Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Is it or isn't it - new Charlotte sister

So what do you think when you see a new cake on display at Adriano Zumbo that appears to have the name of a blogger on it? Is it or isn’t it???

Charles at the shop wasn’t certain, but surely this cake is after
ragingyoghurt? There’s a typo in the name plaque, but all signs point to it.

It is also a Charlotte, and like
the other Charlottes before, it contains biscuit, mousse and jelly. This one is tangy passionfruity and extremely delicious.

So, here is the latest Charlotte sister – Raging Yoghurt Charlotte!

Update: We have confirmation from the lady herself - yes, it's raging yoghurt's. Congratulations on another winner, sweetie!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Incredible dinner at Quay

I’ve been waiting for an occasion to visit Quay restaurant (at the end of the Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay, Sydney), so as for bf’s birthday was this week I decided we’d go there to celebrate. He actually wanted Japanese, but we went to Ocean Room for his birthday last year, and to Azuma for mine, so 'we are going to Quay', I said/demanded.

Quay has won the ‘Restaurant of the Year’ award for 2009 from both Australian Gourmet Traveller and the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide, so my expectations were high. And yes, the meal was incredible!

The two of us were seated in the couples’ turret in the upstairs section. It shares a terrace area with the function room next door where there was a wedding on. The tables in this section is mainly for twos, with a table for four in the centre.

The service at Quay is spot on, attentive and friendly without being uppity. The waiters are really knowledgeable about the menu and the sources of ingredients, much of which is sourced from local producers. The menu consists of an a la carte where you order 4 dishes from a selection ($145 per person). Or there is a ‘signature menu’, where you get 5 dishes from a set ($195 per person). We went for the 4 courses.

After ordering, we received an amuse bouche of tuna tartare, with cucumber jelly and yuzu crème fraiche. It was one of those dishes where you put some in your mouth and then go ‘Oh my god, this is reaalllly goood!’. They also have a selection of breads, including a delicious sunflower seed and polenta.

My first entrée was the mud crab congee, while bf had the sea pearls ($25 extra supplement). These 2 dishes are considered signature dishes for Quay. The ‘congee’ is more like a very flavoursome broth, with lots of mud crab pieces. The sea pearls are ball of seafood, like tuna, caviar, scallop, smoked eel, octopus and pearl meat. It’s presented on a faceted glass dish and if you ever go to Quay, you have to have it.

A bit of a break to take in the view:

Second entrée was pork belly for me and partridge for bf. Crisp pork belly (a bit dry, though the fat was rendered, a la Masterchef) came with a shaving of abalone and delicious Japanese mushrooms and handmade silken tofu. The partridge was poached, giving it a soft tender lusciousness. It was accompanied by truffle custard (OMG!) and a bitter chocolate black pudding (double-OMG!!).

My main was a boneless lamb shoulder that had been roasted for 24 hours. Tender, melt-in-the-mouth, it was. Bf had the fish, a groper served with Asian-inspired winter melon, periwinkles, scallops, abalone, with a green tea consommé poured over it at the table. I think he got the best dishes of the night, and rightly so, since it was his birthday!

My dessert was my highlight – so pretty I couldn’t stop taking photos of it. A melange of raspberries, sorbet quenelles, sugared almonds, vanilla cream - and violets! The flavour was light, refreshing, sweet and enchanting. Bf had the cheese plate ($10 supplement), which had a hard cheddar and soft sheep’s milk brie (both French), and a blue cheese (Irish).

I had a tea and petits fours ($8) to finish. The serving sizes were just right, though bf had about 3 serves of the bread (‘well, they keep offering it’) and he really enjoyed it as well.

I think this was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Quay is probably more of a special occasion restaurant, but with food this good, I won’t have any problem coming up with ‘special occasions’ so I can visit (may also need a second income to pay for it, but let's not worry about that for now).

And a final look at the view before we ventured into the night.

Quay restaurant is in the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay, Sydney. Ph: 02 9251 5600

Quay on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 26, 2009

Kat tries KitKat

While waiting in line at the Asian supermarket in World Square (Sydney), I noticed some Japanese KitKats beside the counter. I'm not a small child, but even I was excited at the flavour - Muscat of Alexandria.

So I got one.

There are 2 wrapped KitKats inside the box. When you open the wrapper, the odour of really sickly sweet chocolate (or something) assails you. The bar looks like a normal KitKat, and is a creamy white colour. It tastes like....something I don't ever want to eat again.

