As much as I love the Crave Sydney International Food Festival month, uni work tends to always get in the way of me going to all the events I want to. Last year it was my thesis, and this year I was inundated with assignments because the lecturers thought it would be fun for us to have them all due in the same week. I was glad to have the final week of Crave to go to the events that I wanted to and Sir D and I decide to head out to a nice brunch at Hyde Park Barracks Cafe one weekend.
Brunch is a three-course affair here, priced at $25pp and served with English Breakfast tea or filtered coffee. We start with some granola with yoghurt, berry compote and poached pear. The granola is crunchy and I love finding big chunks of granola stuck together. It’s a little dry and could have done with a bit more yoghurt but it’s a good start to the meal and the poached pear provides a nice sweetness to the dish.
October is one of my favourite months. Not only because it seems to be full of birthdays, and is only 2 months away from Christmas, but because every year in October the Crave Sydney International Food Festival (SIFF) is on and it’s a month of eating, eating and more eating. This year, SIFF kicked off with a series of BBQ madness events, where themed BBQ events were held all around Sydney to celebrate the barbecue grill. I was up early on Saturday morning to go to the Malaysia Kitchen BBQ Madness event, held in Church St Mall, Parramatta.
The event began at 9am and was an early start for me on a Saturday morning, but Malaysia Kitchen’s ambassador, Wanitha Tanasingam (aka the “Love Goddess”), was there to wake everyone up with her enthusiasm and sheer passion for Malaysian food. Apart from expounding the wonders of sambal belacan, she also demonstrated two dishes with the help of Sara from Belly Rumbles and Lorraine Wearne, the Lord Mayor of Parramatta.
Wanitha cooked up some sotong bakar, a marinated and barbecued squid, and ayam panggang, a spicy grilled chicken. Some samples of the squid were passed around and this was the perfect thing to wake up my stomach, with the sweet, tender squid being barbecued to a nice char on the outside, and a spicy flavour coming through from the marinade.
Next up in the demonstration kitchen was the ever delightful Florence Tan, who travelled from Malaysia to attend this event. I’ve seen her on Poh’s Kitchen before and she is just as a lively and bubbly in real life as she is on TV.
I’ve always been fascinated by fusion food and how you can take two seemingly distant cuisines and merge them together into one. Japaz is a place that cleverly fuses Spanish and Japanese cuisines by creating small tapas or izakaya style dishes using both Japanese and Spanish ingredients and techniques. Tonight we’re dining at the SIFF Drink and Dine event held at Japaz (at a discounted rate thanks to a hungry.digital.elf!)
It seems like we were not the only ones to take up the offer since we see other tables taking photos of their food too, including the awesome Mademoiselle Delicièuse and Monsieur Poisson from spoon, fork and chopsticks. The dinner consists of eight courses paired with matching sake. As soon as we’re seated, we’re given the first sake of the night which is served as a sangria with lemonade and little cubes of apple and orange.
Gaspacho with Soumen Noodle
The cloudy sake sangria is paired with the first course of the night, a gaspacho with soumen noodles. The dish is cool and refreshing, with the acidity of the gaspacho and soft slipperyness of the soumen noodles. There are a few drops of herb oil on top of the gaspacho as well as a clove of black garlic, which is surprisingly mild and doesn’t have the bite of normal garlic.
Sashimi of Lobster with Crushed Spanish Gordal Olives and Tomato Seed Dressing
The Sydney Food and Wine Fair is an event which marks the end of the Sydney International Food Festival for another year and is also for a great cause, with proceeds of the event going towards the Aids Trust of Australia. It was a great event last year with high-end restaurants like Quay and Guillaume at Bennelong offering up some of their signature dishes as well as lots of freebies, so I was definitely looking forward to it this year.
In the queue for free Ben and Jerry’s ice cream!
It was a hot day so we were so glad to see the colourful Ben and Jerry’s van parked inside Hyde Park, with people scooping up some Ben and Jerry’s ice cream for the masses. The queue was pretty long but it was worth the wait :)
Azuma Kushiyaki was one of the SIFF Sugar Hits I most wanted to go to last year, but by the time I got around to booking they were already full up! I was quite disappointed but this made me want to go even more this year and I made sure I booked nice and early to avoid missing out again.
Azuma Kushiyaki Bar and Grill 2010 Sugar Hit – $20 (including dessert wine, cognac or green tea)
The SIFF Sugar Hits are available througout October from 9pm onwards for $20 which includes a dsesert as well as a glass of Brown Brothers dessert wine or Hennessy cognac. The dessert offered at Azuma arrived in two cute little black boxes. The container on the left had a matcha green tea ganache tart, a wasabi chocolate ganache tart, a petit almond financier and a macaron. The macaron had a face piped onto it which was a very cute touch, and the flavour and texture were spot on as well. I wasn’t a big fan of the financier or the wasabi chocolate tart. The wasabi and chocolate combination just didn’t do it for me, but it did leave my tongue tingling! The green tea ganache tart had a nice strong green tea flavour and the ganache was super smooth as well – this was my favourite out of all the parts of the Sugar Hit. Continue reading Sugar Hit @ Azuma Kushiyaki Bar and Grill→