Monday, March 29, 2010

Bread bowl dip

I first saw this concept when i walked past MuffinBreak- they were offering this at their shop - but i didnt think twice about it & kept walking.

Years later my friend Bich suggested i make it for an upcoming dinner party i was co-hosting with Jake :O) It was a great hit - served as an entree everybody loved it and kept coming back for more ! We also had left overs which we chucked in the oven the next morning and all the inside of the bread bowl had really soaked up all the soup and it was even nicer .. hehe

So cheers to Bich thanks for the recipe girlfriend!


Sliced Mushroom (about 500 grams)

Chopped spinach (about a packet sized that you can get from woolworths)

2 tablespoons Butter or oil

1 packet of spring vegetable soup

1 packet of French onion soup (these two you can get from woolworths from the soup section its a packet of powder i cant remember the brand this is a hopeless post sort of!)

1 small carton sour cream

Cob of bread ( i got mine from bakers delight)


1. Melt butter in a pot

2. Add the spinach and cook that

3. Add mushroom

4. After cooking the spinach and mushroom to your liking, mix in the spring vegetable soup and French onion soup

5. Stir in sour cream

6. If at this point it is too salty, you can add half a cup of water

7. With the bread, cut the top of the bread and take the ‘lid’ off. Take the insides of the bread out. You’ll be using these innies to dip into the dipping as well.

8. Put the cob, the lid and the innies of the bread in the oven and toast it for a bit.

9. Pour the dipping in the cob and put the lid back on the bread. SerVE!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Dark choc chip banana bread

I've always loved banana bread, ocassionally (& i say occasionally because i'm almost always watching what i eat) i will buy a slice if i see them at a cafe, but NEVER from gloria jeans, but Starbucks makes them pretty nice ( i think they also have a coconut loaf which is yummy aswell).

Not long ago my girlfriend Nhuy came past with some home made dark choc chip banana bread, which was so delicious! I found this recipe online and made a loaf myself.

Being my first time, i was nervous and forgot to bring the temp down to 200c after i put the tin in the oven - so it browned too quickly too much - and was slightly dry but a zap in the microwaved revived it (thanks to the dark chocolate bits) and a thick layer of peanut butter completely rid me of any worries in the world :P

tip: because i have an oven with a heating element (but im sure you can use this trick on a conventional gas oven) i like to put the temp as high as it can go so that it heats up quicker - then drop the temp down to what is required before putting in any unbaked goodies - saves time :)

250g plain flour
2.5 teaspoons baking powder
big pinch of salt
125g dark or milk chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup caster sugar
2 large eggs
4 large, ripe bananas, mashed with a fork

1. Preheat oven to 200C. Grease and line a loaf tin and set aside.

2. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir through the chocolate.

3. In a larger bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar, vanilla and banana.

4. Gently combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and be careful not to overmix.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

6. Cool on a wire rack

I made them a second time as well (baking at the COrrect temperature) and everyone who tried it really liked it!, this recipe is really easy, foolproof and so delicious :O)

You can freeze them and have them during the week (just let it sit at room temperature for a few hrs) or take them into work they should be ready to eat by morning tea time hehe or you can do what i did and just cover in cling wrap and heat up - spread lots of peanut butter , sit back & relax - bon apetit!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Home-made Chai Syrup

I am a huge fan of chai, and till now i have only used the powder version by arcadia which i discovered at the Good Food & Wine show 2009. I dont trust any cafes to make any drinkable chai lattes (except for Badde Manors in Glebe).

When i came across this link i just knew i had to try it, and it was so simple to set up. After buying a few small containers of spices from Woolworths (i already had condensed milk in the pantry) i excitedly put it altogether & chucked it in the fridge.

The next day i brewed a cup of black tea (i used Dilmah) & added four heaped teaspoons (not the recommended 2, i have a major sweet tooth!)

The result? - a sweet yummy spiced cup of chai drink that was beautiful to sip on, and later on refridgerated becomes a refreshing afternoon pick me up! So here is the recipe, i hope you can try it out- and let me know what you think :O)

Chai Concentrate Syrup

1 can (400ml /14oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch of freshly ground black pepper

In a plastic container mix together the sweetened condensed milk and the spices until everything is well combined. Cover and store in the fridge overnight.

