Pasticceria Papa, Haberfield

I don’t travel out to the inner west often, but whenever I do I’m sure to make the most of it! Sir D and I were out in Ashfield to celebrate a 21st and when I realised that Pasticceria Papa was just across the road, a visit was definitely on the cards.

Carol’s delicious pavlovas and pecan tarts

Having consumed some delicious finger food at the party made by the birthday girl herself, we decided to get some goodies from Pasticceria Papa to take-away rather than eating there since we were quite full. Although we arrived there 30 minutes before closing time, the store was still buzzing with people drinking coffee and of course eating slices of their infamous ricotta cheesecake.

Plenty of ricotta cheesecake to go around =)

At first I was worried I was going to miss out on ricotta cheesecake since we arrived so late but thankfully they still had about 6 cakes sitting in the glass cabinet. After looking at all the biscuits and pastries whilst waiting in the long queue, I ordered a slice of ricotta cheesecake to takeaway, plus a few other things which took my fancy.

I excitedly opened all the boxes and paper bags full of our bounty when we got home. The first thing I tasted was the ricotta cheesecake. Usually I find cheesecakes quite heavy but this one had an nice sugar-dusted pastry with a light, creamy ricotta filling that wasn’t overly rich, and left me wanting more! A must-have if you’re visiting Pasticceria Papa.

Slice of ricotta cheesecake – $3.50 (takeaway)

Next up was the cannoli. I wanted to get a ricotta filled cannoli but they had run out so I settled for the chocolate one. Unfortunately the filling was a bit bland but the pastry was definitely the star. It was deliciously crunchy and was so good that I would eat it by itself with just a sprinkling of icing sugar.

Mixed biscuits (left to right): Margherito cioccolate ($2.00), Cannoli ($2.00), Baci ($1.90)

I also chose the margherito cioccolate, which was two biscuits fused together with dark chocolate, and dipped in dark chocolate at one end. The biscuits were buttery and shortbread-like, and were really crunchy. The chocolate was also a nice touch to the biscuit.

The last item I chose purely because it looked interesting. The baci was like the Perugina Baci chocolates – a whole hazelnut encapsulated by hazelnut praline and a thick dark chocolate coating. This one was richer than the normal Baci chocolates and was dotted with chopped hazelnuts.

All of the cakes and biscuits were delicious and were definitely worth the trip! Now that I finally understand what the hype over Pasticceria Papa’s ricotta cheesecake is all about, I’m waiting in anticipation for our next trip to Haberfield =)

Pasticceria Papa
145 Ramsay Street
Haberfield, NSW
Ph: +61 (02) 97986894
Opening Hours:
Monday – Friday, 8am-6pm
Saturday, 7.30am-5pm
Sunday, 7.30am-1pm

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Max Brenner, Sydney

Even though our meat-fest at
Löwenbräu Keller saw us rolling out the door, we were on the prowl for more food to satisfy our dessert stomachs. Max Brenner seemed like the perfect place to indulge in some sweet, chocolatey, post-dinner goodness – and also because we all sorely miss the bald man since his departure from Chatswood :(

Giant choc-almond cookie – $4.00

We manage to grab one of the last remaining tables and make our selections from the menu. Queen Chu chooses a chocolate chip cookie which she generously shares with everyone. It’s got pretty good crunch factor and I love the extra melted chocolate drizzled on top. Sir D and I end up scraping the plate with spoons just to get at all the chocolate!

Italian thick hot chocolate (milk) – $5.50

Queen Chu and I initially decide on getting a hot chocolate with crunchy waffle balls but alas they’ve run out of the waffle balls! So we revert to plan B – Queen Chu gets a limited edition milk hazelnut hot chocolate (since she loves everything hazelnut) and I get the Italian thick milk hot chocolate which is lusciously thick and creamy. It gets a bit sickeningly sweet towards the end though so next time I might go for dark chocolate.

Classic hot chocolate (dark) – $5.00

Sir D and d.skipper.w opt for the classic hot chocolates which are packed full of chocolate and oh so smooth.

I manage to get 10 stamps on my Max Brenner card which means you get a free suckao or Max Brenner pralines. I usually get the suckao but this time I’m keen on trying their pralines. They have quite a large selection with some interesting flavours like cornflakes and pepper and elderflower honey. The shop assistant gets out a pair of gloves to hand pick the pralines and puts them in a cute little box for me to take home.

