Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Sassafras Of Paddington Café And Bar - Review

Sassafras always makes me think of my childhood, since I grew up not far from a teensy, tiny country town called just that.  I was very happy to check out this café in the Brisbane suburb of Paddington, when Chris the owner invited me (and a guest) to come visit.  Funny story: Mr P. and I headed there on a very recent Friday, only to be told there was no booking for me, and Chris was not in that day.  I was very befuddled, but soon realised that I had my Fridays completely confused and we were there a week early.  Sorry Chris!

We were made welcome by Laura the friendly server, and were led out to the courtyard.  Suddenly it started to spit rain, so we moved to the large bench under a sturdier awning than the tarp we had been sitting under.  Laura told us that Chris the owner (who took over in May last year) is planning to update the courtyard with some new umbrellas.  (And to be honest, a good going-over of the pavers with a high-pressure gerni would be a fab idea.)  It is a very leafy and pleasant space (and we saw a waterdragon), where dogs are welcome too.  They even have their own menu which includes doggy treats and puppuccinos.  And we met the cutest black pug dog who had to say hello :-)  (Check out the photo at the bottom of my post.) 

the entrance to the cute old building

Let's head inside, and check it out.  As you can see by the sign below, they are conscious of the environment - straws on their way out! - which is great.  The building is an old worker's cottage, so it's full of interesting features like the VJ walls.  There are lots of nooks and crannies, and spaces to sit, inside and out.

looking into the café

Like most eating places these days, you order at the counter but as they weren't too busy, Laura came out to help us move tables when the rain came, and took our order then.  Mr P. chose the pie of the day - butter chicken - with salad and fries.  He said he would never have thought of putting this filling in a pie, but he loved it.  He loved the crisp, shortcrust pastry which encased it too.  The fries were crunchy and tasty, but his faves were the salads of spiced cauli and sweet potato and snow peas.  He said over and over how delicious they were, and how fresh the dressing was!   

pie of the day with fries and salad $16.90 

freshly squeezed juice $7

Mr P. was already over-caffeinated so chose a freshly squeezed, cold-pressed juice of watermelon, pineapple, orange and passionfruit.  He really loved the addition of passionfruit as it gave the juice a big hit of tang.

eggs benedict $18.90 - with house-cured salmon gravlax

Excuse the wobbly photo; the eggs did a slip-slide across my plate before I could snap it.  I chose from the breakfast menu which goes till 2pm, as I wanted to try the house-cured salmon gravlax.  And yes, it was a triumph.  Not too salty, not too firm, not too thick, and with a delicious aftertaste.  You can choose bacon or avocado as an extra if you wish.  Laura told us the hollandaise is house-made also.  I am a huge hollandaise fan, and this was a delicious version, though there can never be too much lemon in it for me.  The Turkish bread was soft enough to cut and eat - the roof of my mouth has sometimes bled due to the incredibly glassy bread you can find at some cafés.  Not a problem here.  And the eggs were beautifully runny, just how I like them.

Sassaffogato $5.50

Yep, this was delicious.  Like a dessert really but I had it before my meal.  Just 'cos!  Espresso and ice cream and dark chocolate; refreshing and zippy.

I promised you a pug; this is Kelly

Kelly belonged to the people sharing the long bench with us.  She was adorable, and I had to take her photo.  And of the beautiful water dragon with the flaming-red belly.  

water dragon staring me out

peeking into the kitchen

We had a really delicious lunch in the very pleasant and calm courtyard.  I almost had to drag Mr P. away as he was starting to settle in for the afternoon.  He loved the Byron Bay feel (his words) of this café.  He also appreciated that the music was not too loud, as it can be in other eating places.  What else can I tell you?  They are licensed, they use Bear Bones coffee, they have a bar.  There is a kids' menu too.  They do private events; they are famous for their ricotta hotcakes with house-made honeycomb butter:-)  Mr P. is insisting we go back for the chilli corn fritters (him) and the French toast (moi).  I feel we may be heading back soon, and bringing friends.   


Mr P. and I were kindly invited as guests by Chris the owner, but opinions remain my (our) own.

Opening hours: 6:30am to 2:30pm, and to 3pm Fri/Sat/Sun.

88 Latrobe Tce., Paddington 4064

Ph: 07 3369 0600

Sassafras of Paddington Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Smoked Chicken And Pickled Cherry Salad

Like many people, I guess you too have been talking about the weather.  It's crazy, isn't it?  Floods up north, bushfires down south, drought in the middle, and endless days of heat without any of the storms we normally get in summer.  And if you live in the U.S., you may have been suffering the reverse with extreme cold and snow lately.

Hubby's niece lives in Townsville where they released the local dam's floodgates over the weekend.  This has meant that a lot of water has been let loose.  Hundreds of people evacuated, or being rescued.  The Army, Police and Emergency crews out, doorknocking and saving people.  Fortunately, our niece is safe, and though her backyard is inundated, her house hasn't been flooded.  

salad for a sultry night

So the weather is lending itself to cold meals like salads, and lots of icy drinks.  Did anyone say bourbon on the rocks?  And I thought I'd give quinoa another go.  It's a bit of a weird, almost flavourless grain (seed in fact), but adds a gentle crunch to a salad.  So here is my chicken and cherry salad, with that ancient grain/seed giving you a good dose of added vitamins and protein. 

