Monday, November 30, 2009

Recipe: Shortbread

Aaah it's coming up on the festive season and I do so love seasonal food. With tomorrow being the 1st of December we're having a small gathering to put up my Christmas tree and that means one thing... shortbread!

This recipe is so easy and so good it just begs to be made all year round.

250g butter, softened
1 cup icing sugar
1 cup corn flour
2 cups plain flour


  • Cream butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy

  • Sift cornflour and flour together

  • Mix sifted ingredients into creamed mixture

  • Knead well (or cheat and use a mixer until the dough reaches a crumbly texture and then knead)

  • On a lightfly floured board roll out to about 0.5cm thickness

  • Cute with cutesy Christmas shaped cutters.

  • Place onto a greased tray and bake at 150C for around 12 mins per tray

  • Eat with eggnog and too much brandy. Hmmm.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Shiney and sharp!

Since I moved house I've been living off a set of terrible dull knives that made me cry. A lot. So it was time to hit up the factory outlets in Alexandria and get some new sharp and shiney things!

If you aren't aware Victoria's Basement are the outlet of choice for high quality kitchen goods at a fraction of the retail price; and now they have a webstore you don't even need to live in Sydney to take advantage of their prices.

Scanpan 6 piece steak knife set $36 (RRP $80)

The weight on these handles is just amazing and they feel wonderful and solid in your hands. They're also extremely sharp and I managed to nick myself getting them out of the packaging. I prefer a pointed tip rather than round as here but for this price and quality of knife I couldn't pass them up.

Benzer Verner 7 piece knife block set $59 (RRP $200)

This is what I really needed though. When you put an entire wall of Benzer and Scanpan knives on sale in front of me you can imagine I'll be there for a bit. I really liked the knife block on the Kyoto set a lot more than these but the fake Japanese styling really annoyed me and the chef's knife was a little small for my liking. I settled on these which I love, the only downside is the lack of steel, which on its own was as much as the knife block so I will wait until they too are on sale.

For reference this contains:

  • A slicer/bread knife

  • A chef's knife

  • A carving knife

  • A utility knife

  • A pairing knife

  • Kitchen Shears

  • (and the knife block)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Review: San Churro Chocolateria, Glebe

Churros are a real warm childhood memory for me; every Christmas morning we would eat them for breakfast with my grandmother's thick hot chocolate. My grandfather had a wonderful churrera that churned out perfect star shaped donuts cooked of course in Spanish olive oil. Since moving away from my family I've found it hard to find good churros, most of the ones you do see are of the Mexican style dusted in cinnamon and without chocolate... well what's the point of churros without chocolate?! Obviously the founders of San Churro feel the same way because really... their entire menu is churros and various types of chocolate. Awww yeah.

After a boiling hot day mincing around Glebe in ridiculous goth platforms I really needed a) air conditioning and b) a seat. San Churro provided both as well as lovely cool Spanish inspired arch and tile eatery.... and of course lots of chocolate.

It's rather amusing to note that San Churro is a purely Australian chain, not an import from a Hispanic country; but they got it all just right as far as I'm concerned.

The delicious display of cakes looked wonderful, but really I was there for the churros and hot chocolate so these little tempting treats would have to wait.

Similarly so for this display of truffles but they were too pretty not to take a picture of; you can read more on the new Coleccion Clasica truffle range here.

On to what we were really here for though!

Spanish Hot Chocolate Azteca $6.50

Spanish and Italian style hot chocolate is much thicker than their French or English counterparts; often made with a flour ingredient and almost roux style. This rendition is thick and rich, claiming to be from an 'authentic Spanish recipe' I can't verify but it is just lovely.

The Azteca is a South American inspired mix of cinnamon and chilli, which I am well known for loving. It is so tasty that I am virtually incable of letting it cool enough to drink because I want it all in my mouth right now! Very very much recommended. I am very interested in trying their other Spanish hot chocolates as there are Avellana, Mint and Gianduja flavours and more.

Milk Hot Chocolate $5.90

My companion goes for a more standard hot chocolate but is very enthusiastic about his choice. You can buy this in both couverture and standard versions, with a tablet of melting chocolate in the couverture version. I however will always stick with the more traditional Spanish style.

Churros for 1 $6.90

If you buy this for two you get twice as many churros and 2 chocolate pots. Given the richness of the hot chocolate though I am very glad I only buy this for one to share as we are undone by the end of the meal.

The churros seem to be made to a very standard traditional recipe for these "Spanish donuts" which requires making a roux based pastry using butter and eggs. This is then deep fried using the largest churrera I've ever seen, the wheel is more like that of a ship than a kitchen implement! The churros are warm and light, very rich but obviously using high quality oil that has been well drained. Being lactose intolerant I ask for dark chocolate, but a choice is offered. This is evidently recently melted good quality dark chocolate and the amount that is given is more than generous.

All in all this is a very good rendition, there is always a risk when you eat out the cuisine you are served by any ethnic grandmother, because they rarely stack up. This is the exception, let San Churro be your salvation!

