My new love for veggie burgers

My new love for veggie burgers

I’m very much a meat-n-potatoes girl at heart, so you can imagine my reluctance when I got recommended a vegetarian cafe on my recent trip up the coast. A couple of people had mentioned a place called Pilgrims, which is located in Milton. There’s a cafe at Cronulla as well, but with all the carnivorous options in the area, I’d never thought to go.

Pilgrim's

There were these adorable little blooms on each table, Pilgrims had a very rustic feel to it. They offered a wide range of fresh juices, but the early morning start had me opting for a coffee.

Pilgrim's

Pilgrim's

I chose the Bliss burger, which consisted of a toasted wholemeal bun with avocado, cheese, tabouli, sprouts, onions and peanut sauce with a patty made from brown rice. Best. Thing. Ever. I will definitely be visiting the Cronulla cafe for this in the near future.

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A post about Mollymook wouldn’t be complete without a beach shot. It was a little bit overcast that day, but it made for a nice stroll down the beach.

BerryWe also stopped by Berry on the way back to Sydney to look at some antiques and walked past this house with the most adorable mailbox! Want.

 

Asia 2013: First stop, Manila.

Asia 2013: First stop, Manila.

The original reason for my travels was for my brother’s wedding. Of course it had to be during the most expensive time of year to travel, but that’s alright because I wouldn’t miss it for anything. They decided to have their ceremony at the same place my parents got married at just over 38 years ago – the world heritage listed San Agustin church in Intramuros.

church-wedding

The hotel slash reception venue was the Manila Peninsula, which was almost as spectacular as the church. I loved spending time in the massive foyer with the sparkly Christmas tree. The breakfast buffet here has got to be the best I’ve ever had (no exaggeration). Made-to-order omelettes, waffles, French toast, honey-bacon. I was in heaven. There was no way I’d skip brekkie in the mornings.

manila-penIn between the wedding craziness, we managed to fit in a few shopping trips which no doubt involved lots of food. I overdosed on Cinnabon. I do not kid, I crave it non-stop when I’m not in the Philippines so I ate enough rolls to closely resemble one by the end of the trip. In other news, H acquired a taste for San Mig beer.

food-shotsManila was very kind to us. This trip was probably the mildest weather I’ve encountered – not too hot and sticky. We really didn’t do much sight-seeing in the Philippines on this trip, mostly shopping and eating. Not that I’m complaining. It’s always a good excuse to come back.

weddingWe had our fair share of cocktails. 7 dollar cocktails. Is that even a question? I didn’t think so. I love how cheap everything seems to be in Manila. I somehow acquired 3 new pairs of shoes in one day of shopping.

cocktailsNext stop Singapore! To be continued in another post…

lights

 

Brunching at the Balmoral Boathouse

Brunching at the Balmoral Boathouse

Sydney has been spoiled as of late, so one sun-drenched Saturday H and I decided we’d venture over to Balmoral for a drive. Having heard much about the Balmoral Boathouse (from the same creators of the restaurant at Palm Beach), I thought it’d be a lovely spot to enjoy the sunshine.

Balmoral Boathouse

We found a parking spot a fair trek away from the restaurant, but we didn’t mind as it was such a lovely day. The Boathouse was tucked away at the far end of the Esplanade. From the outside, it looks quaint and relaxing, but as soon as you step inside you soon discover that looks can be very deceiving. It was a bit challenging to find a spot to sit. It seemed most of Sydney had the same idea. We ordered our food first before finding a side table with a couple of stools.

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A couple of beers and ciders made the wait a little more enjoyable. I won’t lie to you, food did take a while to arrive. I wasn’t complaining as the view from the pier was just spectacular. It was fun to just relax and people watch for a while.

Balmoral Boathouse

H ordered the beer battered fish fillets with fries. They came out so golden and crunchy with a good serve of house-made tartare sauce. The crunch factor was a definite winner . The fish was moist and fresh.

Balmoral Boathouse

I couldn’t resist the prawn roll, which was served on skewers and accompanied by a lightly toasted brioche roll. One half was topped with cilantro and avocado, and the other with a light coleslaw-esque salad. A squeeze of lemon later, the flavours were absolutely perfect together.

