It Just Has To Be Delicious

Mustard Indian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

I paid my second visit to Mustard tonight, having first tried this restaurant with friends a few years ago, and remembering that the previous meal was quite nice.

The menu has all of the standard UK curry fare along with some very nice sounding chefs specials, however tonight I wanted a standard curry fix, so I chose something that I knew would satisfy.

The restaurant is modern and stylish – no flocked wallpaper or moving light pictures – the lighting is subtle, pictures modern, and general ambience is clean and minimal with wooden floors.

We chose some pappadoms to start a mixture of plain and spicy, and they were accompanied by mango chutney, yoghurt sauce, onion salad and tomato onion relish. All were really nice.

We didn’t go overboard with mains, I chose a king prawn dopiaza and my companion chose a chicken jalferezi. We asked for aloo peas as a side dish (not on the menu) and the chef happily provided this. Then a pilau rice each – the rice being lovely, fluffy and separate.

King Prawn Dopiaza

King Prawn Dopiaza

Chicken Jalferezi

Chicken Jalferezi

Aloo Peas bhajee

Aloo Peas bhajee

The Chicken Jalferezi was made with chicken tikka and a lovely gravy which was spicy but not overly hot. The King Prawn Dopiaza was full of juicy prawn meat, onions and capsicum in a plentiful medium heat gravy. The Aloo Peas was nicely spiced and delicious.

We cleared our plates ! A perfect amount of food to fulfil our curry craving, very nicely presented with good service. Everything was tasty and as expected. Lovely food, and I will return.

Saigon Shack on Urbanspoon

Saigon Shack is a small bustling cafe in Greenwich Village just off Bleecker Street. It is a cash only establishment and regularly has a queue outside.

We popped in for lunch and were lucky enough to be seated pretty quickly.

Our starter was summer rice paper rolls with prawns – they were very nicely filled with veggies, noodles and prawns and served with a tasty sauce.

Rice paper rolls

Rice paper rolls

I chose rice with shrimp. The shrimp were a little on the sweet side but nicely char grilled and came with a sweet chilli dipping sauce and plenty of salad/

Rice with shrimp

Rice with shrimp

My companion chose the Saigon spicy beef brisket pho. This was full of flavour and nicely spiced with herbs, vegetables and noodles making for a heartwarming meal. Very welcome in the sub zero temperatures of winter.

Beef Brisket

Beef Brisket

Beef Brisket

Beef Brisket

Saigon Shack is definitely a neighbourhood gem with a nicely varied menu and good service. The food is good quality authentic vietnamese, just remember to take cash because they do not accept cards.

Aoki on Urbanspoon

Aoki is a lovely Japanese restaurant just north of Times Square in New York. We just popped in for a light evening meal and were surprised by the variety available on the menu.

We chose a Spider roll – Soft shell crab, mayo and caviar, and a Pink Panthers Roll – crunchy spicy tuna, tempura eel, avocado, wasabi, caviar. Both were delicious and beautifully presented – they held together well.

Spider Roll and Pink Panthers Roll

Spider Roll and Pink Panthers Roll

We also chose gyoza – pan fried pork dumplings – again succulent and delicious.

Gyoza

Gyoza

Our fourth dish was tuna tataki – seared tuna with ponzu sauce and salad.

Tuna Tataki

Tuna Tataki

All of the dishes tasted really good, the ingredients were good quality and the service was excellent.

They also have an extensive drinks list which contains cocktails including the delicious Lychee Mojito.

Lychee Mojito

Lychee Mojito

Will I return to Aoki ? Definitely, next time I am in New York I will be taking my friends there for a wonderful Japanese treat.

Pure Thai Cookhouse on Urbanspoon

We went to Pure Thai Cookhouse on a Sunday lunch time. It is on 9th Avenue between 51st and 52nd Street, a small cosy establishment. When we walked in we were greeted with a cheery ‘sawasdee’ and secured a table within 5 minutes.

The menu was traditional Thai and between three of us we chose chicken satay and beef dumplings/buns to start.

Both plates were absolutely delicious – the buns packed full of shredded beef and succulent without being too stodgy. The satays were authentic and tasty, accompanied by a dish of cucumber, onion and chilli as well as satay peanut sauce.

For main course we chose pad thai with shrimp, curry paste with shrimp, chicken with holy basil and chilli, and steamed brown rice.

Wow every dish was superb, quite spicy, but so tasty that the spiciness was overtaken by the deliciousness of each mouthful.

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Pad Thai with shrimp

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Curry paste with shrimp

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Chicken with Thai basil and chilli

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Fresh coconut juice

The service was polite and efficient and the whole meal was around $60 with soft drinks.

This restaurant is a neighbourhood gem and a must-try for anybody in NYC who loves authentic, delicious Thai food.

Must Winebar on Urbanspoon

I had been intending to visit Must for some time and eventually booked it after seeing that a friend had thoroughly enjoyed a meal there. I booked online, which was easy to do and was pleasantly surprised with the surroundings when I got there. It was lively, well stocked and welcoming. the seats were a little close together, but had been staggered slightly so that it was still comfortable to leave the table when necessary.

