Category Archives: Fruit

JACKPOT visits Me and Art

Hello readers!

Hope you all are having a great week so far and thank goodness it’s Thursday meaning it’s nearly the end of the week! Looking forward to relaxing on the weekend with some good weather, good food and catching up with friends, celebrating a 1 month for a cute baby girl and of course some basketball in between!

Last weekend I wanted to grab a few things from Thomas Dux in Surry Hills as I do from time to time when I have a chance to stock up on baking ingredients and food for the week ahead. As Mr Muscles and I had not eaten breakfast at this point in time, I thought this would be a good opportunity to check out another café on my list. I love going to vegan cafes to try out the various foods on offer whether it be savoury or sweet food.

My top vegan places in Sydney at the moment are:

  • Sadhana Kitchen – great for breakfast and lunch and of course if you feel like indulging, they do some really great raw cakes
  • Nourishing Quarter – great little dinner place serving fusion Vietnamese food with a modern take on it – love their tofu and quinoa dumplings, their quinoa rice paper rolls and their noodle salad served with crispy tofu and they also do raw cakes here if you are feeling like something a bit more sweet after dinner

I have yet to try Earth to Table in Bondi Junction which I have read many great reviews and am keen to hopefully try this vegan place out on the weekend…blog will follow shortly after of course =)

I’m always worried about taking Mr Muscles to vegan places as I am always worried he will never be full or won’t like what is on offer on the menus. Mr Muscles however happily guided me along the way as we searched for the café. We ended up walking from Thomas Dux a few blocks down in Surry Hills and finally found the café after a nice walk through Surry Hills.

Me and Art is quite a small café with some seating provided outside the café, some tables and chairs found inside the café and out back in their courtyard. As it was a nice day, we decided to sit outside their courtyard and take in the nice weather. It was chilly but the sun was shining and it turned out to be a really nice day.

The café is known for their Japanese artwork which hangs inside the café. I didn’t get to take a picture of this unfortunately but will next time I visit. Apparently these pictures are not just for show and that they are available for purchase for anyone interested with new artwork coming in every few weeks. It’s a very quirky café with even tables that have been sourced by the owner from various places.

The one thing that stood out about this café were the friendly staff who were quick to assist wherever needed. Mr Muscles had no idea what he wanted to drink as he was feeling like some juice and one of the staff decided to make something on the whim from the flavours that Mr Muscles had told them he wanted. It was this attention to detail and their great service that really makes this café different to other cafes we have been to.

Courtyard

Courtyard 2

Courtyard 3

 

Courtyard 4

Menu

Breakfast Menu

Menu

Lunch Menu

Green Tea

Lemon Water

Juice

Mr Muscles Juice – I think this had beetroot, carrot, ginger, apple and other flavours (it was meant to be some sort of detox juice – it was very delicious!)

Avocado Toast

Mr Muscles’ meal: avocado on toast: avocado with special herbs & spices heaped on crunchy sourdough $9.00

Mr Muscles wasn’t feeling too good so decided to get something small to eat. We were both surprised at how generous they were with the avocado which was lovely, ripe and smooth. The sourdough had a nice taste to it with the toast still quite crunchy despite the amount of avocado layered on top of the toast. Mr Muscles really enjoyed the dish however didn’t really care for the ground turmeric which had been sprinkled over the top of the avocado. He felt it overpowered the taste of the avocado and so decided to remove this and eat the rest of it sans turmeric. All in all a very healthy and filling breakfast in which Mr Muscles left feeling rather full.

Buckwheat Pancakes

My meal: cocoa and cinnamon buckwheat pancakes topped with banana, berries, nuts & seeds served with maple syrup and shredded coconut $12.00

I ordered the pancakes as I really can’t say no to pancakes and the fact that these were healthy pancakes…this was already a win win situation to begin with. The pancakes were not as soft as I had imagined but rather a bit more dense as the buckwheat flavour was quite predominant. I couldn’t really taste the cocoa or cinnamon but I found the pancakes really lovely and not too heavy to eat that I managed to finish the whole dish. The banana and the nuts and seeds were a nice side to the dish as you got a bit of crunch, a bit of sweetness from the maple syrup and banana and a bit of tartness from the berries. I felt healthier just by eating this dish. I’ve tried recreating buckwheat pancakes at home but have never been successful. Now that I have tried these pancakes I am on a mission to try and create some wonderful buckwheat pancakes that don’t taste like rubber!

Mr Muscles and I left the café feeling full and satisfied. This café is definitely an up and coming café as I’m sure that more and more people will come to visit as they also serve lunch and if not for the dining experience then to view the lovely art hanging on the walls of the café. I know I’ll be back to try their nachos with tofu cashew sour cream and vegan cheese and of course their vegan pies which I have heard are really good!

Stay tuned for a recipe post…I know it’s been awhile but I’ll be posting one soon…

Here are my recent baking pictures:

Vegan Banana Bread

A new recipe experiment: vegan banana bread made using applesauce – surprisingly turned out better than I expected and the applesauce gave the bread a lovely moist texture

Vegan Chocolate Banana Donuts

Vegan Baked Chocolate Banana Donuts made with spelt flour and coconut sugar

Raw Brownie Balls

Raw Brownie Balls made with raw cacao powder, walnuts and dates

Chocolate and Vanilla Layered Banana Muffins

Vegan Chocolate and Vanilla Layered Banana Muffins made with wholemeal spelt flour and coconut sugar

Mini Vegan Chocolate Cakes

Recipe experimenting with Mini Vegan Chocolate Cakes made with applesauce, spelt flour and coconut sugar – surprisingly tasted light and moist without too much of an applesauce taste

Me and Art

62 Mary Street

Surry Hills NSW 2010

Website: http://meandart-sydney.webs.com/

Until next time!

x

Jackie

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Filed under Banana, Breakfast, Brunch, Cafe, Dessert, Fruit, Health Food, Healthy, Lunch, Muffins, Pancakes, Recipes, Seeds and Grains, Toast, Vegan, Vegetarian, Western

JACKPOT celebrates Easter in Melbourne Part 2

Time for part 2 of my extra long blog post about my Easter in Melbourne.

