Tuesday, October 29, 2013

40's Cafe

One thing I find strange after living in the Barossa for more than a year now would be the strong penchant for pizza here as compared to other types of cuisines. I used to think the locals would prefer having comfort type of food such as roasts, stews or casseroles but everytime I go out for tea with my colleagues and friends, we somehow always end up having pizzas instead!

After some time, it dawned on me that having pizzas are probably a more versatile type of food to have as it can be shared around at functions, has multiple personalities to choose from and who in the world does not fancy these little triangles? Noting that the locals here love a good glass of wine to go with it too!:)

I hardly have the chance to explore this region after being here for some time but am thankful that I am more outgoing this year (I blame intern year stress). This cafe is situated in Angaston, which is a 10 minute drive from my place and has a lovely outdoor ambience that will make your meal all the more enjoyable. Friendly staff, efficient service and cozy environment.

Lemon lime bitters and spider sprite ~

Garlic bread ~ a nice little entree to start the meal with. Freshly toasted slices of garlic infused bread with a dash of parsley for added punch. Not as greasy compared to the other places that I have been to and just the right amount of salt in it. Yummy!

Caesar salad ~ one of those days where I craveee for something refreshing. I am not a herbivorous person but I do like a good salad every now and then. This one was generously coated with shaved cheese and topped with crispy bits of bacon with a few pieces of anchovies scattered around it for that hit of salt.

40s barossa deluxe ~ smoked chicken, smoked pork belly, kalamata olives, pesto, grilled brie and fresh basil. The smoked pork belly was obtained from a really famous butcher that I have heard locals rave about (but sadly, I hardly get to explore due to my working schedule). Nevertheless, this is a really nice meat lover's pizza to have and the portion size is just suffice, without the greasy feeling that you get after having too much pizza.

Best of SA seafood ~ I love a good seafood pizza and found this one to be really unique as the chef utilized coriander, chilli, lime juice and fish sauce in it! Very Asian inspired and I am not complaining. Generous amounts of seafood added and it was the favourite for the night!:)

If you are ever stuck for ideas of where to head to for lunch or dinner and have no reservation whatsoever, I would highly recommend heading here as they are opened on just about every day and have ample of seating area to accommodate those last- minute rocking up moments:)

  40's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Duthy Street Deli

Who's up for a hearty breakfast, perfect to kickstart the day?  Whenever I feel like having a treat, especially after an intensive and brain wrecking week, what's not to love about sitting at a cafe, sipping a cup of coffee and tucking into some warm, scrumptious bits of eggs, bacon, mushroom and bread?

Cappuccino ~

Latte ~

The big brekkie ~ consists of the usual suspects aka eggs (be it poached, scrambled or fried), sausages, bacon, hash brown, tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms and freshly toasted bread. Delicious!

We had two plates of the big brekkie, one with poached eggs and one with scrambled eggs. Love slicing into a runny yolk but also equally torn with the melt-in-your-mouth texture of scrambled eggs. Which one would you choose?:)

Eggs benedict ~ my weakness whenever I don't feel like having something too big for breakfast but still want to enjoy the joys of food in the morning. Creamy hollandaise sauce drizzled all over the eggs which sits on a bed of sliced ham and toasted bread.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pretzel dogs recipe

Having a container full of dry yeast sitting in the cabinet can be handy, especially when bread is essential in most of our kitchens, regardless of where we live. I love browsing Gourmet Traveller for their recipes as it works pretty well, with some minor tweaking. In conjunction with Oktoberfest, I have decided to wrap a pretzel recipe from Gourmet Traveller around a cheese kransky as a yummy treat for guests:)

10gm dried yeast
2 tsp caster sugar
635gm bread flour
40gm softened butter
50gm bicarbonate soda
310ml warm water
1 egg yolk for brushing
A handful of sea salt flakes for scattering

Place yeast, sugar, about 2 tsp of fine sea salt and 60ml of warm water in a cup and allow the yeast to foam in the liquid (takes about 5 minutes, depending on the water's temperature). Incorporate the flour, yeast mixture and remaining water together and knead until the dough appears smooth. Slowly add the butter in until the mixture looks uniform and set aside to double in size (at least 1 hour). Knock back the dough and divide into equal portions.

