Tag Archives: Food

A taste of London

Taste Festival 2009

Third week in London and all the moving around between different states of limbo made me forget about blogging. Take Taste Festival for example I went two weekends ago and barely had time to sit down and cull the photos let alone write about it properly. Strangely enough the weather remained sunny two weeks ago and if the weather channel can be believed London is in a middle of a HEAT WAVE (!!) for the next glorious week. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the rest of July will be as clear and the Blur concert this Thursday will not be an excercise in mass shower.

Anyway back to Taste London 2009 at Regents Park where the number of people crowded in small sectioned area has to be seen to be believed. It was X‘s birthday and going to taste was part of the celebration.  I waited for X and J before we ventured in with out wad of crowns. I didn’t know what to expect, only with a very vague idea that it was similar to the Food and Wine Fair back home with the added pleasure of an entry fee. At around £20 for a general entry it was not the cheapest food event I have been to, particularly with all the added crown vouchers you will still need to purchase in order to buy the meals from the various stalls. The price didn’t stop me from trying it once, particularly as  a number of the restaurants do have their iconic dishes on order and the idea of having access to a smorgabord of the best London can provide was too tempting to miss.

Taste Festival 2009

We first wandered to Benares and ordered their Tandoor smoked lamb chops with mint chutney, recommended by my housemate as the value for money buy. Somehow our nose led us to another lamb dish straight away with a cool cocktail of strawberry and rum being a welcome break in the middle.

Taste Festival 2009

The second lamb dish wa from Benja a 10 hour low cooked Lamb in Yellow Curry accompanied with cucumber relish. The meat was so tender that it melted the moment it toucher our mouth and much to our delight we notice that we ended up with a bigger portion that expected. That was when we realised that travelling as a pack of three girls had its benefits, all shared dishes we ordered onwards were big enough to feed all three of us.

Taste Festival 2009

There were quite a number highlights that day that it’s actually really difficult to blog about it from memory without salivating. The Ledbury’s celeriac baked in Ash with Hazelnuts, Summer Truffle and a Kromeski of Wild Boar was amazing. There was so much flavour packed in this humble root that it made me look at it in a completely different way.

Taste Festival 2009

L’Anima’s fettuccine with wild mushrooms and summer truffle deserved a mention as it was more truffle than fettuccine. The lady who was shaving the truffle started laughing as I took a number of photos while she was measuring out the truffle and as a result we ended up with a little mound of the stuff. Taste Festival 2009

From ALAIN DUCASSE AT THE DORCHESTER we had the Chilled pea velouté and ricotta scoop, crispy hazelnut bread, which was a lovely entree dish for a summer day. Taste Festival 2009

As for most expensive dish of the day, nothing beats Launceston Place’s iconic ossetra caviar and parsley lolly at 10 crowns per gram. We were down to our last 8 crowns for the day and perhaps because they felt sorry for us, combined with the fact that it was half an hour to closing we managed to nab a rather heftier serving of 3 grams at the bargain basement price of 8 crowns. Taste Festival 2009

After four hours of continuos eating in the sun, avoiding elbows and over eager gourmettes we found a cuban bar serving martinis playing the entire Flight of the Conchords album. It can’t be a more perfect day…

Taste Festival 2009

Contemplating my stomach – Fratelli Fresh

Fratelli Fresh

Almost ten weeks of waiting, the good news is I know of more  fantastic places to eat than I have ever before. The not so brilliant news is this state of limbo is not coming to an end anytime soon. Speaking of the former and not the latter, a good friend of mine brought my attention to Fratelli Fresh. Specialising in Italian produce both local and imported they also have a cafe attached to their retail store called Cafe Sopra. It was here that I took A for a belated birthday lunch. Why lunch you might ask? It’s for the simple reason that Cafe Sopra was only open for lunch.

