Casa Barilla Welcome Event

I was lucky enough to be asked to join in and become one of the 30 members to be part of the new Casa Barilla community and how could I say no?!

I’ve been using Barilla pastas for awhile now and when I saw the program the team at Casa Barilla had put together for the upcoming twelve weeks, I was super intrigued. Things like mushroom foraging, cheese and pasta making, an Italian culture night and the like were things I’d definitely be keen to participate in.

Come the night of the welcome event, we were greeted with a graze board and some wine. People were given tags to wear, one being the name of a pasta and the other, a sauce whereby they had to find their matching pair.

When it came time to sit down and enjoy a meal together there were goodie bags on each chair containing pastas, an apron, notebook, pasta sauces, tea towel, and cookies.

The first dish we were served was a rigatoni with basil and zucchini pesto, potatoes and green beans. I loved the pesto, it was such a great sauce and the addition of the potatoes were quite nice too as I’ve never had a pasta dish with potatoes in it before (not including gnocchi). They added a really nice touch to the dish, I think I’ll have to try this in the very near future!

Rigatoni

The second dish was the spaghettoni, which had king prawns, tomato, lemon zest and squid ink pangrattato. This dish was absolutely incredible! I didn’t think I would like it as much as I did but it was such a hit that Chef Marcello posted the recipe for it on the Facebook group by demand.

Spaghettoni

Third, we had the casarecce, which had slow cooked pork neck, Pecorino Romano and eschalot braised in balsamic vinegar. Another super tasty dish! The pork was juicy and flavourful, it was hard to stop eating but I needed room for dessert.

Casarecce

The first dessert we had was a Panna Cotta with mandarins and a crumb. It was divine! I honestly wanted to keep eating more but I was so full.

Panna Cotta

The last bit of dessert was a sorbet. Such a good end to the night as it was creamy and refreshing at the same time.

Sorbet

The welcome event was such a great night and I’m looking forward to seeing what the other events will be show casing.

Thank you to Barilla and the team for having me on board this epic food journey!

xX Frankiie

CULINARY CARNIVAL RETURNS IN 2021

Culinary Carnival – the celebration of our City’s international flavours and cuisines – is back to tantalise your tastebuds on Saturday, 29 May.

This year’s event will be different than previous years to ensure the health and wellbeing of all visitors. Instead of one centralised location, the festival will be spread throughout the Fairfield City Centre, encouraging visitors to explore the array of cuisines on offer and support local businesses.

The main hub of activity will be a food tasting extravaganza, with FREE sample dishes provided by participating restaurants and food vendors in the city centre from 11am-2pm or until stocks last. From there, visitors are encouraged to explore nearby streets and visit the businesses to satisfy their appetites, enjoy the roaming street performances, check out the kids cooking workshops and enjoy free family activities in Epoch and Thomas Ware Plazas.

Kids will be taught to make tabouli, tortilla, and dessert fruit donuts at the FREE kids cooking workshops. Kids will pick fresh ingredients from the garden and be shown how to prepare the ingredients for a tasty meal or snack. Registration to the workshops is required – visit Fairfield City Council web page for updates on registrations closer to the date.

Fairfield City Mayor Frank Carbone said Fairfield City Centre is famous for its rich variety of flavours from around the world.

“Everywhere you turn in Fairfield City Centre, you can find an exciting meal or delicious snack to enjoy,” Mayor Carbone said.

“More than 107,000 people currently living in Fairfield City were born overseas, with residents hailing from more than 104 different nations. We are privileged that so many brought with them the authentic tastes and flavours to share with our City.

“As one of the most multicultural cities in Australia, I look forward to celebrating our rich heritage with each other and all of Sydney.

“I encourage everyone to come down and discover a whole world of flavours available from restaurants and businesses in Fairfield City Centre on Saturday, 29 May.”

Follow us on Facebook or visit http://www.fairfieldcity.nsw.gov.au/culinarycarnival for updates and details.

