Tag Archives: Food

Meatless Monday – Caponata

#365days #365daysproject #meatlessmonday back on the wagon yotam #ottolenghi 'a #caponata recipe with Kalamazoo olive sourdough

Winter is here and after a hiatus in blogging, peppered with a trip around Europe and a new job, it feels right to pick this up again.

There are some dishes that keeps on giving after it is cooked, and this generous dish by Yotam Ottolenghi is definitely one of those. Caponata is a Sicilian eggplant vegetable salad with celery, capers and a sweet and sour vinegar sauce. Traditionally served as a side dish it is also one that can be served as an entree on rustic bread with pecorino or as a main dish tossed with pasta. Read More…

Meatless Monday: Ottolenghi’s Kosheri


Starting Meatless Monday with this recipe from Ottolenghi’s cookbook, Ottolenghi: The Cookbook.  This is a completely unfamiliar dish for me, so cooking this felt a bit like reading a choose your own adventure book.

So what is Kosheri? According to Wikipedia it’s:

Kushari, also kosharykosheri or koshari (Egyptian Arabic: كشرى, [ˈkoʃæɾi]), is an Egyptian dish of ricemacaroni and lentils mixed together, topped with a tomato sauce, some add spaghetti garnished with chickpeas and crispy fried onions. A sprinkling of garlic juice and hot sauce are optional.  Read More…

Catching up at The Bridge Room

Bridge Room 3

Sometimes (actually a lot!) in life, one can have too many photos sitting site unseen and not enough time to catch up with friends. Through Lemonpi’s sheer persistence, a group of us manager to find our way at The Bridge Room. After multiple attempts of trying to find a date, the heavenly calendar finally opened and the five of us were ready to devour our first meal together. On first impression, The Bridge Room is a lovely furnished haven of calm. The furniture and decor were elegantly casual in an understated Nordic way.

The menu is an interesting blend of South East Asia meets West, especially when it comes to the dessert.

Bridge Room 1

We started with an entree, the dish below being the Salad of organic heirloom carrots ash grilled, baked in salt and raw, sheep’s milk curd.

Bridge Room 6

I hade the Split Queensland tiger prawns grilled over charcoal mandarin peel butter, soft green herbs. Perhaps the subtlety of the dish escaped me, but it tasted like grilled prawn nothing too special.

Bridge Room 13

Comte custard, young beetroot, pomegranate molasses crumb, hazelnuts,  cress. A creamy cheesy concoction that I will try next time.

Bridge Room 4

Bridge Room 18

Scallops, buttered corn, osmanthus flower,biltong, burnt butter, thyme leaves

Bridge Room 5

Coffs Harbour bar cod, nonya spices, coconut, liquorice basil, puffed rice. Think South East Asian flavours of coconut and sambal, but updated.

Bridge Room 23

Chicken, white cut, with its broth, ginger, coriander, sprouts and organic brown rice

Bridge Room 20

David Blackmore’s wagyu rump cap, mushrooms, spinach, slow cooked veal tongue, dutch cream potato

Bridge Room 17

Chocolate cannelon, Campos caramel, aerated chocolate bar, red fruits

Bridge Room 25

Strawberry marshmallow meringue, strawberry ripple, strawberry paper, yoghurt.  The strawberry ripple reminded us of a strawberry roll up from yesteryear. Smells a lot like it too!

Bridge Room 27

Mango, passion fruit, young coconut ice, candied palm seed, lime leaves, sugar bananas

Bridge Room 26

Burnt caramel cream, candied beurre bosc pears, Pistachio crumb, mint salad, purple basil. This gorgeous dessert was a nice surprise, there were layers of flavour underneath the caramel, the pears gave a refreshing punch, balanced by the mint and basil. Reminded me of a sweet Thai salad, wed to a brûlée

Bridge Room 31


T.  02 9247 7000
F.  02 9247 7007
E.  info@thebridgeroom.com.au

Meatless Monday and Happy 2012 : Okra curry

2012 explosion

With the blink of an eye and explosion around Sydney, 2012 is here. We greeted New Year sitting on a balcony overlooking the city, eating cheese and playing board games. I can only hope that 2012 will be just as chilled.