To use, brew a cup of black tea as usual (or an English Breakfast) and add syrup to taste: two teaspoons for a slightly sweet and spicy cup, or a tablespoon or more for sweeter, milkier tea. If your spices are coarsely ground you can add the syrup directly to a teapot and pour the tea through a small strainer.

note- i accidentally bought whole cloves - oops! I wont name any names but - its all YOUR fault (you know who you are)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Brittania Restaurant

The Mall,
Queenstown-Lakes 9300,
New Zealand
(03) 442 9600

After having dinner close to our hotel, (a Restaurant called Vknow in Queenstown, review will be done soon) we went for a walk down town which took about 25 minutes (and takes 40 minutes on the way back because of this big ass hill!!).

Checking out the dessert menu's of each restaurant, we were walking around for about 15 minutes... that's me - i'm very indecisive and i like to see everything that is on offer before making a decision. Even if i see something that i would like, i won't settle for second best unless i've seen other options hehe..

The restaurant doesn't stand out too much if it werent for the menu stand on the ground floor- I wouldnt of spotted it. Heading up the stairs i wasn't sure if i was going into the right door but that was confirmed once i stepped into a room that resembled the inside of a ship! With wooden walls, old carpet, as well as wooden tables & chairs, the walls had posters of maps, life jackets, fish nets, all sorts of ship related items.

The man (who i assume was the owner as he was just sitting around on the empty tables as we walked in) took our order of one "spotted dick", & asked 'is that all? i highly recommend the grand marnier icecream boat"

So we ended up with two desserts :]

The pudding was more like a cake, and was still warm from coming out of the oven, i could tell it was only baked to order because it had the nice soft just cooked texture of a cake. It was topped with cream, chocolate sauce, served with whipped cream and a classic vanilla ice cream. This was my favorite dessert out of the two, although it could've been a larger portion of cake :P

When the boat came out- all eyes were on our table, as you can see its a beautiful piece of food art, the sails made of toffee, and knowing toffee would set quickly, the artist would of had to work very quickly with the design, i think they did a great job. It was more a decoration though cos i only broke of a bit and didnt eat the rest. The 'Boat" was made out of dark chocolate, and was filled with scoops of grand marnier icecream and whipped cream. The ice cream had very little liqueur flavour, but was still very creamy. & i think i remember there being a flake stick in there too..

Brittania Restaurant has a really great atmosphere and very friendly staff, i do not regret taking the man's recomendations as i've never had anything like this boat before hehe, its very cute & creative. WHile the restaurant was abit empty (it was a Sunday night, and about 8pm), looking around, there were about 6 other people dining, and i noticed very large servings so i can say this place is great for value as well.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Red pesto with fettacine with chilli garlic scallops

The first time i ever had my own jar of pesto, was when i went to the 2009 good food & wine show, and got a free showbag full of goodies. Lots of samples of food like pasta sauce, honey packets, rice, drinks and snacks of all sorts, there was a jar of red pesto. I had no idea pesto came in red (i always assumed it was the green stuff) and i had never tried it before.

I was visiting a friend after the show, going through all the goodies i had bought on the day, and realised i was really hungry, so he brought me a bowl of rice and i was curious to try the pesto ..

Yeah, a few people think its a bit odd that i had pesto sauce with rice, but it was seriously addicted & yummy! AFter that, i had a bit of an obsession and had it atleast 3 times a week.. with chopped cucumber, tomato, whatever fresh veggies i had in the fridge.

I did however get sick of this.. (its a vicious cycle of addiction and then having it to much i cant stand it anymore, it's happened with quite a few foods..). For about 6 mths i didnt have any pesto, until i came across this link, and i wanted to try it out.

Oh & yup i'm no longer fully vegetarian, i eat scallops and oysters because they have no face, so technically speaking, i'm a pesketarian again.

This is my preferred brand for tomato pesto, i've tried other brands but.. this one is the creamiest and most flavoursome one.

All i did was (sorry this isnt a proper recipe but i did sorta just make it up based on what ingredients i had at home)

some garlic
some olive oil
some scallops

make sure the oil is well heated (otherwise the scallops will release a lot of water)
and pan fry the garlic until fragrant, then add the scallops

so with scallops, to get that stripy grilled effect you need a cast iron griddle thing which i didn't have, and a really high heat stove. Mine wasn't heating it enough so i ended up draining the scallops of all the water that came out of them..

after, you get some pasta from the cold section at the shops, this is the fresh packet pasta that is already cooked so it doesn't take long to cook in boiling water, only about 5 minutes or so.

When that's done, stir through pesto (which is better if you preheat in a pan first), top with scallops, decorate with halved cherry tomatoes, and sprinkle with grated parmesan.

A fairly quick meal to get together, i found it a lil dry though, possibly because... i'm not sure. Its definitely not the creamiest pasta i've had, but the pesto is really strong so maybe extra pieces of avocado would help!