Balmoral Boathouse

I loved the rustic interiors. They had tables of pretty plants and flowers. And if you know me, I’m such a sucker for greenery and gorgeous blooms. The desserts were hard to resist, displayed prominently at the front counter. There was a repurposed ladder shelf that served as the kitchen’s pantry  nearby. Everything seemed  so effortless and shabby chic. It did wonders to bring together the whole experience – sights, sounds, tastes – with such uniformity.

Balmoral Boathouse

Balmoral Boathouse

Balmoral Boathouse

We got over the crowds by the end of our meal, so H and I ordered dessert to go. We spotted a nice shady place to sit near the beach, so we ordered a tiramisu to go and ventured outside. There were quite a few people  enjoying the sunshine. It was really one of those amazing, laid-back Sydney days.

Balmoral Boathouse

Balmoral Boathouse

The tiramisu was topped with vanilla ice cream and was presented in a cute mason jar. It had the perfect balance of saltiness and bitterness, and treaded the line more towards a light mocha flavour.

Balmoral beach

Balmoral beach

Besides the crowds, it was the perfect Sydney day out. I’m not sure if I’d return on a sunny weekend. Potentially a weekday with wishful thinking that 100 jillion other Sydney-siders don’t have the same idea.

BALMORAL BOATHOUSE
2 The Esplanade
Balmoral Beach NSW 2088
(02) 9974 5440

Brunching at Kitchen by Mike

Brunching at Kitchen by Mike

The weekends seem few and far between so I don’t really get much done besides bumming around. It always ends up the same story – morning sleep ins where I get little to nothing done, and before I know it, it’s the start of another work week.

Last weekend I managed to squeeze in some terrarium slash random gardening. My last basil plant turned into a flowering dried plant before it died, and as a consequence spread its seeds into surrounding pots. Little basil plants have since shot up, so I decided it was time to re-pot them. I also made another terrarium with some succulents from the garden.

H and I also managed a trip to Kitchen by Mike. Neither of us are morning people, so it is always a late lunch. This time we got the lamb with cous cous, as well as a quarter chicken with an avocado and black bean salad. I love the idea of a half avocado drenched in soy/black bean. It was absolutely moreish and I quickly craved the other half of the avocado. The lamb was so tender and bursting with flavour too. And that harissa sauce. Oh em gee.

Kitchen by Mike

All I can say is that if you haven’t yet been to Kitchen by Mike, you really need to arrange a time to go! They pride themselves on making tasty, wholesome, responsible food from seasonal ingredients. I love how the menu is forever changing. I adore the salads they have.

Kitchen by Mike

And you can’t go past coffee + cake. They have a great assortment of baked goodies, and of course I want to try them all! In this case I settle for a slice of hazelnut cake with some pretty mean chocolate icing. Love.

Kitchen by Mike

In conclusion. I’m still listening to that Mika song from the last post.

Recipe: Cinnamon buns

Recipe: Cinnamon buns

I’ve had a few requests for my cinnamon bun recipe after posting some I made for a friend’s house warming up on Instagram.

To tell you the truth I’ve tried many recipes, but not until recently did I settle on one. It was accidental really. I had buttermilk from a snickers cake I really wanted to try to make (and still do). It was expiring soon so I decided to whip up something relatively quick and easy (well, more so than the crazy snickers cake I aspired to bake).

Anyway, here’s the recipe I keep coming back to time and time again. They produce roughly 60 small fluffy cinnamon rolls.

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Cinnamon buns (makes approx 60 small rolls)
Ingredients
14g of active dry yeast (you can buy them in 7g sachets at Coles/Woolies)
¼ cup of warm water
1½ cups of buttermilk
½ cup of vegetable oil (I used canola)
4½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of salt
½ a teaspoon of baking soda
½ cup of butter, melted
1¼ cups of brown sugar