Tabitha cat agrees, even as the smell of it leaks out of the unopened packet.

I'm keeping an eye out for other flavours, but I'd give this one a miss.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Winter Zumbo cakes revisited and named

It's been a month since the Adriano Zumbo winter range was unveiled, so it's time to give them another try.

Ed Rocks the Cradle is a coffee-based mousse cake, encased in a rocker of chocolate. And it really rocks, as well! See demonstration of rockability below:

I didn't notice it before, but there is a milk-bottle lolly stuck in the top...

Though it needs a bit of a push to get the cradle rocking...

This cake, formerly known as 'W', is called 'Danny has tickets to her box office' (ahem!)

The flourless chocolate base is my favourite bit.

And the cakes haven't lost their shine, or their pulling power, selling out most weekends.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bistro Bruno - not so controversial

Bistro Bruno (3 Beattie St, Balmain) has been open for a while now, but we've only just managed to visit. And how's that for timing, with the new Bruno movie opening now as well?

This Bruno is named for its owners (Richard and Lisa Bruno), and it used to house Bistro Stock, a favourite restaurant in Balmain's crowded eating scene. Bistro Bruno has kept the same tried-and-true style of food - Modern Australian done efficiently and well.

Apart from the food, obviously, I think a dining experience is made with the service and atmosphere. Bistro B is darkly intimate but is also popular with tables of friends who want a nice, civilised night out. The service we received was friendly, from Lisa and an Irish waiter.

Starters Seared scallops on roasted aubergine relish, with preserved lemon salad; Chicken rillette with croutes, cornichons, romesco sauce and salad (a very large serve!)

Mains Confit duck leg with potato lyonnaise, beetroot and bourbon apple; Beef and Guinness potted pie with Gruyere-laced mash and watercress salad (a massive pie with beef and mash under pastry).

I made a bit of a mess...

Pistachio choc-top ice cream cone with yoghurt date slice; Licorice parfait with chocolate sauce and sugar bark (this was a special and it was fabulous).
All up, it was a pleasant night out. The lighting could have been brighter so that my photos were better, but I don't eat out just for the picture-taking. Or do I???

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Handful (or two) of Daims

On a recent visit to IKEA, I came home loaded down with a kilo of meatballs and almost a kilo of Daim candies.

I thought the lollies would be more like a cut-down version of a Daim bar, but it's actually quite petite, at less than 2cm in length. But it still tastes the same - that wonderful blend of chocolate, caramel and almond bits.

I also bought some cute little plastic glasses (Duktig?) that I thought would be lovely as bud vases, but I've found that they are perfect for holding a couple of Daims. And placed strategically around the house, they satisfy that constant craving for something sweet.

My dentist is rejoicing at the increased income I'm providing.

Daim in the kitchen; tempting Tabitha cat; tempting Snappy lobster; for those late night nibbles

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Weekend craft and tonkotsu noodles

This post is a bit of a mish-mash, but it pretty much sums up last weekend for me.

First up, there was the Craft Fair at Darling Harbour. The focus of this craft fair was very much on quilting, beading and sewing, with only 4 stalls in 'Papercraft Alley', which was disappointing. And not much paper at all, with mainly stamps, punches and diecuts in abundance. My favourite stamping shop, Art Stamps Australia, had a stall where I stocked up on Hero Arts stamps. I've been after the little dude holding the gold block for ages, and was sooo happy to find it!

Also got some Chalkbox queues and the new American Crafts Zing! embossing powders - can't wait to use them...

Spoils from the Craft Fair - quite restrained, I think

Then I stopped of at Eating World in Chinatown for a bowl of the famous tonkotsu noodles. This pork bone soup was so thick, it was like drinking gravy - perfect for winter. I had it with a seasoned egg - double yum...

Back home, I had to make a wedding card for my cousin in Canada. Here is the final result...

The inside has the obligatory space for the money envelope (Cuttlebug embossed).
The card is made from lightweight Bazzill cardstock (easier to air mail), circle-punched KI Memories glitter lace cardstock, American Crafts rub-on for the 'best wishes', and a cute bride and groom sticker from Krafty Kutz Australia (from the Craft Fair!). The edge was done with Fiskars' apron lace punch.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Merivale Winter Feasts - Launched!

