Dose Espresso, Willoughby

There’s nothing like a good coffee to kick-start the morning! And with the number of people that come to Dose Espresso for their daily dose of caffeine, you can be sure that they serve a good cup.

The cafe is constantly full with streams of people getting takeaway or sitting down and enjoying a long brekkie. The exposed brick, mismatched furniture and bare lightbulbs give an industrial hipster vibe to the cafe – but there’s barely a hipster in sight with most of the customers being families, groups of middle-aged friends and young and old couples.

Bacon and egg roll – $10
Continue reading Dose Espresso, Willoughby

ipot, Sydney

Chinese New Year celebrations are still going strong, and one way to celebrate is to indulge in hotpot or steamboat. Traditionally, there is a communal pot of broth in which everyone cooks their food, but a new style of hotpot is hitting our shores where each person has their own, albeit smaller, pot of broth.

Smokey mushroom soup base – $9

ipot is where we first encounter these individual hotpots. While we are all still seated around a communal table, in front of each person is an induction cooktop that is controlled on the side of the table. We order a soup base each and when it is brought out to us, the induction cooktop gets into gear and starts to heat up our soup.

Sauces – $4pp

While you wait for your soup to boil, make your way to the front of the restaurant where there is a whole wall of sauces for you to choose from! With some suggestions at the back of the menu in hand, we go a little crazy with the number of sauces and mixing up the combinations – but it’s all part of the fun :)

When we return, our individual pots are simmering away nicely and ready for cooking. Here is some of the food that we ate: Continue reading ipot, Sydney

Sepia Restaurant, Sydney

Sepia has been on my go-to list for a long time – and even after my very thoughtful friends gave me a gift voucher to dine there for my birthday last year, it’s taken me almost a year to use it. I thought it was best saved up for a special occasion, and so it wasn’t until last week that Sir D and I dined at Sepia to celebrate our 10 year milestone.

Amuse bouche

As we were dining on a weeknight, we had the option of selecting the a la carte menu, a four course menu ($130pp) or go all out with the degustation ($160pp). The promise of scallops and scampi caught our eyes on the four course menu – and since we share dishes it seemed like we would be able to sample more of the menu this way.

After indulging on warm bread with a perfect sphere of Pepe Saya butter (my first time trying it, and seriously the best butter I’ve ever eaten!), we were served an amuse bouche of swordfish belly and seaweed. It was such a delicious mouthful and set the scene for all the dishes to come.

“Scallop sushi” – nori rolled scallop, pickled ginger, puffed sushi rice, avocado cream

The first dish was scallop sushi – but not as you know it. Fat, plump scallops were rolled in nori dust so that they took on an matte, black appearance on the outside. Cutting it in half revealed the juicy scallop innards that were still raw. Around the plate were dabs of avocado cream, pickled ginger jelly and wonderfully crispy puffed rice bits to make up the other flavours in a scallop sushi.

Sashimi of Hiramasa Kingfish, yukari, beetroot, pickled aka seaweed, belle radish, smoked trout roe, violets
Continue reading Sepia Restaurant, Sydney

Chinese New Year Peanut Cookies (花生饼)

Although I’ve been eating the stuff for years, it’s only in the past couple of years that I’ve realised that I can make my own celebratory food for Chinese New Year. Last year I tackled the traditional Chinese New Year’s cake (年糕), and I was surprised to learn that although it was time consuming, it was quite easy to make.

This year, I decided to make peanut cookies, or 花生饼, which turned out to be even easier than the cake and super tasty! Rolling the dough into balls can take a long time, so I highly recommend you get someone to help with that to speed up the process.

These Chinese peanut cookies are neither chewy nor crunchy, but are incredibly crumbly and almost melt in the mouth as you eat them. They are sweet and very peanutty – and let me assure you that you will not be able to stop at one! I would have no hesitations making these all year round, but I think restricting myself to eating them only at Chinese New Year makes it a bit more special when we do have them :)

I wish everyone a Happy Lunar New Year and may the Year of the Snake bring you good fortune and prosperity!

Continue reading Chinese New Year Peanut Cookies (花生饼)