A group of food bloggers and I arranged to meet up at Kazbah in Balmain for their banquet. The famed Kazbah brunch has been on my “to-eat” list for a very long time and I was very much looking forward to it. If you have a group of 8 or more people you can enjoy 4 courses of feasting at only $25/person!
After throwing half a jug of water everywhere whilst half asleep I decided I needed a strong coffee to get things started.
I selected the Turkish Coffee ($4.50) and out came a gorgeous little coffee cup and saucer and a copper pot, with a thick, syrupy liquid inside.
The coffee was strong, very strong, with a subtle smokey flavour and was amazingly delicious.
Our first course arrives and it consists of banana porridge with a date compote and stewed rhubarb, sweet couscous with dried nuts and fruit and a warm rice pudding with saffron poached pears and hazelnuts. The rice pudding and banana porridge were both delicious and I would have been happy to polish either off, however I knew there was a lot of food to come so I kept my portions small. I didn’t get to try the sweet couscous as it contained almonds, so I just glared at it.
Our next course was a deliciously fragrant lamb tagine. It featured lamb mince, Sucuk (a spicy Turkish sausage), spinach, roast capsicum, tomato, caramelised onion, feta and eggs.
Next up were 2 platters covered in food which made all our mouth’s drop. One board contained a variety of eggs - poached, scrambled and fried, and the other had sausages, hash browns, haloumi, roasted tomatoes and bacon. IT WAS AMAZING.
By this stage we were all pretty stuffed. Kazbah seemed pretty understaffed that day and it took them a while to clear our plates and even longer for our final course to arrive – however this proved fortuitous as it provided ample time to clear some stomach room for pancakes!
Our first pancake was chocolate & raspberry with butterscotch sauce and chocolate fudge ice cream. Amazingly rich and decadent, this wins the award for best pancake I have ever eaten.
Our second pancake was strawberry with double cream and maple syrup – it was also amazingly delicious however it was a tough act to follow after the chocolate pancake!
This is not so much a pancake but more of an actual cake – it was over 2cm thick and you had to cut a big wedge out to serve. The inside of the “pancake” was deliciously moist and fluffy while the outside edges were crunchy and caramelised.
We waddled happily out of Kazbah, completely stuffed and satisfied. Because I am cray cray I decided to walk down to the water and do the Bay Run straight after to burn off some of this indulgence – it was such a beautiful day!
I had a fantastic time at Kazbah and will definitely be returning, hopefully with a large group of friends so I can do the banquet again!
Hello Internet! I was wondering if I could have some help. My housemate and I purchased a lovely couch recently, it’s name is Frenchie (Freedom named it, not us).
I love it’s retro design and beautiful dark grey colour. However it is looking a little lonely in our living room without some fabulous cushions to brighten it up. I have been cushion-hunting for over a month now and everything is either too blergh or too pricey! All I want is some brightly coloured cushions in bold patterns, I am thinking mustard or teal in stripes, chevron or polka dots.
I would prefer to keep my money in Australia but am am open to online abroad, and ideally want to get 2-3 pillows for under $150. I have been eyeing off these gorgeous Swedish cushions however even the cheapest cushion is over $100AUD! I have trawled various Domayne and Freedom type shops at the Supa Centa (yes, that’s how it is spelt) and checked out the stores along Crown St with no luck (too pricey once again).
If you have any suggestions I would be more than grateful. If all else fails I might design my own fabric at Spoonflower and sew them myself!
I am usually a fairly sensible person. Well, sometimes at least. When I book a trip it’s usually months (often a year) in advance and I research and plan everything to the nth degree because I am a control freak. On Wednesday morning I was chatting with the girls at work about their travel plans this year. I thought “I’d really love to see Vietnam”. After a bit of quick Googling it turned out April and October were the best months to travel, weather-wise. I mulled this idea over in my head and went home. Whilst casually browsing the Qantas website at home before my dinner date to see what I could do with my abundant Frequent Flyer points, the sensible part in my brain snapped and I booked flights. Just like that. And I leave in a month. Wonderful!
Vietnam ticked all the boxes of the perfect travel destination – I wanted to see somewhere new, I needed something affordable and I wanted the destination to be under 9 hours from Australia as I only have 2 1/2 weeks annual leave. Plus I am fascinated by the breathtaking natural sights, the culture and most of all THE FOOD.
So please, dear internet, give me your Vietnam suggestions! I don’t have the time to research this country as thoroughly as I’d like before I leave so please share with me your favourite experiences, foods, sights and any dos or don’ts. I also have a few nights at the end of my trip in Hong Kong so any additional suggestions will be more than welcome!
Where are you off to next?
This month’s theme for the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop is Berry Nice to Meet you – berries! This theme has gotten me very excited for spring and thinking about tarts piled high with fresh berries and pavlova covered with cream and strawberries, however as it was still 10 degrees outside when I started to bake I thought I would make something more weather appropriate!
