Friday, July 3, 2015

Chia Pudding with Honey Stewed Rhubarb

Chia Pudding with Honey Stewed Rhubarb | spicyicecream

As I mentioned in my last post, in June I started trying to eat healthier and be more active. On a normal day I probably eat too much sugar and carbs - these are what I turn to for comfort food, a quick fix when I'm busy or a late night snack. This month - as well as going for a walk most days and drinking plenty of water and green tea - I tried to plan out meals a little better, keep the fridge stocked with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, make better snacking choices and ensure to eat a good breakfast. Don't you agree it's easier to enjoy healthy food it looks pretty? I've been enjoying my green smoothies in pretty glasses with striped straws.

Chia Pudding with Honey Stewed Rhubarb | spicyicecream

If you've been on Pinterest at all in the last year you would have no doubt seen recipes for Chia Pudding. I'm sure you know that it's a superfood. The seeds look quite plain but they are absolutely loaded with antioxidants and nutrients - high in protein and fibre. You can eat them plain, sprinkled on top of salads, put into smoothies or make a pudding! They absorb more than 10 times their weight in liquid, resulting in a gel-like texture and take on the flavour of whatever you soak them in, similar to tapioca.

Chia Pudding with Honey Stewed Rhubarb | spicyicecream

This recipe is super easy and requires barely any cooking at all. I used almond & coconut milk with a little vanilla and honey - just give it a shake and leave it for a few hours. I layered the pudding in cute jars with honey stewed rhubarb and topped it off with lots of red fruits - sweet strawberries from that are beautiful right now, pomegranate seeds and roasted rhubarb. I think this Chia Pudding is pretty healthy, and makes it feel like you're eating a fancy dessert at breakfast time - what could be better!

Chia Pudding with Honey Stewed Rhubarb | spicyicecream

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June Bites

june bites… roses

June was a big month! I started out on a health kick - lots of walks and trying to eat better - but was derailed a little due to a week of terrible weather and my birthday! But I'm back on the bandwagon now and went on a nice 5km walk today. Please don't freak out if there's not quite as much butter and sugar on the blog in the next little while :) Do you have any favourite healthy cooking blogs? I'd love to know! For more updates don't forget to follow along on Instagram.

june bites… smoothie

I've tweaked my favourite green smoothie recipe to include some seasonal winter fruit and veggies. The usual suspects are spinach, cucumber, kiwi fruit, coconut & almond milk. I'm now using pears instead of mango, celery and ginger for it's immune boosting qualities.

june bites… props

Some gorgeous new props have been added to the collection. Some are from that amazing vintage shop in Melbourne that I wanted to move into. Can't wait to use them in my blog photos!

june bites… croquembouche

I made this fun Donut Croquembouche for a small birthday celebration with my family. My sister Beth helped me assemble it. It was actually one of four cakes that I had this year - yes I realise that I'm very spoilt. And calories don't count on your birthday, right?!

june bites… flowers

My friend Naomi from Sydney Design Social got me these gorgeous birthday flowers from Little Flowers. I love the idea of a gorgeous one-off bunch of flowers created from the best at the markets each day.

june bites… cookies

We got a brand new oven this month, so to farewell the old one I made a jumbo batch of these Cookies & Cream Cheesecake stuffed cookies that I gifted to a friend. One last delicious recipe for it to go out on a high.

june bites… adventure

When your afternoon meeting gets cancelled, take an adventure! Coffee and conversation by the water, just like old times.

june bites… apples

Back at the Bondi Markets again, I couldn't go past these gorgeous tiny apples. They are cute and delicious! I've eaten a couple but there are still a few kicking around the fruit bowl so I'll make something special with them soon.

june bites… ice block

I did the Hermitage Foreshore Walk on a lovely sunny day, ending with an ice block in the sun at Neilsen Park. It's one of my favourite walks and the views are just stunning. Sydney is winning at winter again!

june bites… cat

Here's your obligatory monthly cat photo #crazycatladies

june bites… milk bar

I think I'm finally over my irrational fear of dinosaurs. We watched Jurassic World and then had an awesome lunch at our favourite old school milk bar in Sydney's west. Burgers, potato scallops, hand cut chips and mixed lolly bags for dessert. Sad to think that these independently owned milk bars doing great (and cheap!) takeaway food are now quite rare.

june bites… dumplings & drinks

And to end the month on a high note, there was dumplings and girl talk and pretty coloured drinks at Din Tai Fung. Perfection. Until next time, stay warm!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Thursday Tipples 09 / Apple Pie Pimms

Apple Pie Pimms | spicyicecream

The seasonal differences between us in Australia and you guys in the Northern Hemisphere can cause a significant amount of envy for me, especially since I started reading food blogs 8 years ago. Recently I’ve seen dozens of recipes for popsicles and ice cream using fresh berries, but meanwhile here it is all about pumpkin, pears and soup. And while do I appreciate the different seasons and all that they bring, I just like warm weather and stone fruit way more!!

