Thursday, 31 January 2013

Platelickers do Sunday Lunch

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January saw our first Supper Club of 2013 with a Sunday lunch, Burns Night inspired menu. As always we bought our meat from Northrops who as always we full of great advice. They even very kindly stuffed our loin for us and supplied us with plenty of bones for making the gravy.

This was the first time our parents came along to one of our supper clubs so it was more nerve racking than normal but we got the seal of approval both from the Brdanovic & Kruczynska camp at the end of the meal. A big thank you to Ozzy for letting me use some of his photos.


Hot Toddy

Scotsman's lunchbox with Caramelised Red Onion Dip

Beetroot Cured Salmon on dill buckwheat blini with Creme Fraiche

Stuffed Loin of Pork with Neeps & Tatties, Cabbage & Homemade Gravy

Baked Lemon Custard Pots

Vanilla Poached Pears with Hot Chocolate Sauce

Sunday, 20 January 2013


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If you follow me on twitter you may have seen me talking about a new page I have set up on my blog. 2013 Must Do List is a list of challenges I have set myself and will be adding to over the year. Croissants have been at the top of my list for a while now and as 2013 rolled around I realised I had exhausted all of my excuses. Stickybeaks was closed for the first 2 weeks in January so I decided to use this my advantage and get my 2013 list off to a good start.

After doing a bunch of research I decided to try out the Bourke Street bakery recipe as it didn't require a starter (sadly my sourdough starter died a while ago and I haven't had a chance to make a new one). It was really enjoyable and my freezer is now fully stocked with pastries. I also made a last minute decision to fill half with an almond paste which I was very grateful for as almond croissants are by far my favourite. I now look forward to making some again and experimenting with other flavours, I would love to try out some savoury varieties.

If you would like to join in with setting yourself some challenges for 2013 comment below and I'll link over to you.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

London Trip January

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Last Wednesday Jo & I headed on our first of many (I hope) food trips to London. This time around we decided to stick east and explore what it had to offer. Jo very cleverly made a google map of our stops which you can view here.

First stop was an early lunch at Duck & Waffle. We had both read so much about it so were more than a little excited about our first visit. Going up 40 floors in the lift was more than a little frightening, it reminded me of Charlie & the Chocolate Factory where the lift smashes out of the roof.  To settle our nerves, we started off with a Winter Negroni which consisted of Bombay Saphire Dry, Martini Rosso, Campari & a Antica Formula which was made with date, raisin & chestnut. It sure did blow the cobwebs away and considering it was 11:30 went straight to my head, but nevertheless was a perfect accompaniment to lunch.

We chose 4 things to share starting with the Foie Gras all day breakfast with Nutella. We had both spotted this on the menu in our research and were pretty intrigued about how they would taste together. The nutella was spread onto a toasted piece of brioche topped with foie gras, crispy rashers of bacon, a fried quail egg & little fried black pudding balls. This for me was the highlight of the meal although I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to try and recreate it at home.
Next up was the spicy ox cheek doughnut which came served with apricot jam. The waiter warned us that this was a love it or hate it dish which made us feel even more adventurous. The crust on the doughnut was a mixture of sugar and a pretty pungent smoked paprika which overpowered the ox cheek a little. I did however love the addition of jam. The doughnut was really doughy and reminded me of plum knedle from my childhood (which have now been added to my to do list). I was glad we were sharing as this would have filled me up a little too much if eaten on my own.

Next up was their famous BBQ spiced crispy pig ears. This was a first for me but I absolutely loved it, think pork scratchings minus the fat and extra crunch. I loved the wax sealed paper bag they came in too.
Finally it was the turn of their signature dish, the duck & waffle. We were told this was a play on the American fried chicken and waffle and it didn't disappoint. I especially loved the the maple & mustard dressing that came with it, a nice play on the usual honey mustard. The duck was beautifully cooked with deliciously crispy skin and fell off the bone.

