Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The Grounds

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The Grounds is fairly new on the scene in Sydney and is located in an old pie factory in the suburb of Alexandria. We got taken here the other day by friends for lunch and I was just blown away. The Grounds is the brainchild of Ramzey Choker who has set the place up along with his business partner Jack Hanna & his sister Caroline Choker who is an interior designer. As soon as you step through the door you really can see that everything has been sought and thought out to the finest detail. Its safe to say that this makes for a very enjoyable visit and this is why there is pretty much always a que for a table.

The Grounds team is split up into sections. Jack Hanna heads up the coffee department and oversees all the coffee roasting and Lilly Fasan is the executive chef. With an amazing list of restaurants to her name its easy to see why the food in this place is so revered. To top all of this off The Grounds boasts its own garden where they grown many of the seasonal vegetables you can eat in the restaurant. 

After a few pretty indulgent days of eating Tim and I both decided on their salads. I went for the Courgette & Pear salad with was served with freshly picked mint, danish feta & pistachios. Tim went for the amazing sounding and tasting Buffalo mozzarella and peach salad with chicory & spiced almonds. Like most places in Sydney, this place isn't cheap but the portions are huge and the quality is tops. Its located a little out of the city but its definitely worth travelling to if you are ever in Sydney.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Platelickers Eastern European Christmas

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So a bit of an overdue post on my behalf but I just wanted to share some photos and the menu from the last supper club. For the last Platelickers of the year we went with an Eastern European theme and drew in favourites and memories from our own family Christmasses. We are having a month off in December but watch your inboxes for a Platelickers in January. I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has supported us over the last year and come along to our evenings and for all the lovely emails we have received from you all. We started the supper club because we wanted to cook for people and every email we get gives us a warm feeling in our hearts (ahhh!) I am super excited about what's in store for 2013 so as always if you want to hear first about upcoming events please sign up to our mailing list here.

Anyway, I'll keep this post short and let the photos do the talking.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Sydney Part 1

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Well, where to begin. So far this trip has been the biggest eye opener in regards to food. We seriously haven't had a bad meal so far and I'm hoping that I haven't just jinxed myself by saying this. It also goes to say that the coffee has been pretty phenomenal too and I'm sure that its not just because of the jet lag. After all, Australia is the home of the flat white. I thought rather than leaving it all till I get back to the UK it would be best to split the trip into a few posts before I forgot all the finer details. Don't worry I won't be detailing every single meal we ate but purely picking out the highlights from the trip so far. Right now I feel so torn because part of me never wants to leave yet the other cannot wait to get home and get cooking after all this inspiration.

The first day was spent getting to know the area we were staying in, Surry Hills. Whilst having a pit stop coffee in one of the many great cafes in the area we picked up a flyer for a new Mexican restaurant that had opened in the area. Annoyingly I can't for the life of me remember what its called but if you visit its on Randle Street. We decided to share 4 of their soft tacos and we weren't disappointed. Our favourites being the wild mushroom, fennel & marjoram with sour cream & pine nuts and the cumin & anise blackened chicken with avocado & mint. There were lots of other exciting dishes on the menu and a very tasty sounding chocolate olive oil cake with ancho chillies which will have to be tried if we return.

We started off our first full day with breakfast at Single Origin cafe in Surry Hills. Tim went for their 62:45 poached eggs with house cured bacon on sourdough, the 62:45 relating to the temperature and length of time the eggs are cooked for in a sous vide. I decided on their spiced baked beans with Persian feta which went down a treat. The only downside being that the dishes only came with 1 piece of sourdough. Single Origin roast their own beans and since visiting we have spotted a lot of other cafe's using their beans. The coffee at Single Origin is hands down the best coffee I have ever drunk.

After breakfast we headed into the city in search for a department store so I could indulge in my weakness of food halls. What I wasn't expecting was to spend around £6 on 2 figs but my god were they tasty! We headed down through the botanic gardens and ended up eating our figs on the steps of the opera house, you couldn't really of planned it better than that!
For dinner we headed back to Surry Hills and to the newly opened Queenies located upstairs at The Forresters pub. Queenies is dubbed a pan tropical restaurant with lots of Caribbean flavours in the mix, the sides all sounded really exciting so we decided on sharing a bunch of those instead. Queenie's offers  an interesting array of treats on the menu including BBQ jerk corn which was definitely a highlight as well as push cart chicken & curried oxtail patties. The restaurant does feel pretty hip with its mix of kitsch paraphernalia but the food didn't disappoint. Their selection of mains all sounded very tempting but the salads would be on my go to list for next time. 

Now by this point all my days are beginning to muddle together but I can't go without talking about Bourke St Bakery. Quite early on into my Sydney 'food research' this place popped up so we knew we had to pay them a visit. Its one of those places where reviews speak of queues around the corner but I think we picked the perfect time going on a week day just after all the commuters had been past. We pulled up on a bench along the side of the bakery and indulged in a famous ginger brulee tart (which I will be trying to replicate on my return), a praline twist and a pear & rhubarb muffin all washed down with delicious flat whites. Before we left we picked up a sourdough loaf to ear for breakfast the next day.

