Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bay Vista

Some people said that Bay Vista has better waffles than Max Brenner, so I (a huge fan of Max Brenner's waffle) was intrigued to try this place out. Located in Brighton le Sands, right across Brighton beach, you can almost smell the ocean right from the outdoor seating. Unfortunately, it was so windy when I was there and it was pretty cold. So outdoor seating wasn't an option. 





It was so hard to find parking spot that we had to park quite far from the cafe. But it is always nice to have a bit of a "work out" before bulking our tummy with sugar.




How bad do you wanna stick your tongue in this?




They have nice cake selections too!


And selections of delectable ice cream toppings!




Those are the bowls they used for "ice cream bowls". See that board in the middle? That was what I ordered, two waffles + vanilla ice cream + strawberries + bananas. I know it's very boring, but I had been seeing people posting this on #bayvista in Instagram, so it must be good.

Waffles with vanilla ice cream (AUD12), strawberries (AUD 3), bananas (AUD 3) and the chocolate from the fountain (T: AUD 18)

Is it better than Max Brenner's? Hmm... so hard to decide. Both are so delicious. Bay Vista's melted chocolate is not as sweet as MaxB's, so it won't make you chocolate-sick. The waffle itself is quite similar to Max Brenner's. So overall, I love this dish. I mean, how can you not like waffle, chocolate, strawberries and ice cream?




It is quite intimidating to choose from this menu board. But because I already Instagrammed (as always), I know what I want. Ice cream bowl! There are selections of size and flavor, but because most of it contains chocolate and I thought the waffle got enough chocolate already, me and my friends go for the Cool Ibiza, a more fruity, summery selection.


Cool Ibiza - Boysenberry, mango and coconut ice cream with peaches, mangoes, white chocolate buttons, whipped cream and passionfruit sauce ($19)

The passionfruit sauce on top adds such a zing. When you eat the cream with a bit of passionfruit sauce, you can't help but salivate, because the sauce was so sour yet so addicting. The boysenberry ice cream is sooo nice. Plus a very refreshing summer fruits adds to the freshness. And how cute is that bowl! It's like a giant wine glass. It's nothing I've ever seen in any dessert places in Sydney.


Italian latte with hazelnut spread (AUD 3.9?)

It was basically latte with Nutella on the side. Reminds me of nutella coffee that Bruschetteria 102 has. But it was quite a challenge to dissolve the Nutella into the coffee. Anyway, cute simple presentation. Not sure how this tasted cause my sister's fiancé ordered this. But he didn't complain, so I'm guessing it's a pretty good coffee.


After satisfied with all the sweet treats, it's time to hit the beach!



By hit the beach, I mean walk to the beach and take pictures, lol. The weather were too cold to do any beach-y activities. But on a nice sunny warm day, Brighton beach would be an awesome place to sunbathe. I love the white sand, clear water and blue sky. I just love Aussie's beaches!


xx.

83 The Grand Parade
Brighton-Le-Sands
NSW 2216 Australia
Website

Bay Vista on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Strawberry Soufflé






Yields: 2 servings
Level: Quite easy
Duration: 1 hour





This recipe does not use fresh strawberryies, so it has a very subtle strawberry flavor. It does, however, uses fresh strawberry jam, lol. I got a nice Soufflé texture out of it, so I would substitute the strawberry jam with other things such as lemon juice with some lemon zest to make a Lemon Soufflé or a good amount of concentrated passionfruit juice. You can basically substitute the strawberry jam with anything, especially fresh strawberry puree. This is a very light, fluffy dessert made of very few ingredients and basic technique. Very nice to be enjoyed with cold Crème Anglaise or ice cream.

INGREDIENTS


2 (8-oz) heat-proof ramekins
2 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons melted butter
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons all purpose flour
1/4 cup cold mlk
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoon strawberry jam
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3 drops of rose pink food coloring

Preheat oven to 200 degree C (400 degree F)

METHOD

First of all, separate your egg while it's cold. I've heard that separating egg is easier done when it first came out of the fridge. While this recipe includes whipping an egg and getting it volumed, my mom told me that an egg gets to its fullest volume when it's at room temperature. So, while waiting for your egg temperature to go up, you can start preparing the other ingredients...

Second thing you need to do is: with a room temperature butter, brush your ramekins and coat them with sugar (left picture below) and put them in the fridge so the butter hardens up a bit. 


Next, melt the 1tbs+2tsp butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat; cook and stir flour in the melted butter until little bubbles appear, about 2 minutes. 

Pour in milk and cook, stirring continuously, until it really thickens to a dough and pull away from the pan. At this point, take it off the heat and put it in a mixing bowl to cool. 

Once it is cooled, put in the yolks, vanilla extract, strawberry jam and the food coloring. Note that if you use a fresh strawberry puree, you won't need the food coloring. I was too lazy to go to the supermarket to get fresh strawberry and kind of "experiment" with strawberry jam. Anyway, I was too excited stirring that I forgot to take a picture of the mixture...

Next... put your egg whites in a stainless steel mixing bowl. Make sure your mixing bowl is very clean and free of grease when whipping egg whites. (until now, I'm not sure why, but that's what I always read on the Internet, lol)

Whisk it vigorously until a bubble-bath phase, take your 1/4 cup of sugar and put half in. Whisk again until it looks thicker and smoother, then put in the other half. Continue whisking until a shaving-cream consistency. Or until it holds it shape when you lift your balloon whisk, like so:


Add 1/2 of your egg whites mixture to the butter-flour-egg-jam-food-coloring (BFEJFC) mixture and whisk, just to loosen up the BFEJFC mixture. Until it looks like this:


Now, put in the rest of the egg white mixture and fold gently with a spatula. Avoid to lose the air when folding.

Now take out your buttered-and-sugar-coated ramekin and you are ready to pour your batter! Use a ladle and fill in 3/4 of the ramekin. Tap the ramekin on a cloth just to make sure that the batter come down to the bottom.


This is really important to get a flat Soufflé top after baking...

If your final batter is a little runny, do not fill your ramekin to the top. Instead, allow 1/4 inch of space at the top. If your batter is thick, fill it to the top of the ramekin, and flat the top with a knife, then run your finger to the rim of the ramekin. These two techniques are to make sure that the Soufflé rise evenly and does not stick to the rim.


Put your ramekins on a baking tray and place it in the preheated oven for 16 minutes. Do not open the oven door before 16 minutes. Although, I know it can be very tempting to take a peek, just keep it shut and say a little prayer...


16 minutes later...



you can't imagine how psyched I was when I pulled this out of the oven!




You need to serve it as soon as it came out of the oven, and oh, it does shrink a bit after a while. Gordon Ramsay does not lie.

I served this with a scoop of Connoisseur's Caramel Honey Macadamia ice cream.


Such a light, fluffy texture with a nice brown 'crust'. The combination of cold ice cream and warm Soufflé...

 

So please, give it a go!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Boathouse at Balmoral Beach

Despite the 62% rating in Urbanspoon.com, I still have the urge to see what The Boathouse has to offer. So I went to the one in Balmoral Beach, since it's the closest one to CBD and I can't be bothered to wake up early on such a gloomy morning to go to the one in Palm Beach. It is located only 10km outside CBD, so about 15 minutes drive or 30 minutes bus ride and you're there...

I went for a Valentine's day brunch, but arrived so late that I got there at 12pm. Sadly, the breakfast menu was over by 11.30am, so I was left with lunch menu to choose from. It was a gloomy morning and I was already disappointed by the weather. I was expecting a bright sunny morning on the beach to sip my morning (afternoon) coffee on the deck. Fortunately though, it didn't rain at all. But I was still disappointed by the fact that I need to choose from the lunch menu, because sadly nothing is appetizing to me. 

Anyway, here's a throwback to Valentine's day...

The Boathouse has a lovely location right on the beach stretching out to the jetty. I was welcomed by a pretty display framing the entrance and inside was filled with fresh produce on display.

Here, you get the experience and atmosphere of a casual sea-side dining, with light breeze from the sea and the sound of the wave. Very picturesque. Very relaxing. Especially if you have been spending most your time in the hectic CBD area, coming here on the weekend is very therapeutic.




Enter from the lefthand side if you want to find a table first or from the righthand side to order and pay at the counter first. People were lining up to order, but it took no time to reach a small alcove, greeted by a cheerful and friendly staff, to order and have small talks.


This is where you'll be when entering from the left hand side. On the left, where the staff with navy blue shirt stood, is where the baristas made their coffee. What a nice place to grind, tamp, brew espresso and steam milk. Oh I miss being a barista...

Anyway, most of the seating is outdoors on the deck. There were long white wooden tables, deck chairs and even stools overlooking to the sea (at the back area). I was too desperate looking for seats that I forgot to take a picture of the back are. Shame.




This long wooden table gets you to be closest to the sea, but there were too many Rock Dove bird flying to the table and on the railing next to the table, that I can't imagine having a pleasant convo with all those birds flying towards me, so I chose a table across to it. Still on the deck, but a little closer to the semi-indoor.


I don't always take picture of something as random as tap water bottle and glasses. I just realized how many blue-white combo I saw in the cafe, very nautical and appropriate for the setting.

Cappuccino (AUD 3.50)

It was a decent cappuccino and to enhance the already nautical setting, it was topped with chocolate anchors, again in a blue-white cup.


As I mentioned before, I wasn't excited at all to choose from the lunch menu. Most of the menu includes seafood dishes and it wasn't appealing to me at all.

The Boathouse Beef Burger (AUD 23)

And so, I got myself a beef burger. I wasn't really expecting anything awesome about this dish, cause I thought, how good can a burger be. Turns out, very. The brioche bun is amazingly fluffy inside and have the right sweet and savoriness. I am not a big fan of burger patty, but I gotta tell you this patty is very tasty. With two slices of bacon, generous melted cheese and caramelised onion. There was nothing in this burger I didn't like. Nice proportion of the filling too. (don't you just hate it when a burger is so thick, you have no idea how to start eating?) The fries were great too, but the salad is just okay.

Fried Seafood - a special (AUD 23)

My boyfriend, who's more of a seafood fan, ordered this dish. Not knowing what to expect because it simply said "fried seafood - 23" on the small board for specials and it was a little disappointing. It was simply calamari and prawn fried with a bit of flour, tossed with salt and pepper. It was served with what seemed to be mayonnaise mixed with squid ink to give it a grey-ish color and a simple salad. Some people might eat prawns whole with its skin and all. But, if you're not a fan, do not order this. The prawn was so small that you won't be able to peel the skin. Nevertheless, the prawn and calamari both tasted pretty good and well seasoned.

I recommend ordering the Beer Battered Flathead here as the waiter had been bringing it out to almost every table and it smelled and looked amazing. Too bad the food we ordered weren't amazing.


Back to the interior, I love how they used fish-pots as light-shades, and notice the blue-white walls.


It was a gloomy afternoon in Balmoral beach, but it was lovely. Here's what the cafe looks like from afar.


 Despite the food, it was a good dining experience, thanks to the location :)




Food: 7/10
Ambience: 9/10
Price: $$

2 The Esplanade
Balmoral Beach, NSW 2088
Website


The Boathouse on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

French Toast with Yoghurt and Pomegranate


  

Yield: 4 servings.
Level: Easy
Duration: 40 minutes (excludes shopping time and time of washing dishes, blessed are you who got house maid back in Indo LOL).












I like to browse for recipes in the Internet and my favorite website is Taste.com.au. The main purpose is usually not to look for inspiration, but rather to look at pictures of yummy food, lol. But, when I am actually looking for recipe of something, I often question the duration. It probably means "cooking time" and it can say something like 15 minutes or 30 minutes, but it saddens me a little how when I cook in reality, it took much longer than the indicated duration. Having to wash dishes is to blame here... it will be much better to cook in Indonesia if you have a house maid, so you don't have to wash all the dishes. But then again, it won't be as easy as it is in Australia, to get your hands on fresh ingredients. So no complaining here...

INGREDIENTS:


  • 4 large slices of sourdough bread (about half inch thick, preferably stale)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 tbs maple syrup, extra for drizzling
  • 4 tbs white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamond
  • pinch of sea salt
  • dash of rose water, optional
  • butter, for frying
  • 1 Pomegranate fruit, de-seeded
  • 100g peeled pistachio
  • 4 Oreo cookies
  • 1 strawberry Chobani yoghurt


METHOD:

To start making this French Toast, I like to prepare my topping first before frying my toast, so once my toast is done, I can quickly put toppings on it.

Anyway, today I have my first experience of de-seeding a pomegranate (or Pome, pomegranate is too long to type repeatedly) and see an actual pome fruit. The closest to a pome fruit I've ever seen is on a label of bottled pome juice. Here's where I learn to de-seed a pome fruit:




My fingertip turns wrinkly from soaking it in the water for too long while I de-seed the pome. For those of you who have never tried a pome... the seed look like corn kernel and it tasted sour with berries kind of flavor. It has an even smaller seed in each kernel, which is edible. You can put it through a strainer and get yourself a nice pomegranate juice, or eat it as it is as a snack. Here, I use this as the topping of my french toast.

Oreo crumb x pistachio

Oreo is supposed to be Twisted, Licked and Dunked. But, today I decided to only twist it and take the cookie without the sweet cream and crumbled it with my fingers. For the pistachio, I put it in a sandwich bag and bash it with a wooden rolling pin. Topping done.



Next, prepare the egg-milk mixture. Combine the egg, milk, vanilla essence, rose water (optional), cinnamon, maple syrup and sugar. Whisk until the sugar dissolve. Done.
You can use any kinds of bread for making french toast (I recommend brioche), for better result, use a stale bread so that it soaks up the egg-milk mixture better. Here I used a two day old sourdough bread, but because I wrapped it tightly so it's not too stale. Slice your bread to about 1/2 inch thick.




Let your bread skin dip in the egg-milk mixture. Some recipes that I found says leave it for 5 minutes to soak. But because my bread wasn't that stale, I only soak it for a minute.


While your bread is soaking, melt your butter on a skillet over medium-high heat. Once it melted, reduce the heat before adding the soaked bread. I used Meadowlea for 65% less saturated fat. 

Fry each side until it's brown, took approximately 1.5 minutes, but keep checking. Here is how brown it's supposed to be.

While waiting for the toast to brown, I open up my Chobani yogurt and give it a little whisk, because the strawberry is at the bottom. If you haven't tried strawberry Chobani, please do, they're really good.

Once your toast is brown on both side, put it on a plate and top as you desire. You can definitely modify the topping with other thing, such as ice cream, whipped cream, honey, blueberries, strawberries, caramelised banana... or even better, caramelised bacon. Don't forget to drizzle some maple syrup! 

Here are some pictures of my French Toast with Yoghurt and Pomegranate:







As the toast cooled down, the caramelized top crisped up a little, giving it a pleasant texture. The more sugar you use in the egg-milk mixture, the crispier it will be. The inside will be soft, moist and sweet. What a perfect brunch for a summer morning. Or even supper. Or dessert. Or whenever, actually.