Review of Synonymous Café Medlow Bath, NSW AU. by Bill Wilkat 2018/11/9

Review of Synonymous Café Medlow Bath, NSW AU.

Buttermilk Pancakes with Crème Fresh, Syrup and Pecans

In the Blue Mountains there’s a gem of a place to stop for coffee with an all day breakfast menu that you must try to visit called Synonymous.  I’ve not been drinking much coffee due to it creating a touch of stomach acid in my system but their coffee was worth any possible discomfort I might experience and my “Flat White” (coffee with milk) was expertly prepared and a super delicious way to kickstart my breakfast! The coffee they serve is Campos brand (considered by many to be the best coffee in Australia), and it’s a rich blend of true coffee flavour to fuel you up.

Campos Coffee Flat White

Synonymous has an excellent breakfast menu, (including Gluten-Free options), that won’t leave you wanting for anything. My fried eggs with sour dough toast and roasted tomatoes seasoned with thyme, salt and pepper were the prefect balance and I could not resist trying some of my wife’s order of buttermilk pancakes with crème fresh that had been marvellously sweetened with syrup and served with syrup sweetened pecan nuts on the side and fresh fruit.  Their menu is seasonal and will vary throughout the year but I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed no matter when you decide to go.

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Fried Eggs, Sourdough Toast & Roasted Tomatoes

My brother Ben had eggs as well but opted for the poached version and they were perfected cooked as well and perhaps the most notable thing was that everyone had a completely empty plate sitting in front of us when we were done—actions speak louder than words and this was one of those rare occasions when the sheer idea of leaving something on the plate was simply “out of the question” LOL!

The ambiance of the cafe is also perfect, smartly decorated with a flair for modern rustic with the wood tables, floors, stools and paneling, right down to the touches of stainless steel, white ceramic tiles, hanging warehouse style light fixtures, and quality artwork.  The only thing missing on the chilly morning that we were there was a blazing wood fireplace! 😀

For Menu, click here.

Located Opposite the Medlow Bath train station

Review of Windsor Seafood, Windsor NSW, AU. by Bill Wilkat 2018/11/08

Review of Windsor Seafood, Windsor NSW AU. by Bill Wilkat 2018/11/08

We were recently treated to lunch by my nephew Kyle’s lovely girlfriend Mel at this very popular seafood eatery that has won awards and serves up some splendid fresh fare that will delight anyone who enjoys shrimp, oysters, calamari, and delicious fish and chips, etc.  The shop itself is small and bustling with a steady flow of patrons coming in and out as they carry their seafood platters outside to feast on.  We were fortunate to arrive before it got too busy and since seating is only available on an outdoor covered terrace, you certainly don’t want to be without a table on a hot sunny day—especially since their seafood platters are huge, and not created to be the standard takeaway that you’d want to eat in your car LOL!  So be sure to get there early enough to grab a good table, (on hot days they have fans with a spray mist to keep you cool—a nice touch!).

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Our first platter comprised a pile of large boiled shrimp (or I should say prawns as they are called here), raw oysters, with a tasty dipping sauce, salad and lemon wedges.  We thoroughly enjoyed these with some crusty buttered garlic bread, and if that was not enough, we had another platter featuring battered calamari rings, prawns, fish & chips, squid and Oysters Kilpatrick which is a wide-spread Australian method of preparing oysters with bacon and Worcestershire based upon the British Oysters Kirkpatrick. It was salty and savoury making me wish that I had brought some cold beer along (they don’t serve alcohol but you can bring your own beer or wine; and there are no corkage fees).

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The fish & chips was made with super fresh New Zealand Blue Grenadier commonly known as Hoki and it was superb with a light crispy delicate batter that had a slight sweetness to it—it was more reminiscent of Japanese Tempura batter which Vicki and I prefer over a thick coating that is often common to this classic.  I generally don’t eat fried calamari as I’ve had many disappointments with this specialty (but these were excellent and far better than the batch that I had at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco where so many people rave about them, yet I was sorely disappointed with after great anticipation).  They were crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, (not chewy or rubbery), and not fishy-tasting either, which can be a real turn off.

