Sun Catering, Wentworthville

Masala Dosai is one of the few Indian style foods that I crave. I love the thin crispy pancake, and getting all grubby in eating with my fingers.

So when my friend gave a hot tip to try Sun Catering in Wentworthville, I had to make the effort and try it. The place has two bain maries with precooked food – one is the vegetarian one, the other the meat one. These were popular with the locals in ordering four curries & rice.

Masala Dosai ($6):

Masala Dosa

Served on a metal food platter, we have a hot coconut chutney (orange colour), a slightly sour green chutney (also coconut based), and the sambal. The filling in the crepe interestingly not only has the standard potatoes and peas, but also curry leaves, coriander, corn and carrot. One dossai is a bit too much for me to finish, so I wrapped up my leftovers in a napkin, and reheated them later in the jaffle iron.

Sun Catering
Street: 9 Station Street, Wentworthville, NSW, 2145
Phone: 61-2-86267861

Basil and the bees

One of the reason that I thought bees wouldn’t mind living in my area is that throughout the winter of 2014, I had constant bee visitors to my flowering basil.

After cutting back hard in November, the basil has flowered again. I spent a productive hour or two chasing the bees around the basil. The pollen from the basil is a deep red/orange colour.

Who says native bees and honey bees can’t feed on the same sources?

Native Bee

Native Stingless

I’m not quite sure which kind. There are at least 10 kinds of native bees that live in NSW. I’m claiming it as native stingless, or tetragonula.

Honey Bee:

European Honey Bee

Apis mellifera. This is the kind of European honey bee that I have in my backyard. I was a little disappointed when I first didn’t see my bees returning with loads of the red/orange pollen, even though I saw bees on the basil. This means they’re going my further afield. But now, in the past week, I have seen the bees coming back home with their saddle bags packed full of basil pollen.

Blue banded bee:

Blue banded bee

Amegilla cingulata. This one was the hardest to capture a photo of because she was such a ditz. It didn’t take her seconds to decide if she wanted to visit a certain flower, it was milliseconds. So it was very hard to focus the camera in time, before she moved on. These guys are well known for their ‘buzz pollination’, which would be why its so hard to get her to stay still!

Cornersmith, Marrickville

I really like the Cornersmith ethos. Locals trading in an over abundance of produce that they can’t deal with, and in return getting some preserves, chutneys or similar from the store. Not only that, they run classes on cheesemaking, pickling and smoking. Yum. My only quibble is that although they declare that they’re are against “factory farming”, they have chosen a style of rooftop beekeeping that is the factory farming of the beekeeping world (Langstroth).

It is a little bit out of my way, so that’s why it’s taken me a couple of years to get there to try it out, apart from a passing coffee a year or so ago.

Plum, apple and raspberry shake ($4):

Shake @ Cornersmith

I ordered this as a kids sized shake (the adult one is $6), and it was delivered in a little mock glass milk bottle with an artistic streak of flavouring dribbling down against the rim. I was slightly dissapointed that there wasn’t a red and white striped paper straw. This was delicious, and got me to thinking why milkshakes have to be boring chocolate, strawberry or vanilla. Perhaps I could preserve some guava ‘syrup’ this year for future milkshakes.

Poached Egg and Ham Roll ($12):

Egg roll @ Cornersmith

The ham is pastured fed. This is served with aioli, and a very moreish apple and beetroot salad. Of course, once you squash the bread roll in order to fit it into your mouth, the egg yolk explodes and drips all over the place. This is not a thing to order if you don’t like to get messy.

Ploughman’s platters and sandwiches available for lunch; other dishes with eggs and additional salad ‘sides’. Seasonal menu with local produce. What’s not to like?

Cornersmith Cafe (& Picklery)
street: 314 Illawarra Road, Marrickville, NSW 2204
web: http://www.cornersmith.com.au

Phone: 61-2-80650844
M-F: 0630 – 1530
S-S 0730 -1530.

Also open for dinner from 1730 Thu, Fri, Sat.
Also open for dinner from 1730 Thu, Fri, Sat.

May in the Garden, 2015

2015 edition.

Picked:

Share from Pixlr

1 x Luffa or Sing gua.
Before cooking it, you peel the ridges/(sometimes the skin…depending how big it is), and then cutting into chunky triangular pieces. I normally have it stir fried. This one was DELICIOUS.

May harvest, 2015

Late summer/autumn tomatoes. Moving the garden bed to a sunnier spot has definitely been a winner; Heaps of cherry tomatoes in summer, and a late flush of big tomatoes (sorry – I’m not sure which variety they are) in late autumn.

Appel!

1 x bolero (it was a bit mushy by the time I got around to eating it).
2 x waltz. They smell super apple-y, like apples on steriods.

Basil, thyme, kaffir lime leaf, vietnamese mint.

Planted & Achieved:

I bagged the guava fruits which are developing, with as many bags as I have which are not allocated already to my tomatoes. Already we’ve eaten about twenty.

Dug out some of the sweet potato (no wonder its so cheap – it develops tubers like a rabbit breeds). Planted snow peas and silverbeet in its place.

