30 July 2011

Taste Test: Madam Char Char catering of Pork Roast and sides (16 July 2011)

285a Crown Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010

Bringing sexy (roasts) back!

Thanks to Damien aka Damo from Madam Char Char for providing me a Pork Roast ($95, serves 12-15 people), Jumbo sized salad ($85, serves 20-25 people) and Roasted Vegetables ($20, 2 large containers) to taste test with a few friends. The pork roast was well-wrapped in a huge amount of foil which probably could have been reshaped as a NASA satellite. The meat was tender and moist as hoped although the highly anticipated pork crackling even though tasty with fennel seeds could have been more a lot crunchy in parts. So I cut it away from the meat and placed it under a hot griller for few extra minutes making it perfectly crunchy to everyones liking. The pork roast came with a large container of apple sauce which was good but way too much. Not wanting to waste it I ended up making some cocktails with it which worked out really well. There was also a lot of gravy left over but no one seemed keen for a gravy cocktail. I think the size of the pork roast could have fed about 15-18 people quite comfortably unless they're all footballers or gym junkies.

The jumbo sized salad was massive for my group of only 12 people which could have feed at least twice as many as found out so there was plenty of left overs. It included three types of salads all combined in the one container but my preference would have been if they were supplied separately. I really enjoyed the Smashed potato salad with soft egg, crispy bacon, crunchy gherkins and aioli. The Roasted vegetables ($10 per large container) were popular although one container might have been just enough for my group but kept well as leftovers. If slow pork belly isn't quite your thing then apparently they also can cook a 7 hour slow boneless leg of lamb with pan juices or 12 hour braised beef blade with horseradish cream but be sure to order 24 hours in advance. There's also plenty of other interesting salads and side options to choose from the extensive catering menu online.

Other visits to Madam Char Char:
16 July 2011 - Pork roast catering with salad and roasted vegetables
13 Nov 2010 - Roast chicken and salad

PROS: No need to cook and prepare food to impress your friends, Delivery was on time, Interesting salads with flavour, Tender and moist pork roast meat
CONS: Crackling could have been much crunchier but after grilling separately turned out excellent, Would have preferred salads to be divided into separate containers rather than provided all together, Oversupply of gravy and apple sauce
MUST TRY: Using up the apple sauce to make cocktails

Madam Char Char catering delivery of pork roast ($95), jumbo salad ($85), roasted vegetables ($20) and delivery ($30)

Pork roast ($95, serves 12-15 people)

Salads: Quinoa, with chickpeas, roast eggplant, toasted nuts and basil; Smashed potato salad with soft egg, crispy bacon, crunchy gherkins and aioli, Peas and Beans with currants, pinenuts, za’atar and feta ($85, serves 20-25 people)

Roasted vegetables ($10 per large container)

Tahini dressing and Black olive dressing included with salad

Apple sauce included with pork roast

Making the pork crackling better
Cut off pork crackling, place under griller with maybe a bit of extra salt and cook on high for about 10 minutes until perfectly crunchy

Some extra time under the griller makes it all worthwhile

Super crunchy pork crackling the way Mother Nature intended

Making cocktails from apple sauce
Leftover apple sauce being used to make cocktails

Apple Cocktail made with blended apple sauce, ice, Balibu and Barcadi

Apple & Strawberry Mocktail made with blended fresh strawberry, apple sauce, apple & mango juice and ice

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Café Cre Asion: Macarons, Sydney (29 July 2011)

21 Alberta Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Macarons back on sweet agenda

Just when you thought the macaron frenzy had settled down a bit it seems the 5 week old Café Cre Asion has sparked another resurgence in the back lanes of Sydney next door to Berta. Although I’m sure for some they simply can’t get enough of the little sweet treats brought to fame by Adriano 'Freakin' Zumbo. The Japanese owner Yu is teamed up with two other polite and accommodating chaps who seem to be constantly busy with a steady stream of customers wanting their sugar and caffeine hits.

I was hoping to try the lemonade macaron which was recommended by Chocolatesuze but unfortunately they’d sold out along with a few other popular flavours. The only way to secure your favourite macaron flavour is to get in early. Most of the macarons seem to be familiar flavours with a few interesting ones thrown in the mix like yuzo and avocado. The Heart of Food and Phuoc'n Delicious seemed to enjoy them when I fortunately popped in around the same time. My Plum Wine macaron ($2.70) was quite good but I enjoyed the richly flavoured Blood Orange macaron ($2.70) even better. The macarons are quite petit in size compared to most I’ve seen around town but their flavours, texture and quality seem to be very popular amongst the locals which pick them up by the box full.

PROS: Interesting flavoured macarons, Polite and welcoming service which I hope will continue when they get crazy popular, Take away available and slight discount on boxes of 8 and 16, Black charcoal filtered table water
CONS: Very low and limited seating which I seemed to keep tripping over, Not much space to queue except out the door, Tiny tables don’t allow much space for your coffee and macarons
MUST TRY: Other flavours and the coffee next visit, Apparently they promote themselves as making good sandwiches too
WORTH TRYING: Blood Orange macaron and any other flavour that tickles your fancy

Blood Orange macaron ($2.70), Plum Wine macaron ($2.70)

Owner Yu (middle) with cafe team

Macaron window display

Choc Salty Balls and Lemon Pistachio Choco Balls

Cakes and biscuits

Oracle Organic juices and Cape Grim natural water

Trading hours

Macaron Price List: Single at $2.70 each, 8 at $2.625 each, 16 at $2.50 each

Sandwich menu

Mr bread sign

Drink menu

Phuoc'n Delicious and The Heart of Food taking some Cre Asion photos

Available seating options

Charcoal filtered table water and cookbooks

Open kitchen

2nd visit – 2 August 2011
Full display of macarons

Vanilla, Caramel, Coffee, Cranberry macarons

Cassis, Strawberry Milk, Dark Chocolate, Pistachio macarons

Dear Chris, Yuzu, Blood Orange, Rum Rasiin, Green Tea macarons

Yuzu macaron ($2.70) was quite lemon citrus in taste and rather nice, Dear Chris macaron ($2.70) was nicely flavoured and my preferred one today

Cappuccino ($3.50) — nice roasty flavour without being too bitter, well presented and reminded me of Cafe Ish

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Cafe Cre Asion on Urbanspoon

28 July 2011

Capilano Honey Shotz (20 July 2011)

A shot of honey

I'm not exactly sure which showbag the Capilano Honey Shotz satchets came from when I visited the Good Food & Wine Show 2011 but I found them a pretty handy item for my breakfast muffin at work. No need for a knife or spoon, just simply squeeze and you got enough honey to pour over a muffin or piece of toast. Although you could also use the upside down squeezy honey bottles without the need of cutlery. I guess a handy item for travelling, taking on a picnic or even having with your peppermint tea perhaps. The only problem is the extra packaging will add more to the rubbish rather than using a jar of honey and I'm sure it'll also cost more in the end as well.

On the website it mentions 'giving athletes easy access to the carbohydrates they need for a quick energy boost on the run'. I wonder if anyone has actually used it like this?

PROS: Simple and easy to use design, Handy size for one toast or muffin
CONS: Extra packaging unfortunately adds to the rubbish
MUST TRY: Honey with peanut butter

Honey Shotz 7g satchet (RRP $18.95, box of 100)

Slim and compact

Easy foolproof, no mess squeeze and pour design

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