Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cafe Bello, Burwood

Caught up with one of my best friends today, V, who I haven't talked to properly in person for ages because of our hectic uni lives! Damn uni sucking away our time.

We decided to have lunch at a local cafe in Burwood, right at the entrance of Burwood Westfield.

Lamb and mango salad, $19.90
I wish there would have been a bit more lamb and mango considering the price tag that came with this dish. The lamb filet was cooked pretty well though and was still pink in the middle. I particularly liked this flavour combination with the mango giving sweetness and counteracting against the slight bitterness of the lettuce leaves. There were also hidden cucumber pieces and some Spanish onion in there was well.

Banana waffles, $15.90
It's always nice to have something sweet after a main dish am I right? :D Banana waffles it was! Waffles were nice and crunchy, bananas were fresh, maple syrup was sweet, vanilla ice-cream provided extra creaminess and there was icing sugar dusted on top. What is there not to like?

It was nice being able to talk for a few hours about nothing and everything - catchups are the best!

Bello Cafe
Westfield Burwood
Shop 172, 100 Burwood Rd
Burwood, NSW, 2134

Opening Hours
Open 7 days a week

Cafe Bello on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 26, 2012

Girls Day Out

A couple of days ago, I went out with a friend all day for some girly shopping! Surprisingly, we didn't buy too much. Feeling peckish mid-afternoon, we decided that we wanted some tea. The Tea Salon in Westfield Sydney was the first destination we had in mind, but alas it was not meant to be. The line was so long! Wandering around, we managed to find another place hidden inside the Glasshouse called the Tea Centre so we settled ourselves in for some refreshments.

Large pot of tea, 2 scones with strawberry jam & cream, $15.00
We ordered a pot of pina colada tea. It came all pretty and pink! It smelled divine, like creamy coconut. But I have to say, it didn't taste like that at all! It was more on the fruity side however, it was quite bland and on the watery side. The scones arrived a bit flat (looks like we got dud scones!), but weren't too bad lathered with cream and jam ;) Maybe the kitchen was having an off day because I see big fluffy scones on other blogs who have visited.

Continuing on, I was definitely excited about two notebooks I bought from Typo though - they are so cute, don't you think?

Typo notebooks, normally $16.95 each
My friend works in the Cotton On chain so I received 50% both these purchases. I love how they look like novels but are actually notebooks!

Aren't the interior covers amazing?
Our shopping day turned into dinner at Mizuya after feeling like some sushi. Turns out, they also have Happy Hour from 5-7pm daily.

L to R: Pina Colada, Coconut Kimono, $10.00 during Happy Hour (normally $14.80)
There are definitely some major perks to being a girl - we can order girly cocktails with whipped cream and cherries on top all the time! These two were deliciously drinkable cocktails with the pick of the night being the Coconut Kimono with Malibu, plum wine and coconut juice, topped with whipped cream. I don't know what exactly made it blue, but it tasted amazing!

Spider roll, $14.80
 Because who can say no to soft-shelled crab?

Eel roll, $14.80
And throw in a grilled eel roll for good measure.

Shopping is definitely counted as exercise in my books. We managed to walk non-stop for over 6 hours!

The Tea Centre in The Glasshouse
146 Pitt St
Sydney, NSW, 2000

Opening Hours
Monday-Wednesday, Friday: 9:00am - 5:30pm
Thursday: 9:00am - 8:00pm
Saturday: 10:00am - 4:00pm
Sunday: 11:00am - 4:00pm

Tea Centre on Urbanspoon

Mizuya Japanese Restaurant and Karaoke
Basement, 614 George St
Sydney, NSW, 2000

Opening Hours
Sunday-Thursday: 11:30am - 12:00am
Friday-Sunday: 11:30am - 2:00am

Mizuya Japanese Restaurant and Karaoke on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pink Gradient Cake

I have been wanting to make a gradient/ombre cake for quite some time and since it is now the holidays, what better time than now? I was really inspired by this recipe but I wanted to go for pink! Well, I lied. I had no choice really because the only food colouring I have in my house is red. So pink it was! And it really did look lovely in the end. My iPhone seemed to have taken photos of a different shade of pink compared to my camera... I wasn't sure which one I liked better so I put up both!

