

Okinomiyaki $18
w jap pumpkin, organic fetta, spinach, davidson plum sauce, wasabi mayo & sea weed flakes
this was the first restaurant cooked okinomiyaki I've ever had. I've had a friend make it once, and also tried one from Mosman markets. I found this one a bit too plain for my liking, but i do like the plum sauce mixed with mayo that was a nice combination.

Crab omelette $23
Crispy crab, avocado, shallot, garlic, chilli, soy, ginger dressing & lime
this was my favorite out of the two, so many flavors, the crab was nice and crisp, except for the pieces in the omelette, but i think i prefer my soft shell crab fried alone and eaten with dipping sauce like at some jap/thai restaurants.

I would like to come back and try the Croque Nippon toasted sandwich w red bean jam, mochi, banana and molten lindt chocolate on the side $10.50 and the Emperor Don toasted brioche, lemon myrtle ricotta, sake scented rosella and raspberries with passionfruit $14.50, the latter was recommended by our waitress but i was really craving something savory.

After breakfast we moved onto Eden gardens for some photo-shooting! (i had gone two weeks ago on a rainy day you can find those photo's here)


Thanks to James my eating and shooting buddy i had a great day out :O)

Bourke Street Bakery
633 Bourke St
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9699 1011

Cafe Ish
82 Campbell St
Surry Hills New South Wales 2010
(02)9281 1688

Eden Gardens
301/307 Lane Cove Road
North Ryde 2113
(02) 9491 9900

Thursday, November 11, 2010


My cousin Joanne recently bought me some packet bonito flakes to try out - a mixture of sesame seeds, seaweed, bonito flakes & seasoning, it's a delightful crunchy addition to any plain old boring bowl of rice.

Actually it might not be bonito, i can't read Korean? If anybody can translate it for me that'd be great :O)

step 1 : rice

step 2 : sprinkling of packet mixture

step 3 : add chopped cucumber (or avocado) (or both)

step 4 : tuna

step 5 : cut up sushi paper & kewpie mayonnaise

step 6 : enjoy!

Another idea is to mix the bonito flakes through a small bowl of rice, and shape into onigiri like below ^_^

photo courtesy Joanne @

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tea fruit & Oat muffins

I'm a bit of a gym junkie, and I eat quite well five out of seven days of the week (weekends i like to splurge on the good stuff!)

So when i came across this recipe, i saw two ingredients that i already had in the pantry - oats & dried fruit.

To feel less guilty about eating these i halved the oil & only used 75grams of sugar (half white half brown), and used English breakfast tea bags (as i didn't have any early grey).

And the result - a moist healthy muffin (that also went really well with a small dab of strawberry jam :)


300g Plain Flour
75g Caster Sugar/brownsugar
70ml Vegetable Oil
100ml Milk
1 English breakfast Teabag
2 Large Eggs
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
20g Rolled Oats + more for the topping
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 apple, grated
1 banana, mashed
115g mixed dried fruit


Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease a 12-hole muffin tin with non-stick spray.

Heat the milk in the microwave for 1 minute. Tear open the teabag and pour the contents into the hot milk. Allow to infuse for at least 5 minutes. Don’t strain the tea leaves from the milk.

In a medium bowl, hand whisk the oil, sugar and eggs. Add the mashed banana, cinnamon and milk, mixing well.
In a large bowl, add the flour, baking powder, oats, apple, dried fruits, stirring well. Make a well in the middle and pour in the wet ingredients. Fold in the wet and dry ingredients with a wooden spoon, until just combined. Do not overmix.

Completely fill each muffin hole with batter. Sprinkle a few more oats on top to decorate. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

I've been having oats for breakfast this week and its so yummy! Rolled oats (not the quick kind) with soy milk, brown sugar, and cinnamon, its just a lovely start to the day!

Monday, October 25, 2010

First time - Hummingbird Cake

I've always heard of how moist Hummingbird cakes can be, and simple to make as well (and no butter, oil is used instead) so i had to try & make one myself, one Friday evening James my new baking companion & I started really late around 10pm or so and took about two hours including the cooling down time, and it was fun and the cake was certainly moist & superb tasting i will come back to this cake in the future again im sure :O)


250g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground coriander
270g brown sugar
440g can crushed pineapple, drained
50g desiccated coconut
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 eggs, lightly beaten
250ml (1 cup) sunflower oil

Cream cheese icing

100g cream cheese
50g unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g (1 1/2 cups) icing sugar mixture
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts, to garnish (optional)


Preheat oven to 170°C.

Grease and line the base of a 23cm square cake pan. Sift flour and spices into a large bowl. Add sugar, pineapple, coconut, banana, walnuts, eggs and oil. Stir to combine.

Spread into lined pan and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Place on a rack and set aside to cool.

To make icing, place cheese, butter, vanilla and icing sugar in an electric mixer and beat until smooth. Spread on top of cooled cake. Garnish with saultana's.

Thanks to James for helping make the cake & take photo's as well :D

Monday, October 18, 2010

Profiteroles - My first time

Profiteroles are something I always thought was very tricky and time consuming to make, so I never thought to make them, only bought them!

Until one day my mom asked, if i knew how to make these, as they were here favourite.. so one Saturday afternoon - me and mom in the kitchen - tackled on this project together :O)

Surprisingly, it was very quick, and simple as well. One thing i'd do differently is probably to do the puffs first, and once they are out of the oven, to start on the filling, as you need to keep checking the puffs AND the filling as well, one of the other could burn or over cook - but luckily my mom was around to keep everything in order hehe.

We made about 25 bite sized profiteroles, and my mom loved them! Personally i like eating them a couple hours after so that the pastry goes slightly hydrated and soft from the filling, but they were nice eaten straight away as well. Will definitely make these again in the future.


For choux pastry

75g butter
3/4 cup (180ml) water
3/4 cup (110g) plain flour
3 eggs

For creme filling

2 and 1/4 cups of whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup (150g) caster sugar
1/2 cup (75g) plain flour, sifted

For choux pastry

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Line 2 oven trays with baking paper.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine butter and water and bring to the boil.

3. Add the flour whilst constantly beading with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes away from the side of the saucepan and forms a smooth ball. Remove from heat.

4. Transfer mixture to mixing bowl and beat in eggs, one at a time, with an electric mixer until the mixture because smooth and glossy.

5. Drop rounded tablespoons full of choux pastry dough onto the prepared trays leaving 4cm between each one. I used 2 spoons for this - filled a tablespoon with the mix and used the back of a dessert spoon to scrape and plonk it onto the paper. It was a bit sticky so I used the back of the spoon to smooth out the balls and make them nice and round.

6. Bake for 7min or until pastries puff up.

7. Lower the heat to 180 degrees Celsius and bake for a further 10min or until lightly browned and crisp.

8. Cut an opening in the side of each profiterole and bake for a further 5min until they dry out.

9. Cool the puffs on a rack till room temperature.

Making the filling

1. Bring milk and vanilla extract to the boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and set aside for 10min.

2. Meanwhile, beat egg yolks and sugar in medium bowl with electric mixer until thick. Beat in the sifted flour. With motor operating on low speed, gradually beat in the hot milk mixture. Once the milk is incorporated, return the mix to the saucepan.

3. Stir over medium heat until the mixture boils and thickens.

4. Cover surface of bowl with plastic wrap (prevents skin from forming) and refrigerate until cold.

5. Once the puffs are cooled and your custard is cold, you can fill them. Either spoon them into the slits you cut before or using a piping bag and straight nozzle.