Creamy Chicken & Corn Soup Recipe

It’s well and truly winter here in Australia. I live in the cold capital of Canberra so I know a thing or two about cold winter days! There’s also an icy wind on top of having most nights sub zero… just thinking about it makes me shiver!

Winter always calls for comfort foods that warm your body and help the soul deal with the shorter and colder days. When the temperatures dip like this, it’s always a great idea to sip on soup in winter.

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Vegan Scrambled Tofu: the Healthy & Cruelty-Free Alternative

For those who follow me on social media, you would have seen that I completed the Veganuary challenge in January. It was really a interesting challenge that completely opened my eyes to new possibilities in the kitchen.

One new recipe I tried was scrambled tofu. I already liked the taste of tofu and occasionally ordered it when eating out. But I never knew how to cook it properly.

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Italian Dinner with a Sea View at Sorriso Italian

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One of my favourite things about travelling away is eating out at new and exciting places. My recent getaway to the South Coast was no different.

It’s often super busy at this time of the year up and down the East Coast. Without a doubt, most of Canberra leaves the territory around Christmas Eve and will stay down there until New Year’s Day (or whenever they have to return to work). Because of this, the accommodation is usually expensive and you often need to book a year in advance. We were lucky that we have family we can stay with (and have the Christmas celebrations with too) so we decided to capitalise on that this year and stay longer than our usual Christmas dash.

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Taco Tuesday at Honkytonks

When I heard about Taco Tyesday at Honkytonks I got pretty excited! $10 gets you two tacos and a beer… Even though Indon’t drink beer, this sounds like a pretty tasty deal to me, especially on the day before payday.

For those who have not been to or heard of Honkytonks, it is a Mexican themed bar and restaurant right in the heart of Canberra’s city in Garema Place. The place often plays Mexican music during the day, with the windows opened up to the street, and more seating outside under a marquee. They have the largest selection of Telquilla in Canberra, and the also make delicious cocktails and sangria!

I decided to do a catchup dinner with one of my friends who is also a little bit obsessed with Mexican food. We were both excited to try out Taco Tuesday and took a while to decide on what eat. Luckily the bar staff quickly served us with a drink so we could chat, drink and eventually decide on which two tacos to try.

There are lots of choices on the menu. I didn’t see anything specifically gluten free, but to be perfectly honest I really wanted to try the tacos so I didn’t care if they were gluten free or not. I eventually chose a beef taco and a pork taco, and my friend chose two chicken taco’s. So many choices! I wish I could have eaten them all!

I also decided to order some chips and salsa, because who doesn’t like corn chips with sour cream, salsa and guacamole? Plus I wasn’t sure how filling the tacos would be, and I was super hungry!

In the end I’m pretty glad I ordered the chips and salsa – the two tacos definitely did not leave me satisfied. I was actually pretty disappointed in the tacos. Firstly, the soft tortilla tasted like a savoury, doughy, thick pancake. Definitely not what I was expecting. It reminded me of Greek gyros, but nowhere near as satisfying or delicious. I would have thought the tortilla would be thinner, and my friend agreed on this.

Because there was so much dough to the tortilla, it definitely took away from the rest of the meal. But this may also be because there was barely anything in the tortilla. There was a small scattering of meat and a sprinkle of salad… Not the generous serving of Mexican deliciousness that I was expecting.

Out of the beef and pork I definitely enjoyed the beef more. The mixture of corn and salsa was a good pairing with the meat. The pork had hints of orange and was fresh with crunchy cos lettuce, but was definitely missing something. I suppose this is to be expected when you are getting a “tight-arse-Tuesday” kind of deal. But even if you expect that the establishment might be a bit stingy on the food, you still hope for a full tummy at the end of your meal…

Then we moved on to the chips and salsa. There was probably way too much sour cream for my liking, but there was plenty of tomato salsa to have with the chips, the guacamole was also nice. To be perfectly frank, there was nothing amazing about the chips and salsa, but it was definitely a nice addition and left us feeling full (finally) after our disappointing tacos.

I was glad that the $10 2 tacos & beer deal allowed us to swap our drink for house wine. Whilst I can’t remember what brand the wine was, it was fairly nice for the house Sauvignon Blanc. I ended up getting two glasses!

