Sunday, April 21, 2013

French Onion Soup

When I looked up my travel times before uni started this year, I realised that I would spend 3 hours on the bus each day, which I thought was reasonable as I imagined myself effectively using the time by 'studying' my notes. Six weeks later however, reality has kicked in- most of my time on the bus is spent doing embarrassing things (like accidentally falling asleep on people and asking the bus driver for a mybus ticket at 7am), while the time spent listening to my iPod during the trips has made me realise that I have incredibly bad taste in music, and as such I have started listening to radio again.

And honestly, with the days getting shorter, which in turn means walking home in the dark and freaking myself out with my own shadow, wouldn't it be nice to come home to a bowl of hot soup? This could be made the day before and reheated when you get home, and ignoring the rather impractical requirement of stirring the onions in this soup for a whole half an hour, I'd say that this recipe could do the trick. Like most of the recipes I use, this came from the Taste website, and was originally published in Super Food Ideas June 2005 by Alison Roberts.

Some of the ingredients used in the soup. Do you like my camera case?

Start off by heating 60g of chopped butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 'heavy based' saucepan on low heat until it starts to gently sizzle. Then, add 1kg of thinly sliced onions and 1 tablespoon of salt and stir until the onions are really soft. The recipe said that it could take up to 50 minutes, but it took me approximately half an hour. Add 2 teaspoons of brown sugar and stir until the onions have caramelised. Then, add 2 tablespoons of plain flour and stir for a further 2 minutes. I found it really important to keep stirring since the onions would leave burnt pieces at the bottom of the saucepan if I left it for a few seconds.

Add 4 cups of beef stock and 2 cups of water. On low heat, let it simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, and then it's ready.

Although this soup took a bit of time and patience to make, I reckon it was worth it. Maybe it wasn't as thick as I had imagined, but the combination of beef stock and onions tasted quite nice, so this is definitely a recipe worth trying if you have the spare time.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Piccolo's Café, Rozelle

We were walking along Darling Street to find more food after visiting the Rozelle Markets, and we eventually stopped outside Piccolo's to have a closer look. Peering through the large front windows, we could see the small but cosy interior, bustling with all types of customers who were digging into their food, drinking their coffee, and chatting their weekend away. So after checking out their menu on the board they had at the front, we asked the friendly waitress whether they had a table for 6, although I prepared myself for a 'no' considering how full the cafe looked from outside.

After popping back inside to check, she comes out again and tells us that they do have seating, and we were then lead to their seating area at the back of the cafe! As we walked to our table, we went past the kitchen and saw the delicious looking food that was being prepared, before it was whisked away to hungry diners. Anyway, I had a quick look on their Facebook page and it turns out that not only did they do work on the cafe earlier this year, but they also catered for Sunrise.

They offer both all day breakfast and lunch menus here, so there's plenty to choose from. But firstly, tea and coffee were ordered, and on our table there were flat whites, lattes, piccolos (hehe that's the cafe's name), and chai tea. Piccolo's Cafe uses a special blend by Toby Estate for their coffee.

The food starts to arrive, and well, with some of us being food bloggers, we look at each other for a second with massive grins before attacking the food...... with our cameras :D

I think everyone will agree with me when I say that the serving sizes here are massive. Take a look at the Piccolo's Big Breakfast, which includes breakfast eggs, bacon, sausages, roasted tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans and toast. I am sad to say that I was defeated by this whopper of a plate.

The Piccolo Brekkie: corn fritters, poached eggs and bacon on sour dough and hollandaise sauce. Just thinking about the combination of eggs, bacon, and fried food makes me hungry.

Marinated Chicken Breast Toasted Turkish, with the camera shy cucumber, sun dried tomatoes, aioli and mixed lettuce hiding between the bread. Although when I think about it, it's probably a good thing that the vegetables are sandwiched in and not spilling everywhere. And now I'm rambling again.....

Polenta Cake, with rocket, roasted tomato, crumbled feta, salmon, and poached eggs with hollandaise sauce.

As far as I know, this wasn't on the menu- it was on the special's board, and I'm not 100% if this is right, but I think this was the Honey Ricotta Crepes.

Generally, food was great, staff were friendly, and I must say that this cafe has a really nice rear timber deck. So if you look inside Piccolo's and see that it's full at the front, don't worry because you'll get the opportunity to sit at the back!