I had been craving crème brûlée lately and loved the idea of contrasting the sweet rich custard with tart raspberries. You can use any berry you want in this recipe and the combination of the soft berries cooked into the custard and the fresh berries on top is delicious and well balanced.
- 1½ cups pouring cream (35% fat)
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 9 large egg yolks
- ½ cup caster sugar
- 1 punnet of raspberries (or blueberries, strawberries – whatever you like!)
- 6 tsps of light brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 160°C and place 6 x ¾ cup ramekins into a large baking dish.
- Pour the cream into a medium saucepan, add the split vanilla bean and scrape in the seeds. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Fill a second medium saucepan with around 10cm of water and bring to a simmer. Whisk the yolks and sugar in a metal bowl set over the saucepan of simmering water (make sure the metal bowl does not touch the water). Whisk for around 3 minutes or until mixture is pale yellow and hot to the touch.
- Remove vanilla bean and gradually add hot cream to the eggs and sugar, whisking all the time.
- Place 4-5 raspberries in the bottom of each ramekin and divide the hot cream and eggs mixture evenly into each ramekin.
- Pour hot water into the large baking dish the ramekins are sitting in. The water needs to come halfway up the sides.
- Bake the custards in their water bath for 25-30 mins or until set and lightly golden on top.
- Remove the custards from the water and place in the fridge to set over night.
- The next day sprinkle a teaspoon of brown sugar over each custard and place under the grill (or use a blow torch!) until golden and caramelised. Let sit for around 30 minutes to let the top harden (if you can wait that long!)
- Decorate with remaining fresh raspberries and ENJOY!
I love the black flecks of vanilla bean scattered throughout – always a promising sign of a good dessert! The custard was decadently rich and sweet and the occasional encounter with a tart raspberry was a welcome reprieve.
Highlights included Marron tail tempura and crisp pork belly, Kobe wagyu beef tartare and crisp quail egg and suckling pig, celeriac and bernaise.
Szechuan duck breast, confit leg and turnips and radish, and two lovely desserts - Vanilla pudding and pop rocks and souffle, miso milkshake and ice cream! Whoah!
♥ Had another amazing blogger meetup in the form of a pizza party at La Disfida
Entrees included polenta chips with gorgonzola sauce (!!) and ricotta and eggplant pasta and deep fried zucchini flowers. Pizzas included prosciutto and truffle (omg, my favourite!), marguerita and a tomato and pine nut pizza that reminded me of bruschetta.
♥ Little indulgences
It gets very cold in my office so I purchased myself some super comfy “office slippers”. I look like a dag but I am comfortable and warm! Also I took myself on a date in the park. Creme brulee tart + coffee from Bourke St Bakery = heaven.
♥ Hanging out with Bruce
I have been going back to visit my family a fair bit recently, including spending some quality time with my old cat Bruce. The photo on the right cracks me up as I smoothed her cheek fur down to make her look like a little old man. This was achieved quite successfully.
♥ A beautiful day on Cockatoo Island for the Biennale
I went to Cockatoo Island with my Mum on a gorgeous sunny day. I took loads of photos which will be up on the blog soon and I highly recommend you go if you haven’t been! For lunch we sat on the lawn and stared at the Harbour Bridge across the water whilst eating a pork and fennel sausage roll and the best arancini I’ve ever eaten!
♥ Ran the City2Surf!
To counteract all this eating I have been (kind of) training for the City2Surf again – although sickness had other plans. After walking half of it last year I tried to push myself much harder and shaved 23 minutes off my time. Also I got to dress like a soccer mum.
♥ A well earned treat post-City2Surf at Bruschetteria 102
We were starving and cold after our run and rewarded ourselves with a prosciutto, pear and walnut bruschetta and a NUTELLA COFFEE.
In other news, I cannot wait for spring!! What are you looking forward to?
I love recipes passed down from generation to generation and was recently sent this beautiful old recipe for passionfruit slice by a friend from his Mum. Since most of my recipes are now printed off from the internet and then hastily stuffed in my binder folder, I love coming across old faded and hand typed recipes such as this.
I made a few slight adjustments to this recipe but it was pretty much perfect as is (and oh so easy). Enjoy!
- 1 cup self raising flour
- ½ cup caster sugar
- 115g butter, melted
- 1 egg
- 1 400g can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 250g Nestle reduced cream
- 3 lemons, juiced
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup caster sugar
- 2 heaped tbsp custard power mixed with ½ cup water
- 4 passionfruit
- Mix together ingredients and press into a 30cm fluted tart tin or a rectangular slice tin.
- Bake for 10 mins on 180°C or until golden brown.
- Allow to cool.
