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Archive for September, 2009

Cafe Sydney

I’ve been eyeing Cafe Sydney for a long long time. A colleague recommended this restaurant to me and I’ve been really eager to try it out and finally, I had the chance to go there for lunch on Sunday.

Customs House

Customs House

Cafe Sydney at Customs House

Cafe Sydney at Customs House

Cafe Sydney is perched on the 5th floor of Customs House in Circular Quay. The selling point of the restaurant is definitely the view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Upon arriving on Level 5, I was really amazed at how beautiful the place was. It’s not a large restaurant but the atmosphere was spacious, warm and inviting. Sunday lunch at Cafe Sydney is typically Jazz afternoon. Each month, they have different jazz bands and artists that come and entertain for about an hour during lunch.

The menu is nice a simple. There is only a page to look through but there is still quite a variety. For starters, we had the garlic naan to share. For the mains, we picked the baby burramundi, spatchcock, balmain bay bugs and the grilled beef tenderloin. All of the dishes were really yummy… all full of flavour and the meat so tender.

De-boned spatchcock with rainbow chard, speck, sweet potato and jus

De-boned spatchcock with rainbow chard, speck, sweet potato and jus

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Whole de-boned baby barramundi with shaved fennel, watercress and lemon salad

Now if you thought the mains looked delicious, just wait till you see pictures of the dessert platter we had. The dessert platter was perfect for four people with four different types of desserts on a large plate to share. We had the strawberry triffle, caramel bavarois, chocolate pave and the rhubarb & lemon curd shortcake. Drooling yet?

Dessert Platter

Dessert Platter

We had a really lovely time at lunch. We spent a good three hours there enjoying the food, music, the view and the company. If you ever get the chance to come to Sydney, this is definitely a place to visit. Really looking forward to going back again someday!

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Another of our family favourite recipe. It’s great fun to make it with the kids. All you have to do is prepare the dough 1 hour before. Stella helped me with pricking the dough, pouring in the cream cheese mix, arranging the blueberries and the fun part decorating the tart.

Just one note, eventhough it’s time consuming, you must make this shortcrust pastry from  scratch.  It’s really worth the time, taste absolutely delicious compare to the store bought one.

Shortcrust pastry

(makes 2, 15 cm tart case or 1, 28 cm tart case extra for decoration)

120 g unsalted butter

240 g plain flour

60 g caster sugar

4 egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla essence

2 – 4 tbs ice water

Place flour in the mixing bowl.  Make a well in the centre of the flour.  Add butter, sugar and egg yolks.

With your fingertips, rub the butter with the rest of the ingredients. Once it resembles a coarse breadcrumb, add 2 – 4 tbs of ice water so the mixture is combined and knead it until it becomes a nice dough, not too sticky and not too dry.  Chill in the refridgerator for 1 hour.

On a floured surface, roll dough to about 3mm thickness.  Wrap the pastry around the rolling pin and gently put in the tart tin.  Cut of any excess dough by rolling the rolling pin over the top of the tin.  Prick evenly with fork.

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Roll out any excess pastry and cut into different shape using cookie cutter.  Here I chose leaf, flower and bird shape cutter.

Blueberry Cheese Filling

250 g cream cheese

90 g granulated sugar

2 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1 1/2 c frozen blueberry

1 egg, whisked, for brushing the pastry

Preheat oven to 180 C.

Beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add egg and sugar, beat until well combined.  Consistency of the cream cheese mixture should be of that of a custard.  Stir in the vanilla essence.

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Spread cream cheese mixture over pastry and top with blueberries.

Decorate with the cut out pastry, and once you are happy with the decoration brush it with the egg.

Blueberry cheese tart by Stella

Blueberry cheese tart by Stella

Blueberry cheese tart by me

Blueberry cheese tart by me

For the 15 cm tart tin, bake for about 25 – 30 minutes.  28 cm tart tin takes about 40 to 45 minutes.  Until the cream cheese mixture is firm and golden in colour.

After 40 minutes in the oven

After 40 minutes in the oven

Yesterday was the first time that we decorate the tart.  Usually i made mini tart with the leftover dough.  But yesterday, I thought why not cut them into shapes and decorate!  To be honest in my mind the final product looks much nicer then when it came out from the oven.  I think the colour of the baked cream cheese and the pastry is too similar.

