Review: Silverspoon Vietnamese

(featured image from Zomato!)

Silverspoon Vietnamese Street Food Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

So for a fun monthly meet up the gang decided to try out Vietnamese food. We’ve done the thai (a bit too many times), the korean (though we love it so much), and the Japanese (ramen of course!). It made sense to go for viet food! And I do not mean banh mi no matter how amazing those rolls of deliciousness are.

Before I even begin this review, I must apologise! We all got so caught up in eating… that we totally forgot to take photos of the meals! I have a few but I will add some more from my online sources *cough* zomato *cough* .

Tucked away on Castlereagh sweet, on the quiet side I might add, the restaurant boasts a beautiful entrance and store front. It’s the kind that isn’t flashy but is nice and noticeable. The interiors are simple and actually really warm. There is a romantic vibe to the restaurant, not so much to make you awkward with friends, but enough to give your meals an intimate feel. The seating is ample, and most importantly well spaced out. I absolutely detest restaurants that are overly cramped. (Now I should note we did go on a Wednesday night… so the restaurant was a little bit empty -_-)

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Image from Zomato!

What I found really impressive? The menu! It’s substantial with a really good variety of items, though lacking in the vegetarian department. I’d personally stayed away from vietnamese cuisine because of the beef based broths used, but Silverspoon offered a bunch of alternatives. The section for street food was fun, with a range of exotic flavours and meats, while incorporating the classics too – yup they do have banh mi and sweet and sour pork.

Now to the service. This I would normally add after discussing the food… but seriously, the service was amazing. Our waiter hardly spoke English but he made the biggest effort to offer us our table water, drinks, and help us through the menu to give us his personal opinion of the good food 🙂 Honestly, he was just the sweetest.

Now to the food, many thanks to the waiter for helping us select!

We opened the night with some lotus tea for two, lemon lime bitters and coca cola with cute Crispy Wontons along with Goi Ngo Sen – Lotus shoot salad. The Wontons were super crispy and the little packages were packed with just enough filling and flavour. Accompanied with some fish sauce (which wasn’t as pungent as the one we would buy at the super market… it was a lot lighter!) and sweet chili sauce… oh and hot chili slices of course. At face value, I would say that the entree was rather small… but I found the quantity of food we bought to actually be perfect for the group of 5 🙂 The salad was a star for me.

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Served with some prawn crackers, the fresh salad was packed with flavour! The prawns were cooked perfectly and were wonderfully tender. The dressing that went over it just made them even more amazing. I’m not usually a fan of steamed any meat other than fish… but everyone agreed that the pork was moist and tender and basically just fell apart in your mouth. Definitely recommend the salad to share!

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Oh I should talk about the lotus tea! WARNING: ONLY PURCHASE IF YOU ARE AN AVID TEA DRINKER. I’m being 100% serious that this didn’t go down well with everyone. I liked the nutty and mildly floral tones, that sort of gave me the slightest hint of licorice right at the end. Not for everyone…  but if you are feeling a little adventurous… go for it 🙂

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The mains… were fabulously substantial! The rice servings are included in the price of each meal which is great. We ordered…. (I’m going to list these)

  1. Thit Kho – caramelised pork
  2. Heo chua ngot – sweet and sour pork (of course!)
  3. Heo xa ot – Lemongrass pork
  4. Ga xao tieu den – pepper chicken
  5. Ga xao hat dieu – cashew nut chicken

The highlight of it all… honestly the sweet and sour pork and the pepper chicken.

To deconstruct every meal though… the caramelised pork was incredibly dense and well… meaty. The broth was actually fabulous to pour over the rice to accompany the other drier dishes. The meat was incredibly tender, and basically melted away. What was great? The meal wasn’t salty! What was no so great? I think I like more veggies, or something to give a little bit of texture to the meal.

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The biggest disappointment of the night… the lemongrass pork. Unfortunately it was a little over cooked. The flavours were there, and there was depth in texture, but the over done meat basically killed the other flavours. The meat was dry and chewy, and it sort of drew out the moisture from everything else. Okay that sounds a little scathing. Maybe on a different night it would be 1000 times better 😀

I liked the sweetness of cashew nut chicken, but it didn’t go well with everyone. The chicken was lovely and the meal was packed with veggies, which I loved. The meat lovers obviously wanted more chicken. The cashews provided the meal with some added crunch and texture. I would recommend this one for anyone that really cannot handle spicy food, and wants to play it fairly safe in terms of the food.

