Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pasticceria Papa 2, Haberfield

Turning the big two-zero yesterday, I waved goodbye to my teenage years. How sad! Doesn't mean I can't act immature still :P I suppose I'm meant to be a year wiser, but I sure don't feel that way. What I do know is that I still have my love for sweets and my father dearest spoilt me rotten with a trip to Pasticceria Papa! While I absolutely adore their baked ricotta cheesecake, I decided to try something else this time around.

Blueberry cheesecake, $26.00 / various Italian biscuits and pastries, a bit over $20.00
My dad said we were going to pick out a cake, but once we were there, he encouraged me to pick out a whole range of biscuits and pastries too! They were all so delicious. The apple crumble had such a lovely crisp covering sweet stewed cinnamon-y apples underneath and the ricotta tart was so creamy, soft and fluffy at the same time. Those two sitting at the top were especially good mm.

The cheesecake was also divine. I could eat cheesecake all day ;) But clearly not possible as I would balloon up and resemble a lump of cheese haha!

If any of you are ever in the Haberfield area, I definitely encourage you all to pay a visit to Pasticceria Papa and try out their delicacies over a hot cup of coffee!

Pasticceria Papa
145 Ramsay St
Haberfield, NSW, 2045
9799 9631

Opening Hours
Monday - Friday: 8:00am - 6:00pm
Saturday: 7:30am - 5:00pm
Sunday:7:30am - 1:00pm

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Masterclass With Miguel Meastre At Sydney Seafood School, Pyrmont

The star of the night

I never thought I'd be one to come face to face with any celebrity chef who I've only ever seen on my TV screen in the comforts of my own home, but that was exactly where I found myself being greeted with warmth and kisses on the cheek by the one and only Miguel Meastre! The Sydney Seafood School hosted a masterclass to give us a taste of what to expect at the upcoming Good Food & Wine Show at the end of June.

The peppers used in the paella
Not long after I accepted a glass of red wine upon arrival, I was approached by fellow food blogger Ms Brulee (you have an uncanny ability to spot food bloggers!) Kelly was so friendly and nice and it was great talking and getting to know her before the show and it's always so much fun meeting new people who like food as much as I do :D

Pouring stock after the rice has been cooked with the sofrito
He was introduced to us as a celebrity with a big personality - he definitely had that! Not only did he show us how to cook but he also entertained us with stories. Miguel explains to us that to cool a good paella, one must use the Spanish rice. Why? Well, when cooking Asian fried noodles, you don't go ahead and use fettuccine! Different noodles are used to cook different dishes so why would rice be any different? Because of the hot Spanish sun, the Spanish rice tends to be drier and needs to absorb more stock to be cooked through. To determine portion size, generally one handful of rice is enough for one unless you have a big appetite ;) Another handy tip was a tip I learnt about garlic - normally one bulb per person. But there are people like me who love garlic so you can always add more!

Miguel demonstrating how to break and clean a blue swimmer crab
The food processor had stopped working from an accident earlier in the night where the stock exploded - yep, that happened. Did not even know stock could explode! Turns out, that killed the electricity on the bench but Miguel didn't let his accidents with the appliances deter him the slightest as he laughed it off after one of the lady helpers scolded him about his "touch of death". Instead he broke the news that he is now an official Australian citizen. He passed the exam with flying colours - a top mark of 95%! A huge congratulations are an order I believe :D Looks like we'll definitely be seeing more of him in the food network in Australia!

Look how happy he is in Australia!
After the demonstration sneak peek into what we were cooking for the night, we all just wanted to hot up the kitchens and cook up a storm! The scent of the paella cooking definitely tantalised our tastebuds of what we were to feast on later that night. We were in groups of four to cook that night and I met another lovely food blogger My Hungry Monster all the way from Thailand! Miguel came around during our escapades on the beaches and stovetops to make sure we were alright with everything and to give us tips for how we would cook it in our home kitchens to get a beautiful soccarrada (that crunchy rice crust that I all know we are looking for). The stock must all be evaporated so you don't get gluggy rice, and remember to move the pan around the heat source so you don't get one area that's burnt!

Ingredients for the paella

Cutting limes

Our kingfish ceviche

So proud of our paella!
We couldn't wait to tuck in after our efforts that night, and it was absolutely divine. All the herbs and spices used elevated the dishes and provided a fantastic kick. It was all washed down with some lovely Semillon from First Creek.

I had a wonderful time meeting Miguel who was extremely sociable, warm and friendly. We all left with a goody bag and tickets to the Good Food & Wine Show which I know for sure I will be checking out this year!