See photo below for their menu board:

Menu Board

The Oldest Pub in Australia established at this location

The atmosphere was relaxed and comfortable and they provide cloth towels at the tables which you will need to wipe your hands after peeling the fresh prawns—they sure beat paper napkins that never seem to do the job as well as we like.

In a nutshell, do yourself a favour if you are visiting the historic town of Windsor (where you will find the oldest pub in Australia Macquarie Arms Hotel), and drop in for lunch or dinner—I have to say that this was some of the best seafood that I’ve enjoyed in a long time and definitely among the freshest and best tasting.  Windsor may be a small town, but they are big on fantastic seafood at Windsor Seafood!

Fresh Oysters and Prawns–how can you go wrong?

 

Review of Hulu Restaurant, King Street Wharf at Sydney’s Darling Harbour by Bill Wilkat 2018/11/6

Review of Hulu Restaurant, King Street Wharf at Sydney’s Darling Harbour by Bill Wilkat

Wondering about Oriental food in Australia was just one of the reasons we, (myself, my wife Vicki and my brother Ben), opted to stop for a bite to eat while strolling along the Sydney harbour/marina.  We enjoy good Chinese food and although Sidney’s Chinatown was a short walk away, it was 37 C and we needed to take the load off–and a cold beer was calling me from nearby LOL!

Well we need not wonder any more as it seems there’s plenty of good choices where you can enjoy a variety of different Asian meals from Cantonese to Taiwanese etc. as well as fusion takes on these popular cuisines.  The Sydney harbour has many choices and we found a Chinese restaurant called Hulu and decided to give it a try. We were not disappointed. While the portion sizes were modest, the flavours were all there, which compensated for the lack in value.

We chose a few dishes to share which included; Chicken in lettuce wraps, fried pork dumplings, pork in rice flour noodle rolls, steamed prawn dumplings, & crispy chicken & vegetable spring rolls; and they were all brought to our table in a timely manner so we never had anything served us cold.  Everything was very tasty and satisfying and I enjoyed it all with my Tsingtao beer, despite the fact that it would have been nice had each dish had just a couple more servings of each item.  I’m not a big eater, but big eaters will have to order more than what we did to satisfy their appetites. 

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But, I’m going to focus on flavours and preparation and in that respect, there were no failures with crispy dumplings and spring rolls and perfectly cooked prawn dumplings, (I found these to be similar to Shumai steamed dumplings that we would find in most Chinese restaurants in Montreal or Toronto served as a Cantonese dish for Dim Sum). There are many different spellings that I’ve come across (i.e. Sui Mai) as well as many different variations of this specialty in other countries including Japan and Malaysia to name a couple.  The pork noodle rolls were on the smallish side compared to what we’ve often had at other restaurants during Dim Sum but again made up for it with spot-on flavour and served nice and hot.

Menu: Click Here

Price: Lunch for 3, our cost $63; excluding tip

Ambiance: Pleasant cool outdoor covered terrace with a ground floor level view of the marina

I can certainly recommend Hulu Restaurant but if you’re on a really tight budget, there are other eateries a short walk away like Oiden Bowl on George Street where you can grab a fast Asian lunch for 3, (excluding beverages), for about $19.00 and the food is actually very good, with good-sized portions—an excellent bang for your buck!

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Review of Leura Gourmet Café & Deli by Bill Wilkat 2018/11/02

Review of Leura Gourmet Café & Deli

Located in the Blue Mountain region of New South Wales Australia sits the quaint town of Leura with it’s charming village centre lined with cherry trees, shops and restaurants that lure in both local residents and tourists who’ve come by to visit and feast their eyes on the remarkable local scenery such as the Jamison Valley, and Sublime Point or the Three Sisters.

