Thursday, April 28, 2011

Double Chocolate Muffins

chocolate chunk muffins

Hi guys, I’m still away in Perth, but my sister Beth was kind enough to write a guest post for spicyicecream, along with a recipe for some totally delicious chocolate muffins. She's a sweetheart. Enjoy!

For a while now, my sister has been asking me to do a guest post here on her blog; So while Lisa is holidaying once again with her beloved in Perth, I have grabbed the opportunity. My name is Beth, Lisa’s younger sister (although I am quite smug that I can call her my “little sister” because I am taller than her by quite a few inches).

I can remember so many things that I shared with Lisa when I was growing up. Despite the five year age gap, we are actually quite close, having shared a room for quite a few years. I look back fondly on the nights where neither of us could sleep, so we’d just talk about random things, until she fell asleep when I was in the middle of a sentence...

It was, and still is, a regular thing to cook with Lisa. I’ve watched her grow and develop her kitchen skills, just as she’s watched me, and of course, encouraged her undying love for anything to do with food. Seriously though, if she mentions a Kitchen-Aid one more time…

Surprisingly, neither of us have ever started a food fight, but the kitchen benches still get their regular dose of chocolate or flour. Instead, Lisa and I have declared “Food War”. In an attempt to make her jealous, I sent her a picture of the lamb shish that I was about to devour at Erciyes Restaurant in Surry Hills. She then responded with a picture of her own dinner, which got the ball rolling of “whose is more delicious”.

As a way of competing with all of the delightful things I’m sure she will post about from Perth, I made the ultimate chocolate muffins…and they are AMAZING. The soft and fluffy top with the slightly oozy centre, make these the best muffins I have ever baked in my life! The only thing I would do different ? Have Lisa by my side when making them.

Chocolate Chunk Muffins
Makes 12
Recipe from ‘Baking From My Home to Yours’ by Dorie Greenspan

• 80g unsalted butter
• 115g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
• 2 cups all purpose flour
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 1/3 cup cocoa powder
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• ½ teaspoon baking soda
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 ¼ cup buttermilk
• 1 large egg
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Line 12-hole muffin tray with paper cases.

Melt the butter and half of the chopped chocolate together in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from the heat. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, egg and vanilla extract together until well combined. Pour the liquid ingredients and melted butter and chocolate mixture over the dry ingredients and with a whisk or rubber spatula, stir gently but quickly to blend.

Stir in the remaining chocolate. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Apple and Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns

hot cross buns

I like big buns and I can not lie…

Hot cross buns just must be my favourite Easter treat. I absolutely love the spicy, fruity buns, toasted with plenty of butter. I make them almost every Easter, but I think this year’s efforts are the best yet, and needless to say, so much better than store-bought.

Traditionally, hot cross buns are eaten on Good Friday with the cross as a symbol of the Crucifixion, but some believe they even pre-date Christianity. There’s all sorts of crazy folklore surrounding these delicious buns, some believed that if you took some on a sea voyage, they would protect against shipwreck. Or that if you hung one up in your kitchen, you would have no fires and make perfect bread for the whole year ahead.

This year I used a Gourmet Traveller recipe that was a little twist on the traditional, using dried apples in the mixture with a spicy cinnamon glaze. They were totally delicious, a big hit with everyone who tried them.

Working with yeast can be a little bit nerve-wracking for new bakers, but it’s really easy and absolutely worth the effort for beautiful fresh hot cross buns straight out of the oven! I’ve put together a step-by-step photo tutorial of how I made these awesome buns. I hope it will inspire you to make some!

