On my first visit to Vietnam I did what comes naturally to me – I bought the Lonely Planet guide and researched food like there was no tomorrow. And as soon as I saw the picture of the Saigon roll in my Lonely Planet guide, I knew I had to find one. A couple of issues there, starting with the folly of trying to locate food places in a very ‘dynamic’ country using a print version of a book that was four years out of date. Unfazed, I researched the best place in Ho Chi Minh to find the best Saigon roll and it happened to be a little stand located on a little street, which in spite of my best pre-breakfast efforts (and the herculean stamina and patience of my travelling companion) I could not locate. I needn’t have worried as pretty much every Saigon roll in Vietnam is wonderful (and I had a few!). Continue reading
School starts again tomorrow (boo) and to see off the last day of holidays, with the sun shining, we couldn’t resist taking off for a walk around the central basin of Lake Burley Griffin. The air was so clear and the water so still. OK, it was hardly 10°C, but it felt pretty nice outside.
Afterwards, we felt we deserved a nice treat, so we went to San Churro Chocolateria the shrine to Spanish chocolate.
It was pretty busy, but the service was nice and friendly. No surprise we ordered the specialty of the house – churros.
Lovely deep fried Spanish doughnuts dusted in icing sugar and cinnamon. We had ours served with white chocolate and dulce de leche.
As my son said: This place would be in heaven. I tend to agree!
Salted caramel Tim Tam tart
This recipe for a salted caramel Tim Tam tart is inspired by the inspirational limited edition salted caramel Tim Tam.
This recipe calls for 6 salted caramel Tim Tams. They come in mini packs of 5 biscuits, so you will need two packets to make this recipe… (you’re welcome). Continue reading
I’m a sucker for a Tim Tam. I just don’t suck Tim Tams.
This year is the 50th anniversary of the marketing of the Australian Tim Tam biscuit. It was inspired by the UK ‘Penguin’ biscuit. When I lived in the UK, I went out of my way to find Tim Tams, but never Penguin biscuits. The same was true for vegemite – I guess it comes down to what you grew up with.
Silo bakery and café is a Canberra institution. This means it is super-popular and can be very busy.
I arrive at the small but bright store early on Friday morning, as I am keen to try their walnut and cranberry baguette for a picnic the next day. Sadly, these were not ready yet (note to self – do not arrive before 7:30 am). I buy a sour dough loaf, croissants and an orange and pistachio scroll. The sour dough was still warm from the oven and my car smelled heavenly on the drive home.
Sour dough. This is a wonderful dense loaf with a rich, earthy sour flavour. My only grumble is that the crust is very thick – jaw-achingly thick – and a little burnt on the bottom. I struggled to get through it with a regular knife. But my goodness, this is the best tasting sour dough I have ever eaten. I love that they brand the loaf with an ‘S’.
Croissants. These were soft inside with a crisp crust that was perfectly flaky. Almost creamy buttery inside and so good for breakfast with coffeeeee.
Orange and pistachio scroll. I didn’t get to try this, but my teenage son inhaled it for breakfast. He proclaimed it ‘alright’, which is very high praise coming from this teenager.
I return later in the early afternoon and buy some rye bread and some of their tarts (for the purposes of research, of course!). On both times when I visited, the bakery and cafe didn’t seem overly busy and though I wasn’t planning to eat-in, there were plenty of tables that looked free.
Rye bread. The lady behind the counter said this mini-loaf was 70% rye. It was a moist, dense and chewy loaf with a distinct nutty flavour and a heady aroma. It wasn’t too strong on the rye and I just loved it. I had it with some spiced pear paste and smoked cheddar.
Chocolate/cherry/almond tart. This was frangipane-like, crumbly with studs of dark chocolate and sweet cherries. Absolutely divine!
Blackcurrant/cabernet/mint tart. My youngest pointed to this and said ‘want’. The title is from Silo’s web page, as it seems closest to what I bought and I wasn’t paying enough attention to the names I was being told in the shop. I’m not sure if this had mint in it. To be honest, I’m not sure it had cabernet, either. But it was definitely the most sublime blackcurrant and fruity custard tart I have tried in ages. Rich velvety custard, with a combination of sweet and tart fruit in a delicate shortcrust case.
Silo. It’s worth it.
Chocolate Chat – Murray River Pink Salt & Caramel Drops
This 70g pack of loveliness cost $9.50 from Coles. Very expensive, so I was expecting big things.
There is a new section in my local supermarket. It is stocked with the weird and wonderful, such as products from Canada, Iran and Scotland; including Persian spun sugar and Dr Pepper soda (trust me, this is an uncommon sight in Australia). Then a few local treats, probably from small/new companies. The packaging on this chocolate caught my eye and I was sold on ‘chocolate, salt and caramel’. I did gasp when I saw the price at the checkout, but I am not a quitter when it comes to chocolate. The packaging is intriguing. Simple recycled-looking cardboard with a tag cloud of happy-lovey words that begged for the chocolate to be shared. I don’t like sharing nice sweet things, so I hoarded this until I had a night alone. Fortunately, it had two individually-wrapped blocks inside, so one I ate, the other I stashed for another time.
The ingredients list milk chocolate with 33.5% cocoa, vanilla, and Murray pink salt among others. It reeked of quality ingredients. Handmade in South Australia.
Unbelievably creamy and smooth. First bite is a slightly sharp tang of the salt, with a bit of salt crunch, then intense smooth sweetness of the caramel and milky chocolate, and then more sweet, so much sweet. I badly wanted this to be more interesting. Maybe if the caramel was a different texture to the chocolate? I dunno. I needed a glass of water after this.
Would I buy it again? Well, maybe not this flavour, I can get a salty sugar hit for a lot less. But there were others there that definitely caught my eye – was it raspberry and white chocolate? I wanted to find out some more on-line, but their listed web site is ‘under construction’ and their Facebook page has only been up since August and has no content.
One to watch.