Deep Fried Red Bean and Peanut Sesame Icecream

Deep Fried icecream holds a very dear spot for me, as a child I’d beg my old man to make it for me everytime I stepped foot into his Chinese restaurant. Golden crunchy batter coating cracked open to expose vanilla icecream. So simply yet deliciously addictive. Today (in my 20s), everytime fried icecream is mentioned it will automatically created vivid images of Holy Basil’s famous triangular pastry creation. A large plate of light flaky filo pastry encasing vanilla ice-cream served with lashings of butterscotch sauce and coconut and nuts. So good I swear it’s only on my Instagram a few times. So to bring back the madeira cake battered balls of yummy goodness, I created something a bit more special for those who love red bean and peanut glutinous balls. Very cantonese, very tasty. I personally love lotus paste steamed buns, so that will be my next little adventure. Stay tuned! 

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Deep Fried Icecream served with Palm Sugar Syrup, berries and toasted walnuts

Simple Zucchini Spaghetti

Cheat Fridays tend to spill onto a weekend long of binge eating especially if this involves family bashes that leave you with containers of left over food to last you the entire month. What else is there to do for Father’s Day besides stuffing your face with the juiciest steak served along side a platter of homemade lasagne. Come Monday and the scales aren’t too happy. So a simple recipe that replaces the devil food (carbs!) so we can still enjoy those bellisimo moments of an italian lunch.

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Zucchini Spaghetti (Serves 2)

3 Medium Zucchinis
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1 Tbs Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 Tsp of Chives, chopped

Directions:

1. Cut ends off zucchinis and grate using a spiral vegetable slicer. A knife can be used to cut your zucchini into strips or a vegetable peeler can be used for flatter sheets of zucchini. Squeeze out excess juices if any.

2. Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat and add the garlic, stiring until brown. Add the zucchini spaghetti and quickly fry the zucchini for 1 minute. Add chives and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

I used my zucchini spaghetti and added some onion and tomatoes alongside some lemon-infused rosemary lamb cutlets. Served with a mustard garlic aioli.

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An Insta-food week

My weeks quick (healthy) meals through my Instagram. There’s something deeply satisfying about snapping your meals and jazzing them up with a few filters and effects. Addictive and fun, it also pushes me to mentally decorate my dishes in my head before actually executing said placement onto white plate. Colourful and deliciously healthy food just makes me so happy. Something about eggs, avocados, tomatoes and berries just don’t seem to bore me. Touchwood!

1. Smoked Salmon, grilled tomatoes and poached egg salad.
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2. Homemade Birchers Muesli with Berry ‘soup’ and marscepone.
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3. Big Pre-Gym Breakfast of Scrambled Eggs, Avocados, Grilled Tomatoes and Mushrooms.
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4. Not-so-healthy Bread and Butter Pudding with Wildberries, Marscapone and Butterscotch Sauce.
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5. Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Salsa Salad with Poached Eggs
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6. Cannelloni with Stuffed Chorizo, Fetta and Spinach
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For many more food snaps please search @ #ElleHa or #ElleBear!

Chin Chin, Melbourne

A very overdue post from our girl’s mini getaway to Melbourne that I have been meaning to write about for the past few weeks. Melbourne was essentially a farewell for our girlfriend, S who was leaving for New York, but of course with our foodie powers combined it was easy to exhaust our itinerary with cafes, restaurants and bars. A little treat for us girls to revisit beloved cafes and eateries and to discover new ones that have taken the blogosphere by storm since the last time we visited. If only there were enough meal times in a day to fill our stomachs with all the good food Melbourne had to offer.

With contenders like Cumulus Inc, Hardware Societe, Marmasita, Movida Aqui (all highly recommended); Chin Chin was one place we couldn’t stop raving on about. An Asian-Vietnamese fusion restaurant (reminds my of Ms G’s, Sydney)? Bring it on! With a failed walk-in at 6:30pm on a Sunday night (duh!), we strolled in the next day for lunch instead when the restaurant opened. Decked out with colourful poster art, light flooding the lengthy restaurant, it was the definitely the trendy place to be and to be seen in. Casual-chic done very well making our last few hours in Melbourne extra fun and playful – perfect way for four girls to ooh and ahh over our eventful trip. Now onto the menu which was devastating as we couldn’t try all the tasty dishes this time round. We promised to come back just for this little gem!

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Our favourite dish, the Kingfish Sashimi with Coconut, Lime, Chilli and Thai Basil. A very simple dish that had such a nice flavour explosion with the tartness of the lime, coconut cream and the fresh taste of sashimi. A highlight and a dish on my bucket list to recreate at home.
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Pork ‘Roll Up’. A very cute idea where you rolled your own pork, salad and pancake.
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Crispy Barramundi and Apple Salad. Another special dish with crispy pieces of barramundi and pork with a super tasty salad. Perfect balance to knock out the next dish!
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Caramalized Sticky Pork with Sour Herb Salad and Chilli Vinegar
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Dessert time! We couldn’t leave without dessert even though we were filled to the very brim. Belts had to be loosened for this sweet-something. A very enjoyable and bowl-licking dessert of Palm Sugar Ice-cream with Salted Honeycomb and Lime Syrup.
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A new favourite restaurant of mine. Will be back very soon, Chin Chin.

