Archive for month: March, 2011

Sexy Salmon Ceviche

16 Mar
March 16, 2011

Kathlyn of Bake Like a Ninja was our Daring Cooks’ March 2011 hostess. Kathlyn challenges us to make two classic Peruvian dishes: Ceviche de Pescado from “Peruvian Cooking – Basic Recipes” by Annik Franco Barreau. And Papas Rellenas adapted from a home recipe by Kathlyn’s Spanish teacher, Mayra.

Wow I am a lazy girl and took the easy but also low fat free road on this challenge.  Trying to be really good about what goes in my mouth at the moment and as delicious as the papas rellenas looked in all their deep fried goodness I went for the fresh and healthy ceviche.

Ceviche is believed to have originated in Peru nearly 500 years ago.  It is believed that the original dish used the fermented juice of the banana passionfruit and then during the Inca period they started using chicha.  It was with the arrival of the Spanish that the locals switched to using citrus juice.

In the past I have only ever identified and eaten this style of dish with various Islands in the Pacific.  In Hawaii it is called poke and in Fiji it is called kokoda, but there are so many versions around the region. Read more →


Kaisendonya Jizakanaya Restaurant, Kayabacho, Tokyo + Karaoke with Friends

15 Mar
March 15, 2011

Over the past few days I have been quite upset about what has happened to Japan and her people, sadly it is hasn’t ended. I have a big connection to Japan as I deal with a company in Tokyo on a daily basis and others. Over the years and my visits to this fantastic nation my work colleague have also become my friends.

These people will be part of my life for a very long time, that is just how it works, you make bonds that don’t break. There may be a distance between us, but they’re are close bonds that tie. Business is business and it is handled as such, but when business is over then it is time to have fun in each other’s company.

I love Japan and her people. I have been lucky to have travelled to many places, but nowhere have I experienced the warmth, kindness, competence, honesty and organisation that you experience in Japan, and I am just talking about people you meet on the street.

So while my friends in Japan are suffering from major aftershocks. Wondering what will be the outcome of the nuclear power plant at Fukushima. Are dealing with the devastation of being hit with a 10M wall or water after last Friday’s 8.9 earthquake and there have been talk that another may hit, I would love to share a special dinner I had with colleagues last August in Tokyo. Read more →

Taste of Sydney 2011

11 Mar
March 11, 2011

It’s Taste of Sydney time again!  This is where you all  jump up and down with excitement and anticipation of tasting delicious sample plates from some of the best restaurants in Sydney.  You  bring along some bags to fill with fantastic produce and get ready to be educated in regard to most things that pass your lips and heads to your tum.

With much thanks to Stellar Concepts Josh and I visited on Thursday night.  This wasn’t Josh’s and my first visit to TOS we attended last year on our own merit and had a fantastic time (even though I spent way too much last year!!).

If you haven’t been to Taste of Sydney before I do think it is worth a visit at least once.  The main draw card are the restaurants promoting their food via sample plates.  This year there are 14 restaurants selling their dishes at cost of either 8, 10 or 12 crowns.  Also present is Otto Bar which has a selection of three cocktails on offer at 10 crowns each.

We were lucky to have a sneak peak at Restaurants Balzac’s kitchen at TOS, it is tiny!!  Amazing to see what they churn out of there, hot and busy people behind those counters you pick your food up at.

The currency with which you purchase your food is called Crowns.  One Crown equals $1 and you buy crowns in books of 30 or 10.  They are very easy to obtain just look for the guys in the pink tee shirts walking around selling them (cash only) or head to one of the Crown stalls.  Crowns can also be used at various producers’ stalls as well, some take cash.

Besides having a feeding frenzy at the restaurants, there are quite a few other things to do.

Australian Gourmet Traveller Taste Kitchen.  These sessions are free to attend and seating is available on a first in best dressed basis.  While stocks last you can also pick up a copy of Gourmet Traveller.  You will see chefs such as, Manu Feildel (L’eoile), Jeremy & Jane Strode (Bistrode), Jared Ingersoll (Dank St Depot/Cotton Duck) and others strut their stuff for 30 mins creating a dish.  We stopped in for the first session and watched Peter Kuruvita of Flying Fish make string hoppers and talk about his adventures in Sri Lanka, well worth the visit.  Free to attend, get there early to get a goodie bag.

Jaguar Gourmet Traveller Wine Theatre:  Costs 6 crowns to attend an educational and interactive wine session.  Discussed  are the secrets to matching food and wine, tutored tasting, cellaring tips and more.  While stocks last you can also pick up a free copy of Gourmet Traveller Wine.