Max Brenner box of pralines – free with every 10 drink purchases on loyalty card

The praline cream mixed with cornflakes and pepper is delicious with a nice crunchy texture from the cornflakes. I think I can taste pepper towards the end but it’s so subtle that I’m not sure if it’s actually there or it’s my imagination… but nevertheless this is my favourite out of all of the pralines.

Praline cream with cornflakes and pepper; Dark chocolate ganache with elderflower honey

The dark chocolate ganache with elderflower honey has an interesting flavour and tastes quite different from regular honey. The honey also makes it less sweet than the other pralines.

Dark chocolate truffle; Praline cream mixed with peanut butter

The dark chocolate truffle is silky smooth with a dark chocolate flavour that’s not too bitter, and the praline cream mixed with peanut butter tastes has quite a distinct peanut butter flavour (sort of like Reese’s peanut butter cups) but smoother and creamier.

All the pralines are delicious and leave me wanting to try more flavours, especially the more unique ones that you don’t see in other chocolate shops. If only I could visit Max more often for my chocolate fix!

Max Brenner
Shop MG 24, Metcentre
273 George Street
Sydney NSW
Ph: +61 (02) 92517788
Opening Hours:
Monday – Thursday, 7.30am- 11pm
Friday, 7.30am-midnight
Saturday, 9am-midnight
Sunday, 9am-11pm

Other locations: Blacktown, Bondi Junction, Castle Hill, Manly, Paddington, Parramatta, St Ives, Sydney (David Jones Elizabeth Street store)

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Löwenbräu Keller, The Rocks

Be sure to wear your elastic-waisted pants, because we’re about to embark on a meat extravaganza!

Brezel: Home baked pretzel – $3.00 each

A group of us are here tonight to celebrate MB’s graduation, and we are greeted at the front by a very friendly man who continues to make funny sounds and faces at Queen Chu throughout the night, and then laughs at himself! Weird and a bit creepy….

Mango Weizen: Franziskaner wheat bier with mango juice – $10.60 for 500mL

Hofbrau Diesel: Dark lager with Coca Cola – $10.50 for 500mL

But anyway, a trip to Löwenbräu isn’t complete without some bier and pretzels! Fi gets a Mango Weizen which is sweet and very easy to drink, while Sir D and I share a Hofbräu Diesel, which is a dark lager mixed with coke.

Queen Chu and her Spezi – $6.50 (I think)

When our waitress sees Queen Chu try the Mango Weizen and wrinkle her nose in distaste, she suggests that she get a soft drink. And she returns with a very bier-looking drink and tells us that it is a Spezi – a mix of Fanta and Coke that looks like bier for little kids to drink. Perfect!

Kalbsbratwurst: grilled veal sausage with mashed potato, buttered peas and crisp onions – $24.00

We make our menu choices and before long the masses of meat start to roll out onto the table. MB chooses the Kalbsbratwurst which is essentially bangers and mash. And since it’s got a big mound of creamy mash, MB is a happy camper.

Kalbsschnitzel “Weiner Art”: Milk-fed veal schnitzel with cranberry compote, salad and french fries – $28.50

Next up is JC’s schnitzel and I am sceptical about the menu’s claim that it is “light” since it looks massive, but JC has no trouble finishing this and it is apparently quite a light meal indeed (compared with their other meatier offerings). They forget about the cranberry sauce but they apologise and bring it over in a separate bowl.

Allgäuer Käsespätzle: Baked cheese spätzle with melted onions and served with a side salad – $23.00

d.skipper.w wants to go for something a bit healthier, so she opts for the baked spätzle. I’ve never tried spätzle before so I have a bit of this and it’s a bit like cheesy spaghetti, but not quite as long and with a different texture. d.skipper.w loves the cheese but can’t finish it due to cheese overload!

Knuspriger Schweinebauch: Crackling roast pork belly with Löwenbräu bier sauce, sautéed potatoes and braised red cabbage – $28.00

Fi is undecided about whether to get the pork knuckle or the pork belly, but goes with the deliciously fatty pork belly for the crackling. There’s less crackling on the pork belly but it is much crunchier than the pork knuckle – quality over quantity, right? The sauteed potatoes are also surprisingly good.

