Well, it could be the grinch at the end of the movie or possibly the hulk for some. But for me, it would definitely have to be guacamole. (p.s. I promised it earlier in another post, so here goes!)
Here's my end of the year post for your guys as well so I'm praying this recipe cuts it. A big bang for the end of a rather strange year.
Dismantle the avocado, de-seed it and scoop out its tender flesh. Mash it with a fork. Work it.
Add in some chopped tomato, finely chopped onions and garlic.
For the heat-seekers, toss in some chopped jalapenos. Seeds intact for the daring only.
Squeeze a lemon. Lime works wonders as well.
Round up a bunch of fresh coriander and chop it up. Look, its a party in there.
Here's a secret, a good cupful of grated Parmesan cheese in the mixture does magic.
So there you go peeps. A quick fire way to avoid paying throngs of money at a mexican joint.
It's the new year in a bit. For me, it means new beginnings. Settling into a new home, a warm nestling of the heart, adventurous placings in foreign kitchens. All a little emotional to say the least.
That's enough naggy talk from me now.
Party hard and I'll catch you on the flip side.
Tonight, we are young.
So let's set the world on fire.
We can burn brighter
than the sun.
That my friend, pictured above is a good enough reason for multiple drugged returns to Sinma Laksa House in Kingsford. The Malaysian fried carrot cake as my friend describes it is like a slice of home with every bite (forgive his theatrics, he's on the brink of giving up hope of ever finding a decent carrot cake after 3 years away from home). Done as they would have in Kuala Lumpur, this was a bit too overdressed in my opinion but by every means still very authentic. The rice cakes fried with garlic, chili, dark soy sauce and beansprouts. Oh did I mention prawns thrown into the mix?
My roti canai on the other hand served with a side of chicken curry was what you would describe as sublime, transcendent and divine. Shame to say that the string of vocabulary only applies to the former; with the oil laden chicken curry casting a shadow of doubt over the marriage. The Roti Canai though was close to perfection with crisp ages and fluffy circles of laminated ghee and dough. And as I tore through the dish with mesmerized eyes and a sprinkle of sugar (my guilty pleasure), fond memories of late night suppers and before dawn breakfasts shroud me; the chatter and battering of tea spoons against glass mugs filled with piping hot tea, tucking into prata as pre-preparation for the long arduous expeditions ahead in the heart of a serene Malasysian village.
The not-so-good-for-you factor slowly fading into the background.
Sinma Laksa House
3/391 Anzac Parade
(02) 9313 7663
I would really like to conjure up some useful information about Greek culture now. perhaps throw in a little information about why Greek food and Middle Eastern food share so much similarities because of some grand old Historical colonizing and ole' fashion command and conquer.
But you didn't come here for that information did you? Didn't think so.
So let's talk shop. About Xanthi's food of course.
Word of advice, should you make your way here. Try to make it a lunch appointment or risk a disappointing dinner performance on weekend nights due to over-bookings.
Also, I earnestly urge you to try the Ouzomezedakia. These small mezze platters offer a whole load of flavor in small doses. The large variety available on the menu ensures that the diners get a range of exposures. Some of my recommendations include the Sheftalies ($11.00) - BBQed Cypriot style spiced pork meatballs wrapped in caul fats. These were as delicious as dark and sinister as they looked.
The Hot smoked eggplant dip ($10.00) was another winner with the smoked eggplant puree with a gentle mix of bechamel and grated kasseri cheese, whispering sweet nothings to my ear. The sprinkle of paprika and cumin caressing my tongue. Fresh addition of corainder and lemon juice just giving the dish a slight push towards perfection.
A trip to Xanthi is incomplete without sampling one of the baklava dishes, whether it be savory or sweet. I had the privilege of ordering their Pork Belly Baklava ($18.00), a sweet deal for me since G didn't really appreciate the acquired tastes of the sweet dates combined with the height of crispy pork belly. The sweet and salty combination really pushing certain boundaries for his safe palates. I on the other hand relished in this delicacy. The pastry, toasted and brown, encasing honey-ed fillings of date and pistachio with large chunks of shredded pork belly.
And at this junction you aren't feeling the slight tug of your waistband yet. Do give the Apo tin souvla, meats from the spit a go. Here we had the lamb ($36.00 for 250g). Good it was, it wasn't anything mind-blowing given it's price. Maybe it comes across as payment for the spectacle of having a whole lamb rotating on a spit through the window as you enter the restaurant. Beats me.
Corner Pitt Street Mall & Market Street, City
Fri–Sat 8am–midnight, Sun–Thu 8am–11pm
Bookings 9232 8535 or firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm hoping you wouldn't notice the increment in the number above. But i'm very sure you would have by now.
I'm suffering from mid-20s crisis and the reality hits me like the hidden immensity of sunken icebergs.
G and I decided to bake a birthday cake (albeit a delayed one) to ease me into the 'upgrade'. The boy even threw in a Nespresso machine to sweeten the deal. as quoted in the latest express christmas episode of Modern Family, "everyday is December 16th.". we should impose that as a royal decree.