2011 in hindsight was a year of mostly ups with a few trips down the chasm. It’s probably the most active year I ever had, training for Warrior Dash, doing more running in general and doing the Inca Trip which is a highlight in itself. I wish I have more time to blog, to reflect, but in an action packed year time is not something I have buckets of. This year I would like to plan my time better, keep in touch with friends on a more regular basis and make sure my photos will see the light of day… There are many people I am grateful for being in my life, you know who you are and let’s continue rocking on in 2012.

As I said, I’m still sorting out photos from 2011 and trying to climb the blogging mountain, for a start here is the first Meatless Monday post for the year.

Meatless Monday

Taken from Good Food Magazine, this recipe for Spicy Okra Curry is incredibly easy and will be my staple whenever I have okra in my fridge.

5 tbsp olive oil
400g onions , sliced
500g okra , trimmed, washed, dried and sliced into 2cm pieces
2 tomatoes , diced
1 red chilli , finely chopped (or ½ tsp powdered)
2 tsp ground coriander
handful fresh coriander , roughly chopped, to serve
I added hard tofu to bulk up the  portion since I only have half the okra on hand, but this is completely unnecessary.


Heat a large wok or frying pan over a medium heat. Add the oil, then the onions, cooking until soft. Stir in the okra. Add the tomatoes and chilli, then season. Mix well and keep stirring gently, taking care not to break up the okra. Okra releases a sticky substance when cooked, but keep cooking, stirring gently – this will disappear and the tomatoes will become pulpy, about 10 mins.
Lower heat, add ground coriander and cook for another 5-10 mins. Add 2 tbsp water, cover and let simmer for another 4-5 mins. Sprinkle with coriander and serve with basmati rice or chapati bread.

209 kcalories, protein 5g, carbohydrate 13g, fat 16 g, saturated fat 2g, fibre 6g, sugar 10g, salt 0.04 g

Meatless Monday: Shepherd’s Pie with Lentils


Winter is well and truly here. The weather has turned from the pretty leaves on the ground stage to doonas and incredibly unattractive long john stage. With that in mind, comfort food is the way to go and nothing spells out comfort food like Shepherd Pie.

This particular recipe was taken from Taste.com.au  with a few tiny modification on my part. I have to apologise for the unlovely photo, but I have not quite mastered the art of making pies look rustic and glamorous all in the same shot ala Donna Hay. Trust me though, this is one hell of a delicious pie!

Lentil and Vegetable Cottage Pie

Ingredients (serves 4 easily)

  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbs sundried tomato pesto
  • 1 cup (250ml) canned dice tomatoes 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbs chopped thyme
  • 1 cup (250ml) vegetable stock
  • 300g can lentils, rinsed, drained
  • 250g vegetarian mince
  • 800g potatoes, peeled, chopped
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) milk
  • 100g grated cheddar (see note)
  • 1 tsp nutmeg


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat and cook onion for 1-2 minutes. Add celery, carrot and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add pesto, canned tomatoes, bay, thyme and stock.
  2. Simmer gently for 15 minutes until vegetables are cooked. Stir in lentils vegetarian mince and season, then transfer to a 1.2-litre baking dish. Sprinkle nutmeg throughout. Meanwhile, cook potatoes in boiling salted water until tender.
  3. Drain and mash. Stir in butter, milk and cheese. Spread over lentil and mince mixture and roughen top with a fork. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbling and goldenNotes: I added vegetarian mince to add a bit more texture to the pie,  a bit of nutmeg also gives it a bit of zing. The original recipe instructed to stir 2 yolks into the mash, but you don’t really need eggs for this pie. 

Lissie @ Oxford Art FactoryI am listening to Lissie while I am typing this, their show at the Oxford Art Factory not so long ago still fresh in my mind. For whatever reason I forgot she wrote ‘Everywhere I Go’, the last song played in the final episode of the Dollhouse. There’s something so hauntingly sad about the song that matched the last hour of a day before another Monday passed away.

Catch you next Monday for another blog, if not before…

Meatless Monday – Okonomiyaki


I’ve been meaning to post on Mondays about Meatless Monday for a while, but so far a number of Mondays managed to slip by without a post.

The Meatless Monday campaign was and still is a non for profit  initiative of The Monday Campaigns, in association with the Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. The goal was to help meat consumption by 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of the planet.

Why Monday, aside from the fact it’s the only day that starts with the letter M?

For most Americans the week begins on Monday. On Monday we move from the freedom of the weekend back to the structure of work or school. We set our intentions for the next six days. We plan ahead and evaluate progress.

