Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Crop and Swap Feb 2017

I haven’t attended a crop and swap in quite a while; one because they’re an 80km round trip for me, and secondly – I’ve run out of honey! I haven’t harvested honey since November 2016. The season has been a bit odd and a lot of colonies have failed around the Sydney basin due to infestation of small hive beetle overcoming them, or not enough pollen/nectar due to the funny weather.

Up until now, I have just been doing one-on-one swaps, and racking up an incredible number of kilometres on the car.

But for the last crop and swap for February 2017, I figured that I would make an effort to head to the proper event in Lane Cove.


Crop and swap – out:

Crop and swap - out

This is what I brought with me to the swap event. Two pots of thyme. Two jars of preserved guava – from 2015. I didn’t think it would be safe to bring or subject anyone else to my jars of unset seville marmalade (5 years ago), or various guava jams and guava jellies, made even longer ago! Two jars of kombucha scoby “jerky”.Two packets of native frangipani seeds, collected from my own tree. Beeswax (of course), some rendered as cupcakes, and some as it had come out of my solar wax extractor.

Crop and swap – in:

Crop and swap Feb 2017 - in

1.5litres of worm wee. Kale. Warrigal greens. Genovese Basil. Armenian cucumber. 2 cloves of garlic. 2 finger limes. 1 lime. Lemon balm (plant). 3 chilli peppers – one of them was a scotch bonnet. I love getting chillies, I love their shape, but I can’t eat them!

I had put in a special request for bee friendly plants, so I ended up with several kinds of salvia cuttings (black knight, hot lips, something with bluish flowers, one with lilac/blue flowers); Fruit salad sage cuttings and indian borage. There was a shopping bag filled with chocolate mint. I was debating whether or not I could try and and get a curry leaf branch to take as a cutting (since I had failed earlier in the month), and then another crop swapper offered me a seedling from her garden, I just had to pop past on my way home.

For the seeds I got some for crookneck squash, kohlrabi, dill, and ‘warpaint watermelon’ – which were a wonderful iridescent blue colour. With a name like that, I thought the watermelon would be similarly coloured, but a search for information on the seeds says not.

My drive home was in a scented lemon-ish, chocolate mint haze.

I then spent the afternoon potting my newly acquired cuttings in the glorious, glorious sprinkling rain, and playing “identify this cutting”.

I stir fried the warrigal greens as a side dish to dinner

I turned the fruit salad leaf cuttings (which I had had taken off to reduce transpiration loss) into a iced tea tissane:

Herb infusion

Sydney Festival Village 2017

I went to the Sydney Festival village this year, not because I was seeing a show, but because I wanted to try a burger from Mary’s. I had seen their burger truck, briefly at the Big Design Market 2016 (Sydney Edition), but the queue was too long for my tastes.


Mary’s Burger ($12):

Mary's Burger

Toasted plain bun, slice of tomato,”mary’s sauce”, melted cheese, beef patty, butter to make the bun crispy.

This was quite tasty; and the bun remained crispy on the inside to the last bit. The special Mary’s sauce is probably just the same as the special McDonald’s sauce on a Big Mac.

Mary’s CBD has the same burger for $10, so there is a slight premium for the portable Mary’s/village atmosphere.

Since it was taking *so long* for my burger to be made, and I was hungry, I also ordered from the Bodega stall.

Corn and Cheese Tamale ($12):

Corn and cheese tamale

A proper tamale is corn flour (masa harina), add various flavourings like meat, fat, garlic, onion packed into corn husks and steamed. It ends up log shaped. This was kind of like a polenta ‘mush’, but very tasty (deep fried corn chips), all the same. Perhaps I’ll do this sort of thing to my polenta next time I cook it at home.

Sydney Festival Village
Hyde Park North (near Archibald Fountain)
Until Sunday 29 January 2017
Mon: Closed
Tue-Fri: 1630 till “late”
Sat-Sun: 12noon till “late”

Petaling Street Malaysian, Haymarket

When Petaling Street (Pe-TAH-ling) first opened, I remember seeing queues up to 10 deep waiting outside the store to get in. Time has moved on, there are still queues outside Mamak a few blocks away (I can’t understand why), but people have moved on from Petaling Street. This is a shame, because when I final got my act into gear to go and visit, there is an extensive menu of Malaysian dishes, including hawker/street food, roti and teh tahrik.