I must add that everyone at Duck & Waffle were incredibly friendly, special mention goes to the waiter who let us sneak into the private room so we could check out the best view in the restaurant overlooking the Gherkin & the River Thames.

Next up was E5Bakehouse which is located in one of the arches underneath London Fields station. Only a few days previous, whilst having a clear out of my hoarded magazines I had spotted an article on this bakery so was really excited to pay them a visit and especially to try their  Hackney Wild loaf. We were so full from our lunch that we decided on just a coffee although the sweet treats on offer looked very inviting. We somehow ended up getting roped into being in a photoshoot for a Scandinavian startup which is my excuse for why I didn't take any photos but I'll leave that story for another time. I loved that you could watch the bakers doing their thing whilst enjoyed their wares and the loaf of bread I brought home has been enjoyed every morning since for breakfast.

Next up was Violet located in a cute house up the road from E5Bakehouse. This place is super cutesy and I loved how the tiny open planned kitchen was but it just didn't have the same friendly feel of the two previous places. We shared one of the cinnamon rolls which I thought was a little overpriced for its size and a very tasty iced lemon verbena tea. The upstairs of Violet lacked a little in character compared to the downstairs but the smells of the freshly baked wares that crept up the stairs we enticing.

Fourth on the list was Salvation Jane, the sister restaurant of Lantana. This place is a little taste of Australia in Shoreditch. We landed here at a bit of a dead time in the afternoon which meant we missed out a little on the character (and again I failed on the photo front) but I very much enjoyed my Picolo and a felt a little envious of Jo's last minute change to Little Creatures beer which Tim & I had discovered in Sydney. We took a sneak peek of their lunch & brunch menus which I look forward to trying the next time I'm in London.

Last up was MEATmission. Number 3 of the MEATliquor group. Set in what looks like an old church it is incredibly trendy & full of East London types but I kind of liked the tables laid out with rolls of kitchen paper. It sort of means that everyone ends up on level peggings, after all, no one can look cool whilst eating 'monkey fingers' with their hands. Feeling full from all the treats we'd had all day we shared a selection of things from their menu. Monkey fingers, which in fact were battered chicken strips in a Buffalo sauce served with a cooling blue cheese dip. Fried pickles, which sadly weren't as tasty as I had hoped. I think they would have benefitted from being smaller and would therefore of stayed crispy for longer. Finally the Dead Hippy burger which is seen as their signature burger. A patty split in half with gherkins and cheese in between, their secret dead hippy sauce and cheese. My highlight here was definitely the Brooklyn Larger served slightly strange measurements but the perfect accompaniment to  the greasy food.

 Next time around we plan to head South and although our list is already huge, I would hear  recommendations! Lastly, apologies for the far from perfect photos, I decided to leave the dslr at home for ease and therefor the photos have suffered so maybe it will spur me on to bring it along next time.

Sage Buttered Mushrooms on Toast

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I'd like to say that breakfast is my favourite meal of the day but if I'm honest this is only really true on days off. Nothing beats a lazy start to the day with a cup of tea in hand and a cooked breakfast on your plate. This breakfast takes around 15 minutes to put together and will make your stomach, and you incredibly happy. January is tough enough as it is, and starving yourself isn't going to make it any easier. We all deserve a treat once in a while, and this is particularly true after a week of work.

Serves 1 but can easily be doubled, tripled etc
You will need-
  • 1 free range egg
  • 2 portobello mushrooms, stalks removed
  • A few slices of your favourite bread
  • A knob of butter
  • 1/2 tbsp sage
  • 1 clove garlic
Pre-heat grill to medium high. Melt the butter in a small pan and add the sage leaves. Cook on a medium heat until the butter is lightly brown. Brush over the underside of the mushrooms, setting a little aside and then place them under the grill and cook till their tender. Whilst the mushrooms are cooking place your egg in a small pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 2 minutes before draining and running under a cold tap before peeling. When the mushrooms are almost done toast your bread then rub with the garlic. Place the mushrooms on top of the bread and top with the egg. Drizzle with remaining sage butter, salt, pepper and a little truffle oil if you have some.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Sydney Part 2

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I have been a little slack with the 2nd part of my Sydney post mainly because of how painful it is knowing 10512.3 miles separate me from all this amazing food. By now I have lost the order in which we visited these places but if I don't get them down now I know I never will!