What I love about this cake is the element of surprise underneath that layer of white icing. Who would've thought that there was layers of different coloured pink inside? I know my sister was pleasantly surprised when I asked her if she wanted a slice of cake and there was an ombre of pink when I took the slice of cake out!

Vanilla Cake
Makes one round 12cm 4-layer cake
From Call Me Cupcake

1 3/4 cups flour1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
66g butter
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup ice water
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 egg whites beaten stiff
Red food colour (I used Queen's red food colouring)


1. Preheat oven to 180C and grease a 12cm round cake tin (I had two so I baked my cake in two batches).

2. Line the base of the tins with baking paper.

3. Sift flour, baking powder and salt until well combined

4. Using an electric mixer on low speed, beat sugar and butter in a large bowl until incorporated. Increase speed to high and beat until pale and creamy (2 minutes or so). Reduce speed to medium low, add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

5. Alternately add ice water and flavourings to the flour mixture, beating thoroughly after eat addition.

6. Fold in beaten egg whites.

7. Separate batter into 4 bowls. Gradually add colouring to each bowl and gently fold it into the mixture, adding slightly more colouring as you do each bowl so that the 4 bowls give you a even gradient of colour.

8. Pour batter into prepared tins and bake for around 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean and the outside is golden.

8. Leave to cool in tin for 5 minutes before flipping out onto a wire rack to cool.

Swiss Meringue Frosting
From Call Me Cupcake

2 large egg whites
80g sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence


1. Put egg whites and sugar in a heat-proff bowl in a double boiler (the water in the saucepan should be simmering over low heat)

2. Whisk with a hand whisk continuously until the mixture reaches 65C. Remove from heat.

3. Start whipping the egg whites with a stand or hand mixture until they become fluffy and white and the bowl is cool (may take up to 10 minutes or so)

To Assemble Cake

1. Make sure layers are level by trimming tops off.

2. Spread frosting on top of each layer and stack on top of one another with the lightest at the bottom and darkest at the top.

3. Crumb coat cake and chill in fridge for 15 minutes.

4. Cover cake with more frosting and smooth over with a spatula.

5. Serve cake at room temperature or store in an airtight container in the fridge.

6. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Super Healthy Spelt Banana Pancakes

Sometimes I feel like nothing but pancakes for breakfast. But often, there's quite a bit of sugar and butter that goes into it. But not these pancakes! This version is dairy, egg and wheat free! Generally, I do try to eat lactose, wheat, peanut, soy, and egg-white free as I am intolerant to these things and my body flares up when I eat too much of these along with processed foods. I definitely should not be only trying to avoid these, but eliminate them from my diet, however I think I am in love with a lot of these things just a little too much so I just try to minimise excess amounts in my diet.

These pancakes albeit are a bit a little bit dense and doughy like banana bread and they taste exactly like it after the maple syrup is poured on top! The pancakes themselves have no sugar added to them as we're using fantastic, 100% maple syrup, so what is the point of adding sugar to the batter? And not to mention the addition of sweet ripened banana as well! If you do like your actual pancakes a little bit sweeter, or if you don't like using any syrup afterwards, by all means add sugar to your batter to taste. But I'm telling you the maple syrup will make them awesome!

The only oil used in this recipe is when you grease the pan to prevent sticking so there really is no excuse to make these pancakes. Healthy pancakes for breakfast anyone?

Spelt Banana Pancakes
Serves 1 (6 pancakes)


3/4 cup (100g) spelt flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 medium, very ripe banana, peeled
1/2 cup oat milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Extra banana slices and maple syrup to serve

1. Sift all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl until well incorporated

2. In a separate bowl, mash the banana with a fork until almost smooth. Add oat milk and vanilla extract and still with the fork until mixture is blended.