Kopi ice ($3.80):

Kopi Ice
I have missed out on my usual morning coffee today, so I order Malaysian style coffee with ice. It is also served in a hot version, but I decide on the cold in anticipation of the chilli heat that I will be soon consuming. This has both condensed milk and evaporated milks in the mixture. I’m sure a similar effect can be had by adding a packet of three-in-one coffee mixture and ice, but it is refreshing nonetheless.

Perusing the menu outside, I have picked out the items that I wouldn’t mind trying if only I had several stomachs available. Nasi Lemak, Rotis (both savoury and sweet), as well as my stalwart, Assam Laksa.

Hainanese Chicken ($11.50):

Hainan Chicken

My dining companion picks this dish because it comes with the most amazing chilli sauce – both red and green. I remember seeing these lying innocently in little dishes as we walked in through the entrance. The chicken itself is served with a bowl of rice flavoured with chicken broth.

Assam Laksa ($11.80):

Assam Laksa

Waah. This dish is so very very yellow. I have never seen such a yellow coloured assam laksa, it must be the turmeric. There is a good stash of sliced galangal, mint and chilli piled on top. I carefully take the chillis and put them aside. That way lies madness. Instead of sardines out of a tin, we have just cooked sardine fillets. The pineapple is sliced thinly into strips. The rice noodles are fat and unctuous, and continue to fatten in size and contribute to the thickness of the broth the longer that it takes me to eat.

Although I have been told that the assam laksa at Petaling Street is one of the best in the world, it doesn’t quite float my boat. My usual complaint of ‘sameyness’ throughout the dish means that towards the end, I just can’t finish it. The broth is very good, and I think that I have drunk most of it. I will have to return another day to try the other dishes on offer.

Petaling Street Malaysian Food
street: 760 George St, Haymarket NSW 2000
Phone: +61-2-9280 1006

Mon-Fri, Sat Sun: 1100-2300.

Bistrode CBD

It was lucky we had booked early, as there was a large party scheduled shortly after our arrival. We arrived armed with an entertainment card, giving us a little bit of a discount for the night’s dinner.

Bread & butter:

bread & butter

The sourdough on the left is from Iggy’s. The rye is from grain bakery in Alexandria. Really a rye? Perhaps a half rye, half white mix. The butter was an adorable looking pattie from Pepe Saya. It’s not individually wrapped, but there is a little sticker on top. On Mondays there is no bread delivery from Iggy’s, thereby answering the little question I had whilst eating at Three Blue Ducks.

I was tempted by the corned beef ($36.50), which came with kipfler potato salad & English Condiments – ooh a chance for cumberland sauce? I have had corned beef twice in my life. Once at a friend’s place, and she had home cooked I, and I found it a bit meh. The second time as a random occurrence when we were out at a remote National Park near Broken Hill, and were invited by a local aboriginal family to have lunch (Christmas leftovers), back at their place. Oh my god. That was the best tasting meat I have ever tasted. Perhaps I was lacking in salt, being out in 30 deg C + temperatures daily, but my word it was delicious.

I was talked out of this by my mum, who insisted that I get “fresh meat”, rather than pickled meat. So I went full pescetarian.

Gold Band Snapper with roof top cherry tomatoes and Marjoram ($36):

Gold Band Snapper

The cherry tomatoes are indeed from this very roof at 52 King Street, and not from one of the other Merivale properties. There is a combination of red cherry, yellow cherry and some other full sized tomatoes chopped into segments. The fish had nice crispy skin, and I really enjoyed the accompanying ‘tomato’ juices which were mopped up very nicely with the leftover bread. I thought the marjoram tasted like oregano – later research told me that they’re in the same family, and in some middle eastern countries, marjoram is synonymous with oregano!

Rump steak ($38):

Rump Steak

There was a “parsley and caper” salad, dressed with lemon juice, quite tart/salty in taste.. We had asked for the parsley and garlic butter to be served separate (rather than dripping onto the steak). Perhaps we missed out on some of the flavor by doing it this way…? The steak is perfect at medium rare with a nice crisp edge and red on the inside. It is a nice steak.

