Browsing Tag


Wok on Inn, The Rocks

Reviews January 6, 2014

I was recently invited along to Wok On Inn at the Rocks to sample some of their dishes.

Funnily enough I actually spent several months working at a friend’s company a few minutes’ walk away, so it was a good opportunity to visit one of my old haunts.

Please note that I was served ‘half size’ dishes, so expect a larger size for yourself when you visit. Given this in mind I would expect that double sizes of the dishes I sampled would be quite massive and filling!


Seven Lanterns, Sylvania

Reviews September 11, 2012

After hearing rave reviews about 7 Lanterns on Not Quite Nigella’s blog and reading amazing reviews on Eatability (as well as being listed as number 2 of the best restaurant listing in Sydney), I couldn’t wait to go and give 7 Lanterns a try. How incredibly honored I felt when the lovely owner, David emailed me and asked me to come along and visit his restaurant.

7 Lanterns have two degustation options – the Royale ($55 per person) and Lanterns ($70 per person). You can also order A La Carte if you’re only hungry for a few course, although to be honest, I would highly recommend the degustation menu as it gives you a good sampler of all the deliciousness at 7 Lanterns, and I found that the serving sizes of all the dishes were absolutely perfect. Plus, priced at $55 and $70 per person, you can’t get more of a bargain for a degustation in this town!

Many the time I come away from degustation feeling overly stuffed and almost slightly ill which kind of wrecks the experience a tad; but it even says on the 7 Lanterns menu “All courses are portion controlled for comfortable eating for one” – and I found this to be very true! I came away feeling perfectly full but not too far over the edge – and it was a good feeling!

Beef Tataki
Seared and thinly sliced succulent Angus beef carpaccio with fresh vegetable strips, served with crushed nashi pear and soy ginger reduced garnish. (served as part of the Lanterns degustation, or ordered a la carte is 4 pcs for $18).
This was a great start to the meal. The crunchy thin strips of vegies were encased by perfectly cooked beef and dressed in a lovely soy/ginger sauce that just melted in your mouth – a great blend of textures and flavours which piqued our appetite!

Atlantic Salmon Roll
Grilled premium Atlantic salmon fillet layered on top of California roll made with cooked tuna in Japanese ‘Cheese Mayo’ with avocado and cucumber. (part of the Royale degustation or you can order 4 pcs for $18.00 off the a la carte menu).
This dish deserves two photos – it was definitely the star of the night! It was a hard act to follow that Beef Tataki, but this was absolutely fantastic. The salmon was lightly torched and had a magnificent flavour that went well with the tuna, avocado and sushi rice – but the best partof the dish was the “cheese mayo” which was so addictive and it had me scraping my plate for moremoremore! I kept wishing I had gotten more than two pieces! It was such a good combination of smoky/sweet/creamy. Total winner. It was without a doubt, the best sushi I have ever had! I could go back and eat a massive roll of this… and really, really want to. I know I’m gushing, but seriously – you need to try this sushi!

Peasant Chicken, or Dak Dori
Chicken breast and seasoned rissole medallions with Korean peasant style garlic, chilli, soy and onion reduction, served with a honey soy coated cocktail potato. (Served as part of the Royale degustation, or can be ordered a la carte for $28).
The owner, David told us a little about the history of this dish – it’s called “peasant” chicken because back in the days in Korea, the chicken breast (ironically now haha) was the cheapest part of the chicken – as it would dry out quickly in the cooking process. However, this was solved by home cooks rolling the chicken breast in juicier and more flavorsome chicken rissoles. Funny to think of chicken breast as being the cheaper cut of the meat as its now the most expensive part!

This dish was delicately spiced and was a nice contrast to the honey soy sauce and the inner part of the roulade infused the chicken breast with plenty of flavour.