Miss G and Mr D took us to Lux Bite after lunch so we could have a look at the desserts on offer there. I had read a lot about Lux Bite so I was really eager to check out all their desserts plus their macarons which I had heard were the best in Melbourne. All the desserts looked so intricate that they almost looked too pretty to eat. I could tell that these desserts were nothing but indulgent and rich. I was super sad that by the time we got here I was still so full that I couldn’t fit in any dessert. I’m going to have to come back next time on my next trip down to Melbourne. Everything looked so delicious as I gazed intently on the cabinet full of desserts. Mr Muscles knew deep down that I wanted to try one but I showed some self-restraint and said no this time…I regretted it about 10 minutes later after we walked out of the shop ;P

LuxBite

Lux Bite Quote

Love this quote of theirs – so true! ;P

Desserts

How cute are the Easter Bunny Macarons ;P

Desserts 2

Easter dessert

I really wanted to get this but my stomach was still suffering from a massive food coma =(

Dessert 2

Macarons2

Macaron Dessert

Macarons from Luxbite

Macarons from Luxbite2

Lux Bite’s infamous macarons – how cool does the freckles one look on the very far right hand side – definitely trying one next time!

We visited the Prahran markets for the first time as Miss G and Mr D needed to get a few things from there. Going to the markets was such a wonderful experience and I only wish that there were more markets like this open for longer in Sydney. Most the markets I go to on the weekend usually close early so I never get a chance to go to some of the markets. There were so many stalls at this market ranging from people selling honey, organic foods, a deli, fish and meats, fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, flowers and the like. I honestly probably could have spent a lot longer at this market i.e. all day because there was just so much to look at. And what was even better was at the back of this market, I found an Essential Ingredient where I dragged Mr Muscles with me to go exploring in the shop. I spent ages looking around trying to find new baking equipment and recipe books. In the end I picked up a really cool asian dessert recipe book which I plan to filter through and draw ideas from.

Markets

Honey

Spreads

Eggs

Nuts

Flowers

Deli

Deli

To finish off our Melbourne trip Mr Muscles and I decided to have breakfast at Cumulus Inc the next day as I had really wanted to try one of Melbourne’s popular breakfast/brunch places. We got up quite early so we were the first customers for the day and had preference to sit anywhere in the cafe. The cafe is modern and has a large kitchen where you can view the chefs in the kitchen preparing your food. I had read about this place in many blog posts and was keen to try the crumpets and madeleines that a lot of people had blogged about.

Cumulus Inc

Cumulus Inc Door

Tables and Chairs

Tables and Chairs inside

Interior

Kitchen

The Menu

The Menu

Coffee

Mr Muscles’s Coffee

 

Green Tea

My sencha green tea

Mr Muscles wanted to eat something a lot heartier for breakfast as he had a big night and was feeling under the weather so to speak so he decided to order the beans and egg dish.

Beans and Egg

Grilled Lyonaisse sausage, smoked hock, braised beans and 65/65 egg $19.80

Mr Muscles didn’t really enjoy his breakfast. He thought the food was ok but didn’t really like the sausage they used for the dish. I think he was expecting something different and so it didn’t really satisfy his hunger. Also he thought it was quite a pricey meal for what he got.

I decided to order the crumpets instead of the madeleines as I wanted something slightly savoury and the madeleines take longer to make so I figured I should stick to something that didn’t take too long.

Crumpets

Crumpets close up

House made crumpets, whipped ricotta & rooftop honey $11.00

Honey

Rooftop Honey

Inside of the Crumpet

An inside shot of my crumpets

I was very surprised when my crumpets came out. It looked so different to the crumpets I used to eat when I was a kid that you get from the local supermarket. Not at all soft but rather crunchy on the outside and chewier on the inside. It was a very different experience of eating crumpets. I loved the honey and ricotta as they both paired wonderfully together with the savoury taste of the crumpets to give that slight savoury sweet flavour that I was after. I think I prefer the softer version of these as I thought these had been fried a bit too much in the pan. The crumpets itself were not filling however and Mr Muscles could see I was hungry still so he ordered the granola for him and I to share.

Granola

Toasted Honey Granola & Poached Rhubarb with Vanilla Yoghurt $11.00

I really loved this dish and probably should have ordered this instead of my crumpets as this is my usual go to breakfast when I dine out for breakfast or brunch. The granola had a lovely crunch with various nuts, seeds and sultanas and it paired really well with the yoghurt and the tart flavour of the rhubarb and the sweetness of the strawberries.

I would like to go back to Cumulus to try out their dinner menu as I know this place gets really packed out for dinner. Also, I have yet to try their madeleines with lemon curd so that’s something I will come back for when I have more time.