Schweinshaxn: Oven roasted pork knuckle with sauerkraut, Lowenbräu bier and mashed potato – $31.00

Queen Chu chooses her mission: the pork knuckle. One giant hunk of pork and crackling lands in front of her and she only manages to consume half of it before admitting defeat. Poor effort Queen Chu! =P

Schlachtplatte: Löwenbräu’s selection of Bavarian specialities including sausages, chicken schnitzel, roast pork belly with mashed potato and sauerkraut ($37.00) –> double the size with pork knuckle – $67.00

Sir D and I decide to tackle the giant schlatteplatte – a platter of bavarian specialties including 2x chicken schnitzel, 2x 4 types of sausages, 2x pork belly, 2x 3 types of ham/bacon, 1x pork knuckle + mashed potato, gravy and sauerkraut. This defeated us once before but today we’re back with a vengeance (and aforementioned elastic-waisted pants!).


I think we did a pretty good job.

Löwenbräu Keller
Corner Playfair and Argyle Streets
The Rocks
Sydney NSW
Ph: +61 (02) 92477785
Open 7 days, 9am til late

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Mussels poached in white wine, and how to keep your mussels alive!

Continuing our day of seafood-eating, we decided to buy some fresh mussels and cook them at home. We were at Sir D’s place, and with his parents gone on holiday, we were at a bit of a loss what to do with said mussels. The friendly fishmongers at Claudio’s Seafood at the Sydney Fish Markets had put them in a plastic bag for us – were we to store them in the bag? Store them in water? In the fridge or out?

As you can see, we were absolutely clueless, so after trawling the internet on what to do with them, Sir D compiled some points on how to prepare mussels for future reference. And so I present to you: Sir D’s Guide to Keeping Those Babies Alive!

  • Mussels and other shellfish such as oysters develop bacteria when they die, and you will get sick if you eat them! Sir D was quite taken aback by this news and thus made it his personal mission to keep his ‘babies’ alive – hence the name of this guide =P
  • If you are not going to use them straight away, store your mussels in the bottom of your fridge, covered with a damp cloth. They’re best eaten on the day you buy them, but will keep for a few days in the fridge if required.
  • When preparing your mussels, look through them and chuck out any that have cracked or broken shells. If you see any that are slightly open, give them a squeeze and they should close if they’re alive. If not, discard these as well.
  • You probably want to get rid of the crap on the shells. To do this, grab a scrubbing brush and scrub the barnacles and other things off the surface of the shell under running water.
  • You probably also want to get rid of the beards (those hairy looking things sticking out of the shell). To do this, grab hold of the beard and wiggle it from side to side, whilst pulling firmly. It should eventually break free from the mussel. If your mussel is being stubborn, you may have to cut it off with some scissors.
  • Now that your mussels are clean on the outside, we have to get rid of any sand and other crap on the inside. To do this, soak the mussels in fresh water for about 10 minutes so that they can “breathe” and expel any sand. Remember to do this just before you cook them, otherwise they may die (and we don’t want that happening!)
  • Remove them from the water and check that the mussels with open shells are still alive by squeezing them again. Now you’re ready to cook them!
Mussels poached in white wine

Admittedly our pot of white wine mussels didn’t turn out to be the prettiest dish on the planet, but they sure tasted delicious with the briney taste of the mussels and the rich, creamy tomato sauce. And none of the sauce went to waste of course because we soaked it up with a fresh baguette ;)

We also had the 2nd dozen of oysters which we bought from the fish markets, which were still just as fresh and delicious as the dozen that we ate earlier in the day

Mussels poached in white wine (Serves 2)
Recipe adapted from Lynne Mullins

1 tbsp olive oil
1 brown onion
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
200mL white wine
400g can chopped tomatoes
3 sprigs of oregano
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp tomato paste
1kg mussels, scrubbed and debearded
100mL cream
Crusty bread, to serve (we used pieces of French baguette)

1. Heat oil in a large pot and cook onion and garlic over low heat for 2-3 minutes. Add fresh tomatoes and cook until onion and tomatoes are soft.

Cooking the garlic, onions and tomatoes

2. Add white wine and bring to the boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Add canned tomatoes, oregano, chilli flakes, sugar and tomato paste. Stir well and bring to the boil.

After adding canned tomatoes, oregano, chilli, sugar and tomato paste

3. Add mussels, then cover and cook on high heat whilst shaking the pot occasionally to distribute heat to the mussels. As soon as the mussels open, use a slotted spoon to remove from the pot and place in a large dish. Discard any mussels that do not open after 5 minutes.

After adding the mussels

4. Remove pot from the heat and add cream and stir well. Return mussels to pot and stir so that all the mussels are covered in the sauce. Serve immediately with crusty bread.

