Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Exchange Restaurant @Royal Exchange Hotel, Broken Hill

We're towards the end of our six weeks in Broken Hill, and we've started to develop a routine where we celebrate the end of a week with a fancy dinner.

This week's fancy dinner takes us to The Exchange Restaurant, located in the Royal Exchange Hotel. We've rode past it countless times on our push bikes on our way to Argent Street (the city centre) so we're a little surprised when the interior is much more fancier than what it seems from the exterior!

It's easily the fanciest restaurant we've been to so far in Broken Hill, with dim lighting, candle lights, a pianist and some cozy couches by a warm fireplace if that's your preferred method of dining. We stick with the table and chairs, though we do spend some time lounging in front of the fireplace after dinner- it's awfully comfortable, so try not to fall asleep!

Parmesan Crumbed Oysters (half doz $14)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Beef and Bean Enchiladas


I'm not usually into making 'dinner kits' because it means that there's less room for creativity when cooking, but I was quite excited when I received the Mission Burrito Kit in my box of Mission products a couple of months ago since burritos are something I don't make very often at home.

But of course I didn't want to make them as per the instructions on the box (that would be boring!) so I made them into enchiladas by covering them in sauce and cheese.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Temptations Cafe and Dessert Bar (2), Broken Hill


Continuing on with my overdue Broken Hill posts is another one on Temptations Cafe which seems to be the only one where we've managed to say that we'll come back and have actually done so on numerous occasions is Temptations. A total of 4 times actually!

We can't help it- the opening hours are so much more convenient than every other place, and their dessert selection is, well, tempting.

 Flourless Orange and Almond Cake ($6.90)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Kale and Chickpea Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing


Another warm week, another salad recipe!

To add a little variety to my weekday lunches, I bought a rather large bunch of kale so ended up making a variety of kale salads for the week. My favourite was this kale and chickpea salad with a spicy peanut dressing I'd come across on pinterest which worked surprisingly well. The dressing is nice and creamy and also very very tasty (once you read the ingredients list you'll see why).

Monday, November 30, 2015

Temptations Cafe and Dessert Bar, Broken Hill

Apologies for my lack of posting over the past couple of months- they've been quite hectic and stressful, trying to put everything we've learnt over the previous year into practice within a short time period of 10 weeks. But it's over now, and I can finally say that I've finished uni for good this time.

I haven't had a chance since I got back from Broken Hill to properly finish my posts from then, so I thought I'd quickly put them up on my blog before I forget, starting with one of my favourite Broken Hill cafes, Temptations.

The problem with staying up late on Friday night in Broken Hill is that you end up waking up late on Saturday morning, so by the time you cycle your way into the main street of town, most of the cafes and shops are just about closed.

I can't say we're too fond of the 1-2pm closing times, because it leaves us with little time to explore and not much to do in the middle of the day. Luckily, Temptations Cafe is open almost all day, and this so we end up here for a late lunch when almost nothing else was open.

Mocha (Lge $4.50)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Tuna Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette


I've tried countless numbers of salad recipes over the past two years, because I seem to keep making salad for lunch. It's the easiest option when there's not always access to a microwave, and though it's not the nicest thing to have in the middle of winter, the recent warm weather in Sydney has been perfect for salad so I thought I'd quickly share with you one of my favourite salad dressing recipes.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Low Fat Spinach and Tuna Quiche

I've always shyed away from making quiches too often, because as tasty and convenient as they are, the amount of fat in the pastry makes the seemingly innocent snack, quite an unhealthy one. So when I recently came across a recipe card with my Mission Foods package which used a wrap as the shell instead of pastry, I was quite interested to see what the result was like.

The Mission Soft and Fluffy Wraps are a good size for making mini quiches, although my muffin cups were a little smaller than the recommended, so mine ended up being rather tall. Make a small incision and press into your muffin pans and you've got an easy replacement for pastry- and you don't even have to worry about cutting it into perfect circles either because they already are!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

IMK Colour Kettle


It seems like it's always this time of year when time seems to suddenly rush past, and before you know it, you're almost at the end of another month. Unfortunately, this means that I have not left enough time for my usual blogging, but I thought I'd share this one with you before the end of the month!

Earlier this week, Nuffnang and IMK colour were super generous and sent me this kettle to try out. If you've never heard of the brand IMK before, they do a great range of kitchen appliances and have just launched their IMK colour range of stylish toasters, kettles, blenders and stick mixes in bright and fun colours

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Mission Foods Chia and Red Quinoa Wraps

Long days at placement now mean lots and lots of packed lunches so I was very happy when Nuffnang and Mission Foods were kind enough to send me a box of their products for me to sample!

