Archive for February, 2011

28th February
2011
written by Nibblish

Zucchini flowers stuffed with goat cheese are so delicious and easy to prepare, but can also look quite fancy as a gourmet starter! I personally prefer the batter to be super light using just sparkling water and a bit of flour but you can also make a traditional batter by adding an egg in the mix for a crispier result.

Ingredients: (4 people)

8 zucchini flowers
120g fresh goat cheese
80g Ricotta cheese
1/2 bunch of chives, finely chopped
1 handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 nutmeg, grated
Freshly ground pepper & salt
100g plain flour
200ml sparkling mineral water, very cold
30ml vegetable oil (for frying)

Instructions:

1. Gently open the zucchini flower, remove the stamen and make sure there are no insects inside.

2. Combine the goat cheese, ricotta, chives, parsley, nutmeg in a mixing bowl and season with salt & pepper. If you don’t have a piping bag, cut the corner from a plastic freezer bag, add the cheese mix to the bag.

3. Squeeze the mixture through the whole into the flowers, set aside and refrigerate for 30 minutes to avoid the mixture to leak straightaway as you start frying.

4. Prepare the batter by whisking the cold sparkling water in the flour. Don’t worry if it’s not perfectly smooth when combined.

5. Pre-heat the vegetable oil in a large non stick frying pan. Dip the flowers in the batter and fry on high heat for 30- 60 seconds on each side until golden in color. Remove with the wire strainer, let drain, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

I like serve to it on a bed of green leaf salad topped with caramelised figs! It also works really well with a few pieces of crispy shredded Parma ham on top!

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28th February
2011
written by Nibblish
This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Top Nibbles Out

25/02/2010

After anticipating it for 4 weeks on the waiting list, I finally got to try Porteno on Friday night with a group of girlfriends. I was massively looking forward to it, as firstly I am a big fan of its sister restaurant Bodega and secondly as Porteno (and it’s booking policy) has been the talk of the town for the past couple of months!

Given the numbers, we had to go with the set menu, which including an incredible selection of the best dishes for $70/head. All dishes were served tapas style and prepared from the freshest and highest quality ingredients. The marinated olives, pate, eggplant and pasties were gorgeous, but the calamari and tuna have to be the highlight of the meal – cooked to perfection resulting in an explosion of flavours! The vegetables were excellent too, especially the crispy Brussel sprouts! …but then came the meat feast… OMG ….Huge plates of pork sausages, black pudding, seared beef, lamb ribs…and to finish us off – the suckling pig! The seared beef was by far my favourite, although it was all really a bit too much for just us girlies…and I was actually a bit disappointed with the suckling pick which was tender but a bit plain. But then…when we all thought we couldn’t face any more food, out of the shadows came the puddings… devine and beautiful! The ice cream and Crème brûlée, which we suddenly found room for, were the perfect finish to add a sweet touch to a substantial evening of great food :)

The ambiance was buzzing and the receptionist looked super hot with her 60′s Argentinean hairstyle! I will definitely be back…but with the boys next time!

Food: 8.5
Ambiance: 7
Service: 7
Price: 7

Overall, I would probably give it a 7.5/10 Nibbles!

website

358 Cleveland Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
02 8399 1440

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27th February
2011
written by Nibblish

A Potato Salad is the perfect accompaniment for barbecues and picnics, as it’s best served with meat, seafood and a green leaf salad…A real classic for summer!

Ingredients: (serves 6 people as a side)

12 small potatoes (such as desiree), peeled
4 bacon rashers, rind & excess fat trimmed, finely chopped
3 large tbsp whole egg mayonnaise
3 large tbsp sour cream
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 shallots, finely chopped
6 gherkins, finely chopped
2 tbsp carpers, finely chopped
1/2 bunch of dill, finely chopped
Freshly ground pepper & sea salt flakes

Instructions:

1. Cut each potato into 4, place in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to boil and boil uncovered for 10 minutes or until tender when pierced with a stick. Drain and let it cool completely.
In the meantime, heat oil a small frying pan and cook the diced bacon until nice and brown.

2. Combine together the mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic into a mixing bowl. Top with the dill, gherkin, carpers, shallots and mix well. Taste and season with salt & pepper.

3. Gently toss in the potatoes and bacon bits and refrigerate for 30 minutes or more.

You can store the potato salad in the fridge for a few days. You can also top it with pieces of hard boiled eggs if you’re serving it as a main!

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26th February
2011
written by Nibblish

These marinated lamb chops will be everyone’s favourite at your barbecue! The lovely summery flavours of the lemon, rosemary and garlic will make your tastebuds tingle! It’s a really quick and easy one to make, but you may just have to plan it ahead as you need to allow enough time to bring the distinct flavours in the lamb

Ingredients: (serves 4-6 people)

1 lemon, juiced
3 tbsp whole grain mustard
2 tbsp fresh Rosemary, chopped or blended
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
Freshly ground pepper & sea salt flakes
1/4 cup Olive oil
12 Lamb chops

Instructions:

1. To make the marinate, whisk the lemon juice and mustard, into a mixing bowl. Mix in the garlic, rosemary and shallots, before gradually whisking in the oil. Season with Salt & pepper.