Culinary Carnival in Spencer Street Fairfield, 2014

Culinary Carnival

When: Saturday, 29 May 2021, 11am-3pm

Where: Fairfield City Centre Details: http://www.fairfieldcity.nsw.gov.au/culinarycarnival

@discoverfairfield #CulinaryCarnival

Frankiie xX

Festive Afternoon Tea at The Fullerton Hotel

Our first high tea of the year was at the Fullerton Hotel which was previously The Westin. We had a lot of fond memories of The Westin as one of our favourite high teas was there – Alice in Wonderland, so we were excited to see how this one would compare.

As you enter the hotel and head towards The Bar, you are greeted with a gorgeous Christmas tree made up of over 500 Santa bears.

We had the Festive High Tea which was $78.00 per person and it came with bottomless tea and coffee.

The savoury tier consisted of Tasmanian salmon with tsuyu and ginger flakes, roasted beetroot and goats cheese tartlets, salted butter and cucumber sandwiches, chicken and lemon myrtle in charcoal buns, Singapore chilli crab rillettes with sourdough crostini, and last but not least, free range egg and chive sandwiches.

My favourite out of the savoury pieces would have to have been the Singapore chilli crab rillettes. It was super flavoursome and not as chilli as I expected but the salted butter and cucumber sandwich came in at a very close second.

The sweet tier had a Christmas wreath made of pistachio savarin and yuzu pistachio rocher, a toadstool made of chestnut cremeux and almond financier, a snowman macaron made of speculoos ganache and cranberry chutney, a bauble made of blueberry mousse and passionfruit crunch, a Christmas stamp made of bergamot and raspberry tart, and then a black forest verrine.

My favourite piece out of the sweets was definitely the toadstool! The chestnut creme reminded me of a delicious flavoured spread I used to be able to buy from Haigh’s.

After you finish your two tiers, you’re presented with some plain and date scones. These are just the perfect size so as to not tip you over the edge of fullness.

Another great thing about this high tea is that you get unlimited tea so you can try all of the flavours!

We only managed to try two flavours each because we didn’t want to fill up on tea but that was more than enough. They have quite a nice selection so if you go with a couple of people each person can order something different and share.

Hope you guys get to visit and try it out.

Frankiie xX

Lazy Bakr

When you hear the name Lazy Bakr you wouldn’t think of baked goods that look like they’ve taken hours to make but in fact, it’s the total opposite!

Fresh out of high school and straight into the competitive world of baking and cake decorating, Catherine sets herself apart from the rest of the pack by creating edible masterpieces.

The layered choc cake consist of 12 layers of delicious goodness – chocolate sponge and chocolate ganache frosting topped with fresh strawberries, raspberry hazelnut chocolate and gold leaf.

As you can see, hours of love and time has been put into this cake. Delicate intricacies create such a beautiful end result.

It’s only a small portion so won’t last long but it definitely keeps well in the fridge. I kept it for around two days before it was eaten – mainly because I had two other desserts which I had received beforehand and were getting through but also because I wanted to share it with some visitors I had on the weekend.

I was expecting it to be a bit stale by the time it was eaten but it was still moist and flavoursome. It also kept its shape and none of strawberries had wrinkled yet which was a good sign considering it had been continuous days of scorching heat.

So go out and grab yourself a cake from the Lazy Bakr!

xX Frankiie

Chivalry and Delivery

If you haven’t heard about Chivalry and Delivery you need to check them out asap!

They specialise in hampers of all sorts and are a sure way to win brownie points with those you love.

Their Christmas Entertainer is the perfect gift for this holiday season. It’s sure to drop jaws and bring tears to the eyes with its beautiful presentation and contents.

This lovely hamper comes with a cheese board, nut bowl, Egyptian dukkah from Thistle Be Good, quince paste from Maggie Beer, mighty macadamia and wattleseed flavoured chocolate block from Koko Black, wafer thin crackers from Natural Falwasser, caramelised balsamic vinegar and roasted garlic infused virgin olive oil from tar 10, and roasted macadamias from Wondaree Macadamia.

As you can see all of their products are Aussie which is a great way to help support your local and give back during these hard times.

Who honestly would not want to receive something so beautiful?! I almost cried when the delivery guy brought it to the front door.

Having tried everything edible, I can safely say that each and every product gets a thumbs up from me.

Koko Black is one of my favourite chocolate brands so I was super happy to see a block in the hamper. The flavour of the macadamia and wattleseed was something I hadn’t tried before and was quite yummy.

