Review: The Wedge Espresso, Glebe

I have a great admiration for people who can create and maintain a rockabilly aesthetic. As someone who is so uncoordinated that brushing my hair is pretty much all I’m capable of, the idea of being able to do pompadours, pin-ups, in-curls, peaks and rolls is immensely appealing. And surely a wriggle dress in a funky anchor or cherry print would be far superior to my plain black dresses?

Determined to pursue my dreams of being an immensely pulled-together girl rocking a retro vibe, I decided to head along to the semi-regular Rock n Roll Markets at Sydney University one weekend. Breakfast before the Markets was a must and so my friend Beth and I stopped at the ever-popular The Wedge Espresso for a quick meal before we headed off in pursuit of new additions to our wardrobes (K came along, but not for the additions to his wardrobe!).

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Hot Chocolate, $4

I started with a hot chocolate – artistically positioned with my (not hipster enough) sunglasses in the foreground. My attempts to make the shot look appealing came crashing down when Beth pointed out that the hot chocolate hadn’t even been made properly as the cocoa powder at the bottom of the glass had clearly not been mixed in thoroughly. Oh dear.

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Banana Bread, $6.5

We ordered a serve of the banana bread which comes served with peanut and dulce de leche butter and sea salt. The serve is very generous, with a thick cut of banana bread that’s the equivalent of two serves at any other cafe. It’s wonderfully toasted to sticky caramelised perfection, and the simultaneously salty and sweet creaminess of the caramel peanut butter is out of this world. I would definitely order this again, next time to have all to myself without needing to share the heavenly spread with others!

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The Henry, $12

K orders The Henry toastie, replete with ham, avocado, gruyere, basil, rocket and smashed egg. The yolk of the egg is still runny, and combines beautifully with the chipotle mayonnaise as a dressing that transforms this otherwise simple toastie into something definitely more-ish. Great ingredients make all the difference!

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Avocado on Sourdough, $7

Beth keeps it simple, and orders a serve of avocado on toast. I love the way that the avocado is presented when it’s brought out to our table – the upright slices makes the simple dish look a little more special. The sourdough is well toasted, and Beth enjoys the simplicity of this meal.

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Rice Pudding, $11

I decide to try something a little more special, and order the rice pudding with figs, pomegranate, walnuts and honey. It’s a surprisingly big serve, and could be enough for two people with smaller appetites. I end up leaving half the rice pudding behind, but eagerly gobble up the sweet caramel figs, the fresh pomegranate seeds, and the sticky honey with the crunchy nuts. Next time, I’d love to see this dish done with less rice pudding, and more toppings.

Overall, we quite enjoyed our meal at The Wedge Espresso – they have some very reasonably priced simple breakfasts, but also options that are a little different and unusual. I think I’ll be back for their banana bread and peanut and dulce de leche butter if nothing else!

The Wedge Espresso on Urbanspoon

As for the Rockabilly Markets? I walked away with renewed admiration for the whole aesthetic, but only that – as much as I love the look, I don’t think I could ever pull it off successfully!


Recipe: Super Easy Chocolate Rum Balls and Mini Breakfast Quiches for Your Next Morning Tea

My office has a tradition where every second Monday morning, we host a ‘Sydney team meeting’ replete with morning tea goodies and we share a highlight of our weekend as well as our work focus for the next two weeks. We’re lucky that we’re still small enough that we can do this with the whole office rather than having to break into smaller teams.

We share the catering responsibility around, and a new person is responsible for the food every time. It’s never anything too fancy – sometimes people bake cakes, but others just buy some shareable fruit (grapes, strawberries, etc) with some store-bought muffins.

When my turn to host the morning tea came around recently, I decided to make both a sweet and savoury option. Being short on time, I needed to make sure that they were quick and easy recipes – and indeed, it took me only an hour and a half to make both these shareable delights.

Super Easy Chocolate Rum Balls

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Ingredients: One pack of chocolate biscuits (I used Arnott’s Choc Ripple), desiccated coconut, one tin of condensed milk, rum-flavoured essence, vanilla powder.

Method:

  1. Crush the chocolate biscuits to crumbs, using either a food processor or by brute force (I opted for smashing the packet with a can!). Add it to a mixing bowl.
  2. Add in a heaped teaspoon of vanilla powder (I used The Essential Ingredient’s Bourbon Vanilla Powder).
  3. Add a dash or two of rum-flavoured essence. As these rum balls were going to be eaten on a Monday morning, I used rum essence rather than actual rum, but you could always use a shot of Mount Gay or Bundaberg instead!
  4. Pour in a full can of condensed milk
  5. Add a cup of desiccated coconut. Mix thoroughly until all the ingredients are completedly incorporated. Keep adding coconut until you get to a sticky, but not wet consistency. Chill the finished mix in the fridge for half an hour.
  6. Scatter more desiccated coconut on a plate.
  7. Shape the chilled mix into small balls, rolling them in the palms of your hands. Coat them in the loose desiccated coconut.
  8. Enjoy!

