Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lychee Coconut & Raspberry Pops

Here's a recipe to brighten your week and it includes some of my favourite flavours - lychee, coconut & raspberry. These little treats are perfect to enjoy on weekends or as an after dinner treat. By using the light coconut milk you don't have to worry about your waistline either.

Lychee Coconut & Raspberry Pops
(An original recipe by The Food Mentalist)

Makes about 8 
2 cups of lychees
200ml light coconut milk
1 cup raspberries ( fresh of frozen)
1 tablespoon caster sugar
2 tablespoons of boiled water
Popsicle moulds with handles or 8 small ramekins and 8 paddle pop sticks.

First, place empty popsicle moulds or ramekins in the freezer to chill. 

Combine raspberries, water and sugar in a small pot and bring to a gentle simmer stirring until it starts to thicken ( about 5 min) . Use a fine sieve to strain the raspberries, reserving the liquid and discarding the pips. Cool.

Remove popsicle moulds or ramekins from the freezer and spoon about 1/2 teaspoon of the raspberry sauce into each mould, making sure you swirl it around the sides of each mould. Place back into the freezer to set for 20 minutes.

Peel lychees over a bowl to catch the juice, pinching out the seeds. Place de-seeded lychees, juice and coconut milk in a blender and puree until smooth.

Fill moulds with lychee & coconut milk mixture and return to the freezer for approximately 4 hours or until set. You can insert the paddle pop sticks into the moulds after about 2 hours. 

The Food Mentalist was supplied with fresh lychees by Impact Communications - Thanks Guys!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Caffe Sicilia - Sydney

It’s Thursday night in Sydney. The working week is winding up and Crown Street is buzzing with people darting in and out of restaurants and bars.

Sicilian cuisine is the focus of Caffe Sicilia, the new restaurant venture by owner Phillip Visalli of The V Group - a family run business responsible for several hotels and restaurants in Sydney and Italy.

Opened in March 2011, Caffe Sicilia is reminiscent of a 1940’s style caffeteria - think black & white checkered marble floors, white table cloths, smartly dressed Italian staff and, a cool vibe. A real sense of Sicily awaits diners. Service is charming and they know their stuff. Doriano our waiter, is friendly, attentive and offers us several recommendations on request.

Sicilian cuisine is largely based on Italian food with hints of Greek & North African influences and Caffe Sicilia’s menu reflects this. The menu is characterised by a variety of traditional Sicilian dishes which include a fantastic selection of seafood along with classics like Sweet & Sour Sicilian Rabbit and Sicilian Seafood Cous Cous.


Mixed olives greet us at the table. They are fresh, buttery and not overly salty which we both enjoy.

Bread arrives and it comes with a dish of delicious fruity olive oil and balsamic.

Fresh imported burrata $15
Our starters don’t take long to appear and I am very impressed with the burrata which sits on a bed of cherry tomatoes, olives and basil and is dressed with ‘mediterranean olive oil from the sea’. I can taste hints of anchovy and capers which work really well with the tomatoes. The sweetness of the plump cherry tomatoes is perfectly balanced with the creamy velvety centre of the burrata and it just melts in the mouth.  The burrata has that characteristic fresh milk tanginess and is pillowy in texture. This dish is so delicious I find myself not wanting to share it with Pete. I finally give in, deciding that he too should be able to enjoy the flavours of this dish.

Sicilian blood orange salad w/ seared scallops  $17
The Sicilian blood orange salad comes topped with three plump scallops which have been caramelised perfectly. The salad itself features blood orange pieces, spanish onion and a scattering of herbs, all dressed with an olive oil and vinegar dressing.

Before our first course arrives we ask Doriano if he can recommend a nice Italian red by the glass. Even though our meal choices are leaning toward a white wine pairing, we decide to opt for a red as we both really enjoy our reds and the wine list at Caffe Sicilia has an extensive array. Doriano recommends two glasses of the 2008 Zenato Valpolicella Classico from Northern Italy. It is a nice easy drinking red and we both enjoy it.

Tortello di Beetroot e Ricotta $24
Our first course pasta dishes arrive. These ravioli are handmade each day and are filled with beetroot and buffalo ricotta. The beetroot is intense and beautifully sweet and is matched by the subtlety of the buffalo ricotta.  The ravioli is perfectly al dente and is dressed in a white wine and thyme reduction and topped with two king prawns. I find the sauce just a touch plain, whereas Pete loves it and believes it works well to balance the beetroot flavours in the dish. The king prawns are a nice size and are firm and sweet. This dish leaves me wanting more of these delicious ravioli.

