Saturday, November 23, 2013

Celebrating fresh greens

We all know eating a wide palette of colours where food is concerned is good for you but naturally green food (I'm talking plant food and maybe the odd bit of mouldy cheese rather than artifically coloured over-processed food) is essential to providing your body with the nutrients it needs to thrive. 

Yaya has a friend, Andrea, a lovely friend whose garden grows beautifully bountiful fresh greens and we were the thankful recipients of an abundant quantity. Fresher than what could be bought through a supermarket, we decided we had to put it to good use as soon as we could. There was rosemary, parsley and thyme (and chives) followed by a large bunch of silverbeet. It was so abundant we spread the spoils over a number of meals and this is the result.
 To anyone who was raised with the music of the 60's, the herbs brought the lyrics of a song to mind and with a little addition of sage from our own stores, we had the makings of what I like to call:
Simon and Garfunkel Rack of Lamb!

I confess to not really knowing what the song actually meant when I was humming along to what seemed to be a fairly mournful tune but I was caught by the lyrical harmonies and that was enough.

As it turns out, explanations for the "parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme" line, which is the common thread in each verse, vary between the four herbs being considered powerful medicine at the time the original folk song(s) on which the modern day version is based, was written (a time of plagues, pestilence and curses) to them being a placeholder because the original line was long forgotten! One commentator even speculates to them being the common herbs used for stuffing a fowl which seems a likely explanation in these days of foodie conversations but a little less likely in the psychadelic 60's and whilst the rest of the song consists of the singer asking his/her true love to perform impossible tasks to prove their love.

However you like to interpret the song, that line got stuck in my brain so when presented with three of the four herbs, and wondering what to do with them, it seemed obvious to use them in combination to make a herb crust for a rack of lamb, a dish which seems more at home in that era than now!

Bunch of parsley
2 sprigs of rosemary leaves stripped from the stalk
4 sprigs of thyme leaves stripped from the stalk
4 large sage leaves
2 thumb-size pieces of parmesan
1 large (or 2 small) pieces of fresh bread
4 cloves of garlic
10 grinds of Salt & pepper
2 tablespoons crushed macadamia nuts (optional or exchange with other preferred nuts like pine or almonds)

Pulse all the above in a mini food processor until the mix comes together into a paste - add a little olive oil if the ingredients feel too dry.

Remove any superfluous fat from the rack of lamb then pack the top of the rack with the herb mix and press down quite hard to mould it onto the rack.

Place rack on a foil-lined baking tray and cover with another piece of foil. Bake in a moderate oven (180 degree fan-forced) for 20 minutes, remove foil covering and bake for a further 15 minutes, check for doneness (cut through the middle of the rack to ensure it is cooked through, if not, return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes) then rest for ten minutes and serve with vegetables or salad.

With lots of herbs left over and having recently purchased the Allergies book from the Wellness Trilogy of "4 Ingredients" author, Kim McCosker (the other two books in the series are Diabetes and Gluten Free/Lactose Free), we came across her recipe for Herbed Hash Browns. The recipe seemed too good to be true. I'd made potato cakes before but it had always taken an egg to bind them well enough to hold together into a pattie and now that I didn't eat eggs, well, I was up for the challenge. Her recipe contained only potato, garlic, rosemary and oil for frying with seasonings of salt and cracked pepper. Not having to be limited by four ingredients yet wanting to be true to the recipe to be able to test it, I added only thyme to the mix (we'd already used the chives in another undocumented dish) but next time would probably add that with a grating of parmesan (unless I had dairy challenged people dining with me of course!).

4 medium or 2 large potatoes (we used the Carisma Low GI potatoes from Coles)
2 sprigs of rosemary leaves stripped from stalk
2 sprigs of thyme leaves stripped from stalk
4 cloves of garlic
Cracked pepper & salt to taste
Grapeseed (or other neutral vegetable) oil for shallow frying, (optional - oil spray to help crispen)

Finely mince the herbs and garlic and put into a medium bowl.

