Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Flint Dining Room

It was my birthday nearly a month ago now, how time flies! Whenever it is mine or Frankie's birthday we take each other out for a surprise meal somewhere.

We have been in Canberra nearly 2 years now and we are starting to run out of nice places where we haven't been before (there might be a new restaurant in Canberra once every 6 months...)

One place where we had never been to was Flint Dining Room at New Acton. There is a Flint in the Vines, which is at the Shaw Vineyard in Murrumbateman (near to where my parents live) so we have been there a couple of times and thought the food was quite good. So I was excited to try out the original location.

We started off at Parlour Wine Bar for a couple of drinks beforehand, which was lovely. If you have never been to this bar I can't recommend it highly enough. I love bars that do table service and have a great selection of wines. I decided on having a Pimms instead though, cause I hadn't had one for ages. It was so delicious and refreshing! Although I would suggest you book, especially in the colder months, as we had to sit outside and it was a really cold evening.

After our drinks we headed next door to the restaurant. When we first arrived and gave our booking name there seemed to be some confusion as to whether our table was ready or not. It was though, so I have no idea about what the drama was.

We then sat down and were given our menus. I noticed other tables being given bread as they sat down, so I was getting excited about that cause I was starving, plus after having a couple of drinks beforehand I needed something to soak up the alcohol. Time went past and no one seemed to be taking notice of us at all. It had been about 30 minutes and we still hadn't ordered any drinks, we were just about to leave when someone came to take our order. There was no apology for the amount of time we had to wait either..

We ordered our drink and food and I enquired about the bread which everyone else seemed to have gotten, except for us. Then the bread finally came out with our entrees.

Feuillete Escargot - $16

The table next to us was having the tasting menu, and the first dish that came out where the snails. They commented on how delicious it was, so Frankie decided to order this for his entree. The snails were in a garlic cream sauce in a basket of puff pastry. I tried some and it was absolutely luscious. I could have eaten a whole bowl full of these.

Tasmanian King Scallops in the Shell - $19

I decided on Scallops, which I usually order if they are on the menu... They were in a potato foam, with crispy jamon and basil oil. They were nice, but nothing great. I couldn't really taste the basil oil at all. Underneath each shell there was a pile of seaweed salad though, which I adore, so I was very happy about that.

Duo of Macleay Valley Rabbit - $34

For mains I went with the Rabbit. Something I don't normally see on menus. It came in a broth with heirloom carrots and rabbit liver parfait. Oh my this was a rich dish! The broth was incredibly salty, which would have been fine if there were some mash or potatoes at the bottom, but there were no carbs at all. Also the liver parfait was delicious, but very very rich and only came with a tiny piece of bread to eat it with. The rabbit leg was very tender and just fell apart and the roulade was very nice too.

Grilled Steak Frites - $28

Frankie went with the steak which was pretty good. A good price for a steak as well. It came with Parmesan and truffle fries. I couldn't really taste the truffle on the fries, but they were still very tasty and nicely cooked.

For dessert we shared a chocolate pave (which I didn't picture as we got talking to the table next to us, and I forgot to...). Apparently the recipe was a tetsuya's recipe. Oh it was so good! Normally I can't eat much dessert after a big meal, but I could have had one of these on my own.

Overall it was a good night. I don't think I will go back there as the service was pretty bad (yes they were busy, but that's what you hire staff for), and also the seating was very squashy. I don't like it when you feel like you are sharing a table, and conversation, with the two tables next to you. I liked to be relaxed in nice comfy chairs when I am eating at a fine dining restaurant.

Flint Dining Room and Bar
NewActon Pavilion
Unit 2, 15 Edinburgh Avenue
Canberra City

Ph: 6162 3350

Flint on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tomato Chicken Rice Soup

I found this recipe on this wonderful website, who got the recipe from the BBC Good Food magazine. It looked wonderful on her website and it seemed quite easy to make, so I gave it a go.

I am so glad that I did cause this meal was delicious! I will definitely be making this over and over again, well I did last night and it was just as good as I remember it. Perfect meal after a big weekend, perfect comfort food.

The first time I cooked it I used 2 chicken marylands, but I found they didn't have that much meat on them. The recipe calls for chicken breast, but I like my thigh meat as well as the breast. So last night I made it with a whole chicken that I cut up and poached the whole thing in the stock for about 40 minutes. This was much better and I will use a whole chicken from now on.