The cake, a royal spectacle of toppling and slip shod layers of thin crepe and vanilla bean custard, a mixture of creme patisserie and whipped cream. After the assembly, I sighed in deep acknowledgement and understanding of the cake's hefty price tag in bakeries and boutique patisseries. Sure enough, a dedicated crepe pan (*ka-ching*) would help a great deal. A controlled flame (something we're short of in the hostels) would certainly eliminate the prospects of missing finger prints. After 12 crepes and 2 fizzled attempts, we were ready to assemble the cake only to be met with runny creme pat, I can't even imagine the shame that ensues. Perhaps the recipe could use a little revision.
Anyhow, the cake was right up my alley. Peeling back the layers just like you would a rainbow kueh lapis cake. Right, now we've sparked off a new craving. Buggers.
Gâteau de Crêpes
batter from ”Joy of Cooking” and the pastry cream from ”Desserts,” by Pierre Herme and Dorie Greenspan.
For the crepe batter:
6 tablespoons butter
3 cups milk
1 1/2 cups flour
7 tablespoons sugar
For the vanilla pastry cream:
2 cups milk
1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
3 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar or more
3 tablespoons Kirsch
1. The day before, make the crepe batter and the pastry cream. Batter: In a small pan, cook the butter until brown like hazelnuts. Set aside. In another small pan, heat the milk until steaming; allow to cool for 10 minutes. In a mixer on medium-low speed, beat together the eggs, flour, sugar and salt. Slowly add the hot milk and browned butter. Pour into a container with a spout, cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. Pastry cream: Bring the milk with the vanilla bean (and scrapings) to a boil, then set aside for 10 minutes; remove bean. Fill a large bowl with ice and set aside a small bowl that can hold the finished pastry cream and be placed in this ice bath.
3. In a medium heavy-bottomed pan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Gradually whisk in the hot milk, then place pan over high heat and bring to a boil, whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes. Press the pastry cream through a fine-meshed sieve into the small bowl. Set the bowl in the ice bath and stir until the temperature reaches 140 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Stir in the butter. When completely cool, cover and refrigerate.
4. Assemble the cake the next day: Bring the batter to room temperature. Place a nonstick or seasoned 9-inch crepe pan over medium heat. Swab the surface with the oil, then add about 3 tablespoons batter and swirl to cover the surface. Cook until the bottom just begins to brown, about 1 minute, then carefully lift an edge and flip the crepe with your fingers. Cook on the other side for no longer than 5 seconds. Flip the crepe onto a baking sheet lined with parchment. Repeat until you have 20 perfect crepes.
5. Pass the pastry cream through a sieve once more. Whip the heavy cream with the tablespoon sugar and the Kirsch. It won’t hold peaks. Fold it into the pastry cream.
6. Lay 1 crepe on a cake plate. Using an icing spatula, completely cover with a thin layer of pastry cream (about 1/4 cup). Cover with a crepe and repeat to make a stack of 20, with the best-looking crepe on top. Chill for at least 2 hours. Set out for 30 minutes before serving. If you have a blowtorch for creme brulee, sprinkle the top crepe with 2 tablespoons sugar and caramelize with the torch; otherwise, dust with confectioners’ sugar. Slice like a cake.
Did I mention that G and I made an impossibly early trip to Manly beach just cause I insisted on it being on my birthday wish list? What a sweetie pie.
Some photos after the jump.
Watching Sunrise from the Manly Ferry.
fabulous croque monsieur from three beans cafe @ Manly Beach
It's 7 in the morning. I gather up my skirts and plop myself down on a stool facing the opposite side of the road, my heart beating in trepidation as I await the arrival of the bus to work. We all recognize the sinking feeling as one misses his/her coffee order by just seconds whilst scuttling after the incoming bus. Maybe it's just me who's all too familiar with that.
The welcomed approach of morning greetings in the form of a mug of coffee soothed me, easing out the knots in my aching muscles.
And if there's one thing that raised the suspicion that you were still dreaming. It would have to be the ham and cheese croissant at Sonoma Bakery Cafe (Glebe). Indeed, their sourdoughs are incredibly good, but don't discount their croissants. Buttered to perfection with the poofed up layers interrupted slightly by the thin shavings of smoked ham and cheddar cheese, this breakfast item turns up the notch with a bonus trip to the panini grill hence developing even more of a crunch on the exterior. This has to be one of the best versions I've tried so far.
I spend the next few seconds of my dream, perched on the stool. Savoring my breakfast treat with deliberate lingering. Heart skips a beat. Frantic grabbing. I'm on the bus a few seconds later.
Sonoma Bakery Cafe Glebe
215a Glebe Point Rd
Glebe NSW 2037
For a short period of time during my stay in Sydney, I suffered a crazy streak of cravings for Xiao Long Baos that bordered on clinical.
For those whom suffer the same aliments, my suggested solution is Lynn Shanghai Cuisine. Of course there is the ominous shadows of Din Tai Fung to wade out from, but this underdog, a seemingly new player in the market certainly would give the former a good run for its money.
