Cuckoo Callay - YA BACON ME CRAZY

Cuckoo Callay

Hello Everyone and welcome back to an all new Review Sunday! Now, I’ve been back to the places twice already, once earlier on this year in February for my last brunch with friends in Sydney before I left to go back to Brunei. The other time I went here was with my family towards the end of May this year to try out their new menu, and to obviously take them to a favourite café of mine (yes I really liked this café from the very first visit I made with my friends). Anyway, the dishes that you are about to see below are a bit muddled in a sense that you will see dishes from their Bacon Festival which launched in the second week of February. The festival lasted for about 6 months I think, and is now no longer on their menu, but don’t fret! They have a whole new menu out and I will also be looking at a few of those dishes in today’s review.

Cuckoo Callay

Firstly, the Bacon Festival; sadly over, but the deliciousness will forever remain! Though I’ve been following the café on Instagram for a while back then, I never really found the chance to pay a visit. When they launched their bacon festival, I made it my mission to go at least once before leaving or else I’d miss out on the festival forever! It was such a great sunny fall day spent with very close uni friends. It was my second last day in Sydney at the time and therefore my last brunch as well before I went back to Brunei. I mean, clearly seeing that I’m back in Sydney, it wasn’t actually my very last time – I just said that at the time because I wasn’t sure if I’d make it to the June graduation sessions, and if I didn’t that meant that I’d be away from Sydney for 9 months until November 2015. I’m glad that I was able to graduate in June, so really I wasn’t gone for too long, but I do only have 2 weeks left in Sydney before I leave for good *sad face*

We decided to all order a dish each, and share amongst the 5 of us so that we’d be able to get a taste of everything bacon! Also to note down, all their bacon goods are free range and sourced from Australian pig farmers by Black Forest Smokehouse.

Cuckoo Callay - BACON DAWG
BACON DAWG: Maple glazed bacon sausage with gruyere cheese sauce, tomato and quince relish, crackling, and dill mustard pickles ($16.00)

My least favourite from the dishes that we ordered and only because I don’t like mustard or pickles, so dill mustard pickles? No! Otherwise if I can recall, my friends quite enjoyed this dish, but it wasn’t their top pick amongst the other dishes. I did love the sausage as it was juicy and succulent, as well as the crackling though, well what I could get of it I suppose since we were all probably going for it!

Cuckoo Callay - BACON ALL THE RULES
BACON ALL THE RULES: Black Forest Smokehouse maple bacon, bourbon bacon, bacon steak, bacon sausage, and bacon-crumbed poached eggs served on sourdough ($24.00)

This dish, though nothing special for me personally seeing as I could whip up something like this at home myself, was a good dish. It was jam packed with meat, eggs, and toast; a classic hefty breakfast. I know this is probably something you probably wouldn’t comment on, but the eggs we’re cooked perfectly with an oozy, runny yolk. I’m commenting on the eggs because you would not believe the many places I’ve been to that say poached eggs and the yolk was a disappointment – basically overcooked. Cuckoo Callay did not disappoint!

Cuckoo Callay - DON'T GO BACON MY HEART
DON’T GO BACON MY HEART: Beer candied bacon and popcorn chicken burger served with beer and tomato chutney, mustard aioli, and ‘slaw on brioche ($19.00)

I don’t really remember if I liked this dish or not – then again I guess not being able to remember a dish means that it didn’t have an impact on me. I don’t think it was bad, but it didn’t impress either. As long as there was bacon, but not just any bacon, beer candied bacon!

Cuckoo Callay - BACON, GET IN MA BELLY
BACON, GET IN MA BELLY: Pork Belly with sticky sweet chilli and fennel seed sauce with bacon, caper, coriander, and lime salad ($20.00)

This was my second favourite dish from the festival. The pork belly was chunky and crispy which was well accompanied by the sticky sweet chilli sauce/glaze it had. The squeeze of lime over the pork belly was a nice hint of freshness along with the capers and coriander. I don’t really like the taste of coriander so I just picked the capers out and ate those 😛

Cuckoo Callay - YA BACON ME CRAZY
YA BACON ME CRAZY: Buttermilk waffles with house-made bacon, caramel and cinnamon ice cream, Black Forest Smokehouse maple bacon, maple syrup, and chocolate coated bourbon bacon ($20.00)

MY FAVOURITE DISH OF THE BACON FESTIVAL! I love bacon, I love waffles, I love caramel, I love cinnamon, I love ice cream, and I love caramel cinnamon ice cream. Altogether? Heaven. Need I say more? Well, I guess the only things I can say negatively about this dish was that the waffle was a bit soft for my liking. I’m all about the crispy waffle! Otherwise, a superb dish.