Serves 4 as a main, or 6 as a side salad:

Recipe by Sherry's Pickings:


1 baby Gem or Cos lettuce, leaves separated and torn by hand

400g. of honey smoked chicken breasts, cut into chunks

80g. of walnuts, toasted

1.5 cups of cooked red or white quinoa

1 French shallot or 2-3 spring onions, finely chopped/sliced

2 big tbs pickled cherries

1 ripe avocado, cut into chunks

60g. (2 oz.) of fetta, diced

a really big handful of fresh raspberries

40g. (3/8 cup) of parmesan cheese, shaved or grated

lots of herbs of your choice (snipped):  I used chives and parsley

salt and pepper to taste


8 fresh raspberries, squished with a fork in a small bowl

juice of 1 lime (or lemon)

2-3 tsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


Well, this is pretty darn easy.  Throw all the salad ingredients into a large bowl

Whisk the dressing ingredients together well

Pour the dressing over the salad, and give it a really thorough (but gentle) toss

Scatter over some extra walnuts and/or parmesan if you desire


Cook the quinoa as per the packet instructions.  I made a large amount and will use the rest in other dishes

Toast the walnuts at 180C for about 8 minutes - keep an eye on them, as they tend to burn quickly towards the end.  I know 'cos i ruined 2 lots!  Mr P. bravely said he would eat them anyway, so he's eating them with his cereal

gather the ingredients

whisk up the dressing

salad ready for dressing

pour it on! and toss - gently

Serves 4 (with some crusty bread) as a main, or as an entrée for 6.  The sweet and tangy flavours perk up the appetite on a hot night!

  raspberry artwork by Sherry's Pickings 

Friday, 1 February 2019

In My Kitchen - February 2019

So, we're all back to it, then?  Work, school, real life ...  And blogging :-)  I hope you all had a lovely break and festive season.  We did, even though it has been one of the hottest summers on record.  The air con has been working overtime, and our water tank is only 1/3 full.  Bats are falling dead out of the trees, and feral horses are dying in the outback due to the heat and lack of water.  Sad days indeed.  And there are bushfires down south too ...    

I told you I'd have a lot to show you this month, and I do.  These things accrued over a couple of months just FYI :-)  Here we go:

a fair bit of mustard

Every summer I make a batch of sun-dried tomato and basil mustard for Mr P.  He is a big fan, and loves to smother his lunchtime sangers (sandwiches) in it.  I'm more of a sweet mustard pickle gal myself.  Oddly I've never made pickles so I must give that a try one of these days.  I learned to enjoy mustard while travelling in Britain years ago, where we would buy Marks & Spencer's (the department store) ham sandwiches, which came with a liberal dose of dark brown mustard.

my annual delivery of bio-dynamic garlic 

Also every summer, I rush to buy a box of Patrice Newell's garlic, as it is snapped up quickly by restaurateurs and canny cooks from all over the country.  I divvy up the cloves, and freeze them, skin and all for the rest of the year, hopefully.  Sometimes I run out!

as per the label

And I make mango chutney every Christmas break too.  I recently discovered frozen 100% mango chunks at the stores so I often use them when I'm in a hurry.  I know, I know, it's crazy when fresh mangoes are around, but it is so quick and easy ... sorry to all the purists out there :-)  

my new sauerkraut crock

Our friend Miss B. made this for me.  She forgot to glaze and fire the weights so I'm still waiting on those before I can make some sauerkraut.  Plus I think Winter is probably a better time to make and eat it anyway.

a Christmas gift

Haven't tried this one yet but looking forward to it.  I think it would be marvellous on bacon.  We were in Yosemite National Park one time, and not able to get dinner due to not having evening wear with us (in a National Park!  Those crazy Americans!), so breakfast the next day was a most marvellous, fabulous thing. Overlooking the redwood trees, we ate lashings of bacon and eggs and maple syrup.  The best ever!  I have been a huge fan of the combo ever since.

my homemade Irish Cream liqueur

I always make this at Christmas, giving away a bottle if I'm feeling generous.  It is very rich and moreish.  And absolutely has to be made with Irish whiskey.  I've tried others and it's just not the same.

dare I say?  yes another wooden spoon  

This is a little sweetie I bought over the Christmas break, up in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast when visiting friends who were staying up there.  Yep, it had to come home with me.

another cookbook (and a Snow Gromit in the background) 

There are lots of fab recipes in this book.  I've never been much of a Donna Hay fan, but there looks to be many interesting recipes to try ... so hang onto your horses, you will be seeing some luscious bakes soon on the blog.

And last but definitely not least:  here is my great-niece Lolly, all dressed-up appropriately in her lolly-strewn costume for her recent first birthday party.  I call this her Frida Kahlo look:-)  She's sitting here on her granddad's knee, delighting in a cherry tomato.  What is she thinking? :-)  Tomatoes - eek!

the great, the magnificent Lolly

Permission kindly granted by her mum (my niece) for this photo to go out into the IMK world.

I won't overload you with more stuff this month, my friends.  But please feel free to join in with your IMK post too.  Everyone is welcome!  Here's how to add your post to the IMK link:

1. Adding via the link button at the bottom of this post.  Instructions can be found on the sidebar of this page,   under Add your IMK link

2. Comment on this post, providing a link to your post so I can add it to the linky list below   (with your email address, please)

3. Email me: sherrym1au@gmail.com, with your link or any  queries about the link


    An InLinkz Link-up



Sherrys Pickings