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In Australia, Dining, Dinner, Modern Australian, Restaurant, Travel on
December 19, 2015

Travel | Broken Hill: The Exchange Restaurant @Royal Exchange Hotel

We’re towards the end of our six weeks in Broken Hill, and we’ve started to develop a routine where we celebrate the end of a week with a fancy dinner.

This week’s fancy dinner takes us to The Exchange Restaurant, located in the Royal Exchange Hotel. We’ve rode past it countless times on our push bikes on our way to Argent Street (the city centre) so we’re a little surprised when the interior is much more fancier than what it seems from the exterior!

It’s easily the fanciest restaurant we’ve been to so far in Broken Hill, with dim lighting, candle lights, a pianist and some cozy couches by a warm fireplace if that’s your preferred method of dining. We stick with the table and chairs, though we do spend some time lounging in front of the fireplace after dinner- it’s awfully comfortable, so try not to fall asleep!

Parmesan Crumbed Oysters (half doz $14)

We’re keen to try the oyster shots, but unfortunately they’ve sold out for the week, so we order the Parmesan crumbed oysters instead. Not quite as exciting as the shots, but they fried beautifully, with a crunchy light batter, and and go well with the accompanying aioli and lemon.

Moroccan Lamb Tagine ($29)

We notice that the Moroccan Lamb Tagine on their menu outside has been renamed to ‘Slow cooked lamb’ on their actual menu, probably to account for the fact that the lamb isn’t actually served in a tagine. Nevertheless, it is a great dish- the lamb is nice and tender and there’s quite a big serve too! I love the sweetness of the apricots and sultanas, which is quite an unusual pairing for me. The only thing I did wish was for there to be vegetables on this dish to balance out the meat.

Chicken Royale ($28.50)

The chicken royale, sounds super fancy, as it’s slow poached for four hours and stuffed with prawns and bacon cream cheese. We’re a little surprised that it comes already sliced in half, though we realise it does make for easier eating! The chicken is surprisngly tender, and the stuffing is enjoyable, especially with the garlic dijon sauce (though there aren’t really many prawns in the stuffing!). The sauteed baby carrots and cocktail potatoes are a delicious side too.

Honey and Yoghurt Panna Cotta ($10)

And for dessert, the dessert menu isn’t overly exciting so we settle on the honey yoghurt panna cotta which is something different. The spiced honey sauce is a nice touch, and the yoghurt adds a distinctive tartness, though I can’t say I was the biggest fan.

We’re keen on trying those oyster shots so we’re back again the next week to celebrate our last day here in Broken Hill, despite having eaten lightly earlier in the night. There’s not many light options on the menu so we decide to have entrees as our mains instead.

We realise only after dining here that the head chef is John Hart, the son of one of Broken Hill’s most famous painters. The artistic influence shines through on the some of the dishes, especially this slow cooked pork belly, which is much fancier than we’d imagined!

In Other, Recipe on
December 10, 2015

Beef and Bean Enchiladas

I’m not usually into making ‘dinner kits’ because it means that there’s less room for creativity when cooking, but I was quite excited when I received the Mission Burrito Kit in my box of Mission products a couple of months ago since burritos are something I don’t make very often at home.

But of course I didn’t want to make them as per the instructions on the box (that would be boring!) so I made them into enchiladas by covering them in sauce and cheese.

I’m quite a fan of the packaged taco/burrito seasonings- they give that unique mexican taste without me havingto buy the multiple spices that I don’t usually use in my cooking. I’ve added a bit of everything to this recipe, but feel free to tweak it to your tastes. The enchilada sauce further adds plenty of flavour to the dish and I only made half the recipe thinking it was too much but I’d definitely make the whole recipe next time.

Served with guacamole and salsa, this dish is definitely a winner in my family (who aren’t even normally much of a fan of Mexican!).

