Saturday, 31 January 2015

Kingsland Vegan Restaurant

Question: So, where is a great restaurant in Canberra that has a wide selection of dishes to suit a vegetarian? 
Answer:  A vegan restaurant!

So tonight, we went to Kingsland, a vegan restaurant in the heart of Dickson.

Our vegetarian daughter proclaimed "I can eat everything!!". And so the decisions began of what to try on this, our first visit.

A couple of entrees to whet our appetites. We chose two to try a couple of flavours. We had the crispy wontons (6 in a serve) which were crispy, crunchy, light and flavoursome.

We also got a serve (3 in a serve) of the sweet potato cakes which were studded with peanuts and deep fried. Thin, nutty and served with a sweet honey sauce. What a great way to begin.

Next we chose three mains.
Tofu hot pot, which came out steaming nestled inside a black clay pot. 

Our second main was a 'duck' dish (all the 'meats' are mock meat).  Roast duck, which was presented beautifully and had a wonderful texture and flavour.

Our third main was sweet and sour pork. Now this was my favourite! Sweet flavour, just the right amount of sour tang, juicy pineapple pieces in the mix, and crunchy capsicum.

The final course was dessert, and yes we indulged. 
Banana Nirvana - mine was with vanilla ice cream, topped with pure maple syrup (pictured). Our daughter got the same dish, but with chocolate ice cream and chocolate topping.

Hubby tried the sago pudding, which came dotted with red beans. Light, creamy and the beans really enhanced the flavour.

All up, the cost was really really reasonable. $80 was our total. Now that covered 2 entrees, 3 mains, 3 serves of plain rice, 3 desserts, tea and 2 soft drinks. Not bad at all for dinner out for 3 adults. 

Kingsland Vegan Restaurant, 5/28 Challis Street Dickson.
Ph 6262 9350
Lunch - Wed-Sat; 12pm - 2.30pm
Dinner - Tue-Sun; 5pm - 10pm

Lotus Bay Restaurant

For our 'once every couple of months catch up' the girls and I went to the Lotus Bay Restaurant, which is part of the Canberra Southern Cross Club's Yacht Club venue in Yarralumla.  The last time we were all here was for the Chef's Signature dinner, back in August last year which was a really fabulous night. Check out my review of that dinner.

My friend Cheryl had last been to this restaurant on Australia Day, so she knew what their new summer menu had to offer. Jeanette and I had perused the menu online beforehand so we pretty much knew what we wanted!

Starters for me was a cocktail - a Midori Splice.  A very nice way to finish up the working week. Malibu, Midori, pineapple juice and cream. Great tasting (like a liquid splice ice cream bar), and great value ($9).

Next was the mains. We knew we all wanted dessert, so opted for main + dessert. Selected was beer battered flathead, chicken and prawn ballotine, and (pictured) pan seared Tasmanian ocean trout.

We pretty much all cleaned our plates. Jeanette politely asked for a piece of bread (to sup up the lovely sauce on her chicken ballotine) and was presented with a dainty bread roll and butter - which was gratis (nice!).

Next up was dessert.  There were a few choices to pick from, but we all opted for something lightish.  Two serves of the mango parfait, which actually came out in a deconstructed fashion...

...and my pick of the gelato. Three scoops in the one glass, which I would have preferred separated on a long plate, just so the flavours didn't meld together. The flavours for the night were:  mint, raspberry, and toffee with walnuts. All the flavours though were very nice.

Coffee to finish, and batch of three horseshoe shortbread (also gratis!) to end the night.

Check out their current summer menu.

Pros:  Great food, innovative flavour combinations, friendly service, value for money, waterfront view
Cons: Lack of parking

Bookings: 6273 1784

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Veggie Swapping

There is nothing better than when your neighbour asks "do you like zucchinis? because we have too many".  Score! Apparently my neighbours vegetable garden is cropping zucchinis like crazy, but their tomatoes have yet to ripen.  My reply, "I sure do, would you like some tomatoes?". My tomatoes have been cropping for weeks, and I had excess.  "Yes please!".

And so the vegetables were swapped.

I love being able to share produce with others. If it doesn't happen with your neighbour, try your workmates, or friends and family. Fresh, free, quality produce is always greatly received.

So, what to do with the 4 large green and gold zucchinis?  Zucchini boats, filled with a little bolognaise sauce and generously topped with cheese.
Pre oven >

Post oven >

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Hot Cross Buns

Well the lid has hardly closed on the Christmas decorations box, when loh and behold Hot Cross Buns have started to appear in the supermarkets.  I swear their appearance gets earlier each year. Next year, I dare say we'll see them appear on Boxing Day.

Well here was a chance to put my New Year's resolution of more home cooking to the test... and bake some myself.  Let me say they were pretty darn good. Even if I didn't have the patience to make up the crosses to bake on top.  The addition of chopped up dates to the dough was sensational, and they kind of oozed out when baked. Delicious.

One disturbing thing though... was one bun looked decidedly evil. The fruit placement was purely random, I swear!!

Meet Mr Evil bun:

The recipe I followed was off the Slow Cooker Central website, a site born from the Facebook group Slow Cooking Recipes 4 Families started by Pauline Christie. This FB page has nearly 300,000 members! I adapted the recipe for a regular oven, as I (nay, really my husband) didn't have the patience to wait for the slow cooker!!

Happy baking!
Kirsty xx

Friday, 2 January 2015

In My Kitchen - January 2015

My kitchen! Well, my investment house kitchen. The 30 year old kitchen was well overdue for a makeover. Now the fun starts choosing a design, cupboard profiles and colours.

In my kitchen... I made gift baskets for neighbours and colleagues, filled with biscotti and fudge. It was my first time making biscotti, and it turned out a treat. I think my oven was too high for the first bake, hence the cracked 'loaves'. Any biscotti making tips are welcomed : ) 

It wouldn't be Christmas without a good old mince tart. I think we tried about 5 different ones this year, and these ones from the CRFM in Canberra were just lovely.

I finally cracked open my 'Christmas melon', aka a piel de sapo, about a week before Christmas. It was finally ripe, mildly sweet, and had pale green flesh. Similar taste to a honeydew, but didn't have the sweet-in-your-face punch. I wouldn't say I'd go out of my way to pick one up again, but my curiosity was satisfied!

Continuing the fresh food theme... I vow in 2015 that I will shop more at local markets, local butchers, and fruit and veg stores. The quality of the produce for sale from 'the big 2' supermarkets just doesn't cut it for me anymore. Plus I don't know where my supermarket fruit and veg comes from, nor how far it has flown, or if its been in cold storage for extended period. Here are cherries and plums we bought at the Sunday 'trash n treasure' markets in Macquarie ACT, straight from the farmer.  

In my outdoor kitchen... my fruit and veg patch is thundering along. I ignored it for a couple of weeks in December and found my tomato plants nearly doubled in height and my tiny spindly sugar snap pea seedlings had grown into a lively bush, with their tendrils outstretched and cuddling the capsicums!

In my kitchen... is locally made saffron. I couldn't believe saffron is grown and produced in Bungendore. The producer is Windview Farm

So, what's happening in your kitchen? 
Pop over to Celia's blog, Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, to join in the In My Kitchen (IMK) series, and sneak a peek into kitchens from all over the world.  

Happy New Year everyone!