About Me

Food is one of my many joys in life. It is a common bond I share among my friends and family. Combining food and travel makes it all the more interesting. I enjoy going out for a good meal with friends and family. The array of various cuisines and our fantastic array of produce really makes Sydney such a great city to live in. Blogging is my hobby and my posts on restaurant meals I have had are paid for and not gratis. Any gratis provided to me will always be stated beforehand.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Yummy Salted Caramel Cookies

My friend CW gave me a little bag of goodies a few weeks ago to try out. They were these delicious Salted Caramel Cookies and I absolutely loved the salty and sweet flavours of the cookies. I couldn't stop eating them.

So when she finally blogged about it, I had to try my hand at baking them. The recipe originates from another blogger The Suz Chef (The Suz Chef's Salted Caramel Cookies) and CW did some minor tweaking to it when she mentioned it in her blog post (WanGirls Salted Caramel Cookies).

My first batch of cookies!

Well, I have tried them out and I am happy to say I think I did alright. I made enough to give out a few bags to some friends and the feedback so far has been very positive! One more recipe to add to my list of baking recipes!! The version I made was based on CW's tweaking but a shout out to The Suz Chef for the wonderful original recipe!!!!

175g butter, melted and cooled
2 cups self raising flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1 tbsp vanilla essence)
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
Caramel chips (approx 1 cup)
Salt flakes


1. Preheat over to 170C and line 2 to 3 cookie trays with baking paper.
2. In a bowl, beat the melted butter and the two sugars until well combined.
3. Add the vanilla extract (or essence), the egg and egg yolk, beat again for at least another minute.
4. Sift the flour with the salt into the bowl and beat until all is well combined. This may take another 2 minutes.
5. Add the caramel chips and stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
6. Use a teaspoon to drop balls of batter onto the baking trays. Please ensure they are well spaced as the cookies do spread out during the baking. (Note: If you want jumbo sized cookies, use a tablespoon instead).
7. Add more caramel chips onto the top of the batter (they look quite nice once biscuits are cooked). On average, I added about 2 to 3 more chips on top of each batter drop.
8. Then top with finely ground salt flakes on each cookie.
9. Bake 2 trays at a time in the oven for 5 minutes, then swap the trays from the top rack to the bottom rack and vice versa for another 5 minutes.
10. Remove from the oven, leave to sit in the trays for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool down completely.

The new Caramel Bits from Nestle!
I ended up baking 5 trays (medium sized trays) and had about 45 cookies. Hope you have as much fun as I had and that you find them delicious too!


Saturday, 21 July 2012

Croutons Soup Bar

About a month ago, my friend CW sent me a e-article from the Sydney Morning Herald's Good Living about a soup station that was making interesting soups and the outlet was located near my office. The article link is here (http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/-1znxt.html). The place is called Croutons Soup Bar.

So I mentally filed it away for a future visit. This week in Sydney hasn't been that warm and it was a perfect time to check out the Soup Bar. I found a queue of people lining up to place an order, there was another group hanging around the large Soup Vats waiting to pick up their order. That was a good start. It can't be that bad if there are people queueing up to place an order.

On my first visit, I decided to have their Boston Clam Chowder. I also had a slice of Brasserie Bread's Country Sourdough for an extra dollar.

The soup was very hearty and tasty. The serving was very generous, there were heaps of vegetable and bits of bacon in the soup. I expected the soup to be creamier in look because that is what I am used to especially after having this soup in Boston. I could taste a hit of spice in the soup and upon reflection realised it is the cayenne pepper that provided a little kick to the soup. But I was not disappointed with the soup, I wouldn't call it a clam chowder though. In my opinion, it's more like an interpretation of the clam chowder.

On my second visit, I decided to try the Tarragon Poached Chicken with brown rice. I also ordered the Quinoa and Soya Sourdough bread slice. Hmmm...delicious! I really loved this soup. There were chunky bits of chicken, generous servings of potatoes, carrots and onions. The denseness of the quinoa and soya bread paired beautifully with the soup.

I have made a mental note to try out their Indonesian Chicken Soup on my next visit.

