Penny Fours, Leichhardt

My husband is a pretty helpful blogger’s assistant.  He came home the other weekend with a gorgeous selection of patisserie treats from “some new little place” he’d found on Norton Street. He thought my parents and I would like to try a selection (very kind) and I could “put them on the blog” if they were nice (even better!). Less helpfully, it took him a few attempts to remember the name of the shop – Penny Fours.  I’ve now googled it, found it’s been there for over a year, and has a facebook page full of much nicer photos than mine (here).

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Treats! Pear frangipane tart, lemon tart, chocolate hazelnut biscuit and a sticky cinnamon scroll thing.

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Sampling the treats! The frangipane tart was moist, not overly sweet, and totally excellent; the lemon tart less to my taste – very sharp lemon filling and slightly too thick pastry, although perfectly short and crispy. But if you like a very crispy and very tart lemon tart, this is perfect for you!  The chocolate biscuit was an insane smush of whole hazelnuts and surprise gooey chocolate chunks, and small cinnamon scroll barely lasted for the photo!  Think very good croissant dough, rolled up and doused with syrupy cinnamon goodness.  Perfecto.

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The nice idea about leaving some to give my parents was a nice idea… emphasis on “some”…

I have now sticky-beaked on all Penny Fours’ facebook pictures and requested that Hubby bring back an almond croissant, some chocolate-coated honeycomb and a date crème brûlée tart on his next helpful outing!

Penny Four's on Urbanspoon

Marley Eats Meats II

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THE REUBEN TRIPLE DECKER: Wagyu salt beef, Rangers Valley rump, spiced wagyu pastrami, sauerkraut, pickles, mustard, tomato chilli jam on rye @ Reuben & More, Level 5, Centrepoint Westfield.

The bread was a bit blah for there to be three untoasted slices of it, and I wish I’d asked for Swiss cheese (and toasting), but the three types of fancy beef were 300% delicious. Iron intake for the week sorted.

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RUBY WITH TURKEY: house-smoked turkey, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, thinly shaved gherkins and Russian dressing on toasted Bowen Island Bakery light rye @ Ruby & Rach, David Jones Market Street Food Hall (eaten in Hyde Park on once of the first truly warm Spring days).

This beauty was not so much toasted as schmeared with wagyu fat and pressed under a hot iron thing on a large flat-top BBQ grill, whilst the rest of the ingredients were heating up and/or melting nicely.  The new Ruby & Rach counter in the city DJs food hall allows for excellent spying on their technique!  My ‘sandwich artist’ popped the bread under the hot iron thing, the turkey slices on the grill, the cheese on the turkey, and later added the kraut.  Once everything was toasted or toasty, the deliciously drippy sandwich was assembled with added pickles and dressing.

Ruby & Rach is still winning at reubens for me, even when they’re turkey ones.

Charlie & Co, Westfield Sydney

I met for lunch with two dear school friends the other day – one I haven’t seen for a few years as she’s been living in the US, and one who I simply don’t see enough of (NB: must fix this!). We all work at different ends of town, so the fancy foodcourt on Level 5 of Westfield seemed a fair meeting point. Oddly we all decided to have burgers – not anyone’s usual first choice, but as soon as we saw Charlie & Co, we somehow all simultaneously got our burger-hunger on.

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Not cheap, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so wasn’t fussed (I would have paid the same amount for ramen + rice at Ippudou in the opposite corner).  And we all thought the quality of the ingredients was very good.  The reviews I’ve since read are mixed, but I have nowt but good things to say about my lunch.  The girls shared the Classic Charlie Burger with blue cheese, and the South American Burger.  (Sauce-covered) thumbs up to both!

I noticed my recently-repatriated friend picked the slice raw tomato out of her half of the Classic Charlie, and I remembered with some amusement that she’s done that for as long as I’ve known her, from age 12!  Funny how you remember random trivial details about old friends even when you don’t see them for ages at a time.  I have also never forgotten my other friend once saying she’d like to be a seagull because you get to hang out at the beach and eat chips…!

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Speaking of, we shared a serve of chips with parmesan and truffle. Proper chips (although called ‘fries’ on the menu) = me happy. Not overly truffled but they definitely had a kick, and we really liked the generously-grated parmesan. And the aïoli. I always like aïoli.