I chose cheese kranskys but feel free to use whatever type of sausage you prefer.

Roll out the dough to approximately 1cm thick strands.

Make sure to roll the dough tightly around the sausage to prevent water from seeping in.

Boil a pot of water and add bicarbonate soda. Place rolled sausages in and remove once they start floating. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle some sea salt. Bake in the oven at 180C until it appears golden brown.

Goes perfectly well with some saurkraust (pickled cabbage) on the side and a beer on hand!:)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Caffe Primo Norwood

Life as a food blogger ain't always smooth sailing and most of the time, materials obtained for blog posts require a bit of financial and time input from my behalf. And henceforth, brought us to this quaint cafe situated near the cinema along the Parade. As you can probably tell, I am indeed a scrooge and will scout high and low for a decent place to dine in whenever I go out for a meal.

Caffe Primo has many branches around South Australia and having been to a couple in the past, I am assured that I will get a decent meal for the price I am paying. The gang and I picked items from the lunch special menu that day just to fill us up prior to the heading into the cinema. At just $13.90/plate with complimentary garlic bread, what's there to complain about? The garlic bread arrived at our table all warm, fluffy and yummy:)

Fish and chips ~ probably something that I would order again as the serving size would suffice for my size and it does not taste bad at all. Well-seasoned and not overfried:)

Alla panna ~ mushrooms with bacon bits in a cream sauce. Rather filling and again, it is well-seasoned:)

Salt and pepper calamari ~ I am currently obsessed with calamari lately and have to try it out whenever I am stuck for ideas on what to order. I would have liked a bit more batter surrounding the calamari pieces but I guess this is a healthier version, do you agree?:)

Overall, I was pretty contended with what I got on the table that day as it is a lot more affordable compared to other cafes that I have been and the food is value for money in terms of flavour and portion size. Am happy to drop by again for another quick fix in the future!

  Caffe Primo on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Advertorial: Mocha chocolate cookie recipe

Being a homecook meant that cooking tools/ appliances are an absolutely essential part of my food preparation ritual and hence, lack of tools may be an issue for me (and probably some of you out there who are unable to afford those hefty store prices!). I was contacted a few weeks ago by a representative from Kitchenware Superstore and am happy to introduce this website to you, my lucky readers, as not only are the prices reasonable compared to what you get from most kitchen stores in the city but also, shipping is free with a minimum purchase of $150.

As Kitchenware Superstore's warehouse is located within Australia, it makes it all the more easier for us Aussies to return a product (and ring them for any queries), unlike international warehouses' which may take months to process and sometimes, you may not even get a reply! I have got a Kitchenaid coffee and spice grinder as I see myself utilizing it for days when I feel like a barista or even a spice guru. The grinder was well-packed with lots of protection around to prevent damage.

Rather than smashing away with a mortal and pestle, I can easily blitz the dry ingredients. I did notice that this particular model was able to grind my coffee beans very finely, with minimal noise:) I was drowning with recipe ideas but have decided to settle on this simple, yet delicious mocha chocolate cookie, a perfect wake up call for those exhausting days at work!

1 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
A sprinkle of salt
113g butter
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup coffee powder
1 cup dark and white chocolate chunks

Cream butter with sugar for at least 6 minutes before incorporating the egg. Sift flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder and coffee powder together until it appears to be mixed well. Slowly fold wet mixture into dry mixture and toss in your chocolate chunks (feel free to play around with the dark to white chocolate ratio) and roll dough into a sausage shape before placing it in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Slice it up and bake for 20 minutes at 150C.

Allow to cool before serving. Goes perfectly well with milk!

