Tuesday, 17 May 2011

been read cafe & 2ndhand bookshop @ pittwater rd., gladesville

Two words summarise me quite well - food & books. I'm either eating or making food and if I'm not doing that, I'm reading a book or perusing a bookshop looking for a book. Cookbooks seem to be the compromise of the two which is why I have a fair few of them and well, when I stumble across a cafe that combines my much loved food with books, it most definitely will be a hit! Been Read Cafe & 2nd hand bookshop in Gladesville was actually a place that the boy stumbled across when he was at home reading the local paper and well, worked out well on a day when we were out and about and just happened to be in the area.

Toasted chicken sandwich with cheese and mixed salad.

The boy's beef burger which the owner humbly apologised about as she forgot to mention that she was out of burger bread and would serve on normal bread. She kindly offered us free coffees with our meal!

A lemon tart to share certainly hit the spot.

Whilst waiting for the food, I busied myself searching through the shelves of books (surely there must be thousands?) and did another round after I finished my food. Settled on these 2 books to go. A vintage copy of 'Gelatine Home Cooking Secrets' which was only $2 and 'Lunch in Paris' which was $9. I've finished reading Lunch in Paris which is part cookbook/part true story and eagerly wanting to make something with gelatine - probably very old fashioned but that's the way I roll!

I keep hinting to the boy that maybe we could have lunch here again but he doesn't seem to pick up on the hint. To be quite honest, I'd be more than happy to spend a day sitting at the cafe reading a book, searching through the bookshelves and fingers crossed stumble across a gem like my $2 gelatine cookbook and be absolutely over the moon. Ah well, till next time!

Monday, 16 May 2011

cloudy bay fish co. @ westfield, sydney

Thursday nights always make for interesting nights. The boy and I will decide to meet in the city for dinner, I hop on the bus that moves ever so slowly down George Street, I'll then get off the bus in frustration because the bus hasn't moved, and after a good 20 minutes walking up the road and vowing never to do this again, I then find myself giddy and excited in the Westfield foodcourt and not being able to decide what to eat. The bus ride is definitely forgotten and my only thoughts are whether Via del corso are selling MakMak's Raisin Toast macarons and seriously wow, there are so many food choices here - where to even start?

This particular night we opted for dinner at Cloudy Bay Fish Co., one of the many new dining options to be found at the Sydney Westfield foodcourt. It's all about seafood here and well, I'll let the photos do the rest of the talking.

The prawn cocktail might seem a little old fashioned but certainly done well here.

Made to order are the Fish & Chips served with a side salad. More fish please but otherwise very yummy.

For those after a tipple, Cloudy Bay Fish Co. offer wine service if you sit around their bar (but note that there are only limited spots). The boy and I have our Charlie's juices which I think work a treat with the seafood.

I really think the new Westfield foodcourt is great for restaurant quality food in the foodcourt setting. I guess most people associate foodcourt for cheap food (and well, admittedly this is not the case) but if you're after restaurant quality food and can't be bothered getting dressed up and sitting in a restaurant for hours on end waiting for your food, Westfield foodcourt is the way to go. I have my eye on Becasse Bakery which has just opened up - maybe I might see some of you there on a Thursday night!

Monday, 2 May 2011

earl grey tea biscuits

Is anyone else finding it a little cold? My way of combating the cold is by drinking heaps of tea. I think I've had about three today which is a bit more than usual; two were much needed to keep me warm and get me into working mode and my third cup was my obligatory 3pm cup of tea. Is that too much?

Aside from drinking tea, I find that tea makes for a great baking ingredient. I previously made an earl grey tea cake and earl grey has possibly one of the most amazing flavours. I recently stumbled across a recipe for tea biscuits using a blend called 'lady grey' but thought it was just easy enough to substitute with earl grey.

Here are all the ingredients. As you can see, it's a bit of a mixed bag of premium and no frills ingredients that I use. I can comfortable say it's perfectly alright to use no frills ingredients and deliver a spectacular product.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees. Line 2 baking tins with baking paper. In a large bowl, beat 150g softened unsalted butter with 115g light muscovado sugar until light and creamy. Stir in 2tbsp earl grey tea leaves until well combined. Add 1 beaten egg, then carefully fold in 200mL sifted plain flour. Using your hands, roll the dough on a lightly floured surface into a log about 25cm long. Gently press down on the top of the log with the palm of your hand to flatten slightly. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and chill for 1 hour. 

Using a sharp knife, cut the dough log widthways into 5mm slices.

Place slightly apart on the prepared baking trays. Sprinkle the cookies with a little demerara sugar, then bake for 10-15 minutes until slightly golden brown.

Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and leave to cool.

This recipe is from 'Afternoon Tea' by Antony Wild & Simona Hill (one of my recent finds at Basement Books - this shop really doesn't help my cookbook addiction but I love them nonetheless). Tastewise - these tea biscuits are nicely crispy and buttery. The extended family really loved these cookies and I was a big fan of them too. To be honest, not quite sure how they keep as all of them were gobbled up by the next day. Mum has already requested for another batch.

Since stumbling across this recipe, I've been on the lookout for Lady Grey tea to see what this blend tastes. Have yet to find it, let me know if you spot it anywhere in Sydney.