Pepper chicken was truly delish. I loved the warm taste of the pepper that wasn’t overdone at all. The chicken was tender and moist and went deliciously with the rice. I topped this one with the broth from the caramelised pork and it tasted even more amazing! yum yum yum. Can’t say more. Defs recommend this one!

Now to the sweet and sour pork. Most of us unanimously agreed that this was an equal stand-out. I mean how could you possibly go wrong with such a classic dish? And they do it so wonderfull 🙂 The pork is crispy and sticky and accompanied with veggies that just add a pop of colour, pop of texture, and fun flavour. Obviously I recommend this to everyone.

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Average Rankings:

Service: 9.5/10 Food was bought our in a timely manner!(the only downside was the struggle to understand our waiter!)

Ambiance: 9/10 (the restaurant was a little empty when we went)

Food: 8/10 There were true stand-outs in the pack, and the flavours were all bang on. Ofc we had one overcooked meal, but on a good day, even it would be a highlight meal.

Originality: 7.5/10 I like that the menu has street food elements, the well known banh mi and a wide range of foods, however I would love to see more vegetarian options and a few more dishes that are a little more unique and well… unheard of

Overall ranking: 8.5/10

Boop di boop. Everything was delish and I would definitely come back. It’s a sweet date place, and is operated by truly the sweetest people. I have to say that the ambiance and service were the true highlights of the overall experience.

😀

 

 

 

 

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Apple and Date Halwa

Halwa, or Indian pudding (I guess we could call it that) is a seriously delicious dessert with roots in the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East. It is typically served warm, but tastes wonderful cold too. It is truly a favourite in my house, and we make it as a treat for a celebration or festival.

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Now, my mother usually makes Halwa using semolina and banana, while back in India I have had it made with carrots and milk solids (mawa or khoya) OR believe it or not… bottle gourd. It’s fairly heavy on the sugar, which is obviously not so great for anyone trying to lose weight, or control their sugar.

This recipe is 100% inspired by the Happy Pear but it is most definitely a superbly different halwa recipe. Why? Because this one is 100% sugar FREE! Yup. That’s right.

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Now this halwa does turn out not so sweet, which I personally don’t mind, but as a note I think next time I will definitely add over some agave nectar or some rose syrup. Honey would work too, but really to each their own 🙂

Before starting this recipe, make sure your dates are really well soaked. This is where we get the sweetness in the halwa and it’s essential that these are softened prior to cooking. They should break apart wonderfully once in the pot and caramelize with the rest of the halwa.

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Now, I used semolina in my halwa because it is a great standard ingredient. Traditionally, ghee would be used to cook  the halwa and I do recommend using some. My first attempt, I went with all coconut oil and i found that most people didn’t enjoy the coconut undertones to the dessert. It would be better instead to use grapeseed oil as it’s flavour profile isn’t as deep as coconut.

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Oh and better yet… Diabetic Daddy Dearest actually ate thirds of this halwa. SCORE!!! The texture turned out really smooth and has a really nice apple flavour with hints of the sweetness from the dates… and that sweetness is like a really subtle and soft caramel 🙂

I would realllly love to hear what you think about this recipe, and I would love you to know what kind of recipes you want to see! 🙂

 

Slightly healthy Peach Waffles

I actually made this a while ago, but only just decided to write this recipe up. Waffles are such a fun pick me up… I love making them for my sister. In fact whenever I make waffles or pancakes… it’s for my sister or my friends.

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I don’t know if that is a good thing or not…

Also. Say hi to my lazy sunday pjs 🙂 Yup. I cook in my pajamas.

Point is. I love waffles. My waffle maker is a little cheap, and to crisp them up a little extra I have to pop them into the oven for a bit. No shame in that. We all have fallen prey to super cheap discounts only to find them… well… not 100% perfect. It happens. We just have to find a solution to it.

