Eating Through Life

Adventures in eating from a 23 yr old with eyes bigger than her stomach.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

the last week of eats

I am lazy, and for this I apologise. The main reason for lack of posts has been reluctance to sign up to google blogger, but after the last week or so of great eating, I knew I couldn't put it off for any longer.


I finally went and tried The Press Club. I've been dying to do it ever since they opened, and even though a group of friends went a while ago, they went the day before my payday, and there was just no way I could do it. So I dragged my two besties out and pampered them with fine dining.

My thoughts: Saginaki martinis have got to be about the best things in the known universe.
Fetta cheese as dessert only works if you eat it in the same mouthful as the watermelon.
Just some of the best food I've eaten in general. I should have done this closer to actually eating there, I'm sorry.

Also finally tried Rumi. Considering I've always seen Lebanese food as yummy, not particularly fancy, more about the home-style feed, it was a bit of a revelation. Liz and I are heading back for breakfast soon, and I'm not sure what to expect but i'm looking forward to it. The burgul crusted calamari was amazing.

New fave pizza joint: Spelt on Bridge Road. I was there for lunch on the day it opened, on the strength of the menu that's been sitting in their window for a while. Duck pizza? Hell yes! Pizza, pasta, risotto etc, all made with healthy (and tasty) spelt flour (not the risottos, duh), and with great and unusual combinations. I will be back. I reccomend you try it.

I also made a great lasagne that I will post the recipe for once I get better at quantities.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Things I have made over the last few days

1. Mayonnaise from scratch.

One egg yolk, a hell of a lot of olive oil, some dijon mustard and some lemon juice. I managed to get it to the right consistancy without it splitting, but it ended up tasting a little bit like crap. Possibly need to invest in better quality oil. On the upside - Amazing upper arm workout.

2. Roast Potatoes with Prosciuto.

Not going to post the recipe, as it's out of the Jamie book, and I don't want to be involved in any copyright court cases, thanks. But they were delicious, both times I cooked them, for dinner for myself, and for new years eve dinner for myself and Ms Cate.

The recipe in the book calls for an apple corer and for the prosciutto etc to be stuffed into the hole that's made, but I don't have an apple corer. First time I made them I cut them in half and tried to stuff the stuffing between 2 potato halves. Making said potatoes balance enough was a problem, so for the second time, I wrapped each half potato in the prosciutto and baked them that way, and it worked much better.

3. Crumbed Baked Prawns.

Again, Jamie taught me how to make them so I can't teach you. But they were damn yummy.

4. Tartare sauce.

To go with said prawns. A few spoonfuls of good quality mayo (so not the stuff I homemade, I went and got some proper whole egg mayo from the supermarket for this one), the juice of one lemon, a small handful of chopped capers, a couple of pickled gherkins (also chopped), chopped fresh dill (optional).

Mix it all up and refrigerate until you need to use it.

5. Mini fry-up.

New years morning (or afternoon, depends on how your new years eve wnet, really) is not the same without something fried. Usually this is ham and egg rolls on the BBQ with leftover baby from Christmas. I didn't have ham on the bone for BBQing, so made myself a mini fry-up of an egg, mushrooms, and a tomato. It hit the spot nicely.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

one-bowl easy veggie soup

Not the thing to be cooking in the middle of summer, I know, but the easiest way I know of filling me with veggies when I'm sick. In the middle of summer, after not having anything harsher than the sniffles all winter, I came down with the nastiest case of tonsilitis I've seen for a while.

So - The recipe. I just used whatever was in fridge or cupboards at my Mum's, and didn't measure anything, so please bear with me. Haphazardness means most of it's easily substituteable though.

Chicken Stock
Half an Onion
One Potato
One Carrot
Corn (tinned or frozen will be easier, but there was fresh in the fridge!)
Small Pastas (Mum actually had special soup ones, but even spagetti broken up small enough will work)
Parsley, chopped

Put the finely chopped onion and butter in a large microwavable bowl, and cook on gight for 2 minutes. Add the chopped potato and carrot, chicken stock and corn (sperated from the cob, in kernals), microwave on high for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms, cook for 5 minutes. Add the pasta and parsley, cook for 5 minutes.