The wine list was extensive and also contained cocktails and mocktails. I chose a glass of the Spanish treixadura which was fruity and delicious.

When bread was provided I asked for olive oil instead of butter and the waiter quickly filled my request.

I chose oysters to start with a lime and cucumber dressing.

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My partner chose the chicken liver parfait with Riesling jelly

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Both starters were of an excellent standard. the oysters were fresh with a divine dressing, the parfait was light and smooth and flavoursome.

For main I chose the seared Huon Tasmanian salmon with a fennel and orange salad and saffron vinaigrette

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My partner chose the Arkady slow cooked lamb shoulder with couscous, fennel puree, tomato confit and olives.

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Again both mains were excellent with every ingredient adding value to the overall effect of the dish, definitely fine dining at it’s best.

After the success of the previous courses, we had to make room for desserts, and I chose the cognac chocolate truffle – dark, luscious and supremely chocolatey.

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My partner chose the pears with vanilla caramel, spiced gingerbread and cream.

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What a wonderful meal and a shame that we hadn’t discovered this wine bar much earlier. We will definitely return – it had the wow factor.

Pinchos on Urbanspoon

Pinchos has taken over where ‘Snags & Son’ used to be, just off the main Leederville strip in Newcastle Street. The decor is pretty much the same as it was but the food is very different. The general theme is tapas of varying sizes and the waiter was very helpful in explaining the portion sizes to us.

Leederville

You can buy a mouthful of food for $1 or a board for $28, so you just eat as much food as you want to.

We chose the flatbreads with labne, grapes, olives and pickles. This was very nice, olives were not very meaty – just a covering of olive flesh over the small stone, but everything went together well.

Flatbread, pickle, labne, olives and grapes

Flatbread, pickle, labne, olives and grapes

We also chose patatas bravas – fairly standard really with nice mayo and spicy relish.

Patatas bravas

Patatas bravas

The spanish pate with bread was delicious and came with a nice fennel salad.

Spanish pate with bread

Spanish pate with bread

We also had mushrooms with blue cheese, PX vinegar and almond crumb – very tasty.

Mushrooms with blue cheese

Mushrooms with blue cheese

The last dish was roast pork belly with cumin and lemon which was incredibly crispy but lacked a bit of flavour.

Pork belly

Pork belly

I thoroughly enjoyed this meal and found the wait staff helpful and polite. I definitely recommend Pinchos – it’s a bit of a neighbourhood gem.

Gusto Gelato on Urbanspoon

Gusto Gelato is the brainchild of Sean Lee, a gelato enthusiast who decided to learn his craft in the Italian town of Bologna. He uses traditional artisan techniques and the result is a smooth creamy dreamy gelato which tastes divine.

The parlour is in Leederville at the top end of Newcastle Street, a bright cheery place with tables and chairs so that you can eat in. Sean and his staff are friendly and knowledgeable and they serve the gelato with love and care, washing the scoops in between each flavour.

His flavours are not overly sweet and sickly, he has the balance of sweetness just right and the flavours are full and precise. I chose the Salted Caramel – which tasted exactly like salted caramel – salty but not overly so and caramel but not cloyingly sweet – absolutely delicious. I also had the Brittle Sweet Symphony – honey gelato with almond brittle and dark chocolate pieces – again just divine.

It’s not cheap at $8 for 2 scoops, but you get what you pay for and this is the best gelato in Perth.

gusto 1

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gusto 5 gusto 4

 

I have often seen raw food balls in the cafes that I frequent and they are quite expensive, often costing around 4$ each.

Blueberry and Lemon raw food balls

I am currently on a muscle strengthening plan and I have to eat protein every 3 hours throughout the day. Not wanting to eat huge amounts of meat every day, I decided to have a go at making these balls to give me a protein hit and to stave off mid morning and mid afternoon hunger pangs. They are incredibly easy to make, very quick and they taste really good.

I also added some cacao powder to mine which I had in the cupboard, but it’s optional. you can also add things like chia and oats if you like, or try different nut varieties.

Ingedients:

30g Cacao powder (optional)

One and a half cups of cashews

Half a cup of shredded or desiccated coconut (plus extra for rolling)

Half a cup of dried blueberries (I found these in Coles with the home baking goods, but I am sure you can use fresh blueberries too)

Three quarters of a cup of fresh dates, chopped

1 lemon, you need the zest and at least half the juice

Half a teaspoon of vanilla essence

Stevia sweetener or raw brown sugar (optional)

A generous pinch of sea salt

Method:

In a food processor, whizz up the cashews, coconut and blueberries. Pour them into a bowl. Put the dates and cacao in the food processor and whizz them up. Add them to the bowl. Add half the lemon zest, half of the lemon juice and the salt and vanilla.  Mix well and taste the mixture. Add more lemon juice if necessary. If you need it to be sweeter you can also add some Stevia sweetener or a teaspoon of brown sugar.

