Assiette, Surry Hills… again!

I confess that I have most definitely overindulged in the delicious food served at Assiette.

Menu for Friday 10th July

A mere 2 weeks after my first visit to Assiette, I went there again for another $30 lunch – this time with family. Since I forgot to take a picture of the freshly baked sourdough last time, I made sure that I photographed it this time =)

Complimentary sourdough

Again Sir D and I did a plate swap for each course except for the dessert because we both could not resist getting the Strawberry Eton Mess! But first onto the entrees – the sweetcorn veloute was deliciously creamy with pieces of crab scattered throughout the soup. Even though Sir D saved me a bit of the soup (he doesn’t like risotto so he had most of the veloute to himself), I loved it so much that wish that I could have a neverending pot of the stuff!

Sweetcorn veloute with spanner crab veloute and basil oil

I wanted to try the mushroom risotto mainly because the idea of parmesan ice cream intrigued me. I had heard much about savoury ice creams before, like olive oil and Heston Blumenthal’s famous bacon and egg ice cream, but I’d never tried any myself. It tasted very strongly of parmesan but the texture was icy and cold! Quite a strange experience. The risotto again was cooked perfectly and the subtle flavours complimented the bitey parmesan nicely.

Mushroom risotto with parmesan ice cream

One of the choices for the main course was roasted pork belly. This came with a crunchy crackling and a nice layer of fat, however the actual meat was quite tough and chewy which was a bit of a letdown. This didn’t stop the whole dish from being consumed, although admittedly I left most of the meat for Sir D./span>

Roasted pork belly with caramelised apple, de Puy lentils and pumpkin puree

The curried skate goujons were battered pieces of fish. I’d never had skate before and it has quite a different flavour from other fish I’ve tried, with the flesh being a bit brown in colour. The batter was very crunchy whilst retaining the flaky and moist texture of the fish inside. I adored the peas which was served with bacon, leek and a buttery sauce.

Curried skate goujons with petit pois a la Francais

For dessert, our whole table pretty much decided to have the Eton Mess, with only Dad being the black sheep and ordering the spiced carrot cake. I didn’t get to try this but judging from the silence as he ate it, I assume it was a hit.

Spiced carrot cake with macadamia praline ice cream

And finally the dessert I’d been waiting to try since I saw that Not Quite Nigella had eaten it at Assiette – the Eton Mess. It was presented beautifully in a martini glass with a scoop of strawberry sorbet and was absolute heaven. There was just the right amount of cream to go with the meringue pieces and there were small pieces of strawberries throughout. The hands down favourite of the meal (Sir D and Charm concur)!

Strawberry Eton Mess

In fact, I was so in love with this dessert that I raved on about it enough that Queen Chu’s mum was kind enough to give me some leftover meringue for me to make my own Eton Mess. Which I did. And I enjoyed every bit of it =D (post coming soon!)

48 Albion Street
Surry Hills, NSW
Ph: +61 (02) 92127979
Lunch: Friday, 12pm-3pm
Dinner: Tuesday – Saturday, from 6pm

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Ton Ton Regent, Sydney

On chilly winter days, there’s nothing more comforting than a piping hot bowl of noodles in soup. This is how Sir D and I ended up at Ton Ton Regent – a primarily take-away noodle joint which also offers hand roll sushi, rice bowls and other dishes. There is some seating around the counter but when we arrived at 12.30pm on a Friday, almost all of the seats were taken. But we got lucky =)

At the counter they have a glass cabinet with some salads and sushi rolls, and around it are pictures of their menu items with shout outs of “New!”, “Popular!” and “Try Me!”. You can pick up a laminated menu from the counter or go for the noodle set which is written on the red board. The noodle set allows you to select one noodle bowl from the menu plus either a small curry, gyoza or sushi roll for $12.50. I was feeling quite hungry so I ordered the noodle set with their special Ton Ton Ramen, while Sir D ordered the Sukiyaki Beef Udon.

Ton Ton Ramen: A special ‘tonkotsu’ soup – mildly spiced thick pork broth topped with BBQ pork – $9.80

We’d only been sitting down for about 5 minutes when the food arrived – 2 steaming hot bowls of noodles with a plate of gyoza and rice. The Ton Ton Ramen is delicious with a flavoursome soup that has a hint of spicyness, 3 slices of roast pork and ramen noodles with just the right amount of chew in it.

Sukiyaki Beef Udon: Bonito soup topped with Sukiyaki beef slices, seaweed and spring onions – $9.80

I was so engrossed in my own bowl of ramen that I forgot to even try Sir D’s Sukiyaki Beef Udon until it was all gone. I asked him whether he gave it a thumbs up or a thumbs down and he said that it got a thumbs sideways. His only complaint was that the beef was overcooked but apart from that it was tasty.

Gyoza: Pan-fried homemade Japanese dumplings filled with pork and cabbage – part of $12.50 noodle set

>Although the gyoza had browned bottoms they were deceptive as they didn’t deliver that crunchyness on the bottom. However, the dumpling skins were thin and the filling was moist – needless to say they were all devoured with no problems at all. If you’re lurking on George St around Town Hall and looking for a quick ramen fix, then this is the place to go.

