January 29, 2013

Saigon Hill, Castle Hill

Along Terminus Avenue Castle Hill you will find a number of restaurants. Though many look dated there are some great restaurants serving up good, inexpensive food, Saigon Hill is one of these restaurants.

Arriving just before 8pm on Friday to a half full room my husband and I were able to secure a table without a booking.

Feeling like a healthy fresh meal to start we ordered prawn and pork rice paper rolls followed by a duck curry, tamarind salmon stir fry and boiled rice.

We were satisfied with our meals, the rice paper rolls were nice and fresh, the duck meat was delicious and the salmon was fantastic, the only thing I could fault was the chilli in the duck curry which I guess I have to expect in a curry.


Service is good the staff are polite and the meals are served within a reasonable timeframe, the meals are well priced, most dishes are under $20 and if you wish to bring a bottle of wine the restaurant is BYO. If you have an entertainment book you will find a 25% voucher.

Overall I rate Saigon Hill 7.5/10, if you are in the area you should give it a try!





January 26, 2013

Happy Australia Day - Lamingtons!

Happy Australia Day! I hope you are having a great day and celebrating being Australian! To celebrate I will be having a snag cooked on the bbq for lunch, with plenty of onion and tomato sauce!

Yesterday at work to get into the spirit we were allowed to dress down i.e. board shorts and thongs and had a Aussie afternoon tea. I don't own board shorts so I wore a casual white dress however I participated in afternoon tea by making lamingtons and eating other Aussie snacks my collegues prepared such as mini pavlovas, ham, cheese and pineapple toasted sandwiches and Australian shaped Shapes.

Lamington's aren't too complicated to make however can be messy, to save time you can purchase an already made sponge cake and coat pieces in chocolate icing and coconut or you can purchase lamingtons already prepared saving you time and mess! I love the lamington cakes filled with cream and jam that you can buy from supermarkets and bakeries!

I decided to be creative and make them from scratch following a recipe from taste.com.au.

 Ingredients:
  • 125g butter, softened
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups desiccated coconut

Icing

  • 3 1/2 cups icing sugar mixture
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup boiling water

Method 

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Grease a 3cm-deep, 20cm x 30cm (base) lamington pan. Line with baking paper, leaving a 2cm overhang on all sides. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition (mixture may curdle).
  2. Sift half the flour over butter mixture. Stir to combine. Add half the milk. Stir to combine. Repeat with remaining flour and milk. Spoon into prepared pan. Smooth top. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in centre comes out clean. Stand in pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack. Cover with a clean tea towel. Set aside overnight.


  3. Make icing: Sift icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl. Add butter and boiling water. Stir until smooth.

  4. Cut cake into 15 pieces. Place coconut in a dish. Using a fork, dip 1 piece of cake in icing. Shake off excess. Toss in coconut. Place on a wire rack over a baking tray. Repeat with remaining cake, icing and coconut. Stand for 2 hours or until set. Serve.

I made the sponge on Wednesday, coated the sponge pieces on Thursday and ate them on Friday. The sponge was still moist and spongy so don't be scared to pre prepare the sponge.

Enjoy!

Fizzy-pink-lemonade xo

January 14, 2013

Cupcakes

Cupcakes! Yum who doesn't enjoy a cupcake? Cupcakes take me back to my childhood, growing up my mum was always baking my brothers and I cupcakes, her favourite cupcake must have been the butterfly cupcake as I can't count the number of times they were baked for us to enjoy.

My favourite cupcake is the traditional vanilla topped with butter cream, yesterday I made approx 35 vanilla cupcakes for a surprise baby shower. I must have been in a super creative mood as I surprised myself with various toppings I created.

If you are wanting to bake vanilla cupcakes with butter cream I recommend the below recipe by the Woman's Weekly.

Vanilla cupcake
1 cup (150g) self raising flour
90g softened butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp milk

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees/160 degrees fan forced. Line eight holes of 12 muffin pan with paper cases.
2. Sift flour into small bowl, add butter, extract, sugar, eggs and milk; beat with electric mixer on low speed until ingredients are combined. Increase speed to medium; beat until mixture is changed to a paler colour.
3. Drop 1/4 cup of mixture into cases. Bake about 20 minutes. Stand cakes 5 minutes before turning top side up onto wire rack to cool.

Butter cream icing
125g butter softened
1 1/2 cup (240g) icing sugar
2 tbsp milk

1. Beat butter in small bowl with electric mixer until as white as possible; beat in sifted icing sugar and milk in two batches.

Note: The above quantities make approx 8 large cupcakes and 1 3/4 cup icing.







January 12, 2013

The weekend is here!

The weekend is here and Sydney is sweltering! My day has been busy first weighing in at weight watchers, followed by coffee with my parents, grocery shopping and a trip into the city.
Wearing a cute gingham yellow cotton dress and some comfy flats I have been enjoying some 'me' time window shopping and eating.
For lunch I headed to westfield level 5 I was amazed the food court is great, yes it is a step above your average food court and much pricer however the variety is amazing!
I ended up ordering pork and prawn dumplings from Din Thai Fung followed by frozen yoghurt at yoghurt world which is where I currently am.
Anyway I hope you are all having a great weekend, I have finished my coconut frozen yoghurt so I better go!
Fizzy pink lemonade xo

January 2, 2013

Crowne Plaza - Coogee Bay

Recently my husband and i joined Crowne plaza priority privileges program wanting to make the most of the $299 annual program we decided to start using the benefits that members are entitled to by booking a one night get away.

We decided to stay at Coogee bay as we had never stayed there before, it was close to the beach and only a 1 hour drive.

I was pleasantly surprised when after a search on my favourite online travel websites the 25% voucher we received as members resulted in a $90 saving, I was further surprised with a complimentary upgrade we received when we checked in.

The hotel is a little dated however it is conveniently located across from the beach and is close to coogee bay hotel and a number of cafes and restaurants, our room was a moderate size and faced the beach, to our left was the hotel pool which wasn't that large.

Prior to our stay we picked up a cold which was a shame as we didn't have the energy to do all the things that we wanted to do. During our stay we managed to have a quick bite at the beach burrito company, go to the beach, eat cheese and crackers and drink wine, eat dinner at a local cafe and enjoy a gelato from gelatissimo.

This morning we ate breakfast at the hotel. I have stayed at several Crowne plaza hotels and rank Coogee buffet breakfast #3. Crowne plaza Hunter Valley is by far the best with Terrigal closely behind. Despite the third ranking I must admit the eggs benedict was fantastic, the muffin was nicely toasted the ham was thinly sliced and the egg was cooked to perfection.

To burn off breakfast we walked from Coogee to Clovelly and back to Coogee which took 1 1/2 hours. The walk was great, the scenery was beautiful, as it was overcast and there was a breeze it wasn't too hot. By time we got back we only had time for a shower before a late 1pm checkout. Overall I rate Crowne plaza coogee 3.75/5 I would stay there again, I thought the complimentary magazines to take the beach were great however I felt the $25 parking fee was too much for hotel guests.