Grilled Salmon served with Tom Yong Goon sauce
This was a special chef item off the menu. It was cooked so perfectly, it tasted almost buttery in that special way that only salmon can. The silky texture of the fish was further highlighted the creamy notes in the coconutty Thai inspired sauce in this very unique dish.

Teriyaki Chicken, or Dak Teriyaki
Chicken thigh fillet brine tenderised overnight, teppan grilled in 7 Lanterns Teriyaki sauce served with fresh & crispy green leaves with soy and ginger oriental dressing. ($22 ordered off the a la carte menu).
This was so melt in your mouth good. Probably some of the best chicken teriyaki I’ve ever had! You could definitely tell the chicken had been brined overnight – the meat was so unbelievably juicy! The chef grilled this to absolute perfection and I loved the smoky sweet flavours of the sauce with the meat. The salad leaves also provided a good balance to cut the richness of the meat – a perfectly lovely dish!

Imperial Beef Rib
Cross-cut beef rib marinated overnight in chunky garlic sesame and shallot, then slow cooked for hours in soy reduction & caramelised onion sweetened sauce served with steamed rice and ‘kim chi’. (Served as part of the Lanterns degustation or can be ordered a la carte for $32).
Picking between my faves of the night would definitely be a tough choice between the salmon sushi and this beef rib. Beef rib is one of my favorite dishes and the chef at 7 Lanterns definitely did this one justice. I love the smoky flavour that the Teppan grill imparted to all the dishes and this was no different – the meat fell away from the bone and was so juicy, tender and well paired with the soft rice and sweet caramelised sauce. I enjoyed every bite of this dish!

Chocolate Mousse Fondue drenched in warm white chocolate sauce served with chocolate curls.
(Served with Royale degustation or can be ordered a la carte).
Finally, moving onto the sweet part of the night and of course one of my personal faves – dessert!
This mousse was very much enjoyed by me and Mike which was a surprise – only because Mike is normally not a fan of mousse at all! (unlike me of course, heehee.) The pillowy soft chocolate mousse was encased in layers of chocolate and had some hidden raspberries snuggled away inside. The chocolatey factor was kicked up another notch with the white chocolate sauce and yummy chocolate curls – perfect for chocoholics like myself!

Sticky date pudding drenched in melting caramel sauce served with classic vanilla ice cream.
(Served with Lanterns degustation or can be ordered a la carte).
This was a lovely finish to the night and a great take on the classic sticky date pud. The pudding itself was lovely and soft to bite into and topped with a moreish sticky caramel sauce. The vanilla ice cream was a welcome addition to help cut through the sweetness of the caramel and there was a tiny disc of praline which added a lovely nuttiness to the dish.

Cute little sitting area near the bathroom

Clean and pretty bathrooms

Pretty flowers in the bathroom which adds a nice fresh touch

7 lanterns from the outside

Just loved this super cute little walkway into the restaurant

7 Lanterns is the perfect place for a romantic date night out but also suits family groups, birthdays and small to medium sized groups. We went on Father’s Day and there were plenty of kids enjoying the chefs awe-inspiring skills on the Teppan grill. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the restaurant and David and his staff have done a fantastic job of creating a very relaxed and elegant style of fine dining.

I would also like to make a special mention of the service. David and all of the wait staff and even the chefs were so warm and friendly to each and every customer that walked through the door. You could tell each and every customer was well looked after and attended to and there was a very welcome vibe that just added a final touch of class to the restaurant.

The food as aforementioned through this post, was excellent quality and it was obvious that David and his team go to great care to select fresh produce of a very high standard to make their wonderful dishes. Our fave dishes of the night were the salmon sushi roll and the imperial beef rib – two must trys!

Parking is best on nearby streets – but the street right outside the restaurant and nearby fills up pretty quickly, so its best to park a few streets away (but you shouldn’t have to go too far.)

A big thank you to David and his staff for a wonderful night – I would love to visit again!