The Sauteed String Beans with bamboo shoots ($12.80) arrived in a cloud of hot smoke at the table. Winter induced hunger pushed me to dive into the dish in all no holds barred consumption with no care for glamour in the wind. My image sacrifice paid off well, the perfectly crisp beans were excellent accompanied by the savoury bits of garlic and meat shards that littered the plate. The bamboo shoots, my paradise, noted that I did have an acquired taste for the delicacy.
The next few dishes that arrived caused some sort of food-induced coma shortly. So be patient with my poor memory.
The Famous Shanghai steamed Pork Buns(6 for $8.80) wasn't your usual derivative and yawn inducing variation. It was 'eye-rolling, murmur escaping lips' kind of good. The thin layer of smooth pastry giving way to a cascade of sweet pork broth followed by a chunk pork goodness. Thin pastry check, sweet intense pork broth, check!
Next up,the Steamed vegetable and Pork Dumplings (6 for $8.80), a beautifully pork together parcel of joy that exuded much gravy from it's moist innards.
And lastly, the Shanghai style fried Pork Bun(6 for $10.80), something a little more interesting to grace the table. These reminded me of the Large pork buns we get in Singapore with a little more finesse, a little more compact and sporting a little burnt bottom just for the slight edge. But of course these were so much more, it resonated through my taste buds, sending jolts of pleasure and bewilderment through my nervous system. The simple combination of crisp, hot soup, blistering pork infused oil, fluffy edges and savory innards offering some form of enlightenment. I was sold.
Lynn Shanghai Cuisine
199 Castlereagh Street Sydney NSW 2000
T: 02 926 777 80
The second place to hit my culinary radar is Baja Cantina. An established Mexican joint along Glebe Point Road. You know that this isn't your run off the mill restaurant when you get declined a seat 3 times walking in without a reservation on a weekend. Lesson learnt.
Multi-coloured table cloths and long glass windows greets the gazing eye. The seated diners, a mixture of eclectic artsy people that Glebe is well known for, a good bunch of hopefuls waiting for a Mexican culinary revolution, and a few of us, normal people, just craving for a good bowl of nachos.
I may be deemed as boring after this... but this are the usual suspects. A practice that we have developed after just a mere single visit to the place, hence, we order the same thing every time without even a glimpse of the menu. And trust me, once you've got a taste of these dishes, there's no turning back.
Pictured above, Baja's famous nachos. Fresh corn chips with black beans, melted jack cheese, salsa, guacamole, sour cream and jalapenos ($12). For something a little extra, you can top it up with shredded beef, chicken or carnitas. But I suggest that the original version would suffice, probably even satisfy the two hungriest cows. Thankfully, Baja Cantina chose some good representation with their nachos, like a painter palette, everything on the platter melded together into a dynamite packed bite.
The next must have is their Quesadilla with jack cheddar, jalepenoes and shredded carnita ($12). It's strange how something so seemingly simple can be so addictive. The slow braised pork packed with spices, cooked till a excruciatingly tender stage for our gratification.
It's simple. Have a craving for mexican? stir up some guacamole(I'll have to share the recipe sometime) at home or make a trip to Baja Cantina.
Baja Cantina Mexican Restaurant
43~45 Glebe Point Road
tel: 9571 1199
I begin my timid first posting for Sydney with a revolutionary dining experience. Okay, perhaps my opinions are slightly skewered only by the lack of reasonably priced dining options here (blame it on the shallow pockets) and the company of other foodies. But with the prompting of certain rhapsodies of joyous food memories singing in my head, I embark on one.
Signorelli Gastronomia. A Italian food emporium advocating the likes of a farmers market, cooking classes for the inquisitive and dining in for the flavor beggars.
a quick scan through their menu revealed a very dedicated selection of mains, entrees and pastas. I willed myself to try out their pastas, determined to use that as a benchmark for the bustle in the kitchen. A tilt of heads from the bar counter raised some signs of anxiety, jealousy derived from the luxurious degustation of piquant looking desserts from the table behind.
A Messina and a glass of wine (Thomas Wines '2 of a kind' Savignon Blanc/ Semillion) just to get the ball rolling. What took me by surprise was the successful wine pairing recommendations on the menu, the fruity finishes in the wine added a lovely finesse to the pasta dish.
The pasta, Handmade ravioli with tallegio, walnuts and butter sage sauce ($28) was divine. I can't stop gushing about it. The plate arrived, a gentle summery yellow shade of butter sauce infused with burnt sage. A slice through the heart of the perfect parcels reveal a soft center of melted tallegio cheese with a hint of walnuts. The black crusty bits of burnt sage, providing a bit chew and complex savoriness to the tender combination.
My partner's pizza, with Sopressa salami, Italian black olives and provolone cheese ($24) arrived at the table faster than my dish despite the waiter's forward warning about the long wait for pizzas. Kudoes to the chef spinning out the pizzas front of house, his speed and nimble dancing fingers across the rims of the piping hot pizzas is definitely an admirable skill.
Dessert was a simple Warm Chocolate flan with Tamarindo and Galliano Mascarpone. Soft gooey chocolate innards paying homage to the poached sweetness of the Tamarindo. Extra brownie points for the meal.
Accenture building - ground floor
Trouton Place, 48 Pirrama Road, Pyrmont, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8571 0616