Spaghetti all' Aragosta $30
The spaghetti is topped with a 200g ½ lobster tail and has been tossed in a cherry tomato juice. Tempting morsels of tender lobster are tossed throughout the pasta and cherry tomato juice matches the sweetness of the lobster really well.  Pete finds the spaghetti a little too firm, whereas I prefer its texture.

Snapper "Acqua Pazza' $27
The literal translation for this dish is Snapper ‘Crazy Water’ - however to Italian’s it simply means poached white fish. The snapper is cooked just right and it is accompanied by a generous serving of mussels, vongole and king prawns all poached in a white wine, cherry tomato and parsley reduction. The seafood is fresh and the dish encapsulates the flavours and ingredients of the cuisine. Simple and classic.

Oven Baked Stuffed Calamari (Special) $25

I absolutely love calamari and squid dishes and so I jump at the chance to try this dish. The calamari is stuffed with a Sicilian crumb filling with prawns and sits on a bed of pea puree. There are also several oven baked plump cherry tomatoes on the plate. The calamari is tender and the stuffing is an interesting combination of flavours including a bread like stuffing with pine nuts, herbs and prawns. These flavours work really well with everything else on the plate and the pea puree is smooth and sweet.

Granita $4.50 per flavour
By this stage we are getting pretty full and sit back and take in the surrounds as people and cars continue to buzz up and down crown street. Perfectly timed, a young guy zooms past on a Vespa and you could easily be mistaken for thinking we are somewhere in Italy.

Before too long, Doriano brings us some delicious granita and explains that we have strawberry, pineapple, almond and pistachio to sample. He also mentions that pistachio is his favourite. Having never tried ‘traditional’ Italian granita like this before, Pete and I are both wowed.

The flavours are intense and its extremely moreish! The texture of the granita is deliciously smooth and this partly a result the Carpigiani Maestro (a granita & gelato machine) that head pastry chef Giovanni Pistritto employs to make his famed dessert. It is the only machine of it’s kind in Australia. All the flavours are amazing, Pete decides the strawberry is his favourite and like Doriano, my personal favourite is the pistachio. I also love the almond - marzipan lovers unite! Bliss.

Limoncello $8.50
I am partial to a small glass of limoncello and I always keep a bottle in our freezer at home - believing it’s the perfect after dinner digestivo. So when Doriano brings us two glasses of Caffe Sicilia’s house-made limoncello I am delighted. He tells us that this one also has a hint of orange. It’s sweet and syrupy and the zesty flavours of the lemon and orange are evident. The perfect way to finish the meal. 

Well so I thought....

Ricotta Cannolo $6 (dine-in) $4.50 (take-away)
I have never been a huge fan of cannoli, whereas many of my friends just love it. However I am now convinced that the reason behind this is that I have never been offered one as good as this one. Doriano brings us one of Giovanni’s creations and it is delightful. The crisp shell is filled with a creamy sweet ricotta filling and topped with candied peel. I have always been a big fan of a famed Sydney ricotta cheesecake and I quickly decide that this is it’s cannoli equivalent.

Finishing on a such a high note, we float up Crown Street towards our car.

Love your almonds? In keeping with Sicilian tradition, Caffe Sicilia pays homage to the almond during the month of March, offering a 3-course almond degustation for $55 per person. You can find their almond menu here

Check out my interview below with Caffe Sicilia's new head pastry chef & master of the delicious granita and cannoli we sampled above - Giovanni Pistritto

Interview with Caffe Sicilia's head pastry chef - direct from Sicily - Giovanni Pistritto

Chef Pistritto, how did you get started in the food industry?
In Italy, food is one of the things that bring families and friends together. From the time I was born in my hometown of Lentini, I was always surrounded with family who loved eating and making pastries. When I was 13 years old, I started working for a local café/bar and from there learned the basics of making pastry. This experience inspired me to learn more about Sicilian pastry, which I love eating!

In 1994, I had the opportunity to work for Lentini’s most famous pastry chef Giuseppe Caltabano at Café Cristal. He taught me everything I needed to know about Sicilian pastries – from the texture and flavour to technique and presentation. Three years later, I became the head pastry chef at another café in Lentini called Etna Bar. Then, I met Caffe Sicilia’s owner Phillip Visalli who brought me out to Australia to work for his restaurant.