The Sydney Fish Markets, Pyrmont

On an uncharacteristically warm (28ºC!) Sunday in winter, I had a craving. For seafood. And what better place to get fresh seafood than the Sydney Fish Markets? I don’t go to the fish markets that often but when we do I get super excited because I know it means dozens of freshly shucked oysters, usually some sashimi, prawns, and the occasional crab or lobster. My idea of heaven!

Fresh sashimi cuts at Peter’s Fish Market

Cooked and fresh blue swimmer crab

We walked around to the main arcade in the fish markets to see what they had in store today. First stop: Peter’s Fish Market which is up the back of the arcade opposite the deli. They had a lovely neat sashimi section here and although the sashimi cuts looked delicious, we usually get our sashimi from Claudio’s.

Deep fried food at the Fish Market Sushi Bar

We were here for lunch, so we stopped by the Sushi Bar and grabbed some soft shell crabs which are the cheapest I’ve seen at only $4.90 each.

Freshly shucked oysters at Christie’s Seafood

Next stop: Christie’s Seafood. This is the first shop on the left as you walk into the main arcade and you can’t miss it because there’s a dude right at the front shucking oysters.

Port Stephens Pacific Oysters – $12.90/doz

Coffin Bay Pacific Oysters – $17.90/doz

This is our go-to place for oysters – they usually have quite a wide range on offer and they’re superbly fresh. Although they mostly have Pacific oysters today, they have a small selection of Sydney Rock oysters because I think we’re getting to the part of the year where they’re in season. I definitely prefer the creamy, sweeter taste of the Pacific oysters, but seriously give me any oyster and I’ll eat it! Today we get Port Stephens oysters ($12.90/doz) and St Helens oysters ($14.90/doz).

Claudio’s Seafoods: “If it was any fresher it would still be swimming!”

We then head out to Claudio’s to get our sashimi. We have a look around inside and today they have live marrons for sale which I’ve never seen before. They’re still crawling around inside the tub and Sir D is game enough to pick one up.

Live marron (a type of freshwater crayfish)

Sir D and the marron

“Argh let me go! LET ME GO!”

I grab some blue mussels for tonight’s dinner and we also get some fresh salmon sashimi for lunch.

Blue mussels at Claudio’s Seafoods – $8.90/kg

Sashimi section at Claudio’s Seafoods

There are so many people here today it takes us a while to find somewhere to sit and eat our goodies. We start off with the freshly shucked Port Stephens Pacific oysters which are deliciously creamy and fresh.

Port Stephens Pacific Oysters from Christie’s Seafoods – $12.90/doz

We open up the bag with the sashimi to find that it hasn’t been sliced up (even though I’m pretty sure we asked them to…) so we take it back to Claudio’s to get them to slice it for us, which they do without any fuss. I am a sashimi fiend and I reckon I could eat a whole raw salmon fillet by myself so of course this gets the thumbs up from me =)

Salmon sashimi from Claudio’s Seafood – $39.99/kg

We also buy some seaweed salad from Claudio’s which has a nice sesame and chilli flavour, and we find it is much fresher than Ja’s seaweed salad which he bought from the Sushi Bar, even though it was the same price (I think).

Seaweed salad from Claudio’s Seafood – $3.00

Lastly I tackle my soft shell crab. It’s gone a bit soggy because he’s been in the paper bag for a while but it’s still quite crunchy with a decent amount of crab meat inside.

Soft shell crab from the Fish Market Sushi Bar – $4.90

We leave to vacate our seats to other people wandering around with food and no place to sit and also to avoid having to pay a hefty parking fee. Come to the Sydney Fish Markets if you’re after fresher than fresh seafood but be warned that the crowds do build up quite a bit towards lunchtime and on weekends. I’m satisfied with my lovely fresh seafood lunch but there’s even more to come for dinner – another dozen oysters and mussels! Yay!

Sydney Fish Markets
Bank Street
Pyrmont, NSW

Christie’s Seafoods Pty Limited
Ph: +61 (02) 95523333
Open 7am-4pm daily

Claudio’s Quality Seafoods
Ph: +61 (02) 96605188
Open 7am-4pm weekdays, 7am-4.30pm weekends

Peter’s Fish Market
Ph: +61 (02) 95522555
Open 7am-4pm daily

Sushi Bar
Ph: +61 (02) 95522269
Open 7am-4pm daily

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