Apple and cinnamon hot cross buns
Serves 16
Adapted from Gourmet Traveller

• 325g raw caster sugar
• 1 lemon
• 1 ½ Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored, diced
• 750g plain flour
• 150g sultanas
• 50g dried apple, diced
• 30g candied orange, diced
• 14g (2 sachets) dried yeast
• 3 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon allspice
• ½ teaspoon ginger
• 380ml milk
• 100g butter, coarsely chopped
• 1 egg

hot cross buns
1. Combine 260g and 275ml water in a saucepan, then squeeze in the juice of half a lemon and stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Meanwhile, cut remaining lemon half into 5mm thick slices.

hot cross buns
2. Add to pan with apple and bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium and cook until lemon and apple are translucent (20-25 minutes).

hot cross buns
3. Strain, reserving fruit and syrup separately. When cool enough to handle, dice lemon, combine with apple and set aside.

hot cross buns
4. Combine 700g flour, sultanas, dried apple, candied orange, yeast, 3 teaspoons cinnamon, allspice, remaining sugar, reserved apple mixture and 1 tsp salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.

hot cross buns
5. Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan, warm over low heat until butter melts and mixture is lukewarm. Whisk in egg, then add milk mixture to the flour.

hot cross buns
6. Stir to form a soft dough.

hot cross buns
7. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (8-10 minutes)

hot cross buns
hot cross buns
8. Place in a lightly buttered bowl, cover and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (30-40 minutes).

hot cross buns
9. Knock back dough, divide into 20 even pieces, then knead each piece into a smooth ball. Arrange dough balls into two concentric circles on a large round or rectangular baking tray lined with baking paper, leaving 1cm between each for dough to expand. Cover with a tea towel and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (30-40 minutes).

hot cross buns
10. Preheat oven to 220°C (430°F). Combine remaining flour and 70ml cold water in a bowl and stir to a smooth paste. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small plain nozzle and pipe a cross shape onto each bun.

hot cross buns
11. Bake for 10 minutes, reduce oven to 200°C (390°F) and bake until golden and buns sound hollow when tapped (8-10 minutes).

hot cross buns
12. Meanwhile, combine reserved syrup and remaining ground cinnamon in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until syrupy and combined. Brush thickly over hot buns, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Porkestra, The Encore

porkestra, the encore

Oh pork, how I love thee.

And clearly so do many others, with Porkestra booked out and back for an encore to launch into April, which is Pork Month (and clearly, I am a few weeks late with this post!) An epic dual-city event, a celebration of swine, brainchild of Craig Macindoe from sustainable steakhouse MUMU Grill and Ben Cooper from St Ali and Mopho Noodles in Melbourne. Each course was then superbly matched with wines from Piggs Peake in the Hunter Valley.

I had been very excited about this event since I knocked up some artwork for it a few weeks earlier, you can see my little contribution on the menus for the night. We mingled over delicious canapés – the cutest mini bahn mi, spiced nuts and pork scratchings (which make excellent bar snacks), and mini pulled pork sambos. Denea had brought along a mascot for the evening, Cooper the plastic pig who, she proclaimed “poops jellybeans!”

porkestra, the encore

As we took our seats, the first course was brought out. Figs wrapped in prosciutto, stuffed with Spanish goats cheese matched with the lovely Piggs Peake 2009 Pork Barrel Viognier. This was one of the mouthwatering recipes I got to try when shooting the photos for Taste of Summer earlier this year and it was even more delicious the second time around. I absolutely love figs, and will definitely be trying this dish at home!

porkestra, the encore

When I woke up that morning, I had no idea I would be eating jellyfish at dinner, but the Pork Belly with Jellyfish salad and Pat Chun was delicious. The towering salad was vibrant and fresh with a sweet and zingy vingear dressing and topped with some crispy pork crackling. The jellyfish was subtle, more a texture than a taste, a little bit like noodles.

One of my favourite dishes of the night was the Black Pudding Tonkatsu with Horseradish Mayonnaise, Ponzu, Seared Scallop and Flying Fish Roe. It looked absolutely beautiful on the plate. I am not usually a huge fan of black pudding but I think I might be converted. Every element and flavour in this dish worked perfectly together. It was matched with the Piggs Peake 2008 Crackling Sparkling Merlot, which really complemented the dish.

porkestra, the encore

Next up we were presented with a shared dish of Pork Loin Roasted in Sage and Milk with Roasted Spiced Plum and Crumbed Pigs Ear. I loved the beautifully cooked pork, and the plum was a nice touch. I just couldn’t get into the strange texture of the crumbed pigs ear, but this was no problem since Denea loves them and gobbled up any left over. I loved the wine match, the Piggs Peake 2008 Super Tusker Sangiovese.