From an early age we internalize this rhythm. And studies suggest we are more likely to maintain behaviors begun on Monday throughout the week. That makes Monday the perfect day to make a change for your health and the health of our planet.

Monday is the call to action built in to every calendar each week. And if this Monday passes you by, next week is another chance to go meatless!

So much for Monday blues! Who would have thought starting anything on Monday is a great idea? Certainly not me! On a personal note, I have been cutting my meat intake due to the presence of a non meat eater in my life. That being said, I do believe that we all can afford to eat less meat. In general, our eating habit demands meat to be presence in any meal in order for it to be deemed satisfying. Whether this be McDonalds or sausage roll, it did bother me to realise how much meat I consume on a daily basis. I’m not sure I can turn completely vegetarian, but that’s another blog post for another time.

In the meantime, there’s this rather delicious recipe for Okonomiyaki from the amazing 101 Cookbooks that I need to share.



2 cups cabbage, finely shredded
1 cup leeks, well washed and chopped 
2/3 cup plain flour
a couple pinches of fine grain sea salt
2 eggs, beaten
1+ tablespoon olive oil

Garnish: toasted slivered almonds, chives/ herbs

Combine the cabbage, leeks, flour, and salt in a bowl. Toss until everything is coated with a dusting of flour. Stir in the eggs and mix until everything is evenly coated.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a generous splash of olive oil. Scoop the cabbage mixture into the pan, and using a metal spatula press it into a round pancake shape, flat as you can get it. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the bottom is golden. To flip the okonomiyaki, slide it out of the skillet onto a plate. Place another plate on top and flip both (together) over. If you need a bit more oil in your skillet, add it now, before sliding the okonomiyaki back into the skillet. Again press down a bit with a spatula and cook until golden on this side – another 3 -5 minutes.

When you are finished cooking, sprinkle with toasted almonds and chives, and slide it onto a cutting board to cut into wedges. 

I like the overall taste, but find it a little dry. For added sauce taste add some Japanese mayo and Tonkatsu sauce as well as shredded seaweed. Itadakimasu…

MSG #19 – Sydney Portugal Community Club Restaurant Marrickville


After talking about doing a planned tour of Sydney’s Community Club, we finally went to our second community club as one of the Midweek Supper Group outings (the Japanese Club, being the first and I still need to blog it!).  Yewenyi suggested the Portuguese Community Club in Marrickville and that fit the bill of being relatively close to the city and obscure enough that none of us have ever visited it.

The address seemed straight forward enough, and had the signage been lit the Club would have been easy to spot…After a number of semi frantic phone calls from Pirochan “head under the bridge and keep going until you think you should stop, then keep going some more”. I finally found the dimly lit restaurant next to the soccer field.

Portugese Community Club

Once I entered the restaurant, it felt like I was warped back into the 80’s. The combination of the retro chairs, the tablecloth and the decor reminded me of places my parents used to take me to for Sunday dinner back in the old days.

Portugese Community Club

First thing first and we ordered some drinks to start. Yewenyi and Evil Hayama ordered the “local” beer, housed in yellow bottles. Not quite sure what normal Bock taste like, but Super Bock was rather mild. Both reminded a little of Coronas actually.

Portugese Community Club

For starters we ordered the Cogumelos com alho  (garlic mushroom) and the Chouriço Assado (grilled chorizo). The portion was generous and we realised that hearty sized portions are the order of the day. The chorizo was surprisingly lovely. It was the right combination of salt, fat and meat. Our youngest ever MSG guest (2 years old, but who’s counting!) loved the mushrooms and olives, which goes to show the younger palate is not all about chips and burgers…

Portugese Community Club

You can’t go to a Portugese restaurant without ordering cod, so one Bacalhau a Lagareiro (cod cooked lagareiro style) was promptly ordered. The cod was dressed generously in olive oil and pan fried. I wish I asked which olive oil they use, there’s a distinct nutty taste to it.

Portugese Community Club


I ordered the snapper, but unfortunately the waiter heard it as salmon. Though got to say the grilled salmon was delicious, floating in a plate of olive oil somehow managed to add to the taste.


Other dishes of note were the Espetada (beef skewer with side plate or salad and chips), the Bife a Portugese (Steak with chips, egg, rice and salad), Alentejana (pork cubes served with clams, square chips and pickles) and last but not least Polvo Grehaldo (grilled octopus served with salad and boiled potatoes).

