Recipes: Best Tofu Dishes

Tofu has long been known as vegans’ ultimate protein source. However, it is also severely underappreciated as an ingredient on its own, despite its great taste and versatility. Tofu is not only nutritious, but it also can be used in every dish, from appetizer to (seriously) dessert. Here are a few recipes to get you started…

Crispy Baked Tofu by Cookie and Kate

This simple recipe requires only four ingredients. Perfect for party nibbles, or simply serve with rice.

 

Vegan Vietnamese Tofu Spring Rolls by Delish Knowledge

Paired with fresh chopped vegetables and peanut-lime sauce, these rolls are healthy without sacrificing the taste.

 

Tofu and Chickpea Sandwiches by She Likes Food

BBQ doesn’t have to be all meats and steaks. Sloppy but tasty!

 

Spicy Ramen with Tofu by Pinch of Yum

The firm tofu will absorb the flavours of the thick, spicy miso soup. Paired with the soft boiled egg and the sleek ramen noodles, this dish is heaven in a bowl.

 

Silken Tofu Panna Cotta in a Cherry Chocolate Sauce by Exceedingly Vegan

Silken tofu has been a substitute to cream in vegan recipes for a while now, but it’s definitely not inferior. The mixture of tofu and agar agar flakes creates the perfect wobbly texture that would please every panna cotta enthusiast.

 

Vegan Chocolate Pudding by Kathy Patalsky

Another dessert recipe using silken tofu. The recipe takes less than seven ingredients – simple and practical enough for even the absolute beginners to follow.

The Grounds of Alexandria to Open A New Sydney CBD Branch

The team behind The Grounds of Alexandria is set to open a new Sydney CBD outpost soon in The Galeries.

The new place, named The Grounds of the City, will diverge from Alexandria’s style, inspired by the 1920s hospitality.

“The Grounds of Alexandria is all about bringing families and the local community together, so we started off thinking about who it is that we want to bring together and connect in the city,” said The Grounds co-founder and creative director, Ramzey Choker. “We really got inspired by the 1920s, a time when the inner city was a place for real social gathering and connection between professionals.”

The open-plan kitchen will be serving brasserie-style food from breakfast to dinner, with an option to takeaway. Alongside this, there will also be a barista’s bar with “coffee sommeliers” to guide patrons in their individual coffee experiences.

The new venue will also feature old-fashioned gimmicks such as shoe-shining stations and custom-made cake trolley.

Design studio Acme & Co. is again in charge of the interiors, after working on both The Grounds of Alexandria and Potting Shed. Decors include cast iron doors, pendant lighting, up-cycled timber floors, stained glass windows and marble details.

“We want to create a place that becomes like a city home away from the office and somewhere you want to go that is just really comfortable,” said Choker. “It’s going to be really different, really unique and really special.”

The Grounds of the City is set to open in late May/early June.

Recipes: Most Indulgent Pastries

Pastries: great breakfast food, wonderful companion to coffee, a snack to unstuck you from afternoon rut. Not only are pastries versatile, but there are also a range of types to choose from, varying in texture and taste. Here are eight pastry recipes that you can try at home:

  1. Croissant
Source: Ambrosia Baking

Plain or filled with chocolate, the choice is yours.

 

  1. Cinnamon Roll
Source: My Name is Snicker Doodle

With spices and sweet frosting, nothing could go wrong with this pastry.

 

  1. Cronut
Source: Deliciously Yum

For the unacquainted, cronut is the lovechild of donut and croissant – the ring shape with the buttery, layered texture. It’s perfect to dig in!

 

  1. Puff Pastry Cannoli Cone
Source: Campbell’s

Nothing better complements your tea time than cannoli cones a.k.a cream horns.

 

  1. Cream Puffs
Source: Lovely Little Kitchen

Eat as is, or mix it up with chocolate sauce and strawberries.

 

  1. Sausage Roll
Source: RecipeTin Eats

These hand-sized delights are great for parties and picnics.

 

  1. Apple Struddle
Source: All4Recipes / All4Women

A classic choice. Enjoy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the most indulgent dish.

 

  1. Tart
Source: Sarah L. Bolla / The Daily Meal

Sweet, small and easily customisable.

Where To Eat Yum Cha In Melbourne

Weekend yum cha sessions are always something to look forward to – there’s a unique kind of excitement in waiting for the yum cha trolley lady to pass your table as well as choosing from the plethora of dishes available.

For those who have no idea what ‘yum cha’ means, it’s basically about eating dim sum dishes (dumplings, steam buns, and more) and drinking Chinese tea.

But how do you know which restaurant has the best dim sum dishes? I’ve chosen the top yum cha spots in Melbourne just for you – check it out!