Using a medium grater,
(too fine and your potato will turn to mush, too thick and the potato will not cook through evenly) shred the peeled potatoes into a colander to allow the liquid to drain as you continue to grate. When you finish grating all the potato, grab handfuls of the shredded potato and squeeze as much liquid out as you can, transferring the drier potato to the bowl containing the herbs while you squeeze the remainder. Once all the potato has been squeezed, mix through the herbs and seasonings thoroughly.

Heat a shallow frying pan with a tablespoon of oil on a medium setting. Kim recommends dividing the recipe into four cupfuls and flattening them out into patties but I used a large serving spoon which meant I ended up with about ten smaller but I think crispier hash browns. To my delight, the potato mix stayed together as long as I didn't turn them before they had a chance to brown and were moved easily from the surface of the frying pan. Before the first turn and after each subsequent turn, I also sprayed a little extra oil on the surface of each pattie, which meant a little extra fat (what diet??!) for a crispier result but if you're going for low fat, just add oil if the pan feels dry or your food starts to stick. (That was my conscience speaking, personally, I would rather not eat something every day to be able to really enjoy it on the odd occasion than eat a healthy version which dissatisfies due to cutting out all the "bad" stuff.) As my frying pan was small (and the oven was on anyway), I moved the cooked hash browns onto a baking-paper lined tray to make room for the remainder of the mix so they were served nice and hot and crispy once they were all ready. Now that I know this works so well, this will definitely be one of my regular recipes. Thank you Kim!

Silverbeet. A word to bring despair into many a culinary heart.

To be honest, I've never ever purchased a bunch of silverbeet in my life. I have heard stories of how awful it is. In the grocery stores it comes in such large bunches that I am overwhelmed and not sure that I could manage an entire bunch. And besides which, when you can get bagfuls of tender baby spinach leaves which can be eaten raw or cooked in seconds into a hot vegetable dish, well why would you? Well, when presented with such a fresh, luscious looking bunch, how could I not?

I decided to think of it as regular, albeit, giant spinach. I figured if I cooked it down, it would be practically the same but as I had already decided to make Spanokopita with the leaves, I decided to use the stalks first by adding it to a stir fry of asparagus. Hmm, first lesson in silverbeet cookery, unless you plan to process them with a food processor, forget the stalks. Just shear the leaves from the stalk with a sharp knife and discard. I came to this conclusion after cooking the said stalks and leaves together until the leaves were wilted and tender but still vibrantly green and the stalks were still like a coconut husk. I fished the majority of them out and used a pair of cooking shears to finely chop the most tender remaining bits which finally made them hospitable.

In the end, I supplemented the silverbeet with some languishing baby spinach and you couldn't tell one from the other so I guess win:win!

1 bunch of silverbeet finely sliced from the stalk (or 1 family sized bag of baby spinach leaves);
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, finely diced
Salt & pepper to taste (go easy on the salt if your feta is already salty)
100-200 grams feta, finely diced or broken up into little pieces by hand (less if you like less cheese, more if you prefer it to be cheesier but then don't add too much salt in the beginning of the recipe)
4 sheets ready-made filo pastry (thawed if frozen and brought to room temperature but kept cool and moist in plastic wrap)

Add a little oil to a medium hot pan, stir fry the onion until softened and slightly brown, add silverbeet/spinach then garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Once the greens have wilted, take off the heat, drain in a collander and leave to cool. Mix the feta through the cooled green mixture and adjust seasoning if necessary.

Unfold the filo and place one layer on a baking-paper lined oven tray, spray with oil, place the next layer on and repeat until all layers have been sprayed including the top layer. Put spoonfuls of the filling mix along the long side of the pastry closest to you, leaving the opposite side and a couple of centimetres on the other three sides of the filling clear to the edge. Fold the short sides of the pastry over the ends of the filling, then, using the baking paper, bring the long sides of the pastry up and around the filling, as if you were making a Swiss roll, pressing firmly to encase and gently turning the roll until the seam is on the bottom.

