li’l Darlin

IMG_4724

This is my first restaurant/bar review and I couldn’t think of anywhere better to start than in my own hood with local Surry Hills wine bar Li’l Darlin. It comes alive at night with candles and fairy lights, hot pizza and crispy arancini. Men in suits buy pretty girls artisan cocktails, while hipster musicians sit in corners drinking beer, writing the lyrics to their next song on the paper napkins. The bartenders are cute, the floor staff hospitable and the food is simply delicious. This place is fantastic! They have a new tapas menu and their weekly specials are not to be missed: $10 cocktails after 10pm (Thursday-Saturday) and $5.50 pizza with any drink purchased (Sunday-Monday, 4-7pm.) 420 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills. (02) 96985488.

IMG_4725

crazy cocktails, oven baked chocolate brownie swirl, crispy pecking duck pizza. yes please!

tarts for lovers

IMG_4627

One way to scare away vampires and potential boyfriends is to eat lots of garlic and softly whisper poetry in their ear. The result? You are left alone clasping a book of Shakespeare’s sonnets to your chest.

But… the combination of balsamic vinegar, sugar, rosemary, goats cheese and crumbly pastry will set any heart on fire (and perhaps be an inspiration for a new vampire TV series. Anything could happen).

This is one of my all time favorite recipes by Yotam Ottolenghi and I’ve tweaked it every so slightly* to make it something delicious from Ceire’s Kitchen!
*I added mushrooms, tarragon instead of thyme and I made my own short cut pastry from scratch!

IMG_4608

Ingredients:

  • sheet of puff pastry
  • 3 heads of garlic (cloves separated and peeled)
  • punnet of thinly sliced button mushrooms
  • 2 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 3 sprigs chopped rosemary (plus a little to garnish)
  • 3 sprigs fresh tarragon (or thyme)
  • 120g soft goat’s cheese
  • 120g hard goat’s cheese (or sheeps feta–depending on how flavoursome you’d like your tart to be )
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • ½ cup greek yoghurt
  • ½ cup crème fraîche
  • ¼ cup milk
  • olive oil, salt and black pepper

IMG_4626

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180’C.
  • Grease your round pastry dish and line it with a sheet of puff pastry. Place on some baking beans and bake in the oven for 20 min or until golden brown.
  • While the pastry is cooking blanche the garlic cloves in a saucepan for about 3 min.
  • Drain away the water, place your saucepan back on a medium heat and for a couple of minutes, fry up the garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Add the balsamic vinegar and water, bring to the boil and then simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  • Add the sugar, herbs, mushrooms dash of salt and continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated and the garlic and mushrooms are coated in dark caramel syrup.
  • Take saucepan off the heat and empty the garlic and mushrooms into your cooked party case.
  • Evenly crumble in the cheese.
  • Whisk together the rest of the ingredients with a pinch of salt and some black pepper, pour into the tart and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the tart filling has set and the top is golden brown.
  • Once cooked, sprinkle over some herbs and serve with a simple, fresh rocket salad!

dangerous dukkah

IMG_4502
This is a cheeky little recipe that seems unassuming and plain but its simply a delicious idea of breaking off a chunk of fresh sourdough, dipping it into olive oil and then into the secret spices of Ancient Egypt – homemade dukkah!
Bring this out as a starter for a dinner party and it’ll get everyone’s eyebrows raised at how fancy you’ve become…
Ingredients:
1 cup roasted mixed nuts
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
pinch salt and freshly ground pepper
sprinkle dried chilli
Pound all the ingredients in a mortar and pestle, pour into a jar and shake!