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I was tossing up between the fish burger and the breakfast burger but unusually settled on the Mighty Charlie Burger minus the cheddar cheese. My body must’ve been craving iron. I am not usually a beef pattie lover – nor connoisseur – but this one was fabulous. See dissection below.

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Well-seasoned wagyu, rare in the middle. Bacon and a fried egg. Delicious caramelised onions and relish AND aïoli. Generous and fresh salad. And a decent bun – soft but not pappy.  All-in-all akin to an old-fashioned milkbar hamburger like at Hamburger Haven.  Which is the best type of hamburger in my book. (Apart from that fish burger at Chur.)

A lovely lunch date with the girls, and a pleasing burger shop find. Looking forward to combining these things again soon ♥

Charlie & Co Burgers on Urbanspoon

Ladies’ Evening for Ladies II: Rice Paper Rolls

At Ladies’ Evening for Ladies II we made Vietnamese (ish) rice paper rolls as I’d anticipated.  (Hands on, healthy food seems to be the theme to these evenings!)  My friend had a killer recipe for Peanut Hoisin Sauce, and I purchased Every Relevant Herb I Could Find at the supermarket and Asian grocery shop.

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Our fillings were:

  • Rice vermicelli briefly soaked in boiling water
  • Grilled pork fillet marinated in soy sauce and ginger and a little bit of brown sugar
  • Chilli-marinatex firm tofu
  • Julienned carrots and cucumbers
  • Bean shoots
  • Coriander, mint, dill, garlic chives and Vietnamese basil
  • Dipping sauce made with 4 tbs Hoisin sauce, 3 tbs water, 2 tbs crunchy peanut butter and 1 tsp hotsauce: briefly microwaved and mixed well ’til smooth.

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The Rice Paper Roll Wrapping Whiz below is not me.  I was terrible.  But they all tasted amazing.  The trick (apart from not over-filling, which I repeatedly failed to appreciate) is to not over-soak the rice paper wrapper: it needs less time in the hot water than you think, as it keeps softening on the plate.  And of course the crucial frame missing in my animation below is the rolling part: fold the top over first, then the sides, then roll as tightly as possible.

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Not one of mine.

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One of mine.

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Extreme deliciousness despite poor rolling technique.

For pudding we had the much-anticipated Peanut Butter Tim Tams, which instantly transported us taste-wise to America, the land of all things peanut butter & chocolate combined.  (Hello Twinnie!  Wish you could join us!)

My thought for next time is ssam, continuing our “East Asian wrapped ‘n’ rolled things” theme.

Posh Pasta Salad

Fancy wholemeal imported Italian pasta.  Torn burrata (a fresh mozzarella ball filled with cream).  Steamed baby kale and skinny French beans; halved cherry toms.  Fancy caramelised balsamic vinegar, a squeeze of lemon, sea salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.  Totally poncey ingredients list; total deliciousness.

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I Love Children’s Birthday Parties…

…when they feature the following:

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1. Gold letter balloons.  Even though the ‘W’ popped, they were still awesome.

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2. Pimm’s punch, and hipster mini milk bottles with old-fashioned paper straws. Much cool.

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3. Home-made chocolate cupcakes topped with soft Italian meringue.  Home-made carrot layer cake with golden raisins and coconut (Dorrie Greenspan recipe). Lemon meringue tart from Labancz Pâtisserie.

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4. Bollinger. (Bubbles-wise, this was a Bollinger Only Event™.  Oui to that!)

Not captured, as I was too busy eating it, was the food: a charcuterie spread and cheese board to die for; crusty sourdough baguettes from Labancz; Yia-Yia’s fried meatballs and spanakopita (she should sell these commercially and top up her old age pension!); fancy broccoli coleslaw; Annie’s Famous Mini Sausage Rolls™; an insalata caprese with burrata; BBQ lamb cutlets with salsa verde; some delicious layered fried eggplant thing…  I’m sure there was more…

The birthday girl (aged one) and the other small people knocked themselves out with fairy bread, leaving the good stuff to the adults as hoped!

I would like my friend to host, decorate and cater for MY next birthday party (please!) ☺