Spray with a little oil then bake in a moderate (180 degrees C fan-forced) oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Slice and serve. (I served mine with some pan fried lamb cutlets.)

Thank you to Andrea, for the greens which helped make this happen!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Lemon Sherbert and Green Tea Marshmallows - The Sweet Swap

July 2013 is now known as the month of sugar overload as I join many other Australian bloggers in this years Sweet Swap.  For this event I found myself battling for kitchen real estate with my general partner in crime Mrs Shanks who had decided to join in on the fun via her own new blog What's Mummy Up To.

The Sweet Swap is an online event where you are randomly assigned three bloggers to make and send a treat to.   In return you receive treats from three other bloggers and post about your experience and recipe.  The great thing is that the small admission fee goes towards charity, Child fund Australia.

I decided to make a recipe I've been longing to try.  Those who know me may know that I've been keen on mastering, to no great success, a macaron recipe.  I've experimented with French and Italian methods and found the Italian technique more forgiving.  The difference between the two, is the way you incorporate the sugar into your egg white mixture.  The Italian technique consists of adding boiling sugar syrup to the whisking egg whites resulting in a much silkier meringue.  The same technique was applied for these marshmallows only the addition of gelatine to firm up the meringue.

After receiving an abundance of lemons from Lobo, a lemon treat was a must which brought me back to my childhood love of Lemon Sherbert bomb's.  Yes one would have thought I would have attempted to make these hard lemon flavored candy encasing a centre of fizzy sherbert but due to time restraints (as I mentioned the battle above) and general know how I decided to use the elements and create them in marshmallow form.  Also as I'm a matcha freak I just had to try a green tea version.  So what did I receive you ask......

Anna from The Littlest Anchovy created these decadent Salted Almond Brittle and decadent they were.  The perfect amount of salt that lifted the caramel/butter scotch flavor to another world.  It was hard to stick to a small piece to go with my morning coffee every day.  Thanks Anna!!

Maureen from Orgasmic Chef sent these delightful Russian Caramels + Watermelon Ice.  My kids MiniB and Hburger's eyes lit up at the sight of the colorful watermelon ice, which was backed up with a coconut grin.  Thanks Maureen!!

Finally I was spoilt for choice by Shez of One Bite More who made not one but three treats.
Black Gold Bars (sticky treacle chewy toffees with a hit of mocha and chilli), Szechuan pepper Fudgy Bites, and Sour Gummy (cherry and passion fruit) gummy chews.  My favorite hands down was the Black Gold bars with it's chilli kick.  Thanks Shez!!

Many thanks also goes out to Sara of Belly Rumbles and Amanda of Chewtown for organizing this event.  It was such a thrill receiving random packages of sweet goodness in the post and all for a good cause.

Till next time ... we eat!!


Marshmallow (Matcha or Lemon Sherbert)


   Marshmallow Mixture
   25 gm powdered gelatine
   185 ml  (¾ cup) flavored fluid (i.e. lemon juice or green tea)
   500 gm caster sugar
   200ml water
   1 tbsp liquid glucose
   2 eggwhites
   1/8 tsp creme of tartar

   Lemon Sherbert Marshmallow Coating

   1 packet of Wizz Fizz
   20gm icing sugar
   30gm cornflour
   grated lemon peel of 1/2 lemon

  Matcha Marshmallow Coating
   1/2 tsp Matcha green tea powder
   33gm icing sugar
   30gm cornflour
   An additional pinch of Matcha powder for serving


Line a 30x15cm baking (or something similar) tin.  I found a silicone mat a lot easier to remove the mixture from than baking paper.

Combine gelatine, lemon juice to a small bowl and let stand until the gelatine has absorbed all the liquid.  Fill about half way of a larger bowl with boiling water and set the small bowl with gelatine mixture on top of the larger bowl (similar to a double boiler when melting chocolate).  This is to keep the mixture warm and to stop the gelatine from setting.  Set aside.