Kurobuta Pork Cutlet, Apple Slaw ($38.50):

Kurobota Pork

Kurobuta pork comes from black berkshire pigs, the source of the most delicious (and expensive) ham. I found this pork a tad dry, but there was a little bit of brown juice you could swirl your meat into, as well as a nice peach based relish. The slaw however – radish, apple, spring onion – all fine. But the mayo that it was combined with I found too thick and cloying for my tastes. Perhaps I am too used to my own version of slaw, in which I use yoghurt as the combining ingredient.

Dessert. Can I fit this in?

The honey tart comes highly recommended, as does the brioche french toast. This is the first time that I have seen a book for sale on the dessert menu.

After poking and prodding of our stomachs, we declare that we can possibly share a dessert.

Goats Cheese Cake ($18):

Goats curd cheesecake

This comes with fresh figs, cured figs, fresh raspberries (1 each), and raspberry puree. This is more like a whipped goat cheese log, rolled in crispy biscuit crumbs. I believe that the goats cheese is from Willowbrae, one of my favourite producers at my farmers markets. The ‘cheese’ feels really light and airy, I could keep eating all day. The cured figs have us intrigued because it isn’t just a simple dried fig, it has been marinated in something else that we can’t quite place our finger on. Our waitress just gives us the hint that the curing process is really involved, and involves balsamic vinegar. Oooh!

The Devonshire, Surry Hills

On my to-do list for several years, I have finally made it to the one hat restaurant, The Devonshire. A combination of a freed up work schedule, the pre-theatre menu plus a discount using the entertainment card made this excursion possible. The pre-theatre menu gives you two courses for $49, and you’re out by 8pm.

Bread & Butter:

Bread and butter

No ordinary bread & butter, the butter on the left is “honey butter”. Being a beekeeper I had to try it. It was crunchy from salt crystals, and sweet from the honey. Kind of like oily sweetness…

Salt fish brandade with caper sauce:

Salt fish brandade

This was a little aperitivo to whet the appetite. I wonder if the salt fish is the Portuguese Baccalao? The caper sauce was like a fancied up tartare sauce without that heavy oiliness or fridge like flavour.

Beef Tartare with kale chips and saboyon 65 deg egg:

Beef Tartare

My brain no worky. I saw the word ‘tartare’ and thought of thin slices of barely cooked beef, japanese style. It was marinated raw beef mince with capers – quite salty. I was also interested in how the egg would be done – it turned up like a foamy yellow custard (which I suppose is egg), but didn’t really taste like egg at all. The kale ‘chips’ had been coated in oil and fried. Quite salty, quite oily. I prefer my version of kale chip, but I suppose it wouldn’t stay crispy.

Smoked and seared ocean trout:

Seared ocean trout//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

This one was a gem, with little microherbs, enoki mushrooms and a puff of mushroom cream.


Pork loin, crackling, roast carrots:


Roast pork loin



This was a dish in earth colours. The crackling was very crispy with no gummy stick in your mouth bits. The port reduction jus quite sweet. The ‘cigar’ on the left reminds me of a chiko roll.

The recipe for the crackling was so involved that the chef came out from the kitchen to explain it to the table next to us. I wonder if I can create crackling in a dutch oven over a fire pit?

Mulloway fish:

Mulloway

Pieces of fish skin had been deep fried until crispy. Oddly, this provided a more satisfying crunch than the pork crackling, possibly because a vestige of flavour remained with the crunch. This dish also had julienned octopus legs and a little squid ink.

Haloumi and greens:

Aphrodite Haloumi

Such a green coloured dish. Charred broccolini, broccoli, raw broccoli ‘noodles’ – which I thought tasted like cucumber. There were four pieces of panfried Aphrodite Haloumi – more salt to my diet, or it could have been lemon juice as I do have very confused taste buds. I really like the little nubbins of parsnip chips on top.

Tea from T2.

There is a lack of interesting non alcoholic drinks apart from the usual multinational soft drinks. I think a quite a few places seem to let themselves down in this area. We did however, enjoy the rest of our meal and the attentive service. I go to the theatre quite often nearby, I’m going to have to make a return trip sometime.