Mini Breakfast Quiches

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Ingredients: Frozen puff pastry, a dozen eggs, milk, a decent amount of ham, parmesan cheese and black pepper for seasoning. (makes approximately 24 pastries)

Method:

  1. Pre-heat your oven, then cut and mould the puff pastry into a size that fits your baking tray.
  2. Beat a dozen eggs together with a generous splash of milk.
  3. Shred ham into your egg mix, and add a half cup of parmesan cheese. Combine well.
  4. Spoon your egg, ham and cheese mix into each puff pastry mould, ensuring that it doesn’t overflow.
  5. Sprinkle some extra parmesan on top, and crack some black pepper on top.
  6. Bake in the oven at approximately 200 degrees Celsius until the tops of your quiches are golden brown.
  7. Serve hot and fresh from the oven – it tastes great cold as well!

A sweet and a savoury option, and it’ll only take you ninety minutes to whip it up to impress everyone at your next morning tea!


Review: Pacific Seafood BBQ House, Richmond

So here’s the funny, and somewhat sad thing – when I was recently in Melbourne, I had to beg and cajole my dad to join me for dinner on the last night I was there. It wasn’t until I threw in the sweetener of “Oh, K will be there too, he’s flying in tomorrow” that he changed his mind.

Part of it is the Asian parent style of never showing too much affection, and part of it is the fact that my dad is really lazy and he didn’t want to go out of his way to meet me for dinner. He only changed his mind when he heard that his future son-in-law was going to be there as well, as K doesn’t go down to Melbourne to visit as often as I do. For some reason my dad really likes spending time with K despite the fact that there’s a massive language barrier.

I guess I should just be glad that my dad so vehemently approves of K right?

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We ended up going to Pacific Seafood and BBQ House on Victoria Street in Richmond, a well known institution with regular lines out the door for takeaway containers of their delicious BBQ meats. There’s a second branch in South Yarra which enjoys equal popularity. We show up before the evening crowd and manage to get a table quickly, but the restaurant is full a half hour later despite the fact that it’s a week night. Be prepared to wait a while for a table if you show up at peak time!

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As with any meal at a good Chinese restaurant, dinner has not started until you’ve been served with the complimentary soup of the day to whet your appetite. The soup is pork, lotus root and carrot on the day that we’re there, and we drink it quickly and eagerly.

I’m feeling a mixture of apprehension and excitement – my dad is a chronic over-orderer (especially when K is in town, as he wants K to try a bit of everything!), and we have six dishes coming for our group of four people. I’m not sure that I’m ready for this much eating!

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The first dish out comes straight from the butcher out the front of the shop – a half serve of a roast duck. We look at it and question whether it’s actually a full half serve (we feel like it’s missing a few pieces!), but take it as it is. I can see why the roast meats are so popular with all the locals dropping in for takeaway though – the skin is deliciously crispy and the meat tender and juicy. Dipped in the accompanying sauce, it’s a real delight.

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I love salt fish and chicken fried rice, especially if it’s done well. In my opinion, the key is to have the right ratio of salt fish to rice – my preference is at least two or three pieces of salt fish in every mouthful. Unfortunately, this dish fell way short of my expectations – while there was some salt fish, it wasn’t as much as I generally prefer. Disappointing!

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My disappointment was more than alleviated with the next dish though – fillet steak in black pepper sauce. My meat lover younger brother fell upon this dish with delight, but I preferred the broccoli as it had soaked up the delicious sauce but still retained a satisfying fresh crunch. They’re certainly not stingy with their portions though, and there were some very substantial pieces of fillet steak in this dish.

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My dad’s a big Singapore Noodles fan and orders it whenever he sees it on the menu. This version had a lot more curry flavour than I’m accustomed to in Singapore Noodles, but it actually worked really well. It also had the wonderful wok flavours and aromas that characterise a good fried noodle dish.

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The Sichuan prawns were gloriously spicy and hot, and left us gulping down cups and cups of tea in an effort to quench the burning in our mouths. It was a delicious kind of spice though, the kind that leaves a lingering memory of painful enjoyment.

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Our last dish of the night was ordered on my special request – salt and pepper eggplant. I loved the dish – it’s very different from the way that many other Chinese restaurants would cut the eggplant into thinner strips before battering. These larger slices of eggplant made for a much nicer and more substantial meal, well spiced with a great combination of chilli and salt. With only a minimal amount of batter, you could almost fool yourself into believing that this was a healthy vegetable dish!

Overall, I really like Pacific Seafood BBQ House and I can see why it’s such a firm favourite for so many people. It’s the type of restaurant that satisfies both my traditionalist father who only like Chinese food, and me and my penchant for that slight unique twist. It’s excellent value, and we’ll definitely be back as a family.

Pacific Seafood BBQ House on Urbanspoon