Using a spatula, mix the ingredients together until they bind into a dough.

Place some desiccated coconut and the rest of the lemon zest in a separate bowl – mix them well.

Now make small balls with the mixture (approx the diameter of a 50p or 50c piece, but it doesn’t matter if they are bigger or smaller). Roll the balls in the coconut/lemon mixture to coat them and store them in an airtight container.

This made about 14 balls but the exact quantity depends on the size.

Huevos Rancheros

This is my recipe for huevos rancheros. I am not sure if it is totally authentic, but it is very tasty and works well as breakfast, brunch or supper.

huevos rancheros

This is a recipe that can be adapted to be suitable for vegetarians.

If you are vegetarian, leave the chorizos out, and if you are vegan leave the eggs out.

Ingredients:

4 fresh eggs

1 – 2 chorizos sliced or diced

2 medium potatoes

1 – 2 onions sliced

1 -2 fresh chillies sliced (any variety depending on how hot you like them)

2 cloves of garlic chopped finely or crushed

2 capsicums, one red, one yellow sliced

2 fresh ripe tomatoes chopped (Roma are good)

1 tin of mixed beans, drained (pinto beans and black beans are traditional but you can use any bean mixture)

1 tin of diced or crushed tomatoes

Thyme – fresh or concentrate

Flat leaf parsley

Smoked paprika

Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Wash the outside of the potatoes and dice them (leave the skin on – it is full of goodness and life is too short to peel potatoes). Boil them in salted water for about 10 minutes until they are soft but still holding their shape. This can be done a day in advance and if you like a crispier texture, the potatoes can then be fried or oven baked to add a bit of crunch, however, if you don’t have time the recipe still works with just boiled diced potatoes.
  2. Choose a pan that is suitable for the hob and the grill (one with a handle that won’t melt) and put a little olive oil in the pan.
  3. If using chorizos, put them in first to render the fat from them and add flavour to the oil. Fry them for a few minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, onion, chilli, potatoes, capsicums, approx. 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika and 2 tablespoons of thyme and fry for approx. 5 minutes until the onion and capsicums have softened.
  5. Add the beans and the tinned and fresh tomatoes and stir well, cook for a further 2 – 3 minutes. Turn the grill on.
  6. Taste the mixture and add salt and pepper to your taste. Stir in some chopped flat leaf parsley.
  7. Now make 4 wells in the mixture and break an egg in to each well. Cook for another minute on the hob and then transfer to the grill to finish off the eggs. I like my eggs to be slightly wobbly and dippy, but if you prefer your eggs well done, cook them for longer. Garnish with a little parsley.
  8. Traditionally this is served on corn tortillas, but I like to serve it with crusty bread to mop up all of the sauce.

tart

I wanted to make a tart for our Melbourne Cup lunch at work, and decided to make something vegetarian so that everybody could have a taste. I made the pastry the day before and lined the pie dish with it. I then kept the pie dish in the fridge until I needed it.

PASTRY:

250g plain flour

125g butter (or 100g dairy free spread), diced

1 egg

pinch of salt

1. Mix the flour, salt and butter in a food processor until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

2. Transfer to a large bowl and add the egg. Mix well with a spatula.

3. Add splashes of cold water until it binds together to form a nice round of dough.

4. Making sure that your hands are cold, pat the dough together and roll out on a floured surface. Line a pastry dish with the dough and hook it over the edge of the dish slightly (this will stop it from shrinking down in the oven). Wrap the whole dish in foil and store in the fridge until needed.

On the day that you are cooking the tart, bake the pastry case blind (use ceramic beads) for approx 10 – 15 minutes at 180 deg C. Once baked blind, gently press a rolling pin on the top edge to remove the excess pastry that was hooked over the sides.

FILLING:

You can use your imagination with the filling and include any veggies that you like, but I chose onion, mushroom and tomatoes.

ONIONS – Slice 1 large or 2 small onions (I used red onions), and fry them in a little olive oil. As they soften add a sprinkle of salt, a dash of balsamic vinegar (optional) and a little sugar (optional) to help them caramelise.

MUSHROOMS – Slice the mushrooms and cook them in a saucepan with a little salt and pepper and a teaspoon of dairy free spread or butter until they are just soft.

TOMATOES – I used cherry tomatoes halved and I cooked them – cut side down – in the onion pan just to concentrate some of the liquid in them. You can also add some  chopped sun dried tomatoes to the tart. I seasoned them lightly with salt and pepper.

BASIL – tear or thinly slice some fresh basil leaves

SAUCE – 3 eggs whisked up with 280mls milk and some grated cheddar – I don’t know how much I used but it was probably enough to cover the surface of the tart. I mixed some cheese with the sauce and saved some to sprinkle on top.

Now arrange the onions, mushrooms and tomatoes in the tart, add some chopped basil, and pour the sauce over to fill the tart to the brim, Sprinkle a little cheese on top and bake in a preheated oven at 180-200 deg C for approx 25-30 minutes until the filling is set and golden.

Serve warm or chilled.

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