 

We were there to lunch with some dear friends of my brother whom he’d not see for a while and we only had to wait for about 3 minutes before they called our party of 6 to be seated—so not a long wait despite the queue of dinners the was quickly forming. Overall we found the service to be speedy and efficient and there were no mistakes in our orders. The atmosphere and decor inside the dining area was pleasant and bright and the view overlooked a valley which was more appealing than viewing painted walls and artwork that are more commonly found in cafés of this style, although they too were easy on the eyes.

Click here to See MENU

Prices were a tad on the high side for the type of fare which I would equate with casual pub style dinning although there is no liquor service (but you can bring your own wine subject to a $2.00 corkage fee).  I ordered the French Steak sandwich which is basically two thin slices of steak presented on top of a crusty submarine roll and served with Dijon mustard, caramelised onions and a garden salad.  It was tasty enough, although I had hoped for something a little more special given the $19.90 price. The salad was nice and fresh and I had enough dressing to balance the flavours.  I did get a surprise when I received the ice coffee I ordered as it came topped with fresh whipped cream, and ice cream floating below that!  While I had not expected that, it certainly was delicious and refreshing LOL!

 

My wife ordered the Gourmet Chicken Potato and Leek pie which also included a garden salad. She said it was okay but felt the portion should have been larger considering the pie crust was only a topping of puff pasty over the filling (larger than the pie itself).  She also said it seemed to be lacking the leeks, unless they we cut so small as to be more or less invisible.

My brother Ben ordered the Lamb’s Fry which is actually lamb liver and while it was tasty, the liver was sliced quite thin so it became dry in texture, and Ben felt the sauce should have been less like a thickened gravy but more like an “au jus” based on the menu’s description of the dish.  It did not include a salad but came with mashed potatoes and over-cooked bacon which was difficult to cut.

Lamb’s Fry With Bacon & Mash
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I did not want to bother our lunch companions by taking photos of their meals and interviewing them, but they were generally satisfied with their meals and had no negative comments—which was very positive.

From the comparisons that I can draw with similar eateries, Leura Gourmet Café & Deli is no worse, nor any better, and I would certainly consider eating there again.  The deli aspect of the storefront is another reason I would consider returning since we did not have a chance to sample any of the many products being offered behind the counter nor on the shelves.  In a nutshell, an acceptable restaurant with a comfy feel, good service, and a menu selection that will satisfy most diners.

Deli & Specialty Selections at the front of the restaurant.

 

Apple—Carrot—Zucchini  Muffins by Bill Wilkat 2018/11/1

Apple—Carrot—Zucchini  Muffins

Apple–Carrot–Zucchini Muffins

Makes 10

Too bad that today is not National Muffin Day because these muffins really hit the spot any day of the year!  So moist and tasty and of course even better with a dollop of fresh creamery butter.  We have yet to make some of these using gluten-free flour so I’m looking forward to seeing how they turn out when the time comes; but luckily Vicki and I don’t have any issues with gluten so we can enjoy these at breakfast or as an afternoon snack.  Some might argue that eating muffins is not the healthiest choice but as I’ve said many times, it’s not wise to deny yourself everything you enjoy or you’ll get severe cravings and overdo it when you choose to indulge.

A balanced healthy diet is a matter of making many choices, and changing how you eat for life, not worrying about the occasional consumption of a muffin or feeling guilty about it.  These muffins do contain healthy ingredients, (apples, carrots, zucchini, flaxseed, etc.), and having a couple together with some yogurt and more fresh fruit is a great way to start off your day and give you energy for when you go out and do some Black Friday shopping.  These would even make a great treat during the Thanksgiving Holidays–think positive for positive results and enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 egg
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil
  • 125 ml (½ cup) milk
  • 167 g (⅔ cup) packed brown sugar
  • 4 ml (1 tsp) vanilla
  • 415 g (1¾ cup) whole wheat flour
  • 63 g (¼ cup) ground flaxseed
  • 8 g (2 tsp) baking powder
  • 2 g (½ tsp) salt
  • 4 g (1 tsp) cinnamon
  • 1 g (¼ tsp) nutmeg
  • 250 g (1 cup) peeled, diced apple
  • 125 g (½ cup) grated carrot
  • 125 g (½ cup) grated zucchini

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • In a mixing bowl, lightly beat egg, add the oil, milk, brown sugar, vanilla and mix well. 
  • In a separate mixing bowl, mix together the flour, flaxseed, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. 
  • Add these dry ingredients to the egg mixture, stirring until just combined. 
  • Stir in the apples, carrots and zucchini. 