3. Pour the wet banana mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix gently with a rubber spatula until the batter is just incorporated. Do not overmix! Let the mixture rest for 15 minutes so that the chia seeds will bind the mixture together and the baking powder has time to develop.

4. Put a saucepan over medium heat until hot. To test if the pan is hot enough, flick a drop of water onto it and if it evaporates almost immediate, it is ready. Pour a tablespoon of rice bran oil and make sure the surface of the pan is evenly coated.

5. Drop the batter by 2 tablespoons onto the pan, making sure there is ample space in between each pancake. Cook until a few bubbles form on top of each pancake and the underside is golden brown, about a couple of minutes. Slide your spatula underneath each pancake and flip it over. Cook for another couple of minutes so that the bottom is also golden brown.

6. Transfer the pancakes onto a serving plate, top with sliced bananas, maple syrup and serve!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Kuaizi, CBD

Today my baby sister celebrated her birthday and officially entered the world of adulthood - she is now eighteen! Groupon had some coupon deals for Kuaizi a while ago - high tea for two for only $39! It promised that there were going to be tiers with Asian fusion twists, a glass of bubbly each, selection from three high tea menus, dainty sweets like cupcakes, assorted danish pastries and fruits. This coupon was supposed to be valued at $112 so my sister and I were definitely excited about having a girly afternoon sipping tea and champagne.

We weren't quite sure if they were actually open yet when we first arrived as no one was there to greet us so we hesitantly wandered in, not sure if we were going to get kicked out. Turns out they were open and they allowed us to pick a seat anywhere we like as the restaurant was quite empty. Upon showing them my voucher, we were given tea menus to pursue.

The waitress informed us that we could choose one from three types of sandwiches: prawn and mixed herb with thousand island dressing, belly ham and pear with yogurt, or spicy tuna and baby rocket with creme fresh. I allowed the birthday girl to choose and she went with prawn. Despite the website saying that there were three different menus, the waitress informed us that everything else on the tiers were exactly the same and only the sandwiches differed. So we shrugged and put our orders in for the tea and sandwiches.

We heard the pop of the champagne cork and that quickly arrived at our table. Cheers!

Champagne, english breakfast tea, and jasmine green tea
My sister's English Breakfast came with a little jug of milk, and both our teas came with a packet of sugar. I don't see why green tea would need sugar, so I gave it to my sister to use for hers. Aren't the teapots and teacups pretty? (: They used prepacked teabags as opposed to loose leaf but they weren't bad considering.

We clapped our hands in glee as our stand arrived at our table.

We started with the sandwiches. There were two types, our prawn with thousand island dressing which was pretty nice - it really reminded me of the seafood Subway for some reason. The second one was a tomato, cheese and rocket sandwich which is always nice.

Then we moved onto the scones! Definitely not made on the premises and pretty sure they were pre-bought and then warmed up in the kitchen. Despite that, they were still fluffy and not stodgy and dry like ones I've bought from Woolworths. They were sort of like a fluffier version of a bread roll. Well, after we lathered it with jam and the sweet whipped cream, it tasted pretty good. Mind you, nowhere near as good as the house-made jam and whipped cream from when I had afternoon tea at the Tea Room in the QVB! But they were pretty damn excellent.

Hello cuppycakies! There was a chocolate cupcake with cookies and cream icing, and also a vanilla one with sprinkles. Why do I feel as though I've seen these somewhere before? They remind me of the cupcakes I've had from Coles both in flavour and texture, hm.

L to R: chocolate mud brownie, caramel brownies, cookies and cream brownie
By this stage we were both extremely full and looking at these three extremely rich looking brownies, we felt slightly deterred. After a little break, we ploughed on to attack these three. Which were all very, very sweet indeed! And we suspected right - EXTREMELY rich.

Thank goodness we had some fruit at the very end. It really did feel refreshing after that tier of sweets and it felt like it was needed.

However, by this stage, I was wondering: where are the Asian fusion twists on the high tea that was promised?!

My sister enjoyed her first high tea experience which was definitely nice. Though next time I'd definitely take her to an even nicer place (: At $20 per person, this was definitely cheap and quite worth it and we both left extremely satiated and happy. However, at the normal price of $45 per person (which is more than the Tea Room!), I don't think I would be willing to pay that much for the quality of the tea and food that was served to us.

Kuaizi Modern Fusion Cuisine
1-325 Sussex St
Sydney, 2000, NSW
9283 8825

Opening Hours
Open 7 days
Lunch: 12:00 - 3:00pm
High Tea: 12:00 - 6:00pm
Dinner: 6:00 - 10:00pm

Kuaizi on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cafe Cre Asion, CBD

After hearing wonderful things about Cafe Cre Asion, I had high expectations for their macarons. Finding the store is just a little bit tricky as it is hidden in a back alley - it's the only shop along Alberta St! Yes, the road is a little dingy but I ventured forth - for the sake of macarons! (Please don't hold me responsible for any macaron mugging that may occur in the dodgy recesses of Alberta St).

What's fantastic here is the brutalist use of concrete. It's very industrial and I particularly like this style. My inner architecture student finally making an appearance on a macaron cafe :P

Look at all those pretty macarons! Eat ALL the macarons!

Box of 8 macarons, $21.00
Love the sticker they used on the box. Considerate packaging, no? Prices for individual macarons start at $2.70 and the more you buy, the cheaper they become. A box of 16 costs $36.00. However, at $2.70 per macarons, they are definitely on the expensive side. They are similar in size to Adriano Zumbo's, but his come in cheaper at $2.50.

Top row from L to R: cha nom, yuzu, coconut, strawberry milk
Bottom row from L to R: dear chris, buerre noisette, triffle hazel, hoji tea

Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed with this batch of macarons. I found the shells were quite dry and shattered a bit too easily. I prefer them slightly more chewy, if not softer. However, I particularly liked the flavours of coconut, hoji tea, buerre noisette and strawberry milk - especially strawberry milk! I guess different people have difference preferences of how they like their macaron shell texture. If you prefer a drier shell than by all means go to Cafe Cre Asion. They do have such a large selection of flavours that apparently change daily and are continually updated.

Though I think Zumbo's macarons hold the key to my heart. For now. At least this is another cafe crossed off my macaron bucket list! Laduree I will be coming for you soon ;)

Cafe Cre Asion
21 Alberta St
Sydney, NSW, 2000
0404 941 528

Opening Hours
Monday - Friday: 8:00am - 4:00pm
Saturday: 9:00am - 4:00pm

Café Cre Asion on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Cowbell 808, Surry Hills

If there's one thing better than eating, it's eating after you've handed in your last university submission for the year! Now I am completely allowed to be in holiday mode without any guilt whatsoever. To celebrate the completion of assessments, the boy and I went to satisfy my pancake cravings at Cowbell 808. He wasn't too happy about the long, long walk from the University of Sydney to Bourke St at all - but work off the excess calories before we consume a whole tonne I say!


Cowbell 808 is a cafe located in the quaint residential side of Bourke St, where terraces seem to be the main form of housing. I'm completely digging the retro setup they have going on.

Yes, you see right - there's a basketball hoop in the cafe! I wonder if they would object if I brought in my own basketball... ;)
Service was very friendly and water was poured for us while we pursued the short yet concise menu. I pretty much wanted to devour the entire thing! Everything sounded lovely. But we all know that I wanted one thing and one thing only - pancakes! Or, in Cowbell 808's case, ricotta hotcakes!

Milk shake with house-made coconut icecream, $6.50
I think you all know that I am utterly powerless against anything coconut mentioned on the menu and I needed no urging from the boy when I heard coconut! It definitely had that strong coconut flavour I was looking forward to and was very refreshing after our very long walk.