Australian Gourmet Traveller Chef’s Table:  Get in early to grab a seat around the table and enjoy an informal chat with one of the featured chefs over a glass of wine and canapés (provided by Regal Salmon).  Josh and I didn’t attend go the Chef’s Table this year, but was a major highlight for both of us last year when we saw Miguel Mastre, El Toro Loco Chef and owner.  Free to attend, just get their early!

Producers’ market:  Producers from butchers right through to wineries displaying and most of them offering tastings of their products.  Most also have great show offers as well and offer taste samples.

A Journey Through Coffee with Nespresso:  A fun master class where you will learn tips and tricks in regard to coffee.  Free to attend.

Sensology “Art of Cocktail Making”:  It will cost you 10 crowns to attend these 15 minute hands on sessions where you will learn to make a cocktail and get to drink your finished creation at the end.  Each session focuses on a different cocktail such as, breakfast martini, daiquiri, mojito, pina colada and cosmopolitan.  We were lucky to attend a bloggers session before the event opened.  Fantastic fun and really great cocktail making tips, well worth the 10 crowns to visit.  We made pina coladas unlike anyway I have made them before!

De Dietrich Appliances present Patisse Cooking School with Vincent Gadan:  Vincent Gadan (Executive Chef of Patisse) will be whipping up some French pastry favourites as well as some other sweet treats.

Sample some very tasty charcuterie at Victor Churchill.  I was surprised at the fact that I liked the biltong as I am not a fan of what I have tried in the past, this stuff is soft and tender.  Also sampled some Tatufo, which is made from pork with a generous but not overpowering truffle flavour.

What did Josh and I eat?

Charlie & Co’s Organic Grass Fed Wagyu Burger 12 crowns & Truffle Parmesan Fries 6 crowns

Restaurant Balzac’s Crispy Wagyu Beef with Mushroom and Truffle Foam 12 crowns

This was my favourite of the night, crispy pastry filled with tender flavoursome Wagyu.  If you haven’t visited Restaurant Balzac they have a set lunch special on Thursdays and Fridays, entree and main for $35, great value.

Restaurant Balzac’s Saddle of Suckling Pig & Baby Garden Peas 12 crowns

Restaurant Balzac’s Seared Regal King Salmon with a Salad of Pomegranate, Mint and Feta 10 crowns

Bird Cow Fish’s Regal king Salmon & Potato Fishcakes with Tartare Sauce and Lemon 10 crowns

Berowra Waters Inn & Ad Lib Bistro’s Chilled Vichyssoise, Oyster Beignets, Salmon Roe 10 crowns

Taste of Sydney is open is open today and right through the weekend, session times below;

Friday 11 March: noon – 4pm
Friday 11 March: 5.30pm – 9.30pm
Saturday 12 March: noon – 4pm
Saturday 12 March: 5.30pm – 9.30pm
Sunday 13 March: noon – 5pm

To preview menus, buy tickets on line and find out more of Taste of Sydney visit their website here.

Ticket prices are $30.

There is also a premium ticket available for $55 pre-purchased which includes 30 crowns.

HSBC VIP Lounge Tickets are $100 which give you entry to the exclusive lounge, fast track entry to the event, 3 complimentary drinks (still/sparkling wine and beer), complimentary still/sparkling water throughout the session, plus a place to escape the crowds and listen to some live music.

Thank you to Stellar Concepts for including Josh & I on the VIP tour.  A big thank you also to Matt Kemp of Restaurant Balzac for letting us go behind the scenes and letting us try his delicious dishes, Victor Churchill for the delicious tastings and Sensology for the coctail making class.

Sara xxx



Monkey Magic {Closed}

08 Mar
March 8, 2011

As usual when it is up to me to choose a restaurant for an occasion, I look at all my options and probably a lot more than I need to.  Planning is part of the pleasure, right?  The occasion this time was Mac’s 45th birthday.  I had actually looked at Monkey Magic for Josh’s 18th, but decided Zilver was better suited, but I was still keen to try them out as I really liked their set menu at $55/person.

One problem, Mac is not a fan of sushi or soft shell crab which were both on the set menu.  When I rang to make the booking for eight, there was no problem whatsoever in making a few alterations to the set menu. I found them incredibly friendly and accommodating, which was a pleasant surprise as I have found in the past some establishments won’t make changes.

A big smile graced my face as soon as I walked in, they had already won me over on the phone, but it was the decor.  Dark wood panelling on the walls, dark wooden tables and chairs all dancing in the glow of soft lighting.  So far all the boxes were being ticked. Read more →