Place sugar, water and glucose in a saucepan and bring to the boil.  Continue heating (roughly 5-10 minutes) the sugar syrup until temperature reaches 125 degrees C.

While you are waiting for the sugar to reach temperature, add the creme of tartar to the egg whites and begin whisking.  An electric stand mixer is preferred as you'll be have your hands full when combining the mixture.  I generally start whisking on high while when the sugar syrup starts to boil.  It should reach soft-medium peaks once the sugar has been boiling for about 3 minutes but slow the mixer down if it is forming stiff peaks before the sugar syrup is ready.

Once the sugar syrup has reached temperature, slowly add drizzle the syrup down the side of the mixing bowl while it's still whisking.  Simultaneously slowly drizzle the gelatine mixture to the egg whites.  Continue whisking until the the temperature of the bowl reaches body temp - i.e. slightly warm to the touch.  This will take about 10-15mins.  At first sight it may seem like that the syrup and gelatine has flattened all the air out of your egg mixture but keep whisking and it will slowly combine as the mixture cools.

Spoon the mixture into the baking tin and smooth off the top.  For best results refrigerate overnight.

Combine the cornflour, icing sugar and flavoring (i.e sherbert or matcha) and put through a fine sieve.  Sprinkle some of the mixture on to a flat surface and remove the marshmallow onto this mixture.  Coat the rest of the marshmallow and slice it into your preferred shape /size.

Sieve additional sherbert, lemon peel or Matcha before serving.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Kobe Jones - New Winter Romance Menu

Mrs Shanks and I were lucky enough to be invited to try out Kobe Jones new Winter Romance menu which was just perfect as we missed out on a date for our wedding anniversary back in April.  It was a much need distraction from the everyday business plus being cooped in the house the past few weekends due to the excess rain we've been having in Sydney.

Kobe Jones is located in the heart of the dining district of King Street Wharf.  A stylish restaurant with modern Japanese influenced decor and I've noticed the glass bi-fold doors that open up the dining area to panoramic waterfront views of Darling Harbour.  Well known for it's Japanese-Californian fusion style of eastern cuisine matched with western sauces and their famous Volcano Roll, Kobe Jones now has a new head chef Hong Sub Lee (Edan) running the show. It's been a while since we've been to KJ so it was great to come back and see what has changed.

Kobe Jones Sunset and LLB
On their website I have noticed that the menu structure has changed focusing on sharing-style banquet meals that range from $55-$180pp.  Their a la carte menu ranges from rolls, sushi & sashimi, tobonayki, hot rocks, and everything in between.  I like the vast variety of the banquet menus so that you're not restricted based on budget or the number of courses.  The variety also showcases the chef's specialties and we got to try dishes that we would not generally consider ordering off the menu.

Number One Special
A great start to the banquet was KJ's Number One Special Roll.  Crab salad with avocado is always a win for me, but when it's wrapped with kingfish and baked in secret sauce makes it all the better.  KJ's secret sauce sweet, sticky, caramelized, hoisin flavoured goodness that balances well with the cream topping.  I'm not a big fan of alfalfa but thought this added some freshness to the dish and an additional dimension to the overall taste.

Tantalising Tasting Plate: Spicy Ebi Nigri, Wagyu Tataki, Salmon&Seafood Poke, Lollipop Sushi, and Spider Roll
The Tasting plate is elegantly plated on a long slate tile (hard to photograph though) highlighting the level of detail into each bite sized morsel.  As sushi and sashimi are chef Edan's first love, this platter truly displays his passion.  Each mouthful had distinct textures and flavors.  My favourite would have to be the Seafood and Salmon Poke, Hawaiian style marinated sashimi cubes served with poke sauce which I think had a dash of sesame oil which just brought the dish together.  This also reminded me of a similar dish we had on our honeymoon, the Fijian Kokoda - which we dubbed "fish in a cup".