Fratelli FreshWe went to their Waterloo branch, where the retail store was located downstairs in their warehouse and the cafe upstairs. A large black board dominated one side of the wall listing today’s menu and from the diner’s concentrated gaze it might as well be a rather scrumptious work of art. Not surprisingly, all their dishes used ingredients sold in their store. Everything from bread, pesto and the most gorgeous balsamic vinegar imported from Italy.Fratelli Fresh - lamb ragu

A ordered their lamb ragu, which was decent but the tomato sauce was a little overpowering.  My carbonara on the other hand was delicious. The pesto was light, the bacon crisp and the cream was sparing, allowing the pasta’s flavour to still shine through.

Fratelli Fresh

I couldn’t help, but taste their dessert and though banoffee pie was sold out their lemon souffle was hard to miss. The light yellow layer was pure lemon froth and as you dig down, the lemon base was a marriage between lemon and cream. All this offset by the lovely fig cube to the side.

Fratelli Fresh - Lemon souffle

Fratelli Fresh

Fratelli Fresh hold free cooking class during the week, but unfortunately June was completely booked solid by 10 am on the first day they took booking for the month of June. A little disappointed, but I will probably come back to pick up their balsamic vinegar, their bread, their pasta, their cheese…you get the drift.

Fratelli Fresh

Fratelli Fresh Fratelli Fresh

7 Danks Street

Waterloo, 2017

The Cafe: Sopra Waterloo

ph. 02 9699 3174

Monday – Friday 10am – 3pm

Saturday 8am – 3pm

Sunday 10am – 3pm

No bookings taken

Nippon Club

Nippon Club

I had a rather brilliant weekend with the MCA zine fair on Sunday and catching up with a good friend on Saturday. The zine fair was a lot of fun and I picked up a number of zines and walked away feeling rather inspired. I’ll blog about in a while once I finish downloading some of the images. Gigantic thank you to Pirochan for printing and table space and the continued “where’s your zine?” nagging. Issue 1 and 2 sold out on the day as well as a healthy number of issue 3 as well!

Nippon Club

Going back through some old photo I just remembered that I haven’t talked about Nippon Club. I first heard of it from Helen’s blog and the idea of visiting this hidden gem on Macquarie Street piqued my interest. It surprised me to realise that I had walked past this little underground restaurant without realising that it served food. There was only a sign with “International Nippon Australia New Zealand Club Limited” posted outside and until you wander down the stairs it would be easy to dismiss it as a private club exclusive to Japanese expats.

We signed ourselves in after being greeted by two surprised elderly Japanese gentlemen enjoying their Sapporo beer on a Tuesday evening. The atmosphere felt a little like your typical RSL with pokies hidden away in a corner, furniture popular in the 80’s (those wicker chair, that beige colour scheme that was in when Dynasty was on TV).

Nippon Club

Apparently their usualy chef was off and they have a new chef starting that week. Unless we were willing to wait until 7:30pm, the only option was the lunch menu until then. With sapporo on tap and a decent sake menu we decided to wait and ordered from the dinner menu. The sashimi and sushi selection was decent, but the value came from the bento box sets. We ordered salmon skin sushi,  chirashi sushi special (second photo) brimming with more sashimi than rice, beef tataki, finishing off with the most the most radio active looking green tea ice cream I had ever seen.

It was a surprising experience from start to finish, unlike the typical Japenese restaurant, but thoroughly authentic, affordable and highly recommended.

229 Macquarie St
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9232 2688

Whisk and Laddle and the mysterious phenomenom known as Supperclub

Whisk and Laddle Supper Club NY

It was a dark and icy night and I was wondering down an unknown street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn wondering what the hell posessed me to do this in the first place. I had not given the oh so secret address to anyone and had this all been a ploy to lure unsuspecting tourist then this surely could not end well.

Fortunately my morbid thoughts were just thoughts. Even with my lousy sense of direction I managed to find where Whisk and Laddle was located and treated myself to a spicy and warming cocktail on arrival. So, what was Whisk and Laddle you might ask and what on earth was  I even there?  I first read about the concept of Supperclub and Whisk and Laddle from the Guardian. A Whisk and Laddle Supperclub as defined by the good people from W&L as:

Abiding by the traditional structure of the dinner party – a cocktail hour, soup course, entree then salad ­ and out of the deeply entrenched belief that all things civilized and debaucherous find common ground on a dining room table, the Whisk and Ladle Supperclub was born.

