Product Review: Sheer Indulgence by Home Ice Cream

With these frequent heatwaves that Sydney has been experiencing, I have been stocking up my freezer with ice cream.

Home Ice Cream is convenient as it comes right by our place each fortnight.

These 'Sheer Indulgence' blocks cost $9.50 for 6....which puts them in the average price category when you break it down to being $1.60 each. They aren't extravangantly expensive, but you could find a cheaper, similar alternative at the supermarket when Magnums or Heavens are on special.

Like most of the Home Ice Cream range, they come in a cardboard box.

They were packed neatly inside like little soldiers.

I unwrapped one and it looked like a Magnum. It had large, almond pieces on the outside and a chocolate coating.

Width of the ice cream block

I took a bite and was rewarded with creamy vanilla ice-cream.

My verdict? I think that there are other products from Home Ice Cream which are better than this one.

One of the best things about Home Ice Cream is that you can buy boxes of 20 or 30 blocks of ice cream and I felt a bit miffed that this box only contained six. Of course, I think it falls into their 'premium' range of ice blocks which explains the limited number but given that it is so similar to a Magnum, I would rather get something else from Home Ice Cream that is not offered at a supermarket for a similar price.


Ice + Slice Gelateria and Pizzeria, Newtown

On a recent Saturday night, it was 11pm and the weather was very warm. DJ Rehactor, MochaMan and I decided to pop to Newtown for some sweet gelato to finish off a fun night.

We decided on Ice + Slice which is located closer to the city-end of Newtown's busy King Street.

(some of these photos are from MochaMan - thanks dude!)

The staff were obliging and offered paddle pop stick samples of various flavours before we decided which ones to get.

DJ Rehactor and MochaMan both ordered one scoop of hazelnut each.

Their scoops of ice cream ($3.70 each)

We ordered the gelato for takeaway and sat down at one of their two tables on the footpath.

Of course, I had to be a greedy guts and ordered two scoops.

Passionfruit (on top) and watermelon (underneath) - $5.40

The passionfruit had a sharp tang and there was an abundance of seeds littered throughout. It was a little bit too sweet for me and I left most of this to melt as I dug underneath to get to the watermelon. The watermelon had a very light taste which unfortunately meant that it paled in comparison to the intense flavour offered by the passionfruit.

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Ice + Slice Gelateria and Pizzeria
135 King Street
Newtown, NSW 2042


Friands are not my Friends

Dear reader, I have a confession to make.

I don't like friands.

I don't get them. They are like a cross between a muffin and a cake. They are dense and moist, usually made with almond meal (side confession: I don't really like the taste of almond flavoured sweet treats. The taste is too overpowering and makes it all taste the same. Sort of like when you overdose a sandwich with raw onions).

Unluckily for me, friands make a regular appearance in my household, thanks to the Pastry Chef.

Here are some reject (burnt on the edges) friands; one of which I cut off a small slice to eat because I was starving and there was nothing else around:

Reject Friands

They were raspberry flavoured.

So there you have it. There is at least one item at a patisserie that I will actively avoid - unless of course, I was starving.

San Churro, Glebe

A very long time ago, DJ Rehactor and Mobblees were shocked to discover that I had never eaten churros before in my life. Vague plans were made to visit San Churro at some point in the future.

Well that day finally came!

Unlucky for us, the day was a hot one, meaning it was not the best weather to enjoy overly sweet things as they tend to make you even thirstier.

Nevertheless, we stuck with our plan and ventured to San Churro Chocolateria in Glebe.

The selection of desserts in store looked appealing.

Dessert window

But since I had come for my first taste of churros, that was what I ordered.

You can order it with your choice of chocolate (white, dark, milk) and with cinnamon or icing sugar.

Single serve of churros with milk chocolate dipping sauce and cinnamon ($6.90?)

The churros were.....a bit of an anti-climax. There wasn't anything wrong with them per se, but the combination of the chocolate sauce with the churros was just a bit dull. The flavours weren't very exciting.

The chocolate sauce was very sweet and the churros tasted like fried dough.