What inspired you to become a pastry chef?
When I first started out in the kitchen, I enjoyed watching pastry chefs doing
what they do best and thought hey, I can do this too! When I was 13 years
old, two weeks into the job, there was a time when one of the pastry chefs
called in sick and because they were preparing for a big catering job they
asked me to help out. From scratch, I made arancini balls (keeping in mind
that I’ve never made them before) and the customers absolutely loved them! I
was surprised at first but that was my eye-opener.

What is your style?
At Caffe Sicilia, the recipes for the variety of pastries and desserts we serve
are traditionally from Sicily and other parts of Italy. We do not play too much
with the flavours as we feel it would be moving away from what we are trying
to represent. What we are doing is changing the standard portion sizes, giving
our customers the opportunity to sample across the varieties we have. The
presentation of the desserts and pastries also varies to ensure that it’s always
appealing to our customers.

Caffe Sicilia has recently launched a new range of dishes. Tell us what your favourites are...
I love my seafood so it would have to be the Spaghetti all’Aragosta, which is pasta, packed with lobster tail meat tossed in a slow cooked lobster & cherry tomato juice. Need I say more?

Tell us about your granitas and the Carpigiani Maestro at Caffe Sicilia...
I was very excited when I found out that our owner Phillip Visalli bought a Carpigiani Maestro machine, which is used to make gelato and granitas. We are the only restaurant in Australia to have this equipment so to work with it is such a privilege!

At Caffe Sicilia, we make four different granita flavours a week and we sell them for $4.50 each. At the moment, we have pineapple, pistachio, strawberry and almond (a favourite in Sicily) and our customers are definitely enjoying it. We use fresh and all natural ingredients to create the granitas. It’s most enjoyable during a hot summers day paired with a brioche. It’s refreshing and you’d want more of it.

We will soon be introducing different flavours of gelato too!What do you see as the new trends in pastry?

What I’ve noticed since I’ve lived in Australia is that customers are in search
of pastries/desserts that are not overly rich and sweet. They also look for pastries/desserts that are appealing to the eye and capture their attention. Customers are a lot more curious about where restaurants source their ingredients and how a product is made.

What are the most challenging aspects of being a pastry chef?
Being a pastry chef requires a lot of hard work and patience. I’m at work ready to go at 4.30am to prepare for the day. I’m a perfectionist and all about attention to detail and consistency. I have to make sure that every single pastry/dessert that leaves my sight is perfect. If I don’t like it then it goes straight to the bin. 

Making pastry is very delicate and requires a skillful technique therefore I also make sure that my apprentices are well trained. When you have many years of experience in the field, it can be difficult to teach people skills and techniques that now come naturally to me. I am very lucky that my apprentices at Caffe Sicilia are all from Italy therefore they have an appreciation and understanding of what the finished product should look and taste like.

What are your 3 favourite ingredients to work with?
The basics – flour, sugar and butter.

What is your favourite dessert at Caffe Sicilia?
If I had to choose one it would have to be our strawberry tart.


The Food Mentalist & Pete dined as guests of Caffe Sicilia & Wasamedia.

Tell me, do you like Sicilian cuisine and are you a fan of cannoli?

Caffe Sicilia on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cider Sunday - Bilpin Original Cider

Established in 2011, this cider has done well to quickly establish itself in such a competitive market.  This one is another of Pete's choices which he discovered last weekend at the Addison Road Farmer's Markets, held every Sunday in Marrickville in Sydney's Inner West.

Bilpin is actually situated in the Blue Mountain's approximately 90 km west of Sydney, where the region's mountain elevation and fertile soil make it an ideal place to grow apples and other fruit.

This one is fresh, crisp and deliciously refreshing. The aroma of apple is evident and the combination of Granny Smith & Pink Lady apple varieties have produced a flavoursome, easy to drink cider. It is a medium bodied cider with just the right amount of sweetness.

In fact, this one has become Pete's favourite Australian Cider.

Unlike many of the major commercial ciders, this one retains it's integrity by not using concentrates, sugar or artificial flavours. It's pure apple at it's best.

When it comes to food pairing, Chef Luke Mangan and Kim Terakes have created two mouth watering recipes using Bilpin Apple Cider. To try Luke's 'Steamed Fillet of John Dory w/ Field Mushrooms, Smoked Bacon & Cider click here. Alternatively, you may prefer Kim's 'Prawns Cooked in Cider' recipe here.

At 4.7% alcohol, a 330ml bottle will give you 1.2 standard drinks.

Bilpin Original Cider is widely available across Sydney and NSW if you know where to look. It is also available at many of Sydney's restaurants including Hugo's, Bills and Kingsley's Woolloomoloo.