  • Spoon mixture into a silicon muffin tray, or using a metal muffin tray, into greased or paper lined medium muffin cups, filling each one almost to the top. 
  • Bake in pre-heated 205 C (400°F) oven for 18 to 20 minutes until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Place on a wire rack to cool.
So amazingly delicious!

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Apple—Carrot—Zucchini  Muffins by Bill Wilkat 2018/11/1

Fantastic Apple—Carrot—Zucchini  Muffins that will start your day off right!

  • Author: Bill Wilkat

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil
  • 125 ml (½ cup) milk
  • 167 g (⅔ cup) packed brown sugar
  • 4 ml (1 tsp) vanilla
  • 415 g (1¾ cup) whole wheat flour
  • 63 g (¼ cup) ground flaxseed
  • 8 g (2 tsp) baking powder
  • 2 g (½ tsp) salt
  • 4 g (1 tsp) cinnamon
  • 1 g (¼ tsp) nutmeg
  • 250 g (1 cup) peeled, diced apple
  • 125 g (½ cup) grated carrot
  • 125 g (½ cup) grated zucchini

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl, lightly beat egg, add the oil, milk, brown sugar, vanilla and mix well.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, mix together the flour, flaxseed, baking powder, salt, cinnanon, and nutmeg.
  • Add these dry ingredients to the egg mixture, stirring until just combined.
  • Stir in the apples, carrots and zucchini.
  • Spoon mixture into a silicon muffin tray, or using a metal muffin tray, into greased or paper lined medium muffin cups, filling each one almost to the top.
  • Bake in pre-heated 205 C (400°F) oven for 18 to 20 minutes until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Place on a wire rack to cool.
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Savoury Fried (or Baked) Corn Fritters by Bill Wilkat 2018/10/31

Savoury Fried (or Baked) Corn Fritters

Savoury Corn Fritters

Makes about a dozen

These fritters are so delicious and are ideal to be served as sides at breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you don’t care for fried foods, they can also be baked in muffin tins and are equally delectable done that way as well. Alternatively, they can be shallow pan-fried but if you use that option, its best to flatten them out, or even thin out the batter somewhat so that they cook well inside. The addition of the carrots and zucchini adds much desired nutritional value and boosts the savoury goodness for maximum enjoyment.  Every once in a while we have to treat ourselves to a few extra carbs and this is one of those wonderful indulgences that we welcome along side fried egg or a belly warming stew on a cold winter night or alongside of your Thanksgiving Turkey. Either way you’ll have plenty of energy to do your Black Friday Shopping!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 500 g (2 cups) flour
  • 15 g (1 tbsp) baking powder
  • 2 g (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 60 g (1/4 cup) sugar
  • 4 g (1 tsp) garlic powder (unsalted)
  • 4 g (1 tsp) onion powder (unsalted)
  • 8 g (2 tsp) chicken soup base (unsalted or low sodium)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 60 g (1/4 cup) melted butter
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained, (or about 375 g = 1 1/2 cups thawed frozen, or fresh)
  • 125 g (1/2 cup) grated carrot 
  • 125 g (1/2 cup) grated zucchini
  • Vegetable oil as required for deep-frying

INSTRUCTIONS: 

  • Sift flour, baking powder, and add salt, sugar, garlic and onion powder.
  • Combine eggs, milk and butter. 
  • Stir in dry ingredients and then add corn, carrot and zucchini last.

  • Pre-heat vegetable oil to 150 to 160 C (300 to 320 F)
  • Using a medium-sized ice cream scoop to portion (equal to 30 ml or 2 tbsp in size), deep fry about 4 to 5 fritters at a time in the hot vegetable oil and deep fry for about 5 minutes or until golden brown and cooked inside.