DJ Rehactor ordered a white chocolate hazelnut mousse from the dessert window.

White chocolate hazelnut mousse with dark chocolate dipping sauce

Close-up of the mousse

It tasted like white chocolate, but neither of us could taste any hazelnut.

To wash down my churros, I also ordered a drink.

Cookie cha cha ($7.50)

I think that was the name of the drink - it was a combination of cookies and white chocolate.

I was hoping for something deliciously chunky like the cookie shake that I had enjoyed at the Counter Burger.

Alas, I was disappointed as this was quite watery for a cookie shake and was unbearably sweet. Half the glass was all I could drink before I cried for mercy and some water.

I also thought that the price of the shake was a bit high considering its quality.

So I'm glad that I got the chance to finally try some churros but probably would not go out of my way to visit San Churro again.

Chocolateria San Churro on Urbanspoon

Product Review: Nerada Organics Tea: Rosehip, Lemongrass & Ginger

One day I was in the supermarket and felt like a new type of tea.

And then I noticed that the Nerada Organics range was on special! Forty tea bags cost $4 (or thereabouts, this was a sometime ago so I don't quite remember!) and I decided to take the risk.

I picked up the Rosehip, Lemongrass and Ginger blend. Even this combination of flavours indicates that a risk is being taken!

The box of tea

The small blurb on the box briefly explained some instructions for use.

Box blurb

And my verdict?

It wasn't very nice. It was quite heavy for a herbal tea and the taste was....unusual to say the least. The ginger was very strong but the flavours as a whole did not meld together.

What is your favourite herbal tea?


Subsolo, Sydney CBD

After dining at Element, we decided to move next door to test the dessert at Subsolo.

Subsolo is another hidden restaurant - once again, I had no idea it was here! You walk through a narrow door at ground-level, down two flights of stairs and bam! There is a massive Spanish tapas underground restaurant!

One half of the restaurant

I was charmed by the miniature can of olive oil that sat with the condiments on the table.

But since we were only here for dessert, there was no opportunity to use it. A shame, since I saw that the food at other tables looked mouth-wateringly good!

We ordered our desserts and they came out after a short wait.

Crema catalana with quince puree, brule├ęd at your table ($14)

Having something flamed at your table is certainly a novelty. It's not groundbreaking since you just sit there and watch while the waiter holds the bowl and toasts it with the flamer but you can see other diners craning their necks for a better look.

I had a small taste of the catalana and it was very smooth and had a satisfying crack at the top. I don't remember tasting any quince puree though. Maybe that was in the middle?

Hot chocolate pudding with melting chocolate centre, Chocolate sauce and Vanilla ice-cream ($14)

The chocolate pudding was my choice and it was a nice, comforting dish.

The bowl came out hot and I feared for my little scoop of vanilla ice cream being near the heat!

Inside the pudding

The inside was gooey and melting. Yum!

161 King St, Sydney NSW 2000
Corner Castlereagh St

Subsolo on Urbanspoon

Element Bistro, Sydney CBD

Element is a French restaurant that is tucked away on King St near Pitt St Mall. If it weren't for my friend who suggested this for lunch one day, I never even would have known it existed!

It opens at 11.45am and our reservation was for 12pm so I was the first person in an empty restaurant. The waitress wasn't particularly friendly - maybe this was because they had only just opened?

In any case, I amused myself by taking some photos of the interior.

Specials written on the blackboard

Nice cushy chairs

Other patrons began to arrive, including my friend and we set about deciding what to have for lunch.

Bread and butter

I am pleased to report that the food was delicious.

Chicken Liver Parfait with Toast ($14)

We shared this appetiser and although the parfait was very yummy, we both agreed that the 'toast' fingers accompaniment could have been better. The fingers were too light and crumbly, making it difficult to slather on the liver parfait. Additionally, I'm not sure what bread it was but it reminded me of brioche (both in texture and taste) with its sweet flavour, which was a bit jarring when paired with the savoury liver (not to mention the absurd number of crumbs which ended up on my side of the table with these toast fingers!). I would have preferred some slices off a baugette or another similar bread.