2. Coat the meat into the marinate and transfer to a large plastic bag or plastic container. Leave it to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or even overnight if you can!

These chops will go really well with a spinach or potato salad.
Allow for 2/3 per person! If you don’t have a barbecue or if the weather is crap, you can still follow the same recipe and grill them instead!

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24th February
2011
written by Nibblish

This is a really light, healthy and tasty dish, which will work beautifully as a lunch but also as a starter or as party food. It differs slightly from the traditional recipe as I omitted the rice vermicelli to avoid doubling up on the rice based ingredients! The secret is in the contrast between the fresh crisp ingredients, the tasty meat and the fragrant dipping sauce.

Ingredients: (6 rolls)

1 Lebanese cucumber, cut into thin sticks
200g bean sprouts, steamed
2 spring onions, cut into thin strips
1 handful of coriander, roughly chopped
1 red chilli, de-seeded and cut into thin strips
1 handful peanut, crushed
200g pork fillet, cut into thin strips
3 tbsp Teriyaki sauce
3 tbsp Hoi sin or black bean sauce
9 prawns, cooked and halved
5 rice paper sheets

Instructions

1. Pre-heat a non stick pan and cook the meat for a few minute with the teriyaki sauce. Add the hoi sin or black bean at the end and save on the side to cool.

2. Pour boiled water into a flat tray and place a dry kitchen towel flat on the surface next to it to use as a dipping and rolling station. place the rice paper roll in the warm water for a few seconds until just softened. Place it flat onto the kitchen towel spreading the ingredients toward the top edge – start with 3 prawn halves (round side down), peanuts, coriander, chilli, spring onion…

3. Continue with the vegetables – cucumber and bean sprouts

4. And finish with the meat. Add extra coriander at that stage if you like it as much as I do.

5. Roll up to enclose the filling, folding in the ends. Repeat with the remaining rolls.

You can serve it with chili sauce, soy or fish sauce. To make the fish dipping sauce – dissolve 1 tsp of sugar with 5 tsp of fish sauce, 5 tsp of lemon juice, a drop of water and a few slices of red chili. To store it in the fridge for up to 24h, cover the rolls with a damp towel, which will prevent the rice paper from drying out.

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21st February
2011
written by Nibblish

This carrot cake is mouth watering and absolutely delicious. I made it for my friend Nick’s birthday and got him and everyone else addicted to it! While a lot lighter in fat content than the traditional version, it’s really moist and tasty because of the extra egg in the mixture! It works really well as a gluten free recipe which makes it easier to digest too, but it doesn’t have to be and you can also use normal flour if you prefer!

Ingredients: (12 slices)

4 eggs
2.5 cups brown sugar
1 cup sunflower oil
1.5 cups gluten free flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 carrots, grated
1 cup walnut, chopped
6 walnut halves
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp salt

150g cream cheese
50 g soft butter, soften
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees. Brush 2 identical round baking trays with oil and sprinkle with flour to make it non stick. If you don’t have 2 round trays of the same size, you can also cook the cakes in 2 successive batches.

2. Beat the eggs until light and fluffy.

3. Whisk in the brown sugar until smooth.

4. Stir in the oil gradually, followed by the flour, cinnamon, vanilla, salt and baking powder. Once the mixture is nicely combines, fold in the grated carrots and chopped walnut. Pour evenly into the two prepared pans and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.

5. To prepare the icing mixture, place the cream cheese, butter, icing sugar and vanilla into a mixing bowl and combine using a wooden spoon.

6. When the cakes a cold, spread half of the icing generously on one of them.

7. Stack the cakes on top of each other, cover the sides of the cake with the remainder of it and place the walnuts halves on top.

For an even healthier version of this cake, you can also replace the 50g butter in the icing with an extra 50g of cream cheese. Only watch out though, if you’re really serious about your fitness, is that you will need a lot of discipline to stick to just one piece!

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21st February
2011
written by Nibblish
This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Top Nibbles Out

13/02/2010

Being a Frog myself probably makes me a tough judge when it comes to French restaurants abroad, which I often find pompous, over-priced and lifeless. However La Brasserie really pulls it off! It’s exactly what a Bistro would be like back home…the old time favourites on the black board, the French songs playing away in the background, the warm and intimate atmosphere…it instantly brings me back to Paris! It is, for sure, a very popular spot amongst French expats who are probably the most regular customers – but hearing French all around you also adds to the experience, non?

The dishes are simple, authentique and delicious..In the starter section, the rustic charcuterie platter is top quality, served with mustard, cornichons and pickled onions. Although I always feel obliged to go for the escargot a la bourguignonne especially if it there is an opportunity to challenge anyone at the table! The steak is beautiful – tartare or sirloin – always a winner with French fries…but there are many other traditional dishes on menu and the Confit de canard, moules marinières or lapin farci are all perfectly prepared. Make sure you save a bit of room to try one of their desserts too – the crème Brulée is really tasty and it also comes with a little canele Bordelais, which a traditional little cake with a rich custardy interior enclosed by a thin caramelized layer! A real classic in all bakeries back home!