7 Lanterns
14 Princes Highway, Sylvania
9522 2422

Seven Lanterns on Urbanspoon

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Christine ( dined as a guest of David, the owner of 7 Lanterns.
If you’re interested in inviting Cooking Crusade along to review your restaurant, please shoot us an email on

Thanks for reading and hope you’re all having a wonderful start to the week!



Warm Brown Rice Salad with Chicken Meatballs

Recipes July 9, 2012


Here’s an easy quick recipe for you to try during the week. Super easy, delicious, healthy and one of those easy ones to help get rid of extra leftovers in the fridge.

To serve 2 (or one with leftovers for lunch the next day!)

1-2 cups cooked brown rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed 
3 large cup mushrooms
1 medium fresh tomato, sliced into wedges
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup of chicken meatballs (leftovers from a previous night’s dinner. you could easily omit this, or add shredded chicken or just drained tuna if you wish.)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (however much you want depending on your taste)

Heat oil in a skillet over high heat. Add brown rice and cook for about five to ten minutes (I like it to get a tiny bit crispy). Add garlic and sliced mushrooms. Cook, stirring for another ten minutes over medium-high heat until mushrooms begin to soften. Toss with warmed chicken meatballs, tomato slices and freshly chopped parsley. Shake dressing ingredients in a bottle, drizzle over and toss to combine. Serve.

The best thing about this recipe is that you can throw all kinds of other ingredients here, antipasto vegies, celery, olives, a chopped red onion. You can also substitute different types of meat or go completely vegetarian – whatever you have in the fridge. You could even try using quinoa instead of rice if you’re feeling particularly adventurous – it’s incredibly versatile!



Heston’s Macaroni and Cheese

Recipes May 26, 2012


Hello blogging world.

I know I keep saying this, but sorry again for the lapse between posts. I’ve been finding it a little bit hard to get the time to cook, let alone photograph and do some writing.

Here’s a little update on what’s been up with me lately 🙂

I burned my hand a little while ago in a misadventure in the kitchen and had to go to hospital. Fortunately they were quite forthcoming with the fun drugs and after a less than fun experience, my hand is healing up well – hopefully with no long term scarring. I had to have a week off work though as it made typing and driving impossible!

Here is a fun pic of me at the hospital with my lil bandaged hand. And yes, I am smiling because of the drugs. Haha.

A good friend of mine introduced me to Heston Blumenthal cooking videos and I’ve been hooked ever since! He convinced me to poach eggs for the first time and they were soo good I made them twice in one day!

They came out so deliciously buttery soft and the yolk was sooo rich.

Check out Heston’s method for poaching eggs by clicking here.

The only thing I have against Heston now is that I can’t stop thinking about his deliciously drool-worthy recipes. I can’t get the thought of his amazing roast chicken out of my mind, but who has two or so days time to brine, dry out and roast a chicken? Sorry, not me! That doesn’t stop the image of juicy roast chicken from floating through my mind though…

Nothing else much new to report, except that I’m back from my trip to Fiji a couple of months ago and I’m off to Rome for the first time in less than three weeks. I’ve never done this much traveling so close before! Loving it.  I’m visiting Venice, Naples, Pompeii and Sorrento. Do you guys have any travel tips for me? I’d sure love to hear them!

Now, onto the cooking.

As I said, I’ve been drooling all over Heston’s recipes at the moment but a lot of them require an awful lot of time and effort – and as those who have read my blog in the past – that’s just not me! I love things that are simple and easy to throw together. Fortunately, Heston’s recipe for macaroni and cheese seemed like one of his more simpler recipes.

How to Cook like Heston’s Macaroni and Cheese
(click the above link for original recipe). this recipe is slightly adapted.