The service was also good, fast and friendly. All the staff members were helpful in deciding on either what to drink or what to eat. I have always found this with the staff at Honkytonks, even when they are busy at the bar on Friday and Saturday nights. This is one of the reasons that I would go back to Honkytonks again – whether this be for food or for drinks – I definitely would still go back to this place as one disappointing dinner hasn’t outdone the other good experiences I have had with Honkytonks.

My rating of Honkytonks Taco Tuesday

Atmosphere: 4/5 | Customer Service: 4/5 | Speed of Service: 4/5 | Presentation of Food: 3/5 | Taste: 3/5 | Value for Money: 3/5

Total: 21/30

Overall thoughts: I would return to Honkytonks, but I would definitely have something else on the menu and skip the tacos next time.

For more info on Honky Tonks click here

Have you been to Honky Tonks in Canberra? Do you know of somewhere else that has a great Taco Yuesday deal? Share your thought in the comments section!

Bye for now,

Vintage Barbie xoxo

All opinions in this post are my own. Unless otherwise stated, this post has not been sponsored and I have not been paid for this post

See you in the Social Media Atmosphere:

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Quinoa Tabbouleh

 

I used to love eating tabbouleh. It is fresh and a perfect side dish for summer. The only problem is that since becoming gluten intolerant, I can’t eat cous cous, which is one of the main ingredients in tabbouleh. For years I have had to say no to the delicious mix of tomato, onion and parsley. But a while ago I saw the idea of using quinoa as a substitute… Whilst I always have quinoa in my kitchen, I never tried this recipe… Until recently.

My street has a regular Christmas street party BBQ and we all bring along some meat and a side dish. I wanted to bring along a dish of something that was different, but fresh and delicious summer dish. Quinoa tabbouleh seemed like the perfect dish to bring!

It is a little time consuming to make, but I thought it was well worth the preparation.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup parsley
  • 4 tomatoes (I used 3 large Roma tomatoes and one medium sized Truss tomato)
  • 1/2 Spanish onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (approx 1 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional: lemon wedges and parsley leaves to garnish

Method

1. Rinse quinoa under cool water before cooking. Cook in boiling water until quinoa is light and fluffy. Rinse and set aside to cool. Stir quinoa with fork to keep fluffy and speed up cooling process.

2. Dice onion. Place onion into a small bowl. Cover onion with water and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. This will soften the onion and make it more pleasant to eat.

3. Dice tomatoes and place in large bowl. Mince garlic clove and finely chop parsley, and place in bowl. Once quinoa is cooled, add to bowl as well. Drain onion from water and also add to large bowl.

4. In another small bowl, mix olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Add oil and lemon mixture to large bowl with all other ingredients and stir thoroughly. 

5. Allow tabbouleh mixture to sit for a hour or two in the fridge. There may be some excess moisture from the oil and lemon juice – this will eventually be soaked up by the mixture.

6. After an hour or so, season with salt and pepper. Stir again before serving and garnish with lemon wedges and parsley leaves. Serve as a side for barbecued meat. This tabbouleh mixture will keep for a few days in the fridge.

You can also add a tablespoon of finely chopped mint leaves to this mixture to give it an extra freshness kick! I didn’t have any mint so I decided not to use it and I think it turned out great without the mint, but other people may find that the mint gives it the little extra something it needs.

What do you think of my Quinoa Tabbouleh? Do you have a similar recipe or a recipe for Tabbouleh? Share your thoughts and links in the comments section!

Bye for now,

Vintage Barbie xoxo

All opinions in this post are my own. Unless otherwise stated, this post has not been sponsored and I have not been paid for this post

See you in the Social Media Atmosphere:

Instagram: @vintagebarbie17 | Facebook: Adventures of Vintage Barbie – Blog | Twitter: @vintage_barbie1 | Polyvore: vintagebarbie17 | Pinterest: @vintagebarbie17

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Friday Lunch at Treehouse Bar Canberra

It seems that I have been treating myself to a sit down lunch at least once a fortnight, normally the day after pay day. While it is good to save money, I work pretty hard so it’s nice to treat myself and properly get away from work for a hour.