Sherrie @ Crystal Noir attended the evening of culinary delights as a guest of Spark Communications and compliments of Citibank.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Iron Chef Chinese Seafood Restaurant, Cabramatta

No, I didn’t see iron chef Chen Kenichi or Hiroyuki Sakai, or any of he iron chefs for that matter! My family and I went to Cabramatta for yum cha to show my grand aunt (who is visiting from China) around. Iron Chef definitely is our family's favourite yum cha restaurant at the moment :) I think I will just let the photos do the talking!

Particularly enjoyed the chicken feet which have been deep fried and then marinated in that gorgeous sauce (I know not everyone can bring themselves to eat that sot of thing haha but I love it!), the bird’s nest which had minced pork surrounded by a taro paste and then is deep fried with a batter to give it that nest-like look, and the crunchy skin of the suckling pig! Of course the mango pudding with condensed milk and mango pancake tasted excellent (it’s mango with evaporated milk and cream, what’s not to love?).

So are you a fan of the casual "grab what you want off the trolley" at yum cha or do you prefer ordering off a menu at restaurants? And have any of you tried chicken feet and loved it?

Iron Chef Chinese Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Crossroads Bar in Swissotel, Sydney CBD

Has anyone ever met a girl who doesn't like high tea? There's something that makes us feel that much more sophisticated, sipping on tea in dainty cups while eating bite-sized dessert morsels, sandwiches with the crusts cut off and scones! Oh how I adore scones with fresh cream and jam... Of course my friends and I could not let the opportunity to buy high tea coupons for 4 for only $79 at the Swissotel pass us by!

The Swissotel does high tea on level 8 at the Crossroads Bar. We were about to be seated by the window overlooking Sydney, but we loved the look of the squishy couches and luckily enough for us, the waiter happily obliged us of our wishes and we sunk into the cushiony seats with sighs of happiness.

The tea and coffee was at a separate table and is self serve. There was a decent range of teas but I can't say I'm the biggest fan of bagged teas. I normally love loose leaf green tea, and while this Lipton one smelled absolutely FANTASTIC (had such a beautiful floral scent), it tasted extremely bitter... I'll stick to the champagne!

Service was extremely efficent and our stands came out super fast!

I always start with scones as they are best when warm! These scones were studded with plump little raisins and so good slathered with a tonne of whipped cream and jam :D

The tuna sandwich had a good amount of creamy tuna inside and rocket. The bread had pepitas (pumpkin seeds) scattered on top which provided a lovely crunch! I was a huge fan of the wrap which encased a soft eggplant which melted on the tongue, sundried tomatoes which made the wrap oh so flavoursome, rocket and cream cheese. The egg sandwich was pretty decent but I loved the smoked salmon, cream cheese and rocket mini-bagel! I like the texture of bagels - they are much like a denser bread.

Onto the dessert tier! The chocolate cake had layers of dense brownie-like cake and a velvety chocolate mousse. Very rich indeed. It was interesting that they've included jelly, green jelly as a matter of fact. I was amused at the novelty of scooping the jelly out with the little spoon. I very much enjoyed the profiterole which had a good amount of smooth custard inside but the waffle with whipped cream and fresh strawberry was a favourite! There was a light layer of sugar that was slightly melted so that it stuck to the waffle but maintained its crunch. I topped the waffle with the remaining jam left over from my scone to make it extra sweet! I do have too much of a sweet tooth...

Overall, I really enjoyed my high tea experience at Swissotel and a shoutout to my wonderful girlfriends who made it all the more lovely! Two of them had never had high tea before - I was glad that they loved it as much as I did :D

Crossroads Bar, Swissotel
Level 8, 68 Market St
Sydney NSW 2000

Opening Hours

Coffee and light breakfast:
Daily: 8:00 - 11:00 am

All-day dining:
Monday - Friday: 11:00 – 1:00pm
Saturday - Sunday: 11:00 – midnight

Express Lunch:
Monday - Sunday: 12:00 - 2:00pm

Tiered High Tea:
Monday - Friday: 2:00 – 4:00pm

Buffet High Tea:
Saturday - Sunday: 2:00 – 4:00pm

Crossroads Bar, SwissĂ´tel on Urbanspoon

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Eats lately via iPhone #2

Uni has been keeping me busy lately so I've gathered snapshots of bits and bobs I've been eating!

Clockwise from top left: apple & cinnamon, lemon meringue, strawberry, black forest, carrot, hummingbird
Cupcakes from the Cupcake Bakery! Cupcakes are just so cute and there was plenty of icing - my favourite ;) I really enjoyed the apple & cinnamon, along with the lemon meringue! I was expecting something special from the hummingbird but it just tasted like plain old banana to me. Which isn't a bad thing as I love banana bread/cake/muffins!