The 2009 Merivale Winter Feasts programme has been launched, and what great deals there are! Things were kicked off with a free-for-all at establishment, which highlighted the restaurants and chefs involved. The restaurants are offering a range of courses for $35 pp for lunch and dinner, so it's all (very) good.

It’s clever of the merivale group to let the restaurants promote their menus in this manner. The chefs and staff were on hand to set up, serve and chat to the customers, which in itself is a great marketing tool. And the food – it was absolutely fantastic, with canapés and drinks provided.

I was fortunate enough to trail in with VIP
chocolatesuze and got to photograph the venue (and food) before the crowds arrived. Thanks, Suze!

Here is a brief rundown of the event:

The Chefs 'Chronic' Dan Hong from Lotus puts sweet wasabi mayonnaise on tuna tartare; look, it's Michelle from MasterChef, at Mad Cow; Ura San from sushi e

The Food

The Bistro CBD table; tartare of ocean trout, from est; bites from teppanyaki; the most incredible filo tartlets with mascarpone realle and honey quince puree, from Ash St Cellar

The Venue

And see you all at the restaurants soon!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hello Cookie: Sea Salt and Peppercorn Coins

I thought it might be pleasant change to make a savoury biscuit for the Hello Cookie project, and this recipe from the Field Guide to Cookies fits the bill nicely.

The original recipe uses white peppercorns, but I only had black peppercorns, so used them instead. An interesting tidbit in the Field Guide mentions that salt and pepper became status symbols of fine cookery in the Middle Ages, and were heavily traded and even used as a form of currency.

This is a fun cookie to make because it involves rolling out the dough and cutting with a cookie cutter. I used a scallop circle, but a plain circle or square with the same dimensions (approx 1 ¾ inch or 4.5 cm) will also work well.

And these cookies are very moreish – they seem simple, but try them with a cheese such as a soft blue, or camembert, and you’ll find it hard to stop at one.

Sea Salt and Peppercorn Coins
Makes about 30


1 ½ cups plain (all-purpose) flour
½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch (1 cm) pieces
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
1 ½ tsp freshly ground white peppercorns (you can also use black or pink or a combination of pink and white)
1 tsp lemon zest
1 egg
1 egg white for egg wash
1 tblsp cracked white peppercorns for topping
1 tblsp sea salt flakes for topping


1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F (175 deg C). Line baking sheets with paper.
2. Use a food processor to combine flour and butter to form a fine meal.
3. Add salt, peppercorns and lemon zest, and blend briefly to combine.
4. Add the egg and blend until the dough starts coming together. (Note: These last 2 steps can be done in a mixing bowl, by hand)
5. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch (2mm) thick on a lightly floured surface. Using a 1 ¾-inch (4.5 cm) round cookie cutter, cut out the cookies and place on sheets about 1 ½ inches (4 cm) apart.
6. Beat the egg white lightly to make an egg wash. Brush cookies with egg wash. Sprinkle with peppercorns and sea salt on the top.
7. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until the cookies are lightly golden. Cool on wire racks.

Recipe adapted from Field Guide to Cookies by Anita Chu

Ingredients: Plain flour, lemon zest, unsalted butter, egg, peppercorns, salt

Mix the butter and flour to a fine meal, then add egg; roll out dough and cut with cookie cutter

Separating an egg to get the egg white; which is used to brush the top of the cookies

Sea Salt and Peppercorn Coins - perfect as part of a cheese or fruit plate

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Masked revels at Wagaya (and happy birthday)

The stars and planets aligned on Friday for a night of nights in the Sydney foodblogging world. For it was chocolatesuze’s birthday, and we all turned out to celebrate! Suze had organised a private room at Wagaya Japanese restaurant (Harbour St, Haymarket, opposite the Entertainment Centre) and we left our shoes at the door to have a fun evening of photography, food – and masks.

So here it is:
Birthday girl chocolatesuze with gift of deliciously bejewelled macaron necklace

Food was gorgeous (and plentiful), and included spaghetti with cheesey mushroom sauce, and sashimi

Presenting the birthday cake: an ice cream lamb cake (shaped, not flavoured, like a lamb)

Trish from Sugarlace kindly made cakepops for the bloggers – so envious of her obvious skill at this tricky delicacy!

Masked revellers: Belle, Leona and Jenny,
and Steph, Suze, Betty and Trina

Right back at you, Betty!
The ‘MasterChef judges’ made an hilarious appearance

Thanks, Suze, for getting us all together for an enjoyable night. Hope you have many more happy birthdays!