In terms of waffle makers, if you don’t have one, you can alternatively use a griddle pan! Otherwise head over to kmart or target or a second hand store to grab a fairly cheap one 🙂

A couple of important points for the waffles. To make them AWESOME you need to do two things,

  1. butter the entire cooking surface of the iron or pan
  2. add a touch of butter to the batter.

I have literally no idea why adding butter to the batter helps, but whenever I add it… the batter turns out fabulous.

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Now like I said, this recipe is only slightly healthy 😛 I used one part of plain flour, 1 part of self raising flour, and one part of almond meal. Oh and will some chia seeds too. 😛 I think I have a slight addiction to chia seeds…

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Now for the topping, I used some left over syrup from the christmas roast the day before. My best friend made a Delicious coconut and lemon cake with a lemon and cardamon syrup. The syrup itself is super simple! Some sugar, some cardamon, and some water. Add a bit of butter to give it colour. Our syrup was thrown out twice in one day because it was mistaken for water. I added some fresh whipped cream and silvered almonds too 😛

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Spicy Glazed Fish

We all know that Basa is super cheap, and I’m pretty sure most people relate taste and quality straight to price. But did you know Basa is actually cheap because the costs involved in transport and care are less? Turns out that Basa is actually a sustainable fish that can be farmed close to processing factories that are inshore. This saves the costs involved in large fishing fleets entailing licensing, fuel prices, and travel. In addition to this, Basa is actually really easily harvested and the costs to raise them are less than any other fish.

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Okay enough of the serious talk. The point of my rant, Basa is actually wonderful! How do I know about this? It started from a healthy discussion regarding the cost of fish and its relation to quality and taste. We pondered why basa fillets were so affordable and whether it not it meant basa was actually unhealthy, as opposed to the usually pricey but very healthy salmon. On that note, this recipe… I think is perfect for Salmon and I am so freaking keen to try it.

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This recipe itself is sort of inspiration from those challenges you see on Masterchef and shows like Ten Dollar Dinners from Food Network. I thought I would create a recipe that was different, and used everything I already had at home – using everyday ingredients – to make something that is a little extra special. I think I managed to figure this one out spot on. For starters… there was no fish left for the day after, and it made the house smell so divine, my dog was crazily excited.

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Moving on. What makes this recipe spicy is the hot sauce. I used Sriracha because… well… who doesn’t love sriracha sauce? I added a little sweetness with honey, and some saltiness with soy. This really is an Asian influence recipe.  Here it is:

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See fairly easy right? I left my fish to marinade for 5 hours, and it made the fish sooooo incredibly tender. After cooking it the Basa was wonderfully flaky and honestly just melted in the mouth with that insane glaze. I served it up with a simple spinach and rocket (is that even how you spell it?) salad and a nice squeeze of lemon juice. Cut down the spicy flavour by serving with some fluffy rice (maybe infused with coconut), or just eat them away with some noodles.

Hope you liked it!!

The easiest coconut cake

Anyone that knows me knows how much I love coconut. I’ve even made a recipe for coconut fish already. It’s just so wonderful! It’s hearty and nutty and just so yummy.

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If you don’t like coconut, then be sure that I find you crazy 😛

This recipe has taken inspiration from the 1000’s of coconut cake recipes I found on pinterest (loveee). In the interest of making a cake that would be suitable for my parents to eat during religious festivals, where we don’t eat any meat or egg, I decided to make an eggless coconut cake that ends up fluffy and decadent and really yummy. To be honest though, you could make this as a nice loaf too, and serve it up with some tea. Actually, coconut and tea go nicely together. Or some coffee. Ever had a coconut coffee?? Maybe I should try…

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Moving on. This is by far the easiest recipe you will see. All the main ingredients are in equal portions, and the other bits and bobs, well… I’ve added them just like I would in any other cake recipe. Actually… I barely ever make any cakes. You get what I mean 😛

Here is the recipe!

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After resting it really well, the cake is delicious and moist. Yes I said it. Moist. I can’t help it… it just is that. I served this up with a spot of tea, and it actually makes for a really cute item to take over to a friends house or make for a tea party. Add a dollop of whipped cream, maybe a drizzle of simple syrup… maybe even some ice cream. The cake just works.

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