Our mains arrived soon after and they were good indeed.

Confit Leg of Duck with New Potatoes, Pickled Beetroot, Sage, Garlic & Lemon ($29)

The duck was crisp and perfectly cooked.

I ordered off the specials board for the day.

Pan-fried salmon with vongoles and cauliflower puree ($27)

This was delicious! The cauliflower puree was subtle with the cauliflower flavour and it was easy to scoop up a little bit to have with the salmon.

There was some sort of tomato salsa served on top with the vongoles and this was a refreshing contrast to the warm puree.

All in all, a very satisfying meal and I would love to return and try more of their dishes!

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Element Bistro
163 King St, Sydney 2000

Element Bistro on Urbanspoon

A Scorcher of a Sydney Day

Wow, yesterday was an absolute heatwave! I couldn't believe the heat in the air that cloaked the entire city. And it lasted well into the night! I couldn't even eat ice-cream without having to furiously spoon it into my mouth (learned my lesson when the first scoop melted into a little puddle when I looked away for five seconds).

Sahara and I had made plans a long time ago to visit Bankstown and during our trip, I purchased a drink that went a long way towards quenching my thirst.

At this small store in the side of a wall, you could create your own juice from a selection of fruits and then add your own jelly etc (in retrospect, I guess this is the same as what you get at Easyway, but it is different when you see it all in front of you!)

Fresh fruits, ready to be made into juice

I immediately picked watermelon juice and decided not to add any other fruits. I love watermelon juice!!

Then it was time to pick the jelly and initially, I chose the coconut jelly squares in first bowl from the right (blue) because they reminded me of the yummy lychee jelly squares that I had with my sago at the Chinatown night markets.

However, I was quickly dissuaded from my choice by the STAFF who insisted that it 'wasn't nice'. They encouraged me to add the whole lychees instead.

In the end, I picked the mixed jelly - an awful lot like what you get from bubble tea places.

Selection of jellies and fruits

The end result was super refreshing and stayed cold for a surprisingly long time!

What did you do to escape the Sydney heat?


Yummy Seafood Chinese Restaurant, Beverly Hills

When this restaurant first opened (I can't remember how many years ago), I was very impressed by the food and thought it was one of the best Chinese restaurants in the St George region.

Restaurant exterior

I had not visited for a while and after this visit, I now beg to differ. The food on this occasion was quite ordinary and in some ways, a bit lacking. Perhaps the chefs have changed?

They've put up some new professional photos of food on the walls.

As the dinner was held in my honour, I picked all of the dishes.

Complimentary peanuts

So you can stop reading now if you're the follower of my blog who complained that I 'do reruns' of posts because of course, I ordered all of my favourites (but stay tuned for which dishes are no longer my favourite).

Complimentary soup at the start of the meal

We started with some large, plump oysters.

Oyster with XO sauce and vermicelli

Close up of the oyster

They were quite nice but I don't like spicy flavours so slipped the topping off my oyster to someone else.

After having the delicious shandong chicken at Rising Sun (which is across the road from this restaurant), I ordered it again here.

Shandong chicken

It was a bit disappointing. The skin was too crispy and the meat had not soaked up the juices in the sauce, meaning it was dry. In fact, I would wager that their crispy skin chicken (a different dish) had just been placed onto the plate, with no chance to have those shandong flavours coming through.

Tofu and egg whites with prawns, scallops and vegetables

This dish was also lacking - I like the tofu/egg white combo to be soft and almost mushy but this fell on the solid side.

Mushrooms with bok choy

Salt and pepper pork

Nothing to say about those two dishes. Ordinary.

Then we had our complimentary dessert soup and fresh fruit plate.

Green bean dessert soup

Watermelon and Oranges

So I guess you're wondering which of these favourite dishes are on the chopping block?

Well, the shandong chicken for one. It is just too risky to order when the restaurant doesn't do it right.

The tofu/egg whites dish is also off the ordering list - simply because I have had it FAR too many times during the past six months or so.

What dishes have you recently crossed off your usual order?


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