All in all, it was a great way to spend most of the long weekend before Mr Muscles and I had to work on the Easter Monday. Great catching up with friends, exploring new places to eat and indulging in various foods which meant massive food comas for most of the trip ;P

Prahran Markets

163 Commercial Rd

South Yarra VIC 3141

Ph: (03) 8290 8220

Trading Hours:

Monday Closed
Tuesday 7am – 5pm
Wednesday  Closed
Thursday 7am – 5pm
Friday 7am – 6pm
Saturday 7am – 5pm
Sunday 10am – 3pm

Website: http://www.prahranmarket.com.au

Cumulus Inc.

45 Flinders Ln

Melbourne VIC 3000

Ph: (03) 9650 1445

Trading Hours:

Mon-Fri: 7am-11pm

Sat-Sun: 8am-11pm

Website: http://cumulusinc.com.au/

Until next time Melbourne,

x

Jackie

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Filed under Breakfast, Cafe, Cake, Dessert, Eggs, Fruit, Granola, Markets, Melbourne, Seeds and Grains, Toast, Western, Yoghurt

JACKPOT celebrates Easter in Melbourne Part 1

Hello dear readers!

Hope you are all having a wonderful week so far especially given the Easter long weekend meaning that this week is just a little bit shorter =)

I spent some of my Easter in Melbourne catching up with friends, playing a bit of basketball and of course indulging in various foods. As soon as I stepped into Melbourne it was as if I had gained the capacity of two stomaches and I could eat nearly twice or three times as much as I usually would in Sydney…yes food coma indeed…most times were spent clutching my stomach after over eating and although I knew I was full most of the time, the lure of the oh so yummy desserts on offer in Melbourne pulled me back in each time…I’m definitely guilty as charged when it comes to over eating this Easter…and did I mention Mr Muscles bought me an Easter treat which consisted of Lindt Easter Eggs (one large one and some small ones) which as soon as I received it I devoured most of the large easter egg…damn my sweet tooth again…I never learn for some reason! ;P

I will most likely be splitting this blog post into two parts as I realised I took a lot of photos from my Easter trip in Melbourne so stay tuned for Part 2.

Mr Muscles and I decided to get some dessert on the first night we arrived in Melbourne so we took a nice stroll down to Chinatown in search of some Taiwanese desserts. I wanted to go to Dessert Story as I had heard a lot about this place but as soon as we got there the place was packed and people were queuing outside the place. Dessert Story seems very similar to Meet Fresh offering the usual grass jelly and tofu pudding desserts. As I didn’t want to wait in line, we decided to go searching for other dessert places to kill my sweet tooth craving. Meet Fresh was just down the road but as we passed it, we noticed how busy the lines were as well. I didn’t realise how much of a mission it was to find a dessert place to eat at in Melbourne on Good Friday. Clearly everyone had thought the same thing and wanted to indulge in some dessert on the public holiday hence the masses of people lining up for these asian desserts. In the end Mr Muscles and I found a small Taiwanese dessert place which had a table available so we decided to try it out. I thought the desserts were ok but wasn’t as good as Meet Fresh back in Sydney. The sweet potato and taro balls were not of the same texture or consistency that Meet Fresh tastes like.

Taiwanese Dessert

Mr Muscles ordered Grass Jelly served with Sweet Potato and Taro Glutinous Balls along with Green Tea Jelly and Noodle Jellies.

I was feeling a bit cold from the weather in Melbourne so decided to get a hot dessert instead of an icy one. I chose the silky tofu pudding in ginger soup. I was hoping that this would be similar to what they serve in yum cha but the consistency again wasn’t really there. However it did the job of warming me up. I still rather enjoyed the dessert despite not being what I had expected. It was lovely and gingery. Definitely something I would eat during winter.

Silky Tofu in Ginger Soup

Silky Tofu Pudding in Ginger Soup with Brown Sugar Sprinkled on Top

The next morning, Mr Muscles and I couldn’t quite work out where to have breakfast. Initially we had planned to eat somewhere near the basketball courts for convenience but as we got up relatively early we decided to eat downstairs of the hotel and splurge on a buffet breakfast. Grand Hyatt (Collins Kitchen) have a very lavish buffet breakfast on offer with various foods to suit everyone’s taste buds. I was in awe of all the food and couldn’t quite decide what to eat at times but knew that I wanted to try nearly everything. It’s quite pricey for $40 a person but it’s definitely a one time thing that you have to experience. I can’t even remember the last time I had a proper buffet breakfast but I was happy that we tried this out as this was definitely an indulging weekend for the both of us. Though I started regretting the choice of a buffet breakfast after I started playing basketball not long after as I managed to overeat. My plan was simple: do not overeat (on the basis that I knew I was about to play basketball)…somewhere along the way my plan failed miserably as my stomach got the better of me and everything I saw I just wanted to try…fail indeed…

Thanks Mr Muscles for taking all these photos for me…I felt slightly shy about taking so many photos of the buffet whilst there were cooks looking over each time I had my camera in my hand, so Mr Muscles decided to go around taking photos instead.

Yoghurt

Various brands of yoghurt and Yakult

Juice

The juice table

Bread Station

Various breads to choose from where you can slice the size of bread you want and on the other side there was already pre sliced bread which you can toast and eat with various jams and spreads

Spreads and Jams

Spreads and Jams to go with the breads

Fruit

Various fruit to go with yoghurt or to make your own fruit salad

Eggs

The hot food station with sausages, crispy bacon and a chef who made omelette and eggs whichever way you wanted and with the ingredients of your choice (think he didn’t realise Mr Muscles was trying to take a picture of the hot food station)

Hot Food

Asian Station

This was the Asian food section consisting of steamed dim sims and dumplings and congee which you could make with various toppings.