The Cupcake Bakery
320b George St
Sydney, NSW , 2000

 The Cupcake Bakery on Urbanspoon

Muesli and yogurt
Top Juice in Westfield Sydney has tonnes of fresh juices but I went for something heartier. Fresh yogurt is the best and this was the super thick kind swirled with a delicious mix of oats and raisins :)

Top Juice
Level 5 Cnr Pitt St Mall And Market St
Sydney, NSW, 2000

Top Juice - Westfield Sydney on Urbanspoon

Sweet taro and red bean crushed ice, $8.00
I have a thing for taro in desserts - especially the sweet marinated kind they have at Meet Fresh! Taro and red beans is a classic Asian flavour combination which I love :)

Meet Fresh
175 Rowe Street
Eastwood, NSW, 2122

Meet Fresh on Urbanspoon

Pork roll, $4.00
I love porks rolls. This place has my favourite pork rolls! Crunchy bread? Tick! The carrots and daikon are pickled just to my liking and the sauce they use here is what I think makes this pork roll number one in my books.

Ashfield Vietnamese Rolls
222 Liverpool Rd
Ashfield NSW 2131

Grilled Portugese chicken salad, $15.00
Decided to buy lunch at uni for once while waiting to meet a friend and went for the char-grilled chicken with piri-piri spices with coral lettuce, rocket, tomato and chilli sauce. The salad was average at best and not worth forking out the $15.00 (costs extra to sit in). Unfortunately you don't feel comfortable staying there for too long as the waiters continuously hang around and watch you like a hawk, even swooping in multiple times to try get you to leave quickly. Hard to have an enjoyable lunch when they're acting that way. I've had the baguettes here which are pretty good. Go for the lemongrass chicken!

Taste Baguette
City Rd Law Building The University Of Sydney
Sydney, NSW, 2006

Taste Baguette on Urbanspoon

Guava, biscotti & green tea froyo

Taro, biscotti, green tea & blood orange froyo
Noggi recently got renovated and they now have a lot of new flavours on rotation. Yes I know, I have a teeny tiny obsession with frozen yogurt. And Noggi has always been my go-to place for biscotti and blood orange (when they do have this flavour). I always top my frozen yogurt with mochi, coconut chips, blueberries and other fruit if I get extra toppings :D

2/2 Albert Rd
Strathfield, NSW

Noggi Strathfield on Urbanspoon

Half roast pork knuckle, $28.00
Probably a bit silly of me to get half the pork knuckle when the entire thing costed just $5 extra! But I know I would not have been able to finish it without being waaay too full so I decided to skip the whole knuckle, go for half, and spend the rest on beer! I asked them to replace the mash with sauteed potato because while I do love mash, I've had it many, many times in my life and I wanted to try sauteed potatoes! The pork knuckle had such a lovely crackling, and the sourness of the sauerkraut plus sweetness of the apple compote brought out the best of the pork.

Bavarian Bier Cafe
24 York St
Sydney, NSW, 2000

Bavarian Bier Café York Street on Urbanspoon

French toast, $7.90 + $3.00 extra for bacon
My sister and I decided to have brekky in Newtown before class one day and we settled for a cafe next to the art store I bought some supplies from. I so badly want to say that I loved this but it was much to eggy for my liking. But yay for bacon and maple syrup!

Fringe Cafe and Restaurant
199 King St
Newtown, NSW 2042

Fringe Cafe and Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Massaman beef curry, $6.95 during lunch
I order Massaman curry way too much, but this non-spicy Thai curry is so comforting that I can't help but be drawn to it each time. Hooray for multiple Thai restaurants in Newtown with cheap lunch specials!

Newtown Thai II
105 King St
Sydney, NSW, 2042

Newtown Thai II on Urbanspoon 

Hehe made myself a Vietnamese inspired salad for lunch at uni :)

And also breakfast in a jar so that I could transport it :D Greek yogurt, nectarine, berries, muesli and maple syrup mhmm.

Also baked some potato wedges with greek yogurt and sweet chilli sauce. Chucked in a tonne of different spices. Loved using the greek yogurt as it was just like having sour cream but less fat and higher protein :) Chobani's the best!

It was my brother's birthday recently and all good birthdays must end with cake! So a mango cheesecake was bought from Michel's Patisserie. He absolutely loved it despite the fact that he normally isn't the biggest fan of sweets so thank goodness :)

So there we have it! A little too much food everywhere haha.