Archive for the 'Cheap N Cheerful' Category

Caffe di Stefano: Brand new Coffee Warehouse Cafe & Deli, Homebush

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Hot off the press!!!! Coffee Warehouse Cafe & Deli (CWCD for short) has JUST opened TODAY!!!  Driving by this site formerly a motorcycle shop, I was soooo excited to see that it was a proposed coffee ROASTER, warehouse, cafe and providore – 4 in 1 of my favourite things!!! Many a time I drove by, wistfully waiting for opening day.  I thought that day approached when I saw the ad in Seek for the head chef. But alas, more days passed before the paper went up behind the glass facade and then such a tease – the “opening soon” sign!!  And FINALLY this day has come! I saw movement there last week and called up Caffe di Stefano and said they were opening today. I made sure I was there.  It was definitely a low key opening – only locals in the know would find out about it! Just a bunch of balloons at the entrance, and signs of life, as opposed to most of the surrounding Parramatta Road area which is derelict!  The first sight you see is the pizza bar – wood fired of course.  Serving as a takeaway, and provider of freshly baked super thinly authentic pizzas for the restaurant.

The restaurant itself is a wide open warehouse space on ground level, and a mezzanine level.  A number of very large communal tables made of polished timber are surrounded by trendy stainless steel chairs.  A bar runs along the length of the window for gazing out into the street – or for me to sit and read my paper as I intend to, every single weekend for the rest of my life ;)  There are also tables of four as well.  Well , not time to eat yet – so I browsed around the shop.  It wasn’t so huge, but the offerings were quality.  Fresh italian crusty bread in every shape you would need for your weekend gourmet table, and at VERY reasonable prices.

The deli has a wide variety of salumi and other meats, as well as anti pasti.  Judging by the hooks above it, I am guessing that some lovely legs of proscuitto may soon arrive :)


XO Sauce fried rice noodles

Monday, May 9th, 2011

On our recent trip to Hong Kong, one new yum cha dish that we tried and adored was XO sauce fried rice noodles. Soooo simple to make, especially since XO sauce is so readily available now – even at Coles! By no means a low fat dish, but it’s just 4 ingredients! Firstly, buy a packet of those rolled rice noodles from your local asian grocer. I actually even saw them at Harris Farm too. Cut them into chunks. Then, heat a tablespoon of oil in a wok, then add the noodles and toss around until crispy on the outside and gooey in the middle. Then, add one tablespoon of XO sauce, stir fry until fragrant, and then a splash of light soy sauce. If you have some, add some chopped shallots until wilted. Take off the heat, and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Serve. Eat alone. Do not share! hehehe :)  Breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner – or all of them! :)

High Tea at Home!

Monday, October 11th, 2010

A rainy long weekend – what to do!  It’s not often that I have time to spend all day baking, so why not call the girls over for some high tea  - ahem, afternoon tea, and pull out the dainty tea paraphernalia.    High Tea  (as well call it in Australia, despite it technically being defined as a substantial meal early in the evening and what we have being called afternoon tea by definition), is generally at least $40 a person in most posh establishments such as 5 star hotels.  Having it at home, I’m quite positive it would be less than $2 per person.  For my tea, I made scones, mini Victoria sponges, mini choc mint madelines, and cucumber sandwiches.  Teas on offer were Lady Grey and English Breakfast (ie , whatever was in my pantry).  In fact, almost everything was in my pantry. All I needed to buy was a cucumber, soft fresh white bread, strawberries and cream.  Here’s how.

First up, make half a recipe of plain vanilla sponge cake.  The recipe I use is half of the following:  1/3 cup each of plain, SR and cornflour, sifted.  Beat 4 eggs until tripled in volume along with 2/3 cup of sugar.  Gently fold in the flours and bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes.  So basically, half of the recipe will fill 12 muffin tins, just 1/3 of the way, you don’t want the sponges to be too high or else they’ll be huge towers when you fill them with jam and cream.  Flours, eggs and sugar – pantry? Check.  I also wanted to test my mini madelines tin.  It was filled with less than half a recipe of the chocolate fondant recipe from masterchef, which involves butter, cocoa, chocolate, sugar and flour, again, all in the pantry/fridge.  I steeped some mint leaves in there for a mint flavour, but it didn’t work that well :(


Home Thai, Haymarket

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

I stumbled upon this place by complete accident.  Walking over to Marigold, I noticed this completely open kitchen with food displayed in the window to make mouths water and pedestrians stop in their tracks.    And I certainly wasn’t the only one.  In front of the glass display of food and chefs was a long queue crouching beneath a solitary outdoor heater.  Mental note – MUST TRY!  

Well, try I did.  And it was even better than I expected.  From the window I actually had no idea what type of food it was – it was definitely Asian – in fact, it turned out to be Thai.  Home Thai – as in home cooked style food.  But I don’t know whose home has such amazing food every night – maybe a palace?  It was so hard to pick what to eat, but guided by the photos in the extensive menu, and sneaking glances at what arrived at other tables, we settled firstly on the Pad Thai. Did I mention this place is cheap??? $10.50!!  Authentically with sugar, peanuts and chilli powder on the side, fresh and cooked beansprouts.  And not oily but also not gluggy!  Did I mention the staff all use ipads to take your order?  A bit too cute – because it failed on our occasion and the waitress didn’t want to hand write our orders cos it wouldn’t go through.  Luckily it went back online after around 10 minutes. Oh , and also the waitresses wear LV side satchels.  Were they also from Thailand? ;)

Highly recommended: the banana flower salad, topped with 6 gigantic prawns. It was text book perfect. Crunch, salt, sour, spicy all in one bite through fresh chillis, fish sauce, coriander, peanuts – YUM.  And the prawns were so generous.  Served on an artfully carved leaf too.

We finished off with two desserts – $6.50 for this mango (Fresh!) with sticky rice and coconut cream.  Umm… not sure if the kitchen mixed up the sticky rice, because it was salty :(  They also have sticky rice as a rice choice too.  So not really a fan of this dish.  Perfect texture of rice though.

And definitely couldn’t go past the dessert sampler. A steal at $5.50!  Banana fritters and various sticky rice and coconut puddings.

Another word of warning – don’t wear nice clothes, cos you will STINK afterwards!  But it is SOoooo worth it.  I can’t wait to go again.   Awesome food, and well priced too.  The Haymarket dining scene is looking up and lifting up in standards!