Saturday, September 25, 2010

Stonegrill- Penrith

Hubby's birthday was coming soon and I wanted to take him out to a nice restaurant for a birthday meal. I looked into a few restaurants but all were booked out for a Saturday night. After doing some more Google searches I stumbled across Stonegrill in Penrith which offers a rather unique interactive dining experience where diners meals are served cooking at the table on super-heated natural volcanic stones. A quick look at the menu and the beautiful photos of all the food and I was on the phone making a reservation.

Saturday night as we entered the restaurant, we were greeted with the aroma of barbecued meat cooking on a hot grill and a friendly and smiling waitstaff- (probably the owner of the restaurant). We were directed to our seats and after browsing at the menu, we decided to order the set menu as the choices looked good and a 3 course meal for $34 seemed like good value for money. Shortly after placing our orders, our entrees arrived! Great, cause I was starving!

Entree: Panko Prawns

For entree, I ordered the panko prawns which were absolutely fantastic. The prawns were crunchy and golden on the outside and cooked to perfection on the inside. The tartare sauce was nice and creamy with just the right notes of sourness from the gherkins and capers.

Entree: Salt and Pepper Squid

Hubby ordered the salt and pepper squid which tasted nice. It was lightly battered, crunchy on the outside and not overcooked on the inside, however, it tasted rather ordinary after having eaten the prawns.
Our drinks also did arrive after the entrees but the waitress was apologetic about it when she brought out the drinks to us.

 Main: Grass Fed Aged Prime Yearling Beef Rump Steak served with vegetables and mushroom sauce

For the mains, hubby and I both got the rump steak which was presented on a lightly salted hot volcanic stone plate. These special stones, are heated to 400°C and the meals are presented within a protective ceramic serving tray, sided by vegetables or salad and condiments. When your meal arrives, you simply turn over your fresh food selection, then cut it and side-lay two to three portions, allowing these to sear and cook to your liking. Your meal remains hot and enjoyable, allowing you to dine at leisure, with every bite as hot and delicious as the first. As the meat is completely trimmed of fats and no added oils are used, this method of cooking is also quite healthy.

Main: Grass Fed Aged Prime Yearling Beef Rump Steak with 3 extra prawns served with vegetables and pepper sauce

The beef steak was so tender, juicy and full of sweet meaty flavour. Hubby also ordered extra prawns with his main ($1 each per prawn). You can also ask for extra scallops ($2 per scallop) and extra sauce ($1 extra) too.

Dessert: Sticky Date Pudding
For dessert, I asked for the sticky date pudding which was not a selection choice on their set menu but the staff were willing to accommodate my request by asking me to pay for a small difference which I think was just $2. When the pudding came it was beautifully presented and tasted delicious! The pudding was soft, moist and full of date flavour. The sauce was rich and sweet without being on the heavy side. It was so good, even though I was really full after my main and entree, I just couldn't stop eating my dessert as each mouthful left me wanting more.

Hubby went for a lighter choice of dessert which was the apple slice- which resembles more of an apple crumble by the way. This dessert was also beautifully presented on a plate and tasted delicious. The apples were nicely stewed and matched beautifully with the crunchy, golden crumble and luscious custard. Very homestyle and comfy.

Dessert: Apple Slice with custard

In summary, hubby and I had a lovely night. We had great food, great service and the set menu was great value for money (more expensive if ordering a la carte). The meals were well time and spaced apart appropriately. Hubby and I both left the restaurant satisfied and feeling very full. The only downside I suppose to dining here would be that you leave the restaurant smelling like BBQ smoke but this is the same with all BBQ restaurants. At least this restaurant had good ventilation!

Stonegrill on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mushroom Tacos

I'm trying to reduce my meat consumption by eating vegetarian once a week and getting on board with Meatless Monday. Benefits of going meatless once a week include reducing your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.

Initially, I thought it'd be hard to not have meat as part of a meal and feel satisfied/filled but surprisingly it hasn't been too difficult, even hubby doesn't mind the odd vegetarian meal!

