Friday, February 25, 2011

I went to Sydney and ate some stuff

So last weekend I went to Sydney.

 It was a trip with a purpose, and that purpose was not touristy food stuff.... but still, I obsessively took photos of pretty much everything we ate.  It's what I do  :P

I think I missed out on photos of the airplane food and the hotel breakfast... but other than that I snapped pics of everything.

I quite like airplane food.  I like the cute little cups and cutlery sets. I like that all the food comes individually wrapped and in separate containers.  Not very eco, but then again either is flying in general.  When I fly, I always book a vegan meal.  Mostly because you get your meal before everyone else, but also because of the food allergies the childrens have.  My QANTAS vegan breakfast was cornflakes with soy milk and a muffin.  It wasn't anything special.  So i don't think you're missing anything by my not having taken a photo.

Anyway,  Most of the food was quickly grabbed from the cafeterias at the trade shows we visited.  We had some interesting stuff and most of it good.  I have to say I was quite surprised at the amount of effort put into the food at these trade events.  One of the trade shows in particular, had really quite fancy food. That was where we enjoyed the chocolate and caramel tart.  Damn it was good.  I wish I had one right now!  The chocolate formed a crackly shell over the gooey caramel.  the beauty of the tart was that it wasn't too sweet.  It was just perfectly tasty and delicious.  

The other slightly random food place we had a pretty tasty meal was at the airport. I think the place was called Wok Air.  I had the laksa and it was a pretty good one.  

glass noodle, herb and vege salad with a cannelloni thing

thai fish cakes.  they were ok, but the sauce was the star!

SERIOUSLY DELICIOUS chocolate and caramel tart

vege Laksa from Sydney Airport.  Very tasty!

asian vege in oyster sauce

The food highlight of the trip was our dinner at the Syrian restaurant, Almond Bar ,in Darlinghurst.  WOW!  what amazing flavours!
I found Syrian food to be very similar to Greek, Turkish and Lebanese foods (all foods I adore) so I was VERY excited about our meal.

Almond Bar was a smallish in size, but I think that just made the atmosphere better.  It was cozy, but not loud or crowded and the decor was pretty cool.  I LOVED their amazing water jugs (check out the 10th photo in their photo gallery on their website)

To start off they brought us a selection of almonds.  Some were smoked, some were salted, some had sugar and cinnamon and some had some kind of sticky gooey stuff with sesame seeds on.

We had a trio of Dips for starters,  a virgin cocktail (muddled lime with sugar, topped with cranberry juice) and for mains we tried the grilled haloumi, the grey zucchini stuffed with scallops and rice and spiced rice, eggplant and chicken dish.

We were planning to have dessert (I really wanted to try the rosewater icecream) but we were both full and exhausted and decided to give dessert a miss.  I kind of regret missing on trying the rosewater icecream, but It has inspired me to try and make my own (watch this space!!).


trio of dips with pita bread and crudites


creamed garlic on toasted pita

grilled Haloumi

stuffed grey zucchini
scallop and rice stuffed zucchini

spiced rice, eggplant and chicken

So that was Sydney!   

Almond Bar on Urbanspoon

Things I know

Things I know this week:

* Inspiration comes from the most unexpected places.

* Syrian food is DELICIOUS!!

* When you're 32 weeks pregnant, everything takes effort.

* There is no better time to start a business than when you have a baby due in a mere few weeks....apparently.

* The more food you have in the fridge, the less likely you are to feel like cooking

* Eczema SUCKS!!!

* A weekend away is long enough for everything to seem different when you get back.... in a good way.

What do you know this week??

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Secret is in the Sauce

I'm sure every Italian family has their own way of making a tomato based pasta sauce, and it's usually passed down through the family one way or another.

The way my mum makes sauce is different to the way I make mine.  I think my mum makes hers more like my Nonna, but I prefer to make mine the way my Nonno made his.

Anyway, it's all much of a muchness, but i'm still not telling you how I make mine.... so i'll just share some pics instead.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Things I know

Yay for Home   is a blog I really enjoy and is written by a rather wonderful woman I  know through unschooling playgroup and various other places.

Each week she blogs about Things she knows.  I love her lists and I'm excited that I can now blog my own :)

So here is my Thing I know list for the week -

* stopping yourself from SMSing your dear friend (who is possibly in the beginning of labour) every 5 minutes to see how it's going IS HARD!!!  I WANT TO KNOW!!

* It is EXTREMELY satisfying to hear your kids tell you they thought something you cooked/made for them was delicious.

* Cooking with sharp knives makes all the difference

* Homemade icy poles will never fail to a crappy day better.

* Vegan Cupcakes really do rule the world!

* Fast food usually isn't take-away

* Making friends with the people that run the places you shop for food makes shopping, cooking and eating better.

The Green and White Dinner

After a discussion with the childrens about what are 'healthy' foods, it was decided that we would try and have colour themed meals to make sure we ate as many different vitamins and minerals as we could.

One of the childrens is not a fan of green food and the only green food thing that appealed is my 'green sauce'.

So it was decided that last night's meal would only include green and white foods and heavily feature green sauce.

I made grilled chicken steaks (for white protein), potato, pea and mint salad (green and white carbs) and green sauce.  A very simple meal that only took about 30 minutes all up to prepare and cook.

 Let's face it, there are very few days in the week where you can spend more than 30 minutes preparing a meal.  I usually try to choose meals that I know I can have done in the 20-30 minute time range.  It's enough time to cook something decent and also not too long so that if if you have kids or babies waiting for your attention they should be able to last that long without a complete melt down.

Green  Sauce is just a blitzed up mix of lots of fresh parsley, raw garlic, lemon juice and olive oil.  It's quick and easy to make, it's raw, it's fresh, it's healthy, it matches well with a wide range of proteins AND most importantly its tasty!