Apple Pie Pimms | spicyicecream

To me Pimms is a quintessential summer drink - traditionally served with strawberries, cucumber and lemonade, but this month’s Thursday Tipples cocktail is inspired by the classic Apple Pie. It's a tasty little drink and a nice way to bridge the seasons. I think it can be enjoyed no matter what time of year it is. The cinnamon spiced syrup gives it a sort of warm wintery vibe but it's also fun and refreshing.

Apple Pie Pimms | spicyicecream

The ingredients play well with each other, a great balance of tart and sweet. It doesn't really taste boozy so you'll have to watch yourself with these ones! If you're in the southern hemisphere, I think it's perfect to serve at a wintery lunch or if you're not, maybe a July 4th celebration. If you're making it for a party you could serve it in a pitcher with apple slices like the more traditional Pimms. Happy Thursday!

Apple Pie Pimms | spicyicecream

Friday, June 12, 2015

Baklava Waffles (Gluten Free)

Baklava Waffles | spicyicecream

I feel like a whole new world has opened up to me, and breakfast as I know it will never be the same. I bought a stove top waffle iron a while ago but I was a little nervous to actually use it and then it sat in a cupboard for close to a year. Should I use a yeasted or un-yeasted recipe? What if they stick? What if I can't get the temperature right and end up with a pile of burnt waffles? Turns out my worries were completely unfounded as the waffles were super easy to make and turned out golden brown, crispy and perfect! Now feeling slightly foolish that we could have been enjoying amazing homemade waffles all this time.

Baklava Waffles | spicyicecream

I wanted to combine the flavours of sticky-sweet Baklava with a waffle - walnuts, pistachios, and a warm honey-rosewater sauce with lots of fresh pomegranate on top. To enhance the nuttiness, I used a waffle recipe based on almond meal and almond milk, which incidentally makes them gluten and dairy free, if you serve them without the whipped cream of course!

Baklava Waffles | spicyicecream

I love the way this breakfast turned out and the flavours were really amazing. There are a few different elements but whole shebang took maybe 40 minutes from start to finish which makes it a perfectly achievable weekend breakfast. The waffles themselves weren't too sweet, which let the candied nuts and honey syrup really shine and bring the dish together. The pomegranate added a burst of freshness and tartness, and made it look stunning. You could also use strawberries and raspberries if they're in season where you are, or even roasted rhubarb.

Baklava Waffles | spicyicecream

Monday, June 8, 2015

Winter Recipe Wishlist

Winter Recipe Wishlist | spicyicecream

This official first week of winter has been cold and the urge to hibernate is rising. I have been spending a fair bit of time snuggled up (boy, cat, fluffy stuffed toy, blanket - it doesn't matter) but at the same time dreaming about warm comfort food and hearty winter cooking. So I decided to scour Pinterest and make a little list of a few new things I really want to try before the season is over. There's some drinks, savoury and sweet dishes in the mix. I feel like 8 is achievable between now and what I am calling the 'official' end of winter - my trip to Manila in August. I'll share the results on Instagram and here on the blog.

1. I've certainly drank enough Espresso Martinis over the years but I've never tried making one at home. It's dark, strong and sweet - the perfect cheeky tipple on a cold night.

2. Making Homemade Chai from scratch has been on my list for the last several winters, and this will be the year for sure! It's a great opportunity to put your own spin on it - maybe pink peppercorns, some coconut or cocoa nibs for something unique.

3. Pull Apart Bread looks like so much fun. I will probably try a different flavour combination, but I love the look of this Baklava version from Sprinkle Bakes.

4. I can't get over how amazing the flavours would be in these Earl Grey Chocolate Chip Cookies from Designlovefest. I've had this recipe on the list for a few months but winter will be the perfect time to try them, along with a hot cup of tea of course.