All staff members are experienced, efficient and friendly. But make sure you listen carefully as the accent is at its strongest and French gibberish part of every sentence!

Food: 8
Ambiance: 8.5
Service: 8
Price: 7

Overall, I would probably give it a 8/10 Nibbles!

website

118 Crown Street,
Darlinghurst 2010
(02) 9358 1222

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20th February
2011
written by Nibblish

The Hunter valley is such a great place for a relaxing and inspiring short break! After spending the last couple of days visiting and discovering smaller vineyards, I thought I would share my new top favourite with you..!

Wollombi Wines is a gorgeous little boutique vineyard in the lower Hunter Valley. The views are breathtaking and the property is full of charm and quirky details. The first vines were planted in 1994 by the Hoft family, and all the work is still carried out by their lovely family members. Peter, the owner, assisted us with the tasting and was delightful, fun and entertaining. While knowledgeable and informative, he was also extremely down to earth and realistic about people’s tastes and preferences. While the wines are true to the region, they are also smoother and easier to drink than some of the more complex types. The White splash is the best example of that, a gorgeous clean fresh white wine you can enjoy by itself on a sunny afternoon!

Below is the selection of our personal favorites…quite a few of them!

2010 Fiori:
Has a generous flavoured style, with varietal characteristics of tropical fruit and is well balanced with subtle acidity.

2009 White Splash:
A light fun wine with good fruit flavours.
GREAT WITH: Caviar, foie gras, smoked salmon, burgers or breakfast.

2010 Bella Frizzante:
A vibrant red wine with fruity aromas showing spice and red currants. The palate has generous fruit driven flavour and sweetness, with a gentle spritz.

2007 Shiraz:
Luscious fruit flavours across the palate. Lovely drink now and will get even better with age.
GREAT WITH: Deserves a good steak or casserole and good company.

2009 Shiraz:
A light elegant wine , with a peppery, spicy, berry nose. Medium bodied with a well textured structure and very fine tannins.

We are now fully stocked up for a few Nibblish meals!
The bottles are also really reasonably priced – between $16-22 per bottle. Great value given the quality you would normally get for that price in your local liquor store!

Make sure you make Wollombi wines part of your itinerary next time you’re going up to the Hunter and say hi to Peter for me! If you’re not planning to go anytime soon, you can place an online order here. They even offer free delivery to all major cities in Australia.

Wollombi Rd
Wollombi NSW 2325
Website

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17th February
2011
written by Nibblish

This is such a simple and classic dish, perfect as an Italian appetiser, brunch or as a snack. The trick is to rub the hot bread with a raw clove of garlic and then brush it with olive oil for an amazing flavour…It’s bold, fresh and delicious!

Ingredients (serves 4 people as a starter)

1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 small bunch of basil, chopped
300g vine ripened tomatoes, diced
olive oil
white wine vinegar
Sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper
garlic cloves, peeled & cut in half
4 thick slices round rustic bread, cut in half

Instructions

1. Preheat grill on high heat. Mix chopped tomatoes, onion and basil into a bowl and season with salt flakes, freshly ground pepper, olive oil and white wine vinegar. Toss well.

2. Toast both sides of bread slices. Rub each slice with a garlic clove while hot and brush it with a bit of olive oil.

3. Spoon tomatoes onto bread and serve immediately!

The secret for this dish to be a hit is to use the freshest ingredients you can find and keep it simple and bold. The only extra add on would be to shred a few pieces of creamy buffalo mozzarella and place it on top! You can also swap the white wine vinegar for a good quality balsamic vinegar.

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17th February
2011
written by Nibblish

Chicken stuffed with homemade pesto and wrapped in proscuitto ham…such a delicious combination of ingredients and so Italian! The ham and the pesto will not only give a rich flavour to the dish, but it will also keep the chicken moist and tender! Its extremely quick and easy to make, yet it looks really impressive on the plate!

Ingredients: (4 people)

4 organic chicken breasts
8 slices of proscuitto ham
1 small bunch of basil
1 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 cup of pine nuts
4 tbsp Olive oil
Sea salt & freshly ground pepper

Instructions

1. Pre-heat the oven on 250 degrees. To prepare the fresh pesto, blend the pesto, parmesan, garlic and pine nuts together. Add in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

2. To stuff the chicken, simply cut each breast open along one side to form a pocket and spoon in some of the pesto mixture.

3. Place 2 slices of prosciutto flat on the surface, overlapping slightly on one end and wrap the ham tightly around the first chicken breasts. Repeat with the other three.

4.Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.

Make sure you follow the cooking instructions in order to keep the chicken nice and moist. Serve it on a bed of fresh tagilatelle pasta, risotto or green beans for a healthier option!

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