  • 500 grams macaroni pasta (Heston used much less and my pasta was much less saucy. I just used the whole packet and probs should have made more sauce. Whoops. Sauce/pasta ratio wasn’t too bad though.)
  • 15ml truffle oil (I didn’t have any, so i skipped this. Would love to add some next time, when I have some!)
  • 300ml white wine
  • 300ml chicken stock (I used Campbells Real Chicken Stock from the tetra pak)
  • 80 grams cheddar cheese (I used maybe 90 grams of Cracker Barrel Gold Cheddar)
  • 10 grams corn flour
  • 80 grams cream cheese
  • 15g goats cheese, diced (I skipped this)
  • cheese for topping (I used grated parmesan)

Cook pasta in boiling salted water until cooked. Drain and toss with truffle oil (if using.) Set aside.

Prepare cheddar cheese by grating into a bowl and tossing with cornflour. Set aside.

To make sauce, reduce white wine over high heat until it reaches about 30ml (or a tenth of what you started with.) Pour in chicken stock and heat until quite hot but not boiling. Take off the heat and add grated cheese and cornflour mixture and stir until cheese melts. You may need to return the pan to the heat to help the cheese melt, but don’t allow it to boil (as Heston says this may allow the cheese to squeeze the fat out and ruin the sauce.)

Add cream cheese and incorporate into the sauce until it is smooth and creamy. Add cooked pasta and stir through until pasta is hot. Add seasoning if desired. I added some dried parsley flakes for added colour. If you are using the goats cheese, add to pasta just before serving. Serve, with freshly grated parmesan.


This was quite a nice dish, but to be honest I didn’t completely love it. I think its the sort of recipe you really need to experiment with using different cheeses. I used quite a strong cheddar (and I’m hardly a cheese connoisseur by a long shot!) so I just picked up this hard cheese from the cold section at Coles – but they had a very wide variety, so honestly I wasn’t exactly sure what kind of result I’d get from each cheese. Heston uses a Spenwood cheese in his original recipe but recommends substituting it with a good quality cheddar if you couldn’t find it (which I couldn’t, not at Coles anyway!) I picked a Cracker Barrel Gold Cheddar to use and topped with a little freshly grated parmesan.

For me, I think I’d use a different, milder variety of cheese next time and I’d probably add either some herbs (fresh chives would be good) or something else (I was thinking maybe some sweet corn) to add a shot of sweetness and balance out the sharpness of the cheese.

I enjoyed learning a new method of making a cheese sauce outside of starting with a roux, though so that was definitely a nice change that I will be using again! I definitely would like to try out some different cheeses as well as the addition of goats cheese and truffle oil next time.



Tofu and Bean Stir Fry

Recipes October 10, 2011


I absolutely love getting snake bean dishes at Chinese restaurants, but often find it difficult to find places that make it without pork mince (since I don’t eat pork;) so I thought I’d have a whack at trying my own version. I love the sweetness of the sauce with the beans and the added tofu is a lovely combination and adds some protein. Try this one as a side dish, or throw in some noodles at the end for a lip smacking taste sensation 🙂 It would also be great with some rice and works well for leftovers the next day. This recipe also works well for some vegetarians or even vegans who are looking for a super yummy easy weeknight meal to throw together.

Tofu and Bean Stir Fry
serves 2.
prep time about 5 minutes
cook time about 10 minutes

1 bunch of snake beans
1 package of tofu (in this instance I’m using the Soyco Asian honey soy pre-marinated package you can buy from the supermarket, e.g. Coles, etc. However if you can’t find this, you can still use firm tofu plain or marinate it yourself in some soy, honey and garlic.)
1 clove of garlic
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce or regular soy will do just fine (the dark soy adds a nice sweetness.)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

If marinating the plain tofu, dice the firm tofu into small cubes and marinate in a small bowl in the fridge overnight (1 teaspoon of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of honey + 1 clove of grated garlic).