Cuckoo Callay - BLOODY BACON CUCKOOTAIL
BLOODY BACON CUCKOOTAIL ($14.00)

I have no words for this, well I do but it’s going to be very biased. For starters, I’ve never had a Bloody Mary before so I was definitely taking a chance on this drink. But bacon makes everything better right? I’m afraid to say not in this case. One of my friends even made the comment saying that, “it tastes like cold pasta sauce” and after that comment, I could not get the image of drinking pasta sauce out of my head. I told you it’d be biased, but for Bloody Mary drinkers, this would probably be heaven for you guys.


So as mentioned above, I was able to revisit Cuckoo Callay a second time with my family when they came to visit. The bacon festival was sadly over (I think the weekend before they arrived actually), but they had a whole new menu out for everyone to enjoy! Before I get into the food, I need to tell you a story about what happened at the café; it’s nothing bad, in fact it was hilarious and I will never forget this story. Anyway, when our dishes came to our table, I of course, whipped out my camera and started taking photos of the dishes. Moments later, I’d say about less than 5 minutes later, our waiter (a charming and cheerful lad I might add), returned to our table and said quite loudly and playfully, “Why haven’t you guys started eating?! Is there something wrong with the food?!” followed by a small giggle. I replied, “I’m taking pictures!” to which he then responded, again playfully with a hint of sympathy, “Oh okay, so everyone has to wait I see”. My Mom then said, “She has a food blog” to which he then gave that raised-head ahhhh expression, and then walked away. It was quite hilarious! I’ve taken so many pictures of food before at cafés/restaurant, but never have I ever been why I’m not eating my food. Well honey, if you just wait for me to be done with my pictures, I’ll gladly eat the food!

Anyway, below are just a few of the dishes you can find at Cuckoo Callay:

Cuckoo Callay - GEORGE'S GORGEOUS COUSIN
GEORGE’S GORGEOUS COUSIN (vegetarian and gluten-free): Marinated avocado and thyme infused confit heirloom tomatoes on sourdough, goats curd, house made basil pesto, lemon herb gremolata, and a 63degree egg ($17.00)

My sister Angela had this dish and I of course had a little bite of it so that I could at least write about the taste of the dish. What I really loved about this dish was the marinated avocados; I mean avocados alone are already just good nought for me with a crack of sea salt and black pepper, but these were simply divine. I can’t quite make out what they marinated the avocados in, but they tasted a bit tangy? Anyway, they tasted so good that I think I might’ve had a bit too much of the avocados than I was offered to have!

Cuckoo Callay - PURPLE RAIN
PURPLE RAIN (gluten-free): Beetroot cured salmon, organic quinoa, chargrilled broccolini, sugar snap peas, avocado, kale, chilli, feta, toasted almonds, and 63degree egg ($21.00)

This was the dish that I had and though the avocados weren’t marinated, I still believe that I made the right choice in ordering this for myself. The dish was packed with lots of flavours and textures, and the runny yolk from that 63degree egg just tied the whole salad together. The cured salmon was something new for me in a sense that I’ve never had beetroot cured salmon before and though it was nice, nothing can compare to Devon Café’s cured salmon for me!

Cuckoo Callay - WE FOUND MARY'S LAMB
WE FOUND MARY’S LAMB: 16 hour slow cooked Moroccan spiced lamb, Israeli couscous, chermoula marinated eggplant, minted yogurt, and pistachio ($22.00)

My youngest sister Alyssa ordered this dish, well more like I ordered the dish for her since she had no clue on what to order. The lamb was very tender and really had that Moroccan flavour packed in it. I really liked the Israeli couscous for the way it looked only because I don’t think I’ve ever seen couscous so big and so round! Besides those two elements, everything else on the dish tied nicely together.