porkestra, the encore

My absolute favourite of the night would have to be the absolutely incredible Char-grilled Pork Hoc with Celeriac Remoulade and Son-in-Law egg. I mean, wow. I couldn’t get enough of the tender pork and slight crunch from the celeriac. It was the only time in recent memory that I cursed my own dislike of eggs, and gave John the whole egg, which split apart easily, coating the pork in its gooey, runny yolk. I also loved the smooth 2010 Werewolf Zinfandel that accompanied it.

porkestra, the encore

I had wondered on the way over if there would be pork in the dessert as well, and there certainly was. The Peach, Jamon and Frangipane tart may sound a little strange but it really worked. Sweet, salty, crunchy and soft, it was a great play on tastes and textures but for me, this dish would have been made perfect with a big scoop of maple syrup or salted caramel ice cream. The 2010 Hungry Pig dessert wine was a good match, I am a huge dessert wine fan.

What a way to welcome Pork Month! We left happy after a seriously good meal and I can only hope that Porkestra will be back once again next year. In the meantime, St Ali and Mopho Noodles are firmly on the itinerary for my next Melbourne trip and MUMU Grill remains one of my favourite places for a meat feast in Sydney. Thanks Craig and Ben!

MUMU Grill – 70 Alexander St, Crows Nest

Past dinners at Mumu:
Take it Slow Dinner
A Table for Two Photography Workshop
Taste of Summer

Mumu Grill on Urbanspoon

Spicyicecream dined courtesy of MUMU Grill.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pear Pies with Tea-Infused Custard

pear pies with tea-infused custard

I’m just going to come right out and say it…these pies are awesome.

I usually wouldn’t post two pear recipes in as many weeks, but I just had to share these. They came about because I still had quite a few beautiful pears left from the box sent by Impact Communications. I have had this particular recipe from Gourmet Traveller book-marked for years and thought it was definitely time to dust it off and give it a try. I like fresh pears just fine, but I love pear desserts, especially in autumn and winter as the weather cools down (as it is starting to do now, brrrr!)

I had a bit of a love-hate relationship with this pastry recipe. While attempting to roll it out and line the pans, my black top and every square inch of bench space absolutely covered with flour, I let out a few choice swear words as the delicate pastry tore and fell apart every few seconds. Argh! But it baked up absolutely beautifully and was totally worth all the initial frustration. The filling however, was absolutely perfect and simple as can be. Pear, sugar and vanilla bean make a delicious combination inside these beautiful pies.

But the thing that brings it all together is the custard. I am a sucker for tea flavours in dessert and this was no exception. I infused the milk and cream with T2 Crème Brulee tea leaves, and then followed the remainder of the recipe (while burning my hand and almost curdling my custard). The original recipe actually included pouring some custard into the hole and baking it for a further 5 minutes, but I didn’t bother with this step, and served the custard on the side.

All of the lucky taste testers absolutely loved them. Denea had one for breakfast, and my sister’s boyfriend (who astoundingly had never tried a sweet pie before in his life) was also a huge fan. I know I’ll definitely be making these again before the winter is over.

Thanks (again) to Impact Communications for the beautiful pears

Pear Pies with Tea-Infused Custard
Recipe adapted from Gourmet Traveller
Serves 6

Pie Filling
• 6 ripe pears
• 110g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
• 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

Vanilla Pastry
• 450g (3 cups) plain flour
• 120g pure icing sugar, sifted
• 225g cold butter, coarsely chopped
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Tea-infused custard
• 150ml pouring cream
• 300ml milk
• 3 teaspoons black tea leaves (I used T2 Crème Brulee tea leaves)
• 4 egg yolks
• 85g caster sugar

• For dusting: raw sugar

To make the pastry, combine flour, icing sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add 3-4 tablespoons iced water and vanilla extract and pulse until mixture just combines. Turn onto a lightly floured surface, form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Peel pears, cut into eighths, removing cores. Place in a bowl with sugar and vanilla seeds and toss to coat. Arrange in a single layer on an oven tray and roast, turning occasionally for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden and tender. Allow to cool.

