Friday, November 29, 2013

Christmas rocky road recipe

I have planned a list of christmas inspired treats to prepare for the upcoming festival and cannot wait to share it with you guys! I have scouted high and low over the past few weeks and I am pretty happy with the miniature list that I have beside me. It's going to be the 12 days of Christmas gifts that is perfect as a festive present or something to whip up for unexpected guests!

First up would be this super easy rocky road recipe that is only restricted by your imagination. Have a play around with available ingredients, be it gourmet or classic styles and you will be surprised with the end results. I have brought this to work and everyone loved them so I hope you will enjoy them too!

500g dark chocolate
1 cup marshmallows
3 bars of Fry's turkish delight, cut into bite sized pieces
A handful of Charlesworth's fruit mix
250g maltesers
A handful of chopped pistachios

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of boiling water. Meanwhile, prepare your mix-in ingredients. Feel free to go crazy with the proportions but I stuck to what I have listed, only because I did not want to have too much leftovers in the pantry! Throw everything in a stainless steel bowl and mix them evenly. Once all the chocolate bits have melted, quickly pour it in the bowl of mix-ins and stir until all the ingredients appear to be well coated with chocolate.

Scoop out the mixture into a square baking tin lined with baking paper and sprinkle the chopped pistachios over it. Refridgerate for at least 2 hours before cutting it into bite sized pieces.

As you may notice, I think it is important to ensure that all the ingredients are well coated with the chocolate otherwise it may not stick to each other well. I highly recommend going to Charlesworth if you are looking for a good selection of nuts and fruits to add into your rocky road (the freshness of their products is just amazing!). Would have liked to have more turkish delight aroma throughout the rocky road but this will suffice for the time being.

How was that for a quick and easy to prepare treat?


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hentley Farm Restaurant

Living in the Barossa seems surreal at times despite the not-so-pleasant beginning at some stage. Initially, I was very conservative and probably not too game for heading out and mingling with the local crowd, and it does not help that I am an introvert at heart too. Over the span of more than eight months, I began to embrace this foreign realm and cultivated some form of confidence.

I am no longer afraid of stepping out of my comfort zone and in fact, I do look forward to exploring the local markets, tucking into some of the finest produces with a glass of moscato/ riesling and connecting with the friendly locals. Coming to Hentley Farm was not only for celebrating a birthday but also to sit back and reflect on how much I have grown in the last few months here. I shall stop rambling on my reflections now and dive straight into this restaurant review!

Firstly, bookings are essential. The restaurant does not open everyday and there is limited seats for diners so please do book at least 2 weeks in advance or face disappointment. It is located near a few wineries around the Seppeltsfield region and isn't too hard to locate unless if you get stuck along the road (we all can understand that feeling when there's just too many bits of temptations around;)

The interior has a touch of modern infused with vintage decor which gives this somewhat relaxed, calm feeling as you step in. Being part of an adventurous group of foodies, we had to sample the Discovery menu.

Tapioca mushroom floss and pumpkin seed ~ a very ingenious creation which reminded me of a cracker but perhaps a bit more refined. A light start to the meal.

Quinoa heritage beef and sweetcorn puree ~ These tiny pieces were delicious and it's too bad we could only have one piece each!

Oyster with rosemary and passionfruit ~ I thought this was a very visually stunning dish and it was a clever idea to allow the rosemary scent to waft around the oysters before tucking in. Fresh oysters and I could only wonder where did they source their supply from.

Cockle with pearl onion, parsley and salmon egg ~ yet another pretty dish to snap. I found this one refreshing, light and packed full of flavour.

Crab, parsnip, wild rice and lemon ~ we were a little confused when this came out but after tucking in, it was difficult to stop. I love how the fresh pieces of crab meat blended well with the lemon's acidity for freshness and crunch from the wild rice. Parsnip puree was silky smooth which made the entire dish look like a pretty posh breakfast bowl:)

Squid, leek, linseed and chive ~ a simple stock with a bed of squid strands on the side. I like how the chef plays with our "expectations vs realities" part of the brain. I was quizzed when this arrived and after unraveling the thinly sliced squid "noodles", I was intrigued by the robust stock flavours which complemented the sweet tasting squid very well.

