Some food firsts

Since my last cooking update, I have made a number of ‘first dishes’ all of which I have been so very happy with. Today, I finally stop being lazy and share them with you!

After making risotto for the first time and having leftovers, it was only natural to try making arancini for the first time too! Arancini are rice balls that have been coated in breadcrumbs and fried.

The assembly line ready to go!

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I pan-fried instead of deep frying them so they turned out a little lopsided. Didn’t matter because THEY WERE DELICIOUS!

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This is actually the second time I’ve made this dish: rosemary butternut squash and feta cheese dip. Great with our homemade baguette crisps or pita chips!

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Potato bake. Potato tossed with (a very moderate amount of each) sour cream, white cheddar and Parmesan cheese. Also mixed in some sauteed onion and cooked bacon. Topped with mozerella and into the oven!

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Michael made cinnamon buns – I ate too many. Because they were delicious.

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After a couple of attempts, I have perfected a new recipe. Pear cupcakes… fluffy, fruity and moist! My own recipe created by my own brain. Who would’ve thought.

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I missed ‘nem nuong’ (Vietnamese BBQ’d ground pork). I finally made some for the first time since coming to Australia and… it tasted like mommy’s cooking back home. ❤ I only wished I had a BBQ!

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That wasabi lime mayonnaise we tried at Burger Urge definitely made a lasting impression. We had all the ingredients in the house so of course, we made crispy our own sweet potato chips with wasabi lime mayonnaise – delish!

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And that’s it for now! 🙂

Recent culinary delights

I have been lazy, but I have still been cooking!

Thinly sliced firm tofu marinated in homemade bulgogi (Korean grilled marinated beef) sauce. Mmm, vegetarian dinner!

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I made risotto for the first time, with arborio rice. It was a lot more time consuming than I expected but no crunchy rice – success! Michael gave his stamp of approval for my bacon mushroom risotto with Parmesan cheese.

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I saw this on Imgur. It looked too cool, I had to try it too. 😛 Next time, MOAR CHEESE.

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French toast made with currant bread, topped with real maple syrup and kiwis on the side. Delicious breakfast to start a day of studying!

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Finally trying out Gunshop Cafe

We’ve heard from numerous friends that Gunshop Cafe is a wonderful place, especially for breakfast and we’ve been meaning to try it out for 2 years now.

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Coincidentally during Meaghan’s stay, there was a 50% off flash deal for Gunshop Cafe! Unfortunately, we couldn’t do breakfast or lunch because of our clinic schedules but anticipated a good dinner.

We were booked for 6:15pm on April 02. The restaurant was still quite empty when we arrived so we were given our choice of seats. We initially sat outdoors towards the back of the restaurant but the lighting was quite dim so we ended up changing our minds and moving inside.

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The restaurant is small but warm and inviting. Although the decor is minimal, it works well and makes bold statements. I especially liked the fan outdoors and how the ceiling lights cast dancing shadows upon the entire restaurant.

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It took us a while to make up our minds on what to order because everything on the menu looked really good.

We settled on drinks first, which was my first disappointment. It was a hot day so I asked for my tea to be iced rather than served hot – never been a problem at other restaurants in the past. Unfortunately, I ended up with lukewarm and extremely diluted tea.

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We started off with the $50 shared plate. I can’t remember all the items, but this plate included: goat cheese stuffed green olives, sorpressa, black pudding, marinated lamb cutlets with romesco sauce, Western Australian sardines. All shared plates also came with olive oil, dukkah, evoo+balsamic, charred sourdough.

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Overall, the plate was really good. Lamb was cooked perfectly and the romesco was delicious. The black pudding was heavily spiced and extremely tasty. The added pickles and mustard were good accompaniments. There were way too many olives as they are really salty and you can only have so many. Meaghan and I aren’t fans of sardines but Mike really enjoyed them.

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But the sourdough wasn’t charred, only lightly toasted which was unfortunate because the added flavour would’ve been really nice. The other disappointment – as we were almost finished the dish, we realized the dukkah and evoo+balsamic was never brought out. A big no no for us – always serve what you say!

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We then moved onto our mains.

Meaghan had the confit duck leg with du puy lentils, potato fondant, roast tamarillo and heirloom carrots. Duck was WAY TOO salty and extremely tough and dried out – unexpected for meat that was supposed to be cooked long and slow in its own fat. Unfortunately, she ended up leaving a lot of it behind.

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Mike had the homemade gnocchi with tomato fondue, evoo, prawns and basil. He enjoyed it, although not very memorable.