  • Drain on paper towels and serve warm.

Note: If you want to avoid frying, you can bake these fritters in a pre-heated 205 C (400°F) oven for 18 to 20 minutes until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

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Savoury Fried (or Baked) Corn Fritters by Bill Wilkat 2018/10/31

Delicious Savoury Corn Fritters–ideal as sides for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Can also be baked in muffin tins and equally delectable

  • Author: Bill Wilkat

Ingredients

  • 500 g (2 cups) flour
  • 15 g (1 tbsp) baking powder
  • 2 g (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 60 g (1/4 cup) sugar
  • 4 g (1 tsp) garlic powder (unsalted)
  • 4 g (1 tsp) onion powder (unsalted)
  • 8 g (2 tsp) chicken soup base (unsalted or low sodium)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 60 g (1/4 cup) melted butter
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained, (or about 375 g = 1 1/2 cups thawed frozen, or fresh)
  • 125 g (1/2 cup) grated carrot
  • 125 g (1/2 cup) grated zucchini
  • Vegetable oil as required for deep frying

Instructions

  • Sift flour, baking powder, and add salt, sugar, garlic and onion powder.
  • Combine eggs, milk and butter.
  • Stir in in dry ingredients and then add corn, carrot and zucchini last.
  • Pre-heat vegetable oil to 150 to 160 C (300 to 320 F)
  • Using a medium sized ice cream scoop to portion (equal to 30 ml or 2 tbsp in size), deep fry about 4 to 5 fritters at a time in the hot vegetable oil and deep fry for about 5 minutes or until golden brown and cooked inside.
  • Drain on paper towels and serve warm.

Notes

If you want to avoid frying, you can bake these fritters in a pre-heated 205 C (400°F) oven for 18 to 20 minutes until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Keywords: Savoury Corn Fritters

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Review Of Jamison Bakery, Penrith Australia by Bill Wilkat 2018/10/29

Review Of Jamison Bakery, Penrith Australia by Bill Wilkat 2018/10/29

Address: 9/100 Henry St, Penrith NSW 2750

Menu 

I love Banh Mi sandwiches—I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, that these are among the best sandwiches out there today which explains their universal popularity.  So how could I pass up trying one in almost every place I visit LOL! 

Nonetheless I decided that the one that I found at Jamieson’s Bakery was/is better than average so I just had to give this place 2 thumbs up and a solid recommendation.  What you often find with outfits like this is that they may be small, but they are big on taste and quality and the “proof is definitely in the pudding” as they hit it out of the ballpark on both levels.

Happy Camper enjoying his Banh Mi Sandwich LOL!

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The bun was nice and fresh with a crispy crust and the veggies were equally fresh, bright and inviting in colour and recently prepared to add to the sandwich including bright green punch cilantro to top it off.  I opted for the traditional pork version but other options are available on their menu board including the ever popular beef and chicken, and all affordably price at $4.50 each—who could ask for more?

We did find their mayo dressing a tad on the sweet side but it did not distract from the overall enjoyment of lunching on this simple delight.  Also, in lieu of Sriracha sauce they offer freshly sliced chilli peppers to give it a nice bite now and again.

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So, if you find yourself in the town of Penrith, do yourself a favour once you’v disembarked from the train, cross the road, cut though the shopping centre, make your way up the street for a couple of blocks and get your order in. 

Penrith Train Station

There’s a nice little courtyard there where you can sit and eat your lunch and watch the customers line up to place their orders (along with the local Police who have a station nearby and know a tasty sandwich when the find one too!).

Banh Mi Pork Roll Sandwich

Sous-Vide Spring Lamb Shoulder Roast by Bill Wilkat 2018/10/27

Sous-Vide Spring Lamb Shoulder Roast by Bill Wilkat 2018/10/27

Serves up to 6

I assume that you’re familiar with the French sous-vide method of slow cooking food at lower heat in a water bath, but if not you can read about it here: Sous-Vide.  It’s an ideal way to cook food as it retains all the moisture ensuring that what ever you are preparing does not get dried out or lose it’s flavour and nutrients. You will need to plan ahead due to the lengthy cooking time!