Portugese Community Club

There seemed to be two themes throughout the night, the first being olive oil and the second being meat, and so much of it!

Portugese Community Club

Portugese Community Club

Sydney Portugal Community Club Restaurant Marrickville

100 Marrickville Road
Marrickville NSW 2204

(02) 9550 6344

Bonus MSG Supper – Mado Cafe

It’s a Saturday evening and I am running late for the bonus supper in Auburn, cursing the western bound traffic on Parramatta Road all the way until I reached Mado Cafe.

Dinner at Mado

Brian, K and KL were already waiting as I rushed in apologising before sinking into one of the booths against the side of the wall. Considering all the drama to get to Mado, the cafe itself was surprisingly quiet. We quickly ordered some mixed dips (humus, carrot, cacik and eggplant dips) and bread for starters to keep the hunger pang away. I secretly love the fluffy Turkish bread a little more than the dips, and I love the fact the bread basket was always refilled.

Dinner at Mado

Nestled in downtown Auburn, Cafe Mado is one of my favourite places to eat in Sydney. The decor is rustic, but the atmosphere is always welcoming and the dessert…oh the dessert. But first we have the main to get through.

Dinner at Mado

If you are new to Mado, I would recommend getting the mixed grill plate to get a taste of the various meat dishes. Otherwise most of the dishes are actually quite easy to share. We ordered the guvec to share (diced lamb fillets, tomatoes, peppers, onions and eggplant), and ordered meaty dishes for ourselves. I ordered the Kofte Izgara (charcol grilled minced lamb patties prepared with traditional spices served with rice, steamed vegetables) which was just a little too big for me to finish.

Dinner at Mado

There was a heartiness in each of the main meat dishes that blends well with the crispy bean salad to the side. At the same time, the taste variety was rather limited (think grilled meat with very little sauce).

Dinner at Mado

Dinner at Mado

Dinner at Mado

I need to hunt up my notes on what we all ordered a while back, but let’s be honest it was the dessert that we (mostly I) was anticipating. Mado’s maras stretchy ice cream was worth the wait. The solid vanilla block  was solid enough to cut through and chew. Sounds odd, but it made absolute sense when you try it. Topped with pistachio and cherries it was a bit of heaven on a plate.

Dinner at Mado

The first time I had this ice cream was at the coffee festival down at the Rocks. There was a little trolley and a man pulling a stretchy creamy substance, before slapping it on top of an ice cream cone and covering it with pistachio. It was instant love, and like the five year old who used to chase the ice cream truck, I followed the ice cream trolley to its source in Auburn.

Dinner at Mado

Someone ordered the Kazandibi (burnt rice pudding), Supangle (chocolate pudding) with a scoop of Mado ice cream, a bowl of mixed normal ice cream and rice pudding. The variety of dessert had always been impressive,  but nothing beats Mado’s ice cream for the “it” item to get when you are down in Auburn. To be honest I am not a huge fan of rice pudding, regardless of what incarnation it took…so I never tried very hard to broaden my dessert horizon beyond the Maras ice cream.

Dinner at Mado

Dinner at Mado

Dinner at Mado

Next, going through my backlog of blog post from the last few months (gasp!).

Mado Cafe

63 Auburn Road, Auburn, Sydney
(02) 9643 5299

Brokenwood lunch

Brokenwood vineyard Get Your Hands Dirty Lunch

Should I ever sit down one day and start writing my bucket list, somewhere on that list will be the line item “stomping grapes in a vineyard”. Happily thanks to a trip down to the Hunters on Sunday, I can now cross that hypothetical item.

Brokenwood vineyard Get Your Hands Dirty LunchLate last year I joined Brokenwood’s wine club and one of the many benefits is an invitation to their annual “Get Your Hands Dirty Lunch”. I invited Rz to come along for the fun and although it meant that we will need to be awake before dawn, it somehow felt like a small price to pay for the promise of swimming in grapes. Sunday morning came and by a fluke or a miracle, the sun was out, but temperature did not reach the crazy limits of a typical February summer.

Brokenwood vineyard Get Your Hands Dirty Lunch

The moment we arrived, we were put to work immediately. Bucket with one hand and shears in the other, it felt a little surreal snapping away at the blue berry like grapes. For once my height (or lack of it) prove to be a blessing as the vines are within my eye level, making us as Rz noted “grape height”.