The first time I made it I think I read the recipe wrong and put in 1 cup of rice instead of 1/2 cup, so it wasn't really a soup. Last night I put in 3/4 cup which I think was the perfect amount. Also at the end of the cooking time I added the juice of 1 lime and some chilli sauce to give it a bit of a kick and acidity.

I am having leftovers for lunch today and I can't wait!

Poaching the chicken in the stock

Frying the onions

Adding the ground coriander and garlic

Adding it all to the stock with the tins of tomatoes

Rice nearly all cooked

The "soup" ready to eat.

I so love chicken cooked this way as well, it's so tasty.

Tomato Chicken Rice Soup - adapted from Iron Chef Shellie

1 Whole chicken
1 Litre of chicken stock
1 tbs oil
1 brown onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tins chopped tomatoes (if you can get your hand on the aldi organic ones, they are the best things ever and will be the only tomatoes I use from now on)
3/4 cup basmati rice
Bunch of coriander, chopped
1 Lime, juiced

1. Cut up the chicken (if using a whole chicken) and place in a pot and cover with the chicken stock. Put the heat on low and simmer (without letting the stock boil) for about 40 minutes (or until the chicken looks cooked.

2. Remove the cooked chicken from the stock and set aside to cool, reserve the stock in the pot.

3. Heat the oil in a different pan and then add in the diced onion, crushed garlic and ground coriander. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the whole lot to the stock along with the tins of tomatoes.

4. Simmer the tomato and stock mixture for about 10 minutes, then add in the rice and cook for a further 15 mins (or until the rice is cooked).

5. While the rice is cooking, pull apart the chicken and set aside.

6. Once the rice is cooked, add in the chicken, coriander and lime juice. Squirt in some hot sauce if you like and then season to taste.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Singapore Chilli Prawns

I always see posts on other blogs about people eating singapore chilli crab and it looks so good, but too expensive for my wallet, plus I have never cooked with crab before, so I decided to try singapore chilli prawns instead!

I can't remember where I got this recipe from and I have no idea if it's an authentic one. Thanks Lorraine for letting me know that I got it from you. Lorraine's post can be found here. This was very good, but I had to add more tomato sauce than the recipe required.

My boyfriend thought it was really delicious. It's a really simple dish to make with the only the peeling of the prawns the hard work. I just served this with some asian greens that I stir fried in some garlic and oyster sauce.

It's amazing how much cornflour can thicken things too, cause before I put this in I was thinking that it was very watery and it was never going to thicken, but it did!

Singapore Chilli Prawns
- from Not Quite Nigella

  • 750 grams prawns, peeled and butterflied (sliced down the back)
  • 2 large red chillies finely sliced (you can use a little bird’s eye chilli if you like it very hot)
  • Thumb sized piece of ginger (diced)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic (smashed)
  • 2 teaspoons of oil
  • Spring onions to garnish (optional)
  • 280mls water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons tomato sauce
  • 3/4 tablespoon chilli sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3/4 tablespoon white vinegar
  • In another bowl mix 1 1/2 tablespoons cornflour with 2-3 tablespoons plain water


1. Heat wok or frypan on medium to high heat and add 2 teaspoons of oil. Fry prawns for 1 minute. Scoop out.

2. Fry garlic, ginger, red chilli, then add in fried prawn. Next add in the sauce ingredients and simmer for 1 minute. Add in the cornflour mixture to thicken the gravy.

3. Lastly, add in a beaten egg, stir the gravy while adding in the egg. Sprinkle chopped spring onion on top if using.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Penang Caramelised Chicken

I love the Women's weekly cookbooks, they are full of great recipes that always become regulars that you will make again and again. This is one of these recipes. If there is one recipe that you make from my blog, then let it be this.

This is from the book oodles of noodles. Mum had this book and I used to cook out of it all the time that there were splatters of food all over this page. Then the book disappeared. I searched for it everywhere but never to be found. I loved this recipe so much that I ordered the book from the UK, cause it's the only place I could seem to find it. It finally arrived and I made this dish straight away.

The only part I used to hate was all the chopping of the aromatics, but now I have a great food processor with a mini bowl which made this process so much easier! It's a great asian dish with all the characteristics of sweet, salty, spicy and sour. Very very tasty! I find that it's best eaten on the day though and dries out a bit if you try and reheat it the next day. It's still good though.

Putting lemongrass, ginger, chilli and garlic into the food processor

A few whizzes and it comes out like this! Magic.

Browning off the chicken

Frying off the aromatics

Adding water and sugar to get it all nice and sticky.

Bubbling away

Then add the chicken and let it get nice and coated

Then add in the noodles, sauces and coriander

Penang Caramelised Chicken
- from Oodles of Noodles

400g dried wheat noodles
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
650g chicken thigh fillets
5 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons finely chopped lemongrass
4 small fresh red chillies, seeded, chopped finely
1/3 cup (60g) palm sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup (60ml) oyster sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons tamarind concentrate
1/4 cup (60ml) lime juice
1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves

1. Instead of finely chopping all the aromatics, put these in a food processor and chop.

2. Cook noodles in a large pan of boiling water, until just tender and then drain

3. Add half the oil and stir fry the chicken in batches until brown, then remove

4. Add remainder of oil and stir fry the garlic, ginger, chilli and lemongrass until fragrant

5. Stir in sugar and water until starting to bubble and caramelise

6. Return chicken to pan and coat in the sauce

7. Stir in noodles with combined sauces, tamarind, and lime juice.

8. Simmer until sauce thickens and then sprinkle with coriander just before serving.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The River, Moruya

Yes it was nearly Valentines about a month ago and I am only posting about it now...slack I know. We don't usually like to go out on the day of Valentine's cause I don't like paying higher prices for something just because of the day you are dining, plus sitting in a restaurant with only couples is pretty boring.

Any excuse to go out for a meal is good though, especially when someone else is paying! So Frankie planned a surprise outing on the Saturday before Valentine's. He said I needed to be ready to leave the house at 10am! I was like are we going to Sydney for lunch??

When we started heading along the road to Bateman's I was hoping that he had booked the River in Moruya, cause I had heard so many good things about it. So when we got to Bateman's and kept going I asked him if that's where we were heading and he said yes!

View from our table

When we got to the restaurant there was only two other tables that were occupied, so it was nice to practically have the restaurant to ourselves. Apparently though dinner is always booked out. I would much rather come for lunch though, so you can gaze at the lovely views.

We weren't sure of which wine to start with as they had quite a few french wines on the menu, so our lovely waitress asked if we would like to try a couple of different ones. I thought this was excellent, as when you haven't tasted a wine before, you don't know quite what to expect (unless you are getting a sav blanc from the marlborough region).

We decided to go with entrees and mains. I was tossing up between the oysters and the scallops, so Frankie got the oysters and I got the scallops!

Pan fried scallops with Oyster Beignet - $16

Sorry about the description, but I thought this would be on the website menu, which it is not.. The scallops were on a bed of shaved cucumber and had like a pickled chilli relish on top? It was so long ago now. I do remember it was very delicious though and perfectly cooked. How good is awesome seafood and wine while sitting by the water!

Close up of Scallop

1/2 Dozen Turross Oysters - $14

The oysters came a la natural with some lemon, which is exactly the way I like them. OMG these were probably some of the best oysters I have ever eaten. Such a great price as well. Next time we come here I am definitely getting a dozen of these, cause it's only $22!

Frankie took about 10 pictures of the oysters. I love the natural moss on the shell.

Steak with Anchovy Butter, Roasted Beetroot and Parsnips - $32

I got one of the specials of the day which was the Steak. I really wanted a seafood dish, but there was only fish on the menu and all the other choices were a bit heavy for what I felt like. I hadn't ordered steak at a restaurant for ages, so I thought I would try it. I loved the butter sauce and the jus was delicious. The vegetables were cooked to perfection. It was a massive steak though and I couldn't eat it all.

Fish of the Day - $30

Frankie went with the fish of the day (which I can't remember what sort of fish it was, I should really start taking notes). This came on top a mixture of mussels and gnocchi. I had major food envy at this. The fish was cooked so perfectly and was nice and crispy. I am normally not a fan of fish, but I loved this thinner style fish. The mussels and gnocchi was awesome as well.

Cheese Platter - $17

We were going to get a cheese platter and then a dessert after that, but as it wasn't very busy the kitchen was closing, so we just got the cheese platter.

I am not sure what sort of cheese they were, cause they were just placed on the table without explanation. They were beautiful though. The blue cheese was definitely my favourite, as I love pungent blue cheeses. I loved the slices of apple with the cheese too, very refreshing and the texture was great.

I loved this place and would love to come back again and again. It was such a relaxing atmosphere and the food was wonderful and not too expensive either. If you are in the area around lunch time I really urge you to come and eat at this place.

The River Moruya
16b Church Street
Moruya NSW

Open Lunch and Dinner from Wednesday - Saturday
Open for Lunch on Sunday

The River Moruya on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rogan Josh

I love a good curry, especially when using red meat and you cook it for hours and hours so that the meat becomes really tender. Too bad this can only be done when you have lots of time though, not a really quick weeknight meal.

I found this recipe in this book below

The Essential Asian Cookbook (Essential Cookbooks Series)

I got this book years and years ago for my 21st and it has some really good recipes in it. I haven't cooked too many of the recipes (due to my ever growing cook book collection) but the few I have, have been very good.

Rogan Josh is an aromatic lamb dish hailing from Kashmir. The name is interpreted as either meaning cooked in oil at intense heat, or a meat dish which is red in colour. The red colour is essential to this dish which comes from ground red peppers, or tomatoes. There are many versions of this dish and I really loved this version.

This didn't have too many ingredients for an indian curry which is also a win. Well there are a few spices, but I had most of them in my cupboard anyway.

To serve with the curry I made a traditional indian eggplant recipe which is called Baingan Bhurta, which you basically bake an eggplant until it's soft, then chop up and mix with tomato, onion, green chillies, salt and oil. It worked really beautifully with the Rogan Josh and added a nice freshness to it.

I also saved some of the yoghurt I was using for the curry and mixed that with some mint and coriander and salt.

The toasted almonds on the top gave this a nice textural contrast as well.

Rogan Josh - from Essential Asian

1kg Lamb
1 Tablespoon of Ghee or Oil
2 Medium Onions - chopped
1/2 Cup (125g) Yoghurt
1 Teaspoon Chilli Powder
1 Tbs Ground Coriander
2 Tsp Ground Cumin
1 Tsp Ground Cardamom
1/2 Tsp Ground Cloves
1 Tsp Ground Turmeric
3 Cloves Garlic - crushed
1 Tbs Grated Fresh Ginger
1 Tsp Salt
Can of Chopped Tomatoes
1/4 Cup Slivered Almonds
3 Teaspoons Garam Masala
Chopped Coriander Leaves to Garnish

1. Cut Lamb into biteable cubes

2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook stirring until soft. Then add the yoghurt, chilli powder, coriander, cumin, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, garlic and ginger. Combine well and then add the salt and tomatoes. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.

3. Add the lamb and stir until coated. Cover the pan and cook on low heat for 1 - 1.5 hours, or until the lamb is tender. Uncover and simmer until sauce is thick.

4. Toast the almonds until they have a bit of colour. Then add the garam masala to the lamb mixture and stir through. Serve the Rogan Josh on rice with almonds and coriander.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fresh Spring Rolls

I haven't made fresh spring rolls in forever and I don't know why not, as they are very easy to make, well once you have all the elements lined up of course. I wanted to see whether they would keep for the day after, but the rice paper wasn't as soft and pliable the next day. So make sure you only make as many as you need. You can store all the fillings separately which makes it easy for reassembling.

I made some pickled carrots and cucumber as well, using a recipe here, but only left them to marinate for about 30 mins. Would have liked to have made these the day before so they could pickle some more.

First get a rice paper sheet and soak in warm water for about 30 seconds, not too long, cause otherwise it will rip when you are trying to fold it.

Lay it out on a flat surface and then start layering up the ingredients. Not too much though, cause you need to be able to fit everything in. First the Vermicelli, which means little worms as I found out in trivia last night..

Then some bean sprouts

Next add some protein of your choice. I just used a BBQ chicken as it was easy.

Then the pickled vegetables

Then the herbs - I have used mint and coriander

Then roll it all up! Doesn't it look pretty.

Continue this process over and over again until you never want another spring roll for a while.

I just serve mine with lots of hoisin sauce, oh how I love hoisin.