If you are visiting Sydney's Inner West on a Sunday, call into the Addison Rd Farmers Markets and check out Bilpin Original Cider. It's a real treat.

To find out more about where you can purchase Bilpin Apple Cider click here

Max loves Sunday's - Chilling out on top of the BBQ.

Tell me, how do you like to chill out on a Sunday?

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Philips Saeco Exprelia

Meet the Philips Saeco Exprelia - A sleek, stylish and multi-functional espresso machine - It’s a real charmer. 

Living in Sydney’s Italian enclave meant that the Exprelia was going to have to be pretty good to compete with the quality & passion of coffee shared by our community. Well, it did - exceeding our expectations. 

Philips Saeco
Founded in Italy in 1981, Saeco has established a strong international presence in the world of coffee making. In 1985 they invented the first fully automatic bean-to-cup coffee machine and have managed to continually redefine the coffee-at-home experience for over the last 25 years.

In September 2009, Saeco International Group became part of Philips and this has helped to position Philips as a worldwide leader in coffee appliances. It’s the perfect match really. Undergoing a full rebranding Saeco became Philips Saeco in 2010 and they introduced the Exprelia Line of coffee machines into the market.

The Exprelia

The first thing you notice about this machine is that it looks great! It is compact, sleek and incredibly stylish - quickly adding a sophisticated edge to today’s modern kitchen.

Some of it’s key features include:

  • Sleek stainless steel design;
  • Fully automatic;
  • Easy to use;
  • Double boiler for instant steam;
  • Comprehensive beverage menu;
  • Integrated milk carafe - which is self cleaning & can be stored in the fridge between uses;
  • Intenza water filter - which improves the quality of the water and extends the life of the machine;
  • SBS ( Saeco Brewing System) - This allows you to adjust the fullness & intensity of the brewed coffee simply by turning the knob on the front of the machine. You can actually do this while it is brewing to adjust your coffee from mild to medium or strong;
  • Saeco Adapting System - which self-adjusts to allow all types of coffee beans (origin,blend and roast) to be used by the machine (not including flavoured or caramelized);
  • Adjustable dispensing spout - you can change the height of the dispensing spout to accommodate the cup you are using;
  • Hot water & steam dispensing;
  • Frontal access to all functions;
  • Automatic cleaning & descaling - Which we absolutely LOVE!

The Coffee
The machine has an extensive range of beverages to choose from. Whether your a purist and like your ristretto or espresso or you love to linger over a latte or frothy cappuccino, the Exprelia can do it all and it does it well.

If you do love your latte or cappuccino - you don’t ever have to worry about frothing your own milk because the integrated milk carafe does it for you, creating the perfect froth for your beverage.

Flavour is important and the Exprelia produces the perfect coffee with a definitive crema each time we use it. It is consistent and the taste is authentic. We no longer have to buy our coffee at a cafe - we just have to walk into our kitchen.

The machine allows for pre-ground coffee to be used too if that is what you prefer.

The Pro’s
Where to start? There are many great benefits to owning this machine.

This is the perfect espresso machine for coffee enthusiasts, couples and families who are passionate about their coffee. The quality of the coffee is perfect, it produces a deliciously good crema which is important when you love espresso. The fully integrated milk carafe works really well and cappuccino’s and lattes are incredibly easy to make and taste delicious.

The machine itself is very easy to use - you simply fill up the water tank on one side and place your coffee beans in the other, select your preferred coffee and it does the rest. Simple!

The Exprelia offers full customisation - allowing us to choose our favourite blend, adjust the intensity, temperature, body, crema and structure to meet our own individual tastes.

It’s compact and fits neatly on our kitchen bench. It also looks fantastic, and compliments today’s modern kitchen. With the majority of our kitchen appliances being stainless steel, it fits in perfectly.

Maintenance is straight forward and all you need to do is follow the instructions in the manual.

The machine even has a selectable eco-mode.

The Con’s
Philips Saeco have thought of everything when it comes to this machine so it’s hard to find fault with anything. Due to the compact design, the water tank (capacity is 1.5 litres) requires topping up after about 4 cups of coffee. That said, it’s easily removable so you can put it straight under the tap or simply fill it up in the machine by pouring the water in. Being the smart machine that it is, it will alert you to remind you to do this when required.


The Rest 

Overall, we absolutely love the Philips Saeco Exprelia. It is a welcomed addition to our home. Pete now refuses to pay for coffee when out, knowing that he can produce the perfect cup at home for only a fraction of the cost. Owning this machine not only means we save money by not having to purchase our morning coffees at a local cafe but it also gives us the perfect way to finish an evening meal, particularly when we have friends or family over for dinner - a delicious cafe-quality coffee goes down well to complement dessert.