Fat stacked hotcakes, $14.00
My, my, my these ricotta hotcakes were luscious. A stack of two extremely fat hotcakes with mascarpone in the middle - how can it in any way not scream pleasure? Creamy from the ricotta and oh so soft that they melted in the mouth. The icecream just made things even more decadent. Though I was hoping for a more distinct bacon flavour - definitely not the powerful hit that I was expecting! I think this dish would've benefited more from maple syrup as opposed to the espresso syrup that they use. That may just be because I'm not the biggest fan of coffee BUT I am a huge maple syrup fiend ;)

Sucuk baked eggs, $17.00
The boy went for the baked eggs with braised cherry tomatoes, spicy beef sausage, flatbread and labneh. This dish was definitely not shy about flavour. The eggs were cooked perfectly, still with a soft oozy yolk and sat in a cherry tomato sauce that was strong in a variety of spices. For those of you who don't know what labneh is, it is a yogurt that has been strained to rid of the whey and it really did complete the dish, adding that creamy element to tone down on the spices and gave a wonderful richness on tongue. The toasted flatbread was great to dip in the Spanish-inspired flavour profile of the sauce.

Graffiti murals anyone?
Cowbell 808 definitely warrants a return visit! The coconut yogurt with grilled banana and lime is calling my name ;) Plus I spotted chocolate frownies on the way out - yep, not brownies, but frownies as they are flourless. Too bad I was very full already.

For the rest of the day, I dragged the boy shopping and also for another along walk to Cafe Cre Asion so stay tuned for an upcoming post about macarons and a shopping haul! I managed to spend an entire day's of my work pay today. Yes, in one day. It really happened. I need to learn how to save my money. I guess I really was in a celebratory mood because I've officially finished second year uni and I haven't bought anything for a while now so I deserved some sort of a treat (:

Hope everyone's having a wonderful week so far - happy Tuesday!

Cowbell 808
616 Bourke St, Surry Hills
Sydney, NSW, 2000
9698 5044

Opening hours
Open 7 days 7:00am - 4:00pm

Cowbell 808 on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

N2 Extreme Gelato, Chinatown

Is anyone up for EXTREME gelato? What makes it so extreme you ask? Well, the answer to this question, my dear readers, IS THAT THEY USE LIQUID NITROGEN!

Check out the smoking from the liquid nitrogen!
I definitely felt like I walked into a science lab because the worker's all wear lab coats and goggles - I guess that'd be pretty standard because you don't want any freeze burns from working in a gelato store! Pretty sure they don't get occupational hazards considered in their pay ;) But they do get to play with liquid nitrogen! That's a plus, right?

I love the flow chart of flavours as well. Just makes everything seem all the more science-y. Definitely not a word, but I digress.

Seeing the flavour archive made me long for mooncake. MOONCAKE! And so many of them sound so interesting and definitely seem like they are worth trying.

L to R: blueberry chessecake, and salted popcorn, $6.00 each
The gelato was really smooth and creamy and tasted amazing! The winner was definitely the salted popcorn, but that didn't mean the blueberry one wasn't nice because it definitely was. The salted popcorn just won my heart this round with it's subtle buttery flavour and chewy popcorn bits scattered throughout. There was a helluva lot of gelato in those cups and by the end, my sister and I were feeling pretty full (we had coconut froyo right before coming here). Something to note was that it melts much quicker than normal gelato! I think it's got to do with the liquid nitrogen freezing the gelato differently from normal ice cream machines so there you go. Not a big deal.

Bring back the mooncake for the mooncake fanatic that I am to try! I think what I love most about mooncake has to be the duck yolk...

If you guys want to try out liquid nitrogen gelato in Sydney, you now know where to go (:

N2 Extreme Gelato
43/1 Dixon St
Sydney, NSW, 2000

Opening Hours
Daily 2:00 - 11:00pm

N2 Extreme Gelato on Urbanspoon