Saturday, March 10, 2012

Taste of Sydney 2012

I first visited Taste of Sydney in 2010 and then again in 2011. This is the third year now and it never fails to disappoint. I had done my research days in advance on what each restaurant was serving and highlighted the main ones I would definitely try, because I'm like a Taste of Sydney pro by now hahaha!

First one to greet us was Four In Hand (Colin Fassnidge). And oh what a sight indeed!! A full pig on a spit....more on that shortly as I was running a little late for the cocktail class at Sensology.

I made it to the 2pm session and it was the Cosmopolitan class

And guest Manu Feildel (bonus!!)

Damn focus!

Now with the alcohol down (on an empty stomach may I add), off to the food and first up on my list was The Montpellier Public House (Matthew Kemp). The last 2 years his dishes have been my favourite each time and so there was no hesitation on my part when it came to choosing who I'd like to begin with.

1. Crisp Brisket of Pasture Fed Beef with Creamed Wild Mushrooms from The Montpellier Public House (Matthew Kemp) 10 crowns
And the man has done it again with a trifecta! OMG was this freaking good! By far the best dish of the day and possibly his best yet. Now if only I could get a photo with him.

2. Seared Petuna Ocean Trout with Ginger, Chilli, Shallot sauce, served with Carrot Sambal & Basmati rice from Flying Fish (Peter Kuruvita) 12 crowns
Beautifully cooked trout and the sauce was sublime. Great having rice to mop up that sauce too.

3. Roast Suckling Pig, Coleslaw, Onion Ring and Hot Sauce from Four In Hand (Colin Fassnidge) 12 crowns
Here is that piggy we saw earlier. There was no doubt I was going to try this even before I saw the full spit roast. If I see suckling pig on the menu, it's mine. And this was delectable. Crunchie onion ring and a lovely hot sauce to go with the meat.

4. 'Murray Valley Pork Belly' with Prunes and Char-gril led Silver Beet from L'etoile (Manu Feildel) 12 crowns
Another one I can't go past is pork belly. Absolutely devine. They were juicy, fatty and bouncey in texture. Just everything I love about pork belly.

5. Braised Shoulder of Lamb with Polenta and Green Sauce from The Montpellier Public House (Matthew Kemp) 12 crowns
After a loop around I couldn't resist going back and trying the second dish.
A very generous serve of lamb. Beautiful beautiful lamb. Just fell apart when you poked it with the fork. I woke up this morning craving lamb thanks to this dish hehehe

6. The Dog - Miniature Artisan Frankfurter Chilli Dog from Charlie & Co. Diner (Justin North) 8 crowns
We saw so many people walking around with either a burger and fries or hot dog with fries so thought we'd give it a go too. Not a bad hot dog, the bun was really good. And the potato chips really hit the spot.

7. Slow Cooked and Caramelised Short Rib with Bone Marrow Persillade from Quarter Twenty One (Justin North) 12 Crowns
From his 'Dog' to something a little more fancy. Not as tender as I expected and the parsley in the persillade was too overpowering.
8. Fritelle di Baccala, Patate e Tartufo - Salt cod, potato and truffle fritters with tarragon mayonnaise from A Tavola (Eugenio Maiale)
At this stage I was really full and suffering from a bit of sunstroke so excuse me for leaving the knife in the picture. Anyhow, these golden balls were all kinds of yum! Nevermind that I was full, I could have inhaled another 10 of these babies easy.

What another fabulous day! Even the muddy ground and squelching grass couldn't dampen our spirits. Not when food is involved anyway. Shame I didn't get to try the Crisp Pork Belly, Pickled Daikon and Chilli Jam in a Sweet Roll from Longrain Restaurant (Martin Boetz), it was unfortunately sold out by the time I found them. But we did try their Ping Pong cocktail (Lychees & Passionfruit Pulp are added to Eristoff Vodka, Lychees and Fresh Lime Juice - 12 crowns), mmmmm that was extremely refreshing.

I have to thank McDonalds though because I won a $100 voucher from their I Spy promotion and with that voucher I purchased these Taste of Sydney tickets. I couldn't think of a better way to enjoy my prize!! I wonder how I will obtain tickets next luck will surely run out and I will eventually have to pay that entry fee one year ;)

Friday, March 2, 2012


A long long time ago I attempted baklava and failed miserably. Second attempt many years later yielded a better version, but still more improvements needed. And it is entirely my fault, not the recipes. So for future reference do not use a cast iron roasting pan for this recipe as it tends to continue cooking long after you have taken it out of the oven. Lesson learnt the hard way. If I had used a normal thin roasting pan I'd say it would have been fabulous. None the less, it was edible and better than I expected so all in all, still a good one.

I went with this recipe here from Lifestyle Food.
I omitted the orange flower water because a) I didn't know what it was b) I didn't know where to buy it c) she said optional.....

Another note to remember - buy already shelled pistachios!!!
These babies took me over an hour to shell.
By 240g I gave up and chucked in 60g of almonds to make up the rest of the 300g I needed

I liked that I had some rather large pieces of nuts and then some that were ground to a pulp (it's all about texture right? Let's go with that)

And the fun part - layering the filo pastry and brushing it with melted butter.
You need to be really quick here. No time for photos for every layer.....
5 layers of buttered filo pastry then the scattering of nuts

Skip a few repeated steps and here I am trimming the edges

All trimmed and cut into diagonal pieces ready for baking
The syrup before I boiled it

The syrup after being boiled for around 15mins

Off to a good mates Lebanese themed dinner housewarming :)