Winter Recipe Wishlist | spicyicecream

5.  These cheesy Baked Lamb Meatballs from Donna Hay look like a fantastic easy weeknight dinner high on the comfort factor, and sure to warm you up from the inside out.

6. I have a great Malaysian restaurant down the street and they deliver! But I've always wanted to try making Beef Rendang from scratch from scratch. I think I'll use my slow cooker for this one.

7. This Sticky Bourbon and Cola Pudding recipe is from the Pitt Cue Co. cookbook from the restaurant in London, which I bought a few months ago. I have to try this recipe before winter is over, there is no doubt about it.

8. It seems criminally easy to have a fresh Gooey Molten Chocolate Mug Cake in just a few minutes. What could be better on a cold night? Recipe and beautiful photos by Half Baked Harvest.

Do you have any recipes you're dying to try before the end of winter? Leave a comment below or on Instagram #spicyicecreamrecipewishlist

Friday, June 5, 2015

Negroni Poached Pears

Negroni Poached Pears | spicyicecream

It's no secret that I love creating boozy desserts, so I'm sneaking in just under the wire with a recipe to celebrate Negroni Week. If you're not familiar, the negroni is an aperitif with just three ingredients - campari, gin and vermouth. Sophisticated and a little bit bitter, it's a great way to start your Friday night and stimulate your appetite for dinner. Like all the classics it has been reinvented and reinterpreted by inventive bartenders, although it never went out of style, it's definitely having a moment right now. Negroni Week is a celebration of that, with over 3500 bars all over the world selling traditional or signature negroni's and donating money to a good cause.

Negroni Poached Pears | spicyicecream

I have already put a little spin on the drink last year with a Sparkling Blood Orange Negroni. Being an aperitif, it usually begins the meal so this time I thought I would combine it with the classic poached pears to finish the night instead. To add flavour to the poaching liquid I had to use the classic accompaniment, orange peel. I also couldn't resist adding a couple of spices to the mix to make this a little more winter appropriate. I used star anise, cinnamon and vanilla bean, however feel free to use any that you love - juniper berries could be an interesting twist.

Negroni Poached Pears | spicyicecream

I really really loved this dessert and it made my whole apartment smell incredible as the pears were cooking. It does taste like a negroni and the bitterness works well with the natural sweetness of the pears. It would be a great way to finish up a dinner party because it's not too heavy or sweet. It's easy to prepare and can also be made well in advance - bonus! I hope you'll go out and participate in Negroni Week and drink for a good cause. For more information about participating bars in Sydney go here or here.

Negroni Poached Pears | spicyicecream

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Chocolate Malt Pecan Pie Brownie Cake

chocolate malt pecan pie brownie cake | spicyicecream

Chances are, if you are my friend, I've thought of the kind of birthday cake I'm going to make you months ahead of your actual birthday. It's true. Birthday cakes are a wonderful thing, and I think both making and receiving a homemade one is personal and special. I show love through a combination of butter, sugar, flour and eggs. The fun part is coming up with a cake flavour that I think they'll like - different for everyone, and never the same cake twice.

My Dad's birthday was last week and I wanted to put a spin on one of his all-time favourites, the pecan pie. How about hybrid pie/cake with a rich brownie cake on the bottom and a malted pecan pie filling on top? Bake it all together and the result will surely be delicious.

chocolate malt pecan pie brownie cake | spicyicecream

From the outside it looks like a pretty innocuous cake. It's not until you cut inside that you see how insanely fudgy the chocolate brownie layer is. Woah baby. We only needed very small slices after a big dinner of Korean fried chicken! I loved the difference in texture between the brownie and the caramelly pecan layers. You could taste the malt and the bourbon which gave this cake an intriguing little twist. I think it is absolutely necessary to serve this cake with a big dollop of cream or ice cream. Happy Birthday again to my amazing Daddy! xx

chocolate malt pecan pie brownie cake | spicyicecream

Sunday, May 31, 2015

May Bites

vietnamese coffee | spicyicecream

I feel like May flew past in an instant. Some days I felt a little stuck and the creativity wasn't flowing. I took that opportunity to catch up with friends and try a few great new places. It was so nice to take a little trip to Melbourne, even though it was short, but I felt a new energy after the adventure. I guess that's a reminder to get out of my bubble when I'm feeling uninspired. Instead of battling in front of Photoshop, go out for a walk and see something new, get a cup of coffee at a new place, or see if a friend is free for a chat. I always feel much more inspired for having got out of the house and changing up my routine. I hope you had a great month! For more updates, behind the scenes and other fun, don't forget to follow along on Instagram!