Condiments

Various toppings to use for congee

Buffet Kitchen

Rice and Eggs

More Asian food: Noodles, Fried Rice and some scrambled eggs which was placed in the Asian section for some reason.

And to my most favourite station of the buffet: DESSERT!

Dessert Station

Pastries

Various danishes and croissants to choose from

Bircher Muesli

Bircher Muesli

Muffins

Muffins!

Biscuits

Freshly baked biscuits

Banana Bread

Banana Bread

Bread

Biscuit Jars

Crunchy Chocolate Biscuits

Almond Tuiles

Almond Tuiles

I started off my buffet breakfast with healthier items to not make me feel so bad when I started to indulge in all the sweet food. I realised that I didn’t eat much savoury food and stuck to all things sweet whilst Mr Muscles chose to eat all savoury foods not indulging in anything sweet.

Yoghurt Bowl

My yoghurt bowl consisting of natural yoghurt, strawberries, pineapple, crunchy nut granola and leatherwood honey

I really loved the do it yourself yoghurt, granola and fruit that I ended up getting 2 servings of this as it was really tasty.

Omelette

Mr Muscles’ made to order omelette

Pancakes

Pancakes made to order topped with maple syrup and cinnamon sugar

I was quite disappointed with my pancakes. They were dry and not very fluffy.

Danish and Croissant

Raspberry Danish and Mini Croissant

I chose the Danish and croissant because it looked quite tasty but upon eating it, I was disappointed as it was again dry =(

Chocolate Hot Cross Bun

Since it was Easter I decided to try their hot cross buns. There were the standard hot cross buns and then a chocolate and cherry one. I decided to go with the chocolate one. Again the bun was quite dry so it made it difficult to eat.

Banana Bread

Banana bread with various biscuits

I loved their banana bread and you had the option of toasting it which really made a difference. It was so good that I was tempted to get another one but since I had eaten so much and had chosen to eat this last I couldn’t fit another one in. The biscuits were really lovely as well with a nice crunch to them. I really adored the almond tuiles and definitely could have gone back for seconds, thirds…but alas food coma was getting the better of me.

I realised I didn’t take too many photos of the savoury food that Mr Muscles ate. He also thought that while there were plenty of options for food at this buffet, the taste of the food was lacking in some areas. It was a bit of a hit and miss with various foods. Mr Muscles tried out some of the Asian foods such as the steamed dumplings and the fried rice. He quite enjoyed the fried rice and he also got a portion of scrambled eggs so that we could share. I quite enjoyed the scrambled eggs and that was perhaps the only savoury thing I ate apart from some bread I sliced for myself and toasted.

I really loved that there was a whole station dedicated to dessert. You could either choose pancakes or waffles. Because my pancakes were dry I wasn’t sure what the waffles would taste like so I didn’t order them. I wish I had chosen waffles instead of pancakes looking back though. Also, I loved that there were various bircher muesli on offer in the cabinet of the dessert station which were presented in glass cups.

The buffet itself was very pretty, very lavish and with so many options, it was hard to try everything without feeling over full. I didn’t even get to try everything and I still felt quite full. All in all it was a good breakfast to start the morning and that yoghurt and fruit with their crunchy granola was really a highlight for me for the buffet =)

After the buffet and basketball we caught up with Miss G and Mr D over lunch. Miss G and Mr D have been living in Melbourne for a while so know the best places to eat. They took us to eat at Two Birds One Stone as Miss G was telling me that they serve a yoghurt pannacotta for breakfast (which is served all day) so I was keen to try this out.

Two Birds One Stone is a lovely little cafe located in a small street in South Yarra. There are tables inside and outside of the cafe and when we got there the cafe was quite busy. We took a seat outside as there was no space inside and each time a waitress would come out with various people’s dishes I was having serious food envy. All the food looked so good and delicious and whilst I wanted to eat something savoury I knew my inner sweet tooth was craving the yoghurt pannacotta so I decided to go with that instead.

cafe

inside cafe

The inside of the cafe

Freshly Baked Muffins

Freshly baked muffins

Cakes

Various cakes on offer – the cheesecake brownie looks awesome!

The Menu

The Menu

Mr D's Coffee

Mr D’s Coffee

Mr Muscles Coffee

Mr Muscles’s Coffee

Ms G's Coffee

Miss G’s Coffee

Info about Coffee

Tasting notes for Miss G’s Coffee

My Green Tea

My White Peony Green Tea

Corn Fritters

Mr Muscles’s meal: Corn Fritters with house smoked salmon, avocado & snow pea tendrils $17.50

Mr Muscles ordered the corn fritters which looked really lovely on the plate. These corn fritters were a little different from the usual type of fritters we have eaten before. The texture was a lot softer instead of the usual crisiper ones that we usually order from other cafes. Mr Muscles enjoyed his meal however he stated that the serving size was rather on the small side and had hoped that there would be more on the plate.

side

Mr Muscles’s side: Ham Hock Beans $4.00

Mr Muscles ordered an extra side of Ham Hock Beans to go with his corn fritters. He enjoyed his side of beans as it was gone not long after he had eaten his first spoonful.

Two Birds Meal

Mr D ordered the Two Birds meal consisting of scrambled eggs on toast with mushrooms, spinach, heirloom tomatoes, homemade sausage and bacon, haloumi, ham hock beans and an extra piece of toast for Miss G.

When the plate came out I was surprised at how large the serving was for this big breakfast. Mr D and Miss G really enjoyed sharing this meal together. Definitely something to eat when you are feeling extra hungry or just want to indulge in some savoury goodness!

Miss G and I both ordered the yoghurt pannacotta and I couldn’t wait to try it out!