The salted macadamias from Wondaree had just the right amount of salt on them, making them taste slightly different from your average macadamia.

The roasted garlic infused olive oil was so good mixed in with the Egyptian dukkah. Dip your crackers in the oil then straight into the dukkah and you have yourself a flavoursome treat.

The quince paste also goes really well with the crackers. Add some brie or Camembert and you have yourself a yummy snack which will leave you wanting more.

The caramelised balsamic vinegar mixes in well with the olive oil. Pour a bit of the oil first then the vinegar and you’ve got yourself a potion to strengthen your immune system. Yes, that’s right! Mixing these two together creates an antioxidant that helps reduce the risk of heart attacks. Don’t believe me, Google it!

Not only do Chivalry and Delivery bring you the best of the best, they also have your health in mind. Eat this delish concoction with some cherry tomatoes and a hard cheese of your choice and you’ve got another delish snack.

Now your cheese board is one which is just the right size. It’s not as heavy as you may think but is quite the durable entertainer.

Thank you to Chivalry and Delivery for such an awesome kit of goodies and for making entertaining life so easy.

Jump on their website and have a sticky beak at all of the different things they offer. If you can’t make up your mind you can always make your own!

Frankiie xX

La Mono Merrylands

So I have driven past this place at least a thousand times and have finally stopped by to try it out.

Why I waited so long, I have no idea. There’s always something happening on the weekend, during the week I tend to cook and whenever I’ve driven past it’s to go and visit my parents. It’s been on the list for awhile now so when they reached out and invited me to try some of their dishes I couldn’t say no.

Located on the corner of Burnett and Chester Streets, you can’t miss it. There’s a big smiling Santa strategically placed out the front inviting anyone who goes past to come inside and stuff their face with delicious Lebanese eats.

They may specialise in charcoal chicken but there is much more to their menu. They even have quite a few vegetarian dishes and have a load of dessert!

We started off with the cauliflower which had a tahini sauce in the middle. This was definitely one of my favourites. It was flavoursome and had a nice char flavour to the cauliflower.

Cauliflower $12.00

We also had a hommus dip which was made with chickpeas, blended with tahini and lemon juice. It had a generous amount of olive oil in the middle and went really well with all of the other dishes we had.

Hommus Dip $9.50

The fattoush salad was amazing! It was served in a basket of fried bread and had lettuce, tomato, cucumber, radish, parsley, onion, shallots and mint. Dressed in lemon juice, pomegranate and olive oil, it’s definitely one to order.

Fattoush Salad $9.50

The cheese sumbusik is one for everyone. Fetta and oregano wrapped in pastry, it is generously filled and so easy to eat!

Cheese Sumbusik $9.00

Their signature chicken with chips, hummus and tabouli is no disappointment. It is flavoursome and juicy and the chips were also right on point.

1/4 Chicken with Chips, Hummus and Tabouli $19.00

The shish kebab roll has charcoal lamb, lettuce, tomato, cooked onion and pickles. The lamb was cooked well and the salad made it really light to eat.

Shish Kebab Roll $10.50

Their char grilled chicken burger is one for the spice lovers. It has char grilled chicken, lettuce, tomato and La Mono sauce. This has a nice kick to it and is sure to make you want more.

Char Grilled Chicken Burger $8.50

For drinks I had the lemon and mint which is perfect in the hot weather we’ve been having lately. Super refreshing, it leaves you with a cleansed palate after each sip.

Lemon and Mint Drink $8.50

The XXX cocktail is a layered drink containing avocado, strawberry, tropical and mango flavours. It’s always a spin out when I discover avocado in a drink that’s not Asian. This one was actually done well!

XXX Cocktail $15.00

The strawberry cocktail was made of strawberry and banana which made it nice and thick. This could be a meal on its own as it’s quite filling.

Strawberry Cocktail $15.00 (left) and Chocolate Sundae $12.50 (right)

For dessert we had a chocolate Sundae which was just like a traditional one with layers of chocolate ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate sauce. It definitely gets a thumbs up!

The Nutella crepe also hit the spot. Filled with strawberries and banana, a generous amount of Nutella and servedwith a side of vanilla ice cream. It’s definitely a go to!