Recently I went for lunch with a friend from work and we decided to try the $9 lunches at Treehouse. This little place used to be a dingy bar full of people in black clothes only, sticky floors and barely any lighting. It had an alternative type of crowd and it was sometimes fun to go on uni-night. A few years ago it was done up with the front windows opening up, a funky upstairs area, and a beautiful fairylight tree. It’s still a little dark inside, but definitely not dingy anymore!

I like the welcoming atmosphere of Treehouse and its a nice place to come for cocktails or a bite to eat when having Friday drinks. But lunch at Treehouse is definitely something new to me. I have walked past the $9 lunches sign so often, I would think that I would have dined here plenty of times!

When we came in for lunch, we were escorted to the bar-like-seating around the walls of the establishment. Once seated, two tall glasses of iced water were quickly brought over to us. This is something I hadn’t experienced before and was great to see that they already had the initiative to give us water – I hate having to ask for something as simple as a glass of water!

Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of the lunch menu, but there were approximately 5 dishes on there for the $9 deal. My friend chose the linguini and I chose the chicken tenders. I forgot to ask if the tenders were gluten free but nothing stood out as containing gluten and I didn’t get sick afterwards so I am fairly certain they were gluten free.

The food also came out so quickly. The staff apologised for the wait but we were surprised at how quick it was! We actually finished our lunch with 15 minutes to spare before we had to return to work… Pretty sure the food was cooked in less than 10 minutes!

The linguini was a good lunch size – probably around an entree size. If I was eating this I would be pretty happy with this size because you don’t want to feel weighed down and sluggish when having to return to work later.

Mine dish had three smallish tenders of chicken breast and a few large pieces of Cos Lettuce. I’m glad there was the coconut rice with it to help fill my hungry tummy. There was also a generous serving of sauce next to the rice, and I didn’t get to eat all of it so there was definitely enough. There was also lots of herbs over the rice which gave the dish a fresh taste.

The combination of all the ingredients was like a fresh Asian inspired taste. The chicken was cooked well. It was still slightly juicy and definitely not dry. I really enjoyed this lunch, but just wish there was more. Unfortunately I left still hungry. I understand that it is lunch, but for someone like me who prefers to eat lots for lunch and less for dinner, I was a little disappointed with the amount of food on my plate.

I thought the presentation of the food was great, and I suppose more food would make the plate look crowed and messy. It is quite possible that the pretty presentation is the reason for smaller sized chicken tenders.

The service was great. The staff were friendly and I particularly liked that they allowed us to split the bill. I think we may have been talking to the owner about this – he was saying that he will often not go back to a restaurant if they don’t allow groups to split the bill. I think that is very true, and in today’s society were hardly anyone carries cash on them, so we need to cater for that and splitting bills should be a must.

My Rating of Lunch at Treehouse Bar

Atmosphere: 4/5 | Customer Service: 4/5 | Speed of Service: 5/5 | Presentation of Food: 4/5 | Taste: 4/5 | Value for Money: 4/5

Total Score: 25/30

Overall thoughts: I would definitely go back to Treehouse for lunch, but I might have to order a side of chips to keep me from leaving hungry!

For more information on Treehouse Bar, click here

Have you been to Treehouse? Post your thoughts, comments and links to your reviews in the comments of this post 🙂

Bye for now,

Vintage Barbie xoxo

All opinions in this post are my own. Unless otherwise stated, this post has not been sponsored and I have not been paid for this post

See you in the Social Media Atmosphere:

Instagram: @vintagebarbie17 | Facebook: Adventures of Vintage Barbie – Blog | Twitter: @vintage_barbie1 | Polyvore: vintagebarbie17 | Pinterest: @vintagebarbie17

High Tea at The Tea Salon Sydney

I’ve been to quite a few hens weekends. A lot of them have been in Sydney as well. I definitely had fun at the last one I attended, which including high tea at The Tea Salon.

This is not your traditional high tea. It is set right in the centre of shops in the Pitt Street Westfield mall, which I found a little strange at first. It also looks like it is permanently busy, especially if people can come in when they are in the middle of their shopping. However this gives it a casual, relaxed kind of feel. There is a secret little kitchen off behind some shops, with a large cabinet in the centre of the cafe for water and glasses. It is very cute, a little kitsch and fairly girlie. They had so many cute serving dishes and teacups that I would like to have at home myself!