If using the Soyco brand, dice into small cubes and set aside. Wash and cut snake beans into segments, grate/crush/dice ginger and garlic. Heat vegetable oil in a non stick fry pan over high heat and add the garlic and ginger. Allow it to sizzle and release that delicious scent. If using plain/marinated tofu, add to the pan now and fry for about 5-10 minutes to brown (the Soyco brand doesn’t need this since it’s already cooked – just needs to warm through.) Add snake beans to the pan and fry for another 5 minutes until their skins start to look a little shriveled and puckered (you want this! that means deliciousness!)

If using Soyco tofu, fry ginger and garlic and add beans straight to the pan until cooked as above. Add Soyco tofu and cook for a further 5 minutes or until tofu is hot. If you want to add some noodles, add them now! You can also add some extra vegies, cashew nuts, serve it on some rice or whatever else takes your fancy, but it is just lovely as is.

I tried these beans with some sticky hoisin marinated salmon and steamed corn and it was juuust lovely 🙂

Check out more pics of this dish on my Facebook page by clicking here. Hit the like button and I’ll be your friend foreeever!


Hope you are having a fab week!


Corned beef with lemon garlic potatoes, honey sesame carrots and broccolini

Recipes July 5, 2011


It’s been a while.. as usual!

I’ve finally gotten myself one of those facebook-fan-style-thingymajiggy pages, so if you feel so inclined, give me a like by clicking here. It’s totally cool because I will be posting up some better quality pics, more info on posts / pics, and you comment, say hi, and all that bizzo fun stuff 🙂

Now that’s out of the way, here’s a great weeknight meal to whip up for your loved ones.

It’s corned beef with lemon garlic potatoes, broccolini and sesame honey dutch carrots – good for a weekend dinner and great for leftovers.

Corned Beef
1 kg corned beef cut
2 T brown sugar
2 T apple cider vinegar
6 cloves
1 bayleaf
6 peppercorns
1 cut up onion
(optional: 1 carrot, 1 celery stick).

Place corned beef in a big pot and cover with cold water. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil and simmer on medium for about 3 hours or until corned beef is tender. Slice and serve. Great cold, for leftovers, or on buttered bread! Mmm.

Lemon/Garlic Potatoes
1/8 cup melted butter
juice of two lemons
teaspoon garlic powder
teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 kilo – 1 kilo of washed potatoes, diced

Blend together melted butter and lemon juice. Add garlic powder, dried parsley flakes and seasoning. Place diced potatoes into a lined baking dish and pour over lemon/butter mixture and toss to coat potatoes. Bake in a hot oven (180 degs) for about 1-1.5 hours until potatoes are cooked through. Serve.

Honey Sesame Carrot recipe from
1 bunch of baby dutch carrots
1 T sesame seeds
2 T honey

Rinse and trim carrots, place in a saucepan with cold water and bring to the boil until cooked. In a separate saucepan, toast sesame seeds until lightly browned and add honey. Pour over cooked carrots to serve.

Slice corned beef (serve with seeded mustard if desired). Add potatoes, carrots and steamed/blanched broccolini. Serve 🙂



Coriander and Pine Nut Cous Cous

Uncategorized April 11, 2011

Hmm. It’s been awhile between posts! I promised myself I wouldn’t abandon my blog with the mad craze of the wedding plans. Plus for some reason I decided to start a wedding blog, which y’all can read here. It taint nothing fancy, and it’s called Christine Wedding Notes.. haha. Mainly a space for me to keep all my ideas and thoughts in one place!

I was waiting to post this recipe for awhile until I got some decent pics of me making it, but I haven’t had the time lately. All I can promise is that once you make this.. you will never go back!

Here we go!

Did you know, dear readers, that I used to hate cous cous? Yep. I despised it. Why, I pondered, would anyone make the decision of cous cous over rice? I couldn’t understand why so many people loved it. It just seemed so, well.. tasteless and completely bland.