Pacific Calamari Fritto

The Calamari Fritto was a highlight.  Crisp light panko crumbs encasing pillow soft calamari drizzled with roast shallot mayonnaise.  Mrs Shanks and I also couldn't get enough of the marinated yellow radish which had a smokey flavour and we both agreed we could have a whole bowl of this stuff with an ice cold beer.

Jalapeno Salmon Tataki
The salmon had a wonderful texture, lightly flamed slithers of salmon with briney pops from the salmon roe and hint of heat from the jalapenos.  The dish was a bit on the oily side to my liking and could have been lifted with some citrus.

Spicy Seafood Tabonyaki
IT'S ALIVE!!  is what Mrs Shanks said upon witnessing the air-dried tuna shavings wriggling on top of this warm hearty dish.  A seafood medally of prawns, scallops, squid and mussels with wild mushrooms tossed in KJ's seaweed butter and baked Tabonyaki style in cream sauce.   This was a welcomed hearty dish but we both feared the carb-overload as we were only halfway through the banquet.

Volcano Roll
KJ's infamous Volcano Roll oven-baked scallops layered with crab and avocado roll covered in a molten cream sauce, roasted sesame seed, smelt roe, and shallots with lashings of bitter sweet soy glaze - enough said.  It's a great dish with a good combination of flavours and textures.  If I were to be really picky I would have to say that having this straight after the seafood tabonyaki was border line cream sauce overload, and it may have been better served before the calamari ... but seriously, who can ever get enough cream sauce!?!

Alaskan Crab - Before and After
The dish I'd been waiting for had come.  The Alaskan crab legs were as long as my arm and surprisingly quite thorny.  KJ's menu describes that the crab leg is grilled robata style to highlight the crabs sweetness and I'd have to highly agree with this cooking method.  Not only was the crab meat succulent and sweet, the grilling also gave smokey tones that enhanced the crab's natural seafood flavor.  The separate soy/lime dressing was not required in my mind as the taste was already complete.

Lobster Hot Rock
Fresh sweet slipper lobster meat served on a hot rock at the table - what's not to love?  The initial searing of the lobster gave an amazing aroma as well as a smokey charred flavor to compliment the lobster's natural sweetness.  The lobster was served with three sauces garlic seaweed butter, ponzu and motoyaki sauce.  Out of the three sauces the garlic seaweed butter was the winner for me.

KJ's  Tiramisu + Flaming Green tea Anko
Not that we weren't spoilt (and full to the brim) enough already with an awesome array of dishes, but then our waiter did not ask us which dessert (a choice of two) we wanted.  Instead he came out with the flaming lot - literally.  The green tea and Anko (red bean paste) brulee arrived alight, infusing the vanilla liqueur to the brittley sugar coated top.  I was surprised to find the brulee still retained a crack-worthy toffee crust.

The tiramisu consisted of a green tea and sake infused sponge served semifreddo topped with chocolate shards and strawberries.  A refreshing dessert with good contrast in flavours. 

One the way out I also noticed that KJ is not only for fine banqueting, but they also do lunch and dinner specials for those wanting a quick meal.  $32 (at time of review) for a mixed plate lunch and they are still doing $29pp all you can eat sushi platters (min 2 persons).  Time to get your Volcano Roll fix!!

Anyway, we enjoyed a fantastic winter-romance date, with the atmosphere, seating arrangements, heaters (which were very welcome on a particularly wet and cold night), great service and the sharing-style menu providing a warm and intimate dining experience, with a hint of luxury thrown in.

Till next time ... we eat.


Yaya's Yum Yums dined as guests of Kobe Jones.

Kobe Jones on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 23, 2013


There's Japanese and there's Japanese, the former being almost everyday for lunch, the latter being Saké. We chose to dine at Saké recently to celebrate a milestone birthday, the birthday girl being a lover of Japanese food. 