Beef and Bean Enchiladas
Makes 8
Recipe adapted from Mission Foods, sauce from here

For the Filling:
1T Olive Oil
⅓ cup Green Onion chopped
500g lean beef mince
1 can 4 bean mix
1/2 cup Long Grain White Rice, cooked
1 cup corn
1 large tomato, chopped
3T tomato paste
1 pkg. (1 oz) Taco Spices and Seasonings
½ cup Water

Heat olive oil in a non-stick, medium size sauté pan over medium-high heat; on the stove top. Place onions and heat until softened. Add minced beef beef into pan and brown (approximately 5 minutes); then drain. Place drained cooked beef and onion mixture back into the non-stick sauté pan, add the remaining ingredients. Continue to cook until water is gone and beef is thoroughly mixed with seasoning.

For the Sauce:
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 cups water (I used beef stock)
1/3 cup tomato paste
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¾ tsp salt

Add the vegetable oil, flour, and chili powder to a medium pot. Turn the heat on to medium and whisk the ingredients together. Continue to whisk as the mixture begins to bubble. Whisk and cook the mixture for one minute once it begins bubbling.
After one minute, whisk in the water, tomato paste, cumin, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper until smooth. Allow the sauce to come up to a simmer. Once it reaches a simmer it will begin to thicken slightly.
Starting with a ½ teaspoon, add salt to taste. I used about ¾ teaspoon total. The sauce is now ready to use!

8 Burrito Size Flour Tortillas warmed
3/4 cup grated cheese (I used mixed cheddar + mozzerella)

Place 1 tortilla on a clean work surface. Top with one-eighth of the beef and bean filling mixture. Roll up to enclose filling. Place in an ovenproof dish. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and beef mixture. Pour over enchilada sauce and top with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese melts and filling is heated through.
Serve with guacamole and tomato salsa

In Australia, Café, Dining, Lunch, Travel on
December 6, 2015

Travel | Broken Hill: Temptations Cafe and Dessert Bar (2)

Continuing on with my overdue Broken Hill posts is another one on Temptations Cafe which seems to be the only one where we’ve managed to say that we’ll come back and have actually done so on numerous occasions is Temptations. A total of 4 times actually!

We can’t help it- the opening hours are so much more convenient than every other place, and their dessert selection is, well, tempting.

 Flourless Orange and Almond Cake ($6.90)

Our second visit was a quick dessert stop where we actually got a chance to have a look at their dessert selection properly- it’s located at the back section of their shop which was booked for a function the first time we visited.

Iced Chocolate ($6.90)

And while we’re at it we thought we’d explore the drinks menu a little further as well as we’d quite enjoyed their drinks last time. Unfortunately, the ice chocolate was rather disappointing- a rather bland mixture of chocolate topping and milk.

Coffee Frappe ($6.90)

The coffee frappe on the other hand wasn’t quite as bland, with a nice mix of sweet, milky and bitterness of coffee. It was a bit of a shame that it was made using a coffee syrup rather than a real shot of coffee because it would have tasted much nicer!

Vanilla Slice ($4.90)

I couldn’t go past the Aussie classic- vanilla slice with a nice thick layer of creamy custard sandwiched between two layers of puff pastry. It was a little on the overly sweet side, and the pastry wasn’t as flaky as it could have been, but it did make for a satisfying dessert.

 Flourless Orange and Almond Cake ($6.90)

They had the labels in the cake fridge placed incorrectly, so my friend’s order of flourless orange and almond cake was not exactly the one she was after but she did enjoy it, even if it was a little dense.

Strawberry and Banana Smoothie ($8.90)

A week later, we’re back yet again for a late lunch,  and as usual, the place is pretty quiet. We take another stab at the drinks menu with the strawberry and banana smoothie, which proves a much better option than the iced chocolate/coffees we tried previously.

Mocha $3.80

And of course you can’t go wrong with coffee!

Tandoori Chicken Foccacia ($10.90)

I had eaten breakfast and a sausage sandwich earlier so I was after something light, so I chose the Tandoori Chicken on Turkish Bread (which ended up coming as foccacia instead)which seemed like it wasn’t too big or heavy considering the price and the description.