Mission Foods have recently launched some Chia and Red Quinoa Wraps which are another option for those who are more health conscious. I don't usually do much of these product review things, but I had been looking up the nutritional properties of chia and quinoa for some patients during placement, so I thought it'd be perfect to try these myself!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Red Bean and Mung Bean Snowskin Mooncakes


Mooncake season back again!

I've been making mooncakes every once in a while, but never quite get a chance to post them on my blog before the actual Mid-Autumn festival, so I thought I'd start making them a little earlier this year. Luckily, I made enough to last til tomorrow!

Monday, September 14, 2015

La Cita, King Street Wharf


I find it quite surprising how quiet La Cita is on a weekend afternoon- its location is quite good, overlooking the harbour (and plenty of tourists walking around), their food is pretty good and their lunch specials are great value! Nevertheless, the quietness does make for a more pleasant experience for us as it means we get our privacy and food is served promptly whilst we relax in the warmth of the winter sun, watching as groups of tourist hop on and off the ferries departing from the wharves. 

La Cita's lunch special menu offers some pretty good deals- at $10, you can get yourself a serve of nachos and a main! We make a mental note to come back another time to try them, but we're after a more substantial meal today.

Mixed Entree Plate ($39)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Choc Chip Cupcakes


My sister absolutely adores these choc-chip cupcakes, and loves having them as a snack at home or to bring to uni. It's nothing special- just my usual yellow cake recipe, with a handful of dark chocolate chips thrown in. It doesn't take me too much effort to make but it's quite popular, and a batch of these will only last a couple of days in this household.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Local Mbassy, Ultimo

Cappuccino (Lge $4)

We'd been due for a coffee date at Local Mbassy before I left for Broken Hill more than 9 weeks ago now, but never had the time to go so now that I'm back and not too lazy to go out, we decided to make a trip to try out this cafe!

It's pretty hard to not have heard of Local Mbassy, with pictures of their famous red velvet pancakes popping up everywhere around the internet these days. And so popular are these pancakes that pretty much every single table has one of them!

Mocha (Lge $4.50)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Panna Cotta Lamingtons

6 weeks might not seem like a particularly long time, but a lot can change in that time!

I drove to work for the first time since I've been back from Broken Hill, and it felt like I was in a completely different place. What used to be a nice peaceful drive through a mini forest on the edge of my suburb, interspersed with small farms and cottages had become a piece of bare land- all the trees had been stripped down and trucks had already come in starting the building roads and houses. It's quite sad as I was pretty proud of the last little piece of nature to survive amongst all this urbanisation, but I guess it was only a matter of time before someone realised the huge money making potential the large pieces of land could be.

Luckily, some things don't change at all, and this lamington recipe is a fine example of this- it's still as trusty as ever!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Travel | Taipei: Udon, Maokong and Cafes


Sanuki Udon (土三寒六)

We'd been curious about the quality of Japanese food in Taiwan because of their historic ties with Japan, so we made sure we made a visit to at least one Japanese restaurant when we were there.

Udon noodles are handmade on site, if my understanding of Chinese is correct.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Palace Hotel, Broken Hill


We’ve been told that the Palace Hotel is a restaurant which you must go to when you’re in Broken Hill. Not only is it one of the only two places where it’s legal to play two-up all through the year, but it’s also one of Broken Hill’s most iconic building, where Priscilla was filmed.

It’s also surprisingly busy, as we found out when we rocked up only to be told there’d only be a table available at 8:30. Luckily there’s a bar and pool table to keep us occupied whilst we wait, and if you go to the hotel side of the building, there’s quite impressive artwork to be seen on the walls!

Shoestring Fries with Herbs and Yoghurt (Lge $8.50)

The dining space is rather fancy, with a really unique outback atmosphere from the bush paintings on the wall. Service can be slow when it’s busy, but we’re not in a rush so it’s not an issue for us.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Hocko's Chicken Shop, Broken Hill

We'd been given a little town tour by the uni on our arrival to Broken Hill, some 5 week ago now, and had driven past this cute little corner takeaway store. It's called Hocko's Chicken Shop, but we had misread it to be Hocko's Chicken Soup so when we rocked up on a cold day expecting some warm chicken soup, we were a little surprised to when we read the menu. 