The restaurant itself is a "land" of contrasts with a welcoming bar area, long narrow intimate dining room, individual dining rooms (which seemed almost cell-like!) and a larger, buzzier dining room. We chose the last of these as we were keen to experience the sunken tables (this area offers both the traditional Japanese seating as well as western-style regular seating). Unusually, the tables are not sunk into the floor so much as raised on a platform onto which you must clamber before threading your legs into the space designed for them, a little awkward if you are sitting near the window. Service is also impacted by the waiters' inability to reach further than the end of the table, requiring dishes to be passed by the diner, so if you are tempted to experience this, be sure your party members are fairly agile and happy to participate!

The menu is a double-page tri-fold of options and when faced with too many options, we did the usual thing - chose the $88 per person Chef's Banquet Menu which showcases all of the restaurant's signature dishes.

First though, drinks! Happy birthay Wag! : )

Although we selected the degustation, there were a few dishes which each of us nominated as add-ons to the main fare, dishes which were too tempting to await another opportunity to trial. These were:

 Fried Tofu - fairly traditional but served with what we guessed were fried prawn whiskers/antennae.

Tuna Tasting Plate for 2 - tuna & avocado sushi rolls, tuna tataki salad with white dressing & tuna tacos with Kozaemon Junmai 'sake shots'.
Sashimi Tacos - tuna & salmon sashimi filled baby tacos with chilled tomato salsa matched with Kozaemon Junmai 'sake shots'.
You can't go to a restaurant named Saké and refuse a serving of it, even if it's an adjunct to the dish itself! The sugar encrusted shot glasses lent a sweet foil to the sake, great for the uninitiated sake drinker but YaYa didn't see the point of putting perfectly nice sashimi inside a mini taco which didn't really add anything to the dish.

Back to the degustation! As we were a table of six, each course was presented for two people so in most cases, there were three identical plates placed along our table. The only exceptions to this were the Silver Cod (where we were presented with a single dish containing one serving for each person) and the Popcorn Shrimp - but more on that later!
Edamame - served piping hot and generously salted
Kingfish Jalapeno - hiramasa kingfish, yuzu soy, thin slices of jalapeno chili. A beautifully presented dish, this is a good introduction to those who don't enjoy sashimi as the citrus in the marinade practically makes this ceviche-like and many of us were surprised that the jalapeno was not as "bad ass" as they had assumed it would be!

Shumai - chinese inspired steamed prawn dumplings with ponzu. An homage to the Cantonese prawn dumpling but more tender, more flavourful and fanciful with the tendrils of julienned wonton wrapper enclosing a melt-in-your mouth filling.

Panko Rice Balls - soy bean, bamboo & shitake mushroom rice balls with wasabi mayo & coriander. More a disc than a ball but flavourful nonetheless and very crispy.

Silver Cod Lettuce Cups - grilled miso-marinated silver cod in lettuce cups. Exactly as described but a delicious moist mouthful of savoury textures. This is the dish which served all six of us!

Popcorn Shrimp - bite sized prawn tempura tossed with a creamy spicy sauce (part 1) Very moreish!

Popcorn Shrimp - bite sized prawn tempura tossed with a creamy spicy sauce (part 2). As the allergy sufferer who couldn't have the mayonnaise, I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only did the waitstaff enquire about food allergies when taking our orders but instead of missing out, we were presented with one of our three dishes with the mayonnaise on the side. The mayonnaise eaters declared that it was even better served this way as the prawns retained their crispiness and they could take as much of the accompanying mayonnaise as they wanted, which made for an even spicier mouthful. Win/win all around!
Wagyu Teriyaki - marble score 7 wagyu beef sirloin, cooked medium-rare & served on sauteed shiitake & buckwheat with yakiniku sauce.  Smokey from the grill, the beef was tender and sweet on the palate which contrasted well with the savoury buckwheat. Although the flavour was likely there, actual shiitake pieces were few on this plate.