Cuckoo Callay - EGGS ON TOAST
EGGS ON TOAST: soft scrambled ($9.00) with extra marinated avocados (+$4.00)

My mom, though she enjoys food a lot, isn’t much of a big eater and so I ordered a simple eggs on toast with marinated avocados for her. You can choose how you want your eggs, whether soft scrambled, 63degree, or fried, and what extras you would like to go with it from crispy bacon, beetroot cured salmon, duck sausage, to grilled haloumi, marinated avocados, etc. Take your pick really to whatever suits your tastebuds. Anyway, of course before ordering this dish, I had no idea how good the avocados were, so after tasting them from my sister’s dish, I was quite happy with the decision to get extra avocados for my mom’s dish only because it meant that I could have more avocados *insert evil laugh* Anyway, what else can I say? The scrambled eggs were light a fluffy, the way it should be and toast is toast.

One thing that I noticed with Cuckoo Callay’s menu (both for the bacon festival and their new menu), is that they are very creative with naming their dishes; even my Mom found it very amusing! Overall, both dining experiences were delightful, and both the company and the quality of service was on point. If I recall, we had to wait a while for our dishes during the bacon festival, and that was only because the café was jam-packed with a lot of customers. We even had to wait 45 minutes in line to be seated, but altogether worth the wait I must say. The festival did not disappoint! Value for money? Like I mean it’s definitely worth your money in comparison to other places that I’ve been too. My Mother on the other hand, of course having just arrived from Brunei where you can probably get a similar dish for half the price, found it quite expensive. However, before she and my sisters left to go back to Brunei, she did comment on how yes eating out is definitely more expensive in Australia, but you get double the portion than you do back home. I’d give value for money an 8/10. The food probably a 8/10 as well; some minor issues due to personal taste, but nothing bad or mediocre about the food to give it a lower rating.

Cuckoo Callay
Newtown Railway Station
Shop 324B Erskineville Road
Newtown, New South Wales
Australia, 2042

– Ally xx

Vermont Maple-Pecan Cake

Vermont Maple-Pecan Cake

Hello Everyone and welcome to a very special post as today officially marks the 1-year anniversary of my food blog! I started up this food blog exactly a year ago during spring break, and instead of slaving away on the many assignments/projects I had at that time, I decided to spontaneously start up a blog, out of pure procrastination really. Since it was quite spontaneous, I didn’t quite put much effort into it in the beginning, as in I wasn’t bothered to purchase my own domain name, and buy a theme and customise it. I wasn’t sure of how long I’d be able to keep up with this blog (because I have tried many times and failed). I am happy that I am able to finally keep one up and running, posting 3 times a week, almost.

Vermont Maple-Pecan Cake

For the next few months or so, I will work on developing an aesthetic and a colour scheme for my blog that reflects who I am as a person – not just one who loves to cook and is passionate about all things food, but also my personality and my design style. The pink and brown was sort of a “yeah that will do for now” because it fit the default theme that I picked (which was more like “I prefer this theme that the others I’ve seen”). Anyway, so to celebrate my blog turning 1 today, I decided to bake a cake for this occasion. I wanted to bake a citrus poppyseed cake at first but for some reason, lemons were nowhere to be found in every supermarket and market that I went to. Instead, I found another recipe that stood out to me – Vermont Maple-Pecan Cake. Why I chose to attempt this cake was because I already had maple syrup in the fridge and CREAM CHEESE; like who could say no to cream cheese?!

The quantities from the original recipe that can be found on Taste of Home, makes two 6-inch round cake layers, but since my baking pans were about 8.5-inches, I decided to double the recipe until I realised that I should’ve tripled it when I poured the batter into the pans; they barely filled halfway. So I made another batch to top them off. Therefore, the quantities below have been tripled from the original to make two 8.5-inch round cake layers. Once again, Happy Anniversary to Amcarmen’s Kitchen!

Vermont Maple-Pecan Cake Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 20-25 MINS | SERVES 8-10

INGREDIENTS

For the cake batter

  • 2 & 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cup buttermilk*
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 170g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted

For the frosting

  • 1 package (250g) cream cheese, softened
  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 & 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • Toasted pecan halves, to decorate

*I could not find any buttermilk at the supermarket, so I made my own by using a tablespoon of white vinegar for every cup of milk. Set it aside for about 5 minutes for the milk to react to the vinegar. You can also substitute the vinegar for lemon juice.

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F or gas mark 4).
  2. Grease two 8.5-inch cake pans with a little butter and set aside
  3. For the cake batter: Combine the plain flour, sugars, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, butter, syrup, and vanilla, and stir into dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chopped pecans.
  4. Pour into the prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the centre comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing the cakes from the pans to wire racks to cool down completely.
  5. For the frosting: Using an electric handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, and maple syrup in a small bowl until smooth. Then beat in the confectioners’ sugar.
  6. Assembly: Place one cake layer on a serving plate and spread with about 1/2 cup of frosting. Top with the second layer of cake and frost the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with toasted pecan halves and store in the fridge before serving. Enjoy!