If you’ve never had the opportunity to feast on Australian lamb, this will give you yet another good reason to do so.  I’m surprised at how many people I’ve met who have never eaten lamb and how many who have told me that they don’t like the flavour of it.  Of course, many have had the unpleasant experience of eating strong-tasting Mutton and that is quite a different thing altogether; and I don’t blame them it that’s what they are relating it to, as Mutton is in my opinion “terrible”!

Vicki and I have often prepared lamb shanks using a Jamie Oliver’s recipe that is simply fantastic; thanks to our nephew Marc who turned us on to that one, we’ve gone beyond simple lamb chops on the barbecue, which was something I did every summer, (and I’ll post my recipe for those in the future).  In fact, I should tell you that for many years I would not even go any where near lamb meat because of my unpleasant memories of eating strong off-putting Mutton.

But now, fortunately we are able to purchase lamb meat from Australia and/or New Zealand which frankly is incredibly delicious and rival’s beef to the point that many prefer it—and it’s not difficult to understand why.  It’s delectable and lucious and fall-off-the-bone tender when cooked the right way. Speaking of things that are fortunate, my brother Ben is an awesome cook and today you are lucky enough to have me sharing his “sous-vide” method of preparing an amazing lamb shoulder that finishes off under the broiler and also yields a fantastic “au jus” that can be converted into perfect gravy to drizzle over the lamb when serving. So do yourself a favour, and try this recipe—you’ll love it!

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Spring Lamb Shoulder Roast about 2 kg (4.40 lbs)
  • 15 to 30 ml (1 to 2 tbsp) mustard (Dijon or Yellow Ballpark style, or a combo of both).
  • 15 g (1 tbsp) dried rosemary
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 57 g packet of gravy mix (an ideal Canadian choice is St. Hubert’s Low-Sodium BBQ sauce but if you can’t find that, select your favourite sauce mix).
  • Water as needed
Australian Spring Lamb

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Pre-heat the sous-vide bath water to 70 C (158 F).
  • Pat the roast dry with paper towel.
  • Spread the mustard over one side of the lamb shoulder and spread the rosemary over top.

  • Prepare a suitably sized vacuum bag for your sous-vide pouch and place the lamb inside.
  • Use a vacuum sealer to seal it shut—it’s not necessary to remove 100% of the air but you don’t want too much remaining as it will float and needs to be weighted down with a heavy plate or two to keep it submerged.

  • Place the sous-vide pouch into the water bath, and add the dish or dishes as needed to weigh it down as noted above.

  • Cook for 24 hours.
  • Remove the roast and transfer it together with all its’ juices into a roasting pan and place it under a re-heated broiler with the fat cap side up and broil until it’s nicely browned.

  • Remove the roast and tent with aluminum foil. 
  • Drain the juices and strain them to remove the rosemary pieces, and pour into a microwavable 1 litre (4 cup) glass measuring cup; top up with water as needed to ensure you have 500 ml (2 cup).
  • Stir in the gravy sauce mix, and heat on high for about 6 minutes stirring it each minute to ensure the gravy is nicely blended.
  • Serve with your favourite side dishes—we enjoyed it with roasted broccoli and corn fritters (recipe for fritter to follow in the near future, so please come back and visit again soon).

NOTE:  This recipe does not call for any salt or pepper as the salt in the mustard and S & P in the gravy mix is adequate to season the meat.  However, you may prefer to add some but we do suggest you try it without as you can always season it more later if desired.

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Sous-Vide Spring Lamb Shoulder Roast by Bill Wilkat 2018/10/27

A beautifully sous-vide cooked Australian Spring Lamb Shoulder with wonderful mustard rosemary garlic seasoning.