Tada! Done! Easy and not very messy or timeconsuming. Yummy again later when re-heated. My mum found a thermos for me to bring it home in. Bless!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas cheer...

Well, I hope everyone has had a food and beverage filled Christmas this year. What pressies did you get?

Two of my pressies are going to come in very handy for this here blog...

Firstly - The new Jamie Oliver book.

Free Image Hosting

It's bloody huge, and filled not just with recipes, but with tips and tricks about how you should be shopping for food, what flavours go well together, ways to tailor the meals to your own liking, etc etc.

Secondly - Digital camera.

Yay! Now the blog will turn more into a recipe, photostyle blog (for things like this, I recommend heading over to my friend Liz's page, rather than the restaurant reviews it seems to have been so far.

Ok - now to the meat of the post. What did I eat for Chrismas lunch?

To start - two different kinds of prawns, and oysters, served natural. My sister tried her first non-kilpatrick oyster and nearly vommed, but that's fine with me, cos there were more for me. I stuffed myself, as I love seafood and don't eat it very often at home (this may well soon change, the seafood section of Jamie has got me a little bit excited).

The Main Event - cold ham off the bone, known as Mum's baby. My family are a little bit retarded. Baked turkey breast, known as buffy. See, retarded. Roast pork left over from our roast dinner last night, not known as anything. The crackling was tasty, but not up to the usual crunch standard of Mum's pork. We believe this is to do with buying shrinkwrapped meat from the supermarket rather than from the butcher. Never again.

And we had salads up the wazoo. A delicious roast potato and basil salad, served cold with a balsamic dressing. A green salad that barely got touched with all else that was on offer. The asian noodle salad from the recipe off the back of the Chang's noodle packets. And a cranberry couscous salad that nearly didn't happen.

Mum followed the instructions to the letter, boil chicken stock, add couscous, turn off heat, leave sealed in saucepan for 5 minutes. For a salad, you want your couscous to be nice and dry, with the grains separating easily. The couscous Mum found in her saucepan looked like polenta before it's baked. Not the greatest texture for a salad...

so, the defoxus hassle-free way of cooking couscous is thus:

Put stock or water in a microwave safe bowl, and heat on high for two minutes.

Add to couscous, a little at a time, you can always add more stock, you can't take it out.

Stir with fork until all couscous has swelled up and is tender to the bite. Don't cover it, don't let it stand without stirring it, if it's going to separate, you need constant motion.

Hope your bellies get to normal size again soon!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Peko Peko - Smith St Collingwood

I love Peko Peko. Like, love it.

I had never been big on Japanese food, and it wasn't just about the raw fish thing. I can do raw fish. I don't always like it, but I can do it (smoked salmon however, is always liked). It was more about not knowing what was what, and potentially also due to my introduction to the cuisine being Japanese exchange students cooking for my family, and teenage girls are never going to be the greatest starting point.

Lets please leave crude jokes aside at this point.

Anyway, my major introduction to Japanese restaurant food came about when a group of friends (yes, several of the same friends that witnessed food sookery and/or at at ezard with me) went and did the banquet in their adorable lounge room upstairs. I looked to my dining companions for guidance, but once they told me to eat the tatami mat, and I heard them speaking about trying to pass off wasabi as avacado, I stopped listening and just ate what was in front of me. And I've kept coming back.


- Sweet potato gyoza. Pan fried and almost crispy on the outside, velvety smooth on the inside. And tasty little suckers too.
- Okonomiyaki. Oh sweet lord these are tasty here. A lot of that comes down to the sauce, which is almost a mix of Japanese mayo with BBQ sauce. Comes cut into bite sized pieces and slathered in said sauce, and sprinkled with nori bits.
- inside out teriyaki chicken nori rolls. I'm nearly drooling. I don't even know what to say about these. Just go eat them.
- spinich salad with one of the tastiest salad dressings I've ever eaten.
- pan fried miso balls. A big ball of rice, coated in miso paste, and pan fried. Bit bland on it's own, but great with other things for flavour, is a little bit different to the usual plain rice.

All the meals are set out in the menu as 'small', 'medium' or 'big', and prices are cheap-ish.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


You don't need a fancy blog title when you're talking about a meal like I had last night.