Let’s just say it was much bigger than I had anticipated!

Veggie Foccacia ($10.90)

The veggie foccacia was quite similar, with a roasted vegetable filling instead of the chicken. Both were delicious, with the bread toasted til nice and crispy with a nice balance of salad and warm chicken/veggies for the filling.

Turkish Baklava ($4.90)
And because we weren’t sure if we’d have time to revisit before leaving Broken Hill, we thought we’d try one more dessert, even if we were feeling quite full after the sandwiches. The baklava seemed the smallest dessert on offer, although in hindsight it probably wasn’t the lightest. But what’s not to love about paper thing filo pastry and lots of nuts soaked in syrup?

In Recipe, Salad on
December 2, 2015

Kale and Chickpea Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing

Another warm week, another salad recipe!

To add a little variety to my weekday lunches, I bought a rather large bunch of kale so ended up making a variety of kale salads for the week. My favourite was this kale and chickpea salad with a spicy peanut dressing I’d come across on pinterest which worked surprisingly well. The dressing is nice and creamy and also very very tasty (once you read the ingredients list you’ll see why).
Read more

In Australia, Café, Dining, Lunch, Travel on
November 30, 2015

Travel | Broken Hill: Temptations Cafe and Dessert Bar

Apologies for my lack of posting over the past couple of months- they’ve been quite hectic and stressful, trying to put everything we’ve learnt over the previous year into practice within a short time period of 10 weeks. But it’s over now, and I can finally say that I’ve finished uni for good this time.

I haven’t had a chance since I got back from Broken Hill to properly finish my posts from then, so I thought I’d quickly put them up on my blog before I forget, starting with one of my favourite Broken Hill cafes, Temptations.

The problem with staying up late on Friday night in Broken Hill is that you end up waking up late on Saturday morning, so by the time you cycle your way into the main street of town, most of the cafes and shops are just about closed.

I can’t say we’re too fond of the 1-2pm closing times, because it leaves us with little time to explore and not much to do in the middle of the day. Luckily, Temptations Cafe is open almost all day, and this so we end up here for a late lunch when almost nothing else was open.

Mocha (Lge $4.50)

We’d been meaning to visit Temptations since the first week we’d arrived in Broken Hill, being the only dessert bar in town but we hadn’t really considered visiting for lunch as their menu didn’t seem quite as exciting as everything else on offer in town.

Housemade Strawberry and Dragonfruit Iced Tea ($4.50)

Their drinks menu was quite exciting with a selection of smoothies, shakes and teas in addition to the standard coffees. The house made strawberry and dragonfruit iced tea was surprisingly good, a refreshing drink with a hint of strawberry and dragonfruit. There’s no dragonfruit used in the tea of course so its flavour is quite subtle.

Steak Sandwich ($16.50)

The menu mostly consists of your typical cafe fare- burgers, sandwiches and pastas. We’re not sure what to pick so we go for the waitress’ suggestion of the steak sandwich.

And boy are we glad we did!

It’s an unexpectedly impressive steak sandwich, with so much filling it is not possible to eat it without a mess! It’s a delightful combination of steak (of course!), bacon, egg, onion jam, tomatoes and salad between the two lightly toasted pieces of Turkish bread. It’s quite similar to my all time favourite steak sandwich at my local cafe and I must say, it does come close to being my favourite!

Caramel Macadamia Cheesecake ($12.90)

And we can’t leave a dessert bar without trying their desserts, so we pick the caramel macadamia cheesecake of their specials menu. There’s also a dessert display inside the restaurant, but most options are on the menu anyway.

The caramel macadamia cheesecake was a one off special, we’d been trying to order it again for a few weeks after but they didn’t make it again 🙁

Caramel Macadamia Cheesecake ($12.90)

Temptations Cafe and Dessert Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato