Soban - Korean Restaurant

>> Sunday, May 30, 2010

Vegetable Bibimbap with strawberries on top!

I find that as I get older, it gets harder and harder to make new friends. It seems to take such an effort at times unlike the primary school days when sharing your oreo cookies will earn you a new best friend - someone who you can trust and share all your secrets with!

Thank God for old friends! My friend Ms. R and I have been friends since primary school in NZ. We met in Saturday morning Mandarin classes and then went on to go to high school together. Then in Year 11, we both moved to Sydney and then finally enrolled in the same university where she studied Medicine and I Engineering.

We still meet up from time to time. One beautiful autumn morning, we set off for a hike from Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach. It was a hike that we've but put off for almost a year due to our busy schedules!

View from the walk. Lots of sails to welcome back Jessica Watson!

Famished after the hike, we found ourself in Chatswood for a late lunch. As Ms. R is a vegetarian, it wasn't too easy to find a place to eat. We finally settled for Soban, a Korean restaurant on the top level of Westfield next to Kam Fook. I've been here a number of times and love their salad selections.

Beef Bibimbap

I ordered the Beef Bibimbap. The beef was nice and tender and in large amounts as well. There was an interesting selection of side dishes - even a pumpkin soup. Not usual for Korean for sure!

Vegetable Bibimbap

Now, we were a bit disappointed with the vegetarian bibimbap. When it arrived, we noticed 3 of the 5 side dishes were not vegetarian (one had shrimp, fish cake and fish stock). The waiters came and took those side dishes away after we told them that they're not vegetarian, and didn't offer to replace those dishes with anything else (nor take anything off the final bill). Poor Ms. R was still hungry after her meal. I probably wouldn't be as willing to return again after this experience. But foodwise - it was decent and fresh Korean food with an interesting Italian twist.

1 Anderson St
Sydney NSW 2067‎
Tel: (02) 9415 2028‎


Ripples -Milsons Point

>> Sunday, May 23, 2010

I know, it' been a while since I last posted. I've been thinking about it and even dreamt about writing entries filled with delicious recipes and photos. In the busyness of day to day tasks, sometimes I just wish I have supernatural powers such as completing jobs just by thinking about them, or putting my hand on a book and having all its information transferred to my brain.

So I digress. I am meant to be talking about breakfasts in Sydney. There are so many places to have really good breakfasts especially around the Surry Hills, Pyrmont and Balmain areas. Since I don't live around any of these areas I visited Ripples at Milsons Point one fine Saturday morning. Ripples has its chains in several areas in Sydney like Walsh Bay and Chowder Bay.

The Milsons Point location is pretty amazing I tell you. It's right next to the Harbour Bridge (next to Luna Park) and while you have our breakfast, you can lazily gaze out at the beautiful harbour and the city skyline. Best of all, we also found out that there are free parkings in the nearby Kirribilli streets (e.g. Broughton Street).

Foodwise, they serve some hearty traditional breakfasts at reasonable prices (especially when you're getting views as good as that!) It's an ideal place to spend your weekend mornings.

I had the Ripples big breakfast while my friend N had the omelette as you can see from the photos. I wasn't too keen on the 'black pudding' in my breakfast but everything else especially the sirloin was delicious.

pino’s ham, smoked mozzarella & roast tomato omelette - $15

ripples big breakfast - $16
sirloin, black pudding, tomato, mushroom, fried eggs & sourdough

Olympic Dr
Milsons Point NSW 2061‎
Tel: (02) 9929 7722‎


Zebra cheesecake

>> Sunday, May 2, 2010

People often ask me whether I've taken my love for cooking from my mother. I wouldn't say so really. Often I think my mum could be a great cook but chooses not to. It's too bad she doesn't really like to spend all that time in the kitchen (or perhaps it's a good thing - otherwise I'd have been pretty big). Growing up though, I do remember her being pretty 'famous' amongst her group of friends for some of her specialties. And Japanese cheesecake is one of them. People could call and order cheesecakes from her and I recall her bringing taking those cotton soft cheesecakes out from the oven and her friends gasping with delight at the sight of them.

Well, I'm not quite sure where her recipe for the cheesecake is now. I should call and ask her about it soon.

But for now, I've found another version online. It tastes like my mum's. In fact, I showed my mum my version over Skype and she nods approvingly. So I'm sure it's not too bad ;)

I don't have any photos of the making of this cake because I was in a rush (and impatient to eat!). I got zebra-inspired with this cheesecake by another Aussie blogger - it's so prettyyy!

The verdict?

This cake tastes as good as it looks. Or better. It has a soft delicate flavour that is so addictive!

Zebra Cheesecake
Recipe from NotQuiteNigella

Preparation time: 30-40 minutes
Baking time: 1 hour
Serves 12

  • 50g/2 ozs butter
  • 250g/9 ozs cream cheese
  • 100 ml/3 fl ozs milk
  • 60g/2 ozs plain flour
  • 20g/1 oz cornflour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 150g/5 ozs fine granulated sugar
  • 6 eggs separated
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons Dutch process Cocoa

1. Prepare cake tin. Lightly grease and line the bottom and sides of a round 12 inch springform tin with greaseproof baking paper or parchment paper). Wrap two layers of foil around the tin to prevent water seeping in. Find a large baking dish that will fit the springform tin. Fill the empty baking dish 1/4 of the way full with water and place the baking dish with water (don’t put the lined springform tin in just yet) in the centre rack of an oven and switch it on to 160C/325F.

2. Melt cream cheese, butter and milk over a double boiler-use whisk to get out any lumps. Cool the mixture over an ice bath. Fold in the flour, the cornflour, 6 egg yolks, lemon juice and mix well. Whisk 6 egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Add in the sugar and whisk until soft peaks form.

3. Add one third of the egg white mixture to the cheese mixture to loosen. Then add the rest in third batches and mix well and ensure that the egg whites are thoroughly combined gently by folding-there should be no streaks at all. Divide the batter evenly in two and in one bowl, sift the cocoa in it and combine well using a folding action.

4. This is the fun bit. Take your lined springform tin and place tablespoons of cream coloured batter in a circle in the centre of the tin (see picture). Then take 3 tablespoons of the chocolate batter and place in the centre. Keep adding circles and the batter will spread of its own accord. Don’t tilt the tin, it will just spread by itself. Keep adding 3 tablespoon circles of batter until both of the batters are used. If you don’t divide them evenly like I did and I had too much cream batter left over, I just stopped adding it and baked the leftover separately as I didn’t want to ruin the zebra effect.

5. Carefully transfer the cheesecake into the water bath in the oven making sure not to tilt the cheesecake. Bake cheesecake in the water bath for 1 hours or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean and the top is golden brown at 160 degrees C (325 degrees F). Chill thoroughly.


Yama - QVB

Where do you go into the Sydney city to find that quiet spot away from the noise, traffic and people? I'm sure you will not be able to name many, especially at locations around Pitt St. mall.

E first introduced me to Yama at Level 3 of Queen Victoria Building a few months ago. Since then, I've been going there to have light lunches or tea and ice-cream regularly. I love how quiet and undisturbed it is there compared to other cafes around the area and it really is a lovely place to chat and catch up with people (although you do pay a little bit more for the prime location).

Food-wise, it's decent. My friend A tried their green-tea seafood pancake and seems pleased with it whilst I tried their garden salad. What I enjoy more is their large selection of Japanese teas and ice-creams...

Green-tea seafood pancake

Garden Salad

455 George St,
Sydney NSW 2000‎
Tel: (02) 9269 0080‎

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