Nutella Crepe $16.00

I’m bummed that I hadn’t visited this place earlier as I’ll definitely be going back!

Have you been to one of the stores before? How does it compare to the the one at Merrylands?

Frankiie xX

Avenue 22 BBQ

Vegans and vegetarians look away because Avenue 22 don’t shy away from a good slab of meat. They specialise in low and slow American style smoked meats and are ahead of the game despite not being on the scene for as long as others in the same field.

First of all, their briskets have the perfect smoke ring! For those of you not familiar with this barbecue term, it’s that area of pink colour near the surface of the meat only achieved by having both moisture and a low and slow temperature while cooking. These guys definitely have it down pat. The brisket is juicy and tender – definitely masters of their trade!

Second, their short ribs are another level. Again with the perfect smoke ring and a crust of dark bark. These babies are thick yet juicy af and definitely not lacking in flavour. They fall off the bone whilst using plastic cutlery – what more can you ask for?!

Mixed plate $45.00

If you can’t decide on what to order, the mixed plate is definitely the way to go. It comes with wagyu brisket, beef rib, bread, slaw, pickles and homemade bbq sauce.

That homemade bbq sauce is amazing. It’s sweet with a bit of a kick, the perfect thing to dunk your already tasty meat into. These guys need to start selling this by the bucket load!

The sides they offer are also really tasty and compliment the meat. They have mac n cheese and corn pudding to choose from. Both are equally as good and will leave you wanting more.

Mac n cheese $5.00 and corn salad $5.00

Have I twisted your arm yet?

We drove all the way here in over 40 degree heat to try it out and were definitely not disappointed. We are already planning our next visit!

Help support this small business by feeding your meat cravings. When you take that first bite you’ll see why I’m raving on about this place. You can thank me later.

Frankiie xX

Brownies by U

Brownies by U may not have been around for very long but new or not they know how to play the brownie game.

Layer upon layer of delicious, sweet goodness, a bite of one of these babies is enough to put you into a dessert lovers comatose sending you to dessert heaven.

Being able to customise your brownie with all the bits and pieces you want is the whole appeal. Don’t like something? No problem, don’t add it. You can pretty much build this baby into a mountain only found in chocolate dreams.

Starting off with the base. You have options of Oreo, Tim Tams, Scotch Fingers, Mint Slice, chocolate chips, caramel popcorn, Biscoff popcorn, Nutella popcorn, and Lotus spread. Which to choose?! I went with our local Aussie fave, Tim Tams.

Next you have the spread. Choices are Nutella, Biscoff, strawberry jam, peanut butter, white chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, Caramilk, and salted caramel. I chose Nutella of course.

Now for the brownie! They’ve got milk chocolate, dark chocolate, espresso, red velvet, Caramilk, peppermint, and Cherry Ripe. I opted for the traditional milk chocolate just so I can rate it against other hyped up places like Tee Lish.

Then there’s the toppings. The list includes white choc chips, milk choc chips, dark choc chips, shredded coconut, marshmallows, and the to trio drizzle which consists of milk, dark and white chocolate! I chose white choc chips.

Last but not least are the add ons. Now this is where you can go wild! The list is huge. You’ve got shredded coconut, white choc chips, dark choc chips, marshmallows, the trio drizzle, Oreo (crumbed or chopped), Mint Slice (crumbed or chopped), Nutella spread, Biscoff spread, caramel spread, Caramilk spread, caramel popcorn, chopped snickers, chopped Mars bars, chopped Bounty, chopped Twix, chopped Twirl, chopped Crunchie, chopped Flake, chopped Picnic, chopped Cherry Ripe, chopped Tim Tams, chopped Kit Kat, chopped Maltesers, edible gold foil, peanut or original M&M’s, assorted lollies, original Bueno, white Bueno, and mixed fresh berries.

I went with the chopped Snickers and Twix with a helping of chocolate sauce drizzled on top.

How amazing does this thing sound and look?! As soon as you lift the lid of the box, you can smell the chocolate. I was honestly staring at the thing the whole way home. I almost didn’t manage a picture without eating it!

Four layers of sweetness and it did not disappoint at all. I’m now obsessed and admittedly, have been eating away at the slab for breakfast and afternoon tea! I love how it has multiple layers. The crispness of the base, the gooeyness of the spread, the softness of the brownie and the novelty of the toppings.

