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Birthday Adventures to Berry NSW

14 Oct

So Miss Wallflower turned 30 a little while ago. How does a Legal Tart celebrate the birthday of a friend. By taking a road trip to Berry and seeing a palm reader.

A friend of mine had raved about the uncanny insights of Ric, a palm reader who operated on weekends out of a shop in Berry. I have to admit that I tend to regard such things as hocus pocus. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one to claim no belief in the psychic world, I have no doubt that some people do possess a gift, but I am really hard to convince.

I had come home and retold the story about Ric to Miss Wallflower and she decided we should definitely go, so I said I would take her for her birthday. A road trip was born to one of my favourite places with a progressive dining plan to be followed by a palm reading for Miss Wallflower and I.

We started off nice and early and made our first stop after arrival at the Berry Sourdough Cafe. I have to confess that I have no photos here as the service was a bit slow, so by the time my macadamia tart arrived I was salivating and simply inhaled it. It was good…very good. I hadn’t realised before arriving that the café now did lunch which looked lovely and involved a wine list…very important 🙂 After we finally got our coffee and tea we departed buying a lovely sourdough loaf on our way out.

Next stop after a brief walk about was the Savannah Cafe and Bar. The café is licensed and serves South African inspired food. I had booked a table fearing that I would be unable to get a table during the busy lunch period, but we were the only diner besides one other couple. The restaurant is located down one of the arcades and I can only guess that this is the reason the restaurant is not very busy, because the food was certainly good and the service friendly.

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I had the bobotie with rice and a salad. The bobotie was arranged nicely with the sides on a plate and came out with a bubbling top just calling for a spoon to break through to the curried meat beneath. The sauce as well seasoned with a perfect mix of sweet and spice. The salad was lightly dressed and a nice fresh accompaniment. Wine was served by way of a piccolo bottle.

SAMSUNG

Miss Wallflower had the gnocchi with boar sausage. This was generously proportioned and the gnocchi was clearly hand made and was light as a feather. It was topped with a persian style fetta.

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Before our palm reading we had some time to walk around and see the sights. First stop was Miss Pompadours. A fabulous little chocolate shop, where I bought some dark chocolate bark and a dried raspberry and milk chocolate bark. I have been very good with it and there is still some left…not much though 😦

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Then a little visit to the Berry Tea shop. A lovely little place with great gift ideas and quirky teapots.

Our final visit for the day was to Ric who was doing readings at Global Contact.

Ric is a lovely man in his seventies, who learnt the art of palm reading as a child from his grandmother who also had the gift. I don’t want to give all of my future away, because lets be honest I am not sure I can live up to the promise of my palms, but I will say this..boys… only those with potential waterfront property in their future need apply. Ric tells me my lunar crescent means I simply have to live near water 😉

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Have you ever seen a psychic

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Food Unity: Pork and Black Bean Mexican Burgers

6 Aug

Why go out for a burger when you can have a steak at home goes the old saying. Why? because sometimes nothing satisfies quite like a burger . Now I know what the saying was referring to and I am not suggesting that you start referring to your beloved as a burger, thought quite frankly I am not enamoured by being called steak either, actually lets just stay away from comparing anyone to meat products entirely so as to avoid any unsavoury punning 😉

While staring out my window at work, so as to avoid having the look at the confusing piece of legislation in front of me again, I got to thinking about what I wanted to make on the weekend. What did I feel like I pondered and I was torn between an overwhelming desire for both Mexican and burgers. In a moment of transnational food unity I decided to make a Mexican inspired beef pattie to be paired with toppings and crusty bread to make a Mexican style burger. Aye Carumba!

The patties are a little delicate, although they do keep their shape while being cooked, but I highly recommend placing them in the fridge for an hour before cooking to allow them to firm up. The Mexican seasoning is not overwhelming or hot, but gives a hint of smoky spiciness that distinguishes this burger from other more traditional burgers. Paired with whatever toppings take your fancy, cheese and guacamole being mandatory, this feels like a seeing an old lover with new eyes.

Do you prefer steak or burgers?