PS. Also a highlight for chocolate/chilli lovers. Koko Black (just up the road from Chin Chin) for their Chilli Hot Chocolate. An unexpected love.
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Weekend in Nelson’s Bay

Bachelorette weekend. Two words that automatically conjure images of drunken nights of debauchery and female bonding. But for this special bride-to-be, a beautiful beach penthouse with copious amounts of good wine, food (namely cheese and pate) and relaxation seemed to be much more fitting.
When the weekend finally came and we opened the doors to our weekend home: open space, light flooding into the kitchen lighting every inch of the pad, sunset as the backdrop, it was settled that this would be a much needed break away from the hustle of our city lives. It was the perfect place to celebrate the last single weekend of a beloved foodie. Just add friends (and a good pinot!)

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Just a short and sweet food post on what I prepared for the girls for the weekend. Something easy to prepare, tasty and quick to feed twelve hungry girls before they hopped into the jacuzzi with a bottle of bubbly.

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Beef Tangine with spicy tomatoes, chorizo, fetta cheese and rocket

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Double Brie, Duck and Orange Pate, Duck and Peppercorn Pate, Truffle Pate and lavosh to start of the night

Breakfast on the patio overlooking the ocean, with a pot of warm tea, friends laughing and a good traditional big brekkie with truffled eggs. Perfect start to a good pamper session and lots of goss.
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A winning dinner for the final night of our weekend away
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Almond crusted French Raisin Toast with Marscepone and Berry Compote

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Everybody loves nachos with lots of fresh salad, guacamole and sour cream

How can a weekend away with good company, food and view go wrong? A toast to you, M, our bride-to-be, hope you enjoyed your last single weekend cheating away with lots of carbs and fats. It’s the best kind of feeling.
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I want a Rainbow Birthday Cake, please!

Birthday cakes are a huge deal for our family. It’s not just about blowing out the candles and scoffing down cake but it has always been a mission to buy/bake/decorate the most memorable cake. So this year for my brother’s birthday barbeque I presented him a colourful layered cake. A very happy surprise when he cut open the cake to reveal some serious colour.

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Layers of cake before assembling
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Birthday Cake cut open
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A Very Special Kitchen Tea

It’s not everyday you get given the opportunity to plan your childhood girlfriend’s kitchen tea. So when this day came, it was 150% more scary than exciting. With a budget and visions of a picture perfect day, it was certainly a beautiful moment when every element came together. With the combined powers of S and C, we presented the bride-to-be a memorable afternoon preparing her for the big day.

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Baked Eggs with Spinach and Tomatoes

I love eggs. Truffled scrambled eggs, runny poached eggs on toast, hard boiled eggs on-the-go, fried eggs sunny side up after a big night. I honestly look forward to waking up the next morning to have my favourite meal of the day and to get my daily dose of eggs (and coffee). I don’t think I could get bored of eating eggs. There is just so much to do with them!
So with the colder weather fast approaching Sydney, baked eggs is nice way to start off a chilly day. To be honest, I think baked eggs are a underated dish, it’s so simple to make and the way you can add whatever you like really makes me excited. Anything you find in your pantry can go in them and you can call it your own. Just google searching ‘baked eggs’ makes me salivate and giddy with excitement with the endless possibilities. I think the next time I have hungry guests over I’d try my hand at a Moroccan breakfast tangine served with some crusty garlic bread. Stay tuned for that!

So here’s my morning breakfast, so simple to make it should be illegal. The key is getting the egg right.

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Baked Eggs with Spinach and Tomatoes

Ingredients (Single Serve)
2 Eggs
1 Tsp of Olive Oil
1/4 Tsp Minced Garlic
1/4 Tsp Fresh Chives Chopped
1 Tbs Flat Parsley Chopped
4 Tbs Spinach Roughly Chopped
5 Cherry Tomatoes (Sliced in halves)
Cracked Salt and Pepper to taste
Generous shaving of Mozzarella Cheese
Lightly buttered and Toasted Bread to Serve

Method
1. Pre-heat Oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Lightly grease your oven-safe dish with the olive oil and minced garlic.
2. Carefully crack your eggs into a separate small bowl and then pour the eggs carefully into your greased dish, evenly distributing the yolks.
3. Add herbs, spinach, cheese and tomatoes to the dish evenly around the yolks.
4. Bake in oven until egg whites are just set and yolk is still soft (approximately 10-15 minutes).
5. Stand for 2 minutes. Serve with bread.

Happy baking eggs!