I also love it because it means that cooking with coffee has never been easier - no instant stuff here! All I do is simply brew some espresso and use that instead. Love it! In fact I have included two  recipes below for you to enjoy with your morning or afternoon coffee.

This first recipe is for Sour Cream & Coffee Walnut Cakes and I urge you to try them. They are sure to impress. The combination of flavours works brilliantly and the walnut mix reminds me of a delicious Greek walnut syrup cake Girlfriday’s mum makes, with a hint of coffee. The addition of sour cream to the cake batter results in an incredibly airy sponge which just melts in your mouth and the espresso icing just finishes them off nicely. These are sure to make a regular appearance at afternoon teas at our place in the future.

The Philips Saeco Exprelia
RRP $2,499
Available at major electrical retailers and online. Check online for competitive prices.

Sour Cream & Coffee Walnut Cakes

( Adapted from the Coffee cookbook - Murdoch Books)

Makes 10
60g brown sugar
75g (3/4 cup) walnuts
1 tsp finely ground espresso coffee beans
1 tsp cinnamon
115g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
115g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
2 eggs
185g (1 ½ cups) plain flour
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
225g sour cream
10 walnut halves - to decorate

155g (1 ¼ cups) icing sugar, sifted
2-3 tsps freshly brewed strong espresso coffee - Thanks Exprelia

Preheat oven to 180’C (350’F/Gas 4).

Grease a friand or muffin tin & line the bases with baking paper.

Place brown sugar, nuts, cinnamon and ground coffee in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles course breadcrumbs. Add 40g of the softened butter and process until well combined. Set aside.

Cream the remaining butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Add one egg at a time and beat well after each. Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarb into a separate bowl.

Next, stir one-third of the flour mixture into the egg mixture and then add one-third of the sour cream into the egg mixture. Repeat until all combined.

Spoon half the mixture into the prepared tins and spread evenly across the base. Sprinkle the walnut mixture over the batter, then spoon on the remaining batter and cover evenly.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until lightly golden and a cake skewer inserted into the middle of one comes out clean.

Set aside to cool slightly in the tin before turning the cakes out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Spread the icing over the cakes and top with a walnut piece. Allow icing to set before serving.

Espresso Chocolate Chip Shortbread
( An original recipe by The Food Mentalist)

100g cornflour
225g plain flour
200g unsalted butter ( room temperature)
½ tsp freshly ground espresso coffee beans
85g icing sugar (powdered sugar)
½  vanilla bean (seeds scraped)
pinch salt
½ cup dark chocolate ( chips or small chunks)

Preheat oven to 150'C.
Beat butter and vanilla bean seeds until creamy.
Stir through icing sugar , ground coffee beans, chocolate and sift in flours and salt.
Form into a log and wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge to firm up for 20-30 minutes.
Remove from fridge and cut ½ cm rounds out on a lightly floured surface.

Place rounds on baking tray lined with baking paper and bake in oven for about 30 minutes or until lightly golden.

Place on a wire rack and allow to cool completely before serving.

Shortbread will store well in an airtight container for about one week.

Enjoy x

Stay tuned for more Exprelia coffee inspired recipes over the next few weeks.

What sorts of treats do you most enjoy with your coffee?

( The Food Mentalist received The Philips Saeco Exprelia compliments of  Philips Saeco & Fleishman-Hillard)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cider Sunday - The Apple Thief - Pink Lady Cider

Happy Cider Sunday !!!!

This week I'm very happy to introduce you all to my favourite Australian Cider - The Apple Thief - Pink Lady Cider from the Southern Highlands of New South Wales.

I first discovered this Cider last October (2011) when Pete and I travelled down to Bowral in the Southern Highlands to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. The bar at the hotel we were staying at had a funky little promotional 'table talker' where we were seated.  I was instantly drawn to the quirky logo and the fact that it was local to the area we were staying. We were waiting for our taxi to Biota Dining which arrived a little early, hence preventing us from trying the cider at the bar.

Persistent, we decided to stop in at the Dan Murphy's at Mittagong on the way back home to Sydney assuming that they would stock this particular local cider. Unfortunately, they didn't and so our introduction to The Apple Thief didn't eventuate.