The other benefit of green sauce is that it's loaded with immune boosting ingredients.

Parsley is one of my favourite herbs because well, its easy to grow, you can put it on or in everything and if it's the only green thing you kid will eat, then it's all good coz Parsley is awesome!!

Parsley has it all.  It's got heaps of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, calcium, folate, magnesium and iron. It also has a bunch of amino acids and antioxidant type properties but you can read about that in the link.

So if have childrens that are not fans of the green stuff then try green sauce with chicken, lamb, tofu, pasta etc

Garlic, of course, if also a bit magical. Check the link for more info.

The pea, potato and mint salad was sooooooo tasty!  I made heaps and there was not a speck left. I'm pretty sure someone even licked the bowl. (yes it is possible that someone was me... but it was really really tasty!!!)

I was going to make a pea mayonnaise (just blending, peas, mint and mayo) but decided to leave everything as it was.

Once all peas and potatoes were cooked, I just tossed them through with the mint and a bit of sea salt and olive oil.  Simple. Easy. Tasty.

Chicken was also super simple.  Just sliced fillets into thin steaks and then made a simple marinade of olive oil, salt, garlic (fresh) and oregano.  Grilled on the cast iron thingo and it's all done!

So that was our Green and White dinner!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Breakfast Of Champions

Breakfast is one of the meals I struggle the most with.

I always wake up HUNGRY!!!! and usually don't get to feed myself til after I've fed the childrens, then I get distracted by checking my email, checking facebook, put on a loaf of bread blablabla  all the other stuff that needs doing in the morning.

Most days I just grab whatever I find, but at least one day a week I will make the effort to feed myself properly and have a 'Breakfast of Champions'.

Today was one of those days.

I've got a bunch of appointments and won't get home til nearly 2pm so if I don't eat now, I'll be a fainty, cranky mess by the time I get home.

I like a breakfast with protein and carbs.  Given the choice,  I would choose protein over carbs for breakfast everytime.  I definitely prefer a savoury breakfast to a sweet one.

Today's creation is a vegan Thai Fish Cakes baguette with some vegan mayo, sweet chilli sauce and roquette.

The Fishcakes are made by the Redwood Co and available from Radical Grocery Store. They're actually made from chickpeas and spices and are very tasty. The mayo is Plamil's egg-free mayo and It's so much tastier than the icky egg mayo stuff.

 Yes it was VERY delicious!!!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sunday Dumplings

One of my most favourite things to do on a Sunday morning is go to the Museum.

The kids get to run around and it's always quiet so we don't have to battle with school groups etc

BUT the best thing about Sunday mornings at the Museum is going to lunch at Shanghai Dumplings after.

We have been going to Shanghai Dumplings for nearly 10 years.  Not much has changed in that time.  About 4 years ago they put in new brown velvet booths and they got new bowls a few years back and they recently switched from a big bucket of soy sauce that you just dished out yourself to bottles of soy sauce on each table.

It's not fancy so I don't worry if the kids get a bit enthusiastic with the pouring of the soy sauce or with stabbing the dumplings with chopsticks or if I end up with a massive pile of napkins and hand wipes from wiping down the surfaces, bowls, chopsticks (by not fancy, I really do mean not fancy!! and maybe it's a mum thing, maybe it's being the mum of an allergic kid... dunno... I just feel better once I've wiped down everything)

It's cheap!  Not many places you can feed the family for under $35

The service isn't always friendly, but it sure is fast! Another reason why it's so perfect for taking the family.  You order and then within minutes you get at least one part of your order.

As we are a family with dairy/egg/nut allergies to be mindful of, it's just a blessing to find somewhere that has something you can eat, let alone something that the kids WANT to eat.

Though I have an adventurous palate, I am also a creature of habit.  Once I find something I like, I tend to stick with it.  Our regular order is steamed vege/mushroom dumplings, another serve of the vege/mushroom dumplings in chilli oil soup, spring onion pancakes and Chinese broccoli (we get it plain as oyster sauce will sometimes have egg in it)

For the Vegans out there -  I've checked many times, and all those items are vegan friendly!

Vegan Sourdough Organic Donuts! from CRUMBS

It just so happens that our local bakery is an organic bakery that has a vegan baker, so we get LOTS of awesome vegan bakery treats.
If you get there early enough on a Saturday morning, you might be lucky enough to get one of their donuts.  They usually have three flavours - cinnamon, lemon curd and strawberry jam.
Personally, I'm a fan of the lemon curd filled ones.  

Crumbs Organic Bakehouse on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 12, 2011

late night watermelon

Last night, just before heading to bed, it was decided that  we needed some more space in the fridge to make room for left overs.  The solution was to chop up a watermelon that had been taking up more than it's fair share of space for a few days.

So we sat down to a few glorious minutes of sweet, dribbly watermelon and then headed off to bed.

 Though watermelon is always a good idea, I think late night watermelon is just that little bit more special.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Food Glorious Food

Do kids today even know about the musical Oliver! ?

It seems like the music to Oliver! was everywhere when I was a kid.

We put on a production of Oliver! at school, the movie seemed to always be on tv, I had to learn to play the music for a few of the songs at music school....See?? it was everywhere!!!!! (just to share, my favourite song is 'Reviewing the Situation' which probably says something about me, I'm sure)

Anyway, the point being, that without Oliver Twist, we wouldn't have the song 'Food Glorious Food!' that was my point.  I'm over it now.

So this blog will be about my food experiences - the food I cook, eat, shop for, crave, dream about and probably even some stuff about food ethics and how I never quite get it right.

I'm looking forward to it :)