Yoghurt Pannacotta

Yoghurt Panna cotta with Kaffir Lime, Fresh Fruit & Nut Cluster $12.50

The yoghurt pannacotta was soooo good! It was like eating dessert but in a bit of a healthier way and that you could eat this for breakfast or lunch. The nut clusters gave it a nice texture compared to the smoothness of the panna cotta and I liked how you could taste the tartness from the yoghurt. In no time at all, I finished the whole dish and had wished there was more but once again, food coma came into play and I was soon clutching my stomach as I felt that I was still quite full from the breakfast but I really couldn’t say no to pannacotta.

I really want to try a lot of the other dishes next time I go back to visit Melbourne…I saw a few customers order the charred polenta with mushrooms and the smashed avocado and feta on toast…definitely something I’m coming back to try!

Thanks Miss G and D for showing us this place…it’s a great find for breakfast, brunch or lunch.

To be continued with a post on the Prahran Markets and a breakfast at Cumulus Inc….so stay tuned!

Collins Kitchen (Grand Hyatt Lobby)

123 Collins Street

Melbourne, VIC 3000

Ph: (03) 9657 1234

Website: http://www.melbourne.grand.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels-melbourne-grand/index.jsp?null

Two Birds One Stone Cafe

12 Claremont Street,

South Yarra VIC 3141

Ph: (03) 9827 1228

Trading Hours: Mon-Fri 7am – 4pm and Weekends 8am – 4pm

Website: http://www.twobirdsonestonecafe.com.au/

So until next time!

x

Jackie

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Filed under Breakfast, Brunch, Cafe, Dessert, Eggs, Fruit, Granola, Lunch, Melbourne, Melbourne, Pancakes, Restaurant, Toast, Waffles, Western, Yoghurt

JACKPOT visits EXCELSIOR JONES

Good Morning dear readers!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! I’m definitely feeling some Monday-itis this morning and trying to somehow keep awake even though my eyes are struggling to stay open. I guess that’s what happens when you try to pack in too much into one weekend. I will be posting up one of my baking experiments soon as I was eager to try out some new recipes so stay tuned for the next recipe post on my blog.

I wanted to visit a new cafe as I usually try to visit some new cafes on my Saturdays that I have free. As I was so exhausted from the week before due to work and everything else, I woke up a lot later than anticipated so I was worried that by the time I headed out to brunch that it would be too busy as most people tend to eat brunch around 10:30-11am. I still decided to try my luck and decided upon going to Excelsior Jones as I had read a lot about this new cafe from various blogs. I had also read that their serving sizes were rather on the small size so in anticipation of this, I knew that we needed to probably order a dish to share between Mr Muscles and I to accommodate for his hunger ;P

Excelsior Jones is located in Ashfield in the corner of a street where there aren’t any other cafes in sight. Mr Muscles was telling me how this cafe was probably something that was needed around this area as there aren’t many popular cafes situated here. We got to the cafe around 11am and found the cafe to be quite full where we had to wait for a table initially but as we were about to sit down on a bench to wait, a couple were just leaving so we got shown to the table within a few minutes. One thing I must mention is that the staff are very friendly, very attentive and are always very quick to check if there is anything you need. They also quickly cleaned the dishes off our table when we were done with our plates. You can tell the service here is important and that the staff are more than accommodating to the customers’ needs.

Excelsior Jones Sign

Excelsior Jones

Door

Kitchen

Inside

Specials Board

Diners

Diners 2

Counter

The inside of the cafe is simple with simple furniture and accessories used for each table yet modern at the same time. You can see inside the kitchen from the side of the restaurant and each time the waitress would pass our table, I would eye out all the food that passed us by. There were some great looking dishes and you can tell that they emphasise the importance of presentation for each dish to really enhance the fresh and flavourful ingredients that they use.

Pork Hash

Mr Muscles Meal: Pork Hock Hash with Pearl Shallots, Fried Buckwheat, Poached Egg & Fresh Herbs $16.00

Mr Muscles really enjoyed his meal. It was similar to a deconstructed hash browns. The flavours were rich and the ingredients were fresh. The meal itself was rather on the heavy side despite it being quite small in size. Mr Muscles finished his dish in no time at all. I saw other customers eye down his food as he was eating it and asking the waitresses what this dish was so you could tell that this dish seemed very appealing to customers. This was the most expensive item on the menu however the dish itself really combined flavours and ingredients you probably wouldn’t think went well together but somehow mixed well together. The best part was once you poked the poached egg, the yolk just oozed out on top of the rest of the ingredients in the dish. I think Mr Muscles would definitely order this dish again.

And because he was feeling extra hungry, he ordered a side of toast with butter.

Toast

Toast with Butter $5.00

Pikelets

My meal: Sourdough Pikelets with Stewed Strawberries and Custard $13.00

Close up

A close up of my pikelets – look at how juicy those strawberries look! I kinda wish I had some right now ;P

I had been wanting these pikelets ever since I saw them on various food blogs so I knew I really wanted to order it for my meal. I was surprised at how light these pikelets were and that they didn’t leave you feeling heavy. The portion size was rather on the small side for me as I was hoping that I could have more after I demolished the dish whole. The pikelets were also surprisingly not that sweet like usually pikelets I have tasted which I liked. The stewed strawberries were very soft and melted in your mouth with each bite. The custard was nice but very thin almost more to the consistency of milk. I really enjoyed the dish and definitely will order these pikelets the next time I visit this cafe. I however was not full after eating this so Mr Muscles decided to order me a side of fruit and yoghurt to accompany my meal.