We went and did the 8 course degustation (with wine matching!) at ezard, at the base of the Adelphi hotel. With nine diners in attendance, we secured the private room, a curtained off area at the front of the restaurant. One giant square table, covered in white linen, a giant, pointless, empty stainless steel bowl adorning it's centre. The room, and the restaurant itself was gorgeous.

As we started to get comfortable, we were offered cocktails to start, and bellinis were in the mentioned list. I [heart] bellinis, so I thought this was a good idea. I've always known bellinis to be peach schnapps, pureed peaches, and champagne. What arrived was a martini glass, with a scoop of sorbet, with champane poured over the top, and it was divine. Utterly, utterly divine.

First Course: japanese inspired oyster shooter

flavoured with mirin and sake, and some other things I don't remember, served on a perfect round of banana leaf (I wonder if the price of banana leaf has gone up as well?), with a tiny nori-wrapped parcel to bite into afterwards. It was served with a delicious champagne that really makes me see the value of buying real champagne rather than the $10 bottles of yellow... The tastes of the oyster shooter were absolutely perfect, had become more than the sum of its parts and really melded together. One of my dining companions remarked that a dishlike this is the mark of a 'master chef', creating something so amazing from seemingly simple ingredients.

Second Course: wasabi pannacotta, yellowfin tuna tartare, shiso crisp, lime, sticky soy and tobikko

Pannacotta is generally a desert dish, but the wasabi pannacotta, topped with translucent green tobikko and baby shiso leaves gave it a whole new meaning. The plate was drizzled with sweet, sticky soy sauce, and a small ball of tuna tartare (basically raw tuna, chopped into tiny pieces) sat next to the pannacotta, topped with a deep fried shiso leaf, also on the plate was a single, perfectly peeled lime segment. The attention to detail with the garnishes and little touches on all the meals was mind boggling, by the way.

Sam, our serving wench for the evening, explained that for this course, it was recommended to have a bit of each of the parts of the course within a mouthful, and this advice served me well. The heat of the wasabi was present, but not overpowering, and while I'm not generally a fan of sashimi (I think it may be the texture), the tuna was obviously of the highest quality, and the way the sticky soy melded with it was a great contrast with the sharp, tangy lime.

Third Course: steamed shitake mushroom dumpling, roast duck, chinese spiced broth and spring onion

Well, I was always going to look forward to this course, duck, and soup, two of my favourite things, together! It didn't disappoint either. A single fine slice of perfectly cooked duck breast, with skin, sitting atop a wonton, in an empty bowl, is placed in front of each diner, and then a small saucepan is brought out from the kitchen and the broth is poured over. I'm running out of positive adjectives for this food, but the wine that was matched with this course was a sherry, that we had been warned may not be to our tastes without the broth, but that it matches very well. This was true, I had a curious sip before the course was served, and was not a huge fan, but a sip of it directly after a sip of broth was much improved, though this was still my least favourite wine of the evening.

Fourth Course: steamed crab tortelli, crispy leek and herb salad, soy and honey butter sauce

Of everything I ate last night, I would have to say that this course was my favourite. Crab has long been my very favourite seafood, but due to what a pain in the arse it is to eat, it's a rare treat. I actually think that before last night, the last time I ate crab was actually over a year ago.

The tortelli was just one large filled pasta shape. The filling was flakes of white, perfect crab flesh, obviously cooked in the shell and then stripped. It was lightly flavoured, but most of the flavour of the dish came from the honey butter sauce, and the leek, which was almost caramelised. This is the closest I have ever been to food orgasm. I was speaking aloud while I was eating it. we had made it halfway, and two and a half hours had passed in a pleasant blur of flavour. I refuse to post crude 'flavour train' gags.

Fifth Course (now we're really starting to sound decadent): anchovy crusted swordfish with beetroot, blood orange, rhubarb and persian fetta salad, spring herb salsa

This dish just comes out looking pretty. The bright colours of the rhubarb and beetroot, the contrast to the milky flesh of the swordfish and the brilliant while of the fetta, plus bright greenery. It was almost a shame to eat it. Almost.