  1. Oriental Teahouse

378 Little Collins St, Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia | http://orientalteahouse.com.au

Oriental Teahouse
Source: Oriental Teahouse

Not only does Oriental Teahouse have tasty dim sum dishes ranging from steamed siu mai to fried wontons, but it also offers a wide range of tea for you to choose, from herbal-infused hot tea to tea cocktails!

  1. David’s

4 Cecil Pl, Prahran VIC 3181 | http://davidsrestaurant.com.au/

David's
Source: David’s Restaurant Facebook page

Ever imagined what white chocolate dumpling tastes like? Me neither, but you no longer have to imagine at David’s. You can enjoy this chocolate dumpling with every other thing that David’s offers at the all you can eat feast. Don’t forget to try their pork belly as well!

  1. Shark Fin Inn

50 Little Bourke Street in Melbourne | http://www.sharkfin.com.au

Source: Time Out
Source: Time Out

A Melbourne institution, Shark Fin Inn offers classic Chinese menu. Along with its variety of dumplings, don’t forget to also try the Deluxe Bird’s Nest (chicken, pork and seafood sautéed with mushrooms and vegetables).

  1. Andy’s Yum Cha House

13 Napier St, Essendon VIC 3040

Source: Amie Hu
Source: Amie Hu

The place may look small and unassuming, but once you try their fried calamari, you wouldn’t be able to stop yourself from grabbing more. The place also serves your classic yum cha range such as pan-fried pork dumpling and steamed buns.

  1. Shanghai Village
112-114 Little Bourke Street, CBD, Melbourne, VIC
Source: Natasha Abrahams/Weekend Notes
Source: Natasha Abrahams/Weekend Notes

The place would probably be the best if you’re looking to get more bang for your buck. The place is pretty crowded, but the service is quick. The succulent xiao long baos (dumpling with soup filling) are not to be missed. For vegetarians, the choice of ‘mock duck’ is available for you.

  1. Westlake

189 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000 | http://www.westlakerestaurant.com.au/

Source: fluttersbymistletoe/Zomato
Source: fluttersbymistletoe/Zomato

The place is another Chinatown institution, and there’s a reason why they have stayed for decades. Make sure to try the cheong fun (rice noodle roll) and braised chicken feet!

  1. HuTong

14-16 Market Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000 | http://www.hutong.com.au/

Source: Joy/Weekend Notes
Source: Joy/Weekend Notes

HuTong doesn’t necessarily have trolleys going around the room, but don’t let that change your mind. You can watch the chefs make the dumplings live as you enjoy your xiao long baos and scallop dumplings.

  1. Red Emperor

Mid Level Southgate Restaurant & Shopping Precinct 3 Southgate Avenue Southbank VIC 3006 | http://www.redemperor.com.au

screenshot-34

Located in Southbank, you can eat your dumplings in the terrace overlooking Yarra River and Melbourne skyline. Feeling a bit hungrier than usual? You can also choose all you can eat yum cha for $45-55 per person.

 

That’s my top eight yum cha picks. Where are you gonna go this weekend to taste some dim sum dishes?

A Day Out In Surry Hills: For Beginners

As described by local residents, Surry Hills is ‘a melting pot of cultures’ located in the inner city eastern suburb of Sydney. Picture a second cousin of Newtown fused with a few industrial, commercial and residential areas. It’s also a creative hub where hipsters from all around the city gather to Instagram their visits. From the borders of Elizabeth and Chalmer’s Street to the outskirts of Crown, Surry Hills is a thriving destination for food with its many choices of restaurants and cafés and a fantastic place to go shopping. To kickstart your own visit, I’ve crafted a short list as a guide to help you explore the best of Surry Hills:

1. Firedoor, Mary Street (https://www.firedoor.com.au/): 
If a community of pyromaniacs were to come together and create a restaurant, that restaurant would be the Firedoor. A place dedicated to cooking premium Australian food in the purest form using, you guessed it, fire.

Source: http://www.goodfood.com.au/eat-out/the-nine-woodfired-dishes-you-must-eat-this-winter-in-sydney-20150521-gh6pic

2. Bishop Sessa, Crown St (http://bishopsessa.com.au/): 
For an affordable pseudo-fine dining experience, Bishop Sessa offers a delightful dinner with a choice of an a la carté menu or the degustation course (six dishes for only $77 pp), a recommended place for a romantic date.

Source: https://enzovivo.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/257510.jpg
Source: https://enzovivo.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/257510.jpg

3. Porteno, Cleveland St (http://www.porteno.com.au/)
Porteno is a popular Argentinian restaurant in the heart of Cleveland St that only produces the finest culinary creations with variations that cater to meat lovers, vegetarians, and seafood lovers.

