Brown special fried rice

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BROWN SPECIAL FRIED RICE

Serves: 2
Time: 40 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Ever since I was a child, I’ve had a passionate love affair with fried rice. I remember one time in particular back in my home town of Perth, when my little sister and I had such an enormous craving for it, we were compelled to walk half an hour to our local Chinese restaurant and back again just to satiate our monster craving. And satiate it did – gloriously.

For us fried rice was, and continues to be, that damn good. But unfortunately, also that damn unhealthy. So my ode to this Asian culinary classic is healthier, yet still tantalising on those tastebuds – making it a great lunch recipe.

Ingredients
1 cup brown rice
250g cooked and cleaned prawns
100g deli smoked ham, torn
¾ cup frozen peas, thawed
3 celery stalks, sliced
4 spring onion stalks, finely sliced (3 for the pan, 1 to garnish)
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 red chillies, finely sliced (1 for the pan, 1 to season)
2 tbsp soy sauce, plus extra to season
1 tbsp Shao Xing Chinese cooking wine
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tbsp sesame oil
2 eggs

Method
Step 1: Cook brown rice according to packet instructions. Meanwhile heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large non-stick fry pan or wok over medium-high. Add the garlic and chilli and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add the celery, spring onions and ham, stir frying for 2-3 minutes.

Step 2: Add the prawns and peas and stir fry for another 2-3 minutes. Then fold through the rice, stir frying for 2 minutes.

Step 3: Toss in the soy sauce, Shao Xing and sesame oil – stir fry until completely combined. Push the mixture to one side of the pan and crack in the eggs. Let them sit and fry for 30 seconds to 1 minute and then fold through the rice until the egg shreds are blended through.

Step 4: Serve up the rice in bowls and garnish with left over spring onion slices. Place the remaining chilli slices in a small sauce bowl and pour in the extra soy sauce – serve on the side.

Brunch at Bruschetteria 102, 102 Albion St, Surry Hills NSW

Bruschetteria 102

Bruschetteria 102

www.facebook.com/pages/Bruschetteria-102/114052148635719

We visited Bruschetteria one sunny Saturday morning for brunch. As its name suggests, this modest cafe specialises in bruschetta and has a variety of options to choose from – whether you’d like to dine for breakfast, lunch or something in-between.

The place is distinctly Italian, from the coffees that have a taste and aroma reminding me of Rome to the staff with thick accents. Like so many of the cafes in Surry Hills, it’s set in a house-like structure. The front of the cafe is marked with a vintage suitcase – a chalkboard is propped up against it, declaring the house specials. Beyond the white picket fence is a small patio with artificial green lawn and a mismatch of iron, wicker and timber tables and chairs. An oversized wooden serving board is plastered to the front wall – announcing that we have reached our destination of Bruschetteria 102. Inside is even more quirky with more mismatched tables and chairs, rustic pitchers and fruit bowls, paper cup light shades (yes actual paper cups), and my favourite – a life-size black and white 1950s picture of Elvis.

We chose to sit at a lop-sided table at the very front and were treated with friendly and warm service. I ordered from the lunch menu, choosing the prosciutto, Italian cheese and pear bruschetta, along with my usual skinny cap. My partner in crime ordered the bacon and eggs bruschetta from the breakfast menu and a long black.

Our coffees arrived in mismatched cups and saucers (if there was a theme, mismatched would be it), accompanied with collectable souvenir teaspoons – an endearing touch I thought. My coffee was good, once I got past the 2cm high foam. And like I said earlier, it had the taste of Italy.

Bruschetteria 2

Our waitress then brought us some special bruschetta cutting knives and the meals themselves came shortly after on rustic serving boards. I really enjoyed my meal – it was fresh and honest tasting, the sweetness of the pear cutting through the saltiness of the prosciutto and cheese. The drizzle of olive oil topped it off perfectly. Tom happily gobbled his up too – the bacon was nice and crispy and the scrambled eggs soft and golden.  

We discovered that Bruschetteria is also open for dinner on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. They do a four course Italian menu for $40 per person – something Tom and I will be back for in the not too distant future.

Bruschetteria 102 on Urbanspoon

Berry Sourdough Cafe, 23 Prince Alfred Street, Berry NSW

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berrysourdoughcafe.com.au

We stopped by the Berry Sourdough Cafe on the way back from a camping trip in Jervis Bay. After two days of drinking excessively (what else is there to do while you’re camping?) and eating nutrition-poor food such as sausages, chips and lollies, I was really hanging out for some fresh, tasty and healthy food. Well this little cafe definitely ticked the boxes.

I wasn’t exactly sure if I was walking into the right place at first, because it’s located on a suburban street and from the outside looks like someone’s barn-like house. Only the soft notes of baking dough wafting out onto the footpath told me I was at the right place. As soon as I walked in, I was greeted with a cosy, warm and inviting ambience – defined by the gloriously orange tulips, rich wooden tables and chairs, white brick walls, high ceilings with low hanging lights, magnificently framed art, and dark red brick floors. One thing in particular that caught my eye was a beautiful large painting on the far wall that looked like it was set during the renaissance period, with an open book and feather quill – it was absolutely stunning.

It was nearing 1pm on a Sunday and the place was bustling with people. We had to wait about 15 minutes to get a table, but it was a pleasant wait. We were finally seated on a long table out on the front porch by the neatly trimmed hedges and crawling vines.

The cafe is known for its artisan sourdough and pastries. So for entrée we ordered the ‘sourdough bread with a selection of dips’ and ‘fries with mustard aioli’. I ordered the ‘seared scallops cucumber and melon salad with pancetta vinaigrette’ along with a skinny cap. Tom ordered the sourdough pizza special of the day with chorizo and mozzarella, along with his usual long black.

You can tell the bread was baked fresh that day; it was warm, sweet and soft with a crisp, powdery crust (I managed to get the crust’s white powder all over my mouth and cheeks, so be careful). The dips consisted of hommus, baba ghanoush and a pesto dip. I didn’t care too much for the dips – there seemed like something was missing in all three of them – especially the pesto one. The hummus was probably the best of the three. In the end we ordered balsamic vinegar and olive oil to dip the bread in and that was much better. The fries were perfect and lightly golden – crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, with just the right amount of seasoning. The mustard aioli was probably one of the best I’ve had – it had a yellow tinge to it and was rich and creamy. Our coffees weren’t too bad either.

Once we were done with our entrées, it took a little while for the mains to come out and our entrée dishes and coffee cups weren’t cleared away, so that when the mains came there was a bit of awkward fumbling around. But my main made up for all of this. The scallop salad was amazing – fresh tasting and the scallops were seared to perfection, coming out a lovely golden brown colour. And they weren’t stingy on the scallops either. The melons were a mix of rockmelon, watermelon and honeydew and were a wonderfully sweet match to the scallops. If I had one complaint, it would be that I wanted more of the pancetta vinaigrette dressing.

For me, Tom’s sourdough pizza was too thick and doughy. Tom likes to eat a lot and even for him, it was a struggle to finish due to the thickness of the base. The chorizo was a nice smoked flavour and the tomato base rich in flavour, but it was overpowered by the sheer amount of bread.

We were too stuffed for desert, but decided to take something to go from the bakery because the pastries not only looked to-die-for, they smelt it too. We decided on the raspberry tart and about an hour later as we were making our way towards Sydney, I entered pure heaven as I took my first bite into it. It was crunchy on the crust yet soft and crumbly in the middle – ah-maz-ing. For the rest of the drive home I was regretting I didn’t buy more (and that I had to share it with Tom as I wanted it all to myself).