First off is Gelato Messina pictured above. Dubbed as the best gelato in Sydney its very easy to see why. 2 huge freezers filled with lots of exciting flavours as well as many favourites. The chefs are challenged each week to create a new flavour which appear on their specials board. I opted for the salted caramel and a panacotta with fig jam and amaretti which was by far the best I have ever tasted in my life. Messina offer takeaway boxes in varying sizes which I imagine are a little dangerous to have in your freezer.

Next up was Rueben Hills. I had spotted this place in the Sydney Time Out magazine and after being recommended it by friends we headed down. It took a while to take our pick from all the delicious sounding food on their menu but we finally settled on the Dirty Bird which consisted of spicy grilled chicken with a tomatillo salsa, cheese, pickles, chipotle aioli in a brioche bun and their Not Rueben consisting of wagyu salt brisket, pickled slaw, manchego & horseradish cream. Both were outstanding and accompanied by organic orange juice & a piccolo made the perfect lunch.

Grill'd is a fairly new burger chain in Australia with a fairly small number of restaurants dotted around the country. I decided to try one of their veggie burgers filled to the brim with beetroot, avocado, salad, relish & herb mayo. I also have to mention their chips which are topped with a salt & herb mix which makes them extremely moorish.

The Book Kitchen sits over the road from Bourke Street Bakery mentioned in part 1 and sounded like my idea of heaven. A cafe come cookbook shop where you are encouraged to sit and read the vast number of cookbooks they have on their bookshelves whilst you have some lunch or indulge in one of their cakes. We settled on some homemade lemonade and my first lamington in Australia.

One Saturday morning we were taken to Eveleigh Market where I got to try Billy Kwong's Steamed pancake with fresh vegetables, herbs & egg which was brimming with so much flavour and a firm favourite with many locals. We had recently eaten breakfast so we were both really full. I now really regret not trying the dumplings too.

We headed to Beach Burrito in Bondi one evening and whilst I ate my lime chilli and garlic prawn burrito I had a good giggle watching the guys showing off over the road at the muscle beach. We washed our burritos down with a couple of bottles of Corona before heading to a pub (with a drive through bottle shop- off licence to me and you!)
Our last meal in Sydney was at Double Roasters on our way to the airport. I went for their corn & courgette fritters which came with an avocado salsa, rocket & a poached egg and Tim went for the housemade baked beans with prosciutto, eggs and spinach. It was the perfect food to line our stomachs for the next 24 hours of travel.

We also had a few meals where I didn't manage to get any photos. Those that need a special mention are Mr Wong in the CBD, a fairly new restaurant with a Cantonese style menu. We turned up for lunch and sat in their bar where we shared 5 dim sum plates. The food was outstanding, only the turnip cake served with dried fish on top wasn't to our liking as the fish was just too intense, but I can easily say hands down the best pork buns I have ever eaten.
Second on my list is the North Bondi Italian set overlooking Bondi Beach with an impressive modern Italian menu. We were taken here by our friends for one of our last meals. I decided on the spaghetti Cartoccio which is baked in a paper bag with spanner crab, tomato & chilli. To end the meal we all shared an plate of tiramisu which was brought out in a big dish by the waiter and plated up (very generously) at our table.

We are already beginning to plan our next trip to Australia. Hopefully we will be heading back out in January next year with an added stop in Melbourne. If anyone has must visits there please let me know!

I am off work for the next two weeks give or take a few days and I am setting myself lots of cooking challenges to fill my time. First up is croissant, if I have any success I will be sure to share the photos.
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