It's super duper easy to clean, trust me!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Star House Chinese restaurant

Growing up in a Chinese family, I daresay I have been subjected to quite a number of traditional Chinese dishes from simple homecooked family meals to fancy celebratory affairs. After years of living in Adelaide, it dawned on me that there are in fact, 2 obvious types of Chinese fares that one may stumble upon at Chinatown which are either Mandarin/ China inspired dishes or Cantonese/ Hong Kong inspired fare. I am a fan of the latter, which brought me to Starhouse Chinese restaurant.

We got here on Sunday night and were lucky to be secure a table despite the huge turn-up at the restaurant, mostly families. I may be biased here but I find that their interior appears to be more welcoming and classy, perhaps due to the good positioning of the tables (a little more privacy in some parts of the restaurant). If you are organizing a dinner event, I highly recommend coming here (but do make reservations!).

We received complementary Chinese type of chips, which is customary in most Chinese restaurants here. I used to binge on these whenever my family and I go out for restaurant dinners in Malaysia!

Roast duck with plum sauce ~ I am obsessed with roast duck despite it not being something that I crave for as a kid. The duck's skin is crispy and the meat is still moist and juicy. Having said that, I found some parts to be a tad dry, possible because the thin layer of meat was near the bone and consequently, dried up in the roasting process. But never mind that, we did get decent sized pieces of duck flesh which we happily dipped into the slightly tangy and sweet plum sauce. Delicious:)

Steamed barramundi with ginger and shallots ~ one of my favourite's at Starhouse. Their concoction of ginger, shallots and soy sauce is somewhat unique and really marinates the fish well. I would love to get my hands on their recipe but I doubt that's going to happen unless I volunteer myself for kitchenwork! The fish is taken out from the fish tank and is freshly prepared. I could eat this with steamed rice all day.

Abalone with sea cucumber and broccoli ~ we decided to try something a little different for a change and ordered this as it was a special occasion. I hardly eat abalone or sea cucumber and am afraid I can't give a reliable verdict of this dish. However, I found that the abalone was thinly sliced and well coated with the gravy that it is drowned with:)

I can't really say much about the service here as we did arrive when the restaurant was packed full of patrons nor can I recommend coming here for yum cha. I am open to suggestions so please do drop me a comment in the comment section:)

  Star House on Urbanspoon

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Chocolate and hazelnut babkha recipes

Yet another attempt at baking bread and fingers cross all will rise to the effect (get it?:p). Have got myself a new bottle of dried yeast as I figured that the remaining few sachets of yeast that I had had already expired and are not as effective for producing fluffy bread. I am so obsessed with the recipes provided by Gourmet Traveller right now. Most of the ones I have tried are foolproof while the ones that did not turn out well probably needed a few adjustments to recreate the beaut as seen on their website!

Ingredients (recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveller):
180ml lukewarm milk
14gm dry yeast
110gm caster sugar
485g plain flour
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
210gm softened butter
100m hazelnuts
100gm dark chocolate
Egg wash for brushing

Mix the milk with the dry yeast and sugar and set aside until it appears foamy (about 5-7minutes). Add 75gm of the flour, mix to combine, before slowly adding in the eggs, egg yolk, remaining sugar and a pinch of salt.

Use a low speed to mix the above ingredients whilst slowly adding in the remaining flour until it is well combined. Incorporate about 150gm of small butter pieces and beat the dough until it appears shiny and elastic. Set it aside to double (about 1 hour at least, depending on your surrounding temperature).

To make the hazelnut spread, toast hazelnuts and process it with the remaining butter to achieve a smooth spread (a bit like Nutella, in my opinion). Have omitted this step as I did not have any hazelnuts to spare because they are so expensive at the moment:(

Knockback the dough after it appears to have doubled in size and divide into 2 equal portions. Spread hazelnut spread and scatter chocolate chunks around it (have just used a mixture of almonds and chocolate for mine!) . Roll the dough and allow to sit for about 30 minutes.

Give the dough a good brushing of egg wash before sending it to the oven at 180C for about 20 minutes or until done.

It was steaming hot and oozing with chocolate-y goodness when I sliced into it, such simple pleasures in life:)