You can't visit Sydney without heading over to one of Bill Granger's 'Bill's' restaurants. Its a little more expensive than some places so we decided to try out the breakfast menu. Everything on the menu sounded so tempting that I really struggled choosing. Tim went for the full Aussie breakfast which came with the sweetest, creamiest scrambled eggs I've ever tasted. In a bit of a rushed decision I went for the ricotta hotcakes which were served with banana & honeycomb butter. This was to die for but looking back at the menu I am wishing I had tried something else. To be fair though we're here for another week and with things like sweetcorn fritters & brioche rolls with chilli eggs on the menu you can't really blame me.

I have been trying to write this post for about 3 days now. Each day adding another place to the list. Yesterday we headed to a restaurant called The Grounds which really deserves a post of its own so please watch this space.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Mill Road Winter Fair

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 Just a quick little post to share with you some photos of my stall at this year's Mill Road Winter Fair. It sure was a cold one and it felt like it took a few days to get my body temperature back up to normal. But cold aside, it was so much fun sharing a stall with Jo. On the stall this year I did Salted Caramel & Chocolate Ganache Macaron, Sticky Gingerbread loaves, Flourless Chocolate Cake, Carrot & Walnut Muffins, Blueberry & Apple Crumble Muffins, my mum's Baklava, GF Raspberry, Almond & Coconut Slices, Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies and last but not least Caramel Swirl Brownies. Everything went down well and the macaron were the first to go. I just wish I had saved myself some, they were the things I was most proud of.

We also had a section of Platelickers treats including my mum's cheese and spinach pita, pesto pinwheels, our beetroot chutney & the well loved pineapple chutney (which I conveniently dropped a jar of so I could take some home for myself)

Anyway, as you may know I am jetting off to Sydney later today but I have lined up a few posts for whilst I'm away. I can't wait to arrive in the land of flat whites and kangaroos, but first theres 24 hours of travel to get though. If you want to see what I'm up to whilst I'm gone catch me on twitter or instagram

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Mill Road Winter Fair 2012

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I am really excited to announce that next Saturday (1st December) I will be returning to the Mill Road Winter Fair with a joint stall with Jo aka Afternoon Tease. I will be baking some of my favourite sweet treats from the last year on the blog as well as a few new surprises. There will also be a taster of savoury things from past supper clubs including my absolute favourite, Bosnian cheese pita.

Be sure to stop by and say hello if you're in the area. I'll be at the Food Fair in the Gywdir St car park.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Black Pudding Scotch Eggs

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I have a bit of a confession to make. I only tried my first scotch egg about a year ago. Up until then I always thought they we're pretty horrid and avoided them like the plague. In my defence, the only scotch eggs I ever got exposed to were ones bought in supermarkets that looked pale and uninviting. 

My first scotch egg was with black pudding and after my first bite I was determined to have a go at making my own. When Jo and I were menu planning for the Childhood Memories Supper Club I knew we had to sneak this in. Scotch eggs are good fun to make and I think something everyone should have a go at. Because we were serving these cut into wedges we cooked the eggs for a little longer but if you would prefer a runnier yolk I'd suggest boiling them for no more than 6 minutes.

You will need-
  • 6 medium eggs - plus an extra 1 or 2 for the batter
  • 250g black pudding
  • 125g sausage meat
  • A few sprigs thyme
  • 1 tsp chopped sage, preferably fresh
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Plain flour
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Vegetable Oil
Begin by bringing a large pan of water to the boil and then gently lower the eggs in and simmer for 7 minutes. Once the 7 minutes are up remove to a bowl of ice cold water to stop them cooking any further. Once cool very gently peel the egg shells off and put the eggs to one side.

Put the pudding and sausage meat with the thyme, sage, paprika, cayenne, salt & pepper together in a bowl and give it a really good mix. You could, at this stage fry a little piece off to check the seasoning and add more herbs/spice if you fancy. Split the mixture off into 6 balls.
Prepare 2 squares of cling film and place one of the balls of pudding mixture in the centre. Now place the other piece on top before flattening out till its no more than 1/2cm thick. Remove the top layer of cling fim and place the egg in the centre. Bring the cling film up and around the egg. Tear off any excess meat and then using the cling film smooth over any edges or creases. Set to one side and repeat with the rest of the eggs. 

Place the sunflower oil into a large, heavy based pan and put on a medium high heat.

Set out 3 plates with the flour, beaten egg and panko breadcrumbs. Its important to keep one hand dry if you don't want to get covered in breadcrumbs and flour (like the 3rd photo down!) Firstly roll the egg in flour then dip in the egg mixture. Next cover with breadcrumbs before returning back into the egg and then finally back into the breadcrumbs.

If you have any left over meat simply roll into small balls and repeat the same instructions for the batter & frying.

To check if the oil is hot enough, drop a couple of breadcrumbs into it. They should sizzle and start to turn golden pretty quickly. Its important to only fry one egg at a time so as not to risk the oil overflowing. Gently lower the egg in and turn after a minute or when golden underneath. Continue frying till its a lovely golden colour all over then remove onto some kitchen paper to drain.

Leave to cool slightly before slicing into quarters. These should keep in an airtight box for 3 or 4 days in the fridge.
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