Whisk and Laddle Supper Club NY

What it was in reality is a damn good dinner party hosted at the chefs’ own home, this being a funky converted warehouse in Brooklyn. Consider it is as an alternate to dining in a formal restaurant, a supperclub allows the opportunity for good food and good company all under the radar of restaurant licensing law. Call it the secret society of foodies where entry depends on whether your reservation request depends on how interesting you plead your case when you made that reservation. Looking around the net, a reservation for a W&L sounded a lot like winning the golden ticket, to be honest I am not quite sure how I managed to get in when the waiting list was rumoured to be a matter of months, but plugging this blog seemed to help.

Whisk and Laddle Supper Club NY

I was instantly charmed by their apartment and although turning up alone to a dinner party can be someone’s worst nightmare it also made it easier to join conversations. I talked to two lads from London who read the same Guardian article, two brothers who were artists, a couple who were in the movie industry and an actor.

Whisk and Laddle Supper Club NY

Dinner that night was Creole inspired and all our meal was prepared as we waited in their living room. The atmosphere was casual and friendly and our tasters (Latkes topped with blue cheese) disappeared the moment it hit the table.

Whisk and Laddle Supper Club NY

Soup was Creole turtle with corn bread, and apparently they managed to find said turtle/s from Minnesota, though I didn’t ask too closely whether said turtle was still breathing when they bought it.

Whisk and Laddle Supper Club NY

As for dessert, the hot chocolate with jam filled beignet went down a treat. In between the wine and conversation kept flowing and I was a little too content to move when the candles were subtly snuffed one by one and brown envelopes were casually slipped by the hosts for guest contribution. It was definitely the most unusual and unexpectedly lovely experience I had in a while. I didn’t quite know what to expect, but walked away with a good meal and hopefully some people I will keep in contact with when I return.

Whisk and Laddle Supper Club NY, mini jam donut with chocolate dip

1008LDN  1440

Southeast Asian Ingredients – Petai


Parkia speciosa (petai, twisted cluster bean, yongchaak, zawngtah or stink bean), is a plant of the genus Parkia in the family Fabaceae. It bears long, flat edible beans with bright green seeds the size and shape of plump almonds which have a rather peculiar smell, characterised by some as being similar to that added to methane gas.

Wednesday is a great day to reflect on food eaten and wondering why the day is getting much shorter all of a sudden. The latest ingredient found in China Town is surprisingly fresh petai, known rather fondly as smelly beans. I’m surprised to find them fresh over here actually, as outside of Asia they are more likely to be sold in cans.

Petai are usually cooked as part of a side dish, either grilled or fried with a sambal sauce similar to the one I used for cooking Kangkung belado. They can also be added to curries, eaten raw or pickled. Unfortunately there is a reason why it is dubbed “smelly beans”, as potent as garlic and similar to asparagus in some unfortunate ways it is the fastest way to not have a social life.

So why even bother? Despite being an acquired taste, they are rather more-ish with a nice crunch and a slight acidic after taste. It’s one of those food group that you either love or hate, but having it fresh is definitely best.

Courgette & mushroom bread

On a more conventional food note, it was my housemate’s turn to cook last Sunday and he raised the bar in the dinner stake. One of the clear winner was the Courgette & mushroom bread. The recipe was taken from BBC Good Food.


  1. Put the grated courgettes in a colander and sprinkle with 1 tsp of the salt. Leave to stand for 20 mins, then, using your hands, squeeze out as much of the moisture as possible. Rinse the courgettes thoroughly, then squeeze again.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the onion and garlic for 4 mins until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 4 mins until softened and browned, then add the courgettes and cook for another 2 mins. Strain well and set aside to cool; discard the liquid.
  3. Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Place the flour in a large mixing bowl, stir in the yeast, the remaining oil and salt, the basil and the courgette mixture. Mix well to combine. Make a well in the centre and add 125ml hand-hot water. Mix well to form a slightly sticky dough. Knead on a floured surface for about 10 mins, then shape into a ball and place on a greased baking sheet.
  4. Flatten the ball of dough very slightly with the palm of your hand and loosely cover with oiled cling film. Leave to rise in a warm place for 25-30 mins until doubled in size. Brush the top of the dough with a little water, then sprinkle with the sea salt and bake for 40 mins until golden. Leave to cool on a wire rack before serving.

