Penguin says Feed Me in 2011!

Last post for the year guys! Here’s a round up of some of my favourite posts of 2011:

Bells at Killcare, Killcare

We kicked off the year with a little trip to Bells at Killcare, with spacious rooms featuring a spa bath and a fireplace. A visit to the restaurant also didn’t go astray, with Stefano Manfredi heading up the kitchen there using fresh ingredients straight from the vegetable garden at Bells.

Ribena Marshmallows

My first foray into marshmallow-making was inspired by the awesome marshmallows from Sweetness the Patisserie. A spur of the moment decision to make these led me rummaging through my cupboards in an attempt to find something to flavour these marshmallows – and the result was Ribena! Later on I also made some lemon sherbet marshmallows which were delightfully tangy and fizzy.

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits

This was a little bit of a random baking adventure but lots of fun because it was for my favourite furry friend, Max. Max definitely loved the peanut butter biscuits that I made and I hope that it was a nice birthday present for him!
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Christmas Macarons

I had planned on doing lots of Christmas baking this year, but somehow the time just flew by and before I knew it, Christmas was only a week away and I still had to do all my Christmas shopping and baking!

Luckily, I recently received some McLean’s Run Open Range eggs from the lovely people at One Green Bean which inspired me to get cracking with my Christmas baking. I wanted to use make something that would put these fresh, quality eggs to good use and eggnog was the first thing that sprung to mind. I’m not a big fan of drinks that use egg though (alcoholic or otherwise) so instead I decided to capture the flavour of eggnog in something else that uses eggs as the main ingredient – macarons.

In the end, I made both eggnog flavoured and candy cane macarons. It’s been a while since I’ve made macarons and it took me a few attempts to get it right, so it was a good thing I had a dozen eggs to work with! It also didn’t help that I was working with a new oven as well which doesn’t seem to want to be my friend yet.

I love the brightly coloured candy cane macarons which are filled with peppermint buttercream and rolled in crushed candy canes. But I think the eggnog macarons are a little more exciting flavour-wise with the warm, spicy cinnamon and nutmeg and a hit of alcohol thanks to some rum that I added into the buttercream. They go down well with a glass of chilled eggnog as well.

And now it’s only 2 more days til Christmas! I hope each and every one of you out there has a fantastic Christmas filled with lots of awesome presents and delicious food!

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Ribs and Burgers, Neutral Bay

Ribs and Burgers. A simple name for a restaurant that describes exactly what they do best – ribs and burgers. It hasn’t been open for long but already people are flocking there so that it is packed out on a Saturday night.

We’re greeted by a large blackboard displaying the menu at the front of the restaurant, while warm wooden tones, hanging cast iron pots and pans and dangling lights made from jam jars decorate the dining space. Order your meal at the counter before taking a numbered metal bucket and finding a seat, where your meal will be brought out to you.

Pork ribs - $28
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Pendolino, Sydney

Hidden away in a corner of the top level of the Strand Arcade is Pendolino. Its dark, moody and relaxed atmosphere is a far cry from the bright lights and hustle and bustle of the city, and is the perfect place to hide out and feast on some delicious Italian food.

Burrata pugliese con pomodori di vareita primaria - $26

When I spot burrata on the menu I’m sold. It’s a pretty dish, with the Puglian Burrata as the centre of attention, surrounded by an heirloom tomato salad with basil, red onion and parsley. The tomatoes help to cut through the rich and creamy burrata and the addition of breadcrumbs also adds a crunchy texture to the dish.

Spaghetti chitarra con pesce d'acquadolce - $26/$39
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El Karim, Roseville

It’s a bid sad to admit but when we go out for dinner for an occasion, we tend to head out towards the city and overlook all the hidden gems studded around our local area. It was time for a change so this time we kept it local and headed to El Karim in Roseville for a birthday celebration.

Lebanese bread

Lebanese food is not something that any of us are particularly familiar with, so we’re grateful for the explanation of what all dishes are on the menu. Each dish is very reasonably priced with nothing over $17, and a couple of set banquet menus for groups. We receive a plate of complimentary pickles to start us off which whet the appetite for the other dishes to come.

Trio of dips: Baba Ghanouj, Labni b'zaatar, Hommos b'awarma - $14

To sample a range of things, we begin with a trio of dips which allows us to select any three of the dips offered. The hommos b’awarma is the clear favourite, with nubbins of lamb mince, onions and pine nuts on top of a creamy hommos. The baba ghanouj is mildly smoky and the labni b’zaatar is a herby, nutty dip which for some reason reminds me of salted peanuts. The dips are served with an absolute mountain of Lebanese bread, which is enough for all the dip and more.

Fattoush - $12

I love the fresh Fattoush salad which has crisp lettuce, tomato and capsicum, and is dusted with sumac. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and some toasted shards of Lebanese bread and you have a salad that is light and refreshing with extra crunch.

Jawaneh - $12
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