San Churro Chocolateria, Glebe
47 Glebe Point Road,
Glebe, NSW 2037
02 9692 0119

Mon-Thu 10am-11pm
Fri 10am-Midnight
Sat 9am-Midnight
Sun 10am-11pm

Cafe style eating, no alcohol, no reservations
Take away available

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Glebe Point Rd Street Fair

With my university assessments out of the road it's been a luxurious weekend socialising and doing scene things and that means when I wake up on a Sunday morning I think "what should I like to do for lunch" instead of dragging myself to my keyboard to write.

On this warm and a little lazy Sunday that meant going to Glebe for the annual street fair held on Glebe Point Rd with all it's foodie glory and endless street stalls.

Unfortunately when you get to Glebe the street is a "little busy" ... for over a kilometer. I'm not great with the public at the best of times let alone when people stand stock still in a packed street fair so I have little patience but the endless streams of socialising with people I knew and the tasty street food certainly makes up for this.

On arrival this WWII era period singing group were crooning on the wonders of coffee, it seemed a fitting beginning to my fair day!

Almustafa selling traditional Lebanese sweets and hookahs.

This chilli stall had people in wondrous hysterics, I did not buy any as my fridge is already over flowing with hot condiments I barely use!

In Sydney fairs the gozleme is the flat bread of choice but with our growing sub-continental Asian population I was not surprised to see this Indian stall being very popular.

One of about 12 gozleme stalls along the strip, I did in fact buy a spinach and feta gozleme but was so hungry I ate it before I remembered to take a picture! Bad blogger!

This dim sum station was churning out yum cha delights. I had attempted to buy one of their BBQ duck buns at the Night Noodle Markets during Good Food month and they were out of stock. Not today!

Sweet char sui and roasted duck with caramelised onions in soft white dough, just right for $2.50... would buy again!

I'm sure there are some for whom it is vital that you own a brand name coffee chain t-shirt, but I've never seen such a thing before!

Ambrosia marinated olives

Common Ground Bakery, their sour dough spelt and carob treats are a must for the bread enthusiast. Not cheap, but worth every penny.

A woman makes small dutch poffertjes in a specially designed pan.

On a hot day in full sun a lemonade stall is a great idea, especially this jaunty one in the shape of a lemon!

I will admit though that my win for the day was the 99c cokes from outside the IGA; specially set up for high turn around and a much needed thirst break after a long trek in heavy crowds in full sunlight. I had thought it would be far too crowded to take a parasol but immediately regreted not bringing it on arrival choosing instead to hide under my fan for much of the afternoon.

Afterwards I settled in with a friend to finally give San Churro a taste but I think they deserve their own post!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Review: Doy Tao, Newtown

Newtown is positively filled with Thai restaurants, you can barely go 10 houses without hitting one. On my block there are 3!

But when you live in Newtown where you tend to eat lazy Friday night Thai is Doy Tao. These days there's a few branches of their restaurant but this is the one I eat at regularly. The produce is good and fresh, they have a huge range of vegetarian options and some special meals like whole fillet fish.

It really is the most satisfying take out in Newtown with fresh quick meals and excellent spicy food. Eating in is slightly less comfortable, the tables are jammed in so that we are about 5 inches from our neighbours and we're barely missed by rushing wait staff, the entire place so noisy we're almost yelling at each other across the table. But the food is still good enough to make all this easily forgotten.

Deep fried bean curd in peanut sauce $7.50

Readers of my blog will know just how much I like tofu so it's unsurprising how much I love this dish. Unfortunately it is cotton rather than silk tofu and a bit heavier than I like but nonetheless is still good quality fresh tofu, deep fried in what I assume to be nut oil. This is then served with huge amounts of rich peanut sauce, similar to an Indonesian satay. My only regret is how rich the nut sauce is when I have other food coming

Curry Puffs $7.50

Definitely one of the better renditions of this dish the puffs are available in both vegetarian and meat filling. The chewy light and I dare say fattening pastry is the real winner here thouygh.

Duck Green Curry $18 and Jasmine Rice for 2 $5

I'm not a huge fan of Thai over other Asian foods, especially given that in Brisbane the primary immigrant restaurant for most of my youth was Vietnamese rather than Thai but when you combine words like "duck" and "curry" you know that I'm interested! This is a great version with creamy coconut and hot fresh spices that really zing but not so hot to turn off the unadventurous. The duck slices are generous and have a thin slice of roasted fat and skin attached.

Vegetarian Pad Thai with Tofu $14

I love the noodle dishes more than anything here and they certainly don't "lose" anything by being vegetarian. Lots of vegetables, tofu slices and nuts make this very generous serve very filling. The spiced soy noodle sauce is slightly sweet and very morish; highly recommended with your favourite vegetables or meat.

Unfortunately I don't have a picture of my favourite takeout item on their menu with is the Chicken Pad Kee Mao $16; a delicious blend of basil and chilli jam stir fry with handmade rice noodles.

Stop by for some quick takeout or try one of their lunch specials, I find that as a Friday/Saturday night venue they're best avoided due to the rush of customers, noise and subsequent less than fantastic service. The food however speaks for itself.

Doy Tao

543-545 King Street
Telephone: 9557 6334

Bookings essential for weekend nights
Takeaway available
BYO licence