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Jayden’s 1st trip to Melbourne

A few days ago we came back from a short weekend away in Melbourne. We actually bought the ticket quite a while back when Tiger Airways was launching the Sydney to Melbourne route, and bought at $25 per person one way! Bargain, but you really get what you paid for. The flight was delayed for over an hour and after we landed, we had to walk a long long way to the terminal. Almost unbearable when you have to carry a 13+kg weight 😦

So here are some pictures of our 4 days away, without Joe. He got to stay home and enjoy undisturbed good night sleeps. lucky him 🙂

We met some friends, did a little bit of shopping, had too many hot chocolates, visited the Melbourne Aquarium, and walked and walked and walked all around the city. We had  a great time!

With Aunty Clara

With Aunty Clara @ Queen Victoria Market

Above the Southern Cross Station

Above the Southern Cross Station

The little big bird swimming in the aquarium. Yes, it's a penguin!

The little big bird swimming in the aquarium. Yes, it's a penguin!

Jayden LOVED the penguins!

Jayden LOVED the penguins!

Enjoying his naps

Enjoying his naps - 2 to 3 times a day on the go 🙂

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Stella’s favourite potato and corn chowder.  She had 3 bowls the other day.  Jake loves the animal croutons more than the chowder I think.

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Ingredients

1 tbs olive oil

6 potatoes, 2cm x 2cm cube

1 onion, chopped finely

4 c chicken stock

1 c cooked chicken, cubed

1 c corn kernel

1/2 c light cream

300 g bacon, cut into little strips

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent in colour.

Stir in the potato and the stock and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender.

Add the chicken, corn and cream and simmer gently for 5 minutes.  Season with pepper.

Heat up another frying pan, and pan fry the bacon until it’s nice and golden.

Serve the potato chowder in a bowl, top with crispy bacon and croutons.

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For animal croutons

4 slices of wholemeal bread

1 tbs olive oil

animal cookie cutter

Preheat oven to 180 C. Ask your kid to cut the crouton using the cookie cutter, and then using pastry brush let them paint the croutons with olive oil.  Bake for about 8 – 10 minutes depending on the size of the croutons.  Our animal croutons were small so it took 8 minutes.

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Clayton & Thomas the Tank Engine Birthday Cake

Clayton & Thomas the Tank Engine Birthday Cake

This is such a long overdue post! :p Do you remember Clayton, Jayden’s friend who came to Perth with us on July…. well, he just turned 1 at the end of August and we went to his big birthday celebration at the Heron Pavilion in Bicentennial Park. Great party with LOTS of yummy food which were mostly prepared by his mum!

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Clayton loves Thomas, so Aunty Caroline made the Thomas the Tank Engine fondants for his Birthday cake and his mommy baked the chocolate cake and cupcakes. Don’t you think it looks good? The only thing was, the weather was a little warm that day, so the fondant melted a little. But it was nothing major.

Jayden really enjoyed himself, there was a playground and there were lots of “Puk-Puk” which is Crackers in broken Bahasa Indonesia 🙂

Jayden with a cup mark on his face

Jayden with a cup mark on his face

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My latest buy… a piano!

I’ve been dying to get a piano since moving to Sydney but I was always too lazy to get myself to the music store…

So a couple of weeks ago, I finally went to Dicksons Music planning to just take a look around but instead, came home with a brand new piano! Now I wish I had enough space in my apartment to buy myself a baby grand, or even an upright piano – but unfortunately, I don’t.  I got myself the Kawai CN22 and that’s what you call a digital piano.

What’s a digital piano? It’s a cross between a real piano and a keyboard. It’s got the look of an upright piano but the features of a keyboard… and for me, that was the perfect! There’s even a record function which is really cool.

It’s great having a piano in the house. After a long day at work, it’s nice to come back and relax by playing a few songs. Right now on my playlist includes Boston by Augustana, Fix You by Coldplay, Qing Hua Ci by Jay Chou and my favourite To Build a Home by Cinematic Orchestra.

I shall leave you with a picture of a young prodigy named Jayden. His favourite songs to play are Wheel on the Bus and Mary Had a Little Lamb. Keep an eye out for him! He might be showcasing his talents at the Sydney Opera House soon…

The prodigy

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Jake oh… JAKE!

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Jake is 14 months! He loves rearranging all our furniture and pushing his walker at the moment. By the way he has overcome his dairy allergy… yipee… he loves yoghurt, but he is not too sure about cheese. Loves to feed himself, although most of the food ends up on his face.  What else can I say beside he is one little cheeky monkey!

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