There's no chicken soup in sight, but there is plenty of fried chicken and burgers which sounds just as good!
The Outback Burger ($6.95)

Friday, August 7, 2015

Tydvil Bistro, Broken Hill


There isn't a great lot of places open at night in Broken Hill- the pubs are really the only the place to go. We'd been to Tydvil Hotel previously with friends for drinks but spied the waffles from the bistro at the last minute and decided to go for some waffles instead of a drink- and they were so good we decided we'd come back for a proper meal!

Tydvil bistro is a small dining area next to the pub. It's nicely set up, but like any pub bistro the service is minimal- grab a table, grab some menus, order at the counter and wait for your food to come. They specialise mostly in steaks and schnitzels, with a complete menu dedicated to schnitzels and various toppings you can add on top. 

 Chicken Schnitzel with King Avocado ($23.50)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Baxter's Bakery, Broken Hill

Although we've ticked off the 'eating a meat pie in the outback' off our list of things to do whilst we're here in Broken Hill, we're not sure last time counted since it was in a cafe instead of a bakery and we did get the fancy flavours which technically doesn't count as a 'meat' pie.  So this called for another meat pie for lunch, and we sneak out to the bakery around the corner to have a real meat pie.

Cheese and Bacon Pie ($5)

From what we've heard, there's two main bakeries in Broken Hill- Mac's and Baxter's. We're keen to try both but Baxter's is much more convenient for us, with their bakery just round the corner from where we're working and their cafe in the only major shopping complex.

The bakery itself is a small building sandwiched between a couple of houses. Blink and you'll miss it. It's a tiny bakery with only one pie display cabinet and one cakes display cabinet, but business is good as we notice plenty of locals driving over just to purchase pies and pastries for takeaway for lunch. It's more of  a takeaway style business but we're lucky enough to snag the only table outside the bakery to chow down our treats!

Cheese and Bacon Pie ($5)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Charlotte's at the Grand, Broken Hill


We've been busy the past few Sundays either lazing about at home or going out for short trips out of town, so we hadn't had a chance to explore Broken Hill on Sunday. Not that there's anything exciting- we already knew it, but the town is ridiculously quiet on a Sunday morning, with every shop on the main street shut except for two cafes, the newsagents and a couple of small stores.

And we thought Saturday was quiet!

Mocha ($5)

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Orange Chicken

Having worked in a Chinese restaurant for almost 4 years, I can't say that Westernised Asian food is my favourite cuisine. Although anything but authentic, our restaurant does everything it does well so I'd choose anything else over anything in the same category as sweet and sour pork, honey chicken and mongolian lamb any day.

But there is one dish that we don't do and it's orange chicken (well actually there's more than one,  but let's not go into the details.....), so I still enjoy it enough to want to attempt this at home.

Whereas the lemon sauce for lemon chicken in Chinese restaurants is mostly made of sugar, water and lemon essence, I prefer my homemade orange sauce to be made of fresh orange juice- it's so sweet it doesn't make too much of a difference, but there is a freshness that comes through.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Thom, Dick and Harry's, Broken Hill


In our quest to try all the restaurants and cafes there are in Broken Hill,  we end up at Thom, Dick and Harry's on the weekend, which we've heard good tings about. It's a cute little shop which is a bit of everything- homewares store, florist, gourmet grocer and cafe.

We'd been in the weekend before, browsing their homewares and did notice their menu seemed quite enticing so we were quite excited to try the little cafe up the back. There's not much seating- two tables at the back, a larger high table up the front and a couple outside though no one wants to sit outside in the current cold weather!

Mocha (Lge $4.5)

Cold weather calls for warm drinks, so I order a large mocha. Interesting, they tell us to give it a good stir before drinking, which we realise is because the chocolate powder has not been completely dissolved yet. I can't say I was too fond of this coffee- tastewise it was alright, but the froth was not quite fine enough for my liking.

Scrambled Eggs With Chorizo ($14.90)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Caff, Broken Hill

 Mocha (large, $4.5)

We've been told that most of the food in Broken Hill is pretty good- the reason being that the town is so small that anything that isn't can't last for too long. We haven't been here for long, but we have tried three restaurants/cafes so far and are yet to find one we don't like.