Transplanted some parsley seedlings that had started grow in the lawn, moved them to a garden bed.

Planted a luffa seed and a pumpkin seed (I suspect Jap pumpkin), in the sunny garden bed where my biggest crop of tomatoes has been.

Can you see my Punkin?

Pumpkin

Planted some broccoli seedlings. It’s a battle between the broccoli and the snails/slugs. So far its even-stevens, although the snails penchant for beer is not good for their health.

What does the garden look like?

Banana plant is now about 3m high. Unfortunately this, plus the mad daisy bush is now blocking sunlight/frost potential to the apples.
I should not have planted the apples next to the banana. It’s supposed to be a *dwarf*

We’ve already had our first night with below 7 degree C temperatures. The cherry tree is losing its leaves.

Winter is Coming

What’s next:

Move the finger lime to a pot. It’s not getting enough sun.
Plant the frangipani branch already.

Appearing soon: Bourke Street Bakery!

Opening on Monday 27 April 2015:

Bourke Street Bakery!!!!

Landing soon...

Squeeee!!!

They’ve snapped up a spot that used to host a Delifrance, followed by a Brazillian cafe, then by Sweet Street cafe (which had lovely fruit tarts), right near where the Artisans Apprentice Bakery used to be.

Bourke Street Bakery
street: Shop 17/162-172 Church Street, Parramatta, 2150
Connection Arcade/Parramatta Pedestrian Mall.
Phone: 61-2-9893-9075
M-F: 0700-1600
SS-0800-1500

Black Star Pastry, Newtown

There’s no denying it. Black Star Pastry has been *discovered*.

Usually the queues snake out the door and alongside the shops next door, generally of tourists who have come to Newtown to try the Strawberry Watermelon Cake with Rose Scented Cream. It just looks so *pretty*. I remember devouring a slice, layer by layer whilst sitting in the pub across the road a few years ago. Mr SydFoodie groaned when some visitors (who had been in the country a mere 4 hours) told him that they were going to “Black Thorn Pastry tomorrow to try a cake”. A representative from Tourism Australia actually preened a little when he told them that story. Some of the tourists in a very brusque fashion elbow their way to the front of the queue and demand the eclair, or the cake; and then storm off in a huff when they are told that they’re sold out, and there won’t be any more for today.

So, usually I avoid the shop.

But today, a rainy weekday (plus perhaps the opening of their Rosebery store and the Powerhouse museum popup) has meant that there was no queue. Hooley Dooley! I should’ve taken a photo of this rare event.

Olive Miche ($8):

Miche @ Black Star Pastry

I have destroyed the cocoa power ‘branding’ by lugging this home, but you can just make it out on top of the loaf. This apparently contains green olives, but I have yet to spot them. I couldn’t quite identify an almost fermented smell from the bread – perhaps apple cider vinegar?

Miche

The small miche roll is $4.

Cinnamon Scroll ($4.40):

Cinnamon Swirl @ Black Star Pastry

Not a very strong cinnamon flavour, and the humidity of the day has meant that the sugar/cinnamon filling has absorbed moisture. The pastry is buttery, light and flakey which crisps up nicely under the grill.

Black Star Pastry
street: 277 Australia Street, Newtown NSW 2042
web: http://blackstarpastry.com.au
M-F, S-S: 0700-1700.

Also at Rosebery, and a pop up at the Powerhouse Museum until end of April 2015.

Post-post note: I have shared my BSP miche with a friend who has declared that the unidentified taste is lemon myrtle. Very strong lemon myrtle.

It’s harder than it looks

Making crumpets are harder than they look.

When my sister first sent me the link from theguardian uk newspaper , I thought – meh – not for me. Too much effort. I don’t like crumpets that much.

Then frankie magazine posted a link to another recipe. Frankie. Doyenne of hipster, art, quirky fashion, and DIY. Can’t be that hard can it?

This recipe makes a lot of crumpets. Sixteen 7cm diameter crumpets.
You want baking soda – sodium bicarbonate, the alkaline one.

I also forgot that I had two litres of whey left over from making haloumi, which would have been interesting to substitute for water in the recipe.

The downside I found was that because I kept my crumpet mixture on the stove, it kept expanding as I kept cooking, giving me more and more crumpet mixture. Like the magic pudding, my crumpet mixture kept expanding and giving me more and more mixture, then longer it stayed in ‘the warm spot’ on the stove.

Only my first batch seemed to develop the ‘bubbles’ at the top of the crumpet, every other one was just a columnar yeasty bread.

Crumpets cooking

I had a lot of trouble using cookie cutter moulds with shaping the crumpets, because my moulds came with a ‘handle’, I ended up removing the handle to assist with removing the crumpet.

Crumpets

Verdict?
Harder than it looks. I’m going to have to have another go at these. My efforts reminded me more of an English Muffin. Perhaps a Muf-pert. When I looked later at the recipe in the joy of cooking – the recipe for English muffins is given first, followed by the comment that “Crumpets are essentially similar to English muffins, just more liquid”.

What kind of crumpets are you eating in the USA?

What about the bubbling and the honeycomb texture?

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