the como rubber ducky

At the beginning of May I spent a few days in Melbourne eating and drinking all the things. I posted about it here. We stayed at The Como in South Yarra, which we loved. From the quirky modern styling to the comfortable beds and the best bathtub everrrr, I wouldn't hesitate to stay there again. South Yarra is also the perfect jumping off point for lots of eating and shopping in surrounding Prahran and Richmond.

may bites… ladro pizza

On a cold Melbourne night, we decided to indulge in a little carb-on-carb action with a potato pizza and a few glasses of wine at Ladro on Greville St. We loved the combination of tallegio, potatoes, truffle oil and basil. I've been to Ladro quite a few times over various trips to Melbourne and the food never disappoints.

may bites… tim ho wan

Steph, Karen and I caught up for dinner at Tim Ho Wan in Chatswood. We went early and were seated straight away, but by the time we left there was a long line. Everything was delicious, and those famous pork buns are very special.

may bites… bookshop

Gertrude and Alice is my favourite book shop in Bondi. It's such a cozy place to while away the hours working or reading with a pot of chai on a rainy day.

may bites… working

When I need a break from my home office, one of my favourite places to get some work done is The Hill in North Bondi. Great food (and coffee, smoothies or cocktails) no matter what time of day or night you visit. The perfect local.

may bites… aqua s

My sister Beth and I finally tried the Insta-famous Aqua S to try their signature sea salt flavour and the special espresso. I liked the flavours at first but struggled to finish it all! While it was mostly great for the novelty factor, I am looking forward to seeing what other crazy combinations they come up with.

may bites… markets

Love seeing the change of seasons through the produce at my weekly visit to Bondi Farmers Market. Winter is definitely in the air.

may bites… vodka high tea

I was also thrilled to be invited to check out The Food Society's vodka high tea. These cocktails were almost too pretty to drink (almost…) Full post about this great afternoon coming soon!

may bites… redfern continental

After a meeting nearby, we decided to check out Redfern Continental one evening and were pleasantly surprised by this great new venue. I recommend the Slow Cooked Lamb Parpadelle. Perfect comfort food on a chilly night.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Simple Dinners 13 / Pumpkin and Turmeric Soup

Pumpkin & Turmeric Soup | spicyicecream

I wrote about soup way back in 2008 and called it an Intrinsically Good Thing, which I still think is so true. Different cultures around the world have been making and eating soup for millennia. Some of our favourite dishes these days are what the peasants would cook to make do - using every part of the animal (like the bones for stock) and the seasonal vegetables available. Soup is a great way to make limited ingredients stretch further. Most importantly, it’s a comfort and a remedy for the things that ail you. From the bright fresh flavours in a Vietnamese pho to a hearty bowl of Italian minestrone, soup is a Good Thing.

Pumpkin & Turmeric Soup | spicyicecream

I was struck down by a bad cold a few weeks ago when the autumn weather started to turn chilly, and my lovely housemate K made me a chicken soup that was heavy on the turmeric and ginger. Both are super spices - turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, and ginger is fantastic for your immune system. Since then I’ve been thinking that adding them to a pumpkin soup would not only be good for you, but also delicious. Pumpkin is in season - cheap and delicious right now, so the timing was perfect. 

I think roasting the pumpkin first is an essential step, which gives it an enormous depth of flavour and brings out the natural sweetness. I used homemade chicken stock. It’s really easy to make - would you be interested in a step by step recipe? If you don’t have time for homemade, use a good quality store bought one. I also added some other spices that are best friends with turmeric and pumpkin like ground cumin and some fennel seeds and sumac to garnish. This soup is a delicious and simple dinner packed with so many great ingredients for keeping healthy through the long winter.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Food Tripping in Melbourne

melbourne | spicyicecream

Melbourne is one of my favourite places to visit, and it seemed crazy that I hadn't been there since 2012. I love that there are always your old favourite places to revisit, and always plenty of new ones too. While this was only a very quick trip, I was excited to try some of the new restaurants that have popped up in the meantime. This time I was travelling with my housemate K - a girly trip full of food, shopping, cocktails and exploring. So here's a collection of photos from my iPhone and camera of some of my favourite things that we ate.

doughboys, melbourne | spicyicecream
doughboys, melbourne | spicyicecream

Do you follow Doughboys on Instagram? You really should. I definitely knew that these doughnuts were something I had to try. Doughboys are available at several cafes around Melbourne, but I visited their main outpost at the Mercat Cross Hotel and got three to take home - Blue Roast, Butterscotch and Bullseye, which ended up being our favourite. You can also get a 'Doughsundae' with a scoop of Gelato Messina. Please please open up in Sydney!