You guys have to order your own customised brownie and see for yourself. Send them a DM on Instagram to order. Their handle is browniesbyu.

Frankiie xX

Chir Chir

Chir Chir is a Korean food chain specialising in all types of fried chicken.

You’ll find a range of crispy, spicy, garlicky and somewhere in-between chicken dishes which all look super appealing. Bring your appetites as they serve quite generous portions!

The New Orleans wings was something I really wanted to try, which were grilled wings served on a bed of cheesy corn rice. They were sweet and spicy with a bit of a bite.

The cheesy corn rice went so well with the chicken and is so tasty. I would definitely recommend trying this dish out if you can!

New Orleans Wings $26.80

The Honey Butter Chicken were pieces that were bigger than popcorn chicken but smaller than chicken nuggets. Served with chopped up pieces of fried rice cake, hot chips, sultanas, and a sprinkling of icing sugar, it was something different and quite easy to eat because the chicken was nice and moist. The honey butter was quite subtle and not too overpowering allowing you to eat more without getting sick of it.

Honey Butter Chicken $26.80

The fried rice cakes are so good! Make sure you ask for an extra serving of condensed milk as it runs out quick.

I’ve never had anything quite like these before but they are quite yummy and super soft. To me they were like fried mochi fingers – so good!

Fried Rice Cake $7.50

For drinks we had the peach soju and lychee lime fizz.

The peach soju is 12% alcohol but is quite a clean drink. It doesn’t have that burn after you swallow and has such a nice flavour.

Peach Soju $14.00

The lychee lime fizz is definitely one for those with a sweet tooth. It’s nice and refreshing and leaves you wanting more.

Lychee Lime Fizz $8.80

You can find these guys at Burwood so please go and check them out as they seriously make a mean chicken dish!

xX Frankiie

The Hideout Cafe

The Hideout Cafe is a hidden gem in Toongabbie. If you’re not from the area, it is highly recommended that you take a trek over to try the food.

They have a wide variety of items on their menu and an array of cakes and pastries strategically displayed to catch your eye at the front counter.

It’s always hard to choose a few dishes but we managed to go for the Lebanese big brekky. It comes with two fried eggs, Lebanese sausages, homemade labneh (this is a yoghurt cheese), kalamata olives, cucumber, tomato and Lebanese bread.

Lebanese Big Brekky $22.00

Everything on the plate was delicious. The Lebanese bread was the perfect piece to pair with everything included or just to be creative and make a wrap.

Eggs benedict was another menu item we ordered. It came with a toasted English muffin topped with avocado, wilted spinach, smoked salmon, two poached eggs and a creamy hollandaise sauce.

Eggs Benedict $17.90

The poached eggs were nice and runny and the hollandaise sauce had a really nice flavour to it.

A little something for those wanting a healthier option is the mango and lychee smoothie bowl which comes with a mango, lychee and banana blend, topped with shredded coconut, chia seeds and fresh fruit.

Mango and Lychee Smoothie Bowl $14.90

This to me was heaven in a bowl! I’m not the biggest fan of bananas or coconut but everything on here went really, really well together, not to mention that mango and lychee are two of my fave fruits which made it even better.

One thing you must try is the oregano and cheese pizza. This honestly is the BEST one I’ve ever had and I’ve had quite a few from various places.

Oregano and Cheese Pizza $4.50

It may not look like anything special from the picture but it honestly is the most amazing thing ever. If I could only eat one thing for rest of my life, it would be this!!! The base was soft but the crust had just the right amount of crunch and the topping was the perfect ratio of oregano to cheese.

For drinks we had the lemon and mint crush, and a Tim Tam thickshake.

Lemon and Mint Crush $8.50 and Tim Tam Thickshake $8.50

The lemon and mint crush was nice and refreshing while the Tim Tam thickshake was enough to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Hubby also ordered a long black which was made of a nice blend.

Long Black $5.00

These guys seem to be a hit with the locals and was buzzing with customers.

We dined as guests with a $60 credit. We went a bit over because we like to at least give back a bit to the places we get invited to.

This is one to put on the list – what would you like to try off the menu?

xX Frankiie