1½ teaspoons of ground cinnamon

Procedure
  1. Put the yeast into a large bowl, and dissolve in warm water. Leave this for ten minutes until it becomes creamy.
  2. Heat the buttermilk until it is just warm to the touch. Be careful not to let it boil! Take the oil and the warm buttermilk and pour into the yeast mixture to combine. cinnamon buns
  3. In another bowl, mix together the flour, salt and baking soda. Stir the flour mixture into the liquid one cup at a time until a dough forms.
  4. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead all the lumps out. No need to knead it that much at this stage.
  5. Place it back into a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let it rest for 10 minutes. It should look like this:cinnamon buns
  6. Now to make the cinnamon spread – in another bowl, mix together the melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.cinnamon buns
  7. Take a quarter portion of your dough, place it onto a lightly floured surface and roll out into a large rectangle. I press it out into the rectangle shape I want then roll it out with a rolling pin.
  8. Take the cinnamon mix and spread it evenly onto the rectangle of dough you just rolled out. Roll it up into a log (I like more swirls, so I roll from the shorter side), and be sure to pinch the ends to secure it all in place.
  9. Slice the log into 2.5 cm pieces and place cut side up onto baking paper. Make sure you leave enough space between each roll as they will expand! Depending on how fluffy you want them you can leave them to rest overnight. (I’m too impatient for that so I bake it almost immediately!).Cinnamon buns
  10. Bake them in a 200°C oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown and a lot of gooey! They may not look very attractive when they come out of the oven, but trust me, they will taste amazing!photo 3 copy

I like to top them with some cream cheese icing, which is super simple to whip up whilst your buns are in the oven baking. I just find a generic recipe like this one with butter, icing sugar, Philly cream cheese and vanilla essence. If you wanted to be super fancy you could use some vanilla bean. But either will work!

Enjoy! Xx

Five things

Five things

Another crazy week where I don’t remember a single thing about what just went down. Seriously. I’m glad I take ten jillion photos otherwise I’d forget it all. I’ve been so crazy busy with goodness knows what, but I really had the urge to drop everything and blog tonight. I must do the nails again though. It really annoys me when one peels or chips. Here’s a short summary of this week in five short n’ sweet pics.

ONE. I discovered Cabrito coffee roasters the other day while having lunch at La Lupita. Besides my excitement of having them open in the city (yay new lunch spot!) I quite like the coffee beans they use here. Plus how can you say no to these cute little stamps on the cups! That said, I just Googled ‘cabrito’ and I think it means goat meat. :S:S

cabrito coffee

TWO. H and I took a trip to Le Pub, the Parisian bistro slash pub. We’d been meaning to go for the longest time – he was swayed by the cider pork knuckle for two, so off we went. I loved the interiors and the cutlery. Love love love art deco. I think we’ll be returning as I discovered a voucher for it in the Entertainment Book. Plus the food wasn’t bad at all!

pretty place setting

THREE. I love it when food trucks come as there aren’t that many good food selections down my end of town. This week I was lucky enough to catch EatArtTruck with their amazing kingfish ceviche with corn chips. I heart that mayo. Seriously.

lunch today

FOUR. I really adore Sydney harbour. I love sitting by the foreshore and just people watch. Or this week’s case, birdwatch. This ibis was scrounging around for scraps of food. Although I dislike these birds, I quite like the gradient of the sky in the shot.

ibis

FIVE. I just had to add this in. I frequent Hole in the Wall coffee whenever I’m nearby. They happened to have this adorable chalkboard up outside the little store on King Street. I definitely recommend coffee here if you’re in the area! Made with love. Just how I like it.

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How has your week been?

Five things

Five things

Sydney weather is a bit unpredictable at the moment I never know what to wear so I’ve been wearing a lot of layers and peeling/putting them on as required. I put together my latest five obsessions of the moment, and seemingly they are very cool-weather focused!

ONE. Glasshouse candles are becoming an obsession. Well obsession is probably an understatement. I have about three different variations open around the house. I love them. The mimosa and wild apple scent is my current favourite. I love them so much I decided to make an animated gif out of it.

candle

TWO. My birthday vanilla lamington from My Little Cupcake was TDF. A perfect light cake encased in vanilla frosting and smothered in coconut flakes. Now to try the ones from Flour and Stone to compare. I really should lay off the sugar.

Vanilla lamington

THREE. But wait! More sugar. Banoffee torte from Cafe Sopra. My weakness. I can never say no to a good banoffee torte. Just thinking about it makes me salivate. I love the caramel and biscuit base, and the banana is just a little something extra. Adore the textures.

Banoffee

FOUR. I’m loving the free art exhibitions that run across Sydney. H and I ventured over to 13 rooms down at Walsh Bay. It was my first exposure to performance art. I have to say that it did make me feel a bit uneasy at first, but overall I found it very interesting!

Art exhibitions

FIVE. There isn’t anything better than a lazy Sunday lunch with a glass of wine (or two). Any excuse will do really. It was a cold autumn day and we had pasta and osso bucco. Love.

Lazy Sunday wine lunches

What are you doing to keep warm this season?