Canberra part deux

Canberra part deux

Continuing on from my last post about the nation’s capital, we stayed in the New Acton precinct which gave us a good chance to explore the surrounds on foot. Behind our hotel was the snazzy Hotel Hotel… hotel. Definitely worth a gander if you plan on staying in Canberra.

02 hotel hotel

We ate brunch at Mocan and Green Grout, where there is always a wait for a table. The coffee however is amazing. As I mentioned in the last post, we went to the Handmade Markets where I bought some matching coffee cups and some cold smoked garlic. The latter with the most intoxicating smell. I have some plans for the garlic with some fluffy scrambled eggs and potentially truffle.

We ended up in the city’s centre on the Sunday, and went to Akiba for some late lunching. I had read some reviews of them having some amazing dumplings and just couldn’t resist the allure of warm parcels of goodness on such a cold winter’s day. The beef rib dumplings were delicious and tender and melt in your mouth – everything they should be.

01 dumplings 1

On our final day we had a late breakfast at The Cupping Room, which was one of the few things open on a public holiday. After putting our name down we got some take away coffees and stood out in the sun. Once finally seated, we opted for a sweet and savoury dish, French toast and the bacon and egg roll which were both delicious. The citrus on the French toast would have ordinarily put me off, but it wasn’t too tart which made it perfection.

04 cupping room

All in all it was an excellent stay and Canberra was a great choice for a short road trip. I’d definitely recommend Canberra as a place for great coffee and amazing food! Also. GO NOW while it’s truffle season! The best season of them all.

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Weekend withdrawals

Weekend withdrawals

Not even midday on Monday and I’m having weekend withdrawals. I started editing some of my Asia snaps before I realised I was doing them out of order. So in conclusion, I got disheartened and put them off for another post. In lieu of my holiday photos, here are some weekend pics. Beginning with a 3 cheese pizza/elevator selfie from Friday.

pizza-selfie

Saturday/Sunday was spent procrastinating (the crazy flash storm didn’t help with my indecisiveness). We found ourselves on a mini road trip to Cabramatta to try out Tan Viet. Which I would definitely recommend. It was bar none the best fried chicken I’ve had to date. The skin on each piece was crispy beyond perfection, and the meat was juicy and succulent. Anyway. Just try it. Trust me.

chicken-bridge

The other highlight of my weekend is something I’m ashamed to admit. I went and got the 3DS Yoshi console with the Animal Crossing game. I used to play it on the NDS during university, and felt like reminiscing. Besides which the Professor Layton x Phoenix Wright crossover game comes out in a few days which I’m dying to get my hands on too!

yoshi

Did you get up to anything interesting on the weekend? AND more importantly, are you wearing something green for St Pat’s day today?

Monday. With a side of bacon.

Monday. With a side of bacon.

On Monday morning I was stopped at an inner city train station when the train guard made a lengthy announcement over the loudspeaker. It was a PSA informing us that we should blame the lady in the fourth carriage (and not CityRail) if any of the 600-odd passengers were late to work. Assumedly she had caused a kerfuffle and held up the train at the station just to get on board. To be honest I didn’t even realise there had been a delay in leaving the station. Such a lovely  greeting to kick off the work week.

Anyway. I caved and got myself a personal blender thanks to a lovely lady on my Instagram (@smeloise – thanks for enabling. Haha). I found out that the George Foreman Mix and Go was on sale at Myer, and after discounts it worked out to be something around the $32 mark. I have to say I’m pretty impressed with it so far. Not only with the blender itself but also with my self motivation in prepping the fruit/veg the night before ready for the next day. Who knew coming up with juice concoctions could be so fun? I’d love to hear your fave juice combos!

George Foreman mix and go

I discovered a new favourite brunch place over the weekend – Three Williams in Redfern. I can’t recommend the French toast enough. Seriously. If you love berries, and yoghurt, and sugar, this is for you. The coffee ain’t half bad either. I’ll be back for more. Oh the ideal time to pop by is probably between 1:30-3:00pm, which is closing time, but if you don’t mind a late lunch, you’ll avoid the queues.

french-toastThe scrambled eggs with a side of crispy bacon is a winner. I didn’t try the tasty pile of chocolate coated doughnuts (I think?) on the counter, but I’m pretty sure they taste good too.

three-williams

I’m off to dream about eating said donuts whilst thinking up some more juice combinations. And potentially consider the inclusion of black or white chia seeds…

Have a great week all!

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

 

GFM: The Morrison + Let’s do dessert at The Cortile

GFM: The Morrison + Let’s do dessert at The Cortile

Last Friday a few friends and I popped by The Morrison Bar and Oyster Room for the very first time. I’ve admittedly walked past it numerous times, but have never step foot inside. I find it always crammed with so many people – especially on a Friday night.

I was sceptical whether I’d be able to get a booking for Friday night at such short notice, but after submitting an online reservation request I was surprised to got a confirmation reply within the hour which was very impressive.

I’m not big on oysters, but I knew that I had to try the duck fat chips. I had gone to Sean’s Kitchen (when it was previously open at The Star) to try said chips years ago. We ended up ordering duck fat fish and chips ($26), as well as the dry aged hamburger ($20) (which happened to also come with duck fat chips). Both to share.

dry aged burger and fish and chips

I can tell you I wasn’t disappointed in the least. The fish was well cooked and moist on the inside, and the burger was oozing with cheddar cheese. The duck fat chips were crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside like any perfect duck fat potato chip should.

After dinner we walked down the road to The Cortile  at the Intercontinental for ‘Let’s do dessert’ (previously known as Sugar Hit). Frankly I prefer the old name to the new as it doesn’t seem to roll off the tongue as nicely. I always enjoy the ambiance inside the Intercontinental – an ethereal old world vibe. The desserts are the one definite thing I will shell out for during October Good Food Month.

Lolly cake

On offer at The Cortile was a pretty-looking Gianduja chocolate lolly cake, almond jaconde, banana marshmallow and hazelnut crunch. The intricately layered cake was served with a glass of Brown Brothers Orange Muscat & Flora all for $20. I really enjoyed it – the different layers complemented each other nicely, and the whole lollies on the side were a lovely touch for sight and taste.

Lolly cake

Have you been to any Good Food Month events yet?

THE MORRISON
225 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9247 6744

THE CORTILE
InterContinental Sydney
Ground Level, 117 Maquarie Street
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9240 1220

 

My slight cupcake obsession

My slight cupcake obsession

I’m not exactly sure what prompted my foray into baking the other weekend. Perhaps it was finding a box of angel food cake, or the countless ladies on IG that bake endless numbers of cupcakes and ice them beautifully. Either way. I made me some cupcakes. I picked up a box of Duncan Hines angel food cake mix from David Jones. It was as simple as adding water. The mix produced light and airy cakes that were cracked perfectly on top.

Cupcakes

I got my hands on a Wilton 1M piping tip, which does a decent cupcake swirl. I opted for some rosettes on the larger cupcakes, and used a French tip on some of the smaller ones. I used some Cath Kidston-esque patty pans. I love them! I’ve been using them on a few batches and am now running low. I need to find a new place to source some cheap patty pans.

Cupcakes

Cupcakes

Cupcakes

Then of course I had to put them in my cake dome. Just because they look so cute in there. Overall I’m not sure if the angel cake mix was the best choice for the cupcakes, but it certainly gave me the chance to try out the new piping tips. I can’t wait to bake different flavours!

Cupcakes

What have you baked lately?

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