Green salad - dressed with the familiar citrusy ponzu, light and delicate.
Miso & Rice - served along with the Wagyu beef dish, all received a bowl of miso but (presumably and wisely to save rice wastage) we were offered a single bowl with more if we required it. We didn't need it but the bowl was sufficient for a large spoonful each and proved to be beautifully cooked.
Vanilla Panacotta - jasmine tea jelly, yuzu granita - the perfect size following the volume of food we had just consumed, the bottom layer was a very smooth, perfectly set, heavenly scented in vanilla panacotta offset by the delicate jasmine tea jelly and again with the tart yuzu granita. Could have eaten more than one, glad we weren't given the opportunity! 

Traditional colourful sake barrels adorn one of the walls in the main dining area.
If I were being crass, I could describe our meal here as a gourmet surf  'n' turf with minute amounts of carbs in the form of taco or dumpling wrappers! What completely erases this thought, however, is the delicacy with which the ingredients were combined coupled with the freshness of the ingredients and the recurring ponzu theme all of which left us feeling visually and belly satisfied but also very healthy. 

The $88 menu is a particularly good choice for those who dislike raw fish as the only sashimi dish features the least fishy variety while the remainder of the banquet is cooked. Saké also have a $110 banquet menu (food only, matching wines are $175) which features more of their sashimi dishes.

Saké Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Ragamuffin - Local Favourites

You know that Ice Cream advertisement tag line "No boring bits"? Precisely the same thing can be said for these little Ragamuffins. Having lived in Leichhardt for the past few years, I've been meaning to blog about these guys for some time. Selfishly, I've been keeping them all to myself but am now ready to share with the rest of the Sydney. 
Steamed and then baked, these muffins a quite different to the ones you're used to. Not overly cakey, the steaming gives the slightest skin which the baking then crisps up. The steaming helps to keep the muffins nice and moist without having to go overboard with butter or oil. The other feature that separates these from other muffins is that each one harbours a savoury or sweet filling. Soft centred muffins - a masterstroke that ensures that the muffin tops will never overshadow the much maligned muffin stumps. 
Onion Jam Centre (front) and Chocolate Ganache (back)

With over 30 flavours, there is an abundance of choice. In fact, the hardest task is choosing your flavours as they all look and sound so tempting. Baked throughout the day, I enjoy the 'lucky dip' factor and unpredictability of what is coming fresh out of the tins and ususally base my decision on this. In fact, I usually go for a half dozen to ensure good coverage. As with anything, come early to ensure the best variety. 
Then there are a few odd flavours which have a foot in both sweet and savoury such as the pumpkin cheesecake and mandarin marmalade. How about a USA sweet pumpkin style muffin now that they are coming into season?  
Smoked Salmon
The savoury muffins (which include smoked salmon with a cream cheese/dill centre, 4 cheese with rhubarb and onion jam, sun dried tomato and fetta) combined with a coffee, make for a satisfying 'light' breakfast. My next request for a new flavour would be a 'Croque Madame' (cheese, egg, ham/bacon) - oh yeah...... 

The sweet muffin range will satisfy all tastes from chocolate lovers (double chocolate ganache, lamington with blackberry jam) to fruit fanatics (lychee, lime and coconut, passionfruit and orange/poppy). There are also clever plays on classic desserts like Spotted Dick, Raspberry Jam Doughnut and Banana Sundae. Flavours do change and new ones are added. To check the flavours of the day, go to: or 
Raspberry Jam Doughnut

Because they are not buried under a mountain of butter cream or icing, they are not overly sweet and arguably 'kinder' to your waistline than the all style, no substance cupcake. The best bit of course, is getting to the good stuff in the middle. 
Originally set up facing the dining area, the La San Marco lever action coffee machine now operates from the kitchen for practicality's sake. Like the lever action machines of the 19th and 20th centuries, it's great to see this machine in action and have someone actually pull an espresso. Coffee is sourced locally from the excellent 'Little Marionette' roasters just a few blocks away in Annandale. Other beverage options include milkshakes which I have not yet sampled.

La San Marco Lever Coffee Machine
My only other wish is that they offer a muffin and coffee 'package' so we could save a little bit of 'dough' if we bought them together.  


157 Norton St, Leichhardt NSW 2040
(02) 9568 1806