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Lastly, I had the wild mushroom risotto with poached duck egg, truffle oil and cress. Oh my goodness, my dish was unbelievably bland. There was absolutely no salt in my dish and we joked that the salt that was supposed to go into my dish must’ve been put into Meaghan’s. Risotto was overdone and the taste of vinegar overpowered my poached egg 😦 Please use less vinegar! When asked how our meals were, I did let the staff know that there was absolutely no salt in my dish, although it went went unacknowledged. I didn’t send back my food because I hate doing that – makes me feel like a total snob but this dish would’ve been justified. Instead, I just added some salt and ate what I could, was already filling up from the shared plate anyway!

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The other thing I didn’t like, which I’ve mentioned before about other restaurants – random salads. Don’t get me wrong, watercress is one of my favourite greens, but when it happens to be placed on all 3 dishes, I think it’s there for decoration and not for flavour. It also makes the dishes look less appealing.

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Dinner started on a high and ended on a low for us, which is too bad. Thankfully we weren’t paying full price because that definitely wouldn’t have been worth it. However, we aren’t giving up on the Gunshop Cafe just yet. The service and ambiance were great, so we will definitely give it another chance – breakfast next time though!

Gunshop Cafe on Urbanspoon

Oh awesome richness at Capri Cafe Bar

Another 50% flash deal, this time for an amazing dinner at Capri Cafe/Bar – Mediterranean styled dining at Fortitude Valley’s Emporium.

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We had reservations for 6pm and were immediately shown to our table. Very happy with the tentative and friendly service!

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We ordered some drinks and after a lot more pondering, finally decided on food.

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We got three entrees/sides to share:

1) Oven baked chips and aioli – don’t really know why we ordered this. Chips were really plain and could not taste the garlic in the aioli. An unnecessary addition to such good food!

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2) Arancini – Home made beetroot and walnut risotto cakes served with a fetta and rocket salad. A really good sized portion and quite delicious! The salad was nicely dressed which was a pleasant surprise because I’ve had many undressed “decorative” salads in the past at other restaurants.

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3) Scallop canneloni – Pan fried sea scallops with cherry tomatoes, garlic, fresh herbs, salsa verde and Grana Padano cheese. Generous serving of scallops and super fragrant tomatoes – yummy!

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Onto our mains!

I got the Prawn risotto – Local garlic prawns with roasted pumpkin and fresh basil in a creamy risotto. Don’t be fooled by the size of the plate, it’s a deep dish, could barely finish my serving! Huge, super fresh, well marinated prawns – I was very surprised at how many prawns I received, at least 6! Risotto was creamy and delicious with the roasted pumpkin – mmm!

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Meaghan chose the Pumpkin Gnocchi – Roasted pumpkin in a creamy sun dried tomato pesto sauce with fresh
spinach and Grana Padano cheese. I tasted some – it was amazing! The only thing that would’ve made this dish more awesome is filling in the gnocchi 😉

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Mike got the Sand Crab & Scallop Risotto – Fresh Australian sand crab and sea scallop meat in a seafood bisque risotto topped with fresh rocket and Grana Padano cheese. Nicely flavoured with generous amounts of seafood – he was definitely pleased with his food!

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Service was great throughout the night, thank you to the wonderful staff at Capri Cafe/Bar for a delicious night out! With 5 drinks and 50% off all our food, our bill for 3 people came to $95 – a steal! Would definitely recommend giving this place a try!

Capri Cafe Bar on Urbanspoon

Thanksgiving lunch at Mario’s

October 14, 2012

Mario invited a bunch of us over to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving… it was amazing 😀 Everybody brought such delicious food… let’s see if I can remember everything:

  • Mario – roasted pork belly and duck fat potatoes
  • Mike & Sandra – Meatloaf and apple tarts
  • Yoni – Sweet potato salad
  • Janet & Ben – Mac&Cheese and green been salad
  • Stacy – Pumpkin pie
  • MyCo – Wings (& salad I believe)
  • Jen & Alex – Roast lamb
  • Lauren – Salad
  • Saji – Drinks
  • Ben – Pumpkin risotto
  • Sarah – Mezze board
  • Sarah & Max – White chocolate mud cake

Is that everyone? I hope so! I’m sure everybody had super happy bellies by the afternoon 😉

I wish I had taken photos, but here are a few from Mario:

Setting up the tables with only some of the dishes

One of Sarah’s mezze boards and white chocolate mud cake – yum!

Shot of my apple tarts

Group photo!

And another group shot taken by MyCo

Thanks again to Mario and everyone else for a lovely lunch!