The Devonshire
Street: 204 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills, 2010
Phone: +61-2-9698-9427
Web: http://www.thedevonshire.com.au/

Ghostboy Cantina

No sooner had Ghostboy Cantina opened, then I hear it’s about to finish up its six month lease and move to Tio’s Cerveceria, which, as you can tell by the name, started out as a Mexican themed bar. I just remember some popcorn with chilli sprinkles on it.

Wow, time flies when you’re having fun.

Lucky I just managed to fit in a visit before they shifted location.

Crispy Pumpkin Taco:

Pumpkin Taco

Kumera Quesadilla:

Kumera Quesadilla

My experience with cooking sweet potato in its grated form is that it loses its shape. Here, it wasn’t too firm or too soft and was sprinkled with dulse, a salty seaweed ‘superfood’.

Jerusalem artichoke taco:

Jerusalem artichoke taco

This had a good flavour with a topping of mung bean noodles on top. Not too salty.

Beetroot Taco ($5):

The beetroot slices were fried on the grill plate, but not charred. There were two kinds of beetroot puree (yellow & purple) smeared on the taco, and it was topped with pickled cabbage, nigella seeds, and tahini to make it creamy.

Pork Taco ($6):

Pork Taco

I think that this is a little different to the pork taco reviewed by goodliving earlier in the year. For one thing, persimmon is a winter fruit. This came with diced onion, a green chilli/coriander salsa (Salsa verde), vietnamese basil and a hot red sauce.

Between the latter two, I think I preferred the pork taco, it seemed to have more complex spices. Or perhaps I just love my chilli.

Ghostboy Cantina, until 27 June 2016
Dixon House Food Court, corner Little Hay Street and Dixon Street, Haymarket
Hours: 1200-2030

Then from 20 July 2016:
As part of Tio’s Cerveceria
4-14 Foster Street, Surry Hills 2010
Hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 6pm to midnight.
Web: https://www.facebook.com/ghostboycantina/

The Three Blue Ducks, Bronte

The closest so far I have come to sampling the food at the Three Blue Ducks has been to grab a muffin and a takeaway coffee en-route to the annual Sculpture By The Sea exhibition.

That must have been a long time ago, because they have expanded the premises and added a little kitchen garden, chickens and beehives out the back. Oh and released a cookbook.

I was looking up what ‘arranchara’ meant from the menu description, and I found this picture on Instagram. Sold!

Beef Arranchara ($30):
Beef Arranchera

I still don’t know what the word means. Comes with pureed corn; a salsa of cherry tomatoes, pearl barley, pineapple; and a lavosh cracker. The meat was red inside, and nicely charred and tasty on the outside. I thought the combo of flavours worked quite well, although I am mystified how you can puree corn without any sticky in your teeth bits. I did not mind the pineapple, which I generally hate if it’s on a pizza.

Pork Sandwich ($18):

Pork Sandwich

Today this is served on sourdough instead of brioche. It’s kind of hard to eat with the size of the crust bring 3cm thick. The meat is nicely flavoured (not too sweet), melts in your mouth but also has nice mouth feel crunchy bits. Little shreds of beetroot and carrot mixed throughout but I couldn’t taste if they were especially pickled because of the yumminess of the pork!

Cawfee:
Cawfee

There is always a debate as to whether or not I should get a small or a large one. I usually go for the small, because I can always have another coffee. So I did both.

Soy milk is from bonsoy.

Urban Bees:
Bees in the herbs

If you head to the bathroom out the back, you can visit the bees (in a langstroth hive). Hello! They were in full sun, so would’ve been a little hot. There wasn’t much else going on in the gardening front (I believe the boys source their homegrown veg from elsewhere), but there was a chicken having a little dirt bath in one of the garden beds.

I had wanted to go to Iggy’s bread afterwards, but they are shut on Mondays!!;???!!! I’m going to have return on another weekday.

Three Blue Ducks
Street: 143 Macpherson St, Bronte NSW 2024
Web:
http://www.threeblueducks.com/
Phone: +61-2-9389-0010

No bookings

Also at Rosebery, and Byron Bay.