To make the custard, combine cream, milk and tea leaves in a medium saucepan and bring just to the boil over medium heat. Allow to infuse for at least 30 minutes and then bring back to boiling point. Let stand for 5 minutes. In a bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale. Strain the cream mixture over the eggs and whisk to combine. Return mixture to the pan, stir over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, then strain and cool over ice.

To assemble pies, roll two-thirds of the pastry on a lightly floured surface to 3mm thick and use to line 6 buttered 9.5cm diameter pie pans. The pastry is very delicate and tears easily. Fill evently with cooled pear mixture. Roll out remaining pastry to 3mm thick and use a 12cm round cutter to cut out 6 circles, then using a 1.5cm cutter, cut a circle from the center of each. Place a pastry round over each pie, press to seal, trim edges, brush tops with water, scatter with raw sugar. Bake pies at 180°C (350°F) for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Serve warm with custard.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Brunch at Deckhouse, Woolwich

deckhouse,woolwich

Is there anything more perfect than a waterfront brunch?

I think not! I recently had the pleasure of being invited to a gorgeous café called Deckhouse, a bit of a hidden gem located right on the Woolwich Dock for a social media brunch (#deckhousebrunch on Twitter). I would be brunching with an interesting group of food bloggers including Leona from Pigged Out, John from He Needs Food, Simon from Simon Food Favourites and Becca from The Bon Vivant Blog, and also some of Twitter’s cool crowd such as the lovely Iggy and Kerry Pintado, Denea from Gourmet Rabbit, Kristin Rohan, Nancy Georges, Tony Hollingsworth, Alvin Quah aka Cinnamon Pig, Tricha, Aisha and April from SBS and more!

These days it’s actually difficult to imagine a world without Twitter or Facebook or reading blogs. All are brilliant tools to keep in touch with people, as well as to share bits and pieces of your own life online. But social media is more than just laptops and smart phones and buzz words, it’s about engaging in a real conversation which in turn provides real-time advertising for businesses big and small. But a lesser-explored side of social media is the social part – actually getting these people together, eating and drinking and having fun, to in turn spread the message to all of their networks combined. If you want a really comprehensive view at the numbers, go and visit Nancy’s blog. Quite incredible!

Have a look at the video below (edited by moi, but filmed on iPhones, so bear with us!) for a peek into what the brunch was all about!



It was an absolutely stunning day as we were shown to the side verandah and offered glasses of Jansz sparkling wine or Mimosas – not a bad way to start the morning if I do say so myself! There were familiar faces as well as some new ones. Functions Manager Barb was lovely and gave us a bit of background about the venue. Deckhouse has only been open for about 9 months, but is part of the Dedes Group, which has over 30 years of knowledge and industry experience. Also under the Dedes umbrella are Dedes Restaurant, The Italian Kitchen & Bar and Flying Fish. Combine the beautiful views and great service with Chef Samantha Lockery’s experience at Bathers Pavillion and Billy Kwong, you can see why it’s such a popular brunch spot. They are also booked out almost every weekend with weddings and functions.

deckhouse,woolwich

The food started to come out, and all looked incredible. One of my favourites from the day was the Berries and Yoghurt topped with House-made Granola. Tell me I’m boring, but this is similar to what I eat most days for breakfast and they have done it exceptionally well.

deckhouse,woolwich

My other favourite of the day was the lovely Field Mushroom and Feta tartlets. I’m not usually a huge mushroom fan but these were fabulous, full of flavour with a delicious crispy pastry. I had to have two, just to make sure.

deckhouse,woolwich

Next up were a series of beautiful fresh salads, where you could really taste the quality of the ingredients. The first was a Peppered soft shell crab with pickled cucumber, red radish and round mint. I really enjoyed this, although I agree with Simon, I think that if the crab was piled on top of the vegetables, it would have stayed nice and crispy.

deckhouse,woolwich

The Prawn, Peach and Peri Peri salad was an interesting and summery combination of ingredients that really worked. There was also thinly sliced fennel in the mix, which gave the salad a nice fresh crunch. I could have happily eaten this all to myself!

deckhouse,woolwich

One of the most popular dishes on the day was the scrumptious Grilled Haloumi cheese with smoked apples and olives. Oh haloumi, how much do I love you! The apples and olives were a wonderful accompaniment.