  • Author: Bill Wilkat

Ingredients

  • 1 Spring Lamb Shoulder Roast about 2 kg (4.40 lbs)
  • 15 to 30 ml (1 to 2 tbsp) mustard (Dijon or Yellow Ballpark style, or a combo of both).
  • 15 g (1 tbsp) dried rosemary
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 57 g packet of gravy mix (an ideal Canadian choice is St. Hubert’s Low-Sodium BBQ sauce but if you can’t find that, select your favourite sauce mix).
  • Water as needed

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the sous-vide bath water to 70 C (158 F).
  • Pat the roast dry with paper towel.
  • Spread the mustard over one side of the lamb shoulder and spread the rosemary over top.
  • Prepare a suitably sized vacuum bag for your sous-vide pouch and place the lamb inside.
  • Use a vacuum sealer to seal it shut—it’s not necessary to remove 100% of the air but you don’t want too much remaining as it will float and needs to be weighted down with a heavy plate or two to keep it submerged.
  • Place the sous-vide pouch into the water bath, and add the dish or dishes as needed to weigh it down as noted above.
  • Cook for 24 hours.
  • Remove the roast and transfer it together with all its’ juices into a roasting pan and place it under a re-heated broiler with the fat cap side up and broil until it’s nicely browned.
  • Remove the roast and tent with aluminum foil.
  • Drain the juices and strain them to remove the rosemary pieces, and pour into a microwavable 1 litre (4 cup) glass measuring cup; top up with water as needed to ensure you have 500 ml (2 cup).
  • Stir in the gravy sauce mix, and heat on high for about 6 minutes stirring it each minute to ensure the gravy is nicely blended.
  • Serve with your favourite side dishes—we enjoyed it with roasted broccoli and corn fritters (recipe for fritter to follow in the near future, so please come back and visit again soon).

Notes

This recipe does not call for any salt or pepper as the salt in the mustard and S & P in the gravy mix is adequate to season the meat.  However, you may prefer to add some but we do suggest you try it without as you can always season it more later if desired.

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Review Duck Confit from PG Gastronomiques by Bill Wilkat 2018/10/25

Review of PG Plaisirs Gastronomiques Duck Confit

Duck Confit. Just the name peaks ones curiosity and it sounds enticing just to say it out loud LOL! A specialty of the Gascony region of France but served the world over, it’s one of the best French dishes you’ll ever have the pleasure of eating.

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In my case, it’s probably one of the few dishes that I enjoy eating that have used salt to cure the meat and still tastes great, despite the fact that the sodium content is higher than many other recipes call for.  It’s rich and melt-in-your-mouth tender, and oh so favourable that many will drool just at the thought of eating it.  Given the lengthy preparation time and steps involved in making it from scratch, it’s not something that most home cooks will be ready and willing to make; except for a very special occasion.  In light of that, we are very fortunate to have found prepared Duck Confit in the grocery store can be easily served at home since all you need to do is heat it up for 20 minutes in the oven, and anther 5 under the broiler, and your celebration can begin!


Served with a wonderful red wine, ( l love it with Pinot Noir, Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon), a side of potatoes —usually cooked in duck fat—or rice and root vegetables; it’s a rare treat that you might like to make for your loved ones, or special dinner guests.  As such, I can highly recommend the PG Plaisirs Gastronomiques Brand of Duck Confit made in Broisbriand Quebec. (NOTE: This is a genuine review–I do not receive any compensation from this company for my endorsement!)

We (Vicki and I), buy the package that contains two servings of duck legs and have never been disappointed.  High quality, meaty and perfect; and while they don’t state the source of their ducks, I can honestly say they are as delicious as the famed “Brome Lake” ducks from Quebec.  Another bonus is that it’s properly vacuum-packed with a good amount of duck fat which we reserve for preparing fried potato wedges.  As this method of preparation was originally devised to preserve foods, you can keep these in your refrigerator for a very long time due to the lengthy shelf life often exceeding 6 months from the time of purchase.  Or you can freeze and thaw them when ready to indulge.