 

 

Pork and Black Bean Burgers

Recipe by the Legal Tart

serves 6

  • 500 gms of Pork mince
  • 1 red onion chopped finely
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 1 chilli chopped finely
  • 1 can of black beans thoroughly trained and crushed lightly with a fork
  • 2 tbsp of taco seasoning
  • 1 tbsp of chipotle tabasco
  • 1 Egg beaten lightly
  • 1 Tbsp of tomato paste
  • Salt and Pepper

 

1. Fry off the onions, chilli and garlic until the onion is soft then add the taco seasoning and stir to coat the onion mixture. Cook for approximately 2 mins. Put aside to cool

2. Add the slightly crushed black beans to the mince then add the beaten egg and the tabasco.

3. Add the onion mixture and mix with your hands until the mixture feels well combined and is starting to stick together. Season with salt and Pepper

4. Make the mixture into patties and place on a tray in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

5. Place any patties you know you don’t need to cook immediately wrapped and in a container in the freezer or fridge.

6. Cook the remaining patties for several minutes on each side remembering to turn the patties gently to avoid any risk of them breaking up.

7. Serve in a crusty bread roll with guacamole sour cream, cheese and lettuce.

 

 

White Rabbit Gallery Chippendale and dumplings

3 Jul

I caught up with a friend of mine and her son on Sunday. After a trip to see the Colosseum built out of Lego at Sydney University we took a trip to White Rabbit Gallery in Chippendale for some tea and dumplings. White Rabbit is actually and art gallery showcasing contemporary art by Asian artists. It has some interesting installations and free admission. But primarily I went because someone mentioned the word dumplings and that is enough to seduce me in to going anywhere.

The eating space is to the left as you enter and is nice and open with birdcages hanging from the ceiling and plenty of light. I doubt that the White Rabbit would claim to be a dumpling powerhouse but they have managed to provide a range of teas and 2 choices of dumplings as well as savoury and sweet tasting plates.

Tea $4.50 a pot

We ordered 2 pots of tea. I had a Rose Oolong which had a prominent rose aroma but a slightly spicy taste and was very drinkable, plus extremely pretty with its small rosebuds floating in the teapot. Miss Fine Arts had a Chrysanthemum tea. We also ordered some chive and egg dumplings as well as a sweet tasting plate for the little man. There are 8 dumplings a serve. They are handmade, steamed and served with both a soy sauce and a chilli dipping sauce. The dumplings were tasty and the skin was a nice consistency with the right amount of filling.

Egg and Chive Dumplings $9.50

The tasting plate consisted of mainly dried fruits and 2 small shortbread style biscuits. It would have been nicer to have maybe a little less dried fruit as maybe some alternative biscuits or slice as a sweet finish to the lunch, but despite this criticism it didn’t stop me picking at the craisins.

A nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Sydney

Are you easily seduced by the offer of a dumpling?

 

Adventures with Eggs: Pancetta, Ricotta and Spinach Bake

15 May

They say if you have an egg you are wealthy. At the moment I have 25. I have tried buying shoes with them, I have tried paying for my bus ticket with them and well visa apparently doesn’t accept eggs as payment. So I assume I am only wealthy nutritionally speaking. There goes my cunning plan to pay for my cocktails with a carton of eggs and some killer charm 😉

How does one end up with 25 eggs I hear you ask, well I was clearly having a seniors moment when last week I went to the grocery store and thought ‘hmm, I don’t think we have many eggs left, I should buy a dozen, they never go to waste.’ Needless to say to live up to the challenge of an egg not going to waste I have really had to put my brain into action. This post will be one of a few in the coming weeks based around eggs and the wonderful things you can do with them…I hope.

I made this dish to take to a friends house. She is currently moving house and pregnant which is just an awful combination. This made a lovely lunch with some crusty bread. I only very slightly adapted the original recipe by adding pancetta and pine nuts. You could of course keep it completely vegetarian friendly by omitting pancetta, but let’s be honest eggs and bacon a match made in heaven!

Do you ever buy things you don’t need? What are your favourite ways to use up eggs?

Pancetta, ricotta and spinach bake

adapted from BBC Australian Good Food Magazine August 2011

Serves 4

  • 150 gms of pancetta sliced
  • 250 gms of low fat ricotta drained of excess liquid
  • 1 box of frozen chopped spinach defrosted and squeezed of water.
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan
  • 1/2 cup of pinenuts
  • 2 Tomatoes sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees

2. Squeeze spinach between a clean tea towel until all the water you can remove is squeezed out.

3. Fry off the pancetta until slightly crispy. Turn of the heat and add the pinenuts to the same pan. Watch the nuts to make sure they don’t burn.