Ton Ton Regent
Ground Floor, Regent Place
501 George Street
Sydney NSW
Ph: +61 (02) 92671313
Monday – Sunday, 11.30am-10pm

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Viet Cuisine, Chatswood

Some of the menu items at Viet Cuisine

Living on the North Shore, Chatswood is a regular haunt for me and although there are some great places to eat in Chatswood, one soon gets tired of eating the same food at the same places. So when Captain Awesome told me about a new Vietnamese place on Victoria Avenue, I got really excited at the prospect of eating new food :)

More menu items

Sir D and I rocked up to Viet Cuisine on a Wednesday lunchtime and despite having heard that they were getting quite a lot of business, the place was empty save for one person waiting for take-away. Not a good sign. We went in anyway and were given menus and water by the waitress. They had quite a large selection of dishes (complete with pictures) and also a whiteboard which had some specials on it. Interestingly, pho (vietnamese noodle soup) is not on the regular menu but on the whiteboard specials. There is the option of getting beef, chicken or combination pho. We order the combination pho as well as the combination lunch special (chicken, beef or pork chop with shredded pork, egg, vegetables and rice).

Combination Pho – $8.00

The food comes out quickly with a steaming hot bowl of pho with rare beef slices, beef balls, tripe, tendon and brisket, with the usual accompaniments of mint, bean sprouts, chilli and lemon. The soup is flavoursome and our only complaints are that the beef tendon wasn’t cooked for long enough so it was tough, and that they were a bit stingey on the beef balls (only 2 halves in the whole bowl).

Grilled pork chop with tomato rice – $6.50

The combination lunch special we ordered comes out missing a few elements, with only the pork chop and tomato fried rice. We eat it anyway and I’m pleasantly surprised as both the pork chops and tomato rice are very tasty and I’m not so bothered about getting the wrong dish. We let the waitress know when we pay and they apologise and to their credit they charge us for what we were given rather than what we ordered. With the total damage being only $14.50, this place definitely gives the other Vietnamese restaurants in Chatswood a run for their money with tasty and cheap food.

Viet Cuisine
232 Victoria Avenue
Chatswood NSW
Ph: +61 (02) 94111398
Monday – Saturday, 9am-9pm

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Strawberry Clafoutis

After eating a hearty dinner of roast chicken and vegetables, a warm comforting dessert was in order. We picked up some divine smelling strawberries from the supermarket and decided to use them in our dessert. I had read about a strawberry clafoutis on Citrus and Candy only the night before, and after salivating over pictures of a baked custardy dessert I knew I had to give it a go. It’s a great recipe because I don’t often have cream in the fridge and whilst most clafoutis recipes require cream, this one uses butter which I pretty much always have on hand.

It turned out to be a great hit – BLT loved the custard mixture so much she practically licked the bowl clean! Make sure you eat it while it’s still warm out of the oven as a great remedy for the winter blues.

Strawberry Clafoutis (Serves 6)
From Citrus and Candy (who adapted it from Michel Roux)

1 punnet of strawberries, washed, hulled and halved/quartered (depending on size)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
80g flour
80g butter, melted and cooled
60g raw sugar
150mL milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 200ºC. Grease a 20cm baking dish. Add flour to eggs and beat with a whisk until combined. Whisk in melted butter and then gradually add the sugar and milk until combined.

2. Spread the strawberries into a layer on the baking dish, and pour the custard mixture on top.

3. Bake in oven for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 180ºC and bake for a further 30 minutes. Wobble the dish a bit to see if its ready – it shouldn’t be like a liquid anymore. Remove from oven and rest for 5 minutes.

Roast Chicken #1

The title of this post isn’t implying that this roast chicken is the best or “number 1”, but that it is my first ever roast chicken. I don’t usually cook with meat (that’s not to say I’m vegetarian – I’m just more of a dessert-cooking person!). If I do, it’s usually something simple with bite-sized pieces of meat or minced meat. Never before have I cooked with a giant leg of lamb or a large piece of beef or even a whole chicken.

After watching so many MasterChef successes in the kitchen on TV, it’s definitely inspired me to be more adventurous in the kitchen and explore outside the realm of desserts and other sweet things. So with the help of a few friends, I set out to roast my first ever chicken!

Queen Chu’s sweet potato mash

We roasted two small chickens with some root vegetables and Queen Chu also made mashed sweet potato. The aroma of the roasting chicken was amazing, and the flavour of the lemon and herbs shone through. The chicken was quite moist and succulent, with only a few dry bits around the breast and the drumstick. Evidently I still need more practice but for the first time I thought it turned out pretty well!

Perfect Roast Chicken (Serves 6)
Adapted from Jamie’s Ministry of Food by Jamie Oliver

2 small (approximately 1.2kg) free range chickens
2 onions
2 carrots
3 potatoes
1 bulb of garlic
2 lemons
a bunch of fresh herbs – either thyme, rosemary, bay or sage, or a mixture
olive oil
sea salt and cracked black pepper

Stuffing the chickens – thanks Sir D for being the hand model!

1. Remove chickens from the fridge 30 minutes before roasting. Preheat oven to 240ºC. Wash, peel and roughly chop vegetables and break garlic bulb into cloves. Pile all the vegetables and garlic into a large roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil.

2. Drizzle chickens with olive oil and rub all over with salt and pepper. We also rubbed some dried herbs such as rosemary, thyme, parsely or oregano over the chicken, but this is optional.

3. Prick lemons all over with the tip of a sharp knife and microwave for 30-40 seconds to bring out the juices. Separate the bunch of herbs into half, and stuff each chicken with half the bunch of herbs and one lemon. Place chickens on top of vegetables in roasting tray.

4. Place roasting tray into the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 200ºC. Cook chicken for 1.5hrs. Halfway through cooking time, baste the chicken with the pan juices and splash some water onto the vegetables if they look dry. When cooked, remove tray from oven and rest for 15-20 minutes.