Another terrific way to serve this dish is as a salad and we’ve made that using a recipe from Quebec’s celebrity chef Ricardo.  There’s many different ways to prepare duck but for me Duck Confit ranks as the number choice and if you’ve never tried it, there’s no time like the present—especially when it’s this easy to prepare—enjoy!

Duck Confit Salad
Duck Confit with Rice Carrots & Beets

 

Review Of A & W’s Beyond Meat Veggie Burger by Bill Wilkat 2018/10/22

Review Of A & W’s “Beyond Meat” Veggie Burger and their Location at 915 Taunton Rd E, Oshawa, ON.

A & W’s Beyond Meat Burger

Every now and then I’m in the mood for a hamburger.  Generally we’ll make them ourselves and cook them up on the BBQ, and I often prefer to make them using ground pork since frankly, I found they made a better more satisfying burger.  Real beef lovers might disagree, and there’s no way to argue that as we all have our preferences.  However, I’ve also tried some veggie burgers and enjoyed those as well, and those included making Mark Bittman’s Bean Burger, as well as some sold by Yves Veggie Cuisine®; part of  Hain-Celestial Canada.

But, today we were out doing some shopping and I had become very curious about the veggie burger being advertised on TV by A & W, so we decided to drop into one of their locations on our way home.  Why this particular burger?  Well a friend of ours who has become a vegetarian told me about the “Beyond Meat” brand, and how she and her husband did not miss eating beef burgers since discovering them.  They work together creating a well-established blog called Pickled Plum, and they know good food, so naturally my interest was peaked; and I put it onto my list of things to try.  Now as it happens, this is a product that I was not able to readily find in Canada, except for at A & W.

I used Beyond Meat’s web site to locate their products and the only location it came up with within 10 miles of our home was the A & W we visited for lunch today.  Now I know we’re talking fast food here, so my expectations were not high to begin with, but I certainly was hoping for a better experience than what we had.  What ruined it for me personally was twofold: First they over-salted my onion rings, and those same onion rings were coated with a semi-soggy crust that seemed to be cornmeal based–yuck!  They were so bad and salty that I could not eat them–very sad, because years ago one of the things I loved best at A & W (aside from their frosty Root Beer), was their crispy onion rings.

Mind you, I want to focus on the “Beyond Meat Burger” as that was the real reason we were there to eat, and in that regard I can say that I was pleasantly surprised because the taste and texture of the patty was much like any fast food burger I’ve ever eaten; with the same taste and chew reminiscent of a beef burger.  I would not hesitate to order it again, except I would ask them to hold the pickle, (and maybe the cheese too), due to their high salt content that detracted from the flavours of the fresh lettuce and tomato as well as the patty itself.

My wife Vicki ordered a regular Mama Burger and fries and while her burger was fine, the fries were dry and mealy; typical of frozen french fries.  Plus they were pre-salted as well, and admittedly we did not ask them to hold the salt on either the fries or the onion rings because we did not remember to do so.  That being said, I feel it’s high time that all fast-food restaurants ask their customers if they would like them to be salted or not.  For my money, onion rings do not require any salting, and we’d both prefer to be able to control the level of salt used on our fries as well.  In this age of so-called “more health-conscious” consumers, you would think they’d get it by now!  That, and the fact that those of us with working taste buds don’t welcome abusing them.

On the upside, I was pleased to see that they did not use shredded lettuce as a lettuce leaf tends to be crisper and to stay put better within your burger.  Plus, the chilled drink mugs are a nice touch although way too large for average consumers like us–big eaters would likely disagree, but a 1/2 size mug would suit us better.

From a diner’s perspective the music pumped through the restaurant was way too loud and poorly selected.  Despite a polite request from a customer that entered after us, to turn the music level down, the onslaught of disturbing noise continued at the same annoying volume level through the speakers.

Pricing: $24.59 (taxes in) for our two burgers, one order each of fries and onion rings, and two drinks.  Value on a scale of 1 to 5, I rate this 2.5

Ambiance: Poor, noisy, and decor in need of a facelift

Service: Friendly, quick and efficient

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