Fruit

Shared dish: Poached and Fresh Summer Fruits with Sweet Oats and Yoghurt $10.00

The fruit and yoghurt accompanied with some oats was very fresh and tasty. I liked the contrast between having fresh fruit in the dish alongside poached fruit (I think pear). The dish is simple and not complicated. Definitely something to have if you are feeling like a very light meal. I really want to try the House Made Granola next time along with the Sautéed Field Mushrooms on Toast. I’ve also heard that their lunch menu is nice too where they serve Cheeseburgers with Angus Beef and Gruyere.

All in all I enjoyed my visit to Excelsior Jones. This is definitely an up and coming cafe as more and more people are finding out about this cafe and visiting more frequently. I like that the service is attentive and that the turn around for a table is quick and efficient so you are not waiting too long. I think this cafe is definitely a hidden gem in a street that really needed a cafe like this.

Excelsior Jones

Excelsior Jones

139A Queen Street

Ashfield NSW 2131

Ph: (02) 9799 3240

Website: http://www.excelsiorjones.com/

Trading Hours:

Tues-Fri 7:30am-4pm

Sat & Sun 8am-4pm

Until Next Time!

x

Jackie

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Filed under Breakfast, Brunch, Cafe, Eggs, Fruit, Pancakes, Restaurant, Sydney, Toast, Western, Yoghurt

JACKPOT celebrates Valentine’s Day with some Vegan Strawberry Pancakes

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY dear readers!

I hope that this special day is one filled with plenty of love, happiness and of course an excuse for you to all indulge in various foods especially dessert or at least I know I will be ;P I know that most guys and maybe most girls don’t really celebrate Valentine’s day as they think it is a holiday conjured up by the people at Hallmark so that people spend various sums of money on their loved ones whether it be insanely expensive roses or taking your boyfriend or girlfriend out to a fancy dinner…I still naively think it’s a nice day just to remind your loved one that they are special and treasured by you. They say every day should be a special day and that is completely true but why not once in a while celebrate your love and care for all your loved ones by just doing the little things =)

I decided to make Mr Muscles pancakes for Valentine’s Day. I wanted to make him heart-shaped pancakes but unfortunately it did not turn out that way as my batter was too thin and as I was pouring out my batter into the pan, the mixture would always spread too quickly. I made some deformed heart pancakes at the start but decided to just settle on normal round sized pancakes. I made this pancakes vegan and used wholemeal spelt flour as the base then added in mashed strawberries and a bit of maple syrup to sweeten them up. I was really happy with the way they turned out albeit a few odd-looking pancakes from the first few batches. Mr Muscles seemed to enjoy the pancakes which I served with some chopped strawberries and some pure maple syrup.

I loved the fact that with each bite of the pancake, there was a lovely burst of strawberries in your mouth. The pancakes weren’t too sweet and I liked that as you got most of the flavour from the strawberries itself. Next time I might process the strawberries in a food processor as I found it very difficult to mash the strawberries with just a fork. This also added problems during cooking the pancakes as the strawberries would spread in lumps on the pan and therefore it was harder to cook the pancakes more evenly for each batch.

Vegan Strawberry Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 Cups of Wholemeal Spelt Flour
  • 2 Tsps of Baking Powder
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 1/4 Cups of Vegan Buttermilk (1 1/4 Cups of Buttermilk + 1-2 Tbs of Apple Cider Vinegar)
  • 2 Tbs of Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tbs of Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tbs of Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Cup of Mashed Strawberries

Method:

  1. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Make your vegan buttermilk in a smaller bowl by placing some apple cider vinegar into the milk and leave it aside to let it curdle for a few minutes.
  3. Add in the coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract into the buttermilk mixture and whisk.
  4. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and combine being careful not to overmix the batter.
  5. Add in the mashed strawberries by folding them in gently.
  6. Put your pancake batter mixture into a pancake pen or a snap lock bag with one side snipped off for easy pouring.
  7. Heat up an oiled fry pan on low heat and once the pan is hot, pour your batter into the pan (usually about 1/4 cup worth of the mixture depending how small or big you want your pancakes)
  8. When you notice bubbles forming on your pancake and the sides starting to cook, flip your pancake over and cook the other side for a few minutes. Each side should only take a few minutes.
  9. Place your pancake on a plate and cook the rest of the pancake batter until there is no mixture left.
  10. Serve your pancakes with chopped fruit of your preference and some maple syrup if you want them slightly sweeter. ‘
  11. Enjoy!

Flour Mixture

Wet Mixture

Pancake Batter

Mashed Stawberries

Strawberry Pancake Mixture

Pancake Pen

Vegan Strawberry Pancakes

Vegan Strawberry Pancakes 2

Here are a few cute valentine’s day themed food pics I found on the net:

heart macarons

love candies

love pancakes

PANCAKES

valentines cheesecakes

valentines day cupcakes

Until next time!

x

Jackie

 

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Filed under Breakfast, Fruit, Health Food, Pancakes, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian, Western

JACKPOT eats at Orto Trading

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! My weekend consisted of indulging in a lot of wonderful foods in celebration of Chinese New Year which resulted in a large food coma and some basketball to balance things out as always. I feel so exhausted this week but no matter how tired and exhausted I am, I always feel the itch to want to bake and experiment using new ingredients and flavours. Stay tuned for more recipes and more baking experiments.