Trevalla, duck liver, egg, sunflower and butter luttuce ~ I love how much seafood we get with the Discovery menu as too often enough, all of us hardly eats our recommended intake of fish protein. The preserved egg was a first for me which added a nice subtle saltiness to the sweet fish flesh.

Ox, chocolate, pear, mushroom and rocket ~ from memory, this was the ox's tongue. Yes, the non-exotic part of me braved this dish and found it worth the effort. The tongue was soft and when paired with the delicate slices of pear and chocolate, it seemed like the world stopped revolving for a minute. It was that phenomenal and I never imagined myself to rave about consuming this part of an animal.

Pork, sauerkraut, sherry and bechamel ~ one of my favourite dishes of the entire menu. The pork had a lovely chunk of fat attached to the meat, which, was slippery smooth with a slight crunch to the exterior. The sauerkraut and bechamel sauce were not too overpowering for me, which allowed the pork to shine on the plate. Thumbs up!

Crab, kiwi, kimchi and mint ~ so we are slowly moving onto desserts at this stage. This was a quirky invention indeed but we had no problems finishing it off. I did, however, enjoyed the kiwi sorbet which was quite refreshing:)

Foliage, fig leaf, pine needle and honey ~ I have never tasted sorbet (or gelato. I can't remember) this good. It had a good balance of creaminess and flavour. Would loved to have more if only I could. Probably a big hit in summer!

Pear, coriander, soy, coffee and almond ~ I love pretty dessert dishes. The cake was moist and fluffy whilst the gelato/sorbet added a nice bit of moisture to the entire dish. Yet another winner, in my opinion:)

Egg, mango, rice and poppy seed ~ Alas, I get to witness dessert served in an egg. Was so excited to dig in and reveal what hides beneath all the layers but I shall keep it a secret from you guys hehe.

Fortified marshmallows ~ marshmallows? tick. Fortified alcohol? Tick. Yep, the chef did it again. Caramelizing fortified wine around a humble piece of marshmallow and giving it that extra boost of flavour. This ain't a campfire for the kids at all!

Assorted popsicles ~ the crew and I had fun guessing what hides beneath the chocolate wall but do be warned, there are at least 4 different flavours going around. Love this playful take on dessert!

Lemon and dried grape madeleines ~ can never have too many desserts, indeed. A perfect way to end the afternoon.

Mint tea ~ just to cleanse your palate and also to make sure your breathe doesn't reek when you step out hehe:)

Hentley Farm Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 25, 2013

Garlic and soy sauce prawns

Here is an overdue blog post that should have been published a few weeks ago. Fresh seafood is hard to source up here in a Barossa so imagine the joy on my face when the sister had so kindly bought a big bag of fresh prawns for dinner when I came over to visit (the perks of living near central market).

As the prawns were still quite fresh, try avoid adding too much flavouring to them but rather, allow their true identity be revealed with simple, non-overpowering ingredients. This is a pretty simple recipe that my dad often use to cook prawns and it's one of those less than 10 minute recipes:)

5 cloves of garlic
1 kg of prawns, cleaned
A handful of chives
4 tbsp of soy sauce
Enough oil for frying

Fry garlic in oil until it browns slightly before tossing in the cleaned prawns. Do avoid tossing them around in the wok too much, allow the heat from the wok cook them. When the prawn colour changes to bright orange, add the soy sauce and give it a few more minutes to cook in the wok. At this point, you may add your chives in. Allow for about 30 seconds before dishing it out.

That was not too hard, was it? A very easy seafood recipe indeed:)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Appliances Online 8th birthday event and competition

2013 has been a year full of opportunity for me to explore my hobbies as well as pick up new skills. I have received an invite from Appliances Online a few weeks ago for a cake decorating birthday event which I had to unfortunately, turn down due to work. I was disappointed as I have never ever took up any baking classes (probably due to high school trauma with part of my teenage-hood that I certainly did not miss much!) and also because I doubt I'll have the time at all. So when a work roster change occured, I immediately sent an email to the organizer and confirmed my attendance..had to wake up early on thursday to get to Adelaide but oh wells!