Doughboys Doughnuts on Urbanspoon

Doughboys Doughnuts, 456 Queen St Melbourne

fancy hanksfancy hanks fancy sanga | spicyicecream

Also at the Mercat Cross Hotel I was happily surprised to find Fancy Hank's BBQ sharing the large light-filled space upstairs. I immediately wished I was hungrier or with a group of friends to allow me to try more of the meats on offer, and maybe some cocktails too. But I couldn't pass up the 'Fancy Sanga' with brisket, cheese, onion, pickles, mustard and sauce. I loved the barbeque sauce that I believe has a hint of coffee and the spicy mustard was perfect with the meat. And then I went back to the hotel to take a nap.

Fancy Hank's BBQ Joint on Urbanspoon

Fancy Hanks BBQ Joint, 456 Queen St Melbourne

supernormal, melbourne | spicyicecreamsupernormal, melbourne | spicyicecreamsupernormal, melbourne | spicyicecreamsupernormal, melbourne | spicyicecream

I ended up at Supernormal not once, but twice. The first night I was dining solo and the staff were amazing, seating me at the bar and explaining that the kitchen could do half serves of any of the mains or desserts so I didn't miss out on trying anything. It turned a potentially awkward dinner alone into a really special one. I loved it so much that I dragged K back there the next night to try two dishes I'd wished I'd ordered! The Prawn and chicken dumplings were quite simply, some of the best that I've ever had. I loved the chilli vinegar sauce. I wish I could buy it in a bottle and put it on everything I eat.

We also had the Slow cooked szechuan lamb with spring onion pancakes and coriander paste, which was so delicious. The sauce was spicy and flavoursome and the meat just fell apart perfectly. A great dish to share. All of the desserts sounded incredible and I had a hard time choosing. The first night I tried the Fried custard with ginger syrup, but the people next to me had the Peanut butter parfait with salted caramel and soft chocolate and it looked amazing so I had to try it the next time. It is a classic combination of flavours that is so popular for a reason. It was a rich dessert but I enjoyed every spoonful. Definitely put Supernormal on the list for your next trip to Melbourne!

Supernormal on Urbanspoon

Supernormal, 180 Flinders Lane Melbourne

shortstop, melbourne | spicyicecream
shortstop, melbourne | spicyicecreamshortstop, melbourne | spicyicecream

My sole mission the next morning was to find coffee and doughnuts. At Shortstop, the coffee comes only 'black' or 'white' and I appreciated this simplicity in the age of 15 word coffee orders! As for the doughnuts, I tried the Coconut Lemon Meringue and Earl Grey glazed doughnuts, which were both almost perfect - super fresh, with fantastic unique flavours. Melbourne doughnut game is very strong, and Sydney definitely has some catching up to do.

Shortstop Coffee & Donuts on Urbanspoon

Shortstop Coffee & Doughnuts, 12 Sutherland St Melbourne

chapel st bazaar, melbourne | spicyicecreamchapel st bazaar, melbourne | spicyicecream

Chapel Street Bazaar was heaven for the vintage obsessed, housing everything from clothes to records to typewriters to toys and so much glorious retro kitchenware. I wanted to move in! Even though I wanted to buy everything and bring it home in a large truck, I was quite restrained and picked up a few special pieces that I'm sure you'll see in my posts soon. K bought some great vintage handbags!

Chapel Street Bazaar, 217 Chapel St, Prahran

kong bbq, melbourne | spicyicecream
kong bbq, melbourne | spicyicecream

One of my favourite meals of the trip was at Kong BBQ, by the creators of Chin Chin (which is coming to Sydney!!). Korean food and BBQ are both so on trend at the moment, and this fusion is popular for a reason. We wanted a way to try as much as possible, so this Bossam BBQ Tray made perfect sense - pulled chicken and pork, pork belly and beef brisket with lettuce, pickles, zucchini kimchi and walnut ssamjang. You can make your own lettuce wraps with any combination of meat and condiments that you like. So so good, and definitely worth a visit!

Kong BBQ on Urbanspoon

Kong BBQ, 599 Church St Richmond


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