- Combine all ingredients together and beat until slightly thickened.
- Pour over cooled base and put in the fridge to set.
- Stir water, caster sugar and custard power disolved into water in a saucepan over low heat until thickened.
- Allow mixture to cool before adding the pulp of the passionfruit.
- Pour passionfruit mixture over the cream filling and put back in the fridge to set (I like to let mine set over night before slicing).
Do you have a favourite recipe passed down through your family? I am desperate to get my hands on my late Grandma’s famous steamed golden syrup pudding!
I have recently fallen head over heels for Choupette Lagerfeld, Karl Lagerfeld’s insanely pampered pussy cat. Harpers Bazaar recently did an interview with Karl which gave us an insight into the bizarre world this kitty inhabits. Not only does Choupette have two maids and 24 hour medical care, she also has a driver too! Apparently Choupette rarely meows, everything is done with the eyes. She knows exactly what she wants. Also, she does not like Chanel No 5. She prefers the smell of juicy food. Of course.
Please head over to the Harpers Bazaar page and check out the rest of this interview. These 2 stunning images are from the Harpers Bazaar shoot:
And now some delightful candid photos of Choupette. She enjoys lounging in the sink.
Playing with her iPad and watching the bath be filled.
Enjoying her lace doilies.
Hiding in shopping bags and small places.
If you want to keep up with Choupette’s fabulous lifestyle I recommend following her on Twitter. She even sasses Lady Gaga occasionally (“Silly Gaga, only Choupette can rock fluffy white hair.”)
I have spent a lot of time travelling throughout Iceland and Scandinavia but it’s always during summertime – so I have never seen the Northern Lights! Known as the Aurora Borealis in northern latitudes, it is a natural light display in the sky caused by the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere. They occur most frequently in a belt of radius 2500 km centered on the magnetic north pole. This so-called auroral zone extends over northern Scandinavia, Iceland, the southern tip of Greenland and continuing over northern Canada, Alaska and along the northern coast of Siberia. Whilst I have always associated the Northern Lights with wintertime, they are actually present all year round – it’s just that we can’t see them during the light nights of summer.
One day I will get to experience this amazing phenomenon and cross it off my travel bucket list!
Pinterest has always been a huge source for inspiration of design and interior ideas, and lately I been discovering awesome baking ideas including glow in the dark cupcakes (omg) and piñata cupcakes (genius).
These Glow in the Dark Cupcakes by Recipe Snobs are brilliant. They are achieved by incorporating tonic water into the icing. The quinine in the tonic water causes it to glow under a black light which is a great idea for a kids party or Halloween festivities.
These Piñata Cupcakes by La Receta de la Felicidad are a great interactive way to make eating cupcakes even more exciting. By encasing the tops of the cupcakes in chocolate shells and filling the insides with candy, young and old would have a great time cracking these open!
This Neapolitan Rose Cake by I Am Baker is ingenious - not only do I love the Neapolitan cake flavour idea, but icing the cake in an abundance of piped roses is stunning. I regularly use the rose technique when piping my cupcakes so I think I can pull this trick off. And finally this amazing Ruffle Cake from Belle the Magazine incorporates ruffled fondant icing and silver cachous (which you can buy from any supermarket) to create a cake inspired by fashion.
I hope these photos have you given some new and exciting ideas for your baking – what ingenious ideas have you discovered lately on Pinterest?
I discovered this Coconut Bread recipe by Bill Granger recently via Tara from Vegetaraian. I loved this twist on the normal banana bread I love so dearly but felt Bill’s recipe was a bit dry and the coconut flavour not strong enough for my coconut-loving taste buds.
I made a few tweaks to his recipe – I swapped the milk for coconut milk and toasted the coconut to maximise the coconut taste, and increased the butter as I felt his was too dry. With these improvements it produced a lovely and moist toasted coconut bread which is amazing warmed up and slathered with butter. The perfect breakfast/afternoon tea/treat!
- 2 eggs
- 300ml coconut milk
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2½ cups plain flour
- 2 tsps baking powder
- 2 tsps cinnamon
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 150g shredded and toasted coconut
- 100g butter melted
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 21 x 10 cm loaf tin with butter.
- Spread coconut out on a lined baking tray in an even layer. Toast in oven for 3-4 minutes until golden brown (watch like a hawk as it can burn easily!) Allow coconut to cool.
- Lightly whisk eggs, coconut milk and vanilla together.
- In a mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl. Add sugar and toasted coconut and stir to combine.
- Make a well in the centre and gradually stir in the egg mixture until just combined.
- Add melted butter and stir until the mixture is just smooth, being careful not to over-mix.
- Pour into your greased loaf tin and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Leave in tin to cool for 5 minutes, and remove to cool further on a wire rack.
- Slice with a serrated knife and serve in thick slices with butter.
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