Until I tasted this cous cous. My job often involves organising catering for meetings at work – and this is one of the recipes that is regularly in use. As soon as I smelled that wonderful scent of coriander and garlic infused into the cous cous, I knew I had to have the recipe! Luckily the caterer is very generous and lovely with her recipe-sharing, so I finally got my hands on it! And I’ve been making it ever since. I asked for her permission to put the recipe on my blog and she agreed – but she asked me not to put her name up for credit, since she said she got the recipe from a Sanitarium booklet. Good job, Sanitarium. Good. Job. 🙂

Shall we begin?

Ingredients: To serve 4 people (as a side-dish.)
1 cup cous cous
1 cup vegetable stock (plus another cup handy in case you need it – I have found that I often need a little more. I usually use Massell Chicken Stock. Plus instead of making actual chicken stock, I just add hot water and sprinkle the stock powder over.)
1 diced onion
2 cloves of garlic, diced, minced, grated – whichever takes your fancy.
1/2 red capsicum, finely chopped. (I usually omit this cos .. me and capsicum aren’t great friends. But feel free to add it – it adds lovely colour to the dish.)
1/2 a cup of currants (Sometimes I go overboard and add a whole cup. I just love the couscous studded with the yummy currants.)
1/4-1/2 cup of pine nuts (These can get a little expensive, so you can add as little or as much as you want to this dish. But I would encourage you to add them – they add a lovely nuttiness to the dish)
1/2 bunch of coriander, finely chopped
olive oil

Heat oil in a large pot over high heat. When the oil is nice and hot, add your diced onion, garlic and capsicum (if using.) Sautee until soft. Add parsley flakes if you like (which I always do!)

Add the vegetable stock to the pot and bring to the boil (or like me, add hot water and sprinkle over stock powder.)

Add cous cous and stir until all the liquid is absorbed. You may need to add a little more hot water/stock powder – taste the cous cous. If it is still gritty, add more water. If it is soft and fluffy, it’s all good.

Stir in pine nuts, currants and coriander and a little olive oil if it is dry.

Super-delicious and super-easy… my two favourite things! I love how quickly you can make this – soo much faster than rice! It also microwaves really well (important factor for leftovers. lol). I love making a batch of it to take to friend’s houses for dinner – it’s a great versatile dish that goes with lots of other dishes. Of course, it goes without saying that it goes perfectly with Crispy Moroccan Chicken ;).

Enjoy the conversion to cous cous! 😉

xx Christine


Crispy Moroccan Chicken

Uncategorized March 26, 2011

I love throwing together easy, simple ingredients to make a delicious dinner for myself and my fiance.

On this particular night, I wanted to make something Moroccan spiced to go with my new cous cous craze and this is kind of what I came up with and Mike and I were pretty pleased with the results. Definitely going to keep this one around for time to come! I love throwing things in the oven and then coming back later and dinner is pretty much done. It also gives you an opportunity to clean up all of the mess that you created (which I tend to do quite a lot) in the process.

Ok! Lets get started.

Ingredients: Serves 2.
4 chicken thighs (this makes a big dinner! if you are a girl, like me, you may just want 1 chicken thigh for yourself. keep the remaining in the fridge to slice for a sanger. brill!)
2 teaspoons of moroccan spice
1 teaspoon of garlic powder (optional)
1/2 a cup of plain flour
some olive oil.

Line a baking tray with some baking paper and preheat the oven to about 180 deg C. In a small bowl, blend together flour and spices.

Rub your chicken thighs with about a teaspoon of oil or less per thigh.

Dip each thigh into flour/spice mixture until thoroughly coated and place on baking tray.

Repeat until all chicken is coated.

Chicken after abou 1 hour – golden brown.

Bake in a hot oven for about 1 hour, or until golden and crispy. Occasionally turn then about every 20-30 minutes to evenly brown them.

You could take them out at 1 hour and they would be fine, but if you have some extra time, 1.5 hours turns the thigh meat into a dark golden, lovely colour and the meat literally falls apart.

Chicken after 1.5 hours – dark golden brown and.. amazing.

Serve with cous cous and steamed greens and most of all.. Enjoy!