4. Mix together ricotta, eggs and parmesan with salt and pepper in a bowl.

5. Add spinach, pancetta and pine nuts to the ricotta mix.

6. Pour into a baking dish and top with sliced tomatoes.

7. Bake in oven for 15 minutes or until set and golden on top.

8. Serve with crusty bread and a salad.

Summer Peach and Prosciutto Salad

27 Feb

I have previously indicated that I am not a great salad lover. While some people look at a bowl of salad and feel inspired by the range of colour and the vibrant green, I just feel like I should be placed into a rabbit cage with a drip water bottle and a salt lick. However I have always admired Italian salads with their mix of flavours and textures. I saw a recipe for this salad in Delicious magazine. Yes I am rather addicted to this publication! I made a slightly amended version of the recipe for an entrée to a dinner we were having. It was fresh, flavourful and light, leaving plenty of room for the next 2 courses 🙂

With peach season ending soon I would highly recommend you try it. It is simple and the peaches, which are really the only part of the dish that requires any cooking, can be done ahead of time. The rest of the salad only requires strewing and arrangement. Fool proof and pretty!

Grilled Peach, prosciutto and Mozzarella Salad

Adapted from a recipe in Delicious February 2012

Serves 4

  • 2 Large Peaches
  • 1 Bunch of Rocket
  • 8 slices of Prosciutto
  • 1 large ball of Buffalo Mozzarella
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Caramelized Balsamic Vinegar

1. Slice peaches in half and remove stone. Dry peaches, then brush with olive oil

2. Oil the cut sides of peaches and place cut side down on the hot pan or griddle

3. Cook for peaches for a couple of minutes each side

4. Set peaches aside in bowl covered with clingfilm to cool

5. When ready to serve remove the skin from the peaches and cut into bite size peaches

6. Placetorn  prosciutto on serving plate

7. Top with rocket

8. Place cut up peaches on the assembled salad and then top with torn pieces of Mozzarella

9. Whisk together lemon juice and olive oil

10. Drizzle olive oil mixture on top and then drizzle on balsamic.

 

Picasso and Lunch: Chophouse

5 Jan

A trip out of the house over the Christmas period was required to ensure that I didn’t turn into a book reading, champagne sipping hermit. Not that there is anything wrong with that. An outing to see the Picasso exhibition currently showing at the Art Gallery of NSW, followed by lunch seemed like an enjoyable way to spend a day and a change from my slothful pace.

After an hour of looking at Picasso paintings with my head on tilted angles while squinting hoping that like a magic eye, the picture would jump out at me, I was starving and ready for lunch.

We had picked Chophouse and although I was feeling really over meat (way too much turkey and ham over the Christmas period) I needn’t have been concerned about the menu choices.

When we arrived, we were greeted by a waiter dashing outside with some lovely looking meals. Shortly after we were approached and told that the table outside we had requested would be available in a few minutes and so we ordered a drink and sat at the bar. The inside of the restaurant is rather cavernous with moody lighting and high ceilings. I noticed that most of the seating inside tended to be booths. I don’t know why but I love booths at a restaurant, I don’t know if it is because it reminds me of childhood dinners at pizzerias or because it seems like clandestine meetings could be going on and I am intrinsically nosy.

The wait staff were very friendly and explained the specials and answered all our questions, they seemed very well informed and happy to help. I ordered the octopus salad with a pomegranate dressing and a side of shoe string fries. You didn’t honestly think I would just eat a salad! 🙂

Salad $19.50

The octopus was tender and perfectly paired with the haloumi,watercress and smoky eggplant. The haloumi added just the right amount of saltiness without be overpowering. The pomegranate dressing was light and tart and I made sure I located all the seeds because I love that little juicy pop when you bite in to them.

Dad had the kangaroo burger with chunky chips. The burger wasn’t overly large which was good, if you are looking for a filling but not overwhelming lunch. I got to try some of the burger and the kangaroo pattie was juicy with a tangy aioli and a soft bread roll.

Kangaroo Burger $18.90

The shoe string fries I had as a side were crispy, with just the right amount of salt. They were not oily and I found myself picking at them long after I was full.

The chunky chips served with the burger needed a bit more salt, but were light and fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside just the way they should be.

I did eye off a gruyere cauliflower gratin and some risotto balls that I would have loved to try, but given that I was trying to reign in the excesses of Christmas over consumption, the less is more philosophy of ordering food was imposed.

Are you a shoestring fry fan or a chunky chip fan?

Chophouse

25 Bligh St, Sydney 2000

Ph: 1300 246 748

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