Recipe adapted from Recipes +, June 2008 edition, page 68


1 tablespoon cooking oil
400g button mushrooms, sliced
6 green onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small red capsicum, diced
375g jar mild or medium heat chunky tomato salsa
300g can kidney beans, drained
⅓ cup chopped coriander
1 pkt taco seasoning
8 taco shells, warmed, to serve
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 medium tomato, diced
⅓ cup sour cream
⅓ cup shredded tasty cheese
Guacamole, to serve

  1. Heat oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over moderate heat. Cook and stir mushrooms for 3 minutes or until tender. Add onions, garlic and capsicum. Cook and stir for 4 minutes or until onions are soft. Reduce heat; stir in salsa and beans. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Stir in coriander.
  2. To serve, fill taco shells with mushroom mixture. Garnish with lettuce, tomato, sour cream, cheese and guacamole.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Schnitzels with Mango Curry Sauce

A couple of months ago, my husband and I attended a marriage course- not because we thought that we had marriage problems but because we wanted to continue to invest in our marriage and learn how we could build up a strong, healthy and happy marriage. The marriage course provided my husband and I a great time to spend time with each other as well as  learn more about each other.

Over the course of several weeks, we were served a candlelit dinner with dessert at a romantic dinner for two followed with listening and watching to practical talks played on DVD and then some private time as a couple to discuss and work through a booklet.

It was really nice to go "on a date" with my hubby each week and be served some lovely food. A lot of the course participants really enjoyed the food and asked the hosts for the recipes, so at the end of the course, our hosts put together a recipe book of all the meals we ate for us and included some marriage tips inside! One of the recipes in the book is this schnitzel with mango curry sauce.

To find out more about the marriage course, click on the following website:

There is no group work throughout the course and you didn't have to share anything about your relationship with anyone other than your partner.


4 chicken breasts fillets or 500g pork leg steaks
⅓ cup plain flour
2 eggs
2 cups breadcrumbs
½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped (optional)
¼ cup sage leaves, finely chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons butter
olive oil, for frying
steamed vegetables, to serve 

Mango Curry Sauce

1 mango cheek
2 tablespoons whole egg mayonnaise
a tiny flick of curry paste

To make mango curry sauce:

Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. If too thick, thin it out with a splash of chicken stock liquid.


Preheat oven to 130°C. Place meat between 2 sheets plastic wrap. Pound with a meat mallet or rolling pin until 4mm thick.

Combine flour and salt and pepper on a large plate. Lightly whisk eggs in a shallow dish. Combine breadcrumbs, parsley and sage in a separate shallow dish.

Lightly coat meat in seasoned flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg then coat in breadcrumb mixture, pressing crumbs on with fingertips to secure. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a large frying pan. Pour oil into pan until 1cm deep. Heat over medium-high heat until hot. Cook schnitzels, in batches, for 2 to 3 minutes each side or until golden. Drain on paper towel. Place on a baking tray in oven to keep warm while cooking remaining schnitzels.

Serve schnitzels with mango curry sauce and steamed vegetables

Notes & Tips

Do not cover the schnitzels and don't pile them on top of each other when placing them in the oven

Adding chopped sage or parsley or Parmesan cheese to the schnitzels gives a different flavour

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Passionfruit Panna Cotta


600ml thin cream
1½ cups milk
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
7 passionfruit
1 tablespoon gelatine
¼ cup (60ml) hot water
Passionfruit syrup (optional)

  1. Place cream, milk, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan. Stir on low heat until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat and cook until just simmering. Remove from heat.
  2. Meanwhile, remove pulp from 5-6 passionfruit and strain. Discard seeds. Stir passionfruit juice into cream mixture. Whisk together gelatine and hot water until dissolved. Add to cream and mix well. Set aside to cool slightly. Wet 10 x 1/2-cup moulds or glasses with a little water. Strain mixture into a jug and pour liquid into moulds. Cover with plastic wrap. Put in the fridge for 6 hours or overnight to set.
  3. Remove panna cotta from refrigerator 10 minutes before serving. Dip moulds into warm water for 3-4 seconds and invert onto serving plates. Top each panna cotta with pulp from remaining passionfruit or use passionfruit syrup.
Notes & Tips

You can make the panna cotta up to 2 days ahead
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