Back but to my actual reason for posting…I wanted to visit a new cafe and I had read a lot about Orto Trading from various food blogs so I was eager to try and see what the food was like. I got up early Saturday morning to ensure that we could get a table while the cafe was not too packed. We arrived at the cafe around 9:30am and there were quite a few tables available. Orto is located in Surry Hills but away from the busy crowds of Crown Street. It was hard to find because it is located on a corner and the signs are only visible once you pull up closer to the cafe. I liked all the simple but bright signs located in front of the cafe and on the door of the cafe which contrasted dramatically with the modern interiors of the cafe.

I found the cafe to be very spacious and a lot of natural light filled the cafe through the glass windows. You have the option of sitting outside or indoors where there are plenty more tables and chairs. The counter is full of daily baked desserts such as homemade muffins, cookies and bread. The vibe of the cafe is a cross between rustic and modern at the same time.

Orto

Plants

Orto Sign

Orto SIgn2

Bar

Bar 2

I thought this was quite cute – hanging old drink bottles filled with water and flowers on top of the bar

Kitchen

Tables

Table Setting

Menu

Menu

The Menu

Juice

Apple juice with mixed berries

I really loved the juice with the mix of apple and berries it was so light and refreshing! The flavours all worked well together. The appearance of the juice was really pretty even with the paper straw however the only drawback was that once you had drank a bit from the straw, the straw slowly softened as it was paper and after awhile it was not as pleasant to drink from.

Coffee

Mr Muscle’s Coffee

Eggs Benedict

Mr Muscles meal: Eggs Benedict with Berkshire Gypsy Ham and Hollandaise served with a side of house made Boston beans  $20.50

Mr Muscles enjoyed his meal however he felt he had eaten better eggs benedict at other cafes. While the presentation was very visually appealing with fresh ingredients, the food was lacking the wow factor in terms of taste. The baked beans which he ordered as an accompaniment to the dish however were quite enjoyable as they added extra spicyness to the dish to add a whole new flavour to the beans and give it a little kick.

Muesli

Orto’s house made muesli served with fresh fruit, organic Meredith’s sheep yoghurt and organic honeycomb $12.50

I had read about their signature waffles on various blogs and wanted to this dish but was not feeling too hungry at the time so decided to go for the healthier option. I will definitely have to try the waffles if I come back to visit next time. I decided to order the muesli that came with fruit and yoghurt instead. Unfortunately, I didn’t really think the muesli was that great. Once again, while the food was very visually appealing, I found this dish super difficult to eat with all the fruit planted on top of the muesli with fruit that I thought while they were trying to showcase fresh produce, the fruit didn’t really pair well with the dish. I would have preferred berries or apples compared to the massive amounts of figs that were used for the dish. Also, I found that the honeycomb was a nice addition to the yoghurt but was difficult to eat as it was hard to break through it. I think this dish would have been better if they had served toasted muesli instead of natural muesli as even with the yoghurt and milk served on the side, the dish lacked a lot of flavour. I think I hyped up the dishes well before coming here as well so I was hoping for a lot of great dishes but somehow they fell short. Perhaps it was the wrong menu choice as well on my behalf so I’ll definitely have to try something else next time.

Date Cookies

Muffins

Muffins 2

Assorted homemade cookies, cakes and muffins at the counter

I took away the sticky date cookie after my meal to try some of their homemade baked goods. I unfortunately didn’t really like the taste of the cookie as well so did not end up eating much of the cookie in the end.

I’ll have to try Orto again and order some other dishes to see whether this visit was just a one off with wrong choices in menu items. Orto provides a vast range of brunch and lunch options so next time I might try some savoury options instead. What I love about the cafe is that they use fresh quality ingredients in their menu items which I am seeing more and more in new and upcoming cafes that are opening around Sydney.

Orto Trading

38 Waterloo Street,

Surry Hills NSW 2010

Trading Hours:

Ph: 0431 212 453

Trading Hours:

Breakfast and Lunch: Tues-Sun 8am-3pm

Dinner: Tues-Sat from 6pm

Website: http://www.ortotradingco.com.au/

Stay tuned for some baking adventures in the kitchen in my upcoming posts ;P

Until next time

x

Jackie

 

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Filed under Biscuits and Cookies, Breakfast, Brunch, Cafe, Eggs, Fruit, Natural Muesli, Restaurant, Snacks, Sydney, Toast, Western, Yoghurt

JACKPOT eats breakfast at: Gowings Bar and Grill

Hello dear readers!

Anyone feeling the Monday-itis this morning? I certainly am! This weekend feels like it literally passed me by and it’s already Monday again! I miss by bed and during this change in weather…nothing would feel better than lazing in bed and keeping warm under the bed sheets…guess I can just dream about it for now…

Yesterday morning, Mr Muscles had told me he was taking me to breakfast…i.e. a new place that we both could try and that I could blog about of course! Mr Muscles had heard a lot about this place called “Gowings Bar & Grill” situated in the old Gowings building in the city opposite Myer. So previous to him telling me that we were going to go to breakfast at this place, I decided to look up the menu and read up on people’s reviews. The menu looked quite extensive and there were many options to choose from ranging from sweet to savoury and many other things in between. Unfortunately however, I could not find any blog reviews on breakfast at this place. Most people had done many reviews on having dinner at this restaurant. I’m more a breakfast person than I am a dinner person so I was still quite keen to try out their breakfast menu.