Brokenwood vineyard Get Your Hands Dirty Lunch

Post picking we wandered around the vineyard, sampling wines at different stages of fermentation. In a number of their Semillon their semi fermented state was a cross between grape juice and lemonade.

Brokenwood vineyard Get Your Hands Dirty LunchOne thing that did struck me throughout the tour was how homely the entire place felt. A board with the (professional) picker’s tally was clearly visible, a ping pong table was placed in the middle of the warehouse (strangely not at odd with the french wine barrels along the walls) and the fattest, friendliest staffy was wandering around looking for a pat and a cuddle.

Brokenwood vineyard Get Your Hands Dirty Lunch

Once the tour was over, we were handed a white t-shirt and ushered towards the two big wine vats containing the day’s pickings. As excited as I was, it dawned on me that a few extra inches would help to get in and out of the vats! Falling in was easy, but without the help of a milk crate there was not a chance in hell that we can climb out without an extra hand or two. I don’t have any photos of being inside the vat as my camera would have died a very quick  and purple death. I can however say that the experience was nothing like what I thought it would be. The grapes were squishy and burst on impact. I could not stop giggling once my brain caught up with the fact that I was waist deep in very cold grape juice while grape missiles were thrown overhead.

Brokenwood vineyard Get Your Hands Dirty LunchAfter being hosed down and finding bits of grapes in the most unlikeliest places, we sat down along two long tables and the wine kept appearing….

Brokenwood vineyard Get Your Hands Dirty LunchThe first Brokenwood wine I ever drank was their 2008 Pinot Noir (Beechworth), an easy drinking Pinot with enough character to make it interesting. Turned out their Semillion were not too bad and I am rather partial to their shiraz in general.

Brokenwood vineyard Get Your Hands Dirty LunchDespite the number of wines loitering on our table, I had to force myself to take only a sip here and there rather than risk being slapped with a drink driving charge. All rather depressing really, and on hindsight booking a room would have been a clever thing to do. Perhaps next time, at another Brokenwood lunch in the not too distant future…

Brokenwood vineyard Get Your Hands Dirty Lunch

Spice I Am

Spice I AmWith the plethora of amazing food blogs scattered around Sydney, sometimes I wonder whether the world needs another review on yet another Sydney restaurant. Particularly when sites like Not Quite NigellaChocolatesuze and Grab Your Fork are so well written with their own quirky personalities. Then ofcourse sites such as A Table for Two are just so beautifully shot and laid out that it’s a feast for the eyes. I still can’t figure out how Billy managed to take photos from the incredibly dimly lit Est. and believe that he possesses magical powers.

Spice I AmDespite my blog envy, at the end of the day there is never any harm to reaffirm to the online world treasured finds such as Spice I Am. Located on the other side of Central and just a hop and skip away from Surry Hills, Spice I Am is something of an institution winning an impressive list of awards as an Authentic Thai restaurant. Such is their success that they opened a bigger restaurant in Darling Hurst. I have yet to visit their new restaurant, but the word of mouth is that although the new Spice I Am’s menu is almost identical to the original restaurant they hike up the price and lowered the portion size accordingly.

Spice I AmIn any case, their original restaurant is still true to form. We started with the Homok (steamed fish in banana leaves), so moist that it was just unbeliavable. This was followed by their Som tum (green papaya salad), the perfect combination of hot chilli and sour taste explosion.

Spice I AmThen there was the fried rice along to go with the ridicilously more-ish Basil Crispy Pork Belly, so tender and moist with the most magical combination of sauce to pork coverage. It’s difficult not to write about it without licking my lips in fond remembrance. We probably ordered more than enough for three people, but struggled on with the Pla Sam Rot (deep fried whole fish topped with sweet and sour chili sauce).

Spice I Am

Spice I AmEverything was just balanced perfectly with no flavour overpowering the other in this very authentic Thai restaurant, and rather affordable too with mains from $14. There will be a queue if you are planning on rocking up for dinner, but the wait is worth it.

PS: Talking about food, submissions for Like Mum Used to Make ends this week!

Spice I am
90 Wentworth Ave.
Surry Hills
Sydney 2010

Trading Hours
Tuesday – Sunday
Lunch: 11:30 AM – 3:30 PM
Dinner: 6:00 PM – 10:00