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?ย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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… ย but if you are feeling a little adventurous… go for it ๐Ÿ™‚

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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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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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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. ย 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 andย 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!!

Fool Proof Roast Turkey

So since last year, my friends and I have made it a massive tradition to host Christmas and cook a delicious feat for everyone to eat together. Sort of like pot luck… but we all cook together and have heaps of fun with drinks and snacks and wonderful chatter.

This year we were 3 friends short! Yikes! We made the most of it, however, to celebrate Christmas as best as we could with plans to celebrate with the entire crew after new years.

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Christmas, as I’ve said in my numerous posts before, is truly my favourite time of the year. It’s the time to get together with the family and enjoy wonderful food, and give back to community in any way you can. I love every little bit about it… actually maybe not the heat…

but you get the point ๐Ÿ˜›

This recipe is inspired from the Laura Vitale recipe – here is the link!ย ย but with a few additions ๐Ÿ˜› I had a few extra things left over and did it in a slightly different manner. The recipe though is pretty damn simple, and straightforward. For a first timer making the turkey… it actually turned out really wonderful (I’m not saying it… my friends are). Oh and I’ve realised I actually prefer the white meat…

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Though that may be because the white meat was really quite tender.

The aromatics are essentially the same. The rosemary, thyme, sage, carrot, onion, garlic and celery. But! I added parsley, apple, lemons and some figs to the mix to create a sweet yet sort of tart flavour profile. It actually turned out wonderful! The glaze added just that added punch of flavour and sweetness to the tender meat.

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I used a Steggles frozen turkey, which was a really great decision! It came really well cleaned, the only thing I had to do was chop off some excess skin and the neck piece from inside the cavity. It took a whole 4 days to defrost, which also includes leaving out in the sink overnight! It was a 5 kilo tukey after all -_-

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Boop di boop. And that is it!! The apple and figs make for a lightly sweet glaze and really different flavour to the turkey and gravy. It gives it a kind of hint of Christmas right in the meat ๐Ÿ˜›

By roasting the turkey uncovered it allows the skin to crisp up really nicely, and get wonderful colour of the skin too. By initially keeping the meat covered helps to circulate the heat and keep everything wonderfully moist ๐Ÿ™‚

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I recommend checking out some youtube videos for advice on cleaning the turkey, and learning how to stuff and baste it, but this recipe is one I definitely want to try again and really expand on ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope you can feel a little inspired to cook turkey this year. Trust me it was my first time, and it wasn’t too bad at all ๐Ÿ™‚

Spinach and Ricotta rolls

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Spinach and Ricotta Rolls fresh out of the oven

We had plans to head over to the Ben and Jerry’s Open Air Cinema here in Sydney, and boy was it a fun plan. The general brief among the group was to bring some snacks and drinks along for everyone to enjoy. To me that honestly meant one thing… it’s time to pull out those snack food recipes.

I’ve made these countless times before, and my recipe remains pretty standard but a little bit different that the other ones you’ll find. To me a really good spinach and ricotta roll should have that wonderful spinach taste, with some nut-iness, some creaminess and a little bit of a kick. This doesn’t mean I want a spicy roll… it just has to give a tiny punch to make it extra special.

The smell of these is truly so wonderful, and they make for a really classic and crowd-pleasing snack. I love pulling this recipe out during the spring time for those fun outdoor activities.

Now I’m usually a little too lazy to make the pastry myself, and quite honestly just stick to some store bought puff pastry or filo. I used frozen spinach for this time round, but I often do switch between fresh and frozen. It really just depends on what you find!

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Wrapping these babies up

My recipe is an interesting combination of a few different recipes you have come across. I balance out the classic spinach and ricotta with a little spice from cumin, a little kick from chilli, a little tang for lemon, a little sweetness from cooked onions and a little added flavour from good ol’ garlic. Honestly I don’t think I cook without garlic at all… it is just my favourite.

Here is my recipe!!

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And bam! Snack food is sorted!

 

Crispy Coconut Fish

For those that know me, they know just how much I absolutely love coconut. I love the flesh, the milk and the water. Every time I open up a can of coconut milk, and have some left over, I am always inspired to create and attempt new recipes using the wonderful ingredient.

The sweet taste of the milk is always so perfectly ย balanced with spice and lime in so many Indian and Thai recipes. It works so well in curry and puddings. One of my favourite recipes in fact is a yummy coconut rice pudding (kheer or payasum as it is known in Indian cooking). On that note… I’ll be publishing some yummy pudding recipes soon!!

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This recipe took inspiration from Angel Prawns I ate at one of my favourite Thai restaurants. The prawns are covered in a delicious coconut topping and then fried to create a delicious crispy coconut crust over a superbly tender prawn meat. Now with Basa fillets in the house and coconut milk left over, I thought I would take a shot at making crispy coconut fish.

The prawns were fried, yes, however in an attempt to be a little healthier this summer, I decided to bake them. Do note that you can 100% fry this recipe (shallow or deep) and in fact would be a WHOLE lot quicker to make. By baking them I added about 20-30 mins to the cooking time, but hey… anything to keep that cholesterol low right?

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Fish is such a great ingredient to stock up. Particularly lighter fish like Basa. It is relatively cheap, and you can very often find good quality frozen fillets too. Better yet, fish cooks super quickly making it perfect for those quick dinners for the family. Furthermore, fish is so wonderful for the body. It is high in omega 3 and protein and is so lean on the fat. Incorporating it into your diet will really do wonders for you and your family.

Now to the recipe.

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The end result of this fish… a house smelling like yummy coconut and lime. Honestly these two flavours together are just heaven ๐Ÿ™‚ . The desiccated coconut creates a really light and crispy coating over a truly tender fish. I served mine up with some spicy coconut black rice and quinoa (with some chia seeds) – watch this space for the recipe coming soon!!. Add some lime over the top, maybe serve it with a fresh salad – I would really suggest a fiery papaya salad. This recipe really just combines some simple basic flavours together and creates a fun alternative to boring dinners. You can really take this to another creative level by making these into fish fingers for the kids to take to lunch, or making fish, prawns and even some calamari with the same coating for nice seafood platter.