Fast forward to February this year when we ventured back to Bowral to spend the weekend. We stopped in at Josh's Cafe at Berrima and noticed the cider on the menu.A couple at the table a few across from us were enjoying two bottles - I was intrigued by it's pink colour. Having already ordered wine to go with our lunch we didn't get to try it there either.

Determined, we decided to stop in at the bottle shop at the Bowral Hotel and try our luck again.


We managed to snare the very last 4-pack. Super excited, we tried it that night and were both very impressed.

Image Source: The Apple Thief
This is a true boutique cider produced by duo David Purcell and Charlie Ostaszewski. David has over 20 years experience working in the apple industry and personally selects only the best pink lady apples to ensure the perfect flavour. The cider is made using Batlow apples from the Snowy Mountains.

The first thing you notice about this cider apart from it's gorgeous pinkish hue is how fresh it tastes. What I really love about it is that it isn't overly yeasty like many of the mainstream ciders on the market. Produced by a winemaker at Eling Forest Winery in Sutton Forest, this cider has sophistication.

Not only is this cider delicious, it is crisp and has a medium finish which is perfectly balanced with the sweetness of the apples. Characteristic of the pink lady apple variety, this cider displays a slight tartness which works really well.

This cider will be sure to impress. As I have said - It's my favourite Australian cider!

At 4.5% alcohol, a 330ml bottle will provide you with 1.5 standard drinks.

After speaking with Charlie from The Apple Thief, I can confirm that not only are they widening their distribution channels, but they are currently developing Granny Smith and Red Delicious cider varieties.

Got to love that!

$16.99 per pack of 4
$89.95 per case of 24
Available: Online @ The Oak Barrel click here 
Eling Forest Winery, Sutton Forest, NSW
Shady Pines Saloon Darlinghurst
The Baxter Inn, Sydney
Lord Dudley, Paddington
Four in Hand, Paddington
Dicks Hotel, Balmain
Sackville Hotel, Rozelle - Coming soon

For more information & additional stockists check online @ The Apple Thief

Tell me, have you tried The Apple Thief Cider? What did you think?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cider Sunday - Stowford Press Medium Dry Cider

Happy Cider Sunday Everyone!!

I hope you are all having a fantastic weekend, what have you been up to?

This week's edition comes from Westons in the UK who export to over 40 countries around the world. It is marketed as  traditional draught cider and it's taste remains true to it's name. This cider is cold filtered and matured for up to 6 months.

What I love about this cider is that it manages a perfect balance between traditional draught characteristics and a lovely sweetness. It is not overly sweet, so those of you who aren't a fan of sweet ciders should still like this one. This one also has a slight smoky character to it.

Stowford Press has a delicious golden colour with a few bubbles and has a light to medium dry finish. It doesn't have an overt apple flavour, with rather just a hint coming through. Overall, this one is a relatively good drop.

This cider has a fairly low (4.5%) alcohol content and a 500ml bottle will give you 2.3 standard drinks.

$3.40 per 500ml bottle
Available: Dan Murphy's and most major bottle shops.

Just to let you all know that I have a few new and exciting posts coming up over the next few weeks which will include product reviews, restaurant visits and some new healthy recipes to cook at home.

As we head toward the end of Summer, Cider Sunday's will retire at the end of February and will be replaced by a new regular Sunday post well suited to Autumn. Stay tuned x

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Cider Sunday - Strongbow Cider Clear

In the name of health and well-being I decided to try this week's cider - Strongbow Clear, a low sugar & low carb cider. I haven't seen another like this on the market - the reasons of which became evident fairly quickly.

Let me tell you why...

In terms of flavour, this cider fails to deliver - it tastes as if they have taken a standard cider and heavily diluted it with water. It is definitely lower in sugar - however I think it is sweet enough. It's as if the flavour is missing rather than the sugar. That said, if you need to lower your carb intake - this is probably the cider for you. As for me, I'll stick to the others on the market.

In terms of apple - I was unable to notice any distinct flavour characteristics. It has a slightly dry finish, however that's as good as it gets.

I shared this one with Girlfriday and she quickly decided she could not finish it. I had to agree. Sorry Strongbow - we're not a fan.

At 5% alcohol, this 355ml bottle will provide you with 1.4 standard drinks. Overall, it's a great concept but unfortunately the absence of flavour lets this one down.

$2.99 per 355ml bottle
$14.99 per pack of six
$47.99 per case of 24
Available: Dan Murphy's and other mainstream bottle shops.

On a happier note, we all ventured down to gorgeous Kangaroo Valley yesterday for a lovely road trip. Have you ever visited? Did you see the old suspension bridge?