We had a very group, I think around 20 people. Obviously this kind of place is not meant for groups this big and it looked like they had struggled to fit us all in the same area. Quite a few of the round tables were pushed together, which made the placing of food very squished, and also made socialising with others a little difficult. I often had my back to some of my friends because of how we were set up with the round tables.

Staff seemed a little overwhelmed at times. There was no coming to the table to make sure that our food was ok and no one coming to top up water. They didn’t even leave the water jug so we could top up our glasses ourselves, which was a little annoying considering I wanted water, not champagne at that time in the day. Although, the pink champagne was pretty nice… Just wish I felt like drinking it and it probably would have enjoyed it more..

The great thing about this place is that you can choose to eat a la carte, or select the high tea platter. There are also many options available for vegetarians, gluten free, dairy free and even pregnant women.

So for once, I was actually rewarded for my gluten intolerance – I got a whole platter to myself! It was amazing! There were so many pieces of food that I literally took a bit of everything but could not get anywhere near finishing my platter!

There were the standard scones with jam and cream, but also blueberry scones and raisin scones with orange marmalade. If you order scones off the al a carte menu then you can try a fair few different tasty treats.

I found the gluten free scones to taste extremely doughy and even with the jam and cream they were quite dry. I somewhat expected this of gluten free scones though as it would be difficult to make scones with the same texture and taste as your regular, gluten included scones.

There were lots of sweet things and I literally could not eat them all. However I made sure I tasted everything, even if it was only a little bite. There was this indescribable dessert in a shot glass. I think it was a custard of some sort with tea on top. It reminded me of camomile flower buds mixed with some other tea. As I said, it was indescribable, mainly because it have no idea what it was! I also was not a fan of the taste.

Champagne was fairly nice too. It was pink, sparkly and had a sweet taste to it. However it added on an extra $11 to the total bill, so keep that is something to keep in mind for next time.

There was a good selection of teas to choose from – There were a few regular black teas and green teas, rooibos, chai and then a good selection of flavoured teas. I can’t remember what it was called and I forgot to take a picture of the tea menu, but I do remember that it was kind of like an apple pie. It was scrumptious!

My rating of The Tea Salon

Atmosphere: 3.5/5 | Customer Service: 3/5 | Speed of Service: 4/5 | Presentation of Food: 4.5/5 | Taste: 4/5 | Value for Money: 4/5

Total Score: 23/30

For more information on The Tea Salon, go to their website: http://www.theteasalon.com.au

I would definitely like to go to The Tea Salon again to try out many more of their funky teas and possibly get some other delicious treats on the menu.

Have you been to The Tea Salon? Tell me your thoughts on this place!

Bye for now,

Vintage Barbie

All opinions in this post are my own. Unless otherwise stated, this post has not been sponsored and I have not been paid for this post

See you in the Social Media Atmosphere:

Instagram: @vintagebarbie17 | Facebook: Adventures of Vintage Barbie – Blog | Twitter: @vintage_barbie1 | Polyvore: vintagebarbie17 | Pinterest: @vintagebarbie17

Rustic Rocky Road

I love taking my baked goods into work to share with everyone. I love trying out new recipes at home, but sometimes I don’t want to eat the whole batch for myself. The alternative is to take the treats into work, which is always nice for my work colleagues. 🙂

I have been wanting to make rocky road for a while, so I figured that making it for my work colleagues would be a good idea. I tried out one batch but decided it didn’t work out – I used too much coconut, and no where near enough chocolate… no one should ever have to hear the words “not enough chocolate”!

I decided that this previous recipe wasn’t good enough for work. Frankly, I was a bit embarrassed (although my partner and my sister seemed to enjoy it!)

So I tried the recipe again over the weekend. This time I used plenty of chocolate. I used a lot less coconut too. I also decided to mix it up a bit and use a pack of four flavour/colours of marshmallows as well as some soft jubes. Looks like it turned out well because everyone came back for a second (or third) piece of this batch of rocky road!

My recipe uses a lot of chocolate – half a kilo to be exact. And whilst this sounds like a lot at first, remember that you mix it in with other ingredients, so it’s a good idea to have a lot of chocolate so the taste chocolate isn’t lost in all the other ingredients.

When I mixed in my marshmallows, I let them sit on top of the chocolate as I was taking photos… In the meantime they melted slightly… When I mixed them into the chocolate they were a little gooey but I think this actually worked in my favour as they were mixed in just right.