Right across from Broken Hill hospital, where we are based for my placement is The Caff, which we'd been hearing rave reviews about since the day we got here. So naturally, we had to make time for a visit to check it out.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Travel | Taipei: Yongkang Street and Nearby Eats

When we visited Taipei, we were lucky enough to have the guidance of a friend who recommended us to book a hotel near Yongkang street as it would be much more convenient to get to the foodie destinations.

Best advice ever!

We literally stayed across the road from the original Din Tai Fung which we'd loved to have tried, but the queues were never ending and the fact that there's a billion branches everywhere else sort of made it less exciting (I know the original one is different, but still!). There's plenty of similar restaurants around the area, and we were recommended this one from our taxi driver who noted that the xiao long bao was very good (we later find out that their website is named!).

Hangzhou Soup Dumplings 杭州小籠湯包 

Hot and Sour Soup

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Creamy Coconut Peanut Curry Noodles


This recipe was originally supposed to be for a Creamy Coconut Peanut Curry Dressing recipe, but winter is not the perfect time for salads, so I heated it up and served it with noodles instead. 

And it worked surprisingly well!

I'd gotten into a bit of a system where I pre-made most of my week's lunches on Sunday so I wouldn't have to worry about it during the week, so I'd actually made this dressing weeks in advance, kept it in the freezer and forgot about it until it fell out one day and the container broke. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Silly Goat, Broken Hill


The Silly Goat is a curious name for a cafe, but it makes a little more sense when you take a seat a see the book. Not that it tells you much more about why the cafe was named so, but at least it doesn't sound so random anymore! ;)

I'm in Broken Hill for a 6 week placement for uni, so we thought we'd put the weekend to good use an explore the town. The original plan was to visit the markets, but it got rained out and closed early, so we stopped by The Silly Goat, one of the town's most popular cafes, for brunch instead.

Hot Chocolate (S$3.8)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Breakfast Bake

Breakfast Baked Eggs

Getting out of bed isn't an easy thing for me, but if there's one thing that will get me up, it's breakfast!

We're not huge breakfast people in our hoursehold- it's usually a rotation between our standard 'Western Breakfast' (i.e. your typical big brekkie- eggs, bacon, baked beans etc) and our 'Asian breakfasts' (i.e. noodles of some sort). But any kind of food is enough reason for me to get out of bed ;)

Breakfast Baked Eggs

Monday, June 22, 2015

Palsaik, Haymarket


It's not everyday that we walk past a restaurant and decide we want to try it just by looking at the menu, but that's exactly how we discovered Palsaik. 

The entrance is a little hidden, being behind Chatime and a couple of other eateries so we wouldn't have ever realised it even existed had we not been wandering around whilst waiting for our order at Taiwan Soul Food. It wasn't until we searched it up when we got home that we realised it was a global Korean restaurant chain, which made us even more keen to try it out!

Being situated right above Taiwan Soul Food, there's a surprisingly strong smell of the sauce from there- especially as we'd arrived just at opening time, before any of the BBQ's had started up.

Palsaik means 8 colours, and refers to their signature set- 8 coloured pork belly, which involves pork belly marinated in 8 different flavours. As much as we wanted to try it, it serves 2-3 so the 4 person beef set seemed a little more suitable to our group.

The set includes an entree of Seafood Pancake, which is one of our favourite Korean dishes. We quite liked their version, which was deliciously crispy, though a little smaller than the one we usually have in our favourite Korean restaurant.

The BBQ for the beef set was on a wire mesh, unlike the Palsaik set, which was on a hot plate. The hotplate did look quite high maintenance as the waiters constantly had to remove the burnt bits.

The set includes 4 different types of beef, 3 of which are Wagyu- the cuts of meat are beautifully marbled and are deliciously moist and tender.

Unlike the pork set, the beef one doesn't come with names so we're not too sure which is which, but we quite like this one, which we find the most tender of them all, and is marinated slightly to give it enough flavour without masking the meaty taste of the wagyu.

Marinated Flank Skirt

We're a huge fan of marinated meats so this one was definitely our favourite as it was the only one in a strong sauce. It's marinated in their special sweet soy sauce, kind of like bulgogi, and the serving size is larger than it seems, perhaps because they cut the meats into small pieces.

Kimchi Hot Pot

And because BBQ alone isn't quite warm enough for the cold weather we're having now, the hot pot is the perfect accompaniment. There's plenty of variety in there- with pork belly, mushrooms, tofu, rice cake and noodles.

Overall, it was pretty good value for $88- though we were a little disappointed they didn't honour their Facebook offer of free soft drink for liking them on FB!

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