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The East Village, Darlinghurst

I love it when people get excited about food! For as long as I’ve had this blog, Sir D has been my dining companion, occasional photographer when my hands are unsteady and also very patient as he waits until I finish snapping away before digging in. It’s not often that he will actually get excited about what we’re eating or where we’re going, but when this steak, chips and bone marrow dish was placed in front of him, his eyes widened and he grinned at the prospect of devouring it all.

Dining Room

We’re dining at the East Village Hotel tonight as guests in the warm, comforting decor of the dining room. It’s located one floor up from the bar area below and is decorated with wines along one wall and banquette seating along another, complete with homely cushions.

Complimentary cheese and tomato scrolls

As soon as we’re seated, the waiter brings out some warm cheese and tomato scrolls from the kitchen with some extra virgin olive oil for dipping. The dough is soft and light, making it the perfect start to the meal. Continue reading

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Penguin Icebox Cookies

It’s been a while since I’ve made anything penguin-related and since today is Penguin says Feed Me’s 2nd birthday, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate occasion to bake these penguin icebox cookies.

I first saw these here way back in February and I knew I had to make them. Not only are they cute and adorable PENGUINS but they’re purple as well (which is my favourite colour!).

And speaking of purple, I have yet to show off my brand new KitchenAid (in Grape!) which Sir D and a whole bunch of awesome food bloggers contributed towards for my birthday this year – thanks again!! She is yet to be named but I am open to suggestions!

I’m surprised it’s already been 2 years since I started this blog. I can still remember the day I opened a Google account and clicked on “Create Blog” in Blogger, and stumbled around with all the different options, not having a clue what I was doing. Since then there has been 170 blog posts, 1785 comments, a few blog layout changes, countless food photos and priceless friendships forged. And even though there’s been a few “OMG I broke my blog!” moments, and many mornings where I’ve woken up bleary-eyed and tired from blogging late into the night, I don’t regret a single moment of it!

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Quarter Twenty One, Sydney

Complimentary bread and butter

I always love being served a warm bread roll with creamy butter to start my meal at a restaurant. With Becasse Bakery around the corner, it’s no surprise that the bread is wonderfully soft and delicious.

Interior

Quarter Twenty One is one of the newest additions to Justin North’s food empire, having recently opened on level five of the new Westfield Sydney. Sir D and I are here for dinner tonight to celebrate my graduation and even though they’ve somehow lost the booking, we’re dining relatively early so we have no problems getting seated. We debate whether to go with the 7-course degustation menu at $90pp but instead choose to order off the a la carte menu.

Caramelised Kurobuta pork belly, smoked bacon consommé, mushroom, slow cooked yolk & jowl - $25

My eyes immediately darted to the words “smoked bacon” on the menu and so I chose the Kurobuta pork belly as my entree. It arrived on a seemingly custom-made plate, with a round indentation to hold the slow cooked egg yolk perfectly. The dish was smaller than expected but rich and fatty, with paper thin sheets of bacon draped over the medley of mushrooms and egg yolk. The consommé was quite salty but when eaten with the other elements of the dish, everything worked well together to give an overall meaty, porky flavour.

Sauté of king prawns, crisp pigs ear, garlic custard & persillade purée - $26
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Ainoya, Kirribilli

Sashimi tacos - $12

Take some cubes of fresh sashimi, mix in some slightly spicy mayonnaise, sprinkle with flying fish roe, black sesame seeds and some sprouts and sandwich it all between two blistering, crispy fried wonton skins. This is the sashimi taco, one of the specials which we begin our meal with at Ainoya Japanese Restaurant.

Sake bottles inside the restaurant

It’s a quaint, cosy little restaurant tucked away on a side street in Milson’s Point, with sake bottles lined up against the wall near the entrance. There is a reasonable-sized sake menu so we choose a sake to go with our meal. We also get to choose our own sake cups from a range of different ones on a platter.

Sake with assorted cups

The menu is broken up into entree and main sections, along with sushi, sashimi and salad/side dishes as well. We decide to just order an assortment of dishes to share between us which means we get to taste a little bit of everything.

Seared kingfish
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Minestrone with freshly-baked bread

Winter is well and truly upon us which means it’s soup season! As much as I hate the bone-chilling cold of winter, it does give me a good excuse to snuggle up on the sofa with a blanket with a big bowl of warm, hearty soup.

I love minestrone for its thick, almost stew-like consistency, and the fact that it’s packed full of vegetables. Adding some pasta into the soup or serving the soup along with some bread turns it into a complete meal, and after a bowl or two I’m full and satisfied, and not to mention warm and toasty as well!

The great thing about this soup is that you can use any vegetables you want in it. It’s a great way to get your vegetable intake for the day and also gives you a chance to clean out your fridge. I love using bacon in my soup to give it a salty, meaty base, but you can always omit this if you’re a vegetarian (or if god forbid, bacon is not your thing).

The first time I made this soup was when my parents were sick and so I decided to make them some warm, comforting soup and also bake some bread to go with it. Nothing keeps you warm like a bowl of soup and fresh bread straight out of the oven!

I first tasted this bread at Billy’s Christmas in July gathering and have made it several times since then. It’s surprisingly easy to make and so rewarding to pull your own freshly-baked bread out of the oven. And the best part is that everyone who I have made it for seems to love it :)


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