Vermont Maple-Pecan Cake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Blueberry & White Chocolate Pancakes

Blueberry & White Chocolate Pancakes

Hello Everyone! Again apologies for the lack of posts, but I already explained my situation in the last post so I won’t be going through all that again! Anyway, apologies as well as this post was supposed to go up last night but I got so caught up in the kitchen the whole day from morning to afternoon, and night. Basically cooking all day long, firstly because I promised my housemate pancakes, and promised Jialing a baking session to drown her sorrows in, and then an impromptu homemade dinner session with Jialing as well. Recipes will be posted hopefully within the next few days, if I can get them all written up by tonight and just post over the coming days. I was also helping my lover Jialing to prepare her for her interview today, and also helped a fellow housemate with his internship application. The night flew by so quickly that it was way past midnight – I hadn’t written a post, and I needed to go to bed for an early 9am start. But don’t worry, because here it is now for you!

So, I actually promised my housemate Lydia that I’d make pancakes for her for breakfast on Saturday morning, but because I had a pretty rough night on Friday/early morning Saturday, I didn’t end up making pancakes for her. Long story short – it was a friend’s birthday party, things got out of hand, ended up spending my early weekend morning in the hospital until 3:45am. Don’t be alarmed! I was totally fine and sober (even after so many drinks, more than I thought I could handle), it was my friend who was totally out of it and I stayed by her side and made sure she was okay.

Blueberry & White Chocolate Pancakes

Anyway, so yes, pancake making day was pushed to yesterday morning. It was a great success in my opinion – especially since that this was the first time I was trying out this recipe, I mean, I’ve made my fair share of pancakes before, but not particularly with blueberries and white chocolate. So a little back story (because I know a few people out there who enjoy a few creative words on my posts), my housemate Lydia was trying to flip pancakes one night, prepping for breakfast the next day of course, and her pancakes crumbled. She got a few good ones though, but all in all she labelled them as fail pancakes. So the next time she made pancakes again… Well, it was hilarious! Basically we were having lunch together one day or more like our lunch times crossed at one point because I finished eating before her and I went back to my room. To my surprise when I came back down, I saw her in the kitchen and she was flipping pancakes. I asked her how she was going with them, and she replied “not so good. I actually waited for you to go upstairs so you wouldn’t see my fail pancakes!” How cute! So funny!

So basically, I decided to show Lydia how to flip pancakes yesterday. She tried, but still couldn’t flip them – so we made a deal that she will, by the end of the semester, be able to flip pancakes properly and cook me some! She did however participate in the making process – she was in charge of measuring out the dry ingredients while I worked on the wet, flipping of pancakes, presentation, and photography. And before I get on moving with today’s recipe, please check out the original recipe that I followed over on Oh Sweet Basil.

Blueberry & White Chocolate Pancakes Ingredients

PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 45 MINS | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 cups buttermilk*
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 white chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt

*I didn’t have any buttermilk in the pantry so what I did was for every cup of milk I added a tablespoon of vinegar. Buttermilk has enzymes and lactic acid, which will react with the baking powder to create a light and fluffy texture with lots of little pockets of air for the pancakes. The vinegar in the milk will help to ensure this. Using just regular milk will not give you this result.

Blueberry & White Chocolate Pancakes

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 100C. Start by adding all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Separate the egg whites and egg yolks in two small bowls. Using an electrical mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  3. In the other bowl whisk the egg yolks until light in colour. Then add in the butter and whisk. Finally add the buttermilk and whisk to combine altogether. Add the egg yolk mixture into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon.
  4. Fold in the egg whites gently together with the blueberries and white chocolate chips. Be careful as to not to over mix the batter.
  5. Lightly butter a small fry pan over medium heat and add about half a cup of batter. Allow it to cook until the bottom begins to turn golden and bubbles just start to form on the top. Flip and cook until set on the other side. Repeat with remaining batter – should make about 9 pancakes. Place the cooked pancakes on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and place in the oven to keep warm until all the pancakes have been cooked. Serve immediately.

Blueberry & White Chocolate Pancakes

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com