The event was held at Adelaide chocolate school in North Adelaide, conveniently situated near the city. The interior could probably fit 15 participants comfortably and I was eyeball-ing all the amazing cake decorating tools/glitter/ essence displayed on the shelves. We are in for some serious work here! After a short mingling session with the other bloggers, our teacher, Belinda, started running through the basics of working with fondant with us.

Just a handful of tools stashed aside for us to use later, just like a painter's inventory of brushes *getting excited*

Belinda was very deft with the fondant and made it look so unbelievably simple. With just a few strokes of edible marker and a couple of readjusting squeezes around the fondant, she has shaped a strawberry and banana for us.

And so, the moment of truth began. Each table had about 3 cakes already covered in fondant and we were to add our own personal spin to it. We could not believe that underneath all the fondant lies a cake!

So we allowed our creative juices to flow and shaped a few pieces of fondants into items. Do be warned that fondant does dry quite quickly when exposed to air which made it slightly messy to shape!

How do you like our food processor?:)

Our decorated toaster cake looked amazing and Belinda did came around to give us more pointers on fondant application. The green apple was lightly coloured with red powder for that extra shimmer feel!

I managed to browse around the room after decorating our cakes and I was very impressed with the display cakes that Belinda had sitting on the shelf near the kitchen. Imagine how many hours it would take to sculpt something like that!

My dream was always to learn how to sculpt a rose (which I did attempt that day but failed miserably again!). Look at these ones here? Stunning indeed:)

Just a few tools we had.

As this is a chocolate school, it would only be appropriate to include a decent chocolate picture with a Christmas-y theme to it.

We finished off with some lovely baked cupcakes which had a mouthwatering frosting piped on it. Biting into a beautifully decorated cupcake for a birthday is like the icing on the cake. Was indeed a lovely and sweet event and I could not be anymore grateful for Appliances Online and Belinda for the invitation as well as to the lovely sponsors that contributed for the giveaways.


Appliance Online is searching nationwide for their official birthday cake and this competition ends on 8th December. If you are a keen baker and has what it takes to blow them away with your creativity, simply create an appliance-inspired cake and upload on facebook, instagram or twitter for your chance to win 1 of 8 Sunbeam food processors! Details are available on their website but do hurry as the closing date is just around the corner!:)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Over the past few months, I found myself creeping into pub's for their simple but satisfying meals. A good meal would cost at most $20. I daresay vegetarians might have to really ponder prior to entering as some of the pubs' best meals involves some kind of poultry or seafood. Aside from having a very hearty meal, pubs are excellent for celebrating the weekend with friends (drink responsibly, people!).

Rumour has it that MyBar at Hilton hotel dishes up an award winning beef burger which immediately prompted the siblings and I to drop by for a quick visit after exiting the airport. We already knew what to have, after scanning the online menu... I call it research:)

I have never been here before and found the menu rather tempting but unfortunately, it was wayyy to early to stuff myself for dinner (I usually eat like a pauper at lunch and a king for dinner..not exactly right but it's a habit!).

300g wagyu beef burger ~ beef patties sandwiched by smoked bacon, free range egg, onion jam, cheese, lettuce and tomato, served with chilli chips and mustard, tomato relish and ranch dressing. The tomboy in me wanted to try biting into the burger but chickened out as it surely cannot fit into my mouth (and I have a big mouth too!). We dissected the burger into smaller sections which allowed us to enjoy each individual component of it. Beef patty was still juicy and how can we go wrong with a slap of bacon, egg and cheese in it. A clear winner indeed. The buns were still fluffy despite getting toasted and the chips were one of the chunkiest pieces I have ever seen. The accompanying sauces were served in shot glasses, very classy indeed. My favourite would be the ranch dressing. What's yours?:)

Chicken schnitzel with mushroom gravy served with chips and fresh salad ~ to enter a pub without ordering a schnitzel is a crime on it's own. Thankfully the sister agreed to share it with me. Was a little dry for my liking but after a few dunks into the pools of sauce, it had no problems finding it's way into my tummy. Salad was dressed pretty well and it was fresh, no short cuts there:)

Overall, I have enjoyed my meal here and would love to have a second visit to sample their other dishes. Pretty decent place to head if you want to watch any games as they have a massive telly on their open area.

MyBar on Urbanspoon