Gowings

Gowings Bar & Grill is situated in the QT Sydney Hotel building. The atmosphere and decor of the building as soon as you step inside the 1st floor of the building provides a quirky and modern feel. You instantly feel like you have transported yourself into a club/cabaret style place. Gowings Bar and Grill presents itself as a “European style brassiere with an edgy contemporary design”. The website says that the restaurant offers “the freshest produce from Australia’s best artisan providores”. As you walk up the stairs to the restaurant, you instantly see into the big kitchen with the chefs cooking the meals and preparing the food. The restaurant is quite big with simple but contemporary furniture. The staff were attentive and quick to come to the customers’ aid where necessary. Also, I found that the food came out very quickly as there was not a long wait time even for things such as baked eggs. I’m not exactly sure how busy this restaurant gets as we only came for breakfast. I would assume that during lunch and dinner, would be when their most busiest times were. We booked breakfast for 8:45 and there were only a few customers at the restaurant at the time, and most were hotel guests.

gowings 1

gowings 2

Gowings 4

Gowings 5

Gowings 6

Menu

Menu 2

Menu 3

The Menu

There were so many options to pick from for their Breakfast menu that Mr Muscles and I had a difficult time deciding what to eat. The waiter came around I think twice to ask us if we were ready to order and we were still undecided (I curse my libran traits for being so indecisive even when it comes to ordering food) To eat sweet or savoury? To eat healthy or slightly more indulgent? If only my stomach could fit in more food I would have ordered so many more dishes. This just means that I will have to go back and try other things. On this occasion however, I had over indulged in too much dessert the day before so I was not feeling like anything too heavy (Yes my sweet tooth made a big appearance on saturday and now I am in much regret for eating too much dessert…must cut back…soon ;P). The blueberry spelt flour pancakes had my name written all over it but unfortunately my mind had concurred already that I should not eat any more sweet stuff due to my over indulging. The worst part about it was the customer sitting next to me ordered these said pancakes and all I was doing during breakfast was eyeing her food…terrible I know! I decided to go for the healthier option ordering the Organic Yoghurt Hit which came with Granola, Oats and Almonds and marinated poached plums. Mr Muscles on the other hand was feeling quite hungry and as usual ordered a savoury dish. He ended up choosing the Wood-Fired Clay-Pot Free Range Eggs served with Sourdough Bread and because he was feeling extra hungry he also ordered a bagel on the side as well.

Green Tea

My usual green tea (organic tea hand-made by Penelope Sach) $5.50

Coffee

Mr Muscles usual coffee $4.50

Pepe Saya

Pepe Saya Butter

Mr Muscles had ordered some toast and a bagel so the restaurant had given some Pepe Saya butter to accompany the bread. Mr Muscles could not have been happier. He had heard so much about this butter and couldn’t wait to try it on his bread. He kept raving on about it so I assumed that the butter was good ;P

Yoghurt and Granola

Organic Yoghurt Hit – Topped with Spelt Toasted Granola, Oats, Toasted Almonds and Marinated Plums $9.00

Bowl of Muesli & Yoghurt

Marinated Plums

The yoghurt and granola were just what I needed that day for breakfast. It was light and not too heavy and the poached plums were nice and soft against the crunchy toasted almonds that were sliced and slivered. The granola tasted strangely familiar and I pinpointed it to be the same granola that I had eaten at Sonoma cafe previously before. I assume that they source their granola from here. The portion size of this breakfast item was on the smaller side and for people who want something light and refreshing for breakfast. The yoghurt was placed below the granola in the bowl so as you delved further into the bowl you would get a good mix of yoghurt and granola. As usual, I found many sultanas in my granola which I ended picking out and putting it on the side of my plate. I still have quite the aversion to sultanas and I don’t think that will change anytime soon.

Baked Eggs

Baked Eggs 1

Sourdough Toast

Wood-Fired Clay-Pot Free Range Eggs – Baked on Cannellini Beans, Pancetta, Shallots, Parsley, Tomato served with Sourdough Bread $17.00

Mr Muscles really enjoyed his breakfast as he loves baked eggs. The sourdough toast paired really well with the baked eggs dish as you could dip your bread into the tomato mixture. With each spoonful, there was a lovely combination of flavours from cannellini beans to pancetta to tomato to the soft liquid like eggs. There are many other egg breakfast items to try and Mr Muscles has already said that we would be visiting this restaurant again for another breakfast in the future. I saw on the menu that they do a 64 degree biodynamic egg served with a warm brioche and a 3 Free-Range Egg White Omelette served with Asparagus, Kale, Swiss Chard and Shiitake Mushrooms cooked in Flax Seed Oil. Definitely a lot of items that I will have to try on my next visit ;P Also I noticed that there was a selection of warm mini pastries that you could have for breakfast that included a fruit sweet cheese Danish style pastry, a custard duck egg tart, croissant, pain au chocolat, custard fruit brioche served with butter, marmalade and jam. If only my stomach could fit more in…that assortment of pastries sounds so delicious!

Bagel

Hand made Bagel (Natural Leavened Stone Baked Bread) $6.00

Inside of the bagel

Inside shot of the bagel

All in all I really enjoyed breakfast at Gowings Bar & Grill. The menu clearly showed that the restaurant uses really good ingredients and there is a wide variety of food items to choose from. The restaurant also do lunch and dinner so I will be keen to go back to try their lunch and dinner menu on my next visit.

Gowings Bar & Grill

QT Sydney

49 Market Street,

Sydney NSW 2000

Phone: (02) 8262 0062

Website: http://www.qtsydney.com.au/food-drink/gowings-bar-grill/

Open Breakfast 6.30am – 10.30am | Lunch from 12 noon | Dinner from 6pm | Bar 12 noon – 12 midnight

Until next time!

x

Jackie

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Filed under Breakfast, Eggs, Fruit, Granola, Health Food, Restaurant, Sydney, Toast, Western, Yoghurt