The best part about this recipe (other than the chocolate and sugar hit) is that it’s super easy to make – just melt, mix, set, cut and eat! It really is that simple!

Ingredients

500g milk cooking chocolate – you could also use a mixture of milk and dark cooking chocolate

250g salted butter

2 cups of marshmallows – I chose a four flavour mix

1 cup soft jube lollies

1/2 cup glacé cherries – optional but recommended to use anyway

1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts – You could also buy whole and roughly chop up

1/4 cup desiccated coconut

Method

1. Cut the marshmallows in half and set aside. Roughly chop the macadamias if using whole macadamia nuts. Measure out all other ingredients and set aside.

2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan on medium heat.

3. Break up the chocolate and allow it to melt in with the melted butter. Mix butter and chocolate around with a wooden spoon (or large plastic ladell if you don’t have a wooden spoon). Ensure chocolate is fully melted.

4. Poor in the remaining ingredients. Mix around until all ingredients are completely covered in chocolate.

5. Grease a small baking tray with butter or oil and line it with baking paper – the butter or oil will help the paper stay in place. Poor in mixture. Ensure mixture is evenly distributed in tray.

6. Place in fridge for a minimum of four hours. I recommend leaving it in there overnight.

7. When mixture is set, remove from baking tray and remove baking paper. Use a sharp kitchen knife to cut strips of the mixture. Then cut the strips into bite sized pieces.

Store in a plastic container in the fridge.

Optional: you can sprinkle with icing sugar before serving

Do you have a rocky road recipe?

Don’t forget to tag me in your pics if you make this recipe!

Instagram: @vintagebarbie17 | Twitter: @vintage_barbie1 | Facebook: Adventures of Vintage Barbie – Blog

 

 

NAIDOC Week Function at Canberra Convention Centre

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a function at the Canberra National Convention Centre. I was lucky enough to be invited to the Aboriginal Hostels Limited NAIDOC Week luncheon. I was invited to go through the work organised tickets and went along with 5 other people from work.

It was a terrible, cold winter day outside, and it was definitely no fun walking in the wind and rain over to the Convention Centre from my work.

Once we were there we realised that this was quite a big luncheon. There were fifty tables of 10 – yep that’s right – 500 people were at this function. The funny thing was that the Grand Hall that we were in wasn’t even full!

It felt like forever before we were served our meals. There was the starter bread, but of course I couldn’t eat it.

A waiter came over and asked me if anyone had any dietary requirements. I told him that I am gluten intolerant and one of the girls is a vegetarian. I assume he forgot about this entirely, or didn’t tell anyone – when the mains came out they tried to give the vegetarian a steak, not just once, but twice!

Speaking of the timing for mains, it was very haphazard. One main was placed down at our table, then another one came five minutes later and ten minutes after the first dish was placed down was when they finally brought out the remaining dishes. I guess they probably shouldn’t have brought those dishes to our table as there were a few surrounding tables that seemed to have the same thing happen.

Good thing the food was good! The steak was juicy, moist and tender. It looked fairly pink – probably rare. The mash was creamy and smooth, but there was only about a tablespoon of it. I wish there was more! The mushroom sauce was also delicious, but it was very thin and watery.

It wasn’t until we were eating our mains that someone finally came to our table and asked us if we wanted any drinks. Well, he actually asked if we wanted any more drinks, but we hadn’t even been asked for our first round of drinks! Oh well…

When the desserts came out I tried to tell them that I’m gluten intolerant but the wait staff seemed to ignore this. Both desserts were not gluten free, but the Poached Pear at least had the least amount of gluten than the Chocolate Cake Mousse, so I chose to eat the pear. There were some kind of crumbs scattered all over the bottom of the plate, so I picked up my pear and scrapped the crumbs off to the side.

The pear itself was perfectly poached. It also had a tangy taste to it – like a mixture of cider and lemonade. I couldn’t quite out my finger on it, but I definitely enjoyed it. It was even more delicious when it was dunked in the sweet creamy angliase sauce on the side. I could eat this desert all day!

Overall, I enjoyed the experience at the National Convention Centre. But if I was having a wedding or another large important event, I probably wouldn’t pick this place because of the lack of organisation and attention to detail by waitstaff.