Croutons Soup Bar
Shop G27, Metcentre
60 Margaret Street (enter via Jamison Street)

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Eveleigh Farmers Market

There are many farmers markets throughout Sydney but Eveleigh Market has gained quite a reputation for being one of the best farmers markets in town. I have yet to visit this market so I took the opportunity to join my friends CW and her family when they went there last weekend.

It is located in Darlington and best of all, it is all undercover. The market runs every Saturday morning (rain or shine) from 8am to 1pm. The great challenge is finding parking, I can't believe how busy the streets were and how many cars were parked on the streets.

There are so many stalls here, from organic vegetables, free-range meats, wonderful array of potatoes, mushrooms, organic fruits, organics cheese, fresh juices, home made jams to well known brands such as Sonoma Bakery, Mirrool Creek Lamb, Pukara Estate and Country Valley Dairy.

Organic kale
Organic beetroot

I saw Kylie Kwong manning her Billy Kwong stall. Apparently she is there every Saturday serving out her dish of the day.

There was a stall with so many different types of potatoes, some of which I had not seen before. I haven't seen such a wide range before. I bought some mixed roast baby potatoes for only $1 for 500g. How affordable and they turned out really nice when I roasted them. The stall holder was Highland Gourmet Potatoes.

There was a stall selling freshly picked mushrooms. Freshly picked early in the morning in time for the markets. Can't get any fresher than that! I bought a small bag of mushrooms (so beautifully white) mixed with some gorgeous Swiss browns. The guy attending us was so friendly, I wish I had taken down his name. By the way, the mushrooms were really fresh and delicious! The stall holder was Margin's Mushrooms and their website is www.marginsmushrooms.com.au

At the end of the warehouse is an area to sit down for a bite. There are stalls selling Thai food, crepes, coffee and bacon and egg rolls.

For brunch, I had a bacon, sausage and egg roll. CRW had the same and CW had a gourmet sausage and onion roll. The two girls had some deep fried spring rolls which I was told by CTW that they were even better than the dim sum restaurants! I did enjoy the bacon, sausage and egg roll. A nice and hearty dish to have on a chilly winter morning.

Eveleigh Market
243 Wilson Street
Website: www.eveleighmarket.com.au

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Bak Kut Teh

Bak Kut Teh is a traditional Chinese herbal soup popular in South East Asia and some parts of China. I decided to make some as it is perfect dish for a cold winter's night and we have been having rather cold winter nights lately.

Traditionally in Malaysia, this soup dish is served for breakfast and is accompanied with a bowl of boiled rice. However, these days, the dish has become more than a breakfast dish. I believe there are now restaurants in Malaysia that serve it for lunch and dinner. How times have changed.

When my father was alive he had this for breakfast every day for about 40 years. Part of the dish includes whole bulbs of garlic infused with the soup and Chinese herbs and I recall my father eating the garlic bulb for breakfast. I recall how much he loved the dish and how he so enjoyed downing all that garlic.

The packet of herbs I used is from a Malaysian company called Tean's Gourmet and you can buy it or other brands at most Chinese/Asian grocery stores.

The Chinese herbs and spices
Dried shiitake mushrooms
Canned mushrooms
Here are list of ingredients for this lovely soup dish.

1 packet of Bak Kut Teh herbs (in this case there are 2 sachets)
1500ml of water
1 kg of pork ribs (Chinese style) - cut to preferred size
15 pieces of dried Shiitake mushrooms (soaked for at least an hour)
1 can of button mushrooms (drained of liquid)
2 bulbs of garlic
1 tbsp of thick caramel sauce
Salt to taste (start with about 2 tsp)
Light soya sauce to taste (start with about 1 tbsp)
Fresh red chillies (optional)

1. Put the 2 filter bags of herbs and spices in water to boil at medium temperature for 30 minutes.
2. Add the garlic, pork ribs, thick caramel sauce and salt to boil. Then simmer for about 45 minutes.
3. Then add in the Shiitake mushrooms (drained of liquid) and simmer for about 20 minutes.
4. Add in the light soya sauce and adjust taste to your preference.
4. Then add in the button mushrooms and simmer for another 15 minutes.
5. Final taste of the soup to determine right balance of saltiness.
6. Serve with boiled white rice and some freshly cut red chillies (note that the red chillies are optional)

I like cooking this in the winter and I hope you will enjoy it too. The herbs from the sachets are quite strong in flavour and smell but add such an interesting character to the dish.