There is such a huge difference between 'supermarket cheese' and 'deli cheese', and dishes like this are what highlight the difference. The creamy, crumbly, melt in your mouth-ness of the fetta in this dish just could not be replicated at home with something that is purchased in shrinkwrap. The tiny cubes of beetroot were just little bundles of fresh flavour, I normally don't like rhubarb, but this was delightful, I don't usually like anchovies, but the dried, fried crispy salty little thing that was passing as an ancovy was delicious. I may have to experiment with drying them out myself to see if it works.

All that and I'm still yet to mention the swordfish! I've never eaten swordfish before, so no real comparisons, suffice to say it was great, perfectly cooked and yummy.

Sixth Course: rice crusted kurobuta pork cheek with yellow bean dressing, spiced apples and green mango

Dan, early on in the meal, picked this as his potential favourite of his night, he had dined at ezard before and had the pork hock (if I'm wrong, I'm sure he'll come correct me in the comments) and fell in love, I believe. I think anyone would have been justified to call this their fave of the evening, if the crab wasn't so spectacular, I may have considered it myself.

Dry rice grains had been pounded and ground down to a size slightly smaller than sesame seeds, and most of the pork cheek had a fine coating of these that gave the tender meat a bit of a crunch. The cheek cut was a bit fatty, but it really worked to make the meat tender, moist and tasty. The apples and mango were a great tangy contrast, and the wine they served was the first red of the night (I think? the wine, as is the nature of wine, has become a little blurry), and as with the earlier champagne revelation, I can perhaps see the benefit of expensive reds. I know I'll just keep drinking goon though.

Seventh Course: roast duck, shaosang wine, roasted chilli and spring onion dressing, hand rolled sesame noodles


slow cooked wagyu beef brisket, roasted asparagus, crispy taro dumpling, rock sugar sauce

Sigh. This should have been my favourite course, my obsession with duck being what it is, but I just didn't like the flavours it was presented with. The duck was perfectly cooked and melt-in-your-mouth tender, possibly cut from the same breast as the earlier duck course, but who cares. The sauce was just too gingery. Ginger has never been one of my favourite flavours, so this is disappointing. I understand that this is just me, though, I'm sure it's actually great, it's one of the signature dishes. The bite I stole from Dan's beef was delicious, so I now regret not switching. They served a big, yummy, aussie red with both the dishes, which was delightful.

Eigth and Final Course: Dessert Tasting Plate

I really didn't think I would have room for this, but decided to give it a red hot go anyway. The plate is a selection of miniature sized versions of every dessert on the menu, and while I can't remember each and every one, I will endevour to relay the highlights:

The vietnamese mint sorbet was delicously un-sweet, and the perfect palatte cleanser. The hazlenut cheesecake with passionfruit sorbet made me melt into a puddle. The honeycrunch icecream with sugar swirls was fabulously decadent, as was the bittersweet chocolate tart.

All in all, I am very glad I forked out the cash for this. It's never going to be an every week occurance, but for a big splashout like we wanted to do, this is perfect. I was extreemly happy with the private room, as well. we're a rowdy bunch at times, and I would have felt I was ruining someone else's special moment (could you imagine taking your lover to ezard in order to propose, only to be confronted with a group of rowdy 20 and 30 somethings screeching 'where's my fucken corsage?'?).

The duck thing was disappointing, but I cleaned my plate on every other course, so it's not that big a disappointment. Good quality wine instead of my regular pig-swill means no hangover today.

I'm still trying to decide which is my favourite between ezard degustation and three, one, two degustation, though they are very disparate styles, so I guess I don't need to. Three, one, two was cheaper, and didn't charge us $150 for mineral water. Can you beleive that we managed to blow $2,500 between the nine of us last night? I think next time we should go with the coke and hookers.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Apologies and excitement

I have been very busy over the past week or so, and my at-home-internet has been temporarily disabled due to an over-enthusiastic kitten and his liking for chewing on cords. He's also the reason I've been busy, as he has been off getting operated on, and needing looking after.

I have been eating, and cooking, some lovely things that I fully intend to write up once this business dies down, so please bear with me.

In other news, I am dining at on Saturday night, and the excitement is almost tangible.

We have booked out their private room, we have 9 of us eating and drinking our way through the degustation with wine matching, and we have rooms at the adelphi for afters.