Review: Brooklyn Hide, Surry Hills

Have you ever had that dramatic build-up of anticipation for an exciting event, only for it to come crashing down around you? That’s what happened to my plans of going to the recent first-ever Flour Markets in Sydney. I got there just as it was due to open for the day, only to find that the queue had already snaked around the whole building with an estimated wait time of over an hour.

With a tendency to have low blood sugars in the morning and get incredibly hangry, I couldn’t afford to wait that long for food and so said a sad goodbye to the Flour Markets and went in search for breakfast elsewhere.

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Walking past Brooklyn Hide on Commonwealth St in Surry Hills, I spied the rarest of situations – two free seats at the bar in a Surry Hills breakfast joint and no waiting queue! K and I jumped at the opportunity and sat ourselves down for a meal in this tiny quaint little cafe. Glancing at the diners around us, I saw that delicious fresh looking bagels are clearly the specialty at this cafe.

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K ordered a cappuccino which he found a bit too milky for his taste. I argued that it was more a case of his being used to double shot coffees rather than this being too milky! My apple and watermelon juice was delicious, with just the right balance to ensure that the sweetness of the watermelon balanced the stronger flavours of the apple.

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The Bronx – $10

K chose the Bronx as the bagel with the most traditionally breakfast ingredients – prosciutto, egg with a runny yolk , chutney and rocket. This bagel would actually lean on the side of being over-simple, if it wasn’t for the superb runny yolk egg that becomes magic when combined with the tomato chutney. The slight pepperiness of the rocket also adds a little zing that makes the whole bagel a very satisfying meal in whole.

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The Harlem, $12

My Harlem was far from a traditional breakfast bagel, but still managed to help me overcome my hangriness. Disappointing, the ‘jerk’ chicken wasn’t quite what I expected – there wasn’t the hot spicy chilli flavours that make ‘jerk’ chicken so immediately distinguishable. The salad included in the bagel was much better, with fragrant bursts of flavour from the coriander.

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Brownie, $4

We finished off our breakfast by splitting a brownie as I had had my heart set on a sweet treat at the Flour Markets. Dense and moist, the brownie was just sweet enough to satisfy, and not so sweet that left a cloying aftertaste in my mouth. Definitely more-ish!

Overall while the bagels weren’t bad at Brooklyn Hide, I don’t think we’ll be rushing back any time soon. I was more disappointed with the lack of spice in the Harlem bagel than I should have been. In the competitive cafe-rich neighborhood of Surry Hills, there’s many other places I’d visit before returning to Brooklyn Hide.

Brooklyn Hide on Urbanspoon

And as for the Flour Markets? I hope they announce the next one soon and that I’ll be second time lucky!


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!