Foodie weekend – Borough Market

Apple strudlel

I should really be catching up on work email, but the idea of spending a glorious sunny day inside did not appeal. When A suggested a visit to Borough Market I happily ran out the door without a second glance at my work laptop.

I didn’t realise how large Borough Market was. Just a few steps away from London Bridge tube and I was in the middle of a gastronomic wonderland. We picked our way among the dozens of stalls before settling for some oysters and paella. I was rather tempted with the pastries selection, but after overdosing on grocery thought better of it.

Oyster Bar at Borough Market

Oysters and lemon

We made a small side trip to Monmouth Coffee, reputedly one of the best coffee places in London aside from Flat White in Soho. The featured coffee of the day was Indonesian I was amused to notice and was probably unpronouncable for most people.

Monmouth Coffee

On being fed

Food during conservation again

I was told that it looked like we did very little working and plenty on eating, it probably was true to an extent. We were fed to the bursting point, but it’s difficult to say no to home grownshitake mushroom of a size that you wouldn’t believe. The photo is actually my hand holding three mushrooms, now I know my hand is the same size as an eleven year old kid, but the mushrooms are huuge.

Read More…

Seafood in Hokkaido

Seafood in Hokkaido

Originally uploaded by mirvettium

Bento lunch

Bento lunch with oysters

I know I was in the right place in Japan, when the specialty bento box in Kushiro contained oysters. What I wasn’t expecting was the sheer volume and quality of the food in Hokkaido, especially in the region we were working at.

The ocean is so close, that for everyday of the week, we had fresh seafood without fail, of a size that you just would not believe! Pictured here are some photos of our meal at a restaurant on our way to Kiritappu.

Rocky Road cupcakes

Rocky Road cupcake
Originally uploaded by mirvettium

Latest photoshoot after another haphazard collaboration with Restaurant Girl where she made gorgeous looking food, styles it and exits the kitchen while I took some shots.

Despite it being relatively unplanned, I ended up taking a lot more time thinking about lighting.

I had my flash reflected to a styrofoam square to the right of the cupcakes to get rid of the shadow cast behind the frame. The entire shoot utilised natural light as the main source of ambient light and I’m quite happy with the slightly Vogue esque look about it.

One thing I would have changed was to shoot this on a longer exposure to see whether it would make a difference.

On a completely different tangent, isn’t Tweezer Times the coolest thing ever? I bumped into it while looking for something else, in short it’s a magazine for Food stylists with plenty of handy hints such as how to make good looking fake ice, styling bacon and other fun articles.

Curve adjustment 2

day0082.jpg day0083.jpg


There’s nothing like uploading photos of food when facing a crap day, and what looks like a crap week and month to boot.

Originally uploaded by mirvettium

Makan@Alice is a little bit of an institution to those who live in the North and love their Malaysian food.

I first heard of it from Y and have to agree that coming in for dinner is much better than coming in for lunch. For one thing it’s not so crazy trying to get a seat, the other reason is Makan@Alice’s dinner menu is worth the drive.

Pictured here is the lovely prawn curry, perfectly balanced between sour, sweet and tart to make it very more-ish. I usually ended up asking for a spoon for the sauce, just before I start licking the plate.

Do give the soft shell crab a try, I have no idea how they make the eggs on top so crispy, but again it’s on the must try list. We ordered the vegemite chicken for fun, and though it may sound rather odd it actually makes perfect sense when you taste it. Think something yeasty in between kecap manis with tamarind and you basically get the gist of it. As for the yam cake, though I could never finish it since it has a habbit of expanding in my stomach when consumed, I love the texture of it and the way it contrasted with everything else on the table.

Soft shell crab Vegemite chicken Yam cake

Shop 3, 262-264 Pennant Hills Rd
(Cnr Pennant Hills Rd & Bellevue St )
Thornleigh 2120