deckhouse,woolwich

We were also very lucky to be served some homemade treats from Managing Director Con Dedes’ mother Yaya who came to visit. There was a traditional Pasticcio, Spanakopita and other absolutely delicious savoury pastries. It was a really lovely gesture.

deckhouse,woolwich

By this point I was really struggling for stomach space but there was one more dish to come out. Deckhouse has just been named as one of Sydney’s Top 10 Fish & Chips spots, so these were a must-try. The tempura fish and fat chips were served in cute individual portions with tartare sauce and lemon. The crunchy coating on the fish was delicious and the chips were fried to perfection. I can definitely imagine eating a whole plate of these while looking out onto the water.

Many thanks to the Deckhouse team for putting on such a lovely brunch, it was a great showcase of the venue, the atmosphere and the beautiful food. I would love to come back with some friends for a proper lazy weekend brunch, and catch up over several cups of excellent coffee.

Deckhouse, Clarke Rd, Woolwich Dock

Deckhouse Cafe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pear and Almond Torta

pear & almond torta

I think we’re well and truly into autumn now. The leaves have begun to turn, daylight savings has ended and it’s dark by 6pm. I’ve begun to dig scarves and boots from the back of the wardrobe for the cooler, drizzly days, and my daily intake of hot tea is increasing as the temperature drops. Summer fruits have all but disappeared from the market, replaced by apples, pears, mandarins, pumpkins – all the winter favourites. I recently received a beautiful gift in the mail, a box of stunning pears. I couldn’t wait to get into the kitchen!

This tart is from an old issue of Delicious magazine that I happened to be flicking through that day, which seemed serendipitous. It’s not quite a tart, not quite a cake, but ridiculously easy to put together and makes a delicious afternoon tea snack, or a quick dessert with a scoop of ice cream (my ginger ice cream was a fabulous match, I can’t talk it up enough!) The original recipe used hazelnuts, but I opted to use ground almonds.

You can make it in a round removable-bottom tart tin as in the original recipe, or a rectangular tin, or also use different fruits if you’re so inclined to experiment. In summer, peaches would be lovely, or perhaps even studded with mixed berries. For me though, it was all about the pears, enjoyed with a cup of my current favourite, Madame Flavour’s Green, Jasmine and Pear tea.

Thanks to Impact Communications for the beautiful pears and other lovely gifts!

pears

Pear and Almond Torta
Adapted from Delicious Magazine (May 2009)
Serves 6

• 120g ground almonds
• ½ cup (110g) caster sugar, plus 2 tsp extra
• 1/3 cup (50g) plain flour
• ½ tsp baking powder
• 2 eggs
• ¼ cup (60ml) milk
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 80g unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus extra 20g chopped butter
• 2 ripe pears
• Icing sugar, to dust, optional

Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F). Lightly grease a 26cm round loose-bottomed tart pan, or a rectangular tart pan.

Sift the almond meal, caster sugar, flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt together in a medium bowl. Whisk together for 30 seconds until well combined. Beat eggs in a separate bowl until they’re just frothy, then whisk in milk, vanilla and cooled butter. Pour the egg mixture into the nut mixture and stir together until well combined. Scrape batter into the prepared dish and spread out evenly.

Peel, quarter and core the pears. Cut each quarter into 5mm thick slices. Layer or fan them, pressing lightly into the top of the batter. Repeat with remaining pear. Sprinkle the extra 2 teaspoons sugar over the pears and dot with little chunks of chilled butter.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the batter is slightly puffed and golden (the time may vary depending on the type of dish you’re using. If the top is colouring too quickly, cover loosely with foil.) Transfer to a wiare rack and sift a thickish layer of icing sugar over the top (I forgot to do this!) Allow to cool to lukewarm, cut into slices and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Housekeeping!

Hi guys, no recipe today, just a bit of housekeeping, because I’ve got a few exciting things to share with you! (accompanied by some random photos snapped with my iPhone)

fff2

fff

First up, I’m very excited to be nominated as a finalist in Cosmo’s Fun Fearless Female competition in the blogger category! I’m absolutely stoked to be up with some amazing ladies like the one and only Chocolatesuze and the amazingly talented Katie Quinn Davies. So if you have a few minutes, send some votes my way! Click here to vote!