District Dining, Surry Hills

It was quite a battle securing a dinner spot for three at District Dining. A quick look online at their dishes on offer pretty much answered my question as to why we couldn’t get a table twice! A quick google-image search just made not getting a booking even more frustrating. But as they say, third times a charm, we finally secured a table at 6:30pm on a Thursday night for our DD Date. A very short stroll from Central Station takes us to the colourful entrance of Warren Turnbull’s (more relaxed) modern bistro.
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Rushing into the restaurant with shopping bags in tow and being greeted by a table of hungry girlfriends, it was quite a pleasant surprise how much natural light flood into the dining room. The timber floors, wooden chairs and panels of blackboard specials just reminded me how beautiful dining in Sydney can be. Understated relaxed elegance just puts me in such a good mood. Now show me the menu and pour me wine!

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A few snaps of the place and I was greeted by Tom, our server for the night. “Ahh you must be a blogger! You must write about how fantastic I was”, he exclaimed. “Oh yes, I am! And oh yes, I will!” And yes you were Tom, topping up our glasses of wine and bread all night. There wasn’t must discussion on what to order, our constant ‘menu-mulling’ online must have settled any dramas. That, or maybe we were just a little too excited about filling our hungry bellies. Order everything and we’ll share! Ah the joys of sharing food!
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Smoked Eel Pate, green onion sour dough, $16

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Crumbed Sobrasada and Cheddar Brioche with Aioli, $14

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Crispy Quail Eggs, Tarragon Mayonnaise, $14
This would easily be one of my favourite entree dishes, just the marriage of creamy mayo and crispy runny egg automatically set off the need to fistpump for more. No, I am a lady. I must resist. But shotgun the last egg!

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Seared Scallops, cauliflower, chorizo, pedro ximenez, $22
After my first bite of Becasse’s Confit of Miso infused blue-eye trevalla and smoked Scallop dish back in 2010, it was forever seared into my heart as my favourite scallop dish. But a big clap for you District Dining, this was quite nice too. Nothing out of the ordinary with the cauliflower puree, but the scallops were cooked quite well and not too bad was this dish.

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Duck Confit, Sweet Potato, pomergranate, ras el hanout, $28

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Steak Tartare, Aioli, French Fries, Sour Dough, $22
S has been crushing on a special steak tartare for quite a while now and the tartare cravings she had for it were constantly voiced. Yes, I finally understood this infatuation as I smushed a whole heap of steak onto my bread. I didn’t even remember to capture the tartae before demolition.

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Ricotta Tart with Caramalized Fig Icecream, $14
Now here is where I’d smack my lips and scream ‘bellisimo’ if I had the energy to move. Clearly overly fed, but fighting the urge to agree to the idea that we may have to pass on dessert – because that would have been the most ridiculous thing ever. As J would say, ‘that sh#t cray’. The fig had a really nice texture and firmness about it and overall very well rounded dessert to finish off a long night of feasting.

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All in all a very enjoyable first District Dining experience. For sure, I’d be back for more!

District Dining
17 Randle Street Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9211 7798

Easter by the Sea

Sydney was very blessed with delicious sunshine over the Easter weekend; and with a craving for a barbeque and the sound of music and laughter, a Middle-Eastern inspired picnic by the water with great food and friends was the perfect way to bring on the long weekend. So we grabbed a few friends, packed a Jeep full of goodies and six pack of cider and we were ready to roll.
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Assortment of Dips with Pita Bread and Lavosh
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Hommus (Serves 8)
Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend till smooth:
2 x 400g cans chickpeas, drained
2 lemons, juiced
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
2 Pinches of Smokey Paprika
Cracked Salt and Pepper added to taste

Tzatziki Dip (Serves 8)
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well
2 Cups of Greek-style Yoghurt
1 Cucumber, grated
1 Large Garlic Clove, minced
2 Tablespoons of Finely Chopped Fresh Chives
2 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
Light squeeze of Lemon Juice
Salt, to taste

Beetroot Dip (Serves 8)
1 x 450g can Baby Beetroot, drained, coarsely chopped
250g Greek-style yoghurt
2 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
1/3 Cup Homemade Hommus
1 Clove of garlic, crushed
Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

Fattoush Salad
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A colourful Lebanese Summer Salad is the perfect accompaniment to Chicken Shish and Chevapi. Super easy to prepare and also so great tasty with the nice flavour of sumac! This SBS Recipie was used but I added a generous sprinkle of Sumac and minced garlic to the dressing!

Chicken Kebabs and Chevapi
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Simple marinade of garlic, finely chopped parley, sumac, olive oil and salt and pepper for the chicken kebabs. Also a visit to Coles for some fresh chevapi made this barbeque extra tasty! So much flavour on a stick and goes so well with all the dips and salad!

And don’t forget some dessert! Baklava is so good!
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Wonderful start to my weekend! Chillin’ with my habibis by the water. Could not have asked for more perfect weather, the kind of sunshine that makes you want to do a million things at once. I think we might have succeeded too. Happy Easter everybody!

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