Source: http://www.porteno.com.au/images/uploads/porteno/galleries/gallery_01.jpg

4. Suzi Q Coffee & Records, Hutchinson St (http://www.suzieqcoffee.com.au/):
For the musos of Sydney, Suzi Q is your sanctuary for tune-age and great food. It’s not only an homage to musical artists and jazz players but also a fine place for a cup of coffee.

Source: https://www.broadsheet.com.au/media/cache/fa/69/fa694e1a859d0f117eb030906b1270eb.jpg

 

5. Bills, Crown St (http://www.bills.com.au/):
Bills is the ideal place to take your friends for a great brunch on a Saturday morning. I would highly recommend trying their infamous Scrambled Eggs or Ricotta Hotcakes with Honeycomb Butter.

Source: http://hollylinfood.weebly.com/#/
Source: http://hollylinfood.weebly.com/#/

6. Bodega Tapas, Commonwealth St (http://www.bodegatapas.com/):
Bodega is Porteno’s trendy little sister –  an experimental latino restaurant that is well known for its top-knotch plating and stylish variations of tapas.

Source: https://www.timeout.com/sydney/restaurants/bodega-tapas-restaurant-bar#tab_panel_2
Source: https://www.timeout.com/sydney/restaurants/bodega-tapas-restaurant-bar#tab_panel_2


7.
 Blacksmith, Chalmers St (https://www.facebook.com/blacksmithsurryhills/):
Blacksmith is a local watering hole for Surry Hill residents – from the workers to the creatives. A great place for coffee, lunch with friends or even a place for a few beers after work.

Source: http://static.wixstatic.com/media/

8. Beresford Hotel, Bourke St (http://merivale.com.au/theberesfordhotel): The Beresford Hotel is more than just your average pub on a Saturday night. It’s a gorgeous venue with a courtyard with food served at the front and a whole lot of partying in the back. A great place to bring your friends for a bite to eat, a few drinks and maybe a post-dinner dancing sesh.

Source: http://www.sydneynightlife.com.au/wp-content/uploads/venue/profile_image/full/faccc_Bero_prof.jpg
Source: http://www.sydneynightlife.com.au/wp-content/uploads/venue/profile_image/full/faccc_Bero_prof.jpg

9. Mum’s Table, Elizabeth St (http://www.mumstablesh.com/): For a cheeky Vietnamese fix, Mum’s Table on Elizabeth gives you an authentic home-made style lunch filled with an array of Vietnamese staple dishes such as pho and vermicelli. Take your friends there, it’s almost un-PHO-gettable.
Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 5.07.23 PM

10. Shakespeare Hotel, Devonshire St (http://shakespearehotel.com.au/): To eat or not to eat, that isn’t really a question at the Shakespeare Hotel. It’s a quaint little antique space offering a choice of reasonably-priced daily lunch specials and cheap drinks during happy hours.
Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 12.38.27 PM

The Breakfast Club

Thanks to social media, breakfast has become more than just a basic plate full of bacon and eggs. Thanks to our smart phones, we have redefined what it really means to eat our first meal of the day. We find ourselves tediously poaching our eggs, peppering our smashed avocado, toasting our sourdough bread before documenting and posting our food on Instagram like some sort of weird scrapbook hashtagging our way to popularity. But whether we like it or not, we are all part of that food culture now.

From my own foodie adventures, I’ve gathered a list of examples which celebrate that Instagram culture:

The Grounds (Alexandria) http://thegrounds.com.au/
The Grounds Of Alexandria is a hipster paradise where everyone takes flatlays of their food. It’s a gorgeous place split into three unique districts: “The Cafe”, “The Potting Shed” and “The Garden” where you have a choice in where you want to eat. You can wonder around the garden, purchase a few (expensive) beautiful pastries and home-grown flowers at the market place and even stop by the petting zoo to pat some animals because why not.

Dr Faustus (Surry Hills)
Eating at Dr Faustus cafe is like eating at a vintage roadshow. The interior is filled with antique furniture and quaint baubles and you find yourself travelling back in time as you enjoy your morning coffee in what appears to be similar to grandpa’s basement.
Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 2.27.49 AM

Devon Cafe (Surry Hills/Waterloo) http://www.devoncafe.com.au/
Tucked inside the heart of Devonshire street, Devon Cafe is an adorable spot to enjoy strong coffee and good food. Recommended for a quick feed with friends or a place to bring work colleagues for meetings.
Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 11.04.34 PM

The Usual Cafe (Cabramatta) http://www.theusualcafe.com.au/
Cabramatta is the last place you’d expect to have an “aesthetic” brunch date with your friends. But The Usual Cafe does breakfast and coffee with style and for a very affordable price.  
Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 9.52.01 PM