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wine

Also it’s time to announce the winners of the GourmetRabbit competition that has been running for the last few weeks. Congratulations to Hannah and Sarah who both had absolutely fabulous ideas for stories in Issue #3 in 2012! Hope you both enjoy the magazine!

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macaron

And while we’re on the subject of GourmetRabbit, we are delighted to announce a special Readers Launch Party on Thursday 5th May 2011 at Efendy in Balmain. We’re turning the gorgeous stone courtyard into a foodie Baza’ar and serving up some delicious goodies from Regal Salmon, Raineri Fine Foods, De Bortoli wines, Ettason and Harts Pub!

Tickets are just $25 and include:
- Entry and enjoyment for the entire evening (6:30pm – 10:30pm)
- A Turkish cocktail or exotic welcome drink
- Tasty Turkish canapes throughout the night
- A copy of GourmetRabbit Issue 2: The Best Knows No Borders
- A take home goodie bag

To book, contact Denea denea@gourmetrabbit.com or for more info, click here. Hope to see you there!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ut Si Cafe, Tasmania

wineglass bay, tasmania

It’s exciting travelling to somewhere you’ve never been before. While I’m yet to explore what the rest of the world has to offer (yes, I will get my passport before the end of the year!), I really believe that Australia is filled with some truly amazing places to see and so much to discover, without having to worry about foreign currency and global roaming. At the beginning of March, the boy and I spent a few lovely days in Tasmania. The rugged, unspoiled scenery was quite different from anything I’ve seen on the mainland (about 40% of Tasmania is protected national parks), with picturesque mountains as the backdrop pretty much wherever you look.

We did the stunning (but challenging) 2 hour walk to Wineglass Bay, one of the world’s best-preserved beaches (#4 on the 100 Things to do in Australia Before you Die list, check!) and met a cute and inquisitive wallaby on the way. While I thought I was going to die at the time, it ended up being a highlight of the whole trip. There is also a great food culture in Tasmania, with their climate being perfect for producing fine cheese and dairy, cool-climate wines, hops for beer, honey, mushrooms and seafood amongst many others. I had a fabulous time. This appreciation for food is apparent in their blossoming restaurant scene.

Ut Si Cafe, Tasmania

Our first stop, literally straight from the airport, before even checking in to our Launceston hotel was Ut Si Café, in a quaint little town called Perth. I had been stalking their Twitter feed for a few weeks leading up to the trip and drooling over every photo. The café is housed in a refurbished old church that feels more like someone’s kitchen table than a restaurant. There’s a garden out the back to provide fresh, organic produce for the kitchen. They bake their own bread, make their own insanely delicious pastries and run a Growers Market on the weekends.

Ut Si Cafe, Tasmania

I started with a coffee while we perused the blackboard menu and settled on the delicious sounding Mt Gnomon pulled pork and provolone pizza with pear, walnuts, rocket and wasabi honey dressing ($21). I’d seen this recipe in Gourmet Traveller a few months back using peaches instead of pears and loved the sound of it. The real thing tasted even better than I imagined and was beautifully presented. I especially liked the earthy taste of pear and the crunch of the walnuts.

Ut Si Cafe, Tasmania

The other dish that caught our eye was the Panzanella, using their very own home-grown heirloom tomatoes and torn bread ($15). The tomatoes were so sweet and full of flavour. The salad was dressed simply with olive oil, and a few shavings of Parmesan.

Ut Si Cafe, Tasmania

After a nice long chat to the lovely owner, Colette about places to eat in Hobart with some great suggestions (thanks Colette!) We decided to indulge in a piece of the Dutch chocolate tarte with double cream and poached peaches. It was absolutely delicious, a nice chocolate hit but not too sweet or rich, and the peaches were a lovely match. I absolutely loved Ut Si, from the great food and the passionate staff, to the way that the customers are treated like good friends. If you’re ever around Launceston, this is one place you should definitely go for a beautiful meal that is definitely made with love.

Ut Si Cafe - 86 Main Rd, Perth, Tasmania

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